Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guest Post: Deep Trouble by Jean Erhardt

Guest Post: Deep Trouble by Jean Erhardt

Guest Post

Award winning Southern author, Allen Gurganus, best known for his 1989 debut
novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, once wrote:
“The novelist needs both a dictionary and a cemetery. Graveyards offer more than
your eventual remaindered resting-shelf. Approached in the joyful spirit of
mortal play, they provide historic bullet points, bird sanctuaries, excellent
fictitious names, and the lifelong source of such sweet calm.”
Perhaps, Gurganus’ words were floating around in the back of my mind when I
accepted a position as a family service counselor at a cemetery in Portland,
Oregon. My job is to assist families with their preneed arrangements as well as
those who are at need. I spend a lot of time in the cemetery, or park as we call
it. Every day I am reminded of all of the many lives and stories that are
evidenced when I pass each grave and headstone, from Hattie T. who lived 103
years to infants who never took their first breaths.
I visit with those who have come to pay their respects to their loved ones like
Melanie S. whose young husband’s life was taken in a tragic car accident. She
brings along a CD player because he was a jazz musician and loved music, and she
sits for hours at his grave each week and listens quietly to Chet Baker, Dave
Brubeck and Ornette Coleman. Sam H. brings apples and leaves them on his
sister’s grave because he knows that the deer will come for them. Holly R., who
is five years, old recently lost her mother to breast cancer. She comes on the
weekends with her cousins and aunt who sits by the grave quietly as Holly and
her cousins run and play in and around the headstones.
Life and death, the inescapable circle, and everything that happens in between
is what we as writers are responsible to observe, absorb, filter, allow to
marinade in the juices of our own experiences and record. This is a weighty
responsibility, but one that can bring great satisfaction, even joy and,
occasionally more than a bit of humor.

About The Author

I was raised in the small rural town of Amelia, Ohio, about twenty five miles
out of Cincinnati. My younger brother and sister and I had a pony, a horse, many
great dogs and a couple of motorcycles. We raised a lot of hell. My father
served in The Big One at 17 and, after riding a motorcycle around Europe, became
a lawyer and later a judge. My mother worked as a homemaker and nurse, a skill
she had to use a lot with all of the injuries my siblings and I subjected
ourselves and one another to.
I wrote my first mystery story when I was in fourth grade. It was about a kid a
lot like me who heard strange noises coming from the attic and became convinced
that the attic was haunted. Eventually, the mystery was solved when she
investigated and found a squirrel eating nuts in a dark corner. It wasn’t a
terribly exciting conclusion, but my teacher gave me an A anyway.
As a teenager I worked at a lot of different jobs. I worked at a gift shop in
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is a frequent locale in my books. I was a swimming
instructor and a lifeguard where my primary goal was to never get wet. I did a
stint in a stuffed animal gift shop at the Kings Island amusement park where I
actually sort of met the Partridge Family when they shot an episode there. After
graduating from high school, I went on to attend Maryville College in Maryville,
Tennessee, a stone’s throw from the Great Smoky Mountains. There was some more
hell raising at college and I made some very good friends and occasionally we
have our own private reunions.
In high school and college I played basketball and I graduated from Maryville
College with a degree in Phys Ed. I went on to teach at Amelia Junior High, the
same junior high that I had attended. There was something a little weird about
passing by my old school locker every day when I walked down the hall as a
teacher. Plus, some of the teachers I’d had back when I was in junior high were
still working when I started to teach. Some of them had been none too fond of me
as a student and I don’t think they were much fonder of me as a teacher! I
coached the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams which was the best part of my
In my late 20′s I moved to the West Coast to get a broader perspective on life
or something like that. I ended up working in retail security, or loss
prevention, as it is now known, at an upscale Northwest retailer. I kept getting
promoted and with each promotion, the job became less and less fun. It was a lot
more fun catching shoplifters than sitting in endless meetings and crunching
budgets. After ten years of that, I quit to try my hand at some serious writing.
I wrote two books of fiction (not mysteries), Benny’s World and Kippo’s World,
as well as a book of not-especially-reverent poetry called A Girl’s Guide to God
and numerous short stories, articles and poems which have appeared in The Sonora
Review, The Quarterly, Word of Mouth, Blue Stocking and 8-Track Mind.
After that, it was time to go back to work. I got my private investigator’s
license and hung out my shingle. At first, I took a lot of the cheaters cases.
It seemed to me that if a guy thought his woman was cheating, he was usually
wrong. On the other hand, if a woman thought her guy was cheating, she was
almost always right. Eventually, I moved on to take mostly criminal defense
investigation work which often involved trying to figure out what the client did
and didn’t do and then minimize the damage of what they usually did do. There
were so many crazy ways that people could get themselves in trouble. In one
case, the attorney I was working for represented a wife who had gotten so
enraged about all of the time and affection her husband lavished on his pet
iguana that she shot the poor iguana and killed it. The husband was furious and
wanted the district attorney to press charges. The wife was eventually charged
with reckless endangerment and took a pretty sweet deal because even the DA felt
sorry for the fact that she was married to such a schmuck.
It was an interesting ten years. Somewhere in this time period I began to write
the Kim Claypoole Mystery Series, which was a great distraction and a lot of
fun. I liked the idea of having many of the same characters appear in each book.
So here I am now, working on the fifth book in the series.

About The Book

The Fourth of July isn’t going at all as Kim Claypoole expected. It starts with
a bang, including a run-in with a dead body, and ends with her juvenile
delinquent nephew, Little Bucky, disappearing from her double-wide trailer on a
souped up Suzuki.
When Little Bucky fails to return and no one seems concerned but Claypoole, she
sets out to find her wayward nephew. Nothing ever goes easy for Claypoole, and
her investigation soon involves several trips to Krispy Kreme, a visit to Jesus
Our Savior Bible Camp and some nasty encounters with a series of backwoods
characters, including hillbilly counterfeiters and a major league Smoky Mountain
dope dealer. In the midst of this chaos and while Claypoole is desperately
trying to keep a rocky romance on track, her kooky mother and redneck cousin
Alonzo show up for a surprise visit. Relatives, murder and love—all ingredients
in a recipe for Deep Trouble.


Website  | Facebook  |
Twitter  | Jean
Erhardt’s Amazon Author Page

Untreed Reads

Amazon US  |
Amazon UK
Amazon US
 Amazon UK


Please select the right giveaway link to use depending
on which month you are hosting.

July Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)

September Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)

October Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


November Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


December Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)

January Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)

February Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


March Giveaway

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)
One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


Friday, July 4, 2014

Book Review: Ivy Vines Visions by Judy Serrano

ivy vines visons byjudy serrano cover July 4
Moving to Sedona was the only way Ivy could think of to start over. She would meet her high school sweetheart and work on making things right between them. Her psychic abilities were gradually becoming a curse and she needed a new start. Little does she know that when she applies for a waitressing job at a local, upscale French bistro, she will come in contact with the dark and mysterious Eli Dubois. What she doesn’t realize is she has just walked into the middle of the Vortex Murders, which involve a great deal of paranormal  activity. Elijah’s army of seers are being murdered, one by one, which seems to be magnifying Ivy’s special abilities.
Eli's best friend, Jake, arrives on the scene and reveals the secret that changes everything. With nowhere to turn, Ivy leans on the two men who offer her solace. And who is the old woman in the shroud? Is she a vision, a dream, or is  she real? Only time will tell.
Deus ex machina (pronounced [ˈdeus eks ˈmaː.kʰ], /ˈd.əs ɛks ˈmɑːknə/ or /ˈdəs ɛks ˈmækɨnə/;[1] from Latin, meaning "god from the machine"; plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. Depending on how it is done, it can be intended to move the story forward when the writer has "painted himself into a corner" and sees no other way out, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or as a comedic device.  (from Wikipedia)
Usually when deus ex machina is mentioned about a story it is not in a positive way.
HOWEVER, When you have Immortals, Seers, Psychics, Witches, and all kinds of Supernaturals,  deus ex machina seems almost natural.
Ivy Vines, (yes her parents had a sense of humor) has psychic visions. A gorgeous hunk of manhood who also is the Guardian of the Seers and an Immortal has his sights set on her. His best friend, a tender, caring man is assigned to her as her comforter. Ivy is thrust head over heels into a world that is  far removed from her mundane reality. Not only is she courted by the aforementioned gorgeous hunk of manhood but the Devil Himself wants her as a brood mare. Could things get any crazier?
The answer is yes, definitely. Things could definitely get worse.
Ivy Vines Visions by Judy Serrano is a thrilling paranormal, supernatural story. I recommend it to anyone who likes to read of  good looking men, intrigue, and to take a walk on the dark side.
Judy Serrano graduated from Texas A&M University, Commerce with a BA in English. She is a substitute teacher at her children’s school district and teaches developmental writing at a local college. She is also a freelance writer for certain on-line periodicals and does editing for indie authors. She is the author of The Easter’s Lilly Series, The Linked Series, and The Ivy Vines, Visions Series. Although she is originally from New York, she currently resides in Texas with her husband, four children, (all boys) and five dogs. She is also a singer/songwriter in her spare time.
Author of The Easter's Lilly Series and Linked
published by Black Rose Writing
Dallas Parenting
Dallas Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Spotlight: See You in Hell by Demelza Carlton

Spotlight on Demelza Carlton
About The Book A devilishly hot CEO. The angelic new office temp. A match made in Heaven or Hell? Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a miracle for Mel's mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans Lucifer and his minions have in store and stop them, using any means necessary. Adding trouble and temptation to Mel's job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his smouldering eyes on the new office angel and he's determined to claim her, body and soul. Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own? A tiny taste of what's in store "Do you know how long you've made me wait?" Luce lifted his chin. "Close the door." Mel turned and kicked the door shut with the sole of one shoe. The click of it closing coincided with her eyes meeting Luce's once more. "Now strip and get your arse on the desk," Luce instructed. Mel stared at him. He couldn't be serious, could he? "Every other girl in this building knows how to do as she's told. Do you know how many girls I've had on this desk? You should consider yourself lucky. The last one I had in here was so quick getting undressed that I managed to give her a full fifteen minutes of my time. At this rate, you'll be lucky to have five." Mel became transfixed by the timber desktop. "Did you wipe it clean afterwards?" "What?" Luce's face reddened. Mel Goes to Hell series • Welcome to Hell - A Short Story (#1 in the series) - Free Purchase Links

Amazon |Amazon UK |Amazon Canada | Amazon Germany |Amazon Australia | Apple |B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | Goodreads •See You in Hell (#2) •Mel Goes to Hell (#3) - to be released in July 2014

About The Author   Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below. Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all. Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world. The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn't leave her alone.

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