Spotlight & Excerpt: DROP DEAD CRIME

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As part of a tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on Drop Dead Crime, a boxed set of mysteries from Lisa Regan, Leslie Wolfe, Colleen Helme, Amy Vansant, and Julie Smith.  Sounds like a promising read!

About the Book

Five women. Five sublime authors of crime fiction. One stunning book.

Gripping thrillers, packed with deviously executed crimes and in-depth investigations are some of the most popular reads available on  traditional and virtual book shelves today.

Now, you can sample some of the best female writers of crime fiction, in Drop Dead Crime, a collection of novellas packed with the twisted plotlines and memorable characters that excite readers and leave them demanding more.

Lisa Regan, Leslie Wolfe, Colleen Helme, Amy   Vansant, and Julie Smith are among the most skilled and prolific writers of the genre today, and each one knows exactly how to tease a story to  maximum effect. Their use of strong female leads, combined with delicately balanced plots, means suspense is always kept at a fever  pitch—ready to boil over at any second.

Lisa Regan’s Over The Edge is guaranteed to keep you up at night. When P.I. Jocelyn Rush witnesses a young mother jump from a bridge, she is determined to solve the mystery of why, and what she finds is a complex web of secrets and lies so shocking it could destroy the people left behind.

Leslie Wolfe introduces FBI Agent Tess Winnett in
Not Really Dead, a fast-paced, intense thriller about a serial killer who makes a terrible mistake.

Colleen Helme stuns with Behind Blue Eyes. A grisly murder along with a new client hiding a deadly secret is just the beginning for Shelby Nichols, mind reader extraordinaire. Don’t miss this exciting thriller!

In Amy Vansant’s exclusive novella Parental Kilt, the stars of her “Kilty” romantic suspense series, Catriona Phoenix and Brochan the Highlander, find themselves trapped in a serial killer’s maze during a movie wrap-party gone wrong. The serial killer was supposed to be dead, but the bodies are piling up…

Julie Smith brings a dazzling story of suspense, The Big Crazy. Detective Skip Langdon, NOPD, while navigating a world of chaos and betrayal after Hurricane Katrina, takes on a gang of rogue cops who may be acting as self-appointed executioners.

Lisa Regan’s Over The Edge is guaranteed to keep you up at night. When P.I. Jocelyn Rush witnesses a young mother jump from a bridge, she is determined to solve the mystery of why, and what she finds is a complex web of secrets and lies so shocking it could destroy the people left behind.

Get your copy:   Only 99 cents – Goodreads * Amazon

About the Authors


Lisa Regan is the USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the detective Josie Quinn series as well as several other crime fiction titles. She has a  Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Education degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip.


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.

Amy Vansant is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, specializing in fun, comedic reads about accident-prone, easily distracted women with questionable tastes in men. 

So, autobiographies, mostly. Ha! But seriously… She writes happy,  occasionally slightly twisted, thrilling, romantic comedies, mysteries, and urban fantasies.

Julie Smith is the author of more than twenty mysteries, most set in New Orleans and starring one or the other of her detective heroes, a cop named Skip Langdon, and a PI named Talba Wallis. (Both female, both tough and wily.) She also has two series set in San Francisco.
Her novel, NEW ORLEANS MOURNING, won the Edgar Allan Poe award for best novel. She changed direction in 2010, with her start-up digital publishing company, booksBnimble (www.booksBnimble.com), beginning with four books by friends. She later added other authors and got the rights back to her own books, Then in 2015 booksBnimble spun off bbnmarketing (www.bbnmarketing.com), with the aim of helping self-published authors find their audience and backlist print authors find their way back into the game.
Twelve years after Hurricane Katrina; Skip Langdon returned last year in MURDER ON MAGAZINE. But so many readers have asked–what did she do when Katrina struck? That story’s THE BIG CRAZY.
Website * Facebook * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Leslie Wolfe’s novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. Fascinated by technology and psychology, Leslie brings extensive background and research in these fields that empower and add texture to a signature, multi-dimensional, engaging writing style.
Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at http://wolfenovels.com/titles.
Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you. Become an insider: gain early access to previews of Leslie’s new novels!

