Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review: Fatal Justice by Marie Force

Fatal Justice by Marie Force

Jacket blurb:
Standing over the body of a Supreme Court nominee, Lieutenant Sam Holland is hip-deep in another high-profile murder case. The fact that she was one of the last people to see Julian Sinclair alive only complicates matters even further. On the plus side, her relationship with Senator Nick Cappuano is heating up - but it's also attracting a lot of unwanted attention and blinding flashbulbs.

The pressure is on for Sam to find Sinclair's killer, but a new lead in her father's unsolved shooting puts her in unexpected danger. When long-buried secrets threaten to derail her relationship with Nick, Sam realizes that while justice can be blind, mixing romance with politics has the potential to be fatal...

My Thoughts:
I picked this book up at the Harlequin booth at ALA in Chicago on Friday, I am writing this EARLY in the morning on Sunday.  I even stopped back at the booth on Saturday to let them know how much I was enjoying the read.

This is a non-stop action thriller with suspense, mystery, over-the-top romance, political intrigue, and the whole gambit of emotions that go along with all that rolled into one genuinely appealing story.

Her characters are wonderful.  They are all so real and yet so perfect for the roles that they are given in the book, almost too good to be true in some ways.  Every character appears to have been created with tremendous thought and careful planning.

The storyline is believable and the plot is incredibly well done, but the idea behind it is truly sad as a reality in our world.  Loved the romance - mutiple romances going on in varying stages on various levels - and they all find their way straight to that spot in our hearts that make us sigh.

I have never read Marie Force before and was thrilled to find her book. I will be getting book one in this series in hopes that I will one day finish the rest of the books from ALA so I can read more from Marie Force.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Untimed By Andy Gavin
Charlie's the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can't remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don't take him seriously. Still, this isn't all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there's this girl... Yvaine... another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine's got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history -- like accidentally let the founding father be killed -- they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.

My thoughts:
     This book is a little bit of everything rolled into one wonderfully written story filled with a host of creative characters - not all of whom you will fall in love with.  I enjoyed the combination of genres in this tale; you get history, romance, mystery, science fiction - time travel, fantasy, adventure and steampunk - - - all working really well together.
     In this story we follow Charlie as he learns about time travelers, Tocks, decision making, taking responsibility, falling in love and becoming a grown up.  
     The characters are interesting, the story line is original and the plot is twisting and entertaining.  I was thrilled with the way things worked out - or sort of worked out - and can't wait until the next book.  
(I received this book in exchange for an honest review).

Friday, June 28, 2013

Blue Line Bone Collector (Chicago Serial Crimes #2) by Kristi Loucks

Publication date: July 12, 2013 ~ Click HERE to pre-order your copy today.
The Blue Line Bone Collector: Chicago Serial Crimes, book 2 by Kristi Loucks
Devon Cole was not prepared for the call that came in the middle of the night. And no one was ready for the wake of bodies that surface in the days that follow an attack on Molly Shaw. Dakota's twenty-three year old friend and co-worker who unknowingly survived an attack by a killer dubbed The Blue Line Bone Collector. What follows is a dark and twisted tale with an origin that pre-dates a killers existence.

Author: Kristi Loucks is a Pastry Chef and Cake Designer with a degree from Le Cordon Bleu Chicago. Her writing and storytelling has always been a way to manage the day to day stresses of working in the world of restaurants and food service. Kristi is currently hard at work on her Chicago Serial Crimes Series! Ms. Loucks currently resides in a suburb of Chicago.

Excerpt from Book Two of the Chicago Serial Crimes Series, The Blue Line Bone Collector:
It had been unseasonably warm for early February in Chicago, but at two o’clock in the morning, the streets were still relatively quiet in Logan Square. Having lived in the city most of her life, Molly Shaw was no stranger to public transportation and she was always aware of what was happening around her.

She had just moved through the turnstile at the “El” station and she was headed towards the steps to the platform, when she noticed a tall thin man lurking in the shadows at the top of the landing. Her instincts put her on edge as she tried to get a read on him before ultimately turning back towards the street behind her. She could feel the rumble of the “El” as it coasted into the station above them, and she prayed that the man would be lured towards the train.

As she made it back to the turnstiles, she chanced a look back in the direction of the stairs. When she didn’t see the man, she breathed a sigh of relief while she berated herself for her evident paranoia. Her relief was short lived. When she turned back toward the exit, Molly caught a glimpse of the man as he reached out from her right side.

She gasped as she saw the glint of a steel blade and tried to scream as his hand clamped over her mouth, just before the blade tore through her skin.

“Such lovely bone structure,” he whispered, staring at the blood that coated her skin and running his thumb over the bones of her wrist.

Molly was fixated on the blood that ran in thin rivulets across the veins protruding from the back on her hand. That was when she noticed the markings that covered the hand of the man who held her captive.

Though she was spared further contemplation of those markings when pain shot through her system. Molly cried out behind his hand, which reeked of bleach and cigarettes, as she heard the sickening crackle and pop of bone and ligaments when he savagely wrenched her arm back at an awkward angle. In an instant, her survival instincts kicked into high gear, briefly drowning out the pain.

