Phase 3 Renovations Week 4—Moving Right Along at a Snail’s Pace

So this job that was supposed to take about 3 weeks has now approached
Week 5 but it’s my fault for choosing materials that had to be shipped in
from across the country. The first thing to arrive was the window trim.

My camera doesn’t do this justice at all but it’s a bright sea green and
Tyler, the
installer, has the patience of Job. He’ll need even more when
it’s time to do the grout.

Next came the oversize subway tile and, again, my camera doesn’t show the
colors well. The background is kind of an off white and the swirls are gray and
a sort of bronzy brown. The fixtures will be bronze to pick up that color…and
now we have another delay because the shipment was short by one box.

You’ll remember Giselle’s adventure with the hunky firemen
during the kitchen renovation last December, right?
http://tinyurl.com/yc9zuj2l
We’ve kept her and Holly closed up in my bedroom during the festivities
but, one day, she escaped and was quite sure no one would notice 😉


The tile is looking good but that last box won’t arrive till next week while
we’re on a trip to Kentucky to visit Laura so work will pick up again in
about 10 days. The vanity should be ready about that time, I hope.

If you’re thinking the window looks off center, you would be right. I’ve
always wondered why the builder did that way back in 1962
but it is what it is and I’m not OCD enough to care!


And, finally, having nothing to do with the bathroom, I had a few pieces
of furniture hauled away, including a large china cabinet. We found this
between the cabinet and the wall and it must have been there at least 15
years. This is my grandson, Drew, who’s about to turn 24 😉

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Book Review: The Burial Hour by Jeffery Deaver

The Burial Hour
A Lincoln Rhyme Novel #13
Jeffery Deaver
Grand Central Publishing, April 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4555-3637-5
Hardcover

The latest Lincoln Rhyme mystery novel begins with an argument between the criminologist and his aide, Thom, about the forthcoming marriage of Rhyme and supercop Amelia Sachs. The controversy centers on where the honeymoon should take place, with unsentimental Lincoln lobbying for Greenland, where he can observe some new method or other, and Thom suggesting someplace more romantic.  Then fate intervenes in the form of an abduction and an odd form of murder, a hanging with a noose made of a cello gut string.

When the victim is rescued in the nick of time by Sachs, the perpetrator, a mental health escapee from an institution, apparently goes to Italy, where Sachs and Rhyme follow only to be treated shabbily by the Italian police and prosecutor.  Eventually, somehow all work together to solve the mystery, only after at least three more abductions take place.

Unlike previous entries in the series, forensic analysis is done by an Italian woman, albeit a capable technician, with Rhyme and Sachs only able to read the results. On the whole, this novel is less satisfying than previous books in the series. Perhaps the author strained as he based the plot on a controversial topic:  cascading immigration overwhelming the country.  Also, the conclusion is hardly in sync with previous novels featuring the criminologist.  However, it raises the question of whether the author is preparing readers for a seismic shift in future plotting.  Since there are glimmers of the old Lincoln Rhyme, this entry, as all previous ones, is recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, May 2017.

Book Review: Edited Out by E.J. Copperman

Edited Out
A Mysterious Detective Mystery #2
E.J. Copperman
Crooked Lane Books, May 2017
ISBN: 978-1-6295-3599-9
Hardcover

From the publisher:  Rachel Goldman is getting used to the idea that her fictional creation, Duffy Madison, has somehow taken flesh-and-blood form and is investigating missing person cases not far from where Rachel lives. Wait. No. She’s not getting used to it at all, and the presence of this real-life Duffy is making her current manuscript – what’s the word?  – – lousy.  So she doesn’t want to see Duffy – the living one – at all.  To make matters worse, when he shows up at her door and insists on talking to her, it’s about the one thing she doesn’t want to do:  find a missing person.  But the man Duffy seeks this time around might be able to solve Rachel’s problem.  He might just be the man Duffy was before he became Duffy five years ago.  The only problem is she could be letting Duffy lead her into danger yet again.

This is the second in a new series by E.J. Copperman, which finds author Rachel Goldman working, with some difficulty, on the next book in her Duffy Madison series, due to her publisher in three months.  Duffy is the consultant to the county prosecutor’s office, whose forte is finding missing persons.  Thinking back on the origin of her fictional character, she ruminates that she flashed on the idea of a consultant to the police, a very specific kind of genius who would be able to find lost things and, more important, lost people when the authorities could not.  It is now 6 months since a man had called Rachel “claiming to be the living incarnation of my fictional character.  He called himself Duffy Madison. .. . he believed I had actually created him four years earlier, because he had no memory of anything before that time.”  She speaks of him as “the raving lunatic who is using my character’s name and personality.”

Rachel is hard pressed to decide whether the man is insane, or if there is some other – or no – explanation as to his claims.  But after he had saved her life [in the events in the first book], she tries to give him some benefit of the doubt. This time their quest takes her from her home in Adamstown, New Jersey, to Poughkeepsie, New York [necessitating several trips across the barely passable Tappan Zee Bridge] where Duffy apparently went to high school, although proving that is difficult.  This time we learn a bit more about Rachel’s love life, such as it is.  Speaking of her invaluable assistant, she says “Paula dates more than I do, but then the pope probably dates more than I do.”

As I wrote in my review of the first book in the series (Written Off) this could only be an E.J. Copperman creation, as any reader of the author’s Asperger’s and Haunted Ghosthouse series can attest.  There is a mystery here, and quite creative and suspenseful it is, but the overriding aspect of this book is the author’s singular and trademark humor.  I can attest to the fact that every page, and nearly every sentence, of this delightful book is literally laugh-out-loud funny, and the smile almost never left my face for the two days it took me to read it.  As was the predecessor book, it is simply terrific, and is highly recommended.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, May 2017.

Book Review: A Face to Die For by Andrea Kane

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Title: A Face to Die For
Series: A Forensics Instincts Novel #6
Author: Andrea Kane
Publisher: Bonnie Meadow Publishing
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Genres: Mystery, Psychological Thriller

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Purchase Links:

         

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A Face to Die For
A Forensics Instincts Novel #6
Andrea Kane
Bonnie Meadow Publishing, September 2017
ISBN 978-1-68232-010-5
Hardcover

From the author—

Urban legend says that everyone has a double, or exact look-alike. Would you search for yours? And if you found them, would you risk your life for theirs?

When a chance encounter outside the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan results in mistaken identity, wedding planner Gia Russo is curious to find the person whose cell phone picture has been shown her—veterinarian Dr. Danielle Murano, her exact look-alike. A Facebook private message blossoms into a budding, long-distance friendship, and the two women agree to meet in New York and see the truth for their own eyes.

Shocked at the sight of one another, they quickly bond over drinks, childhood pictures and an uncanny feeling that they share more than just a visual resemblance. Together they decide to end the speculation and undergo DNA testing for siblingship. But when the tests confirm they’re identical twins, more questions are raised than answered.

And with good reason. The same mysterious forces that separated the sisters years ago are still at large, frantic to keep the two women apart. Their attempts to do so become more violent once it becomes clear that the two sisters have found each other. But when the danger escalates and the sisters fear for their lives, Gia turns to a former client of her wedding planning company, Marc Devereraux of Forensic Instincts, for help.

Despite being embroiled in another case, Forensic Instincts agrees to help Gia and Danielle discover who has been threatening them. And when Forensic Instincts discovers that this case is linked to the Mafia, Organized Crime, they must dig up skeletons better left buried, and get at the frightening truth without destroying the sisters and the families they have grown to love.

Based on the prologue (shown below as the excerpt), it’s easy to conclude that this is a case involving separated twins who have discovered each other and so it is but, in a coincidence to top them all, these twins are about to learn some things that will really rock their world. First and foremost, Gia and Dani need to know who seems to want to keep them separated and why. For that, they enlist the aid of the Forensics Instincts crew.

The FI company is an interesting hodgepodge of people who have individual strengths they bring to bear in solving crimes, sort of private investigators on steroids. I like these people (although they’re not all people and I like the non-people even more) and the way they interact with each other. At the time we first encounter them, they’re working a stalking case in which a college student is being relentlessly pursued by a professor and, once they resolve this situation, the team is ready to take on the investigation into what’s happening to Gia and Dani and, just as importantly, what happened in the past. Surprises at nearly every turn and questions leading to more questions take the team and the young women down a twisty road and what develops is alarming and malevolent past comprehension.

This is my first encounter with the Forensics Instincts group and I found them credible with just a touch of wow-ness to their individual strengths. Clearly, they’re closeknit, a kind of family, and they rely on each other unreservedly. In some ways, they remind me of the geniuses in the TV show, “Scorpion”, and, with all their strong points, they’re also touchingly vulnerable. I’m eager to spend more time with Casey, Hutch and all the rest; fortunately, I have five previous books to keep me going till the next one comes out.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2017.

An Excerpt from A Face to Die For

Prologue

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York

March 1990

Anthony slid behind the wheel of his Ford Taurus and started it up, cranking up the heat the instant the engine turned over. It was friggin’ freezing outside. Even in the five minutes it had taken him to walk the babysitter to her front door, the temperature outside felt like it had dropped ten degrees, and his car was an icebox.

Shivering, he zipped his parka up as far as it would go and gripped the steering wheel, maneuvering the car away from the curb. He’d finally shared an evening out with his wife. It should have eased the knot in his gut. After all, it had been the first time that he and Carla had left their infants with a sitter since the babies had been born a month ago. And Judy was the perfect babysitter—a good girl from a good family, one who studied rather than doing drugs and screwing horny guys.

Still, dinner had been strained.

Anthony had only picked at his manicotti, his favorite dish at Raimo’s. His mind was far away, and acid kept building up in his stomach.

Carla couldn’t stop worrying and talking about the babies. She’d checked her watch a dozen times, intermittently giving Anthony puzzled looks and asking if he was okay.

Each time she asked, he’d assure her that he was fine, just exhausted from work and midnight feedings.

As if to contradict his words, some new waiter had dropped a tray of dishes on the floor, and Anthony had nearly jumped out of his skin at the crash.

Carla rose, asking him to order her another drink and to get one for himself to calm his nerves. Giving in to her new-mother concerns, she went to the pay phone in the back to call Judy for an update. So far, so good, Judy had reported. But that didn’t totally erase Carla’s fretting. She tried her best to be bright and chatty, but the truth was that, as this point, she was ready to go. She’d fiddled with her napkin and sipped at her drink, making small talk and glancing at the door.

Getting the hell out of there had worked for Anthony. He was more than ready to be home with his family and not out in the open. He’d use his fatigue as an excuse. He had to continue keeping the inevitable from Carla, until he had no choice but to tell her. He’d soften the blow as best he could. But the important thing was that his family would be protected at all costs.

Now, the heat in his car roared to life, warming his body but doing nothing to extinguish his inner chill. He knew the rules. No transgression went unpunished.

Why the hell had he been so preoccupied with new fatherhood that he’d forgotten to make his collections from the designated list of construction foremen these past two weeks? That in itself was a huge black mark against him—one he’d be punished for. But the outcome of his stupidity opened the door to a far more lethal punishment. Someone else had been sent to handle his route, and his money. They would have collected and turned over twice the amount he’d been handing over. And that meant he’d better be able to explain the discrepancy—assuming he’d even be asked before he was killed.

Please God, let him have that chance. He was just on the verge of buying that gas station he’d been single-mindedly building his bank account for, just about to provide for his family’s future.

And now this.

With shaking hands, Anthony switched on the radio, gritting his teeth as Madonna’s voice blasted off the windows, followed by Michael Jackson’s. He turned the dial until finally the soothing tones of Frank Sinatra’s voice filled the car. Sinatra. Perfect. The Chairman of the Board’s crooning was just the right medicine to ease his clawing anxiety.

He reached his street and turned down the line of small brick row houses, all identical in their flat lines, gated fronts, and tiny gardens. There was a certain comfort and peace about the sameness of it all; it made it feel like a neighborhood.

Would he ever feel that sense of comfort and peace again?

He pulled into his narrow driveway and spotted Carla standing at the front door with a broad smile, giving him a thumbs-up. That meant the infants had come through their first babysitting experience with flying colors.

He forced himself to smile back, but even as he did, his gaze swept the area around the house to see if he was alone. It appeared so. Quickly, he turned off the car and then made the frigid dash to his house.

He couldn’t shut and lock the door behind him fast enough.

The soothing warmth from the heating system enveloped him when he stepped inside. Comfort in yet another form. He was home. Carla and the babies were safe. And for the moment, so was he.

With a wave of relief—however temporary—he let the tension in his body ease. He shrugged out of his jacket and hung it on the coatrack.

“You look happy,” he teased Carla. “What’s the final report?”

Carla’s eyes twinkled. “They were perfect. Judy said they’d only woken up once for their bottles and a diaper change. Now they’re sleeping like little angels.”

“Good.” Anthony looped an arm around his wife’s shoulders and led her toward the living room. “How about a nightcap before bed—to celebrate the success of our first night out?”

“That sounds wonderful.” Carla walked beside him, making a left into their comfortable living room.

They’d barely taken half a dozen steps when a tall masked man dressed in black rose from behind the large armchair, his .22 caliber pistol raised.

“Hello, Anthony.”

Anthony knew that voice only too well, and it elicited the chilling knowledge that there was no way out. No threats. Just death. “Welcome home.”

The man’s finger tightened around the trigger.

“No!” Carla screamed.

She threw herself in front of her husband just as the pistol fired.

The bullet pierced her skull, and with a shattering cry, she crumpled to the floor.

“Carla… no… Carla!” Anthony shouted. He dropped to his knees beside his wife’s lifeless body, grabbing her into his arms and openly weeping. “God forgive me. Oh, God forgive me.”

He looked up in dazed anguish, just as a second shot was fired.

The bullet struck Anthony between the eyes. His head jerked backward, and he fell over his wife, dead.

Upstairs, the babies started to cry.

The gunman shoved his pistol back in his waistband. He knew the mob code like he knew his own name. No women. No children. Omertà.

A woman lay dead before him, the taunting evidence of a fuckup.

He took the steps two at a time.

Tucked in their cribs, the babies were still crying as their parents’ killer entered the nursery and hovered over them.

Not even the nightlight could eradicate the darkness.

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Excerpt from A Face to Die For by Andrea Kane. Copyright © 2017 by Andrea Kane. Reproduced with permission from Bonnie Meadow Publishing LLC. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Andrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-eight novels, including fourteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles. With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge—and keeping her readers up all night.

Kane’s first contemporary suspense thriller, Run for Your Life, became an instant New York Times bestseller. She followed with a string of bestselling psychological thrillers including No Way Out, Twisted, and Drawn in Blood.

Her latest storytelling triumph, A Face To Die For, extends the Forensic Instincts legacy where a dynamic, eclectic team of maverick investigators continue to solve seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement. The first showcase of their talents came with the New York Times bestseller, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, followed by The Line Between Here and Gone, The Stranger You Know, The Silence that Speaks and The Murder That Never Was.

Kane’s beloved historical romantic suspense novels include My Heart’s Desire, Samantha, The Last Duke, and Wishes in the Wind.

With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages.

Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She’s an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she’s either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.

              

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Follow the tour here.

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To enter the drawing for an ebook copy of
A Face to Die For, leave a comment
below. The winning name will be drawn
Saturday evening, September 30th, and
the book will be sent out after the tour ends.

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What About Killing Off a Main Character?

Marilyn Meredith’s published book count is nearing 40. She is one of the founding members of the San Joaquin chapter of Sister in Crime. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra, a place with many similarities to Tempe Crabtree’s patrol area. Webpage:  http://fictionforyou.com Blog:  http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/ and you can follow her on Facebook.

Before I get started, let me state that though I’ve bumped off a bunch of fictional folks in my books, I’ve never killed a main character. Nor have I ever considered it.

I’ve read books where on-going and important characters to the hero or heroine have been killed one way or another. In one, the character’s love interest was killed but miraculously returned in the next book. To me it was unbelievable because of the way he’d died. In a series I love, the wife of the hero dies. Heart wrenching, but it made for much angst on the part of the hero and some intriguing new twists in the following books. I don’t know whether I could do that.

I’ve had a couple of readers tell me to kill off Tempe’s husband, Hutch, because he’s too “straight-laced.” Well, after all, he is a pastor. Besides, because of his strong Christian beliefs, at times there has been conflict because Tempe has used various forms of Indian mysticism to help her solve crimes. Because Tempe and Hutch love and support one another, some conflict adds to the fun of writing for me as the writer.

Because I’ve said all that, who knows what might happen in the future? I never quite know what these characters I’ve had floating around in my mind for such a long time might have happen until I actually start writing about them again.

Recently, I had a friend ask how I remember what has happened in the past. To be honest, sometimes I have to go look back at a book to refresh my memory. But as far as how Tempe or Hutch might react to something, I have no problem knowing what each one might do. I’ve been hanging out with these two for so long, I even know how they think.

But as for killing off a main character, I have no plans to do that at the moment.

What do you writers and readers think about this?

Marilyn

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A Cold Death:

Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband answer the call for help with unruly guests visiting a closed summer camp during a huge snow storm and are trapped there along with the others. One is a murderer.

Anyone who orders any of my books from the publisher‘s website: http://mundania.com can get 10% off by entering MP20 coupon code in the shopping cart. This is good all the time for all my books, E-books and print books.

You can order books from many sources:

Barnes & Noble // Amazon // Indiebound // Mundania Press

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Contest: Once again I’m going to use the name of the person who comments on the most blogs on my tour for the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery—which may be the last in the series.

Tomorrow I’ll be here: www.sharonarthurmoore.blogspot.com with Deputy Tempe Crabtree and the Food She Eats

Book Review: Time Reavers by Jacob Holo

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Title: Time Reavers
Series: Time Reavers #1
Author: Jacob Holo
Narrator: Tess Irondale
Publication Date: July 13, 2017

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Purchase Links:

Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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Time Reavers
Time Reavers #1
Jacob Holo
Narrated by Tess Irondale
Holo Writing, July 2017
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

The monsters are real, and time is their weapon.

Fed up with bad teachers and daily fights with her sister, 16-year-old Nicole Taylor yearns for something better. Sadly, she’s in for a letdown, because the world ends next week.

Nicole discovers she has a rare gift. She can bend time around her and even stop it completely. With her powers awakening, she must face the Reavers: horrific killing machines that exist outside our time.

Plagued with nightmares and ambushed by monsters at every turn, Nicole has one chance to stop their genocidal invasion. With help from a chain-smoking pyrokinetic, a neurotic sword-wielding assassin, and an icy goth chick with a crossbow, she may stand a chance.

But the Reavers are tireless foes, and time is on their side.

The very first thing that came to mind when I started this audiobook was that Tess Irondale is one heck of a narrator. She had a rocking good story to work with but she goes way above and beyond most narrators. I have my favorites and, consistently, they all do terrific voices, distinctively and with energy and clear understanding of the characters. Ms. Irondale takes it a step further by doing amazing vocalization of other sounds; in this case, the story is full of roars and screeches and piercing screams and she does the best job with such sounds I’ve ever heard. I wonder if she had a sore throat after each recording session.

Now, as for the story, kudos to Mr. Holo who, first of all, seems to have the inside track on how a teenaged girl thinks and behaves. Nicole is refreshing and about as normal as she can be in her present circumstances. Daniel makes a nifty sidekick, if you will, and the other players are all just as interesting and appealing. And the plot? Well, put simply, these kids have to fight roving hordes of bugs. Bugs? Yes, bugs, the metallic, highly dangerous sort of insects that can freeze time and there’s literally something happening  in every chapter, so rapidly that there’s no time to get a real sense of place. That’s a little disconcerting but it somehow works in this tale, this fight for survival in which Nicole has discovered her power to manipulate time.

Time Reavers was just what I needed on a sleepy kind of day to wake me up and I thoroughly enjoyed this band of Tao guards as they fought to save the world, all with a snarky sense of humor. I do hope to see more of them in the not-too-distant future.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2017.

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About the Author

Jacob Holo is a former-Ohioan, former-Michigander living in sunny South Carolina.  He describes himself as a writer, gamer, hobbyist, and engineer.  Jacob started writing when his parents bought that “new” IBM 286 desktop back in the 80s.  Remember those?  He’s been writing ever since.

Author Links:

Website
Facebook
Instagram

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About the Narrator

Tess​ Irondale​ is a professional audiobook narrator and voice actress, credited with bringing ​nearly ​5​0 titles to life. ​She ​specializes ​in ​Fantasy, Adventure, and Erotica, although ​her​ work ​has covered​ nearly every genre including Young Adult, Humor, Spirituality, ​LGBTQ, Sci-Fi, Self Help and ​Mystery​. ​She is on Audible’s in-house voice roster, and ​also works directly with authors through ACX.​ When not in the recording booth, she can be found hiking in the woods or hunkered over a crossword puzzle.

Website

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Play an excerpt here.

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After discovering her ability to manipulate time, Nicole must fight
otherworldly insects preparing to attack the human world. Holo’s
(The Dragons of Jupiter, 2013) novel begins in a hectic rush, as
teenage Nicole finds herself seemingly the only moving person in a
world suddenly frozen in time…chapters rarely pass without a big,
life-or-death battle, which leaves the novel in a nearly
continuous intense state…—Kirkus Reviews

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Follow the tour here.

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GIVEAWAY

The giveaway is for a signed copy of Time Reavers.
Runs Sep. 20th-27th⎮Open to Continental US Only

Enter here.

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Book Review: Lockdown by Samie Sands

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