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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER CHASE AUTHOR OF SCENE OF THE CRIME

“The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.
A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.
The anonymous whispers stopped.
All buzzing in his ears stopped.
Roger Case’s heart stopped too.”

–From Scene of the Crime by Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. Her latest book is Scene of the Crime, Book 2 in the Palmer Forensic Mystery series.

Book Description:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most
shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

Interview:

Welcome Jennifer! Can we begin by having you tell us how you got started writing mysteries? Did the movies influence you? Books?
Jennifer: Books, movies, news headlines, true crime stories have all inspired my writing. I’ve loved books ever since I was old enough to appreciate the amazing stories at the library. Mysteries have a special place for me. I love puzzles, forensic evidence, and the delicate balance of the human psyche of what makes a person do the things they do. I’ve always written stories and screenplays, but it was not until 2008 did I chose to write novels professionally and I have not looked back.
Do you find writing mysteries comes natural to you or did you struggle sometimes?
Jennifer: I think when you love something, it comes a bit more easily and you don’t have to fight as hard. I have more ideas than I could ever write in a lifetime. It’s difficult to turn off the writer’s brain sometimes. These ideas come to me when I’m basically anywhere, running errands, exercising, driving, and even in the shower.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Jennifer: Anyone can write. You have to sit down with something to say and convey it to the reader. But, I do feel that you have to understand emotions, not necessarily feel all of them in order to express emotions in your characters that readers will respond to. It helps, for example, that if you’ve felt great loss or extreme fear at some time in your life to write those strong emotions with conviction.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Jennifer: That’s a very interesting question. The way I see it, at least for me, is that it’s the ultimate expression to tell a story and have your readers experience an incredible journey understanding what you’re trying to express. My first novel, Compulsion, was actually similar to therapy for me as I wrote it. I had experienced a violent psychopath neighbor, so being able to write through my stress and experiences was very liberating.
How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?
Jennifer: It’s a difficult balancing act. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but it is challenging field because there’s no sure thing in this career. There are definite successful levels that you can achieve, such as a best seller and award winner, but that doesn’t mean you’ve now have it made. Every book you write there is always some type challenge you must meet and overcome.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book, Scene of the Crime?
Jennifer: Taunting the police and orchestrating killer hit squads, The Slayer is the ultimate puppet master. He believes that he has discovered the recipe for the perfect murder.
Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins, together they are reunited as a team to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—leaving them vulnerable and fighting to stay alive. But that still doesn’t stop the sparks to ignite between them.
What was the hardest scene to write?
Jennifer: With my background in criminology and profiling, most would think that writing from the mind of a serial killer would be easy. To some degree it is for me, but it takes the most energy and effort to create the killer in a way that doesn’t seem contrived and superficial. I make sure that I put aside enough time with breaks to complete this part of the book.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point when the reader just can’t put the book down. Can you give us one of those pivotal points in your book?
Jennifer: Without giving anything away, there will be someone within the underdog team that will be kidnapped and you’re not going to see it coming. Everything changes from that point on for the characters.
Will there be a follow up book to Scene of the Crime or other books in the near future?
Jennifer: Absolutely. I love creating mysteries for Dr. Chip Palmer to solve. Evidence of the Crime will be out early 2019. In addition, Dark Lies from the Emily Stone Thriller Series will be out this fall.
Thank you so much for the interview!

In the Spotlight: Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf by Nancy Gray




Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf by Nancy Gray, Mid-Grade Horror, 112 pp.



Title: BIG BAD WOLF
Author: Nancy Gray
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 112
Genre: Middle Grade Horror


Jane is ecstatic when she gets the role of Red Riding Hood in her school play, but she didn’t realize that they’d be using the stuffed wolf prop as the Big Bad Wolf. That tattered old prop has always scared her and, lately, she has been having strange dreams about it that make it seem like it’s something more.

Jane will have to get help to save herself from the hungry spirit that has haunted her people and her nightmares before it consumes her, or worse, escapes the prison of the last creature it took to sate its horrible appetite.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon




Chapter 1 - Casting

            “I can’t believe it!  I got the part!” Jane hopped up and down as she looked over the casting sheet one last time to make sure.

            Her best friend, Sophie, laughed, “I knew you would.”

            “I didn’t think so.  I did awful at the audition.  I tripped over my own feet.”

            “Mrs. Rose knew you were nervous because you wanted it more than everyone else.  You deserve it.”

            Jane sighed. “Are you sure that you have to go on that trip?  I want you to be here to at least see the play.”

            Sophie shrugged. “I know.  But, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen my cousin.  Besides, I like spending time on the farm.”

            “I’ll get my mom to tape the show.  We can watch it when you get back.”

            Sophie smiled. “That’s good.  Then at least I’ll get to see it later.  It should be pretty scary.  Well, I’d better go and you’d better too.  You don’t want to make a bad impression being late on the first day.  Good luck, Red Riding Hood.”

            Jane practically skipped to the stage and lined up with the other students that were chosen for parts.  She glanced down the row and frowned.  Patrick was grinning at her with his squinty green eyes and freckled face.

            She snapped, “What are you so smug about, Patsy?”

            He chuckled. “Well, Janey Jane, Let me guess, you were so excited you didn’t read the rest of the cast sheet, right?”

            Jane looked away, embarrassed. “Well, I didn’t want to be late.”

            He laughed harder. “I’m going to be playing the wolf, Red.”

            She ran a hand down her face and murmered. “I knew it was too good to be true…”

            Mrs. Rose walked up to the stage and handed out the scripts to the row of excited students.  Everyone sat down and began to page through their individual copies.  Patrick glanced at Jane with an infuriating grin, but she simply rolled her eyes at him one last time and then moved back to avoid looking in his direction again. 

            Mrs. Rose walked in front of them and said, “First of all, congratulations on all of your parts.  Since this is a Halloween play, I chose the rolls based on who could portray their parts in a suitably ominous way.  Remember, these are fractured fairy tales, so nothing is supposed to end well.  And, the common element in all of them will be the big, bad wolf.”

            Patrick stood up and gave a quick bow.

            Jane thought, “Show off…

            Mrs. Rose continued, “The main theme is Little Red Riding Hood, but as you can see, there will be elements from other stories incorporated.  While she’s going to grandma’s house, she’ll run into Snow White being chased by the woodsman, and themes from other stories as well, as she continues to get lost further and further in the woods.”

            A kid with round glasses and unruly hair spoke up. “Can I play with different colors of lighting depending on the fairy tale?  And can I use strobe effects?”

            “Well, probably no strobe effects.  We wouldn’t want anyone in the audience to have a seizure.  Still, I think different colors according to the story would be excellent.  Everyone, this is Kyle.  He just joined the club as our lead technician.” 

A few people clapped, but Jane clapped a little more than the others. “Thank goodness, someone finally volunteered to be techie, instead of all the backstage work being done by someone who didn’t get a part.  The lighting might actually be good this year. 

Kyle was in a few of her classes, but she never really talked to him.  He didn’t seem the type to be interested in the Drama Club.  He was always playing with his laptop or some kind of electronic device. 

            Patrick whispered in her direction, “I think someone’s in love.”

            Jane whispered back, “Bite me, Patsy.”

            Patrick said, “Maybe I will…AWOOOO!”

            Mrs. Rose tapped her foot impatiently. “Save it for the rehearsal, Patrick.”

            They both muttered an apology and quickly looked at the ground.

            “As you know, we don’t have a good budget this year, so I want all of you to look for old costumes and props that we can reuse.  The basement under the stage is a good place to start, as well as the various trunks backstage.  I believe, if we can get it working, the stuffed wolf would make a great prop too.  There should even be a speaker inside of it from our last play.  Kyle, see if you can reconnect it.”

            “Okay.  It should be pretty easy.”

            “Jane, you go with Kyle and show him the ropes.”

            She nodded. “Yes, Mrs. Rose.”





 








Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her middle grade series Spine Chillers. She also published her YA fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.
Her latest book is the mid-grade horror, Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK




 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

FILLING IN THE BLANKS WITH HUSBAND-AND-WIFE MYSTERY NOVELISTS ROSEMARY & LARRY MILD, AUTHORS OF 'HONOLULU HEAT'





Rosemary and Larry coauthor the popular Paco & Molly Mysteries and the Dan & Rivka Sherman Mysteries—and most recently, Unto the Third Generation, A Novella of the Future. They call Honolulu home, where they cherish time with their children and grandchildren. The Milds are members of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Hawaii Fiction Writers. Find out more about their books on their website


1.      The best part of writing as a husband-and-wife is…
Larry: Never having to write in a vacuum, always having someone to turn to and discuss the process.
Rosemary: Spending valuable time together while sharing a meaningful project

2.      The most challenging part of writing as a husband-and-wife is…
Larry: Negotiating a difficult description passage or plot twist or character name or trait.
Rosemary: Accomplishing “a.” without ruffling any feathers. It’s the only thing we ever argue about.

3.     My absolute favorite part of the writing process is…
Larry: Developing the original plot idea into a complete first draft.
Rosemary: Researching and learning pertinent facts needed for the book.
Larry & Rosemary: Holding the final published and printed book in our hands

4.     My absolute least favorite part of the writing process is…
Larry and Rosemary: Proofreading!

5.     We seem to come up with the best writing ideas when…
Larry and Rosemary: when the two of us discuss something we’ve read or heard in the media.

6.     If we ever get “stuck” when I am writing, we get through it by…
Larry and Rosemary: going on to the next page, chapter or section and come back to it later.

7.     _________ is the book that changed my life.
Larry:  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas is the book that changed my life because it convinced me that history and adventure together make great novels.
Rosemary: Gone with the Wind captivated me with its life-size characters and Civil War settingMy second favorite: Forever Amber. So steamy for a fourteen-year-old in 1949 when Amber undoes two buttons of her blouse. I even announced to my mother that I was changing my name to Amber. You can imagine how well that went. 

8.     __________ is the book I wish I had written.
Larry: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is the book I wish I had written.
Rosemary: Strangers on a Train, Patricia Highsmith’s first novel; a brilliant psychological suspense/mystery.

9.     If I weren’t a writer, I’d most likely be…
Larry: An electronics engineer, which I was until I retired in 1993. I’ve been told that I might have made a decent lawyer otherwise.
Rosemary: I can’t imagine not being a writer. I spent my full-time career as an assistant editor at Harper’s; a copy editor at a major medical/scientific publisher; and as an engineering writer at Westinghouse. I love writing personal essays; my stock-in-trade is humor, exaggeration, and dramatizing the minutiae of my quirky everyday life.      

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Interview with Margaret Mizushima, Author of 'Burning Ridge'




Margaret Mizushima is the author of the critically acclaimed Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Her books have garnered a Reader’s Favorite gold medal and have been listed as finalists in the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, the Colorado Book Awards, and the International Book Awards. Margaret serves on the board for the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and she lives in Colorado where she assists her husband with their veterinary practice and Angus cattle herd. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, on Twitter @margmizu, on Instagram at margmizu, and on her website at www.margaretmizushima.com.
Find out more about Margaret's book on Amazon.
INTERVIEW:
Mayra Calvani: Please tell us about Burning Ridge, and what compelled you to write it.
Author: Burning Ridge is fourth in the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series which features Deputy Mattie Cobb, her K-9 partner Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker. Since I’ve been married to a veterinarian for decades, I wanted to create a mystery with a male vet as a character. I also wanted to write a police procedural and for the law enforcement officer to be a love interest for the vet, so it made sense to include a crime-fighting duo of a female K-9 handler and her dog to round out the cast. The plot for Burning Ridge was inspired by Mattie’s past. I imagined this twist in her character development while writing book three in the series, Hunting Hour.
M.C.: What is your book about?
Author: It’s a meshing of setting and mystery in a fictional place in the Colorado Rockies. Redstone Ridge is a place of extraordinary beauty, but this rugged mountain wilderness harbors a horrifying secret. When a charred body is discovered in a shallow grave on the ridge, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called in to spearhead the investigation. But this is no ordinary crime—and it soon becomes clear that Mattie has a close personal connection to the dead man.
Joined by local veterinarian Cole Walker, the pair scours the mountaintop for evidence and makes another gruesome discovery: the skeletonized remains of two adults and a child. And then, the unthinkable happens. Mattie and Robo are attacked. While a deadly blaze sweeps the ridge, Cole and Robo search for the missing Mattie, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

M.C.:  What themes do you explore in Burning Ridge?
Author: I explore themes about relationships, family, and what ties a family together. Family themes are woven throughout the entire series, and Burning Ridge forces Mattie to examine some special considerations about hers.
M.C.:  Why do you write?
Author: Above all, I want to be a storyteller. I want to create stories about good people going through tough times who learn something valuable in the process. At the same time, I strive to entertain folks and give them the type of story that offers a mini-vacation.
M.C.:  When do you feel the most creative?
Author: Definitely in the morning. I try to dedicate that time of day to my writing and save the afternoon for appointments and my day job.
M.C.:  How picky are you with language?
Author: This is a great question. My primary goal is to provide a smooth read that flows. I want plenty of action that propels the mystery investigation forward, and I want to make sure that my subplots interweave with my main plot. I like to use language that is easily accessible to a wide variety of readers, and even to people who don’t particularly like to read. I’m thrilled when I get an email from someone who says they don’t usually read for entertainment, but they love my books. Makes my day!
M.C.:  When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?
Author: Good way to say it! I like to begin writing a scene with specific goals in mind, but about half the time, the characters take a turn I never expected!
M.C.:  What is your worst time as a writer?
Author: The hardest time is slogging through the first draft of a new book. I try to write every day for a four-month period. It can be a tough climb! As I’ve heard novelist Peter Heller say, “Writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint.” And after completing the first draft, there is that rugged road called revision.
M.C.:  Your best?
Author: I think my favorite time is when I receive a new cover from my publisher. Crooked Lane produces fabulous covers, and each time it’s like opening up a birthday present!
M.C.:  Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
Author: I suppose I’ll always be writing something.
M.C.: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
Author: When I was offered a contract for my first two books. I had the flu and was driving home from a medical appointment when my agent called. She told me to find a place to park, and after I did, she gave me the news. Illness forgotten! Party on!
M.C.:  Is writing an obsession to you?
Author: If having a story play out in your mind almost any hour of the day or night and thinking of character development, plot, and the perfect way to word something is an indication of obsession, I would have to say yes.
M.C.:  Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?
Author: Even though Timber Creek is fictional, it reminds me of my hometown. The small town and rural lives the characters lead have many elements in common with mine, and Cole’s mixed animal veterinary practice is similar to my husband’s. But Deputy Mattie Cobb is a creation all to herself; except for the search and rescue work she does with Robo, her characteristics and work come strictly from my imagination and research.
M.C.:  Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Thoughts?
Author: I feel that the business of writing is not for the faint of heart. It’s best for me to stay focused on what’s important—my writing—and to try to keep all the other stuff in perspective.
M.C.:  Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
Author: My website is at https://margaretmizushima.com/ Readers can connect with me there for my blog and to sign up for my newsletter. Thanks so much for hosting me here on your blog today!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Book Blast: It Came by Loss by Bill McCausland





Title: It Came by Loss
Author: Bill McCausland
Publisher: XLibris
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook
It Came by Loss is a tale about Pete Gordon at the hospital bed of his charismatic mother as he struggles with her demise from alcoholic liver failure. An attraction with a nurse draws Pete to reveal his vulnerabilities. Pete is haunted by the tragic death of his friend, Alf, when the men surfed monster waves. Pete’s position at a marine center involves a research trip with unstable Dr. Fields. Pete and his new girlfriend advise against diving after a violent squall. Fields is lost at night. Pete rescues him in the dramatic ferocity of the sea. Form his connection with Valerie, Pete rises from the tragedies of his past.


PURCHASE HERE
Bill McCausland has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is APA board certified in the treatment of alcohol and other psychoactive use disorders. He also has a master of fine arts in creative writing. Bill McCausland has also published In the Mouth of the Wolf that tells the story of three war veterans, their different levels of trauma, and the readjustment when they return home from war. The novel covers the adjustment of their wives to the veterans’ homecoming. In the Mouth of the Wolf is a powerful story.


BILL IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins September 24 and ends on October 5.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on October 6.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!