Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Herbert L. Smith Author of HURRICANE KINGDOM

Today I'm happy to have Herbert L. Smith, author of HURRICANE KINGDOM, as my guest!  He's sharing some history of the town of Glenwood (or Hillville):

Glenwood, the town that is Hillville in the Starfire Mystery Series, was a divided town in many ways. Nearly half the population remained hidden from view during the years I lived there. They were the patients, sometimes considered students, at the Glenwood State School, which is now called the Glenwood Resource Center.

The center was started way back in 1866 as an orphanage for civil war orphans, but changed radically in 1876 to become the Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children. At some point in the past it was officially renamed the Glenwood State School, and housed nearly 2,000 residents as well as a very large number of staff.

The Iowa State School was situated on the south part of town, on a high hill just beyond the railroad tracks. It was a symbolic juxtaposition, as was the common name for the school - The Hill. That’s where I got the name for the town if Hillville, although the Institution (as it was also called) isn’t mentioned in any of the books – so far.

From a distance The Hill was an interesting tangle of beautiful old buildings which looked very much like the old mansion-manor houses of the English countryside, although the total impact was stronger; The Hill was a very large complex, beyond the scope of most palaces. Many townspeople worked there, as did my mother. She was the primary housekeeper at the Boys’ Custodial Building, the BCB in Hill-talk. It was a huge place, with lots of halls and large wards as well as an imposing entry and a big half-basement where my mother’s workroom was located. All the walls in the basement were about three feet thick, and provided a good foundation for what rose above. The walls also kept the lower level cool in summer and warm in winter.

I never went anywhere in the building beyond the first floor or my mother’s pleasant work room, but heard some of the horror stories about the ‘patients’ and their living conditions that existed at that time. I had no desire to see anything of that kind and was content to keep my distance.

Much of the work that was done in maintenance and cleaning was under mother’s supervision, and I heard about the people who helped her; the higher grade of patients who were residents of the Institution. Ward attendants – generally townspeople – were also assisted by those higher grade residents, and they were the ones who took care of lower functioning patients, classified as ‘low-grade.’ The favorite derogatory epithet for any patient to call another was ‘low grade,’ and that caused most of the fights that took place between the residents there.

Stories about The Hill were common in American media during the mid-century. Both Life Magazine and Time carried feature stories about the place, and important newspapers in surrounding states as well as New York and other cities carried stories. One of the major reports dealt with a man who had been a life-long resident, only to discover in his fifties that he had a high-normal IQ. It caused quite a buzz for a while, and the man left to take up a new life outside. He didn’t last long because he hadn’t developed the kind of coping he needed to survive outside an institutional kind of life.

The story isn’t over. There is current controversy about leadership at the GRC, which the place is called now. The institution hasn’t exactly covered itself with glory, but it still clings to the top and sides of the hill, commanding the best views of Glenwood, looking down on the town from its superior position. The Hill remains another world, keeping as far away from town activities as it did in the past, and probably will far into the future.


The Hog Ranch near Hillville, Iowa, is a notorious place. All kinds of illegal ‘business’ prospers there. It’s a known hideout for the criminal element, and its proximity to Omaha is a major plus for the goings-on inside – and outside as well. The sturdy old log structure sits along the shoreline of the Missouri River; that mighty waterway flows just steps outside the back door and provides a good place to dispose of dead bodies. Set in the middle of the 1950’s, the tale of Hurricane Kingdom – who seems (at first) a minor character in the entire scheme of things – twists and forks along the muddy trails of the riverbank behind the Hog Ranch with its gambling Cellar, gigantic barroom, and a well-populated House on the top floor.

The quiet and somewhat dull town of Hillville is nearby but also a world away, exactly as the town and the Ranch both want it to be. Guy LeFevere and Caleb Starfire, the men who shoulder the burdens of the Starfire Detective agency, share the responsibilities of policing the town as well as all of Bogger County with an inept, portly and rather absurd sheriff, Fred Baylor. It’s a mixed match-up, but despite all the fuming and fumbling of the dull-witted sheriff, the detectives prevail, and more often than not the criminal element is subdued or eventually rendered harmless – and sometimes actually imprisoned. Frequently, however, the criminals inflict their deadly punishments upon each other. The 1950’s shine through the novel and offer a fun-filled romp through Hillville and its environs, creating renewed memories for those who survived that time, and a lesson in human history for those who missed all the fun.

About the Author, Herbert L. Smith

Herb Smith, the author of eight books and counting, is a native of Glenwood, Iowa, the town that is the prototype for Hillville, which is featured in the Starfire Mystery Series. He has memories of people and events that stretch back to the 1940’s, and his memory is not only long, but detailed as well.

He has recreated the Iowa of his youth in the Starfire Mystery Series. (This is the third book in the series.) The stories are all set in the 1950’s, something of an American Golden Age, and the joys and struggles of life, along with the murders, are evident as the reader becomes ever more beguiled by that world.

Smith’s own life has included places far flung from Southwestern Iowa: Egypt and the Middle East, Argentina, Idaho, and even exotic central California, where he spent thirty five years (except for the time he was working outside the U. S.)

He is a musician – mostly church music – and has worked in all kinds of churches as organist, sometimes doubling as choir master as well. He also taught English as a Foreign Language in California Universities and other schools around the world. Currently, he lives the retired life in Eugene, Oregon, with his wife, Glenda. Their daughter Melanie and her husband William live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. Theirs is a small but closely linked family, and they spend holidays and many other times together. They don’t have dogs, but Pippa, the colossal cat, reigns unquestionably in her California home.

Smith’s future remains bright. A new series, called the Quest Samson Mystery Series (based in Eugene), is in the works, as well as other unusual but interesting book projects, and he is considering some musical compositions that will add to his artistic credentials.

Author Links:


Purchase Link:

Tour Participants

May 27 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post

May 28 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Guest Post

May 29 – Queen of All She Reads – Guest Post

May 30 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Review, Interview

May 31 – Christa Reads and Writes – Guest Post

June 1 – Frankie Bow – Interview

June 2 – A Blue Million Books – Interview

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blog Tour: BOCA UNDERCOVER by Miriam Auerbach

Patients at a posh Boca Raton rehab center are ending up stiffer than a Boca babe’s smile. Tough PI Harriet Horowitz, once a bedazzled babe herself, signs in at The Oasis at the request of a frightened friend.
As a pattern emerges in the murders, it’s clear the killer is targeting patients with an unusual addiction. How did they end up with the same drug problem at the same time and in the same rehab together? Harriet’s sleuthing leads her down a path of secrets and danger, and what she learns could lead her undercover assignment to a dead end.

Dirty Harriet travels to the Boca Raton rehab center to calm her friend Gitta down and leave. No big deal until they happen on a dead body. Three dead bodies, all teens in foster care, are more than a coincidence and Gitta convinces Harriet to stay and solve the murders. Harriet' "inner vigilante" takes over and she goes undercover. 

The author provides an inside view of a fictitious rehab program complete with finger painting, discussions of Pavlovian conditioning, high end fashion at the no drug/no alcohol club night, gourmet food, and attentive but firm staff. But what is the common factor across the teens other than that they are in foster care, go to the same school, and love to read?  And then there's the Shrimp Pimp who manages a drug and sex ring in the rehab facility - what's her involvement with the murders? With many tricks and friends in high places, Dirty Harriet is one step ahead of the police.

Dirty Harriet (or Hailey undercover) has a few demons of her own, complete with flashbacks that provide some backstory. Then there's Lana and Slick. She's also about to turn 40 and hopes to move to the next stage in her relationship with Lior (and things do get steamy until interrupted). The fourth in a series, it can be read alone, but I suspect some aspects make more sense if you've read the first three.  As you'll see below all the books are on sale for the rest of the month!

About This Author:
Miriam Auerbach is the author of a satirical mystery series set in Boca Raton, Florida and featuring Harley-riding, wisecracking female private eye Harriet Horowitz. Her debut novel, Dirty Harriet, won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best First Series Romance. Miriam can only assume that this is because the heroine kills her husband on page one. In a parallel universe, Miriam is known as Miriam Potocky, professor of social work at Florida International University in Miami. She lives in South Florida with her husband and their multicultural canines, a Welsh Corgi and a Brussels Griffon.

Author Links:Webpage:
GoodReads: Miriam Auerbach –

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

SALE!!!  BOCA UNDERCOVER will be on sale on Kindle for $2.99, and the two previous books in the series will be on sale for $1.99 from May 18-31, 2015!

GIVEAWAY!  2 copies of the book – format winner’s choice – print U.S. only - will be given away! Random drawing from those who leave comments on this blog! Winners will be announced at the end of the Blog Tour on May 31st.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blog Tour: COFFEE IS MURDER (A McKinley Mystery) by Carolyn Arnold

coffee is murder large banner640

  You might want to rethink your morning routine. A cup a day won’t kill you, but a few might.

Coffee is Murder Final Cover FRONT
Their first case as private investigators have Sean, Sara, and Jimmy neck-deep in coffee beans trying to find a killer. With their client certain that her mother was poisoned through her coffee of the month club, it has them setting out to Williamsburg, Virginia. But instead of approaching matters from the traditional standpoint, Sean and Sara brew a robust plot and stir Jimmy into the blend, all to get close to their top suspect and grind out the truth.
Going undercover at Tasty Beans, the coffee company, the three of them work to expose the culprit before anyone else dies.

Sara might be tempted to give up coffee, at least from Tasty Beans, when it seems that someone is poisoning the coffee! When arsenic is found to be the true cause of death in one woman's case, Sara, Sean and Jimmy jet out to Virginia to hopefully keep anyone else from dying. Of course, now that they are famous, they are in disguise and arrange for jobs at the Tasty Beans factory. Jimmy works with the truckers, Sara with the prime suspect in the manufacturing process, and Sean as a custodian. For whatever reason, no one seems very happy at Tasty Beans and that makes it hard to engage the other employees in idle gossip. In the meantime, rumors are that customers are calling and complaining of feeling sick after drinking the coffee. 

Arnold crafts an engaging story that kept me reading until I finished it. The philanthropy of Sara and Sean, as well as their sense of justice despite possible danger to themselves are nice touches that make the story enjoyable. Add in a bit of humor in the form of their disguises and this is fun read. This is the 9th book in the McKinley mystery series. It can be read as a stand alone, but I suspect it is better if you have the back story to Sara and Sean's wealth. The first one is on my kindle now.

About This Author 
Carolyn Arnold is an award-winning and International bestselling author, a blogger, and is published in IUeMag, a distinguished online magazine dedicated to inspiring people. She is also the proud founder of the Shining Soul site that is geared to healing, motivation, and self-empowerment.

Since she published in 2011, her books have been sold and downloaded well over half a million times. Titles in her Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, and McKinley Mystery series have all hit bestselling lists. Her work ranges from cozy mysteries to hard-boiled detective and FBI procedurals.

Carolyn Author Photo 2013 ColorBorn in a small town, Carolyn enjoys returning to her roots and spending time in the country reflecting on life and letting her imagination run wild. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea.

Carolyn Arnold is an award-winning and International bestselling author, a blogger, and is published in IUeMag, a distinguished online magazine dedicated to inspiring people. She is also the proud founder of the Shining Soul site that is geared to healing, motivation, and self-empowerment.

Author Links: 
Purchase from Amazon

Tour Participants 
May 3 – Griperang's Bookmarks – Spotlight 
May 4 – Tea and A Book - Review, Excerpt 
May 5 – Melina's Book Blog - Review 
May 6 – Author Michele Lynn Seigfried's Blog - Spotlight, Excerpt 
May 7 – Lisa Ks Book Review - Review, Excerpt 
May 8 – StoreyBook Reviews - Review, Excerpt 
May 9 – View from the Birdhouse - Spotlight 
May 10 – off 
May 11 – deal sharing aunt – Spotlight, Excerpt 
May 12 – off 
May 13 – off 
May 14 – Frankie Bow - Excerpt 
May 15 – Nadaness In Motion – Review, Excerpt 
May 16 – off 
May 17 – off 
May 18 – Community Bookstop - Review 
May 19 – Babs Book Bistro - Spotlight 
May 20 – readalot - Review 
May 21 – Musings and Ramblings - Review, Excerpt 
May 22 – Laura's Interests - Review 
May 23 – Christa Reads and Writes - Review 
May 24 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review 
May 25 – Brooke Blogs – Review 
May 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Spotlight 
May 27 - Check out the Tour Page for an except from the book!! 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: DEATH OF A BRIDE AND GROOM by Allan J. Emerson


When the body of writer Iris Morland is discovered in full bridal array atop a gigantic wedding cake parade float, the little resort town of Honeymoon Falls is left reeling. Not only is its reputation as "the Romance Capital of the World" at risk, its very survival is threatened. Murder, it seems, has a chilling effect on those considering venues for potential nuptials.

Iris enjoyed betrayal, which makes half the people in town credible suspects. Among them is her husband, Kenneth, whose faltering grip on a mechanical mouse plunged him into a hideously embarrassing scene with Iris and her latest lover, television host Arnold Reifel. Arnold was finding the affair burdensome, and his wife, Marjorie, was seething because Iris, not content with appropriating her husband, had turned Marjorie's interior decoration schemes into a very public humiliation. Then there's haughty French film auteur, Pierre Blondin, in town filming his adaptation of Iris's novel. Did Iris trigger his murderous wrath by opposing a nude scene featuring ninety-five-year-old actress Hermione Hopkins?

Captain Will Halsey, head of Honeymoon Falls' three-person police force, has to find the killer in the crowd of Iris’s enemies, while coping with small-town politics, feuding among his subordinates, and the ferocious attentions of the media.

What Other Writers Say:

"Packed with mystery, humor, romance, and an intriguing cast of characters. Anxiously awaiting the next in the series!" —Mary Daheim, bestselling author of the Alpine/Emma Lord and Bed-and-Breakfast mystery series.

"Murder's a funny thing sometimes, and never more so than in Allan J. Emerson's fun, fast-paced novel DEATH OF A BRIDE AND GROOM." —Alice Duncan, bestselling author of the Daisy Gumm Majesty series.

"Written with a delightfully wry humor and an eye for detail, this intriguing tale has an ending you won’t see coming. A totally fun read."—Kate Kingsbury, bestselling author of the Pennyfoot Hotel and Manor House mysteries.

"Fast and funny with a quirky cast of supporting characters bent on keeping their secrets. The Honeymoon Falls series is off to a great start!" —Tamar Myers, author of the Den of Antiquity mysteries.

"A sly romp with a likable police chief who’s trying to keep his force of two from killing each other as he solves the murders."—Elizabeth Zelvin, three-time Agatha Award nominated author of the Bruce Kohler mystery series.


Imagine a town with everything named along a wedding theme... you have to smile (or groan) at the street names even, but there is more humor in the story. Along with the wedding theme, romance is a given with honeymooners visiting this tourist attraction town, and the story comes through on that. When the two senior ladies trying to drive a huge wedding cake to the Wedding Daze parade staging area and cause a wreck, more than traffic citations are the result.  Little did the sisters know they had corpses as the bride and groom on top of that cake. Now Halsey and his two detectives have the chore of trying to solve the murder without looking completely incompetent.  

This is a fun, quick paced, and easy read. A bit corny at times, with some predictable  parts, but enjoyable just the same. As the story unfolds, Iris is the victim that it's easy to want dead and the suspect list just continues to grow as Halsey interviews her various conquests and almost gets taken in by one of the suspects. The resolution? Not obvious, but believable in terms of the murder. Romances and relationships evolve. The characters - especially Halsey are likable without being perfect. I hope to see some of them in future books...

About the Author:
Allan Emerson is a Canadian writer who was born in Saskatchewan and brought up in small towns there and in British Columbia. He lived in Australia and New Zealand before settling on the west coast of Canada. As his mother could tell you, he's been making up stories since he was a little kid.
Death of a Bride and Groom is the first book in the Honeymoon Falls series. Although the town of Honeymoon Falls and all its inhabitants are purely fictional, the idea of marriage and murder in close proximity came to him when he was visiting Niagara Falls, and wondered about the lives of the permanent residents. 

Visit Allan at

Buy Link:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Guest Post:

Today it's my pleasure to have Elaine Faber, author of the Black Cat Mysteries, here as my guest.  Her post on "Creating a Series" tells about the Black Cat Mysteries.  Spotlight and review of the third in the series follows the guest post.

Creating a Series - Thumper, the Cat in the Black Cat Mysteries
Elaine Faber

The novel: Authors write from our hearts and can’t help but inject many of our own ideas, humor, personality, fears or interests into our characters, particularly the protagonist. Though limited to the physical capabilities of a feline, Thumper, the cat in the Black Cat Mysteries, is best described as having human emotions, thoughts, ideas, and knowledge. With this in mind, Thumper, therefore, is much of me.

As a POV character in Black Cat’s Legacy, Thumper has waited for someone to return to solve the cold case murder from 25 years ago at the lodge. With the aid of his ancestors’ memories, he points out clues to help Kimberlee and her associates solve the mystery. Of course, someone stands in the way and creates chaos. Throw in a bit of romance and intrigue, a touch of espionage and a smidgen of fantasy and you have a real page turner.

The sequel: The author engages in a clever dance, writing a sequel to create what happens next. Assuming a mixed audience of fans from our first book and new readers starting with book two, we must give enough of what happened before to understand why this and that is happening in book two without spoiling book one.  

Thumper plays a bigger POV role in the sequel, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer. By meeting his soul-mate, Noe-Noe, a cream tabby with eyes the color or mustard and stripes the color of marigolds, he has opportunity for more POV scenes and humorous conversations. Set on a Texas horse ranch, Thumper must stop a killer bent on harming Grandmother, even though he doesn’t like her very much as she has her own wicked agenda.

The third in the series:  The third novel in a series must tie up all the loose ends within the three books, leaving the reader contented with the conclusion. As authors, we must answer all the questions satisfactorily and yet leave just the hint of a possible future plot.

In the novel, Black Cat and the Accidental Angel Thumper and Noe-Noe are left behind following an MVA. Thumper suffers a head injury and memory loss. For whatever reason, Noe-Noe says, “Call me Angel. I’m here to take care of you,” refusing to share their previous life. What follows is a journey where Thumper, now called Black Cat in their new home on an Emu farm, experiences a spiritual journey of human emotions that include fear, loss, grief, shame, faith, jealousy, despair and joy as he learns, with the assist of divine intervention, that there are more important things than knowing your own name. (yes…there is an angel)

What’s next? In spite of my intention that my journeys with Black Cat are finished, one never knows what tomorrow brings. After all, as the muse for his character, he still lives within me, kicking and screaming to get out, wanting to share yet another adventure, even as I turn my attention to another series set during WWII.  

Elaine Faber is an active member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers and Cat Writers Association. Elaine lives in northern CA, with her tolerant husband and four house cats, including a tuxedo cat that looks a lot like Black Cat and three ferals that come to the back door night and morning looking for a hand-out! A portion of the proceeds from her Black Cat mysteries goes toward cat rescue organizations.

Elaine.Faber@mindcandymysteries   email   Black Cat’s Legacy - Amazon    Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer - Amazon    Black Cat and the Accidental Angel - Amazon

Black Cat (aka Thumper) and Noe-Noe are thrown from the car in their crate when their persons' car is hit and the door pops open.  Black Cat has a head injury and can't remember who he is or where "home" is, but Noe-Noe knows and won't tell him. As they try to find "home" they stow away in a truck and end up with John and his daughter Cindy. Cindy names them (appropriately) Black Cat and Angel. As the story unfolds it seems that Angel's notion that there is a reason they ended up with John and Cindy becomes more likely. Someone is threatening John and trying to make him give up his ranch.

In this third book, the point of view (POV) is not only Black Cat's, but also Angel's. Their discussions and problem-solving as well as Black Cat's male perspective countered by Angel's has a very human feel. Faber does a great job of weaving the conflicts between them - Black Cats desire to remember and find his persons, and Angels seeming reluctance - as well as painting a number of plausible suspects behind the threats to John and Cindy. I've read all three, and this is by far my favorite.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blog Tour: BITE THE BISCUIT by Linda O. Johnston

Carrie Kennersly, a veterinary technician, has become known for offering healthy and popular dog treats at the clinic where she works. When the local bakery’s owner moves away, Carrie jumps at the chance to convert it into the Barkery, a shop to make and sell her canine delights.

But Myra Ethman, co-owner of another pet product store, hates the new competition. At the Barkery’s opening party, she badmouths Carrie’s homemade dog biscuits, insisting she’ll find a way to shut the place down. So when Myra is found dead with a Barkery biscuit beside her, Carrie must prove she didn’t do it before she’s collared for murder.

Vet tech turned entrepreneur for both a bakery and barkery, Carrie Kennersly has her hands full. The elite Ethman family of the town own a resort, hold seats on the council, and own a rival pet store. Myra Ethman and Carrie get into an argument and then Myra is found dead and Carrie is a suspect. She finds herself trying to clear her name by identifying other possibilities for the two cops on the case. In the meantime, she's still not sure the two assistants, Judy and Diana, can get past their differences and thwarted aspirations to own the bakery to work with her. Two possible romantic interests, one of whom also had conflict with Myra, add to Carrie's distractions and keep the story interesting. 

The story line is well developed and Carrie as the protagonist is likable with both depth and believability. She has doubts but even while panicking thinks of donations for the homeless and the local animal shelter. There are a lot of secrets and possible suspects - Myra managed to make many people angry, including some of her relatives. The resolution makes sense but isn't obvious. I'll be looking for another in what I hope will be a new series. Bonus: a recipe for a dog treat and a people treat at the end!

About the Author Linda Johnston
Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year. Since then, Linda, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 38 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne. She additionally writes the Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink.

Her latest cozy mystery series, the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries also from Midnight Ink, kicked off this month with BITE THE BISCUIT.
** Photo by Dan Irvin Photography 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 11, 2015

Blog Tour: THE FINAL REVEILLE by Amanda Flower


As the director of Barton Farm, a living history museum in Ohio, Kelsey Cambridge is underpaid and underappreciated, but she loves every minute of it. Determined to keep the struggling farm open, she plans to impress the museum’s wealthy benefactress, Cynthia Cherry, with a Civil War reenactment on the farm’s grounds.

Unfortunately, the first shot in the battle isn’t from a period soldier. It’s from Cynthia’s greedy nephew, Maxwell, who fires a threat at Kelsey to cut the museum’s funding. The next morning, things go from bad to worse when Kelsey discovers Maxwell dead. Now Kelsey is the police’s number one suspect, and she must start her own investigation to save Barton Farm . . . and herself.

Barton Farm is a living history museum and farm and Kelsey is responsible for tours and civil war re-enactment, and trying to keep the place from shutting down. The immediate villain in the story is Maxwell who wants the museum shut down, but then he's killed. Who killed Maxwell becomes the focus in this delightful whodunit. 

Kelsey is a likable and strong heroine and sleuth. Cynthia, Portia, Ashland, and the other characters add to the story with a bit of humor. Like history? Like mystery?  THE FINAL REVEILLE is the book to read.

About the Author:

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Guest Post by D D Marx author of BEYOND BELIEVING

Today, it's my pleasure to welcome DD Marx, author of BEYOND BELIEVING:

Where is Bobby Kristina?
by DD Marx

This is a tragic story about a troubled girl who lost her mother, Whitney Houston, in a senseless, meaningless and preventable way. She lives in the public eye and cannot hide and grieve privately. In public, she’s tried to display strength but has also been extremely vocal about her tremendous loss and the pain she endured daily from the loss of her mom. Now it seems that she has followed closely in her mother’s footsteps and sadly suffered a similar demise.

I can’t help but continue to think about her and her current “state”. She is being kept alive on life support, is in a coma and has had zero signs of improvement for over two months. I certainly can understand and appreciate the family’s grief and the absolute want and need to fight to do whatever they can to try to get her back. When is enough, enough? I am not judging just more questioning what would I do if faced with similar choices? They certainly have the financial means to keep her alive but is it for them or for her? Something that has been on my mind since the story broke. After writing a novel about love and loss and believing in an after-life, are they just prolonging her pain by keeping her here in the physical world? Can she see her mom but not get to her because the people here aren’t willing to let her go?

When I lost my friend Dan it was instant. He was thrown from the vehicle and died on impact. When it happened, I cried and prayed, “Why couldn’t he break a leg, ribs or his clavicle? Why did he have to die? Why was he taken so suddenly and at such a young age?” I just kept asking, over and over, so many “whys”! I don’t wish it upon anyone, to be put in a position to have to choose life or death, to continue hoping or give up. I just keep them all in my prayers and hope it ends in peace, for all of them, sometime soon.

Book Description:

When Olivia gets news of her best friend Dan’s fatal car accident, her life is shattered. Consumed with grief and struggling to find any meaning or purpose to life, she trudges along with a gaping void in her heart. Finally, when her frustration reaches its peak, Olivia decides to put her trust in the depth of friendship the two of them shared. That trust finally allows him to breakthrough to her, and Dan begins to guide Olivia through the twists and turns of her life, leading to something new and entirely unexpected.

When Olivia exposes a gigantic internal scandal at work, her career implodes. With no job and nowhere to turn, she escapes to Palm Springs for the sympathy and care of her beloved cousin, Garrett. However, with only weeks left before the opening of his newest store, “Gin and Tonic,” Garrett isn’t quite the comfort Olivia had expected. She yet again tries to find her way, and in the process meets someone who begins to fill that void in her heart. She’s never before experienced a love like this; it heals her soul and rekindles her spirit – and just may have been the design of her dearly departed friend all along.

Beyond Believing is a sweet, funny, and romantic story that touches the heart, serves up delicious twists and turns, and shows the reader that there’s no such thing as “coincidence.” Author D.D. Marx regards this book as her “love letter to friendship,” written in memory of her best friend, Dan.

Author's Bio:

D.D. Marx is a contemporary romantic fiction writer and blogger, as well as a lover of all things social. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton, as well as the Second City program in Chicago, where she currently resides. A proud aunt and self-described hopeless romantic, Marx has always has a knack for humorous and engaging storytelling. Her pen name is a dedication to her beloved friend Dan, who continues to guide and inspire her in her daily life.

Connect with D.D.: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest

Where to buy the book:
Author's Website
Barnes & Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 2, 2015


The Duke Conspiracy is a 96,000 word Sweet Regency Romance


A spying debutante, a duke, and a conspiracy. Can love be found despite their feud?


Miss Rosamund Smythe, the only daughter of a baron diplomat, is finding the Season to be a dead bore. After her stint at spying while in Vienna with her father, she wants a higher purpose in life than “just” being a wife.

His Grace, Alexander Milton, the Duke of Wrentham, wants a quiet life with a “proper” lady as his wife after the tumultuous childhood he had. His parents had fought viciously, lied often, and Alex secretly wonders if he was even his father’s son.

Rose and Alex grew up on neighboring estates and have been best friends since she was four years old but a family feud has torn their friendship apart.

At a Society event Rose overhears a plot to entrap Alex into a marriage of convenience. Her loyalty to their old friendship as well as her knowledge of the conspirator, Sir Jason Broderick, causes Rose to overcome her aversion to Wrentham in order to warn him of his danger. Alex’s complicated childhood has caused him to despise all forms of deception so Rose avoids telling him how she knows so much about Sir Broderick.

When Rose is abducted by Sir Broderick to prevent her interference, Alex must deal with his own conflicted feelings to help her rescue herself. Can they claim their happily ever after despite the turmoil?
Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble:


Alex gazed at his old friend in admiration. If anyone had ever told him he would be standing in Burlington House surrounded by Elgin’s Marbles debating with Miss Rosamund Smythe about who might be conspiring to entrap him into marriage, he would never have believed such a claim. But here they were. And she looked mighty fetching as she gazed up at him expectantly. He had to make an effort to remember what she had said. Oh yes, something about ideas to investigate. He wondered absently what she could possibly know about investigations and clues and all that. But she was right. They needed to have a direction. The only trouble was he was drawing a blank about any possible ideas.

All he could do was shrug helplessly. “I am so sorry, Rose, but I have absolutely no idea where to start. To the best of my knowledge I have never had any dealings with Broderick. I developed an instant dislike of the man upon first making his acquaintance, but I cannot even tell you why, as we have barely conversed.”

The duke was clearly flabbergasted over this development and was even slightly ashamed to not have a ready solution. Rose must have realized this. She hastened to reassure him. “Never mind about that. We both agreed earlier that the best place for us to start is with Lady Anne. That will have to be my job, as you will just be walking straight into their plot if you try to do anything about it. Now, I really must be going, so we must hurry and establish another appointment to meet up to discuss any of our findings. In the meantime, you should speak to your solicitors or man of affairs or whatever you might have along those lines and see if they are aware of any issues Broderick might have with you. Those gentlemen might know more on the subject than you.”

“How did you get so smart about such things?”

Alex was intrigued by the blush that spread over her face at this unanswerable question. The only thing she could offer was “My father is a diplomat,” with as much dignity as possible.

Alex allowed the moment to pass and was rewarded by the look of relief on her face. He hurried to make an appointment as they saw her maid approaching. “Would it be remarked upon if you come here again tomorrow or the next day?”

“Probably not,” Rose answered. “My mother never rises before noon and is really only concerned with how I spend my evenings. But you had best give me at least one day to try to make the acquaintance of Lady Anne, so let us say the day after tomorrow. That gives me a day and a half to gather as much information as possible. I shall start with my friend Lady Elizabeth. She is a font of knowledge about the ton, as well as being friendly with Lady Anne.” While she was speaking she fumbled with her drawing supplies, finally tucking them under her arm. “Wish me luck,” she concluded as she once more faced the duke.

The duke watched a myriad of emotions chase themselves across his companion’s face. He was unable to identify most of them, but he thought she looked rather wistful as she offered him a brief curtsy before she hurried away without another word.

Alex stood in the same spot for several moments, watching her retreating figure, wondering if she would look back before exiting the building. He was unprepared for the profound disappointment that swept over him as she strode away with purpose, never once glancing back in his direction. Slowly bringing his focus back to the statue she had been sketching, the duke allowed the entire interlude to play itself out in his mind. Giving his head a shake to rid himself of the melancholy that had befallen him, he followed in her footsteps and strode from the hall.

About the Author: Wendy May Andrews

Wendy May Andrews has been reading whatever she could get her hands on since the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but hasn’t been sharing those stories with anyone but her mother until recently. Wendy lives in Toronto with her own real-life hero. When not writing or reading, they love to travel wherever the mood takes them.

Twitter: @WendyMayAndrews

Top Ten Reasons I Love Regency Romance 
by Wendy May Andrews

10. All the Books I get to read in the name of Research – as the Regency era is my favorite period to read about, and a writer really must keep abreast of what is current on the marketplace, it could actually be considered a tax deductible expense ;-)

9. The Settings – Regency era England had spectacular decor and architecture. I find it a challenge to sufficiently describe these but they are a great pleasure and one of the reasons I love Regencies.

8. The Clothes – I am sure wearing all those layers regularly would be wearying today, but everything a Regency lady wore was so elegant. And there was a specific, appropriate gown to be worn for each occasion. A lady could change her clothes up to six times a day! Gentlemen, too, had elaborate, spectacular wardrobes. I would have loved to see that time with my own eyes. It is a pleasure to write about.

7. The Manners – the lords and ladies of Regency England had such impeccable manners. They were so proper and there were quite rigid rules involving any social interactions. But it’s so fun to read how the characters either circumvent these rules or accomplish their ends within them.

6. The Vocabulary – connected with the correct manners, Regency lords and ladies were very well read and had a much more extensive vocabulary than most people today. And they had hilarious expressions for things, like bosky, foxed, or disguised means drunk and blunt, brass, and ready refer to money.

5. The Conflicts – Since the Regency era also coincides with the Industrial Revolution there were so many changes taking place. Women were gaining rights, and many members of the ton were gaining or losing their wealth based on various inventions. It is a fascinating time period.

4. The Research – There are reams of information available about the Regency era. I spend hours researching. So many fascinating things were taking place politically with the Napoleonic wars and then all the negotiations when the war ended. Fashions were changing. Industrialization brought modern conveniences.

3. Jane Austen – really, need I say more? Who doesn’t love her? Austen’s writings were contemporary for her but they have stood the test of time.

2. The Excitement – Regency romances always hold such an edge of excitement. The lords and ladies were so sly with their speech. There are so many subtleties; most Regencies need to be read carefully to catch the nuances. The conflicts and developments of the times lead to many exciting twists and turns to the story.

1. Georgette Heyer – the number one reason why I love Regency Romances. Georgette Heyer, the godmother of the genre, was amazing. Her comedic timing and use of tension and conflict keep readers coming back for more. I love to read and reread her books over and over.