Posted in Authors, Interview, New Releases

Interview of Claire Fullerton, Author of Southern Fiction Novel, Little Tea

It’s a pleasure to have author Claire Fullerton from Malibu, California, here to talk about her new release, Little Tea.

How long have you been published, Claire?

Since the year 2013

Nice. What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

I am traditionally published and have four novels and one novella out in the world. A Portal in Time was published by Vinspire Publishing in 2013; Dancing to an Irish Reel was published by Vinspire Publishing in 2015; Mourning Dove was published in 2018, by Firefly Southern Fiction, who also published my novella, Through an Autumn Window in the anthology, A Southern Season, the same year. Little Tea was released on May 1, 2020 by Firefly Southern Fiction.

Those sound like interesting books. Tell us a bit about them.

I write stand alone books best categorized as Upmarket Fiction, in that they bridge the gap between commercial and literary fiction. I pay attention to character and language, and love to write stories about the human predicament, which is best played out through relationships. My last two novels (Mourning Dove, and Little Tea) have the subject of family dynamic at the heart. I love to write about that which goes into impacting character.

Characters are important in all books, and it’s true that featuring them in context with their families, as you do, is a great way to develop them.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I plan to write as best as I can, as long as I can. My aim is always work with a compatible publisher for the genre in which I write, which is, in some way, open-ended.

Great plan. I also like to write different genres, but mostly mystery subgenres.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I love all readers. Seriously, I do. I think readers are intelligent creatures, and those who read tend to do it as a way of life. I am a storyteller who basically depicts what goes on in this business of life. I assume everyone relates to the vagaries of life and chance and cause and effect. Those that like reading stories with a strong sense of place and a lens on character are those I’d love to read my books.

As a librarian, author, and also a reader, I also appreciate people who read and those who write, as well. I’ve learned many things from other authors and found inspiration through their books.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

I love this question because it is so important that authors compare notes. It’s most important to understand that you already are a writer! The aim is to see your work out in the world and in this day and age there are many options. I see the publishing business as two-fold. There is art for art’s sake, and then the business of publishing. Ask those you know who have books out in the world why they chose to go the route they did. Consider all options and decide how much time and work you’re willing to put into it. I am traditionally published because the thought of self-publishing is daunting, but I know many self-published authors who are enjoying wonderful careers.

That’s a great answer, Claire. It’s important for authors to find their own paths, and although there are so many choices to doing that today, that makes the decision a bit tougher. That’s why it’s so important to network with other authors and learn about the business side of publishing.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

When I shopped my first novel, I didn’t have a body of work behind me that was very impressive, and so I had a lot of agent rejections. Luck and timing gave me the opportunity to write a weekly column for The Malibu Surfside News, in which I basically told first person stories! It helped me as a writer and gave me a good credential. All the while, I wrote essays and submitted them to magazines. By the time A Portal in Time was signed, I had a body of work behind me. The first shift in my career happened then.

It’s good to have publishing credits, even if they aren’t from novels. I started with articles and then had a short story published in an anthology. I’m still querying to agents, but I have two very good Indie publishers, have published 8 books, and am continuing to write articles, short stories, books, and blog posts.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I do not belong to a writing group. My joke is I’m a lone wolf in the wilds of California. I believe writing critiques are subjective, anyway. I think finding one’s voice and growing comfortable with it is key.

I don’t blame you about that. Some writers find them helpful. I’ve never belonged to a critique group myself, although I participate in a writing workshop at my library. If you don’t use a critique group, it can be useful to have beta readers.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m the proud dog-mother of 3 German shepherds and one expressive black cat. I love their personalities, and we have a great rapport. I am also a teacher of ballet barre and Pilates mat. And one of my main loves is music, as I was a radio DJ for nine years and grew up in the musical haven of Memphis.

How interesting about your music and ballet background. I also have a black cat and two others. I had a German shepherd when I lived at home with my parents and also poodles.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I won’t say I don’t like it, but promoting a book once it’s out in the world is a full-time job! I’ve learned a lot through the years, and always encourage new authors to gain an understanding of the promotional sphere before they have a book out. What I like is helping authors.

I might give you a call – lol. Actually, I find promoting the toughest part of being an author because of the amount of time it takes away from writing which is even more difficult for those, like me, who have full-time jobs.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?

From Little Tea:

The light was always dim in the entrance hall, irrespective of the time of day. The carved crown molding on its high ceiling matched the dark walnut wood of the floor and door casings, which glowed in polished rosettes above the opening to the formal dining room on the right and the ample living room on the left, with the green-tiled solarium behind it. The entrance hall had a central catacomb feel and was always the coolest area of the house. In its cavernous elegance, footsteps were amplified on the maple floors during the months of June through September, then fell to a muted padding when Mom had Thelonious haul the crimson-and-navy runner from the attic and place it beneath the foyer’s round, centered table. At the end of the hall, behind the stairs, was my father’s den and attendant screened porch, but rarely did I visit the interior. My father was a private man, reclusive and solitary by nature, and whether he was in the library or not, the door was always shut. I had to skirt the gladiola arrangement on the entrance hall table. The floral design reached wide with flourishing arms toward the French credenzas against both sides of the walls. My reflection flashed in the ormolu mirror as I ran toward the stairs to find my mother. My hair crowned me with the color of night’s crescendo, dashing so dark it almost looked purple. I am 100 percent Wakefield in all that distinguishes the lineage, from the dark eyes and hair to the contrasting fair skin. There has never been a Wakefield to escape the familial nose; it is severe in impression, unambiguous in projection, straight as a line, and slightly flared. John and I are mirror images of each other, the yin and yang of the Wakefield, English bloodline. But Hayward was born golden, just like our mother, who comes from the Scottish Montgomerys, whose birthplace is Ayrshire. John and I possess an unfortunate atavistic Wakefield trait, though on me the black shadow is a ready silence, but on him it plays out as something sinister. John and I are individual variations of our father’s dark countenance, which is to say in our own way we are loners. People slightly removed. But Hayward got lucky, in possessing our mother’s shining essence. I could always see an internal light in their green eyes that set off their amber-colored hair.

I put my hand on the thick banister and climbed the stairs to the first landing, where my parents’ bedroom and living quarters unfurled like wings. The bay window overlooking the garden had its draperies drawn against the searing, silver sun. Walking into the sitting room at the right, I called for my mother, thinking she may be in the adjoining master bedroom. “I’m upstairs,” her voice descended. “Celia, come up. I want to see you.”

I mounted the stairs to the third-floor landing and found my mother perched lightly on the sofa in the alcove that served as a central area for the other four bedrooms. Behind her, sunlight filtered through the organza window treatments, highlighting the red in her hair. Her slender hands held a three-ringed binder of fabric swatches, the swatch on top a cool, blue toile. She patted the seat beside her and I settled softly. My mother was cultivated, circumspect, and radiated a porcelain femininity. Always, in my mother’s presence, I gentled myself to her calm self-possession. In my heart of hearts, it was my hope that the apple didn’t fall far from the proverbial tree.

“Tell me,” she said, “what do you think of this fabric for your draperies? We could paint the walls a light robin’s egg and put white on the molding. I think it’d be divine.” She looked around the room as if seeing it for the first time. “It’s time we got rid of the wallpaper in there. You’re growing up.” She laid her ivory hand on my cheek. “You’ll want this eventually. I think now’s a good time.”

I knew enough of my mother’s ways to know she was engaged in preamble. She was practiced at the art of delivery by discreet maneuver, and I suspected her impulse to transform my room had hidden meaning. “Why is now a good time?”

My mother looked in my eyes and spoke softly. “Celia, I’m telling you before I tell Hayward because I don’t want this to come from him. Your father’s going to be taking a job in Memphis, so we’ll be moving.”

“We’re moving to Memphis?” I gasped.

Yes, honey. You’ll be starting school at Immaculate Conception in September,” she answered. “You know the school; its attendant to the big cathedral on Central Avenue.”

“But that’s a Catholic school, Mom. I thought we were Episcopalian.”

“We are, honey, but it’s highly rated academically. Your father and I think being exposed to a different religion will broaden your mind and give you beautiful advantages. We can come back here any weekend we want, and you’ll have a brand-new room when we do. You’ll have the best of both worlds, you’ll see. You’ll make new friends in Memphis, and Little Tea will still be here. It won’t be a drastic change at all. Try to think of it as an addition. There now, sweetie, don’t make that face. It isn’t the end of the world.”

But it was for me; Memphis intimidated me. Memphis was the big city compared to Como, and I found it cacophonous and unpredictable in its patchwork design. There was a disjointed, disharmonious feel to the city, what with its delineated racial relations. Parts of town were autocratic in their mainstay of Caucasian imperiousness and there were dilapidated, unlucky parts of town considered dangerous, which a white person never chanced. This much I’d learned on my visits to my grandparents’ house near the lake in Central Gardens. Blacks and whites never comingled in Memphis, even though they did coexist. But there was an impenetrable wall that separated the races, and I’d been raised in a footloose environment where it didn’t matter so much.

I took my teary eyes and sinking stomach to my bedroom so my mother wouldn’t see me cry. Through the window over the driveway, I watched as Hayward and Little Tea threw a stick for Rufus. I hadn’t the heart to run tell them our lives were about to end.

That was excellent. Best wishes with your new release. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway. Thanks for joining us on Ruff Drafts.

Little Tea
by Claire Fullerton

About Little Tea


Little Tea
Southern Fiction
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction (April 28, 2020)
Paperback: 252 pages
ISBN-10: 1645262596
ISBN-13: 978-1645262596
Digital ASIN: B0817J667Y

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction ( Southeast.) Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner that is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.) Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel and is set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, and on the short list of the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary.

Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clairefullertonauthor

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/cfullerton3

Website – https//www.clairefullerton.com

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/cffullerton

Purchase Link – Amazon

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Posted in Blog Tour, Interview, Paranormal

Author Interview of Clarissa Kae, Author of Once and Future Wife

Welcome to Ruff Drafts, Clarissa. How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

Once And Future Wife is my debut novel (after working as an editor for roughly a decade). In full disclose, I am on the board for Carpe Vitam Press but am in talks with another publisher for a three book deal.

That sounds exciting. Best of luck with that.

Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date. 

Once And Future Wife is a time slip novel, not necessarily time travel as one character is immortal and the other is reincarnated. There’s dual timelines which was such a blast to write! I have an upcoming release for Pieces To Mend, a contemporary paranormal romance (again, dual timelines of past and present). It’ll be out for the world to see in October.

What interesting concepts. Even though I mostly write mysteries and a cozy mystery series, I have written a paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, also my very first book. I also enjoy writing dual timelines when they work in a novel such as they did in Sea Scope and also Cloudy Rainbow.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

While working as an editor, I’d never fully given up writing. Because of that, I have quite a few books in the pipeline and hope to get those polished and ready to roll. I am a big believer that authors are/should be agents for change. Every story has potential to give a slightly different perspective, creating space for empathy. Every character in every story is a bit different just as every person we meet in life. My goal—more than anything—would be to help those around us to be a little kinder to our neighbors and shed a softer light on mental illness, racial inequality…whatever that particular character is helping us with.

I really like that attitude, Clarissa. I also have a large stockpile of writing and hope to publish all of it one day. I also want my books and characters to touch my readers.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

Fans of Susanna Kearsley and Amy Harmon (those are the authors I’ve been compared to) would enjoy my stories. A whisper of paranormal with historical or meatier topics.

Nice. You should attract a good audience with those themes.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Do not compare your journey to anyone else. And be flexible. This industry changes on a dime, so learn to dance.

I agree. You have to be happy with what you write in order to sell it and not be influenced too much by current trends.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

For me, knowing if my writing was polished enough. I worked as an editor and held myself to a higher standard (and would become super frustrated when the idea in my head wasn’t matching the words on paper).

I can understand that.

Can you please list a brief excerpt from your book?

As a kid, Mom had taken me to several daytime practices of local plays. One by one the orchestra would tune each instrument. The cacophony was as soothing then as it was now. An image pulled at my heart. Mom was running her hands along the tops of the seats. Even with Garuda’s help, she wouldn’t be entering a theatre anytime soon. Until Stephen had accused her of coercing critics, I’d thought Mom secretly resented me for killing her career. But the nurse painted a different story. Right here, alone with my thoughts, there was a bit of relief and I wasn’t sure why.

The lights dimmed, and I shrugged out of my coat. Before I could save the seat next to me a couple took the last of the empty chairs. Earlier, Ty had come up with a plan. Whoever saw Denton first was to monopolize his time until the other could join. Between the two of us, we would find Denton and ask about my mother. My stomach twisted, no longer sure if we should be convincing Denton. I couldn’t admit it to Ty yet. He hadn’t seen my mother. To be fair, I didn’t fully understand what I was feeling or what had transpired at the hospital. The only thing I knew for certain was my mother was dying.

Without a master of ceremonies, the curtain rose, revealing two empty seats on the stage. A raven-haired man in jeans walked in, holding a small banjo, immediately followed by a blonde man in a tuxedo carrying a violin. The banjo player plucked a few notes and walked toward his seat. Just as he was about to sit, the violinist ran the bow across his instrument and mimicked the same notes. The banjo player nearly missed his seat, much to the delight of the audience. Like a soothing breeze, joy caressed each audience member, gaining strength row by row.

The banjo player began again, this time with a longer rendition.

With a toss of his hair, the violinist smiled. My heart leapt.

“Rhys,” I whispered. A spark lit inside me. Leaning in, I felt the fire spread.

Rhys matched the banjo player note for note. Four more times, they bantered back and forth. Rhys deftly stroked the violin into the cheerful fiddle song of cowboys. The banjo joined in mid-measure, and the audience clapped along. Faster and faster they dueled, each man furiously and happily dancing along with his instrument until they collapsed simultaneously with dramatic flair into their respective chairs to grateful applause.

While the men retreated to the shadows, a young girl in a white satin dress waltzed and spun to a silent dance in the center of the stage. With the help of a hidden orchestra, she sang O Holy Night in a polished, unexpectedly mature voice. She was followed by a blind woman, her cane thin and covered in twinkling crystals. She played a piano medley of David Lanz, Bach, and George Winston. The confidence she carried, the accuracy of her fingers. The audience—including me, watched in wonder.

Rhys entered the stage once more. He had visited me in my dreams, this fair boy named Rhys. The thought of his soft, golden hair and sky-blue eyes warmed my cheeks. Soft hair? I’d never touched it, but I knew it was smooth, fine. His laugh was airy and easily provoked—I had never heard him laugh. Nor had I ever touched him.

A small orchestra composed of several elementary-aged children appeared behind Rhys. With respectful silence, he began to play Partita for Violin Solo No. 2 in the appropriate D Minor.

My hands wrestled in my lap, tangling the silky folds of my dress. I had loved this song when my mother played it. She’d close her eyes and sway with the music. Even as a child, the emotions and the story resonated with me. It was a four-part tribute to Johann S. Bach’s first wife and her death. Rhys played the low hum to the youngsters’ accompaniment.

The loss of Bach’s wife was tangible, held in every note, the pain etched in Rhys’ face. I felt the unbreakable pull, the moth to the light, the lion to its prey, as I watched.

The mood of the music seemed to flow through his body, consuming him. Genuine.

I glanced around. Every man and woman sat frozen. They appeared engrossed in their own painful memory of loss.

I rose from my seat and kept to the shadows, inching along the balcony, closer to the side for the stage below. No one should feel this strongly about a stranger—at least no sane person. Unable to maintain my composure, I wrapped my arms around my waist and fled the auditorium.

With a hand on the rail, I ran down the stairs gripping the skirt of my dress. Someone called my name. Refusing to answer, I turned to another round of stairs, hoping it led to a back entrance. The light dimmed as I descended into the belly of the theatre. There was a feeling of comfort in the stairwell, urging me to keep going. My phone vibrated, pulling me back to my senses. With the back of my hand, I wiped my wet cheek. Only an idiot would cry like this.

That pulls you right in. Thanks for sharing.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Love this question! I love to ride horses (we own four) and I love to run. I competed as an equestrian in college and have never stopped loving horses.

My daughter went through a horse riding phase, but I’ve never tried it. I have started some jogging, but I need to watch my knees. It’s great that you have your own horses.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

Honestly, balancing life is the biggest challenged. I love to give 110% in all that I do and that’s just not feasible. I have three kids and my husband has a very demanding job (he’s on call 24/7) in the medical community. What I love most is creating life and characters. Nothing is greater than breathing life into something—a home, a garden or a book.

I feel the same way. So much to write, so little time.

Thank you so much. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below. Best wishes on your new release. It sounds great.

Immortal men like Rhys Glyndwr belong to forgotten fables—along with his reincarnating wife—but instead, they haunt the mind of a modern scientist, Isla Belle Thorne. Like an old blanket, visions of the healer servant and his wife, the daughter of a duke, have comforted Isla Belle, the only constant in her unstable childhood.
When her mother is hospitalized for a mental breakdown, Isla Belle fears for her own health and keeps the visions a secret. As Isla Belle starts her new job at a renowned medical organization, she comes face to face with Rhys—the same man from her visions.
She’s told an impossible tale of a love that death cannot kill. Surrounded by science but faced with an implausible legend, Isla Belle must decide what to believe and what to leave behind.

 

 

Clarissa Kae is a preeminent voice whose professional career began as a freelance editor in 2007. She’s the former president of her local California Writers Club after spending several years as the Critique Director.
Since her first novel, she’s explored different writing genres and created a loyal group of fans who eagerly await her upcoming release. With numerous awards to her name, Clarissa continues to honor the role of storyteller.
Aside from the writing community, she and her daughters founded Kind Girls Make Strong Women to help undervalued nonprofit organizations—from reuniting children with families to giving Junior Olympic athletes their shot at success.
She lives in the agricultural belly of California with her family and farm of horses, chickens, dogs and kittens aplenty.

 

 

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Interview

Interview with T.R. Ragan, author of Don’t Make A Sound, A Sawyer Brooks Thriller, by T.R. Ragan

I’m honored to interview Theresa Ragan/TR Ragan, author of Don’t Make a Sound, for my blog today. Theresa is from Sacramento, California.

Thanks for joining me today, Theresa.

How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

In 2011, after writing for 20 years and struggling to get published, I self-published two time travel romance novels—Return of the Rose and A Knight in Central Park, four contemporary romance novels, and a romantic suspense novel under the name Theresa Ragan. Soon after, I self-published one thriller titled Abducted by TR Ragan, which shot up to the top of the Amazon store. Months later I was approached by publishers. By that time I had sold more than 350,000 books. In March 2012, I sold Abducted and two more books in the Lizzy Gardner series to Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer thriller imprint. I have been with T&M ever since!

Self-published: Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Having My Baby, An Offer He Can’t Refuse, Taming Mad Max, Here Comes the Bride, Finding Kate Huntley, Dead Man Running, I Will Wait for You: a novella

Published with Thomas & Mercer: Lizzy Gardner series: Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies; Faith McMann Trilogy: Furious, Outrage, and Wrath; Jessie Cole series: Her Last Day, Deadly Recall, Deranged, and Buried Deep; Sawyer Brooks series: Don’t Make a Sound, Out of Her Mind, and Untitled Book #3.

What a great story. My first book, Cloudy Rainbow, a paranormal romance, was also self-published but I used a publishing company to do it. That book has since been reprinted with the publisher of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. I also write traditional mysteries and short stories of various genres. My latest book, Sea Scope, is a psychological mystery, and I just submitted a medical mystery to one of my publishers. I’ve also always enjoyed time travel and Twilight-Zone type tales and have a manuscript for one I hope to get back to soon.

Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

My newest series is about three sisters who all grew up within a dysfunctional family in a small town with lots of secrets. I have four sisters of my own, and we all remember things from our childhood a little differently. Same goes for Sawyer Brooks and her two sisters. They all handle the lingering horrors of their childhood a little bit differently. Sawyer Brooks, the youngest of the three, is the main character weaved through the three-book series. She struggles to overcome her feelings of being abandoned by her older sisters. It isn’t until she returns to her hometown that she learns that not everything is what it seemed. DON’T MAKE A SOUND by TR RAGAN was released on June 1, 2020.

Congratulations on your new release and interesting comment about how people remember things differently. I just submitted a manuscript that deals with repressed memories of a trauma that the main character is seeking to recall to solve a murder.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My goals as a writer is to always improve, always push myself to do better. After I turn in the third Sawyer Brooks novel next month, I will be writing my first standalone. I’m excited!

That’s great. I enjoy writing both standalones and series books.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

When I write, I usually have readers like myself in mind. People who know the difference between right and wrong. People who want justice for all. My thrillers are about everyday people overcoming tremendous obstacles and finding ways to not only move on in life, but thrive. My heroines are not victims. They are survivors.

Excellent!

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Read and write. If you have to give up TV to write for an hour after coming home from a full-time job, then do it! If you’re at home raising kids, write while they’re asleep or at school or while you’re waiting in the pick-up line to bring them home. I started writing when I was pregnant with my fourth child. My first book took me five years to write. I call it my Writing 101 Class. I thought about quitting a few times, but I didn’t. I wrote every day. I was determined and I persevered. When the rejection letters came in the mail, I cried for five minutes and then kept on writing. I have sold over three million books and I hope to sell three million more. It’s not easy. If it were, everyone would be writing a book. But if I can make it happen, so can you.

Three million books! That’s amazing. You’re an inspiration for many would-be and less successful authors including me.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

Finding time was the most difficult part. I worked full-time while raising four kids. When daycare costs became more than my paycheck, it made sense for me to stay home while my husband worked to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. I wrote late at night and early in the morning. There were six of us in a small house, so I set up a table in my bedroom and that’s where I wrote for the first fifteen years. I also wrote in bed and at the dining room table and in the car. When I signed with my first agent, I thought I had made it! I was so excited. I made all the revisions that editors asked of me, but to no avail. After writing for more than fifteen years, I grew frustrated and I started writing my first thriller, ABDUCTED. I got out my frustrations with the publishing world by killing off characters. If a character didn’t spit out great dialogue—off with their head. I’m kidding. Sort of. The point is, I found a new genre and I found my voice. Everything changed after that.

Such an incredible story. While I also work full-time and have difficulty finding the time to fit in writing, I can’t imagine what you went through with four kids while I only have one daughter, now a teenager, and 3 cats. I’m still trying to find an agent and a large publisher, but I’m not waiting for that to happen.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to ThrillerFest, RWA, and the Sacramento Chapter of RWA.

I haven’t heard of ThrillerFest, but I belong to International Thriller Writers as well as Sisters-in-Crime and a few other groups.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love hanging out with my husband and all four of my grown children. I play the piano, self-taught since the age of fourteen. I love hiking with my sisters, too.

Nice. I tried to teach myself piano, but I haven’t played in years. I enjoy walking and a little running that’s not too hard on my knees, but I haven’t tried hiking.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

The most challenging part for me is writing the first 100 pages of every single book. It doesn’t matter if it’s the second book in a series or the sixth. Those first 100 pages can cause me to lose sleep. I’m also not a big fan of deadlines. But that’s part of the deal! The very best part is writing THE END and realizing I did it again! Of course, I still have to revise, revise, revise, but that first draft is the tough part.

The best part for me is taking an everyday person/character and putting them in harrowing situations to see how they’ll deal with finding a way out of this often deadly and dangerous predicament. In my Faith McMann trilogy (Furious, Outrage, and Wrath) a wife, mother, and teacher is left for dead. Her husband has been killed and her two children have been kidnapped. Once Faith McMann begins to recuperate, she realizes she might be her children’s only hope. Faith becomes stronger, physically and mentally, and there is nothing that will stop her from finding her kids.

Good answers. I get stuck in the middle, but then I find that it gets going again if I don’t give up. The hardest part for me is promoting and marketing my books because I’d rather be writing which is my favorite part of the process because I enjoy creating characters and seeing where they lead me.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?

Of all those tragic memories, the night her sisters left was the most troubling, often as eerily vague as it was disturbingly real. Sawyer had been wearing her favorite nightgown, a light-pink cotton shift with a torn hem that fell below her knees. Out of breath and freezing cold, her heart hammering against her chest, she’d stood on the front porch of their old house in River Rock, staring into the night, praying it was all a bad dream and her sisters would return. That’s when a weighty hand had clamped down around her shoulder.

Oooh, exciting!

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?

I would like anyone who reads one of my books to know that my sole purpose is to entertain. I would love for readers to finish a book of mine and truly feel empowered—to know there is absolutely no obstacle they can’t conquer.

Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out my website at http://www.trragan.com

Very nice. Thanks for the great interview, and I will also share your current blog tour and giveaway. Best wishes on your new release.

Don’t Make a Sound (Sawyer Brooks)
by T.R. Ragan

About Don’t Make A Sound


Don’t Make a Sound (Sawyer Brooks)
Psychological Thriller
1st in Series
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (June 1, 2020)
Paperback: 287 pages
ISBN-10: 1542093872
ISBN-13: 978-1542093873
Digital ASIN: B07S4MFSFG

Her own past could be a reporter’s biggest story in this twisting thriller about murder and family secrets by the New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Plagued by traumatic childhood memories, crime reporter Sawyer Brooks still struggles to gain control of her rage, her paranoia, and her life. Now, after finally getting promoted at work, she is forced to return home and face her past.

River Rock is where she’d been abandoned by her two older sisters to suffer alone, and in silence, the unspeakable abuses of her family. It’s also where Sawyer’s best friend disappeared and two teenage girls were murdered. Three cold cases dead and buried with the rest of the town’s secrets.

When another girl is slain in a familiar grisly fashion, Sawyer is determined to put an end to the crimes. Pulled back into the horrors of her family history, Sawyer must reconcile with her estranged sisters, who both have shattering memories of their own. As Sawyer’s investigation leads to River Rock’s darkest corners, what will prove more dangerous—what she knows of the past or what she has yet to discover?

About T.R. Ragan

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author T.R. Ragan has sold more than three million books since her debut novel appeared in 2011. She is the author of the Faith McMann trilogy (Furious, Outrage, and Wrath); the Lizzy Gardner series (Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies) ; and the Jessie Cole novels (Her Last Day, Deadly Recall, Deranged, and Buried Deep). In addition to thrillers, she writes medieval time-travel tales, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense as Theresa Ragan. An avid traveler, her wanderings have led her to China, Thailand, and Nepal. Theresa and her husband, Joe, have four children and live in Sacramento, California. To learn more, visit her website at theresaragan.com.

Author Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TRRaganAuthor/ Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/trraganauthor/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/TRRaganAuthor

Purchase Links – Amazon B&N

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June 3 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

June 4 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

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Posted in Authors, Cozy Mysteries, Interview

Interview of Maggie Toussaint, author of Seas the Day, A Seafood Caper Mystery

I’m pleased to speak with author Maggie Toussaint from Tolomato Island near Georgia, Darien, about herself and her new release, Seas the Day.

Welcome Maggie. Nice to have you with us.

How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

Hi, Debbie. I’m a hybrid published author by choice and necessity. My first book came out in 2006, so I’ve been at this for a while now. I’ve published over twenty books in romantic suspense, mystery, and science fiction. A listing follows:

Romantic Suspense

House of Lies, The Wild Rose Press and now Muddle House Publishing (MHP)

No Second Chance, The Wild Rose Press and now MHP

Muddy Water, The Wild Rose Press and now MHP

Hot Water, The Wild Rose Press and now MHP

Rough Waters, The Wild Rose Press and now MHP

Seeing Red, Freya’s Bower and now MHP

Cozy Mystery

In For a Penny, Five Star and now MHP

On the Nickel, Five Star and now MHP

Dime If I Know, Five Star and now MHP

Murder in the Buff, Muse It Up Publishing and now MHP

Death, Island Style, Five Star and now MHP

Gone and Done It, Five Star and now MHP

Bubba Done It, Five Star and now MHP

Doggone It, Five Star and now MHP

Dadgummit, Camel Press

Confound It, Camel Press

Dreamed It, Camel Press

All Done with It, Camel Press (coming Aug 2020)

The Lyndsey & Ike Novella Mystery Series, MHP

Seas the Day, Henery Press

Science Fiction, writing as Rigel Carson

G-1, Kindle Scout winner (Kindle Press) and now MHP

G-2, MHP

G-3, MHP

NonFiction, writing as Margaret Toussaint

Remembering, MHP

The Descendants of Ann Margaret Atwood, MHP

Wow! That’s very impressive. Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

I have written series in multiple genres. Seas the Day is my first book in my brand new Seafood Caper Mystery Series, featuring amateur sleuth and caterer, River Holloway. This is my first culinary cozy, and I’m so pleased with how it came out. In addition, I have another current series, the Dreamwalker Mysteries, and the last book in that series, All Done With It, will release August 11, 2020.

That’s great. Congratulations!

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I hope to keep writing and publishing books, but in these perilous times, it’s hard to be sure of anything. There are two more books written in the Seafood Caper Mysteries, and I will be bringing them out myself since my publisher, Henery Press, will only be publishing book one.

Good luck to you with that. I know these are tough times for everyone.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I love readers who appreciate an ensemble cast of small town characters, who love Southern settings, and who appreciate pets, smart women, cooking, and recipes.

Sounds like you have a wide audience.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

The only thing you can control is the quality of book you produce. Keep writing your best stuff and good things will happen.

I agree with that. I’m currently polishing my eighth novel and am taking my time with it because I want it to be up to par with my other titles.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

The hardest challenge was to keep believing in myself as the submission process went on for years.

Yes, that is very difficult. Authors sometime give up because they are tired of waiting for an acceptance and aren’t interested in self publishing.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I am currently a past chapter president of Mystery Writers of America, Southeast Chapter, and a founding member of LowCountry Sisters in Crime.

Nice. I belong to Sisters-in-Crime, the online guppies chapter because my area doesn’t have a local chapter. I’m currently taking a plotting class offered through them which I’m finding very helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I teach yoga, take photographs of nature, sing in a choir, and play guitar. I’m fond of puzzles of all kinds, and I enjoy sewing. I’ve always loved going to the beach because it’s the right blend of activity and peacefulness.

You have a nice variety of hobbies.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I love to sit at the computer each day and distill lines from the story ether onto the computer screen. I dislike busy weeks when I have to scramble to meet my writing goals at non-optimum times for writing. My toughest challenge is realizing that the market acts like a living being, most of the times like a cat.

As a cat lover, I find that a very interesting observation. I agree that the market can be very fickle.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I enjoy having an amateur sleuth who has insider knowledge delve into homicides and manage to figure out who the killer is before the cops zero in on the right suspect. I’ve always rooted for the underdog to win and this is another aspect of that philosophy.

I enjoy that aspect of cozies, too.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title?

Here’s a snip from Seas the Day:

“My Chili’s gone,” Estelle Bolz sobbed in my ear. “You gotta help me, River. You can find anything. Please, please find my son.”

Gone?” Oh, no. I needed his fresh fish for tonight’s Holloway Catering client. Still holding the phone, I stepped away from the pie crust bowl, moved to the kitchen window, half-expecting to see Chili sauntering across my lawn. “I don’t understand. He left town?”

“You tell me. His keys are on the hutch. His truck was parked at the house until the cops took it. His boat’s in the slip. He hasn’t called me since Tuesday morning. I can’t lose another son.”

My heart went out to this woman who’d been through so much. Her youngest son perished at sea last year. Having another missing son was my late mother’s bridge partner’s worst nightmare.

I switched the phone to speaker and reached for pen and paper. “When did you last see him?”

“Monday. Around dinnertime.”

“Did you notify the cops?”

“I did. A deputy is looking for Chili, but he’s made no progress all week. I rode over to the Law Enforcement Center for three days in a row. They say there’s no sign of foul play and he’s an adult. Meanwhile, Chili hasn’t called in three nights. This is not right.”

Today was Friday. “I ordered sea bass from Chili on Tuesday morning, right after I booked a catering job. Nobody’s heard from him since Tuesday?”

“Nope. He wouldn’t take off like this and leave me to worry about where he is. That’s why he calls every night. I’m tied up in knots.” She sniffed loudly into the phone. “You’ve always been like a daughter to me, and I know this is a lot to ask. Please help me find Chili.”

I felt uneasy being asked to find a missing person. That was much different from finding misplaced keys or a lost dog, but Chili was my friend. He must be in trouble if he wasn’t calling his mom. Estelle’s rapid breaths filled my ear like a huffing freight train. “I’ll help you. First, sit down and breathe deeply. We’ll sort this out together.”

“Thank you,” Estelle said. “I just didn’t know where else to turn.”

“That’s it. Deep full breaths. In and out.” My breathing calmed too. I started with the easy questions: “Have you tried his friends? Did he find a new girlfriend after he and Trina broke up?”

“After his brother died at sea, Chili kept to himself. That no-account Trina lasted six minutes past Kale’s funeral. Chili’s all I got left in the world. When I consider possibilities of why he’s missing, my gut aches so bad I can’t stand up straight. Something’s horribly wrong. I’m terrified he’s hurt or worse, and I need to do something. We need to do something.”

I felt for her, I truly did. Mr. Bolz died of a heart attack long before the family moved here. Estelle supported her family with a dry cleaning business, with only her sons and friends for companionship. My mother died last year, a few months after Kale was lost at sea. It was hard enough to lose one relative, but to lose two so close together would be devastating.

Estelle needed an advocate. Without her boys, she was all alone. Mom’s friend needed an insider who knew her son. However, there must be a reason the cops weren’t getting anywhere.

“Chili needs your help,” Estelle continued while I mulled things over. “I’m begging you. Find my son.”

I stated the obvious. “If he left Shell Island, I don’t have the resources to find him. The cops do. Convince them to expand their search. I’ll go with you to the station if you like.”

“Don’t get me started on the po-lice. The sheriff has his eye on reelection and that new deputy thinks I’m an alarmist. It’s so frustrating.”

Estelle paused for so long I thought she must be crying, then she began again. “Your mother, bless her heart, used to brag on you all the time, especially how good you were at solving puzzles. I trust you, River, not the people who hand out speeding tickets. Those outsiders don’t know my family. They don’t understand why Chili wouldn’t leave. Not on purpose. We rely on each other. I-I-I can’t make it without him. Please, River.”

I’d known the Bolz family most of my life. Chili was two school grades ahead of me, Kale a school grade behind. Like my family, they worked several jobs to make ends meet because money was scarce here.

“I’m flattered by your faith in me, but I’m not a detective. I don’t have a network of professional investigators like the sheriff does. If I ask around, will you keep the pressure on the cops? They can put out a notice that he’s missing and it will go all over the state. Did you think about going to the newspaper, radio, or TV with your story?”

“Heavens, no,” Estelle shrilled. “Chili doesn’t want everybody and his brother spying on him. He’s a private person. First, I thought he must’ve fallen off the wagon and gotten tangled up with Mr. Jim Beam again.” She sighed. “I looked, and there’s not a drop of booze in his place or in his trash. He isn’t on a bender. I want somebody I trust on the case. I’ll pay you too.”

“I won’t take your money. I’m hesitating because if he’s in dire straits, you need more than me helping you.”

“Tell you what, I’ll keep the pressure on Sheriff Vargas, if you’ll question the younger crowd,” Estelle countered. “They’re more likely to talk to you than a stranger anyway.”

I was relieved she sounded calmer. “I am very concerned about Chili and wish I could drop everything and start searching right now. But my livelihood depends on successful catering events. Tonight I’m booked for the Robertson’s anniversary dinner. I’ll be busy all afternoon prepping the meal. They eat at seven and it will be after nine before I get home.”

“Do what you have to do and ask everyone about Chili. We have to find him.”

“I’ll do my best. If I learn anything, I’ll call you. When you spoke to him on Tuesday, what did he say?”

“He cancelled on our regular lunch at the Sunset Buffet. It’s unlike him to miss the meatloaf special. That boy loves his meatloaf. If I’d’a known that when I had him, I’d’ve named him Meatloaf.”

“Did he say why he cancelled?”

“Nope. Said something came up. I didn’t actually speak to him. He left me a message.”

“Did you play it for the cops?”

“Deputy Hamlyn said it wasn’t helpful. I’m out of my mind worrying about Chili. You’ll find him, won’t ya?”

“I hope so.”

Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books? I love to hear from readers.

Sign up for my newsletter on my website if you’d love to hear from me: https://maggietoussaint.com

I hope my readers will do that. I’m also sharing your blog tour and giveaway. Thanks again for the great interview, and best wishes on your new release.

Seas the Day (A Seafood Capers Mystery)
by Maggie Toussaint

About Seas the Day


Seas the Day (A Seafood Capers Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Henery Press (April 21, 2020)
Hardcover: 282 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115868
ISBN-13: 978-1635115864
Paperback: 282 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115833
ISBN-13: 978-1635115833
Digital ASIN: B0844K2Q4D

Caterer River Holloway cooks like a dream and is known on Shell Island as a “finder” of things. Which is why a desperate mother begs River to track down her grown son, Chili Bolz, who’s vanished.

Deputy Lance Hamlyn can’t find the missing man, so he teams up with River. The missing person case boils over into something frightening when Chili’s mother falls victim to a brutal assault. Worse, her dying words incriminate River’s friends in both kidnapping and, now, murder. River soon finds herself caught in an unsavory recipe for disaster.

Despite catering events and the return of her absentee boyfriend, River finds the number of suspects growing longer than her food shopping list. Along the way she befriends a black cat who becomes her crime-solving partner. River must locate Chili and discover who killed his mother before her own goose is quite literally cooked.

Maggie Toussaint serves up a fun and captivating read in Seas the Day, the first in her Seafood Capers series.

About the Author

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes cozy and paranormal mysteries, romantic suspense, and dystopian fiction, with twenty fiction novels published. A three-time finalist for Georgia Author of the Year, she’s won three Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards. She’s past president of Mystery Writers of America-Southeast chapter and an officer of LowCountry Sisters In Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Visit her at https://maggietoussaint.com/

Author Links

Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Booklover’s Bench | Amazon Author Central | Website | Bookbub

Purchase LinksAmazon

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April 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 22 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 23 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

April 23 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 24 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

April 24 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

April 25 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

April 25 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 25 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

April 26 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 26 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, GUEST POST

April 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

April 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

April 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 29 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

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April 30 – eBook addicts – SPOTLIGHT

May 1 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Interview

Spotlight of A.R. Kennedy, Author of Sleuth on Safari, A Traveler Cozy Mystery

It’s my pleasure to chat with a fellow Long Island writer, author A R Kennedy from Long Beach, NY, about herself and her new release, Sleuth on Safari. 

How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

I began self-publishing in 2013, with the first in The Nathan Miccoli Mystery Series. The series ended last year, at eight books.

I have a standalone novel, Saving Ferris. It is a legal thriller that makes us consider what, exactly, pets mean to us.

Sleuth on Safari, the first in The Traveler Cozy Mystery Series, release date is March 24, 2020. It is available for pre-order now.

The second in the series, R.I.P. in Reykjavik, is also available for pre-order now.

I’m currently working on the third in the series. Naomi travels to Australia!

Excellent. Those sound like interesting books.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My initial goal, when I published Gone But Not Missed, was to sell 100 books. Well, I’ve exceeded that!

My goal now is to write full-time. I hope to achieve this in the next 5 years.

Very nice. I would also like to write full-time once I retire from my work at the library.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I hope to attract a reader that’s looking for adventure!

I’m sure most readers look for that in their reading.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Perseverance is key. You’re going to get rejections. You’re going to get bad reviews. Sometimes you have to just write for yourself.

Good advice.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

For each of my novels (the first book in my first series—Gone But Not Missed, my standalone legal thriller—Saving Ferris, and the first book in my new series—Sleuth on Safari), I received lots of rejections. (I have the list and could give the exact number of rejections. But I’d rather not. 🙂

I felt I had run out of traditional publishing options, so I chose self-publishing. I’ve been lucky to find an excellent editor, formatter and cover artist to produce a quality novels that I’m proud of.

I’m glad it worked out for you.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Sisters in Crimes, including the Guppy Chapter

I am also a member of both.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a huge baseball fan!

And I love dogs. You can see lots of cute pictures of my pup, River, on my Instagram account.

I’m sure he’s adorable. I’m a cat lover, and I also post plenty of photos of my three cats on Instagram and Facebook.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I love the writing, the research, and the brainstorming.

The marketing takes me away from the stuff I love plus it forces me to interact with people I don’t know, which is always a challenge.

I feel the same way, and I think many authors do also.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

The Nathan Miccoli Mystery series follows NYPD detective, Nathan Miccoli. I spent a lot of time researching police procedure. I strived to get the details right. Writing a cozy series, I don’t have to get bogged down with procedure—with DNA results, toxicology results, autopsies— because Naomi doesn’t have access to that.

That’s a good point. With cozies, amateur sleuths do the investigating.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?

The Flights

For fifteen minutes, we stood at the conveyor belt, waiting for my luggage to arrive. The constant trail of luggage became a trickle and I began to worry. I had a vision that my vacation slideshow would be me in my Supernatural TV series T-shirt and jeans, with a soundtrack of my sister’s voice saying, “I told you so.”

I glanced at Charlotte. After a fifteen-hour flight, Charlotte had emerged refreshed. I was a little worse for wear. She gave me a dismissive look and I wiped a few crumbs from breakfast off my jeans.

She smiled briefly and the other expression returned.

“You know you look like Mom when you’re annoyed,” I told her.

She glared at me and whipped around. She and her bright pink luggage stormed off. Her pink flowy top wafted over leggings with a black-and-pink chevron pattern. I had to admit, she did look nice. And did not look like she had spent almost a day traveling. I looked down at myself. The same could not be said. My wrinkled black T-shirt and torn jeans, paired with Converse sneakers with tips that used to be white, made me cringe. Nothing about me said glamour.

I didn’t worry about being left in a foreign country by myself. I could find her a mile away with that highlighter pink gear.

I said a quick prayer before turning back to the luggage belt. I exhaled and smiled. She didn’t see the last bag to drop onto the conveyor. My worn tan duffle bag.

Fifteen minutes, and two wrong turns later, I arrived at the domestic airlines check-in line.

“Naomi! Over here.” Charlotte waved her fingers at me and I waved back, from the end of the line. “Come up here!” I was fine having fifteen people between us but she was not. “Could you let my sister through, please?” She plastered on her best smile and they conceded. The travelers cleared a path and I slithered through with a feeble smile. “Her luggage was delayed. Thank goodness she got it!” She grabbed me when I was within reaching distance and pointed at my T-shirt. “Can you imagine having to wear that for your whole vacation!”

No one hid their smiles and a twentysomething man, who had helped her with her luggage earlier, openly laughed.

The next agent became available and we handed her our passports. Charlotte looked at my bag as I placed it on the stand to be checked.

“What is that?” she asked, pointing to the shiny gray strip along the side of my bag.

“Duct tape. The tool of champions.”

She shook her head. “No wonder Dad got you in the divorce.”

Boarding passes in hand, we cleared security and headed to the gate. The short flight would be departing soon and then our vacation, a safari, would officially begin.

I handed her my backpack and made for the bathroom.

“Really? You’re not going to change?” Despite being three years younger, she always ordered me around. Or at least tried to.

“Into what?” I asked. My luggage, like hers, was headed to our next flight. I said a silent prayer as I gave it to the airline’s check-in agent that I would see it at the next airport. Charlotte was right. I did not want to spend the entire trip in jeans and a T-shirt. Even a T-shirt with cute guys on it.

She opened her carry-on. I peered in. She had more clothes in there. I didn’t know how she could fill so much, neatly, into that small space. “Let me give you something.”

“Why? Once we get there, we’re going to bed.”

“No, we’re having dinner around the fire when we arrive.” She pulled out the travel agent’s itinerary from a front compartment. Mine was somewhere crumpled at the bottom of my backpack. She pointed to the line, “Welcome Dinner.”

I didn’t want dinner. I wanted sleep.

“Plus,” she leaned in and whispered, “the people on the tour with us have to be on this flight.”

I looked around the small gate area and had to agree. To appease her, I grabbed my cosmetics case out of my backpack. It was better than putting on that frilly yellow top she was holding out for me.

Charlotte was pleased, especially when she saw it was the one she had given me for Christmas and that it was in good condition. I had never used it.

In the bathroom, I brushed my teeth and splashed water on my face. I ran my fingers through my hair. I looked at my makeup case, hoping it had dry shampoo in it, but knowing it didn’t. My sister’s case would. My pride wouldn’t allow me to ask her for it. However, my pride did not keep me from returning to my sister in faded, ripped jeans, a wrinkled sci-fi themed T-shirt, and sneakers.

Even though she no longer was carrying her hot pink luggage, she was still easy to locate. Her “Meet People” voice, the one she had learned from our mother, could be heard twenty feet away. I hid several rows away, in view of the boarding gate, until our flight was called.

“It took you all that time and you look like that?” she asked. “You’re going to feel silly at dinner looking like that.”

I rolled my eyes.

In the same tone I had used earlier, she added, “You look like our mother when you do that.”

Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?

I hope Sleuth on Safari inspires readers to travel!

I’m sure it will even if it’s armchair traveling.

Thanks for the interview. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below. Best wishes with your new series.

Sleuth on Safari: A Traveler Cozy Mystery
by A R Kennedy

About Sleuth on Safari


Sleuth on Safari: A Traveler Cozy Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Independently Published (March 24, 2020)
Print Length 267 Pages
Digital ASIN: B082XKK3TD

A bargain deal on a safari + one dead body = An adventure no one could plan for.

Naomi and her estranged sister are off on a trip of a lifetime—an African safari, a bucket list trip for Naomi on which she got a last-minute deal. Naomi thinks traveling with her sister will be the worst part of her African safari until she finds one of their fellow travelers, the unlikable Dr. Higgins, dead. She gets more adventure than she bargained for when she starts investigating what she thinks is murder but the luxury lodge says was a tragic accident. She only has a few vacation days, and a few game drives, to find the killer.

About A. R. Kennedy

A. R. Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.

Author Links

Website – http://arkennedyauthor.com

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/A-R-Kennedy/e/B00GOKCWHE

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ARKennedyauthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ark_author

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7382548.A_R_Kennedy

Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/a-r-kennedy

Purchase Link – Amazon

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 5 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 5 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – My Journey Back-The-Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 11 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST

March 11 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

March 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 12 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

March 13 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW

March 13 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

March 14 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

March 15 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

March 16 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 17 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

March 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 18 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Posted in Cat Writers' Association, Interview, Mysteries, Next Chapter, Solstice Publishing

Check Out My AllAuthor Interview and Learn More About Me and My Books

Debbie De Louise latest interview by AllAuthor

Born in Glen Cove on Long Island, Debbie De Louise is the author of seven novels. She chose to be a reference librarian at a public library because she enjoyed the atmosphere and the fact that she would be surrounded by books. Debbie De Louise shines in her fast-paced novels with a good story, with good characters, with good writing techniques. Read full interview…

Posted in Interview

My TV Interview on Between the Covers

On Wednesday night, April 24, I was a guest on Stephanie Larkin’s television show, Between the Covers. This was my second appearance on a TV show. Last year, I appeared on Lisa Maria Frank’s Writer’s Dream show. This time, I was featured along with the Book Fairies, a great organization that puts unwanted books into the hands of those who need them. I was also lucky enough to have some friends attend to cheer me on.

Here are some photos from the show.

Me outside Paradise Studios where Between the Covers is filmed. (Photo by Lauren Artus)
Me with Stephanie Larkin and the Book Fairies during the show. (photo by Lisa Diaz Meyer)
My friends Mary and Lauren who cheered me on during the show.
My friend, Lisa, also an author whose book, “All Roads Shattered” I recommended to viewers during the show.
Me talking with Stephanie about my books and cats. (photo by Lisa Diaz Meyer)

To watch and listen to the broadcast, click below.

 

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Interview, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Cathy Ace

I’m pleased to have author Cathy Ace here from just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Cathy was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales and migrated to Canada from the UK when she was 40. She’shere to speak about her writing and new release, The Wrong Boy that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Hi, Debbie. Thanks for having me along today!

My pleasure, Cathy. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

My first novel was published in 2012. THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE was the first in the Cait Morgan Mysteries – there are now eight books in that series (TouchWood Editons). They feature a Welsh Canadian professor of criminal psychology who travels the world solving “closed circle” mysteries (contemporary, but very much like Agatha Christie, in that they are true “traditional” mysteries). I also write the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (Severn House Publishing), which feature four female professional PIs who run their business out of a Welsh stately home. They’re cozier than the Cait Morgan Mysteries. I have two collections which are self-published (Four Tails Publishing) – one is a collection of short stories, the other a collection of novellas. These two volumes contain the earliest tales about both Cait Morgan and the WISE women, and also about DI Evan Glover…who appears in my forthcoming novel THE WRONG BOY, which was published on January 9th 2019.

Congratulations! That’s quite a nice publishing record. Your mysteries sound very interesting.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I hope to keep writing the two series across which I have already 12 books published, but also want to be able to work on standalones, which will be darker – though not gritty. In other words, I intend to keep my head down, and work hard!

Good luck with those goals. I also hope to start a new cozy series and keep writing standalones. I’d also like to publish some short story collections.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

My Cait Morgan Mysteries attract readers who enjoy a true traditional novel, whilst the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries attract those who enjoy tea and cakes, a bit of gossip and real British mysteries. THE WRONG BOY will appeal to those who enjoy a thrilling tale of suspense with layers of deceit and old lies being ripped away…the effects of which impact a small community in Wales, and one family of three women in particular.

A widespread audience.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Read! Not books about how to write, or about how to get published, but award-winning books in the genre and sub-genre that appeal to you. You need to know what’s good (and bad) out there to learn from the best and avoid the worst.

Excellent advice. As a librarian, I have access to a large number of books and try to read as much as time permits.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

I was very fortunate – after a career of writing professionally (in advertising and public relations) I self-published two collections of stories mailed them to a publisher, who asked me to submit a manuscript for one of the characters – and that was published. Right background, right place, right proposition, right time!

It all lined up for you. What a great story, excuse the pun.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

No, writing is – for me – a solitary undertaking.

I can understand that. Some writers find groups helpful. Others, like you, prefer to go it alone.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m an avid gardener. Lucky enough to live on five acres, my husband and I actively garden about three of those acres. I love it!

Nice. A good way of getting healthy exercise and fresh air away from the computer.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

Easy….I love writing a first draft, and I hate editing!

Editing is a challenge, but I find promotion an even bigger one. First drafts are fun and a great way to flex the creative muscles.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I have to admit that whilst my WISE series is cozy, my Cait Morgan and DI Glover series are not and, for me, I enjoy writing in a mix of styles.

I feel the same way. I’ve written other genres but prefer mysteries of different types.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?

These are the opening two pages of THE WRONG BOY.

John Watkins hooked open the bedroom curtains and wiped the frost-feathered window with his pajama sleeve. ‘I thought that’s what I could see. Somebody’s lit a fire on the hill above the village.’

His wife tutted her annoyance at him letting in the cold. ‘All the way up there? No.’

‘Yes. Come and take a look.’ Brass rings clattered as he pulled at the worn brocade. He breathed hard on a couple of panes to clear them.

Dilys gripped her steaming mug of tea with both hands as she shuffled across the room. The moon hung in the coal black sky, and glistened on the coal black sea. Her eyes shifted from the sparkling surf to the inky hillside above. ‘That’s up by the old RAF listening station, by the looks of it.’

‘Guy Fawkes Night. Probably some kids,’ mused John, rubbing his arthritic thumb. ‘They had that do at the pub in Rhosddraig tonight, didn’t they? Sparklers and hot dogs. Maybe someone had one too many and thought it would be a good idea to start their own bonfire up there.’

‘That’s dangerous, lighting fires all over the place.’ Dilys shook her head with resignation as she turned toward the bed, eyeing its welcoming mounds with delight. Even her bones felt tired. ‘It’s nearly midnight. Who’d be out there in this temperature, doing that?’

Her husband’s face creased into a smile. ‘It’s only one fire, not loads of them, Dilys. And I can think of a woman who – when she was a girl – would have been up for a bit of mischief like that.’ He winked and smiled. ‘Remember her?’

Dilys rolled her eyes. ‘Even sixty-odd years ago I wouldn’t have wanted to be out in this cold, not with you or anyone else, John Watkins.’ She sat on the edge of the bed, placed her mug beside the alarm clock, and pushed off her slippers with her toes. ‘Come on, let’s get back in here to warm ourselves, and get some sleep. We’re up early in the morning with a long day ahead of us. A diamond wedding anniversary, with a blessing in the church and a party afterwards, only happens once. You never know, there might be a surprise for you at the breakfast table.’ She patted her husband’s pillow.

‘Who’s that, now then?’ said John, ignoring his wife’s invitation. He was still at the window, bobbing his head to avoid the reflection of the bedside lamp. ‘Well, well, I don’t know how that family’s got enough to pay out for the sort of get-ups they wear these days. That coat alone must have set them back a bit. And look at that – riding a bicycle on the footpath. I’ll have a word with them about that, I will. And the fire, too.’

‘John, come on, it’s late, love.’

John clambered into bed, and kissed his wife’s cheek. ‘What were you doing sixty years ago tonight, I wonder?’

Dilys gave her husband a gentle shove. ‘Crying myself to sleep because I was terrified about my wedding night, that’s what. My mother – God rest her soul – had tried to tell me what to expect of being with a man for the first time; she didn’t do a very good job of it. I had a bad stomach that night too. Butterflies they were back then, not this blinking wind I’ve got griping me now; I can’t seem to shift it.’

John snuggled under the duvet. ‘You were such a sweet girl. Carried away with you, I was. And I love you even more now. You know that, don’t you?’

Dilys nodded and grunted.

John didn’t like to see his wife in pain. He thought she looked more than usually peaky. ‘Why don’t you sit up for a bit; rub your tummy. Maybe that tea will shift it. You took some of your medicine, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, I did. Don’t worry, love, it’ll pass. It always does – one way or another.’ Dilys chuckled. ‘Now, come on, night, night. It’ll be time to get up before you know it.’

‘True enough.’

John turned off the lamp.

It was gone four in the morning when John rang for the ambulance. For once in his life he cursed the fact that the farm – high on the coastal moor between the villages of Rhosddraig and Lower Middleford – was so remote.

Very nice. Great descriptions.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?

Knowing that THE WRONG BOY moves in darker territory than my two other series, I have written it bearing in mind the fact that I don’t want to shock or offend my existing readers, and hoping they’ll take a chance to journey down a Welsh country lane with me, to find out what really goes on behind all those twitching net curtains!

I think your readers may welcome a change of pace.

Well, it was great having you here, Cathy, and I’m sharing info about your blog tour and giveaway below.

I appreciate that, Debbie, and enjoyed the interview.

The Wrong Boy
by Cathy Ace

About the Book

The Wrong Boy
Suspense/Thriller
Four Tails Publishing Ltd. (January 9, 2019)
Print Length: 307 pages
ASIN: B07KRNGV3R

Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has its peaceful façade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon’s Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he’s just two days away from retirement. However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . .

Author Links: Website Facebook Twitter: @AceCathy GoodReads

Purchase Links – AmazonKobo

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 8 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

January 8 – Reading Authors – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

January 9 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 11 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 11 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 14 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

January 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 17 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Interview, Television Broadcast

My TV Debut on The Writer’s Dream

My TV interview with Linda Maria Frank for her show, The Writer’s Dream, is on Youtube. It was recorded at the LocalTV station in East Hampton, Long Island, New York. In the interview, I talk about my Cobble Cove mystery series, my other books, and my new paranormal release, Cloudy Rainbow. I also talk about my love of cats, propensity for killing off husbands/boyfriends in some of my books, and how working as a librarian has helped me with my writing, I hope you enjoy the broadcast.