This week, I’m pleased host cartoonist and author of the Granite Cove mysteries, Sharon Love Cook.
I am a writer and cartoonist living north of Boston. At my first writing job, I got to combine the two: At seventeen, I was a correspondent for the Gloucester Daily Times‘ (MA) supplement the Cape Ann Summer Sun, where I wrote about jelly fish invasions and volleyball tournaments. More recently, I’ve gotten to illustrate the covers of my Granite Cove mysteries: A Nose for Hanky Panky and A Deadly Christmas Carol. Currently I’m working on book #3: Laugh ’til You Die.
“Nose” was recently translated into German by Amazon Crossing, the company’s international department. As a result, I was given 25 complimentary copies. I’d be happy to send a free copy to anyone who reads German.
A Deadly Christmas Carol
When sultry Dionne Dunbar is run down in the street one winter’s night, Granite Cove Gazette reporter Rose McNichols is the only witness. Amid Christmas preparations in the New England fishing village, Rose alone is determined to discover Dionne’s secrets. Who wanted the woman dead? Was it a member of her mediums circle . . . or one of her black book clients?
Here is an excerpt:
She pressed her foot on the gas and, at the same time, shifted into reverse. The Jetta roared back, slamming into the barrel with a loud BAM. In the rearview mirror, she saw it topple into the street. Rose swore out loud.
At least her car was freed, she thought, driving a few yards into the road. She got out to check the damage. The barrel was on its side, papers strewn all around it. She felt for the handles and attempted to right it, but the thing was too heavy. What was it filled with—bricks?
She dropped to her knees and rolled it toward the curb. Not only was the barrel heavy but it was tall. Panting in the cold night air, she gave a final shove. The barrel rolled and at the same time dislodged a large, dark mass.
She struggled to her feet. Had she dumped a pile of clothes on the street, along with all that paper? Worse, what if it was garbage? Peering into the dark, she remembered the LED flashlight in her glove compartment. She stumbled to her car and found it among a jumble of odds and ends.
She returned and pressed the switch, aiming the tiny beam at the barrel. The light reflected off a pair of high-heeled black boots silhouetted against the snow. She moved the beam southward and discovered that the boots were attached to a body.
This time, Rose was not reluctant to wake the Chitwicks. In fact, her screams woke the entire street.
Places to find me:
BOOK GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and enter to win a print copy or an eBook of Sharon’s latest Granite Cove mystery, A Deadly Christmas Carol.
This week I’m pleased to host fellow Wings author, Kevin Richardson.
A retired Australian journalist, Kev spent many years touring the world, writing travel articles for airline magazines. His many adventures and misadventures became the bases for his several Action/Adventure novels.
Several biographies of significant people have also come from Kev’s busy pen.
Two works have been finalists in the International EPIC Awards and all twenty-three novels have been awarded by professional reviewers, either 5 Stars or 5+ or 5++ Stars. Two, however, received from Conger Book Reviews USA, its first and only 10 Stars out of 5 reviews!!!
All works are available in Paperback or eBook.
Kev is twice married and now enjoys single life, writing on his experiences and studies, relaxing in the Himalayan foothills of exotic Thailand.
Had Hitler not stabbed Russia in the back by attacking it in 1941, the face of the entire world could, today, be markedly different. Surely he would have been the stronger had he continued using the support of Russia’s millions working with him, than against him.
In that year, Britain was helplessly unable to further defend itself against the blitzkrieg that had already sacked Europe. Leaving Britain to maintain its manufacturing power, deliberately creating an eastern front as well as his western, was a dreadful mistake.
Without Britain, there could have been no D-Day and no US forces in Europe. Instead of shooting itself in the foot, denying itself the ability to back-up its ally Japan, in the Pacific, today’s world could be an entirely different place. Both the USA and Australia could be experiencing a vastly different life.
Here is an excerpt:
Britain in mid 1941 was already helplessly staggering.
Factories had hurriedly converted manufacture of non-military goods to defensive armaments, and while German bombers rapidly reduced Britain’s manufacturing abilities, its agricultural produce was directed first to the military, leaving the civilian population suffering hunger pains. Its colonies began shipping tons of food and supplies, yet German U-boats sent increasing numbers of supply ships to the Atlantic Ocean’s sea bed, along with America’s shipments of desperately needed armaments.
Why Hitler, with all France’s northern seaports at his disposal, didn’t invade, has remained a quandary. Had his astoundingly easy successes in subjugating even more of Europe than had the Romans two thousand years prior, made him overconfident? It seems history proved that possibility, right.
So what would have been the war’s course had he not turned on Russia at that time but invaded defenceless Britain? Can we imagine what the combined might of the Axis Bloc’s multi-millions have done once Britain was out of the war? There could have been no D-Day and no US troop forces in Europe.
And could the United States as readily have outmatched Japan’s manufacturing if Germany had then, been supporting Japan against it?
Kev Richardson… historian, novelist, biographer
Read synopses, awards and reviews on www.kev-richardson.com
Did you go see my new website?
Kevin and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.
This first week of December, I’m hosting author, David K. Bryant.
I started writing fiction after retiring from journalism and public relations. I suppose the books waited their turn during all the years I wrote articles, features, speeches and promotional material for other people. My career included running a district office for a daily newspaper, helping to introduce professional PR into the British police service and promoting a major parliamentary Bill for Margaret Thatcher’s government.
I live in Somerset, one of the nicest counties in England, and am blessed with a wonderful family. My wife Stephanie and I have been married for forty years. We are proud of our two children Matthew and Melanie, grandson Henry, son-in-law Jamie and daughter-in-law Fleur.
Tread Carefully on the Sea
The Governor of Jamaica organised a splendid 21st birthday party for his adopted daughter, Jessica. However, the best surprise for her came the following day when her admirer, Captain Michael Townsend of the Royal Navy, asked her to marry him.
Meanwhile, Captain Flint, one of the most successful buccaneers of the colonial era, decided to take the fortune he had made from twenty years of piracy and retire to a secret place where he would be out of the reach of justice.
That’s what should have happened.
But Flint was persuaded to raise yet more money through one last crime; a crime more daring and dangerous than any he had previously committed. His men would kidnap Jessica and add her ransom to their pensions.
The kidnap leads to a desperate chase across the Caribbean and all the horrors of 18th Century life at sea for Jessica and those who try to help her, while Captain Flint himself must face the threat of both the hangman and those within his own crew who plot against him.
Here is an excerpt:
Flint had made use of his time at Jamaica to stock a generous table. In its center was a bowl of ackee, otaheite apple and hog plum. Already waiting on the china were servings of crayfish curried with garlic. Side plates held hard dough bread. The drink was inevitably rum, even at this early hour. There were, however, jugs of water at intervals along the table.
Jessica bit a little piece off a breadfruit. She had been silenced by Flint but she looked straight at him to convey without words that she was still waiting for her answers.
Townsend took up her cause: “Captain Flint, you obviously have the power to do with us what you will and I don’t doubt we’ll soon find out what that is. There are, however, two issues that are going to overshadow this meeting until we have the answers: Why did you take us aboard your ship and what has become of the governor and his nephew?”
“That’s a better way of putting it,” said Flint. “It shows we can deal with matters in a civilized fashion. I’m not surprised at your initiative, Captain Townsend. I’d heard of you before all this because of the ripples you have made in these waters for some of my buccaneering counterparts. You are an educated man. Indeed, I think we went to the same school, Harrow.”
O’Hara, sitting opposite Townsend, noticed his captain wince at the mention of his school. Any reference to the past seemed to make Townsend recoil. If O’Hara had been able to use telepathy, he would have asked Flint not to open up that matter too much. But Flint was still talking: “So did Harrow teach you anything except Latin and archery?” he asked Townsend. “I’ve forgotten the Latin but perhaps we should have an archery contest at some time. Isn’t it interesting that we also followed the same career, except that you chose the Royal Navy and I chose independence?”
“And which is the richer man?” interjected the first mate Billy Bones. He grinned and the face that looked like parchment now went into deep grooves just like real parchment which had been repeatedly folded. He took the Skull and Crossbones napkin from his collar and wiped a fragment of food off his face. The grin disappeared as well.
“A good point, Billy,” said Flint.
O’Hara, however, had a response of his own: “And who is the honest man?” he asked.
Flint coughed. It was not clear whether a piece of food had stuck in his throat or something had caught in his craw. The manservant, Darby, was quick to serve him water.
“I’ll tell you all about honesty,” Flint retorted, his words coming in jerks as the water went down. He was looking again at Jessica. “I have a little story to tell on that point and it will lead me nicely to this matter of the governor and your brother, Madam.
“Like the Spanish, the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese, Britain came to this part of the world to find riches. It was very successful in doing so but it had a major problem. It was shipping around so many slaves and so much merchandise that it didn’t have sufficient military resources to protect its new-found wealth. So what did it do about the policing of its trade routes and the protection of places like Jamaica? It found it convenient to encourage the people you would call pirates. Mind you they weren’t denigrated with that vulgar name then. Oh no, the euphemism was privateers. That made them sound much more like they were on legitimate business. It was all very official. They were given Letters of Marque by the British government, which meant ‘attack whoever you like so long as it isn’t the British’.
“The English monarchy was a bit distracted by its domestic affairs and didn’t much care how those privateers went about their work. Their Majesties were euphoric that the job was being done for them. In fact, they were so grateful that a privateer of whom you will have heard, Henry Morgan, was appointed lieutenant governor of your beloved island of Jamaica. Yes, Madam, one of the previous occupants of your mansion was the kind of man I am.
“Later, of course, the King became able to look after his own affairs through the offices of men like Mr. O’Hara here, who espouse honesty. When that happened, people like me acquired a new status, that of criminal, to be hunted down by naval captains in frigates and taken to Execution Dock for hanging.”
Flint looked towards Townsend, tapped the back of his fork on his forehead and continued: “You had better hope that the King never turns against the Royal Navy in the same way that he turned against the privateers.”
CONTACT DAVID K. BRYANT
David and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.
This week I’m pleased to host multi-published mystery author, Marilyn Meredith.
Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest River Spirits from Mundania Press. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/
While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a missing woman is found by the Hairy Man, an actor is murdered and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty. Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.
Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:
“Delia is nuts. She makes me so angry I could kill her.” The shrill outburst came from a slender woman not much out of her teens stomping into the dining room of the Bear Creek Inn.
The diners turned to stare at her, including Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband, Pastor Hutch Hutchinson. He leaned closer to Tempe and asked, “Who is that?”
“She’s probably one of the movie people who are filming on the reservation,” Tempe said.
“She doesn’t look like a star.”
Hutch was right. The woman in question had a puff of short, curly red hair. Freckles polka-dotted a plain but animated face. She wore cutoff jeans and an oversize pale blue shirt that hung off one bony shoulder.
Claudia, the owner of the inn, came rushing after her. “Excuse me, dear, what can I do to help you?” Claudia appeared to know the girl, or at least who she was.
She whirled around to face Claudia, but didn’t lower her voice. “Delia doesn’t like the food she ordered. She wants something else and she wants it right now.”
“Come with me to the kitchen. We’ll see what we can do for her.” While casting apologetic looks to the many other patrons as she passed, Claudia took the girl’s arm and led her away.
Hutch returned his attention to his dinner. “I wonder what that’s about.”
“I’m guessing she is Delia West’s personal assistant. It sounds like she has a difficult job.” Ever since the movie company invaded Bear Creek, Tempe had been hearing rumors about the problems they caused. Thankfully, nothing she had to take care of in her capacity as resident deputy of the mountain area surrounding the small town of Bear Creek—at least not yet.
Hutch finished the last of his steak and pushed the plate aside. He focused his gaze on Tempe. “I’m still surprised the Tribal Council gave them permission to film on the reservation.”
“Me too. But from what I’ve heard, the production company promised the movie would promote a positive image of the tribe and bring tourists to the casino. That weighed heavily on the decision. Not everyone is enthusiastic about the project.”
“Did they have an opportunity to read the script?”
Tempe admired her husband before answering. The wire-framed glasses perched on his nose helped his pastoral image, but contrasted with the twinkle in his eyes and his tousled auburn hair. “I don’t know, but I would think so or they wouldn’t have agreed.” Tempe glanced around the room. “Some of the other people connected with the filmmaking are having dinner here. I suspect the assistant’s remarks will get back to Ms. West.”
“I figured that’s who these strangers are. They kind of stick out.”
Besides being strangers, the extra people didn’t dress like the citizens of Bear Creek. Some of them wore what they might have thought mountain people might wear: brand new shorts and slacks, crisp shirts, and boots, looking like they stepped out of a Land’s End, J. Crew or L.L. Bean catalog.
“I hope that young woman doesn’t get into trouble.” Hutch pushed his empty plate aside. “This is one time I’d like to have Nick Two John fill us in.”
Nick Two John was Claudia’s partner in life, the main chef at the inn, and a good friend of Tempe and Hutch. Over the years, Nick educated Tempe about her Indian heritage and culture. Hutch didn’t always approve, but despite some disagreements their friendship grew.
Almost as though he’d heard Hutch, Nick stepped out of the kitchen following Claudia. She continued on to the front desk, but Nick pulled a chair up to their table. “Claudia told me you were out here.” His long black braids hung down over his white shirt, tucked neatly into worn Levis.
Hutch obviously couldn’t contain his curiosity. “We couldn’t help but wonder about that young woman. Where did she go, by the way?”
“Her name is Kate Eileen Shannon and she is the personal assistant to Delia West, the movie star.”
“She doesn’t sound too happy about her job,” Tempe said.
“Ms. West is difficult. I cooked a special meal at her request, but it didn’t suit her. She blamed Kate Eileen and ordered her to fetch something else. I fixed up a plate of tonight’s special and sent her out through the kitchen.”
“I take it that monstrosity out back belongs to Ms. West,” Hutch said. He referred to the 40-foot silver and black luxury motor home taking up a quarter of the parking lot.
“I think the studio provided it for her. She expected it to be set up on the Bear Creek Reservation, but the Tribal Council wouldn’t allow it. Supposedly it’s because they don’t have hookups for RVs, but I suspect they had other reasons too.”
“So you let it be parked here.”
“Ms. West wouldn’t agree to any of the campgrounds. I doubt any of the local ones have room for such a big rig. The production company offered enough money to make Claudia agree to have it here.”
“What’s it like having a famous movie star around?” Tempe asked.
“Do you want the truth?” Nick glanced around as if to make sure no one was listening and lowered his voice. “She’s not a nice person. The gossip is she’s not at happy being in this movie, but it’s the only part she’s been offered in three years. I have no interest in such things so I don’t know whether this is true or not.”
River Spirits is number fourteen in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. It isn’t necessary to read them in order because though things do change in Tempe’s life from book to book, each one is written as a stand-alone.
The winner will be the person who comments on the most blog posts during the tour. He or she can either have a character in my next book named after them, or choose an earlier book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series—either a paper book or e-book.
Now I’m headed over to Marja McGraw’s http://marjamcgraw.blogspot.com/ and I’ll be discussing the author’s life, mine.
To purchase River Spirits from the publisher, all formats: