author, Mystery, New release

JD Spero’s New Book: The Secret Cure

JD Spero’s new psychological thriller The Secret Cure is set to launch May 17 — although Kindle readers can pre-order now. A fellow author at darkstroke books, JD offers an intriguing pitch about her novel The Secret Curebelow plus its first chapter. I’ll cut to the chase and offer you the link to buy it on Amazon:  http://mybook.to/thesecretcure.

FIRST ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Johannah Davies (JD) Spero’s writing career took off when her first release, Catcher’s Keeper, was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013. Her small town mystery series has won similar acclaim. Boy on Hold won 2020 IPPY Gold for Best Mystery/Thriller ebook and Boy Released was a 2021 Indies Today Finalist. Her YA fantasy series, Forte, is also a multiple award winner, and is the topic of classroom visits in schools across the country. Having lived in various cities from St. Petersburg (Russia) to Boston, she now lives with her family in the Adirondack Mountains, where she was born and raised.

NOW THE PITCH:  She’s getting better. He has no clue. That’s exactly the way she wants it.  To pull off the perfect revenge, her cure has to remain a secret

In her mid-30s, Rosalie Giordano is in the prime of her life. Long saved from the manipulative hands of her mother, she’s been married to her fairy tale hero for ten blissful years. Vincent is sweet and strong, and stunning as hell — and completely enamored of her.

Just as they begin to plan for a family, Rosalie is diagnosed with a mysterious virus that renders her temporarily paralyzed. As days stretch to weeks, then months, she learns not only is her condition chronic, but the love of her life is having an affair.

As her health improves, a slow burn of vengeance simmers in her heart. With the help of her homecare nurse, she regains full mobility. While hiding the truth from her husband, she uncovers the extent of his betrayal … and learns he is not at all who he seems. Their planned anniversary trip overseas gives her the perfect occasion for revenge.

But at the fancy Sicilian resort, Rosalie is not the only one with a score to settle with Vincent. And in the end, she’s not the only one with blood on her hands…

CHAPTER ONE  ROSALIE

Time goes by in the murk. Am I sleeping or is this real? Like weeds sprouting, images rise up to torment me.

Spotlights warm a stage. Our dance builds with an orchestra’s crescendo. A duet? But I’m alone. He spins me out and lets go – into the abyss of backstage. Feels like a black hole.

Makes me wonder. Is this a sick play on grief? Or, worse, the tug of desire? Or just some dumb dream?

What the hell, Vin? Pull me back.

Speak of the devil, Vin bursts into the guest room where Cate has me set up. “Good morning!” he calls, his mouth a bullhorn.

I blink him into focus, shaking away my dream-haze. I’m awake, then. This is real. As the pieces of my shitty reality clunk into place, my spirit plunges. Down that black hole again.

Cate blushes hard in my husband’s company. Usually chatty, she falls into a tizzy around him, like a middle schooler.

But don’t be fooled. Rumor has it she was a war nurse over in Iraq. One tough Tootsie-Roll, saving soldiers and all that.

Now she takes care of me.

“How’s our Rosalie?” Vin’s smile is constipated. He’s faking it. There’s zero reason to happy, asking that question.

But, oh, he’s such a hunk. With those dark eyebrows and olive skin, he gets hunkier with age. Not fair.

What do I look like these days? Am I still blond or all hoary now? Are my lips ghostly pale? Is it too much to ask for Cate to throw some makeup on me, drape me in some bling?

Cate fans her face. “Oh, she’s good, I think. I was about to give her some breakfast.”

Vin comes to my bedside with jarringly loud footfalls, like he’s got taps on his shoes. Strange, I’d never noticed that when I was a normal, moving person.

He’s dressed for work, a button-down and khakis. What time is it? Seems like after nine, close to ten even. What the hell do I know? I’ve given up keeping track of clocks, biological and otherwise.

“Please do,” he says to Cate, leaning in. Will he kiss me? My breath stops in anticipation of it. My smile fills my mouth and my whole head. Can he see it? Can he see my grin?

Must not. He’s frowning. “How’s the muscle tone?”

“As expected. But I did think I felt some movement in her fingers when I massaged her this morning.”

As prescribed, Cate focuses her daily massages on where the paralysis started—in my hands. In those early days, I tried to clap away the pins and needles. But when it crawled up my limbs and usurped my whole body, I was colossally screwed. Doctors were baffled. Vin was pissed. And me? I went numb. Not from the illness, but from a gripping, hollow terror.

I haven’t moved in months, despite Cate’s optimism. Her massage this morning didn’t do squat. Cate has made an absolute art of hyperbole.

Still, Vin’s eyes go wide, and he lets out a laugh. Listerine-scented. Touching. He made the effort to breathe fresh breath on me.

“No kidding.” His grin goes to his eyes, and a million starbursts behind them. Definitely not faking it now. I would melt if I weren’t already melted onto the bed. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to loop my arms around him, to pull him down to me, to feel the warm weight of his body on mine.

He rests a hand on my forehead and sweeps it over my hairline like he used to. Heavenly sensations pour through my body.

“She likes that, Mr. Giordano.”

Oh, shut up, Cate. Give me a moment with my husband, will you?

He does it again, brushes back my hair, and I nearly orgasm right there in front of everyone.

Vin has a different idea. “Maybe we could go out for ice cream tonight to celebrate.”

Ice cream? Please, no. I might be a temporary-invalid, but I’m still a sexual being with needs and desires.

Vin, honey, take me out for a Martini, and then bring me home and make mad passionate love to me, like old times.

Like old times…

Sigh. As my condition worsened, Vin’s anger turned desperate. How could he save his damsel in distress? Luckily we lived near Boston, home to the best hospitals in the country, so he took me on a proverbial white horse to Mass General. After an MRI and lumbar puncture came clean, they zapped my fingers and toes with tiny electric shocks. What’d they find? My nerves were under attack by my own immune system. My own personal ‘friendly fire’ (leave it to Cate to put it into war terms.) The disorder is officially called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. In the rarest of cases, it affects the whole body for an indefinite amount of time.

Lucky me.

At least I’m off the ventilator.

“Ice cream!” Cate shouts, and I try to flinch.

Then, as if to rub salt on my soul-sucking weakness, Cate lifts a bulky contraption into the middle of the room. With a grunt, she wrenches the thing open. Ah, it’s my special wheelchair, the reclining one with the head support Vin rented from the medical supply company.

I hate that thing.

Cate, however, seems overjoyed. “Don’t you worry, Mr. Giordano.” She pushes up her sleeves. Is she puffing her chest? “We can go wherever we want with this handy dandy wheelchair. And ice cream is just what the doctor ordered!”

I blink at her and say nothing. Can’t, really. What an asinine figure of speech. No doctor in his right mind would order me an ice cream. Swallowing has become a terrifying prospect, so forgive me for not cheering for frozen fucking dessert.

All Vin’s attention is with Cate now, his hand tucked in his pocket. My skin tingles from where he touched me. “I’ll try to be home at a reasonable time, but I do have an appointment after work.”

All those tingly vibes fall away. The black hole wants to swallow me. Rage breaks out in my pores. Because I know all too well Vin’s ‘appointment’ is with his therapist, Anastasia, whom he’s been seeing since I got sick. Their therapy sessions have become more common the longer I’m immobile. Always at the end of the day, always a good, generous hour. Who is this Anastasia? And what is she up to with my husband, really?

So, Vin likes his secrets. Well, I have my secrets too. They live in my blood and run through my veins, filling me with a bulletproof drive to get through this thing. Because I will get through. My god, I was a dancer. My body knows how to move. And it holds a muscle memory stronger than any diagnosis. I will move again. And when I do, no secret is safe.

I can feel it now, the slow, satisfying burn of a buried secret emitting steam from my ears, fire from my nose, laser beams from my eyeballs.

Cate nods, still about the ice cream, still puffing her chest, a dopey half-grin on her chubby face. Vin clomps out of the room like a brontosaurus.

I hate them both.

JD SPERO’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Website: www.jdspero.com

Twitter: @jdspero

Instagram: @johannahspero

Facebook.com/jdspero

 

 

Standard
author, Author Interview, Character Traits

A New Author Series: Character Traits

One of the pluses of being part of Crooked Cat Books and darkstroke books is getting to know my fellow authors. I am impressed with those who are friendly on social media — the group is spread around the world — and generously support each other. So for my part, I am offering a bit of space on my website with a new series called Character Traits.

Val Penny - relaxed

Val Penny

The series begins Wednesday with Val Penny, an American who lives in Scotland, and is the author of the Edinburgh Crime Mystery Series featuring D.I. Hunter Wilson. I understand she has a new series in the works as well. I look forward to that … and finally meeting her in Edinburgh when we can safely travel again. Val has been a huge ally in this publishing game.

So, what is Character Traits about? I am asking authors to write a post about a character — it doesn’t have to be a protagonist — from one of their books and/or series. I am booked until the end of the year, but I am hoping to keep this going. Send me a message on Facebook or leave a comment here on how to reach you. Those who have my email address can contact me that way.

What I hope for: Introduce your character and the important role that person plays in your novel(s). Here are some questions to consider. How did you come up with this character? The character’s name? Is a real live person the inspiration? If so, how did people who know that person react? Is your character likable — or not? If you are writing a series, will this character continue? I welcome your own insights.

How about including a brief scene — say 200 words — where your character appears?

Give me a short bio of you, the titles and Amazon links to your books, your photo and cover of the book your character appears in.

I will be publishing these on Wednesdays. My deadline is the previous Wednesday.

FREEBIE SATURDAY: Thanks to those who downloaded Redneck’s Revenge, No. 2 in my Isabel Long Mystery Series, on Saturday, Nov. 14. My goal is to attract more readers.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That’s the top of the piano that came with out house — a long story there. Hank made the candlesticks. The pottery is part of a small collection. And the silk screen print showcases the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls Village where we live.

 

Standard
author, friends

A Good Friend I Never Met

A few days ago I learned that author Sue Roebuck died. Sue and I never met although we got to know each other through our shared publisher, Crooked Cat Books. She was originally from the UK but lived in Portugal after marrying a man from that country.

I considered Sue a friend. She offered a great deal of support to her fellow authors, including myself. I smile when I reread what Sue posted on social media and in the messages we exchanged. I bought and read her books. She did the same for me.

I wrote twice for her blog. When I suggested I give her a post about how I write about sex, she responded: “Perfect – that should get the blog readers sitting up!” I also wrote one called Portuguese Forever, about my ancestry.

Here is one Sue wrote for me last year prior to the launch of Forest Dancer that will let you know a bit about her. It was part of my 6Ws series.

Who is author Susan Roebuck?

If you happen to be in the Lisbon area of Portugal and you take the road to Cascais, you might see me at the window of my office which overlooks the mighty Tagus River. I’ll be watching the cruise ships and tankers coming in and out of Lisbon. You might think I’m Portuguese but I’m not – I’m British born and bred. I was just exported to Portugal by my husband many moons ago.

I taught for the British Council for many years and then the Portuguese civil service, creating e-learning courses. I think the creativity that was needed for that started me writing fiction.

What does she write?

I have four books published:

1. Perfect Score, an LGBT romance suspense (hardly any sex involved) set in the USA in the 1960s and dealing with subjects such as being gay, having dyslexia, corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, and how a phoenix can indeed arise from the ashes.

2. Hewhay Hall. Dark fiction, set in contemporary UK about unsung heroes – in this case a fireman caught up in a terrorist bomb. This won the EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) award for Horror in 2013.

3. Rising Tide. The first in the Portuguese series. This is set in a tiny fishing village on the Alentejo coast – somewhere the world and most of the world has forgotten. The place brings together the two main characters: Piper from Norfolk, UK and Leo from Alaska, USA. Both are seeking answers that only the village can answer.

4. Forest Dancer. The second in the Portuguese series. Published by Crooked Cat Books in February 2018 and set in the magical fairytale forests just twenty miles to the west of Lisbon. A classical ballerina from London is seeking her self-worth in these forests. But does she find it?

5. Joseph Barnaby. The third in the Portuguese series. Again, published by Crooked Cat Books, this one is set on the island of Madeira. Joseph is running – but from what? And will he ever be able to join society again? This will be published in late 2018.

When did she begin writing?

A few years ago I got ill with a serious illness and had a few years when I was disabled. During that time I couldn’t work. So I found I had time to indulge much more in my favorite pastime – writing. (I’m OK now by the way, but I keep on writing!)

How does she write?

I think if I had to rely on pen and paper like Jane Austen, I wouldn’t. I do too much deleting and changing. I write quite fast but that does mean I miss, on first draft, details such as names – but not only. Characters have been known to change names, change hair colour, know things they couldn’t possibly know, make startling quick moves to a new house… It’s a good job I do four or five edits and often get a professional edit before sending my manuscripts off to publishers.

Where does she write?

(See number 1) in a spare bedroom which my husband and I use as an office. He sits at one end of the table and I the other. The TV is in here too which doesn’t help my concentration. I really envy those who can have a writing hidey-hole where they’re alone, cut off from the world. Does anyone know of a garret going cheaply?

Why does she write?

Like any other writer, I think. To give an outlet to creativity, to let that jumble of words and ideas out. I certainly don’t do it for the money! I also like to paint but, unlike writing, I’m very slow at that and can take days dabbing on paint and days taking it off again (I work in acrylics). Come to think of it, I also take days writing something and days deleting it, so maybe the two arts are closely related.

 

Standard
author, New release

Isabella May’s New Book: Costa del Churros

Today author Isabella May pops in to talk about her latest romantic comedy Costa del Churros. Here goes:

Muchas graciasfor hosting me on your blog today to talk about my brand new novel bit of body textwith Crooked Cat Books! COSTA DEL CHURROS will launch on September 19 and is another romantic comedy which fuses all things foodie, travel and spirituality. I’m keeping my fingers (and paws!) crossed that it’ll have as good a reception as its predecessors…

Why write about Spain?
My first two books, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar centred much of their activity around the quirky and mystical town of Glastonbury, UK. But in actual fact I live in Spain nowadays and much as I relished the opportunity to write about the place where I spent my childhood through to late twenties, it was high time for a change of scene – as well as to prove to myself that I am not a One Trick Pony. Or should that be Cat?

Is Costa del Churros based on a fictional or real part of Spain?
Yes, Costa del Churros refers to the Costa del Sol, here in the gigantic province of Andalusia, where I live. I have traveled all over the country, but nowhere seems to make, eat or embrace churros (fried donut strips, often eaten dipped in a thick, velvety chocolate sauce and/or sprinkled liberally with sugar) with the aplomb of the people in this region. The churros play a central role throughout the book, used as a code word that brings four – very different – women together for flamenco lessons with their highly exuberant teacher, Carmen.

Here’s the blurb:

The rain in Spain doesn’t mainly fall on the plain…

Brits abroad Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina need more than the sweetness of churros with chocolate dipping sauce to save them from their unsavoury states of affairs.

Cue Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera, the town’s flamboyant flamenco teacher! But can she really be the answer to their prayers?

One thing’s for sure: the Costa del Sol will never be the same again.

Are these four women based on people you know?

Not per se!

But Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina are definitely a beautiful fusion of some of the kaleidoscopically colourful characters I have met here over the past seven years. I wanted to paint a truthful picture of expat life in Spain (and quite possibly this will extend to other areas of the Mediterranean too). It’s all too easy to assume that a life in the sun is all soaking up its rays, sand, sea and sangria, but in actual fact, we take ourselves wherever we go! There’s absolutely no running away from your problems when you are home from home, be they romantic, financial, self-esteem based, or all of the above. Often, as soon as the novelty of the new lifestyle wears off, those issues are only exacerbated…

I thought it would make for an interesting (and comical) read to throw four women from four completely different backgrounds together, to add a little magic (a la Carmen) and to watch the fireworks – from a very safe distance.

Tell us a bit about Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera…

Well, she was a joy to write.

And I think all of us could do with a Carmen in our lives. Not only is she a talented flamenco teacher, but she has watched the way Franco’s repression of the female has gnawed away at her mother, and at the lives of countless women around her. So Carmen’s mission is one of empowerment. And she’s particularly passionate about encouraging women to have their cake and eat it. Truly, I’d love for nothing more than to click my fingers and magic her up every time I witness a female friend or family member declare in a café/restaurant/gelateria ‘Oh! I really shouldn’t indulge… I’ll start the diet again next week!’

For Carmen is the antidote to any and all of that prescribed female behaviour, an advocate for positive body image on beaches and sun-loungers the length of the coast. She’s a breath of fresh air injecting a much-needed confidence boost to all four of the main characters in the story.

facebook2_preview

Links to connect

If your tummy has started to rumble… here’s that all important Universal Amazon buying link: mybook.to/costadelchurros

You can find out about Isabella May’s other books, and follow her quirky cake and cocktail posts at these places:

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook – www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

Instagram – @isabella_may_author

About Isabella May

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.

Cake, cocktail, and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s ‘rules’.

Costa del Churros is her third novel.

 

 

 

Standard
author, Crooked Cat Books

Jennifer C. Wilson: Ghosts Real and Royal

Author Jennifer Wilson has a thing about ghosts, but not your garden-variety ghosts. Think dead British royalty and other historical bigwigs. It’s all part of her Kindred Spirits series, and the latest is Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey. Yes, I have my copy.

Here I’ll let her tell you about it.

In the Kindred Spirits series, we meet the ghosts of historical characters, in a range of contemporary settings. Have you ever wondered what Richard III and Anne Boleyn might have in common, what Mary, Queen of Scots is getting up to now, or JCW-Kindred-Westminsterwhat happens when the visitors leave some of the most popular attractions in the country? Well, here’s your chance!

In the third of the Kindred Spirits series, we visit Westminster Abbey, and I hope you enjoy meeting a new community of ghosts. Mind, with modern travel so easy these days, a few faces we’ve already encountered might just show up too…

About Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey

On hallowed ground…

With over three thousand burials and memorials, including seventeen monarchs, life for the ghostly community of Westminster Abbey was never going to be a quiet one. Add in some fiery Tudor tempers, and several centuries-old feuds, and things can only go one way: chaotic.

Against the backdrop of England’s most important church, though, it isn’t all tempers and tantrums. Poets’ Corner hosts poetry battles and writing workshops, and close friendships form across the ages.

With the arrival of Mary Queen of Scots, however, battle ensues. Will Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I ever find their common ground, and lasting peace?

The bestselling Kindred Spirits series continues within the ancient walls of Westminster Abbey.

Praise for the Kindred Spirits series

“A light hearted, humorous, and at times tender read which you’ll enjoy whether you like history or not.”

“This light-hearted, imaginative read is a new take on historical fiction but make no mistake, this is not only a fun read but an educational tool.”

“A brilliantly unique idea from a distinctive new voice in fiction.”

About Jennifer C. Wilson

Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots on childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the northeast reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online.

Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and available via Amazon, along with her self-published timeslip novella, The Last Plantagenet? She can be found online at her blog, and on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.

Standard