Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Guest Post: MJ Markovski - WHATEVER IT TAKES

Good morrow, my fellow book people. Have you ever wondered what makes us readers vs. writers? What pushes some of us with the desire to write to actually break free and begin writing? Today's guest, is MJ Markovski, author of Whatever It Takes and she'll be sharing with us what pushed her into writing and provide some insight into Whatever It Takes and a few of her other books. I hope you'll enjoy her story. Thank you, Ms. Markovski, for taking time away from your writing to visit with us today.

My name is Marija (Maria) Salapanov Carpenter and I'm writing as MJ Markovski. I became disabled in 2009 after one exasperation from MS that doctors at that time had thought I would die. But here I am in the worst of that I'm in an electronic wheelchair for mobility. I looked at it as God's way of giving me more time to write.

There are two things you should know about me and these two words describe me very well: tenacious and complicated.

I wrote two stories during my recovery which I will be submitting to my editor for review and they came to me and dreams. One titled, Not Dark Enough and the other one titled Worse Than Bad. Both are dystopian young adult fantasy novels. But my latest book that was published is titled Whatever It Takes. This was spurred upon a dream but completed when my husband at that time had not only left me but my children.

I chose not to wallow in my sorrows but use those emotions to pour into the novel of Whatever It Takes. Here's the logline on Whatever It Takes:

On the run from a dark conspiracy she uncovered while working as a law clerk in New York, Regan Argent, a whip-smart but naïve Texas girl, seeks refuge in her hometown of Parker, just this side of Dallas, where she meets Hunter, a pararescue man on leave who is trying to enjoy a rare moment of quiet. But when Regan's past catches up to them, they'll be faced with a choice: save each other, or die trying.

Okay here's a snippet from chapter 3. "So help me, if I find out who you are. I'll slap a harassment suit on you so quick it'll set your head spinning."
"I can see you. I can see you're scared." The caller hung up.

Whatever It Takes will be known as The Takes Series.

I am a proud mother of two wonderful children. Technically three because my son is engaged to a wonderful woman who I call my daughter-in-law.

Besides the books here mentioned what I am planning on writing in the near future are two futuristic science fiction young adult novels. One about a boy that's caged by the CDC. The other boy whose soul is ripped from him but the choice he made and now must wonder his existence and find the soul he was supposed to save before he completely loses his humanity.

Needless to say, I plan to be a writer as a career forever! Thanks for allowing me to be a guest on your blog.


Meet the author

Marija Salapanov Carpenter writing as MJ Markovski was born in Detroit, Michigan to Macedonian immigrant parents, raised very sheltered, and then moved to Arizona for college. Ended up staying in Tucson.

MJ graduated with her Masters from the University of Phoenix in Accounting. She's worked with government contractor as a Financial Accountant as well as an advisor for taxes. She ran a small business of doing taxes for family and friends for a while in the early 2000s then stopped because of the MS exasperation that landed her in the hospital. But when she regained her health, she put that business aside and she began seriously writing. That self-run business reignited her passion in her writing and to help others as well when the opportunity comes to help other fellow writers.

MJ enjoys spending time with her family and friends when she can, loves reading, watching a movie once in a great while with her daughter, spending some time outside (when it's cool and not in the heat of Arizona) life is full of complications but every morning getting up in writing with her vitamin smoothies and coffee is a perfect start of the day.

Visit the author at her website

Whatever It Takes, The Takes #1, by MJ Markovski
ISBN: 9781633633773 (paperback)
ASIN: B07ND84Y85 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: White Bird Publications
Publication Date: February 26, 2019

Regan Argent inwardly uncovered a dark conspiracy that has her on the run. Forcing her to return to her childhood home, a small town just outside Dallas, to seek refuge. Unexpectedly, she bumps into Hunter Grainger, a man she never saw coming. An Air Force pararescue man, with only one person who is supposed to know of his return home. The unexpected meeting ignites a chain of events where they will be forced to help each other or be executed.

