Posted in New Releases

Spotlight for The Door to Forever by Doug Simpson

Book Blurb – The Door To Forever:

During his senior years, John – a retired high school English teacher – decided to finally write his memoirs.

His story begins at a young age, with his first visit from a spirit playmate his own age. To John, Jason is just an ordinary child like him, and John never gave much thought to where Jason came from – or where he disappeared.

As years passed by, more playmates followed, and as John got older, his playmates shared more and more information about the spirit world with him.

In The Door To Forever, John recounts the various encounters he, his family, and close friends experienced with spirits, spirit guides, earthbound spirits, haunted houses, and visits to Heaven, as well as soul groups and the purpose of their souls reincarnating together over many lifetimes to collectively advance their soul development in order to reacquire their original, perfect state when God created them.

Buy  The Door To Forever by Doug Simpson on Amazon now.

Teaser/excerpt:

“So, are you what is referred to in books as my Spirit Guide for this incarnation?”

“That’s me.”

“Figured as much. So, you don’t get to pop into bodies like the others have done?”

“Not this time around, or in proper terminology, not in this round of incarnations.”

“Explain, please.”

“You, I, Nancy, Jason, Crystal, your parents, your grandparents, Crystal’s parents and grandparents, and many, many others are currently part of the same soul group. The souls in a soul group reincarnate together throughout a number of different time periods, sometimes hundreds of years apart. They are seldom in the same relationship as they were in their previous incarnations, but they also could be. For example, in your previous incarnation, your grandpa might have been your son or brother, or even your mother or sister. Souls are sexless. It is the human bodies that are male and female. Most souls will experience lives as males at times and females at other times. They will also experience incarnations in different cultures, different races, different religions, and different geographical regions. I know that is a lot to digest at once, but you wanted more information. Now I hope you also understand why I could not tell you about this when you were younger, and I probably would not be telling you even now at nineteen either if it had not been for your soul’s vivid visits with your grandfather.”

“Wow! That definitely is a lot to digest.”

“Yep. I will stop there and let you think about all of this for quite some time before we take it to the next level.”

Doug Simpson is a retired high school teacher who has turned his talents to writing. He has nine published books, two non-fiction and seven fiction. The two non-fictions are uniquely historical and are titled, We Lived in Atlantis and The Soul of Jesus. His most recent fictional presentation is narrated by John, as he shares his life story discovering his spirit guide, invisible but not imaginary playmates, visits with his deceased grandfather in Heaven, earthbound spirits, soul groups and the reason why souls need to reincarnate over and over. The Deja Vu House is the story of a young woman and her fiancé discovering an older house they wish to purchase but before the young lady even enters the house, she knows that she has lived there before. The Dacque Chronicles includes five books outlining how Dacque discovers his past lives and introduces others to the ease with which they can discover their past lives as well. Doug’s magazine and website articles have been published in Australia, Canada, France, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. His articles can be accessed through his website at http://dougsimpsonauthor.com/.

Follow Doug on these sites:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/doug.simpson.902

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/Doug-Simpson-161378310622999/

Author Website – www.dougsimpsonauthor.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/1DougSimpson

BookBub – https://partners.bookbub.com/authors/83016/edit

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Doug-Simpson/e/B006GDWTQI?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4&qid=1568045462&sr=1-4

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5822173.Doug_Simpson

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/1dougsimpson/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.ca/jesuscayce/

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Posted in New Releases

Spotlight for Who Shot The Serif: A Hand Lettering Mystery, by Jessa Archer

Who Shot the Serif?
(Hand Lettering Mystery)
by Jessa Archer

About Who Shot the Serif?

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Who Shot the Serif? (Hand Lettering Mystery)https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?source=bk&t=dollycsthoug-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=ec5d9158483759fe19ef5590d605cd9e&_cb=1562869611269
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Independently Published (July 7, 2019)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1079134891
ISBN-13: 978-1079134896
Digital ASIN: B07TBL3TTV
https://i2.wp.com/www.escapewithdollycas.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47.png?resize=130%2C41&ssl=1

When Jamie Lang finds one of her hand lettered quotes on the window of her shop, Flourish, with a hole shot through a serif, she knows someone’s trying to drive her business into red ink. Jamie confronts Earleen Culp, the ruthless owner of the local stationery shop, in front of the most popular breakfast spot in the small town of Cedar Valley. Of course, Earleen professes shock and innocence, so when she’s found dead in front of Jamie’s home the next morning, Jamie becomes the prime suspect.

Jamie’s one cross-stroke short of acquittal, and even her best friend has her doubts. But Jamie’s not the only one in town with a motive for wanting Earleen silenced for good. To clear her name, Jamie’s going to need every last drop of ink in her quill.

With the hot police chief Ridge, and her makeup artist friend Nora on her side, she’s prepared to go out with a flourish if that’s what it takes to catch the real murderer. She’s desperate to save her hand lettering business, but will her quest lead her right into a killer’s snare?

About Jessa Archer

https://i2.wp.com/www.escapewithdollycas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/jessa.png?resize=212%2C226&ssl=1

Jessa Archer writes sweet, funny, warm-hearted cozy mysteries because she loves a good puzzle and can’t stand the sight of blood. Her characters are witty, adventurous, and crafty in the nicest way. You’ll find her sleuths hand lettering inspirational quotes, trying to lower golf handicaps, enjoying a scone at a favorite teashop, knitting a sweater, or showing off a dramatic side in local theater.

Jessa’s done many things in her long career, including a stint as a journalist and practicing law. But her favorite job is spinning mysteries. She loves playing small town sleuth and transporting readers to a world where the scones are delicious, wine pairs with hand lettering, and justice always prevails.

Author Links

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JessaArcher
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessa-archer
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19123141.Jessa_Archer
Facebook: http://bit.ly/JessaArcherFacebook
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/JessaArcherPinterest
Twitter: http://bit.ly/JessaArcher-Twitter
Instagram: http://bit.ly/JessaArcherInstagram
Jessa Archer Web Page: https://www.jessaarcher.com/home.html

Purchase Links

Amazon.com:
Amazon Universal Link (to all Amazon sites)

Posted in New Releases

Spotlight for A Curio Killing, A Keepsake Cove Mystery, by Mary Ellen Hughes

A Curio Killing
(A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
by Mary Ellen Hughes

About A Curio Killing

A Curio Killing (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Maryland
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2019)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 0738752266
ISBN-13: 978-0738752266
Digital ASIN: B07KMX5QY4

Callie finds treble in Keepsake Cove when her ex-boyfriend is framed for murder . . .

Callie Reed is looking forward to her first Keepsake Cove spring festival. But her excitement dims considerably when she learns that her ex-boyfriend, Hank, will be performing with one of the hired country-western bands. Callie vows to keep her distance, but that changes when the band’s manager, Bobby Linville, is found dead, killed with the music box Hank bought at Callie’s shop.

Hank is soon singing a sad tune in a detention center with Callie his only lifeline. Though thoroughly aware of his many faults, she knows violence and murder aren’t in his blood. But that means one of her fellow Keepsake Cove residents must be hiding a dark secret—something Callie desperately needs to uncover.

About Mary Ellen Hughes

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries, the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. The Keepsake Cove series begins with A Fatal Collection and continues with A VINTAGE DEATH and A CURIO KILLING.

Author Links

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

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/mehughes13/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mehughesauthor

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/402922.Mary_Ellen_Hughes

Purchase Links – Amazon B&N Midnight Ink Mystery Love Company Booksellers BAM IndieBound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

September 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 6 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 7 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 7 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

September 7 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 8 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 9 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

September 9 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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

September 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 11 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 12 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

September 12 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

September 13 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 13 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW, RECIPE

September 14 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

September 16 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

September 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 18 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 19 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

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Posted in Freebies and Special Offers, New Releases

Audiobook Giveaway, Forthcoming New Release, and Facebook Party

I’m proud to announced that my psychological mystery, Sea Scope, is now available in audio through Audible. If you like to listen to books and would like a free promo code, comment on this blog with your email address and if you need a U.S. or U.K. code. I have a limited number, so first come, first serve. Also, please only comment if you plan to review the book.

Sarah Collins needs an escape. Mourning her brother’s death and the impending breakup of her marriage, she accepts an invitation to return to her childhood home in South Carolina, where her family operated an inn.

She hasn’t been back to Sea Scope for 20 years: not since she and her brother Glen discovered a body by the nearby lighthouse. She never understood why her parents left Sea Scope so suddenly, or the reasons behind her father’s suicide.

After Sarah returns to the inn, she faces long-buried memories, text messages, and strange clues. Something is not right in Sea Scope.

Reunited with people from her past, she tries to figure out what’s going on in her childhood home. As the past and present collide, she must face truths about her family, and what happened that summer day by the lighthouse. But will she survive to tell the tale?

Link to the U.S. Audible sample: https://adbl.co/2lK4j71

Link to the U.K. Audible sample: https://adbl.co/2m5Kpnm

Coming soon . . . My paranormal, time-travel tale, The Mistaken Mission.

Nineteen years ago, Gina Garrett’s father disappeared into the past using a time-travel disk he and his partner created. The only person who believed Gina when she explained what happened was her father’s partner’s son. When he, now a detective, shows up at her door claiming that he needs her to help him prevent a murder that happened a year ago, she hopes they can find her father, too.

Last, but not least, I’ll be one of the cozy mystery authors at a Facebook release party on Thursday night, September 12. I’ll be hosting from 6:45 to 7 pm and will be giving away some prizes for those who attend. I hope to see you there. You can join the party at: https://www.facebook.com/events/2366997540206084/

Posted in New Releases

Spotlight for Silent Night, Deadly Night: A Year-Round Christmas Mystery by Vicki Delaney

Silent Night, Deadly Night
(A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
by Vicki Delany

I always enjoy a holiday-themed mystery – it makes for a nice (although temporary) escape from the August heat . . . The Christmas themed town sounds so quaint and inviting, I would love to visit Rudolph for a little shopping and dinner.
~The Book’s the Thing

Silent Night, Deadly Night was a satisfying cozy mystery that will put you in the Christmas spirit . . . (it) has catty college chums, deadly delicacies, a sly Santa stealer, dangerous secrets, old-fashioned ornaments, and one elf investigator.
~The Avid Reader

From setting to characters and storyline, Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany is a cozy mystery lover’s delight.
~The Power of Words

Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany is marvelously written story with compelling characters, a stunning setting and a perfectly plotted mystery.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

I just love this series!! Delany has created an adorable town when it comes to Rudolph. A small town dedicated to Christmas year-round. The details are astounding really bringing everything to life as you read.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany is delightful and engaging from start to finish. Well-written and steadily paced, this story offers the reader an infusion of the holiday spirit as well as a layered plot that keeps you on alert.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

I really enjoyed this story. The mystery of who murdered Merry’s mother’s college friend was well-plotted and interesting.
~Carla Loves To Read

Ms. Delany excels at character development. These characters are rich, those we love, those who rub the wrong way, and even those we come to absolutely hate by the end of the story.
~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

The book was well-written. Even though there were clues sprinkled throughout the story, I didn’t figure out whodunit until Merry did. I love when that happens and I am able to just get lost in the mystery.
~Brooke Blogs

Full of subplots and tangled emotions, dark secrets, and buried motives make this an interesting read . . . It is the characters and their interactions that make this such a wonderful series.
~Laura’s Interests

About the Book

Silent Night, Deadly Night (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Berkley (August 27, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0440000300
ISBN-13: 978-0440000303
Digital ASIN: B07L7TWTZX

Residents of Rudolph keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round—but their joy is threatened when a group of grinches visits the town, in the charming fourth installment of the Year-Round Christmas series.

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is preparing for a weekend reunion of her mother’s college friends. But when the group of women comes into Merry’s shop, Merry is met with frosty attitudes and cold hearts.

The women argue amongst themselves constantly, and the bickering only intensifies after one of the friends is poisoned. With her father’s role as Santa in danger due to his proximity to the crime, Merry will need to use all of her investigative gifts to wrap this mystery up and save Santa and her favorite holiday.

About the Author

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Year Round Christmas mysteries and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series.

Author Links

Website –  www.vickidelany.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor;

Twitter:  @vickidelany and@evagatesauthor

Instagramvickidelany

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play – IndieBound

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

August 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

August 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

August 26 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

August 27 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 27 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

August 28 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

August 28 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

August 28 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 29 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

August 29 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 30 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 30 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

August 30 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

August 31 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

September 1 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

September 2 – eBook addicts – SPOTLIGHT

September 2 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

September 3 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 3 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

September 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 4 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

September 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 5 – CelticLady Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 5 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

September 6 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

September 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

September 7 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW  

September 7 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 8 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

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Posted in Author Spotlight, New Releases

Author Spotlight of Mystery Author Judy Penz Sheluk

I’m pleased to have fellow mystery author Judy Penz Sheluk here to chat about herself and her writing.

Nice to have you here, Judy. 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, The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery, was originally published in July 2015 by Barking Rain Press (BRP). BRP has also published book 2 in the Glass Dolphin series (A Hole in One) and book 1 in my Marketville Mystery series, Skeletons in the Attic.

In Feb. 2018, I started Superior Shores Press, my own publishing imprint. I have since published The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, a multi-author anthology where I worked as publisher and editor and two more books in the Marketville series: Past & Present (Sept. 2018) and A Fool’s Journey (Aug. 2019).

Very nice. 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.

I write amateur sleuth mysteries without the cats, crafts, or cookie recipes. The plots are a bit more complex than a traditional cozy, but they don’t contain bad language, violence or sex. My most recent release is A Fool’s Journey, which releases on Aug. 21.

Interesting. I always thought my mysteries, although they always contain cats, are non-traditional cozies, too. I envisioned the first book of my Cobble Cove mystery series, A Stone’s Throw, as a romantic suspense novel. Readers felt differently, and so began the cozy mystery series.

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’m currently working on the third (and final) book in the Glass Dolphin series; I love the series, but I know where I want the characters to end up in their lives. Sometimes it’s just time. I plan to continue the Marketville series, and I’m working on a standalone suspense. I hope to publish another anthology next year, if The Best Laid Plans is successful.

I have a few stories in anthologies. I like to write them along with my books. I have 4 books in my series and hope to write at least another one. I also have plans to start a new series. So many ideas, so little time. I know you can relate to that.

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

Anyone interested in clever cozies and mainstream mysteries, age 14 to 140.

A large audience.

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

Don’t give up. Rejection is part of every writer’s life. Believe in yourself, and in your story.

Excellent advice.

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

The usual, I’m sure. Self-doubt and rejection topped the list. But I knew this is what I was meant to do.

That’s so important.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I’ve taken writing workshops, and have a diploma in Fiction Writing from Gotham Writers Workshop and a diploma in Creative Writing from Winghill.

Good for you. I participate in a writer’s workshop at my library. I’ve taken several online courses and am currently taking two Sisters-in-Crime classes. They are very helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love to golf in the summer, walk my dog (a three and a half-year-old Golden Retriever named Gibbs) year round and try to read at least one book a week. I also love hanging out at our camp on Lake Superior – but only in the summer and fall. Winters in Northern Ontario are brutal!

I also like walking. When I can’t do it outside, I do exercise videos. I can’t walk my cats, but I play with them. I enjoy running after the two young ones. I wish I could read a book a week. With my full-time job at the library and my writing, I find it hard to read a book a month.

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

I love the writing part best. I also enjoy doing local events, speaking engagements, and going to book clubs (either by an online Zoom meeting or in person). I don’t love shameless self-promotion, but I also understand that it’s part of the job. And to be honest, if I wasn’t an author, I probably wouldn’t have any social media presence.

I relate to that. I find marketing and promotion time-consuming and frustrating, but, like you, I know it’s necessary.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.

Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/JudyPenzSheluk/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8602696.Judy_Penz_Sheluk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JudyPenzSheluk

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/judypenzsheluk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/judypenzsheluk/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/judy-penz-sheluk

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Judy-Penz-Sheluk/e/B00O74NX04

Blurb for A Fool’s Journey

In March 2000, twenty-year-old Brandon Colbeck left home to find himself on a self-proclaimed “fool’s journey.” No one—not friends or family—have seen or heard from him since, until a phone call from a man claiming to be Brandon brings the case back to the forefront. Calamity (Callie) Barnstable and her team at Past & Present Investigations have been hired to find out what happened to Brandon and where he might be. As Callie follows a trail of buried secrets and decades-old deceptions only one thing is certain: whatever the outcome, there is no such thing as closure.

Excerpt:

Poplar Street was a mixed bag of retail, commercial, and questionable residential. Real estate ads liked to suggest that it was a neighborhood in transition, though which way it was transitioning was uncertain.

Trust Few Tattoo was sandwiched in with Triple P Pizza, Pasta & Panzerotti, and Totally Tempting Thai. The building itself was narrow, with a red brick façade and charcoal board and batten framing a gilt-lettered window and canary yellow door. Food smells from both restaurants wafted out to the street and I knew I’d be getting takeout for dinner.

I opened the door and was greeted with the droning sound of a tattoo machine. My senses were further assaulted with the sickly-sweet smell of industrial strength sanitizer and walls completely covered with framed pages of brightly colored tattoo designs.

The front desk attendant was leaning on a glass display case full of various jewelry items, half of which I wouldn’t know where to put. She glanced up from her smartphone when I walked in. I wasn’t sure if it was the head-to-toe look she gave me, or her heavily tattooed hands and fingers that made me feel slightly out of place. She stood up and favored me with a gap-toothed grin.

“Hey, welcome to Trust Few. I see you’re checking out the flash. What can we do for you?”

The flash? The dazed expression on my face must have given me away, because the shop assistant’s grin broadened.

“The generic drawings,” she said, waving her intricately patterned hands. “They’re called flash. Not as popular as they were once, if I’m being honest. Most of our clients are looking for custom work, unless, of course, they’re underage or impaired. Sam won’t work on either. But flash still makes nice wall art, don’t you think?”

I nodded and then got straight to the point. “I have some questions about a tattoo.” I felt a flush of embarrassment creep up my neck. Why else would I be here, if not about a tattoo? “I was hoping you could help me.”

“Sure.” She pulled a large day planner out from behind the jewelry-filled display case, and her arms opened to reveal a tattoo of a bear trap inside her left elbow. I winced, thinking of the pain.

The assistant caught my look and laughed. “Don’t worry. We never do ditch tattoos on newbies.”

Ditch tattoos? Once again I must have looked clueless, because she elaborated.

“Inside the crook of an elbow is called a ditch tattoo, and yes, it hurts like hell. Not as much as this one did, mind you.” She raised her right arm to reveal a black rose covering her armpit. “Anyway, Sam’s with a client right now, but I can probably slip you in for a consult in a few minutes. When and what were you thinking of getting tattooed?”

I shook my head. There was nothing in this world that I cared enough about to have it permanently inked on any part of my body. “The tattoo isn’t for me.” I reached into my bag for the photocopy I had brought of Brandon’s tattoo. “I have some questions about someone else’s tattoo, and I was wondering if you could help me?”

The shop assistant eyeballed me further, her former grin transformed into something resembling a scowl. “Like, what kind of questions? Is it infected or something? Because we usually recommend the person comes in so we can look at it…”

I placed the photocopy of the tattoo on the counter as the girl trailed off. As she spun the image around to face her, I was able to make out the tattoos on each of her digits—what initially had appeared to be random shapes and lines were actually symbols of the Major Arcana. Thank heavens for Pinterest.

“I like your finger tattoos,” I said, quickly realizing how hokey the words sounded.

“Thanks.” She extended both hands so I could take a closer look. “Sam is big on mystical things. She wanted to practice, so I said she could give me a few finger-bangers.”

Flash. Ditch tattoos. Finger-bangers. I was getting a primer on tattoo talk. I wondered what kind of monopoly you placed on your own skin to let someone randomly practice tattoos on a place as visible as your hands. I also felt my pulse quicken as I realized that I’d made the right choice in selecting Trust Few, though I felt moderate surprise at the fact that Sam was a woman. I’d expected Sam Sanchez to be a big, burly, intimidating biker-type. It served as a reminder to let go of any preconceived notions. That type of thinking could block an investigation. I pulled myself out of my thoughts when the shop assistant spoke.

“What do you want to know about this tat…oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name?”

“Callie,” I said, extending a hand. The assistant shook it, and I was surprised at how soft her hands were, despite their harsh exterior.

“Tash,” she said. “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise. As for the tattoo, I’m curious about the young man who got it. That is, if he got it here.”

“It looks like it might be Sam’s style, but she’d be the expert on that. C’mon around and we can ask. Like I said before, she’s with a client, but they’ve been at it for quite a while. I’m sure they can both use a break.” Tash waved me around the desk.

I picked up the photocopy and followed her down a narrow hall. More tattoo flash was on the walls, along with a neon Jägermeister sign and a framed poster of The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem final concert in Kingston on August 20, 2016. Three small offices opened into the hallway; the one at the end of the hall had its door slightly ajar and I could hear laughter mixed with rock music and the buzz of the tattoo machine. Tash rapped on the door three times and pushed it open.

“Hey, Sam, sorry to bug you, just wondering if you can help this lady out with a question about a tattoo?”

The buzzing stopped. “Sure.”

Tash moved out of the way and I took it as my cue to step into the doorway. A thirty-something woman wearing combat boots, a sleeveless black Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, and torn jeans with more rips and holes than denim looked up at me and nodded. A tattoo of a woman on a bucking brown horse took up most of her lower right arm. The words “Cowgirls don’t cry” were written above it, with a green heart below circling “We can be heroes.” The image reminded me of the 1950s Calamity Jane movie poster I’d discovered in the attic of Snapdragon Circle, and I wondered if there was an equally personal meaning behind her artwork. There were countless other tattoos on her legs, arms, chest, and I imagined, on body parts I couldn’t see or begin to imagine, but I didn’t want to stare.

“Hi,” I said, holding out my hand.

“Ah, sorry. Sterile environment.” Sam held up two latex-gloved hands. Her current client was lying facedown on a padded table, and turned her head away from the wall to face me. I tried to look at what was being tattooed on her lower back, but couldn’t make it out. Sam put the tattoo machine down on a stainless-steel countertop, the surface covered in industrial grade paper towels, and gave me her full attention. Her cornflower blue eyes were in stark contrast to her long dark hair, which had been shaved on one side. Under the buzz cut I could see “Sanchez” and I found myself wondering how much getting your scalp tattooed would hurt. I figured a lot, maybe as much or more than a ditch tattoo, maybe even more than one under an armpit. I had no plans to get any of them.

“Tash says you have a question about a tattoo?” Sam smiled, showing off a row of perfect white teeth, made whiter by the deep plum lipstick she was wearing. I wondered what made her eyetooth gleam so brightly until I noticed the tiny diamond adhered to it.

I held up the photocopy of the partly finished tattoo. “Do you recognize this?”

Sam cocked her head and peeled off her gloves, throwing them into the trash. She took the photocopy from me, her expression serious as she studied it from every angle.

“This might help to jog your memory,” I said, and offered the newspaper photograph of twenty-year-old Brandon Colbeck. “It was taken a few years back.” I omitted the year. Sam either remembered Brandon and his tattoo, or she didn’t. There was no point planting seeds that might otherwise not be there.

Sam looked up at me, then turned her attention back to the photocopies, her fingers tracing the outline of The Fool tattoo over and over.

“Yeah, I remember this tattoo,” she said, finally. “I never got to finish it, though…”

Now available for pre-order, A Fool’s Journey, book 3 in Judy’s Marketville Mystery series, will be released on August 21 in trade paperback at all the usual suspects, and on Kindle.

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Posted in New Releases

Spotlight for The Spirit of The Age by David Melville Edwards

The Spirit Of The Age is a satirical metaphysical literary contemporary fantasy mystery.
Non-halal and non-kosher sacred cow slaughter is the order of the day as Probationary Police Constable Skandi Khan, transplanted from
famously decaying multi-cultural Hounslow, cuts a swathe through rural Dorset, grappling with a crime wave whilst struggling to get her
arranged marriage back on track.
It’s idyllic rural touristy Jurassic Dorset as you have never seen her before. Monumental statues disappear, and bodies turn up in the ocean.
There’s murder, mystery, mermaids, music, Muslims, marriages, mages, mayhem and mirth, all served up with lashings of sex and cricket.
Praise from readers:
★★★★★ – “One of the most unique novels I’ve read in years. Hugely
imaginative, very entertaining, and has plenty of humor to boot.”
★★★★★ – A beautifully crafted tale that forces the reader to face the
stark realities of country life in modern Britain one minute, then

suspend belief in reality the next. Thoroughly enjoyable reading.”

The Spirit of the Age Excerpt

“You know, you’ve never written a single poem for me. I’ve obviously
been too easy!”
“A sin of omission soon remedied. Watch and be amazed!” James focused
intently on his laptop screen, and typed rapidly.

The sun bursts through the gloomy banks of cloud
And all is bathed in glorious golden light,
The sky a canvas framed by trees whose might
Is dwarfed by shafts of sunshine now allowed
To tear fierce rents in the purple shroud.
The sunbeams bear angels they burn so bright
Though no prophets wait for them to alight
By quiet waters whose reflections crowd
The rippling river, its ducks and moored boats
Scarcely moving. The church appears to mourn
The short grass carpet munched by cows ignoring
The walkers amongst them, bare-armed without coats
Who stand admiring an image of dawn
Though suffused with the colours of evening.

Your peasant hovel stands where once the monks
Set off across the causeway to the church,
Plainsong inspiring floods that can’t besmirch
Their feet, because the ditches and the chunks
Of stone stand proud, now screened by gnarled trunks
Of trees, whose leaves and branches give a perch
To silent birds, above us as we lurch
From embrace to warm embrace, like chipmunks
Snuggling up against autumnal chills such
Are finally banished in your kitchen.
I traced your hourglass form. What folly this,
I see your face transfigured by my touch
A blazing fire flared up to enrich
My heart; yet still I left your lingering kiss.

“There you are; not one but two poems in your honour!” He beamed at her.
Sireen examined them suspiciously. “Do they rhyme and scan?”
“Oh yes”, said James, feigning a confidence that he did not feel.
“They are Petrarchian Sonnets. Ten syllables per line De-Dah De-Dah
De-Dah De-Dah De-Dah, rhyming scheme ABBAABBACDECDE. And to paraphrase
Dorothy Parker, ‘If you say my verse don’t scan, then I get me another
woman’. And if you doubt that I wrote them, see if you can find them
on the Internet”
Sireen entered a couple of searches, and they turned up blank. So she
had a closer look at the verses themselves. Certainly, she doubted
that Byron or Shelley would have rhymed ‘trunks’ with ‘chipmunks’. And
Fondlesham Abbey was just up the road, which would explain the
reference to monks. But there were definitely no cows in the
churchyard, and no rippling rivers anywhere hereabouts; she’d have
found them on her bicycle rides. Realisation dawned, and she picked up
a cushion, and whacked him.
“Ouch, gerrorff!” said James, shielding his face with his forearms.
“You wrote these for somebody else!” she accused, and whacked him again.

David Melville Edwards Author Bio

David Melville Edwards boasts a Cabinet Minister for a cousin, and as a sister-in-law he has a woman who used to entertain Princess Margaret when she sloped off for discreet weekends with Roddy Llewellyn, so only the REALLY posh wouldn’t consider him posh, but as the grandson of a miner at University he realised that he wasn’t. Whilst by some accounts he wasted three years wasted, he had at least the wit to recognise that there were Old Etonians more ready to overlook his comparatively humble background than he was their lives of privilege.
After University, a Management Training Course beckoned. At one place he was accused of being a Trotskyite infiltrator, whilst he turned down the opportunity to participate in the collapse of the British car industry after being told his job would consist of ‘Taking a document from A, making notes and passing it on to C. Actually, the document could probably go straight from A to C, but you’ve got to start somewhere’. Finally offered gainful employment by someone who talked sense, he learned how to stand with a clipboard and stopwatch whilst watching other people working, and to bore for England on the subject of corrugated fibreboard containers (sorry, cardboard boxes).
But now the boot was on the other foot. In a satanic mill at England’s periphery David Melville Edwards was the posh interloper. One evening he was called in to see the Shift Manager, who brandished a page excised from a glossy magazine showing a woman having sex with a dog. It had been pinned up inside the locker of the girlfriend of a fellow caver, a woman who had hated him on sight, consumed by a rage so visceral she could scarcely say a civil word in response to simple work-related questions. On finding the picture, she had marched off to Management and accused David Melville Edwards of putting it there. When asked how the locker could have been opened (the clue is in the name) the Shift Manager responded ‘But aarrhh, you visit London at weekends’. However, there were good times, and he tried his hand at writing poetry.
Told by his erst-while cloth-cap boss there was no future for him motivating cloth-caps, he left cardboard box manufacturing for computing, and found his metier. He looks relatively impressive amidst scenes of chaos, so he’s spent most of the intervening decades being parachuted in to small-scale Information Technology disasters round the world. Thirty thousand re-deployed employees about not to be paid at the end of the month? The Christmas peak, and only 24 hours in every day? Robots running amok in a robot warehouse? The office of the future staying there? Banking systems taking tea-breaks? Prison systems, council systems, housing systems, probation systems, police systems, accounting systems? All on his C.V., all great fun in hindsight, and sometimes at the time. Going in to work at weekends wearing a Batman T-shirt, and feeling like a super-hero …
He learned to write writing software.You’re taught to break things down into manageable pieces, but at the heart of every computer system there is always something large and over-arching that you have to keep sight of; the reason why it was decided to automate it in the first place. So likewise novels. Chapter by chapter within the the overall structure of the plot.
After three score years, the world has changed out of all recognition. Yet the UK’s rulers are still a patrician clique harbouring delusions of grandeur. It’s a funny old world, changing yet changeless, and David Melville Edwards hopes to long continue having fun fantasizing about it.
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