Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Spiked: A Resort to Murder Mystery

by Avery Daniels

Author: Avery Daniels
Publisher: Blazing Sword Publishing, LTD.
Pages: 230
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Julienne, a poisoned Private Investigator with her business card on his body, an MI5 agent taking a liking to her, and her heart on the line.

Julienne needs only three things: successfully pull of a last minute wedding relocated to her resort, work out things with her stubborn ex- boyfriend, and solve the murder of a private investigator found with her business card on his dead body. The wedding she can handle, but it comes with a flirtatious brother of the bride from Britain who manages to give Mason the idea she has moved on, and the dead PI was playing with fire before he was poisoned leaving a myriad of suspects. Two suspects are part of a scandal waiting to explode and nobody wants to be in the middle of the fallout.

Can Julienne wade through the various suspects while coordinating the wedding and dealing with a handsome amorous guest before her rival on the local paper exposes her connection and thus damages her and the resort's reputation? Will she and Mason find their way to each other?



"Detective Lawrence gave me a pointed look that he didn’t buy that cover story for a minute.  Chad changed to accommodating at the mention of the last minute wedding I was to ensure was perfection itself.
“Detective, Julienne is busy.  Perhaps I can be of assistance?”
“No, I need to know why Julienne’s name was on a hotel card in the pocket of a man who died of what I am guessing was poison just a few hours ago.  Amazing how you’re connected with another death.”  His beady little eyes watched me.  Well, they were menacing beady eyes to me in any case. 
I could feel the blood drain to my toes.  Not again."
Julienne LaMere doesn`t particularly like weddings. She does her best as an event planner, but because of her own rocky romantic past, helping someone she doesn`t even know plan the happiest day of her life is not high on the list of enjoyable assignments.
When almost immediately Julienne is revisited by a nightmare, in the form of a homicide detective, and discovers the bride`s brother has MI5 connections, she wonders if this event could get any worse. Spoiler alert ~ it can.

Although there are romantic elements to this book, the author delights us with tangled complications.
There is nothing standard or familiar here. Add in some quirky Resort Irregulars to help and a reality tv show about private investigators to up the competition and widen the suspect list, and Miss LaMere once again seems to be over her head, even with help. She does not quit and shows some growth in her sleuthing techniques.
You will even find reasons to smile as you read.
This is the third book in this different series but can be enjoyed as a stand alone mystery.

Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.



Monday, January 21, 2019

Forever Yours Clean Romance Event

  Winner Takes All by Laurie Winter
 Storm Thompson wants to be anywhere but Liberty Ridge. Especially since his hometown also contains his childhood nemesis, Colleen Gardner. With a young daughter and mentally ill mother to care for, he struggles to simply make ends meet. Every day, his goal of owning an organic farm slips further out of reach. Psychiatrist Colleen Gardner has her sights set on starting a retreat to help veterans suffering from PTSD. She's done well but her small town fundraisers just aren't enough. "The Great American Scavenger Hunt" TV show offers a million-dollar prize, and Colleen and Storm are selected as competitors. Both resolve to do whatever is needed to win, even using the other to get ahead. Storm and Colleen compete to fund their dreams, but their already tattered relationship becomes more strained. Only one will win the money. But will love prove the ultimate prize?    

The Great American Scavenger Hunt

Day 1
Storm stood on the stairs of the US Capitol Building, and the weight of his travel pack dug into his shoulders. Before sunrise, all the contestants were bussed seven miles over from their hotel in Arlington. A few other contestants started conversations, and his minimal replies made clear he wasn’t here to make friends. Colleen ignored him, which was good. Her mere presence provided enough distraction.
He had a good view of her down at the other end of the line. How could she stand upright underneath the weight of her pack? The thing looked as heavy as her. He’d bought his at the secondhand shop in Liberty Ridge. Colleen probably shopped at a high-end outdoor store that carried the latest gizmos and gadgets. Her pack and its contents might cost the equivalent of a small country’s GDP.
When he’d seen her yesterday at lunch, he almost didn’t recognize her. Her short hair looked amazingly sexy. This morning, she wore a tousled look, like she’d just rolled out of bed, which she likely had being that the clock just struck seven-thirty am.
The host of the show, Burt Blackstone, walked before the assembled group. He stood medium height, with a trim build, and a head of closely cropped, salt-and-pepper hair. Today, Burt wore khaki shorts and an orange button-up top. “I want to wish every one of you good luck. We’ll start filming shortly. I’ll go over the rules once more, mostly for the audience’s sake. Then, I’ll give the signal, and you’ll be off.”
A low murmur drifted over the group.
Storm shifted the weight of his travel pack and mentally walked through his plan. He held a red envelope, which was identical to the ones given to the other contestants. Let’s rock and roll.



 "The journey they take physically and emotionally is one that sucked me and wouldn't let go until the book was done. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book!" Goodreads review

Author Laurie Winter

Laurie Winter is a true warrior of the heart. Inspired by her dreams, she creates authentic characters who overcome the odds and find true love. Fans of Brenda Novak and Debbie Macomber will likely enjoy Laurie Winter's books as well. She keeps her life balanced with regular yoga practice and running. When not pounding the pavement or the keyboard, she's enjoying time with her family, who are scattered between Wisconsin and Michigan. Laurie has three kids and one fantastic husband, all who inspire her to chase her dreams.



    Giveaway Details
$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash Ends 2/11/19 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
This giveaway was organized by Kathy from  Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

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Tandem Demise Virtual Book Tour

TANDEM DEMISE by Duffy Brown, Cozy Mystery, 225 pp., $12.99 (paperback) $2.99 (kindle)

Author: Duffy Brown
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 225
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Smugglers on the hunt, a police chief on the run, lost loot and a dead wedding planner have the Mackinac Island regulars riding in circles.

After solving two murders, bike shop owner Evie Bloomfield thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until she finds out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot. Evie is determined to help Nate because he’s a good cop. Nate is determined to keep interfering Evie and island locals out of harms way, and the crooks are determined to get their money.



Chapter One
           “Do you think he’s dead or just dead drunk?” I asked Fiona as the two of us stood alone on the freight dock with thick night fog swirling around us. We were staring at a guy prone on the pier with a champagne bottle clutched in his arms.
           I grabbed Fiona’s hand as we shuffled a little closer. “Uh oh, he’s staring back at us and not in a Hey come have a drink with me kind of way.”
           “And there’s blood, a lot of blood.” Both of us shivered, from the wind gusts off Lake Huron as much as from our present situation.
           “This is terrible.” Fiona made the sign of the cross and I did the same. I wasn’t Catholic, but I needed to do something...anything...and right now there weren’t a lot of options. “How does this keep happening to you?”
           I did a double-blink and stared at Fiona. “Excuse me?”
           “Mackinac’s a little island and you’re here tonight picking up kites to sell at your bike shop but instead - oh gee guess what - you come across yet another body!”
           “Hold on a minute, stop right there.” I dropped Fiona’s hand and jabbed her on the forehead partially covered by the purple sequin paperboy cap befitting her occupation of Town Crier editor. “Forget the you part about the bodies. Okay, the first one was mine - I’ll give you that, but the last one was definitely a we body. We both found it and you’re the one who was accused of making it dead and this is not my fault.”
           “All I know is when you landed here two years ago, Irish Donna said there was a black cloud hanging over you. If this corpse is any indication, the cloud hasn’t changed one bit. I think it’s getting darker.”
           “Maybe a little.” I took a closer look at the body as the waves lapped at the shoreline and wood pilings under our feet. “Do you recognize him?”
           “No, but he’s cute.” Fiona’s words mixed with the foghorn bellowing in the harbor, her breath making little puffy moisture clouds that faded into the night. “Well, he was cute when he didn’t have that big gash on the side of his head and don’t give me that how can you say such a thing look, Evie Bloomfield. I lived in LA for three and two-thirds years and covered some pretty grizzly stuff. Maybe he’s from one of the work ferries or barges. This is the island’s freight dock and he’s dressed in jeans and a work jacket.”
           “The most grizzly thing you ever did out in LA was chow down on bad TexMex. You were a rag reporter covering celeb affairs, scandals, and the occasional I had Elvis’s baby.”
           “Why couldn’t you just pay for delivery like everyone else does on this island?” Fiona huffed. “Then Captain wouldn’t have to hide the boxes of kites for you to pick up tonight and I wouldn’t be mixed up in something I can’t even put in the Crier. One whiff of a body around here and tourists will run for the ferries, taking their American Express cards with them and turning this island into a ghost town. Dead guy on dock is not a great tourist attraction.”
           I was a come-here to Mackinac Island and Fiona was a born-here. In the last two years we’d bonded over OPI nail polish, Nutty Buddy ice cream cones, and a knack for snooping that included picking locks and telling whopper lies with a straight face. In my other life back in Chicago I’d been a grunt-level graphic designer. I wound up on the island when I tried to suck up to my boss to land a promotion. My great plan was to help her father who owned a bicycle shop and had broken his leg. That he got nailed for a murder on my watch did not help my promotion chances. I now owned part of Rudy’s Rides and painted old, rusted bikes shiny new again with such themes as golf, Batman, Babe Ruth - the baseball player and candy bar - or any other love-of-your-life you’d like to sport around town.
           Fiona, who had felt the need to spread her wings, took a second-rate rag reporter job in LA and got accused of killing her boss when he followed her back to Mackinac. Not all homecomings were Welcome Home banners, brass bands, and family cookouts.
           “What we should do,” Fiona offered, “is not touch anything and call the police, except Molly’s on desk duty tonight and you know how she is with bodies. Nate’s usually hanging around, but he’s up at the Grand Hotel at a hundred-bucks-a-plate dinner getting an award for spearheading the campaign to repair the limestone walls around Fort Mackinac. After two-hundred-and-fifty years they’re starting to look like Swiss cheese. Sutter’s eHehaving dessert about now and raspberry crème brûlée is his fave. You know he won’t be happy if we drag him away.”
           “Happy? Well I’m sure as heck not happy keeping company with a dead guy and you don’t look too happy and Mr. Champagne is staring up at the sky and doesn’t have a smile on his face either, so that makes it Nate’s turn. He’s the chief of police around here and gets paid for not being happy. I’m ringing him up.”
           “You’re just pissed that you didn’t get crème brûlée.”
           I dug Sheldon, my beloved iPhone with Penny, knock, knock, knock as a ring tone, out of my jacket pocket and held it to the sky. This was more a valiant effort of looking for service bars then actually expecting to find any. Mackinac Island was known for many things like big horses; lots of bikes; the Grand Hotel that was truly grand; festivals for jazz, lilacs, ponies and anything else that came along; and selling ten tons of fudge a year to the tourists we lovingly called fudgies. Mackinac Island was not known for great cell phone service. Heck, it was known for no cell phone service.
           “Surprise, surprise. No bars,” Fiona said looking over my shoulder. I pocketed the phone I used for playing Candy Crush and [SH1] making selfies. The foghorn moaned again, mixing with the deep rumble of a passing freighter somewhere out there in the pea soup.
           “Well, we can’t just leave the body. What if the killer comes back for it,” I finally said, trying to come up with a plan.
           “Or he comes back and gets us.” We eyed the string of hazy fluorescents dotting the pier and leading back to the warehouse where we’d started. “You know it’s locked.”
           “There’s a landline inside and these are desperate times.” We hoofed our way back up the pier, gravel crunching beneath our feet, as we crossed the lane to the warehouse. Byline whinnied and pawed the ground, telling us he was tired of pulling a cart all day and wanted to go home to a nice barn and fresh hay. I could relate except for the barn and hay part. I was more of a flannel Hello Kitty nightshirt and hot cocoa kind of girl.
           “This rock should work.” I picked it up and started for the warehouse window when Fiona grabbed my hand. “What in the heck are you doing? Captain will have a canary if you bust a window. Just pick the freaking lock. The zipper pull on your fleece has two purple paperclips attached. My guess is they’re not strictly for decoration, more for breaking and entering when the occasion arises like right now, and if you break the window it’ll set off an alarm.”
            “Nate can contact the alarm company to shut the thing off and if I pick the lock, he’ll get suspicious about other conveniently opened doors during our island capers. The rock is an innocent bystander, same as me.”
           “Girlfriend, when it comes to you, Nate will never believe the innocent part.”
           Twenty minutes later Nate Sutter, local police chief and celebrated hunk, trotted toward us on Shakespeare, his trusted steed. Through the mist I could barely make out Police stenciled in reflector yellow across his windbreaker and baseball cap. “Where’s your tux?”
           “Shakespeare’s got a phobia about bowties.” Sutter studied Fiona then me then the busted window. “Captain’s going blow a gasket. Why didn’t you just pick the lock?”
           “Told you so,” Fiona sing-songed as Nate slid to the ground. “How was the benefit?”
           “Irish Donna ate my crème brûlée and I got a flintlock pistol to hang on my wall. I would have rather had my crème brûlée.”
           Sutter tied Shakespeare to a post by the bike rack, Mackinac’s version of parking spaces. He unstrapped a black pouch from the saddle before following Fiona and me onto the dock, our footsteps making hollow sounds against the wood planks. Another forlorn foghorn blast reverberated through the darkness, the sound chilling me to my bones. If that headless horseman guy had galloped past us I wouldn’t have been one bit surprised. Actually, I would have peed my pants, but I’m just saying he would have fit right in.
           “There.” I nodded to the body. “Poor guy. He didn’t deserve this.”
           Sutter’s steps slowed before he stopped dead. His jaw tightened, his hands in a fist. Slowly he pulled a camera from the pouch and snapped away, the flashes blindingly bright against the darkness. He moved side to side for different angles then hunkered down beside the body cocooned in the damp mist.
           “Why didn’t the killer just dump the body in the water?” I added. “I mean, why leave it out here on the dock for the entire world to see. We’ve got two deep lakes. Big ones. Disposing of a body is a snap.”
           There was no response from Sutter, who usually recited a litany of police platitudes in these situations. Don’t touch anything, stay out of my way, and - my personal favorite-  this is police business so get lost. Like that means anything to two self-proclaimed busybodies. Fiona and I exchanged what’s going on looks and I waved my hand in front of the camera. “Yoo-hoo. Anybody home? Got any idea what’s going on here, Mr. Police Officer?”
           “How the heck should I know?” Sutter blurted a little too quickly. “And why don’t you pay for delivery like everyone else does around here instead of fumbling around in the dark.”
           “Amen to that,” Fiona grunted.
           “Well,” I pushed on, trying to connect the dots since Sutter was off in LaLa Land and Fiona was no help at all except griping at me about being cheap. “There aren’t any freighters tied up to the docks tonight, so Captain and the workers probably knocked off at six or so. It gets dark around 7:30 and it’s almost nine now. My guess is this happened in the last hour and a half when no one was around. A meeting of some kind? A celebration, since we got the champagne thing going on? But unless he’s with Greenpeace, there are better places to party than around crates of recycling.”
           Sutter didn’t say a word and took a few more shots before grabbing a flashlight from his jacket pocket. He pulled on plastic gloves and unfolded bags marked Evidence. He checked the guy’s jean pockets, pulling out a pair of well-worn work gloves, a silver dollar money clip with a few bucks, a beat-up wallet, and a pocketknife with a wood handle. He opened the wallet and found John Bernard’s driver’s license, credit card, and insurance info plus a bent photo of a ponytailed guy with sexy scruff and white blazer standing next to a limo.
           “With money and credit cards, we can rule out theft as a motive,” I said, “and look.” I snagging Sutter’s arm before he dropped the money clip in an evidence bag. “There’s an inscription on the back.” I pushed the flashlight closer and read, “Best Man and there’s a date. There’s writing on the knife too. Groomsman and another date.”
           Still not saying a word, Sutter removed a silver flask from the guy’s jacket pocket.
           “Flip it over,” Fiona said to Sutter. “These aren’t exactly typical dockhand acquisitions. I bet they’re gifts from being in weddings. I see them in bridal magazines all the time.” Fiona cut her eyes from me to Sutter, both of us staring at her. “Hey. I drool over the cakes, okay? Fewer calories and … Look right there!” Fiona pointed to the flask. “It says Best Man and there’s another date.”
           Fiona put her hand to her heart and sighed deeply. “This was one of the good guys and a friend to a lot of people who wanted him to be a part of the most important day of their lives. He’s like one of those dreamy guys on The Hallmark Channel. Why can’t I meet guys like this?”
           “Dead ones?” Sutter groused.
           “The men I meet are after one thing, sports and beer.”
           “That’s two things.”
           “Seems like one.”
           “And he has a watch,” I added. “It’s a nice one. Well, it was. I bet that’s from being in a wedding too, probably a best man.”
           Sutter unbuckled the watch and flipped it over. I leaned closer and read, “Today my husband. Forever my best friend.
           “He’s married!” Fiona sobbed, grabbing my hand as a light rain started to fall.
           “Or he stole all this stuff,” said Sutter.
           “You are such a cynic.” I swiped away a tear.
           “I’m a cop and a realist, something that you don’t find on The Hallmark Channel.” Sutter held the dead guy’s arm, probably checking for stiffness. I was no forensic guru, but how stiff a stiff is tells a lot about the time of death.
           “The killer was probably hiding and whacked John over the head with...” I looked around. “Something hard and narrow. There’s a lot of recycling stuff to choose from and...” I snagged Sutter’s hand that held the flashlight and aimed the light onto the wood dock. “Look, blood drops, but we’re losing them in the rain.” I followed the dots with the light. “They lead over there to the edge of the pier.”
           “Meaning the murder weapon’s in the drink.” Fiona pointed out into the lake. “Probably halfway to Canada by now along with his cell phone since we haven’t seen that either.”
           Sutter picked something off the dock that was tucked under a recyling bin, the blade catching the light.
           “Box cutter?” I said.
           “And it’s not inscribed,” Sutter muttered.
           “Our guy was expecting trouble if he had his box cutter out.”
           “Our guy?” Sutter gave me a good grief look.
           “And it was under the recycling crate, maybe the killer thought he tossed it in the lake with the murder weapon? It’s hard to see in all this fog.”
           Not answering again, Sutter put the box cutter in a bag and sealed it, preserving any DNA evidence. Scary how much I knew about crime scenes these days. Sutter snapped pictures of the dock and blood drops then held his hand out to me. “Give me your jacket.”
           “The man’s dead, Sherlock. There’s no warming him up now.”
           Sutter stood. He turned slowly and offered a half smile. His body relaxed and he had a devilish glint in his eyes. The old Sutter was back. “Cute.”
           “Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.”
           “I’m always paying attention, Chicago. I’ll wrap the champagne in an evidence bag and then in your jacket so we don’t break it or screw up the fingerprints. I’ll put my jacket on this guy to protect the evidence. Doc’s due back from St. Ignace[f2]  tomorrow and we can’t just leave the body lying here as a photo op for tourists biking the island. The dock’s covered in footprints and shrapnel from loading and unloading and the weather’s getting worse by the minute. Forensic anything is impossible. We’ll need to keep this quiet. I’ll take the body in the carriage to the medical center and put it in the cooler, you two take Shakespeare, and as to why not dump the body off the pier...”
           Sutter draped his arm over my shoulder and brought me close. “Bodies float, Chicago. They get washed ashore with the tides, especially with the big diesels churning up the water. Disposing of a body has to be done right. They have to be tied and weighed down and dumped out in the middle of the lake. Something to keep in mind the next time you and your sidekick here think about dragging me away from dessert. I can take care of things from here. You two take care of my horse then get back to whatever you were doing.”
           Before I could protest Sutter headed for the carriage, leaving Fiona and me alone on the dock. She zipped her fleece against the damp chill and pursed her lips. “Does Nate really think we’re going to let this dead guy on the docks thing go? We found him and like it or not your black cloud affliction might have something to do with the guy being dead.” She poked my forehead. “You owe him.”
           We owe him, but for right now we have other problems. First, we have to help Nate load up a dead body. Not my favorite  past-time. Then...” I patted Shakespeare and handed Fiona the reins. “I sure hope you know how to drive this thing ‘cause I don’t have a clue.”

 [SH1]I think it’s called Candy Crush

 [f2]Is this the right spelling for this place? Yes

Follow along this wild ride as danger flows across the island and our heroes barely avoid a disastrous ending. 

 What do a cop, a wedding planner and a dock worker have in common?
Unfortunately for the dock worker, it is death on a Wedding Paradise Island.

Toss in a woman who owns a bike shop but is hell on wheels to anyone near her when she HAS to ride a two wheeler... and you have the makings of a twisty, delightful cozy. 
Mackinac Island (pronounced mak-in-aw, from Native American and French influences) is a tourist destination with old world charm. Except for emergencies, no motorized vehicles are allowed.
So the pace is slower and people must get along. It has the reputation for beauty and romance. It is romance that the locals, such as newspaper editor Fiona, would also like to find for themselves. We all know that the heart can muddy clear thinking.

Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She is a National Bestselling author and now conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own. She has two series the Consignment Shop Mysteries set in Savannah along with rescue pup Bruce Willis and the Cycle Path Mysteries set on Mackinac Island with judgmental cats Cleveland and Bambino.

Her latest book is the cozy mystery, Tandem Demise.

Website Address: www.DuffyBrown.com
Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/authorduffybrown


Murder of Ravens (Gabriel Hawke) by Paty Jager

Murder of Ravens (Gabriel Hawke) by Paty Jager

About the Book

Murder of Ravens (Gabriel Hawke)
Mystery 1st in Series
Windtree Press (January 20, 2019)
Paperback: 302 pages
ISBN-10: 1947983822
ISBN-13: 978-1947983823Digital 

The ancient Indian art of tracking is his greatest strength... And also his biggest weakness. Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke believes he’s chasing poachers. However, he comes upon a wildlife biologist standing over a body that is wearing a wolf tracking collar. He uses master tracker skills taught to him by his Nez Perce grandfather to follow clues on the mountain. Paper trails and the whisper of rumors in the rural community where he works, draws Hawke to a conclusion that he finds bitter. Arresting his brother-in-law ended his marriage, could solving this murder ruin a friendship?

Gabriel Hawke is as rough and untamed as the wilderness he is sworn to protect. After his heart has been broken, ending his marriage, he shies away from emotional entanglements. 
That may mean his heart is unavailable but other parts of his anatomy still respond to beautiful women. 
While investigating one sort of crime, he comes across something  more sinister.
Regardless of the people who are neither surprised nor unhappy about the dead man found on the trails, it is Hawke`s job to bring a killer to justice.
How many secrets will be revealed before that happens?

Gritty and complicated, Hawke follows the evidence even as he must perform other duties and complete paperwork. He has long learned to set personal emotions aside in his line of work, but does it ever become easy when people you know personally are drawn into deadly matters?

Some interesting history is also revealed as we get drawn into the seedy underside of greed and power.

About the Author

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 35 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her Shandra Higheagle mystery series has been a runner-up in the RONE Award Mystery category, and a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier.
Author Links
Website: http://www.patyjager.net
  Blog: http://www.patyjager.blogspot.com
  FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/PatyJagerAuthor/
  Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Paty-Jager/e/B002I7M0VK
  Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/patyjag/
  Twitter: https://twitter.com/patyjag
  Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005334.Paty_Jager
  Newsletter- Mystery: https://bit.ly/2IhmWcm
  Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/paty-jager

  Purchase Links - Amazon

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  January 15 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
  January 15 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
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  January 17 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
  January 17 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW
  January 18 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT 
January 18 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
  January 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
  January 19 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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January 21 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
  January 22 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
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January 24 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
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January 25 – Here's How It Happened – REVIEW
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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Spiral Into Darkness by Joseph Lewis

Spiral Into Darkness

He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

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Guest Blog Post: Importance and Uses of Setting

            Setting is more than a place where characters work or play. Setting can help set the mood and can help describe the character and the character’s motivation. For example, here is a scene from Spiral Into Darkness:
            Whenever Michael walked home from school, he took the same route, a shortcut lined with garbage cans and recycling bins. . . .There was a parked car or two. Not expensive cars because they would be easy pickings for anyone interested in CDs, spare change, or anything else of value. Waukesha did not have many stolen vehicles, at least in this neighborhood, but if there was a car worth taking, it could end up missing . . .
The night was cold. He had his cell in one hand with the other in his jacket pocket and then would alternate when the hand with the cell turned red and purple. His shoulders were hunched, and his collar was up. A stocking hat sat on top of his head and covered his ears, but he still shivered. . .
The setting is an alley. Obviously, it is cold and it is nighttime. But do you also get a picture of Michael, how alone and perhaps lonely he is? I supposed I could have placed him in a mall and could have demonstrated his aloneness and his loneliness by the lack of interaction with anyone. It would not have fit the story or the ensuing action as well as a dark alley.
Here is another example from Spiral Into Darkness:
After signing out at the front desk and wishing a good evening to the portly and elderly night security man, he paused at the door, buttoned up his top coat, clamped his portfolio under his arm, and then stepped into the sub-zero late afternoon.
So cold, his nose hair froze. The dirty snow and ice that had melted in the early afternoon sun now crunched under the soles of his leather slip-ons. The shoes, like his gloves, looked good, but for all the warmth they provided, he may as well have been barefoot.
Vincent emerged between two cars, dodged a bus, and jay-walked across the street and then jogged into the parking garage. He had parked his silver Lexus on the fourth floor. Because it was so cold, he took the elevator which had a faint cigarette and urine smell to it. He tried breathing through his mouth. It did not work because then he could taste it. The slow-moving elevator opened and he quick-walked toward his car. It was within sight at the far end of the garage. The sound was his loafers echoed off the cement and cinder block walls.
The garage was dark. Two of the overhead lights were out, which made him curious. He remembered them working when he had arrived. . .
A different character and a different setting. In this setting, I place the character in a busy city and a parking garage in the late afternoon. The parking garage is dirty, dark, and does not smell good. But do you also get a picture of the character? Showy, flashy, concerned with outward appearance. Not a whole lot of substance to him. About as cold as the weather.
I speak in front of groups on setting and character development, and at some point in my talk, I tell the audience that setting is a character, just as much as a “him” or a “her” might be.
I use setting to enhance the character. The character has to live in and interact with a setting. The setting causes the character to react to it.
In the first scene, Michael hunched his shoulders to the cold. His fingers and hands turned purple as he would first hold his cell phone in one hand while the other warmed up in his pocket.
In the second scene, Vincent has an unpleasant reaction in the elevator. As he crosses the street, you hear the ice crunch with each step. His feet and his hands are cold because, though his shoes and matching gloves are fancy, they do little to protect him from the elements.
In both scenes, setting enhances the character. Each character has to react to the elements of the setting and in this interaction, each character comes alive. The elements of setting and character have to work together. If they don’t, or if one is lacking more than the other, the story falls apart. Perhaps, if either setting or character are lacking, there isn’t a story.

Author Bio  

Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.
Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.

Social Media Links –
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor