Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A New Mystery Springs to Life

Mystery series have always intrigued me and I'm always looking for a new character to enjoy and/or a new town or shop to visit. Today's guest in My Writing Corner is Misty Simon who writes the Ivy Morris series.  Misty says she likes to make people laugh with her work, and as a reader, I always enjoy the humor I find in her books.
Misty, Ivy and her stories have been around for a while now.  Tell us a little about Ivy and your writing career.

The Ivy Morris Mysteries originally started in 2005 with Poison Ivy. There were five books total ending in 2009. But then the publisher closed and Ivy was without a home. The wonderful Wild Rose Press took a chance on me by letting me re-release all of them, and then I had a great idea for one more brand new adventure to round out the set. I love my girl Ivy and will miss writing about her. But I also am on to new adventures with my new mystery series starting in November coming to you from Kensington.

But we won't have to wait that long for Misty's  next book featuring Ivy. Luckily for eager readers, Ivy is back again this month with a new adventure and a new mystery, Hoedown Showdown.  Here's the blurb:

With the Tasty Tomato Tournament just days away, the small town of Martha’s Point is all abuzz. This is the first year without a sure winner, and the competition is fierce to gain the judges’ approval, even before the tournament starts.

But when Ivy finds one of those judges dead in a shed across the street, things go from bad to worse. All she wanted was seven glorious, kid-free days of messing around with her husband. Instead, she’s going to be tracking down a killer, staying out of the way of a pickle-obsessed farmer, and dodging the new cop who seems out for her blood.

That sounds like another humorous adventure for Ivy and another winner for Misty!

Buy Links:


Wild Rose Press:

If you would like more information on  Misty and her books:

Thank you, Misty, for  bringing us Ivy and for being my guest today.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Campus Thriller

We are heading south today to a small college campus to meet Lam Corso, the hero of a new mystery thriller novel. Our guide is author Gary Guinn from Arkansas. He writes literary and mystery/thriller fiction. His first novel was published in 2005 and his poetry and fiction have appeared in a variety of magazines, and his short fiction has appeared in several anthologies.

 His newest book, Sacrificial Lam, was released recently by The Wild Rose Press. It is set on a small Southern college campus. Gary tells us his favorite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling, and brewing beer (and of course, drinking it).

Let's find out more about Lam and his adventure:

     When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off. A liberal activist teaching at a small Southern conservative college, he's used to stirring up controversy on campus. It's just part of the give and take of life. Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it has to be a mistake. He can't imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs.

When his home is broken into and his wife's business vandalized, Lam is forced to face facts. The police can't find a single lead. Lam's wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan must examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by a different set of beliefs. What will it cost to survive?

Because I love to know more about fascinating characters, naturally I have some questions for Lam. Tell us a little about your past and what made you decide to become a teacher?

            The college where I did my undergraduate work had an inner-city program. They took groups of students to Chicago for three weeks over Christmas break to work with at risk kids. I participated during my sophomore year, and it changed my life. We worked with the kids on literacy. One of the young guys in my group made great strides the first two weeks, and I got close to him. He didn’t show up for week three. I found out just before we left the city that he had died in a gang shooting. The news was devastating. Working with him, seeing him get excited about learning to read, had been the most satisfying thing I’d ever done. Literacy might have helped him escape the inner city. When I returned to the college, I enrolled in the education program.
What do you like best about teaching?
            I grew up with books. I loved to read. When I decided to teach, I thought literature would be a good field to get into. It turned out to be a perfect fit. I love working through a piece of great literature with students and seeing the light come on in their eyes, seeing them smile when they get it.
That’s easy. Administrative gobbledygook. If professors at small colleges could just teach, put all their energy into their work in the classroom, their lives would be so much more rewarding. But at small colleges, everyone has to serve on committees and turn in reports and do all kinds of evaluations. Those are onerous tasks to most teachers.
Lam, you’re a liberal thinker, but you teach at a conservative college.  Is there a reason you chose to work there or is there another story behind your job?
It’s a simple story, really. I was married, just finishing up my PhD. First baby was on the way. PhD’s in English are a dime a dozen, so when I was offered an interview at Mid-South Methodist, I jumped at the chance. I toned down my more radical progressive ideas for the interview. I got the job. I thought I’d be there a couple of years, build my resume, and then find a better job at a state school. But I found that I, and a handful of other liberal professors on campus, served a really valuable purpose in offering students another way of looking at the world. Students on the fringe of the status quo reached out to me. I became a mentor to some of them. And I developed close friendships with some of the other liberal professors, especially one of the professors in the Psychology Department. A couple of years stretched into a dozen.
Fill us in on this new trouble you appear to be in?  Any hints of what’s going on?

Well, though the university treats liberal professors even-handedly, our fit in the college community is sometimes difficult. There are some faculty, staff, and students who express dismay at the fact that the school hired liberal professors in the first place. There is particular outrage whenever one of us outspokenly supports liberal social causes, especially causes related to LGBT or immigration. Reproductive rights for women and the environment are also hot-button issues. But I never felt threatened, never felt that anyone on campus was capable of lashing out violently.
That changed when I arrived at work on a beautiful Friday morning and found an envelope under my office door that held an anonymous death threat. I thought it was a joke by one of my colleagues in the department. But that evening I was run off the road while riding my bike, and a few days later I was attacked in the parking lot after dark. It was a narrow escape. The police and campus security are now involved, but they have not been able to find anything that points to a suspect. I’m beginning to worry about my wife and two boys, nine and six years old.
Our readers love romance.  What drew you to your wife and what makes the two of you work as a couple?
            My junior year in college, my roommate talked me into going to a peace rally. He said that’s where the good-looking women would be. I had nothing else to do, so I went along. And there she was, holding up a sign that said, “Schools, not Bombers.” Well, I agreed with the sentiment, but it was the eyes and the lips, that incredibly sexy crooked smile, and the knockout figure that slew me. We talked, hit it off. I took her to a coffee house after the rally. We talked till two o’clock in the morning. I was already in love.
            But we’ve had a great marriage because of more than physical attraction. She’s an incredible person. She runs a very successful screen-printing business she started in high school. She founded and runs a regional peace center that is active in political and social issues. We’ve both become activists in issues of peace, the environment, and immigration.
            What’s going on now with the death threat and attacks is putting a strain on our family and our relationship.
What would you say is your secret or hidden passion?
            I’ve always wanted to live on a sailboat in a small harbor of a small island off the coast of Greece. To get up every morning and dive into the Aegean Sea. To sit in a deck chair and watch the sun set on the ocean, with Greek folk music coming from the dock. A glass of wine. Fish on the grill.
Thank you, Lam, for sharing your story with us. Here are the buy links:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Romantic Slip Into the Past

I love to read because I love to meet new characters. Today we're going back in time to meet a special person presented by author Dee Dee Lane. She writes romances set in the West. DeeDee, tell us about your newest book.

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Rebecca. You said this year you were focusing on "characters," so I decided to ask - Who is the traveling man in MY TRAVELING MAN?

About a year ago I was doing research for the last novella in my SLIP IN TIME series. At the time I thought the last title would be about a stage coach driver who travelled back and forth across the West to deliver people and packages to wherever they needed to go. day...I came upon a short poem about a wagon master leading a wagon train traveling to Oregon Territory in the 1840's. The poem's imagery made me see the swiftly moving rivers, hear swarms of mosquitoes, listen to the voices of disgruntled, weary travelers. The poem gave me insights into the every day tragedies and joys occurring on a wagon train. Suddenly my story changed shape and I realized I had to explore this person and figure out how, what, when, why, all of those questions that motivate an author to write and re-write. 

 Many months later and I had carved out a story with Thomas Bristol, wagon master as the hero. I hope your readers will enjoy the story, Rebecca. And may I say Happy Travels to all!

Alice Hanstrom prefers books to people, facts over feelings, and in her world, "adventure" is just a word in the dictionary. That is until the night she braves shadowed hallways of the Cowboy and Western Museum in pursuit of a long-lost diary. Her search of an antique covered wagon halts abruptly when the museum slips Alice back in time.

Thomas Bristol is an experienced wagon master. On a daily basis he deals with cholera, exhausted oxen, and river rapids on the treacherous journey to Oregon Territory. But he's completely flummoxed when a mysterious woman appears in Big Blue River.

On the trail, Alice and Thomas strive to balance is love of roaming adventure and her desire for predictable orderliness. As the wagon train reaches Independence Rock, the sparks between them catch fire. But can such different people become equal partners in love... and can their love survive the slip in time?

My Traveling Man is the fourth installment in the Slip In Time Series. Want more? Let's get an excerpt: 

Alice bent her lanky frame forward to squint at the notation scratched in the corner of the diaryscribbled in a different hand, less confident, childish.

       Im hiding Mamas last diary in our covered wagons secret hidey hole til shes in her right mind.
The wagon mentioned was in the museum
s storage basement, two floors down. Alices stomach fluttered and hopped. Every part of her yearned to find the hidey hole, be the one to find the diary not just write about it afterwards. Before she could talk herself out it, Alice exited the research library to set off down the darkened corridors of the Cowboy and Western Museum. Her footsteps made soft thwacks on the marble floor. She, Alice Hanstrom, intrepid scaredy-cat, was on an adventure. How thrilling, how positively mindblowing, how. Alice flinched away from a creaking noise to her right.

Here are the buy links:
My Traveling Man on The Wild Rose Press

Thanks, DeeDee, for being my guest. Any questions or comments for DeeDee?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March into Spring with A New Romance

As an avid romance reader I am always searching for new authors and books that resound with a plot that catches my interest. As soon as I read the blurb for Saffron A. Kent's new book, A War Like Ours, I was hooked and wanted to know more about the author. She is the guest today in My Writing Corner.

Saffron says she is a romance writer and reader, a coffee addict and a White Russian drinker. Now that sounds like a fun combination. But she also describes herself as an imaginary ballet dancer, wanna-be poet, and Lana Del Ray and Gillian Flynn Worshipper.

"My stories are grey-shaded and NC-17," says Saffron. "I write what I love to read. And what I love to read is always twisted and angsty and emotional. My characters desperately need therapy. They tend to kiss a lot too, among other naughty things."

Of course that caught my attention as well as her warning that her books are for mature audiences only.

Here's the blurb for A War Like Ours:

A liar...
Three weeks ago, James Maxwell’s wife died in a car accident, but he hasn’t been able to tell his five-year old daughter the heartbreaking truth behind her mother's death. Instead, he packs them up and leaves for a summer resort in upstate New York to spend a few peaceful weeks and to gradually break the news. But a spirited and outspoken maid at the resort has figured out his secret.

A hater…
After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of her stepfather, Madison Smith has turned aimless and bitter toward the world—men, in particular. Her dead-end job at the local resort and her convenient girlfriend barely keep Madison from falling apart. When she meets James, however, she’s driven to protect his child from the darkness she sees inside him.

A forbidden kiss…
But Madison doesn’t expect to find that very darkness irresistible. Drowning in guilt and memories, neither does James expect to be drawn to the sharp-witted woman who has made his life miserable. When their tempers flare, a brutal kiss triggers a need that blurs the lines of hate and desire. As their lust spins out of control, they must decide if their attraction is worth fighting for or if love is the real enemy.
Buy links:

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly2j9UDM8
Saffron says she loves to hear from readers so here is how to get in touch with her:

Social links:

Thank you, Saffron, for being my guest!

A Writing Quest

With the cold days of winter in the rearview mirror and spring taking a firm hold, it's time to look forward to all the reading we want ...