Virtual Book Tour: Theft Between the Rains

I’m happy to welcome Canadian author Luba Lesychyn. Today, Luba shares the best moments of her creative life and her new release, Theft Between the Rains.

My Ten Best Moments as a Writer

Travelling to Southern Italy

When I was looking for a publisher for my first book, I decided to attend the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera in Southern Italy because a part of its program included ‘speed dating’ sessions with publishers and agents. It was a long trek from Toronto, but I fit in a side trip to Rome as well. But Matera is like no other place I’ve visited. The Unesco World Heritage Site looks like something out of Lord of the Rings.

Attica Books

While in Matera pitching my first book, Theft By Chocolate, to publishers and agents it went horribly. But several weeks after returning home, I received an email from Attica Books, based in Oxford, England to say they wanted to publish my book.

Praise from My Older Brother

My late older brother was a genius and I thought he’d think my work was inane, so I was really hesitant about having him read my humorous art theft thriller. After reading it, he told me he thought it was brilliant. I thought he was pulling my leg at first, but he started to break it down scene by scene and discuss his favorite bits.

Live Interview on National Television

Because of the timing of the publication of my book, I missed the deadline to have a booth at Toronto’s renowned book and magazine festival, Word on the Street. But the college where I had done my creative writing program asked me to be one of their panelists and I ended up being interviewed on a national news program by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about my book.

Book Launch

My formal book launch didn’t take place until about six months after it was published, but it was held at the headquarters of a preeminent Toronto chocolate maker and involved chocolate-making demonstrations and a presentation on the art of chocolate-making. It was a standing room only event and I couldn’t have had more fun.

Reading at the ROM

My books are set in Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, where I had worked for more than 20 years, and I was invited to do a reading there. I was terrified that the academics and other museum staff would crucify it for the artistic license I used in the book, but instead, they have been so positive about both books and the Museum staff have been some of my biggest supporters and fans.

Weathering a Snow Storm

I travelled around the province doing readings with my first book, and one of those landed in the middle of winter in a community a couple of hours drive north of Toronto. There was a snow storm that day and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, let alone any guests. But when I arrived, the room was packed and the people were some of the most friendly and appreciative I have ever met.

Praise from My Mom

My mother had mobility issues in her later years and she didn’t get out much. But with the help of my brothers, they got her to one of my readings and she was beaming at the end. I’ve always been very shy and dislike attention and she couldn’t believe how much I came to life reading from my book. She even said that she thought maybe I missed my calling as an actress. I’m not so sure about that!

UK Launch

Besides launching my book in Canada, I also launched it in the UK and did readings in London and Edinburgh. That was the experience of a lifetime.

Book Events Go Virtual

I was just getting started promoting my newest book, Theft Between the Rains, when almost without warning, it became a very different world. Most of our lives are currently taking place in our homes and in Canada our isolation rules have been very strict. But libraries started doing virtual events with authors and I have been so lucky to land of plethora of these events. And now I don’t have to travel in snow storms to share my work.

Blurb

What would you do if you worked at a reputable international museum and art works listed as still missing since WWII began showing up on your doorstep?

That’s the substance of the newest urban art theft thriller Theft Between the Rains by Luba Lesychyn.

Drawing on her more than 20 years at Canada’s largest museum, Luba reintroduces many of the affable and quirky characters from the prequel, Theft By Chocolate. Also resurrected is the malicious art thief who has been on the world’s most wanted criminal list for decades.

Theft Between the Rains takes readers behind the scenes at museums and to parts unknown of Toronto. And with water being a character unto its own, Luba uses both humor and thriller elements to weave a page-turning story while simultaneously illustrating how changing weather patterns and flash flooding are impacting metropolitan centers globally.

Excerpt

Lying slumped back in a chair, my body felt as though a truck had dumped a load of concrete over me. I mustered enough energy to crank my head upwards, but my brain was foggy, punch-drunk, as if I’d overdosed on gluten. In a mirror on the opposite wall, I caught a glimpse of my reflection. What was that dark mark on my throat, small and round? My head drooped downwards, and I noticed the door swelling open, incrementally, a sliver of light growing by millimeters. And then…a leg came into view. And, another. Where was I? Who was this coming in? Was I asleep, having one of those 3:00 am witching hour anxiety dreams? Should I get up? I couldn’t get up. Neurons were misfiring. I knew that person at the door. He was saying something to me…but the words seemed out of sync with what I was hearing.