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt From Over the Edge: A Jocelyn Rush Story
Lisa Regan

Molly
Five Years Ago

My feet pound along the packed-earth Wissahickon Creek trail. Sweat drips from the nape of my neck, down the length of my spine, and into the back of my shorts. It beads on my nose, falling as I run, and turns my hair, pulled tightly into a ponytail, slick and heavy on the back of my neck.

I’ve been running along this path four times a week for six months, and once every few times out, I manage to overtake him on the trail. I tried not to notice him, but all that lean muscle called out to me. I knew he saw me too. Then one day, as I ran past him, I turned and met his eyes. Blue fire. He smiled. I smiled back. I ran ahead. He followed.

From then on, it’s been a game we play.

This section of the creek trail is called Forbidden Drive. The irony isn’t lost on me the day something finally happens. The morning is fresh and dewy, sunlight slipping through the canopy of trees overhead, dappling everything around me. I see his back. Today he is shirtless, and every muscle in his back and shoulders ripple, glistening with sweat. I run up beside him, closer this time. When I turn to catch his eye, there is something there that wasn’t before. An acknowledgment. I see you, those fiery blue eyes seem to say. I know what you want. I run ahead.

Far ahead but not so far that he loses sight of me. I veer off the trail at a break in the trees, my feet crushing the brush beneath them. I hear a snapping twig behind me, and I know he’s there.

I stop when I reach a kind of clearing. It’s big enough, private enough. I put my hands against a tree trunk, leaning over, my breath coming fast and hard from the slightly uphill run through uneven terrain. He doesn’t talk. Hands grip my hips, digging into the flesh. Hot breath slides down the nape of my neck. It doesn’t take long. We’re not wearing much to begin with, and our bodies are already shiny and wet with sweat. Once we’ve both shuddered with satisfaction, we part ways, wordless.

It happens a few more times after that. No words. No names. Then the winter sets in, and I turn to the treadmill for my daily jog. Sometimes at night, lying in bed, I close my eyes and remember how he felt, the way his blue eyes caught me in their snare. I  remember the way my body reacted to the things he did. The risks I took.

I’m glad it’s over. It was only a dream. A kinky fantasy. Fleeting. Gone forever.

I think I won’t ever see him again.

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Review: LOVE FROM A TO Z by Lia London

This past weekend I decided to take a break from mysteries and read a book that didn’t include a single dead body.   Lia’s London’s latest release – Love from A to Z – was the perfect choice. And just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Description

Falling in love is a family affair…

atozFor seven years, Antonio Seneca has had to be a father to his two younger brothers. He might struggle in the kitchen, but he makes sure the boys get their homework done and stay out of trouble. Only now that they’ve discovered girls, he has to decide if a love life would be a welcome distraction or a complete disaster.

Smart and sassy Zaira Vasquez got herself through a nursing degree and landed her first job at a hospital, but being a single, working mom is exhausting, no matter how cute her toddler daughter is. With only two relatives nearby to lend a hand, she needs adult companionship. Could it be that the handsome young man across the street is a remedy for her loneliness?

Growing from neighbors to co-workers to friends, Antonio and Zaira try dating while parenting, and parenting while dating, and find that the two occupations aren’t always compatible. How can they navigate the chaos of the present and the heartaches of the past to form something beautiful for their future?

My Review

This light and easy boy-meets-girl story features two strong main characters, both deeply affected by events from their pasts.  Antonio is not at all what Zaira expects. He’s nothing like the gorgeous player he portrayed on a reality show.  Yeah, he’s still gorgeous, but he’s a nice guy.  A responsible guy who is doing his best to raise his younger brothers on his own. The attraction is immediate – they click; but they both resist.  They both want to find love, however fear repeating past mistakes. You can’t help rooting for them to find their “happily ever after.”

This is a sweet “clean” romance that focuses on family and family values. The story is sprinkled with humorous antics and entertaining dialog and made for a delightful escape. I just may have to go back and read the rest of the series.

Review & Giveaway: DEATH BY COMMITTEE by Alexis Morgan

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Description

DeathbyCommitteeWhen Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win one of three copies of Death by Committee.

My Review

Recently divorced, Abby  is starting over in a new place. Before she has finished setting into the house she inherited from her aunt, a body is found on the property.   She has also inherited a large, loveable, and fiercely  protective dog – Zeke – and a fine looking tenant, Tripp.  So fine that the elderly ladies of the quilting guild practically drool when committee meetings are held at the house. But Abby’s not looking for romance – she’s busy serving on committees,  hunting down missing quilts, and attempting to find a murderer.  The plot itself was interesting, with a few twists along the way.  An enjoyable read with a well developed plot, this is a nice start to a cute new cozy series. I look forward to reading more about Abby and Tripp in the future.   Although the quilting guild plays a key role in the story, this non-quilter was glad to see that the author didn’t go into unnecessary detail about the craft itself – meaning this light cozy can be enjoyed by non-quilters and quilters alike.  

FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book. This has not affected my review in any way.

About the Author

ALEXIS-MORGANUSA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Author Links:

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N –  KoboGooglePlay  –  IndieBound 

Click here to view the full list of stops on this tour.

Guest Post & Giveaway: A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE and Royal Weddings by Alyssa Maxwell

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Today, as part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am to host Alyssa Maxwell as she celebrates the recent release of  A Murderous Marriage (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery).  In today’s post she talks about her love for royal weddings.


Royal Weddings by Alyssa Maxwell

Who doesn’t love a Royal Wedding? My guess is, if you’re reading this post, you have an affinity for all things British, and royal weddings are high on your list. I’ve been an avid royal watcher since Princess Diana hit the world stage nearly forty years ago. You see, she and I were married in the same year, in the same month, a mere ten days apart. Mine was first, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t tune in to watch my hubby and I say our I dos. But I most definitely watched hers.

I tuned in again a few years later for Andrew and Fergie’ wedding. And then Edward and Sophie’s, and so on and so on, right up to last year when I sat glued to the TV for Harry and Meghan’s fairytale nuptials at Windsor Castle, one of the most beautiful setting’s imaginable. If you’re like me, you wish you could have overheard whatever Meghan and her mother said to each other as the car turned up the main drive and the castle came into view. I imagine there were loud gasps of disbelief. Surely they both believed they were dreaming.

And shouldn’t a wedding be just like a dream? I think so, and while mine wasn’t royal, it certainly was dreamy, held at an elegant French restaurant in a mansion built by J.P. Morgan in the 1920s in South Salem, NY. The ceremony took place in a stone courtyard above a flower-strewn meadow with a pond, where deer often grazed. It was a beautiful afternoon framed by the misty blue foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Our day was as close to perfect as can be.

Actually, I’m not just a fan of the royals or royal weddings. I love weddings in general, especially the gowns, and can happily scroll through picture after picture of beautiful wedding gowns, both vintage and modern, on Pinterest. Or binge watch Say Yes to the Dress. Returning, for the moment, to the royal weddings, I’ll admit liked Sarah Ferguson’s dress better than Diana’s, which I thought was overdone and altogether too fussy. More like something a doll would wear. Sarah’s gown, on the other hand, spoke of the sophistication of an independent, modern woman. I found the dress worn by Sophie, w2 Countess of Wessex, a tad ordinary, but all in all appropriate for a “smaller” wedding, which it was in comparison to the former two. Kate’s gown is my favorite, being tasteful, flattering, perfectly suited to her figure and her public persona. Meghan’s, while lovely in its simplicity, could have been better tailored to show off her figure (I know I’m far from alone in that opinion). Princess Eugenie’s seemed a bit stiff to me, maybe a little too structured, but her decision to wear a plunging back that showed the surgery scar from her scoliosis was a brave choice. Do you have a favorite among the royal wedding dresses?

