Book Review: Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Think of all the darkest vengefests you’ve enjoyed in literature and film and you have the experience that is Foul is Fair, the latest novel by Hannah Capin.

MacBeth, Heathers, Mean Girls, Kill Bill, and AHS: Coven have all been used to describe elements and the tone of this new book, and they are all appropriately used.

Jade and her friends have fabled teen lives, they’re the “it” girls and the world is at their feet—until a group of boys from a wealthy prep school make the mistake of assaulting Jade. Now, Jade has sworn to get vengeance, and nobody will stand in her way.

Foul is Fair is a dark, unflinching journey into manipulation and vengeance. Capin’s writing is raw and intense, drawing you along and daring you to turn away while taunting you to turn another page. This is one of those books that is both horrifying and fantastic at the same time, and destined to create quite a buzz.

*I received a copy of Foul is Fair from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Book Review: Beneath the Ashes (The Calderwood Cases #2) by Dea Poirier

Fresh off the investigation into her sister’s death, detective Claire Calderwood is called to investigate a murder in a nearby community. A girl’s body has been found tied to the bed of a hotel room, covered in ashes. Without witnesses, and with few clues, Claire must figure out who killed this girl while dealing with her own memories and the realization that her boyfriend, Noah, has been keeping secrets about his own past.

And then another girl is found, and another. Now, faced with a serial killer, Claire has to find out how the three girls, text messages from a burner cell phone, and GPS coordinates tie them all together while under pressure from the local police and a very irate hospital CEO to find the killer.

In her follow up to Next Girl to Die, author Dea Poirier has expertly crafted another thrilling who-done-it. The story line is fast paced and with just as much intensity as book one. Claire is someone you can just identify with, she isn’t perfect, but she’s exactly the person her past has molded her into. While characters in some books seem to act just to advance the plot line, Claire is consistent and genuine. Poirier has also done an amazing job of bringing the details of Maine to life so that the setting acts as another character, helping to bring a stark, harsh richness to an already chilling story. The crime and resolution is just as satisfying as I’d hoped (no spoilers from me!).

Beneath the Ashes will be released November 19, 2019.

While you wait for it’s release, you can get your copy of Next Girl to Die (The Calderwood Cases #1) from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

You can also read my interview with author Dea Poirier here

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Author Interview: Dea Poirier

Author of: The Next Girl to Die (coming May 1, 2019)

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

It was a piece for a creative writing class in 9th grade, about a man who was turned into a potted plant (mistakenly) by a witch.  

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

I wouldn’t say I’m pursing it as a profession, I have a day job that I love immensely and need a challenge both in writing and in my non-writing career. I try to look at them as different beasts that don’t overlap. One is never going to replace the other. That being said, I started writing my first “novel” in my early twenties. I wrote the beginning of that novel around 437,000 times. Then, probably around 2006, I told myself it was either time to do it or stop thinking about it. I sat down, spent around a year writing the first (AWFUL) draft. The second book I wrote was much easier, and faster (though if you ask me, not much better). Though I did sort-of query the first two books, I wasn’t serious about it. My third project, a YA Paranormal Romance, was the first book I realized I wanted to seriously pursue. It wasn’t until I finished my fifth MS, and queried that, that I ended up signing with an agent.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

There have been so many amazing people in my life that have helped me on this journey, and of course I can’t name them all here. My critique partner (and one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met), Elesha Teskey, for one – I don’t know where I’d be without her. A writing group I had while I lived in Connecticut helped me immensely understanding the market, shaping my query, and realizing how much work marketing a book really is. And then my agent, Laura Bradford, has been fabulous and helped me in so many ways on this journey, giving me the advice I need to improve my work, and of course finding a place for it in the world.

Do you exclusively write thrillers or have you written in other genres?

I write thrillers, fantasy, and romantic suspense for the adult market. I also write paranormal romance, historical fantasy, and thrillers for the young adult market.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

When I’m writing a draft, I write during my lunch break at work (if I can), and then I write once my son goes to sleep for the night. Typically my writing time is 8pm to 11pm (or midnight, depending on how long the coffee keeps me up). It can be very difficult to maintain work/life balance with writing, especially in the draft stage, because I tend to become completely immersed in the story.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

It really varies by project. But my fastest draft (40k words) was two weeks. My most recent draft (60k words) was 17 days, I think. Something like that. On average though, I’d say a first draft takes me 4-6 weeks. Edits are a completely different beast. I usually set something aside to think about it after the draft. So, it can take me anywhere from six months to a year to get through revisions, readers, etc.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

It depends on which market I’m writing. Most projects, at the very least, I start out with a very detailed outline, and a character spreadsheet. For my historical projects, I look at the general time period/location I want to write about – then I fill in more of the historical details during the revision period. I have one exception to this, which is a novel that I spent over a month researching because it was very important to me to capture the location/history of the setting – as I saw the setting as its own character in a way.  

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

That I’d never want anyone to know? Nah, not really. I’m a pretty open book about being peak-weird. I do find that I do my best writing during thunderstorms. I write all of my drafts/edits on paper. Though I can write on the computer, and I have challenged myself to do one entire MS on the computer instead of long hand, I find it doesn’t flow as well or as easily for me that way. I also have to write with the window open. And when I’m writing/editing a project, I fully immerse myself in similar genres/time periods for all the books, TV shows, and movies I’m watching/reading at the time. The one exception to this is SVU, because SVU transcends all.

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

I haven’t done a literary pilgrimage, though I would LOVE TO. I’m currently editing a project about a sanatorium, and I cannot tell you how badly I want to go traipse around some abandoned sanatoriums. I have gone to walk through an orange grove for inspiration for one particular character. There is also a creepy mansion I’ve visited a few times that appears in one of my novels.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

For some, yes. For others, it was more than likely a spark of inspiration while driving. My current project actually came upon in a stranger way than usual. This character was meant to be connected to another book, and while writing some of her origin story, I ended up falling down a plotting rabbit hole and writing an entirely different book.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

I love thrillers, historical, romantic suspense, anything with kilts, fantasy – and anything creepy or weird.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

I haven’t yet – but now I might 😉

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

I don’t base any characters on people I know. I have some characters that have historical influences, but I think that’s the closest I’ll ever get to having a character based on a real person. Usually I start with a base idea for what I think a character is going to be, and halfway through the draft I really know them.

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

Diary by Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club gets so much attention, but Diary is my favorite book.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

I don’t feel guilty about reading books, so I can’t think of one that I would consider to be a guilty pleasure.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Nope, I let Google do that for me. Google Alerts 😉

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

Godzilla

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

Spelling. I am AWFUL at spelling. It was something I always had trouble with in school.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

Be patient, keep going no matter what. And don’t edit as you write, edit AFTER your first draft is complete.

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?

Try to find a balance between promo for your book, and the other things you love. It’s important to remember that the whole world isn’t the book release. And – if you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Don’t feel like you’re alone with your release. Ask other authors, friends, betas, family members, there are so many people that would love to help.  

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

Every month on my blog I do critique giveaways, some are for queries, some for queries and pages. I will also do flash query giveaways on twitter sometimes. The writing community was so integral to keeping me writing and helping me find an agent, it’s super important to me to give back.

Want to know more about Dea?

Solving the case will avenge her sister—unless the killer finds her first.

It’s been fifteen years since Claire Calderwood’s sister, Rachel, was brutally murdered in their small hometown in Maine. Claire has finally carved out a life for herself as a homicide detective in Detroit, but the past comes calling when the local police back home ask for her help with a murder eerily similar to Rachel’s.

Still haunted by Rachel’s cold case, Claire returns home, hoping to solve the crime and finally put her grief to rest. As she starts investigating, the last thing she needs is tenacious journalist Noah Washington asking questions she’s not ready to answer. But like her, Noah won’t give up until he finds the truth—and Claire reluctantly finds herself relying on him more and more when disturbing new details about Rachel’s death come to light.

When the killer strikes once again, Claire knows he’s not done. Now he’s set his sights on Claire, who will have to find the courage she needs to survive a deadly confrontation years in the making.

Get your copy of Next Girl to Die on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

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Book Review: Baby of the Family by Maura Roosevelt


Baby of the Family is a novel about the once influential Whitby family.

Roger Whitby, the four times married family patriarch, has died after squandering a majority of his wealth. He’s left what remains of his estate to his youngest (adopted) son, Nick, the son of his fourth wife. Nick is a young man who has been struggling to find a purpose in his life. As his father is dying, Nick becomes involved in an act of political activism, and then goes missing.

Brooke, Roger’s daughter from his second marriage, is dealing with her own issues. She’s pregnant by a man she doesn’t love, afraid to admit to the love she has for Allie, and her house—the one thing she has from her dad—has just become part of Nick’s inheritance. Brooke doesn’t even really know Nick and has no idea if she’ll be forced out of the house. She’s barely able to get by on her nursing job, and the thought of having to add rent or a mortgage to her financial plan—in addition to the cost of having a baby—has left her unsure of the right decisions.

Roger’s daughter Shelley is living with her mother in the New York apartment Roger walked out of years ago. Her mom has left after descending into a years-long cycle of depression. Desperate for income, Shelley takes a job with a very peculiar man, and ends up in a complex relationship with him.

Told from the point of view of these three Whitby children, each abandoned and let down by their father, it explores the complex relationships between children and their parents. It’s really about finding and being yourself, despite your familial relations.

It was hard to identify with the characters (for obvious reasons—the lack of my own family fortune), but they were interesting enough to keep me reading. Baby of the Family wasn’t a novel that drew me in and kept me on the edge of my seat, but I was passively interested enough to continue reading to find out what happens to each of the characters.

*I received an ARC of Baby of the Family from Netgalley and Dutton Books in exchange for an honest review

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Book Review: A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts

In the Gilded Age you needed two things to get (or stay) ahead in society: money and an established family lineage. A person simply did get by with one or the other.

William Vanderbilt and his family are ripe with “new money” but find that the “respectable” social circles of New York City aren’t open to new money. Alva Smith has the necessary lineage to maintain a respectable position in society, but her father’s finances are running out and her family is desperate for salvation. In marrying, Alva and William provide each other with that which they most desperately need, and the result lives in infamy through tales of the Vanderbilts, and the wealthy impact they left behind.

Alva Smith Vanderbilt pushed the norms with regards to being a “well-behaved” wife of a wealthy man. Not content to sit back and hand out money, or to smile and nod at the ideas of men, she became actively involved in charities and issues that mattered to her, and contributed her own thoughts and ideas as to Vanderbilt activities.

While she was perhaps a bit of a radical in her opinions and activities, she was also a woman moored by the social norms of the times, and that can be a bit tough to read. At times I wanted to scream at Alva, “Who cares about that old hag Astor. Do your own thing, girl!” But ultimately, I appreciated the vivid detail of the writing and I think that my discomfort with the women’s behavior is a result of a genuine representation of what life was like for women during this time.

In A Well-Behaved Woman, author Therese Anne Fowler, provides an indulgent trip through the glitz and glamour of the Guilded Age. If you’re looking for a strong social statement about the accumulation of wealth to the detriment of the working class, or the psychological damage that accompanies ambition, this isn’t it. But, if you’re looking to be swept up in a tale about a strong female during the rise of one of America’s most infamous families, and to get lost in a vivid portrayal of this sparkling moment in history, then this is the perfect choice.

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The Light at Finnigan’s End Giveaway

 

The Light at Finnigan’s End (Rum Runners, Book 2) comes out November 11, 2018 and what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway?

Follow the Rafflecopter link for your chance to win a copy of the e-book, a Finnigan’s End flask, key chain, book markers and a $10 Amazon gift card.

As a bonus: I’ll personally add five more entries to anyone who shows proof that they’ve purchased a copy of The Light at Finnigan’s End before the contest ends. Your proof can be a screen shot of a receipt, email or order confirmation. Either message me on Facebook or Twitter, email me or comment below for your entry!

(And don’t forget, The Light at Finnigan’s End comes out 11/5/18. Pre-order your copy from Amazon , Smashwords,  and Barnes & Noble)

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Spotlight: James L. Weaver

Name: James L. Weaver 

Author of: Poor Boy Road; Ares Road; Blackbird Road (Lakewater Press)

Jack & Diane

From: Olathe, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City, a mere 250 miles from the geographic center of the United States)

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

The first story of any real length was a handwritten tale of a monster versus a knight that I did for a high school English class – Sir (something or other) and the Gorgon, I believe it was called. I still have it in a box in the basement and it is pretty horrible. Maybe when I become a New York Times Best Selling author, I’ll auction it off for charity. Maybe. It’s pretty bad.  Though, I did get an “A” on the assignment!

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

I’ve always had the thought it would be “fun” to be a writer. I’d written a lot of short stories and a couple of novels, and I tried to unsuccessfully land an agent. I didn’t really have an inkling that it could be a possibility until I finished the first draft of Poor Boy Road. I still didn’t have an agent, but I had a vision of a series featuring Jake Caldwell that might just get me to where I wanted to go. I still can’t quit my day job, but I’d love to be able to write full-time.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

Number one above anyone else is Kate Foster at Lakewater Press. She’s the one who came to me and said she loved Poor Boy Road and wanted it. She guided me in carving and polishing that lump of stone into an award winning novel I’m very proud of. She’s a fantastic cheerleader and I’m so glad she took a chance on me.

Do you exclusively write crime thrillers or have you written in other genres?

I love crime thrillers, but I had an idea years ago about a coming of age love story between a boy and girl in Kansas City. I wrote the manuscript and went through the agent hunting process with no success. I let it sit in a drawer for a number of years and discovered it again when I was looking for tax records or something. After I read it again, I decided it was too good a story to just sit and rot in the bottom of a drawer. So, I polished and went agent hunting again. About that time, my mom was diagnosed with cancer with a bleak prognosis. She’d always encouraged my writing and I could think of nothing she’d love more than to have my book in her hands, so I decided to self-publish it. Unfortunately, the cancer was vicious and she died three months from diagnosis, so she never got to see it. It’s gotten great reviews and I’m proud of it. I have someone sniffing around for a movie option of it, so I reworked it and had professional editor Rebecca Carpenter work her magic on it. So, the new and improved Jack & Diane is now available on Amazon. It really is a sweet story and anyone who grew up around the 80’s will love the references.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

I have a full-time job, a great wife and two active teens involved in sports and other extracurricular activities. As such, I don’t really have a set schedule, but write when I can squeeze it in – most typically between 10 pm and midnight when everyone else goes to bed and a few hours squeezed in on the weekends. It really depends on what stage of the writing process I’m in and if I’m binge watching anything on Netflix or Amazon.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

First draft has typically been about five to six months and then another month on the first round of revisions. It depends on how hung up I get on the plot. The plot for Poor Boy Road crystallized in my mind in a fifteen minute car ride. For my upcoming Jake Caldwell novel Blackbird Road, I got really hung up on a few of the plot points and it took me much longer to work through those road blocks.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

The process has grown. With Poor Boy Road, I didn’t outline the book at all. I just wrote it because I had a clear line of sight of where I wanted it to go right from the get go. Ares Road was a more complex plot and I made it a little more than halfway through it before I realized I was confusing myself and mucking the story up. I sat down and plotted it out and the story flowed much better. Blackbird Road was even more complex with Jake going up against two different villains, each with their own plotlines and I got seriously locked up trying to work through things, even with a formal outline. The book Mastering Suspense, Structure and Plot by Jane Cleland really helped me burst through the roadblock and provided me with a different methodology to map out the entire book. I’d highly recommend the book and her process if this is something you struggle with.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

Not that I can think of. I’m a pretty regular, down to earth guy.

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

My books are set in Kansas City and around Warsaw, Missouri which is a small town in Benton County around the Lake of the Ozarks. It’s an area where my dad and his family grew up and I spent a lot of time in the area as a kid. While I was writing Poor Boy Road, my dad and I hopped in the car and he drove me around the area and told me a lot of stories about the area and his life, some I’d heard and many I hadn’t. We hit the nice areas with sprawling ranches with pretty white fences, and some areas with trailers and houses in such shambles that you’d think they were abandoned until you saw someone moving about or laundry hanging on a clothesline. I don’t know if you’d call that a literary pilgrimage or not, but it spurred my writing and is one of my favorite memories with my dad.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

I had the character of Jake Caldwell mulling in my head for months, but couldn’t come up with the right setting to place a leg breaker for the mafia who wanted out.  When I traveled back to Warsaw for my grandmother’s funeral, the beautiful setting of the area mixed in with the seedier aspect of the county’s drug problem seemed a perfect setting to establish where Jake came from. The inspiration and the entire plot literally developed in the car ride from the cemetery back to my dad’s house.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

I love thrillers, but am evolving to other genres. There’s really three authors that I will immediately buy anything they write – Stephen King, Lee Child and John Sandford. Give me a good supernatural King tale, or an intense ride with Child’s Jack Reacher or Sandford’s Lucas Davenport and I’m on cloud nine. A few other authors that knock my socks off are John Hart, Jonathan Tropper and Fredrik Backman – my Lord can those guys write! They make me feel like a kindergartner with a crayon and a Big Chief tablet.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for? There’s some nuggets hidden in that only a select few will catch. The fun part is when they call you out on it.

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

You can’t craft a character out of thin air that doesn’t take on some semblance of real people in your life. You pick a trait here and there from different people and mold them into a relatable character. As a tribute to friends and fans, a lot of the character last names in my books are based from real life people. The characters themselves are not, but people seem to get a kick out of seeing their name in print. The bad part comes when you have to kill off their “character”! I had two friends whose last names I used as FBI agents in Ares Road and they actually were arguing over a beer one night about which character was better. That was a really cool moment.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. It’s a teenage love story of vampires and werewolves, but Meyer wrote a really compelling tale. I read them all.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Google myself? Maybe once a year. Check my reviews on Amazon or Goodreads? Probably twice a day.

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

Scene setting. I think I’m really good with dialog, but setting a scene is sometimes a challenge. That’s why writers like King, Hart and Backman blow me away – their scenes are so incredibly vivid and I turn green with envy reading them. I’m working on it, though!

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

TRUTH. Find someone who will tell you what sucks and what they love (and they need to do both). Early on, I had beta readers who would hand a draft back and say “That was really good” and that was it. THAT DOESN’T HELP ME! I want someone to tell me they laughed out loud because something was so funny in one part and they laughed out loud at another point because a plot point was so ludicrous. Does it hurt to get that blunt feedback? Hell, yes! But, I’d rather have them tell me so I can fix it, than to have the novel rejected, or get a one star review on Amazon or Goodreads. Find someone who will tell you the truth!

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author? MARKETING. Unless you have an agent who is going to do it for you, you’d better figure out a marketing plan. It’s taken me a while to get that through my thick head, but establishing a social media presence and marketing yourself will be key to your success. I still struggle with it, but am getting better. There’s so many great and unknown writers out there – how are you going to make your voice heard through the noise?

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

I’m happy to talk with someone or give a critique of a sample of their work.

Want to know more about James?

  • Visit James at his website
  • Like his Facebook page
  • Follow James on Twitter
  • See what James is posting on Instagram
  • Check out what he’s reading–and writing–on Goodreads  (look for Jack & Diane, Poor Boy Road, Ares Road, and Blackbird Road as there’s a couple other authors by the same name whose books keep showing up on my profile)

 Poor Boy Road (Jake Caldwell, Book 1)

ONCE YOU START RUNNING, IT’S HARD TO STOP.

Mob enforcer, Jake Caldwell is in the dark business of breaking kneecaps and snapping bones. But each job sends him one step closer to turning into the man he swore he’d never become – his violent and abusive father. Leaving the mob is easier said than done, so when his boss offers a bloody way out, Jake has no choice but to take it, even if it means confronting ghosts of old.

Arriving in his Lake of the Ozarks hometown, Jake has two things on his mind: kill ruthless drug lord Shane Langston and bury his dying father. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love all over again and team up with his best friend Bear, the Sheriff of Benton County, to take Langston down. Racing through the countryside searching for Langston, the web of murder, meth and kidnapping widens, all pointing toward a past Jake can’t escape and a place he never wanted to return – Poor Boy Road.
An AWARD FINALIST crime thriller! Book one in the Jake Caldwell series.

For fans of Jack Reacher and The Prey Series by John Sanford, this “great suspenseful read” is “more truth than fiction” that you won’t be able to put down

Get Poor Boy Road on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 Ares Road (Jake Caldwell, Book 2)

With his days as a mob enforcer behind him, Jake Caldwell’s trying to go straight.

But it seems his past won’t let him go.

His first job working as a private investigator turns up a teenage girl screaming down a dead man’s cell phone, and Logan, his mentor and the only man with answers, beaten into a coma.

Now Jake’s taking it personally.

The only clues Jake has to unravel the mystery are a Russian with a stolen, silver briefcase and three names: Snell, Parley and Ares. Teaming up with his best friend Bear, the Sheriff of his home town, and an attractive FBI agent, Jake quickly discovers they’re not the only ones looking for the briefcase and its deadly contents.

It’s no longer about seeking revenge.

The “thrilling second book in the JAKE CALDWELL series” is a “heart-stopping ride” that won’t disappoint fans of Lee Child’s JACK REACHER and John Sandford’s THE PREY series.

Get Ares Road on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 Blackbird Road (Jake Caldwell, Book 3)

With his wedding day fast approaching and his PI boss heading out of town, ex-mob enforcer Jake Caldwell decides to take one more job before a much needed vacation. But in a matter of days, his client is assassinated and her six-year-old son kidnapped.

With just a few clues, Jake calls on old friends to help track down the person responsible. Only this time his fiancée Maggie, desperate for Jake to leave his violent history behind, can’t guarantee she’ll be there when, or if, he comes home.

But Jake can’t turn his back on those who need him. It’s in his blood.

A perilous plot of lies and secrets unfolds, and Jake encounters criminals more brutal than ever. And when a threat to thousands of innocent lives is uncovered, Jake once again dives back into his past, requesting favors from some unexpected and unsavory contacts.

Jake needs to stay one step ahead of the bad guys if he’s to have any future at all.

The third book in the award-winning JAKE CALDWELL series is an intense, complex, and frantic race against time. Weaver has done it again in this raw and riveting read set in the Ozarks.

Get Blackbird Road on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 Jack & Diane

When his best friend moves away, nine year old Jack Phipps is sure nobody can replace him in the house across the street…until Diane Riven moves in. Their friendship and romance takes us on the journey of their lives, to the sweet places where they learn to love and trust, and the dark corners where bullies terrorize and hearts break. It’s the coming of age story of a boy and girl who discover that together they can accomplish anything, but that even true love has its limits.

Get Jack & Diane on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

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CTP Fall Book Sale & Giveaway

We’re one week away from Fall and CTP wants to celebrate with their Bring On Fall Free Book Sale and an Author Sponsored $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! For one weekend only, they have selected a handful of titles throughout their different imprints that will be listed as free on Amazon from 9/14 to 9/16. This is a limited time promotion as the price will go back up to $4.99 on Monday. Take advantage of this exciting sale this weekend and Fall in love with some new books to cozy up with while you drink your Pumpkin Spice Latte, or tea, or wine, or whatever you love to sip on while reading. Enjoy!

FREE BOOKS AVAILABLE 9/14-9/16:

From YA to steamy romance, witches, queens and everything in between, there is sure to be something for everyone!

This group promo runs from 09/14/2018 to 09/16/2018 ONLY.

Some of the authors listed below are also offering Kindle Countdown Deals on their sequels, which means you can snag sequels or even a few series for the low, low price of $.99 each during this sale!

Get your Kindles ready, or download the Kindle App on your tablet or phone and prepare for an amazing FREE reading extravaganza!

HAPPY READING! LET’S BRING ON THE FALL Y’ALL!!!

Unspeakable - Michelle Pickett Vampires Rule - K.C. Blake The Woodlands - Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Skin And Bones - Susan HarrisResurgence - Sharonlee HolderThe Second Window - Erica Kiefer

Never Forgotten - Kelly RisserPrelude - Nely Cab

Queen of Someday - Sherry Ficklin

Minutes Before Sunset - Shannon A Thompson

Milayna - Michelle Pickett

Lady of Sherwood - Molly Bilinski

Dating An Alien Pop Star - Kendra L. Saunders

Dreamthief - Tamara Grantham

Extracted - Tyler H. Jolley & Sherry D. Ficklin

Crushed - Kasi Blake

Catalyst - Kristin Smith

Broken Fate - Jennifer Derrick

Bait - K.C. Blake

Aftermath - Sandy Goldsworthy

Bad Bloods - Shannon A Thompson

A Shine That Defies The Dark - Jodi Gallegos

 

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Bloodthorn - Tamara GranthamSpellweaver - Tamara GranthamRiven - Sherry Ficklin

Smoke And Mirrors - Susan HarrisCollateral Damage - Susan HarrisSilverwitch -Tamara Grantham

Afterlife - Sandy GoldsworthyNever Back Down - Susan HarrisNight Of The Hunter - Susan Harris

Aftershock - Sandy Goldsworthy

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Milayna's Angel - Michelle Pickett

The Innocent - Michelle PickettCreatura - Nely CabFinding Willow - Michelle Pickett

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Announcement: The Light at Finnigan’s End (Rum Runners Book 2)

I am so happy to announce that my second book, The Light at Finnigan’s End, is going to be published on November 5, 2018. I am again working with the wonderful team at Changing Tides Publishing and this novel will be a follow up to A Shine That Defies the Dark, as well as #2 in The Rum Runners series.

 

Here is a little about The Light At Finnigan’s End:

Irish immigrant Deirdre Cassidy is determined to find out what happened to her brother, Finn. With the Great Depression sweeping the nation, Finn turned to the Moret Gang as a means of earning money and now he’s missing.

Deirdre manipulates her way into the depths of the most brutal bootleggers in southern Louisiana and one thing is clear, nothing happens without the approval of Claude Moret or his brother Jack. Before it’s over, Deirdre is determined to kill them both, even if she dies in the process.

The one thing Deirdre never counted on was Mo Moret. Claude’s son is as dangerous as he is magnetic, but Deirdre isn’t convinced he’ll ever be able to set aside his Moret loyalty for love. And Deirdre is determined to see the end of the Morets, however that end must come.

 

For those who are subscribed to my newsletter you’ll get a special sneak peak within the next week. If you’d like an early look at the first two chapters you still have time to sign up for my newsletter here

Many thanks to everyone who continued to ask for a second book and everyone who helped me along the way.

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Author Spotlight: Lucinda Stein

Name: Lucinda Stein

Author of: Jadeite’s Journey (Inkspell Publishing) and Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

My first writing was free verse, but after all these years, I couldn’t tell you what I wrote about. I went on to write a novella (to be forever buried in a drawer!)

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

In the beginning, I wrote for my own enjoyment. Later I joined a writers’ group and discovered how much I needed to learn about the craft of writing. With the encouragement of other writers, I eventually worked to get my writing published.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

Two gracious people were willing to look at my work and give me feedback. At that point, I took my writing seriously and became committed to learning everything I could about writing. Note: This is a lifelong process!

Do you exclusively write sci-fi/fantasy or have you written in other genres?

Jadeite’s Journey was my first sci-fi/dystopian novel, but I’m definitely a multi-genre author. I’ve written historical fiction, contemporary women’s fiction, a collection of short stories, and young adult fiction. I’m currently working on a YA magic realism novel.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

While I was working fulltime, I would write for an hour or so after work. Now that I’m retired, I don’t have those same time constraints, but I still need to push myself and keep a regular writing routine.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

My rough draft usually takes four to six months. With historical fiction, the process can take a year to two years. Revisions, which includes my own editing and suggestions from critique groups, can take a year or longer.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

I usually have a rough idea how the story starts and ends. I do a character study for the main character. One of the most important things is to determine what the MC wants most deeply and why they struggle to attain that desire. This should be an emotional drive (to discover their true worth, find the strength to forgive, etc.) vs. an outward need (such as a job, relationship, etc.) which can be a subplot in the story.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

I don’t spin three times before sitting down to the computer, but I do like to have coffee or a cold drink at my desk. In the beginning, I used music to set the mood, but now I’ve been writing for so long that just putting fingertips to keyboard gets my brain activated!

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

My first novel came out of lone hiking trips in the San Juan Mountains. Twice I took a wrong turn—once my German shepherd led me back to the trail and on another trip, a friendly hiker steered me straight! After coming across old mining ruins, I was inspired to write my first book, Maggie’s Way: The Story of a Defiant Pioneer Woman, published by Western Reflections Publishing.
A few years ago, I traveled with my husband to Oklahoma and visited his grandparents’ homestead. After hearing family stories while we were there, I found one particular event kept coming back to me. Soon I was researching the Depression era in Oklahoma and the Comanche tribe of which my husband is a member. The result was Dry Run, Oklahoma, a 2018 Oklahoma Book Award finalist.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

Usually a very small thing is the seed for my story, but it’s an event that sticks in my mind until I write about it. Jadeite’s Journey, my YA novel, came out of my concern for the trouble in the world. I imagined a “perfect” future society. Of course to make a good story, this world turns out to have its own set of problems.

My adult novel, Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe, was inspired by a young woman who actually lived in the back of her antique store. The setting for my book is my hometown, which made for a lot of fun. The eccentric mother in the story—totally fictional!

 Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

Like my writing, I enjoy a variey of books from YA to adult, contemporary to classics.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

I don’t intentionally hide things, but writers are definitely thieves. Like that old saying among writers—Watch out or you may turn up in one of my books. (Different names and faces of course!)

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

Consciously or unconsciously, I’m sure my characters are composites of people I’ve known.

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

I loved Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, a National Book Award finalist and a Printz Award winner. The book shows up occasionally on Instagram (bookstagrams, specifically) but for the most part, seems underappreciated. It’s a unique YA book with a great theme.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

This winter, I read Les Miserable, a 900 page classic. I love the theme of redemption and fresh starts. The guilty part? I had to skim and skip the long passages about the French Revolution and other exceedingly long parts of French political history.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Occasionally, I check on the results of a book promotion.

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

Definitely an owl. They’re always watching (for mistakes, improvement, inspiration) and wise in making decisions (revision, storyline.)

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

I struggle with finding where to start the story. There’s always the temptation to give too much information too soon. The reader need to be “hooked” into the story more than they need to know the main character or anything leading up to the story. Start with conflict and an inciting event.

 What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

A healthy critique group is essential for growth. Each member should be committed to improving his/her own work. This includes studying the advice of professional writers from books and workshops, and a willingness to take suggestions. In a good critique group, everyone wants to see each other improve.

If a suggestion is made by two or more people, take serious note of that suggestion. There’s so much to learn about the art and craft of writing that the effort can be daunting. Perseverance is required—it’s hard work—but hang in there and never stop learning.

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?

Prepare yourself to be disappointed with book sales. Promotion is grueling and building a following takes time. Learn everything you can about the business and pump other authors (hopefully gracious ones) about things you should be doing.

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

Without any financial compensation, I took on a new writer who wanted mentoring. She was so dedicated to learning she quickly grew in skill, became published, and now we critique each other’s work! I am so grateful for the writers in my life who were willing to share what they had learned that I try to pass it on. I encourage new writers to join writers’ groups and also find a critique group with members dedicated to helping each other in a kind, supportive manner.

Want to know more about Lucinda?

 

Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe 

After growing up in the back of a secondhand store, Liza swore she’d never return home. But twenty-three-year-old Liza has lost all sense of direction after her divorce. Her mother, Minnie, a product of the hippie era, now resides in an antique store, her eccentricity known to all in the small Midwestern town. To Liza’s chagrin, she’s once again living in a store.

When a toddler is abandoned in Minnie’s shop, Liza takes in the child she calls Sweetie, hoping the young woman who left her will return. Liza soon finds her priorities change. She falls in love with the little girl and refuses to report Sweetie to the authorities. When the young woman who abandoned the child returns a year later, Liza’s force to make a decision—give up Sweetie or go the run.

Buy Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe on Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

 

 

 

 

Jadeite’s Journey 

Jadeite’s perfect world comes crashing down on her. In the futuristic world of United Society, her only problem has been how to act around the cute boy on the air shuttle. But Jadeite’s world changes when she comes across a man who looks alarmingly like her father. Clones were declared illegal years ago. When she sees her father, a robotic engineer, headed to the Dark Edge of United Society, she follows him and uncovers her father’s secret life.

Jadeite shadows her father past the boundary of United Society and into a primitive world of canyons and high deserts. She learns her father is a Ridge Runner passing between the two worlds. Even more alarming, she discovers her younger brother, Malachite, is sick and requires medicine only available from over the Ridge. After her father is arrested, Jadeite takes his place in order to save her brother’s life.

But her world turns even more precarious after she breaks up with her obsessive boyfriend, Mattie. Jadeite soon learns his threats are more than words, and she finds her life is in jeopardy.

Buy Jadeite’s Journey from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

 

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