Guest Post: Kelly Irvin – HER EVERY MOVE

Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope that you all got some reading in over the weekend. For those of you in the path of those dreaded winter storms, I hope you’re staying safe, warm, and have tons of reading material to keep you occupied. Over the years, one of the many popular questions for authors, I’ve learned, is “where do you get your ideas from?” and I’m sure most authors are used to hearing this question and have a ready answer available. Today’s guest, Kelly Irvin, a prolific and award-winning author including the soon-to-be released Her Every Move has a unique answer for us. I hope you’ll stay awhile and learn what she has to say, perhaps add Her Every Move to your TBR list, and follow the blog tour to read some reviews and learn more about this book and author. Thank you, Ms. Irvin for joining us today.

 

Libraries aren’t what they used to be—shattering stereotypes

By Kelly Irvin

The question most often asked of writers—at least of me—is where do my story ideas come from. I don’t have an easy answer for that. Newspaper articles, sometimes. Mostly they’re kernels plucked from the corners of my crowded, cluttered, dusty brain. In the case of Her Every Move, however, the idea sprang from my love of libraries and librarians. Now some of you may ask how does attempting to blow up a library with the librarian in it honor libraries? Good question.

Her Every Move isn’t just about a serial bomber. It’s about a librarian who’s smart, athletic, good-looking, independent, tech-savvy, and fun. Jackie Santoro breaks all the old stereotypes of librarians. And the San Antonio Central Library is not your dusty, fuddy-duddy old library. It’s a beautiful building painted a deep rich “enchilada” red and designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. Readers can access information in every format or media in this gorgeous building. At the same time they can browse fabulous artwork such as Dale Chihuly’s glass sculpture “Fiesta Tower.” Libraries are more relevant than ever. They are community centers where people come to access the internet to search for jobs. They find information on social services. Librarians are called to educate the public about the opioid crisis, homelessness, domestic violence, and other societal issues.

Libraries are cool.

Then there’s Detective Avery Wick, my hero. He’s not the usual tall, dark, and handsome knight in shining armor either. He’s worn around the edges. Divorced (but friends with his smart, lawyer ex-wife), a slob, a smoker, a junk food eater who cusses. To add insult to this picture, he doesn’t like to read. But Avery is a loyal, honest, hardworking man. He goes all out for his best friend. He adopts rescue dogs. He cares about his job. He plays basketball (so does Jackie). He’s a flawed man, but he’s good-hearted. I fell in love with him from the moment he walked into a scene with Jackie.

Her Every Move was designed to break molds and shatter stereotypes while offering a suspenseful, neck-breaking ride to find the bomber before he kills everyone Jackie loves—and then her.

The book also gave me a chance to explore profiling based on ethnic and religious backgrounds. The story examines contentious issues in today’s society such as climate change, gangs, and community policing. Ultimately, though, it’s about dysfunctional families and the price we pay when we’re not honest with each other about our feelings.

I don’t know where stories ideas come from, but I’m always thrilled when they show up. I hope my readers are too!

 

Her Every Move

by Kelly Irvin

February 8 – March 5, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

 

HER EVERY MOVE -KIrvinHe’s a cop trying to stop a serial bomber. And she’ll stop at nothing to clear her own name.

When a deadly bomb goes off during a climate change debate, librarian and event coordinator Jackie Santoro becomes the prime suspect. Her motive, according to Detective Avery Wick: to avenge the suicide of her prominent father, who was accused of crimes by a city councilman attending the event.


Though Avery has doubts about Jackie’s guilt, he can’t exonerate her even after an extremist group takes responsibility for the bombing and continues to attack San Antonio’s treasured public spaces.


As Jackie tries to hold her shattered family together, she has no choice but to proceed with plans for the Caterina Ball, the library system’s biggest annual fundraiser. But she also fears the event provides the perfect opportunity for the bomber to strike again.


Despite their mistrust, Jackie and Avery join forces to unmask the truth—before the death toll mounts even higher.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785231900 (ISBN13: 9780785231905)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | Goodreads

 

 

Author Bio:

Author - Kelly Irvin

Bestseller Kelly Irvin is the author of 19 books, including romantic suspense and Amish romance. Publishers Weekly called Closer Than She Knows “a briskly written thriller.” The Library Journal said of her novel Tell Her No Lies, “a complex web with enough twists and turns to keep even the most savvy romantic suspense readers guessing until the end.” The two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist worked as a newspaper reporter for six years on the Texas-Mexico border. Those experiences fuel her romantic suspense novels set in Texas. A retired public relations professional, Kelly now writes fiction full-time. She lives with her husband professional photographer Tim Irvin in San Antonio. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two ornery cats.

Visit Kelly Irvin Online:
www.KellyIrvin.com
Goodreads – kellyirvin
BookBub – @KellyIrvin
Instagram – kelly_irvin
Twitter – @Kelly_S_Irvin
Facebook – Kelly.Irvin.Author

 

Tour Participants:

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Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kelly Irvin. There will be 3 winners. Each winner will receive (1) physical copy of Her Every Move by Kelly Irwin (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on February 8, 2021 and runs through March 7, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: Jonette Blake – THE WIDOW CATCHER

THE WIDOW CATCHER Banner

 

Greetings, book people. I was thinking the other day that it is truly amazing that we readers have so many books to choose from with new books added daily. Someone has to think up the main plot, create the characters, decide on the locations, create the dialogue, etc. The fact that some authors do this year after year and book after book is beyond amazing to me. This reader is incredibly grateful to authors for taking the time to create these wonderful characters and scenes that keep me enthralled and turning the page to read more. Today I’m pleased to welcome Jonette Blake, author of The Widow Catcher. Ms. Blake is a gifted and prolific writer, and she’ll be sharing with us how she came up with the idea for crafting The Widow Catcher. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say and you’ll add The Widow Catcher to your TBR list. Thank you, Ms. Blake for joining us. The blog is now yours.

Author’s Choice

The year I worked in a bank.

When the time came for me and my husband to make the sea change from the city, we selected Batemans Bay because we’d holidayed there and loved the place. It sat right between mountains to the west and coastline to the east. We’d travelled down one weekend to look at houses and bought one that weekend, meanwhile I stayed working in my job in the city with a financial regulator, applying for jobs in my new home town, as well as sending out lots of query letters to every business. I ended up getting a job in a small bank.

I’m always up for new skills to learn, and this new job utilized my financial experience plus previous customer service experience. However, I’d come from a job in an office and I’d wanted a job in an office, not a job as a frontline worker wearing a uniform, going to lunch on a roster, and having to hold on going to the toilet until the customers left or there was someone to provide cover on the teller section. It wasn’t my favorite job in the world. But I was moving to a new town and this job allowed me to meet a lot of the local people. Never had I thought it would provide inspiration and a backdrop to my murder mystery novel.

I would like to say that exciting things happened in the bank, but that wouldn’t be true. The most exciting thing was when the little old ladies came in each week to bring us baked goods. It was boring. There were long periods of nothing to do followed by a rush of customers, many of them looking for change from the ATM that only handed out 50 dollar notes.

I learned that seventy per cent of the permanent population in Batemans Bay was retirees, and that most of our customers were elderly and they came to our bank because we helped them with their daily banking, sending money to family members, paying bills, helping them figure out the ATM. One of the most common things I heard from customers was “how can you work with all this money and not steal it?” Well, that was easy. Because bank theft came with a maximum 20 year prison sentence and $200,000 fine. Not to mention that I’d never get another job with that kind of criminal record. Besides, the small amount of cash we held wasn’t enough to live a life of luxury. But, my writer mind did kick in and plant the idea of a devious character who betrays the trust of these elderly banking customers by killing them for their money, and nobody notices because these were old people who could have died at any moment anyway.

I hadn’t published any books at this stage, I was still writing them and pitching them to publishers and agents. But I was doing more writing than ever, because one of my motivations to leave the city was to gain more time to write. At the time though, I never thought I would ever use my experience in the banking or financial industry in a book. Who would want to read about a boring bureaucrat? A lot of thrillers and mysteries were written by ex-police, ex-military, private investigators, criminologists and their characters were also from these same industries solving crimes and catching killers. Cozy mysteries typically had a meddling woman who solved crimes, but I wanted something in between – someone who wasn’t a specialist in the criminal field, and someone who didn’t think of herself as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher.

That’s how the idea formed about a small town killer targeting little old ladies and all the clues led to the bank and it featured an anti-heroine character. I wrote the first draft to The Widow Catcher and set it aside. I still wasn’t sure how a bank teller as a protagonist would be taken by readers. Delia Frost didn’t wear military boots or carry a gun or do anything badass. She was a middle-aged empty-nester facing her own change of life and self-confidence dramas. Then I started reading about mysteries with modern twists to them, and the one that stuck with me was the criminal podcaster who solved a murder of someone she’d interviewed. I realized that I could make my character someone from the real world with modern day issues and murders going on around her.

So this is how the year I worked in a bank provided the perfect backdrop for The Widow Catcher. I hope you enjoy reading about Delia Frost, and I hope you can stick around for more stories because I believe Delia can still grow as a person in her mid-life years.

 

The Widow Catcher

by Jonette Blake

February 1-28, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

The Widow Catcher by Jonette Blake

Delia Frost loves her job at the bank. She loves her customers, most of whom are elderly. She doesn’t love the idea of quitting her job to travel around Australia in a motor home with her husband who is recovering from a heart attack. And she can’t bring herself to tell him that she doesn’t want to go.

Days before she quits her job, she is invited to a book club meeting, run by a local celebrity. This seems like a beacon of hope, one last chance to do something for herself before she leaves it all behind.

But this isn’t a random invitation.

Delia has been carefully selected by a serial killer to play her part in the murders of elderly widows.

​Finding herself caught in a web of blackmail and murder, Delia is now keen to leave this town behind. But the killer doesn’t want to let her go.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Jonette Blake
Publication Date: August 27th 2020
Number of Pages: 260
ISBN: 9798675198726
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Jonette Blake

Jonette Blake writes supernatural thrillers and suspense thrillers. She is the author of over ten books and dozens of short stories, writing as D L Richardson.

She was born in Ireland and grew up in Australia. She lived through the 80s and music is still a big part of her life. When she is not writing, she plays her piano and guitar, listens to music, reads, and enjoys the beach.

​She has held jobs in administration, sales and marketing, has worked in HR, payroll, and as a bank teller. Her latest novel The Widow Catcher is based on the coastal town she lives in and her own bank teller experience.

Her books are standalone titles.

Catch Up With Jonette On:
www.JonetteBlake.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

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Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jonette Blake. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2021 and runs through March 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: K.D. Richards – PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH

Saturday Salutations and Greetings. I can’t believe this is the last Saturday in January of 2021! They say time flies as we get older, but this is beyond ridiculous people. I know that some of you are still trying to adjust to being homebound. Perhaps because I have no children or job and my sole responsibility is taking care of my 86-y.o. mother, I get to spend a lot of my time reading (my mom has gotten back in the habit of reading, so now we read silently together, it’s a beautiful thing). Since I’ve been doing more reading, I’m always on the lookout for new books and new-to-me authors (discovering new authors is like unwrapping a gift that keeps on giving). Having a blog means I get the opportunity to do just that, meet plenty of new-to-me authors and books. Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of those new-to-me writer, Ms. K.D. Richards, author of the recently released The Pursuit of Truth. I hope you’ll follow the blog tour to read some great reviews and to learn more about this book and author. I’ll be adding this book to my TBR list and hope you will as well. Ms. Richards will be talking to us today about her take on the foundations of writing. Thank you, Ms. Richards for taking time away from writing and your family life to join us today. The blog is now yours.

Tower of Writing

Like many of you, I’m experiencing the joys and frustrations of virtual school. Having my husband and two sons at home in the house I am used to having completely to myself for six and a half hours a day has been an adjustment.

A few weeks ago my youngest son was assigned a school project where he had to build something taller than himself using anything we had in the house. Of course we used books!

As I was helping him stack, and then restack because our base wasn’t wide enough the first time, and then re-restack because our base wasn’t wide enough the second time either, it donned on me that this project was a lot like my process for writing a book.

Our first couple of tries at building something taller than my son failed because we hadn’t built a sturdy enough foundation to hold all the books that would be piled on top. This often happens to me when I’m writing my outline (I’m a plotter) and/or first draft. The idea may be sound but the problem or goal I plan to have my character pursue might not be weighty or complex enough.

Because I write suspense and thrillers the external goals tend to be ‘stay alive’ or ‘catch the killer.’ But the best protagonists have both external and internal problems and/or goals. Yes, the character may be running from a killer but the only way to stay alive is to return to her hometown and face her family’s dark secrets. When I’ve done things really well, the external goals and internal goals complement each other. I find that for most readers, it is the internal goal that makes the character dynamic and interesting enough to keep the reader engaged.

Once I have a solid base it’s time to start stacking or, in the case of writing, building in your complications – otherwise known as creating plot twists! Twists come in many forms. Secrets, unforeseen obstacles, setbacks, and devastating revelations. Really anything that sends the characters in a direction they, and hopefully the reader, did not anticipate.

I like my twists to carry the characters into the big reveal (sorry, I don’t have a book tower reference for this one!). Some writer’s refer to this as the “Ah-ha moment.” This is the point that the who, what, when, and where all come together. The hero and heroine finally figure out what they need to do to solve the problem or achieve the external goal. They also should have sufficiently dealt with their internal problem or goal.

So after two failed attempts, my son and I finally had a tower that would last long enough for me to snap a picture and prove he had achieved his goal. In writing parlance, this is the resolution point. In a suspense or thriller, the resolution can take many forms. When I’m writing or reading a book I like to at least be left with an idea of where the main character’s life is headed. I’m not a gal that appreciates ambiguity at the end of a good novel. Tell me what happens!

If you are writing a romance, or romantic suspense, the resolution is also sometimes called “the happily ever after, or the happy for right now”. Most romance readers want the couple to end up together at the end of the book. To be honest, I do too. It’s fiction, right? One of the only places everything can always work out well for the good guys.

Whatever the genre, the end of the book must not only tie up all the threads of the plot and resolve the problem, twists, and turns that carried the reader through to the end of the book, it must give the reader the psychological payoff that is promised at the beginning. I’m sure we have all read books that were fabulous but the end was just…meh. Of course, this is easier said than done.

If you’re looking for a read full of suspense and romance, pick up Pursuit of the Truth by K.D. Richards.

About The Pursuit of the Truth

Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations)

Romantic Suspense 1st in Series

Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue (January 26, 2021)

Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages

ISBN-10: 1335401539

ISBN-13: 978-1335401533

Digital ASIN: B08CSRDVWK

His skills can keep her safe

Her secrets could get them killed…

Security expert Ryan West’s worst fears come to life when hotel CEO Nadia Shelton is pushed in front of a taxi and nearly killed. Someone will do whatever it takes to find the brother Nadia thought was dead, and the only way Ryan can protect her as they uncover the truth is to stay strictly professional. But the sparks igniting between them are nearly impossible to ignore.

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

Purchase Links: AmazonKoboHarlequinB&N

About K.D. Richards

K. D. Richards is the pseudonym for Kia Dennis. Kia was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C. A writer since a young age, after college she earned a law degree and worked as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years but never stopped writing fiction. She currently lives in the Toronto area with her husband and two sons. Sign up for her newsletter at kdrichardsbooks.com and follow her on Twitter @kiadwrites

Author Links:
Website: kdrichardsbooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kdrichardsauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kdrichardsauthor
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fYaI6P
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20494862.K_D_Richards

GIVEAWAY

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 25 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 26 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

January 27 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 28 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 29 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

January 31 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – I Read What You Write -GUEST POST

February 2 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 3 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – REVIEW

February 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

February 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

February 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Guest Post: Alissa Grosso – UP THE CREEK

Up the Creek by Alissa Grosso Banner
 
Happy Monday, my bookish divas and divos. I’m finding it a bit hard to accept that this is the last Monday in January of 2021. It seems as if this month just started a few days ago yet took forever to get to now. I look forward to the New Year and all of the new books being published as well as the new-to-me authors I know I’ll be introduced to along the way. Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to one of those new-to-me authors, Alissa Grosso. Ms. Grosso is the author of the Culver Creek mystery series, which includes Up The Creek. She’ll be discussing with us just one of the many lessons I’ve learned over the years, easy reading makes for hard writing, and she describes the seven things she’s learned about writing a book series. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say, follow along with the blog tour, enter the tour-wide giveaway, and add Up the Creek to your reading list. Thank you, Ms. Grosso for joining us today. The blog is now yours!
 
Up The Creek Guest Post Photos

7 Things I Learned Writing a Book Series

Alissa Grosso

 

As someone who has started writing and abandoned more novels than she cares to disclose, I knew that writing my first book series would be a daunting proposition, but I also knew that a series could be a great way to build an author’s fanbase and also actually earn a decent living from this writing thing, so I was determined to do it. Along the way, I learned a few things.

 

1. Make Sure You Like Your Protagonist

Writing a series of books means you’ll be spending a whole lot of time with the main character of your series. Sage Dorian, who features in Up the Creek and the other novels in my Culver Creek series is a police detective still haunted by the unsolved murder of his sister. He’s a tortured and complex individual whose story unfolds over the series. His life situation gave me plenty of fodder for the four books in the series, but I also decided to give him a few traits that helped endear him to me. Like me, Sage doesn’t eat meat and can’t abide the taste or smell of coffee. Though his reasons are different, his eating and drinking habits helped to make him someone I enjoyed spending time with. Because it turned out I was going to spend more time with him than I originally planned.

 

2. Series Sometimes Become Longer Than You Planned

The Culver Creek series was supposed to be a trilogy. This was deliberate. I was new to this whole writing series thing, and I figured I would start with the bare minimum of books to be considered a series. Three seemed doable to me. Then I began working on the third book in the series, and it was a disaster. There was too much going on. There were too many characters. The whole thing was a convoluted mess. I took some time to think about it, and realized that the book I was working on was actually two different books, and thus my trilogy turned into a four-book series.

 

3. Copyeditors Are Invaluable

Look, even if you are working on a standalone book, it would be in your best interest to work with a good copyeditor. No matter how many times you read your book, and think you have cleaned things up and fixed all of your mistakes, copyeditors will find plenty more that needs fixing. And when it comes to keeping track of characters, settings and other important details, copyeditors are amazing. Once, years ago, I wrote a book, and while working on it my copyeditor pointed out by her count I had written of a July that was seven weeks long. Look, in my defense sometimes July feels seven weeks long, but thankfully I had a copyeditor to set me straight. I worked with freelance copyeditor Lisa Gilliam on all four books in the Culver Creek series, and she did amazing work including making sure that all the details I described matched from one book to the next. (She did not work on this blog post at all so any mistakes are mine, and mine alone.)

 

4. Characters Can Surprise You

There’s a big debate in the writing world between pantsing and plotting, that is writing by the seat of your pants and making things up as you go along, or writing outlines and carefully planning your book. I’m a reformed pantser, and these days tend not to dive into a book until I have written at least a rough outline for it. So, I had a plan when I set out to write the Culver Creek series, and wrote out outlines before working on each book. But even so, I found that some characters surprised me. The biggest surprises came while I was working on the fourth book, where I ended up rewriting my outline halfway through because I realized my original plan for the book wasn’t as good as this new version.

 

5. Write All the Books First

Depending on your publishing situation, this might not work for everyone, but if you can write all the books in a limited series before publishing the first one, it might just save you some grief, like if for instance you get to the fourth book, realize that things are going to be radically different than you first planned, and then need to go back to the previous books to make a few little tweaks to make sure everything fits with this new development. If Up the Creek had already been published, when I started working on Book 4, Blood Answer, I wouldn’t have been able to change things up the way I wanted.

 

6. Publishing a Book is a LOT of Work, Publishing Four is Even More Work

I’m not going to lie, there were times during the writing and publication planning of this book series that I asked myself why I was publishing four books, one right after the other. I love writing books, but these days being an author means that you have to do a lot of things beside simply writing a book. I don’t regret my decision to publish a book series, and hopefully I’ll publish another series or two down the road, but it IS a lot of work.

 

7. Have Fun

That’s why it’s so important to have fun when you are writing and publishing your books. There are tedious tasks to be sure, but if you write a book that you truly enjoy reading, because you’ll likely be reading it over and over again as you ready it for publication, it’s easier to find the joy in what you are doing. I write because I love books and love writing them, and I truly do have fun sharing my creations with the world.

 
 

Up the Creek

by Alissa Grosso

January 11 – March 12, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Up the Creek by Alissa Grosso

An unsolved murder. Disturbing dreams. A missing child.

Caitlin Walker hasn’t had a dream in nine years. But now nightmares torture her son Adam and awaken in Caitlin buried memories and a dark secret. Her husband Lance has a secret of his own, one that his son’s nightmares threaten to reveal.

In Culver Creek newly hired detective Sage Dorian works to unravel the small town’s notorious cold case, the grisly murder of a young girl.

How are Caitlin and Lance connected to the horrific crime? And how far will they go to make sure their secrets stay hidden? Find out in this riveting thriller.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery Thriller
Published by: Glitter Pigeon Press
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 356
ISBN: 9781949852080
Series: Culver Creek Series, Book 1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Alissa Grosso

Alissa Grosso is the author of several books for adults and teens. Originally from New Jersey, she now resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

 

Find out more about Alissa Grosso and her books at:
AlissaGrosso.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=299840

 

 

Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alyssa Grosso. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on January 11, 2021 and runs through March 14, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: Peter W.J. Hayes – THE THINGS THAT LAST FOREVER

the-things-that-last-forever-by-peter-w-j-hayes--banner

Happy Thursday, my bookish peeps! Before I started this blog, I dabbled in nonfiction writing. Yes, I’ve done some writing, but it was primarily for religious journals, religious short stories, and other religious writings. Since starting this blog and with the increasing rise of social media outlets, I’ve been pushed to promote the blog on various outlets with weekly, if not daily posts (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the now-defunct Google+). I know from personal experience how difficult it is to keep things fresh and write something new and different each time I sit down (and yes, I know I often fail at this goal). Writing is hard work and the best writers, in my not so humble opinion, make it seem effortless when it is anything but that. Today’s guest, Peter W.J. Hayes, author of the recently released The Things That Last Forever, will be sharing with us his philosophy on the stages of writing a story. If you’ve ever wondered about the emotional investment of the author in the story, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to see what Mr. Hayes has to say and perhaps follow the blog tour to learn more about this author and book. Please help me welcome Mr. Peter W.J. Hayes to the blog. Thank you, Mr. Hayes for stopping by and sharing with us.

The Five Stages of Writing a Story

I’ve published three novels and almost twenty short stories over the last five years, including my most recent novel, The Things That Last Forever. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that writing is a process, not unlike the Siege of Stalingrad or raising a teenager.

For me—whether a novel or short story— the writing process is the same. The only way I can complete a story is to navigate five clearly defined stages, one at a time, in order. That might sound like a lot, but remember they are stages. You can rest in any of the stages—well, ‘wallow’ might be the correct term—but trust me on this, every spouse or partner knows through an innate and unholy instinct when to gleefully kick you in the rear to get moving.

The stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

Good grief, why would anyone want to be a writer?

DENIAL: Human beings, as a species, mastered the art of denial about the time we learned to walk upright. Writers are the final evolution and ultimate triumph of denial. I learned that early in my career, when I used to deny I was a writer simply because I had no published works to prove it (despite three unsold book manuscripts and enough rejection letters to wallpaper the Lincoln Memorial). And as I start each new story, I must always battle denial’s evil twins. I am at once in complete denial the story can actually work, while denying that it could fail. Yes, things are that complicated. I then spend several days (or longer) deconstructing both opinions until that moment when I realize the story—despite some flaws I might be able to work around—is writeable.

ANGER: Unfortunately, at that moment my reaction is always anger because now I must write it. It’s a bit like a wartime military draft. I’m in it now, I can’t get out, and ghastly things will happen before I reach home. But, as I rage at my conscription, the first third of the story takes shape, leading me directly into the next stage.

BARGAINING: This is the ugly, dark-of-night, desperate stage. Every day, facing a blank screen and that relentless, blinking cursor (it’s called a cursor for a reason), I make deals. If I can write just four more pages, I’ll treat myself to a beer. No, an IPA. I’ll do more charity work. Just let me write something, anything, and I’ll live with it. For one good analogy, the devil can have my soul. And so it goes, day after day, until the draft is finished and I stagger into the next stage.

DEPRESSION: In fairness, the day I finish the first draft of any story, I have a few moments of euphoria. That is, of course, an evil trick. As I reread the manuscript, tendrils of doubt creep in. The characters are flat. The plot is hackneyed, worse, boring. Do I even know how to write a sentence? Every insecurity I have (and a few new ones) weighs on me like a millstone. By the time I complete the final draft I’m a work-zombie, and I barely notice as I move into the final stage.

ACCEPTANCE: Sending any manuscript to an editor is a ritual similar to placing flowers on a grave. Yet (and this is a minor miracle) despite the fact that rejection may come, so can acceptance. I rarely feel much excitement or joy at that moment. Perhaps I’m too far into the stages of Bargaining or Depression with another story to think about it. But later, when I see the story in print, I always have a thought along the lines of ‘good grief, it’s risen from the dead.’ I take satisfaction from that. My story has found a home of its own and a place in the world.

Just as we hope for our teenagers.

 

 

 

The Things That Last Forever

by Peter W. J. Hayes

On Tour: January 1 – February 28, 2021

 

Synopsis:THE THINGS THAT LAST FOREVER - PWJHayes

 

After a house fire hospitalizes his partner and forces him onto medical leave, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police detective Vic Lenoski starts a desperate search for the woman who set the blaze. She is the one person who knows what happened to his missing teenage daughter, but as a fugitive, she’s disappeared so thoroughly no one can find her.

Risking his job and the wrath of the district attorney, Vic resorts to bargaining with criminal suspects for new leads, many of which point to North Dakota. He flies there, only to discover he is far from everything he knows, and his long-cherished definitions of good and bad are fading as quickly as his leads. His only chance is one last audacious roll of the dice. Can he stay alive long enough to discover the whereabouts of his daughter and rebuild his life? Or is everything from his past lost forever?

“The mystery plot itself is riveting…a captivating and emotionally intelligent crime drama.” — Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery: Police Procedural
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: August 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 294
ISBN: 978-1-947915-56-5
Series: A Vic Lenoski Mystery; Pittsburgh Trilogy #3 || Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Peter WJ Hayes

Peter W. J. Hayes worked as a journalist, advertising copywriter, and marketing executive before turning to mystery and crime writing. He is the author of the Silver Falchion-nominated Pittsburgh trilogy, a police procedural series, and is a Derringer-nominated author of more than a dozen short stories. His work has appeared in Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Pulp Modern and various anthologies, including two Malice Domestic collections and The Best New England Crime Stories. He is also a past nominee for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) Debut Dagger Award.

Peter can be found at:
www.peterwjhayes.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


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Guest Post: Reyna Marder Gentin – MY NAME IS LAYLA

Good day, book people! I’m finding it hard to believe that we are more than halfway through the month of January of 2021. Time during this pandemic seems to either fly or go slower than molasses up a hill backwards in the winter time (one of my dad’s favorite sayings). If you’re anything like my mother, you might be struggling with ways to keep busy during this quarantine. Her normal go-tos of reading, working crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles seemed to have failed her after a few months. She’s not big on watching television, other than the news, so even that’s a none issue. Others, like today’s guest, Reyna Marder Gentin, author of Unreasonable Doubts and the recently released My Name is Layla will be sharing with us another approach to the pandemic, school. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say about going back to class, add My Name is Layla to your TBR list (or to the TBR list of one of your younger bookish divas or divos). Thank you, Ms. Gentin for joining us today and sharing your pandemic experiences. The blog is now yours.

 

 

BACK TO CLASS

 

Some of my well-meaning friends have speculated that staying home during the pandemic must be easier for me since I’m usually here anyway, at my desk in my kitchen, alone, writing. Of course, there’s a certain truth to that. There are those hours in the early morning when I can still pretend that I’m not a captive to the virus restrictions–just a person who prefers the quiet of her home, a freshly brewed pot of coffee, limitless snacks (and their unfortunate attendant weight gain), and ample time to try to put something worthwhile down on the page without the distractions of going out, seeing friends, or attending cultural or religious events.

But try as I might to fool myself, I feel as trapped as anyone else. That’s not to say I don’t recognize the distinct advantages. I may be holed up at home, but there’s plenty of space for my husband and children to do work and school and not be on top of me or each other. We’re in the suburbs, where you can still take a walk and stay so far from anyone else that you can ditch the mask. And we count our blessings every day that the pandemic doesn’t take a health or economic toll on us. So it’s not that I’m not grateful that I work from home. My point is only that my need for routine, diversion, and company is no less real because my “usual” reality is solitary and home-based.

So how have I handled the isolation of this crazy time? Well, the evenings are the easiest. Like so many others, my husband and I cruised through The Queen’s Gambit and The Crown, very different programs but both enormously enjoyable. We also watched all of The Kominsky Method, which I found poignant and my husband found depressing. I watched the latest season of Fauda, the searing Israeli action drama, which could give the most hardened viewer nightmares, on my own. Now at bedtime, we’re haplessly choosing indie movies we know nothing about and that we turn off after 25 minutes when we can’t find their redeeming value and sleep is a better alternative.

Television as a method of escape works best for me at night, when it doesn’t feel indulgent but rather a reasonable attempt at relaxation. The days have been harder. Pre-pandemic, I gave my writing and my mind a chance to percolate by breaking up my schedule with volunteering as an attorney and taking writing classes. The clinic where I represent victims of domestic violence in Family Court went virtual in March. I tried to continue remotely, but the lack of interaction with my colleagues and the necessity of relying on electronic filings and appearances were too many new tricks for this old dog to learn. I’ll return when the courts reopen.

So I chose to go back to class, my reliable happy place, although even this took trial and error before I landed on something that works in the bizarre circumstances of 2020.

First, I signed up for a graduate level philosophy class being taught remotely by a local university. The topic was the binding of Isaac, one of the foundational stories in the Hebrew bible, in which Abraham exhibits his complete faith in God by being willing to sacrifice his son and then is rewarded when Isaac’s life is spared. Anticipating that the subject matter and readings might be over my head, I registered as an auditor, and reminded the professor that I would just be “sitting in the back” of the class, gleaning what I could. And, although the class had its fascinating moments, that’s exactly what happened. I took in the gist of the lectures, but missed a lot of the real substance, as my classmates bantered about the sources in their original Hebrew and left me in the dust.

Next, I signed up for an online class at The Gotham Writers’ Workshop. I chose a mystery class because it looked interesting, even though mystery is not my genre. Although I did some good workshopping and cranked out a first pass at 10,000 words or so, I discovered what I already knew deep down: mystery is (likely) not my genre. I don’t create puzzles, drop clues, or weave suspense. I put what I had aside, an experiment worth conducting but probably not worth pursuing.

And then I stumbled upon One Day University, the perfect addition to the pandemic lifestyle for the working-at-home writer. Let me explain.

For a small monthly fee, One Day University offers a lecture every day at 4:00 in the afternoon by a distinguished college professor in his or her area of expertise. Right off the bat, this scores two important points in my battle against Corona monotony. The class happens at the same time everyday, giving me both a routine that I sorely lack, as well as something to look forward to as the day wanes. And the variety of topics is perfect for my COVID-eviscerated attention span that only allows me to concentrate on any one subject for a limited amount of time. With One Day U, I get exactly 50 minutes of science or art or literature, and I make no further commitment. Perfect!

I’ll admit that some of the lectures have worked better for me than others. I love listening to one professor, a museum curator who’s taken me on an in depth tour of the Metropolitan Museum on one day, the Parthenon on another, and in one lecture demonstrated how she approaches setting up an art exhibit, down to how she picks the colors for those little signs that are posted next to the paintings. One afternoon I learned about sleep science, and was convinced to cut my usual 45 minute nap down to a 20 minute power nap to better accommodate my circadian rhythms. Another day, a film studies professor walked me through the mechanics of how Alfred Hitchcock created suspense in his movies with clips and behind the scenes stories. (Probably should have watched that one before my mystery writing class.) On the flip side, I was entirely lost in an astronomy lecture recently on how scientists look for new planets orbiting other suns, and another day I was intrigued by the life story of Albert Einstein but totally unable to follow the discussion of his various mathematical theories.

But the best part of One Day U comes in the last ten minutes of every program, when the professors answer questions posed by the students in the chat function during the lecture. I always try to come up with something to ask, partly because I want to know the answer, but mostly because when the teacher reads and answers my question, it’s an affirmation that our virtual connection is also a human one. We both exist in that moment, COVID, isolation, lockdowns, and social distancing be damned! We’re still teacher and student, engaging in something new, bridging the cruel gap that this virus has imposed on the world. And silly as it is, on the occasions when the professor comments that my question is excellent or important, that small moment of recognition is all the encouragement I need to continue with my solitary writing endeavors the next day, until 4:00 rolls around again.

 

 

MY NAME IS LAYLA - RMGentin
 
My Name is Layla by Reyna Marder Gentin
ISBN: 9781952816086 (paperback)
ASIN: B08D1ZM4FW (Kindle)
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Release Date: January 19, 2021

 

School will never be the same…

On the first day of eighth grade, thirteen year-old Layla has a pretty good idea of what’s in store for her– another year of awkward social situations, mediocre grades, and teachers who praise her good behavior but find her academic performance disappointing. Layla feels certain she’s capable of more, but each time she tries to read or write, the words on the page dance and spin, changing partners and leaving her to sit on the sidelines.

Her new English teacher, Mr. McCarthy, senses her potential. When he pushes her to succeed, Layla almost rises to the challenge before making a desperate choice that nearly costs her everything she’s gained. Will she be able to get back on track? And who can she count on to help her?

 

 

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository

 

Author Bio:

Author - Reyna Marder GentinReyna Marder Gentin grew up in Great Neck, New York. She attended college and law school at Yale. For many years, she practiced as an appellate attorney with a public defender’s office before turning to writing full time. Reyna has studied at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and her work has been published widely online and in print. Her debut novel, Unreasonable Doubts, was named a finalist for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award in 2019. Her first novel for children, My Name is Layla, was published in January 2021, and Reyna’s latest adult novel, Both Are True, will be published in October, 2021. Reyna lives with her family in Scarsdale, New York.

 

Visit Reyna Marder Gentin:
website
Amazon
Newsletter sign-up link
Twitter
Facebook

 

 

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Guest Post: Cara Putnam – LETHAL INTENT

Good day, book people! I hope you’re having a good bookish January so far and that your reading is on goal for the year. If you’re seeking something new to read, then I hope you’ll add Lethal Intent by Cara Putnam to your 2021 TBR list. This romantic legal thriller might be just what you’ve been looking for and didn’t know it. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Putnam for visiting with us today and sharing her insight into character versus plot. Please see what she has to say, follow the blog tour to read some great reviews for her latest release, Lethal Intent, and enter the tour-wide giveaway. But for now, sit back, relax, and let’s visit with Ms. Cara Putnam.

 

 

Character or Plot? Which comes first?

 

There is a perennial debate among authors. Which comes first the characters or the plot?

As an attorney, my answer is a classic it depends.

In some of my books, the character is what drives the creation of the story. I know I want to write a book with the Monuments Men. Or I want my next series to feature strong heroines who are all attorneys, but in different ways.

Other times, the spark of the idea is a story or headline that I’ve seen or read. An event that happened somewhere else and I twist it into a new what if: what if the mom didn’t really kill her daughters in front of her husband on her birthday? What if he really did it, but set her up to take the fall? This was the idea spark for Imperfect Justice.

With Lethal Intent, the key question for the hero Brandon Lancaster had been established in fore-shadowing in other books. He had started a group foster home for sibling groups, and it was in danger of folding. What I didn’t anticipate was that between the idea and writing the book, the federal law governing these types of homes changed… completely. This created a whole new level of complexity as I was writing because though the law had changed in 2018, the regulations for how it would be applied in the state of Virginia were still unfinalized as late as July 2020 – and the final version of the book was turned in during May.

This is where having a great network of writing friends can help. My friend Tricia Goyer connected me with a man who ran a similar home in Arkansas. You can imagine my relief when his approach to the law mirrored what I had reasoned was the only way Brandon could handle the conundrum.

Each book is a little different. And even when you think the characters are driving the plot, some times life intervenes and changes the balance as you’re writing. Which do you think is more important to a good novel?

 

 

Lethal Intent

by Cara Putman

January 11 – February 5, 2021 Tour

 

Synopsis:

 

LETHAL INTENT - CPutnamIf they expected silence, they hired the wrong woman.

Caroline Bragg’s life has never been better. She and Brandon Lancaster are taking their relationship to the next level, and she has a new dream job as legal counsel for Praecursoria—a research lab that is making waves with its cutting-edge genetic therapies. The company’s leukemia treatments even promise to save desperately sick kids—kids like eleven-year-old Bethany, a critically ill foster child at Brandon’s foster home.

When Caroline’s enthusiastic boss wants to enroll Bethany in experimental trials prematurely, Caroline objects, putting her at odds with her colleagues. They claim the only goal at Praecursoria is to save lives. But does someone have another agenda?

Brandon faces his own crisis. As laws governing foster homes shift, he’s on the brink of losing the group home he’s worked so hard to build. When Caroline learns he’s a Praecursoria investor, it becomes legally impossible to confide in him. Will the secrets she keeps become a wedge that separates them forever? And can she save Bethany from the very treatments designed to heal her?

This latest romantic legal thriller by bestseller Cara Putman shines a light on the shadowy world of scientific secrets and corporate vendettas—and the ethical dilemmas that plague the place where science and commerce meet.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0785233318 (ISBN13: 9780785233312)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | ChristianBook.com | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Cara Putnam

Cara Putman is the author of more than twenty-five legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense novels. She has won or been a finalist for honors including the ACFW Book of the Year and the Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Cara graduated high school at sixteen, college at twenty, completed her law degree at twenty-seven, and recently received her MBA. She is a practicing attorney, teaches undergraduate and graduate law courses at a Big Ten business school, and is a homeschooling mom of four. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.

 

Visit Cara Putman:
CaraPutman.com
Goodreads: caraputman
BookBub: @CPutman
Instagram: caracputman
Twitter: @Cara_Putman
Facebook: Cara.Putman

 

 

Lethal Intent Tour Participants:

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Guest Post: Cara Reinard – SWEET WATER

sweet-wate-by-cara-reinard-coverGood day, my bookish people and welcome to 2021! It’s a new day, a new year, and I’m starting off with a new blog company. Please bear with me as I learn how to use WordPress (recently transferred over from Blogger).

I’m incredibly pleased to be starting off the year with a visit by Cara Reinard, author of the newly released crime thriller Sweet Water. I hope you’ll help me welcome Ms. Reinard to The Book Diva’s Reads as she shares with us where her idea for this novel came from. Thank you, Ms. Reinard for stopping by and sharing with us today. The blog is yours.

Where did the idea for Sweet Water come from?

For me, plot ideas for stories come from everywhere and nowhere—an article read online, a conversation had with an interesting person, or something much more random; a moment where I’m rinsing shampoo out of my hair and suddenly a plot jumps into my head (why do life’s most profound thoughts happen in the shower??).

For Sweet Water, the idea started with a short story that I recently published in an anthology of short stories, poems and essays titled Into the Woods. The collection was published through a Mindful Writers group led by authors, Kathie Shoop and Larry Schardt. My story featured two college-aged kids who messed around with narcotics in a wooded area outside of Manhattan, but only one of them left the woods alive. It was a story that stuck with me long after the anthology was published.

Short story here: https://www.amazon.com/Into-Woods-Stories-Mindful-Writers-ebook/dp/B07CZMJQDY

I started thinking about affluent wooded areas closer to where I live in the Pittsburgh area that might be appropriate for a similar premise, and played around with a chapter or two basing the story in my favorite tree-lined suburb, Sewickley. Like a lot of writing projects, I started on a whim and before I knew it I had fifty or so pages and the start of a full-length novel that I really wanted to finish.

I’d also just read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. She does a beautiful job weaving her setting, Shaker Heights, Ohio, into her novel. I wanted to do something similar with my story. As I started writing Sweet Water the setting began to take on a life of its own, especially as I researched Sewickley and learned more about the executives who once owned estates there, most notably, B.F. Jones, a steel tycoon whose party home I used as inspiration for the residence of my main character. The home still stands today. I’m friends with the family of the previous owner, and have been inside the house which helped me create the immersive atmosphere I was striving for. Sewickley is the Native American translation for sweet water, and with all the water references in the book, it made for a perfect title as well.

sweet-wate-by-cara-reinard-cover

Sweet Water

by Cara Reinard

January 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

 

What did her son do in the woods last night? Does a mother really want to know?

It’s what Sarah Ellsworth dreamed of. Marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Martin. Living in a historic mansion in Pennsylvania’s most exclusive borough. And Finn, a teenage son with so much promise. Until…A call for help in the middle of the night leads Sarah and Martin to the woods, where they find Finn, injured, dazed, and weeping near his girlfriend’s dead body. Convinced he’s innocent, Sarah and Martin agree to protect their son at any cost and not report the crime.

But there are things Sarah finds hard to reconcile: a cover-up by Martin’s family that’s so unnervingly cold-blooded. Finn’s lies to the authorities are too comfortable, too proficient, not to arouse her suspicions. Even the secrets of the old house she lives in seem to be connected to the incident. As each troubling event unfolds, Sarah must decide how far she’ll go to save her perfect life.

Sweet Water Reviews:

“An unsparing account of ‘rich people problems’ that goes on forever, like all the best nightmares.” —Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thriller, Crime Fiction
Published by: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: January 1st 2021
Number of Pages: 364
ISBN: 1542024935 (ISBN13: 978-1542024938)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Cara Reinard

Cara Reinard is an author of women’s fiction and domestic. She currently lives north of Pittsburgh with her husband, two children, and Bernese mountain dog.

For more information, visit:
www.carareinard.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @CaraReinard
Twitter – @carareinard
Instagram – @carareinard
Facebook – Cara Reinard, Author

 

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This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cara Reinard. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through February 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: Connie di Marco – THE MADNESS OF MERCURY

Monday greetings, book people. I’ve learned over the years that some authors base their characters on real people (often composites of family and friends), and others may simply read a news article about some event and think “hmm, that might make for a good story.” Connie di Marco is one of the few authors that created a character and then found out that her character bore a striking resemblance to a real person. Learn more about this and her book, The Madness of Mercury, as Ms. di Marco visits with us today. Thank you, Ms. di Marco, for joining us today and giving us some insight into your character. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

THE REAL ASK ZODIA by Connie di Marco


Julia Bonatti, my crime-solving astrological sleuth in the Zodiac Mysteries, writes an advice column, AskZodia, for her hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle. Julia’s column stretches reality quite a bit because how many big-city newspapers would have space for a ‘Dear Abby’ type of feature?  

Julia enjoys the work, but sometimes really struggles with some of the letters to Zodia. Some are sad, some are heartbreaking and some are just plain worrying. And Julia worries a lot about what she’s sending out into the universe in her column. Here’s one example:  

Dear Zodia ~
My birthday is September 13, 1974 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I’ve been married for 26 years. I’m very unhappy and confused. I care about my husband, he’s a good person, but to be honest, I’m bored. Bored with him and with married life. I’ve been thinking about telling him I want a divorce, but I’m really afraid what this will do to him. Please tell me what to do.
~ Growing Older

Dear Growing Older ~
Your sign off name says a lot. You’re afraid life is passing you by and soon it will be too late for adventure. What you’re not telling me, and I know because Neptune is opposing your Sun sign, and over the last year or so, opposed your Venus, is that you are attracted to someone else. Here’s the thing about Neptune transits: they can lend a great aura of mystery or fantasy. Much if not most of this is not real. Think very carefully about your choices because, in time, you may regret leaving your marriage.  
Wishing you well ~
~ Zodia

And here’s another:

Dear Zodia ~
I’m at my wit’s end. My mother’s new boyfriend is a complete creep.  He makes me very uncomfortable whenever he’s in our house. I don’t want to be alone with him, and so far I haven’t been, but I’m afraid to be in the same room with him when my mother’s not there. I’ve tried to talk to her about this, but she thinks I’m imagining things and trying to make her life difficult. I don’t know what to do. What should I do?  
My birthday is May 6, 2004 in Berkeley at 3:20 p.m.
~ Creeped Out

Dear Creeped Out ~
Trust your instincts, no matter what anyone says. Unfortunately, there are bad people in the world, predators, and some of them date women with young children for that very reason. By all means, speak out about your concerns. Your transits show a Pluto aspect to your Moon, this may indicate the difficulties between you and your mother right now, but no matter what astrology can tell you, always trust your instincts.
~ Zodia

But here’s the odd thing — I never ever wondered if there was a real AskZodia. I no longer live in San Francisco but manage to visit a few times a year, so I don’t often get to read the Chronicle. But one day at a street fair, I glanced at a newspaper and spotted the Chronicle’s Astro column. I was stunned! Why hadn’t I discovered this before? There is a REAL AskZodia! His name is Christopher Renstrom, not Julia Bonatti and he’s a famous astrologer, a real one, unlike Julia! 


I’d be willing to bet Christopher would have no problem responding to AskZodia questions. After all, he has a terrific new book out — The Cosmic Calendar: Using Astrology to Get in Sync with Your Best Life. So I’m sure he’d offer some great advice and solve all of these AskZodia problems.  

If you’d like some real-life astrology, check out Christopher’s website [http://rulingplanets.com], follow him on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/christopher.renstrom], and Twitter @rulingplanets [https://twitter.com/rulingplanets/]. You won’t regret it! 
 
And if you’d like to enjoy a good astrological murder mystery, don’t miss Julia’s first adventure in The Madness of Mercury!  



The Madness of Mercury

by Connie di Marco

December 1-31, 2020 Tour



Synopsis:


San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti’s life is turned upside down when she becomes a target of the Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle. The Reverend, a recently-arrived cult preacher, is determined to drive sin from the city, but his gospel of love and compassion doesn’t extend to those he considers an “abomination unto the Lord.” Julia’s outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, has put her at the top of the Reverend’s list. While the powerful Mercury-ruled preacher woos local dignitaries, his Army of the Prophet will stop at nothing to silence not just Julia, but anyone who stands in his way.

Driven out of her apartment in the midst of a disastrous Mercury retrograde period, she takes shelter with a client who’s caring for two elderly aunts. One aunt appears stricken with dementia and the other has fallen under the spell of the Reverend Roy. To add to the confusion, a young man claiming to be a long-lost nephew arrives. The longer he stays, the more dangerous things become. One aunt slides deeper into psychosis while the other disappears. Is this young man truly a member of the family? Can astrology confirm that? Julia’s not sure, but one thing she does know is that Mercury wasn’t merely the messenger of the gods – he was a trickster and a liar as well.

Book Details

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: October 9, 2020
Number of Pages: 268
ISBN: 0578752654 (ISBN13: 9780578752655)
Series: Zodiac Mystery #1
Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads


Author Bio:

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. The Madness of Mercury, the first book in the series was re-released in October 2020.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime.


Catch Up With Connie di Marco:  ConniediMarco.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, and Facebook!



Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! Click here to view The Madness Of Mercury by Connie di Marco blog tour participants.

Enter To Win!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Connie di Marco. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on December 1, 2020 and runs through January 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

Click here to enter the giveaway.


Guest Post: Sage Webb – Author of THE VENTURI EFFECT

Welcome to November, book people! I don’t know about you, but it seems as if it has been about a decade since the last November. Fortunately, we have books to take us away from reality, even if it is just for a little while. Do you enjoy being an armchair adventurer with your reading? If so, you’re going to love today’s guest. Please help me welcome the acclaimed Sage Webb as she discusses her bucket list and armchair bookish adventures. I hope you’ll add The Venturi Effect to your TBR list and follow along with the tour. Thank you, Ms. Webb, for taking time away from your writing and traveling to visit with us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.


Bookish Adventures and Bucket Lists

by Sage Webb

When I pick up a new book, I’m looking for an adventure of sorts. Sometimes I want to take a classic armchair adventure: perhaps paddle a kayak around Madagascar (that’s on my TBR shelf right now). Or maybe I’m looking for a more human adventure at that moment: a dive into fallibility, if you will (I do love me some The Sun Also Rises). But it’s definitely a feeling of adventure—in some form—I’m seeking when I pick up my next read. 


When I write, I hope to give my readers a dash of adventure, too. In my new legal thriller The Venturi Effect, that adventure takes the form of a stormy sailing passage to St. Kitts as a burned-out criminal-defense attorney tries to find evidence to support her client/old flame, who has found himself caught up in criminal charges and a courtroom battle. 


But what about “real” adventures? For me, I try not to leave things on my “bucket list” too long. If there’s an experience I want to have, I try to make it happen. I don’t always succeed, and my interest in an endeavor may fade before I get there. But generally, I try to keep moving through the items that make it onto the list. One trip, however, has lingered on my bucket list for a while. It involves more time and financial resources and logistical planning than many other things I’ve done, so it may remain in bucket-list status a little longer yet, but in the near future I want very much to complete what is called the Great Loop, a 6,000-mile waterway journey from Galveston, along the Gulf Coast, around Florida, up the East Coast, through the Erie Canal, into and through the Great Lakes, to Chicago, and ultimately down the Mississippi and proximate river systems to New Orleans and back to Galveston. Oh, and I want to do it alone . . . on a jetski. It’ll take a few months, a lot of sun protection, and some time away from paying gigs, but I have to make it happen. It has just worked its way too deep into my heart and demands to be done. 

 

On the book front, I’ve read numerous Great Loop guides and accounts, and I’ve collected and reviewed a number of works on long-distance jetskiing. I’ve got much of the gear already, since I live on a sailboat and spend a lot of time on the water, and I’m familiar with boating on the Gulf Coast, in Florida, and on the Great Lakes. My husband says he’ll support me, though he wants no part of spending close to three months on a jetski. 


Will I write about it if I do it? Definitely. Writing helps me distill things, so no matter what, if I do it, this adventure will end up in my journal, on my blog, and in long notes back to my friends and family. Beyond that, well, I think it would end up in a book somewhere along the way, too.



The Venturi Effect
by Sage Webb
on Tour November 1 – December 31, 2020




Synopsis:

After fleeing the crush of a partnership at a large Chicago criminal-defense firm and the humiliation of a professional breakdown, Devlin Winters just wants to be left alone with a couple sundowners on the deck of her dilapidated mahogany trawler on Galveston Bay. But when an old flame shows up on the boardwalk with a mysterious little boy in tow and an indictment on his heels, fate has other plans, and Devlin finds herself thrust onto a sailboat bound for St. Kitts and staring down her demons in the courtroom, as she squares off against an obsessed prosecutor with a secret of his own.



Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thriller
Published by: Stoneman House Press, LLC
Publication Date: November 15th, 2020
Number of Pages: 329
ISBN: 9781733737944 (Ebook: 9781733737951)
Links:  Amazon | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Sage Webb practiced criminal defense for over a decade before turning to fiction. She is the author of two novels and the recipient of numerous literary awards in the U.S. and the U.K., including second place in the Hackney Literary Awards. Her short stories have appeared in Texas anthologies and literary reviews. In 2020, Michigan’s Mackinac State Historic Parks named her an artist in residence. She belongs to International Thriller Writers and PEN America, and lives with her husband, a ship’s cat, and a boat dog on a sailboat in Galveston Bay. 


You can find Sage at:
www.sagewebb.com, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


Click here to view The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb Tour Participants.

Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sage Webb. There will be Fourteen (14) winners for this tour. Seven (7) winners will each receive a $15 Amazon.com Gift Card and Seven (7) winners will each receive a physical copy of The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb (US addresses only). The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through January 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.