Guest Post: Author Kristi Belcamino

The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to host a visit by author Kristi Belcamino. Ms. Belcamino is the award-winning author of the Gabriella Giovanni Mystery Series: Blessed Are The Dead, Blessed Are The Meek, Blessed Are Those Who Weep, and Blessed Are Those Who Mourn. Ms. Belcamino will be sharing her thoughts on writing quirks.

“What Are Your Writing Quirks & Must-Haves To Write” 
By Kristi Belcamino

Some writers need absolute quiet to write. Some need a particular type of music. Some can only write in their tricked-out offices with the door closed. Some people have to use a certain pen or pencil.

Me? I’m easy like Sunday morning. I don’t need much.

Does that make me different? Probably not. 

I can write any time of day. I can write with noise or without. I can write when I’m alone or in a crowd.

One thing I’m not is a prima donna. 

Here is why: I’m a trained journalist who worked in a newsroom for a decade. That will beat any writing quirkiness and must-haves right out of you.

With that said, there is something I find necessary to writing. Caffeine. 

Could I write without it? I don’t know and I don’t want to ever find out.

The other thing I need is a computer. I admired and loved Jackie Collins but writing a book a year in longhand is not for me. Give me a keyboard and monitor pretty please.

Those are my must-haves. Not too bad, huh.

I don’t necessarily need to be alone, but I do like it a bit quiet unless it is the creative ambient white noise that sparks ideas. You know the sounds I’m talking about – they even have an app for it – Café Noise.

I dig Café Noise.

So, I alternate my writing days between my dining room table (I did mention I wasn’t a prima donna writer who needs a fancy office, right?) or at a local coffee shop. No matter which place I’m at, you better believe I’m sucking down some strong coffee.

Other than that, I don’t really have any must-haves or quirks. I mean, needing a computer and coffee seems pretty standard fare among my writer friends.

I do occasionally need some headphones. Mainly if people nearby are gabbing just a little bit too loud or too long. 

Give me a laptop, a place to stand or sit, a cup of coffee, and I’m good to go.

About the author:

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and artist. In her former life as a newspaper crime reporter in California, she flew over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, watched autopsies, and interviewed serial killers. She is now a journalist based in Minneapolis and the Gabriella Giovanni mysteries are her first books. Find Kristi on Facebook or on Twitter @KristiBelcamino

Connect with the author:    Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

About the book:

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn by Kristi Belcamino
ISBN: 9780062389411 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062389428 (ebook)
ASIN: B00SG1ELNW (Kindle format)
Publisher:  Witness Impulse
Publication Date:  September 29, 2015

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni has finally got it all together: a devoted and loving boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan; a beautiful little girl with him; and her dream job as the cops’ reporter for the Bay Herald. But her success has been hard-won and has left her with debilitating paranoia. When a string of young co-eds starts to show up dead with suspicious Biblical verses left on their bodies—the same verses that the man she suspects kidnapped and murdered her sister twenty years ago had sent to her—she begins to question if the killer is trying to send her a message.

It is not until evil strikes Gabriella’s own family that her worst fears are confirmed. As the clock begins to tick, every passing hour means the difference between life and death to those Gabriella loves…

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Book Promo: BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN by Kristi Belcamino

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115%;”>Mystery / Detective
ISBN:  9780062389428 (Ebook)
ASIN:  B00SG1ELNW (Kindle version)
Date Published: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Witness Impulse / HarperCollins Publishers

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni has finally got it all together: a devoted and loving boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan; a beautiful little girl with him; and her dream job as the cops’ reporter for the Bay Herald. But her success has been hard-won and has left her with debilitating paranoia. When a string of young co-eds starts to show up dead with suspicious Biblical verses left on their bodies—the same verses that the man she suspects kidnapped and murdered her sister twenty years ago had sent to her—she begins to question if the killer is trying to send her a message.

It is not until evil strikes Gabriella’s own family that her worst fears are confirmed. As the clock begins to tick, every passing hour means the difference between life and death to those Gabriella loves…

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The setting sun turns my family into dark silhouettes as I step onto the warm sand. The beach is nearly deserted, except for a lone figure walking north of us along the sand where the waves are crashing in from the Pacific Ocean.

A cool breeze makes me glad I trekked to the car to retrieve my daughter’s little lavender parka. We promised her we’d stay until the sun set.

Donovan’s back is turned, phone held to his ear. He’s pacing in his bare feet, his jeans rolled up, a scowl on his face from what he’s hearing. A murder. Every once in a while he glances back at Grace kneeling in the sand playing.

