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

Tour Participants:

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Click here to view The Little Town of Summerville Tour Hosts.

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Guest Post: V.M. Burns – KILLER WORDS

Good day, my bookish peeps. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, you’ve probably noticed that I adore hosting guest authors, especially authors writing in my favorite fiction genres (all of them). I feel that we get to know authors a bit better when they stop by and share with us and we also gain insight into their writings. It is always an incredible pleasure and honor for me to host these visits. Today, I’m very excited to welcome V.M. Burns, author of the “Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series,” including the latest release Killer Words (great title!). Ms. Burns will be discussing what she feels is the beauty found within cozy series. I’m going to grab a cup of chai (in my favorite bookish mug, of course), and will be kicking back to enjoy what Ms. Burns has to share. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well, follow the blog tour to learn more about this book, author, and series, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway. Thank you, Ms. Burns for joining us today. The blog is now all yours.

The Beauty of a Cozy Series

One of the things I love most about cozy mysteries, is that they’re almost always presented in a series. Reading the next book in a series is like spending time with an old friend. Many genres don’t lend themselves to continuation in the same way that cozies do, but wouldn’t it be great if they did? Honestly, I can’t believe I’m the only person who would like to see what happens next in Pride & Prejudice to Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia after they get married. And, what about Mary and Kitty? Do they get married and find their happily ever after? If Jane Austen wrote cozy mysteries, we might know the answer to those questions. Killer Words is the 7th book in the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series, and I’ve been pondering what’s so special about a series and why are cozy mysteries the perfect genre for series?

There’s no universal definition of cozy mysteries. However, there are some characteristics that most (if not all) have in common. Cozies are mysteries that feature an amateur sleuth and don’t have explicit sex or violence, and only minor (if any) swearing. That’s the part that almost everyone agrees on. Now, here are some elements that cozy lovers like to debate. The sleuth is often (although not always) a female. Cozies often take place in small towns or a contained environment, and cozies are often themed. There are exceptions to every rule, and I could rattle off at least ten mysteries that I would classify as a cozy that don’t check all of the boxes. But I would argue that one element that makes cozies perfect for a series is that they tend to be character driven. Readers pick up Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot books because we want to spend time with those characters. Christie’s plots were always great, too. But it was Miss Jane Marple with her knitting and village parallels to people from St. Mary Mead that I found endearing. Or the Belgium private investigator with his egg-shaped head, patent leather shoes, and elaborate moustaches that kept me wanting to find out what new mysteries he would use his “little grey cells” to unravel.

Horror and Thrillers are best suited for standalone books. Readers expect serial killers, terrorist, and bad guys to be dispatched in one way or the other at the end of the book. Romance readers expect a ‘happy ever after.’ However, it’s not uncommon to find romance trilogies with spinoffs of secondary characters. However, it’s rare to find a romance series where the same characters are the focus in multiple books.

Readers often ask if a series can be read out of order or if you should always start with the first book in the series. I’ve rarely found a cozy mystery that I couldn’t enjoy regardless of where the book falls in the series. Just keep in mind, characters in cozies aren’t stagnate. Unlike young adult books like Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, the characters in cozy mysteries grow and evolve over time. If you want to follow the progression and see their evolution, then you should start at the beginning. Could you start Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone series in the middle and still enjoy it? Yes. But you’ll really appreciate the books more if you start with A is for Alibi and work your way through the alphabet. You’ll enjoy watching as Kinsey changes over time. And yes, I know Kinsey Milhone is a P.I. and the series isn’t a cozy. Remember, there are exceptions to every rule.

Killer Words is the 7th book in the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. Readers who’ve followed Samantha Washington from the beginning, The Plot is Murder, will have the satisfaction of seeing Sam realize another of her dreams. Readers new to the series will meet Sam, her grandmother, Nana Jo, and the girls from the retirement village and will also get the satisfaction of seeing Sam realize her dream. Whether you’re new to the series or returning to spend time with old friends, give a cozy mystery series a try.

Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

About Killer Words


Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop)

Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – North Harbor, Michigan
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington Cozies (November 30, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496728971 (paperback)
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 9781496728975 (paperback)
ISBN  : 9781496728982 (eBook)
ASIN  : ‎ B08Y65TD1X (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #Commission Earned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Apple Books | Barnes and Noble | Books-A-Million | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | Google Play Books | !ndigo | Kobo eBook

Bookstore owner and mystery writer Samantha Washington comes to the aid of the cop who once arrested her own grandmother . . .

 

Sam and Nana Jo are back in sleepy North Harbor, Michigan, where Sam is eagerly awaiting the publication of her first book. In search of more immediate excitement, Nana Jo hits the casino with her fellow Shady Acres Retirement Village gal pals—but they get more than they bargained for when they witness Detective Bradley Pitt decking mayoral candidate John Cloverton.

 

As Sam well knows, mystery novels are full of brilliant detectives, genius sleuths, and hero cops. Detective Bradley Pitt—aka “Stinky Pitt”—is another story. In the past, the dull-witted detective has mistakenly accused members of Sam’s family for crimes they didn’t commit. Now, it’s his turn: when Cloverton turns up dead, he’s arrested. With his predilection for polyester, Pitt has been wanted by the fashion police for years, but Nana Jo knows her former elementary school math student would never commit murder—it doesn’t add up. Somebody’s framed the flatfoot to take a fall, and Sam and Nana Jo must step in to restore the reputation and good name of Detective Pitt.

 

About V.M. Burns

V.M. Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers Association of America, Thriller Writers International, is on the national board for Sisters in Crime. She currently resides in the warmer area of the U.S. with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at http://www.vmburns.com

Author Links

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/v-m-burns
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/burnsvm
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vmburnsbooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vmburns
Website: vmburns.com

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 29 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 30 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

November 30 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

December 1 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 2 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

December 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 3 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

December 5 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

December 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 7 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 8 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 9 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

December 9 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW

December 10 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

December 10 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

December 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 12 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

Tour-wide Giveaway

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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

Tour Participants:

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Enter to Win:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Steven C. Harms. There will be THREE (3) winners for this tour. Each of the THREE (3) winners will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card (US Only). The giveaway runs November 8 through December 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: FOREVER HOME by Elysia Whisler

Forever Home, Dogwood County #2, by Elysia Whisler
ISBN: 9780778311607 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780369706119 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488212642 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781665105125 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B08Y66F6F1 (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08R919BQD (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA Books
Release Date: November 30, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Military Romance | Family Life

 If home is where the heart is, Dogwood County may have just what Delaney Monroe needs

Newly retired from the Marine Corps, Delaney is looking for somewhere to start over. It’s not going to be easy, but when she finds the perfect place to open her dream motorcycle shop, she goes for it. What she doesn’t expect is an abandoned pit bull to come with the building. The shy pup is slow to trust, but Delaney is determined to win it over.

Detective Sean Callahan is smitten from the moment he sees Delaney, but her cool demeanor throws him off his game. When her late father’s vintage motorcycle is stolen from Delaney’s shop, Sean gets to turn up in his element: chasing the bad guy and showing his best self to a woman who’s gotten under his skin in a bad way.

Delaney isn’t used to lasting relationships, but letting love in—both human and canine—helps her see that she may have found a place she belongs, forever.

Read an Excerpt:

ONE

Three Rebels Street.

Delaney should’ve known that this was where she’d end up. This was the kind of street a woman went down when all the big changes in her life were happening at once. You simply couldn’t hit a retirement ceremony, the road and a funeral all in one week and not end up on Three Rebels Street.

Small is not the right word. I prefer quaint.” The real estate agent, Ronnie, gazed around the studio apartment situated on Three Rebels Street, and nodded her head in approval. “You said it was just for you, right? Which means it’s the perfect size.”

Stop trying to sell me on the apartment. Ronnie had described it as an “alcove studio”—not just a studio—because even though the living room and kitchen were all in one large space, the bedroom was situated in a little nook, with its own door. Delaney didn’t care. The living quarters didn’t really matter. Right now the place was dumpy. Dust everywhere, the ceiling fan hanging crooked with exposed wires, and debris in the corners, like the previous tenants hadn’t taken care of the place and then left in a hurry.

“We didn’t have a chance to get this cleaned before your showing,” Ronnie said, following Delaney’s gaze. “Remember, I suggested waiting until Friday.”

But Delaney hadn’t been able to wait.

Ronnie lowered her voice to a near whisper. “They were evicted. But this place cleans up nice, I promise.”

“Can we go back down to the shop?” Delaney ran her hands through her hair, rubbing the weariness from her scalp. Ronnie had whisked them through the front bay door and up the stairs, like the apartment was the prize inside the cereal box. And Delaney supposed it was—small, an add-on, not really the point. For Delaney, the shop downstairs was the entire point.

“Of course.” Ronnie’s voice was bright, forced, like she didn’t give two shits. This was probably her last showing of the day and she wanted to get home, into a hot bath with a glass of red as soon as possible. She clacked down the stairs in her high heels.

Delaney followed, the earthy clunk of her motorcycle boots the bass drum in the cacophony of their feet.

“The shop.” Ronnie swept out her arm. “Look how much space.” There was no enthusiasm in her voice. Ronnie, who probably did mostly living spaces, had no idea how to sell the garage.

Didn’t matter. Delaney sized up the shop herself: concrete floor, perfect for working on bikes. It was kind of dinged up, but that was okay, she was already envisioning painting it beige with nonslip floor paint. Modern fluorescent lighting. Large bay door, wide-open to the cool air, excellent for ventilation. A countertop with a register. Empty shelves on one side for parts and motor clothes. Showroom space for custom bikes, and enough room for at least two workspaces out front. The rest, Delaney would provide. Hydraulic lifts. Workbench. Parts tank. Tools. Parts. Bikes.

She wanted to pinch herself, but chose a poker face. Ronnie stood in the center of the floor, like she was trying to avoid touching anything, to avoid getting any grease or oil on her smart red suit. The shop was in better condition than the apartment, but it still looked like the last occupants had left quickly—or, if they’d truly been evicted, perhaps reluctantly was a better word. Nothing important remained, but the place hadn’t been swept or washed or readied for sale in any manner.

“I’ll consider this.” Delaney rubbed her chin as she strode through the shop. “It’s a little small.” It was actually larger than she’d expected. “Light’s good, but might get a little cold in the winter.” It was winter now, technically. Mid-March. Delaney loved this time of year, when winter and spring intersected, like lovers making up after a nasty fight, the weather edgy and unpredictable.

“There’s a lot of interest in this space.” Ronnie clutched her clipboard to her chest as she looked around. She could be looking at the inside of a spaceship and hold that same expression.

Motorcycle shops were going out of business, all over the place, including the one that had recently vacated. After suddenly finding herself on Three Rebels Street last week, in front of a shop-apartment combo for sale, Delaney had done her research. The previous tenants, who she now knew had been evicted, were brothers who ran a shop by day and lived upstairs by night. They sold mostly new bikes and motorcycle gear. Repairs and maintenance were basic. Their website was still up, despite the fact that Dude’s Bikes had closed. Dude’s appeared to focus mostly on male riders, leaving Delaney to wonder if Dude’s was just about dudes or if one of the owners was, indeed, named Dude.

“What’s the story on this place?”

Ronnie glanced at her clipboard. “The owner wants to sell. After the last renters’ lease ran out, they were given the option of buying or moving. I don’t think their shop was doing well, because they couldn’t afford to buy. They weren’t even paying their rent. And they weren’t quick about moving. The rest, as they say, is history.”

If the last motorcycle shop had failed, buying would be a gamble. But any business venture was a gamble.

Life was a gamble.

“There are a couple of people looking, after you.” Ronnie continued, “About five.”

Delaney could respect white lies in the sales biz but seriously? Five? Five or so people were waiting to check out the bike shop with an overhead apartment suitable for one small, low-maintenance tenant? She had no idea how two brothers had managed up there.

She strolled through the space, wanting a good feel. She needed to touch things, inhale the shop, draw its molecules into her lungs and taste its history before she could decide on the symbiosis of her dream space. Triple M Classics—short for Martin Monroe’s Motorcycles, named after her father—would own her as much as she would it, so this relationship was going to be deep and mutual. Through the front window, she could see the parkway that ran the length of the county. At just past eighteen-hundred hours, rush hour was a jam of red taillights in the waning daylight. No amount of time would erase Delaney’s memory of her last tour here, when she had to commute to work every day. Pure hell. It would be nice to go right upstairs to her cozy little apartment after closing, rather than having to sit in that mess.

Across the street was a row of shops, including a grocery story and an Italian restaurant. Food. Check.

On the south side, the shop butted up to the woods, which had a downward slope of grass and weeds that led to the trees. Privacy. Double check. Plus, Delaney figured if there was a tornado, that slope could count as a ditch, and would probably be the safest place to run. She laughed at herself. This wasn’t Omaha. Virginia tornado season consisted of a few warnings that rarely panned out.

Delaney withdrew the listing, printed from the internet, from her back pocket, crammed together with a grocery receipt for extra firm tofu, Tater Tots and Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. “This is the price, right?” She handed over the paper. Money would be tight, but Delaney should be able to manage for a little while until things got going.

That is, if she was going to do this.

Was she really going to do this?

All her adult life Delaney had moved around, from station to station. Forts, camps, bases. Not shops. Not homes. She’d never put down roots. Never had anything permanent other than her childhood home with Dad. Never owned a thing she couldn’t cram into a duffel bag.

Ronnie looked at the paper. “No.” She sniffed. “There’s a newer listing.” She flipped through her clipboard, laid it on the counter and pointed. “Here we go.”

Delaney looked at the asking price, choked a little bit, almost thanked Ronnie for her time and left. That would be the smart thing to do. Sometimes childhood dreams just needed to stay dreams.

She strode around once more, mentally saying goodbye to everything that she’d never even made hers. Even though all of this had been a panster move, it felt like all the blood in her veins had been replaced with disappointment. She stopped by the far wall, where a ratty piece of paper hung by a sliver of tape. Delaney smoothed out the curled edges and read the flyer.

Fiftieth Annual Classic Motorcycle Show.

Dogwood County Fairgrounds.

The event was in July. There was a contest, including prizes. The grand prize for the winning classic cycle was five grand plus a feature article in Ride magazine.

The disappointment started to drain away. Five grand wouldn’t pay all the bills, but exposure in a major motorcycle magazine would be a boon for business. Plus, there was something about that poster, just hanging there like that.

It seemed like a sign.

Excerpt from Forever Home by Elysia Whisler.
Copyright © 2021 by Elysia Whisler.
Published by arrangements with Harlequin Books S.A.
Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

 

Meet The Author

Author – Elysia Whisler

 

Elysia Whisler was raised in Texas, Italy, Alaska, Mississippi, Nebraska, Hawaii, and Virginia, in true military fashion. If she’s not writing she’s probably working out, coaching, or massaging at her CrossFit gym. She lives in Virginia with her family, including her large brood of cat and dog rescues, who vastly outnumber the humans.

 

Connect with the Author:  Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Author Website
This excerpt brought to you by MIRA Books

 

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

Tour Participants:

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This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Furlong. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway runs November 16 through November 21, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: LOVE AND LAVENDER by Josi S. Kilpack

Love and Lavender, Mayfield Family #4, by Josi S. Kilpack
ISBN: 9781629729299 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781649330345 (ebook)
ASIN: B09DDKF4F7 (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B09BK6MRR5 (Audible audiobook)
Release Date: November 2, 2021
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction | Historical Romance | Regency Romance | Inspirational Fiction

 
Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, Hazel knows marriage is unlikely, so she devotes herself to teaching at a private girls’ school.

Duncan Penhale thrives on order and process. He has no interest in marriage, so when Elliott Mayfield, his guardian’s brother, offers him an inheritance if he weds, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, an inheritance means he could purchase a building and run his own accounting firm.

Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, claim their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But then Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must first live together as a couple for one year.

Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had anticipated. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 4
pages 39-42

 

“Well, then, I am off to the races.”

Duncan looked up from the ledger he was copying to see Mr. Ludwig pop up from his desk on the other side of the room. Mr. Ludwig did not mean actual horse races; rather, it was a phrase he used regularly to explain that he was leaving the office.

Duncan glanced at the clock on the wall. “It is only a quarter ’til six.”

Mr. Ludwig reached for his coat and hat hanging beside the door of their shared office. They had been working together for several months now, but it seemed like a much longer period of time due to the way the man increased Duncan’s workload and continually grated on Duncan’s nerves.

“I have finished my day’s work, old boy, and will return in the morning to start anew.”

Duncan did not like being called “old boy,” but it was an-other phrase Mr. Ludwig liked to utilize in his regular speech. If the man would speak concisely and not force Duncan to translate the meaning behind the things he said, they would likely get on far better than they did. Oh, and it would be nice if Mr. Ludwig cared at all for accurate accounting practices and did not interfere with Duncan’s relationship with the partners.

“Office hours are until six thirty on Tuesdays and Wednesdays,” Duncan said slowly, as if he were talking to a child or someone for whom English was not their first language. “If you have finished the Carillon account, you may begin tomorrow’s work.”

On Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, office hours for the junior clerks went to 5:30. Duncan had spoken to the partners on seven different occasions about choosing the same time to end each of the five workdays of the week so as to mitigate confusion, but they did not find the varying times inconvenient since they left whenever they wished.

The varying end time of the workdays was only one of several details that Duncan would change if he were the one making the decisions. But since he was not the one making the decisions, he had no choice but to abide by the stipulations enforced by the partners. He was the senior employee on the premises right now, and therefore it was his responsibility to make sure the rules were followed.

“Hmm,” Mr. Ludwig said as he walked to the clock located by the door and opened the glass face.

Duncan shot to his feet. “Mr. Ludwig!” He came around his desk and marched across the room while fumbling in his vest pocket for his pocket watch while Mr. Ludwig moved the hands of the clock.

Duncan was horrified. He wound his pocket watch every evening and checked the time with the clockmaker, Mr. Handlery, every Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Handlery’s clock was kept to Greenwich Time and cross-checked monthly.

Mr. Ludwig stood in front of him, the grin gone from his face. Duncan stepped left in order to move around him, but Mr. Ludwig stepped in the same direction, blocking Duncan’s path to the clock.

“I have an appointment tonight, Mr. Penhale, and I will be on my way, is that understood?”

“Changing the time on the clock does not change the time,” Duncan said, holding up his pocket watch to prove that he had possession of the actual time of day. The watch chain attached to Duncan’s vest pulled tight. He took a breath and forced himself to look Mr. Ludwig in the eye. Catherine had taught him it was an important social protocol he should use whenever possible, and he found it especially effective when he was trying to make a point, even though it made him uncomfortable.

“Office hours are until six thirty on Tuesday and Wednesdays—that is your appointment. Any other personal business you need to conduct must be done outside of business hours or with the stated permission of one of the partners. Since such permission has not been communicated to me, your early departure is a breach of policy.”

Mr. Ludwig grabbed the pocket watch from Duncan’s hand, snapping the chain, and threw it against the wall. The metal casing hit the wood panel like a stone and fell to the ground.

Duncan stared at the watch, his hands tightening into fists at his side.

“Unlike you, Mr. Penhale, I have a life outside of this miserable office,” Mr. Ludwig said, hissing through his teeth, his misty spittle hitting Duncan’s face.

“You are obligated by both employment and ethics to remain working until—”

“Go back to your desk, Mr. Penhale, and leave me be.” He moved to go around Duncan, but Duncan copied Mr. Ludwig’s earlier practice and stepped to the side, further blocking the man’s access to the door.

“You are not authorized to leave early.”

“My uncle owns this firm, Mr. Penhale, and he has about had his fill of you. One more complaint from me and you may very well find yourself on the street, is that what you want?”

“That is not what I want nor is it worth my concern. Terminating me would be a serious error in judgment, as you are a very poor clerk and I am a very skilled one.”

Mr. Ludwig laughed, but it was an odd sound that did not reflect amusement. He tried to step around Duncan a second time, and Duncan, fueled by his growing temper, once again blocked his passage.

“Take your place at your desk and finish the workday, Mr. Ludwig.”

Mr. Ludwig growled low in his throat and shoved Duncan’s right shoulder to move him out of the way. Upon the violent contact, Da’s voice sounded in Duncan’s head: Never start the altercation, Dunny, but if a bloke hits you first, hit back twice as hard.

Duncan caught himself mid-stumble, looked into Mr. Ludwig’s face to take aim, and punched the other man straight in the nose.

Excerpt from Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack.
Copyright © 2021 by Josi S. Kilpack. Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Josi S. Kilpack has written more than thirty novels, a cookbook, and several novellas. She is a four-time Whitney award winner, including Best Novel 2015 for “Lord Fenton’s Folly, and has been a Utah Best of State winner for Fiction. Josi loves to bake, sleep, eat, read, travel, and watch TV–none of which she gets to do as much as she would like. She writes contemporary fiction under the pen name Jessica Pack.

Josi has four children and lives in Northern Utah.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

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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!

 

Tour Participants:

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Guest Post: Olivia Swindler – CYNTHIA STARTS A BAND

Good day, my bookish peeps. My excitement level is building because the virtual West Virginia Book Festival begins on Friday evening. Getting to meet (virtually) and hear new-to-me authors as well as those I’ve read for years, is a bit like opening presents. I love book festivals. I enjoy listening to authors, as well as reading their works simply because most authors are incredible storytellers. Today I’m pleased to welcome a new-to-me storyteller to the blog. Please help me welcome Olivia Swindler, debut author of Cynthia Starts a Band. Ms. Swindler will be sharing with us her impressions on being a storyteller and being true to oneself. So sit back, relax with your favorite beverage, and let’s hear what Ms. Swindler has to say (oops, almost forgot, please add Cynthia Starts a Band to your TBR list if it isn’t already there). Thank you, Ms. Swindler for taking the time to join us today, the blog is now all yours.

An Authentic Story

I have always been a storyteller. From the moment I learned that I could keep my sister’s attention if I had a good enough story, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

When I started writing, it took me years to find my voice. No matter what the plot was, for some reason, the story kept falling flat. The words that I was writing didn’t feel like me because they weren’t me. The stories I was trying to tell were not mine to carry. I knew it. Those who read my words knew it. It was not authentic.

In my mid-twenties, I had an “oh-my-gosh-the-world-is-ending-and-I-will-never-find-love-again” breakup. (Older and wiser now, I wish I was dramatic when I typed those words, but I know that you can find that phrasing verbatim somewhere in a text to my sister). I really thought that my life was over.

I started to tell a few of my friends about my recently ended relationship. After describing something my ex had said to me while we were dating, one of my dearest friends said the words I had been dreading and denying—that he had been emotionally abusive and manipulative.

With the pieces of my broken heart, I refused to believe her. He HAD loved me. I loved him.

A few months went by, and I did my best to forget her words. I moved on with my life. I figured out who I was again. I felt like myself. And then, one morning, I got on Twitter. The #metoo movement had begun, and I found myself absentmindedly scrolling through the tweets. I could relate to almost every tweet. The things these women were calling abuse were things that I had experienced in this relationship.

I fell to the floor and cried.

From my spot on the floor, I wrote what would become the last song in Cynthia Starts a Band, Wasn’t Love. I had spent the better half of a year justifying this bad behavior because I thought that the way I was being treated was the way love was supposed to look like. For years, I held onto that song, keeping it as an anthem to myself. It was a reminder of what I had walked through. A testament to my own strength and courage.

And then, after years of writing stories that were not mine to write, the story of Eleanor Quinn, a woman who is escaping an abusive relationship, came to me. The words ultimately wrote themselves.

  • I wrote Cynthia Starts a Band as a beacon of hope for anyone trying to find their agency again.
  • I wrote Cynthia Starts a Band as a love letter to anyone who has felt alone in their pain.
  • I wrote Cynthia Starts a Band to remind myself of the courage it takes to start over.

I hope that through stories like Cynthia Starts a Band, readers feel empowered and remember that they can do hard things. I hope you feel seen. I hope you feel loved.

CYNTHIA STARTS A BAND by Olivia SwindlerCynthia Starts a Band by Olivia Swindler
ISBN: 9781631954900 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781631954917 (eBook)
ASIN: B097KV9C5G (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Release Date: October 19, 2021 (paperback edition)
Genre: Fiction | Friendship | Women’s Fiction

 Eleanor Quinn lives a life most young girls dream of. She’s the lead singer of a wildly successful band, dating the most beautiful man in America, and in love with her life on tour. She pours her heart into every song she writes and genuinely enjoys connecting with fans. So, when she disappears after her fiance’s fairy-tale perfect proposal on stage, the world is shocked. Worse yet, he starts telling interviewers that Eleanor is crazy — possibly even a danger to herself and those around her. As the weeks go by, the world wants to know: Who is Eleanor Quinn really?

But Eleanor needs to find that out for herself.

Broken and filled with self-doubt after the proposal, Eleanor embarks on a journey to regain agency in her life. She needs to reconnect with the Ellie Quinn underneath pop sensation “Eleanor Quinn.” Determined to find herself again, she moves in with her cousin in Seattle, picks a new name, and enrolls in a local university’s writing class. But she starts to realize that running away and starting over isn’t as easy as it seems in movies. Crushed by self-doubt and subconscious fears, ghosts from her past refuse to leave her alone. She realizes the only way forward is to share her version of the past.

Olivia Swindler’s debut novel embraces the values of family, empowerment, and healing and draws on the #metoo movement. Reminiscent of Evvie Drake Starts Over (Linda Holmes) and Searching for Sylvie Lee (Jean Kwok), Cynthia Starts a Band tells the story of starting over, discovering who you are when the world isn’t looking, and summoning the courage to be honest with yourself and the world.

Meet the Author

Olivia Swindler

Olivia Swindler was raised in Spokane, Washington but currently resides in Grenoble, France, as the Communication Coordinator for Young Life in Europe. She spends most of her spare time wandering through the mountains and eating her weight in bread.

Olivia believes that through fiction we can learn and grow from one another because there is something magical about picking up a book and allowing it to transport you someplace new. Cynthia Starts a Band is her debut novel. She hopes it will create and foster hard, real-life conversations, inspiring readers to have the courage to discover who they are when the world isn’t looking.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Giveaway

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway for one (1) print copy of Cynthia Starts a Band by Olivia Swindler via The Book Diva’s Reads. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM ET on 10/28/2021 and the winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 10/29/2021. Giveaway is limited to US residents ONLY. Any entry received with a non-US address will be disqualified. Void where prohibited by law.

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Guest Post: Maggie Blackburn – ONCE UPON A SEASIDE MURDER


Once Upon a Seaside Murder (A Beach Reads Mystery)
by Maggie Blackburn

Good day, book people. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week so far and found time for some reading. I’ve been in a bit of reading slump lately, so I’ve been watching quite a bit of television. I was an early “cord-cutter,” so my television viewing is primarily limited to Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix, although I do occasionally watch a movie or documentary on Kanopy or Hoopla courtesy of my local library system. I’ve been watching quite a number of documentaries lately, namely true crime and biographies. I don’t generally read books from these genres unless a book club has chosen a title that fits into that genre. Does your television viewing differ from your reading habits or are they more closely aligned? Please help me welcome the award-winning, cozy mystery author, Maggie Blackburn. Ms. Blackburn’s latest release is the second book in her Beach Reads Mystery series, Once Upon a Seaside Murder. Ms. Blackburn has been gracious enough to stop by and share with us her thoughts on television viewing to accompany your cozy mystery reading habit. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say, follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and author, as well as enter the tour-wide giveaway. Thank you, Ms. Blackburn, for joining us today, the blog is now all yours.

TV shows to Scratch Your Cozy Itch

In between reading cozy mystery books, you may find yourself looking for a good TV show. These days, there’s alot to choose from for the cozy mystery reader—some of which are not murder mysteries, but still have that cozy vibe.

The first two shows I can think of are exactly like that.

Doc Martin, which is a BBC production, is an amazing long-running show about a doctor who develops an aversion to blood. That said, viewers actually don’t see the blood. The setting is rural England and astoundingly beautiful in a town full of quirky characters. You really feel for this doctor as he struggles to start again, even though, he’s um, a bit unlikable at times.

The Cafe, also from Great Britain, is set in a small beach town, in a cafe. There are several mysteries here–but none involved murders. I love the family relationships, the romances, and the whole vibe. I found it addicting and was sad to learn there were no more episodes.

Miss Fisher’s Mysteries is one series to die for. Gorgeous costumes, sophisticated plots, and murders solved by the lovely Miss Fisher every time. Set in the 1920s, amidst the weather folks, it a cozy mystery on steroids.

Monk is one of my favorite shows. Yes, he’s not an amateur detective, but at the start of the show he’s no longer a cop. He’s quirky and lovable, as is his assistant, Sharona. I love the humor and his sad backstory.

Only Murder in the Building is the new show everybody is talking about and it’s a bit racy for a cozy crowd, but still it has some elements. These sleuths are definitely amateurs–but they do use foul language. Fair warning.

So the next time you’re looking for something to watch, rather than read, I hope you’ll find this list useful. ♦

Once Upon a Seaside Murder (A Beach Reads Mystery)
by Maggie Blackburn

About Once Upon a Seaside Murder


Once Upon a Seaside Murder (A Beach Reads Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Brigid’s Island, NC
Publisher: ‎ Crooked Lane Books (October 12, 2021)
Hardcover: ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10: ‎ 1643858327
ISBN-13: ‎ 9781643858326 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781643858333 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781666520866 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781666521177 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: ‎ B08TV4GK2C (Kindle version)
ASIN: B09DHXDRYS (Audible)

As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret in this second volume of Maggie Blackburn’s Beach Reads mystery series.

There’s no place like home for the holidays, even if home is sleepy, beachside Brigid’s Island, NC. During this season for giving, the town wakes up to a welcome throng of shoppers–and Beach Reads is no exception. But bookseller Summer Merriwether’s Christmas cheer turns to cringing fear when she uncovers a deadly secret about her late mother–a secret someone will kill to keep.

When the local library hosts a cozy mystery panel discussion, Summer learns that one of the authors on the panel based her book on an actual murder that shook Brigid’s Island thirty-five years before. Worse, she soon learns that her dearly missed mother, Hildy, took a disturbingly deep interest in the case, going so far as to collect clippings and keep a journal of the dark doings. This doesn’t jibe with Summer’s memories of her usually cheery mother at all.

Tidings get worse when Summer learns of her long-lost biological family’s involvement in the crime…and still worse when the life of the book’s author is threatened. With the help of Hildy’s plucky book club, Summer puts her scholarly smarts to work on protecting the cozy author and solving the decades-old murder.

But this ghost from Christmas past may still be deadly in the present, and if she can’t find the killer, Summer’s future will be brief.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible | Audiobooks.com | AudiobooksNow.com | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Downpour.com | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook

About Maggie Blackburn

Maggie Blackburn is the pen name of Mollie Cox Bryan. She writes cozy mysteries with edge. She’s the author of several bestselling mystery series. She’s recently released a novella mystery series: The Victoria Town Mysteries. Her book, Goodnight Moo, has been shortlisted for a Fresh Fiction Reader’s Choice Award. Her books have been selected as finalists for an Agatha Award and a Daphne du Maurier Award and as a Top 10 Beach Reads by Woman’s World. She makes her home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Va.

Author Links

Website http://www.molliecoxbryan.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/molliecoxbryanauthor/

Twitter https://twitter.com/molliecoxbryan

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/molliebryan/

Giveaway

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 14 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

October 14 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

October 14 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

October 15 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

October 15 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 15 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 16 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

October 17 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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October 21 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

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Book Showcase: THE ENCANTO by Arthur Swan

The Encanto, LA Fog Book #1, by Arthur Swan
ISBN: 9780996560535 (paperback)
ASIN: B0994W46CD (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Swanfall
Release Date: October 14, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Supernatural Thriller


An ancient Mayan artifact, smuggled into Los Angeles, unexpectedly alters three lives in bizarre ways.

Gray, an aspiring artist struggling to provide for his family, Claire, his insomniac wife, and Ashley York, a wealthy socialite striving to make it as a real actress, find their paths crashing together, their dreams and their very identities threatened.

Meanwhile, Saul Parker, a detective and hobbyist magician who is self-conscious about his weight, strives to solve a strange case that seems impossible to comprehend.

Only Wayob, a mysterious chameleon-like killer, has a grasp on the dangerous power that has consumed his life and now infiltrates the others.

The Encanto, Book 1 of the LA Fog series, is an intricately woven, character-based mystery about how the choices we make inform our identity.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com

 

Read an excerpt:

Would a cloud be too much to ask? The afternoon sky had thinned out and surrendered to the relentless sun. Saul parked on Lincoln Boulevard near the mob of looky-loos pressing in around the barricades on the sidewalk. Behind the crime scene was a carwash with faded fin-toppers that might have looked stylish in the sixties.

He left the engine running for the AC. In front of him was a pink van advertising “Topless Maids $99” and then a squad car. Beside it, Hernandez was talking to the uniforms. She was five foot two and lithe. She only saw him as a partner, but Saul was hoping for more.

He couldn’t bear for her to see him heave his huge belly out. If she would just get in here with him, they could crank up the AC and talk like human beings. Forget all the politics and procedure of the LAPD.

He motioned her towards his car, but she looked away.

He flashed his lights.

Useless signal against the sunlight. He sighed. Grabbed his trench coat from the backseat. Climbed out of the car and put it on. It did little to hide his girth. If anything, the coat made him more conspicuous.

Instantly sweating, he tried to ignore the murmurs from the crowd, the mouths gaping open, all the phones pointing at him as plowed his big belly toward Hernandez.

She glanced at him from the corner of her eye but continued joking with the uniforms, as if unaware of his approach. Her skin was perfect. She would look twenty-five if not for the clump of gray hair always falling across her forehead.

“What’s the status?” he asked.

“Where you been, Barker?” She trotted out her Chicana accent, pronouncing the P in his last name like a B. She was pissed.

“Traffic’s a bitch,” he said.

She pointed inside his coat. “Is that the evidence you were looking for?”

He glanced down. A dollop of ketchup stained his shirt. He hadn’t noticed it escape his burger. He should have told her he was going to the Castle for lunch. She knew he belonged to the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, but she had no idea how much he loved going there. The ornate wood and crystal chandeliers. The deliberate lack of windows which made it feel like stepping out of LA and back in time to an alternate world where the air seemed to spark with possibility.

He’d only lied because Hernandez was working through lunch, and what if, like his ex, she hated magic?

He buttoned his coat over the stain. They needed to focus on the case. At least Saul did. Not that Lieutenant Levy had actually told him in so many words, but she’d called Hernandez with the assignment instead of Saul when he was the lead detective, or he was supposed to be. If Levy had demoted him, she should have at least told him, but Saul wasn’t surprised. She was passive-aggressive and still held a grudge against him for the Brown shooting. Although he’d been cleared of wrongdoing, the fallout had stalled her career.

Hernandez led him away from the uniforms to the black-and-white on the curb in front of Checks Cashed. In the backseat, a middle-aged man with a shaved head, stared at the crowd with a sour expression.

Hernandez turned toward Saul and combed back her shock of white. “Look. I don’t care if you take a long lunch, just let me know where you’re at, okay? We’re partners. We’re supposed to trust each other.”

Her eyes caught the sunlight like honey. Saul tried to memorize every detail. He could gaze into them for hours. “I went to the Castle. If you want to come next time—”

“Hollywood is too far for lunch.”

Was she suggesting somewhere else? A real sit-down meal instead of their usual takeout. Or maybe dinner? The Castle would be ideal for dinner.
Before he could ask, she slapped the roof of the squad car. “We’ve got the bastard dead to rights, and get this: he can’t move his legs.”

“He’s a paraplegic?”

“Exactly. His wheelchair’s in the trunk.”

Saul peered through the back window of the car. The man inside had a potbelly. His arms were cuffed behind his back. He looked up at Saul, his face blank and his eyes, shadowed by a massive brow, just dark hollows.

Saul shuddered.

Excerpt from The Encanto by Arthur Swan.
Copyright © 2021 by Arthur Swan. Published by Swanfall. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Author Photo - Arthur Swan
Arthur Swan

Arthur Swan was raised in North Carolina and now resides in Los Angeles, where his “day job” is a Character Supervisor for Dreamworks. He has contributed to films ranging from ‘A Beautiful Mind’ to ‘How to Train Your Dragon.’

In his spare time, when he’s not writing or swimming his morning laps, he volunteers for Young Storytellers, enjoys fishing and fireworks with his favorite niece and nephew, and on weekends he can be found hiking high climbs in early fog before the sun burns through as mist vanishes to blue sky.

His first novel, Before the Sun Hits, won the Reader Views Reader’s Choice Award.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website
This excerpt and tour brought to you by PR By The Book