Spotlight on Magic, Mayhem and Murder

I’m happy to welcome author January Bain. Today, January shares the first book in her Manitoba Tea & Tarot Mystery series: Magic, Mayhem and Murder.

Blurb

Charm McCall, armed with a library full of Agatha Christie stories and her unique witchy gifts, knows how to solve a small-town murder…

Charm McCall, the oldest of the McCall triplets by a whole day—or one minute before midnight if one’s being picky—is the designated driver for her whole town. Why, if it wasn’t for her, Snowy Lake would incinerate or fall into Hudson’s Bay. With her unique abilities, she’s all set to keep her family and town safe and on its proper course.

That is, until a hot Mountie moves into town, a busload of strippers breaks down on Main Street and Mrs. Hurst goes and gets herself murdered with poisoned jam. Jam crafted by Charm’s family at the Tea & Tarot café. Now it’s up to her to solve the murders—yes, plural, when another local business owner ends up dead.

Charm knows just what to do. What’s breaking a few laws if she can sleuth out the culprit? She knows the people of Snowy Lake better than any new lawman possibly could. So why can’t he just leave her be to get on with things?

And why does he have to be so darn hot?

Excerpt

“Will she let us stay?” Tulip’s eyes widened, her nose and cheeks reddened by the freezing wind. My triplet shivered, wiping her dripping nose on the back of her red mitten. I straightened the collar on her worn jacket and tucked the thin scarf around her neck. The snow was falling more heavily now, already filling in the tracks the three of us had made walking from the street light to the front stoop, the warning still ringing in my head. ‘Don’t knock until you’ve counted to a hundred if you know what’s good for you. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen…’

“I’m not sure, but if we’re really, really good, she might. At least for tonight,” I interrupted my counting to answer her.

“Yeah, don’t you be backtalking her like you did to Mommy,” Star said, staring accusingly.

“I never did that!” Tulip’s bottom lip started to quiver.

“Hush, no one is at fault,” I said. If she started bawling, I didn’t know how long I could hold off. My throat had a lump in it big as a baseball. Thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three.

Star screwed up her face but held her tongue, though only after I gave her my sternest older-sister look. I’d been born at one minute to midnight, making me the oldest sister by a full day. Not that birthdays were ever celebrated, though we’d had eight already. Mommy said we were too much trouble on a regular day. No way was she holding a two-day party for a trio of brats.

I tugged the paper sack holding all our possessions closer to my chest, thinking of the one precious book and the half-box of Pop Tarts Mommy had tucked inside for our supper. Maybe Granny would have a toaster or a stove element to warm them up? Or maybe she might have some juice or pop? My throat was dry. Even water would taste good.

Star stamped her feet to stay warm, her pink running shoes leaving an intricate pattern from the soles as she packed the snow. Her scarf had icicles forming from her warm breath hitting the frosty air and her cheeks shone bright red. No frostbite—not yet anyway. But the wind was picking up, blowing showers of ice crystals off the roof and onto our bare heads.

Sixty-six, sixty-seven. I glanced across the open field between Granny’s house and the house next door, visualizing wolves coming out of the evergreens of the thick forest and circling the town. We’d been dropped off on one of the coldest days of the year. Minus forty-seven, according to the loud man on the radio in our old van. I’d caught the name of the town on the welcoming sign leading in. Snowy Lake, population 1259. I was proud to be the first one to learn to read, first one to do most things. Then I could help my little sisters, when they’d let me.

Eighty-nine, ninety. I was shaking now, could barely keep from kicking at the door with my foot. But a promise is a promise. If Mommy came back and saw me doing wrong, I’d get a swat for sure.

buynow

Author Bio and Links

January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create books that features strong women who live life to the fullest, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope her stories will capture your imagination.

If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with her furry baby, Ling Ling. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.

If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook. Oh, and she loves to talk books…

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Totally Bound Author Page | Email

Giveaway

January Bain will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow January on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


Advertisements

Book Blast: Dragon’s Revenge

I’m happy to welcome author CJ Shane. Today, Shane shares her latest release, Dragon’s Revenge.

