Thursday, December 31, 2015

Interview with mystery author Laura Wharton

Today’s special guest is Laura S. Wharton. She’s chatting with me about her newest mystery, the first in a new series, In Julia’s Garden: A Lily McGuire Mystery

During her virtual book tour, Laura will be awarding a copy of In Julia's Garden (U.S.) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below.  To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Referred to as the American P.D. James, Laura S. Wharton is the author of sea adventure/suspense/mystery novels for adults and mysteries for children. Award-winning adult titles include Deceived: A Sam McClellan Tale, The Pirate's Bastard, and Leaving Lukens. Wharton also is the author of four mysteries for children, including the popular award-winning Mystery at the Lake House series, and others. Most of her books involve adventure, fun, a little history, and sailboats. (She is a recovering sailor who could backslide at any moment!)

Welcome, Laura. Please tell us about your current release.
My newest release is titled, In Julia’s Garden, and its’ the first in the Lily McGuire Mystery series. I’m excited about this story because I was able to combine gardening, a little bit of history, and a fun contemporary mystery all in one book.

Lily McGuire has her plants and her work as a landscape architect. What she doesn’t have (a man to date or an adventure to have) is just fine with her, thank you very much. Yet her world turns as chaotic as the grand old mansion’s garden she is restoring when a stranger presents her with the gardening journal of a 1940s socialite-gone-missing. Snarky and somewhat misanthropic, Lily must search its pages for clues to the young beauty’s disappearance and a potentially deadly mystery, despite the warning that she should tread carefully: the journal was the cause of Lily’s best friend’s death.

What inspired you to write this book?
I read a short article in a gardening magazine about a historic property whose gardens were in great need of restoration. The grand antebellum mansion had received lots of attention over the years, but the garden was long neglected. I toured the garden, and was taken by the setting. Then the age-old question, “What If?” started rolling around in my head. My research on the property uncovered a wealth of information, including several articles about what the gardens looked like in their prime. From there, the idea just took off.

Excerpt from In Julia’s Garden:
“Are you the one they call ‘Lily McGuire’?” The man’s frame nearly filled the doorway of my office. Solid as a statue, he waited for me to look up from my cluttered desk.
“I am,” I sighed, aggravated at yet another interruption. This day was turning out to be highly unproductive. Lowering my tortoise-shell reading glasses past the bridge of my nose, I marked my place in the dusty book lying open on my desk and looked up. A slightly audible gasp slipped from my lips as I took in the sight in front of me. This man didn’t look like the bureaucrats I had been dealing with during the many planning meetings I’d had to attend in person, or sound like the ones who talked incessantly during weekly phone conferences. No, this man looked more like someone to avoid making eye contact with in the park on an early morning jog. His shaggy silver hair and unkempt beard skewed in every direction. A ragged brown coat hung loosely on his frame, which I guessed to be well over six feet tall—and no hunched shoulders, either. Guessing his age, I pegged him to be about ninety, though who could tell under all that hair? Regaining my composure, I rose and extended my hand. Mud-caked boots stood rooted, even as I motioned for him to enter my small office, which was tidy except for my desk. “You have me at a disadvantage, Mister…?”
“Evans. You can call me Evans.” Still not moving from his spot, Mr. Evans pulled a small package from under the enormous coat. “I have something for you. It’s from…her. It may help.” Hesitating, Mr. Evans carefully fingered the box, neatly wrapped in brown craft paper. His fingers toyed slowly, seemingly absent-mindedly, with the pale blue ribbon encircling the package. He looked at it, then at me, as if gauging my trustworthiness.
Wondering whether Mr. Evans could sense my discomfort, I got up from my chair and moved around the desk to stand in front of him. Slowly, I held out my hand in an attempt to accept the package. Being so close to him, I smelled a strong odor of decaying plant matter on him—not just from his boots—it was emanating from his person. Above the smell of dirt, though, were the most brilliant blue eyes I think I’ve ever seen. They were almond-shaped and crinkled around the edges. He was smiling, like he knew a dirty little secret.
“Interesting thing about this package, you know,” he began, holding the small box firmly while stroking its encircling ribbon tenderly with his other hand. “It contains all the secrets of Julia’s garden. She told me so herself, she did.” Mr. Evans never looked away from my eyes, though his hands continued to fondle the package. “I often watched her as she wrote things in it. Names of plants, sure, you’ll find those. Dates of their plantings…you’ll find that, too. There’s more, though. Much more. You may have to read it more than once to find what you’re looking for. I read it so many times, I could quote passages for you. The one item I never found mentioned in it was something I want to find—have to find. Perhaps you will.” With these words, Mr. Evans relinquished his treasure to me. No more hesitation, no flourish.
With some of its mystery diluted, I accepted Mr. Evans’ package and smiled a well-practiced (though not entirely genuine) smile. He had brought his treasure from South Carolina, a three-hour drive at best. Fearing he might want to hang around while I looked it over, I quickly spoke. “Thank you for bringing it. I hope you didn’t go to too much trouble to do so. You could have mailed it to me. If you’ll leave an address with our receptionist or your business card with me, I will return it when I’m done reviewing it.” I extended my hand, expecting to shake Mr. Evans’ hand before he left. He didn’t extend his hand. Nor did he budge.
I buffeted myself for what I thought would be the inevitable speech to come, one more opinion on how my job should be done. “Is there something else you’d like to share?”
The smile disappeared from Mr. Evans’ face as he spoke. “Only this: many people have been hurt because of what’s inside. Your boss lady died over it.” He looked away. His eyes focused sharply once again on me. “Don’t be the next.” Mr. Evans turned and left my office like a man who had completed his mission. He left me with a vacuum of thoughts to sift through. And the package.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am in editing mode on the second in another mystery series I started this year, The Sam McClellan Tales. Sam McClellan is a retired detective who lives on a dilapidated sailboat. Wherever he goes, trouble (and a strange sort of love interest) will follow. In the first book titled Deceived (released May, 2015), Sam’s partner was murdered. In uncovering the “who done it,” Sam also uncovered a vast drug trafficking network running through resort beach towns in North Carolina. (Of course, this never happens in real life.)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was in third grade when I knew for certain that I wanted to be a writer. In addition to the fact that I come from a reading family (we were reading on our own before heading off to kindergarten), I had a wonderful teacher that year who encouraged me to write down the stories I loved to tell to anyone who would listen.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work fulltime as an analyst in the corporate risk division of a large financial institution. This means I have a challenge of balancing work with family and writing creatively. If I’m working on a manuscript, I’ll get up several hours early each morning to focus on writing or a book-related task such as character development. Evenings are generally devoted to family matters. With two books being released this year, much of my writing time lately has been devoted to marketing. That said, I’ve got to finish the edits of the Sam McClellan Tale before the year is over so I can get it to the editor, so this month is extremely hectic. I love it, though, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Writing is a fun activity, and I take to it the way some people take to reading a book. When I write, I curl up with a blanket on my lap, and I sit cross-legged in my chair. With a cup of tea nearby, I can really loose myself in my story. I do have to watch the clock in the mornings so I can get to work on time (which means sliding my chair across the floor to my “work” desk, since I work from home).

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Besides a writer, I always wanted to be a mermaid. My parents took us to see the mermaids in Weeki Wachee in Florida on a holiday one year and I was fascinated with what I saw. I love to swim now just as I did back when I was little, so it just made sense that I should be a mermaid. The ironic thing I’ve learned is that nowadays, there is an active community of merfolks in this country. One of my friends is Mermaid Linden (her company is Mermaids in Motion), and she makes a fine living being a mermaid, traveling all over the world, etc.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just that I appreciate the time they take when they select new authors and their works. If a reader does pick up one of my books, I’d really like to have feedback.


Thank you, Laura!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Special excerpt for romantic suspense Relentless by Vanessa Dare

Today is a special excerpt from the romantic suspense novel, Relentless, by Vanessa Dare.

