July 5, 2017

Laird of Twilight by Eliza Knight - Spotlight

A future foretold… Only one man can fulfill her destiny… 

Lady Lilias Cameron has spent the last thirteen years skeptical of a prophecy regarding her future—until the very man described by the seer is introduced as her escort to a doomed marriage. Brooding and handsome, she cannot help the sparks of awareness he triggers. Nor can she ignore the deep desire to be true to herself. 

Dirk MacDougall, Lord of the Isles, is to deliver a worthy bride to his Norse enemy, in an alliance that will hopefully bring peace to his country. The only problem is, he finds himself quite enamored by the spirited and charming lady. When one kiss leads to another, desire to claim her as his own takes hold. 

If the alliance is broken, a mighty battle will be waged across Scotland begging the question: is forbidden love worth the price of war?

Spring, 1282
Highlands, Scotland

THEY galloped through the eerie moonlit night. Warriors cloaked by darkness. Blending in with the forest, only the occasional glint of the moon off their weapons made their presence seem out of place.

’Twas chilly for spring, and yet, they rode hard enough the horses were lathered with sweat and foaming at the mouth. But the Montgomery clan wasn’t going to be pushed out of yet another meeting of the clans, not when their future depended on it. This meeting would put their clan on the map, make them an asset to their king and country. As it was, years before King Alexander III had lost one son and his wife. He’d not remarried and the fate of the country now relied on one son who didn’t feel the need to marry. The prince toyed with his life as though he had a death wish, fighting, drinking, and carrying on without a care in the world. The king’s only other chance at a succession was his daughter who’d married but had not yet shown any signs of a bairn filling her womb. If something were to happen to the king, the country would erupt into chaos. Every precaution needed to be taken.

Young Jamie sat tall and proud upon his horse. Even prouder was he, that his da, the fearsome Montgomery laird, had allowed him to accompany the group of a half dozen seasoned warriors—the men who sat on his own clan council—to the meeting. The fact that his father had involved him in matters of state truly made his chest puff five times its size.

After being fostered out the last seven years, Jamie had just returned to his father’s home. At age fourteen, he was ready to take on the duties of eldest son, for one day he would be laird. This was the perfect opportunity to show his da all he’d learned. To prove he was worthy.

Laird Montgomery held up his hand and all the riders stopped short. Puffs of steam blew out in miniature clouds from the horses’ noses. Jamie’s heart slammed against his chest and he looked from side to side to make sure no one could hear it. He was a man after all, and men shouldn’t be scared of the dark. No matter how frightening the sounds were.

Carried on the wind were the deep tones of men shouting and the shrill of a woman’s screams. Prickles rose on Jamie’s arms and legs. They must have happened upon a robbery or an ambush. When he’d set out to attend his father, he’d not counted on a fight. Nay, Jamie merely thought to stand beside his father and demand a place within the Bruce’s High Council.

Swallowing hard, he glanced at his father, trying to assess his thoughts, but as usual, the man sat stoic, not a hint of emotion on his face.

The laird glanced at his second in command and jutted his chin in silent communication. The second returned the nod. Jamie’s father made a circling motion with his fingers, and several of the men fanned out.

Jamie observed the exchange, his throat near to bursting with questions. What was happening?

Finally, his father motioned Jamie forward. Keeping his emotions at bay, Jamie urged his mount closer. His father bent toward him, indicating for Jamie to do the same, then spoke in a hushed tone.

“We’re nearly to Sutherland lands. Just on the outskirts, son. ’Tis an attack, I’m certain. We mean to help.”

Jamie swallowed past the lump in his throat and nodded. The meeting was to take place at Dunrobin Castle. Why that particular castle was chosen, Jamie had not been privy to. Though he speculated ’twas because of how far north it was. Well away from Stirling where the king resided.

“Are ye up to it?” his father asked.

Tightening his grip on the reins, Jamie nodded. Fear cascaded along his spine, but he’d never show any weakness in front of his father, especially now that he’d been invited on this very important journey.

“Good. ’Twill give ye a chance to show me what ye’ve learned.”

Again, Jamie nodded, though he disagreed. Saving people wasn’t a chance to show off what he’d learned. He could never look at protecting another as an opportunity to prove his skill, only as a chance to make a difference. But he kept that to himself. His da would never understand. If making a difference proved something to his father, then so be it.

An owl screeched from somewhere in the distance as it caught onto its prey, almost in unison with the blood curdling scream of a woman.

