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A Photographic Death

A Photographic Death

by Judi Culbertson

on Tour May 27 – June 27, 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery & Detective; Women Sleuth

Published by: Witness Impulse

Publication Date: 5/27/2014

Number of Pages: 288

ISBN: 9780062296351

Purchase Links:

Tour Info:

Book Formats: Edelweiss

Hosting Options: Review, Interview, & Guest Post

Giveaway: There will be one rafflecopter form for the tour where we will offer 10 individual promo codes for a free download of the book for the entire tour. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download.




Bookseller-turned-amateur detective Delhi Laine is back with another atmospheric mystery, but this time, it’s a family affair.

Nineteen years ago, Delhi Laine’s two-year old daughter disappeared. After a frantic but inconclusive search, authorities determined that she must have drowned, her body washed away from the picturesque English park in which she was playing.

Delhi’s heart has never healed, yet her family has since soldiered on. But when a mysterious letter arrives containing the ominous words, YOUR DAUGHTER DID NOT DROWN, their lives are once again thrown into turmoil. With her family torn between fighting for the past and protecting the future, Delhi is caught in the middle. For a mother, the choice to find her daughter seems easy. But for a family left fractured by the mistakes of the past, the consequence, and the truth, may be infinitely more costly.

Fans of Carolyn Hart will be swept away by this story of a family on the brink – and their hunt for the truth.





A Photographic Death will keep you guessing. First of all, was there really a crime or just an accident? Second, should we try to find the victim? Third, do certain people have nefarious reasons why they don’t want to locate the victim? This book was a tiny bit slow at first (setting up a crime from 20 years ago will do that) but once they hit England it was a rush of not being able to put down the book until you unraveled all the hows, whats and whens of this crime. I thought it was extremely effective to portray some of the people involved as less than enthusiastic about delving into the past. Makes you wonder how you would have felt in this same position. These characters are flawed, many times I was yelling at them “Why did you do that?!” It made the book all the more real. It honestly felt like something you could read in one of the tabloid magazines. This book will reach out and grab you.

Nineteen years

Read an excerpt:

In those days photography had been my passion, my way of escaping from the endless rounds of dirty diapers and runny noses and tears. At home, as soon as the children were bedded down, I’d fled to my darkroom, working into the early hours printing and tinting photos. The quiet darkness was an addiction. As sleepy as I often was during the day, I came alive in those night hours.

I had been taking photos in Stratford to work on, to enlarge and color when we got home.

After that day by the river, I never took another. Growing up I had never daydreamed about having a family, of being surrounded by children. I’d read endlessly, imagined myself in exotic places, even saw myself as an archeologist. So when I met Colin . . . I loved the children, they were mine, but they were part of the scenery of my life.

When I lost one of them due to my preoccupation, I vowed never to let anything distract me again. Not even photography. Especially not photography.

“You thought falling asleep sounded better?” Colin felt menacing beside me, as if he might grab my shoulders and shake me.

I knew then that I should have told him about the note first, that we should not be having this conversation in front of everyone. “I—yes . And after I kept saying it a part of me started believing it. When I finally admitted the truth and told someone else, she pointed out that if I was standing right by the water, I should have heard a splash or seen Caitlin fall in. And I was, right by the edge of the river. I–”

“But the police must have investigated all that?” Patience couldn’t keep out of it any longer.

“Of course they did.” Colin boomed. “They interviewed everyone who’d had been in the park that day. We even hired a private detective. Who found nothing.”

Through the miasma of wine and coffee I tried to remember what had been in the detective’s report. Surely, for all the money we borrowed from Colin’s parents to pay him, he had turned up something. “But the police never found her. They said that was unusual for that part of the river.”

“But not impossible.” Colin held up a professorial hand, a gesture he would use to silence a classroom. Everyone looked at him, waiting. He addressed the girls first. “I’m sorry you had to learn this from someone in a drunken stupor. It’s something that happened long ago. We didn’t want you to grow up thinking something terrible would happen to you too. We didn’t want it to overshadow your childhoods. It was the worst thing that ever happened to us. But your mother has conflated another day when she was taking pictures with the day it actually happened. All I can say is, memory is notoriously unreliable.”

I was so furious that I couldn’t think of which calumny to address first. I was not in a drunken stupor. I was not mixing up the days. But I needed to explain why I was bringing it up now. “What I was doing that day isn’t the point.” I reached in my Mexican jacket pocket and pulled out an envelope. “This is the point.”

A rustling, a squeaking of chairs, as everyone craned to look.

It was a square white envelope, the size of a small greeting card, addressed to “The Fitzhughs.” On the front were stamp images of Queen Elizabeth in red and green and a postmark I could not read. I pulled out the white paper inside, unfolded it, and laid it flat on the table so that the people closest to me could see. In large black letters it read:

When Colin and the girls had seen it I passed it to Pat who scanned it and gave it back so I could show it to Ben. “This came in the mail Monday,” I said. “I can’t tell what part of England it’s from.”

Colin picked up the envelope and studied it. Again, everyone seemed to be waiting for his official pronouncement. “A mean trick,” he said finally. “Someone’s idea of a bad joke.”

A bad joke? “But why now?” I argued, shocked. “Almost twenty years later? Who would know anything about it now?”

“Maybe they ran a story in the local Stratford papers,” Ben said. “Maybe the detective who investigated it is retiring or something.”

“And that would make somebody track us all the way over here to taunt us, a mention in a retirement story? I don’t buy that. It wasn’t even a criminal investigation, they just thought she’d drowned. No policeman would be remembered for it.”

“Maybe that’s what the story was about then, people drowning in the river.” Ben brightened as if he had solved the problem. I told myself he wasn’t trying to be cruel, that he just liked to fix things.

“They’d hardly go to the trouble of finding Delhi and Colin’s address in another country. That’s ridiculous,” Patience said. “It sounds like whoever wrote it knows something definite.”

“Can’t we have the handwriting analyzed?” Jane interrupted. “Or have it dusted for fingerprints?”

Colin sighed, playing with a small glass salt shaker that had been left on the table. “That note is hardly a criminal matter. They wouldn’t go to the trouble. Besides, the real point is if Caitlin did somehow survive, it’s too late now. Too much time has passed. It’s like an adoption, it’s final.”

“No!” It came out of me as a wail.

Patience gasped. “It is not like an adoption. If your daughter didn’t drown, then she was kidnapped! She has every right to know her real family.”

“Patsy,”—Colin lapsed into her old nickname–“it’s not that simple. You can’t assume a kidnapping. If she didn’t drown, she probably wandered off and someone found her.”

“Daddy, what are you talking about?” Jane grasped his forearm. She was flushed, probably with cabernet, and furious. As close as they were, she often lost her temper with Colin. “People don’t keep lost children. They find a policeman and get them back to their parents! It’s not like a stray kitten that you decide to take in.”

“No, Daddy’s right,” Hannah looked up from where she had been tormenting a cuticle. “How would you feel if someone contacted us and claimed after nineteen years that I had been stolen and was part of their family? That everything I’d thought was true was a lie and they wanted me to come live with them. Anyway, I don’t want a twin. I’m fine just as I am.”

