Tag Archive | suspense

Spatzle Speaks: Angel of the L Train (Book Review)

Mom has enjoyed the writings of author Penelope Marzec and her latest release, Angel of the L Train was exceptionally well done if you were to ask Mom. But that doesn’t matter because as her dog I rule this part of the blog so only my opinion really counts.

Thea Ahern is recently hired by a New York City gossip rag called LetSlip. She’s eager to work and earn money to support her mother’s nursing home care, but in the process has to hide her heritage. After a tragic incident on the subway, she assists a man who was brutally attacked and saves his life. Now the papers dub her the Angel of the L Train. Suddenly her anonymity is challenged as people see the resemblance between her and her mother who used to be a famous actress.

John is asked to shadow Thea because his boss believes her to be a way to uncover the truth about what happened to Thea’s mother. John understands the desire to hide from the past and he seeks to protect her from media scrutiny. When the CEO of LetSlip is murdered while John is in the building, his own dark past is revealed. How can he protect her and keep his job? Can Thea ever forgive him when she discovers his past–and his true reason for watching over her?

This is an excellent read filled with adventure and obstacles for the characters to overcome, but also heart as Thea and John both care deeply for family and would sacrifice to protect those they love. I give it five bones because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Murder of Crows (Book Review)

Mom has a friend, Anita Klumpers and this woman writes books that will keep you reading. The latest release from Anita is Murder of Crows.

Now I’m not one to look at things too closely but I love this cover. It’s amazing. Mom says the book is one you’ll have a hard time putting down.

Paulina Deacon is the main character and she has a frightful experience. In fear for her life she drives, and drives, and drives. She believes her boyfriend has been murdered and as a witness, via a video call, she’s next. She ends up in Briar, Wisconsin, calls herself Polly Madison, and ends up working at a rehabilitation clinic where everyone has secrets.

Hal Karlsen runs the clinic and is suspicious of Polly–and curious. Polly quickly develops friendships. Soon the terror Pauli feared finds here in Briar. She confides in Hal and together they try to unravel who is after her and why. As a result, they draw closer together. He wants to protect her and she wants to protect the clinic.

I won’t tell you how the crows play into this but they do–big time. Mom had a hard time putting it down which meant I got extra cuddles in the process. I give this book five bones because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Writer Wednesday: Richard S. Brown

I am excited to introduce you to another writing in my own family!

Richard S. Brown is my dad’s cousin, which makes him my second cousin. I thought it would be fun to interview him for my blog here. So enjoy meeting Richard!

When did you decide you would be an author? Was it something you fell into or felt called to?

Since I was a freshman in high school, I’ve enjoyed writing. I worked on school newspapers and had dreams of becoming a journalist, but my life took a different direction. I’ve always been interested in history and, over the years, often thought about writing a book, but my work took precedence. However, about twelve years ago, after retiring from a civilian career with the U.S. Army, I no longer had the excuse of too much work. I decided to write and self-publish a memoir that I could leave to my grandchildren. After publishing that memoir, the writing bug grabbed me, and I decided to try my hand at writing fiction. I’ve had two novels published since and am working on a third.

What’s your pet peeve?

 I live across the street from a walking trail, and I walk for exercise almost every day. My biggest peeve—and yes, it’s a pet peeve—is when dog walkers fail to pick up after their dogs. Most walkers are very conscientious about it, but there are those few who apparently never learned what it means to be considerate of others.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

 My most embarrassing, and potentially costly, moment was when I realized that the photo cover I’d approved for my first novel about the Korean War had been used on at least two other books. Before publication, my publisher invited me to provide ideas for a cover. I found two black and white photos on-line that I determined to be in the public domain, and I forwarded them to the publisher. He selected what I thought was the better photo and used it for the cover with some minor color tinting. I didn’t think the photo had been used before, but after the book came out, I discovered on Amazon two non-fiction books with the identical photo on their covers. I never heard from the authors, or anyone else, about the duplication, and since the photos were in the public domain, I don’t think there would have been any legal issues. Nevertheless, I felt personally embarrassed by a mistake that I will never make again.

What has been your biggest challenge as an author?

Like other authors who have commented on Susan’s blog, I don’t like the marketing aspect of publishing books. I don’t think I’m very good at it, and what makes the task more difficult for an unknown author is the high price the publisher sets for paperback books. E-Books are an easier sell, but there’s a cost involved for on-line advertising. I’m willing to spend some on that as a cost for a hobby that I like, but there’s a definite limit to what I’m willing to spend. Fortunately, I don’t have to depend on royalties for a living.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

When I started out sending queries to agents and publishers, the rejections were hurtful, because I thought I was a pretty good writer. Then I started taking some creative writing classes on-line, and I joined a writers critique group. I found that I wasn’t as good a writer as I thought. I’ve learned to accept criticism, understanding that my perceptions are limited, and I try to use those criticisms to better my writing. When my first novel was published I received a few negative reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but I’ve learned to accept the fact that reading is a very subjective matter and that you’re not going to please everyone. There are many books I’ve read that are considered classics or great writing that I wouldn’t give two cents for.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Success for me was finding a publisher who would publish my book. If I were writing to make a living, I’d be in the poor house. Fortunately, for me, I’m simply writing for personal enjoyment and satisfaction that there may be a few people who also enjoy reading what I’ve written. I admire those who love to write and commit themselves to writing as a career, knowing that there are so many good writers who never get published or recognized. When I finally found a publisher, I felt, not only that my book was worthwhile, but I was very lucky. In my mind, I compare the search for a publisher like being one of a thousand fishermen dangling lines into a small pond where there are three or four fish. What’s the chance of one of those fish biting on your hook? Not much. I consider myself a decent writer now, but also a very lucky one.

What is your current work in progress?

 I’m working on an historical fiction novel about a family of settlers, the Weavers, who migrate from Ohio to Wisconsin in 1855. A major plot element revolves around the relationships between the native-born white settlers, the white European settlers, and the Native American Indians. It covers the period from 1855 to about 1880.

BIO:

Born in Elgin, Illinois, I moved to Wisconsin at age 8 when my father began working for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. After high school, I served in the U.S. Navy for three years, then attended Northern Illinois University where I majored in political science. After completing graduate school at the University of Hawaii, I began a thirty-year civilian career with the U.S. Army working in civilian personnel human resources.  I’m retired now, married with two grown children, and live in Overland Park, Kansas. My most recent publication is a novel set in Wisconsin during the 1950s titled Going off the Rails. It’s about a train engineer falsely convicted of manslaughter for causing a derailment resulting in multiple deaths.

Spatzle Speaks: Whitney’s Vow Book Review

Mom has been busy getting the garden in and wouldn’t log me on so I could post a review of her very own book! As a dog it’s hard for me to type in the password to her laptop.

Mom told me that her author friend, Loree Lough had posted this photo (on the right here) on Facebook and stated that it looked like the cover of a romance novel. Mom thought Loree should write it but then opted to make the attempt herself.

Whitney’s Vow is the end result. A romantic suspense which is a newer genre for mom although most of her Gothic Regencies have those elements as well as some of her contemporary romances. Her publisher gave it a different cover which I think looks great.

Let me tell you a little about Whitney’s Vow. First of all Whitney was raised in a more affluent household but going to a public college cut her off from the purse strings of her parents and there she met Blake Anderson. They began their marriage on a beach along with four other friends from college.

Fast forward seven years and Whitney stays home at Rebel Falls Ranch in Montana, manages to make quilts, read books, garden and ride horses. Oh, and she’s a crack shot as well. Blake, however, is often gone for stretches of time doing some kind of undercover military operations with his team. Whitney is clueless about those operations, much less the actual day to day of running the ranch or their finances.

All of that comes to a head when she is informed that Blake is dead and that their beloved ranch is being forclosed on. The only way out is with an arranged marriage set up by her father. Whitney doesn’t want to remarry. She’s desolate…and vulnerable.

Blake is not dead and returns home just in time to stop the wedding and together they begin to unravel the lies and deception that brought them to that point. Whitney learns a lot about the ranch, and her husband’s military operations and undergoes a torturous journey to their happily ever after. Whitney becomes a part of the solution instead of a victim and I am happy to state she gets a dog too! (My favorite part!). Of course I’m biased and think you should read this book…but I will warn you, you might not be able to put it down! I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and that’s how I role!

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Writer Wednesday: Gail Pallotta

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I’ve written stories for as long can remember, but considered it a hobby until I enrolled in a professional writing class in college. I realized then I could work on a magazine and make a living, so that’s what I did for many years. In the back of my mind I always wanted to write a book. Often when I wrote freelance articles about successful people, I asked the person I interviewed what inspired him or her. Many times they spoke of their faith in God. Most of the magazines took that out. I declared then that I would write books and put Christianity in all of them.

