Tag Archives: mystery

Author Showcase / Interview / Review – Richard Paolinelli (Escaping Infinity)

 

  1. Welcome, Richard Paolinelli! For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(RP) I started out as a freelance writer and photographer in West Texas in the mid-1980s, was the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics series, Seadragon, and then went to work as a sportswriter for newspapers and online websites in New Mexico and in California. In 2010 I retired from newspapers and decided to restart my fiction writing and I’ve been pretty busy since then.

 

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Kam: Did you know I absolutely love comics? I own several hundred and always looking to add more.  😉 

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(RP) One of the advantages of having spent so long working for daily publications is having to produce anywhere from 800-3000 words a day, five days a week. You don’t have the option of being blocked. So I really don’t get it now that I’m doing fiction only. On those rare occasions when I just don’t “feel” like writing, I don’t try to force it. Usually a day or two later I’m back at it as usual.

 

  1. Contrary to what some people envision about a writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(RP) Marketing my books, appearing on radio shows and doing in person appearances. When I’m not doing work-related tasks, I usually read, catch a movie and try to spoil my two grandsons as much as I can.

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(RP) Everything I’ve written, fiction and newspapers, has been under my real name, so everyone who knows me knows what I do. I haven’t really asked them what they think about it. No one has ever come up and told me to get a real job or anything like that so I’d say they are supportive.

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(RP) (In no particular order)

Jack McDevitt

Edgar Allan Poe

HG Wells

Gibson Michaels

Douglas Adams

Harry Harrison

Diane Duane

Tom Clancy

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Dan Brown

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(RP) I’d love to see someone take up my latest novel, Escaping Infinity, especially with the quality of CGI today. I think Luke Evans could pull off Peter Childress and Emily Blunt might make a great Liz. The Manager I always envisioned being played by Kelsey Grammer even as I was writing the book.

 

 

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(RP) I actually am juggling three projects. I need to finish up the final two books of the Jack Del Rio series and I am writing a short story I hope will be accepted for a special sci-fi anthology. And I have started on an epic sci-fi/fantasy project that is my “Lord of the Rings” project.

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(RP) You can find everything I’ve written on Amazon, or go to my website – www.richardpaolinelli.com – and click on the book covers and they will take you directly to their respective page on Amazon. Other that the Del Rio series – Reservations is #1 and Betrayals #2 – there isn’t any particular order you need to read them in.

 

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(RP) My e-mail is: rp@richardpaolinelli.com

I’m on both Twitter and Gab as: @ScribesShade

And you can leave comments on my blog: https://scribesscribblesblog.wordpress.com

 

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(RP) Just that I’d like to thank you for interviewing me and for reading my book. I would like to just say to every reader out there: No matter whose book you are reading, one of mine or any other author, the greatest kindness you can do for them is to leave a review of their book, especially on Amazon.

Whether you thought it was the greatest book, the absolute worst or somewhere in between, leaving a review helps them in so many ways. I encourage you to so, even if it is just a few words or a sentence or two. Speaking for my fellow writers, especially ones just getting started, you will have their deepest gratitude.

 

Closing Remarks

Richard Paolinelli is correct on an author’s need for reviews. It helps boost awareness of their writing, helps them improve their craft and encourages them to keep pouring their hearts & souls into their creations. Without reviews and readers sharing their love of a story, writers fade off into the sunset. If you don’t want a writer to vanish, then show them love. Write a review.

With that said, I’d like to present to you a brief look into Escaping Infinity and my thoughts regarding it. 

 

 

Nominated for a 2017 Dragon Award (Best Sci-Fi Novel), Nominated for a 2017 Nebula Award (Non-finalist).

Thousands have checked into the Infinity Hotel over the years. None of them have ever checked out.

Peter Childress and Charlie Womack are successful engineers on their way to Phoenix for an important presentation. But one of Charlie’s infamous “shortcuts” has gotten them good and lost once again. As night falls, the pair stumble across the Infinity Hotel and the promise of a meal, fuel and a good night’s sleep before starting off fresh in the morning is too good to pass up.

But while Charlie immediately takes to the hotel’s amazing amenities, Peter begins to uncover some of the hotel’s dark secrets – a seemingly unlimited number of floors, guests that appear out of time and place and a next morning that never seems to come. Worse still, the entrance to the Infinity has disappeared and no other apparent exit back to the outside world is in sight.

Now, under the watchful eyes of the hotel’s manager and front desk clerk, Peter searches for a way back out and uncovers the horrible truth behind the mystery of the Infinity Hotel.

 

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

After reading the back cover, I knew I was embarking on a freaky, mind-warping ride and was looking forward to the journey Richard was going to take me on. The front cover looked promising as well. It had me thinking this book would be taking place solely in the future. However, once I began reading the prologue, I soon realized space and alien life would encompass the plot. Even though I was only thrown for a loop for about a nanosecond, I soon found myself engrossed in the mystery of the Infinity.

 

Even though I fascinated by the happenings of the hotel, one thing was missing for me which would’ve made me feel more contacted to the storyline. For me, I wanted to know more about the lives of the hotel’s occupants before stepping into the time/space paradox. We got a glimpse of Liz and the football star, but the inquisitive side wanted more history regarding its occupants. I guess if Richard was writing a 700 page novel then my wish would’ve been granted but he wasn’t. He didn’t. To stay on track, he led us through a series of events which would test the sanity of any man or woman. His writing was equally mystifying and eerie as fellow thriller writers Stephen King, Clive Barker, and R.L Stine. That’s saying a lot about his creativity. 

 

All in all, the plot was sound. The follow-through was a tad bumpy but overall a book I am thrilled to have read and happily encourage others to purchase. 

 

Parting remarks…..

1.) Planet Disney cracked me up.

2.) I didn’t know whether to laugh or yell RUN when the door’s guardian became activated. However, I did laugh a wee bit when it went airborne.

 

Good science fiction/fantasy story! 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Review of “Ghosts” – Chip Scarinzi

When you’ve lost it all, how far would you go to get it back?

Bennett Covington has a good life. The support of a loving, growing family. A satisfying job. A roof over his head. Not perfect, but close enough.

Nothing lasts forever, of course. After stumbling into the middle of a back-alley murder, Bennett becomes entangled in a web of violence set in motion by members of a shadowy criminal organization.

Subjected to psychological torment, Bennett struggles to understand the depth of their evil intentions – intentions that threaten to take much more than just his life.

Through it all, one question endures: why have they taken such a keen interest in him? When he runs, they catch him. When he hides, they find him.

The only way out is to fight back.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)  

A good mystery novel shouldn’t be easily figured out. It should be orchestrated where each chapter gives you another piece of the puzzle but the whole picture eludes you. Sometimes the piece will fit snugly against a neighboring partner and sometimes you know it has to go there, but no matter how you turn it, it just won’t click into place.

While I was reading Ghosts and presented with the puzzle pieces, I couldn’t get the bigger picture to unveil itself. Was I mad? HELL TO THE NO! I didn’t want a few clicks and boom the show was over. I wanted my brain challenged and Chip definitely made me think. He made me doubt almost everyone, questioning even the good guy’s motives and presented an evil – unsavory – vile character (Poe) who took a licking and kept on ticking… much like Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) and  Michael Myers (Halloween). Those two psychopaths wouldn’t stay dead either.

You want a good mystery, then look no further. Ghosts will challenge your mind and keep you hooked until the very end. 

 

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1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤1/2

 

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Review of “Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont” – Connie Chappell

Historian Wrenn Grayson arrives at the Rosemont mansion expecting to receive payment for her services from the mansion’s new owner, Clay Addison. That expectation dies when she and Clay find Trey Rosemont murdered on the foyer floor. Across town, police officers race to Eastwood University. Priceless Egyptian artifacts were stolen from the history department safe. Wrenn’s longtime love, Eastwood professor Gideon Douglas, heads the department. Only recovery of the artifacts will save his career. Life in Havens, Ohio, doesn’t stop for this crime spree. Wrenn works for Mayor K.C. Tallmadge. He wishes Wrenn would stop searching down clues ahead of the police and pacify temperamental playwright Barton Reed. Barton’s play is just days away from opening in the town’s historic Baxter Theater. Amid murder, theft, or curtain calls, Wrenn’s instincts prove sharp. But it’s her stubborn one-woman approach that places her directly in the killer’s path.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

The true sign of a great murder mystery novel is the ability of an author to leave you befuddled who was the killer. Connie gave us many suspects, motives, and yet I was not completely sure I knew who was the proper prime suspect. I also  wondered how she was going to tie the murder and theft together & was impressed how thoroughly she linked the two crimes.

She also left us enough breadcrumbs for sequels: What will the future hold for Gideon and Wrenn? Have we seen the last of Elmore, Lucas and Clay? (Surely not) And what about the mysterious Gina Frawley? Will we ever learn what became of her?

So even though the villain (killer) enlightened us about why Trey had to die and details regarding the thievery at Eastwood University, readers will have have enough unanswered questions to have them coming back for another chapter in the life of Wrenn Grayson. 

Well done, Connie! 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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Author Showcase – Sandra Nikolai (Dark Deeds: Megan Scott/Michael Elliott Mystery, Book 4)

~~ CAN BE READ AS A STANDALONE ~~ 

 

“Where evil lurks, no one is safe.”

The suspicious fire that destroyed the shed exposes a surprise corpse—not what ghostwriter Megan Scott and investigative reporter Michael Elliott expected when they reserved a cabin at their friends’ lakeside resort in rural Ontario.

Fear overshadows their visit like a looming storm. Their friends are receiving anonymous threatening letters. An elderly resident is reported missing. Locals are wary. They aren’t used to outsiders snooping around town, asking questions.

When Michael makes a connection to a cold case, evidence points to an ex-convict looking for revenge. He’s had reconstructive surgery. He could be anyone.

Terror blankets the town as the body count mounts. The killer is playing dangerous mind games with everyone—especially with Megan. If she doesn’t find him first, she could well become his next victim.

 

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Excerpt from Dark Deeds by Sandra Nikolai

 

Madame Ora stood five feet tall and wore a red polka dot wrap dress that resembled something I’d once seen in a 1940s movie. Her wispy white hair stood on end and looked as if it had gone through dozens of perms. She beckoned me into a tiny room at the rear. A thick curtain separated it from the rest of the shop. Without a word, she motioned for me to sit down at a round café table and took a seat opposite me.

“Please do not ask me any questions until I have completed my reading.” Her voice was thick with a foreign accent—maybe Polish. She closed her eyes and mumbled words I couldn’t understand, then opened her eyes. “Please show me your hands.”

I extended both hands as requested.

Madame Ora peered at my palms, squinting as if she were trying to decipher coded messages. “My dear, you have suffered a deep loss, but things will change for the better.”

It was a pretty general statement.

“Your loss had to do with a man—a man who shared a deep bond with you.”

My late husband. Good guess.

“This man died suddenly and tragically.”

Okay, this was getting creepy.

“You have since moved on. Another man has entered your life. He is a very brave man.”

I swallowed hard.

Madame Ora continued. “On this particular journey, you are in grave danger, but you are surrounded by protection.”

Grave danger? Protection?

She looked up at me, her eyes staring at the space above my head. “The white feather will protect you. Keep it with you at all times.”

Goose bumps rose along my arms. While she closed her eyes and mumbled the same incoherent words as before, I reached into my handbag and rubbed the tiny white feather between my thumb and forefinger. It seemed beyond coincidental.

Madame Ora opened her eyes. “You may now ask me two questions.”

My practical side told me the simple white feather in my handbag would never protect me from any kind of danger. Regardless, the fact she had mentioned it intrigued me. “Can you be more specific about the grave danger you mentioned?”

She closed her eyes. “You are involved in matters concerning death. I see three dead spirits around you—spirits that have met with unexpected death. Take caution. Not everyone is to be trusted.” She opened her eyes. “Next question.”

Was she kidding? A dozen questions had popped into my head.

I thought of Michael. “Will the man in my life be safe too?”

“He has tempted fate many times and succeeded.”

“What you mean?”

Madame Ora pushed back her chair and rose. “I’m sorry, I have already answered your two questions.”

 

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CLICK ON THE BOOK TITLES TO BE REDIRECTED TO AMAZON!

FYI –> THESE CAN BE READ AS  STANDALONE. 😀 

 

BOOK ONE: FALSE IMPRESSIONS

BOOK TWO: FATAL WHISPERS

(Short Story): TIMELY ESCAPE

BOOK THREE: ICY SILENCE

 

 

Sandra Nikolai is the author of the Megan Scott/Michael Elliott Mystery series. In addition to her novels, Sandra has published a string of short crime stories, garnering awards along the way.

Sandra held jobs in sales, finance, and high tech before leaving the corporate world to pursue a career in writing. She likes to think that plotting a whodunit reveals the lighter—yet more mysterious—side of her persona.

Visit Sandra’s website and sign up to receive her latest book news. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraNikolai or connect with her on Goodreads or Facebook .

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Author Showcase – Susanne Leist (The Dead Game)

 

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~~ EXCERPT ~~

 

Linda was passing the empty tables by the tall windows when she felt her arm being tugged—very hard. Before she could react, she found herself being forcibly dragged through the open patio doors and onto the isolated garden path. She came face to face with the mighty Wolf and his trusted companion, Hayden. The grounds were deserted. Everyone had left the gardens and she was all alone with the two wicked vampires.

Wolf glared at Hayden. “Please let go of her arm; we are not animals. We never force ourselves on women.”

“Chivalry among demons—I’m very impressed. Too bad your table manners and choice of dishes leave a lot to be desired,” Linda said. Her hatred of Wolf had just caused her to forget her low position in the food chain; she closed her mouth to stop herself from talking. In the future, she must remember that he was a vampire—the strongest one in the world—and that he could easily destroy her at any time.

Wolf didn’t seem the least bit focused on her. “I didn’t come here to play parlor games with you. I need you to convince Todd to join with us. He can never be human or will ever be accepted by them. He belongs with us. He must stick with his own kind.”

“He’s not like you in any way at all: he cares too deeply for people and is loyal to his friends. On the other hand, you and your kind enjoy killing too much and have no feelings whatsoever.”

“Todd will never be accepted by humans or by his own kind. He will be an outcast with nowhere to go. He must join with us.”

“Todd is human and will always be accepted by humans.”

“Let’s kill her now, boss. She’s going to be trouble. I could take her away and no one will ever see her again,” Hayden said, grabbing hold of her arm again.

Oops, she did it again. Her big mouth had now sealed her fate. She had to learn how to be more assertive without getting herself into trouble.

Wolf strolled over to her with a wicked gleam surfacing in his eyes.

“I have a much better use for her in the future. When she finally comes to her senses, she’ll realize that she will be better off with a real vampire with limitless powers than with a pathetic human. She’ll learn about intoxicating love and passion—not the games that humans play that pale in comparison.

Here comes the human. Let her go for now.”

Linda was horrified to find herself wrapped in Wolf’s strong, muscular arms. She became hypnotized by his black eyes and tempted by his deep voice. He seemed perfect in every way. She only wanted to be with him.

“I’ll be back for you.” Wolf held her tight against his body and whispered in her ear. “I love the way you stand up to me with your flashing blue eyes. Soon you’ll be mine, my beautiful ice queen.”

Linda couldn’t move her body. She was stuck in some kind of trance…she couldn’t leave; didn’t want to leave if given the choice. His voice soothed her and made her think of love, passion, and great need: a need that could be satisfied only by him with his expert hands and mouth. She knew that one day she was going to be with him, to be joined with him.

He lowered his mouth onto hers and drew her into a swirling haze of unexpected feelings and desires. His mouth fully covering hers introduced her to a new realm of pure pleasure. His powerful form enveloped her, making her feel feelings that were foreign and untried for her. She couldn’t get enough of him. She tentatively began touching his face and then his body with an eager and unrelenting hunger. She didn’t know what she needed, but she knew that she wanted and desired this beautiful man standing right before her. Her past life was washed out of her mind, never to be considered again. She begged him to take her with him tonight. In response, Wolf lifted her in his arms, as if she weighed nothing, and turned to leave the party. His beautiful face looked victorious and happy. His black eyes filled with passion. She hoped that it was because of her. He looked down into her small face and gave a hearty roar.

While Wolf carried her in his powerful arms, a dark shadow swooped out of the house and flew directly at them. Linda was knocked out of his arms, and Wolf was thrown across the patio.

She looked up to see who had attacked them. It was Todd, his eyes a deadly shade of green, standing there panting.

Linda backed away in horror. Todd’s eyes cleared and returned to their original dark color. Then he looked at her. “Don’t ever be afraid of me. I’m here to protect you.”

Then he was struck down by Wolf.

They began circling each other like two wild animals. Todd thrust his body at Wolf, causing Wolf to lose his balance, and they crashed together to the ground. Wolf pushed Todd aside and stood back up. He lunged at Todd, who sidestepped his maneuver. Todd retaliated by lifting him high up in the air and flinging him through one of the glass doors to the house. Wolf rose up and dusted glass off his clothing.

He said to Todd, who stood before him, “We are not anywhere near finished, my dear friend. The next battle between us will be more private—without so many witnesses. If I were you, I would watch your back…and your pretty little girlfriend.” Wolf stalked away with Hayden following close behind. Todd quickly followed.

Linda was left standing alone outside. She felt bereft without the touch of Wolf’s lips on hers and the solid strength of his arms holding her. She had felt the unmistakable pull by him on all her senses. In his arms, she’d felt weak and needy—as if she needed him to live. Todd and Wolf were extremely powerful and both had taken hold of her senses.

 

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If I had known it was going to be so hard,

 involving computer skills to the extreme,

 I might have thought twice about it,

 thought twice about writing my book.

 Writers must write each and every day.

 We must promote our books daily.

 We must post on our blogs each day.

 But there’s not enough hours in a day.

 How do other writers accomplish all this?

 How do they leave free time for their families?

 They must be expert jugglers.

 Experts at writing, blogging, and juggling.

 I must learn this dance,

 this high-wire walk,

 this never-ending battle.

 I must learn to juggle.

 I will do it.

 I will do it all.

 Just give me the chance.

 Book two is being written.

 I feel free.

 I feel empowered.

 I will survive.

 James Patterson, eat my dust.

 

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Author Showcase – Cher Lane (Get Married or Get Dead Trying)

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Kara Kay George had agreed to be on The Stag as a favor to the producer, her old sorority sister. “I just need you for one night,” Noreen had begged. “Then you can go home.” But going home was not an option. As luck would have it, the Stag took a liking to her and decided to keep her around. No way would she fawn over him as the other women were doing. She had a business back home to run and no time for a silly romance, especially not with a man who had his eye on twenty-four other girls.

Tree Gunner had lost a bet at his best friend’s bachelor party, meaning that he had to apply to be on the popular TV show, The Stag. Of course the handsome son of a Houston building magnate was a shoo-in. Certain that he will not fall in love with any of the girls, Tree arrives on the show feeling smug and confident. He’ll enjoy the attention of twenty-five vain, beautiful women, all hoping to marry him and his money, and then haul it back to Houston, alone.
Luana Deneux goes on The Stag with one purpose in mind – to marry Tree Gunner. An heiress with a disappearing inheritance, she and her brother are desperate for her to marry The Stag in order to restore the family’s dwindling coffers, and they will stop at nothing to insure it happens.

 

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Tree Gunner stood in the immense ballroom, looking much calmer than he felt. Known as Houston’s Stud Man, he shouldn’t feel nervous about meeting a group of women, but he did. After all, these weren’t just any women. They were here hoping to marry him. The very word gave him the heebie-jeebies. Him, get married?His buddies must be laughing their heads off.
            The cameras were readied, aimed at him, their lights blindingly bright. He could hear the crew cracking jokes. Something about how, “if I were in his shoes,” and “lucky dog.”  He’d happily trade places with any one of them. It had been just his luck to win, or lose was a better word, the bet with his buddies. They’d been sowing wild oats at Jed’s bachelor party when someone had come up with the bright idea. Winning the bet meant that he had to apply to be on The Stag, which didn’t mean he’d get chosen, but, when you were the handsome son of a building magnate, what was the chance you’d get turned down? So, here he was, nervously awaiting the twenty-five beautiful young women who were coming to meet him to cast their spells and try to drag him to the altar. He cringed inwardly at the thought and looked around, having heard his name called.
            “Tree.”  He turned to see Noreen, the show’s producer, approaching. She was a saucy redhead with bright blue eyes and a ton of energy.
            “The girls should be arriving any moment now,” she said, beaming. “Just smile and look at the camera.  That’s right,” she cooed, her hands busy adjusting this and smoothing that. She tilted his chin at just the right angle, then placed her hands on his broad shoulders and turned him slightly.  “Okay, just stay put, it’s almost show time.” She gave him an overly bright smile and hurried off to yell orders to Hal and Tom, the show’s cameramen.
            “Take it easy,” Tree murmured to her back.  “It’ll be okay.”
             If she heard, she gave no indication, suddenly picking up her heels and running for the entrance.  “They’re here!” she called.
            The show’s announcer, a pleasant looking middle aged man, called out the first girl. Tree watched as she walked across the stage towards him, a fake smile plastered on her heavily made-up face.  He murmured something polite, decided she’d be the first to go, and turned to wait for the next one.  A whole parade of artificial smiles came by, none of them making a lasting impression. Some insinuated that they were “available.” Others claimed to be virgins waiting for the perfect man.  He breathed a sigh of relief. He was safe. None of these women was a threat to his bachelorhood.
            They were almost to the end of the line when he heard a commotion.  He strained his eyes, trying to see beyond the bright camera lights to where two girls stood. They seemed to be having an argument over who would come out first.  At last, a saucy brunette emerged, hips swaying rhythmically to the beat of the Hawaiian music.  She pranced up to him, put a hand around his neck and kissed him soundly on the lips.  “Hello, Mr. Dream Man,” she said huskily, and then gave his butt a pinch with her other hand.
            Tree’s eyes opened wide in surprise, and he gave her a second look.  Her ebony eyes were dark with passion: seductive, materialistic, and sexy as hell. Things were looking up. He grinned and kissed her back, and then turned his attention to the last girl. 
            She walked nonchalantly towards him, her chin stuck up in the air. Tree felt the breath die in his throat as his heart began pumping double time and his… “Oh no, stay down, boy,” he ordered under his breath. Unlike the other women, this one seemed totally unaware of her charms and confident as hell at the same time. His gaze roamed over her body, itching to run his hands over every inch of it. She filled out the sarong perfectly with softly rounded hips and bosom, a tiny waist, and mile long legs. To top it all off, she had a healthy natural tan that let him know she enjoyed being outdoors. Her hair was the color of spun gold and swung freely about her shoulders. Then his eyes collided with hers. They were a dark lavender that reminded him of an exotic flower. A wave of hot passion shot from them, turning his insides to molten lava. She quickly lowered them, and when she looked up again, those lovely exotic eyes looked bored and uninterested, making him wonder whether he had imagined it.
            Reaching him, she extended a neatly manicured hand and smiled politely. “Hi, I’m Kara,” she said in a silky voice.  He ignored the outstretched hand and gripped her shoulders, pulling her against his chest. He heard her gasp just before he leaned down and his lips grazed that luscious mouth. The high heel that suddenly ground into his toe brought him back to his right mind with a jolt.  She gave him a smile of pure innocence, murmured, “sorry,” and walked away to join the other girls, hips softly swaying. 
            Pinched by one and maimed by another.  He didn’t know whether to rub his butt or grab his toe.  He did his best to hide the pain behind a pleasant smile as the camera came in for a close-up.  Then Noreen was there, sticking a microphone in his hand, and asking him questions.
            “Cut,” she called, and then shoved a list into his hand.  “These are points to consider when you qualify the girls.  You won’t want to let them see it, so just take a moment to look it over, and then stick it in your pocket.”  Noreen looked him up and down, patted him on the shoulder and then turned to yell directions to Hal and Tom.  
            Tree looked at the piece of paper in his hands. Points to consider huh?  He scanned down the list.  It sounded as if he was choosing a prized thoroughbred.  This evening, he should approach each girl and determine her breeding, financial status, social standing, and morals.  How was he supposed to remember all these details about twenty-five girls?  Ah, but here came Noreen now, with a small PDA in her hand.
            As if reading his mind, she held out the PDA and said, “You’ll use this to keep track of each girl’s qualities.  After you talk to each girl, pull out your PDA, bring up her name, and enter the details. At the end of the evening, just total the points for each girl and the PDA will let you know which ten girls you’ve selected.  Easy huh?”
            Tree looked at it and frowned.  A computer was going to choose his wife?  “I don’t like this.”  He turned the little PDA over in his hands, and then shoved it at Noreen.  “I’ll talk to each girl and make my selections based on who I like best.”
            Noreen tapped her foot and gave him an impatient look.  “I don’t have time for this nonsense.  Use the PDA.  You’re the one making the entries. You’re the one making the decision, not the computer. It just keeps track of your thoughts so you know who you liked best.” 
            “Like a little black book, huh?”
            “Yeah, like a little black book,” Noreen agreed.  “Just remember, it’s confidential and top secret.  Don’t let it out of your sight.”
            Noreen rushed off, and Tree spent a few minutes familiarizing himself with his little black book.  He pulled up Kara George’s name and read the brief biography.  “Thirty-two years old from Murphy, Texas, Miss George owns and operates a successful cruise and tour business,” he read. “Miss George is hoping to find love and lasting happiness with the Stag, Tree Gunner.”  He laughed aloud.  No way did Miss George look eager to fall in love with him. Other than that brief moment when her eyes seemed to gleam with passion, she looked put out at having to be here at all. He pulled up the comment page and typed:  “Keep this one around, no matter what,” snapped the PDA closed, and stuck it in his pocket, a smile of satisfaction on his face.  He was going to make her pay for the feelings she had aroused in him, whether purposely done or not.
 
 
 

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Cher Lane lives in Texas with her husband, four cats and a dog. She has three sons and one daughter, two step daughters, 15 grandchildren, and five step grandchildren. When she’s not writing, she enjoys working out, going for walks, swimming, sewing and cooking.
 
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Review of “Pumpkin Farmer” – Michael Hughes

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The year is 1979. Malaise, stagflation, turmoil in the Middle East, and a gas crunch; these things are but background noise for what unfolds when a lovesick businessman and a sociopathic drifter cross paths. John Nix, business manager of a Silicon Valley semiconductor startup, picks up Horace Fullworth, a ne’er-do -well heir of a wealthy California family, who has returned to San Francisco after surviving the Jonestown Massacre.

After John discovers his girlfriend cheating, he drives to a bar in the small rustic town of La Honda. He meets Ellie O’Neil, a pretty young woman he offers to drive home. Feeling misled by her, he leaves her on the side of the road, where Horace finds her. John hears that Ellie has gone missing and is overcome with guilt. His struggle with his conscience leads him back to those rugged coastal foothills of the San Francisco Peninsula.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

It was fascinating witnessing the ways Horace and John’s paths keep intercepting each other’s. With the level of detail surrounding their daily lives and happenings, you almost feel like you are watching these two men through binoculars. Let me tell you folks, these two gents weren’t sitting around watching pumpkins grow. There was a lot more going on at the pumpkin farm than meets the eye. 

In Chapter 34, the story really picks up steam —- the unthinkable happened. Be prepared for more than one shocking development, which included a surprise revelation. Yes, we had to wait until almost the end of the book. Yes, the big game changer could’ve been touched on a bit more and way sooner. Yes, I would have most definitely altered John and Ellie’s roles at the end.

When you think of sociopaths (Horace), when you read what became of Ellie, and Horace’s discovery, you’ll probably understand my cryptic meaning more clearly. I could describe my plot twist in more detail but I’m afraid it would give away spoilers which I won’t do.

But I will say this, those ending chapters were freaking fabulous and had me saying, “What the f*ck?!” and not in a bad way. Seriously, nice twist!  

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

 

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I’m 25 and currently work for a bank in compliance in Los Angeles.  Pumpkin Farmer and The Crimson Shamrock are my two published paperback novels; I also self-published a novel titled Loafing by La Brea. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Review of “The Power of Love and Murder” – Brenda Whiteside

The Love and Murder Series,  Book 4

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Penny’s secrets can ruin a presidential contender, got her family murdered…and mark her as the next hit.

For thirteen years, Penny Sparks has managed to hide from the political powers who murdered her family. When she unwittingly exposes her true identity, not only is she marked for death, but the people closest to her risk meeting the same fate.

Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. When he meets his sister’s roommate, Jake believes Penny might be that someone who can help him find life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world.

With a government agent turned hit man closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender behind the murders of her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hope for a new life.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)  

First, let me start off this review by stating that any woman who wears Black Widow and Batgirl pajamas to bed is already cool as heck in my book. Penny (aka Jianna Ricci), you have fantastic fashion sense!! 

Ok pressing on….

Like the other “Love and Murder” books in the series, Brenda crafted a story full of mystery, corruption, bit of romance, and ended it all with a happily ever after. Along the way though, many tears were shed and not just by the heroine — Penny. Jake and his parents were dealt a mighty blow that tore out their hearts and left them asking why and how come. Have no fear, readers, justice was served — eventually. 

Before Mandy’s murderer is caught and Penny’s troublesome past is finally put behind her, readers will embark on a journey of a crocked politician and FBI agent, cover-ups, fraud and embezzlement, and multiple murders. 

Also, we watch an ex-rock star regain his life after kicking a drug habit and the collapse of his band. We watch him fall in love with a woman who’s afraid of letting him in. We watch her (Penny) stop running and start fighting. She intended to avenge her family and get her HEA… which she did.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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KEEP SCROLLING! 

 

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BOOK ONE

Lacy Dahl never questioned her past until the deaths of her adoptive parents and her husband. A husband who wasn’t what he seemed. Her research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life. 

Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice. When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible. As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.

Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past…until Chance’s connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love. Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?

Paperback  / Kindle 

 

 

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BOOK TWO

Writing murder mysteries is all in a day’s work until an obsessed fan brings Phoebe’s stories to life.

Mystery writer, Phoebe Anderson, owes her success to killing her first husband on paper seventeen years earlier. Now, someone has actually done it. When she decides to take a few days away on the ranch of her best friend’s brother-in-law, she doesn’t expect romance to find her…or murder to follow her.

Mason Meadowlark is happy with his wild cowboy ways, avoiding love since the death of his baby and the end of his marriage twenty years ago. When Phoebe shows up, he fights to control his emotions, but soon wonders if she just might be worth the risk of opening his heart again.

With an obsessed fan close on her heels, Phoebe is thrown into her own murder mystery…and the next target on his list is Mason.

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BOOK THREE

In Austria to meet her great-grandfather and explore his castle estate filled with priceless art, August Myer arrives to find he’s died suspiciously. As one of the heirs, her life is in danger, turning this fairytale Alpine adventure into a nightmare of unexplained accidents, neo-Nazi threats, and murder.

Inspector Tobias Wolf splits his time between his profession and fighting the spread of neo-Nazism. But when the beautiful, intriguing American crosses his path during a murder investigation, ensuring her safety challenges his priorities…and his heart.

When August learns the handsome inspector’s involvement with a major female Nazi is more than he’s admitted, and the death of her great-grandfather is somehow connected, she takes the investigation into her own hands. The outcome could be the death of both of them.

Kindle / Print (Amazon) 

 

 

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Brenda and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. Currently, they split their time between the pines of Northern Arizona and the RV life. At home or in the RV, she spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love entangled with suspense. 

 Website / Facebook Link / Twitter  / Amazon Author Page  / Goodreads Page 

 

She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com

She blogs about prairie life on her personal blog http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/

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Author Showcase – Tracy A. Ball (Kayos: The Bad & the Worse)

RELEASED TODAY!!

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Pride & Prejudice do Mission Impossible with Young Guns

LAREINA ELLIOT, guidance counselor for Presque Isle Academy, discovered her idea for making students loyal to the government is being implemented in the Excellence Program to further the war. It has become her life’s work to undermine that effort. When she is arrested for being a Revolutionary sympathizer, her brothers, KAIDEN, FISHER, and SILAS rescue her with help from three of Lareina’s top students; ALEC, ORION, and YUKIYO. On the run but armed with intelligence and more, they seek to learn how she was exposed and by whom.

CHRISTIAN DEVERELL, the agent assigned to Lareina’s case is relentless. She can’t escape him. It doesn’t matter that he and Lareina are on opposite sides of the law, or that their history is dirty. It doesn’t matter that he commissioned her adopted brother, Silas, to assassinate her. The only thing of importance is his love for Lareina and his promise to protect her.

Silas MCKADE, soldier elite, Lareina’s secret weapon. The man who never misses is on the Government’s payroll to do whatever he likes to whomever he chooses. He has a death warrant for Lareina—the woman who means everything to him—and a heart full of hatred for Christian—the man he wants to be. He’s either going to break Lareina’s heart or stop it altogether. 

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             Christian watched Alec skipping down the fire escape; rifle over his shoulder, two-liter drink under his arm. Cocky little punk. He didn’t know Alec personally, but he was certain his description was accurate. It grated him that it wasn’t the cocky little punk he was waiting for. It didn’t matter. This one was obviously extra special to Lareina. Reason enough to kill him. He slid his gun free. “Stop right there you little bastard.”

               Alec did.

               Christian could see the intelligence in those dark eyes. The little shit is debating it. “You move. You die.” Gut instinct prompted him to add, “And Lareina gets to watch.”

               Now, Alec obeyed.

               “Climb down off that last step and put your hands up. You blink in the wrong direction and I will personally hand her the pieces.”

               Alec didn’t answer. He was thinking.

               “Leave him alone, Eugene.”

               Together Christian and Alec watched her approach. This was no place for a lady.

               Only Lareina would stroll down a blind, back alley, toward a loaded weapon, wearing stilettos. Christian couldn’t remember a day when she didn’t look good. He’d never admit it, but he’d been agonizing over her since the hospital. He had been worried. Hell, he missed her. And there she was: green top—too low in the front, dark jeans—as tight as can be, dangly earrings, glossy lips, an arm full of bangles, and those damned sexy-ass stilettos.

               Armed with an air of supreme poise, Lareina came forth. “Get in the car, honey.” She ruffled Alec’s hair but didn’t stop until she stood directly in front of Christian. His gun was less than three inches from her heart.

               Alec hadn’t moved. She hadn’t expected him to, but it was worth a try. No matter. Now, that she was there, he was safe enough. 

               “What are you doing here, Lareina?” Christian lowered his weapon.

               “Getting my child. What’s it look like?” She had the nerve to grin. “How did you find us?”

               He arched an eyebrow at her and cast a speculative glance at Alec, exaggerating the act long enough to make sure she noted it before he let the topic go. “What did you want with Jeri?”

               “Jeri’s a bastard.”

               “No shit, Sherlock. Tell me something I don’t know.”

               “It was news to me. That M-F’er has been stealing my files. He sold me out. It seemed prudent to find out some particulars.”

               “It wasn’t to the government because you’re a criminal?”

               She pursed her lips at him.

                Not the government. Then who? Something started to click, but Christian couldn’t finger it. “You know I’m taking you in, right?”

               “You can’t. Not today anyway.”

               “Why not today?” He could hear them coming.

               So could she. “Because my son can’t drive.”

               “Yes, I can.” If they wanted to pretend this was normal, Alec was cool with it.   Lareina glanced at him, affectionately. “Not legally.”

                He gave an indignant huff. “Because that matters.”

               “Lareina.” Christian didn’t have time for this shit.

               “Christian. I’m getting my child out of here.” There was no mistaking the resolution in her tone. “If you want to shoot me, you’ll have to do it in the back.”

               He leveled her a mean look.

               “Mr. Deverell, sir.” An officer came into view. Two others followed him escorting Jericho Parks.

               “That’s her!” Jericho pointed. “That’s her! She did it. She’s responsible. I want to press full charges! She was behind it all!”

               His outburst made up Christian’s mind. He raised his weapon and unloaded three caps. Like dominoes, the DoP’s went down one after the other. Jericho screamed. He fell to his knees and covered his head. Christian studied Lareina. “Three days.”

               He watched her eyes dart to the left in that telltale manner.

               “I need at least a week.” Urgency caused her voice to rise.

               “You’re only getting three days.” He was in no mood to bend. Three soldiers lay dead. He had compromised enough.

               “Fine. I’ve got to go.”

               One hand extended, gun still pointed toward Jericho, in the event he attempted to run, with his other, Christian grabbed Lareina’s arm, pulling her to him. He put every ounce of his frustration into his kiss. It was either that or break her neck. And he was strongly contemplating the latter.

               Lareina allowed it. She wanted, craved his touch as much as he craved hers. Theirs was a dance with the devil; irresistible and impossible. The tangles had become knots and he only gave her three days. It wasn’t enough. She could hardly wait.

            The kiss ended, but the intensity remained. He sighed, letting the heat recede.

            She whispered, “I have a pretty long to-do list, Christian. Unfortunately, you’re not on it.”

            He licked the corner of her mouth, matching her tone. “I am the list.”

            She pressed her cheek against his lips. “Well, you’re not getting done tonight.”

            “Don’t fool yourself, Lareina,” he said. “I am going to have you.”

            The absolute authority rippling through the huskiness in his voice made her nerves tingle with anticipation. It was a future fact. The next time, they wouldn’t be in the middle of a shootout. There would be no high emotions or weak moments to blame it on. It would be intentional. It would be permanent.

               Summoning strength he didn’t like to utilize, Christian pulled back an inch, tugging on her bottom lip a moment longer. “Don’t stop.” His eyes were serious.

               “Be careful.” Her eyes were worried. 

               With nothing more to say, she turned, moving away as fast as her stilettos would allow. Alec fell into step beside her. They were to the car, backing out and pulling into traffic when they heard a noise. It sounded like a gunshot.

 

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Tracy’s family is blended from three distinct cultures. Over the years, she has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She has an equal number of liberal and conservative friends. She knows people who have committed murder and she knows people who know the Pope.

Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love.

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Review of “Beast of All” – J.C. McKenzie

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“Two months ago my world collapsed and the beast reigned.

Seven weeks ago the SRD captured me.

Nine days ago, they injected me with something vile.

Today, I break free.

And tomorrow?

I’ll make them pay.”

 

Badass Shifter Andy McNeilly wakes up from a horrible nightmare, only to discover it wasn’t a dream, and she’s no longer quite so badass. Chemically curbed, Andy has lost touch with her feras and beast when she needs them most. Can she regain control of her supernatural abilities in time to reap retribution from her enemies, or will she fall as fodder in a power play for control of Vancouver’s seedy underworld?

 

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No feras. No beast. Whatever they shot me with blocked my communication with the animals. Did it prevent shifting as well? I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to call a form and change. Only a headache answered. Dread flittered across my skin. Was this permanent?

As the Carus, the genetic throwback to the first demi-god progeny of the beast goddess, I caged a beast with rage and power rivaled by few, and possessed more than one animal familiar to shift into.

At least, I did until the SRD shot me full of chemicals. Would I ever regain my abilities? Hear the indignant screech of the peregrine falcon? Or the lusty purr of the mountain lion? Or soulful howl of the wolf?

My heart hammered, punching bone. A buzzing sensation filled my head. The “wrongness” of my condition grated against my nerves, slicing them into slivers like a planer shucking off wood shavings.

Something in my abdomen swelled, as if the beast pushed against whatever barrier caged and hid her from me.

I’ll get you out, I told her, not knowing if she could hear. We’ll make them pay.


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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Even though “Beast of All” is book #5 in the Carus Series, it can be read as a standalone novel. However, after reading it, I know you’ll most definitely be itching to read books 1-4. Why? Because you’ll want, crave, feel compelled to find out more about key players in the series — their pasts and how they got from point A to point B.

After witnessing the passion, heat, basically a tsunami of emotions rolling between Andy and Wick, I never wanted this story to end. Fighting together, fighting each other, there’s one thing evident… they loved each other. However, before a HEA was achieved, we were presented with some outstanding, unforgettable, and BADASS battle scenes. Andy, you are a BADASS woman/shifter (Carus).

The rest of the supernatural beings were just as memorable and smoldering as her (Andy). Seriously, I think J.C. created the sexiest, most lethal group of characters housed in one story.

Various shifters, vampires, witches, and demons…..loved them all!   

Speaking of demons, wait until you meet Sid aka the Seducer Demon. Him, I could’ve had a few more chapters of. Andy’s brother too. But hey, there’s always book #6; which can’t come soon enough. 🙂

  

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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Chapters | iTunes | Kobo | Wild Rose Press

 

About the Author:

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Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

 

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