Colin pushed back from the table. “I think it’s time for us to go.”

“But we haven’t had our walk,” Ben protested. “We have to take our beach walk!”

Poor Ben. If he’d been on the Titanic, he would have been demanding his nightly whiskey as the ship went down.

“Yes, go on your walk. I have to show Delhi something of our mother’s that I found. We’ll catch up.”

I knew we wouldn’t.

“Can I see?” Jane asked eagerly.

Patience and I exchanged a look.

“Sure,” I told her.


Author Bio:

JUDI CULBERTSON draws on her experience as a used-and-rare book dealer, social worker, and world traveler to create her bibliophile mysteries. She has co-authored five illustrated guides with her husband, Tom Randall, of such cities as Paris, London, and New York. She is also the author of the acclaimed nonfiction titles SCALING DOWN and THE CLUTTER CURE. She lives in Port Jefferson, New York, with her family.

Catch Up With the Author:

Catch Up With the Publisher:

Tour Participants:


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5Ws with David Kalish

David Kalish, author of the novel The Opposite of Everything took some time to answer a few questions about being a writer. If you’re interested in reading his debut novel that combines cancer, divorce, and romance in a way that results inKalish Head Shot laugh out loud funny, leave a comment and you could win a copy of the book.


Who inspired you to become a writer?

I would have to say I’m largely self-motivated. From the time I wrote my first poem in kindergarten, I’ve always written. I wrote poetry through public school, news articles as a journalist at The Associated Press, tons of short stories, and finally, my newly published novel. Of course I received lots of great encouragement and advice along the way, especially from my professors at Bennington College, where I received my MFA in fiction writing in 2006.

I do remember one person in particular, however. He didn’t give me writing advice per se, but survival advice. About twenty years ago I met a stutterer who, despite his disorder, rose to become a successful art director on Madison Avenue. How on earth do you do it? I asked. “You need two legs to walk,” he explained, not hesitating. “One leg represents success; the other failure. You can’t walk with just one.” I’ve remembered those words a lot during my ten-year struggle to write my novel, amid rejections from dozens of agents, and during my book tour. Before each challenge, I’ve kept an image in my mind of a dogged cripple, just as the stutterer had. Because I too stumbled. Made mistakes. I was sabotaged by inexperience, fear of technology, and the fact I’m a human being, not a robot. Wrestled with panic attacks. But through it all, I got up. Kept walking. Moved forward, often in a wobbly way. For this, I thank that man.


What is the most difficult thing about writing?

Finding time to write. Nowadays, my days are so crammed I often feel overwhelmed. I must promote my new novel, arrange book store events, shuttle my teen-age daughter to her many activities (not to mention her Bat Mitzvah this month!), shop, cook, etc. Yet I manage to stay active on social media, keep up with a twice-weekly blog, and have written a musical comedy that will be performed in December at a major upstate New York theater. Somehow, I also find time for other writing projects: revising my second novel, and converting my first into a screenplay. Sometimes I forsake a good night’s sleep; other times I need to explain to my family that my writing takes precedent over, say, watching a movie. We make do where we can.


Why did you decide that romance and cancer could partner together to make a great novel — and not just a novel but a novel full of humor? How did you walk that tightrope between tragedy and comedy?

I’ve always had a bit of the stand-up comedian in me, but it wasn’t until life handed me a mudpie that I decided to toss the pie in my own face. Making jokes was my way of having fun with my life – not just entertaining readers, but entertaining myself too.

The mudpie was my diagnosis of cancer and divorce, which hit me roughly the same time back twenty years ago. Out of that painful past, I began writing a memoir, but my first attempts to get it down on paper felt stiff and distant. Turns out the format — first-person memoir – didn’t work for me. I was hesitant to express my emotions in a story I starred in. Eventually, after years of revisions, I decided not to be a slave to the facts. I made up characters, letting the story play out through their conflicts. Over years my book turned into a comedy that plays pain for comedy and drama.

I concluded, through trial and error, that humor, done well, can reveal truths in more interesting ways than a straight-forward telling. It reveals the coping mechanism of the characters, and the narrator – humor as medicine helps us get through the tough times.


Where did you begin your writing career?

I wrote my first poem in kindergarten, as I mentioned, and never looked back. My first real writing job was for a magazine right out of college thirty years ago. But my fiction-writing career didn’t begin in earnest until ten years ago. That’s when I began to write my book. I was living in Brooklyn at the time, with my second wife and infant daughter. I’d Opposite of Everything Cover (1)take my laptop to local cafes and try to find the words to express what I’d been through. Hours later I’d return, reeking of coffee, with a couple of paragraphs that made sense, if I was lucky. That’s what I view as the beginning of my fictional writing career.


When did you decide you wanted to focus on fiction writing?

I decided to focus on fiction when I left The Associated Press in 2002 due to medical reasons. I had the time and space to write stories and scenes related to my struggles with cancer and divorce. After AP, fiction was liberating for me. I felt free to play with the facts. Writing about my life this way was also therapeutic. It helped me process my past, giving a storyline to memories that by themselves felt fragmented, with little sense to them. I gave my personal history a beginning, middle and end, and had my characters seek, and ultimately find, redemption.


And just in case you missed it, read my review of The Opposite of Everything, enter to win a copy of the book and check out a list of upcoming tour dates here

Review: The Opposite of Everything

I “met” David Kalish through Crystal, a fabulous blog tour organizer with WOW-Women on Writing. Thanks Crystal Kalish Head Shotfor inviting me on the tour for The Opposite of Everything! I even have a book to give away! All you have to do is leave a comment before May 28 and you’re entered to win a copy of this novel that is truly unlike any other novel I’ve read recently. If you’d like to learn more about David and his debut novel jump on the tour. Here are a few blogs David will be visiting in the near future:

Thursday, May 15 @ Romance Junkies

Interview and review


Tuesday, May 20 @ Steph The Bookworm

Review and giveaway


Thursday, May 22 @ Kristine Meldrum Denholm

Guest post and giveaway

Are you so over the Internet (as if) and want to meet this quirky author in the flesh? Well, if you’re in the New York/Philadelphia area you may have your chance. Come on out and meet a fledgling novelist. Maybe there will be cookies!

– Saturday, May 24, 2 p.m., Golden Notebook books, Woodstock, N.Y.

– Monday, June 2, 6 p.m., Mechanicville Public Library

– Saturday, June 21, 3 p.m., Open Door Bookstore, Schenectady, N.Y.

– Saturday, July 12, Book Store Plus, Lake Placid, N.Y.

– Saturday, July 19, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia


The Opposite of Everything

Author: David KalishOpposite of Everything Cover (1)

Paperback: 191 pages (also available in  e-formats)

Publisher:  WiDo Publishing (February 17, 2014)


When Brooklyn journalist Daniel Plotnick learns he has cancer, his fortunes fall faster than you can say Ten Plagues of Egypt. His wife can’t cope, his marriage ends in a showdown with police, and his father accidentally pushes him off the George Washington Bridge.

Plotnick miraculously survives his terrifying plunge, and comes up with a zany plan to turn his life around: by doing the opposite of everything he did before.

In the darkly comedic tradition of Philip Roth and Lorrie Moore comes a new novel from author David Kalish, who draws us into a hilarious, off-kilter world where cancer tears apart relationships…and builds new ones.


Truthfully, at first I was…hmmm, will I finish this book because this Daniel Plotnick is all kinds of nuts. But then magically (and in the spirit of Plotnick’s life mantra) it turned into quite the opposite: I have got to finish this book and see what happens to this guy. So, although you might find Plotnick’s actions mystifying for the first 50 pages or so, about the time he begins life anew you’ll find yourself rooting for him. Because we are all Daniel Plotnicks. Trying to deal with impossible lives with no manual to tell us what to do. It’s just that Daniel’s problems and solutions are magnified beyond the craziness most of us have to deal with each day.

If you like annoying main characters that give you the urge to smack them upside the head at times, you will love The Opposite of Everything. Another mirror of Plotnick’s life: despite finding Daniel annoying you’ll also be rooting for him to find his happy ending (whatever that is). Author David Kalish manages to walk that tightrope between annoying and lovable with skill that I can only envy.

This is also a thinking book. A book that will make you ask yourself: what would I do? If I was Daniel? His dad? His wife? His best friend? Could I spit in the eye of cancer? Could I deal with a loved one who was turning life upside down? Could I live?



Review & Giveaway: The Code of the Hills

The Code of the Hills

by Nancy Allen

on Tour April 14 – May 16, 2014


Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780062325945

Purchase Links:


A powerful debut thriller set in the Ozark hills, about a young female prosecutor trying to do right by her vulnerable clients-but by breaking their silence, she herself may fall victim to THE CODE OF THE HILLS.

Elsie Arnold may not always have it all together, but a raucous night at the bar now and then is just how she blows off steam after a long week of hard-fought trials. When she is chosen to assist on a high-profile incest case, Elsie is excited to step up after four years of hard work as an attorney for the prosecutor’s office, and ready to realize her ambition of becoming the Ozarks’ avenging angel. There might even be media attention.

But as soon as Elsie she begins to sink her teeth into the State of Missouri vs. Kris Taney, things start to go wrong -which is when her boss dumps the entire case on her. The star witness and victim’s brother, who has accused Taney of sexually abusing his three daughters, has gone missing. The three girls, ages six, 12, and 15, may not be fit to testify, their mother won’t talk, and the evidence is spotty. To make matters worse, it seems that some people in town don’t want Elsie to lock Taney up – judging by the death threats and chicken parts left for her to find.

Elsie is determined to break the code of silence and find out what really happened, refusing to let a sex offender walk, but the odds – and maybe the community – are against her. Even as Elsie fights the good fight for her clients, she isn’t so different from them: her personal life is taking a one-two punch as her cop boyfriend becomes more and more controlling. And amidst all of the conflict, the safety of the three young Taney girls hangs in the balance.


I read a lot of murder mysteries and find that at times (perhaps its the rampant violence in our culture) I’m immune to the death. Yes, someone dies. Yes, it’s terrible. But I’m not horrified. In The Code of the Hills, author Nancy Allen horrifies us. (Note: This involves crimes against children and, although we learn of them through retellings and only briefly, I realize this subject matter isn’t for everyone.) It’s not just the horrible things that happen to the Taney children. We aren’t subjected to graphic descriptions of crimes, just broad strokes that let us know what happened. Instead it the attitude of the family. The matter-of-fact acceptance, almost indifference to the events that makes you feel as if you are in some alternate universe. Who could accept this?

Prosecutor Elsie Arnold gives voice to what we readers are feeling. How could the Taneys not see this coming? How could they live with this? Why didn’t they escape when they could? Allen does a great job of making us feel we ARE Elsie before hitting us with a haymaker. Elsie, who has been fighting for justice, for action, for change, suddenly finds her life spiraling downward into a situation that, although not exactly the same, mirrors the Taney family’s in many ways. Elsie, who was the knight in shining armor, is transformed into a victim in an instant. How could this happen to Elsie? And fast on the heels of that question comes: Could this happen to us?

The Code of the Hills does a great job of not clearly defining the good guys and the bad guys. There are a few wearing white hats, a few wearing black hats,  but many more wearing gray. And unraveling who is who makes this book a puzzle worth solving.  The Code of the Hills will bring out the rubbernecker in you. You won’t want to read any further and yet you won’t be able to stop.

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Winner of The Moon Sisters

Did you stop by for my post for the Everybody’s Talking About Sisterhood event organized by The Muffin to promote Therese Walsh’s new SueBookCovernovel The Moon Sisters? Well, today’s the day we announce the three winners:

The winner on The Muffin was Maria M.

The winner of a participating blogger (makes you want to participate in our next event, doesn’t it?) was Vickie S. Miller at Vickie S. Miller Blog

And the winner from among those who entered the contest on one of the participating blogs was Robyn C. who entered right here on Words by Webb!

If you didn’t win, don’t give up. The Muffin has plenty of blog tours and giveaways coming up including:

Sue Silverman’s memoir The Pat Boone Fan Club on March 31

Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Booksand Still Have Time to Write by Frances Caballo on April 7

The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish on April 21

BarbaraCoverDanger in Her Words by Barbara Barth on May 5

I’ll give the heads up when those tours begin so you can enter and hopefully win yourself a great book!

Author Showcase: Carey Baldwin


by Carey Baldwin

BOOK BLAST on March 11th

on Tour April 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Suspense

Published by: Witness Impulse

Publication Date: March 11, 2014

Number of Pages: 384

ISBN: 9780062314109 / 0062314106

Purchase Links:


For fans of Allison Brennan and Karen Rose comes Carey Baldwin, a daring new name in suspense, with the story of a serial killer out for blood—and the only woman who can stop his reign of terror.

They say the Santa Fe Saint comes to save your soul—by taking your life.

Newly minted psychiatrist Faith Clancy gets the shock of her life when her first patient confesses to the grisly Saint murders. By law she’s compelled to notify the authorities, but is her patient really The Saint? Or will she contribute to more death by turning the wrong man over to the police?

Faith is going to need all her wits and the help of a powerful adversary, Luke Jericho, if she’s to unravel the truth. But she doesn’t realize she’s about to become an unwitting pawn in a serial killer’s diabolical game: For once he’s finished with Faith, she’ll become his next victim.

Read an excerpt:


Saint Catherine’s School for Boys

Near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ten years ago—Friday, August 15, 11:00 P.M.

I’M NOT afraid of going to hell. Not one damn bit.

We’re deep in the woods, miles from the boys’ dormitory, and my thighs are burning because I walked all this way with Sister Bernadette on my back. Now I’ve got her laid out on the soggy ground underneath a hulking ponderosa pine. A bright rim of moonlight encircles her face. Black robes flow around her, engulfing her small body and blending with the night. Her face, floating on top of all that darkness, reminds me of a ghost-head in a haunted house—but she’s not dead.

Not yet.

