Book Review: Black Crow Speaks @FrederickAnder2 #shortstories

In my post yesterday, I mentioned having read a third book last week but not having the time to write a proper review. Black Crow Speaks is a book I have been patiently waiting —okay, not so patiently—to release. The author shies away from promotion so I wanted to make certain I gave it the attention it deserves. I know I will be reading many of the stories in this collection over again.

First some background . . .

I started following Frederick Anderson’s blog a few years ago and was immediately enthralled by his gift of storytelling. I’ve been hoping (I even did some pestering) that he would cobble a collection of short stories together for a book. When I realized he had released Black Crow Speaks, I was ecstatic. This intelligent, literary, diverse, often bizarre, but always riveting collection of tales is not to be missed!

Let me explain the crow of the title­—Black Crow shows up at various times throughout the book to discuss everything from neighbors (blackbirds), immigrants (seagulls), family matters, homelife, kids, the wife, temptation, getting old, and social matters. Given Fred is British, I can get away with the expression “bloody brilliant.” Crow has a unique take on life.

book cover for Black Crow Speaks by Frederick Anderson shows a large black crow with book title beneathHere’s a sample from Corvid Values, my favorite crow story. Crow speaks first, followed by Fred.

He fidgets uneasily, preening a troublesome mite from his breast feathers. “S’pose. Yes and no. There’s the immigrants, see?”

He hasn’t lost his capacity to surprise: “Immigrants?”

“Yeah. You must have noticed – fousands of ‘em. Same every winter, innit? They comes flockin’ in just because they reckon there’s free food and everyfin’. They takes all the best bits and we don’t get a look in. Bleedin’ gulls!”

“Oh, the seagulls! The bad weather drives them in from the coast. The westerlys don’t trouble them so much, then? They can fly into the wind, can they?”

“Well, they work harder, don’t they? They work all the bleedin’ time, them!” He fluffs furious feathers. “They don’t even go to roost, most nights. And…and!” He squawks his emphasis; “They eat almost anyfin’. Jus’ anyfin’!”

“Surely there’s enough for all? I haven’t noticed you losing weight over the winter before.”

“Ah. Ah! But I don’t demean meself, me! You won’t catch me turnin’ over house rubbish like a – like a bleedin’ fox, for fox sake!”

“Oh, really? I seem to recall…”

“Never mind what you ‘seems to recall.’ Never mate, never! I’ve got my pride”

I treat him to one of my penetrating inquisitorial looks. “They’ve been raiding the bins at the back of the Pizzeria, haven’t they? That’s one of your favorite haunts, isn’t it?”

The crow hunches his wings and dips his head. I cannot remember seeing him so annoyed. “That place is a place for crows, gettit? Crows! Respec’able birds, mate. I got a right to that place!”


First, let me point out that no one—no one—does accents like Frederick. The ones he spins in this book are spot on. Second, the message of this story hits with a thunderclap at the end. The first time I read it, it stayed with me for days.

But the crow only makes up a few stories in this collection. As the preface says you will meet “a crow with wisdom we call could learn from, an airline pilot who qualified by correspondence course, an enthusiastic accordion player with a portal to the universe under his dining table, tales of fairies and goblins and ghosts within the machine.”

There are plenty of humans too—some who face heartbreak, others who find their lives altered in unexpected ways. Twists and surprise endings abound. Scene setting is off the charts with descriptions that are sometimes lyrical, other times gritty and raw. Every story brings something unique, but I must make special mention of Birdie, A Visitation from Mary, Goblins, Gloves, Reincarnate, Siobhan, and The Newquay Train. Wow. Just…WOW!

If you like smart, witty, and riveting fiction, don’t pass this collection by. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The great thing about short stories is you can read a few at a time or many at once. However, you read them, do read them. 5 Walloping, glittery, gargantuan stars!

PURCHASE FROM:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

You can find Frederick’s blog HERE if you’d like to give a looksee as to what else he gets up to. I’m presently enjoying a novel he has been serializing, but he’s hinted there is short fiction around the bend and Crow will return. You have no idea how happy that makes me!

Thanks for checking out this special review today. Given I’ve been badgering Frederick to publish this book, I am more than happy to help promote such a fabulous collection.

D.L. Cross Talks Aliens and Alternate Identities

Can you believe we are already over two weeks into August? Summer is speeding by on a rocket ship.

Speaking of rocket ships—and by default space travel—it isn’t a stretch to make the jump to aliens. Today, my guest, Straci Troilo, is serving up two crazy good books, written under her pen name, D. L. Cross. How do I know they’re crazy good? Because I’ve read them both and gave them resounding 5-star reviews!

Staci is a good friend, a talented author, an editor, and a colleague at Story Empire. If, by some impossible hiccup in the universe, you’re not already following her blog, I encourage you to visit her corner of the blogosphere and hop along for the ride.

And now, that I’ve jabbered enough, here’s Staci to tell you about her latest CRAZY GOOD books! 😀


Hi, Mae. As always, I appreciate the warm welcome. And everyone else, hello! Thanks for giving me a few minutes of your time to talk about the Invasion Universe.

If you know me and my early body of work, you know me as Staci Troilo, author of suspense fiction mashed up with romance, paranormal, legal, medical, and/or family drama. I can’t help adding anxiety-ridden situations to the works I write, regardless of the genre.

Which brings me to my latest endeavors. I’m now writing sci-fi.

Splash graphic foe The Gate, a science-fiction novel by D. L. Cross

When I made the jump to science fiction, my publishers insisted on a pen name. (They’re much more conscious of the “also-boughts” on Amazon than I am.) I used to resist writing with different pen names for different genres because I write in so many of them and didn’t want to manage several identities. Turns out, it’s not that difficult. And (if their theories are correct), it’s probably beneficial. At least on some level.

But what I found surprising is my work didn’t change. I’m still writing suspense. Only now, instead of megalomaniacs or serial killers stalking my heroes, aliens are. Actually, that’s not entirely true, either. Sometimes the villains are aliens. Other times, they’re still humans with nefarious agendas.

I have to tell you, I don’t read much sci-fi. But I love it on screen (small or big). Especially space-oriented shows and films. TV series like Lost in Space, Star Trek (original and TNG), Stargate (SG-1 and Atlantis), Roswell… I get lost in them every time they’re on. And movies? I’m hooked. All the Star Wars episodes (even the bad ones), Star Trek (yep, it’s on both lists), Stargate (yes, it made both lists, too), Independence Day, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Avatar, even Mars Attacks (there’s nothing wrong with humor—even ridiculous humor). The lists are endless. I watch as many as I can. And I love most of them.

Splash graphic for The Scout: Dark Crossings, a science-fiction novella by D. L. Cross

The cinematography is usually engaging; the world-building enthralling. But what really draws me in is the characters. Regular people fighting larger-than-life enemies against impossible odds. Who wouldn’t want to watch that?

Who wouldn’t want to read it?

That’s why I made the switch to science fiction—because the genre is wonderous. I was still able to tell my kind of stories with my kind of characters. But now, I get to do it in an alien-rich world.

If you read my Astral Conspiracy series, you’ll find aliens—beings with all kinds of advanced tech and inhuman abilities. You’ll also find a lot of history. I have to admit, Ancient Aliens is a guilty pleasure of mine. Not because I believe their theories, but because of all the amazing places the show’s hosts go and the lore they uncover. I know, it’s weird to think of ancient history melding with futuristic science, but I did it. And early reviews suggest the combination is working.

I hope it is. And I hope you agree. If you give it a try, please leave a review and let me know what you think.

If you like the Twilight Zone, you might enjoy The Scout, my Astral Conspiracy prequel story.

And if you like ancient astronaut theories, you may like The Gate, the first novel of my quintet.

Book cover for The Gate, a science-fiction novel by D. L. CrossBlurb:

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

Universal Purchase Link | More Information | Invasion Universe Newsletter

Book cover for The Scout, a science-fiction novel by D. L. CrossBlurb:

The aliens have landed. The humans are panicking. The scouts have been sent.

J’s mission is clear — find an alien outpost, observe, report back. Simple enough. It’s what he’s trained to do. But he’s always worked with his team, never as a party of one. Now he’s been sent out alone to blindly navigate a dense, dark forest until he finds his target. The dynamics are foreign to him, the stakes never higher. He’s completely isolated. Resources are scarce. Comms are down.

And he’s found the enemy.

It’s imperative he’s not caught, but clandestine spying doesn’t yield enough intel. J needs an ally, someone on the inside of the camp who can feed him information. And he finds one. But he gets more than he bargained for with Aria.

Their relationship grows complicated. Her people get defensive. His superior becomes suspicious. He doesn’t know who to trust. His loyalty’s divided, and pressure’s mounting from all sides.

J is shocked when everyone’s true allegiances are revealed. And the consequences of betrayal will be deadly.

Universal Purchase Link | More Information

Bio:
D.L. Cross has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television’s Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI… no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her. D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website: https://stacitroilo.com.

Other Links:

Staci’s Amazon Page | Staci’s BookBub Page | D.L.’s Amazon Page | D.L.’s BookBub Page


I loved so many of the television shows Staci mentioned in her post, plus many others. I remember reading my first science-fiction novel in the fourth grade and being immediately smitten. As someone who’s loved science-fiction from a young age, it’s been a pleasure to discover a new universe populated by remarkable characters and riveting story lines. As I said in my review of The Scout, “You can’t go wrong with anything from the pen of D.L. Cross!” Still not sure?

Check out my review of The Gate, too, then go forth and one-click these wonderful titles! 🙂

Fallout by @harmony_kent #postapocalyptic #dystopian #preorder

Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome Harmony Kent. Aside from being a skilled and diverse writer, Harmony is also an editor and one of my co-authors at Story Empire. If you’re not already following her blog, I encourage you to check out her spot in the blogosphere and hop aboard. Today, she’s dropped by to share news of her upcoming release, FALLOUT, which I was lucky enough to catch as an ARC. Please say hello and make Harmony feel welcome—and don’t miss my review at the end of this post. I guarantee, you’ll want to click the pre-order button for FALLOUT. I was mesmerized!

Book cover for Fallout by Harmony KentHi, everyone. Harmony here. Many thanks to Mae for hosting me today. I have a new book on pre-order called FALLOUT, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This novel started out life by playing a little game. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined an empty room … in that room, a vial appeared. A dull orange plastic thing covered in scratches. It sloshed when I shook it. From that tiny beginning, the world of Exxon 1 and its deadly virus was born.

Why isn’t the army dealing with the deadly raptors now threatening the cities?

Why is no one handing out a cure?

Does president Terror want them all dead?


BLURB:

WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS APART, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

The year is 3040.

The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.

Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.

The new way worked well, until now.

A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.

No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.

In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe? 

Banner ad for Fallout, a novel by Harmony Kent shows gleaming gold eyes on black background

EXCERPT:

‘Run,’ he yelled to Priya.

Mercifully, she set off at a sprint without offering any argument. Kaleb took a ready stance, feet and legs braced, and planted the stock at his shoulder. The raptor burst onto the neomac surface, an evil red-green in the moons’ glow.

Its oval eyes, a vivid yellow in daylight, looked muddy and brown but no less malevolent. More ominously still, it stopped growling. In complete silence, it stood and watched Kaleb. Studied him. The beast exuded a terrible intelligence.

Around the stock of his weapon, his hands sweated but didn’t tremble. The army had trained him for this. And for things much worse. Kaleb closed one eye and lined up the raptor in his sights, aiming for the centre of its skull. The magnifier grew its eyes to the size of saucers. Though his heart thumped, his mind quieted, giving him the space he needed.

Then, without warning, the raptor glanced left and leapt in that direction.


Author, Harmony KentAuthor Bio
After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors. 

Connect with Harmony at the following haunts:
Website | Story Empire (co-authored) |  | Twitter  | LinkedIn 
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Author Page


FALLOUT sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Post-apocalyptic, creatures, a president named “Terror?” I was intrigued from the get-go and this novel did not disappoint. I’m happy to share my review:

Fallout by Harmony Kent is a dark, gritty, twisted apocalyptic story guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. Exxon 1 has been devastated by a virus, the planet an inhospitable environment where no one can be trusted, especially the planet’s president who is responsible for the outbreak. While people succumb to the virus and others struggle to resist, a vial containing a potential cure becomes the focus of ruthless individuals.

Pryia, a young woman who finds out just how savage her devastated planet can be, becomes entangled in getting the vial into the right hands. But who can be trusted? In the world Kent has created, her multi-layered characters are far from black and white. No one is who they seem, each driven by dark histories and darker goals, each a study in duplicity. There are crosses and double crosses, noble characters who sink to corruption and corrupt characters who discover a sliver of conscience when the clock is ticking to zero hour.

The world building is exceptional, the plot complex but fast paced. This isn’t simply a book about rebuilding a decimated planet, but a story that takes a raw look at human nature. Finally, I loved the full circle arc of the opening scenes gelling so perfectly with the close. A wholly satisfying and riveting read. Highly recommended!

Clink the link below to pre-order your copy now. You’re in for a treat!

FALLOUT Pre-order Link

The Detective, An Excerpt from Unclear Purposes by Joan Hall #RomanticSuspense #Mystery

Exciting times! I’m  thrilled to have my friend, Joan Hall, as my guest today. She’s brought along a fabulous excerpt from her new release, Unclear Purposes. I’m particularly fond of this excerpt because of the featured character. Joan handled him extremely well throughout the book, setting a stage for growth that I found fascinating—just one of the excellent elements in her superb novel. You can find my five start review of Unclear Purposes on Book Bub. And now here’s Joan with her latest release . . .

Mae, it’s an honor to be on your site today and to share about my latest release, Unclear Purposes¸the third and final in the Driscoll Lake Series.

To give your readers a bit of background, there’s a killer on the loose. Driscoll Lake’s new detective, Jason Montgomery, is tasked with solving the crime. But Jason is young, inexperienced, and a bit arrogant. He hasn’t gotten off to a good start with the police chief, Matt Bradford. Let’s get to know Jason a little better and hear his thoughts about the crime.

Book cover for Unclear Purposes by Joan Hall on banner ad /graphic with text from the novel

Jason Montgomery rubbed his forehead as he looked through the file on his desk. Three weeks had passed since the murder of Jenny Allen, and he still wasn’t close to finding her killer. Chief Bradford wanted to meet with him this afternoon to discuss the case, and he wasn’t looking forward to it. If he had even one new piece of evidence, he might feel differently.

Jenny Allen was an enigma. Nothing about her past gave him any clues as to who murdered her. He’d spoken to people who knew Jenny in Taos, Santa Fe, and San Antonio. No one had been able to provide anything that would point him to her killer.

Everyone he’d spoken with said Jenny was quiet and kept to herself. Wasn’t one to make enemies. Jason was beginning to believe the killing had been a random act. Same as the murder in Brewster. He’d kept in close contact with detective Somers.

So far, Brewster police hadn’t come up with a suspect. That was a good thing. If these murders were the work of a serial killer, which was yet to be determined, Jason wanted to be the one to solve the crime. What better way to get in Matt’s good graces and secure his position on the force? And that was only the stepping stone to bigger and better things.

As he looked at the file, another issue came to mind. How was Jenny’s killer able to escape unnoticed? No one who had been jogging that evening reported seeing anything suspicious. Vince Green and Christine Lawrence approached the crime scene from opposite directions. Neither of them saw anyone along the path.

The coroner estimated the victim had only been dead a short time before they found the body. There were no footsteps in the soft earth alongside the path, which meant the murderer had either walked or run at least a short distance along the paved trail.

Christine or Vince might have seen something or someone and had blotted it from their memory. Jason knew of instances where it had happened. The shock of witnessing a brutal crime or being the first on the scene was overwhelming for some people.

If that were the case, he’d be willing to bet Christine was the one who had forgotten. Vince Green was a former law enforcement officer. Trained to be observant. He would notice things most people would overlook.

It was time to have another talk with Ms. Lawrence.

Book cover for Unclear uses shows setting sun reflecting off lake, dark tree line in background, ghost outline of woman's head and shoulders in foreground

Blurb:

Some people take secrets to the grave…

Three years after her husband’s murder, Christine Lawrence still struggles for balance. She has a rewarding career and a close circle of friends but feels oddly unfulfilled. Worse, the close relationship she once had with her teenage daughter has grown increasingly strained.

Former FBI agent, Vince Green, is battling demons of his own—painful secrets that drove him from Driscoll Lake. Newly resettled in the small town, he makes his living as a private investigator.

When Vince and Christine cross paths, stumbling over the body of a murder victim, he’s forced to confront memories he thought long buried. The circumstances surrounding the killing are eerily similar to a victim from his past.

As the body count continues to rise, Christine finds herself drawn to Vince. With a murderer stalking the streets of Driscoll Lake, neither is aware the killer has targeted her as the next victim—or that Vince’s past is key to unmasking a disturbed and deadly killer.

Universal Purchase Link

Bio box for author Joan Hall

Website and Social Media Links:

Website   |  Goodreads  | Twitter   |  Facebook   |   Pinterest   | Instagram   |   BookBub

 

Welcome Guest Blogger, Kevin Cooper

I’m happy to welcome Kevin Cooper to my blog today. Kev is an old friend who took a hiatus from blogging, but is back and going strong. He’s an avid reader, book reviewer, writer, and musician (not necessarily in that order, LOL). I’ll let Kev explain what’s been going on below. Please make him feel welcome with some comment luv and be sure to check out his website and blog!


Back to the Blogosphere

Hi Gals & guys! Well, it’s been over a year since I last blogged… A year and three months to be exact. and have just recently come back. I started my new site on March 5ththis year. Those of you who are familiar with me will know I had several blogs at one time. One for home life, one for music, and a couple or more for books and stuff. I got blogged out, to be honest, and life, as it generally does, got in the way. I ended up deleting all my blogs, social media, and even a couple of email accounts. Anyway, I’m not going to go into all that, but suffice it to say, I’m back now and am here to stay. This is why I decided to invest in my own domain: https://authorkevincooper.com/and this is the only website I have now. There will be no other.

So, what is my new website all about?

I’m glad you asked! First and foremost, for obvious reasons, it is to promote my own books, although it may not seem to be the case as I review every book I read and post my reviews here as well and these posts far outnumber any I have about my own books.

I have also decided to bring author interviews back. I had huge success with my author interviews in the past and hope that my new tailored interviews demand the same success. However, I will not be interviewing authors I am not familiar with, but those whom I have written a book review for. This way I can tailor each interview around the book I have reviewed and the author’s next work in progress.

As for my own work. I am not an avid writer but do have a project in process. It is a collection of short stories I am currently writing called, Dreamscapes.The subject of each story is written around the backdrop of dreams, daydreams, and related fantasies. Some are very sinister, even frightening, others relate very closely to real life subjects. My favourite so far is called The Girl Who Waves. It is about a young boy who is losing his battle with cancer and keeps dreaming about a young girl who keeps waving to him from an island and beckoning him to join her. Meanwhile, his mother is struggling to come to terms with his terminal condition while trying to stay strong for him. I will reveal more about this work on my website when it is nearer completion. I am very much looking forward to having Dreamscapes finished and ready for publishing later in the year.

In addition to my new website, I have created new social media accounts but have limited them to just the following three:

Twitter I Facebook | Tumblr

Links are also available on my website. You can read all about my published works on my website here: My Books

Thanks for having me on your website, Mae. Your endearing support is greatly appreciated.


It’s always a pleasure to have you visit my blog, Kev. I’m thrilled you’re active once again in the blogosphere. As someone who has read most of your work, appreciates your reviews and musical skills, I’m happy to provide an introduction so others may get to know you as well. Gang, I’ve included a gallery of Kevin’s book covers below. You can find the details of each on Kev’s website. Oh—and did I mention he likes cats? 🙂

Cover Reveal: Whatever it Takes by S. Burke #Pre-Order #PsychologicalThriller #Suspense

I’m delighted to be able to take part in the cover reveal blog splash for Whatever it Takes by my good friend Suzanne Burke. I was a beta reader on this book and am thrilled others will soon be able to enjoy it. Once you read this post, I recommend hopping over to Amazon for a one-click pre-order.

But first, here’s Suzanne to tell you about the latest dark and twisty psychological suspense novel she’s crafted…
Whatever It Takes cover reveal banner with curtain

Whatever It Takes

by S.Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW. At the special Pre-order price of $0.99c
Release Date: May 8th, 2019
>Psychological > Thriller & Suspense >.

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “Whatever It Takes” A big thank you to my wonderful editor and friend Rich Bowden @Bowden_Writing

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “Whatever It Takes” my latest Psychological Thriller. “Whatever It Takes ” is due for release on May 8th, 2019.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order at the special Pre-Order price of $0:99

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to the marvelously generous hosts participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement. Here’s my new baby . . .

With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.

Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khalessi

And now the cover

Whatever it Takes Book Cover for all posts.

BOOK BLURB

James Kincaid had it all.

He’d made it the ‘A’ list in Hollywood, a town that prized and idolized its winners above all else.

Then life began exacting a price that no man could be expected to pay as the people he cared about began dying and dying badly.

He couldn’t move on with the dream without knowing why.

Andi O’Connor is the woman he’s hired to do ‘whatever it takes’ to find him the answers.

Could this disenchanted, street-hardened, ex-homicide cop uncover the truth without adding to the growing list of those already sacrificed on the altar of a serial killer’s insanity?

From New York to Los Angeles the body count continues to rise.

Time is not on their side.

***

Prologue.

James Kincaid had long held to the belief that the red carpet he’d walked so often was stained that color with the blood of all those that had bled on the journey to satisfy their heady and addictive dreams of fame.

He’d shed more than his own fair share to get there. He hated the dream destruction, as much as he understood it. This town drew dreamers from every place on the planet, all in need of completion, all hungry for fame and holding on for dear life to the belief that it was only a matter of time before their artistic genius was recognized. No other drug ever gave them that high pulsing adrenaline rush that you soon became reliant on and addicted to. Those first glimpses of recognition hit harder than heroin. Until even those with a strong moral compass became lost.

Lady Luck had become his constant companion only five years before. After twelve years struggling to make headway in the business he became the latest ‘overnight’ sensation, winning the coveted role in what was tipped strongly to be the next ‘big thing’. He knew he could do justice to the part and that knowledge became abundantly clear as the audition cameras rolled.

James Kincaid found himself launched into the stratosphere. This was the only game in town and he was now a lead player.

He was feted and celebrated, pimped out and postured until the day when everything in his world fell into an oxygen-deprived free fall as people he cared about started dying from anything but natural causes.

**

Pre-Order Whatever It Takes HERE on Amazon

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

On Facebook.

Blog

Thank you so much for joining in my excitement. Your support is very much appreciated.

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts and comments below.

Whatever It Takes PRE-ORDER Banner USE THIS ONE FROM Eeva

New Release: Murder in Plane Sight by Julie Holmes #Mystery #Suspense

I am über excited to be taking part in the book launch blog tour for my friend, Julie Holmes. Her debut release, Murder in Plane Sight, a mystery/suspense novel is now available. I have been looking forward to this release for a long time, and am thrilled to know Julie has more mysteries planned. If you’re not already following her blog, Facets of a Muse, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. This isn’t the first time Julie has appeared on my blog, but it IS the first time she’s been here to share a novel she’s written. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome!


Thank you, Mae, for hosting me! I’ve had the opportunity to watch fellow writers release their books. I’ve even hosted their announcements on my own blog, hoping that someday it would be my turn to announce my own book release.

That day is here. It’s both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because I have reached a goal I have been aiming for since elementary school. Terrifying because I can no longer stay home and quietly keep writing, not if I want to gather readers.

I’ve been paying attention to my fellow writers and what they do for their book releases. Some offer a bit of insight into their process, which seems to suggest there is some sort of order to the whole thing.

I suppose there is. First come the characters.

No, wait, first comes the story.

Hmm. It’s different for every writer, and for me it can be different for every book. Sometimes I come up with characters who need a story. Sometimes I get a great story idea, and the characters follow.

So which was it with this book, you ask? That’s a little tricky, because the very first draft wasn’t set at the airport at all. In fact, it was a whole different story, with a main character who was an aircraft mechanic, and a story set in rural Minnesota. What is the point of a character who works at the airport when the story isn’t set there?

I realized I had two separate stories: a character who needed a story, and a story that needed a character. So I pulled my aircraft mechanic out of rural Minnesota and gave her a story. And of course, as is usual in my creative process, her first story wasn’t even set on the airport grounds.

Which I realized after I wrote the first draft and started reading through it. And I heard the voice of my writing teacher, clear as day: Why isn’t she at the airport?

Um. Yeah. Duh!

And eventually the story matured into Murder in Plane Sight.What about the other story, you ask? That’s on my list to work on after I finish Book 2. Yes, there will be another Sierra Bauer mystery. 🙂

Book cover for Murder in Plane Sight by Julie Holmes shows plane on snowy taxi way with woman in foreground, back to camera

BLURB:
Sierra Bauer, aircraft mechanic, struggled against personal tragedy to reclaim control of her life and her aviation career, but when she discovers a frozen body in her inspection plane, she must prove her innocence and uncover the key to exposing a deadly aviation conspiracy before she becomes the next casualty.

Find at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold.

Short Excerpt:
Headlights glared in the rearview mirror. Sierra Bauer slowed, but not enough. Her car slid around the turn onto the service drive that ran past the Range Airlines maintenance hangar on the western side of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. She steered into the skid, regained control. Cursed the timing of the snow.

The idiot stuck to her backside like duct tape, too damn close even for Minneapolis drivers in these two inches of fresh January snow. Sierra considered hitting the brakes.

A deep rumble, and her tailgater passed her.

A pickup truck.

In the glow of her headlights, she identified the color.

Black.

Her breath caught.

An outline of a pale rectangle peeked from the layer of snow on the rear bumper.

Her heart stuttered. Raced.

It can’t be his truck. How would he know where I am?

bio box for author, Julie Holmes

Find Julie at the following haunts:
Web | Blog | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

New Release: Heart of the Storm by Debbie Peterson #TimeTravel #SweetRomance #Bermuda Triangle

It’s another release day for my good friend, Debbie Peterson! Debbie writes mesmerizing tales of time travel with a splash of sweet romance mixed in. In her newest book, Heart of the Storm, she addresses one of the foremost unexplained mysteries to baffle scientists for centuries—the Bermuda Triangle.

Please welcome Debbie as she shares a true-life incident from the Triangle, and celebrates Heart of the Storm.


Book cover for Heart of the Storm by Debbie Peterson shows girl in foreground wearing a DEA t-shirt with old clipper ship in background on a sunset sea

Hello Mae! Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of Heart of the Storm.

Once upon a time, five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, known as “Flight 19,” took off from the Naval Air Station in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was during the afternoon hours of December 15, 1945. The routine training flight was no big deal, really. They were to conduct a bombing exercise known then as “Navigation Problem Number One.” It would take a mere three hours. During this mission they would fly to a place called the Hens and Chicken Shoals, drop a few practice bombs, then head north and fly over the Grand Bahama Island. Afterward, they would turn in a southwesterly direction and go back to base. Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor, an experienced World War II pilot, served as flight leader.

At first, all went as planned…at first.

About 2:30 p.m. the boys dropped their practice load over the Hens and Chickens Shoals and turned north as scheduled. That’s when the routine flight became anything but routine. You see, from out of the blue, and quite unexpectedly, Taylor reported the compass of his plane wasn’t functioning correctly. He became convincedthey were all flying in the wrong direction. A sudden, tumultuous rainstorm, accompanied by high winds and heavy clouds worsened the situation. They couldn’t see a  thing.

“I don’t know where we are,” said one of the pilots over the radio. “We must’ve got lost after that last turn.”

A Navy flight instructor, who was flying near the coast of Florida, overheard the chatter. After he informed the Air Station of the situation, he radioed the Avengers and asked if they needed assistance.

“Both my compasses are out and I’m trying to find Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,” a panicked Taylor said. “I’m over land, but it’s broken. I’m sure I’m in the Keys, but I don’t know how far down.”

That didn’t make any sense at all. After all, Taylor had made his scheduled pass over Hens and Chicken Shoals less than an hour earlier. Yet, for some reason, he now believed his squad had somehow drifted hundreds of miles off course and ended up in the Florida Keys. Pilots lost in the Atlantic were trained to fly their planes toward the setting sun. This, of course, would take them west toward the mainland, even if they didn’t know where west was. In the hope he could locate the Florida peninsula, Taylor turned his squad northeast.

“Dammit,” one man groused over the radio. “If we would just fly west, we would get home.”

Taylor finally turned around and headed west, but shortly after 6 p.m., he once again changed direction. “We didn’t go far enough east,” he said. “We may as well just turn around and go east again.” The transmissions became increasingly faint. By now, fuel would be running low. Taylor instructed his men to prepare for a crash landing in the ocean. “All planes close up tight,” he said. “We’ll have to ditch unless landfall…when the first plane drops below ten gallons, we all go down together.” A few minutes later, the only thing that could be heard over the radio was unnerving static.

Treasure hunters thought they solved the puzzle of the missing planes in 1991 when they found five World War II-era Avengers on the ocean floor near Fort Lauderdale. However, the serial numbers didn’t match those of “Flight 19.”

There are many such stories that have taken place inside the Bermuda Triangle. There are a few things they all have in common, though: A sudden, raging storm, malfunctioning gauges, disorientation and feelings of being hopelessly lost…

Such a setting is found in the beginning of Heart of the Storm, in a story where past meets present and the adventure begins!

Blurb:
DEA agent Aliyana Montijo must stop a drug lord’s killing orders and find a government mole. With a contract on her head, she trusts no one. While heading back to Florida with evidence, lightning strikes her plane. As it careens into the ocean, she thinks she sees a pirate ship. What she finds is a dashing and most unlikely ally.

Four centuries ago, Wolfaert Dircksen Van Ness captained a vessel for the Dutch West Indies Company. Then an unearthly storm in the Bermuda Triangle blew him into a parallel dimension. After rescuing Aliyana from a similar tempest, he finds himself drawn to the courageous beauty and wants to aid her mission.

In the midst of danger, the two find themselves falling in love. Then a misunderstanding tears them apart, perhaps forever…

photo of Debbie Peterson, AuthorAbout Debbie Peterson
Debbie is an author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She has-and always has had-a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, making an impossible love possible, and happily ever after endings. She loves music, art, beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and thunder storms.

When she’s not busy conjuring her latest novel, She spends time with the members of her very large and nutty family in the lovely, arid deserts of southern Nevada. She also pursues her interests in family history (which she also teaches), mythology, and history.

You can find her at the following haunts:
Website
Twitter 
Facebook
Goodreads

Buy Links
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple I Tunes

New Release: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack #Fantasy #Pirates #RootMonsters

My first post of 2019 is going to be a treat, folks! Not only is Lisa Burton, stunning spokesmodel for author C.S. Boyack, visiting my blog, but she’s here to share Craig’s latest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Book cover for Voyage of the Lanternfish by author, C. S. Boyack, shows bow of old clipper ship with glowing lanternfish head Now, I’m always excited when Mr. Boyack trots out a new novel. His stories are wildly imaginative and flavored with a bit of odd. I’m a huge fan of odd.

I’m also a huge fan of monsters, especially cryptids. There are root monsters in Craig’s new book! Seriously, how cool is that name? I can’t wait to meet these guys. Let’s see what Lisa has to say about them.


“Oh, my gosh, Mae. I’m so happy to be back here. In fact, I’m happy to be anywhere this time of year. The writing cabin gets pretty cold and lonely about now.

“Anyway, Craig has me out on tour for his newest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish. I know fantasy monsters aren’t quite cryptids, but work with me here. I thought they might appeal to your readers, because of the cryptic connection.

“Craig wants to have his say, so he made me bring some data along. We’ll share it, then we can have some fun.”


The root monsters in this story are part of the good guys. Mal, the witch doctor, grew them in a planter attached to the window of a Gypsy caravan. He plucked them from the ground, lopped off their leaves; voila, instant creature.

They started out as something that could keep watch in the middle of the night while my characters traveled through wild country. My original vision of them was based around what were called Pigmies in The Mummy Returns. The pigmies were a swarm with sharp teeth and pointy sticks.

My root monsters retained a lot of that throughout the story. They scrounged things like old fish hooks to fight with, but the sharp teeth remained. There could be a smattering of the tooth fairies from one of the Hellboy movies. (Swarms are scary.)

They started growing in number, and some of them needed singling out. These monsters got names. They developed their own pidgin English.

One of the things I really enjoyed was how their culture advanced. They became the storytellers aboard the ship, and their verbal history might be the only thing these pirates leave behind. Their stories are always a bit off kilter from the actual truth. As an example, they have no idea about numbers. There is a scene where the monster named Boss is trying to negotiate for more monsters. In typical fashion, characters would spout numbers and work toward the middle in negotiations. Boss just throws random numbers out that are nonsensical.

Their culture evolves to the point that the rest of the crew looks forward to monster story time. The giving of a name is looked upon as a badge of honor and must be earned. I even hinted that they may be developing their own shaman.

Make no mistake, while they are dangerous and ruthless, they are also comedy relief. My recipe of tooth fairies and Pigmies got a healthy dose of Minions, and a pinch of Wile E. Coyote too.

If you’d like to know more, I’ll make sure Lisa drops off a cover, blurb, and purchase link.


“Now that the boss had his say, we can do the fun part. Look, I brought you a new poster. I chose this one, because it has a couple of root monsters in it. I know the one in the red hat is Flattop. He gets dialog and everything in the story.

Lisa Burton, spokesmodel for author C.S. Boyack in sexy pirate outfit with skull-and-crossbones flag, chest of gold and root monsters

“I really enjoyed dressing up in pirate clothes for a couple of months while Sean worked on these posters. Your readers should feel free to share them on Pinterest, or even use them as computer and gadget backgrounds. That’s what they’re for.

“As the pitch-girl for Craig’s work, I’ll leave you all the important stuff to add to the post whenever you’re ready. Now, what’s fun around here before I head for my next stop?”


Hmm…Maybe I should have Lisa chat with the Mothman, the Fiend, or even the monsters that make an appearance in my next book. She could handle any of them. Then again, she’d probably find their wardrobe atrocious and I’d have to agree. She and I will have to settle for shopping.

And speaking of shopping, I highly recommend you go forth and ONE CLICK Voyage of the Lanternfish. I’m currently reading it and can vouch you’re going to love it!

Check out the blurb:

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Purchase Link

Author, C. S. BoyackAuthor Bio:

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter GoodreadsFacebookPinterest | BookBub

 

Pre-Order The Body In The Attic by Judi Lynn #cozy #mystery

Happy first day of November! To kick off the month, I’m delighted to welcome friend and sister author, Judi Lynn. We’ve shared the same publisher for many years now. Judi has a new mystery release coming out in November that I’m super excited about and have already pre-ordered. Before I turn things over so she can tell you about it, please be sure to check out her blog. She’s wonderfully supportive of others and shares engaging posts that I know you’ll enjoy. And now….take it away Judi!


I want to thank Mae for inviting me to her blog.  We’re sister authors for Lyrical Press.  I loved her Point Pleasant series and the start of her Hode’s Hill series.  CUSP OF NIGHT has such a great mix of mystery and paranormal, I’m waiting for the second book to come out in January!  My first mystery, THE BODY IN THE ATTIC, due out Nov. 27, is a straight cozy with food and family tossed in.   I love to cook, so there are a couple of recipes at the back of the book.

Book cover for the cozy mystery novel The Body in the Attic by Judi Lynn shows an old trunk surrounded by various items in an attic

You can find it here:  http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/37036

Here’s the blurb:

Welcome to River Bluffs, Indiana, a cozy small town populated with charming homes, close-knit families, and the occasional deadly secret . . .

House-flipper Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod have found their latest project. The property, formerly owned by the late Cal Juniper, is filled with debris that must be cleared before the real renovation begins. But a trip to the attic reveals something more disturbing than forgotten garbage—a skeleton wearing a locket and rings that Jazzi recognizes . . .

Tests confirm that the bones belong to Jazzi’s aunt Lynda, who everyone assumed moved to New York years ago after breaking up with Cal. Soon enough, the whole family is involved, sifting through memories and rumors as they try to piece together what really happened to Lynda—and the baby she gave up for adoption. In between investigating and remodeling, Jazzi is falling for the old house’s charms—and for her gorgeous contractor, Ansel. But with surprises lurking in every nook and cranny, a killer might be waiting to demolish her dreams for good . . .

And here’s an excerpt:

Jerod called 911.  While Jazzi waited for the detective to arrive, she went from room to room upstairs, checking them out. She needed to keep busy to distract herself.  Her aunt was folded into a trunk, and her mom was going to relive a crappy memory.  When Lynda had accepted Cal Juniper’s engagement ring but told him that she needed to leave River Bluffs for a year to think things through, friends had lined up behind Cal, not Lynda.  And now here Lynda was, stuffed in a trunk in Cal’s attic.

Detective Richard Gaff and crime scene experts arrived before Jazzi could sort out her thoughts.  Gaff looked at the trunk, frowned at the stains halfway up it, and shook his head.  “How long did you say she’d been here?”

Jazzi watched the techs take one picture after another.  “She disappeared twenty-six years ago, a few months after she got engaged.  Why is everything stained there?”

A tech answered automatically.  “A body liquefies when it decomposes—all the fluids draining and organs breaking down.”

Jerod grimaced at the floorboards.

“A clean-up crew comes when we find a body or remains.  They can fix anything.”  Gaff looked at the diamond ring caught on the knuckle of the bony finger on her right hand.  “And who was she going to marry?”

“That ring came from Thomas Sorrell.  She broke up with him.”  Jazzi pointed to the small heap of bones that had fallen off when Jerod moved the trunk.  Another diamond glistened among them—a little smaller, but classier.  “That’s Cal’s ring.  She was going to marry him.”

He stopped writing and frowned.  “Those are both big diamonds.”

Jazzi shook her head.  “Both men were rich.”

“You said she was engaged when she disappeared.”

“To Cal Juniper, but she asked him to give her a year in New York to think things through.”

“And he was all right with that?”

“He wasn’t happy, but he agreed to it.  My mom told me that it bothered him so much, he left River Bluffs before Lynda did.  He was going to travel across Europe on business trips until Lynda was supposed to come back.”

“So he wasn’t in the house.  For a year?  That makes sense.  It would stink to high heavens for a long time.”  Gaff scratched his head, confused.  “Okay, let’s start at the beginning.  Can you tell me what you know about your aunt?”

Jerod and Jazzi exchanged glances.

“That could take a while,” Jazzi said.

Author Bio:

Judi Lynn lives in Indiana with her husband, a bossy gray cat, a noisy Chihuahua, and a parakeet.  She loves to cook and owns more cookbooks than any mortal woman would ever need.  That’s why so much food sneaks into her stories.  She also loves her flower beds, but is a haphazard gardener, at best.

You can find her at:

You can find her webpage at: http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

Her blog:  http://writingmusings.com/

Her author facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

Twitter: @judypost

On BookBub at Judi Lynn with a link to Judith Post:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judi-lynn