Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Chasing Moonbeams in Merriment Bay by Emily Harvale




Chasing Moonbeams in Merriment Bay by Emily Harvale


Chasing Moonbeams in Merriment Bay by Emily Harvale
Genre: Women’s fiction / rom com



Standalone and Book 2 in Merriment Bay series

Estimated Page Count - 275


Cat has found true happiness in Merriment Bay. Will a discovery in Devon Villa change that?
Cat Devon is finally with the love of her life – and she couldn’t be happier about that. But discovering the identity of her real dad and the fact she has two half-brothers was a shock. Getting to know her new family is now a priority.
Kyra Devon is only eighteen, but she’s more mature than her mum in many ways and is coping far better with everything that’s happened. Kyra knows what she wants and unlike Cat, she’s not going to let opportunities slip away.
Mary Devon has regained her daughter and her granddaughter, but she’s grieving for her mother, and also for the loss of the love she thought she’d found. Putting on a brave face may not be the best way for Mary to get over it.
When a long-lost painting called Moonbeams Kiss is discovered in a hidden cellar beneath the floorboards in Devon Villa, a story of love, loss and treachery unfolds, bringing with it repercussions for each of the Devon women.
This is Book Two in Emily Harvale’s Merriment Bay series which is interconnected to her Wyntersleap series. Each series can be read alone, but several characters appear in both series.



Another heart warming escape read from Emily Harvale. You can read this as a stand alone but I think you will get more out of it if you meet the family in the preceeding novel. Such a joy to visit them once more.  The right dose of romance, an interesting mystery to solve, and incredible setting description. I like the historical aspects that do not overtake the enjoyment of escape.





Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.
Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at http://www.emilyharvale.com.
Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA and the RWA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.






Killer Deadlline by Lauren Carr


KILLER DEADLINE

Join us for this tour from April 20 to May 22, 2020!


"Lauren Carr's books are never boring, that's for sure. They entertain, give us a good mystery to dig into, keep the reader guessing, give us a few good laughs and make us eager for the next book. Warning: Lauren Carr's series are addictive, so be ready to read more than just one book!"
 - Laura Fabiani, Library of Clean Reads 



Book Details:

Book TitleKiller Deadline (A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  232 pages
Genre:  Mystery/Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   April 23, 2020
Content Rating: G. This is a true cozy mystery. No sex. No on-stage violence. No swearing. Just good clean fun!

"Here we go! Carr is a master storyteller who always offers a plot full of twists and turns, a bit of humor to offset the dark, and a unique cast of characters. In Killer Deadline that cast includes - handsome Ryan, her first love (who is now her step-brother); a mysterious social media friend called Nerdy Guy; Elmo, a super smart dog, a boxer, she rescued who has become asocial media star and has a penchant for cleaning; a TV station full of suspicious employees; and more.

"This book is a wonderful read to pick up at the end of a long day. It truly is a "cozy murder mystery."  I promise, it'll draw you in right from page one and keep you turning the pages until you reach the very last page. I can't wait for the second book in this series." - Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn


Book Description:

Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist.

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life—the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder.

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father?

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer—no matter what it takes.


Order Your Copy Today!
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Interview with Elmo of the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries



Today, we are thrilled to sit down with Elmo, Nikki Bryant’s boxer dog sidekick, in Lauren Carr’s Killer Deadline, the first installment in the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries.



 Thank you so much for joining me today, Elmo! Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to live with investigative journalist Nikki Bryant?

I’m a boxer. Not the fighter, but the canine. I have a short stubby nose. Someone recently said I looked like I had rear-ended a truck, which I don’t think was very nice.
Nikki says ugly is the new beautiful. She says I have beautiful brown eyes.
Anyway, Nikki and I first met at an animal shelter. I hated it there. They’d put me in a cage.
Me! In a cage, of all places!

My first human, Clara had picked me up in the park. My brothers and sister had all gotten adopted real fast. But me? 
Hey, I may have been the runt of the litter, but I have a lot to offer. Clara saw that.
She was kind of old and lived alone. She wasn’t looking to adopt anyone, especially a puppy, but she said that as soon as she got a look at my handsome face, she had to have me.

Now, like I said, Clara was kind of up there in years.
She kind of had a hard time moving around. So I’d help her out. Just because Clara was old didn’t mean she didn’t know how to use her mind. She looked online and found some articles and videos about teaching service dogs. So, she taught me how to get stuff for her, pick up things, open doors, run the vacuum cleaner, do laundry.

But, alas, our time was not for long. One night, someone broke in and locked me in the closet. It was dark, but I saw who killed my human. I swore right then and there that if I every caught up with him, I’d let him have it.

Of course, the police would not listen to me. They just hauled me off to the animal shelter.
For days, I sat alone in my cage—planning my revenge on Clara’s killer.
Then, she walked in. But she wasn’t just cruising for a pet. She was looking for me.  You see, Clara’s sister wasn’t happy about the progress the police were making. So she called Nikki Bryant, investigative journalist. She’d seen Nikki on the news and figured that if anyone could move things along, Nikki Bryant could. She was rrrright, too!

When Nikki found out that I was an actual witness to the crime, she came to bust me out of the shelter—just in time for Clara’s funeral.
Wouldn’t you know it? Clara’s killer was there, and I identified him. I put my mark right on the seat of his pants!
I took a bite out of crime and Nikki Bryant got a great story.
We’ve been partners ever since.

 What's a typical day like for you?

There is no typical day when you live with Nikki Bryant. But I’ll try.
I like to get up at the crack of dawn to go running with Ryan. He’s the human that lives in the apartment above the garage.
He and Nikki really like each other. I guess they should. They’ve known each other like forever. Except for the fifteen years that they didn’t speak to each other, but that’s another story.


Ryan is the head of the local crime scene unit with the state police.
I’ll tell you a secret. Nikki really came home to Pine Grove see Ryan again, thought she’ll never admit it. Hey, you didn’t hear it from me.
So, to get back to my average day.
After a good run, and grab some breakfast and then chase the squirrels in the garden.
Squirrels need their exercise, too!
Then, I jump in the back seat of Nikki’s car and we go to WKPG-TV where I can catch my morning nap in my bed in Nikki’s office.
At WKPG-TV, Nikki plays boss. Well, she doesn’t play the boss. She is the boss. Her family owns the station. In reality, she’s on the lookout for a new mystery to chase.  She can’t help herself. If we’re lucky, we get to go chase down a lead or a clue on a mystery.
If not, then we can go home, and I can do some chores.
Today, I’m helping Nikki get caught up on her laundry.

You do the laundry?


I have some trouble folding. Duclaws weren’t made for folding. But yeah. I can load the dishwasher, too. But Nikki won’t let me unload it.

Before dinner, I encourage the squirrels in the back yard to take a few more laps up and down the trees and across the roofs. That’s why our squirrels are so fit. I am a big advocate for keeping on the move.


Then, I’ll go hang out with Ryan for a bit. Nikki will have to come over to his apartment to “look for me.” Yeah, right. She knows right where I am. There’s no looking—unless you want to count that lovey-dovey look in her eyes while she’s batting them at him—until she spots a stray case file on his kitchen table.
Then, it’s off to the races again as Nikki goes chasing another mystery.

 How do you feel about cats? I understand you live with two.
(stunned disbelief)
 I do!
Lucy and Ethel.
They’re cats?
Yes. They’re hairless Sphynx cats.
Oh! So that’s what they are. With their triangular-shaped heads and big eyes, I thought they were small aliens from outer space. I guess I shouldn’t have reported them to the FBI.



 What's the biggest trouble you've ever gotten into?


Trolling Doug the Pug on Instagram. Nikki said that was so not cool. I can’t help it. I’m cuter than he is. Besides, I actually do stuff to deserve my popularity on social media. I do have over a hundred thousand followers. I’m what you call a “social influencer.” I go out with the journalists at WKPG-TV to interview people, and visit the seniors at the nursing homes, and I do charity work.
What does Doug do to deserve his following? It’s no fair! My eyes are prettier than his. Don’t you think? Tell me.
Don’t you think my eyes are prettier than Doug the Pug’s?

 Of course, they are, Elmo. Can you tell us about Killer Deadline?


In Killer Deadline, Nikki and I leave Las Vegas where she was working to return back to her hometown of Pine Grove. Her mother had decided to retire from running the family’s television station to travel with her husband, Nikki’s stepfather, who also happens to be Ryan’s father. That makes  Ryan her stepbrother. But don’t tell her that. For some odd reason that I don’t understand, she gets mad when anyone mentions it.

Well, before Nikki has time to unpack her car, she stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? 
Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father? 

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer—no matter what it takes.



 Final thoughts for your adoring public?

Sure! Read all about me and Nikki Bryant and Ryan in Killer Deadline today.  


This is a book about second chances and murder. Secrets kept and revealed.
Told as only Lauren Carr can, with humor and an eye for detail. Sprinkled throughout with clues.
Elmo is a natural charmer and a delight to spend time with.
As he tries to make sense of life with Lucy and Ethyl, he also has to help Nikki's "one who got away" keep her safe.
Nikki takes on the challenge of keeping the family business afloat amidst extreme personnel challenges whle trying to find closure in the truth surrounding her father's murder.  She also deals with a huge change in her relationship with that same one-who-got-away.
Such a great escape from our own troubles during trying times.

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Killer Deadline marks Lauren's first venture into mystery's purely cozy sub-genre with a female protagonist.


Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram ~ Pinterest

Tour Schedule:
April 20 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
April 20 - Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway
April 20 - Michelle's Goodreads – book review
April 21 - Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
April 21 - The avid reader – book spotlight / giveaway
April 22 - Thoughts in Progress – book spotlight / giveaway
April 22 - Brooke Blogs – book spotlight / giveaway
April 23 - My Reading Journeys – book review / giveaway
April 23 - Christa Reads and Writes – book review / giveaway
April 23 - Sefina Hawke's Books – book spotlight
April 23 - Books for Books – book spotlight
April 24 - Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
April 27 -Cassidy's Bookshelves – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 28 - It’s All About the Book – book review / giveaway
April 28 - Down the Rabbit Hole – book review / author interview / giveaway
April 29 - Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
April 29 - Laura's Interests – book review / guest post / giveaway
April 30 - I'm Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway
April 30 - Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
May 1 -
May 4 -
May 5 - She Just Loves Books – book review / giveaway
May 6 - A Madison Mom – book review / giveaway
May 7 - Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
May 8 – Adventurous Bookworm – book review / giveaway
May 11 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
May 12 - Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway
May 13 – FUONLYKNEW – book review / giveaway
May 14 – fundinmental – book review / giveaway
May 15 - Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
May 15 – Adventurous Jessy – book review / giveaway
May 18 – Mowgli with a book – book review
May 19 – Pause for Tales – book review / giveaway
May 20 – Peaceful Pastime – book review
May 20 - eBook Addicts – book review
May 21 – Books and Zebras – book spotlight / giveaway
May 22 -  Sahar's Blog – book review

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PERILS AND PEARLS by Hulda Bachman-Neeb



Join us for this tour from Apr 13 to May 1, 2020!                 






Book Details:
Book Title Perils and Pearls: In World War II, a Family's Story of Survival and Freedom from Japanese Jungle Prison Camps by Hulda Bachman-Neeb
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction, 190 pages
Genre Memoir / Japanese History
Publisher BristleCone Press
Release date:   September, 2019
Content Rating: PG: T
here are mentions of decapitation and ugly jail or camp scenes and murder. No bad words, no expletives, no drug use and no drinking.

"The story of our Dutch family being ripped apart isn't unique. Millions suffered beyond description during the war. However, today, I have the opportunity to share our story with others so that they may know just how priceless their freedom is. That is my sincerest wish in bringing this book to the general public." - Hulda Bachmann-Neeb


Book Description:

In World War II much of Asia fell under Japanese control after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. All non-Asians were imprisoned in concentration camps until August of 1945, the end of the war in the Pacific. This is the story of a Dutch family, resident in the Dutch East Indies, that fell victim to the Japanese occupation and was interned in jungle camps throughout the war. It tells the journey from riches to rags, from fear and suffering, to the joy of freedom and recovery.



Meet the Author:
What are my main interests?


First and foremost ranks my love of classical music. Many a Sunday my husband and I have a midday lunch, so we have the afternoon and evening to play our music. More often than not, we watch a DVD of a Mozart opera. The more we listen, the more we know we cannot possibly fathom his creations. We traveled to Vienna and Salzburg with our book: ”In Mozart’s footsteps.” We grew closer to him, but not anywhere closer to understanding his talent. My husband says: “It comes from Above”. A conductor was once asked which composer he loved most: Beethoven or Mozart. He answered: “Beethoven takes us to heaven, Mozart comes from there.” Traditionally, we listen to Bach’s Sint Matthew’s Passion on Palm Sunday. These interests answer to my interest in the Beyond. 
On my travels with the Netherlands Foreign Office, I had come across strange phenomena. In Sri Lanka pilgrims walked on beds of coal without blisters or hung themselves from hooks on trees without shedding too much blood. All for penitence and enriching the subconscious.
This got me into books, into Sufism, into Buddhism and finally into Christianity, where I belong.

In between music and study, I play lots of golf, and have been playing since my early twenties. While in the Foreign Service on my assignments the game enabled me to join local clubs and get acquainted with the people of the country. It is a great game, played always in the most spectacular surroundings on meticulously kept green fairways with beautiful grass. A typical round takes about 3 to 4 hours, spent in nature and fresh air with friends. I don’t play a musical instrument, I don’t sew, I don’t cook (other than getting a simple meal on the table), I don’t draw or paint, but I read, listen to music and play golf. And I volunteer where and when I can.





Hulda Bachman–Neeb was born in Indonesia of colonial Dutch parentage two years before the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. Because much of Asia fell under Japanese control, all non-Asians were imprisoned in concentration camps until August of 1945, the end of the war in the Pacific. As a member of the Dutch Foreign Service in her adult life, Hulda held assignments in twenty-five countries over a period of thirty-six years, retiring in 1996. She is married to an American, James Bachman, a historian and author, and has dual citizenship. Hulda and her husband live in Estes Park, Colorado.

Connect with the author:    website ~ facebook ~ twitter





Told from the recollections and journal entries of the author's parents' points of view, along with historical fact, this book will appeal to nonfiction readers who want both the historical as well as personal aspects of war. The beginning has a poetic feel, I believe influenced by the author's father, who seems to have been not only a man of medicine but who appreciated history and, from the language, literature alike. It calls to me like works I have discovered via our own local historical society presentations and library talks. Quotes at the beginning of each chapter, maps and photographs add to that appeal.
The author's grandfather had entrepreneurial leanings, which meant never resting after one endeavor, and her mother had a love of nature and the natural environment, even when it scared her. The strength of this woman was incredible! Her family was her focus and even when tortured or raped, she did what she had to in order to not only survive but push the limits of what her captors allowed. In some cases I felt this earned her a bit more respect but it made me hold my breath to fear retaliation.
Squalid and uncertain conditions during a time of forced encampment did not break their human spirit. I am not saying luck did not play a role, but mindset and determination were, I believe, the deciding factors. Regardless of how a reader interprets the political ramifications of this book, overall it is a fascinating read.

















Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Perils and Lace: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery (Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Series) by Gayle Leeson

Perils and Lace: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery (Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Series) by Gayle Leeson

 Perils and Lace

 
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Publisher: Grace Abraham Publishing 
Number of Pages - 212 (approx.) 
Digital ASIN: B086KXY34W
A murderer outwitting a quirky flapper ghost? Seams unlikely!
Budding retro fashion designer and entrepreneur Amanda Tucker is thrilled about making costumes for Winter Garden High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast. But when the play’s director Sandra Kelly is poisoned, Amanda realizes there’s a murderer in their midst. She’s determined to keep herself and the students safe, so when her ghostly fashionista friend Max suggests they investigate, Amanda rolls up her sleeves and prepares to follow the deadly pattern…


Set in a small grouping of storefronts with a neighborly feel, much of the action in this book center around the local high school. Amanda, our main character, is doing the costume design for the musical play. Grandpa Dave is called upon to help with bulding sets and local shop owners begin to get in spirit and contribute their talents.
Not to feel left out, ghost Max, who can't leave the premises, is introduced to live feed social media. This can't possibly go well. She also learns that they can research her geneology via the internet.
There is a murder but it almost takes a back seat to other gossip and speculation. I still rate this book and series a full five stars for enjoyment level. The "secondary" characters are as much fun and I like them as much as Amanda.

About Gayle Leeson


Amanda Lee, she wrote the Embroidery Mystery series, and as Gayle Trent, she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. 
Going forward, Gayle intends to keep her writing until the Gayle Leeson name. 
She has a series of women's fiction novellas set in a shopping mall that has been converted to include micro-apartments (the Kinsey Falls series) and is enjoying writing the Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Series, the Down South Cafe series, and co-writing the Victoria Square series with Lorraine Bartlett.

  Author Links
  Websites: https://www.ghostlyfashionista.com/current-release and https://www.gayleleeson.com
Newsletter sign-up form: https://forms.aweber.com/form/14/1780369214.htm
  Twitter: @GayleTrent
  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GayleLeeson/
  Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Gayle-Leeson/e/B01NBSTBDU/
  BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/gayle-leeson
  Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/426208.Gayle_Trent

  Purchase Link - Amazon



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Friday, April 24, 2020

Diver's Paradise by Davin Goodwin

Diver's Paradise by Davin Goodwin Banner

Diver's Paradise

by Davin Goodwin

on Tour April 6 - May 8, 2020

Synopsis:

Diver's Paradise by Davin Goodwin
After 25 years on the job, Detective Roscoe Conklin trades his badge for a pair of shorts and sandals and moves to Bonaire, a small island nestled in the southern Caribbean. But the warm water, palm trees, and sunsets are derailed when his long-time police-buddy friend back home, is murdered.

Conklin dusts off a few markers and calls his old department, trolling for information. It’s slow going. No surprise, there. After all, it’s an active investigation, and his compadres back home aren’t saying a damn thing.

He’s 2,000 miles away, living in paradise. Does he really think he can help? They suggest he go to the beach and catch some rays.

For Conklin, it’s not that simple. Outside looking in? Not him. Never has been. Never will be.

When a suspicious mishap lands his significant other, Arabella, in the hospital, the island police conduct, at best, a sluggish investigation, stonewalling progress. Conklin questions the evidence and challenges the department’s methods. Something isn’t right.

Arabella wasn’t the intended target.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 1608093832 (ISBN13: 9781608093830)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

With the windows down and the top off, the warm Bonaire-island breeze flowed through the cabin of my four-door Jeep Wrangler. I glanced right, across the sea, savoring the salt-filled air. A brilliant shade of blue—one found only in the Caribbean—filled the cloudless sky.
Living on Bonaire, I never worried about traffic lights or big city hustle and bustle. With fewer crowds and more locals, I considered this tiny island my undiscovered paradise, not yet spoiled by restaurant chains, high-rises, or all-inclusive resorts. Scooters and bicycles were primary transportation for many, while others walked, greeting each other with smiles and waves. The culture, best described as laid-back with an unhurried pace, continued to have that slow, relaxed feel of the old Caribbean.
Unhurried, unspoiled, unforgettable.
My phone rang as I turned left, heading north on the road called Kaya International, toward Kralendijk. Even island life has its flaws.
Damn cell phones.
“Hello, Erika,” I said.
“Hello, R. You are on your way back?”
My full name is Roscoe Conklin. However, most folks refer to me as R. “Yes. Do you need anything?”
“It is Friday,” she said. A Bonaire native, and having lived on the island her entire life, Erika spoke English as a third, maybe fourth, language. As with most of the local population, her speech contained a hint of Dutch accent and reminded me of someone who wanted to sound formal and correct, but sometimes placed words in the wrong order.
“Yes, it is Friday… all day,” I said.
“I must leave early today.”
She had reminded me three times since noon. I smiled, downshifting around a curve.
“I know, I know. You must have a wonderful boss.”
“I did have a wonderful boss. Now I work for you.”
“Yes, you do.” I sighed. “Need anything?”
“I need a raise.”
I shook my head. “Anything else?”
“I do not think so.”
“See you soon.”
A few turns later, I stopped for a road-crossing iguana, or tree chicken as they’re called on Bonaire. It stood in the middle of the lane and swiveled an eye my direction which I considered a gesture of gratitude for saving its life. Even so, this guy had better quicken the pace. Many locals considered iguanas a food source, and one this size—maybe three feet long from head to tail—would be a prized catch.
We studied each other a moment or two, then I beeped the horn, ending our one-sided standoff. The iguana scurried away and found refuge in the roadside underbrush.
I pulled into the parking lot of the YellowRock Resort, which I owned, courtesy of my life savings and a large chunk of my pension. The Resort part, however, was a bit of a misnomer. It was a 10-unit ma-and-pa type hotel with a front reception area and a small apartment upstairs where I lived.
Guilt shot through me knowing the roof leaked in several units, and, scattered along the path, yellow flakes of paint reminded me of some much-needed upkeep. Bonaire is an island for water lovers and, most days, I wished for more time in the sea. Retired, and in no hurry to overwork myself, I struggled to stay ahead of the repairs. Erika seemed her happiest when keeping me busy.
I’d be lost, though, without her.
Before going into the office, I walked around the side of the building. Mounds of dirt, a cement mixing tool, and several wooden forms laid haphazardly around a partially repaired section of the foundation. The mess had cluttered the small side yard between the YellowRock and the building next door for several weeks. Neither the contractor responsible for the work nor any of his crew had bothered to show for work in several days. He wanted more money to finish; I wanted the job completed before paying him another cent. A stalemate like this on Bonaire—on island time—could last for months. Shaking my head, I walked into the guest reception area, which also doubled as the office, on the first floor.
Erika sat behind an old gray desk that reminded me of something from a 1960’s secretarial office. I did my work on an identical one against the back wall, and a third, stacked high with papers and other junk, gathered dust in the corner. The place needed an upgrade, but the retro decor of our cozy office served our function and suited us well.
Erika punched away at a computer keyboard, acting as if she hadn’t seen me enter. Her yellow polo, embroidered with YellowRock Resort on the upper left shoulder, deepened the tint of her dark skin. She refused to tell me her age, but insisted she was older than me “by several years.” I loved her like a big sister, and most of the time, she treated me like a little brother.
With black-rimmed glasses perched halfway down her nose, she rolled her eyes as I walked by her desk. “There are still some papers on your desk that still need your signature,” she said, turning back to her work.
“Hello to you, too.”
I laid a plastic bag on my desk and retrieved a bottle of water—or awa as it’s called in the native language of Papiamento—from the small fridge in the corner. I sat and put my feet on Erika’s desk, playing a game with myself by blocking out most of her face with my size eleven sandals. Her modest afro formed a dark halo around the tops of my toes.
“You still have not fixed the problem with that bathroom light.” She continued to gaze at the computer, not giving me the satisfaction of showing the least bit of aggravation.
I didn’t say anything and hoped she’d look over and see the soles of my sandals.
“The light?” she said.
I decided I’d better answer. “Which unit?” I glanced at the bags I’d placed on my desk. They contained several packages of light bulbs.
“You know which unit.”
“It’s just a light bulb.”
“Then it will be easy to fix, yes?”
“I’ll get it tomorrow.”
She moved her head to look around my sandals. “That is what you said last month about the paint.” She grabbed a small stack of papers, slapped my feet with them and turned back to her work, muttering “hende fresku.”
My Papiamento wasn’t good, but I got the gist of what she said. “What would I do without you?” I lowered my feet to the floor.
Knowing how far to push was most of the fun.
“Don’t forget you have some friends arriving on tomorrow afternoon’s flight,” Erika said. “You’ll need to meet them at the airport.”
“Yup, I remember. Tiffany and her boyfriend.”
She removed her glasses, laid them on the desk, and leaned forward resting on her elbows. “And how does that make you feel?”
I knew what she trolled for but didn’t bite. Tiffany and I had met during a case many years ago and were friends long before I moved to the island. She had visited me on Bonaire in the past and decided to bring her new boyfriend along on this trip.
“I feel fine about it.”
“You know what I mean.” She leaned back in her chair. “When do you plan to introduce her to Arabella?”
“Tiffany is a friend. That’s all she’s ever been. Nothing more, nothing less.” I took a swig of water and wiped my mouth with the back of my arm. Letting out an exaggerated “Ahh,” I concentrated on screwing the cap on the bottle before continuing. “Erika, you think you know more than you actually do.”
“Uh-huh.” She put her glasses back on, grabbed the stack of papers, and walked to the filing cabinet.
Wanting the conversation to end, I stood and headed up the stairs leading from the office to my apartment. “I’m going to take a shower. Have a nice weekend and don’t forget to lock up when you leave.”
Entering my apartment, I went straight to the fridge for a cold beer, my favorite being an Amstel Bright. The advertisements described it as a “Euro Pale Lager,” whatever that meant. Most of the bars and restaurants served it with a slice of lime wedged atop the bottle’s neck. At home, I didn’t waste time slicing limes.
Unlike Jeff “The Big” Lebowski, I liked the Eagles and Creedence, so I popped the Eagles Greatest Hits, Volume 1 into the CD player and sat in front of my computer to check email. Twelve new messages. Eleven went straight to my junk folder, but one had a recognizable address—Marko Martijn, the contractor responsible for the unfinished foundation work. Before I clicked it open, my cell phone rang.
“What’s up, Bella?” I said.
“Hey, Conklin, happy birthday.”
I laughed. “Thanks, but you’re a little early.”
“I know, but since it will be the big five-oh, I thought your memory might slip and needed a reminder.”
“Yeah, that’s funny.” Arabella was from the Netherlands, and I’d found sarcasm doesn’t always work on the Dutch.
“I thought so. I called to see how you are doing.”
“Well… I’m about to take a shower. Want to join me?”
“I wish I could, but I am on my way to work. They called me in to work the desk tonight.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Yes, for both of us. It is that new inspector, Schleper. He thinks we are at his beck and call.”
I walked out on the balcony and sat on a lounger facing the sea. “Yup, sounds familiar.”
“Ach. You think he would give me more respect.” She exhaled a short, hard breath. “I’ve been a cop for ten years on this island. Longer than him!”
Changing the conversation, I asked, “We still running tomorrow morning?”
“You bet. Eight kilometers?”
“If you mean four point nine miles, then yes.”
She laughed. “No, I mean eight kilometers.”
“Ah, forgive me. My measurements are still strictly American.”
“I will forgive you. You are drinking a beer right now?”
“Yup. Need to drink away my sorrows before I shower. Alone.”
“Do not drink too much. I do not want to hear excuses for tomorrow’s run.”
“Maybe one more, then I have some paperwork to do. Or maybe change a lightbulb.”
“Yeah, right. You are drinking, so you will not do more work tonight.
“Hey…”
“I will see you tomorrow. Usual time?”
“Yup. Good night.”
She chuckled. “I will send you a text reminder.”
I seldom read text messages and never answered them, but the phone pinged as soon as I set it down. She’d included the words “old man” as part of the reminder about our run.
The sun had moved closer to the distant horizon, creating an orange aura behind the few low clouds. Palm trees and sunsets. Tough to find a more relaxing setting. I nursed my beer and watched the sparse traffic crawl along the one-lane road that ran between the YellowRock Resort and the sea.
I imagined Erika’s delight in arriving at work in the morning and finding the light fixed. It’d be easy—just a bulb. As I headed towards the stairs to retrieve the bags sitting on my office desk, the landline phone rang; the one used most often for off-island communications. It might’ve been a future guest wanting to make a reservation at the YellowRock or maybe an old friend from the States calling to chat me up about retirement in paradise.
Darkness was settling over the vast, smooth sea and I took a swig of beer, not interested in answering the phone, content with letting voicemail do its job. Besides, the Eagles were telling me to take it easy, and, regardless of the lightbulb, that sounded like a good idea. Arabella was right. I was drinking; my work finished for the night.
Second ring.
Nearby, my banjo sat on its stand. Erika had kept me busy enough lately that practice had eluded me. Picking some tunes sounded good.
Third ring.
Turning around, I noticed my old 7-iron propped in the corner. I hadn’t played golf since moving to Bonaire five years ago but still fed the urge to practice my swing. Make sure my elbow stayed tucked, and the clubface didn’t open.
Fourth ring.
Or I could swap the Eagles CD for Creedence, sit on the balcony, and drink another beer or two or three, watching the sun settle below the horizon. Maybe skip the shower, doze off early, and catch a few Zs to the rhythm of the waves.
Fifth ring.
I could’ve done any of those things but didn’t.
Instead, I went to my desk and answered the phone.
***
Excerpt from Diver's Paradise by Davin Goodwin. Copyright 2020 by Davin Goodwin. Reproduced with permission from Davin Goodwin. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Davin Goodwin
My family members have always been epic storytellers. I regularly wrote short stories in high school and college and, later in life, freelanced several articles for trade and industry publications. For years, the idea of writing a novel bounced around in the back of my mind, but never found its way out of the darkness.
My wife, Leslie (Double L), and I have visited the island of Bonaire nearly 30 times over the past 20 years, many of those trips for extended periods. The island is a perfect setting for the style of novel I wanted to write. Yes, the book would be a murder mystery, but I needed a laid-back, slightly exotic setting. And I wanted the book to partially center around scuba diving, an activity Les and I enjoy together as often as possible.
During the Spring of 2010, with mild coaxing from friends and family, the concept of Diver's Paradise came to fruition. However, after close to a year of writing, I gave up, not touching the story for almost six years. In the Spring of 2017, I pulled out the tattered manuscript, rewrote and edited till blue in the face, then endured daily heart palpitations, waiting for submission responses from agents and publishers.
Nine months after my first submission, and after agonizing through a boatload of rejections, Oceanview Publishing—to my good luck—offered a contract. I would be a published author.
Diver’s Paradise launches on April 7, 2020 in Hard Cover and eBook, followed later in paperback.
I enjoy being outdoors when the weather is nice. I don’t particularly like snow and cold weather, which can be problematic dwelling in the frigid, midwestern state of Wisconsin.
Exercise is a passion of mine, although I don’t do it as intensely as in past years. Running, biking, and swimming are my favorites. As of several years ago, golf and I decided that we can no longer be friends.
Through high school and college, I played violin in the orchestras and community ensembles. Much to the chagrin of those close to me, around the age of sixteen I was struck with an uncontrollable desire to play the 5-string banjo. And play I did.
Hours and hours a day.
Everyday.
In 1992, the band I played with at the time, travelled to the Ukraine and performed in the International Kiev Music Festival. I’ve also performed on radio, TV, and recorded on several albums.
I’m 58 years old and live in Madison, WI. Originally from Rockford, IL, I went to college at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR., graduating with a degree in Computer Science. I’m married and have one daughter and one stepson, both grown.
Professionally, I have roughly 30 years’ experience in the technology industry and currently manage a group of software developers for a local, mid-sized company. In the past, I’ve owned several small businesses, worked as an aerial photographer, a semi-professional banjo player, a flight instructor, and a real estate investor.
Future Plans: Continue the Roscoe Conklin series, hopefully, for a long time.

Catch Up With Davin Goodwin On:
DavinGoodwinAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @dgoodwin7757
Facebook - @authordavingoodwin
Instagram - davin_goodwin_author




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Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Wheelwright's Daughter by Eleanor Porter





Can she save herself from a witch's fate?


Praise for The Wheelwright's Daughter:

'It's a gripping story and such accomplished writing. I really enjoyed every moment of working on it.' Yvonne Holland, editor of Philippa Gregory and Tracy Chevalier






Find it on Goodreads



Martha is a feisty and articulate young woman, the daughter of a wheelwright, living in a Herefordshire village in Elizabethan England.
With no mother Martha's life is spent running her father's meagre household and helping out at the local school whilst longing to escape the confines and small-mindedness of a community driven by religious bigotry and poverty.


As she is able to read and is well-versed in herbal remedies she is suspected of being a witch.
When a landslip occurs - opening up a huge chasm in the centre of the village - she is blamed for it and pursued remorselessly by the villagers.


But can her own wits and the love of local stablehand Jacob save her from a witch's persecution and death...

A brilliant and accomplished novel that perfectly captures the febrile atmosphere of Elizabethan village life in an age when suspicion and superstition were rife. Perfect for fans of Tracy Chevalier.



WOW!  Atmospheric and enchanting. I was pulled in immediately.
If this is a debut novel, I foresee great things from this author.

Extremely well researched, the lyrical language flows so beautifully.
Even though this is a dark tale, the phrasing sings to the reader.

"Gorrell-bellied striplings ~ their chins were as hairless as a plucked turkey's arse."

Who can resist chuckiling at the imagery?
"They'd never dream higher than a hedge."


 Caught in an age when women had few choices, were seen as property, and superstition ran rampant. Those who had the money had the power.
Even the men of the cloth were seen as evil, although one dared not say it in proper company. That is not to say it wasn't true.

Being educated was a curse upon dark skinned Martha rather than a blessing.
Growing up without a mother made her especially susceptible.
She and her father were favored within the communitybecause of hs skill, when he wasn't drunk. Unfortunately, that was a small percentage of time.

Fans of BBC dramas will not be able to set this book down!


Eleanor Porter