Release Spotlight & Giveaway: TREASURE IN PARADISE by Kathi Daley

treasure in paradise large banner344

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight is turned on Treasure in Paradise, a new cozy mystery by Kathi Daley.

TreasureInParadise FRONT 2[15190]Description

Tj Jensen and her family head to Turtle Cove Resort for summer vacation, but their plans for rest and relaxation are thwarted when they find a dead treasure hunter in the attic of the resort’s main house. Initially vowing not to get involved, Tj quickly changes her tune when the Gull Island deputy on the case closes it after a bare bones investigation. All evidence points to foul play, and Tj’s determined to uncover what the deputy wants to keep hidden. With the help of her best friend and a chatty parrot, Tj digs up a centuries old legend, a hidden map, and secrets buried deeper than pirate’s treasure.

Giveaway:

For a chance to win an e-copy of Treasure in Paradise from the author, leave a comment about what your idea of paradise might be. (Winner to be selected at random.)

About the Author

Author of the Zoe Donovan cozy Mystery Series, Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery series, Whales and Tails Cozy Mystery Series, Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mysteries, and Seacliff High Teen Cozy Mystery Series.

KathiDaleyCome for the murder, stay for the romance.

Kathi lives in the beautiful alpine community of Lake Tahoe with her husband Ken and dog Echo. When she’s not writing she enjoys hanging out on the beach with her children and grandchildren. During the summer she enjoys hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and sunset cruises on the lake. During the winter she enjoys cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and curling up by a fire with a good book.

Kathi uses her mountain home as inspiration for her books, all which include appearances by the wildlife she shares her life with.

Visit Kathi Daley:

Books in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series:

PUMPKINS IN PARADISE (#1)
SNOWMEN IN PARADISE (#2)
BIKINIS IN PARADISE (#3)
CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE(#4)
PUPPIES IN PARADISE (#5)
HALLOWEEN IN PARADISE (#6)
TREASURE IN PARADISE (#7)

Opening Scene from Treasure in Paradise

There is magic in beginnings. Some beginnings come as a rite of passage, such as a graduation from college, the birth of a child, or a wedding day. Other beginnings start off more subtly, as nothing more than an ordinary moment that evolves into a crucial event that, in the end, helps define who you are and who you will become. And then there are the beginnings that arrive on the heels of change. At times we welcome this change with joyful anticipation, while at others we fight to maintain that which we feel we’ve lost. Change can come in gentle waves that shepherd us into a new reality, or it can come in a tornado of destruction that tears apart everything we hold dear to our hearts.

My own new beginning occurred when I packed up two sisters, a grandpa, two very dear friends, four cats, and three dogs, and traveled across the country to help an old friend of my father’s renovate the oceanfront resort he’d been forced to sell. The resort, which consisted of a resident’s home and twenty cabins nestled artfully on a long stretch of beach on the southeastern corner of Gull Island, had been in Garrett Hanford’s family for four generations. Garrett was an only child who’d never married or had children of his own, so when his health began to fail he’d decided he had no choice other than to sell the property he was no longer capable of managing.

The problem was that the resort had fallen into disrepair, and the only buyers interested in the large slice of oceanfront land were developers who didn’t care about the cabins because they planned to tear them down and build a new infrastructure from the ground up. Garrett didn’t want to sell to those large corporations, so in spite of the fact that he was not likely to recover his investment, he’d decided to put some money into the resort and renovate the buildings prior to looking for a buyer who would maintain the integrity of the property he loved. When I learned Garrett had suffered a stroke and would need someone to oversee the renovations, I jumped at the chance to take a step away from a life that had undergone so many changes in the past few months that I no longer recognized it. What I didn’t expect was that by agreeing to spend the summer on Gull Island, I would be trading one set of problems for another.

“Someone from the sheriff’s office should be here in a few minutes,” my best friend, Kyle Donovan, informed me as he joined me in the attic of the three-story house where the two of us, along with my two half sisters Ashley and Gracie, my Grandpa Ben, and a dear friend, Stan Griffin, planned to live that summer.

I glanced in Kyle’s direction with what I was sure was a look of resignation on my face. “What do you think happened to him?”

Kyle’s sandy blond hair had grown long over the past few months and touched his collar as he shrugged. “I’m sure the deputy who shows up will be able to tell us. It looks like he’s been dead for a while.”

“Two weeks at least,” Stan, more commonly known as Doc, agreed. Doc was not only my grandfather, Ben Jensen’s best friend, but was also a retired coroner, so I imagined he knew what he was talking about. “I can’t say for certain without a closer examination of the remains, but based on the fractures on the man’s left temple, I’m going to say the cause of death was blunt force trauma delivered by a right handed individual facing him.”

I grimaced. I don’t know exactly what I expected to find on my first day in over twenty years at Turtle Cove Resort, but in spite of my reputation as an amateur sleuth, I certainly didn’t think I’d be thrust into a murder investigation before I’d even had a chance to unpack.

“Are you okay?” Kyle asked as Doc slipped on the latex glove he carried in his wallet and took a closer look at the body.

“I’m fine.” I looked around the dusty room. “It’s been such a long time since I was here but everything looks exactly like I remember.”

“You spent a lot of time in the attic as a child?”

“Actually, I did.”

Spotlight: FAMOUS BY DEFAULT by M.K. Harkins

MK Harkins recently released what has been heralded as a gripping YA Contemporary Romance.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but Famous by Default looks like a promising read – a sweet romance that touches on social issues.

Description

Jax
FamousbyDefaultcoverBuried, By my family’s fame. Dying to escape the limelight, And finally, I do. Being raised as a Jayne, I’m under constant scrutiny. The rock band my brothers formed makes it impossible to stay under the radar. Paparazzi, tabloids, rabid fans–you name it and I’ve got it. It all makes me sick. But getting shipped off to crazy Aunt Betty’s house in my senior year of high school isn’t any better. After all, there isn’t a stray kid or pet in the world that my aunt wouldn’t take in. Then I meet her. She’s cautious, suspicious, and not interested in me at all. But that’s fine by me. Sivan Holt may be beautiful and intelligent, but she’s nothing I’m looking for.
Sivan
Drowning, In my past. Struggling to feel settled. And finally, I do. Growing up in the foster care system, I longed for a sense of belonging. All I wanted was a place to call home. At the age of seventeen, I’m finally starting to feel it here. Home. When he comes along, it unsettles me. I don’t want him to ruin everything we’ve built–everything that matters. Jax Jayne is arrogant, privileged, and I want nothing to do with him. But those green eyes of his keep drawing me in. If I let down my walls, will it be my final undoing?
 

About the Author

MKHarkinsMK Harkins has always been a voracious reader. After hitting a dry spell of reading material, she decided to write the kind of book she’d like to read. This resulted in the creation of her debut novel, Intentional. (Award for Best Sweet Romance – eFestival of Words- August 2014) Unintentional, Breaking Braydon, Taking Tiffany and The Reader soon followed. MK’s newest, Famous by Default, released March 2017. The follow-up to The Reader, The Jack, is due out 2017.

When she’s not writing novels, she likes to spend her free time traveling the world, splashing in mud puddles (She lives in Seattle, what can she say?), watching movies and reading (!) She LOVES to hear from her readers!

Connect with MK:

Sign up for MK’s Newsletter and receive a free book: http://eepurl.com/clLfBf

Release Spotlight: DATING THE IT GUY by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Krysten Hager has been at it again. Her new YA contemporary romance – Dating the It Guy – was released earlier this month.  Check it out.

Description

DatingtheItGuy453x680.jpgEmme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.

Click here to view the trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HdfnUqZPKU

A short excerpt appears at the end of this post.

You can find the book on these retailers:

About the Author

author photoBesides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is a also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes young adult, middle grade, new adult, and adult fiction as well as humor essays. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows (she’s addicted to American Dad to the point where she quotes episodes on a daily basis and also loves Girl Meets World). She’s also a third generation Detroit Lions fan.

Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.

Follow Krysten:

Excerpt – Dating the It Guy

“By the way, did you hear Lauren got into Senator Agretti’s old school?”

“Seriously? I wonder if she applied there because Brendon did,” I said.

Margaux snorted. “Duh, of course. Seriously, she might as well just pee on him to mark her territory.”

“Margaux, shut up,” Kylie said.

“Whatever. Anyway, the important thing is if Brendon knew she was applying there,” Margaux said. “Em, do you think he knew?”

I hoped Lauren was just trying to follow Brendon, but what if they had planned this whole thing while they were dating? What if he convinced her to apply there so they could go to college together, wear matching American flag sweaters with big scarves while drinking hot chocolate, and jump into leaf piles just like a preppy clothing catalog. At least now I didn’t have to worry about them reciting poetry to one another in South Bend, but still, what if they had made plans to go to school together?

“Don’t worry about it,” Kylie said. “She was probably trying to follow him—like she always does. She’s so pathetic.”

Kylie was trying to make me feel better, but Lauren was far from pathetic. After all, she was pretty much the “Most Likely to Succeed” poster girl. While she was out overachieving and saving the world without messing up her perfect, bouncy hair, I was trying to get through each day. I tried to push away the image of Lauren and Brendon holding hands and drinking hot chocolate under a stadium blanket.

Release Spotlight & Excerpt: PUPPY DOG TALES by Liwen Y. Ho

Thinking ahead to Valentine’s day next month? Liwen Y. Ho’s recently released Puppy Dog Tales: A Romantic Comedy is here to get you in the mood.  I haven’t read this one yet but it sounds cute. I have enjoyed other works by this author – so this one’s going on my TBR list.

Description

puppydogtalesIt’s Valentine’s Day blues for animal hater Melvin Lai when his world collides with animal lover, Vivian Chu.

An animal hater and an animal lover’s paths collide the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Melvin Lai inherited the last thing he ever wanted from his favorite uncle: a cocker spaniel. Now he’s on the verge of losing his home to the unruly puppy and, much to his surprise, his heart when he meets Dr. Chu, Sparkle’s vet.

Vivian Chu loves caring for her furry friends, so she can’t fathom how anyone could think poorly of her new patient, especially his owner. To her, first impressions are everything, and the one Melvin left has her feeling disheartened and bruised—quite literally.

With a pair of matchmaking mothers and unexpected animal escapades, they encounter more trouble than they can handle. He longs to make her his valentine; she can’t wait to escape him. Can Melvin and Vivian pull together to find common ground?

You can check out an excerpt at the end of this post.

Puppy Dog Tales is available on Amazon.

LiwanAbout the Author

Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and a romance writer by night. She also enjoys writing about real-life matters, such as marriage, parenting and faith because truth can be as strange and entertaining as fiction. Her work has appeared in various online publications, including LiteraryMama.com and MomLifeToday.com, and she is a regular contributor at StartMarriageRight.com.

In her pre-author life, she received a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children, and blogs about her adventures as a recovering perfectionist at http://www.2square2behip.com.

You can connect with Liwen Y. Ho at:

An Excerpt from Puppy Dog Tales

Melvin took a seat on one of the chairs by the wall while Josie weighed Sparkle. He started to wonder if this place was magical. The dog who’d turned his home—not to mention, his life—upside down now seemed like a different animal. He obeyed the receptionist’s command to stay the moment she said it and waited patiently while she jotted down his numbers. Was he pulling some kind of Jekyll and Hyde trick? Melvin shut his eyes and opened them again, half-expecting and hoping Sparkle would return to his monstrous self. But there he was, being the world’s most behaved dog. Crazy animal.

“Did you say something?”

He didn’t realize he’d spoken his thoughts out loud until he saw Josie staring at him. “No, uh, I’m just filling out this form.”

Sparkle chose that moment to bark as if he wanted to expose Melvin’s lie. He let loose a long, low growl before barking again.

He hated to admit it. The dog was crazy, but he was smart, too. Shaking his head, Melvin redirected his attention to the clipboard. He answered the questions to the best of his knowledge and returned the form to the front desk.

