Friday, April 28, 2017

Meet the Author: Doug Cooper, Author of The Investment Club




Doug Cooper is the author of the award-winning novel Outside In and The Investment Club available October 2016. He has a BS in Mathematics Education from Miami University and a MA in American Studies from Saint Louis University. Always searching, he has traveled to over twenty countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love. Originally from Port Clinton, Ohio, he has also called Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit, New York, and Oslo, Norway home. He now lives in Cleveland working on his third novel Focus Lost.

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Title: THE INVESTMENT CLUB
Author: Doug Cooper
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Pages: 362
Genre: Literary/Upmarket Fiction

Forty million people visit Vegas every year but most never get past the strip. What about the people who live there? What brought them there? What keeps them there?

Told from the perspective of a seasoned blackjack dealer, The Investment Club tells the stories of a self-destructive, dwarf entrepreneur, a drug-addicted musical performer-turned-stripper, a retired, widowed New Jersey policeman, a bereaved, divorced female sportscaster, and a card-counting, former Catholic priest before and after their fateful meeting at the El Cortez Casino in downtown Vegas.

As the five learn the greatest return comes from investing in one another, their lives stabilize and take on new, positive directions. But their love and support for each other can take them only so far before they must determine the meaning and value of their own lives.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 





What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

Being a writer evolved for me over a long period of time. When I was in fourth grade, we wrote a newspaper article for the local paper as an assignment. The newspaper editor picked mine as one to run in the paper. In high school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher and won departmental awards in both math and English. But when deciding what subject to study at university, being a seventeen year-old boy, I chose math because I didn’t want to grade all those English papers. Around my junior year at Miami University in the Math Education program, I realized I made a mistake and wanted to write. I stuck it out though and graduated and worked for five years as a math teacher getting a Masters in American Studies and committed to being a writer.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

I don’t go as far as to physically taking notes, but I definitely study what I’m watching and always have the closed caption on to see the dialogue as well. I also read all the message boards after the episodes to see reactions from fans and actively discuss shows with other friends who are into the same programs. I really believe we are in a golden age of television drama. So many good shows on a variety of networks.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

I’ve always been drawn to words and dialogue and was quite verbal—probably too much if you ask my mom. (Laughs) I started keeping a journal around twenty-one and kept that up for probably twenty years and have them all on a shelf at home. Nice to look back and follow the journey. Now that I’m actively writing, most of my creativity is directed toward the stories and characters, but I still journal on occasion, more when I travel, and most is done digitally with Evernote.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

Yes, I have my own consulting company that specializes in business & creative development and project management called Trubelo (www.trubelo.com), which is short for TRuth-BEauty-LOve. Doing project-based work allows me the flexibility to work my own creative projects in along with the work that is paying most of the bills. My strategy is with each book, the revenue split between books and consulting will shift more toward books until I can solely rely on writing for my income.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

1.      Turn off the editor when you’re writing the first draft. Get to a hundred pages then look back.
2.      Collaborate, don’t compete with other writers. We’re all in this together. Support each other and learn from one another.
3.      Find another source of income that allows you to keep being creative until writing will sustain you.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

I’d love to say no and that I write five pages every day. But the truth is some days I get distracted. Not all those days are bad though. Sometimes life presents opportunities that seem unimportant that when you follow, materialize into something fantastic. To take some of the pressure off about this, I set weekly goals of between 10-12 thousand words. This works better for me than a daily quota. That way if life gets in the way or I’m just not feeling it, I don’t feel obligated to force it and can focus on some other aspect of the work. Always something that can be done.

How often do you write?

When working on a new book, I set the goal of 10-12,000 words which is about 20-25 pages. When I’m really in a groove I get 4-5 pages done Monday-Friday and take weekends off.

Are you an avid reader?

I read in spurts. Usually January to May I’ll read a few books a month and taper off as the year goes on. When I’m working on the first draft and creating from the blank page, I read the most. I find it helps sharpen my voice and message and also inspire me. I’m always amazed and impressed by how many brilliant writers are out there.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading two books right now. The Buried Book by D.M. Pulley, a local Cleveland writer I know, and Jennifer Egan’s Look at Me.

What are you currently working on?

My next book, for which I’m doing the final rewriting, is called Focus Lost about when passion becomes obsession for nature photographer Gabe Adams, famous actor Levi Combs, and his agent Eva Florez after Gabe inadvertently captures pictures of Levi with underage starlet Emily James. It’s set in Los Angeles and is loosely patterned after Paradise Lost with Levi representing the devil, Gabe as Adam, and Eva as Eve.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Sisters Book Trailer Blast - Win $25 Amazon Gift Card!


About the Book:

Title: THE SISTERS: A MYSTERY OF GOOD AND EVIL, HORROR AND SUSPENSE
Author: Don Sloan
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 239
Genre: Supernatural/Mystery/Horror/Thriller

In this book, written in the style of Stephen King, two young people on vacation in a small New England seacoast town battle unspeakable horror and solve a hundred-year-old mystery. Fourteen Victorian mansions whisper dark secrets among themselves, and a dangerous shadow roams up and down the wide, wintry boulevard in search of new prey.

The Sisters: A Mystery of Good and Evil, Horror and Suspense is available at Amazon


Book Excerpt:

Snow pellets blow white across the boulevard and up onto the wide, night-shadowed porch of the house just in the center of the block. Inside, past leaded glass doors and heavy oak furnishings, something moves.
Up the polished mahogany staircase, and up yet another flight to the third story something moves that has no breath, no warmth, no life.
There is a narrow passageway to the attic, locked behind a heavy door with steel bands. The shadow pauses at the door only long enough to pass cold fingers over the padlock. It falls heavily to the floor and the door opens. The shadow passes through, as quietly as a midnight breeze in an icy cold forest. Here, no light at all warms the creaking steps. It is darker than the inside of death.
In the attic, the bitter, knifing cold whirls and eddies around shapeless mounds of old memorabilia and the shadow moves silently to a dormer window. Cobwebs—spun by industrious spiders long dead—are brushed aside and a single candle is placed on the sill. And in the darkness a flame is struck.
Outside, the wind falls off to nothing, and snow drifts listlessly to the ground. The candle flickers briefly and catches, burning a pinprick hole in the vastness of the night.
Far out to sea, a single cry begins and then falls silent.
And in the dormer window, where the shadow has settled down to wait, the candle flares brightly and then goes out.

About the Author




Don Sloan is a former journalist for a large metropolitan daily newspaper and also an avid book reviewer, with more than 200 reviews posted on Amazon. His goal with the Dark Forces Series is to present readers with a new and exciting horror and suspense thriller experience. He currently lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with his wife of 39 years, and, when not writing, enjoys a cold glass of Chardonnay in the evenings, sitting on his back deck.

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  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to a $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • This giveaway ends midnight April 24.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on April 25.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Storm Winds Book Blast!


We welcome K.S. David and her STORM WINDS Book Blast today! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!


Title: STORM WINDS: AN OUTER BANKS MYSTERY
Author: K.S. David
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 180
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Moving to the North Carolina Outer Banks was a chance for Leah Kymes to put her life back together, after her marriage went sour. But peace and quiet evade her, when her father is discovered murdered in his fish and tackle shop. Not willing to wait for authorities to solve the crime, she begins to delve into recent events involving her Dad. What she uncovers shatters her understanding of the man she thought she knew so well. 

At Leah's side is her old flame, Officer Aden Parker, who runs interference between Leah and the salty detective who sees her as a hindrance. Ignoring Aden's warnings, she deepens her probe, but soon draws the attention of a handsome stranger. Is this new man just competing for her affection - or a vicious killer intent on making Leah his next victim? 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:


Perched on top of a sand dune, Leah looked across the ocean as waves curled and crashed against the shore. Behind her, stalled traffic lined North Carolina's Highway 12, six miles deep. Residents of the Outer Banks fled their homes days earlier as the dark clouds of a Category 3 hurricane raced toward them. Now they were headed back to whatever the storm had left behind.
Leah's father, Rex, had ignored the warnings. "I ain't scared of no damned storm," he'd said. "It's the price we pay for living in paradise, honey."
Rex had been born and bred on the North Carolina coast. He was sun-tough, with seawater for blood. An average-sized man with a shock of white hair, a face lined by hard living, and eyes as blue and alert as a clear summer sky, he feared no man, and believed destiny was his to write. She believed that he was invincible when she was a child. She knew better now. After a week without a word from him, Leah's frustration was speeding toward fear.
She dug her toes beneath the warm sand, ran her hands through her thick auburn hair, and twisted it into a bun. She'd spent nearly four days huddled in a hotel room, watching hours of new reports as the storm tracked toward the Outer Banks. Afterward, she searched photos of the destruction, straining to see if the home she shared with Rex and their businesses had been spared.
Leah picked up her cell phone and tapped the photo of her father. Since the storm hit, communication had been spotty to the Outer Banks. Like all the times before, her call went straight to Rex's voice mail. Instead of leaving another agitated message, she ended the call, picked up a stick, and jammed it into the sand.
She was irritated. If she knew him well, and she did, her father hadn't thought once about the worry he caused. The old cuss was probably fine, but it was strange that he hadn't called to check on her, not even once. When her mind pondered over that loose detail, she pushed it to the furthest spot in her brain.
The blare of horns signaled that it was time to move. She skidded down the dune that hugged the road. Course granules of sand shifted underfoot as she descended. Heat pressed against her bare feet as she fished her keys out of the pocket of her cutoff shorts. Gaps in the line had been created by drivers who'd already moved forward and the woman parked behind Leah laid on her horn and growled, "We're trying to get home today, please!"
Leah sighed, grit her teeth, and gave a quick wave. "Sorry." Beneath her breath, she mumbled, "Go to hell." They were all in the same predicament and moving a few feet forward wasn't going to get either of them on the ferry any faster. She'd been in line for nearly two hours on the southern tip of Ocracoke Island. It would take another hour before she reached the pier for a forty-minute boat ride before landing on Hatteras Island, then another fifteen before she got to her father's house in the town of Frisco.
A hand tapped her on the shoulder. "Excuse me, ma'am. Are you Ms. Leah Kymes?"
A Hyde County police officer stared down at her. Sometimes, cops issued tickets to drivers who walked away from their cars when they were in the line for the ferry, especially at times like this. A ticket was the last thing she needed.
"I'm getting ready to pull up. We've been sitting here--"
The cop threw a hand up to stop her. "It's okay." He stepped closer and asked again, "Are you Leah Kymes?"
She frowned and looked down the line of cars. Eying him, she answered, "Yeah, I'm Leah Kymes."
"I'm Officer Alfred Hawkins. The Dare County Police Department requested that we locate and help you back over to Hatteras."
She stepped back. "Why?"
He shrugged, "Don't know. I was just told to find you."
"Is this about my father?" Her stomach turned at the thought that something bad had happened.
Hawkins held up a hand, "Ma'am, I don't know." He was a tall man, with smooth dark brown skin and an open face. "I was asked to get you back over to the island."
She looked at the backed-up traffic. There were still six miles to go before getting to the landing.
As if reading her mind, Officer Hawkins added, "I can take you back on one of the guard boats. Your car won't fit but another officer will get it on the next ferry."
At first, only a few drivers showed any interest when Hawkins first appeared beside Leah, but radios quieted and chatter ebbed when a second cruiser pulled alongside them and deposited another cop. Hawkins called over his shoulder to a female officer, "Direct the rest of the cars around us."
This officer was young. She'd chopped her brown hair into a pageboy and appeared to be losing the battle against acne. Giving Leah a quick, dismissive glance, she turned and waved the other cars along.
The woman who'd shouted at Leah earlier eased by slowly, but kept her curious gaze locked on the action.
"You sure you don't know anything?" Leah asked, searching Hawken's face.
"No," he said. Dark shades covered his eyes. Leah couldn't read his face but there was something in the brevity of his reply that worried her. Before she could question him any further, he said, "That's Officer Maynard." He pointed to the woman directing traffic. "She'll drive your car to the ferry. Someone on the other side will make sure it gets to Hatteras."
Maynard didn't look old enough to drive, and Leah didn't like the idea of leaving her car in someone else's hands, but what choice did she have. The line wasn't getting any shorter and she needed answers. Eyeing Hawkins again, she worried that he was being evasive. Cops never tell the whole story until they're ready. She opened the car door, pulled out her shoes and handbag, and tossed her keys on the seat. "Okay, I'm ready," she said to Hawkins.
He raced them along the shoulder of the highway, past the line of cars waiting for the next ferry. He parked against the edge of a sand dune and then escorted Leah to a small, white police boat. "We'll ride over together," he said.
He separated from her as soon as they hit the boat's deck and nudged himself into a corner with four other cops. Leah sat alone on a small portside bench and watched them watching her. They kept their voices low and, every so often, shot skimming glances in her direction. Hawkins had been sent to find her--to look specifically for Leah Kymes. There were thousands of people trying to get back on the island and every resource was tied up in the restoration effort, yet some official had seen fit to use Hawkins and a police boat to fetch her. Why?
After a moment, she stood and turned away from the cops. Leaning against the rails, she closed her eyes, pushed her face into the wind, and tried to concentrate on the roar of the boat's engine, the swish of the wake created as they cut through the waves, the call of the seagulls sailing overhead, anything but the sound of doubt coming from deep inside her own chest.
She had tried not to get anxious over the twenty-four-hour media coverage. She left the hotel room as often as she could, sped through several novels, caught up on emails, and even allowed herself the luxury of uninhibited sleep. None of it managed to shake loose a growing sense of foreboding. Something bad must have happened to Rex, a thought that drove her to file a missing person's report. Her father would be furious with her for doubting him. There was, of course, another issue. Rex loathed the police, a fact that made Leah pause each time she started dialing the emergency hotline. There were some cops he'd warmed to over the years but, as far as he was concerned, most could pucker up and kiss his crotchety old ass.
On Hatteras Island, Officer Hawkins walked her to a squat, yellow building known as the Inlet. Hugging the tip of the pier, the Inlet served as a visitor's center. A balmy wind pushed three blue signs that advertised snacks, restrooms, and ferryboat information. Across the lot was Hatteras Landing, where a collection of tourist shops and eateries were housed in a blistering white stucco building. It was usually overrun with tourists this time of year but stood empty because of the storm.
Rex had to be okay, she thought. Then, like an erratic wind, her mind shifted, and the voice in her head would shout, they don't send police escorts for a simple missing person's report, or do they? Maybe it was because Rex was elderly and kind of like a town fixture. If he were the only citizen unaccounted for, the officials wouldn't hesitate to put more effort into finding him.
Perhaps they had located Rex, but he'd been injured. The storm had been a whopper. It had raged against the coast for nearly eight hours. News reports showed cars and debris thrown all over the place, and homes and buildings had been torn apart like toys. A crack had appeared in Highway 12, severing lower Hatteras from the northern shores.
Immersed in her thoughts, she almost plowed into a man standing at the top of the ramp. She started her apology without even bothering to look up then began to move around the figure when a hand closed around the top of her arm.
"Lee?"
She raised her eyes to study the face of the man that had used her name. He was a head taller with soft brown eyes and tanned skin. A faint scar zigzagged from his bottom lip and disappeared beneath his chin. She'd given him that scar, slamming her Hello Kitty lunch box into his face after he'd popped the head off her Cabbage Patch doll.
"Aiden?" she replied. Then, more confident, she gushed, "Aiden Parker!"
She hadn't seen him since she was eighteen. A thousand questions popped into her head, as she considered his ruggedly handsome face. Was he married? Was he back in the Outer Banks? How was his family? Did he have kids?
Her mouth had started to quiver out the first question when Officer Hawkins moved past her, and like a pendulum swinging, her thoughts immediately shifted back to Rex. "I know this sounds rude, but I'll have to catch up with you later. I have an emergency right now. Maybe we can exchange information or something," she mumbled, already heading away.
"I know," he said, taking the crook of her arm again, to stop her.
She cocked her head. "You know what?"
"I'm a cop with the Dare County Police Department, and I know you made a call about Rex."
She narrowed her eyes and stared into his face for a moment. Like Hawkins, his expression was flat. "Where is he?"
"Come inside so we can talk," he said.
"Where's my father?" she insisted, determined not to move from that spot until she got an answer.
"Come on," Aiden said. He placed his hand on her shoulder and urged her up the last few feet of the ramp. They crossed the store and walked down the hallway past a set of restrooms. He opened a thick door with a sign, AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY. The building also housed offices for the Park Service and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which operated the ferry service. Three uniformed officers chatted beside a bank of windows. Their conversation halted then picked up again in hushed tones.
Aiden pointed her to a conference room. "We can talk in here."
A large man with flaccid jowls and a rumpled brown suit stood at a window overlooking the sound.
"This is Detective Eric Lawson," Aiden said.
"Where's my dad?" Leah asked. This time, she didn't try to hide her irritation. Fear crawled up her spine, and she bound her prickly arms around her belly, as the big man turned to greet her.
Lawson pointed Leah to a seat at the table. "Let's talk for a moment."
She pulled back one of the chairs, barely noticing when the leg scraped against her foot. Lawson lowered his considerable frame into a seat opposite her, while Aiden replaced him at the window. Her leg shook and the sound of her flip-flops slapping against the sole of her foot broke the uneasy quiet in the room. Lawson leaned in and smiled but, despite the wide, toothy grin, Leah felt no warmth coming from the man. She recoiled, slight uncomfortable under the unyielding glare of his cold, gray eyes.
"I have a few questions," he said, "if you don't mind." He didn't wait for her to agree. "When was the last time you saw your father?"
She rubbed her hands together. "Um, the day before the storm. Why?"
He scribbled her response on a short, wire-rimmed notepad. "Home, or at his store?"
"At the house. He refused to leave, but wanted me to go."
"Was he planning to ride out the storm at the house?"
"I don't mean to be rude, but you gotta give me something." She tugged her hair out of the bun, twisted it tighter, and reset the scrunchie. "Is my father still missing?" Her head was spinning and all the horrid images of what that could mean rushed through her brain. She pressed the back of her hand to her upper lip, blotting away a light sheen of sweat. Despite the hum of the air conditioner and the bank of windows that stretched the entire length of the room, the space felt small and stifling. She asked again, "Is he still missing?"
Lawson pursed his lips. "No. He's not missing."
She let her head fall back and whispered a quiet prayer. "Thank, God." But her elation turned midstride as another wave of terror struck. "Is he okay?"
Rex wasn't a young man. That had been the point of their argument. Riding out a murderous storm was dangerous, but for a sixty-nine-year-old man, it was akin to lunacy.
Aiden turned from the window and slipped into the chair beside her. He grabbed the seat's edge and scooted closer. His face was hard and serious, but softened when he took her hands. "Leah, there's no easy way to say this." He stopped to swallow, the sound loud enough for her to hear. "Your father is dead."
She tilted her head and stared at him in disbelief. Her mind a blur, Leah struggled to process what he said. The air grew thinner, and she snatched her hands away from Aiden, held them in mid-air, then turned her gaze to Lawson, as if seeking confirmation.
He nodded. "He's dead, Ms. Kymes."
A long, sorrowful moan lifted from her chest, and Leah leaned forward, pressing hands to her eyes, as if trying to hold back the flood of tears. She turned suddenly to Aiden. "How?" she asked. "How?"
He inched closer, his knees pressing into hers. "Lee," which was the name he'd given her when they were children, "I need you to listen to me." The next words sliced into her like a knife. "Lee, your dad was murdered. Somebody shot him."




About the Author

K. S. David lives in the Mid-Atlantic with her husband, their three children and a spoiled sheepadoodle. She’s addicted to true life mysteries and crime shows, both of which marry well with a great romance. Some of her favorite things are long walks, reading in bed, baking and, of course, writing her next novel.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Mystery at Manatee Key Book Blast!


We welcome Nancy Stewart's MYSTERY AT MANATEE KEY Book Blast today!



Title: MYSTERY AT MANATEE KEY
Author: Nancy Stewart
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 36
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Bella and Britt love to explore along the beach and at more remote places like Manatee Key as well.  It is there that they discover a manatee smuggling ring. 

The manatees have already been netted, so the girls must act fast!  But a kidnapper snatches Bella, hustling her into their hideout.  When Britt sneaks a look in the window, she discovers that the ranger is being held, too.  Now it’s up to Britt.  But what can a single girl do?

Mystery at Manatee Key is available at Amazon

 


Book Excerpt:
 
A dark animal circled slowly in the shallow water of Manatee Key. Walking closer, Bella whispered. “A baby manatee. And it has a patch of white near its snout.” Britt frowned. “But where’s the mother? It must be hungry. We should tell the ranger.”
“Yeah,” Bella said. “This one’s too young to be without her mom. Let’s go.”
The friends worked their way through the jungle-like brush back to their bicycles. Britt took the lead. “It’s really hot, but we gotta make time.” 
After a twenty minute ride down dusty paths leading to the main road in their coastal town, they reached the ranger station. “It’s quiet in here today,” Bella said.
 The ranger’s assistant glanced up from his reading. “Hi, girls. Can I help you?”
“We need to see the ranger and report an orphaned manatee,” Bella said.
He frowned. “She hasn’t come in today, and that’s not like her. I’ve called her phones. Nobody answered. And no one’s seen her. Have you by any chance?”
“No,” they answered at the same time.
 “Well, it’s a mystery,” he said. “I won’t call the police yet. But I’m getting worried. Now, about that manatee. Can you take me to it?”
 “Sure,” Britt said. “If you can bring us back to town. We rode our bikes here.” He nodded. “Of course.”


Nancy Stewart has been an elementary school teacher and a professor of education.  Having lived in London for ten years, she was a consultant to the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the Bella and Britt series picture books and the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins, a young girl whose life was forever changed by Winter, the dolphin (Guardian Angel Publishing.)  Her writing of One Pelican at a Time was featured on the PBS special, GulfWatch in 2011.  Nancy’s YA-LGBT novel will be published by Interlude Press autumn of 2017.  She is a member of the Rate Your Story organization as a critique judge.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Author


Nancy Stewart has been an elementary school teacher and a professor of education.  Having lived in London for ten years, she was a consultant to the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the Bella and Britt series picture books and the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins, a young girl whose life was forever changed by Winter, the dolphin (Guardian Angel Publishing.)  Her writing of One Pelican at a Time was featured on the PBS special, GulfWatch in 2011.  Nancy’s YA-LGBT novel will be published by Interlude Press autumn of 2017.  She is a member of the Rate Your Story organization as a critique judge.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Friday, April 14, 2017

"When I’m Stuck: Getting Remotivated," by Margaret Fenton


I think all writers have days when the ideas and words just aren’t flowing.  Hell, this may be one of those days for me.  If I’m honest, I have weeks when I just don’t feel like putting word to paper.  When that happens, it means I need to go read.  I find writing books a bit dry, with the exception of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.  No dryness there.  I pick it up about once a year to remind myself that this is a tough activity and my frustration is normal.  But mostly I turn to fiction when I need inspiration.  Here are some of my favorite mystery books and writers, and why.

1.      Break In, by Dick Francis.  I first discovered Mr. Francis when I was about ten years old, and have read just about everything he wrote before he died in 2010.  Break In is my particular favorite for two reasons.  I love the main character, Kit, and his relationship with his twin sister that fuels the mystery.  The thing that blows me away about this book, however, is that there is no murder.  Imagine being a murder mystery writer and challenging yourself to write a book with no dead body in it.  Yet Mr. Francis pulls it off spectacularly, maintaining the tension in the novel other ways. I wish I could have met him.

2.     Mary Daheim, and her Alpine mystery series.  I love these, and there are currently 26 of them out there. I’ve read them all. I picked them up because I love a series with a hook in the title—numbers or the alphabet, like Sue Grafton or Janet Evanovich.   I’m working on book three in my Claire Conover mystery series and cannot even imagine doing book 26.  Wow.  Ms. Daheim is referred to as a cozy mystery writer, but I’ve always considered the Emma Lord books more of an amateur sleuth series.  And they are very character driven, which I love love love.

3.     Anything and everything by Julia Spencer Fleming.  Her first one is In the Bleak Midwinter, and all her titles are from hymns.  Her main character is a female Episcopal priest, so the titles make total sense.  I really want to hang out with Clare Fergusson for a day, in real life. Once again, very character-driven books.

4.     Lastly, and most important, Anne George. Anne was the one who encouraged me to start writing, and I’m so grateful for that.  Her Southern Sisters mysteries are set here in Birmingham and funny.  I did a fan website for her, starting in 1999.  To thank me she sent me copies of her books, and they would arrive on the day of publication.  Always signed with a sweet note.  In 2001 she called me to say that she was going to have to have surgery.  She had had a porcine valve replacement in her heart many years before, and as she put it, “I’ve outlived the pig.”

      Anne died March 14, 2001 on the operating table.  I’ve heard there was just so much damage to her heart that it was irreparable. I’ve also heard she knew she had less than a 50% chance of survival.   She had finished her last book before the surgery, Murder Boogies with Elvis, so imagine my surprise when it arrived on the day of publication.  She had preordered it for me.  You know what?  I haven’t read it.  I just can’t say goodbye.  Even sixteen years later.



Oh I hate I’m leaving on a sad note. Anne would kill me.  Thank you for reading my post, and I hope you will check out the Claire Conover mystery series.  The first one is called Little Lamb Lost, about a social worker in Birmingham, Alabama.  What will happen when one of her young clients is found dead?  The second in the series is Little Girl Gone, about a thirteen year old runaway found sleeping behind a grocery store. I also have a website, www.margaretfenton.com.  Thanks again.