Saturday, February 28, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Beasts of Tabat by Cat Rambo

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Cat Rambo

Beasts of Tabat
The Tabat Quartet 1
Wordfire Press, March 27, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 325 pages

When countryboy Teo arrives in the coastal city of Tabat, he finds it a hostile place, particularly to a boy hiding an enormous secret. It’s also a city in turmoil, thanks to an ancient accord to change governments and the rising demands of Beasts, the Unicorns, Dryads, Minotaurs and other magical creature on whose labor and bodies Tabat depends. And worst of all, it’s a city dedicated to killing Shifters, the race whose blood Teo bears.

When his fate becomes woven with that of Tabat’s most famous gladiator, Bella Kanto, his existence becomes even more imperiled. Kanto’s magical battle determines the weather each year, and the wealthy merchants are tired of the long winters she’s brought. Can Teo and Bella save each other from the plots that are closing in on them from all sides?

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Arcadian Gates by T.A. Wardrope

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

T.A. Wardrope

Arcadian Gates
Blastgun Books, March 17, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 424 pages

Only ten years ago the entire nation was struck by a chemical weapon which destroyed most people’s memories. Akiry, a young woman who makes her way smuggling amongst the lower caste of the rebuilt country, is haunted by dreams of a daughter she otherwise does not remember.

As civil war erupts in the city around her, she takes the last chance she has to find the truth about her daughter and her past.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Alan Smale

Clash of Eagles
Clash of Eagles Trilogy 1
Del Rey, March 17, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

Perfect for fans of action-adventure and historical fiction—including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Steve Berry, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove—this stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of worlds, cultures, and warriors.  

Ever hungry for land and gold, the Emperor has sent Praetor Gaius Marcellinus and the 33rd Roman Legion into the newly discovered lands of North America. Marcellinus and his men expect easy victory over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of a vast river the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has ever imagined.

Forced to watch his vaunted force massacred by a surprisingly tenacious enemy, Marcellinus is spared by his captors and kept alive for his military knowledge. As he recovers and learns more about these proud people, he can’t help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the denizens of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats—both Roman and Native—promise to assail his newfound kin, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict.

Retro Reviews: The Broken Lance by Nathan Long

The Broken Lance
Author:  Nathan Long
Series:  Warhammer: Black Hearts
Original Publisher and Date:  Games Workshop, November 29, 2005
Still in Print:  Not as an individual novel
Current Formats and Length: Paperback, 256 pages
Availability: You can find it used online, or in omnibus format.
ISBN: 9781844162437

Brief History

Nathan Long started writing at the age of 12 and spent several years writing screenplays for TV and films. He's written 15 novels in the Warhammer shared world so far, and Valnir's Bane was his first book published in 2004. His first original book written out of the shared world is Jane Carver of Waar, a parody/ode to Edgar Rice Burroughs. He's also written a few video games.

The Black Hearts series is a reflection of Long's love of the old classic film heroes, everyday men who went through incredible events, and, just as often as they were heroic, they also showed their fear or weaknesses.

Back Cover Description

A deserted outpost...A cry for help...or a trap! In the second book of the "Black Hearts series", Reiner and his band of reprobates are given a new mission. All communications with a vital Imperial border fort have been lost, and they are sent to find out what's going on - has the commander gone rogue, or are more sinister forces at work! The memorable rogues from last year's Valnir's Bane return with another tale of bravery and treachery. Reiner and his fellow criminals are back with another suicide mission. Can their luck hold out once more!

Brannigan's Review

In my review of Valnir's Bane, I mentioned I came across this series by mistake as I was looking for a different series with the word 'black' in the title. Since then, I've read the first book in each series and The Black Hearts series is by far the more enjoyable one, so I had to dive into its second book.

The Broken Lance is a superb second book. It gets right into the action and has an even quicker pace than the first book. Our favorite group of dishonorable men—and one woman—find themselves once again forced to serve the crown on a secret mission to discover the intentions of a general that feels slighted by the king. Of course, Nathan Long begins to throw enjoyable twists into the plot that force the protagonists to battle with the choice of protecting their own hides or saving the kingdom again.

I truly enjoy a well-written rogue, and Long does it marvelously. He knows how to make scoundrels worth rooting for. It's one of the reasons I hate the modern, dark, and gritty fantasies with their unlovable rogues. I want to laugh and cheer my scoundrels to victory. Even with the fun of the book, Long still allows moments of emotional weight to come into the story and show that his characters have substance.

The Broken Lance is the second book everyone wants to read. It adds to the mythology of the characters and amps up the action and twists. I'll be reviewing the third book in the near future so keep an eye out for it. There are a few minor moments of descriptive violence and implied sexual activities, but I have no problem recommending this book to teens or adults. After enjoying the first and second book, I recommend you go out and buy your own copy, or better yet, the omnibus.

Review: Fry Another Day by J. J. Cook

Fry Another Day
Author:  J. J. Cook
Series:  A Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery 2
Publisher:  Berkley, February 3, 2015
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425263464 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

From the national bestselling author of the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries comes the second in a new series featuring Zoe Chase, a Southern food truck chef who serves justice on the side.
With a few loyal friends in tow—including her handsome attorney, Miguel, and her cat, Crème Brûlée—Zoe drives the Biscuit Bowl to Charlotte, North Carolina, to enter a nationally televised food truck race. The contest features challenges across the Southeast, and with a fifty-thousand-dollar grand prize, competition isn’t just fierce—it’s killer.

As everyone gears up for the first challenge, another food trucker from Zoe’s hometown is found dead. The race rolls on, but when the body count rises, police begin to suspect Miguel. Now Zoe must race to catch the killer before her attorney needs an attorney.

Jennifer's Review

Fry Another Day is the second installment in the Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery Series, penned by J.J. Cook. The main character of the series is Zoe Chase, an independent southern cook who is trying to make her culinary dreams come true by earning money operating a specialty food truck in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Zoe is making a name for herself by serving deep-fried biscuit bowls, which she invented herself and fills with sweet or savory fillings, all of which sound mouthwatering. Luckily the author includes the recipe for this delightful creation, along with some of the fillings described in the book. The story follows Zoe and her rag-tag backup crew as they drive the Biscuit Bowl food truck around the south as contestants in a televised food truck race. Things get off to a rocky start when Zoe discovers the body of a rival food truck owner, the only other participant from her hometown, whose untimely death seems to set into motion a perfect storm of murder and mayhem that follows the race all the way from North Carolina to Alabama.

This cozy mystery isn’t just about murder; there are also a series of events that occur to sabotage not only Zoe and her crew, but all of the contestants of the race, and Zoe finds herself right in the center of the chaos by finding the first body. She becomes involved with the police investigation by being in the right place at the right time to discover other abnormalities and disruptions to the race and the other food truck owners. Zoe’s innate sense of justice and curiosity lead her into becoming more involved with the happenings when her teammate and potential boyfriend, the handsome attorney Miguel, is accused of committing the various crimes. Zoe will stop at nothing to prove Miguel’s innocence, while trying to nurture their budding romance and, at the same time, win the race and the $50,000 prize.

Helping Zoe in all her endeavors are the other members of her food truck crew Ollie, Delia and Uncle Saul. Ollie is a good-hearted homeless man who has been looking out for Zoe ever since she bought the run down diner next door to a local homeless shelter. Delia is model gorgeous but down on her luck and lives with Zoe in a tiny pantry room in the diner. Uncle Saul is the original black sheep of Zoe’s wealthy family, the second one being Zoe herself. All three characters bring comedy and warmth to the storyline. Rounding out the crew is Zoe’s overly large and cantankerous cat, Crème Brulee, who is a reluctant tag-along to the race because no one else but Zoe can handle his quirks. Zoe is strong and passionate about her dreams, she is still uncertain of where those dreams will lead her, but is staunchly committed to seeing things through to the end. She’s had an interest in Miguel since they met in the first novel and he is definitely interested in her, but his tragic past has been holding him back. There are a host of supporting characters surrounding the food truck race, none have much depth, but they don’t need to, many are there strictly to further the storyline in this installment.

The plot line takes a few turns, but overall the mystery was a little predictable. Predictability can be off putting if the story itself is weak, but that is not the case with this novel. The characters, even the supporting ones, are amusing and are often so loveable that you want to get to the end just to see where their personal stories go. I am looking forward to the next installment of this series as it looks like the Biscuit Bowl crew will be heading to Mardi Gras, which leaves all sorts of possibilities for pandemonium and hilarity.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cover Revealed: The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu

Angry Robot Books has revealed the cover for The Rebirths of Tao, the final novel in the Lives of Tao Trilogy by Wesley Chu. The cover is by Stewart Larking. The Rebirths of Tao will be out in Mass Market Paperback in North America and eBook on April 7, 2015.

Many years have passed since the events in The Deaths of Tao: the world is split into pro-Prophus and pro-Genjix factions, and is poised on the edge of a devastating new World War; the Prophus are hiding; and Roen has a family to take care of.

A Genjix scientist who defects to the other side holds the key to preventing bloodshed on an almost unimaginable scale.

With the might of the Genjix in active pursuit, Roen is the only person who can help him save the world, and the Quasing race, too.

And you thought you were having a stressful day…

File Under: Science Fiction
[ Father & Son • The Final Program • The Hero’s Path • The Circles of Life ]


The Lives of Tao
The Lives of Tao 1
Angry Robot Books, April 30, 2013 (US/Canada)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.

He wasn’t.

He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…

File Under: Science Fiction [ The Tug of War | I Was Genghis | Diary of a Slob | Spy vs Spy ]

The Deaths of Tao
The Lives of Tao 2
Angry Robot Books, October 29, 2013 (US/Canada)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

The Prophus and the Genjix are at war. For centuries they have sought a way off-planet, guiding humanity’s social and technological development to the stage where space travel is possible.

The end is now in sight, and both factions have plans to leave the Earth, but the Genjix method will mean the destruction of the human race.

That’s a price they’re willing to pay.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Manning Up | A Long Journey | Bye-Bye Mankind | Personal Space ]

Review: Dead Spots by Rhiannon Frater

Dead Spots
Author:  Rhiannon Frater
Publisher:  Tor Books, February 24, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
List Price:  $16.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780765337153 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

New horror from Rhiannon Frater: in the dead spots, dreams become reality, terror knows your name, and nightmares can kill

The stillbirth of Mackenzie's son destroyed her marriage. Grieving, Mac reluctantly heads for her childhood home to seek refuge with her mother, who constantly reminds her of life's dangers.

Driving across Texas, Mac swerves to avoid hitting a deer...and winds up in a dead spot, a frightening place that lies between the worlds of the living and the dead. If they can control their imaginations, people can literally bring their dreams to life--but most are besieged by fears and nightmares which pursue them relentlessly.

Mackenzie's mother and husband haunt her, driving her to the brink of madness. Then she hears a child call for help and her maternal instincts kick into overdrive. Grant, Mac's ally in the dead spots, insists Johnny is a phantom, but the boy seems so real, so alive....

As the true horrors of the dead spots are slowly revealed, Mackenzie realizes that time is running out. But exits from the dead spots are nearly impossible to find, and defended by things almost beyond imagination.

Deb's Review

Six months after the stillbirth of her son, Mackenzie Babin is grieving not only his death, but the loss of her job, her home, and her marriage. As a last resort, she decides to return to her mother's ranch in Texas until she can get back on her feet again. On her way home, a curious near-accident on an isolated road lands her in front of an abandoned diner. In an uncharacteristically bold moment, she steps inside the building to look around and finds herself trapped in a frightening limbo from which there may be no return. The diner is a dead spot - a place left behind by the real world that acts as a doorway to the ever-shifting world of dreams and nightmares. Mackenzie abruptly runs into Grant in the dead spot, and despairs when she she learns that he has been trapped inside this alternate reality for years. After the two survive a terrifying encounter with the diner's other-worldly staff and patrons, she comes to see Grant as her guide and protector in this dangerous, sentient place that knows your fears and sorrows, and uses them to hunt you down and drain you of your energy, your sanity, and your life.

Although Mackenzie is in her mid-twenties, Rhiannon Frater's Dead Spots feels very much like a coming of age story viewed through a dark lens. Raised by a rigid and critical mother, Mackenzie escapes her childhood home by eloping with a man who lacks the emotional maturity for a lasting relationship. She has had more than her share of pain and guilt heaped upon her, which makes her a delicacy for nightmare creatures that readily feed on those who have lost hope. In her travels, she must learn to rely on herself, trust her instincts, and use the steel spine she doesn't yet realize she possesses.

The primary characters in Dead Spots are multi-faceted and provoke specific emotions, whether positive or negative. Those emotions shifted for me as the story progressed, but I did respond to Mackenzie and company. Some of the choices she makes are ill-considered and frustrating, but Mackenzie is learning her way through an unfamiliar world while sorting out who she is and what she stands for. Perhaps the most exasperating thing for me was that even as she begins to develop insight, she remains emotionally attached to her ex-husband in spite of what transpired between them. Some of the story felt overlong, and some of the rules of the world turned upside down seemed arbitrary. Frater does take her time showing Mackenzie's growth, so there's purpose to the story length, but I did feel that the middle third dragged a bit. There are many villains: some predictable, some uniquely terrifying, and others with deceptively friendly faces. All we can do is watch Mackenzie and hope she can learn and adapt quickly enough, and that her hard luck streak breaks before she does.

Dead Spots conjures a complex and deadly world and populates it with interesting characters pitted against the things they fear the most. Be aware that there are scenes featuring gore and some sexual situations, and that people who have lost a child may find the story triggering, as Mackenzie's thoughts are never far from her lost son. One of the best things I can say about the book is that I was truly invested in the central characters as the story began careening to a close. Whether all key characters get their happy ending or not, an author has done his or her job when we care about their outcome. Frater succeeds with Dead Spots.

Review: Magic and Loss by Nancy A. Collins

Magic and Loss
Author:  Nancy A. Collins
Series:   Golgotham 3
Publisher:  Roc, November 5, 2013
Format:   Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780451464927 (print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Golgotham has been the city’s supernatural district for centuries. Populated by creatures from myth and legend, the neighborhood’s most prominent citizens are the Kymera, a race of witches who maintain an uneasy truce with the city’s humans… 

 It has been several months since Tate Eresby developed her new magical ability to bring whatever she creates to life, but she is still learning to control her power. Struggling to make a living as an artist, she and Hexe can barely make ends meet, but they are happy.

That is until Golgotham’s criminal overlord Boss Marz is released from prison, bent on revenge against the couple responsible for putting him there. Hexe’s right hand is destroyed, leaving him unable to conjure his benign magic. Attempts to repair the hand only succeed in plunging Hexe into a darkness that can’t be lifted—even by news that Tate is carrying his child.

Now, with her pregnancy seeming to progress at an astonishing rate, Tate realizes that carrying a possible heir to the Kymeran throne will attract danger from all corners, even beyond the grave…

Doreen’s Thoughts

Magic and Loss is Nancy Collins’ third novel about Golgotham, a supernatural neighborhood in New York City where Kymerans and humans come together to celebrate magic and artistry in concert. In the first two novels, we learned about the human, Tate Eresby, an heiress cut off by her family for becoming an artist who manipulates metal rather than painting simple watercolors. In addition, Hexe is the Kymeran landlord with whom she falls in love – and also the heir to the Kymeran throne. He also has been disowned by his family for trying to be an artist. The first two novels both focused on the difficulties of love between different species, with love conquering all. Magic and Loss picks up Tate and Hexe’s story as the couple have been together for awhile and are still struggling.

For me, the major enjoyment in these stories is the setting of Golgotham itself and its various inhabitants. This is where Collins has gotten creative – she has taken mythical creatures and reproduced them in New York City. So there are centaurs, who are in charge of the transportation and deliveries within the area; leprechauns and other Wee Folks, including brownies and pixies; satyrs, nymphs, and fauns; as well as minotaurs, trolls, ghouls, and goblins. The concept is the Kymerans came from another magical world and were exiled to earth along with these others for performing or simply being magic.

This novel focuses on a rather glum time in Tate and Hexe’s relationship. Although Tate becomes pregnant with the newest heir to the throne, Hexe is disfigured as punishment for their having sent Boss Marz to prison for a time. Hexe seeks out a magical implement to compensate for the disfigurement; however, the item seems to poison his mental state. Tate desperately loves Hexe but is unwilling to stay with him and jeopardize their child. So about halfway through the story, she leaves him.

Needless to say, Tate does not fully give up on Hexe and still attempts to bring him back to sanity. I was pleased that she was willing to leave her relationship to protect her child. Too often in reality, people remain in dangerous relationships despite the damage done to both themselves and their children. In this case, I believe Tate did the right thing in making an ultimatum to Hexe that he must change if they are too succeed as a couple.

Overall, Collins does a terrific job creatively when it comes to magic and how it might exist in a world today. I have particularly enjoyed this trilogy and cannot wait to see what new idea she might bring forth in her next story.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Interview with John Love and Excerpt from Evensong - February 26, 2015

Please welcome John Love to The Qwillery. Evensong, John's most recent novel, was published in January 2015 by Night Shade Books.

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, Evensong, was published on January 6th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote Faith (2012) to Evensong?

John:  Thank you for inviting me, it’s nice to be back.

In my last interview, I said that when I’m writing I like to have a glass of malt whisky, and a cat, within easy reach. That bit hasn’t changed.

The style of writing is a bit different from Faith, my first novel. Evensong’s style is a bit plainer and sparser, and more suited to that of a thriller. There are one or two purple patches, but overall it’s less flamboyant than Faith; deliberately so.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing now?

John:  The challenge is to get readers to give positive answers to these three questions:
  1. Did you want to turn the page and find out what happens next?
  2. Did you care about the characters? (Not Did you like them? Characters don’t have to be nice to be believable and complex and make you want to know what happens to them.)
  3. Did you think the book tried to be original and different? If you didn’t, what other book or books did you think it most resembled?
For me, the first question is the most important. I’m always asking, Is this page enough to make a reader want to turn to the next page?

TQ:  What do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Faith came out that you know now?

John:  Publicity. I always felt Faith got less than it deserved, partly because of my own inexperience at pushing the publishers and partly because of the internal problems in Nightshade at the time.

TQ:  Tell us something about Evensong that is not in the book description.

John:  Some of the reviews and reader responses have described Evensong’s universe as being dark and twisted, which I wouldn’t deny. But it’s not entirely dark and twisted. Some interesting technologies have started to answer (not completely, but partially) the questions of long-term clean energy supply. And fundamentalism, both religious and political, has been marginalised – again, not completely, but partially. The book’s universe is ambiguous and menacing, but there are also the elements of a kind of Enlightenment springing up here and there. I was tempted to go down that road a bit more, but I decided it would be outside the scope of the book.

TQ:  Which character in the Evensong surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

John:  Laurens Rafiq, the Controller-General of the UN, was the most surprising. He’s the spider at the centre of all the world’s webs (I wish I’d thought of that phrase when I was writing the book!) so I thought he’d just be pure unalloyed cynicism coupled with labyrinthine cunning. But I realised that although he had to have those qualities he also needed to have something good buried in there as well, otherwise he wouldn’t have worked.

Gaetano was the hardest, because he’s a character like Anwar, and he resents him but has to work with him. I had to be careful to get the balance right.

You didn’t ask me which character was my favourite, but I’d like to tell you anyway: the Ginger Cat.

TQ:  Please give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Evensong.

John:  This is where Anwar and Olivia, the two main characters, meet for the first time.

         ‘When he first saw her she was at the top of a stepladder, scooping a dead fish out of a floor-to-ceiling ornamental tank at the far end of the Boardroom. She had her back to him. Her bottom was wobbling interestingly under a long voluminous velvet skirt.
         “Sorry”, she said without turning round, “I’ll be right with you. I just noticed one of these angelfish had died.”
         “Do they die very often?”
         “No, only once.” ’

TQ:  Both Faith and Evensong are SF with the former being Space Opera/Military SF and Evensong being called a near future thriller (by your publisher). Other than being SF and having titles that have religious connotations, what do the two novels have in common? Do they address similar themes? Should SF address big themes?

John:  There is something I once wrote in a post for the “Night Bazaar” website run by Nightshade, when Faith was first published:

“If Faith has any political resonances, they’re at best oblique. But I hope it has some other resonances. About identity and free will: what makes us what we are, and what makes us what we do. About love and friendship: what forces bring us together, or keep us apart, and why we don’t recognise them. And about the absence of simple good and evil: the complexities which make each of them part of each other.”

Evensong is a near-future political thriller, so it does have some clear political resonances where Faith doesn’t; but the rest of that paragraph could apply to Evensong as much as to Faith.

So, to answer your last question, yes, absolutely. Big themes are as much fair game for SF as for any other genre.

TQ:  Which question about Evensong do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

John:  That’s a nice question. I think I’d like someone to ask how I came to think of Evensong. It was quite an unusual process, and I love regaling (or boring) people with it. Now it’s your turn.

My wife and I went to an Evensong service in Rochester Cathedral in Kent. It was a beautiful summer evening and afterwards everybody went out into the Cathedral precincts where some tables had been set out for coffee. Halfway through my coffee I had this idea of a similar setting, where an unidentified woman comes to the Evensong service but doesn’t stop for coffee afterwards. She hurries away. She’s been to several previous Evensongs and has always hurried away afterwards. Who she is, and why she comes there, is her back story which begins nearly a year earlier.

What is so unusual is that I’d got the whole of her back story, and the whole construction of the book, in less time than it took to swallow a mouthful of coffee. There was no blinding flash or feeling of revelation, but the whole book had sprung out fully formed – main plot, sub-plots, main characters, minor characters, settings, everything. I could see it in three dimensions, could (metaphorically) walk round it and study it from every angle, and it worked. It all hung together.

When I came to write it there was almost nothing, major or minor, which was changed.

TQ:  What's next?

John:  I’m writing a fantasy novel. It doesn’t have any orcs, elves, dragons, sorcerers or dark malign gods, only people. But “fantasy” is probably the most convenient shorthand description because it’s set in a completely imaginary world at the same approximate level of development as ancient Greece or Rome. It even has a map.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

John:  Thank you for asking me back, and thank you for your interest in my book.

Night Shade Books, January 6, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

A near-future thriller where those who protect humanity are not always completely human.

The future is a dangerous place. Keeping the world stable and peaceful when competing corporate interests and nation-states battle for power, wealth, and prestige has only gotten harder over the years. But that’s the United Nations’ job. So the UN has changed along with the rest of the world. When the UN’s “soft” diplomacy fails, it has harder options. Quiet, scalpel-like options: The Dead—biologically enhanced secret operatives created by the UN to solve the problems no one else can.

Anwar Abbas is one of The Dead. When the Controller-General of the UN asks him to perform a simple bodyguard mission, he’s insulted and resentful: mere bodyguard work is a waste of his unique abilities. But he takes the job, because to refuse it would be unthinkable.

Anwar is asked to protect Olivia del Sarto, the host of an important upcoming UN conference. Olivia is head of the world’s fastest-growing church, but in her rise to power she has made enemies:  shadowy enemies with apparently limitless resources.

Anwar is one of the deadliest people on earth, but her enemies have something which kills people like him. And they’ve sent it for her. It’s out there, unstoppable and untraceable, getting closer as the conference approaches.

As he and Olivia ignite a torrid affair, Anwar must uncover the conspiracy that threatens to destroy her, the UN, and even The Dead.

About John

Photo by Gemma Shaw
John Love spent most of his working life in the music industry. He was Managing Director of PPL, the world’s largest record industry copyright organization. He also ran Ocean, a large music venue in Hackney, East London.

He lives just outside London in north-west Kent with his wife and cats (currently two, but they have had as many as six). They have two grown-up children.

Apart from his family, London and cats, his favorite things include books and book collecting, cars and driving, football and Tottenham Hotspur, old movies and music. Science fiction books were among the first he can remember reading, and he thinks they will probably be among the last.



Chapter One

         Anwar sat in a formal garden in northern Malaysia on a pleasant September afternoon, reading. The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on…He liked FitzGerald’s translation of Omar Khayyam, but felt it took liberties with the text; he preferred the original, in the cadences of twelfth-century Persian.
         It was 4:00 p.m.: time. He closed the book and retreated back under the roof of his verandah, just as the afternoon rain began with its usual promptness and intensity. While he watched it he performed one of his standard exercises: using the fingers of his right hand to break, one by one, the fingers of his left hand. The core of the exercise was not to blank out the pain—though his abilities were such that he could have done that, too—but to feel the pain and still not react to it, either by noise or by movement, as each finger was bent back beyond the vertical and snapped. It was a familiar exercise and he finished it satisfactorily.
         The rain stopped, as promptly and suddenly as it had begun. He leaned back, breathing in the scent of wet leaves and grass. A brief gust of wind shook rain from the trees, so that it sounded, for a few seconds, like another downpour beginning. He cupped his right hand round his left, easing his fingers back to their normal position, and waited for the bones to set and regenerate; it would take about an hour.

         It was not unheard-of for a VSTOL from the UN to land on the formal lawn at the centre of his garden, but it was not something which happened often. This was one of their latest, silent and silvered and almost alien. A door melted open in its side and a dark-haired young woman got out and walked across the lawn towards Anwar. She was Arden Bierce, one of Rafiq’s personal staff, and they smiled a greeting at each other.
         “Rafiq wants you.” She handed him a letter. He studied Rafiq’s neat italic handwriting, not unlike his own, and the courteously phrased request and personal signature. When Rafiq made this kind of request, he did so by pen and ink and personal meeting. Never remotely, and never electronically.
         “I should go now.” He was telling her, not asking her. She nodded and turned back to the waiting VSTOL. Anwar Abbas stood up, stretched, and walked after her. He was as powerful as a tiger, as quiet as the flame of a candle.
         Offer and Acceptance. The VSTOL would take him south to the UN complex outside Kuala Lumpur, where Laurens Rafiq, the Controller-General, would formally offer him a mission and request his acceptance. Anwar Abbas had received such requests before from Rafiq, but this one would be different. It would lead him to two people, one of them his beginning and the other his end.

Chapter Two

         Anwar liked the VSTOL, almost to the point of kinship; it was quiet, did exactly what it was supposed to do, and did it supremely well. It was even superior to America’s Area 51 planes, and their Chinese and European equivalents.
         There was a growing concern in some quarters that the UN was developing better hardware than its members. Another example, Anwar reflected, of the Rafiq Effect.
         The northern highlands of Malaysia hurtled past underneath. They were heavily wooded, and seemed to be smoking without flames; vapour from the last downpour, hanging above treetop level. He clenched and unclenched his left hand.
         “Is it healed?” Arden Bierce asked him.
         He smiled. “The Moving Finger breaks, and having broke, resets itself.”
         “Don’t you mean ‘broken’?”
         “Wouldn’t scan.”
         He liked her; she had this ability to make people feel comfortable around her. She was very attractive, but seemed genuinely unaware of it. Most people born with looks like that would be shaped by them; would probably be cynical or manipulative. She was neither. Perceptive and clever in her dealings with people, but also pleasant and companionable.
         Anwar had never done any more than flirt mildly with her. He was awkward socially, the result of having a normal circle of acquaintances but few close friends. Only about thirty people in the world knew what he was.
         He leaned back and watched the shapes and colours moving just under the silvered surfaces of the walls and furniture of the VSTOL’s lounge. It would be a short flight. The UN complex outside Kuala Lumpur would soon appear.
         The UN had adapted to the increasing complexity and volatility of the world order. It had a Secretary-General (political) and a Controller-General (executive). As it gradually took on more executive functions, the Controller-General became more important, at the expense of the Secretary-General. The Controller-General was Laurens Rafiq.
         The old UN in New York still remained, but Rafiq’s UNEX (UN Executive) in Kuala Lumpur was overtaking it—restructuring the major agencies like UNESCO, UNICEF, UNIDO, and transforming them. Policy was still in the hands of the old UN, but it was becoming apparent that policy was meaningless without executive rigour. The medium was overtaking the message.
         Rafiq had acquired many assets at UNEX. Not only the agencies, but also some independent military capacity—not enough to make the UN more powerful than any of its individual members, but enough to settle some of the increasing conflicts over resources, energy, borders, and trade. Often Rafiq’s UNEX would take pre-emptive action which later the political UN had to ratify—had to, because the action worked.
         One of the smaller and more mysterious components of Rafiq’s UNEX was something he called The Consultancy, known colloquially (and inaccurately) as The Dead. Its members did things for him which mere Special Forces could never do. Outside UNEX, nobody knew exactly how many Consultants Rafiq had, but it was only a handful. This was because only a handful could survive the induction process, and because only a handful was all that even Rafiq could afford. Their training, and the physical and neurological enhancements which made them unique, were uniquely expensive.
         Anwar Abbas was a Consultant: one of The Dead.

         Dusk fell quickly and was short-lived, turning abruptly to darkness in the few minutes’ duration of the flight. Anwar got only a glimpse of the lights of the UN complex before the silvered plane dropped vertically and landed—or, rather, hovered politely one inch above the ground while they stepped out through the door that had rippled open for them. What enabled it to hover was something to do with room-temperature semiconductors, the Holy Grail of frictionless motion: not fully achieved yet, but getting closer.
         The plane slid noiselessly up into the night. For the second time, Anwar found himself following Arden Bierce across a lawn. This lawn was part of the park which formed the centre of the UN complex.
         Ringing the park were some tall buildings, each a different shape and colour: ziggurats, pyramids, cones, ovoids. Each stood in its own smaller piece of manicured parkland, and was festooned with greenery hanging from walls and windows and balconies. The overall effect was pleasing, without the pomp of the old UN buildings in New York and Geneva; more like the commercial district of any reasonably prosperous city. Kuala Lumpur, a few miles south, was similar but larger-scale.
         The central parkland had lawns and woods, landscaped low hills and a river, over which was cantilevered the Controller-General’s house, Fallingwater. It was based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s design, scaled up, but still house-sized. The security around this building, of all the buildings in the complex, appeared to be nonexistent, the way Rafiq had personally designed it to appear. They simply walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell. The door opened into a large reception area.
         “I’ll go and tell him you’re here,” said Arden Bierce as she went through an adjoining door, usually known as the door because it led to Rafiq’s inner office.
         Anwar looked around him. He knew Fallingwater well, and found it calming. The interior of the house was larger than Wright’s original, but furnished and decorated in the same style: comfortable and understated, a mix of regular and organic shapes, of autumn browns and ochres and earth tones. Large areas of the floor were open expanses of polished wood, with seating areas formed by clusters of plain stonewhite sofas and armchairs. Several people were there, talking quietly. They were all members of Rafiq’s personal staff, like Arden Bierce, but only a few of them looked up as he entered. The rest paid him no attention.
         Except for Miles Levin. He and Anwar had known each other for years, and they exchanged their usual greeting.
         “Muslim filth.”
         “Jewish scum.”
         Their Muslim and Jewish origins, if any, were no longer important. They had taken their present names, along with their present identities, when they became Consultants. Which they had done at the same time, seven years ago.
         Levin was six feet five, nearly three inches taller than Anwar, and more powerfully built. He looked generally younger and stronger, and was—for a Consultant—louder and more outgoing. Anwar was thin-faced, with a hook nose. Levin’s face was broader and more open. Both were dark-haired and wore their hair long.
         “Waiting to see him?” Anwar asked.
         “I’ve seen him. Offer and Acceptance. I was just leaving.”
         Normally they’d have had a lot to talk about, but not this time. They couldn’t discuss missions, that simply wasn’t done; and also, Anwar noted a strangeness in Levin’s manner, a kind of preoccupation. So he just nodded briefly at him, and Levin turned to go.
         “Take care,” something prompted Anwar to whisper.
         Levin heard. “You too.” He did not look back.
         “Filth.” The door closed softly behind him.
         Another door—the door—opened. Arden Bierce came out.
         “He’ll see you now.”

Excerpted with permission from Evensong by John Love. Copyright 2015, Night Shade Books an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist
Author:  Jessie Burton
Publisher:  Ecco, August 26, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages
List Price:  $26.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780062306814 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher
Will be published in Trade Paperback, June 2, 2015

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam—a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion—a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.

”There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .“

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

Doreen’s Thoughts

Young Nella Brandt comes to Amsterdam to join her husband, Johannes, and his household – sister Marin, servant Cordelia, and manservant Otto. While Johannes is years older than Nella, she has dreams of what being a wife might mean for her, and those dreams are crushed over time. Each of the household members seem to hold some important secret.

Johannes is one of the wealthiest merchants in the city, sailing around the world to sell and buy goods all over. Cordelia is a sweet, but gossipy girl not much older than 18-year-old Nella herself. She attempts to befriend the frightened and lonely wife, trying to convince her that she could be happier if she tried. Otto is a more mysterious figure, a former black slave raised by Johannes to be a gentleman, and not accepted well by Amsterdam society. Marin, Johannes' sister, is an uptight spinster who at first appears to resent Nella’s intrusion in the household.

Marin is a strange, contradictory character. While she practices an outward rejection of any niceties in life – eating dried herring for breakfast and using cheap candles in the main areas – her inner life is rich and elegant. She lines her plain clothing with velvet and ermine, secretly eats candied walnuts, and has exotic maps and items from Johannes' worldwide travels decorating her bedroom.

Johannes himself is quite a bit older than Nella and has no use for a wife whatsoever. However, Nella’s gentle and kind spirit appeals to him, and his bridal gift to her is a large, elaborate dollhouse that is almost an exact model of their home. Nella at first is offended by the gift, thinking that it was a statement on her youth, but over time she becomes fascinated with the house and the miniatures that she receives for its interiors.

It is here that the mystery of the story begins – for the miniaturist appears to know Nella’s home and family better than Nella does herself. Oddly enough, some of the miniatures seem to have characteristics that predict what might happen to them in the future. Most of the novel centers on Nella’s search for the miniaturist, wanting to understand what the person is trying to tell her with the gifts that are sent.

The Miniaturist is a delicious fairy-tale pulled to novel length. I was delighted with the language and the detail that Jessie Burton includes in her story. She has recreated Amsterdam society in the 16th century – a time when its citizens were both widely liberal in their efforts to make money, but strangely conservative in their day-to-day life. The description of the main church with the skeletons buried directly beneath the flooring and the accompanying smell that results left me with a bad taste in my mouth, but the detail added to the overall reality of the tale. Burton has written one of the best novels that I have read yet this year. No wonder it was such a phenomenon when it was released last year.

Note: You may read an excerpt from The Miniaturist here.

Review: Embrace by T.D. Wilson

Author:  T. D. Wilson
Series:  The Epherium Chronicles 1
Publisher:  Carina Press, March 3, 2014
Format:  eBook, 200 pages
List Price:  $2.99
eISBN:  9781426898037
Review Copy:  Provided by the Author

Book one of The Epherium Chronicles 

Hope. Captain James Hood of the Earth Defense Forces remembers what it felt like. Twenty-five years ago, it surged through him as a young boy watching the colony ships launched by mega-corporation Epherium rocket away. He, like so many others, dreamed of following in the colonists' footsteps. He wanted to help settle a new world--to be something greater.

Then came the war... 

Hope. During years of vicious conflict with an insectoid alien race, it was nearly lost. Though Earth has slowly rebuilt in the six years since the war, overcrowding and an unstable sun have made life increasingly inhospitable. When mysterious signals from the nearly forgotten colony ships are received, Hood is ordered to embark on a dangerous reconnaissance mission. Could humanity's future sit among the stars?

Hope. Hood needs it now more than ever. As secrets about the original colonists are revealed and the Epherium Corporation's dark agenda is exposed, new adversaries threaten the mission, proving more dangerous to Earth than their already formidable foes...

Brannigan's Review

Embrace is a science fiction-military-mystery hybrid. I really enjoy the blending of several different genres into one story, if done well. I'm happy to say T.D. Wilson does a great job in doing just that. Wilson spends equal amounts of time world-building and developing characters at the start of the novel, which is a great way to build a strong foundation for any series. It does tend to slow the pacing down, which can be a plus or minus depending of the type of reader you are. By the halfway point, the action begins to accelerate as Captain Hood and his crew are space-folding toward three colony ships whose mission is to settle new planets. Along the way, the crew has to be on the guard for the Cilik'ti and insectoid alien race, a mysterious ship shadowing them, and an unknown murderer on their ship.

Wilson created compelling and fleshed out characters that have strong presence on the page and would be able to carry the novel all by themselves. The world-building was good without getting bogged down in details. The mystery was strong enough to keep me engaged as it played out in the story.

That said, I felt the book suffered in the editing. I found several small editing issues throughout, which was pretty annoying, since it threw me out of the story with each error. Luckily, the story was engaging enough to keep me reading, and I'm glad I did as I truly enjoyed it. I only hope Wilson's second book had a better editor—since I'm reviewing it next. This book is short, so it has more of an episodic feel to it than a true stand-alone book. I have no problem with that since I enjoy seeing conflicts take several books to be resolved, however, on its own there is no real sense of resolution.

Embrace is a great start to a promising series. With its blend of genres, there's plenty to offer to all types of readers. There are acts of violence and mild language, I would recommend it to teens and adults.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Interview with Tonya Kappes and Review of A Ghostly Undertaking - February 24, 2015

Please welcome Tonya Kappes to The Qwillery. A Ghostly Undertaking is published today by Witness Impulse. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Tonya a Happy Publication Day!

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery! You've written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, has your writing process changed (or not) from your first novel to your most recent? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Tonya:  I have learned a ton from the first novel to my most recent. In the beginning I didn't take the time to create more of a setting for the readers to get lost. My small town setting have become just as much of a main character as the protagonist.

The editing process is the most challenging part of my writing process. By the time my editor sees it, I have read and reread and reread a million times over the novel. Though I love my books, rereading them over and over is a little trying at times, but I know it's necessary to put out a great product readers are going to fall in love with.

As a craft, I'm always learning and growing. If I wasn't. . .I'd get really nervous.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Tonya:  I'm a panster. I come up with a possible story idea and I let that sit in my head for a couple of months. It rolls around as the characters and setting begin to form in my head and I begin to jot down tidbits. By the time I sit down to write the first word, I have a great idea of where I want to start the novel and how I want to end the novel.

Since I'm a mystery writer, I tend to write backwards and plow through. The characters talk to me and the ideas I had in the beginning are much different than the end product.

TQ:  Your most recent novel is A Ghostly Undertaking (A Ghostly Southern Mystery 1). What inspired you to write mysteries with paranormal/supernatural elements?

Tonya:  There are so many cozy mysteries out there where the protagonist is in some sort of craft and I wanted to write a mystery where there was something different. When I decided on a funeral home director, I let that hang around my head for about two years and played the "what if" the funeral home was haunted which turned into "what if" the ghost is/was a client/pillar of the community. It snowballed from there. Immediately I began to write down different plots and story lines for a series. Plus ghosts can be scary or funny and I picked the funny because I don't like to be scared! I knew if I enjoyed writing the Ghostly Southern Mystery Series, my readers were going to love it too.

What makes the mystery a "Southern" mystery?

I grew up in a small southern town and being southern is ingrained in me. The waving neighbors, the front porch rocking chairs, the boutique shops along main street, the parades, small town gossip, going to every funeral and birthday party, and the slang was my life. When I was world building my small southern town, I made sure I incorporated all of those elements into the storyline and plot. The charm, the gossip, the small knit community, quirky characters, and a murder make for a great southern mystery.

TQ:  Do you base your paranormal/supernatural elements on existing lore, make things up or both?

Tonya:  Definitely both and then add the question of "what if." In every one of my novels I pull a little bit of my life and my imagination or folk lore. Once I have the paranormal element in mind, I put a spin of "what if" this happened. Since I write with humor, the crazier the better. I find myself giggling a lot.

TQ:  What sorts of research have you done for the Ghostly Southern Mysteries? What is the oddest bit of information that you’ve come across in your research?

Tonya:  I have a friend who is an undertaker. It's a family business that's trickled down from her grandparents, her parents, and now her son is working there. She has a lot of stories and great knowledge of the industry. Plus she had a lot of strange requests from families of her clients that are a hoot.

Burial has come a long way throughout time, as well as the actual burial ceremony. I have been fascinated by the different types of burials in different cultures. The tomb stones have also come a long way. And the idea of being buried alive is just downright frightening for me. During my research of how they determined someone was dead, I found out the statistics of someone being buried alive was high. So much so, they began to add a bell to the top of the gravestone with a rope dangling down into the ground and in a small hole of the wooden casket. If the person was buried alive, they were able to pull the rope and ring the bell, signaling they were buried alive. I knew I had to use that image on a cover and HarperCollins loved the idea too. You will see A Ghostly Murder, the fourth book, has a gravestone with a bell on top. Love that!

TQ:  Tell us something about A Ghostly Undertaking that is not in the book description.

Tonya:  The reader will laugh out loud at some of the very colorful characters in A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING.

TQ:  In A Ghostly Undertaking who was the easiest character to write and why?

Tonya:  Definitely the ghost, Ruthie Sue Payne. She is a spitfire and I love writing a snarky, funny, eccentric character. It makes writing so much more fun when I can let loose and let my characters have a personality.

The hardest and why? It's not the characters that was the hardest to write, it's the relationship between Emma Lee Raines and Sheriff Jack Henry Ross. I'm not a romance writer and I forget to put the little spark between them.

TQ:  What's next?

Tonya:  I'm thrilled the next three books in the series are going to be released this year! I'm excited the readers aren't going to have to wait for a year or so to get the next ones. A Ghostly Grave will be released in March, A Ghostly Demise in August, and A Ghostly Murder in September.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Tonya:  Thank you for having me! I truly appreciate your kindness.

A Ghostly Undertaking
Series:  A Ghostly Southern Mystery 1
Publisher:  Witness Impulse, February 24, 2015
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780062374646 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

A funeral, a ghost, a murder . . . It's all in a day's work for Emma Lee Raines . . .

Bopped on the head from a falling plastic Santa, local undertaker Emma Lee Raines is told she's suffering from “funeral trauma.” It's trauma all right, because the not-so-dearly departed keep talking to her. Take Ruthie Sue Payne—innkeeper, gossip queen, and arch-nemesis of Emma Lee's granny—she's adamant that she didn't just fall down those stairs. She was pushed.

Ruthie has no idea who wanted her pushing up daisies. All she knows is that she can't cross over until the matter is laid to eternal rest. In the land of the living, Emma Lee's high-school crush, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, isn't ready to rule out foul play. Granny Raines, the widow of Ruthie's ex-husband and co-owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, is the prime suspect. Now Emma Lee is stuck playing detective or risk being haunted forever.

Qwill's Thoughts

A Ghostly Undertaking is the first in the new Ghostly Southern Mystery series by Tonya Kappes. Emma Lee Raines with her sister run the family business - the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home. Emma can see and communicate with ghosts after being hit on the head by a falling Santa. While 'being hit on the head and can now see ghosts' has been done before, Kappes adds a very nice touch with Emma being able to touch and be touched by ghosts.

Emma is handling Ruthie Sue Payne's funeral when Ruthie reveals to Emma that she was murdered. Emma is out of her depth when it comes to sleuthing and she often puts herself at risk, but she is trying to help Ruthie and her own granny who is under suspicion for Ruthie's murder. Things get more and more complicated as the story progresses as there is more than one reason that Ruthie might have been murdered. On top of trying to solve the mystery, Emma contends with everyone thinking she is crazy, coming to grips with her talent, and co-running a funeral home.

The setting of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky is very well done. I got a real sense of community, of people who had known each other their entire lives. There is an interesting cast of characters - each different and engaging (mostly).  I'm looking forward to getting to know them better. There is also a lovely romance developing that was nicely done and did not overwhelm the mystery.

A Ghostly Undertaking is a fast paced and very fun mystery filled with Southern charm and characters that I can't wait to spend more time with.


A Ghostly Grave
A Ghostly Southern Mystery 2
Witness Impulse, March 31, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

There's a ghost on the loose—and a fox in the henhouse.

Four years ago, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home put Chicken Teater in the ground. Now undertaker Emma Lee Raines is digging him back up. The whole scene is bad for business, especially with her granny running for mayor and a big festival setting up in town. But ever since Emma Lee started seeing ghosts, Chicken's been pestering her to figure out who killed him.

With her handsome boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, busy getting new forensics on the old corpse, Emma Lee has time to look into her first suspect. Chicken's widow may be a former Miss Kentucky, but the love of his life was another beauty queen: Lady Cluckington, his prize-winning hen. Was Mrs. Teater the jealous type? Chicken seems to think so. Something's definitely rotten in Sleepy Hollow—and Emma Lee just prays it's not her luck.

A Ghostly Demise
A Ghostly Southern Mystery 3
Witness Impulse, August 25, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

The prodigal father returns—but this ghost is no holy spirit

When she runs into her friend's deadbeat dad at the local deli, undertaker Emma Lee Raines can't wait to tell Mary Anna Hardy that he's back in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, after five long years. Cephus Hardy may have been the town drunk, but he didn't disappear on an epic bender like everyone thought: He was murdered. And he's heard that Emma Lee's been helping lost souls move on to that great big party in the sky.

Why do ghosts always bother Emma Lee at the worst times? Her granny's mayoral campaign is in high gear, a carnival is taking over the town square, and her hunky boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, is stuck wrestling runaway goats. Besides, Cephus has no clue whodunit…unless it was one of Mrs. Hardy's not-so-secret admirers. All roads lead Emma Lee to that carnival—and a killer who isn't clowning around.

A Ghostly Murder
A Ghostly Southern Mystery 4
Witness Impulse, September 29, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

About Tonya

Tonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand. Come on over and FAN Tonya on Goodreads.

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