Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dying for Justice by L.J. Sellers

Dying for Justice
by L.J. Sellers

Buy the book at Amazon.com
Buy the book at Barnes & Noble

Two unsolved murders from the past, a corrupt cop, and a painful family connection —will this be the case that breaks Detective Jackson?

When Gina wakes up from a two-year coma, she realizes someone tried to kill her and make it look like suicide. Detective-in-training Lara Evans is assigned the case, but when she discovers who the main suspect is, she fears she’s in way over her head. Meanwhile Detective Jackson learns the man in prison for murdering his parents is innocent of the crime and another officer coerced the detainee into a confession. As the two investigators work the cold files, members of their own department come under suspicion and their cases begin to overlap. Can they find the killers before the crimes of the past explode in the present?
 
Chapter 1

Sunday, September 5, 8:05 a.m.

Gina opened her eyes, taking in the white blanket and blue-scrub nurse. Her first thought was: This is a hospital. Her second thought was: Someone tried to kill me. She wanted to speak but her throat was dry. “Water, please,” she managed to say, sounding weak and scratchy.

The nurse jumped, eyes popping open in surprise. She fumbled in her pocket for a cell phone and ran from the room. Gina wanted to call after her but she had no strength. She’d been half-awake off and on for what seemed like weeks, but this was the first time someone was in the room when she had the clarity and strength to speak. How long had she been in the hospital?

The nurse returned after a few minutes with more medical people—a woman in a white doctor’s coat and a man in a suit. The nurse offered Gina some water, and the woman in white said, “I’m Dr. Ellison. Do you know where you are?”

“A hospital?”

“Not exactly.” The doctor smiled gently.

A wave of apprehension rolled over Gina.

“This is a long-term care facility.”

Dread seeped into her fragile bones. “How long have I been here?”

The doctor hesitated. “Two years.”

Two years? Gina closed her eyes. No. This was just another strange dream. She’d had a lot of unpleasant dreams lately.

“Gina, stay with us.”

The voice sounded real. The blanket between her fingers felt soft, textured, and real. The feeding tube in her belly ached with real pain. Gina opened her eyes again. “Two years?” She remembered being forty-four. That would make her forty-six now.

“I know this is difficult to process, but the important thing is that you survived. And now you’re awake.” The doctor kept smiling.

A terrifying memory flooded Gina’s senses, making her heart pound. The masked man had been in her dreams sometimes, but this was different. Gina practiced the words in her head first, then struggled to say, “He tried to kill me.”

The group at her beside registered a collective look of surprise, followed by disbelief. Again, the doctor was the first to speak. “Your file says you took an overdose of Valium and Demerol. Do you remember that?”

“No.” Gina shook her head. Her brain felt fuzzy, as if she were about to drift off, but she desperately wanted to say something. “I was attacked.”

The medical people looked at each other, puzzled. The man in the suit said, “There’s no record of that in your file.”

The nurse gently touched Gina’s arm. “Would you like me to call the police?”

Gina would have laughed but she didn’t have the energy. Two years had passed and the bastard would likely get away with it. Was anything left of her life out there? Despair washed over her and she fought back tears. “Yes. Call the cops.”

“I’ll do it now.” The nurse left the room.

The man in the suit followed, saying, “Let’s keep this low-key.”

Gina fought to stay awake. She’d been asleep for so long. Yet a wave of fog rolled over her and she drifted. Before she went under again, a small piece of her life before this room bubbled to the surface. She’d been compiling evidence against her soon-to-be-ex-husband. What had happened to her notebook?http://ljsellers.com/

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Wedding to Die For by Heather Haven

A Wedding To Die For
(A Wedding to Die For is the 2nd book of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series)

by Heather Haven 
Buy at MuseItUp Publishing and other on-line bookstores
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE5dfVzMRzA

A groom arrested for murder can put a crimp in any bride’s wedding. So when the wedding of Lee’s best friend is threatened by the arrest of the groom for murder, thirty-four-year old Lee Alvarez -- a combination of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum - heads to Mexico in search of the real killer. While there, the half Latina, half WASP, and 100% detective finds herself embroiled in a network of thieves who specialize in plundered Mesoamerican relics. Never mind, she’s eating the best tasting tamales ever. With the help of the rest of the Alvarez Family, Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day blueblood mother, Lila Hamilton Alvarez, brother and computer genius, Richard; favorite uncle, “Tío” Mateo; and Tugger, her energetic orange and white cat; Lee manages to stumble across a few more dead bodies. Ole!

But when she smacks right into the man of her dreams, she has to ask herself, is he too good to be true? Probably. So Lee tries to follow her own sage advice, ‘when Cupid’s wings start flapping, take cover.’ Good luck to her.

A Wedding To Die For is the second novel in a series of humorous murder mysteries involving the Alvarez Family, owners of Silicon Valley’s successful Discretionary Inquiries.
 
About Heather
 
Heather is a story teller by nature and loves the written word.  In her career, she’s written short stories, novels, comedy acts, plays, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and even ghost-wrote a book. 

One of her first jobs as a writer was given to her by her then agent. It was that of writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week and then promptly came down with the flu. She wrote "The Sands of Time" with a temperature of 102 and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Later on, she wrote short comedy skits for nightclub acts and ad copy for such places as No Soap Radio, where her love for comedy blossomed. Many of her short stories have been seen in various publications, as well as 2 one-act plays produced in Manhattan.
 
Follow Heather at:
http://www.heatherhavenstories.com/
http://Twitter.com/HeatherHaven
Blog: http://tinyurl.com/4nensnp
Follow character Lee Alvarez on Twitter: http://twitter. com/PILeeAlvarez

Excerpt

“Allied Arts is renting us the restaurant for the reception, including the outside patios, from five-thirty to eleven-thirty p.m. Do you think ten cases of champagne, plus five cases each of Chardonnay and a Napa cab are enough?”

“That sounds more than sufficient. What else?”

I started counting off items on my fingers. “Bridal shower, next week. Richard is in charge of the bachelor party. The tuxes are ordered. The gowns arrive this afternoon, and I have two seamstresses set up for the fittings. I haven’t seen a picture or rendering of the designs yet, but I’ll bet they’re incredible. Mr. McFadden designed them himself, something he hasn’t done for years. He said he chose a ‘theme,’ which reminds me, I’ll have to get samples of the fabric to the florist. Don’t you own one or two of Warren McFadden’s dresses?”

“No. I find him a little avant-garde, Liana,” Mom said.

“I think they call it cutting-edge now, Mom,” I corrected.

“If you say so.” She smiled and changed the subject. “Did you find a photographer?”

“Yes, finally. I thought I was going to have to buy a camera and take pictures, myself.”

“Who is it?”

“Did you know the reason the wedding got canceled that was supposed to take place at Mem Chu was because the bride came out of the closet and is now living in San Francisco with her lover, Charlene?”

“Get to the point, dear.”

“I thought you might be interested in hearing the lead-in.”

“No.”

“Oh. Well, anyway, this guy was supposed to be their photographer, so he was available. I’ve seen his portfolio. He’s good.”

“That sounds fine,” Lila said, somewhat mollified. “What about the rehearsal dinner?

Didn’t John offer to take care of that part of the festivities?”

“Originally, but he had to bow out due to a heavy work schedule.”

“That’s too bad.”

“Yes,” I said and nothing more. My latest love had been pulling back big-time on a lot of things, but I didn’t want to admit it or deal with it yet.

“However, Carlos took over and got us a private room at the new Japanese steakhouse for after we go through our paces.”

I looked at the tattered list again with all the checkmarks indicating completion and would have done cartwheels around the room if I hadn’t been so tired.

“Mom, I think I’ve done it. After I order the flowers and take care of the fittings, I’m done,” I said with pride. “This wedding is completely done and Good-to-Go.”

Five hours later, I stood in front of a mirror, enveloped in what felt like eighty yards of a chartreuse moiré taffeta laughingly called “Whipped Lime.” Between the starched crinoline underskirt, ruffled hem of the overskirt, and tufted bodice, all in a hideous yellow-green, I looked like a New Year’s Eve float depicting baby poo.

I ripped open the other boxes to find matching gowns in different odious colors sporting the names of “Pineapple Fizz,” “Mango Madness,” “Orange Frappe,” and “Passion Fruit Frazzle.” Mr. McFadden had created a theme, all right. Jamba Juice Rejects.

And in moiré taffeta. When Mom called his work avant-garde, she was being kind.

The phone rang, but I was afraid to move. On top of how I looked, any movement sounded like leaves trapped in a wind tunnel. No wonder no one wore taffeta anymore, I thought. Noise pollution. One of the seamstresses answered the phone and slapped it into my frozen hand.

“Hello?” I said.

“Lee, it’s me. We need your help,” Mira said. Her voice sounded frantic and as if she’d been crying.

“Mira? Are you all right?”

“No, I’m not,” she sobbed. “Carlos is being arrested for murder.”

“What?” I said, sinking straight to the floor, buried in a mound of taffeta. “Carlos is being arrested for murder?”

“Yes, they say he murdered the thief who broke into our apartment last night. They’re taking him away,” she wailed.

“Wait a minute. What thief? What murder? Mira, what’s going on?”

She tried to tell me, but between the hysteria, coughing, and wheezing, I couldn’t understand her.

“Never mind,” I interrupted. “Hold tight. I’ll be right there.”

I struggled to my feet and thought, with the groom arrested for murder maybe this Good-to-Go wedding just Got Up and Went.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dead Man's Gambit by Frank Scully

DEAD MAN'S GAMBIT
by Frank Scully www.frankjscully.com
Available at the bookstore at www.museitup.com and also at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Omnilit and other eBook retailers.

A game of real life Monopoly between bitter rivals becomes deadly as one side ups the ante and plays for keeps, but even death can’t stop the game.

Detective-turned-Assistant DA, Mike Johnson finds himself living in a comfortable rut. That is, until Warren Rogga, a friend he helped convict is murdered in prison, leaving only a last request: Protect his family.

Mike owes Warren more than he can repay but is about to find out what it will cost him. It had been an ugly case and is going to get uglier as it draws Mike back into its tangled web of sex, politics, greed, big money and cold hearted killers.

The evidence against Warren, a rich and powerful man, was overwhelming. His mistress and illegitimate child were murdered. He was there that night. They had argued. The murder weapon was found hidden on his property. An open and shut case. Mike couldn’t ignore the evidence he had collected and Warren went to prison.

When he starts to look into the case again, the justice system turns on him. Forced out of his job as a DA, investigated by the police, hounded by the media, and manipulated by powerful people, Mike and his family and friends find their lives in danger as Mike becomes a player in the elaborate game of real life Monopoly played by a masquerade ball coterie of rich men, political power brokers, and an assortment of other crooks and criminals. There is only one rule in the game. Winner lives, loser dies.

EXCERPT

Something poked me, and it really irritated me. I wanted to open my eyes, but they were nailed, stitched, and glued shut. My arm was so heavy it didn’t budge when I asked it to swat whatever was poking me.

“Uuaaoohhah naahay toay.” I wondered what that noise was. Then I realized it was me. What the hell did I say?

My eyes opened. God, the light was bright. I shut them and tried to talk again. Someone else spoke. Somebody pushed open one of my eyelids and shined a light in my eye. Christ. Just what I needed. I tried to shake the hand off.

“Awake are you? You’re a lucky one.” The voice was cheery, feminine. “I better call the doctor.” Then I was alone.

I opened my eyes again. This time without help. It was still bright, but not so painful. I looked around. I was in a bed with tubes running here and there, into and out of me, and hooked up to electronic gizmos with blinking lights and wavy lines.

Hospital. The thought came into my mind. I’m in a hospital. That’s good. The hell it is! Why am I am in a hospital? Questions tumbled over themselves in my mind, but no answers. Panic rode the questions and overtook whatever reason I had left.

“Hi there. How’re you feeling? Silly question, right?” A young, agreeable looking man in a white coat with a stethoscope around his neck spoke to me as he read my chart

“You’re making a remarkable recovery. Can you talk?”

“Mmmm nah,” I said, licking my lips.

He understood me even if I didn’t. “Sure,” he held a glass of water for me. I sucked on it greedily.

“Now, how’s that?” he wanted to chat.

I was willing to oblige. “Better,” I croaked.

“Good, very good. Can you answer some questions?”

I nodded. I hoped I could. I sure wanted to ask some. “Can you tell us who you are?” he asked softly.

Opening my mouth, all ready to answer, I suddenly realized I couldn’t. Who was I? I didn’t know. But I have to know. Everybody knows.

Seeing my panic the doctor patted my shoulder. “Take it easy. It’ll come. Your system has been through some severe shocks. Get some sleep. We’ll try again later.” He nodded to the nurse. She injected something into one of the tubes.

I asked, “Where am I?”

“Why, you’re in Long Beach Memorial Hospital, of course.”

I felt myself slipping. I saw a bright yellow background with the word “NO” in red floating all over. Then nothing.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How To Get A Literary Agent (In Two Murders or Less)

HOW TO GET A LITERARY AGENT
(In Two Murders of Less)
by Ellie Burmeister http://www.mirthpress.com/

Aspiring novelist Amanda Anderson has never had any luck, but she hopes that's about to change. She goes to a writer's conference to find an agent, but ends up with a husband. After a whirlwind courtship, she elopes with bestselling suspense writer Jonny Goodsnuff. But she soon discovers that her husband's only good on paper. Between a draconian prenup, his sleazy associates, her wicked stepchildren, and the hunky romance-novelist neighbor, Amanda learns the meaning of "wed in haste, repent at leisure."

Unfortunately Jonny has a deadly secret, and before she can walk away, Amanda finds herself in a desperate game of cat and mouse. But who are the cats? And who are the mice? And most importantly, will any of this bring her closer to a publishing contract?

The title should be available from Amazon by the end of the month.

Excerpt:

I must have drifted off to sleep, because I woke to the sound of footsteps. I sat up, intending to give Jonny a lecture for staying out so late, but then sank back down with my heart in my throat when I realized that the man in the room with me wasn’t my husband.


The intruder was wearing a hat and an expensive looking trench coat. Thankfully, he had his back to me, but even so, I saw that his frame was too tall and too thin to be that of Jonny Goodsnuff. He ran his gloved hands over the surface of the desk, knocking the few small items to the floor. One of Jonny’s Scotch glasses fell on something else with a shatter. The intruder spun to face me.

I lay as still as I could, pretending to be asleep, and I watched him through my lashes. A heavy scarf obscured the bottom half of his face so I could only see his eyes. He stood there and looked at me for about ten seconds before he turned around again and reached for my suitcase. In an instant, he had it open, and was shaking out its contents. My exorbitantly expensive dress slithered out onto the floor, but I didn’t care. There was nothing in that suitcase that was worth more than my life. As he reached for Jonny’s suitcase and fumbled with the clasp, I decided I’d make a run for it.

No sooner had I raised myself up than the intruder spun around and pulled the scarf from his face.

“No, please, don’t bother getting out of bed.”

I froze, frightened out of my wits. I tried to scream, but my throat wouldn’t work. My heart was beating so hard that I could feel it bruising my ribcage.

“This will only take a minute. I’ll take what I need, and then I’ll let you get back to sleep.”

I sank down into the bed and cowered while the intruder resumed pillaging our belongings. He’d showed me his face. That meant he was going to kill me. First, I’d be subjected to God knows what. I could just imagine the headlines back home: Local Girl Makes Good – Only to be Brutally Murdered by Hotel Room Rapist.

Suddenly he stopped and turned to the door. I could hear Jonny humming a tune as the doorknob began to turn. The intruder’s eyes narrowed and his right hand clenched into a fist.

I summoned my nerve for one last act of heroism.

“Jonny! No! Stay out!”

The door burst open and Jonny leapt into the room with his arms spread wide. “Stonewall, my man. Come over here and give Jonny some love.”

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dark Wizard by John Rosenman

DARK WIZARD
by John Rosenman
Buy the book at MuseItUp Publishing

NOTE: Go to John's website to win a free copy of his book.

Visit John on the web at his websites:
http://www.johnrosenman.com/
http://www.myspace.com/291520102
https://twitter.com/Writerman1
http://www.facebook.com/home.php and
http://s631.photobucket.com/albums/uu31/jrosenman/

Read an interview at
http://www.milscifi.com/archives/arc-JohnBRosenman.htm
For those who like shortcuts, don’t read the first few pages then skip to the end. This is one book where every chapter counts. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good science fiction thriller. - Ron Berry, UnWriter Reviewer
Blurb

Kan can revive the dead, read minds, lift cars, see invading aliens, and he’s just found love...he isn’t in Kansas anymore.

Description

Kan not only has complete amnesia but superhuman strength and the ability to bring back the dead. Soon a beautiful girl complicates things even more, and he learns he is faced with a deadly evil and a cosmic mission. To survive, he must solve three mysteries. He must remember who he is, what happened to make him forget his past, and above all, the identity of the Dark Wizard who endangers the Earth.

Excerpt

Jean-Pierre’s blood froze. Before he could ask what Birdwell meant, the little man stiffened and jabbed his finger at the road ahead. “Uh-oh, I was afraid of this.”

Two hundred yards away, a roadblock waited. Even from his seat, Jean-Pierre could make out clustered cars and a barricade.

“What are you going to do?”

Birdwell grinned and tapped the wheel. “I believe on your world, you have a saying. The show must go on.”

‘The show must go on’? What the hell are you talking about?” He pointed. “If you try to ram them, you’ll get us both killed.” He twisted in the safety web and peered behind him. Several cars followed in hot pursuit less than a hundred yards behind. “They’re right behind us. If you stop, they’ll catch us!”

Birdwell’s grin widened. “Oh no, my jolly Frenchman.” He cackled and pressed a stud on the wheel. “Hold on to your chapeau!”

The roadblock was less than a hundred yards away, and Jean-Pierre began to pray when he felt the car leave the ground. It rose above the barricade, and he looked down in time to see startled faces turn to watch them in disbelief—disbelief that mirrored his own. When he turned back, they were already a hundred feet up, sailing toward the mountains. A flock of birds flew past, just missing them.

Birdwell whooped. “Sacre bleu! You ought to see what this baby will do in second gear.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm on Sally Franklin Christie's Blog

Sally is an author and also happens to be the marketing go to gal for Eternal Press. She'll probably correct me with a proper title, but that's how I think of her.

Read all about me on her Writerly Wednesdays Presents page of her web site. She'll be featuring a different writer every Wednesday. I'm the lucky ducky who gets to go first!

My Eternal Press Science Fiction ULTIMATE DUTY is the featured book. Be sure to mouse down to the end to read my wacky answers to Sally's wacky questions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunshine Boulevard by J. Q. Rose

SUNSHINE BOULEVARD
by J. Q. Rose
J Q Rose Website http://www.jqrose.webs.com/
J Q Rose Blog  http://www.jqroseauthor.blogspot.com/

You Tube Book Trailer

Purchase Information:
The e-book is available at MuseItUp Publishing bookstore
Amazon.com
Bn.com
as well as many other online booksellers.

Description

Mysterious deaths upset the Florida retirement community interfering with their seasonal activities and turning up more than dead bodies

Blurb

Who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard?  Follow Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds who annually migrate to Florida for warm sunshine, fun, and games in snow-free winters. However this season, Jim Hart, a volunteer First Responder in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge, is drawn into the investigation of the mysterious deaths. Even in the midst of the unfortunate demise of the residents on Sunshine Boulevard, the Harts try to enjoy the winter with friends. They don't realize that their friends are getting together for their own kinds of affairs with each other. The neighbors are in a dither over the deaths, but perhaps more intrigued by the gossip about the affairs and why the naked lady was found lying in the geranium bed

Excerpt

“Jim, Jim!” Gloria threw her keys on the kitchen counter and then stashed her mat and barbells in the hallway closet.

“Jim!” She called louder. He was not in the Florida room. She gingerly stepped from the kitchen to the carport. She darted into the attached shed housing the laundry room with storage in the front and Jim’s workshop in back. She walked through the workshop and out the door to the neat little back yard and found him watering their garden plot.

“Did you hear about George McDonnell?” Gloria shook her auburn hair, compliments of her favorite brand of hair color #118. Her clear blue eyes filled with tears.

“Yes, I heard.” Jim kinked the hose to stop the water flow and dragged it to the faucet on the back of the house. He slowly turned the tap to cut off the stream of water and dropped the hose to the freshly cut grass.

“How sad that he died alone. Oh, Jim, he wasn’t discovered for so long his body just ro...” She couldn’t say it.

“Gloria, come in the house. I have to tell you something. I don’t want the neighbors listening in on this conversation.” Gloria knew her husband of thirty-five years well enough to realize something wasn’t right.

As they stepped into the bright kitchen, Jim turned to her. Looking straight into her eyes, he said, “Royce called this morning. George’s death was peculiar. I guess, that’s what the Medical Examiner is saying.”

Jim was friends with the county M.E., Royce Williams. They worked together on investigations involving the First Responders Unit. Living in a retirement community, the Medical Examiner and medics were frequent visitors. An ambulance at a home was not a significant event at Citrus Ridge. It was part of life and death.

“Royce told us George’s body did not rot. It couldn’t have decomposed that quickly because Miss Lottie checked on him every day when she brought him the mail in the afternoon. She delivered it the day before he died. He was alert and talked about the weather.

“When Lottie called 9-1-1 at one o’clock yesterday, she was so upset she couldn’t even speak. They traced the call to her house. When the police arrived, she only pointed to George’s house.”

Jim stopped a minute. Gloria saw the anguish in his face. “They discovered George sitting in the living room in his recliner. His body was mustard yellow. His clothes were melted to his body. The odor was not a rotting smell, but rather like burning or scorching. In fact the fabric in the chair was charred. Ron was the first responder. He told me when he and the paramedics touched the body, it turned to powder.”

Gloria cried out in disbelief. She covered her face with her hands. “Dear God. What happened, Jim? What could have caused such a thing?”

“Ron arrived at the scene first. You know Ron. Always talking and telling greatstories.” Gloria remembered the usually fun-loving raucous Ron.

“Royce told me there was such a look of horror in Ron’s eyes. He was traumatized by what he saw. Ron told him he moved George’s wrist, and his hand fell making a pile of yellow ashes on the floor.”

“Dear God.” Gloria sat down at the dining room table feeling nauseous. Jim wiped his eyes. “I don’t know how Ron and Lottie will ever forget this nightmare.”

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Crossed Lines by Pat Dale

CROSSED LINES
by Pat Dale
http://www.patdale.net/
http://www.patdalesblog.blogspot.com/
http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/

Set in the charming hospitality of northern Mississippi, CROSSED LINES is a most inhospitable story of seduction, mystery, and revenge.

Baby Jane should have been just another statistic in the annals of New Orleans history, but the infant survived abandonment. A few years later she should have been a basket case after years of sexual abuse at the hands of a foster father, but she found a way to get free of him without losing her sanity. Or did she?

A successful author who'd put her unsavory past behind her, she's stayed for years with her philandering husband ; a man who unwittingly unleashes all the disgusting memories she'd kept buried in her psyche. And now, the fool must pay the price for his infidelity; him and his sexy lover.

Excerpt: Prologue

She stayed at the downtown hotel into the weekend while a crew cleaned her mansion of all traces of the violence. Early on Monday, hours before the inquest, she went back home and pulled out the sole contents of her safe, a computer disc. Inserting the disc into her computer, she initiated the printer.

As it spit out page after page of manuscript, she dropped them into a cardboard box. After destroying the disc, she lifted the heavy box and carried it out to the trash burner behind her home, and started a fire with a ew pages, adding more as the fire grew. When the last sheet had been tossed into the flames, she stepped back and looked skyward at the column of dirty gray smoke. Waving to it, she whispered, “Goodbye, Martin, and good riddance. May your rotten soul burn in hell forever.”

Even as she waved, Jane felt a lightening in her spirit, a buoyancy that had been missing her entire life. The sense of foreboding and heaviness that had pervaded her very existence was gone. After the symbolic pile was reduced to ashes and the sky clear of smoke, she returned to the house and prepared her real manuscript for shipment. Her latest novel was complete and ready for the publisher.

“What was will be no more,” she sang to herself, recalling the little play she’d directed. “What will be, we’ll see…” In her mind, last fall was only a blink away…

Friday, June 17, 2011

Duty and Devotion by A. R. Norris

DUTY AND DEVOTION
By Amber (A.R.) Norris
Buy it at Desert Breeze Press

Note: I invited Amber to my blog months ago before I started Magical Mystery Month. Her book is SFR, not mystery, but still a damned good read. What a cool cover! MGD
(Q) Thank you for joining us today, Amber. Before we begin, please tell our readers where they can find you.

(A) Thank you so much, Marva, for having me on your funky blog today. You can find me at my blog
http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/ or my Author's Den page http://www.authorsden.com/arnorris.

(Q) Now, why don't you tell everyone a bit about your books including buy links?

(A) Well, my debut novel, Duty and Devotion, is due out June 15th with Desert Breeze Publishing. It's a science fiction romance about two sisters drafted into war. The story takes us through their training and the very different paths they each go down. Nettie, the older one becomes a space fighter pilot while the younger sister, Rinny, is training to become a ground combat soldier. Both sisters find out what it really means to live in a time of war and fight for freedom. Nettie's pain and loss close her heart to anything but her duty, but Officer James Northman is focused on opening her heart again to see the happiness even in chaotic times. Rinny finds love and devotion right off the bat in Danny Gubvre, but learns war is a fickle beast when it rips it away as she's captured by the enemy. Now she's fighting to keep her people free, return home, and just maybe find her lost love.

