Guest Post: Karen Odden – UNDER A VEILED MOON

Saturday Salutations, my bookish peeps. Have you ever visited a place and the history tied to that particular spot just overwhelmed you? There have only been a few places I’ve seen that touched me emotionally. The first was Plimouth Plantation (now Plimouth Patuxet Museums) in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and learning of the freed Blacks that had settled there with many of the first non-Indigenous settlers. The second was Salem, Massachusetts, and the history linked to the Salem Witch Trials. The last place was Mecca, Saudi Arabia. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings brought on by thoughts of all the folks that had previously walked in the same areas I was covering. It probably sounds a bit sappy, but I often ponder who walked or lived in the areas I’m in as well as wondering what might have happened in that location 100 or 200+ years ago. Sadly, I don’t do the research required to obtain the answers to these questions, but I continue to wonder. Today, I’m pleased to welcome someone that wonders about the past, actually does the necessary research, and crafts intriguing stories afterward. Karen Odden is the author of several historical fiction books, including the recently released Under a Veiled Moon, book two in the Inspector Corravan series. Thank you, Ms. Odden, for joining us today and sharing your thoughts on the river Thames. Without further adieu, I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

The Magic of the Thames

By Karen Odden

     Until I started researching for Down a Dark River (Inspector Corravan #1) I had no idea that the Thames was tidal. Did you know this? Twice a day, the flow of the river changes from east to west and then west to east, with some areas rising and falling up to twenty-four feet, from the North Sea in the east to nearly 100 miles inland, well past even the outskirts of London. Think about that: twenty-four feet. The eco-sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor placed four horses in the Thames near Vauxhall, and the sculptures vanish and reappear with the tide, reminding people of our dependence upon water generally and the Thames specifically.

Statues of humans on horse-like creatures
“The Rising Tide” Photo credit: Jason deCaires Taylor

 

     As a result of the changing currents, a mix of trash and treasure alike are thrown upon the banks daily. As a child, in 1850s London, my (fictional) inspector Michael Corravan would mudlark along the banks, scrounging for bits of coal, wood, and metal that might be usable or saleable – and nowadays for about $50 on Tripadvisor, you can book a mud larking tour, complete with high rubber boots and a pail and a stick, and retrace his steps.

Photo of people "mudlarking" on the shore of the Thames
Mudlarkers on the south shore of the Thames, near Blackfriars Bridge. Photo credit: Karen Odden.

 

     Back in 1858, when Michael Corravan was ten years old, London experienced “the Great Stink.” Basically, the industrial waste from tanneries and manufacturing plants combined with approximately four million people’s household waste had turned the Thames into a sludgy, smelly mess.

Black and White drawing of a skeleton wearing a black hooded cap, rowing a boat
“The Silent Highwayman” (1858)

When Parliament met in Westminster, on the north side of the Thames, the Members were in agony. From the windows, they hung sheets which they sprayed with lime to try to keep the stink and the “miasma” (thought to carry disease) out. It didn’t take long before they decided to hire Joseph Bazalgette, a civil engineer, to fix this problem. His solution was to send the waste ten miles downstream (east) to a processing plant. He built enormous pipes (much larger than people thought they needed because, after all, London couldn’t possibly grow any larger than it already was – !) and overlaid them with the Victorian Embankment, which you can still walk on today. The Thames was revitalized, making it possible to romanticize it, which painters including Monet, Grimshaw, Whistler, and Canaletto did.

Oil painting of the Thames at Moonlight with the Southwark Bridge by J.A. Grimshaw
The Thames by Moonlight with Southwark Bridge by J.A. Grimshaw (1836-1893), Photo credit: City of London Corp.

(For a range of paintings of the Thames, see https://www.standard.co.uk/culture/london-art-nine-paintings-of-the-river-thames-you-have-to-see-a3900821.html)

     The spectacular, fascinating thing about the Victorian Thames is it was both changeful and steady, old and modern, a disgusting sewer and the vital lifeblood of a city all at once. As such, it’s a wonderfully suggestive setting for my books, Down a Dark River and Under a Veiled Moon, because there are no neat divisions of good and evil. My protagonist and the important secondary characters are complex, driven by motives they may not even know, and acting in ways that bring about results they don’t necessarily intend. A man or woman can be both kind and cruel, clever and obtuse, frightened and courageous, depending on the tide of events at any given moment. (See what I did there? Tide?)

     Frankly, I do not like books with flat secondary characters whose only purpose is to either enable or foil the protagonist. So I don’t want to write them. People are complicated. Their backstories are varied and unique and a messy composite of a variety of experiences. And I believe characters can and should surprise us. They can stretch our compassion and our powers of sympathy. They can make it possible for us to imagine what it is to be an Irish inspector at Scotland Yard in the 1870s, tasked with discovering the truth about the tragic Princess Alice steamship disaster, and caught between warring factions, impossible choices, and a past and present both wondrous and appalling. ♦

Black and White graphic drawing depicting the loss of "The Princess Alice" ship
Pamphlet, 1878. Photo Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

 

Under a Veiled Moon

by Karen Odden

January 2-27, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Under a Veiled Moon by Karen Odden

In the tradition of C. S. Harris and Anne Perry, a fatal disaster on the Thames and a roiling political conflict set the stage for Karen Odden’s second Inspector Corravan historical mystery.

September 1878. One night, as the pleasure boat the Princess Alice makes her daily trip up the Thames, she collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier. The Princess Alice shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who believe violence is the path to restoring Irish Home Rule.

For Scotland Yard Inspector Michael Corravan, born in Ireland and adopted by the Irish Doyle family, the case presents a challenge. Accused by the Home Office of willfully disregarding the obvious conclusion, and berated by his Irish friends for bowing to prejudice, Corravan doggedly pursues the truth, knowing that if the Princess Alice disaster is pinned on the IRB, hopes for Home Rule could be dashed forever.

Corrovan’s dilemma is compounded by Colin, the youngest Doyle, who has joined James McCabe’s Irish gang. As violence in Whitechapel rises, Corravan strikes a deal with McCabe to get Colin out of harm’s way. But unbeknownst to Corravan, Colin bears longstanding resentments against his adopted brother and scorns his help.

As the newspapers link the IRB to further accidents, London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos. With the help of his young colleague, the loyal Mr. Stiles, and his friend Belinda Gale, Corravan uncovers the harrowing truth—one that will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: October 11, 2022
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781639101191 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9781639101207 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781666616354 (digital Audiobook)
ASIN: B09S3J7LRP (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B0B622C43J (Audible Audiobook)
Series: Inspector Corravan, #2
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Praise for Under a Veiled Moon:

“[An] exceptional sequel … Odden never strikes a false note, and she combines a sympathetic lead with a twisty plot grounded in the British politics of the day and peopled with fully fleshed-out characters. Fans of Lyndsay Faye’s Gods of Gotham trilogy will be enthralled.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

“Victorian skulduggery with a heaping side of Irish troubles.”

Kirkus Reviews

 

“Will keep readers curious and guessing to the end.”

Manhattan Book Review, 5-star review

 

“Damn fine historical crime fiction.”

Bolo Books

 

“Rich in emotion and historical detail, Under a Veiled Moon is a brilliant tale of the dark, thorny places where the personal and the political intertwine.”

Mariah Fredericks, Edgar award-nominated author of the Jane Prescott series

Author Bio:

Karen Odden

Karen received her Ph.D. in English literature from New York University and subsequently taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has published numerous essays and articles on Victorian literature, written introductions for Victorian novels in the Barnes and Noble Classics Series, and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture. Her first novel, A Lady in the Smoke, was a USA Today bestseller and A Dangerous Duet and A Trace of Deceit have won awards for historical mystery and historical fiction. Her fourth mystery, Down a Dark River, introduced readers to Michael Corravan, a former thief and bare-knuckles boxer from Whitechapel who serves as an inspector at Scotland Yard in 1870s London. The sequel, Under a Veiled Moon, is available in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook. A member of Mystery Writers of America and a national board member for Sisters in Crime, Karen lives in Arizona with her family.

Catch Up With Karen Odden:
KarenOdden.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @KarenOdden
Instagram – @karen_m_odden
Twitter – @karen_odden
Facebook – @karen.odden

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Guest Post: Colleen Coble – DARK OF NIGHT

Dark of Night

by Colleen Coble

January 9-February 3, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Good day, my bookish peeps. I was recently asked by a family member what I planned to do for the New Year’s weekend and I responded that I’d be curled up in my reading chair with a pot of tea and a few good books. I ended 2022 and began 2023 by reading romance. Some were romantic suspense reads, a few were paranormal romance and historical romance, and the others were romantic comedies. What can I say, the past few years I’ve been reading a lot more romance than normal. Romance has become my go-to genre whenever I’m in a reading slump, feeling a bit down, or having a sick day. I’m incredibly thankful to the authors that create these wonderful romantic stories. One such author is Colleen Coble, with her soon-to-be-released, Dark of Night, book two in the “Annie Pederson” romantic suspense series. Thank you, Ms. Coble, for coming back to visit with us. I can’t wait to learn your thoughts on romance, the blog is all yours.

The Power of Romance
by Colleen Coble

I’ve always been a romantic at heart. Back in my teen years, I swooned over Barnabas in Dark Shadows (I know that’s weird, and also dates me, but what can I say? ) I married at nineteen and have been married to the same wonderful guy for 51 years. Being a romantic has been instrumental in that long happy marriage!

I have always taken romance a bit for granted since my husband is also a romantic, but I recently had a wake-up call when I received an email from a reader. They’d just read one of my books. All four books in my Lonestar series have the same marriage of convenience underpinning, and the reader realized that love is a choice. She let me know she was choosing to love her husband all over again and was going to try again in her marriage. Whoohoo! I love being able to be part of making people think about life and relationships.

Many people think of love as a feeling—and it is of course—but it’s much more than that. We don’t always feel like being loving. The house is a mess, the kids are snarking at each other, and you feel like giving as good as you’re getting from everyone else. But it’s those times when we need to stop and realize that we can choose to love even when we don’t feel like it. That decision can carry us through the bad times that always come. Romance novels aren’t frivolous. There is nothing more important than choosing to love someone and being an agent of change in the world that way. Thinking of someone else’s happiness first could bring deep and lasting changes to our lives—and to the world.

Romance always has an edge of optimism to it because we know there’s going to be a happily ever after. Life isn’t always that way, but I like looking at the world through a romantic prism because it helps me see the good even when bad things happen. I know things will eventually turn out fine even if that happy-ever-after finale has to wait until heaven to materialize.

Synopsis:

Dark of Night by Colleen Coble cover

The law is about justice—not grace. But perhaps ranger Annie Pederson can find a way to have both.

As if the last few months haven’t been hard enough—complete with threats on her life and the return of her first love, Jon—Annie has to figure out whether or not to believe a woman who claims to be her sister, Sarah, who was abducted twenty-four years ago at age five. Annie’s eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, has plenty of questions about what’s going on in her mother’s life—but there are some stones Annie doesn’t want uncovered.

As Annie grapples with how to heal the gulf between her and her would-be sister and make room in her daughter’s life for Jon, she’s professionally distracted by the case of yet another missing hiker in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A woman named Michelle Fraser has now been abducted, and though the woman’s estranged husband is at the top of their suspect list, Annie and her colleagues will need to dig deeper and determine whether these recent mysteries are truly as unrelated as they seem.

In this second novel of bestselling author Colleen Coble’s latest romantic-suspense series, Annie and Jon must fight for the future—and the family—that could once more be theirs.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 2023
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN10: 0785253742 (Paperback)
ISBN13: 9780785253747 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9780785253754 (eBook)
ASIN: B0B1WKV7M4 (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B0B61MK9BK (Audible audiobook)
ISBN: 9780785253761 (Digital audiobook)
Series: Annie Pederson #2
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | B&N Audiobook | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | ChristianBook | Downpour Audiobook | eBooks.com | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:
colleencoble.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @colleencoble
Instagram: @colleencoble
Twitter: @colleencoble
Facebook: colleencoblebooks

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Guest Post: Heather Day Gilbert – ROAST DATE

Good day, book people. For those of you in the US experiencing the recent Arctic blast and Snowmaggedon, I hope you’re all staying safe, dry, and warm. In my little corner of West Virginia, we’re not expected to get much snow (please don’t let us get snow), but we are expecting frigid temperatures and a possible ice storm. (Something tells me this could be a good day to curl up in my reading chair, fix a pot of oolong tea, and grab a book or two and read the day away.) I’m incredibly pleased and honored to welcome Heather Day Gilbert, a fellow West Virginian and author of the Barks & Beans Cafe series including the latest release, Roast Date. Ms. Gilbert will be discussing her fictional cafe with us. So grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s learn more about the Barks & Beans Cafe. Thank you, Ms. Gilbert, for taking the time to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

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

Thanks for letting me visit your blog today! Since my Barks & Beans Cafe series features a cafe where folks can enjoy gourmet sandwiches and drinks while petting shelter dogs, I thought I’d give you the top five foods/drinks you’ll find in Roast Date, a Christmas-set mystery! Trust me, I have so much fun finding special tastes of the season. If you want to see more ideas, you can find all my Barks & Beans cafe Pinterest boards here.

Top Five Specialty Foods/Drinks you’ll find in Roast Date:

1. A cafe isn’t complete without its own special house blend coffee, and at the Barks & Beans Cafe, it comes from Costa Rica. It’s a fresh, cozy blend with citrus and brown sugar notes, and you’ll find amateur sleuth Macy Hatfield is selling some at the Christmas book club party in Roast Date!

2. Cafe baker and barista Charity keeps busy concocting new foods for Barks & Beans Cafe customers. Her latest hit are chocolate peppermint patty cookies, which go in gift baskets for the book club!

3. A vegetarian cafe visitor will try Charity’s delicious eggplant pesto sandwich before she leaves.

4. Homemade sweet & spicy meatballs. Macy’s neighbor Vera serves these at her ill-fated book club Christmas party.

5. Cinnamon eggnog and gingerbread cookies—Vera’s made these for the party, but her eggnog is about to get a very bad rap. You’ll have to read Roast Date to find out what happens!

Thanks so much for having me today, and happy holidays to all! ♦

Roast Date (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)
by Heather Day Gilbert

About Roast Date


Roast Date (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)

BOOK SEVEN in the bestselling BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

After much cajoling, Macy gives in to her neighbor, Vera, and agrees to come to her book club’s Christmas party so she can share about the cafe. While public speaking isn’t Macy’s thing, she wants to brighten Vera’s lonely holiday season…and she can sell a little house blend on the side.

When a lively book discussion spirals into a public roast of the mayor—who happens to be sitting in their midst—things get uncomfortable. Soon afterward, the mayor shows up dead in Vera’s bathroom, and no amount of gingerbread cookies or eggnog can restore Vera to the club’s good graces. ‘Tis the season for Macy to find the murderer, or else Vera might be taking a long winter’s nap in a jail cell.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade
Book 4: Spilled Milk
Book 5: Trouble Brewing
Book 6: Cold Drip
Book 7: Roast Date

Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – West Virginia
WoodHaven Press (December 20, 2022)
Number of Pages ~250
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Z8NYHX9 (Kindle edition)
ISBN : 9781735565194 (Paperback)

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Amazon | Amazon Kindle

About Heather Day Gilbert

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginian can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Author Links
Webpage: https://heatherdaygilbert.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherdaygilbert/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/heatherdgilbert
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-day-gilbert
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7232683.Heather_Day_Gilbert

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 19 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
December 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
December 20 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 20 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 20 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 20 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
December 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
December 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 21 – Lady Hawkeye – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 21 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
December 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
December 23 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 23 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 23 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

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Guest Post: Kelly Oliver – CHAOS AT CARNEGIE

Good day, book people. Most of you are probably aware that I have an eclectic reading style. Although I read mostly fiction, I’m not tethered to just one genre. I read a little bit of everything. I’m especially in awe of authors of historical fiction. Stop and think about it folks, these authors have to do quite a bit of research to ensure they’re describing the clothing, customs, and language accurately. Yes, any author can use creative license when crafting their stories, but we readers generally don’t expect to see a reference to a telephone or television if the story is set in the 18th or 19th century. Please help me welcome Kelly Oliver, author of Chaos at Carnegie. Ms. Oliver will discuss her thoughts on some important considerations about crafting historical fiction. Thank you, Ms. Oliver, for joining us today and welcome. As a reader of historical and contemporary fiction, I’m looking forward to what you have to share with us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

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

Do you like historical mysteries?

I do. I love reading historical mysteries—Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody, Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs, Rhys Bowen’s Georgiana Rannoch (and her standalones), Sujata Massey’s Perveen Mistry, and Mariah Frederick’s Jane Prescott, L.A. Chandler’s Lane Sanders and more.

I also love writing historical mysteries. I’ve written nonfiction books, contemporary suspense, and children’s mysteries, but my historical series, the Fiona Figg Mysteries, is my favorite to write. Why?

I love doing historical research. It is so fun to discover weird details about the past. And it is helpful to have real events to anchor the plot. For me, it makes writing easier. And I think readers are more interested in characters who are grounded in real-life events and true crime.

I’ve learned a lot about writing since I started writing fiction. But there are some particular lessons I’ve learned from writing historical mysteries.

Historical Details Shape Plot and Setting

I love the fact that the details of history can help shape not only my plot but also the everyday lives of my protagonists. It’s like having a cheat sheet.

The challenge, of course, is getting it right. And not just being accurate but also finding the right balance between historical details and story.

History can play so many roles in the novel, from those spicy tidbits sprinkled throughout the text, to the rich tapestry of everyday life that forms the background or setting for your story.

Since the Fiona Figg Mysteries are set in 1917 during WWI, I’ve learned about war strategy, early twentieth-century British slang, what soldiers ate in the trenches, WWI female spies, and so many fun details.

Fiona’s nemesis throughout the series, Fredrick Fredricks, is based on a German spy named Fritz Duquesne, who was a fascinating character in real life. He was a spy for the Germans in both world wars (which means Fiona can chase him across the globe for years to come). He used various aliases, including Fredrick Fredricks. And, like a chameleon, he changed his looks, personality, and professions to evade capture. He is definitely a worthy adversary for Fiona.

Historical Research is Fun

As a nerdy academic, I love doing the research! It’s so fun to look through old newspaper advertisements or to use William Brohaugh’s English Through the Ages, Etymonline, or an old Baedeker’s guidebook. So fun to hold those antique books in your hands.

Of course, the Internet is a vast source of information about everything from the food and clothes of an era to the political events that shaped it. It’s amazing where you can find helpful information, especially stuff to help you paint a vivid picture of the details. First-hand accounts in documentaries, autobiographies, and nonfiction are also great resources.

In the latest Fiona Figg Mystery, Chaos at Carnegie Hall, Thomas Edison, Dorothy Parker, and Margaret Sanger make appearances.

In the past, I’ve resurrected Mata Hari, Mileva Einstein (Albert’s first wife and collaborator), and a mysterious French serial killer.

For the next in the series, I’m researching French aviator and sportswoman, Marie Marvingt. I love reading about powerful women who may have been forgotten by history.

Anachronisms are Fascinating

Even the dreaded anachronism can be fascinating. What words and gadgets existed and when? Anachronisms are things or words used in the wrong time period, either because they didn’t exist yet, or because they were already out of use. There’s also the issue of region or place.

Words used here might not be used there, even in the same time period. For example, in the US we say “cafeteria” and in England they say “canteen.”

And on top of that, some words or things might feel out of place, even if they aren’t. Even though it would be fair game to use a phrase like “hang out” in a 19th Century novel, it might make your reader stop and question its accuracy. So, you need to use words that not only are right but also sound like they’re right.

Facts versus Truth

It might sound like writing historical fiction is full of landmines and pitfalls, but those same challenges and obstacles can become a great help in fashioning a believable and engaging story. And, while emotions and reactions are also period and place-dependent, a good historical novel adds the fleshy truth of experience to the bare bones of historical fact. A great historical novel makes people, places, and the past come alive.

How about you? What are your favorite historical novels? ♦

Chaos at Carnegie Hall

by Kelly Oliver

December 5 – 30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Oliver

Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in the Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane Mystery series opener.

Can Fiona catch a killer and find a decent cup of tea before her mustache wax melts?

1917. New York.

Notorious spy, Fredrick Fredricks, has invited Fiona to Carnegie Hall to hear a famous soprano. It’s an opportunity the War Office can’t turn down. Fiona and Clifford are soon on their way, but not before Fiona is saddled with chaperone duties for Captain Hall’s niece. Is Fiona a spy or a glorified babysitter?

From the minute Fiona meets the soprano aboard the RMS Adriatic it’s treble on the high C’s. Fiona sees something—or someone—thrown overboard, and then she overhears a chemist plotting in German with one of her own countrymen!

And the trouble doesn’t stop when they disembark. Soon Fiona is doing time with a group of suffragettes and investigating America’s most impressive inventor Thomas Edison.

When her number one suspect turns up dead at the opera and Fredrick Fredricks is caught red-handed, it looks like it’s finally curtains for the notorious spy.

But all the evidence points to his innocence. Will Fiona change her tune and clear her nemesis’ name? Or will she do her duty? And just what is she going to do with the pesky Kitty Lane? Not to mention swoon-worthy Archie Somersby…

If Fiona’s going to come out on top, she’s going to have to make the most difficult decision of her life: the choice between her head and her heart.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Cozy Mystery
Published by: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: November 2022
Number of Pages: 298
ISBN: 9781804831564
Series: The Fiona Figg Mysteries
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Kelly Oliver

Kelly Oliver is the award-winning and bestselling author of three mystery series: the seven-book suspense series, The Jessica James Mysteries; the three-book middle grade series, Pet Detective Mysteries; and the four-book historical cozy series, The Fiona Figg Mysteries.

Chaos at Carnegie Hall is the latest Fiona Figg mystery, and the first to feature sidekick, Kitty Lane.

When she’s not writing novels, Kelly is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

To learn more about Kelly and her books, go to:
www.KellyOliverBooks.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @KellyOliverBook
Instagram – @KellyOliverBook
Twitter – @KellyOliverBook
Facebook – @KellyOliverAuthor

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Guest Post: Adam Sikes – LANDSLIDE

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

What is your writing process?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Landslide

by Adam Sikes

November 14 – December 9, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Landslide by Adam Sikes

 

International Arms—Private Military Companies—Corruption at Every Turn

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

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

Praise for Landslide:

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

Publishers Weekly

 

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

Elliot Ackerman, New York Times best-selling author

 

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

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

 

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

Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author

 

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

Andrew Kaplan, New York Times best-selling author

 

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

Jon Land, USA Today best-selling author

Book Details:

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

Author Bio:

Adam Sikes

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

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

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Guest Post: Emma Dakin – DANGER IN EDINBURGH

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

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

Character from the book: Jaswinder Patal
by Emma Dakin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Just accept it?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s true.”

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

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

About Danger in Edinburgh

Danger in Edinburgh (The British Book Tour Mysteries)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Emma Dakin

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

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

Author Links:

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

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

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Guest Post: Baer Charlton – SECRETS OF THE GOLD

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

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

When and why did you begin writing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secrets of the Gold

by Baer Charlton

November 7 – December 2, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Secrets of the Gold by Baer Charlton

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

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

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

What neither is looking for or expecting is friendship.

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

Growing up is hard enough, even without the shooting.

Praise for Secrets of the Gold:

“kept me spellbound”

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

Book Details:

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

Author Bio:

Baer Charlton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest Post: Ken MacQueen – HERO HATERS

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

BILLY AND ME
by Ken MacQueen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hero Haters

by Ken MacQueen

November 7 – December 2, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Hero Haters by Ken MacQueen

He seeks redemption, others want revenge

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

Praise for Hero Haters:

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

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

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

Rick Mofina USA Today Bestselling Author

Book Details:

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

Author Bio:

Ken MacQueen

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

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

Tour Participants:

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Guest Post: Shawn Wilson – DUPLICITY

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

A POGO STICK . . . AND PUBLICATION
by Shawn Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duplicity

by Shawn Wilson

October 31 – November 25, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Duplicity by Shawn Wilson

This was not the homecoming Brick envisioned.

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

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

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

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

Praise for Duplicity:

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

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

 

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

David Putnam, bestselling author of the Bruno Johnson crime series

 

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

Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author

 

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

Matt Witten, author of The Necklace

Book Details:

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

Author Bio:

Shawn Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

For the Love of Libraries
by Dorothy St. James

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About A Book Club to Die For


A Book Club to Die For (A Beloved Bookroom)

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Dorothy St. James

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

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

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

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

Tour Giveaway

This is a giveaway for a library-themed tote bag filled with books and goodies hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for Dorothy St. James. Enter using the Rafflecopter link below. Void where prohibited.

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