Guest Post: Adam Sikes – LANDSLIDE

Good day, book people. I’ve learned that some readers appreciate gaining insight into authors and their “writing process.” Every author, from those just starting out to those with years of writing and publishing experience, seems to have a writing routine or process. Some of these routines seem very similar, such as writing in the morning and having a favorite beverage on hand, and others are quite unique, writing in longhand with a specific type of writing instrument. I enjoy learning about them all and am very pleased to welcome Adam Sikes, author of Landslide, to the blog today. Mr. Sikes will be answering the question “what is your writing process?” for us. I hope you’ll enjoy the information he’s sharing, follow the blog tour to learn more about this author and his book, and grab a copy of Landslide to read. Thank you, Mr. Sikes, for taking the time to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

What is your writing process?

The “writing process” is something I didn’t understand until I started doing it. I had to learn my process over time and, in truth, it took a few years.

Although I just recently started writing fiction seriously in the past ten years, I’ve always considered myself a writer. I remember in junior high trying to outline a techno-thriller along the lines of Tom Clancy. When I was in high school, I recall enjoying writing historical research papers, which I then continued in college and during graduate school. With the CIA, writing was a part of my daily experience. And even while in the Marine Corps and special operations, I wrote.

When I began writing novels, however, I approached and experienced writing differently. I found the process of thinking about a subject, outlining the story, and then writing the narrative to be insufficient. My writing was flat, lacking the kinds of sentences and word use that I so enjoyed from other writers, and as one editor called my dialogue, it was “wooden.”

Consequently, in addition to seeking out education and training to improve my craft, I engaged in self-reflection to understand how I produced my best work. This led me to a multi-step process that allowed me to think through single scenes as well as plotting an entire book, honing my writing to engage the reader, keep them turning the pages, and feel connected to the characters.

  • Running: I found that movement stimulates my creativity and when I went running, I was able to think through the various aspects of a plot, a character’s personality, and especially tough scenes I felt stuck on.
    Notebooks: I handwrite every scene in a Moleskine notebook using a form of shorthand. I write fast and small, trying to keep the scene flowing and not getting hung up on precise language. I also use a handmade pen given to me by my brother, a woodworker and craftsman. This pen is very dear to me and physically connects me to the pages and my writing.
    Typing 1 of 2: After I handwrite a scene, I then type it in Word, double-spaced, font Garamond 12. This initial typed scene is raw and barebones.
    Typing 2 of 2: Now that I have the scene on the computer, I go back through slowly, adding the “meat” to the story, being precise about words and phrasing, and endeavoring to flesh out the narrative.
    Read Aloud and Type: In the final stage before entering the editing process, I try to write in the morning and read aloud as I go through the scene once more, listening to how the words and phrases sound and editing grammar and punctuation to achieve the desired effects.

This process works well for me and gives me confidence that even if my first run-through seems weak, as I perform each step, the writing gets stronger and better. On the other hand, I am also able to see when a scene or piece of writing isn’t working. If that happens, I don’t hesitate to start over. I find it better to start from scratch rather than continually trying to force a scene to work.

And finally, I always have a cup of coffee or tea with me when writing. Even if it just sits there and goes cold—it’s there.

Landslide

by Adam Sikes

November 14 – December 9, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Landslide by Adam Sikes

 

International Arms—Private Military Companies—Corruption at Every Turn

U.S. Marine veteran Mason Hackett moved to London to start his life over, and he’s done his best to convince himself that what happened fifteen years ago doesn’t matter—the people he killed, the men he lost, the lives he ruined. But when Mason sees the face of a dead friend flash on a television screen and then receives a mysterious email referencing a CIA operation gone bad, he can no longer ignore his inner demons.

Driven by loyalty and a need to uncover the truth, Mason launches on a perilous journey from the Czech Republic to Romania toward the war-torn separatist region in eastern Ukraine to honor a fifteen-year-old promise. The answers he seeks—the fate of a friend and his connection to the underworld of international arms dealers and defense corporations—throw Mason into the cauldron of a covert war where no one can be trusted.

Praise for Landslide:

“Sikes imbues the emotionally complex Mason with a palpable sense of grief. Readers will look forward to his further adventures.”

Publishers Weekly

 

Landslide is not only a gripping geo-political thriller, but a morally-complex tale. It grapples with fraught questions of both individual and national loyalty as well as killing and the grim realities of war. I read this book over the course of two-white knuckled days that I won’t soon forget. Adam Sikes is a huge talent.”

Elliot Ackerman, New York Times best-selling author

 

“Adam Sikes is the consummate storyteller. What a fast-moving train Landslide is, a real rollercoaster of a ride, gripping, emotional and thought-provoking. I enjoyed every thrilling second. This is good stuff!”

J. Randy Taraborrelli, New York Times best-selling author

 

“A gem of a read with mach-speed mayhem, loaded with rich detail from a writer who knows what he’s talking about.”

Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author

 

“With an irresistible hook that grabs you from the get-go, Landslide is an action-packed, nonstop espionage thrill ride that will keep you furiously turning the pages. Marine Corps veteran and former intelligence officer Adam Sikes delivers a fast-paced, gritty, supercharged read.”

Andrew Kaplan, New York Times best-selling author

 

Landslide is a seismic quake of an international, high-stakes thriller in the grand tradition of Daniel Silva, Brad Thor, and Brad Taylor. Adam Sikes has penned a seminal effort that’s bracingly effective in its portrayal of current geopolitical dynamics through the eyes of former Marine, and current expatriate, Mason Hackett. A terrific tapestry of a tale with the kind of stitching that would make the likes of Alistair MacLean and Frederick Forsyth take notice.”

Jon Land, USA Today best-selling author

Book Details:

Genre: Spy Thriller
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: September 2022
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781608095049 (ISBN10: 1608095045)
Series: A Mason Hackett Espionage Thriller, #1
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Oceanview Publishing

Author Bio:

Adam Sikes

Adam Sikes is a novelist and freelance writer. He is a graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in International Politics and a Masters in History. Prior to taking up the pen, he served in the US Marine Corps with combat tours in the Balkans, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East. Following the Marines, Adam joined the CIA and conducted operations in Central Asia, East Africa, and Europe. He is the author of the international thriller Landslide and is the co-author of Open Skies: My Life as Afghanistan’s First Female Pilot. He lives in Southern California.

Catch Up With Adam Sikes:
www.AdamSikes.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @sikesar
Instagram – @Adam_R_Sikes
Twitter – @Adam_R_Sikes

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Guest Post: Emma Dakin – DANGER IN EDINBURGH

DANGER IN EDINBURGH by Emma Dakin blog tour banner with book cover featuring an Edinburgh street looking uphill on the left, author Emma Dakin on the upper right corner (white older female with short grayish-blonde hair)

Hello, book people. Have you ever read a book and wondered “what in the world are they thinking?” about a character. Some characters are so fully fleshed out that they seem like real people we might actually know and we become invested in their lives and actions. We want to advise them, caution them, or scold them. There are numerous characters, some appearing in fiction series, that I feel I’ve gotten to know simply because they evolve over the series and I feel I know them better and understand their actions. If you’ve ever wanted to jump into the head of a character, today’s your lucky day. Please help me welcome Emma Dakin, author of Danger in Edinburgh, part of the British Book Tour Mystery series. Ms. Dakin will be providing us with some insight into the thinking of one of her featured characters. Sit back, grab a favorite beverage, and let’s learn a bit more about Jaswinder Patal. Thank you, Ms. Dakin, for joining us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you

Character from the book: Jaswinder Patal
by Emma Dakin

Does every mother look at her fifteen-year-old and wonder who she is? Fiona used to be a quiet, wee girl. What happened? Ms. Barclay, the tour guide who has guests with us caught her sneaking through the window into our guest last night. What will she think of me? What will she think of Fiona? It’s right gey as they say here in Scotland. Scary. There’s a killer about and Fiona thinks somehow she will not be attacked. Yes, Scotland is usually safe but not right now.

