Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guest Blogger, Lisa Pietsch

Please join me in welcoming author Lisa Pietsch as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Lisa’s latest release is FREEDOM’S PROMISE, the third installment in the Task Force 125 series. Lisa stop by today to talk to us about something a little different and quite interesting, ‘her addictions’ and she’s also offering a special treat.

I have a very addictive personality. I’ve known this since I was 18 and spent a summer waitressing on the coast of Maine. I made about $100 a night in tips and drank at least half that. When I joined the Air Force, I took up smoking. It wasn’t a peer pressure issue. I just found the serotonin boost from the nicotine helped me ease up on my food addiction.
So why am I spilling all my deepest, dirtiest secrets and shames?
My name is Lisa Pietsch and I’m a binge writer.
Our family just moved from Colorado to Texas, courtesy of Uncle Sam. During the move, I’ve had precious few moments to write at all. In fact, it has been about 7 weeks since I’ve written anything of consequence. The scary thing about going so long without writing is that I know a binge is coming. 
My writing binges aren’t pretty.
I write on both my computer and my phone. I’ll stay up late at night because I’m so deep into the story. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with a new scene and forget to go back to sleep before the kids need to be awakened and breakfast made. Waking up at 1:30 a.m. makes for a really l-o-n-g day!

I actually have my next binge planned already. I am smack-dab in the middle of a 7-book series about Task Force 125. Book #4,

STEALING LIBERTIES, is just waiting for my edits before Sapphire Blue Publishing publishes it. Books #5 through #7 are laid out and plotted already. I just have to fill in the stories (which are already playing out in a continuous loop in my mind). 

I figure this will be a 3-4 month binge. By the time January rolls around, I’ll be looking much like a long haired cat who just lost a fight with a fire hose. I’ll probably feel about the same too. Hopefully I’ll have 3 new books to show for it. I hope my readers will find them worthy of reading too.

Until then, please take advantage of my previous binges. Tell me about your guilty pleasures/addictions. How do you manage them? Leave a comment and I’ll send you one of my books.
If you want to follow my next binge from a safe distance, check out my blog at www.LisaPietsch.com.

Thanks for reading!

Lisa, thanks for blogging here today. Sounds like your writing binges work well for you even if they aren’t pretty. I’m still amazed that you write on your phone.

Here’s a brief blurb from FREEDOM’S PROMISE: In the war on terror...sometimes the best weapon is a woman...   Sarah Stevens is back. When one of their own is taken hostage and the Agency turns its back, the members of American Swift must take matters into their own hands. This time they’re off the clock and on their own.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Feature or 2 & a Giveaway

August has been a wonderful month for book releases and I've only touched on a few.

I have three other August releases I had hoped to have reviewed by the end of the month, but won’t be able to. So I decided to at least do a brief feature on each of these interesting books. I still plan to read them, but it’ll just be later. In addition, I have two new giveaways to announce. First up the features:

MURDER PAST DUE by Miranda James. This is the first in the new A Cat in the Stacks Mystery series.

Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the good-natured librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel that he walks on a leash. Charlie’s returned to his hometown

to immerse himself in books, but soon enough he’s entangled in a real-life thriller…

A famous author of gory bestsellers and a former classmate of Charlie’s, Godfrey Priest, may be the pride of Athena, but Charlie remembers him as an arrogant, manipulative jerk - and he’s not the only one. Godfrey’s homecoming as a distinguished alumnus couldn’t possible go worse: by lunch, he’s put a man in the hospital. And by dinner, Godfrey’s dead.

Now it’s up to Charlie, with some help from Diesel, to paw through the town’s grudges and find the killer before an impatient deputy throws the book at the wrong person. But every  last one of Charlie’s friends and coworkers had a score to settle with the nasty novelist. As if the murder wasn’t already purr-plexing enough ….

Murder Past Due by Miranda James, A Cat in the Stacks Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-425-23603-1, Paperback, 304 pages

FALSE IMPRESSIONS by Terri Thayer. This is the third installment in the Stamping Sisters Mystery series and includes instructions for a stamping project.

Back in her hometown of Aldenville, Pennsylvania, April Buchert is

creating a new life for herself as a professional rubber stamper and restoration expert. She’s also joined the Stamping Sisters, a group of craft-loving women who leave their mark on the world by stamping cards - and stamping out murder ….

The Ice Festival cometh, and April is struggling to dream up a winter wonderland of stamp designs in time for the annual event. She’s been preoccupied with the scandal surrounding the death of Mary Lou Rosen’s brother - a scandal none of the Stamping Sisters are willing to discuss.

But April discovers that Mary Lou’s brother faked his death and has been hiding out from the law. He returned to Aldenville to re-establish family ties, only  to die for real in a tragic car accident - that was not an accident at all. The killer must be stopped, and Mary Lou needs to be convinced of her brother’s good intentions  - if not, it will be one cold and long winter for April….

False Impressions by Terri Thayer, A Stamping Sisters Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-425-23555-3, Paperback, 277 pages

PSYCH: A FATAL FRAME OF MIND by William Rabkin. This is a popular tie-in novel to the USA Network series Psych.

When the Santa Barbara art museum unveils its newest acquisition,

the long-last masterpiece by Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti isn’t the only surprise behind the red curtain - the museum’s curator is there too. Dead. And posed just like the figure in the painting.

The case has everything Shawn likes - it’s bizarre, it’s baffling, and there’s a snack bar at the crime scene. But the investigation gets a lot less fun as Gus and he begin to realize that the clues are leading them toward a centuries-old cabal desperate to hide a terrible secret - and more than willing to kill the two detectives who are trying to reveal it. Shawn and Gus need to unmask a secret society as old as the Templars, as mysterious as the Rosicrucians, and as deadly as the yakuza - before they become its next victims.

Psych: A Fatal Frame of Mind by William Rabkin, Berkly Prime Crime, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-451-23159-8, Paperback, 320 pages

Now the giveaways: Thanks to Anna and the folks at Hachette Book Group I have 2 copies of GOD AND DOG (ISBN: 9781599953793) by Wendy Francisco to giveaway. This is a delightful 48 page hardcover book.

GOD AND DOG is a phenomenon. First appearing on YouTube, the video of Wendy Francisco's charming animated illustrations and moving song tells of the unconditional love of both God and Dog. With over 2 million YouTube viewings to date, Wendy's story appeals to all ages, to animal enthusiasts, to people of religious persuasions, and especially to anyone who has been loved by a dog.

Now in book format, Wendy's touching narrative will be expanded on through additional lyrics, illustrations, photographs and some of the powerful mail that is continually being sent to Wendy.

Please watch the video, it is so cute.

To enter this giveaway, just send me an e-mail (mcbookshelf@gmail.com) with “Win GOD AND DOG” in the subject line and include your name and mailing address in the body of the e-mail. This contest is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and no post office box addresses can be accepted. In addition, Hachette is advising winners that they will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail. (Winners here have always be great about letting me know if they have already won the book somewhere else so another winner can be selected. However, this announcement is something that has to be passed along from Hachette). The deadline to enter this contest for a chance at one of 2 copies is 8 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Thanks to Anna and the folks at the Hachette Audio Group have I have 3 copies of THE POSTCARD KILLERS (ISBN: 9781607883821) by James Patterson and Liza Marklund to giveaway. This unabridged audio is read by Katherine Kellgren, Eric Singer, and Reg Rogersy.

Paris is stunning in the summer. NYPD detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of Europe's most gorgeous cities. But the sights aren't what draw him—he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each cafe through the eyes of his daughter's killer.

The killing is simply marvelous.
Kanon's daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend were murdered while on vacation in Rome. Since then, young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Stockholm have been found dead. Little connects the murders, other than a postcard to the local newspaper that precedes each new victim. Wish you were here.

Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter, Dessie Larsson, who has just received a postcard in Stockholm—and they think they know where the next victims will be. With relentless logic and unstoppable action, THE POSTCARD KILLERS may be James Patterson's most vivid and compelling thriller yet.

Listen to an excerpt

To enter this giveaway, just send me an e-mail (mcbookshelf@gmail.com) with “Win POSTCARD KILLERS” in the subject line and include your name and mailing address in the body of the e-mail. This contest is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and no post office box addresses can be accepted. In addition, Hachette is advising winners that they will be subject to the one copy per household rule here as well. The deadline to enter this contest for a chance at one of 3 copies is 8 p.m. (EST) on Friday, Sept. 17.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Salon: Chapter & Hearse by Lorna Barrett

Stoneham, New Hampshire, is a book lovers paradise with a street lined with various specialty bookstores. But a cookbook signing is just the beginning of an explosive night in the peaceful little town.

When no one attends a book signing for her sister, Angelica, bookstore owner Tricia Miles goes out to roundup Angelica’s boyfriend Bob Kelly and find out why he was absent from the signing. Before she reaches the history book store where she believes he is, an explosion destroys the building killing the store owner and sending Bob to the hospital.

With Angelica scheduled to go on a book tour the next day, she talks Tricia into looking in on Bob for her. When Bob avoids Tricia’s questions about the events prior the explosion, she becomes suspicious. Meanwhile, Angelica has her own share of bad luck on her tour - slashed tires, busted headlights and the like.

Despite being called the town jinx, Tricia can’t help but begin to do some investigating on her own. The more she investigates, the more she realizes she has to find the killer before her sister is the next victim.

Author Lorna Barrett weaves together a number of interesting sub-plots involving the secondary characters. Their daily troubles add to the twists and turns of this delightful cozy murder mystery.

CHAPTER & HEARSE is the fourth installment in the Booktown Mystery series, but it is a stand alone book. There are references to prior events involving the characters but the reader isn’t left in the dark if they haven’t read any of the previous books.

Recipes are included in the back of the book as an added bonus. In addition, there is a preview of the new Victoria Square Mysteries by Lorraine Bartlett, A CRAFTY KILLING, coming February 2011.

CHAPTER & HEARSE is a suspenseful adventure that will keep you guessing right up until the end. There’s murder, mayhem, romance, humor and intrigue, what more could you want?

 Lorna Barrett’s website is http://www.lornabarrett.com

Chapter & Hearse by Lorna Barrett, A Booktown Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-425-23601-7, Paperback, 352 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Paula Quinn, Guest Blogger

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Paula Quinn back to Thoughts in Progress as the special guest blogger today on her virtual blog tour.

Paula’s recent release is SEDUCED BY A HIGHLANDER. Thanks to Paula, Anna and the folks at the Hachette Book Group I have 5 copies of SEDUCED BY A HIGHLANDER to giveaway. Please see the giveaway guidelines at the end of this post.

Here’s a brief synopsis of her book: “SINS THAT CAN'T BE FORGIVEN - Tristan MacGregor is famed throughout the Highlands as a silver-tonged seducer and an unrepentant rogue. Bold and charming, he's dallied with many women, yet none as mysterious as the lass he steals a kiss from at king's court. Little does he know this beauty is one of his clan's greatest enemies.

PASSION THAT CAN'T BE DENIED - Isobel Fergusson has despised the bloodthirsty MacGregors ever since they murdered her father. She's horrified to learn that the handsome stranger she kissed is of this clan. But Tristan means to possess her at any cost and Isobel's body turns traitor at his touch. Can a man she's sworn to hate be the only one she can ever love?”

I ask Paula if she had any works in progress or thoughts of writing stories set in other eras or countries other than her beloved Scotland.

Everyone asks me why I chose Scotland as the setting for my books. Originally, I didn’t. My first three books are set in 11th century England, before and after the Norman invasion.

I actually prefer the English setting, mostly because my heroes can wear something other than a belted plaid. Don’t get me wrong, I love Highlanders as much as the next girl, but there are times when I want to see them in snug fitting breeches and a pair of nice boots.

It’s also a little more difficult for me to write in a Scottish setting because my heart yearns to go there. It always has, for as long as I can remember. Every word I type sometimes feels like a tiny pinprick and fills me with a longing I don’t fully understand.

Whatever books I write about in the future, they will all be medieval-early, middle, or late, but medieval. I love the past, especially Celtic history. I tend to think of eras in terms of a

certain king’s reign. Kings like William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart inspire me. I wouldn’t mind going even further back to the Saxon King Alfred, or even the legendary King Arthur. 

They don’t necessarily have to be rulers of England or ancient Briton. I have a paranormal trilogy in their first drafts set in 12th century Wales under the leadership of Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. I‘ve also toyed with a few ideas about Tongan warriors and sailing the South Seas. I don’t know about you, but I like the image of a man in a loincloth.

For now though, I’m sticking with Scotland and my beloved MacGregors. It might ache a little, but it’s worth it. :)

Paula, thanks for guest blogging here again. Sounds like you’ve got some interesting plots in mind. Celtic history is intriguing.

Now for a little background on Paula. She is a disgustingly sappy romantic moved by music, beautiful words, and the sight of a really nice pen. She lives in Manhattan with her knight in shining armor and they have three beautiful children, two dogs and too many reptiles to count. Paula loves to read romance and science fiction and have been writing since she was eleven. She’s a faithful believer in God and thanks Him daily for all the blessings in her life. And in case you haven’t guessed, she loves all things medieval, but it’s her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.

Remember I have 5 copies of SEDUCED BY A HIGHLANDER (ISBN:9780446552370) to giveaway. To enter the giveaway for this 368-page paperback, just send me an e-mail (mcbookshelf@gmail.com) with “Win SEDUCED” in the subject line and be sure to include your name and address in the body of the e-mail. The giveaway is only open to residents of U.S. and Canada and no post office box addresses can be accepted. The giveaway ends at 8 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

For an added bonus, click on this link to see the MacGregor and Grant Family Tree.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Paula Deen’s Savannah Style by Paula Deen & Brandon Branch

Whether you’re trying to add an antique treasure to your bedroom or just have a modern chair that doesn’t suit your décor, you’ll find some fresh ideas in PAULA DEEN’S SAVANNAH STYLE.

In this beautiful illustrated coffee table book readers are given views of gorgeous Savannah (GA) homes, including Paula’s. In addition, readers are treated to decorating and entertaining tips from Brandon Branch, Paula’s creative director and personal assistant.

The book is divided into the four seasons with tips and techniques tailored for each period of time. You will start with entertaining in the spring when porch living is a favorite in Savannah and a large part of the south. Next comes summer when families move to docks and decks for entertaining. With cooler weather in the fall, families return indoors and dining rooms become a focal point of entertaining. Winter brings thoughts of holidays, decorations and entertaining.

The descriptions in the book are done in true Paula Deen style. Having moved to Savannah in 1987 Paula calls it her ‘forever’ home and displays it proudly in this book.

This book is enhanced by the beautiful photographs by Deborah Whitlaw Llewelyn.

Paula Deen fans will want this book for their collection even though there isn’t a recipe in it.   

Paula Deen’s website is www.pauladeen.com

Paula Deen‘s Savannah Style by Paula Deen and Brandon Branch, Simon & Schuster, @2010, ISBN: 9781416552246, Hardcover, 224 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book as part of the author’s blog tour and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle

You don’t have to love coffee to enjoy reading the Coffeehouse Mystery series. You just need to enjoy reading a good cozy murder mystery.

The ninth installment in the series, ROAST MORTEM, takes protagonist Clare Cosi on another intriguing murder mystery this time involving New York firefighters from Ladder Company 189.

Clare is the manager and head barista of the Village Blend coffeehouse in Greenwich Village. Clare and her boss, Madame Dreyfus Allegro Dubois (who is also her ex mother-in-law) go to visit an old friend of Madame’s, Enzo ‘Lorenzo’ Testa, at his coffeehouse, Caffe Lucia. Enzo has uncovered an old Blend roaster he bought from the Blend in the sixties, as well as a photo album of Madame and her late first husband.

The fun evening soon turns tragic when an explosion destroys the coffeehouse trapping Madame and Enzo in the basement. Firemen of Ladder Company 189 save Clare’s friends and she encounters Capt. Michael Quinn of the NYFD, the cousin of her boyfriend, police detective Mike Quinn. Clare struggles to understand the animosity between the cousins.

Meanwhile, the anger over her friends’ near death drives Clare to begin her own investigation into the fire. Another coffeehouse burned the same night and Clare is sure the two fires are connected.

The more she digs, the more complicated the case becomes. She suspects a fireman could be involved, but soon two firemen are dead. Clare has to get to the source of the murders before the Blend becomes the next target of the arsonist.

ROAST MORTEM is a stand alone book. Readers don’t have to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this installment. However, after enjoying this adventure readers will want to discover how Clare and Mike got together, not to mention all of the unique investigations Clare has found herself involved in.

An added bonus to the book is the coffee tips and recipes included at the end. One of my favorites is “Clare Cosi’s Magnificent Melt-In-Your-Mouth Mocha Brownies.’ Author Cleo Coyle brings all the wonderful characters to life and takes the reader into the Blend. As you turn the pages of this cozy murder mystery you can practically smell the rich, delightful aroma of the various coffee blends.

Looking to unwind after a hectic day, sit back with a cup of your favorite coffee and enjoy this entertaining, fast-pace, thrill a-minute story. It may also make you appreciate the barista the next time you order an espresso. This book is dedicated to the firefighters, paramedics, and police officers who lost their lives on 9/11.

To find out more about ROAST MORTEM, the Coffeehouse Mystery series and author Cleo Coyle visit www.coffeehousemystery.com

Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle, A Coffeehouse Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-425-23459-4, Hardcover, 368 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the author and publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guest Blogger, Sheryl L. Nelms

Please join me in welcoming poet Sheryl L. Nelms as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Sheryl is the first poet to guest blog here. Other authors may have written poems, but poetry is Sheryl’s genre. Her current release is BLUEBONNETS, BOOTS AND BUFFALO BONES.

Sheryl stops by today to talk about “Poets Are Not Writers.”

“Poets are not writers,” she said.  “They just put words on paper.”

That statement came from a romance writer one night at the Trinity Writer’s Workshop. Ever since that woman said that to me it has stuck in my brain.

Poets are writers, just like every other kind of writer. And as far as I know every variety of writer puts words on paper or a computer disc or zip drive or hard drive, sooner or later.

Since I became a writer thirty-three years ago I have attended many writers’ conferences, as a student and later as a speaker. The thing that I find with a lot of writers, especially beginning writers is that they tend to pigeonhole themselves at those conferences. Often they tend to only go to sessions in their genre, instead of sampling other perceptions.

In the past thirty-three years I have attended classes at colleges, writer’s conferences, including Bread Loaf and community classes in all varieties of writing. Each one of those classes has helped me grow as a writer and sparkle my writing with a slightly different perspective.
I have gone to the East Texas Romance Writers Conference, the Denton, Texas Storytellers conclave, gatherings of Cowboy

Poets, journalism classes at Eastern Oklahoma College and The North Texas Outdoor Writer’s Conference. I have attended sessions on romance writing, how to write wildlife stories, journalism writing and style, fiction writing, non-fiction writing, short story writing, true confessions, rhymed poetry, essays and flash fiction. 
Every single session has been a boost to my writing. I have learned how to do my research. Yes, I said research. Every poem that I send to an editor has been researched. When I send a poem out my research has been done and if an editor criticizes what I have written, I can back up my work with a bibliography. I have had several editors’ dispute facts in my poems. But each time that happens, I reply with a quote and book title. Each time my poems were published my way.

Another skewed idea is that a poem comes ready to publish. Many writers who claim they are poets believe that their words are a gift, as is. They think that nothing can be changed.
When I am doing a poem I revise, revise, and revise. Then I may stand the poem on its head. Give it a different view of the world. A different take. Often I shuffle the lines around just to see what will happen. In this instance, I use the fiction writer’s “What If?”

One of the best class I have ever taken was “Novel Writing” taught by Jack Bickham. I constantly use ideas I heard in that class every day in my writing.
My final comeback is that writers are poets and poets are writers. It does not matter what you are writing, a good writer is a good writer. And a bad one is a bad one.

Sheryl, thanks for guest blogging here today. Thanks also for giving us a look at writing from a poet’s point of view.

For more information on Sheryl and her book, BLUEBONNETS, BOOTS AND BUFFALO BONES, visit http://laughingcactuspress.com/books.html

Here’s a trailer featuring Sheryl reading her poetry, enjoy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest Blogger, Kerri Nelson

Today I’d like to welcome author Kerri Nelson as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress as she makes a stop on her virtual blog tour.

Kerri’s recently release is CROSS CHECK MY HEART. She stop by today to talk about the ‘Secret lives of romance scribes.’

My name is Kerri and I lead a secret life.

No, I’m not a secret agent or a government spy. But I do have multiple personas that I juggle on a daily basis. As an author of romance, I write stories which contain sex scenes (some quite graphic--gasp!) and often very unconventional relationships (women who love demons or werewolves). So, I don’t exactly march around my daughter’s Christian school or my own church and broadcast these details.

In fact, I recently thought of telling my hairdresser and my family doctor what I do for a living but then decided to keep the information to myself. Why should it be a secret? Why do I live one life as my “real” self and one life as my “author” self?
It is not that I’m not proud of my work. I’ve worked really hard to write over two dozen books in the last 15 years and a dozen of those have reached publication in the last year alone. This is quite an accomplishment, if I do say so myself. But let’s face it…a lot of people look down on romance authors. Even authors

of other genres seem to heap all romance authors into the old Fabio covers (bodice rippers) and the like.

While in reality…books in the romance genre boast the highest number of sales of any other book market and some of the most talented authors in the business. I know how difficult it is to get launched in this highly competitive publishing industry—so in that, I consider myself extremely fortunate.

On the other hand, I still like my home life and my work life to remain separate. I use several pen names (secret identities) and I prefer to keep some things completely private.

On the other hand, my husband shares details of my career with everyone he meets. He is so proud of my recent successes that he carries a copy of my book Cross Check My Heart around with him to show people who might not believe him! Of course, the book is dedicated to him—so that might have boosted the pride level a tad.

So with him as my public relations department—my secret life may not remain that way much longer.
The bottom line is…while pride in your work is tantamount to your success…keeping more than one identity is still okay. After all, this may be the only profession where we can still be considered sane when we admit to “hearing all those different characters’ voices in our heads” on a daily basis. I believe in the non-fiction world they call that…delusional disorder.

Kerri, thanks for guest blogging here today. I can see where an author would want and need to keep the professional and private lives separate.

Now to unmask Kerri a little more here is some additional background on her. She has always been passionate about reading books but when she wrote her first poem in the second grade, she discovered her love of writing. At the age of sixteen, she became a columnist for her local newspaper as the high school correspondent for the weekly "Panther Tales" column. She won the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.

After an education and career in the legal field, Kerri began to pen romantic suspense novels with a legal or law enforcement theme. She is a true southern belle and comes complete with her dashing southern gentleman husband and three adorable children. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her baking homemade goodies for her family, feeding her addiction to blogging online or designing custom made book trailers. Kerri is an active member of Romance Writers of America as well as numerous Chapters including Hearts through History,  Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Kerri is a multi-published author of romance in every genre from romantic suspense and paranormal to young adult and inspirational novels. In 2009, Kerri wrote and sold twelve books to multiple publishers using her Book Factory method. Her latest paranormal romantic suspense “COURTING DEMONS” will release from Dorchester Publishing in 2011. Read more about Kerri’s books at her website:  www.kerrinelson.com

Want to play, learn and compete with other authors in the biz? Visit Kerri’s industry blog here:  www.thebookboost.blogspot.com For the latest news and updates from Kerri, follow her on Twitter here:  http://twitter.com/kerribookwriter

Here’s a video trailer for Kerri’s latest release, CROSS CHECK MY HEART.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How To Crash A Killer Bash by Penny Warner

What is meant to be a fun night at the museum to raise money for a new exhibit turns into mayhem and murder.

Presley Parker of Killer Parties has put together a murder mystery play as a fund-raiser for the San Francisco de Young Museum on behalf of its philanthropist, Mary Lee Miller. Mary Lee has overseen every detail of the play planning right down to giving staff members of the museum roles in the play and taking the role of the victim for herself.

The evening gets underway with all 200-plus guests dressed as their favorite detectives. Soon a real detective is needed when Mary Lee Miller is found fatality stabbed.

The prime suspect in the murder is Presley’s friend and co-worker, Delicia Jackson. Mary Lee and Delicia had a heated argument prior to the play and nasty words were exchanged. Mary Lee accused Delicia of dating her son, Corbin, just to get her (Mary Lee’s) money. And, as with the play, Delicia was the one to discover Mary Lee’s body.

Presley realizes she must find the real killer to help her friend. The list of suspects is long since Mary Lee was a bit controlling, overbearing and pompous.

Author Penny Warner puts together a cast of colorful and quirky characters to help protagonist Presley Parker in her quest for justice. HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH is a light-hearted read filled with a mix of humor, suspense, a touch of romance, and intrigue - all perfect for a cozy murder mystery. An added bonus is the party planning tips and the instructions on ‘How To Host A Killer Murder Mystery.’

This is the second installment in the Party Planning Mystery series, but it is a stand alone book. To find out how Presley get started in the party planning business, check out HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY. An excerpt from the third installment in the series (HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE coming in March 2011) is also included in the latest release.

Time to break out your old board game, Clue, and start planning a party.

Penny Warner’s website is http://www.pennywarner.com/

How To Crash A Killer Bash by Penny Warner, A Party-Planning Mystery, Obsidian, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-451-23097-3, Paperback, 320 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Salon: Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

James Patterson and a co-author have a new book out every few months it seems like and you have to wonder, ‘how do they do it?’

When I had the opportunity to review his current release, PRIVATE, I couldn’t resist. I’ve never read a lot of his books, but the TV series Women’s Murder Club based on his books got me hooked.

Jack Morgan is the protagonist in this thriller set in sunny California where the rich and famous come to Private when they have secrets they want to hide or find someone else’s.

Private is an elite detective agency Jack inherited from his estranged father. Jack has built the agency into an international business that caters to the secrets of the influentional, but also helps out at the LAPD with cases from time to time.

There are three major cases Private is working on:
* Jack’s Uncle Fred has asked him to investigate a possible gambling scandal that could be the downfall of the NFL.
* The district attorney has asked for help in solving the school girls case in which 18 teenage girls have been abducted, killed and no evidence left.
* Jack’s best friend is suspected of killing his wife of less than a year. She was found shot to death in their bedroom. She was a former lover of Jack’s and he introduced her to his friend, Andy.

While dealing with these three major cases, Jack is also dealing with PTSD from his time in Afghanistan. In addition, he’s getting threatening calls from a mysterious caller and he helps his gambling twin brother out of a jam with the mafia.

The investigation of the three cases will take you on an exhilarating ride. The staff at Private is also a intriguing mix of characters. You’re in for a few surprises and twists along the way. While some of the plot may be considered predictable, it brings realism to this world of intrigue, glamour and glitz. I will say there were a couple of surprises at the end I didn’t see coming.

Patterson and Paetro leave the reader wanting more and from what I read last night there is a sequel coming out. What mysteries will Jack be solving this time and who's secrets will he be keeping?

Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, Hachette Auto, @2010, ISBN: 9781607884484, Unabridged, 6 Discs, Approximately 7 hours

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this audio book and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thanks and an Explanation

It’s hard to believe it’s Saturday again, I turned around and another week has flown by with little to show for it. Ever have one of those weeks? I think as we get older, weeks like that happened more often (or at least they do for me).

I want to say ‘thank you’ to Carol at Under the Tiki Hut for presenting me with the 'You Deserve A Star Today' award. I’m
honored to receive this award from Carol. If you haven’t stopped by her blog, please do so. She recently changed the background of her blog and every time I stop by I just want to stay and visit. She always has such interesting and entertaining posts too. One of my favorites is her ‘Friday’s Top Ten’ list. Thanks Carol.

There was no pressure with this award so that’s the way I’m passing it along too. I do appreciate each and everyone who stops by but I’d like to say a special thanks to these three bloggers I hope you’ll visit (if you don’t already). I appreciate their informative and enlightening posts, as well as the one they do with a twist of humor.

Talli at Talli Roland
Margot at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist ...
Diane at Spunk On A Stick

Having received this award from Carol this week I feel I’ve not deserved it since I have more or less been absent from visiting your various blogs. I do have a good reason for not touring blogdom as much this past week  -  football. Now wait, I’m not talking about playing or watching football, even though I do enjoy the sport. I’m talking about covering football in a manner of speaking.

Small towns across the US love high school football. With that in mind each year my paper does a special section highlighting the two local high school teams. In the past, this has been a fairly simple task. The larger newspaper of our parent company did all the articles and provided the photos (since they cover the region). I sold the advertising, did the page layouts and flowed everything in before sending it off to the press along with doing my regular paper for the week. This always comes out the week of the teams' first game.

Everything was going along smoothly for this year's section or so I thought. As I prepared to begin the layout of the pages I found out the sports department did not have anything for me this year  -  no articles, no photos. I began to search and ask for help. I haven’t taken photos of ball teams in a number of years and did not look forward to doing it again.

After a number of requests, the sports department was able to give me a short preview of both teams and their roster for the year. In addition, someone had sent them photos of one of teams. I was finally able to track down someone at the other high school that had photos of all the players on a CD.

So for the past three days I have worked with almost 200 photos (had to go through groups shots too), re-sizing (32 inches wide down to 2.5 inches wide), re-formatting and trying to match with the numbers and names on rosters. I was surprised at the number of players that quit after having their photos made and the number of players who change jersey numbers. Then all of that, along with the small amount of copy I had been given, had to be laid out into a special section around ads and it all had to fit.

I normally have some time during the day to drop by the various blogs I love to visit, but with this project I didn’t take much time away. I wanted to be sure that I got the right names under the right photos. I’ve got my fingers crossed now that I didn’t put someone’s photo in twice or mismatch a name and photo. After looking at it for so long, it all started to look alike.

So I’m sorry I’ve not been by to visit and that I haven’t been here to respond to your wonderful comments. Thank you for stopping by even when I couldn’t be here. Y’all are the best.

Today I hope to get caught up on awarding some books whose deadlines have already past. I’ll notify winners today and post their names on the winners’ page by Monday. I like to give the winners a chance to let me know if they have won the book somewhere else since I sometimes run behind other bloggers awarding books.

I also hope to have a review of PRIVATE by James Patterson tomorrow and I have a number of cozy murder mysteries I’ll be reviewing this coming week too. In addition, several wonderful authors - Kerri Nelson, Sheryl Nelms and Paula Quinn - will be guest blogging here.

Thanks again for stopping by and I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Saturday.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sketch Me If You Can by Sharon Pape

Life was going well for Rory McCain. She was good at her job as a police sketch artist and living back at home with her parents wasn’t all bad.

Rory’s world was suddenly turned upside down when her Uncle Mac suffered an apparent massive coronary. Mac wasn’t only her father’s brother, but Rory’s mentor and best friend.

While still processing her loss, Rory inherits Mac’s Victorian house and his private eye business. She also learns Mac was hiding a secret from her.

Notifying Mac’s clients she’s closing the business, Rory is confronted by Jeremy Logan. Mac had been looking into the death of his sister, Gail, which had been ruled an accident. After Jeremy pleads his case, Rory agrees to look a little more into the case as a friend. She can’t run Mac’s business as a second job while working with the police department.

Her next hurdle is moving into Mac’s house, which she loves but finds lonely without him. Rory quickly discovers Mac’s secret - he’s been sharing the house with a ghost. It’s the ghost of Federal Marshall Ezekial “Zeke” Drummond who died in the 1870s while searching for a killer who kidnapped and killed little girls.

When the shock wears off, Rory and Zeke come to an understanding similar to his and Mac’s arrangement. As Rory begins checking into Gail’s death, she and Zeke talk through the leads and he gives her his thoughts on the matter. Rory soon finds she’s being stalked when she gets too close to finding answers for Jeremy.

The interaction between Rory and Zeke is entertaining and might make you wish you had your own ‘in-house’ ghost.

SKETCH ME IF YOU CAN is an easy read that will keep readers guessing from the prologue until the last chapter. Author Sharon Pape weaves Zeke’s mystery into the story beautifully keeping the reader asking ‘what next.’ This light-hearted paranormal mystery series is destined to become a favorite. What’s not to love when you have a cantankerous male chauvinist ghost from the 1870s sharing a house and working with a feisty, liberated woman in 2010.

Sharon Pape’s website is http://www.sharonpape.com/

Sketch Me If You Can by Sharon Pape, A Portrait of Crime Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-425-23604-8, Paperback, 304 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guest Blogger. Leonora Pruner

Today I’d like to welcome author Leonora Pruner as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress as she makes a stop on her virtual blog tour.

Leonora’s latest release is CLOSE TO HIS HEART. She stops by to talk about “Roaming in the 18th Century.”
Having read that the twentieth century had much in common with the 18th, I felt intrigued. That incorporated my teenage fascination with the Scarlet Pimpernel (I even named my bike Sir Percy). It led to a vicarious 19th century “romp” and three published novels. 

Certainly, that century’s grace, elegance, and romance attracted me. “The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh” on The Wonderful World of Disney captured my imagination.

What if the Scarecrow (Dr. Syn) was a different sort of parson? What would he be like? What of his wife? As they took life, I sought out Thorndyke’s novels to ascertain that my characters were unique.

With my imagination engaged, research became a delightful adventure spiked with surprises. Driven to write about these characters, I faced questions – what was he/she wearing? What fabric and style? What did they see? On and on. 

I explored libraries locally and elsewhere – San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, and L.A.

The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language (1990), defines the Enlightenment as “An intellectual movement of 18th century Europe questioning traditional beliefs and prejudices, especially in religion, emphasizing the primacy of reason and strict scientific method.” Many modern “western” ideals, born then, are now global.

Neil Postman wrote, “In the eighteenth century we developed our ideas about inductive science, about religious and political freedom, about popular education, about rational commerce, and about the nation-state. In the eighteenth century, we also invented the idea of progress, and, you may be surprised to know, our modern idea of happiness. It was in the eighteenth century that reason began its triumph over superstition.” #1][1] Then as now, people expected technology and science to transform life. Time’s glamorous veil blurred the edges of the less attractive elements portrayed in Hogarth’s work.

I found this dynamic period fertile soil for fiction. Delightfully different, comfortably understandable, it offers vicarious experiences of living long ago among people similar to us. 

Watching them deal with problems, I realized their ideas might help a reader face his or her difficulties. Exploring another era emotionally, may grant insight into our own.

Imagine my amazement after typing “THE END” to discover the latest in women’s footwear fashions featured medium heels located under the arch (as in the 18th century) and men wearing sport coats of bright plaids or floral patterns (so 18th century). There are common links between then and now. The biggest link is human.

Leonora, thank you so much for guest blogging here today. This reminds me of the old saying that goes something like what is old is new again. There are still some links between then and now.

Here's a brief synopsis: In this eighteenth-century romance, a young and naive Grace Carstares plans a midnight elopement with a handsome stableman with suspicious motives. Their plans are thwarted, however, when Grace discovers a mysterious stranger lying guard at her bedroom threshold. All is explained the next morning when, to her dismay, Grace learns her nighttime guardian is young Lord Buryhill, a suitor approved by her father who caught rumor of her misguided romance and decided to protect her from ruining her life.

Determined to marry this particular young woman, Lord Henry Buryhill comes to deeply love Grace and hopes to win her love in return. Yet buried beneath this determination is his own abandoned hope that he would meet a woman who might share his commitment to God. 

Henry wins Grace’s heart as well as her hand in marriage. But Henry cannot overcome his nagging fears that Grace clings to her affection for the stableman. His distrust darkly clouds their wedding night and shatters their hopes for a joy-filled union. Unaware of the reasons driving her husband’s suspicions and jealousy, a devastated Grace withdraws from Henry, busying herself in gardening and taking solace in God’s love.

An ensuing pony-cart accident, through which Grace loses all memory of former things, presents both Grace and Henry the opportunity to either abandon their shattered marriage or begin anew. A guilt-ridden Henry is determined to win Grace’s heart once again, but Grace must decide whether to accept the courtship of a complete stranger or continue her life in the small community among the people who found her and nursed her back from a head injury. Will Henry’s determination, forgiveness, and tender care be sufficient to rebuild a foundation for their marriage?  

Now for a little background on Leonora. She was born in Dubuque, Iowa, but has lived most of her life in California. Writing has been an important activity since junior high. She graduated from Westmont College in 1953 and earned an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1981.

Fascination with a possible eighteenth-century English character led to five years of extensive research, which resulted in the 1981 and 1987 publication of two period novels. That time remains of great interest to the author, and she continues to use eighteenth-century England as a setting for her work.

Leonora married in 1953, and her family has expanded from two children to thirteen grandchildren and five great-grand-children. She lived in the Republic of Maldives from 1987 to 1997, where she collected folklore and taught economics and computer science. While there she wrote the first drafts of this book. Other books by Leonora include LOVE'S SECRET STORM and LOVE'S SILENT GIFT. The title of her next novel is THE AERIE OF THE WOLF. For more information on Leonora, please visit

(Sorry I don't have a photo of Leonora. Blogger wouldn't let me use the one I had.)

# 1][1] Postman, Neil, Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 20 
00, pp 17-18