(Q) Where did the concept for the book (or books) come about?

(A) That's is a good question and it boils down to the fact people cannot take restraining orders out on fictional characters. (The police look at you strangely.) Rinny's story came to me first, in a dream. She then stalked me for months before I laid out the story on then paper and pen in a spiral bound notebook. As I began her story I started dreaming about Nettie. At first, I didn't know they were related or sharing the same storyline. That smacked me in the face about halfway through Rinny's rough draft.

(Q) How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

(A) I'm ashamed to say it took me almost two decades to complete Duty and Devotion. Not ashamed because the time, but because the reasons behind the time. I doubted my ability, and then allowed what I thought life was supposed to be get in the way. After a dose of reality from my husband, who reminded me the importance of following dreams, I got myself whipped back into shape and heading towards publication.

(Q) Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?

(A) Oh, wow! Lots of authors. I guess I simmer it down to Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe. They were big influencers, each for different reasons.

(Q) Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

(A) In the middle of the night. On my walks. While I'm relaxing in the backyard. I guess it boils down to when I'm not actively thinking about writing and my mind/muse wanders into a creative walkabout. Then it's a flurry of typing away to keep up and characters yelling at me to hurry.

(Q) As a writer, what is your greatest fear?

(A) Reader apathy. I want readers to either love it or hate. I dread the words, "It was okay."

(Q) What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?

(A) Ah, yes, well...I guess you could say noise, chaos, and constant distractions occupy my writing space. I work primarily on my laptop where ever I can find a semi-quiet place. With a hubby, 2 teenagers, 2 toddlers, and 2 dogs...it's difficult.

(Q) Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?

(A) Oh yes! I'm so excited with my current project. It's a SFR series titled The Telomere Trilogy. Here's my blurb for the first in the series, Revelations of Tomorrow which releases in October:

The crew of Daring Star salvage a load capsule and find the beaten body of Jetta McCree. Turns out Jetta's discovered her employer has developed a biochemical droplet and is contracted with terrorists to manufacture it on a large scale. Captain Noah Bonney fights off corporate security forces, her ex-husband's pirate fleets, and carnivorous beasts to keep the young woman safe and transport her to the safety of the Imperial Home Port. But the adventure brings to surface demons Noah's been suppressing and secrets from her people's history she's tried to forget. Now, she must face them if she's to reconcile with her daughter and keep the love of her life from leaving. With 450 years under her belt and nothing but eternity ahead of her, she's built a thick shell…one she's not sure she can break.

(Q) What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?

(A) Research, research, and more research. The publishing industry is so vast and complex I urge every new author to be patient, learn as much as you can about all the various paths to publication and find one that fits your goals, expectations, and personality.

(Q) If you'd like to add anything, please do so.

(A) Nope, I think I'm good. Thank you so much, again, for having me today.

(Q) How about an excerpt to tantalize the readers?

No problemo! Here's one from Duty and Devotion:

"Recruit Matterville, react faster. Use your natural reflexes," Lieutenant Mooring stated from the sidelines.

The Lieutenant's training assistant, Sergeant Nowell, followed his chin tap with a quick kick to Rinny's gut, then a side jab into her ribs. Rinny folded like a rag doll, landing hard on the fighting mat. Lying rumpled, her side and jaw throbbing, she heaved for breath. The room swirled like a roller coaster ride. Sweat dripped into her eyes, stung them.

The Lieutenant continued to instruct from the side. "Don't think your height is always going to compensate. It can be a weakness against a skilled opponent."

Sergeant Nowell circled her, rolled his shoulders, and prepared for victory. Struggling to her hands and knees, Rinny tracked him through the dizzy haze, waiting for the right moment. Thinking beyond the pain, she shut down her body's reaction to it and pushed up her adrenaline. Rinny focused her mind and prepped her body for action.

Sergeant Nowell continued to circle, pleased with himself. "Come on, Legs. Get up."

The recruits around the mat taunted along with him. "Up!" they chanted in the background, clapping their hands in unison.

As he circled by her left leg, she tripped him, then brought up her right leg to finish toppling him over. He hit the mat with a hard thud. She followed through, flipping over and on him to press her elbow into his windpipe. She grinned over at the Lieutenant.

"Yeah, but so often the height and legs is such an asset." Rinny added further pressure to the Sergeant's throat to emphasize the point.

Her fellow recruits cheered and whistled as the Lieutenant laughed and called the win. Rinny helped the Sergeant up, beaming.

"That is true. Unfortunately for you, however, unlike Nowell here, Union soldiers make up for their shortness in chest bulk and wider stance. Their balance is impeccable and their upper body strength is twice that of yours." He scanned the class. "Even more unfortunate for you, Union soldiers are bred off a physical code of conduct. They do not get promoted by time served. They are promoted by challenging the next up. If they win, they promote. If they lose, they die or are exiled from the militia in shame."

Rinny cast her eyes down, thoroughly put in her place.

"Class dismissed."

Rinny took steps to leave, but Sergeant Nowell caught her arm. He glanced to where Lieutenant Mooring walked away, then winked and patted her shoulder. "Good job, Matterville." He rubbed his throat and rolled his shoulder. "Very good job."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Space Station Murders by A.M. Roelke

The Space Station Murders
A grieving ex-cop. A crowded space station. A killer on the loose.

A. M. Roelke
Writing blog: http://thewritinglifeforme.blogspot.com/
Writing credits: http://sites.google.com/site/aliceroelke/
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/avHvJ0

Available in PDF, HTML, Sony/Nook, and Kindle formats:
MuseItUp Publishing: http://bit.ly/dmHnj0
Amazon: http://amzn.to/ixmMMu
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/63972

Description:

Herb Molloy went so far downhill after his partner died that he’s now an ex-cop living under one of the space station’s artificial beautification bridges.

Into his barely getting by life comes trouble and friendship. Trouble in the form of murders on the space station—his fellow homeless people targeted, picked off one by one. Friendship in the form of station newbie Zack Ives, who doesn’t know enough to look after himself yet... and who wants to investigate the murders.

Herb reluctantly agrees to help him, and the two step into danger’s path to solve... The Space Station Murders.

Excerpt:

Ahead, a fight.

A long, loping run took Herbert to the fracas. Three thugs—the Jensen brothers—wailing on a smaller guy, curly hair. He was giving as good as he got, but with three to one, the odds were obvious.

Herb slammed a fist into the eldest Jensen’s ribs, hooked a leg around his, and pulled him down. Trod over him and tackled the next guy in the pack, the biggest Jensen, leaving Curly with only one opponent. Curly, breathing hard, trying not to double over, blew on his fists, rocked side to side, and clocked his opponent a left hook.

Herb smashed the giant’s face a few times, dodged the return blows; he was too fast for the giant’s fists, so the giant lunged forward to tackle him. He sidestepped and caught the guy from behind, jumping on his back. They both toppled to the floor. By the time he’d gotten loose, the oldest Jensen was getting up, the one Curly had been fighting was down, and both Curly and his opponent had a busted lip.

“Molloy,” growled the biggest Jensen, picking up a pipe hidden beneath the park bench and smacking it into his palm. He advanced on Herb, murder in his eyes.

“Time to go, kid,” said Herb Molloy, voice rising. “Street fight looking to turn into a homicide fest.”

The kid kicked the approaching thug in the back of his knees and took off running, scuffed sneaker soles flashing behind him. He ran all out, the way he’d fought; Herb was behind him the whole way, even when he put on a burst of speed.

They stopped three streets down, leaned against a shop wall (Spaceship Repairs), and panted. “Thanks,” said the kid, doubled over, holding his side. He spat phlegm in the alley, stood up, and offered his hand.

Herb looked at it a second, took it. Most street folks didn’t offer to shake hands.

“Zack Ives,” said the kid.

“Herb Molloy.” He eyed the kid, who wasn’t as small as he’d looked fighting the Jensens. He was almost Herb’s height and not as young as Herb first thought. Ives moved with youthful energy, but the lines around his eyes said he was probably closer to Herb’s age.

He wore ratty jeans, blue sneakers, and a flannel shirt that had seen better days. His eyes flashed dark blue, and his hair was the unruly kind that curls naturally, getting bigger and bigger if you didn’t do some serious pruning. He hadn’t for a while. His tanned, olive skin and his accent marked him as someone from a planet, not a native space rat.

“You new to the station?” said Herb, drawing back from the firm handshake.

“Yeah. What’s it to you?” The kid drew back too, eyes narrowing as if he wanted another fight.

“If you weren’t, you’d know to stay away from that bench. That’s Jensen territory after 1200.”

“Military man, huh?” said Ives.

“I was,” said Herb, wondering at the kid’s nerve. “Come on, I’ll show you a place where the homeless aren’t quite so territorial.” He turned; with loping steps, he headed toward the bridge.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Louisa and the Missing Heiress by Anna MacLean

LOUISA AND THE MISSING HEIRESS
by Anna MacLean

(Q) Thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, please tell our readers where they can find you.

My website is http://annamaclean.net/ . Comments can be posted there and I would love to hear from readers. Penguin’s Facebook page, TheCrimeSceneBook, will be hosting chats soon as well.

The novel is available from Penguin Books.

(Q) How did the concept of Louisa May Alcott mysteries come about? Why this particular famous author?

Louisa May Alcott is one of the most fascinating women in American history and literature! She was brilliant, independent, hardworking and very much a rebel. Her close family and Bostonian background also, I thought, made her a perfect candidate for cozy mysteries, my favorite. I loved the opportunity to explore and create the inner life that pushed Louisa from dutiful daughter to adventurous author.

(Q) How long did it take you to finish the first book, from concept to final product?

The first book took about a year and some months to write. I wanted to get the character just write, and catch her at the moment when all possibility begins to exist for her, so that the following mysteries would have a strong foundation.

(Q) Are there any authors that have influenced your writing, other than Alcott that is?

Oh, so many. Agatha Christie of course, and Dorothy Sayers and the wonderful Sarah Caulfield. I also did quite a lot of reading/travel back to Louisa’s nineteenth century and read her cohorts – Poe and Hawthorne, Emerson and Thoreau. She lived surrounded by writers and great minds.

(Q) Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

I write first thing in the morning. No other time works for me and I can be quite nasty if someone or something tries to come between me and that initial work time. I do listen to music, very softly, and the music usually reflects the project in hand. For Louisa, I listened to a lot of German art songs from the nineteenth century. She would have loved them.

(Q) What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?

Great question! There’s all this computer stuff of course, but I also keep my old typewriter close by. When I get stuck, I’ll work on it. There’s a very soothing sound to that clacking of keys, it makes the words almost tangible. I also have a brass peacock from India and a photo calendar of Paris. Always of Paris. And books. Piles of them. And an object that is a kind of touchstone for the project. For Louisa, it was a lace handkerchief.

(Q) Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?

I’m always working on a project. It’s such a large part of who I am, that if I don’t write on any certain day, that day feels like a loss to me. And writing for me is a kind of travel, so I’ll just say I’m currently traveling in Elizabethan England. It’s a very rowdy place and I’m having a great time.

(Q) What tips would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?

All of the old clichés, of course: make your book as good as it can possibly be, do your research before sending queries to agents, etc. The internet really helps there, it’s so easy to look up individual agents and see what their tastes are. More personally, I would say put yourself stylishly on the page, but in a respectful even humble manner, and be professional. And don’t let people keeping you waiting longer than they should. If an agent doesn’t respond in a certain amount of time, send a gentle reminder, and if you still don’t get a response, move on to the next.

(Q) If you'd like to add anything, please do so.

Great to blog with you!

(Q) How about an excerpt to tantalize the readers?

From Louisa and The Missing Heiress by Anna Maclean

The clock chimed four-thirty. I sighed and stirred, tapping my foot more quickly under the concealing hem of my brown linsey-woolsey skirts. Where was our hostess? Surely she could have tried on every hat in Boston by now. Had she forgotten? Dot had never been the quickest mind – she had wept over fractions and torn her hair over South American rivers – but to completely forget her own welcome-home tea party!

I looked outside the room into the hall. The huge, ornate coat tree was close enough to the parlor that everytime I looked in that direction and saw Mr. Wortham’s velvet coat hanging there on its hook, I had the eerie sense that someone else was standing there, watching. Something strange, hostile, dangerous, floated through that house where newlyweds should have been so happy.

Much as I wished to see Dot, I decided it was time to leave. Abba was waiting for me at home with a basket of clothing to clean and mend for the women’s shelter and other tasks with which society could not be bothered. Mr. Wortham was standing at the bay window, looking out into the street. I went to him.

“I do hope Dot is all right. This is not like her.”

“I fear a year in Europe may have changed her,” he said. “It is liberating to travel, you know.” But he was frowning and his dark eyes seemed darker than usual.

More on Jean Mackin writing as Anna MacLean:
 
Jeanne Mackin is the author of several novels:  The Sweet By and By (St. Martin’s Press), Dreams of Empire (Kensington Books), The Queen’s War (St. Martin’s Press), and The Frenchwoman (St. Martin’s Press).   She has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in several journals and periodicals including  American Letters and Commentary and SNReview. She is also the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers (Cornell University publications)  and co-editor of  The Norton Book of Love (W.W. Norton),  and wrote art columns for newspapers as well as feature articles for several arts magazines.  She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, in Washington, D.C.  She teaches creative writing at Goddard College in Vermont, has taught or conducted workshops in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and New York and has traveled extensively in Europe.  She lives with her husband, Steve Poleskie,  in upstate New York.
 
The book is available in Kindle and Print format on Amazon:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another Way by Nancy Gaffney

ANOTHER WAY
What part of 'over my dead body' didn't you understand?

By Nancy Gaffney http://www.valkyrieromance.com/
From Eternal Press
http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615723737
Also available at Amazon:
Kindle format: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZR9O4C/
Print format: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1615723749/

Bio: Nancy J. Gaffney lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her boyfriend, laptop and an imagination that keeps her pecking at her keyboard, until the small hours of the morning. She loves exchanging e-mails with readers and authors, and writing stories with fabulous, flawed, female leads and really bad weather? thunder, lightning, the fiercer the better.

Description:
A thousand years ago, in the name of ‘the greater good’, a great betrayal occurred. In the name of righteous retribution and justifiable genocide, a peaceful planet is attacked. A civilization a thousand years in the re-building is razed. An idyllic society, steeped in music, literature, and civic duty, is forced to flee the only home they’ve ever known. In middle of the struggle for survival, Shannen ‘Keeper’ Everett, Jason ‘Preacher’ Carrack and Colonel Robert Preyar must find a way to stay alive and thwart enemies no one ever knew existed. The battle for life as they knew it is on.

Excerpt:
Jason heard Shannen’s request for him to switch to gamma frequency. He didn’t have to ask his Navigator to give him privacy. Whatever they were going to say would stay just between the two of them.

“Jason?” Shannen – not Keeper – was on the other end of the comms.

“I’m here, Shannen.” Jason – not Captain Preyar or Preacher – answered her. “No chance of some mind-numbing plan taking shape in that brain of yours?”

“Funny you should ask that – I was going to ask you the same thing.” Shannen replied. “Got any super-secret maneuvers hidden up your sleeve?”

They both knew that this was how it could end, but for some reason a sense of disbelief and unpreparedness had them both rattled.

“I don’t know how to say this to you.” The honest tremble in her voice was different from the voice she used to convey the end game they faced.

“Neither do I.”

It wasn’t a cop out and this wasn’t the time for flowery speeches. This was it and they both knew it.

“I love you, Shannen.”

“I love you too, Jason.”

Hearing her swallow, her next words made his eyes sting.

“If you see Jesse before I do, let him know I won’t be long, okay?”

“Done; the same goes for you, you know.” Jason couldn’t keep the thickness out of his voice.

“Not a chance, Carrack. I’ll wait for you, if that’s the case. I think I like the idea of exploring the Elysian Fields with you for the next eternity or so. Jesse can find us if that’s going to be the case.”

Jason could feel the sincerity in Shannen’s promise.

“Forever never sounded so good, Shannen.” Jason offered his own promise. “We’ll find Uncle Bob while we’re at it.”

Jason smiled weakly. Dying didn’t seem so bad knowing that Jesse, his mom, his dad, his uncle and Shannen were going to be waiting for him on the other side. Not to mention sending an Ark full of war-mongers to the deepest bowels of Tartarus as a post-script on a set of service records only the stars would bear witness too.

“Can’t wipe your eyes with a helmet on, can you Lieutenant?” Preacher deliberately broke the moment. They had a job to do and, afterward, a family reunion to attend.

“No you can’t, Captain.”