His father made a few more hand motions and the rest of their party followed him as they crept forward at a quickened pace on their mounts, avoiding making any noise.

The road ended on a clearing, and some thirty horse-lengths away a band of outlaws circled a trio—a lady, one warrior, and a lad close to his own age.

The outlaws caught sight of their approach, shouting and pointing. His father’s men couldn’t seem to move quickly enough and Jamie watched in horror as the man, woman and child were hacked down. All three of them on the ground, the outlaws turned on the Montgomery warriors and rushed forward as though they’d not a care in the world.

Jamie shook. He’d never been so scared in his life. His throat had long since closed up and yet his stomach was threatening to purge everything he’d consumed that day. Even though he felt like vomiting, a sense of urgency, and power flooded his veins. Battle-rush, he’d heard it called by the seasoned warriors. And it was surging through his body, making him tingle all over.

The laird and his men raised their swords in the air, roaring out their battle cries. Jamie raised his sword to do the same, but a flash of gold behind a large lichen-covered boulder caught his attention. He eased his knees on his mount’s middle.

What was that?

Another flash of gold — was that blonde hair? He’d never seen hair like that before.

Jamie turned to his father, intent to point it out, but his sire was several horse-lengths ahead and ready to engage the outlaws, leaving it up to Jamie to investigate.

After all, if there was another threat lying in wait, was it not up to someone in the group to seek them out? The rest of the warriors were intent on the outlaws which left Jamie to discover the identity of the thief.

He veered his horse to the right, galloping toward the boulder. A wee lass darted out, lifting her skirts and running full force in the opposite direction. Jamie loosened his knees on his horse and slowed. That was not what he’d expected. At all. Jamie anticipated a warrior, not a tiny little girl whose legs were no match for his mount. As he neared, despite his slowed pace, he feared he’d trample the little imp.

He leapt from his horse and chased after her on foot. The lass kept turning around, seeing him chasing her. The look of horror on her face nearly broke his heart. Och, he was no one to fear. But how would she know that? She probably thought he was after her like the outlaws had been after the man, woman and lad.

“’Tis all right!” he called. “I will nay harm ye!”

But she kept on running, and then was suddenly flying through the air, landing flat on her face.

Jamie ran toward her, dropping to his knees as he reached her side and she pushed herself up.

Her back shook with cries he was sure she tried hard to keep silent. He gathered her up onto his knees and she pressed her face to his leine shirt, wiping away tears, dirt and snot as she sobbed.

“Momma,” she said. “Da!”

“Hush, now,” Jamie crooned, unsure of what else he could say. She must have just watched her parents and brother get cut to the ground. Och, what an awful sight for any child to witness. Jamie shivered, at a loss for words.

“Blaney!” she wailed, gripping onto his shirt and yanking. “They hurt!”

Jamie dried her tears with the cuff of his sleeve. “Your family?” he asked.

She nodded, her lower lip trembling, green-blue eyes wide with fear and glistening with tears. His chest swelled with emotion for the little imp and he gripped her tighter.

“Do ye know who the men were?”

“Bad people,” she mumbled.

Eliza Knight is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of sizzling historical romance and time-travel erotic romance. Under the name E. Knight, she pens riveting historical fiction. She runs the award-winning blog, History Undressed. When not reading, writing and researching, she likes to cuddle up in front of a warm fire with her own knight in shining armor. 

Connect with her at http://www.elizaknight.com or http://www.historyundressed.com. You can sign up for her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/CSFFD. Follow her on social media at:

Monday, June 26
Book reviewed at Warrior Woman Winmill
Book featured at Eskimama Reads and Dragon Lady Reads

Tuesday, June 27
Book featured at I'm Shelf-ish

Wednesday, June 28
Book featured at A Title Wave

Thursday, June 29
Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Guest blogging at I Smell Sheep

Friday, June 30
Guest blogging at Lisa's Book Blog
Book reviewed at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, July 3
Book reviewed at Buckeye Booklikes
Book featured at Nicole's Book Musings

Tuesday, July 4
Book featured at A Book Lover

Wednesday, July 5
Book reviewed at My Book Addiction and More
Guest blogging at A Holland Reads
Book featured at Yah Gotta Read This

Thursday, July 6
Book reviewed at Laura's Interests
Book featured at Mello and June

Friday, July 7
Book featured at Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm
Book reviewed at Books Are Love
Book featured at Written Love Reviews

June 27, 2017

Marion Hatley by Beth Castrodale - Spotlight

Book details:
Publication Date: April 20, 2017
Garland Press
eBook & Paperback; 277 Pages
Genre: Fiction/Historical

About this book:
To escape a big-city scandal, a Depression-era lingerie seamstress flees to the countryside, where she hopes to live and work in peace. Instead, she finds herself unraveling uncomfortable secrets about herself and those closest to her.

