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Valentine's Day romantic comedy from Zanna Mackenzie!

02/01/2016 12:16

 

One of my favorite authors, Zanna Mackenzie,

has a great Valentine's Day gift for her readers,

a new compilation, including a novella and four short stories!

 

Get it for only 99 cents HERE!

 

 

 

Harriet’s life is chaotic.

She’s lucky if she catches a rare glimpse of her husband as they pass in the kitchen, they’re both working so hard. When Ollie had taken over the running of the family business the Country Oaks, a seen-better-days hotel in the picturesque Lake District, it had turned their lives upside down. 

 

Now, fighting to keep the place from financial ruin takes all the time and energy they can muster.

 

And don’t even get her started on her anxiety-inducing teenage daughter who wants to go to the college Valentine’s Day dance with the local bad boy.

 

When Harriet accidentally pokes a handsome stranger in the eye with her umbrella and has to rush him off to get medical help, she finds herself spending more and more time with him. He’s funny, charming and attentive, everything her husband Ollie used to be… and Harriet feels her life starting to spiral out of control.

 

As the Country Oaks prepares for a hectic Valentine’s weekend, packed with loved-up guests, Harriet and Ollie are forced to face the realities of their life, their marriage and their future together.

 

Can they rekindle the romance or has the spark fizzled out and died, never to be lit again?

 

 

SPECIAL BONUS CONTENT

You’ll also receive:

·        * Four short stories with romance at their heart.

·      *   Exclusive sneak peek extracts from four romantic comedy novels by Zanna Mackenzie.

·      *   PLUS – a FREE romantic mystery book

 

All of this for just 99p/99c!

 

 

Sneak Peek.....

 

Chapter One

Alexa polished off the last bit of her muffin. “So, what are your plans for Valentine’s Day then?”

“I’ll be working, while Ollie attempts to charm about forty women,” Harriet replied, her own chocolate chip muffin untouched on her plate. She’d lost her appetite lately.

“Forty eh?” Alexa giggled. “That’s ambitious even for Ollie.”

“I don’t mind. It’s part of his job.”

“Say that as if you mean it,” Alexa challenged. She looked closely at Harriet as she sipped her coffee. “Things are okay with you and Ollie, aren’t they?”

Harriet sighed, pushing a lock of hair out of her eyes. An appointment with the hairdresser to tidy up her unruly auburn tresses was long overdue, but she never had the time - or the money - for such luxuries. “Sometimes,” she paused, choosing her words carefully. “Mostly, I feel as though I’m there purely to be a stand-in for the staff when they phone in sick; to sort the hotel accounts out, oh, and to cook dinner for everyone. I wonder if my husband actually remembers I’m his wife, not just another employee.”

“You guys have been working like crazy since you took on the hotel from his parents,” Alexa reasoned. “It must be tough.”

“I’m used to us both working long hours, it goes with the territory in the hospitality industry, but lately Ollie starts at about five in the morning and finally collapses into bed at around midnight. I’m worried about him. I’m also…” she paused, wondering if she dare admit to what had been on her mind more and more often since Christmas. The full extent of her concerns about her marriage.

“Also what?” prompted Alexa.

Harriet stared out across the lake, today it was shrouded in mist and drizzly rain. She loved the Lake District and had been thrilled to move here from the grit and grime of Manchester when Ollie had taken on his parents’ hotel just over a year ago. Even if it had meant they’d had to sell their gorgeous home and move into the less than salubrious three bedroom flat on the top floor of the hotel.

Alexa reached her hand across the table and placed it on top of Harriet’s. “You know you can tell me anything, but if you aren’t ready to talk, then I understand.”

“I am worried about our marriage, truth be told,” Harriet replied quietly, picking at the edge of a table napkin. “We’ve always done okay in our relationship despite the unsocial hours we’ve both worked. Even when I took time off to raise the girls, we still somehow managed to find time for each other. We talked, we laughed… we kissed. Nowadays, we don’t do any of those things, and I miss them. I miss Ollie. I miss the man I married. I know the responsibility of running the hotel weighs heavily on his shoulders, it does on mine too. It’s a lot of pressure, taking on the business your parents built from nothing.”

Alexa let out a long breath, puffing her fringe out of her eyes. “Have you said anything about all of this to Ollie?”

Harriet shook her head. “No. He’s got so much on at the moment. He looks tired and harassed enough as it is, and I don’t want to add to his already sky-high stress levels.”

“Even so, if you’re worried you should try to…”

“Look, forget I said anything.” Harriet waved a hand in an attempt to end their conversation. “Ignore me. It’s my imagination getting carried away with itself, that’s all. We’ll be fine. It’s one of those phases. Every marriage goes through them.”

“It’ll just be from all the demands of the hotel, he’ll be exhausted. You know how he is. You two will be fine. I’m certain of it.”

“Of course, you’re right.” Harriet nodded and forced a smile. “I’m being silly. I’ll try to persuade him to take an hour for dinner one night soon. I’ll cook something special for us. Imogen is often out with friends straight from college most nights, so it will just be the two of us, the perfect chance to sit down and properly catch up with each other.

“Brilliant idea. You make sure you do that,” Alexa said sternly. “So, going back to your earlier comment about the forty women Ollie will have to charm on Valentine’s Day, I’m presuming you have forty couples booked into the hotel restaurant and he’ll be dishing out the red roses to all the ladies, along with that winning smile of his?”

“Got it in one. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Wednesday this year most people have booked to celebrate on the preceding weekend. Which does mean there’s the slimmest chance Ollie and I might even manage a rushed romantic meal ourselves up in the flat on the big day itself. I’ve got my fingers crossed!”

“Do not take no for an answer. Even if you end up eating at midnight,” Alexa said before getting to her feet. “Sorry, sweetie but I have to get going, lots of errands to sort before I head back to the office.”

Glamourous Alexa ran her own recruitment agency providing temporary staff to local hoteliers. The two women had met at a parish council meeting not long after Harriet and Ollie had moved to the tourist hotspot of Allithwaite and they’d instantly become firm friends.

“No worries. I need to get moving and call in at the visitor information centre on my way back to the hotel to drop off some more leaflets,” replied Harriet, hugging her friend goodbye. “They rang us to say they’d run out and wanted a new supply.”

 

The visitor information centre was packed to the rafters with people seeking advice on what to do on a rainy February day in the Lake District. Parents with fractious children were perusing the display racks of leaflets in search of places with the potential to keep their offspring amused. Harriet quickly dropped off the hotel’s leaflets with Susie, the young girl who was on duty, and headed for the door, finger poised on the button of her umbrella, ready to click it open as soon as she stepped out into the now-torrential rain. A woman with a double pushchair tried to negotiate the doors at the same time and the buggy rammed into the back of Harriet’s heels. Pain ripped through her leg and foot and she stumbled forward, off balance, her hand slipping on the button and the umbrella springing open in the cramped vestibule.

“Ouch!”

At first Harriet thought it was her own cry but swiftly realised it was a male voice yelping in pain close by. She turned to spot a man clutching at his right eye, doubled over in discomfort. Quickly, she closed the errant umbrella and dropped it to the floor, realising its impromptu opening must have poked this poor guy in the eye.

“Oh no!” she gasped, racing to his side, hand to her mouth. “Are you all right?”

The man muttered something under his breath she didn’t hear and suspected it wouldn’t be a good idea to ask him to repeat.  She took him by the arm and led him back into the centre towards a bank of chairs out of the way of the miserable, rain-soaked tourists.

“Sit down and let me take a look at your eye,” she commanded.

He did as instructed and she reached for his hand, gently pulling it away from his face.

“My umbrella really did get you, didn’t it?” She winched.  “Your eye is all bloodshot and watering quite badly. Let me get you to the doctors. It could be iritis.”

The man managed a weak laugh. “Iritis? You just made that up. There’s no such thing.”

“I promise you, I didn’t make it up. Are you a local? I’m sorry, I don’t recognise your face. Are you here on holiday? I think the doctor’s surgery keep a few slots open for visitors who aren’t registered and just here on vacation and get ill or injured.”

“I’ve recently become a local again,” he replied, covering his eye with his hand and grimacing again. “I grew up around here and moved back a few weeks ago.”

“Okay. Are you registered with the health clinic in town yet?”

He nodded.

“Right, we’re off to the doctors with you then, are you all right to walk?”

“Honestly, I’m fine, there’s no need for the doctors,” he protested and leaned back in the chair, resting his head against the wall. “You could make up for injuring me by taking me out to dinner one night this week though.”

Harriet found herself smiling at his cheek and his bravado. “I’d say that’s flattering, but as you can only see with one eye at the moment, maybe it isn’t quite so flattering after all. Plus, I happen to be a married woman.” For a second she wondered why she hadn’t said she was a happily married woman. Slip of the tongue that was all.

He looked her up and down through his one good eye and replied, “I can see you perfectly well, but I confess I hadn’t spotted the fact you’re wearing a wedding ring. Sorry if I offended you.”

She smiled. It actually felt rather nice to be noticed by somebody, flattering, even if it was a total stranger. “Forget about it. It’s fine. Right, I’m taking you to the doctors, and no arguing.”

He got to his feet and swayed alarmingly.

“Steady on!” Harriet reached for his arm and peered nervously at him. “Do you feel dizzy?”

“A little,” he admitted. “My eye is throbbing like crazy. Maybe you’re right and I’d best get it seen to.”

Linking her arm through his so she could ensure he didn’t topple over, she said, “Let’s go. Now.”

 

 

 

 Want to read more? Fantastic!

Find this book on Amazon for just 99c/99p today and get all of your FREE bonus content too...

 

 

MY FUNNY VALENTINE is now available!

01/28/2016 11:34

 

The fourth installment of 

The Lizzie Hart Mysteries series,

MY FUNNY VALENTINE,

is out today!

 
 

Get it here!

 
 
 
 

Laura Chapman's GOING FOR TWO is out!

01/26/2016 08:25

 

I'm excited to interview Laura again and 

let her take over my blog, and even more 

excited for her newest release, 

GOING FOR TWO,

the sequel to FIRST AND GOAL!

 
 

We decided to do the "interview swap" thing again, which means we both throw some questions into the ring and we both have to answer all of them.  It's pretty fun!  Read my answers on Laura's blog tomorrow:  http://www.change-the-word.com/

Take it away, Laura!

 

In honor of Going for Two’s release, I’m sharing some fun facts about the book and Queen of the League series.

 

One of my favorite parts about writing First & Goal and Going for Two was getting a chance to capture my hometown in a story. I’ve lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, most of my life, and as a lifelong Husker fan, it was almost second-nature to weave details about both into the stories. Lincoln is a fun city. It’s the state capital of Nebraska, home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and it is a booming location for tech startups. All of that adds a lot of life to the community.

 

I hope you will check out the other facts—view a complete listing of locations and dates on my website, www.laurachapmanbooks.com—and the series.

 

Thank you, Caroline, for featuring Going for Two—and me—today. Enjoy! 

 

First to answer Caroline's questions...

 

Were you a big football fan in high school?  A cheerleader, perhaps?

I’ve been a football fan most of my life. I grew up in Nebraska during the back-to-back National Championships in 1994 and 1995, followed by our last title in 1997. I also started following the Packers in the ‘90s, so I was a pretty spoiled fan. I loved football in high school, though to quote the great Taylor Swift, “But she wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts, she’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers.” I played percussion in the marching band, so I attended a lot of football games. My high school won the state championship my sophomore year. I unfortunately missed the game, because I had my wisdom teeth out. I did watch the game on TV, and I vaguely remember cheering my heart out. Unfortunately, I was pretty doped up (I had FIVE fully impacted wisdom teeth, so it was kind of a thing).

 

I knew I liked you, but now that I've learned you were a percussionist, we're "sister drummers"!  The things you learn from interviews!  Now that you’re grown up, would you prefer to go to a local high school football game, a college football game, or a professional football game?

I’ve actually never been to a professional football game, but would love to someday. That said there is no place like Lincoln, Nebraska, during a home football game. I suppose that’s where the line in “Dear Old Nebraska U” comes from. So I’ll always probably say college football, because that’s where my heart belongs.

 

 

Any big plans for the Super Bowl?

I’ll definitely watch, but how closely I follow the game depends on who actually plays. As I answer these questions, my Green Bay Packers are still contenders. If they play, I’ll be glued to my TV and probably drink too much beer and not eat enough food, which tends to happen when I get nervous during football games. I’ll also watch pretty closely if the Broncos play, because Peyton Manning was my fantasy football quarterback for several years, and he has a special place in my heart. If any of the other teams play, I’ll have the game on, but spend most of my time following the commercials while texting snarky comments about both teams to my friends and family. I’m also pretty excited to hear that Queen Bey will once again be on stage for the halftime show.

 

This series involves fantasy football.  Do you play fantasy football yourself?

I have played fantasy football for several years. The past three seasons I have managed two teams, one a keeper league, which is a bit trickier. Like Harper, I’m frequently the token girl, though my league-mates give me less grief. My own experience with fantasy football is actually why I decided to write a series about it from a woman’s perspective. I had to use my imagination a lot to write it, though, because my fantasy football experience has been a lot less entertaining than hers!

 

Tell us about how you put together your team.  Are they favorite players of yours or were they chosen for their particular abilities and stats?

The last two years I’ve thrown my teams together. This year, I didn’t check any player stats or projections before my drafts, because I was busy preparing for the release of First & Goal. For the first time, neither of my teams made it to the playoffs, but I have zero regrets. My second season I had both teams go to the playoffs, and I did a lot of prep work. Harper actually used a lot of my best practices to put her team together in Going for Two, which should shed some light on my method. Probably my all-time favorite fantasy football players have been Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, and Jordy Nelson. Sadly I didn’t have any of them on my team this year, and Peyton and Calvin are probably nearing the end of their careers, and Jordy spent the season recovering from a torn ACL. That might explain why my teams did so poorly…

 

Do you have a “soundtrack” to Going for Two?  Or any songs that helped you get in the mood for writing it?

Absolutely. I make playlists for all of my books. It’s part of the pre-writing, brainstorming process. I curate it while I write and edit, and then I make it available to readers on Spotify once the book is published. You can find my playlist for Going for Two at https://open.spotify.com/user/1224839748/playlist/3kE1AWRP0v0XsXka0p4nmT. While writing this book, I probably most frequently listened to “Tighten Up” by the Black Keys, “Fire” by Augustana, and “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled. They helped set the mood.

 

I love your character names.  How do you come up with such unusual names?

Harper’s name actually came to me in a dream. I was struggling with my first draft and not really feeling the name I had. Then one night I had a dream (which I explain in greater detail in this blog post: http://www.change-the-word.com/2015/09/wcw-meet-harper-duquaine.html) and poof “Harper” popped into my head. She’s originally from Wisconsin, so I researched common last names there to get Duquaine. Brook gets his first name from my all-time favorite Husker football player, the late Brook Berringer. And his last name MacLaughlin is a play on my high school football coach’s last name. He happened to be my homeroom teacher and was a great guy, so I wanted to pay tribute to him. (You can read more about it in this blog post: http://www.change-the-word.com/2015/09/mcm-meet-brook-maclaughlin.html)

 

What can readers expect to see from you in 2016?

In addition to reading Harper’s continuing adventures in Going for Two, readers should be able to see what happens next in Three & Out. I’m in the process of writing this one, and we plan to release it in the fall. Aside from that, I have a couple of other projects in the works, but I’m not talking specifics on any of those just yet.

 

And now to answer my own questions...

 

What was the first murder mystery you remember reading and what did you most enjoy about it?

I read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie when I was in sixth grade. I was already a fan of mysteries—I’d worked my way through the Baby-Sitters Club mysteries and Nancy Drew, but this was my first time dealing with a serial killer in print. I remember being completely awed and shocked by the brilliance of the whole story. I’ve always been pretty good at deducing whodunit, but that was the first time I was left thinking “Oh. Em. Gee.” It’s been almost twenty years since I read it, and I still think about that book a lot.

 

Who is your all-time favorite fictional sleuth?

I am my mother’s daughter, and I am a big fan of both the Kinsey Millhone alphabet mysteries by Sue Grafton and Annie and Max Darling in the Death on Demand series by Carolyn G. Hart. I love that Annie and Kinsey are both pretty fearless and they’re so cool without trying. I wouldn’t mind shadowing both of them for a day on the case. I’d probably need some pre-sleuthing pointers from them to make sure I don’t accidentally give our position away to a murderer. I’m not terribly graceful, so that’s a real concern.

 

If you could spend a day with any of the characters in your most recent book, who would you choose and what would you do?

While I’m head over heels for Brook MacLaughlin, I know his heart already belongs to Harper, so I’m going to say J.J. While he might come off as a bit of a dick, I suspect that underneath that mask, there’s a good guy just waiting to be reformed. I’m also getting a bit of cabin fever now that winter has descended on Nebraska, and he strikes me as someone who would be good at getting me to ditch the sweatpants and go out on the town for a night. I imagine we’d explore the Railyard in downtown Lincoln, eat too much pizza and french fries, drink too many beers, and possibly get into a little bit of trouble if we bumped into any non-Husker fans during our excursion. It’s a good thing we’d only have a day together. I’m pretty sure I’d end up in jail if we spent a second day together, either because of the aforementioned trouble, or because I’d lose my patience mid-reformation and end up punching him.

 

Would you consider, or have you already written any books in other genres? If so, which ones?

I have several genres I’d like to explore. I’ve started a young adult, regency romance, and cozy mystery. One of these days, I’ll finish all of them—I hope. While I’m committed to finishing the Queen of the League chick lit series and a couple of other projects, I’ll probably take a little chick lit break within the next year and explore some of these other genres. I say that today, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. My writing priorities change all the time depending on what idea is speaking to me loudest.

 

If you were planning your dream writing retreat, where would you go, who would you invite, and what would be on the itinerary?

I always talk about wanting to run away to a cabin in the mountains for some serious writing. I’ve been binge-watching When Calls the Heart on Netflix lately, so I’m really feeling the greater Vancouver, Canada-area for the actual mountain destination. (I suppose I could make Breckenridge, Colorado, work if pressed.) I’ll pack a whole stash of sweatpants, leggings, sweatshirts, sweaters, and thick socks for my week in the mountains. I’ll drink my weight in hot chocolate with peppermint Schnapps and Fireball. I’ll eat a grilled cheese sandwich with black bean soup every day at lunch. I’ll work by the fireplace in the lodge’s great room, at the desk by the window and in the bed in my bedroom. And if I play my cards right, I might end up spending the evening having a romantic dinner with the smart, sexy, and single ski instructor I bumped into at the reservation counter on the first day. He’s trying to talk me into taking ski lessons from him, and I’m doing my best to resist his charms. And, bonus, he actually finds the fact that I didn’t bring any fancy dining clothes charming and refreshing. I’m not sure where this will lead, but the conversation and company will be a good break for me each evening after putting in a full day of hard work.

 

About the Book

Harper Duquaine is back for another season of fantasy football! This time she’s a year wiser and prepared to dominate the league. But while she finally seems to have her fantasy life in order, reality proves more challenging.

 

Her plans to peacefully play house with her boyfriend come to a halt when the high school suddenly names Brook its head football coach. The promotion comes with more responsibility on the field and less time at home. It also unexpectedly means more work for Harper, who already has her hands full helping a friend pull off the perfect proposal (while dodging questions about when she and Brook are going to get hitched already). Plus, a new development at work could leave her—and half of the fantasy league—jobless.

 

With the complications of her career and being “Mrs. Coach” adding up, Harper wonders if she’s committed to the life she’s already building or if there is something else out there.

 

Find the Book

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019BQXMSA 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/going-for-two-laura-chapman/1123307480?ean=2940157709921

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/going-for-two

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28174616-going-for-two

 

And from January 20-29 you can get First & Goal, book one in the Queen of the League series, for only 99 cents.

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B0151ZBL0G

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/first-goal-laura-chapman/1122624183?ean=2940151152693

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/first-goal-1

 

 

About the Author

Laura Chapman is the author of Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and the holiday collection All I Want For Christmas from Marching Ink. She loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura makes her home in Nebraska, where she is penning her next novel.

 

Connect with Laura

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks

Twitter - https://twitter.com/lmchap

Instagram - https://instagram.com/lmchap614/

YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/lmchap

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7374940.Laura_Chapman

Blog - http://www.change-the-word.com/

Website - http://laurachapmanbooks.com/

 

 

BAD MEDICINE named to Best Books of 2015 list!

01/15/2016 09:10

 

I’m thrilled to announce that Bad Medicine, Book 3 of 

the Lizzie Hart series, was named one of 

Suspense Magazine’sBest Books of 2015!”  

 

 
 

Thank you to Julie Whiteley of The Book Review for nominating me and to the staff at Suspense Magazine for choosing my book for their annual list.  It’s a real honor to be named among such great writers as Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, and JD Robb (AKA Nora Roberts).  

 

 

 

If you haven't read Bad Medicine yet, visit my 

Amazon page and get your copy today.

 

 

You can view the December 2015 issue of Suspense Magazine here.

 
 
 
 
 

Cover Reveal for My Funny Valentine

01/08/2016 13:02

 

 

Lizzie Hart is back!

 

I've got a special place in my heart for my first heroine, 

Lizzie, and what better way to show it than to give her 

a Valentine's Day story!

 

Join Lizzie and Blake as they race against the clock 

to keep Blake out of jail and their Valentine's Day plans intact.

 

Debuting January 28, 2015

 
 
 

Just in time for the holidays, Vicki LeSage's Christmas Confessions and Cocktails!

12/10/2015 14:26

 

 

American-turned-Parisian Vicki tells it like it is, from her crazy Christmases growing up in the Midwest to her even crazier holidays in her new home in France. Bizarre gifts, stomach-turning food, and holiday travel disasters are just some of the tales you'll chuckle at in this installment of the Paris Confessions series. 

This Christmas-themed memoir features 25 funny and heartwarming essays, all with a tenuous tie to Christmas, and pairs each with a delicious drink recipe. So grab your martini shaker and get ready for tasty cocktails and hearty laughs this holiday season! 


 

A humorous collection of holiday-inspired stories with Christmas drink recipes


If you're looking for a great read this holiday season, don't miss Christmas Confessions & Cocktails! The 25 stories in this holiday collection take you on an adventure full of Christmas spirit (and spirits, including Christmas cocktail recipes like Christmas Cookie Martini, Peppermintini, and Glitter & Gold). And it makes the perfect Christmas gift! 

 

Excerpt from Christmas Confessions & Cocktails by Vicki Lesage

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012KXZ3EW

Years later, I married the love of my life, Mika. It would be hard to find a bad quality about this guy. He’s patient. He’s kind. He’s funny and smart. He’s a wonderful husband and an amazing father.

But he absolutely sucks at killing bugs.

His technique: Grab a paper towel and stomp loudly toward the bug, usually scaring it away before arriving on the scene. If the stupid thing sticks around, it’s only because he’s thinking, “Get a load of this guy and his soft, fluffy paper towel. What’s he planning to do with that? Tuck me in to bed and sing me lullabies? Sounds lovely!”

Mika’s “plan” is to gently cover the area the spider is occupying, and to—I don’t know—just hope the spider crawls into the paper towel’s pillowy folds, leading itself to death? Of course the spider darts away each time and now Mika’s just wasted a paper towel.

“You have to smash it. With force,” I said, with all the knowledge of a backseat driver. “The paper towel is just to protect your fingers from the carnage. You actually need to kill it with your hand.”

He gave me a look like, “Holy hell, who did I marry?”

I gave him a look back like, “You better kill the next one or you won’t stay married for long.”

One week later, I was minding my own business (so, ending world hunger or spending too much time on Facebook) and I heard a loud SMACK in the kitchen.

“Check this out,” Mika said, entering the living room with a smile on his face and a dark smear on a paper towel.

Ah, my technique worked.

***

This doesn’t solve my mom’s problem, though. My newly-trained bug-killing husband was thousands of miles from St. Louis. My step-dad, Doug, will take care of any insect problem, but what does my mom do if he’s not there? She would never kill an intruder herself, but she can’t stay frozen in one spot all weekend.

Enter the best Christmas present ever, courtesy of SkyMall: the bug vacuum.

I’d traveled home for Thanksgiving one year, opting for the cheaper international fares for that time period compared to Christmas. After reading the in-flight magazine cover to cover (or at least taking the Mensa quiz to feel smart), I perused the SkyMall catalogue.

Have you ever looked in that thing? I wanted to buy everything on every page! And I nearly did.

Toy gun that shoots marshmallows? Perfect for my trigger-happy, sweets-loving brother. (Bonus: New way to play fetch with Chopper.)

A glass display case for children’s artwork where you slide in their new artwork while cleverly hiding their previous masterpieces so that you don’t have a house full of scribbles? Perfect for my colleague who has two adorable, prolific, artistic children.

Collapsible silicone wine glasses that you can—get this—fold up and tuck in to your back pocket so you’re ready for any occasion? I might just have to get those for myself.

A bug vacuum with extendable arm and a circular shield to trap the bug before being sucked away to get zapped by a jolt of electricity go live on a farm in the country? Perfect for my easily-spooked arachnaphobic mother. She talks smack about bugs, but can’t handle actually smacking any.

Bonus gift: A battery-operated bug-zapping tennis racket for the flying critters. Plus it counts as exercise because it has “tennis” in the name.

I filled out the order form and dropped it in the mail when I landed. Christmas shopping had never been so easy.

Bug vacuum: $64.95

Battery-operated bug-zapping tennis racket: $16.95

Living in a bug-free house: Priceless

 

Author Bio:
 
Bestselling author Vicki Lesage proves daily that raising two French kids isn't as easy as the hype lets on. In her three minutes of spare time per week, she writes, sips bubbly, and prepares for the impending zombie apocalypse. She lives in Paris with her French husband, rambunctious son, and charming daughter, all of whom mercifully don't laugh when she says "au revoir." She penned the Paris Confessions series in between diaper changes and wine refills. She writes about the ups and downs of life in the City of Light at VickiLesage.com.
 
 
 

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Follow the tour here:  http://www.clpblogtours.com/2015/11/book-blitz-christmas-confessions.html

 

 

 

 

 

The "Twister Blog Hop" starts here!

11/24/2015 09:53

 

I love a good blog hop, 

and Deborah Nam-Krane's are the best.

 

This time, we're doing "Best Twists."

 

Since we're going to be talking about twists, the whole blog hop is going to be one big SPOILER ALERT!

So, if you're one of the three people who hasn't read or seen Fight Club, don't read this.  Trust me, it will ruin it for you.

 

 

Twists are what make a good story a great story, right?  Sure, not every story can or even should have a twist, but don’t you love getting that kick-in-the-gut feeling when the writer has totally pulled one over on you?

 

 

I’m a big fan of twists.  I try to incorporate a twist to the ending of every book I write, and that works well with mysteries.  When I read a book or watch a movie, I love to try to figure out whodunit, or at least what I think is going to happen throughout the course of the story.  I’ve gotten pretty good at “calling it” over the years, but some writers can and do fool me—which I love.

 

When I think of “best twists,” a lot of great books and movies come to mind—Gone Girl (of course), Girl on the Train, Shutter Island, The Uninvited, and The Sixth Sense, just to name a few.  It was difficult to choose one, but I’ve chosen the one that has always sort of haunted me and caused me to go back and think the most about how different the story would have been had you known all along what you found out at the end.  That story is Fight Club.  I watched the movie years ago, and I just finished the book version.  Both were great, and I honestly can’t say which I liked better.  Okay, maybe I can—Brad Pitt takes his shirt off A LOT in the movie.

 

Like here:

...and one more...

 

I will say that the twist in the movie happens a little more quickly than in the book.  The book more slowly rolls out the realization that the Narrator and Tyler Durden are one and the same.  Because of the quickness of the revelation in the movie, I’d say it had a more shocking effect than the book.  However—I knew the twist when I started reading the book, so I wasn’t exactly surprised when it happened.  And it’s really rather interesting how Chuck Palahniuk all but tells you they’re the same guy, with repeated lines like “I know this because Tyler knows this” and describing the way Tyler exits a room as “disappearing.” 

 

 

Whether you watch it or read it, Fight Club is a fantastic story, and the twist is epic.  Well, at least it would have been if I hadn’t just spoiled it for you.  I know, I know.  I just broke the first rule of Fight Club.  Whatever.

 

 

Join Aaron Deckard tomorrow as the Best Twist Blog Tour rolls on!  

Check Deb's blog for the full schedule!

 

 

 

Today is the BIG DAY!

11/17/2015 09:24

 

DEATH BEFORE DECAF

is now available!

 
 

I signed the deal for this book on my 40th birthday in March, and it's been nonstop fun working with the crew at Random House Alibi to get to release day.  Thank you to everyone who supported me, edited and read for me, and encouraged me to follow my dreams!

 

DEATH BEFORE DECAF is available as an ebook for all devices.  Find the list here:  http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/531812/death-before-decaf-by-caroline-fardig/

 
 
 
 

My DEATH BEFORE DECAF blog tour starts today!

11/10/2015 12:58

 

I can't believe it's finally time for the release of

Death Before Decaf!

 

Below is the full list of stops I'll be making to celebrate the release of my first book through Random House Alibi.

 

Please join me on my tour!

 

The official release date for Death Before Decaf is November 17th.

Special thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for hosting the tour!

 

 

November 10 – Moonlight Rendezvous – Review

November 10 – A Blue Million Books – Interview

November 11 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review

November 12 – Community Bookstop – Spotlight

November 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book  – Guest Post

November 14 – Mallory Heart Reviews – Review

November 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

November 16 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post

November 16 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes  – Review

November 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review

November 18 – Musings and Ramblings – Review

November 19 – Book Club Librarian – Review

November 19 – MysteriesEtc – Review

November 20 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview

November 21 – 3 Partners in Shopping; Nana, Mommy, & Sissy too! – Spotlight

November 22 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review

November 23 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post

 

 

USA Today bestselling author Susan M Boyer's blog tour starts here!

11/08/2015 22:23

 

Today, I welcome back Susan M. Boyer

for her Lowcountry Bordello blog tour!

 

Read on for an excerpt from her latest book and a $50 Amazon card giveaway!

 
 
 
 
 
Blurb:
 
The Charleston streets are dressed for the holidays in sophisticated Southern style: topiaries adorned with red ribbons, garland entwined with white lights, and poinsettias potted in gold planters. The high class bordello in a stately historic home is certainly no exception. When Private Investigator Liz Talbot’s dear friend Olivia swears she saw a dead body in the parlor of this bordello, one Olivia accidentally co-owns, Liz promptly comes to her aid.
 
With her wedding back home on Stella Maris less than a week away, Liz must juggle one elderly madam, two ex and future in-laws, three ghosts in the bordello, four giddy bridesmaids, five lovely courtesans, six suspicious patrons…and a partridge in a pear tree as she tries to keep her bridesmaid out of jail and live to walk down the aisle.
 
Related subjects include: women sleuths, private investigator mystery series, murder mysteries, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, Southern fiction, Southern humor, Southern living.

 

 

A Day in the Life of Liz Talbot, PI, by Susan M. Boyer

 

The dead are not altogether reliable. Colleen, my best friend, calls herself a Guardian Spirit. I can’t argue with the facts at hand: She’s been dead seventeen years, and she watches my back. I’m a private investigator, so situations arise from time to time wherein my back needs watching. Technically, Colleen’s afterlife mission is to protect Stella Maris, our island home near Charleston, South Carolina, from developers and all such as that. Since I’m on the town council and can’t abide the notion of condos and time-shares on our pristine beaches, protecting me falls under her purview.

Solving my cases, however, does not. She’ll tell me that in a skinny minute should I happen to mention how she could be more helpful. But she has been known to toss me the occasional insight from beyond that provokes a train of thought, which, upon reflection, proves useful. Here’s the thing: Colleen shows up when she detects I’m in danger. Sometimes she warns me in advance. Occasionally she drops by just to chat. But she doesn’t come whenever I think of her or call her name. It rarely works like that.

One Monday in December, I really could’ve used Colleen’s perspective. We were closing in on Christmas, and I was getting married on the twentieth—in five days. I was a teensy bit distracted, is what I’m saying.

It was a little after ten in the morning, and I was at my desk in the living room of my beachfront house, which doubles as my office. I was deep into research on a criminal case Nate, my partner and fiancé, and I were working for Andy Savage. Andy was a high profile Charleston attorney, and while this case didn’t amount to much more than fact-checking, we hoped it would lead to a lucrative relationship for Talbot and Andrews, our agency.

I stared at my computer screen and reached for one of Mamma’s Christmas cookies. My phone trilled out the ringtone named Old Phone. Old Phone was reserved for old friends. I grabbed my phone instead of the cookie.

Robert Pearson. He’d been a year ahead of me in high school, the same age as my brother, Blake. He’d married one of my best friends. Robert was also our family attorney, and he and I were both on the Stella Maris town council.

I tapped the green “accept” button.

After we exchanged the usual pleasantries, he said, “I wondered, if you’re not too busy, could you drop by this afternoon? There’s something I want to run by you.”

“I have an appointment at one that’s going to take most of the afternoon.” Multi-toned highlights are a maintenance issue, especially with hair as long as mine. My natural sandy blonde would turn Tweety Bird yellow if Dori looked at it wrong. She always took her time, but five days before my wedding she’d be excruciatingly meticulous. I couldn’t walk down the aisle with yellow hair.

“Noon?” he asked.

“Sure. See you then.”

“Thanks, Liz. I really appreciate it.” He sounded way too grateful for such an ordinary request. This is what should’ve tipped me off that something was up.

 

Copyright © 2015 by Susan M. Boyer -- This excerpt is reprinted by permission from Henery Press. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:
 

Susan M. Boyer is the author of the USA TODAY bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the 2012 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and garnered several other award nominations, including the Macavity. Lowcountry Boneyard, the third Liz Talbot mystery, was a Spring 2015 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. Lowcountry Bordello, the fourth book in the series, was released November 3, 2015. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has crazy relatives. You’ll find all of the above in her novels.
Susan lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants.
 

susanmboyerbooks.com

 

Links

 

Website:              http://www.susanmboyerbooks.com/

Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/Susanmboyerbooks

Twitter:                https://twitter.com/susanmboyer

Pinterest:             https://www.pinterest.com/susanmboyer/

Henery Press:     http://henerypress.com/susan-m-boyer/

 

 

Buy Lowcountry Bordello:

Amazon:              http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0147MG9W4/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

B&N:                    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lowcountry-bordello-a-liz-talbot-mystery-susan-m-boyer/1122572452?ean=2940150975965

iBooks:                 https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lowcountry-bordello/id1032822216?ls=1&mt=11

Kobo:                   https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lowcountry-bordello

Fiction Addiction:             http://www.fiction-addiction.com/?CLSN_275=1446656157275c397ed3f7b5a066c0ec&keyword=Lowcountry+Bordello&searchby=title&page=shop%2Fbrowse&fsb=1&Search=Search

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

Follow the tour:

November 9 – Caroline Fardig – Excerpt

November 10 – Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A & Excerpt

November 10 – Change the Word – Q&A & Excerpt

November 11 – Celia Kennedy – Review & Excerpt

November 12 – Fiction Zeal - Review

November 12 – Chick Lit Club Connect - Excerpt

November 13 – Granny Loves To Read – Review & Excerpt

November 16 – Nails and Tales – Review & Q&A

November 16 – The Phantom Paragrapher – Review

November 16 – Mallory Heart Reviews – Review

November 17 – Queen of All She Reads – Review & Excerpt

November 18 – Hello Precious Bliss – Review & Excerpt

November 23 – The Book Sirens – Review

November 25 – Fiction Dreams – Excerpt

November 27 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

November 30 – Polished & Bubbly – Q& A& Excerpt

November 30 – Create With Joy - Review

 

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