Review & Giveaway: SUMMER SNOOPS AND COZY CRIMES

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post spotlights a soon to-be-released boxed set from an accomplished group of cozy mystery authors.  Not to mention the fact that any profits from its sales will be donated to No Kill animal charities.  Check it out.

Description

Help Us Help Pets!

New-SnoopsHave a howlingly good read during the dog days of summer with a dozen cozy mysteries from Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon best-selling authors. Murder lurks in every corner during the dog days of summer. Solve the mystery as our snoops leash the criminals – at the beach, at the farm, on the mountain – everywhere! All profits from this pack go to support NO KILL animal charities! Fetch it now! And help us help pets!

Summer Snoops and Cozy Crimes includes never before published books from:

  • WSJ Bestselling Author Judith Lucci – Gawd Almighty & the Corn
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Cindy Bell – Murder at Pawprint Creek
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Colleen Mooney – Dog Gone and Dead
  • USA Today and WSJ Bestselling Author Amy Vansant – Summer Teeth
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Colleen Helme – A Midsummer Night’s Murder
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Kim Hunt Harris – The Murder of Bandera Bandito
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Anna Celeste Burke – A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff
  • Ava Mallory – A Dream Stray-Cation
  • Sandi Scott – Croquembouche Murder
  • Susan Boles – Death on the Beach
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever – Toxic Tech
  • Anne R. Tan – Just Lost and Found

Bonus recipes from the authors are included!

Purchase and GoodReads Links

My Review

Given the range of authors and titles in this box set, any cozy mystery lover is sure to find something they’ll enjoy.  I didn’t have time to read all of the books in time for this post so I poked around the list of books and selected A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff by Anna Celeste Burke to start off with.

The first book in the author’s newest series, A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff features a group of women who reside at Seaview Cottages, a seaside community for adults over 55.  Miriam Webster, their newest and youngest resident, comes across a dead body while taking her dog for an early morning walk on the beach.  Despite the police warning her to let them handle the investigation, she is soon joined by a gaggle of grand old lady detectives who are on a mission to learn everything they can about the victim.  This cozy whodunnit features a warm and caring group of women, quirky at times, but very likeable.  The story moved along at a nice pace with a variety of suspects and motives divulged as the plot unfolds.  And with its seaside setting, A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff is sure to please cozy mystery lovers in search of a fun beach read this summer.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.


About the Authors

Judith Lucci

Dr. Judith Lucci is a Wall Street Journal and best-selling Amazon. She is an award-winning author of the Alexandra Destephano Medical Thriller and the Michaela McPherson “Two Sleuth’s and a Dog” Crime fiction series. Her newest series, Artzy Chicks, releases next month and features a group of , eccentric, talented but zany artists in their Art Gallery at a Mountain Resort.

In 2017, ‘Viral Intent’ (Book 3) Alexandra Destephano Series) was awarded a Gold Medal by Readers’ Favorites for ‘Best Political Thriller’. as was her crime thriller ‘The Case of Dr. Dude’ (Michaela McPherson #1) for a Gold Medal for ‘Best Amateur Sleuth for 2017. ‘The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year‘ won an additional gold medal for ‘Best Holiday Read’ of 2017.

Her favorite things are reading, writing art and animals. In her spare time she teaches painting, loves up on animals and raises money for needy causes. Judith lives with her 4 dog family in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She loves to connect with her readers and is available at judithlucciwrites@gmail.com. Check our her website at judithlucci.com. and sign-up for a free copy of Chaos at Crescent City Medical Center.


Cindy Bell

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Cindy Bell, has always loved reading, but it is only recently that she has discovered her passion for writing romantic cozy mysteries. When she is not reading or writing she loves baking (and eating) sweet treats or walking along the beach with her energetic cocker spaniel, thinking of the next adventure her characters can embark on. Cindy is the author of the Chocolate Centered, Donut Truck, Dune House, Sage Gardens, Nuts about Nuts, Bekki the Beautician, Wendy the Wedding Planner, Heavenly Highland Inn and the Macaron Patisserie Cozy Mystery Series.


Colleen Mooney

Colleen Mooney was born and raised in New Orleans along with everyone else in her family. She is a Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author and writes a cozy mystery series set in New Orleans called The New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles and the fourth book, Death By Rum Balls was released in December 2017.

Since January 2017 Colleen organized a Sisters In Crime chapter in New Orleans, has been elected President and has a planned a Mystery Writers’ Conference for June. She is currently working on her 5th book in the Brandy Alexander series.

In New Orleans, she’s been a member and active in many Mardi Gras Krewes, Super Krewes, and organizations. Colleen says she has never met a parade she didn’t like.

She’s an ardent animal lover and the Director for a breed rescue, Schnauzer Rescue of Louisiana for the last fifteen years. She has rescued and placed over 350 abandoned or surrendered Schnauzers. She loves to write and writes about what she loves. Colleen says, “New Orleans is where it all happens for me.”


Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author specializing in fun, comedic reads about accident prone, easily distracted women with questionable taste in men.
So, autobiographies, mostly.
Ha!
But seriously: She writes happy romantic comedies, mysteries, and urban fantasies. Amy is the former East Coast Editor of SURFER Magazine but the urge to drive up and down the coast interviewing surfers has long since left her. She’s a dog-lover who works at home with her goofy husband and loves interacting with fans, so stop by her blog or Twitter and say hi!

http://www.amyvansant.com/


Colleen Helme

Colleen Helme is the author of the bestselling Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, a wildly entertaining and highly humorous series about Shelby Nichols, a woman with the ability to read minds. When asked if reading minds is something Colleen wishes she could do she says, “No way! It gets Shelby into so much trouble that I would never want that ability.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. Besides writing, she loves reading, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.


Kim Hunt Harris

Kim knew she wanted to be a writer before she even knew how to write. When her parents read bedtime stories to her, she knew she wanted to be a part of the story world. She started out writing children’s stories, and her stories grew as she did. She discovered a gift for humor and a love for making people laugh with her tales, and the Trailer Park Princess series was born.

Kim loves to not only make her readers laugh and entertain them with a good mystery, but also to examine the issues the everyday people face…well, every day. Issues like faith and forgiveness, perseverance and tolerance. Set in Lubbock, Texas, the fun books feature a cast of quirky characters, outrageous situations, a drama queen of a dog, and from time to time, a tear or two.

Kim lives with her husband of more than thirty years and two teenage kids in Texas.


Anna Celeste Burke

Anna Celeste Burke is an award-winning, USA Today Bestselling Author!

Life is an extravaganza! Figuring out how to hang tough and make the most of the wild ride is the challenge.

An award-winning and bestselling author I enjoy snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food—California style! My books include the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series set on California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in Orange County, California–the OC. Coming soon: The Misadventures of Betsy Stark also set here in the Coachella Valley. Find out more at http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com.


Ava Mallory

Ava Mallory has been a grade school teacher, a psychiatric technician, a dementia unit nurse manager, and a Hospice nurse. She has embarrassed herself in front of handsome celebrities, won vocal contests much to the chagrin of her children, survived a  major earthquake, and nearly drowned when she mistakenly thought a YMCA lifeguard asked her to dive into the deep end on her first day of swim lessons. She and her eternally annoyed children share their home with a massive collection of books and a never-ending supply of new book ideas.


Sandi Scott

Sandi Scott is a cozy mystery reader who finally found the courage to write the stories in her head and share them with others. She fell in love with mystery books when she first started reading Agatha Christie eons ago, although her favorite female sleuth will always be Harriet the Spy. She loves dogs, her family, her readers, and sweet treats — not necessarily in that order.


Sam Cheever

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes mystery and suspense, creating stories that draw you in and keep you eagerly turning pages. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books.


Susan Boles

Susan Boles is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and also writes romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors series.

A lifelong long love of all things mysterious led Susan to write cozy mysteries. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were the first to show her that girls can be crime solvers. Agatha Christie showed her that even small towns have big secrets. And Phryne Fisher showed her lady detectives can be outrageously individual. She lives in Mississippi with her rescue mini dachshund, Lucy, and her rescue cat of no particular breed, Zimba.


Anne R. Tan

Anne R. Tan fell in love with storytelling in elementary school, but decided to study engineering so she could get a “real job.” Her day job is her vacation from home and she moonlights as a writer to keep the voices inside her head under control. She is a toddler wrangler and a part-time short-order cook for her family. She is married to her version of Bob Vila who believes everything needs to be fixed, even if it’s already working. The koi fish in her pond are the only sane members of her household.

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Guest Post & Spotlight: CONFOUND IT by Maggie Toussaint

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to celebrate the release of Confound It, Maggie Toussain  stopped by to share her thoughts on her main character, a single mom.  Enjoy.


Single Mom’s Club by Maggie Toussaint

MaggieToussaint.jpgThis is a true fact: like attracts like. If you were locked in a room with fifty cows and one person, you’d automatically gravitate toward the other person.

Dreamwalker and crime consultant Baxley Powell has been on her own for several years. She’s a single mom of a ten-year- old daughter, Larissa, and there have been times in the recent past where she got behind on her bills.