In February of 1931, Marion Hatley steps off a train and into the small town of Cooper’s Ford, hoping she’s left her big-city problems behind. She plans to trade the bustling hubbub of a Pittsburgh lingerie shop for the orderly life of a village schoolteacher. More significantly, she believes she’ll be trading her reputation-tainting affair with a married man for the dutiful quiet of tending to her sick aunt. Underpinning her hopes for Cooper’s Ford is Marion’s dream of bringing the daily, private trials of all corset-wearing women—especially working women—to an end, and a beautiful one at that.

Instead, she confronts new challenges: a mysteriously troubled student; frustrations in attempts to create a truly comfortable corset; and, most daunting, her ailing aunt. Once a virtual stranger to Marion, her aunt holds the key to old secrets whose revelation could change the way Marion sees her family and herself.

As her problems from Pittsburgh threaten to resurface in Cooper’s Ford, Marion finds herself racing against time to learn the truth behind these secrets and to get to the bottom of her student’s troubles. Meanwhile, Marion forms a bond with a local war veteran. But her past, and his, may be too much to sustain a second chance at happiness.

“Like Marion Hatley’s own creations, Beth Castrodale’s début novel is sewn, sentence by elegant sentence, with exquisite care and beauty.” — David Rowell, author of The Train of Small Mercies

“A reflective, compassionate, and gracefully written tale.” – Kirkus

“A beautiful story, beautifully told.” – Lee Jacobus, author of Hawaiian Tales, Crown Island, and The Romantic Soul of Emma Now

Meet the author - Beth Castrodale
Beth Castrodale started out as a newspaper reporter and editor, then transitioned to book publishing, serving for many years as an editor for an academic press. She has completed three novels: Marion Hatley, a finalist for a 2014 Nilsen Prize for a First Novel from Southeast Missouri State University Press (to be published in April 2017 by Garland Press); Gold River; and In This Ground, an excerpt of which was a shortlist finalist for a 2014 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Award. Beth recommends literary fiction on her website SmallPressPicks.com, and she has published stories in Printer’s Devil Review, The Writing Disorder, Marathon Literary Review, and Mulberry Fork Review. She lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

For more information please visit Beth Castrodale’s website. You can also connect with Beth on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, June 22
Spotlight at The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, June 25

Tuesday, June 27
Spotlight at A Holland Reads

Thursday, June 29

Friday, June 30
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Monday, July 3

Wednesday, July 5
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, July 7
Guest Post at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, July 12

Friday, July 14
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Wednesday, July 19
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

June 25, 2017

Death on West End Road by Carrie Doyle - Character Guest Post and Giveaway

Book Details:
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Dunemere Books (June 20, 2017)
Paperback 268 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0997270181

About this book:

Like a basket of warm cinnamon buns, an unsolved crime is something that Hamptons innkeeper and sleuth Antonia Bingham just can’t resist. Despite a busy high-season schedule and an inn booked to capacity, Antonia has agreed to investigate a cold case in her beloved adopted hometown, East Hampton, NY: the killing of Susie Whitaker, whose brutal 1990 slaying on a tennis court in the poshest part of town was never solved. And the person who has hired Antonia? Prime suspect Pauline Framingham, a manipulative pharmaceutical heiress from a powerful family. The crime scene is compromised, the circumstances are complicated, and former witnesses are cagey, haunted and very reluctant to revisit what happened on that sun-splashed afternoon decades earlier. As Antonia attempts to unravel the mysteries of the past she unearths even darker secrets and ultimately wonders if it would have been best to let sleeping dogs lie. To make matters worse, past acquaintances and love interests reappear in the Hamptons, disrupting Antonia’s world and causing her to scurry to the fridge for comfort.

Death on West End Road is the third book in the Hamptons Murder Mystery Series. Along with a colorful cast of supporting characters, the beating heart of the book is Antonia Bingham, restaurateur, gourmand, and nosy carb-lover.

Meet the author - Carrie Doyle

Carrie Doyle was the founding Editor-in- Chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire Magazine. She is currently a Contributing Editor of Hamptons Magazine and has written extensively for Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and has also written for Women’s Health and Avenue on the Beach. With Jill Kargman, Carrie co-wrote the film Intern (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999), as well as several screenplays sold to Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Films and the Oxygen Network. Carrie and Jill co-wrote five books together, including three teen books for HarperCollins and two bestselling women’s fiction books, The Right Address and Wolves in Chic Clothing (Broadway Books). Carrie also penned the popular novel The Infidelity Pact (Broadway Books). Carrie lives in New York City with her husband and two children and is currently at work on an animated series for broadcast as well as her new series, the Hamptons Murder Mysteries.

Social Media Links:
Webpage – https://carriekarasyov.com
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/51439.Carrie_Karasyov_Carrie_Doyle
Amazon- amazon.com/author/carriedoyle
Publisher Page – http://dunemerebooks.com/book-author/carrie-doyle/

Purchase Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Death-West-Hamptons-Murder-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B06XKLVMZC

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/death-on-west-end-road-carrie-doyle/1125956843?ean=9780997270181

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/death-on-west-end-road

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780997270181

Guest Post:
By Carrie Doyle

The street I chose as the scene of the crime in my new novel DEATH ON WEST END ROAD, is actually quite notorious. It’s where Grey Gardens is located, the first house on the left, caddy corner to Steven Spielberg’s compound. In 1975 two brothers, Albert and David Maysles, released their documentary about the residents of this house at the Cannes Film Festival, and shocked the world.

Grey Gardens belonged to a mother and daughter, both named Edith Beale, who were referred to as “Big Edie” and “Little Edie.” Although highly educated at top schools, and one time very wealthy, they lived in absolute squalor in a derelict mansion, filled with raccoons and cats, in the center of one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the United States. In addition, “Big Edie” was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ first cousin, and there was outrage that Jackie had allowed her kin to live in such harrowing circumstances.

Both Edies were colorful characters—flirtatious, vain and delusional. They dressed dramatically with silk headscarves and spoke with a flair. After the film was released, Jackie O made a visit to their house to try and assist them. But little could be done, as they were opinionated, and quite happy living in their own world. Needless to say the documentary became a cult classic. In 2009, Grey Gardens became a movie with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. There were photo shoots in the top fashion magazines emulating the Beales and their fashion.

I remember Grey Gardens when I was little. It was like a haunted house, forbidding, run down and scary. Little Edie had a crush on my father and used to call him all the time to ask him to do favors for her around the house. My father was in the auction business so he was used to visiting old houses to look at their furniture but this was the only house where he walked out of and threw up on the front lawn. The smell really got to him.

Years later legendary newspaper editor Ben Bradlee and his wife Sally Quinn bought Grey Gardens and restored it. It recently came back on the market. It will be interesting to see who is the next owner of this storied property. Perhaps there will be more drama.


June 19 – My Journey Back – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
June 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 20 – deal sharing aunt – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
June 20 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
June 21 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW 
June 21 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – GUEST POST
June 22 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
June 22 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT
June 23 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
June 24 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW
June 24 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 25 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 26 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW
June 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 27 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
June 28 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
June 28 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
June 29 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 29 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 30 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 22, 2017

A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander - Book Blast

Book Details:
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 27, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250088079

About the book:
Torte―everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop―is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . .

Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary . .
“A warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and likable main characters, and a nasty murder mystery to solve!” ―Fresh Fiction

Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?

“A perfect mix for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Leslie Budewitz, or Jessica Beck.”
―Library Journal

Meet the author - Ellie Alexander:
Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Author Links
Web: http://www.elliealexander.co/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliealexanderauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeshopmystery
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellie_alexander/

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N IndieBound

Book Blast Participants

June 22

June 23

June 20, 2017

Dead on Ice by Lauren Carr - Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

I received this book free from the publisher

Book details:
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 6 hours and 9 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Audible.com Release Date: November 23, 2016
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B01N782VZ0
Series: Lovers in Crime #1
ISBN-13: 978-0985726737

About this book:
Dead on Ice is the first installment of Lauren Carr’s new series (Lovers in Crime) featuring Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates. Spunky Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too—because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

Meet the author - Lauren Carr
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

My thoughts:
I thought this was an interesting book to listen to. The mystery part had me trying to guess what would happen next. In fact there were multiple murders that you had to try and piece together as the story went along. I really enjoyed Irving and his interactions with the characters. It is kind of funny that he is Cameron's ride along. There were just enough twists to keep me guessing. A good start to a new to me series.

