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Designs on Ivy’s Locket

Historian-for-hire Wrenn Grayson takes on a difficult client in Kerry St. John. Kerry seeks justice for his great-grandfather’s lifelong heartache. Wrenn meets the renowned jeweler through words recorded in his tattered journal. The year is 1946. He writes from the tiny crossroads of Wyatt, Ohio, about the theft of a treasured locket and the identity of three possible suspects.

The cold case heats up when Lori Hammond arrives. The stolen locket was discovered among her mother’s possessions after her death. Lori refuses to return it to the St. John family, so Wrenn sets out to follow the locket’s path through history. Next, Lori is attacked and Kerry accused. If Kerry’s not guilty, then who is? That question sends cold whispers from the past down Wrenn’s spine.

In Designs on Ivy’s Locket, Connie Chappell focuses on the theme of parents and children, separated by death, by theft, and by design.

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Feral and Gritty

Konn Lavery Author Interview

Konn Lavery Author Interview

YEGman is a thrilling crime novel taking place in the underworld of Edmonton, Canada. Why did you want to set your story in this location?

I had several reasons why I wanted to have the story take place in Edmonton. I prefer to write Canada-based stories and I’ve spent a lot more time in western Canada than I have out east, so can craft stories in these locations easier. A second reason is the name YEGman itself. YEG is the airport code and a common hashtag for the city. It is easier to say than – for example – YYCman for Calgary.

I also have grown up in Edmonton and have seen the city change over the decades. It is a pretty (no offence Edmonton!) bland city when it comes to major issues. So it is a good thing. That raises the question, how can you make a tame city feral and gritty? This was an interesting challenge to me.

This story takes a uniquely gritty look at the Edmonton crime scene. What were some ideas you wanted to capture when developing this underworld?

For YEGman’s version of Edmonton, I wanted to paint a crime-infested city that has some similarities seen in superhero comics. Daredevil/Hell’s Kitchen and Batman/Gotham are examples. A city that is in dire need of help. It becomes a motivator for someone to become a vigilante when they feel the city isn’t making any progress.

The details of the drugs and music scene I wanted to make real by showing there are good people that get caught up in these dark worlds of gangs and violence. Either they feel trapped or do not know any better to get out and just try to keep their friends safe.

Where did the idea for YEGman come from and what were some book titles you considered?

YEGman actually was birthed from the album that accompanies the launch – Sounds of Society. Both YEGman and the album tell a story of someone who can’t handle the constraints of society and go off the deep end. They also share similar content in the lyrics. Originally I was working on this album in 2012.

The plot and character of YEGman came to me in the summer of 2015 when I was at a book signing in a comic store. It was a quiet period and was daydreaming about super heroes because of the increase in popularity due to the Marvel movies, DC movies, comic expos and I was in a comic store at the time. Personally I am not a huge comic book far so I asked myself – what type of superhero story would someone who doesn’t like superheroes read?

From there I drafted out the concept of the superhero YEGman. Quite quickly I decided against super powers and made him very earth-bound. This helped map out the ending as well. If he was just an average person, and didn’t have any tech toys, money or ninja training, he’s going to have a pretty difficult time being a crime fighter. After writing out the outline for the ending I reverse engineered the story – a process I do not normally do with writing.

In November of 2015 I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo but shelved the concept because my horror novel, Seed Me, wasn’t fully edited yet. That took a higher priority and I didn’t revisit YEGman until 2017 after doing some heavy research into police procedures and psychology. These two points of study helped craft the inner thoughts of Michael.

So overall, comic books were the inspiration and I looked at comics such as the Punisher, Sin City, The Watchmen, and Hellboy to name some.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I really need to wrap up the dark fantasy series Mental Damnation. Book three is coming out in the fall of 2018 and the fourth is in the works. I also am working on a slasher novella but it is in the early plot outline stage.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebook | Website

YEGman by [Lavery, Konn]

In the darkest streets of Edmonton, crime is around every corner. The police have exhausted their resources. Citizens are in a constant state of fear. The city is in dire need of justice. Someone needs to give the felons what they deserve – skip the courts and deliver their verdict with a fist full of fury!

At least that is what Michael Bradford tells himself. He struggles with violent tendencies while personally investigating the Crystal Moths, Edmonton’s most notorious gang. His vigilante methods get caught on film and are uploaded to the web with the hashtag YEGman. These videos catch the attention of a rebellious journalism student whose aspires to cover the developing story on the city’s underground hero.

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Passion for the Vampire Legend

JC Brennan Author Interview

JC Brennan Author Interview

Eternal Bloodlines follows Amanda, an average girl with a boring life when an unexpected event sends her life hurtling in a sinister direction. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

I have always love vampires. However, I wanted to create a story that readers could relate to, one that was different, and Amanda is the one character who could do just that.

I felt that Amanda was a fascinating character, her later character contrasted greatly with her beginning character. What were some obstacles you felt were important to her development?

Actually, there were not any obstacles to Amanda’s development. I used much of how I felt growing up in a small town: want nothing more than to get out, get away, and have an adventure. The use of my personal insights and experiences from growing up in a small town (though none of those experiences involved a vampire, of course) made Amanda’s development almost seamless.

The bond that forms between Amanda and Mihnea is one of the things that I enjoyed about this book. What were the driving ideas behind their relationship throughout the story?

It was important that Mihnea be someone Amanda thought she knew all about from her research and her passion for the vampire legend. It was also important that when she meets the man, she believed she knew about, that he was not that person. But, he needed to be someone she empathizes with, that she can relate to. He needed to be a surprise and change everything she thought she had learned.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next novel is coming in July. It’s titled Shadows Fall. And though I don’t want to give too much away, Detective Levi Sterling has his handful with trying to catch a serial killer.

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A series of unexplained murders and a near-fatal accident propel a desperate woman down a dark and sinister road.

Twenty-four-year-old Amanda Holston dreams of getting a little excitement in her life. In the sleepy town of Skidway Lake that may be asking too much. One snowy morning, while walking through the woods, Amanda stumbles upon the mutilated remains of a young woman. Hours later, police uncover two more bodies. Just when things seem to be getting interesting, Amanda is in a near fatal accident, causing her sanity to come into question. She hears voices in her head and sees a dark man in her dreams. She blames the delusions on the accident. But the dark man is all too real.

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the Staging of the Bodies

Kwen Griffeth Author Interview

Kwen Griffeth Author Interview

Dance with the Devils starts with a gruesome murder which sets of a series of events that brings detective Nate Burns out of retirement. What did you want to be different about this novel from your other murder mystery works?

Nate has been medically retired from the department and has not adjusted well to the forced inactivity. I wanted the murders to be complex enough that they would serve as an enticement to get Nate off the couch, so to speak. The gruesomeness of the killings is evidence of the mindset of the killer, which is the reason for Nate decides to become involved. The staging of the bodies, as there is more than one killing, also becomes an attractant for Nate.

I thought you did a fantastic job with the setting and descriptions. How do you balance story telling with setting and character development?

The initial setting was determined by previous novels and Las Vegas is where Nate’s friend Jack resides. It is also the money source as an investigation as I describe would require funding in large amounts of money. There had to be a tie in there. The other locations were chosen for various reasons, the last one in Ohio is the hometown of the narrator of my books for audio. I wanted to give him a nod of “thanks.”

Character development is the most important part of the writing process for me. With interesting and engaging characters a story can be set in a shoebox. Every character I include in the story has a developed backstory and the possibility of a continuing story, if need be. More than one of my minor characters have grown into larger roles, and continued in the next book in the series.

I felt like Gabe Monet was one character that had to grow on me, and continued to develop throughout the novel. What was the inspiration for that character?

Gabe was the personification of the story. She is another version of Nate, she, like him is the overachiever with baggage. Where Nate uses his surliness to distance people, Gabe uses her outlandish behavior and sexuality. Readers of the series will remember Nate has an attraction to women like Gabe, and I also wanted her to serve as a temptation to him. She develops and with Nate’s help can depend more on her abilities as a detective and therefor lower her defensive actions. I wanted Gabe to be Nate’s reflection and I think I accomplished that

It seems like this book leaves the door open for a follow up novel. Will there be another story in this series?

Oh, most certainly. Dance with the Devils is the third book in the Nate and Clare series. Much is happening to the characters in the stories. Nate is struggling to find new direction. Clare (his wife) is finishing law school. The older daughter Lizzie is graduating high school with the stated desire to follow her dad into law enforcement. The Las Vegas side of the team has Jack growing bored with what he does. His wife Terri is not doing well after being shot. Jack’s friend and bodyguard “Snake” is still in a coma and “Gunny” is growing restless. There are many more stories yet to be told.

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Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody by [Griffeth, Kwen]The murder was brutal. The scene resembled a slaughterhouse. “We need Nate Burns,” Jack Mill said and set about getting the medically retired detective to Vegas. Such a simple request will lead Nate not only on a manhunt across the country but also back in time thirty years where he will struggle to understand the implications of the Cold War.

Book three, in the Nate and Clare series, finds Nate trying to come to terms with being medically retired from the department. Unsure who he is any longer, he hesitates to accept the challenge. For the first time, he afraid he might fail.

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A Wild and Thrilling Experience

Sharon CassanoLochman Author Interview

Sharon CassanoLochman Author Interview

Man with the Sand Dollar Face is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a thriller, mystery, and crime fiction as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

I wrote the rough draft for Man with the Sand Dollar Face in less than twenty-four hours without concern for where the story was going or where it would end. I have written like this before, and I have always found it to be a wild and thrilling experience similar to watching a heart-pounding adventure movie. I laughed at Hattie’s antics and cried over the tragedies she faced.

Hattie is a quirky widow in her sixties when she pursues clues that get her caught up with drug traffickers. What were some themes you wanted to explore while writing her character?

Some of the themes that came through were issues of tremendous importance; for example, compassion and personal expression. Hattie was like a quirky aunt that you could not help but love. I wanted her rambling thoughts to drive the reader crazy as they unknowingly became emotionally attached to her child-like innocence.

The characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

My favorite character to explore was Vic; he had a complex personality that was at times compassionate and other times terrifyingly brutal.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?

I am currently working on the revisions for an adult fiction that delves into Quantum Physics that I hope to have ready for release in 2019 along with a sequel to Man with the Sand Dollar Face.

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Man with the Sand Dollar Face by [CassanoLochman, Sharon]Hattie Crumford, a quirky widow in her early sixties, takes her first job answering the phone in a private investigator’s office. Running a little late one morning, she discovers an agitated man pacing at the office door. He insists he must see the PI immediately. In the midst of his anxious demands, he clutches his chest and collapses. Shocked, Hattie runs for help. Upon returning, the man has disappeared. Detective Hugo Gabby and Hattie’s boss, Wallace C. Woodard, are skeptical and dismissive of her story. To prove it’s not her wild imagination, Hattie sets out to find the missing manusing only the cryptic note he left in his place and his last words as her clues.

Meanwhile, the private investigator is onto something and tells Hattie to retrieve a disc in his file cabinet, which must be delivered to the police immediately.

When Hattie returns to the office the next morning, she’s met by two men who usher her out at knife point and drag her into a waiting limo. Abducted and held hostage, she’s drugged by her captors who are trying to get the mysterious disc.

As the story unfolds, Hattie Crumford finds herself embroiled in an international drug trafficking ring. Everything hinges on the man with the sand dollar face.

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Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont

Historian Wrenn Grayson arrives at the Rosemont mansion expecting to receive payment for her services from the mansion’s new owner, Clay Addison. That expectation dies when she and Clay find Trey Rosemont murdered on the foyer floor. Across town, police officers race to Eastwood University. Priceless Egyptian artifacts were stolen from the history department safe. Wrenn’s longtime love, Eastwood professor Gideon Douglas, heads the department. Only recovery of the artifacts will save his career.

Life in Havens, Ohio, doesn’t stop for this crime spree. Wrenn works for Mayor K.C. Tallmadge. He wishes Wrenn would stop searching down clues ahead of the police and pacify temperamental playwright Barton Reed. Barton’s play is just days away from opening in the town’s historic Baxter Theater.

Amid murder, theft, or curtain calls, Wrenn’s instincts prove sharp. But it’s her stubborn one-woman approach that places her directly in the killer’s path.

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A u 7 9: A Tracker Novel

A Texas ATF agent, Stuart Dyson, has disappeared. When the local investigation stalls, FBI Tracker Adrian Dillard arrives in Laredo to find out why. He’s not greeted with open arms.

Plagued by the resentment from the local agents, his every lead dead ends—literally. As the body count rises, Adrian’s uncanny intuition kicks into high gear. Who knows more than they are telling? Is the missing agent an unwitting victim, or a deadly mastermind? And who is staying a step ahead of him?

Dyson’s fiancée, Homicide Detective Tracy Harlowe, may have the answers, but she’s not talking. The secrets the impetuous detective is hiding could very well get her killed.

A chilling discovery that links the two largest Texas Universities puts Homeland Security on high alert. Pressure mounts as the President demands answers. When Tracy disappears, Adrian knows he’s running out of time. There’s only one question left. Who dies next?

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Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody

Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody by [Griffeth, Kwen]

When Nick Jenkins is murdered in the most heinous of fashions, Roger Devine vows to stop at nothing and spare no expense in order to find the killer.  He enlists the help of hacker, Jack Mill, who in turn succeeds in dragging former detective, Nate Burns, out of retirement to solve the crime. Nate is paired, quite unwillingly, with one Detective Gabe Monet, and a week of lavish living, harrowing investigative work, and favor-calling ensues. Together Nate and Gabe begin to connect the dots between the murder of Nick Jenkins in Las Vegas and a rash of similar murders across the country.

Kwen Griffeth’s Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody has everything I want to see in a murder mystery. It is one of those rare read-in-one-sitting novels. I hate to use the phrase, “I couldn’t put it down,” but the term, without question, applies in this case. Griffeth’s writing has a seamless flow that sucks the reader in from the first page. The visuals provided by the author are amazing. I am not one who balks at having to use my own imagination to visualize the setting, but reading is made infinitely more pleasurable when vivid details abound–at this technique Griffeth is a master.

Griffeth’s Nate Burns, is one of those main characters readers will love from his first appearance. There is nothing more endearing than a family man facing inner turmoil and coming out on top. Nate is the perfect picture of both. Watching the efficiency with which he is able to jump back into the saddle after leaving the police department, the reader can see Nate as the incredible force he once was before being shot and put out of commission. His mannerisms, vulnerability, and tendency to second guess himself make him that much more endearing. On the other hand, when Nate is on the job, he is respected, makes himself known, and is determined not to be defeated despite his obvious physical limitations. That being said, Nate Burns has joined the ranks of my favorite characters across genres.

I had a difficult time liking Gabe Monet at the outset. I felt as though she tried far too hard to overcompensate for her shortcomings and her questionable reputation. Frankly, I think Nate and his family stole my heart so quickly and completely that I had almost no room left for Gabe and her shenanigans. The author, however, does a fabulous job of slowly making Gabe Monet a more likable character, and I was left feeling much more at ease with her manner and her commentary.

I am giving Kwen Griffeth’s Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody an emphatic 5 out of 5 stars and would give it more given the option. You don’t often find a novel of this genre that isn’t riddled with profanity and sexual situations. Griffeth has more than managed to create an engaging and gripping plot without inundating readers with uncomfortable scenes and unnecessary language. I look forward to reading more of Griffeth’s work and hope beyond hope to see a sequel to Dance with the Devils as the ending leaves the door wide open for more from Nate Burns.

Pages: 318 | ASIN: B07BV6822S

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Everything is Funny From Some Angle

Mel Anastasiou Author Interview

Mel Anastasiou Author Interview

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries follows an elderly amateur sleuth as she sets out to solve the various mysteries plaguing her retirement home. What was your inspiration for the setup to this engaging novel?

Thanks for the kind words. My inspiration came while I was hanging about in a Vancouver care home, preparing to help move an enormous television set into an elderly acquaintance’s bedroom. I wondered, what if I lived here? What on earth would I do with myself? How do you wake up every day knowing that people are responsible for you, but you are responsible for nothing (there seemed to be some possibilities for rebellion here.) We all need a good reason for getting out of bed in the morning. What would that be? Watching television? Complaining about the food? I thought Stella Ryman might come up with an intriguing Third Option.

Stella is a senior with a tenacity that I enjoyed reading about. What were some themes you wanted to explore while creating her character?

I love exploring these:

  • Old or young, we need to serve the world somehow.
  • Almost everything is funny from some angle, and nothing is ever quite what it seems.
  • No life is over until the final breath passes (and maybe not even then, see Mad Cassandra Browning.)
  • Even in dire circumstances, there are always new chances at happiness.
  • Without connection to others, we’re all just bundles of cells in fleece warm-up suits.

I enjoyed the logical mysteries portrayed in the novel, they were always intriguing yet intuitive. What was the process like in developing the different mysteries in the book?

I’m glad you enjoyed them—they were fun to write. I wanted to explore ways Stella struggles to regain the symbols of power that she discarded from her world when she checked herself into Fairmount Manor Care Home: a handbag on her wrist, a best friend, freedom to walk outside if she likes, or fix herself a cup of tea, or enjoy solitude, and above all the power to help others and right wrongs. All the mysteries turn on these.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, is next, in second edition on Amazon in April 2018 and, writing as Melanie Archer, Younger Men. a comedy, also on Amazon in April 2018. The second Fairmount Manor Mystery novel, Stella Ryman and the Mystery of the Mah-jongg Box, comes out this fall from Pulp Literature Press, along with the seventh of the Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries, published in Pulp Literature’s literary quarterly.

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Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries by [Anastasiou, Mel]

On this particular sun-and-shade April morning at Fairmount Manor, Stella Ryman no more entertained the idea of becoming an amateur sleuth than she did of entering next spring’s Boston Marathon. For not only was Stella eighty-two years old, but she had lately sold her home and a lifetime of gathered possessions and washed up at Fairmount Manor Care Home in such a state that she would have bet her remaining seven pairs of socks that she’d be dead in half a year.

But when money goes missing and an innocent woman stands to lose her job at Fairmount; when malicious poison pen letters find their way into the hands of staff and residents; and when a resident vanishes without a trace, Stella takes matters into her own hands. To hell with being elderly — Stella will break every one of the Director’s rules and slash all the institutional red tape in the place in her struggle to solve mysteries and protect the innocent. Over the course of the first five mystery adventures, Mrs Stella Ryman transforms from a woman on her deathbed to a force of nature and intellect. She’s a fish out of water, a stranger in a strange land, and an amateur sleuth trapped in a down-at-the-heels care home.

You’d be cranky, too.

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Caught in a Web

The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

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