Monday, April 30, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and $50 Amazon GC Giveaway: Darkest Wolf by Rebecca Royce!

Today we're welcoming author Rebecca Royce to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her erotic paranormal romance, "Darkest Wolf".

The author is giving away a $50 Amazon gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Rebecca agreed to answer a few questions for me. Thanks, Rebecca!

1. What draws you to write paranormal romance?

I think it must be the ‘other’ aspect to it. The Alpha males and the way that the Paranormal can really make us look at ourselves differently. I like the amount of world-building I can do.

2. How much world-building do you do? How do you do it and keep track of it?

I do a ton. If its more than I can handle remembering, I keep notes.

3. Do you have any writing quirks, habits or superstitions? Explain.

In general, each chapter is 13 pages. Although sometimes I break that rule. I have places I like to write and ways I like to do it. But, I’m really just in favor of working hard and see what happens.

4. Plotter or Pantser? Explain.

I’m a Pantser. But I will plot if I need to keep details straight.

5. What new releases are coming up for you?

Darkest Wolf has just come out and I’m not sure of new release dates but I will let everyone know on my website.

6. Any questions you'd like to ask our readers?

What draws you to a book?

Rex Kane has always known he was different than his brothers, down to the fact that when he shifts into his wolf form, his coat is completely black. Always in trouble, he is given one more chance by his brother Tristan, the Alpha of the Westervelt pack, to bring back to their island a witch who can stop some of the magical assault that has plagued their war-torn home. Rex knows he has one last chance to set things right. Everything depends on him and he cannot fail.

Elizabeth Willow has been cursed to look so repulsive no human eyes can bear to view her. Raised in a gentle coven of witches, she is ill prepared for the realities of the harsh world she now lives in. Raised to mistrust wolf-shifters as witch-killers, she cannot seem to help being drawn to Rex. Even if she doesn't believe she is his so-called mate. He can see her as she really is and is the first person to look her in the eyes in years. Although she is not naturally devious, she sees no choice but to use Rex to gain her own freedom and her families' safety.

Together, Rex and Elizabeth will see just how evil the people around them can be. If they can trust their hearts, perhaps they will survive another night. If not, both of their battles will never be won.
As a teenager, Rebecca Royce would hide in her room to read her favorite romance novels when she was supposed to be doing her homework. She hopes, these days, that her parents think it was well worth it.

Rebecca is the mother of three adorable boys and is fortunate to be married to her best friend. They live in northern New Jersey and try not to freeze too badly during the winter months.

She's in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and tries to use all of these elements in her writing. She's been told she's a little bloodthirsty so she hopes that when you read her work you'll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. Rebecca loves to write series because she loves to see characters develop over time and it always makes her happy to see her favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In Rebecca Royce's world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Virtual Book Tour Review and Giveaway: To Catch a Thief-Taker by Lilia Birney

(A full length historical romance published by Night Shift Publishing)

This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Lilia is giving away a $50 Amazon GC to one lucky commenter during his tour, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

When Lady Penelope Annand's trusted servant goes missing, she is determined to get to the bottom of the matter. Even if that means hiring a thief-taker to track down her maid's whereabouts. But when the darkly smoldering Pierce Howe takes charge of the situation, Penelope finds herself growing more attracted to him by the second--even if she's infuriated by his high-handed manner. She doesn't trust any man--not after the way her first husband wronged her--so why is she so quick to believe in a thief-taker?

Pierce Howe has made a name for himself as one of London's most reliable thief-takers, leaving behind his family's sordid past to create a life of his own. But when Viscountess Annand, known in society as The Ice Goddess, demands that he track down her wayward maid, all his carefully-constructed defenses begin crumbling. As the Ice Goddess shows that she does indeed have a melting point, the thief-taker must decide if he can risk it all and tell her the truth about his past.

This is a really delightful and fun Regency mystery romance.

This story revolves around the search for a missing maid. Lady Penelope hires a Thief-Taker, Pierce Howe, to help her find her maid. And I do mean "help". She has no intention of sitting back and letting him do all the searching. This thief-taker has a secret he is hiding, but so does Lady Penelope, a widow.

Together they begin the search for her missing maid. It is so much fun watching them spar with each other, each trying to outdo the other person, and trying not to get involved despite their obvious attraction.

Lady Penelope has two friends, Jane, a writer and Elizabeth a free spirited, single woman. Together they have formed a group called the Liberated Ladies. Later, a courtesan joins their group. The characters are described beautifully and sometimes you feel as though you are actually in the same room with them.They were three-dimensional and alive.

There are many exciting adventures as Pierce and Penelope search, mixed with arguments, lots of misunderstandings, and unexpected romantic interludes. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, I would start to giggle, and then something very intense would happen.

I really enjoyed this story. The heroine is not a weak, helpless female, and there are times when she is the hero of the story, but this is a fun, interesting and very well written romantic mystery. I would highly recommend it if you are a fan of the regency mystery romance.

5/5 flowers

Lilia is a reader and writer of historical romance. While the Regency is her favorite era, she loves anything from the Revolution to the 1940s, with a special interest in American history. Her first novella, From Air to Eternity, was published by Night Shift Publishing in 2011. Her newest series, The Liberated Ladies, explores the lives of four very independent women in Georgian England.

Lilia lives in New Bern, North Carolina.
Twitter: @liliabirney

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Congratulations to my Showers of Books Giveaway winner!

I sent my followers and all the comments through and the winner of the $10 Amazon. com GC is:

Sue, I've sent you an email.  Thanks to everyone who visited!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Virtual Book Review Tour and Giveaway: The Caves of Etretat by Matt Chatelain

(A full length action/thriller, self-published)

This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Matt is giving away a $20 Amazon GC to one lucky commenter during his tour, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of his tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

In 2007, Canadian bookstore owner Paul Sirenne is suddenly thrust into a quest for answers, when his parents are found brutally murdered, their bodies cut up and shaped into the letters H.N. Finding a note inside his father's copy of 'The Hollow Needle', by Maurice Leblanc, Sirenne is determined to uncover the roots of his long-forgotten family secret.

