Friday, June 28, 2013

First Chapter Review: Simon Said by Sarah R. Shaber




I've always been a sucker for a good mystery. The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, and the Capital Crimes novels of Margaret Truman filled my childhood through my mid-twenties. Over the past few years, it's been the work of Marilyn Meredith/F.M. Meredith, Lisa Gardner, James Hayman and Heather Haven that has fed my love of the genre. Today I'm sharing one of the free mysteries I picked up this week.


TITLE: Simon Said

AUTHOR: Sarah R. Shaber

BLURB: Eyebrows are raised as yellow crime-scene tape drapes across the once-distinguished Colonial Bloodworth House. For the mansion, nestled cozily amidst the tranquil academia of Kenan College, may have once been the scene of a brutal murder.

The decayed body was found when archaeologist David Morgan conducted a dig beneath the original three rooms of the 1785 house-- he was only hoping to unearth some Colonial-era artifacts.

Professor Simon Shaw, Kenan College's youngest full-time professor, knows more about the house than anyone-- he even wrote a book about the historic building-- so naturally, Morgan enlists his professional friend for a little detective work. What Morgan has found, it seems, are the remains of the estate's heiress-- an unsolved missing persons case since 1926. As Simon digs deeper into this decades-old murder, he finds that someone still very much alive wants to put a permanent stop to his investigating.

COVER:  Beautiful. With the story set in Raleigh, North Carolina, this is the perfect cover. The above cover is new for the Kindle edition. While the cover (see right)  for the original paperback, which was released in 1997, is lovely, the added bits of red in the landscape make a big difference. The location of the stairs and the large window have been changed from the original cover, and we see the house from a different angle. I also like how the archaeological dig site is prominent on the new cover.

FIRST CHAPTER:  This has to be one of the shortest first chapters I've ever read. Professor Simon Shaw is in his office bracing himself against an intense North Carolina day.

His secretary, Judy Smith, enters and tells him he's about to get a visitor. A policeman arrives to request he go over to Bloodworth House because Dr. Morgan, an archaeologist and the Professor's good friend, discovered a woman's body and it appears to have died at least fifty years ago. Based upon Dr. Morgan's examination, it looks likely that the woman did not meet a natural death.

KEEP READING:  Definitely! As I mentioned, this is a very short chapter; but what Shaber manages to do is introduce our main character and then get him involved up to his eyeballs in a mystery. Dr. Morgan is his best friend. You can assume in Chapter Two Professor Shaw is walking over to Bloodworth House to see how he can help.

What the author also manages to do is quickly give us the setting. While we don't know what season it is, within the first paragraph, the Professor is working on a way to deal with the intense North Carolina day streaming in through his "old-fashioned Venetian blinds." She also draws a sharp picture of Professor Shaw's appearance and his office through the eyes of the policeman. The reader immediately gets a feel for who Shaw is.

I really want to see how this one turns out.

File Size: 313 KB
Publisher: Sarah R. Shaber (March 9, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B004RJ9G0U
SRP:  $2.99

I downloaded a free copy of this book to my Kindle. I received no monetary compensation for this review.


This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Interview with David Huffstetler, Author of Blood on the Pen

Educated in Dallas, North Carolina, David Huffstetler holds degrees in Engineering and Business Administration. He has worked in the area of human relations and spent fourteen years weaving through the maze of politics, including participating in a Federal Law suit as Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, with a sitting governor over issues of separation of powers. David has served on Boards of Directors for numerous professional organizations including Crime Stoppers, SC Workers’ Compensation Educational Association, SC Safety Council, the SC Fire Academy, and the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Workers’ Compensation. He has advised governors and legislators on matters of public policy and legislation. His wealth of experience is broad and brings deep insight to his writing.


David’s work as a senior manager with a major industrial concern took him to international venues and exposures that helped feed his urge to write Disposable People, a dramatic expose of the working conditions and politics that engulf undocumented workers. Disposable People is a top-ten “Suggested Book” at Tufts University in Boston, MA.


He turned the frustrations and rejection that plagues thousands of yet-to-be-published authors into the heralded mystery/thriller Blood on the Pen, with a serial killer disposing of literary agents. David, an avid history buff, led him to write Dead in Utah, the story of Joe Hill, the controversial musician and union organizer accused of a double murder in 1914.
His books receive praise from mystery readers across the globe.

As an editor, David edited a treatise on the South Carolina workers’ compensation laws, as well as, Shannon Faulkner’s novel Fire and Ice. Shannon was the first female cadet at the Citadel. She received national publicity for her federal lawsuit and was a guest on Good Morning America.
As an editor, public speaker, and seasoned professional, David has appeared on television and radio, and has lectured on the East Coast, California, Canada and Mexico.


David currently lives in Lexington, South Carolina with his wife, Trudy.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in several places, all in North Carolina. My earliest memory is of Lexington, watching our dog being hit by a car. As you might guess, my siblings blamed it on me, and they may have been right. I spent several years in Winston-Salem, the most progressive city of my childhood. Then we moved to a textile town, Gastonia. Even when living in the same city, I remember a lot of moves.

Do you write during the day, at night, or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

If I only have a few moments, then I make notes on ideas or concepts for the story, maybe even describe a character. I need time to write, because I get caught up in the plot and lose track of time. I sit down with a cup of coffee and, when I look up, the coffee is gone or is cold, and it’s three hours later. Sometimes the day has gone from afternoon to evening.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Hard to say, but the most fun to write about was Moses Browner, the Deputy Medical Examiner. He’s the smartest guy in the book, and he has a unique personality, always reminding people that he is a doctor and fastidious about his personal preferences, like chicory in his coffee.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

Many authors can relate, when I say no agent wanted me. We face that dilemma that major publisher only accept submissions from agents, and agents only want to represent someone who has been published. Now that I have some publishing credits, I may look into an agent in the future, but I’m not in a hurry.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Oh, everyone has an easy time getting published, and, if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell. I suffered through the same rejections and form letters that most other authors do. Signing that first contract is very rewarding, but there is a price to pay before you get there.

Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more?

My website is http://www.davidhuffstetler.com/.  It has information about all my books, reviews, and some personal information. I hope people like it. I also have a blog, but I confess to being a poor blogger.

What is up for you next?

The second book in the series, Blood on the Cards, should be released later this year. We are about to begin the edits on it. Like Blood on the Pen it is being published by Wild Child Publishing, and it will start as an ebook. The final book in the series is Blood on the Badge, but I don’t expect to see that one published until 2012. I am working on the manuscript for Thread of Life, the story of nine-year-old boy whose elderly, billionaire father is murdered. Yes, I said elderly father, and that is part of the plot.

Book Summary


Jack Harden is a modern-day Texas Ranger haunted by his wife's death a year ago.

But when a murderer strikes, he is called into duty. Now he must battle the urge to kill the drunk driver responsible for her death and the hunger to kill himself as he hunts for a serial killer who wants him dead.

Elsie Rodriguez is assigned to report on the murders for her newspaper and ordered to stay with Jack Harden. He's old school, tough, and doesn't want her there, but, despite his gruff manner, the big Ranger triggers something inside her. Something more than just her Latin temper.

Can she pull him back from the edge of sanity? Or will death win again?

eBook
Price: $5.95
Amazon ASIN: B0041G6JC2
BN ID: 2940012599278
Release: August 2010

Amazon buy link ($5.95)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0041G6JC2

Barnes&Noble.com buy link ($5.95)

http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=dcSBhG3Rj8w&offerid=229293.2940012599278

Wild Child Publishing buy link ($5.95)

http://www.wildchildpublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=76&products_id=319


David Huffstetler blog:


http://davidhuffstetler.blogspot.com/

David Huffstetler Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1195650439

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186

Blood on the Pen blog tour site:

http://bloodonthepen.blogspot.com/



This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Guest Blogger: Sheila Dalton, Author of The Girl in the Box

Caitlin Shaughnessy, a Canadian journalist, discovers that Inez, a traumatized young Mayan woman originally from Guatemala, has killed Caitlin’s psychoanalyst partner, Dr. Jerry Simpson. Simpson brought the girl, who may be autistic, back to Canada as an act of mercy and to attempt to treat her obvious trauma. Cailin desperately needs to find out why this terrible incident occurred so she can find the strength to forgive and move on with her life.
Inez, whose sense of wonder and innocence touches all who meet her, becomes a focal point for many of the Canadians who encounter her. As Caitlin struggles to uncover the truth about Inez’s relationship with Jerry, Inez struggles to break free of the projections of others. Each must confront her own anger and despair. The doctors in the north have an iciness that matches their surroundings, a kind of clinical armour that Caitlin must penetrate if she is to reach Inez.

The Girl in the Box is a psychological drama of the highest order and a gripping tale of intrigue and passion.

What do Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe have to do with me? by Sheila Dalton

Daniel Defoe wrote his first novel, Robinson Crusoe, when he was sixty, and went on to write seven more novels, that’s what.

I’m sixty-one (sixty-two by the time you read this), and I’ve just had my second literary novel published, a “whydunnit”, The Girl in the Box.

I’ve had ten books for kids published, and a YA mystery, Trial by Fire, but I confess I thought I was getting a bit long in the tooth to have had only two adult novels published by such a late age.

But Defoe gives me hope. Not only was he sixty when Robinson Crusoe first saw the light of day in, but he also managed to invent the British novel in the process. His was the first literary work in the English language to use brand new, imaginary characters in a totally original story. Up till then, authors wrote about mythological figures only, and retold legends .

I can’t top that. But what I can tell you is it’s never too late to realize your dreams. I’m actually a relative youngster when it comes to novel publication. My friend, author Linda Hutsell-Manning, wrote her first novel for adults at the age of seventy, That Summer in Franklin. And the author of The Chamomile Lawn, Mary Wesley, published her first adult novel when she was seventy-one after her husband died, and went on to sell three million copies of her books, including 10 best-sellers in the last 20 years of her life!

An interesting wrinkle (if you’ll pardon the expression) to my own story is that The Girl in the Box was inspired by a trip I took to Guatemala, over thirty years ago. I went with a girlfriend for a protracted stay in that country during the decades-long Civil War there. As an aspiring writer in search of experience, I took a notebook with me. Thank goodness, as I really needed it to refresh my memory when I was finally able to process what I saw and heard and use it to create a novel of psychological suspense.


Sheila Dalton was born in Hillingdon, England and came to Canada when she was six. She is married with one son, and is” a willing cat slave to two furry friends”. She loves animals, singing, drawing, research, and travel, and has spent time in Central America, Europe and Morocco. She has written picture books, non-fiction for children, poetry and fiction for adults, and has worked as a freelance editor and writer, a librarian, an artist and crafter, and a barmaid in an English pub.


You can find out more about Sheila and her work at:
http://www.sheila-anne-dalton.com/
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/611332.Sheila_Dalton
https://twitter.com/#!/Sheladee
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Girl-in-the-Box-a-novel/166826139999771





This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Interview with Frank Scully, Author of Empty Time

Frank Scully was born and raised in a small town in North Dakota and received a Bachelor’s degree in History with Phi Beta Kappa Honors and a Juris Doctor degree in Law from the University of North Dakota. He then served more than five years as a Judge Advocate General Corps Officer in the U.S. Army in the U.S., Vietnam, and Thailand. After that he attended the prestigious Thunderbird School and received a Masters in Business Administration with honors. In his professional career he has worked as a manager with large aerospace and defense manufacturers and also owned his own small business.

Depending on the vagaries of the universe he has been well off at times and broke, but never broken at other times. Blessed with an understanding wife who gave him twin sons, he has remained through it all a dreamer whose passion is writing stories that will entertain readers.

Please visit the author’s Website at: www.frankjscully.com

Blog: http://frankjscully.com/blog/

Empty Time is a thriller crime novel with a modern day high concept setting. Today’s corporate titans are much like the feudal lords and barons of medieval times. They fight and scheme their way up a ladder of prestige, privilege, wealth and power. The major difference is the lack of a belief in a coherent code of conduct or moral precepts. Chivalry is dead. Working on a global scale beyond governments and borders, these new aristocrats are almost untouchable. To take over a large leading-edge technology corporation, three top executives are willing to commit murder and fraud to manipulate the stock market and the international currency exchange market. To divert attention and provide a patsy they set up Jim Lang to take the blame before he is to be killed. He survives and discovers through the sacrifice of another that in order for life to have meaning he must be willing to give it up for something. To save the people he loves he must put his life on the line to turn the tables on his former colleagues.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing with an eye towards publication in 1991. My wife finally got tired of me saying I could write something as well as some of the authors I was reading and bought a word processor for me and told me to prove it. The word processor was a pretty primitive one but it was better than a typewriter. I sat down and started. I must now admit that my first attempts were not worthy of publication but I kept at it and kept improving.

How did you get published?

I started the road to publication the usual way. I sent out queries to agents constantly. Over the years I received more rejections than I could ever count. If I kept all the paper rejections I received I could recycle the pile into enough pressed wood to build several houses. After queries and rejections became electronic I was no longer causing entire forests to be cut down but the results were the same. Along the way I did engage agents occasionally, and although I got very close to print a few times, something always seemed to come along that left me a few steps short of publication. I did manage to avoid the many scam agents and publishers.

And then Lea Schizas started MuseItUp. I heard about it through the grapevine from other authors and sent a note of congratulations and also a query. It was a very short time from that query to acceptance and then to publication. I have been very happy to be a part MuseItUp and to work with Lea and the amazing group of editors and cover artists she has put together. I now have three books out through MuseItUp and three more scheduled to come out in the next year.

Tell us more about the book and how it fits into your series?

I am writing a series of stand-alone mystery/suspense/adventure novels, at least one for each decade of the 20th and 21st century, set in different locales with both continuing and new characters in each one. I call it the Decade Series. There is something unique in each decade that marks it as separate from what went before or what follows. I explore aspects of what is unique as it is expressed in the locale chosen and how it affects the culture, characters and the tenor of the times and yet also see the common humanity that never changes. While the larger characteristics of the decade provide the background against which the story is told, I like to find certain lesser known events and circumstances that signal significant shifts around which to build the plot. The stories are not written in any chronological order.

Empty Time is set in current time frame and is a story of corporate greed gone global. We’ve had privileged classes and greed around since the beginning of man so that is a common thread. However, with the tools at their disposal now and the amount of money and power possible, why wouldn’t corporate titans do whatever they can to win?

What inspired you to write this story?
Ideas for stories tend to pop into my head regularly and what I need to do is weed through them to find the ones that have the substance I want to explore and develop. This one appealed to me. I have worked for several large corporations over a 40 year career and have watched corporations change. There have been generational shifts over the years from the WWII generation to the Boomers to each generation that followed. As the generations each moved into leadership roles in corporations, corporate culture has shifted to what it is now. Management pay has ballooned, the divide between management and worker has grown into a chasm. There is now a separate class of people at the top who control vast wealth. The story was easy to write.
Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors include some of the old masters such as Raymond Chandler, John MacDonald, Ross MacDonald, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and others. Current writers I like include Michael Connelly, Martin Cruz Smith, and Walter Mosley.

Where can readers buy your books?
Empty Time and my other books, Resurrection Garden and Dead Man’s Gambit are all available at:

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/

and also:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and other online eBook retailers.

What is up next for you?

I have three more books in the Decade Series coming out next year from MuseItUp. Blood Sins, Gravedigger’s Open House and Vacation Man.

I am working on a seventh now tentatively called Digital Death. It involves outsourcing of work to India, software piracy, international bank skimming, terrorists, spies and murder, of course. The hero in this one will be a bit different. A young orphan who survived the boat exodus from Vietnam in the 70’s has grown up to be a remarkable man.

What would you say to a class of aspiring authors?

It’s a clichĂ© but true. You can only perfect your craft by practicing constantly. Write and then write some more. Write because it is what you enjoy. Write because it makes you happy. Learn to love to edit.