Her voice might have cracked as she stumbled over the word “Captain”, but Keeper’s bravado carried across to CentralOps when she switched back to the attack frequency.

“Senator’s Son – Alpha; do what you can and leave the Ark and Cardinal to us. I’m invoking Blood Rights. Their asses belong to us.”

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gypsy Crystal by Lorrie Unites-Struiff

GYPSY CRYSTAL

by Lorrie Unites-Struiff
Read Lorrie's website/blog
View the Book Trailer
Best Buy at Fictionwise

Rita Muldova is a homicide detective in Keyport, PA. A serial killer is on the loose in her town and targeting prostitutes. But Rita has an edge. She wears a mystical crystal amulet that has been handed down through her Roma maternal bloodline that allows her to see, in the dead victim's eyes, the last face they had seen.

But now, the crystal has quit working. Is the magic gone?

Rita confronts her mother, Anna, a crystal ball gazer and great seer, for answers. Anna and Uncle Dragus leave Rita more unsettled than before.

Matt Boulet, a special FBI agent has been following the killer's trail from New Orleans. He has a personal score to settle and holds back secrets from Rita and the task force.

There is a magnetic pull between Rita and Matt, an attraction they can't deny. And too many secrets are kept by both, plus Rita's family.

When all the secrets are finally revealed, Rita swims through a whirlpool of shock, horror and confusion. Her renewed determination to put an end to the killing spree spells danger ahead for all involved.

Excerpt
 
Detective Rita Moldova peeked around the corner to make sure the hallway was empty. Making a quick right turn, she slipped into the autopsy lab to have a few minutes alone with the body. She tucked her white shirt tighter into her jeans and zipped her windbreaker to stay warm in the chilly room. The harsh odor of formaldehyde hit her nostrils and stung her throat.

Her heart twisted at the sight of the young, auburn-haired woman lying on the stainless steel table. A white sheet covered her to the navel; bruises blemished the once pretty face. Contusions marred the pallid skin from elbow to shoulder. The gash on the front of her neck gaped, exposing open veins and torn tissue.

Rita flipped her thick, dark braid back over her shoulder, snapped on one latex glove, leaned over the corpse, and peeled back an eyelid. In her bare hand, she clasped a star-shaped crystal hanging from the gold chain around her neck, an endowment from her maternal Roma bloodline. The crystal heated in her palm, warm energy pulsing up her arm to her shoulder. The face captured in the victim’s eye coalesced and stared back. Rita drew in a sharp breath. Bobby Driscoll! She had known him since high school, and now he worked as a uniform in her precinct. What the hell was going on?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Ashes by Arlene Webb

WARNING: Ashes is a paranormal suspense with adult content.

ASHES
by Arlene Webb

MuseItHot
Trailer: http://tinyurl.com/3vgntwx

Not happening.

Those responsible, including me are dead.

Please. I’ll do anything.

I’m a murder suspect? Who cares? He’s dead, he’s gone, he’s dead, he’s gone…

Head, heart, stomach on fire, no choice but to accept the stirring within.

Five stages of grief? Never. Create another step. Resolution. I will, I must, hold my brother’s hand again.

Opening Excerpt:

Raw thirst dominated Lyle’s fantasy. Cracked ribs, battered leg, ankle bruised by the shackle, three broken fingers, deep slashes along inner thighs, and bone jutting through muscle in the left arm—it all lay crushed under the need for water. Images of shimmering droplets danced behind his crusted eyelids.

How long did it take for a male in his prime to die? The metal rod had been staked deep into the desert soil of Las Vegas. Lyle no longer struggled against the chain, tried to shelter his skin from the searing heat, or screamed for a soul with a shred of human compassion to help him.

Surrounded by low shrubs with a pungent crisp scent, there had to be reason he continued to draw in their aroma. His daydream with denial began to weaken as his thoughts hardened from despair into anger. Lyle pressed against his brother’s stiffening body, but no amount of friction created a response. Reality intruded with more stomach spasms and he grunted, shifting aside.

He willed himself calm, and focused on the message traced in the sand. He trailed his finger to edge the outline of the heart beside his name into a stronger, thicker image. The “L” blurred into an “M,” nausea clogged his throat, and the moisture in his mouth jarred him toward clarity.

The truth? Lyle was no longer part of a binary system. He wasn’t the half that needed water and medical attention hours ago. He was the worthless bastard who had to dig six inches further down, pull up a steel bar, and carry Myles home.

An imaginary hand stroked his head, the firm touch of male flesh soothed the tears on his cheek and his dead brother’s voice whispered in his ear, “Sorry, Lyle. Permanently separated—how weird is that? You mustn’t follow me. Move your butt. Find them instead. Avenge me.”

“Sure.” Lyle spat blood through his cracked lips. “I’ll get right on it.” Impetuous and irrational, Myles had always been the weaker. But Lyle, older by three minutes, managed to rescue his younger bro from every sociopath that befell him.

Not this time. Myles headed for a pine box.

Lyle headed toward damnation as soon as he stopped pretending he was Myles. The chain didn’t hold his leg tight, no sharp object had opened his veins, and not a bone in his body had been smashed. Lyle lay facedown in the dirt, alongside his twin, imagining over and over what it must have felt like to die like this.

How much guilt can a heart take before it goes quiet? And who dared to approach, interrupting his snuggle with the dead? A ripple of dust and a fluttering irritated Lyle. Hot air and cinnamon hit his face. He snapped open his eyes and jerked to his feet.

A dying buzzard? More like a deathly ill, midget flamingo. The creature that landed in front of Lyle appeared deader than Myles.

He lowered his hands and hunched down. Three feet tall at most, a foot of height added by its scrawny neck, the bird angled its head as if it were blind, wobbling on decrepit legs. Two feathers—faded crimson and gold—clung to its hairless, grey form. It looked like it should be hanging from the fist of a voodoo queen.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Exposure by Lisabet Sarai

Exposure

Erotic suspense by Lisabet Sarai
Phaze Books, February 2009

Available in Ebook and Print
Buy at: http://www.phaze.com/book.php?title=Exposure

A dozen years ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published three single author short story collections and six erotic novels, as well as more than fifty shorter works in ebook and print. Her cross-cultural erotic short Citadel of Women will be published in June by Muse It Hot Publishing. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's:
Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/)
 or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/).


Backcover from Exposure

Stella is just minding her own business and having a bit of fun, working as an exotic dancer at the Peacock Lounge. Through no fault of her own, she witnesses a double murder and gets pulled into a shady dance of deceit with political bigwigs, mob bosses, dirty cops and scheming widows. Now she’s everyone’s target; her only chance is to sift through the lies and expose the truth.

Excerpt
(PG - Note that the book itself is explicit)

We're shy afterward. We hardly talk on the way back to my house, but his kiss when we arrive is heated and fervent. "Do you want to come in for a while?" I ask, wondering how it will feel to have a man in my bed after such a long time.

He shakes his head. "I'm done in," he says with a mischievous grin. "Somebody really put me through the blender." He kisses me again, more gently. "And maybe now you'll get a good night's sleep. I'll call tomorrow."

"Thanks, Jimmy. For everything."

"Anytime," he laughs, then turns toward his car.

I'm careful to lock the door behind me, but I'm still high from the evening's events. Only when I come out of the shower do I notice anything strange. I open my lingerie drawer to get out my silk kimono, and find that all my lovely things are jumbled together, without any order. I was nervous and fussy while dressing, I remember, but I can't imagine that I would have left my underwear in this state.

I check the other drawers. They are equally muddled. Most of the sweaters and jerseys are folded, but clumsily, and my usual organization by color and season is totally upset. Whoever rummaged through my clothing tried, without success, to disguise that fact.

Someone was in my house, while I was out with Jimmy. An intruder into my personal space. My haven! I sink down on the bed, shaking with mingled anger and fear at this violation. After a moment, I regain control of myself.

Someone had been here. Someone might be here still. I fish around in my purse for my Mace. I retrieve my hair cutting scissors from the bathroom. Donning my terry robe, I creep into the hallway, a weapon in each hand.

Across the upstairs hall is my den and office, formerly my father's bedroom. I stop and listen outside the door. All is silent. Reaching inside, I flick on the light. The room is empty. There's no closet, nowhere to hide. But there are signs of disturbance. My desk drawer is open. My checkbook is on the writing surface as if someone had been reviewing the register. And my yellow pad, with my attempts at analyzing the events around Tony's murder. I know that I left it on the desk. Now it's gone. I search the rest of the desk, the cubbies and the file drawer. It's simply not here.

Somehow I'm not surprised. I feel cold, cold and clear as arctic ice. Someone was here, someone who knows something about Tony's death. Someone who thinks I know something, or have something that will lead me to the truth.

Shivering, I inch my way downstairs and check the front parlor. All is quiet and empty, though the burglar left his mark here, too. Knickknacks misplaced on the mantel. My father's humidor left half-open.

Finally, I make my way to the kitchen. Here, there's the clearest evidence: a tumbler with remnants of scotch, and a cigarette butt snuffed out in a saucer. By this point, it seems, my unwelcome guest didn't care if he left traces.

The back door, I discover, is unlocked. I'm one hundred percent certain I didn't leave it that way. Carefully, keeping my body behind the door, I scan the yard. The light filtering from the kitchen windows is bright enough for me to see that there is no one in my little square of turf. It also shows me crushed tomato plants and bean vines torn from their trellises, clearly marking the intruder's escape route.

At that point, my rage finally overwhelms my fear. I pour myself a finger of scotch and sit at the kitchen table, simmering in helpless anger and vowing some kind of revenge.

Then a horrible thought crosses my mind. Jimmy knew I would be out tonight. He was the only one who knew. Was it possible that he was involved in all this, somehow? Is it possible that smiling Jimmy might have betrayed me?

The balance shifts again. Shudders shake my body. Sitting alone under the fluorescent lights, gripping my drink, I am paralyzed by the realization that I don't know who I can trust. If anyone.

Monday, June 06, 2011

WARNING: How Lulu May Be Ripping Me Off

My main sales are ebooks these days, so I don't sell many print books, but there are still a few. Here are two screen shots. The first shows my reported print book sales by Bookscan. These are sales of new books, not resales.


The book in question is "Tales of a Texas Boy - Large Print." Only that one, not the sales (which were properly reported) for the other two editions. Since it's hard to see the actual count, here are the numbers:
Week ending 4/10 - 7 books sold
Week ending 4/17 - 1 book sold
Week ending 4/24 - 2 books sold
Week ending 5/1 - 2 books sold
Week ending 5/8 - 2 books sold
Week ending 5/15 - 2 books sold
Week ending  5/22 - 2 books sold
Week ending 5/29 - 2 books sold
APRIL AND MAY SALES TOTAL = 20 BOOKS

Here's what Lulu reported in sales. These are the FULL April and May sales reports:

Sales reported: TWO books.

Note that I don't make much royalty on each book. Essentially, I've set the price as low as Lulu allows me to.

This under reporting has been going on since January. I've emailed many times with both Lulu and Amazon. I know that I can't put the lack of reporting on Amazon entirely since the Bookscan sales reflect sales from all distributors, so it may include any number of others. But ALL sales should have been reported to Lulu.

The final response I got from Lulu was that the case WAS CLOSED. They did not resolve the problem, or even note if they did anything to investigate.

My count of sales from January to now (I have screen shots of all Bookscan reporting) is 31 BOOK SOLD, ONLY 2 REPORTED BY LULU.
 
I "retired" (took off the market) the book last month. Copies are still being sold. I figured the only way I could keep Lulu from stealing from me is to cease selling the book. I wonder if that'll ever happen. I know it takes time for the fact to leak to Ingrams, so I'm trying my best to stop my losses.
 
Please, take warning. Do NOT use Lulu to publish your Indie book. Use LSI or CreateSpace instead. At least with CreateSpace, you can quickly change prices and book sales are reported within one day.
 
If you're interested in buying the book, please buy one of the editions I put out through CreateSpace. I produced them in a variety of trimsizes and in both regular and large print. I put a note in the book description asking people to NOT buy the listed book. I know I will be robbed of royalties and Lulu collects a lot more from the sales than I do.
 
All I can do is let people know about the theft and hope that I can inform even one author to go elsewhere rather than have your money stolen by a huge corporation who can swat you away without a thought.
 
Thanks for reading this report.
 
 

Sunday, June 05, 2011

It's Still Tomorrow by Larion Wills

It's Still Tomorrow

by Larion Wills
http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com/

Larriane AKA Larion Wills, two names one author, thousands of stories. Visit Larion/Larianne at:
http://www.larriane.com/
http://larionmusing.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/people/Larriane-Wills/1535007230

Backcover

Fired from her job, her apartment firebombed, and her small amount of money dwindling too quickly, Sarah ran. Knowing that the terror would follow, she took the only refuge available to her, an unfinished house she’d inherited. She didn’t know she would also inherit a long legged hunk of good looking man that would set off every buried desire she’d ever had. Her vow to never practice witchcraft again ended when the terror threatened Dem. Her enemies learned not all written about her was a lie.

You should let sleeping witches lie.

Excerpt

She sat on the floor, one knee raised, elbow on the knee and hand hanging in front of her. She rubbed her thumb and fingers together furiously while she stared at a microwave in pieces in front of her.

“What are you doing?” he asked, wondering if the micro meant she was considering eating something cooked besides a hard-boiled egg.

“Just about giving up.” She pointed at the innards. “It worked fine when I put it in the car. Now it won’t even light up the display. I thought it might be a loose wire or fuse of some kind, but I can’t find anything.”

As she unplugged it by jerking the cord, he said dryly, “Maybe the plug is bad.”

“Tried that; put on a new one.” She turned the chassis to give herself a different angle and began pressing and pushing every connection she could see.

“Did you test the wall plug?”

“Clock worked fine,” she answered in preoccupation.

“I think you’re fighting a lost cause,” he told her going to the door. “You’ve got a new one anyway, when I can get to it. I’m going to hang the light over the mirror so the power will be off.”

Still preoccupied, she said slowly, “Don’t touch the…” Realizing he was already gone, she lunged up and ran. “Don’t touch the…”

She wasn’t talking or running fast enough. Dem touched the main lever on the breaker box, and his arm flew back as he yowled. She skidded to a stop behind him.

“Oops,” she said with a grimace as he backed off, shaking his arm.

“Oops!” he shouted at her furiously. “What the hell did you do?” Looking at the wire wrapped around the base of the lever to the battery it came from, he didn’t wait for an answer. “You shock wired it to a battery for an electric fence strong enough to knock a horse down?”

“Only jolt,” she answered. “Here, let me—”

She started towards him, reaching for his arm, and Dem backed away.

“What the hell did you shock wire it for?” he demanded, wondering also when she had done it.

“Stand still,” Sara ordered, catching him with one hand at his shoulder and the other at his wrist.

He stood only to avoid a wrestling match. Okay, so her hands felt cool as she ran them from his throbbing shoulder to his fingertips. Each time the throbbing from the high voltage shock lessening, like she was rubbing it out, down his arm and out his fingertips. It felt good, too good.

“That’s fine,” he told her abruptly and backed away. “Now tell me what’s going on.”

“You don’t want to know,” she said without resentment, leaning down to turn off the charge box for a system normally used to keep obstinate livestock in a fence. She flipped off the main, adding, “You want to complete your obligation, stay uninvolved, and get on with your life.”

He did. That had been exactly his intention and precisely why he hadn’t asked any questions about the things he had noticed. “You should report it,” he retorted defensively. It wasn’t his responsibility. It was the sheriff department’s.

“Naw,” she said slowly. “One of those ‘living in the country is different than living in the city’ lectures was enough for me, thank you.” She pointed at the charge box before walking away. “Don’t forget to turn it back on when you’re through.”

Following behind her, he told her, “Not everyone in the sheriff’s department is an ass. Hodges is…”

“The one they keep referring me to,” she finished for him. “He figures I can’t tell the difference between a dog shape and a man shape.”

Dem grabbed her shoulder to stop her, jerked back, and yowled again.

“Now,” she stated, turning back to face him, “you’re being a baby.”

“It surprised me,” he retorted. “You don’t expect to get shocked from touching someone.”

“Static electricity.”

Dem suppressed a desire to growl while asking, “Who’s doing it?”

“Don’t know and you are right, it’s not your problem.” She walked off five feet before she turned back. “Is it safe to ask a question?”

“What?” he growled, since he hadn’t said it wasn’t his problem even if he had been thinking it.

“It can wait,” she said with a flip of her eyebrows and walked off.

It took four of her steps with him following before Dem could take a deep breath and release it slowly. “What?” he asked again in a softer tone.

“I just wondered if you could put in the pantry shelves next.”

“I thought you’d want the kitchen so you can cook.”

“I never cook if I don’t have to. I would like a refrigerator though. Since I have a microwave, dare I hope one of those, too?”

“All of the appliances.”

“Can you get to it?”

“Not until after I move the cabinets.” He walked off. “I’ll start bringing them over in the morning. Turn your power back on. I’m through for the day.”