Guest Post:
Ten Tips for New Writers
By Lauren Carr

So you want to be a writer?

Maybe you have “write a book” on your bucket list. Or maybe you’ve had a story idea floating around in your head. Or maybe, just maybe, you have a personal story that you just need to tell the world about.

Whatever the case, you want to give this writing thing a crack, but other than sitting down at a laptop or keyboard and typing out words to form sentences, you aren’t quite sure what to do to complete not just a book, but a book that someone will want to read from beginning to “the end.”

Okay, here’s ten tips to get you started. Granted, these tips aren’t all you need to know. So don’t just read these and think that’s it. There’s still more that you need to learn in order to become a professional writer. But, these tips are enough to get you started and hopefully help you to finish your book.

1) Become a Reader. Some writers, especially those who don’t have much time, can easily slip into the routine of writing, but not reading other writers’ works. This is a mistake. Just like how athletes watch others to study routines and techniques, you can learn from reading other writers’ books—even bad ones.

I had a friend who had an issue with how she handled backstory. I had explained the issue to her more than once, but she didn’t get it until she read a book by a writer who had the exact same issue. As soon as she saw another writer do it, she realized exactly what I had been telling her. That fixed it.

2) Commit Yourself. No, I don’t mean check yourself into a mental hospital because you’re crazy for even thinking of being a writer (though I do have some relatives who might disagree with me on that). I mean, commit yourself to not just starting to write a book, but finishing it.

I’m telling you right up front that if you want to write a book, there is going to be a point (usually around page 40) where it’s not going to be fun anymore. If you are serious, then you need to make a commitment of working on it even when it is not fun anymore.

3) Make Time for Writing. If your lifestyle is like most of ours, you have a busy life with a real job, family and friends. Part of making a commitment to being a writer is making time to actually write. You are not going to be able to write a whole book by typing out a sentence here and there during commercials while watching television. You need to carve out at least a couple of hours of time to devote to it. There are a ton of articles on the Internet about how to make time for writing. Check them out.

4) Write Every Day. Even when the words aren’t coming easily. You’ll be surprised how much good stuff you will end up keeping, even though they did not seem that great when you composed them. Writing is a skill. As with any skill, it improves with practice.

5) Set Deadlines. I find that I write more and better when I have a deadline. But make your deadline realistic. Unrealistic deadlines (like to write your whole book during your one week vacation) will only frustrate you. A good deadline is 500 words a day. There are many writer websites and communities where you can join other writers to hold each other accountable to write every day.

6) Make Your Readers Care About Your Characters. Have you ever read a book and gotten up to page twenty or so and thought, “I don’t care what happens to any of these characters?” At which point, you stop reading. You need to make your readers care about what happens to your characters from the very beginning. You do that by giving them some redeeming qualities.

I once edited a book which opened with the protagonist raping a woman. The story was about the transformation of this character from a despicable evil man into a born-again Christian. Unfortunately, the main character had no redeeming qualities until that transformation more than halfway through the book. Therefore, the reader wasn’t going to care enough about him to read beyond the opening chapter.

On my suggestion, the writer inserted a prologue of his protagonist on his deathbed, giving the reader a view of him after his transformation, making him more sympathetic to the reader. Then, the rest of the book became a reflection of his life.

7) Do Your Research. I once read a murder mystery, set in present day, in which the detective arrives at a murder scene, takes a deep drag on his cigarette, and then tosses it down next to the dead body. It wasn’t just as mystery writer that I screamed, “No!” Any fourth grader knows nowadays that the detective had contaminated the murder scene.

Failure to do proper research can make writers lose credibility with their readers. Many new writers refrain from research because they fear that it will squelch their imagination. On the contrary, research can open other doors for possibilities that you may never have imagined. For example, in my Thorny Rose Mysteries, I have a “character” named Nigel, the smart house computer who provides security and other services for Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton. Every technical service that Nigel performs in the Thorny Rose mysteries is available with today’s technology. My inspiration for Nigel came while researching smart houses and home security for the rich to include in the Faraday-Thornton home. As I learned more, a few simple computerized devices grew into a whole intriguing character who has become a fan favorite.

8) Use Adjectives And Adverbs Sparingly. Writing legend Elmore Leonard said in his Ten Tips for Writing to not use -ly words at all. While I don’t refuse to use them at all, I try to keep away from them. YMost of these descriptive words are cliché and can make your writing seem amateurish. Not only that, but if you think about the passage where you are sticking that word, you will find that the context itself will describe the scene, making the word unnecessary. For example, if your scene is a couple fighting after the wife has discovered that her husband is cheating on her, then you don’t need to tag their statements with the word “angrily.” The reader is going to know that the wife is angry.

9) Kill Your Darlings. The point to this tip is to make sure every section and chapter moves your reader toward the conclusion. Portions of books that fail to do this are called “darlings” because brilliantly written passages are like children to most writers. They become your darlings and unfortunately every good writer has to kill a few to save the whole book. As you become more accomplished at writing, you will come to recognize darlings before you take the time to create them.

The beauty of the digital age is that you can save your darlings and put them in a “cut scenes” file to use in a future project. A large portion of my third Mac Faraday mystery, Shades of Murder, is made up of a subplot that I had cut from an earlier book.

10) Get Out of the House. Now that I have told you to commit to your book and to write every day, I’m telling you to get out into the world and meet people. Writing can become a solitary exercise and it is very easy to get sucked into your literary world to the point that you don’t get out to experience life. I have that problem myself. Sometimes, my husband has to drag me away from the laptop, leave my characters in the middle of a gun fight, and go to lunch.

Walking away from your laptop does make you a better writer. It is a big world out there filled with interesting characters and a planet filled with inspiration. Even if you already have your plotline written in your head, who knows, you may see an intriguing character sitting across from you at the diner who will be the perfect red herring in your plot twist.

So there’s ten writing tips to get you started on that book. The only question now is “What are you waiting for?”

Start writing!



May 8 - Library of Clean Reads - tour spotlight / interview with C.J. McAllister
May 8 - Corinne Rodrigues - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 8 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 9 - T's Stuff - review of Old Loves Die Hard / author interview / giveaway
May 9 - Amie's Book Reviews - review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 10 - Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author - book spotlight / giveaway
May 10 - TDC Book Reviews - review of Shades of Murder / author interview
May 10 - TDC Book Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
May 11 - Amie's Book Reviews - review of The Murders at Astaire Castle / interview with Dan Lawson
May 11 - Blätterflüstern - review of Old Loves Die Hard / interview with James Lewis
May 12 - Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama - book spotlight / interview with CJ McAllister / giveaway
May 12 - Books, Dreams, Life - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 12 - The Cubicle Escapee - review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 15 - Dab of Darkness Book Reviews - review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 15 - Books for Books - review of Blast from the Past
May 16 - Books for Books - review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
May 16 - And the Buck Starts Here - review of Old Loves Die Hard / author interview
May 17 - Books for Books - review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 17 - Lovely Loveday - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 17 - The Cubicle Escapee - review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
May 18 - Blätterflüstern - review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 18 - Writers and Authors - guest post / giveaway
May 18 - The Cubicle Escapee - review of Twelve to Murder
May 19 - T's Stuff - review of Shades of Murder / interview with Mike Alger / giveaway
May 19 - Stylish Brunette - book spotlight / giveaway
May 22 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 23 - And the Buck Starts Here - review of The Murders at Astaire Castle / interview with Dan Lawson
May 23 - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf - review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post by James Lewis
May 24 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Old Loves Die Hard 
May 24 - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf - review of Dead on Ice
May 25 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - interview with James Lewis / giveaway
May 26 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Old Loves Die Hard / giveaway
May 26 - T's Stuff - review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
May 26 - Book Lover Promo - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 29 - Blooming with Books - review of Cancelled Vows / guest post / giveaway
May 30 - Literary Flits - review of Old Loves Die Hard / giveaway
May 30 - Blooming with Books - review of Twelve to Murder / giveaway
May 31 - TDC Book Reviews - review of Blast From the Past / interview with Dan Lawson
June 1 - Working Mommy Journal - review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 2 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - review of Real Murder
June 5 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post
June 6 - Dab of Darkness Book Reviews - review of Dead on Ice
June 7 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - guest post by Mike Alger
June 8 - #redhead.with.book - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 9 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Twelve to Murder
June 9 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Shades of Murder / giveaway
June 9 - Travelling Through Words - book spotlight / interview with C.J. McAllister / giveaway
June 12 - Literary Flits - review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
June 13 - Books for Books - review of Three Days to Forever
June 14 - Laura's Interests - review of Cancelled Vows / interview with James Lewis / giveaway
June 15 - My Reading Journeys - review of Shades of Murder / author interview / giveaway
June 15 - Dab of Darkness Book Reviews - review of Shades of Murder
June 16 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
June 19 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 19 - By The Book - review of Kill and Run
June 20 - A Holland Reads - review of Dead on Ice / guest post / giveaway
June 21 - Laura's Interests - review of Killer in the Band / guest post by Mike Alger / giveaway
June 22 - Melina's Book Blog - review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 23 - Melina's Book Blog - review of Open Season for Murder
June 27 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Real Murder / giveaway
June 28 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Dead on Ice
June 29 - Kristin's Novel Cafe - review of Kill and Run / giveaway
June 29 - Dab of Darkness Book Reviews - review of Blast from the Past
June 30 - Kristin's Novel Cafe - review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
June 30 - Outset - review of A Fine Year for Murder
July 1 - Writers and Authors - review of Dead on Ice
July 3 - A Holland Reads - review of Real Murder / giveaway
July 3 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
July 4 - Outset - review of Twelve to Murder 
July 5 - The Journey Back - review of Dead on Ice / interview with Mike Alger / giveaway
July 6 - Jessica Cassidy - review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post / giveaway
July 7 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Shades of Murder / guest post
July 7 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Open Season for Murder
July 10 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Three Days to Forever
July 11 - Rainy Days Reviews - review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
July 11 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
July 12 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Blast from the Past
July 12 - Celticlady's Reviews - book spotlight
July 13 - Rainy Days Reviews - review of Real Murder / giveaway
July 13 - Elsie's Audiobook Digest - review of Old Loves Dies Hard
July 13 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Dead on Ice
July 14 - Jessica Cassidy - review of Shades of Murder