Grace has dug deep channels with a small red shovel, chatting to herself, weaving tales about mermaids and sea creatures and fairies. She bounces a plastic dinosaur along the sand, a prize won in kindergarten for reading two books in one week.

Everything I’ve ever wanted is on that beach—Donovan and our daughter, Grace. My own little family. My life.

I’m still far away, closer to the parking lot, when I see the figure walking along the shore is growing closer.

It’s a man. His shadow, with its elongated arms and legs, stretches across the beach until it seems to take on a life of its own. Something about his movements seems angry and frenetic—instead of the wandering gait of a casual sunset stroll—and sets off small alarms in my head. I walk faster, the sand seeming to reach up and grab at my ankles, slowing my progress.

Donovan’s pacing takes him in the opposite direction, away from Grace. He’s not paying attention to anything besides his phone call. The man is now closer to Grace, who seems alone on the beach, although Donovan is twenty feet away. Donovan squints up into the pink and orange clouds, raking a hand through his perpetually spiky hair.

The man’s path takes him straight toward Grace. My heart races. I can’t tell for sure, but it seems like he’s watching her. He walks at a determined clip, covering ground much faster than me in my flat, strappy sandals. I lean over in mid-stride and rip a sandal from one foot without stopping. Then I scoop up the other in one fluid motion.

Still, each step feels like my bare feet are being sucked into quicksand. I hurry, but feel like I’m moving in slow motion.

“Grace.” I shout, but my words are carried away on the wind. I’m breathless from fighting the sand tugging at my feet. The breeze, which has grown stronger in the past few minutes, whips my hair.

Grace’s brown ringlets bob as she hops her plastic dinosaur around, not noticing anything else.

Donovan isn’t far from Grace, but now the man is closer.

At the same moment Donovan turns and sees the look on my face, the man reaches Grace. His long shadow falls over her small figure. She looks up with a smile and starts chatting. He leans down. His hand reaches toward her, his fingers millimeters from her arm. A wave of dread ripples through me. My feet feel cemented into the sand. My mind screams, but no words come out of my open mouth. Inside, I’m flailing and thrashing to get to Grace, but on the outside, I’m struck immobile.

The man reaches down and grasps Grace’s arm, turning her toward him, and the spell is broken. I’m on wet sand running, the scream caught in my throat coming out as a birdlike garble. I scoop Grace up onto one hip and take a step back. I gasp for air, but I can’t breathe. My heart is going to explode in my chest.

The man looks at me with surprise and for a split second, there is something in his eyes that sends panic racing up into my throat, but then the look is gone, as if I imagined it.

“Gosh. I’m so stupid,” he says in a nasally voice. He wipes his palms on the legs of his jeans, as if he is sweating even though the temperature is rapidly dipping along with the sun.

Donovan is at my side. “Gabriella, is everything okay?”

He’s used my full name and he’s looking at me instead of Grace in my arms. Guilt flicks through me. I’m not acting irrational or hysterical. A strange man walked up to our daughter and grabbed her arm.

Any mother would react the same, wouldn’t she?

At first glance, the man seems boyish with his bowl haircut, baggy jeans, and sneakers. Up close, a few crow’s feet shows he is older. Maybe even my age—thirty. He has feminine pink lips, and piercing blue eyes, the color of the arctic sea. The collar of his black jacket is pulled up. His smile is all “gee, golly, shucks,” abashed and embarrassed but doesn’t reach his eyes. He paws at his jeans with his palms. He’s done that twice now. He’s nervous.

When he meets my eyes again, I realize that something about him seems off, something about his eyes, more than just their intense color. One eye is close to his nose and the other set far apart. It’s jarring and somehow unsettling to make eye contact.

“I’m so sorry,” he says in that same stuffed-up sounding voice. “What a knuckle-headed move. I should know better than to walk up to someone else’s kid like that.”

Donovan grips my arm.

“What’s going on here?” His words are clipped.

I’m panting, but finally able to catch my breath. Still, the words will not come.

“Your kid is so darn cute. She looks just like my little sister used to look. I just wanted to say hi to her and didn’t even think that was a total bonehead move to walk up to someone else’s kid when her parents weren’t around.” He gives an odd smile as he says this.

“We were around.” Donovan says in a monotone, staring the man down.

The man looks down at the sand.

Grace is kicking and trying to get down. My knuckles are white gripping her.

“Ow, mama, you’re hurting me,” she says and tosses her curls in irritation.

Donovan shoots a glance our way before turning his attention back to the man.

