We Were Kings by Court Stevens #bookreview #YA #mystery #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Twenty years ago, eighteen-year-old Francis Quick was convicted of murdering her best friend Cora King and sentenced to death. Now the highly debated Accelerated Death Penalty Act passes and gives Frankie thirty final days to live. From the Kings’ own family rises up the one who will challenge the woefully inadequate evidence and potential innocence of Francis Quick.

The at-first reluctant and soon-fiery Nyla and her sidekick (and handsome country island boy), Sam Stack, bring Frankie’s case to the international stage through her YouTube channel Death Daze. They step into fame and a hometown battle that someone’s still willing to kill over. The senator? The philanthropist? The pawn shop owner? Nyla’s own mother?

Best advice: Don’t go to family dinner with the Kings. More people will leave the dining room in body bags than on their own two feet. And as for Francis Quick, she’s a gem . . . even if she’s guilty. 

I’ve wanted to read this author’s books for quite a while (she also has several published under Courtney C. Stevens), but just hadn’t been able to fit them it. When I saw her newest release pop up on NetGalley, I immediately requested it and was so excited to be approved.

I couldn’t pry the Kindle from my fingers with this novel. In fact, I was so caught up in the last 20% I was late meeting a friend for dinner – I needed to know how it would end. No way could I wait until later that evening to find out.

Nyla’s been raised my her mother (no father is in the picture), and they’ve lived with a family friend for the past several years. After her mother’s best friend receives the death penalty for a murder whe allegedly committed twenty years ago, secrets upon secrets are spilled about Nyla’s mother’s past and what happened all those years ago. Nyla and her new friend Sam (whose dad was a childhood friend of Nyla’s mother) soon dive deep into the mystery of who really killed Cora King. Once Nyla meets the King family, they all come under suspicion at some point during the story. They’re one dysfunctional bunch with plenty of skeletons stuffed in the closet.

The buildup to the big reveal had me suspecting almost everyone, and the twists are whiplash-worthy. And the reveal scene itself – shocking and so vivid I could see it playing out in my mind as if I was watching it on screen.

We Were Kings is a fast-paced mystery full of secrets, surprises, and maladjusted family dynamics. I’m just sorry it took me this long to read a book by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Such A Pretty Smile by Kristi Demeester #bookreview #thriller #psychological suspense

A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them.

There’s something out there that’s killing. Known only as The Cur, he leaves no traces, save for the torn bodies of girls, on the verge of becoming women, who are known as trouble-makers; those who refuse to conform, to know their place. Girls who don’t know when to shut up.

2019: Thirteen-year-old Lila Sawyer has secrets she can’t share with anyone. Not the school psychologist she’s seeing. Not her father, who has a new wife, and a new baby. And not her mother—the infamous Caroline Sawyer, a unique artist whose eerie sculptures, made from bent twigs and crimped leaves, have made her a local celebrity. But soon Lila feels haunted from within, terrorized by a delicious evil that shows her how to find her voice—until she is punished for using it.

2004: Caroline Sawyer hears dogs everywhere. Snarling, barking, teeth snapping that no one else seems to notice. At first, she blames the phantom sounds on her insomnia and her acute stress in caring for her ailing father. But then the delusions begin to take shape—both in her waking hours, and in the violent, visceral sculptures she creates while in a trance-like state. Her fiancé is convinced she needs help. Her new psychiatrist waves her “problem” away with pills. But Caroline’s past is a dark cellar, filled with repressed memories and a lurking horror that the men around her can’t understand.

As past demons become a present threat, both Caroline and Lila must chase the source of this unrelenting, oppressive power to its malignant core. Brilliantly paced, unsettling to the bone, and unapologetically fierce, Such a Pretty Smile is a powerful allegory for what it can mean to be a woman, and an untamed rallying cry for anyone ever told to sit down, shut up, and smile pretty. 

The publisher sent me the NetGalley widget for this novel, and I was on the fence about downloading it, but took the plunge. I’m still not quite sure how I feel after reading it.

I like the theme of female empowerment and stopping men who try to silence women or dismiss them as hysterical when they try to express their feelings. But this is a very bizarre, sometimes confusing, and occasionally disturbing story. At times I honestly didn’t know what was happening – but I plowed through this book in a couple days.

Fifteen years apart, young teen girls are brutally killed in similar ways. It happened when Caroline was in her twenties and has started again. She’s understandably worried about her thirteen-year-old daughter, Lila. When Lila begins acting strangely, memories Caroline hoped to keep buried are resurrected, and her backstory and their similar experiences are revealed in alternating POV and timeline chapters. From her dying father, Caroline learns that as a very young girl she went missing for several days, but has no memory of what happened to her during that time. By the end of the novel, I still didn’t have a firm grasp of what she experienced during that disappearance either.

This is a bloody, gory tale, and those scenes are well-written and sure to delight horror fans, but for me personally, too many elements are left undefined, and I needed more of a concrete explanation for what happens to Caroline and Lila. Were their experiences real? Just delusions? I’m not certain. Reviews are split, so if you’re a reader who enjoys ambiguous storylines this may be for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

These Deadly Games by Diana Urban #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Let’s play a game.

You have 24 hours to win. If you break my rules, she dies. If you call the police, she dies. If you tell your parents or anyone else, she dies.

Are you ready?

When Crystal Donavan gets a message on a mysterious app with a video of her little sister gagged and bound, she agrees to play the kidnapper’s game. At first, they make her complete bizarre tasks: steal a test and stuff it in a locker, bake brownies, make a prank call.

But then Crystal realizes each task is meant to hurt—and kill—her friends, one by one. But if she refuses to play, the kidnapper will kill her sister. Is someone trying to take her team out of the running for a gaming tournament? Or have they uncovered a secret from their past, and wants them to pay for what they did…

As Crystal makes the impossible choices between her friends and her sister, she must uncover the truth and find a way to outplay the kidnapper… before it’s too late.

Author of All Your Twisted Secrets, Diana Urban’s explosive sophomore novel, These Deadly Games, will keep you riveted until the final twist is revealed.

If you’re looking for a twisty psychological thriller offering unexpected surprises, These Deadly Games certainly checks those boxes.

Crystal is an easy character to root for. Her parents went through a messy divorce after her father became a physically abusive alcoholic, she’s trying to win prize money in a computer game tournament to help pay the overdue mortgage on their house, and she’s fiercely protective of her younger sister. Then her world is turned upside down when her sister is kidnapped, and Crystal is required to play a deadly game to save her. If she seeks help, tells anyone, or calls the police, her sister dies. She’s thrust into an impossible situation. The first couple assignments from the kidnapper seem bizarre, but it quickly becomes obvious he’s trying to hurt or even kill Crystal’s friends. And it all may be related to the secret she and her friends are keeping from five years ago.

Although I didn’t understand all of it, I really enjoyed the gaming angle in this story. These teens are well-versed in computer technology, and it’s something that figures prominently into the plot. I guessed part of who was behind the kidnapping, but was then thrown for a loop with the final reveal. Plenty of red herrings are offered, and at one point I even wondered if Crystal was an unreliable narrator. I’m pretty sure this is a standalone, but I didn’t get the resolution I’d hoped for at the end. There’s definitely potential for a sequel.

If you can suspend your disbelief just a tad, this a compelling YA thriller that will have you glued to the pages and keep you guessing.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m literally starting Bright Ruined Things today, so I really can’t comment on it. It’s been on my NetGalley shelf for months, but I’m excited to finally get to it. The cover gives me a Great Gatsby feel.

The only life Mae has ever known is on the island, living on the charity of the wealthy Prosper family who control the magic on the island and the spirits who inhabit it. Mae longs for magic of her own and to have a place among the Prosper family, where her best friend, Coco, will see her as an equal, and her crush, Miles, will finally see her. Now that she’s eighteen, Mae knows her time with the Prospers may soon come to an end.

But tonight is First Night, when the Prospers and their high-society friends return to the island to celebrate the night Lord Prosper first harnessed the island’s magic and started producing aether – a magical fuel source that has revolutionized the world. With everyone returning to the island, Mae finally has the chance to go after what she’s always wanted.

When the spirits start inexplicably dying, Mae starts to realize that things aren’t what they seem. And Ivo, the reclusive, mysterious heir to the Prosper magic, may hold all the answers – including a secret about Mae’s past that she doesn’t remember. As Mae and her friends begin to unravel the mysteries of the island, and the Prospers’ magic, Mae starts to question the truth of what her world was built on.

Forbidden magic, a family secret, and a night to reveal it all…

I just finished These Deadly Games last night. If you’re looking for a twisty thriller with a potentially unreliable narrator, this one’s for you. Lots of red herrrings that will keep you guessing.

Let’s play a game.

You have 24 hours to win. If you break my rules, she dies. If you call the police, she dies. If you tell your parents or anyone else, she dies.

Are you ready?


When Crystal Donavan gets a message on a mysterious app with a video of her little sister gagged and bound, she agrees to play the kidnapper’s game. At first, they make her complete bizarre tasks: steal a test and stuff it in a locker, bake brownies, make a prank call.

But then Crystal realizes each task is meant to hurt—and kill—her friends, one by one. But if she refuses to play, the kidnapper will kill her sister. Is someone trying to take her team out of the running for a gaming tournament? Or have they uncovered a secret from their past, and wants them to pay for what they did…

As Crystal makes the impossible choices between her friends and her sister, she must uncover the truth and find a way to outplay the kidnapper… before it’s too late.

Author of All Your Twisted Secrets, Diana Urban’s explosive sophomore novel, These Deadly Games, will keep you riveted until the final twist is revealed. 

When I was offered the Light Years From Home NetGalley widget for a blog tour, I jumped at the chance. I’ve read two other books by Mike Chen, and he’s never disappointed. And what a hook with that first paragraph!

Every family has issues. Most can’t blame them on extraterrestrials.