Why did this guy sound like Johnny Cash…singing “Hurt”? Oh my god, it was Marco Zeffirelli, and now he seemed to be screaming at me, but it sounded as though he was underwater.

“Huh, what’s going on?” I said. Was I on some kind of drug trip? I didn’t do drugs. Did someone drug me?

Marco’s hands came towards the sides of my face, tugged at something, and the music stopped. Oh, right. It was all coming back to me. I had been listening to my iPod while working at my desk.

Author Bio and Links

Luba Lesychyn is a popular Toronto-based mystery writer, a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, and a respected author in the library readings and events circuit.

In her two books, she draws from her more than 20 years of work experiences at the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada’s largest museum), and her time working for a private museum consulting firm to write humorous, international art theft thrillers featuring amateur sleuth Kalena Boyko. Her newest book, Theft Between the Rains, is a sequel to Theft By Chocolate (about a woman looking for chocolate, love and an international art thief in all the wrong places) published in 2012 by Attica Books and launched in Canada and the UK.

Luba currently spends her time writing and virtually touring Theft Between the Rains in which lead character Kalena Boyko returns to find herself pulled into international art theft intrigue when masterpieces missing since WWII start appearing on her doorstep.

Website | Amazon | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Kobo | Pinterest | Twitter

Giveaway

Luba Lesychyn will be awarding a print copy of Theft Between the Rains to a randomly drawn winner (US or Canada ONLY) via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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

Spotlight on A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn

I’m happy to welcome bestselling author Cheryl Holt. Today, Cheryl shares ten interesting facts about the characters of her new release, A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn.

10 Facts About My Characters

1. In my new novel, A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn, I have several protagonists and four main storylines.

2. My character, Jennifer, is a nice, fun, pretty girl from a nice, ordinary family who doesn’t know her fiancé very well and shouldn’t have gotten engaged to him.

3. My character, Amy, is her sister who suffered a tragedy at age seventeen. She’s been grieving and punishing herself for over a decade, and she’s ready to move on with her life.

4. My character, Sharon, the groom’s mother, was incredibly hurt when her husband divorced her for a much younger woman. She has been grieving and furious with him for fifteen long years.

5. My character, Crystal, is a trophy wife who always has schemes fomenting, but they all finally unravel.

6. I write great characters, so the novel also includes tons of secondary characters who cause plenty of mischief for the main characters.

7. The groom’s family is uber-rich Hollywood royalty. The bride’s family is…normal.

8. The bride and groom shouldn’t have gotten engaged, but isn’t it too late to complain?

9. I am known as the “International Queen of Villains,” so I write some of the “best” villains in American fiction. They constantly have schemes in the works, but they never succeed in implementing them.

10. My characters all (and always) get his or her just desserts—for good or ill!

Blurb

From New York Times bestselling author, Cheryl Holt, comes a sparkling, fast-paced novel about the complexity of family—and all the ways they can drive us crazy.

The lavish Layton-Benjamin wedding promises to be an event to remember, and the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to impress their guests by hosting it at the exclusive Cross Creek Inn, a private mountain retreat tucked away in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. But the bride and groom are from completely different backgrounds, and they’ve only known each other for a few months, so it’s been a ‘hurry-up’ engagement that has everyone worried.

When the groom arrives late and tempers start to flare, it’s clear the wedding is a minefield that has to be carefully navigated. As parents and friends begin taking bets over whether the happy couple will make it to the altar, secrets are revealed, new loves emerge, and true happiness is finally found.

Book your visit to the Cross Creek Inn! A witty, fun summertime story about family, friendship, and finding out what matters most—that only Cheryl Holt could tell.

Excerpt

Sharon…

The view out the window of her suite was spectacular, and Sharon was trying to enjoy it. She was surrounded by thick, verdant woods, and off in the distance, stark mountain peaks rose, seemingly to the stratosphere. Even though it was mid-July, they were dotted with snow.

She’d never been what might be described as a mountain person. Being a typical Californian, one who’d been born and raised in Los Angeles, she’d had her auras read and her chakras aligned and her pores opened. She was a water person, and she lived on the beach in Malibu where she could stare out at the ocean.

Still though, the Colorado scenery was beautiful, and she had to remember that it was and focus on that fact. It was awfully quiet though, and the silence would take some getting used to. In Malibu, with its lone highway that was constantly clogged with cars, there was always a hum of traffic. It was a regular drone that never ended.

She wondered if the serenity and isolation might gradually drive her crazy, but then, she was staying in Colorado for four short days. She could endure any torment for four days. Couldn’t she?

On Sunday morning, after Eric and Jennifer departed on their honeymoon, she would head back to California, and the appalling weekend would be over.

As the mother of the groom, she should have been more excited, but she couldn’t muster the necessary enthusiasm. Initially, she’d decided she wouldn’t attend, but friends had nagged until she’d changed her mind. So…here she was, but she wasn’t glad about it, and she had to alter her mood, bury her misgivings, and forge on with a positive attitude.

buynow

Author Bio and Links

CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author who has published over fifty novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

Cheryl Holt will be awarding an autographed print copy of the book (US ONLY) to 10 randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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


Bits and Pieces of Characters

Having lived and taught in different cities throughout the province of Ontario, I have felt free to “borrow” characteristics from friends, former colleagues, and students to create composite characters in my novels.

That was the modus operandi for the first five novels I wrote: Between Land and Sea, The Coming of Arabella, A Season for Killing Blondes, Too Many Women in the Room, and A Different Kind of Reunion.

While writing No More Secrets, I followed a slightly different path.

Angelica Delfino, the protagonist, is also a composite character. But this time, I borrowed from the Italian women of my mother’s generation. And, yes, I did include bits of my mother’s life. Before she died, Mama read an early draft and commented, “I can see myself here, as well as…” and then she mentioned several relatives and close friends.

Continue reading on Brenda Whiteside’s blog.

Through the Ages

I’m happy to welcome author Everley Gregg. Today, Everley shares ten interesting facts about the origins of her medieval series–The Forgotten Flowers of Flanders–and her new release, The Warrior and the Wildflower, Book 1 in the series.

Here’s Everley!

Thank you, Joanne Guidoccio, for inviting me as a guest on your blog today! I’m very excited because what has, truly, been a lifelong dream of mine is finally coming to fruition. I’d like to share with your readers ten interesting facts about how my new medieval romance series, The Forgotten Flowers of Flanders, came to be.

1. I was smitten when I was in the second grade—not with the cute boy across the aisle, but with history. And not just history in general, but with a particular place and time: 15th Century Flanders. How did this happen to an innocent 8-year-old? I was last in line to pick a book out of the interlibrary loan box. The one I ended up with was filled with colorful plates of paintings by artists in the Netherlands in the late Middle Ages.

2. Nightmares: long after the book was returned to the library, my nights were filled with terrifying nightmares starring the characters depicted in some of those paintings. My curiosity about the age, and the painters, piqued. I began researching artists such as Jan Van Eyck, Hieronymous Bosch, and Pieter Breugel. The essay for my senior English project (for which I earned an “A+”) discussed the symbolism behind these apparently religious, yet secretly secularly motivated works of art.

3. Obsessed with all things medieval, I signed up for Latin courses in college. The language, it seemed, came naturally to me. My professor could not believe how well I spoke it—as though I’d spoken it before. (I am not good with learning other languages—English is the only “other” one I ever learned!) I also signed up for a course in Medieval Manuscript Illumination, an education that will guide the plot for my third book in The Forgotten Flowers of Flanders Series. The heroine of Book Three is a manuscript illuminator.

4. The trip: Due to a totally serendipitous event, I found myself traveling to the place I’d always wanted to visit—Belgium. There I was the guest of a gracious couple who listened to me blabber endlessly about my obsession with the region, and who took me to the places I’d longed to see, both in Belgium and the Netherlands (which used to be . . . Flanders!) ‘Twas the most magical week of my life.

5. I began writing romance novels in 2012, along with a memoir and several nonfiction titles. But were they historical romances? Nay. I had it in my head that I was “not yet good enough” to do justice to the stories in my head.

6. After publishing six novels in the paranormal and contemporary romance genres, I finally decided to follow my true calling. Was I yet “good enough”? I didn’t know. I figured I’d take a leap of faith and ask my idol in the genre, Kathryn Le Veque, to act as my mentor. Did I expect a response? Nay. Did I get one? Aye! To my surprise, I did, along with some hard-to-swallow advice—followed by an offer of a contract with Dragonblade Publishing.

7. The first book in the series, The Warrior and the Wildflower, features a heroine who was born with a birth defect: a club foot. So was I! In the mid-20th century, the defect was fixable. In 15th C. Flanders, it was not. Eva, though she’s set her sights on the life of a lady, has a few obstacles in her way, among them being a “creple” and having more than her share of hubris, i.e., pride.