This post first appeared at The Book Connection. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Interview with Rod Miller, Author of The Assassination of Governor Boggs

A VERSATILE WRITER, Rod Miller is author of two nonfiction books, Massacre at Bear River: First, Worst, Forgotten and John Muir: Magnificent Tramp; a Western novel, Gallows for a Gunman, and two collections of poetry, Things a Cowboy Sees and Other Poems and Newe Dreams: Poems by Rod Miller. He has also written many essays, magazine articles, book reviews, and anthologized short stories, and his poems have appeared in numerous maga- zines and anthologies.

Born and raised in a small town in Utah among horses and cattle, and a veteran of the rodeo arena, he comes by his love of the West and its history, culture, and people honestly. He is a member of Western Writers of America.

Visit Rod online at http://www.writerrodmiller.com/ or The Assassination of Governor Boggs website at http://assassinationofgovernorboggs.com/.

Where did you grow up?

Along Highway 6 in central Utah you’ll find a small town called Goshen—if you look for it, that is, it isn’t really on the way to anyplace. When I grew up, about 500 others lived there. We had an elementary and junior high school, a motel, a cafĂ©, a beer joint, two gas stations, and two small grocery stores. Now there are about a thousand people there, and everything else is gone but the elementary school and one gas station with a small convenience store. We always had horses, cattle, pigs, chickens, cows to milk, and the like, and spent the summers putting up hay.

It was one of those old-fashioned places where, as a boy, you could leave home in the morning and come home in the evening and your mother would never worry about where you were or what you were up to. We would ride or hike or just wander.

When did you begin writing?

For more than 30 years I have been an advertising copywriter. About 15 years ago, I decided, out of curiosity to see if I could write a poem. Later, I wondered about short stories, later still, books and novels. I have no education or formal training in creative writing—if I know anything about it, I’ve learned it from reading good books.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Pretty much whenever I can make the time. Having written on deadlines for all these years, I do not know the meaning of “writer’s block” or any such thing. If something has to be written, I write it. There are times when I don’t write, but it’s because I’m lazy or just don’t want to—but never because I “just can’t.” Since I write what I write (outside of business) mostly for enjoyment, I seldom force myself because I don’t want to take the fun out of it.

What is this book about?

The Assassination of Governor Boggs is a cold-case investigation into the 1842 attempted murder of Lilburn Boggs, former governor of Missouri. Given up for dead, and reported so in the newspapers, he survived. The crime was never solved. Twenty-five years later, following the Governor’s death, his family hires a Pinkerton agent to determine who fired the shot. We follow the investigator as he tracks down clues across the Old West on a trail that leads to Salt Lake City and Mormon gunfighter Porter Rockwell.

As a historical novel, the book is based on real people and events; it also a detective story, an Old West frontier novel, and something of a mystery.

What inspired you to write it?

The actual events behind the novel are fascinating—interesting people, the Mormon conflicts in Missouri, an unsolved crime—and seemed good fodder for a compelling book. It’s an intriguing story that hasn’t been told before, at least not in any detail. Plus, I have long been fascinated by Porter Rockwell and saw this as an opportunity to write about him in a way others hadn’t.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Definitely Porter Rockwell. He represents so much of what made the American West a unique and iconic part of our history. He was a renowned frontiersman, scout, tracker, freighter, cowboy, horseman, gunfighter, lawman, outlaw, rancher, and just about any other Old West “type” you can come up with.

That said, through the research for the book I developed great respect for Lilburn Boggs. He is an infamous figure in Mormon history owing to his issuing the Extermination Order evicting the Mormons from Missouri under threat of death. But there is much more to the man that that. He, too, was an important figure in the settlement of the West, a highly regarded leader, and a respected frontiersman.

