Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Antidote to the High Cost of Books?

Today I wanted to share a post I found on one of my favorite sites, Daily Cheap Reads. How I missed this post from August 30th, I'll never know, as one of my favorite Indie authors, Maria E. Schneider is featured with her Kindle book, Catch and Honest Thief. Many of you may remember that Maria was a guest judge for my last short story contest.

In any event, in this post, Cheapreader discusses how Independent authors are really the antidote to the high cost of books -- especially ebooks. I found it personally satisfying to read, and am posting a link, hoping you'll click, and find it interesting as well.

Oh, and just a little tooting of my own horn - I was pleased to find out that both Maria and I were Indie bestsellers on Daily Cheap Reads in September! (thank you, thank you very much) :-)

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for Book Video Fridays!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Giveaway Wednesday: Swimming With Wings by Lee Libro

As always, FIRST on my agenda today will be to announce the winners of last week's Giveaway Wednesday: a signed copy to two lucky readers of Debbi Mack's hardboiled mystery, Identity Crisis.

In the past I've used a random generator site on the internet, but today I employed my own, less technical but far prettier random number generator: my daughter. :-) And the two winners she chose are . . .

(Drum rolllllllllllll)

avalonne83 and Wanda

YAY!!! CONGRATULATIONS! I have email addresses for both of you, so will contact you shortly to make arrangements for mailing. :-)

And now for this week's Giveaway - Monday I featured a chapter from Lee Libro's Swimming With Wings, and this week you will all have a chance to enter to win a copy of your very own.

About Swimming With Wings:

What do a 20th century light healer who can raise the dead, an eccentric, would-be dubutant teen and a wandering gypsy have in common? A story of human brotherhood released only through the colliding dogmas surrounding their shared tragedy from long ago.

Lark Jennison is a free thinker and imagines she has wings! Set in the 1970's in a small southern town laced with folk mysticism, faith healings and the evangelistic zeal of the era, Swimming with Wings is her coming of age story. Orphaned, seventeen-year-old Lark and her brother are the last generation of the illustrious Jennison lumber family, and her uncanny ability to read a person, along with her eccentric ways as a budding artist, shine a spotlight of scrutiny upon her. When she falls for Peter Roma, a river gypsy from Summerville, she finds in him an equal, but is soon disturbingly set on a collision course with his fanaticism.

The drowning accident that had killed their fathers remains a mystery, a harbinger of ill feelings between the Romas and the Jennisons. Is Peter Roma, a scammer, a real gypsy or Lark's personal savior? To protect her, Lark's older brother sends her to art school in Maine, the home state of their mother's family. Uninvited, Peter follows but eventually considers their relationship a danger to their souls. His grandfather had been a mystical light healer and heralded the rising tide of a new age; however, Peter's "being saved" interpretation of this leads him into a cult and a world of corruption. The question then becomes who will save who?

Here's what one Amazon customer reviewer had to say about Swimming With Wings:

"I read this book straight through without putting it down. The characters were so real and I could really relate to them. I felt like I was stepping right into their lives. The topic was close to my heart and I felt that the author was sensitive in her approach to the subject. This is a must read!"

I know - sounds great, doesn't it?

Wanna win a copy?

Just leave a comment to this post that you are entering and don't forget to include an email address so I can contact you when your name is chosen!

And thank you for reading my blog.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Excerpt: Swimming With Wings by Lee Libro

Hello! It's a new week with some great things here at Fiction for Dessert. Today, I'm posting an excerpt from Lee Libro's artfully written Swimming With Wings.

What do a 20th century light healer who can raise the dead, an eccentric, would-be dubutant teen and a wandering gypsy have in common? A story of human brotherhood released only through the colliding dogmas surrounding their shared tragedy from long ago.

Lark Jennison is a free thinker and imagines she has wings! Set in the 1970's in a small southern town laced with folk mysticism, faith healings and the evangelistic zeal of the era, Swimming with Wings is her coming of age story. Orphaned, seventeen-year-old Lark and her brother are the last generation of the illustrious Jennison lumber family, and her uncanny ability to read a person, along with her eccentric ways as a budding artist, shine a spotlight of scrutiny upon her. When she falls for Peter Roma, a river gypsy from Summerville, she finds in him an equal, but is soon disturbingly set on a collision course with his fanaticism.

The drowning accident that had killed their fathers remains a mystery, a harbinger of ill feelings between the Romas and the Jennisons. Is Peter Roma, a scammer, a real gypsy or Lark's personal savior? To protect her, Lark's older brother sends her to art school in Maine, the home state of their mother's family. Uninvited, Peter follows but eventually considers their relationship a danger to their souls. His grandfather had been a mystical light healer and heralded the rising tide of a new age; however, Peter's "being saved" interpretation of this leads him into a cult and a world of corruption. The question then becomes who will save who?

Sound intriguing? I'll say! And now for a taste of Lee's novel . . .

Chapter 23

Corinth, Georgia

On a cool November day, the grandfather clock in the front hall chimed out a melody and then struck four times. In a small bedroom chamber just steps from the top of the stairs, a small boy’s flaxen hair clung like wet cotton to his shiny forehead. His breathing was rapid and his crimson complexion betrayed a fatal heat.

The floor of the room was made of wide pine planks, some eighteen inches wide. The walls featured wainscoting with a plain edge, and the upper portion was painted in creamy white, the bareness of which seemed to provoke a chilled silence.

A young Negro woman sat on watch in a corner of the room.

“Yu-la… Ooo-la Mayo,” the little boy murmured. The words came out thick and slow.

Eula Mel sprang from her stool and came to the little boy’s side.

“I’m here, Glovie. I’m here.” She placed a damp washcloth across his forehead. Her eyes widened as she smoothed her slim, dark hands along either side of his swollen neck. She swallowed and looked toward the window and saw a clay ribbon of empty driveway leading through the trees in front of the house.

“Don’t worry, Glovie, everythin’s gonna be fine,” she comforted him with a song in her voice.

The door to his room creaked open and Chloe Jennison came into the room holding a handkerchief to her face. Her eyes were rimmed in red and glistened as she gazed down at her son.

“They need to get here soon, Mel.”

“Mr. Roma’ll sure know what to do, M’am. Just cuz’ Miss Mel don’t have the answer this time, you still gotta keep faith. I’ve seen ‘em work wonders.”
Chloe pressed the cloth to her young boy’s head then held his small hand in hers.

“The fever’s gone deep, Ma’m. It’s in his brain, but Mr. Roma, he’ll pull it out.” She looked under the bed to see if the kitchen knife was still there… to “cut” the pain.

Glover closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. His mother continued to press a cool cloth to his head and then to his cheeks and neck.

“I can’t believe Dr. Morrison said there’s nothing more we can do. I just won’t believe it, Mel. Meningitis doesn’t have to mean…” Her voice cracked.

“You’re right, Miss Chloe. There’s always a way.”

From outside came the definitive sound of a car door closing. Eula Mel dashed to the window and saw two men emerge from Mr. Jennison’s Ford.

“He’s here now, Miss Chloe. And in good time.”

Chloe greeted her husband and Salvatore Roma at the top of the stairs and escorted them to her son’s room.

Salvatore nodded his head in greeting to Eula Mel as he entered the room. Beneath a dark set of eyebrows and a mop of thick black hair, speckled with strands of gray, his brown eyes and tawny face glowed as if he’d just come in from a day in the sun.

“So good you come, Mr. Sal,” said Eula Mel.

“Course I come. I not think this as choice.”

Chloe noted the thick Italian accent despite his twenty years in America. She took his tweed jacket and draped it over a chair in the corner and then offered him a cold drink.

“No, Ma’m. Thank you, but I must to work right away,” he said, looking at the boy’s rosy face.

He pulled his suspenders back off of his shoulders and let them drape to his knees as he quietly assessed the boy’s condition.

“What can be done?” Mr. Jennison asked.

“I not ask, my friends. I just do.” Salvatore Roma softly smiled at them and then he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. With arms raised out and open before him as if inviting an embrace, he rotated in a full circle slowly sweeping the periphery of the room with outstretched fingers. “Laaaa─oooaauuuu-oommm—yaaoou─unummm,” he hummed low and deep.

The Jennisons and Eula Mel watched silently as the man then turned to the little boy and waved his arms across his small body. His hands danced in the air above the boy’s bed expertly tracing an invisible path of swerves and lines from head to toe. He seemed to tug at certain points in the air and wave away at others as if manipulating solid objects.

He began to perspire and took a moment to roll up his sleeves before he recommenced waving his hands above the space where the boy lay, at times bringing his hands within a quarter inch of his face, but never touching. He lingered for a great while over the boy’s head continuing to move his hands in the same fashion and a soft green light barely detectable began to grow from the palms of his hands. He muttered unrecognizable syllables as if speaking in a foreign language. Eula Mel bowed her head and prayed in silence. The Jennisons looked on with eyebrows raised, forming half moons of hope over their eyes.

Salvatore continued his mystical work on the boy. Eula Mel and Chloe periodically left the room and returned with cool washcloths. Mr. Jennison paced the floor.
After nearly an hour, Salvatore Roma stopped. “I am done.” He declared.

Chloe ran to her son’s bedside and saw immediately that his color had returned. She touched the sides of his neck and saw that his glands had retracted to their normal size.

Glover Jennison opened his eyes and looked up at everyone standing over him. The grandfather clock downstairs chimed and the little boy asked, “When’s dinner?” as if he had never been sleeping on the brink of death. The adults laughed in relief.

Downstairs in the center hall, as Mr. Jennison prepared to drive Salvatore Roma back to Summerville, he reached for his hand, and then suddenly overcome with joy, he threw his arms about the man’s chest. “This is a miracle,” he said through restrained tears.

Salvatore put a hand on the man’s back. “No, sir, it is just light and it’s here for everyone.”

Mr. Jennison composed himself and stood back from the man and pulled out his wallet.

“How much do I owe you?” he asked.

Salvatore waved his hand back and forth. “There is no need for payment, Mr. Jennison. My gift is just that… a gift. It is a gift. This I pass to you as one human to another.”

“Certainly you can accept some form of payment,” Jennison insisted.

“No sir, no sir.” He shook his head.

Jennison was vexed. “A trade then, perhaps?”

“No, sir.” Salvatore nodded his head gently once again and smiled at the man.

“When you need anything, Mr. Roma, just ask.”

Salvatore smiled and said, “Call me Sal. I not ask for anything in return, Mr. Jennison.”

Mr. Jennison took a deep breath as if to relinquish any further effort.

“Well then, shall we go?”

Salvatore’s gaze floated to a mouse in a mousetrap behind the stairs.

“Do you mind?” he asked Mr. Jennison.

