Guest Blog Post – A Twist in the Tale by Jessica Fletcher & Jon Land

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Discerning readers will note upon reading MANUSCRIPT FOR MURDER that my second book since taking over the MURDER, SHE WROTE series features a twist ending, as do many of my books. Call it the influence of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents on me when I was growing up. But I’ve long found nothing more satisfying than a jaw dropping reveal that sticks with you long after you first found your heart in your mouth. So in honor of that, and my own stab at such in MANUSCRIPT FOR MURDER, here’s a list of some of the greatest twist endings ever.

9780451489302THE USUAL SUSPECTS: The moment when Chazz Palminteri’s customs agent Dave Kujan drops his coffee cup after studying the back-office wall Kevin Spacey’s Verbal Kint has been facing for much of the movie remains the benchmark against which all other shocking twists will be compared. Outside, as Verbal completes his incredible metamorphosis into Keyser Soze, we realize we’ve been conned; that the metaphorical devil isn’t just real, he’s loose. It was right there in front of us the whole time but, like all great twists, we never saw it coming.

THE SIXTH SENSE: Everyone seems to have a different moment when they realized Bruce Willis was one of the dead people Haley Joel Osment’s tortured young boy could see, but whenever that might’ve been it’s sure to have sent a chill sliding up your spine. The later the better, of course, because figuring it out too early is like getting the punch line before the joke is finished. M. Night Shyamalan’s brilliant misdirection makes us think we saw things that weren’t there, concealing the twist, for most anyway, until much closer to the end than the beginning.

THE STING: The film’s director George Roy Hill famously said that you can’t make a movie about con men without conning the audience. Well, all great twist endings are cons but this one was wondrously elaborate and a straight kick in the pants to those in the audience convinced they had everything figured out. Making us think the heroes are dead only to reveal they’re not makes for the perfect finish to a perfect film, much imitated but never equaled.

ARLINGTON ROAD: The sleeper in the group. Since relatively few know the movie, so no spoilers here. I’ll just say that the film’s slow, relentlessly suspenseful build makes us think we’re watching one thing when we’re actually watching something else entirely. I saw the film in a crowded theater and the moment in the end when a character says to Jeff Bridges’ tortured terrorism professor, “Michael, the only one who doesn’t belong here is you,” you could feel the audience lose its collective breath. A stunner that sticks with you long after you leave the theater.

THE CHASER: The classic short story by John Collier remains a subtle study in inevitability, all show and no tell since it’s comprised almost entirely of dialogue. A young man who enters a potion shop gets considerably more than he bargains for—at least he will eventually—after purchasing for mere pennies an elixir that will make the woman of his dreams love him. The twist lies in the fact that the price is so low because those who purchase it always come back for the chaser of the title: a much more expensive, and deadly, potion held in a different case. The young man never realizes that, of course, even when the professorial figure behind the counter bids him farewell with “Au revoir.” Until we meet again.

THE GLASS EYE: This installment so typical of Alfred Hitchcock Presents features a penny-pinching, lonely woman who finds herself obsessed with a ravishing ventriloquist for the joy he brings into her life. Wanting to prolong the feeling, she begs to meet her crush, leading to a shattering denouement no one could possibly have seen coming. Ever the master of misdirection in his films, Hitchcock similarly relished leaving us utterly shocked in the short form penned by the likes of Academy Award winner Sterling Silliphant.

TO SERVE MAN: The brilliant Rod Serling’s ending is right there in the title of this titular Twilight Zone episode, thanks to the double meaning that nobody sees or gets, not until the moment when the episode’s hero is boarding a space ship bound for a distant planet along with the rest of the world’s top leaders. The title actually refers to a book one of the aliens leaves behind to tempt and taunt the world. And its translation should have been obvious, but wasn’t.

DEMON WITH THE GLASS HAND: The classic Harlan Ellison penned Outer Limits episode features a lone human at war with aliens amid a sprawling warehouse complex while trying to find the missing fingers to complete his glass hand. Each finger brings that computerized appendage closer to explaining who he is and what he’s doing there. But the reveal imparted when the final finger is in place is one we never could have seen coming and is all the more perfect as a result.

THE SWIMMER: The brilliant short story by John Cheever, made into a surreal film by Frank Perry, features a super successful businessman on a shattering odyssey through affluent suburbia, uncovering the truth about his past, and present, through dips in his neighbors’ backyard pools as he makes his way home. It’s a slow burn that ignites in a final flashpoint when the character of Ned Merrill (played brilliantly in the film by Burt Lancaster) finally gets back to his house on the hill.

MEMENTO: Few films have ever come together better in the final moment than Christopher Nolan’s ground-breaking shocker about a man whose short-term memory only extends five or so minutes. He tattoos cue cards all over his body to keep track of his life, which doesn’t stop everyone he meets from conning him. Then, in the final fadeout, he cons himself to the pitch perfect voiceover (for a film that unveils in reverse fashion), “Where was I?”

Those are my choices. What about yours? Leave your suggestion(s) in the comment box below and I’ll respond with my thoughts!

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Guest Blog Post–I Cannot Tell A Lie By Victoria Thompson

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Our guest today is Victoria Thompson, author of the bestselling Gaslight Mystery Series.  Her new book, City of Secrets, is the second in her new Counterfeit Lady Series, which releases on November 13.  She’s thrilled to have this opportunity to tell you all about the new series.

City of SecretsEveryone knows it’s wrong to lie.  It’s even one of the Ten Commandments. Except… Well, let’s face it, we all lie, at least a little. We lie to avoid hurting people’s feelings (Does this make me look fat?).  We lie to save ourselves (We can’t have Thanksgiving at your house. We already promised to take the kids to DisneyWorld.).  We lie because we feel guilty (I’d love to help you stuff those envelopes.). Everybody lies, as Dr. House used to say every week on his TV show. So why did I create a character who does not lie?

Obviously, because I’m insane.  When I started my Gaslight Mystery Series back in 1999, I gave one of the characters a quirk that proved troublesome, so I decided not to do that in the Counterfeit Lady Series.  Then Gideon Bates announced (quite without my permission) that he never lies.

This seemed like a really neat quirk for him to have because he falls in love with a con artist, Elizabeth Miles, who hardly ever tells the truth. But do you know how difficult it is to write a character who never lies? Who tells people they look fat and that he just doesn’t want to suffer through Thanksgiving at your house, and who simply refuses to help stuff the envelopes? How can we even like him? This became especially troublesome when Gideon is forced to help Elizabeth with a con.

Of course Elizabeth only does cons now to help those in need of justice, but even a con done for a good cause requires a certain amount of lying.  Gideon absolutely can’t help with that, because even if he tried, he’d be terrible at it. Does this cause friction between Gideon and Elizabeth? You bet it does.  Does it even come between them and threaten their relationship?  Does it actually cause them to break their engagement? Well, probably.

So how does an honest man reconcile himself to life with a professional liar?  That’s only one of the questions I deal with in City of Secrets. I also cover blackmail and a few other topics. Please let me know what you think—and you can lie to spare my feelings!

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“This is a suspenseful and twisty story guaranteed to bate breaths and engage readers until the wee hours. Fans …will welcome the addition of another strong woman to the ranks of early-twentieth-century crime solvers.”

–Booklist

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Bio:  Edgar®  and Agatha nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder on Union Square, was a May 2018 release.  City of Lies was the first book in her new Counterfeit Lady Series, and it came out in paperback in October 2018. The second book in the series, City of Secrets, will come out on November 13. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.

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Elizabeth Miles knows that honesty isn’t always the best policy when it comes to finding justice.  

Elizabeth has discovered that navigating the rules of high society is the biggest con of all. She knows she can play the game, but so far, her only success is Priscilla Knight, a dedicated young suffragist recently widowed for the second time. Her beloved first husband died in a tragic accident and left her with two young daughters — and a sizable fortune.  While she was lost in grief, her pastor convinced her she needed a man to look after her and engineered a whirlwind courtship and hasty marriage to fellow parishioner Endicott Knight.  Now, less than nine months later, Endicott is dead in what appears to be another terrible accident.

Everyone is whispering, but Priscilla confides to Elizabeth that’s the least of her troubles. She’d believed Endicott was wealthy, too, but her banker is telling her she has no money left and that her house has been mortgaged. He’s also hinted at a terrible scandal and refuses to help.  Priscilla doesn’t know where to turn.

Priscilla stands to lose everything and Elizabeth is determined not to let that happen; but as always, Elizabeth walks a fine line between using her unusual talents and revealing her own scandalous past.  Elizabeth soon discovers that Endicott’s death was anything but accidental and that revealing the truth could threaten much more than Priscilla’s finances.  To save her new friend’s future  – and possibly her own – Elizabeth, along with her honest-to-a fault beau Gideon delve into the sinister secrets someone would kill to keep.

 

Blog Tour – Listening to my Characters by Kat Martin & Excerpt From Wait Until Dark

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Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura County Star

No question, writing dialogue in a novel can be tricky.  Each character has a unique voice distinct from the others in the book.

Since I’ve never been particularly good at description, letting the characters tell the story is my favorite way to craft a novel.

Wait Until Dark 200x300Of course there has to be narration, ways to move the story forward and set the scene, and different writers use different techniques, sometimes a single character’s actions and observations, or just a majority of narrative to tell the tale.

But I like dialog.  It gives me a chance to get right into the character’s head.  I have to think like he or she does, I have to feel as if I am that person.

I go out of my way not to bore my readers with stuff like “How are you?”  “I am fine.” But once I get my characters talking, I let them talk.  I want to hear what they have to say as much as the reader!

I’m not really sure how a character’s voice gets into a writer’s head, but they all seem to be distinctly different.  Once I sat in front of the post office with the car windows rolled up and tried to hear the voice of every person walking out.

It was amazing!  No two imaginary voices sounded the same.  Strange but true.

So I hope when you read my novels you hear the voices of the people loud and clear.  In WAIT UNTIL DARK, my new digital novella, you’ll get to know Jonah Wolfe and April Vale, and meet the detectives, bounty hunters, and bodyguards in my upcoming Maximum Security series, starting with THE CONSPIRACY, out January 22nd.

Until then, I hope you have fun listening to the voices in my books and that you’ll look for WAIT UNTIL DARK and THE CONSPIRACY. Till next time, all best wishes and happy reading,

Kat

 

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Excerpt

The sound of voices cut through the pounding in her head, dragging her from a dark void into the light of day.  As uniformed policemen streamed into the bedroom, April Vale looked down at her naked body and saw a sea of blood soaking the mattress.  A naked man lay beside her, a bullet hole in the center of his chest.

A scream tore free as she recognized David Dean, Mayor Rydell’s campaign manager.  Then strong arms hauled her upright and a wave of dizziness hit her, making her stomach roll.  One of the officers draped a blanket around her bare shoulders and they hustled her over to a chair by the window.

Fighting a fresh wave of nausea, April gripped the blanket, her body shaking head to foot.  “What…what’s happening?”  She didn’t realize her hands were being cuffed together in front of her until she heard metal clanking and cold bands of steel wrapped around her wrists.

“What’s your name?”  The room swarmed with policemen.  The one in front of her was stocky and balding, in his early forties.  A pair of EMTs rushed into the room and began working over the bloody man on the bed, but his eyes were open and staring at nothing and she knew he was already dead.

April swallowed the bile in her throat and fought to clear her head, but when she tried to remember where she was or how she got there, all she came up with was a blank.

“I don’t understand what’s happening,” she said, trying to keep the blanket around her.

“This will all go smoother if you cooperate,” the stocky policeman said. “Tell us your name.”

“I’m…I’m April.  April Vale.” She glanced over at David.  The hole in his chest seemed even bigger and bloodier than before.

“Can you tell us the name of the victim?”

Victim.  A thick lump rose in her throat, threatening to choke her.  “That…that’s David Dean.  We work for Mayor Rydell.”

A young officer with black hair slicked straight back from his forehead walked up.  “Looks like we’ve got the murder weapon, Sarge.  It was right there on the floor next to the lady’s purse.”

April frowned, her mind foggy again.  “Wait…wait a minute.  What’s going on?  I don’t understand.”  Her fingers tightened on the blanket, trying to keep it in place over her naked body. “I don’t know how I got here.  I don’t remember what happened.”

A gray haired man in a navy blue suit brought the gun over in a plastic bag.  She recognized the little .380 she carried for protection.

I’m Detective Sullivan.  Does this belong to you, Ms. Vale?”

She took a deep breath.  “I think it’s mine.  I have one like that.  I have a legal permit to carry.”

The EMTs began checking her over, her blood pressure, her vision, whether or not she had a concussion.

“We need to get her to the hospital,” one of them said, “have her checked out, get a blood sample.”

“Hospital?  I don’t want to go to the hospital.”

A female police officer walked up just then.  “We’ve cuffed your hands in front of you so you can hold onto the blanket.  If you cooperate, we’ll leave them that way.  If not, we’ll have to cuff them behind your back.”

She closed her eyes.  This couldn’t be happening.  “You think I shot him?  I don’t even know how I got here.”

The woman’s expression never changed.  “You need to go to the hospital.  We need to make sure you’re okay.  If you were drugged, it’ll show up in your tox screen.”

Tox screen.  Drugs. Her pistol and a dead man.

That’s when it began to sink in how much trouble she was in. That’s when April’s brain finally started working and she began to figure out what she needed to do–before things got a whole lot worse.

 

At the sound of the glass front door swinging open, Jonah Wolfe looked up to see a tall, leggy redhead walk into the office.

“I hope she’s looking for me.”  Jason Maddox, one of the country’s top bail enforcement agents and one of Jonah’s best friends, had an eye for beautiful women.  This one definitely met Jase’s exacting standards.

But being a former undercover police officer, Jonah noticed more than her stunning face and figure.  Her hands were shaking as she approached the receptionist desk and her face was pale.  He wondered what kind of trouble the lady was in.

“May I help you?”  The receptionist, Mindy Stewart, shoved up the tortoiseshell glasses perched on the end of her nose.  She was petite and cute, and smart enough not to date any of the confirmed bachelors who worked at Maximum Security.

“My name is April Vale.  I’m looking for Jonah Wolfe.”

When Maddox groaned his disappointment, Jonah’s focus sharpened on the redhead.  He rose from behind his desk and started toward the front of the office.  A waiting area with a dark red tufted leather sofa and matching chairs, oak coffee and end tables, gave the place a western feel that perfectly suited the misfit Texans who worked there.

“I’m Wolfe,” Jonah said when he reached her.  “What can I do for you?”  His gaze ran over her, taking in her spectacular curves.  He couldn’t help hoping she needed him for something a lot more intriguing than his skills as a private detective.

He might have smiled, would have if a TROUBLE sign wasn’t stamped in the middle of the pretty lady’s forehead.

“My name is April Vale.  Thank you for seeing me.

“No need to thank me, Ms. Vale.  I haven’t done anything yet.”

“I’m hoping you will.”  She had the face of an angel and legs that went on forever.  But she was a redhead and all that fiery hair just ramped up the warning signs flashing in her big blue eyes.

“Is there somewhere we can speak in private?” April asked.

“Conference room.  Follow me.” As he led her down the hall, she caught an appreciative glance from Jax Ryker and Dante Romero, the only other guys currently in the office, but she didn’t seem to notice.

“This way.”  Jonah held open the door to a glass-walled chamber with a long oak table seating twenty. April walked in and he waited for her to take a seat.

She smoothed the navy blue pencil skirt she was wearing with a pair of sky high heels.  She looked good.  Classy but not completely untouchable.   “As I said, I appreciate your seeing me on such short notice.”

“Not a problem.”  Jonah leaned back in his chair.  “All right, April, why don’t you tell me why you’re here?”

She took a deep breath, drawing his attention to the full breasts he’d been doing his best to ignore.  Since he never mixed business with pleasure, he shoved the buzz of attraction he was feeling to the back of his brain.

“I work for Mayor Rydell,” April said.  “Currently I’m….  I was just released from police custody a short time ago, Mr. Wolfe. That’s…that’s why I’m here.”

Jonah straightened in his chair.  “You were under arrest?”

“Officially, I haven’t been charged yet.  But the charge could be murder.”

Jesus.  He hadn’t seen that one coming.  Now she really had his attention.  Jonah leaned toward her.  “So who did you kill, Ms. Vale?”

Kat Martin Bio

 New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, BEYOND CONTROL, hit both big lists … NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST as well as the USA TODAY BEST-SELLING BOOKS LIST. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

WEBSITE

http://www.katmartin.com/

CONTEST LINKS

MONTLY CONTEST: https://www.katmartin.com/monthly-contest/

For November, Kat Martin is giving away a copy of AGAINST THE WIND to two winners (winner’s choice of eBook or print format).

WAIT UNTIL DARK — e-book went on sale Nov. 1st, but available for pre-order now!

Don’t miss the thrilling prequel to New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin’s brand-new series, Maximum Security!

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Wait-Until-Dark-Maximum-Security-ebook/dp/B07D7XR8P2

B&N

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wait-until-dark-kat-martin/1128768970?ean=9781488045325

Apple Link

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wait-until-dark/id1388284597?mt=11

Book Review – You Lucky Dog by Debra Finerman

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Title: You Lucky Dog

Author: Debra Finerman

Publisher: Stewart’s Grove Press

On the Shelves: June 6, 2018

Format: Paperback

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Price: $8.99 paperback, Kindle: $2.99

Pages: 226

Setting: LA

Just when Jake and Emma begin their life together, the unexpected happens. Living in LA is hard enough. Add El Nino and you have dangerous driving circumstances. While most people avoid being on the road during a downpour, Jake agrees to take Emma’s Westie to the vet.

Fate steps in and one careless move lands Jake in an unusual situation. His spirit leaves his body and enters the adorable form of the dog. Not sure how two spirits are occupying the furry body, but they are.

Talk about challenges, Emma’s husband is no longer human, yet he retains the experiences and knowledge of his former self. He has no other choice, but to go on existing as a dog. There is an exception and that is he can talk. Of course, this will be a skill that will cause a lot of heads to turn. What are the obstacles? That would be everything. They can no longer be husband and wife. He cannot communicate in public. He can’t drive, walk in parks without a leash and then there’s the dog-to-dog issues. Let’s not go there.

There are also the advantages. He doesn’t have to work and everything is done for him. He can also find a way to help Emma make ends meet.

You Lucky Dog is a light humorous version of a “what if.” Anything is possible in life and death. We don’t have any answers unless we have a near-death experience. This book puts Emma’s husband in an unforgettable situation and makes you believe it has actually happened. It makes you think of all the things we grow accustom to, which we take for granted, and that they can disappear with a simple human error. How adaptable one would have to become to accept their fate.

The ending seemed to come on quickly and not what I expected. I really wanted to know what happened to the spirit of the dog. Cute book, though, I just needed a few more answers. I don’t want to offer a spoiler, but I can’t help thinking Jake’s spirit was waiting for his body to heal and entered Emma’s dog to continue to function even in the simplest level of existence. Dog lovers will get a kick out of this book.

Three adorable dogs out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

Oct. 21, 2018

 

 

Blog Tour: Kat Martin Tells us about her new series: Maximum Security

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By KAT MARTIN

WAIT UNTIL DARK is a digital novella that introduces my new Maximum Security series, set around a private security company in Dallas, Texas.  The story gives you a sneak peak at the private detectives, bail enforcement agents, and bodyguards who work at The Max.

If you read BEYOND DANGER, Beau Reese’s story, you might recall meeting Chase Garrett, the owner of Maximum Security, where female detective, Cassidy Jones, was employed.   The first full-length novel in the series, Chase’s story, THE CONSPIRACY, will be out January 22 of next year–just in time for Valentine’s Day!

In WAIT UNTIL DARK, Jonah Wolfe, a private investigator, has a knack for spotting trouble. When April Vale storms into his office, all his warning signs flash neon red. April’s been accused of murder–but has no memory of how she awoke in her coworker’s bed, drenched in his blood, the deadly bullet fired from April’s own gun.  April must convince Jonah to help her prove her innocence and the clock is ticking.  The real killer is out there–and if they don’t find him before it’s too late, April may be his next victim.

I hope you enjoy WAIT UNTIL DARK and that you’ll watch for Chase Garrett and Harper Winston in THE CONSPIRACY.

Warmest wishes for the upcoming holiday season, Kat.

WAIT UNTIL DARK

WEBSITE

http://www.katmartin.com/

CONTEST LINKS

MONTLY CONTEST: https://www.katmartin.com/monthly-contest/

For October, Kat Martin is giving away a copy of AGAINST THE NIGHT to two winners (winner’s choice of eBook or print format).

WAIT UNTIL DARK — eBook on sale November 1st, but available for pre-order now!

Don’t miss the thrilling prequel to New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin’s brand-new series, Maximum Security!

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Wait-Until-Dark-Maximum-Security-ebook/dp/B07D7XR8P2

B&N

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wait-until-dark-kat-martin/1128768970?ean=9781488045325

Apple Link

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wait-until-dark/id1388284597?mt=11

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wait-until-dark-4

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40241946-wait-until-dark

Google Play

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kat_Martin_Wait_Until_Dark?id=udRcDwAAQBAJ

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katmartinauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatMartinAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40241946-wait-until-dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Life by Sandra Ingerman, author of The Book of Ceremony: Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred into Every Day Life

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Sandra Ingerman–©JackieMathey-2018

I have been passionate about teaching people in our modern day world about the power of bringing ceremony into our lives to restore our connection to the divine within and the power of the universe. Performing ceremonies has been a core practice in shamanism for tens of thousands of years. Ceremony helps us navigate the changes and transitions that we are all going through in life. Once our connection to the divine is restored we can enter into the flow of life. Once we are in “flow” versus trying to “control” all the outcomes in our life spiritual forces guide us and provide help in graceful ways.

My shamanic ceremonial practice began in the early 1980s. No matter what challenge I was experiencing in life I found that by creating sacred space and performing a ceremony would be transformative.

As I would gather my sacred herbs to burn and state my invocations in honor of the compassionate spirits, the power of earth, wind, water, and fire, my ancestors who want to see me successful, happy, and healthy, and the spirit of the land where I live a sense of ancient support would fill my energetic field. I no longer felt alone in my struggles I could feel my ego and sense of “smallness” dissolve as I met theses ancient forces knowing they were joining me in complete support for my prayers for healing.

BK05468-The-Book-of-Ceremony-frontlist-onlyTo feel such solid spiritual support from the forces of the unseen allies in nature I found myself feeling so centered, calm, and peaceful. We  are living in a time where everything is destabilizing. Performing ceremonies helps us to feel solid and empowered to focus even among all the distracting forces. This is why I wanted to introduce people to the healing power of performing ceremonies which led me to write The Book of Ceremony: Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred into Every Day Life.

When we perform ceremonial work we actually step into a very ancient collective. For ceremonies have been performed for tens of thousands of years with the spiritual support Earth who of 4.6 billion year old and ancient elements of the wind, the sun, the moon, the constellations, and the primal sea. These forces  have been guiding us in creating more balanced ways of living through eternity. Our ancestors sing for us as we perform our transformative ceremonies to bring healing into our lives and into the world.

We step into a new frequency and a new vibration of life where we can travel back and forth between dimensions of the unseen realms building bridges so healing energies can flood this current collective.

Recently Jo wrote to me. She has been a student of mine since 2013. Jo shared that for two days she did physical projects outside with no joy, desultory. That experience led her to decide to perform a ceremony the next morning before embarking on her day. Once she did perform a ceremony she went on to find joy, fun, adventure, and even excitement in the same projects.

One of the simple ceremonies I teach is to buy a bottle of bubbles from a toy store and blow blessings into the wind to be shared with all of life. Some of my students are doing this in urban areas raising the curiosity of others and once learning about the intention join in to radiate peace, love, light, prayers for harmony, honor, and respect, and for healing.

We can send wishes into the wind to be carried up to the power of the universe who joins with us to manifest our greatest dreams and desires in the right time and in the correct way. We have to trust that our ego’s limited vision gets clouded to the broader perspective of life. When we perform ceremonial work we have to step away and surrender the outcome to a loving higher power.

The same is true with the cross-cultural ceremony of creating Prayer, Blessing, Wishing Trees. Some of my students have designated trees in parks and leave strips of ribbons to tie prayers around the branches (loosely) to not choke the life so they can continue to grow. These ribbons contain prayers for oneself, loved ones, all of life, and for the planet itself.

These simple ceremonies are contagious and raise people’s awareness to how we can work alone or in community to transform our lives and that of  the planet itself.

In The Book of Ceremony I inspire people to design personal ceremonies as well as bring local communities together for support and healing. And I show  how to inspire people in local communities with ceremonial work no matter what their religious or political orientation!! Ceremonial work can be bridged into every community by simply adapting your vocabulary to reach the hearts of all gathered in behalf of other community members and the planet.

Ceremony is a way to step away from operating on a rational level to tap into a flow that leads to manifest what is best for you and your community. It is how shamanic communities world wide build an invisible world of substance that is needed to manifest a new fabric reality to replace all that is dissolving  in our outdated paradigm.

Ceremony  helps us recover the sense of deeper meaning and sacred connection that makes ceremony a powerful tool for transformation and healing. Ceremonies have always been used to create transformation and create a bridge between the material world we live in and the world of the unseen, the divine, the power of the universe.

While performing a ceremony we step out of time into the sacred while lifting us out of ordinary reality and our humanness and puts us as equal partners with spiritual forces and allies.

About the Author:

Sandra Ingerman, MA, is an award winning author of twelve books, including The Book of Ceremony: Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred in Everyday Life (October 2018; Sounds True). She is a world-renowned teacher of shamanism and has been teaching for more than 30 years. Sandra is recognized for bridging ancient cross-cultural healing methods into our modern culture, addressing the needs of our times. For more information, please visit https://sandraingermanbooks.comand follow the author on Facebookand Twitter.

Guest Blog Post – Hitting the Books by Jennifer McKinlay

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9780451492678One of the best things about writing a series, is that you can have characters pop in and out from different books. In the case of HITTING THE BOOKS, it was a real treat to bring back the Swedish twin brothers, Steig and Stefan Norrgard, who were last seen in the third book in the series BOOK, LINE, AND SINKER. In a small community on the Connecticut shoreline, it makes sense that some characters will come and go and come back again and in HITTING THE BOOKS, when I knew two bodyguards were needed, the Swedish twins were the first characters that came to mind to fill the role.

When my amateur sleuth library director Lindsey Norris greets them in the book, I felt as if I was welcoming old friends as well. Of course, the characters that have joined the series since book three are meeting the tall, blonde, good looking twins for the first time and that was great fun to write as well. Here is British actor, Robbie Vine, who is Lindsey’s investigative sidekick, reacting to the arrival of the twins:

“Steig, is that you?” Lindsey nudged Robbie aside and squinted at the big Swede.

The man’s face cracked into a wide grin and he said, “Ms. Norris!” Then he swooped down and hugged her close lifting her off her feet.

“Oh, now, just a moment,” Robbie protested. “That’s awfully familiar of you.”

Lindsey hugged him in return and laughed when he put her back on her feet.

“It was a fifty-fifty shot,” she said. “I’m glad I got it right.”

“Actually, you didn’t,” he said. Behind him, his twin brother popped up and said, “He’s Stefan. I’m Steig.”

Lindsey glanced between the Norrgard brothers. She didn’t have the heart to tell them that with their long blonde hair, handsome masculine features, and bright blue eyes, she didn’t really care what their names were and neither did any other woman with a pulse. Instead, she opened her arms and reached out to hug the real Steig.

“Well, it’s good to see you both,” she said.

“Oy, that’s enough with the hugging,” Robbie said. “I take you know these lads, Lindsey?”

She stepped back from Steig and glanced at Robbie. “Yes, they’re the Norrgard brothers. Don’t you remember? They worked with the salvage company to find Captain Kidd’s treasure on Pirate Island.”

Robbie blinked. “I think that was before my time.”

“Oh, well, let me introduce you, Robbie Vine, these are the Norrgard brothers, Steig and Stefan,” she said. She made sure she put the right twin with the right name.

Robbie shook their hands and looked expectantly at the young men. Neither of them recognized Robbie as the famous actor that he was. Lindsey had to bite her lip to keep from chuckling at the look of chagrin on his face.

“D.I. Gordon?” Robbie said.

“I thought she said your name was Robbie,” Steig said. He scratched his chin, clearly confused.

“It is,” Robbie said. “I was referencing a role I played on television. You’ve heard of it. The light up box in your living room with the people in it who talk to you?”

“He’s snarky,” Stefan said. “I like him.”

The brothers exchanged a grin.

And that’s just the beginning of the shenanigans to be found in HITTING THE BOOKS. There’s also a hit and run, a dramatic car chase, and a proposal! Don’t miss out!

It’s murder by the book in the latest hit Library Lover’s mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Death in the Stacks.

When a stack of library materials is found at the scene of a hit and run, library director Lindsey Norris finds herself dragged into the investigation as the police try to link the driver of the stolen car to the person who borrowed the books. Before Lindsey can delve into the library’s records, the victim of the hit and run, Theresa Houston, suffers another “accident” and the investigation shifts from driver negligence to attempted homicide.

A clue surfaces in the confiscated library materials that could crack open the case and it is up to Lindsey to piece it all together. But things are not as they seem in the sleepy town of Briar Creek and when the driver of the stolen car turns up dead, Lindsey, her staff and her library friends have to hit the books before the murderer gets the last word…

 

Book Review – How to Find Love in a Bookshop

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Title: How to Find Love in a Bookshop

Author: Veronica Henry

Publisher: Penguin Books

On the Shelves: July 10, 2018

Format: Trade paperback

Genre: Fiction

Price: $16.00

Pages: 340 pages

Before her father died, Emilia promised him she would do whatever it took to keep Nightingale Books alive. The bookstore he created was not only a community treasure, it offered years of education and entertainment. Now with her father gone, it was her responsibility to carry on his life’s work.

Julius was a young man when the sudden death of his wife left him as the sole caregiver of their infant daughter. Though he had no idea how to care for Emilia, he gave her love, a safe and secure home and instilled in her a thirst for literature. Rebecca was the love of his life and he cherished their brief time together. Emilia never knew her mother.

With her father’s passing, she now has to deal with the years of debt that Julius stacked on his desk like a TBR pile. But there is someone else with a list, Ian Mendip and he has the right man to set his plan in motion.

With the love and assistance of her friends and staff, Emilia has a fighting chance to save Nightingale Books but it will take more than few promotional events to stabilize the business. Emilia has to decide if this is the future she wishes to have, if she wants to return to her career, and if there is a chance to find a little bit of happiness along the way.

“How to Find Love in a Bookshop” is about not losing hope, the struggle to be productive, to pay debt and to keep one’s legacy alive. Even if it feels like there’s not a chance in the world to survive certain realities, that you can push yourself beyond your limits and achieve your goals. That you’re not alone in the world. That you need to lean on those that stand beside you and love will find a way.

Providing Julius’ story helps the reader understand his past and the devotion necessary for Emilia to have a stable life and a loving home. It also paints him as a man and not some perfect member of a community. His relationship after his wife’s death is sad for both him and the woman he loved. What stood in the way of them having a life together? I did love the book and hope to read other novels written by Veronica Henry.

Four best sellers out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

Sept. 23, 2018

Guest Blog Post – A Vacation Between Covers by Clover Tate

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9780698410299Between canning pickles and baking pies and keeping house in rural Northern California, my grandmother was a big reader. I couldn’t understand why she’d spend so much time with a book when she could be down at the creek skipping stones or picking blackberries like my siblings and I did.

“Honey,”she’d tell me, “Sometimes I just like to get away.”

As I wrote each of the books in the kite shop mystery series, I remembered my grandmother’s words. I aimed to create a world readers couldn’t wait to escape to. As a bonus, I’d be living in that world, too, each time I sat at my laptop to write.

First, I set Rock Point in a fishing village on Oregon’s coast, which means lush forest on one side and a stretch of the wild and magnificent Pacific Ocean on the other. Naturally, I put a lighthouse atop a rocky cliff just north of town.

I made sure Emmy’s best friend Avery had a rustic home surrounded by fir trees, just like I’d want to visit if I were going to the coast. I gave the house a deck with the perfect sunset view. Hey, if I’m going to write it, I might as well enjoy the view, too! And, naturally, she has a stone fireplace and a sleeping porch.

Strings Attached, Emmy’s kite shop, is in a Victorian house. I love the stories of people who once lived in older homes—you can read about old Mrs. Rasmussen in Live and Let Fly—and I adore their handcrafted details of carved wood trim and stained glass windows. In Wuthering Heights, I move Emmy to an apartment above the shop so she can live with the atmosphere everyday. (Naturally, she has French windows with a view of the bay.)

I also give Rock Point the Brew House, just the type of coffee house I’d love to visit. It has mismatched, cozy furniture, jazz playing on the turntable, and an excellent tuna melt. As a counterpoint, I placed a dive bar, the Rock Point Tavern, in town, too. To the delight of Rock Point’s residents, the tavern’s owner brings his senior cocker spaniel Duchess to the bar and hides her from the health department.

In Wuthering Kites, I widened Emmy’s world by taking her to Oregon’s wine country. I wanted to introduce readers to the Willamette Valley’s gorgeous countryside of rolling hills, orchards, and vineyards. Being a former country girl myself, it was fun to recreate the sounds and scents of an autumn walk through the woods.

If you read Wuthering Kites or any of the kite shop mysteries (Blown Away and Live and Let Fly are the first two in the series), I hope they transport you to a world of suspense and mystery, but also to one of friendships, warmth, beautiful landscapes, and a town you wouldn’t mind visiting—if it existed, that is. Once in a while, everyone deserves a good escape.

Guest Blog Post by Sofie Kelly –You Know You’re a Child of the 70’s If…

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In The Cats Came Back, the latest Magical Cats mystery, we learn that Kathleen Paulson’s mother, Thea, was in the musical Mamma Mia and let Kathleen wear one of her outfits from the show—including a pair of silver platform boots—for a Halloween costume one year.

Mamma Mia features the music of ABBA, who hit their height of fame in the 1970s. The second movie based on the group’s songs is in theatres now. (With Cher! Yay!) That got my friends and me reminiscing. What about you? Are you a child of the 70s? Do any of the following apply to you?

You know all the words to at least one ABBA song.

 You have a photo of your Dad in a leisure suit and white shoes.

 You owned a mood ring.

 There’s a pet rock in a box in your basement, along with your earth shoes and some 8-track tapes.

 You believed that eating Pop Rocks and drinking Coke could kill you.

 You owned a Hollie Hobbie purse—which is in that box in the basement underneath your earth shoes.

 You have danced on roller skates to Stayin’ Alive and think Saturday Night Fever is an American classic. (Because it is.)

 A bike with a banana seat was the way you got around.

 You wrote a fan letter to Shaun Cassidy.

 You owned gaucho pants.

 For Mother’s Day you made your mom a macramé plant holder.

 You wore Love’s Baby Soft perfume and cleaned your face with Ten-O-Six cleanser.

 You had a satin bomber jacket that you wore to the roller rink.

 You know who Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane is.

 The words, “Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive,” meant must-see TV.

 Your first kiss happened in someone’s shag-carpeted basement family room by the light of a lava lamp.