8. In addition to an obsession with the Middle Ages, I have also always been a horse fanatic. Of course, my first hero, Mathieu, had to be a horseman (ostler), as well as one who trained the hunting birds for the court. Falconry has also been a lifelong fascination of mine.

9. Once I dove into my pre-destined genre, the stories now come easily. I finished The Warrior and the Wildflower in just two months. The second book, The Knight and the Rose, I completed in less than three months, during a time of extreme stress and distraction: the holidays, Covid, and my husband undergoing major surgery.

10. Why, even after being advised that I’d set my novels in the wrong location—”they should be set in England or Scotland”—did I push forward with the series set in Flanders? First, because Ms. LeVeque said she was willing to “give the series a try.”

Second? I simply had no choice. A lifelong obsession should not be ignored, no matter what the outcome.

The Blurb

Fifteenth Century, Burgundy.

Eva of Utrecht is an unrecognized, illegitimate daughter of the Duke Philip III. She fears she will never rise above her roots as a simple tailor’s daughter. Her birth defect, a club foot, brands her even less desirable. When the missive arrives inviting her to attend the May Day Festival at Coudenburg Castle, hope rallies.

Under Lady Isabella’s wing, Eva blossoms into a confident young woman—one blinded by pride. She sets her sights on the life of a lady, determined to win the love of a gallant knight. Little does she expect her heart to be swept away by a simple horseman who’s shunned his chance at knighthood.

Mathieu of Liège was on a warrior’s path when he brutally witnessed how power can taint the title. He bears the scar on his face and the horrible memory as reminders. The ostler believes he does not need the sword and spurs to uphold the principles of chivalry. He leads a simple life, training the horses and hunting birds for Duke Philip’s court. Mathieu, though, is lonely, and dreams of finding a lady love to share his life, one who will appreciate his quiet strength and infallible dignity.

When Matthieu falls hard for Eva, he must find a way to convince her of his valor… even if he doesn’t wear the armor.

Can their love take flight?

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

***Releases on Amazon TODAY!***

What’s Next?

Book Two, The Knight and the Rose, will be released later this spring. Please visit my website and sign up for my mailing list so you will know as soon as the title goes up for preorder!

More About the Author

Everley Gregg grew up in upstate New York. She married her happily-ever-after love at 19, and they will celebrate 43 years of marriage this year. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. Everley has three children and two gorgeous grandchildren. After retiring from her full-time career in laboratory science, she now writes full-time. She also writes supernatural suspense and contemporary romance under the pseudonym, Claire Gem.

Everley loves to connect with her readers! You can connect with her here:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway

One person will win a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback. Another will win a paperback. Find out more here.



Blurb Blitz: Lone Warrior

I’m happy to welcome award-winning and bestselling author Bobbi Smith. Today, Bobbi shares Lone Warrior.

Blurb

Taken captive in a Comanche raid, terrified Marissa Williams awaits her fate alone in a tipi. Wind Ryder enters his tipi to find the chief’s gift of the blond beauty. Once a captive himself, Wind Ryder understands her fear. How can he protect his terrified prisoner from the other men in the village who see her as nothing more than an object for their pleasure?

Excerpt

As the villagers gathered to watch Wind Ryder break the wild stallion, Marissa knew this was her only chance to escape. It would be dangerous, but she had to try. She moved to the back of the crowd without drawing attention to herself. Her heart beat wildly as she imagined herself free from the Comanche at last.

Wind Ryder smiled confidently. He reached down and patted the proud horse’s lathered neck as cheers arose from those watching. Dismounting, he handed the reins to another warrior and went to speak with his father and Black Eagle. He looked around as they spoke and realized Shining Spirit was gone. Knowing how badly she wanted to escape, he went to look for her without a word to the other men.

Marissa tried not to get too excited as she stayed along the bank of the stream where the foliage was the heaviest. The terrain grew rockier, and she was glad. It made her trail harder to follow. She rushed on, thinking only of being reunited with her family.

And then the fierce warrior Bear Claw appeared before her. She tried to get away, but he grabbed her and brutally threw her to the ground.

“My father should never have given you to Wind Ryder,” he snarled, groping her.

Marissa fought as violently as she could to escape. This was her greatest terror. Thoughts of Wind Ryder came to her. Her warrior hadn’t abused her. She desperately searched the ground beside her and grabbed a rock, swinging it at him. Her blow caught him alongside his head and he viciously hit her.

“You will pay for that!”

Wind Ryder found her tracks near the stream and realized there was another set of tracks covering hers—tracks that belonged to a man. The realization that he was worried about her startled him. Just the thought that someone might harm her infuriated him. A vision of his golden captive played in his mind.

The sound of a distant cry came to him and he charged forward. The scene he came upon put him in a mindless rage. Wind Ryder threw himself at Bear Claw and knocked him away from Shining Spirit.

“She is mine! You do not take what is mine!”

buynow

Author Bio

After working as a department manager for Famous-Barr, and briefly as a clerk at a bookstore, Bobbi gave up on career security and began writing. She sold her first book to Zebra in 1982.

Since then, Bobbi has written over 40 books and 6 novellas. To date, there are more than five million copies of her novels in print. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller Award and two Career Achievement Awards. Her books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List, the USA Today Best Seller List and the Wal-Mart Best Seller List.

The rights to Ms. Smith’s books have been sold to China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Russia and Sweden. Bobbi has also written two faith-based contemporary novels – Haven and Miracles – using the pseudonym Julie Marshall.

Website: http://www.Bobbismithauthor.com

Giveaway

Bobbi Smith will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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

Seven Facts About Ghosts…You Probably Didn’t Know!

I’m happy to welcome award-winning educator, author and speaker, Dr. Randy Overbeck. Today, Randy shares interesting facts about ghosts and his two releases, Blood on the Chesapeake and Crimson at Cape May.

When I did the prep work in advance of writing the first two novels in my new series, the Haunted Shore Mysteries, I conducted a considerable amount of research. For example, for Blood on the Chesapeake, not being a sailor, I had to learn the details about a sloop and specifics about sailing the Chesapeake Bay. And of course, I had do some scholarly research on the social issues focused on in the novels, lynching and racial injustice for Blood on the Chesapeake and human trafficking for Crimson at Cape May. But, as the novels in the series are ghost stories as well as mysteries, I also had to gather considerable knowledge about ghosts and the spiritual world. Since I want my writing to reflect, as close as possible in fiction, what we know for sure about ghosts, I did my best to study up on the subject. I read books, examined verified websites, checked out reported sightings and even met with ghost hunters. What I learned surprised me…in many ways and I thought they might surprise you as well.

Here are a few facts about ghosts what we believe and know. Insert pic of ghost

1) Approximately half the people in the U.S. acknowledge a personal belief in ghosts. Belief in ghosts and the spirit world is not merely the thing of childhood nightmares or foolish hobgoblins of minds. Two different studies conducted over the past several years have yielded almost identical results—48% of respondents replying yes to this question in the first (Harris Poll, 2003) and 51% in the second (Huffington Post, 2017).

2) One in five Americans believe they have had a personal encounter with a ghost. This incredible statistic was confirmed through two separate studies, (Baylor University, 2006 and AP Ipos, 2007). These encounters include hearing, seeing and even sensing a ghost.

3) Every religion in the world includes a belief in ghosts as part of their mythology. No matter what faith community you were raised in—Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American religions—you were taught that ghosts are a very real part of our existence on this earth.

4) Many famous scientists, performers, inventors, politicians and athletes have shared that they believe in ghosts, most often because they have had a personal encounter with the spirit world. Belief in ghosts is definitely not for the feeble minded. The list of names might surprise you. Thomas Edison, Ronald Reagan, Paul McCartney and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., just to name a few.

5) Interest in ghosts and hauntings are so widespread that there are ghost hunting groups, organizations and even companies in every state and a great many cities and towns. A simple exploration of the web will yield a surprising number of “ghost hunting” groups in your area. And none are anything like the famous Ghostbusters.

6) Almost all experts who study this field believe ghosts are individuals who have died, but have some unfinished business that keeps them tethered to this world. This is ample evidence of this in the anecdotal records of documented ghost sightings all across the globe.

7) Often, though not always, a ghost encounter will result in a dramatic drop in a room’s temperature for the time the ghost is present. This experience has been documented repeatedly, using very precise scientific instruments, video and audio recording devices. In all the reports I’ve read, I’ve never seen a “physical” explanation for the very physical change in the atmosphere. And this phenomenon seems to be universal.

So, as I crafted my narratives, I worked to keep the fiction of the ghost story as close to the documented reality of the spiritual world as possible. I’m hoping the inclusion of this “paranormal” element in my storytelling makes the novels just a bit more interesting. I’d love to hear what you think.

Blurb – Blood on the Chesapeake

Wilshire, Maryland seems like the perfect shore town on the Chesapeake Bay—quiet, scenic, charming—and promises Darrell Henshaw a new start in life and a second chance at love. That is, until he learns the town hides an ugly secret. A thirty-year-old murder in the high school. And a frightening ghost stalking his new office. Burned by an earlier encounter with the spirit world—with the OCD scars to prove it—he does NOT want to get involved. But when the desperate ghost hounds him, Darrell concedes. Assisted by his new love, he follows a trail that leads to the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even the Klu Klux Klan. Then, when two locals who try to help are murdered, Darrell is forced to decide if he’s willing to risk his life—and the life of the woman he loves—to expose the killers of a young man he never knew.

Reviews

“Overbeck is a master storyteller. The characters are very human and lovable…humor, romance and suspense all included.” ★★★★★ —Have You Heard My Book Review

“An absolutely chilling ghost story wrapped around an even scarier piece of history – or perhaps it’s the other way around.” ★★★★★ —Chanticleer Reviews

“A classic novel, obviously well-researched, thoughtful, compelling, and a rapid-fire story.”—Reader Views

“Well plotted and skillfully written, a novel that entertains readers and appeals strongly to their consciences and sense of humanity.”— ★★★★★ ReadersFavorite.com

“Overbeck’s pace is spot on and makes for a thoroughly engaging and quick read…a clear look at the way racism and bigotry continued to leak far beyond the bounds of the deep South even after desegregation began to make its way across the US.” ★★★★★ —Literary Titan

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub

Blurb – Crimson at Cape May

No matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.

Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. With his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast. One resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help.

He can’t refuse.

Joining forces with Cassie, a street-wise teen and another sensitive, he investigates the bride’s death and discovers her murder is connected to a far greater horror. But can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up being the killer’s next victims?

Reviews

“With both elements of mystery and suspense, readers across genres will find this second book about Darrell Henshaw intriguing…I highly recommend it.” ★★★★★—Literary Titan

“It’s a ghost/mystery story filled with suspense and action. The plot is so engrossing it had me hooked from the very first page.” ★★★★★—Nana’s Reviews, Greece

“An exciting paranormal mystery I couldn’t put down… A great read. Highly recommend!” ★★★★★—N.N. Light’s BookHeaven

“Rollicking good…Darrell is a wonderful protagonist, an ordinary man put into extraordinary situations and rising to the challenge..” ★★★★★ —Over My Dead Body magazine

“I loved everything about this book. As a ghost story combined with a mystery, a romance, a social injustice and stunning historical details, Crimson at Cape May has something for everyone.” ★★★★★—ReaderViews

“Masterly spooky adventure…an accomplished work of haunting mystery fiction that fans of the genre won’t want to miss out on. Highly Recommend.” ★★★★★—ReadersFavorite.com

Book Trailer

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub

Bio

Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker, capturing state and national accolades for his work. As an educator, he served children for more than three decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, Blood on the Chesapeake (2019) and Crimson at Cape May (2020) have earned five star reviews and garnered top awards and recognition from sites such as Literary Titan, ReadersFavorite.com, ReaderViews.com and N. N. Lights Bookheaven. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email

Cover Reveal: Eat Your Heart Out

I’m happy to reveal Shirley Goldberg’s new release…

Yup, it’s a Cover Reveal!

I’m so thrilled to show off my new cover for Eat Your Heart Out, the second book in the series, Starting Over.

Two foodies, Dana and Alex, banter, sauté and tiptoe around each other. Except for the occasional smooch. What’s with that?

I’m sharing more of Eat Your Heart Out’s details on my blog. Read the blurb and click this link https://midagedating.com/ to read an excerpt. Too soon for links, but I’m looking for ARC readers, so please keep in touch. Publication date coming soon!

Thanks to Debbie Taylor for her cover and the team at The Wild Rose Press for all their hard work!

Blurb for Eat Your Heart Out

When a tyrant in stilettos replaces her beloved boss, and her ex snags her coveted job, teacher Dana Narvana discovers there are worse things than getting dumped on Facebook. Time for the BFF advice squad, starting with Dana’s staunchest ally, Alex—hunky colleague, quipster, and cooking pal extraordinaire. But when the after-hours smooching goes nowhere, she wonders why this grown man won’t make up his mind.

Alex Bethany’s new lifestyle gives him the confidence to try online dating. What he craves is a family of his own until a life-altering surprise rocks his world. He knows he’s sending Dana mixed messages. Alex panics when he thinks he’s blown his chance with his special person. From appetizers to the main course will these two cooking buddies make it to dessert?

Funny and bittersweet, Dana and Alex’s story will have you rooting for them.

Seize the Day – Carpe Diem!

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Jane Risdon sharing a multi-act creative journey that has spanned six decades across three continents.

Here’s Jane!

I’ve always wanted to write but a move overseas with my family in my mid-teens, put paid to that, even though I had an offer from a friend’s father who was an editor on the Sunday Times, to work under his guidance as a ‘cub’ reporter. I ended up leaving school and sitting at home in Germany for a year doing housework and child-minding for my parents.

A year later and I was ‘found’ a job at the local British Army Base – Ministry of Defence – in the small village where we lived. I went to work in an office filled with elderly Germans who had worked for the Army since the end of the War and none of them wanted to speak to me in English. I had learned shorthand and typing at school in French, but not in German! I managed typing in German all day – somehow – and vowed to get away as soon as I turned 18 and could get a Passport in my own right.

An avid reader of The Lady in those days, I spotted an advert for the Office of Information in Whitehall, one of the Government Ministry departments. I applied for it, thinking I could spend all day writing and living it up in London in the ‘Swingin’ Sixties.’ It meant I could be with my musician boyfriend too. We hadn’t seen each other since I’d left England, and because his band was constantly touring, communications between us were hit and miss.

I didn’t get the job, but I was invited to London to sit on an interview board with a view to joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall, a more prestigious post and I found out later, and hard to get a job with. I jumped at it because I was desperate to get away from Germany. I sat on the board – several men stared at me over a long table as I sat marooned in the middle of a huge room on a chair facing them. They fired questions at me. I left thinking I’d failed.

Several months later I got a letter telling me that after extensive PV (Positive Vetting) I had the job. Within weeks I was ensconced in a Civil Service Hostel in Lancaster Gate on the Bayswater Road and working in the FCO in their Personnel department. At last, I could see my boyfriend.

I worked for the FCO and later many other Government departments as my boyfriend became my husband, and his band grew more successful. Many years later we decided enough was enough and we decided to go into business together putting what we had learned during his career to use managing recording artists, singers, songwriters, and record producers internationally. We also found music for TV/Movie soundtracks.

We lived and worked overseas mostly, in USA and SE Asia and got to know how Hollywood and Bollywood worked. We were successful and enjoyed working with music and movies.

However, there comes a time when it all gets too, too much. Babysitting testosterone fuelled musicians and PMT stressed females is not much fun after a while, and after many years in the business we decided to retire.

At last, I could write. And I did, non-stop for about 3 years. I was first published in 2012, and signed to a traditional publisher in 2014, with a co-written novel with Christina Jones, Only One Woman, published in 2018. In-between I was published in many anthologies and magazines – both print and online. My collection of short crime stories, Undercover: Crime Shorts, was published in 2019.

In December 2020 I was taken on by an agent, Linda Langton of Langtons International Literary Agency in New York City, USA. So, another chapter in my life opens and I am excited to see what transpires.

I almost gave up the dream of being a writer. Life and work got in the way. Having to work for a living and go for security of income when my husband and his band were struggling in the early years meant that I had little time to myself. Someone had to earn regularly. I kept thinking, ‘one day…’ Later working with other musicians, managing their careers, meant there really wasn’t time. During our 50 years of marriage, we have never even had a holiday together.

I would tell anyone with a dream to hold on to it and try to plan the road ahead. I couldn’t plan because life became too complicated early on: marriage, child, and career in music got in the way. I loved what I did, but it was not conducive to writing. Trying to find time to myself whilst constantly on the road, in planes, and recording studios, surrounded by demanding artists is not the right atmosphere. Their careers took precedence. Thanks goodness we retired, and I was able to write to my heart’s content.

I never thought about publishing my work; I was approached by my publisher. I never sought an agent. Again, I was approached by one. It took me a year to accept her offer. I wonder what opportunities I could have seized had I been that much younger when achieving all this. I’ll never know.

My advice to anyone seeking a career in writing would be to go for it and not wait. I wish I’d begun writing 30 years ago, but it was not to be. However, I look back at my younger self and wonder: would I have been able to write, and would a lack of life experiences back then have made my writing vastly different from what it is today? But I do wish I had not waited, I wish I had more time to write everything I need to, but sadly I cannot change that. If I’d had an idea of my future and could have planned it, I would have. But most of us live a day at a time and suddenly, like me, wake up and wonder where all the time has gone.

I advise anyone thinking of writing to seize the day – Carpe Diem. Good luck.

Jane’s Books

Only One Woman and Undercover: Crime Shorts are available at Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Amazon and other digital platforms. International territories, too.

Amazon Author Page (UK) | Amazon Author Page (US)

My regular music series, In the Mix is available in print and online from The Writers and Readers Magazine. The Writers and Readers’ Magazine is available from Amazon and Magazine Heaven. You can buy it in print or for Kindle etc. packed full of articles, poems, short stories and more. My regular series In the Mix is there as well. Submissions always welcome, the deadline is 21st January.

Also available in print and on subscription here.

Bio

Jane Risdon is the co-author of Only One Woman, with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and Undercover: Crime Shorts, (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies and writing for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine and The Writers and Readers’ Magazine.

Jane’s collection of crime stories, Undercover: Crime Shorts, was book of the Month on virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com, and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradion.com and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show.

Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers. They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series.

Jane is represented by Linda Langton of Langtons International Literary Agency, New York, USA.

Where to find Jane…

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Pinterest | BookBub | WNB Network West Channel 6 | WNB Network West Channel 4 | Chat and Spin Radio | MYLVF

MYVLF video interview: Meet me in MYVLF.com watch my video interview and those of many well-known authors. Free Book of the Month, festival and so much more. I’m chatting about Only One Woman, Undercover: Crime Shorts, the music business, working in the Civil Service in the late 1960s, touring America, and so much more. The inspiration for my writing is all there…

TheAuthorsShow.com: Twice monthly, Jane is podcast on this global internet show talking about Only One Woman and Undercover: Crime Shorts.



Book Blast: The Time Gatherer

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Rachel Dacus. Today, Rachel shares her new release, The Time Gatherer.

Blurb

Coming of age as a time traveler isn’t easy. Young George St. James gets help from a magical medieval monk and a 23rd century geneticist. But they can’t keep him safe from a secret society dedicated to eliminating time travel. When love unexpectedly arrives in a distant century, George must use all his skill to thwart his foes while trying to save his beloved from their malice.

Excerpt

Giorgio not only behaved differently from the men of her city, he looked different. He had his honey-colored skin and thick, dark hair. His voice, even when not singing, ranged from deep to high. Everything about Giorgio fascinated her.

“What are you painting besides Prospero’s portrait?” he asked.

“I’m thinking of a new painting.” She hoped he wouldn’t insist on looking at the painting of him on her easel.

She refilled his glass. “I want to paint the story of Portia, wife of the noble Marcus Brutus, as she stabs her own thigh to prove she can keep secret the plot to kill Julius Caesar.”

“I know the story. A courageous woman.”

“And like all women, she must do as her husband bids. That is why I will never marry. Unless to a man who bids me to do exactly what I am doing.”

She was pleased when Giorgio picked up her hand and kissed it.

“Would you like to see it?”

“Naturally!”

Betta got up and put the canvas of Portia on the easel, hiding the portrait of Giorgio. She beckoned him over to see, hoping he’d appreciate the way she had portrayed Portia’s sad anguish. Portia was costumed in red and gold, wearing the jewels of a noble Roman wife, with pearls twined through her hair. A tiny blade was half-concealed in her hand. Her quiet desperation was in her stare, a woman whose life is nothing to the great men of her time.

“She is beautiful … and sad,” Giorgio said.

Betta was glad he understood.

“She’s led to a desperate act,” he continued. “Despite the fact that as a woman she must obey the men around her, she is very brave. You’ve given her magnificent clothing and jewels, and they only make her predicament sadder.”

Betta suppressed the tears welling up. Giorgio understood her painting so well.

buynow

Author Bio and Links

Rachel Dacus is the author of three novels touched with the supernatural, The Time Gatherer, The Renaissance Club and The Invisibles. Magical realism also runs through her four poetry collections: Arabesque, Gods of Water and Air, Femme au Chapeau, and Earth Lessons. Her writing has appeared in many journals, including Atlanta Review, Boulevard, Gargoyle, and Prairie Schooner, as well as the anthology Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and a tiny but feisty Silky Terrier. She loves exploring the outdoors and raising funds for good causes.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Giveaway

Rachel Dacus will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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


Loving My Chatty Matty Coffee

“Light and mellow…nutty with a caramel finish.”

This delightful blend of lightly roasted and dark roasted beans is one of many options at Planet Bean, a Guelph roastery that carries certified fair trade and organic gourmet coffees.

Like many Guelphites, I’m impressed and inspired by Planet Bean’s vision and mission to create the best-tasting coffee. Their innovative business model measures success in financial terms and in their ability to advance organic production and improve the planet’s health.

Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog.