BOOK TOUR: Betrayed in the Bluegrass by Virginia Slachman #mystery #suspense #thriller @NewShelvesBooks @KeriBarnum @RRBookTours1

BetrayedintheBluegrass

This week we are celebrating the release of Betrayed in the Bluegrass by Virginia Slachman. Read on for details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card!

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Betrayed in the Bluegrass

Publication Date: January 15th, 2022

Genre: Mystery/ Suspense/ Thriller

Lexington Thoroughbred racing’s “power couple” Harper Hill and her husband, Detective JD Cole unite in this, the second in Slachman’s “Bluegrass” horse racing series. When a mysterious man, beaten and tortured, stumbles into the police precinct asking for JD, then dies before he can divulge his secret, a series of events are set in motion that will put the couples’ detecting power to the test and Harper’s life in grave danger. Soon after, Aubrey Lowen, Harper’s second cousin, is found severely beaten by the side of the road. Hospitalized, he hovers between life and death as Harper heads to Keeneland’s backstretch to keep an eye Lowen’s head trainer, Henley Smythe, who seems up to no good. As Harper tries desperately to uncover the culprit and help Aubrey’s wife Millie save their once-successful Thoroughbred farm, a dangerous character from Harper’s past shows up on the backstretch. Amid the dark pool of danger swirling around Harper, JD announces that the Feds have stepped in, preventing the couple from continuing their investigation. Undeterred, the two work under the radar to stop a killer bent on destroying the Lowen legacy and anyone who gets in the way. As murder and greed haunt every step they take, the couple knows that buried deep in Keeneland’s chaos the killer lies in wait—but uncovering the murderer just may cost Harper her life.

Now Available on Amazon

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Blood in the Bluegrass

Harper had put the past behind her. Or so she thought. Fleeing the flashy, high dollar world of Kentucky horse racing for NYC, she’d been content living the life of a successful painter. But escape isn’t an option after the accidental death of her sister sends her back to the Bluegrass, a horse racing world filled with hope and heartbreak. As the body count rises as Eden Hill, Harper becomes convinced her sister’s death was no accident. Probing more deeply, Harper realizes Paris’ death is tied to a dark and deadly secret, one she discovers is why her racehorses are dying. Solving her sister’s murder and saving her family’s stud farm will take every ounce of Harper’s wit and courage. When seven skeletons are discovered on the grounds, and the barn with her best Kentucky Derby prospects is set on fire, Harper bears down to find the killer. The problem is, the culprit could be anyone: Is it JD, her childhood sweetheart, Marshall, their long-time trainer, or is it their nasty neighbor Red Cole, in partnership with her family for generations?

Someone is on a killing spree, and though Harper doesn’t know why, she is sure of one thing–the murderer is someone she’s known and trusted her whole life.

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About the Author

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Virginia Slachman was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and has taught creative writing and literature at the college level for over twenty years. The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships for writing, she’s published several volumes of poetry; Many Brave Hearts, a memoir about her family’s experience with PTSD; and most recently Blood in the Bluegrass and Betrayed in the Bluegrass, the first two books in her mystery series set on a thoroughbred breeding farm in Kentucky.

Virginia Slachman | Instagram | Facebook

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Book Tour Schedule

March 7th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Timeless Romance Blog (Spotlight) https://aubreywynne.com/

March 8th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@fle_d (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/fle_d

March 9th

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

Ravenz Reviewz (Spotlight) http://ravenzreviews.blogspot.com/

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

March 11th

@theenchantedshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/theenchantedshelf/

@infinite.readlist (Review) https://www.instagram.com/infinite.readlist/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Spotlight) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

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BOOK TOUR: Life Rolls Along by Linda Nielsen #contemporaryromance #suspense #humor @SagesBlogTours

Life Rolls Along 

by Linda Nielsen

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Humor/Suspense

Memorable characters move swiftly through a well-crafted plot. Punctuated with sharp humor, twenty-first-century romances blossom in spite of well-heeled parental attempts to manipulate others to do their bidding.

Terri Sue Ellen, nonsensical and faux refined, and Charles Covington, wealthy executive, have a prickly daughter, Delaney Mae Anne, who wants a husband . . . so they buy one using their wealth and prestige to seal the deal.

But after a four-week honeymoon, Skye Topple grasps the fact that he’s made a blunder in marrying the boss’s daughter.  

Life’s hilarious complications follow him as he embarks on a journey to sort through the shambles of his life’s choices when he returns to his humble beginnings in Big Sur where he tries to reunite with his family.

Blending truth with hyperbole, wicked humor ensues as scheming business partners and arrogant in-laws attempt to destroy Skye’s bold plans for his future.

When the bizarre son of a new business partner covets his wife, Skye realizes he’s ready to move on but not before he gets what he’s been promised.

He joins forces with RB, the unwanted step-brother of his wacky mother-in-law, and the men take part in an eccentric ruse, hoping the final cards fall in their favor.  How dangerous are they, and how far will they go?

Find out in the dramatic story that takes a humorous approach on classiness, opulence, family, and romance.

From the Author

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?” 

When I was a child I knew that telling a story was fun. Unfortunately, that often got me in trouble as I talked too much.  But around sixth grade a teacher, in an attempt to get me to pay attention and stop talking, told me to write it down. Whoa! This was a new concept to me at the time as it meant actually closing my mouth and concentrating on what I was thinking.  I remember telling my mother and she blinked, smiled, and told me that was a lovely idea. I believe she was relieved!

I moved forward and learned to put things together in a coherent manner.  And finally, when I entered high school, I actually had instructors who cared enough to guide the way. They challenged and praised and criticized.  It was like a breath of fresh air to discover that along with mandatory subjects – history, economics, and science – writing was also important. It was a definite skill and one to be developed.

“What advice would you give to aspiring authors?”

Never let someone steal your creativity.  Give your mind and your heart permission to explore.  Plug in what you want and go with it.  Don’t sell yourself short.

My professors used to suggest mini outlines but that required a beginning, middle, and an end.  Sometimes an idea is just one part.  Jot it down, let it jumble around on paper, clean it up and see what you’ve got. When you offer it to friends or professors, if you’re told no, that doesn’t work, don’t delete it, save it. You may want to come back in a few months – or even years – and look it over again, maybe revise, maybe combine with a fresh idea or put it back in save. You’ll surprise yourself.

I’m interested in knowing what you think.  If you have the time, please email me at: eagleslair53@gmail.com or contact me at http://www.amazon.com/e/B07CTZCK6W 

Thanks for your time!  Your opinion means a lot to me!

Excerpt

Delaney looked puzzled. “Mother, what will you do when you get a pool? I thought you didn’t like to swim.”

“It’s an exhaustin’ exercise, and a person can get very wet, but it is a part of mah new physical fitness program, honey.  As one ages, one must step up to the challenges.  Ah even sought out our favorite hairstylist for advice.  The secret is that due to mah larger derriere, well, Mr. Freddie pointed out that ah needed me a hairstyle that would call attention to mah head and not mah bottom.” She sighed wearily, “Even though he is a toad, he does know hair.”

“I had no idea that could be done.”  Basking in her own emotional incompetence, Delaney, smiled her support.

Why, maintainin’ mahself a good hair-do whilst swimmin’ about is essential. Ah read an article online that pointed out splashin’ around in an expensive pool was best as it produced more cool bubbles, and they could swim faster toward me so mah hot flashes would disappear quicker. To complete the picture, a pool boy is a mandatory accessory.  So, ah gotta get me one. Pronto!” 

“I understand now.” Delaney placed her head in her hands. “Anyhoo, what qualities are you looking for in the new hire?”

“Nice physique, good bone structure, tall fellah, pleasant manner, a bright smile . . . a young man who fills out his swimmin’ shorts.”

“Oh, my! That sound very physical.”

“Indeed it is!” She looked at her daughter in shock. “Delaney Mae Anne, ya got to learn to think before ya speak.  Just how could an unphysical person instruct me on physical activities?  A man with a good package is a healthy man and will have the stamina to keep up with me as ah bustle along in mah swimmin’ accomplishments.”

On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07CTZCK6W

About the Author

Former business woman and entrepreneur, Linda Nielsen, is involved in community work, actively supporting animal rights, no kill facilities, and finding home for senior pets. 

Her mother was a writer, her maternal grandmother wrote poetry and her paternal grandmother was an artist.  She jokes that artistic ability runs in her veins, but she has yet to discover her hidden ability to pain anything other than the bathroom walls. 

She and her husband have traveled through Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, Russia. Australia and the Baltic with backpacks, catching any flights that were available. But now that the world has changed, she admits to discovering more at home activities.

Linda enjoys wine tasting and credits the lesser known areas such as Calaveras County and the Lodi area in San Joaquin County as having some of the finest wines in California. 

She escapes from her computer by spending sunny mornings in her garden and has fun cooking but admits that not everything in the kitchen is a success.

She thanks her fans and their ongoing support for keeping her focused when she’s writing and offering their feedback on both the story lines and her characters.

BOOK TOUR: The Beyond by Ken Brosky #horror #thriller #suspense @Grendelguy

The Beyond

by Ken Brosky

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense

Moon Song’s brother has gone missing in the town of Blackrock, Pennsylvania. Worried that her brother has slipped back into addiction and desperate for answers, Moon hires private investigator Ben Sawyer to help her uncover the truth. Together they discover what the people of Blackrock refuse to acknowledge: something terrible has happened inside the coal mine that defies all logical explanation, and it threatens the lives of every single person in town. Bodies are piling up at the funeral home, and many others have seemingly vanished.

Moon’s only hope of finding answers rests in the hands of a local professor who knows the mine’s horrible secrets. But the professor has problems of his own, and unless he can confront the creature that’s hunting him, Moon’s chances of making it out of town alive are darker than a seam of coal.

Dive into Ken Brosky’s horror-fueled nightmare and find out what’s in The Beyond!

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Get it discounted from Timber Ghost Press !

Ken Brosky lives and teaches in the great state of Wisconsin. In addition to having short stories published in magazines like Grotesque and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, he also writes regularly for Suspense Magazine. His favorite horror movie is John Carpenter’s The Thing, his favorite band is Nine Inch Nails, and his favorite book is Cloud Atlas.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

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BOOK TOUR: That Night by Donna M. Zadunajsky #YAthriller #suspense @AuthorDonnaMZ

That Night

by Donna M. Zadunajsky

Genre: YA Thriller, Suspense

Senior Kat Palmer observes several of her classmates acting suspiciously on the first day back to school. Her boyfriend was one of them.

One night, she follows him out to Lemmon’s Park.

A fight breaks out and she hears a terrifying scream.

Four of the five classmates flee the area.

Kat goes looking for the fifth. All she finds is a shoe, an abandoned car, and a cell phone. What happened to the classmate who owned these things?

As Kat continues to search the woods, she is knocked unconscious. She wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of what had happened. As the days go by, she starts to remember bits and pieces of that night. She can’t rest until she knows what really happened to the missing classmate.

Kat drives back out to Lemmon’s Park, hoping to recall more of that night. But this time she finds a broken watch with an engraving on the back. How did her father’s watch end up at the scene? He’d told her that the watch had been stolen when someone broke into their home last week. Had he been there that night?

The more Kat investigates, the more secrets she uncovers. She finds out that even the ones closest to her aren’t who they pretend to be.

Goodreads * Amazon

Donna M. Zadunajsky started out writing children’s books before she accomplished and published her first novel, Broken Promises, in June 2012. She since has written several more novels and her first novella, HELP ME! Book 1 in the series, which is about teen suicide and bullying.
HELP ME!, won Awards in:
The Great Northwest Book Festival-Winner
Global EBook Awards- Gold Medal Winner
The Great Southeast Book Festival-Winner
IPA Award- Winner in Grief Category
Reader Views Awards- In 3 different categories:
*Children-Teen 12-16 year olds
*Children-Young Adult 16-18 years old
*Best Teen/YA Book of the Year
eLit Awards- Silver Winner

Talk To Me, Book 2 was a Finalist in the Author U unpublished contest, 2016.
IPA Award- Winner in Death and Dying

The author is available for speaking on the matters of teen suicide, bullying and for author events.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

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 BOOK TOUR: Those We Trust by Marie Jones #contemporaryromance #suspense @MarieJones14057 @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours 

Thesewetrust copyRomance, suspense and secrets? What more could you ask for? Check out Marie Jones’ novel, Those We Trust. Now available on Amazon!

bookcover0004250-2020-06-24-13-47-00-kindle

Those We Trust

Publication Date: May 18, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Suspense

Broken and humiliated by her husband of ten years leaving her unexpectedly, Sophia Meadows muddles through her daily routine—writing computer programs and rarely leaving the house. That is, until an old friend from university shows up on her door with an offer she can’t refuse: a chance to get away and heal in the Scottish Highlands of Inverness by flat-sitting. Yet once she arrives, she soon discovers the offer is not what she bargained for: A police surveillance team is watching her every move and a mysterious man is after the contents of a safe hidden in a wall. After a break-in at the apartment, her path collides with DI Marcus Armstrong, the man in charge of the apartment surveillance. Sophia is swept into an investigation of fraud involving her university friend and into a sudden attraction with the handsome DI who finds himself drawn to her even though she’s a suspect in his case. With evidence piling up against her and her friend and the attraction between her and Marcus growing stronger, Sophia is forced to confront her broken heart and find a way to clear her name. In a tangled web of secrets and clues, can she and the DI work through their attraction and learn to trust each other in time to stop a criminal and possibly save a life?

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About the Author

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Marie Jones, British Writer has been writing and telling stories since she was a young child. Perhaps it was inevitable that she would call grappling with words and language a career—and loving every moment. She feels privileged to share her work with a large and welcoming audience. Get in touch to discover more about her work, writing process and future endeavours.

Marie Jones, British Writer | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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BOOK TOUR: Scattered Legacy by Marlene Bell #mystery #suspense @ewephoric

Murder in Southern Italy, Book 3

Mystery/Suspense

Date Published: Nov 4, 2021

Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing

 

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Antiquities expert Annalisse Drury and tycoon Alec Zavos revel in a love
affair peppered with treasure hunting, grand adventure, and the occasional
dead body.

It’s autumn when Alec arranges a getaway from them to visit is
mother’s birthplace in Bari, Italy—a no-drama vacation to
transfer his car company to a rival. But before they can depart New York,
murder makes its familiar reappearance.

Accompanied by detective friend Bill Drake, Annalisse and Alec find
themselves embroiled in a behind-closed-doors conspiracy that threatens the
reputation and legacy of Alec’s late father—linking him to the
Mafia. An ancient rosary propels Annalisse down crooked paths to expose the
truth as they uncover answers none of them are prepared for.

 

 

 GUEST POST:

Covers are a Window into Your Book

The key to choosing a cover is knowing your genre. Deciding on a cover doesn’t necessarily mean you can pick anything you like. It’s more what the reader who reads in your genre is expecting to see as your cover. If trying some new, groundbreaking cover art to intrigue, you may find yourself lacking in book sales. Readers want to be visually pulled into the story, but only if they can understand your story—in your genre—from your cover art.

If you’re able to swing a professional book cover designer, I highly recommend that source versus a basic ready-made cover. Stock photos are so common and easy to slap together, but what does that say about you as an author? Is a stock cover going to pull in your readers, or tell them your book is ho-hum boring? Many simplistic photos can work well as long as there are interesting elements added to shock or amaze your audience. There are several creative designers who can pull this off well.

I’ve personally used a husband and wife team from Australia who design all elements on their covers from start to finish. I found them after I fell in love with one of their winning covers in a contest. I was thrilled with my cover for Stolen Obsession! The extra money spent on a fully designed cover was well worth the effort. The cover for Stolen Obsession won the 2018 Independent Book Award for Best Cover in the Fiction Category and the IndieReader cover award.

In my second book, Spent Identity, I went into a different direction to find my cover designer because my first designers were overloaded with new clients. 99 Designs is an online website for graphic designers all over the world. I found Isabel from Portugal, there. The cover for Spent Identity is simple yet portrays a feeling of foreboding that goes along in the mystery/suspense genres. The book won the 2020 Independent Press Award for Best Mystery and has been named as a finalist in other contests. It’s well worth your time to research a slew of cover designers before you make your final choice. Expect to pay from $200 to $600 for top designers who create more than stock premade covers.

I’m especially proud of the work we did on the third book cover for Scattered Legacy. We began with a simple backdrop and added other elements to tell the story of what the reader would find inside the pages. Sometimes this method can work if done correctly, but use caution. Less is more, and busy covers can be confusing. If you are lucky enough to snag a pro cover designer, they will give you solid advice. The best recommendation I can give you is to search books in your genre and see what other writers are doing with their covers. Publishing houses seem to be using simple artwork with more emphasis on the title and author’s name. If you like this style, try it out for yourself, but always use a professional designer when possible.

About the Author

 

Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer and acclaimed artist as well as
a photographer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of Sheep!, The
Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living, and Sheep Industry News, to name a
few.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg, reside in beautiful East Texas on a wooded
ranch with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large Maremma
guard dog named Tia, along with Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks, the cats that
believe they rule the household—and do.

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @ewephoric

Blog

Goodreads

Bookbub

 

Purchase Link

Amazon

 

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Book Tour: Pretty Broken Dolls by Jennifer Chase #suspense #crimethriller @pumpupyourbook @JChaseNovelist

 

As the killer circles closer and closer to Katie, what if the only answer is to give him what he wants? 

By Jennifer Chase

Title: PRETTY BROKEN DOLLS
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 302
Genre: Crime Thriller

 

In the thin light of the moon, the woman’s limp body hangs from the iron fence amongst the redwoods. Looped over the railings is the little gold locket her mother gave her when she turned sixteen. The picture of the girl inside smiles out at a future she’ll never see…

As day breaks over the fairground, Detective Katie Scott forces herself to take in another disturbing scene in front of her. A woman, the same age as her, found slumped in the carriage of the Ferris wheel, red lipstick dragged across her lips, her throat cut.

Katie doesn’t want to believe that the serial killer picking off women across the state has found their way to the small town of Pine Valley, California, but when her team finds a gold engagement ring hanging nearby, it’s a terrifying, but undeniable fact.

With a twisted killer on her doorstep, Katie knows if she doesn’t act fast, she’ll find more women left out in the cold like broken dolls. Her team hit dead end after dead end, but only she can see the vital link between the victims: a connection with Katie herself.

Katie has spent years pushing traumatic memories of her years in the military far out of reach, but she must confront them now or more innocent women will die. But as the killer circles closer and closer to Katie, what if the only answer is to give him what he wants? There must be another way…

Warning – This absolutely unputdownable thriller will keep you up all night! Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh better hold on tight for a nail-biting rollercoaster ride!

PRAISE

5 Stars! “This is the first book in the series I have read – and I want more! Suspense up to the end, characters I enjoyed, and K9 units. Loved it!” – NetGalley

5 Stars! “As always this Jennifer Chase thriller just cries out to be read in one sitting. Here we see Katie get tangled up with a serial killer although it takes time before anyone takes her seriously. Great characters and a great story, I loved this book.” – NetGalley

 

PROLOGUE

The front door stood ajar. It bumped gently against the jamb in rhythm with the evening breeze. The screen remained wide open and was bent precariously around the aluminum frame. Pieces of broken glass from a shattered light bulb above had scattered across the porch, leaving behind a shadowy darkness draped across the front of the small house.

The neighborhood remained quiet; the light blue one-story cottage eerily so. No outside illumination or motion lights flooded the front area. The blooming
climbing vines and perfectly manicured bushes were eclipsed by the darkness.

Headlights approached.

A small, dark vehicle pulled into the driveway. Waiting a moment before turning
off the engine, a woman pushed open the car door and stepped out. The young
redhead was dressed for the evening, in a sparkly blouse and tight black pants.
Wavering a moment in her spiked sandals, she looked at the house in
curiosity—and then in disappointment. Quickly grabbing a warm jacket from
inside the car and slipping it on, she walked up the driveway.

“Jeanine, where are you?” she whispered and headed to the front door, ignoring the
shattered light bulb on the step crunching under her feet. She knocked on the
door. “Jeanine,” she said, more loudly, leaning closer to the opening. “We
waited for you… you missed a great party.”

No response.

The front door pushed open, revealing a darkened interior.

“Jeanine?”

The woman hesitated but seemed to be pulled by an unknown force. She stepped over
the threshold, not bothering to close the door, and moved through the living room. Confused by the darkness, she turned on a lamp sitting on a small table. The room lit up instantly. Everything seemed in place. The oversized beige couches with brightly colored throw pillows, the dark mahogany coffee table with neatly stacked magazines and books precisely centered appeared usual for Jeanine’s house. It was always neat and organized.

“Jeanine?” the woman said again. “Are you here?”

The woman walked around and checked the kitchen and small bedroom, but there wasn’t
any sign of her friend. She eyed a piece of paper on the counter and decided to leave a quick note, scratching out that she had stopped by and asking Jeanine to call her when she got the message.

She suddenly noticed a strange high-pitched whistling noise coming from the other
side of the living room. Curious, the woman moved closer to the sound. The back
sliding door was slightly open. The crack was enough for the wind to invade and
make a strange noise.

Her foot touched something. A tall turquoise vase that had been sitting on a shelf
nearby was now lying on the carpet. It seemed strange to her that it had been
knocked over. She bent down and picked up the vase, replacing it on the shelf.

She retrieved her cell phone from her pocket and tried calling Jeanine again. It
rang numerous times and then went to voicemail where Jeanine’s upbeat voice
said, “Hi, sorry I missed your call but please don’t hang up. Leave a message and I’ll get right back to you.”

The greeting was followed by a quick beep.

“Jeanine, it’s Mandy again and now I’m standing in your living room. Where are you, girl? Everyone was asking about you tonight. Hey, and you left your front door open.
Call me.” She ended the call.

Mandy was about to head back to the front door to leave, but something stopped her—it
didn’t feel right—and instead, she stood at the sliding door staring out into the large backyard where dense rows of pine trees and acacia bushes huddled around the house’s boundary. During the day, the property appeared green and lush, but now it looked gloomy and foreboding.

Mandy flipped on the outside light, but it only lit up the patio areas directly
outside the house, and the extended wooded region still looked dark.

She pulled open the sliding door and the wind whipped through the house. It chilled
her. Goosebumps scuttled up her arms. Worry now set in and she didn’t know what
to do. Redialing Jeanine’s number, Mandy listened to it sound again and in unison heard the faint, far-off ringing of a phone somewhere in the distance.

She stepped outside, trying to decipher where the ringing was coming from. “Jeanine?” she said, noticing that one of the outside chairs had been toppled over and lay precariously on its side.

Moving off the stone patio and pulling her jacket more tightly around her, Mandy
slowly trudged toward the trees, a bit wobbly in her shoes. She turned on the flashlight mode on her cell phone and moved forward.

She dialed Jeanine again. This time, she heard the distinct ringing of the cell
phone coming from the trees—low at first and then it rang louder.

Jeanine,” she said, with barely a whisper. Her voice sounded oddly distant.

Looking down, she saw where there were crushed weeds and small broken branches as if
someone had walked back and forth recently. Still, she kept moving forward, into the trees, swinging her cell phone back and forth which only illuminated a tiny patch of ground in front of her, creating dense shadows outside its beam.

Her pulse quickened.

Anxiety escalated.

Something fluttering on a bush caught her eye. She leaned closer, focusing. As she moved the cell light beam nearer, it revealed a piece of white fabric with a mother-of-pearl button still attached.

Mandy gasped.

It wasn’t the fact that she had seen Jeanine wear that pretty white blouse on so
many occasions, it was the droplets of crimson spattered across the fabric that shoved a spear of fear into her gut.

Thoughts of dread and horror-filled scenarios ran through Mandy’s mind. Urgently, she
pushed the redial button on her phone again.

The sound of Jeanine’s ringtone rang in the darkness. This time it kept ringing and
there was no cheerful message.

Mandy walked further into the dark realm of the trees, still hoping that there was a
logical explanation. Stepping over old branches with loud crunching noises and sidestepping bushes just before reaching the back fence of the property, she managed to make her way to the sound of the ringing phone.

Everything went quiet.

Mandy stood a foot from the phone lying on the ground. It mesmerized her. She slowly
bent down to pick it up. With a startled gasp, she stepped back, dropping the phone as she stared at her hand. It was covered in blood.

In a frenzied panic, Mandy ran past the phone and continued along the low wrought-iron fence. The flashlight feature dimmed and she couldn’t see where she was going. Slowing her pace, she glimpsed something white and moving slightly.

“Jeanine? What’s going on?” She spoke in a strained whisper.

Trying to catch her breath and calm her hammering pulse, Mandy approached. Her cell
phone flashlight surged and shone brightly on the blood-soaked white silk blouse, now shredded from Jeanine’s right shoulder. She reeled back at the sight of her friend.

Mandy couldn’t tear her eyes away from the horror. Her throat constricted as her
breath trapped in her chest. She staggered backwards, taking in the entire scene—unable to turn her focus away.

Her friend’s upper body was impaled on the iron fence penetrating from her back
through her ribs, and her throat was slit open. Her head flopped down, lifeless eyes trained on the ground. Her long brown hair fell forward, some strands sticking to the blood seeping from her chest. Her arms hung at her sides, legs crooked, like a marionette waiting for someone to pull the strings. Blood still dripped from her body, sliding down her arms to her fingertips before collecting on the ground—the wet crimson almost matching her fingernail polish.
The body was shoeless and Jeanine’s feet were dirty and bloody—as if she had been running through the woods barefoot.

It was the sight of Jeanine’s face that made her sob in terror. Caked in grotesque makeup, making her look like a caricature of herself—a hideous broken doll. Red lipstick drawn heavy around her lips, dark purples for blush on her cheeks, and dark blues for eye shadow made her look like a circus clown instead of her friend.

Beside Jeanine’s body, a necklace hung on the fence. It was a small locket that she
always wore, which her mother had given her when she turned sixteen.

Mandy mouthed the word “Jeanine” but no sound escaped her lips. Realizing she still had her cell phone in her hand, she tried to dial 911 but fumbled a few times with the buttons before she heard the words, Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?”

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. You can visit her website at www.authorjenniferchase.com or connect with her on TwitterGoodreads and Facebook.

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Book Tour: Dark Ride Deception by Mark S. Bacon #suspense #thriller @BaconAuthor

Dark Ride Deception

Nostalgia City Mysteries Book 4

by Mark S. Bacon

Genre: Mystery

Is Tom Wyrick Dead? The computer genius is missing. So are his priceless tech secrets. Time for Lyle to go undercover again.

Tom Wryick’s mind-bending technology will rocket Nostalgia City theme park decades ahead of the competition. But the computer genius is missing. So are his secrets. Is he dead? On the run? His billion-dollar, breathtaking discovery is the Perception Deception Effect.

An FBI agent theorizes the People’s Republic of China is responsible for the disappearance.The Nostalgia City CEO, however, is convinced a rival theme park is behind the theft. He drafts ex-cop turned theme park cab driver Lyle Deming to fly to Florida to find the missing computer scientist and recover his secrets.

Does this have anything to do with the severed human finger Lyle finds in his cab?

Back in Nostalgia City, park executive, 6’ 2” Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star, is persuaded to investigate the death of an actor starring in a Vietnam-era crime movie being filmed at the Arizona park. Nostalgia City is a meticulous re-creation of a 1970s small town.

Shrugging off jet lag, anxiety, and oppressive Florida humidity, Lyle goes undercover using a parade of false identities to snoop behind the scenes at another theme park’s engineering and computer offices. He’s forced to jump from one covert scheme to another as his identity is exposed, his safety jeopardized.

In the meantime, Kate confronts a mentally unstable actor—fresh out of rehab. But she may be forced to give up the murder case—Lyle needs help.

Kate and Lyle have little time to explore their nascent romantic relationship as both their investigations turn deadly, threatening them and the future of Nostalgia City.

* * *
“Mark S. Bacon’s well-told mystery is clever, smooth, and intriguing, with a reluctant detective who has just the right touch of self-deprecating humor. The author’s wry wit and engaging voice will keep you turning the pages of Dark Ride Deception until the very last satisfying twist.”

–Mary Adler, author of the Oliver Wright WWII mystery series

***Recommended: Death in Nostalgia City, the first book in this series, was recommended for book clubs by the American Library Association.

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darkridedeception -- excerpt

Lyle felt like he was back in an interrogation room at the Phoenix PD only he was on the wrong side of the table. He sat in front of Galvan’s desk and eyed the beefy guy with a crew cut who was not introduced. Yoo sat next to Lyle.

“So as you now know, I work at—or maybe I used to work—at Nostalgia City. In any event, I’m a cab driver.”

Galvan chuckled.

“I can show you my ID and commercial license.”

“This is not the time for your name, rank, and serial number,” Yoo said. “Tell us what you were doing here.”

Yoo still prodded, Galvan had large dark eyes, and the crew cut looked at him like he was a suspect in a one-man lineup. “Okay, I’m just looking for a Nostalgia City employee. What’s the harm?”

“And you thought he might be working here?” Galvan said.

“Possibly.”

“And what does he do at Nostalgia City?”

“I’m not sure.”

“I believe Tom Wyrick is a programmer for you,” Galvan said, her voice light and conversational as if she were asking if he enjoyed his flight to Florida.

Hell, how do they know he was a programmer? Amber, the receptionist. My mistake. She was the only one I told who Wyrick was. But how did they know I talked to her? I never mentioned her name to anyone. Surveillance cameras. They went back and looked at video of the time before I showed up in HR. Damn these guys are good. Least I know what they know about me, which is pretty much everything.

“Wyrick is a programmer and he disappeared. The park is worried about him so they asked me to look around.”

“And you were chosen, not because you drive a cab, but because of your previous occupation.”

“Yeah,” he said. “I was a sergeant. Phoenix police, homicide.” Did the crew cut’s gargoyle expression soften slightly?

“Actually, Mr. Deming,” Galvan said, “the only thing we don’t know for sure is what Wyrick was working on when he disappeared. But I can guess. There’ve been stories. And you were asking around in our attractions development building next door.”

This lady has a complete picture of my actions and motives. As complete as I would have liked for any perp I detained as a cop. He gave a shrug of surrender and leaned back in his chair.

Galvan turned to the thickset guy next to her. “Thanks for coming over Bill. It’s like we thought. I just have a few more questions for our cab driver. I’ll give you a call later.”

Bill got up slowly, pushed his chair out of the way, and came around the desk. He looked at Yoo and made a slight motion to the door. When they left, Galvan got up and took Yoo’s seat opposite Lyle.

“Are you working for Maxwell? Hiring an ex-police detective sounds like something he’d do.”

Lyle couldn’t read Galvan’s body language. She sat back in the chair, put a hand on the arm, and crossed her legs. Relaxed maybe, but her brown-eyed stare held his attention.

“Yes and no. I am working for Max, but he didn’t hire me. I went to work at the park because it was a break from police work. It takes it out of you. I like driving my taxi.”

“You’re not driving it now.”

“I sometimes do special assignments for Max.”

“So one of your programmers has gone rogue and you want to find him before he sells your secrets.”

Lyle could play the game, too. His noncommittal expression was as good as anyone’s.

“Does it have to do with your perception deception effect?”

Why don’t I just call Joseph Arena and have him explain the technical details to you?

“You don’t have to worry. That term was in one of the trade mags recently. No one knows what it means.” She shifted in her chair and leaned forward. “I sympathize with you. We all want the latest and the best, and we all try to protect our own proprietary ideas.”

“Which is why Yoo followed me.”

“That’s right,” she said. “I’m sorry if he got too rough. He’s young. It didn’t sound like you were looking to steal anything. I despise anyone who would steal secrets for profit. Your secrets, our secrets, anyone’s. Our engineering team is inspired, and like Edison said, it’s ninety-nine percent perspiration. Is this Wyrick going to sell your secrets to the highest bidder or what?”

Mark S. Bacon began his career as a Southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.
After working for two newspapers, he moved to advertising and marketing and became a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park down the freeway from Disneyland. Experience working at Knott’s formed part of the inspiration for his creation of Nostalgia City theme park.
Before turning to fiction, Bacon wrote business books including “Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing,” printed in four languages and three editions, named best business book of the year by the Library Journal, and selected by the Book of the Month Club and two other book clubs. His freelance feature articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News, Orange County (Calif.) Register, Denver Post and many other publications. Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Dark Ride Deception” is the fourth book in the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with”Death in Nostalgia City”. The first book introduced ex-cop turned cab driver Lyle Deming and PR executive Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star. “Death in Nostalgia City” was recommended for book clubs by the American Library Association.
Bacon is the author of flash fiction mystery books including, “Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words – Revised Edition”.
He taught journalism as a member of the adjunct faculty at Cal Poly University – Pomona, the University of Nevada – Reno, and the University of Redlands. He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.

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New Release: Getting to You by M.L. Uberti #actionadventure #contemporaryromance @mluberti_writer

Zac Xavier is called from a meeting to find his wife, a teacher, is in a lockdown situation at her school. Rushing across town, he remembers when they first met.

In fear for her life, Emma is determined to protect her students at all costs. But while danger lurks closer, she flashes back to meeting her beloved husband.

Zac won’t stop until Emma’s safe, and Emma will do what she has to in order to protect her students. Will their love affair meet a tragic end or will they get their happily ever after?

Publisher’s Warning: Getting To You involves an Active Shooter school shooting with casualties and may be a trigger for some readers.

Available Today at Changeling Press – Save 20%!

Preorder for June 4th at online retailers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 ML Uberti

The first time I met Emma, I was sitting at the end of the bar, a hole in the wall in the new neighborhood where I had just bought a five-bedroom Tudor in a burgeoning area of Chicago. Oprah, the Obamas, other Hyde Park celebrities were snatching up properties left and right — and I had found a gem that needed restoration but after I flipped it, I could make a mint on it.

And at thirty-seven, that was my life’s goal: making money. I had a lot of it, wanted a fuck ton more, and did everything I could, 24/7, to make it happen. So the four-level Bridgeport Village luxury house with ten foot ceilings was mine to crash in while it was renovated, then I could find somewhere else with the profit and do it all over again.

This would be my sixteenth house in the last decade that I’d make money on. It was just a matter of how much and when.

But while that happened, I needed some place to get a whiskey at the end of the day. I didn’t keep alcohol in the house — another hold over rule from my childhood I couldn’t seem to break. When there was liquor around, my dad drank too much and took out his aggression on me and my brothers’ faces. Then my mom would dump it out, dad would sober up, and things would return to their normal level of dysfunction before disintegrating again.

Master’s Saloon was where I ended up today. It was a three-block walk, not that my driver Wilcox would ever let me fucking walk it, but close was what I wanted. Drunk was what I actually wanted, but I had a five a.m. call with London so that was out. Two whiskeys and home to fall asleep watching the Bulls stomp the Knicks. The hipster bartender with the skinny jeans and cardigan made his way over and took my order, and I read through emails as I sat on a stool and thought about ordering dinner.

“Hi, Silas,” a bright voice sounded beside me, and for some unknown fucking reason, since I usually don’t give a shit about strangers, especially those in a bar with Grey Goose as top shelf, my eyes shifted over.

I didn’t turn my head, just took in the peripheral. I saw a girl, thin, tall, with dark hair pulled high in a ponytail on her head, fingerless mittens on her hands, jumping on the balls of her feet in a pair of Converse that were worn the fuck out and most likely wet from the sloppy inch or two of snow outside.

“Hey Ems — you looking for the box, babe?” the stringy-haired bartender asked as he filled a pint glass.

“Yep! Is it full? Tell me it’s full,” she said, her voice light but deep, raspy. Even sexy-sounding — so much that I actually twisted my neck to take her in.

She was a stunner, that much I could see. Young, way too fucking young for me, probably just out of college. Tight jeans that cupped her perky little ass, with a rip in the knee. A decades-old wool coat that was buttoned up over a sweater that went up to her chin, and when she glanced my way and shot me a casual smile, a smile I could tell she gave to everyone she saw regardless of the circumstance, I saw her eyes were a swirl of green and gold, with long dark lashes that made the face of a pretty girl spectacular.

The bartender chuckled at her brimming excitement. “It’s pretty full, Ems. Gimme a sec and I’ll grab it for ya. Todd locked it in the office so no one swiped anything.”

“Silas, who is going to steal hats and mittens for second graders?” she asked incredulously, then slid into the seat beside mine. “And I’m in no rush. Take your time.”

I wanted to tell him I agreed — he could take his fucking time while this little cutie wiggled her bottom on the chair to try to get comfortable on the hard wood, a scent of citrus and honey wafting from her skin.

She couldn’t sit still, her energy bursting from every inch of her, and I was drawn in by it and her easy, open smile. Which she gave me a second time and I knew if I didn’t talk to her, if I ignored her like most women I came across, I’d regret it.

“You want a drink?” I asked, tipping my whiskey to my lips and taking a small swallow.

She swiveled her head and blinked at me. “Me?”

I looked around, but we were pretty much alone in this corner of the bar by the windows. “Yeah, you.”

“Oh, I’m just picking something up. Some friends of mine put out boxes to collect hats and stuff for my students. I have to swing by three other places tonight if I want to get everything ready for tomorrow,” she explained, keeping those gorgeous eyes on me.

“What’s tomorrow?” I asked, turning toward her in the stool.

The side of her mouth tipped up. “It’s Christmas Eve Eve,” she told me as if that meant something. “It’s the last day of school before the holiday break. And I have like two hundred fifty bundles to make up before tomorrow at seven fifteen a.m.”

“Bundles,” I repeated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Starbucks aficionado, lover of throw blankets and betrayer of all things kale, ML Uberti is a Wayne State University graduate and Metro Detroit author with a predilection for oddities and happy endings. She is mom to three autistic kids, 2 ridiculously stupid dogs and wife of a teacher and musician who has endless patience for her impeccably bad taste in Netflix shows and murder documentaries. She is thrilled to dip her toe into scifi romance from contemporary and hopes you enjoy her big, brooding alien alphas and resilient fairy tale queens.

Book Blitz: Insincerely Yours by Manasi Singh #suspense @BookReviewTours @thevanillawrite

All Ray wanted was to have some fun. Little did she know that what began as a harmless midnight adventure would soon end up being the most terrifying night of her life.

Shuttling back and forth between the States and whichever obscure Indian town her civil servant father was transferred to, Atreya ‘Ray’ Sen’s life has always been on the move. When she comes down to sleepy old Visakhapatnam and befriends Mira, Ray hopes she could be a successful means of whiling away her summer. When Mira invites her to a late-night adventure with Mira’s boyfriend and his pals, Ray jumps at the chance for some excitement. When one of the boys suggests they take a detour to one of Vizag’s most famous haunted houses, the night takes a turn for the dark. The spirit of a mean old man seems to be following them, killing them off one by one.
A near-death experience reveals to Ray that she is the only one who can bring peace to him. Now, Ray must race against time to find a way to save her family and friends, or else the once-peaceful town of Vizag would witness a bloodbath like never before.
An old Victorian mansion with a dark history…a spirit with a vengeance…a girl with no memory of her past…
Will Ray be able to stop the killings in time? Or will she be left with no friends and no family yet again?

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Real Life Incident that inspired Insincerely Yours

In the words of Stephen King, we make up horrors to cope with the real ones. But what if the horrors written is a part of reality? What if the tale is written not just as fiction, but as a memoir to the unexplained that occurred years ago, yet bears fresh imprints in mind?
When I sat down to write this story, I had to resurrect memories from my college days, from that fateful night, when my friends and I had decided to have our own little late-night adventure. Back then, we were just stupid college freshmen who didn’t have a care in the world, who would go lengths for cheap thrills from the world of the supernatural. Here, I bring you the real-life story that inspired me to write Insincerely Yours.
Our night started on the cliché note of being cold and stormy. We had found our source for horror stories: our friend Vishnu. Vishnu would always keep us at the edge of our seats with his storytelling, and that evening was no different. We had assembled in a circle around him, drinks in our hands, when he started telling us about the legendary haunted house that stood proud just off the path to the beach in Vizag. As the story goes, the house belonged to a retired colonel and his family. They kept to themselves, but the neighbors often complained of yelling and fighting coming in the evenings. One night, the house fell silent, and the neighbors saw an eerie glow emanate from the windowpanes. When they went over in the morning to check, they found that the Colonel’s family had disappeared overnight. The house was still as is, sans the family that had once lived in it. Nobody knows where they went, and the watchman claimed he never saw anyone leave the house. Their mysterious disappearance gave rise to the stories that the house is haunted.
Scoffing at his words, my friends and I decided to check it out for ourselves. So off we went, Shreya, Swetank, Vishnu and I, on a drunken midnight visit to the famous haunted house. The house had a sinister look to it, with the front lawn stretching before us, coated with dried grass, exactly how I chose to describe in the book. Inside, the house looked like someone had lived here years ago, and had suddenly just chosen to walk out. The place oozed with a cold vibe, and I wasn’t the only one who felt it. We decided to explore the house a little, and each room creeped us out a little more than the next. Most of the belongings of the house had turned to debris owing to a cyclone that had wreaked havoc in Vizag a year ago, but there was one room that had managed to stay intact. Intrigued, we stepped in bravely, and immediately, we felt helpless. It was like the place had sucked the happiness out of our lives as a blanket of depression descended on us. We saw muddy footprints going towards the bathroom, and opened the door to find the room painted in vantablack, the darkest color known to humanity, often the sign of evil. The room started feeling like it was sucking the energy out of us, slowly as it grew. Swetank, being the most sensible of us, insisted we get some fresh air at the balcony we had seen on our way into the room. At the balcony, we felt the sudden weight the room had given us lift off us, and we slowly relaxed into conversation. In the entire time we were in that house, I kept getting this feeling that someone was watching us. As we were talking, I felt something move from the corner of my eye, and turned towards the balcony door, where I saw five shadows. Four was of us standing in the balcony, but one was coming from inside the house. As I turned around quickly to see if anyone else had noticed, I saw Swetank looking pale as a sheet. We saw the shadow stay for a few seconds, and it suddenly disappeared, vanishing. At this point, Swetank and I ushered the other two out of the house, and made a run for it. All we knew was that the old Victorian mansion housed something that was pure evil, so dark that even one hour in that place had left us feeling soulless for days after. Swetank and I promised then and there that we would never meddle with forces outside of our control ever again, but as you all know, promises are meant to be broken.

About the Author:

Manasi Singh is a lawyer, graduated from one of the top law schools in India in 2019. Lawyer by day and reader by night, Manasi always had a lot of stories to share, which she did by publishing short stories and articles in newspapers, magazines and journals. In 2019, she began writing short snippets on social media under the name “The Vanilla Writer”, shortly after which she published her first novel “As Fates Would Have It”, which was received warmly by readers of all ages. Manasi is a firm believer in art and creativity not being restrained in any way, which is why she writes short stories, fiction novels, screenplays for short films, and much more.

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