Meet the Author Monday: Gae-Lynn Woods

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This week, BestSelling Reads presents Gae-Lynn Woods, an author who lives in East Texas.

Tell the readers about the books you’ve written.

I have written three books, and I’m hard at work on novel number four.

All my books are mysteries set in a small town in East Texas. The first two, The Devil of Light and Avengers of Blood, are part of the Cass Elliot Crime Series. The third, A Case of Sour Grapes, is a companion novel to the series, featuring Cass’s best friend, Maxine Leverman. My fourth book is a return to the Cass Elliot series.

How have the main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

I had the vaguest idea of the characters who would inhabit Forney County when I started writing The Devil of Light and have loved getting to know them. Cass grows considerably over the series, from a damaged woman unsure of her place in the world, to a confident detective hunting for the man who hurt her, and perhaps many other women. I try to highlight a character in each book, because I love learning about them. In Avengers of Blood, we find out how Officer Ernie Munk lost his daughter years ago, and how that event continues to impact his career and his life.

How has your style changed over that same period?

I am a fan of long books with twisty plots. Greg Iles, Stephen King, Elizabeth George, Justin Cronin—I love the way their books allow for character and story development. My first two novels are long, with Avengers of Blood running to almost 600 pages, and the stories themselves are dark and twisty. I decided I wanted a different feel to Maxine Leverman’s first novel, so it’s written in the first person and is a much tighter and lighter read. The mystery is still intense, but Maxine’s approach to it is impulsive and at times, comical. The next novel in the Cass Elliot series is headed right back to those intertwined plots and original length, but I’m looking forward to writing another novel from Maxine’s perspective.

Has the way your write, or the process, evolved?

I’m a complete pantser and as much as I would like to o-u-t-l-i-n-e, even thinking the “o” word shuts my creativity down. I start a story with a general idea of the conflict and a glimpse of how the story ends, then write and see where events and my characters take me.

What about the way you create characters or build worlds?

Because my novels are set in in the same small town, many of the characters overlap from one novel to the next. That’s the way it is in small towns: everybody knows everybody else, and all their business! I know very little about my characters when they show up during the course of a book, and learning about them as I write is part of the fun. I keep notes about almost all characters, even the most minor, updating them as the books develop. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to many countries, and meeting so many people gives me great ideas for character traits and development.

Is there a particular place or time you like to write?

My preference is to write first thing in the morning, before the day has a chance to interrupt me. But life is a bit unpredictable right now, so I write whenever I find time.

I do most of my writing at home in our study, but I spend a lot of time at gigs and rehearsals with my husband. Earphones and music are crucial to my writing process. I’ve written in coffee shops and restaurants, stuffed in dusty backstage corners or dressing rooms, and sitting cross-legged in airport hallways. I’m outside a music store now, waiting in the car for my husband to pick up a guitar. I’ve got a mobile desk on my lap and Freddie Mercury in my ears. Life is good.

Get to know Gae-Lynn Woods

Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

When she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the next Cass Elliot novel and the next Companion Novel featuring Maxine Leverman, Cass’ best friend.

Gae-Lynn can be found:

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Thursday teaser: Femme Fatale

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Vigilante, Book 7 by Claude Bouchard

The remainder of the evening with Monique and Henri had turned into a pleasant one once the shock of Louie’s murder had been absorbed. Henri had recounted anecdotes of his security work at the Louvre, ranging from idiocies performed by tourists around priceless pieces of art to several attempted thefts over the years. Monique told childhood stories about her daughters which would have embarrassed them had they been present. Leslie, for her part, described how she and Dominique had met and become attracted to each other, already well aware of the Petits’ comfort and liberal minding regarding their daughter’s sexual orientation.

By ten o’clock, all three were yawning, weary from the long, emotional day they had been through and knowing those coming would be just as demanding. They agreed to calling it a night and following a polite argument with Henri insisting Leslie sleep over while she refused, she bade them good night and headed back to Dominique’s apartment.

Her ride back in the relatively light traffic along the now familiar route was uneventful and she was soon parking the scooter in the deserted courtyard at Dominique’s. A light automatically came on as she entered the building, illuminating the empty hallway as she made her way to the elevator which seconds later was whisking her upwards. The doors slid open at the fourth floor and Leslie exited, turning towards the door to her temporary home immediately to her right. With key in hand, she unlocked the door and entered the apartment, flicking on the ceiling light in the entranceway as she went.

