Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer of Interviews: Michael Eldridge

Today I'm pleased to welcome Michael Eldridge!

1. What was your inspiration for your book? Can you tell us about how your own experiences influenced this story?

I’m an avid reader of mystery and private eye books. I made a living as a musician/entertainer for 52 years. Many of my characters are based on some of the thousands of people I met along the way.. I was writing for the last 15 years of that time. I have 3 other finished manuscripts in The Spaghetti & Rice series, along with 8 other novels and a short story collection

2. Would you classify this series as plot driven or character driven?


3. Can you tell us a little about your main characters?

Retired Italian Homicide Lieutenant, Frank  Borelli has started a private eye firm with his friend, retired Chinese call girl, madam, Ming Li Chow. Frank has a wacky Italian family, and three ex-wives. Ming Li has an 11-year-old son, Tommy, who is the offspring of the head of the Chinese Mafia in Boston, MA. Since retiring from her madam-ship, Ming Li took courses in criminal forensics, received a double black belt in Tai Kwan Do; and has become extremely proficient in the use of several firearms, and many different deadly weapons. She is definitely a person to be reckoned with. Several million dollars remain from her previous profession. Frank brings 22 years of experience in homicide and a proficiency with his Glock .45, and Remington shotgun to the show. He is a scratch golfer and insists he has a black-belt in 9 iron. The name of their firm is Spaghetti & Rice Investigations.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us about the main conflict.

The Jack of Harts story line; Tommy Chow’s best friend, Jack Hart and his mother, Jean, have found themselves tangled in a battle with the head of the local Colombian drug cartel in Boston, MA. Frank and Ming Li are called in to help. Jean was involved in illegal money laundering and wanted out. Drug lords don’t let people out when they know as much about their business as Jean does. Carmen Diablo and his henchmen try to stop her, but are thwarted at every encounter by Frank and Ming Li, among others. The boy’s kidnapping, and an ingenious assault on the drug cartel compound, and explosive mayhem ensue.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

That is was a fun experience.

6. What song best describes your writing style?

 What is funny is that I know sooo many songs, and I can’t think of an answer for this one. How about ‘Simply Irresistible’ ??

7. Night Owl or Early Bird?

Night owl

8. Skittle or M&Ms?


9. Who are your favorite authors?

Steven King, James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Dean Koontz, and Janet Evonovich.

10. Can you tell us about any other future projects?

Journey in a Pale Blue Chevy will be my next attempt, unless I sell a bunch of the Spaghetti & Rice novels; then I’ll present # 2 in the series.

You can fin out more about Michael and his books here:  and


Meet Michael Eldridge
I am an up-and-coming new writer. At 72 years-old, I have made a successful living as a musician/entertainer for the last 52 years.

I was born in Dayton OH., but grew up in Denver CO. I graduated from South High School in 1960, with another year at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Besides Ohio and Colorado, I have lived in Florida, Maine, Arizona and California.
After graduating high school, I immediately started playing music in night clubs. My dog, Freckles, was my constant companion from age 7 to 19, until I left home to become a big name recording star. (Freckles lived another 4 years, living with my father.)

Obviously, I never became a star, but my music has taken me to 66 countries, including; Canada, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Iceland, England, Scotland, all of Scandinavia, Russia, Estonia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Europe, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Spain, Portugal, South and Central America, Mexico, all of the Caribbean Islands, and 49 states.

I have met literally thousands of people in my travels, working in hotels, night clubs, resorts, and on major cruise lines. And now, I want to be a novelist when I grow up.

I self-published my first novel, ‘Mustang Blue’ (A murder mystery with a supernatural twist.) You can still get a signed hard copy of Mustang Blue by going to my website and ordering it. I published it in 2003 and sold 220 copies across the piano. (Enough to pay for the printing, 250 copies, and to go out to dinner at Red Lobster a couple of times.)

I've been writing short stories, off-and-on since my high school creative writing class in Denver, CO. I would have them running around in my head for months, until I finally had to spew them onto paper. Because I had told several people my idea for the Mustang Blue story, they all said “You have to write that.” I was working on a horrible cruise ship job (Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing) and to fight the depression of the job, my terrible cabin, and the (how do I put this? complete a-----e officers. There, I guess that will do) I finally started writing what became my 1st self-published novel. Since then, I have written a total of eight more novels, including four in the Spaghetti & Rice Investigations series; the first of which is ‘Jack of Harts-A Spaghetti & Rice Mystery.’ I just finished working on my 9th novel, a Western set in 1869-70 in Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming, ‘The Dancing Gunfighter’

My short story collection, ‘Romance and Other Strangeness’ is on amazon/kindle; a collection of stories from the romantic to the bizarre.

Praise for Michael's books:

“One of the most creative writers I’ve run across in years . . .” “In Mike Eldridge, I really feel that I’ve discovered a talent deserving of publisher consideration. He’s refreshingly receptive to editorial suggestions. More important, he has a fertile imagination. His ‘Spaghetti & Rice’ series concept is pure genius. I wish I’d thought of it.”

Donald Bain; author of the Jessica Fletcher Murder She Wrote novels

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer of Interviews: Bill Beasley

Today I'm pleased to welcome Billy Beasley!

1. What was your inspiration for your book? Can you tell us about how your own experiences influenced this story?

It was 1998 and my best friend, and roommate at the time Jack, and I were at home watching one of my favorite movies, A Time to Kill. At one point I looked at him and said something to the effect of, "What if a rich white guy and a black guy met on a basketball court in the 60's and became best friends?" and the story grew from there.

I grew up during a time of forced busing to achieve integration in schools. It was a time of great racial conflict in my hometown, Wilmington, NC.  Coming of age during this time gave me a lasting convention of looking beyond color and to see in others what matters the most, the heart.