“You live around here?” Donovan asks, seemingly casual, but the muscle in his jaw is working hard. His dark eyes under thick eyebrows have narrowed and hold a glint of menace. In a second, it alters him from the man on the cover of the “Sexiest Bay Area Cops” calendar into something feral and dangerous.

The man meets Donovan’s eyes and for a second it looks like he is challenging Donovan to dispute his story, but then he looks down again and digs a sneakered toe into the sand, reinforcing my impression that he’s a kid not a man.

“Marin. Meeting some friends here in the city for dinner. Was early so came here to kill some time. I didn’t mean to cause any problems. I just wanted to say hi to her. Maybe you’re over-reacting a bit.”

Donovan runs a hand through his hair. His posture relaxes. Instinctively—or luckily—this man has honed in on Donovan’s Achilles heel. We’ve talked at length about our tendency to be overprotective parents because of our jobs, me as a crime reporter, and him as a detective. Donovan has argued we can’t
let this affect Grace’s childhood. We need to protect her, but let her grow up carefree. I agree.

But it’s easier said than done.

We’ve, also, talked about my irrational fear that something will happen to Grace.

This man may not realize it, but he’s instantly off the hook with this one simple

“Why don’t you go head on out,” Donovan says, dismissing him.

“My bad, really. Wasn’t using my head. Have a nice night,” the man says and turns to leave.

I set Grace down and Donovan wraps his arm around me.

“You okay?”

“I don’t know.”

I don’t tell him that it felt like I was having a heart attack, that I couldn’t breathe or move. A stranger walked up to my daughter and I stood there, weak, helpless, frozen.

Donovan gives me a look before we both turn and watch the man’s figure growing smaller. We watch without saying a word. We stand there until the man turns and heads toward the wooden boardwalk bordering the road. He never looks back.

About the Author

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and artist. In her former life as a newspaper crime reporter in California, she flew over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, watched autopsies, and interviewed serial killers. She is now a journalist based in Minneapolis and the Gabriella Giovanni mysteries are her first books. Find Kristi on Facebook or on Twitter @KristiBelcamino

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Also available via HarperCollins

Book Showcase: PURIFIED by Elizabeth S Sullivan

Purified by Elizabeth S. Sullivan
ISBN: 9781503351028 (Paperback)
ASIN: B00Q0IAIZI (Kindle edition)
Publisher: CreateSpace (pbk)/Short On Time (digital)
Publication date: November 21, 2014

When a mutilated body of an African American girl is found in a park sandbox, the media shows no interest. Instead, their attention is riveted on the disappearance of Olivia Safra, a college student and only child of the powerful and dangerous Richard Safra. Suspended ADA, Beck Oldman, demoted to a rookie PI is assigned her first cases to find a missing teenager and Olivia Safra. 

Leads connect the murders to the Safra case. The investigation into her client’s private life reveals a dark side in the relationship between a father and daughter and exacts his wrath against Beck. More girls are found murdered, putting Beck in a race to stop a serial killer and stop her own client from destroying her. 

Purified is a thrilling story that explores many dark subjects, including what it does to those who have to live in the world of killers in order to stop them. 

Watch the book trailer:

About the author:

Elizabeth S. Sullivan was born in Chicago and grew up in the LA area. Impassioned by social justice issues, inspired by her parents, she pursued teaching and earned a law degree. She has written five screenplays, one short. Her screenplays have placed or won such as: Nicholl, Austin, Page, and American Zoetrope. These recognitions garnered her a manager, Alexia Melocchi, Little Studio Films. Her first novel, Purified, portrays a strong female protagonist in the genre of a noir thriller.  Sullivan explores issues of race, gender, privacy in the cyber age. She has written several blogs on of women in fiction featured on Venture Galleries.  She is busy working on the sequel to Purified and a new screenplay.

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2015 Book #249: THE WARNING by Sophie Hannah

The Warning by Sophie Hannah
ISBN: 9780062428851 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062428844 (ebook)
ASIN: B00VES8D5G (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 30, 2015 (digital) / August 4, 2015 (pbk)
Publisher: Witness Impulse

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

When a kindly stranger does Chloe a good deed, she decides she must repay him. But in tracing him, she meets a sympathetic woman named Nadine, who warns Chloe to stay away from the man at all costs. “Give him nothing, tell him nothing, don’t trust him,” she says. “Avoid him like the plague.”

Chloe knows the sensible thing to do: walk away. But her curiosity gets the best of her. What is the truth about the good Samaritan? How dangerous could he be? And can Chloe find the answers without putting herself and her daughter in harm’s way?

