Showing posts with label Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Picture Not Perfect" by D. E. Haggerty

Picture Not Perfect
(The Not So Reluctant Detectives Book 2)
by D. E. Haggerty

Picture Not Perfect (The Not So Reluctant Detectives Book 2) by D. E. Haggerty

Picture Not Perfect, the second book in The Not So Reluctant Detectives series by D. E. Haggerty, has just been released and is currently ON SALE for only $0.99.

Also available in this series: Finders, Not Keepers (read my blog post).

Finders, Not Keepers by D. E. Haggerty

Picture Not Perfect is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, a guest post by the author, an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?
When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her.
Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?

Chapter 1
There once was a creepy dude
“I’m not sure how gentrification will get more students to read,” Mel complained as she shelved yet another book. Why had she agreed to help her friend re-shelve the entire library? Oh yeah, because she would be getting a nice little bonus in her next paycheck. Usually, she had two days off during parent-teacher conferences. As the school guidance counselor, she didn’t teach classes. This year, however, her friend Terri who was the school librarian had convinced her to help out in the library for two days. It was the evening of the second day and Mel was beyond bored. She didn’t understand how her friend could get excited by books. She wasn’t a reader. Sitting still was not an activity she did unless forced.
“Not gentrification. Genrefication.” Terri corrected.
“Genrefication?” Mel chuckled. “Now you’re just making up words.”
Terri grabbed her arm. “You’re getting crabby. Time for a break.” Mel opened her mouth to deny she was crabby but stopped herself. If being crabby bought her a chance for a break from the endless boredom of shelving books, she could be crabby. Judging by the number of books still stacked on the floor, they were going to be here a while.
“Genrefication is the organization of books by type instead of using the Dewey Decimal system,” Terri explained as they sat down at the big table at the front of the library. Amongst the litter from the remains of their lunch was a freshly brewed pot of coffee.
“Uh-huh,” Melanie mumbled as she poured herself a huge cup of coffee. Terri may be her best friend in the world, but when she started to speak library geek, Melanie tuned her out.
“I know you’re not paying any attention to me, but I don’t care. The library is going to be awesome. Students are going to be able to find books they want to read easier. Everyone’s going to be reading more.” Terri rubbed her hands in excitement.
Melanie hoped her friend was right since Terri had been working her butt off. She’d spent the past month re-cataloging and assigning a genre to all the fiction titles in the library. Then, she’d made new labels for each book before creating signage for all the genres. Huh, looks like she didn’t tune out Terri’s library geek speak the entire time after all.
“And,” Terri waggled her eyebrows, “how’s Owen?”
Melanie huffed. Terri had been nagging her about her ex-boyfriend, Owen, for the past month. She’d rather listen to library geek speak than talk about her ex. “We’ve haven’t gone out yet.” Which Terri knew since she asked Mel the same question every single day. Talk about a broken record.
“Really? It’s been a month since you promised to go out with him.”
Melanie had agreed to go on a date with Owen after he provided her with information she’d needed to help Terri solve a murder. With his police connections, he’d been able to find the address of some goons who’d chased them. It was a long story. “It’s not my fault. He’s been busy.” She may claim she didn’t want to go out with the man, but she was more than a bit miffed he didn’t seem to have time for her.
“Busy? Doing what?”
Mel shrugged. She had no idea, and it was literally driving her crazy. First, the man bugged the heck out of her insisting she agree to a date, and then he dropped her. Well, he didn’t completely drop her. He still sent her text messages a few times a day, but he didn’t seem to have the time to take her to dinner. She couldn’t wait to get the entire obligation over with. The waiting was killing her!
“He must be busy. The man is majorly into you.” Terri waggled her eyebrows again. She looked completely ridiculous, and Mel couldn’t help but laugh. “Uh oh, incoming.”
Mel turned to look out the glass windows covering the entire front of the high school library. She watched as Alfred Schultz, the social sciences teacher, walked to the entrance. “Please tell me you locked the door,” Mel’s words were muffled as she tried to speak without moving her lips.
“Of course, it’s locked,” Terri whispered before shouting. “We’re closed, Mr. Schultz. I’ll be open tomorrow.” She smiled and waved as he nodded in acknowledgment. “Now, walk away, creepy dude.”
Mel and Terri watched as he backed up and slowly walked past the glass windows keeping his eyes locked on Mel who held her breath until he was out of sight.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
Picture Not Perfect was a page-turner. I couldn’t help but enjoy the second chance at love.” ~ My Reading Journeys
Picture Not Perfect was twisty, angst-ridden for Melanie (and reader), with some hot topic contemporary big issues (stalking and instances of inappropriate or overbearing police behavior), and I was kept turning the pages rapidly, too engrossed to stop reading.” ~ Mallory Heart’s Cozies
“I loved the book and the mystery portion because I did not suspect the killer until the clues were all revealed at the end and it was quite a surprise how it all came together.” ~ Storeybook Reviews

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
This is the second book in the series. This time we follow school counselor Melanie, who is trying to sort out her relationship with ex-boyfriend Owen. When a teacher at her school is murdered, and numerous photos of Melanie are found in his home, she comes under suspicion by the police. Of course, when Owen (who just happens to be a police officer) says to Melanie, “You are not going to investigate this murder,” you just know she will. Especially given the success she had in solving a mystery with best friend Terri in the previous book. This time, they enlist the help of Pru, the new English lit teacher. Melanie is a cute character, but with her abundance of energy and her recklessness (“I’ll wing it”), she’s bound to get them all in trouble. As their list of suspects grows steadily, I was left guessing, and so will you!
Warnings: murder, sex scene, sexual references.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“She didn’t understand how her friend could get excited by books. She wasn’t a reader. Sitting still was not an activity she did unless forced.”
“Apparently, being creepy wasn’t an offense.”
“She wasn’t going to ruin her shoes to prove a point.”
“Maybe you should watch less television and read a book sometime.”
Home. Owen’s lips on hers again felt like home.”
“If women still swooned, Melanie would be on the floor right now.”
“Maybe yoga wasn’t a good idea. Nope. Yoga was always a good idea.”

Guest Post by the Author
How the Title Picture Not Perfect Was Born
Sometimes writing a book seems like the easiest part of being a writer. Like when you have to figure out a title for one of your manuscripts. I swear I could write another book in the time it takes me to settle on a title. Slight exaggeration, but you get what I mean. Titles for books in a series are even more difficult. At least in my case, that’s true as I like the idea of keeping the titles or at least the style of the titles similar.
The first book in The Not So Reluctant Detectives series is Finders, Not Keepers. The name is a play on the expression ‘finders, keepers’. As I used a common expression for the first book in the series, I thought using an expression for the second book would be fun. But what expression?
I spent days, hours, weeks combing the internet for common expressions. Seriously, I spent more time than I should have. First, I wanted to find a children’s rhyme as ‘finders, keepers’ is not only a saying, but it’s a common rhyme in schoolyards everywhere:
Finders, Keepers
Losers, Weepers
I gave this up after spending entirely too much time on parenting websites. Who knew there were so many websites for parents? Not this childless lady, I tell you.
I went back to common expressions. I wanted to use an expression that had something to do with how things are not as they seem. The kern of the story behind Picture Not Perfect is how police detectives accuse the heroine of murder as she was being stalked. The accusation is based upon pictures the detectives found of the heroine at the murder scene. This led me to the expression “every picture tells a story”. According to the Cambridge dictionary, this expression is used when what has really happened in a situation is clear because of the way that someone or something looks.
But what if a picture tells a story that isn’t true? I could hardly title the novel Every picture tells a story, but is it the truth? That’s a bit long for a title and my graphic designer would kill me for making him figure out how to put a title that long on a book cover.
What about other sayings involving pictures? Maybe there was one I could use that wasn’t quite the mouthful of Every picture tells a story, but is it the truth? ‘Picture perfect’ is another common saying, but again the meaning of the saying didn’t fit with the story. That’s when I had my a-ha! moment. I could – just like with the previous title in the series – add a ‘not’ to the saying.
I ended up with the title Picture Not Perfect. Not only does the title match the previous title in style, but it’s nice and short, and hints at the book’s story. Phew.

About the Author
D. E. Haggerty
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed.
College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear.
After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law.
But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul, where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go.
But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where, in between tennis matches and failing to save the world, I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Picture Not Perfect is my fourteenth novel.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.


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Monday, January 14, 2019

"Moon Games" by Shelly Frome

Moon Games
by Shelly Frome

Moon Games by Shelly Frome

Moon Games by Shelly Frome is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on Murder Run and my blog post on The Secluded Village Murders.

At the outset, Miranda Davis has nothing much going for her. The tourists are long gone by October in the quaint Carolina town of Black Mountain, her realty business is at a standstill, and her weekend stint managing the local tavern offers little to pull her out of the doldrums. When prominent church lady Cloris Raintree offers a stipend to look into the whereabouts of a missing girl hiker on the Q.T, Miranda, along with her partner Harry (an unemployed features writer) agree.
But then it all backfires. A burly figure shambles down a mountain slope with a semi-conscious girl draped over his shoulder. Miranda’s attempts to uncover Cloris Raintree’s true motives become near impossible as she puts up one smokescreen after another, including a slip of the tongue regarding an incident in Havana. The local police keep stonewalling and Harry is of little help.
Tarot cards left on Cloris’ doorstep and arcane prompts on her e-mail only exacerbate the situation. Growing more desperate over the captive girl’s fate, Miranda comes across a link to a cold case of arson and murder. With the advent of the dark of the moon, she is summoned to “Tower Time” as this twisty tale continues to run its course.

Bracing herself, Miranda hurried down the hall of the retirement complex, located Cloris Raintree’s quarters, ran her fingers through her short, floppy do, adjusted her blouse and bib overalls, and knocked.
She heard a faint “The door is open,” assumed time was still of the essence and barged in.
She took in the confines of the prescribed living space, a divan behind an antique coffee table, and an heirloom silver tea service with all the trimmings. At the same time, in marked contrast to herself, she noted the carefully coiffed do, high cheekbones, slender form and those cool blue eyes that kept reminding Miranda of women who always held sway since grade school. Cloris’s spiffy heather-green tailored pants suit and matching accessories only heightened the impression. Once again, Miranda was in the presence of an affluent pillar of the Montreat community with a lineage that went back to recorded memory.
“Well,” said Cloris, in that flinty, impatient voice of hers, still doing her level best to cover up the fact she was a sixty-year-old woman with a nervous condition. Younger than the other residents, but the nightmares she’d confided she’d been having were taking their toll.
Given the tacit understanding Miranda would have to continue being on her best behavior and keep pussyfooting around, she said, “Okay, I’m ready to be told what’s so important I had to drop everything.”
“Indeed,” Cloris countered, hanging on tight to an air of crisp, imperviousness. “Did you bring a map as I asked? As a realtor, I daresay you are apprised of every inch of this area.”
Reaching into the pocket of her overalls, Miranda whipped out a local map and laid it out on the coffee table so that Cloris could peruse it. “You bet. Here you go.”
“What I was given to believe . . . That is, it has been brought to my attention that a distraught, freshman girl student took it upon herself to go off on a hike as part of some independent, outward bound program.”
“Uh-huh. So, tell me, is she lost, is that it? And if so, where was she spotted last?” While politely keeping her distance, Miranda moved over to Cloris’s side.
“Precisely.” Bristling, then pulling back, Cloris modulated her tone. “In my view, with a cold front fast approaching, and given the fact she was recently seen heading back this way . . . past some old railroad trestle as I recall, on the way to Ridgecrest, and with twilight coming on in the next hour or so . . .”
Jumping in, Miranda took over, pointing things out regardless of any thoughts of propriety. “In that case, if she keeps going, she could eventually be intercepted by the old train depot here. Or, if she is so miffed and standoffish, she’d keep right on going on her way to Sunset. All tired out but jaunting higher till she finally reached the hiker’s shack up at Grey Eagle Crest where she could hole up for the night. Seeing that she’s a freshman and a probable out-of-towner, she must have been told about it as a shelter on her return hike.”
Getting nothing from Cloris except more impatient looks, and trying to lighten things up, Miranda said, “‘Come in, she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm.’ ”
“I beg your pardon?” said Cloris, folding up the map and handing it back.
“Nothing. Just an old Bob Dylan song.”
“While the clock is ticking away? You think there’s time for this?”
“Sorry,” said Miranda, pocketing the map. She reminded herself that on this dull Monday she had nothing else going for her in the throes of the realty down- market in this sleepy Blue Ridge mountain town, especially with the tourist trade on hiatus this late in October. Plus, an exclusive on the old Raintree mansion was in the bag and this little escapade counts as an extra perk, assuming there would be some more coin to help tide her over.
She moved back to her position by the front door and tried again to lighten things up. “Look, this could be a lot simpler than you’re making it. Maybe, by now, the girl’s gotten this all out of her system and is a lot more amenable.”
Rising up, Cloris said, “I’ll have you know, it’s also been suggested that someone may be in pursuit. She may be in danger from more than an impending storm.”
“Imminent, you mean?”
“Is there any other kind?”
“Yeah, I guess under the circumstances, you never know.”
Miranda started to go and then turned back. “By the way. You never told me why you’re so involved.”
“How can you ask? As a deacon of the church who devoted a life coming to the aid of troubled and unfortunate creatures, don’t you think it is my Christian duty? And on top of that . . .”
“On top of that? You mean there’s more?”
Holding stock still and then suddenly retreating, Cloris hurried into an adjacent room, returned with what looked like a playing card and slapped it on the coffee table. “This was slipped under my door. Probably, to hazard a guess, sometime very early when they make the deliveries.”
Miranda went over, flipped it and saw that it was some kind of tarot card.
“Take it, discard it,” Cloris said, raising her voice. “Get it out of my sight!”
“But shouldn’t you notify the police?”
“Wonderful. Have the police come by and ask all kinds of questions. Set the gossip biddies around here spreading all kinds of rumors. Aspersions on my character, my condition, and the Raintree name. Take it away and let’s hear no more about it.”
“Sure, if you say so.”
“I do indeed. You are sworn to secrecy, Miranda Davis. Given your solemn word that my role in any of our dealings is strictly between the two of us.”
“Whatever. Yes, ma’am.”
Unable to take another withering glance from Cloris, Miranda pocketed the card and said, “Just wondering, that’s all. Just keeping tabs on things. Okay, I’m off, you’ll be hearing from me.”
Despite her misgivings, Miranda slipped out and retraced her steps down the hall. Trying to come to terms with the gambit she’d have to take, she reminded herself she couldn’t be at two places at once. Couldn’t fulfill her part-time obligation managing the Tavern and play hide-and-seek looking for an unsociable, meandering girl. And since she’d wangled a house-sitting stint for Harry, her sometimes partner, and since that cottage was close to the hikers’ shack if the girl managed to get that far . . . Yes, absolutely. It wouldn’t kill him to get here early. The simple solution was to hand the ball over.
Moving along to the car park, she’d almost convinced herself it was all a lot of fuss over nothing. Going to be a piece of cake.
But she couldn’t help wondering what was underneath Cloris’ church lady façade? What was really going on? And why anyone might be tailing this particular college student?
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
Moon Games can only be described as a dramatic, thrilling and exciting novel that will keep readers entertained, captivated and engrossed from the very first page. Mystery stories are currently my go-to read so when I read the description of Moon Games I knew that I had to read it as well as review it so that all you lovely readers could learn about it. Never before have I been so captivated by a mystery novel and this is thanks to the exceptional author Shelly Frome and his talented literature and so, if you are a reader who loves mystery and suspense reads then you will adore this adventure as it is stellar!” ~ Aimee Ann
“Frome creates a series of colorful characters who are drawn into this quest, most against their wills, but who, never-the-less, contribute their own special talents to what would ultimately prove to be a race to the finish, with more hairpin turns along the way than the drive along the Amalfi Coast. The famous “Malecon” drive along Havana’s Atlantic shore even plays an important role in the ultimate outcome of this complicated, yet gripping tale of revenge, regret, and greed, with a dash of the Zodiac (thus the Moon) thrown in for good measure.” ~ R. V. Helms
“Since I live in the town where this tale is set, I found it immensely fun to read. I also liked the strong female lead character, Miranda. She never gave up, despite set backs and people who were slow to believe her hunches and evidence. Good read!” ~ Ashley

Guest Post by the Author
Inklings of a Cultural Change
When I first came to Black Mountain from Connecticut a very few years ago, I had no idea what I was in for. At a stopover in Asheville, I was standing on the sidewalk, waiting for my Suburu station wagon to come careening around the bend from the parking garage of the Haywod Park Hotel. Presently, a matronly woman accosted me and said, “Are you lost, boy?” Slipping into my old actor’s ways by habit, picking up on regional accents, I said, “No, ma’am, I’m just waitin’ on my car, fixin’ to go to a potluck supper.” She countered with, “Boy, you can’t go to no potluck lest you brang somethin’.” I told her I was advised that a six-packet of good wine would be appreciated, and I happened to have one in the tote bag I was carrying. She hesitated, pondered for a while, then patted me on the shoulder. “Well, I reckon that’s all right then,” she said. “You go right ahead.”
As another example, when I moved into my new home with my golden/doodle Baxter, one Sunday morning the next thing I knew, an elderly gentleman across the street stopped me before I could get into the driver’s side of my car and said, “Shelly, I don’t know where you’re going this Sunday morning, but you appear to be not getting any younger. And there is only one path to eternity. And that’s the first Baptist Church. Not the other ones. Not the Independent, the Free Will or the Full Gospel but the biggest. The First.” And I said, “Don, Baxter and I were just trying to find our way to the Ingels Super Market. That’s as far as I was intending to go. There’s no food in the house.”
Needless to say, the more people I encountered, the more I began to appreciate the fact that every region had a distinct ambiance. And the garrulous folks in Western Carolina are much different than the cool, almost wary approach to strangers I was used to back in the Litchfield Hills. Those New Englanders had to get to know you first and, even then, were apt to keep anything too personal, let alone emotional, from creeping into any exchange. And so, the folks of Black Mountain and their ways began to creep into a novel that was forming in the back of my mind.

Shelly Frome
Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media’s Black Mountain News. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, and The Secluded Village Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on The Art and Craft of Screenwriting and writing for the stage. Moon Games is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three print copies of Moon Games by Shelly Frome (US only).