He heads to the town of Etretat, France, on the trail of a hundred year old mystery hidden in the pages of the 'Hollow Needle'. Falling in love with Leblanc's great-granddaughter, he deals with puzzles, theories, codes and historical mysteries, leading him to believe that Leblanc held a secret war against Adolf Hitler, fighting for the control of an incredible complex of caves hidden in Etretat's chalk cliffs.

'THE CAVES OF ETRETAT' is the first in a four-book epic adventure following Paul Sirenne, an average man unknowingly manipulated into becoming the key in the final phase of a complex conspiracy spanning millennia. Inextricably woven into history, the series re-writes everything we know in a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride where nothing is ever as it seems.

This story is absolutely riveting from the very first page when Paul Sirenne's father and stepmother are found brutally murdered and their bodies cut up to form the letters "HN". 

This story becomes akin to a 5,000 piece puzzle for the somewhat naïve, but very intelligent Paul, to solve.  He must start looking answers, not only for the murders, but for other things his father has left him to discover.  As he starts his hunt, I keep wanting to shout, “Don’t do that!” or “Don’t go there!”  This is how deeply involved I became in the story.
The mystery of The Caves of Etretat actually started before World War II, and involves Nazi’s, Germans, spies, murder, terror and many secrets.
While he searches for answers, he meets and becomes involved with the granddaughter of the man who started the puzzle.  Together they are shot at, chased, discover many secrets, and become deeply involved.  Piece by piece the puzzle begins to come together, and slowly Paul becomes sharper and more able to cope with all the dangers they are encountering.
Who is the shadow killer?  Why is he killing these people?  How was Hitler involved in it all?  It became more and more complex as more and more of the puzzle pieces were found.  Some bad guys are good guys, and some good guys are bad.  As they learn, Paul not only grows in strength, but in knowing himself.
One statement in the story says it all.  True destiny is foisted on the average man, despite what he wants.  This story is so believable that it will change the way you look at history.  This is the first of a series of four books, and if they are all as riveting as this one, you will not be able to put any of them down.  It is an outstanding mystery, with every page an attention grabber.  I recommend it highly to anyone who loves mystery suspense stories, but make sure you set aside plenty of time to read, because you won't want to set this one down.  I can't wait for the next book!
5/5 Flowers

 Born in Ottawa, fifty-two years ago, I have been the owner of a used bookstore I opened in Ontario, since 1990. I have been writing since I was ten. Beginning with poetry, I quickly moved on to short stories and non-fiction pieces. I stayed in that format for many years, eventually self-publishing a franchise manual (How to Open Your Own Used Bookstore), as well as a variety of booklets, such as 'How to Save Money at Home', 'Build a Greenhouse with Style' and the ten booklet series of Eddy Brock, Brockville Detective.

Having semi-retired from the bookstore, I embarked on the project of writing my first serious novel, which I expanded to a four book series after discovering an incredible mystery hidden within Maurice Leblanc's books.

My interests are eclectic. I like Quantum Physics, Cosmology, history, archaeology, science in general, mechanics, free power, recycling and re-use. I'm a good handyman and can usually fix just about anything. I'm good with computers. I love movies, both good and bad, preferring action and war movies. I can draw and paint fairly well but am so obsessed with perspective and light that I cannot think of much else. I am too detail oriented. Takes too long to finish anything.

Facebook page:!/profile.php?id=100003486781507
FTC Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from Goddess Fish Promotions and the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Virtual Book Review Tour: Titanic 2012 by Bill Walker

(Full length, contemporary suspense published by Cemetery Dance Publications)

This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Partners in Crime Tours.

Best-selling mystery novelist Trevor Hughes has no idea that attending his twentieth reunion at Harvard will forever change his life.

Persuaded to go by his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Dr. Julia Magnusson, he meets up with three old friends: Solly Rubens, a self-made Wall Street millionaire; Ken Faust, a successful software entrepreneur; and Harlan Astor, New York real estate tycoon and the glue that holds their circle together.

That afternoon, over drinks at the Harvard Club, Harlan drops his bombshell: He is doing what James Cameron did not -- he is rebuilding the Titanic, and sailing the ship on the hundredth anniversary to honor those who died, including his great-grandfather, John Jacob Astor IV. Only Trevor is intrigued by Harlan's audacity. Touched by his friend's interest and concern, Harlan invites him on the maiden voyage to serve as the official chronicler.

On April 10, 2012, Trevor journeys to Southampton and, along with the hundreds of handpicked passengers, boards the Titanic. He is awed by the immensity of the ship and the feelings that well up in him. His friend has made his grand dream a reality.

During the journey, armed with his iPod Touch and a miniature wireless camera hidden in his glasses, Trevor interviews both passengers and crew, eager to learn the reasons why they chose to sail on the reborn ship.

Nearly every one of them claims to have been profoundly affected by Cameron's film, wanting to recapture the magic for themselves. And some of them are dying -- their last wish to be on the maiden voyage of the new Titanic.

Trevor is touched that his friend has allowed these people to come aboard, and is unprepared when he meets Madeleine Regehr, a beautiful, free-spirited woman who resists his entreaties to be interviewed, intriguing Trevor all the more. Slowly, and inexorably, Maddy draws him out of his shell, allowing him to love deeply and completely, for the very first time in his life.

But Trevor soon discovers a darker purpose for the voyage, a purpose that threatens to destroy him and the woman he loves. In a race against time that pits friend against friend, Trevor must stop the unstoppable or risk a horrific replay of history...

When I started reading this story, I was fascinated with the concept. Imagine, rebuilding the Titanic and having the chance to be on board.

Then I started reading and I was horrified to find out that something dreadful had happened on the ship. The person telling the story had been on the new Titanic and was supposed to be writing about his experience. However, it had been months since he had been on the ship, and he was still unable to write a word.

Finally, he got together with three of his friends, who had also been friends with the man who had re-built the Titanic, Harlan Astor. His great-grandfather had been one of the people who had gone down on the first Titanic. He explained that Harlan had led him to believe that he was building the ship in honor of those who had died, and he had wanted to make it an exact replica of the original.

Much of the story is told through interviews with the passengers and through their reasons for being on the ship. Their stories are interesting but sad in a way. When I finally realized why they were there, I didn’t want to read any more, but there was just enough going on to keep me guessing that I had to continue.

This author made the story so real that I felt he was telling it as it happened. It didn’t feel like a story, it felt like a conversation with me. Although it didn’t have what many would consider a HEA ending, it did, in fact have a good ending and one that was perfect for the story.

I enjoyed reading it, and couldn’t put it down, although a couple of times I tried. When I finally began to discover who was behind everything, and who was causing the problems, it still wasn’t over. When I finished the last page of the mystery, I gave a sigh of relief.

This is not a romance, although there is romance in the story, and it isn’t really a mystery, but it has mysterious things behind the scenes. It's just a well-written book that will appeal to adult readers of all genres.

4/5 Flowers

A graduate of Emerson College's prestigious film school, Bill wrote and directed his first feature film, Pawn, while still a student. After graduation, he co-founded Newbury Filmworks, Inc., an award-winning production company renowned for making high-quality corporate films and commercials.

In 1990, Bill relocated to Los Angeles, and began a freelance story analysis career for various studios and independent production companies, while devoting his spare time to the writing of novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is also a highly-respected graphic designer, specializing in book and dust jacket design. He has worked on books by such luminaries as: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. In addition, Bill is a member of the Authors Guild.

He has won awards for his screenwriting, his two short story collections for Mid-Graders, Five-Minute Frights and Five-Minute Chillers, are perennial Halloween favorites, and his first novel, Titanic 2012 was enthusiastically received by readers. His second novel, Camp Stalag was released in 2001. Bill lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Debbie, and their sons, Jeffrey and Brian.

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours and the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop

They say April Showers Bring May Flowers! This April will find you showered in books during the "Showers of Books" Giveaway Hop! Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and One A Day Y.A. for hosting!

To win my giveaway, all I ask is that you follow my blog (make sure your email is associated with your profile). Earn a second entry by leaving me a comment with some of the books you'd choose if you win (I always need help building my TBR pile)!

My prize?

One winner will receive a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC!

It's so easy to enter! Just FOLLOW ME! And a comment with a book suggestion earns you another entry.

Good luck! And check out the other participants for more great prizes.

Blog Event: To Comment or Not to Comment?

Authors On Reviews: To Comment Or Not To Comment

Nat at Reading Romances has posed the question:

Should Authors Comment On Reviews?

Now, I've seen this same question on many, many discussions by authors and by reviewers. As a side note, I also review for a large reviews site, so am coming at this question from a couple of perspectives.

As a reviewer, I love, Love, LOVE to hear from authors. It makes me feel as though I've been heard, as though my little blog and my reviews matter somehow. I try to be kind, even when I don't love a book -- In that instance, I try to find the good things and to be gentle and constructive with the things I didn't enjoy. I don't believe it tearing apart an author's book.

Do I think an author should comment on reviews? Yes, but ...

I don't think they should defend or explain those things that a reviewer may not have liked. That's going to start a battle, and in the long run all it will do is make the reviewer and the author (and quite possibly a bunch of other folks) really annoyed.

In this world of massive social media, it's amazing how quickly word gets out about someone who's being less than gracious. I've watched authors AND bloggers get torn to shreds because of something they've said or done.

If it's a rave review, there's no harm in an author gushing a bit ("Thank you so much -- I'm SO glad you loved the book!"), and if it's not so great a simple "Thank you for taking the time to review my book." works. It's classy. It's kind. And I think the reviewer will appreciate it.

I know that a common thought amongst authors is to NOT comment on reviews. I disagree. If someone does you a favor -- holds the door for you, helps you pick up what you've dropped, pays for your coffee -- you say thanks. You don't spend an hour telling them how much it meant to you, but you do say "Thank you."

Or you should.

What do YOU think? I'd love to hear from both authors and reviewers on this. And I'm sure these other participants would, too!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Enemy Through the Gates by D. T. Dyllin

Today we're welcoming author DT Dyllin to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her paranormal/fantasy romance novel, "Enemy Through the Gates".

The author is giving away a $15 Amazon gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

DT shares some deep, dark secrets today, so read on!

It’s raining books! Halleluiah! It’s raining books! Amen! Alright, I just couldn’t resist breaking into song about my blog stop today at It’s Raining Books, although I’m sure they get that a lot. Today I’ve been asked by my awesome hosts to fill you all in on five things about me that you wouldn’t guess. Hmmm…lets see…

1) I swear like a sailor! My mom likes to tell what she considers a cute little story of how I began channeling my father’s vocabulary when I was 3 years old. The house that we lived in at the time only had one bathroom and on one occasion my older brother was hogging said bathroom much to my dismay. I began to pound my fat little fists on the door and screamed at the top of my lungs... “J.J. you son-of-a-b@%*# come out of there!” My mom and dad, needless to say, were completely horrified. Although my dad probably said something along the lines of “I’m never F*@%^^@ swearing again.” And yes if he reads this he’s probably going to be very angry that I related this story. To this day he still tells me to tone down the swearing. Yeah, good f@*&ing luck with that.

2) I have a major need for speed! Have you ever heard of anyone else getting a speeding ticket on the way to traffic school? Yes, that happened to me. I’m really lucky I still have my license…seriously. I’m a firm believer that there’s no point to driving unless you can go fast. That’s my secret on how I’m always early for appointments. I don’t leave extra early like everyone thinks I do. I just drive really fast and get there in half the time.

3) I love beer! I can owe that all to bartending at a local draught emporium in Nashville, TN called The Flying Saucer. (Thanks Brandi for hiring me! I never knew what I was missing!) Before I started working there I thought Coors light was good. Now I just think it tastes like water. If you get me started on talking about beer I can go on for quite awhile. I also attend quite a few Beer fests.

4) I love tattoos! I often hear (depending on what time of the year it is) the “Oh, I would never have thought you have tattoos.” Which is insulting and judgmental, but I’ll leave that part alone for now. But I can assure you, although I’m nowhere near to completely covered, I do have a few rather large pieces of ink adorning my body. The reason I don’t have more than I do is because all of my tattoos mean something very important to me. I didn’t just get them because I thought they were pretty or I had a whim. They are an expression of things I don’t want to forget or a way of coping with some of my inner demons. They help to balance me. Although I don’t tell everyone the real stories behind my ink…some things are just too personal.