She fought hard as he pulled her back towards the shadows from which he’d emerged, slamming her forehead against the rail as she struggled against him. She could feel the warmth of her blood as it ran down her temple. She frantically dug through her bag, which hung to her left side, looking for anything that would give her a moment’s advantage.

Her fingers finally gripped her salvation, a tiny bottle of pepper spray that Devon had given her a few weeks back. She’d thought it was ridiculous at the time, but if she got out of this, she was certain she would kiss him for his part in her escape.

She quickly slammed her eyes shut as she sent a burst of the pepper spray over her right shoulder in the direction of her attacker, feeling the burn against her own skin as well.

The moment she felt his fingers open slightly, she bit down as hard as she could on the hand covering her mouth and flung her head back towards his face. He fell backwards as her skull connected with his and she quickly flung herself towards the turnstiles and out towards the street in the hopes that a car or a taxi might stop for her. Her only hope was that the man wouldn’t pursue her with witnesses.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: The Condor Song by Darryl Nyznyk

Press release:

A Tale of Conservation, Betrayal and Murder
Lawyer-turned-author captivates readers with environmental legal thriller 

LOS ANGELES – Lawyers, and killers, and endangered birds? Oh my. This unusual combination sets the stage for a riveting legal thriller by best-selling author and former attorney, Darryl Nyznyk.
Guided by his experience in the legal arena and inspired by the 1960s and 70s Sierra Club battle with Walt Disney over a proposed ski resort in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Nyznyk brings captivating realism to his newest novel, The Condor Song (June 2013).
Described as “The Verdict”, starring Paul Newman, meets John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief, the book follows Sean Donovan, a new partner in a major law firm who lost everything when he took a costly ethical stand. Wifeless, jobless, and betrayed by his closest friend, Sean spends 13 years trying to find his way back.
Barely eking out a living on small cases, Sean’s redemption comes with the death of renowned environmentalist, Buck Anderson. When the dead man’s niece requests Sean’s help in resolving Buck’s last case with the Sierra Club, Sean happily accepts, but learns too late the opposition is his former law firm and the partner who betrayed him. He may have just signed his own death warrant.
Is Atticus Golden, the Disney-like developer against whose project Buck was working, connected to the Mexican Mafia and groups that would go to any lengths to protect their investments? As Sean gathers evidence against “Uncle Atti,” all signs lead to Buck’s murder. A battle to save a precious environmental resource turns into a classic struggle of good versus evil where a national treasure - and a man’s soul – is at stake.
The Condor Song is a gripping thriller that appeals to suspense lovers and environmentalists alike
“Writing this book, I was able to play with the things that I had been fascinated with for years: Disney, real estate development, the law, the Sierra Club and the environmental movement,” Nyznyk says.

DARRYL NYZNYK lives in Manhattan Beach, CA with his wife, Loretta. After practicing law for 20 years, Nyznyk became a full-time writer and teacher. He is also the author of the holiday novel, Mary’s Son; A Tale of Christmas. For more information, please visit

My thoughts:
This is truly a story of conviction and desire, of betrayal and perseverance.  The characters are carefully constructed and interesting.  I tend to choose a favorite and for me - it's Carla.  I feel that she was the strongest character, she played an enormous role in the outcome of the book and yet I felt she was portrayed as a secondary or supportive character.  
The rivalry between Richard and Sean is a thread that keeps you reading, wondering what nastiness Richard will come up with next and how Sean will cope.  Richard is a horrible character!  He has been created just right to make the reader really dislike him - well done!  Sean was of course the main character, but there were times that I wanted to shake him and say, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself!!!" So, he too was wonderfully developed.  Each character, no matter how big or small a role they played in the plot of the story, elicited some kind of emotion from me as I read.
I enjoyed the Disney/Golden comparison and Uncle Atti's drive to create a world from his dreams and imagination. 
The mystery surrounding the Condors, the building site, the property buying, and the murders and attempted murders make for a page turner.
I was thrilled with the ending of the book. The author brings closure to every issue of the story and you are left with a completely satisfied feeling as you close the cover.
(I received this book in exchange for an honest review).

**For every copy of the book purchased from Amazon on JULY 1st, Darryl will donate $1 to The Sierra Club.**

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club by Duncan Whitehead

The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club by Duncan Whitehead

Amazon product description:
Something is not quite right in the leafy Savannah neighborhood of Gordonston. 

As the friends and fellow members of her afternoon cocktail club gather to mourn the death and lament the life of their neighbor, Thelma Miller, not all is what it seems. 

When old friends vie for the attention of widower, alderman and mayoral candidate Elliott, jealousies surface and friendships are strained. An old woman with a dark secret and an infamous uncle plots her revenge for a perceived wrong done over thirty years before, a once successful children's writer with his own secret is haunted by memories of the past and aspiring model Kelly Hudd has just won the trip of a lifetime.

Soon secrets are revealed  and an intertwined web of deceits and lies surfaces in the middle class neighborhood where a killer lurks, but is anyone really who they seem to be? A mysterious old man in South America, a young Italian count parading the streets of Paris and a charitable and kindhearted nephew recently arrived from India add to the remarkable assortment of characters in this story of intrigue, deceit and revenge. What is the secret a recently retired accountant is trying to hide and just why did  former showgirl and attractive sixty two year old widow Carla Zipp really have plastic surgery?

As the plot thickens and the Georgia temperature rises we discover who is destined for an early-unmarked grave in the wooded park that centers the tree-lined avenues of Gordonston.

A mysterious organization with links to organized crime, a handsome fire fighter who can do no wrong, and a trio of widows with deep hidden agendas compound a story of simplistic complexity. As twists and turns lead the reader to a conclusion that they will not see coming and a sucker punch ending that will leave readers breathless, the Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club's top priority remains the need to chastise the culprit who refuses to 'scoop' after his dog walking sessions in their treasured park.

My thoughts:
At under 200 pages this book could easily deceive the would be reader into thinking that it's a quick, mindless read, but this little book packs a BIG story.  This book is filled with mystery and misdirection rolled into what appears to be common, every day happenings in a small neighborhood called Gordonston.  There is so much going on within the pages that you really have to be on your toes not to miss the details.  Irony, steeped in nuance and subtlety, make up an interesting, original and fairly complicated storyline.
The characters are creative and well done.  The connections between and around the characters are brilliantly planned and strategically eluded to until the whole thing comes together in an expertly crafted, ingenious ending.
Well worth a read! Don't let the "skinny book" look fool you.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Release and Giveaway! Choke by S R Johannes

The new Breathless novelette, Choke, released Monday, June 24th. 

Choke is the 2nd in a series of sci-fi novelettes and the sequel to Suffocate.

When Eria escapes her home in the Biome, she uncovers more about her
features and specifications as a HumaNot. Following her father's
instructions, Eria embarks on a journey into a dangerous and unpredictable world.

Along the way, she encounters a young rebel, Dirk, 
who explains he's from the Anarchy, an underground human resistance rising up against the BOTs--advanced man-made robots gone wildTogether, Dirk and Eria battle underground serpents, desert dingos, sand storms, and advanced Bots that are always hot on their trail. As they become closer, Dirk reveals his hatred of machines, forcing Eria to hide
the secret of what and who she really is.

When the truth of her identity comes out, Eria is forced to become the very thing she hates the most.

by S.R. Johannes ~Award-winning author of Amazon Bestselling thrillerUntraceable.Don't forget to hang out with her on PinterestTwitterFacebook or her blog!

Choke is the 2nd novelette in THE BREATHLESS series. It is a 20,000 word young adult thriller that combines the dystopic and science fiction genres. The two novelettes will be available on ebook only for only 99 cents!  The 3rd novelette in the series, Exhale, is scheduled for Nov/Dec 2013 just in time for the holidays.

Fans of Wool, Never Ending Sky, Mila, or Across the Universe will love this mini-series.


The author is offering a free ecopy of either Choke or Suffocate to one randomly drawn commenter.  You must be 13+ to enter.  Please leave your name/alias and a valid email address in your comment.  The giveaway will run from June 25, 2013 until July 2, 2013.  Winner will be notified by email and the prize will be sent by the author.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Spotlight: The Rockin' Chair by Steven Manchester

Brief Synopsis:
Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days – or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.

Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy – Grandpa John– calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.

A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, THE ROCKIN' CHAIR is Steven Manchester’s most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.

The Rockin’ Chair excerpt

It was a bitterly cold Saturday morning when friends from far and wide came to pay their respects. Everyone who knew Alice adored her and equally loved her grieving husband. The McCarthy’s tiny field of granite was filled with mourners. As the preacher spoke, an eerie silence filled the frozen air.
“The Lord blessed each of our lives with the gift of knowing and loving Alice. Now He has taken her home to be with Him. Those who remember her, who loved her, walk with heavy hearts today, but we must also remember that Alice has been freed from the heavy chains of this world. She now walks with the Lord and shall dwell peacefully within His house for all eternity. Until the day we meet again...”
The preacher’s kind words were carried on the icy wind and John listened carefully to each one. Amidst them, a thousand memories reminded him of why he felt such loss. A thousand more reminded him of the void that now filled the desolate chambers of his heart. He stood rigid, conscious not to sway, and nearly snickered when the pastor mentioned “forgiveness.”
While John fought back the tears that burned to be free, the preacher’s drone drifted and became distant. John tried comforting himself with his own thoughts, but the ache in his heart was worse than anything he’d ever imagined. I’m nothin’ without Alice by my side, he thought, and the pain made him want to join her.
The preacher continued to talk above the sniffles. John glanced down at the scarred earth where friends had dug the hole. Beside his parents, Alice’s pine casket was about to be committed. A roll of old burlap covered the hole, while a mound of dirt mixed with snow sat behind them. Interrupting his own prayer, John questioned the Lord. Why ain’t there another hole dug beside her, Father? It don’t make no sense. It ain’t natural for Alice to be layin’ here alone.

John understood the cycles of life and had always been as comfortable with death as he was with life, but putting Alice in the ground alone was a tough one. I got no purpose walkin’ this earth without my wife matchin’ every step. God, how I wish I was layin’ right there beside her in our eternal bed. He became entranced in the fantasy.

Author Bio: Steven Manchester is the published author of the #1 best seller, Twelve Months, as well as A Christmas Wish (the holiday prequel to Goodnight, Brian) and Goodnight, Brian. He is also the Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN’sAmerican Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of his short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series.!/AuthorStevenManchester

Paperback & Kindle:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blog Tour: Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks

Welcome to The Wormhole and another stop on the tour.
It is still my pleasure to feature:
Blood Drama and Christopher Meeks.
Publisher: White Wiskers Press (June 15, 2013)
Category: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, Crime Thriller
Available in: Print & eBook, 242 pages

Everyone has a bad day. Graduate student Ian Nash has lost his girlfriend in addition to being dropped from a Ph.D. program in theatre at a Southern California university. When he stops at a local coffee shop in the lobby of a bank to apply for a job, the proverbial organic matter hits the fan. A gang of four robs the bank, and things get bloody. Ian is taken hostage by the robbers when the police show up. Now he has to save his life.

FBI Special Agent Aleece Medina’s analysis of the bloody bank heist drives her into the pursuit of a robbery gang headed by two women. She doesn’t anticipate how this robbery will pit her against both the bandits and the male higher-ups in the FBI while the media heats up during a giant manhunt.

The robbers are about to kill Ian, and all he has at hand is his knowledge of the stage.

 How long does it take you to write a book?

It takes about six months to write a draft of a novel, and then it needs to sit around without me looking at it for about six months so that I can get back to it with some objectivity. Then it takes about another six months. That’s the fastest. All three of my novels really took three or more years before I was done. However, if I’m not rewriting, I can be writing a first draft.

 What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I need to chew wintergreen gum and yell really loudly the word “Minneapolis.” (Not really, but this question seems ripe for this.) Actually, I get so involved in writing that I don’t see my body at the keyboard. I’m in the story and not aware of a quirk. Or is that a quirk?

 Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?

My characters tend to be based on people I know or an amalgam of people I know. That’s how I start out, at any rate. The more I work a story, the characters change and find their own life. My friends, other than one, don’t see themselves in my stories, and the one that does now likes using that character’s name, “Sagebrush.”

 How do you decide what you want to write about?

In high school, I was probably like you and many of your readers. I got by. My English classes were okay, but I was as confused as many students were reading short stories by Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and nearly anyone. One thing that stayed with me, though, was that these authors often took experiences from their lives and made stories about them.

I read, for instance, one particular short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a couple crossing the ocean on a ship, and the more they fought, the worse the seas became. It had been inspired by a fight Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda had had. At the time, I thought something like, “That’s weird. Why take something from your life when you could write about something cool like robots?”

Thus, years later, when I found myself writing short stories, I wasn’t writing about robots but about life as I saw it. I always took something that had happened to me or someone I knew, and then I’d try to find the “story” in it. How was this incident more than just a toss-away event? How at its core might it be an allegory of something or a microcosm of a bigger issue?

Usually I’d write a draft of a story with no ending or theme in mind. When I finished, I’d ask myself why did I write about this and not something else? Why was my conscious or subconscious mind focused on this? In some ways, I’d try to analyze my story much like a psychologist would. That would help me discover the theme that was organically built in. Once I knew what the story was really about, I could shape the story more. I’d never have a character explain everything. Rather, I want to give an experience that the reader then interprets. The goal is to get the reader to participate. “Show don’t tell” is the axiom.

I’d also write about what was bugging me or bothering me but also things that seemed funny or absurd. I’d have to be far enough from an event to see the humor. I wouldn’t stick to how things really occurred but more how they felt. Emotions require stretching things, and humor needs hyperbole.

This is to say that my stories and novels had revolved around first-hand knowledge. However, with Blood Drama, I wanted to try out a genre, a thriller/mystery. My life wasn’t so exciting as the genre required. However, I used to correct my student papers at a nearby Starbucks inside a bank lobby. It was an elegant place to work, and it let me focus on my students. After about a year of noticing people banking, it struck me: what would happen if someone robbed this bank? I could be in the line of fire, or I could be taken hostage.

I stopped correcting papers there, but it was also the start of my novel. My protagonist, 28-year-old Ian Nash, a graduate student in theatre, is taken hostage in a bank robbery gone awry, and he’ll have to fight for his life.

 What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I like to garden, which is a real surprise as it’s what my grandmother used to do but it always looked so boring. It’s a great way to be physical in the world, though, getting dirt on my hands and getting things to grow—nature’s version of a novel. Plus growing tomatoes is so satifying.

Swimming is a good physical thing I do at the local college. We are human and have to keep the body in shape—especially if you sit at a computer a lot.

I also love photography. Everyone with a phone now shoots pictures, but I like shooting sunsets, landscapes, and people in action. Here are a few:

Fun random questions:
• Dogs or cats? We have two of the former, five of the latter.

• Coffee or tea? Coffee. Writers need coffee

• Dark or milk chocolate? Dark. There is no other.

More About the Author:
ristopher Meeks first published short fiction in a number of literary journals, and the stories are available in two collections, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea and Months and Seasons. Recently, he’s focused on novels. The Brightest Moon of the Century is a story of a man who yearns for love and success, covering over thirty years—a tale that Marc Schuster of Small Press Reviews describes as “a great and truly humane novel in the tradition of Charles Dickens and John Irving.” His last novel, Love At Absolute Zero, is about a physicist who uses the tools of science to find his soul mate–and he has just three days. Critic Grady Harp calls the book “a gift.” The new novel, Blood Drama, has him edge into a thriller. Meeks also runs White Whisker Books and publishes four authors.

Christopher at the Red Room:

Christopher’s Website

Christopher on Facebook

Christopher on Twitter

International (ebook only) US and Canada (choice: print or ebook)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Blog Tour: Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks

Welcome to The Wormhole and my first stop on the tour for
Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks.
(This virtual book tour is presented by Virtual Author Book Tours)
Publisher: White Wiskers Press (June 15, 2013)
Category: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, Crime Thriller
Available in: Print and eBook, 242 pages
Everyone has a bad day. Graduate student Ian Nash has lost his girlfriend in addition to being dropped from a Ph.D. program in theatre at a Southern California university. When he stops at a local coffee shop in the lobby of a bank to apply for a job, the proverbial organic matter hits the fan. A gang of four robs the bank, and things get bloody. Ian is taken hostage by the robbers when the police show up. Now he has to save his life.
FBI Special Agent Aleece Medina’s analysis of the bloody bank heist drives her into the pursuit of a robbery gang headed by two women. She doesn’t anticipate how this robbery will pit her against both the bandits and the male higher-ups in the FBI while the media heats up during a giant manhunt.
The robbers are about to kill Ian, and all he has at hand is his knowledge of the stage.

My thoughts:
This story is filled with interesting characters.  Each is designed in a very human way, in which I mean not your perfect make-believe hero and villain.  The plot is well thought out and the storyline is twisty enough to keep you reading.  Christopher Meeks does not bring you the average crime thriller.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Blog Tour: Dragonstone by Paula Millhouse (tourwide giveaway)

This virtual book tour is presented by Bewitching Book Tours.
Click HERE for more tour information.
Welcome to The Wormhole and my stop on the tour.
It is my pleasure to feature Paula Millhouse and Dragonstone.
Paula has joined us for an interview:

 When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was in my first critique group at age 13.

 How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
Or, currently have? Tons. I’ve done all sorts of jobs, but this one is my favorite. It’s funny, you know, each job yields material for stories if you simply pay attention.

 How long does it take you to write a book?
The first draft can happen in a whirlwind of as little as a month. Getting it into shape for publication, with revisions and editing, can take as long as six months to a year.

 What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I need total silence to get anything accomplished. And dark chocolate.

 Do you have a routine that you use to get into the right frame of mind to write?
I set a timer and do sprints. I like this approach, and it helps me stay focused.

 Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
Photographs, news stories, life experience, other books.

 How do you decide what you want to write about?
Ha, good question. My ideas usually hit me in a fury when my mind is rested, and I’m not concentrating on writing. The characters who won’t leave me alone usually get the most attention.

 What books have most influenced your life?
The Bible, of course. My medical textbooks from college, and my non-fiction writer’s library.

 What is the first book you remember reading by yourself?
Jenny goes to Sea, a delightful fantasy about a kitten who goes on an adventure around the world on a ship.

 What are you reading right now?
I just finished Down By Contact by Jami Davenport

 What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I fly-fish, garden, and love to swing in my hammock and dream up story lines.

 What is your favorite comfort food?
Grits, pasta, really anything with carbs (so bad for me)

 What do you think makes a good story?
Umm…I like thrillers with a romantic twist. I want action and romance mingled in the same story, with a happy ever after at the end, and some steamy scenes liberally sprinkled throughout the story.

 Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
Oh, there’s too many to choose from. I like the pacing of Steven James’s thrillers, and the romance and fantasy of Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches

Fun random questions:
• dogs or cats? Both
• Coffee or tea? Coffee in the mornings, and tea in the afternoon
• Dark or milk chocolate? Definitely dark chocolate
• Rocks or flowers? Hmmm…depends on the rock – if it was the Dragonstone, I’d definitely take that
• Night or day? Daytime – early morning
• Favorite color? Purple
• Crayons or markers? Markers
• Pens or pencils? Pens
More About the Author:
Paula Millhouse grew up in Savannah, Georgia where Spanish moss whispers tales in breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, and the Intracoastal Waterway. As a child Paula soaked in the sunshine and heritage of cobblestones, pirate lore, and stories steeped in savory mysteries of the south. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal chapter, the Mystery/Suspense chapter (Kiss of Death), and a member of Savvy Authors.

In the southern tradition of storytellers, she loves sharing the lives of her characters with readers, and following her muse on the quest for happily-ever-afters in thrilling romantic fiction.

She lives with her husband at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains with their pack and pride of furry babies.
Website/Blog Address:
Twitter Address:
Facebook Address:
Amazon Author Page: 


Prequel to A Kingdom of Chalvaren Romance
by Paula Millhouse

Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Date of Publication: May 12, 2013
Number of pages: 39
Word Count: 15,630

Book Description:
Elf prince Kort Elias journeys to a new world in search of a stolen royal dragon egg and discovers a lost elven princess, a prophecy, and danger; and only true love--and an erotic magic he's never experienced--will set them free.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My thoughts:
This is a super fast read.  The story is short, but very worth reading.  You get a feel for the characters straight away and can't help but get emotional.  The storyline is entertaining and complete with an ending that leaves you both pleased and anticipating more.  I am looking forward to reading more from Paula Millhouse.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blog Tour: Cold Killing by Luke Delaney

Cold Killing
by Luke Delaney
on Tour May 21st - June 21st 2013
Book Details Genre: Fiction/ThrillerPublished by: HarperCollins/William Morrow PaperbacksPublication Date: 05/21/2013Number of Pages: 448ISBN: 9780062219466Series: 1st in the D.I. Sean Corrigan SeriesPurchase Links:               
Synopsis: After a young man is found brutally murdered in his own flat, DI Sean Corrigan, responsible for one of South London’s Murder Investigation Units, takes on the case. At first it appears to be a straightforward domestic murder, but immediately Corrigan suspects it is much more and it soon becomes clear he is hunting a particularly clever and ruthless serial killer who changes his modus operandi each time he kills, leaving no useable forensic evidence behind...

My thoughts:
Chilling and thrilling, this is a great read.  The author brings a "real life" feel to the story that only adds to the horror of a calculating, cold killer and the battle to catch him.  Well developed characters working and living in almost too realistic setting keeps the pages turning as you grip the edge of the seat for the wild ride that is this tale.  Twisted and twisting, if you love a graphic murder/thriller - this one is for you.

Read an excerpt:

Saturday. I agreed to go to the park with the wife and children. They’re over there on the grassy hill, just along from the pond. They’ve fed themselves, fed the ducks, and now they’re feeding their own belief that we’re one normal happy family. And to be fair, as far as they’re concerned, we are. I won’t let the sight of them spoil my day. The sun is shining and I’m getting a bit of a tan. The memory of the latest visit is still fresh and satisfying. It keeps the smile on my face.
Look at all these people. Happy and relaxed. They’ve no idea I’m watching them. Watching as small children wander away from mothers too distracted by idle chat to notice. Then they realize their little darling has wandered too far and up goes that shrill shriek of an overprotective parent, followed by a leg slap for the child and more shrieking.
I am satisfied for the time being. The fun I had last week will keep me contented for a while, so everyone is safe today.
Chapter 1
It was 3 a.m. and Detective Inspector Sean Corrigan drove through the dreary streets of New Cross, southeast London. He had been born and raised in nearby Dulwich, and for as long as he could remember, these streets had been a dangerous place. People could quickly become victims here, regardless of age, sex, or color. Life had little value.  But these worries were for other people, not Sean. They were for the people who had nine-to-five jobs in shops and offices. Those who arrived bleary eyed to work each morning, then scuttled home nervously every evening, only feeling safe once they’d bolted themselves behind closed doors.  Sean didn’t fear the streets, having dealt with the worst they could throw at him. He was a detective inspector in charge of one of South London’s Murder Investigation Teams, dedicated to dealing with violent death. The killers hunted their victims and Sean hunted the killers. He drove with the window down and doors unlocked.
He’d been asleep at home when Detective Sergeant Dave Donnelly called. There’d been a murder. A bad one. A young man beaten and stabbed to death in his own flat. One minute Sean was lying by his wife’s side, the next he was driving to the place where a young man’s life had been torn away.
The streets around the murder scene were eerily quiet. He was pleased to see that the uniformed officers had done their job properly and taped off a large cordon around the block the flat was in. He’d been to scenes before where the cordon started and stopped at the front door. How much evidence had been carried away from scenes on the soles of shoes? He didn’t want to think about it.
There were two marked patrol cars alongside Donnelly’s unmarked Ford. He always laughed at the murder scenes on television, with dozens of police cars parked outside, all with blue lights swirling away. Inside, dozens of detectives and forensics guys would be falling over each other. Reality was different.
Entirely different.
Real crime scenes were all the more disturbing for their quietness—the violent death of the victim would leave the atmosphere shattered and brutalized. Sean could feel the horror closing in around him as he examined a scene. It was his job to discover the details of death, and over time he had grown hardened to it, but not immune. He knew that this scene would be no different.
He parked outside the taped-off cordon and climbed from the isolation of his car into the warm loneliness of the night, the stars of the clear sky and the streetlights removing all illusion of darkness. If he had been anyone else, doing any other job, he might have noticed how beautiful it was, but such thoughts had no place here. He flashed his identification to the approaching uniformed officer and grunted his name. “DI Sean Corrigan, Serious Crime Group South. Where’s this flat?”
The uniformed officer was young. He seemed afraid of Sean. He must be new if a mere detective inspector scared him. “Number sixteen Tabard House, sir. It’s on the second floor, up the stairs and turn right. Or you could take the lift.”
Sean opened the boot of his car and cast a quick glance over the contents squeezed inside. Two large square plastic bins contained all he would need for an initial scene examination. Paper suits and slippers. Various sizes of plastic exhibit bags, paper bags for clothing, half a dozen boxes of plastic gloves, rolls of
sticky labels, and of course a sledgehammer, a crowbar, and other tools. The boot of Sean’s car would be mirrored by detectives’ cars across the world.  He pulled on a forensic containment suit and headed toward the stairwell. The block was of a type common to this area of London. Low-rise tenements made from dark, oppressive, brown-gray brick that had been thrown up after the Second World War to house those bombed out of old slum areas. In their time they’d been a revelation—indoor toilets, running water, heating—but now only those trapped in poverty lived in them. They looked like prisons, and in a way that’s what they were.
The stairwell smelled of urine. The stench of humans living on top of one another was unmistakable. This was summer and the vents of the flats pumped out the smells from within. Sean almost gagged on it, the sight, sound, and smell of the tenement block reminding him all too vividly of his own childhood, living  in a three-bedroom, public housing duplex with his mother, two brothers, two sisters, and his father—his
father who would lead him away from the others, taking him to the upstairs bedroom where things would happen. His mother too frightened to intervene—thoughts of reaching for a knife in the kitchen drawer swirling in her head, but fading away as her courage deserted her. But the curse of his childhood had left him with a rare and dark insightfulness—an ability to understand the motivations of those he hunted.
All too often the abused become the abusers as the darkness overtakes them, evil begetting evil—a terrible cycle of violence, virtually impossible to break—and so the demons of Sean’s past were too deeply assimilated in his being to ever be rid of. But Sean was different in that he could control his demons and his rage, using his shattered upbringing to allow him insights into the crimes he investigated that other cops could only dream of. He understood the killers, rapists, and arsonists—understood why they had to do what they did, could interpret their motivation—see what they saw, smell what they had smelled, feel what they had felt—their excitement, power, lust, revulsion, guilt, regret, fear. He could make leaps in investigations others struggled to understand, filling in the blanks with his unique imagination. Crime scenes came alive in his mind’s eye, playing in his head like movies. He was no psychic or clairvoyant; he was just a cop—but a cop with a broken past and a dangerous future, his skill at reading the ones he hunted born of his own dark, haunted past. Where better for a failed disciple of true evil to hide than among cops? Where better to turn his unique tools to good use than the police? He swallowed the bile rising in his throat and headed for the crime scene—the murder scene.
Sean stopped briefly to acknowledge another uniformed officer posted at the front door of the flat. The constable lifted the tape across the door and watched him duck inside. Sean looked down the corridor of the flat. It was bigger than it had seemed from the outside. DS Donnelly waited for him, his large frame filling the doorway, his mustache all but concealing the movement of his lips as he talked. Dave Donnelly, twenty-year-plus veteran of the Metropolitan Police and very much Sean’s old-school right-hand man. His anchor to the logical and practical course of an investigation and part-time crutch to lean on. They’d had their run-ins and disagreements, but they understood each other—they trusted each other.
“Morning, guv’nor. Stick to the right of the hallway here. That’s the route I’ve been taking in and out,” Donnelly growled in his strange accent, a mix of Glaswegian and Cockney, his mustache twitching as he spoke.
“What’ve we got?” Sean asked matter-of-factly.
“No sign of forced entry. Security is good in the flat, so he probably let the killer in. All the damage to the victim seems to have been done in the living room. A real fucking mess in there. No signs of disturbance anywhere else. The living room is the last door on the right, down the corridor. Other than that we’ve got a kitchen, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a separate room for the toilet. From what I’ve seen, the victim kept things reasonably clean and tidy. Decent taste in furniture. There’s a few photies of the victim around the place—as best I can tell, anyway. His injuries make it a wee bit difficult to be absolutely sure. There’s plenty of them with him, shall we say, embracing other men.”
“Gay?” Sean asked.
“Looks that way. It’s early days, but there’s definitely some decent hi-fi and TV stuff around the place,  and I notice several of the photies have our boy in far-flung corners of the world. Must have cost a few pennies. We’re not dealing with a complete loser here. He had a decent enough job, or he was a decent enough villain, although I don’t get the feel this is a villain’s home.” Both men craned their heads around the hallway area, as if to confirm Donnelly’s assessment so far. He continued: “And I’ve found a few letters all addressed to a Daniel Graydon. Nothing for anyone else.”
“Well, Daniel Graydon,” Sean asked, “what the hell happened to you? And why?”
 “Shall we?” With an outstretched hand pointing along the corridor, Donnelly invited Sean to continue.
They moved from room to room, leaving the living room to the end. They trod carefully, moving around the edges so as not to disturb any invisible footprint indentations left in the carpets or minute but vital evidence: a strand of hair, a tiny drop of blood. Occasionally Sean would take a photograph with his small digital camera. He would keep the photographs for his personal use only, to remind him of details he had seen, but also to put himself back at the scene anytime he needed to sense it again, to smell the odor of blood, to taste the sickly sweet flavor of death. To feel the killer’s presence. He wished he could be alone in the flat, without the distraction of having to talk to anyone—to explain what he was seeing and feeling. It had been the same ever since he was a young cop, his ability to step into the shoes of the offender, be it a residential burglary or murder. Seeing the scene through the eyes of the offender. But only the more alarming scenes seemed to trigger this reaction. Walking around scenes of domestic murders or gangland stabbings he saw more than most other detectives, but felt no more than they did. This scene already seemed different. He wished he were alone.
Sean felt uncomfortable in the flat. Like an intruder. As if he should be constantly apologizing for being there. He shook off the feeling and mentally absorbed everything. The cleanliness of the furniture and the floors. Were the dishes washed and put away? Had any food been left out? Did anything, no matter how small, seem somehow out of place? If the victim kept his clothing neatly folded away, then a shirt on the floor would alert Sean’s curiosity. If the victim had lived in squalor, a freshly cleaned glass next to a sink full of dirty dishes would attract his eye. Indeed, Sean had already noted something amiss.
Sean and Donnelly came to the living room. The door was ajar, exactly how it had been found by the young constable. Donnelly moved inside. Sean followed.  There was a strong smell of blood—a lot of blood. It was a metallic smell. Like hot copper. Sean recalled the times he’d tasted his own blood. It always made him think that it tasted exactly like it smelled. At least this man had been killed recently.  It was summer now—if the victim had been there for a few days the flat would have reeked. Flies would have filled the room, maggots infesting the body. He felt a jolt of guilt for being glad the man had just been killed.
Sean crouched next to the body, careful to avoid stepping in the pool of thick burgundy blood that had formed around the victim’s head. He’d seen many murder victims. Some had almost no wounds to speak of, others had terrible injuries. This was a bad one. As bad as he’d seen.
“Jesus Christ. What the hell happened in this room?” Sean asked.
Donnelly looked around. The dining room table was overturned. Two of the chairs with it had been destroyed. The TV had been knocked from its stand. Pictures lay smashed on the floor. CDs were strewn around the room. The lights from the CD player blinked in green.
“Must have been a hell of a fight,” Donnelly said.
Sean stood up, unable to look away from the victim: a white male, about twenty years old, wearing a T-shirt that was 50 percent soaked in blood, and hipster jeans, also heavily soaked in blood. One sock remained on his right foot; the other was nowhere to be seen. He was lying on his back, the left leg bent under the right, with both arms stretched  out in a crucifix position. There were no restraints of any kind in evidence. The left side of his face and head had been caved in. The victim’s short hair allowed Sean to see two serious head wounds indicating horrific fractures to the skull. Both eyes were swollen almost completely shut and his nose was smashed, with congealed blood crusted around it. The mouth hadn’t escaped punishment, the lips showing several deep cuts, with the jaw hanging, dislocated. Sean wondered how many teeth would be missing. The right ear was nowhere to be seen. He hoped to God the man had died from the first blow to his head, but he doubted it.
The pool of blood by the victim’s head was the only heavy saturation area other than his clothing. Elsewhere there were dozens of splash marks: on the walls, furniture, and carpet. Sean imagined the victim’s head being whipped around by the ferocity of the blows, the blood from his wounds traveling in a fine spray through the air until it landed where it now remained. Once examined properly, these splash marks should provide a useful map of how the attack had developed.
The victim’s body had not been spared. Sean wasn’t about to start counting, but there must have been fifty to a hundred stab wounds. The legs, abdomen, chest, and arms had all been brutally attacked. Sean looked around for weapons, but could see none. He returned his gaze to the shattered body, trying to free his mind, to see what had happened to the young man now lying dead on his own floor. For the most fleeting of moments he saw a figure hunched over the dying man, something that resembled a screwdriver rather than a knife gripped in his hand, but the image was gone as quickly as it had arrived. Finally he managed to look away and speak.
“Who found the body?”
“That would be us,” Donnelly replied.
"How so?"
“Well, us via a concerned neighbor.”
“Is the neighbor a suspect?”
“No, no,” Donnelly dismissed the idea. “Some young bird from a few doors down, on her way home with her kebab and chips after a night of shagging and drinking.”
 “Did she enter the flat?”
“No. She’s not the hero type, by all accounts. She saw the door slightly open and decided we ought to know about it. If she’d been sober, she probably wouldn’t have bothered.”
Sean nodded his agreement. Alcohol made some people conscientious citizens in the same way it made others violent temporary psychopaths.
“Uniform sent a unit around to check it out and found our victim here,” Donnelly added.
“Did he trample the scene?”
“No, he’s a probationer straight out of Hendon and still scared enough to remember what he’s supposed to do. He kept to the edges, touched nothing.”
“Good,” Sean said automatically, his mind having already moved on, already growing heavy with possibilities. “Well, whoever did this is either very angry or very ill.”
“No doubt about that,” Donnelly agreed.
There was a pause, both men taking the chance to breathe deeply and steady themselves, clearing their minds, a necessary prelude before trying to think coldly and logically. Seeing this brutality would never be easy, would never be matter-of-fact.
“Okay. First guess is we’re looking at a domestic murder.”
“A lover’s tiff?” Donnelly asked.
Sean nodded. “Whoever did this probably took a fair old beating themselves,” he added. “A man fighting for his life can do a lot of damage.”
“I’ll check the local hospitals,” Donnelly volunteered. “See if anyone who looks like they’ve been in a real ding-dong has been admitted.”
“Check with the local police stations for the same and wake the rest of the team up. Let’s get everyone together at the station for an eight a.m. briefing. And we might as well see if we can get a pathologist to examine the body while it’s still in place.”
 “That won’t be easy, guv.”
“I know, but try. See if Dr. Canning is available. He sometimes comes out if it’s a good one, and he’s the best.”
“I’ll do what I can, but no promises.”
Sean surveyed the scene. Most murders didn’t take long to solve. The most obvious suspect was usually the right suspect. The panicked nature of the crime provided an Aladdin’s cave of forensic evidence. Enough to get a conviction. In cases like this, detectives often had to do little more than wait for the laboratory to examine the exhibits from the scene and provide all the answers. But as Sean looked around something was already niggling away at his instincts.
Donnelly spoke again. “Seems straightforward?”
“Yeah, I’m pretty happy.” He let the statement linger.
“But . . . ?”