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Monday, September 25, 2017

One Summer Night Pre-Order Blitz!


You can order ONE SUMMER NIGHT right now! ONE SUMMER NIGHT by NY Times Bestselling Author and USA Today Bestselling Author Caridad Pineiro isn't officially released until October but you can order your copy now to make sure you're the first to get your copy! Oh wait - while you're looking over her book info below, be sure to sign up to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Good luck!




Title: ONE SUMMER NIGHT
Author: Caridad Pineiro
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary Romance
An offer that’s impossible to accept . . .
Maggie Sinclair has tried everything to save her family’s business, including mortgaging their beloved beach house on the Jersey Shore. But now, she’s out of options.
The Sinclair and Pierce families have been neighbors and enemies for almost thirty years. That hasn’t stopped Owen Pierce from crushing on Maggie, and he’s determined to invest in her success. Now he has to convince her that he’s more than just trouble with a capital T…



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Tracy Parker was in love with being in love.
That worried her best friend and maid of honor Maggie Sinclair more than she cared to admit.
In the middle of the temporary dance floor, Tracy waltzed with her new husband in a satin-and-lace designer gown, gleaming with seed pearls and twinkling sequins. But the sparkle dimmed in comparison to the dreamy glow in Tracy’s eyes.
The sounds of wedding music competed with the gentle rustle of seagrasses in the dunes and the crash of the waves down on the beach. The fragrance from centerpiece flowers and bouquets battled with the kiss of fresh sea air.
Connie and Emma, Tracy’s two other best friends and members of the bridal party, were standing beside Maggie on the edge of the dance floor that had been set up on the great lawn of Maggie’s family’s beachfront mansion on the Jersey Shore. Huddled together, Maggie and her friends watched the happy couple do a final whirl.
“She’s got it so bad,” Maggie said, eyeing Connie and Emma with concern past the rim of her rapidly disappearing glass of champagne.
“Do you think that this time he really is The One?” Connie asked.
“Doubt it,” Emma replied without hesitation.
As the DJ requested that other couples join the happy newlyweds, Maggie and her friends returned to the bridal party dais set out on the patio. Grabbing another glass of champagne, Maggie craned her neck around the gigantic centerpiece piled with an almost obscene mound of white roses, ice-blue hydrangea, lisianthus, sheer tulle, and twinkling fairy lights and examined the assorted guests mingling around the great lawn and down by the boardwalk leading to the beach.
She recognized Tracy’s family from their various meetings over the years, as well as some of Tracy’s sorority sisters, like Toni Van Houten, who in the six years since graduation had managed to pop out a trio of boys who now circled her like sharks around a swimmer. Although the wedding invite had indicated No Children, Toni had done as she pleased. Since Tracy had not wanted a scene at her dream beachfront wedding, Emma, who was doing double duty as the wedding planner for the event, had scrambled to find space for the children at the dinner tables.
“Is that Toni ‘I’ll never ruin my body with babies’ Toni?” Connie asked, a perplexed look on her features.  At Maggie’s nod, Connie’s eyes widened in surprise, and she said, “She looks…happy.”
A cynical laugh erupted from Emma. “She looks crazed.”
Maggie couldn’t argue with either of their assessments. But as put-upon as their old acquaintance seemed, the indulgent smile she gave her youngest child was positively radiant.
Maggie skipped her gaze across the gathering to take note of all the other married folk. It was easy enough to pick them out from her vantage point on the dais where she and her friends sat on display like days’ old cakes in the bakery. They were the last three unmarried women in an extended circle of business and college acquaintances.
“How many times do you suppose we’ve been bridesmaids now?” Maggie wondered aloud. She finished off her glass and motioned for the waiter to bring another.
“Jointly or severally?” asked Connie, ever the lawyer.
“Way too many,” replied Emma, who, for a wedding planner, was the most ardent disbeliever in the possibility of happily ever afters.
Maggie hadn’t given marriage a first thought, much less a second, in a very long time. She’d had too many things going on in her life. Not that there hadn’t been a few memorable moments, most of which revolved around the absolutely worst man for her: Owen Pierce.
But for years now, she’d been dealing with her family’s business and its money problems, which had spilled over into her personal finances. As she gazed at the beauty of the manicured grounds and then back toward her family’s summer home, it occurred to her that this might be the last time she hosted a celebration like this here. She had mortgaged the property that she had inherited to funnel money into the family’s struggling retail store division.
Unfortunately, thanks to her father’s stubborn refusal to make changes to help the business, she spent way too much time at work, which left little time for romance. Not to mention that none of her casual dates had piqued her interest in that direction. Looking down from her perch, however, and seeing the happiness on so many faces suddenly had her reconsidering the merits of married life.
“Always a bridesmaid and never a bride,” she muttered, surprising herself with the hint of wistfulness in her tone.
“That’s because the three of us are all too busy working to search for Prince Charming,” Connie said, her defense as swift and impassioned as if she were arguing a case in court.
“Who even believes in that fairy-tale crap?” Emma’s gaze grew distracted, and she rose from her chair. “Excuse me for a moment. Carlo needs to see me about something.”
Emma rushed off to the side of the dance floor, where her caterer extraordinaire, Carlo Teixeira, raked a hand through his thick brown hair in clear frustration. He wore a pristine white chef’s jacket and pants that enhanced his dark good looks.
Emma laid a hand on Carlo’s forearm and leaned close to speak to him, apparently trying to resolve a problem.
“She doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but her Prince Charming is standing right in front of her,” Connie said with a sad shake of her head.
Maggie took another sip of her champagne and viewed the interaction between Carlo and Emma. Definitely major sparkage going on, she thought.
“You’re totally right,” she said with an assertive nod.
Connie smiled like the proverbial cat, her exotic green-gold eyes gleaming with mischief. “That’s why you hired me to represent your company as soon as I finished law school. Nothing gets past me.”
“Really? So what else do you think you’ve seen tonight?”
Raising her glass, her friend gestured toward the right of the mansion’s great lawn where some of the fraternity brothers from their alma mater had gathered. One of the men slowly turned to sneak a peek at them.
“Owen has been watching you all night long,” Connie said with a shrewd smile.
“Totally impossible, and you of all people should know it. Owen Pierce has absolutely no interest in me.”
She set her glass on the table to hide the nervous tremble of her hand as her gaze connected with his for the briefest of moments. Even that fleeting link was enough to raise her core temperature a few degrees. But what woman wouldn’t respond like that?
In his designer tuxedo, Owen was the epitome of male perfection—raven-black hair, a sexy gleam in his charcoal-gray eyes, broad shoulders, and not an ounce of fat on him, which made her recall seeing him in much, much less on a hot summer night on Sea Kiss Beach. She had been staying in the quaint seaside town on the Jersey Shore with her grandmother that summer, much as she had all her life. As they also had for so many years, the Pierce boys had been residing next door for the entire season.
The two beachfront mansions had been built side by side decades earlier, before the start of the Pierce and Sinclair rift. The cost of waterfront real estate had escalated so drastically since their construction that neither family was willing to sell their beloved home to put some distance between the warring clans.
Well, make that the warring fathers, because as far as Maggie was concerned, she had no beef with Owen. They had played together down on the beach as kids. She couldn’t count the many sand castles they’d built or the time they’d spent out in the surf.
But after her mother had died, things had changed, and the carefree spirit of those halcyon days had disappeared. The Pierce boys had stopped coming down to the Shore for the next few years, and combined with the loss of her mom, it had created an emptiness inside her that hadn’t really gone away.
By the time the Pierce brothers returned years later, the feud had gotten worse, and Owen and Jonathan had been instructed to stay away. But an ill-timed and half-drunk kiss with Owen on a moonlit summer night had proved that staying away was impossible. It had also helped the emptiness recede for a bit. Since then, fate had seemed to toss them together time and time again in both their business and personal lives, keeping alive her fascination with him. She felt not quite so alone when he was around, not that she should get used to that.
Owen Pierce had left her once before when she’d needed his friendship the most: right after her mother’s death. His on-again, off-again presence in her life proved that she couldn’t count on him.
Owen stood next to his younger brother, Jonathan, who couldn’t be more different. While Owen was clean-cut and corporate, Jonathan had the scruffy hipster look going on. It was appealing in its own way, but not to her.
“Trust me, Maggie. Your families might be at war, but Owen would clearly love to sleep with the enemy,” Connie said.
She blew out a frustrated sigh. “More reason to avoid him. You know I’m not the kind to sleep around.”
Emma returned, color riding high on her cheeks, but not in a good way.
“Something wrong?” Maggie asked.
Emma kneeled between the two of them and whispered, “It seems the groom had a bit too much to drink and Tracy caught him being hands-on with an old flame.”
“Not Amy? Tracy always lost it if she spotted him with Amy,” Maggie whispered.
“Definitely Amy. Now Tracy is refusing to come out and cut the cake. I have to say, this takes the cake, literally. Married a few hours, and already there’s trouble.”
“Ever the hopeful romantic, Em,” she kidded.
“If you think you can do better, why don’t the two of you come help me talk Tracy off the ledge?”




Caridad Pineiro is a transplanted Long Island girl who has fallen in love with pork roll and the Jersey Shore, but still can’t get the hang of tomato pies. When Caridad isn’t taking long strolls along the boardwalk to maintain her sanity and burn off that pork roll, she’s also a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author with over a million books sold worldwide. Caridad is passionate about writing and helping others explore and develop their skills as writers. She is a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers and has presented workshops at the RT Book Club Convention, Romance Writers of America National Conference as well as various writing organizations throughout the country.

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Caridad values your privacy and will not share your e-mail or personal information.

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Caridad Pineiro is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Shape on the Air Book Blast!




Title: A SHAPE ON THE AIR
Author: Julia H. Ibbotson
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 267
Genre: Medieval Timeslip Romance
Unlocking a love that lasts for lifetimes … and beyond …
Dr Viv Dulac, a lecturer in medieval studies, is devastated when her partner walks out (and with her best friend too) and it seems that she is about to lose everything. Drunk and desperate, her world quite literally turns upside down when she finds herself in the body of the fifth century Lady Vivianne. Lady V has her own traumas; she is struggling with the shifting values of the Dark Ages and her forced betrothal to the brutish Sir Pelleas, who is implicated in the death of her parents. Haunted by both Lady Vivianne and by Viv's own parents' death and legacy, can Viv  unlock the mystery that surrounds and connects their two lives, 1500 years apart, and bring peace to them both? Can the strange key she finds hold the truth? A haunting story of lives intertwining across the ages, of the triumph of the human spirit and of dreams lost and found.

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Prologue

1500 years before

Lady Nymue, her mother, is rising from the mere like a spirit: tall, slow like a dream, over-gown falling in slim folds from her waist. Vivianne sees her in a haze of mist, like magic, an illusion. She feels it, that enchantment, and it is enfolding her, but making her shiver, too. Her life-giver, robes dry despite the water, is coming towards her as she stands anxiously on the bank, waiting impatiently, calling out urgently, hopping from one foot to the other, tangling her feet in her earth-sweeping kirtle, longing to rejoin her playmates who are chasing around the village pretending to be Roman soldiers. Her mother, reaching out a hand to her, is shaking her head, but laughing. Be more patient, my little Lady Vivianne, she says, I have not completed my rituals, but let me wrap you in my cloak, for I must return to the mere. But she is only a little girl and something is making her feel cold, frightened. No, she calls, sticking out her lower lip, I want to play! I want to be Honorius this time! They promised! Eleanor will play my wife - or maybe my lady servant.
Her mother is ruffling her soft curls. Well, then, she smiles, I will return later to finish. She is lifted onto her mother’s horse, in front, held close. Dry, warm, comforting. Riding back to the village. Her care-giver is taking her back to play with her friends again. Her mother turns to the special hall which her father, Sir Tristram, called “sacred” and where she is only allowed to go sometimes.
And then, fire, flames, the acrid smell of smoke. Looking across to the great hall, terror strangling her heart, stealing her breath. Running towards the wooden building, through the ash and cinders and the roaring, screaming now, choking. Someone holding her back, pulling her.
Darkness.
Waking up in her little bed. A big red-faced man in the shadows, haloed with a fair unruly beard and thick wild hair, telling her that her parents were dead, burned in the fire. Her mother and her father, both of them. An accident with tallows. She knows those tallows; they are always on the altar in the sacred hall. They are only spoken of in whispers. But this man is speaking in a strange way, loud, too loud, and it seems to her, sneering, as she peers at him through the darkness.


Julia Ibbotson is giving away a PDF copy of ‘Drumbeats’!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is obsessed with the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana) specialising in medieval studies, and has a PhD in linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a teacher, lecturer and researcher, and a single mum.  Julia has published four books, including a children’s book S.C.A.R.S (a fantasy medieval time slip), a memoir, and the first two novels of her Drumbeats trilogy (which begins in Ghana).  Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga, and walking in the English countryside.

Her recent release is A Shape on the Air.

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http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Feature: Fix Your Diet, Fix Your Diabetes by Tony Hampton

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Title: FIX YOUR DIET FIX YOUR DIABETES
Author: Tony Hampton, MD
Publisher: Windy City Publishers
Pages: 168
Genre: Self-Help

Want to fix your diabetes?  In this book, I share with my diabetic and borderline diabetic readers that they have the power to reverse or prevent diabetes simply by changing their diets.  It starts with how you think.  By removing old beliefs to new ones that better serve you, the path to recovery from diabetes can be that simple.  Once I provide the rationale for changing old beliefs to more productive ones, I then share with you ways to stay motivated as you journey to a new way of eating.  You are then given a deeper understanding of why so many people have diabetes.  This knowledge will allow you to remove thoughts you may have had where you blamed yourself for having diabetes.  You are then given tips on how to maintain the motivation needed to make a successful transition to a diabetic friendly diet.  Additional knowledge is given about the many complications which could occur when this condition is not well controlled.  Empowered with the understanding of why diabetes occurs and its many complications, you will be given a case for changing how diabetes is treated.  This is done by changing the focus of diabetes management away from the symptoms (elevated glucose), which is how we currently manage this condition, to treating the cause of the disease (insulin resistance).  You are then given the rationale for increasing healthy fats in your diets while reducing starchy carbohydrates and processed foods.  Once this is explained, examples of foods that should be considered for smoothies, snacks, and dinner are given so you will know how to choose foods which are best.   Finally, tips on how to avoid being fooled by marketing labels and claims of so-called healthy foods provide the framework by which great dietary choices can be made.  This new approach to reversing diabetes with diet will reverse diabetes in nearly anyone willing to make these simply lifestyle changes.

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INSULIN RESISTANCE AND HOW TO REVERSE IT

Now that you understand that Type 2 diabetes is about insulin resistance, it’s time to rethink how you are approaching your treatment for this condition. Most doctors and their patients focus on reducing the blood glucose values and if they’re successful they feel they’re controlling diabetes. But I asked myself if we were fixing the core problem or simply treating the symptoms. After reflecting on the question, I realized the core problem may not be elevated blood glucose levels after all. High glucose values are simply a symptom of diabetes. So where should the focus be?

The answer is insulin resistance. By focusing on this, you could achieve much better results, since this is essential to fixing your diabetes. Let’s use an analogy to help think about this concept in a different way. If I see a patient who presents with a painful throat, red and swollen tonsils, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and a fever, I know I likely have a patient who needs to be treated for strep throat. In order to solve his problem, I will need to give him an antibiotic to fight the bacteria that is causing his symptoms. If I gave this patient Tylenol, I would only be treating his symptoms, and would likely end up with a patient who feels better but isn’t really cured.

This is what we are doing with our diabetes treatment. This is also likely the reason we consider this a progressively worsening disease. By shifting your focus, you will find a path to the solution you’ve been searching for. Why focus on insulin resistance? Because when insulin levels are high due to resistance, lipolysis (fat breakdown) is inhibited, sensitive arteries throughout the body are exposed to damaging higher levels of glucose, muscle protein synthesis is reduced, and glycogen-filled cells are converted to fat for storage.

Dr. Tony Hampton has been treating patients with multiple chronic conditions for nearly two decades. In addition to his role as an Advocate Medical Group (AMG) family physician over the last nine years, Dr. Hampton currently holds multiple responsibilities within the Advocate Healthcare, including Medical Director of AMG Beverly, Vice-Chair of AMG’s Governing Council, Chair of Health Outcomes Committee and Co-Chair of Executive Diversity Council. 

Over the last two years, Dr. Hampton has worked closely with AOS, successfully piloting advancements in AMG’s operations management systems. He is a champion for change that results in greater work-life balance for physicians and an enhanced patient experience. His interpersonal skills, clinical knowledge, and desire for strong patient/team engagement will continue to make Tony an asset to the AOS team. 

A regular speaker for the American Diabetes Association and consultant for the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Initiative to Improve Diabetes Care, Dr. Hampton is passionate about empowering patients by changing old beliefs to new ones which better serve them using evidence-based medicine. Educating them on the root cause of disease processes and the importance of diet provides the path to positive health outcomes for diabetics, borderline diabetics, and patients not at their ideal body weight. 

He is a Certified Physician Executive (CPE) and earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix. Tony authored the book Fix Your Diabetes, Fix Your Diet, Your Dietary Solution to Reversing Diabetes which was published in April 2017.

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  Watch Dr. Hampton talk about fix your fear of fat in your diet:





Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Trailer Blast! Don't Call Me Crazy! I'm Just in Love with God by Swiyyah Woodard






Title: DON’T CALL ME CRAZY! I’M JUST IN LOVE WITH GOD
Author: Swiyyah Woodard
Publisher: Swiyyah Productions, Inc.
Pages: 229
Genre: Inspirational / Motivational / Romance / Christian




BOOK BLURB:
Because of God, nothing will stop Anika from marrying the love of her life, not even paranoid schizophrenia. You don’t want to miss this spiritual journey filled with inspiration and power.
This book is insightful and perceptive. Inspired by a true story. Few people consider the God factor in mental health. Join Anika and journey with her as she receives revelations from God while on her walk to overcome mental illness and naiveness towards religion. Required reading for High schools and colleges.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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     Anika begins to lose her mind. While continuing to stare at the television set, Anika sees a vision of Jesus. He appears to her in just as perfect form and image as the paintings on Mary’s wall. She then hears Jesus speak, “I am the son of God.” Then just as fast as he appears, he leaves her vision.
     “Did you see him? Did you see Jesus?” Anika turns and looks at her friends. Words are stuck within their throats.
     “Did you see him? Did you see Jesus?” Anika repeats once more.
     “Anika, you’re really scaring us. I thought you were Muslim?” Mary says.

Anika then feels as if someone was controlling her thoughts. “Forgive yourself.”  

She then begins to ramble, “Atoms are neither created nor destroyed. There was always an existence. You have to take baby steps to understand how this existence works, where we came from, how it started. Don’t jump from A to Z. No, you must go from A to C. Take a break. It has been painted. First there was nothing; it was blackness, pitch blackness. There was first the black hole. A plumber can understand the black hole. There was a white light. The creator is positive energy. We all have a little bit of positive energy. A person of positivity can change your life without saying a word. We try to increase positive energy which is the same as increasing spiritually. Once we are of that same positivity as the creator, we become one with him. Only a few souls have reached this level of existence. The rest of us are growing spiritually so we can reach that level.“

     It appears to Anika that she is making sense as she began to explain herself, justifying her words.

   “Positive times positive equals positive. Negative times positive equals negative. Therefore, if you have any negativity in you, you cannot become one with positivity.”

   “The creator is all positive energy. Negative times negative equals positive. If you learn from loads of negativity you will learn from your mistakes and become all positive. It’s mathematics. Everything stems from mathematics. Less than a cup of wine is what I need to rest. Don’t want to scare away this beautiful spirit controlling my thoughts.” While holding the sides of her head trying to rid her racing thoughts, she runs into the kitchen and pours herself a cup of wine. She then thinks, “no one will ever have to go through what I went through again!”

Anika takes a look at her past to see how in the world she got to this point in her life.



Swiyyah Nadirah Woodard was selected as a Bay News 9 Everyday Hero, which was seen by two million viewers, for publishing a book and teaching the community about her own battle with mental
illness. She was hospitalized six times and misdiagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Her first book, Don't Call Me Crazy! I'm Just in Love, became required and suggested reading in Reading, Writing, Abnormal Psychology, and General Psychology classes at a four year Institution. 

She was born in the housing projects of
Saint Petersburg, FL. Her father left when she was three so she was raised in a single parent home. At the age of five she was
molested by her eight year old brother. She later started school, she had slurred speech and didn't care to make friends so she was bullied by her peers. At the age of eight, she wanted to kill herself because a girl wanted to fight her. She looked into the medicine cabinet for medication. Thank God, she couldn't find any.

As a teenager she was physically abused by her step dad. The abuse was so severe, God blocked it from her memory. At the age of 20 the brother that molested her committed suicide, which was devastating to her and the entire family. Swiyyah has always viewed herself as normal. She never received any disciplinary problems in school, made good grades, and received her BA degree in Psychology from the
University of South Florida.

When the doctors misdiagnosed her with the most debilitating mental disorder known in mental health, paranoid schizophrenia, she denied it. She questioned their expertise. She refused to take medication. She was then hospitalized six times. Her family took a picture of her at her worst and that's when she knew she needed help. She has been taking medication now for ten years without a relapse.

She is now a published author and a National Inspirational Speaker. Her first book is entitled, “Don't Call Me Crazy! I'm just in Love,” and is inspired by her true story. 

She was raised Muslim and the revelations she received from God and placed in her books, didn't make any since until she meet her Christian husband 14 years after her first relapse. 

Please contact Swiyyah to book speaking engagements, life coaching, author and speaker coaching, radio and TV interviews, or to purchase her books at 727-495-3217, Swiyyah@swiyyah.com.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Book Feature: Sleep Like the Dead by Alex Gray - Don't miss the giveaway!








Title: Sleep Like the Dead
Author: Alex Gray (A DCI Lorimer Novel)
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Genres: Mystery/Suspense
Touring: September 4 - September 29


There’s a hitman in Glasgow: unpaid and angry, he’s decided to settle his own debts…

Marianne Brogan can’t sleep. She’s plagued by a nightmare: someone in the shadows, whispering threats, stalking her every move. To make matters worse, Marianne can’t get hold of her brother, Billy. Despite knowing some shady characters from Glasgow’s underworld, Billy’s always been there for her – until now.

Meanwhile, DCI Lorimer and his team are faced with a string of seemingly unconnected but professional killings. Without witnesses or much conclusive evidence to build a case, the officers are drawing a blank. Criminal psychologist Solly Brightman is off the case due to budget cuts. But Solly is more closely connected to the murders than he could possibly know . . . And as the hitman plans a bloody ransom to get his fee, the race is on to find out just who hired him – and who’s next on the hit list.







Detective Chief Inspector William Lorimer felt the swish of the plastic tape behind him as he entered the crime scene. He glanced at the house, one eyebrow raised in slight surprise. It was such an ordinary two-up, two-down mid-terrace, a modest suburban home, like thousands of others in and around this city in a district not particularly known for a high rate of crime. And certainly not for ones like this. But impressions could be deceptive, that was something he’d learned long ago, and as the Chief Inspector took another look around him his mouth became a hard thin line: scratch the surface of any neighbourhood and the veneer of respectability could expose all manner of human depravity.
The entire garden was cordoned off and a uniformed officer stood guard at the front gate, his eyes shifting only momentarily to the DCI. Lorimer turned to look behind him. Across the street a huddle of people stood, clearly undeterred by the driving rain, their curiosity or compassion binding them in a pool of silent anticipation. Three police vehicles lined the pavement, a clear sign of the gravity of the situation.
The incident had occurred sometime during the night yet the bright glare from a sun struggling to emerge from layers of cloud made a mockery of the situation. This was an ordinary Monday morning where nothing like this should be happening. He could hear the hum of motorway traffic several streets away as people headed to work, oblivious to the little drama that was about to unfold. A bit in tomorrow’s newspaper would command their attention for a few moments, perhaps, then they would dismiss it as someone else’s tragedy and continue about their business, glad that it didn’t impinge upon their own lives.
His business lay ahead, behind that white tent erected outside the doorway, keeping the scene free from prying eyes. Lorimer nodded, satisfied to see it in place. At least one journalist might be among that knot of watchers over the road, he thought wryly. Closing the gate behind him he ventured up the path then stopped. Someone had been violently sick out here, the traces of vomit splashed over a clump of foliage not yet washed away by earlier torrential rain. Whatever lay inside had been shocking enough to make one person’s stomach heave.
With a word to the duty officer the DCI let himself into the house, his gloved hands closing the door carefully behind him. The body lay spreadeagled on the hall carpet, the gunshot wound clearly visible in the artificial light. He was clad in thin summer pyjamas, the shirt open revealing his bare chest. Any traces in the immediate area would assist the scene of crime officers in learning a little more about the victim’s end, as would the bullet lodged within his head. For Lorimer, the story was one that seemed sadly familiar; a gangland shooting, maybe drug related. The single shot to the temple indicated a professional hit man at any rate, he thought, hunkering down beside the body.
‘What can you tell me?’ he asked, looking up at Detective Sergeant Ramsay, the crime scene manager, who hadarrived before him.
‘Well, so far as we can make out there was no call from neighbours about hearing a weapon being discharged.’ The officer shrugged as if to say that didn’t mean much at this stage. To many people, having a quiet life was preferable to giving evidence in a criminal trial.
‘The killer’s weapon may have been fitted with a silencer, of course,’ Ramsay continued, ‘or the neighbours on either side could just be heavy sleepers. We haven’t found a cartridge case, by the way,’ he added.
‘So who called it in?’ Lorimer wanted to know. ‘Colleague of the victim, sir. Was coming to give him a lift to work. Didn’t get an answer to the doorbell so he looked through the letterbox, saw the body . . . ’
‘ . . . And dialled 999,’ Lorimer finished for him.
‘Suppose that was the same person who was sick outside?’ Ramsay nodded. ‘Poor guy’s still shivering out there in the patrol car. Had to wrap a blanket around his shoulders. He’s been trying to give us what information he can.’
‘Okay. What do we know so far?’ Lorimer asked, looking at the dead man, wondering what his story had been, how he had been brought to this untimely end. The victim was a man about his own age, perhaps younger, he thought, noting the mid-brown hair devoid of any flecks of grey. For a moment Lorimer wanted to place his fingers upon the man’s head, stroke it gently as if to express the pity that he felt. No matter what his history, nobody deserved to die like this.
‘Kenneth Scott,’ the DS told him. ‘Thirty-seven. Lived alone. Divorced. No children. Parents both dead. We haven’t managed to get a lot else out of the colleague yet,’ he added, jerking his head in the direction of the street.
‘Too shocked to say much when we arrived. After he’d seen his pal.’ Lorimer continued to focus upon the dead man on the floor.
The victim’s eyes were still wide with surprise, the mouth open as if to register a sudden protest, but it was not an expression of terror.
‘It must have happened too quickly for him to have realised what was happening,’ Lorimer murmured almost to himself. ‘Or had he known his assailant?’
‘There was no forced entry, sir, but that might not mean all that much.’ The DCI nodded a brief agreement. Men were less likely to worry about opening their doors to strangers, if indeed this had been a stranger. And a strong-armed assassin would have been in and out of there in seconds, one quick shot and away. Lorimer sat back on his heels, thinking hard. They would have to find out about the man’s background as a priority, as well as notifying his next of kin. The pal outside had given some information. They’d be checking all that out, of course.
‘What about his work background?’ Lorimer asked.
‘They were in IT, the guy out there told us, shared lifts to a call centre on a regular basis.’ Lorimer stood up as the door opened again to admit a small figure dressed, like himself, in the regulation white boiler suit. His face creased into a grin as he recognized the consultant forensic pathologist. Despite her advanced state of pregnancy, Dr Rosie Fergusson was still attending crime scenes on a regular basis.
‘Still managing not to throw up?’ he asked mischievously.
‘Give over, Lorimer,’ the woman replied, elbowing her way past him, ‘I’m way past that stage now, you know,’ she protested, patting her burgeoning belly. ‘Into my third trimester.’
‘Right, what have we here?’ she asked, bending down slowly and opening her kitbag. Her tone, Lorimer noticed, was immediately softer as she regarded the victim. It was something they had in common, that unspoken compassion that made them accord a certain dignity towards a dead person. Lorimer heard
Rosie sigh as her glance fell on the victim’s bare feet; clad only in his nightwear that somehow made him seem all the more vulnerable.
‘Name’s Kenneth Scott. His mate came to collect him for work at seven this morning. Nobody heard anything last night as far as we know,’ he offered, making eye contact with Ramsay to include him in the discussion. This was a team effort and, though he was senior investigating officer, Lorimer was well aware of the value everyone placed on the scene of crime manager who would coordinate everyone’s part in the case.
‘Hm,’ Rosie murmured, her gloved hands already examining the body. ‘He’s been dead for several hours anyway,’ she said, more to herself than for Lorimer’s benefit.
‘Rigor’s just beginning to establish. May have died around two to four this morning.’ Rosie glanced up at the radiator next to the body. ‘I take it that’s been off?’
‘I suppose so,’ Lorimer answered, feeling the cold metal under the layers of surgical gloves. He shrugged. ‘It’s still officially summertime, you know.’
‘Could have fooled me,’ Rosie replied darkly, listening to the rain battering down once again on the canvas roof of the tent outside. ‘That’s two whole weeks since July the fifteenth and it’s never let up.’ Lorimer regarded her quizzically.
‘St Swithin’s day,’ she told him. ‘Tradition has it that whatever weather happens that particular day will last for forty days. Or else it’s more of that global warming the doom merchants have been threatening us with,’ she added under her breath.
‘But this fellow’s not been warmed up any, has he?’ Lorimer said. ‘Nothing to change the time of death?’ The pathologist shook her blonde curls under the white hood. ‘No. Normal temperature in here. Wasn’t cold last night either so we can probably assume it happened in the death hours.’ Lorimer nodded silently. Two until four a.m. were regarded as the optimum times for deaths to occur, not only those inflicted by other hands. He had read somewhere that the human spirit seemed to be at its most vulnerable then. And villains seeking to do away with another mortal tended to choose that time as well.
They’d find out more after Rosie and her team had performed the actual post-mortem and forensic toxicology tests had been carried out. Until then it was part of his own job to find out what he could about the late Kenneth Scott.






Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the DHSS, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. 

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles and commissions for BBC radio programmes. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. 

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, her previous novels include Five Ways to Kill a Man, Glasgow Kiss, Pitch Black, The Riverman, Never Somewhere Else, The Swedish Girl and Keep the Midnight Out. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012. 

Connect with her at her website: http://www.alex-gray.com or on social media







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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

AUTHORS TO WATCH: GREG MESSEL AUTHOR OF SAN FRANCISCO NIGHTS @greg messel




Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written ten novels. His latest is "San Francisco Nights" which is the seventh in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. "Shadows In The Fog," "Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty." For a more detailed summary of Greg's novels go to www.gregmessel.com 

Greg is currently working on his eleventh novel "Dreams That Never Were" which is not part of the mystery series.

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The wife of a wealthy San Francisco shipping magnate leads a secret life but someone is threatening to expose her.  Private eye Sam Slater and his wife and partner, Amelia, meet a mysterious woman in
a large red hat during a train trip. The woman approaches him pleading for help because she‘s receiving anonymous notes quoting Bible verses which are becoming more and more ominous with each passing day. Her secrets have been discovered but by whom? What really happens behind closed doors in Room 505 in a swanky downtown hotel?

Sam is willing to take the case but Amelia warns that this woman is nothing but trouble. What does the woman really want? She’s been watching Sam for months and has a scheme to pull him into her world. 

Find out in the latest Sam Slater Mystery “San Francisco Nights” set in the fall of 1959. It’s the seventh book in the series but is a heart pounding stand alone whodunit. 

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.

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We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?
I spent many years in the newspaper business as a reporter and columnist. I decided to try my hand at fiction in 2008. I didn’t know if I could do it but I began to write, a story evolved and I was on my way. I’ve learned so much since those early efforts. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else. 
Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
As I just described, in the beginning I was flying by the seat of my pants. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Since then I have refined my process—I actually believe I've improved my writing approach with each book. Now I think a lot about the basic plot line, then I make an outline. I’m not restricted by the outline but it’s a road map of where you're going with the story. I think particularly when writing a mystery it helps to specifically detail when will happen and when. “When” is a key element in a mystery. It’s important to lay out a strategy for revealing the twists, turns and secrets of the mystery. You don’t want to reveal too much or tell your secrets too soon. I love to keep the reader guessing as long as possible. 
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
The title is “San Francisco Nights.” A rich woman has a secret world that she fiercely guards. However, someone has discovered her private world and now she’s receiving anonymous notes quoting Bible verses which are growing more ominous with each passing day. Sam and Amelia Slater encounter the mysterious woman in the large red hat, while riding on a train. The woman pleads for them to help her. She’s sure someone is following her and plans to kill her. Meanwhile, a ruthless ex-con, who blames Sam and Amelia for putting him in prison, escapes and vows revenge. 
How did you get the idea for the book?
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and spent a lot of time in the city as a child in the 1950s. I remember my aunts and uncles and parents living in San Francisco in the 1950s. I think it’s a fascinating time and place. I remember going to baseball games at Seals Stadium with my dad and I went to Playland By The Beach with my cousins. Both places and several others in my memory are gone. I remember the adults in my family smoking endlessly, drinking cocktails and dancing to Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett records. I decided to create a private eye who inhabited that world and my ideas have constantly evolved over the last several years. I value compliments I’ve received from people who lived in San Francisco during that time who say I nailed it. 
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
It’s the Sam Slater Mystery and I like Sam a lot but I think Amelia is my favorite character. She’s sexy and romantic but she can be very tough and fearless. Sam and Amelia’s cop friend Vince Marino often says of Amelia, “Sammy, that’s one tough little Irish girl you’ve got there.” She is. It’s not easy to be a ambitious woman in the 1950s. A woman's choices were basically to be a housewife or a typist in an office. Amelia became a stewardess with TWA and got to see the world. It came at a cost. The stewardesses in the 1950s were in the forefront of beginning the journey to achieve equal rights for women. Stewardesses had to endure lot of boorish and chauvinistic behavior from passengers, in addition to corporate discrimination from the airlines. As a private eye, Amelia is very crafty and fearless, which has often landed her in trouble. 
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?  
Dialogue is always a challenge. I’m pleased with the dialogue in my book but I think you need to work very hard to make it right. Don’t over explain things, don’t be redundant and make it realistic. That’s very easy to say and tough to do.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on a political thriller “Dreams That Never Were.” It’s about a young idealistic newspaperman who is wounded when Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in 1968 and he's caught up in the aftermath in ways he never imagined. I’m also beginning the next Sam Slater Mystery “Gaslight Ghosts.” I am attempting to write a good ghost story about strange goings-on at an old Victorian house in 1959 San Francisco.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?
I heard some great advice from a novelist at a writing conference. He said most writers are nice people and wouldn’t think of doing some of the things described in their books. However, you need to let go. He put it this way—pull up a big dump truck full of “poop” (but he didn’t say poop) and dump it on your lead character and let them work their way out of it. Don’t hold back. Let your imagination run wild. 



Greg Messel is giving away three of his books!!

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