Saturday, June 28, 2014

Writing a Murder Mystery: Motives for Murder by J.C. Gatlin, author of 'Prey of Desire'

Writing a Murder Mystery: Motives for Murder

After revealing “Who Done It,” the most important piece of the puzzle in a good murder mystery is “Why Done It.” The Antagonist’s reason to commit murder and hide it must be creative, make sense and be ultimately satisfying to your reader. So, it got me thinking: What are some basic motives for murder?

Here’s the list I started. Feel free to comment and add to the list.


1. To hide a secret. This is the most obvious motive. The Victim stumbles upon the Antagonist’s closely guarded secret, and he kills her so she won’t reveal it.
  • A father, scared of losing his daughter’s love if she ever finds out that she was adopted, murders the child’s biological mother when she suddenly reappears in their lives.
2. Greed. The Antagonist wants the victim’s fortune, property or something else of value… and is willing to kill to get his hands on it.
  • The Femme Fatale murders her wealthy, old lover with a heart condition after he names her in his last will and testament.
3. Revenge. The Antagonist wants to even the score for some past wrong doing (which is often detailed in the prologue) and the victim pays the price.
  • The successful computer geek attends his high school reunion and kills the formal popular cheerleader who made fun of him some twenty years ago
  • The successful computer geek murders the red-headed dance teacher who looks eerily similar to that hateful cheerleader who made fun of him in high school
4. Obsession, Frustration & Hate. Have you hugged a sociopath today? This is a great opportunity to expose your Antagonist’s prejudices and/or deep-seeded obsessions.
  • A deeply religious mother murders her son’s college professor because of something taught at school.
  • The shy, awkward boy in the back of class has been sending notes to the popular girl in his Chemistry class. Unfortunately. when she rebukes his advances, he lashes out by killing her.
  • After a lifetime of seething jealousy, the unemployed, divorced, broke older brother finally murders his successful, wealthy, happily married with a beautiful home and three beautiful kids, younger brother.
5. Love, Sex & Jealousy. Maybe this should be motive #1. At least it seems like it in real life if you watch any of the murder investigation documentaries on cable television. Does it even need an example? Pick a love triangle and you’ve got a motive.
  • The Traveling Salesman’s pregnant wife is found dead after he tells his college-aged girlfriend won’t end his marriage.
6. Crime of Passion. Your Antagonist’s anger gets the best of him, and he snaps in a fit of rage. Generally, everyone is shocked by his actions, as he seems like the last person on the planet who’d ever commit such a heinous murder. Often the Antagonist doesn’t remember what happened, as he was out of his head at the time.
  • A father becomes so enraged at his wife for ripping the family apart when she tells him that she’s leaving him for her personal trainer that he shoots their two children dead before turning the gun on himself. Neighbors couldn’t believe it; he was such a normal, quiet Family Man.
7. Psychosis & Mental Disorders. The Antagonist is detached from society (maybe even humanity) and does something unthinkable, generally for reasons that are just in his head.
  • A mother, who believes voices are instructing her to do bad things, drowns her children 
8. To protect personal status. Your Antagonist is very threatened by the Victim’s success, talents or attention, and commits murder to balance the scales.
  • An incensed, corporate ladder-climber murders her competition for a high-profile, high-paying position.
  • An aging rock star — who is now humiliating reduced to opening act for a new, popular, younger pop star — plots a stage mishap to get the young phenom out of the way.
9. To protect a loved one. You would do anything for your kids, including murder if someone was hurting one of them. Well, so would your Antagonist. And sometimes loved ones moves beyond family, or even people.
  • A father kills a teacher who was abusing his child
  • An over-protective mother murders the high school student who has been mercilessly bullying her son
  • A deer hunter and wildlife enthusiast murders the CEO of logging company that is decimating his forest. 
10. Empathy or Sympathy. The Antagonist doesn’t have malicious intent; in fact, he’s acting (or believes) in the Victim’s best interest. .
  • The Caregiver gives the ailing, elderly patient a heavy sleeping potion so she slips quietly away in the night.
  • A nursing student helps a dying cancer patient commit suicide so that he can die with dignity.

* * * * * *

JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida. He’s written two mystery-suspense novels: The Designated Survivor and Prey of Desire. He also maintains a blog about the art of spinning a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat mysteries at

Prey of Desire

Date Published: February 17, 2014


They said the disappearance of two high school students over 25 years ago was mystery that couldn't be solved.
No one ever said it shouldn't be.

Following the abrupt end of a relationship, college student Kimberly Bradford finds comfort in the friendship with her over-the-top neighbor, Mallory. And, Mallory encourages her to get back out there. She would of course if it weren't for the thrilling little love notes and gifts she's been receiving .

Kim thinks they're from her ex-fiancee, not realizing he's been murdered. Worse, whoever is sending her all the extra attention is not only in her inner-circle, but has a connection to that unsolved murder some 25 years ago. That connection puts her life in danger, and exposes secrets better left buried around her closest friends and family.

Read an excerpt:
"That was close." Mallory laughed, pushing Kim out the diner doors and onto the sidewalk. They crossed the intersection against the light and headed back to Mallory's parked Miata. Making it clear that she was not pleased, Kim walked several steps ahead. She crossed her arms, swinging her purse. Mallory caught up to her, telling her to slow down. 
Kim picked up her pace. "I can't believe you tried to set me up with that old psychologist again. You just don't know when to quit, do you?" 
"He’s a psychiatrist, and…” Mallory grabbed her arm to slow her down. “Stop being so melodramatic." 
"Melodramatic?" Kim whipped around to confront her friend face to face. "Not only did you ambush me, but this is the second time he's stood me up - second time in a row!" 
"He just got detained with another crazy patient, that's all." Mallory punctuated that with a light, throaty chuckle. "The whole town is freaked out over the Congressman's murder so it's understandable.” 
"You're changing the subject." Kim turned and stepped off the sidewalk into the street. She headed toward the car parallel parked in front of a meter. Mallory followed her into the oncoming traffic. 
“Would you just wait?” She grabbed Kim’s arm again. Mallory stopped her in the middle of the street. A car honked and swerved around them. Oblivious, Kim pointed a finger at her and leaned forward. 
"You sandbagged me with another blind date. You know I’m involved." 
"Ross went M.I.A. on you, what, six weeks ago? He’s gone." Another car blared its horn. Malloy waved it away. "I just wanted to get your mind off it. Besides, Dr. Whitman has lined up a very exciting date." 
"You just don't give up, do you?"

"Listen to me, Kim. He's really been putting a lot of pressure on me lately. He's talked about you for ages and he's been asking me to set you two up for a long time. Ever since..." 
Breaks squeaked on a truck as it swerved to miss them. Kim ignored it. "Ever since what, Mallory? Since Ross dumped me?" 
"No - since Ross disappeared." Mallory paused. Her eyes softened and a faint smile crossed her lips. "Kim, he's not coming back." 
Kim was about to protest. It was a knee-jerk reaction to tell Mallory how wrong she was. For a moment, Kim considered explaining about the mysterious poems and the invitation for dinner on Friday night. She wanted to tell Mallory about the phone calls. All those cryptic messages and notes – it had to be from Ross. It just had to be. They were meant for each other. 
Instead Kim looked down at her feet and sighed. "I'm just not in the mood to be sweet and sociable. You know what I mean? I'm angry. And I want to hit something. I want to rip something apart and stomp on it and crush it and..." 
Another car honked and the driver screamed obscenities as he whizzed past. The girls were unfazed standing in the center of the road. 
"Exactly my point." Mallory snapped her fingers, seemingly very pleased with herself. 
"That's why this handsome, debonair psychiatrist suggested a double date at a mock war camp." 
"A what?" 
"A mock war camp," Mallory repeated. "Instead of miniature golf or going to a movie, we'd play weekend warrior." 
Kim hesitated, watching her a moment, then followed. "What kind of date is that?" 
“The kind that’ll get you over Ross!” Mallory headed toward her Miata parked at the curb. Unlocking the car door, she paused and leaned against the hood. She turned back toward Kim.

"It’s the kind of date where you can be tank girl and rip men apart and blow them away and stomp on them... only with paint pellets." Mallory’s eyes enlarged and she took a breath, as if waiting for Kim to protest. When she didn't, Mallory continued. "He's a head shrink, Kim. He knows about these kind of things."

About the author

JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida. In addition to regular fishing trips, he wrote a monthly column for New Tampa Style Magazine, then began penning several mystery/suspense stories. He also maintains a blog about mystery writing.

Coming from a large family with five brothers, JC grew up in Grapevine -- a small Texas town just outside of Dallas. He moved to Tampa in 1999, and most of his stories feature the rich landscapes of Texas and Florida as backdrop.



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Friday, June 27, 2014

'Ten Brides for Ten Heroes: An Anthology'

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to TWO randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour. Please click the banner to see the other stops on this tour.

Ten Brides for Ten Heroes spans the gamut of the ever-popular wedding romance genre—from heartwarming laughter to thrilling adventure, from sweet to steamy. This 10-book bundle features novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. So get ready to toss the bouquet and say, "I do!" as ten brides risk it all to find their happy ever after.

About the stories:

Wedding Fever by Patrice Wilton 
- The romantic comedy series, Serendipity Falls.

Mila O’Reilley owns Wedding Fever, a bridal boutique in Serendipity Falls Mall. She sells more than dresses, she sells dreams along with the belief in happily-ever-after – a sentiment she personally doesn’t share. Can a jaded bridal consultant and a cynical news reporter uncover the true mystery of Serendipity Falls without being swept away in the madness?

Find Patrice at:

The Army Doctor's Wedding by Helen Scott Taylor 
- The Army Doctor's Series

Major Cameron Knight throws himself into the danger of front-line, battlefield medicine to keep the demons from his past away. When he rescues an injured charity worker who's saved a tiny newborn baby, he marries her so they can take the orphan back home for surgery. With this brave woman he finally has the chance to redeem himself and find love.

Find Helen at:

Wedding Surprise by Mona Risk 
– The Holiday Babies Series

Claire and David faced many challenges over the years. Finally, Claire's dream of a wonderful white wedding to the man she loves is about to come true. Two weeks before the wedding, Adriana, the high-school classmate who’s tried to snatch David several times, makes an announcement that threatens to destroy the couple's happiness. Is Claire and David’s love for each other strong enough to turn the worst wedding surprise into the best?

Find Mona at:

Tomboy Bride by Alicia Street 
– The Dance 'n' Luv Series

Kendra returns home for her brother’s wedding determined to get her age-old crush to finally see her as more than a tomboy. But will her game of making him jealous with a hot and handsome faux-beau make him fall for her—or backfire and leave her in ashes?

Find Alicia at:

Destination Wedding, by Rebecca York 
– The Decorah Security Series

From the moment Nick Cassidy signed on as one one of Camille Norland’s bodyguards, sexual sparks flew between them. Although determined to keep his emotional distance from her, Nick is forced to admit his real feelings when she’s kidnapped by a ruthless Russian mobster with matrimony in mind. Can Nick rescue her before the wedding night? Can they escape from Victor Zanov’s tropical island death trap? And can they come to terms with their complicated relationship?

Find Rebecca at:

Summer of Love by Annie Jones

Brides, Beehives and Barbecue! Can mother daughter mayhem be far behind? Bless her heart, it's 1967 and a determined southern bride isn't sure love is really all she needs.

Find Annie at:

Return of the Runaway Bride by Donna Fasano

Savanna returns to her hometown to explain why she fled on her wedding day, but she never imagined how her escape all those years ago changed Daniel. Can she make him understand—and forgive?

Find Donna at:

Single and Searching by Rita Herron

A woman looking for love... A reporter looking for a story... A mad rush to find a criminal... When the truth comes out and danger strikes, will they succumb to the passion burning between them?

Find Rita at:

Here Comes the Bride by Theresa Ragan

Samantha Johnston, a reporter for the LA Beat, attends the wedding of one of America’s hottest actors in hopes of learning the identity of his mystery bride, and ends up saying, “I do.”

Find Theresa at:

Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour 
– The “Elvis” Series

After her year in Texas as an exchange student, Annie leaves pregnant and heartbroken. Nine years later she returns to introduce her eight-year-old son to his American family. And to the man who still haunts her dreams – the handsome, embittered rancher who never knew he’d fathered a son.

Find Mimi at:



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Thursday, June 26, 2014

'The Bimbo Syndicate' by Maggie Abbott


Saxon, Ming and Heba, glamorous girlfriends of three ruthless power brokers in the international oil industry, become instant friends over a broken zipper in the ladies' room of a five-star Paris hotel during an OPEC conference. They don't realize they've been set up. Nor that they're being stalked by a sexy young assassin on the payroll of Ming's tough old billionaire Chinese banker. He's competing with Saxon's charming but wily Washington lobbyist and Heba's gorgeous but sinister Saudi Prince for the Grand Prize. Control of the world's oil supply. Rumors abound that their precious Light Sweet Crude is running out, and only an elusive genius scientist, Doctor Hilda Lobinski, knows the facts. When the three smart career women catch on to the cunning plot they dub themselves The Bimbo Syndicate and set up their own agenda. Things go wrong. Pulling all their strings from his lonely exile is a former White House insider with his eyes on the money and a gruesome plan to grab it all. It's election year 2000, the atmosphere is heating up with the excitement of shifting powers and the deployment of dirty tricks. But the big movers know there's more to it than just getting elected, it's where the oil is that has their attention. And whoever owns the oil owns the world.

Read an excerpt:
What came out of the toilets was neither the punk boy nor I.Beam. Just an average punk chick in a blackish purple wig and tiny skirt, breasts bulging against the tight black tee shirt. She strode out, cigarette between dark painted lips, the little round blue shades giving her face an impish look, and she went on striding until she'd left the building, swinging her bag all the way. 
I.Beam walked unnoticed around the crowded block and across the parking lot until she reached a rented Toyota ready to drive her away to the private place where she could turn herself back into Iris Tovey Ph.D. A free woman at last, with a new life. 
What I.Beam hadn't counted on in her tight little script was that, without it being a coincidence at all, there was another woman at Minotaur who was putting on an act, with Dash as the leading man. 
Saxon was pretending to be a rock video director that night and she'd just captured on tape the stunning end to a man's life. It was Dash, the man she'd been watching for three days, and what happened was a great shock to her. Through the camera lens she hadn't realized at first that a killing had taken place. She thought he'd fallen heavily, then perhaps hit his head. She used the zoom to look closer at the man on the floor and knew with a horrible zap in her stomach that he was actually dead. There was a knife sticking out of his throat and blood beginning to pool up around him. 
All she could think of was how this would go down with Hilda Lobinski.

Buy: Escargot Books | Amazon

About the author:

Maggie Abbott started writing novels when she moved to Palm Springs after a long, successful show business career in Los Angeles, London, Rome, and New York.

A casual job as a secretary at the William Morris Agency in Rome introduced her to the exciting scene of Cleopatra, Fellini's 8½ and The Pink Panther, with the city's influx of big stars calling by the office every day, and triggered her lifelong love affair with movies.

Over the years, Maggie has enjoyed being in the most interesting places at the best of their times, while working as the movie agent for some exciting stars: Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Charlotte Rampling, Jacqueline Bisset, Martin Sheen, Raquel Welch, Christopher Plummer, Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Peter Sellers, Richard Chamberlain, Peter O'Toole, Britt Ekland, Ken Russell, John Boorman, and many more.

Somewhere in between, Maggie was the production assistant on three Broadway plays, and a producer and studio executive at Columbia Pictures where she developed and got production credits on two movies.

Help choose the intro to the audiobook for 'Unleashed (Sydney Rye #1)' by Emily Kimelman

unleashedThe Sydney Rye series of mysteries feature a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

UNLEASHED is the first book in Emily Kimelman's best selling Sydney Rye series of mysteries.

When the series begins Sydney Rye is named Joy Humbolt. She does not like people telling her what to do, so it comes as no surprise that she was just fired from her last job. When she buys Charlene Miller's dog-walking business on Manhattan's exclusive upper east side, it seems like the perfect fit: Quiet environment, minimal contact with people.

But then one of her clients turns up dead, and Charlene disappears. Rumors say Charlene was having an affair with the victim--and of course, everyone assumes Joy must know where she is. Joy begins to look into the crime, first out of curiosity then out of anger when there is another murder and threats start to come her way.

When police detective Mulberry is assigned to the case, Joy finds a kindred spirit--cynical and none-too-fond of the human race. As they dig deep into the secrets of Manhattan's elite, they not only get closer to the killer but also to a point of no return. One last murder sends Joy Humbolt hurtling over the edge. Her only chance of survival is to become Sydney Rye.

Help the author choose the intro to the Unleashed Audio Books!

Click here to listen to the 3 different tracks and then enter your choice in the Rafflecopter Form in the bottom of the post.

Catch up in the series: SYDNEY RYE Books **Book 1 is free** on Amazon.


Emily (author photo)
Check out Emily on Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter
Emily Kimelman is the author of the Sydney Rye Series including UNLEASHED, DEATH IN THE DARK, INSATIABLE, STRINGS OF GLASS, and THE DEVIL'S BREATH.

Emily splits her time living on a boat in the Hudson River and traveling the world with her husband and dog, Kinsey (named after Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone), researching exciting locations for the Sydney Rye Series. You can follow along on their adventures through instagram, Facebook, and on Emily's blog.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cover Reveal! 'Unlit Star' by Lindy Zart

Release date: 8/29/14

Genre: New Adult


Rivers Young was the popular guy untouchable by reality. He was like a star—bright, consuming, otherworldly. The thing about stars, though, is that they eventually fall, and Rivers Young was no different.

He fell far and he fell hard.

Delilah Bana was the outcast enshrouded in all of life's ironies. Alone, in the dark, like dusk as it falls on the world. When Rivers fell from the sky, she was the night that caught him. In the darkness, they found one another. Together they melded into something beautiful that shone like the sun.

Only, the greater the star is, the shorter its lifespan.

'Lockdown' by Samie Sands

by Samie Sands



Leah's practical joke has spiraled way out of control. Now everyone seems convinced that the apocalypse is coming - in the form of zombies. The government is calling the virus AM13, and is advising – or more like forcing - everyone to stay indoors while they 'clean up the mess'.

Leah tries to persuade everyone that it was all just a horrible mistake, however she starts to see there may be more truth to it all than she first thought.

Read an excerpt:
Finally, I've done it.

Red lights, flashing. Alarms sounding. Panic. Fear. What have I done? This must be bad, really bad. I can hear a screaming noise, where is it coming from?

They're coming out. This is it. Oh my God, I need to run. It's then I notice the screams are coming from me.

Time stands still. Everything has been so quiet for days, so the loud alarm noise feels like an intrusion on my brain, my thoughts. I can't get myself together enough to do something to stop it.

I turn and run, towards Mike. My plan was to rescue him and that's what I need to do. Then I realise I don't even know this guy. Loyalties forgotten, I move towards getting the hell out of there. I grab my bag and get to the door. The gun, I forgot to pick it up. I look back to see my chances of retrieving it, but there's no hope. The infected are everywhere, shambling towards me. I need to move right now.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Samie Sands is a 28-year-old Graphic Designer who has recently decided to follow her lifelong dream and use her creativity in a different way. Lockdown is her debut published novel, but she's also had a number of short stories included in successful anthologies.

She lives in a small seaside town in the UK, but loves to travel to gain inspiration from different cultures. To keep up to date with Samie, please check out her website

Samie will be awarding a signed copy of Lockdown (International winner) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon Voucher to a randomly drawn host. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

'A Marquis for All Seasons' by Renee Reynolds

A Marquis For All Seasons

by Renee Reynolds



Lady Miranda Leighton and the Marquis of Stafford, Roman de Courtenay, have a similar problem: their families want them to find a spouse. Together they hatch the perfect scheme: they will pretend an attachment and trick their families in their pursuit of one last season of unencumbered entertainment. Yet, in each other's constant company, they find their ruse giving rise to some surprisingly very real feelings. What happens when you set out to fool society, but only end up fooling yourselves?

Read an excerpt:
“Let us take each day as it comes, and decide entertainments best suited to our attendance closer to the events,” Lord Stafford suggested with a resigned air. He sighed, suddenly weary at the drastic turn his summer was taking. His time would not be his own, it seemed. At least Lady Miranda did not ask him to undertake the ridiculous, such as a trip to Tattersall's, a gambling hell, or Almack's. He could well manage a few parties and the occasional turn through Hyde Park. He grinned suddenly. “We shall woo our families with the idea that we woo each other,” he quipped.

Miranda groaned, rolling her eyes but grinning in response. “And we shall have the most fun possible in the process.”

“Yes, well, that remains to be seen. I suppose it depends on one's definition of 'fun,'” he returned as his brows drew together in thought.

“And in one's ability to experience it. I give you leave to pay me as many pretty comments as necessary,” she teased.

“Then, I give you leave to swoon, but no more than twice, and only after conveying your raptures over the delicacy of my words.”

Miranda squeezed his arm in delight as they neared the gazebo. “I'm not ashamed to admit it: I plan to enjoy our ruse immensely.”

“While I plan to suffer all for the greater good.”

“As long as you 'suffer all' with a besotted air, you may suffer as much as you see fit.”

Author bio and links:

Author Renée Reynolds grew up all over the world as the daughter of a globe-trotting Marine father and spirited and supportive mother. Their family motto was you can never learn too much, travel too much, or talk too much.

She majored in majors in college, and after obtaining a host of degrees she decided not to use any of them and instead writes about what she cannot do - go back in time to dance at balls, flirt with lords, gentlemen, and scoundrels, and gallop unfashionably down Rotten Row during the most fashionable hour.

After dodging a few Collinses and Wickhams, Renée happily snared a Darcy. Her HEA turned out to be in Texas, where she resides with "the hubs, the kiddos, a boisterous menagerie of indoor and outdoor animals, and a yard of meticulously maintained weeds." She has happily tagged on this addendum to the family motto: you can never read too much, too often, or too late at night.

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Renee will be awarding a replica of the locket and chain worn by the heroine in the book, and a copy of A Marquis For AllSeasons (choice of print or ebook; print will be autographed) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US ONLY) Follow the tour for more chances to win!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Review of 'Hold Still' by Lisa Regan

Hold Still
by Lisa Regan



Three men are viciously assaulting Philadelphia's prostitutes, and it's up to veteran detective Jocelyn Rush to stop them. She catches two, but they won't betray their partner, the most dangerous of all, and the attacks continue, striking closer to home. Jocelyn's only real clue comes when a monster from her past resurfaces--now she must race to connect the demons of her past with the villain of her present--before the sadistic attacker sets his sights on her.

Read an excerpt:
“Did you Mirandize him?” Jocelyn asked.

Finch slipped the handcuff key into the locking mechanism. “What do you think?”

“I ain’t gettin’ locked up,” Martin said. “I ain’t gettin’ locked up.” Once again, his voice rose in pitch and volume.

When Finch freed the cuffs from the bedrail and reached for Martin’s other hand, the man shot upward, stumbling forward. He lashed out with one arm, knocking Finch backward, sending him flat on his ass. As he fell, Finch knocked the tray table over, remnants of the used suture kit flying everywhere. Before her brain had even completely registered what was going on, Jocelyn’s hand was reaching for her gun. She was too late. Martin lunged at her and crushed her against his chest before she could unsnap her holster. He wrapped a meaty forearm around her throat. She reached up and pulled down on it with both hands, prepared to struggle until she felt the cool blade of a knife against the flesh of her throat.

"Hold still," he breathed into her ear, the smell of alcohol burning her nostrils.

Where the hell had he gotten a knife?

She had time for one word before the forearm clenched, leaving her only enough room to breathe, nothing more. "Finch.”

Martin hollered again. She couldn't hear him because the adrenaline surging through her momentarily silenced the entire world. He kept squeezing her throat, then releasing slightly and pressing the blade against her skin. She strained her eyes, trying to see Finch in her periphery. He was getting up, slowly. His hand went to his holster, a little too slowly for her taste.

**My thoughts**

When Lisa Regan releases a new book, you can bet that I will be one of the first to snatch it up, either via Amazon or via book tours. I've been a big fan since her first book, Finding Claire Fletcher, and Hold Still just keeps the momentum going. It's a mesmerizing crime thriller that keeps you completely glued to every page from the very beginning to the epilogue. I read the whole thing while in the pool on a lovely summer afternoon.

Jocelyn is a strong leading character, with a great deal of vulnerability hiding behind her rough and tough exterior. Becoming a mother has softened her a bit, yet she is still determined to make things right. She has a strong group of friends and fellow officers who stand by her and keep her as balanced as possible. I like Kevin and Inez, and of course Caleb. Finch and Phil just made me want to punch them through my Kindle, yet each one has a somewhat surprising role in her life. 

It is hard to fathom what Jocelyn and her sister Camille had to endure in their youth. It's also impressive how each of them took such drastically different directions in their lives. I can't imagine going through their situations and coming out okay on the other side. It's a long road to get to there, especially with all of the attacks happening, which slowly become more and more personal.

The mystery of the third perpetrator in these heinous crimes is full of twists and turns. I thought once or twice that I knew who it was. Sometimes I was right; sometimes I was wrong. The journey to the truth was completely engrossing and well worth the read. Lisa Regan ranks up there with the big names in the traditionally published genre.

Buy links

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lisa Regan is a crime fiction author. Her first novel, Finding Claire Fletcher won Best Heroine in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards 2013. It was runner-up for Best Novel. It was also a Digital Book Today Best of 2013 ebook selection. In December 2013, Finding Claire Fletcher and her second novel, Aberration were #1 Amazon bestsellers in the Kidnapping and Serial Killers categories, respectively.

Lisa is a member of Sisters In Crime. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Her third novel, Hold Still is due out late March 2014!


Lisa will be awarding an eCopy of Hold Still to five randomly drawn commenters during the tour and a print book of Hold Still to five randomly drawn commenters (US & Canada ONLY). A grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

'The Mazer' by C.K. Nolan


Twenty years have passed since the disappearance of Silva's father, Zossimo. When Silva visits the sanctuary in Yewlith, she becomes convinced there is more to her father's demise than she knows. Her quest to solve the mystery of Zossimo's fate unravels a tale of thwarted ambition, murderous betrayal - and loyal friendship - among humans and trees alike.

Escape to the world of The Mazer - an unforgettable tale of an island, its people and trees, and the secret that binds them all together! A fun yet thought-provoking read that will delight older kids, teens, and adults who love a page-turning fantasy story.

Read an excerpt:
Fear cut through her stomach. Isleaf knew of the cavern, and Father must have learned of it. He’d known every part of the island, every tree, every plant, every animal. He was the author of the Arboral. He’d known everything. Maybe he’d known too much. He might have built the vault to hide the tunnel entrance. And why would he have done that? 
Mother’s voice danced through her mind: 
“Sit still, Silva child, for here is the tale of an island you know,
Where high from the hills the fresh waters flow,
And trees you could never imagine do grow
By greenhouses lit by the sun of the sky,
Whence long ago, from the Tree Star on high,
Came a leaf, floating down to the sea of our earth,
Lighting soft on the waves, the isle of our birth,
Land of life, wood, leaf, shoot,
Twig, branch, trunk, root!” 
Mother had laughed, tickling Silva’s fingers, arms, belly, and legs, as she recited the last line, and Silva had giggled and squirmed about on her mother’s lap, turned to her, leaned against her warmth, her softness, imagining herself to be a tree, and wondering what it must be like to have your legs growing underground and whether she would be able to wriggle her feet. 
But Mother lay in the vault, her glittering laughter silent, her beloved husband murdered, their unborn child lost. 
“And only I am left, Mother.” 
Twenty years of silence gathered around her, pushing against her thumping heart, forcing her to think, to speak, to act, just like Father would have done. She bent her head. Tears she could not feel dripped onto the inscription of mother and child. 
“Why did this happen, Mother? What became of this man who disappeared from our lives and never returned? I’ll find out. I promise. And I’ll come back to tell you. I promise you that, too.” 
The silence waited, then lifted. Footsteps behind her. The glow of candlelight. A handkerchief appeared over her shoulder. 
“Thank you, Winifred,” said Silva. And then they said nothing, but stood awhile before the vault of Eldis and child, in the crypt, under the garden of the temple of Yewlith in Westernwood.
FREE 6/18-6/22


C.K. Nolan grew up in the UK and now lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, with her husband and teenage son. There's nothing she likes better than wandering about parks and gardens looking at trees! She's also interested in medieval manuscripts, family history research, and - excitingly enough - crochet. The Mazer is her first novel, but it won't be her last, as she's sure there is more to tell about the Island of Southernwood.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Read the first chapter of 'Girl Lost' by Nazarea Andrews


Northern was supposed to be a fresh start—a place where people didn’t know who I was or how I had spent years in and out of mental institutes. People didn't know about my parents death or the island no one heard of. But when Peter sits next to me in lit class, I can’t stop the memories, and I don’t want to. He looks too much like the boy from the island, and despite my best intentions, coaxes my secrets from me.

He’s gorgeous, irresistible, a little mad, and completely lost—we are a pair of broken cogs in a world neither of us truly fits into. And he listens when I talk, about the past and the terrifying future. He is somehow gentle and fierce, heartbreaking in his devotion and savage in his defense.

When Belle, his best friend, shows up, pale and lovely and sick, Peter pulls away from me, a startling withdrawal. It’s a relationship that scares and confuses me. She is at times warm and friendly, and other times is violent and unpredictable.

Peter says that he wants me, but refuses to let himself get close. And there are secrets, surrounding both of us, that border on nightmares. As the memories close in, as Belle gets sicker and more violent, I’m torn between what is true and what I believe, and what this magical boy knows about my mysterious past.

*Suitable for 17+. A romantic contemporary retelling of the boy who never grew up.

Read the first chapter:

Chapter 1.

There are a few thing you should know about me, to start. I am Gwendolyn, the eldest daughter of Piers Barrie. I am a college freshman, and an heiress.
And, I am quite mad.

Freshman orientation is a joke. A mass of wannabe jocks and pretty boys waiting for fraternities to swoop in and give them a team to play for. Catty girls with perfectly styled tresses and designer handbags and a superior air of injured dignity. Gatherings of this sort are beneath girls like them.

I stand in the doorway, uncomfortable. Take a deep breath and paste a fake smile on.

This is my fresh start. Here, no one knows Gwen Barrie. They don't know about the Second Star or my parents.

They don't know about the time I spent in Pembrooke. That is the most important thing. I clench my fist, steadying my breath.

Someone bumps me from behind, and I shift a little as my younger brother steps up. He eyes me worriedly, and I smile, softlyI’m fine, Micah.”

“Darling, you are the furthest thing from fine I’ve ever seen. I’m still not sure why Grayson said this was a good idea.”

I flinch, furious that he would even mention that. “You promised,” I say stiffly.

I stalk away from him before he can respond, weaving through the crowd. Northern University is small, one of the reasons Grayson selected it. It’s perfect for me.

The dean is finally silent, and I drift through the crowd toward a group of girls who look friendly enough that I’m not ready to bolt. Micah gives me a little space, but I can feel him watching me from the corner of the room. He’s drawn into a conversation by a pretty blonde, and I release a sigh of relief.

Micah isn’t like me—he’s comfortable in groups like this. He would thrive at a larger school, but he wouldn’t leave me. After almost ten years of taking care of me, he wasn’t going to trust me alone at college.

“Excuse me,” a male voice says, and I twist. The speaker is a tall, slender young man in a white button down and black jeans, with dark hair, murky blue eyes, and a smile that makes me shiver.
I shove the memories down and force a polite smile. “Sorry.”

“No need to apologize. I didn’t want to startle you. Are you a transfer?”

I flush—this is a question I’ve been dreading. “No,” I mumble, looking down into my toes. “I deferred after high school.”

A smile tickles his lips, and for a moment, he looks less menacing. Less like a memory.

Across the room, a flash of movement catches my eyes, and I pale as I see the guy. He’s surrounded by other students, and I only see a glimpse—but I take a few stumbling steps in his direction, my heart pounding.
No. No. I can’t do this—I refuse to believe this. Not today, not here. I turn away and collide with Micah. “What’s wrong?” he asks, his voice low and worried.

“I need to go,” I whisper. His eyebrows inch up, that familiar worried look. My brother is too young to look that old.

"Come on, then," he says immediately.

"Stay," I order. "You were having fun - and I'm fine. I just need some air."

His expression is one of disbelief, so I give him a smile, a real smile. “Promise.”

I squeeze his hand lightly and head to the exit. I don’t look back—I don’t know if that’s evidence I’m getting stronger or if I’m too scared to chance it.

I wander through campus until I’m at the Cliff. One of the reasons Grayson and I chose Northern was the seaside location. I need to be close to the water—as terrifying as it can be, I can’t imagine life without the steady throb of the ocean and the relentless whisper of waves. I stand on the Cliff and stare out at the wind swept sea, and I let the dangerous memories take me under.

I see him everywhere. In other patients, at Pembroke. At school, when Grayson thinks I’m sane enough for it. Laughing cat eyes and a shock of red hair, slanted, sly features. He isn’t the same as anyone else, and I can’t shake him.

They say I imagined it.

But they’re wrong. I saw him again, and it’s been six years. Micah is talking to Grayson and Aunt Jane. I know what they want to do. I’m so tired of years spent Pembroke.

A flash of red, a crooked smile from under the tilted cap. I shudder, and for the first time, I turn away.

I pretend.

I chose to not believe.

And ignore the flash of angry hurt that fills his eyes as I focus on my brother.

“What are you doing?”

I jerk around to face the unfriendly voice. A girl is standing a few feet away from me, her eyes narrowed. She looks annoyed, and I shrug helplessly. “Nothing. Just…um. Who are you?”

She huffs. “Orchid Lewis.”

The name tugs at my memory, and I frown. “Have we met?”

“No,” she says abruptly. “But if you’re Gwendolyn Barrie, I’m your roommate.”

I perk up. I’ve been looking forward to meeting the face on the other side of the email exchange. She seemed polite enough, then, if not incredibly warm. Now she’s staring at me like I’m crazy—I know those looks, because they’ve been directed at me for so long.

“You shouldn’t stand so close to the cliff, you know. It’s dangerous.”

Understanding sweeps me, and I flush. “Oh. I’m not—I wasn’t...” I trail off as her expression turns vaguely curious. “I wasn’t paying attention,” I finish lamely.

She stares at me for a long moment, and then, “Did you make it to orientation?”

I nod. “For a few minutes. Then I got out of there. It was too crowded.”

“Our class is only, like, two hundred people.”

I know that, and I’m annoyed that she feels the need to point it out. “I don’t like crowds,” I snap and turn away from the cliff, stalking toward the dorm hall. Orchid trails along behind me, a drifting presence.

"Was there anything we actually needed to pay attention to?"

I slide a glance at her, and she shrugs. "Hanging out with a bunch of over-eager jocks isn't my idea of a good way to spend my last day before class."

I laugh. "Nothing we haven't been told in the admin packets. You came for a tour, right?" She nods, brushing a lock of straight black hair from her eyes. “Then you’ll be fine. We both already have our schedules.”

“Great.” She fidgets as I flash my key card and the door buzzes open. She follows me through the empty hall, pass the elegant, overdone commons room. She laughs a little. “What do they think we’re going to do in there, have high tea?”

I giggle, and her eyebrows wing up, like birds independent of the rest of her face. The rest of her expression remains immobile, but those thin dark eyebrows express a wide array of emotion.

I’m staring. I shouldn’t stare. This isn’t Pembrooke—staring gets noticed here.

Our room is on the third floor, with no elevator. The dorms of Northern are lovely, all cream brick and slate siding and soaring arches and columns. They claim to be original buildings, from when the university was founded in the mid-1800s. But they lack the basic amenities of modern structures. Like properly sealed windows and efficient heating. And elevators.

Orchid reaches our door first and lets it swing open. I’m a little embarrassed by how barren it is—I’ve seen the other girls’ rooms, half glimpses snatched through the open doors, and I haven’t done anything like them. There is nothing to say I’m here, aside from four large boxes and three suitcases. There are no pictures hanging, no personalized touches. I haven’t unpacked.

Part of me doesn’t believe that Grayson will let me stay. I’m an adult, and Aunt Jane can’t do anything to force me back into institutional care, but she controls Barrie Enterprises.

I grit my teeth and smile at Orchid. “You can have your pick,” I say, waving at the empty beds. She takes the bed to the right, and I move my stuff to the left, situating my desk to face the window. I push it open, and she gives me a curious look as the sound of the wind and the ocean seeps in. “I like the fresh air,” I say simply. She doesn’t comment, and I stare at my untouched boxes. Nod to myself, firmly.

I can’t screw this up. It’s my chance to prove to Micah and Grayson and Jane—to everyone who matters—that I’m not insane. I haven’t seen the Boy in months—not counting this afternoon, and I can dismiss that, because I didn’t see him. It was a boy, a normal student, a redhead, but not the Boy.

With that thought firmly in mind, I busy myself unpacking the boxes, working alongside Orchid in companionable silence.

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FOREVER FOUND, a GIRL LOST novella, will be released this fall and here is the blurb for that book.


Forever Found, A Girl Lost novella, will be released Fall 2014.

I never wanted to grow up. Until Her. I would follow her anywhere, through anything. But what do you do when the one thing you've ever wanted refuses to believe you exist?
I thought finding Gwendy would be the hard part. Convincing her that it was real. But now that she knows--the hard part is just beginning.
This--Northern, New York--it's not my place. But the Island isn't hers. How can we find a future if we can't find a place to be together?