When I was asked to feature
new biography on my blog, I was beyond excited!
I've been a fan for years, and can't wait to read the book!
Who hasn't rocked out to the music of Smash Mouth?! Now you can go behind the music with a band that carried the spirit of a generation in Walkin' on the Sun; The Official Smash Mouth Biography.
Hello. My name is Paul DeLisle. I’m the guy who wrote this book. You've probably never heard of me. That's okay. Most people wouldn't know me from Adam. But, unless you've been living in a cloistered monastery for the last fifteen years, you have heard of my band.
So begins the memoir of the creation, rise, and current state of the multi-platinum recording artist Smash Mouth as told by bassist Paul DeLisle. Well known for their hits “All Star,” “Walking on the Sun,” “Then the Morning Comes,” “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby,” and “I’m a Believer,” the band carried the spirit of a generation, but didn't stop there. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes look from Paul’s unique, there from the start, insider’s view.
There's an episode of Cheers where washed-up ball player Sam Malone, frustrated with either Diane or Rebecca, proclaims, "Y'know, most people don't know this ... but I’m famous!"
I love that line. I can totally relate. You see, I am a founding and continued member of the band Smash Mouth. Yet I am, proudly and alas, the bass player. I’m not famous. My band is.
From the beginning, Smash Mouth was set up as a democracy between four musicians and a manager, each player having an equal voice on band matters. Yet we were all fully aware and accepting of the fact that, as lead singer/frontman, Steve Harwell would be getting a disproportionate amount of attention. Seeing as he is the face and mouthpiece of Smash Mouth, you may be a little disappointed he didn't write this book.
But stay with me here. Because as you'll see, I have a unique vantage point: as one of only four original constituents, I’ve been involved in every aspect of the band since day one. Only Steve and I have trod every step of this Smash Mouth journey. Also, while traditionally under-recognized, the bass player himself sees everything. Plus I went to college. Who better to write a book about Smash Mouth?
That said, keep in mind this book is solely from my point of view. Steve, Greg, Kevin, and Robert would obviously have different takes on certain events. However, this book is simply intended as a comprehensive account of our rise to fame and continued success.
So without further ado ... here’s what happened:
Pick up your copy of Walkin' on the Sun today and get your own "backstage pass" to the world of Smash Mouth!
My friend and fellow writer
(and also book synopsis guru)
Jami Deise has just released
THE TIES THAT BLEED
through Evernight Publishing! Congrats, Jami!
It's got Jami's trademark humor AND vampires! What's not to love?
Diana Rowan has more kills than any other vampire assassin in the FBI.
Except she hasn't staked a vamp in ten years. Now Diana's married to a doctor and mom to eight-year-old Katie. And while she's still with the Bureau, she spends her time in the classroom, teaching the next generation of vampire assassins how to track, stake and decapitate bloodsuckers.
Then Ian, the fang who nearly killed her, returns from the grave. To keep her family safe, Diana has to go on the hunt once more. With time running out, she is forced to turn to another vampire for help: Gerard, who created Ian. Who was once Diana's lover. And who’ll do anything to get her back.
As if he could sense me, Gerard suddenly appears at the top of the staircase. He’s wearing an outlandish black cape, and practically floats down the stairs. When he reaches me, he pulls the cape over his mouth dramatically. His eyes glow yellow, then red.
“Grow up,” I snap.
Gerard drops the cape and pouts. Underneath, he’s wearing a European-cut suit and shoes. He looks like a GQ model in a banking ad. That whole ageless vampire thing really works for him. Unfortunately. Valerie was right. He does look exactly the same. His black hair is slicked back as if wet from the shower. His prominent nose and chin jut out like they’d been carved from Roman marble. I don’t know exactly how old he is, but he could fit in during any time period, any country.
And pathetically, he still makes my stomach do backflips. Like I’m some fifteen-year-old crushing on the high school quarterback.
I disgust myself.
“This isn't what you want?” His voice betrays a slight hint of accent from a bygone era. “The epitome of the big bad vampire, to tell all your little students? I know! Let's take a picture, the two of us together.”
He claps his hands. “Mrs. Leonard! Please, if you would, take a photograph of me with Ms. Rowan.”
“You’re a vampire. You don’t show up in photographs.”
“I’d rather you smear me with blood and leave me naked in Central Park,” she calls out from the hallway.
“So hard to find a decent human servant these days, isn't it?”
“Not nearly as difficult as finding a decent vampire hunter,” he counters. “Or so your students’ failure rate makes it seem. Tell me, are the Virginia suburbs as bucolic as the travel brochures suggest?”
“Not when the mosquitoes are biting.”
“Mosquitoes,” he sneers. “So you’ve minimized myself and my kind to annoying little insects. I’m charmed.”
“I’m not here to charm you.”
“You've come to me for help. Business.”
“There would be no other reason,” I tell him.
“So I feared.”
I am not letting this get personal. “A week ago, a vampire—”
He puts a finger on my mouth. “Before we work, a second to drink you in.” He smiles suggestively. “So to speak.”
And because I need his help— for no other reason— I stand there, a marble statue, and let him touch me. He runs his hands all over my face, my hair, and my neck. He caresses my scar. I try my best not to react.
“You’ve healed well.”
My best is good enough. I step back, breathing again. “Robert did a wonderful job.”
“Ah. Robert.” He picks up my left hand and gazes at my rings. “The man who saved your life and stole your heart.”
“You imply someone else had it.”
“Not even a stake in your hand, and yet you wound so well.”
Before I can stop him, he grabs me so we’re chest-to-chest. My heart pounds into him. His heart, of course, doesn’t beat.
“Does he make you feel human, Diana? Do you sleep in your big house in the suburbs and pretend the darkness does not call to you?”
Coming here was a huge mistake.
Gerard drops my hand and takes a few steps back. He’s toying with me. Naturally. I’m just a mouse to him, that’s all. That’s all I ever was.
“Tell me about the vampire,” he commands.
I take a deep breath. Like a gentleman, he pretends not to notice. “The analysis shows you created him. About a hundred years ago.”
“I created only one vampire in that time. And nine years ago, you killed him.”
“Then somebody forgot to tell him. Science doesn’t lie.”
“But humans do,” Gerard smiles.
“And those that were once human.”
Gerard paces around me. I can’t tell if he’s thinking or sizing me up as prey. My legs tense.
“If Ian were alive, I would know it,” he tells me. “I would feel it. I created him. When you killed him, I felt his life force flow out of me.”
“Could another vampire bring him back?” I ask.
Gerard cocks his head, thinking. “There is still much we do not know about how the cruor works. Perhaps you can discover the answers for us. In your laboratory.”
Cruor is the word the vampires use to describe the rules for their existence. We use a different word. Fangology.
“The obvious answer is that I didn’t kill him,” I say. “And your life-force odometer needs to be recalibrated.”
“So you will hunt him down again. I suppose I should be relieved you're not bearing wooden stakes for me.”
“I have no reason to kill you. Do I?”
“It would be easier than hunting down Ian,” he points out. “You know how to play the game. Kill the one who created him, and Ian will die too.”
I try to picture myself whipping out the stake from my ankle holster and stabbing him in the heart. It’s an image that doesn’t come. He’s too quick, too good for me.
“I've never been one to take the easy way out,” I say.
“There would be nothing easy about it.”
He takes my chin in his hands and turns my head so I’m forced to look directly at him. Idiot.
“You know that hypnosis bullshit doesn’t work with me,” I remind him.
“Don’t you want to know my price?” His hand slips down to my neck.
I back away. “I know your price, and you know I won't pay it.”
“I don’t want your blood.”
Even though I know the answer, I ask anyway. “Then what do you want?”
“One night. And I'll give you all the help you need.”
“Burn in hell.”
I blow out the door before he can answer.
About the Author:
Jami Deise discovered Stephen King’s novel “Salem’s Lot” when she was in middle school and never looked back. Along with vampires, she has always been drawn to stories about what mothers will do for their children. Her first novel, KEEPING SCORE, is about a divorced mom who’ll do anything to get her 9-year-old son onto her town’s best travel baseball team. Currently a resident of St. Petersburg, FL, Jami spent most of her life in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism, Jami spent ten years working in public relations for lobbying groups before turning to fiction. Jami is on Facebook; tweets from @JamiDeise; blogs at www.jamideise.blogspot.com, reviews women’s fiction at www.chicklitcentral.com, and reads for a New York City-based literary agency. She is in her 40s, married with a college-age son and a very protective German Shepherd.
Social media links
You can imagine how excited I was to be asked to review Bella Andre and Melissa Foster's new book, CAPE COD KISSES, for their Brook Cottage Books tour!
These two ladies are amazing bestselling authors, and I was fangirling out at the chance to be a host for their book tour!
CAPE COD KISSES
Love on Rockwell Island, Book One
When Quinn Rockwell left Rockwell Island a decade ago to build a shipping empire, he never thought he’d return to live on Cape Cod Bay—that is, until his grandfather summons Quinn and his four siblings to take over the prestigious Rockwell Resort. Quinn is already working fifteen-hour days, and the last thing he has time for is his grandfather’s demands. But on his first night back, when Quinn finds a gorgeous and carefree woman skinny-dipping in his favorite cove, he’s tempted to ignore his work for a while…and focus on her instead.
As a free spirit who follows her heart and her dreams, Shelley Walters is not the kind of girl to wait around for Mr. Right, so she heads to Rockwell Island for the honeymoon of her dreams—a solo honeymoon. Ready for a week of sun and fun, she never expected to meet a man like Quinn Rockwell.
Wealthy and intensely driven, Quinn is everything Shelley swore she didn’t want. Refreshingly spontaneous and a true romantic, Shelley is everything Quinn never knew he needed. Drawn together despite their differences, during a week of sizzling-hot passion and deep conversations, they fall head over heels for each other. But when their perfect week on the island is over, will their love survive in the real world?
CAPE COD KISSES was a romantic dream to read. Quinn and Shelley were so perfect for each other—it was a treat to watch their story unfold.
Shelley Walters went to Rockwell Island on a solo honeymoon (such a cool idea!), fed up with dating and ready to give herself a much deserved vacation. Little did she know she’d find Quinn Rockwell, workaholic and seemingly not the kind of man she’d want to date. However, Shelley’s carefree spirit changed something in Quinn, allowing him to let go and live. They overcame obstacles and circumstances together, and it made for a lovely love story rather than the usual get together/break up/get back together romance novel trope.
I had read Bella Andre and Melissa Foster’s individual books before, and this is a fantastic collaboration! It’s a great story—fun, sweet, yet still steamy and passionate. A perfect beach read! 5 stars.
ABOUT MELISSA FOSTER
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.
Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.
Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.
Sign up for Melissa's newsletter to stay up to date with releases and giveaways
ABOUT BELLA ANDRE
Bella Andre is the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of “The Sullivans” and “The Morrisons” series.
Having sold more than 4 million books, Bella Andre’s novels have been #1 bestsellers around the world and have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists 23 times. She has been the #1 Ranked Author at Amazon (on a top 10 list that included Nora Roberts, JK Rowling, James Patterson and Steven King), and Publishers Weekly named Oak Press (the publishing company she created to publish her own books) the Fastest-Growing Independent Publisher in the US. After signing a ground-breaking 7-figure print-only deal with Harlequin MIRA, Bella’s “The Sullivans” series is being released in paperback in the US, Canada, and Australia.
Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into ten languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post called her “One of the top writers in America” and she has been featured by Entertainment Weekly, NPR, USA Today, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and TIME Magazine. A graduate of Stanford University, she has given keynote speeches at publishing conferences from Copenhagen to Berlin to San Francisco, including a standing-room-only keynote at Book Expo America in New York City.
Bella also writes the New York Times bestselling Four Weddings and a Fiasco series as Lucy Kevin. Her “sweet” contemporary romances also include the new Walker Island series written as Lucy Kevin.
If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.
$15 Amazon voucher
Happy Cover Reveal Day
to Zanna Mackenzie!
FOREVER MINE is available for pre-order here.
I had the privilege of being a beta-reader, and the story is fabulous!
Chick Lit/Celebrity Mystery
Release Day: May 28
When celebrities need a crime solving quickly and discreetly they call in the experts – the CCIA, otherwise known as the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency…
Stalkers, shootings and sexy special agents.
All part of being famous, right?
Well, they are for Oscar-winning actress Amelia Kingston when she starts getting deeply disturbing and threatening notes left by a stalker – in her bedroom!
When her boyfriend Ty is shot she calls in the CCIA. The agency sends its newest recruit Amber and her sexy special agent partner Charlie undercover to Amelia’s luxury mountain chalet to track down the person terrorising her.
But circumstances force the agency to pull Charlie off the case, meaning Amber has a new crime fighting partner to try and catch the stalker with – and he’s trouble with a capital T! He throws Amber’s life into chaos, making her question herself and her abilities as well as her relationship with Charlie.
When events in Los Angeles involving Charlie are splashed across newspapers around the globe Amber’s world comes crashing down.
But before she can even attempt to sort herself out she has to team up with her rogue co-worker and solve this case. Can the two of them manage to pull together and stop the stalker before anyone else gets shot?
Check out this new cozy mystery series with oodles of fun, romance and smart, sassy special agents from the CCIA.
“Who’d want to be famous?”
Charlie and I are hovering in the airport’s baggage reclaim area, hoping our luggage has managed to find its way to France too.
“Before I got this job I thought being a star was all glamourous living, oodles of money in the bank and being worshipped by all your adoring fans.”
The baggage carousel emits several loud clunks closely followed by a high pitched screeching noise before slowly starting up.
“But now,” I continue, lowering my voice, “I know being famous makes you a target for all the stalkers, murderers and crazies out there. One minute Amelia Kingston is receiving her Oscar for best actress in the blockbuster movie Forever Mine. The next she’s well, you know....”
Beside me Charlie nods and grabs his battered holdall from the baggage carousel. Then we have to wait for what seems like an eternity before my bright purple suitcase puts in an appearance too.
“Still not got the hang of this travelling light business have you?” he says hauling my own case from the conveyor belt.
“We’re staying in a luxury mountain chalet in the French Alps. Who knows what outfits I might need? I can’t pack light for this,” I retort whilst feeling a tad guilty about just how much I have crammed into my case. I had to sit on it to force the lid closed.
He shakes his head. “We’re working, Amber.”
“Yes, but we’re working undercover and the other guests will be glam celebrities wearing designer outfits so I’ll need to have some half-decent clothes with me. I can’t just turn up for dinner every night in jeans and a sweater.”
“Why not? I am,” he replies as we head for the exit, Charlie tugging my suitcase behind him.
Outside the wind is bitingly cold and almost blows me off my feet as we exit the airport terminal and head for the car hire offices. We left behind a warm spring day in the UK but here it feels more like February than May. I pull on a jacket.
See, that’s another reason why I needed to pack quite so much. The weather in the mountains is notoriously fickle. A girl needs to be prepared for sun, snow and rain where we’re going.
This is my second case as a support officer for the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency (otherwise known as the CCIA) and I’m still nervous about the whole catch-a-killer side of my work. OK, it’s mainly for the fully trained CCIA agents to do that side of the job whilst I provide, as my job title suggests, support on the case.
I do have a tendency to get a little bit carried away sometimes though and find myself in, shall we say, tricky circumstances. Like on my first case when I ended up in a cave on a deserted beach with a murderer who had a knife at my throat.
Anyway, technically, it’s the agents who are the guys with the special ‘clearance’ to do all sorts of things (sometimes against the law) to solve a case and get murderers put behind bars. Charlie even carries a gun. Which, to be honest, freaks me out just a little.
Zanna Mackenzie lives on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border with her husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.
Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!
I don't think anyone loved REVENGE more than I did.
I couldn't wait until Sunday evening so I could get my weekly dose of those horrible Hamptons socialites.
Revenge is the one show I watch IMMEDIATELY, without fail, once it’s DVR’d. (I hate commercials.) I think the show works especially well because the main character—well, heck, ALL of the characters are fatally flawed in some way. NO ONE is a goody-two-shoes, and everyone has their price. The general plot of Revenge is based on the classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas (which Louise pointed out a few weeks ago), which is cool because most successful book-to-screen stories these days seem to center around vampires or angsty teens.
But back to the main character, Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke. Can we say “Daddy issues”? Emily has made it her mission in life to exact “Revenge” on every single person who had even the slightest hand in setting her dear old dad up to take the fall for the bombing of Flight 197.
Emily is so tragic, and at the same time, so incredibly loveable, that you just have to root for her, even when she’s ruining people’s lives, relationships, businesses, financial statuses, and reputations left and right. Emily VanCamp’s a great actress (I was so excited to see her in the Captain America movie!), and I love watching the episodes where she unravels, only to pull herself up and vow to work even harder to complete her dastardly plans.
Every angry woman needs an archnemesis. Enter Victoria Grayson, queen of the Hamptons, matriarch of the Grayson family, villainess extraordinaire. She is one baaaaad mama jama. And who doesn’t love Madeline Stowe? They totally got me when she blew up Grayson Manor with herself inside. I did not see it coming that she faked her death. Duh.
Queen Vicky's throne caused quite a stir in the furniture industry. I've seen copies of this chair in every furniture store I've been to in the last two years. AND they found it and brought it back for her to (supposedly) sit in when she blew up the house--using HER OWN MOTHER'S CORPSE as her body double!
At the beginning of the whole mess, when Emily sinks her claws into Victoria’s son, Daniel, Mama Grayson is not having it. Victoria is smart and cunning, and she’s the one person who has been able to see through Emily from the start. However, it’s taken her until the end of Season 3 to figure out Emily is actually Amanda Clarke. Too bad Emily had Victoria locked up in a mental institution before she could tell anyone. Too bad Emily didn’t lock Victoria up before she had the chance to kill Emily’s boyfriend, Aiden. I loved Aiden. The show wasn't the same without him.
The leads are important, but every character on the show is fascinating in his or her own way. Jack is the resident “good guy” (and Emily’s ultimate love interest), but we’ve seen on more than one occasion that he will bend the law to help out his friends. I was happy to see Jack and Emily get together in the finale, but I would have loved for them to have more time to build it up. There was too much other action that took away from the time for the bedroom action!
Did anyone else cry when Emily gave Jack a puppy who looked just like Sammy at their wedding?!?
Nolan is basically Bill Gates, and he’s a wicked good hacker to boot. He’s beside Emily no matter what—a true BFF. And I LOVED the addition of Nolan's fake wife, Louise.
She was a lovely Southern lady, if a little touched in the head. She loved fiercely, and only wanted love in return. She did the right thing in the end, leading Emily to the death-faking Victoria. But back to Nolan, ABC is planning a possible spinoff called Kingmakers, and I'm wondering if, given the cliffhanger of Nolan meeting a new "Emily Thorne" at the end, he will be in it. Fingers crossed!
The rest of the Grayson family: Conrad, Daniel, and Charlotte, are all nuts/ruthless/tragic/loveable. Too bad all of them are dead. (Well, except Charlotte, who wasn't a Grayson in the first place.) I really thought (hoped) they were going to resurrect Conrad at the end, because, while we saw him bleed out on the road, did we *really* see him die? I'm still holding out. Heck, sometimes I found myself rooting for Conrad, even though he was the one responsible for Flight 197! And the show was never the same without Daniel. His death created a huge void for me.
This shot is obviously a promo joke, but it's so against character, I had to put it in here.
And speaking of dying, did they HAVE to kill Ben, Emily's latest love/the only detective on the island?!? And did Courtney Love have to do it?!? WTH?
At least they killed Victoria. It was about time. I was happy that David did it and not Emily, because they were going to kill him off with the cancer, so might as well have him go down swinging. He was dead at the beginning of the series anyway.
Nope. But you did the right thing, Margaux, and that's more than any of the other characters can say!
So, farewell Revenge. I will miss every character and every crazy, sweet, angsty, jaw-dropping moment.
Thanks to my pal Deborah Nam-Krane
for setting up another fun blog hop!
This time, we're discussing predictability in entertainment, or
"I saw that one coming a mile away".
You have to understand--Mike is ALWAYS the good cop. Always the Boy Scout, the voice of reason to loose cannon Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon). Lily Grey killed his father and sent him a video of it, so he snapped. What was great about it, though, was we believed that at the last minute, Mike's fellow agents would be able to talk him out of killing Lily in cold blood. We knew deep down there was no chance Mike would murder anyone. Well, we thought wrong, and that's what makes THE FOLLOWING so great.
Now--on to the not so great. Today I'm going to gripe about a movie called THE CALLING. It was so bad, I'm pretty sure it was one of those straight-to-video, let's-not-even-bother-with-a-theatrical-release throwaways. It shouldn't have been. It starred Susan Sarandon, Donald Sutherland, and Topher Grace, which should have been a good line-up, but their characters were so boring, you honestly didn't care whether they lived or died. The real problem though, was that they basically handed us the killer in the first half hour, and he wasn't scary, smart, or calculating. They might as well have put a sign on his forehead that said, "Hey, I'm the killer!" So, first off, we know who the bad guy is--saw that one coming.
Aw, come on! Seriously? They even put the killer on the movie poster.
It's like they weren't even trying.
And, we knew that there was going to be some kind of twist with Donald Sutherland's character, too, because who pays Kiefer's dad to come in and only give a five-minute performance as a secondary character? Doesn't happen. So, saw that one coming, too. Anyway, in the end, all the loser-y sheriff Susan Sarandon has to do is tell the killer she doesn't want to die, and he's like, "Oh, well, then I guess I won't kill you". I won't bore you with the details of the movie, but it was well-explained that the killer wouldn't kill anyone who didn't already want to die (like the sick, elderly, and terminal), so you knew that in the "big finish", if you could call it that, if Susan even fought back a little, she was in the clear. Again, saw that coming, as well. So, unless you're having a problem with insomnia, don't bother watching THE CALLING.
Join Jami Deise on April 28th on her blog for the next "I Totally Saw That One Coming"!
It's finally official that I can share my news!
My second series, Java Jive Mysteries,
has been picked up by Random House!
The new series will be similar to The Lizzie Hart Mysteries series in that the main character is a female sleuth, coping with dead bodies, work problems, and hot guys. Instead of being set in a fictional small town, this series is set in Nashville, in the trendy, boho Midtown district between the campuses of Vanderbilt University and Belmont University. (And for Lizzie fans, there may be a little bit of a crossover that you might recognize between the two series!)
The first book in the series, DEATH BEFORE DECAF will be out this fall, and the plan is to have the second book out around Valentine's Day. I can't wait to introduce you to Juliet and all of her friends. You'll love hanging out at the Jave Jive coffeehouse!
You can already preorder DEATH BEFORE DECAF here!
I am thrilled to have been asked to be a part of
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
Susan M. Boyer's blog tour!
Today Susan will be sharing an excerpt from her latest novel, LOWCOUNTRY BONEYARD, which comes out April 21st, and is available for preorder! LOWCOUNTRY BONEYARD is Book 3 in the Liz Talbot Mysteries series.
Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway at the end of the post!
Where is Kent Heyward? The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes.
But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Rivers and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk.
Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Rivers, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.
The dead are not generally fretful of mortal affairs. My friend Colleen passed from this world to the next seventeen years ago last June. She can’t be bothered with global warming, the national debt, or those Duck Dynasty folks from Louisiana. She’s careful to stay focused on her mission, namely, protecting Stella Maris, our South Carolina island home, from the evils of high-rise resorts, timeshares, and all such as that. But occasionally, she fixates on what appear to be random concerns, mostly cases I’m working. Colleen minds my business, is what I’m saying.
To be fair, I make my living minding other people’s business. I’m a private investigator, licensed by the state. Roughly half of my casework is pre-trial investigation for criminal defense attorneys. Another quarter involves domestic misunderstandings. The remainder is a mixed bag of human comedy and suffering—everything from conspiracy to kidnap a prize hound for stud services to conspiracy to commit murder. Sometimes it’s difficult to know which I’m dealing with at first, but I pray for the wildly farcical.
That Tuesday in mid-October, I was sitting in an Adirondack chair on my deck savoring my second cup of coffee and the music of waves breaking and racing to shore. The sun was warm on my skin. I’d just finished a read-through of my final report on a case when a ringtone named pinball announced a caller not in my contacts list. I glanced at my iPhone. It was precisely nine o’clock. The number was local. I set my coffee down and picked up the phone.
“Talbot and Andrews Investigations.”
“Miss Talbot?” The man’s tone brought to mind a professor who’d caught me daydreaming in class.
I pulled the phone away from my face and scrutinized the number again. What the hell? “This is Liz Talbot. How can I help you?”
“Colton Heyward here. I’d like to arrange a meeting at your earliest convenience.”
Something heavy and dark settled in my chest. The Heyward family and their missing early-twenties daughter had been all over the news. Kent Heyward had vanished from the streets of Charleston one late summer evening.
I closed my eyes and forced air into my lungs. “Of course. I’ll come whenever you like.”
He gave me his home address on lower Legare Street in Charleston and asked me to be there at ten o’clock the next morning. Had I not been familiar with the family, the address—which was south of Broad Street near where the Ashley River converges with the Cooper to sculpt the end of the Charleston peninsula—would’ve told me I was likely dealing with old money and a family tree including names from history books.
Wednesday morning Colleen woke me at 4:45. She pestered the fire out of me to get an early start, proceeding to inform me of the time every five minutes during my run, shower, and the berry-yogurt-granola parfait that failed to summon my appetite. Kent Heyward’s disappearance weighed heavy on my heart. It haunted the entire lowcountry. I was both eager to help and apprehensive. What could I do that hadn’t been done?
“Are you about ready?” Colleen was working my last nerve.
“What is with you?”
“We can’t be late. I’ll be in the car.”
She rode shotgun on the trip to Charleston. As her sole human Point of Contact, I was the only one who could see her. Across Stella Maris, during the ferry ride to Isle of Palms, and through Mount Pleasant she barely spoke. I knew she was tense. Most days I would’ve quizzed her about it, but I was preoccupied myself. Colleen relaxed considerably once we crossed the Cooper River Bridge and I drove my green hybrid Escape into the Holy City.
Charleston was christened the Holy City forever ago, owing to the number of churches generously scattered across her cityscape and her history of religious tolerance. Her streets buzzed in the soft October air. Deliverymen unloaded their wares with a brisker step now that the oppressive summer heat and humidity had relented. The Carolina blue sky forecasted a pleasant day for all. October is my favorite month in the Lowcountry. The quality of light renders Charleston and her realm through a filtered lens, obscuring flaws and highlighting our best features. That particular morning, my joy in simply driving through the city was muted.
At nine-fifty—ten minutes early—we rolled through the lacy wrought iron gate and down the tree-sheltered brick drive to the Heyward home. Shades of green surrounded us—magnolias, tea olives, gardenias, camellias, ferns, palms—all manner of tree and shrub. We’d been swallowed whole by the Garden of Eden. I turned off the engine. Everything was still except the gurgling fountain in a bed of massive hostas. We stared at the three-story, clay-colored masonry mansion with triple-tiered piazzas.
“It’s magnificent,” I said.
“It was built in eighteen thirty-eight. Can you imagine everything that house has seen?” Colleen’s voice was reverent, her green eyes round, their color intensified by the similarly hued cardigan she wore over today’s dress.
“Do you think there are other ghosts in there?”
She cut me with a look. “You know I’m not a ghost.”
“Mmm-kay. Do you think there are other guardian spirits in the house?”
“No. I know all the locals.” She shrugged. “The place is crawling with ghosts. We may or may not see them this morning.”
The distinction, according to Colleen, was that guardian spirits had passed to the next world and been sent back with work to do. Ghosts were the lingering spirits of the dead who had yet to cross over to the next life. “This should be interesting,” I said. “If you run across any specters, find out where the family skeletons are hidden. That information could come in handy.”
Copyright © 2015 by Susan M. Boyer -- This excerpt is reprinted by permission from Henery Press. All rights reserved.
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. Lowcountry Boneyard, the third Liz Talbot mystery, was released April 21, 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.
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FOLLOW SUSAN'S CHICK LIT PLUS BLOG TOUR!
April 13 - Fiction Dreams - Excerpt
April 14 - Authors to Watch – Excerpt
April 15 - Caroline Fardig – Excerpt
April 15 - Forget the Housework, I’m Reading – Review
April 16 - Novel Escapes – Q&A
April 17 - A Blue Million Books – Q&A
April 20 - Gin’s Book Notes – Review
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Today I welcome my author friend,
Laura Chapman, to my blog to chat about
how Jane Austen inspired modern books and movies!
Don't miss the giveaway at the end of the article. Take it away, Laura!
I enjoyed Jane Austen reimaginings before I even realized they were a thing. One of my favorite movies growing up was Clueless, which is a modernization of Emma. From then, I’ve gone on to read and watch other contemporary adaptations, so is it any wonder I went on to write one?
My new novel, The Marrying Type, is based on Austen’s Persuasion, told with a modern and American twist. In honor of contemporary Austen retellings, here’s a list of ways some of these stories have been part of my life.
1. I dressed as Cher from Clueless for Halloween in fifth grade. While the costume wasn’t perfect (How can you recreate Cher’s expensive and flawless style when you’re 10 and shopping at a cheap, second-hand store?), but I had a blonde wig, gold high-heel shoes, and my best friend dressed as Tai.
2. Bridget Jones’s Diary was my gateway to chick lit and Austen. I read the book based on the advice of a friend, and after finishing it on a sick day my junior year of high school, I picked up the sequel. Thus began my mass consumption of chick lit novels. And after learning the books were based on Austen (Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion respectively), I spent the summer reading a few of her most famous works. Senior year, I revisited Pride and Prejudice during AP English. (No big deal, but I earned an A on both my paper and presentation.)
3. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved gave me an enjoyable mid-morning coffee breaks twice a week for months on end. These clever web series inspired me to consider convergence as a form of storytelling and challenged me to make my modern adaption (which already had a first draft) shine as much as it could. If you haven’t already watched either of these series, you might as well start now:
4. Austenland was the ultimate pool-side read and later summer storm watch. I finally checked out the book and movie last summer, and loved them both, though each is different. I read the book on a sunny Monday afternoon by the pool and I watched the movie during a thunderstorm the next evening. That’s Nebraska for you.
5. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies served as the inspiration for my best literary-themed painted pumpkin ever. Just take a look at it:
Have you read or watched any modern Austen tales? Which ones are your favorite?
Thanks so much to Caroline for having me on the blog today!
Laura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel.
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Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).
With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.
Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.
Follow Laura's Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour!
April 6 - Christy Herself – Excerpt
April 7- The Book Bag – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
April 8 - Sultry, Steamy Reading – Review & Excerpt
April 9 - eBook Addict – Q&A
April 9 - Living Life With Joy – Guest Post & Excerpt
April 10 - Chick Lit Plus – Review
April 14 - Caroline Fardig – Guest Post
April 15 - Cindy Arora – Q&A
April 16 - Annabel & Alice- Review
April 17 - Ai Love Books - Review
April 21 - Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review & Excerpt
April 22 - Doorflower – Guest Post
April 23 - Book Mama Blog – Excerpt
April 24 - Two Children and a Migraine – Review
April 27 - Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock – Review
April 28 - Novel Escapes – Q&A
April 29 - Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
April 30 - Terry’s Book Addiction – Review & Excerpt
May 1 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
May 4 - Polished and Bubbly - Review
And don't forget about the giveaway!
My review of Elke Feuer's
About the Author
Elke was born and raised on Grand Cayman and lives there with her husband and two kids who keep her on her toes.
When not writing, she's helping other writers in Cayman through her organization CayWriters.
She stumbled into writing romantic suspense because of her fascination with serial killers, but writes other genres because characters keep telling her their stories and she's a sucker for a crazy story.
Amazon – http://myBook.to/DeadlyBloodlines
Smashswords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/412350