Guest Post: Carin Fahr Shulusky – FINDING LIGHT IN A LOST YEAR

Good day, book people. Now that we seem to be coming out of the never-ending pandemic, there are quite a few books being released dealing with the horrors of these past two years. The emotional, psychological, and physical toll of the past two years may be felt by many of us for years to come, but we are surviving if not exactly thriving. I’m pleased to welcome today’s guest, Carin Fahr Shulusky, author of Finding Light in a Lost Year. Ms. Shulusky has written about one woman’s struggle with the pandemic and she’ll be discussing that with us today. Please give a warm welcome to Ms. Carin Fahr Shulusky. Thank you, Ms. Shulusky, for joining us today and sharing some insight into your main character. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Finding Light in a Lost Year
Getting to know Roni Wright
By Carin Fahr Shulusky

 

Some of my early reviewers said it was hard to like the main character of Finding Light in a Lost Year, Veronica (Roni) Wright, at least in the beginning. I would agree. It wasn’t my goal to write a book about a perfect person. Those people are seldom interesting. Also, it’s very difficult to create a character arc for a perfect person. I think it’s far more interesting to read about a person with significant flaws who finds a way to make herself better. That is Roni Wright. I hope, however, by the end of the book all my readers will have fallen in love with her.

Roni Wright is a focused career woman. She has the “perfect” husband and the obligatory two children. She loves them all but her childrens’ nanny may know them better than she does, and she certainly is not the perfect wife. Nor is her husband an ideal husband. He too is so focused on his career, that he has ignored the problems in his family. That’s before the pandemic. I often heard from celebrities that the pandemic made them get to know their families because they could no longer travel. I suspect that is true for most people. Our lives were so hectic, racing off to work, the gym, and school we didn’t spend much time getting to know our loved ones in a deep way.

Enter the pandemic. Suddenly these people Roni saw for snippets here and there she was now spending all day with, three meals a day, 24/7. I suspect this was a common experience. I don’t think it worked well for everyone. Certainly not for Roni Wright. Before the pandemic, Roni had seldom cooked a full meal for her family and now was called on to prepare three meals a day for a family shut up together. While her career was in shambles, her husband was trying to work from home, a totally new experience for them all. Most of their previous outlets for entertainment and recreation were gone. No restaurants or movies or museums. Even some parks were closed. But Roni becomes a heroine in the story by using her career resourcefulness to guide her family through the worst pandemic in a hundred years. She learns to cook, she finds safe outlets for recreation, and she reinvents herself. In the process, she gets to know her children. Her marriage nearly falls apart, but she works on restoring that, too.

One thing Roni never counted on becoming was a teacher. She was quite comfortable leaving that job to the school and nanny. Like most parents, Roni had to walk her children through virtual learning during the pandemic. This may be the most difficult experience for most parents. Roni was no different. In the beginning, it was a disaster. But like everything else, Roni finds a creative way to make it work. She did this all while suffering not only the loss of her career but the biggest loss of her life. I suspect readers will cry at her great loss. I cried as I wrote it. But only when we are in the greatest valley, can we see the joy of the mountain top. So, it is with Roni Wright. There is light in a year of so much loss. I hope my readers find it with Roni. ♦

Finding Light in a Lost Year

by Carin Fahr Shulusky

May 16 – June 10, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Finding Light in a Lost Year by Carin Fahr Shulusky

Roni Wright thought she had everything; huge home, successful husband, kids, and a brilliant career. That is until the worse pandemic in 100 years swept away the shallow façade of her life and she nearly lost it all.

 

This is the story of how a broken family navigated the most difficult year of their lives and found hope in the middle of so much loss. You will recognize many of the things that nearly broke us all as we struggled with pandemic restrictions and the new normal. But you will cheer as they work their way out of darkness into a better world.

Book Details

Genre: Family & Relationship, Biographical Fiction
Published by: Fossil Creek Press
Publication Date: May 2022
Number of Pages: 170
ISBN: 9781736241721 (paperback)
ASIN: B09ZRMBSHG (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository.com | Bookshop.org

Author Bio:

Carin Fahr Shulusky

Carin Fahr Shulusky was born and raised in west St. Louis County. She attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she received a B.J (Bachelor of Journalism). After college, she worked in advertising for GE and Monsanto. She was the first professional woman in her division of each. After 25 years in Marketing, she created her own firm, Marketing Alliance. She was president of Marketing Alliance, from 2002 – 2014. She is a past president of the Business Marketing Association of St. Louis. Carin Fahr is married to Richard Shulusky. They have two grown children and one marvelous granddaughter. Grandma Carin has a lifelong love of cooking, even writing her own cookbook. In 2014 Carin retired to devote full time to writing. Her first book, In the Middle, was inspired by her own battle to care for her beloved mother, Dorothy Fahr. Many of the stories Carrie Young’s mother tells her in In the Middle came from Carin’s mother. Carin is a lifelong member of Pathfinder Church in Ellisville, Missouri, where she volunteers in early childhood.

Find Carin Online:

carinshulusky.com
Goodreads
Instagram – @cshulusky
Twitter – @shulusky
Facebook

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Guest Author: Gary Lee Miller – FINDING GRACE

Good day, my fellow book lovers. For those of you in the Midwest, Southern US, and East Coast, I hope you’ve recovered from the recent storm. Thankfully, the power didn’t go out here in my little part of West Virginia, so I spent the time reading. Have you ever stopped to realize how amazing it is that the authors we read craft such amazing stories? And not only one amazing story, but often one after another after another? I often find it difficult to create introductions to blog posts, and these people are out there writing thousands of words in wondrous combinations for our reading pleasure. Whoa?! Had to take a moment there. An author takes an idea or life experience and then creates an entire world and story around it, then we get to read about it. I’m honored to welcome one such author to the blog today. Please help me welcome Gary Lee Miller, author of Finding Grace. Mr. Miller will be sharing with us the creation of this amazing story. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to share and add Finding Grace to your TBR list. Thank you, Mr. Miller, for joining us today, the blog is all yours.

The Back Story of How Finding Grace Came to be Written
by Gary Lee Miller

An old Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That was how Finding Grace came to be. With a single step. Unfortunately, the cause of that step was the passing of my wife of 45 years, Sharee, from leukemia. Thus began a long winding road of dealing with loss and finding an outlet for my grief. I don’t believe in coincidence, and there were an extraordinary number of occurrences which could have been attributed to coincidence. I know that sometimes we have an angel (or angels) on our shoulder which lead us down paths meant to be traveled. And so began my journey.

Over the years of our marriage, very infrequently, I would write some song lyrics. Not the music, but just the words to express my feelings or to tell a story. Sharee thought they were good and always encouraged me to write more. But our life was busy raising our daughters and earning a living, so writing never became a priority. After her passing in May, 2019, I had too much time available to be alone with my memories and thoughts. That’s when I began spending time writing song lyrics again. Most of my lyrics are called “spoken word”, which tell a story, rather than the traditional Verse, Chorus, Bridge structure. Writing several times each week over the summer I soon had over a dozen song lyrics. Then one day, the angel on my shoulder whispered in my ear, “You know if you take these six song lyrics, they might make a pretty interesting story.” And that was the first step.

They say to write what you know, so while Finding Grace is a fiction novel, there is a tremendous amount of detail based on my first-hand experience with Sharee and her illness. While never having written a screenplay or novel, I wrote what I knew. The characters for each song materialized quickly, as did the idea for the cross-country trip. Then came the two main characters of Judith and Grace. The reason for a cross-country trip was easy, based on my losing Sharee. Grace was dying from leukemia and wanted Judith to come home to visit her before it was too late.

The next step was contacting a friend of mine in LA in the movie industry, sharing my thoughts about writing a screenplay called Finding Grace. He said to write a two-page pitch, and include the song lyrics, which I did. He read it, saying my lyrics were very strong and the idea of Finding Grace was very solid as well. He encouraged me to write the screenplay/script. I had no idea about the structure of a screenplay, so I googled and printed the first ten pages of five movies. After narrowing down the different format structures to two that felt comfortable to me, I began writing the first five pages. Then I sat back, reading those first pages, satisfied and at ease with my format. So, over the next six months, I wrote. That’s when things got interesting.

I wrote when, emotionally, I had the need. There was no schedule for when I would sit down to write. Sometimes a week or more would go by without writing, but there was a routine when I did write. I would sit at the end of my kitchen table with my favorite picture of Sharee facing me on the other end. On my right was the bay window where I could see the trees, birds, rabbits, and squirrels. Seeing God’s blessing of nature helped. Then I would bring up my Spotify playlist of favorite songs that Sharee and I loved, with it playing softly in the background.

To say things got interesting perhaps is an understatement. I have always been a very visual person, so as I began writing, more often than not, I found myself as an outside observer. It was as if I were actually watching the characters in my mind as they talked with each other, and there were times when it was challenging to keep up typing their back-and-forth dialogue. Does that sound strange to you? It truly felt surreal to me. Again, I believed it was that angel on my shoulder still whispering in my ear. So, I listened.

After completing the screenplay, my friend in LA read it, and again was encouraging, but that was when COVID-19 shut down life as we all knew it, and all movie production. Shortly thereafter, a “coincidence” occurred. While having a phone conversation with a friend who had just released a best-selling business book, I mentioned my screenplay. He asked if he could read it, and also if it would be okay for his wife to read it. Naturally I said sure, emailing Finding Grace him. A couple of weeks later I received an email from his wife, asking to schedule a Zoom! call to discuss my screenplay. What I didn’t know was that she was an executive for an international publishing company, and she liked Finding Grace, asking if I might be willing to turn it into a fiction novel. After giving it some thought, I agreed to invest the time and work to bring Finding Grace to life. What were the odds of this kind of connection that would lead to the next step of my journey?

I quickly learned that it was MUCH more work writing a novel as compared to a screenplay or script. A screenplay is primarily the dialogue between the characters with some minimal detail about the day and location of the scene. In a novel, you must create a living, breathing world, researching every detail and nuance to bring that world and the characters in it to life. And such was my goal with Finding Grace. I’m proud of the characters Judith meets during her bus trip back home to Nashville, with each having their own personality and speech pattern based on their life experience and background. As I wrote, each became real to me, as I cared about them, their backstory, and the journey that lay ahead for them after leaving Judith.

The characters in Finding Grace are generally composites of many different people who have crossed my path during my lifetime. My goal was to create truly interesting characters with backstories that every reader could relate to on some level. As I wrote, some made me laugh and some made my eyes leak.

There is a strong component of St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in part of Finding Grace. Sharee and I knew that cures for all forms of leukemia would eventually come from the research teams at St. Jude. Three months after her passing, I spent a day with an executive at St. Jude which included a full tour of their facilities. It was an emotional day for me. I paid close attention to every detail during my tour and worked hard to convey details accurately for my readers. Those “angels in disguise” at St. Jude certainly deserve our support.

The title, Finding Grace, was the only title possible for this book. With Grace as one of the two primary characters, along with all other character’s search, in one form or another, of finding their own grace, the title came easily. Who is Grace? Her wisdom and values shared in the book were my best efforts to meld those of my late mother (Sarah), Sharee, and, to some extent, myself.

If you decide to read Finding Grace, I hope you enjoy the journey with Judith, and recognize yourself in some of the pages as you go along. Spoiler alert! If you like happy endings; you are going to LOVE Finding Grace.♦

FINDING GRACE by Gary Lee Miller cover

Finding Grace by Gary Lee Miller
ISBN: 9781631956591 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781631956607 (ebook)
ASIN: B09MGBJMY5 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Release Date: March 15, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Inspirational Fiction

Grace Lee calls her granddaughter, Judith, with a dying wish…for Judith to travel from Los Angeles to Nashville to come visit her. But there’s a catch. Judith must make the journey by bus.

The award-winning novel Finding Grace shares Judith Lee’s transformative, cross-country journey, revealing what truly matters. Each day of Judith’s journey becomes a story on its own, as the people she meets and places she visits along the way challenge her to rethink her life. Finding Grace is about Judith’s transformation back into the real world during this journey as a result of the people she meets on the bus, how she deals with the imminent passing of her grandmother, and how all this changes her life’s future plans. There are tears and laughter throughout, with interesting characters whom readers would recognize from their own lives. Today, more people are reflecting on what is and is not important. Finding Grace provides food for thought on many levels.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | Nook Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org

Meet the Author

Gary Lee Miller’s writing is rooted in life experiences and people who have crossed his path during his life’s journey. Gary draws on his ability to translate his observations into highly relatable stories for readers. Prior to beginning his writing career, Gary was a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He also acts in movie and TV productions, and is listed in IMDb.com. He resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Twitter | Website
This guest post and virtual book tour brought to you by PR By The Book

Book Showcase: THE NIGHT SHE WENT MISSING by Kristen Bird

THE NIGHT SHE WENT MISSING by Kristen BirdThe Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird
ISBN: 9780778332107 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780369703408 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488211652 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B099GX54HH (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08FYNG31Q (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA Books
Release Date: February 8, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Suspense | Psychological Thriller

 

“A great new voice in suspense…Perfect for fans of Big Little Lies who thrive on stories of deceit in the suburban world.” —J. T. Ellison, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Her Dark Lies

“Pitch perfect suspense…The best debut Iive read this year.” —Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author

An intriguing and twisty domestic suspense about loyalty and deceit in a tight-knit Texas community where parents are known to behave badly and people are not always who they appear to be.

Emily, a popular but bookish prep school senior, goes missing after a night out with friends. She was last seen leaving a party with Alex, a football player with a dubious reputation. But no one is talking.

Now three mothers, Catherine, Leslie and Morgan, friends turned frenemies, have their lives turned upside down as they are forced to look to their own children—and each other’s—for answers to questions they don’t want to ask.

Each mother is sure she knows who is responsible, but they all have their own secrets to keep and reputations to protect. And the lies they tell themselves and each other may just have the potential to be lethal in this riveting debut.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Books-A-Million | Bookshop.org | Downpour Audiobook | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Murder By the Book, Houston TX | Powell’s

Read an Excerpt:

EMILY

They find me faceup in the murky water of the harbor on the day of my funeral. Or memorial service. Whatever. It’s not like there’s much difference. Dead is dead.

Except I’m not. I. Am. Not. Dead. I would pinch myself if I could move.

“Can you hear me? Hey, what’s your name? Can you open your eyes?”

My eyes are as dense and heavy as basalt. Basalt: rich in iron and magnesium, Mr. Schwartz penned on the board during our volcanic rock unit in eighth grade. I fight to come out of the emptiness that has held me for the past…the past what? Hours? Days? Weeks?

I attempt to whisper my name even though my eyelids remain anchored. Emily. That’s right. Emily. I can’t remember the last time I voiced those three syllables.

“Pull her up.”

Hands yank at me, jerking me from the arms of the water. Two hands wander up my body—over my feet, my legs, the arch of my hips, my arms, onto my neck, stopping at my forehead. This touch is not like the familiar plying of the boy I love, so fiery that it almost stings. This touch is necessary, cold, perfunctory. Perfunctory, Mrs. Abbot, my sophomore English teacher had pronounced for us students as we learned the word for the first time. P-E-R-F-U—

The voice cuts in. “Tell them we have a girl, a teenager. No broken bones as far as I can tell but looks like she’s been out here for hours. Unconscious, but breathing on her own.” His voice muffles as he turns his head. “I think she might be Emily.”

Suddenly, a brilliant choir of tenors and baritones and basses burst forth. “The Emily?”

Emily. Yes, that’s me. What a comforting thing to hear one’s name spoken by those who can point the way home. I breathe in gratitude and descend into the lightness of sleep before a hand touches my cheek again.

“You awake, Emily?”

The swooshing of the waves calls to me, a reminder that the song of the deep is steady despite all the new sounds: The bustle of work boots, the hum of the boat waiting to churn to life and set out across the open sea.

“Your mama’s been looking for you, Ms. Emily. You gave us all a fright. You hear me?” The man seems to sense that I can hear his words while my body remains frozen despite the warmth of the water and the sun overhead. “You’re gonna be okay, sweetheart. Yes, ma’am, you’re gonna make it just fine. Got a daughter about your age, and I woulda been worried sick if my girl had gone missing for weeks on end. Your mama sure is gonna be happy.”

A nasally voice now. “Where you think she’s been all this time? Turned into a mermaid?” The boy chuckles.

“Hush, Beau.”

The man’s hand touches my forehead, his fingers sandpapery with callouses. “Now, sweetheart, if you can open your eyes for a sec, I can introduce you properly to the crew. We’re getting you help as fast as we can, but you can go ahead and open them eyes before all the medics arrive. They’d be good and relieved to see you looking around.”

I try. Oh, how I want to flicker them open, but my head aches and oblivion pulls harder. The siren call of the void is too tempting to resist.

Excerpt from The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird.
Copyright © 2022 by Kristen Bird.
Published by MIRA Books. All rights reserved.
Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Meet The Author

Author Kristen Bird by Bess Garison

Kristen Bird lives outside of Houston, Texas with her husband and three daughters. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music and mass media before completing a master’s in literature. She teaches high school English and writes with a cup of coffee in hand. In her free time, she likes to visit parks with her three daughters, watch quirky films with her husband and attempt to keep pace with her rescue lab-mixes. The Night She Went Missing is her debut novel.

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

Book Spotlight: A KILLER SUNDAE by Abby Collette

A Killer Sundae (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery)
by Abby Collette

About A Killer Sundae

A Killer Sundae (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery)

Cozy Mystery

3rd in Series

Setting – Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Berkley (January 4, 2022)

Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593099702

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593099704

Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B091PHQ88M

Ice cream shop owner Bronwyn Crewse is in for two scoops of murder in this charming mystery from Abby Collette.

Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is gorgeous in the fall, and Bronwyn Crewse, owner of Crewse Creamery, knows just how to welcome the new season. At the annual Harvest Time Festival, residents will get a chance to enjoy hot-air balloons and hayrides, crown a new Harvest Time Festival Queen, and eat delicious frozen treats sold at Win’s freshly purchased ice cream truck. But she gets into a sprinkle of trouble when a festivalgoer is poisoned and Win is implicated.

Although the victim was a former Harvest Time Festival Queen, her once-sunny disposition had dimmed into bitterness, leaving no shortage of suspects at the festival. To clear her name before the chill of winter sets in, Win will have to investigate and hope that her detective skills won’t “dessert” her.

Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboGoogle PlayIndieBoundAlibrisPenguin Random House

About Abby Collette

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Abby Collette loves a good mystery. She was born and raised in Cleveland, and it’s a mystery even to her why she hasn’t yet moved to a warmer place. As Abby Collette, she is the author of the Ice Cream Parlor mystery series, about a millennial MBA-holding granddaughter running a family-owned ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and the Books & Biscuits mystery series, starring a set of fraternal twins who reunite and open a bookstore and soul food café. Writing as Abby L. Vandiver, she is the author of the Logan Dickerson Mysteries, featuring a second-generation archaeologist and a nonagenarian, as well as the Romaine Wilder Mysteries, pairing an East Texas medical examiner and her feisty, funeral-home-owning auntie as sleuths. Abby spends her time writing, facilitating writing workshops at local libraries, and hanging out with her grandchildren, each of whom are her favorite.

Author Links – FacebookTwitterInstagramWebsite

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 9 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 9 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – Baroness Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 11 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 11 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

February 12 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

February 12 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

February 13 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

February 13 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 14 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 15 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 16 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 16 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – fundinmental – RECIPE

February 17 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

February 18 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – REVIEW*

February 18 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

February 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 19 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW*

February 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW*

February 20 – Tea Book Blanket – REVIEW*

February 21 – Ebook addicts – REVIEW

February 21 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

February 22 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

February 22 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Giveaway

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway by Abby Collette via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for one (1) ice cream maker. There will be one winner announced at the end of the giveaway period. Void where prohibited by law.

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Guest Post: D. Marshall Craig MD – HIDDEN AGENDAS

Good day, my fellow book lovers. I’m constantly in awe of authors. Not only do they create amazing, and often memorable, characters, but they then go on to craft a wonderful tale involving that character or cast of characters. Most authors do this while working full-time jobs as sales clerks, mechanics, teachers, librarians, lawyers, physicians, engineers, professors, chemists, etc. Coming up with one story idea is wonderful, continuing to come up with new stories is simply mind-boggling to me, yet I’m incredibly grateful to authors for doing this day after day, month after month, and year after year. Like many of you, I wonder about author’s writing process. How do they get from a germ of an idea to a complete book? How do they begin? What’s their writing routine? I’m pleased to welcome D. Marshall Craig M.D., author of Hidden Agendas, the second book in the Dr. Kyle Chandler thriller series, to the blog today. Dr. Craig will be providing us with answers about his writing process. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to say and add Hidden Agendas to your TBR list. Thank you, Dr. Craig, for taking the time to join us today.

My Writing Process
by D. Marshall Craig, M.D.

Every writer has his or her own personal way to create a story that will interest the reader. Some writers are very methodical in their approach to writing, some are completely random. I believe there is no one correct method to successfully complete the process of writing on what content you want to convey to the reader.

With that said, I would say that my methods of writing have evolved from a combination of some structure and occasional randomness. I usually have some ideas about what the progression of the plot is going to be, so I start by trying to put them down in a general outline. I then figure out the beginning of the story that will hook the reader’s attention. Next, I jump forward to creating an ending that will be surprising and not at all expected. As the process of the flow of the story is formulated, I will add thoughts and different situations to the plot to grab the reader’s interest as the story’s suspense builds. There are times as I progress with the story that I will switch around the order of events to make the story more climactic.

For my first novel, I used all my experiences with the crazy individuals and hard-to-believe situations I experienced or heard about as a surgeon during my career of over thirty years. I knew from the beginning that this initial story was going to expand into a series of books about my protagonist in the future. For each successive novel, I again make a rough outline of the plot and where I want to go with the story in relation to my main protagonist in order to keep the reader interested.

I strongly think that the development of characters in the story is key to keeping the reader turning the pages with interest. I try to make the characters seem believable but still somewhat unique in their own way. For my Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller Series, I like to use fast-paced, snappy dialogue between characters to create a kind of tension, especially when there is a potential love interest. The trick for me with each new novel is expanding the personalities of the principal characters forward with each story while introducing new characters at the same time to make the story full.

With that in mind, I have to admit that it’s not an easy process. Face it, there are times for any writer when it is difficult to produce anything of value on your computer screen looming before you. Like anyone else, I have periods when I don’t feel inspired to write at all. I have come to accept that those periods are part of the process. I have learned to just walk away from the keyboard if ideas are not flowing in my brain. I’ll go focus on something else leaving whatever I was stuck on totally behind. Then for whatever reason, I’ll come back to my keyboard later to look at things with a fresh point of view. This usually works to get new ideas going in my brain. I really can’t explain it, but the same thing happens to me when I work crossword puzzles. Just a new sense of confidence, I guess.

With a fresh start, these new ideas lead to the evolution of the plot. At those times, I feel compelled to get my ideas down on my computer as soon as I can almost in a frantic sense of desperation. It’s during those times that new ideas with plot progression just seem to flow out of my brain to my fingertips on the keyboard.

I’ve been asked before if there is a central message or theme in my current novel series that I want readers to grasp. I guess you could say that as my protagonist progresses in each novel, he is like David facing overwhelming odds against a Goliath opponent. In each situation, it leads to the theme of “never give up.”

If I was asked for one of the best pieces of writing advice that I have ever received, it would be to write about what you know. Despite what some people might think, you’re not going to know about everything. So, if there’s something you don’t know, become an expert on the subject with exhaustive research. Put the effort in to make your story interesting enough to grab the attention of the reader.

I’ve listed a few ideas about how I try to get an interesting suspense/thriller story written that may or may not help other writers go through the process more easily. Everyone has their own process to conquer. If you can figure out that the key is to enjoy the process as much as the result, then the writing itself will fulfill you that much more. ♦

HIDDEN AGENDAS by D. Marshall Craig M.D.

Hidden Agendas, Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller Series #2, by D. Marshall Craig, M.D.
ISBN: 9781633635463 (paperback)
ASIN: B09LC35T1D (Kindle edition)
Publisher: White Bird Publications LLC.
Release Date: February 8, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Medical Thriller

When busy trauma surgeon Dr. Kyle Chandler goes to a medical symposium in London, he agrees to two innocent meetings for his friend Ian Griffin, who runs a private investigation firm. During his time in England, Dr. Chandler stumbles on a mysterious system of illegal smuggling to the United States. How could the smuggling of products in bulk wine carriers have anything to do with the shipping of French antiques? As Kyle continues his investigation, he soon realizes he faces a powerful, complex network involving organized crime while escalating threats to him reveal the truth – and the truth nearly costs him his life.

 

Meet the Author

Author – D. Marshall Craig, M.D.

D. Marshall Craig, M.D. draws upon his knowledge of medicine gained from over 30 years as a trauma, plastic, and reconstructive surgeon to continue the story of hard-working hero Dr. Kyle Chandler. Craig’s series of medical suspense thrillers are inspired by some of his wildest stories and most colorful characters from his previous medical career. He now enjoys his second career as a winemaker and vineyard manager for a small boutique winery. He lives with his wife in the mountains of western North Carolina. The first book in the Dr. Kyle Chandler series is Cut to the Chase (White Bird Publications).

Connect with the author via: Goodreads | Instagram | Website
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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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