So it galls her to no end when the cops gloss over a victim’s death in order to catch bigger fish in the drug pipeline. A woman died. A mother. Don’t they get it? Doodle lost his mom, and now he’s an orphan.

Mandy Patterson was a single mom, and her death must count for something. After each
Dreamwalk visit with Mandy’s spirit, Baxley feels more convinced that she has to find Mandy’s killer.

Baxley understands the struggles Mandy went through and the tough decisions that had to be made. Childcare often costs more than a single mom can afford. Old cars break down. Kids outgrown their shoes. Life just keeps coming at you at full speed and single moms have to find ways to survive.

Sure, Mandy made a few decisions that weren’t great, but that shouldn’t mean she’s a disposable person. As a member of the single mom’s club, Baxley leads the charge to get justice for Mandy. The thing is, Mandy’s killer has no intention of getting caught…


About Confound It

Confound It_frontCov -smallerWhile hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene.

A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother.

As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate.

Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same.

Confound It (A Dreamwalker Mystery) is available on Amazon.

About the Author

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, suspense, and dystopian fiction. Her work won the Silver Falchion Award for best mystery, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the EPIC Award. She’s published seventeen novels as well as several short stories and novellas. The next book in her paranormal mystery series, Dadgummit, releases August 2017. Maggie serves on the national board for Mystery Writers of America, is President of Southeast Mystery Writers of America, and is Co-VP of Low Country Sisters In Crime. Visit her at http://www.maggietoussaint.com.

Connect with Maggie:
Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Booklover’s Bench | Amazon Author Central | Bookbub | Website 

Cozy Happenings – June 2018

killerreputation_KINDLEThis month’s “Cozy Happenings” post highlights some of the new releases, giveaways and bargains from my author friends. Hope it helps you find something great to read this month.

First, my exciting news: Killer Reputation, the third mystery in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth mystery series releases on June 15th and is currently available for pre-order at a special introductory price of 99 cents.  And, if you haven’t read it yet, Think Murder, the first in the series, is on sale through June 11 for 99 cents, too.

If you are fans of the Hannah and Tamar Mysteries, you can get your copy of Malicious Mischief and The Misplaced Dog for just 99 cents each (limited time offer).

Recent or Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!

New_crawfish   New_shadowdancingNew-Snoops

The Summer Snoops and Cozy Crimes boxed set is up for pre-order for only 99 cents, with all profits going to support NO KILL animal charities.

Free or Discounted Books

summer _3This month two groups of authors have teamed up to offer great selection of book at special prices.  Perfect chance to stock up on cozy reading material for the summer.

You’ll find 80+ cozy  mysteries on sale for .99 or Free from June 8-10 as part of the Summer Book Bash!

And don’t forget to check out the Great Cozy Mystery E-book Deals for more special offers.

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Remember- always check prices…

Note: This blog does not contain affiliate links. Links are provided for the reader’s convenience only.

Showcase, Excerpt & Giveaway: KEEP THE MIDNIGHT OUT by Alex Gray

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime, today’s post turns the spotlight on a recent release  Keep the Midnight Out, by Alex Gray.   This standalone novel is the  12th book in this Gray’s successful DCI Lorimer series.

Synopsis

keep-the-midnight-out-by-alex-grayWhen the body of a red-haired young man is washed up on the shore of the beautiful Isle of Mull, Detective Superintendent Lorimer’s tranquil holiday away from the gritty streets of Glasgow is rudely interrupted. The body has been bound with twine in a ghoulishly unnatural position and strongly reminds Lorimer of another murder: a twenty year old Glasgow case that he failed to solve as a newly fledged detective constable and which has haunted him ever since.

As local cop DI Stevie Crozier takes charge of the island murder investigation, Lorimer tries to avoid stepping on her toes. But as the similarities between the young man’s death and his cold case grow more obvious, Lorimer realises that there could be a serial killer on the loose after all these years.

As the action switches dramatically between the Mull murder and the Glasgow cold case twenty years earlier, Lorimer tries desperately to catch a cold-hearted killer. Has someone got away with murder for decades?

Scroll down to read an excerpt. 

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | HarperCollins 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

About the Author

SWEDISH-GIRL-Author-alex-gray.jpgAlex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Catch Up With Alex Gray On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, & Twitter 🔗!

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

They called it ‘the splash’; though the boat that crept silently, oars dipping lightly in and out of the water creating myriad bubbles of phosphorescence, made little sound at all. It was vital to keep quiet; the time for frightening the fish would not come until the net was properly laid across the mouth of the burn. After that the oars would be raised high and brought down with force, driving the sea trout from their shadowy lairs straight into the trap. It was illegal, of course, had been for decades, but that did not stop more intrepid poachers sneaking in at dead of night and lying in wait for the fish.

