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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Family and Food!

by

Sharon Ledwith

The one theme I love to weave throughout my two book series is the importance of family. We hold each other tight when times are tough, and on the flip side we can tear each other apart during times of stress and worry. Food seems to be the source of comfort in all family matters.

Meals bring us together to celebrate, cry or support each other in so many ways. The characters in The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel adventure series were originally thrown together, despite their differences, and have had to learn how to act like a family by trusting and working with one another through each Timekeeper mission. In my Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls teen psychic mystery series, the main characters change with each book, but the setting remains the same, I focused on the tribal matters of the town, and what’s best for the whole. Again, my characters must overcome differences and obstacles in order to keep Fairy Falls’ sense of community safe and intact.

I recently came across my father’s lasagna recipe, and a wave of emotions and memories rushed through me. I loved his meaty take on a popular Italian dish. My dad’s been gone for over thirty-five years, and I still miss him deeply, especially when our family gets together over holidays, events or Sunday dinners. So, I thought I’d share his special family recipe with you with the hopes of adding this mouth-watering pasta entree to your menu one day. Bon appetite!

Dad’s Mouth-Watering, Meaty Lasagna

    1 lb. lean ground beef
    ½ lb. ground pork
    1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes
    1 can (12 oz.) tomato paste
    2 tsps. garlic salt or powder
    1½ tsps. oregano leaves
    1 tsp. basil leaves
    2 cups cottage cheese
    ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    3 packages (4 ounces each) shredded mozzarella cheese
    12 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked and well drained (we use precooked noodles)
    ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch over or large skillet, cook and stir meats until brown. Drain off fat. Add tomatoes; break up with fork. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, oregano and basil. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered 20 minutes or until mixture is consistency of spaghetti sauce.

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).

Stir together cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese. Set aside 1 cup meat sauce and ½ the mozzarella. In ungreased baking pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches, alternate layers of ⅓ each noodles, remaining meat sauce, remaining mozzarella, and cottage cheese mixture.

Spread reserved meat sauce over top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Scatter reserved mozzarella across lasagna.

Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into 3-inch squares.

Serves 8 of your hungriest family members or friends.

And there you have it! A feast fit for any family who loves getting together to share good food, and create happy memories. So, now that you’ve cooked to your heart’s content, and your belly is full, why not escape from the dishes and curl up with one of my books? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls or go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to pack lightly.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

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Friday Features’

Guest share

Improving your website

by

HL Carpenter

Image Courtesy of Dreamstime Free Photos

“I regret I am the bearer of bad news.” Stalwart Code hoped Bizzy Author was not the fainting type. “Your website is not responsive.”

“Not responsive?” Bizzy peered at the computer screen, without a vapour in sight. “What does that mean?”

Impressed by her calm demeanor, Code said, “It means readers who visit using smart phones, tablets, and gaming devices cannot properly see your content.”

“Ah! That explains the death of my book sales, does it not?”

“In part.” Code drew a breath. Sometimes he hated his job. “I am afraid I must impart more bad news. Your site is also the victim of Neglect.”

Bizzy gasped. “Not that diabolical criminal!”

“Unfortunately, yes. Neglect is a sneaky rascal, but he leaves clues.” Code pointed to the copyright at the bottom of Bizzy’s home page. “Here is one. That date is two years old.”

“This is far worse than I believed.” Bizzy clutched Code’s muscular arm. “Please! I beg of you. Help me set this right.”

“Are you certain?” Code asked. “I am happy to be of service, yet you must be aware the trek will be long and perilous. You will need much bravery and determination to carry you safely through the hazards of the Land of Website Updating.”

Bizzy fluttered her eyelashes. “If you consent to be my guide, I will go boldly forth.”

“Your request and my desire are one.” He smiled. “Let us begin.”

They stopped first at the Bank of Goals, a fortress guarding the gateway to the Land of Website Updating. Bizzy withdrew three goals: Build Your Presence, Spread the Word, and Sell Books.

“Excellent choices.” Code took her hand. “Next stop, the Design Studio.”

Once in the Studio, Bizzy debated the merits of a nice-but-not-so-easily-changed traditional website or a content management platform called WordPress.

“The matter is one of personal preference.” Code winked. “Are you a conventionalist or a do-it-now gal?”

“No waiting around for me.”

Bizzy grabbed a WordPress ready-made theme off the shelf, and added colors, fonts, and images. She tossed plug-ins, widgets, and extensions into her bag too, when Code said they were the simplest way to add audio and video as well as social media links to her re-designed website.

“Thank you for the tip.” She grinned. “A woman never knows where the road through the Land of Website Updating will lead. Mayhap I shall establish my own shopping cart one day.”

“You are indeed fearless.” Code took the bag and held the door open. “Let us proceed to the Content Factory.”

“No need. I shall create my own content. I maintain a running account at the Idea Store.”

“Fearless and talented.” He ran his fingers along her back. “Shall we begin the real journey now, my dear Bizzy?”

“I thought you would never ask, darling Code.”

She leaned against him and they contemplated the adventures ahead.

Logo Valley awaited, a maze of false starts and dead-end canyons from which they would mine a brand. After navigating the valley, they would brave the rapids of Cascading Style Sheets, ride the powerful Search Engine Optimization train to the wild frontier town of Marketing, create a Child Theme, and endure the unrelenting toil of Recurring Maintenance and the perils of Email Marketing. Their tale would be faithfully chronicled on the pages of the virtual home they would build together.

After all, what is a website but the happy marriage of Bizzy Author and Stalwart Code?

And on that happy ending, we invite you to enjoy an excerpt from our mystery, Murder by the Books.

A letter from beyond the grave brings accountant Fae Childers face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.
When the mystery of Fae’s past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she’s falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?

With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she’s going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.

Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity.

Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, GoodReads, and their Amazon Author Page.

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Friday Features

Share her recent release

The Fae’s Amulet

by

J.F. Posthumus

What would you do if you had the power to destroy the world…

In her younger years, Catherine Woulfe was known as the Lady of Death…but those days are long past. Now, at over 300 years old, she is older, wiser…and painfully dull. Instead of using her necromancy skills for things like killing people and taking over governments, she now works as a private investigator, helping people find their lost treasures.

But when a charismatic stranger walks through her door, searching for one of the most powerful artifacts ever created, she is drawn into a case where she must use all of her old powers—including several forbidden ones—if she is to find the missing amulet. When the last person to see the amulet goes missing, she realizes it’s time for the Lady of Death to summon her minions and go on the warpath.

Angels and demons are searching for the amulet, as is a mysterious dark elf about whom little is known. Everyone is stalking her, waiting for her to find it so they can grab it for their own; meanwhile, her client has awoken feelings long suppressed, which is proving to be…distracting. Can Catherine find the trail of the thief and recover the amulet before the thief uses it to summon a deity that will destroy the Earth? More importantly, if she gets it, will she give it back?

EXCERPT
A knock on the door pulled my attention away from the emails I was sorting through for the day. I lifted my brows in surprise at the visitor standing in my doorway. Dark eyes met mine, and it took every bit of willpower to keep from admiring the way his designer clothing fit his body. He wore the perfectly tailored three-piece suit with the same ease most wore jeans and a t-shirt. His face was elegant and had aristocratic features, which fit his six-foot-three-inch frame perfectly.

Thankfully, unlike most people, I wasn’t intimidated by his height, stature, or handsomeness. Or his reputation.

“The Consigliere,” I said. “To what do I owe this dubious pleasure?”

“Dubious?” The Consigliere’s honey smooth baritone carried across the room. “You wound me, Lady Catherine. I am here on good business.”

“That’s Miss Woulfe to you. Good for whom?” I said through gritted teeth I hoped looked like a smile.

“For all parties concerned, naturally.”

Naturally.

I drew in a breath and let it out slowly as he entered my office, allowing the door to shut with a soft whisper behind him.

The man was handsome and immaculate from his brown hair to his loafered feet.

He could have been a model for Men’s Fitness or a Chippendale’s dancer. There was sensuality in his movements, and he exuded confidence. We moved in similar circles, and his reputation preceded him wherever he went. While I was spoken about in cautious whispers, he was spoken about in awe, if not longing.

And the bleeding sod refused to take his twinkling brown eyes off me.

His gaze made me want to check my snug, professional-looking chignon to make sure no stray, black strands were flying loose. At least I didn’t have to worry about my long-lasting lipstick.

I paused a moment and glanced away as though I were pondering his unspoken request. When I met his eyes again, I replied in a flat, cold tone, “No. Whatever it is you’re trying to sell, you can take elsewhere. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

“You don’t know what my business is; nor do you know who besides you could benefit…yet you dismiss it.” He was still looking at me, smiling, while his words poured from between his yummy lips. “Is my reputation that sullied in the circles in which you walk that you won’t even listen, or is there another reason for your behavior?”

I snorted. “Not hardly, and you know it. There are few reasons you, of all people, would desire my services, and it isn’t for the appraisal of any occult item.”

“Are you as wrong in your appraisals as you are in your presumptions?” Fergus Sterling taunted before continuing, “Your reputation must have been paid for.”

He held out a photograph.

My impulse was to cursorily glance at the picture, but my eyes locked on it once I saw the item captured on the paper. Ancient workmanship surrounded a jeweled eye of blue. The amulet was legend, myth, and history.

“Ilygad Amon,” I said, realizing a moment later I had said the words under my breath instead of speaking properly.

Sterling’s voice was smug. “So, you do know some of what is reputed.”

Ignoring his attempt to rile me, I took the picture and looked closer at it.

“The captured eye of the Christian demon, Amon,” I explained, “transmogrified into a jewel by ancient fae Magick—some claim by traveling gypsy witches, others give credit to followers of Anubis—and locked into a box made of equal parts gold and lead. It’s ancient and used only in the darkest Magick.”

“Would you be willing to help track down this piece, verify its authenticity, and turn it over to parties who wish it to remain unused or, at least, contained from further use?” Sterling asked. I could hear the smile in his voice as he waited to see how I would react.

“How do you know I won’t try to keep it for myself? I am, after all, a practitioner of the Dark Arts, or to be more precise, a necromancer of considerable talents.” I offered him a placating smile. “Or is that why you came to me? You could easily authenticate this piece, unless my parents were incorrect when they said you’ve been alive since the middle ages.”

“How sweet of them to make me younger than I am,” he replied jovially. “I could do the job, but my age and reputation are considered disadvantages to the interested parties. They want someone who has less experience with such powerful objects.”

“Then they obviously aren’t aware of half the items I possess,” I replied. “Who are the ‘interested parties?’ I don’t go into anything blind.”

“You know my reputation, so you know I don’t give out my clients’ identities.” Sterling countered. “They were referred to me by Zeus and Merlyn.”

I wasn’t going to touch that one with a fifty-foot pole. Instead, I rolled my eyes and leaned back in my chair.

“Have a seat, and let us discuss fees.”

Once Sterling was seated in the plush, antique chair opposite my oak desk, I nodded. The Eye of Amon was an artifact I’d only heard about growing up. Finding it and verifying that it was more than myth would certainly add to my resume. The job would have to take precedence over any opinion I had of the arrogant, but delectable, male in my office. “My standard fee for such a task is $250,000, plus expenses.”

“A quarter million?” he retorted. “That’s all?”

It really annoyed me that I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or incredulous.

“You have a problem with my fee?” My voice was sharp, like a whip’s crack.

“Had I known you charged bargain prices, I would have sought you out sooner, for other clients.” He smiled cattily. “Of course, I’d only do so if you deliver what’s being asked for.”

I knew I was leaning toward him, narrowing my eyes and smiling tightly. I didn’t care, though. “Of course. And, of course, you won’t have a problem signing a contract. Correct?”

“Correct.”

Turning slightly, I opened the drawer to my left and removed one of the contracts I kept there for such occasions. I had two types of contracts: one for mundane, normal people and another for anyone of a Magickal, supernatural, or preternatural persuasion. The latter contract was binding in multiple ways.

It took less than five minutes for me to fill it out, then I slid the papers across the desk to Sterling.

“You know how this works: read, sign, and date. No blood is required for this particular contract.”

Wife and a mother of five, J.F. Posthumus is an IT Tech with over a decade of experience. When she isn’t arguing with computers and their inherent gremlins, or being mom to the four younger monsters (the eldest has flown the nest and is doing quite well on his own), she’s crafting, writing, or doing some other sort of art. An avid gamer, she loves playing Dungeons & Dragons, and a variety of other board games with her family and friends. J.F. is also a hopeless romantic, thanks to all the fairy tales she cut her eyeteeth on. They were what she learned to read before discovering the Boxcar Children Mysteries. From there, J.F. Posthumus fell into the rabbit hole that’s reading, where she discovered a love for mysteries, fantasy, and the occasional romance. Since writing was her favorite subject, J.F. naturally incorporated her love of murder, mysteries, and fantasy into her works.

When J.F. came up with the idea of a body being found at a local building, it was only natural to create a necromancer for the job. From there, Catherine’s story unfolded, complete with monsters, magic, and a little bit of romance…

Learn more about J.F. Posthumus on her website. Stay connected on Facebook and J.F.’s Facebook Author’s Page.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A romantic mystery from Nancy Kay that will warm your heart and quicken your pulse.

Federal Wildlife Officer Michael Donovan faces a dilemma. Christmas is days away, a blizzard looms, and Mike must either track an injured moose or deliver bad news to Samantha Gates about her grandfather.

Samantha is determined to reach her grandparent’s cabin for Christmas. She’ll soon be off to veterinary school and this holiday is special. Hampered by driving snow, Sam ditches her SUV avoiding an injured moose. Mike discovers her aiding the wounded animal, and they get the ungainly patient to shelter, but as Sam doctors the moose the blizzard traps them.

As the storm rages outside, alone inside attraction sizzles between Sam and Mike. Outside danger escalates. Sam insists all will be fine by Christmas. Mike isn’t so sure. Will the storm end and bring a Christmas miracle? Or will Mike’s news ruin the holiday and their chance for a future together?

BUY LINKS


Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The dynamic duo HL Carpenter sharing their latest writing adventure and a delicious recipe for breakfast bread.

During the editing of our latest book, commas turned into a major topic of discussion. Yes, well, we’re writers, what did you expect? We like commas and we also like to slice commas from our writing so we have a conflict of interest. For example, in the first two sentences of this paragraph (and this sentence too), we used commas. We could have used a comma in the third sentence before the “and,” though we chose not to. Either way would have been correct.

Another example is the title of this post, Good Morning Bread. A comma would change the entire meaning. By omitting it, we imply (or say) the recipe below is a good (delicious) morning bread. Had we included a comma (Good morning, bread) we would be saying good morning to our bread. That would also fit, since the bread is definitely worthy of salutations.

Like bread, commas have lots of uses. You can splash them around in personal and geographic names, in numbers, before quotations that indicate speech such as “she said,” and in lists. If you’re the user of a certain word processing software, you can make your commas curly or straight and either style gets the job done.

We don’t claim to be experts on commas and we would be happy to hear your take on this very important punctuation. Let’s eat breakfast while we have the discussion. If you’re not hungry, then we’ll say, “Let’s eat, breakfast.”

Breakfast Bread

    1½ cups dried mixed fruit (we used one 5-ounce package of mixed cranberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, and filled in the remainder with dried cranberries)
    ½ cup warm tea, any flavor
    1 package regular yeast
    ½ cup warm water
    2 tbsp. butter
    ½ cup coconut milk
    3 tbsp. sugar
    2 tbsp. honey
    1 tsp. salt
    1 egg
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    ¾ cup nuts of your choice (we used pecans and pistachios)

Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Soak dried fruit in bowl with warm tea. Set aside.

In separate bowl, add yeast to warm water. Set aside in a warm draft free location.

Melt butter.

Mix coconut milk, sugar, honey, salt, and egg. Add melted butter and stir. Next, add yeast and water mixture and stir.

Mix cinnamon and flour. Add to liquid ingredients and mix well.

Drain fruit. Add fruit and nuts to dough. Use your hands to mix, adding additional flour by tablespoons if necessary.

Let dough rise 1 hour. Punch down, divide in half, and shape into two equal loaves. Put loaves in prepared pans and let rise 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 350° F. Bake loaves 30 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes and remove to rack.

Serve warm or cold with butter or topping of your choice.

While you’re enjoying your bread, we invite you to sample an excerpt from our soon-to-be-released mystery.

Certified public accountant Fae Childers is not an embezzler, despite the belief of the accounting firm that fires her for stealing. But proving her innocence is harder than convincing an IRS agent to allow a deduction. She’s lost her mother, her job, her fiancé, and her self-respect. She’s running out of money and the lease is about to expire on her apartment.

Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

When the mystery of Fae’s past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she’s falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?

With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she’s going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.

EXCERPT

    The letter arrived on the last Thursday in April, two weeks to the day after I got fired from the accounting firm where I worked for the past decade. August Palmer, my landlord, hand-delivered the letter in person, saying, “The mail carrier stuck this in my box by mistake, Fae.”

    I took the envelope without bothering to look at it and glanced past Gus, at the patch of brilliant cloudless blue sky framing his shoulders.

    Tampa, Florida on the cusp of summer, full of birdsong and the scent of warming pavement.

    “Beautiful morning,” I said, as if I cared.

    “Afternoon,” Gus said, his voice a low rumbly growl, the product of too many cigarettes and whiskeys in his happily misspent youth. He stood outside the tiny apartment my mother and I rented from him for the past two years and eyed me. “Still mopin’, girl?”

    He had shown up on my doorstep every day since the firing with the same question.

    Adhering to our new routine, I answered the same way I always did, except this time I didn’t bother pasting on a fake smile to accompany the words.

    “Nope. Not my style.”

    “‘Scuse me.” His tone was as dry as the month he was named for. “Forgot you’ve been hidin’ in the apartment, tap dancing with glee.”

    I met his gaze. “For hours at a time. Any complaints about the noise?”

    He clicked a nicotine pellet against tobacco stained teeth and kept his silence. I regretted my sarcasm. In my forbidden childhood game of describing people in colors, I would have painted Gus early-morning-yellow, the shade of the summer sun before the friendly sheltering coolness of night gave way to the brutal heat of day.

    The description would have horrified him.

    “How are the treatments going?”

    He grunted. “They tell me I ain’t gonna croak this week.”

    “Glad to hear it. You might want to keep your distance from me, though. I’m jinxed.”

    Gus shook his head. “You gotta get over them fools, girl.”

    “That’s no way to talk about my former bosses.” Especially since I looked at the real fool in the mirror each morning. I had believed dedication, loyalty, and hard work were appreciated by the partners of Slezia + Fyne, CPA, PA.

    Ha, ha.

    “Anyway, I am over them. Way over.”

    “Yeah?” He was not convinced. “You over the suit, too?”

    “Sure am.” Once again, I stuck with our new routine and gave him the same answer I always did. “I have moved on.”

    Once again, the lie carried the bitter taste of betrayal. The suit was Scott Piper, former co-worker, fiancé, and man of my dreams. The suit dumped me the day of the firing.

    Gus snorted. “Funny how much movin’ on resembles standing around feeling sorry for yourself.”

    In my opinion, wallowing in self-pity was marginally more mature than throwing a temper tantrum. Even if it hadn’t been, I didn’t have the energy for a tantrum. I barely had the energy to maintain my half of the daily conversation with Gus.

    “Have you been watching that big bald guy on television again?”

    He stuck out his chin. “Don’t get smart. You know I’m right. You’re mopin’.”

    “Only because I can’t tap dance.”

    He was right. In the eight months since my mother’s death, I had slogged through an ever-darkening morass of the malady Gus called moping, and what his favorite celebrity psychologist might consider the early stages of depression. The firing and the accompanying fallout shoved me even closer to the edge of a black abyss.

    My moping was self-absorbed, given the burdens others faced, but what could I say? One woman’s detour was another’s stop sign.

    “You ought to call your girl pal, that one you worked with. What’s her name? Sarah? Have you heard from her?”

    No. And I didn’t want to hear from her, much less call her.

    I shook my head.

    “Your ma would have been annoyed with you.”

    A lump in my throat closed off my voice and I could only nod. He was right about that too. My irrepressible mother believed in taking the positive approach to life. To her, saying negative words or thinking negative thoughts was the same as asking them to come true. She had little patience for pity parties.

    Focus on your strengths, Fae, and always keep moving.

    My ability to follow her advice vanished with her death. I was slowly turning into the type of recluse the Japanese call hikikomori. Even the simple task of cleaning out Mom’s bedroom was beyond me.

    “So? You gonna open the letter?” Gus asked.

    I turned over the envelope in my hand.

    Heavy, officious, dirty white, and mildly threatening, the envelope shrieked of the intimidation perfected by lawyers and the Internal Revenue Service and jolted me right out of my apathy. My breath hitched in my throat.

    Had Gary Slezia and Richard Fyne gone back on their word? Had they decided to forego their distaste for publicity and press charges against me?

Murder by the Books, a mystery novel, will be available at Amazon.

Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happeni
ng in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, GoodReads, and their Amazon Author Page.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Learns how

Acclaimed journalist Anne Montgomery weaves her latest mystery/suspense novel around one of the most enduring cold case crimes in Arizona history.

Following in-depth research into the deadly 1995 cold-case derailment of an Amtrak train in the wilds of the Arizona desert, novelist Anne Montgomery penned the story of Jason Ramm, a broken former Special Forces sniper, and Kelly, the lonely pregnant teen who appears to be his salvation in the 2018 suspenseful mystery A Light in the Desert releasing November 6, 2018 from Treehouse Publishing Group.

Set in Hyder, Arizona, Montgomery’s A Light in the Desert details the crumbling world of a former soldier whose crimes assault his conscience and an isolated child who, in the guise of love, falls victim to abuse. Is Ramm her savior or something more insidious? Montgomery suffuses the tale with heartbreaking melancholy, both from the point of view of a rejected child who understands little of the outside world and the assassin who’s descending into the grips of an odd mental illness, the Jerusalem Syndrome, that threatens to replace who he is with something else.

A former ESPN sportscaster, Montgomery, a foster mom to three sons, works in Arizona as a football referee and high school teacher at a Title I school where many of her students live in poverty, some are abused, and others are relegated to foster care. On why she wrote the book, Montgomery says, “I have seen the suffering of neglected and abused children first-hand. Often, their voices go unheard. I believe child abuse needs to be a topic we address with ardent regularity, loudly and often, so that someday, perhaps, this cruelty can be relegated to the past.”

This novel is a definite must read!

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.

When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil as local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters arrive on the scene. As the search for the saboteurs heats up and the authorities question members of the cult, they uncover more questions than answers.

And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.

BUY NOW from MIDPOINT BOOK SALES

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

An outstanding new Romantic Suspense from the incomparable Nancy Kay that is a definite must read!

Book One is a stand alone story that lays the groundwork for the next two books. The characters are well rounded and natural. The romance is terrific and the suspense is gripping. Yes, this is the book to curl up with on a fall night.

A dead body…
A female suspect…
A detective on vacation.

Can he separate duty from desire? Can she trust his mind-blowing kisses? Or will her unknown past end their future together?

When homicide detective Nick McGraw encounters upscale spa owner Cassi Burke standing over a dead body gripping a bloody knife, Nick’s much-needed vacation slams to a halt. Instincts tell the seasoned officer she didn’t kill the man at her feet, but he’s duty bound to deliver her to local police never suspecting Cassi’s brief moment of fame will make her a target.

Cassi denies involvement with the murder, and Nick strives to distance himself from the case, but sizzling attraction between the detective and the suspect escalates, putting their feeling for one another, the ongoing investigation, and the threat to Cassi’s life on a collision course.

EXCERPT
Enter: Nick McGraw: Vacationing police detective.

Perspiration trickled down Nick’s spine, and a steady breeze molded his tee shirt to his damp skin. Swirling up from the bog were smells he’d almost forgotten.

Moisture laden peat, thick as plush carpet, and an underlying hint of decay.

Then the wind shifted, and an all too familiar stench permeated the air around him. The hair on the back of Nick’s neck rose and out of habit, he reached for his Walther PPK.

Enter: Cassandra Burke: An innocent bystander, maybe….
She swiped a hand across her eyes, crouched low, and peered into the surrounding shadows.

What is that smell?

Rufus lurched away, disappearing into the gloom.

“That’s it.” She scrambled after him. As she pushed through dense foliage, the swampy ground gave beneath her feet and seeped between her toes. Finally, frustrated and spitting mad, she caught sight of the retriever’s golden coat.

“Rufus, come here.”

He spared her the flick of one ear. He’d heard her, but he made no move to obey. Instead, he crept forward, heading straight for a pile of sticks, leaves, and God knows what else. Something reeked to high heaven, and the hum of insects droned in her ears.

BUY LINKS

Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

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