Tuesday, July 31, 2018

New interview with author Cristelle Comby

Author Cristelle Comby is back for a visit. We’re chatting about her new urban fantasy mystery, Hostile Takeover (Vale Investigation, book 1).

During her virtual book tour, Cristelle will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

She is the author of the Neve & Egan Cases series, which features an unlikely duo of private detectives in London: Ashford Egan, a blind History professor, and Alexandra Neve, one of his students.

Currently, she is hard at work on her Urban Fantasy series Vale Investigation which chronicles the exploits of Death’s only envoy on Earth, PI Bellamy Vale, in the fictitious town of Cold City, USA.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Cristelle.

Please tell us about your newest release.
Hostile Takeover is the first book in a new series of Urban Fantasy mysteries I’m working on. It’s set in the fictitious metropolis of Cold City, USA. The main character, Bellamy Vale, is a former US Marine turned Private Investigator. A couple years ago, desperate and at an all-time low, Vale signed a compact with Death in exchange for a favor. Now he’s on Her payroll and acts as Her envoy on Earth… and the only reason he’s employee of the month is that no-one else was foolish enough to take the job.

What inspired you to write this book?
The main idea was to set the story in a world where every mythology you’ve ever heard of exists. Not everyone knows it, but there are hundreds of different mythologies on our planet. Sure, we all know the big ones like Roman, Norse and Celtic, but there are so many more. And each one’s filled with its own monsters and legends. It’s a fascinating subject.

Excerpt from Hostile Takeover:
I ripped the yellow tape away and entered the arcade. My nose was assaulted by a mixture of bleach and cleaning products. The cleaning team must have worked through the night. It wouldn’t do for the neighbors to wake up to someone lying dead on their sidewalk. No amount of bleach was going to get rid of those bloodstains, though. And it was going to take a lot more than soap to repair the cuts in the carpet and the claw marks on the concrete walls.

My stomach churned at the sight. Either that or it was protesting against all the painkillers I’d popped down. I heaved a sigh, knowing the next step was going to make that feel like a paper cut in comparison. Closing my eyes, I forced my breathing to slow down and emptied my mind of everything superficial. I counted down from five to one, opened my eyes, and looked at the scene in front of me again.

The world had narrowed down, dimmed to a tunnel of sharp, laser-like focus, allowing me to make out the individual fibers of carpet even. The smells had multiplied into a rich palette of chemical compounds that I could separate and identify. Knowing I couldn’t keep my concentration up like this for too long, I hastened to get to work, taking in all the tiniest details of the crime scene.

From the intensity of the claw marks and the pattern left by the blood splatter, I could map out the attack to the point of being able to discern the moves of the victim from those of the beast. Whatever it was that had made the attack, it had a cruel streak that would have done credit to Jack the Ripper. It had trapped the victim in a corner, pushed him further and further inside as it kept moving forward, claws digging into the carpet like some low-rent Hellraiser knock-off, ready to strike when the fear hit fever pitch.

Sweat and fear permeated the air around the place where the old man had stood, trembling and facing a voracious, tall monster. In one giant leap, the beast was on him, claws fully extended and shredding flesh into beef strips.

I recoiled at the thought then shook myself out of it. Despite the cold air, I’d broken into an even colder sweat. The world was spinning around me. I walked back to the street, desperate to get fresh air that didn’t reek of death. I was shaking as I fought to suppress the dry heaving of my stomach. There would be no need to revisit the scene. Everything I’d seen of that massacre was deeply etched into my mind.

What’s the next writing project?
I’m almost done with the second book in the series, and percolating ideas for the third.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
I tried to stay true to the legends, while making it work in a contemporary setting. So I had to update some of the Gods and monsters. I asked myself what they would they be like today; how they would behave. It was challenging and fun at the same time.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
For this book, a lot of the research was mythology-related. Seeing as it’s a subject I’m passionate about, it was no chore for me.

I do all the research beforehand, while I write the book’s outline. Outlining is a pivotal part of my method that takes me several months. I sketch out all the major plot points up to and including the ending.

I only start writing when I have everything figured out; it allows me to avoid things like writer’s block, and unfinished manuscript.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I write on a laptop so I’m flexible with locations. I usually write from home, but I don’t have a fixed spot. What matters the most is that the room is quiet, so I can loose myself within my thoughts.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
My all-time favorite is Jim Butcher. Other than that, it’s a mix of crimes, fantasy and science-fiction. At the moment, I’m reading the second Repairman Jack novel, by F. Paul Wilson.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
I have some free prequel novellas that you can get on my website. There’s one for Vale Investigation that showcases Vale and Death’s first encounter. And another one for my Neve & Egan Cases series (cozy mysteries set in modern-day London).


Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!
Thanks for having me.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Interview with author Linda Nielsen

Novelist Linda Nielsen joins me today to chat about her new humorous romantic suspense, Because I’m Worth It.

Welcome, Linda. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My characters have been influenced by years of work and play. I'm now retired and live on top of a mountain in the Sierra Foothills with my husband and seven furry critters. 

Please tell us about your current release.
Because I’m Worth it is a fictional, multi-generational saga that will have you laughing out loud with the idea of a proposed marriage of convenience. The silly, but obnoxious character of Terri Sue Ellen Covington, an alcoholic southern belle, who is the mother-in-law-to-be, uses her annoying, but hilarious mannerisms in an attempt to control two families.

Polar opposites meet when Skye Topple’s Big Sur relatives, a group of people who enjoy a creative and meaningful life style, try to understand his obsession for wealth and his choice of Delaney Covington for his bride-to-be.

With witty dialogue and a hefty dose of humor the characters engage each other on many levels, setting free a roller coaster of emotions. A secret emerges changing everyone’s life so that a baby’s future, a grandmother’s love and a man’s career hang in the balance.
How far will people go to get what they want?

Because I’m Worth It expresses the human condition through hilarious parody.” –Kimberly Coghlan, Coghlan Professional Writing

What inspired you to write this book?
Inspiration came from years of interactions with folks in all walks of life. Let’s face it, people have some unusual notions. It’s part of what makes life interesting. I usually have a new example every week that I can share. In the grocery store parking lot, I saw a woman carefully beep the locks on her car but leave the windows down. Now the question was; do I tell her or not? I did and she thanked me and told me she had her keys in her purse and the windows were lowered to keep her car cool. I knew there was no more to be said.

In Because I’m Worth It, I created several characters, introducing them as family members with different values. Some were up to the challenge; they actually jumped out in front, while others preferred the background.

I originally had an experienced angel and a dysfunctional angel directing the two families in a humorous way on how to make better decisions with their lives but after the first draft, when I had associates read the work, it seemed that the families had enough personality quirks going on that they could hold their own. I decided to save the angels for another idea.

I tried a couple more drafts where I turned the characters loose to see how they would behave. They were all over the pages and needed to be reined in. I added a story board to keep the plot on point and created separate outlines for each character’s traits. I’m a big fan of bullet points and stick ‘em notes for clear focus. With those tasks complete, I reorganized the story line and got back to work.

Many, many drafts later I had a book that was fun and functional with families who would be remembered.

Excerpt from Because I’m Worth It:
Monterey, California
The private jet taxied to the terminal. Charles breathed a sigh of relief when Terri Sue Ellen surrendered her drink.
“Are we finally here? Thank goodness! Now ah can deal in person with this hodgepodge calamity that ah have been sucked into. Call for the car. Ah want to visit this stone castle as quickly as possible.”
“It’s a house,” Charles replied patiently.
“Whatever. Bring my bottle of Stolichnaya Celebrated. I can’t imagine that a family living in a stone shed would have anything decent to drink.” She brushed peanut shells off her blouse. “Lookee here, mah fingers are all salty. Someone get me a tidy-up.”
“I’ll be driving us, so you can’t approach the counter with me to rent the car. Your breath is...”
Ruth arrived with a warm towel, and Terri Sue Ellen wiped her hands then faced her husband. “Now help me up.”
“Are you alright, sugar?” He pulled hard, and she popped out of the seat, dropping the towel as she tottered down the aisle. Glancing at her feet, he held her arm and asked, “Aren’t you going to put your shoes on?”
“Of course, ah am! Do you think ah was born in a barn?” She pulled loose. “Call the flight worker to shove mah feet into ‘em.”
Ruth appeared and bent over while Terry Sue Ellen sat down and pushed. “See there. Fit as a fiddle. Thank you so much, Lorraine.” She nodded at the young woman who looked up at her.
“My name is Ruth.”
“Well then, you’d best print it out and stick it on your uniform. And while you’re thinkin’ about doing that, pick up the dirty towel ah left and see to it that it’s laundered.” Raising her wrist in a dramatic gesture, she placed it on her forehead. “Oh! What a burden ah bear...always tellin’ others how best to do their jobs. Where was ah? Oh yes. Ah think ah’ll wait in a chair inside the airport and coordinate my thoughts. Ah’m tellin’ ya, Chucky, all this waddle’ around a surprise baby has made a jumble of mah life. And do note, ah am a finely organized person.”
She opened her crocodile handbag. “You there, Lorraine, put the rest of the peanuts in mah Hermes purse. Be careful ‘cause it’s expensive. Chuck, help me down the steps and be so kind as to point me in the direction of where ah’m goin’.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
There’s a possibility of a sequel that challenges the characters and their self-created dilemmas, inserts new dimensions and introduces fresh people who add positive impact to the future.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My mother was a writer but kept it a secret. She wrote fanciful tales of faires in the garden who rode on butterflies and frogs who could sing country songs and cats who had tea parties. I recall how she would open a cardboard bound book and select a story to read. After she passed away, I found that book in a bottom drawer in her bedroom and realized the stories were in her own hand writing! I was astonished.

She always encouraged me to write and I started in the 6th grade and have never stopped even though I had to get a “real” job to earn a living. I’ve always felt good telling a tale plus I find people to be fascinating.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not write full time but, even when I’m engaged in other activities, I find that ideas pop up and I’m a big note taker. When I am writing a book, I am full time at the computer. When I’m promoting a book, well, that’s like a full time job.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My computer is in the laundry room. One of my cats, I have several of them, will sit in a drawer next to me by the keyboard and I will talk out loud to him/her about dialog, ideas, cat nip mice, readers thoughts, cat treats, just about anything that comes to mind. My husband usually quietly closes the door so others can’t hear me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A dancer, a writer, an artist . . . I was open. One day I would want to live in the big city and run a company; the next I wanted to live on a farm and feed chickens. My parents encouraged everything so I felt no limits. But eventually life settled in around me and I got a job. It was dull so I moved to California and founded a company and met a man with shoulder length silver hair who had designed many homes in the area. My girlfriends held an intervention and told me he had a reputation for being fast with the ladies. I thought I hope so ‘cause I’m not getting any younger. After a few years we got married, semi-retired and moved to an old gold mining town in the Sierra Foothills.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope my story will take you away from daily cares, allow you to experience the lives of other families, good and bad, serious and amusing and give you reason to laugh. Happy reading!


Thanks for joining me today!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Interview with romance author Sofie Darling

Romance author Sofie Darling is here today to chat with me about her new historical romance, Tempted by the Viscount.

During her virtual book tour, Sofie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome, Sofie. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Tempted by the Viscount is the second book in my Shadows and Silk series.

Jake is new in Town. He’s been a sailor all his life, but he recently inherited an English viscountcy that he didn’t really want. He has two goals: sort out the estate’s finances and find a wife. Well, mostly a stepmother for his daughter Mina. She has a mixed-race heritage and for her to succeed in English Society, she will need a proper stepmother of impeccable reputation to guide and protect her.

With her pedigree, Lady Olivia Montfort might perfectly fit the bill, except she’s a scandalous divorcĂ©e and has sworn off men entirely. What she really wants is her own townhouse and complete independence.

When Jake’s past in the Far East surfaces in London and threatens Mina’s future, Jake and Olivia must strike a bargain to help each other. What they don’t anticipate is the temptation of each other.

What inspired you to write this book?
I read a historical fiction novel set in early 19th century Dejima, Japan and was fascinated by the setting. Before 1854, Japan was closed to all Western trade with the exception of the Dutch and only on the small, man-made island of Dejima located in the Bay of Nagasaki. It wasn’t long before my half-Dutch, half-English sea captain came to me, and his story began to unfold. I love the setting so much that I’m planning on returning there in a later book in the series.

Excerpt from Tempted by the Viscount:
The string quartet struck up the opening notes of a waltz, the crowd raised its voice in a unified cheer, and Lord St. Alban held out his hand to her. “May I have the honor of this dance?”
She should say no. She needed to say no.
She couldn’t. Not without inviting more scandal from the odd curious eye that might be observing them. She’d endured enough scandal these last six months to last her a lifetime.
She stepped a hesitant foot forward and held out her hand, willing herself to look up at him. Most extraordinary were Lord St. Alban’s eyes: arctic blue rimmed in navy. They should be frosty, but they weren’t. They burned with the whitest heat of a blue flame.
She’d never entertained the idea that one could be incinerated by a waltz. But when he took her hand and her pulse jumped, she suspected that she would be lucky to escape this dance entirely unsinged.
She steeled herself and asked, “Shall we begin?”
On a nod, he pulled her toward him and set their bodies into motion. Her gaze remained resolutely fixed over his shoulder in the hope of foiling any attempt at small talk on his part. Her hope was immediately dashed.
“It is a strange sensation,” he began, “to have your body so completely in hand and, yet, the essence of you so far away.”
A shocked laugh escaped her. Words like body and essence could make a lady go speechless. They weren’t words used in polite circles, particularly in the way they’d crossed his lips, as if a promise was located somewhere inside.
Desperate to summon an upright ancestor or two, she said, “You know nothing of my body or my essence.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ve just turned in the third book of the Shadows and Silk series, Her Midnight Sin, to my editor. It’s the story of world-weary Captain John Nylander and feisty widow Lady Calpurnia Radclyffe as they vie for the same Devon country estate. There will be pirates and apple brandy.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Honestly, I still have trouble with that. My first book was published less than a year ago. I keep waiting for the feeling to kick in.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I consider myself a part-time writer and full-time mom. A typical day for me begins with a pre-dawn run before I start the kid morning routine of packing the school lunch and seeing my youngest off to school. Then I write … until it’s time for school pick-up and after school routines.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can’t create on a computer. I have to handwrite on a blank sheet of typing paper with a #2 pencil, preferably a Ticonderoga.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was kind of a dreamy kid who was always reading. I never really thought about what I wanted to be. I think if someone had told I could’ve been a professional reader, I would have jumped on that.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I really enjoyed it!

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

New interview with romance author Rachel Brimble

Novelist Rachel Brimble is back! Today we’re chatting about her new Edwardian romance/sage, The Mistress of Pennington’s.

During her virtual book tour, Rachel will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book is The Mistress of Pennington’s.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Rachel.

Please tell us about your newest release.
The Mistress of Pennington’s is an Edwardian romance/saga set in Bath’s finest department store. The theme is female empowerment and the story is about Elizabeth Pennington’s fight to convince her father that she should take her rightful place as heiress to Pennington’s Department Store. The story is full of ambition, intrigue, suspense and romance…

What inspired you to write this book?
I loved the TV series The Paradise and Mr Selfridge, but something was missing for me. I soon realised I wanted more focus on the female characters and the women’s issues of the day. I struggled for a long time wondering whether writing a book in a department store was the right thing to do but when Aria Fiction offered me a four-book deal on the basis of The Mistress Of Pennington’s, I was convinced my instinct to write a series was right!

Excerpt from The Mistress of Pennington's:
He moved to walk away, and she reached for his arm before she could think just how dangerous such contact could be. He halted, and even when he looked at her fingers clutched on his forearm, she did not remove them. It suddenly felt important she touch him; that he understood she had care for what he said or asked her.

Even though the physical contact set her heart racing, she held her grasp. ‘Why do you ask me about your family?’

He closed his eyes and dropped his chin to his chest.

Disquiet whispered through her. What had caused such uncharacteristic hesitation in him?

‘Joseph…’ She slid her hand from his arm, ignoring the pang of loss that the break of contact brought. ‘If there’s something bothering you, please, share it with me.’

He slowly raised his head, his blue eyes full of irritation once more. ‘I will, but not here. Not on the street. I’d prefer to come to your office tomorrow.’

How was she supposed to wait until tomorrow? Her curiosity was rife. It was clear something had changed between them. Something, it seemed, of which she was the cause.

She nodded. ‘I’ll send a message to you first thing in the morning.’

‘Thank you. Until then, I bid you good day.’

He walked away, leaving Elizabeth with questions and words flailing on her tongue. She stared after him, fearful of the pull deep in her chest that Joseph’s concerns had somehow become hers. No good could come of such caring. Her only goal should be proving her worth and capability in Pennington’s and beyond. She could not allow one man, any man, to have such an effect on her.

She inhaled a long breath and walked towards Pennington’s doors.

What’s the next writing project?
I am waiting for edits for Pennington book 2 (The Suffragette At Pennington’s releases Jan 2019) and also writing the first draft of Pennington’s book 3. I’ve also plotted a brand new contemporary romantic suspense which I hope to get started on within the next month or so. Busy, busy!

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
My biggest challenge is always ensuring the plot idea I have is strong enough to stretch to 90,000 words! I plan my books rather than just write by the seat of my pants but every book I write seems to come to a screeching stop around the 50,000 word mark and I have to figure out what’s missing. So far, I’ve managed to find it…often with the help of my critique partners! Writing is hard and, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to get any easier.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
A bit of both – before I start a book I read a lot about the period and issue I want to explore, if historical or the issue if I’m writing contemporary. I tend to plot quite a bit before I start writing but once I start, I write the first draft from beginning to end without looking back. If anything needs researching pops up during that first draft, I’ll make a note and push on. For me, moving forward is the best way to ensure a book is finished.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I am lucky enough to have a home office with a huge antique white desk and bookshelves as well as two corkboards in front of me for all my story ‘visuals’. As I live in the UK, I am more or less in my office every day because of the weather but, in the summer months, there is nothing I love more than taking my laptop into the garden.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
So many! But my favourites are Nora Roberts and Jill Shalvis for contemporary and Philippa Gregory and Alex Grecian for historical. I read a lot of non-fiction historical stuff, too. Especially biographies of past British kings and queens.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Just to thank everyone who buys my books and has followed me on my journey – I appreciate every one of you! Oh, and my next release is Pennington’s book 2 – The Suffragette At Pennington’s is due for release in January 2019.


Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Interview with novelist Bobbie Smith

Novelist Bobbi Smith joins me today to chat about her new historical romance, Forbidden Fires.

During her virtual book tour, Bobbi will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

After working as a department manager for Famous-Barr, and briefly as a clerk at a bookstore, Bobbi Smith gave up on career security and began writing. She sold her first book to Zebra in 1982.

Since then, Bobbi has written over 40 books and 6 novellas. To date, there are more than five million of her novels in print. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller of the Year Award and two Career Achievement Awards. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists.

When she's not working on her novels, she is frequently a guest speaker for writer's groups. Bobbi is mother of two sons and resides in St. Charles, Missouri with her husband and three dogs.

You can follow Bobbi on Facebook in the group Bobbi Smith Books.

Bobbi has been awarded the prestigious “Storyteller of the Year” Award from Romantic Times Magazine (New York) and has attained positions on the New York Times Best Seller List, the USA Today Best Seller List, the Walden’s Best Seller List, B. Dalton’s List, and the Wal-Mart and K-Mart Best Seller Lists.

The foreign rights to Ms. Smith’s books have been sold to China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Russia and Sweden. Smith’s current publisher is Amazon. Bobbi has written two faith-based contemporary novels – Haven and Miracles – using the pseudonym of Julie Marshall.

Welcome, Bobbi. Please tell us about your current release.
When Ellen Douglass saves the Union officer from the cold river, she doesn't think this one action will so alter her future. But as Price holds her is his arms, they try to forget that they fight on opposing sides and will be kept forever apart.

What inspired you to write this book?
When I was young, my parents took me to a river museum where I learned about the steamboat Sultana. It was a steamer carrying Union Soldiers home at the end of the Civil War. The soldiers had just been released from Southern prison camps and were marched to Vicksburg, Mississippi where they were loaded onto the Sultana. The Sultana was only supposed to carry 400 passengers and crew. When it left Vicksburg, it had more than 2,000 people onboard. It only made it to West Memphis, Arkansas before the boilers exploded. I believe it was the greatest maritime disaster of all time, and the memory of it stayed with me all those years and inspired Forbidden Fires, my second book.

Excerpt from Forbidden Fires:
On the Mississippi near Memphis

The sound of the Sultana’s explosion brought Ellyn Douglass upright in bed. She ran from her room to find her grandfather already in the hall.

“What was that, Grampa?”

“It may have been a steamer . . .”

They rushed out onto the observation area to see the sky glowing a fiery red in the river’s direction.

“I’ve got to get to town,” he told her.

“I’ll come with you,” Ellyn offered.

“No. Stay here. If I need you, I’ll send word.” He hurried inside to get ready to leave.

Ellyn looked out toward the Mississippi. The steamer was farther south, drifting with the current. She decided at first light she would go down to the river.

At dawn, Ellyn hurried up to the observation area and searched the river for some sign of last night’s disaster. It was then she noticed something caught in a tree. Rushing from the house, she sought out Franklin.

“We have to get on the river right away.”


“Did you hear the explosion last night? I was checking this morning and I think there’s someone trapped in a tree.”

They hurried down to the river dock where the skiff was tied up. They pushed off and headed toward the flooded grove of trees.

“It’s a man!” Ellyn was shocked by the sight of the lone figure stranded motionless in the treetop.

Franklin maneuvered them in close and awkwardly managed to get the unconscious man into the boat.

“Is he alive?” Ellyn asked as she knelt next to him.

“Seems to be, but he’s cut up pretty bad.”

Ellyn tore off a strip of her petticoat and started to bandage the man’s bloody head wound. Much of his clothing had been ripped away from the force of the blast and he had been burned in several places.

The man groaned softly, and she reached out to soothe his brow.

“Hang on, mister. . . . Just hang on. . . .”

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I knew when I was in 5th grade that I wanted to write. In fact, we had to write an autobiography that year, and the last question the teacher wanted answered was – What do you want to be when you grow up? I wrote, ‘I want to be an author and I want to be a teacher.’

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I wrote full-time for almost thirty years. It’s been a great career. Back in the 80s, I was blessed to be able to stay home and work while my kids were young. My most creative times are early morning and evening, so I was at the computer no later than 8 a.m. every day and usually there until 11 at night.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I fell in love with women’s history during the course of my career. There were so many adventurous women out there we never learned about in history class, so I started my ‘Women Ahead of Their Times’ series. My books with ‘Lady’ in the title feature a heroine who isn’t afraid to take on a challenge – and a fantastic hero! In Lady Deception, our heroine is a female bounty hunter who is a master of disguise. In Weston’s Lady, the heroine is in a Wild West Show. The heroine in Outlaw’s Lady is a judge, and in Half-Breed’s Lady our heroine is an artist.


Thank you for joining me today, Bobbi. 
Thank you so much for having me on your blog site! I hope everyone enjoys my stories!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Interview with mystery author Mike Nemeth

Author Mike Nemeth is here today and we’re chatting about his new crime thriller, The Undiscovered Country.

Mike Nemeth was born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin and is a die-hard Badger and Packer fan. A Vietnam-era Army veteran, he raised a daughter as a single parent while pursuing a career in high technology that took him from Atlanta to Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, and Florida before returning to Atlanta. He holds a private pilot’s license, once coached a state champion AAU basketball team, and is a golfer and motor-boating enthusiast.

In addition to his two novels, Mike has published two nonfiction works about sports: 128 Billion to 1, why no one can predict the outcome of the NCAA Basketball Tournament; and Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics, why the selection committee always chooses the wrong teams to play the college football National Championship. He also wrote “The Missing Ingredient,” an article published in The New York Times that explained why college football rankings are always wrong.

Welcome, Mike. Please tell us about your current release.
The Undiscovered Country is a southern family (dysfunctional) drama overlaid on a thriller/mystery plot with the mystery plot delivered upside down (or backward). There is a murder, but the characters (and readers) don’t know it happened until it is solved in the climax. Mystery writers compete with one another for ingenious methods of murder and in this case the “weapon” is unique in literature.

What happens in the story: Three siblings gather at the bedside of their critically ill mother. The eldest, Randle, is the protagonist, and he’s relentless in uncovering the secrets surrounding his mother, his own identity, and his broader family. He unravels layers of mystery concerning his mother’s medical care, her estate, a wealthy man who claims to be his birth father, and plots to embezzle the wealthy man’s estate. These secrets lead to the biggest secret about the murder.

What it’s about: The indignity of aging and dying, the need for a sense of identity, and what it means to be a southerner.

What inspired you to write this book?
My mother experienced a medical emergency similar to that of Randle’s mother. It was an agonizing experience that fortunately ended well. The situation provoked many heartbreaking, anger-inducing, and confusing episodes of behavior from various family members. It struck me that we do not do end-of-life well.

Excerpt from The Undiscovered Country:

As Shelby wiped a drop of water from Mom’s chin and I read the Wikipedia entry, an army of medical practitioners crowded into the room. Metzger, the cardiologist, led the invasion followed by Ms. Schmidt, who peeled off and leaned against the wall next to the door. Kaplan, looking sheepish, entered with a tall, bespectacled doctor I assumed to be Nieman, the ophthalmologist. Trailing behind was a fortyish doctor with patchy black hair. That had to be Rosenberg, the neurologist. At the last moment, Harrison, the immunologist, ducked in the door, completing the team.
Ms. Schmidt crossed her arms and adopted a haughty expression like that teacher you hated in fourth grade. Metzger spoke for the group, which was uniformly tense. “We don’t think you understand your mother’s prognosis, Mr. Marks. We’re all here to answer your questions, but I’ll summarize for you: The heart attack damaged her heart, and it’s barely pumping. She has a faulty mitral valve that will undoubtedly trigger another attack, and she won’t survive it. She’s blind, and that’s a very scary situation for her. She’s had several stokes, and they were likely connected to the heart attack.”
I glanced at Rosenberg and he cocked his head as though to say, “Maybe.” 
Metzger resumed his summation. “The fluid that had built up in her legs has now found its way to her lungs. If that isn’t reversed, we won’t have to wait for another A-fib episode—the pneumonia will end her life. And we’ve just discovered she has a strep infection that could be fatal.”
I glanced at Harrison. He shrugged.
Metzger was going to continue, but I cut him off. “I know she’s sick, doctor.”
“She’s very, very sick, Mr. Marks, and we can’t operate. The best thing would be to move her to a hospice where she can be cared for, a place where the family can make her last days comfortable.”
Metzger was fortunate I wasn’t holding a weapon. He saw my fury and held up a hand. “Sign the DNR, Mr. Marks. Save yourself the agony of life support and decisions about pulling the plug.” He gestured to Ms. Schmidt, who nodded. She had obviously organized this lynch party.
I waited for my body to return to a normal temperature. The group probably thought I was considering Metzger’s recommendation. I was not. As the tallest person in the room, I had a perch from which to deliver my response.
“That is a living, breathing, thinking, and feeling human being,” I said, pointing to my mother. “Assuming God has a plan, we’re all tools for His purposes. Your role as skilled tools is to heal that human being until His will overrides your skill. It’s not your prerogative to make decisions for Him, and it’s sure as hell not my job either.”
I heard intakes of breath and shuffling. Ms. Schmidt’s face contorted into an angry mask. “Let me remind you,” I continued, “that you all took the Hippocratic Oath and spoke aloud the words, ‘Above all, I must not play at God.’ I looked it up.”
Now the doctors gave one another embarrassed looks. I had them on the run. “I also looked up B streptococcus in the Wiki.” I waved my cell phone at them. “I learned that most people contract it in hospitals. Since my mother’s case wasn’t discovered until she had been here for thirty hours, I’d guess she contracted the infection right here in your hospital.”
Harrison turned scarlet. The other doctors avoided eye contact.
“If she dies of the infection, you can expect a lawsuit.”
Ms. Schmidt’s mouth formed a large “O.” Metzger inched toward me, invading my space. “See here, Marks, there’s no need to threaten us. We’re all trying to do what’s best.”
“Good. Then let’s get back to work.” I turned directly to Kaplan, the hospitalist. “If we can clear up the peripheral problems—infections and blindness—my mother can gain strength so Dr. Metzger can fix her heart. I am not going to let her die for lack of attention and neither are you.”
Metzger shook his head. “Believe me, Marks, there’s nothing I can do.” He muscled his way through the crowd toward the door. Before exiting, he said, “The rest of you can do what you want.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
Randle, my enduring protagonist, takes a job in the high tech industry and faces the replacement of middle class American workers by outsourcing, automation, artificial intelligence and robotics. That circumstance serves as backdrop to Randle’s continuing search for identity while his past continues to haunt and torment him. (“In the south, the past is never past.”)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think a writer is born a writer. It’s not a vocation one chooses; it’s an inbred compulsion to express thoughts and feelings. This was confirmed relatively late in my life with the publication of my first novel, Defiled.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write every day, starting at 7:00am and continuing until I have a minimum of 1000 words or reach my target of 1500 words. However, once a writer is published, s/he becomes a small business person in the business of selling books and suddenly promotional work competes with writing time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I focus best amid chaos. Some of my best work has been produced on airplanes, at beaches, in hotel rooms and waiting rooms. As a substitute I plug in my headphones and listen to, and sing along with, rock-n-roll. My wife offered to ship me to a remote mountain cabin to concentrate, but I’m not sure that would work for me. It might be nice for her, though.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer. Still do. My father thought I should be a politician since I lied so glibly and convincingly as a child. Now I lie on paper.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love interacting with readers and I’m thick-skinned, so I welcome all comments and suggestions.


Thanks for joining me today, Mike.