“Right this way.” Josie led him and the dog down the hall and into the first open room. She carried Sparkle onto the exam table, unhooked his leash from the collar and set it aside. “Dr. Chu will be with you soon,” she announced before closing the door on her way out.

“Great. It’s just you and me again.” He gave Sparkle a stern glare as he took a seat on a metal chair. “I wouldn’t try anything funny if I were you.”

Sparkle rested his head on the table and wagged his tail.

Seeing that the dog didn’t pose an immediate threat, Melvin took his eyes off of him to check out the exam room. It was similar to the ones at the hospital where he worked, except there were posters of puppies and kittens on the walls. And instead of sterile white walls, the ones surrounding him were a light purple color. The smell was also less antiseptic and a bit musty, like wet socks with a hint of something that reminded him of breakfast food—was it oatmeal? He took shallow breaths and wished he didn’t have such a keen sense of smell. It was one of the drawbacks of being a doctor, but at least the hospital was fully-ventilated and he worked with a mask on.

The door opened and a different scent filled his nostrils. Dr. Chu entered, bringing in with her a welcoming, sweet floral fragrance. He hadn’t noticed the perfume before, but now with her standing only two feet away, he was noticing a lot of things. The curves of her petite body, her long lashes, the perfectly groomed brow that was raised disapprovingly … oh no, was he in trouble again?

Spotlight: FINDING CLAIRE by Pamela Humphrey

It’s always fun to discover new authors and new books. Here’s a recently released mystery you might want to consider reading on that next cold wintry day.

sm_finding-claire-_front-coverDescription

She wakes up in the back of a van, and her whole world changes.

Injured and afraid–with no recollection of who she is–she stumbles through the Texas Hill Country with a photo labeled Claire. Seeking safety, she knocks at Alex’s cabin door. He protects her, even though she stirs up memories that haunt him.

She wants her life back. He wants to ease his guilt and will protect her even if it means risking his own life. Together they search, hoping questions will be answered by Finding Claire.

Excerpt

Chapter One

January 8, 2016 – 9:27pm

The night I woke up in the back of a van with my hands bound, my whole world changed. It was a Friday.

I opened my eyes and fought to remember how I ended up in a dark, moving vehicle. As if rising from the depths of a deep lake, I struggled, desperate for a glimpse of the familiar. Rope burned my wrists. I didn’t have the presence of mind or the courage to formulate an escape. Panic rendered me useless as someone drove me to the middle of nowhere.

The kidnappers’ most helpful accomplice, my own fear, held me prisoner. The worst part of it all, my mind hid memories from me. I didn’t even know my own name.

A greasy, foul-smelling man marched me into a dark house. Images of how I’d be killed flashed through my mind when he shoved me into a putrid closet. Another man did his bidding, and talked incessantly. More than a day, being fed nothing but bologna sandwiches, I wallowed in that tiny space.

About the Author

Pamela Humphrey is a homeschooling mom of three, an amateur genealogist, a crafter, a wanna-be bass guitarist, and the author of Finding Claire, The Blue Rebozo, and Researching Ramirez: On the Trail of the Jesus Ramirez Family. Inspired by genealogy, she writes fiction that weaves the past into the present. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, sons, black cats, and leopard gecko.

Finding Claire is available from:

wrong-pathConnect with Pamela:

Release Spotlight: MASQUERADING OUR LOVE by Audrey Rich

Just to mix things up a bit,  I’ve decided to turn the spotlight on a recently released, clean YA romance by Audrey Rich. Masquerading Our Love is not only the first in a new  romance / coming of age series for teens – the Stonehaven High Series – it’s also the author’s debut novel. Congratulations, Audrey!

Description

Masquerading Our Love_KINDLE.jpgJunior year has been tough on Thalía Reynari.

A new high school, trying to fit in with new friends, schoolwork, family commitments. With everything going on in her life, Thalía could use a break, an adventure.

So when Thalía meets Christopher, the most gorgeous guy in town, her life should change for the better, right?

Don’t bet on it.

Thalía’s conservative parents insist she’s too young to date. Plus, Thalía and Christopher find themselves caught in the middle of a simmering feud that’s kept the two families apart for a decade. And no one is sure if young love will be enough to bridge this divide.

As they hide their relationship behind masks they must decide if this new love is worth losing their parents’ approval.

Masquerading our Love is available on Amazon and from other retailers.

About the Author

Born in New York City to immigrant parents, Audrey Rich graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and a minor in Spanish. Before pursuing her M.B.A. in Accounting from Pace University, she worked on Wall Street and in a NYC hospital as a Research Lab Assistant.

Audrey is an inactive C.P.A., a wife, a mother of teenage children, and is editing the next book in the Stonehaven High Series I. She hopes to finish by the end of October.

She enjoys volunteering at her church, teaching the Junior Achievement Economics for Success in a local middle school, and is a member of the Florida Writers Association.

Connect with the author:

Cover Reveal: SHACKLED by Angela Carling

shackled_acarlingShackled by Angela Carling has just had a makeover.  Check out the new cover on this moving read, inspired by real-life events.

Description

After shy, quiet Lucy and her family move from their small hometown in Minnesota to Seattle, Washington, she is surprised when Ryan, the most popular boy at school asks her out. Soon, she is swept up in a whirlwind romance and her naïve and trusting nature allows her to fall head over heels in love with her too-good-to-be suitor. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself enraptured by the excitement of her new relationship, leaving her blinded to the warning signs of danger ahead. Can her fairy tale romance last, or will she find that her prince charming is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

A note from the author:

“Today I’m excited to share the new cover and make a big announcement! Shackled, originally written as stand-alone story will stand-alone no longer! I’ve already begun work on part two of this truly emotional story inspired by real-life struggle in my own family. The new book will be called RELEASED! If you’ve read Shackled and ever wondered what happened to Ryan, Released will change everything!”

Shacked is available on Amazon. And for the quick to act, it’s on sale for just 0.99 cents today.

Want a bit more?  Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter.

If you’d asked me about my life a year ago, I would’ve told you it was boring, white-bread, middle-class-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-in-my-pink-polka-dot-lunch-bag-every-day boring. That was before everything changed. That was before I met him. So, here I am a year later, on the floor of some stranger’s parked car, trying not to breathe for fear of being discovered. The inside of the car reeks of day old fast food and dirty feet, but I don’t dare raise my head, even for cleaner air. Instead, I wait for the headlights to fill the cracks where the doors hinges leave tiny fissures in the metal, letting small bits of light through. I know the light is coming from his headlights and when the light passes over me, there will be a brief window of opportunity I can use to escape and run for my life.

Finally, after I hear the distinctive ping of his diesel engine, and his precious cherry red Mercedes passes me, I carefully open the door and climb out of the backseat as noiselessly as possible. My eyes dart nervously, taking in my surroundings. The long, orderly, suburban street looks quiet. All the houses are black, with the exception of a few scattered televisions sending pulsing light out into the night. Now is my chance. Mason is only ten houses away and he has the tools to free me from this hellish nightmare. He knows my anguish. Tonight he will be my white knight.

Continue reading

Release Spotlight & Giveaway: MURDER AT THE MOONSHINE INN by Maggie King

moonshine-inn-large-banner640

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  today’s spotlight is turning onto the latest mystery by Maggie King – Murder at the Moonshine Inn.

Description

murder-at-the-moonshine-inn-cover-lowWhen high-powered executive Roxanne Howard dies in a pool of blood outside the Moonshine Inn, Richmond, Virginia’s premiere redneck bar, the victim’s sister enlists Hazel Rose to ferret out the killer. At first Hazel balks—she’s a romance writer, not a detective. But Brad Jones, Rox’s husband, is the prime suspect. He’s also Hazel’s cousin, and Hazel believes in doing anything to help family. Never mind that Brad won’t give her the time of day—he’s still family.