A twisting, razor-sharp suspense story that will keep you guessing to the very end, The Warning features an appearance from Simon Waterhouse, next seen in the full-length thriller Woman with a Secret—already hailed as “mesmerizing” (Lisa Gardner) and “unputdownable” (Liane Moriarty). 

Chloe is a single mom. On the day of her daughter’s audition for a musical, she’s unknowingly left the sheet music in her car, in a garage that’s too far away to retrieve in time for the audition. Tom (aka chivalrous knight to the rescue) comes to her rescue on his speedy steed (aka his bicycle) and retrieves the sheet music just in the nick of time. When Chloe tracks Tom down and provides him with a “thank you” gift, she receives a strange warning from one of Tom’s coworkers. Chloe doesn’t pay heed to the warning so her best friend pulls in a police officer to launch a friendly investigation into Tom. Should Chloe listen to these warnings or follow her heart?

The Warning is a very quick read at under 100 pages. Ms. Hannah has provided the reader with a thriller that pulls the reader in from page one. I found most of the action in The Warning to be plausible and realistic, except for the notion of “love at first sight.” (Is it possible to be attracted to someone at first sight? Yes! Is it possible to fall in love with someone that you know absolutely nothing about? I don’t think so.) Personal prejudices aside, if you’re looking for a quick and thrilling read with romantic overtones, then grab a copy of The Warning.

Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Book Promo: FOUND NEAR WATER by Katherine Hayton

Crime / Thriller / Mystery

Date Published: July 2014

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Rena Sutherland wakes from a coma into a mother’s nightmare. Her daughter is missing – lost for four days – but no one has noticed; no one has complained; no one has been searching.

As the victim support officer assigned to her case, Christine Emmett puts aside her own problems as she tries to guide Rena through the maelstrom of her daughter’s disappearance.

A task made harder by an ex-husband desperate for control; a paedophile on early-release in the community; and a psychic who knows more than seems possible.

And intertwined throughout, the stories of six women; six daughters lost.

About the Author

Katherine Hayton is a 41 year old woman who works in insurance, doesn’t have children or pets, can’t drive, has lived in Christchurch her entire life, and currently resides a two minute walk from where she was born. For some reason she’s developed a rich fantasy life.

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Book Excerpt: LIES A RIVER DEEP by Vera Jane Cook

Lies A River Deep by Maggie Thom
ISBN:  9781619371262 (ebook)
ASIN:  B007G4KHT2 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Publication Date: March 2, 2012

Sometimes, when lies unravel, and enemies are revealed, vengeance and fate embrace.

In the summer of 1962, at a high school graduation party, Bessie Day Hardy is brutally raped. Fifty years later, the consequences of that horrific night will transition into unforeseen events that will shatter her serene and uncomplicated life.


It was a day like any other. Days have a sameness, even new, they offer little beyond weather changes and sudden deaths.

“And how are you today?” Bessie asked, showing a smile that age had not yet dulled. She’d always been cute because of it. Sixty years ago, or more, she was the little girl whose cheeks you pinched, and though she was old now, she still wore her hair in curls; silver grey undulations that framed her face and brought out a blithe desire in others to pinch where her dimples dipped, even to kiss her there unabashedly.

Grey looked up and nodded. “Same,” he said.

The air was damp with April moisture as Bessie Day Hardy wrapped her scarf closer to her neck and shivered. Air that hung heavy like wet clothes caught flapping in the rain made it hard to breathe. The scarf had been a gift in a white torn box, under red Santa Claus wrapping, from the Episcopal Church of Saint John the Apostle Christmas party, just last year. The lime green and caramel colored wool that she loved to feel against her lips, an anonymous kindness from someone who had written: Bless you and have a very Merry Christmas. Someone, she imagined with fresh white skin, pearl teeth and eyes that sparkled blue in daylight, light as the sea, but darkened with the night, turning cenereal behind the shadows of dusk.

“We ever going to see the sun again?” She sighed. A wind kicked around the corner and her body felt the chill, enemy winds that carried the threat of sodden attacks to bones too brittle to fight. Later, she would feel the ache and she would rub her muscles more for the distraction than the release of pain.

“If we live long enough,” Grey said.

Bessie chuckled. Living long wasn’t the blessing it used to be. Aging was in the way. Couldn’t leave a person alone, had to show up and make her breath short, expose every damn vein in her body and give her the unsightly imprint of impending death. Nobody wants to look at mortality too closely and aging people carry its threat, vulnerably apparent; the weight of its nearness is a monster in the wings where heaven is a nebulous and cracked mirror; don’t look into it, the young whisper: don’t look yet.

