Meet r.e.joyce

I hope this post finds you all well and taking care of each other and just as importantly-taking care of yourself. This week we see signs of re-awakening as some restrictions are beginning to be relaxed. It feels like spring is arriving after a long hard winter.  But remember to be cautious, and take it a bit at a time. And that will still give you plenty of time to read. Which brings us to our guest author…

.jejoyce fbpick    r. e. joyce writes Epic Fantasy and all books can be found through Draft2Digital worldwide

Stories by r.e.joyce
I write to express the joys and adventures I have found in this world.  Most come from the grace of being chosen to guide two beautiful souls through the adventure of growing up.  It is my children, Stephanie and Bill, who make this life worth living.  The grandbabies are a marvelous recreation of the joys I experienced without the diaper changes – such a fabulous gift!  Do you want to have a taste of the worlds my mind creates?  Come and Join in the fun: https://books2read.com/ap/KnAMpn/R-E-Joyce

Why Write?
They say that reading fosters the urge to write and experience chooses the genre.

As to the first, I can attest.  My world in the 1970s and 1980s consisted of work-centered travel.  My last job in New York was a one-hour-forty-minute commute into the Big Apple if all connections were properly made.  It gave me time to read and I ordered the Franklin Library Book of the Month Club Classics for the train ride, promising to read each one before I picked up a dime store novel.  Month after month I would struggle through Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain or Homer’s Iliad awaiting the day I could call it read and pick up Stephen R. Donaldson, Ursula K. LeGuin, David Eddings, Terry Brooks and of course C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien.  It was in the fantasy worlds of these great writers that I found a place for my mind to take flight.  For four-and-one-half years I clickety-clacked down the tracks and let these fantastic worlds open within my mind allowing me to become part of so many epic adventures.
Then the urge took hold.  I could write one of these epic fantasies!  The scolding of my English teachers and the wanton grades they scratched into my report cards could not deter the building desire to put words together and go on my own adventure.   The writing bug bit and I was destined for the torment and elation I never expected in life.  We will get back to the swings of emotion later.  For now, with pen in hand (soon turned to computer keyboard) I used the spare minutes of my life to write—catapulting me into the wonderful world of epic fantasty

Meanings
The explanation of my life is Grand Poobah-dum.  I have no timeless words of wisdom beyond those that guide my life.  Live to serve and serve until it feels good.  The world will be better for it.

  • I, like Tevye, wish for a little wealth. I promise to pray more if…
  • I, like Joseph, find strength in quiet support of family.
  • I, like Don Quixote, always seek the windmill over the easy path.

It started as an urge and took root in the rich soil of familial love.  The experiential writings made spirituality all the more real for me and touched a life of one or two along the way.  The honing of skills hardened my resolve until I allowed myself to stand before all as I am.  The wayward critics seek to mold me in their image.  I choose the one that is God-given and life affirmed.
I am a story teller and if you have a moment I will share with you worlds that can enchant and even make you dream.  If you need proper grammar I have some teachers I can recommend.  If you want to touch life, I believe I have some ready for you.

Where do you get your inspiration?
There are experiences directly related to my feeble first attempts.  Stephanie came to me with skinned knee and turtle tears, clutching her pink unicorn.  Holding her, I whispered if she would allow me to clean her boo-boo, I would write her a story about a unicorn.
Oh, did I fail to mention that God graced me with two of the most beautiful gifts a man could ask for.  To give this justice, we would need to consider a longer story format.  For now, I will affirm their epic effect on my life.
Stephanie came into the world pink and beautiful and when the nurse placed her in my hands a fear, beyond anything ever imagined came over me.  How could a lumbering old fool like me ever care for such a precious princess?  She seemed to fit within the palm of my hands, and my trembling left others to wonder about my joy.  Nothing can ever exceed the gift I held that day and that I continue to embrace as she explores her own world.
Now Bill, having arrived three years later almost to the day, bounced out and the now trained hands of a father gathered him up, placing my hereditary standard on the boy with the quiet soul.  He has been more than and continues to amaze me with the deep-seated love he shows the world around him.
We will have an epitaph written or imagined at the end of our stay here on earth.  Mine will contain the blessing from God of these two souls.  If nothing else graces the journey of my life, I am fulfilled.

Back to the story…  The boo-boo healed and the little girl grew up and the scratching of a novice writer found its way to the page.

My mission in life:

To write is to place love in the hands of generations to come.
The rest of my day is giving to helping others…

Seven Stars of Midnight                         The Finding

 

You can connect with r.e. joyce at Vision Management Publishing and find his books at books2read.  

I leave you tonight with r.e.joyce’s beautiful covers to look at and be inspired…

Meet C.A. Asbrey

Before we get the the interview, there is something important that must be said; HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the moms out there. This will probably be an unusual one for each of us, but not matter what the circumstances, know that you are loved and we are grateful for everything you do for us.

91913504_2857199287668183_6077577237228421120_n.jpgOur writer today is Christine Asbrey. 

About the Author
Chris Asbrey has lived and worked all over the world in the Police Service, Civil Service, and private industry, working for the safety, legal rights, and security of the public. A life-changing injury meant a change of course into contract law and consumer protection for a department attached to the Home Office.
In that role she produced magazine and newspaper articles based on consumer law and wrote guides for the Consumer Direct Website. She was Media Trained, by The Rank Organization, and acted as a consultant to the BBC’s One Show and Watchdog. She has also been interviewed on BBC radio answering questions on consumer law to the public.
She lives with her husband and two daft cats in the beautiful ancient city of York.

Chris as given us a sample of her writing, which you can find at the end of the post, after the questions. 

In her words…    Hi everyone. My name is Christine Anne Asbrey, and I write historical mysteries under the name of C. A. Asbrey. My books are available in Kindle and paperback all over the world. My first book, The Innocents, was published in April 2018, and was first in series of six books. Five are currently available, and the last in the series is published in July 2020.
The series is about a clever female Pinkerton Detective who is sent to work undercover to get intelligence on the most wanted man in the country, Nat Quinn and his gang, The Innocents. They are so called because they hit only large concerns like the railroads and the banks, never steal from ordinary people, and treat members of the public with courtesy. That said, they can be ruthless, and extremely cunning.
The heroine is a young widow, Abigail MacKay, with a deep interests in the new forensics, and the new scientific method of policing. She is also an expert in disguise. Nat and Abigail are instantly drawn to one another, as two sides of the same coin – both using their wits, science, and skills on different sides of the law. However, if they act on the attraction it could destroy both their lives. That will-they-won’t-they forms the backdrop to other mysteries in the series.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I first became interested in the female pioneers in law enforcement when I joined the police in Scotland. History has always held a draw and the colorful stories of the older officers piqued my interest, making me look even further back. The very first women in law enforcement had been in France, working for the Sûreté in the early 19th century. They were, however, no more than a network of spies and prostitutes, the most infamous being the notorious ‘Violette’. Now there’s another story which needs to be told!
The first truly professional women in law enforcement worked for the Pinkerton Agency, and they were trained by the first female agent Kate Warne, an ex-actress and an expert in working undercover. Kate Warne was an expert at disguise, adopting roles, and accents. She was said to be daring and able to pass her characters off, even in close quarters. In the only known photograph of her she is dressed as a man. These women were fully-fledged agents, with their skills being held in high regard by Alan Pinkerton who once said, “In my service you will serve your country better than on the field. I have several female operatives. If you agree to come aboard you will go in training with the head of my female detectives, Kate Warne. She has never let me down.”
I started to wonder why one of the female agents couldn’t be a Scottish Immigrant. After all, Alan Pinkerton was one. He came from Glasgow. Being a Scot in another land is something I know well. They do say you should write what you know. My work has taken me all over the world, but working in the USA, and visiting the places where these women worked, deepened my passion for finding out more about how they lived. I also researched the tools and equipment available to them at the time. Connections to police, and Home Office experts, allowed me to research the birth of forensics with people who knew their subject intimately. The topic for ‘The Innocents Mystery Series’ simmered in the background for years, and all the time I was researching more and more deeply into the period. I love the rapid pace of innovation and invention in the 19th century. Nothing pleases me more than finding spy gadgets available at the time which were invented far earlier than most people would think possible. Work and life got in the way of the books being anything more than an idea, until I was suddenly grounded by a serious accident. The enforced leisure time of recuperation focused my mind and the old dream of writing resurfaced. It started as a short story which took on a life of its own when it grew and grew—then grew some more. Eventually, ‘The Innocents Mysteries’ evolved.

Plotter or pantser?
A bit of both. A lot of my mysteries are actually based on genuine historical crimes, but of course I change things up a bit so that lovers of true crime can still enjoy playing along. Some are well known, some less so. The more outrageous the crime seems, the more likely it is to be rooted in reality. That said, I’ll give the characters their head. If they feel like going off-script and doing something a bit mad, I’ll let them. It normally makes for a better story and keeps things fresh. I know everyone does things differently, but the story seems a sterile to me if I over-plan. I generally start with a fair idea of where things are going, but even the murderer can, and has, change as the story forms. I think book three, Innocent Bystander, was the most tightly plotted. That is more of a howdunit than a whodunit. We know who the killer is, we even know the next proposed victim, but we don’t know how he kills. I’m very proud of the scientific research on that one
I do loads of research, and try to make sure everything in the books is either historically possible, or really happened. I hate finding anachronisms in historical books. I have not only researched the forensics and methodologies of the time, but even the makeup used in Abigail’s disguises. I did wonder how all that long Victorian Hair could go under a short wig, but modern cosplay and makeup tutorials online showed me that it can. It’s all down to multiple flat pleats and technique.
All that research can only ever be a backdrop though. I like to try to make my characters vivid and as human as possible. Most of all I like to add humor. I do think one of the sexiest things a man can be is funny, as it means he’s a good listener and quick-witted.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part of the writing journey?
Research has to be one of the favorite parts, especially when I discover a wonderful forgotten crime to play with, or spy gadgets invented way earlier than you think. A lot of that stuff goes in my blog. I particularly enjoy the ordinary stuff which is too mundane to be taught. Things like traveling coping a long way with a child in nappies, how did women deal with their periods, or what horrible things did the really poor eat? I love it when a story flows like water, and seems like it’s out there in the universe just waiting to be told. Another thing I really love is the freedom of working when you want. I’m more owl than lark and I’m at my best late at night. I’m terrible in the morning and getting up for a 9am start was as bad as a 4am start for me. I can now fit my body clock.
On the flip side, I hate it when marketing takes me away from that, but it has to be done. There’s no point in writing a book if nobody knows about it. I’m sure that’s something many authors share, but for us all, it’s a big part of our working life as writers. A writer can’t just write. They have to market, network, sell, and promote.

Do you have anything special that you’ll be focusing on this year? 
I’m currently writing a book set in the UK in the 19th century in which young female pharmacist is on the run after being wrongly accused of murder. She is pursued by killers, and a dogged detective who is determined to bring her in. I’ve also started another which is set in 19th century Edinburgh, and which stretches over more than a hundred years, with the solution being a result of modern forensics. I’ve taken bodies into the old gothic Victorian mortuary in Edinburgh, and it’s too good a location not to put in a book.

Can you share a snippet that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?
From Book 1 The Innocents
“Out of bed?” Nat appeared at the door, the light highlighting his tawny hair. “Looking for something?”
She paused, guilty eyes dropping along with the hand trailing along the shelf. “Yes. Something to read.”
“A book?” his eyes scanned the room, checking to see if anything which could be used as a weapon had gone missing. “You should’ve said.”
“All I can find are a few science books. Whose cabin is this? A doctor’s?”
“The owner was a prospector. Those books are mine.”
Her brows arched in surprise, and she turned and picked one up. “’Carl Friederich Peschel’s Textbook of Physics.’” She continued along the spines. “’Ganot’s Elementary Treatise on Experimental And Applied Physics’, ‘Balfour Stewart, An elementary Treatise On Heat.’”
“So?” Nat’s jaw firmed in challenge. “Have you got anything against a man who wants to improve his mind?”
“Physics? You?”
His brow furrowed. “I’m supposed to believe you’re a Pinkerton and you can’t believe I’m interested in science? I like to learn all kinds of things. Get over it.”
“But you?” She stared at him incredulously. “You’re a common criminal.”
His brows met. “How dare you? There’s nothing common about me. I’m particular about being about as uncommon a criminal as you’ll ever meet. I’ve got a Dickens if you want something simpler, but no women’s stuff. I prefer my heaving bosoms to be tangible.”
“Really?”
“Of course. Who wants imaginary bosoms?”
She huffed in exasperation. “Can we forget about the bosoms?”
His dark eyes twinkled with devilment. “I wish I could but men are kinda made that way.”
“Science books?” Abigail changed the subject. “Are you trying to give up crime?”
“Nope, just trying to be more efficient at it. I’m a modern man. You have to move with the times, you know,” Nat’s cheeks dimpled, “but look who I’m talking to. You’re a veritable pioneer for females. You know how it is. I bet you’ve got all kinds of modern detective tricks. I’m looking forward to seeing those. When do they start? Are you doing it now?”
Abigail sighed. “I’m sorry I asked. Never mind. You have a Dickens? Which one?”

91859709_2705687452994275_4371699412183810048_n.jpg    92059585_522970241983939_2584012274150670336_n.jpg

Links to connect with Chris and her books:
BlogC.A Asbrey – all things obscure and strange in the Victorian period Facebook, Twitter GoodreadsBookbub
The Innocents Mystery Series Group
Link to whole series , Link to latest book – In All Innocence

 

A big thank you to Chris (don’t you just love her covers?) I hope you enjoyed the interview. The concept of using the “real” Pinkertons in a fictional book is very interesting, and Chris’s books are now on my TBR list. (You know, the one that never gets any smaller?)  Once again HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY weekend!!

 

Meet Joan Wright Mularz

I’m thrilled to introduce Joan Wright Mularz. I know Joan personally; we are both members of our local Sister’s In Crime chapter. I hope you will enjoy getting to know Joan as much as I have.

joan  Meet Joan…

Joan writes Middle Grade/YA Mysteries and has also written and illustrated 5 children’s picture books. Her mysteries are in Kindle Unlimited and her other eBooks and paperbacks are in KDP.

“Joan Wright Mularz lives in Florida and summers in Maine. She is the author of the E.T. Madigan YA mystery series. The third book in the series, Maine Roots Run Deep, was a Finalist for BEST YA BOOK at the 2018 Independent Publishers of New England Book Awards. Her short story, “The Souk,” was awarded an Honorable Mention by the Bethlehem Writers’ Roundtable, 2017. Another short story, “Barbara Screechie.” was published in the anthology “Whittier Than Thou: Wit and Whimsy inspired by the Life and Works of John Greenleaf Whittier,” 2019.”

Main Roots Run Deep                   White Flutters In Munich

When did you start writing?
The first writing I recall other than school assignments was entering a slogan contest for M&Ms when I was nine or ten. Around that same age, I entered a national photo contest and I think the title I wrote for it helped me clinch the prize. In high school, I won a national essay contest writing about the Irish Potato Famine of the 1800s. In college, I wrote poems about my inner emotional life, scribbled down memories of personal traumatic events and kept my first travel diary.

How do you research for your books?
The three books in the E.T. Madigan series are set in places I’ve lived—Italy, Germany and Maine. The book I’m working on now is set in New York City where I was born. In addition to that firsthand knowledge from experience, I always read books related to the places I’m writing about to learn their histories. I also do a lot of online research which, depending on the story can take me in strange and diverse directions.  Lately it’s included: The sound of spit, mango water, the breakfast burrito song, locker smells, the New York subway map, Landshark beer history, effects of eating crayons and ways to flirt with strangers without being creepy.

What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
I hope my readers feel a connection to my characters and enjoy learning about the settings, histories and cultures. I also hope Ellen Madigan, the teen in my first series, is a positive role model for showing girls they can be assertive, active, curious, adventurous and still feminine. She loves science and nature, is energetic and fit, solves mysteries and gets crushes on boys.

How many bookshelves are in your house?
When I moved from Massachusetts to Florida two years ago, I donated over 300 books to charity but I still have plenty. In Florida, I have three full bookcases, plus a few baskets full of books. In Maine, I have four full bookcases and some books piled on the sides of a staircase. My laptop Kindle app has lots of e-books too.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I’m almost done with the first draft of a new YA mystery with a male teen protagonist. In it, he deals with dangers generated by the celebrity of his parents. The working title is the main character’s name, “Slate.” I’m planning for it to be the first in a new series and each story will focus on one of his friends. I have also written some early ideas for a new E.T. Madigan mystery. One unpublished manuscript I have is a craft book for preschool teachers, “Building Blocks for Block Buildings.”

Here’s how to find Joan and her books!
Amazon Author Page
Web site
Facebook
Twitter

I hope you enjoyed reading about Joan and her writing. Connections are so important between the reader and the author, and I always feel more involved with a book when I know something about the author. Please stay healthy and happy; I’ll be back soon to introduce you do our next author. (Isn’t this fun!)

Victoria LK Williams

A Look Behind the Story…

Tomorrow is a big day! Book 1, Mist at the Beach House, in the Beach House Mysteries is being launched.  You can still preorder today. I am in love with this new series and I can’t wait to share it with you. 

But before the mysteries and murders begin I thought you might want to explore the legend behind Pearl Island and the Seaver Family.  

shutterstock_97583231

The Legend of the Mist
(The story for the Beach House Mystery Series)
By Victoria LK Williams

Long ago, when the sea and the shore were more connected, there were two beautiful women. They were of the same family, cousins, in fact. But they were as different as night and day. Their mothers were the opposite. They had been so closer than most sisters of the sea or earth, and it saddened both of them to see their daughters not get along as they wished. No matter what the mothers did, no matter how hard they tried, there was a rift between the cousins.
But there was one thing the cousins had in common; the love for anything human. One was obsessed about it the other merely fascinated. As children, they played on the shores with the human children, disappearing into the sea when it was time for them to return to their home. As mermaid children, they could only stay for short periods on the shores, but as they grew older, they could stay longer. But eventually their allotted time on the surface would end, and they would have to return to the sea.
Kenya was easy-going, fascinated by earthly things but never losing her love of sea life. She would happily play with the dolphins or collect shells with human children. She had no desire to control above or below the sea, content to be friends and get along with those around her from both worlds.
But Cora Lee was not so content in life. She was resentful of the fact that Kenya’s father was in control of the sea. Cora Lee would never hold the same power that Kenya would as an adult, and it turned her bitter and devious.  Cora Lee longed to rule over anything. Since she couldn’t have the sea, she would take second best, and she set her sights on the island where they played as children. Her mother tried to tell her that that was not the way things worked, but her daughter wanted to hear nothing of it. As the two mermaids grew older, they became more distant, and when they got together, there was constant friction between them.
The day finally came when the mermaids became adults, and there was a grand celebration for the two girls shared the same birthday. Cora Lee was even resentful of having to share her birthday with Kenya. On this birthday she decided that she would take over anything and everything the Kenyan loved. And she would start with her love of humans.
   Both women would spend many days in their human form walking the shores. Kenya was content to observe humans. Because she was shy, Kenya would often use the mist as a buffer to hide from sight. She would make the mist dance around her, sometimes thick and concealing, other times wispy and playful. But that all changed on the day she saw the young sailor, John Seaver.
   The young man was home between voyages, visiting his family, and he was wandering the shore enjoying all the beauty it offered. He came across Kenya sitting on a large rock outcropping along the shoreline; the mist swirling around her feet. He was stunned with her beauty. She was in her human form at that point, and her shyness bewitched him. Over time, he got to know Kenya and grew to love her. She always seems to disappear just when he was ready to go to sea on the next voyage, but she was always there at the rock outcropping when he returned. What he didn’t know was she followed his ship to make sure he was safe, always watching out for him, falling in love with him.
The two became best friends, inseparable when they were together. The kind of friends that finished each other’s sentences, enjoy the same things and appreciated the simple things life offered. They would spend their days talking and singing, often joined by the man’s best friend who would accompany them with musical instruments. They were becoming an intricate part of the island life, and John’s family and friends accepted Kenya.
Finally, there came a day when Kenya knew she had to tell the man her secret, and she was fearful she would lose him forever. But John Seaver was made of sterner stuff than she thought. He’d always known there was something mystical about her, something otherworldly and it delighted him when he found out she had a calling for the sea.
Their friendship and love drew the attention of Cora Lee, and she was overcome with jealousy. Once again, Kenya was getting something that she wanted. But Cora Lee didn’t want John because she loved him. She wanted John because he loved Kenya, and she wanted to control him. She wanted to possess him.
Cora Lee began to plot how she could take John away from Kenya. She used the power she had as part siren and tried to entice the young man away from his true love. But their love was stronger than anything Cora Lee had encountered before, and she failed.       Now Cora Lee was angrier than she’d ever been, and she plotted revenge against her cousin for something the other girl had not even done. But this didn’t matter to Cora Lee, she had found a way to hurt her cousin and take something from her she truly treasured.
Cora Lee began to intercept John whenever she could, trying to bewitch him with her powers. The poor man was fighting her hold constantly, but his love for Kenya was stronger than any power the other mermaid held. Time after time she watched John Seaver walk away from her; Cora Lee knew she had failed to win John over.
Then she found the weakness the young man had. John loved Kenya with all his heart, but he also loved his family and would do about anything to protect them. Cora Lee knew she could use this against him.
One stormy night John was to meet Kenya along the shore. But Cora Lee also showed up. And with her, she had John’s young cousin. John also had a companion; a friend of both his and Kenya, who knew of their secret love and had helped to clear the path for the two of them to be together.
That stormy night there was a standoff on the shore. On one side stood John and his friend, David Holleran, on the other side was Cora Lee and her hostage, the young Sadie Colbright. Between the two stood Kenya.
Cora Lee gave Kenya a choice. The young child could die, or she would give up her love.  The two lovers had a decision to make, and it was a clear choice, even though it meant the destruction of their future together. Kenya walked into the sea, turning back into the mermaid she was. Cora Lee, laughing hysterically, push the young girl she had in her arms to the shore and dove into the white waves swimming out past her cousin, rising on the next wave laughing because she had won.
But Kenya had no intention of giving up. Her love for John was too strong. With tears forming in her eyes, she turned to the two other humans casting their destiny.
“You, Sadie Colbright, you and your families will forever hold and record the history of this island and all that happened here. This will be your destiny. Do not let anyone forget the love I have for John or the love that he has for me. Always remember what we have given up to protect you.”
Then she turned to John’s friend and with a sad smile continued.
“And you, David Holleran, you and your family will forever protect John’s family. The Seaver family will always have someone looking out for them. You will be my connection to the generations that come after you.”
Then the tears came harder, and Kenya rubbed one from her eyes, watching it form into a magnificent pearl. By now, John had taken the first step into the ocean to join her. But Kenya stopped him; coming forward, meeting him halfway. As she floated in front of him, she pressed the pearl into his hands. Giving him a tearful kiss, she promised him the pearl would always protect him and his family. Then she started to leave, but before she did, she turned back to her love.
“One day, we will reunite. But until then, Cora Lee will try to destroy your family. And all the island. It will be your destiny to protect the island, you will look out for those that live on the island, keeping them safe from Cora Lee’s wrath. Someday there will be a Seaver strong enough to fight Cora Lee and win. But it will take more than your descendant, my love. It will take all of us.”
   Cora Lee was ready to attack the humans on the shore. But Kenya blew softly against the sea and in the mist began to form. Then she kissed her love, letting the mist still in her mouth engulf him. As the mermaid pulled away, she whispered to him, promising him her ending love. Before she dove back into the sea, she called out to John.
   “I’ve given you the power of the mist. As long as you or your descendants are on the island, the mist will protect you.”
But Cora Lee wasn’t finished, she wanted to destroy her cousin. Kenya had outsmarted her, causing her to lose her control over the humans. With all of her powers, she raised the surrounding waves, causing them to crash on the shore, pushing the humans back far up to the dunes while they watched in horror at the fight going on offshore. Wave after wave descended fiercely on Kenya until finally, she was nowhere to be seen. Cora Lee laughed evilly; she had destroyed her cousin. Yet she also knew she could not take away the protection her cousin had given the Seaver family and the island occupants. Cora Lee not going to be outdone, she would have the last word. Anger and hatred filled her voice as she called up to the humans standing at the dune.
“Kenya’s words may protect you and your descendants while you’re on the island. But you won’t go unscathed. And you may wander, but you will always return to the island. My descendants will continue what I have started. And there will come a day when our descendants will meet again here on this beach, and everyone’s destiny will be determined.”
With one final overpowering wave, Cora Lee disappeared. The wave was powerful enough that it should have destroyed much of the coastline. But the two mothers had watched the fight between their daughters and they quickly intervened. Working together they cast a spell protecting the shoreline and the island. Their protection was strong and encompassed the entire island, protecting it from weather and waves for as long as their descendants returned to the island.
Now the hands of time moved slowly as each generation repeats the curses and the blessings that came from two mermaids who fought over one man…

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MIST AT THE BEACH HOUSE VICKI  Mist at the Beach House 

Murder, Mermaid Legends, and a Kitten from the Mist.

Morgan Seaver returns to her family home on Pearl Island, expecting a warm welcome. Instead, she finds her aunt has been murdered, and accusing fingers are pointing her way. 

Soon she finds more than a murder needs to be solved. Her family has a history with the island, one that she is finding brings the legends of mermaids and her ancestors to the present. She must solve the murder to clear herself and come to terms with a past that has a hold of her future.

 

I hope you enjoyed the Seaver Legend. Next blog we will visit with another author and find out more about them.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Susan Schwartz

Today we meet another wonderful author friend of mine. I hope you will enjoy getting to know a bit more about her, as I have. All of the authors are providing links to both purchase their books and follow them on social media. Take a moment and explore  by signing up on their sites.

LU   meet Susan…

Susan writes in the horror, paranormal, suspense, medical genres. Her books are available in Amazon, Amazon KU and many other sites.
Here are her links:
Website, Schiffer Books, Amazon, Goodreads & Pinterest.

When did you start writing?
I began writing freelance articles for blogs and other websites in 2006. More interested in fiction writing, I started working on two novels – a paranormal romance and a medical thriller.
As to why I began writing, I started journaling after being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. My writing led me to the Virginia Writers Club, where I found many mentors and help along the way. I have been a member since 2006 and currently serve as 1st Vice President of the State organization.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart?
I love all the nurses in my stories. Being an OR nurse myself, I love to use my experiences in the medical field to twist into something they never saw it coming. The nursing profession is one of honor, and this is my way of giving recognition back to those awesome nurses who work tirelessly each and every day.
I must admit some of my nurse peers, who have read my stories, think I am putting on a good front for being a normal person. They had no idea of my twisted imagination and told me they now know not to upset me in the future. Mw ha ha ha!

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
For Haunted Charlottesville and Surrounding Counties, my current book, the biggest challenge was getting to all of the sites and getting enough research to make an entry. Some didn’t have a lot of backstory, and some didn’t want to participate in the book. This was fine, I used pieces that were already public knowledge so I didn’t step on any toes.
Another challenge was to compile all the information into one book. It took me a while to figure out how to write, denote different chapter headers, caption photographs, assemble an index, and keep track of a large bibliography page. I learned many of these for the first time writing Haunted Charlottesville.
I feel much better having had the experience going forward than not. It has made writing the second book of this genre much easier.

What do you hope readers take away from your books?
For my fiction stories, I hope they share that shock at the end when I twist everything they thought they knew. Maybe they will also get feelings of familiarity with some of them.
For my non-fiction, I want readers to experience my love of travel and seeing new places. I toured Virginia extensively for Haunted Charlottesville and my upcoming book to visit haunted places and learn their history. In two other books, Handbook for the Dead and Paranormal Encounters, I make mention of trips to other counties in Virginia and even other countries. Even if you don’t visit any of the places named, take a ghost tour in whatever city you find yourself visiting. I love learning the history behind the locations and what caused them to be troubled today.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Awesome question.  I have many short stories that are not published with several in the works.
One paranormal romance novel – ½ done
One medical thriller novel – ½ done
One haunted location book – 1 chapter to go as well as compiling all the material and photographs.
I tend to work on several things at once because I get bored quite easily. Hence, this why I have so many still in progress. I will be finished with the haunted book by the end of this month, and that will free me up to work on other projects that are pending. I really want to finish the paranormal romance that has a witch, wizard, and maybe even a vampire that showed up – I am not sure from where yet. He is a charming fellow though.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
Fiction stories –
The Sparkling Floor is based somewhat in reality. What nurse hasn’t dreamed of revenge on a disrespectful surgeon? I just fictionalized it up a bit.
I Thought You Did is based upon all those Rush week antics colleges put the students through to join a fraternity. My son was in college at the time going through rush week, and this story popped into my head thinking about the different ways to initiate a pledge.
Blurred Line is something we have all faced as writers: Writer’s Block. I didn’t plan this one at all, I just wrote as it came out and the story is as you see it. It was nominated for a Bran Stoker Award in 2016. Fun fact: It was the only story I ever wrote that I really didn’t like. Everyone loves this story, but me. Isn’t that weird?
Non-fiction books –These are all real and full of the experiences I had at each location. Through investigating and interviewing, I learned a lot of history and the back story on each place. Some of it was quite fascinating, while some was downright heart-breaking.

Favorite Quote –This one has to be from the great and awesome Yoda:
Do or Do Not. There is no Try.
I do follow this advice daily. I am also convinced of a statement from Jim Rohn:
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you find an excuse.
What this says to me is people who have a goal will not let anything interfere with reaching that accomplishment. Those who don’t will make an excuse as to why they can’t reach it.
CAN’T is the one four letter word that is not in my vocabulary. I will find a way around all obstacles, if necessary.
I want to be a doer, not a tryer. How about you?

A final word from Susan…
Thanks to everyone, especially the readers and to Victoria for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I hope you are staying safe during these trying times. What better way is there to pass the time than selecting a great story to lose touch with reality, if only for a while. Enjoy the adventure and getaway, you can go explore new places and meet new people from the comfort of your own favorite reading spot.
Please feel free to contact me  if you have any questions or concerns. I love to hear from my readers. Please take good care in the meantime and Be Well!

I hope you are finding these interviews as much fun as I am. I love finding out more about the authors I read. There are many more great writers to be included in this series, so stick around. And watch for a special treat…A free short story from me about the legend behind my new series that starts April 25th!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Diane Bator

Blessed Easter Sunday!

Today we meet another wonderful author friend of mine. I hope you will enjoy getting to know a bit more about her, as I have. All of the authors are providing links to both purchase their books and follow them on social media. Take a moment and explore  by signing up on their sites.

pose in blue   meet Diane…

A born writer and storyteller, once Diane Bator started writing, she’s never looked back and is the author of several mystery novels. When she’s not writing, she works in a theater which may be subjected to immortality in a whole new series. She might even try writing a play. Diane has written assorted short stories, murder mysteries, and YA novellas.
The best place for links to her books is through her publisher: which has links for every online shop.
Website, Blog, Goodreads, Twitter, Linkedin, Smashwords, Facebook

 

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Featured books:

Dead Without Shame (Book 4 Gilda Wright Mysteries)
Once more, Gilda considers leaving the karate school to work for her friend Happy (no one has ever called him Harvey). When three men rob Happy Harvey’s Hangover Hut killing the woman at the front counter, Gilda is stunned to think that could have been her. Was this a mere robbery, or does someone have a vendetta against Happy, including his good friend Gary del Garda? The evidence keeps piling up while both her mother and another karate instructor come to town bearing secrets that may cost Gilda the life she loves in Sandstone Cove.

All That Sparkles (Book 1 Glitter Bay Mysteries)
What do a trunk full of vintage clothes, a handsome land developer, and a fifty year old diamond heist have in common? Laken Miller receives a trunk full of expensive vintage clothing and a stack of newspaper clippings about a fifty-year old diamond heist. Now all she has to do is figure out who murdered Tilly San Vicente before the killer silences her as well.

Questions and Answers:

Do you have a library membership?
I do for sure, but I find I meet so many writers and end up buying so many books, I rarely use the library except for resources. One of the other things I do at my local library is attend writing group meetings twice a month. To support our library, our group has also started to host annual Open Mic nights and author events as well as workshops anyone can attend. We welcome writers of all levels and try to be a support for whoever wants to join us. It was by attending this group that I developed the confidence to submit my first novel for publication.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Seriously! I planned back then to either be an actress or a writer. Here I am many years later a writer who works at a theater! While I’m working from home for a few weeks, I’ve finished my tenth novel, Drop Dead Cowboy, that will be published in September 2020. My next project, thanks to coaching from an acting teacher, is a play.

Do you base your characters on real people?
Sometimes loosely but I have actually based one character on a friend who just happened to win a contest I held for a reader to win a “guest spot” as a character in my novel Dead Without Shame. She received her free copy when the book came out and said she enjoyed it! In previous novels, characters may have been combinations of people I’ve met or know, but I’ll never say.

Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Neither! Growing up and living in Canada my whole life, I love having four seasons. The fresh new growth of spring after a long, cold winter. Heat and humidity of summer then the cool, colorful fall. It’s nice to travel to warmer places in the winter and see other parts of the world, but the weather here is never boring!

A Final Word From Diane…
I’ve been a writer my entire life so when people tell me they want to write a book and ask where they should start, I need to stop and think. Writing for me comes as naturally as breathing. I don’t struggle to find a new project since I have file folders and binders full of ideas! I also rarely have writer’s block. Working with a writing group has honed my ability to write to a prompt for up to half an hour. I encourage all writers to practice, practice, practice… And not to give up!

Thanks to Diane! And I wish all of you the very best. It’s a difficult world we find ourselves in, but today, of all days, have faith that all will work out according to God’s plans. Stay healthy and safe, and Happy Easter.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Thomas Burns

As promised, I am sharing some great writers, and friends, with you. Not all write cozy mystery, but that’s okay. Lets broaden our minds. Each author was given a list of questions that they could choose from. Some of the answers are very interesting. I’m enjoying finding out about these authors and I hope you will too.

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About Thomas’s Books…

Michael writes in the genre of Mystery, and all his books are available on Amazon and Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.

Natalie McMasters is a detective for the new millennium.

If you’re a mystery lover, you’ve read all the classic detectives. Sherlock Holmes. Sam Spade. Phillip Marlowe. Kinsey Millhone. What do all these sleuths have in common? Each one was a product of their era and their culture. So too is Natalie McMasters.
Nattie is a pre-law student at State University, a mega-college in an unnamed capital city in a southern state. As the series opens, she’s renting a house in the student ghetto with her roommates Kwaneshia and Fields. To help make ends meet, she works for her Uncle Amos Murdoch, the proprietor of the 3M Detective Agency, which is based in a nearby small town because the frugal Amos won’t pay the high rents in the capital. Most of his business comes from catching insurance scofflaws who say they’re hurt but aren’t. Nattie spends most of her working hours on stakeout, waiting for a subject to do something they’re not supposed to be able to so she can get a picture. It’s a great job for a student — she can study during all those long hours in the car. Amos even got her a private detective trainee’s license from the state, of which she’s prouder than she likes to let on. But one day, she sees something that she’s not supposed to. That’s the premise of the first Natalie McMasters story, Stakeout!
Stripper! is the first Natalie McMasters novel. The action occurs immediately after that in Stakeout! Nattie enters the seamy world of web cams and strip clubs to hunt a killer. Her investigation forces her to reassess many of the ideas that she’s lived by her whole life and do things she’s never considered before – strip on a stage, question her sexuality, and rediscover the meaning of love itself.
Revenge! is the sequel to Stripper! A scandalous video of Nattie from her web cam days is posted on the State campus CCTV system for all to see and is just the first in a series of vicious attacks on Nattie, her family and her friends. What could she have possibly done to someone in her short life to deserve the callous revenge her unseen tormentor is so brutally exacting?
The third volume is entitled Trafficked! in which Nattie takes Manhattan, searching for her wife, Lupe, who is fleeing deportation by ICE. As one reviewer says, you’ll find “blood, whipping, love making, sewer stench, a tour of Manhattan and Kosher food, honor, despair, and a healthy dollop of deceit and mystery solving” in it.
Venom! is the latest installment. It’s a contemporary take on an English country house mystery, as Nattie, Lupe and Danny try to meld themselves into a polyamorous family at a relationship retreat in the mountains of rural Georgia, without letting a series of gruesome murders get in the way.
It’s important to point out that, while the Natalie McMasters Mysteries are chronological, enough background is given in each book so they can be enjoyed as standalone works.
The Natalie McMasters series is notable for its sexy, intricate plots, its breakneck pacing and gritty, dark atmosphere. These are definitely not cozy mysteries! Keep on reading the series and you’ll experience the transformation of an innocent college coed into a hard-boiled PI for the 21st century.

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Now lets ask Michael some questions…
When did you start writing? I have written fiction as a hobby all of my life, starting in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. I built a career as a technical writer, science writer and editor for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that I’m truly on my own as a freelance science writer and editor, I’m excited to publish my own mystery series as well.
How do you research for your books? For big topics that will be an important element of a book, I’ll spend days on the Internet, taking notes and cataloging relevant websites. I also research constantly as I’m writing, going back and forth from the manuscript to the web when I have questions about certain details, like the cost of meal in New York City, or facts about a particular place.
On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing? It depends. Many writers get fixated on hours and word count. Of course, if you’re going to write a novel, sooner or later, you’re going to have to sit down and bang it out, but other things are important too. Sometimes I’ll spend days doing research, or just reading the work of others. As I do this, I find that important elements of my stories are forming unconsciously, so that when I do concentrate on writing, the story flows much better.
What do you hope your readers take away from your books? In addition to writing a thrilling, sexy mystery, I try to consider some important social issues in each Natalie McMasters mystery. For example, Stripper! explores the treatment of sex workers by society, and touches on immigration issues. Immigration is also a big part of Revenge!, as is the effect of religion on relationships. The treatment of the homeless and of veterans, and the realities of sex trafficking are touched upon in Trafficked!, and Venom! looks at society’s reactions to alternative lifestyles and transgender issues. I try to portray multiple viewpoints in my books, not just my own. My objective is to get my readers to think about these issues, to examine their beliefs and understand why they believe as they do.
Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source) (Man) is free to make the wrong choice, but not free to succeed with it. He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see. Knowledge, for any conscious organism, is the means of survival; to a living consciousness, every “is” implies an “ought.” Man is free to choose not to be conscious, but not free to escape the penalty of unconsciousness: destruction. Ayn Rand

Author Links ↓
Website: https://www.3mdetectiveagency.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/541595279667727/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/3Mdetective
Blog: https://www.3mdetectiveagency.com/blog/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/show/17956517.Thomas_A_Burns_Jr_
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/3mdetective/
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/thomas-a-burns-jr
Tumblr: https://nataliemcmasters.tumblr.com/

Those sound like exciting books, and I hope you’ll visit Thomas’s links (above) to find out more. Thanks for a great interview!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Heather Weidner

As promised, I am sharing some great writers, and friends, with you. Not all write cozy mystery, but that’s okay. Lets broaden our minds. Each author was given a list of questions that they could choose from. Some of the answers are very interesting. I’m enjoying finding out about these authors and I hope you will too.

Heather sq.png  About Heather…

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Heather’s choice of questions and her answers…

When did you start writing? I have been writing since elementary school. I didn’t have any fiction published until I was in my 40’s. I did have some non-fiction credits, and I was a technical writer for many years.

Describe your writing space. I usually write at my desk in my home office. It’s in front of a big window that looks out at the tops of the trees in the woods behind our house. My desk is cluttered, and there are lots of sticky notes about plot ideas, cool character names, and ways to knock off people (in fiction).

What is your work schedule like when you are writing? My day gig is in IT, so I get up early to write. I also try to write at lunch and at night and on weekends.

How do you do research for your books? I’m a “CK” (cop’s kid). I thought everyone grew up talking about murder and mayhem at the dinner table. It wasn’t until college that I realized murder wasn’t always a good dinner topic. I do a lot of research online. My dad is retired now from the force, but he’s a great resource for a lot of questions. I am also part of a wonderful organization, Sisters in Crime, and our local chapter has programs with writers, agents, and law enforcement. Social media is also a great way to find out information. I’ve always been able to find an expert who was willing to answer my questions. For my latest Delanie Fitzgerald mystery, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband, I had to do some research on drag shows, contraband reptiles, Poe, and historic time capsules. I love the research part. My writer friend, Rosemary Shomaker, got a group of us together to go to the dragshow in Richmond at Godfrey’s. I had so much fun, and the gals were so helpful when they found out we were writers. The snake research was a little creepy. It still gives me the heebee jeebies.

On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing? I’m a binge writer. I try to write every day, but sometimes life gets in the way. Typically, I write in the mornings and evenings. I try to write during my lunch hour too. I tend to write more on the weekends.

Do you write while listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book? I always have some kind of music playing when I write or edit. I have playlists for all my books. I like all kinds of music, but I’m an 80’s girl, so I always have a special place in my heart for that decade. I usually listen to loud music when I’m writing and classical or jazz when I’m editing.

What are you reading now? Right now, I’m reading K. L. Murphy’s A Guilty Mind. I love her Detective Cancini mysteries.

How many bookshelves are in your house? Way too many. My TBR (to be read pile) is a bookshelf. There are at least three bookcases in the den, living room, office, and bedrooms. 

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book? My first book took five years to write, and then it was another year for editing/revising before the book was published. I’m getting faster. Last year, I wrote a novella, two short stories, a nonfiction article, and two novels. This year, I’ve written two short stories and a novella. I’m working on a cozy novel that I hope to finish by summer.

Sign up for Heather’s Newsletter

Connect with Heather at any of these sites: Website and Blog , Twitter  , Facebook   instagram  , Goodreads  , Amazon Authors  , Pinterest  , LinkedInBookBub  , AllAuthor  YouTube

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Well, I hope you enjoyed meeting Heather!

Victoria LK Williams

 

It’s Time for a Change

Hello, readers and writers, I hope this post finds you well and staying hopeful in our changing world.

Just because more and more of us are for staying home to practice social distancing, that doesn’t need to mean that we can’t meet new people and make new friends.

With the help of some of my writing friends, I’m going to start a series of blog posts that will introduce you to not only great people but new books and a little bit about what goes on in the authoring process.

I count each and every one of these authors as my friends,  even though many I have never met in person. Some I’ve shared a laugh or two with, others exciting news in the author community. Many have been instrumental in my growth as a writer. One thing I can say with confidence is we have each other’s backs.

Each post will include a new author, highlighting 1   or 2 of their books along with answers and questions about their writing process and a little bit about themselves. I will be sure to include contact information for you to find them on social media or purchase their books.

So I hope you’ll make some new friends and find some great books to read.

I’ll start the series with some information about myself…

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I was born in upstate New York, the Niagara Falls area. After I got married, we moved to  South Florida and have been happy here for 35 years. We raised our son here (a real Florida Native!), and he is now married and finishing up his college degree. So in our household consist of me, the hubby, and two very demanding cats.

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I primarily write in the cozy mystery genre, although I have started to expand into cozy paranormal mysteries. I have a new series coming out in May that I’m excited about.  You can find out about all my books from my website .

That’s enough about me. I hope you’re as excited as I am to meet these new authors and find out more about their books and what makes them the author that they are. Watch for the next post and be surprised at who you will discover!

Victoria LK Williams

Some hashtags aren’t true.

By now, most of us know what a # (hashtag) is for, and I would hazard a guess that a good percentage of us have used a # (hashtag) or two.

There’s one # (hashtag) that I’ve seen, and I have to admit I’ve even used it. But I just can’t wrap my head around its use, because it certainly isn’t true, at least for me.

That hashtag is #WritingWithCats.

Now, I don’t know about you but writing with cats is impossible. You either write around a cat, in spite of a cat or trick a cat. But in my opinion, there is no way that you can compose a complete sentence with a cat around. And anyone who has tried knows what I mean.
Writing with a dog is a lot easier. They obey you, they don’t blatantly move things around, and a dog would hardly ever sit on your keyboard. The old saying of “give a dog a bone” works perfectly here. A couple pats on the head, a treat, and a kind word and your dog is perfectly content to curl up at your feet and let you do your work.


But not the cat. At least not my cats. I sit down to my desk and it’s like a signal goes out. They could be sound asleep in a closet with the door closed, but somehow they know I’m getting ready to sit down and try and do some work. The next thing I know they’re crawling all over my desk. Miss Marble sits on my hands if I ignore her for too long, waiting for attention. Fletch isn’t so subtle, if I ignore her for too long, she will start knocking things off my desk. Then it becomes a game, and the harder you try to work the more persistent they become.

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Finally, just when you’re ready to give up and walk away, my kitties will settle down in a nice sunny spot, stretch out, and take up as much of the desk area as they possibly can. Even if it means sitting on your paperwork, you’re outline or your research. They’ll be content for ten or fifteen minutes, but if you move the wrong way or do something that’s not in sync with what they have been listening to, then look-out. They’re wide awake again, ready to inspect and put their stamp of approval on what you’re doing. Then the process begins all over.

But I’m persistent, and I don’t give up easily. I’ve even found a “babysitter” to keep them occupied while I work. I put Alexa on the job, asking her to find cat videos to play on a small screen that sits on my desk. My girls will sit there, entranced, watching the birds occasionally growling at the chattering birds. And if a squirrel happens come in on the screen, their haunches are up, their ears are back and they’re ready for action. Occasionally one of them will tap at the screen, then look at me, confused as to why they can’t grab hold of that pesky squirrel. I know it’s a little devious, but you gotta do what you gotta do when work needs to be done.

And when you and when you finally finished your goal for this writing session, you reach for the cat, pet and scratch her behind her ears while picking her up for a cuddle. And that’s when she jumps down, no longer interested in what’s going on on the desk, or you for that matter. Now Miss Marple and Fletch will find a quiet place to curl up and take a nap. I sit in my chair with empty arms and watch my two cats walk away, their tails swishing. They know perfectly well what they’ve done and I can only shake my head. There’s no sense getting upset with them because I love them. Besides, a cat is a cat, and they live by their own rules!

Victoria LK Williams

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Cozy Mysteries with a Tropical Twist!