R.I.P in Reykjavik

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author A.R. Kennedy and her cozy mystery novel, R.I.P in Reykjavik.

Author’s description:

Traveling with your family can be murder.

One wedding party + one estranged mother = another vacation that goes array for Naomi.

Naomi is off on another international vacation. She thinks traveling with her mother will be the most difficult part of her trip until she meets the rest of the tour group—a wedding party. It only gets worse when she finds the groom dead. Everyone’s a suspect on her Icelandic tour of this stunning country.

My Review

In R.I.P in Reykjavik, A.R. Kennedy has taken her idea of combining arm chair travel and cozy crime stories up a notch. This is a witty, fun and easy-to-read amateur sleuth novel that will once again have you turning the pages to cheer on its rookie crime solver. This time around, you’ll be enjoying the beauty and charm of Iceland while you do it.

Naomi acts more grown-up in this novel, and her previous amateur sleuthing in Africa has made her more competent at solving murders, too. It makes her a more likable sleuth. As a bonus, the reader gets new details about her dysfunctional family and I think this knowledge makes the whole series more appealing.

One of my favorite things about her writing is the ongoing humor. Enough sly wit was scattered throughout the story to keep me smiling, but I was laughing out loud near the end as Naomi made a video for her sister of the coming and goings in the hotel hallway. It’s worth reading the book just for that scene.

Deep twists and unexpected turns regarding the murder aren’t Kennedy’s MO, but once again we get an adequately complex cast of suspects, and a satisfying ending. I’ll take that any day.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes cozy mysteries, amateur sleuth novels or travel.

Check out my review of the author’s previous book Sleuth on Safari.

The teaser at the end of R.I.P in Reykjavik says Naomi’s next adventure will be in Australia. I’m looking forward to it!

About the Author

A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.

Find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub or on Twitter. 

Buy R.I.P in Reykjavik on Amazon or find it at Books2read.

Yes, there is a giveaway.

A. R. Kennedy will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

A Personal Note

I’ve haven’t yet had the good fortune to travel to Iceland, but I did get to research it for my novel Flickers of Fortune. My hero Ariel, also a tourist, did many of the same things Naomi did, including visiting the Blue Lagoon and eating at the Lava restaurant. It was extra fun for me to read these scenes!

 My Favorite Excerpt

We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. As I sat down at one of the long benches, my cell phone rang. Charlotte’s face appeared on the screen. I ran outside to answer it.

“So I heard you had a late night,” Charlotte said.

“Not the time.” I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one had followed me out. “The police think it might not be an accident.”

Charlotte audibly sighed. “Is that why it was a long night? You were with the police?”

“No, one of Ösp’s friends is a police officer.”

“You mean Thor.”

“Please don’t encourage Mother. His name is Ösp. I don’t want her nickname to stick.”

“Her nickname? I called him that,” she corrected me. “He looks like Thor.”

I looked over my shoulder at the restaurant’s entrance. “Looks like? How do you know what he looks like? Did you cyberstalk him? Check the hotel’s website for the staff’s pictures?”

“No. Mom texted me pictures.”

Horrified, I asked, “And how did she get them?”

“She followed you to the lobby.”

“Nice.”

“Give her a break. She was excited. It was like seeing you on your first date.”

“I’ve been on dates before.” I glanced over my shoulder again for any of the suspects.

“But Mom didn’t see that. She didn’t see the first dates, the proms. That was all Dad.”

“Would you like it if Dad followed you out on a date?”

“I don’t think Dad cares about those things.”

She was probably right.

“Anyway, this police officer I met last night said the autopsy must have shown something because they hadn’t closed the case yet.”

“So you turned your date into a fact-finding mission?”

“It was a happy coincidence.” I thought I heard the door open behind me. I turned to see no one. It must have been the wind.

“Why do you keep looking behind you?” Charlotte asked.

“Just making sure none of the suspects can hear me.”

“Suspects? You’ve turned your traveling companions into suspects?” She paused before adding, “Again?”

I ignored her. “Hurry up, Charlotte. Someone is going to come out looking for me soon.”

“Fine. If he drowned, I bet they’d say it was an accident. They’d find water in his lungs if he drowned. Maybe the autopsy didn’t find water in his lungs. That doesn’t rule out a cardiac event. That may be hard to prove. Most likely they are waiting for the toxicology results. That’s going to take a few days.”

I looked at the restaurant door and wished I could run in for my backpack, so I could take notes. “And what would that show?”

“Whatever was in his system. Maybe drugs, poisons.”

“I forgot to ask. If it was poison, how long before he died would he have to be poisoned?”

“Depends on the poison. Probably an hour or two, I guess.”

“Could you get a poison through TSA?”

“In something in a bottle with less than three ounces, sure. Could have been a powder. They could have bought it locally too. Rat poison and antifreeze has been used in a lot human deaths.”

“Can you think of anything specific I should look for?”

“You should look who’s coming up behind you,” she said before hanging up.

Love, Lies, and Bad Guys

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Bill Blodgett and his Romantic Suspense novel, Love, Lies, and Bad Guys.

Author’s description:

When US Marshal Jay Stonewalker sees a possible terrorist comment in a chatroom frequented by anti-government radicals suggesting a nuclear threat to New York City, specifically the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, he can’t get it out of his mind. Against his boss’s orders he heads off to NYC to investigate on his own time. While there he follows a suspicious character into a secluded recess of the New York Subway system and foils what he believes is the terrorist event.  In a shoot-out with his suspect he’s wounded and calls the NYC PD for backup.  When he sees NYPD Detective KC Daviau and other uniformed officers slipping into the darkness from the subway platform he’s relieved, but to his surprise he’s met with resistance and disrespect by Detective Daviau.

Against his objections, KC takes custody of the evidence and leaves the scene. When Jay asks an officer if she is always that way he’s told that, “Since her parents died, she’s been… let’s say… a little cold.”   When they are assigned to work the case together,  KC’s icy exterior soon begins to melt away as they begin to fall for each other, but KC has to hold back. She has a dark secret and knows he can’t ever know her truths because if he did he would hate her just as she hates herself for what she’s about to do.

A Special Guest Post from Author Bill Blodgett:

Love, Lies and Bad Guys involves a terrorist plot so I asked Bill Blodgett if he was apprehensive when he did the research to write about terrorist threats. Here is is fascinating answer:

At first I wasn’t. It seemed like researching any other book. I found out about the Native Americans, who were labeled Downwinders because they were exposed to nuclear fallout that was carried downwind after the tests of the atomic bombs in the 1940’s through the early 1960’s in Nevada. Many Downwinders developed various kinds of cancer due to the exposure. Then I contacted several leaders in the Native American community and asked for their input and they were very willing to share what information they had, especially after I told them my wife was part Native American. It was all very natural and a great learning experience.

Then I researched nuclear power plants near New York City, and it was again very natural. It’s then the research began to get serious. I researched the subway system of NYC looking for easy points of access. Then I looked into dirty bombs and what they were made from and how to make them. After that I researched how Homeland Security and other agencies monitored for possible terrorists. I had to create a world that would be believable to the reader, whether they were techno savvy or not. That led to the dark web and dark web browsers that would hide these would be terrorist’s identity and location. Then, of course, the research demanded that I look into Virtual Private Networks, VPN’s. VPN’s also hide your identity by masking where you are logged in from.

They say that curiosity killed the cat and I was beginning to be concerned that I was on that slippery slope, but I felt I needed to continue.  I guessed the searches I was conduction on Google contained certain words that would be flagged by law enforcement and I was just waiting for Homeland Security to be at my doorstep any day! In a way it was kind of scary, even though I knew I wasn’t doing anything illegal, but I would have to explain and they’d probably seize my computer, freeze my bank accounts and put me on the “No Fly” list until the matter got settled in maybe five to ten years!!

I downloaded TOR, the most popular dark web browser, but didn’t bother to purchase a VPN from any of the popular venders that can be found online these days. The TOR browser is a dark web search engine much like Google, but it hides your identity and location by jumping for one “node” or location to another all around the world. This was all new to me. Interesting, but a little weird.

So after researching the use of TOR I went online and searched for random things and the lists of providers was immense and most were selling something illegal, from drugs to chat rooms about any subject you could ever dream of. At that point I figured that maybe I was in a gray area of legality and consorting with questionable characters from around the world. Yes, I was just lurking in those chatrooms, but I was still there! I knew I had enough knowledge about the Dark Web to write about it so I uninstalled TOR. Then I began to write Love, Lies, and Bad Guys!

Bill Blodgett tells us a little about himself:

I still live in the community where I met and married my lovely wife, Janice. Actually, she lived around the corner from me and we both ignored each other until our teen years when the hormone thing kicked in and we suddenly realized that the cute little girl skipping rope and that goofy boy riding a bike had both grown up.

We are the proud parents of April and Lindsay; both of whom are now married. April married Darren and they have two beautiful boys, Brian and Owen. Lindsay married Tim and they have two beautiful children: Kailyn and Evan.

I enjoy hiking, kayaking, camping with my family, golfing, making candles, and restoring my antique European sports car, a 1972 MGB.

They say to write from what you know, so I do. I write of love, life and relationships. In addition to the romantic plot we all expect from a Romance novel all of my books deal with a real-world issue as a sub-plot  that we all have had to deal in some manner in life, but not in a preachy way.  I find that including this sort of theme helps me identify with my characters on a personal level. My hope is that the reader will also feel that connection with my characters.

I have four other published novels. Dead Or A Lie and Saint’s Sword are vampire Romances. Unrequited is a contemporary novel with romantic elements and received 4 stars from Romantic Times Book Review magazine. The Last Prejudice is a family saga that deals with the issues a family must address when a family member comes out.

I have been a member of the RWA and the Central New York Romance Writers since 2004 and have held various posts in my local group. By day I am a construction inspector for an engineering company.

Find the Bill Blodgett on Facebook, or on Twitter. 

Visit him on his website,or email him at bill@billblodgett.com.

 Buy Love, Lies, and Bad Guys on Amazon.

 Buy Love, Lies, and Bad Guys at Barnes and Noble

Yes, there is a giveaway.

Bill Blodgett will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt:

“I was surprised to see you had body art.”

“It isn’t body art. It is my belief. I guess that’s why I don’t show them.  It’s personal. They are of my Goddess, Mother Earth and the symbol of our tribe, the mighty eagle. The Mother Earth Tree Goddess demonstrates the circle of life. Where all things on land, air and water are connected. They are all one. If one element is removed, the tree will wither and die. We believe that it is the same for people. We must be as one or we will all eventually suffer. The Eagle is our symbol for bravery, something that is essential to take on such a derêp.” He saw her puzzled look and continued before she could speak. “Derêp is our word for job or chore. The Eagle is dedicated to protecting our tribe, which is a very difficult job. I use his image to remind myself each day that my task is difficult and not to falter.  If you were just another chick, maybe I’d say they were body art, but I want to share that part of me with you.”

“So…” she teased. “How many other chicks have admired your body art?”

He laughed lightly with maybe a hint of a gallows laugh, “Not as many as you might guess.”

A Personal Note:

My own novel, One of One, involves a terrorist plot to blow up a plane. Like Author Bill Blodgett, I wanted to have my facts correct and my plot realistic. I went after the information I needed the same way we all do; I searched for it on the internet. Somewhere in the middle of seeking facts about explosives and the sturdiness of aircraft it occurred to me I could be attracting attention. The last thing I wanted was to find myself on a no fly list for the rest of my life. (I do love to travel …)

I was fascinated to learn Bill Blodgett went through much of the same process, and also found himself in places on the web which gave him pause. I thank him for being a good sport and providing such a thorough and interesting answer to my question!

 

 

Lacey Goes to Tokyo

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author C.H. Lyn and her Suspense/Thriller novel Lacey Goes to Tokyo.Author’s description of the book:

International travel means international danger.

Lacey Devaine is a four-year veteran of a spy ring which fronts as an exclusive escort service, Miss Belle’s Travel Guides. Maintaining her cover is Lacey’s number one priority to protect the integrity of the operation she works for.

While on assignment in Tokyo, a nosy newspaper reporter threatens to blow the lid off a scandal that will put dozens of innocent lives at risk. To protect her cover, Miss Belle is called in to act on intelligence Lacey has uncovered.

Can these beautiful, intelligent, and deadly women complete this assignment

C.H. Lyn shares her thoughts with us on creating likeable deadly female protagonists:

The obvious answer for how to create a likeable deadly female protagonist, is to make sure a character is three-dimensional. Too often we are handed female characters who are clearly male characters with a “girl” name. Or, we are given people who are only focused on the mission, the revenge, or the murder. Lacey and Miss Belle have lives. They have friends, passions, and a family; that’s what drives their characters, sometimes to kill.

Creating these two women was incredibly entertaining for a couple reasons. They are such different women, it made writing back and forth between the two of them challenging, but it gave me the relief of never having a dull moment. It also made those pesky writers-block moments a little easier to handle. When one character stopped talking to me, I could often figure out a way to work on the other character’s scenes.

With Lacey we see right away that she is a calm sort of person. She’s the friend who listens when you vent about life, but never seems to have anything worth venting about to you. In fact, until we see her truly angry, it’s hard to imagine she could be anything but the polite young lady she pretends to be. I think this helps the reader relate to her, probably more than Miss Belle. She’s the girl next door, the friendly ear, the relaxing person we all enjoy spending time with. She’s also cunning, athletic, multi-lingual, and more than capable of handling herself in rough situations.

Miss Belle is another story. She curses, throws things, and from the start we know she is a killer. I think her likeability comes from her interactions with the other characters. As a stand-alone, she would be too similar to the plethora of standoffish, angry protagonists who take justice into their own hands. Instead, she tries to do the right thing and finds herself painted into a corner. Miss Belle is harsh throughout the story, and will continue to be harsh as the series progresses. She isn’t necessarily supposed to be liked by every reader, not entirely anyway. But if the reader can see how much she struggles with the deaths around her, namely the ones she is directly responsible for, they will be able to understand her choices, even if they don’t agree with them.

These women each have their own motives, their own histories, and their own voices. Their realness is what makes them likeable. They aren’t always cool under pressure, because no one is. They don’t always make the right decisions, because no one does. And they suffer the consequences of their decisions, because everyone does.

About the Author:

I was born and raised in a small town in Northern California. Growing up in a college town meant I experienced a wide variety of people and opinions. I like to think my stories reflect the vast differences in the people I’ve met.  I love to travel. I want to explore the world around me while writing about the worlds in my mind.

I grew up with a steady diet of wonderful stories set in amazing worlds. I’ve read almost every series Tamora Pierce has written, and I am a crazy fan of the Hunger Games series. My nerdiness also encompasses the Harry Potter series, LOTR, and (to an extent) the worlds of superheros. Though, my husband is really head of DC knowledge in the household. He is also the most amazing source of support I could hope for.

I’m 26 now. My daughter just turned one. She is already so smart, curious, and beautiful. I want the female characters in my writing to be inspiring, not just for her, but for all the little girls who grow up reading.

Find C.H.Lyn at her website, or on Facebook, on Tirgearr Publishing, or on Twitter.

Purchase her book here at the Amazon link for Lacey Goes to Tokyo.

Yes there is a giveaway:

C.H. Lyn will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win

My favorite excerpt:

The blade I planted in his shoulder now dangles from his left hand. Fresh blood—my blood—coats the metal. His right arm hangs, useless, at his side.

He snarls at me with yellow teeth. He lunges forward again. The blade swings toward me, and I parry with my machete. The effort sends a burst of pain down my arm and into the left side of my back.

He swings again, and I step to the side, leaning my upper body to the right. We dance now. Circling each other. My left arm will not land a functional blow. Not with blood still dripping down from my shoulder. His right arm continues to swing. More blood pours from him than me.

I reach up my right hand and tug down my handkerchief. I breathe deep, easing the pain in my shoulder and preparing myself for the next attack. I switch my machete back to the right hand.

He shouts something. My grasp of the language is bad—at best—but I know what a cry for help sounds like.

“No one can hear you.” I spit blood at him, laughing.

Laughing during a fight knocks people off their guard, especially if blood is leaking from between your teeth at the same time.

His eyes widen. He says a few words and his gaze darts around in frantic movements. It lands on me. I catch his eyes with mine and don’t blink.

“The rest of your friends? They’re dead.”

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish.

Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.