During her virtual book tour, Vanessa will be awarding an e-book of Relentless to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about the author:
Vanessa Dare does it all: Urban contemporary to time traveling to Scotland and everything in between. Her bestselling alter ego, Vanessa Vale, sticks with steamy Wild West romps.

A little bit about the novel:
A fun weekend at a friend’s wedding in Denver takes a bizarre twist for Anna Scott when her rental car is pulled over due to an “anonymous tip.” In her trunk…a dead man linked to warring crime families in Denver and New York. It should be easy for an innocent woman to be cleared for an simple mix-up. But was it a mistake? The police aren’t so sure, and neither is the crime boss who wants vengeance for his son-in-law’s death. Suddenly appearing on the radar means that now Anna Scott is in real trouble. Two years ago, Anna Scott didn’t exist. The police think she knows way too much about criminal procedures and they’re determined to find out her secret. Their attention forces Anna to play a deadly game of cat and mouse with both the mafia and the police. This twist of fate could not only expose her, but place her, and anyone close to her in jeopardy.

Jake Griffin is playing a deadly game. He’s spent the last few months undercover in the Moretti crime family. The mysterious and beautiful Anna Scott is a big problem. Moretti assigns him to find out who she is and what she’s after, and to kill her if she becomes a problem. Jake needs to focus on taking down Moretti, not risking his life and career protecting a sexy woman who is a complete mystery. Unfortunately, he can’t stop wondering about her. He knows she’s lying, but his gut instincts, and the bone deep desire he feels every time he sees her, won’t allow him to walk away. He discovers that he’s willing to go to war with the whole world for one alluring, yet vulnerable woman. He can’t seem to stop taking desperate gambles where she’s concerned. The most dangerous of all might be trusting her with the truth.

Excerpt from Relentless:
I still couldn’t tell Anna I was a cop. She’d be pissed—understatement of the year—and probably run off and take on that new identity. At the moment, it was critical I made connections with the likes of Frank Carmichael and I couldn’t do that if I was a cop. He wouldn’t take a meeting from me then if I held up the last corned beef sandwich on the planet.

“You dragged me over here on a Sunday morning to talk about my dates?” Carrie wanted to know.

“You have more than one?”

I wanted her to line them all up so I could check them out. Carrie might be thirty-two years old, but it didn’t mean I wouldn’t shoot any asshole who treated her poorly.

“Save your alpha personality for Anna,” Carrie grumbled, letting her head fall back against the couch cushion.

Anna just arched a brow and her gaze flicked down my body. Just a look like that had me getting hard, which wasn’t good in front of my sister. Alpha with Anna was definitely working—for both of us.

To hide my eagerness for Anna, I walked to the kitchen to get a drink. My dick was running the show now and I needed that to stop. It wasn’t going to see any action until I saved Anna, so I needed to get my brain in gear and focus on the dangerous shit. “I need you to set up a meeting for me with Uncle Frank,” I called out.

Carrie sat up. I couldn’t see her, but I knew this because her feet hit the floor. “Why would you want me to do that?”

“Because he’s going to help me kill Anna.”


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Special excerpt for mystery Ladle to the Grave by Connie Archer

Today is a special excerpt from the mystery novel, Ladle to the Grave, by Connie Archer.

During her virtual book tour, Connie will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about the author:
Connie Archer is the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Penguin Random House (Berkley Prime Crime). A Spoonful of Murder, A Broth of Betrayal, A Roux of Revenge and Ladle to the Grave are set in the imaginary village of Snowflake, Vermont. A Clue in the Stew will be released in April 2016. Connie was born and raised in New England and now lives on the other coast. 

A little bit about the book:
By the Spoonful is Snowflake, Vermont’s most popular soup shop, but owner Lucky Jamieson doesn’t have any time to enjoy her success—she’s too busy trying to keep a lid on false accusations against her loved ones…

It’s almost May, and some of the local ladies have organized a pagan celebration in the woods to welcome spring. But the evening goes terribly wrong when one of the attendees winds up dead, apparently poisoned by an herbal concoction prepared by Lucky’s grandfather, Jack.

