Writing a Different Type of Story #InSearchofMcDoogal

eReader displaying the book cover for In Search of McDoogal by Mae Clair lays atop keyboard, mouse and glass of water nearby

In Search of McDoogal is a short book—a 90 minute read. As a result, I’ve only done a small blog tour for the story. Today’s stop is the last. I am visiting my SE colleague and friend, Harmony Kent, with a post about writing a different type of story. I’m out of my genre realm with this one, but it was fun to experiment.

Hop over to see what the post is about. And while you’re there, poke around Harmony’s blog. She is a talented author and lover of books, and I know you’ll enjoy following her.

Harmony, McDoogal, and I hope to see you THERE!

New Release: Bounty Hunted by Judi Lynn #UrbanFantasy #ParanormalMystery #ShortRead

Hey, friends! I am super jazzed to be showcasing a new release in a series I positively love! Judi Lynn is a good friend and a USA Today Bestselling Author. I love her Jazzi Zanders cozy mystery series, but I’m also thoroughly gone on her urban fantasy series set in Muddy River. I’m particularly drawn to the extraordinary mix of supernaturals in these books. I asked Judi to drop by and give us some background. Please give her a warm welcome, and get ready to one-click. Every release in this series garnered five star reviews from me and Bounty Hunted is no exception.


Cover for Bounty Hunted by Judi Lynn shows sexy young man, arms folded, leaning against wall in alley

My wonderful blogging friend, Mae Clair, invited me to her page today to let me promote my newest Muddy River short read, BOUNTY HUNTED.  Thank you, Mae!  I not only value Mae as a friend but I admire her writing, so I’m thrilled to be here.

Muddy River is located in southwest Indiana, near the banks of the Ohio River.  And NO MORTALS ARE ALLOWED.  Supernaturals have learned the hard way that when mortals fear something, anything, they’re dangerous.  Many Muddy River residents traveled from the east coast to Indiana to escape the witch hunts, vampire hunts, and various other supernatural hunts that plagued Salem and other settlements.

Hester Wand, the high priestess of Muddy River’s coven, lost everyone in her family to the witch trials in Salem.  Raven Black, a fire demon, left his home when the first signs of trouble started in his area.  Derek Fang, a vampire, fled New York, but he ran to get away from his jealous succubus lover, Allure.  Everyone who came to Muddy River came to find a safe haven, so they decided to work together to protect themselves.

Hester and her coven bespelled wards that no enemies could pass and planted them around the entire area.  The Fae cast an illusion spell so that mortals couldn’t see Muddy River.  And as they all settled in the town and found jobs, they learned to like each other.  So much so, that they mated between their original species.  Derek, who opened a bar in town, mated with Prim Tallow, a Fae, and they adopted a young girl, who’s a witch.  A young half-vampire/half-Siren developed a crush on Cein, part Phoenix.  Lir, a Druid, fell in love with Birch, a young witch who graduated from Hester’s school of magic.  And Deputy Sheriff Brown, a shifter, mated one of the members of Hester’s coven.  It’s rare to find a pure blood anywhere in the area.

They all believe that Muddy River’s safe until a bounty hunter comes to town to capture Derek and take him back to Allure, who’s finally found him again and wants him back.  What no one considered is that bounty hunters are only doing a job.  The wards don’t consider them true enemies, so they don’t block them.  But everyone in town makes it clear that Muddy River takes care of its own.  If someone attacks ONE of them, they attack ALL of them.  Allure won’t back down, though, so a battle is inevitable.  And this time, Hester and Raven decide to take the battle to her in New York.  The odds against them are horrible.  But if they let Allure intimidate them, who’s next?

Hester and Raven won’t have to battle alone.  Allure might have an army, but they have friends.  Some of Muddy River’s most powerful supernaturals volunteer to go with them.  And they have a plan.

Before I leave, I want to thank Mae one last time for sharing her blog with me.  And thanks to everyone who stuck around to visit with me.


Sound good? Trust me, it’s a winner. You can check out my 5-Star review for Bounty Hunted HERE. It’s a short read you can devour in one sitting. Ready to escape to the town of Muddy River? Go forth and one click . . .

PURCHASE FROM AMAZON

You can connect with Judi at the following haunts:

Author Bookbub page: As Judi Lynn | As Judith Post
Other Social Media:
Twitter | Blog | Author Facebook Page

 

Book Review Tuesday: Sunset Beach, The Player, Watching Glass Shatter @JacqBiggar @jamescudney4

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 imageHappy almost June and welcome to summer! Yeah, I get that summer doesn’t “officially” happen until June 21st, but Memorial Day has always been the threshold to summer fun, including the key opening of east coast beaches and amusement parks. Since I live in a tourist town, I think of Memorial Day as being the gateway to summer. Even though COVID-19 has put a damper on festivities, I still feel the change.

