Guest Post & Giveaway: A LEGACY OF MURDER by Connie Berry

A-LEGACY-OF-MURDER-BANNER-184

As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am pleased to have Connie Berry as a guest on my blog today, as she celebrates the release of A Legacy of Murder, the second book  in the  Kate Hamilton Mystery series.


TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?  by Connie Berry

make-up-cabinet.jpg

The picture above is an unedited, unexpurgated photograph of the inside of my bathroom cabinet, jam-packed with items I need to start my day—toothbrush and toothpaste, make-up remover, hairspray, creams, serums, brushes, foundation, eye-liner, and lipstick. Lots of lipstick. Fifty-four tubes, to be precise. All of them red.

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? I’m a self-confessed over-purchaser of red lipstick, perpetually in search of that one perfect shade—not too light, not too dark, not too orangey nor too pinky. I probably own every shade of red lipstick ever created. I remember learning in my sophomore year of high school the principle of “diminishing returns:” the more you have a something, the less you want of it. Ice cream was the example back then, and I understood how the principle worked. So why doesn’t it work with red lipstick?

weasel.jpgAs a writer, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing as well. Writers depend upon words, but we can overuse them. Words we love. Words that weasel their way into our writing and lessen the impact. My own particular weasel words include: just, little, almost, nearly, too, about, a bit, seems, actually, like, and that. They scatter themselves so freely into my writing that I have to search for them later and weed them out. I read once that weasel words are used to make a statement seem more convincing or authoritative than it might actually be. [I used three weasel words in the previous sentence—see how insidious they are?] In reality, they accomplish the opposite.

Watson's Dictionary of Weasel WordsIn 2004 Don Watson published Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Clichés, Cant & Management Jargon (don’t get me started on management jargon). A wonderful tool for writers, but if you’re thinking about purchasing a copy, be warned that Amazon is now selling the hardcover for $124. Used copies go for $50 and up. I’d check your local library.

But it’s not just certain words we overuse. Sometimes writers use too many words, period. We overwrite. One of the most useful things I learned as an aspiring author was to make an outtakes file. For me, revision includes paring down, tightening up—eliminating everything, as Hank Phillippi Ryan says, that “isn’t the book.” That can be hard. Consigning superfluous words, sentences, even whole paragraphs to an outtakes file feels better than deleting them. And, who knows, I might just use those words again.

Do you buy too much of something? Shoes? Jeans? Books?
What about weasel words? Can you name yours?


About a Legacy of Murder

A-Legacy-of-Murder-CoverAmerican antique dealer Kate Hamilton’s Christmastime jaunt to a charming English village leads to an investigation of a missing ruby…and a chain of murders.

It’s Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent’s tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.

Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman’s work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman’s death connected?

Kate learns that Lady Barbara’s son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara’s son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It’s up to Kate to clear her daughter’s name in Connie Berry’s second Kate Hamilton mystery, a treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries.

Giveaway

Enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card from the author.

About the Author

Author-Photo-By-Tree-Final-DaveLike her protagonist, Connie Berry was raised in the antiques trade. After teaching theology for twenty-five years, she took up writing mysteries featuring high-end antiques and the legacy of the past. Connie loves history, cute animals, travel with a hint of adventure, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable dog, Millie.

Author Links:

Purchase:    Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Indiebound     Kobo

Click here to follow the tour for reviews, interviews and more.

Book Birthday Celebration & Giveaway: FIT FOR MURDER by Cassidy Salem

FMandTM2.png

I’m so excited about today’s release of Fit for Murder (An Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Mystery) that I decided it’s time to celebrate. Not only have I extended the introductory offer for Fit for Murder through Oct. 31st, I am also offering my readers a chance to download a copy of Think Murder for free (3 days only).

But that’s not all,  you can click here to enter a giveaway for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

About Fit for Murder

fitformurder-KINDLEExercise is good for you, or so they said.
So why is the Pilates instructor dead?

Adina signed up for Pilates because she wanted to get some exercise, not to find another body. Initially ruled an accidental death, the victim’s business partner has her doubts, which are soon reinforced by a series of suspicious incidents. With no obvious motives or suspects, Adina sets out to identify the killer – with or without help from her favorite detective.

This is the fourth book in the Adina Donati,Accidental Sleuth Mystery series, however it can be read as a standalone mystery.

All of the books in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Mystery series are available in paperback and digital editions, as well as with Kindle Unlimited.

For more about the series, click here.

Book Blast & Giveaway: TIL DEATH DO US PART by K.S. David

TourBanner_Til Death Do Us Part copy USE THIS ONEAs part of a blog tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, today’s post shines the spotlight on a romantic suspense novel from K.S. David – Til Death Do Us Part.

Description

BookCover_Till Death Do Us PartQuinn McGuire is settling into her new life just fine. She’s moving beyond the trauma of her past. She’s fallen in love with her best friend, Jack Lassiter, and slowly rebuilding the career she’d once abandoned. Then her old nemesis is arrested for murdering her husband. To the surprise of everyone, Glenda Penderherst wants Quinn to represent her as legal counsel. Quinn doesn’t do criminal defense anymore. Nope, she’s focusing on areas a little more refined – less drama.

Naomi Banker, the resident vibrational therapist, asks Quinn to look into an intellectual property rights claim. The request seems innocent enough – but boring. Things soon spice up when Quinn discovers that Naomi was romantically linked to Glenda’s murdered husband. Soon, more body’s start to surface and like it or not, Quinn finds herself caught in a whirlwind of broken hearts and private alliances, all while trying to manage a few special secrets of her own. She’s convinced of Naomi’s innocence and starts to dig for answers. But if she’s not careful, she’ll end up being added to the body count.

Scroll to the bottom of this post to read an excerpt.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for chance to win $20 Amazon/B&N gift card.

About the Author

K. S. David lives in the Mid-Atlantic with her husband, their three children
and a menagerie of pets. New storylines are constantly running through her head. She keeps notebooks tucked in pockets of the car, the nightstand and makes voice recordings just about all day long. She’s addicted to true life mysteries and crime shows, both of which marry well with a great romance. Some of her favorite things are long walks, reading in bed, baking and of course, writing her next novel.

Follow her on:

Amazon   ♦   Goodreads ♦   Twitter   ♦   Facebook

Read an Excerpt

Like before, the woods seemed to grow quiet and I got the feeling that we were being watched.

Jack stopped. He turned around himself, studying the woods around us. “What am I going to find if I keep walking, Quinn?”

Images from my earlier trek fired in my head. “It’s hard to explain. You have to see it for yourself.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes shut. With everything going on, Jack had little time to waste tripping through the woods with me. He had reporters camped out at the station, a contingent of council members who were growing increasingly angry and unsupportive about the murder, and now I’d roped him into hunting down Naomi’s spook.

“You smell that?” Jack asked.

“It gets worse,” I said. “I may not be able to go all the way in with you.” I gave my belly a little pat. “Strong smells set me off.”

A few more feet and Jack let go of my hand so he could retrieve a kerchief from his pocket. “Saints alive!” he huffed. “It’s damned funky back here.” He offered the kerchief to me. “Use this,” he instructed, then tucked his face into the collar of his shirt. “What in the hell is that smell?”

Suddenly, the tents came into view. Jack signaled me to stop. He pulled me close and whispered in my ear. “Is this it? Is that what you wanted to show me?”

“Yeah.” My voice matched the caution of his tone. “I think someone’s been living here.” I pointed to the big tent. “There’s all kinds of stuff in there.”

“Stay here.” Jack unfastened the release on his sidearm but didn’t move. He stood stock still, his eyes registering everything around us. “Don’t move,” he warned again.

But, instead of heeding his warning, I stepped forward. “I’m going with you.”

He swung around nearly colliding with me. Anger flashed in his eyes. “Don’t challenge me on this, Quinn.

Just give me some distance. If something goes wrong – you run.” Jack didn’t like the scene any more than I had.

Pausing at the edge of the clearing, he stood behind a large tangle of branches where he had a view of the entire site. Anyone looking toward the trees would have difficulty seeing him. I waited as Jack moved with catlike steps, cautiously picking up one foot and setting it down again as he moved forward. He slipped his gun out of the holster and eased tenuously toward the edge of the largest tarp. I heard the safety on his gun disengage and watched Jack fold his hands over the handle.

“Police! Anybody inside?”

Nothing.

