Friday, 26 May 2017

#Dream a Little Death by #SusanKandel - Showcase - A Dreama Black Mystery

Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel

Dream A Little Death

by Susan Kandel

on Tour May 23 - June 23, 2017

Synopsis:


From critically acclaimed author Susan Kandel comes a charming new mystery featuring Dreama Black and a cast of zany LA-based characters.

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly, with long, silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn't have helped that I'd used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should've known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.
Like braving the freeway during rush hour.
Like thinking you can't get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.
Like racing up to his penthouse in gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.
Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

Meet Dreama Black. A 28 year-old, third-generation groupie trying to figure out who she is after being publicly dumped by the rock god whose mega-hit, "Dreama, Little Dreama" made the name and the girl world-famous. Now Dreama supports herself by running custom-designed, themed tours of her hometown of L.A. When she is hired by a Raymond Chandler-obsessed rap producer to create a "L.A. noir" tour as his present to his soon-to-be bride, Dreama gets pulled into the middle of a possible murder, corrupt cops, and an unforgettable pair of femme fatales.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062674994 (ISBN13: 9780062674999)
Series: A Dreama Black Mystery, 1
Purchase Links: Amazon UK   Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1
The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly bear, with long silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.
Like braving the freeway during rush hour.
Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.
Like racing up to his penthouse in Balenciaga gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.
Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is another thing I should know better about. Because if I’ve learned anything at all from my study of film noir (which got me into the whole sordid Miles McCoy mess to begin with), it is to tell the story in the precise order in which it happened.
The trouble started the day before, which was Valentine’s Day, a pagan holiday named after the Roman priest who defied Claudius II by marrying Christian couples. After being hauled off in shackles, the soft-hearted cleric was beaten with clubs, stoned, and when that didn’t finish him off, publicly beheaded. Makes you think.
It had poured rain for eight days running, which isn’t what you sign on for when you live in Los Angeles. But that morning, as I stepped outside for a run, the sun was blinding—so blinding, in fact, that I didn’t see the fragrant valentine my neighbor’s dog, Engelbart, had left on the stoop for me. Not that I minded spending the next twenty minutes cleaning the grooves of my running shoe with a chopstick. It was a beautiful day. The rollerbladers were cruising the Venice boardwalk. The scent of medical marijuana was wafting through the air. Engelbart’s gastrointestinal tract was sound.
An hour later, I hopped into my mint green 1975 Mercedes convertible, and made my way up Lincoln to the freeway. I was headed to Larchmont, an incongruous stretch of Main Street, USA, sandwiched between Hollywood and Koreatown. This was where studio executives’ wives and their private school daughters came for green juice, yoga pants, and the occasional wrench from the general store that had served Hancock Park since the 1930s. It was also where my mother and grandmother ran Cellar Door, known for its chia seed porridge and life-positive service. I helped out whenever my coffers were running low. Which was most of the time.
You are probably frowning right about now. Surely a young woman who owns a classic convertible—as well as Balenciaga gladiators—should not be perennially low on funds. But it’s true.
The car came from my grandmother, who received it as part of her third (fourth?) divorce settlement and gave it to me as a gift when I strong-armed my mother into rehab for the fourth (fifth?) time. The sandals I purchased online in a frenzy of self-loathing shortly after watching my ex-boyfriend the rock god serenading his current girlfriend the supermodel on an otherwise uneventful episode of Ellen. I’d tried to return the sandals, but one of the studs had fallen off, making them damaged goods. Like their owner. Not that I’m hard on myself. It’s just that my career—I take clients on custom-designed, private tours of my hometown of L.A.—wasn’t exactly thriving, which is why I was easy prey for the likes of Miles McCoy. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Here comes the good part. The part where I’m driving like the wind and almost don’t notice the flashing lights in my mirror. I knew I should have fixed that taillight.
I pulled over, cut the motor, handed the cop my license and registration. He looked down, then did a double take. “Dreama Black?”
That would be me.
“The Dreama Black?” he continued. “As in ‘Dreama, Little Dreama’?”
Perhaps I should explain.
I am a twenty-eight-year-old, third-generation rock ’n’ roll groupie—or “muse,” as the women in my family like to put it.
My grandmother, a fine-boned blonde who never met a gossamer shawl or Victorian boot she didn’t like, spent the sixties sleeping her way through Laurel Canyon, winding up in a house on Rothdell Trail (a.k.a. “Love Street”) purchased for her by a certain lead singer of a certain iconic band whose name is the plural of the thing that hits you on the way out.
My mother, blessed with thick, dark tresses and a way with mousse, was consort to many of the pseudo-androgynous alpha males of American hair metal, her chief claim to fame an MTV video in which she writhed across the hood of a Porsche wearing a white leotard and black, thigh-high boots. She also bought Axl Rose his first kilt.
As for me, well, I was on my way to freshman orientation when this guy I’d been seeing, who’d played a couple of no-name clubs with some friends from summer camp, intercepted me at LAX, put his lips to my ear, and hummed the opening bars of a new song I’d apparently inspired. Instead of boarding the plane for Berkeley, I boarded the tour bus with Luke Cutt and the other skinny, pimply members of Rocket Science. Four world tours, three hit albums, two Grammys, and one breakup later, “Dreama, Little Dreama”—an emo pop anthem that went gold in seven days and has sold eleven million copies to date—had made me almost famous forever.
“Step out of the car, please.”
The cop removed his sunglasses. Peach fuzz. Straight out of the academy. “So.”
He wanted to get a picture with me.
“I’d love to get a picture with you,” he said.
I smoothed down my cut-offs and striped T-shirt, removed my red Ray-Bans, ran my fingers through my long, straight, freshly balayaged auburn hair. The cop put his arm around me, leaned in close, took a couple of snaps on his phone. Let me guess. He’d had a crush on me since tenth grade, when he saw me in a white tank and no bra on the cover of Rocket Science’s debut C.D., and now he was going to post the pictures on Instagram to show all his buddies.
“Awesome.” He gave me a brotherly punch on the arm. “No way is my wife going to believe this. She’s crazy about Luke Cutt. Hey, is he really dating that Victoria’s Secret Angel? She is smoking hot.”
At least I didn’t get the ticket.

Excerpt from Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. Copyright © 2017 by Susan Kandel. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

An Agatha, Edgar, and SCIBA nominee, Susan Kandel is the author of the nationally best-selling and critically acclaimed Cece Caruso series, the most recent of which, Dial H for Hitchcock (Morrow), was named by NPR as one of the five best mysteries of the year. A Los Angeles native, she was trained as an art historian, taught at NYU and UCLA, and spent a decade as an art critic at the Los Angeles Times. When not writing, she volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, and loves to explore secret, forgotten, and kitschy L.A. She lives with her husband in West Hollywood.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook ! 

Tour Participants:

 

Here's Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Kandel and Harper Collins. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. The giveaway begins on May 23rd and runs through June 27th 2017
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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Glasgow Kiss by Alex Gray - Excerpt and Blog Tour - Mystery Novel - @Alexincrimland @PartnersInCrimeTours

Glasgow Kiss by Alex Gray

Glasgow Kiss

by Alex Gray

on Tour May 8-31, 2017

Synopsis:

Eric Chalmers is one of the most popular teachers at Muirpark Secondary School in Glasgow. Gentle and kind, he is the one adult students trust as a confidant. So when precocious teenager Julie Donaldson accuses Chalmers of rape, the school goes into shock. How could a deeply religious family man like Chalmers do such a thing? With some students and teachers supporting Julie, and others standing by Chalmers, life at Muirpark is far from harmonious. And then the situation gets much worse – Julie Donaldson goes missing, and the police are called in.
For DCI William Lorimer, this is the second missing persons case in a week. He's had too many sleepless nights worrying about a toddler who has been missing for several days. Julie's disappearance adds a further burden to Lorimer's already overstretched workload. With each day, the likelihood of either girl being found alive diminishes, and Lorimer finds himself racing against the clock to save innocent lives.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Harper Witness
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659162 (ISBN13: 9780062659163)
Series: DCI Lorimer #6
Purchase Links: Amazon UK // Amazon US | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

They were walking a little apart now. Her face was in profile, half shaded by the overhanging trees so that he could not make out her expression, though from time to time he would sneak a glance to see if she was looking his way. Her long pale-golden hair was twisted into plaits, leaving the cheekbones naked and exposed. It should have made her seem like a child but instead she looked older, more remote, and Kyle wished she’d left it loose as she usually did, burnished and glimmering in the afternoon sunshine.
It hadn’t always been like this. They’d walked through Dawsholm Park loads of times, sometimes hand in hand, dawdling by the grass verges, snatching the chance to have a quick kiss.
But now, Kyle thought gloomily, these halcyon days were over. Halcyon had been Kyle’s favourite word last term. His English teacher, Mrs. Lorimer, had explained that it derived from a Greek story about a mythical bird that in the middle of winter made its nest floating upon the Aegean seas. The bird had magical powers to make the waters calm and the winds drop. Kyle loved that story and had used the word in his own mind to describe his relationship with Julie. He’d even dreamed of them once – floating together like that bird, side by side, waves lapping gently against their boat. Something made him shiver suddenly and the girl turned to him, a question in her eyes. Kyle shook his head, too full to speak. She was still watching him and must have seen the bob of his Adam’s apple as he swallowed back the tears.
‘All right?’ Her voice was full of concern, but not for what was happening between them. Not for that.
‘Aye, fine,’ he replied but failed to stifle the sigh escaping from his chest. Would she stick with him out of pity after seeing his battered face? Part of him wanted to have Julie around, her warmth and loveliness blotting out the misery of the last two days. But deep down he knew he’d lost her long before his father’s release from prison.
‘Kyle?’
‘What?’
‘D’you want to talk about it?’ She had stopped walking now and was looking at him, frowning. ‘It might help . . .’ Her voice trailed off in an unspoken apology.
Kyle shrugged. He hadn’t talked about it to anyone though he’d done a fair amount of listening. His gran’s house had been full of talk: recriminations, wild accusations and shouting. But that was because women did that sort of thing. And because Kyle was Gran’s favourite, the youngest of her three grandsons. His brothers and his gran: they all had something to say about what Tam Kerrigan had done, and not just to him. That was one reason why he was here, with Julie, to escape from all of the talk. But also he’d been interested in the bit about the murder victim, in spite of everything. What happened to a dead person at a post-mortem examination?
He’d looked up stuff on the net, reading in a detached way about incisions and bodily fluids, not really making a link with the dead man his father had killed. Even the illustrations on the Internet site hadn’t put him off. It was like selecting bits of vacuum-packed butcher meat from the supermarket shelves and not seeing the animal they’d come from. Not like in the school trip to France where you were in no doubt about the origin of your dinner. One of the lassies had nearly thrown up that time someone had served up a chicken with everything still attached, the yellow claws curled over the platter and the head all to one side; you could imagine its squawk as the neck had been wrung.
‘Kyle?’ Julie’s voice broke into his thoughts and he looked up, seeing her staring at him, a tiny crease between her eyes.
‘Och, I’m okay,’ he told her, then dropped his gaze, unable to bear the kindness in her face. ‘The bruises’ll be gone in a day or so. Probably by the time we go back to school,’ he added.
‘Are you going back right away?’
Kyle shrugged again. ‘Why not? Can’t see what good it’ll do me to hang around the house.’ He paused to let the unspoken words sink in.
Keeping out of the house meant keeping away from his father. They walked on again in silence but this time Julie reached out for his hand and he took it, feeling its warmth, glad to have her there. It would be okay. There might be folk staring at him, curious to know the truth behind what the papers said about Tam Kerrigan, but if Julie was there, even as a friend, he’d manage all right. All summer they’d talked about the advantages of being in Fourth Year, both excited, dropping the pretence of being too cool to show it. His mouth twisted at the memory. That had been another person, a young carefree creature whose whole life had stretched before him like an open road. Now that person was dead and gone, his boyhood behind him for ever.
---
Excerpt from Glasgow Kiss by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from Harper Witness. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.
Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.
A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website  & Twitter .

 Tour Participants:

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Harper Collins. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of THE RIVERMAN by Alex Gray. The giveaway begins on May 7th and runs through June 1st 2017.
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Monday, 22 May 2017

Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell - Extract & Giveaway - #DIGeraldineSteel

I am pleased to welcome to my blog today, Leigh Russell, author of over 1 million books worldwide. Today I'm featuring her book "Deadly Alibi" which is out on paperback on the 25th May. 

TITLE - Deadly Alibi

AUTHOR - Leigh Russell 

PUBLISHERS - No Exit Press

SERIES - DI Geraldine Steel #9

SYNOPSIS 
A hand gripped her upper arm so suddenly it made her yelp. Biting her lower lip, she spun round,
lashing out in terror. As she yanked her arm out of his grasp, her elbow hit the side of his chest.

Struggling to cling on to her, he lost his footing. She staggered back and reached out, leaning one hand on the cold wall of the tunnel. Before she had recovered her balance he fell, arms flailing, eyes glaring wildly as he disappeared over the edge of the platform onto the rails below. . .

Two victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt: Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which jeopardises not only her career, but her life.

When her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, her problems threaten to make Geraldine's life turn toxic in more ways than one.


PRAISE FOR LEIGH RUSSELL

‘Unmissable' – Lee Child
'A brilliant talent in the thriller field' – Jeffrey Deaver
‘One of the most impressively dependable purveyors of the English police procedural' – Times
'A rare talent' – Daily Mail
'Taut and compelling' – Peter James

OVER 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leigh Russell is a CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award nominee, a CWA Dagger in the Library longlisted author and People's Book Prize finalist. 


She is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road
Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, and Murder Ring.


Cold Sacrifice was the first in a spin off series featuring Ian Peterson and followed by Race to Death and Blood Axe. Leigh studied at the University of Kent gaining an MA in English and American literature.





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Monday, 15 May 2017

Steve Robinson - Author - Q & A Session & International #Giveaway - Author of Dying Games



Today I'm welcoming Steve Robinson to my blog, author of  Dying Games - A Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have been interested in Genealogy since 1981 and have completed several family trees. This Q & A session was a dream one for me. Firstly it's a Genealogical Mystery as I've already said; Secondly it's about a serial killer, one of my favourite book genres, and thirdly, well he has a fabulously interesting website! I knew this interrogation (I mean questioning) would be a fun one to do. So here goes!

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

 I often feel energised to start writing, not all the time, but mostly, especially when the dialogue for the upcoming scene starts talking to me. When that happens I can’t wait to get to my desk to start writing it all down. If I’m ever struggling to start a new scene, I’ll often begin with the dialogue, which for me is often easier to get stuck into. By the time I stop writing for the day I’m usually ready to.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t give up so easily, kid! I started writing my first book when I was in my early twenties. It took several years to finish, on and off in my spare time while working shifts. I didn’t give up on the writing part, even if it did take a long time to get there. I had to finish writing the book once I’d started it because I always feel I owe it to the characters to complete their story and not leave their lives hanging. I know they’re only fictional characters, but they begin to feel real to me. I gave up trying to get the book published though, and I gave up trying to write another book again for a long time. It wasn’t until I was made redundant from my career in telecoms that I decided to have another go. This time around, although it took a number of years to make any real progress, I kept trying until I got there.

What did you edit out of this book?

Nothing. If you’d asked me that after I wrote the first book in my Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series, IN THE BLOOD, I’d have given you a very different (and very long) answer. If you take a look at my website, I’ve got a ‘cut scenes’ section entirely devoted to IN THE BLOOD, where you can read some of the scenes that were taken out. I really like some of them, and it was hard to cut them, but the book stood at 168,000 words when I finished it, and as a new author writing for the mystery & thriller genre that was way too long. It was drastically cut on the advice of some of the agents I sent the book to, and one I eventually signed with, to about 106,000 words. Now I aim for 100,000 words every time, and I plot more tightly before I start writing, so I don’t waste words or face the heartache of deciding which ones to cut. If anything, particularly during the structural editing phase, I now find myself adding rather than cutting. Write tight. That’s the key, especially with thrillers.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I aim to write a book a year, from concept, through plotting, writing and my first edit. Then while I’m plotting the next one, I work with my publisher’s editorial team for a couple more months - structural editing, where we look at the story, then to copyediting and proofreading. Because my stories often take the reader into the past there’s usually a lot of research to do along the way. It’s a challenge because with each new book I don’t write about the same places or time-periods I’ve written about before. This means I have to start afresh each time. It keeps it interesting, though, for both author and reader alike, as you never know what’s coming next. One book might take you back to England in the early nineteenth century for example (IN THE BLOOD), while another takes you to WW2 Germany (KINDRED). My lead character Jefferson Tayte locks it all together of course. He’s about the only constant in my stories while we follow his life as he digs up the past through his research, and typically finds himself in harm’s way as he does so.

What is your favourite childhood book?

There has only ever been one contender. It’s THE LION THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE by CS Lewis. I love the whole Narnia series. I feel it really unlocked my imagination.

Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I check the reviews for my books quite often. I like to know how I’m doing, not just in terms of books sold, but what readers think of them. I’m fortunate that my books have a lot of reviews around the world and a strong overall rating, so I tend to focus on the majority opinion and hold true to the adage that you can’t please all the people all the time. As long as my work pleases the majority, I’m happy and can’t expect more. It does no good to get upset about a bad review. Every book has them. Think of your favourite book of all time, and then go to any website that shows book reviews. If there are enough reviews, there will be poor reviews amongst them. How could someone else dislike a book you loved so much? We’re all different, of course, and that has to be respected.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Sometimes. There’s a kind of secret in the third book of the series, THE LAST QUEEN OF ENGLAND. Until now only my wife and I know what it is, but I’m happy to share it now. Anagrams feature in the book, so when I was deciding on names for the members of the Royal Society of London, I thought it would be fun, if just for myself, to make the names up as anagrams of the real members of the Royal society that the characters in the book loosely represented.

Do you Google yourself?


Very rarely, and then it’s not so much about me as one of my books, such as when I have a new book out and I’m looking at reviews.


Check out what his books are about in the video above. If you love crime novels; thrillers and intrigue then these are the books for you.

Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery Series - Buy Links - Dying Games // In the Blood // To The Grave // The Last Queen of England // The Lost Empress // Kindred

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

"I was born by the sea in Kent, UK, and now live just outside London. My passion for writing began when I was sixteen and had my first magazine article published, and I’ve been writing ever since. When my career in telecoms ended in redundancy, I began to write full time. In the Blood, my debut novel, was the result."

Steve is so much more than those couple of sentences above. Check out his website here for more information. I promise you it's interesting reading.

You can also catch up with Steve on Facebook  // Blog  // Twitter 

Being the guy he is, Steve has offered to giveaway a signed copy of his book "To the Grave". It’s the second book in the series, and is a good way to emphasise that all his books have all been written as standalone stories, so you don't need to worry if you've missed one. He is happy to post it worldwide too.

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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Reading and Stress ~ Can reading help? #Giveaway - 2 crime books


It's coming up to the anniversary of my Dad's passing on 15th May 2014. The worst day of my life. My Husband and I were in Vancouver at the time about to board a cruise ship to Alaska, and instead we ended up at Vancouver airport, waiting for a flight back to the UK.

What did change for me at that time, was my reading habits. I went completely off reading! Instead of using it as a stress relief, I went the other way. I couldn't concentrate. For about a year I stopped reading and I stopped blogging. I just lost interest, which for those who know me well know that this was just not me. I was always found with a book in my hand somewhere.

A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. It is supposed to work better than listening to music or drinking tea. It is supposed to be because reading takes you to a different world. One away from the every day stresses and strains of regular life. 

Here are some tips from the University of Minnesota, who recommend that you pick up any book or magazine, even a cook book and go somewhere quiet where you won't be disturbed and read for 30 minutes.
  • The book you choose doesn't have to be on any "best-seller" list. The important thing is that the subject matter has captured your interest and will provide a space for your mind to relax in every day.
  • Reading only helps reduce your stress if you pick something you enjoy that won't upset you. Reading the news may not be the best choice if it makes you feel angry or helpless. Pick a novel where you can escape into another world. Or read about an activity that you enjoy-- a hobby, travel, cooking.
  • Take note of how you feel after your reading break. Have you been able to let go of some of your stressors? If you still feel overwhelmed, take our Stress Assessment to explore the source of your anxieties and take charge of your well-being.
My first step back on the reading ladder, was a chance correspondence and meeting with a lovely author in Texas, my second home. Chrinda Jones, Author of crime novels Angels Sing to Rest and Darkness Knows Me. Chrinda had asked that I take part in a blog tour and review one of her books and I obliged. Check out my post here. That was it, I was hooked and back into my reading. Funnily enough since then Chrinda has become a very good friend and we have visited her twice now in Texas. Once to watch her son in his band and the second time in 2016, we stayed in a hotel nearby her house for a few days and her and her husband took us out each day, plus we spent time relaxing at her home and in her pool. I don't think she really knows the impact she had on me from reading and reviewing her book. 

As I've said it's coming up to the anniversary of my Dad's passing and a lot has changed in that I am reading more than ever, albeit I'm a slow reader, and I'm immersing myself in a book to relieve the stress.

I'm interested in hearing your opinions of what you do that helps to receive stress. Is it to read or something else.

Please comment on my blog and enter the rafflecopter. The winner will receive an e-book copy of both of Chrinda's books. 
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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo ~ Showcase ~ Non-Fiction

Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo

TITLE - Whiskers and Bear

AUTHOR - Giacomo Giammatteo
On Tour May 1 - 14, 2017

Synopsis:


Whiskers and Bear were two of the best dogs in the world. They didn't always listen or even try to listen, but they were loyal to a fault, and they were the best of friends. They hunted all of their food, and they protected our animal sanctuary with no regard for their own safety.

A PLEA FOR HELP...

Out of all the books I’ve written (almost thirty), this one is closest to my heart. For twenty-four years, my wife and I have run an animal sanctuary, providing homes for dogs, cats, pigs, horses, and even a wild boar. I don’t know how many animals we’ve had through the years in total, but at one time, we had as many as fifty-five.
I don’t often ask for help, but this is important. We have run this sanctuary for twenty-four years using our own money—no donations to speak of. The feed bill alone was more than a thousand dollars per month. And there are plenty of other bills, vets, fencing, shelter, medical supplies, and more.
In early 2015, I had two heart attacks followed by two strokes. The result was that it left me disabled. Now it is difficult to continue paying for everything.
I wrote this book in the hopes that it would sell enough to help with the funds, as all sales go to the animals. And I mean that—every penny goes to help support them—nothing for anyone else.  

Book Details

Genre: Non-Fiction, Animals
Published by: Inferno Publishing Company
Publication Date: April 2017
Number of Pages: 150
ISBN:
Purchase Links: Whiskers and Bear on Amazon Whiskers and Bear on Barnes & Noble Whiskers and Bear on Kobo Whiskers and Bear on Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Another Grave

I climbed up onto the tractor, a Kubota 4630, with a six-foot bucket on the front. It was a powerful machine, and we’d put it through the hoops more than a few times. What I mean is that my wife Mikki and I had dug a lot of graves.
I tied an old cloth diaper around my forehead and draped the end of it over the top of my bald head. There wasn’t much better than a cotton cloth for keeping sweat out of your eyes, or the sun from burning your head. I turned the key and revved the engine. After letting it idle a moment, I lifted the bucket and drove toward the south side of the property where Mikki was waiting for me. She’d already gotten a few blankets and a clean sheet. For this one, she’d brought a pillow, too.
I reached up and wiped my eyes. I was getting damn tired of burying things.
An old white pickup crept down the gravel driveway, coming to a stop near the fence.
A neighbor leaned out and hollered. “What’s goin’ on?”
I wished he’d have kept going.
“Nothin’,” I said, but not loud enough for him to hear.
The door opened, and he stepped out and walked over to the fence, using his right hand to shield his eyes from the sun as he peered over the top rail.
“What are you doin’?”
I could see there was no getting away from it. I muttered my answer a few times so my voice wouldn’t crack when I yelled.
“Diggin’ a grave,” I hollered back.
“A grave? Which one died?”
Which one? That’s what it had come to for most of the neighbors and relatives and friends. Which one died. As if it didn’t matter. As if having forty-five animals made it easier to deal with when one of them died.
He came in through the side gate and headed in my direction. He walked slowly, which gave me time to compose myself. It’s never easy to bury a friend, but this one…this one was special.
Mikki walked over to me. “He’s just trying to help.”
I nodded.
I don’t need his help, I thought, but the fact of the matter was I could probably use it.
It hadn’t rained in weeks, and the damn Texas ground was as hard as concrete. Even if the tractor did cut through, it could only go so deep; we’d have hand work to do at the bottom.
Our neighbor was about twenty feet away. He took off his hat and swiped at his forehead. It was a scorcher today and had been for a month or so.
“Who was it?” he asked.
I couldn’t say, but I managed to gesture toward Mikki. She lifted the corner of the blanket so he could see.
“Oh shit!” he said. “I’m sorry.”
“Thanks,” I said.
He unbuttoned his shirt and grabbed a shovel I had leaning against a small oak tree. “Might as well get this done.”
I nodded again. He was right, of course, but I was in no hurry to put another friend in the ground. I cranked the engine up a little higher, shoved the tractor into low gear, and positioned the bucket for the first scoop of dirt. The bucket hit the ground with a metallic thud. It didn’t do much more than break the surface.
“Whew!” the neighbor said. “Going to be a long day.”
“That’s for sure.”
“How long have they been with you?” he asked.
They. I thought about what he said. I would have laughed if not for the circumstances. Everyone referred to the two of them as one. They or them. Bear and Whiskers. Whiskers and Bear. It was a cold day in July if anyone mentioned one without the other.
I handed him my bottle of water; he looked thirsty.
“They’ve been with us a long time. A damn long time.”
***
Excerpt from Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo. Copyright © 2017 by Giacomo Giammatteo. Reproduced with permission from Giacomo Giammatteo. All rights reserved.
 

Author Bio:

Giacomo Giammatteo
Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. He also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series.
When Giacomo isn’t writing, he’s helping his wife take care of the animals on their sanctuary. At last count they had 45 animals—11 dogs, a horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs.
Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with Giacomo every day and happens to also be his best buddy.
Visit Giacomo on his Website , Twitter , Facebook  and Goodreads  pages!
 

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Azrael by M.T.Ellis - Crime Thriller - Book Blast

Azrael by M.T. Ellis Book Blast
Azrael by M.T. Ellis

Azrael

by M.T. Ellis

May 9, 2017 Book Blast


Synopsis:

Emily thought her ordeal was over after she escaped a brutal kidnapping. She’s wrong. He’s coming for her again.

The body Detective Rose is looking at bears a striking resemblance to Emily, a woman who survived a horrific, sexually motivated abduction five years ago. Her fear is confirmed when Emily goes missing again. When another woman, Grace, is abducted, Detective Rose finds herself doubting the instincts that tell her the disappearance is the result of intimate partner violence. She connects the cases and recruits Grace’s partner, Ethan, to help in the search. Together they must find Grace and Emily before it’s too late.


Book Details:

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Published by: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 30th 2017
Number of Pages: 345
ISBN: 0648043800 (ISBN13: 9780648043805)
Purchase Links: Amazon UK   Amazon  Goodreads 
Read an excerpt:

Prologue

“I think I must have scared the shit out of her,” Azrael joked to himself as he opened the van door and smelt the stench coming from the dark brown stain on the back of the girl’s jeans. He laughed, even though he couldn’t be sure if she had defecated from fear or because she lost control of her bowels from his accidental overuse of the stun gun. He’d only needed to hit the woman for a second or two to disable her, but his nerves got the better of him, and he kept shocking her for a good thirty seconds, just to be sure. He could smell burning flesh as he picked up the woman and dumped her in the van. This was his first abduction, and so far the plan was working.
Azrael looked at his victim lying face down on the floor of his white Toyota HiAce. Conveniently, the commercial van had no back seats, and all of the windows were painted white when it was manufactured. As long as the police didn’t pull him over, and she didn’t wake up, no one would be able to see the sprawled petite twenty-something brunette. He wondered whether, when he bought this an five years ago, he had subconsciously known he would end up using it for this type of adventure.
He had picked up the girl from the university grounds around the corner from his house. It was luck, really. He’d been driving past and saw the woman walking by herself, and since there was no one around, Azrael went in for the kill, so to speak.
There had been no traffic nearby when he drove past the woman the first time, or when he doubled back. He stopped and asked her for directions. She leaned into the window to answer him, and a short squeak came out of her mouth as she was hit on the side of the neck with the stun gun. The woman silently convulsed and then dropped to the ground, whimpering in the fetal position and twitching occasionally. Azrael whistled as he casually got out, walked around, and opened the side door. “In you go, love,” he said as he picked her up and dumped her onto the floor of the van.
He drove around town, looking for a place to take her. He couldn’t take her to his one-bedroom apartment. If the neighbours didn’t see him carry her in, they’d certainly notice when he took her out again. He’d have to cut her up so she’d fit in the wheelie bin outside, but the bins were only collected on Mondays, and since it was Tuesday she’d have to sit around for a week. At the very least, he was sure the seventy-year-old woman who lived in the apartment next to him would be nosey enough to rummage through garbage to find out where an offensive smell was coming from.
Azrael decided to take his victim out to The Common, thousands of acres of City Council-owned bushland about an hour from his apartment. Burnt-out cars were regularly found dumped there. Kids often stole them to go bush-bashing, setting them on fire when they were done. By the time he got there it was nearly 7:00 p.m. Luckily it was spring, so the weather was warm enough for him to wear shorts, a t-shirt, and dirty old Converse sneakers. Springtime also meant the sun went down at about six, so it was dark by the time he got there. The moon was full, so Azrael had no problems seeing where he was going when he turned his lights off. As he drove through the bushland he was happy to note there were no cars on fire tonight. This meant there would be no unexpected interruptions from the local fire brigade.
He settled on a location a few kilometres into the property, where he figured he’d be most hidden. He shut off the van and listened. All he could hear were cicadas clicking outside his window and some muffled whimpers from the back of the van. Ooh, she’s awake, Azrael thought excitedly. He stepped out of the van and looked back towards the clearing he had just driven through. The van was concealed well enough by the dense scrub. He leaned back into the driver’s door to grab the map from the dash and to turn on the light above the rear-view mirror. We are here, he thought as he pointed at the middle of the map. If we go by foot into the bush a few hundred metres, no one will find her.
Azrael walked around the front of the van to the passenger door and pulled out a small backpack that was stuffed underneath the seat. He had been planning this for weeks and had hidden the bag, which contained a hunting knife, zip ties, blue latex gloves, and various other items he might need on his adventure. He took out three zip ties and looped them together to make a chain. He would put an outer ring around each of his victim’s wrists and tighten them to make handcuffs. Azrael put on the latex gloves and zipped up the backpack then shut the driver’s door and pulled the bag onto his back.
As he opened the side door, the woman started to stir. He quickly dragged her towards him by the leg and turned her over onto her stomach. He pulled both of her arms behind her as he attached the makeshift handcuffs.
“Let go of me,” the woman shrieked once she realised what was happening.
“You didn’t have to shit yourself, madam,” he said in his husky voice. “I’m not that scary.”
“W-who, who are you?” she stammered. “What do you want from me?”
“Never mind who I am. You and I are going to have some fun out here tonight,” he said playfully as he dragged the woman by her upper arm out of the van and onto the ground. She landed with a thud. She screamed as he yanked her up onto her feet. “Stand up and start walking. Don’t bother screaming — no one can hear you.”
About ten minutes later, Azrael had pushed her, kicking and screaming, farther into the bushes. Once they had reached a suitable location, he kicked the woman’s feet out from underneath her. She crumpled in a heap on the ground and sobbed, “Please don’t hurt me.” He unhooked one arm of his backpack, twisted the bag around in front of him, and took out the hunting knife. The blade was about thirty centimetres long, and when the woman saw the moonlight gleaming on it, she lost it and started shrieking hysterically.
Azrael became impatient with her screaming and yelled, “Shut up,” before kicking her in the face. The woman stopped screaming, and he could see her right eye already starting to swell. She lay with tears silently streaming down her face. He slid the backpack off his arm and dumped it onto the ground beside her, then bent down and pushed the girl onto her back, crushing her hands, which were still bound behind her. He took the knife and held it to the girl’s throat, putting just enough pressure on it to make a small cut. “Are you going to behave yourself?” he asked as he watched blood trickle in a thin red line just below her ear.
When she didn’t answer, Azrael knelt down beside her and slowly used the knife to cut her white singlet. She shivered as he cut each strap just above her shoulder and again as he made a single long slash down the right side of the singlet. He pulled the top out from underneath her, scrunched it up, and put it to his nose. He breathed in the scent of her berry body wash and became aroused. He crawled over her until he was straddling her upper thighs. He was still holding the knife in his right hand but didn’t have any trouble using it to steady himself as he put his hands down on the ground on either side of her shoulders to keep his balance. He leaned in to rub his face on her chest and let his lips rest between her breasts. She recoiled from his touch, and he could feel the friction from his five o’clock shadow scratching at her skin like razors. Suddenly, he turned his head to the right a little and bit down on her breast, just above where her lacy white bra was covering her nipple. He twisted his head and tore away a small chunk of flesh. She let out a blood-curdling scream and started to buck fiercely beneath him.
He sat up and looked down at the bite-sized hole in the woman’s breast. He followed the blood trail down her stomach, onto his groin, and up the front of his shirt. He started to chew on the chunk of tissue, savouring the taste. Just as he moved his knife hand towards his face, so he could wipe away the blood dripping from his mouth with the back of his hand, the girl bucked her hips up and knocked him off sideways. She raised her right leg up to her chest and kicked him in the stomach, which forced him off her. The shock of the woman’s defence made Azrael gasp. It rammed the piece of flesh he had bitten off towards the back of his throat, and he started to choke.
He dropped the knife, lay on his side, and clutched at his neck. The woman used this second of freedom to clamber to her feet and run away through the trees. By the time she had taken her first step, Azrael had coughed hard enough to dislodge the flesh from his throat and spat it onto the ground. He grunted as he got to his feet and gave chase.
*
He’s coming. Emily found it impossible to avoid branches whipping her in the face as she ran with her hands still cable-tied behind her. She had only been running for a few seconds before she could hear her attacker’s breaths behind her. Run! He can’t catch you, she thought urgently. Fear gripped her, and she moved faster than she had ever run before. There was a sharp sting in her wrists as he grabbed the centre of the zip-tie chain that was holding her arms together and yanked her backwards. She was pulled into the air, and just as she thought her shoulders would pop out of their sockets, the middle zip tie snapped. Her arms flew out to her sides just in time for her to land with a thump on her back. Her attacker tripped, fell forward on top of her, and knocked the wind out of her. They both lay for a second, his head near her feet, gasping for breath.
“Gotcha, you little bitch,” he said breathlessly.
His weight crushed the air out of her lungs. Pain seared through her limbs, one by one, as he pressed down on them while he turned his body around until he straddled her again. Then his strong hands were on her throat. She could feel his wild eyes burn into her soul as he started to squeeze the life out of her. She coughed and choked as she struggled underneath him. Emily scratched desperately at his hands. He wouldn’t let go. She reached out in search of anything that could help her and found a rock the size of her hand. She stretched out her arm and tried to grab it with her fingertips but couldn’t get it into her grasp. She had just started to feel light-headed from the lack of oxygen from the short, quick breaths she took when her attacker readjusted his grip. Come on, you can’t die out here. Not like this, she thought as she tried once more to pick up the rock.
Emily stretched her whole body as far as it could go and rolled the rock towards herself with her fingertips. She eventually got it close enough to pick up. She grabbed the rock in her right hand and beat him repeatedly in the temple. She felt her attacker’s warm blood trickle down her arm as he lost consciousness. His full weight fell on top of her as she strained to get out from underneath him. Emily grunted as she pushed him off her and slowly got to her feet. She stood there for a few seconds, bent over with her hands resting on her knees, and tried to catch her breath. In between gasps, she saw her attacker start to stir. Emily stood up immediately and started to run through the dark bushes.
*
Azrael woke to a pounding inside his head. The left side of his face felt hot and swollen. When he touched his temple, he could feel the warm blood oozing through his gloved fingers. Shit, he thought as he started to get up.
Where’d the little bitch get to? He was dizzy as he got to his feet and had to stand still for nearly a minute to get his bearings. Once the nausea subsided, he looked around in the moonlight to find the girl’s trail. He noticed some flattened and broken branches on a bush in front of him and figured she must have damaged them as she took off. He started to follow the trail.
*
Emily wandered hysterically. She ran into bushes and tripped over roots for what seemed like hours. She eventually collapsed, exhausted; she couldn’t stop sobbing. Once on the ground, she thought, Slow, deep breaths. Calm down, he can’t find you. You are going to be okay. She looked around for a bush or a fallen tree to hide behind until daylight, when she hoped she’d be able to find her way out of the maze of trees and scrub.
She crawled on her hands and knees for another ten minutes and then unexpectedly heard something in the distance. Her heart fluttered as she tried to keep down the rising panic. She kept low to the ground as she crept slowly towards the noises and hid behind a cluster of bushes.
While keeping concealed, she poked her head out from behind a bush and listened intently. She heard laughter and the sound of empty beer cans clinking as they were thrown to the ground. Her stomach lurched as she saw a group of teenagers in the shadows. She crept over to some bushes nearer to them to get a better look. There must be six of them, four boys and two girls, standing around an old red V8 Commodore. Judging by the smashed rear quarter glass, it was stolen. She peeked through the scrub and saw two more later model Commodores sitting back a few hundred metres. Suddenly a fireball erupted around the stolen car, and they all started running towards the getaway cars. Shit, they’re leaving! I have to get their attention, she thought as she ran out of the bushes, directly towards the group. “Help me!” she shrieked. “Help me, I’ve been abducted, let me come with you!”
She was a horrid sight: blood poured from cuts to her face, neck, and chest. Bruises had formed on her eye, cheek, and wrists. She was wearing only her stained jeans and bra, with no shoes, and was covered in dirt and clotting blood. Her wrists still had zip ties around them, and her hair was full of leaves and clumps of dirt. The teenagers didn’t hear her, and by the time she had gotten to the burning car, they were in their getaway cars with the engines running. She ran towards the closest Commodore. The driver had just turned on its headlights, and it started to turn away from the burning car.
Suddenly, the Commodore’s headlights swept back in her direction. The car stopped as if it was trying to figure out whether what it was seeing was real. It slowly started moving towards her. The car stopped about ten metres away, and a blonde guy with a southern cross tattoo down one leg got out of the passenger side and came over to her. “Are you okay? Who are you?” the boy asked. He could not have been more than seventeen.
“Please take me with you, he’s coming!” Emily screamed as she limped towards him. “Please.”
The boy looked frightened as he stared wildly around. He focused back on her and said, “Quick, get in the car!”
*
“Fuck!” Azrael yelled. Exhausted from running, he stopped and gathered his wits. I’m never going to find her, he thought after searching for what seemed like an eternity. He looked down at the torn and bloodied latex gloves on his hands and thought, Fuck this shit, I’m out of here. He turned around and headed back towards the van.
As Azrael got to the van, he saw an orange glow from the top of some trees a few kilometres away. Great, the Firies will be here soon. Just what I need. About twenty minutes later, as he pulled onto the main road after leaving the gates, Azrael saw three fire trucks with sirens and lights blaring turn off into The Common.
Excerpt from Azrael by M.T. Ellis. Copyright © 2017 by M.T. Ellis. Reproduced with permission from M.T. Ellis. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

M.T. Ellis
M.T. Ellis is a Brisbane-based author. She got kicked out of high school in year 11 for non-attendance. She then went on to attempt a Business Management degree at University, but dropped out half-way through. Despite these failures, she managed to get a job and is currently driving boats for a living.
Her dogs, Opal and Zeus, occupy a lot of her time. She would write books about their adventures if she thought people were even half as interested in them as she is.
M.T. Ellis is currently working on the second novel in her Detective Allira Rose series.

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