June 18, 2017

Dead Air & Double Dares by Janis Thornton - Spotlight

Book details:
File Size: 3231 KB
Print Length: 241 pages
Publisher: Cup of Tea Books, an imprint of PageSpring Publishing (June 18, 2017)
Publication Date: June 18, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B071L28F34
Series: Elmwood Confidential Cozy Mystery #2

About the book:
Who killed Horace Q. Ogilvie, owner of Elmwood’s radio station and the most hated man in town? Crystal Cropper, editor of the Elmwood Gazette, needs to solve the mystery—pronto! Horace turned up dead just moments before he planned to ruin yet another Elmwood luminary with a vindictive radio editorial. The good news? Horace left a list of future VIP targets, so the police have plenty of suspects. The bad news? Crystal’s name is at the top!

Meet this author - Janis Thornton:
Janis Thornton is an award-winning novelist, freelance writer, personal historian, and journalist.
She is the author of the cozy mystery Dust Bunnies & Dead Bodies, a finalist in the East Texas Writers’ Guild Book Awards Contest. Dead Air & Double Dares is her second book in the Elmwood Confidential series.

She also authored two local history books, Images of America: Tipton County and Images of America: Frankfort. Upcoming projects include a collection of fifteen true crime stories set in Indiana and scheduled for publication in 2018.

Janis lives in a small Indiana town not unlike Elmwood. You may connect with her at www.janis-thornton.com.

Killer Music by Tammy L. Grace - Guest Post and Giveaway

Book Details:
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Lone Mountain Press (April 7, 2015)
Paperback: 212 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0991243464
E-Book ASIN: B00V0V4HP2

About the book:
When private detective Cooper “Coop” Harrington meets record label mogul Grayson Taylor at a swank gathering of country music artists and politicians he never imagines he’ll be investigating his brutal murder less than twenty-four hours later.

The suspects are plentiful. More than a handful of people could have wanted him dead. Retained by Taylor’s widow, Coop works alongside his best friend and Chief of Detectives, Ben Mason. The investigation leads Coop and Ben to visit the luxurious mansions of recording industry magnates, navigate the murky undercurrents of the political world, and probe complicated family matters. Scandalous indiscretions, secrets, and hints of corruption swirl in the midst of their pursuit of the killer.

Coop’s faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle and his loyal golden retriever, Gus, both lend a hand during the investigation. Even his Aunt Camille mines the local gossip mill to unearth potential killers with motive. Yet the case seems hopeless until a crucial piece of evidence emerges that sends Coop and Ben on a race to catch the killer before someone else dies.

Meet the author - Tammy L. Grace
Tammy 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.

Website: http://www.tammylgrace.com/
Blog: http://www.tammylgrace.com/blog.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammylgrace.books
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7799289.Tammy_L_Grace
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TammyLGrace
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/tammylgrace

Books Published with Buy Links
Hometown Harbor Series:
Finding Home (Book 1) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HZJ6W7E
Home Blooms (Book 2) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JVVKG44
A Promise of Home (Book 3) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OWHG42U
Pieces of Home (Book 4) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015JPAXJ8

Hometown Harbor: The Beginning http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GW9407Q

Cooper Harrington Detective Series:
Killer Music (Book 1) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V0V4HP2
Deadly Connection (Book 2) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M0ON7I6

Guest Post:
The Making of a Mystery
Tammy L. Grace

Writing two series, one being a mystery and the other women’s fiction, often leads readers to ask me which is my favorite. It’s a tough choice because I do feel a real connection to the characters in all my books, but if I am forced to choose, it would be the mystery series.

I’ve always been a fan of mystery novels. I love puzzles and brain teasers. I just recently learned about puzzle rooms and can’t wait to try one of them. If you haven’t heard of them, they consist of a live game played with a group and the object is to escape a locked room using clues found in the room. I wish I would have thought of this! I think I need to work it into a novel soon.

My dad became a police officer when I was a very young child, so I’ve always been exposed to stories of criminal disobedience. We live in a small town, so the crimes are not at the level of the horror visible on the news each night, but we’ve had a few murders and a never-ending supply of entertaining mischief.

When I’m working on plot ideas I always brainstorm with my dad and get his input on the various aspects of the crime. He’s now serving as a judge pro tem, so I also pick his brain for questions related to the law. I like to keep the story as realistic as possible and his expertise is always valuable.

When I was developing the characters for the Cooper Harrington Detective Series, I wanted an actual detective, not the amateur character who stumbles upon dead people constantly. Not to say I don’t enjoy those types of stories, but some of them can become juvenile quickly. I didn’t want to walk that line between entertaining and just downright annoying. My detective emerged from visions of characters I enjoy from movies, television, books, and even real life, along with my own twists on some quirky traits.

Coop, as he’s known to all his friends, is a forty-something bachelor who suffers from chronic insomnia and mainlines caffeine. His uncle was a police detective who retired and opened his own private investigation agency where Coop worked as a college student. When his uncle dies, Coop takes over the business. He lives with his aunt in a posh neighborhood in Nashville. Aunt Camille fills the goofy character role perfectly. She’s well-meaning, but a bit nosy and loves to be involved in Coop’s cases.

Every good detective needs a sidekick and Coop’s is Annabelle, who is known as AB. Coop and AB met when they were both attending law school, along with Coop’s best friend and Chief of Detectives, Ben. The threesome make a formidable team, combining legitimate law enforcement skills, legal talents, and good old fashioned detective work to catch murderers.

Along with his human colleagues, Coop also has a canine companion named Gus. I feature dogs in all my books and Gus is a beautiful golden retriever who goes to work with Coop and accompanies him on his cases. Gus has his humans trained much like my dog has trained me.

I’m always asked if Coop and AB will get together, romantically. The answer is I have no plans to make them a couple. Many good male and female detective or police combo have been ruined when the characters become a romantic duo. Just my opinion, but I like the tension when the reader or viewer knows they would be “perfect” for each other, but the characters are oblivious. I enjoy the plot and mystery in these novels and would rather not complicate it with the hassle of a love interest.

Killer Music is the first in this series and is an award-wining mystery. I have a notebook filled with ideas for future cases for Coop. Although the books can be read as stand-alone novels, they’re a series for a reason, so I recommend starting with Killer Music. Deadly Connection, the second book, was published in 2016 and I plan to have the third one out in 2018.

If you enjoy fast-paced whodunits that are on the cozy side, you’ll love the Cooper Harrington Detective Novels. I hope you enjoy them and if you do, please consider leaving a review on Amazon…it’s the best way to let an author know you enjoy her work. I invite you to connect with me on my mailing list. You’ll get free content emailed to you just for subscribing and be the first to know about my latest book news, blogs, offers, and contests. Sign up at my website at www.tammylgrace.com.


Tour Participants

June 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
June 12 – My Journey Back – REVIEW, INTERVIEW 
June 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
June 13 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 13 – Books,Dreams,Life – INTERVIEW
June 13 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
June 14 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW
June 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
June 15 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW
June 15 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
June 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
June 16 – Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
June 17 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
June 17 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST
June 18 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
June 18 – Community Bookstop – INTERVIEW