The sun had shone through the windows all afternoon, leaving the apartment feeling warm and stuffy. Wishing to let in some fresh air, Leslie crossed the living room to the French doors which opened to a faux balcony overlooking the tiny side street below. She turned the latch and as she placed her hands on the knobs, she raised her eyes and froze for an instant.

The contrast between the darkness outside and the dim light within was sufficient to turn the panes of the French doors into mirrors and coming towards her at an increasing pace was the man she had seen in the elevator that afternoon.

Turning the knobs, she pulled both doors open and dropped into a crouch at precisely the moment he reached her. Grasping only open air in surprise as he lunged, the man toppled forward as he tripped over Leslie, his shins on her back, his ribs crashing hard against the railing outside. At the same moment, Leslie pushed upward, rising from her crouched position and effectively catapulting the man’s legs into the air… and out the open doors and over the railing.

She heard the dull thud a second before clutching the railing and looking down. Even from her fourth floor viewpoint, she was convinced the man had not survived the fall. The peculiar angle of his neck was a dead giveaway.

About Femme Fatale

Doesn’t everyone fantasize a bit about vigilante justice? Haven’t you ever read or heard of some despicable act of violence and secretly wished you could have the opportunity to make the predator pay? Welcome to the VIGILANTE Series, a growing collection of suspense best sellers best described as thrillers and mysteries which will have you cheering for the assassin as justice is delivered in a clandestine fashion. But remember, this is fiction so it’s not a crime.

Book 7 of the VIGILANTE Series

Less than two years ago, Leslie Robb, an accountant working for the Imperial National Bank, had seen her life-partner and co-worker, Gina, shot to death during a bank heist. Taken as a hostage along with millionaire and Discreet Activities operative, Chris Barry, Leslie had played an integral role in helping the DA team bring the offenders down.

As a result of her sang-froid, sense of moral justice and martial arts affinities, Leslie left the world of finance to join the elite clandestine agency to fight crime… Now, she has a new partner in life, Dominique Petit, who suggests Leslie visit with her while she is in Paris on business.

Less than twenty-four hours after Leslie arrives, Dominique and her sister, Corinne, disappear, turning Leslie’s vacation into her own business trip of justice and revenge…

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

Claude was born in Montreal, Canada, at a very young age, where he still resides with his spouse, Joanne, under the watchful eye of Krystalle and Midnight, two black females of the feline persuasion. In a former life, he completed his studies at McGill University and worked in various management capacities for a handful of firms over countless years. From there, considering his extensive background in human resources and finance, it was a logical leap in his career path to stay home and write crime thrillers.

Get to know Claude on his:

And follow him on Twitter @ceebee308.

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Thursday Teaser: Trouble Magnet

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Eliza Carlisle Mystery Book 1

By DelSheree Gladden

“I didn’t kill her!” Baxter shouted. Several heads turned our way, which only pissed him off even more. Jamming a finger in my direction, he said, “You’ve been here less than twenty-four hours and you think you have any idea what it’s like to live in this insane asylum? Everyone in this building has motive to kill Ms. Sinclair.”

Jerking me back behind him, the officer stepped up in front of Baxter. “Why, exactly, would someone in this building want to stab to death a harmless old lady?”

“She was stabbed to death?” I whispered. The officer reached out to steady me again, but didn’t take his eyes off Baxter.

“I’m not saying anyone in this building killed her,” Baxter said through his teeth, “especially not me, but she made everyone’s lives hell in this building, turning people in for the smallest infractions, lying if she couldn’t find anything legitimate, writing up her own tickets and taping them to people’s doors. I doubt you’ll find a single person in this building who didn’t have a beef with her, but I doubt any of them actually killed her.”

With a smug look plastered across his face, the officer asked, “And why not?”

“It’s against the rules,” Baxter said.

I totally got what he meant, but the officer’s smugness slipped away as confusion set in. “Of course it is,” he snapped. “It’s against the law to murder people no matter where you live, not just in this building.”

Rolling his eyes and grinding his teeth, Baxter stretched his neck and shoulders to ease away some of his frustration. “No kidding, you moron,” he said, “but that’s not what I was talking about. The lease agreement we all had to sign prohibits physical violence against other residents. If you break the rule, you and your whole family are out. No second chances. Lose your temper and throw a punch, and the cheapest rent in town, in one of the nicest old buildings in town, will blacklist you for the rest of your life.”

The officer stared at him for a moment, probably trying to figure out whether Baxter was serious or not. He was definitely serious. Eventually, the brilliant officer seemed to realize Baxter wasn’t lying and backed down by a hair.

“That may be, but I still think a few questions are in order.”

Getting his hackles up all over again, Baxter pointed past the good officer to me. “Maybe you should start with her, then. She’s new, so no one knows anything about her, and she said she was going to kill her sister last night.”

I knew he’d heard me! “I didn’t mean it, and you know it!” I snapped. Baxter stepped forward, ignoring the officer and getting practically nose to nose with me. Well, more like my nose to his Adam’s apple. His towering didn’t make me back down this time, not with his petty accusation hanging between us.

“Next time,” he said, “don’t go around pointing fingers at people based off nothing, and people will stay out of your business, too.”

“Maybe you should stop barging into offices yelling about TV volume and cats and screaming at your neighbors in the hallways, then nobody would be in your business, either.”

The officer may not have been the brightest crayon in the box, but he was brave enough to step between Baxter and me and push us each back a few steps. “How about the both of you stick around to answer a few questions since you’re both so keen on pointing the finger? I’m sure we’ll get this all squared away in no time.”

About Trouble Magnet

Eliza Carlisle has the unwanted talent of attracting trouble, in all its forms. That couldn’t be truer than when she moves into the most bizarre apartment building on the planet. Weekly required dinners with the landlord and assigned chores are bad enough, but the rules don’t end there. Top most on the list of requirements is NO physical violence against the others residents.

There have been issues.

In the past.

The young manager, Sonya, claims that hasn’t been a problem recently, but Eliza comes home from her first day of culinary school to find a dead resident, her next door neighbor looking good for the crime, and a cop that seems more interested in harassing her than solving the case.

All Eliza wanted was to escape her past and start over, completely anonymous in a big city. That’s not going to be so easy when the killer thinks she’s made off with a valuable piece of evidence everyone is trying to get their hands on. The ultimatum that she turn it over to save her own life creates a small problem. Eliza has no idea what the killer wants, or where the mysterious object might be. If she can’t uncover a decades old mystery in time, surviving culinary school will be the least of her problems.

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About the author

USA Today Bestselling Young Adult and Romance Author DelSheree Gladden loves books—reading them and writing them.

The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities.

DelSheree lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist.

Get to know DelSheree at:

And follow her on Twitter @Delsheree.

 

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Thursday teaser: A Snake in Paradise

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Read on to learn how you can get one of three e-copies of A Snake in Paradise

By Eden Baylee

Curled in a fetal position in the center of a king-sized bed, a woman trembled as emotions bubbled inside her chest. An intricate array of lines covered her back and danced atop her skin each time she breathed. She pursed her lips to take in short, shallow gulps of air, fearful that her own tears might choke her.

Don’t trust the silence, not yet. Keep quiet.

The cool air of the room settled into her like rot, and she was thankful to have her nakedness covered. The only real clue to her fear was an imperceptible twitching of her thighs.

A hunger pang gurgled in her stomach. She stiffened. Too afraid to reposition her head, she had use of only one ear while the other pressed painfully into the mattress. It was folded over, and it hurt with a continuous thrumming.  The exposed ear pricked up each time footsteps and voices passed by her door. The noise grew and then faded, coming at her in waves between the silence.

She inched her right arm away from her to alleviate the numbness. The immediate relief felt like a victory. She wiggled her fingers and toes, clenched her thighs and butt.

Is this how it feels to be in shock? When the body disconnects until the brain commands the limb to move?

Seconds ticked by, maybe minutes, and then some unknown cue told her enough time had passed. She whispered, “Hello?” and braced herself for a response but heard nothing.

She said it again, louder this time, waited.

Silence.

Her breathing heightened.

“Are you there?”

Nothing.

Again, even louder.

“Are you there … you bastard?”

Nothing.

She let out a long breath and rolled onto her back, stayed still a few seconds until the glow of her folded ear subsided and she regained stereo.

She raised her arms, bound at the wrists, and bent them backward to throw the sheet off her. With some effort, she pushed herself into a sitting position and looked around. The blackout drapes were drawn, the room dark except for a streak of light coming from beneath the closed washroom door. She heard the ocean and wake-up call of birds, signaling morning.  It meant she had been unconscious for the past ten to twelve hours. With some effort, she untied the rope binding her ankles. Freeing her hands was going to be trickier.

In the room, everything appeared the way she remembered it—only now, he was gone.

About A Snake in Paradise

Lainey Lee has always dreamed of going to Hawaii. It should have been her honeymoon trip, only it never happened. Now, in a poetic twist of fate, she is making the journey twenty-seven years later—following a messy divorce.

Once on the Big Island, Lainey discovers paradise, but white sand beaches and blue skies are not all Hawaii has to offer. She soon meets Julian, a mysterious stranger ten years her junior. They share an instant connection.

Lainey is eager to shed the fears that trapped her in a loveless marriage, but is Julian a tempting distraction, a new beginning, or a snake in paradise?

Eden Baylee will give a copy of A Snake in Paradise to three commenters.

About the author

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres. She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called Stranger at Sunset. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her novellas are available on Kindle Worlds.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! Connect to her via all her networks. She loves talking to readers!

Eden can be found on

her Website   |    Facebook   |   Twitter   |   LinkedIn   |    Amazon

 

 

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Thursday teaser: Sugar for Sugar

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By Seb Kirby

Justin Hardman looks at himself in the mirror as he shaves. He likes what he sees. A man approaching forty but with the bright-eyed zeal of a twenty-year-old. A man in control.

He knows where he stands in this troubled world. He despises those who don’t have money and make an issue of being poor. Half of society feeds off their incompetence. Yet he hates even more those who are wealthy and pretend to help those on whose backs their money is made. He admires the charity CEOs who pay themselves six figure salaries. At least they’re honest enough to admit they are running a real, profit making business. He would never support the hypocrites who say they are skimming from the poor. The poor deserve all they get. What matters is being honest about the realities of this life.

When he needs money, he knows where to get it and how to get it. Because he knows what money is and how the wealth that comes with it was created.

He knows about his distant family ancestors who owned slaves working on the sugar plantations of Trinidad, those who were compensated well for the loss of their human property when slavery was abolished. He knows that the work of those slaves, whipped until bleeding as often as not in the treadmills used to process tobacco or sugar, lives on in the money that changes hands today. The indelible mark of his family is still on it. He knows that those who cannot face up to such truths about where their money comes from do not deserve to keep it.

He knows of those other family ancestors who benefited from the rape of Africa, profiting from the shipping companies that transported slaves and returned with tobacco and cotton from the New World. And he knows of the smarter branches of the family who distanced themselves from the brutality of the trade by profiting even further from the import and export duties levied on each shipment that came in or out of London, Liverpool or Bristol, while all the time showing an exemplary face to those around them, priding themselves on the donations they made to the fine buildings that still grace those cities.

Yes, it’s the wealth created by his ancestors and those like them that still flows as a flood tide of ever increasing strength through today’s London.

And he knows of those later family ancestors whose crimes, though vile and treacherous to many, were so long concealed by the passage of time that they were able to pass themselves off as altruistic patrons of the arts without risk of ridicule. The spoils of their dreadful deeds circulate still.

Yes, he knows his true place in this great scheme of things. What does it matter if in this generation he was born with none of the advantages he might have expected had his recent family not contrived to squander these fruits of the past long before he could inherit them? Unlike those around him who took entitlement for granted, he hadn’t been to a good school nor sent on to a place kept waiting for him at Oxbridge.

The only advantage Justin Hardman inherited was an insatiable ambition to succeed by any means possible and an unstoppable desire to recover what is owed from the past. And he knows this matters more than any accident of birth. His is the stronger form of entitlement. The wealth that should be his, the dead labor that has been passed down through the ages, might be now in the hands of others but it is still rightfully his. It is only appropriate that he must do all he can to now take it back.

He washes and dries his face and chooses his clothes for the day from the walk-in dressing room nearby. The choice of over twenty designer Italian suits and over a hundred handmade shirts would overwhelm some. But he knows he has style and can let instinct make the selection. The steel-grey suit. The blue-check shirt.

This is the most important thing he’s learned. The appearance of wealth attracts more wealth. That’s how to stay ahead in this life and get even. Something his father had never understood when he told his son he’d never make anything of himself. If his father could see him now. But he couldn’t. His father had died a loser.

About Sugar for Sugar

How far would you go to uncover the secrets of your past?

Issy Cunningham has made a new life for herself but that’s all about to come crashing down.

If only she could recall what happened that Valentine’s Eve, she would be able to tell the police what really took place.

But those memories won’t come because there’s too much in the past that troubles her.

How can she set the record straight when her past won’t let her be?

What reviewers are saying

“What a great book.”—J L Edwards

“Fast paced thriller”Dawn

“I simply whizzed through this book.”—Ashrae

“Exciting read”—TerryHeth

“A super read”—Susan Hampson, Books From Dusk ‘Til Dawn

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

sebkirby2Seb Kirby was literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, and the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind. Sugar for Sugar is his latest release.

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby.

 

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Meet the author Monday: Claude Bouchard

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A couple of months ago, Bestselling Reads’ fearless leader, Scott Bury, asked the group’s members to answer a few questions. Some did, may didn’t and Scott has recently moved into “veiled threat” mode with the procrastinators. Such a tactic usually would not impress me but Scott does live a mere two hour drive from my home so, here we go!

How many books have you written?

I’ve written fifteen books to date with my sixteenth currently in the works.

Please explain the various series and standalone books.

Twelve, plus my current WIP, make up my Vigilante Series, all crime thrillers. Nasty in Nice, which I wrote in 2015 as part of Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World, could be also be considered an instalment of my series since my Vigilante characters appear side by side with Blake’s JET characters. Asylum, a psychological thriller, is a standalone and Something’s Cooking is a collection of comedic faux-erotica short stories, each accompanied by a corresponding recipe.

Please explain the various series and standalone books.

Twelve, plus my current WIP, make up my Vigilante Series, all crime thrillers. Nasty in Nice, which I wrote in 2015 as part of Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World, could be also be considered part of my series since my Vigilante characters appear side by side with Blake’s JET characters. Asylum, a psychological thriller, is a standalone and Something’s Cooking is a collection of comedic faux-erotica short stories, each accompanied by a corresponding recipe.

How have the main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

For one, they’ve gotten older. For whatever reason, I’ve always dated my books and kept up with the years over time so my characters have aged along with all of us. Their thinking has also changed along the way as they’ve adapted to various situations. Without going into detail, Vigilante, the series opener, dealt with a serial killer involved in pure vigilantism. However, as of book 2, The Consultant, a clandestine government group was introduced, thus formalizing (or legalizing) unconventional methods of dealing with crime. It’s been interesting and fun to have these government assassins intermingling and developing professional relationships and friendships with homicide cops.

How has your style changed over that same period?

My basic voice and style have remained relatively intact. I’ve always been fairly concise with little use for fluffy fillers to increase word count and that hasn’t changed. My writing flows more nicely and is less choppy today than it was in my first books several years back.

Has the way you write, or your process, evolved? 

I’ve rarely used outlines, at least not in the sense of mapping out an entire storyline before getting into actually writing it. I will sometimes quickly outline the next handful of scenes as ideas come to mind, in order to respect the timeline of events and, more so, to avoid forgetting those ideas. What has certainly helped over time is the Internet, making required research much easier and efficient than when I wrote Vigilante in 1995. As for character creation, if something needs to be done and I have nobody to do it, I create someone. Travel has allowed meeting people from all over and has certainly facilitated building realistic worlds. In fact, some of my books were set in places I’ve visited, including Paris, Vietnam and the Caribbean.

Is there a particular time or place you like for writing?

Afternoons are when I do most of my writing, though that can vary on occasion. Unless I’m traveling, I write in our study with my trusty desktop and dual monitors. The one exception was The First Sixteen, a prequel novella and the ninth in my series, which I initially wrote in Pages on my iPad.

Where do your ideas for plots originate?

The weird place inside my head which is fed by daily events stemming from all over the world.

Connect with Claude Bouchard

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Caleb Pirtle joins BestSelling Reads

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Prolific, bestselling author Caleb Pirtle III has re-joined BestSelling Reads, the association of professional, independent authors. One of the first members of the group, Pirtle is returning in 2017.

The author of more than 70 books, Pirtle has been a newspaper reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and was the travel editor of Southern Living Magazine for ten years. He was editorial director for a Dallas custom publisher for more than 25 years.

A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Pirtle was the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Since then, several of his books and his magazine articles have received national and regional awards.

His fiction includes the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, and Night Side of Dark. The fourth book in the series, Place of Skulls, will be released in the spring of 2017. His latest novel is Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever.

He has also written three teleplays that were produced on major networks.

Pirtle is also the author of a number of non-fiction titles. Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk recounts the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield, and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow is the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II.

His coffee-table book, XIT: The American Cowboy, was the third-bestselling art book in publishing history.

With his wife, Linda, Caleb Pirtle founded Venture Galleries, an author’s promotional platform.

You can find more about Caleb on his BestSelling Reads author page or his Amazon Author page.

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Thursday teaser: Scorch Road

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An exciting collaboration of two BestSelling authors:
Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Elizabeth

“You’re the whole cold transport chain, Elizabeth. Don’t take your eyes off that thing until you get it to the CDC in Washington.” Dr. Fellerman stepped away, returning to his side of the big wooden desk. “There are ten vials of the isolated virus in there. And that case will keep it cold for at least three days.” He flopped into his chair and it rolled back a few inches. Dr. Fellerman closed his eyes. “It’s too late for me, but there are still a lot of people to save.”

Elizabeth stepped forward, wanting to hug him or say something to mark this parting. Dr. Fellerman had offered her guidance without pushing, and he’d been a great teacher—one of the rare people she trusted.

He frowned at her approach. “Don’t get too close. You’re not sick now, but you know how contagious this thing is.”

She nodded. “Thank you for everything.”

Dr. Fellerman gave her a weak smile. “Thank you, Elizabeth. And Godspeed.”

Elizabeth left his office and retraced her steps through the lab. As she waited for the elevator, Elizabeth looked down at the cryocase. Inside the insulated screw top, a smaller metal cylinder held the vials of cells. Liquid nitrogen filled the larger container, keeping the isolated virus at the optimum temperature, well below freezing. It had to stay that way or vaccine production would be set back by months.

What if she failed? The thought chilled her to her bones.

***

JT

Wind drafted up his naked body as JT surveyed the land for the threat he knew was coming, but as usual he saw nothing but waving corn, velvety alfalfa, grazing pigs in their fenced pen, and the wind-ruffled leaves of soybeans and potato fields, picturesque in late summer glory.

JT had a powerful intuition, a sense of coming things. Mama called it the Sight and told him he’d inherited it from his deceased grandmother, rumored to be una strega, a witch.

“You’re a canary in a coal mine,” she had said, pulling him in for a hug after he’d told her to get her car fixed, that there was something wrong with it. The mechanic discovered a broken brake line that might have killed her. “You’ve been given the Sight. Be sure to use it for good, caro Jacobino.”

JT had tried to use that sense, along with an environmental biology degree, for good. But no one ever listened to his warnings, even those backed up by science. He’d got so tired of watching disaster strike again and again, waves on a seashore, that he’d left the EPA for this, his own place, where he could prepare.

Away from other people, JT was able to screen the stress of the Sight out better, but so close to water, he felt it acutely: the tremor of a shadow moving across the land.

A sickness was coming.

His family—five brothers, his mom, and his precious little sister—were all still out there, ignoring his warnings and invitations to the Haven. It hurt like a bruise that would never heal, a bruise that kept him up at night.

JT duckwalked around the metal platform’s edge, pleasure in the day evaporated—he was just hot, tired, and very alone. He arrowed into the pond in a swan dive. At the cool weedy bottom, he paused, his eyes shut. His mysterious sense was buffered, and yet amplified, by the water.

The scorching of the earth was coming here—right to his doorstep—into his fields.

The knowledge chilled JT more than the cold green water at the bottom of the pond. He shot for the sunlight, gasping for breath.

About Scorch Road

A new romantic action adventure series for fans of romance thriller and family romance sagas!

One of six Italian brothers and a sister, JT Luciano is a widowed environmental biologist with a touch of the Sight who is preparing for an apocalyptic event he knows is coming. Holed up at the military survival camp prepared for his family, the Haven, JT is ready for whatever might come… except for one woman.

Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, virologist and Senator’s daughter, is carrying precious cells for a vaccine against the swiftly-evolving, deadly flu that’s sweeping the nation. Her plane crashes in JT’s potato field–and she must convince him to leave the Haven and help her get to Washington, DC.

One by one, the structures of society implode in the face of the flu’s devastation as JT and Elizabeth travel a scorching road cross country.

Can danger bring them together to find one good, true thing in a changing world?

Get it on Amazon.

About the authors

Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling Sydney Rye Series, which feature a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Emily can be found:

Website   |   Facebook    |   Twitter

Toby Neal is the author of the bestselling Lei Crime series featuring Maui police detective Lei Texeira, the Paradise Crime series featuring security specialist Sophie Ang, the Michaels Family Romance series, and the new Scorch Series romantic thrillers with Emily Kimelman.

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Thursday teaser: Avengers of Blood

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

THE PHONE SLIPPED AS he wrote, and Tom Kado hunched his shoulder to bring the handset up against his ear. “Would you repeat that?”

The forensics man from Thayerville, Alabama, sighed. “Calvin Whitman. Born September 13, 1935. Died December 27, 1978. White male. Six feet two inches tall, two hundred and ten pounds. I still think something’s wrong with those fingerprints.”

“I can fax copies to you. I’ll even overnight an original to Alabama,” Kado said, finishing his notes. “But I’m absolutely certain that your dead Calvin Whitman has been living in Arcadia for over thirty years.”

“It doesn’t seem possible.”

“Why?”

“I’m looking at his file. His house burned the night of December 27. The fire started from faulty Christmas tree lights. The house went up fast. His bedroom was on the second floor but they found Whitman in the remains of his bed in the living room. Looks like the middle of the house collapsed and most of the second story dropped to the first floor.”

“How did they confirm that it was Calvin Whitman?”

“Let’s see.” Kado heard a sneeze. “Sorry, I had to dig this file out of storage. You’re lucky we still have it. This was part of a group scheduled to be shredded last year. I don’t know why they missed it.” The sound of shuffling paper came through the phone. “Here we go. Seems they found a ring that belonged to Whitman on the right hand, and some of the hair was still on his head. From the photo in the file, he had very thick black hair.”

“Was an autopsy performed?”

“Yes. Cause of death was smoke inhalation.”

“Dental comparison?” Kado asked.

“Umm,” more paper shuffling, “no.”

“Isn’t that odd?”

“Maybe. No fingerprints, either, probably due to the fire damage to the body. A deputy confirmed that it was Whitman. Nobody questioned his identification. Say, Tom?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you have a photo of this Calvin Whitehead? He must have been an old man, right?”

It was Kado’s turn to shuffle through paperwork. He located the crime scene photos and found only one photograph of Calvin Whitman. It was hanging on the wall behind the cash register and Kado needed a magnifying glass to see it clearly in the crime scene photo. In the picture, Whitman was frowning at the camera as he held a pair of scissors, ready to snip a ribbon stretched across the little store’s doors. Half a dozen locals looked on, smiling broadly. “There must be a driver’s license photo on file, and that’ll be pretty recent. We’ve got one early photo of him in a newspaper. Do you want a copy?”

“Of both, please.”

“Do you have one for me?”

“Yeah, I’ll send it when we’re done.” He sighed heavily again. “If you’re right, you know what this means for us?”

“Yup, you’ve got an open case,” Kado answered.

“A very old, very cold murder case.”

“And the very dead Calvin Whitman or Whitehead is your prime suspect.”

“Man, I’m gonna land in a white-hot shit storm.”

“Sorry about that,” Kado said, with genuine feeling. “When you send Whitman’s photograph, would you include his arrest record?”

“What arrest record?”

“Well, why is he in your system?”

“For exclusion purposes, of course.”

Kado felt dread tighten his gut. “What do you mean?”

“I didn’t mention it earlier?”

“Mention what?” Kado asked as the dread uncoiled along his spine.

“Calvin Whitman was Thayerville’s sheriff when he died. Had been, for close to twenty years. Everybody loved him. This, his still being alive, means that he’s a criminal. That’s why I’m gonna land in a shit storm.”

About Avengers of Blood

A deadly game of cat and mouse is playing out in Forney County…

Detective Cass Elliot is still on suspension after killing a fellow officer and Sheriff Hoffner refuses to sign her release papers. But when four people are murdered in one night, one with the exceptional brutality of a lynching, the Medical Examiner side-steps Hoffner to hire Cass and loan her to Forney County’s overstretched police department.

As Cass and her partner investigate, they realize that three of the murders were committed by the same person but find no connection between the victims. Their frustration intensifies when another victim survives and disappears instead of coming to the police.

Sheriff Hoffner is frantic about anonymous letters claiming one of his star officers is dirty, and Cass suspects a link to the current crimes. The pieces fall together when she uncovers the true identity of the man who was lynched, revealing connections between the victims, the killer, and an unpunished crime committed nearly fifty years ago.

Find it on

About the author

Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

BestSelling Reads page   |   Amazon author page   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   |    Website   |    Blog

 

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Thursday teaser: Nightmare Sally—The latest Reed Ferguson mystery

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By Renée Pawlish

She looked nervous.

That was my first impression as I watched her for a moment from the entryway of the Cherry Hills Country Club restaurant.

“May I help you, sir?” a hostess in dark slacks and a white blouse asked me.

“I’m meeting someone,” I said, then gestured at the woman, who was sitting near a window across the room.

“Ah, yes. Are you Reed Ferguson?”

I nodded.

“Mrs. Evans is expecting you.”

She escorted me to Mrs. Evans’s table, then said to her, “Your guest has arrived.”

Mrs. Evans thanked the hostess, then indicated I should sit down.

I introduced myself and she smiled.

“Call me Brenda.”

She discreetly sized me up, probably wondering how could this brown-haired guy with boring hazel eyes be a private investigator.

If my guess was correct, Brenda Evans was in her fifties. That was maybe ten years or so younger than my mother, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at her. Her cream-colored pantsuit hung loosely on her thin frame, her cheeks were hollow, and her short blond hair had a strange quality I couldn’t put my finger on.

“I’ve met you before, but it was a long time ago,” she said.

“I’m sorry, I don’t remember.”

“When your parents lived in Denver, we golfed here at the club with them.”

I nodded, letting her ease into the conversation. A waiter came over and asked if I wanted something to drink. Brenda was sipping coffee, but that wasn’t generally my style, and I asked for a Coke. He nodded and scurried away. It was after one on a beautiful September day, and the restaurant was quiet, only a few other diners in the room. The murmur of their conversations drifted into the background as Brenda and I talked.

“I talked to your mother the other day on the phone and was telling her about my … situation,” she said, “and she suggested I contact you.”

I leaned in a bit. “I’m happy to help if I can.”

“Your mother speaks very highly of you. She says you’re quite the detective.”

“That’s nice to hear.”

And it was. My parents had been slow to warm up to the idea of my being a private investigator, but now that I had been in the business for several years, they were coming around. Brenda interrupted my thoughts.

“But she does say that she worries about your getting into dangerous situations.”

There it is, I thought. That was the one thing with my mother that wouldn’t go away. She always assumed that when I was working on a case, somehow I would end up getting hurt. I’m sure she was sitting on the balcony of her Florida condo right now, wondering what kind of precarious situation I was in.

Brenda smiled. “I assure you, there’s nothing dangerous in what I’m asking you to do.”

“Okay,” I said. “What do you need?”

“I want you to get a message to my daughter.”

I watched her twist a gold ring on a bony finger. The waiter returned with my Coke and asked if I wanted anything to eat. Brenda wasn’t eating, so I declined.

“We – my husband, Joel, and I,” she continued after the waiter left, “haven’t had contact with her in months. She barely talks to us.” Sadness spread across her pale face.

“What’s her name?”

“Sally. I don’t think you ever met her.”

I couldn’t recall if I had. “Tell me about her.”

About Nightmare Sally

Reed Ferguson’s latest case could be a nightmare!

When Brenda Evans asks private investigator Reed Ferguson to deliver a message to her estranged daughter, Sally, Reed thinks this will be the easiest case he’s ever had. Unfortunately, Sally has moved without leaving a forwarding address. When Reed finally finds Sally, she happens to be the prime suspect in a murder. Sally claims she’s innocent, and Brenda wants Reed to prove it.

Reed’s investigation leads him through the seedy side of Denver, involving ex-cons, a masked social media personality, and back to Sally, who has secrets of her own. One thing is certain: danger is at every turn as Reed hunts for the killer.

Nightmare Sally is a suspense-filled mystery, with a Bogie-wannabe detective, a lots of humor, and a clever homage to film noir. From the award-wining author of This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies. Great for fans who love a fast-paced, humorous read, without a lot of swearing or sex.

Published this week on Amazon.

About the author

Renée Pawlish is the award-winning author of the bestselling Reed Ferguson mystery series, horror bestseller Nephilim Genesis of Evil, The Noah Winters YA Adventure series, middle-grade historical novel This War We’re In, Take Five, a short story collection, and
The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a nonfiction account of a haunted house investigation.

Renée has been called “a promising new voice to the comic murder mystery genre” and “a powerful storyteller”. Nephilim Genesis of Evil has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti.

Renée was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado.

Renée can be found:

And follow her on Twitter @ReneePawlish.

 

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