She returned to the box, flipped switches for the power and her booby trap, then stood staring at the space where he had been, the fingers and thumb of both hands working furiously. Even though the bland, empty expression on her face didn’t change, the motion began to slow but the pressure increased. When she did move, it was inside to the disassembled microwave. With both index fingers extended and the rest in a fist, she touched the offending appliance. Sparks flew, and there was a loud crack.

“If you don’t work now,” she told it calmly, “you’re going in the garbage.”


WHITE SAVAGE JUST RELEASED AT MUSEITUP PUBLISHING

His name was Clay. The Hoody’s called him the White Savage. She had secrets, would she risk it all for love?

No one knew how long the Indians had the boy, only that it had been too long for Jimmy to learn to be white again. Returning ten years after being locked in their jail, beaten, and chained, he is hunted as a thief, a murderer, and a kidnapper. On the run Clay is pushed into proving there’s a savage in all of us, but is the woman a captive? Or did she go of her own free will to help the White Savage?

Friday, June 03, 2011

Beside Myself by Ginger Simpson

BESIDE MYSELF
by Ginger Simpson
See her books on MuseItUp Publishing
Read her blog at: http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Follow her on Face Book at: http://facebook.com/mizging

Buy the book at the Writers Exchange or Amazon

Someone is killing women in Cynthia’s neighborhood, and they all bear a striking resemblance to her.

Fresh from the Midwest, Cynthia Freitas discovers her budget stretched thinner than she expected. An apartment in a run-down tenement is all she can afford. To top things off, a serial killer is stalking her neighborhood, and the victims all bear a striking resemblance to her. One bright spot is the handsome policeman who lives next door. An innocent kiss after sharing dinner together deals them both a striking jolt. Getting back to normal takes a backseat to Cynthia saving Alex before he becomes the killer’s next victim.

Excerpt:

He sat alone in his dim apartment and thought about what he'd done. The tattereddrapery blocked out society and created the perfect ambiance for his dark mood. Hiscurtains were never open; instead he kept the floor lamp in the corner turned down low.

In his mind, he tightened the electrical cord over and over, choking the last breathfrom each of his victims. Momentarily, he warmed at the thought, and then in a flashof sanity, supposed he should feel bad - but he didn't. His lips curled in the feral smilehe'd seen so often in the mirror, and a feeling of power swept over him. For now, thehunger was sated.

His memory replayed the crimes. His victims all had it coming - every one of them.They shouldn't have fought. He only wanted to show them love, but they wouldn't le thim. He scowled. Filthy women--they play with a man's emotions and eventually destroy his ego and break his heart--and for what? He snorted. To move on and do it again to someone else?

His fist tightened, reveling in his quest to end man's suffering. Each of his victims begged for mercy, but he had none to spare. The red tip of his cigarette glowed brighter as he inhaled. Safe in his comfort zone, he relaxed. No one would ever suspect him.

He passed potential victims every day--coming and going as he pleased. Whether they lived or died all depended on how he felt at the moment. He emptied his lungs, filling the air with acrid smoke.

Meeting women had always been problematic. He either wasn't tall enough or didn't have the good looks they preferred. But, things seemed right when he had first met her. She acted different from the others, or so he'd thought. Memories caused his calloused fingers to ache, wanting to splay through her soft, blonde hair as he had when they'd made love in the past. His lips still hungered for her kisses. She'd been very convincing--accepting him, welcoming his attentions, and sharing his bed. But, it had all been a farce.

The ancient wood beneath the chair's upholstered arm splintered beneath the pounding of his fist. Some days he put it all behind him, forcing the hurt and anger from his mind and trying to live a normal life. He didn't really want to hurt anyone, but there were days- -dark haunting days--when her mocking laughter taunted him, and visions of her cold, blue eyes burned a hole in his heart. Her downfall had been hurting him like she did.

If he couldn't have her, no man would. He started to rise, but his simmering anger boiled. His fingernails painfully embedded themselves in his palms and he dropped back into the seat.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Double the Trouble by Rosanne Dowell


Kate Wesley left Twinsburg, Ohio five years ago after her fiancé jilted her. Now she’s back, happy and content with her single life. She doesn’t need men to fulfill her dreams, she has her florist shop.

Widower, Mark Westfield wasn’t interested in women. He had twin five year olds to raise, and they took all his time and energy. But Kate sparked something in him he hadn’t expected to feel again.

Adam Shaffer left Kate two days before their wedding. Left a note and took off to Las Vegas. Biggest mistake of his life. But now they were both back, and he aimed to get Kate back.

To make matters worse, Kate finds a dead body in the cemetery (above ground) and Adam is the lead detective on the case, which throws them together, much to her chagrin. When the twin sister of the murder victim arrives in town, Kate’s life becomes more complicated.
 
Excerpt:
 
A shadow passed over the doorway, and Kate realized she wasn’t alone. She looked up.

Adam stood in the doorway, the same cocky grin on his face. “Now that’s settled, how are you, Kate?”

Kate couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t he take a hint? “What do you want, Adam?” She didn’t care if she sounded angry. He deserved angry.

Adam came into the work room and stood in front of her. “You look great.”

Kate looked away. So did he, but darned if she’d tell him. He looked too damn good. What was the saying? Fool her once, shame on him, fool her twice, shame on her.

Nope, she didn’t need him or anyone like him.

“So what do you want? I gave you all the information on Emma. Shouldn’t you be out investigating?” She picked up a flower and set it in a vase. Her heart beat so hard, it surprised her that he didn’t hear it.

“Look, I know you’re still upset about the wedding, but give me a chance to make it up to you. How about dinner tonight?”

“I’m busy.” Still upset? The man has no idea. Like we should pick up where we left off? He’s got to be kidding.

“Tomorrow then?”

“I’m busy tomorrow, too. Look, Adam, just go, okay. I don’t want to have dinner with you. Not tonight, not tomorrow, not ever.”

“Come on, babe, don’t be like that.” Adam moved a strand of hair behind her ear.

“I don’t blame you for being angry. But damn, it’s been five years.” He ran his finger along her cheek. “The least you could do is give me a chance to explain. Not that I’m sure I could. I’m not sure, even now, why I took off. Cold feet, I guess.”

Kate trembled at his touch. A spark of something familiar tumbled in her stomach.

She pushed his hand away. Try as she might, her anger shattered.

“How dare you walk in here like nothing happened? Like we’re going to pick up where we left off?” Kate spoke through clenched teeth. What she really wanted to do was lash out and hurt him the way he hurt her, but a customer might come in and screaming wasn’t going to help anyway.

Adam stared at her, a look of confusion in his dark eyes. He just didn’t get it. He really didn’t see anything wrong with what he did. Took the coward’s way out and left her to deal with canceling all the wedding plans. What a jerk. “Look, just go.” She turned back to her work and picked up a vase to fill her next order.

Adam ran his hand through his dark, wavy hair. Hair she used to love to run her fingers through. She could almost feel the soft, silkiness of even now.

“Give me a break, Kate. Let me make it up to you.”

Part of her wanted to give in, and part of her wanted to throw something at him.

Stay strong, get rid of him. No way was she picking up where they left off.

The bell rang again, and before she had a chance to react, Mark stormed in. Kate’s stomach did a flip at the sight of him. What was wrong with her, reacting to these men this way? For five years men had no affect on her.

Now in the course of an hour, the two of them managed to get under her skin, causing feelings deep within she hadn’t experienced in years. Feelings she didn’t want to feel.

Mark stared at them for a second. “I don’t know what the two of you have going, but why aren’t you out looking for my sister?”

Kate shuddered at the angry tone of Mark’s voice. “There’s nothing going on between us, Mr. Westfield. I just suggested the very same thing to Detective Shaffer,” she said just as angry. “Now if the two of you will continue this outside, I have work to do.”

“I’ll call you later, Kate.” Adam acted as if everything between them was settled.

Par for the course. Wasn’t that always how it was? She got mad, spoke her mind, and that was it. Over and done with.

Nothing changed.

Adam went on doing the same things he always did. Didn’t matter if it upset her.

Poker every Friday night with his friends, no matter how angry she got.

How they had managed to plan the wedding was beyond her. Not that he did any of the planning. Adam didn’t even want to see the hall or listen to the band.

No wonder he didn’t have any qualms about canceling the wedding. He didn’t do any of the work for it. Obviously, he wasn’t ready to get married. So why had he asked her? Asked her, heck, he had insisted. Even when she suggested they wait a year or so.

He at least owed her an explanation. But did she really want to hear it?