Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Who's For Dinner Fridays, and Saturday Sampler.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

If I Were A Mobster with Chrys Fey


Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive or will he be their next victim?


To celebrate, 30 Seconds, the follow up story, is on sale for 99 cents!

Sale Oct. 21st – Nov. 4th



Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series (Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes), as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press: 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

As part of this blogfest, Chrys asked us to image ourselves as mobsters. 

Listen up, youse guys. This here’s my turf. Dee-troit, Michigan. And nobody messes with Mary O’Toole.

Hands off, youse filthy urchins. You get a scratch on me Duesenberg, I’ll take out m3 trusty 44 Magnum (yeah, like Dirty Harry) and blow youse guys away.

They don’t call me Dirty Mary for nuttin’. I’m the baddest moll in Chips O’Toole’s gang. He’s me boy, see? So whatever I say goes. Now get on outa here. Go play in traffic.

Click HERE to see who else is playing mobsters.

Now please hop around to the other participants:

Monday, October 17, 2016

#Michigan Mini-Vacay

map credit: Bruce Jones Design
If you noticed last Monday, I didn't post my usual "musings." Hubs and I took a mini-vacation. We started out by driving across the state to the western Detroit suburbs for our good friends' 50th wedding anniversary then to my sister's to celebrate my birthday. From there, we drove north past Bay City (between the Thumb and "fingers) then along the Lake Huron shoreline. For all the years we've lived in Michigan, I can't believe we'd never done that before. We were in no hurry. Our destination was Mackinaw City at the fingertip of the Lower Peninsula. Lovely drive, resort towns similar to those on the Lake Michigan side, fewer trees.

Speaking of trees, we hoped to see the color changes. Not so much. Not sure if there was/will be a peak this year. In fact the best color was outside our motel window in Cadillac on the way home-- two brilliant red maples between two evergreens.

At Mackinaw City, we took the ferry over to Mackinac Island. (Yes, the spellings are correct--Mackinac was the French spelling, while Mackinaw City kept the English spelling; both pronounced the same: Mack-i-naw.) For a special treat, the ferry took us under the Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Upper and Lower Peninsula..

Fudgies, as tourists are called because of all the fudge shops, overwhelm the island in the summer. Even in the fall, full ferries dropped off passengers then turned around to return for more. No cars are allowed on the island. Pedal power (feet, bikes) and carriages are the way to get around. We took a carriage tour. These Belgians pulled our carriage.

Hubs, who hadn't been to the island in over thirty years, kept remarking about the changes--more buildings, newer paved roads. I'd been there five years ago with my sisters and cousin. Usually oblivious, I noticed some changes, too. The carriage driver gave us history and little tidbits of info along the route, including the fact that the horses are raised and trained by the Amish.

Of course, we had to stop at a fudge shop (mint chocolate and dark chocolate macadamia nut) and some souvenir shops (for the grandkiddies) before heading for the ferry dock and back to Mackinac City. Usually, I like riding on the top deck. Not this time. With the strong wind and water spray, we stayed on the enclosd lower deck rather than get soaked.
photo credit: Sheplersferry.com
The next morning, we headed to Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula. That meant crossing the Mackinac Bridge. I love looking at it from a little park.

Driving across the bridge is another story. At the center between the two towers, the road bed is 200' above the water. Since heights are a bit of a problem for me, we usually don't drive next to the rail. But then we have to contend with the "hum" from tires on grating. Open grating, through which you can see the water. I can't get across fast enough. The no-passing, 35 mph speed limit (and road construction) slows traffic. Not complaining, mind you. When I was a kid, the bridge wasn't there. The only way to the Upper Peninsula (besides driving around Lake Michigan through Chicago and Wisconsin) was a car ferry. Often the wait for the ferry extended two to three hours. As we rode the ferry, we watched the bridge being built.

photo credit: saultstemarie.com
Another favorite place for both of us is Sault Ste. Marie, the Soo--the terminus of I-75 (and the "deer's" hip). It's claim to fame is the Soo Locks. Lake Superior connects with Lake Huron via the St. Mary's River, which falls 21 feet. The locks enable ships to travel between the lakes. From the observation platform, you can watch ships enter the locks and the water raise or lower them. You can also take a boat tour and go through the locks yourself. We've done that enough times that just watching from the platform is enough.

While we were there, two ships went through the locks.In the front of this picture is the empty MacArthur lock, behind is a freighter (distinctive red color with the white pilot house in back) entering the Poe, the longest/largest of the locks that's capable of handing the thousand-footers. As boats approach the locks, an announcement is made alerting visitors. This freighter was carrying iron ore for the steel mills near Chicago. What's the fascination of watching boars going up and down? Hubs used to work at a steel mill near Detroit. His company was the recipient of many loads of iron ore from Minnesota. Without the locks, the cost of transporting the iron by rail would have been much more expensive.

My fascination is a little different. Several years ago, during a visit to the locks, my writer brain went into that "what if" place. What if something happened to the locks? Either an accident or deliberate. That story is still percolating. But each trip Up North (as we Michiganders call it), that story is coming more to the fore. First, I need to finish The Case of the Meddling Mama (Alex O'Hara mystery #3) and one more Outer Rim novel.

I guess it's obvious I love traveling around our state. Besides just enjoying the scenery, I always find ideas for new stories.

*Note:unless otherwise noted, the credit for the pictures belongs to me.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

#8Sunday #WeWriWa THE PILOT

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warrior and 8 Sentence Sunday time, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Writers share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other writers. You can find them here.

Today my snippet is again from The Pilot (An Outer Rim Novel: Book 1). The Outer Rim series is about strong women on the frontier of space. Last week, Trevarr confiscated Celara's vessel and cargo. We continue from there. Please forgive all the "saids" and commas used to fit the required length.

Trevarr watched the small fem’s mouth work furiously, until she found her voice, stomped up to him and said, “You can’t do that, I haven’t done anything wrong.”
The Security detail stepped forward to intervene, but he signaled for the guards to lower their weapons and remain alert. While she held no weapon, he could not be certain one was not hidden in the various pockets of her roomy shirt or the trousers she’d tucked into high-top black boots--boots small enough to fit a child.
“You did not stop for an inspection when ordered to do so.” Though she hollered “What?” he went on, “You repeatedly ignored a direct order from Coalition Security . . . near the Ytersigon Asteroid Field.”
“How do you know about that--never mind--that vessel had no identification, they didn’t use an official comm channel--they were pirates, not Coalition.”
“No, Coalition, and you should have responded. Had you allowed the ship to dock with yours, you would have been presented with proper identification . . . you should not have run.”

“What?” She stood hip-shot. “I should just open my airlock to anybody?”

Life on the frontier of space is hard enough for a freighter pilot, so when pirates stole Celara d'Enfaden's cargo, she vowed not to be tricked again. Determined to make an example out of indie pilots who disobey orders, Coalition Administrator Trevarr Jovano impounds Celara’s starship and cargo. If he backs down, he’ll lose respect. If she can’t deliver her cargo, she’ll default on her loan and lose her only home—her ship. More important than her ship, though, is her brother. To rescue him from a galactic gangster, she’ll even work with Trevarr who’s bent on avenging his wife’s murder.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Meet Author Susan Coryell

It's a pleasure to welcome Susan Coryell to my blog today. I've known Susan via Authors Helping Authors for several years. Here she is to tell us her story.

A retired English teacher, I have enjoyed using my new leisure time to write. Long married to my high school sweetheart, I have three children and seven grands. My husband and I live at beautiful, rural, bucolic Smith Mountain Lake in Southern Virginia. I look out from my wee writer’s loft onto pristine blue waters encircled with a wreath of green-covered foothills. Nice inspiration!

Lucky to live on a lake, I spend leisurely hours kayaking, boating, jet-skiing and just plain dock-sitting and enjoying the scenery and action. Each winter hubs and I visit our youngest son and his family in Hawaii for six weeks or more. Smart boy to marry a Hawaiian! We love to spend time with our other kids and grands on the East Coast. A member of two book clubs and writers’ groups, I also practice yoga and join the ladies weekly for golf.  I have to discipline myself to spend time writing.

Readers can connect with me via Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Coryell-Author-149075331807592/
Twitter: @SCoryellAuthor.  Blog: www.susancoryellauthor.blogspot.com
Website: www.susancoryellauthor.com

I have always known I am a writer. In fact, my family is riddled with writers. Both brothers are well-published; our maternal grandfather was a published poet; all three of my children are published and at least one grandchild, at the age of nine, has declared herself a writer. Seems we can’t escape it!

I do hours and hours of research for the history background behind my cozy mystery/Southern Gothic series, the Overhome Trilogy. I visit museums, battlefields, historic homes and farms, and I read, read, read! I use actual history for my contemporary stories with a Civil War background.  But I consider attention to all details important.  For NOBODY KNOWS, my new release, for example, I read two whole books on large-animal veterinary, as well as many articles and I interviewed a tech-vet at length.  This was all for a minor part of one character in the book. I learn lots and often find it hard to know when to quit researching and start writing.

Thus far, I have published four novels. My first was a YA anti-bully novel, EAGLEBAIT, which won some major national and international awards. In its third edition, updated with cyber-bullying, EAGLEBAIT is available in both print and e-book.  My latest is a series, the Overhome Trilogy. These cozy mystery/Southern Gothics take place at fictional Moore Mountain Lake, which is based on my actual home here in Southern Virginia. A RED, RED ROSE and BENEATH THE STONES were both nominated for a literary award by the Library of Virginia. NOBODY KNOWS, my new release, finishes up the story of Ashby Overton’s life and times at Overhome Estate where her sixth sense helps her solve mysteries and problems caused by ancient spirits inhabiting the historic house and grounds. Sorry, I cannot pick a favorite as I tend to fall for every character I invent! All three of the Overhome books are published by The Wild Rose Press in New York.

Blurb for NOBODY KNOWS: 

Why do ancient spirits hover at the crossroads between two worlds: the living and the dead? 

With a successful writing career and blissful marriage, Ashby Overton is fulfilled and content at historic Overhome Estate in Southern Virginia'until a stranger walks into her life. The arrival of Professor Ellis O. Grady coincides with a violent and bizarre turbulence emanating from the dark world of Overhome's ancient spirits.

As paranormal events build into chaos, Ashby must use her sixth sense to sort out the real from the imagined in both the visible and the invisible worlds as, stirred into fury, the souls of Civil War slaves engage in a dangerous battle destined to reveal long-held secrets of the past.

What is the connection between the enigmatic professor, a slave-built chapel and a restored overseer's cottage on Overhome Estate? Ashby struggles to find the answers before the spirits destroy her family's heritage, and the lives of those she loves.

I love the writing process—really! Everything about it—even revision, which many authors hate. My process begins with theme—underlying meaning. What do I want my readers to take away from my books? With EAGLEBAIT self-esteem was a major theme—how to build this characteristic as a shield to school bullies. For my Overhome Trilogy, a major theme is understanding the culture and society in the South where long-held, hard-felt ideas battle with modernity. Of course, every literary novel is multi-themed. Family ties, finding self, understanding how history shapes us and our lives—all are present in my series—along with “actual” ghosts of the past to drive home these themes.

All writers are shaped by their experiences. My thirty years of teaching embeds itself in my books whether I intend for that or not. I wrote EAGLEBAIT while teaching middle school—the petri dish for bully germs! Not much research needed there. My current series pulls from my teaching years--observing people and working to understand and motivate them. It’s a natural transition into fictional characters with any mix of personalities to spice up the plot.

I am excited about my new release, NOBODY KNOWS—first because it finishes the series—always satisfying for writers—but also because in the novel I was able to explore a theme dear to my heart: man’s inhumanity to man. Viewing a documentary on the systemic re-enslavement of those freed after the Civil War, I knew I had found my guiding theme for the final book in the trilogy—providing both closure for the series and, to my own mind, restitution for one of the most horrific times in our American and Southern past. 

All three of the novels in the Overhome Trilogy are cross-genre:  cozy mystery and Southern Gothic. What’s not to like about cozies? Rural, pastoral setting, quirky characters, long on mystery and short on gore and sex. The Gothic involves an old house, troubled villains and ghosts.  I find it an irresistible medium for getting across my message about life in the South today.


     Walking over the weedy ground, I felt the desolate abandonment of those long-dead. A few tilting gravestones, so blurred with time that their epitaphs were illegible, listed toward the ground as if sheltering from a punishing wind. Scattered among the patchwork grasses were small, thin stone markers set in the dirt, little more than raw rocks, though several bore the faint outline of initials which had been chiseled into them so long ago. Ellis and I surveyed the bleak cemetery, each harboring our own thoughts.  I don’t know how long we stood there breathing in the silence. Then, I heard the voice.—so clear, so distinct, that I startled and almost fell back. Did my companion hear it, too? I darted a look at him. He stood with eyes closed, evidently completely lost in his own reverie. I held my breath and listened with all my senses on alert. The voice wavered this time, as though trailing away, but its repeated message was identical to the one I had first heard at the Overseer’s Cottage when the candlestick went missing. I had thought, then, that I heard “red apple,” which made no sense. Now I understood. “Jared Chapel,” the voice warned. Yes, its tone was severe. Demanding. “Jared Chapel.”
     I touched Ellis’s arm. “It’s here, Ellis. I know it is.” And when he blinked uncomprehendingly, I added, “You wondered if Jared Chapel offers anything in your search for your ancestry. It’s here—there’s something here. I feel it and I...I know it.”
     He blinked several times, a serious expression on his face. “You know because...”
     “Sometimes the past speaks to me. I can’t explain it, but I have to trust the voice that tells me things.” 
     He rubbed his chin. “You know...this is odd. Really odd.”
     I raised my eyebrows in a silent question and he continued. “Because I thought I heard something. I definitely felt...a presence I can’t explain. Someone trying to get my attention. Someone very, very seriously trying to make me understand.” He shook his head. “Understand what? I confess, I’m baffled.”
     “It’s a sign,” I said. “Something I’ve learned over my years at Overhome. We ignore the signs at our own peril.”

Nobody Knows will be released on October 14. It's available for pre-order.

print: https://amzn.com/1509210504.

Remember, everybody: HALLOWEEN creeps in at the end of October. What better way to celebrate than by reading a spooky trio of ghost stories in the Overhome Trilogy.

Thanks, Diane, for a chance to participate on your awesome blog!

You are very welcome, Susan. Glad to learn more about you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pets in Space with Veronica Scott

What a fun anthology! Veronica Scott is here to talk about how Pets In Space came about. Just look at the line up of authors.

Thanks for having me as your guest today to talk about Pets In Space!

A little over a year ago, Pauline Baird Jones and I were talking about how much fun it would be to pair pets with science fiction romance stories. Of course there have been pets in science fiction before, like Muffy the Daggit in “Battlestar Galactica”, Jonesy the cat in the first two “Aliens” movies or the fire lizards in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. But we wanted to have the pets be much more important characters in these stories, along with the human hero and heroine of course.

We invited a few other authors to ‘play’ at using this writing prompt and the anthology came together.

For my story, “Star Cruise: Stowaway”, I knew I wanted to place the events on board the Nebula Zephyr, my intergalactic luxury liner. I figured the ship’s cargo master and his two pets – a cat and her alien sidekick – would be the first to find a stowaway in the hold, and then the plot took off from there. Owen, the hero, and the two animals appeared in Star Cruise: Outbreak as secondary characters so it was satisfying to give them their own story.

Here’s the blurb for the anthology, and the blurb for my story:

The blurb for Pets In Space:

Even an alien needs a pet...

Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?

New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Best selling authors have eight original, never-released stories and one expanded story giving readers eight amazing new adventures  and one expanded story that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

And the blurb for Star Cruise: Stowaway:

Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come – nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

An excerpt from the beginning of the story:

           This was the time of day he enjoyed most, when all his crew had gone off duty and the Nebula Zephyr’s top cargo deck was quiet. Sure, more work remained tomorrow to get the cargo squared away properly and ready for the next stop, but there was no rush, being several weeks out. Cargo Master Owen Embersson surveyed his desk in the tiny office on Deck 18. Time to leave the place to the ship’s AI, go have his dinner in his cabin and then resume work on the scale model of a long-vanished temple he was building. This one was incredibly intricate, and he’d charge the customer triple the usual price.
            Stepping onto the echoing deck, he called for Moby. She spent most of her evenings hunting vermin lurking among the monstrous crates and containers, but she usually passed the first part of the evening in his cabin, eating the incredibly expensive cat food he had the ship’s AI keep in stock. Not much else to spend his salary on. “Come on, cat, I want my dinner even if you don’t,” he said to the elegant vision in white fur who trotted from the murky recesses of the deck. How she stayed clean when she spent her days prowling the cargo deck, he’d never know.
            Purring, she came to his steel-tipped work shoes but evaded his effort to pick her up, moving just out of range the way felines did, as if cats could teleport. Moby scampered toward the towering stacks of cargo then turned. Seeing he’d failed to chase her, she sat, tail twitching, head tilted, eyeing him.
            “What‘s the matter with you? I’m not in the mood to throw cat toys and retrieve them right now.” Embersson headed toward the gravlift. Moby regarded the entire ship as her territory and could find his cabin for her dinner when she was hungry.
            In the next minute, he nearly tripped as she rubbed his ankles, nipping at one in passing. Swearing, he caught himself with a hand to the bulkhead. “What in the seven hells is wrong with you tonight? Giving me a concussion won’t get you fed.”
            Moby yowled at him and ran toward the stacked cargo again.
            Figuring she wanted to show him a recent kill, which he’d then have to dispose of, he followed.
            Moby moved faster now that she’d gotten him with the program.
He followed her around the corner of the pallet the ship had taken on earlier in the day and found Midorri, the Zephyr’s other pet, crouched beside a free trader container. “What mischief have the two of you gotten into now?”

Buy Links:

Author Bio:
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”

Thanks for sharing this new release, Veronica. Best wishes to you and all the authors. This book should be so much fun!