Guest Post: Eleanor Kuhns – DEATH IN THE GREAT DISMAL

As most of you have probably discerned by now, I’m somewhat of a fanatic when it comes to reading. Seriously, if a day goes by and I don’t read I feel as if there’s something seriously wrong. (Okay, there’s probably something wrong with the fact that I’m addicted to reading, but that’s a problem I’m not even thinking about seeking treatment for anytime soon!) My reading style can only be classified as eclectic as I enjoy reading mysteries, suspense, thrillers, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, romance, romantic-suspense, ChickLit, YA, and nonfiction. I read contemporary fiction and historical fiction without a preference for any time period. One of the many things I enjoy about reading historical fiction is that many authors will include interesting historical tidbits that pique my interest in learning more. Eleanor Kuhns writes the Will Rees Mystery series, historical fiction, and Death In the Dismal is the latest addition to this series. I’m incredibly honored to host Ms. Kuhns today. Ms. Kuhns will be providing us with some background on the history and current use of the Great Dismal Swamp. I hope you’ll enjoy learning something new about this swampland, follow the blog tour to read some great reviews, and add Death in the Great Dismal to your TBR list. Dear book people, I give you Eleanor Kuhns. Thank you, Ms. Kuhns, for taking the time to stop by and visit with us today. I look forward to learning more about the setting of your latest book.

The History of the Great Dismal

by Eleanor Kuhns

In Death in the Great Dismal, Rees and Lydia take an unusually long journey. They go south, to the Great Dismal Swamp, at the request of their friend Tobias. He and his wife Ruth are free blacks, born in Maine, but they are taken off the street and sold down south (in Death of a Dyer.) Tobias and Ruth both flee servitude but while Tobias escapes back to Maine, Ruth runs to the Great Dismal Swamp and a community of other fugitives like herself.

Now Tobias wants to rescue her. He believes he will have a better chance returning north if accompanied by White friends.

At first Rees refuses. But Lydia persuades him to agree. After the conflict between them (in A Circle of Dead Girls), the previous spring when their marriage was sorely tested, she feels they need a time away from home to mend their relationship.

But the swamp is much more challenging than either Rees or Lydia expects.

Although native peoples knew of the swamp, it was discovered by Europeans only in 1665, by William Drummond. He was the first governor of North Carolina and the large shallow lake in the swamp is named for him. George Washington visited the swamp when he was a young British Officer. He saw potential for development in this wilderness and later founded the Great Dismal Swamp Canal company, with others, with the intention of draining the swamp.

The original size of the swamp is estimated at between one million and three million acres. It is a peat bog and the water-saturated peat is very thick. Despite the difficulty of draining the water, some of the swamp has been developed. The area that is left, which spans a section of southern Virginia and reaches into North Carolina, is 112 acres. It is now a Wildlife Refuge, a habitat for over 200 species of birds, a large black bear population, deer, bobcats, snakes and turtles, and many insects. (All biting, I think. Insect repellant is a must.) There are no rocks or stones of any kind in the swamp.

This is the environment that fugitives from the surrounding plantations fled to. The runaways were called maroons. (The origin of the name is not known although one theory posits it is from the French marronage – to flee.) They found refuge on the islands of higher ground that dot the swamp. Small villages and farms were established, although most of the fields were little more than an acre in size. Sweet potatoes, corn and squash were the most common crops. Feral cattle and pigs that had escaped from their pens, as well as deer, turtles, and other animals provided meat.

Some of the villages were located on the outskirts of the swamp. As I describe in the novel, the Maroons made regular forays to the plantations to take supplies, especially those items they could not find or make within the swamp. Bands of slave takers and their dogs regularly pursued the fugitives into the swamp, both to recapture what they saw as property, as well as to stop the raids on the plantations.

Other runaways lived deep within the swamp, far away from the reach of the white world. Both men and women escaped bondage, although more men than women. Family groups were established, and children were born. Many of these Maroons did not leave the swamp until after the end of the Civil War; at that point the children and grandchildren born in the swamp had never seen a white person.

Trapped within the small village by the inhospitable ecosystem outside, Rees and Lydia are the outsiders, already distrusted because of their white skins. Within days of their arrival, there is one murder and then another. Who among these few people is a murderer and why?

Death In The Great Dismal

by Eleanor Kuhns

March 22 – April 16, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

DEATH IN THE GREAT DISMAL - EKuhns

Finding themselves in a slave community hidden within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will Rees and his wife Lydia get caught up in a dangerous murder case where no one trusts them.

September 1800, Maine. Will Rees is beseeched by Tobias, an old friend abducted by slave catchers years before, to travel south to Virginia to help transport his pregnant wife, Ruth, back north. Though he’s reluctant, Will’s wife Lydia convinces him to go . . . on the condition she accompanies them.

Upon arriving in a small community of absconded slaves hiding within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will and Lydia are met with distrust. Tensions are high and a fight breaks out between Tobias and Scipio, a philanderer with a bounty on his head known for conning men out of money. The following day Scipio is found dead – shot in the back.

Stuck within the hostile Great Dismal and with slave catchers on the prowl, Will and Lydia find themselves caught up in their most dangerous case yet.

Kuhns’ vivid portrayal of the community that developed inside the swamp captures a group of naturally cunning and vigilant people who provided a family for one another when most had none. . . the story shines for its historical backbone and atmospheric details.

Booklist

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: January 5th 2021
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 0727890239 (ISBN13: 9780727890238)
Series: Will Rees Mysteries #8
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

 

Author - Eleanor Kuhns

Eleanor is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime novel winner. After working as a librarian, she transitioned to a full time writer. This is number eight in the Will Rees Mystery series.

Catch Up With Eleanor Kuhns:
Website
Goodreads
BookBub
Twitter
Facebook

 

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Guest Post: Laura Childs – HAUNTED HIBISCUS

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Hello, my fellow bibliophiles. I hope that everyone is safe, warm, and dry given the ever-changing weather happening worldwide these days. Unlike many of my family and friends, I’m not a coffee drinker although I used to be. I don’t know what happened, but about 20 years ago I could no longer stand the smell or taste of coffee and immediately switched to loose-leaf tea. I began to research the history of tea, grabbing every book I could find and stumbled across The Tea Shop Mystery series by Laura Childs and was hooked. I began to eagerly await each new release in this series and tried to guess what tea or herbal tisane might be featured. My ex-husband’s family is from the Middle East and loves drinks made with hibiscus so I figuratively jumped for joy at the chance to feature the newest release in the Tea Shop Mystery series, Haunted Hibiscus, and then literally jumped for joy when I found out Laura Childs would be providing a guest post. (Hey, book diva here!) So sit back, enjoy your beverage of choice (today mine is a nice cup of hibiscus herbal tisane, of course!), and enjoy today’s visit by Laura Childs as she talks about recipes. Thank you, Ms. Childs, for all of your delightful books and for visiting with us today. The blog is now yours.

Let There Be Recipes!

by Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author

of Haunted Hibiscus, a Tea Shop Mystery

Okay, who doesn’t love a recipe? I for one am constantly scrambling to clip recipes out of magazines and newspapers – especially if they sound irresistible, are a special new treat, or simple to prepare. Yup, I’m big on easy-peasey. Which is why I make sure all the recipes featured in my twenty-two Tea Shop Mysteries are quick and affordable with easy-to-source ingredients. Oh, you don’t want to trip from grocery to co-op hunting for star anise or licorice root? Me neither.

I also can’t carve out an extra hour in the day for prepping ingredients and then cooking them. Nope, I’m a hurry up, get it done kind of cook. And I promise you that the recipes in Haunted Hibiscus for Charleston Apple Pudding, Best Banana Bread Ever, Chai-Flavored Cupcakes, Pumpkin Soup, Crab and Avocado Tea Sandwiches, Southern Peach Crisp, and several more are a snap to fix.

I’d rather you spend that extra hour taking it easy. Reading a book (any book), sipping some tea, and kicking back. As you well know, this is the time for self-care. We’ve all been through a whirlwind this past year. It’s been exhausting, fruitless, and very trying.

So before you drain your energy trying to bake a tricky Tarte Tatin Flambé, why not just drain a can of peaches and make Southern Peach Crisp.

Sound good? Here’s the recipe:

Southern Peach Crisp

3 cups canned peaches (drained)

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup sugar

1 egg

6 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peaches in baking dish and sprinkle with lemon juice. In medium sized bowl, mix flour, sugar, and egg together – mixture will be lumpy. Spread mixture over peaches, then pour melted butter on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Yields 4 servings. (Hint: May be served with whipped cream or ice cream.)

Wishing you all my best,

Laura Childs

Haunted Hibiscus (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

About Haunted Hibiscus

Haunted Hibiscus (A Tea Shop Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
22nd in Series
Publisher: Berkley (March 2, 2021)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489691
ISBN-13: 978-0451489692
Kindle ASIN: B089S6MFBH

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play | IndieBound

Tea maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting through the dusk of a cool Charleston evening on their way to the old Bouchard Mansion. Known as the Gray Ghost, this dilapidated place was recently bequeathed to the Heritage Society, and tonight heralds the grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house.

Though Timothy Neville, the patriarch of the Heritage Society, is not thrilled with the fund-raising idea, it is the perfect venue for his grandniece, Willow French, to sign copies of her new book, Carolina Crimes & Creepers.

But amid a parade of characters dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, Lady Macbeth, and the Headless Horseman, Willow’s body is suddenly tossed from the third-floor tower room and left to dangle at the end of a rope. Police come screaming in and Theodosia’s boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, is sent to Willow’s apartment to investigate. But minutes later, he is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder.

Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley’s assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow’s book publisher and her fiancé, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others.

But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

About Laura Childs

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:
Website – http://www.laurachilds.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 1 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW
March 1 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
March 2 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 2 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
March 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 3 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
March 3 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 3 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
March 4 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 4 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
March 5 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 5 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
March 5 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
March 6 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
March 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 8 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
March 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 8 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
March 9 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
March 9 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
March 10 – Reading Authors Network – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
March 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 12 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
March 12 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
March 13 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 14 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
March 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Guest Post: Jon Land – MURDER ON THE METRO

Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope you all had a wonderful week and got some reading in. One of the best things about starting a book blog has been my introduction to some wonderful authors that simply weren’t on my bookish radar before (I know, I was a very sheltered and limited reader, reading the authors I knew or were listed in the backs of books I’d just read). Several years ago, I had the pleasure of reading one of Jon Land’s Caitlin Strong books and I was hooked. (Seriously, if you haven’t read this series, check out my reviews, grab these books, and count yourself lucky that you’re now in the know.) Needless to say, when I heard that a favorite author, i.e., Jon Land, was taking over another favorite author’s series, I was delighted and intrigued as to how said series might proceed. Today, I am beyond happy to welcome acclaimed author Jon Land to the blog and he’ll be discussing taking over the legacy series, Capital Crimes begun by the late Margaret Truman with Murder On The Metro. Please help me welcome Jon Land to the blog. Thank you, Mr. Land, for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by today. I’m honored to turn the blog over to you.

 

TAKING OVER A LEGACY

My attitude in the book business has long been, “The answer’s yes. What was the question?”

In other words, never turn down an opportunity, because you don’t know how long it will be before you get another, especially when it comes to taking over a legacy series like Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes. Fortune had struck for the second time, in the wake of my similarly taking over the equally legendary Murder, She Wrote series.

I’d jumped at that opportunity too, then landed awkwardly—by which I mean the fit wasn’t right. In endeavoring to make the series my own, I diverted from the cozy formula and made Murder, She Wrote into what the television series was and the books should have been. By time I really found my voice, Berkley had decided “to go in another direction” with a different writer. Truth be told, I think I placed more value and ambition in the series than anyone else at the company who mostly seemed to be going through the motions. You know: Been there, done that, doing it again. Good people for the most part, but there are a couple who would be best advised to move to the other side of the street if they see me coming.

The Capital Crimes series was a much more positive experience right from the start. First off, these books fell squarely within my comfort zone, mystery thrillers in others words. Second, Capital Crimes is published by Forge, my own publisher who’s responsible for bringing my Caitlin Strong books to life. I knew it was the right fit, and this time my ambition to bring a legacy series to the next level was greeted with smiles instead of shrugs.

The first thing I wanted to do was bring the series back to its roots from a branding standpoint. The first 25 or so books that carried only Margaret Truman’s name on the cover all were branded around titles that began with Murder followed by a location in Washington, the first of which was Murder In The White House. But the last half dozen titles had deviated from that.

Alas, not anymore.

Since my initial offering dealt in one of the plotlines with the murder of the vice president, my original title was Murder At The Admiral’s House after the name once given to the vice president’s residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory. Except nobody knew that. Good thing the book happened to open with a failed terrorist attack on the Washington Metro. Hence the title, Murder On The Metro. Oh man, how much better is that?

Forge came up with the brilliant cover you’re probably looking at now. I had found my footing almost from page one on this one, the book written in the style I’d favored since starting down this road as a student at Brown University in the late 70’s: multiple converging plotlines, multiple points of view, conflict-riddled characters who evolve, and the opportunity to go big, I mean really BIG, as far as the story goes.

My editor Bob Gleason, who’s the best in the business, had been instrumental in gaining the freedom of Sister Megan Rice, an eighty-five-year-old nun who’d been sentenced to a stretch in federal prison for trespassing on federal property—specifically the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Why not, Bob and my brilliant publisher Tom Doherty suggested, center my first Capital Crimes book around Sister Megan’s real-life exploits? That conversation took place over dinner at the fabulous Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal, Murder On The Metro born not far from the raw bar and lobster tank.

I inherited international private investigator Robert Brixton from my predecessor, Don Bain, but felt right from the start that I could do more with him. Don had the wisdom a few books back to have Brixton lose his oldest daughter to a terrorist bombing in a restaurant where they were lunching. Sensing something’s awry, Brixton tells her they have to leave and starts from the table. He’s outside before he realizes his daughter didn’t follow him and then BOOM!

I picked up Brixton’s character from there, five years after the bombing. He’s not the man he used to be by a longshot, plagued by guilt and grief. Having him thwart that attempted terrorist bombing on the Metro starts him down the road to redemption, to becoming the man he was before his daughter’s death and more. I had nailed the emotional core of my story, that thing that makes you care about the hero who’s driving the action.

I knew I needed another hero, a Secret Service agent similarly guilt-ridden after the vice president dies on her watch. But Agent Kendra Rendine suspects the VP was murdered and needs Brixton’s help to prove it. I thought I had my structure then and there, but something was still missing, and that’s where retired Israeli commando Lia Ganz (aka, the Lioness of Judah) enters the scene in a third plotline.

You know, I think Murder On The Metro just might the first thriller whose hero and heroine, Brixton and Ganz, are both grandparents. And that’s kind of organic to the story because so many of the readers who grew up on this series are now grandparents themselves. I knew I had something, that the book was clicking, right from the get-go, because I was enjoying the hell out of writing it. I get asked so often what’s the most important advice I give younger or beginning writers and I used to say, “Tell a great story.” Now I say “Have fun telling a great story.” Because if you’re having fun writing the book, the reader is going to have fun reading it. Simple as that, in my mind anyway.

Murder On The Metro‘s been out a while now and the response (Knock on wood!!!) has been pretty terrific. After being skewered by a hefty number of Murder, She Wrote fans initially, I can’t tell you how great that feels. Taking over a legacy like Capital Crimes is like raising somebody else’s kid after they reach their teenage years: You know what you want the kid to turn into, but you’re not exactly sure of everything that brought him or her to this point.

But raising that kid means loving and taking ownership of where he or she goes from here. That’s exactly the way I feel about the Capital Crimes series. Whatever happened before, it’s mine now, starting with Murder On The Metro. And as much as I love that book, I think my next one, Murder At The CDC, might even be better.

What’s Murder At The CDC about, you ask? Well, in a nutshell— Oops, sorry. I’ve hit my word limit. Guess you’ll have to wait until the same time next year to hear the rest! Happy reading until then!

 

Murder On The Metro

by Jon Land

March 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

 

Israel: A drone-based terrorist attack kills dozens on a sun-splashed beach in Caesarea.

Washington: America awakens to the shattering news that Vice President Stephanie Davenport has died of an apparent heart attack.

That same morning, a chance encounter on the Washington Metro results in international private investigator Robert Brixton thwarting an attempted terrorist bombing. Brixton has no reason to suspect that the three incidents have anything in common, until he’s contacted by Kendra Rendine, the Secret Service agent who headed up the vice president’s security detail. Rendine is convinced the vice president was murdered and needs Brixton’s investigative expertise to find out why.

In Israel, meanwhile, legendary anti-terrorist fighter Lia Ganz launches her own crusade against the perpetrators of that attack which nearly claimed the lives of her and granddaughter. Ganz’s trail will ultimately take her to Washington where she joins forces with Brixton to uncover an impossible link between the deadly attack on Caesarea and the attempted Metro bombing, as well as the death of the vice president.

The connection lies in the highest corridors of power in Washington where a deadly plot with unimaginable consequences has been hatched. With the clock ticking toward doomsday, Brixton and Ganz race against time to save millions of American lives who will otherwise become collateral damage to a conspiracy destined to change the United States forever.

Praise :

“Jon Land is one of the best thriller writers in the business, and the Capital Crimes series is in superb and skilled hands with him. Nobody does pacing better than Land, and Murder On The Metro starts with a bang and keeps on going at breakneck speed. If you haven’t read this excellent series, start with Land’s Murder On The Metro.” —Lisa Scottoline, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Forge Books
Publication Date: February 16th 2021
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 1250238870 (ISBN13: 9781250238870)
Series: A Capital Crimes Novel, #31
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

 

Author - Jon LandJON LAND is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty books, including eleven in the critically acclaimed Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong series, the most recent of which, Strong from the Heart, won the 2020 American Fiction Award for Best Thriller and the 2020 American Book Fest Award for Best Mystery/Suspense Novel. Additionally, he has teamed up with Heather Graham for a science fiction series that began with The Rising (winner of the 2017 International Book Award for best Sci-fi Novel) and continues with Blood Moon. He has also written six books in the Murder, She Wrote series of mysteries and has more recently taken over Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes series, beginning with Murder On The Metro in February of 2021. A graduate of Brown University, he received the 2019 Rhode Island Authors Legacy Award for his lifetime of literary achievements. Land lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Catch Up With Jon Land:
jonlandbooks.com
Goodreads
BookBub
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Twitter
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Guest Post: Emilya Naymark – HIDE IN PLACE

Hello, book people and welcome to the almost end of the week! (Hey, we have to celebrate what we can, when we can.) I’m constantly searching for new-to-me authors and adding new-to-me titles to my TBR list then lamenting the fact that I never seem to find the time to get to read all of the books I want. (Yes, I know that if I actually stopped re-re-reading books I might actually have time to read all of these new-to-me books, but that’s a whole other discussion.) Since I began this blog, I’ve realized all of the hard work and research that goes into writing. Authors have to choose the setting for the books, the characters and their names, the action, when the characters will speak, etc. As readers, we presume it’s all done effortlessly, but if you read a book that’s set in a familiar location and the author makes a mistake in describing an area, you quickly realize that it isn’t as effortless as it appears. I’m pleased to welcome Emilya Naymark, author of Hide In Place to the blog today. Ms. Naymark will be discussing with us today the importance of setting or location for a story. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Naymark and I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say. Thank you, Ms. Naymark for taking the time to join us today.

Location, Location, Location

A story’s setting is so important that it’s often thought of as yet another character. Location has moods and atmosphere, it can be benign or antagonistic, and it, more than any other aspect of a novel, offers escapism.

When deciding where to set my debut crime novel, I had no doubts—it would take place in the Hudson Valley of New York, my new home. I moved to the Hudson Valley in 2013, and I immediately became enamored of its mountains, rivers, lakes and endless hiking opportunities. The Appalachian Trail runs through forests mere miles from my house. There is a tremendous amount of history here too, with West Point a short drive north and a restaurant still in operation which had served, briefly, as Major John André’s prison before his execution.

The land is picturesque here year-round, but winter offers a particularly stark beauty, and when I began writing I knew right away my characters had to face their demons in the middle of a snowstorm.

However, writing is a way for an author to practice escapism as well, and when I thought of my NYPD detective character, Laney Bird, working, I imagined her at the opposite end of the spectrum—on a sun-blistered boardwalk in New York’s Brighton Beach. Not only did I enjoy transporting myself to the beach and “Little Odessa”, as Brighton Beach is known, but the setting made absolute sense for Laney’s job. As an undercover detective, she works a RICO (racketeering) case against the Russian mob. And where better to do this than at the bull’s eye epicenter of Russian mafia in New York (if not the entire USA)?

The novel swings back and forth between Laney’s past, working her case in sun-drenched Brighton and her horrifying present in an icebound Hudson Valley.

These settings have psychological connotations as well—the seemingly cloudless, warm past, tinged with a nostalgic glow over its boardwalks, sand, and ethnic foods, and the harsh, cold, isolated present. Memories for characters in books, as for real people leading real lives, are not the most accurate recorders of reality, and so the environment steps in as a metaphor. Maybe Laney’s time working the racketeering case seems hotter, sunnier, merrier, because back then she thought she had everything she ever wanted.

And maybe her life in February-frigid Sylvan seems colder and more nightmarish because of all the things she believes she’s lost.

 

Hide In Place

by Emilya Naymark

March 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

HIDE IN PLACE - ENaymark

She left the NYPD in the firestorm of a high-profile case gone horribly wrong. Three years later, the ghosts of her past roar back to terrifying life.

When NYPD undercover cop Laney Bird’s cover is blown in a racketeering case against the Russian mob, she flees the city with her troubled son, Alfie. Now, three years later, she’s found the perfect haven in Sylvan, a charming town in upstate New York. But then the unthinkable happens: her boy vanishes.

Local law enforcement dismisses the thirteen-year-old as a runaway, but Laney knows better. Alfie would never abandon his special routines and the sanctuary of their home. Could he have been kidnapped–or worse? As a February snowstorm rips through the region, Laney is forced to launch her own investigation, using every trick she learned in her years undercover.

As she digs deeper into the disappearance, Laney learns that Alfie and a friend had been meeting with an older man who himself vanished, but not before leaving a corpse in his garage. With dawning horror, Laney discovers that the man was a confidential informant from a high-profile case she had handled in the past. Although he had never known her real identity, he knows it now. Which means several other enemies do, too. Time is running out, and as Laney’s search for her son grows more desperate, everything depends on how good a detective she really is–badge or no.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: February 9, 2020
Number of Pages: 278
ISBN: 1643856375 (ISBN13: 9781643856377)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Emilya Naymark

Emilya Naymark’s short stories appear in Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, 1+30: THE BEST OF MY STORY, and in the upcoming Harper Collins anthology A Stranger Comes to Town.

She has a degree in fine art, and her artworks have been published in numerous magazines and books, earning her a reputation as a creator of dark, psychological pieces.

When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of thrillers and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.

Catch Up With Emilya Naymark:
www.EmilyaNaymark.com/author/
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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Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Emilya Naymark. There will be THREE winners. ONE winner will receive (1) physical copy of Hide In Place by Emilya Naymark (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on March 1, 2021 and runs through April 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: Sid Meltzer – UNWITTING ACCOMPLICE

 
unwitting-accomplice-by-sid-meltzer--banner

 

Good day, book people. We live in a world filled with things that interrupt our daily lives, whether it’s the constant news cycle on television, premium TV channels, movie channels, sports channels, reality TV, YouTube, as well as social media. It’s no wonder that we often find ourselves sitting in our favorite chair or lounging on our couches and engrossed in what’s playing on the television screen or on our cellphones, tablets, or computers. It’s relatively easy to get distracted from what we might want or need to do, (which for me is reading and writing reviews). Add in work and family obligations and it’s truly amazing that we ever get anything done. I guess that also applies to authors, especially when they might be dealing with “writer’s block.” I’m pleased to welcome Sid Meltzer, author of Unwitting Accomplice, who will be sharing us with how he deals with “writer’s block.” I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to say and will follow the blog tour to learn more about this author and Unwitting Accomplice. Thank you, Mr. Meltzer for sharing with us today. The blog is now yours.

What’s on TV? Or, my half-century long case of writer’s block.

You’ve no doubt heard about the dreaded condition writers face at one time or another. When they’re simply unable to do their job, and put off sitting down at their keyboard day after day. Coming up with one lame excuse after another. Or when they finally do sit down, they find themselves staring at an empty page (all right, screen) unable to come up with anything worth reading.

Welcome to my world, friends.

For all of my adult life, I always knew I had a novel in me. And friends and kinfolk have often told me something along the lines of, “You know, Sid, you should write that down. There’s a book there, I bet.”

But I didn’t. Or couldn’t. Or wouldn’t.

People who study this condition say writer’s block could be due to factors such as being too hard on oneself, or fear of being compared to famous writers of famous books. It could also be due to lack of external motivation, like not getting attention and praise. Or lack of internal motivation, like a desire to tell one’s story.

To be fair to myself, some of my half-century old block was due to outside pressures. I worked many years as a copywriter, a job that sucked out all my mental energy. I had a wife and kids who needed a full-time husband and father. I had things to do and places to see.

To be honest with myself though, some of it was entirely internal. Who would want to read what I have to say? What would I write about? Who am I kidding? I can’t write worth a damn. What’s on TV?

Whatever the cause, there are cures – like talking it out with other writers, or psychotherapy, or better time management — proven to relieve writer’s block for many writers. For me, though, the cure was getting fired for the last time.

I was let go from my last copywriting job just as I turned 65 (entirely coincidental, I assure you) and started collecting social security. In other words, I enjoyed a little financial freedom that I never had before. Which meant I no longer had to write for lawyers, clients, and focus groups to earn my keep, and was now free to write for myself.

It took a few false starts, and a lot of on-the-job-training, but I eventually had a book that an agent believed in, and then a publisher believed in, and I hope you believe in as well. Unwitting Accomplice– – an epic fifty years in the making.

I may be guilty of procrastination in the first degree. But there’s no reason you should be. I hope you start reading, and enjoying, Unwitting Accomplice without delay.

Now, where did I put that remote?

 

Unwitting Accomplice

by Sid Meltzer

March 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:UNWITTING ACCOMPLICE - SMeltzer

 

How can a homicide be prevented when it’s still only in some stranger’s head?

Kim Barbieri, a tough, street-smart New York City crime reporter unfazed by male egos and mangled bodies, is sent an anonymous note with a sinister message:

I intend to commit a murder

She doesn’t know who the killer is.

She doesn’t know who his victim will be.

She doesn’t know where, when and how he will strike.

But there is one thing she does know: If she doesn’t learn to think like a killer, someone’s going to get away with murder.

Kudos for Unwitting Accomplice:

“The tension builds page after page, chapter after chapter, between the psycho driven to kill and the reporter determined to stop him—ending with a surprise twist I just didn’t see coming. And I’m a thriller writer!” ~ Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire and A Man at Arms

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Rogue Phoenix Press
Publication Date: December 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 313
ISBN: 978-1-62420-579-8
Series: A Kim Barbieri Thriller
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Sid Meltzer

Sid Meltzer took a couple of worthwhile detours on his way to becoming a crime fiction writer.

He started out as a NYS Supreme Court Probation Officer, a job that helped him see things from a criminal’s point of view— and let him peer into their minds’ many dark alleys.

Working with ethically-challenged rascals prepared him well for the caliber of people he met in his next career— advertising. That is where he learned how to craft stories that draw readers in and keep them engaged.

Unwitting Accomplice is his debut novel.

Catch Up With Sid Meltzer:
Goodreads
Instagram – @sidmeltzer
Twitter – @sid_meltzer

 

Tour Participants:

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


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

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Guest Post: Mally Becker – THE TURNCOAT’S WIDOW

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Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope everyone of you is safe and warm. Can you believe we’ve almost made it to the end of the second month of 2021?! I know most of you are avid readers like myself. And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably curious about what author’s do when they aren’t writing. Is writing their only career? Do they have other work responsibilities and write on a part-time basis? Did they wait until retirement to begin writing? Did they wait until their children had graduated from high school (or its equivalent) before writing or are their children still at home and in school? Inquiring minds want to know…okay, my inquiring mind wants to know. Thankfully, today’s guest author will reveal a few answers to these questions. Please help me welcome freelance journalist turned attorney turned children’s advocate, Mally Becker. Ms. Becker’s historical suspense novel, The Turncoat’s Widow was recently released. I hope you’ll enjoy Ms. Becker’s words of wisdom and that you’ll follow the blog tour to read some enlightening reviews of this book. Thank you, Ms. Becker, for visiting with us today. The blog is now yours.

Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams

by Mally Becker

My 18th century heroine, Rebecca Parcell, is a young widow and an outsider in her hometown. The War for Independence is literally on her doorstep, there’s a growing whisper campaign that she’s a Loyalist sympathizer. Becca is angry, defensive, and scared. Who wouldn’t be? But she manages by the end of the book to reinvent herself as she faces each challenge.

I still don’t have my heroine’s hard-won confidence. But I’ve reinvented myself, too, as I wrote my historical mystery, The Turncoat’s Widow, and here’s the lesson I want to share: Don’t give up on a dream, whether or not it has anything to do with writing, even if it seems – or is – out of reach today.

Writing isn’t my first career. It’s isn’t even my second. Like so many others, I’ve always imagined writing a novel one day. I nibbled around the edge of that wish for a long time, crafting a few freelance pieces for my local newspaper, starting then shelving the beginnings of other stories.

But I finished The Turncoat’s Widow, and my story was published about a week ago. So what changed? How did I change? In retrospect, I can point to three things, and I think they apply to more than writing.

Enjoy the ride. I was 30 pages into my first draft when a mystery writer said to me at a writers conference, “If you’re not having fun writing, just don’t do it.” I had let myself become too judgmental about my own beginner efforts. I’d almost forgotten that I loved to write, forgotten how remarkable it is when a character veers off in a direction I hadn’t considered until my fingers hit the keyboard. That writer’s message came at the right time.

I stopped stressing over whether what I wrote was any good or whether I’d be published. I focused on my story and having fun figuring out what would happen next. I would think about the rest later, I told myself, or maybe I wouldn’t. I was just at the keyboard to have fun and keep writing.

Focusing on the process and not the outcome sounds simple, right? It was, and it wasn’t. But it was liberating to think only about the next sentence, the next scene, the next chapter. I couldn’t control whether a publisher would eventually want to pick up my book or what readers will think now that it’s launched. But I could control whether I sat down in front of my laptop to write each day.

Studies show that feeling in control is a major component of happiness. Writing regularly–focusing on what I could control–made me happy.

Find your people. Writing is a lonely business, or so the cliché goes. Except it is a cliché and not always true. Talking to people whose goals were similar to mine kept me motivated. I still sit in on virtual weekly workshops at The Writers Circle in New Jersey, where I found my tribe. I also searched online for free and low-cost options for writers. Maybe the only upside of Covid is that so many writing conferences and authors’ readings are available online for free now.

Be kind to yourself. Some people carve out writing time while they’re working full time, raising a family, and volunteering a favorite charity. Nope. Not me. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t beat myself up for “failing” to write more when I was doing all of the above. I didn’t find the energy to focus on The Turncoat’s Widow until our son had graduated from high school.

“Trust the process,” another writer told me. It sounds like something Yoda would say in a Star Wars films, right? But life has its seasons, and is there anyone who gets to do everything they’ve ever wanted to do all at the same time? I didn’t realize back in the day that the low-cost writers conferences I attended, the short articles I wrote and the journals I filled were like a pianist’s finger exercises. They were just enough to keep my writing muscles limber until the right idea and time presented themselves.

Are you moving closer to a goal you’ve had for a long time? What keeps you going?

 

The Turncoat’s Widow

by Mally Becker

February 22 – March 19, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

The Turncoat's Widow

 

Recently widowed, Rebecca Parcell is too busy struggling to maintain her farm in Morristown to care who wins the War for Independence. But rumors are spreading in 1780 that she’s a Loyalist sympathizer who betrayed her husband to the British—quite a tidy way to end her disastrous marriage, the village gossips whisper.

Everyone knows that her husband was a Patriot, a hero who died aboard a British prison ship moored in New York Harbor. But “everyone” is wrong. Parcell was a British spy, and General Washington – who spent two winters in Morristown – can prove it. He swears he’ll safeguard Becca’s farm if she unravels her husband’s secrets. With a mob ready to exile her or worse in the winter of 1780, it’s an offer she can’t refuse.

Escaped British prisoner of war Daniel Alloway was the last person to see Becca’s husband alive, and Washington throws this unlikely couple together on an espionage mission to British-occupied New York City. Moving from glittering balls to an underworld of brothels and prisons, Becca and Daniel uncover a plot that threatens the new country’s future. But will they move quickly enough to warn General Washington? And can Becca, who’s lost almost everyone she loves, fight her growing attraction to Daniel, a man who always moves on?

Praise for The Turncoat’s Widow

The Turncoat’s Widow has it all. A sizzling romance, meticulous research, and an exhilarating adventure. Becca Parcell is too independent for both 18th-century Morristown and her feckless English husband. Her individual plight when she is pressed into service as an unwilling spy after her husband’s death reflects the larger situation of colonists during the American Revolution, whose lives were upended by a political fight they cared nothing about. Becker balances the ruthlessness of George Washington and the underhanded charm of Alexander Hamilton with the excesses of the British, as part of a detailed picture of how the colonies were governed during a war that was far from a simple fight between two opposing nations. But historical exactitude is balanced by dashing romance between Becca and Daniel Alloway, the escaped prisoner charged with protecting her, and plot full of bold escapes and twists. A great series debut. I can’t wait for the next installment.
– Erica Obey, author, Dazzle Paint (coming 02/2021), The Curse of the Braddock Brides, and The Horseman’s Word.

An exciting Revolutionary-era thriller with a twisty mystery, great characters, and historical accuracy to boot.
– Eleanor Kuhns,author of the Will Rees mysteries

The Turncoat’s Widow reminds readers that treachery from within and without to our republic were real, and those early days for American independence from the British were fragile, the patriot cause, unpopular. This is a rousing debut novel with insights into the hardships of colonial life, the precarious place of women in society, while giving fans of historical fiction a tale with suspense, surprises, and anoutspoken and admirable heroine in Becca Parcell. Mally Becker is an author to watch.
– Gabriel Valjan, Agatha and Anthony-nominated author of The Naming Game

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Suspense / Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: February 16, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-953789-27-3
Purchase Links: Amazon || Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Mally Becker

Mally Becker is a writer whose historical suspense novel, The Turncoat’s Widow, was published in February 2021 by Level Best Books. She was born in Brooklyn and began her professional career in New York City as a publicist and freelance magazine writer, then moved on, becoming an attorney and, later, an advocate for children in foster care.

As a volunteer, she used her legal background to create a digest of letters from US Supreme Court Justices owned by the Morristown National Park. That’s where she found a copy of an indictment for the Revolutionary War crime of traveling from New Jersey to New York City “without permission or passport.” It led her to the idea for her story.

​A winner of the Leon B. Burstein/MWA-NY Scholarship for Mystery Writing, Mally lives with her husband in the wilds of New Jersey where they hike, kayak, look forward to visits from their son, and poke around the region’s historical sites.

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

 

 

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=300480

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Mally Becker. There will be Five (5) winners for this tour. One winner will receive a $20. Amazon.com Gift Card, Two (2) winners will each win a physical copy of The Turncoat’s Widow by Mally Becker (U.S. addresses only), and Two (2) winners will each win an eBook copy of The Turncoat’s Widow by Mally Becker. The giveaway begins on February 22, 2021 and runs through March 21, 2021.

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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:

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=300040

 

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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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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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours