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Her Sassy Attitude

Belinda M Gordon
Belinda M Gordon Author Interview

The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets follows a fae seeking a quiet life in a small town when she’s accused of murder and must unravel the pharmacist’s secrets before she’s arrested. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I had just finished the last book in a series and wanted to start a new one using the same world but tweak the genre to include one of my favorites—cozy mystery. Sloan, a side character in the first series, was the natural choice as a protagonist for the new series. Readers loved her, and her personality made her perfect to fill the role of amateur sleuth.

As far as the secrets she uncovers—My husband and I owned a Home Care business for years. During that time I came across several examples of adult children treating their parent rather poorly. Those of us in the office would scratch our heads and wonder ‘how could they treat their mother or father like that?’ Well, come to find out, sometimes the parent had mistreated their kids in the past. Most people assume everyone loves their parents, so I thought this would make an interesting story.

Sloan is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

Thank you! Sloan is one of my favorite characters. I love her sassy attitude.

She first appeared in Xander’s Folly, the second book of my urban fantasy series, The King’s Jewel. I based my world-building in that series on the Celtic Mythology of the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann.

I started developing Sloan by researching the mythology around the Irish god Lugh of the Long Arm, whom she represents in the series. Lugh was the master of all arts and came to the Tuatha de Danaan as an outsider.

At first the character was going to be a boy, but I thought switching that up would make her even more interesting. Then I looked at her age, that fact she lived on her own and thought about how that would shape her personality. Although Sloan is in her twenties, the Sidhe are long lived and look much younger and their age compared to humans, so she is often mistaken for a teenager. But, she is an adolescent by Sidhe standards and often acts that way.

I wrote a about her character development in more detail on my website. If anyone is interested, they can read it here: https://www.belinda-gordon.com/readers-questions/where-did-sloan-murrays-character-come-from/

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

People aren’t always what they appear to be. This is true of Sloan and many other characters in the book. They are keeping secrets—hiding something from the rest of the world.

Another theme that always pops up in my books is family; what makes people family—it isn’t always blood relations—and how do they come together.

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

A second Findale Fae Mystery is in the works, so Sloan and her cohorts will be back. But it won’t be my next release. My next book, coming out in November, is something totally different. No fantasy or mystery in this one. I would classify it as women’s fiction.

The title is Having It All and that’s kind of what it’s about. Dalia, a career woman in the ‘90s juggling her job, motherhood and marriage, believes she should be able to have it all with no need for give and take. After all, that’s what the women of her generation have been told to expect! Devote 100% to everything and do it all perfectly. And it’s working… until it isn’t. When things begin to fall apart, Dalia needs to decide what’s really important and what she can live without.

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A Fae in hiding. A discarded backpack. A pharmacist murdered.

Escaping the notoriety she’d acquired in The Otherworld,Sloan Murray packed up her loyal cocker spaniel Max and left her fellow fae to settle in the small town of Findale.Sloan thought her new life in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania would change for the better, become quieter, less unpredictable––if only a small group of fae hadn’t followed her into this new world.

Still,Sloan’s enjoying her relative anonymity untilshe attempts to return alost backpack and ends up accused of murder. Suddenly, not only do half the town think they know who she is, they’re under the misconception she’s a dangerous killer.
Will Sloan and her fae friends unravel the dead pharmacist’s secrets before the obstinate Det. Moody arrests her for murder? Time is ticking, and if Sloan can’t find the real murderer soon, not only will she lose what’s left of her magical anonymity, she will lose her freedom forever.

The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets is a cozy who-done-it with a little something for everyone––humor, mystery, fae, and even a lovable dog!

Stolen Lives – Book Trailer

Three fourteen-year-old boys are inextricably linked by abduction and murder.

Two of them were just abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others… dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. A fourth boy, George Tokay, a Navajo, holds a key piece to this puzzle and doesn’t realize it.

Kelliher and his team have been on this case for two years. There isn’t much to go on, and each time he gets a break, potential witnesses are found dead. The stories of these boys are like loose threads on a sweater: pull the wrong one and it unravels completely. Slowly, Kelliher realizes that there may be one or more members of his team behind it all.

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The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets

The Good Pharmacist's Deadly Secrets (A Findale Fae Mystery Book 1) by [Belinda M Gordon]

Escaping the rumors of The Otherworld, in a small human town of Findale, Sloan, a fearless Sidhe warrior had finally settled down with her dog Max into a comfortable life. She works on gadgets and electronic repairs in a shop she had managed to put up inside an old dilapidated building, often visiting the busy little cafe nearby for her morning coffee. The townsfolk didn’t really notice the girl with purple hair and she preferred it that way. Until the day she got caught with a knife by the police, at the drugstore where the local pharmacist was murdered.

The story plunges into the action and piques the reader’s interest right from the start. A slight conflict arises, a speeding pickup truck tears through and Sloan feels terrified to look at her dog on the other side of the road. Relief washes over us as she discovers the tiny furry animal safe beside her. With such a powerful opening, the author already knows she has our attention.

The quick but steady pace of the narrative helps to keep us glued to the book, anticipating what would happen next. Character study seems to be one of the strongest points of author Belinda Gordon. The owner of the Apple Dumpling Cafe, Ida is a strong woman with a stern attitude, she has the courage to stand up for what she believes in. Even police officer Tommy finds it difficult to go up against her. When the whole town starts gossiping about Sloan’s involvement in the murder, Mrs. Krauss is the only one who still trusts her.

Little Padraig however is a rather endearing presence. His crazy antics at the school and in the neighborhood, as he chases Max around the backyard or peeps into windows of cars parked outside on the road, makes us grow fond of him. In Sloan’s otherwise dull life, he brings a little extra color and necessary chaos.

Although most of the characters have distinct personalities, I would have enjoyed seeing more opportunities for Sloan to fight back or demonstrate her warrior skills, befitting a legendary Blath Dorcha.

The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets is a spellbinding cozy-mystery novel with unique supernatural elements that sets up an intriguing who-dun-it mystery that is hard to put down and fun to unravel.

Pages: 210 | ASIN: B087TDWTTW

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The Narcissism of Small Differences

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The Narcissism of Small Differences is a riveting detective story with some quirks that make it truly unique and an absolute page-turner. The concept of a serial killer on the loose and ties to the mob is not new, but the author manages to offer new twists and turns that make the narrative fascinating and well-worth a read. Conor Delaney specializes in reading people, partially due to a mysterious spiritual connection from his youth. He is called in to help with a peculiar case of serial killings by the police but the aims of this vicious killer are unknown. Filled with witty one-liners and jokes, The Narcissism of Small Differences is like no other murder mystery.

The Narcissism of Small Differences, in addition to being well-written and detailed, has a lot of neat aspects that make it a one-of-a-kind book. The spiritual and mythological elements blend well with the more procedural aspects to create a new sort of mystery. The book itself opens with an insight into Conor’s past and his uncanny ability to understand human behavior. The reader will experience the thrilling process of toxicology reports and crime scene analysis, but the mere surface facts are not enough to solve the mystery. The interjections from Conor’s brother or subconscious and inclusion of different types of belief systems adds to the sense of ethereal forces working in the background. The author does a fantastic job of keeping the reader constantly guessing and questioning who will be hurt next and who is the killer.

In addition to its eccentric and fascinating blend of both the natural and supernatural, The Narcissism of Small Differences has compelling characters and parts of its plot that mirror real life, making the narrative truly three-dimensional. All of the characters have their strengths and lovable flaws that make them more life-like and intriguing. For example, Conor’s unique abilities are countered by a charming awkwardness that makes him more relatable and realistic. The book also lightly addresses some of the common issues that society faces as they relate to the crimes such as the relationship between race and law enforcement or the cultural genocide of First Nations peoples. One thing I did notice in the book was the somewhat inconsistent capitalization of nicknames throughout, but this does not hinder the reader’s enjoyment of the novel.

The Narcissism of Small Differences is a thrilling mystery novel that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes realistic crime novels with fascinating characters in the trenches of a puzzling mystery.

Pages: 320

 

Dark and Emotional

Joseph D'Aquisto
Joseph D’Aquisto Author Interview

Left for Death follows a seasoned detective on his last case that turns out to be connected to a child trafficking with connections to the police department. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted to create a story that was dark and emotional. I’ve read many cozy light-hearted Murder She Wrote kind of mysteries, but that’s not my writing style. I wanted it to be something that would hit the reader hard and make them wince a bit. Some reviewers have stated they felt the story was a bit too dark, and too much like real life, but that’s exactly what I was aiming for.

Detective John Sandes is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

He is loosely based on my late father Joseph D’Aquisto Sr. who died in 2002. Much of his back story is similar minus his career as a police detective. Both of their personal experiences with family members draw certain parallels. He had always talked about moving to Seattle when he was alive. That never happened for him. Funny enough, it was actually me who ended up living in the Pacific Northwest for several years in Vancouver, B.C. and spending lots of time in Seattle as well.

I kind of created this character using my father as a base. As I write a follow-up to Left For Death, I have to remind myself that John Sandes is not my father, and there are differences between the two. Sometimes I think to myself “Would my father really do something like this?”, well maybe not, but that’s okay because this character isn’t actually my father. I’m become more accepting of the fact that the characters are splitting a bit. The character of John Sandes will become more of his own in future books.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I think child trafficking is a huge problem today, and has been for a very long time. It was important for me to look at a serious crime. I didn’t want a reader to pick up my story to read about something petty.

Another theme that was important to me was family issues. I think many people assume that people have relatively normal upbringings. One of the most important lessons is not assuming everyone has similar upbringings and home-life situations

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

I am working on a sequel to this book. John Sandes will once again be the main character. It takes place a few years after.

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Seattle Police Detective John Sandes is involved in one of the toughest cases in his career. What starts out to be a routine homicide case turns out to be much more. He constantly struggles with past mistakes in his personal life and that drives him to solve this case. At sixty-five, fighting physical health problems and emotional distress from his past, he knows his career days are numbered.

Sandes receives a missing person report for Leo Johnson. He finds Johnson dead in the bathtub from a gunshot wound to the head. While investigating the scene, Sandes discovers a photo of an eleven-year-old girl on Johnson’s bed. Sandes’ investigation finds him butting heads with a child sex trafficking ring. Sandes knows it is his very last case and that he must do whatever it takes to solve it before his retirement which is soon approaching.

Only One Left Standing

Stephen Galgon Author Interview

The Circle follows a man who’s inducted into a secretive group who have everything they want but must hunt or be hunted to keep hold of their power. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This story was loosely based on the game “Assassins” I played when I was younger. Each player got a random name and a water gun and they had to hunt their target and “assassinate” him/her. If successful, you then take your vanquished foe’s target and hunt that person down until there is only one left standing. I was never very good at the game but always felt there was a greater story beneath the surface.

Doug is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Doug had to be relatable, so it was important that he was well grounded and had a good heart. Otherwise, he may not have resisted for as long as he did. I don’t believe, at least I hope, that the readers have the same tendencies as the seasoned members of the Circle, so it was important to take the reader along for the ride with Doug as he fought for his life. Doug is all of us when we have our backs to the wall and don’t know what we’re capable of. He is the living embodiment of fight vs. flight. But for him, the flight part was not an option.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I would say the main theme in The Circle is self-preservation. My hope is that the reader is constantly asking themselves, “How far would I go to preserve my way of life?” My guess is that we all would be surprised by our answers, and that’s what I love about the world of The Circle. It forces us to ask ourselves tough questions.

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

Currently, I’m working on the next installment of the Circle Series called “Legends of the Circle.” It is a prequel and it dives deeper into the Circle, some familiar characters, and their sacred rules. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it’s due out on October 5th. Kindle and e-reader users can pre-order it now on Amazon.

I also will be releasing a series of short stories that center around The Circle called the “Beyond the Envelope” Series. The first installment of those, “Mr. Star’s Story” follows a minor character from The Circle whose story, despite wanting to, I couldn’t tell in the book. It is available now on Amazon for $0.99, or a PDF version can be downloaded for free on my website, mjepublishing.com/beyond-the-envelope.

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IMAGINE YOU HAD ALL THE MONEY YOU EVER WANTED at the push of a button. The power to control law enforcement, politicians at the highest levels, the judicial system as a whole. To have what you want when you want it, whatever it is. All you have to do is kill someone . . . before someone kills you.

MEMBERS of THE CIRCLE don’t have to imagine such a life. They live it. The liberation of being both hunter and hunted. The salvation that comes with such freedom. A chance to feel truly alive. A chance to savor each precious moment. Because in THE CIRCLE any moment could be your last.

DOUGLAS GOODWIN isn’t rich. He isn’t powerful. What could the sacred society of THE CIRCLE possibly want with him—just a regular guy with a regular job leading a regular life? What would drive them to coerce a young man who has always valued integrity over hedonism into their midst? And why would Doug agree to submersion in a world of secrecy and murder? It’s unthinkable.

THE HARSH REALITY? Doug has been inducted into an institution where friends become enemies overnight, loyalty is a nothing more than a punchline, and conscience is a burden. Where he will be hunted and expected to hunt other members to their death. With no escape from THE CIRCLE’s ubiquitous influence and domination.

HOW FAR WILL DOUG GO? How much will he sacrifice to preserve his way of life? Will he be swayed by the money, the women, the power? Or will THE CIRCLE consume him, as it has hundreds of others before him, and leave nothing but another nameless corpse in its wake?

Juanita Chase FBI: The Rainbow Killer

Someone is stalking the LGBTQ community of Long Island, New York. When the drowning death of a federal agent’s daughter connects to the serial killings, Special Agent Chase joins the investigation. Is the killer a jilted lover? Is the father taking revenge on the women he suspected of drowning his daughter? When the fourth victim turns up butchered, Juanita must race against time to save the remaining women on the monster’s death list.

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Atypical of the ‘Thriller’ Genre

Al E. Boy
Al E. Boy Author Interview

Little Girl Scream follows a hotelier who must find a killer lurking in her hotel before he strikes again. What was the inspiration for the mystery at the heart of your story?

We wanted to write a thriller absent of the usual tropes and cliches. We were trying for a scene and situation somewhat atypical of the ‘thriller’ genre. Foremost in our objectives was to create a relationship between the two main characters wherein they did not end up romantically involved by the end of the story. Sort of a: “Yes. A man and a woman can be great friends who admire and respect each other.”

I loved the relationship between Dale and Sofia. What were some ideas that guided their character relationship?

The references in the book to the witty dialogue and ‘slightly combative’ repartee of the golden age of movies was something we both wanted to embody in Sofia and Mathis. In a sense, they are a little like Butch and Sundance from ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in that while they do make the odd pithy and even disparaging remark, the duo do genuinely care for one another and will willingly risk their life for the other.

What was the writing collaboration process like with co-author F. Carod?

While I live in South Korea, F. Carod actually lives in Cancun. She’s a wealth of information that was put to great use in the development of the story. We’d write excerpts, post them in a ‘private’ Facebook page we created, give our critiques, do rewrites and revisions, etc., etc, until we were satisfied we had what we were after. It was a low process that took a while, but I think I speak for both myself and my co-author when I suggest we both learned a great deal from one another in the process. Lastly, modern technology is wonderful. It’s remarkable two individuals on either side of the globe can write a book together without having ever met.

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

There are three books in the series. The second takes up a few months later with Sofia and Mathis living in Guadalajara. Her father is a wealthy hotel magnate, and he allotted them plots of land on his huge family compound to build homes with some of the money Tiara Tillman gave them. At the close of Book 1, when they watched Chief Ricardo’s press conference on TV, and he stated every person connected to Tillman would be hunted down, Mathis mused the man may be inviting trouble. Truer words were never spoken. But the trouble follows our faithful friends, as well.

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Absolutely nothing can compare to the Hotel Amatista, Cancun’s premier luxury resort. The jewel in her family’s chain of 5 star hotels, Sofia Hernández is in charge, and the young woman takes great pride when she hears guests remark the hotel makes them feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s been happening lately, Young guests vanish, only to turn up the next day…abused, tortured…and dead. Sofia suddenly has her hands full dealing with police investigations, trying to ease her guests’ fears, and doing her best to save the Amatista’s reputation. And, with no way of knowing if the sadistic culprit is a hotel employee or a guest, stopping the killings will be no easy task. With the help of Dale Mathis, a visiting English professor, she is able to thwart further abductions and murders, but her interference draw the ire of the sinister mastermind who decides Sofia must pay for her boldness. To make matters even worse, her new friend becomes the number one suspect of the Cancun police.
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