This guest post brought to you by BreakThrough Promotions

Thursday, March 28, 2019

2019 Book 96: DEAD IN A WEEK by Andrea Kane

Dead In A Week by Andrea Kane Banner

Dead in a Week, Forensic Instincts #7, Zermatt Group #1, by Andrea Kane
ISBN: 9781682320297 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781682320310 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781541484603 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07MB48Q7Q (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Bonnie Meadow Publishing 
Publication Date: March 19, 2019

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble  |  Indiebound.org | Booksamillion | Kobo ebook | Downpour Audiobook

What would you do if your daughter was kidnapped and given only a week to live? 
Lauren Pennington is celebrating her junior year abroad when life comes to a screeching halt. At Munich's Hofbräuhaus, she engages in an innocent flirtation with a charming stranger for the length of a drink. Drink finished, Lauren leaves—only to be snatched from the streets and thrown into an unmarked van.
Officially, Aidan Deveraux is a communications expert for one of the largest financial firms in the world. In his secret life, the former Marine heads the Zermatt Group, a covert team of military and spy agency operatives that search the data stream for troubling events in an increasingly troubled world. When his artificial intelligence system detects Lauren's kidnapping, Aidan immediately sees the bigger picture.
Silicon Valley: Lauren's father, Vance Pennington, is about to launch a ground-breaking technology with his company NanoUSA—a technology that the Chinese are desperate for. No sooner does Aidan arrive on Vance's doorstep to explain the situation than the father receives a chilling text message: hand over the technology or Lauren will be dead in a week.
In a globe-spanning chase, from the beer halls of Germany, to the tech gardens of California, to the skyscrapers of China, and finally the farmlands of Croatia, Aidan's team cracks levels of high-tech security and complex human mystery with a dogged determination. Drawing in teammates from the Forensic Instincts team (introduced in The Girl Who Disappeared Twice), the Zermatt Group will uncover the Chinese businessmen responsible, find the traitors within NanoUSA who are helping them, and save Lauren from a brutal death.

Lauren Pennington is nothing more than an American foreign-exchange student, biding her time in Germany during her break when an attractive man sits down at a renowned bar and has a drink with her. A few minutes later, Lauren has disappeared. Her family in the US knows nothing of her disappearance, but they will because Lauren has been taken as leverage. Lauren's father, Vance Pennington, is a high-ranking executive with a company about to introduce breakthrough technology in the communication industry. Little does he know that he'll have to choose between his career, company, country, and his daughter's life in the latest addition to Andrea Kane's Forensic Instincts series, Dead in a Week. Fortunately, for Lauren and her parents, Aiden Deveraux has a secretive and behind-the-scenes company, the Zermatt Group, that intuited Lauren's disappearance from the global computer surveillance and the reasons why well before her father was even contacted by the kidnappers. Now the question becomes, can Aiden, along with a few employees from Forensic Instincts, beat the deadline provided to Vance Pennington, locate and successfully retrieve Lauren before Vance has to do the unthinkable?

Dead in a Week is the seventh book in the Forensic Instincts series and the first to introduce us to the Zermatt Group. This taut suspense-thriller is filled with covert spy-like operations within the US and abroad all in an effort to thwart the kidnappers and the loss of corporate technological secrets to a foreign company. Aiden Deveraux is the defacto head of the Zermatt Group and brother to Mark Deveraux, a member of the Forensic Instincts team. Like Marc, Aiden is well-connected internationally and very well trained, militarily speaking. It is primarily due to Aiden's connections that the Zermatt Group is able to search for Lauren in such a short period of time, bouncing from New York, to California, to Germany and Croatia, and then back stateside. The investigation is multi-modal as well in that it uses high-tech computer skills and technicians as well as highly-intuitive "agents" for lack of a better term. The head computer guru is a female, as is the intuitive business management operative. The covert and military-style operations are carried out by Aiden, Marc, and one of Aiden's British compatriots. Needless to say, there's a lot going on in this story: a kidnapping, family angst and drama over the kidnapping, corporate politicking and machinations, international corporate espionage/blackmail, and more. If you've read any of the previous Forensic Instincts books and enjoyed them as much as I did, then you'll definitely want to grab a copy of Dead in a Week to read. Even if you haven't read any of the previous books in the Forensic Instincts series, I think it's possible to read Dead in a Week and not be lost by any of the previous action. If you've read some of Ms. Kane's historical fiction but haven't read any of her suspense-thrillers or romantic-suspense books, then I suggest you start with Dead in a Week and then backtrack to the beginning of the Forensic Instincts series, you can thank me later. Seriously, go get a copy of this book ASAP!

Disclaimer:  I received a free digital copy of this book from the author/publisher via Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Andrea Kane

Andrea Kane
Andrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-nine novels, including fifteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles. With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge—and keeping her readers up all night.

Kane's first contemporary suspense thriller, Run for Your Life, became an instant New York Times bestseller. She followed with a string of bestselling psychological thrillers including No Way Out, Twisted, and Drawn in Blood.

Her latest in the highly successful Forensic Instincts series, Dead in a Week, adds the Zermatt Group into the mix—a covert team of former military and spy agency operatives. With a week to save a young woman from ruthless kidnappers, this globe-spanning chase, from the beer halls of Germany, to the tech gardens of California, to the skyscrapers of China, and finally, the farmlands of Croatia will keep readers guessing until the very end. The first showcase of Forensic Instincts' talents came with the New York Times bestseller, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, followed by The Line Between Here and Gone, The Stranger You Know, The Silence that Speaks, The Murder That Never Was, and A Face to Die For.

Kane's beloved historical romantic suspense novels include My Heart's Desire, Samantha, Echoes in the Mist, and Wishes in the Wind.

With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages.

Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She's an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she’s either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.

Catch Up With Our Author On: AndreaKane.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Enter To Win!!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Andrea Kane. There will be 6 winners. One winner (1) will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and five (5) winners will receive an eBook copy of Dead In A Week. The giveaway begins on March 18, 2019, and runs through April 21, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Guest Post: Albert Bell - DEATH BY ARMOIRE

Good day, my fellow book people. There are probably billions of books out there to read and millions of authors. I consider myself fortunate if I get to 0.001% of the books published in my lifetime. Having said that, I'm always eager to learn about new-to-me authors and books and I hope you are as well. Today, I'm pleased to introduce you to a new-to-me author and book, Albert A. Bell Jr. and Death by Armoire, A Palmetto Antiques Mystery. Mr. Bell is a prolific and award-winning author and is going to be discussing with us the importance of not being limited in writing characters and stories today. I hope you'll enjoy learning from him and, hopefully, you'll grab a copy of Death by Armoire to read if your interest is piqued. Thank you, Mr. Bell, for stopping by today and sharing with us.

One question that is often posed when people talk about books is whether authors can write about characters who are different from them in various ways—different ethnicity, different sexual identity, different age, different gender. Sometimes today when, for example, white authors write about African American characters, they're accused of "cultural appropriation."

But are authors to be limited to writing only about people who are like them? How boring that would be! To be a writer is to try to get inside the minds of different characters and show readers the world from their point of view. Shakespeare was not a love-sick teenager when he created Romeo and Juliet. The ancient Greek playwright Euripides was not a woman, but his Medea gives one of the finest expressions of what a woman's life was like in that time period. J.K. Rowling is not a wizard-in-training, but she has created a world that shows us what such a character might experience. 

Now, do I have the braggadocio to talk about my writing in the same breath with Shakespeare, Euripides, and Rowling? No, I'm going to sit back, take a couple of deep breaths, and then talk about my writing because that's what I've been invited to do.

I like to write in the first person, but does that mean all of my characters have to be me? My main series is about Pliny the Younger, a wealthy, slave-owning, Roman aristocrat who is about 25 years old. I am none of those things, but readers and reviewers tell me that I've created a character who feels real to them. I've written three middle-grade mysteries with first-person narrators who are eleven years old. I once was eleven, but that was a long time ago.

In two other books, written in the first person, the main characters/narrators are women. In Death Goes Dutch, Sarah DeGraaf is a Korean-American adoptee in her late 20s. In Death by Armoire, Maureen Cooper is a 45-year-old divorcee. Again, I am none of those things.

So, can a male author write female characters, especially from a first-person p.o.v.? In the movie, As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson plays a writer of romance novels. Someone asks him, "How do you write women so well?" Nicholson responds, "I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability." That's a highly misogynistic attitude, and I certainly don't endorse it.

People have joked about me getting in touch with my feminine side. I believe I just write about the character who best fits the situation. My wife had worked with an adoption agency doing the work that Sarah DeGraaf does in Death Goes Dutch. I have two daughters who are adopted from Korea. How could I not write about Sarah in the way that I did? In Death by Armoire, Maureen just stepped onto the stage and took over the story from the very beginning. Next to Pliny, I think she is my favorite character I've created in my thirteen fiction books.

So, can authors write about characters of the opposite gender? Some don't think so. They use pseudonyms or they identify themselves by their initials. When I showed Death Goes Dutch to my publisher, I raised the possibility of using a feminine pseudonym. She felt, though, that if people had come to respect me as an author from my previous books, they were more likely to be drawn to the book if it had my real name on it. Using a pseudonym amounted to starting over.

I felt good about Death by Armoire as I was working on it. I really liked Maureen Cooper, as did my writers' group. I got some affirmation about the character and the book when it won first place in the Genre Fiction category of Writers' Digest's 2018 Contest for Self-Published Books. Yes, I did self-publish it, not because of lack of confidence in it, but because I'm getting too old to spend two or three years chasing agents and/or publishers. I have several other books on my "bucket list," and I'm working on a sequel to Death by Armoire.

Meet the author

Albert A. Bell, Jr discovered his love for writing in high school, with his first publication in 1972. Although he considers himself a "shy person," he believes he is a storyteller more than a literary artist. He says, "When I read a book I'm more interested in one with a plot that keeps moving rather than long descriptive passages or philosophical reflection." He writes books he would enjoy reading himself. 

A native of South Carolina, Dr. Bell has taught at Hope College in Holland, Michigan since 1978, and, from 1994 - 2004 served as Chair of the History Department. He holds a Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as an MA from Duke and an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to psychologist Bettye Jo Barnes Bell; they have four children and two grandsons. Bell is well-known for the historical mysteries of the series, Cases from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger. Corpus Conundrum, third of the series, was a Best Mystery of the year from Library Journal. The Secret of the Lonely Grave, first in the series of Steve and Kendra Mysteries for young people, won a Mom's Choice Silver Medal and the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.

Death by Armoire A Palmetto Antiques Mystery by Albert A. Bell, Jr.
ISBN: 9781545320235 (Paperback)
ASIN: B06ZZ26H1P (Kindle edition)
Publication Date: April 16, 2017

Maureen Cooper values her quiet life in the small Southern town that has been her family's home for generations. Her work as a ghost-writer for celebrities allows her to work from her large, Victorian house. But when her ex-husband Troy is found dead under a massive armoire in the antique store he and his father maintained as an excuse for their hoarding, distressing complexities mount. Who broke into the store and searched through the armoire and related pieces? How does Troy's current love interest fit in? What about his high school sweetheart who returns from a prison sentence, and who fathered her son? Will Maureen's involvement with a local police lieutenant give her an advantage in discovering the truth, or will he betray her to protect a crooked cop? 

This guest post brought to you by BreakThrough Promotions

Friday, March 22, 2019

Guest Post: Frankie Y Bailey - A DEAD MAN'S HONOR

Hello, book people. I'm excited to introduce you to today's special guest, a criminal justice professor and the author of the Hannah McCabe and Lizzie Stuart mystery series, including A Dead Man's Honor, Frankie Y. Bailey. Ms. Bailey will be introducing us to Lizzie Stuart and discussing the idea of the past intruding on our present. Thank you, Ms. Bailey, for taking time of your busy school and writing schedule to visit with us today.

Out of the Past
By Frankie Y. Bailey

I love film noir. Out of the Past, starring Robert Mitchum, is one of my favorite noir films. I watch it every time it comes up in the TCM cycle. The movie is about a former private investigator who got into trouble and has settled in a small town and opened a gas station under an assumed identity. But he has not escaped his past. He is summoned to a meeting with the crooked businessman who once hired him to locate a woman and his stolen money. The woman, with whom the PI had a dangerous affair, is back with his former client. Mitchum may hope to do what the businessman has demanded and go back to his new life, but Jane Greer, the femme fatale, has other ideas.  As you might expect of film noir, even the love of a good (small town) woman can't save Mitchum. 

I don't write noir fiction. My character, Lizzie Stuart, is a crime historian and the five books in which she has appeared so far are both academic mysteries and traditional classic detective fiction. But, like Robert Mitchum's character, Lizzie has not been able to escape her past. The fact that she is not sure of who her father was – or is, he might still be alive – means that she must decide later in the series whether she will look for him. There's also the matter of Becca, her missing mother – who puts in her appearance in Book 4 and can hold her own with any noir femme fatale. 

As the series are being reissued, I'm looking back at how it evolved. Book 2, A Dead Man's Honor, was initially going to be the readers' introduction to Lizzie Stuart. Instead, it followed a book set in Cornwall, during which Lizzie's best friend, Tess Alvarez, a travel writer, and John Quinn, a Philadelphia homicide detective were introduced. Lizzie's vacation in Cornwall, England, followed the death of the grandmother who raised her. It's Lizzie's dead grandmother, Hester Rose, who is front and center in A Dead Man's Honor.

Hester Rose was close-mouthed about a lot of things – including her childhood in Gallagher, Virginia before she climbed into a boxcar and left the town under cover of darkness. In A Dead Man's Honor, Lizzie has applied for and received an appointment as a visiting professor at Piedmont State University in Gallagher. She has joined the faculty in the School of Criminal Justice. As is the custom for visiting faculty, she has teaching responsibilities. She also has the research agenda that she described in her application. She wants to investigate a lynching in Gallagher. As a young girl, Hester Rose was witness to a lynching involving a black man accused of murder. She was there in the house with the accused man and the young deaf woman who loved him. As the police and angry white citizens gathered outside the house, Hester Rose was put out of a window. 

It is usually Lizzie's voice that we hear in the series. She is the first-person narrator. But she sometimes flashes back to a conversation with one of her grandparents. Only a fleeting thought here and there. A Dead Man's Honor, the only way to describe the lynching was from Hester Rose's point of view. From the point of view of a frightened child as she hides in the bushes, watching. As Mose Davenport runs out of the house and is shot by someone in the crowd. As, later, she climbs into the boxcar and leaves Gallagher.  

Hester Rose tries to flee her past. Lizzie goes back to Gallagher to dig it up because she wants to know more about her grandmother and herself. 

Meet the author

Frankie Y. Bailey is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany (SUNY). Her areas of research are crime history, and crime and mass media/popular culture and material culture. She is the author of a number of non-fiction books, including local histories and books about crime fiction. Her mystery novels feature Southern-born crime historian, Lizzie Stuart, in five books, beginning with Death's Favorite Child and A Dead Man's Honor. The books are being reissued by Speaking Volumes. Frankie's two near-future police procedurals feature Albany police detective, Hannah McCabe in The Red Queen Dies and What the Fly Saw (Minotaur Books). Frankie has also has written several short stories, including "In Her Fashion" (EQMM, July 2014), "The Singapore Sling Affair" (EQMM, Nov/Dec 2017), and "The Birth of the Bronze Buckaroo" (The Adventures of the Bronze Buckaroo, 2018). She is currently working on a nonfiction book about dress and appearance in American crime and justice, a historical thriller set in 1939, and the plots of the next Stuart and McCabe books. Frankie is a past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. 

Connect with the author at her website or Twitter

A Dead Man's Honor A Lizzie Stuart Mystery #2 by Frankie Y. Bailey
ISBN: 9781628158731 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781628158724 (ebook)
ASIN: B07FTYK444 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 5, 2018 (originally published on January 1, 2001)
Publisher: Speaking Volumes, LLC.

Crime historian Lizzie Stuart goes to Gallagher, Virginia for a year as a visiting professor at Piedmont State University. She is there to do research for a book about the 1921 lynching that her grandmother Hester Rose witnessed when she was a 12-year-old child.
Lizzie's research is complicated by her own unresolved feelings about her secretive grandmother and by the disturbing presence of John Quinn, the police officer she met while on vacation in England. Add to that the murder of an arrogant and brilliant faculty member on Halloween night and Lizzie has about all she can handle.

This guest post brought to you by BreakThrough Promotions

Monday, March 18, 2019

Guest Post: Darcia Helle - OUT OF THE DARKNESS

Good day, book people. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I'm happy to welcome today's guest, Darcia Helle, author of the Michael Sykora and Joe Cavalli Paranormal PI series, including the latest addition to the Joe Cavalli series, Out of the Darkness. If you're like me, you often wonder just where an author comes up with these amazing and sometimes twisted stories? What inspires them? Why did they write the story the way they wrote the story? Thankfully, Ms. Helle is taking a few minutes out of her busy schedule to share with us what inspires her. I hope you'll be inspired after reading this and grab a copy of her latest book, Out of the Darkness

The Inspiration Behind the Stories

I'm often asked about the inspiration behind a novel. Why did I write that specific story? The answer I'm quick to give is: I write the story that speaks to me the loudest. But that doesn't really answer the question. With twelve novels published, you'd think this would be an easy one for me. In seeking the answer, I reflected on all those books I've written. The pattern I found there surprised me.

In the writing world, I'm what's known as a pantser, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants. I don't outline the plot and I don't write character profiles. When I start writing, I don't know what's going to happen or who these people in my head are. I don't create the characters or their stories; they pop into my head with something to say. The time plotter authors spend writing story outlines and character profiles is the time I spend in silence, letting my mind roam, and following where the thoughts take me. 

The sum of all that, I realized, is that I don't write with deliberate intention. I write from a place of curiosity and emotion. 

Still, none of that explains why specific characters and their stories come to me when they do, demanding theirs is the story I tell. I always assumed it was random. And then, as I examined the trajectory of my writing, I realized it's not.

The explanation as to why I write what I do at any given time is this: I write the story I need to feel, explore, and experience both psychologically and emotionally at that time. 

Oddly, I had no idea this was happening. Perhaps even stranger, I don't know how it happens.

For instance, my Michael Sykora series is dark suspense/thriller, and consequently, the writing experience is intense. The content is difficult to examine, and I'm hyper-focused. Through these stories, I explore the psychopathic mind, which fascinates me from an intellectual standpoint but also requires me to step inside that mind and feel what it's like to be a twisted killer. This series forces me to confront the dichotomy between my natural peacenik "live and let live" personality, and the darker part of me that believes some humans lost their humanity and can't be trusted to exist among us. While I truly love spending time with these characters, it's an emotionally draining experience.

My Joe Cavelli, Paranormal PI series is lighter in content and allows me to step outside real-world boundaries. I knew that writing these books offered me a fun diversion from a sometimes-bleak world. What I didn't consider is that this series also provides me with a way to gain insight into the meaning of our lives, and to examine, without conscious intent, the ways in which our connections matter. 

Each of my novels is sprinkled with bits of me, whether it's an issue I needed to work through, a concept I wanted to understand, or just a feeling demanding exploration. 

To further complicate my writing life, the story I think I'm writing is not always the story with which I end up. For example, when Gus from Out of the Darkness popped into my head, I thought I understood who he was. Based on that assumption, I also thought I knew where the story would go. Then, as I wrote, I realized Gus was someone different than I'd assumed him to be. As with real people, the image I saw was only a projection based on my expectation and biases. During the process of getting to know Gus, I felt and understood his complexities. Consequently, the story went in an entirely different direction. 

All this took place at a level deeper than my conscious awareness. I didn't plan for Gus to be or do anything in particular. I listened, felt, and followed where he led. When we reached the end of his journey, I looked back and realized Gus had served as a reminder for me to focus on what's important in life, as well as to look beyond the surface.

So, if you want to know what inspired me to write Out of the Darkness, I can only say that my subconscious had something to tell me.

Darcia Helle

Author Bio:

Darcia Helle is a Massachusetts native, who escaped the New England winters to write in the Florida sunshine. She lives with her husband in a home full of spoiled rescue animals and an occasional stray lizard. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative.

Catch Up With Ms. Helle On:

darciahelle.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Out of the Darkness

by Darcia Helle

on Tour March 1-31, 2019


Out of the Darkness by Darcia Helle

Gus wakes up in a dark void with no memory and no body. Screaming and cursing does him no good. He's trapped, until he learns about one man who can help.
Joe Cavelli is a PI who hears ghosts, solves their murders, and sometimes fixes their personal problems. Now he finds himself pestered by an invisible, impatient, and brash amnesiac.
Solving cases for ghosts comes with a unique set of circumstances. This time, Joe can't even claim to be investigating a murder, since Gus's body is nowhere to be found. Together, Joe and Gus delve into Gus's past, uncovering clues that lead to a startling conclusion.

Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Number of Pages: 300
Series: Joe Cavelli, Paranormal PI Book 2
Purchase Links: Amazon |Goodreads

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Enter To Win!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Darcia Helle. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on March 1, 2019, and runs through April 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Book Spotlight: BROKEN BONE CHINA by Laura Childs

Broken Bone China

(A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

About the Book

Broken Bone China (A Tea Shop Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
20th in Series
Berkley (March 5, 2019)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489632
ISBN-13: 978-0451489630

Theodosia Browning serves tea and solves crimes in Charleston, a city steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.
It is Sunday afternoon, and Theodosia and Drayton are catering a formal tea at a hot-air balloon rally. The view aloft is not only stunning, they are also surrounded by a dozen other colorful hot-air balloons. But as the sky turns gray and the clouds start to boil up, a strange object zooms out of nowhere. It is a drone, and it appears to be buzzing around the balloons, checking them out.
As Theodosia and Drayton watch, the drone, hovering like some angry, mechanized insect, deliberately crashes into the balloon next to them. An enormous, fiery explosion erupts, and everyone watches in horror as the balloon plummets to the earth, killing all three of its passengers.
Sirens scream, first responders arrive, and Theodosia is interviewed by the police. During the interview, she learns that one of the downed occupants was Don Kingsley, the CEO of a local software company, SyncSoft. Not only do the police suspect Kingsley as the primary target, they learn that he possessed a rare Revolutionary War Union Jack flag that several people were rabidly bidding on.
Intrigued, Theodosia begins her own investigation. Was it the CEO's soon-to-be ex-wife, who is restoring an enormous mansion at no expense? The CEO's personal assistant, who also functioned as curator of his prized collection of Americana? Two rival antiques' dealers known for dirty dealing? Or was the killer the fiancée of one of Theodosia's dear friends, who turns out to be an employee—and whistle-blower—at SyncSoft?

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About the Author

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She's also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn't rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans' spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe's undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura's Links:

Website – http://www.laurachilds.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31


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