The Dangers of Research


As an author, I’m always doing research. But research for my work in progress, ULTIMATE GAME, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, has made me take a second look at using my own computer for internet searches. I mean, really, how many people research how to make cocaine, and human trafficking, and cargo planes used by drug lords? I had to find answers like, how far is it from Jamaica to Columbia? How much land in Columbia is used to grow cocoa? How much does a kilo of pure cocaine cost? What is the best route for flying cocaine from Columbia to America? Through Canada?

Makes me wonder if I”m on a watch list or something. I mean, I’m just a normal person, but this book has pulled me into the nastier side of humanity. When I was finished researching the world of drug lords and following the creation of cocaine from the fields of South America to the American teen, I had to start on human trafficking, prostitution, etc. What would a madame pay for a string of young, beautiful American girls? Who else might they be sold to? An Arabian sheik? A Japanese businessman? What would they pay to have an American girl as a sex slave?

Well, at least I’ve finished the worst of the research. I’m now working on the names of streets in France, and how the maid of a drug lord in Colombia might answer the phone. And a few Spanish words. Much milder stuff. Stuff that shouldn’t draw so much attention to me.

Maybe I should change my name. Or do my deep research at a large library. Or find someone I really don’t like, make nice, and then use their computer! Hey, anyone out there want to do research for my next Trey Fontaine mystery? It’s about child molesters.

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BOOK REVIEW: Daughters of Memory by Janis Arnold


Review by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE A Trey Fontaine Mystery

You wouldn’t know it by the reviews I’ve posted lately, but I a lot of older books. By that, I mean books published in the last twenty or thirty years. I’m glad I do, because I might have missed out on this wonderful book. This is the story of two sisters, told in alternating points of view. Not just in the literary sense, but also in the vastly different views and memories of the two girls who grew up in the same household. It was published in 1991.

As a reader, it took me a while to decide if one or the other was lying, or had a poor memory, or maybe was just crazy. Of if indeed two people could see the same events in such vastly different ways. I won’t give my opinion as to which of these answers I decided on because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But I will say that I really enjoyed the book and will be keeping it on my shelf for years so I can enjoy it again.

I would recommend this book for women who have sisters. I mean, it’s a great book for anyone, but this really opened my eyes to how complicated life between sisters can be. There is a bit a mystery. And a great story.

Coming Attractions


Just wanted to let all of you know that Monday, October 21st I’ll be interviewed by Babette James at http://babettejames.com and Tuesday, October 2nd, Abby L. Vandiver will be here with a guest post in connection with her blog tour.

And November will be a big month, filled with reviews and giveaways of great books.

BOOK REVIEW: DEVIL IN THE HOLE by Charles Salzberg


Review by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE A Trey Fontaine Mystery

This book reminds us that sometimes it’s good to have nosey neighbors, like James Kirkwood, one of the point of view characters in DEVIL IN THE HOLE. Most of this story is told in the points of view of ancillary characters, with a chapter here and there in the point of view of the killer.

When nosey neighbor James Kirkwood notices that the people who live in the house across seem to have disappeared, he calls the police. They find the entire family dead, except for the husband/father John Hartman. As police question other neighbors, co-workers, friends and teachers, a picture of the family comes together like a puzzle. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book in this kind of format, where almost everything you learn about the victims and killer come from what other characters know and think.

I enjoyed this unusual read. It made me think, but not so hard that it became work. It’s a great read for those who enjoy crime/drama, mystery, suspense and social commentaries about our world and the people in it.

Below you’ll find more details about this book, and the author, Charles Salzberg, and also a list of other sites where you can find more reviews, interviews, guest posts by the author, and giveaways. Make sure to leave a comment so your name is put in the hat for a free copy of DEVIL IN THE HOLE.

Devil in the Hole

by Charles Salzberg

on Tour September 1 – October 31, 2013

Book Details:

Genre: Literary psychological crime fiction
Published by: Five Star/Cengage
Publication Date: July 19, 2013
Number of Pages: 253
ISBN: 978-1-4328-2696-3
Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Devil in the Hole is based on a true crime that occurred over 40 years ago in New Jersey, wherein a man murdered his entire family, wife, three children, mother and the family dog, and disappeared. My novel uses that event and takes off from there, following the murderer on his escape route. Using the voices of people he meets along the way, and people who are affected by his crime, the reader starts to build a portrait of the man and why he did what he did, in addition to following those who are searching for him.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 5-17-2013
This title publishes JULY 2013

“In this smartly constructed crime novel, Salzberg uses multiple viewpoints to portray an unlikely killer who methodically slaughters his family . . . an intriguing collage of impressions and personal perspectives for the reader to ponder.”
****************************************
Devil in the Hole by Charles Salzberg. Five Star, $25.95 (254p) ISBN 978-1-4328-2696-3
In this smartly constructed crime novel, Salzberg (Swann Dives In) uses multiple viewpoints to portray an unlikely killer who methodically slaughters his family. When James Kirkland, a neighbor, notices something odd going on at the Sedgewick, Conn., home of the Hartmans, he calls the police. Inside the Georgian-style mansion, police find the neatly executed bodies of Adele Hartman, her three teenage children, and her mother-in-law. John Hartman, Adele’s husband, is missing. Salzberg adroitly creates the voices of Hartman as he tries to establish a new life for himself; Charles Floyd, a senior police investigator who becomes obsessed with finding Hartman; and Kirkland, whose discovery changes his life. A slew of other characters who knew Hartman or who encounter him as he moves around provide snippets of information. The result is not a finished portrait but an intriguing collage of impressions and personal perspectives for the reader to ponder. Agent, Alex Glass, Trident Media Group. (July)
Reviewed on 05/17/2013 | Details & Permalink (July)

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One
James KirklandI knew something was out of whack, only I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Just something, you know. And it wasn’t only that I hadn’t seen any of them for some time. I mean, they’d been living there for what, three, three and a half years, and I don’t think I ever had more than a two- or three-minute conversation with any of them. And God knows, it wasn’t as if I didn’t try.
All things considered, they were pretty good neighbors. Mostly, I guess, because they kept to themselves. Which is certainly better than having neighbors who are always minding your business, or who don’t mow their lawn, or who drop in uninvited, or who throw wild parties and play loud music all night long. They weren’t like that. Just the opposite, in fact. Why, with that great big front lawn and two teenage boys you’d think they’d be out there tossing a football or a Frisbee around, or something. But no. It was so quiet sometimes it was as if no one lived there at all. Though I did hear rumors that the boys had a reputation of being hell-raisers. Maybe that’s why they kept such a tight lid on them when they were home. Because I can honestly say there wasn’t any hell-raising going on in that house that I could see. As a matter of fact, the only way you’d know the house was occupied was when you’d see the kids going to school, or him going off to work, or her and the mother going out to shop. Or at night, when the lights were on.
Which brings me back to the house itself. And those lights. It was the middle of November, a week or so before Thanksgiving, when I first noticed it. I was coming home from work and when I glanced over there I noticed the place was lit up like a Christmas tree. It’s a Georgian-style mansion, one of the nicest in the neighborhood, by the way, with something like twenty rooms, and I think the lights were on in every single one of them. But the downstairs shades were drawn tight, so all you could see was the faint outline of light around the edges of the windows, which gave it this really eerie look. Maybe they’ve got people over, was my first thought. But that would have been so out of character because in all the time they’d lived there I’d never seen anyone go in or out other than them. And anyway, it was absolutely quiet and there were no cars in the driveway or parked out on the street.
Just before I turned in, I looked out the window and noticed the house was still lit up, which was odd, since it was nearly midnight and, as a rule, they seemed to turn in kind of early over there.
The next night when I came home from work and I looked across the street the lights were still on. And that night, before I went to bed, after midnight, I looked out and the lights were still blazing.
After that, I made a kind of game of it. Under the pretense of getting some fresh air, I walked close to the house, as close as I could get without looking conspicuous, and listened to see if there were any sounds coming from inside. A couple of times, when I thought I heard something, I stopped to listen more carefully. But I never picked up anything that might indicate that someone was inside. And each night, when I came home from work, I made it a point to check out the house and make a note of how many lights were still burning and in which windows. I even began to search for silhouettes, shadows, anything I might interpret as a sign of life. And it wasn’t long before I whipped out the old binoculars to take a look, thinking maybe I could see something, anything, that would give me a hint as to what was going on. But when my wife accused me of being a peeping Tom, I put them away, at least while she was around.
There weren’t always the same number of rooms lit, but I noticed there were always fewer, never more. It was as if someone was going around that house each day turning off one light in one room, but in no discernible pattern. I began to think of that damn house during the day, while I was at work, or on the train coming home. It became a real thing with me. I even kept a notebook with a sketch of the house and notations next to each window that had a light on.
At night, I played a game. I began to think of that house as my own personal shooting gallery and, sitting on the window sill in my pajamas, while my wife was either in the bathroom or asleep, I’d choose one of the rooms and aim my imaginary rifle and pop! pop!, I’d shoot out one of the light bulbs. And, if the next night that particular room was dark, I’d get a tremendous rush of self-satisfaction that carried me through the whole next day. It was kind of like one of those video games my kids play. Pretty sick, huh?
I mentioned it to my wife—not my silly game, but the fact that those lights were going out one by one. She thought I was nuts. “Can’t you find anything better to do with your time?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “I’m entertaining myself. Leave me alone.” Then I asked whether she’d seen the Hartmans lately, because I was beginning to have this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if something was seriously wrong. That it wasn’t a game anymore.
“No,” she said. “I haven’t. But that’s not unusual. Besides, it’s not as if I’m looking for them. If you ask me, they’re creepy. The whole bunch of them.”
“I know. But maybe . . . maybe there’s something wrong.”
“Go to bed,” she said. So I did, lulling myself to sleep with my imaginary rifle cradled in my arms, as if it would actually afford me some protection just in case something was wrong.
A few nights later, I set the alarm for three-thirty and slipped the clock under my pillow. When the vibration woke me, I got up quietly, so as not to wake my wife, looked out the window and sure enough the same number of lights was burning in the house as the night before. I was puzzled and frustrated because I was dying to know what was going on. I even thought of making up some kind of lame excuse to ring the Hartmans’ bell. But I didn’t have the nerve.
Two weeks later, only three rooms in the house were still lit. Down from eight the week before, fourteen the week before that, the week I began to keep count. I asked my son, David, whether he’d seen the Hartman kid in school, the one in his class.
“We’re not exactly best buds, Dad,” he said. “He keeps to himself. He’s weird. Maybe he’s queer or something.”
“I just asked if you’d seen any of them lately.”
“Not that I can remember. But I don’t go out of my way looking for any of them. They’re a bunch of weirdoes.”
I went back up to my room and stared out the window for maybe fifteen minutes, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I wondered if I should do something.
“Come to bed,” my wife said.
“I’m worried,” I said without taking my eyes off the Hartman house. “There’s definitely something wrong over there.”
“You’re being ridiculous,” she said. “Besides, it’s none of our business.”
“No, I can feel it. Something’s . . .”
She sighed, got out of bed and handed me the phone. “Well, rather than having to spend the rest of my life with a man who insists on staring out the window at the neighbors’ house all night like an idiot, I’d just as soon you called the police and let them put your mind at ease. At least maybe they can get them to turn out all the lights. Maybe then we can get some sleep over here.”
So, that’s how I called the cops.

Author Bio:

Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York magazine, Elle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times, GQ and other periodicals. He is the author of over 20 non-fiction books and several novels, including Swann’s Last Song, which was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, and the sequel, Swann Dives In. He also has taught been a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, the Writer’s Voice, and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member.

Catch Up With the Author:

Tour Participants

1.    09/02 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Ginas Library
2.    09/03 ~ Showcase & Interview @ CMash Reads
3.    09/04 ~ Review @ Views from the Countryside
4.    09/05 ~ Guest Post @ Lauries Thoughts and Reviews
5.    09/06 ~ Review @ Mommabears Book Blog
6.    09/09 ~ Interview & Review @ The Wormhole
7.    09/10 ~ Review @ Savingfor6
8.    09/11 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Gabina49s Blog
9.    09/12 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Deco My Heart
10.  09/13 ~ Showcase @ The Stuff of Success
11.  09/16 ~ Guest Post @ Omnimystery, A Family of Mystery Websites
12.  09/17 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Words by Webb
13.  09/18 ~ Showcase @ Read 2 Review
14.  09/19 ~ Showcase @ J. C. Martin, Fighter Writer
15.  09/20 ~ Guest Post & Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
16.  09/23 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Keenly Kristin
17.  09/27 ~ Review & Giveaway @ bless their hearts mom
18.  10/03 ~ Interview, Review & Giveaway @ The Nook Users Book Club
19.  10/07 ~ Review & Giveaway @ The Top Shelf
20.  10/08 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Bookalicious Traveladdict
21.  10/14 ~ Review @ Celtic Ladys Reviews
22.  10/15 ~ Review @ My Cozie Corner
23.  10/16 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Ryder Islingtons Blog
24.  10/17 ~ Guest Post @ Writers and Authors
25.  10/21 ~ Showcase @ Hotchpotch
26.  10/22 ~ Showcase, Review & Giveaway @ Deal Sharing Aunt
27.  10/29 ~ Showcase @ Rose & Beps Blog
28.  10/30 ~ Review & Giveaway @ THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK
29.  10/31 ~ Review & Giveaway @ An Adventure in Reading
30.  10/31 ~ Review @ An Adventure in Reading

COVER REVEAL AND MORE! GOOD FAITH by Liz Crowe


I’m happy to be a part of this cover reveal blog hop. Liz Crowe’s final stand alone book of the Stewart Realty Series,  GOOD FAITH comes out November 14th. But you are getting an opportunity to see the cover and read an excerpt right now. Below you’ll find all kinds of surprises and opportunities to win prizes!

Good_Faith_02_WEB-1[1]

Feel free to retweet, repost on your blog and facebook page, forward to friends and groups and visit all the other blogs in this blog hop. Here’s a list of participants:

Powered by Linky Tools Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

LET’S MEET THE AUTHOR!

 

About Liz Crowe

Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town.  She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse. While working as a successful Realtor, Liz made the leap into   writing novels about the same time she agreed to take on marketing and sales for the Wolverine State Brewing Company.

Most days find her sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, unless she’s writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).  More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and many times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate, and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

If you are in the Ann Arbor area, be sure and stop into the Wolverine State Brewing Co. Tap Room—but don’t ask her for anything “like” a Bud Light, or risk serious injury.

 www.lizcrowe.com

www.brewingpasssion.com

www.a2beerwench.com

www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor

www.twitter.com/beerwencha2

www.facebook.com/groups/lizcrowefans

LET’S SEE WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT!

Good Faith

by

Liz Crowe

 

© 2013 Tri Destiny Publishing – All rights reserved.  Limited duplication allowed for pre-approved promotional purposes only.  This content may not be shared or distributed in any capacity at any time outside the scope of the original intent without express written consent of Tri Destiny Publishing or their representative.

Back cover blurb:

Strong personalities—volatile marriages—stressful careers—conflicting goals—difficult children.

Contemporary challenges facing close-knit families form the crucible that forges a new generation.

Brandis, Gabriel, Blair and Lillian emerge from the entanglement of their parents’ longstanding emotional connections, but one’s star will burn brighter – and hotter – than the others.

With a personality that consumes everyone and everything in its path, Brandis Gordon struggles to maintain control as he ricochets between wild success and miserable failure. His life proves how even the strongest relationships can be strangled by the ties that bind.

Brandis and Gabe Frietag are as close as any brothers, bound by both loyalty and fierce rivalry. The strength of their ultimate alliance is tested time and again by Brandis’ choices.

 Companions from birth, Blair Frietag and Lillian Robinson share loner tendencies, but come to rely on each other through adolescence. As they mature, both are forced to confront their feelings for the men they knew as boys.

Somewhere between the tangle of good memories and bad, independence and addiction, optimism and despair, the intertwined destinies of the new generation finally collide, leaving some stronger, others broken, but none unscathed.

As a chronicle of three families navigating the minefields of teen years into the turbulence of young adulthood, Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with joys and temptations unflinchingly reflected. Its fresh, real-life voice portrays the sheer volatility of human nature, complete with the hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks of marriage, parenthood and “coming of age.”

 

Synopsis:

 

Three families—Gordon, Frietag, and Robinson—share complex connections previously established in the best-selling Stewart Realty series. This stand-alone, final novel explores the characters coping with mature marriages and challenging, adolescent children. Through shared experiences, their inherent strengths and fragilities as individuals and as couples are revealed forming the basis of relationships for the next generation.

Brandis Robert Gordon emerges as the golden boy from the crowd of children that have grown up together, the apple of his family’s eye, the kid the other kids follow — even when he heads over a cliff.  He is being raised by fiercely focused parents who are determined to succeed at everything they do, even if it means unconscious neglect of their children’s emotional needs. Brandis’ star shines bright, blinding family and friends to his inner weaknesses until it’s too late.

Good Faith is, at its core, the story of this young man’s all-consuming struggles with success and failure. It is also a saga of his personal odyssey—his ultimate quest for normalcy, when everything around him seems destined to thwart that goal.

The intertwining relationships amongst Brandis, his best friend Gabe Frietag, Gabe’s younger sister, Blair, and her friend, Lillian Robinson, bracketed by the equally compelling lives of their parents and siblings, form the framework of this complex novel.

By the time Brandis fully grasps what Blair, the girl he’s known his whole life, means to him, he has embarked on a life journey plagued by multiple addictions. Recruited to play Division I football as a freshman starting quarterback, after years of dedicated effort towards that very goal, he attempts to focus and be the man his parents and girlfriend expect him to be. But his personal demons already have a firm grip on him, and his downward spiral threatens to drag everyone he loves into the vortex with him.

Blair Frietag has never considered herself strong or independent—she’s just “Gabe’s nerdy sister” and “Lillian Grace’s best friend.” But she is harboring a life-long obsession with Brandis Gordon. When he finally comes to her, she welcomes everything about him—the good and the bad—nearly destroying herself in the process. Because Brandis’ love is conditional and anchored in dependence, she must accept or reject her role as enabler. By the time she acknowledges the fact that her desire to help him overpowers her inability to do so, it’s nearly too late.

After being told that the man he considers his father is actually not, Gabriel Frietag’s final years of high school devolve into angry confusion. The fact that he has started to question his sexuality only compounds his misery and frustration. The love/hate relationship with Brandis, which began while the boys were small, is sorely tested by Brandis’ increasingly bad choices and is finally severed, thanks to what Gabe considers Brandis’ unhealthy dependence on Blair. In an uncharacteristic move, Gabe rejects everything he knows and loves, and accepts a scholarship to

play soccer for a college on the West Coast, hoping he can break from the painful confines of his childhood home. But his connection to Lillian Grace Robinson, another instrument in their life-long quartet of friendship, remains seemingly unbreakable.

Lillian is Blair’s companion from birth. A shy girl at first, “Lilly-G” seems destined to live forever in Blair’s shadow. But as she observes her friend’s descent into emotional turmoil with Brandis, Lillian comes to terms with her powerful feelings for Gabe. This realization of her own inner strength molds her into the touchstone everyone reaches for: their anchor in the storm, the friend they are all lucky to have, while remaining the one who will forever hold Gabe’s heart in her hands — no matter how far he goes seeking escape.

The Gordon, Frietag and Robinson ties are born of circumstance, necessity and emotion. Yet the choices of the second generation seem destined to destroy all they have built together. When the shocking loss of one of their strongest members comes at the precise moment when healing seems within reach, it threatens their tenuously rebuilt bonds. The tragedy forces everyone to open their eyes to the fickleness of fate and to rely on each other once more.

Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with all its temptations, joys, and sorrows. The plot’s twists and turns are designed to reflect the volatility of human nature, with all its hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks.

 More than just another coming-of-age tale, this compelling new novel from best-selling author Liz Crowe is told with sympathy, humor and a real-life voice that will not easily be forgotten.

READ AN EXCERPT FROM GOOD FAITH!

 

Good Faith (Advanced Excerpt)

by

Liz Crowe

 

© 2013 Tri Destiny Publishing – All rights reserved.  Limited duplication allowed for pre-approved promotional purposes only.  This content may not be shared or distributed in any capacity at any time outside the scope of the original intent without express written consent of Tri Destiny Publishing or their representative.

That morning his father had roused him from a sound sleep. He’d blinked, confused, by the angle of the sunlight. He rarely slept much past eight since he usually had some sort of training or the other.

“Let’s go son. Time for lunch.”

Brandis had dragged himself up, his limbs feeling like they weighed a thousand pounds each. His brain buzzed with a strange sort of energy, his typical state, and not at all welcome considering it normally didn’t hit him until later in the day. The conversation his father began as soon as they were seated at their usual diner did not help.

“So, listen, Brandis. These girls…Katie’s friends from college….”

Brandis sipped his ice water, waiting for his father to finish the thought. His heart pounded, and his face flushed hot with embarrassment.

Jack sighed, as if exasperated that Brandis didn’t pick up the thread on his own, leaving him to carry on with the awkwardness about to ensue. Then he leveled his gaze, his face open, not angry or judgmental. “I think that you may be in for some…I mean, they’re…shit.”

“If you are gonna tell me where babies come from again,” Brandis said, after deciding to ease his father’s obvious distress. He cocked an eyebrow and half a smile. Jack seemed to relax somewhat as Brandis continued. “Don’t bother. I already know.”

He flashed his brightest smile up at the middle-aged woman who stood at their table, coffee pot in hand. She blinked rapidly at him, and at that precise moment, Brandis got his first flash of…something…about his power. Up until now he’d merely been “Brandis the trouble maker, the causer of strife.” Suddenly, he felt strong, amazingly so, stronger than even the man sitting across from him, a taller, older version of himself. His body tingled all over, as he tested the smile out again on the woman, making her slop some coffee out onto the table. His father frowned, but then chuckled as the woman walked away after they gave their orders.

“Son,” he said, leaning back and cradling the coffee mug to his chest. “Your adventure has only just begun.”

“Huh?” Brandis picked up his cup but didn’t drink any. He hated coffee, but had ordered it in a burst of need to be more like Jack. As he sipped the bitter stuff, he was transported back years before when he and his dad would spend every single Saturday morning together, eating breakfast at this very diner. He had adored the man, he remembered distinctly. His chest hurt at the simplicity of their relationship then. He looked away from Jack’s deep blue, knowing gaze.

The subject changed of its own accord, and Brandis let it. Although part of him wanted to ask for advice, a much bigger part would not allow the words past his lips.

They ate, discussing the upcoming football season and Brandis’ part in it. The recruiting company Jack had contracted last year to video his every move would start up with the first game. He’d made varsity again, technically as backup quarterback to a senior boy. Brandis didn’t see this as a setback and had every intention of starting under center by the second or third game.

Finally, when they pushed their empty plates back and sat looking at each other, Brandis felt more comfortable in his father’s presence than he had been in a long time. Jack said, “I am pretty sure at least one of those girls sleeping in the basement is determined to change the status of your virginity for you probably as soon as tonight.”

Brandis choked on the last sip of lukewarm coffee. His face burned, and his body tingled again. “I’m…it’s…uh….” He clutched the napkin in his lap unable to meet his father’s eyes.

“No need to say anything. Let’s just say your mother is an astute reader of female intent. While I was busy admiring your sister’s friend’s ass, she apparently read the girl’s mind or something.” Brandis’ face flushed even hotter.

He resisted the urge to protest, to proclaim his innocence of such things. Because he wanted it back—those mornings between them, father and son, man and boy, not this awkward, man and almost-man bullshit. Because while the thought of one of his sister’s college friends popping his cherry remained a pleasant fantasy, it also made him feel older than he wanted to be right then.

“So, I bought a box of condoms this morning,” Jack went on. “Put some downstairs in the side table drawer and the rest in your room. Use them please.” He sipped the last of his coffee, looked as if he were about to get up, then leaned forward, touching Brandis’ wrist. “Have fun. Don’t be an asshole to women. Let every experience teach you…something. Because you are nothing as a man if you don’t learn from every woman you…love.” Jack looked out the window onto the nearly empty parking lot. Then he turned back, tightened his grip on his son’s arm. “God, you are so…young.” His face fell a moment, then he perked up again, his eyes twinkling. “Okay, so, your mother told me to tell you not to let them corrupt you. But all I’m gonna say is this: always wear protection, no matter what, no matter how much you don’t want to. And don’t let your mom catch you in the act. I’ll handle her otherwise.”

Then he let go, stood and smiled, draping a friendly arm around Brandis’ shoulders as they exited the restaurant.

“You really didn’t tell me you were admiring Katie’s friend’s ass, did you, Dad?”

“No, son. I most certainly did not. You obviously misheard me.” Jack winked as he stood by the passenger’s side of his classic Corvette convertible and tossed the keys to Brandis. “Remember what I told you. Don’t ride my clutch.”

ENTER TO WIN PRIZES!

Click on this link to enter to win:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NWM1MDQ3N2VhZjc3OTRlZTZhODY2MGNkOWY1MTYxOjQ=/

YOU COULD WIN:

A Kindle loaded with Liz Crowe books (except Good Faith)
A set of signed Stewart Realty series (except Good Faith)
A set of the original trilogy (in eBook or signed paperback)
A Special Prize from Liz!

BOOK REVIEW: DEAD EVEN By Brad Meltzer


Review by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE GAME A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I thought, after reading the cover blurb, that I would be reading a courtroom drama. You know, like the typical John Grisham. NOT!

Imagine, if you will, a wonderfully happily married couple: he is a defense attorney in a large firm; she is a brand spanking new assistant district attorney. Now let’s make them both a little crazy. He needs to bring in new clients and win more cases to make partner, maybe even to keep his job. She needs to prove herself in a politically charged environment where hundreds of government employees are being fired.

Enter: a simple burglary case, which turns out not to be so simple. The husband is requested as a defense attorney, and the wife steals the case from another ADA, which still could be not so bad on a marriage, except for the bad guys. One tells the husband if he loses the case, his wife dies. The other tells the wife if she loses the case, her husband dies.

This a a great suspense/action book–I almost typed movie, it is so visual–and I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys a good mystery, love story, or drama. It has elements of all three.

BOOK REVIEW: Daughter of Nothing (The Scion Chronicles) by Eric Kent Edstrom


Review by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I really enjoyed this story. The characters are well rounded, the dialogue believable, and the story strong.

It revolves around a group of children and young adults who attend a special school. Set in the future, the school is located on an island, where the students have seen no one except those involved in their care and education for years. It’s a great action/adventure.  There’s a good bit of mystery involved, but really, the story is more like an superhero movie, with action and surprises, and danger.

Dr. Carlhagen, the 93 year old headmaster, is not my favorite character–he has issues, including his search for the fountain of youth. Jacey is a strong heroine, gutsy and smart, and with deep feelings that make her sympathetic and admirable. This is future science at its best.

I’d recommend this book for any teen, new adult, or even those of us a little older.

I received a free ecopy of this book from Story Cartel BUT I really enjoyed and will probably buy a copy as a gift for my teen niece.