Nov 172017
 

Act of Betrayal

by Matthew Dunn

on Tour October 23 – November 30, 2017

Synopsis:

ACT OF BETRAYAL by Matthew Dunn

In this riveting entry in the celebrated thriller series, former intelligence operative Will Cochrane—a “ruthless yet noble” (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram) man from whom “Bond and Bourne could learn a thing or two” (Madison County Herald)—comes out of hiding to expose a conspiracy involving a past assassination that reaches to the highest echelons of the U.S. government.

Three years ago, intelligence officer Will Cochrane was brought in by a Delta Force colonel to assassinate a terrorist financier in Berlin. After the job, the commander vanished, and hasn’t been heard from since. The details don’t quite add up, and one of the CIA agents who was involved has been investigating the mission. He reaches out to Will for help, but before they can connect, the CIA man is poisoned.

Will is determined to uncover the truth about Berlin, even if it means putting himself in the crosshairs. Framed for multiple murders, the skilled former spy has gone deep underground to evade his enemies and the feds. But honor and loyalty to his old colleague thrust him into danger once again.

When Marsha Gage at the FBI discovers that Cochrane—one of America’s Most Wanted—has resurfaced, she immediately launches a manhunt, and she won’t stop until she brings the former CIA/MI6 operative in.

With time running out, Cochrane will use all of his training and formidable skills to outmaneuver the FBI and uncover a shocking conspiracy that will rock the foundations of our nation . . . if he can stay alive.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: October 24th 2017
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062427229 (ISBN13: 9780062427229)
Series: Spycatcher #7
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

IT WAS PAST midnight as wind and rain pounded the exterior of the tiny bookstore in Chicago. The store was closed and its owner was sitting at his desk checking the week’s receipts. The task wouldn’t take long—his store specialized in rare works that he sourced from around the world. He had some loyal customers, but they were few. This week seven people had made purchases.

The only light in the room came from his green desk lamp, old-fashioned in design to match the ambience of the shop. Aside from some electronic devices on his desk and recessed lights that cast a discreet yellow glow when turned on, the place looked like it could have been a purveyor of fine works established and un- changed since the eighteenth century. He’d constructed it that way: dark maple bookshelves; many of the books leather bound, all of them hardcover; two armchairs for customers to sit in when perusing potential acquisitions; an urn for his more discerning patrons who valued his loose-leaf tea collection; and a cage for his two lovebirds.

He was an old-fashioned guy at heart.

And though he could have done with more cash coming in, he’d deliberately established a business and identity that drew little attention. He playacted a shy man, his trimmed beard intended to put up barriers between him and others, his shoulders artificially stooped during the day as if he were ashamed of his six-foot-four physique, his cropped blond-and-gray hair functional because he had no woman in his life to impress, and his unneeded glasses covering one green eye, one blue. He was always in a smart three-piece suit because the attire was good at hiding his athletic frame and scars. Customers thought he was Edward Pope, a gentleman scholar from the South. They’d probably estimate his age was late forties. They’d be wrong about that and most other things. He’d led a hard life and was forty-five.

His name wasn’t Edward Pope.

It was Will Cochrane.

The assassin. The one Sapper and Kane were terrified of.

He wasn’t from the Deep South. He was raised in Virginia and earned a double first-class degree at England’s Cambridge University. And he’d been a bookseller for only under a year.

But he had to be Pope. In the eyes of the world, Will was a murderer. He’d killed people as a special forces French Foreign Legionnaire and assassinated targets in French intelligence black operations. He had been the West’s prime joint operative with the CIA and Britain’s MI6 for fourteen years, until he went crazy and killed a lot of cops and civilians in the States before throwing himself off the Brooklyn Bridge and dying.

His death was essential. He was America’s Most Wanted. He wasn’t what some thought of him—a psychopath. But he was a former special operative and killer. Had been all his adult life. It started when he was seventeen and walked in on four criminals suffocating his mother and about to kill his sister. His mother died; sister didn’t, because he grabbed his mother’s carving knife and ended the criminals’ lives before fleeing to the Legion. He wished he didn’t know how many people he’d killed since. It would be a lie. He knew every victim. Their souls lingered around him, taunting him, reminding him of who he was.

All 263 souls.

But the souls of the people they say he killed in the States didn’t hassle him.

Because he didn’t kill them. He never killed innocents, only those who needed to be killed.

But in the eyes of the law, that’s not the case and that’s why he had to fake his death and reinvent himself. A year ago, his situation was desperate, despite all of his training and covert operations experience in hostile countries. He’d received only one bit of help, but it was significant. Russia’s most formidable intelligence officer, code name Antaeus—now, thanks to Will, a defector living in the States—had cleverly managed to get $300,000 into Will’s pocket. Will didn’t know exactly why he’d done it. After all, Will had accidentally killed his family with a car bomb when in fact he’d intended only to kill the spy. But he suspected he knew why the Russian had become his benefactor: Antaeus wanted his generosity to plunge the knife that was Will’s guilt deeper.

Regardless of Antaeus’s motives, the cash helped set up Will’s new life.

Will’s family and close acquaintances were all dead. He’d be given the needle if cops found out who he was. The West he’d served with unflinching duty had hung him out to dry. He thought of himself as a scavenging dog, kicked out of its owner’s backyard and left to fend for itself. He was resigned to that, every day expecting the Feds to rush into his store and put a bullet in his skull. That’s what they’d do. No attempt to arrest. No negotiations. Execution only. Will wouldn’t blame them. They knew he’d cause carnage if given the slightest of chances.

He finished his accounts, took a swig of Assam tea, and frowned as he heard the female lovebird make an unusual sound. Like her male companion, she resembled a small parrot, her plumage green and yellow, face and beak red, large eyes pure white with black pupils. He’d taken the birds off the hands of an old lady who frequented his store. Her son, a merchant marine officer, had brought them back from exotic climes, though she couldn’t remember where because she was suffering from dementia. And she could no longer look after them, particularly now that the male had broken his wing. Will hated seeing animals in cages. But the female wouldn’t leave the male’s side. And for the time being, the male had to be kept in the cage until he was fully recuperated. Then Will would release them to a large aviary or the wild.

Their previous owner couldn’t remember their names, so Will called the male Ebb and the female Flo. Flo was now agitated, hopping about as opposed to what she usually did, which was nestling her face against that of her lover. Will opened the cage, knowing Flo wouldn’t go anywhere while Ebb was there. The former special operative bowed his head. Ebb was all wrong, flopping on the base of the cage, his good wing twitching, his broken one immobile. Will knew he was dying and there was nothing he could do about it. What goes through a bird’s brain? He didn’t know. And he didn’t know whether lovebirds were in fact lifelong lovers or if that was a myth. But Will knew how he felt. He had to give Flo closure, let her be free, not allow her to think there was hope that Ebb would return to her. Gently he lifted Ebb. His body was warm but now limp. He carried him to the store’s backyard. Flo followed him. Will had hoped she would.

Will looked at Flo, who was perched close by on the branch of a tree. She was watching. It seemed she and Will didn’t know what to do.

“I have to let you know this is the end,” Will said to her. Actually, he was saying it to himself.

He snapped Ebb’s neck and buried him.

Flo looked at him before flying into the darkness. As tears ran down his face, he wondered if she hated him. Or maybe she understood. Of course, he’d never know.

He returned to his desk and stared at the birdcage. After brushing soil off his fingers, he looked at his laptop and saw he had a new e-mail. Nobody sent him mail apart from spammers.

But this one was different. And shocking. It was from CIA officer Unwin Fox, the man who, alongside Will, had been one of those involved in the Berlin operation. Aside from Colonel Haden, Will didn’t know who the other people on the small team were.

His heart was beating fast as he read the mail. Its tone was desperate. There was no way Fox could know that Will was alive. Something was terribly wrong. Fox wanted to meet. Tomorrow. In Washington, D.C.

In all probability it was a trap. Lure Will out, then bam! Swooped on by cops. But then again, Will knew what happened in Berlin. The law didn’t. This would have been far too implausible a tactic to entrap him.

What to do?

He looked at the lovebirds’ empty cage. The door was open. He glanced at the entrance to his store.

What to fucking do?

He opened the drawer in his desk, pulled out his handgun, grabbed his bag containing all he needed if he ever had to run, and left.

He knew he’d never return.

***

Excerpt from Act of Betrayal by Matthew Dunn. Copyright © 2017 by Matthew Dunn. Reproduced with permission from William Morrow. All rights reserved.

Matthew Dunn

Author Bio:

As an MI6 field officer, Matthew Dunn recruited and ran agents, coordinated and participated in special operations, and acted in deep-cover roles throughout the world. He operated in environments where, if captured, he would have been executed. Dunn was trained in all aspects of intelligence collection, deep-cover deployments, small-arms, explosives, military unarmed combat, surveillance, and infiltration. Medals are never awarded to modern MI6 officers, but Dunn was the recipient of a rare personal commendation from the secretary of state for work he did on one mission, which was deemed so significant that it directly influenced the success of a major international incident. During his time in MI6, Matthew conducted approximately seventy missions. All of them were successful. He currently lives in England, where he is at work on his next novel.

Learn More About Matthew Dunn On harpercollins.com!

Tour Participants:

Stop by these great hosts for reviews, and giveaways!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Matthew Dunn and William Morrow. There will be 5 winners of one (1) print copy of ACT OF BETRAYAL by Matthew Dunn. This giveaway is open to US & Canada addresses only. The giveaway begins on October 23 and runs through November 30, 2017.

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Nov 162017
 

Mary Maurice’s

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR

OF

BURTRUM LEE

Tour Begins November 13th!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Coated with a life of lies and deceit, Burtrum Lee Conner is sick to her stomach. Dozens of times throughout her life the feeling of not being who she is has tormented her. But she kept it to herself, believing that maybe it’s just a chemical imbalance of some kind considering she is one of the first artificially-inseminated babies of the nineteen sixties. Now, there’s more though, something much deeper, much more maniacal than she could have ever imagined. She’s not the first test tube baby at all, but the first….

Burtrum Lee Conner, born into a world of scientific mystery, discovers that the life she’s been leading for the past forty years, is the wrong one. Her parent’s Jed and Jane Conner, stealing her as an infant, brought Lee up as their own. Even her devoted grandmother, Clair Conner, kept this secret close to her chest until they were found out. And now, Lee Conner’s biological mother, Katie Lee, wants her back, but not before the diabolical Dr. Stone has his say.

BOOK DETAILS:

Genre: Scientific Mystery

Publisher: Silver Leaf Books LLC

Publication Date: August 28, 2017

ASIN:B07576YGKS

Pages 219

PURCHASE LINKS:

Mary Maurice

When I was a child growing up in the Detroit area, I thought I wanted to be a painter, and then as a teenager the idea of being a musician intrigued me, then as a young adult, I realized that I’m a writer.

After attending Western Michigan University for two party filled years, I decided to leave academia and explore the real world to learn what life is truly about. For fifteen years I’ve traveled the country working in restaurants, writing and doing readings wherever I was welcome.

While living in Minneapolis during my twenties, I was fortunate enough to be tutored by Dr. Jonis Agee, who was at the time head of the creative writing department at St. Catherine’s College in St. Paul. Her lessons were imprinted in me for all of these years, and have influenced my writing ever since.

My adventures landed me in San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, and Oregon, finally leading me to the Land of Enchantment where I’ve resided since 1994. Living in Santa Fe, and the beauty and isolation that surrounds me, has inspire my creative muse in ways that no other place has. While still working in the hospitality industry, my passion for the craft of writing has never been stronger. And I know with each sentence I write, and every paragraph I compose, my ultimate goal is to find the perfect word.

Keep on bookin!

Connect with Mary Maurice at these sites:

WEBSITE TWITTER

GUEST POST

Finding My Muse

When I awoke this morning I looked under my bed to see if my Muses had tucked themselves away while I wasn’t looking. But all I found were shoes. I went to the closet wondering if maybe that’s where they’ve disappeared. But all I found were coats. I strolled into my work-room, knowing it’s one of their favorite haunts, but all I found were words. Grabbing my aged dictionary, I flipped through the used pages and surfaced in the land of the M’s. It was there I found them. Hanging out next to their name: Muse-To become absorbed in thought. To turn something over in the mind meditatively and often inconclusively. To wonder, to marvel, to think or say something reflectively. The Nine Sisters in Greek Mythology. Inspiration! I ponder these definitions, and ask myself what do I think about the most? What do I turn over in my mind and think of obsessively? What does inspire me? And the same two words keep surfacing. My writing! I think I found my muse!

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Nov 132017
 

Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen Tour Banner

Snifter of Death

by Chris Karlsen

on Tour November 1 – December 2, 2017

Synopsis:

Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen

The summer of 1889 was proving to be a strange one for Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner.

They had a sexual pervert loose. The man didn’t actually harm women but threatened them at knife point, fondling them, and ultimately stealing their stockings.

Far more serious were the murders of influential men, which appeared random other than they were all killed by arsenic poison. Never had he and his partner had cases with so little workable evidence.

Also, the rivalry between him and his detective nemesis at London’s other police department was intensifying. That nemesis was the boxing champion of their department and looking to challenge Rudyard, who never trained as a boxer.

Besides Rudyard’s pride being at stake, and the pride of his station, his nemesis also had in his possession a photograph of the woman Rudyard cares very much for. The new lady in Rudyard’s life had captured his heart and he’d fight the devil himself to save her reputation.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Suspense
Published by: Books to Go Now
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 376
ISBN: 9781545211090
Series: The Bloodstone #2 | This is a Stand Alone Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Kobo 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Author Bio:

Chris Karlsen

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.

Interview

Welcome!
Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

Mostly from personal experience as I use historical settings and weave in my interpretation of events based on my experience along with the culture of the period.

In Journey in Time, there’s a scene where my heroine, a modern London attorney must conduct a trial where she is both prosecutor and defendant. The trial is before King Edward 111 in the year 1355. I used my experience testifying in court for that scene.

In Snifter of Death, the handling of much of my protagonist, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone’s police world, from the crime scene activity to the people he works with to victims, witnesses, and suspects all result from my experience as a detective.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I have the basic idea for the storyline in mind and the end. I write out an outline but I’m not married to it. I let the story take me to other places not in the outline. That said, the basic ending doesn’t change. I might add something to it, color it with another event or character’s involvement but it is what I planned when I started.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?

No, not in the Knights in Time series or in the Bloodstone series. In the Bloodstone series, there are colorful or background characters who reflect some of the people whose paths I crossed in my law enforcement career. But there isn’t one person I can point to in those books and say, “that is so and so.”

The only time I used a real life person was in a short story in an anthology I was part of this year. 12 authors got together to do an anthology for children’s cancer research. The series was called Code Redhead and my short story was called Moonlight Serenade. It is set in WW2 and the hero is based on my father. That is the one true person exception and I stated how it related to him in the author’s note.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I am not a morning person. I write in the afternoon and stop around 5 and spend the rest of the evening watching television with my husband.

Tell us why we should read this book.

Ruddy (Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone) is my favorite character to write. As a retired detective myself I was often asked about writing a cop story. But I never wanted to write a cop story, especially a contemporary one. Then I started thinking about putting a detective in a historical setting. I couldn’t imagine a more atmospheric city for murder and mystery than Victorian London. Once I began writing Ruddy, I found myself having a great time with him.

He’s a war hero who doesn’t think of himself as a hero. When asked, he just says he did what was necessary at the time. I was able to give him that typical droll/dry humor so common to cops. He is clever and observant, not much gets by him. But unlike Sherlock Holmes, he follows bad leads at times and isn’t perfect, which I really like about him. He has a sharp tongue, a short fuse, and a sometimes healthy and sometimes troublesome disrespect for administrators and politicians.

One of my favorite things about the Bloodstone series and this book is filling his world with colorful support characters. I love showing Ruddy’s nature and personality through his interaction with them.

He’s a man of his time and I try to make the politics and culture of Victorian England almost another character. Ruddy and his associates live and function in a world with a strict class structure and that is an interesting aspect to address. He must work within the confines of the social mores but that can never take over the story. I enjoy using that element to enhance the plot and action.
-Who are some of your favorite authors?

I love Bernard Cornwell, Julie Anne Long, Julia Quinn, Michael Connolly, and enjoy much of John Sanford.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading Sharpe’s Rifles by Cornwell as my current wip (a historical romance with time travel element and book 5 in my Knights in Time series) has a section that is set in the Peninsula War. I wanted to get a feel for that war. Behind it, I have The Crossing by Michael Connolly. I love his Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller characters. After that, I have a Julia Quinn book, “The Girl with the Make Believe Husband.”

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

As I mentioned in the previous answer, I’m working on book 5 in my Knights in Time series. That is a historical romance series with a time travel element. My heroine in this story is a modern English doctor. A group of scientists near where she lives are working on a time travel project. She accidentally crosses into one of their experiments and is caught in a time tear where she is sent back to medieval England.

While the scientists continue to try to find a way to bring her home, she begins to fall in love with a medieval knight. As she and the knight are working out if they have a future, the scientists engage another system to bring her home. However, there’s a glitch. She and the knight don’t make it to modern England but find themselves in 1815 and surrounded by the French and English armies at Waterloo.

The hero and heroine have to escape before they’re killed by one or the other battling armies. Then they have to figure out how to get back to England and get word to the scientists who now have no idea where they are in time.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Karl Urban as Rudyard Bloodstone
Elizabeth Taylor as Honeysuckle Flowers
Thomas Craig as Archie Holbrook (Ruddy’s partner)
Hugh Bonneville as Henry Jameson (Superintendent of Ruddy’s police station)
Clive Standen as Will Bloodstone (Ruddy’s brother)
Myanna Buring as Graciela Robson

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Reading, dinner with friends (theme dinners are especially fun), and just watching television.

Favorite meal?

Toss up: French onion soup or crab and/or lobster bisque, crab cakes or scallops, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, tiramisu or any French pastry.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Catch Up With Chris Karlsen On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Read an excerpt:

“What address do you show for the Cross family?” the Vicar asked. Her mind went completely blank. Finally, she blurted the only one that came to her, which was no doubt wrong. “Park Lane.”

The Vicar smirked. Not smiled. Smirked. That meant it had to be wrong.

“I suggest you start there. In the meantime, I will have my housekeeper escort you out. I don’t know what you’re playing at but I don’t care for mischief. You’ll do your soul a good turn to drop a coin in the poor box on your way to the street.” He rang a small bell on his desk and the housekeeper came. “See this lady out.”

Graciela stood on the top stair of the chapel cursing her luck when a man’s disturbingly familiar laugh interrupted her thoughts. She took a quick step to the left and flattened herself against one of the portico pillars. The horrible laugh rippled over from close by. It sounded like Detective Bloodstone’s from the morning she’d bailed out Addy. He’d said something that sent the shine boy scampering away and had all the detectives snickering, including Bloodstone.

Taking a deep breath, she peered around the edge of the pillar expecting to see the detective. His presence would’ve been the perfect end to this entire St. Jude’s Chapel mission-turned-catastrophe. To her great relief, it came from a carriage driver. She hadn’t noticed a group of them gathered at the corner waiting to be hired. Graciela, you had no reason to be frightened. You’d done nothing wrong. Stop being such a ninny.

She left the church and headed home. Zachary would be getting up from her nap soon. The whole way home she questioned her luck. A dozen people are murdered every day in London.

How hard can it be to kill someone?

***

Excerpt from Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen. Copyright © 2017 by Chris Karlsen. Reproduced with permission from Chris Karlsen. All rights reserved.

Tour Participants:

Stop by these great hosts for guest posts, interviews, reviews, and giveaways!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Chris Karlsen. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on November 1 and runs through December 4, 2017.

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Oct 272017
 

A Daughter’s Promise
by Fran Lewis
on Tour October 1 – December 1, 2017

 A Daughter’s Promise by Fran Lewis

Synopsis:

This story is about a promise I made to my mother to take care of her through her Alzheimer’s disease nightmare. The book includes my mother’s own thoughts from her journal about her ordeals with the various stages of this debilitating and dehumanizing condition. Her outlook on life was remarkable, and although her mind began to wander, she never lost sight of who she was, her sense of humor, or her family. This is the story of someone whose courage went beyond what most people could endure, and whose never-dying zest for life kept her alive. I hope our story will help others in coping with this difficult and demanding affliction.

Read my review and enter the giveaway HERE

Book Details

Genre: Memoir

Published by: Edit Pros

Publication Date: July 2017

Number of Pages: 147

ISBN-10: 1937317404

ISBN-13: 978-1937317409

Purchase Links: Title on Amazon Title on Barnes & Noble Title on Goodreads

Author Bio:

Fran Lewis

Fran Lewis is the author of the Bertha and Tillie Series, Faces Behind the Stones series and a series of books on Alzheimer;s and Caregiving. She has three master’s degrees, worked as the reading and writing staff developer and dean of a NY CITY PUBLIC SCHOOl for over 36 years and remains in touch with her students. She is an avid reader and reviewer and has her own show on blog talk radio: Literary Viewpoints with Fran Lewis. Fran created her own Magazine MJ magazine in memory of her sister Marcia Joyce and her radio network too: MJ network.

Fran’s Website | Fran’s Twitter | Fran’s Facebook

Guest Post

What is one bit of advice that you would give someone that is the caretaker of a parent with Alzheimer’s?

Being a caregiver is a full time responsibility and the person that you are caring for needs full time help with just about every personal, physical need that is required on a daily basis.

You as the caregiver must understand that a person with Alzheimer’s goes through many phases or stages and at times will say and do things that are inappropriate. You cannot get angry. Most of the time I just smiled or laughed at my mom’s words and she did too. As a caregiver you cannot forget that you are entitled to free time too and your family needs to help out at times if you want to just go out for breakfast with a friend or get your hair and nails done.

Choosing the right person from an agency to help you required research, planning and someone that is trained in working with people with Alzheimer’s. The one thing I did do when I realized my mom was losing her memory is label things around the house and ask her to read what they are and show me what it was that she read. I took photos of family and friends and asked her to help me place them in albums and I told her to tell me who she thinks the person is or was. This helped keep her mind active. When asking her what she wanted to eat I along with the home health aides would give her two choices, boot up pictures on our phones and she would decide for herself. This worked most of the time. She went out daily with the aides and I would often accompany them on their journey around the area. She would remember where she lived and when we went into a store it was hysterical she would pick out what I should buy for myself and dared me to choose something else. She was tough, she was smart in her own way she was the glue that held us together until she fell apart.

Before you even think or decide to place a person in a facility you need to visit every one of the homes closest to where you live at different times and observe the residents. Some that are just there because they are in assisted living are aware of their surroundings and can take care of themselves. You need to visit all of the floors that have patients with Alzheimer’s and see the different levels of care. You won’t believe what you will see and you might decide to make the same promise I did Never to put my mom in any facility. If you choose an agency and have aides at home you need to monitor them, make sure they are vetted and have background checks and put a nanny cam in every room to monitor them.

I am also going to include my kindness tips:

Discussions and Tips

a. I find that speaking slowly and softly in a calm voice does help to calm the person down.
b. Speaking in simple sentences and short phrases does help
c. Repeating something in different ways sometimes helps her to understand what she needs to do: It is a simple as saying Open or Open your mouth instead of eat this or trying to explain to her that she needs to eat.
d. I always call her by her first name or of course Mom to get her attention: at this point she still knows who she is when you call her. She does not always say her name or respond verbally when asked who she is.
e. Always be positive and smile at the person. Do not let them think that you are angry with them. They are not at fault and cannot control or help their behaviors.

Kindness Tips

1. Always say good morning when entering a patient’s room
2. Address the patient by name and tell the patient your name
3. SMILE!
4. Explain the task you are going to perform before you do it and explain the task as you are performing. Patients are often leery or afraid of strangers and need to feel confident and safe with you.
5. If a patient needs assistance bathing, eating or walking help them and do not leave them before they complete the task.
6. Patients that need help eating: You need to make sure that person eats and are fed. Make sure that you do not leave the tray untouched and if you have to feed the patient you need to do it with kindness and patience.
7. Ask the patient if they need help dressing or assistance going to breakfast or any other area of the home or hospital
8. If you are bringing magazines or books allow the person to choose
9. Never speak to a patient as if they were a small child
10. Speak to people with respect and as an adult
11. Making sure that the person’s environment is safe
12. Make sure you have a list of things that need to be done for that person and complete them

1. Meet with other volunteers and discuss their successes
2. When you speak to a patient make sure that you make eye contact and have their attention
3. Speak at eye level and speak clearly
4. Use simple and direct statements
5. Never raise your voice
6. Include the person in your conversation: Talk to the person not at the person
7. Never speak to them as if they are a third party and not in the same room
8. Speak to them as an adult not a small child
9. Listen to their concerns and show a lot of understanding
10. Never leave a patient in distress

Read an excerpt:

Part One

A Daughter’s Promise

Reading has always been the way for me to escape to other worlds, learn about many different places, and expand my knowledge of so many subjects. With a notepad in hand and several pens at the ready, I begin reading the many books that authors send me each day. Detailing the plot, the characters, and taking notes throughout, I create a perfect analysis of the book.

Remembering what my mom had told me, to always look for that special message in the book and create that first paragraph to stimulate reader interest, I begin my review. Perfection: that’s what she always told me. Each piece of writing, each assignment had to be done to the standards set by my teachers and professors, and then pass the highest test: mom’s. I remember coming out of school one night, and she stuck her hand out waiting to see what I’d gotten on my midterm in one of my graduate courses in administration. I still smile when I remember what happened. I left out one question and got a 98, and I told mom what I did wrong and the right answer. But, the professor was so frustrated with most of the other students that she had to revamp the scores by adding ten points to everyone’s test scores just to have more students pass, so mom was satisfied with my 108. And, of course, on the final I did get 100 and an A in the class, because it was what was expected of me by myself, and of course, mom.

Till this day I still create my reviews, my schedule for my radio show, and anything else that I decide to venture into, like the MJ magazine in memory of my sister Marcia Joyce, with the understanding that my work has to stand up to the highest standards. The articles, reviews, stories, and issues that are published should be equal to those of any credible magazine on the newsstands.

So, mom, it’s been five years and it seems like yesterday. I hope I will continue to make you proud of me. You taught me well. Yes, I never leave the house without looking my best. You were my mom, my mentor, and my best friend. You will always be here for me in spirit.

Today you would have celebrated your 89th birthday with a special red rose and your favorite chocolate cake. Your blue eyes and your great smile would light up the room, and of course the presents we would give you would make you proud. You taught us never to give up on our dreams, nor settle for less than we want in our lives. You made sure that you listened when we felt down and needed a guiding hand to rise back up. You never faltered and never passed judgment. You were our mother, our guide, and our best friend. Rules were made and enforced, but never with an iron hand. Explanations were given for your requests, and we all followed suit and showed you the respect you deserved.

When you became ill we all rallied together as a family to make sure you remained at home and received great help. We were truly blessed to have Joyce, Joan, Laurel, Pat, Tessa, Loretta, and Getty to take such good care of you and, of course, someone we all miss and loved, Veronica Collins, your case manager, who made sure that you were safe and protected by the best aides in the world from Partners in Care. So, mom, happy birthday, and let the sun shine tomorrow so we know that you are still watching over us and protecting Marcia, who is with you now. We miss your wisdom, your guidance, the huge grey mobile that you drove anywhere you were needed, as the taxi driver for your friends, and the orange mobile that my reading students loved when you picked me up or drove me to school. I made a promise and vowed that I would do everything in my power to care for you, keep your mind and body active, and never even consider the one thing so many others do—placing you in a nursing home.

The circle of life begins on the day you are born and ends when you close your eyes for the last time and take your last precious breath.

Ruth Swerdloff started her life on November 22, 1927, and became a part of a loving, nurturing family that would remain intact for the first two years of her life until the loss of her mother, when things would change. But, Ruth was special from the start, and although facing her first obstacle at the age of two, losing a parent, she somehow learned to accept the change with the help of her sister, Tova, and three brothers, Kenny, Irving, and Harry. This is her story. This is where her circle of life begins.

Excerpt from A Daughter’s Promise by Fran Lewis. Copyright © 2017 by Fran Lewis. Reproduced with permission from Fran Lewis. All rights reserved.

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Oct 242017
 

Killer Holiday

by Amy Korman

on Tour October 23 – November 30, 2017

Synopsis:

Killer Holiday by Amy Korman

Kristin Clark and her offbeat crew of Bryn Mawr socialites are ready for a fun and festive winter holiday—one that involves sipping martinis by a crackling yule log, hot guys beneath the mistletoe, and Gucci under the Christmas tree. But this year, Old Saint Nick has something more dangerous in store. A stranger dressed in a Santa suit has Kristin’s friends on his naughty list. First, Sophie’s favorite handbag is blasted by a bullet. Then, Father Christmas shatters her brother Chip’s car window with a golf club and leaves a threatening note demanding fifty grand. Both are convinced it has to be a mistake. But when Chip goes missing, the stakes become deadly. Eula Morris is also back in town for the holidays, more bossy and boastful than ever after winning a mega-jackpot in the lottery. She’s returned from a luxury cruise around the world with a handsome new boyfriend (who looks oddly familiar…) and a Samsonite suitcase filled with gold bars. When the suitcase is snatched, Eula implores Kristin and the team to track it down. Where is Chip? Why is a vengeful Santa targeting the gang? Who stole Eula’s suitcase? And how are these events linked? The WASPs and Kristen’s basset hound Waffles are on the case—before this white Christmas turns even darker…

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: October 24th 2017 by Witness Impulse
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062431366 (ISBN13: 9780062431363)
Series: A Killer WASPs Mystery, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Amy Korman

Author Bio:

Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and author of Frommer’s Guide to Philadelphia. She has written for Town & Country, House Beautiful, Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. Killer WASPS is her first novel.

Interview

Welcome!
Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
The main character in Killer Holiday, antiques dealer Kristin Clark, is always stumbling into crime scenes with her friends, which doesn’t happen to me in real life—fortunately! And I’ve never had the good luck to own a charming shop like Kristin, but I’ve had plenty of bad part-time jobs like Kristin does. Also, Kristin and her friends find themselves on last-minute, impulsive trips to the Jersey Shore pretty frequently, and who doesn’t love a good road trip in real life? And, I love to include current trends that I find funny, cool and unlikely for the characters I write about, like the current obsessions with barbecue and artisanal booze that Holly and the Colketts are into in Killer Holiday.

My Killer Wasp series is set in a fictional version of the Philly suburbs, which is a beautiful place filled with cute small towns, farms, and of course the occasional country club like the ones in the books. I’ve lived my whole life in this area, so I combined some of my favorite parts of amazing towns like Lambertville and Frenchtown, NJ, with the real area known as the Main Line of Philly to create a version of Bryn Mawr.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I like to know where the story and Kristin and her friends are headed! Detours happen, but the route and destination are fairly well mapped out.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
The character of Kristin is much more free-spirited than I am—and she’s younger, more of a risk-taker, and even though she worries that her friends are going to land her in risky situations, she’s careful but fearless.
I wish I had the free time and energy Kristin and her friends have to do stakeouts, break-ins, and pose as hotel staff and postal employees. I don’t base characters on real people, but I’ve always liked the country clubbing types that are featured in the books, and I love confident, sporty tennis girls like Bootsie, since I personally can’t play at all! I also really enjoy being around world-weary, slightly bitter types like Joe, who’s secretly an optimist.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
JUST DO IT works for me, as soon as I can get to my desk first thing in the morning. Think positive and be fully caffeinated!

Tell us why we should read this book.
Killer Holiday is light, escapist, and transports you to a world where the biggest problem is a stolen suitcase full of jewelry and gold that a lottery winner named Eula “forgot” to declare at Customs when stepping off a round the world cruise. There’s mystery in Killer Holiday—where is Bootsie’s missing brother Chip, and will his left eyelid get chopped off if he doesn’t come up with fifty grant by Christmas?—but there’s also “drama lite” such as Kristin and her friends needing to convince two upscale party planners that most people don’t want fancy food and DO want baked ziti and pulled pork at a holiday party.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse are timeless, smart, inventive and hilarious.

What are you reading now?
Jan Karon’s To Be Where You Are. So sweet and positive.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m working on a tropical mystery with an unlikely group of criminals and detectives, with margaritas and sunshine to keep things light.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Prince Carl Phillip of Sweden would be the perfect Mike Woodford! I think he’s busy being a gorgeous, dashing prince though.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
There’s nothing better than walking our basset hound, and love to jog, work on my veggie garden, and head to concerts. We’ve also been taking Murphy the dog on weekend getaways, since he loves a road trip.

Favorite meal?
Chocolate, especially dark and with almonds. Is that a meal?
CM: A girl after my own heart. I think chocolate should be served with every meal! 🙂

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Catch Up With Ms. Korman On: amykorman.com 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Bootsie McElvoy burst through the front door of The Striped Awning, a bag of ice in her right hand and the biggest bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon I’ve ever seen in her left. She dug into her L.L. Bean tote for a bottle of red wine, a shaker of nutmeg, and a bag of fun-size candy canes, all of which she deposited next to a display of 1940s barware near the front of my antiques store.

“Kristin, it’s December fifteenth, which means it’s time for you to start offering shoppers a specialty cocktail the minute they set foot inside your store,” Bootsie told me. “I’m going to mix up a batch of the Delaney family Christmas drink, the Bourbon Blitzen, which never fails to produce a White Christmas vibe. One sip and you’ll feel like you’re singing and dancing with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye at a snowy Vermont inn. This should double your sales totals for the month.”

“Thanks!” I said gratefully, since Bootsie’s family’s boozy drinks are known throughout our village of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, for their potency and tendency to produce unwise purchases.

“The drinks sound good, but you’re also going to need about four thousand more of these pinecones, triple the greenery, and eight hundred additional strands of lights,” Joe Delafield informed me; he’d arrived twenty minutes earlier to help me decorate my store for the Christmas rush.

To lure in passing foot traffic, I’d brought in armloads of holly and spruce branches from my backyard (cost: free, thankfully), spray-painted pinecones silver (the paint was only $5.28 at the hardware store), and added some cheerful-looking blinking white lights. This would probably bring tons of holiday shoppers through my front door!

Joe paused, eyeing the room with his signature critical stare. “The effect I’m going for is that a bunch of HGTV-crazed elves with subscriptions to Veranda magazine snuck in and decorated for four straight days. Gerda, we’re going to need the blinking lights to stop blinking, pronto. Pull the plug, please.”

Joe’s assistant for the day was the eponymous owner of Gerda’s Bust Your Ass Gym, which is housed inside the beauty salon across the street. Since Gerda stands a lofty six feet tall in flats (or sneakers, which is her usual footwear, since fancy shoes aren’t her style), she’d agreed to hang ornaments, bringing her signature grim attitude to the proceedings.

“Cute idea,” Bootsie observed, casting a dubious stare at my front window, which was filled with antique silver-plated candlesticks, flatware, and wineglasses. “Is that your holiday inventory?”

“Nobody going to want that stuff,” said Gerda, who moved here from her native Austria a few years back. Gerda, who’s incredibly muscular and brings in sell-out crowds at her Pilates classes, isn’t the most tactful person in the world. “People want, like, scarves and Fitbits and iPhones.”

I sighed, knowing Gerda was right. Those were the gifts on most holiday wish lists.

“Luckily, I’ve solved all your problems,” Bootsie told me. “I ran into Eddie from the Pub this morning, and he needs a place to hold some late-night poker tournaments this month, so I brokered a deal for The Striped Awning. You’ll be hosting twice-weekly games from 10 p.m. till 1 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays till Valentine’s Day.”

“What!” I erupted, alarmed by this idea. “First of all, that doesn’t sound legal.”

“It’s fine,” she told me, waving away my concerns. “I mean, it’s not like it will be a professional betting operation. Eddie’s limiting each night to ten players and three hours. Some cards, a few drinks, a few small wagers. What could go wrong?”

“A lot!” I said. “They’ll blow cigar smoke and drop Dorito crumbs everywhere. Not to mention get arrested for operating a casino without a license. A lot could go wrong!”

“You worry too much,” Bootsie informed me dismissively. “Plus, he’ll pay you two hundred dollars a night.”

I opened my mouth to respond, but no words came out. Bootsie knew she had me—there’s no way I can refuse an extra four hundred dollars a week, even if it puts me on the wrong side of the state gaming commission.

Just then, though, the front door was thrown open by one Sophie Shields, a tiny blonde who at the moment was looking slightly wild-eyed.

“Ya won’t believe what just happened!” shrieked Sophie. “The Colketts were helping me put up curtains in my new dining room, since Joe here never finished decorating my place—and the curtains are orange silk, by the way, they’re totally Elle Decor meets a J. Lo red-carpet gown. So Tim and Tom Colkett were talking paint colors when I heard a horn honking, so I opened the front door, thinking it was the delivery boy from the Hoagie House. I figured I’d go out and pay the driver, when boom!

“A guy dressed as Santa leaned out of the driver’s seat of a black SUV that had pulled right up in my driveway and aimed a gun at me and the Colketts!” The Colketts are the town’s leading landscape designers, who’ve lately turned their talents to party planning and interior design.

“Then the guy yelled, ‘Hey, Sophie, this one’s from your ex, Barclay!’ and shot my favorite handbag!” Sophie finished. “I was reaching into it to pay for the hoagies, thank goodness, so it acted as a protective shield. Also, I think maybe this Santa guy doesn’t have great aim.”

We all stared at her for a moment.

“Are you sure, Sophie?” said Bootsie finally. “Because this sounds like BS.”

“Yeah, Sophie, maybe you been hitting the wine bottle today,” seconded Gerda. “I know the Colketts are day drinkers. Maybe you been guzzling alcohol, too.”

“It’s true!” Sophie bleated. “Just look at this Ferragamo satchel! If it hadn’t had gold hardware to block the trajectory of the bullet, me and the Colketts would have been toast!”

***

Excerpt from Killer Holiday by Amy Korman. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Korman. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Tour Participants:

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Amy Korman and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of KILLER PUNCH by Amy Korman. The giveaway begins on October 23 and runs through December 3, 2017.

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