Unfair, unsporting, the fishery bodies claimed, though most folk here, on the island of Mull, recognised the thrill of rowing under the stars and risking some wrath from the law enforcers.

Ewan Angus Munro glanced back over his shoulder to see his son playing out the last of the splash net; the ancient cork floats now in a perfect arc across this narrow neck of water.

Young Ewan looked towards his father and nodded; the first part of the deed was done and now all that remained was to ensure that the fish would be scared out from their hiding places by the sudden noise of oars thrashing on the surface so that they would rush towards the net.

The old man turned the boat with an expertise that came from many years of practice, then headed back towards the shallow channel. He raised the oars, resting them in the rowlocks, water dripping like molten rain from their blades. The small craft was allowed to drift a little before Ewan Angus turned to his son again, the eye contact and nod a definite signal to begin the second stage of their night’s work.

Young Ewan Angus stood, legs apart, perfectly balanced in the centre of the boat, one oar raised high above his shoulder as the older man watched him, eyes full of approval. The boy had been given more than just his father’s names: his flair for the splash, too, had been passed down from father to son.

Across the marshy strand full of bog cotton and sweet-smelling myrtle sat a small white cottage. A swift glance showed him that there was no light on anywhere; the holiday folk were doubtless sound asleep, oblivious to the small drama being played out yards from their front door.

The sound of the splash seemed magnified as it disrupted the stillness, echoing over the bay. The young man heaved the oar again and again, each whack making his body stiffen with fear and a sort of bravado. If they were caught they’d lose both the net and the boat, a heavy price to pay for a night of fun and a good catch of sea trout, fish that fetched a decent price at the back doors of the best hotel kitchens.

Several times the boat was rowed up and down, followed by a series of splashes until the old man raised his callused hand to call a halt. Now it was time to wait and see if the fish had indeed been scared witless enough to swim towards their doom.

Once more the old man rowed along the line of corks, his son lifting the net to see if anything lingered below.

‘A beauty,’ the boy whispered, raising the net to reveal a good-sized sea trout struggling in the brown mesh.

‘Ten pounder at least!’ he went on, freeing the huge fish where its gills had caught and hurling it into a wooden box below his feet.

‘Be-wheesht and get the net up,’ his father hissed, though the grin on his face showed how pleased he was with their first catch of the night. The old man bent towards the struggling fish, his fist around the priest, a wooden club that had been in the family for generations. One swift blow and the fish lay lifeless in the box, its silvery scales gleaming in the night.

One by one, others joined the fated sea trout as the two men made their laborious way along the edge of the net.

‘My, a grand haul, the night, Faither,’ Young Ewan Angus exclaimed, his voice still hushed for fear of any sound carrying over the water.

‘Aye, no’ bad,’ his father agreed, a contented smile on his face. One of the middling fish would be wrapped in layers of bracken and left in the porch of Calum Mhor, the police sergeant. A wee thank you for turning his continual blind eye to the nocturnal activities taking place down the road from Craignure. Mrs Calum had guests staying and she’d be fair pleased to serve them a fresh sea trout for their dinner. It was universally acknowledged here on the island that the pink fish was far superior in flavour to the coarser salmon, particularly those that had been farmed.

‘My, here’s a big one!’

The young man staggered as he tried to haul in the final part of the splash net. ‘I can hardly lift it!’ he exclaimed.

‘Must be caught on a rock,’ the old man grumbled, his mouth twisting in a moue of disgust. If they had to tear the net to release it then it would take hours of work to mend, but the operation depended on being in and out of these waters as quickly as they could manage. Hanging about was not an option in case the Men from the Revenue had decided on a little night-time excursion of their own.

Suddenly the young man bent down in the boat, hands gripping the gunwales as he peered into the depths below.

His brow furrowed at the rounded mass swaying beneath the surface, rags of bladderwrack shifting back and forwards with the motion of the waves. Then, as his eyes focused on the ascending shape, Ewan Angus Munro saw pale tendrils that had once been fingers of flesh and one thin arm floating upwards.

He screamed, and covered his mouth as the sickness rose in his throat, then stumbled backwards. The boy flung out his arms, desperate to grasp hold of something solid to break his fall but all he felt under his hands were the wet bodies of slithering fish.

‘What the . ⁠. ⁠. ⁠?’ Ewan Angus turned, an oath dying on his lips as the boat rocked violently, small waves dashing over the bow.

Wordlessly, his son pointed to the waters below. Then, as the old man peered over the side of the boat, he saw the body rising to the surface, its passage out to sea impeded by their net.

***

Excerpt from Keep the Midnight Out by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2018 by Alex Gray. Reprinted by permission of Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway, hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Witness Impulse, for a chance to win a print copy of Alex Gray’s THE SILENT GAMES.

Review: DOG COLLAR CRIME by Adrienne Giordano

I recently downloaded and read Dog Collar Crime: Misadventures of a Frustrated Mob Princess, the first of six books in the Lucie Rizzo Mystery series by Adrienne Giordano.  It’s not a recent release but definitely made for a fun read and gave me a chance to try a new (to me) author.

Description

5130ondwyklOut of work and down on her luck, Lucie Rizzo is forced to do the one thing she’s long avoided—come home to her nutty, mob-infested family. A move that brings her back into the tempting arms of Frankie Falcone, the smoldering Italian ex who’s no stranger to living with the mob.

When Lucie parlays her temporary dog-walking gig into a legit career, Frankie becomes her number one supporter. Suddenly, shaking her mob princess reputation doesn’t seem so crazy…until three of her clients are dogjacked.

Despite help from the on-again, off-again Mr. Fix-It in her life, Lucie is thrown into a criminal conspiracy straight out of a gangster movie. One that, if she’s not careful, could leave her sleeping with the fishes.

My Review

This book has a little bit of everything romantic suspense, quirky characters, mobsters, and dogs. Lots of dogs. Adorable dogs that keep getting dognapped on Lucie’s watch.  The daughter of a mob boss, Lucie wants to have a little to do with “the life” as possible – with a legit career, and preferably in a different town.  Of course it doesn’t help that she is in love with the son of another mob boss, who doesn’t want to distance himself from his family.   The plot takes interesting and amusing twists, with plenty of laughable moments along the way. I enjoyed this book.  I’ll be adding the next book in the series to my TBR list.

Note: This book does contain some language and sexual content that readers who seek “clean reads” might find offensive.

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: THE FACE ON THE OTHER SIDE by John Carenen

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to have John Carenen as my guest today and showcase his most recent release and the third book in his Thomas O’Shea mystery series, The Face on the Other Side.


How I Got Started by John CarenenDad_and_Roxie_-_photo_for_back_cover_and_website

Sometimes people ask how I got started as a writer. A fair question. I’d have to say in high school, where I was the Sports Editor and Features Editor of THE CLINTONIAN, my high school newspaper in Clinton, Iowa. I was also allowed to write an anonymous satire column, by “Needled.” It was called “In The Groove” and sparked lots of sparks, including from faculty, who wanted me banned.

But my faculty sponsor refused to ban me. About that time, I was also taking a Creative Writing course from that same faculty sponsor, who was also a free-lance writer. And still is, with over 100 books published that he authored or co-authored. His support in the school paper brouhaha and encouragement in the Creative Writing class gave me a tremendous boost. And I have to admit the attention I garnered, mostly positive, was also a confidence-booster. It was cool that my peers liked my writing.

Now that you know how I got started as a writer, you might wonder what kept me going. I can tell you that it was hard, with many, many rejections ranging from mass-produced to one or two that said, “Try again.” Finally, I sold a humorous piece to Reader’s Digest, and that one sale kept me going for a long time, with further sales to that same magazine, mostly self-effacing humor pieces.

But more important than the checks from Reader’s Digest was the encouragement and support from my long-suffering wife, who constantly buoyed me up when I was down after receiving still another rejection. So now I give her the credit. I would have quit a long time ago except for her. Thank you, Lisa!


Face-on-the-Other-Side-Front-Cover-Final-300dpiAbout The Face on the Other Side

He’d promised Sheriff Payne that he wouldn’t take any more matters into his own hands. So, when on a leisurely morning drive, SEAL-trained Thomas O’Shea sees two girls attacking a boy on a sidewalk, he opts not to intervene. When the boy is later murdered in the local hospital, though, all promises are off. What seems at the start to be a simple case of gang activity turns out to be far more. Even O’Shea, who has seen more than his share of evil, could not have guessed what is about to transpire…

You can get your copy on Amazon.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a set of signed copies of The Thomas O’Shea Mysteries.

About the Author

John Carenen, a native of Clinton, Iowa, graduated with an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the prestigious University of Iowa Writers Workshop and has been writing ever since. His work has appeared numerous times in Reader’s Digest (including a First Person Award), McCall’s, Dynamic Years, and other periodicals. He has been a featured columnist in newspapers in Morganton, North Carolina and Clinton, South Carolina. His fiction has appeared in regional literary magazines. A novel, Son-up, Son-down, was published by the National Institute of Mental Health. He is happily married to (long-suffering) Elisabeth, and they have two grown daughters, Caitlin and Rowe. When he isn’t writing, he thinks about getting in shape, cheers for the Iowa Hawkeyes and Boston Red Sox, and takes frequent naps. He has traveled extensively, having visited 43 states and 23 countries. He is a USAF veteran, having served in the Philippines and Massachusetts. A retired English professor at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina, he is hard at work on another novel.

Author Links

 

Cozy Happenings and more – May 2018

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” post highlights some of the new releases, giveaways and bargains from my author friends. Hope it helps you find something great to read this month.

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” is short – I’ve been busy finishing up the next book in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth mystery series and preparing to go on vacation. Nonetheless, here are a few new releases for you to check out.

Recent or Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!

New_MayNL_Mishap    New_MayNL_Motto New_May_betteroffread    New-May_cakeandpunish.png

And, last but not least, if you like your mysteries with dogs,  check out this month’s selection of Books for Dog Lovers and learn about some great books and the authors who write them.

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Note: This blog does not contain any affiliate links. Links are provided for the reader’s convenience only.

Showcase, Excerpt & Giveaway: A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIRE AND FURY by Julie Reichwein

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As part of a tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, today’s post showcases A Different Kind of Fire & Fury: Revenge by Julie Reichwein. The author’s first book. I haven’t read it, however it sounds like an interesting read for fans of edgier psychological thrillers.

Note: This is not a cozy mystery; if you are easily offended by the use of strong language, this book might not be for you.

Description

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00057]Detective Michelle Velasquez kicks ass with the Santa Fe Police Department, and she’ll need all her moxie May, 2013 as she’s assigned two cases which may be related. She’s assigned a vicious rape case of Maria Acevedo, an intern with the Jones Financial Group, as she gets a call from an old friend, Richard Stanberry III. He’s intent on re-connecting, but she’s suspicious of his motives for good reason.

As she digs into Maria Acevedo’s rape case, she’s assigned a thirty year old murder case of her former friend, Susie Murphy, who happened to be Richard Stanberry III’s girlfriend at the time of her murder. If Detective Velasquez wants to solve both cases, she’s going to have to put her life on the line to uncover some dark secrets that some prefer to stay buried.

Scroll down to read an excerpt from the book.

Giveaway

Click to enter a rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win a $75 or $50 Amazon/BN gift card from the author.

Author Bio

I’m a debut author who has long had an interest in crime thrillers and an interest in criminal psychology, specifically, sexual assault.  I was stalked two times in my 20’s and had to relocate both times as I barely escaped rape both times. I used those experiences in creating one of my fictional characters in the book.

I’m an avid outdoor enthusiast and a lover of animals. I own 5 dogs and have horses, too. They’re my babies.

Connect with Julie on:

You can get the book on Amazon: http://amazon.com/dp/B07BC7CYMQ

Read an excerpt:

Otto and I walked into the Pueblo style building with a Xeriscape garden and a stone pebble walkway. The security guard ushered us to a room, with a Kiva fireplace in the corner and a Kermanshaw antique Navajo rug, where the victim, Maria Acevedo, drew back. She was wrapped in an Eyedazzler homespun blanket and desperate for a friend. In need of privacy, I motioned for the street cops to clear out as I read her personnel file.

Maria Acevedo was a new employee as she cringed with the eyes on her. So did the man justify his actions because she wore the wrong outfit? It said, “Yes,” in his perverted mind as her words said, “No.” In his eyes, she chose the wrong profession, so she had to be put in her proper place. She didn’t know that, “No,” meant nothing because she was a ”Nobody” in his hate filled eyes. Women were born with a brain, so was her intelligence unimportant because she wore a skirt? She worked harder than most, to show everyone she belonged, but she would never have a man’s physical strength which did not give him the right to take from her what she never agreed to. All she asked was to be treated with the same respect as those who wore pants to the office. Was that too much to expect?

With a blank look on her face, so I introduced myself and said, “I’m Detective Michelle Velasquez, and this is Otto. What’s your name?”

“Maria Acevedo.” Her head down, her shoulders convulsed, and her face ashen as the parade of onlookers unnerved her, so Otto laid down next to her.

I knelt down and said, “Can you tell me what happened to you?”

She said, “A man raped me,” as she shook from side to side. After a moment, she pet Otto, my four year old German Shepherd, and she began to settle. Her attack had nothing to do with desire; it had everything to do with hate.

Review: JUST THE PITS by Jinx Schwartz

Too many books on my Kindle that I haven’t read so I decided it’s time to try and catch up a bit. I downloaded Just the Pits from Amazon a really long time ago. The 5th book in the Hetta Coffey Series by Jinx Schwartz, it’s definitely not a new release but might suit bookworms who are looking for a good mystery series with a nautical theme.

51nakv1nkklDescription (from Amazon)

As a self-employed engineering consultant with a penchant for oddball—read: shady—projects, Hetta Coffey has a history of inviting trouble. But now that she’s been hired for a legitimate mining project in Mexico’s Baja, it looks like smooth sailing ahead…until she discovers that people and pesos are disappearing faster than you can say, “This job is the pits!” And Hetta Coffey as sleuth? Goodness knows she’s nosy enough, but her detective skills leave a lot to be desired. Luckily for her she gets help from her best friend, Jan, and a mysterious Velveeta thief.

My Review

Hetta Coffey is not your typical female sleuth. She’s a civil engineer who lives on a yacht and  investigates the goings on at a mine operation in Mexico. She is a little rough around the edges with a unique outlook on life and sometimes outrageous behavior.  She and Jan are true friends, and their banter was candid and amusing.  This dog lover particularly liked that Hetta stops to pick up a starving stray dog and makes him her own.

I found the pace a bit slow at first, however looking back on the book as a whole, it was worth sticking with it.  The pace in the second half of the book was much better as the intricate plot developed and suspense intensified.   A good read for laughs, suspense and the glimpse into a lifestyle nothing like my own. 

You can get your copy on Amazon.

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: DEAD AIR by Cliff Protzman

dead-air-tour-banner

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, I recently read had the opportunity to read Dead Air, a suspense-filled read by Cliff Protzman.

Description

Dead Air signals trouble at the radio station. Glenn Beckert discovers his high school best friend is shot in the head while on the air. Beck, the owner of Blue Water Security, is employed to provide security for the station.

DeadAirCoverHe becomes willingly embroiled in the investigation by the not-so-innocent widow. The list of potential suspects is long, gleaned from the numerous extramarital affairs of the victim and widow. The pending sale of the radio station has created friction between his now dead friend, Richie Zito and the major stockholders. Motives for murder becomes increasingly murky after the search reveals an encrypted file on Zito’s laptop.

Beck enlists the help of a friend from college, Irene Schade, to break the code, revealing a money laundering network leading to the financial and political powers of his beloved city of Pittsburgh. Their collaboration ignites the flames of passion each had considered extinguished.

A former college teammate, police Lieutenant Paglironi delivers a message to back off. Arrogantly, he ignores his friend’s advice. The threats from less friendly sources are more ominous, forcing Beck to move in an unfamiliar world. A startling revelation from his client forces Beck to deal with his inner conviction of right and wrong, challenging the gray areas of his ethical principles. Betraying his client’s confidence could expose the killer. The alternative is to confront the suspect and take matters into his own hands. Either way his life is in jeopardy.

Get your copy of Dead Air from: Amazon & Barnes & Noble! Plus add it to your Goodreads list!

My Review

In this somewhat gritty mystery, Beck investigates the murder of a close friend.  Beck is decent guy and a good investigator, though he does occasionally bend the rules to get the job done. The dynamic between Beck and Paglironi is an interesting one, and one that helps Beck to make more progress on his investigation than would otherwise be possible.  For the most part, the mystery unfolded at a nice pace – though there were a few places in the middle where I’d have preferred to see more action and less description.  Overall, an interesting mystery with a fair number of twists, with the identity and motives of the perpetrators revealed only as the book neared its end.

Note: If you are easily offended by the use of gratuitous profanity, this book might not be for you.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Read an excerpt:

Dead Air. It was the most unforgivable of sins. I was standing at the bar in Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in Warrendale, PA when the overhead sound system finished blaring “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” the seventeen-minute, two-second version, then dove into silence… and stayed there.

Minutes crawled past while WZOC, better known as Z-Rock to Pittsburgh-area listeners, remained silent. The long version of the Iron Butterfly song was played when DJs need extended bathroom time. Apparently, it was not enough time.

The seventeen-thousand-square-foot bar and restaurant was beginning to fill up. The stage hands scrambled over the stage in a well-orchestrated dance as they prepared the stage at the rear of the building. I was at the front bar, one of six serving the customers. The crowd noise increased due to the silent overhead system. The bartenders and service personnel went about their jobs, oblivious to the lack of music. I appeared to be the only person who noticed it. The dead air was an unexpected lapse for a normally proficient staff at Z-Rock. The station owned by my high school best friend, had been my first client, so I was always glad when the bar staff piped it in to provide background noise.

A Pittsburgh favorite, The Clarks, were scheduled to take the stage in forty-five minutes. Their classic rock style was often compared to Tom Petty. Z-Rock had introduced The Clarks to the Pittsburgh market, and it remained a strong supporter of the band. They had parlayed the station’s promotion into a broader following along the Southern Atlantic states. The quartet was almost as well-known in the city as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting lineup. I had had the great fortune to see many of their local performances.

Before heading to the front door, I finished my IC Light, a low- calorie brew from Pittsburgh Brewing. The bartender grabbed my empty bottle and asked, “Another one, Beck?”

“No thanks; probably later.” I headed toward the entrance, featuring solid wood double doors, the left side closed to restrain the incoming crowd. The line stretched outside beyond my view.

My firm was in charge of crowd control for the event. Even though I was on duty tonight, my plan was to be more of a spectator.

In my earpiece, I heard my site manager of Jergel’s security, Lance Parisi. “Beck, we have a problem at the front door. This patron is drunk and belligerent. He may be armed. I’m trying to get him to leave.”

I replied, “On my way.” As the owner of Blue Water Security, I was always glad to help with situations like these. I tried to hire only the best, so backing them with my support was always a pleasure.

An obviously intoxicated man was pointing a finger at Lance who had to be at least six inches taller than the swaying man. “You fucking asshole! I have a ticket! You can’t keep me out!” I heard the word motherfucker and that was that. This wasn’t going to end well for the drunken ticket holder.

In my mouthpiece, I said, “Stay cool, Lance. He’s all talk,” but before I could arrive, the man took a swing at Lance. So much for my expert analysis. In one quick movement, Lance had the man’s right arm twisted behind his back, Lance’s left arm firmly around his neck in a choke hold.

I rushed to Lance’s side. The man’s open coat displayed the butt of a gun in his waistband. I jerked the .38 Special from his belt holster and turned to look him in the eyes. The combined stink of beer and whiskey oozed from him.

Adrenaline was pumping through my body as if facing a 3-2 pitch. I regained my composure before speaking in a calm, determined voice. “Sir, even with a concealed carry permit, it is illegal to bring a gun into a bar, especially when you are intoxicated.” The other patrons waiting to enter had backed away when they saw the gun. “The man with his arm around your neck is going to escort you to the office. The police will be called. I hope you have your permit with you. You can walk to the office quietly. If not, I’m certain Lance will find a way to get you there. Is that clear?”

The man nodded as best he could with Lance’s muscular arm wrapped around his neck. Lance released his stranglehold, keeping a firm grip on the man’s arm. I handed the gun to my employee. The drunk remained calm and allowed Lance to lead him away. Using my mic, I paged Jason Weaver, who had been assigned to dance floor security for the night, to come to the front door.

I remained at the door, checking tickets for the anxious concert fans, until Jason appeared. It was then I realized there was still silence coming from the sound system. The normal professionalism of Z-Rock’s staff made me wonder about the cause of the extended silence. I could imagine engineers scrambling to locate and repair whatever technical problems had occurred.

Jason arrived, assuming Lance’s position at the door. I turned back to the bar as my cell phone rang. “Glenn Beckert,” I answered.

“This is John Waner at Z-Rock.” He paused and I wondered if I was truly surprised to be hearing from my security guard at the station. His voice was high-pitched, his words rushed as he said, “There’s a big problem here.”

“John, what’s the problem?”

“Beck… H-He’s… I don’t know what to do. R-Richie’s been murdered.”

***

Excerpt from Dead Air by Cliff Protzman. Copyright © 2018 by Cliff Protzman. Reproduced with permission from Cliff Protzman. All rights reserved.

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cliff Protzman for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. The giveaway begins on April 1 and runs through May 2, 2018. Void where prohibited.

About the Authorcliff

Cliff was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Cliff’s family relocated to Northeast Ohio when he was in high school. Immediately after graduation he returned to his hometown to attend the University of Pittsburgh. Cliff planned to major in journalism and write the great American novel. Instead, he switched to Business Administration and began a 30-year career in accounting and finance.

Cliff rekindled his passion for writing acquired as a reporter for his school newspaper. He published his first novel, DEAD AIR: a Glenn Beckert Mystery in September 2017. Cliff also writes short stories. He was a winner in the Unfinished Chapters anthology in 2015. Cliff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Pennwriters.

Catch up with Cliff on his Website cliffprotzman.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!