Guest Blog Post – Stage-struck By Miranda James


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Have you ever watched a play or a movie and wondered what it would be like to be an actor amidst the drama and action on stage? I’m normally a pretty quiet person, but I’ve thought occasionally that it would be fun to step into a character and be someone else for a while. I even tried out for a play in college but, alas, I didn’t get the part. Probably just as well, because most likely I would have frozen the first time I stepped in front of an audience.

What is really fun to me, however, is reading a mystery with a theatrical background and seeing how the writer orchestrates not only the rehearsals and the performances but also the murder or murders. I wanted to try my hand at it, and the result was Careless Whiskers, the twelfth in the “Cat in the Stacks” series. I had a lot of fun with it, and I hope readers will enjoy it also.

If you’re looking for other theatrical mysteries, here are some of my favorites:

The Renewable Virgin by Barbara Paul (Isn’t this a great title?)

First Hit of the Season by Jane Dentinger

The Skull Beneath the Skin by P.D. James

Killer Dolphin and Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh

Dancers in Mourning by Margery Allingham

Reel Murder by Marian Babson (first in a series of four)

Death and the Chaste Apprentice by Robert Barnard

Cast, In Order of Disappearance by Simon Brett

Death of a Hollow Man by Caroline Graham

Something Wicked by Carolyn Hart

Death on the Aisle by Richard & Frances Lockridge

About the Author

Miranda James is the New York Times bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries, including Twelve Angry Librarians, No Cats Allowed, and Arsenic and Old Books, as well as the Southern Ladies Mysteries, including Fixing to Die, Digging Up the Dirt, and Dead with the Wind. James lives in Mississippi. Visit the author at and


Gotta Write is open to press releases, guest blog posts, author contests, book review requests (romance, mystery, best selling women’s fiction, paranormal), author appearance info, cover reveals, author recipes. Email today. I prefer to read print books. Though I can’t read them all, I will invite authors to submit a guest blog post.

Book Review – A Merry Murder by Kate Kingsbury


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A Merry Murder

By Kate Kingsbury

A New Pennyfoot Holiday Mystery

Berkley Prime Crime trade paperback

$16.00 USA

291 pages

Historical mystery set in England

How in the world do you prepare for a murder in your hotel during your busiest booking season? Good question. For Mrs. Cecily Baxter, the lady of the manor, it’s going to be a juggling act keeping the murder under wraps, preparing for guests viewing the annual Christmas pantomime and keeping the secret gambling games in the lower level unknown. Then there’s the moody French chef to calm, a young and established staff to supervise and guests to keep happy for return bookings.

Then the unthinkable happens, a gambler is found dead by one of the staff. Mrs. Baxter and her husband are informed about the body in the laundry room. The note attached to him points the blame on a young maid, which Mrs. Baxter feels solely responsible for and believes she’s innocent. There are two possible causes of death: A whack to the head and a scarf around his throat. Therefore, she is determined to find evidence leading to the real killer.

Mrs. Baxter learns that Percy, the man who died, was not a guest at the hotel. It isn’t a secret that when the Pennyfoot was a country club, gambling had been allowed in the past. But now the games are held in secret. Therefore, they might invite trouble. Trouble seems to be the keyword in the hotel. Not only are they trying to conceal the death of the gambler for as long as possible, but there a few female staff members interested in the same handyman, a holiday musical destined for drama, staff participating in suffragette marches, a gender issue, and a few other secrets which could very well cause life at the Pennyfoot to become more difficult to control.

I believe this is the first Kate Kingsbury book I’ve read. It reminded me of the below stairs events of Downton Abbey. That’s why I chose it from my TBR pile. I  enjoyed learning about the main characters and their life challenges. I loved the historical time period. I even watched a movie on the suffragettes to learn more about their movement. I was glad to see a female protagonist with determination, intelligence and that her husband supported her in a time when women had no rights. So glad I read this and I’ll be watching for other Kingsbury mysteries.

four booked hotels around the holiday out of five

Denise Fleischer

January 11, 2020



New Title – Murder Ink by Lorraine Bartlett, Gayle Leeson


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The charm of Victoria Square may prove to be only skin deep when murder follows the arrival of a tattoo parlor in town in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.

A tattoo parlor on Victoria Square? Some of the merchants get hot under the collar at the proposal, but could they be driven to kill to stop it? That’s what the sheriff’s office and Katie Bonner want to know when the building’s owner is electrocuted with his own saw.

Meanwhile, tensions rise when a hot chef takes over the square’s tea shop. Will Katie have three men vying for her affections, or will her rival take the tea cake?


Lorraine Bartlett is the New York Times bestselling author of the Victoria Square Mysteries. Under the pseudonym Lorna Barrett, she is the author of the Booktown Mystery series. She lives and writes in Rochester, New York.

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent, who also writes the national bestselling Embroidery Mysteries as Amanda Lee. She lives in Virginia with her family and is having a blast writing the Down South Café Mysteries.

New Title – Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle


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From Cleo Coyle, the New York Times bestselling author of Dead Cold Brew, comes a delicious new entry in the “fun and gripping” (Huffington Post) Coffeehouse Mysteries.

When coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi awakens on a bench in Washington Square Park, she has no idea she’s been missing for the past week, or that her friends and family have been frantic with worry. Now that she’s back, everyone is overjoyed, including a handsome NYPD detective who claims to be her fiancé. But to Mike Quinn’s crushing distress, Clare doesn’t remember him, or much of anything about the last decade of her life.

Clare’s missing memory is tied to a crime she witnessed. An acquaintance of Clare’s elegant employer—and fellow member of an exclusive Gotham circle known as The Ladies Who Brunch—invited Clare to her posh hotel to sample gourmet wedding cakes. The pair took a stroll after their indulgent tasting and, according to security camera footage, a masked figure snatched the hotel heiress at gunpoint with Clare looking on. Did the kidnapper take Clare, too? The camera went dark, just like Clare’s memory. Soon authorities grow suspicious. Is Clare really a victim? Or merely acting like one? Evidence is mounting that she set the woman up.

To clear her name, Clare must find a way to reclaim her memories and rescue the heiress before this high-stakes crime ends in tragedy. Otherwise, instead of walking down the aisle, Clare may find herself perp-walking to prison as an accomplice to kidnapping and murder.


Cleo Coyle is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries—now celebrating more than ten years in print. As Alice Kimberly, they also write the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together.

New Title – The Dog Who Knew Too Much By Krista Davis


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When a famous pooch comes to Wagtail for some downtime, inn owner Holly Miller learns that murder never rests in this all-new Paws & Claws mystery in the New York Times bestselling series.

America’s favorite dog comes to pet-friendly Wagtail for some rest and relaxation, but Holly quickly discovers that this perfect pup is a total scamp who takes every opportunity to run off and misbehave. During an outdoor treasure-hunting game, the star dog and Trixie, Holly’s beloved Jack Russell terrier, stumble across a dead body.

Holly has more than murder to worry about, though, when a man shows up after reading an article featuring Trixie in a magazine and claims that he is the dog’s rightful owner. Holly will need to prove that she is her pup’s only parent and catch a killer to restore peace to her pet-loving happy place.


Krista Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paws & Claws Mysteries and the Domestic Diva Mysteries. Several of her books have been nominated for the Agatha Award. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with a brood of cats… More about Krista Davis

New Title – Lady Takes The Case by Eliza Casey


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When a dinner party turns deadly, the feisty Lady Cecilia Bates and intuitive cat Jack are on the case, in this first entry to an exciting new historical-mystery series.

England 1912. Danby Hall is the only home Lady Cecilia Bates has ever known. Despite the rigid rules of etiquette and her mother the Countess of Avebury’s fervent desire to see her married off, Lady Cecilia can’t imagine life anywhere else. But now, with an agricultural depression sweeping the countryside, the Bates family’s possession of the hall is suddenly in peril.

A possible solution arrives in the form of the imperious American heiress Annabel Clarke. The Earl and Countess of Avebury are determined that Cecilia’s brother, Patrick, will win Annabel’s hand in marriage—and her fortune along with it. To help the lackluster Patrick in this pursuit, the Bates and their staff arrange a grand house party upon the heiress’s arrival.

When a guest dies after sipping from a glass meant for Annabel, it’s clear the Bates have a more poisonous problem on their hands than a lack of chemistry. As the scandal seizes Danby, Cecilia sets out to find the culprit, with help from Annabel’s maid, Jane, and Jane’s curiously intelligent cat, Jack.

After the poison that someone had stashed away inside the manor is discovered, Cecilia is left with two possibilities: Either a resident of Danby snapped and tried to kill the arrogant heiress, or the threat is coming from one of their guests, who would love to see the Bates family’s decline become permanent.


Eliza Casey is a pseudonym for a multipublished author. Her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion.

New Title – Murder She Wrote, A Time for Murder


In the fiftieth entry in this USA Today bestselling series, two timelines converge as Jessica Fletcher returns to high school to investigate the murder of an old colleague, while we meet Jessica as a young teacher solving her very first murder…

Young Jessica Fletcher’s life couldn’t be more ordinary. She teaches at the local high school while she and her loving husband, Frank, are raising their nephew Grady together. But when the beloved principal dies under mysterious circumstances, Jessica knows something is off and, for the very first time, investigates a death.

Present-day Jessica returns to high school for a colleague’s retirement party and has fun seeing familiar faces. That is, until the colleague winds up dead–and his death has mysterious links to Jessica’s very first murder case.

With nothing but her own instincts to guide her, Jessica embarks on a quest to find out what really happened all those years ago and who’s behind these murders. Because time is running out to catch this killer….

New Title: The Healer’s Daughters by Jay Amberg, The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard Johnson


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Gotta Write Network invites publishers, PR reps, authors to submit the following to keep avid readers better informed of new titles of romance, mystery, science fiction, fantasy and paranormal. A copy of the book appreciated. Email for more info.

–A one-page press release with a book cover’s jpg.

–Author contests.

–Publisher guidelines.

–Publisher’s current needs.

–Writer’s tips and techniques.

–One day guest blog posts. Violence, extremely sexually material is the only exception of what GWN won’t publish.

—Authors wishing to write a monthly column. Tell me what you’d like to contribute.

—3 day blog content.


New Title

Title: The Healer’s Daughters

ISBN13: 978-1-937484-69-9

Distributor: Ingram

Author: Jay Amberg

Page count: 312

Genre: Adult Fiction

Release date: 17 July 2019

SRP: $16.95

Book summary: A terrorist bombing in Bergama,Turkey kills twenty-three people including three children. Modern Bergama is built on the site of ancient Pergamon, a city whose art and wealth and culture rivaled Athens. It was also the home of the Aesklepion, the world’s greatest healing center, and the birthplace of Galen, the Roman Empire’s most famous doctor.

Tuğçe Iskan, a Turkish Ministry investigator, finds evidence that links the terrorism to a powerful criminal family and to Galen’s life and Pergamon’s lost treasures. But Iskan is alone, an outcast in the Ministry because she is honest, diligent, and a woman.

As Iskan delves more deeply into the heinous attack, she needs allies outside the Ministry. She must turn to Özlem Boroğlu, a local archeologist, and Boroğlu’s daughter Elif, an artist with an affinity for ancient Aegean goddesses. Can these three women defeat ISIL terrorists, criminal oligarchs, and corrupt officials? Can they even survive?

Author Bio: Jay Amberg is the author of twelve books. He has taught high school and college students since 1972. Contact him at

Praise for The Healer’s Daughters: “Keep[s] readers on their toes. With its powerful blend of Turkish cultural explorations, international intrigue, a treasure hunt, historical references, and characters who hold their own special interests close to their hearts, The Healer’s Daughters is an exceptional thriller that proves hard to put down.”Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“Superb, strong and focused… Cleverly woven… Complex family dynamics… Brilliant twists … Recommend it to anyone who loves a gritty, powerful story.—Lesley Jones, Readers’ Favorite

“Amberg…shines at creating distinctive characters. Elif and others, for example, conduct a ritual to remember lost lives, which is a striking contrast to others who use the ‘Bergama Bombing’ to boost their political careers. Moreover, Amberg deftly shows how viewing un-familiar cultures as exotic can be insensitive; Özlem confronts a crass British photographer who thinks nothing of snapping pictures of praying mourners… A large, memorable cast augments this dramatic mystery/thriller.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Truly showcased Amberg’s talent of getting into the mind of his characters and creating strong empathy among his readers…. A spellbinding story that will have readers on a roller-coaster of emotion as they follow the many characters through terrorist attacks and treasure hunts. If you like suspense mixed with historical fiction and topped with some action and adventure, then I highly recommend this book.” —Starza Thompson, Windy City Reviews

“Powerful…The ending is shocking…highly charged, electrifying.” —Fran Lewis, Just Reviews

Praise for The Healer’s Daughters: “I devoured the historical and cultural aspects of the story. …Terrorism, antiquities, power, goddesses, brutality, corruption, revenge…I found myself holding my breath, awaiting the outcome. Amberg created characters that, good or bad, evoke an emotion from the reader. Complicated family relationships. Anger, heartbreak…both emotions hit me time and time again. Superb writing.” —Betty Taylor, Reading is My Passion

“The main characters and their heart and strength pull you into the story and keep you interested through the twists and turns and the suspense.”—Grantham Lynn, My Reading Journeys

“Following the past of the artifacts and people just trying to survive kept me engrossed with the story. There are several threads that wrap around and around until you can see that one or two threads keep them entwined. This is a wonderful read and one I recommend to anyone that likes a great thriller with a history twist added in.” —JBronder Book Reviews

New Title

Modern History Press Releases Popular

Writer’s Aid in Its Third Edition

Los Angeles, CA and WWW—The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard Johnson has been must-have book for authors since its 2004 debut as a text for her UCLA Extension Writer’s Program class in book marketing. Modern History Press is now publishing the third edition sporting a new cover, a bibliography, a reference and complete update.

In its past iterations, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or partnering with your publisher was a winner of an Irwin award, was USA Book News’ pick for Best Professional Book, and was honored by Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Award. It broke all records when authors downloaded it more than 30,000 times and was dubbed “a classic” by It is the flagship book in what has become her HowToDoItFrugally Series of Writers for writers. She says, “’Frugal’ has been a labor of love, a way to share what four decades of loving publicity, writing, and publishing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has taught me.”

Like the old editions, the new edition of The Frugal Book Promoter assures an author’s book the best possible start in life. Full of nitty gritty how-tos for getting nearly free publicity. The author shares her professional experience in journalism, PR, and retailing as well as the practical tips she gleaned from her own book campaigns. She tells authors how to do what their publishers can’t or won’t, why authors can often do their own promotion better than a PR professional and shows them how they can partner with their publisher’s publicist or the one they hire on their own. Past editions received plaudits from industry shakers like Marilyn Ross, founder of Small Publishers or North America, Tim Bete, director of Dayton University’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference and the publishing industry’s legendary Dan Poynter. This third edition is updated and has an new cover by Doug West of ZAC Designs.

Howard-Johnson has been a publicist writing media releases for the likes of Christian Dior for the Eleanor Lambert Agency in New York who created the first “10 Best Dressed List;” an instructor for UCLA’s world-renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade; a columnist and staff writer for the Salt Lake Tribune and the Pasadena Star News; and wrote copy for Good Housekeeping Magazine, Hearst Corporation. She was awarded the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment, was given her community’s Character and Ethics award for work promoting tolerance with her writing, and was named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of 14 women of “San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen.” She presents at writers’ conferences nationwide like the one at San Diego State University and the Sinclair Lewis Writers’ Conference. That she is also a novelist and poet and former retailer has informed the advice she gives to authors regarding both sales and genre.

New Title – The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans


In the newest mystery from nationally bestselling author Joanna Carl, a dive into house flipping becomes a deadly flop….

When a house near Lee and Joe’s home goes up for sale, the couple teams up with Lee’s aunt and uncle, Nettie and Hogan, to buy it, remodel it, and resell it for a sweet profit. But after the owners of the house, the Baileys, accept their offer, a local developer, Richard “Spud” Dirk, suddenly swoops in with a higher one, and it seems their dreams might be snatched away.

Lee, never as passionate about the plan as her husband and uncle, is anxious to get back to focusing on managing TenHuis Chocolade. But when a long-hidden gun is found behind a pipe in the Baileys’ basement, she begins to suspect a mystery is afoot. And when Spud turns up dead in the Baileys’ carport a few days later, it becomes clear there’s something rotten at the foundation….

To solve the murder, Lee will have to strip away layers of secrets–that is, if someone doesn’t level her first….

Guest Blog Post – Myths By Kat Martin

One of the great myths about writing is that it gets easier over time.  As the author of more than seventy novels, I can tell you it just gets harder.  Perhaps because with each new book you demand more of yourself.

Sentence variety and paragraph construction become easier, grammar and spelling, the basics of writing all become second nature.  But penning the actual novel?  Not so much.  You have to come up with a different plot, make each of your characters stand out in some special way, try to give the readers something you haven’t given them before.

In the novella, SHADOWS AT DAWN, Jaxon Ryker, a former Navy SEAL, now a detective at Maximum Security, was definitely hero material, but at the same time, he was different, kind of soft-spoken, not arrogant, just a really nice guy.  Unless you pissed him off.

Turns out Jax had a protective streak a mile wide and the sweet little receptionist at The Max was his weakness.  When Jax happens upon three men attacking Mindy in the parking lot, his hero instincts kick in–big time.

Jax is convinced the attack isn’t random and that Mindy still isn’t safe.  And no way is Jax letting anything happen to her.

I hope you’ll watch for SHADOWS AT DAWN and that you enjoy it.  If you like Jax and Mindy, you can find them again in my latest novel, THE DECEPTION, and also THE CONSPIRACY.  Till next time, all best and happy reading.




Finally satisfied with her progress for the day, Mindy shoved her round tortoiseshell glasses up on her nose, slung the strap of her purse over her shoulder, and headed for the door to the parking lot behind the office.  She managed not to glance at Jax, but it wasn’t easy.

The early April weather was humid, warm but not hot, the last of a pinky gold sky fading to darkness. She spotted her little red Volkswagen Beetle, one of the few vehicles left in the lot, and started in that direction.

If she hadn’t been working for a security firm, listening to crime stories on a daily basis, she might not have noticed the white Chevy van whose motor sparked to life and began idling in the shadows not far from her car.

When her steps unconsciously slowed, she told herself she was being ridiculous, a paranoid response to the guys’ sometimes gruesome, often frightening tales.

Pausing to dig her car keys out of her purse, she took a deep breath and tried to calm her racing heart. When the effort failed, she forced her feet to move, closing the distance between her and her vehicle. She had almost reached her destination when the van doors slid open and three men dressed head-to-foot in black wearing black ski masks jumped out and started running toward her.

Terror struck.  Mindy let out a high-pitched scream, dropped her purse, whirled, and started running.


Jax’s long day wasn’t over yet.  Before he picked up a pizza and headed home for a couple of beers, he had a meeting with a client on the other side of Dallas, a cold case he had been working where the mother of a murder victim had discovered new evidence she believed would help find her daughter’s killer. The police weren’t convinced, but Mrs. Donahue had hired Jax to prove it. Or at least find out the truth.

He checked his heavy black wristwatch.  If he wanted to make his appointment on time, he needed to get on the road.  Grabbing his laptop off the desk, he headed for his dark blue Dodge Ram pickup, parked in the lot behind the office, his mind on the case he figured would earn him a nice fat fee–and maybe help bring a killer to justice.

He had just stepped out the backdoor when a blood-curling scream cut through the sticky night air. A petite young woman with long dark hair and glasses struggled with three masked men.

Adrenaline shot into his blood.  Mindy!  Even as he bolted into a run, Jax registered their appearance: one tall and lean, one average height and weight, one big and beefy, thick-shouldered and muscular.  He was flat out running by the time Mindy spotted him and started screaming his name.

“Jax, help me! Jax!”  Kicking and biting, she fought like a wild thing, but she was no match for the men.  As they hauled her toward the open van doors, Jax grabbed the tall man and pulled him off her, pounded a fist into his face and slammed another into his stomach, doubling him over.  A hard right sent the guy careening backward, hitting the ground on his back and sliding across the asphalt.

The second man, Mr. Average, stepped in and swung a punch Jax ducked.  He shot out a kick, knocking the assailant into the side of the van, then heard the sound of a switchblade snapping open behind him.

“Jax, watch out!”

Whirling toward the threat, he dodged the flashing blade and shoved Mindy toward safety, then went back in for the kill.  Rage burned through his usual calm.  She worked with him, as far as he was concerned, was under his protection.  More than that, she was kind and sweet and he cared about her far more than he should.  Jax wanted to end the bastards who were trying to hurt her.

“Run!” he shouted. “Go back to the office and lock the door!  Call 9-1-1!” The knife flashed.  Jax dodged the sweep of gleaming silver wielded by a big, thick-fingered, extremely capable hand, jumped back from out of the way of another slashing attack as he and the big man crouched and circled each other. From the corner of his eye, he saw the tall, thin man back on his feet and rushing toward him.

Jax looked up to see Mindy swinging her purse like a ball and chain, smashing the bag into the side of the tall man’s head, sending him staggering, grunting as he landed on his hands and knees.

“Bitch! he screamed, shaking his head to clear it, providing the distraction Jax needed.  He kicked the knife out of the beefy man’s hand and threw a punch that sent him reeling.  Mr. Average had already climbed into the van and shoved the vehicle into gear.

“Come on!” the man shouted through the open passenger window.  “Let’s go!”

The tall man turned and ran, leaping through the open van doors, and the big, muscular man shot in behind him. Tires burned and smoke rolled up from the wheels as the vehicle screeched away.

 Kat Martin Bio

Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin.  More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries.  Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film.  Kat’s next hardcover, THE DECEPTION, a Romantic Thriller, will be released on September 10th.





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