2. Would you classify this series as plot driven or character driven?

I strive for a healthy mixture of both in my stories.  But I continue to be inspired by the rich characters and their unique contribution to this story some 16 years after we began our journey together.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main characters?

Bret Marin, is a rich, entitled white young man, with a tyrant for a father. He enjoys the country club life of riches and women. His one redeeming aspect is the love he freely gives to his little brother, Alex.

Clarence, (Money) Wilkins lacks the outward riches of Bret's world. He possesses the greater riches, thanks to his father, a proud black carpenter, who raises his son with a firm but loving hand.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us about the main conflict.

There are several but if I choose one it would be Bret's hatred of his father, which grows to a point where he wants to leave, but he can't because of his love for his little brother, Alex.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

That hearts have no color.

6.What song best describes your writing style?

Late for the Sky by Jackson Browne.

7. Night Owl or Early Bird?

Definitely early bird, especially for writing.

8. Skittle or M&Ms?

Neither, Reese's miniature cups.

9.Who are your favorite authors?

Pat Conroy, James Lee Burke, K.J. Erickson, David Rosenfelt, Robert Parker.

10.Can you tell us about any other future projects?

I have poured my heart into writing for nearly 20 years--characters and stories have evolved over that time.  This is a passion I'm committed to and inspired to share with others. I hope there is a next one published and if it is I expect it to be about a man who receives a letter from a pompous, out of touch preacher, and he does not take it kindly.

Meet Billy Beasley
Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie, and one spoiled rotten black Chihuahua mix, Sydny. He has lived in this area of southeastern North Carolina his entire life and many years ago was among the very first students to be bused to another school to achieve real integration.

He shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in this novel. Faith in God and a conviction that ‘hearts have no color’.
This is his first published work of fiction.

Please visit Billy at Please visit me at and on my Facebook page, Billy Beasley-Author.

More about The River Hideaway
The year is 1967 and Wilmington, NC, is embedded in racial turmoil. Bret Marin and Money Wilkins, forge an improbable friendship.

 Bret’s life is constructed around his love for his little brother Alex and hatred of their cruel wealthy father.
Money possesses no external luxuries but thanks to his proud black father, Clarence, a builder of houses and lives, he has the greater riches. When his beautiful sister Teke visits it sets off a series of events no one could foresee. The most chilling being the dark night the Klan appears. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer of Interviews: Michael Matson

Today I'm pleased to welcome Michael Matson!

1. What was your inspiration for your book? Can you tell us about how your own experiences influenced this story?

I suppose many current events had an influence on The Dancing Boy.  Vietnam, certainly.  But also the war in Afghanistan and the effects of that war.  Human trafficking  most certainly and the prevalence of individuals and even groups who prey on children. Using these influences I wanted to create a story that also highlighted the complex beauty and picturesque uniqueness of the Pacific Northwest. This is an area I’m fond of and have spent much time exploring.
As to the main character, Treat Mikkelson, I suppose all authors lend a bit of themselves to their characters and I admit to some of his many faults.

2. Would you classify this series as plot driven or character driven?

The Dancing Boy is the first of the Treat Mikkelson mysteries.  Each of them will be primarily plot driven.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main characters?

Mikkelson is not exactly a burnt-out case but has seen too much of the world and its problems and only wishes to live peacefully on his small island. He can’t suppress his natural tendency to help people, however and this leads to his getting involved in things he’d prefer to avoid.
Suniko Yamada is a brilliant and beautiful computer expert who embraces challenges and has a healthy sexual appetite without having any desire for a permanent relationship.
Cassie McLaren is a possible romantic figure in Mikkelson’s life.  An art gallery owner and the one who gets Mikkelson involved the mystery.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us about the main conflict.

The story involves smuggling young boys into the US and Canada. Finding the source of the smuggling is critical, but there is one boy in particular who  drives the search.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I would hope they would have a better understanding of the horror of child exploitation and, on the brighter side, have a deep appreciation for the locations.

6. What song best describes your writing style?

Yikes! Never thought of that.  Some of the music mentioned in the book might qualify. Mississippi Delta Blues and Hawaiian Slack string guitar.

7.   Night Owl or Early Bird?
Neither.  Early morning coffee and pastry and time on the computer. Sometimes write later in the    day when an idea strikes.

8. Skittle or M&Ms?
 Hersheys dark chocolate.

9.  Who are your favorite authors?

For mysteries….John  Sandford and Jo Nesbo.

10. Can you tell us about any other future projects?

A second Treat Mikkelson mystery is underway. This one also is set in the Pacific Northwest  but is more heavily influenced by drugs and Mexican cartels.

More about Michael Matson

After formative years spent on the east coast, in California, Hawaii and Japan, Michael Matson earned a journalism degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. Following a brief military stint in Oklahoma, he worked as an advertising agency copywriter, creative director and video producer.

In 2007 he moved to Mexico to have time to write and has since published The Diamond Tree, a fairytale for all ages;  Bareback Rider, an inspirational adventure for children; and Takeshi’s Choice, a mystery novel.  His short story “Gato” was selected for inclusion in Short Story America’s 2014 anthology.  His second mystery novel:  The Dancing Boy will be released by Oak Tree Press in April  2014.

He lives with his wife María Guadalupe (Tai), in Morelia, the colonial capital city of Michoacán. Website:

What do readers think of "The Dancing Boy?"
David Greene
(Your novel brought back a) flood of memories of my years in the Skagit Valley. How much fun to return to those places hidden away in the cobwebs!  But the MOST fun was the enjoyment of your story!  How many anecdotes your tale triggers in my mind!

Michael La Brooy
What an excellent story, and how well you maintained the tension continually from chapter 1 right up to the epilogue! Each time I thought it was all over and you were going to wind down, a new crisis reared its ugly head, and the excitement continued

Carolyn Lawson
Wonderful character descriptions, realistic locales;

this book is a page turner.

Get your copy of THE DANCING BOY here:

Review: Incantation Paradox (Annamaria Bazzi)

Waking up with the body of a teenager might be a pleasant surprise for a forty-something year old woman. Except, it's not her body. More than a little freaked out, Dolores is desperate  to find out why everyone is calling her Mona and acting like nothing is wrong.

Right from the beginning chapter, I loved the premise for this book! The concept of a woman's  spirit, or essence, being pulled from her dying body into that of a complete stranger is captivating. The repercussions  are endless! Not only is Dolores utterly confused and frightened, she also has to deal with the conflicting and often irrational hormones of a teenage girl. Keeping hold of her real identity becomes more and more difficult as the days pass. She doesn't understand, and has a hard time escaping, the teenage lust felt toward Eric, even when he scares her and gives off a serious  creeper vibe.v At the same time, grown-adult-Dolores is finding herself inexplicably attracted to Mona's "uncle" Jason. It's a mess. One Dolores has no clue how to fix.

On top of the emotional conflict and confusion, Dolores misses the two teenage daughters she was pulled away from. She's desperate to get back to her old life, but reluctant to leave Jason behind. No matter what, she needs help to figure out how to set things right. Eric doesn't seem to be an option, despite her poured-on charisma. She fears Jason is hiding things from her, though, and doesn't know if she can trust him completely. Watching her figure out who to trust was very intriguing. I was pulled into the story and was very eager to see how Dolores would escape the danger she finds herself in. I loved the romantic elements in the story. It was a tricky situation to navigate, but the author handled it beautifully. The last chapter was agonizing as I couldn't wait to see how everything would work out. This is a great read for teens (very clean story) and for adults who want a bit of  magic and mystery!

Get your copy of Incantation Paradox today from Amazon!

Follow Annamaria Bazzi online:







Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer of Interviews: Don Caplin

Today I'm pleased to welcome Don Caplin!

1.     What was your inspiration for your book? Can you tell us about how your own experiences influenced this story?

Traveling down the Mass Turnpike one day, I saw a billboard that displayed a biblical quote: “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” -Kings.

That is the inspiration for writing a book about a client who goes to a sports psychologist to find a sport he is good at.

2.     Would you classify this series as plot driven or character driven?

Neither one.

3.     Can you tell us a little about your main characters?

The narrator is a sports psychologist.  He describes the main character: “Linus didn’t look or move like an athlete.  In the first place, he appeared in his fifties, an age when you’ve either made it or retired.  And he had a slight paunch and double-chin; a marathoner he was not.”

4.     Without giving away too much, tell us about the main conflict.

Linus puts it this way: "I don’t know what my sport is.  That’s why I’m here: to discover it.  You see, I’ve tried various sports all my life, and haven’t been very good at any of them.  But I feel I have a champion in me, and I’m here to find out in what sport that is."

5.     What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I think one of my readers put it best: “This book is a very feel-good read.  It should restore the morale of just about anyone who's feeling down.”
-Riva Poor, Professional Problem-Solver.  Author, “4 Days, 40 Hours:

6.     What song best describes your writing style?

“Pkck a little, talk a little” from “The Music  Man”?

7.     Night Owl or Early Bird?

I do most of my writing after my wife has gone to sleep. (I do show her the product.)

 8.     Skittle or M&Ms?

 As “one of the country’s oldest first-time publisher novelists,” I’m an old-fashioned guy.  My candy tastes haven’t changed since my youth, so M&Ms.

9.     Who are your favorite authors?

My former teacher, Frederick Buechner, and other teacher’s son, John Irving, though neither would endorse my book.  Also the late Michael Palmer, who did write a blurb.

10.  Can you tell us about any other future projects?

I’m not writing anything right now, but hope to get other previously-written works published.

You can Find Don and his books here:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Review: The Ghost Files Volume 3

Mattie Hathaway has survived more than her fair share of scary, bizarre incidences. Safety seems like an illusion, even with Dan and Eli there to protect her. After returning from a trip to help Dr. Ollivet de-ghost a house in the south, Mattie is reeling from everything she learned about herself, Eli's family, and Dan's true past. Coming home to a horde of angry spirits who all blame Mattie for their deaths and are hell-bent on revenge really wasn't the homecoming she hoped for.

Having read volumes one and two of The Ghost Files series, I was eager to get my hands on this one. The turmoil Mattie was left in at the end of book two made it impossible to resist. I've come to expect deep characters and captivating storylines from Apryl, and I wasn't disappointed in this volume.

While the series as a whole has an overarching story, each volume focuses on a plot specific to that book as well. The mystery of who the drowned girls are and why they want to see Mattie pay for their deaths was well crafted. Readers are kept guessing throughout the book as to who or what is responsible for the girls' deaths, and I was surprised when the truth was revealed, which I loved.

In addition to the main storyline, readers also get more information on Mattie's past. They don't get the whole story, of course. Baker had to hold something back for the rest of the series! Readers do learn quite a bit, though, including who Mattie's father is. That brings up a whole host of problems, as the truth is hardly a warm and fuzzy reunion. Figuring out who to trust has never been easy, but when major players make promises and reveal true intentions, Mattie is left to struggle on her own.

One of the best aspects of this book was the emotion packed into every chapter. It's not often that a book gets to me so much that it makes me cry, but watching Mattie and Dan as they are faced with a heart wrenching decision truly hit me hard. It's going to be difficult for readers not to get completely sucked into their story, and when you have the added bonus of the ever-sexy Eli, putting this down will prove completely impossible. I can't recommend this series enough.

Get your copy of The Ghost Files Vol. 3 today!

Follow Apryl here!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer of Interviews: April Knight

Today I'm pleased to welcome April Knight to the blog!

Sweet Dreams is a collection of love stories. The stories are funny, quirky, touching, tender and inspiring.  Every story is about people who have an empty place in their heart and they are looking for true love. 

Women are so busy now with careers or college or with families and children they seem to be rushed and overloaded. When a friend of mine, who has four young children, said she rarely had time to read  more than a few pages of a book before one of her children needed something or she had to run errands, do the laundry. She said she’d started reading a half dozen books and hadn’t finished any of them because by the time she got back to the book, she’d forgotten the plot. I decided to write a book for women like her who might only have ten minutes a day to sit and read before they are interrupted.
A little taste of romance might make them smile, might give them hope, might be the best part of their day.

I enjoy reading a good romance but I do get tired of the woman always being beautiful, brilliant, twenty-three years old with a perfect body and long flowing hair. I get tired of the heroes who are tall and muscular with wavy hair, a dazzling smile and of course, he’s a millionaire. My stories are about people, real people, who are too tall, too short, too skinny, too chubby. The woman aren’t models, they are waitresses, clerks and housewives. The men are truck drivers, carpenters and cooks and some are unemployed. They are imperfect people looking for perfect love. They are people, good, average people who make mistakes, get embarrassed, make fools of themselves, get a second chance and find a happy ending.

When I was a child, I grew up in a dysfunctional family, I was mistreated at home and bullied at school.  I survived by escaping into books. I lived in my imagination. I thought words were magical and had power and I thought writers must be the luckiest people in the world because they could tell stories that could change people’s lives. The books people wrote would live long after they were dead.

When I was nine and the teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up the other kids said they wanted to be movie stars or policemen or firemen and the teacher didn’t criticize any of them. When I said I wanted to be a writer she told me that was impossible because I wasn’t smart enough and I didn’t have anything important to say. The other students laughed at me. I kept making up stories and somewhere I read that you don’t choose writing....writing chooses you and that writers are born, not made.  When I was thirteen I wrote stories about the way I wanted life to be, not the way it really was. I wrote stories about young women who were sad and lonely and they would find love and live happily ever after. I sold my first stories to “True Love” magazine. I’d never had a boyfriend or a date but I could imagine what it must be like to be kissed in the moonlight or dance under the stars. When that first story was published and I saw my words in print and got paid for my story, I knew I would be a writer.

I have always enjoyed drawing and painting and when I was in my twenties I had two art galleries and sold enough of my paintings to feel I could illustrate some books.  I’ve illustrated several of my own books, the most recent was “Thunder in Our Hearts, Lightning in Our Veins”, the cover is one of my painting my paintings are throughout the book. I wrote this book under my tribal name “Crying Wind.”

I am part Native American (I prefer to just be called Indian). I spent many years working in a mission for the Navaho Indians in New Mexico.  I was adopted into the Kiowa Indian tribe and given the name Crying Wind Hummingbird (Niyol-Daachagii Mahn-Saw-Daynah). I was given the CHIEF award for my contributions to the Native Americans through my writing.

I have just finished writing a mystery novel, “Dig the Grave First.” I am also working on a humorous romance novel for Seniors called “Breaking My Hip.”

Blurb for Sweet Dreams

Imperfect people searching for perfect love is the theme of my new book, Sweet Dreams-50 Romantic Bedtime Stories for Big Girls.”
Each story takes less than ten minutes to read, women can have a little romance while they wait for their bus, have their lunch or right before bedtime.
I love romance but I’m tired of all the heroines being beautiful and all the heroes being rich and handsome. Ordinary people deseve to be loved, real people, people who aren’t beautiful or rich, people with flaws, people who have been the wallflowers and the nerds, the people who have been overlooked or ignored, the girl who is too tall, the guy who is too short, the girl who is too shy to speak, all find love in tender, enchanting moments moments.

The stories range from shy, innocent first love to olden, golden love of a lifetime. The stories are funny,
touching, quirky, 

Love can be found in unexpected places, a pawnshop, one woman has a hundred wedding gowns but no groom,another finds love in a rusty bucket. 

What do a pawn shop, a rusty bucket, a lost shoe and a giraffe have in common?  They all lead to true love.  

I’ve always believed in love and I’ve always had a great imagination. When I was thirteen years old I wrote a love story and sold it to a national magazine. Of course, at thirteen I’d never had a boyfriend or a date or been kissed...but I could imagine what love was. I discovered I could tell stories and get paid for it and knew being a writer was the only career for me.  Over the years I had over a thousand stories and articles published, had several books published and have my own newspaper column.
Luckily, over the years, I’ve had a few real dates and been kissed, although men are often afraid they’ll be included in my next book.

You can get your copy of Sweet Dreams here: 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer of Interviews: Marilyn Levinson

Today I'm pleased to welcome Marilyn Levinson!

1. What was your inspiration for your book? Can you tell us about how your own experiences influenced this story?  

My new mystery, Murder a la Christie, was inspired by Agatha Christie and her wonderful mysteries that avid mystery buffs still read today. My sleuth is an English professor who leads a Golden Age of Mystery book club. Amid the murders she solves in her own life, Lexie Driscoll leads discussions about Dame Agatha and some of her books.  Murder a la Christie takes place on Long Island, where I live.

2. Would you classify this series as plot driven or character driven?            

That’s difficult to say. My characters are complex. Their personalities and conflicts drive the story. However, my wish is to never bore my readers, and so my plot moves merrily along.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main characters?

Lexie Driscoll is a very intelligent forty-eight year old woman who’s at a crossroads in her life. She tends to marry “interesting” men and was in the process of divorcing her second husband, when he burned down her house with himself inside. After the first murder, Lexie finds herself house sitting in Old Cadfield, an upscale community where she doesn’t feel completely at home. Her best friend and former college roommate, lives a few blocks away. Rosie’s married to Hal, one of Lexie’s castoffs whom she discarded for being kind of a nerd. Now Hal is a successful financial advisor.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us about the main conflict.

Lexie is about to open the first meeting of the book club, when she overhears her friend Sylvia being threatened by her neighbor. An hour later, Sylvia is dead, supposedly of her heart condition. Lexie believes she was poisoned and insists that the ME do various tox tests. More book club members are murdered. The remaining members, including Rosie, close rank as Lexie unearths secret after secret of the good people of Old Cadfield.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

A sense of satisfaction that they’ve read a good mystery. Several reviewers and readers told me they didn’t figure out who the murderer was, which pleased me no end. I also hope that Murder a la Christie will inspire readers to read more of my mysteries and those written by Agatha Christie.

6. What song best describes your writing style?

7. Night Owl or Early Bird?

Neither. I write best in the late afternoon.

8. Skittle or M&Ms?

Neither. I love Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds

9. Who are your favorite authors?

Some of my favorite mystery authors are Josephine Tey, Ann Cleeves, P. D. James, Katherine Hall Page, Nancy Atherton. And of course Agatha Christie.

10. Can you tell us about any other future projects?

I’m plotting a new mystery series. My 30-year-old sleuth is about to stop wandering from city to city and accept the position of Director of Programs and Events in a small Connecticut library. The first book deals with a cold case.

More about Murder a la Christie:

Professor Lexie Driscoll is conducting the first meeting of the Golden Age of Mystery book club in her best friend’s swanky mansion when another friend is murdered. More members are knocked off as Lexie unravels secret after secret, leading her to believe she's living in Christie's novel, And Then There Were None. Using Miss Marple’s knowledge of human nature and Hercule Poirot’s cunning, Lexie reveals the murderer.

Find Marilyn and her books on:
Amazon page:
Murder a la Christie:


A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and books for kids.

Her latest mystery, Murder a la Christie, is out with Oak Tree Press. Untreed Reads has brought out a new e-edition of her first Twin Lakes mystery, A Murderer Among Us--a Suspense Magazine Best Indie--and will bring out a new e-edition of the sequel, Murder in the Air, in April. Her ghost mystery, Giving Up the Ghost, and her romantic suspense, Dangerous Relations, are out with Uncial Press. All of her mysteries take place on Long Island, where she lives.

Her books for young readers include No Boys Allowed; Rufus and Magic Run Amok, which was awarded a Children's Choice; Getting Back to Normal, & And Don't Bring Jeremy.

Marilyn loves traveling, reading, knitting, doing Sudoku, and visiting with her granddaughter, Olivia, on FaceTime. She is co-founder and past president of the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Her website is:

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: A Silent Prayer (Samreen Ahsan)

On the surface, it seems as though Adam and Rania have led very different lives. Adam is a wealthy, womanizing billionaire with every possession he could ever need. Rania is a graphic designer who secludes herself from others, men especially, as much as possible. The truth is, the are both hiding difficult pasts that have scarred them and left them nearly incapable of a normal relationship. The question is whether they can heal each other, or if the will only tear each other apart even more.

While on the surface this may sound like a standard romance novel, readers will be surprised by the depth of the story and characters. I had a little difficulty getting into the story at the very beginning, but as I read into the next few chapters and discovered two very complex, very flawed and broken characters, I couldn't help but keep reading. There is much more to this story than might first appear.

The overall story was well crafted. It is not only a romantic journey between two people who seem almost determined to prove they should not be together. It is a spiritual journey as well. Adam, a professed atheist, sees little in his past to be grateful for, yet Rania manages to show him the blessings he has been given through her faithful example. I enjoyed learning about the Muslim beliefs regarding angels and satans (or jinns). It was explained in a way that helped readers see Rania's point of view and the reasons behind her choices. There is also a mystical spiritual element to this story, portrayed in a series on strange events that happened between Adam and Rania. These are not explained in this book, but I look forward to learning more about them in the sequel.

The characters themselves are the biggest draw to this story. At times, they are both frustrating to read about, particularly Adam, but they are realistic portrayals of people who have lived difficult lives and no longer understand how to trust and put asides their fears. While Adam bears the brunt of undesirable characteristics, I certainly did not feel as though Rania was a perfect, either. There were times when she behaved foolishly, in ways that hurt Adam deeply. Adam's character is extremely volatile. He is very possessive and struggles to control this impulse. There are times when he borders on unlikable as a character, but then he would turn around and win over both the reader and Rania.

When I began reading this book, I did not realize there was a sequel, which was my own fault. I became frustrated at times that the characters weren't progressing as much as I expected, but once I realized that they had a whole second book to work out there remaining issues, I was okay with how the story had progressed. The end of this book does have a quite abrupt ending, so readers will want to grab a copy of the sequel, "A Prayer Heeded," right away. This book does contain strong language, which some readers may not be comfortable with.

You can get your copy of "A Silent Prayer" here:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer of Interviews: Marilyn Meredith

Today I'm welcoming Marliyn Meredith to the blog!

1. What was your inspiration for your book? Can you tell us about how your own experiences influenced this story?

The title was given to me by a friend—I started off having no idea how the story might fit the title, though I did have the plot in mind. It wasn’t until nearly the end that I knew how to tie it all together. An earthquake plays an important part in Murder in the Worst Degree, and  I’ve been in lots of earthquakes living in Southern and Central California. The earthquakes I experienced definitely helped me write the scene.

2. Would you classify this series as plot driven or character driven?

A bit of both—but probably more character driven. There is an ensemble of characters who appear in each book in the series.  The focus is often on what is going on in the private lives of the Rocky Bluff P.D. officers as much as on the plot.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main characters?

Detective Doug Milligan is now a detective and married to Stacey Wilbur Milligan. She is also a police officer and together they are raising Stacey’s son. Detective Felix Zachary and his wife Wendy have a baby girl. He was the only African American on the RBPD until the new Police Chief arrived—who is also female. Everyone wonders what changes she’l l be making. Ryan Strickland and his wife Barbara are about to welcome his first child into the world—a baby with disabilities. Ryan isn’t sure he’s got what it takes to handle this—but something far more devastating happens to him. Things may be looking up for  Gordon Butler, who has had some major problems in the romance department.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us about the main conflict.

The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-tme friends and a mystery woman.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

That not only will they enjoy the mystery and trying to figure out “who did it” but also want to know more about these characters and what goes on in their lives on the job and in their private lives.

6. Night Owl or Early Bird?

I am definitely an Early Bird. Always up around 4:30 a.m. I do my best writing in the morning.

7. Skittle or M&Ms?

M & Ms—or anything else that is chocolate.

8. Who are your favorite authors?

I have many favorites that include authors from small presses: M.M. Gornell, Victoria Heckman, Ellen Kirschmann and often whomever I am reading at the moment.  William Kent Krueger is a mainstream author that I enjoy reading.

9. Can you tell us about any other future projects?

I write two series, the Rocky Bluff P.D. series—Murder in the Worst Degree is #10 and what I am busily promoting now. At the same time, I am writing the next in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series—no tile as yet—but it’ll be #14 and that series is published by Mundania Press.

Get your copy of Murder in the Worst Degree here:

Bio:  F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Spotlight: Incandation Paradox (Annamaria Bazzi)

Tour Banner

Novel: Incantation Paradox
Author: annamaria bazzi
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Natasha Brown
Available: June 2
IncantationParadox-small Magic is an illusion. It doesn’t really exist. Or does it? A horrible car accident destroys Dolores Reynard’s life. But instead of waking up in a hospital bed, she awakens in a teenager’s body. Soon, she discovers she is at the heart of the murderous mystery surrounding the death of Mona, the young girl whose body she occupies. Caught between an evil greater than she ever imagined and a wizard who heals her tattered heart, she is forced to play a dangerous game of intrigue in the hopes of finding a way to return to her previous life. Will magic be her ally, or will it lead to her demise once and for all.  

Book Links:
Enjoy the third chapter of the novel. If you follow the tour you'll be able to read all three chapters. I hope you enjoy the chapter.  


Chapter Three
Dolores snuggled deeper into the covers, the fresh lavender fragrance from the bedding filling her nostrils. How sweet! Grabbing a fistful of sheets, she inhaled. Wait...the sheets don’t feel right. With a jolt, she opened her eyes and stared at smooth ceiling plaster, the crack she’d nagged her ex-husband, Ethan, to fix before he’d walked out, gone. When she moved the covers farther down her body, silk ran through her fingers. What? With a gasp, she sat up, blood rushing from her head bringing momentary vertigo. Her gaze raced around the unfamiliar room. Her heartbeat inched into her throat.

Two French doors leading out to a wide balcony stood where a large picture window had once been. She rubbed her eyes, but nothing changed. Oh my God. What happened? She swallowed hard. The pictures of the girls were gone, replaced by a poster of Edward the vampire from Twilight. She shivered. Where am I? How the hell did I get here? Black geometric figures flashed in her vision. She rubbed a hand across her forehead, pressing clammy palms on her closed lids. Damn. Not another migraine. When she released the pressure and glanced around, the tranquil tea-rose wall color did nothing to calm her. The morning light filtered through the curtains, assaulting her eyes.

She squeezed them closed, gasping for air, lungs burning. Breathe deep. In, out, slow.... Throwing the covers aside, she let them fall to the floor. When she stood, her feet rested on a black-and-white sheep pelt. The warmth from the woolen carpet wrapped around her cold feet. Her heart continued to somersault, slamming against her ribcage. Shaking her head, she pressed her fingertips to her temples, hoping to wake up from whatever bizarre nightmare had trapped her. Knock, knock, knock. Dolores jumped, rounding toward the foreign-looking bedroom door. Was there an enemy on the other side, armed and dangerous?

“Mona, time to get up,” came an unfamiliar voice. “You don’t want to be late on your first day of school.”

Terrified, her mind focused only on the unfamiliar baritone voice. Oh, God. Oh, God. Help me. Frozen, unable to decide if she should run or hide, her mind sank into that dark place where thoughts became hard to sort.

“Mona! Hurry up.” 

“Think.” Gritting her teeth, she managed small panting breaths. “Breathe and think.”

Heavy footsteps indicated the man’s departure. Who the hell was that? Did he call me Mona? She took a moment to compose herself, to get her bearings then inched through the room, making sure she was alone. Tiptoeing, she crept past a mirror, stopping to stare at the reflection. Her eyes grew wide, and she gasped. The reflection of her seventeen-year-old self mocked her. Leaning forward, she examined luminous, tight skin—the appearance of youth. How the hell did I get so young? But then, everything about her felt different—vibrant, energetic.

The throb at the back of her head came and went. Shocked, she pulled up the oversized sweatshirt she wore to discover tight abs. Impossible! Dolores pinched her stomach. What happened to the little pouch of fat from having children? Her lower lip quivered with a bit of excitement at the sight of toned legs. Holy crap! Wait...what is this? Thin elastic strips circling her hips held a tiny bit of fabric in place. Butt floss...I’m wearing a thong? Tanned skin covered tight muscles, giving her buttocks a sexy, jaw-dropping appeal. Facing the mirror straight on, she cupped her breasts. No longer saggy like plastic bags stuffed with silly putty, but firm and perky. She yanked the sweatshirt, stretching it as far down as it would go, grateful it fit more like a micro-dress.

The idea that what was happening might not be a dream lingered in a corner of her mind. But she couldn’t remember anything that would explain how she might have gotten here. The night before had turned into a whiteboard. It doesn’t make sense. She raised shaky hands to touch smooth cheeks. I must be going into shock. Leaning closer to the mirror, she observed normal pupils—no dilation, no shock. Reality? She shook her head. No. More like a nightmare beginning. Knock, knock, knock. She spun toward the door. Oh my God. He’s at the door again.

“Mona, are you getting up?” the same voice called out. A moment later, footsteps moved down the hall. Bile pushed up her throat. She cringed at the bad taste, breathing deep to settle her stomach. She glared at the door, unable to move. Who is Mona? The question echoed around her brain. Nothing made sense. A sparkle of crushed glass flashed through her mind. Tumbling. The images blackened, and a sharp pain stabbed her temple then ran down her spine. She winced, disoriented, puzzled. The door opened. Dolores held her breath.

A tall man stood in the doorway, his brows knitted, appraising her. “Is everything all right?”

Who is he? Exhaling, she edged toward the French doors in search of escape. Did he bring me here? Why is he staring at me like that? Is he going to kill me? A burst of light in her mind’s eye blinded her. Plummeting. Rolling. Glass grinding. Agony. And then...nothing. She flinched, the room seeming to spin. 

“Mona?” Sweat rolled down the sides of her face, along her neck. She wiped her cheek. The more she studied him, the more she relaxed in his presence, realizing his expression held a great deal of compassion, of worry—not threat or malice.

“Who are you?” The concern in his chocolate-colored eyes deepened.

“How’s your head, kiddo?”

She reached toward the relentless throb at the base of her skull. Why is he calling me kiddo? “Ouch!” She fingered a lump. “What happened?”

“Don’t you remember?” He stepped toward her. Gasping, she moved closer to the balcony door. She reached for the knob. Locked. Her mind raced through all the self-defense moves she knew. He stopped mid-stride, his brow furrowing.

“Mona?” His soft inflection sounded strange to her ear. With feet spread shoulder width apart, she stood ready to strike. He moved to sit at the foot of the bed.

In a low voice, she repeated, “Who are you?” Then added, “Where am I?” Even while she spoke, she measured the distance to the open bedroom door.

“Mona, you hit your head pretty hard last night after you tumbled down the stairs.” He tapped his skull with one finger.

“But I’m not Mona. My name is Dolores,” she protested with an energy she didn’t think she could muster. She forced her fists to her hips.

“Kiddo, it seems you’re suffering from amnesia after all.” He hit his temple. “It doesn’t make sense. You didn’t even have a concussion. Do you remember the MRI?” She shook her head. “Do you have a headache?” She nodded. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I always have them.” Migraines had been constant companions like little lap dogs that never left her side. The current pain didn’t seem quite as bad as most, but the lump on the back of the head sent shockwaves of doubt through her brain. He patted the space next to him.

“Come sit by me.” She stared at his kind yet unfamiliar face, making no move to do as he suggested, but did let her arms drop to her sides. Her heart did another flip before slowing. Realizing the man’s gaze never roamed over her half-naked body, she took a calming breath. A smile brushed his lips. “Don’t be so afraid. I’m your father.”

“You’re not my father. I don’t know who you are.” She shut her jaw so tight it began to ache, but no matter how hard she dug into her memories, nothing surfaced that made any sense. She closed her eyes, willing the nightmare to go away. Not a chance. Peeking through her eyelashes, she observed the stranger. With a deep sigh, he lowered his chin to his chest.

“Then can you tell me who you are?”

“My name is Dolores....” The man sighed again. How can this be? In the mirror, she saw herself—a self from almost thirty years ago, but nonetheless herself.

“What do you see?” He opened his hands, showing his palms.

“I see my daughter, suffering.”

“What does she look like?”

“Like a wild cat, cowering in a corner.”

She inhaled. “Do I look like your daughter?”

He wiped his face with his hand. “You are my daughter.”

The world had gone crazy. I’m a teen? No, I’m a mom with teenage daughters. Even though she struggled to draw enough air into her lungs, her head spun, making her stomach queasy again. She reached for the dresser to catch her balance. Two strong arms scooped her off her feet.

“Whoa. I got you.” He carried her to the bed. “Baby girl, how are you feeling?” Dolores’s mind churned, pondering the puzzle pieces that did not fit. When the room stopped spinning, he came into focus, sitting on a dainty upholstered chair. He had a kind face with a strong, square jaw, his full lips forming a fine line. His gaze was locked on her.

Chilled, she shuddered. “I don’t remember you.” She continued to stare—no recollection whatsoever. Rising onto her elbows, she blinked several times. A flash.

The same man saunters into the backyard. Mona jumps off the swing, screaming, “Daddy, Daddy.” She runs. He bends with open arms to catch her, lifting her into the air. She laughs when he twirls her around. “How’s my little girl today?” Her small hands wrap around his neck. “I love you, Daddy.”

She squeezed her eyes shut tight to chase away the memory that wasn’t hers. Instead, she allowed images of her daughters playing with their father to come into focus. A tear snaked down her cheek. She swiped it away.

“Are you still feeling dizzy?” he asked.


 “You don’t remember me?” She shook her head, but stopped because she did have recollections of the man. Fog crept into her mental peripheral, growing, wrapping around her brain, rendering her incapable of coherent thought. The doorbell rang.

“That must be Eric.” He looked to the bedroom door and waited.

A few seconds later, the front door slammed. Footsteps thumped up the stairs. The man got up, leaving to meet the person in the hallway. Their muffled conversation reached her ears, but she couldn’t understand the words. Jumping off the bed, she searched for any clues to figure out why the world had turned upside down. On the elegant white desk sat a laptop. Propelled by desperation, she opened it and hit the On button. The screen flickered to life from sleep mode. Thank God it’s not password protected. Perched on the edge of the chair, she clicked the icon to start a browser—adrenalin pulsed through her body. Surely, her email account would hold some answers. She tried to log on.

The words “The email you entered does not belong to any account” flashed onto the screen. What? Thinking she’d made a typo, she tried again. The message flashed on the screen again. Her email didn’t exist. Maybe I no longer exist. She hesitated, pondering her entire life. Dolores Reynard’s life. It was too vivid, too real to ignore. She recreated her email account and wrote a message to Ethan. Thank God that went through.

On second thought, she decided to send a message to her daughters also. Relief filled her heart. How long would it take them to see her message and reply? She closed the laptop. She looked around the unfamiliar room, and her breathing sped up, coming in short, uneven sputters. I can’t hyperventilate, or I’ll faint. She panted into her hands forcefully, slowly, unable to clear her mind and understand what in heavens could have brought her here. She really needed to talk to someone, anyone from the life she knew she belonged to. 

From the corner of her eye, she noticed a cell phone lying on a pile of discarded clothes. She rushed over and dialed Ethan’s number. Ringing. More ringing. Seriously? Come on, I don’t have much time. Ethan, where are you? He always answered right away. Maybe he didn’t recognize the number on caller ID. Voice mail came on, but then the line just cut off before she could hear the greeting. Damn it. With a groan she tossed the phone aside. The Richmond Times Dispatch. She typed her name in the paper’s search box. Bingo. The morning headlines were unmistakable.

POLICE CHASE ENDS IN DEATH. Dolores Rima Reynard was pronounced dead at the Medical College of Virginia several hours after arrival.

annamaria bazziAlthough born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the states, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish. Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing. You can visit Annamaria at: blog / website / Facebook / / twitter / goodreads

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer of Interviews: Luke Christodoulou

Today I'm pleased to welcome Luke Christodoulou!

1. What inspired you to write this book?

The Greek Islands themselves.  I am a great thriller fan and my only complain is that the majority is set in some American or European metropolis. I remembered the first time I read Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie and thought ‘why not Evil Under the Greek sun’? Also, I always wanted to create a cunning, sadistic killer. These facts lead to the creation of The Olympus Killer.

2. Would you classify your writing more as plot driven or character driven?

I would say plot driven, though The Olympus Killer is written from the first person point of view as we follow Captain Papacosta on his journey to bring the killer to justice.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?

With a quick first glance, my two protagonists may seem so ‘done before’. Captain Papacosta is a broken detective who lost his daughter and his wife; one through murder and one through divorce. Lieutenant Ioli Cara is a foul mouth, top of her year, ambitious investigator. However, as you get to know these characters, you realize how much more they truly are. Their unique humor, their way of thinking, their way of dealing with things. Ioli’s love for food has been mentioned as a highlight by quite a few readers.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book.

My two main characters work for the Hellenic police and are called to solve their most complex case yet. The Olympus Killer, as the newspapers refer to him by, is a sick, twisted killer who mutilates his victims and leaves them abused and naked across the sun kissed Greek Islands. A strange connection to ancient Greek mythology adds to the case’s mystery. That is really all I can say without giving much away!

5. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

I write with main goal to entertain readers.  They read in their leisure and I need to stand up to their standards. I hope they enjoy reading the book, I hope they are shocked at every twist and turn and ultimately I hope they take away a love for the Greek Isles and the Greek way of life.

6. Now for a few fun questions! What song best describes your writing style?

What did ‘Highway to Hell?’ pop into my head as I read the question? Hmm… Never been asked this before. ‘Spanish train’ by Chris De Burgh for some unexplained reason seems to fit the answer.

7. Night Owl or Early Bird?

Night Owl, definitely.  All great ideas are born under the moon.

8. Skittle or M&Ms?
              Skittles (except the green ones!).
9. Who are your favorite authors?

Agatha Christie easily takes first place. I enjoy certain works by King and Patterson. The Anna Travis books by Lynda Le Plante were right up my alley. From a more classic point of view, Tolkien and Shakespeare have provided me with great reading pleasure.

10. Can you tell us about your future projects?

At the moment, I am promoting The Olympus Killer:A Greek Island Mysteries Thriller and will continue to do so for the next month. Then, I will be revising the skeleton of my second book from the series and begin doing what I love most. Writing! Book 2 will feature my two protagonists, though this time they will be up against a number of cases, strangely connected to the church.

Links to connect and to find out more:
Twitter @OlympusKiller
Facebook: (Like page and end of the month there will be a draw for a free copy of The Olympus Killer).
Amazon UK:

Book Description
Publication Date: April 11, 2014

THE OLYMPUS KILLER is ON SALE  for 0.99 until JUNE 8th!

If this summer you are thinking of travelling to the majestic, sun kissed Greek Islands, think again. A sadistic killer is on the loose.

Over the picturesque Greek islands bodies are piling up fast. Captain Papacosta, a former American homicide detective turned Greek police captain after the loss of his daughter, teams up with young and ambitious, top of her year Lieutenant Ioli Cara to face their most difficult and intriguing case yet.

Olympus. The tallest peak in Greece and as maintained by the ancients, home to the almighty Gods.

In 1972 a boy is born in New York to a raped young girl. A boy who through abuse will grow up into a vicious, merciless and cunning killer. A killer who believes he is murdering the Olympian Gods and mutilates his victims according to Greek mythology.
Will the two officers catch the murderer in time or will the Olympus Killer have his revenge?


Luke Christodoulou is an English teacher (MA Applied Linguistics - University of Birmingham), a poet and an e-book author. He is also a coffee-movie-book lover.

His first book, 'The Olympus Killer' (Top 50 BESTSELLER - International Mystery and Crime), was released in April, 2014. The book was voted Book Of The Month for May on Goodreads (Psychological Thrillers) and Book Of The Month for June (Nothing better than reading).He is currently working on the second and third book from his planned Greek Island Mysteries book series.
He resides in Limassol, Cyprus with his wife and daughter.

Hobbies include travelling the Greek Islands discovering new food and possible murder sites for his stories.