Blurb

When Tucson private detective and Iraq War vet Letty Valdez is hired to investigate a murder, she immediately finds herself targeted by a violent criminal. To find the killer, Letty turns to an old memoir of life in late 19th century Tucson. Clues in in the memoir, with its tale of love between two immigrants – one, an Italian widow, and the other, an exiled Chinese revolutionary – launch Letty on a suspense-filled struggle to find answers, to stop the murderer – and to stay alive!

Excerpt

By mid-morning, Letty was sleepy again. She called the dogs in from the backyard and took them with her to her bedroom.

Less than an hour later, Letty was startled awake. She sat up in bed.

Both Millie and Teddy were up, alert, and facing her bedroom door. The fur on their necks and along the ridge of their backbones was standing up erect. Both dogs were very tense and staring at the bedroom door with full attention.

Letty’s heart began to pound. She couldn’t hear anything but she knew there had to be an intruder.

Millie growled.

Teddy growled, too, a low rumbling growl from deep in his chest. Teddy’s lips curled up sharply, exposing his teeth. His pink tongue flicked in and out of his mouth. Teddy looked ready to attack and to tear someone apart with those fangs. He growled again.

Millie was ready, too. She stared at the door and growled a second time. She showed her fangs, too.

Letty felt like she almost couldn’t breathe. A paralyzing combination of fear and fury immobilized her. She was too banged up to be able to fight anyone. And whoever was on the other side of the door couldn’t be a welcome visitor. Letty realized that beyond a doubt, she had become a target.

The knob on the door began to turn slowly as if someone were trying to quietly enter the room. At the sight and sound of that turning knob, Millie barked a short warning bark. Teddy followed with a deep woofing sound. Don’t even try it, they communicated to the intruder. The door knob returned to its original position. Both dogs continued to stare intently at the door.

Letty knew that the person on the other side of the door knew now that there were two dogs in her room and those dogs were not happy.

Letty quietly got up from her bed and went to her closet. She pulled down a box from the top shelf, retrieved her Glock, and quickly assembled it. Just as quietly, she loaded the gun.

Letty moved toward the bedroom door, listening intently. She didn’t hear anything. She opened the door, gun in hand aimed and ready to shoot.

Both dogs bolted through the door past her and ran through the house. They were following the scent of the intruder. The backdoor was open. Letty did a quick check of every room in the house, gun ready. Nothing. The intruder had fled. Letty followed the dogs out the back door and into the backyard. Teddy did a quick survey of the backyard and Millie stood at attention close to Letty. Whoever had been there was gone now.

Buy Links

Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Author Bio and Links

C.J. Shane is a writer and visual artist in Arizona. In addition to her mystery fiction, she is the author of eight nonfiction books. Her first fiction book, _Desert Jade: A Letty Valdez Mystery_, (11-2017) is a finalist for Best Suspense-Thriller novel, New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.

Website | Rope’s End Publishing | Goodreads | BookBub | Facebook

Giveaway

C.J. Shane will be awarding an original artwork by C.J. Shane – an ink drawing of ocotillo on handmade paper in a wooden frame ready to hang with hooks and wire. Size of frame: 6 1/2″ by 8 1/2″ (U.S. ONLY), via Rafflecopter during the tour. Enter HERE.

Follow CJ on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour HERE.


Loving the Research

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Viola Russell. Today, Viola shares her writing journey and novels.

Here’s Viola!

My journey as a writer began when I first read Little Women. I was a kid, and my mother gave the trilogy to me as a gift. No one fascinated me like Jo March. She was wonderfully tough and brash for a woman of her time, and she dreamed of being a writer. Then, I learned that Alcott had based Jo and her family on her own disparate siblings and parents. Louisa May Alcott did become a writer. Dreams came true–well, at least for her. I did not pursue my dream as diligently for many years, too easily discouraged and rejected.

A bizarre incident started me writing again. A young woman in a bookstore approached me and asked if I’d ever given up a child for adoption. She said I looked just like her friend who was searching for her birth mother. I hadn’t and wished her friend luck in her pursuit of her birth parents; however, the incident made me think, What if it had been true? Hence, my first novel (no longer in print) was born. When my mother died, writing became my therapy. As I made my way through her prized possessions, I found the letters and memorabilia my uncles (her brothers) had retained from WWII. Some were letters to parents; others were objects purchased during their various deployments. The letters left a permanent mark on my psyche, particularly the letters from my Uncle Russell to his parents and sisters (my grandparents as well as my mother and aunt). I then had the privilege of reading the letters he’d sent to his wife and those she’d sent to him. They sparkled with passion. Instinctively, I knew I had to tell the story of my mother’s generation. The family members in Love at War are my family but not quite my family. As a writer, I have embellished and changed things, but the events are historically accurate. My cousins loved the dinner scene–all arguing through email if I’d faithfully rendered Grandma’s recipe for meatballs and spaghetti!

I certainly didn’t set out to write historical fiction, but I soon found it suited me. I next channeled my Irish heritage, writing Buccaneer Beauty, the story of Grace O’Malley. I had to tell the story of a powerful, strong woman who prevailed in a man’s profession in a sexist time. Grace outwitted the British and dominated two Irish chieftain husbands.




















Still, family called to me. My father was much older than my mother. His era was WWI, Storyville, and Prohibition, more so than WWII. I set about creating Jude Mooney, the character based loosely on my father, Samuel Weaver. Jude appears in From Ice Wagon to Club House. Like Jude, my father was a bootlegger. Like Jude, my father trained thoroughbred horses and professional boxers. He also had–let’s say–several wives. I wrote of my hometown, New Orleans (which also became a character, much as it had in Love at War) and then placed Jude in WWI as well as the Irish War for independence.

When I wrapped Ice Wagon, I thought the Mooney family was a finished chapter in my life, but the characters called my name and wouldn’t let me sleep. I picked up the story where I’d left the characters–with Jude’s sons back home in Ireland still fighting for the land their parents had loved. The Progeny follows Jude and his family as they face yet another war and more family turmoil. Again, WWII plays an important role in the novel, as does Ireland. As Jude seeks respectability, his children and extended family must find their places in a changing world.


















It hasn’t ended there. I’ve begun research for the third, and hopefully, last installment of the Mooney saga. What has always surprised me about my historical fiction is how much I find myself loving the research. When I research WWI and WWII, I’m in familiar yet unfamiliar territory. I’ve heard the family lore, and my research takes me into the heat of the battle and the details of a bygone era.

Amazon Buy Links

Buccaneer Beauty | From Ice Wagon to Clubhouse | The Progeny | Love at War | The Doctor and the War Widow | A Fair Grounds Mystery

Where to find Viola…

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Spotlight on Druid’s Portal

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Cindy Tomamichel. Today, Cindy shares the the two books in the Druid’s Portal series.



Druid’s Portal: The First Journey

A portal closed for 2,000 years.

An ancient religion twisted by modern greed.

A love that crosses the centuries.

An ancient druid pendant shows archaeologist Janet visions of Roman soldier Trajan. The visions are of danger, death, and love—but are they a promise or a curse?

Her fiancé Daman abandons her before the wedding, her beloved museum is ransacked, and a robed man vanishes before her eyes. Haunted by visions of a time she knows long gone, Janet teeters on the edge of a breakdown.

In the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall and 2,000 years back in time, Janet’s past and present collide. Daman has vowed to drive the invaders from the shores of Britain and march his barbarian hordes to Rome. Trajan swears vengeance against the man who threatens both his loves—Janet and the Empire.

Time is running out—for everyone.


Druid’s Portal : The Second Journey

A love that can never be.

Ethan—latest guardian of the Arwen pendant—finds his heritage of time travel a burden he can scarcely endure. Rowena—last of the line of Daman—is a soldier in the Celtic army, forced to perform deeds that haunt her. Both tormented by visions of the other, separated by barriers of time.

A time that should not exist.

Rowena flees the catastrophic end of her time but is trapped by an ancient family pact with an evil goddess. Desperate to save her, Ethan crosses over into her timeline, where his parents never met, and Daman—their greatest enemy—rules.
The past is ruled by a man who knows the future.

Thirty days to stop a goddess taking over her body. Thirty days to save his timeline. Together they will fight their way through an altered history to the dark past of Stonehenge.

But time is running out—for everyone.

Goodreads | Amazon


Book Trailer



Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre writer. Escape the everyday with time travel action adventure novels, scifi and fantasy stories or tranquil scenes for relaxation.

Find a world where the heroines don’t wait to be rescued, and the heroes earn that title the hard way.

The Druid’s Portal series is a genre blend of action, adventure, romance, time travel and magical historical fantasy set in Roman Britain.

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

Cindy Tomamichel is offering a $15 Amazon gift card and an ebook of 5 Minute Vacations in a Rafflecopter giveaway. Find out more HERE.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!


On Planting Red Herrings

Red_HerringWhen I shared an early draft of A Season for Killing Blondes, a beta reader complimented me on my use of red herrings and suggested the title could also be considered a red herring.

Puzzled, I asked for clarification.

She explained, “A red herring is a literary device that leads readers toward a false conclusion. Glancing at the title, I expected to read a thriller about a serial killer who had designated a specific time period for the Rampage.” She winked. “That’s definitely not the case here.”

A bit worried, I wondered if I was misleading my readers. Would they expect a thriller and be disappointed when my novel turned out to be a cozy?

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.


Spotlight on Ambush in the Everglades

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Petie McCarty. Today, Petie shares her latest release, Ambush in the Everglades.

Plenty of action-adventure in this romantic-suspense tale. Photographer Kayli Heddon is given the biggest assignment of her career—a photo essay on the Everglades Restoration—and a special airboat safari is arranged, so Kayli can get her pictures. What she doesn’t count on is being stranded alone in the Everglades with her handsome and unpredictable airboat guide. Kayli is forced to learn some tough lessons. Trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass, and a skilled partner makes all the difference in your survival.

Skye Landers takes the airboat safari gig as a favor to his cousin who is called out of town. Skye doesn’t expect the governor’s photographer to catch his eye, but Kayli Heddon is unlike any woman he has ever met. He knows he should keep his distance, but common sense flies out the window whenever she gets near.

Unfortunately, Kayli thinks honesty is the most important thing in a relationship—any relationship—and Skye Landers is a fraud. When secrets surface from his past, Kayli and Skye are soon on the run from more than just alligators.


The trees were large and close together at the south end of the island where Landers had tied up the airboat. Kayli made sure to stay close behind Landers, so he broke up any spider webs stretched across the overgrown path. She didn’t care if he wondered why she stuck to him like a tick. The Glades had the biggest spiders she had ever seen, and she’d die if she got a faceful of web.

The only thing she liked less than the big banana spiders in the hardwood hammocks was the famous Florida palmetto bug—a giant behemoth of an insect with oversized brown wings and a GPS tracking system, which allowed the monsters to zero in on your position and fly right at you when spooked. Alligators and snakes, she could handle. Big, nasty bugs were another matter altogether.

Landers passed a gumbo limbo tree and pulled back a weighty branch as he passed so she could slip through the opening. Instead, the toe of her sneaker caught on a tree root. She tripped and pedaled at the air to regain her balance, stumbling forward a few steps as the branch flew back at her.

Thwack!

The leafy branch smacked the side of her head and shoulder, and she let loose a shriek. With a grunt, she fought to shove the branch away and pressed through to the other side where Landers waited, looking concerned.

“Are you all right?”

Well, maybe not all that concerned, but at least a little.

“Sorry, I thought you were right behind me,” he said. “You’ve been sticking like glue.”

More sass. Thank you very little.

“Well, I was, but I tripped. I tried to stay close, so you got all the spider webs,” she rambled, then wished she had just shut up since now she looked like a big baby.

He grinned and turned back toward the path, when Kayli felt a tickle on her leg. She couldn’t help herself. She had to look. Had Landers touched her somehow?

“Aaaahhh!” Her high-pitched scream could have awakened the dead.

Her muscles all froze in unison as she stared down at the ginormous palmetto bug clinging for dear life to the exposed skin on her thigh. Two antennae wiggled independently of the each other—back and forth to taunt her—and his nasty bug-eyed face audaciously tilted up to stare.

Paralysis sunk into her bones. Her mind screamed for her to brush the miscreant away, but her arms wouldn’t move. Her gaze remained glued to the shiny brown carapace covering the bug’s lower back. The insect body seemed to double in size right before her very eyes. Oxygen only entered her lungs in short jerky gulps.

Landers turned back around. “What’s wrong with you?”

One look at her face, and his frown vanished. His gaze swept down her body, and with a lightning flash movement, his big hand slapped the over-sized bug into the nearby ferns.

“Oh my gosh, thank you! I’m terrified of roaches,” she wheezed blindly, her eyes squeezed tightly shut.
In the next breath, she went dumbstruck with horror, feeling her lips form those words against the side of his neck.

She had crawled him like a tree!

His head twisted to see her face, but she turned away, casting a swift glance over her shoulder before leaping backward off him. Her fingertips tingled from the feel of the muscles in his back. She gauged his expression for fallout from her horrific faux pas.

No smirk. That’s good.

Landers’ lips were slightly parted, and he looked as shocked as she felt.

Holy smokes! His cheeks are pink.

She watched him take a deep and, it appeared, stabilizing breath. She alternated her gaze between staring at him and split-second glances down at her legs to make sure the evil brown monster hadn’t mounted a second attack.

He stared back, his eyes wide. “You really are scared of roaches,” he finally said, so quiet she almost couldn’t hear him.

She nodded.

“Wow.”

“Sorry. When they get too close, I panic and I don’t really know what I’m doing.”

“Yeah.” He nodded almost imperceptibly, still studying her as though she would fly apart.

“Once I ran out of a friend’s house and across the street when a palmetto bug chased after me, and I only remember landing on the curb outside and not how I got there,” she said, feeling desperate to explain.

“Wow,” he repeated, his voice still soft. “Makes me wish I had a pocketful of the suckers.”

The whine of an airboat in the distance grew audible. Her whole body had warmed enough to flush her pink—she had acted like an idiot for Pete’s sake—and the heat had no chance to retreat when she could still feel his rock-hard body pressed against hers and her hands gripping his broad shoulders for support.

“Sorry about that.”

“I’m not.” His voice rumbled low in his chest, and his eyes held hers captive.

The airboat’s thrumming roar grew closer. “We’d better go,” he said.

She tore her gaze from his and searched the immediate area around her legs. No surprise attacks. When she looked up, his smirk had returned, and her heart sank.

“I’ll watch for roaches,” he teased and brushed against her arm as he pushed past.

She curled all ten fingers at his retreating figure and growled in her throat, then shot a quick glance all around before hustling after him.

Goodreads | Amazon

Captivated from the start, I fell in love with both protagonists, Kayli Heddon and Skye Landers, and couldn’t read fast enough to find out what awaited them in this well-written, romantic adventure. An expert storyteller, Ms. McCarty has a wonderful eye for detail and a strong sense of place. She takes us on an extraordinary journey with Kayli and Skye as they confront the physical and emotional challenges of the Everglades. At times, it felt like the Everglades was another character in the narrative.

An excellent summer read!

Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World—”The Most Magical Place on Earth”—where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her cozy-mystery-with-romantic-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.

Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband and an opinionated Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in No Angels for Christmas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Bookbub | Amazon | Goodreads

Petie McCarty will be awarding a $10 Amazon gift card to one winner and ebooks of The Angel and the SEAL to three winners via Rafflecopter. Find out more here.

Follow Petie on the rest of her Silver Dagger tour here.