Category Archives: Indie Gem

A Hint of Murder from Lia Fairchild

Lia FairchildLia Fairchild’s debut novel, IN SEARCH OF LUCY, has been a break-out bestseller. It caught the eye of the Amazon editors and is now part of the Amazon Encore imprint. Well done, Lia!  Today she is sharing her new novella HINT OF MURDER series–THE WRITER, THE DOCTOR, and THE BOUNCER.

QUICKIE CONTEST: Want to ask Lia about her sudden rise as an Indie Author? Make a comment or ask a question to be eligible for a FREE ebook from Lia.

Excerpt from A Hint of Murder: The Writer

 A Hint of Murder: The WriterAlicia Fairfield didn’t plan on being famous. Now a bestselling author with millions of fans, Alicia also has the attention of a killer. Someone has been recreating the murders from her books and the suspects are piling up; her mentally ill son, a disgruntled associate, and possibly even her loyal literary agent. The pressure of public recognition along with the guilt over these senseless killings could be enough to drive Alicia over the edge. Can she hold it together long enough to uncover a killer? (Story length 9,000 words)

Since the first body was discovered, she’d had nothing but heartache, worry and guilt. Alicia Fairfield prayed it was a coincidence; that the murdered young woman had nothing to do with the story she had created. A story that was played out on the big screen just last week. Perhaps making Vegas Vendetta, her tenth bestseller, into a movie had been a mistake. The Las Vegas Showgirl was fatally stabbed the night of the premiere. Alicia and her agent Edward spoke to the police the next day before Alicia returned to her million-dollar home snuggly perched in the rolling hills of Marin County.

Alicia clutched the bottle tightly, closed the medicine cabinet and stared at herself in the mirror. A pair of icy blue eyes gazed back at her as she smoothed down her straight blonde hair. At forty five, she was just beginning to show the signs of aging. For a moment, the stranger in the reflection hypnotized her but she tore herself away from the image and left for the kitchen. She passed through her dining room, decorated to perfection, and her hallway adorned with gorgeous paintings, some of them her own creations. When she reached the sink, she filled a glass with water and took it along with the pill bottle to the other side of the counter. Then she set them down next to her laptop and took a seat at the end barstool.

Alicia glanced down at the morning paper, and reread the headline. “Copy Cat Killer Strikes Again.” The article detailed the killing of the showgirl and linked it to the recent murder of a nurse found dead behind a free clinic in Novato. A source told the paper that a page from A.J. Field’s novel From the Shadows had been left with the nurse’s body. The pen name was Alicia’s attempt to have a private life and keep her family—mainly her mentally ill son—away from public scrutiny.

Alicia set the paper down and turned to her laptop. Mesmerized by the blinking cursor, she contemplated what she would write. For the first time, these would be her words. It was possible two lives had been taken because of the words she’d written in her novels. Should these be the last words anyone would ever read from A.J. Field?

************

Lia Fairchild is a native Californian who loves reading, writing, movies, and anything else related to the arts.  For more about Lia and her books visit  http://www.liafairchild.com and http://www.ahintofmurder.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/#!/liafairchild

The Anthology is available on
Amazon US http://ow.ly/7xiI7
Amazon UK http://ow.ly/7xiKW

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Inspired by a Psycho Lover by Anne R. Allen

Amazon's Complete Selection of Anne R. Allen BooksGuest Author Anne R. Allen:

 When I was in college, I dated a man named David Whiting—an odd duck who seemed to live in an F. Scott Fitzgerald fantasy world. A couple of years later, he was found dead in actress Sarah Miles’ motel room during the filming of a Burt Reynolds movie.The Gatsby Game

His death sparked a huge scandal, because Ms. Miles was married, and tabloids even accused Burt Reynolds of murder. Friends suspected suicide or an overdose. But the forensic evidence wasn’t conclusive. The coroner finally ruled it an accident.

But I knew things about David most people didn’t—he once said I was the only person who really knew him—and I’m pretty sure I know what happened that night.

For decades, I’d mulled over the story, unsure of how to tell it. But when I was in England promoting my first novel, Food of Love, I came across Sarah Miles’ autobiography in a used bookstore, read the chapters about David, and the seeds of a novel began to grow.

David had been a true “ladies’ man”: he had no male friends and collected gorgeous, wealthy girlfriends the way Carrie Bradshaw collected Manolos. He wasn’t wildly handsome, and his phoniness bordered on the comical, but somehow he always ended up with some supermodel or movie star on his arm.

He made it clear to me from the beginning that I wasn’t A-list enough for girlfriend material. We didn’t have the term “friends with benefits” in those days, but that would have described our relationship. I dated him mostly because I found him hilarious. Every date was a piece of performance art.

Because I wasn’t emotionally into him, I found his fabulist lies and way of sneaking into my room and rearranging things or leaving odd tokens was funny.  I hadn’t yet seen the classic film “Gaslight” and wasn’t aware how terrifying “gaslighting” can be.

It wasn’t until I read Sarah Miles’ book that I realized how David hooked his prey. He made himself indispensable—taking care of everything from getting the best table at trendy restaurants to financial, career and even medical advice.

Then he would start “gaslighting” making, the women believe they were crazy or incompetent and unable to function without him. When they’d try to break away, he’d use the secret weapon of most abusers: self-pity. He’d even threaten suicide. (Which is why his death is still often called a suicide, although he only had trace amounts of drugs in his system.)

The characters in The Gatsby Game are totally fictional, and I’m not sure what Ms. Miles would make of the character of Delia Kent, the movie star who befriends—then is almost destroyed by—the Fitzgerald-obsessed con man I call Alistair Milborne. I added a smart-mouthed nanny who first falls for Alistair, then hates him, and finally forgives. I call her “Nicky Conway” as an homage to Nick Carroway, the detached narrator of Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby—Alistair’s obsession.

Although it’s Alistair’s story, it’s also Nicky’s—the story of a woman who fights to make her own way in the world and ultimately triumphs, finding real love along the way.

 Anne R. Allen is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and spent twenty-five years in the theater–acting and directing–before taking up fiction writing. She is the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA and now lives on the Central Coast of California. She has a popular blog she shares with NYT bestselling author Ruth Harris.

Fractured Fairy Tales from Barbara Silkstone

The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-QuartersHave you discovered the wonderful Fractured Fairy Tales from Barbara Silkstone yet? Fast-paced wacky fun. Bestselling author Donna Fasano offered up her take on The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters.

Update March 19–Congratulations to Drpharmgirl, DragonSinger & Shadow for entering the Quickie Contest and winning the Silkstone tale of their choice!

Review Submitted by Donna Fasano

Wild, outrageous fun!

 From page one of The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters, Barbara Silkstone grabs the reader by the throat and hauls her along on a wild ride all the way to The End. The author has a strong, distinctive voice and uses words the way an artist uses paint. Like strokes of bold color, her descriptions create vivid and lively scenes and unforgettable characters that have stayed with me long after I put down the book. This is an amazing, riotous adventure that I would recommend to any and all Janet Evanovich fans.

Description:

Alice Harte’s life is falling apart. Her boss at the real estate firm where she works is a litigious and murderous man with ties to “The Mob” in Florida. She KNOWS he has literally beheaded someone in the past.

Her whole life she has dreamed of living in England and meeting a man similar to John Cleese. In an attempt to start breaking away from her boss who is threatening her with a lawsuit, she flies to England to meet Nigel Channing, who has been charming her through e-mails and phone calls.

As her life in Miami falls apart, with mobsters and a pending fraud lawsuit, her romantic savior in England looks more and more tarnished by the hour. And then she stumbles across a beheaded mob boss. How will she ever keep her head and win the lawsuit? And what about love?

Books in the Fractured Fairy Tales by Silkstone series:
The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters
Wendy and the Lost Boys
London Broil
Snow White – coming in 2012

Image of Donna FasanoDonna Fasano sold her first manuscript in 1989, and since then has become a bestselling, award-winning author of over thirty novels and four audio books. She writes under her own name, Donna Fasano, as well as under the pen name Donna Clayton and is known for her “smooth, polished” writing style and for creating “strong, complex” characters. Her books include Return of the Runaway Bride, The Merry-Go-Round, and His Wife for a While.

Quickie Contest: BLB will give three winners the Silkstone e-book of their choice. Answer this question in the comments–What fairy tale should Barbara consider fracturing next?

“Spare Change” Jingles

BLB Indie Gem

Congratulations to Shirley King and “Catwagman” for winning a free copy of SPARE CHANGE. Thanks for participating the caption contest!–BLB

UPDATE: Congratulations Bette!–SPARE CHANGE just won First Place in the Reader’s View Literary Awards Competition for both General Fiction and Southeast Regional Fiction so it was elgible for a special award – and it won the JACK EATON BEST BOOK IN CONTEMPORARY DRAMA AWARD. ($100.) Following is the criteria used for this award … Criteria: The characters must be vividly portrayed as those individuals who can exist side-by-side with someone living in this world now, dealing with issues of today in a dramatic fashion. The setting must be excruciatingly real.

Olivia Westerly is superstitious to the core. She knows what she knows. Opals mean disaster, eleven is the unluckiest number on earth, and children weigh a woman down like a pocketful of stones. That’s why Olivia avoided marriage for almost forty years. But when Charlie Doyle happened along, he was simply too wonderful to resist. Now she’s a widow with an eleven-year-old boy claiming to be her dead husband’s grandson. Against her better judgment, Olivia takes him in. With a foul mouth, dark secrets and heavily guarded emotions, Ethan Allen Doyle is not an easy child to like. He swears he’s got dead parents, and no other relatives. He was counting on the grandpa he’d never met for a place to hide, but now that plan is shot to hell because the grandpa’s dead too. Olivia claims she’s not his real grandma, but if she doesn’t let him stay, he’s flat out of luck. He’s got seven dollars and twenty-six cents, his mama’s will for staying alive, and Dog. But none of those things are gonna help if Scooter Cobb finds him. Only two people know the truth of what happened the night his parents were murdered–Ethan Allen isn’t talking and the man who squashed his daddy’s head like a pumpkin wants to make sure he never does. Ethan Allen knows the same fate awaits him if Scooter Cobb catches wind of where he is. The only one who can stop it from happening is Olivia. Written in a Southern voice, SPARE CHANGE takes place in the 1950’s and provides a poignant albeit sometimes humorous look at the weighty issues of love, loss, and adapting to change.Spare Change

Review by Dana Taylor

SPARE CHANGE is one of those books that starts out good and just gets better. Bette Lee Crosby evokes a post-war America not quite Norman Rockwellian, but close. Norman didn’t paint people like Ethan Allen’s parents, but Olivia and the residents of the Wyattsville Arms might have posed for him. Crosby writes with a strong style, bringing many characters alive with their separate voices while moving the story along at a good clip. Spare Change is reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mocking Bird, making the South come alive with flawed human beings. It’s a special story that deserves a wide audience and we hope that Book Luvin’ Babes can give it a boost.

Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

 Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since that, she has gone on to win several more awards, including another NLAPW award, three Royal Palm Literary Awards, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal and most recently the 2010 Reader’s View Southeast Fiction Literary Award.

 Her published works to date are: Girl Child (2007), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), and Spare Change (2011).  She has also authored a memoir for Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world’s longest living quadriplegic. Scheduled for release in March 2012, the book is titled “Life in the Land of IS.”

 

Drama Queens in Ancient Times by Suzanne Tyrpak

Image of Suzanne Tyrpak

From Dana Taylor: I was so impressed with the way Suzanne Tyrpak made ancient Greece come alive in HETAERA, I asked her to talk about what inspires her to delve into historical backgrounds. Turns out she’s another seeker of Feminine Empowerment.

Congratulations to Alex Fatcow and Sue Vanderpool on winning a copy of one of Suzanne books. Interesting discussion!

Drama Queens are often high maintenance so, in these days of economy, they’ve fallen out of favor, but as a writer of historical suspense, I adore these high-strung ladies. Their dramatic antics bring history to life.

In school, history was one of my least favorite subjects. Who cared about wars and politics, the death of kings, boring dates and facts? For me, opening a history book guaranteed a nap.

My interest in history developed from my love of theater and my desire to be an actor. Plays brought the past to life: dialogue, emotions, scenes filled with intrigue and drama. I threw myself into my characters. Wanting to know what they ate, what they wore, how they spent an average day—I did research on the times in which they lived. To my dismay, I found very little about day-to-day life in history books and close to nothing written about the roles of women. Even queens got little mention in comparison to kings, warriors, and other men. Hoping to understand the world of the characters I played, I spent time in museums studying jewelry, fragments of pots, and other household goods. I found taking on the roles of women in plays granted me a deeper insight into history than wading through tomes written by historians.

After reading and performing the plays of Shakespeare, I became interested in the origins of theater. I stumbled on the Greeks. As an aspiring drama queen, I felt at home with murderous Medea, revengeful Electra, and two-timing Clytemnestra—the fabulous, strong (and often insane) women who populate ancient Greek drama.

My latest book, Hetaera—suspense in ancient Athens, part one of the Agathon’s Daughter trilogy, is the result of my long-time interest in the Greeks. I love bringing ancient women to life. Through the eyes of women history is revealed to us in a way often lacking in the history books. I want to take my readers on a journey, steep them in another time, allowing them to taste the food, smell the air, experience how it might feel to live in another time. Of course, because I love a fast-paced story, I add a fair amount of intrigue, romance, and murder into the mix.

Although I just released HETAERA, I began writing the book about eight years ago. I got side-tracked from that book while visiting Italy. I fell in love with Rome and the result was my debut novel, Vestal Virgin—suspense in ancient Rome. A travel book I read contained a short blurb about vestal virgins; it mentioned they were sworn to thirty years of chastity and, if that vow were broken, they would be entombed alive.

That got me going! Plus, on a tour of the Coliseum, a guide pointed out the seats designated to the vestal virgins—the six priestess of Vesta were educated, and therefore powerful, at a time when most women weren’t even taught to read. Vestals were wealthy, paid a stipend, and, unlike other Roman women, they could own property. When I began my research, very little had been written about them—that gave me a lot of leeway. With the reopening of their temple inRome last year curiosity about these amazing priestesses continues to accelerate. 

Through my historical suspense novels, I hope, not only to entertain, but to give voice to women who have been silenced through the passing of time. These women, these drama queens, have so much to share with us about what it means to be human. How can we, as a society, hope to understand ourselves if half of our story is missing?

Ask Suzanne a question in the comments to be eligible for a FREE copy of one of her books!

Suzanne at Facebook

Three Moons Over Sedona

INDIE GEM

Three Moons Over Sedona

Three Moons Over Sedona by Sherry Hartzler

Review by Dana Taylor

Any title with the word Sedona in it, is going to get my attention.  The story begins, however, in Ohio with these lines:

 Georgia Mae Brown wanted out of her life. No rush. She’d already waited fifty-three years.

Author Sherry Hartzler piqued my curiosity from the title to the opening paragraph and I soon became caught up in Georgia’s journey of transition and self-discovery. Georgia’s life has recently been turned upside down by the death, under embarrassing circumstances, of her husband, Ed. As the story opens, she is heading out for a gallon of milk and just keeps going.

An aimless drive turns into a road trip when a stranger at a gas station mentions Sedona, Arizona as a “must see” location. Georgia now has a destination and the hope that she’ll find clarity in the new surrounding.

Hartzler does an excellent job of weaving Georgia’s past and present into a smooth story flow. She introduces new characters along the way. Soon Georgia is involved with younger friends in Sedona dealing with their life challenges also.

Zoe is the daughter of a Joan Crawford-like movie star (with a little Loretta Young thrown in for good measure). Her story line adds glamour and mystery to the tale. Trish, the owner of the café where Georgia finds a home base, has her issues and the reader comes to care about her also.

Though the story is devoid of car chases, bad guys, shape shifters, or ditzy heroines, it provides an engaging cast of characters learning to take a chance on new friends and new loves.

Oh, yeah, and most of it takes place in one of my favorite spots, Sedona, Arizona. Did I mention that? Three Moons Over Sedona by   Sherry Hartzler, a BLB Indie gem.