What’s your pet peeve?

As an author who is not computer savvy, I have so many responsibilities, especially online, that have nothing to do with writing that I barely have time to squeeze in time to write.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

When my daughter was a baby, I answered an ad for freelance writing for a local magazine. The editor asked me to bring my portfolio to his office. I easily arranged for a baby sitter, but I didn’t have a briefcase. I rummaged through our belongings until I found a picnic basket a friend had given us for Christmas. I pulled out the fancy glasses and napkins and tossed in my writing samples. I was frazzled by the time I got to the editor’s office and was quite ready to sit down. I put the basket in my lap and the editor leaned over his desk and stared at it. “Are we having a picnic?”

I explained about the portfolio and ended up writing many articles for him for many years. My daughter eventually visited his office on her career day in high school, The day I met him I had rushed around so much and concentrated so hard on how to carry my samples, the picnic basket had become a briefcase in my mind. I was totally embarrassed when he jarred me back to reality.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Marketing.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I try to ignore them.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

It depends on how one measures success. I keep trying to improve my writing to make my books better, so I see my success as a time when I’ve nailed a new technique or when I understand what an editor or agent was talking about when they told me to change something. As far as books go, I’d say Barely Above Water is probably my most popular, and it is a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Award Winner.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m working on a couple of romantic suspense books.

Bio: Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s a former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, a 2013 Grace Awards finalist and a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Book Award winner. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

Website: https://gailpallotta.com

Newsletter:  https://www.gailpallotta.com/mainphp.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsandMore

Twitter: Gail Pallotta @Hopefulwords (https://twitter.com/Hopefulwords)

Amazon Page: amazon.com/author/gailpallotta

Latest book release: Stopped Cold, a young adult sports mystery and an Amazon Best Seller in  Teen and Young Adult Christian Mysteries and Thrillers for one month.

Things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville, North Carolina. Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.

Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.

Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

Buy Links

Amazon – Amazon.com/dp/B07R7RHF5K

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stopped-cold-gail-pallotta/1117352035?ean=9781522398578

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Stopped+Cold+by+Gail+Pallotta

 

Meriwether High School, the fictitious  school in Stopped Cold, has its own Twitter page, Meriwether Christian @MeriwetherCS (https://twitter.com/MeriwetherCS). The heroine, Margaret, would love to have readers follow it.

 

 

Writer Wednesday: Kim McMahill

Welcome author Kim McMahill to my Writer Wednesday here! 

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

I’ve always loved to write. In a high school creative writing class, I wrote a short story. The teacher commented on my paper that with a little more character and plot development, I had a novel. I packed that paper around for years and eventually turned it into my first novel. While finishing my first novel and trying to find a publisher I started writing travel and human-interest pieces for magazines and piled up quite a list of credits. But when I really started writing fiction in earnest was when my husband started fighting wildfires. We lived in a remote cabin with no tv or phone and he would be gone for up to twenty-one days at a time which gave me the opportunity to really explore my craft, and I’ve been writing adventure and suspense novels ever since.

What’s your pet peeve?

It’s not writing-related, but my biggest pet peeve is when I see someone who is texting while driving. It is one thing to endanger yourself, but totally unacceptable to endanger those around you.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I write action, adventure, and suspense. In Shrouded in Secrets, the adventures take place all over the world. When I wrote the book it never dawned on me that I might need to do a reading someday. Needless to say, it’s pretty embarrassing to not be able to correctly pronounce words in your own book.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

My most difficult challenge as an author is in marketing my work. I’m a bit of an introvert and technologically challenged, so promoting my work is not easy, especially in the age of social media.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I remind myself that everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone has different taste in reading material. If someone doesn’t like my work, it doesn’t mean that no one will.   

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

By sheer numbers, Marked in Mexico has been by far my best seller, but the marketing arena has changed since then and the promotions that yielded good results don’t necessarily work anymore. I hope each book I write gets better as I learn and get more experience, so each time a book gets accepted for publication I consider that my best success.

What is your current work in progress?

I have recently submitted the fourth book in my Risky Research Series, A Measure of Madness, to my publisher. While waiting to hear back, I’ve started outlining book five.

Bio:

Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. She started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense and adventure fiction. Along with writing novels Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel story anthology. Kim currently resides in Colorado, and when not writing, she enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.

Blog: http://www.kimmcmahill.blogspot.comTwitter: https://twitter.com/kimmcmahill   @kimmcmahill

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KimMcMahillAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kimmcmahill/

Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/849945.Kim_McMahill

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kim-McMahill/e/B007IK0EJW/

Latest book release: A Foundation of Fear

FBI Special Agent Devyn Nash is obsessed with taking down Coterie, a deadly group out to control the multi-billion-dollar diet product industry. The FBI’s plan to expose Coterie places Devyn’s best friend and her partner’s fiancé in the crosshairs of this ruthless organization. Can Devyn protect her friend and bring the coldblooded killers to justice before they strike again while distracted by injury, a sexist bully, and a long-distance relationship with a handsome Wyoming sheriff?

Lobbyist and Coterie assassin Sofia Wilks wants nothing more than to regain control of her life. Sofia knows Agent Nash is nipping at her heels, but the FBI agent isn’t the worst of her fears. She is drawn to a man who has the power to destroy her.

Spatzle Speaks: Hair Calamities and Hot Cash(Book Review)

My mom adores alliteration so the title of this book tickles her fancy no end. Hair Calamities and Hot Cash is a novella by Gail Pallotta and is full of adventure,  comedy, and suspense.

Poor Eve Castleberry runs a North Caroline beauty shop. For some reason, this widow is finding her hair products are not doing what they are supposed to do with strange results. To top it off a New York stockbroker crashes his car into her salon and he’s on the hunt for criminals wanted by the FBI who stole his client’s cash. Merry mayhem ensues and this is one delightful romantic comedy as the two work together to get the money and solve the riddle of what’s going wrong at her store.

Writing witty comedy is an art and Gail Pallotta has it mastered in this novella. No cats or dogs but any book that makes my mom giggle is worthy of five bones!

 

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Face In The Mirror (Book Review)

Paula Mowery has written another delightful romantic suspense in Face in the Mirror, a sequel to For Our Good. 

Sydney Russell has witnessed her mother’s death and suspects it has something to do with a mysterious box. Devastated, she turns to her dad and brother for help and they get in contact with authorities. Because she was seen, they hide her away with a friend of hers who is Amish, and deaf. Sydney can hear but is fluent in sign-language. Could she really be in danger?

Nathan Greene is attached to a task force to connect with and protect Sydney, but his own past comes to haunt him and he is blackmailed with the threat of his past being made public. This also threatens the life of the woman he has promised to protect. Will his coworkers understand the choices he has to make? Will Sydney trust him even when he can barely trust himself? The beautiful young woman with a strong faith his breaking down defenses he didn’t know he had.

Which will prevail? Love and honor or the desire to keep his reputation intact?

This is a novel that flies by before you know it and it is fun to see characters from the previous story reappear and have a role in this one. I strongly recommend this story even if you haven’t read the first book, you’ll still enjoy this one. I give it five bones because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

 

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Forgiving Tess (Book Review)

I adored Kimberly Miller’s debut novel Picking Daisy so I fully expected to enjoy her second book, Forgiving Tess. I was not disappointed!

Kimberly Miller takes the concept of just how far we extend forgiveness and how do we know someone truly has repented and put away the sins of the past. Even for Christians, it can be far too easy to judge someone based on their past than it is to accept their attempts to live a new, godly life, in the here and now.

Tess Carson is one of those characters who has made a mess of her life and is working hard to make it all right. Foolish choices, childish rebellion, a turning away from her family and her faith have made it hard to find restoration. Thankfully her uncle believes in her, perhaps even more than she does. But even he can only go so far to help her.

On a mission trip arranged by her uncle, she runs into her childhood crush. The man she declared for years as a teenager that she would marry. But putting away childish things and a wall of bad decisions destroy any possibility of a romance with the handsome young man who is now the youth pastor at the church where she’s serving.

And she’s still just as attracted to him, and his dimples, as she was as a silly teenager. While she share’s she has a past, she’s afraid to tell him details.

Josh Thorne is the son of missionaries and the best time of his life was when he lived in the town where Tess and her brother, his best friend, were. To him, that was home. Meeting Tess again and finding she was all grown up was a shock. He’s confident that there is nothing in her past that could keep him from pursuing her but he has difficulty convincing Tess of just how loveable she is… by him, her family, and God.

Her past won’t stay buried for long and there is a rocky road to romance for these two as Tess’s past threatens all of the dreams Josh has for his (and their) future together. Can they overcome? When, if ever, will those hypocrites, who cast stones, see that she really has changed?

Will Tess understand true forgiveness before it’s too late or will she lose everything? Including Josh?

This book explores so many levels of healing, growth, forgiveness and the tangled relationships that result from sin and the difficult path to full redemption and restoration, not only within the church but also within Tess herself. I strongly recommend this book. My mom loved it and couldn’t put it down, which meant more snuggle time by her side. Plus, I’d love to bark and chase after that motorcycle in the story. For that reason, I’m giving it 5 bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatlze Speaks: Black Friday and Black Diamond Gothic Regencies (Book Reviews)

There must be some odd coincidence that the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series by my mom, would release on Black Friday with a special bonus! Now, as a dog can I just say I find it clever that the author, who happens to be my mom, put an animal in each of these books as a supporting role? In the first three there features a parrot, a dog, and a talking crow! I won’t tell you which appears where, you’ll have to read them to find out.

THE BARON’S BLUNDER

First of all let’s just remember that  The Baron’s Blunder which released last year, re-releases today for FREE and with a new cover and fresh revisions. How cool is that? The story is a prequel to the series and introduces us to the evil Black Diamond who becomes a nemesis to Lord Marcus Remington’s friends and family.

The Honorable Henrietta Allendale, sister to Lord Remington, is unbeknownst to her brother acting as a spy for the War Office at Whitehall. When she runs into Lord Charles Percy she suspects something is off with the man who introduces himself originally as “Mr.” Percy instead. And she didn’t need him to save them from a highwayman. She was perfectly capable of dispatching the criminal herself.

As the couple verbally spar she shows her abilities and uncovers his lie. Can she trust a man who would deceive her so, even though it was to avoid a title-seeking debutant of which she was most definitely not. But something about the handsome lord intrigues her.

Lord Percy was adverse to marriage until he met Miss Allendale. But courtship must take a back seat to keeping her alive from the minions of the Black Diamond who now have her as their target simply because she was seen with him. Can he save her and win her heart at the same time? Or will they all lose the greatest treasure of all, love?

THE VIRTUOUS VISCOUNT

The first full-length novel in The Black Diamond Gothic Regency series is The Virtuous Viscount.  Lord Marcus Remington has decided it is time to find a wife. He didn’t expect her to be in the wreckage of a carriage in the middle of a spring storm, but rescuing Miss Josephine Storm challenges his heart and very character of the man known as the Virtuous Viscount. But when the injured young woman weighs heavy on the viscount’s mind, convention goes out the window.

As Miss Josephine Storm recovers her physical health, her heart is in even more danger. When The Black Diamond’s plot to take over Britain puts Marcus and his friends in the criminal’s cross-hairs, Josie’s life is threatened. Marcus must chance losing her good favor and risk his virtuous reputation in order to save her life. Can Josie believe in the man she thought she knew when the facts say otherwise?

 

LORD PHILLIP’S FOLLY

The second full-length novel in The Black Diamond Gothic Regency series also releases today! Lord Phillip’s Folly features the first of Lord Remington’s friends to find himself faced with the challenges of love and courtship.

No good deed goes unpunished.Lord Phillip Westcombe is a younger son and sufficiently independent. He has no need upset his tidy life with the messiness of love, but when he comes to the rescue of the lovely Lady Elizabeth Follett, and the two are found in a compromising position, his life takes an unexpected turn. Barely knowing each other, they are forced to wed.

Embarking on a new life they must learn to trust God as they face an evil which threatens their lives and the security of the British Empire. Will the minions of the Black Diamond–the bounder who owns the soul of Elizabeth’s father–succeed in their evil plans? Will Phillip and Elizabeth’s new love and faith survive the test that awaits them? Or will they all fall to the Black Diamond?

I strongly recommend all three of these books and there are three more to come in 2018! Sir Michael’s Mayhem, Lord Harrow’s Heart, and The Captain’s Conquest. And all feature an animal as part of the supporting cast including a ferret, a kitten, and a sheep? Yes! All these books get five bones because I’m biased and these books are by my mom!

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.