Lucky’s sure her grandfather could not have made such a tragic mistake. But before she can clear him of suspicion, her best friend, Sophie, is diverted from planning her wedding to By the Spoonful chef Sage DuBois when she finds a dead man floating in the creek on her property. Now it’s up to Lucky to get both Sophie and Jack out of hot water before a killer stirs up more trouble…

Recipes included!

Excerpt from Ladle to the Grave:
When Lucky reached Jack’s front porch, she was dismayed to see the windows dark. She heard thumps and banging and Jack’s voice crying out. He was inside, somewhere in the dark.

Jack knew it was happening again. He couldn’t block out the screams. The boat was rising and falling in the sea. The water was purple with blood. A hand reached up from the dark waters. Jack grasped it and held on with all his strength. Then a quick glimpse of a shark’s fin, and the man was gone. He was holding a disembodied arm. All around him were the cries of men being torn to pieces. Jack sobbed. He couldn’t help them, no matter how quick he was, no matter how strong. He wasn’t fast enough to save them.

Lucky pushed the door open and called Jack’s name. His moans were louder now. He had barricaded himself in the bathroom in an effort to control the memories. The sound of shattering glass came from within. She hurried to the kitchen and grabbed a small knife from the wooden block next to the stove. Just as she slid the edge of the blade into the doorframe, a heavy thud hit the door and Lucky fell back in shock, the knife falling from her hands. Her heart was racing. She pushed the knife into the doorjamb again and finally the lock released.

Jack was slumped on the floor in a small pool of blood. Broken glass was everywhere. He was lost in his nightmare.

“It’s okay now, Jack. You’re home. You’re safe.”

He looked into her eyes, confused. “Lucky?”

“You had a spell, but you’re okay now.”

Tears spilled down Jack’s face. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“Nothing to be sorry about. Everything’s going to be all right now.” She prayed her words would make it true.

You can learn more about Connie at her Website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Interview with humorous novelist Allison Spector

I’m kicking off the week with novelist Allison Spector. I’m chatting with her about the humorous, literary fiction with elements of magical realism novel, Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter!

During her virtual book tour, Allison will be awarding a signed copy of book with original plot outline notes (loose sheets of paper) inside and additional notes at the end or in margins of the story (US/Canada only) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Allison Spector was born and raised in the hedonistic playground of the Jersey Shore, but finds herself oddly allergic to spray tan. She is a proud graduate of Goucher College, and started her environmentally-focused career in Washington DC in 2005. She moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2008, and fell in love with its beauty and people. Allison is currently on a Midwestern Adventure and is determined to live as much life as possible—to accomplish her dreams one at a time—and to nurture her loving family, and blaze a trail of wit, whimsy, and eccentricity wherever she goes.

Welcome, Allison. Please tell us about your current release.
Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter is a lighthearted farce about the perils of the Internet Age. It’s chock full of extremism, jumping to false conclusions, identity thieves, and group-think. But you won’t be bored by heavy handed morality, because I’m pretty sure there’s very little in there. It’s more of a stream of consciousness about our modern state of madness, a stream that induced a lot of manic giggles as I wrote it.

What inspired you to write this book?
A few things inspired me…but mainly homesickness. I’ve spent the last year and a half in the Midwest for work but before that I had lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2008. The majestic sequoias, sparkling waterfalls, and mustachioed hipsters were my life’s breath—the ambient magic of the home in my heart. So lamenting my departure from my fairyland, I walled myself away and began to write a story that took place in Bellingham, Washington, the City of Subdued Excitement where my youngest child was born.

The general concept of a trainspotting detective investigating her own death and a book thief had been in my head since I was about 19—but the story never came to life because I didn’t have the location. Once I had the location, the story pretty much wrote itself. And it was perfect because this story couldn’t work anywhere else but Bellingham. The other bits and baubles in there were drawn from my current hopes, concerns, and daydreams.

Excerpt from Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter:
“You…you saved me!” Phil stammered in disbelief. His head reeled with delirium as he stared at the wiry, tanned, vaguely mustachioed, brown-haired girl with the interconnected eyebrows, and he immediately thought of a young Frida Kahlo. Which was kind of awesome because Frida Kahlo was his favorite twentieth-century Mexican artist.

And even better, this girl was like some kind of acrobatic superhero. One who swooped to the rescue on a rope!


The thought that such a person existed make Phil's brain fog over with awe. Or maybe it was the blood that had rushed to his head during his rescue. Also, there was the adrenaline of the attempted-suicide-turned-love-at-first-sight. Or maybe it was just his seasonal allergies. Whatever it was, Phil just couldn’t stop wheezing.

Abbie, too, appeared a bit overwhelmed. She fought back the temptation to mutter some too-cool-for-school rejoinder like “you’re welcome, kid” or “you can let go of me now.” But none of these suited the occasion. Thus, she simply lay on the rocky riverbank in the arms of the stranger she had just saved from imminent death. They were both soaking wet and grinning—happy to be alive.

And they should have been pleased with themselves.

It was not easy to unhook oneself from a harness and travel to shore with a rather large male in tow. She was glad for the lifeguard training she had taken during her Aquatic Superhero Phase. Phil had helped, too, with his half-hearted doggy paddle.

Yup, they were a good team.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now, I’m working on a novel called The Fringers which takes place in a dystopian New Jersey and post-apocalyptic Seaside Heights. It’s a world where reality stars are indentured servants and North America is carved up between corporate fascists (with awesome fashion sense) and a Totalitarian Fear-State. Our protagonist has to choose which particular misery she wants to subject herself to as she navigates her early 20’s as a major celebrity with 0 control over her own life.

So cheery stuff, right?

For those of you that can’t wait till I finish/publish my troubling tale, I’m posting my story one chapter at a time to, which is an awesome place for writers to discover an audience, and for readers to provide ongoing feedback and love for lots of amazing (and free) stories.

If you want to check out Fringers, you can find it at . Just a heads-up that it’s dark, and definitely not for kids.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Pretty much since I could first write, did I consider myself a writer— although first and foremost I identify as a poet. I’ve been writing poems for many years, although I never bothered trying to get them published.

The first poem that I can fully recall was written when I was 11. I still have it memorized, so I’ve posted it below:

Who is this dreamer in the sky
That sheds and spreads its knowledge high
and strives on joy and spirits true
and makes me, me
and makes you, you?
Could it be fate or faith combined, or just the love of being alive that makes me wonder so?
What is heaven what is earth and where do they collide and mix to make this thing called life?
What is pleasure, what is pain and what makes either dissolve?
Is it some unseen force so unforeseen?
Are we all here or is this just a dream?
A dream and a dreamer’s question—so simple, yet a lack of words.

I guess it was my nascent attempt at being’s really kinda cliché, but hey—I hadn’t even hit puberty yet so I can’t be too harsh on myself.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Actually, by day, I’m an energy industry/environmental professional who designs, develops, and implements energy efficiency and some renewable efforts. I just love to build things, write things, and advocate for things I believe in. It’s something I’m passionate about.

I write after work, usually sometime between 7pm and 1am during the week, and catch-as-catch-can on the weekends. There’s time for writing because I have no other choice. I exorcise my fears and feed the good of my spirit through written words. Not writing would be the same as not dreaming, a slow death of madness.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I giggle a lot. Sometimes I act out my scenes to gauge the realism (which is a bad idea because I am a TERRIBLE actor).

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Until I was about seven or eight wanted to be a doctor, but my mom told me I was too sensitive to handle the potential loss of a patient. To her defense I did associate losing my baby teeth with mortality at age 3 and had a mini-existential crisis, so yeah—I was kinda intense.

So then I considered being a journalist until I was about twelve, but I feared it was a dying medium.

Then I wanted to be a psychologist because I found I was very good at handling people, but people in my life thought it was a tough road in the current economy, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go for my master’s degree anyhow.

So then I decided to get into politics which was an absolute blast. I discovered energy policy and that I was really good a building programs, so I think I made a good choice.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I have immense appreciation for readers and writers of all stages and backgrounds. I think there are a lot of amazing books out there that are left to be discovered. Try to explore genres that are outside your comfort zone. And look for authors that do not match your own demographic profile. It’s just amazing the different angles you can approach the world from if you step into the mind of someone new.

Also- be sure to check out Black Hill Press / 1888 for other awesome novellas!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!


Thanks, Allison!

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Interview with romance author Barbara Valentin

Today's guest is romance author, Barbara Valentin. We're chatting about the newest in her romantic comedy series, Key Change, an Assignment: Romance novel.

During her virtual book tour, Barbara will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, visit her other tour stops and follow the tour HERE.

Author of the bestselling Assignment: Romance series, Barbara is an award-winning novelist and second-generation journalist. A member of RWA's Windy City chapter, she's looking forward to the day when her to-do list includes "Send NY Times book critic thank you note" and "Accept Godiva's request to be a taste-tester."

Welcome, Barbara. Please tell us about your current release.
It’s a romantic comedy about what happens when Sara, a hard-edged, shower-singing rock music critic crosses paths with Andrew, a wickedly gorgeous music director from a nearby church who is nursing his broken heart. When Sara finds herself locked out of her apartment, Andrew offers her the chance to stay on one condition – she has to join the choir at his church. While Andrew may hold the lease on Sara’s apartment, does he have the key to unlock her heart?

What inspired you to write this book?
I got the idea during choir rehearsal at my own church, interviewed the director and let my imagination take it from there.

Excerpt from Key Change:
Up as usual at the crack of dawn, Andrew trudged to the bathroom, almost forgetting to close the door behind him before he spotted Sara's bangles on the counter next to the sink. Reaching over, he shut the door and locked it.

Fifteen minutes later, he was showered, clean-shaven, and ready to go, except he didn't have to be at the church until four-thirty that afternoon. Unplugging his phone from an outlet in his room, he brought it with him into the kitchen, transferred Sara's clothes that she had washed the night before into the dryer and poured himself some coffee. He sat on a barstool, debated throwing a sweatshirt on over his plain, blue, short-sleeved T- shirt to ward off the chill, but started scrolling through his email instead.

His eyes, however, kept drifting over to Sara, out like a light on the sofa sleeper.

While most of her was wrapped in the blankets like a human burrito, with the sun starting to break through the bare branches of the ancient oak tree blocking the expansive bay window, he could see her face quite plainly.

Without all that the heavy dark makeup, he noted, she looked younger.

And kinda sweet, actually.

But then again, she wasn't talking.

Still, he was glad he invited her to stay the night before.

But what about tonight? And tomorrow night? And the night after that?

While he mulled the possibilities, she rolled over and stretched, arching her back and groaning as she did. Resuming her curled-up burrito pose, she opened her eyes and mumbled, "How long have you been sitting there?"

Looking at his watch, he admitted, "About a minute. Or five. Maybe ten." His cheeks suddenly felt a lot warmer.

With a loud yawn, she sat up. "I slept so good." Patting the thin mattress with her hand, she added, "So comfy."

The words hung in the air between them.

Sarcasm before coffee. Great.

Still, the sight of her in his pajama top seemed to lobotomize him. All he could do by way of a reply was nod.

With a shrug, she added, "Seriously, on a sleeper sofa—who knew?"

Snap out of it.

With no small amount of effort, he turned and glanced at the dryer. "Your clothes should be ready in about twenty minutes."

At that, Sara took a deep breath and yanked the covers back, revealing two impossibly long bare legs as she flung her feet to the floor.

Knowing full well that the sudden blast of heat he felt was not delivered by way of the gilded vents along the floorboards, Andrew got up to check the thermostat on the wall next to the upright piano anyway, mumbling, "Gotta love old buildings."

What exciting story are you working on next?
The next book in the series is Flight Risk, due out early next summer. I won’t say too much about it except that it centers on a certain phobic travel writer at the Gazette.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In the 7th grade when my teacher returned a persuasive paper I had written. I don’t remember if I got an “A” on it, but when he told me how much he liked it, I just knew it was what I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn’t write fiction until I took some creative writing classes in college and didn’t make any money doing the kind of writing I wanted to do until years later when I started writing a humorous parenting column for the Chicago Tribune – The Plate Spinner Chronicles. Long story, short – I can’t imagine being anything other than a writer!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
My day job has always been about writing – everything from user manuals to reference guides to procedures. Pretty boring stuff, but it pays the bills. I write my books during my train ride to and from work, in the evenings and on the weekends. It’s true – time does fly when you’re having fun.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like the challenge of creating characters and scenes that are incredibly sexy without having anyone actually having sex. But that’s just me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve only ever wanted to be a writer!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
After waiting for so long to become published, I still can’t believe I’ve got four books out there. I’m so very grateful that my dream’s come true. For anyone out there with the same aspirations, never, ever give up on yourself!

Buy Links:  

Thank you, Barbara!

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Special excerpt from MG fractured fairy tale The Big Fat Mermaid by Dweezel and Pallie

Today I have a special excerpt from the middle-grade fractured fairy tale book, The Big Fat Mermaid by Dweezel and Pallie.

As the authors do their virtual book tour, they will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit their other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about The Big Fat Mermaid:
She's nasty, she's gross, and she's anything but little. All Aria the mermaid princess wants is to stuff her face full of food, but what happens when her dad, the king, tries to stop her? The answer: laughs beyond belief! Watch as Aria deals with her mean dad, a chubby-chasing prince, a harpoon wielding sea captain, and, in a grand final battle, the monstrous water witch herself.

Aria will bite, belch, and fart her way into your heart in this second installment of the Funny Stories for Kids series, brought to you by the famed Dweezel and Pallie.

Excerpt from The Big Fat Mermaid:
“Oh, good,” said Crustacean, swimming into a long, dark, stinking, dirty dungeon. Its cells were full of sad looking sea citizens. “See, Tortly, dis gonna be easy! It like I always say, a good Crustacean is a--”

Crustacean swam directly into a shark.

The shark turned around and growled, showing its wide smile of sharp teeth.

“Oh my!” Crustacean gasped.

 “Intruders!” shouted the shark. He opened his mouth and went to bite Crustacean.

Crustacean dodged the charging shark with some quick swimming moves, but Tortly, behind him, was too slow. Tortly screamed and went into his shell.

The shark caught Tortly in his mouth. He bit down on the turtle’s shell, which became wedged in his mouth.

Crustacean come from behind now and began pinching the shark with his lobster pincers.

“Take some of dis,” Crustacean shouted, poking and pinching, “And some of dis! Not so tough now without you scary teeth!”

Crustacean wound up his little red claws and poked them both into the shark's eyes.

A bit about the authors:
Dr. Dweezel and Professor Pallie have become famed in their respective fields for outstanding contributions. For nearly a decade they have collaborated on the recording of lost ancient texts and tales.

To download "The Big Fat Mermaid" visit:

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Special excerpt from sweet contemp romance A Snowy White Christmas by Josie Riviera

Today is a special excerpt from the sweet contemporary romance novel A Snowy White Christmas by Josie Riviera.

During her virtual book tour, Josie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about the author:
Amazon Bestselling Author, Josie Riviera, is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA). She writes contemporary and historical sweet and Christian romances. She’s a transplanted New Yorker now living in the sunny Carolinas. She has three grown children and shares the empty nest with her husband and the family dog.

Josie's an expert at board games and a compulsive reader of every genre, especially romance. In her spare time, she eats Peppermint Patties because they're lower in calories than other chocolate candy.

You can email her at

She ALWAYS answers.

A little bit about the book:
Margaret Snow doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but as a devoted mother she’s determined to give her five-year-old daughter a Christmas filled with heart-warming memories.

The once successful LA swimsuit model returns to her small upstate New York town to buy back the foreclosed trailer she once called home. Her menagerie of rescue animals travel with her.

She doesn’t expect to see her former high school sweetheart, the athletic, ever-popular, and decisive Fernando Brandt.

Sparks fly when she realizes that the teenage hockey star is now a successful Realtor who is also interested in her dilapidated trailer for reasons of his own.

But can she resist the handsome, charismatic Prince Charming a second time?

And can she surrender her insecurities and accept the true gift of Christmas, finally feeling worthy of unconditional love?

Excerpt from A Snowy White Christmas:
Once upon a time they’d planned to celebrate the Christmas after high school graduation as husband and wife. A Christmas wedding, her resplendent in a white velvet gown and carrying a bouquet of deep red roses, a tiara in her hair. Sure, he’d done most of the planning, but she had agreed, hadn’t she? She’d called him Prince, adding a different name depending on the circumstances of the day—Prince Polite, Prince Pleasant, he’d heard them all.

And then she’d left him. It was as if she’d slapped him across the face, when in reality the hurt hadn’t set in immediately. He’d been a damn, besotted fool. The first letter he’d written her after she’d left him cold was filled with outraged pride. The others had been demanding and then pleading, something he never thought he’d do.

His thoughts flew back to their senior year, when he’d asked his hockey buddies to clear tires and debris from her front lawn one Saturday afternoon. When he’d stepped into her trailer’s run down foyer and inhaled the smell of stale cigarettes, he’d had to push unexpected tears from his eyes. She’d been furious, shouting at him to be a man, not a baby. Her life didn’t bother her, so it shouldn’t bother him.

But it did bother her.

He’d seen the shame in her face and the sheen of tears, and had realized the humiliation she must have felt. And he knew, even then, that she was extraordinary and he didn’t deserve her. She was as precious as a rare diamond, and he’d wanted to keep her close and safe. Otherwise, he might lose her. And she’d left. He’d lost her. A year passed before he’d placed his feet back on the ground and decided to move forward without her.

And then he’d heard she was back in town.


Other books by Josie Riviera:
Seeking Patience (Regency) 
Seeking Catherine (Tudor Novella) 

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Special excerpt from YA nonfiction, The Lost Town, by Avrom Bendavid-Val

Today, I have a special excerpt from the young adult non-fiction book, The Lost Town: Bringing Back Trochenbrod, by Avrom Bendavid-Val.

During his virtual book tour, Avrom will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about the author:
Avrom Bendavid-Val was working as an environmental consultant in Poland in 1997 when he decided to cross the Ukrainian border and visit the place his father came from, the town of Trochenbrod. Finding nothing there, he was determined to uncover the history and spirit of the vanished town. Avrom continues to this day to research, write and make films about the town, and serve as the anchor for the American community of Trochenbrod descendants. Avrom Bendavid-Val lives in Washington, D.C.

A little bit about the book:
Trochenbrod was a bustling commercial center of more than 5,000 people, all Jews, that was hidden deep in the forest in northwest Ukraine. It thrived as a tiny Jewish kingdom unnoticed and unknown to most people, even though it was “the big city” for surrounding Ukrainian and Polish villages. The people of Trochenbrod vanished in the Holocaust, and soon nothing remained of this vibrant 130 year-old town but a mysterious double row of trees and bushes in a clearing in the forest.

Excerpt from The Lost Town: Bringing Back Trochenbrod:
A wedding was a joyous event in Trochenbrod; everyone participated. Two fathers would meet in the field. “If I’m not mistaken,” one says, “you have a girl sixteen years old and my boy’s seventeen. I think they would be alright.” After deciding on a dowry, which could be money or food and board at the bride’s parents’ house for a certain amount of time, the fathers shook hands and this way decided their children’s fate. At the wedding, everyone danced, men with men and women with women. Meanwhile, the nervous bride and groom sat at the ends of the long table and looked at each other wondering what would be. Despite what each one thought, the match was accepted.

Twitter: Avrom | Bacon Press Books

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