Tuesday 28 February 2023

Fool Her Once by Joanna Elm

 Book Details:

Book Title Fool Her Once (A Novel) by Joanna Elm
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +), 416 pages 
Genre:  Thriller
Publisher:  CamCat Books
Release date:   Feb, 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 + MThere's adultery, language, some sexual content, and violent crime, but no explicit descriptions of the crimes.
Book Description:

Some killers are born. Others are made.

​As a rookie tabloid reporter, Jenna Sinclair made a tragic mistake when she outed Denny Dennison, the illegitimate son of an executed serial killer. So she hid behind her marriage and motherhood. Now, decades later, betrayed by her husband and resented by her teenage daughter, Jenna decides to resurrect her career—and returns to the city she loves.

When her former lover is brutally assaulted outside Jenna’s NYC apartment building, Jenna suspects that Denny has inherited his father’s psychopath gene and is out for revenge. She knows she must track him down before he can harm his next target, her daughter.

Meanwhile, her estranged husband, Zack, fears that her investigative reporting skills will unearth his own devastating secret he’d kept buried in the past.

From New York City to the remote North Fork of Long Island and the murky waters surrounding it, Jenna rushes to uncover the terrible truth about a psychopath and realizes her own investigation may save or destroy her family.

Meet the Author:

Joanna Elm is an author, journalist, blogger, and attorney. Before the publication of her first two suspense novels (Scandal, Tor/Forge 1996); (Delusion, Tor/Forge/1997), she was an investigative journalist on the London Evening News on Fleet Street in the U.K. She also wrote for British magazines like Woman’s Own.

Then, she moved to New York where she worked as a writer/producer for television news and tabloid TV programs like "A Current Affair." She was also the researcher/writer for WNEW-TV’s Emmy-award-winning documentary "Irish Eyes." In 1980, she joined the Star as a reporter, eventually becoming the magazine’s news editor and managing editor before moving to Philadelphia as editor of the news/features section of TV Guide.

After completing her first two novels while living in South Florida, (Nelson DeMille described Scandal as “fresh, original and unpredictable”) Joanna returned to New York, enrolled in law school, graduated summa cum laude, passed the NY Bar exam, and worked as a principal law clerk for an appellate division justice in the prestigious First Department. She has been married to her husband Joe for 35 years and has one son.

connect with the author: website ~ instagram twitter ~ bookbub goodreads

Enter the Giveaway to Win print copies of FOOL HER ONCE by Joanna Elm (2 winners) (USA only) (ends Mar 27)
FOOL HER ONCE Book Tour Giveaway

Monday 27 February 2023

Five Fortunes by Barbara Venkataraman + Author Interview

Published by Next Chapter on the 1st February 2023.
A Teen and Young Adult novella about friendship.

Synopsis: When five fourteen-year-old girls get their fortunes from an arcade machine just for kicks, it turns their world upside-down and their close-knit group of friends starts to fall apart.

Misunderstandings abound as allegiances shift and outsiders start to come between them. The fortunes seem to be self-fulfilling prophecies - whether the girls believe in them or not.

Do our beliefs color our perception of the world? Do we ever see ourselves the way others see us, and why is change so hard?

Budding romance, angry bees, teenage fashion influencers, and parents who just don't get it make Barbara Venkataraman's 'Five Fortunes' a fun story you won't soon forget.

Buy @ Amazon UK / Amazon US 

Author Interview with Barbara Venkataraman

1) How did you begin your writing career?

I'd always been a voracious reader and would jot down ideas for stories, but the first book I actually finished was written for my two boys in 2010 when they were 9 and 12 years old. They were obsessed with playing video games so I wrote a story where they were sucked into a video game and had to solve puzzles and work with the characters to find their way home. In the end, the answer was in a book--subtle, I know. It became a fun family project.

In 2013, I was learning how to play the didgeridoo when I dropped it and cracked a glass tabletop. I realized that it could be a weapon and the title Death by Didgeridoo (which I read & reviewed here) occurred to me. It made me laugh so I started thinking about writing a cozy mystery with that title, and then I did. After that, I wrote 5 more Jamie Quinn mysteries. I plan to write a 7th one this year.

2) Do you have a dedicated creative space or can you write anywhere?

I'm a creature of habit and can only write at my desk, typing on my computer--but that doesn't mean I do all my thinking there. Inspiration can strike anywhere and I often have an epiphany while floating in the tub or pool. There's something about being immersed in water....If I have a thorny plot problem when I go to bed, I may wake up with the solution and that's always nice. As for character interactions, conversations can pop into my brain at any time, even while waiting in line for a taco. When that happens I have to quickly write it down so it doesn't disappear forever.

3) What inspired you to write Five Fortunes?

My 10-year-old niece and I wanted to write a story together so we came up with the idea of 5 friends getting their fortunes and how it would affect them. There's no magic involved, just self-fulfilling predictions and seeing what you want to see. Or don't want to see. We came up with the backstory for each girl and we cut pictures out of magazines for each one. We wrote two chapters together and then life got in the way. Eight years later, I decided to finish it myself. I wanted to write a story about teenage friendship and how to be there for each other, but I also wanted it to be fun and light.

4) Which of the five girls did you connect most strongly with?

Well, each girl is my alter ego in some way and I've felt all the emotions they feel, but Megan is the protagonist and I spent the most time with her in my head and on the page.

5) What do you hope readers will take away from this novel? 

It's a story about discovering not only who you are, but also who you can become.

Meet the Author

Award-winning author Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection. 

She is the author of the Jamie Quinn Cozy Mystery series, as well as: Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person; The Fight for Magicallus; If You'd Just Listened to Me in the First Place; Quirky Essays for Quirky People; and the Flash Fiction Shorts series.

She has won the Indie Book of the Day award twice, the Book of the Day Award, a gold medal for memoir in the Readers' Favorite Competition, was a finalist in the Kindle Book Awards twice, and won first place in the Amateur Detective category of the Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Mystery Writing Competition.

Her popular Jamie Quinn Cozy Mystery Series includes: Death by Didgeridoo, The Case of the Killer Divorce, Peril in the Park, Engaged in Danger, Jeopardy in July, and Malice in Miami.

Her non-fiction: Accidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland Four, is a memoir she co-authored with her son about lessons he learned while working to exonerate four men falsely accused of a terrible crime in the Jim Crow South.

Visit Barbara's Goodreads Blog and her Amazon Author Page

Enter the Giveaway

Win an ebook copy of Five Fortunes courtesy of the book's author, Barbara Venkataraman. Open internationally until the 10th March. Enter through the Gleam widget below.

Five Fortunes by Barbara Venkataraman giveaway

Friday 24 February 2023

Annalisse Series by Marlene M. Bell

Book Details:

Book Title:  Copper Waters - A New Zealand Mystery (Annalisse Series Book 4) by Marlene M. Bell
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +), 340 pages 
Genre: Mystery-Suspense
Publisher:  Ewephoric Publishing
Release date:   October, 2022
Content Rating:  G. Book is for general audiences. No profanity. No graphic scenes. Crimes described briefly after-the-fact. Mild and limited romance

Book Description:

Annalisse Drury and Alec Zavos find themselves on opposing sides when an ex-lover from Alec’s past introduces him to his alleged son. With Alec distracted and their future engagement in limbo, Annalisse accepts a key to her dream cottage—situated on a picturesque sheep station on South Island, New Zealand—only this time, she travels alone.

But not long after her arrival she’s confronted by two peculiar deaths—either accidental, or the deliberate acts of a psychopath.

Local investigators are closing the cases too quickly and want Annalisse to exit the country before she reveals the town’s darkest secrets.

Will she return to Alec, or sacrifice their future together to expose it all?


Tuesday 21 February 2023

When the Smoke Cleared by Bill Powers + Author Interview


Book Details:

Book Title When the Smoke Cleared (A Murder Mystery in Malden) by Bill Powers
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18 +),  400 pages
Genre:  True Crime
Publisher:  PowersCourt Press
Release date:  Oct, 2022
Content Rating:  PG-13 Some violence some profanity
Book Description:

There is no greater distinction or responsibility for a law enforcement officer than to be selected to investigate homicides. The same is true for a prosecutor. It is analogous to a call up to the big leagues where the curveballs or slapshots are frequent and more challenging, the lights are brighter, the audience larger and louder, and the scrutiny and demand for perfection can at times be a bit overwhelming.

This story follows an extraordinary murder investigation from the crime scene through to the arrest and into the courtroom. It is narrated by retired Detective Lieutenant Bill Powers, the former commander of the State Police Detective Unit for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts: 

"When the smoke from the fire cleared and the water level receded, it was visually evident that a violent struggle, quite possibly a homicide, had preceded the fire. But where was the victim? The waterlogged bloodstains in the function room told us it wasn’t likely they stood up and walked out the door. We were confronted with an unusual dilemma. We not only had to investigate what happened and develop probable cause to make an arrest, but we also had to locate the poor soul who had spilled so much of their blood.”

​Walk the path of the investigation with Bill and his team, and then follow in ADA Adrienne Lynch’s footsteps as she guides the trial from opening statements through to the final verdict; a truly unique accounting with a bird’s eye view.

Beyond a police and courtroom procedural, this story is about the personal struggles in the victim’s life and how her death impacted her family’s lives in ways no one could have foreseen. It is a love story that grew from unspeakable tragedy.

​Bill Powers writes from the heart because he spent twenty years living the life of a homicide investigator. He went to literally hundreds of death scenes and, while each made its mark, none had more of a personal effect on him than this case.
Buy the Book:
add to goodreads

Author Interview with Bill Powers
What makes this book different from others in the True Crime genre?
The book is written in my voice and from my vantage point because I was an active participant from the early stages of the investigation through the trial.  I know the facts, I know the players, and as the case progressed, I experienced the rhythm that develops and expands as a case moves forward from the crime scene to the courtroom and beyond. I am confident that anyone who reads the story will be completely absorbed in it.
The overwhelming majority of true crime stories I have read are written from the perspectives of folks who observed and listened from the other side of the crime scene tape or the back bench of a courtroom. All too often their storylines are spiced with a bit of revisionist history and/or some imaginary characterization of the people and the events.

Why did you pick this genre?
I believe an authors’ best work emerges when they write about what they know and have experienced. As a police investigator and supervisor, with well over a hundred homicide cases in my file drawer, I can write from a perspective and with a base of knowledge and authority that others cannot. To qualify as an expert witness in a court of law, a person must have the education, training and experience that allows them to offer their opinion on matters where others lack the credentials and competency. As a police officer, attorney, and lecturer with decades of practical participation in the criminal justice system, I know I pass the test in all three areas.

Who is your target audience?
Undoubtedly, the largest audience would be the folks that enjoy True Crime stories, particularly ones with storylines that incorporate police and courtroom procedurals. Beyond restating the facts of the case, the book dives deeply into the behind-the-scenes activities and offers great explanations about the process of investigating and prosecuting a murder case.
Additionally, and I think just as importantly, this book belongs on lists of recommended reads for high school and college programs that are filled with students interested in pursuing careers as police officers, lawyers, and forensic scientists. Students studying sociology and psychology would also benefit from this thorough coverage of a criminal mindset.

How long did it take to write your book?
That is a short question with an extended answer. I wanted to start writing about the case shortly after the trial concluded. I recognized that I lacked the skills and knowledge to do it justice. So, I took writing classes at a local college and added a few others at an adult education program in Cambridge. Then the necessities of family life and work put things on hold for more than a decade. Time passed, but the desire to write the story never waned. Seven years ago I engaged with a coach who took me from writing in “just the facts” style of police reporting to creating a story with a narrative voice, descriptive dialogue, and thorough character development. I often felt she was guiding me through a dark and cluttered forest and into daylight and open fields. The entire writing process with editing, beta-reads and multiple re-writes took six years to complete. It was long and tedious, but in the end as complete and rewarding as I ever could have hoped.  

If you could go back in time and share a drink and conversation with someone, who would it be?
Without hesitation; President John Adams. He was an extremely fair and humble man with a keen legal mind. He represented the common man in his political life and in the courtrooms of Massachusetts. He stood for what he believed to be right and always had the courage of his convictions. He was a primary author of both the Massachusetts and the U.S. Constitutions. 
I’d want to listen to his views and comments about the tumultuous political atmosphere of that era and how he and his compatriots were able to shape the U.S. Constitution with language and purpose that gained general acceptance by all of the colonies. I would then present him with a breakdown of today’s widely differing political  thoughts and agendas, constitutional interpretations and personal opinions of the words he wrote almost two-and-a-half centuries ago. Then I would sit back in my chair and listen, learn, and be utterly rivetted by his responses.
Our meeting would definitely require more than one night and one drink.

Meet the Author:

Bill Powers has been active in the Massachusetts law enforcement community since he joined the Massachusetts State Police in 1974. Over time he rose through the ranks and was promoted to the rank of Detective Lieutenant. He commanded the State Police Detective Units (SPDU) in both Middlesex and Suffolk Counties, where he had direct oversight and involvement in more than one hundred homicides. His State Police career came full circle when he was named Commandant of the Recruit Training Academy. He retired as the director of the Media Relations Section. Following his retirement, Bill was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the graduate program for forensic sciences at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). For the next seven years he lectured on criminal investigation and expert testimony to the graduate students. In addition, he produced training seminars for police investigators covering a wide variety of topics. Following his tenure at the BUSM he returned to the law enforcement profession as the Director of Public Safety at Wentworth Institute in Boston. Bill earned an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University with a major in Criminal Justice and a Juris Doctorate degree from the New England School of Law.

He resides South of Boston with his wife Jane. Their two daughters and their families live nearby. He has been blessed with five remarkable grandchildren who sparkle like bright stars in the night sky.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook goodreads
Enter the Giveaway to Win a $25 Starbucks Gift Card courtesy of the author of WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARED (A Murder Mystery in Malden) (one winner) (ends Mar 17)
WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARED by Bill Powers Book Tour Giveaway