Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Deep Sahara by Leslie Croxford, a 280 page Thriller available now from Momentum Co. 

Leslie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner during the tour. See GIVEAWAY below.

Klaus Werner travels to the Algerian Sahara to research a book on desert insects. He is billeted in a local monastery, but upon arrival he finds it empty of its inhabitants. He soon discovers that it is a recent crime scene.


Prologue: Memoir
The front door has just closed. I’m finally alone in the apartment, using this morning’s stillness to begin the account I’ve been wanting to write for days. It’s a letter to myself after the battering I’ve received from the media – not to mention the anonymous death threats – for attacking our so-called “pillars of society”.

I need to sift through all that happened out at the end of the world, coming back to me now like some dream. For the Sahara’s a place of mirages you can actually photograph: palm trees, oases, expanses of cool water, silent cities – there, but unreal. Conjuring up the past, I want to reassure myself that all I claimed to have found among those shifting sands, on returning here to Rome, far from being the figment of my imagination critics allege, is actually the case: that the experience of unearthing – of understanding - what I have revealed has made me into a new person.

Silence holds heavy. The blankness of this page is as intimidating as the desert itself. Still, I’ve plunged in, covering the paper like a suspect instructed by the police to write everything down. And though I’m no criminal, I’m scribbling both as a release and for the reader I sense exists, but can’t identify. This I do know: it’s someone with whom the self I’ve achieved – as well as how I’ve done so – strike a chord. He’ll see me as the solitary figure I was, in a monk’s habit like a Bedouin’s burnoose, lost against the pitiless Saharan sky. And he’ll find me faced with coming to myself in that emptiness to which life had finally brought me.

Yet, writing, so much I must recall is painful. I’m concerned that I’ve little more than my memory – that mirage – to rely upon, especially after all this time. Nevertheless, I know I must set out fully everything that took place, to see what was actually so, for my own peace of mind.

That’s why I have set aside the book I keep telling myself I should be working on. I’ve no alternative now but to write and finally establish the full story of what happened in the deep Sahara. 

This very deep story is at times intriguing and at times almost surreal.  It’s a mystery, a love story, a meditation, and a story full of political undercurrent.    
Obviously set in the Sahara desert, this is a fictitious narrative of Klaus Werner making a long journey after a breakdown over the death of his wife. After arriving at his destination and finding much death and destruction, Klaus spends so much time alone it is as if his memories and his current thoughts interchange. 

I must say that this novel by Leslie Croxford is more enjoyable if you have at least an illusory understanding of the Algerian desert and its politics and ethnic problems.  I did in fact stop and do some quick online research concerning this.  It greatly helped my comprehension of the events in the book. 

Somehow in the midst of what I am making sound more complicated than it is, Croxford seems to have intertwined these occurrences to make all of this not only an interesting but also engrossing story. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 
Leslie Croxford is a British author and Senior Vice-President of the British University in Egypt. Born in Alexandria, he obtained a doctorate in History from Cambridge University. He has written one novel, Soloman's Folly (Chatto & Windus), and is completing his third. He and his wife live in Cairo.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Announcing Sanctuary of Lies

GENREThriller (domestic)

There are 4.7 billion searchable sites make up 10% of the web, the other 90% is dedicated to the "Dark web". Within that environment there is a thriving economy where everything is for sale: Sex, Armies and Code for hire. Well-known companies buy and sell for governments and NGO’s (non-governmental organizations). They appear as a benign legal boutique companies and consultants, but their true purpose is to be the middlemen/cyber lynchpin for these illicit goods and services.​ 

ISABELLA NUNEZ owns a computer firm in Brooklyn with her lover JACOB COSTA. Accepting her infertility they have a blue nose pit bull called Justice as their “child” and live simple lives as techy nerds. Isabella’s idyllic life is shattered when several days after her lover’s ex-wife, SIMONE JOHNS, reported death, Simone sends Jacob an email to come save their child, he didn’t know they had.



“Come closer, you know, so I can kiss you better.” she teased.

He leaned in and Bella pulled him into a deep kiss. He felt her leaning her back, trying to pull him onto the bed. Jacob broke the kiss and smiled at her.

“I’ve got work and no matter how big you think you are, the truth is I’m still bigger than you.”

Bella fell back on the bed. “ Fine, go I’ll go pick up our baby and meet you later.”

“I don’t know how you can call a 60 lb bluenose pit bull a baby but, okay.” Jacob said as he shook his head. He looked at his watch, gave Bella another kiss and then left their condo.

The August morning was bright and the heat was already starting to rise. He stepped into his black car and pushed the engine start button. As the car started its system and the a/c began to cool the car Jacob pulled his phone out and went to his text he tapped Simone’s text:

Hello Jake,

I’ll get straight to the point. I’ve been murdered and I need you to protect our son.

Your response is required.

Jacob closed the text and re-holstered the phone.

“Sending texts from the grave,that’s got to be one for the books

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Being a child of divorce, I have experienced both sides of the American Family. I understand there is a loss to the family unit that no longer has a father in it.  In the face of that loss, I discovered a woman can rise to the occasion and not replace a man but offer her own strength, moral compass and guidance. In this environment a child can grow up feeling loved, accepted and ultimately successful in life.

Those experiences in my formative years have made me more aware of the women around me and the daily feats of resourcefulness and ingenuity that goes unnoticed and unacknowledged by society. My stories highlight societal issues and the ever-changing challenges women face that I've observed during my life.

Blog: Best Known Secrets

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Castle and Bush

Announcing books by Alice Castle and Holly Bush

Don't miss this fun book by Alice Castle.                                        Holly Bush has penned 
                                                                                                                  Book 3 of the Gentry's 
Read more...                                                                                                                  

Have you read Book 1 of this series?                                                  Have you read other Holly      Please comment Alice's page (use link above).                                Bush books?  Please                                                                                                                                     comment on her page.                                                                                                                                 (use link above)

For this moment

GENRE: Historical Romance

For This Moment

1871 Born to privilege and duty, Olivia Gentry comes of age as women begin to find their social and political independence. The youngest child, and only daughter, of a successful Virginia horse breeding family, she has been raised and educated to carry on the family business with her brothers. Having been deceived in love as a young woman and unsure of her instincts, she is wary to commit to a marriage, but she cannot deny her long-buried feelings for a family friend.

Jim Somerset has been in love with Olivia Gentry from the moment she gazed up at him as a young girl. A farrier by trade like his father before him, he and his business’s future are inexorably entwined with the Gentry family. He has watched her be courted by statesmen, and considers her and her goals out of the reach of a common workman.  But he is fearful that he will never purge Olivia from his mind and his heart. Has the moment come for him to reveal his passions for her? Find out in the third installment of the Gentrys of Paradise.

Holly will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and                   
occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Connect with Holly at and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush (

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Girl in the Gallery

GENRE:   cozy crime

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.

 As she sped on to the last gallery, containing the current exhibition, Beth automatically stopped for a second opposite one of her favourite still lives – the red, white, and blue bouquet by Jan van Huysum. Eighteenth century flower painters were paid extra for insects, and she loved spotting all the wriggly wildlife. This time, it wasn’t a bug that caught her eye, though. It was something on the very edge of her peripheral vision. Something that jarred, didn’t make sense. Shouldn’t even be there. Something that, she realised with dread, was in the mausoleum antechamber. Something that meant, however much she did not want to, she had to turn back and look.

Beth’s heart started to thud. It was a flash of scarlet.

Wasn’t it Constable who’d added red to all his canvases as ‘the salt in the soup’? Well, Beth felt vehemently her life didn’t need even the tiniest jot more seasoning. She could no longer picture the shade crimson lake without shuddering from head to toe, after her ghastly first day at Wyatt’s School.

No, this time, if anything bad was happening, she was not going to stumble across it on her own. Resolutely shutting her eyes, she sidled back past the niche and then ran straight for the ticket desk. She’d get that girl on the desk to come with her, if she had to drag her all the way. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alice Castle will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. (see below)

I’m a word lover.  I like a book that makes me use the dictionary in my Kindle.  I like learning new words and realizing that some didn’t mean exactly what I thought they meant.  This is a book of words.  A fun, Nancy Drew-like mystery with lots of big words and a really tricky plot. Do not for a moment think I am saying this is a light bit of fluff because I mentioned Nancy Drew.  I think Alice Castle’s characters are a little like the cast of Nancy Drew characters all grown up.  I loved her description of characters and the fact that she wrote well enough to let us see those people in our minds. 
Beth, a widow and a single mom, works in an art museum and lives in a world very much like the rest of us. Managing children while working, worrying that our children are getting the proper education, and fighting to stay away from the ridiculous gossip that still goes on today. 
While I mentioned that I loved words, I am also a big lover of the rhythm of reading.  I think good books have a rhythm and a flow that keeps you reading as smoothly as possible, right to the end.  Somehow this delightful book with all of its words never broke my rhythm.  I loved it and read it in two or three days because I couldn’t put it down.  This is the second book in a series called “The London Murder Mysteries”.  Book 2 can easily stand alone as a good read but...we should make sure we read Book 1 and hope for Book 3.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Alice Castle was a UK  newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph before becoming a novelist. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.

Alice is currently working on the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery. The third instalment in the London Murder Mystery series, it will be published by Crooked Cat next year and is entitled The Calamity in Catford. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing DD’s Diary at

She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.
Alice Castle’s Facebook page is

Alice Castle is on Twitter:

Links to buy Alice Castle’s books:,

The book will be on sale for $0.99.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday Seven 3

Long and Short Reviews

OK...I'm going to 'fess up.  I love a good cozy now and then.

Nothing fancy this week; just something to curl up with.

Here's 7 of my favorite series...

A Melanie Travis Mystery by Laurien Berenson

A Book by the Bay Mystery by Ellery Adams

A Moose River Mystery by Jeff Shelby

Dewberry Farm Mysteries by Karen MacInerney

Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Series by Leighann Dobbs

A Book Retreat Mystery by Ellery Adams

Linn House Mysteries by Jo Hiestand

Do You Have a Favorite?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Announcing Revision is a Process

Revision is a Process –
How to Take the Frustration Out of Self-Editing
by Catherine E. McLean

GENRE: Self-Help, Self-Improvement, Non-Fiction

A first draft holds the possibility of what will be a great story. Revision turns that rough diamond into a spectacular gem worth a reader's money and time.

Writers are individuals but to be a producing writer means creating a system to revise and polish a work so the reader thoroughly enjoys the story. REVISION IS A PROCESS is a guidebook for writers and authors that shows how a simple 12-step process can be tailored to eliminate the most common and chronic maladies of writing genre fiction. This valuable guidebook contains secrets, tips, practical advice, how-to's, and why-to's for taking the frustration out of self-editing.


From Section 7, Show Don't Tell - What to Cut or Change
One rule of fiction is to show more and tell less.

What does that mean?

A very simple example is that saying it's a flower is telling but to say it's a white rose, its petals edged with a mist of ruby-pink is showing.

Showing means providing an instant, vivid image so the reader sees in their mind what was meant.

Yes, showing requires more words than telling, but how much detail is too much detail when showing?

Keep in mind that readers will stop reading and skim over sentences and paragraphs of details in order "to get to the good stuff" of drama, action, and something happening of interest. So it's best to choose all descriptive words carefully and keep the passages succinct.

Now— Go through your manuscript and highlight all descriptive phrases and passages so you can see how much of the total text is description.

If using your word processor's highlight feature, pause to zoom down to view entire pages and look at the end of pages to see how much carried over to the next page.

If you have exceeded three sentences (20-60 words) of description or explanation at any spot, that may be overkill. Determine what needs to be cut, pared down, rewritten, or reparagraphed for visual effect and immediacy, and what is too lengthy, mundane, or bordering on boring.

It's also important, when revising such areas, to remember that the replacement words should be in keeping with the story's or scene's narrator—and not you, the author, stepping onto the page with your voice, (that's a type of Author Intrusion that readers hate).

Not only was this a great book for writing and editing but it was a really great book for someone creating a review.
This book is full of tips for editors, authors trying to get their book published, self-publishers and anyone wanting to write well.  I have often stated that we reviewers should keep in mind that we are not authors but rather people giving an opinion only of something an author has created.  However this book, can help a reviewer as well as an author. This can help anyone composing from all ends of the spectrum, whether you are a well-published author or a student in college composing an essay. 

I sound overly enthusiastic but the book was laid out so clearly that what can sometimes be construed as dry reading material was as interesting as a novel.  I am the perfect judge of this because I am the first to become bored with something very dry and academic.  I didn’t miss a word of this book.  

So, in way too many words (according to this author), what I am trying to say is that Catherine McLean crafted a book filled with invaluable learning in an enjoyable way.  Absorb all of her excellent tips, excellent writing rules and one of the most important aspects of getting your book noticed by a publisher, editing to perfection.   

If you are a writer, seasoned or new to the field, this book needs to be on your bookshelf for constant reference.  As a retired librarian I immediately sent an e-mail to my library to get this in their collection. 

My closing advice…you’d best be looking for everything she has published as well as any Workshop she gives.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Catherine E. McLean's lighthearted, short stories have appeared in hard cover and online anthologies and magazines. Her books include JEWELS OF THE SKY, KARMA &
MAYHEM, HEARTS AKILTER, and ADRADA TO ZOOL (a short story anthology). She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes lighthearted tales of phantasy realms and stardust worlds (fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal) with romance and advenure. She is also a writing instructor and workshop speaker. Her nonfiction book for writers is REVISION IS A PROCESS - HOW TO TAKE THE FRUSTRATION OUT OF SELF-EDITING.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday Seven 2

My 7 most favorite cookbooks and 7 reasons that make them important to me:

People who like to cook (like me) usually have shelf after shelf of cookbooks but truthfully I find myself pulling the same ones off the shelf.  I also find I tend not to use my hardcopy cookbooks past these 7 because of the wealth of recipes and ideas to be found online.  

My First Seven Favorites:

1.  Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash

2.  Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker

3.  My Own Cookbook by Gladys Taber

4.  Heartland by Marcia Adams

5.  The Pioneer Lady's Country Kitchen by Jane Watson Hopping

6.  The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini

7.  The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime by Ree Drummond

Seven Reasons Why a Cookbook becomes my Favorite:

1.  Often has a story of how or why the recipe is used by the author

2.  Love the history of how foods used to be cooked and why

3.  Has several tips on choosing the ripest or best and how to cook as well as freeze

4.  Lots of technical steps

5.  Really easy with few steps

6.  As many photos as possible

7.  Someone very dear to me used it or gave it to me as a gift or both

Have any cookbooks you love or a reason you love them?  Leave a comment, ok?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

My favorite genre: Mystery

My favorite series (can't list just one):
 Cat in the Stacks Mystery by Miranda James
 Trash 'n' Treasures Mystery by Barbara Allan
 Joe Pickett by C.J. Box
 Joe Pike by Robert Crais
 Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle
 Alison Reynolds by J A Jance
 Jack Reacher by Lee Child

Little known authors that I LOVE
 Ellery Adams
 Marion Hill Moore
 Blake Crouch
 Jo Hiestand
 Howard Blair
 R. Scott Mackey

Long Loved Authors:
  I say "long-loved" because there are so many authors today that come to mind.

Ayn Rand
Lillian Braun
Robert Crais
Robert Coban
John D MacDonald
C.J. Box
Louis L'Amour

How I choose a book to read:
I'm not really a "look at the cover" person.  I tend to read the first paragraph and most of the time I'm not wrong about enjoying the book.

However, I have learned that I don't have to read every book I pick up.  It took a long time for me to realize it wasn't a bad thing to just "stop" when I wasn't enjoying a book.

Are you a hard copy person or a digital reader?
  Being a retired librarian I thought I would always want the feel of a "book" in my hands but that has become untrue.  I love reading with my Kindle or Nook or even just a .pdf file on my Tablet.  I can adjust the light, I can adjust the text size, it isn't as heavy, I don't even have to hold a page open  :)

About Reviews (as a reader):
 I don't like reviews that tell too much of the story
 I don't like long reviews
 I like reviews that just give me a quick view of the reviewer's opinion

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Announcing Power Struggle by Carolyn Arnold

GENRE: Suspense/Mystery

One hit man who’s back for revenge. One detective who’s not going down without a fight.

It’s been ten months since Detective Madison Knight almost died at the hands of Russian Mafia hit man Constantine Romanov. She hasn’t seen hide nor hair of him since he escaped police custody and fled to Russia soon after his arrest, except now her latest murder investigation gives her reason to believe he’s back in town. Seeing as the victim is the man who killed her grandfather, her perspective may be a little skewed, but with the MO smacking of Constantine and the victim’s connections to the mob, she finds it hard to be objective. Still, she’s doing her best to consider all the evidence.

When she receives a threatening letter from Constantine, however, her suspicions are confirmed. And he’s made it abundantly clear that not only does he plan to finish what he started but he has her family and loved ones in the crosshairs, too. Madison vows to do whatever it takes to save them, but as the hours race by, the body count rises. And the stakes only get higher when Madison’s sister, Chelsea, goes missing.

Now, Madison’s only play is to take Chelsea’s disappearance for what it really means: Constantine is calling Madison out for one final showdown. And they won’t both survive…

As she walked to her car, the air was cold and bitter. Snow was in the forecast, and she hugged her coat to herself. Goose bumps formed on her flesh, but it wasn’t from the chill. Something was tucked under one of her wiper blades. It could just be a flyer of some kind, but her instincts were firing off warning signals in rapid succession. As she got closer, she saw it was an envelope. She plucked it off the windshield and read the outside: Detective Madison Knight.Shivers sliced through her body, and her breathing quickened.
Did she really want to open this? What if it somehow confirmed all her paranoia as fact, that Constantine was in town and she had his attention?Swallowing hard, she slipped a finger under the unsealed lip of the envelope, pulled out a tri-folded piece of paper, and read it:Were you missing me? No need to any longer. I’m back, and I have my eye on you and yours. -- CShe dropped the letter and braced herself against the hood of the car. Her head was spinning and her heart hammering. She felt all the blood drain from her face as dread washed over her, weighing her down to the concrete.This couldn’t be happening. She’d become complacent, lulling herself into a false sense of security by hiding behind words and faulty logic. And for Constantine to have left this here, he would have been here in the last hour. That meant he must have been following her. And the parking lot was above ground with automated gates… He had been brazen enough to expose himself in the light of day.
She spun around, frantically studying her surroundings, but she saw no one. Her gut knotted and breathing was becoming increasingly difficult. It was clear he had every intention of following through with his threat. She looked down at the piece of paper that lay on the ground at her feet and went to pick it up. She found herself hesitating, as if it were a serpent that would bite her hand. Any hope that Constantine was long gone disintegrated, because the truth was, Constantine was still in town and he was coming for her. And, from the sound of it, her loved ones.

Carolyn Arnold has written a spellbinding cop vs bad guy mystery and it is definitely worth reading.  This is what I would call Crime Fiction and it’s very well done. 

I enjoyed the interplay between the cops and their superiors.  While there was a certain amount of the “bossy Lieutenant” and headstrong cop in this book, it was well-written as a dialogue rather than become tiresome as some books can.  I seemed to recognize every character throughout the book and that means Arnold did a good job of developing her characters.  Maybe even more so, she seemed to draw a very good picture of them through her writing.  Having a feel of what a character looks like makes every read a more enjoyable one.  In the long run I did have a few moments that made me want to tell Maddie to “buck up” but I have decided that this is my own upbringing and not reality.  Arnold’s book is probably a good description of reality.  Nor have I ever been faced with the possibility of losing my life as well as endangering other’s lives.  I don’t think we can really judge an author in this sense of a story.  Who can know how being that afraid might feel? Fortunately, very few of us. 

This was definitely a good book and one to put on your “wish list” of reading.  I hope we see a “Detective Madison Knight series” begin.  Madison’s plucky and I liked her.

Carolyn Arnold will award a print copy of IN THE LINE OF DUTY to a randomly drawn commenter. (US, Canada, UK only) 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:  
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online: 

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at