Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens: Murder on the Aloha Express

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Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



Murder on the Aloha Express

by Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens


GENRE: Mystery


Travel agent Gabby LeClair, a divorced big-city transplant trying to find some aloha spirit in her soul, prides herself on working hard to give the Aloha Lagoon Resort guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But that turns out to be more than anyone bargained for when the body of a client is found dead during one of Gabby’s island tours. The victim is a lawyer who’s escorted a small group to Aloha Lagoon for distribution of a deceased billionaire’s estate…but it looks like someone believes the only good lawyer is a dead lawyer. Between the bad press causing her phone to go silent and the police working on “island time,” it’s up to Gabby it find the killer before her business goes belly up. With the help of her good friends, and a hot helicopter pilot with a flirtatious streak, Gabby turns sleuth to figure out just which member of the lawyer’s party had it in for him. But before long it’s clear there’s way more at stake than her livelihood, and if Gabby isn’t careful, she and her friends may find themselves on an island getaway to death.



As much as I hated to say it, not everyone could carry off that aloha look—the one with the oversized shirt, baggy cargo shorts, flip-flops. Not to forget the zinc oxide smear on the nose.

The man before me was definitely one of those guys. He looked like the quintessential tourist, slumping into my office and plopping down in the chair in front of my desk. The shirt was red, yellow, and orange in a spewing-volcano print. The baggy shorts had red and white flowers all over them and big old pockets low on the sides of the legs. The flip-flops looked as if today was the first time he’d slipped them onto his lily-white feet—a complete ensemble. There was also something a little smarmy about him that put me off.

“Aloha,” I said. The word never seemed to roll off my tongue the way it did for others who worked at the Aloha Lagoon Resort. I’d even been practicing, trying for that soft melodic island lilt. My Midwestern accent always seemed to bleed through, but I gave it my best shot anyway—the mainlanders who came my way for an exotic vacation experience loved it. “How can I help you?”

The client’s eyes swept the room, beginning at the tourism posters on the wall and stopping at the nameplate on my desk. “So, Gab-ree-el…Le…Klair, Certified Travel Specialist…” He pronounced my name phonetically like a third grader would as he raised his gaze to my face.


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MurderOnTheAlohaExpressAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, are partners in crime—crime writing, that is. They live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona, awesome for eight months out of the year, an inferno the other four. They write bloody murder, flirty romance, and wicked humor all in one package.

ADDITIONALLY: (U.S. ONLY) We will also have a giveaway through our Website——consisting of a beach towel, coffee mug, and signed copy of Murder on the Aloha Express.






Murder on the Aloha Express will be $0.99 during the tour.



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Barbara Ebel on Tour: Dead Still


Barbara Ebel will be awarding a signed paperback copy of Dead Still (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



Dead Still

by Barbara Ebel

GENRE: Suspense/thriller


Annabel Tilson is a medical student starting her first clinical rotation where she has high hopes of mastering patient care like her famous neurosurgeon father. However, she soon realizes that studying for surgery exams and taking care of patients is only part of the complex burden of her role as a surgical team member.

Grappling with a resident who hates her and a dreamy infatuation for her chief resident, she discovers an inordinate outbreak of patient mortality. But for Annabel to dig further puts her at risk of failing the rotation and ending her future career as a physician.



When the entire group entered Mr. Newman’s room, he peered over his newspaper and smiled. He sat in the armchair next to the window, the last drips of his evening dose of antibiotic going into his IV.

“Well, look at you,” Robby said. “It appears your two primary surgical physicians have taken good care of you.”

Dr. Wallace and Annabel stepped forward, and Brandy shut the IV pump off before it started beeping.

“Only after that one used me for a pin cushion,” he said, pointing at Annabel.

Annabel’s shoulders sagged and she wondered if Dr. Mack was going to chime in. He’d done enough damage to her for the whole rotation.

“Actually, I’m glad she got that IV in,” Dr. Wallace said. “Otherwise I was going to have to start a central line.”

“No thank you, ma’am,” Mr. Newman said. “I know what those are and I don’t want no part of them.”

“You’ve had enough bowel rest,” Robby remarked. “But I bet you enjoyed that gelatin and bullion.”

“It was a stepping stone to the fat burger I’m going to devour when I get outta here.”

Dr. Pittman patted the patient’s shoulder. “You have a good night. I’m taking this motley crew with me,” he said, pointing towards the door.


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_DeadStillAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Barbara Ebel’s writing draws heavily from her experience as an anesthesiologist, her dealings with family court, and her interactions with people and places from around the world. As a physician, speaker, and former chemist, she sprinkles credible medicine into the background of her fiction where plots and vivid characters take center stage and her O.R. scenes shine.

She penned the Dr. Danny Tilson Novels before the Dr. Annabel Tilson Novels (DEAD STILL is Book One). Collateral Circulation was the National Indie Excellence Award 2015 Finalist for medical thrillers and Operation Neurosurgeon was the top finalist for best-selling medical mystery books in 2012. (Best Selling Books’ blog announced on PR Buzz Press Release Wire, Chicago, IL).

You may find more information about her and her books at:

Her Twitter handle is:  @barbaraebel

In addition to her adult writing, she has illustrated and penned a children’s book series called Chester the Chesapeake. The books developed during her philanthropic visits with her therapy dog, Chester. The dog books continue to inspire adults and children alike. Along with her husband and four pets, “Doctor Barbara” lives in a wildlife corridor in middle Tennessee.

You may find Chester at:


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Jillian Jacobs on Tour: Maude’s Score


Jillian Jacobs will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



Maude’s Score

by Jillian Jacobs

GENRE: Romantic Suspense


Manchester Marauders offensive lineman Jason Stafford has everything going for him until he is blindsided by a calculating woman who names him as the father of her unborn child. Unsure of the validity of her claim, he treads carefully, despite being willing to accept responsibility.

Maude Killion, the younger sister of one of Jason’s teammates, has been sidelined by a crush on Jason. Determined to revise her game plan, Maude asserts her independence from her overprotective brother and a controlling boyfriend.

While working on a charity project, Maude and Jason discover they play well together. But when Maude becomes the victim of a malicious foe, it appears that another player has entered the game—one with deadly intentions who will stop at nothing to win.

Now, Maude and Jason must join forces to defeat their opponent and score a victory for love.



Barely able to keep up with his long strides, Maude followed him down the corridor to an old gym. No overhead lights, along with the gray skies, kept the room dark.

Which might have been a good thing, because her mind blanked the moment Jason shoved her against the wall and kissed her.

In shock, she took a moment to catch up with his hungry lips before shoving against his chest. “What are you doing? What is this?”

He smiled his wicked playboy smile and drew her lower body against his own. “Gratitude.”

“Gratitude for what?” Maude drew a deep breath, fighting past whatever blocked her throat and caused her heart to thunder.

He tucked her hair behind her ear. “For listening to me the other night.”

“I didn’t mind. I don’t want gratitude from you. I want…I don’t know, because I can’t believe this is real. You kissing me isn’t doing anything but confusing me.” She stepped out of his arms. “Plus, you came with Ariel.”

“I didn’t leave with her.”

“Oh, that’s a great line, one I’m sure you’ve used often, but with me…no. Just no. I don’t do lines, and I don’t do grateful kisses.”


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MaudesScoreAUTHOR Bio and Links:

In the spring of 2013, Jillian Jacobs changed her career path and became a romance writer. After reading for years, she figured writing a romance would be quick and easy. Nope! With the guidance of the Indiana Romance Writers of America chapter, she’s learned there are many “rules” to writing a proper romance. Being re-schooled has been an interesting journey, and she hopes the best trails are yet to be traveled.

Water’s Threshold, the first in Jillian’s Elementals series, was a finalist in Chicago-North’s 2014

Fire and Ice contest in the Women’s Fiction category.

Jillian is a: Tea Guzzler, Polish Pottery Hoarder, and lover of all things Moose.

The genres she writes under are: Paranormal and Contemporary with suspenseful elements.


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Sarah J. Clemens: The Empty Room

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Sarah J. Clemens will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



The Empty Room

by Sarah J. Clemens


GENRE: Mystery, Romance


The small town of Eastbrook, Maine seemed like the close-knit community where newlyweds Dean and Elizabeth Montgomery could begin their lives together, and the 1901 Victorian seemed like the house they’d always dreamed of owning. The only condition for purchasing the property was that it was sold in “as-is” condition.

When the couple arrives in Eastbrook, they receive anything but a warm welcome from the local residents. And when they realize that as-is condition meant that the previous owner of the house had left every worldly possession behind, the dream of the small town life starts to take a mysterious turn.

Day after day, Dean and Elizabeth uncover more truths than they could have ever imagined, or ever wanted to know about the secrets that were hidden in the small town of Eastbrook. And as neighbors become growingly hostile with every encounter, this young couple searches furiously to uncover what the residents are trying to hide.

As their journey unfolds, Elizabeth goes missing and Dean must turn to the very neighbors he fears may have known what would happen to her from the moment the couple arrived for help. Because in this town, some secrets are better off hidden.


The car grumbled to a stop at the end of the gravel driveway. The three-day car trip was finally over. The gas station food and bathrooms stops were all behind them. They were home. The house might have been filled with someone else’s belongings, but they owned it now.

The house looked like a postcard from the outside. Small shrubs lined each side of the driveway as it suspiciously winded its way to the front porch. The grass was wet with dew after the recent rain.

As though looking at a piece of abstract art, Dean and Elizabeth both leaned forward in their seats toward the dash and squinted from inside the window of the car. Their eyes moved from left to right, making sure to taste every detail that first met their view.

“It’s gorgeous.” Elizabeth peered out from beneath the windshield.

With her eyes squinted and her mouth opened slightly, she studied every feature of architecture as though the house would greet her with an exam before allowing her to enter. She broke her concentration from the house and pressed her hand to the passenger side window, looking up and down to visually imprint every detail that awaited.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Sarah J Clemens is the author of the debut novel, THE EMPTY ROOM. She began writing THE EMPTY ROOM in 2008 and formed her own publishing company in 2016 called Off the Page Publishing.

Sarah was born in California and now lives and works in Boise, Idaho. In addition to writing fiction, she is a legal assistant with an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.








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Simon Cann on Tour: Clementina


One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.




Author Interview

  1. Do you ever wish you were someone else? Who? No. I’m really happy being me. But more significantly, I already get to be countless numbers of other people in my books.
  1. What did you do on your last birthday? I’m not a big one for birthdays. To me it’s just another day and I’ve never understood the notion of making one day special—I want the other 364 days to be equally special. That said, my last birthday was spent with family and friends. What could be better than that?
  1. What part of the writing process do you dread? The part of the writing process that I dread is the time between finishing the novel and the publication date. There’s a lot of work to be done, and I’m always itching to get onto the next book.
  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I’ve got a friend who’s a firefighter. He never has firefighter’s block. I’m not sure why a writer should get the luxury of being blocked and it’s not something I’ve ever encountered. However, there are days when the words don’t come as easily and usually that’s a sign that I’m doing something wrong.

5. Tell us about your latest release. Clementina is the first novel in a new series for me featuring a new protagonist: Leathan Wilkey. Leathan had to leave London in a hurry when he upset an organized crime gang. When we meet him he has been living off the radar for a few months. He has just arrived in Paris where he has been hired to babysit Clementina, a seventeen-year-old whose rich daddy is going through a messy divorce and is over-compensating. What starts for Leathan as a battle with a strong-willed teenager as he tries to fulfill his task of protecting her soon changes when Clementina’s boyfriend is murdered. As Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend had no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner. Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who now starts menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.



by Simon Cann


GENRE: Crime Thriller





Leathan Wilkey has been hired to babysit Clementina, a seventeen-year-old whose rich daddy is going through a messy divorce and is over-compensating.

Leathan soon tires of her spending habits, her selfie obsession, and her social media preoccupation as his ward drags him from shop to boutique to jeweler, approaching each with the self-possession that comes from a lifetime of getting her own way and never once having to worry about money.

But when Clementina snaps her fingers and her boyfriend doesn’t come running, something is up. He doesn’t appear because he’s been murdered.

When Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend has no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner.

Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who is now menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.



I stared up at the six-foot pile of brick held together by cement, then turned to the fastidious man. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

“Vianney,” he said.

“Vianney. Is this the only way out?”

He nodded, a precise tilt of his head like a movement fashioned by a watchmaker.

“Do you know who is over the back?” I pointed over the wall.

A shake of his head, equally precise. I pulled out my phone. Vianney shook his head again—three small twists. “No signal.” He pointed back inside. “Seven paces.”

I took seven paces and got two bars. “We’re going out the back,” I said when Reece answered. “I’m not sure what’s there, but come and find us there.” Back outside, Clementina was still staring up at the sky. “Ready?” I asked.

She seemed perplexed.

“We’re going to meet the neighbors,” I said, taking her shiny bag and handing it to Vianney. “You’re going first.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

“We’re going over the wall—you’re going first. Give your bag to Vianney to hold.” I pointed to the large lump of leather still hanging from her shoulder. “And put this back on.” I handed her the jacket I was carrying. I was sure it wasn’t designed for rough and tumble, but I preferred it be scraped rather than her.

“Why…?” she began.

“Because it’s the only way out, and you’re going first because if I go first there’s no one to help you over the wall,” I said, predicting her range of questions. “What else did you want to do today?”

“I wanted…” she began, slipping on her jacket. “That was rhetorical, wasn’t it?”


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ClementinaAuthor Bio and Links:

Simon Cann is the author of the Boniface, Montbretia Armstrong, and Leathan Wilkey series of books.

In addition to his fiction, Simon has written a range of music-related and business-related books, and has also worked as a ghostwriter.

Before turning full-time to writing, Simon spent nearly two decades as a management consultant, where his clients included aeronautical, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, chemical, entertainment, and broadcasting companies.

He lives in London.



The book will be free on Amazon from Monday 25 July to Friday 29 July (inclusive).





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BTS Goes Hollywood: My Interview of Kenny and Sammy Bates


I had the pleasure of interviewing horror mavens Kenny and Sammy Bates for the final – yes, final (Noooo! But we’ll talk about that later…) – issue of BTS Goes Hollywood.

As founders of Rotting Corpse Productions, not only are Kenny and Sammy the go-to guys for a satisfying fright-fest, they also happen to be comedy writers. You’ve got to check out The Expansion Pack, their comedy web series.  Click the BTS Goes Hollywood cover above, and enjoy.

Now, I never say goodbye so I’ll just say to Myra Nour and Babs Hightower and all the lovely folks at BTS Book Reviews and BTS Goes Hollywood – thanks for the opportunity to work with you and the creative writers, actors, producers and directors I’ve met and interviewed. Thanks for the love – and see you around the web!

Stella Barcelona on Tour: Jigsaw

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Stella will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.




by Stella Barcelona

GENRE: Romantic Suspense/Thriller


Foraging the cyber-world for puzzle pieces…

Zeus Hernandez, a Black Raven partner, is pulled away from a top-secret project to be the personal bodyguard to lawyer Samantha Fairfax. Terrorists have rendered the future frightening and uncertain, but Zeus and Samantha’s past makes two things crystal clear: she’ll be furious to see him and he can’t refuse the job.

Sorting pieces as stakes rise…

Danger surrounds the International Terrorism Tribunal, a court convened to combat terrorism. Samantha is thrust into the limelight when her mentor dies as the trial convenes in Paris, France. Her role requires steadfast focus and nerves of steel. She’s determined to do her job and move her life ahead, according to plan…without Zeus. He’s determined she’ll reconsider.

Completing the puzzle as their worlds collide…

As personal drama escalates behind closed doors, terrorists take aim at an Achilles’ heel that is capable of crippling Zeus, Samantha, and Black Raven. While forcing puzzle pieces to click into place, a personal reckoning looms for these two strong-willed people. There’s no denying they might be better off apart…but they fit together so well.



Black Raven was her grandfather’s go-to security company, and he’d already made the hiring call by the time he first told her his idea. With steadfast insistence, and continued reference to the horrors of terrorist acts that the ITT was examining, he’d worn her down in repeated phone calls. She’d given her grandfather one stipulation; she’d agree to Black Raven protection, but she did not want Jesus Hernandez to have anything to do with her on-site security detail. She didn’t want to see him or hear from him, and she damn well expected her grandfather to make this happen without it becoming an issue.

Jesus Hernandez.

Zeus to anyone who knew him.

Once, years earlier, she’d known him well. Or so she’d thought. Turned out she hadn’t known him at all. She focused her gaze on the intricately cut crystal water pitcher that the waiter placed on the table. In the last twenty-four hours, she’d been too busy with work to worry about whether her grandfather had truly understood the gravity with which she’d made the stipulation. She hadn’t intended the demand as a request. She hadn’t intended it as something her grandfather could consider and reject.

Now, with the hard knock marking the arrival of the private security company and the literal changing of the guard for the amicus team, her stomach twisted into a hard, nervous ball. Samuel knew the reasons why she didn’t want Zeus there. At least he knew some of the reasons why. Surely her grandfather had damn well listened to her?

Knock. Knock. The email notification finally flashed that the message and the attachments were ‘sent.’ The cc copy that she’d sent to herself appeared in her inbox, with an accompanying ding, just as Lorenzo put a vase of fresh flowers on the worktable that he’d transformed into a dining table.

“Done,” she said, shutting down her laptop and standing. “Thank you for all your hard work today.” As Lorenzo stepped away from the table, she said, “Lorenzo, the table is beautiful. Merci beaucoup.”

Knock. Knock. Knock.

She walked across the room as Charles signed for the room service. She opened the door. Zeus, arm lifted and fingers curled together as he prepared to rap on the door again, towered over her five seven by a good ten inches. Dropping his arm to his side, he gave her a cool nod, his brusque manner suggesting a nod was all that was needed to bridge the gap between his decision to leave her and the intervening seven years. “Hello, Sam.”


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_JigsawAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Stella Barcelona has always had an active imagination, a tendency to daydream, and a passion for reading romance, mysteries, and thrillers.  She has found an outlet for all of these aspects of herself by writing romantic thrillers.

In her day-to-day life, Stella is a lawyer and works for a court in New Orleans. She lives minutes from the French Quarter, with her husband of seventeen years and two adorable papillons who believe they are princesses. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, DECEIVED, was inspired by New Orleans, its unique citizens, and the city’s World War II-era history. Her second novel, SHADOWS, began her Black Raven series.

She is currently working on her fourth novel, CONCIERGE, another Black Raven novel, which will be released in 2017.


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Deborah A. Bailey – Hathor Legacy: Revelations

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Deborah A. Bailey will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



Hathor Legacy: Revelations

by Deborah A. Bailey

GENRE:  Science Fiction Romance


Hathor Legacy: Revelations – Book Three of the Hathor Legacy Series

An enemy returns to spark new tensions between the Guardians and Novacorp. In the midst of the crisis, Nadira is given information about her parents that threatens to destroy her relationship to the Guardians and to Jonathan.

While Nadira searches for answers, Jonathan is enticed into the hedonistic world of the Novacorp executive class. His entertainment club attracts the elite of Hathor, but his notoriety comes with a price.

The worlds of the Guardians and Novacorp are put on a collision course where only one side may come out on top. Nadira is called on to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the legacy of the First Families, the original settlers of Hathor, while Guardians, Kasema and Deshtu groups are faced with the choice to unite or be brought completely under Novacorp control.

Old scores are settled and long-hidden truths are revealed, and at the end Nadira and Jonathan’s relationship and their world will never be the same.


Excerpt One:

“I just got word from security.” The words tumbled out so quickly that Azure had to stop to take a breath. “It’s Mikal. He’s escaped the penal colony on a ship. Novacorp security lost track of it. They don’t know where he is right now.”

“He what?” It took her a moment to get her thoughts in order to reply. “But how could he? They did the Burn Order. It was supposed to destroy his mental functions, right?”

“Not all, obviously. The injection was only meant to destroy his PSI abilities. But he was still able to break out of the colony, steal a ship and get past all the security checks.”

How had Mikal been able to escape a penal colony? He was supposedly neutralized by the chemical injection he was given after he’d been taken off Hathor. How had he even had the awareness to escape? Yet again, they’d underestimated him.

“He might have had help from someone at the colony,” Nadira suggested. “Otherwise, how could he escape? Isn’t it maximum security?”

“My child, I have no idea. We’re still waiting for an update from the colony,” Azure replied, “But we must be on our guard. I’ll stay in Nova City until we receive word of his capture.”


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HathorLegacyRevelationsAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Deborah A Bailey’s Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance novels include suspense, a bit of mystery and a lot of romantic heat. Her books include the Hathor Legacy science fiction romance series and the Family Pride shapeshifter paranormal romance series.

Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and have been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun and are included in, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales. In her “other” life, she’s a freelance technical writer and author of non-fiction books and articles for various online publications.










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Blair Yeatt’s Character Interview: This Madness of the Heart

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Blair Yeatts will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



Character Interview: Miranda Lamden

1. What is your MC like?  Miranda Lamden is a thirty-to-forty-something professor of religion at a small liberal arts college deep in the hollers of Appalachia, founded by a guilt-ridden coal baron under a curse. Miranda herself comes from old Virginia money, but has turned her back on her blue-blood roots to travel the world researching unusual religious phenomena. She has published several books on legends, rituals, and obscure religions, and as Madness opens she is preparing a book on Appalachian folklore. She spends her down-time with local hermit-craftsman Jack Crispen, a military vet with bad nightmares and periodic drinking binges, who creates stained glass windows of luminous beauty.

2. What does your MC do best? What is the perfect location for this action? Miranda gets a lot of good press for her innovative classroom teaching methods, but her first love is her research. Using her training in phenomenology (setting personal beliefs aside and disappearing into a subject’s viewpoint), she goes into alien cultures as a participant observer in their rituals and tries to experience reality as the people who live there do. The training freely given her by numerous indigenous elders points to her success, although her own spiritual gifts probably influences their openness. Both her finely honed spiritual sensitivity and rigorous logic serve her well when she finds herself caught up in human violence and cruelty.

  1. What drives your MC to do the things they do? Miranda was brought in a very proper Southern culture, where men—white men—had the last word in all things, including women’s lives, bodies, and beliefs; not to mention the power to value, and devalue, everything else in their world, from cultures and races to the non-human environment. Miranda’s experience of this intimidation eventually led to her very vocal rejection of most things Southern . . . at least things touching sexual, racial, and cultural bigotry. Her passion for fairness and justice follow close behind, especially for the often-marginalized people in her research.
  1. You are introduced to MC. Is MC happy to meet you? I hope so! In many ways, she’s the woman I’d’ve liked to be. We’d have love of wild nature and careers teaching college religion in common, as well as a love for Kentucky and Appalachia.5. What is your MC’s favorite guilty pleasure? Dancing naked in the deepening dusk with her cats at the Equinoxes.

6. How would your MC describe themself? This question is too big to answer—Miranda narrates the book herself, so Madness is all about her describing herself! Instead, I’ll quote her tongue-in-cheek imaginary obituary from the book:

Dr. Miranda Lamden, contrary lady-professor of world religions and anthropology at Obadiah Durham College, Canaan Wells, Kentucky, dead at 38. Known to her close friends as Mir, Mira, or Andi, she was discovered several hours after death in a remote mountain holler, car wedged under a moldering coal tipple hidden by a heavy stand of mountain laurel. Survived by grieving kin in the Virginia tidewater. Her West Virginia hosts say they warned her that she’d come to grief if she took to bathing with the moon rising toward the full. She should’ve listened. Mourned by students, uppity female friends, and Jack Crispen, significant other and local craftsman hunk.

  1. What is your MC’s weakness?  I suspect Miranda’s greatest weakness is her defensiveness against close relationships with men. She has been married in the past—disastrously—and never intends to let anyone close enough to have that kind of power over her again. She scrutinizes Jack constantly lest he slip into any behavior suggestive of machismo. She also has knee-jerk responses to male (and sometimes female) attempts to dominate her in other areas, and that creates problems with the college administration.

8. Where does your MC go to regroup/unwind?  Miranda’s safe place is her renovated chapel in the deep woods. She seeks isolation and silence there whenever she gets too overloaded. The forest may have the strongest power to heal, but the old stone chapel Jack renovated for her is also steeped in peace—and cats. When simple silence or woodland walking isn’t enough, she turns to quilting: the calmness of the quilter’s trance, stitching fabric to fabric, life to meaning, until all else flows away.

9. What does your MC live for? I think Miranda lives to understand, to find meaning: in people, behavior, pain, life. That’s the fascination of religious studies for her, trying to comprehend how human beings find meaning in their lives—and the strength to live through the pain.

10. What will your MC kill for? I think she’d kill to defend her own life, or the life of another. I don’t think this other individual she’d defend would have to be close to her, but I do think they’d have to be helpless—and the attacker without justifiable cause. Maybe I should add that I think she might also kill in defense of an animal, or perhaps some other non-human life, like a forest. Maybe.

Answer as your Main Character.

1. Give up three of your deepest, darkest secrets.  I feed on the risks I take in my research, the adrenaline highs. I have fantasies of chaining my students to plows for the summer break; they might learn something from the horses. I once used the skills taught me by an old shaman to send a terrifying nightmare to a cruel and abusive woman as a way of changing her behavior. It’s not a thing people should do—stepping into another person’s mind without permission . . . a “defrocking” offense among some groups.

  1. If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be?
    A consciousness-enhancing (as opposed to mind-control!) ray that would force people to stop and consider fairly and objectively the stupid and cruel opinions they spout.
  1. A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?  Backwoods Chameleon: The Shaman-Professor
  2. If money were not an object, where would you most like to live? Thanks to the kindness of a wealthy woman, I already live in the one place in the world I would most like to live. I’m miles away from any other human being, on a hilltop in the heart of an untouched forest, in an old stone church preserved and enhanced by my best friend’s carpentry. What more could I wish for?


Fill in the blanks:

  1. I can never refuse a plea for help because where would I be now, if people hadn’t helped me?6. The next time I catch a student plagiarizing I will fail the little turkey.7. Why do I always have to understand absolutely everything about whatever I’m investigating?

    8. My favorite flavor is raspberry because it reminds me of my grandmother’s old farm in Virginia.

    9. I love cats because I know they’re clever enough to outsmart me.

    10. How much bullying can you take? Very little. Why? My whole life has been spent trying to understand why people think and act the way they do. Bullies tell people that they have no right to be who they are. They try to destroy everything that makes people whole and unique . . . (Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You bullied my father—prepare to die!)

    11. Name one thing you must do before you die, and why.

I’d like to spend a year among Jane Goodall’s great apes. Imagine discovering how well the skills I’ve learned about disappearing into other cultures work across species!
MediaKit_BookCover_ThisMadnessOfTheHeart This Madness of the Heart

by Blair Yeatts

GENRE: gothic mystery/thriller



Bad religion can be deadly. So Miranda Lamden, small-town religion professor, discovers in This Madness of the Heart. The dark hollers of Eastern Kentucky offer fertile soil for shady evangelist Jasper Jarboe, new president of Grace and Glory Bible College, as he beguiles the small mining town of Canaan Wells with his snake-oil charm.

When Miranda isn’t teaching at Obadiah Durham College, she’s investigating paranormal phenomena—or enjoying a turbulent romantic relationship with backwoods artist Jack Crispen. JJ’s inquisition-style gospel has alienated her long since, but when he announces his plan to transform her forest home into an evangelical Mecca, complete with neon cross and 40-foot Jesus, Miranda girds her loins for war. But JJ isn’t finished: he goes on to launch an attack on her friend and fellow professor Djinn Baude with an avalanche of vicious rumors. Not only does he accuse Djinn of demonic communion with the old Voudon witch whose curse killed the college’s founding family, but he also smears her with insinuations of lechery and vice.

With JJ’s urging, hate boils over into violence and tragedy, sweeping Miranda up in its flood. One death follows another as a miasma of evil overwhelms the tiny community, and only Miranda can see clearly enough to halt its spread.

This Madness of the Heart is the first in a new series of Gothic mystery-thrillers featuring Professor Miranda Lamden, whose spiritual gifts have drawn her beyond university walls to explore the mysteries of other world beliefs. Her unique vision brings her into repeated confrontations with evil, where too often she finds herself standing alone between oblivious onlookers and impending disaster.


The large woman beside me slid to the plank floor with surprising grace, twitching and jerking on her back, eyes glittering sightlessly under half-closed lids. Worshippers stepped around her with hardly a thought. Her lips fluttered in prayer, inaudible amidst the tumbling chaos of sound rolling through the tiny church.

“Hallelujer! Hallelujer! Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Jesus! Praise-a the Lord!

Oooooooohhh, glory be to God, honey! Praise-a his holy name!” The preacher’s voice roared over the babble.

I rocked contentedly in the midst of a storm of joy. Ecstasy beat against me like a rising spring tide. I loved my work. No matter how many hours I spent observing people celebrating their faith, their joy always lifted me up—perhaps bearing me on the wings of their prayers. And Appalachian Holiness congregations had to be among my favorites. I loved their lack of pretense, their tolerance of diversity, their unselfconscious enthusiasm. I envied how easily they gave themselves up to spiritual ecstasy. Comparatively, I was a clam, tightly sealed in a riotous bed of wave-swept anemones.

Several white-shirted men carried cardboard boxes into the center of the floor while the worshippers danced close around. One by one, two by two, three by three, coiling copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes were scooped from the boxes and passed from dancer to dancer, man or woman, whoever held out a willing hand.

Panic knocked the breath from my body like an adder’s sudden strike. My gut clenched, writhing with the coiling snakes. Tremors shook my hands. Shadow threatened to overwhelm my sight. I’d forgotten myself, relaxed my guard, let slip the rigorous discipline I wore like a second skin in my field studies.


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ThisMadnessOfTheHeartAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Blair Yeatts grew up in the midst of a large, old southern Virginia family, much like the family of her main character. She followed her parents into a career in academia and taught religion at the college level in Kentucky for many years. Her special areas of expertise are psychology and Earth-based religions, in which she has done considerable research.

From childhood, Ms. Yeatts has been a fan of mystery fiction, starting with Nancy Drew and moving through Agatha Christie to twentieth century giants like Dorothy L. Sayers, P.D. James, and Nevada Barr. She is fulfilling a life’s dream in writing her own mysteries.

Ms. Yeatts shares her home with her photographer husband, two cats, and a dog. She has a lifelong love of wild nature, and prefers to set her stories in rural areas, where threads of old spiritual realities still make themselves felt. Her first three books take place in different parts of Kentucky and Tennessee.


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Colleen J. Shogan: Homicide in the House

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Colleen J. Shogan will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book? I read a lot of amateur sleuth mysteries. I’ve read them since I was little, starting with Encyclopedia Brown, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Hawkeye Collins & Amy Adams. When I was in graduate school, there was a used bookshop I liked to visit and I discovered “cozy” mysteries. I started buying them and trading them in for different series. I didn’t have a lot of money at the time, but I needed a release from my dissertation. Those paperbacks provided a perfect distraction for my brain – entertaining, light, and engaging. I would never imagine writing in another genre.

2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world? I’m the youngest in my family. Not only in my immediate family, but the youngest of sixteen first cousins. When you’re the youngest, the older kids go off and do their thing. You’ve got to fend for yourself. I liked to read and watch movies, like “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.” Even before I knew about Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey, I understood the power of a good story.

3. Where is your favorite place to write? I love to write in the spring, summer, and fall outside on my backyard deck. We have a beautiful saltwater pool adjacent to our deck, and it’s very picturesque, particularly for suburban Washington, D.C. Most of the time, my beagle mutt Conan joins me. He relaxes by the pool or on the grass while I write, as long as I give him a treat to enjoy!

4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains? I don’t necessarily eliminate whole sections of a book. I’m usually happy with the arc of the story when I’m writing it. But in my current book, “Homicide in the House,” I decided to change the ending when I was about two-thirds finished with it. I was watching an episode of the Sherlock series “Elementary” and there was a great bait-and-switch. I was totally snookered. Right there, it hit me to change the ending to my book. It was really an amazing moment. I went back through the manuscript and realized I’d written the perfect lead up to a surprise ending. So I didn’t have to kill any darlings, but I did have to mentally adjust to a new ending.
5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? I’m lucky that I’ve met a lot of my favorite authors. I work at the Library of Congress and I’m heavily involved with the National Book Festival. We’re hosting Stephen King this year. Does anyone have a question I should ask him when the opportunity presents itself? I’d love some thoughts on that.

6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows. I think about the settings for murders all the time. When I got somewhere in Washington, D.C., I’m always plotting. Should I set my next book here? What would be the hook? If I told people what was going on in my head, they’d stop hanging out with me.

7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a back pack for company. What three items are in your survival pack? My Kindle. I assume that there’s electricity on his island so I can charge it, right? My computer. I can probably bang out a few novels while I wait for my rescue. Wine opener. Of course, there’s a wine bar on the deserted island.

8. If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be? I’d really like to fly. If you had to sit in Washington, D.C. traffic on a regular basis, you’d understand why the ability to fly would be extremely valuable.

9. Favorite snack? I love hummus. I eat it with chips, veggies, anything!  Long live hummus!

10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit? I do not drive the speed limit. I’m not sure I know anyone who does.


MediaKit_BookCover_HomicideInTheHouseHomicide in the House

by Colleen J. Shogan


GENRE: Cozy Mystery



During a government shutdown, Kit’s congresswoman boss is found standing over the dead body of a top staffer she tangled with in front of the press. The police are about to name her as the prime suspect. The weapon was the Speaker’s gavel, an item entrusted to the congresswoman the previous night. The killer knows Kit is on the case. Can she solve the mystery in time to save her job and her life?


Smartphones are great time wasters. I fiddled with various apps as I waited. The next level of “Angry Birds” was within my grasp when I heard footsteps and voices across the hallway. I got up and stood in the doorway to greet my boss.

From the look on her face, she was not pleased. She charged like a linebacker to the exit of the Speaker’s lair with Jack Drysdale on her heels.

“Stop, Congresswoman Dixon. You’re not listening to reason!” From behind, Drysdale placed his hand on Maeve’s left shoulder in an attempt to prevent her from leaving the suite.

Maeve had impressive reflexes. She turned her body toward him and grabbed his wrist with her right hand. “Don’t touch me! Is this how the Speaker’s staff treat members of the House?” Her voice was loud and filled with vitriol.

The gaggle of reporters who had been relaxing inside the anteroom trailed behind me. This was better than a boring pen and pad session. One of them murmured, “I think that’s Dixon from North Carolina.”

This was not a good development, but Maeve didn’t know that the press had a front row seat to her implosion.

Maeve clutched Drysdale’s wrist for several seconds until she let it go. Apparently her physical assault didn’t intimidate him. He ran ahead and stopped directly in front of her.

Stretching his arms out wide to slow her down, Jack made his last stand. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have done that. Please come back in the office so we can sort this out. You’re a valuable part of this caucus and the Speaker wants to work with you on this deal.”

Maeve shook her head. “You guys in House leadership are typical politicians. You can’t take no for an answer. I’m not ready to make a decision. Now get out of my way.”

Unmoving, Drysdale locked eyes with Maeve. She didn’t look away and squared her shoulders. I could almost feel the tension around me as the reporters anxiously waited for the outcome. What was Maeve going to do? Knee him in the groin if he didn’t back down?

After a moment that seemed like an eternity, Drysdale gave in and stepped aside. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and hurried into the hallway to catch up with her. As we exited the corridor, I glanced back to the doorway where I’d been standing. Every reporter was on his or her phone, ostensibly calling in the most salacious story of the shutdown thus far. A junior member of Congress and the Speaker’s top aide had nearly come to blows in the Capitol. A high school reporter could make that story fly.


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HomicideInTheHouseAuthor Bio and Links:

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She writes the Washington Whodunit series published by Camel Press. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.


Twitter:  @cshogan276





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