Sabotage

Sabotage

Dale Wiley

on Tour August 2015

Synopsis:

cover

Every hour explosions rock America. There is no rhyme or reason to where they appear: big cities, small towns, even rural backroads. The sinister message that suddenly appears on America’s computer screens is clear: No one is safe:

  • Not disgraced FBI agent Grant, awaiting his call back to the big time;
  • Not rapper Pal Joey, an international sensation;
  • Not savvy, stunning beauty Caitlin, the ultimate Sin City party girl;
  • Not even Naseem, the would-be martyr who helped plan the attacks and now finds himself double-crossed.
  • As an unhinged mastermind paralyzes a nation, these unlikely heroes must put aside their pasts and work together to stop him before more hours bring more disasters.

    All roads lead to Las Vegas, where the plan begins to unravel. Can four people, united only by their hatred of this singular villain, finally stop Sabotage?

    Book Details:

    Genre: Thriller

    Published by: Smashwords

    Publication Date: August 2 for Apple | August 3 everywhere else

    Number of Pages: 220

    ISBN: 9781310917455

    Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Amazon Goodreads

    Trailer:

    Read an excerpt:

    The money, all forty thousand dollars, was lined up all out on the counter when Seth got there.

    It might as well have been a million to Seth. He had been involved in big deals before, but that was when the economy was good and people threw money around for fun. He did that too, back then. Then everything changed and the people who had money, even in Vegas, went into their holes and stopped sharing. This was important and different and better. And it came at the right time, too.

    The deal worked like this: He got to leave with half the cash right then. Twenty thousand dollars. He had already rented a safe deposit box to keep it in; that was the first time he had been in a bank in years. Yes, what he was doing was risky, but he got to leave with that unthinkable amount of money. This morning. He would spend one hour on a plane, and then he was done. Pretty much, anyway. And the rest of the money? His before nightfall.

    He was on the 34th floor of the Trump Tower, one of the newer and more impressive addresses in Las Vegas. It was seven a.m. The sky was a warm yellow and promised heat, like almost every day in Vegas. But he didn’t get to see it much, not like this anyway. He couldn’t remember when he had last been awake at this hour of the morning. Check that: When he had woken up at this time. In a town like Vegas, you often went down when the sun came up. Normally he was either rolling in about now, or sleeping off the after-effects of a long night. But an early morning was what the job required, and Seth desperately needed this.

    He had been to this apartment several times before. He had initially been wary of his benefactor’s strange behavior, aloof and put-on, far from the passionate pawing of his other suitors, but he was beginning to understand. He felt sure that he was hired because he looked so much like the man who paid him so well to come and visit. It was uncanny. His own skin was a shade darker than his doppelganger, but both men were handsome, around six feet tall, dark complexion and dark hair. Both men had light eyes. Twice on his visits the doorman had smiled at him as if he were the building’s resident. It took some getting used to, to sit across from yourself and talk, but Seth got used to things very quickly.

    Seth was an escort, a plaything. He liked his job most of the time, but it led him into odd circumstances. Men paying you to suck his toes. Men wanting to cut his hair. He still wasn’t fully sure what to make of the quiet man who brought him here, to his apartment. Most other men desired Seth’s body, wanted to devour him, to come out of the closet in Vegas before stepping back in and heading home, or to add him to their strange Vegas menagerie. Not Yankee. He told him he just wanted companionship, conversation, just like the ad on Seth’s website said. No sex, no toe-sucking. Seth wondered if Yankee liked the idea of talking to himself, given their similarity in appearance.

    Yankee’s apartment, where they always met, was big and somewhat bland, looking and feeling more like a nice big hotel suite than a real place where someone lived. Most of the men who lived in Vegas and invited him to their place generally had expansive and well-decorated homes, with Rothkos and Hockneys and other tasteful artists. The rest had festive and overdone palaces straight out of a Fellini film. Yankee’s place felt like the junior suite at the nicest hotel in town, but nothing more. It had maid service and a kitchen that looked like no one had ever cooked there. Seth walked by the kitchen every time he walked in, and he always took a longing look inside. Seth, who was a good and thoughtful cook, hated to see such a wonderful space wasted by someone who didn’t appreciate or have time for it. He wondered how much time Yankee actually spent here.

    After the third visit, when Yankee said he knew him well enough, he asked Seth if he would be interested in a big job. Not just a thousand dollars here and there, but a score. Yankee had said he had looked into his background (or what he thought he knew of it), and felt that he could be trusted. He also knew from his profession that he had long ago lost his tendency to gag.

    Yankee looked at him seriously. Are you interested? I understand if you’re not. But of course Seth was interested. He occasionally made good money, but there were all of the craps tables and party drugs to think about. Seth wanted to have a nest egg. He nodded, and waited for what Yankee would say.

    Just swallow three condoms, filled with drugs. Take a one hour flight. Take some laxatives and release. Make twenty thousand upon swallowing, twenty thousand upon releasing the packages back to the owners. Some chance of death, some chance of prison. But, as he saw it, Seth dealt with those risks every day he sold himself in Las Vegas, and for a much smaller return.

    He was nervous. He sat on the stiff leather couch, which it seemed like no one ever sat on, knowing that Yankee would appear after what seemed like an eternity. This was his way. Seth sat and looked at the money.

    He thought about just taking the money, grabbing the first elevator and praying for ground, but he looked around and once again had the sensation he was being watched. He knew there was another entrance to this apartment, and he didn’t know whether Yankee was already here or coming through that entrance. But he knew enough to be sure he didn’t want to cross this man. Despite his kindness, Seth knew Yankee could be cruel, all without losing his quiet demeanor. There was always a chance that a condom would rupture in his stomach during his flight, or that he would get caught by officers waiting in Los Angeles, but that risk was nothing compared to dashing away with the money. He assumed that indiscretion would assure an all-but-certain death. And though he might say in a fit of boy-induced drama that sometimes he wished he would die, he really didn’t. He wanted this to go well, and he wanted to pocket the rewards.

    Seth wondered if you could see his thoughts on the surveillance screen. He didn’t want to give anything away. He didn’t want to risk Yankee pulling back. He went back to thinking like a mule. That was what this job required. And if he got paid this well, he would think like a mule, act like a mule, be a mule.

    Finally, some fifteen minutes later, give or take, in came Yankee. He kissed Seth gently on the cheek as he always did. This was their only physical contact.

    “Big day!” said Yankee in an overly fey manner. Seth knew he wasn’t gay. “Are you ready?”

    “I’m ready,” said Seth, who had been anticipating this for weeks.

    “Well, they’re in the fridge.” Yankee went and opened the refrigerator and took out a plate with three pink condoms on it. “I put some strawberry jam on them,” Yankee said. “I knew that was your fave.”

    The condoms were filled with a gelatinous substance. They were the size of small bananas, but not difficult to get down. At the last visit, they had practiced swallowing some condoms close to this size with a similar liquid. They timed how long it took them to come out: two and a half hours. Yankee paid him double for that session.

    Yankee assured him that these were double-bagged. Seth smiled, and said, Down the hatch.” He opened up the back of his throat and swallowed the three packages easily, followed by lots of water.

    “Lie down. Like last time,” Yankee said, a little hurried. “Then I’ll take you to the airport.”

    Seth did. This place made him sleepy anyway. He moved to the couch, took off his shoes, and laid down. He closed his eyes and relaxed.

    Yankee went to the kitchen. He opened the knife drawer, and took out the H&K pistol that was hidden in the back. The silencer was already on.

    Seth started to drift. And then it hit him. Why would Yankee want someone who looked like him to make this run? Why wouldn’t he want someone completely different? Why would he want connections?

    Checking one more time to make sure Seth’s eyes were closed, Yankee emerged from the kitchen. He strode stiffly across the room. Yankee bent over Seth and held his breath.

    Seth felt the weight on top of his chest and opened his eyes in terror. He realized what was happening. He tried to push Yankee away but he had no leverage. He started to yell “No” but it was too late. Yankee put the gun up to Seth’s left eye and pulled the trigger. All that was heard was a sound no louder than a handclap. Seth slumped. Yankee started to shoot again, but saw it was unnecessary. Seth the greedy escort was no more.

    Yankee flipped his body off the couch and onto the floor, where he landed face-down. Exactly as planned. Blood rolled down the leather couch where Seth’s head had been. He took the coffee table and flipped it on top of the body, enough to cause papers to scatter, but not enough to make much of a sound. He eased it on top of the remote-operated bomb that now was Seth The Escort. Yankee looked down and saw that he had gotten some blood on himself, which was not surprising. The room, normally so neat, was now oh-such-a-mess. Yankee laughed. He was still playing the fake fairy.

    It didn’t matter. Yankee was never coming back. He took off his clothes and placed them in a black garbage bag. Then, just like the condoms filled with plastic explosives that now rested in Seth’s belly, he double-bagged it. Before he got into the shower, he turned the thermostat all the way down. He wanted it to feel like a meat locker in the apartment. Then he got in the heat and the steam and took his time. Lather, rinse, repeat. Stay calm and think. He breathed deeply and fully, slowing his heart rate as best he could, and made sure he had his plan ready. He came out of the shower, put on his delivery man get-up, replete with white coveralls and a red cap, put the trash bag in one hand and a clipboard in the other, and found the service elevator. He keyed in the code and rode down, happy that no one shared the ride. He made it to the ground floor and tossed the trash bag into the back of the trash truck, which had just backed into the bay, nodding at a couple of workers as he headed for the parking lot. He walked to the other side, got in his ride, and was on his way.

    Yankee enjoyed his last minutes of anonymity, driving a red Ford pickup into history. Soon he was going to be the most hated man in America. Or at least the character he had created was.

    Author Bio:

    Dale Wiley is a Missouri attorney who has had a character named after him on CSI, owned a record label, been interviewed by Bob Edwards on NPR’s Morning Edition and made motorcycles for Merle Haggard and John Paul DeJoria. He has three awesome kids and spends his days working as a lawyer fighting the big banks.

    Catch Up:

    Tour Giveaway:

    This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Dale Wiley. There will be THREE U.S. winners of an ebook copy of either Sabotage, Kissing Persuasive Lips or both books by Dale Wiley. The giveaway is open to US residents only. The giveaway begins on August 1st, 2015 and runs through September 31st, 2015.
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    Tour Participants:



    Review:

     
    OK, I like most books. But I LOVED Sabotage. Author Dale Wiley starts off perfectly — rocketing from bombing to bombing. The book’s characters don’t know what is going on and neither do you. I really felt as confused as the book’s characters. Then there were hints of what was really happening and the plan was slowly revealed. And the two people that join together to “save the world”? Fabulous. I can’t say much because I don’t want to ruin the book but trust me, read this book.

    Perhaps the most frightening thing about this book is it seems so real. You could totally believe this is a real scenario. I suppose the terror in our own lives only enhances the terror we now read in thrillers. My only complaint was a couple of minor characters didn’t seemed fully fleshed out. Other than that I couldn’t put this book down. I even blurted out the plot(no spoilers) to a complete stranger while waiting in line at the DMV!

    Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

     

     

     

    Interview and Giveaway for The Lost Concerto

    The Lost Concerto

    by Helaine Mario

    on Tour August 1-31, 2015

    Synopsis:

    cover

    A woman and her young son flee to a convent on a remote island off the Breton coast of France. Generations of seafarers have named the place Ile de la Brume, or Fog Island. In a chapel high on a cliff, a tragic death occurs and a terrified child vanishes into the mist.

    The child’s godmother, Maggie O’Shea, haunted by the violent deaths of her husband and best friend, has withdrawn from her life as a classical pianist. But then a recording of unforgettable music and a grainy photograph surface, connecting her missing godson to a long-lost first love.

    The photograph will draw Maggie inexorably into a collision course with criminal forces, decades-long secrets, stolen art and musical artifacts, and deadly terrorists. Her search will take her to the Festival de Musique, Aix-en-Provence, France, where she discovers answers to the mystery surrounding her husband’s death, an unexpected love—and a musical masterpiece lost for centuries.

    A compelling blend of suspense, mystery, political intrigue, and romance, The Lost Concerto explores universal themes of loss, vengeance, courage, and love.

     

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery, Suspense

    Published by: Oceanview Publishing

    Publication Date: July 1st 2015

    Number of Pages: 443

    ISBN: 9781608091515

    Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

    Author Bio:

    Helaine Mario grew up in New York City and is a graduate of Boston University. She has served on many nonprofit boards while residing in both Connecticut and Maryland.

    A passionate advocate for women’s and children’s issues, she is the founder and president of The SunDial Foundation, which is connected to over 30 DC area nonprofits. Helaine and her husband, Ron, now live in Arlington, Virginia, and Sarasota, Florida. The Lost Concerto, her second novel, was inspired by her son Sean, a classical pianist.

    Catch Up:
    author's website author's twitter author's facebook

     

    5Ws with Helaine Mario:

    WHO

    Who in your life encouraged you to begin writing?

     Two women I never met inspired me to write fiction – Helen MacInnes and Mary Stewart.  Not teachers, but writers – queens of espionage novels and romantic suspense from 1941 through the 80’s.  They taught me about suspense, courage and love, and they inspired me with their heroic women characters.  I never took a writing class, but from these writers I learned about building page-turning suspense, finding a voice, dialogue that sounds natural, creating a believable and involving romance.  Like those who went before me, my stories have international and evocative settings, political intrigue, timely plots and complex characters.  The women in my novels, especially, are strong, intelligent, funny, accomplished and brave.  Women who somehow find the courage to do the right thing no matter what.

    I read every single one of these writers’ books.  And I miss them.

    WHAT 

    What type of musical talents do you have? You write so passionately about the music world you must be a musician or, at the very least, a music lover.

    Yes, I am passionate about music.  But I have no musical talent.  My husband and I had no musical instruments in our home when our children were young.  I cannot read music, nor can I find middle C on the piano.

    But – I do love music.  Folk, Jazz, Broadway, Opera.  Most especially, Classical.  My son, Sean, began asking for piano lessons when he was five.  We rented an old upright, convinced that he would lose interest within a few months.  The months became years, and he graduated to a new upright, and then a grand piano – competing frequently in classical competitions.  As I listened to him practice, I fell deeply, madly in love with the great pieces and composers – Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky.

    When I decided to write this novel, I knew that my main character would have to be a classical pianist.  But because I am not a musician, that meant research.  Hours and hours and hours of research.  I talked to musicians, and I read about musical expressions, instruments, composers, and the most beautiful symphonies and concertos.  The good news is that one article on music led to lost music, and that article led to music lost during World War II, and – voila! – a plot was born.  With music as a key character.

    An anecdote about character and music – I happened to glance through a gift catalog and saw a cheap t-shirt for sale with an amusing music quote.  Aha!  From that moment on, my pianist Maggie wore a collection of music t-shirts with quotes like “don’t shoot the piano player.’  It’s this little something extra, the polishing, that rounds out your characters and gives them heart and soul, brings them to life.  And keeps the music theme up front and personal.

    Finally, you might be interested to know that in my ‘author’s notes’ at the end of The Lost Concerto I list a dozen classical pieces for the reader that play a role in this story.

    WHEN

    When can we look for another book from you? Can we have a sneak peek at the title or plot?

     I now am writing my third novel of suspense and hope to finish it in early 2016.  My first two novels, Firebird and The Lost Concerto, are ‘stand-alone’ novels with their own individual storylines and characters. I want this third novel to be a sequel for sure.  My problem is that I still love both stories and all my characters from each of the previous novels.  So, whose story do I continue?  Both of my main women characters, Alexandra from Firebird and Maggie from The Lost Concerto, absolutely deserve their own stories and sequels.

    As of now, my work in progress is titled Woman in Shadows.  It continues the ‘missing art’ storyline from The Lost Concerto, and includes my Lost Concerto characters Simon Sugarman and Zachary Law.  My main characters, however, will be my art curator Alexandra, Agent Garcia and the Russian Yuri Belankov, all from Firebird.  As in Firebird, Alexandra will have her own personal agenda involving a family mystery and her search for a priceless, long lost painting.

    So far the settings are New York City and Vienna.  And now I have learned that I want to have music in all my novels, so I have a new character – the cellist Hannah.  Also, because I believe several generations of characters make the relationships and plot more interesting, I’ve been surprised by a young Russian teen with a secret.  And lately a symphony conductor has been slipping into my mind, demanding to be heard.  To be continued…

    WHERE

    The Lost Concerto took its characters all over the world, of the many places mentioned in your novel where would you like to go?

    Boston is one of my favorite cities in the world.  I went to Boston University and fell in love with this strong, beautiful city.  I worked there, met my husband there, walked the cobbled streets when I was happy and when my heart was broken.  We still return every October, just ‘because.’  It’s no wonder that I would want to set Maggie’s music shop in Boston.

    As for my European settings…  I always will go back to Paris in a heartbeat.  My husband’s international business gave me an opportunity to visit this glorious city many times over the years, and I wandered and got to know so many of the neighborhoods – the ‘arrondisments.’  The Marais, the Left Bank, Invalides, Montmartre, Ile de la Cite…  I had the time to find the intimate and ‘out of the way’ places, and these, in turn, found their way into my novel.  The Bird Market, the cemetery of Pere Lachaise, Notre Dame’s tower walkway, the houseboats along the Seine, Musee d’Orsay.  There are scenes set in all of these evocative places, and more.

    Having said this… I would go back to the South of France in a heartbeat as well.  The lavender, the abbeys, the ocher villages, the scent of olive trees, the outdoor markets and cafes, the distant glimpse of bright sea.  There is no other place quite like it.

    And then there is my first novel, Firebird…   I am a New Yorker who loves art, and so my character Alexandra is an art curator on the Upper West side.  And because I worked at the White House, in the office of the Vice President, during the 8 years of Clinton/Gore… well, of course Firebird is rife with Washington‘s political intrigue.

    I recently returned from my first visit to Vienna, and was so taken by the Opera House and the Lipizzaner stallions that I have set several scenes in my third book there – the work in progress is Woman in Shadows.

    Finally, if I could choose a new place to visit, a place I’ve never been, I would visit big sky Montana, and Washington’s San Juan Islands.  I am absolutely certain that beautiful, complex new characters would walk toward me from the ferry, or out of the deep green forests.

    WHY

    Why does grief and mourning play an important part in both your novels?

     As usual, for me there is an easy answer and a far more complicated one.

    Easy first.  As a writer, more than anything, I want people to really care about my characters.  I have learned that most readers want to like a character, invest in them, have empathy, feel for them.

    For me, the most interesting characters are those who have some difficulty, struggle or loss to overcome.  Readers will respond very strongly to a character who is conflicted, trying to deal with a loss, trying to overcome pain and sorrow, trying to find the courage to move on.  The heart of the story then becomes how they move on.  And hopefully the reader will want to take the journey with them.

    The more complicated answer is that, at my age, I am losing people I love.  We have lost many dear friends, and I am very close to several women who have suddenly become widows.  I see the grief and loss in their eyes, the confusion and distance…  I’ve learned that every person must grieve in their own way, in their own time.  Some will move on, and some will not.  And so, in creating the characters of Alexandra and Maggie, I really am trying to imagine the unimaginable – my own grief, and how I would react to loss.  In a way these scenes are my own “year of magical thinking.”

    While there are many moments in life that we cannot change or control, I know that it’s how we deal with what happens to us that matters.  This is when we learn who we truly are.  This always will be a theme in my novels.

    Giveaway:

    This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Helaine Mario & Oceanview Publishing. There will be ONE U.S. winner of a physical book copy of The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario. The giveaway is open to US residents only. The giveaway begins on Aug 1st, 2015 and runs through Aug 31st, 2015. Stop by our tour stops too because several of them are giving away signed print copies of The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario! a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Check out my review of The Lost Concerto on Building Bookshelves.

     

    A Portrait of Love and Honor: A Novel Based on a True Story

    A Portrait of Love and Honor: A Novel Based on a True Storyhigh res_front-2

    Author: Susan G. Weidener

    Paperback: 226 pages (also available in ebook)

    Publisher: Writing Circle Press (April 10, 2015)

    Synposis:

    Newly-divorced and on her own, 40-something Ava Stuart forges a new life. One day, at a signing in the local library for her novel, a tall, dark-haired man walks in and stands in the back of the room. Jay Scioli is a wanderer – a man who has said good-bye to innocence, the U. S. Army, and corporate America. His outlook on life having changed, his health shattered by illness, he writes a memoir. In his isolation, he searches for an editor to help him pick up the loose ends. Time may be running out. He is drawn to the striking and successful Ava. Facing one setback after another, their love embraces friendship, crisis, dignity, disillusionment. Their love story reflects a reason for living in the face of life’s unexpected events.

    Based on a true story, A Portrait of Love and Honor takes the reader from the halls of the United States Military Academy at West Point during the Vietnam War to a moving love story between two people destined to meet.