But the old were once young. Bessie Day Hardy still carried the traces of adolescent giddiness in the creases of her lips and her middle-aged ardor for Chauncey Hardy still glinted in her eyes at the memory of his smooth hands in hers, and his fine soft hair against her breast. His step was lively. She could hear it, sometimes, when the house was quiet. Chauncey’s step on the stairs, in the kitchen, on the bedroom floor.

Damn house was quiet now, even her cat walked too softly to hear.

Meet the author:

Pharaoh’s Star is Vera Jane Cook’s most recent release. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater was Vera Jane’s second southern fiction novel and was a finalist in the ForeWord book of the Year Awards for 2012 and received a five star ForeWord Clarion review, as well as an Eric Hoffer honorable mention award for ebook fiction in 2013. Dancing Backward in Paradise also received a 5 Star Clarion ForeWord review and an Eric Hoffer notable new fiction award in 2006, as well as the Indie Excellence Award in 2006. Also by Vera Jane Cook: Lies a River Deep, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane and Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem. Her next novel, Pleasant Day will be published in 2015 by Moonshine Cove Press.

Connect with the author:  

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Goodreads      |     Blog      |     Google+ 

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Book Blitz: COMING TO ROSEMONT by Barbara Hinske

Coming to Rosemont by Barbara Hinske

Women’s Fiction / Contemporary

Date Published: February  18, 2013

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Maggie travels to Westbury for the stated purpose of listing Rosemont for immediate sale, but what she really seeks are answers to her all-consuming questions about her sham of a marriage; her sham of a life. She never anticipated the seductive charm of Rosemont. Throwing her trademark caution to the wind, and over the objections of her opinionated grown children, she pulls up stakes and moves halfway across the country, determined to make a fresh start in Westbury. Behind closed doors, however, lurks a cadre of evildoers, playing with multiple wild cards of fraud, embezzlement and arson.

With a quiet, orderly — and distinctively solitary — life in mind, Maggie is instead thrown headlong into a crusade against political corruption, where defeat and retreat are not an option. Still bearing the scars of betrayal, will she find joy, romance and possibility in Westbury?

This fast-paced, smart novel has enough twists and turns to make the reader want to buckle in!


From chapter 9

Maggie dropped to her knees and threw her arms around the squirming dog.  “You don’t know how much I appreciate being able to have Eve with me tonight,” she beamed up at John.  “My flight was delayed and I had a Chatty-Cathy car rental agent.  I drove like a maniac to get here. I’m really very grateful you waited.  The lot was empty and I thought that I was too late.”

“It was no trouble.  I was catching up on paperwork,” John assured her.  “I live on the other side of the Square and walk to work, weather permitting.  I usually stop at one of the restaurants on the way home for dinner.”

“Are you done?  Would you like a lift home?”

John knew an opportunity when he saw one.  “I just need to lock up,” he said.  “Are you hungry?  Or are you full of delicious airline food,” he mocked.  When she shook her head and indicated that she was, indeed, starved, he proposed that the three of them walk over to Pete’s for dinner. They could leave her car at the Hospital and she could drop him off at his house after dinner.

From chapter 7

“What do you mean, mom?  Fresh start?  I don’t get it,” Susan finally replied.

“You know how awkward things have been for me with the College crowd.  The new President and his wife are headed in a different direction and don’t want me hanging around.  I don’t feel like I fit anywhere anymore.  Helen is the only friend that I continue to see,” she said.  Maggie raised her hand to hush their objections.  “You both have your own lives.  I need to have mine.  I can run my business from anywhere with a phone and a computer.”

“So you’re thinking of moving there?” Susan choked.

“That’s exactly what I’ve decided to do,” Maggie replied with her best attempt at a firm, confident voice.

“But you don’t know anyone there,” Susan protested.

“Won’t you rattle around in that huge house all alone?  Won’t that make you feel more alone?” Mike interjected for the first time.

“You know, that’s the part I’m most sure of.  That I won’t be lonely in that house.  When the front door closed behind me that first night, I knew I was home.  I never told you, but I checked out of the hotel and moved into Rosemont the night I arrived,” Maggie said.  Mike and Susan exchanged a skeptical glance.  “And you know, the most extraordinary thing happened the next morning.  I adopted a lost dog.  Or more accurately, she adopted me,” Maggie said, and told them about Eve.  “So you see, I won’t be alone there,” Maggie finished.

Both children remained silent.  Astonished, Maggie thought with a measure of satisfaction.

From chapter 4

“Now,” Tonya said, “As you know, I have been calling for an independent audit of Westbury’s books.  At first, I simply thought this was a good practice.  I never dreamed that something could be wrong.  But the more I requested and pushed for one, the more the Mayor and the other Council Members balked and stalled and misdirected the conversation.”

“I grew up the oldest child in a large family,” she continued.  “I’ve heard plenty of wild excuses and tall tales in my time.  My mother always knew when one of us was lying, and I guess I’ve inherited her nose for nonsense.”  At this, a chuckle rippled through the crowd.  “I felt like I was back in my mother’s kitchen with my brothers when these guys were making excuses to avoid an audit,” she said.  “So I got my back up and decided that I was going to find out about the town’s finances one way or the other.  And at last week’s Town Council meeting I finally got my chance.  Mayor Wheeler left the bank statement out on the Council table in plain sight when we went to recess.”  Tonya paused for dramatic effect.  “So I spent my recess pouring through it.  Long story short, the general account is about half of what was reported in the treasurer’s report and the pension fund was short by almost forty percent,” she announced, as a gasp escaped from the crowd.

Side conversations started up all over the room.  Tonya raised her hands and gestured for quiet.  “At this point, I don’t have a good picture of where the money has gone.  I confronted the Mayor and Council when we resumed after recess.  They scolded me for looking at ‘confidential Town information’, as they called it, telling me that I didn’t understand what I was looking at.  ‘Well, enlighten me,’ I said.  Instead, they quickly adjourned the meeting.  I’ve been calling the Mayor and each of my fellow Council Members ever since and no one has been available to take my call.  And they’re not coming to their offices, either.”

“They’ve all gone to ground,” she continued.  “And you hunters in the crowd know what that means.  We have to drive them out of their hidey-holes.  And this is where I desperately need your help.  Each and every one of you.”

About the Author

Barbara Hinske







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Excerpt: CAPTURED LIES by Maggie Thom

Captured Lies (The Caspian Wine Series, Book 1) by Maggie Thom
ISBN:  9780991727209 (ebook)
Publisher: Quadessence Solutions
Publication Date: October 12, 2012

She was kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead because of it….

Her life was a lie!

Bailey knew her upbringing wasn’t normal but she’s worked hard to stabilize her life. At 29, she finally has a good business, a stable home; her life is miles from that of her childhood. Then suddenly her mother dies, leaving a gaping hole and a discovery that they may not even be related. If Guy, the private investigator is to be believed, her life is a lie. Using the skills she learned on the streets, Bailey travels back through a sketchy and dangerous past, to find answers. Dodging bullets, staying ahead of those who want her dead and convincing Guy she can do it alone, are making it difficult to discover not only the secrets of her mother’s past but that of a family claiming she is theirs. 

Everyone seems to have a story…but who’s telling the truth? And who wants her dead? Is Guy part of the solution? Or part of the problem? To discover the facts, she’ll have to untangle a web of deceit, lies, and secrets, dating back over thirty years.


Bailey wasn’t sure what had hit her harder—her mom being dead, or her mom having health problems and not sharing that with her.

Straightening, she squared her shoulders. “Just tell me who put out the money to pay for my mom’s funeral. Who organized it? It doesn’t make any sense.” The problem was that her mom had no friends, just Bailey.

Mr. Sommervold pushed up his round wire-rimmed glasses. She’d already noticed that they had a tendency to slide down his nose.

“I’m not leaving without answers.”

The door opened, his assistant, a stunning auburn-haired woman, poked her head in. “Mr. Sommervold, the Greenings are here. They have a few things they’d like to discuss with you before the funeral this afternoon.”

Solemn-faced, he nodded then turned to face Bailey. “I don’t know who paid for it. Mr. Lund sent me a letter requesting all that she wanted for a funeral. He also provided a second letter.” He opened the folder in front of him, pulled out an envelope, closed the file and dropped it into the bottom drawer of his desk. After a short hesitation, he slid the envelope across to Bailey.

She stared at him for a full minute before reaching out and picking it up. Her name was scrawled across it in her mother’s handwriting. She pressed it between her palms.

“I’m sure this will answer some of your questions. For any others you have, you’ll need to talk to Mr. Lund. Here’s his business card.”

Bailey stared at the envelope. Would it give her the answers she needed?

“Now if you’ll excuse me. I have other clients I need to see.”

She jerked up her head. Mr. Sommervold was standing in the open doorway, obviously waiting for her to leave. A bit dazed, she stood and walked past him to the main foyer, where she stopped.