5) I love hockey! Okay, maybe not all hockey, but the Pittsburgh Penguins to be specific. I got hooked when I was just a little tyke and the Pens won the Stanley Cup back-to-back in 90 & 91. And as the cliche’ goes…the rest is history.

It’s raining books! Halleluiah! It’s raining books! Amen! Oh whoops, I got sucked back into song again now that I finished my 5 things about me list. That’s a bonus fact about me; I have the tendency to randomly break into song. Now everybody go out there and let those books pour down on you, cuz you know…It’s Raining Books! No umbrella necessary! :-)

P. J. Stone, like most eighteen-year-old girls, is a little boy crazy and somewhat obsessed with finding the perfect boyfriend. Some days she feels like she might be the last remaining virgin in her entire high school, and maybe even the entire tri-state area.

After a traumatic night at a friend’s party, P. J. realizes what she truly wants has been right under her nose all along. Bryn O’Bannon, her best friend and partner in crime since age five, is head over heels in love with her, and she feels the same about him.

But P. J.’s life isn’t that simple. She’s a member of a separate society that exists secretly among the rest of the world; the society raises gifted individuals to protect the world from interdimensional interlopers, and P. J. was taught to put duty before her heart. She is expected to choose a suitable mate in order to perpetuate the Seer line. Unfortunately, Bryn is a Guardian and is forbidden to date—let alone mate with—a Seer such as herself.

As if figuring out her love life isn’t complicated enough, P. J. begins having visions of a threat to her world only she is able to perceive. Now, she must concoct and execute a plan to avert world disaster while at the same time avoiding the dissolution of her love life.

Cynical-Optimist. Chocolate-holic. Sarcasm Addict. Paranormal Believer. Self imposed Insomniac. Sci-Fi Dork. Animal Lover. Writer. Those are just a few words to describe D. T. Dyllin. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and very spoiled GSD. ‘Enemy Through The Gates’ is her debut novel.

Twitter: @DTDyllin

Barnes and Noble Link

Amazon Link

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Maple Express by Peter Brandt

Today we're welcoming author Peter Brandt to the blog on his tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for his contemporary Young Adult novel, "Maple Express".

The author is giving away some original prizes at the end of his tour. Two winners will win a pint jug of Butternut Mountain Farm Vermont Pure Maple Syrup, Grade A Dark Amber, in honor of the main character of The Maple Express, Sara Maple, from the small town of Mapleton Vermont. One grand prize winner will win an awesome Bachmann Trains Pegasus Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set. Also, the blog host with the most comments will win a 2012 Canadian (1 oz) Silver Maple Leaf Coin in an "Air-Tite" Capsule!

So comment today AND follow his tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of his tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Peter was kind enough to answer all my questions and then pose some great ones for us at the end ... thanks, Peter!

Why YA? Did you choose it or did it choose you?

I suspect it chose me. I have been writing stories for years and the common theme of them all appears to be I always have a young boy or girl in the lead role.

I still relate to my youth because I never really left it (although my self-esteem is significantly better LOL). I don't think it's possible to act my age. I don't take myself too serious and look for every opportunity to have fun. It's somewhat too bad we seem to associate that with being young, but I know many adults whose life doesn't seem to be much fun.

I truly loved reading the Hardy Boy adventures as a kid. It was the secrets that we had to find out, the sneaking around and hiding, the knowledge that something is going on and watching Joe and Frank try to discover what it was. I lived through their eyes every word I read.

All of my books, including Maple Express, have elements of these stories in them. My next novel, "Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square" was written with the Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys as my inspiration.

What challenges did you face writing from the POV of a young girl?

I have two stepdaughters and a bunch of friends with daughters and so it wasn't too much of a stretch for me to fill in the rest. I know when I was a young man, I used to think girls had it all figured out. Actually, I thought everyone had it figured out except for me. I was naïve, immature for my age, had no self-esteem and so on. Come to find out…young girls are just as screwed up as I was, they don't have it all together and many have the same self-esteem issues I had growing up. What a concept. Everyone has it rough.

I have also noticed that girls love their mothers and act as if they are best friends until they reach their teen years and suddenly their best friend becomes a huge irritant in their life. Can't say I know what that is about, but it's very sad to see. Some even wait until they reach their 30's before they find their mothers are an irritant.

So with that as my backdrop, it wasn't too hard to write about a teenage girl who has family issues, who causes trouble with her friends and overall seems to be a little lost in the direction her life is heading.

Plotter or pantser?

Both…but only a little as a plotter. For me, it begins with a craving that I need to get something written down or I'll burst.

I then begin to brainstorm what it is I want to write about and within a short period of time, I have the general concept of my book - usually the high-level beginning, middle, and end.

Once I know that I start writing. The details begin to fill themselves in as I write. Maple Express was the only book where I had a beginning and ending but no middle. So, I started writing the first part and suddenly - bang - I hit a brick wall. I couldn't go any further. The actual movement of the story after the start eluded me. I shelved this book for over a year and forgot about it. My old neighbors in Canada kept asking when I was going to finish it because they wanted to know what happened. I decided to give it another look and low and behold, the rest of the storyline flooded into my mind and I knew how to progress. I finished writing it and tada! It's ready for release.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits, or superstitions?

I hate being alone…which can really suck as a writer. In my old house, I actually went and bought a glass door for my office to replace the solid wood one. This way I could look up and see my family wandering up and down the hall. My office now is rather large and is my music room so sitting in there writing doesn't feel claustrophobic to me.

I have also written in five writer's marathons where 30 people are put into one room and have 72 hours to write a complete novel. All these people coming and going is very soothing to me.

When I write I have to wear headphones and listen to music. The music floods my head and insulates me from the noises of the outside world. Because I wear headphones and listen to music, I could actually sit and write in the middle of a mall with people walking all around me and it wouldn't interfere with my writing because I am actually isolated in my little music room.

Anything new coming up you'd like to share?

The next novel to be released by me fall 2012 is titled "Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square." The setting is a small town in Canada named Goderich (a real place) that has a unique courthouse sitting in the town square with eight streets radiating outward from its center (like a spider). Holly Alexander moves there from the city and before long, she finds herself in big trouble. Holly must rely on her investigate skills, and the help of her new friends, to get out of it and find out what is really happening in this beautiful town.

Well, I am writing a novel with the setting in California about a young man by the name of Taylor Wayne who disappears on his way to school and 2 months later is found wandering the Pacific Coast Highway. He has no idea who he is and where he has been. Shortly after his return, he begins to have vivid dreams about a girl who needs his help and he realizes he won't have any peace until he figures out who she is and what she wants.

I have a video blog titled "Author to Entrepreneur" at that I would love people to come and visit. I prefer to talk to my readers through video. I also always wanted to see where famous authors write their books. So, I put a video together showing my office and where I finished writing Maple Express and am in the middle of writing the California novel.

Anything you'd like to ask our readers?

1. As a young adult reader, what length of book do you prefer? A couple of the Harry Potter books were 700 to 900 pages, while the first ones were 200-300. Do you prefer to read a long book or perhaps a short one?

2. Do you like short chapters or long chapters? I have seen some that are only three pages long and others that are 60 pages. I ask because I prefer to write short chapters and short books 200-300 and I wonder if readers prefer that.

3. How many of you have read a Hardy Boy or Nancy Drew book? I always loved them when I was growing up but I don't know how many young people know about them.

Sara Maple has a comfortable life—the only child of a wealthy family—a best friend who does everything she asks—and the admiration of most of her schoolmates. Unfortunately, her temper and “indestructible” attitude quickly place her in a very precarious position.

“The Maple Express” is a powerful novel that captures the author’s take on the miracle of the human mind. “The Maple Express” delves into the actions and consequences of a young girl who has never had to take responsibility for her actions before. The story brings the reader into a world where Sara’s determination to find her way off the train sends her on an emotional trip that bonds her to her new friends and changes her life forever.

Both young and old readers will love the emotional journey Sara Maple takes them on as she deciphers the obstacles that confront her. Sara’s story ends with a surprise twist and leaves the reader with a sense of discovery about his or her own humanity.

It only takes a few minutes of thought before Peter Brandt can devise a scenario that would make a fantastic story, and minutes after that before it begins to fill itself in.

“I have been able to think up stories all my life but it’s only been in the last seven years that I realized I was abusing my creative side by not writing them down.”
Peter retired from the Air Force and began a new career as a Technical Writer. His writing abilities have allowed him to work in Canada, the United States and even in the Middle East.

But its Peter’s love for stories that has brought him into a new realm of writing. His humorous memoir about his life as a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces and the tragic memoir about his father’s life in a Prisoner-of-War camp at the age of 14 allowed him to refine his writing before he began to venture in writing Young Adult fiction.

“I have a very unique way of creating my stories. It begins with a craving, like a recent smoker who just quit cigarettes but still feels the addiction. I can’t shake it until I sit down and begin to let my mind wander. Many times I start my quest for a new story by wondering - What If. Soon after I begin to write and can usually get the first draft completed within a few weeks.

Maple Express began as a “what if” question and I’d share it with you but it would give away the storyline.”

I always write my stories as I would see them on the movie screen, which is why writing screenplays are also something I do. I am shooting a short film I wrote with a friend of mine within the next couple of weeks with another film shortly after.”
Peter has taken formal lessons in acting and has enjoyed some success as an actor in TV and film before his day job as a Lead Technical Writer required him to move out of the country.

“I can honestly say I have landed in the perfect job for me. I love to write...doesn’t really matter what I write, creatively or technically, writing is a pleasurable experience. It has allowed me to travel and for that I am grateful.”
Peter grew up with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew hardcover books.

“I loved them. I remember sitting under my blanket after lights out, sweating from the heat and the fear that gripped me as Joe and Frank carried on with another of their adventures.”

It is with these wonderful stories in mind that Peter wrote “Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square.” This young adult novel will be released summer / fall 2012.

“I never really grew up. I have tried to write for adults but I find it difficult. I was a small, shy, and bullied kid growing up. I was nothing special. I had terrible grades, no idea what I wanted to do with my life and, totally foreign to me. After I joined the Army those years faded quickly and I guess it has caused me to want to get those years back.

That is why I crave writing about young people who feel they are nothing special until I put them in a position where they have no choice but to become someone they never dreamed they could be. It is very uplifting for me to make heroes out of young people who believe they have nothing to contribute. It’s an eye opener for me as well as for them when it happens.”

Pete continues to write and publish through Simple Simon Publishing, a different type of publisher.

“Simple Simon Publishing is all about turning authors into entrepreneurs. For too long authors have felt dependent on the closed loop publishing industry to discover them and make them successful. Simple Simon’s philosophy is you are not just an author but the best person in the world to sell your and your writing.”
Peter and his wife Carly have five kids who are all grown and on their own. is my personal site. is where my books are for sale. is where Maple Express is for sale at Smashwords for $1.99

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taste by Kate Evangelista -- Book Video and Excerpt Reveal

We're excited to share the cover, video and an excerpt from the YA novel, "Taste" by Kate Evangelista today. I have much love for this cover:

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

And, in case that wasn't enough to entice you to check out the book, here's more:

I sat up and followed Calixta’s gaze upward. I rubbed my eyes. I didn’t know what I was seeing at first. A statue? My brain refused to snap together coherent thoughts. I didn’t realize I’d fallen so close to one of the garden benches until I stared up at the boy that sat on one. He was strikingly beautiful. His tumble of blonde hair curled just above his sculpted cheekbones. He wore a silk shirt and a loosened cravat, like he’d become bored while dressing and decided to leave himself in disarray. His ivory skin and frozen position was what had me mistaking him for something carved from marble by Michelangelo. Then he sighed—a lonely, breathy proof of life. If I had to imagine what Lucifer looked like before he fell from heaven, the boy on the bench would certainly fulfill that image. My brain told me I had to look away, but I couldn’t.

“Luka,” Calixta said again, her voice unsure, almost nervous. It no longer contained the steel and bite she had threatened me with, which made me wonder who the boy was.

He leaned on his hands and crossed his legs, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on the night sky. His movements spoke of elegance and control. I’d encountered many people with breeding before, but his took on the air of arrogance and self-assuredness of someone used to getting what he wanted when he wanted it.

I only realized I’d been holding my breath when my lungs protested. I exhaled. My heart sputtered and restarted with a vengeance. Luka tore his gaze away from the stars and settled it on me. I’d expected pitch-black irises, like the other Night Students, but blue ice stared back at me.

“Human,” he whispered.

He reached out, and with a finger, followed an invisible trail down my cheek. I stiffened. His touch, cooler than Demitri’s, caused warm sparks to blossom on my face. He lifted his finger to his lips and licked its tip. He might as well have licked me from the way my body shivered.

Luka’s curious gaze held mine. “Leave us,” he said, but not to me.

“But—” Calixta protested like a spoiled child.

He spoke in a language I hadn’t heard before, remaining calm yet firm. The words had a rolling cadence I couldn’t quite follow, like rumbling thunder in the distance. They contained a harsh sensuality. The consonants were hard and the vowels were long and lilting.

Footsteps retreated behind me.

Luka reached out again.

It took me a minute to realize he wanted to help me up. I hesitated. He smiled. I smiled back timidly and took his hand, completely dazzled. Even with my uniform soaked from melted snow, I didn’t feel cold—all my attention was on him and the way his callused hand felt on mine. Without moving much from his seated position, he helped me stand.

“What’s your name?” he asked. He had a voice like a familiar lullaby. It filled my heart to the brim with comfort.

I swallowed and tried to stop gawking. “Phoenix.”

“The bird that rose from the ashes.” Luka bent his head and kissed the back of my hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

My cheeks warmed. My head reeled, not knowing what to think. I couldn’t understand why I felt drawn to him. And the strange connection frightened me.

From behind, someone gripped my arms and yanked me away before I could sort out the feelings Luka inspired in me. I found myself behind a towering figure yet again. Recognizing the blue-black silk for hair tied at the nape, relief washed over me. Calixta hadn’t come back to finish me off.

Demitri’s large hand wrapped around my wrist. Unlike the night before, no calm existed in his demeanor. He trembled like a junky in need of a fix. The coiled power in his tense muscles vibrated into me.

“What are you doing here?” Demitri asked.

I didn’t know he’d spoken to me until I saw his expressionless profile. I sighed.


I flinched. The ruthless way he said my name punched all the air out of me. “You owe me answers,” I said with as much bravado as I could muster.

“I owe you nothing.” He glared. “In fact, you owe me your life.”

“I don’t think so.”

Ignoring my indignation, he faced Luka, who’d remained seated on the bench during my exchange with Demitri. “Why is she with you, Luka?”

“I wasn’t going to taste her, if that’s what you’re implying,” Luka said. “Although, she is simply delicious. I wouldn’t mind if you left us alone.”

There it was again. Taste. The word that kept coming up between these Night Students and I was connected to it in an increasingly uncomfortable way. To taste meant to sample, but what? My flesh? They had to be joking because the alternative wasn’t funny.

“The sins of the father …” Demitri left his sentence unfinished.

Luka’s smile shifted into a snarl. “Obey my command.” His chin lifted. “Kneel.”

Demitri’s stance went rigid. His grip tightened around my wrist.

Okay, weird just got weirder. Why would Luka want Demitri to kneel before him? I thought back to Eli and the others bowing to Demitri when he questioned them, but they didn’t kneel. Seriously? Were they all living on a different planet or something?

“Kneel.” Luka’s detestable smirk made his features sinister rather than angelic. The real Lucifer: a fallen angel.

Without letting go of my wrist, Demitri knelt down on one knee and bowed his head, his free hand flat at the center of his chest. “Your command has been obeyed,” he said formally.

Luka nodded once.

Demitri stood up and pulled me toward the school without telling me where we were going. Not having the time to thank Luka for saving me from Calixta, I risked a glance back. Luka smiled at me. His smile spoke of whispers, secrets, and promises to be shared on a later date.

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

Author Website:
Twitter: @KateEvangelista
Find Taste on Goodreads:
Crescent Moon Press page for Taste:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Reason is You by Sharla Lovelace

Today we're welcoming author Sharla Lovelace to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her contemporary paranormal romance, "The Reason is You".

The author is giving away a $20 Amazon or BN gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Sharla was kind enough to answer all my questions... thanks, Sharla!

I'm fascinated by your use of a ghost as hero. How did this idea come to you?

*laughing* It’s an odd thing. I was hooked on reruns of “Moonlight” at the time, which if you aren’t familiar with it, it was Alex O’Loughlin as a vampire, but a good one. There was a somewhat forbidden love between him and the heroine. I love tortured love stories. And I love Alex O’Loughlin. *G* I got to thinking about that same personality with the spunk and hotness as a ghost instead of a vampire, someone she couldn’t touch but had sizzling chemistry and deep rooted feelings with. And it grew from there. Ahem…Alex Stone was created. And yes….that’s where the name came from. :-)

Plotter or Pantser?

Pantser. *sigh* I would love to be plotter…I have plotter envy. I set it all up and it changes by the second page. So now I accept that I have to go with a loose idea, and plot as I go, which means constantly going back and rethreading information in. I don’t argue with it anymore, it works for me, but it does make getting info to my editor ahead of time a bit of a challenge.

Any interesting or unusual writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

If I write longhand, which do a lot of in the beginning of a manuscript, it has to be with blue ink, and if at all possible with my favorite pen I got from Colorado Pen.

What do you do when you have writer's block?

Read something else. Also switching from typing to longhand or vice versa tends to shake things up a little.

What's one thing about you we'd never guess?

That I’m petrified to speak in front of people or have the spotlight on me. I can talk online all day long, make people laugh, play the part of whatever I need to. But in person it takes everything in my being to gear myself up to be in a spotlight. If I were actually standing in front of all of you right now, I’d have something in my hand to squeeze to get me through it. :-)

What are you afraid of?

LOL, guess I jumped the gun on that question… the above fear of speaking to a group, and also I have a bizarre fear of heights and bridges.

Anything new coming up from you?

Yes! My second book, BEFORE AND EVER SINCE is coming this winter, tentatively scheduled for November. It’s about the family secrets a house can hold, and when it decides to tell them. I’m very excited about it.

Any question you'd like to ask our readers?

What do you like most to read about in a romantic relationship? The physical contact? The deed? The courtship? The tease?

In the small river town of Bethany, Dani Shane never fit in. Being different pushed her to the fringes of society, and even leaving town for two decades didn't stop the talk. Now, with her sixteen year-old daughter Riley in tow, Dani is back in Bethany looking for a fresh start. Too bad her plans for staying under the radar are about to be thrown out the window.

Mischievous and sexy, Dani's old friend Alex still has the power to rock her world, but there's a big obstacle standing in their way—Alex has been dead for forty years. With a ghost popping up at inopportune moments and sparking conversations with her teenage daughter, Dani scrambles to find solid ground and get a grip—both on her sanity and her heart.

Sharla once hunted for crab in a Honduran jungle, and explored an unknown cave on her belly through a rabbit hole. Not in the same night.

Now, she lives in Southeast Texas by the Neches River with her family, an old lady dog, and 19 cockatiels. If you wonder how she writes with all that noise--the birds actually have their own house outside. THE REASON IS YOU is her debut novel.

When she's not writing, doing the day job, or doing the family thing, she's stalking her Twitter feed.

Sharla can be found at her website, on Facebook at, on Twitter at, and on Goodreads at

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Virtual Book Tour Review and Giveaway: Life in Death by Harlow Coban

(A short contemporary suspense, self-published)

This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Harlow is giving away a prize at every stop which may include (but isn't limited to:

Amazon Gift Cards
Book Lover Note Cards
Kindle Cover
Book Tote
Hunger Games Trilogy

So comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win!

When a girl that social worker Kari Marchant places in foster care is brutally murdered, she’s compelled to learn why. Her quest for the truth pits her against friends and coworkers. As Kari works to solve the horrific plot, more people die. She’s been targeted for death and she doesn’t even know it. How far should she go to learn the truth—even if it threatens her life?

When homicide detective Rance Nicolet meets Kari, his attraction to her is powerful—and the feeling is mutual. But things between them go terribly wrong when Kari’s old lover is found murdered with a letter from her in his pocket. The evidence against Kari is damning. Rance’s personal and professional lives collide. Does he blindly believe the woman he’s falling in love with or follow the evidence no matter where it leads?

This story is so fast moving, I could hardly keep up. But since it was one of the best mysteries I have read in a long time, I did my best! I know it's a cliche, but in this case it's the honest truth: I could not put it down. From the first page it was a heart stopper. I couldn’t believe how tense I became while reading.

The characters became very real to me almost instantly, and the murder that occurred was dreadful and gruesome. There were many strange happenings, and many weird people. It was all very believeable and it scared me to death.

The two detectives who were on the case were fascinating, and the other main character, a social worker, was very believable. This is not your typical mystery. There are many twists and turns and unexpected happenings.

I was certain I had it all figured out, which didn’t make it any easier to read. I wanted it to end and I wanted it to somehow end happily. Then it did end, and I was completely wrong about everything I thought I knew.

All in all, this story kept me engrossed to the exclusion of everything else. This is a must read for anyone who loves suspense stories -- but be warned: don't start reading it until you have time set aside to do nothing else.

5/5 Flowers

Author Harlow Coban was born in Kansas City, MO, but grew up in Denver, CO. She relocated to North Carolina five years ago with her husband, two dogs, and 16-year old twins.

She shares a birthday with the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. In keeping with his legacy, she is currently working on taking over the world. Harlow’s positive attitude and fresh take on life are her tools and conquest is certain.

She spends her free time writing, dancing, traveling and defending mailboxes from her 16-year-old twins’ driving.

Her debut novel, LIFE IN DEATH (February 2012), is a murder mystery which pulls from real-life situations from her own family history. She felt compelled to share her story with the world while offering a thrilling, entertaining, and amusing escape for readers.

In keeping with her commitment to improving the lives of children, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her book will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in her home state of North Carolina.

She loves to connect with her readers and can be found on Twitter (@HarlowCoban), Facebook (!/pages/Harlow-Coban/174596219285270), Goodreads ( and her website (

FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author and Goddess Fish Promotions in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Sunny Days for Sam by Jennifer Shirk

Today we're welcoming author Jennifer Shirk to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her sweet contemporary romance, "Sunny Days for Sam" from Avalon Books.

The author is giving away a print copy of "Sunny Days for Sam" (US/Canada only -- an eBook copy of "Role of a Lifetime" will be substituted as prizes for any international winners) to two randomly drawn commenters. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win an awesome book!

Jennifer was kind enough to answer all my questions... thanks, Jennifer!

I would imagine writing romantic comedy can be difficult. Why did you choose the genre?

Hmm…I think it sort of chose me. The first time I wrote anything to be read by others was at a library writing group. I brought in a few sample pages of my romance novel (thinking I was the next Nora Roberts), and then, when everyone started reading it, they laughed. I was mortified, until I was told that it was a good thing. After that, I started gearing my writing towards humor instead of away from it.

Do you have any habits or rituals to get you in the mood to write?

Basically, I re-read the beginning of whatever chapter I’m working on all over again and then once I’m done that, my juices are usually flowing.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

I can’t write if my bed is not made or there are dishes in the sink. It must be some kind of sensitive Princess and The Pea scenario going on. LOL

What's a typical day for you?

Kiddo goes to school; I finish my coffee as I check email and Facebook. Then I do my P90x workout, shower and then writing finally begins. (On a good day)

Who is your favorite character in literature? Why?

I LOVE Jane Eyre. She’s one of the best because she is such a smart, sensitive, kind, yet strong character despite all she’s been through in her life. But she does get her happily ever after.

Anything new coming up you'd like to share?

Well, I just submitted a new romance that is a sort of sequel to my previous book GEORGIE ON HIS MIND. So I’m hoping to hear good news soon on that. And right now, I’m working on a book where the hero just so happens to be a romance writer. *G*

Anything you'd like to ask our readers?

Yes! What’s your favorite romance book of all time? Mine is Honey Moon by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Sunnyva “Sunny” Fletcher is a firm believer in fairy tales. With the recent debt she’s acquired, the hope of something magical happening in her life is the only thing keeping her going. She needs a job fast. So when Sunny learns the sexy new vacationer in town is looking for a nanny, she starts to believe she just may have a fairy godmother after all!

Internet guru Sam Calloway is only in town for the summer and needs a nanny for his two small children. However, the beautiful and inexperienced Sunny is not exactly the kind of caregiver Sam has in mind. It doesn’t take long for Sunny’s tenderhearted and bubble-blowing ways to soon have the children—and Sam—enamored with her. She’s a dream come true. But after what Sam’s been through, he’s stopped believing in fairy tales long ago.

Sunny manages to work her way into Sam’s closed-off heart, but at the end of the summer, will the workaholic dad go back to his life in New York City, or will he decide his days are much sunnier here with Sunny?

Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.

She writes sweet romantic comedies and won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her book, The Role of a Lifetime.

She's also a board member for Straight Ahead Ministries, an organization involved in helping spread the gospel and aiding medical and pharmacy students in Russia. She resides in a beach resort in NJ, and when she's not involved in all the above, she's taking care of her most treasured possessions: her husband, daughter, and four hermit crabs.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case

Today we're welcoming author Stacy Verdick Case on her tour with Partners In Crime Tours for her mystery, "A Grand Murder". Stacy was kind enough to answer my questions.

Have you always wanted to write in the cozy mystery genre?

No, I started out writing romance. I thought I was a lover, turns out I’m a killer. I would still like to turn out a romance or two.

How much research goes into making sure you have your crime fighting details right?

There’s a lot of research. I’ve taken citizens academy training classes, and fire arm classes. My research bookshelf probably has me on a watch list or two because I buy extremely detailed books on murder.

I will confess to fudging some details though. I write fiction so I don’t have any qualms about changing some details to suit my story. My books isn’t a procedural text book by any means.

What are the pros and cons of writing a series?

The pros are that you have a stable of reoccurring characters that you can lean on. You’re not constantly creating a new cast. These characters are like old friends to me now I don’t have to stop and debate what they might do in a situation, I already know.

A huge con is that series can get stale fast for both the writer and the reader. I think the biggest complaint series writers hear is that it’s the same book over and over. On the one hand the characters feeling like old friends is great, but on the other hand, the big challenge for the writer is to make them fresh each time.

Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I still write every first draft long hand. I’m a huge technology geek so that surprises a lot of people. There’s something about writing long hand that’s organic to me. Then when I type the manuscript in it’s the first editing process.

Also, writing long hand means I can literally write anywhere. I don’t have to boot up a laptop or try to juggle my iPad in the grocery store line. I just take out my paper and pen and write wherever I am.

What's a normal writing day for you?

It’s rare that I have full days to write. I suspect it’s like that for most writers, so I write where I can. I have a full thirty minutes before I leave for work every day that is all mine to write. I write on lunch breaks and then before bed.

When I do have the luxury of a whole day of writing it’s usually a marathon where I try to get as many pages in as I can.

What's coming up for you? Any new releases?

I am very excited about the audio book release of A Grand Murder. My mother has macular degeneration, so I lobbied hard to have A Grand Murder made into Audio. The second book in the series Murder is A Family Affair is coming out soon.

Do you have anything you'd like to ask our readers?

Yes, and that you for the opportunity! I would love to hear from series readers to find out what their ideas might be to keep a series fresh. I’ve had the discussion with writers, but I would love a readers perspective to find out what they want to see.

When a prominent local businessman and friend of the chief of police is murdered on the front steps of his posh Grand Avenue Hill home, Catherine O'Brien a pithy, vertically challenged, St. Paul, Minnesota, homicide detective with a monstrous coffee habit and her partner Louise are given two days to find his killer.

They soon discover their victim had a list of people with motives to murder him, including his fashion designer ex-wife, his mistress’s husband, and the chief of police. The only evidence they have to go on is a missing cell phone, a stolen book, the victim’s letter opener, and an ugly pair of Alpaca wool mittens.

Stacy Verdick Case was born in Willmar, Minnesota. After a brief stint as a military brat, where she lived in Fort Sill Oklahoma and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, her family moved back to Minnesota.

Stacy currently lives in a suburb of St. Paul with her husband and her daughter. Her Catherine O’Brien mystery, A Grand Murder, is available from Before the Fall Books. Her second Catherine O’Brien mystery Murder is a Family Affair, will be released shortly.

Stacy is hard at work on her third book in the series.
Twitter @SVerdickCase

Review: A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case

(A full length cozy mystery from Before the Fall Books)

When a prominent local businessman and friend of the chief of police is murdered on the front steps of his posh Grand Avenue Hill home, Catherine O'Brien a pithy, vertically challenged, St. Paul, Minnesota, homicide detective with a monstrous coffee habit and her partner Louise are given two days to find his killer.

They soon discover their victim had a list of people with motives to murder him, including his fashion designer ex-wife, his mistress’s husband, and the chief of police. The only evidence they have to go on is a missing cell phone, a stolen book, the victim’s letter opener, and an ugly pair of Alpaca wool mittens.

Catherine O'Brien, described as vertically-challenged and perpetually disheveled, is partnered with Louise Montgomery, a tall black woman who is always impeccably dressed—even after being up all night. This first book in a new series about this unlikely pairing begins when they have already been partnered for three years and have grown into friends. Catherine is short, but feisty; and as the first-person POV character in this story, we see all the action through her eyes. She's also very grumpy when she hasn't had enough sleep or coffee—which is how we first meet her. She's snarky and funny at the same time.

I don't want to give away an spoilers, but the mystery unfortunately was the weakest part of the book for me. The relationship of the characters was the strongest, and they were well-developed and interesting. That was the draw for me -- I really liked them and wanted to really like the book.

The big issue was one of editing. There were many places where phrases were repeated multiple times in the same paragraph, apostrophe s used for plural, misspelling, areas where the secondary characters' actions were not consistent, etc. The basic problems a professional editing should have picked up are the biggest reason I can only give this book only a three.

For a first book, it holds promise. This author is skilled and certainly creates memorable characters. As I said, I enjoyed the relationship between the characters; the story itself reads like a show you would see on television—I could see this plot carried out a la Cagney and Lacey. I'm certainly not sorry I read it, and look forward to seeing more from this author.

3/5 Flowers

FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.