Book Showcase: THE MAN WHO SCREAMS AT NIGHTFALL… by Rush Leaming

The Man Who Screams At Nightfall…
and other stories

by Rush Leaming

January 16 – February 10, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Man Who Screams At Nightfall… and other stories by Rush Leaming

Thailand. The Congo. Greece. Spain. America…

Four continents and 40+ years in the making.

The Man Who Screams At Nightfall is a landmark collection of short stories depicting a young man on a classic voyage of self-discovery, scouring the earth in search of some purpose in life.

From childhood to parenthood and everything in between—these tales are at times raw and unflinching, at other times poignant and moving.

Get ready for a literary journey unlike any you’ve experienced before.

WARNING: Some of these stories contain strong language, depictions of graphic violence, and sexual situations.

Book Details:

Genre: Literary Fiction
Published by: Bridgewood Publishing
Publication Date: November 2022
Number of Pages: 150
ISBN-10: 0999745670 (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780999745670
ISBN: 9798215340615 (eBook)
ASIN B0BCZ9NW3S (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | BookShop.org | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Praise for The Man Who Screams At Nightfall…and other stories:

“A powerful, gritty, and exquisitely written anthology —not to be missed.”

J. Miller, Reader’s Favorite

“A short story collection that excels in its sense of literary psychological growth and discovery. Libraries looking for interconnected short stories that represent life journeys and revelations will find The Man Who Screams At Nightfall…and other stories an appealing acquisition that promises much fodder for discussion to book club readers interested in fictional blends of psychological and social revelation.”

Midwest Book Review, D. Donovan

“Sharply observed, nuanced, precise, and morally challenging…”

“Leaming’s light hand with dialogue and keen sense of human psychology create a book that highlights weighty issues by putting a compassionate human face on human struggles. Sharp, inventive, and deeply moving: a fine literary collection.”

Book View

“Without a lengthy description of the characters, just enough to provide the imagery necessary to identify them, he catches and holds the reader’s attention like no other I’ve experienced in the hundreds of books and stories I’ve read over the years.”

Reader’s Favorite, L. Allen

Read an excerpt:

…I could see the glow of a fire up ahead of us, and as we reached the mango tree, Pumbu motioned for me to stay low and follow him along a small wall of honeysuckle bushes. We crouched down, and from our hiding place, I saw Kachamba furiously pacing back and forth in his yard in front of a small bonfire. He swung his arms wildly in the air as if he was fighting off something that was falling on him. He dropped to his knees and then suddenly sprang three feet off the ground. Then he began to dance, swaying and spinning his body so close to the fire that I was certain he was going to fall in. All the while he screamed and shouted deep into the empty black night.

He spoke in a dialect that I couldn’t understand, so I had to ask Pumbu to tell me what he was saying. I asked him many questions: Why was he doing this? Who was he speaking to? Was he drunk? What was going on? Pumbu patiently explained to me that no, he was not drunk, and that he really didn’t know who he was speaking to, but that Kachamba’s wife had left him a few years ago, run off with another man and taken their children, and that ever since, he had not been right in the head. He was not from this village and had been kicked out of all the other places he had lived. He came here only because Kachamba’s father, the chief of Kitengo’s uncle, had once saved the life of the chief’s father (Kachamba’s uncle) and so the chief had to let him stay to repay that old favor. It was all very complicated, Pumbu said, and he didn’t fully understand it himself.

I was hardly listening, instead transfixed and horrified by what I saw. Spinning, swirling, shouting, and screaming—Kachamba’s face, so calm and happy as I had seen it earlier that day, was now knotted and twisted like a grotesque carnival mask, like some gargoyle sprung from the lowest depths of hell. The glow of the fire cut fierce shadows and gorges in his face, adding to the haunting vision that I saw.

For a long while, Pumbu and I hid behind the honeysuckle bushes and watched Kachamba shriek and wail and try to push back the night, until suddenly, all at once, he just stopped. Suddenly, he just stood still and quiet and stared at the sky. I followed his gaze and saw another shooting star. When I looked back, Kachamba had disappeared.

“Is that it?” I asked.

“That’s it,” said Pumbu. “He usually only does this for an hour or so.”

“And he does this every night?”

“Almost,” said Pumbu and yawned. “Mmm. I’m tired. I think I am going to go home.”

We left the bushes, went past the mango tree, and said good night. I walked home alone, both exhilarated and troubled by what I had seen.

I entered my room and prepared for bed, but long after I had extinguished my petrol lantern, I lay there staring into the darkness. I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned. It wasn’t that unusual—I noticed that it had been happening a lot lately, that I couldn’t sleep. I got up and found the bottle of Johnnie Walker and knocked back a tall glass until at last I was floating, and at last, my eyes did shut…

***

Excerpt from The Man Who Screams At Nightfall… and other stories by Rush Leaming.
Copyright 2022 by Rush Leaming.
Reproduced with permission from Rush Leaming.
All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Rush Leaming

RUSH LEAMING has done many things including spending 15+ years in film/video production working on such projects as The Lord of the Rings films. His first novel, Don’t Go, Ramanya, a political thriller set in Thailand, was published in the fall of 2016. His second novel followed suit in the summer of 2018, entitled The Whole of the Moon, set in the Congo at the end of the Cold War. 2021 saw the 5-star reception of his crime thriller Dead Tree Tales. His short stories have appeared in Notations, 67 Press, Lightwave, 5k Fiction, and The Electric Eclectic.

He has lived in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Zaire, Thailand, Spain, Greece, South Carolina, England, and Kenya.

Catch Up With Rush:
LeamingRush.wixsite.com/Nightfall
Goodreads
BookBub – @RushLeaming
Instagram – @RushLeaming
Twitter – @LeamingRush
Facebook – @RushLeamingStories

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Book Showcase: THE ACCIDENTAL SPY by David Gardner

The Accidental Spy

by David Gardner

January 9 – February 3, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Accidental Spy by David Gardner

Harvey Hudson is an emotionally scarred, fifty-six-year-old history professor who has lost his job, his wife, and his self-respect. In desperation, Harvey takes a high-tech job for which he is totally unqualified.

So he outsources it to India.

Then Harvey discovers that a Russian intelligence agency owns the outsourcing company and are using him to launch a cyberattack on the U.S. petroleum industry.

Harvey now finds himself in a world of trouble with the Russians and the FBI, and he has fallen in love with the woman from New Delhi who’s doing the job he’s outsourced—who might be a Russian agent.

The Accidental Spy Trailer:

Book Details:

Genre: Humorous Thriller with Literary Pretensions
Published by: Encircle Publications, LLC
Publication Date: November 2, 2022
Number of Pages: 274
ISBN: 9781645994206 (Paperback)
ASIN: B0BDS7QNDG (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository.com | BookShop.org | Goodreads | Encircle Publications

Read an excerpt:

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both.”
Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

Spy: “A person employed by a governmental agency to obtain secret information on a hostile country.”
The Philips Dictionary of Espionage

Accidental Spy: “Some poor jerk dragged into a world of trouble.”
Harvey Hudson

Chapter 1: Bunny Ears

Summer, 2019

Harvey Hudson released the steering wheel and swatted at the blue balloon (“Congrats! You Did It!”) that was banging against the back of his head.

What was the ‘It’ for? Someone earned a law degree? Pulled off a bank heist? Successfully underwent potty training? All three?

One day before turning fifty-six, and here he was, delivering balloons. How had he let this happen to him?

He chewed on the last of the Skittles he’d swiped from a bulky candy basket attached to a red balloon shaped like a birthday cake. Too many sweets for some spoiled kid. He was doing the pudgy brat a favor. The Snickers bar was tempting. Maybe later.

Harvey reached across the front seat, grabbed a handful of candy bars from the Skittle-less basket ($149), and dropped them into its modest neighbor ($39). He often shifted candy from larger baskets to lesser ones. He thought of himself as the Robin Hood of balloon-delivery individuals.

He’d had just $87 in the bank a few weeks ago when he’d shambled past a help-wanted sign in the front window of the Rapid Rabbit Balloon Service. He paused and reread the sign. “Part-time Delivery Person Needed. Become a Rapid Rabbit!” Yeah, what the hell. He hurried inside before he came to his senses. He would have taken any gig—balloon-delivery specialist, male stripper, or get-away driver for a grizzled bank robber.

With his part-time job delivering balloons and his full-time work as a beginning technical writer, Harvey could just stay afloat. His ex-wife had cleaned him out.

He double-parked on a smart street of brick-front homes on Boston’s Beacon Hill. Hesitating, he clamped the hated bunny ears over his head and attached the spongy red nose. Sighing, he grabbed the $149 basket and, head down, ambled up the walkway and rang the bell. The balloon bobbed overhead, taunting him.

The woman who opened the door was a slim and pretty brunette in her fifties. She had a narrow face and large, dark eyes.

She was his boss at his day job.

Also his high school sweetheart.

Harvey wanted to disappear into the ground.

Margo took a step back. “Oh.”

Harvey pulled off the bulbous red nose and stuffed it into his shirt pocket. “Uh…this is where you live?”

Margo shook her head. “I’m here with my daughter for a birthday party.”

Harvey shifted from one foot to the other. “I’m…um…delivering balloons just for tonight to help out a buddy who had two wisdom teeth pulled this morning, a professor who lost his job the same time I did.”

Margo blinked twice.

“A sociologist,” Harvey added.

Margo gripped the edge of the door.

“Named Fred,” Harvey said.

Margo nodded.

“The guy took the job in desperation because he’s broke, recently divorced, and down on his luck,” Harvey said and realized he was describing himself.

He handed the basket to Margo.

Did she believe him? Probably not. Did the company have a rule against moonlighting? He’d soon find out.

Margo poked around inside the basket. “There’s too much candy in here.”

“At least there aren’t any Skittles.”

Margo selected a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. “I’ve moved tomorrow’s team meeting up to 10:00 A.M. Did you get my email?”

Harvey nodded.

Was that her way of telling him that moonlighters don’t get fired? He hoped so. He was pathetically unqualified as a technical writer, and his job was in jeopardy.

Harvey hated meetings. Sometimes he thought the software engineers asked him questions he couldn’t answer just to see him squirm. Many were kids in their twenties, making double his salary.

And he hated lying to Margo. At least he could be honest about one small thing. “Actually, this is my night gig. I’ve had it for a few weeks.”

Margo unwrapped the Reese’s, nipped off a corner, chewed and said, “Is that why I caught you asleep at your desk yesterday?”

No, it’s because the job is so goddamn boring. He shook his head. “I wasn’t sleeping. I have the habit of relaxing and closing my eyes whenever I’m searching for the perfect way to convey a particularly difficult concept to our worthy customers.”

“And snoring?”

Margo was smiling now. That same cute smile from high school. He remembered it from the time they’d sneaked a first kiss in the back row of calculus class. The girl he’d loved and lost.

She set the basket down and pulled a twenty from the side pocket of her slacks. “Um…would you…uh…accept a tip?”

“No.”

She shoved the bill into his shirt pocket. “Yes, you will.”

Harvey shifted his weight to his left foot. A liar doesn’t deserve a $20 tip. At most, a few dimes and nickels, couch-cushion change.

Margo finished the peanut butter cup in silence.

He didn’t quite know what to say now.

Yes, he did know. He should tell her the truth.

He’d outsourced his job to India.

Was that illegal? Probably not. But highly unethical. Would she protect him after he’d confessed? Unlikely, which meant he would lose his job. But living a lie was exhausting and just plain wrong. She’d hired him and trusted him. She deserved better. He cleared his throat, once, twice, a third time. “Margo, there’s something I have to tell you. It seems I—”

“Is that the balloon guy?” a young woman called from inside the house.

“That’s my daughter,” Margo said and picked up the basket. A blue balloon bobbed on a string attached to the handle. “I’ll be right back.”

Harvey stood at the open door, trying to think of some way to soften his upcoming confession. Or maybe just blurt it out and get it over with?

“Happy birthday, Dad!”

The daughter’s voice again from inside.

“Candy and a kid’s balloon again this year! Are you trying to tell me something?”

The daughter laughed.

Harvey recognized the man’s voice.

Tucker Aldrich was the CEO of the company where Harvey worked. He was also Margo’s ex-husband and a first-class dickhead.

So, it meant the balloon and candy basket were for Tucker and not some child. Harvey was sorry he’d passed on the Snickers bar.

The hell with telling the truth.

Margo came back out, holding a glass of white wine. She leaned against the door frame. “What were you going to say earlier?”

“Uh…that you’re an over-tipper.”

“Only when the delivery person is a cute, curly-haired guy with a spongy red nose,” she said and sipped her wine. “Did I mention that the meeting’s moved to 10:00?”

“Yes.”

Silence, then Margo said, “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She closed the door behind her.

Harvey stared at the bronze horsehead knocker. He wanted to rip it off. The door too. He in fact wanted to tear the whole damn building down on Tucker’s head.

Margo hadn’t forgotten that she’d told him about the meeting. Margo was incapable of forgetting. She was warning him to show up.

Team meetings were a nightmare. The scruffy programmers spoke computerese, argued over stuff Harvey didn’t understand, and gleefully pointed out errors in his documentation.

But way off in New Delhi, lovely Amaya understood, and with luck she might save his job.

Tomorrow’s meeting would make or break him.

Harvey shuffled down the walkway, his head lowered, his bunny ears slipping down his forehead. He’d been so shocked to see Margo that he’d forgotten to take them off. One of life’s bad moments.

Still, she had called him cute.

Yeah, sure. He was just hours from turning fifty-six, had found addional gray hairs while shaving that morning, and was thickening around the waist from too many Skittles and Snickers.

Harvey climbed into his car and slumped in the driver’s seat. He was angry with Tucker for stealing Margo and angry at Margo for not offering him a glass of wine. But most of all, Harvey was angry with himself for letting her see him in bunny ears.

When he’d first started making deliveries a few weeks earlier, he’d refused to wear them, then thought, what the hell? Doesn’t everyone at some time want to play the fool? There was no pressure to succeed, to show off, to one-up a colleague.

What if everyone from a prisoner sitting out a life term to the President of the United States had to set aside one day a year and play the fool, to go out in public wearing a spongy red nose and bunny ears?

What-Ifs and Whys had obsessed Harvey as a child, who from morning to night had trailed behind his father and mother and pestered them with questions. (What if there was a ladder to the Moon? What if everyone had four arms? Why is cousin Alice getting those bumps on her chest?)

Later, he would turn his pestering curiosity into a profession. He thought of himself as a ‘speculative historian.’ (What if the Allies had lost the Second World War? What if Caesar hadn’t crossed the Rubicon? What if no one had invented the computer?)

Harvey started the engine, reached over to tap the next address into the GPS, then leaned back.

Why humiliate himself like this? His ex-wife had always insisted he was punishing himself in guilt over his younger brother. Harvey denied this, but he knew she was right.

Enough. He had reached his lifetime quota of humiliation.

Here’s another What-If: What if he quit this goddamn job?

Harvey shut off the engine, climbed out of the car, went around back, and popped the trunk.

A dozen balloons bobbed on basket handles, aching to go free.

Harvey tied the spongy red nose to a balloon that read “Get Well Soon!” He cut it loose. Next, he liberated a black balloon picturing a racecar (“Turning Ten!”). Finally, he tied his rabbit ears to a cluster of white orbs trailing a banner that read, “Congrats, New Parents!” and set the bunch free.

He watched until the last of the balloons caught the breeze and disappeared into the night sky.

He slammed the trunk closed, climbed into his car, and right away started to fret. What if a balloon floated to the harbor for some sea creature to swallow (Headline: “Reckless Ex-Professor Kills Orca!”).

Just one more reason to be angry with himself.

***

Excerpt from The Accidental Spy by David Gardner.
Copyright 2022 by David Gardner.
Reproduced with permission from David Gardner.
All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

David Gardner

David Gardner grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, served in Army Special Forces, and earned a Ph.D. in French from the University of Wisconsin. He has taught college and worked as a reporter and in the computer industry.

He co-authored three programming books for Prentice Hall, wrote dozens of travel articles as well as too many mind-numbing computer manuals before happily turning to fiction: “The Journalist: A Paranormal Thriller,” “The Last Speaker of Skalwegian,” and “The Accidental Spy” (all with Encircle Publications, LLC).

He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Nancy, also a writer. He hikes, bikes, messes with astrophotography, and plays the keyboard with no discernible talent whatsoever.

Catch Up With David Gardner:
DavidGardnerAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @davidagardner07
Instagram – @davidagardner07
Facebook

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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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Book Showcase: WHAT MEETS THE EYE by Alex Kenna

What Meets the Eye

by Alex Kenna

January 9 – February 3, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

What Meets the Eye by Alex Kenna

From debut author Alex Kenna comes a pulse-pounding tapestry of secrets, retribution, and greed for fans of Jeffrey Archer.

Kate Myles was a promising Los Angeles police detective, until an accident and opioid addiction blew up her family and destroyed her career. Struggling to rebuild her life, Kate decides to try her hand at private detective work—but she gets much more than she bargained for when she takes on the case of a celebrated painter found dead in a downtown loft.

When Margot Starling’s body was found, the cause of death was assumed to be suicide. Despite her beauty, talent, and fame, she struggled with a host of demons. But as Kate digs deeper, she learns that Margot had a growing list of powerful enemies—among them a shady art dealer who had been selling forged works by Margot. Kate soon uncovers a dirty trail that leads straight into the heart of the city’s deadly underworld.

Margot died for her art—and if Kate doesn’t tread lightly, she could be the next to get brushed out.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: December 2022
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN10: 1639101845
ISBN: 9781639101849 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9781639101856 (eBook)
ASIN: B09TZP1DCF (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B0BBPHT776 (Audible Audiobook)
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Praise for What Meets the Eye:

“[An] impressive debut . . . Sara Paretsky fans will be pleased.”

Publishers Weekly

 

“Alex Kenna is the real deal, a true talent. Her prose is stunningly eloquent and characterization masterful.”

Crime Fiction Critic

 

“A righteous, painful debut. More, please.”

Kirkus Reviews

 

“Dragging the world of high art down into the muck of Los Angeles’ criminal underbelly, Alex Kenna has created an engaging mystery buoyed by the heart of its heroine, Kate Myles. Trying to win against stacked decks in her professional and personal lives, Myles’ resilience and hustle makes her an easy hero to stand up and cheer for.”

James Queally, author of the Russel Avery novels and Los Angeles Times crime reporter

 

“With the sure hand of an old master, Alex Kenna’s debut blurs the line between catharsis and crime in this gritty and nimble noir mystery. When a routine investigation into the apparent suicide of art superstar Margot Starling becomes anything but, down-on-her-luck PI Kate Myles must square herself up for the fight of her life or lose it all. Entertaining and provocative, What Meets the Eye reminds us that truth often comes with a price tag much higher—and deadlier—than anything Sotheby’s could ever hope to fetch at auction.”

Katie Lattari, author of Dark Things I Adore

 

“Kenna gives us the LA crime story we want—a fronded, sun-beaten carousel of depravity and murder, all laced up with tight plotting, sharply hewn characters, and a gripping, original story.”

Joseph Schneider, author of the Tully Jarsdel Mysteries

 

“A suspicious death dismissed as suicide leads PI Kate Myles deep into a web of blackmail and deceit, set against an intriguing backdrop of shady dealings in the art world. An all too human character, Kate is determined to piece together the wreckage of her life and career, and salvage her fractured relationship with her daughter. With clever twists & turns, and a host of convincing suspects along the way, the plot delivers a satisfying ending, but leaves us with tantalizing hints of more to come from Kate…”

Julie Cameron, author of Nameless Acts of Cruelty

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

Six Months Ago – Margot

All week long, I’d felt a fire in my belly. The spirit passed through me like lightning, brushes flying from wet canvas to wet canvas. Cooking was a waste of time, so I ordered takeout and drank whiskey. Sleep was out of the question. I cranked up the music and worked to the beat. Sometimes I sang along, dripping globs of color onto the floor. The paint went on smooth, like buttery icing. After a while, my brushes stayed in their jar and my fingers danced across the canvas. No bristles between skin and cloth.

Soon the images came alive. I’d been studying the Spanish greats: Velasquez, Goya, Zurbaran, Ribera. For them, it was all about bottomless darks with hints of warm, mellow light. I took a break from bold colors, indulging in white and yellow ochre on burnt sienna. The effect was sinister but mesmerizing. One after another, my hands pulled ghostly figures out of a dark void.

I finally passed out around dawn on Thursday, just as the birds were starting to chatter. When I woke, it was midafternoon, and the magic was gone. My mouth tasted of bile and I felt like someone had scooped out my eyeballs and punched me in the sockets.

I wandered into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. One of Goya’s haggard witches stared back at me. My skin was the color of rice pudding. There were purple half-moons under my eyes and a cadmium streak in my hair. I picked at my nail beds, filled with Prussian blue. The thought of cleaning them was exhausting so I didn’t bother.

My stomach let out a growl and I stumbled over to the fridge. Nothing inside was fresh enough to tempt me. I turned to a soggy takeout container on the kitchen table. The waxed cardboard had partially melted, and a puddle of sauce oozed onto the table. A dead fruit fly was trapped inside the congealed orange liquid like a mosquito in amber. I pulled a half-eaten egg roll off last night’s dinner plate and popped it in my mouth. At least it was still crispy.

After lunch-breakfast-dinner, I had an edible and downed a pot of coffee. I tried to get back to work, but the electricity was gone. The images that were so alive last night now looked dull and mannered. A self-portrait smirked at me. I’d given myself a pouty red mouth like an Instagram twat and artificial jolly-rancher-green eyes. It was pathetic. The last desperate cry of a lonely train wreck nearing forty. I felt worthless. I should go jump off a bridge or wander onto the freeway.

I lay on the couch for what must have been hours, binge watching some show about British aristocrats and their servants. Thank God I wasn’t born in nineteenth century England. You can’t be a British lady if you’re a mouthy alcoholic who screws half the landed gentry. I would’ve done worse as a servant. I can barely fry an egg and half the time I’m too paralyzed by my own shit to get out of bed. I’d end up as a consumptive whore blowing sailors for my supper in a London tenement.

The curtains were drawn, and eventually light stopped leaking in from the window edges. I usually do better when the sun goes down. But nightfall didn’t bring me a second wind. It made me feel worse. I poured myself another drink and lit a cigarette.

My cell kept blowing up with a number I didn’t recognize. I’d had this phone for six months and never transferred my contacts over from the last one. Now my caller ID served as a kind of litmus test. If someone hadn’t reached out in half a year, they weren’t worth my time. I let it go to voicemail and turned back to the aristocrats. The only decent one was dead now. This show was making me tired.

There was a knock on the door. Probably the neighbor coming to tell me her baby couldn’t sleep because I make use of my electronics. I ignored it, took a swig of whiskey, and lit another cigarette.

Then whoever it was started pounding. “Margot, open up,” said a loud baritone. The voice was familiar, but I couldn’t place it. His tone had an edge of desperation. Could it be that cop from last week? A wave of dread flowed through me. My hands started shaking and a clump of ash fell on the couch. If I kept very still, maybe he’d think I wasn’t home and go away. No, the TV was too loud. He knew I was in here.

I tiptoed over to the keyhole and gasped. My drink flew from my hand and shattered, coating the floor in alcohol and shards of glass.

***

Excerpt from What Meets the Eye by Alex Kenna.
Copyright © 2022 by Alex Kenna.
Reproduced with permission from Alex Kenna.
All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Kenna

Alex Kenna is a lawyer, writer, and amateur painter based in Los Angeles. Before law school, Alex studied painting and art history. She also worked as a freelance culture writer and sold art in a gallery. Originally from Washington DC, Alex lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and a giant schnauzer, Zelda. When she’s not writing Alex can be found exploring Southern California, toddler-wrangling, and playing string instruments badly.

Catch Up With Our Author:
AlexKenna.com
Goodreads
Twitter – @AlexKenna9
Facebook

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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
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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: 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: 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.

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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

Tour Participants:

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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

Tour Participants:

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