Let it be known that I FREAKING LOVE SUMMER!

Yes, I appreciate all of the seasons, but give me my pool, my Kindle (or a fat paperback), a grill, and swimming weather, and I will pass each day in sheer bliss.

And speaking of Kindles, I have several reviews to share. I read these books in March and April during shelter-in-place time. My county is finally moving to yellow phase this Friday, but I am already back at work. I won’t be able to share all the books I read while sheltering, but I would like to share some standouts. As Jackie Gleason was fond of saying, and away we go . . .


Book cover for sunset beach by Jacquie Biggar shows young couple embrace in front of ocean at sunsetSunset Beach
by Jacquie Biggar

Trace and Mona are both single parents with teenage daughters and history that goes back to their dating years in high school. Trace made the mistake of cheating on Mona with Sally, now his ex-wife. In a small town, paths cross and gossip flies. When Mona decides to run for Mayor against Trace, life becomes even more complicated, especially as these two struggle to navigate underlying feelings for each other.

This is a sweet romance with engaging characters set in a charming town. Of special mention, Trace and Mona’s daughters, Bailey and Amber, provide a secondary plot line that shines every bit as brightly as the first. The ending is superb, providing the perfect HEA you’d expect from a story like this. A winner all the way around.

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Romance > Parenting Teenagers  


Book cover for The Player b Jacquie Biggar shows orange tabby cat and man and woman on opposing sides, from feet to knees, hockey skates in foregroundThe Player
by Jacquie Biggar

The tables get turned in this tale of a superstar male hockey player plagued by a female stalker. Roy Donaldson has everything going for him, except an ex-girlfriend who doesn’t know how to let go. When she does everything she can to cast him in a bad light, a public relations representative steps in to repair the unjust damage to his image.

Enter Patience Kennedy, the single daughter in a family with four brothers who knows zilch about sports, but plenty about people. When the two retreat to Roy’s home in the woods to work on strategy, sparks fly. Actually, sparks fly from the first meeting between these two, and it’s fun to watch their attraction run from frustration to simmer to bloom. Toss in a stray orange tabby and you’ve got a feel-good formula destined to bring an HEA. But reaching that point presents a path twined with danger and suspense.

Jacquie Biggar mixes all the right ingredients, even touching on mental illness and family relations both good and bad. The author’s breezy writing, witty observations, and dialogue are a pleasure to read. Many times, I stopped to marvel at a particular turn of phrase or reread a section for sheer enjoyment. I’ve enjoyed everything Ms. Biggar has written. She is a skilled author who knows her craft, but The Player may just be my favorite to date. What a feel-good gem!

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries > Hockey


Book cover for Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney shows broken glass with large hole in center, shatter lines forking outward from holeWatching Glass Shatter
by James J. Cudney

Olivia Glass has the ideal life with five wonderful grown sons, grandchildren, and a successful husband. It all begins to crumble when her husband, Ben, dies in an automobile accident. Worse than facing life without him, is the letter he left behind, explaining that one of their children isn’t really hers. When her baby was born dead, Ben switched the infant with a different child the birth mother wanted to adopt out. But which of her five sons?

Determined to unearth the truth before sharing it with her children, Olivia decides to visit each son in their home. This is where Cudney weaves a tangled web, family drama at its best. As the book progresses, Olivia is confronted by shock after shock, realizing each son has kept a personal secret from her and others. Five brothers, five secrets.

Each brother is thoroughly fleshed out with his own particular strengths and weakness. Olivia’s character becomes clear through her actions and how others see and interact with her. There are explosive moments, heart wrenching moments, touching moments, splashes of humor. As a reader, you’ll feel frustration, melancholy, joy and contentment. The author deftly pulls multiple heartstrings in this tale of a family imploding, only to come out stronger in the end. And let’s not forget, that among these five men, one is not really Olivia’s son.

A thoroughly satisfying read.

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre:  Fiction > Family Drama


Hopefully, I’ve sparked your interest with one of these reviews. I’ve got plenty more to share, but in the meantime, I wish you happy reading!

Taking McDoogal for a Visit #InSearchofMcDoogal #BuddyFic #Comedy

Book cover for In Search of McDoogal by author Mae Clair shows a quaint street scene in a small townHi, friends! McDoogal and I are traveling again today. Not sure what a “McDoogal” is? Then be sure to check out my new Amazon 90-minute short read, In Search of McDoogal.

Today, I’m at Staci Troilo’s blog discussing, well…McDoogal. 🙂

Hop over to Staci’s place to learn more—and while you’re there, be sure to mosey around her blog. I highly recommend clicking the follow button and becoming a regular reader. Staci is a good friend, a Story Empire colleague, and wonderful supporter of others.

McDoogal and I look forward to seeing you THERE!

Book Review Tuesday: The Body in the Apartment, The Trophy Wife, Subject A36 #CozyMystery #PsychologicalThriller #YADystopian

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 imageIt’s been ages since I did a book review Tuesday, and I have a LOT of reviews I haven’t shared. I’m going to work in my five star reads as I continue to add new ones. I did read one or two not-the-best of books during my absence, and I’ll skip those. For now, take a gander at these!


Cute pug dog looking into the open door of an apartmentThe Body in the Apartment
by Judi Lynn

House flippers, Jazzi, Ansel, their families and friends are back in the fourth Jazzi Zanders mystery novel. This time around the stakes are higher as Jazzi finds herself immersed in two separate murders.

The book starts with a bang—literally. Ansel’s brother Radley is in River Bluff when their older brother Bain arrives to try to get Radley to return to the family farm. After an argument between Radley and Bain, Radley’s boss is shot and killed. Bain becomes the prime suspect when it’s discovered his gun is missing from his truck. Murder #1, but things are far from over. It isn’t long before another killing occurs.

As Jazzi and her detective friend Gaff begin to fit the pieces together, it becomes apparent the two murders are related. Getting there—unraveling multiple threads, false leads, numerous suspects and motives makes this the most intricate Jazzi mystery to date. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, each with plenty of motive. If you like your cozies complex, while maintaining a wonderfully breezy feel, you’ll love this series and this book.

As with most mystery readers, I always like trying to “finger” the murderer before the reveal, but I love the family and friends element in this series every bit as much. This time around there is a wedding to prepare for, the arrival of a new baby, Easter celebrations, and the flush of new romance for new friends. Twine all of that up with a great mystery, adorable pets, two fabulous lead characters, plus lots of home cooking, and you’ve got the winning combination that makes this series a sheer delight!

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery > Amateur Sleuth Mysteries


Book cover for the trophy wife shows blue background with wisps of long blonde hair fanning from left spineThe Trophy Wife
by Sunday Tomassetti

Wow! This book amazed me with its many twists and turns. Cate Cabot works at an exclusive boutique in Palm Shores, Florida. She doesn’t do friends, preferring to keep people at a distance—even the boyfriend who loves her. Then Odessa DuVernay walks into the boutique. From the start, Odessa is different than most of the trophy-wife clientele Cate is accustomed to dealing with. She’s pleasant and friendly and takes a sincere interest in Cate—inviting her to lunch, engaging her in girl talk, going to a movie matinee.

It’s an adjustment for Cate. Then just when she finds herself opening up, Odessa mysteriously disappears. Not long afterward, Cate gets a panicked voicemail from Odessa asking to meet. When Cate arrives at the designated place, Odessa ghosts her. Concerned, Cate begins a search of her new friend, only to hit obstacle after obstacle. It’s like Odessa DuVernay never existed.

This is where things get VERY weird. Not just one unexpected turn, but several surprises that are cleverly unraveled a bit at a time by the author. When the final revelation arrives, it’s a jaw-dropper, and SOOOOO GOOOD! A thread I never expected, but one I love when it is handled deftly and Tomassetti definitely did that. If you enjoy psychological fiction, this is an inventive and highly riveting take on the genre. Superb!

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Women’s Psychological Fiction > Women’s Crime Fiction

NOTE: The ebook seems to have disappeared from Amazon so the link above is for the audio book. I couldn’t even find the ebook on B&N. Very strange.


Book cover for Subject A36 by Teri Polen shows title text over watermark of old building, plus small figure a man in silhouetteSubject A36
by Teri Polen

Set in a dystopian future, Asher and his team live in a world where children with desirable traits (specific hair or eye color, physical strength, agility, etc), are captured and harvested for “gene stripping” so the wealthy can purchase coveted qualities like selecting from an a la carte menu. After seeing the destruction of his family, seventeen-year-old Asher has found a new family with his team, including, Brynn, who he has come to love and Noah, who is like a brother. But doing what they do comes with excessive risk and plenty of danger.

From the start, there is barely time to catch your breath. The reader is given detailed insight into Asher’s character as well as multiple members of his team. Each are unique and fully fleshed out individuals, the good and the bad.

The Colony—which orchestrates gene stripping—is set on finding and capturing Subject A36, a genetically altered individual designed as the perfect killing machine.

This novel is packed with non-stop action, and shocking revelation piled upon revelation. The writing is smooth and snappy, scenes plunging like a roller coaster from one into the next. I devoured this book in two sittings and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction, great YA characters, and pulse-pounding action.

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Teen and Young Adult Dystopian 


More reviews to come next week. I don’t want to post too many at once, but hopefully I’ve piqued your interest with a few of these titles. Happy reading!

With Apologies for My Absence

Hello, friends. I hope as I type this, that greeting doesn’t bring crickets. I’ve been gone for a while—over a month to be exact. I’ve popped up online here and there, but my blog has been quiet, and I haven’t been doing my usual rounds.

For that I apologize.

black and white close up of a cat's face, melancholy look

Dealing with the world as it navigates COVID-19 has been rough. I won’t lie. I’m an empath at heart, and have had to shut down and distance myself. Since mid-March, I’ve been working remotely from home (on my day job), and—strange as it may seem—it’s harder than working from my office. There are no interruptions, and I find I don’t take breaks even for lunch, preferring to work straight through. It’s easier to become immersed in a project. I’ve been highly productive, and have developed a new routine. For some reason, working social media into that pattern has been hard. Almost impossible.

But it’s time to adjust to the new normal, and I’m making an effort. Starting now, I hope to return to blogging and visiting, although my regular features may change or take a while to fall into a routine schedule. Before I went offline, I had a number of Wednesday Weirdness posts written ahead. Right now, I’m thinking that feature may change or not as appear as regularly. Just bear with me. As it stands, I’m happy to be back.

So, what have I been up to?

Pretty Siamese cat

Hmm…reading, of course! Since my last Book Review Tuesday post mid March, I’ve read nineteen books and/or novellas—far too many reviews to post. I may try to scatter a few of  them out in the coming weeks as I add new reviews.

I’ve also been invited to submit a short story for an anthology of murder mysteries. I’m knee deep in a story, reworking something I’ve had in the trunk for a while. Did you ever have a tale you loved, but knew it needed work? The story I’m using was written in the 1990s. That’s how long it’s haunted me. I always loved the overall arc, and it’s been fun to work with it again. Stay tuned for more news as the anthology progresses.

In Pennsylvania, we are still on hold. Twenty-four of our counties have reopened to a “yellow stage” but my county is still shut down. That means I’m still under a shelter-in-place order, working remotely from home. Restaurants are only open for delivery or curbside pick-up and non life-sustaining businesses are closed. My biggest outing is going to the grocery store—in which I haven’t seen a roll of toilet tissue since March 17th.

But, hey—I’m back. Or sort of. I’ll be making my rounds this week and in the future. Bear with me as I get my blog back on track. I’ve missed everyone.

In the meantime, tell me what you’ve been up to. I’ve heard news from a few of you—new releases in the works and new publishing contracts—but I’m behind. Drop a line in the comments and let me know what you’ve been doing. If you’ve got a new release or publishing contract, tell me about it. If your WIP is growing, I want to know. If you’ve read a good book and want to recommend it, tell me! Even if it’s just to say “hello,” I’m happy to return the greeting. Let’s chat! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday: For the Love of Money @KimCoxAuthor

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 imageHi, friends. Thanks for joining me for Book Review Tuesday. I’ve cut back on my blogging temporarily, trying to stay on top of things in the current environment of insanity related to Covid-19. If you don’t see me online as regularly as I normally am, rest assured I fully intend to get back to my regular schedule including posts of Wednesday Weirdness. For the immediate future, I intend to keep sharing Book Review Tuesday posts and other sporadic posts here and there. I’m hoping all of you stay healthy and well. We will get through this mess, together!

And now, enough of that! 🙂

I have a great book to share with you. If you like romantic suspense twined up with mystery, you’re sure to love this five-star read:


Book cover for Love of Money by Kim Cox shows young couple facing away with arms around each other, German shepherd in foregroundFor the Love of Money is a book that will appeal to both fans of mystery and romantic suspense. When his best friend, Daniel, dies in a car crash, Alan Pearce heads to the small town of Bears Hollow in North Carolina. Reports say Daniel’s car plummeted off the side of the mountain, but Alan refuses to believe his friend could make such a tragic mistake on roads he knew so well.

Once in Bears Hollow, Alan crosses paths with Police Chief Jessie Kendall, who suspects foul play. At the top of the list is Daniel’s superficial wife Leta, who had been begging her husband to relocate to California so she could pursue an acting career. But it isn’t long before other suspects crawl out of the woodwork. Jessie even briefly considers Alan a suspect, until the two start to work together to get to the bottom of the tragedy.

Cox creates enjoyable characters. Both Jessie and Alan are strong, but (for me) Alan really took center stage. His interactions with both Leta and Jessie are deftly handled. Leta comes across spoiled and shallow but with a few glimmers of humanity underneath. When the killer and motive are unmasked, both come as a surprise.

I liked the gradual growth in the relationship between Alan and Jessie as attraction builds between them. And Jessie’s German shepherd is a scene stealer! The writing is polished and the story flows at a steady pace as suspects and clues are addressed. If you like books that include both a murder mystery and a sweet romance, you’re sure to enjoy For the Love of Money. 5 Stars!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Romantic Suspense > Mystery Romance


Although I am working full days remotely from home, I know many people are stuck indoors. It’s the perfect time to catch up on your TBR and add new books like For the Love of Money. I wish you happy reading!

Book Review Tuesday: Grinders by C. S. Boyack

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 imageHappy St. Patricks Day, everyone! Whether you’re Irish or not, ’tis a day for the wearing’ o’ the green, and a tip o’ the hat to the wee folk. Right now, we could all use a little luck given the state of the world in view of Covid-19. Whatever your corner of the planet, I hope you stay safe and well. If you’re stuck inside, it’s the perfect time to catch up on your reading.

With that in mind, let’s jump into this week’s book review!


Book cover for Grinders, a speculative fiction novel features neon lights and holographic images by C. S. BoyackJimi Cabot, and her partner Lou, are two cops assigned to the “Grinder Squad” in a futuristic San Francisco. Grinders are people who have their bodies altered through illegal surgeries which use computer chips to provide enhanced senses. Despite their department assignment, Jimi and Lou usually find their days eaten up by the drudgery of routine patrol and domestic disturbance calls—until they happen upon a trail that may lead to the most wanted grinder in police databanks.

There is strong parallel storyline involving the grinder they’re after, enabling the reader to see both sides of the situation. Beyond that, however, there is so much more that goes on in this book. I loved the friendship that developed between Jimi and Brandi (a grinder), and I loved Lou’s tie to Sailor, the horse he rode when he was on mounted patrol before the division was disbanded.

Most intriguing of all is the world Boyack has created. One that includes a “grid” for travelling, bots in all shapes and sizes, and a constant bombardment of advertising. “Holobarkers”­—floating globes broadcasting advertisements—roam the streets, swarming around people with their messages. Cars and buses flash moving advertisements and 3D holographic images are found everywhere. There is an “electric forest” (one of my favorite elements), in the process of being torn down because it is already considered old technology. Holographic spiders and jack-o-lanterns bob around on Halloween, and a 3D King Kong climbs a building to promote a movie. The creativity of this world is off the charts. Every page brings some new wonder or futuristic element that is vividly portrayed. Between the story and inventions, I was mesmerized. A highly original work!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Cypberpunk > Science Fiction


Grinders is quite the gritty and colorful world. I could so see this as a series on Netflix! 🙂

In Search of McDoogal…Settings and Place Names

Coffee drink cup beside large blue purse with Kindle showing book cover for In Search of McDoogal by Mae Clair in centerHappy Monday, friends! Once again, I am on the road, visiting with my good friend, Marcia Meara. She is graciously allowing me to take over her blog to discuss the setting for my new release, In Search of McDoogal, along with some silliness I tossed into the book. It’s amazing how much you can fit into a 90-minute short read!

I hope you’ll drop by to see what today’s discussion is about. And while you’re there, poke around Marcia’s blog to discover her selection of great books and great fun. I guarantee becoming a regular follower of her blog will leave you with plenty of smiles.

I hope to see you THERE!

 

My Cat Said What?

Beautiful black cat in bow window with rose in bloom behind glassHi, friends. I’m late in sharing this post today, but I hope you’ll forgive me in the craziness of the Covid-19 world. I spent the day working my way through stores and grocery shopping ( an experience unlike any I have ever had in my life). Don’t even ask about the absence of toilet paper!

Anyhoo, craziness aside, my precious rescue kitty, Raven, is the guest on Victoria Ziegler’s blog today. Yes, Raven, not me. So what does a cat say?

Hop over to Tori’s place to find out! Raven and I hope to see you THERE.