Bewildered, the gentleman shook his head no and then he watched with curiosity as Salvatore removed the dead mouse from the trap.

“I no like to see the meek treated so,” he said.

He cupped the dead mouse in his hands and moved toward the front door. Mr. Jennison opened the door for him and they stepped out on to the veranda. Then in absolute amazement, Mr. Jennison watched as Salvatore bent down to the ground and opened his palms to release a perfectly animated mouse. With not a scratch on him or a hobble in his step, the mouse scurried off to the bushes.

Lee Libro is a visual artist and writer. Elements of fantasy, myth and Jungian symbols are often interwoven themes in her art and fiction. Her influences include Alice Hoffman, Flannery O'Connor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Anne Tyler, Eudora Welty, Salvador Dali, Alex Grey, religious studies and new age principles, all media relating to metaphysics and the paranormal...and on a different note, the movie "Gone With the Wind." She lives in Florida with her husband, children and two dogs.

To find out how you can purchase Swimming With Wings in paperback or Kindle version, click HERE

For more information on Lee and her first novel, visit Swimming With

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who Writes Short Shorts?

For both the writers of short stories and the readers of short stories, I want to announce that Karen Wojcik Berner, author of the women's fiction novel, A Whisper to a Scream, will be adding Flash Fiction Fridays to her blog, Bibliophilic Blather. She already has several writers lined up to present their VERY short stories, and I'm very proud to say I am one of them! :-) Tomorrow you can tune in and read my sweet tale, "Bashful Blueberry." This is a story that I've been playing around with for a while and have even posted a different version once here on this blog. I hope you'll stop by for a read of my newest version and feel free to leave a comment to say how you liked it, or just to say HI!

I know I have a lot of amazingly talented short story writers who follow this blog, so I want to encourage you to check out her blog for the submission guidelines.

Oh, and I'm heading out of town for a writer's conference, so will not be posting a Video for Book Video Fridays! tomorrow. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Giveaway Wednesday: Identity Crisis by Debbi Mack

Last week's Giveaway was one of my favorite contemporary romances, Homesong, by Misha Crews and I have pulled the two lucky winners! They are . . . Taffy and Anita! YAY! Taffy: email me at so we can talk about how to get the book to you. Anita, I have your email address - you will hear from me shortly. I'm really excited, because I know you're both going to love this book!

And on to our new Giveaway -- Identity Crisis, by Debbi Mack who was our guest just on Monday. She did a FANTASTIC interview and several people have chimed in on this giveaway already, so make sure to leave a comment telling me you want to be entered (leaving an email address is always makes it easier as well), and we'll announce the two winners NEXT Wednesday morning. As I mentioned, Identity Crisis continues to hold the #1 in Kindle bestsellers for Hardboiled mysteries, so you'll want to win this one! Here's a description:

A simple domestic abuse case turns deadly when the alleged abuser is killed and Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae’s client disappears. When a friend asks Sam to find Melanie Hayes, the Maryland attorney is drawn into a complex case of murder and identity theft that has her running from the Mob, breaking into a strip club and forming a shaky alliance with an offbeat private investigator to discover the truth about Melanie and her ex-boyfriend.

With her career and life on the line, Sam’s search takes her from the blue-collar Baltimore suburbs to the mansions of Gibson Island. Along the way, she learns that false identities can hide dark secrets, and those secrets can destroy lives.

Let the commenting commence!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Interview with Mystery Author Debbi Mack

I'm thrilled to be posting this interview today with crime/mystery author Debbi Mack. I first met Debbi at a launch party and signing for the mystery anthology, Chesapeake Crimes: They Had it Comin'. We are two of the twenty authors with stories published in that fine collection of tantalizing tales. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself). Since then I have read her short story collection, Five Uneasy Pieces and popular hardboiled mystery novel, Identity Crisis and am now officially a fan.

K: Welcome Debbi. Thank you for doing this interview today. And congratulations on your success with Identity Crisis. You’ve been #1 in the Hardboiled category for Kindle books on Amazon for quite sometime now!

Debbi: Thanks, Karen! I really appreciate the opportunity to be interviewed here.

My novel hit #1 in the hardboiled mystery category in the Kindle Store at the most unexpected time. I was on vacation out West and hadn't been doing a lick of marketing or much online activity of any sort (something I usually do a little bit every day) for about a week and a half. We had free wi-fi in our motel room, so I figured I'd check on how my book was doing. I absolutely floored to see it had risen to #1 in that category among Kindle books. It was about a week later (August 13, to be exact – not that I'm keeping close track or anything – LOL) that the book first hit #1 in the hardboiled mystery category on all of Amazon. It's gone up and down at times, but for the most part it's managed to stay at the top of that category since then.

K: So tell me about Hardboiled mysteries. What is the style that generally classifies a piece of fiction as Hardboiled?

Debbi: When I think of hardboiled mystery, I tend to think of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, the authors who set the standards for that genre. Generally, the protagonists are tough, cynical and are trying to do the "right" thing, according to their own moral code. The stories tend to involve gritty and often unpleasant realities, while the protagonists try to maintain their own standards of goodness in a less-than-perfect world. The standards set by Hammett and Chandler have been followed (and, in many cases, expanded upon to include non-white and female protagonists) by authors like Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, Reed Farrel Coleman, Marcia Muller, Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Walter Mosley, Mercedes Lambert and many others.

K: What drew you to that genre?

Debbi: My introduction to the hardboiled mystery genre was through movies and television. I think my first exposure must have been the television show "Honey West." The very notion of a tough female private eye with a male sidekick and a really cool convertible was totally awe-inspiring to me as a child. I've always liked old movies like The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon. While I was in college, I had the opportunity to take a couple of film classes, including one about films of the 1940s. I read up quite a bit on noir and got to see many of the classics, like Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce and some films that weren't mysteries as such, but dealt in hard decisions and a protagonist trying to uphold a personal credo in a situation in which the odds seemed to be stacked against them, such as High Noon or the Hitchcock classic Shadow of a Doubt (an Alfred Hitchcock film, in which a young woman's discovery that her beloved uncle may be a murderer is set against the backdrop of a small town in which things aren't quite as peaceful as they appear).

When I began reading the books making up the hardboiled mystery genre, I found I could easily relate to the protagonists. (Not sure what this says about me or my life, but it's probably nothing good. LOL) I thoroughly enjoyed the way the stories explored the gray areas between what's right and wrong and depicted the essentially good, if flawed, protagonist trying to navigate through the maze of choices, in an often corrupt world.

K: Sam McRae, the main character in Identity Crisis, is a female attorney. She’s a tough chick. Are very strong lead female characters in Hardboiled mysteries very common?

Debbi: Off-hand, I can't think of a mystery in that genre with a female lead character who isn't tough. Hardboiled mysteries involve tough situations, so if the protagonist isn't tough, she's not going to make a very satisfying heroine.

That said, I don't think the lead character has to be a superwoman. Usually, the lead characters in hardboiled mysteries are flawed in some way. In addition, female protagonists in this genre don't have to be completely stoic. In fact, I think I show a bit more of Sam's vulnerabilities and sensitive side in Least Wanted, the upcoming sequel to Identity Crisis.

K: You are an attorney, as is Sam McRae. I’m assuming you don’t have to do much legal research when writing her stories. Or am I wrong? Do you still find you still have to do a good amount of legal research?

Debbi: Believe it or not, being an attorney doesn't mean you don't have to do legal research. Quite the opposite, in fact. Since attorneys don't (and couldn't possibly) have every law and court decision memorized, attorneys have to do legal research and keep up to date on the latest interpretations of the law. Because I didn't do more than a handful of really minor criminal cases when I was practicing and identity theft was an emerging phenomenon when I wrote Identity Crisis, I actually had to do quite a bit of research, just to know what laws were in existence at that time. While I drew on some of my limited experiences with the criminal justice system in developing the story, there was plenty I didn't know about identity theft and theft in general. Not to mention the fact that the law is constantly changing – being amended and reinterpreted by the courts. Which means that whatever is true at the time you write the book may be completely different by the time it's actually published. So … you can try to get it right, but it may end up being different later. Makes you kind of wonder what's the point, right? I guess the point is that the law might not change or you might miss a small, but significant legal detail or customary practice, in which case you'll look kind of foolish (especially as a lawyer and one who should know better) if you get it wrong.

K: How about other types of research, such as forensics, or specifically in the case of Identity Crisis, the Mob. How do you get your information to write realistically in these areas?

Debbi: Ugh. Forensics. Now there's a topic I tend to avoid. It's not hard, actually, for me to write around the forensics, because Sam's an outsider and the cops aren't going to share a whole lot of that information with her. Bottom line: I keep forensic information to the bare minimum needed to tell the story. Which is to say, almost none.

As for the Mob, I did a little research on Mobs up in the New York City area, just to see if any of them were Greek. I wanted to choose an ethnic group other than Italians, because Italians have been so "done." And, I did manage to find a mention of Greek Mob activity up in New York.

Most of the rest of what I wrote about the Mob came from a combination of watching "The Wire," various movies (Midnight Run being one of them) and books (by authors like Elmore Leonard, for instance) and my own imagination. Short answer: I made it up. (smile)

K: What’s next for Sam? Is there another book in the works?

Debbi: Yes, the next book in the series is Least Wanted. In this book, Sam finds an odd link between two seemingly unrelated cases – one in which a black juvenile client from a bad neighborhood is accused of killing her mother and the other in which a white, middle-class client suspected of embezzling from a computer games company is arrested for killing his boss. Her investigation into these cases takes her into the seamy world of girl gangs and computer pornography. However, the real murderers are willing to use brute force to keep Sam from learning everything – and, as the body count grows, Sam races to find out who they are before she becomes the next victim. The book is scheduled to be published in late fall 2010.

K: You’ve also just released a collection of short stories, Five Uneasy Pieces, on Kindle. I just finished reading it myself, by the way, and loved it. How does short story writing differ for you from full length novel writing?

Debbi: First of all, thank you! I'm thrilled you enjoyed the stories. A good review is always a happy thing for any writer.

Short stories are definitely different. They require total economy of words and you have to keep them relatively simple. You can't have too many characters, too much backstory or lots of subplots in them.

I heard someone once make an analogy that went something like this: writing a novel versus a short story is like building a house as compared to a pup tent. That really sums up the major differences to me. A short story is spare, functional and gets to the point, without a lot of backstory or embellishment. That doesn't mean it can't have complications. I like to end my short stories (if at all possible) with some kind of twist. The twist is my attempt to provide the kind of emotional punch that I think the best short stories have.

K: Dare I ask if you have a favorite of the five?

Debbi: Well, you can ask … LOL! Wow. That really is a toughie. Naturally, I'm fond of "Deadly Detour," which was my first published fiction ever. However, I'm also tempted to pick "The Right to Remain Silent," because it was nominated for a Derringer. At the same time, "Sympathy for the Devil" was my attempt to do a kind parody of the hardboiled private eye novel by telling the story from the point of view of the (in this case, totally clueless) "femme fatale" client, which I couldn't recall ever seeing anyone do before, so I think it's my most experimental story. So, um … not sure I can pick a favorite, because I really do like all of them.

K: Would you be willing to give my readers an excerpt from one?

Debbi: Gladly! Here's an excerpt from "Sympathy for the Devil." In this story, the protagonist, Lainie Hastings, has been advised by her neighbor, Roz, to seek assistance from a private investigator to confirm whether or not her husband is cheating on her. Lainie is a trifle naïve, but not stupid. So, when she goes to meet the investigator, she isn't quite sure what to expect:

The morning I met the PI, I put on one of my best suits, the one I wore for interviews. It was tailored and flattering without, you know, going overboard. I pulled my long, blonde hair back into a barrette and put on some makeup. Not too much. Roz makes fun of me because, unlike her, I go light on cosmetics. She says I hide my assets. I just tell her I’m married. She laughs and lets it go.
The office was downtown, in a neighborhood that had seen better days. I might have been tempted to choose another PI in a better neighborhood, if I’d had any idea where else to go. Dreary neighborhood aside, I felt better going to someone recommended by a loyal friend like Roz.

Still, I wondered why anyone would have an office in such a depressed part of town. Maybe it was a way to maintain a low profile. Or pay low rent.

His office was in a four-story, brick building, wedged between a hardware store and a funeral parlor. The building directory listed “Greeley Investigations, Suite 23,” in white plastic letters. I noticed several other businesses which had “consulting” or “associates” in their names and little else to suggest what they were.

The stairs seemed dark and forbidding. I’d just read in Women’s World that a lot of rapes take place in dark stairwells. From the look of the place, I would have staked my last paycheck that at least one rape had taken place in the building. I opted for the elevator. The door slid open in slow motion. The ride to the second floor seemed to take forever. I could have run up and down the stairs twice and made a quick visit to the ladies in less time.

I got off and walked down a long hallway marked by identical doors. I stopped at “23,” nailed into the wood like an address on a house. A business card for “Greeley Investigations” was wedged in a metal frame beneath the number.

I walked in. To one side was an unoccupied desk across from a red vinyl sofa, a chair covered in worn, yellow fabric and a fake wood laminated coffee table.

The sofa vinyl made an audible “crunch” as I sat. My reading choices included Soldier of Fortune and Redbook. I picked up the latter and flipped through it. The inner office door opened.

“Mrs. Hastings?"

I looked up. A short, pudgy man in an ill-fitting gray suit filled the doorway. I could smell his sweat from the twenty feet or so separating us.


“I’m Hugo Greeley,” he said, looking me over. He didn’t budge or invite me in. He showed no interest in shaking my hand. I have to confess, the feeling was mutual.

“I’ll be with you in just a moment,” he said and closed the door again.

I checked my watch then turned to the book reviews and had déjà vu when I read the titles. Checking the date, I realized why. The issue was 10 years old.

The door opened. “All right, Mrs. Hastings, I’m ready for you now.”

I followed him in and sat in a straight-backed chair facing his desk. A small metal fan whirred from its perch on a corner file cabinet. The stale air reeked of cigar smoke and Scotch (my husband’s drink of choice too). Mr. Greeley lumbered over to the chair behind his desk and dropped into it. The springs squealed like a chorus of stuck pigs.

“What can I do for you?” he asked.

“It’s my husband,” I said. “I think he’s cheating on me.”

He smiled and leaned back in the chair. It groaned. “I see. What makes you think your husband is cheating on you?”

I told him about the late nights at work, Brant’s stonewalling, the mystery phone calls and Ed’s refusal to talk about it.

Mr. Greeley nodded. “Anything else?”

“Well ... no.”

“That’s not much to go on, is it, Mrs. Hastings?” He cocked his head to one side.

“Surely, there’s more to it than that.”

Aside from Roz’s insight, I had nothing specific to go on. It was more of a feeling.
For some time things had been cooling off between Ed and me. Not that Ed had ever been terribly warm. We rarely spoke, and our sex life had waned. I managed to coax Ed out of complacency every two or three weeks. My self-esteem had eroded to a nub.
I’ve always been self-conscious about my looks. Not that I’m ugly—quite the opposite. People don’t take me seriously because of my appearance, and that hurts. But I’ve always had what it takes to please a man in bed.

In the bedroom, Ed deigned to perform with a kind of military efficiency, like he was doing push-ups. I’ve learned over time how many pumps it will take, plus or minus ten. There was no way I would discuss this with a stranger.

“I just know,” I said after a while. “A wife ... knows.”

“Yeah,” he said. “So I’ve heard.” He looked me over. “How long you been married?”

“Twelve years.”


I shrugged. “Not unhappy.”

“And your husband is a man of means?”

I looked at him. “You mean rich? He makes a good living, but I wouldn’t call us rich.”

“What’s he do?”

“He’s an actuary with Fidelity Insurance.”

“Good paying gig.” Mr. Greeley tortured the chair some more with his fidgeting.

“That’s a handsome suit. Very tasteful. Your husband must do well to buy you such nice clothes.”

I regretted having worn it. He would probably charge me more than his usual fee.

“I wear this for interviews. I’ve been looking for a job for several months.”

“A job?” He seemed surprised.

“Yes, I’m out of work. My last employer laid me off.”

“What did you do?”

“I was an administrative assistant at Sartwell Sausages.”

“Sausages, eh?” He smiled again. “Funny thing about sausages. You can hide all sorts of funny stuff in them. Dirty stuff.”

“Not if you follow FDA guidelines.”

He let go an artificial laugh. “The schoolgirl act is wearing thin, Mrs. Hastings.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The quiet voice. The prim manner. I get the feeling there’s a bit more to you than meets the eye.”

Feeling intimidated, I was speaking softly, even for me. I was wary, maybe even scared. Still I wondered if he could see that I was more than just a pretty face. I blushed. His compliment made me think that there might be something more to him than met my eye. Maybe he was more than just a smelly, fat, poorly dressed gnome.

“I appreciate that, Mr. Greeley.”

“Sure, Mrs. Hastings. Like I’m sure you’d appreciate catching the mister in the act, filing for divorce, getting half his loot, and keeping yourself in nice suits for a long time.”

I sat there, blinking, at a loss for words. What did he care? I felt peeved and thought about leaving. But what were my options?

I smoothed my skirt and sat straighter. “Will you take my case, Mr. Greeley?”

He laughed again. What was so funny? “Okay, Mrs. Hastings. I’ll take your case.”
He took down some information about Ed: his office, his work hours, his close friends and such. We went over the fee agreement. It was a lot of money. But I had to find out if Roz was right. What I would do next, I wasn’t sure.

When I got home, I found Ed. He was in our bed, with my biggest carving knife protruding from his chest.

K: Thank you again, Debbi! If my readers want to learn more about you and your other works, where can they find you on the web?

Debbi: You can read more about me and my work on my Web site (which also features a monthly column) and my blog My Life on the Mid-List. I also have four other blogs, including The Book Grrl, where I post book reviews (and links to reviews I do for Mystery Scene Magazine). You can find the links to all my blogs on the home page to my Web site. My books are available on Amazon, Smashwords, and my Web site. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

And thank you, Karen!

Karen's final word -- I really want to thank Debbi again for doing this interview and giving some insight into her writing world as well as sharing some of her work with us. While I don't like to ruin surprises, I will go ahead and let everyone know TODAY that our Giveaway Wednesday, will be a signed copy of Debbi's Identity Crisis to two lucky winners, so be sure to check in Wednesday and leave your comment to enter.

AND IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR DEBBI TODAY - leave your comment to this post. She'll be glad to answer your questions!!!

Finally, to purchase Debbi's books from Amazon, CLICK HERE FOR FIVE UNEASY PIECES and HERE FOR IDENTITY CRISIS

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Video Friday!

I think you'll love this video for Ann Wertz Garvin's upcoming book, On Maggie's Watch. I'll let her tell you all about it. :-)

On Maggie's Watch is due to be released in November. To learn more about Ann and her book, go to her website Ann Wertz Garvin.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Chronicles of Marr-nia, Short Stories Starring Barbara Marr

I don't have a cover yet (soon,VERY soon!), but it is official:

The Chronicles of Marr-nia, Short Stories Starring Barbara Marr will be launched on Amazon Kindle Friday, October 15th.


In my nearly month long promotion of the release, I am offering a SUPER DUPER fun giveaway over at my Karen Cantwell Website Blog so please pop on over and see what you could win . . .

Yours Truly,

Karen Cantwell
Author of the hilarious, Take the Monkeys and Run and the soon-to-be-released, The Chronicles of Marr-nia, Short Stories Starring Barbara Marr

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Giveaway Wednesday: Homesong by Misha Crews

YAY! It's Giveaway Wednesday and we have a winner to announce before I tell you about our NEXT giveaway. So WHO has won the free signed copy of JC Phelps' novel, Color Me Grey? Drum roll please . . . and the winner is . . . attagirl! (claps and whistles!) CONGRATULATIONS attagirl. I have your email address so will contact you soon to arrange to have your book mailed to you.

Thank you to everyone who entered and if you didn't win . . . here's your chance to try AGAIN.

This week's GIVEAWAY is two signed copies of Misha Crews' first novel, Homesong. Homesong was recently named a finalist in the Bronte Prize for Romantic Fiction, so make sure you enter for this one!

Here's a little about Homesong:
In a small town, everyone knows everything about everybody. Or do they? For twenty years, Kate Doyle has been haunted by the night when she was forced to flee from her tiny Virginia home town and abandon her childhood sweetheart, Reed Fitzgerald. So when Kate, now in her mid-30s, escapes her unhappy life in Washington, DC and takes a much-needed vacation, the last thing she expects is to be reunited with Reed. Now, under the warm clear Caribbean sun, amid ancient churches and pink flamingos, Kate and Reed seek to revive the love that they thought was gone forever. But will small-town secrets ruin their last chance for happiness? Woven into the modern tale of Kate and Reed are the tales of those who came before them. Their mothers: teenagers in the chaotic 1960s, best friends who are in love with the same man although only one of them knows it. Reed's grandmother: already a bitter old woman by the 1930s, she would do anything to carry on the family name...and would drive away anyone who came between her and her grandson. And even the founder of the town: in 1865, what guilty secret drove one man to bring his two daughters across the ocean from Ireland and settle in the dark Virginia hills? At its heart, Homesong is the story of a small town: its lies and truths, its beginnings and endings. It's about proud secrets, unrestrained joy, and the old adage that you may leave your home, but it never really leaves you.

It's a wonderfully written book that you won't want to put down. So how do you enter? LEAVE A COMMENT to this post. Simple as that. And tell your friends!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Short Story Contest WINNER! "The Shake Down" by Janel Gradowski

"The Shake Down"
By Janel Gradowski

Celeste studied the little boy. Blonde hair framed his face in sweaty tendrils. It was the middle of summer and the house had no air conditioning. There wasn’t even a fan in the sweltering room, but he was tangled up in a tattered blue quilt, pulled tight around him like a cocoon. She touched the quilt and sensed that it brought him comfort, reminded him of a different time and place.

She moved closer to the tropical fish nightlight, trying to figure out what the small white chunk she found under his pillow was made of. It wasn’t a tooth, not like the real tooth she found under his pillow last night. Celeste closed her fingers around the jagged nugget and concentrated. It was a piece of grout from between the bathroom tiles. The little guy must have been so happy with the silver dollar she left him that he decided to try for another.

“You’d better pay up, missy, or you’ll be real sorry.”

Celeste spun around. Her wings chattered from fright and magical glitter swirled around the room, turning it into a snow globe. There was a disheveled woman leaning against the door frame. She squinted one eye shut and used the other eye to aim a pistol at Celeste.

The stench of stale cigarette smoke and alcohol filled the room. Celeste was prepared for curious children, trying to catch the Tooth Fairy in action. Although there had been a few close calls with paranoid parents looking for intruders she had never been discovered by an adult, much less one with a gun.

“OK,” Celeste whispered, “I’ll just put the silver dollar under his pillow and be on my way.”

“One dollar isn’t going to do it tonight, honey,” the woman waggled the gun, “Make it ten bucks.”

“Fine, whatever you want. Just don’t hurt me or your son.”

Celeste pulled ten silver dollars out of her pouch and slid them under the boy’s pillow. He wiggled and sighed as the coins jingled, but didn’t wake up.

“There you go.”

“Now get lost,” the woman motioned toward the window with the gun, “And he ain’t my son.”

A smacking sound registered with Celeste as she summoned the magic to transport herself back to the magical realm. The little boy was sucking his thumb, seeking more comfort. She vowed to help him.

The next day Celeste wasn’t surprised to see the little boy’s name on her schedule again. She did some research before starting her rounds. His name was Cody and the surly woman really wasn’t his mother. She was his Aunt Pam. His father died in Iraq and his mother was in Florida looking for a job. She left Cody with her former sister-in-law because she had no other choice. Both sets of grandparents passed away years ago and there were no other relatives in the area.

Celeste shook her head and added an extra handful of coins to her stash. Extorting the Tooth Fairy, taking money that should be going to children, was rotten. She had no respect for the aunt. The gun was another matter. Her magic could save her from a bullet, but she couldn’t protect the little boy.

That night a pebble was under Cody’s pillow. The charade kept up night after night. Celeste found tiny wads of paper, a kernel of popcorn, miniature marshmallows and a chunk of hardened gum to be exchanged for an ever-increasing amount of money.

No matter how many times it happened, the gun nonchalantly pointed at her unnerved Celeste. Instead of sweating, she produced the iridescent glitter. When Pam switched out the pistol for a shotgun the glitter accumulated in the corners of Cody’s room and sparkling drifts formed around the trucks and action figures scattered on the floor.

“I want fifty bucks tonight, you over-sized dragon fly.”

Pam had the shotgun leveled at Celeste’s heart. The unkempt woman burped and wavered back and forth, finally leaning on the door frame for support. The gun barrel dipped toward Cody.

“I am nothing like a common insect!” Celeste’s wings fluttered and continued to pick up speed until they were a blur. The entire room vibrated from the sound. She knew she didn’t have the beautiful butterfly-style wings of some of the other fairies, but she wasn’t a google-eyed dragonfly.

Pam blinked as miniature fireworks filled the room. She had never seen the pint-sized fairy disappear like that. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and counted the money. Enough to buy cigarettes and some top-shelf vodka tomorrow.

The next night there was a little ball of damp toilet paper under Cody’s pillow. Celeste didn’t want to touch it, afraid of what had been used to moisten the paper. She took a deep breath and smiled when she heard the floorboards creak in the hallway.

“Throw another five bucks in. I have a hot date tomorrow.” Pam licked her lips and smiled. “Need to buy a new dress.”

“What was that?” Celeste asked. She took a deep breath, trying to hold back the nausea that was gripping her stomach. Pam’s teeth were a nasty, decayed mess. “Didn’t you hear that?”

“Stop messing around and put the money . . . "

The unmistakable sound of breaking glass came from another room. Pam spun around and brought the shotgun to her shoulder, pointing the barrel down the hallway.

“You had better leave the money or you and Cody will pay.”

She disappeared down the hallway. Celeste hurried to the boy’s bedside. Glowing, blue balls of magic formed on her palms. She gently placed them over Cody’s ears, shielding him from the sounds.

A gunshot, then an anguished moan. Another shotgun blast followed by a thud that shook the walls of the little bedroom. A coloring book page that had been taped on the wall fluttered to the floor. A high-pitched scream that made Celeste, and probably most of the dogs in a half-mile radius, wince. Then silence. An inky shadow passed across the doorway.

Celeste started making the phone calls. First to Cody’s unsuspecting mother, then to the police. The little boy’s nightmare was over and he would soon be reunited with his loving mother. Unfortunately for Pam, her nightmare had just begun. She should have known better. It wasn’t wise to mess with a friend of the Boogey Man.


Janel Gradowski has her own AMAZING blog, Janel's Jumble, where you can read some of her other works. Pop on over and have a look-see!

Thank you to everyone who entered this latest contest at Fiction For Dessert. The stories were all amazing, and I hope writers will keep an eye out for my next Flash Fiction Contest.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Video Friday!

Today, watch this powerful trailer for Dave Cullen's Columbine.

To learn more about Dave and his book Columbine, go to his website,Dave Cullen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Giveaway Wednesday: Color Me Grey by JC Phelps

FIRST: an announcement for last week's giveaway -- LB Gschwandtner's, The Naked Gardener. (drum roll . . .)

And the winners are: Janel and buddyT!!!! YAY!!! I have emails for both, so will contact you to arrange for shipment of your prize. It's a LOVELY piece of women's fiction that I'm sure you will enjoy.

NOW ANNOUNCING THIS WEEK'S GIVEAWAY: One signed copy of Color Me Grey, by JC Phelps.

Meet Alexis Stanton, a 5' 4" petite young woman with a yen for adventure. She grew up as a tomboy wishing she could have all the adventures boys could have. She has since decided that being a boy instead of a girl has its advantages, but being a woman is much better. Raised in a family with money, she was able to pick and choose her education. She had been schooled in everything from being a lady to courses with Special Forces instructors. Her desire for adventure and her boredom with her current employment and a strange 'HELP WANTED' ad causes her to quit. She finds that job she could "just die for"... and it looks like she just might!

Here's what Misty Baker at has to say about this new novel on the scene:

"I have always loved books where female leads are thrust into, what is stereotypically, a man’s position, and this little ditty is no exception. J.C. Phelps did a wonderful job of weaving suspense, intrigue, and lust, resulting in what was a very pleasurable, and solid read. Each character had their own unique qualities and the use of “code names” while developing each was an engaging way to keep the reader guessing as to who they “really” were. The plot, however, is where Phelps’ writing really shined. As a reader the push and pull of a story is what keeps you reading. “Where is this going?” “I know something big is about to happen… but what is it?” This more than anything is what made “Color Me Grey” so exciting, you could always feel something bubbling just under the surface… even in the most sedated moments of monologue."

Sounds good, doesn't it?

SO HOW DO YOU WIN A COPY? LEAVE A COMMENT HERE! It's as simple as that. And check back next Wednesday to see if you won, as well as find out the next great giveaway. :-)

And in the meantime, if you want to learn more about JC and her other works, check out her blog: JC Phelps.

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Better than Eat, Pray, Love!

That's what an Amazon reviewer had to say about this week's GIVEAWAY, The Naked Gardener.

She went on to say:

"Of course, the latter is a memoir while THE NAKED GARDENER comes from its author's imagination. Nonetheless, the prose of THE NAKED GARDENER is just as lyrical as in EAT, PRAY, LOVE -- and this is a huge statement. No one can dispute that author Elizabeth Gilbert of EAT is a wonderful writer. And so is L. B. Gschwandtner, who penned THE NAKED GARDENER.

Its story is gripping, drawing in a reader eager to learn what will happen to its very compelling heroine and "Maze," her lover. And better than EAT, PRAY, LOVE, there is not the obsessive self-involvement that Ms. Gilbert displays in her memoir.

Anyone who enjoyed EAT, PRAY, LOVE will delight in THE NAKED GARDENER. And Elizabeth Gilbert's detractors probably will find L. B. Gschwandtner's novel worthwhile reading as well.


SO . . . . if you want your chance to win one of two FREE copies being given away, comment to this post TODAY. Tomorrow starts another giveaway!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Scott Nicholson, award winning author of Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, The Skull Ring, The Red Church, and more, is holding an extensive Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour. Have you always wanted a Kindle? Here's your way to win one. Actually, he has THREE ways you can win! So rather than bore you myself, I'll let Scott tell you how. CLICK HERE to go Scott's website, The Haunted Computer, and get the info for yourself. And GOOD LUCK!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Do you Kindle? Or Kindle App?

If so, here are two great websites that promote affordable Kindle reads:

Kindle Cheap Reads


The Frugal Kindle

Check 'em out, says I!

And enjoy that Kindle without draining your wallet dry.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Video Friday!

Watch this powerful trailer for Jason De La Torres' Nightmares From Eberus

Find out more about Jason and his works at his website JC De La Torre.

And if you have time today, stop over at JC Phelps' blog and check out her list of author GIVEAWAY OFFERS. It's quite extensive!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Giveaway Wednesday: The Naked Gardener

FIRST THINGS FIRST: the announcement of two lucky winners for last week's giveaway, Chesapeake Crimes: They Had it Comin'. Drum roll please . . . . and the winners are . . . Melissa and CarolM! YAY! Ladies, I have your email addresses so will be contacting you for a snail mail address to mail your prizes. :-) Thank you for entering!

This week's giveaway? I have two signed copies of The Naked Gardener by LB Gschwandtner. Just a couple of weeks ago, I interviewed LB and offered an excerpt from this wonderful piece of women's fiction, so leave your comment now, to enter a chance to win one of these books.