    Author:

    Susan Weidener photoSusan G. Weidener is a former journalist with The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has interviewed a host of interesting people from all walks of life, including Guy Lombardo, Bob Hope, Leonard Nimoy, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and Mary Pipher.  She left journalism in 2007 and after attending a women’s writing retreat, wrote and published her memoir, Again in a Heartbeat, a memoir of love, loss and dating again, about being widowed at a young age. Two years later, she wrote and published its sequel, Morning at Wellington Square, a woman’s search for passion and renewal in middle age. Her novel, A Portrait of Love and Honor, completes the trilogy, inspired by and dedicated to her late husband, John M. Cavalieri, on whose memoir the novel is based.  Susan earned a BA in Literature from American University and a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania. An editor, writing coach and teacher of writing workshops, she founded the Women’s Writing Circle, a support and critique group for writers in suburban Philadelphia. She lives in Chester Springs, PA.  Her website is: www.susanweidener.com.

     

    In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon

    In the Company of Sherlock Holmes

    Editor: Leslie S. Klinger and Laurie R. King

    Hardcover: 384 pages (also available in ebook, audio and paperback)sherlock

    Publisher: Pegasus (November 11, 2014)

    Synposis:

    The Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were recently voted as the top mystery series of all time, and they have enthralled generations of readers and writers!

    Now, Laurie R. King, author of the New York Times-bestselling Mary Russell series (in which Holmes plays a co-starring role), and Leslie S. Klinger, editor of the New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, have assembled a stellar group of contemporary authors from a variety of genres and asked them to create new stories inspired by that canon. Readers will find Holmes in times and places previously unimagined, as well as characters who have themselves been affected by the tales of Sherlock Holmes.

    The resulting volume is an absolute delight for Holmes fans both new and old, with contributions from Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Dirda, Harlan Ellison, Denise Hamilton, Nancy Holder, John Lescroart, Sara Paretsky, Michael Sims, and more. The game is afoot again!

    Review:

    Lately, Sherlock Holmes has been popping up in my life everywhere. My daughter is on a Holmes kick and is reading a series of Holmes meets historical characters series, I recently saw a trailer for a movie of Holmes in his later life and a reviewed a book where Holmes travels to Japan. So when I saw this book, I took all the rest as a sign. I should read it!

    If you’re a strict Doyle-ist, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes is not for you. This book is a wild ride of Holmes related stories: some take place in the present, some true to the Doyle style, graphic novel stories, social media stories, cartoons, stories about peripheral characters or plot lines. There were no stories with science fiction or Western themes but it seems other than that, anything goes. Although I enjoy Sherlock Holmes, I haven’t delved into the books and stories for a bit so I worry that a few of the Holmes connections were lost on me…of course Holmes fanatics might be perturbed by the fantastic liberties some of the authors have taken. Personally, I enjoyed the book and rarely came across a story that didn’t keep me turning the pages.

    If you are like me, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes will reintroduce you to half-forgotten characters and encourage you to reread the original Doyle literature…just to see how close the contributors came to capturing the essence of Holmes.

    Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries

    Resorting to Murder

    Editor: Martin Edwards

    Paperback: 286 pages

    Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (June 2, 2015)amurder

    Synposis:

    Holidays offer us the luxury of getting away from it all. So, in a different way, do detective stories. This collection of vintage mysteries combines both those pleasures. From a golf course at the English seaside to a pension in Paris, and from a Swiss mountain resort to the cliffs of Normandy, this new selection shows the enjoyable and unexpected ways in which crime writers have used summer holidays as a theme. These fourteen stories range widely across the golden age of British crime fiction. Stellar names from the past are well represented – Arthur Conan Doyle and G. K. Chesterton, for instance – with classic stories that have won acclaim over the decades. The collection also uncovers a wide range of hidden gems: Anthony Berkeley – whose brilliance with plot had even Agatha Christie in raptures – is represented by a story so (undeservedly) obscure that even the British Library seems not to own a copy. The stories by Phyllis Bentley and Helen Simpson are almost equally rare, despite the success which both writers achieved, while those by H. C. Bailey, Leo Bruce and the little-known Gerald Findler have seldom been reprinted.

    Review:

    I enjoyed the author biographies and publication history that precluded each story just as much as the stories themselves. Some authors were mysterious creatures that little is known except their names, others are well-known names from the Golden Age of Murder, and almost all find their lives and literary works intertwined. The 14 stories run the gamut from “Fabulous!” to “I know who did it!” to “Eh?” but too be perfectly honest there was only one that had me wondering why the editors included it. It was interesting to see that, although most of the authors wrote with their usual detectives in their usual style a few departed from the usual…took a holiday, if you’ll excuse the pun. It was enjoyable to see them stretch their literary muscles.

    If you want this for a mystery lover, ensure that they are a lover of the mysteries of the 30s not (or in addition to) mysteries of the present day. Because, for the most part these mysteries are an exercise in logic — not given to blood pumping excitement or the threat of death. But for those who love logic puzzles, I can think of no better way to spend a summer vacation.

     

    Interview with David Berner

    David Berner has had a life of telling stories. And now he’s on a WOW Blog Tour with his third book: There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard. David’s doing 5Ws today and you can read my review of There’s a Hamster in myhamsterindashboard Dashboard here. You can also enter to win a copy at Hott Books.

    I have been fascinated with stories since my days delivering The Pittsburgh Press newspaper as a young boy. Many early Sunday mornings, when I was supposed to be dropping off the latest edition on the doorsteps of my customers, I instead sat on the curb and read about the world. The habit kept me from making newspaper deliveries on time, and needless to say, not everyone was pleased.

    I began telling my own stories and the stories of others as a reporter for numerous radio stations, including freelance work at National Public Radio and more recently for CBS in Chicago and the CBS Radio Network. I have also produced a number of audio documentaries, including BRACELETS OF GRACE: The Vietnam War Story of Major Stanley Horne, and FINDING MY KEROUAC, both of which have been broadcast on public radio stations across the country and can be downloaded by clicking on the names above.

    In 2011, I was awarded the position of Writer-in-Residence for the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando. I was privileged to live and work at the Kerouac House in Orlando for two-and-a-half months. It was there that I completed the manuscript for Any Road Will Take You There. It was one of the most incredible times of my writing life.

    Today, I am an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, a journalist, writer, and broadcaster. I am humbled by the awards my books and broadcast work have received, and thrilled my writing has been published in wonderful journals and magazines: Under the Gum Tree, Epiphany Magazine, Perigee (Publication for the Arts) , Tiny Lights Journal, The Write Magazine, Rivulets, Clef Notes Journal, and in a number of other publications–online and in print. And to all the readers who have somehow found my stories relevant to their lives, I am forever grateful.

    WHO
    davidWho has been the most influential person (or animal) in your life?

    Person — my mother. No question. She loved books, encouraged me to write, and was my best supporter when I was finding my way. My father would be right up there; he showed me how to be a man. Animal? My first dog was a collie, purchased for me by my grandfather. It was my most honest companion when I was growing up. We did everything together — walks in the woods, tossing the ball in the backyard. That dog taught me how to consider the needs of others and how to love unconditionally.

    WHAT
    What is one non-traditional pet you’d like to have if money, space and neighbors were not issues?

    I’ve always been partial to dogs, but I’ve had my share — as a kid — of more exotic companions. My father always wanted a monkey — a chimp — but that wasn’t really going to happen. My mother would never have permitted that. I think a Koala would be great, but then again, I wouldn’t want to take a wild animal out of its habitat, and they’re probably protected, right? I had a girlfriend in high school that had a rabbit, one of those big floppy-eared ones. It was terrific. It had a personality, was affectionate, and was even house trained. I’d probably go with what is known as a cinnamon rabbit. They’re about as big as a large cat and have tremendous coloring. Plus, they’re soft and fluffy. Can’t beat that.

    WHY
    Why do you think pets are so important in our lives?

    Pets are our link to the natural world and at the same time they remind us of how human we are. As humans, we tend to assume we rule the world, we own it, we have say over it all. Pets remind us that we are partners on this planet. I know this might sound terribly cliché, but we are in this life together, we share the Earth, and we need to be true companions. Plus, pets allow us to fall in love. The unconditional love of a dog can teach us how to be caring, non-judgmental, and affectionate. What’s better than that?

    WHERE
    Where do you do your writing? Are you surrounded by animals? (I wrote my book with two dogs using my feet as their pillows.)

    I wrote There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard with my dog, Mike at my feet. I sat at my circular black desk, computer in front of me, and Mike sleeping near by. But I do a lot of my writing at coffee shops. There’s something about the whir of espresso machines and the quiet conversations all around. I need a little noise when I write, silence allows my mind too much room. Plus, at a coffee shop you can take a break, grab an Americano, and talk to the barista when the writing stalls.

    WHEN
    When did you begin writing and what’s up next for you?

    My very first book was in 3rd grade, if I remember correctly. It was a class project. We made our own individual books out of paper mache. Mine was entitled The Cyclops and was about a Jacque Cousteau character chasing a sea monster. But my serious writing came when I began my journalism career. I wrote radio copy and print and online stories. Accidental Lessonswas my first book, a memoir of a year teaching in a troubled school district just outside Chicago. It was a life-changing year. Working on my second book, Any Road Will Take You There turned me into a writer who simply couldn’t function without writing. I became a daily writer. I was always a storyteller in some way, but Any Road Will Take You There fueled me and helped me believe in my writing.

    Category: Interviews  2 Comments

    Method 15/33

    Method 15/33

    by Shannon Kirk

    on Tour July 2015

     

    Synopsis:

    cover

    Kidnapped, pregnant teen turns the tables. Who is the victim and who is the aggressor?

    Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who’s just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped…

    Alone…Terrified.

    Now forget her…

    Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn child and to exact merciless revenge.

    She is methodical—calculating— scientific in her plotting. A clinical sociopath? Leaving nothing to chance, secure in her timing and practice, she waits—for the perfect moment to strike. Method 15/33 is what happens when the victim is just as cold as her abductors.

    The agents searching for a kidnapped girl have their own frustrations and desires wrapped into this chilling drama. In the twists of intersecting stories, one is left to ponder. Who is the victim? Who is the aggressor?

     

    Book Details:

    Genre: Psychological Thriller

    Published by: Oceanview Publishing

    Publication Date: May 5, 2015

    Number of Pages: 258

    ISBN: 1608091457 (ISBN13: 9781608091454)

    Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

     

    Review:

    If I had to use one word to describe Method 15/33, it would be “tension”. Author Shannon Kirk manages to keep you always guessing, always wondering, always feeling a little bit out of control. She’s also keeps you ambivalent. You feel sorry for the kidnapped girl and a bit horrified by what may happen but on the other hand she’s so…off…you wonder could she in some twisted way be the evil person in this story.

    This is a book you will find yourself reading at 2 a.m. just because you needed one more page, one more page, one more page. You’ll get whiplash from the changing emotions you feel for various characters. Method 15/33 will have you wondering how much of a person’s action are choice and how much are some inevitable road they’re on because of the experiences that shaped their childhoods or some odd quirk of their genes. This book will make you wonder.

    Trailer:

    Author Bio:

    authorShannon Kirk is a practicing attorney and a law professor. She attended West Virginia Wesleyan and St. John’s Universities, is a graduate of Suffolk Law School, and was a trial lawyer in Chicago prior to moving to Massachusetts. She has been honored three times by the Faulkner Society in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, a physicist, and their son. Method 15/33 is her first novel.

    Catch Up:
    Shannon Kirk's website Shannon Kirk's twitter Shannon Kirk's facebook

     

    Review: Cross Examinations

    Cross Examinations: Crime in ColumbusCROSSEXAMCOVERmEDIUM-188x300

    Author: John Hegenberger

    Ebook: 81 pages

    Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (May 16, 2015)

    Synposis:

    A series of serious crimes: Kidnapping. Murder. Art Thief. Blackmail. Comic Books. “…fast-moving, atmospheric, and consistently surprising…”

    Private Investigator Eliot Cross faces heartache, headache, backache, and a royal pain in the neck in these rollicking noir stores from the heart of the Heartland. Never before published, CROSS EXAMINATIONS sets the stage for an exciting new novel that will join pop-culture author, John Hegenberger’s soon-to-be-published Tripleye trilogy and his upcoming Stan Wade, L.A.P.I. series.

    Review:

    If you enjoy the hardboiled detectives of the 30s and 40s you’ll love Eliot Cross. He’s a man who has a life that seems to revolve around crimes and unraveling them. When he isn’t hired as a private  detective, he just seems to stumble over odd situations that demand looking into. This isn’t one long novel but a collection of vignettes — snapshots into Cross’s life. I breezed through this book and enjoyed all the different situation Eliot got into (and out of although he did have a few close calls). There was a lot of variety which made the book interesting and it’s a great way to get introduced to a new writer.

    My only complaint was a few typos and misspellings that distracted me as I read. But I don’t want to make too big a deal of that — occassionally my e-reader does some kaflooey things with formatting.

    Download for FREE on July 14 and July 15. Don’t miss a peek at this new author with a classic style.

     

    5Ws with Barbara Barth

    Today Barbara Barth, an utterly charming and (I say this is as aBarbaraBookCover compliment) wacky author is visiting for 5Ws. I never know what’s going to come next from this lady who is so full of imagination and inspiration that every time I turn around she has a new book to tell me about! Her latest is A Dog Dreams of Paris a picture book for “dreamers of all ages”. You can read my review of it here.

    annabelleBarbara Barth likes a lot of things: turquoise jewelry, surfing the ‘net, and margaritas, to name a few. Then there are the dogs. As many as her house can hold! After her husband died she recorded the year that followed in a series of essays that became her memoir The Unfaithful Widow. She also wrote a suspense-romance called Danger in her Words. When she isn’t writing you can find her at the local thrift shops or pounding another nail into the wall to hang the paintings she can’t resist. You can learn more about Barbara and the upcoming dates (and book giveaways!) on her WOW Blog Tour here.

    Who is your favorite author? Who is your favorite canine literary character?

    I don’t really have a favorite author that I follow. I have books that I read and love and the author is my favorite at that moment. Sometimes I will dearly love one book by an author, but not the next one that is written.Bertha It’s hard to tell what will strike my fancy, it depends on my mood. I am not a huge fiction fan, more essays and memoirs on life, and houses, gardens, and of course, dogs. At the beginning of this year I read Around the House and in the Garden: A Memoir of Heartbreak, Healing, and Home Improvement by Dominique Browning. At the time of writing her memoir, Browning was editor in chief of House & Garden magazine. Her story is about the way a house can express loss, and then bereavement, and then, finally, the rebuilding of a life. I was in a reflective mood at the time, worrying about my need for hip replacement surgery. Her words on finding comfort in her home resonated with me. For a complete turn about, my favorite fiction read this year was Mary Kay Andrews Save The Date. A wonderfully entertaining story of a floral designer, a big wedding, romance, a dog, and one of my dream cities, Savannah. I wanted to move to Savannah and open my own florist shop after reading the book. It was light and fun and the description of the city, the apartment, her shop, and all the brides coming in with their Pinterest boards on their iPads was so in the moment my head spun in joy. Both books played on my own house fantasies!

    BrayMy favorite dog story, a children’s book by Hans Wilhelm, I’ll Always Love You, is dear to my heart for many reasons. It is the story of a young boy and his puppy, Elfie, a dachshund, as they grow up together. As Elfie ages she can no longer romp and play, and her health goes downhill, until one morning she does not wake up. As grim as that sounds, it is so beautifully written with a life message for all of us. The boy takes solace in the fact he told Elfie how much he loved her every day. While he is not ready for a new dog, he knows he will one day and will always remember to say “I love you”. I am almost in tears again as I write this. What a beautiful message to everyone. Let those around you know you love them. The illustrations are charming and naïve. It is classic for me.

    What charity is benefiting from your latest book, A Dog Dreams of Paris?

    The month of May, the launch month for my picture book, Friends of Dekalb Animals (FODA), a local group I am very familiar with, received the royalties. It was not a large sum, Chloebut with any rescue group everything and anything is needed. I also sent a packet of books to Atlanta Canine Adoption Project (ACAP) the group that brought Miss April in Paris and her buddy Rascal to me! Most of May I was in the hospital with hip replacement surgery and inpatient physical therapy. So I got off to a slow start with my marketing. The book is available to rescue groups at my wholesale cost if they are interested in using it for fund raising. They can contact me directly for details. In the fall I plan to set up at festivals, and doggie events, signing my books, with the profits going to animal shelters. My goal is to use any profits for my animal rescue folks. The book is my way of giving back to the folks who work so hard to help our dogs find their forever homes.

    Where would you visit if you could go anywhere in the world? Will Miss April be visiting anywhere else?

    While I was writing the book my mind was humming the tune to Somewhere Over The Rainbow, but the words in my head were, A dog dreams of Paris, why, oh why can’t I? I tell you why I can’t. I have SIX dogs at home! It’s hard to go anywhere. My pet sitter fees are crazy. Luckily, I am a nester and travel is not high on my wish list. I like to take day trips to see places, usually to work off my farmhouse fantasy, by going to rural towns around Atlanta. But I rarely am gone overnight. I dream of Paris, too. I’d love to visit it. I did make it to London years ago, and it was wonderful. But at that time I had only one dog and a husband who stayed with the dog and I traveled with my mother! My biggest problem about traveling, is that wherever I go, I look at real estate ads. I want to live every place, but in reality, just like April in her book, there is no place like home, my forever home with my six dogs!

    April’s travels are over for the time being, unless of course she becomes famous and has to make TV appearances! I have five other dogs with their dreams. You may see some action with them in the future!

    When did you decide to become a writer? When did you decide to become a publisher?

    I started writing right after my husband died in 2008. I found myself sending odd e-mails to friends at 2am thenwriting them back saying, “never mind!” I finally decided to channel my grief and anxiety into writing. TheApril with Rascal more I put words down, the more I found I enjoyed the process. It was a huge help to me in dealing with pain. I did not go to grief counseling and only looked at one widow book that freaked me out with the advice it gave. I decided to write my own widow story, essays over the course of the first year, quirky stories on finding peace and happiness with the help of a vintage Corvette, girlfriends, bad dates leading to good things, signs from the universe, and a bevy of dogs to fill my heart and bed. The Unfaithful Widow was the end result and I am proud that it placed as a finalist in the women’s issues category in the 2011 USA Best Book Awards. I also love that it has connected me to other widows who have read my story and contacted me. For me, writing is about connection. Connection to what is going on in my head, and connection to other people. My essays have a way of reaching people and I hear back. I can write about my rose bush blooming, my silly dogs, a life adventure, that touches someone and they comment. My fiction is lost in a sea of books, and while enjoyable, it seems more impersonal.

    As I was researching how to publish my memoir, I took a class on self-publishing and print on demand. I liked the idea I could do this myself. And, quite frankly, I needed to release my widow book to move forward. I didn’t want the angst of waiting for an agent, a publisher. I also had a fixed image of how I wanted the book to look. Self-publishing was my answer. My memoir, while self-published, went through a company that used their ISBN and imprint for my book. I later learned I could do the same myself, even with a book designer, by buying my own ISBN. My company Gilbert Street Press came into being. My book designer is my sister, her company is PD King Design. While she handles all my books, she does work with other authors, too. She is amazing and can understand the look and feel I want and makes it happen.

    selfieofauthorandaprilWhy do you have so many dogs?

    Because I am a crazy dog lady!

    Review: When the Devil’s Idle

    When the Devil’s Idle: Greek Islands Mystery

    Author: Leta Serafimdevil

    Paperback: 192 pages

    Publisher: Coffeetown Press (September 1, 2015)

    Synposis:

    In the Book of Revelation, written by St. John on the Greek island of Patmos, it was said a pale horse would appear whose rider was death, others would cry out for vengeance, and the stars of heaven would fall to the earth.

    Death does indeed come to Patmos when a German tourist is found murdered in the garden of one of the island’s fabled estates. Yiannis Patronas, Chief Officer of the Chios police, is called in to investigate. He summons his top detective, Giorgos Tembelos, and his friend and amateur sleuth, Papa Michalis, to assist him.

    What the policemen discover will disturb them long after the conclusion of the case. Only six people were at the house at the time of the murder–the gardener and housekeeper, the victim’s son and his wife and their two children, a boy of seven and a teenage girl of sixteen. All appear to be innocent. But access to the isolated estate is severely restricted. Surrounded by high walls, it has only one entrance: a metal gate that was bolted at the time of the crime. Patronas can only conclude that one of the six is a killer. He continues to probe, uncovering the family’s many secrets. Some are very old, others more recent. All are horrifying.

    But which of these secrets led to murder?

    Review:

    With Greece so prominent in the news, When the Devil’s Idle seemed the perfect book to read. It is available yet, but you can pre-order it now and receive it in September, just when summer vacations are coming to an end and you need a literary vacation.

    I admire the way author Leta Serafim started out with a modern day murder and draws the investigators (and the reader) all the way to its roots (possibly) in World War II. It was quite a long way to go but I was willing to suspend belief a bit by choosing to believe that people in Greece live very long lives. Of course that was part of the appeal…how could anyone hold a grudge that long?

    When the Devil’s Idle has a great way of throwing unexpected twists at you but keeping you hanging as to whether the new information has anything to do with the murder or is just a random (and usually quite horrible) new fact. This is Book 2 in the series but I believe you could jump into it without reading Book 1. The policemen in this series (as well as the priest Papa Michalis, a sort of honorary detective) are quite a sad and moody bunch. Perhaps it’s a Greek personality trait? Anyway, since they are so often brooding when they get happy (drunk) it is especially hysterical.