Friday, September 30, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Detective Madison Knight Series by Carolyn Arnold - Giveaway $25.00

This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & Order, CSI, Blue Bloods, Rizzoli & Isles, Women’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O. Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Ties That Bind, Justified, Sacrifice, Found Innocent, Just Cause, Deadly Impulse, In the Line of Duty, Life Sentence (Bonus Prequel).

Blurb from Book 1 Ties That Bind:
When an isolated incident turns into a hunt for a serial killer, Detective Madison Knight is not going to back down—even if it pits her against her superiors.

The hunt for a serial killer begins…

Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman’s body is found in a park killed with the same brand of neckties, she realizes they’re dealing with something more serious.

Despite mounting pressure from the sergeant and the chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if the murderer is going to be stopped.

Excerpt from Ties That Bind:
SOMEONE DIED EVERY DAY. Detective Madison Knight was left to make sense of it.
She ducked under the yellow tape and surveyed the scene. The white, two-story house would be deemed average any other day, but today the dead body inside made it a place of interest to the Stiles PD and the curious onlookers who gathered in small clusters on the sidewalk.
She’d never before seen the officer who was securing the perimeter, but she knew his type. The way he stood there—his back straight, one hand resting on his holster, the other gripping a clipboard—he was an eager recruit.
He held up a hand as she approached. “This is a closed crime scene.”
She unclipped her badge from the waist of her pants and held it up in front of him. He studied it as if it were counterfeit. She usually respected those who took their jobs seriously but not when she was functioning on little sleep and the humidity level topped ninety-five percent at ten thirty in the morning.
“Detective K-N-I—”
Her name died on her lips as Sergeant Winston stepped out of the house. She would have groaned audibly if he weren’t closing the distance between them so quickly. She preferred her boss behind his desk.
Winston gestured toward the young officer to let him know she was permitted to be on the scene. The officer glared at her before leaving his post. She envied the fact that he could walk away while she was left to speak with the sarge.
“It’s about time you got here.” Winston fished a handkerchief out of a pocket and wiped at his receding hairline. The extra few inches of exposed forehead could have served as a solar panel. “I was just about to assign the lead to Grant.”
Terry Grant was her on-the-job partner of five years and three years younger than her thirty-four. She’d be damned if Terry was put in charge of this case.
“Where have you been?” Winston asked.
She jacked a thumb in the rookie’s direction. “Who’s the new guy?”
“Don’t change the subject, Knight.”
She needed to offer some sort of explanation for being late. “Well, boss, you know me. Up all night slinging back shooters.”
“Don’t get smart with me.”
She flashed him a cocky smile and pulled out a Hershey’s bar from one of her front pants pocket. The chocolate had already softened from the heat. Not that it mattered. She took a bite.
“What are you doing here, anyway?” she asked with her mouth partially full.
“The call came in, I was nearby, and thought someone should respond.” His leg caught the tape as he tried to step over it to the sidewalk and he hopped on the other leg to adjust his balance. He continued speaking as if he hadn’t noticed. “The body’s upstairs, main bedroom. She was strangled.” He pointed the tip of a key toward her. “Keep me updated.” He pressed a button on his key fob and the department-issued SUV’s lights flashed. “I’ll be waiting for your call.”
As if he needed to say that. Sometimes she wondered if he valued talking more than taking action.
She took a deep breath. She could feel the young officer watching her, and she flicked a glance at him, now that the sergeant was gone. What was his problem? She took another bite of her candy bar.
“Too bad you showed. I think I was about to get the lead.”
Madison turned toward her partner’s voice. Terry was padding across the lawn toward her.
“I’d have to be the one dead for that to happen.” She smiled as she brushed past him.
“You look like crap.”
Her smile faded. She stopped walking and turned around. Every one of his blond hairs were in place, making her self-conscious of her short, wake-up-and-wear-it cut. His cheeks held a healthy glow, too, no doubt from his two-mile morning run. She hated people who could do mornings.
“What did you get? Two hours of sleep?” Terry asked.
“Three, but who’s counting?” She took another large bite of the chocolate. It was almost a slurp with how fast the bar was melting.
“You were up reviewing evidence from the last case again, weren’t you?”
She wasn’t inclined to answer.
“You can’t change the past.”
She wasn’t hungry anymore and wrapped up what was left of the chocolate. “Let’s focus on this case.”
“Fine, if that’s how it’s going be. Victim’s name is Laura Saunders. She’s thirty-two. Single. Officer Higgins was the first on scene.”
Higgins? She hadn’t seen him since she arrived, but had been her training officer. He still worked in that capacity for new recruits. Advancing in the ranks wasn’t important to him. He was happy making a difference where he was stationed.
Terry continued. “Call came in from the vic’s employer, Southwest Welding Products, where she worked as the receptionist.”
“What would make the employer call?”
“She didn’t show for her shift at eight. They tried reaching her first, but when they didn’t get an answer, they sent a security officer over to her house. He found the door ajar and called downtown. Higgins was here by eight forty-five.”
“Who was—”
“The security officer?”
“Yeah.” Apparently they finished each other’s sentences now.
“Terrence Owens. And don’t worry. We took a formal statement and let him go. Background showed nothing, not even a speeding ticket. We can function when you’re not here.”
She cocked her head to the side.
“He also testifies to the fact that he never stepped one foot in the place.” Terry laughed. “He said he’s watched enough cop dramas to know that it would contaminate the crime scene. You get all these people watching those stupid TV shows, and they think they can solve a murder.”
“So is Owens the one who made the formal call downtown, then?” Madison asked.
“Actually, procedure for them is to route everything through the company administration. A Sandra Butler made the call. She’s the office manager.”
“So an employee is even half an hour late for work and they send someone to your house?”
“She said it’s part of their safety policy.”
“At least they’re a group of people inclined to think positively.” She rolled her eyes. Sweat droplets ran down her back. Gross. She moved toward the house.
The young officer scurried over. He shoved his clipboard under his arm and tucked his pen behind his ear. He pointed toward the chocolate bar still in her hand. “You can’t take that in there.”
She glanced down. Chocolate oozed from a corner of the wrapper. He was right. She handed the package to him, and he took it with two pinched fingers.
She patted his shoulder. “Good job.”
He walked away with the bar dangling from his hand, mumbling something indiscernible.
“You can be so wicked sometimes,” Terry said.
“Why, thank you.” She was tempted to take a mini bow but resisted the urge.
“It wasn’t a compliment. And since when do you eat chocolate for breakfast?”
“Oh shut up.” She punched him in the shoulder. He smirked and rubbed his arm. Same old sideshow. She headed into the house with him on her heels.
“The stairs are to the right,” Terry said.
“Holy crap, it’s freezing in here.” The sweat on her skin chilled her. It was a refreshing welcome.
“Yep, a hundred and one outside, sixty inside.”
When she was two steps from the top of the staircase, Terry said, “And just a heads-up—this is not your typical strangulation.”
“Come on, Terry. You’ve seen one, you’ve—” She stopped abruptly when she reached the bedroom doorway. Terry was right.

Guest Post:
5 Tips to Writing Strong Supporting Characters

A book would be nothing without characters, and with such an important role, it’s vital that we create ones that are strong and rememberable. These include our supporting characters.

When creating your main characters no doubt you put much time and effort into crafting their personality, their history, their relationships with others, their personal tastes in all areas of life, their physical appearance, their desires and needs, their background, education, occuption, and the list goes on. To sum this up, you know your main characters intimiately. The same should be said of your supporting characters.

You might be wondering why as they don’t have the same on-the-page time as do main characters, but here’s the reason: characters can make or break your book just as a bad actor or actress can kill a movie.

Consider for a minute how boring it would be if all your characters were black shadows walking through a cardboard city. That’s essentially how flat a story can be if the characters haven’t been finetuned. So how can you create strong supporting characters? The same way you create main characters.

Maybe the thought of creating strong characters makes you feel overwhelmed or you don’t know how to get started with this. Here are a few suggestions.

1) Interview the character with intimate questions that really tap into their psyche. Don’t just ask them, for example, why they chose a certain profession; ask them what emotions or external factors led to their choice? Don’t just scrape the surface, pry beneath it. By taking our character analysis to this deeper level, you will not only know who your character is, but why they are who they are. And by talking to your characters, no, you’re not going crazy. Your characters should be as real to you any flesh and blood person would be. If you don’t buy them as such, neither will your reader.

2) Go deeper. Once you know their background, how does this factor into their life choices and reactions to certain situations now? Maybe they had a hard childhood and were not allowed to express their emotions. They may not even be aware of their need to overcome this. Maybe they never saw their parents cry and, in turn, don’t show emotion themselves. They could bury it and possibly explode to a seemingly unrelated situation or breakdown in private. These are all things you need to know to deepen your characters and assign them believability. By knowing your character’s emotional make-up you, as the author, will be able to convey them even stronger on the page. They will take on a breath of life through their words, thoughts, and actions.

3) Write a scene (or more than one) in first person point of view with the character you’re endeavoring to know better. Doing so really puts you in their mind and lets you see things, people, and situations through their eyes.

4) Closely related to number two, characters grow and develop the more you write them, so when they encounter a situation they never have before, how do they react? Really dig deep to answer that and you will get to know them more.

5) Keep writing. There’s no doubt we know our characters intimately by the end of a book. Most times we don’t want to let them go. Use this deeper knowledge when you go back through to edit and re-write.

Now, get writing. : )

About the Author:
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Ties that Bind, the first book in the series, is FREE






In the Line of Duty (Release date: September 29, 2016)


Carolyn will be awarding $25.00 USD via PayPal International to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter, as well as 1 hardcover of Ties That Bind to another randomly drawn winner and 1 paperback copy of Ties That Bind to one more randomly drawn winner - all via rafflecopter. These are available to the US, Canada, and the UK during the tour. Follow the tour and comment for more chances to win.

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Straight from the Library
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Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews

Monday, September 26, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Victoria at Sea by M. Kate Quinn – Giveaway $50 Amazon/ gift card

Why has no place in what the heart knows for sure.

On the eve of their wedding Victoria Gliden and fiancĂ© Owen Walker call it quits. He accuses her of not being able to get over her deadbeat father’s vanishing act when she was a child and she and her cold feet run and don’t look back.

An interior designer, Victoria, has an important meeting on Cancun that could garner her a promotion and the plan was to incorporate her presentation with the honeymoon cruise that’s journeying to the island. Since she’s sure Owen is on his way to Portland to escape the aftermath of their ruined wedding, Victoria takes the honeymoon cruise anyway. Only Owen has the same idea and they’re stuck with each other for six days, five nights.

Tony Gliden, Victoria’s father, dies in a freak accident and is sent back to earth disguised as a crotchety old man with the mission to convince his daughter to believe in love. So, he, too boards the ship.

At sea, destiny takes a detour when Victoria befriends the quirky old man with kind eyes and together they join forces with a quartet of unabashed women in their fifties who drink pink martinis and flirt with the wait staff but are wiser than they look. While trying to dodge Owen, Victoria’s new acquaintances help her face old wounds and confront new fears.

Most of all, Victoria and Owen both realize it all boils down to one word—why?

By journey’s end will two broken hearts get their answer?

Two figures, a scrawny-assed man and a brittle-looking woman, sat opposite him at a sleek table, the surface a slab of marble. “Who the hell are you?” Tony’s voice pinged foreign to his ears, distant, echoic.

The man’s lanky arms were knobby like twigs, attached to narrow shoulders, but he sat with the authority of a doctor, his pale hands tented on the marble. His face, sunken-eyed, was somber like he was about to lower the boom to a patient. Tony pushed himself forward and stared the guy down.

“Buddy, uh, care to answer me?”

When no response came from the guy, Tony pulled his eyes over to the woman. Her gray hair was long and silky. Young hair. The healthy mane looked odd on a broad who obviously had a few miles on her with skin like tree bark. She had a clipboard in her bony grasp, her knuckles like rocks under taut sallow skin.

“Either one of you going to speak?” The sarcasm felt good, sharp like a seed of jalapeno on his tongue. “Yoo-hoo.” He looked from one to the other as they sat there like mannequins. “And, what’s with those sweaters?”

They both sported white crewneck sweaters with a red “H” emblazoned mid chest like some kind of uniform. Tony’s gaze slid down to his own garments expecting to see the same indigo jeans and blue striped shirt he’d put on this morning. Instead, he was in a black suit that even he, no expert at such things, knew was a piece of crap. He wore no shoes and one big toe poked through a hole in a navy blue sock. He wouldn’t be caught dead in the getup.

“What the hell?” His words boomeranged off the white walls like a crack of thunder. “How’d I get in this pile of rags and what the hell am I doing here?”

The man at the desk pinned Tony with an onyx stare and screwed his lips into a knot.

“Are you always this grumpy?” The man’s voice was gravelly, like his vocal chords were rusted. His head bobbled like a dashboard toy.

The woman looked up from her clipboard and fixed her cloudy gray eyes on Tony, as well. He felt like a goldfish in a bowl on a shelf. The broad wagged a gnarled accusatory finger. “Come on,” she coaxed in a voice that sounded like she was under water. “Give us a smile.”

A familiar zing raced through Tony, the first sign of life amidst the fog in his brain. He didn’t like being chastised and he didn’t like these two clowns dressed like orderlies, or better yet, soda jerks.

He jolted up from the chair like it was electric and somebody pushed the “on” button. “Grumpy, huh? Tell you what, pal. You ain’t seen grumpy. And, unless you tell me the truth about why the hell I’m here, you’re going to get yourselves a good dose of Tony Gliden losing it. So, one last time, what am I doing here?”

“Tony,” the woman’s voice held a gauzy wrap of gratuitous condescension. “There’s no way to sugar-coat the facts, so put simply, you’re dead.”

Guest Post On Critique Partners:
One of the decisions I made at the beginning of my journey to becoming a published author was to engage with other writers and to seek critique partners.

Joining New Jersey Romance Writers was the first step and it was there that I came to meet my two critique partners.  The three of us write very different types of romance—my stories are sensual but sweet romances while one of my partners writes erotica and the other is more women’s fiction.  Three different perspectives make for great viewpoints, but can also be a problem unless you “know your audience,” which is a fantastic exercise in mastering that important aspect of your career.

Each of my partners contributes to the success of my books, but it is my interpretation of their critiques that makes for the best book I can produce. For example, after my partners have reviewed pages of my work in progress, if Shari, the erotic writer, tells me that the “heat” between my hero and heroine needs to start sooner, I remember that she’s all about the physicality of the characters’ relationship.  An important aspect in a love story, yes, so I reread my pages from that perspective keeping in mind my personal tone for the story and the uniqueness of my voice. Stacey, who is more reserved and a no-guff type, will sometimes tell me my heroine’s acting too “wimpy” or will laughingly say my heroine needs to “grow a pair.”  So, I reread my pages with that in mind and it helps to round out all sides of my character.

The advice from my critique partners has been a blessing and I wouldn’t be where I am today on this crazy writer’s road without them.  What began as work relationships has evolved into deep friendships.  We are each others’ champions and we are shoulders to cry on when it’s needed.  We are roomies when we attend conferences and it is there that three grown women turn into eighth-grade girls at a slumber party.  Only with wine.

