Guest Post: Robert Douglass – THE LITTLE TOWN OF SUMMERVILLE

 

Good day, book people and welcome to December! Am I the only one having a hard time accepting that we’re in the last month of 2021?! Have you ever wanted to be a writer? I used to work with my ex-husband translating documents (he translated, I edited) from Arabic-to-English back in the 1990s and early 2000s. We also worked with an Arab publishing company re-writing several novellas. Let me tell you, good writing is hard work and I don’t know if I can say if what we produced was good writing or not. We kept receiving requests for writing, translation, and editing, so I guess we were doing something right. As a result of that work, I’m in awe of anyone that craft a readable and believable story from scratch. I’m pleased to introduce a new-to-me author, Robert Douglass. Mr. Douglass’s debut work is the cozy mystery The Little Town of Summerville. He has graciously consented to visit today and share his thoughts on learning from a favorite author. Thank you, Mr. Douglass for sharing with us, the blog is now all yours.

Capturing The Style of My Favorite Author

Using the term ‘my favorite author’ is a bit deceiving, as it’s hard to pick just one, but one author that always astounds me is Mario Puzo. Among other works, he wrote The Godfather back in the 60s. The book is divided into three sections and the first section, in my opinion, is top tier gold standard for writing.

I am currently writing a cozy mystery series. It is light, cute, very family friendly and ‘The Godfather’ is the complete opposite. So, how on Earth could I possibly find the writing style of Mario Puzo of any benefit to me? Well, Puzo has tremendous ability to show the struggles and injustice of the world at such a personal level that the reader becomes concerned for the characters and can relate to their problems. Perhaps Puzo is playing on the arrogance of the reader, that he can understand the depth of irony that is unfolding in front to him and so the reader believes he fully understands the situation and wants the character to prevail. I am guilty of such arrogance as it is intoxicating to follow the story line of this new world I have entered.

There are many characters that show these qualities but I’ll only touch on a couple of them. The first character is Amerigo Bonasera. The reader encounters him early in the story during a court appearance and then at an Italian wedding. The wedding is a colorful and rich story world setting with members of the family and friends, lots of food and wine, music from the band and lots of dancing. Amerigo follows the Italian tradition of being allowed to talk to the father of the bride on the wedding day. It’s not a man he usually gets to talk to as he now has a meeting with the Godfather. The reader had seen Amerigo in court and how the crooked judge handled him and is reminded of the injustice as he relays the details. The Godfather explains he will handle the situation and the reader secretly rejoices for justice to be served yet is a bit bewildered as he knows this is very illegal activity. The great writing of Puzo has emotionally hooked him.

The second character is Captain McCluskey, the policeman. The reader has already seen the crooked judge and as Puzo shows McCluskey scene after scene the reader realizes he is a crooked cop. At first the reader dislikes him but through Puzo’s skillful writing as the scenes continue, he starts to wonder if the poor policeman got tricked and pushed into his dishonest ways and starts to feel sorry for him. Eventually the reader catches himself and says, ‘Wait a minute, he’s a crooked cop! He brought all these problems on himself!’ Can I write as skillful as Puzo? No, but I’m sure going to try! Long live the characters!

Robert Douglass
R. T. Douglass

The Little Town of Summerville

A Dog Named Chubby

by Robert Douglass

December 1-31, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Little Town of Summerville by Robert Douglass

Jack Wellington moves from the big city to make a new start. He jumps at the opportunity to become a detective in Summerville.

A peculiar case is assigned to him as artwork has been stolen and a dog is missing. Fellow detective Charlie Finch, a man adorned with decades of service, uncovers clues with Jack. They become intrigued by the words and actions of a neighborhood boy and wonder how much he might know.

Clues are followed but it’s the kids in the neighborhood who provide the most relevant clues. As the detectives get closer to them with their questions, the pressure of the kids struggle unfolds.

Kids, dogs, thieves, and a detective who meets a gal named Sally in the little town of Summerville.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Amazon
Publication Date: November 1, 2021
Number of Pages: 200
ISBN: 9798677929410 (paperback)
ASIN: B09KS12LMY (Kindle edition)
Series: The Little Town of Summerville, 1
Purchase Links #Commission Earned: Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Robert Douglass

Robert has an AAS in Microsoft Networking Technology from Glendale Community College and is a Microsoft Certified Professional.

He likes reading, writing, and exploring natural wonders. His favorite pastime is telling tall stories around the campfire.

Catch Up With Robert Douglass:
RTDouglass.com
Twitter – @RTDouglassLit
Facebook – @RTDouglassAuthor

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Guest Post: Steven C. Harms – THE COUNSEL OF THE CUNNING

The Counsel of the Cunning

by Steven C. Harms

November 8 – December 3, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Good day, book people. For those of you in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! One of the many things I’m grateful for are the amazing characters developed by authors. Where would a good story be without good characters (and an amazing talent for crafting readable and believable storylines)? Like many of you, I have beloved characters from classic literature as well as contemporary fiction. However, I never really gave any thought to an author having a favorite character in anything they craft. I’m incredibly pleased that Steven C. Harms, author of The Counsel of the Cunning is willing to stop by and discuss just that, his favorite character in his writings. Sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and let’s learn which character Mr. Harms likes best. I hope you’ll stick around to follow the blog tour and learn more about this book and author. Thank you, Mr. Harms for joining us today. I’ll now be turning the blog over to you.

My Favorite Character in the Viceroy series

When I created detective Roger Viceroy, one of my major influences was Jack Reacher from Lee Child’s amazing series. I fashioned Viceroy’s character somewhat in that mold, but I wanted and needed him to be different. I landed on the back story and the environment in which Viceroy operates the differentiator.

Whereas Jack Reacher embodies a free-wheeling vigilante, random happenstance plot involvements, and a homeless vagabond to a degree, Viceroy by comparison was placed into a structured environment as head of a special detective unit. But the differences didn’t end there. The most obvious one you’ll find as you read the series, is the support team. While Reacher was a loner who primarily worked solo, Viceroy has a team of two behind him as they work the crime investigations as a three-part team. I believed a series where the reader not only falls for the protagonist (in my case Roger Viceroy), but also bonds with two other support members was appealing.

I came up with two characters – Regina Cortez and Trevor “Silk” Moreland. I drew Regina’s physical appearance and demeanor from a former assistant I had in a previous job. She was someone I had the utmost respect for as she brought professionalism to work every day during our eight years together. It was that loyalty and dedication that resonated with me and ended up being Regina’s style as well.

But it’s the second character that I want to focus on – Silk, a former high school athletic star who went onto a decade’s work as a top-flight detective for the Milwaukee PD. Silk is part of Viceroy’s detective unit by the time the first book, Give Place to Wrath, opens. He grew up on Milwaukee’s streets, standing 6’5″ with a wit and a well-timed irreverent attitude that seem to work well. Silk is, by far, the character that gets the most response from readers. They love him and want to see more of him in future books.

As I developed the character, it was Silk’s irreverential trait that opened a door, allowing me to write his dialogue with some humor and flare, and his interactions and reactions with a much wider berth, while also providing me the freedom to use him for plot moments that worked better than Viceroy or Regina.

Silk seems to resonate with readers in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I think it’s his dry, yet pinpoint humor he invokes at just the right moments combined with his dedication to being “a monster for details,” as Viceroy describes him. He’s completely sold out to being a detective and is passionate about finding clues or angles that others may have missed. Silk knows that being a detective is his life’s calling and the chapters he’s in just seem to have a more energetic bounce to them.

I’m confident Viceroy and Regina provide plenty of likability as well, but Silk stealthily beats them to being the reader’s favorite of the three. Who am I to argue? ♦


 

The Counsel of the Cunning

by Steven C. Harms

November 8 – December 3, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms

Roger Viceroy faces a return to the FBI and a life he vacated long ago, until a knock on his front door announces the presence of billionaire and former U.S. Senator, Jürgen Sandt.

The past has come back to rear its ugly head. Sandt stands on his threshold for a reason: a decade prior the senator’s only son disappeared into the jungles of Guatemala, and Sandt has come to convince Viceroy that further investigation is now necessary. A package left mysteriously outside the family estate, opens the door to the possibility that his son is still very much alive.

Viceroy and his team agree to take on the hunt. Their search steers them from the back streets of Milwaukee to the stealthy corridors of Washington, D.C.—an eerie trek that will ultimately lead to an ancient site that supposedly doesn’t exist.

As Viceroy closes in on the truth, a parallel plot emerges. Not only could it point to the reason behind the cryptic disappearance of Bertram Sandt, but it could also launch a deadly battle that will put millions of lives at stake. On pure instinct, Viceroy knows nothing is adding up. Somehow, somewhere they missed a clue, and if it’s not discovered soon…it may be too late.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: November 9th 2021
Number of Pages: 268
ISBN: 9780578933795 (paperback)
ASIN: B0973PH3H8 (Kindle version)
Series: Roger Viceroy Series, #2
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Steven C. Harms

Steven C. Harms is a professional sports, sponsorship, broadcast sales, and digital media executive with a career spanning over thirty years across the NBA, NFL, and MLB. He’s dealt with Fortune 500 companies, major consumer brands, professional athletes, and multi-platform integrated sports partnerships and media advertising campaigns. He’s an accomplished playwright having written and produced a wildly successful theatrical production which led him to tackle his debut novel, Give Place to Wrath, released November 9, 2021 from Suspense Publishing. Harms is a native of Wisconsin, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. He now resides in the greater Milwaukee area as a sponsorship executive.

Catch Up With Steven C. Harms:
StevenCHarms.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @StevenCHarms
Instagram – @stevencharms
Twitter – @steven_c_harms
Facebook – @authorstevencharms

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Guest Post: C. Matthew Smith – TWENTYMILE

Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith Banner

Good day book people. I hope you’re reading to head into the weekend with plenty of reading choices. If you’re looking for some ideas and are into police procedurals or thrillers, then I may have the perfect book for you. Please help me welcome, C. Matthew Smith, author of Twentymile. This exciting new book takes us into the Investigative Services Branch (ISB) of the National Park Service (yes, it’s a thing). So sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and let’s learn a bit more about the ISB and its role in Twentymile. Thank you, Mr. Smith for joining us today and giving us a glimpse into this little known law enforcement branch.

Introducing the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch to the World of Fiction
By C. Matthew Smith

In 2018, I was writing down the first pages in what eventually would grow into my debut novel, Twentymile. I had a germ of an idea: a Good Guy on the run from Bad Guys in a challenging outdoor environment. I vaguely knew I wanted the story to deal with themes of land use and ownership (among others), and I gravitated toward setting the novel on what we term “public land”–a national or state park or wilderness area. In the early going, I toyed with a number of scenarios, including a wildlife biologist who encounters poachers after endangered species. Or a park ranger coming upon some similarly unsavory characters.

And then, in October 2018, Outside Magazine published an article entitled “The F.B.I. of the National Park Service.” In it, I learned of a little-known department within the NPS apparatus called the Investigative Services Branch. This small group of law enforcement agents investigates the most serious crimes committed on NPS land–everything from homicides to sexual assault to theft of antiquities. Strangely, while this felt to me like fertile ground for fiction, my research found no prior novels featuring the ISB.

It was a lightning bolt. I read and re-read the article several times. After some brief research, I sent an e-mail to a public inquiries address for the ISB and, to my surprise, received a very kind reply from Christopher Smith (no relation), the ISB’s Special Agent in Charge of Operations. Yes, he’d be willing to talk. Since then, SACO Smith has been generous with his time, speaking with me on multiple occasions. He’s rightly proud of the work his plucky organization does, and he took pains to ensure I understood the realities of working as an ISB special agent.

What I learned from him provided me with the makings of a compelling protagonist. Consider the following: There are just under three-dozen special agents, spread over several regions, responsible for more than eighty million acres from Hawaii to the U.S. Virgin Islands. As a consequence, ISB special agents typically work cases solo, not with a partner, marshaling what assistance they can from local law enforcement resources. They’re frequently on the road, living out of their SUVs and motels. They process crime scenes deep in the wilderness when necessary and investigate a wide variety of offenses, from financial crimes to murder. They are independent, tough-minded jacks of all trades who spend the majority of their time with only themselves.

What kind of individual chooses this life?

There could be many answers, of course. But for Tsula Walker, the protagonist of Twentymile, I settled on the following: She’s flinty, steady in demeanor, and capable of protecting herself. A woman confident in her own analytical skills and professional judgment. And someone who, for reasons I won’t spoil here, is predisposed to extended periods alone. That, I decided, is a main character I’d follow anywhere.

I hope you, dear reader, will follow her, too. She’s on one hell of a journey.

Having written the first novel featuring the ISB, I feel a certain pressure to “get it right.” To capture its essence. The needs of fiction may sometimes require taking liberties with certain details, but thanks to my research and the willingness of ISB leadership to answer my many questions, I hope Tsula accurately embodies the spirit of this spunky group of law enforcement professionals. ♦

Twentymile

by C. Matthew Smith

November 15 – December 10, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith

When wildlife biologist Alex Lowe is found dead inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it looks on the surface like a suicide. But Tsula Walker, Special Agent with the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch and a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, isn’t so sure.

Tsula’s investigation will lead her deep into the park and face-to-face with a group of lethal men on a mission to reclaim a historic homestead. The encounter will irretrievably alter the lives of all involved and leave Tsula fighting for survival – not only from those who would do her harm, but from a looming winter storm that could prove just as deadly.

A finely crafted literary thriller, Twentymile delivers a propulsive story of long-held grievances, new hopes, and the contentious history of the land at its heart.

Praise for Twentymile:

“[A] striking debut . . . a highly enjoyable read suited best to those who like their thrillers to simmer for awhile before erupting in a blizzard of action and unpredictability . . .” Kashif Hussain, Best Thriller Books.

“C. Matthew Smith’s original, intelligent novel delivers unforgettable characters and an irresistible, page-turning pace while grappling with deeply fascinating issues of land and heritage and what and who is native…Twentymile is an accomplished first novel from a talented and fully-formed writer.” James A. McLaughlin, Edgar Award-winning author of Bearskin

Twentymile is packed with everything I love: A strong, female character; a wilderness setting; gripping storytelling; masterful writing. Smith captures powerfully and deeply the effects of the past and what we do to one another and ourselves for the sake of ownership and possession, for what we wrongfully and rightfully believe is ours. I loved every word. A beautiful and brutal and extraordinary debut.” Diane Les Becquets, bestselling author of Breaking Wild and The Last Woman in the Forest

Book Details:

Genre: Procedural, Thriller
Published by: Latah Books
Publication Date: November 19, 2021
Number of Pages: 325
ISBN: 9781736012765 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781736012772 (eBook)
ASIN: B09GRLTYDG (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Goodreads | Kobo eBook | Latah Books

 

Author Bio:

C. Matthew Smith

C. Matthew Smith is an attorney and writer whose short stories have appeared in and are forthcoming from numerous outlets, including Mystery Tribune, Mystery Weekly, Close to the Bone, and Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir Vol. 3 (Down & Out Books). He’s a member of Sisters in Crime and the Atlanta Writers Club.

Catch Up With C. Matthew Smith:
www.cmattsmithwrites.com
Twitter – @cmattwrite
Facebook

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Guest Post: Carmen Amato – CLIFF DIVER

Good day, book people. Authors come to the craft of writing via so many different career paths: practicing and retired lawyers/judges, practicing and retired teachers/professors, practicing and retired law enforcement officers, practicing and retired military, as well as practicing and retired intelligence officers/analysts. It’s truly fascinating to discover how an author arrives at their writing career and then see if the genres they write in align with their former careers. I’m incredibly pleased to welcome former CIA professional turned author, Carmen Amato. Ms. Amato will be providing us some background information for the first book in her Detective Emilia Cruz Mystery series, Cliff Diver. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to share, be like me and add this series to your ever-growing TBR list, and follow along the blog tour to learn more about this book and author. Thank you, Ms. Amato, for taking the time to join us today, we look forward to learning more about Detective Emilia Cruz and Cliff Diver.

Could You Be a Cliff Diver?
By Carmen Amato

Picture this.

You’re standing on a flat rock on top of a cliff taller than a five-story building. The cliff wall arches outward, creating a killer curve of jagged rock before dissolving into the churning Pacific Ocean. Far below, waves froth around the base of the cliff. Nearby pinnacles of rock rise from the ocean like brown stalagmites.

These soaring monoliths have been positioned by nature to create a sheltered pool of deep green water along the rocky shore.

The place is called La Quebrada. It’s a stunning spot on the western side of Acapulco, Mexico, where tourists flock to see the famous cliff divers soar into the ocean.

If you dive off the flat rock, you must do so with enough power to soar over the curved wall of the cliff and enough control to hit the sheltered pool.

Anything less and you’ll tumble against the rocks on your way down or smash into the pointed stalagmites at the bottom.

Either way, you’re dead.

Detective Emilia Cruz isn’t a cliff diver, but she feels like one as she investigates the murder of her own lieutenant. Emilia is the first female police detective in Acapulco, Mexico, which is not only an iconic tourist destination but a top contender for the most homicides per capita in the Western Hemisphere.

The first book in the series (8 books and counting) is called Cliff Diver because Emilia not only has to climb up to that small rocky ledge—figuratively, of course—but she must dive into the most important and terrifying case of her career.

With a combination of skills, luck, and daring, Emilia uncovers the lieutenant’s creepy sexual past as well as his role in a kidnapping double-cross and counterfeit money scheme. The revelations are as dangerous as they are sordid.

Reputations are threatened. No one wants the news to be made public. Acapulco’s ambitious mayor makes an offer Emilia is not expected to refuse. The powerful police union is as dangerous as any jagged rock. A fellow police detective could be her prime suspect.

Hotel manager, Kurt Rucker, has some helpful advice for Emilia but the heat between them is too hot to handle.

As Emilia hurtles over the face of the cliff, will she hit the rocks or the water? Either way, she’s in the for the shock of her life.

So are you.

Grab your copy of Cliff Diver and find out!

Cliff Diver

by Carmen Amato

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Cliff Diver by Carmen Amato

Acapulco’s first female police detective dives into an ocean of secrets, lies, and murder when she investigates her own lieutenant’s death.

In this explosive start to the award-winning Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco, Emilia beat the odds to become the resort city’s first female police detective. But she’s living in a pressure cooker. Other detectives are scheming to push her out and the police department is riddled with corruption and drug cartel influence.

When the lieutenant is murdered, Emilia is assigned to lead the investigation. Soon the man’s sordid sex life, money laundering, and involvement in a kidnapping double-cross combine to create an ugly mess no one wants exposed. The high profile murder case could wreck Emilia’s career. When another detective–Emilia’s worst enemy in the squad room–emerges as the prime suspect, keeping her job might be the least of her worries.

Readers who love international mystery series crime fighters including Armand Gamache, Harry Hole, Guido Brunetti, and the Department Q series will also love Detective Emilia Cruz’s complex plots, pulse-pounding suspense, and exotic location. Perfect for lovers of detective fiction by Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, and Peter May, as well as Don Winslow’s Mexican cartel and border thrillers.

“Consistently exciting”
Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderful crime mystery”
— MysterySequels.com

Poison Cup award, Outstanding Series 2019 and 2020
— CrimeMasters of America

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: September 23rd 2021
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781482308044 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780985325626 (ebook)
ISBN: 9798200460922 (audiobook on CD)
ISBN: 9781541472990 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B00B76XSUK (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B071DSVHZG (Audible audiobook)
Series: Detective Emilia Cruz Series, #1
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | AudiobooksNow.com | BookDepository.com | Downpour Audiobook | Kobo Audiobook | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Carmen Amato

Carmen Amato turns lessons from a 30-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency into crime fiction loaded with intrigue and deception.

Her award-winning Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series pits the first female police detective in Acapulco against Mexico’s drug cartels, government corruption, and social inequality. Described as “A thrilling series” by National Public Radio, the Detective Emilia Cruz series was awarded the Poison Cup for Outstanding Series from CrimeMasters of America in both 2019 and 2020 and has been optioned for television.

Originally from upstate New York, Carmen was educated there as well as in Virginia and Paris, France, while experiences in Mexico and Central America ignited her writing career.

Her family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. The perpetrator, her great-grandfather, eluded a state-wide manhunt after killing two people–one of whom was his wife. He was never brought to justice. Carmen is a recipient of both the National Intelligence Award and the Career Intelligence Medal.

Grab a free copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library at CarmenAmato.net.

You’ll see why Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer Grady Harp wrote: “For pure entertainment and a gripping story likely resulting in nail biting, read Carmen Amato’s addictive prose. She knows this territory like a jaguar!”

Catch Up With Carmen Amato:
CarmenAmato.net
Goodreads
BookBub – @CarmenAmato
Instagram – @authorcarmenamato
Twitter – @carmenconnects
Facebook – @authorcarmenamato

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Cover Reveal: WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW by Susan Furlong

What They Don't Know by Susan Furlong Banner

What They Don’t Know

by Susan Furlong

November 16, 2021 Cover Reveal Celebration

Synopsis:

What They Don't Know by Susan Furlong

Unrelenting psychological suspense with a wicked twist …

Mona Ellison is living a dream life. A successful husband, loving son, beautiful home, an amazing group of friends… you could say that everything is perfect.

Until it isn’t.

When her son becomes entangled with the wrong crowd, ditches college plans, and runs away from home for a life of partying, Mona is upset, but boys will be boys, right? He’ll be back as soon as his money runs dry. At least that’s what she tells her friends.

Only she suspects something different.

Then the police knock on Mona’s door. A young girl has turned up dead, and her missing son is the prime suspect.

Determined to reunite with her son and prove his innocence, Mona embarks on a search that puts her on a twisty trail of social media clues and a rollercoaster ride of lies and betrayal until she lands on a truth that changes her perception of everything. Now, the only thing Mona knows is that she can’t trust anyone…not even herself.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Published by: Seventh Street Books
Publication Date: 05/17/2022
Number of Pages: 240
ISBN: 1645060403

Author Bio:

Susan Furlong

Susan Furlong is the author of several mysteries including the acclaimed Bone Gap Travellers series, and Shattered Justice, a New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. She also contributes, under a pen name, to the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea series. Her eleventh novel, What They Don’t Know, will release in May 2022. She resides in Illinois with her husband and children.

Catch Up With Susan Furlong:
www.SusanFurlong.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram – @susanfurlong
Twitter – @Furlong_Sue
Facebook – @SusanFurlongAuthor

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Book Showcase: THE LAST SPEAKER OF SKALWEGIAN by David Gardner

The Last Speaker of Skalwegian by David Gardner Banner

The Last Speaker of Skalwegian

by David Gardner

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Last Speaker of Skalwegian by David Gardner

Professor Lenny Thorson lives in a defunct revolving restaurant, obsesses over word derivations, and teaches linguistics at a fourth-rate college with a gerbil for a mascot. Lenny’s thirty-four years have not been easy—he grew up in a junkyard with his widowed father and lives under a cloud of guilt for having killed another boxer as a teenager.

Desperate to save his teaching career, Lenny seizes the opportunity to document the Skalwegian language with its last living speaker, Charlie Fox. Life appears to have finally taken a turn for the better…

Unfortunately for Lenny, it hasn’t. He soon finds himself at war with Charlie, his dean, a ruthless mobster, and his own conscience.

A genial protagonist will keep readers enticed throughout this amusing romp.
~ Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Humorous Thriller, Academic Setting
Published by: Encircle Publications, LLC
Publication Date: September 8th 2021
Number of Pages: 308
ISBN: 164599239X (ISBN13: 9781645992394)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Book Trailer:

 

Read an excerpt:

“Why document the Skalwegian language?” Charlie Fox asked. “The answer to your question should be obvious: I want to save the language of my Scandinavian ancestors and preserve their culture for future generations. I’m no longer young, and if I don’t act soon, Skalwegian will disappear forever. And give Professor Lenny Thorson a lot of the credit. He’s a linguist—I sure couldn’t do the job without him.”

The Last Speaker of Skalwegian, Newsweek

Chapter 1

Weegan

A word in the Skalwegian language loosely translated as butthead (impolite usage)

Lenny Thorson watched the red pickup roar into the parking lot, a statue propped up in back. It was the Ghurkin College mascot, an eight-foot-tall gerbil.

Charlie nudged Lenny. “You sure you want tenure at a college with a rat for a mascot?”

“It’s a gerbil. And yes, I do. Jobs are scarce.”

Gerry Gerbil stood on his hind legs and stared into the distance, a football clutched in his right front paw, his rat-like tail draped over his left. He looked hot and humiliated.

Lenny too felt hot and humiliated, and he guessed that Gerry hated parades as much as he did. Lenny tugged his sweaty shirt away from his chest. It was a sunny September afternoon, with heat waves shimmering off the blacktop in front of the building where he lived. He badly wanted the day to be over.

The pickup swung around with a screech of tires and backed up to Lenny’s beat-up Chevy. Two college students in matching black muscle shirts stepped out. Brothers, Lenny guessed. They were a wide-shouldered pair with mussy brown hair and long ears.

Lenny reached out his hand. “I’m Lenny Thorson and this is Charlie Fox.”

“Yeah, I know,” the taller one said, glanced at Lenny’s outstretched hand, then climbed onto the back of the pickup and untied the statue.

Lenny and Charlie dragged the wood-and-papier-mâché gerbil from the bed of the pickup, boosted it atop Lenny’s car and stood it upright.

One brother thumbed his phone while the other fed ropes through the open doors and around the mascot’s ankles.

The boy was careless as well as rude, Lenny told himself, and he was tempted to order him to untie the ropes and start over, but Lenny hated confrontation. Once he was around the corner and out of sight, he would stop and retie the knots. He didn’t want anything bad to happen to Gerry Gerbil.

On second thought, did he really give a damn?

Charlie threw his right leg over his motorcycle, gripped the handlebars and bounced once in the saddle. He wore jeans and a T-shirt that read ‘So Are You!’ He nodded toward Gerry. “He looks like a weegan, and so will you when you parade him through the center of town.”

Lenny hadn’t yet learned that word in Skalwegian. “Weegan?”

“‘Butthead.'”

Lenny nodded. He was a weegan.

Charlie looked particularly worn and shrunken today, Lenny thought, especially astraddle his beefy black Harley. His hair was gray, his skin leathery, his chin neatly dimpled from Iraqi shrapnel. He was fifty-one—seventeen years older than Lenny—and eight inches shorter.

At six feet four, Lenny was always embarrassed by his size. He wished he could go through life unnoticed. He wondered if Gerry Gerbil ever felt the same.

The shorter brother slapped the mascot’s foot. “Have fun at the parade, professor.”

Both brothers laughed.

Lenny didn’t expect to have fun. His gut told him that the day would go badly.

* * *

Bob One wasn’t happy about whacking a professor. He specialized in crooked bookies, wise guys who’d flipped, and casino managers caught skimming. But never a civilian. Bob One believed in upholding the ethics of his profession.

He parted the tall tan grass at the side of the road, pinched a mosquito off the tip of his nose and peered westward. No cars yet, but the guy who’d hired him had said his target always took this route on his way into town and would have to slow to a crawl here at the switchback. Bob One figured he’d have plenty of time to pop up, rush forward, blast the guy at close range, then get the hell back to Chicago where he belonged.

* * *

Lenny eyed the brothers, now slouched against his car’s front fender, both lost in their phones. He couldn’t remember ever seeing them on the Ghurkin College campus, the fourth-rate institution an hour west of Boston where he taught French and linguistics. “I didn’t catch your names.”

The taller one glanced up. “You don’t know who we are?”

Lenny shook his head.

The boys exchanged puzzled looks. The taller one said, “I’m Tom Sprocket, and that’s my brother Titus.”

The names sounded familiar, but Lenny didn’t know where he’d heard them. He could memorize entire pages of the dictionary in one sitting, but he was terrible with names.

Tom pocketed his phone and looked Lenny up and down. “Did you play football in college?”

“No,” Lenny said.

Tom snickered. “Afraid of getting hurt?”

“I was afraid of hurting someone else.”

Tom snorted. “Man, that’s all the fun.”

No, it’s wasn’t, Lenny told himself. Hurting someone wasn’t fun at all. Twenty-one years ago, while fighting underage with a fake name, he’d killed an opponent in the boxing ring. Guilt still clung to Lenny, ate into his soul.

Tom gestured with a thick thumb over his shoulder toward the office building behind the parking lot. “You live on top of that thing?”

Lenny nodded.

“You’re weird, man.”

Lenny stiffened. He did feel weird for living in an abandoned rotating restaurant atop a ten-story insurance building, but didn’t particularly enjoy being told so.

But in spite of Tom’s rudeness, Lenny wouldn’t let himself get angry with the boy or even with Dean Sheepslappe who, for some reason, insisted he participate in the Gerry Gerbil Alumni Day Parade, even threatening to block his tenure if he refused. Lenny had grown up angry, had fought with rage in the ring, but after that last fight, he’d promised himself he would never again lose his temper. Some people found this strange, Lenny knew, some sweet. Others used his good nature as a way to take advantage of him. Lenny knew that too.

Titus Sprocket smirked and said, “I heard the place starts up running sometimes all on its own.”

The Moon View Revolving Restaurant had failed financially in just six months, when its motor took to speeding up at random moments, knocking staff off their feet and sending diners sliding sideways off their booths and onto the floor. Lenny moved in shortly afterwards. He was paying minimal rent in the abandoned restaurant in return for serving as its live-in caretaker. He found it oddly comforting to be the world’s only linguist who inhabited a rotating restaurant. “Sometimes it makes a couple of turns in the middle of the night,” Lenny said, “then shuts down. It’s no problem.”

It was in fact a problem. When the deranged motors and gears got it into their head to noctambulate, they did so with a terrific bellow and jolt that made Lenny sit up wide awake, and which frightened Elspeth so badly that she’d stopped staying overnight.

But Lenny wasn’t bothered by the smirking Sprockets. In fact, he felt sorry for the boys, regarding them as underprivileged lads from some sunbaked state where children ran barefoot across red clay all summer and ate corn pone for breakfast.

Lenny wondered what corn pone tasted like and—more importantly—what was the origin of the word pone? A Native American term? Spanish? Skalwegian even?

He turned to Charlie, astride his motorcycle and fiddling with one of its dials. “Is pone a word in Skalwegian?”

“It sure is,” Charlie said without looking up. “It means ‘He who makes a big weegan of himself by driving an eight-foot rat through the center of town.'”

“You’re no help.”

“I’ve heard that before.”

Lenny drifted off to ruminate on pone. The campus newspaper had labeled him the most distracted member of the faculty—misplacing his briefcase, forgetting to show up for class, walking into trees. But he’d also been one of the most popular until he’d flunked a pair of star football players. The school newspaper excoriated him, and fans called him a traitor. A few students considered him a hero, however. Lenny wanted to be neither.

Charlie tightened his helmet and slipped the key into the ignition. “I got to get back to the farm because Sally must have lunch ready by now. Besides, I don’t want to stick around and watch my good buddy make a big weegan of himself.”

“Can you come over tomorrow? We got only halfway through the G verbs this morning.”

“Tomorrow I got to work on the barn roof. Maybe the day after. Or the day after that.”

Charlie started the engine, leaned into the handlebars and roared away in a blast of blue smoke.

Lenny watched him go. There were times when Lenny felt like quitting the project. Charlie used him as resource—”What’s a gerund? Where do hyphens go? What in hell is a predicate complement?”—but had given him no real role in documenting the language itself. Although this was frustrating and puzzling, it was never quite enough to force Lenny to drop out. He took great pride in helping save a language, not to mention that it was a hot topic in linguistic circles and would go a long way toward saving his teaching job.

Tom and Titus simultaneously tucked their muscle shirts into their waistbands. Titus said, “We was football players.”

“Oh?” Lenny said. He paid no attention to team sports but closely attended to subject/verb conflicts.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Titus said. “But we got cheated and ain’t never going to get our whack at the NFL.”

Distracted, Lenny tugged on Gerry’s ropes. Yes, they’d definitely need retying. It pleased him to hear someone say ain’t so naturally and not merely to make an ironic point. He said over his shoulder, “NFL—that would be the National Federation of… uh…?”

“Holy shit on a shingle!” Titus said. “I’m talking about the National Football League—big money, fame and all the poontang a guy could ever want.”

Lenny had read somewhere that poontang descended from New Orleans Creole, from putain, the French word for prostitute, but he wasn’t absolutely sure. He would look into this later, along with pone. He turned to the brothers. “Something went wrong?”

The Sprockets looked at each other in wonder. “Yeah, you could say that,” Titus said. “We got screwed.”

“Yeah, screwed,” Tom repeated.

Lenny said, “That’s a shame.”

“Yeah, well, we’re gonna get payback,” Titus said and patted Gerry’s foot.

Lenny climbed into his car and eased out of the parking lot. Ropes squeaked against the door frames, the statue’s base creaked on the Chevy’s roof, and Lenny was sure he heard Gerry groan in anticipation of the dreadful day ahead.

In his rearview mirror, Lenny watched the diminishing Sprocket brothers waving and laughing. What an odd pair, he thought.

Lenny decided to take his usual route through the arboretum on his way downtown. The beauty and isolation of the place soothed him. He hoped it would today.

* * *

Bob One spotted a car approaching and got to his feet. It was an old black Chevy with a maroon right front fender. Don’t all professors drive Priuses?

But it had to be the guy on account of the statue on top like he’d been told to look for. What was that thing? A squirrel? A rat? Look at how the damn thing wobbles! About ready to tip over.

Bob One slipped closer to the road, crouched behind a bush, pulled his pistol from his belt and slapped a mosquito off his forehead. He examined the bloody splotch on his palm. Shit, stick around much longer, and the damn insects would suck him dead.

* * *

Lenny was scared.

In two days, he had to go on live television with Charlie and discuss their Skalwegian project—not easy for someone wanting to go through life invisible. Would he make a fool of himself? Say dumb things he’d later regret?

Probably.

Lenny’s thoughts turned back to the Sprocket brothers. Strange last name. Scholars could trace sprocket back as far as the mid-sixteenth century as a carpenter’s term but hadn’t yet located an ancestor.

Tom and Titus Sprocket!

Of course!

He’d flunked them in first-year French because they never showed up for class, which cost them their eligibility to play football. The dean had been furious with him but not with the errant guard and tackle. Jocks normally took Spanish with Juan Jorgenson—the other candidate for the language department’s one tenured slot. Juan automatically gave A’s to athletes just for registering.

Lenny reached over and cranked up the radio for the boisterous ending of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, then glanced up to see he was driving much too fast into Jackknife Corner.

Panicked, he jammed on the brakes and twisted the steering wheel hard left.

He felt the car tilt to the right and heard a loud Thunk! just as Beethoven’s Fifth swelled to a crescendo. Puzzled, Lenny drove on, with the Chevy pulling to the right. Probably something to do with tire pressure, Lenny guessed. He’d have that checked later.

* * *

Bob One lay on the side of road. Blood flowed out his left ear and down his cheek. His head buzzed, and his eyes slipped in and out of focus. He pulled himself to his feet, wobbled, then toppled into the ditch. He crawled into the marsh, still gripping his unfired handgun. Puddles soaked his knees and elbows. A possum trotted past. An airplane roared low overhead. Or was that inside his skull?

Bob One’s left temple hurt like a son of a bitch. That damn rat had toppled over and whacked him on the side of the head. Or was it a guinea pig?

Bob One curled up beside a bog. Half-conscious, he watched a fat snapping turtle waddle toward him, stop two feet from his nose, look him up and down, then open its jaw. Shit, Bob One said to himself, the thing’s got a mouth the size of a catcher’s mitt. Bob One didn’t like animals or much of anything else in nature. He tried to crawl away, but things started going dark—warm and dark—not such a bad feeling, actually.

Bob One awoke to see the turtle biting his right forefinger off at the second joint. Bob One felt no pain and noticed that one of his shoes was missing. As Bob One slipped comfortably into his final darkness, he wondered if a missing trigger finger would hinder him professionally.

* * *

Lenny reached the parade route late and swung in behind the school bandsmen in their sky-blue uniforms with “Skammer’s Fine Meats” embroidered in bright yellow across the back.

Spectators to Lenny’s right shouted and pointed. Some ducked, some knelt, some even dropped to their stomachs. Lenny shook his head in disbelief. Had students and townspeople taken to prostrating themselves before the college mascot? Did he really want tenure at a batty place like this?

At the end of the block, a policeman holding a Dunkin’ Donuts cup stepped into the street, raised his palm, and forced Lenny to brake.

As Lenny stepped from his car, he realized that he’d forgotten to retie the ropes.

Gerry Gerbil lay sideways across the car’s roof, projecting five feet to the right, the ankles tied precariously in place. Someone took a photo. Someone fingered the slack ropes and spoke of slip knots. Lenny touched a patch of something red and damp on the mascot’s forehead. Lenny rubbed thumb against forefinger. The stuff looked like blood.

Since when did gerbil statues bleed?

***

Excerpt from The Last Speaker of Skalwegian by David Gardner. Copyright 2021 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 coauthored 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” and “The Last Speaker of Skalwegian” (both 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:
DavidGardnerAuthor.com
Goodreads
Instagram – @davidagardner07
Facebook

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Guest Post: Elizabeth Goddard – DEADLY TARGET

DEADLY TARGET by Elizabeth Goddard

Good morning, book people. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend and were able to get some reading in. I don’t know about you, but I’m very inquisitive about authors, their habits, and their ability to craft believable and readable stories. Yes, it is partially talent, but I think it goes beyond talent. Authors have to be imaginative and have an innate ability to craft a story that the reader can follow and then end the story with a successful completion of their goals, i.e., a HEA if writing romance, pointing out whodunit in a mystery, etc. Obviously, there’s a lot more involved in crafting a story and today I’m pleased to welcome the award-winning Elizabeth Goddard, author of the recently released Deadly Target, book two in the Rocky Mountain Courage series. Ms. Goddard is going to be sharing her insight into the use of fear in writing. Thank you, Ms. Goddard, for taking the time to stop by today and share with us. Book people, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s all enjoy what she has to say. (Psst…might I suggest you grab a copy of Deadly Target to read, as well as follow this blog tour to learn more about this author and book.)

The Strategic Use of Fear
by Elizabeth Goddard

In recent years, I’ve come to realize that I’ve always been this way. Okay, let me back up. I’ve always had a natural propensity to approach every situation with worry or fear or whatever you want to call it. For example, when I lived alone in my early twenties, the first thing I did when I walked into my apartment was to check every closet and every room. I even glanced under the bed. I’m not kidding. You might think I have issues, and maybe you’re right. But that’s just one example of the way my mind works. I’m always thinking ahead to what bad thing could possibly happen in every situation. Now . . . don’t laugh, but honestly, I think this tendency started when I learned how to play Chess as a kid. Think about it. Every move you make, you have to be strategic. You have to think ahead and try to project what could possibly happen. What could go wrong. Once you move, another piece on the chessboard could move against you and kill you in three moves or less.

I’m not saying that this is a healthy way to live, but I’ve been able to rein in my fearful mind and use it to my advantage in my stories. You might have guessed by now that suspense stories come naturally to me. Now when I’m walking down a long dark hospital hallway that’s under construction (this really happened) and my mind thinks of the peril I might be in, I know what to do next—put the experience in a novel! But seriously, when creating the fear-factors and the dangerous elements in my stories I have a lot of fun when I make a nice long list of everything that could go wrong and then put my characters in dangerous situations. I want them to be strategic (remember Chess) and fight their way out of the danger and, yes, overcome their fears—just like I’ve learned to do. Now I simply divert my overactive imagination into my suspense novels and everyone lives happily-ever-after. ♦

Deadly Target

by Elizabeth Goddard

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard

Criminal psychologist Erin Larson’s dreams of a successful career come to a screeching halt when she nearly loses her own life in a boating accident on Puget Sound and then learns that her mother tried to commit suicide. She leaves her job as a criminal psychologist to care for her mother in Montana. At least she is able to produce her podcast, which focuses on solving missing persons cold cases.

Nathan Campbell’s father was investigating such a case when he was shot, and now Nathan needs to enlist Erin’s help to solve the case. She’s good at what she does. The only problem? She’s his ex.

As the two dig deeper, it becomes clear that they, too, are being targeted–and that the answers to their questions are buried deep within the past Erin struggles to explain and longs to forget.

The race is on for the truth in this gripping and complex tale of suspense, intrigue, and murder from USA Today bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Revell
Publication Date: November 2nd 2021
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0800737997 (ISBN13: 9780800737993)
Series: Rocky Mountain Courage #2 || This is a Stand-Alone Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | ChristianBook.com | IndieBound.Org

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Goddard

Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Present Danger and the Uncommon Justice series. Her books have sold over one million copies. She is a Carol Award winner and a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry.

For more information about Elizabeth Goddard, visit her website at:
www.ElizabethGoddard.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @ElizabethGoddard
Instagram – @elizabethgoddardauthor
Twitter – @bethgoddard
Facebook – @ElizabethGoddardAuthor

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GIVEAWAY:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elizabeth Goddard and Revell. There will be ONE (1) winner for this tour. The winner will receive ONE (1) physical copy of both Present Danger and Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard. This giveaway is open only to residents in the US or Canada. The giveaway runs November 1 through December 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: DREAM STALKER by Nancy Gardner

Dream Stalker by Nancy Gardner Banner

Dream Stalker

by Nancy Gardner

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Dream Stalker by Nancy Gardner

Lily Scott had vowed never to dream-walk-again….

Lily is a contemporary Salem witch who descends from a long line of witches born with the power to walk into other people’s dreams to fight crime. But her disastrous first dream-walk almost killed her, and she vowed never to repeat the painful experience.

Now her daughter is falsely accused of murder, and the only way to clear her would be for Lily to enter the dreaming mind of the real killer, risking confrontation with the deadly Dream Stalker.

Can Lily summon the courage?

Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Published by: Bowker
Publication Date: June 1st 2021
Number of Pages: 257
ISBN: 1733919945 (Paperback)
ISBN13: 9781733919944 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781733919951 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B095KL6FGN (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B097Q8YJKC (Audible audiobook)
Series: Dream Stalker, #1
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | ​Audible | ​Apple Play | BookDepository.com | Downpour Audiobook | Kobo Audiobook | Reedsy | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Salem, Massachusetts—October 1, 2013

I stumbled through the early morning fog blanketing Salem’s Gallows Hill, hurrying to the oak tree that my maternal grandmother, Sadie MacAskill, loved. When I was a child, she’d taught me that witches like ourselves derive energy from working with green, growing plants and trees. I could still feel our arms stretched around the oak’s trunk, listening for the pulsing power within it.

“Feel Mother Earth’s wisdom rising,” she’d said.

I’d never needed wisdom more. The plan I’d cooked up with an old friend had gone terribly wrong. Kitty was supposed to bring my estranged daughter, Sarah, to dinner. Sarah’s favorite dinner, creamy chicken pesto and pasta, was baking in the oven when I got the call.

“Kitty hasn’t come home, and I’m not ready to see you without her. I may never be ready,” Sarah said, her voice cold and unforgiving. She hung up before I could reply.

When I called her back, she refused to answer. If my husband, Sam, had still been alive, he’d have known what to do. But he’d died two years ago.

It was long after midnight when I threw the cold casserole down the disposal and crawled into bed. When sleep proved impossible, I paced the empty rooms of our Chestnut Street home until dawn, then grabbed the nearly empty bottle of homemade dandelion brandy as an offering to Nana’s spirit and rode my Vespa to the park atop Gallows Hill.

Exhausted and headachy, I forgot to watch my step and tripped over a rock. I managed not to fall, but the bottle flew out of my hand. I watched it shatter, watched the last golden dregs seep into the grass. I felt like I was watching my relationship with my daughter ebb with it.

As I dropped shards of glass into the nearby trash can, the wind seemed to whisper that I didn’t deserve to find the wisdom I needed. I’d failed Nana, and I’d failed my daughter.

“Enough self-pity.” I pulled my leather jacket tighter and scurried past the crumbling pavilion and rusting flagpole to the ancient oak. Once again, I pressed my cheek to the rough bark, closed my eyes, and waited. The bark pulsed. A crow landed in the branches above me, cawing and shaking loose a shower of dead leaves. I opened my eyes, and for a moment, Nana’s face wavered before me. Then she was gone, leaving me with my questions unanswered.

My cell vibrated. Who would call me this early? Sarah? Kitty with an explanation? I checked the screen. Neither. Honey Campbell, my landlord and a good friend. She owned the building on Pickering Wharf where we both ran our businesses. Her barbershop took up the first floor. My herbal studio, Healing Thyme, sat above it.

“Hi, Honey. What’s up.”

“Thought you’d want to know your friend, Kitty, came looking for you,” Honey said in her soft Scottish brogue. “And bye-the-bye, she looked like shite. She stumbled off toward Moe’s. You might yet find her there.”

Two months earlier, Kitty had stopped me on the street. I’d taken her for a panhandler and almost turned her away. Then she said, “Lily, don’t you remember me? My parents took us to New York to see West Side Story. We had the best time.”

We’d shared a cup of coffee and Kitty shared her story. She’d been a high school biology teacher until she’d been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The disease had taken everything from her: her teaching career, her home, her reason for living. She’d ended up lost on the streets.

Things had taken a turn for the better for Kitty when she found a permanent bed at St. Bridget’s Homeless Shelter and, because of the doctor who volunteered his services there, Kitty’s memory was making a remarkable improvement.

“Thanks, Honey. I’m on my way.” I dashed back to the Vespa, strapped on my helmet, and started the engine. Usually, the thrum of the engine beneath me and the slapping rhythm of my braid tapping against my back soothed me. Not this morning. I pressed the throttle and hurried to Pickering Wharf, determined to find out what had gone wrong last night.

***

Excerpt from Dream Stalker by Nancy Gardner. Copyright 2021 by Nancy Gardner. Reproduced with permission from Nancy Gardner. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Nancy Gardner

Nancy Gardner writes cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. The first novel in her new series, Dream Stalker, tells the story of Lily Scott, a contemporary Salem witch who walks into people’s dreams to fight crime. One reviewer called it a gripping tale of witchcraft, family loyalties, and the cost of seeking justice. Her most recent short story, “Death’s Door,” was selected to be included in the 2021 anthology, Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical. She lives near Boston with her writer husband, David.

Catch Up With Nancy Gardner:
NancyGardnerAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @nancygardner5
Instagram – @ngauthor
Twitter – @NGardner_author
Facebook – @NancyGardnerAuthor

 

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Join In:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nancy Gardner. There will be TWO (2) winners for this tour. Each of the Two (2) winners will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card (US ONLY). The giveaway runs November 1 through December 5 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: Barbara Krasnoff – NEW YORK: GIVE ME YOUR BEST OR YOUR WORST

New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst Banner

Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. Most of you are aware that I’m an avid, if not fanatical reader. What you may not know, is that at one point in time, my life was all about music. I auditioned for the famous High School for the Performing Arts as well as Julliard in NYC. My eldest brother had moved to New York after his graduation from Harvard, and I spent a number of summers in New York during the mid-1970s. As a small-town girl from Charleston, West Virginia, I was awed by New York City, especially Times Square. As a result of my brother’s assistance with my auditions, the summers I spent visiting him, NYC will always have a special place in my heart. It is for this reason that I am very pleased to welcome Barbara Krasnoff, a contributor to the book New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst. Please help me welcome Ms. Krasnoff to the blog today. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say, perhaps reminisce about your own visits to New York, and perhaps add the book to your TBR list. Thank you, Ms. Krasnoff, for joining us, the blog is now yours.

Times Square, Then and Now

For New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst

by Barbara Krasnoff

Back in the late 1970s, three friends of mine from upstate New York decided that they wanted to see Times Square. I wasn’t particularly eager to join them. I grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Brooklyn, was already familiar with the area (having saved up for my share of standing-room spaces at Broadway shows), and found nothing particularly romantic about the porn palaces and sex shops that then populated the area, not to mention the various predators looking for unwary victims. But when they insisted, I figured it might be a good idea for them to have a local guide.

We got out of the subway at Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street, and walked east on 42nd towards Times Square. My friends slowly wandered down the street, chatting, looking at the movie marquees and bookstore signs, and paying no attention to what was happening in their immediate vicinity. I dropped back so that I walked several paces behind them, and kept watch.

Just as well. After a minute or two, a man who had been leaning against a building casually walked over so that he was just behind one of my friends (a young man who had not taken my advice about putting his wallet in his front pocket). The man looked around and caught my eye. We stared at each other for a very brief moment, then he grinned, and backed off.

I was very grateful when we hit Times Square proper. I never told my friends.

Today’s Times Square is, as we all know, a very different place. It is now a corporate wonderland full of tourist-friendly shops of the kind that you can find in any premium mall around the U.S. Of course, there are still the Broadway theaters (assuming you can afford a ticket), and New York is, well, still New York. I am grateful to be able to visit Times Square (well, pre-pandemic Times Square) without that sense of hyper-vigilance I used to feel was necessary, even if it means I have to fight my way through ridiculous costumed characters and stifling crowds of visitors.

But I have other friends — older friends who spent most of their lives in the city — who remember the dirty, dangerous Times Square of the 1970s and early 1980s as their Times Square, a seedy wonderland that belonged to them and not to the tourists. They sometimes wish they could have it back.

Remembering that incident — and others — I can’t really agree. But I do understand.

Meet the Author:

Barbara Krasnoff was born and raised in Brooklyn, and has the accent to prove it. She has had short stories published in over 45 print and online publications and is the author of The History of Soul 2065, a novel of interconnected tales. Her story “Sabbath Wine,” which was published in the anthology Clockwork Phoenix 5, was a Nebula Award finalist. When not writing speculative fiction, she earns her living as Reviews Editor at The Verge. You can find her website at Brooklynwriter.com or catch her on Twitter as @BarbK.

New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst

Presented by: Elizabeth Crowens

October 25 – November 19, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst

An Anthology and Celebration of the Big Apple

I’m an unabashed, unapologetic lover of New York City, my hometown, and New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst is right up my dark, deserted alley. New York’s at its best when you sneak up on it, glance at its sideways, or let it glance sideways at you. The pros and photos in this collection all show New York’s best, even when they purport to be showing its worst; in NYC, that’s how we roll. A fine addition to your New York bookshelf, a collection to savor.
~ SJ Rozen, best-selling author of The Art of Violence

Book Details:

Genre: Coffee Table book of Photography with Short Stories
Published by: Atomic Alchemist Productions, LLC
Publication Date: Oct 25, 2021
Number of Pages: 150
ISBN: 1950384136, 9781950384136
Purchase Links: Amazon | BookBaby | The Mysterious Bookshop | Goodeareads

About New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst:

Elizabeth Crowens with Author photo with Reed Farrel Coleman

Writer and photographer, Elizabeth Crowens is one of 500 New York City-based artists to receive funding through the City Artist Corps Grants program, presented by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) as well as Queens Theatre.

She was recognized for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst, her photo-illustrated anthology, which brought her published book along with ten other authors to Mysterious Bookshop in Lower Manhattan at 58 Warren Street on Monday, October 25, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. for an in-store event and author signing along with a simultaneous Facebook Live presentation and recording for Jim Freund’s WBAI program Hour of the Wolf.

Author contributors include:

  • Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of over 31 award-winning mystery and thriller novels, including the Jesse Stone series for the estate of Robert B. Parker. Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan.
  • Charles Salzberg, former magazine journalist, crime novelist of the Shamus Award-nominated Henry Swann series, founding member of the New York Writers Workshop.
  • Tom Straw, Emmy and WGA-nominated writer-producer, credits include Nurse Jackie, Night Court, Grace Under Fire, Whoopie, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Crime novelist under the pen name of Richard Castle.
  • Randee Dawn, Entertainment journalist for Today.com, Variety, and the Los Angeles Times. Co-editor of Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles and The Law & Order: SUV Companion, and speculative fiction writer of the upcoming Tune in Tomorrow.
  • Barbara Krasnoff, Reviews Editor at The Verge, over 45 published short stories, Nebula Award finalist, author of the “mosaic” novel The History of Soul 2065.
  • Steven Van Patten, TV stage manager by day, horror writer by night. Co-host of the Beef, Wine and Shenanigans podcast, winner of several African American Literary Awards.
  • Triss Stein writes mysteries that all take place in Brooklyn.
  • Marco Conelli, former NYPD detective, consultant to Mary Higgins Clark, and Silver Falchion award-winner for young adult mysteries and the police procedural Cry For Help, taking place in The Bronx.
  • R.J. Koreto, historical mystery writer focusing on New York during the Gilded Age.
  • Richie Narvaez, award-winning mystery author of Hipster Death Rattle, Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, and Noiryorican.
  • Elizabeth Crowens, over 25 years in the entertainment industry, member of the International Cinematographers Guild as a Still Photographer (Imdb.com credited: Sheri Lane), award-winning writer of novels in the Hollywood mystery and alternate history genres. Recipient of the Leo B. Burstein Scholarship by the NY Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Editor and photographer for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst based on her Facebook Caption Contests. elizabethcrowens.com, @Ecrowens on Twitter, and Elizabeth Crowens on Facebook!

 

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Guest Post: Emily C. Whitson – BENEATH THE MARIGOLDS

Beneath the Marigolds by Emily C. Whitson Banner

Good day, my bookish peeps. We’re almost at the end of another week and I hope you have great plans to get in some reading this weekend. Have you ever wondered why some readers are only attracted to fiction vs. nonfiction and vice versa? Or why some readers only want to read stories with a HEA (happy ever after) and others want blood, guts, and lots of fighting in their stories? I’ve often pondered this query and then took it a step further and asked myself, why are some authors drawn to writing romance and others horror? I’m incredibly honored to present to you, Emily C. Whitson, author of Beneath the Marigolds today. Ms. Whitson will be answering one of my questions today from her perspective, writing what you like. Thank you, Ms. Whitson, for taking the time to join us today. I hope your graduate studies are going well. So readers, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, and visit with me and Ms. Whitson for awhile. (Psst…I hope you’ll take some time to follow the blog tour and add Beneath the Marigolds to your TBR list!)

Write What You Like

By Emily C. Whitson

You’ve probably heard the phrase “write what you know.” It’s a popular adage for new and aspiring writers. Yet, while writing about personal experiences does remove the research aspect of writing, I don’t always agree with it. In my experience, it’s more helpful to write about what I like. What do I find interesting? What do I want to learn more about? What lights my fire?

The truth of the matter is: I love pop culture. In particular, I love reality dating shows, like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. What a fascinating idea to let one woman date twenty-five men and pick one to marry in six weeks — that is insanity!

I think a lot of people assume I don’t like reality dating shows, as my book critiques some aspects of the experience, but I really enjoy them. I don’t always agree with the end goal and the means of getting there, but I think it’s a fun and entertaining idea — a perfect setting for a writer’s imagination. I mean, is it just me, or has anyone else ever watched a reality dating show and thought: that girl’s gonna get murdered? The stakes are high, the emotions are high; the characters drink too much and eat too little. It’s a perfect recipe for conflict, which is at the heart of every good story.

And this leads me to my next interest: crime. I love crime stories. I can talk to you all day about true crime podcasts and Law and Order: SVU. At one point in my life, I may have been embarrassed to say this. What sane person is intrigued by murder?

Luckily for me, others seem to share in my fascination, so I feel more comfortable discussing it. And while I can’t speak for everyone, I believe part of the interest is due to the human psychology behind crime. Why do people act the way they do? What drives them to the edge? What forces in society contribute to crime? I think we’re drawn to what we don’t understand, and for me, that’s unforgivable acts of violence, like murder. Storytelling helps me better comprehend and explore that topic.

While writing can be a tool for self exploration, it’s a fallacy to only write what you know; that’s like only reading books about yourself. Part of the magic of storytelling is the human connection it builds — the ability to learn about other experiences, other lives, other viewpoints. Intelligence, to me, is not the ability to steadfastly and single-mindedly argue a point. Rather, I believe true genius is being able to hold two opposing ideas in one’s head and see both sides of the coin.

So forget about the old adage, and write about what interests you. For me, I’ll continue to explore the intersection of pop culture and crime, the dark side of celebrity and Hollywood glamour. And I’ll have a great time doing it.

Beneath the Marigolds

by Emily C. Whitson

October 1-31, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Beneath the Marigolds by Emily C. Whitson

Playing on our universal fascination with reality TV, Emily C. Whitson’s Beneath the Marigolds is The Bachelor(ette) gone terribly wrong.

When her best friend, Reese Marigold, goes missing after attending Last Chance, an exclusive singles’ retreat on a remote island off the coast of Hawaii, no-nonsense lawyer Ann Stone infiltrates the retreat.

Ann quickly realizes there’s more to Last Chance than meets the eye. The extravagant clothes, never-ending interviews, and bizarre dates hint that the retreat is a front for a reality dating show. Could Reese be safe, keeping a low profile until the premier, or did something sinister occur after all?

Torn between the need to uncover the truth and her desperate desire to get off the island, Ann partakes in the unusual routines of the “journey to true love” and investigates the other attendees who all have something to hide. In a final attempt to find Reese on the compound, she realizes that she herself may never get off the island alive.

Praise for Beneath the Marigolds:

“Cleverly plotted…Whitson’s debut novel is an intriguing new entry in the women’s suspense genre, driven by dual first-person narrators and tension-filled parallel timelines.”— Carmen Amato, Silver Falchion Award Finalist and author of The Detective Emilia Cruz Mystery Series

“Exhilarating twists and turns…a fast-paced psychological thriller that mashes up the reality series The Bachelor with Gone Girl.” — Helen Power, author of The Ghosts of Thorwald Place

“A fun, propulsive read…this book cleverly combines the archetypes of “reality TV” and the “trapped-on-a-remote-island” mystery that will perpetually keep you guessing.” — Marcy McCreary, author of The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller/Psychological
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: September 21st 2021
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0744304202 (ISBN13: 9780744304206)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads | CamCat Books

Author Bio:

Emily C. Whitson

Emily Whitson received a B.A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked as a marketing copywriter for six years before pursuing a career in fiction and education. She is currently getting her M.Ed. at Vanderbilt University, where she writes between classes. She is particularly passionate about women’s education and female stories. This interest stems from her time at Harpeth Hall, an all-girls college preparatory school in Nashville, Tennessee. When she isn’t volunteering, writing, or in the classroom, Emily can usually be found with her dog, Hoss, in one of Nashville’s various parks. Beneath the Marigolds is her debut novel.

Catch Up With Emily C. Whitson:
EmilyCWhitson.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @emilycwhitson_author
Instagram – @emilycwhitson
Facebook – @emilycwhitson

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Join In:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Emily C. Whitson and CamCat Books. There will be 1 winner of one (1) print edition of Beneath the Marigolds by Emily C. Whitson (US, Canada, and UK Only). The giveaway runs October 1 through November 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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