Wednesday, May 31, 2017


The Clock Strikes Nun by Alice Loweecey

Cozy Mystery 4th in Series 
Henery Press (May 30, 2017) 
Paperback: 268 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1635112153


When terrified Elaine Patrick knocks on Driscoll Investigations’ door and insists her house is haunted, Giulia Driscoll’s first response is “we don’t handle ghosts.” When Elaine’s housekeeper and crackpot filthy rich cousin descend on Giulia and demand she find out who’s trying to steal sweet, fragile Elaine’s family business out from under her, that’s a different story. They want DI to provide Tarot readings, ghost hunting sessions, and even an exorcism.
Ghost hunting? There are apps for that. Tarot readings? Experts in the skill are right across the street. Exorcisms? Having a priest for a brother-in-law comes in handy. Giulia plunges into a crash course in all things supernatural, convinced everything happening to Elaine is stagecraft.
Except when it isn’t. Giulia’s about to discover a new dimension to sleuthing, if she can survive attempted murder long enough to see through the web of lies around her client.

I want to applaud Author Alice Loweecey for having the courage to stretch the boundaries of what her cozy readers may accept and appreciate.

Driscoll Investigations thought marital and divorce cases could be tawdry and preferred other types of work, but when this case takes a sinister turn, they find themselves almost looking forward to a "nice" but safer nasty investigation. It starts out seemingly simple enough - check into the financial dealings at Dahlia, a fashion empire. The young owner has a few quirks, stemming from a traumatic childhood. Still, she comes across creative and sweet, endearing.
After DI accepts the case, the stakes are raised. Could they also use alternative methods to check into rogue spirits haunting the woman's house, her "castle." 
Being a former nun, Giulia calls herself a Cradle Catholic and has deeply held beliefs. 
How far will she stretch those and her moral code to come up with answers for her client?

 This is an unusual cozy mystery with many facets and some surprising twists.
I appreciated how the team could laugh at themselves and at situations that would otherwise drive them crazy. These clients are a bagful of new experiences for DI providing them with much to think about.  I loved all the references to popular detective shows and mysteries.

Please read my full review here.

About The Author

Baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, Alice Loweecey recently celebrated her thirtieth year outside the convent. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she's not creating trouble for her sleuth Giulia Driscoll or inspiring nightmares as her alter-ego Kate Morgan, she can be found growing her own vegetables (in summer) and cooking with them (the rest of the year).
Twitter: @AliceLoweecey
Goodreads: Alice Loweecey

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Marriage Is Pure Murder (A Blossom Valley Mystery #6) by Staci McLaughlin

Marriage Is Pure Murder by Staci McLaughlin

Cozy Mystery 6th in Series 
Kensington (May 30, 2017) 
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-0758294920 

Wedding bells are ringing at the O’Connell Organic Farm and Spa in California’s postcard-perfect Blossom Valley. The entire staff is pitching in to send one of their own down the aisle. But no one knew the nuptials could turn up so many secrets—or that marriage and murder could go hand in hand . . .   
Dana Lewis is marrying Jason Forrester, a talented reporter and the love of her life. She couldn’t dream of a better venue than the farm where she works, and her friends are determined to give her the wedding of her dreams. Even her florist, Bethany Lancaster, is making sure she has just the right flowers. But Dana’s happiness wilts when she finds Bethany shot dead—and discovers her friend was a busybody with a blackmail list longer than a cathedral veil.
With so many enemies, finding Bethany’s killer seems all but impossible. And when Dana herself is eyed as a suspect, she’ll have to chase down the culprit faster than she can say, “I do”—or she’ll be trading in her wedding dress for prison stripes . . .

When one is planning a wedding there really is no time to investigate a murder... that is unless you feel the police are looking at you as a person of interest. 
Marketing and PR expert Dana Lewis is marrying the love of her life in only a few days.
She is making the final arrangements just as her sister, Ashlee, is already moving a new roommate into Dana's bedroom. 
This is a well thought out cozy murder mystery amongst the details of an impending wedding. I enjoyed the supporting cast and family who, against their better judgement, help Dana discover clues. 
Several community members have motive and seem to be acting oddly.
Besides clearing her own name, Dana wants to protect her mother from becoming too friendly with a potential killer. 

I read this as a stand alone but like the characters and setting. I will check out other books in this series.


About The Author

Staci McLaughlin graduated from the California State University, East Bay before becoming a technical writer for a number of years. Now she is a stay-at-home mom and a cozy mystery writer in my spare time (Ha!). 
Once she can wrangle the kids into bed, her husband and she enjoy watching scary movies and playing both board games and video games.
She is currently a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, as well as a contributor to the LadyKillers blog at
She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Author Links:

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Running Wild

Running Wild Anthology of Stories: Volume 1
By Various Authors:  Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges and Gary Zenker


GENRE: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry (narrative)


This gripping collection of stories - fiction, nonfiction, and narrative poem - will make your imagination run wild! Featuring stories by Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges, Gary Zenker. You will travel alternative planets, run away away like teens in search of adventure, solve a murderous mystery, come to grips with your fears, and much more.

“Susan winks at me as she says to her mother, “We’re going to the playground. We’ll be back in a couple of hours.” “Don’t be too late. It looks like rain. Come home at the first sign of drops, OK my girls?” Her mother gathers us in an embrace. Her mother is tall and massive. I’ve heard people call her “zaftig.” Her many folds of skin almost choke me as she puts her fat over my face. I kiss her face as soon as I can breathe again. I look at Susan, her blue eyes shine, her mouth pursed in a conspiratorial smile. Her copper red hair bounces as she shakes her head, and puts her finger to her lips. She cocks her head into her mother’s plump side as she mouths, “don’t tell.” Susan’s my friend, my best friend. I know she’s lying to her mother, yet I say nothing. I believe we’re going to the playground like I believe I’ll be 6’ 5” when I grow up. At 12 years old and 4’10”, with parents who barely top 5’1”, the answer is the same, fat chance.” 

From Ann Stolinsky’s “Don’t Tell”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 Ann Stolinsky is a Pennsylvania-based word and game expert. She is the founder and owner of Gontza Games, an independent board and card game company, and three of her games are currently in the marketplace:

“MINDFIELD, The Game of United States Military Trivia”; “Pass the Grogger!”; and “Christmas Cards.”

Check out her website at She is also a partner in Gemini Wordsmiths, a full-service copyediting and content creating company. Visit for more information and testimonials. Ann reviews books for Amazing Stories Magazine, an online sci-fi magazine which can be found at, and is an Assistant Editor for Red Sun Magazine, Her most recent publishing credit is a poem in the Fall 2015 issue of Space and Time Magazine. She is a graduate of the Bram Stoker award-winning author Jonathan Maberry’s short story writing class.

Elaine Crauder’s fiction is also in Cooweescoowee, The Boston Literary Magazine, The Eastern Iowa Review , and Penumbra. Another story received the Westmoreland Short Story Award. Eleven of her short stories have been finalists or semi-finalists in contests, including finalists in the Tobias Wolff and Mark Twain House contests. ”The Price Of A Pony,” under the title”Christmas the Hard Way,” was a semi-finalist for both Ruminate Magazine’s  short story prize and for the Salem College Center for Women Writers Reynolds Price short fiction award.

Richard D. “Ky” Owen is a lawyer with Goodwin & Goodwin, LLP, in Charleston, West Virginia. He earned a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University in 1981 and a J.D. from Hamline University in 1984. Coming from a family of writers, he considers himself a “writer by birth.” He is the author of
None Call Me Dad and he blogs about parenting and Michigan State sports on his website,

Keith R. Fentonmiller is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His Pushcart-nominated short story was recently published in the Stonecoast Review. His debut novel, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat, will be published March 20, 2017 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Based in Southern California, Dr. Lisa Montagne currently divides her time between writing poetry and prose, teaching writing to (mostly) willing college students, and overseeing educational technology projects and support at Fullerton College. She is also a Swing, Blues, and Argentine Tango dancer, host, DJ, and instructor. She likes to drink Champagne in as many places as she can, including Europe; to read poetry aloud to anybody who will listen; to cook for anybody who is willing to sit down long enough to enjoy her food; to dabble in drawing, painting, and photography; and to read anything plopped in front of her, ranging from D.H. Lawrence to Vogue magazine. She also likes to watch television and movies, and to imagine how much better she would have produced them herself. She lived in Las Vegas at one time, so she likes to tell people that she was a stripper there. She was really just a graduate student and high school teacher, but it’s more fun to let people wonder. Although rumored to be a direct descendent of Oompa Loompas, Lisa is actually the offspring of a college professor and a circus dwarf. You can find some more of her writing at and, and see evidence of her adventures @lisamlore on Instagram.

Lisa Diane Kastne is a former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, her short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as StraightJackets Magazine and HESA Inprint. In 2007 Kastner was featured in the Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery. She founded Running Wild Writers and is the former president of Pennwriters, Inc. ( She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State and her BS from Drexel University (She’s definitely full of it). Her novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was shortlisted in the fiction category of the William Faulkner Words and Wisdom Award and her memoir BREATHE was a semi-finalist in the nonfiction category of the same award. Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey she migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously engage in little sparks of anarchy.

Aimee LaBrie works as a communications director at Rutgers University. She earned her MFA in fiction from Penn State, and her MLA from University of Pennsylvania. Her short story collection, Wonderful Girl, was awarded the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction and published by the University of North Texas Press in 2007. Her second collection of stories, A Good Thing, placed as a finalist in the BOA Short Fiction Contest. Her short stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Pleiades, Minnesota Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Permafrost, and other literary journals. In 2012, she won first place in Zoetrope’s All-Story Fiction contest. You can read her blog at

Kristan Campbell is a short story writer born in Washington, D.C. but has only visited her grandmother there during some of the summers of her childhood. She’s more familiar with Philadelphia, New York City, and Paris than her native city and aims to weave her experiences in those places into tales based on places and people that are out of the ordinary. She studied Journalism at Temple University (what seemed like a practical approach to writing at the time) and Comparative Literature at Hunter College (which seemed like a fun idea at the time) before accepting that she should have been an English major all along. Kristan completed her B.A. in English at Temple University in 2010 and an MFA in Fiction at Fairfield
University in 2016. She’s currently attempting to eke out a living doing freelance editing with the help of her cat, Fishy, who manages her desktop printer with enthusiasm.

Bill Ed Scruggs spent his younger years meeting the Southern mountain countryside and exploring the people, taking time out as needed for work in various occupations. He lives (temporarily) in Connecticut and has one child, a psychiatrist. Presently he is reconstructing his memories and imaginings in a series of novels and short stories (Facebook page Foothills Fiction - Bill Ed Scruggs) Warrensburg is a fictional photo of a country village in the illumination of fireflies.

Joshua Hedges is a debut Science Fiction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Computer Science. When he’s not writing stories or code, he ventures outdoors with his wife and three-year-old son to hunt dragons in the forest.

Gary Zenker is a marketing professional whose days are filled with creating business and marketing plans, and writing ad copy and media content. By night, he applies his imagination to flash fiction tales that cross genre and focus on revealing various facets of human nature. He is the author of Meetup Leader, a book on running successful groups; is editor and publisher of 19 books in the rock & roll Archives series; and co-author of Says Seth, a humorous collection written with his then six-year-old son. His work has earned a dozen marketing awards and placed in four writers’ contests, including a first place recognition from Oxford University Press. He founded and continues to lead two writers groups in southeastern PA, assisting others to develop their skills and achieve their writing goals.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

Title: Kiss Me at Willoughby Close
Author: Kate Hewitt
Part of a series: Yes but can be read as a standalone
No. of pages: 206
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Format: eBook only - will be available on NetGalley
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Chick-Lit

 Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

After her husband unexpectedly dies, Ava moves to Willoughby Close, trying to keep her chin up and herself to herself as she’s always done—not answering questions, not making friends, and not seeing much of a future. Her marriage was far from perfect, but it offered her a much-needed security that has now been ripped away. She’s not sure what to do now that she’s thirty-five, widowed, penniless… and unexpectedly pregnant with her late husband’s child.

Jace Tucker is the over-the-top sexy caretaker of Willoughby Manor, and he can see beneath Ava’s glamor girl act to the hurt she’s been hiding for so long. She has secrets for a reason—and so does he. The last thing she needs right now is a fling with a man who hides a past as regrettable as her own.

But with a baby to think about, and neighbors determined to be her friends, Ava finds herself starting to change and even more alarmingly, beginning to hope. Can Willoughby Close work its everyday magic on a woman like her? And when the past comes calling for both her and Jace, will they have to answer for their previous mistakes?


“I’m sure you understand.”
     Four words, Ava Mitchell decided then and there, that were code for "you’re screwed and I don’t care". So she did the only thing she could in response and lifted her chin a little, curved her lips in a small smile, and said, “Of course.”
     Nigel Farraday, her husband’s solicitor, a man she and David had had over to dinner several times, gave her a quick, answering smile [MS1] of apology before dropping his gaze. Bastard. Not that there was anything he could do. He was just the messenger. It was David, her husband of five years that had left this world a week ago, who had really screwed her over.
     How could he have done this?
     “I hope,” Simon said, clearing his throat, “you don’t have any notion of contesting the will.”
     Ava swiveled to give her stepson—not that either of them would have ever referred to their relationship that way—what she hoped was a scathing look of disdain. It was one she’d mastered a long time ago, practicing it in the mirror, making sure she got it right. Mouth pursed, eyes electric before the lashes swept down, dismissing the person in question. It was important to have a look like that in her arsenal, to be able to dismiss someone before he or she dismissed her.
     But now, for some reason, she couldn’t quite manage it. She did the downward sweep of her lashes and felt [MS2] her eyes fill. No. No, no, no, she was not going to cry here, not in front of Simon and Emma, who had hated her from day one of her marriage to their father[MS3] . They’d probably given each other a victory high five when they’d found out about the will.
     Or maybe they’d already known? No, Ava didn’t think they had. Otherwise, she would have sensed it over the years—the smugness, the certain knowledge that all would be made right in their eyes. They just had to wait for their father to die first.
     “Ava?” Simon sounded impatient now. “I’d advise against taking legal action, if you’re thinking about it.” He pressed on, an iron edge to his tone. “The will is watertight. Isn’t it, Nigel?” He glanced back at the solicitor, sounding so smug it made Ava want to choke.
     Next to him Emma sat ramrod straight, her hands clenched together so tightly her knuckles were white. She hadn’t said a word to Ava since she’d entered the room ten minutes ago and had been lobbed this emotional grenade.
     The solicitor shifted in his seat. “Ah… yes, I would say that it is. More or less…”
     Ava almost felt sorry for him, squirming in his chair. He obviously didn’t want to be party to Simon and Emma’s—and David’s—ruthlessness. Or maybe it was just uncomfortable for him to feel so much hostility in the room. Either way, Ava didn’t have the energy to pity anyone else—her own situation was too dire.
     She blinked rapidly, willing her eyes to clear, and then lifted her chin. Again. “I won’t contest the will.” She didn’t have the money for a court case, and she had no doubt Simon and Emma would fight tooth and nail to make sure she didn’t get another penny, a penny they didn’t think she deserved. Brother and sister, they were a perfect pair, each as bitter and resentful as the other, at least when it came to her.
     The trouble was, she had no idea what she was going to do. How she was going to survive. After five years of fidelity, loyalty, and, yes, love, David had left her with ten thousand pounds, her clothes and jewelry, her car, and her Yorkshire terrier, Zuzu.

 [MS1]Noted for repeat use a little soon.
 [MS2]Noted for filter words / extra layer.
 [MS3]Noted for reference. I added this to avoid confusion. I didn't realize Emma was Simon's sister until later in the narrative.
About Kate Hewitt

Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of over 40 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at


Lucía Zárate by Cecilia Velástegui

I am happy to be a stop today on Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour’s Book Blast for  Lucia Zarate, a new book that shares the tale of young woman born in a difficult time for someone with a physical deformity. Read on to learn more.

Lucía Zárate by Cecilia Velástegui
Publication Date: June 5, 2017
Libros Publishing
Hardcover & eBook; 278 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
In this thrilling new historical novel, award-winning author Cecilia Velástegui again demonstrates her talent for creating spellbinding and haunting period pieces. Lucía Zárate is based on the poignant, real-life odyssey of the world’s smallest woman.
Pretty and gregarious, Lucía Zárate was just twenty inches tall. A celebrity after her ‘display’ at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, Lucía’s extraordinary, heartbreaking story is one of exploitation by greedy sideshow hucksters and a fishbowl existence on the road, from New York to Victorian London.
Snatched away from her parents at the age of twelve from Veracruz, Mexico, minuscule Lucía Zárate began her life’s arduous journey among Frank Uffner’s traveling troupe, in the care of an interpreter and protector. Despite Velástegui’s rigorous and extensive research, the name of Lucía’s interpreter has disappeared with the dust of time. Nonetheless, Velástegui masterfully creates Zoila, Lucía’s companion, as a character of depth and emotion.
Zoila is a woman who’s felt the sting of exploitation and exile at the hands of powerful vanilla growers in Mexico: her linguistic talents, wily temperament and compassion help her protect Lucia at all costs. She foils kidnapping attempts, teaches Lucia how to hold her own among European royalty, and facilitates a budding romance between Lucia and General Mite, a member of the traveling troupe of little people.
We follow the adventures of diminutive Lucía Zárate and the devoted Zoila as they grapple with life and death, finding joy and adventure in their bumpy sideshow journey of more than fourteen years. This is an artfully balanced novel that is a mesmerizing tale of survival, resilience, and the uplifting force of friendship.

About the Author
Cecilia Velástegui was born high up in the Andes mountains in Quito, Ecuador, where she spent her childhood. Although she now lives at sea level in Monarch Beach, California, she still has two friendly alpacas, Tupac and Khipus. Cecilia was raised in California and France, and has traveled extensively in over 50 countries. Her favorite country is always the most recent country she visited.
She received her graduate degree from the University of Southern California, and speaks four languages. She was a marriage and family therapist, but now she is a devoted writer. Cecilia is on the board of directors of several cultural and educational institutions.
Cecilia Velástegui’s novels include Gathering the Indigo Maidens, Traces of Bliss, Missing in Machu Picchu, Parisian Promises, Blessings from the Edge, and Lucía Zárate.
For more information please visit Cecilia Velástegui’s website:

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Africa Online Book Fair

The Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books is a weekend event, featuring 13 authors and 1 interview with an aspiring romance author. Each day will have a certain amount of authors that will showcase their books and who they are.

The online book fair takes place on Facebook. Here's a link to the event page.

Readers, you can come and go as you please since you don’t have to pay a ticket to enter or register. So come and meet your next favorite author! We’ll have discounted and free books, play games, you can win Amazon Gift Cards. Get a little bit closer to authors you want to chat with in real time and generally see what Africa’s got to offer for your romance taste buds.

There will be a Scavenger Hunt that you can enter and stand a chance to win a prize. You’ll have to go to every author’s post (“booth”) at the event and hunt for the number each author has “hidden” in one of their posts. At the end of the weekend you need to add up the amount and inbox co-host Kathy Bosman with your answer and she’ll draw a winner.

We are also running a sign up for our Newsletters competition that will start running with the Africa Online Book Fair blog tour from 17 to 31 May. You could win a 20$ Amazon Gift Card.

Sign up for as many newsletter as you want, each one is an entry:

The Winner will be announced after the fair.

Attending the online book fair and how it works is straightforward, especially for readers who’ve attended Facebook book parties. But also for readers who use the social network site daily.
All you need to do is go to our Event and click 'Going'. It's that easy!

The online book fair is for romance authors who are from Africa and authors who write romances set in Africa.

And don't forget to invite your friends!
Also join the group if you want updates on future book fairs from us.

Hope you have lots of fun and discover awesome reads.

Sheritha Singh 

1.     Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live on the KZN North Coast. By day I'm a a lecturer at a TVET College. 
I write in between work, studies and life. I've been writing since the age of 9 and decided I wanted to be a writer when I turned 13.  

2.     What do you enjoy about being an author?

Losing myself in an alternate universe where nothing is as it seems.

3.     What type of romance stories do you write? And why?

Young adult paranormal, New Adult sci-fi and contemporary, romantic suspense, adult contemporary. 
I write in different genres because my imagination allows me to. 
Some days I prefer contemp, others something extraordinary.
It depends on my muse, I guess.

4.     Favorite place in Africa? 

The Boathouse, Ballito. I did a photoshoot there when I turned 40 last year

5.     Why do you think African romance authors and stories set on the continent are important?

In my opinion we as African writers are under rated. South African hotspots like Cape Town, Sandton, Durban, Ballito, Plettenberg Bay are all ideal locations for jet-setting billionaire romances but are under used. It's important for readers to know we fall in love too, we have bilionaires, we have upper class hot spots. Perhaps this can influence tourism also.

6.     Do you think romance stories set in Africa & Africans vital to the publishing industry? If yes/no, why do you say so?  
Yes. As above.  

7.     What traditional food do you love, that one can only find in Africa? 

Bunny Chow. Curry and phutu.    Braaied meat.  

Contact the author
Twitter: @Shersinghzn

Africa Online Book Fair Links:

Facebook Group Page:

Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr

Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair