New Book: She Gets That From Me by Robin Wells

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Quinn never expected that her best friend’s courageous decision to be a single mother by choice would end up transforming her own life in this poignant novel from USA Today bestselling author Robin Wells.
 
When Quinn Langston’s best friend unexpectedly passes away, Quinn embraces Brooke’s three-year-old daughter Lily and elderly grandmother Margaret as the family she’s always wanted.  She’ll do whatever it takes to help them heal, but she didn’t anticipate Lily’s biological father would be part of the plan. Margaret is old-fashioned, though, and she has no compunction about finding a way to reach Lily’s dad, a sperm donor. After all, he’s a blood relative, and she believes family should raise family.

Zack Bradley doesn’t know what to expect when he finds out he has a child. Sperm donors don’t usually get to meet their…well, he’s not sure what to call Lily yet, but he’s certain he wants to get to know her. There’s just one of problem: he’s about to move to Seattle with his wife, Jessica, who’s undergone multiple infertility treatments, desperately wants a family of her own and can’t stand the idea of Zack playing daddy to another woman’s child.

Together, they’ll all learn that the human heart is infinitely expandable and there are many different roads to family.

Robin Wells was an advertising and public relations executive before becoming a full-time writer. She always dreamed of writing novels–a dream inspired by a grandmother who told “hot tales” and parents who were both librarians. Her books have won the RWA Golden Heart, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and numerous other awards. She now lives in Texas with her husband, but will always be a Louisiana girl at heart.

GWN will soon review this book. 

Guest Blog Post – Teatime By Sofie Kelly

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The Facts:

Title: A Case of Cat and Mouse

Series: A Magical Cats Mystery

Author: Sofie Kelly

Publisher: Berkley

Format:  Hardcover, 304 Pages Price: $26 US

Published on: Sept. 1, 2020

Read an excerpt: here

Buy it: Amazon   Barnes

In the Magical Cats mysteries librarian Kathleen Paulson and her boyfriend, Detective Marcus Gordon are die-hard coffee drinkers. As Kathleen herself has pointed out, she loves a good cup of coffee, but she wouldn’t turn down a bad one, either. On the other hand, Kathleen’s best friend, Maggie Adams, loves tea and always has a selection of various teas available at her tai chi classes.

My British-born mother had strong feelings about tea. She drank a lot of it. Offer her a cup of tea made by dunking a teabag in a mug of hot water and she’d accept it graciously—because anything else would be rude—but she also took every opportunity to gently educate people on the “proper” way to brew tea. The most important rule to remember about making tea, as far as my mother was concerned, was that it must be made in a teapot. Not a cup. Not a mug.

Mum had several teapots, but her day-to-day pot was a glass Pyrex one that had been in her kitchen as long as I could remember. It held lots of tea and was almost indestructible. (Don’t ask how I know that.)

Another of Mum’s tea-making dictums was that the kettle be kept clean of lime scale and hard water deposits. She always insisted that our hard water affected the taste of her tea. Equally important was to warm the teapot and the cups before the tea was made. This is far from the definitive way to make a cup of tea, but here is how my mother did it.

First, the water was brought to a gentle boil. As far as Mum was concerned, this meant using a kettle, not heating water in the microwave. And she was adamant that the water only be boiled once. She believed that otherwise the taste of the tea would be affected. (Note, I have no idea how my mother knew when the water was almost boiling, but she did. I think it was how the water sounded in the kettle.)

Most of the time the tea was made with teabags—much less messy—but sometimes if she was feeling a bit nostalgic for home, Mum would bring out her tea ball and the canister of loose leaf tea. And sometimes my grandmother would send a parcel with a small box of Tetley tea which my mother would ration slowly over time to make it last as long as possible.

My mother’s rule for the number of teabags to use when brewing tea was always one teabag per person and one for the pot. That makes a strong cup of tea, which was the way she liked it. Once she’d poured the water over the teabags she covered the pot with one of her tea cozies. Mum believed a cozy made the tea taste better. Covered, the tea was left to steep for several minutes.

My mother liked to drink her tea in a china teacup on a saucer, with a plain cookie on the side. As far back as I can remember, there would be a cup for me as well, more milk and sugar than actual tea, and a cookie perched on the edge of the saucer. (Woe to anyone who didn’t put the milk in the cup before pouring the tea, by the way! Mum claimed it kept the china cup from cracking) I confess the cookie was my favorite part of the entire ritual. And that hasn’t changed. I don’t drink nearly as much tea as my mother did, but I promise you that when I do make it, I never make it in the cup!

Sofie Kelly is a New York Times bestselling author and mixed-media artist who lives on the East Coast with her husband and daughter. She writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Cats mysteries and, as Sofie Ryan, writes the New York Times bestselling Second Chance Cat mysteries.

 

 

 

 

Book Review – Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernest

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Title: Maggie Finds Her Muse

Author: Dee Ernest

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romantic Comedy

Format: paperback, e-book (read the e-book) $16.99

Publication date: April 20, 2021

Buy It:   Amazon    Barnes

Author Maggie Bliss is under a lot of pressure to write the final book in her Delania Trilogy. The problem is she hasn’t even started it. She knew she was letting down her agent, editor, her readers and herself. But she couldn’t pick up her creative rhythm for David Lancaster and Bella to be involved in a dangerous adventure. Writer’s block struck and put Maggie out of creative commission.

Then there’s her unsupportive, full-of-himself partner who thinks his job is more important than hers. He never asks about her writing career, hardly pays his way and is demanding.

An invitation from Lee, her agent, is one that she can’t turn down. She touches base with him about her personal life and how she’s dealing with a bout of writer’s block. Lee invites her to go with him and his partner to Paris. A change of environment was just what she needed. What better setting to write a romantic adventure than in the City of Lovers. She will also have the opportunity to visit her daughter, Nicole, who lives there.

From the moment she arrives in Paris, she admires the architecture and realizes she has a lot to learn about the cultural mores. She loves Lee’s apartment and where he resides.

And then she meets Max, in a very unusual way (blushes). From the beginning of their friendship, he is determined to make her the best she can be. She finds contentment spending time with her daughter, Nicole; friends Lee and Martin, Max and his mother, Solange (who is Lee’s housekeeper). She comes to life again eating in restaurants, shopping and taking long walks. That kindles her desire to write. As her manuscript progresses, she realizes that Max is her muse. If she keeps on course and finishes the book there’s a good chance of finally realizing her dream of owning a beach house.

When she learns that Max is going to Switzerland, she quickly comes up with an excuse to keep them together a little longer. She tells him that her daughter had an argument that could jeopardize her and her boyfriend’s relationship and she needs to support her. Will her strategy back fire?

MAGGIE FINDS HER MUSE began with an author’s desperate need to meet her editor’s deadline. You do not simply turn on a creative switch for the words to begin to flow. An author has to immerse herself in a setting to see and experience her protagonist’s world. You feel the wind and the heat of the sun. You hear the laughter of couple’s dining in a cafe. You taste the sweetest of the red wine and the joy and bitterness of emotion. When it’s flows, your fingers dance upon your keyboard and the hours fly by. But when you can’t imagine and sense their world you grow frustrated and become distracted. This is what Maggie was experiencing and it took a trip to Paris to kindle her creativity. It also helped her to realize that she was missing out in life, merely going through the motions. Max helped her to feel alive. It’s funny how we go around the answers when we can just go straight to them. I enjoyed seeing Paris through Maggie’s eyes. Her friends were not just supportive, but enriched her life and knew what she needed to be happy before she even did. Thank you, Dee. Write more books about middle-age women. There’s so much for us to learn.

four pastries out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

September 2, 2020

 

 

 

Guest Blog Post: One for the Books by Jenn McKinlay

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Title: One for the Books

Series: A Library Lovers Mystery

Author: Jenn McKinlay

Publisher: Berkley

Format: Hardcover, $26.00

Published: Sept. 1, 2020, 320 pages

Read An Excerpt: here

Buy It: Amazon     Barnes

Weddings and murder. I’ve been in a few weddings (seven, if we’re counting) and there was a moment in every single one where it looked like a murder could happen at any second. Not to name names, but there was the groom who spent the entire reception in the bar drinking shots with his friends until the bride was ready to brain him, the bride who insisted that the bridesmaids matched exactly from fancy hairdo to dyed satin slippers – Mercy! – and, my personal favorite, the bride with an itinerary that was four pages long, I kid you not. Any deviation from the bullet pointed list was punishable by death. We lived in fear.

While plotting One for the Books, I knew one thing for certain. A wedding was happening, because it’s book eleven, and we’ve been waiting quite a while for these characters to get it together. Realizing the wedding would be a significant plot point, I spent some time cruising the old Internet for all of the bridezilla and groomzilla stories my poor brain could handle. If you are bored, let me tell you, there are some doozies out there. But, none of those narratives fit my story because Lindsey Norris and Mike (Sully) Sullivan are just not the sort to get all crazy about a wedding. As the town library director and a local boat captain, they are mature, reasonable adults who just want to have a small gathering of their nearest and dearest in a small venue where they come out of it as Mr. and Mrs.

That’s when inspiration struck! What if the troubles weren’t with the ones getting married but rather the person doing the marrying? Can you imagine if the man or woman charged with officiating your wedding ceremony turned up dead just days before the event? And, what if, this same person had been at a Christmas party the night before their demise costumed as an elf? I’m not sure where that particular detail came from in my brain but the image of Will Ferrell in tights would not be ignored, so that was that. Justice of the Peace, Steve Briggs, known to all in town as a likable guy who threw the biggest, brightest, and best Christmas party every year was found, still in his elf suit, washed up on a beach. Would that indicate foul play?

Truthfully, there was almost too much material here. The murder puts a pall on the entire town, and Sully and Lindsey aren’t even sure if they want to forge ahead with their wedding. Managing the usual full calendar, typical of the holiday season, all while trying to solve the murder of a friend, who had more skeletons in his closet than either Sully or Lindsey could have imagined, and amateur sleuth Lindsey and her soon-to-be husband Sully are kept busy, busy, busy! But will they make it to the church on time and will there be anyone there to marry them if they do? There’s only one way to find out!

Here’s hoping you enjoy ONE FOR THE BOOKS. Thanks for letting me visit today.

Happy Reading!

Jenn McKinlay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour Spotlight – Interview with Author Holly Bell

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Holly Bell is a photographer and video maker when not writing her next novel. She resides in the U.K. and is a mixture of English, Cornish and Welsh. Her favorite cat is Bobby and, yes, he is acting as Tempest’s manager.                                                                             

Sit back and enjoy this interview with Holly.

Denise: It takes quite an imagination to keep readers interested in a series with the same characters. What was it like creating Amanda’s world, her personality and hunger for knowledge?

Holly: It’s as though Amanda and her world always existed, and bit by bit it’s come to me. The books write themselves. It’s like standing outside in a shower and catching raindrops or butterflies landing on your shoulder. As soon as Tim (TJ Brown), my mentor suggested the name, Amanda, I knew who she was. During the course of her experiences, she’s developed, and the experiences themselves have determined that.

Then again, I do have the inside track, because I am very like her! Being on the spectrum means social cues often go over her head. She doesn’t register humans in the same way as most eagle-eyed sleuths. Amanda relies on hundreds, even thousands, of rules garnered from her grandparents, to guide her through interactions with other people. So she’s data-driven. Amanda wants to understand what makes the world tick and to acquire the knowledge she needs to make the best possible choices and decisions.

Anyone who is ‘different’ from ‘the norm’ can relate to Amanda. She is a witch with profoundly powerful abilities that she needs to conceal. Imagining the challenges that would throw up shed more light on her character. But that isn’t the only disparity between Amanda and her peers in general: she has asthma. Why did I give my heroine a disability? I read voraciously in the past because, like Robert Lewis Stephenson, the author of Treasure Island, I spent a great deal of time in less than good health. I know that a great many readers are in circumstances where they have to rest a great deal. I wanted a heroine that they could relate to. Amanda can’t run and climb and jump like Lara Croft. But she has other things that compensate.

Denise: Have you always been interested in the paranormal?

Holly: Like many small children, I had what would be termed paranormal experiences, and I regarded them as normal. I observed them and thought everyone had them. One day, I mentioned what had occurred. I was, as is often the case, told that they were my imagination or I was dreaming and that probably it would be better if I didn’t talk about them!

I heard conversations that were taking place between strangers who were nowhere in my vicinity, and sometimes I saw people one else could see. None of it was at all alarming. It seemed perfectly usual. I would say that the paranormal has always played a part in my life. I was either experiencing it, being warned about it or reading about it, especially in my favourite novels.

Denise: What led you to focus your writing about witches and magic?

Holly: My novel-writing career began the day my friend Tim told me about the then-new genre of cozy mystery. He was convinced I could write at least one, even though I’d only written non-fiction. Tim said, and how right he was, that in particular, the sub-genre of cozy paranormal mystery would suit me best because I loved Tolkein and Terry Pratchett. I’d also read about witchcraft and had encountered two professional ghostbusters. I also believe absolutely in the Shakespeare quote: There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’

Denise: Being the fifth book of the series, a lot has been revealed in terms of Amanda’s life and her family’s. How have you kept the storyline progressing?

Holly: As I say, the books write themselves. Ingredients do occur to me that go into the mix. I have a series of ‘aha!’ moments. It’s also about the next logical step, and what happens in what we call ‘the real world’. It’s like chess, if moved here, then they will have only these choices.

Take Beauty and the Beast, one of the oldest stories in the world. Beauty’s father goes missing. Belle either goes to look for him, or she doesn’t. As a heroine, she is a caring person, so that dictates that she goes to look for him. If Belle found her father safe and sound, the story would end there. But no, he’s in trouble. Therefore Belle’s must act to save him. And she does. That could be the end. But no, because her action has consequences for her. How does Belle deal with those? Given her character, she overcomes them with kindness. Fairy tales want to encourage positive qualities, so her kindness yields fruit, is transformative and leads to a happy ending.

In the same way, Amanda’s personality and what has happened to far at any stage, point the ways that the storyline can progress and sometimes there’s only one path.

Denise: What has been the most difficult scene for you to write?

Holly: The battle for Sunken Madley (and indeed each of the climactic action scenes) is one I had to wait for. I’d know what was going to happen, and snatches of it would suggest themselves, but I’d just have to wait for the wave. Then, suddenly, I’d know and feel and hear it coming in my head. The battle scene wasn’t one I could have forced onto the page, or constructed intellectually. It had to be written on a wave of inspiration if the reader was going to feel swept up in the action, experience the tension and suspense. For me to write, it isn’t enough to think it, I have to feel it.

The other scenes that are rather delicate are the ones that move on the relationship between Amanda and Thomas, Inspector Trelawney. I never expected my readers to become so invested in them as a potential couple. So this romantic undercurrent has been entirely created by the demand from the discerning people who read the books, and I’m just going with it, paddling a gentle course!

Denise: Without giving away what happens, can you set up the storyline in the fifth book?

Holly: The cold case of the murder of Amanda’s unpleasant family, back when she was three years old, is progressing to its conclusion. There is only one piece missing: the link between the family and that of a rival witch-clan.

However, that has to take a back seat when Amanda finds a body at the heart of Sunken Madley. It quickly becomes a high-profile case with Detective Inspector Trelawney under immense pressure to make an arrest. The only candidate is a beloved member of the village. Amanda tries to let him do his job, but with only hours to spare, she can no longer stand by. There’s far more to Sunken Madley and its residents than meets the eye, and it takes a witch to go where no one else can to brave the danger and discover the vital clue to the real killer. As in the other books, the past has a bearing on the present, and only Amanda can travel back there to get at what happened in the case that stars in each book. As always there are people who are not telling all or any of truth, hence The Hidden Depths.

Denise: Do you go deeper into magic and secrets?

Holly: Yes, in fact, they are the underlying theme of the book. Several characters have secrets, and the village itself has an enormous one! Amanda’s grandparents show her that she has new magic to learn, magic she didn’t think was possible.

Denise: Do you feel you’ve reached the end-result you hoped for?

Holly: In terms of Book 5 concluding the story arc that began in Book 1, yes. The end result also includes being a springboard for a whole new arc over the next few books. At the same time, each novel will continue to have its individual murder mystery.

The other end-result is more of an emotional one. Given the overwhelming response of readers, I feel I’ve achieved a series that people love, that engages and delights them, transports them to another world. It makes people happy. What greater achievement could I wish for?

Denise: What will you be writing next?

Holly: The next books are sequels. Book 6 is already writing itself. The plot is set and the first chapter written. Now that’s a sort of off-shoot, but it provides a vital part of Amanda’s backstory and is important in the new story arc. It concerns an investigation by one of the main characters, former Chief Inspector Michael Hogarth, that he carried out over 30 years ago. While staying in Cornwall, Amanda and Inspector Trelawney are hearing Hogarth’s story and Amanda has a part in the telling of it. The title is revealed at the end of Book 5!

The following novel, book 7, will be set back in Sunken Madley with the startling consequences of relocation for one of the central characters.

Denise: Are you excited about this next project?

Holly: I am tremendously excited, Denise. This next book is going to be a little different from the ones so far. Also, the two books are conveying themselves to me at the same time, in a way that the sequels haven’t so far. That is, with more clarity and urgency to be written, both at once!

Thank you, Denise, for the privilege of being interviewed by you on Gotta Write Network. I’ve loved answering your insightful and thought-provoking questions, especially coming from a paranormal author. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Visit Holly’s website at http://www.amandacadabra.com.

 

Blog Tour Spotlight – Excerpt from “Superstition Victim” by Ellen Behrens

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Chapter One

 

Recreational vehicle salesmen rank pretty low on my list of people I enjoy spending my time with—they’re in the general “salespeople” category which includes those who push insurance and cell phone coverage plans, even some shoe store employees. They fray my last nerve, but they are a teensy bit better than those who need to out-do everything you say. You’ve met them: You make a remark about hiking in the Grand Canyon, and they’ve gone Rim-to-Rim—in a day (yeah, right).

Of course, despite an early hike that had refreshed us in the way only outdoor exercise can, we were suffering under the rotten luck of finding the one RV salesman who also relished one-upping us. In that usual back-and-forth patter of getting to know us enough to assess our needs, Bradley managed to mention his half-million-dollar Class A motorhome, his Rolex watch, his Bentley, and the fact that he could be retired at the ripe old age of thirty-eight except he knew he’d be bored and would miss meeting lovely people like Walt and me. We could see through him, of course, but he was oblivious to the fact that we were unimpressed—or he didn’t care.

Unfortunately, he was the one available salesman on the lot at RVs With Perks (what a name, huh?). Clearly one of the perks of the dealership was not a stable of amiable salespeople. Our luck to have gotten Bradley not just the first time we set foot on the lot, but on this return trip as well. Maybe somewhere on our drive a black cat had crossed our path.

We weren’t giving up our fifth wheel; we’d just found the big rig limited how we could travel, where we could stay, when we could re-fuel the diesel truck that pulled it…. Something smaller, something easier to navigate through heavy traffic, something that would fit into more parking areas was calling to us. But the fifth wheel had become home to us, so we were planning to keep it, to park it at an RV resort in southern California on a long-term lease, visiting there during the harshest months of winter (which weren’t very harsh, not this far south).

Late May in Phoenix is already hot, and the interior of the used Class A where we sat chatting was heating up. We’d seen plenty of RVs in the last two days and were already getting burned out. There are only so many ways 400 square feet of living space—or less, for smaller RVs—can be laid out without repeating a few tried-and-true designs.

Or maybe Bradley himself was getting to me.

“So what about this one?” he asked, gesturing around the worn interior with his fake Rolex. “Gently used, low miles, drives as easy as your truck. Sign today and I’ll knock another few thou off the cost.”

I’d already taken a close look, had already seen the frayed fabric on the lumpy hide-a-bed loveseat and the brownish stains in the shower. I’d pulled a kitchen cabinet door open only to have the knob fall into my palm. Gently used? More like plenty used. We were not looking for a fixer-upper RV. It might have had low miles, but that only meant it had to have been sitting someplace for long periods of time—which could mean hidden problems lurked.

Bradley rummaged in his pocket, leaning to one side in the dinette bench seat to fish out his cell phone. He twitched his thumb across the face of his phone, climbing out of the booth at the same time. “Be right back.”

Walt and I looked at each other and shrugged. If Bradley could escape the sweaty confines of the RV, we could too.

A cool breeze caught us as we climbed down the steps onto the asphalt lot. Bradley had wandered down the row of used motorhomes and fifth wheels and was pointing toward one of them as if the person on the phone could see it.

“Well?” Walt nodded toward the RV we’d just been in.

I already knew Walt couldn’t see himself driving anything that resembled a bus. We’d considered that option back when we bought the fifth wheel, and the only thing that had changed since was that he was probably even more sure he never wanted to drive one.

I made a face. I uttered a “yech” sound. Even if he’d been willing to drive it, I hated it. I’m usually not picky about aesthetics, never having chosen a car because of its interior-exterior color palette or whether its seats heated up or not. But this RV’s pale pink (or maybe faded red) interior accents and dull gray walls, its threadbare carpets and sagging mattress all left me wondering about the previous owners, who I guessed were retirees like me and Walt, the only thing that might have made Bradley think we would have liked this unit.

“Even with a small Class A, by the time we hook up a tow vehicle,” I said, “our total length will be close to what we have with the fifth wheel.”

“And we’re back to where we started,” Walt added. Finding places to park. Looking for the right gas station to be sure we could squeeze in, hoping they had a diesel pump.

A Class C on the next aisle caught my eye. Unlike the Class A, which is built like a bus, a Class C has a front-end like a truck with the living quarters in the back. “Let’s look at that one,” I said, heading toward it.

I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of a used unit—we’re allergic to cats, dogs, and cigarette smoke, which rules out most RVs because most RVers own pets and many smoke. But we’d had trouble with our brand new fifth wheel as soon as we drove it off the lot, and we’d heard new units were even worse these days. Being recalled for things like (can you imagine?) axles that were installed backwards, faulty fuel lines running too close to propane tanks, and propane tank trays inadequately mounted causing tanks to fall during travel were just a few of the nightmares we’d read about.

The choices weren’t good, but we were going to have to make one if we wanted to stay on the road, visiting all the places we still wanted to see, and returning to spots we’d already fallen in love with.

I stepped up the metal stairs into the Class C. It reminded me of a tiny studio apartment I’d once had—living, sleeping and preparing meals all in one tiny, efficient space. How anything could be smaller than our fifth wheel yet so cozy had been beyond my imagination, yet here it was.

“Oh! So here’s where you went.” Bradley hopped up the steps into the coach. He pushed his fists into his hips and looked from Walt to me and back, as if trying to make a decision, then flung himself onto the loveseat. “Thought you were ready to pull the trigger on the Class A,” he said, pointing vaguely out the window. He looked at his phone again, made a few clicks and swipes, and then sighed heavily. “Just what are you looking for, anyway?”

We’d already told him. We wanted something small and maneuverable while still being comfortable. Something built well enough to take the miles and the many months we were planning to keep it through.

“We don’t exactly know yet,” Walt said. It had worked for us with the fifth wheel—only after looking and looking at dozens and dozens of different RVs did we settle on the one we called our mothership, and we still liked it. Except it was big. It was a living-in RV, not so much a traveling-in rig.

“We’ll know it when we see it,” I added. It was the mantra Walt and I followed, and it seemed to work for most everything.

Bradley jumped to his feet as if he’d been stung. “How can I help if you don’t know what you want? This is the second time you’ve been here. I’ve shown you—” he sputtered here, probably trying to count up in his head the three RVs we’d toured that morning and remember what he’d shown us the day before—“plenty of possibilities, all within a great price range, units I can make you a great deal on—”

“It’s not about the money,” Walt said. “We’ll pay a fair price for the unit we want. We just want to make sure it’s the right one.”

“But you just told me you don’t know what the right one is!”

We nodded. That must have infuriated him. He took the one step over to the door and motioned for us to leave. “Get out,” he said. “Get out of here. If you’re not ready to really have a conversation, you’re wasting my time.”

“But—” It was my turn to stutter and stammer. I thought we were having a conversation.

“Get the hell off my lot!”

His RV lot? I didn’t believe that for a second.

“Get out of here! Leave!” His face was red, his hands in fists. He pressed his lips together as if afraid something worse might come spewing out. I started shaking. No salesperson had ever spoken to me that way before. How dare he!

“Come on,” Walt said, guiding me down the steps. I knew if I was fuming, Walt had to be using every last muscle in his sixty-five year-old body to keep from exploding. He’d been working at keeping his temper, but this was testing his limit.

We got down the three steps onto the asphalt lot. I could hear Bradley yelling at us from the Class C. “Just get the hell out of here! And don’t come back!”

We didn’t even think about asking for a manager, we just got in our one-ton dually pick-up truck and drove off the dealership lot. He didn’t have to worry—we had no plans to go back there.

If only it had been that simple.

To find out what happens next, please purchase a copy of Superstition Victim

Available for all major e-readers and in print.

 

Let’s chat, isn’t that what a network is about?

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I’m a big virtual world lover. Have been for over 10 years. That’s where I go to meet with friends, for live concerts, virtual art galleries and to talk to people from other countries. The majority of the time I’m chilling, reading or writing on Second Life.

One element of the gaming community, that’s become a great live audio or chat forum is called Discord. So I’d like to introduce those who would like to better communicate with me and Gotta Write Network’s readers to GWN’s channel. I’ve been talking to others through Discord and I think we can use this for the following reasons:

  1. For you to get in touch with me to be booked for a guest blog post or blog tour spotlight. If I’m busy at the moment, I will connect you the first chance I get.
  2. We can even do voice chat sessions for guest appearances or to share information.
  3. You can use it to arrange the publishing of a press release, or a cover reveal. Press releases can then be emailed to: Netera@aol.com.
  4. Use it to give me suggestions for author interviews.
  5. Use it to talk when writer’s block sets in. I’m a great idea person.
  6. Upload pictures of what you’re reading to refer books to others.
  7. Share your virtual blog tour schedule.
  8. Share a list of publishers that are currently reading.
  9. Pitch a book you want me to review.
  10. Share publisher guidelines.
  11. Suggest where my next paranormal can be sent to.

This is how you begin to network:

  1. Download Discord for PC or Mac. https://discord.com
  2. Create an account and select a nickname.
  3. Contact me: NeteraLandar#9049.
  4. Choose to pin your discord so that it opens when you log on your computer.
  5. You can say you are online or show you are not online.
  6. Here’s today’s invite: https://discord.gg/aGEHps  (It’s only good for a day so I’ll post this as frequently as possible.
  7. Then say hi!

Guest Blog Post – Busman’s Holiday by Miranda James

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The Facts:

Title: Cat Me If You Can

Series: Cat In The Stacks Mystery

Author: Miranda James

Publisher: Berkley

Format: Hardcover

Published: Aug. 25, 2020

Read an Excerpt: Here

Buy It: Amazon    Barnes

Even amateur sleuths need holidays, right? Charlie Harris hasn’t much time off since the “Cat in the Stacks” series began, and after twelve books, I thought it was time he had a little vacation, along with Helen Louise Brady and, of course, Diesel. Last summer I spent a week in the Great Smoky Mountains, and one day we drove over into North Carolina all the way to Asheville. I wish I’d had time to stay there more than an afternoon, but it was enough to achieve my main goal: Biltmore, the Vanderbilt estate.

The largest private home ever built in the United States, Biltmore is imposing (though frankly I think the façade isn’t all that attractive). Having been there, however, I thought it might be fun to send Charlie, Helen Louise, and Diesel there. Can’t you see Diesel walking through Biltmore?

I decided to have the Ducote sisters along for the ride, as well as a few denizens of Athena. What could be more fun than spending a week at a boutique hotel in a historic town like Asheville and discussing everyone’s favorite mystery writers? Sounded like great fun to me.

That’s how the book started. Charlie and Helen Louise were all set for a relaxing week with some sightseeing thrown in, not to mention talking about books. But Charlie wouldn’t be Charlie without a dead body somewhere in the offing. The question was, who was going to die? And why? Would there be multiple murders?

Cat Me If You Can is a variation on the old English country house mystery. I love that type of book, and I hope you’ll enjoy this version of one.

 

Book Review – You Lucky Dog by Julia London

The Facts:

Title: You Lucky Dog

Author: By Julia London

Publisher: Jove, Penguin, Berkley

Format: e-book, paperback ($16.00)

Published: Aug. 25, 2020

Read an Excerpt: here

Buy It: Amazon    Barnes

In Julia London’s new contemporary romance, one man’s irresponsible actions during his dog walking duty lead to two basset hounds being returned to the wrong homes. Newly unemployed (but doing her own thing) Carly Kennedy realizes the mistake the minute she sees the imposter dog. But Max, a university professor fascinated with the human brain, takes a little longer to notice the other dog’s behavior isn’t like his Hazel’s. Carly’s dog, Baxter, by way of complicated inheritance, was male, shy, depressed, often keeping his nose in the corner to let her know he was depressed and lonely. But he never destroyed things or sat on the couch. Hazel was out of control and destructive, but that’s okay, Max gave her that kind of freedom to be a dog.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Carly had to work hard to earn money while in between jobs. That meant establishing a one-woman marketing and PR firm and keeping her clients content. Victor is a young fashion designer who at the age of 15 assisted on a team to design a youth look for Gucci. By 18, he was the youngest contestant on Project Runway. His flaw began with drinking and ended with nearly destroying his reputation. Through it all, her job was to help him regain his creative flow and a path toward success.

Dr. Tobias Maxwell Sheffington III is a professor of neuroscience working on an animal vs. autistic behavior relationship project, which required a research proposal. That and his overnight guest delay the realization that Hazel was not the dog in his kitchen.

Shortly after, Carly learns who Hazel’s owner is and heads out to inform him of the mixup. Upon sight, she’s attracted to him. She makes arrangements to return Hazel which transitions into an unexpected dog-sitting promise. It only took a single visit for the dogs to realize they really enjoyed each other’s company. Their humans can’t deny they are attracted to one another, but Carly’s business demands and Max’s need to make tenure often pull them away from each other. Then the unthinkable happens that can really stop them from being a couple.

OMG, I really loved this book. I didn’t want it to end. I think it’s because of Carly’s personality and determination to succeed. She has some real characters for clients, both need to get their acts together. As for Max, I really felt for him. He really tried to make his brother happy, but it was difficult for his brother, a young man with autism, to interact in a social setting. Wish there was a sequel.

four incompetent dog walkers out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

Aug. 12, 2020

 

Guest Blog Post – Jennifer Ashley, Author of ‘Murder in the East End’

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The Facts:

Title: Murder in the East End

Series: A Below Stairs Mystery

Author: Jennifer Ashley

Publisher: Berkley

Format: Paperback, $16.00

Published: Aug. 4, 2020

Read An Excerpt: here

Buy It:  Amazon  Barnes

 

By Jennifer Ashley

As a historical mystery novelist, you might guess I love to read anything historical—biographies, histories, historical fiction and romance, and most of all, historical mysteries.

I glom hist/myst. I think it’s the best genre, because not only can I indulge my love of historical details (I need to know what ancient Roman gladiators really ate every day—spoiler: it wasn’t meat), but I can indulge in a great mystery and follow characters of the time period of choice.

I also love hist/myst because investigation procedures were different (and yet, in many ways the same). Victorian police detectives couldn’t rely on DNA evidence, or even blood samples in most cases, and fingerprinting was in its infancy. The investigators had to use questioning, witness statements, clues found at the scene of the crime (if no one had tampered with them), and then puzzle things out.

I write several historical mystery series, including the Kat Holloway Below Stairs mysteries featuring a Victorian cook. (Murder in the East End, Book 4, released August 4). Lately in my own reading I’ve been finding some fantastic new-to-me historical mystery series that I’d like to mention. All were first published a few years ago but are still going with new installments to date.

I’ll start with Maureen Ash, The Templar Knight Mystery series. Book 1 is The Alehouse Murders. This series follows Bascot de Marins, a Templar Knight who is in Lincoln, England, recuperating from imprisonment during a crusade. It’s 1200 AD, the time of King John. Bascot is the guest of Nicolaa de la Haye, wife of the sheriff, and she asks his help discovering who murdered several travelers in an alehouse. The search takes de Marins into the scandalous lives of local noblemen but also gives him a sense of purpose again. The historical detail in this medieval series is amazing but doesn’t overwhelm the characters or story.

I love settings that range far from Britain or the US, so I’ll next recommend Susan Spann’s Shinobi series, set in Kyoto in the 1560s. Book 1 is The Claws of the Cat. The main character is Hiro, ostensibly a samurai in disgrace but really a ninja, who has been assigned the post of translator and bodyguard for a Portuguese Jesuit priest, Father Mateo. The pair solve the mystery of a samurai killed in a teahouse by pooling their vastly different world views. A wonderful glimpse into Japan in the samurai era. I lived in Japan, and I enjoy revisiting it (albeit far in the past) in these books.

Harriet Steel’s Inspector de Silva mysteries are set in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the 1930s. Book 1 is Trouble in Nuala.The series follows Shanti de Silva, a native of Ceylon, who has been assigned as the police inspector for a small (fictional) town called Nuala. He hopes for a peaceful spot where nothing happens, but of course, a prominent colonial plantation owner is soon murdered, and Shanti has to investigate. Shanti is married to an Englishwoman, Jane, whom he loves dearly (but English food—not so much!). The pair help solve the murder, while the book reveals many details about life in Ceylon during British colonial rule.

Last, I’ll talk about another series set in Asia by Ovidia Yu, who writes about 1930s Singapore in The Frangipani Tree Mystery (Book 1). The story is told from the point of view of a young Chinese woman, Su Lin, the granddaughter of a Chinese matriarch, who is trying to find a place for herself in a world in transition. More or less hired by the English Chief Inspector Le Froy as an assistant, she’s on the spot when a murder occurs at the colonial governor’s house. Su Lin moves into the house, both to investigate and to take care of the mentally challenged daughter she pities, and quickly becomes enmeshed in the scandals and secrets of the governor’s family. This is a fascinating look at the life of Singapore under British rule, from the eyes of Singaporeans. (Ovidia Yu has another series set in modern Singapore, the Aunty Lee series, which I also recommend).

A great historical mystery not only delivers a good whodunit plausible for the time period, but takes the reader into the past and to a place in detail so satisfying you swear you’ve been there.

While writing my own Below Stairs series in Victorian London, I like to take breaks and travel all over the world and through time with other historical mysteries.