Everything seemed surreal. Even the rich, immaculate oak entranceway was too perfect, too daunting. Soft hymn music drifted through the building. Quiet voices, whispered, reverent tones heard only at solemn times, drifted to her. They made everything more unreal.

She felt like a character in dream. A bad one. An unexpected shiver shook her out of her reverie.

Meet the author:

Award winning author, Maggie Thom, took the challenge and leapt off, leaving a full-time, twenty year career in management, to write full time. After publishing her first suspense/thriller book Captured Lies, October 2012, she published her second novel, Tainted Waters, April, 2013. Tainted Waters went on to win 2013 Suspense and Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine and Captured Lies won book of the Month through LAS Reviews (February 2014). She published her third novel, Deceitful Truths (The Caspian Wine Series – Book 2), March 2014. An avid reader and writer her whole life, she decided to break the monotony of wishing to be an author by making it happen. She is a wholehearted nature lover and likes nothing better than to take a book, hike to a remote spot by a river or waterfalls and read. Married to her best friend, she is learning that humor, love and patience help her navigate her way through her twins’ teen years. Her motto: Escape to read and Read to escape. “Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!” InDtale Magazine

Connect with the author:  

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Goodreads     |
     Blog     |     Google+ 

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Shattered Embrace by P. R. Newton
ISBN: 9780992023294 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780992023270 (ebook)
ASIN: B00IP2A6B8 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: March 5, 2014
Publisher: PRN Publishing

Bethlehem took her first breath as her mother took her last. 

Left to survive in overcrowded orphanages, she developed survival skills rivaling a warrior, a fierce, independent fighter before she could walk or talk. Bethlehem lived by two rules: everyone leaves and trust no one. 

A world away in Canada, Tory Witcraft and her husband are trying to adopt from Ethiopia. When the adoption agency goes bankrupt, Tory’s dreams of becoming a mother are threatened. Against the advice of many, including officials threatening to revoke the adoption, she goes to Ethiopia, and her new daughter, Bethlehem. 

When they finally meet, mother and daughter struggle to connect, both tormented by their own fears and demons. Emotions and tempers run hot. Hearts and dreams collide, shattering the new family. 

The adoption journey was difficult, but no one expected the hardest part of the journey would start after they met. 

An emotional and heart-wrenching glimpse into adoption and the devastating impact of childhood trauma.

Bethlehem has been a fighter since her birth. She fought to be born. She fought for survival and to overcome the demons of hunger and apathy. She has learned that everyone she comes to care for and rely upon leaves. Tory has also had to struggle in her life. Granted she hasn’t had to deal with the issues facing little Bethlehem, but she’s had to deal with a highly dysfunctional family life. Her father was an abusive alcoholic and her mother was an enabler that put more emphasis on the appearance of a normal family life than she did providing a normal family life for her children. As an adult Tory has been welcomed into her husband’s family and sees what a loving, caring family is and can be. Now that she and Matt have decided on adoption to fulfill their dreams of children, she is looking forward to providing a loving home to a child in need. Tory and Matt have to learn to wait, and then wait a little longer. The application process is tedious and time-consuming. Just when Tory and Matt think they’ve dealt with the last hurdle to receiving their child, they are informed that the agency brokering their adoption has gone bankrupt. Fearful that their daughter may be left in limbo, they rush to Ethiopia to bring their daughter home. But this journey to bring their daughter home doesn’t have the happy-ever-after ending they had dreamed about.

Tory is anxious about being a good mother and she feels she isn’t bonding properly with Bethlehem. It doesn’t help that she didn’t really have a good example of how to parent from her parents. Bringing their adopted daughter home seems to be the start of more problems than either Matt or Tory could have imagined. Is Tory a horrible mother? Is Bethlehem a problem child that her mother had warned her about?

Ms. Newton provides a powerful, gut-wrenching and heart-warming story of the problems fraught with foreign adoption. Is it possible to really now the troubles these children have endured in their young lives? Is it possible for adoptive families to mitigate against the stress and trauma experienced in young children? At first I thought that Tory was more in love with the dream of adopting than the reality, but I quickly realized that she simply didn’t know about aftereffects of the trauma and stress that she would have to deal with in a child so young. We often hear such warming stories about adoption and one is lead to believe that there are never any problems. It is only in the past few years that we’ve heard more stories about the horrors these children have had to deal with, and not only children in so-called third-world countries. Adoption, foreign or domestic, can be beautiful and provide much needed, loving homes for children. However, even the most loving of parents needs to be aware of the trauma they may need to deal with in their adoptive child. Shattered Embrace sheds a spotlight on this powerful need in a manner that is just as emotional as the trauma endured by both Tory and Bethlehem. If you enjoy reading stories to warm your heart and tug at your emotions while remaining realistic and hopeful, then Shattered Embrace is one story you’ll want to read.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from Reading Addiction Virtual Blog Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Guest Post: Author Jennifer Burrows – INTO THE LIGHT

The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to play host to Jennifer Burrows, author of Into the Light. Ms. Burrows will be providing some great tips to many of you would-be writers. Without further ado, I give you Jennifer Burrows.

Starting Out As A Writer –
5 Things You Should Know

I love this topic! Everybody wants to know the secret to becoming a successful writer. Unfortunately, there isn’t a set road map for everyone. If there was, it would be much easier. It’s different for each individual based on the genre, networking capabilities, and if your story is what people are wanting. With that said, let’s dive in.  

Number Five: The chances you’re going to become mega successful are slim to none. My husband always says, “I can’t wait for you to make it big so I can quit my job.” I just smile and nod at him. Of course it would be amazing. I’m going to do everything I can to get there. But in the back of my mind, I continue to focus on what I love—writing. I get the opportunity to do what I am passionate about. That’s the reward and I’m lucky.  

Number Four: You don’t need a publisher to publish your book. I had a publisher for my first book and I self-published my second. I’ve been more successful with my second book than I ever was with my first. My publisher didn’t do a lot for me except create headaches. I’ve done all the marketing and networking on my own. Oh, and self-publishing is incredibly easy!

Number Three: Find a good group of beta readers. Your friends and family are not an asset where this is concerned. My husband is a lit major. No help there. My best friend is an avid reader and is very critical when it comes to books. Not really a lot of help there. These people are too close. You need someone who is objective and doesn’t give a crap about hurting your feelings. These are the people who will tell you honestly if your story sucks.

Number two.  Networking is your best friend. Go to writers conferences, join an online group, become a part of a writing club, etc. Make friends. Share your experiences. That support group is so necessary. Writing can be a lonely profession.  If you find a person to share your ideas, fan bases, and tips, it will make things easier for you. One of my author friends did a giveaway of my book on her website. I got almost 100 new likes on Facebook in one day.
The number one thing you should do is make friends with the bloggers. People told me this over and over. Common sense told me I needed to. The problem I had is I’m no one. I’m a new author. The bloggers get tons of inquiries a day to read and review books. One by one, I was shot down. Most didn’t even write back. 

In order to get their attention, I started giving them things to give away on their page. Mostly ecopies of my books. They love this. It gets you exposure while making their fans happy trying to win free items. It’s a win-win.

About the author:

Jennifer is a Registered Nurse, and she holds a Master’s degree in Nursing Administration. She has 15 years of experience working in the Emergency Room and the Intensive Care Unit of a major trauma center. While she is equally adept at all facets of patient care, Emergency room nursing is her passion, and is the inspiration for this story and A Shot in the Dark. Currently, she resides in Southern California with her husband and their three amazing boys. A Shot in the Dark was her debut novel with Into the Light following as the sequel.

Connect with Ms. Burrows:

Twitter: @jenburrows234

Into the Dark by Jennifer Burrows
ISBN:  9781495370700 (paperback)
ASIN:  B00I3S7UVI (Kindle edition) 
Publisher: author
Publication date: February 25, 2014

After Laney is shot at point blank range, Josh works tirelessly to repair her life threatening internal injuries from the gunshot wounds. What’s worse is he is forced to inform Laney’s parents about the tragic accident. Having only just begun a relationship with the woman he knows in his heart he will spend the rest of his life with, he now has to reveal to her parents that a stalker has been tormenting their daughter. While his only mission is to save Laney’s life, her parents have other plans for their daughter, none of which include Josh. They are determined to find a new doctor for Laney, and if her parents have their way, she will be taken thousands of miles away from him.

Just when Josh thinks his entire world has been turned completely upside down, he finds his sister Jillian has stopped taking her psychiatric medications and has become a person unfamiliar to him. Dealing with her psychotic world becomes even more of a shock, leaving Josh in a horrible dilemma. He is torn between trying to save Laney’s life, keeping her parents from moving her away from him, and providing his sister the attention and help she desperately needs before she has a complete psychotic breakdown.

Will Josh be able to save the love of his life and prevent her parents from taking her away? Will he be able to help Jillian through her mental illness before it takes over her life? Will Laney’s relationship with her parents ever be salvaged? Will Josh and Laney have their happily ever after, or will the hurdles they have to jump through prove to be more than they can handle?

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