Evie Shao and her sister, Kass, aren’t on speaking terms. Fifteen years ago on a family camping trip, their father and brother vanished. Their dad turned up days later, dehydrated and confused—and convinced he’d been abducted by aliens. Their brother, Jakob, remained missing. The women dealt with it very differently. Kass, suspecting her college-dropout twin simply ran off, became the rock of the family. Evie traded academics to pursue alien conspiracy theories, always looking for Jakob.

When Evie’s UFO network uncovers a new event, she goes to investigate. And discovers Jakob is back. He’s different—older, stranger, and talking of an intergalactic war—but the tensions between the siblings haven’t changed at all. If the family is going to come together to help Jakob, then Kass and Evie are going to have to fix their issues, and fast. Because the FBI is after Jakob, and if their brother is telling the truth, possibly an entire space armada, too.

The perfect combination of action, imagination and heart, Light Years From Home is a touching drama about a challenge as difficult as saving the galaxy: making peace with your family…and yourself. 

#BadMoonRising Wild Darkness by Paula Cappa #shortstory #thriller #mystery

Hope you’re all getting into the Halloween spirit by watching scary movies (or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – it’s a must watch every year for me), carving pumpkins, or eating all the candy and then going out to buy more before the trick or treaters get there tomorrow – whatever works for you. Today’s author regularly uses tarot cards – but not in the typical way. If you’re a writer, you may want to adopt her technique. I know I’ll be looking into it. Welcome Paula Cappa!

Have you ever had a tarot card reading?

Not exactly. I have had psychic readings. I do like the tarot. I have a stack of tarot cards on my bookshelf over my writing desk and often use the book “Tarot for Writers.” I pick the cards out with a question in mind, and it  triggers my creativity. Kind of like brainstorming with the inner self, exploring my subconscious to deeper creativity. It’s very exciting and I’m often surprised how well the tarot directs me and the character in my story. Word out there has it that John Steinbeck used tarot cards to inspire his creativing writing process too.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

I’m not fond of hard core horror. I’m more the quiet horror type. I like the supernatural to be so mysterious that you have to find out what truth is coming through the action. Hauntings attract me and that’s why almost all of my fiction deals with ghostly presences. I consider my work supernatural, not horror, because it’s the spirituality of those existing in the beyond who fascinate me.  I want to get to know them and bring them into our physical world.

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

Oh yes. Often when walking in nature, the woods, or in cemeteries (I frequent a local cemetery near my home) there are shadows and light flashes that catch me. They are not figures exactly, but presences that draw my eye and my thoughts. So I spend time listening. In my novel The Dazzling Darkness (which takes place in a cemetery in Concord, MA) I spent weeks in cemeteries, walking through the statuary and headstones to get a sense of the dead. Gray rainy days are especially inspiring. Rain ghosts!

What do you do to get inside your characters’ heads?

I spend time being them by eating the food they prefer, dressing like them, speaking in their tone of voice and performing their jobs. In my novel Greylock, the central character is a Russian concert pianist. I don’t play piano, but I spent hours listening to Rachmaninoff concertos (volume turned up)  and played an imaginary keyboard on my desk. This experience gave me a deep feeling of what it’s like to feel the music inside my hands and mind, letting the music fill me. I became Alexei Georg for the two years I spent writing Greylock, a mystery with a music phantom.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

My ideal reader is someone who loves to explore the spiritual side of ghosts in fiction. Why do the dead come back to us? Why do they hover in our lives? Learning from ghosts is a lifelong endeavor of mine and my readers aren’t afraid to go into the world of fiction to find a ghost come forward on the page. There is a truth in that we are in the midst of the spiritual world all the time. If you believe spirit is everything and life is indestructible, you will enjoy my supernatural mystery stories.

What are you working on now?

I am half way through a novel about a rain ghost who haunts a windmill in Bedford, NY.  A poet, a sketch artist, a shaman, and murder by magic.

The force of nature, force of death, force of consciousness. A short story of Agatha Ashfield who explores the spiritual realms of ghosts. Come meet Falling Water, the ghost beneath the hickory trees on Mohawk River.

Agatha Ashfield, a wise woman in her late years, has long been fascinated by the power of Nature. She meets a ghost called Falling Water who dwells beneath the hickory trees by Mohawk River. As Agatha seeks her destiny, she struggles to overcome fears of her impending death, find a way to trust goodness, the power of Nature, and release her everlasting consciousness. This is a short tale of mystery, love, passion, and spirituality. If you enjoy exploring the spiritual world and its realms, you will enjoy entering Agatha’s mysterious Wild Darkness. Wild Darkness was originally published at ParAbnormal Magazine, March 2020.

Amazon reviewer: “Imaginative and creative story. The narrator places you firmly by Agatha’s side and you feel like you are taking that final journey with her.”

Purchase Link

Amazon

Author Bio and Social Media

Paula Cappa is the recipient of a Chanticleer Book Award and American Book Fest’s Best Books Award Finalist for her novel Greylock. She also earned the prestigious Eric Hoffer Book Award, Silver Medal Winner at Global Book Awards, The Readers’ Favorite International Bronze Medal for Supernatural Suspense, and is a Gothic Readers Book Club Award Winner in Outstanding Fiction. She is the author of Greylock, The Dazzling Darkness, and Night Sea Journey—print editions published by Crispin Books, Milwaukee WI.Night Sea Journey was featured as an on-air reading at RiverwestRadio, Fearless Reader Radio in Wisconsin.Cappa’s short fiction has appeared in ParABnormal Magazine, Coffin Bell Literary Journal, Unfading DaydreamDark Gothic Resurrected MagazineWhistling Shade Literary Journal, SmokeLong Quarterly, Sirens Call Ezine, Every Day Fiction, Fiction365, Twilight Times Ezine, and in anthologies Journals of Horror: Found FictionMystery Time, and Human Writes Literary Journal. She is a freelance copy editor and writes a short story blog, Reading Fiction, at paulacappa.wordpress.com. Paula Cappa is Co-Chair of the Pound Ridge Authors Society in Pound Ridge, NY.

Website and Reading Fiction Blogpaulacappa.wordpress.com

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/paula.cappa.94

Goodreads URL: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6553133.Paula_Cappa

Twitter     https://twitter.com/PaulaCappa1 

Instagram   @paula_cappa

Amazon Author Page:    https://www.amazon.com/Paula-Cappa/e/B009P2HZ7A/

Buy Links for novels:

The Dazzling Darkness  https://www.amazon.com/The-Dazzling-Darkness-ebook/dp/B00CJH944U

Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009ONWSC2

Greylock   https://www.amazon.com/Greylock-Paula-Cappa-ebook/dp/B0168XVNZS

#BadMoonRising August-Lost by R.G. Vaughan #thriller #mystery

Get the candy ready – Halloween is only a week away! Hope these authors have been getting you into the holiday spirit. Today features another new author to BMR. Guests at his Halloween party might want to check those candy apples twice before eating them – you can’t be too sure what’s really inside. Welcome R.G. Vaughan!

Have you ever had a tarot card reading?

No, and I never will. Although I’m not a believer, there’s a nagging voice of caution in the back of my mind. I prize logic and science above all else, but the last thing I would want is to be proven wrong in this particular area. After all, if tarot card reading is real, it would mean there are forces at work that would make me very nervous. And if there are good spirits out there, then there must be bad ones.

I suppose ignorance is bliss so I’ll bury my head in the sand.

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

That depends on who’s in the room at the time. There are some people I wouldn’t trust with the tools for carving a Jack o’ lantern, and others I wouldn’t trust as I put my face near a barrel of water. That might sound paranoid but it’s a side effect of being a thriller writer. I think of the worst ways to kill someone in normal situations.

Candy apple or candy corn?

Candy apple all day long. Everything about them is amazing. Especially the thick part that pools when they’re drying. And the fun you can have with party guests is particularly cruel. Put out a batch of candy apples at your next party, but plant an onion in there somewhere. Then, sit back and wait for someone to take a bite.

What do you do to get inside your characters’ heads?

Each character is an enhanced version of people in my life– past and present. I’ve known these people for years and enjoy watching and listening to them. When a character is needed, I try to think of which one would be the best person for that situation. Bear in mind, I’ve served in the Armed forces for more than twenty years. The people I’ve met along the way come from a variety of backgrounds and all have pretty spectacular characteristics.

By using real people to anchor my characters, I feel like I already know them and can anticipate how the story will unfold–what would they do if this or that happened? But sometimes, the words run away from me and I’m left surprised by what appears on the page.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

Someone who knows right from wrong but is morally flexible in how and when punishment should be applied. I tend to think that we all have a hidden dark side, and deep down, all of us are capable of vengeance to a certain degree.

However, I don’t believe in evil for evil’s sake. Every antagonist must have a reason to be what they are, and I want my readers to be able to empathize or even agree with them. But they should also root for the protagonist.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on books two and three to August–Lost at the moment. They are being written side by side because I can’t decide which order they should be released. I’ve also got another series in the pipeline that I add to from time to time. But I’m struggling with where that series should be set. I’m torn between the UK and USA.

Secrets, omissions, disingenuous greetings. What do people hide?
Even the most trustworthy have secrets. The neighbour who smiles when walking their dog, the delivery man who thanks you for a signature, even the police officer who takes your statement could all be hiding something dreadful.

DI Matt Bruce processes evidence with absolute clarity, but with PTSD restricting his ability to empathise, he lives as a prisoner to a tragic history. Thankfully, DS Val Marsh is brought in to unseal his bottled feelings and help release him from himself. But when a simple murder case evolves into something more, the pair stumble upon haunting crimes of vengeance and hate, and a myth from the art underworld becomes a terrifying reality.

Purchase Link

Amazon

Author Bio and Social Media

Born in Wales, UK in 1982, Rob grew up with two brothers and one sister in the valley of Aberdare.

From a young age, he aspired to follow in his Grandfather’s footsteps and join the Royal Air Force. That dream came true in May 2000 when he left home for the first time. He remembers his first big challenge was interacting with people. Thanks to his strong and fast Welsh accent, his fellow trainees struggled to understand him, leaving him feeling isolated. Never-the-less, he finished his training and is twenty-one years into a military career. During this time, he served in many countries including multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, and has deployed on several international aide missions around the world.

Having read hundreds of books over the years when flying in the back of military cargo aircraft, he only put pen to paper two years ago. During a particularly difficult chapter in his life, he found solace in writing and released his debut novel in August 2021.

Married to his childhood girlfriend, he’s always had a reason to return back to Aberdare where he lives with his wife and son. And even though a two-hour commute sounds horrible, it gives him plenty of time to ponder on his plots and characters.

rgvaughan.com

Twitter

#BadMoonRising Unwitting (Erica Rosen MD #2) by Deven Greene #thriller #geneticengineering

Today is this author’s first time participating in BMR, and it’s also release day for the second book in her series – congrats! Read on to see how the shower scene in Psycho was nearly a real life experience for her. Welcome Deven Greene!

What urban legend scares you most?

This is the scariest to me, because it’s the most believable and I dreamt about it:

I wake up uncomfortable, freezing cold. Before I open my eyes, I try to move but the pain is too intense. I’m on a hard surface, not in my bed. Something isn’t right—fear takes over me. Finally, I overcome my dread and open my eyes. How did this happen? I’m in a bathtub, almost completely covered by water and melting ice cubes. Streaks of blood are suspended in the water, and overlie some of the remaining ice. On the far edge of the bathtub, leaning against the wall, is a cardboard sign with instructions: “Your kidneys are gone. Get to a hospital immediately.”

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

Believe it or not, I’ve never dunked for apples, but I have carved many a Jack o’ lantern. Nothing elaborate, but it’s fun just the same. I particularly enjoy cutting around the teeth in Jack’s smile. So, I would definitely prefer to carve a Jack o’ lantern.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

I’d be yelling at the characters. “Get out of there!” or “Cut it out – well, not literally, I mean stop what you’re doing!” I have to admit, though, I’m not a big fan of horror movies.

Allow me to segue into a true story along the lines of horror. When I was a college student living in the dormitory, I came home late from a date. Almost everyone on the floor was asleep, but I got to talking to a friend of mine. I wanted to take a shower, so we continued talking while I took a shower in one of the many shower stalls. My friend continued to talk to me from outside the shower curtain. We moved from subject to subject, and she asked me if I’d ever seen the movie Psycho. Before I could answer, she asked, “Do you remember the shower scene?” Then she immediately turned off all the lights. It was pitch black, I was in the shower, and I just SCREAMED. I screamed non-stop until I realized I’d been set up. I started laughing then, but for a while there, I was very scared.

Would you and your main character get along?

I would definitely get along with my main character. She’s a doctor, like me, although she is a pediatrician, while I’m a pathologist. She’s more adventuresome than I am, but that would work—she can go on adventures, and I can write about them.

If you could spend the day with another popular author, who would you choose?

I would choose David Sedaris. He is a humorist, and his type of writing is very different from my own. He finds humor in everyday things, and I would like to add more of that to my books. His talent probably wouldn’t rub off on me, but hopefully I could learn something from him.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

My ideal reader is someone who loves the thriller genre and enjoys learning about new things, especially in medical or scientific fields. I include background information on the subject at hand. I aim to give enough detail to make it interesting, but not so much that it becomes tedious.

Dr. Erica Rosen’s world is turned upside down after a suicide bomber explodes amidst a large crowd entering Oracle Park baseball stadium, near her San Francisco home. Many are killed or injured, and police have no leads in solving the case.

Erica becomes involved after a teacher of young autistic men calls her. The teacher believes her students are involved in the bombing but is afraid to contact law enforcement. She reaches out to Erica, who has experience with special needs children.

Erica arrives at the school but finds the police already there and a young autistic man doing a jigsaw puzzle, oblivious to his murdered teacher on the floor. The young man has information about the mastermind behind the bombing but has limited ability to speak. Erica is determined to protect him, prevent further bombings, and find his missing classmates.

Purchase Link

Unwitting (Erica Rosen MD #2)

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Unnatural (Erica Rosen MD #1)

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Author Bio and Social Media

Fiction writer Deven Greene lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Ever since childhood, Deven has been interested in science.  After working as a biochemist, she went back to school and became a pathologist.  When writing fiction, the author usually incorporates elements of medicine or science. Deven has penned several short stories. Unnatural, Erica Rosen MD Trilogy Book 1 is the first novel the author has published. Her recently completed novel, Unwitting, is the second novel in the trilogy.

Website:  https://www.devengreene.com

Blog:  https://www.devengreene.com/blog

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dgreenewriter/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/devengreeneauthor/

Twitter:  @DGreeneauthor

#BadMoonRising If the Light Escapes by Brenda Marie Smith #thriller #dystopian #postapocalyptic #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m currently reading today’s featured book, and if real life didn’t make demands on me (seriously, why can’t I read all the time?), you’d need a crowbar to pry it from my hands. It’s a sequel that can be read as a standalone, but trust me when I say you won’t want to miss the strong-willed, no-nonsense main character grandmother Bea Crenshaw in the first book. This author combined a few of the questions and created quite a humorous Halloween scenario that I’d love to witness. Welcome Brenda Marie Smith!

Which urban legend scares you most?

The idea of a Chupacabra scares my pants off (which is a scary idea in itself), but I like the Mothman because he’s scary but also tragic and mysterious. Mae Clair has written a fictionalized account of him: The Point Pleasant Series, in which he sometimes goes into a rage and haunts the residents of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, but he also shows compassion and gives aid to certain people who have shown him kindness. Ultimately, he is all alone, the sole member of his species, and I can’t imagine much that would be scarier or more tragic.

Was there a horror movie you refused to watch because the previews were too scary?

I never liked Alien or Aliens because the monster was so SLLIIIIMYYY, but I watched them with my hands over my eyes. I refused to watch The Walking Dead for ten years because zombies are so gross. My son finally convinced me to try one episode, and I was instantly hooked—not on the zombies, but on the excellent human drama, all based on the well-drawn characters in extreme peril.

I’d like to answer all of these questions at once: Candy apple or candy corn? If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep? Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

If you were to find me watching a horror movie on Halloween, I’d be sitting near a pile of untouched candy apples, munching candy corn, alternately yelling at characters and covering my eyes, while trying to avoid looking at the floating spot in my eye that looks like a spindly black spider and ignoring the monsters in my peripheral vision. If the caramel is soft and the apples are crisp, I might eat a candy apple anyway. If the caramel is hard, I’ll use it to whack the monsters on the head or poke them in the eye with the apple stick.

If you decided to write a spinoff of a side character, who would you choose?

I did write a spinoff of If Darkness Takes Us, with its standalone sequel, If the Light Escapes. The first book was told from the point of view of grandmother Bea Crenshaw, the second in the voice of her 18-year-old grandson Keno Simms. I chose Keno because he was a standout character in the first book. I was a little worried that, being so young, he wouldn’t be able to carry an adult novel, but he surprised my socks off by spewing out of me so fast that I literally could not type fast enough to keep up with him. I’d like to write a third book in the series from the points of view of both Keno and Bea as well as other characters, perhaps Keno’s younger cousins Milo and Mazie, maybe his mother Erin and/or his uncle Pete.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?

For me, there are different levels of “finishing” a book. Finish the first draft: take a day or two off from writing and marketing. Complete a rewrite: have cocktails and a special dinner with the hubby. Polish off the various publisher edits: hoot and holler with my family and my critique partners. Finally see my book go up for sale: sit there stunned, laughing and crying, refreshing the book buy link hundreds of times per day, tearing myself away to sleep for a week. For my first two novels, I threw a book launch party. For this one, due to COVID, I might have a much smaller gathering then do an online event sometime soon after.

If you could spend the day with another popular author, who would you choose?

I would have chosen Toni Morrison or John LeCarré, but, sadly, these amazing authors are no longer with us, unless I could contact them in a séance. I would love to spend a day with Margaret Atwood and absorb some of her talent and wisdom through osmosis. I would do my best not to turn her off with my pesky questions and be on my best behavior. I admire her so much. I’m sure I would be a nervous wreck but also happy as a clam.

A Standalone Sequel to If Darkness Takes Us

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid. Now northern lights are in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with 18-year-old Keno Simms. All that’s left for him and his broken family is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat.

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.

Purchase Link

Amazon

Author Bio and Social Media

Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count. 

Website: https://brendamariesmith.com/

Twitter: @bsmithnovelist

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaMarieSmithAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brenda_marie_smith/

Blog: https://brendamariesmith.tumblr.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJlLSnORIyoaygvZ1j49ZKw

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58043963-if-the-lightescapes#

#BadMoonRising Undercover: Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon #shortstories #mysteries #thriller

Today’s author lives in England, but when she contacted me, she mentioned her featured book was being used by a class at Western Kentucky University. Which is located ten minutes from me. It’s a small world, my friends. She’s also experienced some hair-raising moments with figures in her peripheral vision. Making her debut at BMR, welcome Jane Risdon!

Hello Teri, thanks for hosting me on your fab blog. I hope your readers my answers to your questions.

Have you ever had a Tarot card reading?

Actually, I’ve had many. Years ago, when I was still working in the international music business we (my husband and I) were asked to get involved in a series for the new and revolutionary Satellite television which was all the rage. One production company asked us to put together a show about Mediums, Clairvoyants, Spiritualists, and Witches – it was in return for some favours.

It involved us spending a year going the length and breadth of England interviewing all manner of people and during many such interviews, we—of course — had Tarot card readings.

Some readings were hilariously ridiculous but one or two were rather hair-raising. Suffice to say we filed it all away for the programme, which sadly, didn’t transpire because the production company lost their funding. But from our point of view, we put it down to experience. We are still waiting for what the cards told us, to come true.

Do you ever see figures in my peripheral vision?

I haven’t seen any for many years but when I was first married, we had a grotty flat in an old Georgian house — my husband’s band was still struggling back then – and the flat was all we could afford, especially with a new baby, and many landlords back then refused to entertain allowing babies and children in their accommodation; I used to see many figures out of the corner of my eye. Shadows walking out of a cupboard and across the room, a feeling of not being alone when I knew I was.

Prior to my experiences at the flat, I had also had an experience when I was pregnant and lived in another flat, also in an older property, when I used to get the feeling that someone was watching me while I slept. My husband and his band were way on tour, and I was alone. I was often woken by sensation of being observed and a few times I opened my eyes to see an old lady, dressed like an Irish crofter, leaning over me staring. In fact, when my husband returned from tour, she appeared again, and he saw her too. I went into labour the next day.

Candy Apple or Candy Corn?

In England we call an apple covered in toffee, a toffee apple, and I gather that is what you mean. Although I have lived and worked in America, I have never had candy apple or candy corn, so I cannot say yes to either. I have had toffee apple, but not for many years. I value my teeth.

In response to your questions, Teri, I’d like to talk about my latest — as yet unpublished novel –  Ms. Birdsong Investigates, which is the first in a series and is out with my agent now.

Would you and your main character get along?

Ms. Birdsong Investigates: Murder in Ampney Parva, is the title of my series about a former MI5 Intelligence Officer who has been forced into early retirement due to a joint operation with MI6 — involving the Russian Mafia and Ukrainian people traffickers — going pear-shaped. Lavinia Birdsong tries to find her way back into the Security Services when a local woman goes missing and she has the opportunity to investigate her disappearance, hopefully inveigling herself back into the Security Services.

I think Lavinia and I would get along really well. We both love rock music, and good wine.  She is an intelligent woman, and she is a martial arts expert and a crack shot — and that is where we part company — I am most definitely neither. She does not tolerate fools gladly and has a wicked sense of humour. Lavinia is a true patriot, a ruthless opponent with a keen sense of right and wrong.

I am fascinated by the secret world of spies and criminals where Lavinia Birdsong has spent most of her adult life. I know we’d get on like a house on fire.

A ‘taster’ chapter can be found in my crime collection – Undercover: Crime Shorts which is available now.

If you decided to write a spin-off character, who would you choose?

I’ll stick with my new series, Ms. Birdsong Investigates for this. My spin-off character would be Michael Dante, MI6 Intelligence Officer.

Lavinia has worked at MI5 for twenty years and during that time she has worked in several areas of the Security Services, including being on secondment to MI6 for some years. She met Michael Dante, whilst working with a team of MI5/MI6 officers sent on a mission, Operation Matryoshka.  

Michael is her former lover when my books begin, but he is a great candidate for a spin-off character. Michael and Lavinia have unfinished business in the series, and who knows what might happen, but he would be good to follow in a spin-off series throughout his career and his investigations as part of MI6. He is a determined man, ruthless in his pursuit of terrorists and criminals just like Lavinia is. He has a strong love of country and justice.

What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

I am a crime writer mostly, and my writing often features my past career in the international music business and also my earlier career working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Both careers are a gift to a crime writer for so many reasons. However, I have also written Women’s Literature (Only One Woman with Christina Jones) which is available now, and in various other genres which can be found in many of the anthologies I’ve contributed toward with short stories, and my experiences in music and in public service have definitely influenced my writing and how I mould my characters.

Using my experiences and memories from those times in most of my writing, it is easy for me to get inside the heads of my characters because I have worked in these areas, have met people similar to my characters and observed them. I know what makes most of them tick. I can put my experiences and knowledge into my work because of my past careers. And I know where to look for information, and I have detectives I can call upon to assist me if I get stuck.

In order to ensure my writing is as accurate as it can be, and to ensure that I don’t have Lavinia or any of my characters in any of my books do something which is wrong or impossible — when tracking and investigating terrorists or criminals — I decided some years ago to educate myself in the basics of Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. I took several courses especially designed for crime writers who want to ensure their writing is as correct and accurate as it can be. These courses also helped me get inside the heads of my characters, not only the investigators but the perpetrators too.

I read a lot of crime novels, thrillers, and mysteries, as well as watcing True Crime on TV too. This helps me with writing my characters and trying to see events from their point of view.

This has been fun Teri, once again, many thanks for letting me loose on your blog.

Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.

Purchase Link

Amazon

Author Bio and Social Media

Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies. She writes for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine, and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.

Undercover: Crime Shorts was the February Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com, and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradio.com and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show, as well as podcasts and online video interviews including Donnas Interviews Reviews and Giveaways and Be Bold and Break the Mould.

Undercover: Crime Shorts is being used by Western Kentucky University, Kt. USA, in an Intro to Lit Class for second year students Autumn 2021. Jane will be doing a Zoom Q&A session with the student in October 2021.

She is the Lead Panellist, next March (2022), for an online discussion of The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature at LitCon, an author’s conference out of New York USA.

Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers.  They also facilitated the placement of music in international movies and television series.  In her early life Jane worked public service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Ministry of Defence and other government departments.

In December 2020 Jane signed with Linda Langton of Langton’s Literary Agency in New York City, New York USA. You can contact Jane via Linda at: www.langtonsinternational.com

Jane’s Links:

Ms. Birdsong Investigates has her own private Facebook Group and you can join her here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/msbirdsonginvestigates

You can find Jane on:

https://janerisdon.com

https://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jane-risdon

https://www.instagram.com/janerisdonwriter/

#BadMoonRising Eternal Road: The Final Stop by John W. Howell #paranormal #supernatural #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

If today’s author’s name isn’t familiar to you, I’ll bet you know his lovable furry friends Twiggy and Lucy from the pics of them on his blog (they totally steal the spotlight). Discussion has been made on previous BMR posts about the hazards of dunking for apples in the time of COVID, but I think this author has come up with a viable alternative. You just may not be sober once you finally latch onto that apple. Welcome John W. Howell!

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

I would rather carve a Jack o’ lantern. Before I get into why I like to carve Jack o’ lanterns, let me point out in the time of COVID how creepy it is to dunk for apples. Someone is coughing up a storm and then placing an unmasked head into a vat of apples floating in the water. They come up with one, and the excess water runs out of both sides of the mouth back into the vat. Can you say Sleeping Beauty or Snow White side effects? Good gravy, folks. Let’s not even think about dunking for apples unless they are floating in 200 proof moonshine. Now to the Jack o’ lantern part of the question. I have been carving them for at least 70 years. I love to make pictures and words and funny faces. I also backlight my creations with a candle and parchment paper over the openings so the candle flame doesn’t show and ruin the effect.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

When watching horror movies, I’m the one up in the grill of each stupid character. You know the ones. They back into a dark corner of a cellar or run for the car. Come on, people. How many movies do you have to see to catch on? Also, you don’t say something stupid like, “Well, I guess Jason is dead.” You have to know you are just jinxing yourself. And to that one who absolutely must take a shower right in the middle of all the mayhem. I have no sympathy for you at all. I do enjoy seeing you streak through the woods, trying to cover up with a towel and screaming your head off. Was the shower worthwhile?

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

Whoa, this question just scared the pants off me. I can’t imagine that seeing figures in your peripheral vision was a thing. I thought it was just me and some weird brain abnormality. I have been seeing figures in my peripheral vision for years. Those little black suckers dart in and out of my field of vision. I have pretty much come to the point of ignoring them. Why not? They pretty much ignore me. I have tried to make contact, but nooo. They jump behind me and then dare me to make a fool of myself by twirling around to see if I can catch them. It becomes a problem in the line at Starbucks. Just when I get my grande and before I put in cream, I see ‘em and twirl around only to lay a coffee-colored swath across some poor civilian’s white outfit. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little, but it could happen.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?

Finishing a book seems to be a challenging point in time to pinpoint. There’s the first draft which I guess could count as finishing a book. But it is usually a mess, so I wouldn’t want that to be my celebration point. Next, there is the final draft. Sure, I guess that could be the finish, except then there is the professional edit. So not yet time to celebrate because after the edit comes the formatting. Holy Crap, when is this dog ever going to be finished? After formatting comes publish. All right now, we’re talking—time to celebrate. Yeah, but my stomach is still rolling from the tension, so I doubt anything will stay with me. Well, let’s just say when my books are complete, I have a giant slug of Keopectate and a bourbon.

What do you do to get inside your characters’ heads?

The more accurate question as it applies to me is what do my characters do to get inside my head. I’m usually minding my own business working on the book when all of a sudden, I get this call from the blue. There is no ringing like a telephone, but there is a connection. Before I know it, I’m having a conversation with a being that is a figment of my imagination. Under these circumstances, I am definitely at a disadvantage because I maintain an arrogant view that I understand my creation. Nothing is further from the truth. These things have a mind of their own, and I’m just glad they can’t use the keyboard. If they did, there is no telling what kind of story could get written. I’m the only thing standing between them and what I could describe is an outrageous collection of narcissistic rambling with my name on it.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the sequel to Eternal Road – The last stop. It doesn’t have a title yet but is a story of the two main characters from Eternal Road who can help rescue another soul lost on the Eternal Road. The soul is a combat pilot who stayed with his fighter in Afghanistan rather than bailing out, knowing the plane would crash into a school. His name is Ryan Sanders, and he is being escorted on the Eternal Road by none other than Eddie Rickenbacker. It seems Eddie and Ryan have come up missing, and there is speculation that Lucifer has had a hand in their disappearance. They were last seen in aerial combat over France in 1918. Sam and James must find the pair and help Ryan chose his Eternal Home.

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things

1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older.

2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save mankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

Purchase Link

Kindle Universal link  mybook.to/EternalRoad

Author Bio and Social Media

John is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

BookBub  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/john-w-howell