My husband Wally and I left the Punjab when we were twenty-two. We had some family money and bought The Royal Stewart here on The Royal Mile in Edinburgh. It’s been a good business: I cook the breakfasts and supervise the cleaning staff. Wally does all repairs and looks after the guests. Fiona used to help in the kitchen but she is busy with her schoolwork and now her skateboarding. Skateboarding? What kind of nonsense is that? She tells me I’m old-fashioned.

“You aren’t Scottish enough,” she said. “You don’t even sound Scottish.”

“I speak English.” I learned English in India. I understand it and speak it.

“You sound funny like you’re singing English.”

I didn’t know I sounded odd. It was discouraging.

One of the guests, Dr. Ferguson, a guest from Texas and on Claire Barclay’s tour, heard Fiona tell me that and was very kind.

“Most fifteen-year-olds criticize their parents,” she said. She is a doctor, a psychologist so I listened. “If you are loving and supportive of her, she’ll get some wisdom and be easier to live with soon, I promise.”

“Just accept it?”

“No, you have to set boundaries to keep her safe.”

That was the difficulty that Wally and I talked over many times. What rules do we insist she must follow and what are unreasonable? What will keep her safe? Safe was our goal right now because someone was targeting young women, university students, and killing them. Fiona must come in at night. This man, it must be a man, picks out lovely, hard-working students and somehow lures them off the path and kills them. Fiona is lovely and, I admit, hard-working. I worry.

Wally’s cousin, Derrick Hamilton, is a police inspector. He drops by to see us occasionally. I encourage him as I want the police to be seen to visit. He takes his breakfast at the Magpie Café next door. I would like to sit in the café and listen to what the customers are saying about the murderer. But I am too busy. Fiona says I’m blate but no, I am not shy, I am busy. Wally goes there and tells me what they say.

It’s not good what they say. Another murder. Ms. Barclay found a wee lass on the Dean’s Path. Truly, it was her dog, Gulliver who found her.

“A dog finds your dead daughter. That is clatty. Disgusting,” I said to my husband.

“Better a dog found her than nobody did,” Wally said.

“That’s true.”

But Dean’s path is close to here, far too close. I worry. ♦

Danger in Edinburgh (The British Book Tour Mysteries)
by Emma Dakin

About Danger in Edinburgh

Danger in Edinburgh (The British Book Tour Mysteries)

Claire Barclay, owner and tour guide of The British Mysteries Book Tours, leaves her house in Hampshire and her significant other, Mark Evans, puts her dog Gulliver into her van and heads off to Scotland for the start of a fortnight tour.

She expects to lead her guests to various literary sites where authors set their stories. She had just settled everyone into their luxurious Edinburgh hotel when, on a quick outing with Gulliver, she discovers a body. A young woman has been the victim of the serial killer who targets university students.

She calls Mark. But Mark, although a Detective Inspector of the Major Crimes Investigation Team, has no jurisdiction in Scotland. He can only sympathize and advise—and protest her involvement. Her guests meet for breakfast every morning at the Magpie Café where Claire finds characters who live or work nearby, including the local beat copper Sheila McKinnon and Detective Inspector Derrick Hamilton. Christopher, an accountant, brings his dog Suzy. Ryan, a neglected teen, slips in for free food and Bert Anderson, a middle-aged entrepreneur, cheerfully tries to interest everyone in investment schemes.

The waitress is Isla, a university student, who is researching a paper on psychopaths.

All the guests speculate on the murders and attract the attention of the inspector. Claire is frantic to protect her guests from police investigation. At the end of the tour, after she has put her charges safely on their respective planes and trains, Claire takes a last walk with Gulliver and meets one of the café regulars. She sees irrefutable evidence of murder and is so surprised that she betrays her knowledge and puts her own life in jeopardy.

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Camel Press; 1st edition (September 14, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 264 pages
ISBN10 ‏ : ‎ 1684920248
ISBN13 ‏ : ‎ 9781684920242
ISBN : 9780593098653 (eBook)
ISBN : 9781666111668 (Audiobook)
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09YMWP92G (Kindle edition)
ASIN : B0BKP6YWFL (Audible Audiobook)

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Kindle edition | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | Kobo eBook

About Emma Dakin

Author photo: Emma Dakin; smiling, white middle-aged female with short grayish-blonde hair wearing a dark blue button-down shirt.

Emma Dakin lives in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast of British. She has over twenty trade-published books, including a 2022 Award-winning memoir Always Pack a Candle: A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, but continues to enjoy writing The British Book Tour Mysteries. Her love of the British countryside and villages and her addiction to cozy mysteries keep her immersed in discovering the different cultures of the country and the different dialects. She gives us characters who live and work in those villages, isles, and cities. She introduces readers to the problems that disturb the idyllic setting. Research is essential to give the reader an authentic setting. It was necessary for Emma to sit in The Whiski Bar on The Royal Mile, to tour Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood, and to play her fiddle in the Tay Inn. A trip to the Highlands and the iconic isle of Iona were vital. When not writing or traveling, she paddles with her outrigger crew on the waters of the Pacific Coast and walks her dog who is much less obedient than Claire’s fictional Gulliver.

Author Links:

Webpage/Blog emmadakinauthor.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/emmadakinauthor/
Goodreads http://tiny.cc/ttk3az
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 14 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 15 – Mythical Books – AUTHOR GUEST POST
November 16 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, RECIPE
November 18 – The Editing Pen – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 19 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT
November 20 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
November 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR GUEST POST
November 22 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 23 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
November 24 – THANKSGIVING
November 25 – ebook addicts – REVIEW
November 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
November 27 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Guest Post: Baer Charlton – SECRETS OF THE GOLD

Good day, my bookish peeps. I’m preparing for my winter hibernation by ordering a new bookish blanket and some loose-leaf oolong teas. I’m also trying to select from the 2000+ titles on my TBR list books to read over the next few months. Growing up, I could always be found in a corner somewhere reading a book. I usually attended my younger brothers’ football and baseball games and carried a book to read. Many of my younger brothers’ friends are shocked to learn that they have a sister until my brothers described me as the girl sitting in the bleachers reading a book or the girl in the corner with a book. Amazingly, most of these adults remembered “the girl with the book” from their childhood game-playing days. It’s kind of funny what we remember and what we end up associating with certain memories. Today’s guest is Baer Charlton, author of Secrets of the Gold, and he’ll be discussing his writing origin story and childhood memories. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to say and follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and its author. Thank you, Mr. Charlton, for stopping by today, the blog is now all yours.

Banner with Guest Post in a script font under a line and with a stack of books over the word "guest"

When and why did you begin writing?

Stick with me here. This is about the mystery of the human spirit and condition.

I grew up a Forest Service brat. The youngest of four. The summer I was almost four, my brothers and sister had tied me out over a fire ant nest. I had swollen up like a beach ball enough to shred the hand-me-down shorts and t-shirt. The hospital was two hours away.

About halfway there, I had returned to normal size and was drowning in my father’s t-shirt and boxer shorts. I remember the day because mom bought me a new pair of shorts and t-shirt. New. For me. I’m sure I kept smelling the newness.

As we sat in the coffee shop, I realized the only time mom was ever alone and I wouldn’t have to compete with my siblings was when she was setting type or printing on her small printing press. So I asked her to teach me how to set type. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know how to read. Each letter is an icon. The combined icons make up the icon of a word. And so on and so on. By the time I was in kindergarten, I was picking my way through the books on the bottom shelves of my parent’s library. When I reread The Hunchback of Notre-Dame several years later, it was a different story, but just as captivating.

Setting type and then printing on a hand-operated printing press is tedious to mind-numbing. Five hundred business cards, one at a time, has you standing at the press for a long evening. Over the years, this produced thousands of hours of just my mother and I, quietly surrounded by the sound of the ka-chink-a-rattle, and the smell of ink. We talked about many things. Nothing was off the table. In either my life or hers.

But we also talked through stories. The notes mom wrote in a cribbed font on yellow three-by-five cards. The small stack eventually grew to a little more than an inch thick. It was bound in two printers’ rubber bands of vulcanized rubber, so they never break. One was red and the other blue.

