New Release Mondays: Edinburgh Twilight by Carole Lawrence

It’s my honor to be introducing Carole’s last book. Carole (as Carole Bugge) was an early mentor when I was taking Creative/Fiction/Mystery writing at Gotham Writers a few years back. If you’re looking for a great mystery/suspense/thriller instructor, check her out

Author Name: Carole Lawrence

Book Title: Edinburgh Twilight

Book Genre: Historical Thriller

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis: As a new century approaches, Edinburgh is a city divided. The wealthy residents of New Town live in comfort, while Old Town’s cobblestone streets are clotted with criminals, prostitution, and poverty.

Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is no stranger to Edinburgh’s darkest crimes. Scarred by the mysterious fire that killed his parents, he faces his toughest case yet when a young man is found strangled in Holyrood Park.

With little evidence aside from a strange playing card found on the body, Hamilton engages the help of his aunt, a gifted photographer, and George Pearson, a librarian with a shared interest in the criminal mind. But the body count is rising. As newspapers spin tales of the “Holyrood Strangler,” panic sets in across the city. And with each victim, the murderer is getting closer to Hamilton, the one man who dares to stop him.

Excerpt:

Edinburgh, 1881

As he trudged up the steep incline to the top of Arthur’s Seat on a wretched afternoon in late winter, Stephen Wycherly could not stop shivering. The sky was spitting rain, and a chill breeze blew in from the Firth of Forth, cutting through his already damp overcoat. But the fit of trembling that seized him as he reached the summit was more from dread than the biting February wind. Clutching the note summoning him to this godforsaken spot, he shielded his eyes from the rain and gazed around. He had not seen another soul on his lonely trek up the hill, which was hardly surprising—who in their right mind would venture out in this weather? And why did his tormentor insist they meet on this jagged outgrowth of rock on such a day?

Stephen fingered the money in his pocket. It was all he had—he hoped it was enough. He never imagined he would be a victim of blackmail; it was like a bad dream. He looked at his watch—already ten minutes past the appointed meeting time. His heart leapt at the prospect of having arrived too late for the assignation. The ruin of his reputation suddenly seemed a small price to pay to escape the creeping terror overtaking him as he gazed down at the city of Edinburgh. He was just about to leave when he became aware of a figure approaching him from the steeper trail that ascended the summit from the east. The man smiled when he saw Stephen, but there was no friendliness in his face, no warmth in those icy eyes.

“You came,” the man said. “I did not think you would.”

“Of course I came,” Stephen said, projecting confidence he did not have. “Let’s get this over with.”

“Very well,” his companion agreed. “Wait—what’s that?” His gaze was fixed on a point over Stephen’s shoulder, and, his instinct for self-preservation overcome by curiosity, Wycherly turned to look.

That was all the distraction the other man needed. Stephen felt the garrote around his neck before he could turn around to face his opponent. Flailing, he staggered backward, hands clawing vainly at his throat, as his attacker tightened the ligature. The last thing he heard before consciousness slipped away was a soft voice in his ear.

“There, there, now—it will all be over soon. Sweet dreams.”

About the author: Carole Lawrence (Carole Buggé) is a New York-based suspense writer, performer, composer and prize-winning playwright and poet whose previous books have been praised as “lively. . .” (Publishers Weekly); “constantly absorbing. . .” (starred Kirkus Review); and “superbly crafted prose” (Boston Herald). Titan Press recently reissued her two Sherlock Holmes novels, The Star of India and The Haunting of Torre Abbey. Her Lee Campbell thrillers, under the name C.E. Lawrence, include Silent Screams and its sequels, are about a criminal profiler pursuing serial killers in New York City. Find her at  http://celawrence.com/

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Book Review: Do You Have a CATHARSIS Handy? by Kathleen Kaska

Do You Have A CATHARSIS Handy? Five Minute Writing Tips is a handy reference guide of do’s, don’t and maybe-sometimes by award-winning author Kathleen Kaska. Originally published as individual posts Five Minute Writing Tips on the Cave Art Press blog, topics include writing styles, grammar and punctuation rules, removing writer’s block, an insight into publishing and marketing your work, and much more.

Combining razor sharp wit with clear, concise detail, Kaska elevates what could be dry, dusty content into a series of educational and entertaining entries that run the gamut from Leave the Egg-laying to Chickens: Ten Confusing Words You’ll Never Misuse Again to Just When You Thought You Knew It All: What, No Semi-Colons in Fiction? 

Whether you’re looking for a chuckle over malapropisms (the book’s title refers to the author’s husband asking for a catharsis instead of a thesaurus), a refresher on metaphors and similes, or simply a reminder about things you’ve learned in school but have long since forgotten (or ignored), you’ll find it in these pages. Do You Have a CATHARSIS Handy? is a terrific addition to any writer’s bookshelf. Find it in paperback at all the usual suspects, including directly from the publisher.

 

New Release Mondays: Wild Card by Luke Murphy

Author Name: Luke Murphy

Book Title: Wild Card

Book Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime-Fiction, Police Procedural

Release Date: October 14, 2017

Synopsis: Calvin Watters believes he can finally move on—until Ace Sanders’ prison escape. When Detective Dale Dayton reopens the Sanders’ case, he’s introduced to new evidence that leads him into a political nightmare.

While Calvin tracks Sanders across continents, Dale remains in Vegas to uncover the truth behind police corruption, prison escapes, and hired assassins. But Calvin and Dale must be vigilant, because there’s a deadly, new player in town.

Excerpt: Detective Dale Dayton sat at his desk in the Robbery/Homicide division office of the new LVMPD Headquarters on four hundred South Martin L. King Boulevard.

He tapped his pen unproductively on the desk, where a ubiquitous stack of papers awaited. His jacket was off, sleeves rolled up, as Dale stared at the cold case files wondering how his life had come unglued.

He looked around the empty office, the only glow coming from his desktop lamp. He was alone. His long-time partner, Detective Jimmy Mason, had long ago surrendered to the friendly surroundings of his home, wife and children.

The newly built, four-hundred thousand square-foot headquarters, which opened in 2011, seemed almost haunting in its emptiness. The building consolidated twenty-seven bureaus, including his Robbery/Homicide division, previously located in various buildings around Las Vegas. It also housed the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Police Records, and a Fingerprint Bureau annex.

But tonight, silence reigned, almost a peaceful isolation from the everyday hustle and bustle of a police station in full-running mode.

His phone rang. He unclipped it from his waist and answered, “Detective Dayton.”

“Detective, this is Colonel John Hughes of the United States Marine Corps.”

Dale’s skin prickled and his heart caught in his throat. A chill ran through his body from hearing a voice he’d never forget.

It had been over a year since the city’s debacle that had brought Hughes to Vegas, stirring the colonel from the cozy confines of his military base. Dale had hoped he’d never hear from the man again. What a fiasco that had been. But a call from the colonel could only mean one thing, Dale’s priority case-list just shifted.

Baxter, said a shaky voice inside Dale.

A man as cold-blooded as killers came. It was a national pastime for him. Baxter had been an instrumental part in one of the most vicious crime-sprees in the city’s history.

“We need to talk,” Hughes said.

About the author: Luke Murphy is the bestselling author of Dead Man’s Hand (2012), Kiss & Tell (2015), and Wild Card (2017).

Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. His sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec, and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7).

Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec,  with his wife, three daughters and pug. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com.

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Will You #NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) officially begins each year on November 1, when participants start working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. For those of you mathematically challenged, that’s 1,666 words a day — if you write 7 days a week.

I’ll admit I’ve never been successful at past NaNoWriMo efforts, but this year I really need the inspiration. I’ve had a story in my head for a while, and just haven’t been writing it — 50,000 words would go a long way to getting me to a finished first draft.

So here goes. Wish me luck and good writing!

If you’d like to find out more, it’s not too late to sign up. Find the scoop here. Oh, and if you need validation (beyond knowing you’re actually trying to write  your book), you can even earn badges! I’ve already earned these two badges… and it’s only the first day! I could get into this…

Badge for creating novel on NaNoWriMo

Badge for filling out my author profile.

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New Release Monday: The Haunting of Dr. Bowen by C.A. Verstraete

Author Name: C.A. Verstraete

Book Title: The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden’s Fall River

Book Genre: historical, mystery, paranormal, light horror

Release Date: August 2017

Synopsis: Gruesome deaths haunt the industrial city of Fall River, Massachusetts.

Dr. Seabury Bowen—physician to the infamous Lizzie Borden—swears he’s being stalked by spirits, though his beloved wife thinks it’s merely his imagination. But the retired doctor insists that neither greed nor anger provoked the recent sensational axe murders in Fall River. Rather, he believes the city is poisoned by bad blood and a thirst for revenge dating back to the Indian and Colonial wars.

Now, two years after the Borden murders, Dr. Bowen is determined to uncover the mysteries stirring up the city’s ancient, bloodthirsty specters. Can he discover who, or what, is shattering the peace before Fall River runs red? Or will he be the next victim?

Excerpt:

Prologue

“Never did I say to anyone that she had died of fright.

My first thought, when I was standing in the door, was that she had fainted.”

—Testimony of Dr. Seabury W. Bowen, Trial of Lizzie Borden, June 8, 1893

“Why won’t anyone believe me? Why, Phoebe, why?”

Dr. Seabury Bowen shoved back the shock of white hair hanging over his forehead and wiped a wrinkled hand across his stubbled chin.

His appearance, like his surroundings, could stand a bit of major housekeeping, not that he cared a whit.

“Here, it’s here somewhere,” he mumbled.

The old man rummaged among the giant pile of documents, books, and what-not littering the large walnut desk in his study. Several minutes later, and after the search through dozens of loose papers, he saw the faded red book lying beneath a tottering pile. He pulled at it, sending the rest of the stack falling like so much unwanted garbage.

The good doctor, but a shadow of his once-robust self, flipped the pages. He stared at the offending journal entry before setting the book aside with a heartrending sob.

Chapter One

   “I saw the form of Mr. Borden lying on the lounge at the left of the sitting-room door. His face was very badly cut, apparently with a sharp instrument; his face was covered with blood.”

—Testimony of Dr. Seabury W. Bowen, Trial of Lizzie Borden, June 8, 1893

The man reached toward him with long, lean fingers. Dr. Seabury Bowen blinked and tried to make out the features of the unknown figure standing in the corner. The unexpected visitor had a broad, dark face and what looked like a band across his forehead. Bowen stretched out his arm in turn and jumped when their fingers touched, the jolt surging through him like the electricity he knew would soon replace all the gas lights.

“Seabury, dear, are you all right?” His wife, Phoebe, sounded concerned. “What’s wrong?”

Bowen breathed hard. He bolted upright and held a hand on his chest, trying to catch his breath. Still stunned, he gazed about the room, disturbed at the odd shapes until he recognized familiar things… the bureau, the armoire, the paintings on his bedroom walls. He swallowed and nodded.

“Ye-yes. I-I’m fine. A bad dream, that’s all it was. Just a dream.”

About the author:  Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a bit of a “scare” in her writing. He stories have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Mystery Weekly, Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Siren’s Call and more. She is the author of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and The Haunting of Dr. Bowe, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden’s Fall River. Learn more at her website, http://cverstraete.com and visit her blog, http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com.

FIND THE BOOK: http://getBook.at/HauntingofDrBowen

My Publishing Journey: It Never Gets Old

Any original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is automatically protected by copyright the moment it’s created. But it’s still recommended that authors file for “official” copyright. I wrote about this at some length when I filed for my very first copyright in 2015 for THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE, the first book in my Glass Dolphin mystery series, and my debut novel. You can read that post here.

But here’s the thing: First time, second time, third time…filing for copyright NEVER gets old. At least, it doesn’t for me. There’s something exciting about getting that certificate in the mail and seeing your name attached to something you created.

A HOLE IN ONE is the second book in the Glass Dolphin series, and it picks up a few months after NOOSE ends. Many of the characters are the same, but there are some new additions, and some character who, for a variety of reasons, didn’t make the sequel. Here’s a brief synopsis of what you can expect:

Murder, mystery, and mayhem—small-town secrets have never been bigger…

When the Glass Dolphin antiques shop agreed to sponsor a hole in one contest at the Miakoda Falls Golf & Country Club “Kids Come First” charity golf tournament, co-owners Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland never dreamed it would bring them anything but positive publicity. That is until Arabella’s errant tee shot on the third hole landed in the woods—right next to a dead man with a gunshot wound in the middle of his chest. A dead man they soon learn is closely related to Arabella’s ex-husband, Levon Larroquette, who had been acting as the Course Marshal.

With means, opportunity, and more than enough motive, Levon soon becomes the police department’s prime suspect, leaving Arabella and Emily determined to clear his name—even if they’re not entirely convinced of Levon’s innocence.

The duo’s investigation leads them to a mysterious cult, Emily’s ex-fiancée and the woman he left her for, an Elvis impersonator, and a “going out of business” antiques mall vendor with a secret of her own. Along the way, an anonymous blogger complicates their lives even further with online posts rife with rumor, innuendo, and accusation.

Publication of A HOLE IN ONE is scheduled for March 2018. A limited number of ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) will be available shortly in print, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and PDF formats. If you’re a reviewer or blogger and would like a copy in exchange for an honest review, please contact me.

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New Release Mondays: No Fury Like That by Lisa de Nikolits

I first met Lisa de Nikolits at the Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore in Toronto, where we were celebrating the launch of The Whole She-Bang-3. It’s my pleasure to introduce her, and her latest work.

Author Name: Lisa de Nikolits

Book Title: No Fury Like That

Book Genre: Crime fiction, mystery, suspense/thriller, noir, psychological suspense.

Release Date: September 15, 2017

Synopsis: Imagine if characters from The Devil Wears Prada got trapped in Sartre’s play No Exit, where “hell is other people.” Julia Redner seemed to have it all: stunning good looks, a fantastic job, and enough money and perks to live in the style she’d grown accustomed to. But after it all went down and she finds herself in the afterlife, Julia realizes that she has a whack of unfinished business to settle and a handful of murders to solve.

Excerpt:  “We’re here,” Grace says after we turn a corner and walk past a series of yellow doors with yellow half-moon handles. I want to ask what’s with the yellow all of a sudden, but I sense it’s not a good time for questions. I don’t want the others to bounce me. They haven’t said they can do that, but I’m pretty certain they have the power.

We stopped at a door and no one wants to be the first to venture inside.

But then something creepy happens — the door handle twists down and the door swings quietly open.

“I know you lot are out there,” a hoarse voice bellows, “so come on in, you ninnies. I know what you’re going to ask me and I can tell you now that the answer is still the same, it’s no, nada, zip, zero, and I’ve got no idea why you wasted your time coming out all this way. I guess you had nothing better to do or you wanted to introduce me to your new friend. hear this, Julia, you’re a longer ways off from a Viewing than you can imagine. You, with your ego the size of Jupiter, well, you’ll have to wait in line like the rest of them, your charms hold no currency here.”

I feel as if someone has thrown a bucket of ice water on me. I can’t move or speak. I just stand there, dripping with the venom of this woman’s sarcasm.

“Come on in,” the voice bellows again. “Bloody rude to stand out there and make me shout.”

“Hardly a point in coming in, is there?” Fragile little Isabelle shouts back and I am surprised. The mouse has roared. But then again, this is a girl who had sex with strangers, she isn’t afraid of anything.

“You should at least give us a timeline,” Isabelle says loudly, and she marches inside and I can see that her fists are clenched and her face is white.

The others creep in behind her and I bring up the rear. 

About the author: Originally from South Africa, award-winning author Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain. No Fury Like That, her seventh and most recently published work, has received glowing preview reviews from internationally acclaimed authors, Metroland Media, and high-profile members of the Crime Writers of Canada. Find her at lisadenikolitswriter.com

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Bouchercon Toronto Recap

With Dru Ann Love (Dru’s Book Musings) and Kristopher Zgorski (BOLO Books)

I’ve been a member of the Bouchercon 2017 volunteer committee since 2015, meeting quarterly at first, and then escalating to monthly. While my contributions were far less than co-chairs Helen Nelson and Janet Costello, this past 2 1/2 years has opened my eyes to the sheer volume of work that goes on behind the scenes to put on a four-day 100% volunteer run conference like Bouchercon. It was an invaluable experience and one that I will treasure always.

My books in the book room!

But what about the conference itself? What can I say? At last count, there were more than 1,700 attendees, of which approximately 33% were authors, including NYT bestsellers like Louise Penny, Maureen Jennings and Megan Abbott, as well as folks like me (not yet on the NYT list…but hope springs eternal).

CWC had a significant presence at Bouchercon. (L to R) Member Jim Napier, RCMP Officer Julie Meeks, CWC Past President Rick Blechta, CWC Chair Cathy Ace.

For my part, I was able to take my turn manning the Sisters in Crime – Toronto table, the Crime Writers of Canada table, and the Crime Writers of Canada hospitality suite. These are great opportunities to meet and greet other authors, and introduce readers to  SinC, CWC, and of course, my books.

I also had the opportunity to moderate (my first time as a moderator) a panel of reviewers: Margaret Cannon (Globe & Mail), Steve Steinbock (Ellery Queen; AudioFile Magazine), Marsali Taylor (Mystery People; Mystery Readers), Erica Ruth Neubauer (Publishers Weekly, Crimespree, Mystery Scene), and Andrew Gulli (The Strand Magazine). We had a tough time slot: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Sunday—trust me when I tell you that an early morning panel on the last day of a four-day conference is not ideal. Fortunately, the strength of the panel drew people in, and we pretty much had a full house. I wasn’t perfect, and I might do some things differently if I ever have another opportunity, but overall, it went really well. The thing I’m most proud of? Two years ago, I was terrified to speak in public, and there I was, moderating a panel of esteemed reviewers in front of a packed room!

Inside MacKenzie house on the Ghost Walk tour

One of my favorite moments was leading the Ghost Walk tour on Wednesday night. It was damn cold, and a wee bit drizzly, but I learned about Toronto’s “ghost subway stations,” AND I actually saw where Samuel Lount was hanged for treason! Readers of THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE will understand why that was such a thrill for me.

View from my hotel room

The hardest thing (besides the sheer sense of exhaustion as the days and hours start to blend together) for a solitary loner type like me is the crowds, but thankfully I’m well familiar with Toronto, having been born and raised there, so I was able to escape during lunch times and walk around downtown. Sure, there are crowds there, too, but in typical big city fashion, it’s pretty easy to blend in and become anonymous. For the moment, at least, you don’t have to be “on.”

Gibbs sleeping at my feet.

My next conference is Left Coast Crime in Reno, March 2018. For now, I am just happy to be back home, and I think Gibbs is happy to have me here.

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