Hazel recruits her book group members to help with the investigation. It’s not long before they discover any number of people who feel that a world without Rox Howard is just fine with them: Brad’s son believes that Rox and Brad were behind his mother’s death; Rox’s former young lover holds Rox responsible for a tragedy in his family; and one of Rox’s employees filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her. The killer could be an angry regular from the Moonshine Inn—or just about anyone who ever crossed paths with the willful and manipulative Rox. When a second murder ups the ante Hazel must find out who is behind the killings. And fast. Or she may be victim #3.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win one of 5 E-Books and 5 Print copies of Murder at the Moonshine Inn from the publisher.

About the Author

Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including the recently-released Murder at the Moonshine Inn. She contributed the stories “A Not So Genteel Murder” and “Reunion at Shockoe Slip” to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthologies.

Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive.

Author Links

Purchase Links:    Amazon    B&N

Release Spotlight & Interview: SWIM SEASON by Marianne Sciucco

Even if your swimming skills aren’t a match for the swim team, you might enjoy reading Swim Team – a recent release  that focuses on girls who compete on their high school’s team.  The author, Marianne Sciucco, is here to tell us a bit about how and why she wrote the story.

Book Description

swimseasoncoverSometimes winning is everything.

Champion swimmer Aerin Keane is ready to give up her dreams of college swimming and a shot at the Olympics. As she starts senior year in her third high school, Aerin’s determined to leave her family troubles behind and be like all the other girls at Two Rivers. She’s got a new image and a new attitude. She doesn’t want to win anymore. She’s swimming for fun, no longer the freak who wins every race, every title, only to find herself alone.

But when her desire to be just one of the girls collides with her desire to be the best Two Rivers has ever seen, will Aerin sacrifice her new friendships to break a longstanding school record that comes with a $50,000 scholarship?

An Interview with Marianne Sciucco

Why did you write a novel about girls’ varsity swimming?

Like so many writers, I wear many hats, one of which is called “Swim Mom.” I’ve shuttled my daughter to swim meets and swim practice for years, and now follow her across state lines during her college swimming career. All those hours sitting on cold, metal bleachers waiting to watch her swim for a minute or two gave me more than a sore you-know- what: It inspired me to write a novel about girls’ varsity swimming.

My goal was to write a story about the whole high school swimming experience, to show others who may not be as familiar with the sport how much fun it is and how hard these kids work. But this story is about more than swimming as my young heroine, Aerin, deals with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce, a stepmother and two stepsisters she doesn’t want, her mother’s PTSD and drug addiction after two tours of duty in the Middle East as an Army nurse, and her best friend’s cute twin brother. And she’s just started senior year in her third high school. Aerin is a girl you will definitely cheer for.

What has swimming taught you?

Swimming is such a great sport with lifelong benefits. Swimming competitively, especially in high school, can be a positive experience that builds character, self-esteem, and friendships. In New York State, girls can join the varsity team in seventh grade, when they’re 12, and compete against girls who are much older and bigger. When my daughter joined the high school team as a seventh grader, I was unsure whether or not she’d be able to meet its demands: practice after school every day and on Saturday mornings, and swim meets at least twice a week. She looked so small compared to the other girls. Could she really compete against them? Would she be crushed? How would this affect her self-esteem? Would she quit? Our kids often surprise us, and my daughter surprised me. She loved being on the team, loved her teammates, and never complained about going to practice or asked if she could skip.

swim-season-launch-blog-headerSure, there were times when the older girls pushed her to work harder, swim faster, but that only made her a better swimmer. As the years went on, her skills improved and she quickly became a team leader, one of their top swimmers, and a contender in the division. She grew up a lot in her six years on this team and learned many valuable lessons: keeping a commitment to a sport and a team that spanned a third of her life; setting and making personal goals; the grace of winning; the humility of defeat; confidence in her athleticism; pride in her body and what it can do; and the rewards earned through hard work and dedication. She has  gone on to swim in college where she continues to exhibit the same skills and attitudes she cultivated in high school. These are lifelong lessons that will benefit her in whatever she chooses to do, in sports, work, and more. All girls should have the opportunity to learn about themselves through sports, any sport.

What did you learn from writing Swim Season?

Swim Season is my second novel, and was five years in the making. During that time, I learned that writing a book is an arduous, grueling, laborious, painstaking task that requires diligence, dedication, time, tenacity, and talent. Much like being a competitive swimmer.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?

I love Devon, Aerin’s mom. Like me, she is a nurse, but brought her nursing skills to the battlefield to attend to our soldiers at war. She is brave and selfless, a patriot. I spent a lot of time researching women in the military and Army nurses. They are incredibly inspiring. I also researched the wounded warrior, PTSD, opiate addiction, and depression. These are real issues for our returning soldiers that must be addressed. Devon’s story was my attempt to shed light on this. I have plans to write a sequel to Swim Season, tentatively called Swim Mom, which will be Devon’s story after she is released from her incarceration. No promises as to when this will be completed. I hope it doesn’t take five years.

What other research did you do for Swim Season?

For a while I was taking Aquasize classes at my local YMCA. One day I got the idea to try to  swim 500 yards, which is the length of the race at the heart of Swim Season. I wanted to see if I could do it, how long it would take, and how I would feel during and afterwards. I have never swum competitively, although I have always loved to swim and am capable of doing the freestyle. My first 500 clocked in at 30 minutes. I stopped after every length to catch my breath and chat with the other ladies in the Aquasize class. I kept at it, though, and after a few weeks managed to complete the 500 in 16 minutes, which was phenomenal for me. Of course, the time to beat in Swim Season is 4:52.50, which was in never never land for me. But, as a middle-aged woman with below-average fitness, I was proud of my achievement. In the end, unfortunately, it exacerbated my repetitive strain injuries and I had to give it up.

Tell us something strange, odd, weird, or random about yourself.

In 2001, I came close to drowning in a rip tide at Race Point Beach in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was terrifying and life changing. It still scares me, but I continue to swim in the ocean and in those particular waters.

What inspires you to write?

Everything inspires me to write. The world is amazing. People are fascinating. I see stories everywhere and some of them are compelling enough for me to want to tell them. Once an idea or image penetrates my brain I start filling in the details, developing a story line, building characters. If it excites me and takes off far enough, I write an outline so I don’t forget it and put it on my “To Be Written List.” Hopefully, I will live long enough to complete all of these stories.

About the Author

During swim season, you can find Marianne Sciucco, a dedicated Swim Mom for ten years, at one of many Skyline Conference swim meets, cheering for her daughter Allison and the Mount Saint Mary College Knights.

Sciucco is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues.

Her debut novel Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story, is a Kindle bestseller; IndieReader Approved; a BookWorks featured book; and a Library Journal Self-e Selection. She also has two short stories available on Kindle, Ino’s Love and Collection.

A native Bostonian, Marianne lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, and when not writing works as a campus nurse at a community college.

Purchase Links:

Swim Season is currently available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

Author Links:

Release Spotlight: DEADLY CONNECTION by Tammy L. Grace

Tammy L. Grace has recently released a new book in her Cooper Harrington Detective series.  I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds promising.

Description

amazon-goodreads.jpgCoop’s case takes an unexpected twist when he discovers the dead body of his latest client.

A newcomer to Nashville with a troublesome problem requests an emergency meeting with private detective Cooper “Coop” Harrington.  When she fails to keep her appointment, Coop and Annabelle, his faithful friend and assistant, become worried and go in search of their new client.  Their hopes for a quiet Sunday are dashed when they discover her dead body.

Coop and Annabelle find themselves immersed in the investigation, uncovering tenuous links to a handful of suspects. With the help of his loyal golden retriever, Gus, and meddling but well-meaning Aunt Camille, Coop works to untangle the web of connections to expose the motive and identity of the killer before anyone else is murdered.

About the Author

TTammyLGrace.jpgammy L. Grace is the award-winning author of The Hometown Harbor Series of women’s fiction set in the picturesque San Jan Islands in Washington and a mystery series set in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring Cooper Harrington, Private Detective.

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

Connect with Tammy:

Books by Tammy L. Grace

Hometown Harbor Series:

Click here to view the Hometown Harbor series trailer.

coopersetCooper Harrington Detective Series: