Wednesday, September 26, 2018

New Mystery Fiction for Fall

Sometimes it's the author of a book that grabs my interest. I have particular authors that I love to read and I try to watch for their latest releases. But sometimes it's the title of a book that gets me to take a second look, and that's even better because it introduces me to new authors. That was the case with the latest release by author CJ Zahner.  The title of her latest book, The Suicide Gene, drew me in, but then I discovered she also had another book coming out. Two books releasing so close together? Naturally I was intrigued and wanted to know more about her as an author so I asked her to be my guest in My Writing Corner. 
CJ, or Cyndie, hails from Erie, Pennsylvania, and like so many writers, she says she fell in love with writing at an early age. She credits her English teacher in high school for introducing her to the world of books, reading and writing. She went to work in the business world but also wrote articles for magazines. She married and had children before eventually turning her attention to writing books. Now she has two new books coming out, and two more that she is presently finishing.  

Her latest work, The Suicide Gene, has just been published by The Wild Rose Press, and as I noted, that title really grabbed my attention. Here's the blurb and that grabbed my interest as well: 
She thought they were her siblings. By the time she realized they weren’t, one of them was dead.
Doctor Emma Kerr had no right counseling them. Adopted and her birth records lost, she believed she was born a McKinney. Her face, intelligence, and depression resembled theirs. For years people mistook her for their sister. So she devised a plan. What begins as a scheme to counsel the McKinney family and determine if they are blood relatives, quickly causes Emma to wonder if she had truly done the manipulating. Is someone following her?
Now Emma clamors to escape the McKinney world of domination and deception.
Is she Mathew McKinney's sister? She can't be. Is he in love with her? He can't be. Then how do he and his sisters know more about her than she knows herself? This is a game to them. Is the game suicide? Or murder? 
Intrigued?  I was!  Let's get an excerpt:
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
The Funeral Parlor.
The face in the casket was her own. It nearly freaked her out.
She stood between her brother and sister, knees wobbling. Her high-necked dress clung to her skin, choking her throat, squeezing her long, slender body tighter and tighter until she felt her lungs might explode. Damn panic attacks.
Her siblings moved closer, tightening their grip on her when they heard her struggling to breathe. Together their tall frames—movie-star handsome—melded into a dark mass at the foot of the casket. It took all the energy the three of them could muster to keep her upright.
“Are you okay?” Melanie asked her.
She nodded.
“Try not to embarrass yourself,” Matt whispered.
Again, a nod.
She wasn’t sure she could get through the day without fainting. There were no breaks at a funeral, and she just wanted to get away from the grim whispery-whirrs of the bereaved and the sickeningly-sweet waft of the flowers. But she couldn’t leave. Matt would kill her and, besides, she had no cigarettes. Her sister was her supplier. Now she’s dead.

The parade of mourners stretched out of the room and down the hall and it was only 2:05. Some faces in line she didn’t recognize, which infuriated her. Her sister had no real friends. Nosy bastards. They just want to know what happened.

She tried to ignore surrounding conversations and remain composed. But like Medusa’s venomous mane, muffled words of hand-covered comments serpentined toward her from all directions. She couldn’t block them. They echoed in her head like garbled phrases over a worn intercom. “Why did she do it?” “Like her mother.” “Was it suicide?”
That last question nearly sent her to her knees. Her body sagged. Melanie caught her and Matt pulled her close, so she could lean on him until it passed.
“Don’t look if looking makes you queasy,” Melanie told her, but her glance drifted back to her sister’s pasty face. That’s what I would look like if I were dead.
She, herself, had considered suicide for so long it was hard to believe she still feared death. She hated funerals, could barely walk through the front door of a funeral home without hyperventilating. Yet, she had to go to this one. Her own identical twin sister lie in that ugly copper box, her head sunk low in billowing white silk.
“I’m sorry for the three of you.” Her aunt Carol’s hoarse voice coaxed her attention from the coffin. Notably thinner—grief now topping her midmorning chemotherapy cocktail,— her aunt dabbed a tissue at tear-stained cheeks. She was in the third round with breast cancer and getting her butt kicked. “I can’t believe this is happening to our family again. Did you know she was that bad?”
“Well.” Melanie paused. “She’s always had those tendencies, but we thought—with the counseling—she was doing better.”
“Counseling?” Aunt Carol’s cheeks pinked.
“Yes,” Matt said. “Six months ago we started seeing a psychiatrist—all four of us.”
“We thought a counselor might help,” sweet Melanie continued. “We decided maybe we did have some baggage about Mom’s—” She took a deep breath. Her gaze moved to her sister.
Don’t say it, Mel, don’t say suicide.
“Death.” Melanie looked away.
“How horrible.” Aunt Carol straightened. She appeared appalled. “You should sue him—that counselor.”
“Her.” Matt shook his head, eyes glaring. “She’s a psychiatrist.”
“We will sue her.” The twin’s voice rose, but she stopped, glanced at Matt, and tightened her jaw. “She didn’t give a damn about us. Now my sister is dead. She’ll pay.”
It happened then—at 2:10 p.m. She felt Matt’s piercing gaze and watched as he released his grip on her arm. Her aunt Carol became so emotional that Matt had to help her to the back of the room. Family members congregated there amidst her wild sobs while Matt held her, and a rush of people came toward her and Melanie at the casket. One after another. Melanie let go of her, too, and she had to stand on her own.
For the first time in her life, she was alone.
Want to read on? Here are the buy links:
The Wild Rose Press:
Barnes and Noble 

If you want to read more by CJ, she has another book out, Dream Wide Awake, and here is how you can learn more about her as an author:
Author website:     or
BookBub:                 blog:

Thank you, CJ, for bringing us your latest releases.  Any comments or questions for CJ?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

School Suspense Hits the Spot

Ever since my niece hit her teenage years, I've been keeping watch for books appropriate to that age group beyond Harry Potter. She devoured those books along with Hunger Games even before reaching her 14th birthday. I was so pleased to hear about Christine Grabowski's new book,  Dickensen Academy and immediately wanted to know more. I have to admit the location also drew my attention because it is set in the Northwest, one of my favorite places . I lived there years ago and love to set many of my own books there, just so I have an excuse to constantly visit the area for research. I also love to read books set in the area because they make me feel like I'm visiting.

Christine is the guest author in My Writing Corner this week.  She tells us that after graduating from the University of Washington, she earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She says she honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine says that she can often be found running, skiing, or hiking, perfect pass times for the Northwest. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.  Dickensen Academy is her debut novel and while it is a young adult paranormal, it sounds like the sort of book that both young and old alike will enjoy:

Dickensen Academy isn’t a typical boarding school. The faculty is hiding an unbelievable secret within their fine arts program. When Autumn Mattison receives an invitation to attend the high school, she yearns to escape her overbearing father yet remains reluctant to leave her mother and brother. Her doubts fade away when a vivid dream convinces her she belongs there.

Away from home, Autumn discovers a unique school environment that awakens her creative potential, and her new friends become like a second family. However, as she uncovers more about the dark side of the school and struggles with its curriculum, she questions whether Dickensen Academy is truly where she belongs.

When tragedy strikes, Autumn must learn to believe in her own power and stand up to her greatest fear or risk having her memories destroyed to protect the school’s secrets. Caught between secrets and dreams, can she find her true self?

Now that definitely sounds like a good book for back to school reading! If you'd like to see what others are saying about her new book, here are the review links:


Here are the links for Christine if you want to know more about her and check out the book trailer!
Book Trailer:
Here are the buy links for Dickensen Academy:

Barnes & Noble (Paperback):


The Wild Rose Press:

Google Play:


And if you would like to know more about Christine or get in touch with her, here are her Social Media/Contact Links:




Goodreads Profile: 

Bookbub Profile:

Amazon Profile:

Thank you, Christine, for visiting today and telling us about your new book.
Any questions or comments for Christine?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Taking a Journey with an Audio Delight!

The end of summer always makes me think of looking for new reading material because soon we won't be as willing to get out on cold days and that means more time to read! And what could be more fun to read than books that take us traveling in both place and time. That's the sort of work I found in this week's author guest in My Writing Corner, Jeannie Grant. She says she loves writing of all types, from non-fiction to fiction involving travel --
or time travel.  

Like so many authors, she began trying to write in her younger years, but then pursued another profession. Her background is in science, in biology, and she has written articles in that field, but she also says she loves to write about anything that suits her fancy. She hails from New England, where she says she loves walking the hills with her family. 

We love her fiction writing, which can take us on journeys through time, especially Scotland. Jeannie's latest work takes back in time to a fictional world that totally grabbed my attention. The book is  called, A Hundred Kisses and the great thing about it is that it is being released on audio!  I love to listen while I'm driving or walking. Here's the blurb.

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands. 

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the fa├žade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Now that sounds like a perfect book for listening to while driving the kids back and forth to school or for driving while running errands!

The book is currently available through
The Wild Rose Press,
Amazon Audible
Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and iTunes.

And Jeannie tells us she has another book set in Scotland coming soon, titled A Hundred Breaths.  We'll be watching for it!

For more information on Jeannie and her books, here is her contact info:

Thanks for being my guest today and for introducing us to your new book. Any comments or questions for Jeannie?

Mysterious Doings

As the  summer begins, it is time to start selecting those books we want to take on vacation or for sitting around the pool or at  the beach...