Of course I like Calvin Pogue, the troubled Pinkerton agent of my own invention. He is fearless and tenacious, yet demonstrates a softer side.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I do not have an agent. It seemed to me early on that finding representation with a good agent was just as difficult as finding a publisher, so I chose to approach publishers directly. Since my output is so varied—novels, short fiction, poetry, nonfiction, magazine articles, essays—mine is not exactly the sort of career that would interest an agent. Most agents (and publishers, for that matter) are looking for some sort of consistency on which to build a career. Me, I’m more interested in writing what interests me at the time, rather than repeating, in a sense, what I’ve already done. Which is why, I suppose, each of my six books is from a different publisher and appeals to a different audience.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

In some ways, too smooth. Early on, getting poems published encouraged me and led me to try short fiction and later books. There are so many horror stories about getting published, but I haven’t experienced them to any great degree. I guess I didn’t know any better, so I just went after it.

I don’t have a stack of unpublished novels or stories—pretty much everything I’ve written (outside of some poems) has been published. Certainly there have been rejections, but eventually I’ve managed to place all my work with legitimate publishers, large and small. Almost all my magazine articles have come to me by assignment, as have several other opportunities to write and publish material.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Visit http://www.assassinationofgovernorboggs.com/ and you’ll find links to online booksellers. Likewise, at my web site, http://www.writerrodmiller.com/. It’s available from online booksellers, and it’s on the shelves in many bookstores or can be ordered by them from all the major distributors and wholesalers.

What is up next for you?

Right now I am in the middle of a somewhat untraditional traditional Western novel. I have also completed most of the research and some of the writing for a book of popular history. And there are a couple of magazine articles in the works. I am also reading a book to review for a history magazine. And, a poem or essay is likely to crop up any time.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thanks for inviting me to talk to your readers. I hope you all enjoy The Assassination of Governor Boggs.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Guest Blogger: M.J. Rose, Author of In Session


Today's special guest is M.J. Rose, author of the upcoming book, In Session.

How do you get a stoic drifter, a former covert agent and an international assassin to see a sex therapist? That was the challenge faced by international bestselling author M.J. Rose when she proposed setting up appointments for Jack Reacher, Cotton Malone and John Rain with Dr. Morgan Snow of the Butterfield Institute in her new e-book IN SESSION (October 17, 2011, Kindle e-book, $1.99).

The protagonists’ of New York Times bestselling authors – Lee Child, Steve Berry and Barry Eisler – swore that their men of mystery would never agree to therapy – unless Rose found a way to get them there. By slipping Dr. Snow out of her office, Rose delivered some of America’s favorite male characters to a place they’ve never been before – in therapy.

IN SESSION contains three racy and revealing short stories by M.J. Rose:

KNOWING YOU’RE ALIVE with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher results in revelations for the injured Dr. Snow and her unexpected savior/patient. What secrets from the past are contained in an unexpected gift?

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES with Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone features a woman who seeks help for her lover, and sends Dr. Snow overseas on a most unusual house call. Can a rare book in a plain brown wrapper be the medicine her patient needs?

DECISIONS, DECISIONS with Barry Eisler’s John Rain forces Dr. Snow out of her own comfort zone, and into the world of a former patient’s worst nightmare. Does protecting what she loves most require a dance with darkness?

The audio version, narrated by award winners Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross will feature Dick Hill, Scott Brick and Barry Eisler reprising their roles Reacher, Malone and Rain.


What I Really Wanted To Be by M. J. Rose


When I was a kid, we lived a block away from Metropolitan Museum of Art It was my backyard. Other kids rode bikes… I took art classes there. By seven years old I was already at home there. As I grew older, my mom and I went there once a week for lunch and to walk through a new exhibition. For years we never missed a single show.

Spending so much time around the great art at that great museum – exploring every nook and cranny, it’s not surprising that I’d want to be an artist.

When I went to college -- it was to go to art school. I have a BFA. I’ve always loved everything about art and still do. But despite all that I didn’t wind up being an artist because at school I discovered what a truly ordinary painter I was. For some, just doing it would be worth it, but for me what I see in my mind is so far from what I can create with my hands that it’s more of a frustration than a joy.

And so I started writing what I saw in my mind.

For me writing and painting are very different. Both in the creating and the absorbing. The intellectual versus physical. Philosophical versus cerebral. Paintings, like music, move you without logic. Books require thinking, logic. I love the movement of painting, the romance of the artist’s life. I like museums better than bookstores, art supply stores more than computer stores.

I can stare at colors for hours, mix blues and greens into each other for no other reason than seeing them bleed together like the ocean. I love the smell of paint, the sting of the turpentine in your nose, the overwhelming scent of the linseed oil, the feel of brushes, buying new brushes and running one down your cheek and feeling that smooth silky touch of the sable. I love touching thick rich watercolor paper with its tiny indentations where the color pools. And I lust after the idea that when you paint you can create something in an hour or an afternoon and look at all of it at once. See the whole. Take in all of it all at the same time.
So while you might read what I write… I’m really painting the stories first.

M.J. ROSE (http://www.mjrose.com/) is an internationally bestselling author of eleven novels including The Halo Effect, The Venus Fix and The Delilah Complex all featuring Dr. Morgan Snow. Her next novel, The Book of Lost Fragrances will be published in March, 2012 by Atria Books (S&S). Rose is a founding board member of International Thriller Writers and founder of the first marketing company for authors, AuthorBuzz.com. Proceeds of the audio book and a share of the proceeds of the ebook will be donated to David Baldacci’s Wish You Well Foundation, supporting family literacy. (http://wishyouwellfoundation.org/)

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Interview with Cathi Stoler, Author of Telling Lies

Also joining us today is Cathi Stoler, author of Telling Lies. Cathi was an award-winning advertising copywriter. Telling Lies is her first mystery/suspense novel. Other novels in this series will include Keeping Secrets, which delves into the subject of hidden identity, and, The Hard Way, a story about the international diamond smuggling. She has also written several short stories including "Fatal Flaw," which was published online this April at Beat To A Pulp and Out of Luck, which will be included in the upcoming New York Sisters in Crime anthology, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices. In addition to Sisters in Crime, Cathi is also a member of Mystery Writers of America.

When did you begin writing?

I believe my love of reading from when I was very young gave me a latent desire to write. The first thing I remember writing is a short play for the Girl Scouts. After college, I started working as an advertising copywriter and have done so for many years. At some point, I thought about writing a novel, but was very hesitant to give it a try.

I finally took a course at Marymount Manhattan College entitled “How to Overcome Your Fear of Writing Your Novel.” While it all seemed a little scary, it was the impetus I needed and a great beginning. It gave me the confidence to actually begin my novel writing career. TELLING LIES and my upcoming books, KEEPING SECRETS, and THE HARD WAY, are the results.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Yes, to all of the above. I still have a full-time job and have to make time for my writing whenever I can. I try to write a little bit everyday, but it’s a challenge to juggle work, writing and family life. It’s also very rewarding.

What is this book about?

TELLING LIES is a complicated tale of murder and suspense told from multiple points of view. It begins in Florence, Italy and ends in New York. With stolen Nazi art, a 9/11 deception and a ruthless Mussed agent crossing their paths, my two protagonists, Laurel Imperiole, a magazine editor, and Helen McCorkendale, a private investigator, are thrown into a maze of deceit and lies that could end in death.

What inspired you to write it?

After 9/11, which I unfortunately witnessed firsthand, I always had the feeling human nature being what it is, someone must have taken advantage of this terrible tragedy to leave behind a life they were unhappy with and disappear. I’d also been reading about the skyrocketing prices in the art market and thought that would be a good element to layer in to the plot as the reason for the main villain’s deception.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Somewhere along the way, I became very attached to Helen McCorkendale, my PI. I didn’t have any pre-conceived notions about a favorite character when I began the novel but as the story progressed, her voice seemed to resonate with me more than my other characters. I think it’s probably because I felt I could invest her with a more knowing sensibility. She’s an adult. She’s around the block a few times, knows what’s going on and enjoys life immensely. At least, I hope readers will think so.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My family: my husband Paul and my daughter, Lauren. They encouraged me and supported me all along the way. My husband is my biggest promoter, telling everyone we meet that they should buy my book … which can be a little awkward at times!

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Yes. I would have started writing novels 20 or 30 years ago when the business was very different and the road to publication a lot simpler. Although, who knows if I would have been ready then, or if my work would have had the same feeling it has now.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

TELLING LIES is available online at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, from the Apple store for iPads and through my publisher’s website: http://www.camelpress.com/. You can also ask for it at any bookstore.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

My website is: http://www.cathistoler.com/. It has information about my writing, my novels, short stories, reviews, interviews and upcoming events.

I also blog at womenofmystery.net on a regular basis.

Readers can visit me on my website or find me on Facebook at Cathi Stoler Author, or on Twitter at @cathicopy.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

My book trailer for TELLING LIES is up on my website in my media section. It can also be viewed on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dmk8ybWnJpQ&feature=email&email

What is up next for you?

I’ll be attending Bouchercon 2011 in St. Louis from September 15 through 18 and will be participating in the panel, All About Eve, which will focus on strong female characters. So, if any of you will be there, please stop by and say hello.

I would definitely like TELLING LIES to be turned into a movie. In the meantime, I just completed the edits on the second book in the series, KEEPING SECRETS, which deals with hidden identity and identity theft. I’m also writing the third story in the series, THE HARD WAY, which is about International diamond smuggling.

I’m a member of the New York chapter of Sisters in Crime and have a story in our upcoming anthology, MURDER NEW YORK STYLE: FRESH SLICES, which is also being published in this September.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Cathi. It was great to learn more about you. I wish you continued success.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Review: In The St. Nick of Time by K.M. Daughters

A sexy, suspense-filled mystery concludes the award-winning Sullivan Boys series by K.M. Daughters.

In the St. Nick of Time finds Kay Sullivan Lynch returning to the Chicago Police Department, much to the dismay of her family. She's not sure it's the right move for her either, but the widow needs to make a life for her and her children so they can move past their loss.

Captain Flynn Dowd transferred to the CPD to escape his own troubles. He hasn't thought about having a woman in his life for a long time, but beautiful and dedicated Detective Lynch sets his pulse to racing. When Sidewalk Santas collecting to feed the hungry are dropping dead all over Chicago, Kay and Flynn are hard pressed to find a motive or MO. They do however, find a strong mutual attraction they can't deny.

Racing against time, Kay and Flynn try to connect the pieces of this strange murder mystery, while exploring their feelings for each other. Will the Lynch children's opposition force Kay to choose between her family and her man?

I am both excited and upset at the same time. I've loved The Sullivan Boys series since the first book, Against Doctor's Orders. Now that the series has come to an end, I'm sad to know I won't have more Sullivan family stories to look forward to.

In the Saint Nick of Time is a romantic, suspenseful conclusion to a great series. The strength of this series has always been its characters. K.M. Daughters creates wonderful, complex characters whose stories you want to follow. You root for these couples to get past all the obstacles standing in their way.

We see the focus shift to the one girl in the Sullivan family, Kay. Having given up her job with the CPD years ago in exchange for life as a wife and mother, she is at a crossroads. Her husband is gone, her children are growing up, and she's not quite sure what she should do. She's only sure that being a depressed, grief-stricken widow isn't the only thing in her future. Her decision to be reinstated is met with mixed feelings in her family. Add in her attraction to Flynn, and her plate is more than full.

What I truly appreciated about In the Saint Nick of Time is that we get to experience all of Kay's doubts and triumphs with her. When she and Flynn are together for the first time, we see the shyness of a mature woman who is exploring a new relationship, unsure if she is still attractive after giving birth to four kids. We see how she is accepted by her peers, despite that her brother Pat doesn't give her a break and treats her differently than the rest of the members of the department. We witness Kay in all her roles: mother, detective, sister, and daughter.

While Bobbie and Joe's story in Beyond the Code of Conduct remains my strong favorite (I still re-read passages from it), In the St. Nick of Time is a close second. The motive and modus operandi are unique, the storytelling spectacular, and the conclusion very satisfying.

I highly recommend In the St. Nick of Time by K.M. Daughters. If you want sexy romance and suspense, you'll find it in this book.

Title: In the St. Nick of Time
Author: K.M. Daughters
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
ISBN-10: 1601549032
ISBN-13: 978-1601549037
SRP:  $11.99
Also available in a Kindle edition.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation of any kind to provide this review.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.