So, if the question about critique partners is should you or shouldn’t you, my answer is a resounding yes!

Born to a feisty Italian mother and a gentle blue-eyed Irishman, I was given the name “Marykate,” inspired by Maureen O’Hara’s character in the movie, The Quiet Man, an old-time favorite love story that co-starred John Wayne. With a grandmother Catherine and an Aunt Mary the name was an obvious choice.

I've been writing stories all my life. There's an old Macy’s box in my attic filled with my writings from childhood, now smudgy-looking pages produced on my portable Olivetti Underwood typewriter, an eighth-grade gift from my Grandmother Catherine.

I am a recent First Place winner of a short story contest sponsored by Reader’s Digest Magazine and write a column entitled “Boomer Humor” that appears monthly in my neighborhood newspaper.

My husband and I are our own love story. We have a slap-happy middle-aged second marriage with a combined total of six grown children, one delightful granddaughter, another precious little baby on the way and one ridiculously spoiled, amazingly handsome cat named Sammy.

Twitter: @mkatequinn
Facebook: Fans of M. Kate Quinn
Amazon Author Page:


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Friday, September 16, 2016

$10 iTunes Gift Card Giveaway

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Here Comes The Witch (Main Street Witches #1) by Ani Gonzalez - Giveaway

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Here Comes the WitchHere Comes The Witch (Main Street Witches #1)
by Ani Gonzalez
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Age category: Adult
Release Date: September 7, 2016

Jewelry designer Kat Ramos has come to Banshee Creek to break the famous Hagen House curse and, in order to do that, she must marry Liam Hagen. A vengeful ghost with a deadly history isn’t part of the deal, and neither is love. Will Kat be able to handle both? Or will the mystery of the cursed Hagen House remain unsolved?

They crossed into the foyer, and she peered at the black and white marble floor.
No sign of bloodstains.
No sign of anything except furniture polish and potpourri, in fact. The room, with its sparkling floors and polished wood staircase, looked pristine. The crystal chandelier was indeed massive, the crystals sparkling in the afternoon glow. It was, she had to admit, a spectacular entry.
Liam, however, did not seem impressed. He was staring at the wooden entry door, a concerned look on his face.
"Did the ghost knock?" she asked, trying to figure out what was wrong.
He looked up. "Oh, no. It's just, um, we may have skipped a step."
"We skipped lots of them. We still have to see the living room and the upstairs."
He shook his head. "No, not that kind of step. One of the wedding rituals."
What? She didn't realize there was a checklist for this marriage. They'd gotten the licenses and gone before the judge. Wasn't that enough? They'd had a wedding reception, for Pete's sake. She'd thrown a bouquet, eaten a wedding cupcake, and had her picture taken.
What else did the house want?
Liam opened the front door and stepped outside. He motioned for her to follow.
Oh, crap. "You've got to be kidding."
"Nope," he said, laughing. "I have to carry you over the threshold. Yolanda said we had to fulfill all the wedding rituals."
"But … I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm not exactly skinny." She wasn't obese by any means, but she was, well, healthy. Okay, she was curvy.
He frowned. "What are you talking about? You're perfect. Now, come on out so we can get this done."
She gave in, following him outside. "Fine, but if you get a hernia, don't blame the curse. It's your own darn fault.
He laughed and closed the door behind her. "I think that's highly unlikely. Ready?"
She took a deep breath. The afternoon sun washed over the house, making the white paint gleam. A rogue sunbeam hit the brass doorknob, giving her the strange feeling that the house, amused by the spectacle, was winking at her.
Great, that was just what she needed, a cursed house with a sense of humor.
"I'm ready," she said. After all, she couldn't let a building intimidate her, could she?
But Liam didn't move, his eyes were fixed on her. She glanced down surreptitiously, checking to make sure she didn't have duck sauce on her cream shirt. Nope, for once she hadn't smeared food on her clothes.
Then what the heck was he staring at?
The answer dawned on her slowly. He was staring at her. This was the kind of look a man gave to a woman he found attractive.
Scratch that. This was more than attraction. The heat in his gaze was unmistakable, and she felt herself blush in response. She hadn't expected this kind of attention.
"Liam?" she asked, her voice a bit shaky.
He blinked, coming out of his stupor. "Oh, sorry." He opened the front door then stepped toward her. "Ready?"
She tensed as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders, then bent down. In a split second he'd hauled her up, making it look easy. She held her breath as he walked toward the house, holding her in his arms.  She didn't dare breathe until he reached the foyer.
He set her down gently. "There we go."
A sudden feeling of … joy swept through her. She took a shaky breath, feeling woozy. He steadied her, arms wrapped around her body. She could feel the rough fabric of his sports coat under her hands. He smelled like aftershave and soap, a clean, masculine smell. Was she trembling? Yep, she was. Her left hand, the one that now wore the filigree diamond ring, was shaking. A beam of sunlight hit the chandelier, blinding her.
"All done now," he said. Was it her imagination or was his voice a bit shaky too?
He straightened, his grip loosening around her, but she held on, compelled by a force she could not name. She felt curiously giddy, almost bubbly.
"No." The word seemed to come from far away, and it was a long moment before she realized she'd been the one who said it. "We still have one thing to do," the alien voice inside her continued, this time in a whisper.
She leaned forward, her hands still on his shoulders as if her body—with a will of its own—could not bear to break the contact. He bent down, looking confused.
The chandelier rained tiny beams of light, a magical mist of electric snowflakes that swirled around them as she kissed him, finally tasting the forbidden fruit she'd longed for all day long.  The magical embrace seemed to go on forever.
Finally, Liam broke the kiss. He stared at her in confusion, then turned toward the still-open door.
"Did you hear that?" he asked. "It sounded like a car."
"What?" The kiss had left a warm afterglow that made it difficult to focus.
A familiar noise reached her ears, an odd choking sound like a car motor dying a slow painful death. The metallic groan woke her up. The glutinously warm, happy feeling faded away, and she pulled away from Liam and ran toward the door.
A small yellowish-gray car was speeding down the road at an impressive speed. It was old, it was fast, and it was her car.
The stupid house had carjacked her baby? How?
"I'm calling the police," Liam said, grabbing his phone.
Kat ran out of the house, racing after her vehicle and cursing under her breath. Not her car. Why did it have to be her car?
She watched in disbelief as the yellow hatchback braked and made a left turn onto Main Street, ignoring the frantic honking of the vehicles around it.
What the …?
She slowed down, unable to keep up her jog in the heels she was wearing. She turned and saw Liam's truck backing out of the driveway of the Hagen House. He was driving to pick her up.
The sun was setting and the oak trees cast a shadow over the building's facade. The house, which had seemed so welcoming a few minutes ago, now seemed dark and uninviting. Liam had left the lights on and the house seemed to glare balefully at her.
Kat glared back.
The stupid house had messed with her car. This wasn't a business arrangement anymore.
This was personal.

Amazon UK:

Ani GonzalezAbout the Author:
I write paranormal romantic comedy and cozy mystery (whew, that's a mouthful!) set in Banshee Creek, Virginia, The Most Haunted Town in the USA. My books feature feisty funny heroines dealing with a host of paranormal critters (ghosts, cryptids, pagan gods...the sky's the limit) and mysteries. They find magic, love and laughter and readers get to follow them every step of the way.

I love quirky towns with spooky stories, and, thanks to my books, I get to "live" in one year-around. In real life I live in a Minneapolis suburb (which is sadly lacking in ghosts) with my husband and three children and I'm still trying to adjust to the cold.

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There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Here Comes the Witch. These are the prizes you can win:
- Custom Jewelry (US Only)
- a 25$ amazon gift card (International)

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