A Shot of Murder

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Brenda Gayle and her historical mystery novel, A Shot of Murder.

Author’s description

In 1948, Charley Hall resents giving up her job as city reporter for the Kingston Tribune to a returning soldier. But her demotion to the women’s pages is the least of her worries since Gran is organizing a surprise birthday party for Charley’s older brother, Freddie. Trouble is, Freddie hasn’t come back from his latest bender. When Charley goes looking for him, she discovers the dead body of a woman, last seen with her brother. Beside the murdered woman is a torn newspaper article about local politician Dan Cannon, who also happens to be Charley’s best friend. To make matters worse, a police detective from Toronto shows up and begins nosing around. Charley is not about to stand by and let her brother nor her friend take a fall for a murder based on circumstantial evidence. Not by a long shot.

My Review

I’m a longtime fan of crime novels and continue to be amazed at the creative ways authors find to put their protagonists into murder investigations. One of the most compelling has got to be having a family member involved and author Brenda Gayle plays this approach like a fine violin.

I appreciate a novel of any genre that also manages to capture a piece of history, and A Shot of Murder does just that with its interesting view of the soldiers of WWII returning home. Both the soldiers’ trauma and the required adjustments of the women who’ve held down the fort in their absence, are examined with sensitivity.

And, I’m also a sucker for stories involving women who just want a chance to use their talents and pursue their dreams. So clearly A Shot of Murder was tailor made for me.

All in all it is an enjoyable and easy to read book. The writing is smooth and the pace is quick. Too often I get annoyed at amateur sleuths who come across as annoying busybodies but Charley is both likable and competent as a trained investigative reporter. I enjoyed walking in her shoes and I won’t hesitate to read more books in this series.

About the Author

Life is messy and I try to reflect that in my stories while still leaving readers with a feeling of hope. I want them to see themselves and people they know in my characters.

You could say writing is in my genes. My paternal grandmother was a formidable diarist; my father was a journalist and poet; my sister and cousin are both published authors; even my son has shown a talent for putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to tell awesome stories. So, it came as no surprise to anyone when I returned to my love of fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communications–although some might argue there was plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too.

A fan of many genres, I find it hard to stay within the publishing industry’s prescribed boxes. Whether it’s mystery, romantic suspense or women’s fiction—my greatest joy is creating deeply emotional books with memorable characters and compelling stories.

Find the Author

I love hearing from readers. You can connect with me via my website at BrendaGayle.com (https://brendagayle.com/)
Follow me on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Brenda-Gayle/e/B005V2FKDY)
Follow me on BookBub (https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brenda-gayle)
Sign up for my newsletter (https://www.subscribepage.com/l2u6i9)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brendagaylebooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brenda_gayle

Buy the Book 

The book is on sale for only $0.99. Find it on Amazon.

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN gift card 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

Charley watched the pale liquid trickle into the fine china teacup. She’d have preferred a black coffee—or something stronger—but this afternoon ritual seemed to mean a lot to her grandmother, and despite their differences, her grandmother meant the world to her. When Gran had taken her first sip, Charley went on the offensive. “You fought for a woman’s right to vote. You marched in the streets. You were arrested. You taught me to be strong and independent. How can you not see the injustice in this?”

“You are not being fired from the paper. You are merely being reassigned to a position more suitable to your sex and social standing.”

“I’m not going to take it. I don’t want to get dressed up and go to all these hoity-toity social events—”

Gran had begun to giggle, quietly behind her teacup at first, but now her laughter shook her whole body and she had to put the cup down on the table or risk spilling its contents.

“What is so funny?”

“You.” Bessie sobered. “As a Stormont, you already get dressed up and go to ‘all these hoity-toity social events.’ John is giving you the opportunity to do more than simply look pretty at them. You can write about who was there and who were the big contributors to whatever charitable cause was being celebrated. You will wield far more clout with the power brokers of Kingston on the women’s pages than you ever could on the city ones.”

“I don’t want to do it,” Charley said.

“Then don’t.” She shrugged and picked up her teacup. “There are many ways to be useful. The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire is always looking for intelligent young women to join our ranks and aid in service to our country.”

Is Blood Thicker

Today it is my pleasure to welcome the author Kruze and her urban fiction novel, Is Blood Thicker.

Author’s description

Have you ever looked at your circle and wonder if the people in it are really down for you? That’s the question Ceasar constantly asks himself. In his eyes betrayal is a worse crime than murder, so think twice before crossing him.

Daquans’s was life was filled with what he considered to be normalcy. He is completely devoted to his wife, Aviana, and their son. But how deep does his loyalty run? Can he stay with Aviana when her past catches up with her, attempting to collect an unpaid debt?

Nolan is a prominent member of his family, but he’s also the only one who managed to make it out of the hood. His family looks to him for all type of assistance, including money, because he doesn’t have the heart to tell them enough is enough. Maybe it’s the guilt he feels from his secret that keeps him digging in his pocket for his loved ones.

Join us as we dive into these strangers lives to explore their inner circles. Lies will be told, secrets won’t be kept, and graves will have to be dug. Take this ride with us, and maybe you could answer the question, is blood thicker?

Should you involve your family in your writing?

Having written a series of books about a family myself, I was curious about how much Kruze let members of her own family influence the characters in her story. After all, it is a novel about about family ties. I got a chance to ask her, and here is her interesting response.

My family influence me a lot when it comes to writing, but I did not tap into any of that influence when writing this story. Although the situations in this story have nothing to do with any family member, I know they exist within other families. I will admit that sometimes my family will come to me with ideas that they want me to use. Sometimes I use those ideas and sometimes I won’t. It all depends on if I feel it is a good fit for my story. I do not wish I used more of their influence in this story because I feel like everything came together perfectly. I will be using some of their influence in the near future with several of my upcoming projects.

About the Author

Kruze was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although she always enjoyed writing poems as a way of expressing the things she didn’t feel comfortable saying out loud, she didn’t decide to seriously become a writer until after she graduated from high school. She started Urban Legends Publishing & Media as a way to create good literature for readers to enjoy. A self-described urban author with an erotic flare, Kruze wrote and published Cap-Poetry, a collection of poems about life, love, and sex from the viewpoint of a Capricorn as her first project. In November 2016, she released Lock and Load, a novel she co-wrote with Ace Capone, an author she signed to Urban Legends Publishing. Next up, is her novel, Is Blood Thicker, which was made available 8/4/2020.

Kruze has several single and joint projects coming out in the future, including another book of poetry, Letters to my Exes, and several novels, including Sins of the Father, Domain High, and The Money Team. She is always working, always striving for self-improvement both in her personal and professional lives. Be on the lookout for Kruze Hatch and Urban Legends Publishing & Media.

Find the Author

You can find Kruze on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kruze.da.author215, via her website at www.urbanlegendspm.com, or email her at kruze.da.author215@gmail.com.

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Thicker-Family-Worse-Enemy/dp/0578713209

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card 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

It was Christmas morning, and Daquan watched as his son slept in Symone’s bed. This isn’t how we should be celebrating, he thought. He felt guilty. He blamed himself for Zahir waking up to no gifts, no tree, but most importantly, no Aviana. Symone hadn’t returned from looking for Aviana, so Daquan didn’t know how to feel. Did they find her yet? Is Aviana dead? What am I gonna tell Zahir? He thought.

Zahir began to move around but was still asleep. Daquan prayed that he wouldn’t wake up. He hadn’t figured out what to tell Zahir about why Aviana wasn’t there or why they were at Symone’s house.

“I have to make something happen,” he said to himself.

Daquan was his son’s hero, so letting him down wasn’t an option. Daquan headed to the kitchen and searched the cabinets and refrigerator for something to cook. He soon found out that Symone didn’t keep her house stocked with groceries.

“How does she survive like this?” Daquan questioned aloud, still searching for food.

“I don’t need much to survive,” Symone answered, startling him.

“Why are you creeping up on me?” Daquan questioned.

“How am I creeping in my own house?” Symone asked.

“You know what I mean,” Daquan said and closed the refrigerator. “You hear anything about Aviana?”

“Not yet,” Symone regrettably answered.

“What am I gonna do?” Daquan plopped down at the kitchen table. “It’s Christmas, and I have to tell my son I have no idea where his mom is.”

 

Duty of Care and The Caretakers

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Sydney Jamesson and her mystery/suspense novels Duty of Care and The Caretakers.

Author’s description

DUTY OF CARE:

 

On her death bed Emily Derbyshire’s mother made her promise to take good care of her little sister. Keeping her promise, twelve-year-old Emily did exactly that and became five-year-old Rita’s benefactor and bodyguard.

 

After eighteen years of sisterly devotion Emily receives some shocking news! Rita has committed suicide. When disturbing details start to surface, Emily puts her highflying career on hold to seek out those responsible. She hires an American private investigator Robert Blackmoor; a motorbike riding, no-frills, computer hacker who will use any means necessary to unearth the truth.

 

Not surprisingly, Robert uncovers secrets from Emily’s troubled childhood and chips away at the glossy veneer of deceit which masks the truth behind, not only Rita’s life, but Emily’s imperfect life too.

 

Together they assemble the pieces of a sinister puzzle, revealing a cruel and corrupt world of exploitation and murder: a Dark Web into which Rita has become entangled.

 

As dark forces encircling Emily tighten their grip, and with everything to lose, she must make a life and death decision that she may live to regret.

 

THE CARETAKERS:

 

Emily Parsons is a product of a difficult childhood: self-reliant, fiercely protective and willing to do whatever it takes to safeguard the wellbeing of those in her care. She has even slayed a monster, or two … or three in the name of poetic justice, and yet she is haunted by the image of a beautiful blond girl.

 

Sixteen-year-old Louise Travis has been abducted.

 

Louise’ fate rested in Emily’s hands, but she let her slip through her fingers like gold dust, only to be swept away by a malevolent band of brothers.

 

By once again enlisting the help of computer hacker, Robert Blackmoor, Emily must find Louise before she is lost forever in a Dark Web of heinous crimes, cruelty and corruption. The clock is ticking, and Emily’s investigation is drawing the wrong kind of attention, but she will not back down. She is duty bound to protect those she loves.

 

With skeletons from her past being unearthed, who can she turn to, and who can she trust with her own sinister secrets?


In this guest post, author Sydney Jamesson takes a tongue in cheek approach to writing psychological suspense and advises us “Don’t try this at home!”

Follow the Firework Code

Reading a psychological suspense novel is a bit like watching someone throw a firework onto a camp fire; at some point you know that sparks will fly but you can’t predict the size or the force with which they might strike you down.

All you can do is watch and wait!


Dear writer of psychological suspense,

Even though you might be tempted, at no point should you provide too much information too soon for your reader. Finding out what kinds of firework you have thrown into the fire is half the fun; giving too much away too soon will only ruin the experience of finding out for themselves.

It also follows that you shouldn’t foreshadow the explosion with suggestions of safety wear: a flack jacket, a visor … In doing to you’ll spoil their anticipation and have them running for cover before the touch paper catches alight.

What you should do, is provide your reader with distractions, throw in a red herring or two, clues as to the timing of the big bang, prepare them for the moment of revelation but be subtle, allow the firework to hiss and sizzle without actually blowing up in their face.

As for the psychological aspect of the story, you can expect the reader to ask, where did the fireworks come from, who threw them into the fire and what was their motivation for doing such a dangerous thing? And you need to have some really impressive answers slotted into your backstory or the plot just won’t ignite the imagination of the reader.

You can always fan the flames with an unhealthy dousing of obsession.  Psychological thrillers often contain powerful emotions like dread and fear, or elements of horror like trauma and shock. As the flames in begin to leap and dance before the reader’s eyes they will start to see the story taking shape, sparks will fly and spread like wildfire in their imagination…

Only when the heat is rising should you allow the firework to explode, to shower your reader with glowing pieces of a puzzle they hadn’t quite figured out.

As with any firework display you hope your reader will applaud and leave the smouldering mass that remains smiling with satisfaction—they should leave knowing they have been entertained!

A word of warning: playing with fireworks can be dangerous. Make sure you know what you’re handling and that your reader stands well back. You don’t want them to get their fingers burned … how then would they write a review?

About the Author

Sydney Jamesson is a USA Today bestselling author by night and an English teacher by day. She is nocturnal by nature and loves nothing more than staying up late, listening to music and being inspired to write. She has always written creatively; in her home is one enormous wastepaper basket full of discarded phrases, opening lines and pieces of dialogue that have hit her like lightning in the middle of the night. Her USA Today bestselling trilogy, THE STORY OF US sold worldwide, and she has been thrilled to continue Ayden Stone’s and Beth Parker’s epic love story in The Story of Us Series: Into the Blue, featuring Blue Genes, Blue Hearts and Blue Moon.

More recently, Sydney has focused on psychological suspense. THE DARKEST CORNERS was her first venture into the new genre: a complex love story filled with lots of angst, emotional scenes and edge of your seat suspense as a single father and a troubled young woman confront their deepest, darkest fears together. The twists come think and fast and the ending is unforgettable!

In her latest novels, DUTY OF CARE and THE CARETAKERS – THE DUTY BOUND DUET -readers explore the seedier side of the Dark Web; witness abduction, human trafficking, and a devoted sister’s willingness to do whatever it takes to safeguard the wellbeing of those in her care. It’s a real page turner, filled with incidents which are heart-breaking and heart-stopping in equal measure!

Find the Author

Website:     https://www.sydneyjamesson.com/
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Jamesson-516585008400062/
Twitter:       https://twitter.com/SydneyJamesson
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7074207.Sydney_Jamesson
Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/jamessonauthor/

Buy the Books

DUTY OF CARE:
AMAZON:  https://www.amazon.com/Duty-of-Care-Sydney-Jamesson-ebook/dp/B08CNGJVGF
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54443373-duty-of-care

THE CARETAKERS
AMAZON US:   https://www.amazon.com/The-Caretakers-Sydney-Jamesson-ebook/dp/B08CNKPLH5
AMAZON: UK   https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08CNKPLH5

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card 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.

GF

My Favorite Excerpt

Duty of Care  Chapter 8  May 1998

MAY CAME WITH A vengeance. Mid-month, there was an outbreak of whooping cough.

Like a wrathful ogre wielding a scythe, it struck down the young, the frail and faint-hearted. Aged five, Rita Derbyshire was incapable of escaping its relentless assault. Emily was quick to read the signs: a lack of appetite, flushed cheeks and a wracking cough that had her gasping for breath.

Despite the outbreak, an ineffectual night shift worker was reluctant to respond. He locked the office when Emily asked to use the phone to call for an ambulance and staggered to bed stinking of whisky and tobacco, claiming it was too late to drive anyone to the hospital.

Fearing Rita might die, Emily raised hell, had the O’Farrell twins rouse anyone who was not struck down with the illness to dress warmly, to put on gloves and meet her in the kitchen. When they were assembled, bleary eyed and shivering, she explained that if they did not work as a team that night, then some of them would die.

Remembering what she had read on the computer at school about the illness, she paired them up and handed one of them a bowl of steaming water. Their partner was to guide them slowly to one of the ailing girls. They were to hold the whooping girl over the bowl under a towel and encourage her to inhale the steam. Once the water had stopped steaming, then they had to do it all again. Having organised them, she returned to Rita and did the same for her. The caravan of bowl carriers continued through the night.

When the day shift worker, Cassie Hendricks, arrived at eight in the morning, she was horrified to see the kitchen in disarray and bowls of every shape and size scattered on corridors amid puddles of freezing water. She assumed they had been having a pyjama party or a midnight feast of some sort. It was not until Emily appeared wearing yesterday’s clothes carrying a pale faced little girl across her arms fighting for breath that she realised what had gone on.

Close to exhaustion, Emily cried out, “Cassie, Rita needs to go to hospital, right now!” Around her stood a group of ashen faced girls, some still clutching bowls. “You need to call a doctor because there are lots of sick kids here.”

Without saying a word, Cassie pulled her phone out of the back pocket of her jeans and made a couple of calls.