Pain shot through the palm of my hand. I’d been pressing my fingernails into my own flesh worriedly anticipating the worse.

“Hey, anybody in there! Hayden County Police.”

Jack’s voice echoed through the clearing, bouncing off the trees and shifted back to me. Blood thundered in my ears as my heartbeat quickened. I watched him step closer. He threw back the tarp on the larger tent. Quickly, he dropped to a low crouch and swiveled his gun from side to side before plucking his flashlight off his hip and inching closer.

He stepped back and repeated the call at the smaller tent.

“Now, do you see what I mean, Jack? It’s a mess back here.”

He twisted around, locking angry, narrow eyes on me. “I thought I said for you to stay put!” he
snapped.

“That’s not exactly what you said. You told me not to follow you and to run if there was a problem.”

He rolled his eyes but pushed his gun back into his holster. “Does Naomi ever walk out her back door? God! It smells like a dump site.”

Spotlight: THE SONGS THAT BROUGHT ME BACK by Mylissa Demeyere

Today’s post turns the spotlight on The Songs That Brought Me Back,  a new  romance from Mylissa Demeyere. Sounds like a good one.

Description

Cover LargeHave you ever made a mistake? One so monumental you lost everything? I did, and I hate myself for it! All I want to do is close my eyes, and let the darkness consume me. Make it all go away. The end.

Ainsley is drowning in the depth of her despair. One wrong decision left her alone, with only regret as her constant companion. To escape it all, she makes another choice. One she hopes will end everything. Instead, she’s thrown into a whole new world filled with opportunities she doesn’t believe she deserves.

Ethan gives the appearance of breezing through life. But underneath his bright facade, he’s scarred by loss. When fate leads him into Ainsley’s world at the exact moment she needs someone the most, he can’t ignore the chance to right the wrongs of his past.

Ainsley and Ethan will struggle to help each other heal and start anew.

They’ll learn that the secret to conquering their pain lies within their power, if only they can do it together.

Always together.
Sometimes the ending is really the beginning.

TIP: The book is on sale for a limited time at just $ 0.99 on Amazon.

Check out the book trailer:

Read an Excerpt

AINSLEY

Beep… Beep…
Floating…I was floating. My body…weightless. For the first time in almost three years, the constant pain that had been pushing on me, threatening to suffocate me…lifted and was gone.

I felt…free.

Beep… Beep…
Finally, I was done and untied, drifting in this place that no longer held me in its terrible grip.

Beep… Beep…
I hovered near the edge, staring down at that empty shell as the doctor and nurses fought to save me. The scene should have sent more anguish through me. The ripped clothes, the chaos, but all I felt was peace.

The body left behind looked like me, but it wasn’t, not really. It hadn’t been me for so long. I had lost myself in that person ages ago.

Something tugged at me, pulling me down, away from the peacefulness I felt and back toward that cold, empty body. My prison. I grasped out around me but only caught handfuls of air. Nothing to hold on to. The pull got stronger. Dread washed over me as I realized what was happening.

I had to go back.

“Push a dose of ketamine, now!”

The weightlessness was out of reach, leaving me confused and exhausted. A new, heavy sensation pushed down on me.

No! I screamed, but no noise left my mouth. Even as the weight of my body and my illness pressed down on me, I longed for the weightlessness I’d felt, the brief glimpse of freedom. I wanted it back.

“Give me a laryngoscope.”
A sharp pain coursed through me, down my mouth, into my throat.
I tried to raise my hand, trying to yank whatever was there away. But it wouldn’t move. The weight was pushing on my hand as well.

No! I screamed again, but no one heard me. It was pointless.

“I’m in. Tube her.”

Finally, I surrendered to the darkness as it closed in, and everything went completely black.

Excerpt from The Songs That Brought Me Back. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

 

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41837654-the-songs-that-brought-me-back

About the Author

MyllissaAuthor Pic 4Mylissa Demeyere was born in Belgium, and resides in the beautiful city of Ghent. She lives in a somewhat organized home with her four beautiful children and the love of her life. If she isn’t working, she’s writing, running, reading, or enjoying time with her kids, who are growing up way too fast.

The Songs That Brought Me Back is her second novel in The Songs Series, with a third book releasing in the middle of 2019.

Connect with Mylissa online:

Review: DOUBTFUL by Ann Warner

Sometimes we do judge (select) a book by its cover. Its lovely cover was what first drew my attention to Doubtful – a romantic suspense novel  by Ann Warner.

51oi7gmbndlSynopsis (from Amazon)

Doubtful Sound, New Zealand
For Dr. Van Peters, Doubtful is a retreat after a false accusation all but ends her scientific career. For journalist David Christianson, it is a place of respite after a personal tragedy is followed by an unwelcome notoriety. Neither is looking for love or even friendship. Both want only to make it through another day. But when violence comes to Doubtful, Van and David’s only chance of survival will be each other.

My Review

Doubtful is a well written story centering around David and Van, who take an instantaneous dislike to one another.  They are both nursing emotional wounds from the past, and are thrown together by circumstances beyond their control.  The story alternates between their perspectives, highlighting each character and deepening the reader’s understanding of them as individuals as the story progresses.  I was sorry to see that the mystery elements were not as well developed as the romantic ones, especially as regards resolution of the criminal aspects of the story. It was a good read that I expect fans of romantic suspense will enjoy.

BTW, New Zealand was already on my bucket list…   based on the author’s descriptions, I think it just moved up a few spots.

FTC Disclosure:   I received a complimentary ARC of this book from NetGalley. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Review: BLACKBERRY BURIAL by Sharon Farrow

One of my most recent cozy mystery reads was Blackberry Burial, the second installment in the Berry Basket Mystery series by Sharon Farrow,  which was released earlier this month.

Note:  This book can be read as a standalone (I had not read the first book in the series).

Description

Blackberryburial

Between a booming art scene and elaborate Independence Day festivities, July in lakeshore Oriole Point, Michigan, is always a blast. Especially when an explosive murder case crashes the fun . . .

As owner of The Berry Basket, Marlee Jacob has learned a thing or two about surviving the summer tourist season in Oriole Point. So she gladly agrees to help run the annual road rally in honor of the local Blackberry Art School’s centenary celebration. While alumni arrive from around the country, Marlee hopes the expansive Sanderling farm will make an appropriate starting point for the race—despite rumors that the land is cursed . . .

But when Marlee surveys the property, she stumbles upon a long-dead body hidden in the bramble. It’s a horrifying mystery to everyone except her baker, who’s convinced the skeletal remains belong to a former student who had gone missing twenty years earlier. As the Fourth of July activities heat up, Marlee must rush to catch an elusive murderer—before the next ‘blackberry victim’ is ripe for the picking!

My Review

Marlee cares about the people who work for her; she shows a great deal of compassion toward Theo, her baker, who faces challenges in interaction with others in social situations.  His limitations make him susceptible to ridicule and suspicion.  I appreciated the way the author presented Theo’s vulnerabilities and how Marlee stood by him, determined to help the police solve the case.  For the most part, the plot moved along at a good pace, with a few red herrings, and a resolution that pulled things together nicely. 

Marlee loves berries and she clearly knows everything about them. For this non-berry crazy reader, I think some of the descriptions went into a bit more detail than necessary. I was more intrigued by the mystery. I especially enjoyed the antics of Marlee’s remarkable parrot, who was quick to pick up new vocabulary and spout phrases and songs at opportune (and inopportune) moments.

Lovers of cozy mysteries, and culinary cozies in particular, are likely to enjoy this light read.

FTC disclosure: I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher.  This has not affected the content of my review.

Review: LIES SHE TOLD by Cate Holahan

lies-she-told-large-banner345

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read Lies She Told, an engaging psychological thriller by Kim Davis.

Description

LiesSheTold_old-692x1024Sometimes the truth is darker than fiction.

Liza Cole has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing her down in both her professional and her personal lives, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine, Beth.

Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.

Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the same river and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

My Review

This was a unique and intriguing read that starts out by following two distinct storylines with the point of view switching between Liza (the writer) and Beth (her made-up character).  The book starts out slowly as you become acquainted with the players, but the pace picks up quickly as both Liza and Beth find themselves in complicated situations.  Both characters were well developed. It was easy to identify with Liza’s yearning to be a mother and with Beth’s distress at the state of her marriage. The partial mirroring of the two plots – Liza’s story and the story she was writing – led to a blurring of the line between reality and fiction. The path to the story’s resolution was peppered with suspense and twists that kept me turning the pages.  It was an enjoyable read, however the ending didn’t feel “right” to me – not so much in terms of the killer’s identity but more in that the factors that led to the killer’s actions seemed a bit far-fetched to me.

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

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of Lies She Told.

About the Author

Holahan-Author-Photo-Credit-Martin-Bentsen-240x300-Copy-240x300Cate Holahan, author of the acclaimed psychological suspense novel The Widower’s Wife, is an award-winning journalist and a former television producer. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:    Amazon B&N

Review & Giveaway: THE DAY JOB IS MURDER by Carolyn Arnold

McKinley-Mystery-Series-Summer-Image-5-30-17-670x350-
As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  today’s post spotlights Carolyn Arnold’s McKinley Mysteries series and includes a review of the first book in the series, The Day Job Is Murder.

Description

51pr7xjlnel-_sy346_The bad guys aren’t the only ones on his radar…

For Albany PD homicide detective Sean McKinley, catching killers is the easy part of his job. Working next to his beautiful partner, Sara Cain, is what’s difficult. It might have something to do with the fact that he’s fallen in love with her, though. Fortunately, she feels the same way about him. But she’s convinced they should just be friends.

If only there was some way to change her mind…

(Check out the excerpt at the end of this post.)

My Review

An enjoyable read that sets the stage for the rest of the series, by acquainting the reader with the two main characters, Sean and Sara, and the relationship between them.  Because the narrative focused to a large extent on their repressed feelings for each other, it was more “romantic suspense” than mystery.  Although I also read romance novels, I’d liked to have seen more “mystery” in this one.  That said, I plan to check out additional books in the series – with their relationship established, I expect the pair to focus more on solving mysteries in the future.  If you are looking for a short light read, this book fits the bill.

FTC Disclosure:   I received a complimentary copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

The book is available on:  AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboApple, Google Play

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win an Amazon gift card from the publisher.

About the Series 

Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Hart to Hart, Castle, Colombo, Monk, Rockford Files, Psych, and Magnum PI.
Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.

Books in the Series

  1. The Day Job is Murder (2014)
  2. Vacation is Murder (2014)
  3. Money is Murder (2014)
  4. Politics is Murder (2014)
  5. Family is Murder (2014)
  6. Shopping is Murder (2014)
  7. Christmas is Murder (2014)
  8. Valentine’s Day is Murder (2015)
  9. Coffee is Murder (2015)
  10. Skiing is Murder (2016)
  11. Halloween is Murder (2017)

About the Author

carolyn-arnold-author-photoCarolyn Arnold is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with Carolyn Arnold online:

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

Read an excerpt:

Excerpt from chapter 1 of The Day Job is Murder (McKinley Mysteries):

SARA WAS BENT OVER, inside the back of the department-issued sedan. “I can’t believe we’re still cleaning puke.”

“Some days are better than others.”

She smiled. “Leave it to you to always look at the bright side.”

“We’ve just exchanged drunks for nervous murder suspects.”

She laughed. He loved the way her eyes creased, and the way her nose wrinkled with the expression.

“Well, I consider that progress.”

“Easy to say when you’re not the one doing the cleaning.” She tossed the used towels in the garbage, returned the cleaner to the shelf, then picked up her coffee cup, taking a draw.

“You insisted. We could have gotten a uniformed officer to take care of it.”

“I know, but I don’t like to do that.”

“Yes, I know. Our car, our responsibility. You’re too good to be real, you know that?”

“There you go again.”

He shrugged and kept pace with her on the way to the interview room. Outside, she placed a hand on his forearm.

“Oh, I meant to tell you something.” She glanced in at Burton, and then back to Sean. “It’s probably poor timing now, but you still have time.”

She peered into his eyes and seemed to be studying them, assessing something. What, he wasn’t sure. So, while she probed his eyes, he appreciated the color of hers—brown with flecks of green and gold.

“I was reading the obits this morning and I came across the name Douglas Quinn. You knew him, didn’t you? I remember you mentioning him.”

His breathing paused. Old Man Quinn. It had been a long time since he’d heard that name, but he’d never forget him.

“His funeral is this afternoon at three o’clock. You have time to make it.”

“Nah, I have, we have—what happened?”

“The piece read ‘he died peacefully at home, at the age of eighty-three.’” She touched Sean’s arm. “It’s okay. Go. I can take care of this.”

Guilt weighed him down. It had been years—over a decade—since he’d last seen him. Sean was twenty-two when they first met and he’d be thirty-three this coming September. The sad part was he wouldn’t even have known about Quinn’s death if it wasn’t for Sara’s strange habit of reading the obituaries.

“Go on. I can tell you want to.” Concern laced her eyes. “Do you want me to go with you? You know, as a friend, for support?”

There was that word, again. Friend. It must have entered conversation twenty times a shift.

Sean leaned against the window and looked into the interview room. Burton was biting his fingernails. The bad habit made Sean shiver in disgust.

He looked back to Sara. “I should go.”

“Well then, go.”

He nodded slowly, saddened by Quinn’s death. They had been close for a time, but life got busy and their visits weaned off to non-existence—Sean’s fault, not Quinn’s. But he still remembered their first meeting like it was yesterday. It was around Christmas, and he was only a beat cop at the time.

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: DANCING IN THE RAIN by Lucy Appadoo

Italy Book Tours Logo in colour

As part of a tour organized by Italy Book Tours,  I am happy to have Lucy Appadoo as my guest as she celebrates the release of Dancing in the Rain, the third novel in the Italian Family series.


Exploring the Café and Piazza Life in Italy by Lucy Appadoo

At twenty-three years of age, I travelled to Piaggine, Italy and spent three months visiting the cities and villages. I not only visited the villages of Laurino, Batibaglia, and Positano,  I also spent time in Rome, Florence, Salerno (the Amalfi Coast), and Venice. I would’ve loved to have travelled to more of the amazing cities but I didn’t get the opportunity.

I spent time in the piazza in Piaggine with my cousins who would visit with their friends every night. I’d walk in the square with my one or both of my male cousin/s and each night a friend of theirs would buy us an alcoholic shot that was mixed in a glass test-tube like glass. Each night, I’d try a mix of cocktails in a test tube.

On that square, you had a bar and café, a bakery, and a restaurant. I loved staying at my aunt’s house as she lived upstairs in the bakery while her friend worked and lived in the bakery downstairs. Each day, I’d enter her home and the aroma of freshly-baked bread would permeate my senses. It was heavenly, and I would bite into the soft, doughy texture of fresh Italian bread. We’d eat the bread with a glass of wine or with food.   Amazing!

My cousin would also drive me around to the nearby villages, but what I found strange was that he’d never stop for us to explore the sights. Instead, he’d simply drive around for fifteen minutes or so, then return to the main village. I was thinking, “wow, not my idea of exploration, but maybe it was his.”

Piaggine is a beautiful village, mountainous, hilly, and with rough terrain around the farms. The stone houses felt cold inside but the wood fire ovens were great for home cooked meals. I would eat home-made bread, home-made sausages, home- made tomato sauce, fresh pasta, and home-made wine. Many things were made by hand, and the joy the Italians had from making something from scratch was captivating.

Exploring Italy in my 20s was amazing but I would have liked to explore more of the country. The history of the country left me feeling nostalgic when I returned back home to Melbourne. How can you compare the city of Melbourne with the cities in Italy and all its fabulous history. Impossible!!


Dancing in the RainAbout Dancing in the Rain

Fifteen-year old Valeria Allegro works diligently on the family farm in Italy, where she is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to find freedom from her strict, domineering father. She finds solace in Dario, a young student who provides a blissful escape—until a neighbour’s son, Gregorio, decides he wants her for himself.

This raises an alarm for her father, which leads to family conflict and aggression. When Dario is threatened and her family is plagued by a series of suspicious accidents, Valeria is desperate to keep her loved ones safe. Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Buy the Book

Amazon    B&N

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

About the Author

Lucy Appadoo is a registered counsellor and wellness coach with a part-time private practice. She also works as a rehabilitation counsellor for the Australian government. In her spare time, she self-publishes or writes nonfiction and fiction texts. She previously worked as a rehabilitation consultant, caseworker, English as a second language teacher, and proofreader.

Lucy has postgraduate diplomas in psychology, education, and English as a Second Language teaching, as well as specialised qualifications in grief counselling and hypnosis. She has also completed wellness coaching courses (levels 1-3) at Wellness Coaching Australia.

Lucy enjoys reading romantic suspense, romance, thrillers, crime novels, family/historical drama, and sagas. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense, historical fiction, and romance. She has enjoyed travelling to exotic places such as Madrid, Mauritius, and Italy, and draws on these experiences in her creative writing.

Lucy’s favourite authors include Kendra Elliot, Christiane Heggan, Theresa Ragan, Tara Moss, Nicholas Sparks, Adriana Trigiani, Erica Spindler, and James Patterson (to name a few).

Lucy’s interests include meditation, playing tennis, journal writing, reading fiction and nonfiction texts about writing, coaching, and counselling, ongoing professional development, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and socialising with friends and family.

Connect with the Author:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Interview & Giveaway: WAVES OF MURDER by C.S. McDonald

iRead Website new logo

Today’s post showcases “Waves of Murder,” the latest addition to the Fiona Quinn mystery series by C.S. McDonald.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it sounds like a great beach read.  And it is my pleasure to have C.S. McDonald on my blog today to answer a few questions about her recent release.

An interview with C.S. McDonald

C.S. McDonaldThe Fiona Quinn Mysteries are set in Pittsburgh. Have you ever been there?

I sure have! I was born and raised in Pittsburgh—and yes, I bleed black and gold. In fact, Fiona Quinn (our heroine) is a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school that I attended and she lives at 529 Oxford Street—in the very same house I grew up in. When I describe the house, it is exactly as I remember it. Now, let me be clear—my grandmother never lived in the attic, but isn’t having a ghostly grandma fun? Many Pittsburgh venues are mentioned in the books as well. Example: in book #1 Murder on Pointe the story revolves around the Benedum Center—one of Pittsburgh’s premiere theaters.

In Waves of Murder, you move the stories from Pittsburgh to Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania. Why did you take Fiona there?

As a child that is where my family vacationed. It was the only place my parents could afford to take us. I loved the beaches of Presque Isle, and I still visit the area every summer. I knew that Fiona had to visit this terrific beach, but her experiences are less relaxing than mine usually are. Poor Fiona encounters a murder—I’m happy to say this has never happened to me!

If you had to choose an actress to portray Fiona, who would you pick?

Kaley Cuoco hands down! Every time I watch Big Bang Theory I think—Wow! She would make the perfect Fiona!

Do you have another profession besides writing?

No. For twenty-six years I was a professional dancer/choreographer. I retired in 2011 and have not looked back. Whether I am working on my romantic suspense series or the Fiona Quinn books, I love writing! As a child, I used to write stories all the time, and as a child, I danced. Interesting how things come full circle—I was a professional dancer, and now I’m a writer.

Who is your biggest fan?

My husband, Bill, has been such a great supporter of my work for years—both in the dance studio and at the laptop. Unfortunately, I feel the person who would’ve been most proud of my success as a writer would have been my dad. He loved to read, and as proud as he was of my dance career, the man would have burst at the seams with pride when I published my first book in 2011. He would’ve been showing my books to anyone who would look, no doubt. My father passed away very unexpectedly in 2005 so he never got to see my writing career, but I know he is watching from above with a big toothy grin on his face!

About Waves of Murder

Waves of MurderSchool’s out for the summer!
Kindergarten teacher, Fiona Quinn is looking forward to spending some quality time in her yard and with her boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry. However, Fiona’s plans get squelched when her mother volunteers her to edit a manuscript for famous romance author, Wyla Parkes.

What’s so bad about that? The author insists Fiona must work on the manuscript at her beach cottage on Presque Isle–three hours away from her yard and Nathan. Spending six weeks in an adorable cottage on a private beach doesn’t really seem all that bad until people start turning up dead—beginning with the author! Fiona’s summer of sun and sand is instantly transformed into a murder investigation. Can Fiona and Nathan crack the case or will the murderer get away on a wave of deceit?

Join Fiona and the gang for a hot whodunit on the sandy beaches of Presque Isle, Pennsylvania!

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Waves of Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery by C.S. McDonald (open to USA only – 2 winners).

About the Author

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters, and has found that so many adults love them too.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook