Guest Author Thursday: Sue Rovens with Rage #suspense #crimethriller

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in script

Welcome to another Guest Author Thursday. Today, I’m delighted to feature Sue Rovens, who has brought along her latest release, Rage, in addition to an intriguing post about her characters and plots. Personally, I’m a huge fan of character-driven fiction. Check out Sue’s post then drop her some thoughts in the comments.

Take it away, Sue!


Thank you so much, Mae, for having me as a guest. The opportunity is most appreciated!

Anyone who prefers suspense over hardcore horror/gore should find my books to their liking. My characters are people who have faults, problems, and at times, heavy baggage. I don’t shy away from polarizing issues and taboo topics. However, at the same time, I don’t glorify these facets. The people in my stories are as “real” as those we meet everyday (or read about in the papers). The various situations I put them in is what drives the narrative.

Rage, my newest novel, follows two main characters – Wilbur Weston and Lyndsay Yager. Wilbur is a depressed and bitter man who hates the world almost as much as himself. Lyndsay is his therapist who is a train wreck of an alcoholic on the brink of divorce.

While Rage casts a dark shadow over itself, the reader will discover the characters’ reasoning for the choices they make – both good and bad. It’s a suspenseful tale full of hurt and desperate people who see themselves as doing what they must – righting their wrongs.

Rage comes in at 232 pages and is available in paperback and in Kindle format from Amazon.

BOOK BLURB:

Weston Cross is a bullied and abused man who wants nothing more than to escape from his agonizing mental anguish and excruciating misery. After a harrowing brush with death, he discovers a better way to twist his depression and self-despair into something different…something sinister.

Lindsay Yager, the therapist assigned to help Weston with his internal battles, is fighting her own demons. On the verge of a nasty divorce, she finds solace at the bottom of a bottle. Her anger and vitriol take no prisoners, even when lives are at stake – including her own.

Depression sets the stage, but RAGE will have the final say.

AUTHOR BIO:

Sue Rovens is an indie suspense/horror author who hails from Normal, Illinois. She has written four novels and two books of short horror stories.

Track 9, her second novel, snagged a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly (May 2018), her short story, “Coming Over”, from her book, In a Corner, Darkly (Volume 1) was turned into a screenplay and short student indie film by the theater department of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and another short story, “When the Earth Bled”, won 2nd place in the Support Indie Authors short story contest earlier this year. Her two most recent books (Buried and Rage) are under Plump Toad Press.

Sue owns a blog (suerovens.com) which includes interviews with authors, musicians, podcasters, and artists. She is an Executive Producer for an indie (short) horror film which is currently in production called “Let’s Do Things that Make Us Happy”. Sue is also a co-host and story writer for the new horror podcast, Ye Olde Terror Inn.

Sue is a member of The Chicago Writers Association and the Alliance for Independent Authors (ALLi).

Blog: https://suerovens.com | Email: srovens@yahoo.com

I also want to let your readers know that I interview authors (and artists and musicians) of ALL genres and professional levels. Currently, I have 179 author interviews, as well as a handful of music folks and artistic people.

Everything is done through email and on YOUR schedule/timeframe. If you are interested in being a part of the Meet & Greet (author interviews), Spotlight (artists), and/or Flipside (music folks), please send me a quick email. ALL are welcome on my blog. Thanks!


What a nice invitation. Not only has Sue brought her latest release to share, but also an opportunity for all creative sorts out there. I hope you’ll reach out to her—and don’t forget to hop over to AMAZON to pick up your copy of Rage!

Book Spotlight: Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello @SLMarchisello @SunburyPress #mystery #crime

An open book with rays and orbs of light shooting from the pages

Hello, and welcome to a new Sunbury Press Book Spotlight. If you’ve been following my blog, you that Sunbury Press is a traditional publisher located in my area. Twice a month, I’ll be highlighting their authors with book spotlights. Each selection has been chosen to appeal to the reading taste of my followers. You’ll find mostly mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and supernatural stories. Today, I’m welcoming Sharon Marchisello, with her mystery novel, Secrets of the Galapagos. I hope you’ll drop her a line and make her feel welcome!

book cover Secrets of the Galapagos, large tortoise in front on sand beach, cruise liner in background

Book Description:
Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. 

Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

PURCHASE LINKS:
SUNBURY PRESS | AMAZON

Author, Sharon MarchiselloAUTHOR BIO:
Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press: Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). Her other publications include travel articles, corporate training manuals, short stories, book reviews, a blog, and a nonfiction book about personal finance, Live Well, Grow Wealth. She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is an active member of Sisters in Crime. Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she now lives in Peachtree City and does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. 

AUTHOR WEBSITE | TWITTER


Given Sharon’s background with Delta Airlines, it doesn’t surprise me she’s chosen to write about such an exotic and intriguing locale, not to mention the famed giant Galapagos tortoise. The blend of intrigue and mystery in this one sounds quite compelling. Sharon will be popping in to say hello, so be sure to drop her a comment and share your thoughts about her release. As always, thanks for visiting, and please click the sharing buttons to help spread the news about Secrets of the Galapagos.

Book Spotlight: I Am Mayhem by Sue Coletta #preorder #womensleuths #crimefiction #bookreview

An open book with rays and orbs of light shooting from the pages

Today I’m shining the spotlight on the very talented, Sue Coletta, who is releasing the long-anticipated fourth novel in her Mayhem series. Shawnee Daniels makes a great MC, and “Mayhem” is one of my favorite book villains. Mayhem’s crows—yes, crows—Edgar, Allan, and Poe, also deserve a mention because they are every bit characters in their own right. Especially Poe.

I was lucky enough to score an ARC of this novel, and am sharing my 5 STAR review at the end of this post. Be sure to take a look and be ready to ONE-CLICK!

Book Description:

As bloody, severed body parts show up on her doorstep, Shawnee Daniels must stop the serial killer who wants her dead before she becomes the next victim.

But can she solve his cryptic clues before it’s too late? Or will she be the next to die a slow, agonizing death?


With crows stalking her every move, Shawnee can barely function. Things worsen when body parts show up on her doorstep. An unstoppable serial killer wants her dead. Mr. Mayhem threatens to murder everyone she loves, sending Shawnee a piece at a time.

As Mr. Mayhem sits in judgement, his cryptic clues must be solved before the final gavel drops. The game rules are simple—win the unwinnable or submit to a slow, agonizing death.

When Shawnee tries to fight back, she discovers her very existence is based on lies. But the full impact of the truth might become the headstone on Shawnee’s grave.

Preorder on Amazon for 99c.

Book will be delivered to your device on April 20, 2021 (release day).

Tirgearr Publishing

Sue Coletta

Author Bio:
Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and Expertido.org named her Murder Blog as one of the “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net” (Murder Blog sits at #5). Sue also blogs at the Kill Zone, a multi-award-winning writing blog.

Sue lives in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writes two serial killer thriller series (Tirgearr Publishing) and true crime (Rowman & Littlefield Group, Inc.). And recently, she appeared on an Emmy award-winning true crime show. Learn more about Sue and her books at: https://suecoletta.com


MY REVIEW:
Wow! I’ve followed this series from book one, and it just keeps getting better. Coletta has penned a wonderfully unique and memorable set of characters—Shawnee Daniels, a (reformed?) cat burglar/computer hacker currently working for the police, her detective boyfriend, and Mr. Mayhem—serial killer, and chameleon-like adversary. Oh, and there are crows. Not just ordinary crows, but birds who are characters in their own right. Mayhem has three crows who do his bidding—Edgar, Allan, and Poe. 

Poe, in particular, is a scene stealer. A charmer with Mayhem, Poe is oil to Shawnee’s water. Nails on a blackboard which makes for intriguing interaction.

In this the fourth book of the series, Coletta builds on the cat-mouse relationship between Mayhem and Shawnee. There is history between these characters, deeply-rooted, so it does help to have an understanding of that going into the novel, especially as this story picks up where book three left off. Stakes are high right off the bat with murder on the menu. As the story progresses, cold-blooded killings mingle with mysticism and Native American beliefs, customs, and folklore. For those who have followed the series, Shawnee’s family background is fleshed out, along with that of Mr. Mayhem, bringing surprising results.  

Shawnee and Mayhem are polar opposites—one street-tough, and gritty, the other cultured but deadly. Parts of this story left me biting my fingernails to see how everything would play out, while other sections had me misty eyed. The suspense is great, but the character development is what makes this one so exceptional. The story wraps with a solid ending but does leave wiggle room should the author choose to continue. As a fan of the series, I can only hope she does. If you enjoy strong characters in a fast-paced tale layered with folklore and Native American themes (think skinwalkers and Tony Hillerman), you won’t want to miss this novel.

*I received a complimentary ARC for an honest review


Intrigued? I hope my FIVE STAR review enticed you. You can grab your own copy of I Am Mayhem from Amazon. Release date is April 20, but you can pre-order through the link below. An excellent read for a mere .99c.

Thanks for visiting today. Please drop Sue a line or two in the comments to help her celebrate her upcoming release.


Preorder on Amazon for 99c.

Book Review Tuesday: The Light: Wake Robin Ridge #4 @MarciaMeara, Earth’s Earliest Ages, George H. Pember, The Whisper Man @writer_north

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageWow! It’s a New Year and I’m thoroughly jazzed to start off the week with my first review of 2020! Although I read these book in December, I didn’t want to share them during the hustle-bustle of Christmas for fear they would get overlooked in all the festive merriment.


Book cover for The Light by Marcia Meara shows young boy standing on a rock with hand extended toward a floating orb of lightThe Light: Wake Robin Ridge #4
by Marcia Meara

I have read and enjoyed all of Marcia Meara’s Wake Robin Ridge books, but The Light, is quite possibly my favorite. Rabbit­—a very special eleven-year-old boy who grew up in Appalachia, now the adopted son of Sarah and Mac—takes center stage yet again. Gifted with “the sight” which allows him to see future events as well as “read” others, he is wise beyond his years. An old soul who has a unique way of viewing the world, he has a folksy charm that resonates with every word he utters. Meara’s gift of writing him is exquisite, and despite numerous well-rounded and lovable characters, it’s Rabbit who steals the show.

I adore Mac and Sarah—mostly because of Rabbit’s pure-hearted love for them, and their utter devotion and fierce protective love for him. I’m enamored of several new characters who make their debut in this book—especially Austin—but once you meet Rabbit, you’re eternally smitten. No two ways about it. He’s a character who lingers long after you’ve read the last paragraph.

An added bonus is the inclusion of the Brown Mountain Lights, an unexplained phenomenon that has long fascinated me. Meara does an excellent job of weaving their appearance into a multi-layered plot which covers the gamut from high-brow society to misguided con artists.

If you like family stories with plenty of warmth, ­­­threads of the supernatural and folklore, plus a well-plotted mystery, don’t miss the latest in the Wake Robin Ridge Series. Five big glittery stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Paranormal & Urban Fantasy > Ghost Fiction


Earth’s Earliest Ages
by George H. Pember

Book cover for Earth's Earliest Ages shows alien-looking humanoid in profile, large head, ears and eyes, three pyramids and prehistoric looking bird flying above pyramidsSomeone recommended this book to me, and I found it to be an intriguing read. Originally published in 1884, it is somewhat dense—you won’t breeze through it—but also highly interesting. The author starts at the Beginning. And I do mean THE BEGINNING, as in prior to when God said, “Let there be light.”

Pember takes the reader through the creation of Earth, the Fall, life outside the gates of Eden, the sin of Cain and the rise of Watchers or b’nai ha Elohim (“sons of God”) who mingled with humans, resulting in the birth of the Nephilim, half celestial, half human beings. All from a Biblical perspective.

He offers the belief that Nephilim (as well as Principalities of the Air) were the ancient gods of Babylonia, Egypt and Persia, as well as the gods of Rome and Greece. But there’s much more, including a close look at life leading up to the Great Flood. Later, he addresses how the sorcerers of Ancient Egypt were able to duplicate several of the plagues Moses—through God—inflicted on Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

Earth’s Earliest Ages, was written in a time when Spiritualism was exploding. The first half of the book is devoted to studying Old Testament events and comparing Pember’s day to the days of Noah. The last half of the book takes an in-depth look at Spiritualism, Theosophy, and Buddhism. Although I found the section on Spiritualism interesting (due to the amount of research I did on sham aspects of the religion for a novel), I waded through the chapters on Theosophy and Buddhism. That aside, Pember offers up several interesting theories and backs them from a Biblical perspective. Despite being published over a century ago, the text has been updated through multiple editions, and still resonates with the state of our world today in many ways. 4 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Nonfiction > Biblical Studies


The Whisper Man
by Alex North

Book cover for The Whisper Man by Alex North shows ragged handprint with open butterfly wings serving as palm. Blackimage on white backgroundChalk this up to one of my favorite reads of the year! After his wife dies unexpectedly, Tom Kennedy moves with his young son, Jake, to the tiny village of Featherbank in an effort to start fresh. Jake is a sensitive child, prone to talking to an imaginary friend. At first things appear to be moving in the right direction, then Tom learns that he and his son have moved into the neighborhood “scary house.” Worse, Featherbank is also the site of several child abductions and murders decades in the past. The serial killer responsible was known as the Whisper Man due to a habit of whispering to his victims outside their bedroom windows. Just before Tom and Jake settle into their new house, a young boy goes missing. Then Tom overhears Jake reciting part of a rhyme: “If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken…”

Where to begin? This is a highly suspenseful, creepy read with intricate layers. Not only do we have Tom and Jake—with Tom struggling on so many levels to be the father Jake needs—but two detective inspectors are also front and center. DI Pete Willis is the man responsible for bringing the Whisper Man to justice decades ago, and DI Amanda Beck is the lead on the current abduction case. A case that bears eerie similarities to the Whisper Man’s crimes.

Twists and turns? Oh, yes! I smugly thought I had part of the story figured out early on, only to have the proverbial rug wrenched from under me. Plus, there are HUGE surprises in store. WOW moments that induce goosebumps. I’m in awe by how expertly the author wove everything together.

Originally, I was a little cat-shy about reading a story that involved child victims, but there is nothing graphic here. The past is only touched on in a sinister, but distant way. What makes this book so unforgettable is the atmosphere North conjures in most every scene—like a storm waiting to break. The creep-factor is subtle, but deliciously wrought, and the ending delivers another jaw-dropper. If you like well-written, tightly plotted, suspenseful reads with a hint of eeriness, don’t pass up The Whisper Man. I highly recommend this one! Five whopping big stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Horror Suspense > Ghost Mysteries > Ghost Thrillers

July Book Reviews, Part One @rijanjks @Wendy_Walker @riley_sager

It’s been hot. Extremely hot. We’ve had heat indexes topping 110. A few days ago the standard temperature was 99. My pool (at night) was 91.5. How warped is that?

As a result, I didn’t get to float on a raft and devour novels as much as I would have liked because the sun was blistering. I did, however, get to read several great tales before the sun turned toxic (see below). Click the Amazon link for the blurbs and  learn more about each title.

The first three are novellas, perfect for reading on coffee or lunch breaks. All selections are 5-star reads, so dig in!


Book cover for Voodoo or Destiny by Jan Sikes shows homemade voodoo doll with button eyes, stuck with pinsVoodoo or Destiny, You Decide
by Jan Sikes

Claire and her friend, Jade (who is descended from a New Orleans voodoo queen) are having a girls night with several bottles of wine. Jade is there to cheer up her friend who was recently dumped by her husband, Daniel, for a younger woman. Fueled by too much alcohol, the two friends decide to even the playing field by causing Daniel heartache. Jade suggests a voodoo doll ceremony and Claire hops on board. But the next morning, while dealing with a hangover, Clair receives shocking and unexpected news.

An entertaining short story that allows the reader to draw their own conclusion.

Amazon Link
Genre:  Occult Fiction > Occult Fiction > Short Reads


Look cover for Jewel by Jan Sikes shows attractive young woman in evening gown in front of dilapidated old shackJewel
by Jan Sikes

I loved this story. Jewel is an innocent young girl just shy of 18 who has spent her entire life living in poverty. When her mother, struggling to raise Jewel and Jewel’s younger sister, Sara Sue on her own, becomes terminally ill, she makes arrangements for both girls to have a shot at a better life. For Jewel that includes an education in the ways of the world, men, and love.

If you like Cinderella stories, tales of love and sacrifice, this short story will warm your heart. Beautifully rendered and told, the HEA ending is a sweet wrap.

Amazon Link
Genre: Contemporary Short Stories > Women’s Short Stories


book cover for A Soldier's Children by Jan Sikes shows close up of one side of a young girl's faceA Soldier’s Children
by Jan Sikes

A lovely story that takes the reader from hardship to a well deserved HEA.

Fourteen year-old Jennifer is doing her best to care for her younger sister, hold down a part time job, and attend school—all because their mother deserted them, running off with a man she recently met. Their father has been MIA in Afghanistan for a number of years, leaving Jennifer no choice but to take on the role of provider if she wants to keep her and her sister out of “the system.”

The story starts off with a bang. Jennifer’s sister, Emily has gone missing at the amusement park where Jennifer works part time. The resolution to that scare is both sweet and heart wrenching, setting up a string of dominos that put the sisters closer and closer to being discovered. How long can Jennifer get away saying her mother is out of town, or home sick in bed? Although this is a short read, the ending is guaranteed to leave you with a smile and plenty of warm fuzzies. Most enjoyable!

Amazon Link
Genre: Short Stories > Fiction Short Stories


Book cover for The Night Before by Wendy Walker shows close up of woman's face, one half natural, the other half overlaid by murky blue tintThe Night Before
by Wendy Walker

Laura and her sister, Rosie, along with Joe and Gabe, all grew up in the same neighborhood, tight friends from early childhood. Rosie and Joe are now married with a toddler, and Gabe has married. After her most recent relationship ends badly, Laura moves into her sister’s home to recover. It isn’t long before she connects with “Jonathan,” a man from an online site and agrees to a date. When she doesn’t return home the next morning, Rosie fears the worst.

What sets this slick page turner apart from others in a similar vein is that Rosie’s concern isn’t only for her sister. If the date went bad, she’s also terrified what Laura might have done to Jonathan. That unexpected curveball sold me on the book, and I was not disappointed.

When she was a teen, Laura’s boyfriend, Mitch, was bludgeoned to death during a party. The events of the night have always been murky, though a homeless man with a mental disability was eventually convicted of the crime. Even so, suspicion has hung over Laura given she was found standing beside Mitch’s body, a baseball bat in her hand, blood on her clothing. Combined with a rough-and-tumble childhood and her own doubts about what she did that night, she has been trapped in a downward spiral ever since.

The story alternates between Laura’s first person POV during her date with Jonathan, Rosie’s third person POV as she, Joe, and Gabe frantically search for Laura, and transcripts of Laura’s sessions with her psychologist. There are plenty of false leads to make the reader think they’ve figured things out, several jaw-dropping moments, and enough plot twists to make this work as both a psychological thriller and a twisty whodunit. It’s hard to say more without giving away spoilers, but suffice to say I was riveted from page one and devoured this book in a single night. Highly recommended!

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Thrillers > Domestic Thrillers


Book cover for Lock Every Door by Riley Sager shows old fashioned door open to room, silhouette of woman fleeing in backgroundLock Every Door
by Riley Sager

Riley Sager is one of my auto-buy authors. He’s mesmerized me before, but he hit it out of the ballpark with his latest release.

Jules has had a string of bad luck, starting with getting laid off from her job, followed by discovering her live-in boyfriend banging another woman. She ends up near penniless, sleeping on her BFF’s sofa until she finds a classified ad for an apartment sitter. $12,000 to occupy a luxury apartment in the Bartholomew—a New York high society landmark—for three months. It sounds too good to be true, especially given the building is the fairy-tale setting of a novel that bound Jules and her sister as teens.

The rules are bizarre. Among other things, no visitors and no sharing any information about the residents who live in the Bartholomew, but Jules is too desparate to give them a second thought. Not long after she’s in the apartment, more luxurious than she could have imagined, she realizes something is not quite right. Previous “apartment sitters” have gone missing, one of the current sitters hints all is not as it seems, and the woman who wrote the novel she and her sister loved as teens is—surprise!—a resident.

The “big reveal” is a blind-side from left field, nothing I would have ever seen coming. Sager uses history, both fake and real to weave a tale that feels urgent and present-day as well as dusty with the footprints of a faded yesteryear. An intoxicating tapestry every bit as formidable as the bizarre wallpaper in Jules apartment in the Bartholomew. Extra points for the atmospheric use of the building’s gargoyles. Superb!

Amazon Link
Genre: Women’s Crime Thrillers > Ghost Thrillers


This week is supposed to be mildly cooler so perhaps I will be reading poolside again. Either way, I’ll have a second round of reviews shortly. In the meantime, I hope you found something to pique your interest. Happy reading!

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order: The Alternative by Suzanne Burke

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Suzanne Burke to my blog with the cover reveal for her upcoming release, The Alternative. I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek at this collection, and it’s a winner! Now that the book is up for pre-order, I’ve already reserved my copy. Check out the deets and cover below, then follow the links to pre-order your own copy of The Alternative.

Take it away, Soooz . . .


Hello, and welcome to the Cover Reveal of my New Thriller Anthology

“The Alternative”

The ALTERNATIVE BANNER HEADLINE FOR COVER REVEAL BEST

The Alternative 

The Alternative
by S.Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW.
Release Date: Monday June 18th 2018
Mystery> Thriller & Suspense > Anthology.

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 “The Alternative”

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “The Alternative” my latest Thriller Anthology. “The Alternative ” is due for release on June 18th.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order

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 everyone 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

Presenting “The Alternative” A Thriller Anthology.

“The Alternative”

THE ALTERNATIVE COVER IN HIGH RESOLUTION BEST

BLURB:

The Alternative.

There are those that cling unreservedly to the lifeboat that believing in Karma hands them so willingly.

They work, they live, and they function in a world that allows them the option of unreservedly trusting that Karma has no deadline.

Until they are handed the spark that ignites them into becoming the instrument of Karma itself.

There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.

Then, of course, there are those who believed in nothing and no one, to begin with …

These are their stories.

The stories of people both good and bad, who made the choice to exact “The Alternative.”

An excerpt from Chapter 1. Picasso.

February 1990.

The tall man stretched his arms and flexed his long artistic fingers. He stood back to gain a different perspective of his latest work of art. He’d spent a great deal of time sketching his outline and was well satisfied with the outcome. Perhaps this one would be the perfection he craved above all else.

His other efforts were upstairs in the gallery, and while they were far from his lofty imaginings, they each represented another step forward toward his ultimate goal. He knew this exhibition would prompt worldwide interest, that was a given. His reputation was on the line. That at least was something he valued.

He grunted and moved the newest piece into the workroom. The more difficult application of his talent needed to begin.

***

NEW YORK JULY 2015

Meredith keyed in her code, shouldered the door open and dropped her briefcase onto the polished boards of the entry. Working on autopilot, she flicked on the light and bent to collect the mail from the floor; throwing it onto the small bureau without bothering to check the sender. She shrugged off her coat and draped it over the arm of the sofa. Too damned weary to be bothered with any external interruptions tonight, she removed the home phone from its cradle and headed to the kitchen to fix enough coffee to sustain the long evening ahead, deliberately ignoring the well-stocked bar. She was well aware that she’d need every bit of concentration she could muster. She removed the Glock from her handbag, and out of habit, she placed it on the coffee table next to the perpetually full ashtray.

Her head was already pounding and she rubbed at her tense neck muscles until her fingers ached. Relief from the unresolved tension still hovered … just out of reach. She held her breath for a moment, stilling her impatience. If all went to plan, this thing would be finally ended. If justice existed at all, it would go well. All the years she’d worked to bring what was the only course left open to herself and the others to completion was coming. ‘Soon now’, was her daily mantra. But the darker visions still danced vividly in her mind’s eye and tormented her rare sleeping hours … it had been that way for almost twenty-five years.

The memory haunted her, dark and unforgivingly brutal. It replayed in clear and explicit detail every time she was forced to reflect on it … and its aftermath.

***

THE ALTERNATIVE IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

“The Alternative” on AMAZON.COM

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

On Facebook.

My Blog

Thank you so much for joining me here today. Your support is very much appreciated.

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

Guest Blogger Sue Coletta Acknowledges the Experts Who Help with Research

Hey, gang, I’ve got crime writer, Sue Coletta as my guest today. She’s got a brand new release ready to roll out with Cleaved and it’s up for pre-order at only .99c. I was lucky enough to get an ARC copy of this book. Trust me, it’s one you’ll want to grab—then curl up and be thankful you’re safely inside, tucked away from the killers who populate Sue’s fictional worlds.

Banner image for Cleaved by Sue Coletta

Acknowledging the Experts Who Help with Research
by Sue Coletta

In the past I’ve been guilty of not acknowledging the numerous experts who’d helped my stories ring true. That’s a mistake. A short line in the acknowledgements of our books is the least we can do.

Since I have a new release, I’ll share the acknowledgment page from CLEAVED, Book 2 in the Grafton County Series (MARRED is Book 1).

Acknowledgement Page

A special thank you to all the men and women in law enforcement, especially those who helped with my research… first, to my detective friends who mean the world to me: my Partner in Crime Kimberly McGath aka “Scoobs”, Garry Rodgers, and Joe Broadmeadow. Thank you for always being there. Love you guys. A nod toward Adam, too, who also goes out of his way to help. Thanks, buddy.

Next, to Lt. Crystal McLain from NH State Police/NH Marine Patrol for taking time out of your busy schedule to help Sheriff Niko Quintano work with Marine Patrol so my story would ring true; Kristin Harmon from NH Fish & Game for all the information on waterways in the state; Cheryl Hutchinson, Communications Supervisor II for NH Marine Patrol/NH State Police for the information on interagency cooperation; the Grafton County Medical Examiner for taking the time to chat with me about the floating patterns of a corpse in fresh water vs. salt water; and Alexandria Taxidermy for the plethora of information about deer antlers. You all went out of your way, and I’m so grateful. I spoke with other members of NH Fish & Game, too. You know who you are…thank you for dealing with a crazy crime writer who forgot to mention the deceased was, in fact, fictional when calling in a report of a body in the marsh. That situation could’ve gone a total different way!

A quick shout-out to my faithful readers, blog followers, and the writing community. You’re so special to me. And to God, for blessing my life in unimaginable ways.

As you can see, I first acknowledged the friends who help me on regular basis with police procedures. CLEAVED required tons of research, as my stories often do. Perhaps even more than previous books. While writing, I spoke with several members of law enforcement, and each one went out of their way to help me. The local police weren’t as accommodating. Small towns, they can go either way. The state agencies, however, sent a plethora of emails and phone calls. I didn’t run into one person who wasn’t thrilled to chat with me. Oddly enough, they all thanked me for my accuracy. Law enforcement isn’t always portrayed in the best light. When a crime writer wants to show the truth about their incredibly difficult jobs, the blue wall crumbles and they go to great lengths to help with accuracy.

I can’t say enough about how wonderful everyone was to work with. Even the Medical Examiner spent a half-hour on the phone with me. I learned so much information about what happens to bodies in water, including a juicy tidbit that I’m reserving for a future book. Sorry, not telling! In the acknowledgements, I didn’t use her name because she asked me not to. Instead, I used her title. As you may or may not know, several members work in the morgue. I did speak with the Medical Examiner, but that’s our little secret. If you’re curious about the different job positions, I wrote a post entitled What Happens Inside an Autopsy Suite, which you can find HERE.

That brings up another important point. After you receive the answers you seek, ask the expert if they mind the mention in the acknowledgments. Most will love it, but sometimes you run into an expert who asks for discretion. Or, like my friend Adam, agrees to using his first name, not his last, so he doesn’t get in trouble with his department.

I like to end my acknowledgements on a personal note by thanking my readers and community, but it’s a personal preference. There’s no right or wrong here.

book cover for Cleaved by Sue Coletta shows rear shoe of woman tied to tree, superimposed with skeletal deer head with blood-tipped hornsWhat’s CLEAVED about?

Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that bond their family unit.

Darkness swallows the Quintanos whole—ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. How he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop till she dies like the others.

Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.

Here’s a video excerpt I created instead of a regular book trailer…

CLEAVED is available for pre-order.
Score your copy for 99c and save $5.00.
Releases May 3rd. If you haven’t read MARRED,
you’ll have plenty of time to catch up.

Purchase Links: 
CLEAVED universal | MARRED universal | Tirgearr Publishing 

Sue Coletta, author

Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is a multi-published, award-winning author. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and collections, including a forensic article in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime resource blog, Sue co-hosts the radio show “Partners In Crime” on Blog Talk Radio. She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter, where she helps other crime writers’ stories ring true.

She lives with her husband in a quaint country town in rural New Hampshire where she’s surrounded by moose, deer, black bears, and the sultry songs of nature. Course, Sue would love to snuggle with the wildlife, but her husband frowns on the idea.

Connect with Sue at the following haunts: 
Website Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook 

Character Interview with Brandi from #NakedAlliances #RRBC

Please join me for a character Interview with Brandi, from S.K. Nicholls’ crime romp, Naked Alliances. Susan is a new member of RRBC, and I’m happy to showcase her latest work on my blog. Susan sent Brandi over for a chat…

Name of Character: Brandi

Book Title: Naked Alliances

Age: 29

Profession: Exotic dancer at the Parliament House, a gay club.

City and State: Orlando, Florida

I’m thrilled to have here today Brandi from S.K. Nicholls’ new crime romp, Naked Alliances, the first volume in the Naked Eye Series. Brandi is a twenty-nine year old exotic dancer living in Orlando, Florida. She serves as a private investigator’s sidekick in the novel.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today!

Thank you so for this interview, Brandi. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Thank you for having me. Sorry I was late, but I play Pokemon and there was a Snorlax in my nearby sightings and I found him right around the corner. My author did a wonderful job portraying me in Naked Alliances. The private investigator in our story claims I’m irresponsible, but I saved his butt more than once.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Colorizing is an interesting choice of words. I’m biracial and transgendered. My author took great pains to make certain that I wasn’t stereotyped, but Richard Noggin, a.k.a. Dick Head, P.I., certainly seemed to have some images of me that are stereotypical. I hope we’ve cleared the air on a few of those in the first book, so the author doesn’t have to work so hard in the next. I also appreciate that my author was able to demonstrate that I am quite capable of being a nurturing soul, even if things didn’t start out that way.

My author had an artist friend of a mutual friend of ours, Craig Boyack, illustrate me and his spokesperson, Lisa Burton, when I paid them a visit. I think he did a fine job, as well. Lisa gave me a new purse. I’m hoping my author will let me use it in a future book.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I take crap from nobody. Especially not a bumbling P.I. who can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. He’s smart man with crummy luck, but I’m no dummy. I’m a former Explosives Ordinance Disposal Specialist in the U.S. Army, and did a brief stint as a cop. Dancing and entertaining men are not the only things I do well. I am highly skilled. And I’m certainly not gonna take any crap from some mastermind of an organized crime ring.

Worse trait?

Admittedly, I have two bad traits. First, I have a horrible fear of guns. It came about after my Army days when I was working as a cop and had a serious incident trying to talk down a woman with a gun. Things didn’t turn out well. And finally, not so much a trait as a habit, but I smoke cigarettes. At least I did when the author wrote the book. But I’ve quit the cigarettes since then and now I vape, make my own e-juice, and wrap my own coils.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Chablis from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. She’s my heroine. Loved the movie and loved the book by John Berendt. She was not only the heroine in the book, but played herself in the movie. RuPaul has some characters that might do the job well, but I can’t think of one that’s better than me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I like to think I’m confident about my sexuality and I have loved. Truth is, I’m recently transitioned, so I’m still sort of struggling with my sexuality and since the book is set in a nudist resort that has a significant population of swingers, I had opportunity to consider my options. I still can’t decide if I’m more attracted to males or females. I’m attracted to both for different reasons. Richard is kinda cute, but with his attitude, I’m not sure we could ever really be more than friends.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When Richard showed up at the nudist resort all angry at me for leaving our little friend, Cara, the sex-trafficking victim, alone I thought he was gonna send me on my way. But after finding out what a bad day he’d had, I was able to smooth things over. Then, there was a time when he took off on his own to settle a score and I was really worried.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really NOT want to be and why?

Tim Morrison, the former mayor of Orange County and current Administrator of Growth and Development. He plans to run for Governor, but leads a double life. He tries to keep too many secrets. I put it all out there. He’s more sexually confused than I am, and sex-trafficking is rampant in his community. I wouldn’t want his job. Not only did he lose his wife to murder, but he could very likely lose his kids. He’s an unhappy man, and his personal assistant is an arrogant a**hole. I’d fire him in a minute.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I’m glad our author insists on having a satisfying resolution for each book in the series. I want to know what’s going on with everybody in the books, but hate cliff-hangers.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I really need a new purse. That military green, oversized messenger bag from my Army days holds a lot, but it’s cumbersome, Richard hates it, and it’s just not fashionable.

Thank you for this interview, Brandi. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I sure hope so. My author is eager to see how well we are received in the reading community with this first book. If everything goes well, and I’m talking reviews here, she’s promised me a starring role in the next book. (As if I wasn’t the star of this one.) She loves to hear from people about what they liked and didn’t like about her work. You can write to her at sknicholls@sknicholls.com. 

Thank you for having me here, Mae. This was my most fun interview to date!

NakedAlliances_JPEG

Bio:

e_dsc4834-1S.K. Nicholls is author of Naked Alliances, Book One in the Naked Eye Series. Her family owns and operates a nudist resort located in Central Florida, Cypress Cove. She has a deep understanding of the lifestyle choice and how it harbors clandestine elements of intrigue and fascination. Social issues are at the forefront of her writing that is touched with a humorous edge. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband, Greg. When she’s not writing, she can be found tracking down Snorlaxes, wandering city parks with the homeless, or sipping margaritas on the bow of a boat. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Florida Writer’s Association, and Writers of Central Florida…or Thereabouts. BraveBlueHeronBooks vector image

Amazon Link
Twitter: @sknicholls1
Blog

Guest Author Sue Coletta with Wings of Mayhem #Thriller #Suspense #CrimeFiction

I’ve got a wonderful guest visiting today, and hope you’ll welcome Sue Coletta with her latest release Wings of Mayhem. Cool title, huh? Crack open your ereader and prepare for much more.

Sue has a wonderful blog devoted to everything crime—cold case stories, forensics research, DNA, crime scene studies and *gulp* the world of serial killers. The last one factors into Wings of Mayhem and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Before I turn things over to Sue, I invite you check out her blog Inside the Mind of a Crime Writer where you’ll find such interesting posts as Buried Alive: How to Escape Your Grave  (tell me you haven’t wondered about that one) and Eyewitness Testimony—Test Your Observation Skills.

Finally, a word about Wings of Mayhem. It’s a book that sucks you in to the exclusion of all else, a pulse-pounding page turner that kept me glued. When my husband talked to me a few times as I was reading I actually flinched. Check out my complete 5-star review on Amazon and pick up your copy while you’re there. I loved the lead character, Shawnee Daniels and can’t wait for more of her adventures. Here’s Sue to tell you about Shawnee and her nerve-wracking novel . . .

Banner graphic for Wings of Mayhem, a thriller/suspense novel by Sue Coletta~ooOOoo~

Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Mae!

Wings of Mayhem is the story of Shawnee Daniels—by day, she’s a computer forensics specialist/hacker at the Revere Police Dept.; by night, she’s a cat burglar who steals from those who’ve harmed others in an attempt to right the wrong. Her latest heist uncovers more than she’d anticipated…someone’s been hiding secrets, deadly secrets, secrets worth killing over.

Shawnee Daniels has been with me for years, hanging not-so-quietly in the background, pestering me to put her through 300 pages of hell.

And so I did.

In many ways Wings of Mayhem was one of the hardest books I’ve ever written because I loaded it with symbolism and cryptic clues. It’s the type of book that you could read a second time and still not catch all the minute details. I can’t tell you what those things are without ruining the story, but I can say almost everything the reader encounters has a hidden meaning.

In the book I alternate point of views between Shawnee, Detective Levaughn Samuels, and the killer. Rather than post the book description, I’ll share an excerpt to introduce you to Shawnee Daniels. She’s a character in every sense of the word.

EXCERPT

I ambled toward a wide, sweeping staircase, similar to the ones in old black-and-white films, and ran gloved fingers down the rod-iron railing, twirling off the end of the banister, into the main level.

First, I hit the kitchen. Whoever told the wealthy to hide their valuables in the kitchen did them a disservice. There wasn’t a thief alive who hadn’t figured that one out. I swung open the freezer door and rooted around inside.

As I jiggled a half-gallon of fudge swirl, a smile broke across my face. How stupid did he think I was? A fake ice cream container or coffee can didn’t fool anyone. Neither did stashing valuables in the ice cube trays. In which, I found two loose diamonds suspended mid-cube.

I gave the greedy bastard an “A” for ingenuity, but he’d have to step up his game to beat me.

In total, I pocketed about thirty grand worth of stuff. Most of which I’d return to the retirement fund via electronic transfer from Delsin, minus my fee. He wouldn’t understand why, of course, but since he was in a world of hurt, his lawyer would advise him to keep his mouth shut and roll with it. Which he would do. I’d seen it happen many times. His attorney would argue this was his way of making retribution because the theft was all a huge misunderstanding, or bookkeeping error. The prosecution would argue Delsin acted with intent, yada, yada, yada… same drill, different mark.

I crossed a short, hardwood-floored hall and landed in the living room. With a running leap I swan-dived onto a puckered black-leather sectional, flipped on my back, and gazed at the stars through another glass wall. Bright pinpricks of light danced across an inky-black sky.

book cover for Wings of Mayhem, a thriller/suspense novel by Sue Coletta shows blood-splattered wings opened as if in flightIt’s important to take a moment to appreciate God’s little gifts. Years ago, Mom drilled that nugget of wisdom home.

I crawled off the sofa, my gaze roaming around the living room. Off to the left, oak pocket doors protected either a den or office. Straps dug into the top of my shoulders, the backpack overflowing with sterling, gold, jewelry, and cash.

A solid score.

With gloved hands, I slid one of the doors aside. The moon spilled a cascading smolder through the slats of wooden blinds behind a long mahogany desk, kitty-cornered in the center of the room.

On top, sat a banker’s lamp and burgundy desk pad with calendar, where Jackie boy scrawled single digits on some of the days. I snapped a quick cell phone photo.

One never knows when information could come in handy.

To the right of the desk, a padlocked door drew my attention. In seconds, I picked the lock. A foul odor struck me in the face like the slap from a jilted lover. I cupped a hand over my mouth and nose. The stench was like… like… decay.

I swallowed hard.

Pitch-blackness blanketed the inside. I leveled my flashlight. The beam dimmed, flickered, and then died. I banged it against a flat hand.

“Not now. C’mon, stay with me.”

No dice. The damn thing refused to cooperate.

Using my cell phone, if I triggered the camera, the flash could, in theory, light my way.

It’s worth a shot.

Bright light saturated the room in stark-white for a split-second, and nearly blinded me. Multicolored spots filled my vision. I pressed the heels of my hands in my eyes and this time, I flipped the camera so the flash faced the room.

Flash.

Framed portrait of a woman.

Flash.

Apron.

Flash.

Metal table.

Flash, flash.

Plastic… on the walls?

Flash, flash.

Red splashes. An art studio, perhaps? I aimed toward the table.

Flash, flash.

A power tool.

Flash, flash.

Hedge clippers?

Flash. Flash.

Wait. If those were hedge clippers, then what was—?

Flash, flash, flash.

I cocked my head. Huh?

Flash, flash, flash, flash.

My sight narrowed on the floor beneath the table.

Flash, flash, flash, flash, flash.

I straightened, shifted in my stance.

Flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash.

“Can’t be.” A jolt of raw adrenaline shot through me. “What are the chances I’m in his house?”

I sprinted out the room, missed the hole for the padlock three times before re-engaging the lock and hightailed it toward the staircase, tripping over my own feet. At the top, I slid around the end of the banister, the soles of my boots screeching across the hardwood.

Keys in the front door stopped me cold— metal jingling against metal.

My gaze tunneled on the doorknob.

The door creaked open. Slow. Methodical. Deliberate.

Wings of Mayhem is published by Crossroad Press and is available at…
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Google Play
Apple iTunes
Smashwords
Print and audio coming soon!

photo of author Sue ColettaBIO:
Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters In Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is always looking for new ways to commit murder…on the page. She’s the author of Wings of Mayhem, MARRED, Crime Writer’s Research, and 60 Ways to Murder Your Characters. Her forensic article, Radiocarbon Dating and Skeletal Differences, was featured in the March 2016 issue of InSinC Quarterly. She’s published in Murder, USA, A Crime Fiction Tour of the Nation (Grab your FREE copy HERE), Out of the Gutter Flash Fiction Offensive, and in the upcoming anthology, RUN. Sue is also the founder/creator of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.

Connect with Sue at the following haunts:
Website and blog
Twitter @SueColetta1
Facebook
Goodreads

Wanna Win Some Free Books? How about 30?

I’m super excited to be participating in a giveaway that my friend and sister author, Sue Coletta has put together. Sue rounded up 30 of her favorite authors—most crime fiction with a sprinkling of other genres mixed in—and neatly tied up the event in one huge giveaway. Yep, you can win thirty novels. Count ‘em–not ten, not twenty, but a whopping thirty books for your reading pleasure. I’m delighted to say, my romantic mystery/suspense tale, ECLIPSE LAKE is included among them.

Just look at all these goodies:

Book cover collection of 30 Crime Novels for giveaway

It’s extremely simple to enter by visiting this Rafflecopter link. But before you hop over, take a gander at Sue’s blog, where she’s provided the blurbs for each book in the giveaway.

I’ll let Sue explain …

~ooOOoo~

In keeping with the holiday spirit I have the best surprise ever. I’ve rounded up my favorite authors and  asked if they’d like to participate in a special holiday giveaway. And they said yes! From now till New Year’s Day you can enter to win…are you ready?… 30 free ebooks. Yay!

Each and every one of these authors are amazingly talented. My TBR list is so tall I can barely see over the top. Between me and the hubby they’re all on our list.

Inside the covers of these virtual pages we’ll laugh, cry, tremble in fear, go to exotic locales or dredge through the dark streets of places more familiar. We’ll flip pages late into the night and wake with a renewed passion to run downstairs and finish where we left off. We’ll fight for our heroes, rejoice when/if the antagonists burn in hell. There are so many magical moments that await us, I can hardly wait to dig in.

In no particular order I have included the descriptions of each book. Take your time to browse through, but don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Three lucky winners will win all 30 titles.

To learn more about the promotion, hop over to Sue’s site.

Good luck and happy reading!