EGO – Everyone’s Got One

I’ve often wondered at what point A-list celebrities become jaded to their success. Recognizable folks from any walk of life are at risk but since the world (especially Americans and Brits) obsess over the antics of the rich and famous, it must happen more quickly with those prominent, newsworthy folks. However,  even photogenic “beautiful” people have flaws.

Authors are a different lot for the most part, perhaps because we hide behind our characters. I seldom see that nose-in-the-air snootiness with a well-known author. Oh, there’s a few, don’t get me wrong. I won’t name names but every aspiring or mid-list writer knows who they are. Unapproachable. Kiss-my-ring, peon attitude. “I’d be happy to speak at your event but I must have Evian water and no red M&M’s at my table” type requests. “Certainly I will be a keynote speaker but keep those autograph hounds away from me.” Sadly, I’ve even met some of those ego driven folks at chapter meetings for various author organizations.

Sad, isn’t it? My parents stressed that I should never forget my roots – which came from an archaic middle class, hard working, respect your elders, have pride in your work, look at those less fortunate and say “for the grace of God, there goes I” type upbringing. That being said, today’s world requires caution when dealing with the public because the values I was raised with got thrown out with the bathwater.

Old habits die hard. I’m a writer. A good writer but not the best or most recognized writer. I’m not sure I would even classify myself as mid-list. I love spinning a good yarn and am flabbergasted when others seem to like it, too.

Today I received a 5 star review for one of my older books. A book I considered irrelevant to today’s market. It’s not graphically sexy. My characters are not as contemporary as those written by my peers. It’s kinda hokey, I guess, but back when romantic suspense was popular, it did okay. I like it. In fact, it’s one of my favorites. A nice blend of things I love like strong men, sassy women, Native American culture, and a bad ass (IMHO) villain. I actually thought about taking this book off my availability list. But now, because of one kind and expressive person who cared enough to leave a short review saying they liked it, I will keep Red Hot and Dangerous active in hopes someone else might find respite form the craziness between its pages.

Thank you to all my reviewers. Remember, most authors are an insecure lot. It makes us feel good when you enjoy our hard work that probably took months, or even years to release. Writing a novel is like giving birth to a child. We carry it inside us for ages, allowing it to grow and nurture. When our manuscript finally takes its first breath as a published work, we are proud.

If you don’t like it, there’s no reason to be cruel. Just let us know what you think would have made it better. The majority of us want to know. Believe it or not, we listen – and also realize it’s impossible to please everyone. But as writers, we’re probably still going to try.

 

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Welcome Back, Jack – Gritty, Gutsy, Good!

jack bannerREVIEW:

Welcome Back, Jack starts as a slow moving police procedural that subtly wraps around you like a constrictor, keeping you snug and comfortable with the story and characters. . . until it starts to squeeze. By then it’s too late because you’re morbidly fascinated by this psychological thriller bordering on a horror novel.   You can’t put the damn book down.

I admit, my love affair with Welcome Back, Jack did not start on the first page . . . or even the first chapter. While I usually enjoy attention to details, I felt the story stalled a bit as author Sweeny set the stage. Granted, there is a gruesome murder with graphic descriptions of the mutilated bodies. No one is going to sleep walk through that! But the initial investigation and introduction to the many characters seemed to take a long time and did not reel me in as quickly as I like.

However, once you get past the slough, this is an intriguing tale with some darned good twists. The story starts off like a gumshoe detective novel but soon gets in your head and stays there until the final page. Jack is a gruff detective who smokes too many cigarettes and keeps his emotions under lock and key. His wife, Mary might be the only one who truly understands him since she hails from a family of cops, but even that is debatable at times. As the investigation unfolds, clues reveal something even more terrifying – the killer is tied to Jack’s own biological parent’s murders from years earlier.  Things go from murky to dark, spiraling to a conclusion that will leave you breathless.

Fans of police procedural, crime or horror/thriller novels will want to put Welcome Back, Jack on their must read list, as well as anyone who likes dark psychological whodunits. It’s a good read.

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Paper Doll – A Mystery With So Much More

51-lvAPX9sL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_REVIEW:

PAPER DOLL (Jana Lane Mystery Book 1) by Joe Cosentino should be on everyone’s summer reading list – not just because it’s a well written mystery thriller but because it’s fun! Quirky. Refreshing. And will keep you guessing to the end.

I loved the cast of characters. Each eccentric soul is motivated by their own agenda and it’s often not what you think.

Start with little Jana Lane, famous child actress who walked away from fame after a heinous attack. Now she’s all grown up with a family of her own and living nicely on residual income . . . but still haunted by nightmares from her past. Her hunky husband is struggling to overcome a bankruptcy but is doing okay with his new landscaping business – much to the aversion of his father-in-law, an aging movie star who wants to use Jana to resurrect his own career. And then there’s Jana’s delightful BFF who is openly gay and openly lusts for husband but would never breach their friendship. Or would he?

PAPER DOLL is a mystery but in many ways, more of a character driven satire. Joe Cosentino has crafted an engaging tale of secrets, lies and deceit set in that crazy, ego driven scene called Hollywood. As much as I enjoyed the glimpse of glamour and glitz, it was the insightful presentation of diverse personalities that kept me hooked.

I admit, the ending caught me off guard. I identified the villain but was surprised by some of the outcomes with the supporting cast. And that made me love this book even more.

I think you will, too.

MY RATING – ★★★★★

Available at AMAZON

Paper Doll 

Jana Lane Mystery – Book 1

Joe Cosentino

  • Print Length: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press LLC (March 5, 2015)
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00THKODUC

Book Description:

Jana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.

About the Author:

JoeJoe Cosentino is the author of AN INFATUATION (Dreamspinner Press), PAPER DOLL Jana Lane mystery 1 (Whiskey Creek Press), DRAMA QUEEN Nicky and Noah mystery 1 (Lethe Press), A SHOOTING STAR (Dreamspinner Press–releasing this September), A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Dreamspinner Press–releasing this December), THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND (Dreamspinner Press–releasing 2016), PORCELAIN DOLL Jana Lane mystery 2 (Wild Rose Press–releasing 2016), DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah mystery 2 (Lethe Press–releasing 2016), and THE NUTCRACKER AND THE MOUSE KING (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, INFATUATION and NEIGHBOR, were performed in New York City. He wrote “The Perils of Pauline,” available on CDROM (through Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe received his MFA from Goddard College in Vermont, and MA from SUNY New Paltz. He is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Get Cozy with DEAD MEN DON’T TALK

Well, how remiss of me. I released a new novel and didn’t tell you!

My cozy style mystery is now available on Amazon. It offers a little humor, a bit of romantic banter, some misguided sleuthing, a possible ghostly encounter and of course, the dangerous element. Take all that, combine it with a cast of quirky characters and you have the first Daisy Red-Tail Novel – DEAD MEN DON’T TALK.

DEAD MEN DON’T TALK

A Daisy Red-Tail Novel

DEB SANDERS

Words: 65,000

AMAZON

COMING FALL, 2015: Book 2, DEAD MEN CAN’T DANCE

Book Description:DeadMenFinal

A cozy style mystery with a lot of charm.

When  feisty Southern Belle and caterer, Daisy O’Connor is drawn into the search for a missing person on a Native American reservation, she realizes it will take more than Sweet Tea to make the locals talk.

Daisy swore she’d never return to Piney Creek Indian Reservation after her step-father tried to kill her, and she kept that vow for fifteen years – until her adopted Lakota grandfather summoned her to find his missing grandson. Upon arrival, Daisy uses her Southern charm to dig for information, and finds it works exceedingly well on everyone . . . except John Greyhawk, Deputy Chief of Tribal Police.

Greyhawk proves a thorn in her side as Daisy attempts to unravel the mystery behind Eddie Black Crow’s disappearance, A few “white lies” and a slice of Chocolate Cola Cake later, she determines the big brute’s heart is as cold as a frog’s behind . . . and just as unpleasant. Things turn dark when her investigation uncovers a more sinister situation, one that might send her home – in a body bag.

Added Bonus!!!
Recipe for Daisy’s Chocolate Cola Cake

Excerpt:

She stared up at the swath of twinkling lights and sighed. Atlanta’s artificial glow obliterated any chance for star gazing, making her forget how big the night sky could look.

Harry sat up, staring into the darkness. A low growl rose from his throat.

Daisy remained motionless though every muscle in her body tensed. Someone or something was out there. A form moved near the road but it was hard to see what it was in the dark. “Hello? Who’s out there?” She’d never been one to back down from a confrontation and tonight was no exception. The sound of crunching gravel alerted her to the stranger’s approach. Harry growled again, this time louder.

“Daisy Red-Tail.”

She squinted, peering into the shadows. “Yes?”

Wes Spotted Pony stepped into the dim light emanating from the window. “You used to live here. On the rez.”

She remained seated as her pulse quickened with a warning. “I did – a long time ago.”

He stepped closer. Daisy tightened her hold on Harry’s neck to keep the dog from lunging. “Where’s your car?”

“I had a flat. It’s been towed to town.”

“Too bad. You gotta be careful on the rez. It can be dangerous for a white eyes.”

“Yeah, I know. What do you want, Wes?”

His eyes flickered, a sign he didn’t expect her to know his name. “Just checking on you. Making sure you’re safe.” He snickered.

“I’m fine. Now run along home. I hear your momma callin’.”

“I like the way you talk. We don’t get a lot accents like yours around here.”

Daisy stood up. “Go home, Wes. There’s no reason for you to come any closer.”

He took another step. “Hey, baby . . . you might like being close to me. I’m a real pleaser.”

As he crossed the remaining distance between them, Harry broke free of her grasp, planting himself between her and the young Native. The distraction gave Daisy enough time to pull Grandfather’s snub nosed .38 from her purse. She aimed it at the boy’s chest. “Honey, you don’t want to mess with Southern women. We’ll rip your heart out and bake it up in a pie quicker than you can whistle Dixie.”

He stiffened as though she had struck him. “You . . . you won’t shoot me. You probably don’t even know how to fire that thing.”

She pointed the barrel upwards, fired two shots and aimed it at his forehead before he could move. “Sugah, the next round is gonna light up your head like the Fourth of July unless you start walking away right now.”

His hands flew up as he scurried backward in a panic. “Okay, okay. I didn’t mean nothin’.”

Within seconds, the night engulfed his figure but a menacing threat floated through the air. “You’re gonna be sorry about this. Mark my word.”

After a few minutes, Daisy returned to the step. She slid the gun into her purse, surprised to find her hand shaking. Harry sat beside her like a bodyguard, staring into the shadows.

“I think we just made an enemy. It might not be safe for you to sleep outside tonight.”

Amber eyes studied her with a keen sense of understanding. He lay down next to Daisy, resting his head on her knee as she wrapped her arm around his neck.

“Thanks for having my back, Harry. You’re the only male I trust.”

ROMANTIC ROAD – A Thrilling Whodunit by Acclaimed Author, Blair McDowell

Romantic Road

Blair McDowell

Genre: Romantic ThrillerRomRoadCover

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Pages: 290

Cover: Diana Carlile

Amazon      Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

When Lacy Telchev buries her husband, she finds herself in treacherous waters. Igor, much older than Lacy, had secrets. Suddenly, Lacy is being chased across Europe by men who believe she can lead them to those secrets.

Evading her pursuers with the aid of a chance acquaintance, the handsome and mysterious Max Petersen, Lacy travels across Germany, Austria and Hungary, to a shattering discovery in Budapest. Along the way, she meets three women from Igor’s past.

As Igor’s story unfolds through them, Lacy is less and less certain who her husband really was. Who can Lacy trust? Will she survive to find out?

REVIEW:

Romantic Road has something to please everyone, beginning with top notch writing. Blair McDowell has penned another riveting tale chock full of danger, suspense, romance and mystery. I’m quite sure the book grew tentacles and wrapped around me because I found it impossible to look up until I’d turned the final page. I confess, I was a willing prisoner.

The fast paced plot takes readers on a superb journey, beginning in New York and extending through several European countries. It’s obvious the author is well traveled because of her attention to detail. Rather than use a heavy hand with descriptive prose, however, Ms. McDowell delicately layers enticing tidbits of local flavor that blend seamlessly into the story.

I loved the heroine’s character arc. Her growth and development were expertly crafted, making Lacy Telchev believable but more importantly, likable.

Romantic Road is a story with twists and turns, several subplots, and a great unraveling of the mystery behind Lacy’s husband. Add it to your reading list, then READ it! This novel is too good to remain unopened.

Excerpt:

“Where is it? Just tell us where it is and you won’t get hurt.” The taller man loomed over her, his face expressionless, a mask.

“Where is what? What are you talking about? Who are you?” Lacy began to be annoyed. That was better than being scared. “Can I see your badges again?”

The second man stared hard at her though dead-looking flat grey eyes. “Mrs. Telchev,” he said, his voice low and menacing, “we mean you no harm. But you must tell us where he hid his manuscript.”

They knew her name? Icy tentacles of fear slipped down Lacy’s back. She shook her head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

At that moment the red and white lights of a state police vehicle rounded the curve coming toward them. Seeing the blocked road it stopped. Two uniformed officers got out and approached the two parked cars.

“You’re blocking the road. What’s the trouble here?”

The taller man spoke.  “No trouble, Officer. Sorry about the way we’re parked. I’ll move the car immediately. The lady was pulled over here and we just stopped to see if she needed help.”

He flipped open his wallet and showed the officers the same ID he’d shown Lacy.

It seemed to mean something to the policemen.

Lacy opened her mouth to say something and then thought better of it. What could she tell the police? These men wanted a manuscript from her but she didn’t know where it was? Or what it was about? Or even if it existed. That it involved her dead husband? No. She wouldn’t say anything. Not until she knew more.

BlairAbout the Author:

Blair McDowell wrote her first short story when she was eleven and hasn’t stopped writing since. After many years producing non-fiction professional books in her field, Blair decided to exercise her rich imagination and write fiction; novels of mystery and romance set in places she knows and loves, peopled with characters drawn from her experiences in those locales.

 

WOW . . . oh, WOW!!! Cover Reveal for UNHINGED, Book 2 The Haunting of Secrets

unhinged2 (2)

Unhinged

The Haunting of Secrets

Book 2 of the Trilogy

Shelley R. Pickens

Genre: YA, mystery, paranormal

Publisher:  Fire and Ice

Imprint of Melange Books

Date of Publication:  March 2015

Word Count: 62,364

Cover Artist:  Caroline Andrus

Book Description:

Being normal isn’t always a good thing, especially if it ends up killing you.

Aimee, the sixteen year old girl who can see your every memory with just one touch, is fresh out of the torture room after risking everything to capture a killer.

Despite her instinct to avoid contact with others, she tries her best to find a new normal at school – perhaps even a boyfriend. But for those who are cursed, happiness and normality aren’t easy to obtain. A bizarre illness is spreading like wildfire through the school causing those around Aimee to lose their sanity before falling into a coma. Slowly, all the people she loves succumb to this strange disease.

Alone and terrified, she must use her curse to find a way to save her family and friends. As she delves deeper and deeper into their memories, she realizes a delusional person from her childhood named David is the bigger threat that could end up destroying her. Despite the danger that surrounds her, she struggles to solve the puzzle before it’s too late to help those she cares for the most.

But as David moves closer to eliminating her, one puzzle still remains. Will she be able to save herself?

Book Trailer for Book One: http://youtu.be/cQvKX0rb-Zg

Book 1 The Haunting of Secrets Available on Amazon  BN   Goodreads

Unhinged Book CoverExcerpt:

Preface

THE END IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

He drew me here to this house in the middle of nowhere to die by his hand. I’ve never liked guns, but they sure do seem to like me. In fact, I’m staring down the barrel of one right now. The clarity of mind you have knowing that death is coming for you any second is astonishing. There are so many things I would have done differently; yet so many memories I wouldn’t trade for the world. Funny hearing myself say that. For me, memories have never been something to cherish; they were always something to fear. I have absorbed so many memories in the short sixteen years of my life that it is hard for me to figure out which ones are real and which ones are borrowed. Needless to say, few of them are good. Knowing what I know of the people in this world, I should welcome death. But I don’t. I have a reason to live now: Logan. He’s the reason I haven’t gone insane; the reason that I came here tonight to willingly give up my life so this insane asshole pointing his gun at me can feed his delusions of grandeur.

He tells me that this is my fate: to die by his hand. That’s the funny thing about fate; people think it’s written in stone. They believe the age-old adage that you must ‘accept’ your fate. But that just isn’t true. It’s simply a way for people to accept the things they can’t change. If something good happens then fate ‘lent you a hand’. If something awful occurs, then fate was ‘cruel’. Yet either way, the fates I believe in aren’t left to chance. I believe you make your own fate; that life is fluid, ever changing and what you make of it is completely up to you. So tonight, if I have to die to save the ones I love then that is what I choose–no one else. But who says I have to go down easy? If I go down, so does he. Tonight, I will look fate straight in the eye and tell her to go to hell.

About the Author:author

Shelley Pickens is a Spanish teacher by day and a novelist by night. She’s been in love with everything paranormal since she can remember. After years of teaching high school students, she decided to take her firsthand knowledge of young adults and apply it to her passion for creative writing and fantasy. When not teaching or writing, Shelley likes to spend time with her husband and two beautiful children in Atlanta, Ga. Her escape from reality is her love of complex thriller and science fiction TV series like Supernatural and Sleepy Hollow. In her spare time she is an avid watcher of little league baseball. THE HAUNTING OF SECRETS is her debut novel.

Website: www.shelleypickens.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shelleypickens