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Tightening the Threads

Author:  Lea Wait
Genre:    Mystery
Series:   Mainely Needlepoint, #5


The Mainely Needlepointers in Haven Harbor, Maine have the custom work they do, and their love of Maine, in common, but not much else. Sarah Byrne, for example, is a young antiques dealer who was born in Australia. She’s never told anyone, even her best friend, Angie Curtis, how she ended up living on the coast of Maine. Tightening the Threads is Sarah’s story; how she searched for family connections on three continents, and finally found the ties she longed for.  But ... has she? Her secret connection with a famous (and wealthy) family of artists is going to be revealed. But family dynamics can be delicate ... and deadly.

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            Ted Lawrence looked around the table.

            “I’ve been around this planet long enough to know that speakers often have to choose whether to announce the good news or the bad news first. Tonight I have some of each. But before I start, I want you to know I’ve thought through what I’m going to say, and I’ve made my decisions. This is not a weekend to negotiate with any part of life. It’s a weekend to celebrate family, and the past, and think a little about the future.”

            “Oh, shit,” his son Silas whispered. “What does he want?”

            “First, the good news. You’ve all met Sarah Byrne tonight. You’ve complemented her on her chowder. And some of you have wondered what a young Australian woman is doing in our home in Haven Harbor. Well,” he smiled down at Sarah, whose hands were clasped tightly together in her lap, “It turns out that my father, your grandfather, had an adventure when he was serving in London during World War II. He and a young English woman fell in love, and she had a child. I’m sure you’d like to know more details, and we have the weekend to explain this whole amazing story, but Sarah’s father was my half-brother. A brother I never had the privilege of knowing. But I’m very happy to now know his daughter. Sarah is my niece and, yes, Abbie and Luke and Michael, she’s your cousin.”

            “A story is all well and good, but what proof do we have that this woman isn’t just conning you?” Michael interrupted. “She doesn’t look like us. Hell, she doesn’t even sound like us. What right has she to pop up in Haven Harbor and claim she’s a member of our family?”

            I glanced around the table.

            Silas’s hands were clenched. Abbie looked furious. Jeremy was flushed. Luke drained his fresh glass of champagne. 

Patrick refilled it.

            Ted wasn’t finished. Ignoring Michael’s outburst, he continued.

            “As I said, we can get into the particulars of Sarah’s story, and her journey to find us, later this weekend. But for now, just know I believe with all my heart that Sarah is my niece. And that, because I knew questions would be asked about such an amazing story, I convinced her that we should have DNA tests. And, yes, they proved that, despite her name and accent, Sarah is a Lawrence. I might add, during the few months I’ve known her she’s more than proven herself worthy of our family. Sarah,” he raised his glass, “I drink to you, and officially, in the presence of my children, welcome you to our family.”

            No one else said anything. Then Jeremy also stood and raised his glass. “To Sarah.”

            The others followed, slowly.

            So far this was not going as well as I’d hoped.

            Ted motioned everyone to sit. “Sarah, as you’ve probably guessed, knew I was bringing you all together and was going to introduce her to you. But I have several other announcements no one knows about.”

            Jeremy sat up straight.

            Luke and Abbie glanced at each other. Silas and Michael finished their latest glasses of champagne. Sarah looked puzzled as Patrick continued filling glasses.

            “My second announcement, although it shouldn’t come as a shock to any of you, considering that we’ve just eaten a good part of my seventy-fifth birthday cake, is that I’m dying.”

About the Author:

USA Today best-selling author and Agatha finalist Lea Wait writes both the Mainely Needlepoint and Shadows Antique Print mystery series, as well as historical novels for ages 8 and up set in nineteenth century Maine. Her love of history, Maine, and family is reflected in all her writing. As a single parent she adopted four daughters from Asia; now they’re grown, and she’s married to artist Bob Thomas and lives on the coast of Maine, where she loves rowing on a nearby river, drinking champagne, and solving (fictional) mysteries. For more information about Lea, see her website,, friend her on Goodreads and Facebook, and write to her at to be on her mailing list. 

NICHOLAS (A Historical Romance)


Nicholas is a young man with no last name. He hardly ever sees his family. One day he goes by the name Laurence Fleur, another day Matthew Copperpenny or Eustace Grimpken. Nicholas’s best friends are a girl who often wears a false beard and a man who robs via the Thames. Nicholas, needless to say, does not live an ordinary life. He is a thief, reputed to be the best in London. But no one—no one—has ever broken into Westminster Palace.

one except Nicholas, of course, who’s visited every few nights for months and months in order to steal—not crown jewels, nor secrets—but stories. The crown princess spins yarns in a tower study and Nicholas sits atop the roof; he listens through the chimney flute until one night, when things go wrong and Nicholas finds himself in the palace and knowing things he should not know. Someone loathes the idea that the King of England is planning to step down for his female heir, and will go to horrendous lengths to ensure this does not occur.

The way Nicholas entered Westminster is impossible as an exit. He must exit Westminster as something…someone, else. Suddenly, Nicholas wants to do the exact opposite of the thief’s code: helping to save a princess, instead of stealing one.  

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The first time the boy had stepped foot here, he had paused a perilously long amount of time to admire the splendor, the cathedral-like façades, the glass glittering like frozen ice. Now he simply slipped into the shadows of the palace wall and sprinted for the relief of a bowing angel. Crossing himself, the boy leapt again, soft boots finding purchase on the stone angel’s head and, with all the dexterity of an acrobat, began climbing the architecture.

 What was on his mind? The Crown Jewels? Documents of import? Secrets? Golden china, clothes?

 Unknown to the guards making their rounds, the boy climbed higher and higher, until he reached the steepled roof. Arms out in a pantomime of a tightrope walker, he laughed, a low, happy sound. He traipsed his way past the countless slim turrets topped with crosses to a tower of grand scale. This too he climbed, slipping a little in his excitement. A hiss broke from him and for a moment his right hand shot inward to his chest. Then he climbed on, more gingerly 'til he mounted the top. The crown of the tower flattened out in a plateau about five feet square, boxed in by intricate fencing. The four sides sloped downward, a squat chimney protruded. No smoke escaped, and the young man put his face to it and caught a glow at the far bottom. Turning his ear to the opening, he shut his eyes and listened.

 “If I may be so bold,” a tremulous voice wavered up to him, “my lady promised.”

 “Oh, did I?”

The voice echoed up the chimney deep and teasing, feigning confusion. Not for the first time, the boy tried to imagine what the princess looked like.

  “We shan’t tell, mistress. Please—could you do it in the voices?” asked another voice, an old woman’s.

 “It makes the nights quicken so,” the tremulous voice chimed in. “Winter nights have been brighter since you started!”


 The boy on the rooftop made a face, eyes shut to hear the reply.

 “I suppose.”

 He could hear the smile in her voice.

 A secretive cheer went up among the—servants, no, ladies-in-waiting, most like.

 The boy on the roof hoped the crown princess would start exactly where she left off; two nights ago she’d completely forgotten about the pirate set to be hanged, and one of the maids had had to remind her.

 “Níl mé léi! cried the Empress of the Emerald Isle!”

 The women applauded as the captive Irish queen, who’d been stolen by the pirate set to be hanged, threw off her forced disguise as a lowly servant and revealed herself to the Welsh king she’d been set to marry. The pirate had sent an imposter in her place, who now tried to run, but the Irish queen drew a sword from a guard’s hip and cornered her before she had a chance to flee.

About the Author:

When she was little, Rachael Kosinski wanted to be a paleontologist, an astronaut, a nature photographer, and the next Jane Goodall. Instead of being a new link between man and chimp, or discovering a planet suitable for sustained human life, or maybe even winning renowned fame by stumbling across an undiscovered dinosaur, Rachael finally decided that, if she never became a writer, she would simply die. Nearly a decade later, she now possesses a quirky knowledge of world mythology, an addiction to coffee, and a penchant for making over-expressive faces at her laptop.



Happy Wednesday, Booklovers!

Are you ready for a little ghostly murder? Join me in welcoming mystery writer Fran Stewart, who brought her latest book, A Wee Homicide in the Hotel.

What do you prefer to drink, Fran?

FRAN: The only time I drink coffee (decaf) is in a restaurant so I can warm my hands on the cup. Otherwise, I like hot tea or hot chocolate (even in the summertime)

Ally: A spot of tea it is. Meanwhile, please introduce yourself to readers.


Fran Stewart is the author of the ScotShop Mysteries, including A Wee Dose of Death and A Wee Murder in My Shop, and the Biscuit McKee Mysteries (seven books so far), as well as a standalone mystery A Slaying Song Tonight and the non-fiction From the Tip of My Pen: a workbook for writers. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the Atlanta Writers Club, and the National League of American Pen Women, and lives simply in a quiet house beside a creek on the other side of Hog Mountain, Georgia, with various rescued cats. She reads, knits, gardens, volunteers in her grandchildren’s school library, and manages quite happily without a television set.

Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bio: "I’m addicted to Sudoku, and the harder they are, the better I like them."

Visit her online at    or  email:


Ally: What kind of books do you write?

FRAN:  Traditional mysteries. Definitely PG-13 with no overt anything!

Ally: Discuss your writing process, your schedule, and goals.

FRAN:  You can tell I’m balanced between my left brain and my right brain. I love spreadsheets and use them in multiple ways, not just for finances, but for to-do lists, gas mileage, book club selections, book character lists, and daily writing goals.

I generally start my writing early each morning. I have my manuscript on the left side of my screen and my spreadsheet on the right. It tells me how many days I have left until my deadline, how many words I’ve written so far, how many words left until I meet the word-count goal for the entire book, how many words I need to write each day in order to meet my deadline.

After I’ve written a bunch of words, I plug the word count into my spreadsheet, and it tells me how I’ve done. If I haven’t met the goal, I just keep writing. If I pass it, I can either choose to keep going (which is almost always my choice, especially if I’m on a roll, or stop for the day and do something else (which I choose if the writing seems to be lagging).

I have another section of the spreadsheet where I list the chapters as I write them, along with a short reminder of what’s in the chapter. If the chapter line is highlighted in green, it means I’ve actually written it. If the row is gray, that means this is a chapter I’m considering or simply haven’t written yet. Sometimes I skip those gray rows and go back and write them later, depending on how my brain is working that day. There have been times when I’ve written the last chapter (green) before I’ve written the first (gray), although I don’t recommend that as a usual way to write a book.

Ally:  Do you have a writer's cave? Describe where and under what conditions you do most of your writing.

FRAN:  I have a wonderful office off the den, but I hardly ever use it. I prefer to write at my dining room table where I can watch birds fluttering around the multiple feeders in my front yard, and keep an eye out for the two cats who found that I’d feed them (sucker lives here!) if they peered in through the front window. I never have music playing or anything electronic plugged in (except for my laptop). I haven’t had a TV for 24 years, and silence is by far the best inspiration for me. That said, I am also quite capable of blocking out all conversations around me and writing in a noisy coffee shop. When story ideas pop up, I try always to listen, even if it’s just to jot down the general gist of what I’ve thought of, no matter where I am.

Ally:  Do you prefer to read standalones or series? Which do you prefer to write?

FRAN:  I prefer to read series, definitely. Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache, Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti, Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Claire Ferguson, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody are all people who intrigue me, as I have watched them and their friends and families grow through the years. It shouldn’t be surprising then, that I love to write series. Years ago, when I finished my first published book, ORANGE AS MARMALADE, several of the characters stood up and said, “I have more to say for myself. You’d better get busy writing it down.” So I did.

Ally:  Does your real life show up in your writing? In what ways?

FRAN:  Definitely, although I certainly hope it’s not too obvious. There are a number of experiences that are just too good or too important not to share. In my Biscuit McKee mysteries, for instance, I created a character who was bipolar and used my experiences growing up with my sister, whose bipolar disorder had not then been diagnosed. I see it as part of my responsibility as a writer to educate gently about such issues, so I include suicide prevention, long-term effects of abuse, and other such social issues in each of my Biscuit McKee mysteries. I also give toll-free numbers and websites in a resource list at the end of each book.

In the ScotShop mysteries, I drew heavily on my experiences having seen three ghosts (the first when I was in my early twenties and the next two when I visited London in my thirties). The way in which Peggy is able to see through the otherwise substantial Dirk is a direct description of how I saw a wall in the Tower of London through the green dress of a female ghost.

Peggy’s almost juvenile anger at Dirk’s constant proximity in the second ScotShop book, A WEE DOSE OF DEATH, is based on a very low time of my life, while the almost lyrical death scene of the elderly Wallace Masters in INDIGO AS AN IRIS, my 5th Biscuit McKee mystery, nearly duplicates the gentle death of my father as I experienced it sitting beside him.

Ally: What is your next writing project and when will it be available?

FRANWHITE AS ICE, summer 2017

All seven of my Biscuit McKee mysteries so far have been set in the fictional town of Martinsville, which was founded in 1745. Everybody knows Homer Martin was the founder, but nobody knows the real story -- until the biggest ice storm of the century hits Martinsville and 20 people take refuge in Biscuit and Bob’s big old rambling house, which is heated by a woodstove. The men all stay in the kitchen playing cards, while the women head up to the crowded attic and begin going through old trunks and hatboxes, exploring dim corners, and searching through armoires. When they find a diary written by Mary Frances, whom everyone knows was the wife of Homer Martin, they uncover the biggest mystery of them all. And of course, as with any mystery, there are a few dead bodies strewn here and there.

Ally:  Let's try a few short answer questions.
  • a. Book you're currently reading:  Cronkite’s War: His World War II Letters Home by Walter Cronkite Jr. (living room book); Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth (reading nook book); The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (book club selection for this month—audio book in car) and Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters (bedtime book) – Yes. I generally have four books going at once, and yes, I can keep them all straight in my mind.
  • b. An author (living or dead) you'd love to take to lunch: Dorothy L Sayers, although I’d have to brush up on my Latin and French first. 
  • c. Favorite quote: from Louisa May Alcott – “I am no longer afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my own ship.” (Little Women, chapter 44)
  • d. Your pets: I am owned by three cats, all rescues. Callie (strictly indoors) - tortoiseshell; Fuzzy Britches (outside, although she comes in to eat twice a day. Sleeps under my porch usually) – champagne and white tabby; BeeCeeAyTee (accent on the third syllable) – black, which is how she got her name “B for black-C-A-T” (outside, sleeps in the soft cat bed on my front porch bench)
  • e. Favorite after-five drink: Glenfiddich single malt Scotch, although I imbibe only once or twice a month, since I love the anticipation almost as much as the drink itself.

Ally: It's been terrific getting to know you. Good luck with your writing. Before you go, please tell us a little about A Wee Homicide in the Hotel... 

A Wee Homicide in the Hotel

Book Blurb from Back Cover:

The annual Highland Festival in Hamelin, Vermont, means caber tossing, sword dancing, and just a spot of murder...

Hamelin is overflowing with tourists enjoying the Scottish-themed games—and most of them are donning tartans from Peggy Winn’s ScotShop. And her fourteenth-century ghostly companion, Dirk, has been indispensable, keeping an eye out for shoplifters and matching customer’s family names to their clan plaid.

Adding to the chaos is Big Willie, a longtime champion of the games, but not everyone is happy to have him in town. So when he misses the first event of the weekend, Peggy senses something is awry. After Willie is discovered dead in his hotel room, the victim of a bagpipe-related crime, Peggy decides it’s up to her and Dirk to suss out a murderer—because another death would really blow...

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Thanks for spending time with us. Happy reading, & come back soon!

NIGHTS AROSE by Andrea Roche

n a time and place where women are bred to be lambs, Arose has the soul of a tigress.

It is 1693 on the isle of Jamaica, and twenty-one-year-old, Arose Du Mouchelle, is the mixed-race heir to a sprawling sugar plantation. From an old gypsy, she receives a matriarchal heirloom: the Gem of the Red Spirit. She spends years in exile, learning its secrets and mysteries, the most important of which is the ability to enter the Astral Plane. In exchange for her powers, Arose must act as the sentry between this dimension and her world, forcing back the creatures held captive there.

Morel, a voodoo Priestess, covets the Gem. Taking hostage Arose’s family and the port town, she attempts to force Arose to give up the powerful amulet. Morel’s plan is to rule over the evil creatures imprisoned in the Astral Plane, unleashing them upon the rest of humanity.

While evading Morel’s henchmen Arose collides with Captain St. James a notorious pirate, whom she has already met in a vision. Leary of him at first, he gains her trust after he aids in her escape. She is knocked unconscious and wakes to find she has been had – both he and the opal gone. However, even if she recovers the opal she’ll have a bigger decision to make: keep the opal and doom her family, or give it to Morel and let the world fall into a demonic wasteland.


She crouched on the ledge of a dune. The dying sun’s embers lit the sky just before the night arose.

     The previous hours of her day were difficult and tiresome. She wasn’t sure if her queasy stomach came from her boiling blood or the fact she hadn’t eaten since morning. The day’s close did give her some relief from the evil Voodoo and treachery, which followed her since that afternoon. Still her troubles would not simply end because the day did. In the guise of her alter ego, Evan, she could fool anyone. She had perfected a manly swagger. But, no matter how drunk she got in the pub, her troubles would remain. “He” would be on the hunt for her, ready to pounce, like a feral animal on his prey.

     Arose held a polished dagger up to the sunlight, to inspect the blade’s oily sheen. A jewel-encrusted fleur-delis adorned the pommel, glinted in the late evening sun. The same symbol of French royal heraldry decorated her family’s coat of arms.

     With a flick of her wrist, the perfectly balanced blade spun from her hand, flipped once, and pierced the sand between her feet. She retrieved the dagger and pursed her lips. Specks of sand flew from the swirling calligraphy of the monogram engraved on the shaft: NDM—Nessarose Du Mouchelle. The “N” made her shake her head. She preferred instead the name “Arose,” as her father called her, or even “Rosie” reserved for those who knew her well enough. Her youth had consisted of tussles with those who played on her name, giving her cruel nicknames like “Nessy” or “Pesty.” She’d grown to hate it.

     She traced the monogram with the tip of her finger and clucked her tongue when she saw the smudges left behind. Her breath came out as a steamy puff on the cold steel. Arose wiped off the droplets with her sleeve and checked the razor-fine edge for nicks. 

    With a gentle whoosh, she slipped the blade back into its sheath built into her thigh-high leather boot. Swollen eyes from earlier tears prickled, tempting her fingers to rub them until their yearning was happily satisfied. She would be much happier staying in her room with a cool cloth rinsed in lavender water, but the entity invading her home made it impossible.

   She had to search for the man who could help her save her family and the dragon who taught her everything. Never having met the man, seeing him only in a vision, she would know him by his aura and his scent, consisting of iron, cedar and citrus fruit and she knew his name: St. James, Captain St. James.

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About the Author:

Andrea is a dreamer and scribbler, whose work embraces her strong matriarchal heritage. She hopes her writing will instill in her readers the idea that a woman can find their independence while keeping homegrown values.
Still living in her childhood home, Andrea can hear the voices of her past. She has relied on them to tell her stories. “My mother always said I would find my way. I never knew what she meant until after she passed. Then her voice came loud and clear, and I used it to write this book,” she says.

As a child, Andrea was a fervent closet reader. She would take her readings and write her own versions of how the book should have ended, most times being happier with her alternate ending. In the fourth grade, her teacher assigned a book report to the class. Andrea gave her the report and included various alternate endings. Her teacher immediately enrolled her in a creative writing class. Thinking this was a punishment she asked her teacher why. Her teacher explained that if she did not like how the stories ended, she should make up her own. Andrea’s mind, now given permission to take flight, began a lifelong love of writing.

Wife of 25 years and mother of three children, she had dedicated her early life to helping her family business grow. She now works for the city of New York. Five years ago, she found herself in the hospital with an injury after a simple trip home from work went awry.  Not used to being idle, six months in a wheelchair gave her the time to write. It was there her mind was once again allowed to wander.

Starting with her vivid imagination she scrolled through pictures of her honeymoon in Jamaica, her mind went back into the past. Not her past, but the past of others who could have lived in a large mansion at the top of a hill covered in sugar cane. She stepped into a world with vivid colors and magic. Having already developed a polish to her writing abilities while gaining a B.A. degree with a dual major in Marketing and English Literature, she wrote what she saw and what she heard as if someone whispered in her

Andrea’s hard work and long hours has paid off. Upon completion of her manuscript, she described feeling the same whoosh she felt when she delivered her children into the world. She is thankful she can bring her work to her readers.

Contact the Author: 

by Micki Browning

In this breathtaking mystery debut, marine biologist–turned-divemaster Meredith Cavallo stands accused of a chilling crime after a dive gone wrong. But do the murky circumstances point to an accident, a murder, or a supernatural encounter?

Mer thought adjusting to a laid-back life in the Florida Keys would be a breeze. But when she rescues a floundering diver who claims to have seen a ghost, she’s caught in a storm of intrigue. News of the encounter explodes on social media, attracting a team of ghost hunters who want to capture proof that a greenish ghoul haunts Key Largo’s famed USS Spiegel Grove shipwreck.

Meredith knows the wreck inside and out, and agrees to act as their safety diver. When Ishmael, the charismatic leader of the group, vanishes during a midnight dive, everyone except Mer is convinced the ghost has claimed another victim. Topside, the tenacious detective in charge of the investigation finds Mer’s involvement in both incidents suspicious, and her enigmatic neighbor resurrects ghosts from her past.

Determined to find a rational explanation, Mer approaches Ishmael’s disappearance as any scientist would—by asking questions, gathering data, and deducing the truth. But the victim’s life is as shrouded in mystery as his disappearance. Still, something happened under the water and before long, she’s in over her head. When someone tries to kill her, she knows the truth is about to surface. Maybe dead men do tell tales.



Mer fought to keep the unconscious diver on the surface, and they bobbed in the water just beyond the back of the LunaSea. She’d get only one chance to get him on the boat without injury.

She imagined carrying him like a sleepy child, his arms draped over her shoulders. Only she had to grab the ladder, find her footing and wedge her leg between his, or the force of the rocking boat would slam them back into the ocean.

“Here it comes, Cavallo,” Leroy, the captain, said. “Get ready.”

Mer inhaled and felt the power of the water swell beneath her. As the wave ebbed, she swam toward the boat, planted her foot, and drew her arms in to pin the diver against the ladder. Another wave hit, raising the LunaSea’s stern into the air. Gravity pulled at Mer, doing its best to drag her back into the sea. She gripped the ladder. Her biceps strained until Leroy seized the diver under the armpits and hauled him onto the deck like a gaffed fish.

Before Mer could readjust, the swim step plummeted and hit the water with a teeth-jarring thud. She held tight as the boat righted itself, and then clambered up the ladder.

Emergency equipment littered the deck like flotsam. Mer dropped her gear on the bench.

Leroy leaned over the now conscious diver. His tense face made Mer’s pulse race.

The diver clawed at the oxygen mask on his face. “Tell her!”

Mer brushed the man’s hand aside and resettled the mask. “Tell me what?” she asked her captain.

“He says he was diving the Spiegel Grove shipwreck.”

“Impossible,” she said. “We’re five miles away, and the current’s going in the wrong direction.”

“That he was diving the Spiegel and there was a—” Leroy struggled to find the right word. “Presence.”

“A presence? You mean like a ghost? Please.” She pursed her lips.

He shook his head. “I know. Except just after you went in the Sea Dragon radioed they’re missing a diver off the Spiegel.” He nodded toward the diver. “This one.”


Award-winning author Micki Browning worked in municipal law enforcement for more than two decades and is an FBI National Academy graduate. She retired as a division commander – wonderful fodder for her current career as a full-time writer.

Her mystery, Adrift, set in the Florida Keys, won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award for best unpublished mystery and unpublished book of the year.

Micki resides in Southern Florida with her partner in crime and a vast array of scuba equipment. She’s currently working on Beached, the second Mer Cavallo Mystery. Learn more at

Contact Micki:


GIVEAWAY! Freebies!

I'm excited to report that Goodreads is hosting a giveaway of three print copies of Ghost Walking (Maggie York Paranormal Mystery #1) for residents of the US. I hope you'll enter below or on Goodreads. I'd love to send you a copy!

Ghost Walking blurb:

Not believing won't make the ghosts go away.

New Orleans' homicide cop Maggie York is at the top of her game until a sniper's bullet changes everything. She flatlines, comes back. But not quite the same. She sees and hears things...ghostly things. And she blurts out enough to her doctors to end up on medical leave with a diagnosis of PTSD. If only.

Six months later, the voices have faded and the ghostly sightings are less frequent. The department still won't let Maggie return to the job. Oh, she's quit talking about ghosts, except to a few friends and the loony relatives who believe she's a witch, but Maggie doubts herself. Since inactivity is making it worse, she sets out to track down her shooter, only things get complicated...a ghostly witness wants his own murder solved, and sexy homicide cop, Josh Brandt—who just happens to be her replacement—wants her to butt out of his case.

After Josh catches her at the murder scene of a key witness, he wonders how the attractive redhead is staying one step ahead of him and how deeply her involvement goes. She doesn't appear as unstable as he's been told, but she's hiding something. He recognizes the signs...because he has secrets of his own. Unraveling her case soon draws them down twisted but intersecting paths.

And failure may cost Maggie her life.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Ghost Walking by Ally Shields

Ghost Walking

by Ally Shields

Giveaway ends January 23, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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  “Players. Welcome to the apocalypse…”

Kelly Lawrence is a grieving widow. Jack Minnow is a website designer. Reis Anderson is the son of a senator. Each of these players has their own reasons for signing up to The Apocalypse Games, a state of the art virtual game designed to entertain doomsday preppers, gamers, and cosplayers. Altogether, over 100 people enter NASA designed simulation pods and hook up to the mainframe computer with one goal: survive 24 hours of an apocalypse. Instead of game over at the end, they’re plugged straight into a new game. Then another. It’s clear the computer has malfunctioned. What’s not clear is why. With no communication to or from the outside operators, they can only fight endless battles and hope they’re rescued before it’s too late. While they can’t die inside the game, they can die if the pods break down while they’re still hooked up. This game of survival just got real.


"From the very first to the last page, the story is emotionally charged, the action intense, and the conflict driving the plot forward." - Readers Favorite  ( )

Book Details:

Pages:            437 ebook / 416 print
ASIN:               B01N01QFTQ
Digital ISBN:   9781370736201
Print ISBN:      9781539545699
Release date: November 21, 2016
Genre:              apocalyptic sci-fi

SPECIAL PRICE: 0.99c ebook intro price till end of Nov 2016
                               0.99c from 1 Jan to 7 Jan 2017 to celebrate National Science Fiction Day in the US

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About the Author:

D L Richardson is a writer of speculative fiction, with reviews such as "exciting and fast-paced book with an original story line--Buzzwords Books", "I really enjoyed the twists and turns of this YA novel--Night Owl Reviews" and "This was a marvelous book--Lit Pick Reviews". She conducts workshops at writers centres and has appeared on panels at Conflux 2015. She recently held a mentor a role at a writer weekend retreat. Writing credentials include "Writing Feature Articles for Newspaper and Magazines" Sydney Writers Centre, "Writing for Children and Young Adults" Sydney Writers Centre, and "James Patterson Teaches Writing" Masterclass. Her published books can be found on her website

When she's not writing, she can be found wandering in her yard waging war on weeds, watching back-to-back episodes on Netflix, playing her piano or guitar, curled up on the couch reading a book, or walking the dog.


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This book spotlight also comes with a personal recommendation. I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Thief of Hearts. I hope you will too!
The Thief of Hearts

genre: sweet historical romance

December 1890
London, England

Some seriously clever sleight of hand is needed if aspiring lawyer Caro Addison is ever going to enjoy this Christmas.
To avoid an unwanted marriage proposal, she needs a distraction as neat as the tricks used by The Phantom, the audacious diamond thief who has left Scotland Yard clueless.

While her detective inspector uncle methodically hunts the villain, Caro decides to investigate a suspect of her own – the handsome Tobias Black, a magician extraordinaire, known as The Dark Duke.

He's the only one with the means, motive and opportunity but the art of illusion means not everything is as it seems, in both crime and affairs of the heart.

As Christmas Day draws near, Caro must decide whether it is worth risking reputations and friendships in order to follow her desires.

Buy Links:  -  - - 

Opening lines:

"Caroline Addison had been kissed under the mistletoe once before and hadn't much liked it.
On second thoughts, she reflected, perhaps disappointed was a better description."

How can you resist hoping for Caroline to give it another try? You'll be surprised what other intrigue this indomitable little lady gets herself into!  Read the sample here.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats.

Contact links:

Book Trailer:


Skin of Tattoos
Genre: thriller

Sometimes your best friends are your worst enemies.

Los Angeles homeboy Magdaleno is paroled from prison after serving time on a gun possession frameup by a rival, Rico, who takes over as gang shotcaller in Mags’s absence. Mags promises himself and his Salvadoran immigrant family a fresh start, but he can’t find either the decent job or the respect he craves from his parents and his firefighter brother, who look at him as a disappointment.

Moreover, Rico, under pressure to earn money to free the Cyco Lokos’ jailed top leader and eager to exert his authority over his rival-turned-underling, isn’t about to let Mags get out of his reach.

Ultimately, Mags’s desire for revenge and respect pushes him to make a decision that ensnares him in a world seeded with deceit and betrayal, where the only escape from rules that carry a heavy price for transgression is sacrifice.


Available in ebook and paperback on Amazon:


“Ay yo, homes!” A familiar voice sliced through the bustle. “Mags!”

I twirled faster than a ballet dancer, my stomach clenching. Fuck. It was him. Rico. Slashing across the street aiming the shopping bag in his hand at me. His baggy shorts slung so low the waistband of his boxers showed. Socks, white as fluorescent light, pulled neatly to his knees. Ink flowing out of the arms and neck of his plaid shirt. Exactly how he looked the last time I saw him.

The memory of that day bore down on me. We were kicking it at a street corner, and Rico was bragging about how he shot a trey-eight into the ceiling of a liquor store he was jacking, and the storeowner pissed his pants. As he was talking, he took the .38 out of his waistband in a live re-enactment, and I just had to take the piece, feeling its cold weight in my hand for just a second or two before handing it back to Rico. That second or two cost me twenty-six months of my freedom.

Rico threw his arm around me. A thick gold chain shone around his neck. I had a cord with an orange arrow slung around mine.

Ese.” My voice had as much life as a three-day-old soda.

I never knew if he dropped that thirty-eight by accident, as he said, or if he saw his chance to set me up. I kinda figured the latter. Someday, somehow, I’d get him to admit the truth to me.

“I thought that was you. But I said to myself, ‘Mags, in that fuckin pendejada? Couldn’t be.’ But I looked again and simón, it was. Whatup with this shit?” He flicked the red nose ball. I caught his wrist in midair and stared him down in his swamp eyes. “Easy, fool,” he said.

I dropped his wrist. “Just making a few bones.”

“I heard you was back. We been waiting for you at the garaje, but you ain’t showed up.” Rico drilled my eyes. “You avoiding your homies or what?”

The ball was itching my nose like an oversized mosquito bite. “I got parole and all that. I just wanted to get set up first.”

“I figured you needed a couple days to get readjusted, get some pussy.” He shook his head. “But damn, this shit?” He shook his head. “You ready to get crazy again?”

“Keeping it lo pro, Rico.”

Rico studied me. I suddenly glimpsed myself in his eyes—I had become a small brown man.

He brightened up. “Hey, I just had a kid. A boy. I’m buying some bottles and blankets and shit right now.”


“With Maribel. But I got my side action, feel me?”

“You were always real slick with the jainas.” I knew a little flattery would soften the rough edges of the meet. He smiled big.

“Tell you what, loco, I’ll give you some lessons, make you real smooth.”

“Yeah, I’m out of practice now.” I tried to laugh.

“A lot of changes gone down in the barrio. We need to catch you up.” His arm hooked my neck in a chokehold. “You our firme homeboy, man, you’ll always be part of la familia. We need you, fool.” He squeezed a little too hard. “You come by the garaje. We got a jump in day after tomorrow. We’ll be waiting. We’ll hook you up again, then you can dump this shit.” He pointed his forefinger at me with a barbed wire smile. “Missed you, Mags.”

I watched him vanish into the crowd of shoppers, and spat on the ground to get rid of the bad taste that had flooded my mouth.


Christina Hoag’s new novel Skin of Tattoos carries a message of anti-violence with a protagonist whose decision to join a gang haunts him both emotionally and physically for years afterward.

The novel, published by Martin Brown Publishers, is available via Amazon and other leading booksellers in ebook and paperback.

“My goal with this novel is not to glamorize gangs, in fact quite the opposite,” Hoag says. “I wanted to show how tough and stressful life in a street gang is. Members have to constantly be looking over their shoulders and live within the gang’s demands and narrow confines of gang rules while constantly putting their freedom and lives on the line for the gang.”

 Hoag is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a book on turning former gang members into community peacekeepers that is being used as a text in three universities. She also covered gangs many times during her career as a journalist. The genesis for Skin of Tattoos came from her interviews with gang members deported from Los Angeles to El Salvador in the early 2000s.

“The spread of gangs was an odd yet fascinating consequence of the civil war in El Salvador, which caused a huge migration of Salvadorans to the United States, many to L.A. where they encountered gangs and formed their own as protection,” Hoag says. “Years later, the United States started deporting these young men to El Salvador, a country most had left as small children. Some hardly spoke Spanish. Many simply formed new gangs in El Salvador. Gang violence is now sadly a huge threat in that country.”

Says Kirkus Reviews -- “Hoag is a talented writer, summoning Mags’ world on the page with remarkable empathy and detail…A well-crafted, engaging novel about an ex-con trying to break free…surprisingly nuanced and wholly enjoyable. Readers will become quickly invested.”


Christina Hoag is the author of Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld (Martin Brown Publishers, August 2016) and Girl on the Brink, a romantic thriller for young adults about teen dating violence (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, August 2016). She is a former reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald and worked as a correspondent in Latin America writing for major media outlets including Time, Business Week, Financial Times, the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. She is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014). She lives in Los Angeles. Visit her website:


Hello! My sci-fi novel "Welcome To The Apocalypse" has been approved for a 30 day campaign with Kindle Scout, an imprint of Amazon. I'm hoping you can help me WIN.

How the campaign works is similar to So You Think You Can Dance or American Idol or X-Factor. Readers get to vote on a book in the program. Votes count towards publication. Yes, we writers have finally got ourselves a "So You Think You Can Write" competition. Can you imagine what that would look like on TV? A whole bunch of people sitting at computers.

Anyway, why should you vote? If the book is published through Kindle Scout, every reader who nominated it gets a free ebook of "Welcome To The Apocalypse", an advanced copy prior to publication. They get to say they helped get a book published. Plus, you can enter the Giveaway to win $50 cash prize.


Book Blurb:

Kill or be killed just got real in this game.

It's launch day of a game that'll entertain cosplayers and doomsday preppers. Kelly, Jack, and Reis enter simulation pods to survive a virtual apocalypse, yet instead of "game over" they enter a new game. Then another. Each new day brings a new battle. Surviving the games is easy, it's "kill or be killed". But fatigue and cyber sickness are setting in and the pods are designed for three days. With no communication to or from the operators, they can only hope they're rescued before it's too late.

Excerpt available to read on the Kindle Scout page.

(started Sep 28 and ends Oct 28.)
You must have an Amazon account to vote.


Readers can win cash simply by voting. Bonus points for sharing your nomination.


About the Author:

Debbie Richardson is a writer of speculative fiction. Her favorite authors influence her to write: Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Anne Rice. She wanted to be a musician first but decided writing had better hours. She wants to be as prolific as her favorite authors and she loves meeting readers and sharing her writing tips with other authors. When she's not writing she's reading, killing weeds in the garden, walking the dog, or apologizing to her piano and guitar for neglecting them. You can read about her other books on her website

Wish me luck!

Best to all,

D L Richardson