A few years after she passed from cancer, my father handed me the stack, saying he was pretty sure she had wanted me to have it. I knew exactly what it was.

I took it home and placed it in the back of the top drawer of my new desk.

A few years later, I was cleaning out the desk for the new computer with a “real” hard drive. In the back of the top drawer, I found the old friend.

The red band came off the stack and right onto my left hand. The blue on the right hand. It was as automatic that day as it had been fifteen years before. I could hear the birds outside and smell the ink on the press, and what was left of the White Shoulders mom would dab judiciously behind her ears for church.

As I cracked open the packet, a tiny piece of yellow paper fell onto the floor. I stared at the single word hand-printed in Uncial Romana, our favorite font. I realized this word was the total of my inheritance. And the boot on my butt. The word “publish” wasn’t about the stack of stories, it was about the one I would tell on my own.

Three months later, Rider Magazine published the first of many stories and articles. It was a start. ♦

Secrets of the Gold

by Baer Charlton

November 7 – December 2, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Secrets of the Gold by Baer Charlton

Concealed in his jacket are ingots of gold; he just doesn’t remember why.

A young girl running from an abusive foster home kidnaps an older biker with a mystery for a past.

Leaving the mining town in Colorado and crossing state lines, anything can happen.

What neither is looking for or expecting is friendship.

But in the cold of the desert night, life lessons can go both ways—even if they are not about a million dollars in gold.

Growing up is hard enough, even without the shooting.

Praise for Secrets of the Gold:

“kept me spellbound”

“you will have a very hard time putting this book down!”

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Coming of Age, Female Sleuth
Published by: Mordant Media
Publication Date: March 2022
Number of Pages: 374
ISBN10: 1949316203
ISBN13: 9781949316209 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781949316216 (eBook)
ASIN: B09TZF6ZXB (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Kobo eBook | Books2Read | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Baer Charlton

Baer Charlton is an Amazon Best-Selling author and a Social-Anthropologist. His many interests have led him worldwide in search of the unique.

As an internationally recognized Photo Journalist, he has tracked mountain gorillas, been a podium for a Barbary Ape, communicated in sign language with an Orangutan named Boolon, kissed a kangaroo, and had many other wild experiences in between. Or he was just monkeying around.

His love for sailing has led him to file assignments from various countries, as well as from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard a five-mast sailing ship. Baer has spoken on five continents, plus lecturing at sea.

His copyrighted logo is “WR1T3R.” Within every person, there is a story. But inside that story, even a more memorable story. Those are the stories he likes to tell.

There is no more complex and incredible story than those coming from the human experience. Whether it is a Marine finding his way home as a civilian or a girl who’s just trying to grow up, Mr. Charlton’s stories are all driven by the characters you come to think of as friends.

Catch Up With Baer Charlton:
www.BaerCharlton.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @BaerCharlton
Twitter – @baer_charlton
Facebook – @WR1T3R

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Guest Post: Ken MacQueen – HERO HATERS

Hello, my bookish peeps. Have you ever wondered where some idioms got their start, such as “truth is stranger than fiction?” Okay, I know that the “truth is stranger than fiction” is attributed to Byron and is found in his work Don Juan, but I get the feeling it was probably used by others before it was immortalized by Byron and later by Mark Twain. (Twain said, “truth is stranger than fiction but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.”) Regardless of who said it first, this idiom is often found to be more real than we might suppose. I’m pleased to welcome Ken MacQueen, author of the debut thriller Hero Haters. Mr. MacQueen will be discussing his brush with reality and fiction with us today. Thank you, Mr. MacQueen, for taking the time to join us and sharing your thoughts on this issue, I’m looking forward to what you have to share. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

BILLY AND ME
by Ken MacQueen

A lesson I learned on my winding path from journalist to fiction writer is it takes a lot of research to make stuff up. Fiction is best rooted in a bit of fact. Although Hero Haters, my debut thriller, is a work of fiction, the Pacific port city of Aberdeen is very real, with all the gritty authenticity you’d expect in a port and lumber town.

Hero Haters is set in contemporary times so I hadn’t planned to dig into Aberdeen’s history, at least no further back than a generation when Nirvana’s frontman Kurt Cobain and bass player Krist Novoselic called it home. (More on that another time…)

But then I heard about Billy Gohl’s eight tumultuous years in Aberdeen, 1902 to 1910—and I fell down a rabbit hole. I mean, a serial killer is a terrible thing to waste.

Gohl may be the biggest American mass murderer you’ve never heard of. Unless you live in Aberdeen or surrounding Grays Harbor County. There, his legend lives on as the Ghoul of Gray’s Harbor, or the Madman of Aberdeen.

Although he was convicted of just one murder during a sensational trial in 1910, police and lurid newspaper accounts of the day pinned at least 40 murders on him. Or 60, or 100-plus. Or maybe Gohl, who was the bare-knuckle representative of the Sailor’s Union of the Pacific, was the victim of a frame job by anti-union thugs, as one academic writes in a recent revisionist history of the era.

Whatever version you believe, the inconvenient fact is life was cheap on the waterfront in that era. So many bodies bobbed up in the Pacific, or the tributaries leading to it, that the dead were known as the “floater fleet.”

As for Billy, he escaped the noose but was sentenced to life in prison, dying in 1927 in a hospital for the insane. Gone but hardly forgotten.

Not far from his old wharf is the “World Famous” Billy’s Bar & Grill on Heron St., where his portrait hangs, The Port of Missing Men t-shirts go for $15 a pop, and his ghost, if you believe such nonsense, makes an occasional appearance.

As I said, a serial killer is a terrible thing to waste—and I didn’t.

Since I don’t write about ghosts or time travel, how did I fit Billy into the story? Artfully, I’d like to think. I hope you’ll read Hero Haters to see if you agree. ♦

Hero Haters

by Ken MacQueen

November 7 – December 2, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Hero Haters by Ken MacQueen

He seeks redemption, others want revenge

Jake Ockham had a dream job, vetting nominees for the Sedgewick Medallion-the nation’s highest civilian award for heroism. His own scarred hands are an indelible reminder of the single mother he failed to pull from a raging house fire; her face haunts him still. Obligations drag him back to his hometown to edit the family newspaper but attempts to embrace small-town life, and the hot new doctor, are thwarted by unknown forces. The heroes Jake vetted go missing and he becomes the prime suspect in the disappearances. Aided by resourceful friends, Jake follows a twisted trail to the Dark Web, where a shadowy group is forcing the kidnapped medalists to perform deadly acts of valor to amuse twisted subscribers to its website. To save his heroes, Jake must swallow his fears and become one himself…or die in the attempt.

Praise for Hero Haters:

“An edge-of-your-seat thriller. MacQueen, a journalist, ratchets up the suspense and tightens the grip to the explosive end.”

Robert Dugoni New York Times Bestselling Author of The Tracy Crosswhite series

“Gripping from the first page. A thrill ride with all the right moves.”

Rick Mofina USA Today Bestselling Author

Book Details:

Genre: Adult Thriller
Published by: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 366
ISBN13: 9781509243853 (paperback)
ISBN10: 1509243852
ISBN: 9781509243860 (ebook)
ASIN: B0B6T12613 (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:   IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Ken MacQueen

Before turning to fiction, Ken MacQueen spent 15 years as Vancouver bureau chief for Maclean’s, Canada’s news magazine, winning multiple National Magazine Awards and nominations. He traveled the world writing features and breaking news for the magazine, and previously for two national news agencies. Naturally, he had to make Jake Ockham, his hero, a reporter, albeit a reluctant one. MacQueen also covered nine Olympic Games and drew Jake’s athletic prowess from tracking elite rowers in training and on podiums in Athens, Beijing, and London. He and his wife divide their time between Vancouver and British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

Catch Up With Ken MacQueen:
KenMacQueen.com
Goodreads
Instagram – @kmqyvr
Twitter – @kmqyvr
Facebook – @kmqyvr

Tour Participants:

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Guest Post: Shawn Wilson – DUPLICITY

Good day, book people. I am constantly amazed at what triggers the “what if” creative response from writers. One of my favorite authors read one line in a 19th-century newspaper about a woman walking in the desert with a cookstove on her head and crafted a story featuring that interesting tidbit. Another mentioned that she read an article about a regional murder in the early 20th century. She found the murder to be a fascinating story, but it was the mention of the deaf-mute teenage witness that she wound up using to craft her story. It is mind-boggling to me that these highly creative personalities can use almost anything and it leads to their crafting a story, sometimes immediately and other times years in the making. Today’s guest is Shawn Wilson, author of the recently released Duplicity, the second book in the Brick Kavanaugh series. Ms. Wilson will be discussing with us her road to becoming an author. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Ms. Wilson’s path to publication, follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and its author, and enter the tour-wide giveaway. Thank you, Ms. Wilson, for taking the time to stop by today and share with us. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

A POGO STICK . . . AND PUBLICATION
by Shawn Wilson

Could a pogo stick actually be the catalyst for fulfilling a long-time goal of becoming a published author? In my case, the answer is yes. But what did these two seemingly unrelated things have to do with each other?

It was the summer I would turn twelve. Elementary school was over and junior high would start after Labor Day. The hula hoop craze was history, and I was tired of roller skating. I needed a new activity to fill the lazy vacation days. It came in the form of a pogo stick. I don’t know why my father thought it was appropriate and I’m sure my mother thought it was dangerous. I saw it as a challenge.

To say I was not athletic was an understatement, but what I lacked in coordination I made up for in persistence. I was determined to conquer this odd spring-loaded pole with a handle at the top and a footrest near the bottom. After several falls and many failed attempts to jump more than once or twice, I found my balance. Soon I was able to travel the length of the sidewalk in front of our house and go up and down the porch steps. But there was a price to pay. Both my legs, from inner thighs to knees were covered in ugly bruises. While my mother was horrified and feared someone would think I was a victim of abuse, I felt victorious.

It wasn’t the only worry she had that summer. I was obsessed with a crime story reported in our local newspaper. At an upstate New York camp, a boy had been found dead. Foul play was suspected. It was, to my way of thinking, a far more interesting mystery than the Nancy Drew books I routinely checked out of the library.

Fast forward to 1969. While astronauts landed on the moon, I started working for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. One job led to another while I pursued a degree in Administration of Justice. Over the years, my resume included the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

My government service ended abruptly when my job was abolished. I saw early-out retirement as an opportunity to devote more time and energy to a goal/dream of writing crime fiction. I had completed two manuscripts and despite unsuccessfully finding an agent or publisher, I wrote another. More rejection followed but just as I didn’t give up on the pogo stick, I stuck with it. While attending Bouchercon 2018, the annual mystery conference named for former New York Times critic, Anthony Boucher, I attended a presentation by Oceanview Publishing. I introduced myself, briefly described my manuscript, and was invited to submit sample chapters. Weeks later, they requested the full manuscript. I tried to keep my expectations in check as I awaited a response. That changed when I received an email requesting a time to schedule a teleconference. I knew that publishers don’t call to tell you they’re not interested. A week later, I signed a contract. In December 2019, my debut crime novel, Relentless launched.

Looking back to the summer of the pogo stick, I realize how influential that time was. The bruises faded but the determination to reach a goal despite obstacles encountered along the way defined how I would respond in years to come. And apparently, my interest in a real-life crime story and a passion for mystery novels led to two careers. The second, being a published author is, by far, the best job I’ve ever had. ♦

Duplicity

by Shawn Wilson

October 31 – November 25, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Duplicity by Shawn Wilson

This was not the homecoming Brick envisioned.

After the trauma of his last case, and after three months spent recovering in Ireland, life is looking up for newly retired homicide detective Brian (Brick) Kavanagh. Back home in Washington, D.C., a new job shows promise when he’s asked to train criminology students in cold case techniques.

Then he’s off to a whirlwind weekend in Chicago with Nora, an Aer Lingus flight attendant he’d met in Ireland. There he receives shocking news that his former partner’s wife and twin infants have been kidnapped. Brick rushes to D.C. to support Ron, the man who’s always had his back—but as days pass, Brick questions how well he really knows this man.

Brick’s cold case—the unsolved hit-and-run death of a college student—is heating up. Brick finds gaping holes in the original investigation. Is it possible diplomatic immunity granted someone a “get-out-of-jail-free card”?

Meanwhile, Ron’s family tragedy unfolds in a most bizarre manner, and the escalating cold case points to D.C. corruption at the highest level. Things are getting complicated . . . very complicated . . . and dangerous.

Praise for Duplicity:

“…it’s a cracking good time. One doesn’t have to be a mystery fan to relish this.”

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

 

Duplicity is a compelling read with depth and a protagonist you’ll want to spend more time with. I’ll be first in line to see what’s next for Brick Kavanagh!”

David Putnam, bestselling author of the Bruno Johnson crime series

 

“…you’re in for an engrossing and entertaining read.”

Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author

 

Duplicity is a delightful, twisty thriller featuring a hero it’s impossible not to love… I raced through the pages ’til three a.m. rooting for him to succeed.”

Matt Witten, author of The Necklace

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 256
ISBN13: 9781608095100 (hardcover)
ISBN10: 160809510X
ISBN: 9781608095117 (eBook)
ASIN: ‎ B09XPHSF1L (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B0BGQJSQD1 (Audible Audiobook)
Series: The Brick Kavanagh Series, 2 | Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:   IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Shawn Wilson

Shawn Wilson is a produced playwright and author of Relentless, the first novel in the Brick Kavanagh mystery series. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Administration of Justice from American University in Washington, D.C., and spent over thirty years working for the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Having traveled on five continents, she is very happy to call Chicago home.

Catch Up With Shawn Wilson:
www.ShawnWilsonAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @shawn152
Facebook – @shawnwilsonauthor

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Guest Post: Dorothy St. James – A BOOK CLUB TO DIE FOR

A BOOK CLUB TO DIE FOR tour banner, featuring blue sofa and armchairs, purple pillows, small circular coffee table with a green serving tray with a pitcher of iced tea, two tumblers with ice tea, 1 spilled onto the carpet, and gray tabby cat looking at the spilled tea, small author photo (white female with light reddish-brown shoulder-length hair wearing a blue top) in the upper right corner.

Hello, book people. I’ve had a library card since I was five years old. The first thing I do when I move is to locate the closest library and get a library card. The main branch of my local library was closed for two years due to extensive renovations. Although I hadn’t gone into the physical building much, I missed using the drive-up window during the renovations (I read digitally, i.e., ebooks). Now that the library has re-opened, I go into the building at least once a month for one of my local book clubs. I’ve got to say that I’m loving all of the “new” areas available in the library even though I haven’t truly used much beyond the conference rooms, self-checkout areas (namely used with book club books), and the library cafe. (Again, I primarily check out ebooks for my personal use, but am looking forward to exploring more of my library’s new features.) Today’s guest is Dorothy St. James, author of the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series, including the latest addition, A Book Club to Die For. Ms. St. James will be discussing with us something that is near and dear to me, libraries. Grab a favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s hear what Ms. St. James has to say about this beloved institution. Thank you, Ms. St. James, for visiting with us today, the blog is now all yours.

For the Love of Libraries
by Dorothy St. James

I’d long thought about writing a book series set at a library as my thank you to libraries and what they’ve done for me and my life. Because I write cozy mysteries – which a friend has recently called murder, but with fun – my library series would of course have a few dead bodies peppered here and there.

The idea for writing the series remained just that, an idea until I read an article about a few library branches in the country that had decided to do away with the print book and move to all electronic. Wait. What? No! Are you serious?

That was my knee-jerk reaction the first time I read about what is being called bookless libraries. (The name is misleading. They’re not actually bookless. There are books available in the libraries, just not the print editions.) Will libraries one day become cyber cafés? Will the sweet scent of books be replaced with a metallic smell? No. I don’t like this. Yes, I do enjoy reading ebooks. But losing print books? No, this doesn’t make me happy.

But the truth is public libraries are being asked to do more with tighter budgets. Libraries are becoming community centers often providing a wide range of programs to its patrons. They also have ebooks, audiobooks, and music available for download, DVDs, audiobook CDs, and music CDs, as well as a large selection of books. This collection must continually be updated with new releases and purging older materials that are no longer being checked out. New materials can be costly, especially if they need to be purchased in multiple formats (hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.) New technology equipment must be purchased from time to time too. And librarians have to be trained to use the new systems. Many libraries don’t have the budgets to cover the cost of doing, well, everything. Hard decisions must be made.

When I read about this, my public administration brain lit up. This kernel of an idea along with my lifelong love of libraries is how the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series was born. I challenged myself to explore the tension that naturally occurs whenever new technology changes how things are done. Sort of like when scrolls were replaced by codexes, the precursors of printed books. I started to ask myself what would a librarian who has an emotional attachment to printed books might do if her library was converted to a bookless library. The answer was simple. She’d save the books!

My heroine, Trudell Becket is an assistant librarian in the small town of Cypress, South Carolina. The town leaders, hoping to attract high-tech jobs to their town, decide to convert the library into a high-tech bookless library. Trudell is horrified by the idea. The books on the shelves are her friends. She sneaks into the library one night and takes many of the books that are boxed up to be removed from the library. She then opens a secret bookroom in the library’s basement. While she’s working in the basement library, someone kills the town manager, who is the driving force behind the library’s modernization. Tru cannot tell the police her whereabouts at the time of his death because she doesn’t want to reveal the work she’s been doing in the basement. At the same time, she feels compelled to help the police and make sure her library stays a safe space for everyone. That is why she and her friends decide to investigate on their own. That’s the start of the series and the opening of The Broken Spine, the first book in the mystery series.

Tru is like all book lovers. She is a book warrior. She’s determined to protect the books she loves. Luckily, we’re not called to do the same. For now, most libraries will remain filled with print editions of books. Thank goodness! But one day those books might become as obsolete as the ancient scroll.

So, let’s cherish the printed books at the libraries for as long as we can. While at the same time, we can celebrate that there are also ebooks, audiobooks, and graphic novels for readers who love those too. Let’s love them all.

As TS Elliot once wrote, “The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.” My wish is that you feel that hope in every book I write in the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series.

I hope you’ll join me in the pages of Tru’s latest adventure in A Book Club To Die For. It might be her most challenging one yet. What looks like an open and shut case to the police will put her boyfriend’s mother in jail for murder. Tru has promised to try and find another answer. The more she looks into the murder of the president of the local book club, the more she worries that she won’t like the answer she’s going to find. ♦

A Book Club to Die For (A Beloved Bookroom)
by Dorothy St. James

About A Book Club to Die For


A Book Club to Die For (A Beloved Bookroom)

When a member of an exclusive book club is checked out, spunky librarian Trudell Becket must sort fact from fiction to solve the murder.

The Cypress Arete Society is one of the town’s oldest and most exclusive clubs. When assistant librarian Trudell Becket is invited to speak to the group about the library, its modernization, and her efforts to bring printed books to the reading public, her friend Flossie invites herself along. Flossie has been on the book club’s waiting list for five years, and she’s determined to find out why she’s never received an invitation to join.

But not long after Tru and Flossie arrive for the meeting, they’re shocked to find the club’s president, Rebecca White, dead in the kitchen. Rebecca was a former TV actress and local celebrity, but was not known for being patient or pleasant. She’d been particularly unkind to the book club’s host for the evening, who also happens to be the mother of Detective Jace Bailey, Tru’s boyfriend. And Rebecca had made it clear that she didn’t think Flossie was book club material.

With her boyfriend and one of her best friends wrapped up in a murder, Tru has to work fast to figure out who cut Rebecca’s story short before the killer takes another victim out of circulation…

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Cypress, South Carolina
‎Berkley (November 1, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN10 ‏ : ‎ 0593098633
ISBN13 ‏ : ‎ 9780593098639
ISBN : 9780593098653 (eBook)
ISBN : 9781666111668 (Audiobook)
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09PZSBCVW (Kindle edition)
ASIN  : B0BKP6YWFL (Audible Audiobook)

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Kindle edition | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Penguin Random House | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook

About Dorothy St. James

Dorothy St. James is a former Folly Beach beach bum. She now lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, with her family, slightly (OK, terribly) needy dogs, and the friendliest cat you’ll ever meet. Author of a dozen novels, Dorothy enjoys writing both cozy mysteries and romance.

Follow Dorothy Online:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothy.stjames
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothywrites
Instagram: www.instagram.com/dorothymcfalls
Website: www.dorothystjames.com

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 1 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 1 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
November 1 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
November 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
November 2 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
November 3 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
November 3 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
November 4 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
November 5 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 5 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 5 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
November 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
November 7 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 7 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 8 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT
November 8 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
November 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
November 9 – Nadaness In Motion – SPOTLIGHT
November 10 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 10 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

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Guest Post: DiAnn Mills – CONCRETE EVIDENCE

Good day, book people and welcome to November! It’s been a gorgeous Fall, albeit a short one here in West Virginia. I’m ready for slightly cooler weather just so I can curl up in my reading chair with a blanket, cup of tea, and a few good reads. The past few weeks my reading has primarily been in the romance genre, namely historical romance or romantic suspense. Romance has become one of my go-to genres, especially when I hit a reading block. Yes, I know, I have several go-to genres, but romance is the main one for me right now. I’m pleased to have the following author return to the blog today. Please help me welcome back DiAnn Mills, the romantic suspense author of the recently released Concrete Evidence. Ms. Mills will be sharing her thoughts on why romantic suspense. Thank you, Ms. Mills, for your return visit, it’s always a pleasure having you on the blog. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Seven Reasons I Write Romantic Suspense
by DiAnn Mills

A writer should have the same passion for the genre they write as the genre they read. That’s how it should be. But if I’m not as excited about the story I’m writing as the one I’m reading, then quality suffers.

This applies to all genres, and not just my chosen preference for romantic suspense.

Here are the seven reasons why I write romantic suspense.

1. I treasure an adventure, not just any adventure but one filled with stress, tension, conflict, and lots of thrills.
2. My favorite reading or viewing is romantic suspense. I crave the action with a thread of romance. I also have a passion for the story that reaches into the hearts of a hero and heroine who find a lasting love while the two risk their lives to stop or prevent a crime.
3. Characterization is a crucial part of my writing, the hows and whys of a character’s behavior thrill me. In romantic suspense, I can fashion complex characters, protagonists and antagonists, who amaze and thrill the reader. I’m NOT an outliner. The character drives the story.
4. We live in a dangerous and sometimes fearful world. I want to create a realistic story that offers hope to readers who fear the unknown. Through characters who are trained to battle crime, I can depict real people in real crises situations.
5. My faith leads me to write stories that show good always overcomes evil. My goal is to have at least one character who approaches life and solves problems according to a Christian worldview. This focus eliminates preaching while the reader observes and experiences the character’s behavior.
6. I enjoy developing the twists and turns of the plot that (hopefully) are unpredictable yet entirely credible to the character’s personality.
7. Suspense is everywhere and an essential part of every genre, but romantic suspense is the most thrilling for me.

We all have genre preferences. What is your favorite and why?

Concrete Evidence

by DiAnn Mills

October 31 – November 25, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills

On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be . . . until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Praise for Concrete Evidence:

“VERDICT Mills … delivers another action-packed novel that offers intrigue and an adventurous ride. Recommend to fans of Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, and Carrie Stuart Parks.”

Shondra Brown for Library Journal

 

“The confident plotting keeps the mysteries coming, and red herrings will have readers guessing the culprit through to the satisfying conclusion. Fans of Colleen Coble and Susan Sleeman will savor this thrilling standalone.”

Concrete Evidence Trailer:

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 416
ISBN13: 9781496451903 (paperback)
ISBN10: 1496451902
ISBN13: 9781496451897 (hardcover)
ASIN: B09TQ3TN6K (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B0B75PD8X2 (Audible audiobook)
Book Links: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Tyndale

Author Bio:

DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, an active member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on:
diannmills.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @DiAnnMills
Instagram – @diannmillsauthor
Twitter – @DiAnnMills
Facebook – @DiAnnMills
YouTube – @DiAnnMills

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Guest Post: R.G. Belsky – IT’S NEWS TO ME

Good day, book people. I kind of miss the longer days of Summer (don’t miss the heat for a variety of reasons), but I’m enjoying the spectacular fall foliage here in the hills and mountains of West Virginia as well as the cooler weather. (There’s something special about curling up in my reading chair with a good book, a blanket, and a nice hot cup of tea.) As most of you may know, I’m somewhat of a fanatical reader, reading and re-reading my favorite books and series. Why you might ask, do I reread and re-reread these books? Well, the stories are usually gripping and well-written, but I also feel a vested interest in the characters. I need to know what they’re going to do next and/or revisit what they’ve done in the past. For this reader, it truly is all about the character (and the writing). Thankfully, there are plenty of authors that understand this devotion and provide us with hours of reading pleasure by crafting new stories featuring these beloved characters. I’m pleased to welcome back, R.G. Belsky, author of the Clare Carlson series, including the latest release, It’s News to Me. Mr. Belsky will be discussing with us the importance of the character in character-driven stories. I hope you’ll find what he has to share enlightening. Thank you, Mr. Belsky, for coming back for a visit. I’m looking forward to learning more about your thoughts on characters. Without further adieu, I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

IT’S REALLY ABOUT THE CHARACTER, NOT THE STORY
By R.G. Belsky

Philip Marlowe. Kinsey Millhone. Harry Bosch. Spenser. Stephanie Plum. Matt Scudder. Alex Delaware. Rizzoli and Isles.

If you’re a mystery fan, you know all of these characters. You buy their books. You read them. You love them.

I’ve been asked many times at mystery conferences and book signings and by readers what I think is more important in a mystery: the character or the mystery story itself.

That’s an easy one for me to answer.

The three most important things in any mystery novel — to paraphrase another well-known expression — is character, character, and character!

I mean if I’m reading a book that has an interesting story, but a boring character that I can’t relate to — well, I’ve never finished reading a book like that. On the other hand, if the story is weak but I like reading about the character…hey, I’m in! And that actually happens to me a lot of times.

The hard truth is that many successful mysteries — even by the great authors — don’t tell a particularly strong story.

Even the legendary Raymond Chandler (dare I say it!) is guilty of this. He is without question in my mind the greatest mystery author ever. And yet the stories are hard to follow, muddled at times, and usually don’t follow any kind of logical sequence of events. Doesn’t matter. Because of Philip Marlowe. Marlowe is the ultimate detective, the ultimate PI. Chandler does such a brilliant, incomparable job of writing about him and the LA scene from the ’40s and ’50s that we don’t care about the inconsistencies or holes in the story.

Robert B. Parker’s Spenser books are the same way. Love the character. Sets the bar for the wisecracking, cool private investigator of more recent times. A kind of a modern-day Marlowe. But there are very few surprises in the storylines of the Spenser books. Bad guys try to take him, he takes care of the bad guys — and makes sure justice is done. In between romancing his longtime girlfriend Susan Silverman. It’s a perfect formula that has little to do with the mystery itself in most of his books.

I’ve read pretty much all of the Sue Grafton “alphabet” books over the years. If you ask me to tell you one of the stories Kinsey Millhone was involved in, I’d have a hard time doing that. But I could tell you a lot about Kinsey herself — her background, her romances, what she likes to eat, etc.

Some prominent authors — like Michael Connelly, for example, do a better job of combing a more complex, twisty story with their character. But still, the reason I read the Harry Bosch books (and watch the TV series now) is for Harry Bosch — the wonderful character Connelly has been writing about now since the early 90s. Even better, we’ve gotten to see Bosch age over the years, which is an added nice touch for making the character seem real and relatable to the reader.

All of this is why I spent so much time and thought and effort in creating my own character of Clare Carlson.

This is my fifth mystery feature Clare Carlson — a TV journalist in New York City who breaks big crime stories and deals with a messy personal life — in It’s News to Me (Oceanview – Oct4).

But Clare didn’t just emerge out of nowhere.

In fact, she’s had three different names. She started out when I was writing the first book in the series as Jenny McKay because I’d written a series using that character as a TV reporter back in the early 90s. I thought at first I’d make her an older Jenny, but the timing of having her age at the right speed got too complicated. She then became Molly McQuillan, who worked for a sensational tabloid like the Enquirer or Star mag (where I once worked). I wasn’t entirely happy with Molly McQuillan either. And so I started writing that first book all over again with Clare Carlson as a talented but troubled ex-newspaper reporter who now worked for a TV news station. And that became an award-winning mystery called Yesterday’s News — which has now led to four more Clare Carlson books.

One of the most difficult parts of creating a compelling character is not just writing the positive stuff, it’s the negative too.

A good character has to be flawed, not perfect.

The flaws are crucial.

Reed Farrel Coleman, who wrote a number of the Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone books after Parker’s death, said once that the Jesse Stone character was very difficult in some ways to write.

Why? Because he did seem perfect, at least at first glance. Good looking, tough, honest, and, of course, you thought about Tom Selleck playing him in the TV movies when you read the books. No one likes a perfect person. So Jesse had to have some flaws to make him interesting. A drinking problem. A failed marriage. A promising baseball career that was tragically cut short by an injury. Yes, he’s still very likable — but he’s flawed too. And that makes him so much more interesting.

So that’s what I’ve tried to do with my own character of Clare Carlson too.

I like the story I tell in It’s News to Me.

But I like Clare Carlson even better.

Hopefully, you will too. ♦

It’s News to Me

by R.G. Belsky

October 3-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

It's News to Me by RG Belsky

Dashed dreams: she wanted to run for president one day, now she’s dead at 20

When Riley Hunt—a beautiful, smart, popular student at Easton College in Manhattan—is brutally murdered, it becomes a big story for TV newswoman Clare Carlson.

After days of intense media coverage, a suspect is caught: a troubled Afghanistan war veteran with a history of violent and unstable behavior. The suspect’s mother, however, comes to Clare with new evidence that might prove her son’s innocence.

As Clare digs deeper into the puzzling case, she learns new information: Riley had complained about being stalked in the days before her murder, she was romantically involved with two different men—the son of a top police official and the son of a prominent underworld boss—and she had posted her picture on an escort service’s website offering paid dates with wealthy men.

Soon, Clare becomes convinced that Riley Hunt’s death is more than just a simple murder case—and that more lives, including her own, are now in danger until she uncovers the true story.

Praise for It’s News to Me:

“[It’s News to Me is] witty, clever and engaging. Clare Carlson’s irreverent comments and dogged reporter’s instincts make for a propulsive ride as she races from the chaos of a newsroom’s inner sanctum to the dangers of a murder victim’s deepest secrets. Once you start, you won’t put it down.”

Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times best-selling author

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: October 4th, 2022
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN10: 1608094561 (hardcover)
ISBN13: 9781608094561 (hardcover)
ASIN: B0B1VPDNTL (Kindle edition)
ASIN B0BGQHZQV2 (Audible audiobook)
Series: Clare Carlson #5 (each is a stand-alone work)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Author Bio:

R.G. Belsky

R.G. Belsky is an award-winning author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His new mystery, It’s News to Me, was published on October 4 by Oceanview. It is the fifth in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station. Belsky has published 19 novels—all set in the New York City media world where he has had a long career as a top editor at the New York Post, New York Daily News, Star magazine, and NBC News. He also writes thrillers under the name Dana Perry. He lives in New York City and is a contributing writer to The Big Thrill magazine.

Catch Up With R.G. Belsky:
www.RGBelsky.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @dickb79983
Instagram – @dickbelsky
Twitter – @DickBel
Facebook – @RGBelsky

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Guest Post: Jodé Millman – THE MIDNIGHT CALL

Happy Tuesday, my bookish peeps, and welcome to October. Do you audio (listen to audiobooks, that is)? I recently developed the habit of listening to audiobooks, especially during road trips. As an audiobook listener, I haven’t given much attention to things such as whether or not the author has the rights to the audiobook or not. However, publishing and rights can be very convoluted so it is definitely a good idea to know what you as an author own and don’t own for your writings. As a reader, I definitely want authors to receive their fair share for their hard work. I’m honored to welcome back, Jodé Millman, author of The Midnight Call to the blog today. Ms. Millman will be discussing audiobooks with us, especially from the perspective of the author. I’m sure this information will be helpful for all of you authors and aspiring authors out there. Thank you, Ms. Millman, for taking the time to join us today. I look forward to learning your thoughts on audiobooks. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Listen Up: Do you own the rights to your Audiobook?
by Jodé Millman

As writers, we can’t help being excited about hearing our characters’ voices come alive on digital audiobooks. And audiobooks are enjoying a wave of popularity, which has only surged since the pandemic. According to the Audio Publishers Association, in 2021 the market grew by 25% to a $1.6B industry, following a trend of double-digit growth during the last ten years.

In 2021, nearly 74,000 audiobooks were published, representing a 6% growth over 2020, and now audiobook sales represent 9% of the total U.S. book sales. Of course, the 2022/23 picture will be different, given readers continued thirst for audio entertainment. And just so you know who’s listening, 54% of frequent listeners are under the age of 45, and new listenership and audiobook memberships have increased four-fold.

This good news means that digital audiobooks are creating a new revenue stream for writers. The great news is that the second-most popular genre is Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, after Sci-Fi/Fantasy, with Romance and Fiction taking a close third place.

Now that the optimistic industry trends have been covered, this article will examine whether authors own the rights to their audiobooks. The answer may surprise you.

Published Book versus Audiobook

First, let’s examine the difference between a “published book” and an “audiobook” which extends beyond their respective mediums – print versus digital recording. Be forewarned that understanding the concepts of “published books” and “audiobooks” is a bit like trying to get a handle on The Cat in the Hat‘s Thing One and Thing Two. The main premise is that “published books” and “audiobooks” are two separate legal and creative entities. Thing One (Published Books) is the original, underlying manuscript, which is owned by the author of the work and is protected under the Copyright Law. Thing Two (Audiobook) is considered a “derivative work” because it is a sound recording based upon a preexisting work – the manuscript. To create a sound recording, the publisher must first obtain the right to use the “published book” from the author, which will be covered later in the article.

Under the Copyright Law, a sound recording of the book must be captured in a medium from which it can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated to others such as a digital track, disk, tape or other format. To clarify, a sound recording is a “fixed” recorded performance of a preexisting work, such as the Hamilton soundtrack derived from the Broadway production/book of Hamilton or the performance of Davinia Porter reading Diana Gabaldon’s Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone.

Performance + Production = Audiobook

Typically, the sound recording of composed of two parts – the performance captured in the recording and the parties who captured and processed those sounds to create the final performance. Under the Copyright statute, an author owns the underlying material, however, the publisher who produces the audiobook owns the sound recording, which includes both the performance (voice recording) and the production (capturing and engineering the sound), which also carry separate copyrights. Other than the right to royalties negotiated for the use of the novel, the author generally has no legal entitlement to the audiobook.

Similarly, the voice-over artist may claim copyright ownership of their performance on the recording, unless they were employed by the publisher to narrate the audiobook. When someone is a “work for hire,” they possess no independent claim to the audiobook simply because they performed the narration. Think of the voiceover artist as being a backup singer for the Rolling Stones. Merry Clayton is best known as Mick Jagger’s amazing duet partner on “Gimme Shelter.” She was compensated for singing during the recording session but receives no subsequent royalties whenever the song is played or the record is sold. She was merely an “artist for hire.”

License to Thrill

As mentioned above, in order for a publisher or audiobook producer to produce an audiobook, they must first obtain permission from the book’s author, the original copyright holder, to use or record the book. This grant of permission is included in a publishing agreement as known as a “subsidiary right.” The Author’s Guild Model Contract suggests that the audiobook royalties be equally shared between the publisher and author – 50/50. However, publishers argue that they bear the cost of producing, marketing and distributing the audiobook, which could be substantial. When negotiating your publishing deal, be aware of this valuable subsidiary right as it may mean substantial revenue in this rapidly changing digital environment.

Under the Copyright Law, an author’s entitlement to assign or license a book for use by another party is among the many rights protected under the law. Briefly, “assigning” the rights to the book means that an author is transferring or divesting all of the rights to the work. A great analogy is selling a car; the car is something that will never be returned. In contrast, “licensing” the book means that an author is allowing the use of their manuscript under limited circumstances. It’s like leasing the car–it will be returned at the end of the term. Licenses can be exclusive (one producer) or non-exclusive (multiple producers), but generally, licenses are exclusive.

As in my situation, my original publisher included the right to produce an audiobook of my debut novel, The Midnight Call, in my publishing agreement. They were entitled to the exclusive license to produce the audiobook for a period of two years after the publication of the book. If they failed to produce the audiobook within that time, the rights reverted to me, and I was free to either produce the book myself or license/assign it to another party. The audiobook was released in May 2020, which was nine months after the publication date of the trade paperback, and my publisher and I shared the royalties from the project. When my contract with them ended, I received my audiobook rights from them, and now I am the audiobook publisher with my own account on ACX and I receive all of the royalties from the copies sold.

It is also the responsibility of the producer to create an end product, which meets the quality standards acceptable to Audible, iTunes, or any other distributor. Audible.com’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) will not release any audiobooks that fail to meet those standards, and during the pandemic, the review time expanded from ten to more than thirty business days after submission for review.

In June 2022, Spotify acquired Findaway, an audiobook publishing and distribution platform, as part of the streaming app’s plans to expand into audiobooks. This offers independent authors and small presses another resource for entering the digital audio sphere and reaching Spotify’s 162 million monthly listeners using an à la carte approach, rather than a subscription model.

Producing your own Audiobook

If an author has retained the right to produce the audiobook or is self-published, then the landscape is quite different. The author producing their own audiobook would be responsible for: bearing the cost of engineering, finding the talent, drafting and executing a talent “work for hire” agreement, and bearing the costs of the talent, marketing and distributing the product. It is akin to self-publishing in the audio realm. Audiofile.com is a great industry resource and maintains a directory of audiobook talent and publishers. Additional resources to assist the creation of an audiobook can also be found through the Audio Publishers Association at Audiopub.org, Authorsguild.org, Copyright.gov, and ACX.com.

Conclusion

The downloadable audiobook market is booming, creating new revenue streams and challenges for authors. When negotiating a publishing contract, don’t undervalue the potential of the subsidiary right of audiobooks. Be sure to negotiate your fair share of royalties in this category as well as all other technological methods for the delivery of your manuscript to readers. And if you elect to enter the Wild West of audiobook production, there’s plenty of sound advice available. ♦

The Midnight Call

by Jodé Millman

October 3 – November 18th, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Midnight Call by Jodé Millman

Who would ever suspect that their mentor, teacher, and friend was a cold-blooded killer? Jessie Martin didn’t—at least not until she answers the midnight call.

Late one August night, Jessie’s lifelong mentor and friend–and presently a popular, charismatic, and handsome high school teacher–Terrence Butterfield calls. He utters a startling admission: he’s killed someone. He pleads for Jessie’s help, so out of loyalty she rushes to his aid completely unaware that she’s risking her relationship, her career, and her life–and that of her unborn child–to help Terrence.

Does Jessie’s presence at Terrence’s home implicate her in the gruesome murder of the teenage boy found in the basement? Why does Terrence betray Jessie when he has a chance to exonerate her of all charges? Has he been a monster in disguise for all these years?

To reclaim her life and prove her innocence, Jessie must untangle the web of lies and reveal the shocking truths behind the homicide. The quest turns out to be the fight of her life: to preserve everything and everyone she holds dear.

Praise for The Midnight Call:

WINNER OF THE 2020 BRONZE IPPY AWARD, 2020 INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER BOOK AWARD FOR SUSPENSE/THRILLER AND THE 2020 AMERICAN FICTION AWARD FOR LEGAL THRILLER.

“A Must-Read”

USA Today Network

“The tricky legal maneuvering intrigues…Millman writes with verve.”

Publishers Weekly

“If you like courtroom battles, this legal thriller fits the bill!”

Chanticleer Reviews, Four Star Review. The Midnight Call won First Place in the 2014 CIBAs in the CLUE Awards

“An intriguing courtroom thriller.”

Top Shelf Magazine

“Friendship, insanity, the drama of a courtroom, with a touch of romance rounding out the narrative, will have readers struggling to answer the question: What happens after you answer that terrifying midnight call?”

Booktrib.com

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: September 2022
Number of Pages: 400
Series: Queen City Crimes, Book 1
ASIN: B0BGQK7DY2 (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B088YJ7X43 (Audible audiobook)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook

Author Bio:

Jodé Millman

Jodé Millman is the acclaimed author of Hooker Avenue and The Midnight Call, which won the Independent Press, American Fiction, and Independent Publisher Bronze IPPY Awards for Legal Thriller. She’s an attorney, a reviewer for Booktrib.com, the host/producer of The Backstage with the Bardavon podcast, and creator of The Writer’s Law. Jodé lives with her family in the Hudson Valley, where she is at work on the next installment of her “Queen City Crimes” series —novels inspired by true crimes in the region she calls home.

Discover more about Jodé, her work, and sign up for her newsletter at:
www.JodeMillman.com
Goodreads
LinkedIn
BookBub – @JodeMillmanAuthor
Instagram – @jodewrites
Twitter – @worldseats
Facebook – @JodeSusanMillmanAuthor

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Guest Post: Mally Becker – THE COUNTERFEIT WIFE

Hello, my fellow book lovers. I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the cooler weather. I enjoy curling up on my favorite reading chair with a blanket, a cup of tea, and a good book (or two). Of course, I curl up on my favorite reading chair every season, but Fall and Winter just seem different. My reading tastes also seem to change with the weather, as I gravitate more towards historical fiction at this time of the year. If you’re always on the lookout for something new in the historical fiction arena, then you’re going to love today’s guest author visit. Please help me welcome back Mally Becker, author of The Counterfeit Wife. Ms. Becker will be providing us with an introduction to her latest book. Thank you, Ms. Becker, for coming back to visit, I’m eager to learn more about your latest book. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Guest Post graphic featuring a stack of books above the words GUEST POST in a scripted font

I’m excited and honored to be featured here today!

My name is Mally Becker, and I’m the Agatha Award-nominated author of The Turncoat’s Widow and The Counterfeit Wife, which is out now wherever books are sold.

The Turncoat’s Widow introduces General Washington’s two most reluctant spies, young widow Becca Parcell and former British POW Daniel Alloway. Pressed into Washington’s service, this unlikely duo uncover a plot that threatens the new nation.

Combining mystery, a touch of romance, and history, The Counterfeit Wife opens months later as Becca and Daniel accept a new assignment from George Washington. Masquerading as newlyweds, they head to Philadelphia to uncover a ring of counterfeiters who are upending the wartime economy.

There, Becca comes face-to-face with a half-remembered woman from her childhood, which forces her to question everything she thought she knew about her past. When that woman becomes a suspect in the murder of one of the counterfeiting suspects, Becca and Daniel find themselves speeding to discover the real villain before he can kill again.

I can hear you asking why on earth Becca and Daniel needed to masquerade as a married couple.

It would have been quite a challenge for an unmarried couple to find “alone time” in the 18th century, a historian assured me. Society banned meetings between unmarried men and women without a chaperone.

Yet Becca and Daniel are amateur sleuths, in their 18th-century way. Without an ability to speak in private, how could they share their impression of suspects or evaluate the information one or the other uncovers?

A fake marriage seemed to me to be their only option. Martha Washington thinks it might work so long as they maintain all the proprieties, as she puts it in my story. General Washington is not as certain but approves the ruse, nonetheless.

When you read my books, The Counterfeit Wife or The Turncoat’s Widow, I hope that they entertain you. But I also hope that you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, attending a society party at City Tavern, breaking into an 18th-century printer’s shop, or chatting with the wealthiest women in Philadelphia.

And I hope above all else that you feel a connection to my female characters especially. Customs may change; clothing certainly does. But I think the things that make us human and our emotions are a constant throughout time.

I especially strove to bring to life women like Becca who chart their own course. Because there have always been women who cheerfully ignore society’s restrictions: women spies; women business owners; female poets; even women who led 18th-century riots.

I included a few of those historical women in The Counterfeit Wife, including Benjamin Franklin’s adult daughter, Sally, and the wife of Pennsylvania’s governor, Esther Reed. She wrote that American women were “born for liberty” and led a group of women who knocked on every door in the city to raise money for the all-but-broke Continental Army.

As a friend of the Washingtons, Becca is invited to tag along on one of the group’s fundraising trips with Sally Franklin Bache, Benjamin Franklin’s adult daughter who was, in fact, an important member of the Ladies Association. The dramatic meeting between Becca and a woman who lives there sets in motion an important part of my book’s plot.

You can learn more about me and my books at www.mallybecker.com. I hope to see you there! ♦

The Counterfeit Wife

by Mally Becker

September 19 – October 14, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

THE COUNTERFEIT WIFE by Mally Becker book cover, yellow background with photo of the back of a white female, wearing a burgundy long-sleeve 17th century gown

Philadelphia, June 1780. George Washington’s two least likely spies return, masquerading as husband and wife as they search for traitors in Philadelphia.

Months have passed since young widow Becca Parcell and former printer Daniel Alloway foiled a plot that threatened the new nation. But independence is still a distant dream, and General Washington can’t afford more unrest, not with food prices rising daily and the value of money falling just as fast.

At the General’s request, Becca and Daniel travel to Philadelphia to track down traitors who are flooding the city with counterfeit money. Searching for clues, Becca befriends the wealthiest women in town, the members of the Ladies Association of Philadelphia, while Daniel seeks information from the city’s printers.

But their straightforward mission quickly grows personal and deadly as a half-remembered woman from Becca’s childhood is arrested for murdering one of the suspected counterfeiters.

With time running out – and their faux marriage breaking apart – Becca and Daniel find themselves searching for a hate-driven villain who’s ready to kill again.

Praise for The Counterfeit Wife:

The Counterfeit Wife by Mally Becker has it all — adventure, romance and deceit … [w]ith smooth-as-ice prose and pitch-perfect dialogue.”

Tina deBellegarde, Agatha- and Derringer-nominated author of the Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery Series

The Counterfeit Wife is a not-to-be-missed adventure that gives new meaning to rebel and loyalist, spy and spouse.”

Lori Robbins, award-winning author of the On Pointe and Masterclass Mystery series

“As the young country struggles for independence, so does Becca, and she will have you turning pages well into the night … I highly recommended The Counterfeit Wife and I’m already anxious for the third of the series.”

Eileen Harrison Sanchez, award-winning author of Freedom Lessons—A Novel

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: September 2022
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 9781685121587
Series: A Revolutionary War Mystery
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

 

Mally Becker author photo, headshot of white female with short, brown curly hair, and tortoise shell eyeglassesMally Becker combines her love of history and crime fiction in mysteries that feature strong, independent heroines. She is the Agatha Award-nominated author of The Turncoat’s Widow, which Kirkus Reviews called, “A compelling tale… with charming main characters.” Her first novel was also named a Silver Falchion finalist and a CIBA “Mystery & Mayhem” finalist.

A member of the board of MWA-NY, Mally was an attorney until becoming a full-time writer and an instructor at The Writers Circle Workshops. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society. Mally and her husband live in New Jersey, where they raised their wonderful son and spend as much time as they can hiking and kayaking.

Catch Up With Mally Becker:
www.MallyBecker.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @mallybecker
Instagram – @mallybeckerwrites
Twitter – @mally_becker
Facebook – @mallybeckerauthor

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https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=308057

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