So, royal watcher and wedding fan that I am, is it any wonder that I’d get around to writing a wedding story? But here’s the thing: A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE is no fairytale—far from it. I chose a beautiful setting – West Cowes on the Isle of Wight, in full view of the Solent waterway. Unfortunately, it’s a blustery, drizzly, bleak April day, the sort of day when the sun doesn’t dare show its face. The bride, of course, is beautiful. Lady Julia is reputed to be the most beautiful of the Renshaw sisters, and she’s wearing her great grandmother’s veil, made of Honiton lace designed by William Dyce, who also designed the lace for Queen Victoria’s wedding gown. Julia’s dress, however, is completely modern, the height of fashion in 1920—a sleek garment of ivory satin with an overlay of beaded lace, a drop waist, and whisper-sheer sleeves. Julia’s sisters, Phoebe and Amelia, who will serve as her attendants, are dressed in matching silk organza frocks. The wedding feast has been catered on the mainland, at the Royal Yacht Squadron, and ferried out to the groom’s yacht waiting on the Solent. In the morning, the happy couple will set sail on their honeymoon. The weather aside, everything is perfect …

w3Actually, it isn’t—it really isn’t—as the title of the book implies. But then again, despite the pomp and ceremony, the horse-drawn carriages, the magnificent gowns, and the miles and miles of cheering spectators, Diana’s and Fergie’s weddings were no fairy stories either, were they? Who could have guessed how spectacularly both of those marriages would implode? And how can Julia, or any of her family, guess what the next hours will bring?

So, on that ominous note, you are cordially invited to join friends and family in celebrating the marriage of Lady Julia Renshaw to Gilbert Townsend, Viscount Annondale. Can we count on your being there?


About A Murderous Marriage

Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are preparing for a wedding, but it may not be the happy occasion everyone hopes for . . .
 
MurderousMrrgSince the Great War, some family fortunes have suffered, including those of the Renshaws. Despite being the granddaughter of an earl, Julia Renshaw is under pressure to marry for money—and has settled for Gilbert Townsend, a viscount and a wealthy industrialist. He is decades older than Julia, and it’s clear to her sister Phoebe—and to Eva, who has been like a surrogate mother to the girls—that this is not a love match. Nevertheless, the wedding takes place—and in a hurry.

At the reception aboard the groom’s yacht, there appears to be tension between Gil and several guests: his best man, a fellow veteran of the Boer War; his grouchy spinster sister; and his current heir, a nervous young cousin named Ernest. The bride is also less than pleased when she discovers that her honeymoon will be more crowded than expected—with Gil’s pretty secretary, among others, coming along.

That very night, Julia pounds on her sister’s door, brandishing a bandaged hand and reporting a hot-tempered outburst on her new husband’s part. Julia is feeling doubt and regret about her hasty decision, but returns to the boat. Then the next morning, before the yacht can depart the harbor, Gil’s body is found in the water below—and Phoebe and Eva must discover who pushed him over . . . before the Renshaws’ social standing is irreparably stained by Julia’s arrest for his murder . . .

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win one of three print copies of A Murderous Marriage.

About the Author

Alyssa-outside-2Alyssa Maxwell knew from an early age that she wanted to be a novelist. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She and her husband reside in Florida, where she loves to watch BBC productions, sip tea in the afternoons, and delve into the past. You can learn more about Alyssa and her books at www.alyssamaxwell.com.

Author Links

Twitter  Facebook – Webpage – GoodReads – Mailing List

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N  – KoboGooglePlay 

Spotlight & Giveaway: BROKEN HEART ATTACK by James J. Cudney

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am pleased to shine the spotlight on a new Braxton Campus Mystery from James J. Cudney Broken Heart Attack.  Sounds like a good one. Check it out!

Description

HeartattackWhen an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies.

When one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate the death. With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.

But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?

You can get the book on Amazon.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a print copy of Broken Heart Attack.

About the Author

Cudnety200x300James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books & Blog

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Follow James on:

Click here to view a full list of the stops on this tour.

Review & Giveaway: THE PLUNGE by Nancy G. West

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post introduces the new newest release from Nancy G. West  – The Plunge (An Addie Mundeen Lake Mystery).

Description

perf6.000x9.000.inddWhen Aggie Mundeen accompanies San Antonio Detective Sam Vanderhoven on a weekend getaway to Lake Placid, she thinks it’s going to be fun in the sun. What could be better than caretaking a friend’s cottage on the Guadalupe River in Central Texas? Never mind that Sam intends to discretely investigate the theft of that friend’s boat…

Unfortunately, the weather has plans of its own. Buckets of rain and gusting winds roil the lake, turning the peaceful Guadalupe into an angry, raging river. As darkness descends, lightning reveals two people arguing on a dock across the river. When lightning flashes again, they are gone. Did Aggie and Sam witness an accident? A drowning? A murder?

The Plunge sweeps readers along with the threat of looming disaster, helpless before an untamable force, where sleuthing takes a back seat to survival…

My Review

Torrential rains, flooding, and life or death situations are the central themes in this mystery, which offers a moving  tribute to the emergency personnel charged with assisting the public in time of natural disaster.  Aggie and Sam must focus on making it through the storm before they can attempt to figure out what happened that night, and who stole Sam’s friend’s boat. The last line of the description sums it up – sleuthing definitely took a back seat to survival in this book.  As a result, the mystery was not as well developed as in earlier Aggie Mundeen mysteries, and the resolution felt a bit rushed. Nonetheless, it was an interesting read, and I look forward to reading more about Aggie’s adventures.

FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book. This has not affected my review in any way.

Giveaway

Click here to enter for a chance to win a digital copy of The Plunge.

PlungeNancy_2015About the Author

Nancy G. West is the author of award-winning suspense and the Aggie Mundeen Mystery Series. Each book in the series has either won or been nominated for an award. The Plunge, Lake Mystery #1, takes Aggie in a new direction.

Purchase LinkAmazon

Blurb Blitz & Giveaway: FINAL NOTICE by Van Fleisher

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As part of blitz tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, today’s post shines the spotlight on what promises to be a good political thriller – Final Notice by Van Fleisher.

Description

BookCover_FinalNoticeThe year is the very near future.  A brilliant young doctor and mathematician, Vijay Patel, has invented a new health/sport watch that monitors blood chemistry so accurately, it can actually predict when someone will die – within 10, 20, or 30 days.  The intention of this “Final Notice,” as it is called, is to allow people to get their affairs in order and reach out to loved ones before it’s too late.  But when those notified have easy access to a gun, the result is sometimes lethal for more than just the watch-owner.

These are the stories of several people who receive their Final Notice and their very different reactions … including a desire to get revenge with impunity.  They range from an 89-year-old resident in a retirement home to a U.S. Senator…from a benevolent widow to a crass tycoon to a noted climate change scientist.

But in this fresh, fast-paced page-turner, their stories are all set against the all-too-recognizable backdrop of a guns-gone-wild America, and the relentless push by the NRA and their surrogate politicians to make guns even easier to acquire.

There is plenty of dark humor and political satire in FINAL NOTICE, as well as touching scenes and outright suspense.  So expect to laugh out loud, dry some tears, and bite your nails (not necessarily in that order).

Read an Excerpt

And sure enough, in 1.24 seconds, Trudi had 1,620,000 results. “Here it is. California law protects us if we shoot a burglar in our home. Still, it wouldn’t help if we didn’t hear them until they burst into the room. I can’t see either one of us having the presence of mind to reach for the gun, roll out of bed and blast away. What are you smiling at?”

“At the image of you doing just that!”

“Hey. I’ve been watching Angelina Jolie and I think I can manage the moves.”

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter giveaway for your change to win a $50 gift card from Van Fleisher.

About Van Fleisher

“After 21 years with an airline, and 30 years in management consulting, I retired and found that my phone didn’t ring and the only emails I got were asking for money. So, since I was at my computer, I decided to write a novel.”

Author ImageThis is only half the story. (Van is notoriously modest.) The author was Director of International Marketing with TWA, and an International Management Consultant – taking him behind the closed doors of boardrooms and executive offices around the world. He knows how business works, which gives the slightly “sci-fi” premise of Final Notice a realistic feel. Moreover, his two careers led him to live abroad for much of his life. After growing up in New Jersey and Florida, where he never thought much further than the length of a football field, and going to college in New Mexico, he wound up living in England, Scotland and France, travelling frequently to the Middle East and Asia. He even spent a year living in India. And his first-hand experience with – and respect for – other cultures is apparent in this book.

“Final Notice is meant to highlight, my concerns with America’s handling of three important issues: gun control (not anti-gun), ageism and the importance of immigration. The book won’t fix these issues, but there are a number of great organizations with even greater people working on our behalf to right these wrongs. Proceeds from sales of Final Notice will help support those efforts.”

Connect with Van Fleisher:

Get your copy of Final Notice Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/FINAL-NOTICE-What-would-certain-ebook/dp/B0798XNY6P

Review: AN AFFAIR TO DISMEMBER by Elise Sax

Browsing through the countless books on my e-reader, I recently opened up An Affair to Dismember, the first book in the Matchmaker Mysteries series by Elise Sax.  Light romance and mystery are one of my favorite combinations.

41jlcipu77lDescription (on Amazon)

Three months has been Gladie Burger’s limit when it comes to staying in one place. That’s why Gladie is more than a little skeptical when her Grandma Zelda–who is more than a little psychic– recruits her into the family’s matchmaking business in the quaint small town of Cannes, California. What’s more, Gladie is also highly unqualified, having a terrible track record with romance. Still, Zelda is convinced that her granddaughter has her clairvoyant “gift.” But when the going gets tough, Gladie wonders if this gift has a return policy.

When Zelda’s neighbor drops dead in his kitchen, Gladie is swept into his bizarre family’s drama. Despite warnings from the (distractingly gorgeous) chief of police to steer clear of his investigation, Gladie is out to prove that her neighbor’s death was murder. It’s not too long before she’s in way over her head–with the hunky police chief, a dysfunctional family full of possible killers, and yet another mysterious and handsome man, whose attentions she’s unable to ignore. Gladie is clearly being pursued–either by true love or by a murderer. Who will catch her first?

My Review

This is a  light and entertaining read with quirky characters and a healthy dose of humor. Gladie was fun, though her actions were not always reasonable or realistic and often got her into trouble. Turns out learning to be a matchmaker is a challenge and a vocation that is sure to present the potential for humorous situations.  Some of her Grandma’s tips at the start of each chapter are priceless.

If you are looking for a serious traditional mystery or a sweet romance, this is not the book for you.  But, if you are in the mood to laugh out loud and forget your troubles for a few hours, then this book fits the bill.

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

Guest Post & Spotlight: TO FETCH A THIEF

TO-FETCH-A-THIEF-BANNER-184As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am pleased to have as my guest today the authors in To Fetch a Thief – an anthology of light dog-themed cozy mysteries.  They’re a great bunch, and they are doing such a fine job of squishing together on my virtual sofa to share the spotlight.


Thoughts about Writing from the TO FETCH A THIEF Authors 

Teresa Inge, Header Weidner, Jayne Ormerod and Rosemary Shomaker

What is the one thing about the writing life that you didn’t know until you were published?

Jayne: How difficult the marketing phase of things would be. I guess I thought these books would just sell themselves!

Heather: I didn’t realize how much marketing went into the book business. It takes a great deal of time to promote your work. You need to balance the writing/editing time with your promotions.

Rosemary: Until I was published, I didn’t understand the role of an editor and that the role may be different from story to story or book to book. Some editors require you accept their suggestions and changes unless you have some compelling reason to not accept them. Luckily, my first editor was a mentor and taught me what was expected and how much to discuss or argue or disagree with an editor. Other editors were unclear on the editing process logistics—the how to indicate changes or indicate non-acceptance of editing. I’ve had some snafus where edits, both mine and the editor’s, were not properly reflected in a story, and that’s frustrating.

Teresa: That I have to market, promote, and sell my books. I’ve learned a lot about promotion and scheduling book signings.

How long did it take you to get your first work published (from creation to actual book)? What was your first published work?

Jayne: I wear the “100-rejection” badge of honor. It took me almost six years to get The Blond Leading the Blond published by Avalon Books. I finally got noticed because my first chapter was a finalist in a mystery writing contest in which the final judge was the publisher.

Heather: My first mystery to be published was a short story, “Washed up” in Virginia is for Mysteries, a Sisters in Crime anthology. It took about six months to write and polish. Then the book editing/proofreading/formatting process took probably another eight months or so. My first mystery novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes took me about five years to write and rewrite and rewrite. When it was finally accepted for publication, it took another seven months to become a book.

Rosemary: The first item I had published for pay was a short story I’d written during a long weekend. Once I submitted the story, the gentle editing needed from my end took only an afternoon. “A Fish By Any Other Name” was included in A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas, the first of the Shaker of Margaritas series, in 2010.

Teresa: I was part of a creative writing group at a community college and my first story was published in a book with that group. It was around six months after my story was accepted.

Plotter (one who plans or plots out every detail of her writing) or Pantser (one who writes by the seat of her pants)?

Jayne: Plotter. You should see my story board!

Heather: I’m a hybrid. I start out as a detailed plotter, and then I write. The story and the characters always go where they want to go.

Rosemary: I’m a pantser—autocorrect keeps changing this to “panther,” and that’s funny to me because if I were an animal, I most certainly would not be a panther. I’d be a duck or some other bird, I think. But I digress. So, I am a seat-of-the-pants writer with plotter tendencies. Being a pantser is much more fun, if you ask me. Early on I thought I was a plotter because I’m very analytical. I was highly organized for the first part of my life. When I became a parent, all that flew out the window. The first story I consciously totally plotted revealed I was a pantser. By the time I finished plotting that story to the nth degree, I was so sick of the story that I didn’t want to write it. The beauty of a pantser is the creative flow. The raw material for the story emerges organically—“pantsing”—and the rewrite and editing phases allow me to be as analytical as I want to be on a project. That’s a good mix for me.

Teresa: Both. I like to plot and be creative, so I can follow where the character takes me.

What advice would you have for a new writer?

Jayne: Don’t ever, ever give up. It’s a long, long road to publication, but it’s worth it!

Heather: Be persistent. If you want to be published, keep at it. Keep writing. Keep learning, and don’t give up.

Rosemary: My advice to a new writer is two-fold. First, pick a genre. Second, join a writing group dedicated to that genre. Many new writers I meet dabble in several genres, and this wastes a lot of time, in my opinion. Much learning about professional fiction writing is transferable among genres, but one must commit to only one in order to show his or her serious intent and gain the trust of that selected genre’s writing community. For me, meeting mystery writers and hearing their explanations of “this is how mystery writers do it” was the beginning of fruitful learning.

This advice has been rejected by a few new writers who don’t see why they have to limit themselves. I’m not talking about limits. I’m suggesting concentration. I advise new writers to immerse themselves in maybe one or two genres at a time, if they really won’t choose one only. I also suggest that they not share about their dual commitments in either writing community and just focus on whatever genre project or group they attend or work with, independent of the other group. In my mind, a new writer (with a day job) could immerse himself or herself in one genre and one genre community for two years and learn enough to know if it’s his or her writing “home” for the foreseeable future.

Teresa: Go to conferences and workshops. And write. These will help develop your craft.

To Fetch a Thief is the first in the Mutt Mysteries collection. Tell us about your real dogs and what they do while you write.

Jayne: We have two rescues, Tiller and Scout. They are still puppies. I can only write while they are napping. The little one likes to curl up next to me on the sofa and rest his head on my keyboard. That is a challenge! And a distraction! But giving me lots of fodder for future cozies featuring dogs! Already working on my second Mutt Mystery.

Heather: My two Jack Russell Terriers (Disney and Riley) have beds in my office on either side of my desk. Sometimes, they help me plot or listen as I talk through dialogue. Most of the time, they snooze.

Rosemary: My dog is my comfort animal. As I raised my children, our first family dog, Mabel, and our second family dog, Current, were the loving beings in my home with the least needs. And bless their hearts, after home, house, and family needs were met, these dogs were there to provide me with easy, nonjudgmental companionship. I am not a nurturer, so family nurturing took a lot out of me. When I was exhausted and crabby, my dogs nurtured me. Now my kids are grown and my current pooch, our second family dog, “Current,” has a new role. He tears me away from my obsessing about writing and other projects and reminds me to go outside for a walk or to work in the yard with him for company. He seems to know when I really need a break. He reminds me to give him food and water, and thusly to meet my human needs to eat and drink and to step away from too much concentration and relax. He’s usually in the dog bed in my son’s old room while I write in another room nearby. He’ll walk in and interrupt me when it’s time he and I do something else.

Teresa: My dogs are Luke and Lena, both shepherd mixed. They are named after my husband’s grandparents and love to sit by me when I write.


Fetch-cover-for-ebookAbout To Fetch a Thief

To Fetch a Thief, the first Mutt Mysteries collection, features four novellas that have gone to the dogs. In this howlingly good read, canine companions help their owners solve crimes and right wrongs. These sleuths may be furry and low to the ground, but their keen senses are on high alert when it comes to sniffing out clues and digging up the truth.

Make no bones about it, these pup heroes will steal your heart as they conquer ruff villains.

The Stories

“Hounding the Pavement” by Teresa Inge
Catt Ramsey has three things on her mind: grow her dog walking service in Virginia Beach, solve the theft of a client’s vintage necklace, and hire her sister Emma as a dog walker.  But when Catt finds her model client dead after walking her precious dogs Bella and Beau, she and her own dogs Cagney and Lacey are hot on the trail to clear her name after being accused of murder.

“Diggin’ up Dirt” by Heather Weidner
Amy Reynolds and her Jack Russell Terrier Darby find some strange things in her new house. Normally, she would have trashed the forgotten junk, but Amy’s imagination kicks into high gear when her nosy neighbors dish the dirt about the previous owners who disappeared, letting the house fall into foreclosure. Convinced that something nefarious happened, Amy and her canine sidekick uncover more abandoned clues in their search for the previous owners.

“Dog Gone it All”  by Jayne Ormerod
Meg Gordon and her tawny terrier Cannoli are hot on the trail of a thief, a heartless one who steals rocks commemorating neighborhood dogs who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. But sniffing out clues leads them to something even more merciless…a dead body! There’s danger afoot as the two become entangled in the criminality infesting their small bayside community. And, dog gone it all, Meg is determined to get to the bottom of things.

“This is Not a Dog Park” by Rosemary Shomaker
“Coyotes and burglaries? That’s an odd pairing of troubles.” Such are Adam Moreland’s reactions to a subdivision’s meeting announcement. He has no idea. Trouble comes his way in spades, featuring a coyote . . . burglaries . . . and a dead body! A dog, death investigation, and new female acquaintance kick start Adam’s listless life frozen by a failed relationship, an unfulfilling job, and a judgmental mother. Events shift Adam’s perspective and push him to act.

Links to the Book:

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About the Authors

Teresa-and-dogs-croppedTeresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. She is president of Sister’s in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Heather Weidner, a member of SinC – Central Virginia and Guppies, is the author of the Heather-and-Disney-SizedDelanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, Secret Lives and Private Eyes and The Tulip Shirt Murders. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. Heather lives in Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers, Disney and Riley. She’s been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. Some of her life experience comes from being a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, IT manager, and cop’s kid. She blogs at Pens, Paws, and Claws.

S-Parrott-9Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of the Blonds at the Beach Mysteries, The Blond Leading the Blond, and Blond Luck. She has contributed seven short mysteries to various anthologies to include joining with the other To Fetch a Thief authors in Virginia is for Mysteries, Volumes I and II, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Rosemary Shomaker writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman Rosie-and-Dogyou don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes women’s fiction, paranormal, and mystery short stories, and she’s taking her first steps toward longer fiction, so stay tuned. She’s an urban planner by education, a government policy analyst by trade, and a fiction writer at heart. Rosemary credits Sisters in Crime with developing her craft and applauds the organization’s mission of promoting the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.