My cheek stings where Sister scratched me. I wipe the spot with my sleeve and sniff the air soaked with rotting moss, sickly-sweet pine sap and fresh piss. I pissed myself when I clubbed her on the head with that croquet mallet. Ironic, since my pissing problem is why I picked Sister Bernadette in the first place. She ought to have left that alone.

I hear a gurgling noise.


Sister Bernadette is starting to come around.

This is what I’ve been waiting for.

With her rosary wound tightly around my forearm, the grooves of the carved sandalwood beads cutting deep into the flesh of my wrist, I squat down on rubber legs, shove my hands under her armpits and drag her into a sitting position against the fat tree trunk. Her head slumps forward, but I yank her by the hair until her face tilts up, and her cloudy eyes open to meet mine. Her lips are moving. Syllables form within the bubbles coming out of her mouth. I press my stinging cheek against her cold, sticky one.

Like a lover, she whispers in my ear, “God is merciful.”

The nuns have got one fucked-up idea of mercy.

“Repent.” She’s gasping. “Heaven…”

“I’m too far gone for heaven.”

The God I know is just and fierce and is never going to let a creep like me through the pearly gates because I say a few Hail Marys. “God metes out justice, and that’s how I know I will not be going to heaven.”

To prove my point, I draw back, pull out my pocketknife, and press the silver blade against her throat. Tonight, I am more than a shadow. A shadow can’t feel the weight of the knife in his palm. A shadow can’t shiver in anticipation. A shadow is not to be feared, but I am not a shadow. Not in this moment.

She moves her lips some more, but this time, no sound comes out. I can see in her eyes what she wants to say to me. Don’t do it. You’ll go to hell.

I twist the knife so that the tip bites into the sweet hollow of her throat. “I’m not afraid of going to hell.”

It’s the idea of purgatory that makes my teeth hurt and my stomach cramp and my shit go to water. I mean what if my heart isn’t black enough to guarantee me a passage straight to hell? What if God slams down his gavel and says, Son, you’re a sinner, but I have to take your family situation into account. That’s a mitigating circumstance.

A single drop of blood drips off my blade like a tear.

“What if God sends me to purgatory?” My words taste like puke on my tongue. “I’d rather dangle over a fiery pit for eternity than spend a single day of the afterlife in a place like this one.”

I watch a spider crawl across her face.

My thoughts crawl around my brain like that spider.

You could make a pretty good case, I think, that St. Catherine’s School for Boys is earth’s version of purgatory. I mean, it’s a place where you don’t exist. A place where no one curses you, but no one loves you either. Sure, back home, your father hits you and calls you a bastard, but you are a bastard, so its okay he calls you one. Behind me, I hear the sound of rustling leaves and cast a glance over my shoulder.

Do it! You want to get into hell, don’t you?

I turn back to sister and flick the spider off her cheek.

The spider disappears, but I’m still here.

At St. Catherine’s no one notices you enough to knock you around. Every day is the same as the one that came before it, and the one that’s coming after. At St. Catherine’s you wait and wait for your turn to leave, only guess what, you dumb-ass bastard, your turn is never going to come, because you, my friend, are in purgatory, and you can’t get out until you repent.

Sister Bernadette lets out another gurgle.

I spit right in her face.

I won’t repent, and I can’t bear to spend eternity in purgatory, which is I why I came up with a plan. A plan that’ll rocket me straight past purgatory, directly to hell.

Sister Bernadette is the first page of my blueprint. I have the book to guide me the rest of the way. For her sake, not mine, I make the sign of the cross.

She’s not moving, but her eyes are open, and I hear her breathing. I want her to know she is going to die. “You are going to help me get into hell. In return, I will help you get into heaven.”

I shake my arm and loosen the rosary. The strand slithers down my wrist. One bead after another drops into my open palm, electrifying my skin at the point of contact. My blood zings through me, like a high-voltage current. I am not a shadow.

A branch snaps, making my hands shake with the need to hurry.

What are you waiting for my friend?

Is Sister Bernadette afraid?

She has to be. Hungry for her fear, I squeeze my thighs together, and then I push my face close and look deep in her eyes.

“The blood of the lamb will wash away your sins.” She gasps, and her eyes roll back. “Repent.”

My heart slams shut.

I begin the prayers.

Chapter One

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Present Day—Saturday, July 20, 1:00 P.M.

Man, she’s something.

Luke Jericho halted mid-stride, and the sophisticated chatter around him dimmed to an indistinct buzz. Customers jamming the art gallery had turned the air hot, and the aromas of perfume and perspiration clashed. His gaze sketched the cut muscles of the woman’s shoulders before swerving to the tantalizing V of her low-back dress. There, slick fabric met soft skin just in time to hide the thong she must be wearing. His fingers found the cold silk knot of his tie and worked it loose. He let his glance dot down the line of her spine, then swoop over the arc of her ass. It was the shimmer of Mediterranean-blue satin, illuminated beneath art lights, that had first drawn his eye, her seductive shape that had pulled him up short, but it was her stance—her pose—that had his blood expanding like hot mercury under glass.

Head tilted, front foot cocked back on its stiletto, the woman studied one of Luke’s favorite pieces—his brother Dante’s mixed-media. A piece Luke had hand-selected and quietly inserted into this show of local artists in the hopes a positive response might bolster his brother’s beleaguered self-esteem.

The woman couldn’t take her eyes off the piece, and he couldn’t take his eyes off the woman. Her right arm floated, as if she were battling the urge to reach out and touch the multi-textured painting. Though her back was to him, he could picture her face, pensive, enraptured. Her lips would be parted and sensual. He savored the swell of her bottom beneath the blue dress. Given the way the fabric clung to her curves, he’d obviously guessed right about the thong. She smoothed the satin with her hand, and he rubbed the back of his neck with his palm. Ha. Any minute now she’d turn and ruin his fantasy with what was sure to turn out to be the most ordinary mug in the room.

And then she did turn, and damned if her mug wasn’t ordinary at all, but she didn’t appear enraptured. Inquisitive eyes, with a distinct undercurrent of melancholy, searched the room and found him. Then, delicate brows raised high, her mouth firmed into a hard line—even thinned, her blood-red lips were temptation itself—she jerked to a rigid posture and marched, yeah, marched, straight at him.

Hot ass. Great mouth. Damn lot of nerve.

“I could feel your stare,” she said.

“Kind of full of yourself, honey.”

A flush of scarlet flared across her chest, leading his attention to her lovely, natural breasts, mostly, but not entirely, concealed by a classic neckline. With effort, he raised his eyes to meet hers. Green. Skin, porcelain. Hair, fiery—like her cheeks—and flowing. She looked like a mermaid. Not the soft kind, the kind with teeth.

“I don’t like to be ogled.” Apparently she intended to stand her ground.

He decided to stand his as well. That low-back number she had on might be considered relatively tame in a room with more breasts on display than a Picasso exhibit, but there was something about the way she wore it. “Then you shouldn’t have worn that dress, darlin’.”

Her brow arched higher in challenge. “Which is it? Honey or darlin’?”

“Let’s go with honey. You look sweet.” Not at the moment she didn’t, but he’d sure like to try and draw the sugar out of her. This woman was easily as interesting and no less beautiful than his best gallery piece, and she didn’t seem to be reacting to him per the usual script. He noticed his hand floating up, reaching out, just as her hand had reached for the painting. Like his mesmerizing customer, he knew better than to touch the display, but it was hard to resist the urge.

Her body drew back, and her shoulders hunched. “You’re aware there’s a serial killer on the loose?”

Luke, you incredible ass.

No wonder she didn’t appreciate his lingering looks. Every woman he knew was on full alert. The Jericho charm might or might not be able to get him out of this one, but he figured she was worth a shot. “Here, in this gallery? In broad daylight?” He searched the room with his gaze and made his tone light. “Or are you saying you don’t like being sized up for the kill?” He patted his suit pockets, made a big show of it and then stroked his chin thoughtfully. “I seem to have misplaced my rosary somewhere, I don’t suppose you’ve seen it?”

Her shoulders eased back to a natural position.

“Seriously, do I look like someone who’d be called The Saint?”

If the glove doesn’t fit…

Her lips threatened to curve up at the corners. “No. I don’t suppose you do.” Another beat, and then her smile bloomed in earnest. “Looking a little is one thing, maybe it’s even flattering…but you seem to have exceeded your credit line.”

He turned his palms up. “Then I’d like to apply for an increase.”

At that, her pretty head tipped back, and she laughed, a big genuine laugh. It was the kind of laugh that was a touch too hearty for a polished society girl, which perhaps she wasn’t after all. It was also the kind of laugh he’d like to hear again. Of its own accord, his hand found his heart. “Listen, I’m honest-to-God sorry if I spooked you. That wasn’t my intention.”

Her expression was all softness now.

“Do you like the painting?” he asked, realizing that he cared more than he should about the answer.

“It’s quite…dark.” Her bottom lip shivered with the last word, and he could sense she found Dante’s painting disturbing.

Always on the defensive where his brother was concerned, his back stiffened. He tugged at his already loosened tie. “Artists are like that. I don’t judge them.”

“Of course. I-I wasn’t judging the artist. I was merely making an observation about the painting. It’s expressive, beautiful.”

Relaxing his stance, he pushed a hand through his hair.

She pushed a hand through her hair, and then her glance found her fancy-toed shoes. “Maybe I overreacted, maybe you weren’t even staring.”

Giving in to the urge to touch, he reached out and tilted her chin up until their eyes met. “I’m Luke Jericho, and you had it right the first time. I was staring. I was staring at—” He barely had time to register a startled flash of her green eyes before she turned on her heel and disappeared into the throng of gallery patrons.

He shrugged and said to the space where her scent still sweetened the air, “I was staring at your fascination. Your fascination fascinates me.”

Saturday, July 20, 1:30 P.M.

Faith Clancy strode across her nearly naked office and tossed her favorite firelight macaron clutch onto her desk. After rushing out of the gallery, she’d come to her office to regroup, mainly because it was nearby.

She could hear Ma’s voice now, see her wagging finger. “Luke Jericho? Sure’an you’ve gone and put your wee Irish foot in the stewpot now, Faith.”

Well, it was only a tiny misstep—what harm could possibly come of it? She braced her palms against the windowsill. Teeth clenched, she heaved with all her might until wood screeched against wood and the window lurched open.

A full inch.


Summers in Santa Fe were supposed to be temperate, and she hadn’t invested in an air conditioner for her new office. She sucked in a deep breath, but the currentless summer air brought little relief from the heat. Lifting her hair off the back of her damp neck with one hand, she reached over and dialed on the big standing fan next to the desk with the other. The dinosaur whirred to life without a hiccup.

That made one thing gone right today.

The relaxing Saturday afternoon she’d been looking forward to all week had been derailed, thanks to Luke Jericho. Okay, that wasn’t even half fair. In reality, the wheels of her day had never touched down on the track to begin with. She’d awakened this morning with a knot in her stomach and an ache in her heart—missing Danny and Katie.

Walk it off, she’d thought. Dress up. Take in the sights. Act like you’re part of the Santa Fe scene and soon enough you will be. Determined to forget the homesick rumbling in her chest, Faith had plucked a confidence boosting little number from her closet, slipped on a pair of heels and headed out to mingle with polite society. Even if she didn’t feel like she fit in, at least she would look the part. But the first gallery she’d entered, she’d dunked her foot in the stewpot—crossing swords with, and then, even worse, flirting with the brother of a patient.

Rather bad luck considering she had just one patient.

Her toe started to tap.

Her gaze swept the office and landed on the only adornment of the freshly-painted walls—her diplomas and certificates, arranged in an impressive display with her psychiatric board certification center stage. A Yale-educated doctor. Ma and Da would’ve been proud, even if they might’ve clucked their tongues at the psychiatrist part. She blinked until her vision cleared. It wasn’t only Danny and Katie she was missing today.

She kicked off her blasted shoes and shook off her homesick blues…only to find her mind returning to the gallery and her encounter with a man who was strictly off limits.

There was no point chastising herself for walking into the art gallery in the first place, or for refusing to pretend she didn’t notice the man who was eyeing her like she was high tea in a whorehouse, and he a starving sailor.

Care for a macaron, sir?

Had she realized her admirer was Luke Jericho, she would’ve walked away without confronting him, but how was she to know him by sight? It wasn’t as if she spent her spare time flipping through photos of town royalty in the society pages.

She’d recognized his name instantly, however, and not only because she was treating his half-brother, Dante. The Jericho family had a sprawling ranch outside town and an interest in a number of local businesses. But most of their wealth, she’d heard, came from oil. The Jerichos, at least the legitimate ones, had money. Barrels and barrels of it.

Luke’s name was on the lips of every unattached female in town—from the clerk at the local Shop and Save to the debutant docent at the Georgia O’Keeffe museum:



Criminally rich.

Luke Jericho, they whispered.

When she’d turned to find him watching her, his heated gaze had caused her very bones to sizzle. Luke had stood formidably tall, dressed in an Armani suit that couldn’t hide his rancher’s physique. The gallery lights seemed to spin his straw-colored hair into gold and ignite blue fire in his eyes. She could still feel his gaze raking over her in that casual way, as if he didn’t wish to conceal his appetites. It was easy to see how some women might become undone in his presence. She eased closer to the fan.

“Dr. Clancy.”

That low male voice gave her a fizzy, sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, like she’d just downed an Alka-Seltzer on top of the flu. When you’re all alone in a room, and someone else speaks, it’s just plain creepy.

It only took a millisecond to recognize the voice, but at a time when someone dubbed The Santa Fe Saint was on a killing spree, that was one millisecond too long. Icy tendrils of fear wrapped themselves around her chest, squeezing until it hurt her heart to go on beating. The cold certainty that things were not as they should be made the backs of her knees quiver. Then recognition kicked in, and her breath released in a whoosh.

It’s only Dante.

She pasted on a neutral expression and turned to face him. How’d he gotten in? The entrance was locked; she was certain of it.

“Did I frighten you?”

She inclined her head toward the front door to her office, which was indeed locked, and said, “Next time, Dante, I’d prefer you use the main entrance…and knock.”

“I came in the back.”

That much was obvious now that she’d regained her wits. “That’s my private entrance. It’s not intended for use by patients.” Stupid of her to leave it unlocked, but it was midday and she hadn’t expected an ambush.

To buy another moment to compose herself, she went to her bookcase and inspected its contents. Toward the middle, Freud’s “Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis” leaned haphazardly in the direction of its opponent, Skinner’s “Behavior Therapy”. A paperback version of “A Systems Approach to Family Therapy” had fallen flat, not quite bridging the gap between the warring classics.

Dante crossed the distance between them, finishing directly in front of her, invading her personal space. “Quite right. I didn’t mean to startle you.”

She caught a blast of breath, pungent and wrong—a Listerine candle floating in a jar of whiskey. In self-defense, she took a step back before looking up at her patient’s face. Dante possessed his brother’s intimidating height, but unlike Luke, his hair was jet black, and his coal-colored eyes were so dark it was hard to distinguish the pupil from the iris. Despite Dante’s dark complexion and the roughness of his features—he had a previously broken nose and a shiny pink scar that gashed across his cheekbone into his upper lip—there was a distinct family resemblance between the Jericho brothers. Luke was the fair-haired son to Dante’s black sheep, and even their respective phenotypes fit the cliche.

Dante took a step forward.

She took another deep step back, bumping her rear-end against wood. With one hand she reached behind her and felt for the smooth rim of her desktop. With the other hand, she put up a stop sign. “Stay right where you are.”

He halted, and she edged her way behind her desk, using it as a barrier between herself and Dante. Maybe she should advise him to enroll in a social skills class since he didn’t seem to realize how uncomfortable he was making her. Though she knew full well Dante wasn’t on her schedule today—no one was on her schedule today—she powered on her computer. “Hang on a second while I check my calendar.”

“All right.” At least he had the courtesy to play along.

When he rested his hand on her desk, she noticed he was carrying a folded newspaper. She’d already seen today’s headline, and it had given her the shivers. “Any minute now.” She signaled to Dante with an upheld index finger.

He nodded, and, in what seemed an eternity of time, her computer finished booting. She navigated from the welcome screen to her schedule, and then in a firm, matter-of-fact voice, she told him, “I’m afraid you’ve made a mistake. Your appointment isn’t until Monday at four pm.”

As he took another step closer, a muscle twitched in his jaw. He didn’t seem to care when his appointment was. Gesturing toward the leather armchair on the patient side of her desk, she fended him off. “Have a seat right there.” If she could get him to sit down, maybe she could gain control of the situation; she really ought to hear him out long enough to make sure this wasn’t some sort of emergency.

Dante didn’t sit. Instead, from across the desk, his body inclined forward. Her throat went dry, and her speeding pulse signaled a warning. If this were an emergency, he most likely would have tried to contact her through her answering service, besides which, he’d had plenty of time already to mention anything urgent. He must’ve known he didn’t have an appointment today, so what the hell was he doing here on a Saturday?

Dante had no reason at all to expect her to be here. In fact, the more she thought about it, the less sense his presence made. Pulling her shoulders back, she said, “I am sorry, but you need to leave. You’ll have to come back on Monday at four.”

The scar tissue above his mouth tugged his features into a menacing snarl. “I saw you talking to my brother.”

He’d followed her from the art gallery.

Even though Dante’s primary diagnosis was schizotypal personality disorder, there was a paranoid component present, exacerbated by a sense of guilt and a need to compensate for feelings of inferiority. His slip and slide grip on reality occasionally propelled him into a near delusional state. She could see him careening into a dark well of anxiety now, and she realized she needed to reassure him she wasn’t colluding with his half-brother against him. “I wasn’t talking to your brother about you. In fact, I didn’t have any idea I had wandered into your brother’s art gallery until he…introduced himself.”

“I don’t believe you.”

As fast as her heart was galloping, she managed a controlled reply. “That hardly bodes well for our relationship as doctor and patient, does it? But the truth is, we were discussing a painting.”

“Discussing my painting, discussing me, same difference.”

His painting?

That bit of information did nothing to diminish her growing sense of apprehension. That painting had had a darkness in it like nothing she’d ever seen before. A darkness that had captivated her attention, daring her to unravel its mysterious secrets.

Then Dante dropped into the kind of predatory crouch that would’ve made a kitten roll over and play dead.

But she wasn’t a kitten.

Defiantly, she exhaled slow and easy. If she didn’t know better, she’d think Dante was intentionally trying to frighten her. “I’m happy to see you during your regular hour, and we can schedule more frequent sessions if need be, but for now, I’m afraid it’s time for you to go.”

He returned to a stand. “You’re here all alone today.”

A shudder swept across her shoulders. He was right. No one else was in the building. She shared a secretary with an aesthetician down the hall, and today Stacy hadn’t been at her post. The aesthetician usually worked Saturday mornings, but she must’ve finished for the day and gone home. Home was where Faith wanted to go right now. She wished she’d kept her clutch in hand. Her phone was in that clutch. “We’ll work on that trust issue on Monday.”

With Dante’s gaze tracking hers, her eyes fell on her lovely macaron bag, lying on the desktop near his fingertips. He lifted the clutch as if to offer it to her, but then drew his hand back and stroked the satin shell against his face.

The room suddenly seemed too small. “I don’t mean to be unkind. We’ve been working hard these past few weeks and making good progress up to this point, and I’d hate to have to refer you to another psychiatrist, but I will if I have to.” She paused for breath.

“You’re barefoot.” Slowly, he licked his lower lip.

Feeling as vulnerable as if she were standing before him bare-naked instead of bare-footed, she slipped back into her shoes. Jerking a glance around the room, she cursed herself for furnishing the place so sparsely, as if she didn’t plan on staying in Santa Fe long. It wasn’t like she had anywhere else to call home anymore, and now here she stood without so much as a paperweight to conk someone on the head with if…The window was open, at least she could scream for help if necessary. “We’re done here.”

“I’m not leaving, Dr. Clancy.” He opened her purse, removed her cell and slid it into his pants pocket, then dropped her purse on the floor.

Her stomach got fizzy again, and she gripped the edge of her desk. Screaming didn’t seem like the most effective plan. It might destabilize him and cause him to do something they’d both regret. For now at least, a better plan was to stay calm and listen. If she could figure out what was going on inside his head, maybe she could stay a step ahead of him and diffuse the situation before it erupted into a full-scale nightmare. “Give me back my phone, and then we can talk.”

Here came that involuntary snarl of his. “No phone. And I’m not leaving until I’ve done what I came here to do.” Carefully unfolding the newspaper he’d brought with him, he showed her the headline:

Santa Fe Saint Claims Fourth Victim.

Author Bio:

Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award-winning author of edgy suspense by night. She holds two doctoral degrees, one in medicine and one in psychology. She loves reading and writing stories that keep you off balance and on the edge of your seat. Carey lives in the southwestern United States with her amazing family. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and chasing wildflowers.

Catch Up With the Author:

Tour Participants:

To Sign up either complete the linky with your Blog Name, book format, requested date(s) and how you’d like to host or email me at gina at Thank you for your interest in this tour.


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Everybody’s Talking About Sisterhood

Today at The Muffin, Therese Walsh is celebrating the release of her new novel The Moon Sisters with a group blogging about…you guessed it: sisterhood! Two dozen women are posting their take on sisterhood and at each blog you can enter to win a copy of The Moon Sisters, including here on Words by Webb. Don’t forget to leave a comment!

In The Moon Sisters,  Therese Walsh wanted to write about one sister’s quest to find will-o’-the-wisp light, which was her mother’s unfulfilled dream. Also called “foolish fires”, these lights are sometimes seen over wetlands and are thought to lead those who follow them toMoonSisters treasure. Despite the promise, they are never captured and sometimes lead to injury or even death for adventurers who follow them. The metaphor of that fire – that some dreams and goals are impossible to reach, and that hope itself may not be innately good – eventually rooted its way into deeper meaning as the Moon sisters tried to come to terms with real-world dreams and hopes, and with each other, in their strange new world.

Olivia and Jazz Moon are polar opposites: one a dreamy synesthete, able to see sounds and smell sights and the other controlling and reality driven. What will happen when they are plunged into 24/7 togetherness and control is not an option? Will they ever be able to see the world through the other’s eyes and confront the things they fear the most? Death. Suicide. The loss of faith and hope. Will they ultimately believe that life is worth living, despite the lack of promise?

The writing of The Moon Sisters was a five year journey and at times author Therese Walsh felt like it was her own “foolish fire”. But remember, some fires are worth the chase!

You can read my review of The Moon Sisters here.

Unlikely Sisters

We weren’t supposed to be together. There were rules on the maternity floor. Women who were having babies roomed together. Women who had babies in distress or lost babies roomed together. When I ended up on the maternity floor much too early for my baby to be born and they began pumping me full of steroids in a last ditch attempt to mature my baby’s lungs I was placed in a room alone. At night I would lie in the darkness,listening to the sound of the baby cribs being wheeled to rooms up and down the hall but not my room.

They came one day and apologized. The floor was overcrowded and they were bringing a new mother to share my room. A new mother and her baby. They pulled the curtain so I wouldn’t have to see this new baby, be taunted by its healthiness. I turned my back on my new roommates and stared out the window, counting the minutes until my husband would arrive.

Thankfully, it was quiet on the other side of the curtain. Until it wasn’t. The baby was crying. First, a soft whimper that grew into a “where is everybody?” wail. I peeked around the curtain. No new mom in the bed but the bathroom door was closed. I was on bed rest but couldn’t listen to the heartbreaking cries anymore. I shuffled over to their side of the room.

“Shhh. What’s the matter? Where’s your mama?” I reached out my hand and stroked the soft baby cheek, curly baby hair, tiny baby fingers. When the new mom returned, bubbling over with what I could only imagine was an apology in rapid Spanish I was already crying, thinking of my poor little baby, too young to be born.

It soon became clear that she was just seconds away from crying too. Between the two of us we were awash on a sea of pregnancy hormones. “No, no,” I smiled trying to recall some high school Spanish. “Muy bonita.” She smiled. “Mucho, mucho…” I twirled my fingers over the baby’s black curls.

“Cabello,” she added.

She patted my belly. “Manana.”

“No, no. Baby muy pequeno. Muy muy pequeno. No manana.”

“Ah.” To my surprise me were suddenly standing there hugging while a stream of Spanish surrounded us. The most I got out of it was “madre Maria” and “Dios” which I took to mean that she would pray for my muy pequeno baby.

I have felt the sisterhood of women many times in my life. But I will never forget the sisterhood of mothers I felt that day.

When have you felt the sisterhood of women?

Category: Giveaways, News  4 Comments

Deep Sleep

Comment on today’s post before February 20 and I’ll enter you to win an e-book copy of Deep Sleep. Spread the word!

Deep Sleep

Author: Francis Fyfield

Hardcover: 276 pages (also available in paperback, audiobooks and e-formats)Deep_Sleep_Frances_Fyfield_Cover

Publisher: Witness Impulse (January 21, 2014)


Pip Carlton is a devoted husband and a highly respected pharmacist, cherished by his loyal customers. When his wife dies in her sleep, with no apparent cause, he is distraught. Comforted by his caring assistant, Pip ignores the rumors about Margaret’s death, relieved that the police seem to have moved on.

But Prosecutor Helen West refuses to believe that Margaret simply slipped into her final slumber. As she probes deeper into the affairs of the neighborhood, she uncovers a viper’s nest of twisted passion, jealous rage, and lethal addictions.

As a sudden act of violence erupts, shaking the community, one lone man, armed with strange love potions, prepares to murder again…


This was a puzzling story with many couples tenuously connected. Let’s see…there was

  • the lawyer and the police officer
  • the other police officer and his ex-wife
  • the ex-wife and the chemist
  • the chemist and the chemist’s assistant (who is also the ex-wife from the second pair)
  • the chemist and his wife

It’s quite a puzzle fitting pieces in and seeing how the couples and their motives fit together. At times it feels like there were just too many people to keep track of. There is quite an eerie aura to this book, it gives you the shivers at times. But the two main characters Helen and Bailey (the lawyer and the police officer) are a fascinating couple and I’ll gladly give Francis Fyfield another try to see these two. I just hope the next book involving these two is a little…simpler.

Perhaps it’s just that, for all my complaints about my husband’s love of action flicks I’m just an action girl at heart. But if you love books that delve into the motivations and emotions of people this book is for you.


Two Lessons in Indie Publishing


By Christopher Meeks

meeksI’m an accidental publisher. I never intended to go the route I have, starting my own publishing company. I had an agent, and I was doing what I wanted to do: writing quality fiction.

However, after I’d published a number of short stories in journals, enough to make a book, I suggested a book of these stories to my agent. He said there wasn’t enough money in short fiction for him to even send out my manuscript. That’s when I started White Whisker Books. I would publish my short story collection, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea. It’s been an Amazon Bestseller off and on for the last two years. Now I’m writing novels.
I’d worked for a publisher at one time, so I had experienced how it was done from the inside: getting a quality editor, obsessed proofreaders, a great book designer, and an energetic publicist—so I mirrored that. I’ve been doing it ever since, not only leaving the agent and publishing my novels, too, but also publishing books by talented friends.

I started in 2006, and things have changed a great deal. At first, it was all about printed books, using print-on-demand technology. Then eBooks became a force, and for the do-it-yourselfer and small publishers (which I’ll call “indies”), it’s meant a lot of cost savings in terms of not having to take back printed books that didn’t sell.
Still, 2013 was the year that eBooks found their level: about 20% of all books sold. That means 80% of publishing is still in traditional printed books. Indies can make a perfectly good living in eBooks alone, but part of me wants to know is there a way to crack that 80% that’s cost effective? It’s a question I can’t answer right now. I still sell printed books through Ingram—and it’s only a small part of sales. I still take back books, which cuts down severely in the profit I make there.

As I look back on 2013, here are two big things I’ve learned:

1) To sell eBooks beyond your friends and family, you need to advertise. Otherwise, how will people find your book? Many indies hope that, magically, word-of-mouth will do it. That’s rare. It’s certainly a slim possibility, but even so, you may need to advertise to start the word-of-mouth.

There are thousands of places willing to take your money, but early in 2013, I discovered BookBub. It’s mostly an email service that sends out daily notices of great books that are at a discount. Subscribers select the categories of books they like read, and rather than being deluged, they are likely to get just four or five recommendations each day. You, the author, pay for a recommended spot if BookBub chooses you. With a single sponsorship, I’ve sold between 600 and 1600 books in a day. Most people who’ve used it have had similar results.

The BookBub people are geniuses. Right from the start, they only took sponsorships for books that were highly regarded. That meant a book needed a number of traditional and customer reviews, and the average customer review had to be four stars or higher. The cover and blurbs had to appeal to them. The books also had to be discounted at least 50% for the day so that their readers would buy it now.

Of course, news of this service spread, and now every author wants their book there. A book can appear, however, only once every six months, so it’s not in and of itself a marketing plan. You want your book seen more than twice a year. However, it makes for a nice pair of blips on the yearly sales chart.

There are other places that work similarly, though not with such high sales. However, you can use these services for the same book every two to four weeks. Places I can recommend are BookGorilla, Kindle Books and Tips, Kindle Nation Daily, and EReader News Today (ENT). I hope to discover others.

What this all means in practical terms is you need at least a dozen reviews on Amazon to start things. Your book better be well-written, well-edited and proofed, and with a great cover design to get those reviews. If you are less than professional in those areas, you’re not likely to get top reviews.

One of my company’s books, Iron City by David Scott Milton, a fabulous mystery from a veteran writer who’s been with big publishers, has twenty-six reviews, most of them four- and five-star, but there are enough below that to take his average rating to just below four stars. Now I can’t place sponsorships for it.

New books typically don’t have enough reviews to get sponsorships. What I’m saying is that not every book can be advertised. Thus, if you get a spot in one of these places, make the price low. While 99 cents seems absurdly low, it will sell books if indeed 99 cents is a special price.

If your book sells well on a particularly day, your ranking on Amazon and Barnes and Noble will go up. If it goes up enough, it will show as a top seller in certain lists. I hope Blood Drama, for instance, will show up in the thriller, suspense, literary, or contemporary fiction lists. Once the book makes it on a list, people looking at those lists might look at the book’s landing page. If the reviews, the cover, and the price all look great, you might have a sale. The more sales, the longer you stay on those lists.

2) Blog tours are important. One way to get reviews is a blog tour. I did my first blog tour last year, and I found it wonderful. A blog tour is managed by a tour operator—some are better than others. This book is on a blog tour through a company called Partners in Crime, which has been a pleasure. It’s how I found Jodi Webb.

What a tour operator does is contact bloggers and literary websites that might be appropriate for a book and invite the people associated with them to be a part of the tour. A site might get involved in one of three ways: review the book that’s on tour; interview the book’s author; ask the author to write a guest blog, which is what I’m doing here with Jodi.

To sum it all up, I’ve found that if your book is truly good, and you either want to help your publisher or you are publishing the book yourself, you need to get on a blog tour. If you get good reviews, advertise your book.
I didn’t start writing to become a publisher or a marketing expert. It’s the writing I love. To be true to my writing, though, I’ve learned how to get my books out there. Try one of my books to see see if I get you involved in my story. If I do, this has all been worth it.

Blood Drama

Author: Christopher Meeks

Paperback: 240 pages (also available in e-formats)BloodDrama

Publisher: White Whisker Books (May 13, 2013)


Everyone has a bad day. In the crossover thriller BLOOD DRAMA, graduate student Ian Nash, after losing his girlfriend, gets dropped from a Ph.D. program in theatre. When he stops at a local coffee shop in the lobby of a bank to apply for a job, the proverbial organic matter hits the fan. A gang of four robs the bank, and things get bloody. Ian is taken hostage by the robbers when the police show up. Now he has to save his life.

FBI Special Agent Aleece Medina’s analysis of the bloody bank heist drives her into the pursuit of a robbery gang headed by two women. She doesn’t anticipate how this robbery will pit her against both the bandits and the male higher-ups in the FBI while the media heats up during a giant manhunt.

The robbers are about to kill Ian, and all he has at hand is his knowledge of the stage.


If you enjoy books with unlikely pairs then Blood Drama is the book for you. Ian Nash and Aleece Medina could not be more different yet through a twist of fate they find themselves working toward the same goal — the capture of a gang of bank robbers. Medina just happens to be an expert at bank robbers while Nash is an expert at…well, a few playwrights most of us have only a glancing knowledge of. But somehow they make it work.

Blood Drama is a book full of surprises — including a few I really never saw coming. That’s what makes a book great, the things you never would have guessed in a million years. This story grabs you from the very beginning when you wonder “How will this poor soul ever survive being kidnapped?” When you mix Nash with FBI agent Medina, he suddenly becomes this guy convinced that he alone can stop the bank robbers. You’ll keep reading if only to find out what kind of crazy trouble Nash gets himself into.

Thank you Christopher Meeks for staying true to reality and not wrapping everything up with a neat little bow at the end. I’d love to see what happens to Nash and Medina, separately or together, in another book.

Check out an excerpt of Blood Drama here and if you like it ( I know you will!) comment on today’s post before February 13 and I’ll enter you to win an e-book copy of Blood Drama. Spread the word!

When Good Bras Go Bad

When Good Bras Go Bad

Author: Gayle Trent

Paperback: 112 pages (also available in e-books)Bras-Cover-189x300

Publisher: Grace Abraham Publishing (August 1, 2006)


Myrtle Crumb, the sassy sixty-something sleuth from Between a Clutch and a Hard Place, is back. This time she must go undercover in the middle school cafeteria to prove her granddaughter is not a thief. Still, Sunny knows more than she’s telling; and it’s starting to affect her relationship with her grandmother. Is Sunny’s new friend Alicia the thief? If so, how far will Sunny go to protect her? Sunny might be fixing to learn a powerful lesson: that betrayal “is like when a good bra goes bad. First it lets you down, and then that underwire pokes you right in the heart.”


Gayle Trent is an old favorite of mine (no, Gayle I’m not saying you’re old!). Her ability to create memorable characters leaves me in awe! And Myrtle is QUITE the character. She storms into her granddaughter’s life bulldozing not only her granddaughter but the lunch lady, the principal and the school’s security guard. In the grand scheme of things, the mystery in When Good Bras Go Bad isn’t that serious. Of course, in Myrtle’s granddaughter’s life (and by extension Myrtle’s life) this mystery is all-important. This is a light-hearted romp that is perfect to help you de-stress after a tough day.

Myrtle is that slightly wacky little old lady we all knew from our neighborhood growing up. Both her familiarity and her unpredictableness will make her a favorite for readers of all ages.

If Myrtle sound like fun to you (and she is) check out the latest Myrtle Crumb mystery for FREE here. But hurry, I’m not sure how long this special price will last.