Guest Blogger ~Mike Nemeth

The Bonds of Marriage

I’ve become fascinated by how far the bonds of marriage can be stretched before they break, like English toffee pulled apart by scrapping children. The inspiration to write a novel in which the main characters struggled to maintain their relationship under extraordinary pressures—Parker’s Choice—came from the senselessly shattered marriage of my best friends. Served with a side order of genealogy and a dash of corporate fraud, the fate of Parker’s marriage to Paula is baked into in a delicious murder mystery. A murder mystery, I found, is the perfect MacGuffin for a story about fragile relationships.

Parker is a prison-smart, professional data scientist who grew up immersed in his mother’s secret surrounding his birth father. Work and marriage are handholds for him as he seeks a stable life, but travail is the crucible in which his true identity is forged.

Three years ago, Parker took the blame for Paula’s assault with a deadly weapon and went to prison in her stead. Upon his parole, he finds Paula unwelcoming, ungrateful, unrepentant, and ensnared in an alcoholic spiral. He takes a high-paying job and moves Paula to suburban Atlanta, away from her support structure, only to find that his boss has hired Parker precisely because an ex-con can be coerced into committing corporate fraud. Parker’s comely Nigerian-American colleague, Sabrina, coaxes Parker to expose the fraud, but that would lead to his dismissal, entanglements with the authorities, and more discord at home. When the body of his worst enemy is pulled from the Chattahoochee River, Parker is certain that Paula committed the murder, but the cops make Parker their prime suspect. Parker shuttles Paula to an alcohol rehab facility in Florida to protect her from the cops, then becomes irresistibly infatuated with Sabina as they contrive to derail the fraud. On the run from cops and crooks, Parker and Sabrina travel to Columbia, SC, St. Petersburg, FL, and the New Orleans French Quarter in search of clues. In a creepy, decrepit cemetery, they find the link to Parker’s long, lost birth father and that breaks both cases wide open. Then Parker has a choice to make—protect his family or unmask the criminals.

From a writing perspective, I followed a simple, time-tested rule—I continuously asked myself: How can I make things worse for Parker? That was fun, but as a result, I exerted increasing pressure upon their marriage. No spoilers here, but Parker and Sabrina become terrific amateur sleuths.

Parker’s Choice has received two Firebird Awards, one for romantic mystery/suspense, and another for diverse and multicultural mystery/suspense. It can be found wherever books are sold.

Parker’s Choice is a tasty murder mystery served with a dollop of romance and a dash of corporate fraud.

Parker has been to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and he’s not about to let that happen again. He’s thrilled to land a good job after being paroled, until his boss threatens to fire him if he doesn’t facilitate a fraudulent scheme that will cost thousands of Americans their jobs. To complicate matters, a woman’s body is pulled from the Chattahoochee River and Parker fears his estranged wife, Paula, has committed the murder, but the cops make Parker their prime suspect. His clever and alluring Nigerian-American colleague, Sabrina, shames Parker into helping her expose the fraud and they find themselves romantically attracted to one another as they search for the “smoking gun” that will thwart the fraud and expose the murderer—the identity of Parker’s elusive birth father. On the run from cops and crooks, the last piece of the puzzle falls into place when Parker is ambushed in a frightening New Orleans cemetery. Then Parker has choices to make.

“A razor-sharp mystery with twists aplenty.” Kirkus Indie Reviews

Buy links: amzn.to/3elgUag (bit.ly compressed link for ebook)

ow.ly/cng050E2zNE

amzn.to/3FixaCT (paperback)

Mike Nemeth, a Vietnam veteran and former high-tech executive, writes mystery novels in which his characters face moral dilemmas. He is the author of three previous novels including The Undiscovered Country, which won the Augusta Literary Festival’s Yerby Award and the Beverly Hills Book Award for Southern Fiction. The book inspired songwriter Mark Currey to compose the song Who I Am. His latest work, Parker’s Choice, won a Firebird Award for thrillers and American Fiction Awards for Romantic Mystery and Diverse and Multicultural Mystery. His pieces have been published by The New York Times, Georgia Magazine, Augusta Magazine, Southern Writers’ Magazine, Deep South Magazine, and the Writers’ Voices anthology. Creative Loafing named him Atlanta’s Best Local Author for 2018. Mike lives in suburban Atlanta with his wife, Angie, and their rescue dog, Scout.

Social:

Twitter:@nemosnovels

Instagram: @nemosnovels

Facebook: FB.com/mikenemethauthor

Guest Blogger ~ Melissa Yi

War and Drink by Melissa Yi

“I could make Hope a custom gin.” —Nathalie Gamache, artisan distiller and board-certified gynecologist

Nathalie’s offer to create a gin for my main character, Dr. Hope Sze, delighted me. I’m an emergency doctor myself, and when we met online through a physician group, I felt that Nathalie understands Hope’s courage and fears as a resident doctor who solves crimes.

In honour of a custom gin, though, I’d have to focus on alcohol in my next medical thriller. And I hardly drink!

However, I was soon fascinated by the history of booze and crime. I began reading Frenchie, the story of a Quebec man who joined Al Capone’s gang in Chicago for 8 years.

I discovered that Montreal, the main site of my Hope Sze series, was a vacation magnet during Prohibition, as Americans flowed north for “giggle water” (liquor), jazz, and “pro skirts” (prostitutes in 1920’s slang). Unfortunately, buildings from the era were destroyed to make way for new construction.

Luckily, la Maison de Bootlegger is still standing in Charlevoix, Quebec. This building was a speakeasy, a place where they illegally sold alcohol, so you had to “speak easy,” or softly, about its location. Now it’s a restaurant with a nightly rock and roll show. Make your dinner reservations early so you can get the tour. I enjoyed tiptoeing into hidden rooms, observing hidden booze shelves, and creeping through a secret passageway in Elvis Presley’s footsteps.

Seriously, Elvis was here. He even left his signature!

Much further east, at the Age of Sail Museum in Nova Scotia, I noted the Family Temperance Pledge in their Bible and realized that of course the Maritime provinces, right on the sea, would sail liquor to the U.S. I read later that the income was a boon to Nova Scotia fishermen, suffering from a regional recession in the 1920’s. But as the Temperance movement pointed out, that money came at a social cost: alcoholics beat their families and spent their money on drink instead of food.

So there was no shortage of writing inspiration for me, both in terms of liquor and of crime. But how could I weave it all together in my novel, White Lightning? Especially when I took a side journey researching 19th century England, how could I draw it all together into a thriller featuring my thoroughly 21st century heroine, Hope Sze?

The solution: more research.

Hope visits the Rumrunner’s Rest, a Prohibition inn inspired by la Maison de Bootlegger, but in Windsor, where 75 percent of alcohol flowed across the Detroit River onto U.S. soil. To maximize the chaos, Hope also has to navigate a con filled with people dressed up like fictional villains from the The Wicked Witch of the West to Children of the Corn.

I literally played with the historical elements: I wrote the 19th Century portion first as a play called “The Climbing Boy” in a playwriting class at George Brown College, which was turned into a Lego stop action movie at the digital Winnipeg Fringe. I folded “The Climbing Boy” into White Lightning thanks to some inspiration from author Simone St. James.

In other words, in White Lightning, I tried to capture the glamour as well as the murder and treachery of Prohibition.

As William Faulkner pointed out, “War and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy.”

So let’s raise a glass and grab a book as we turn the page on a new year!

White Lightning

Hope Sze Medical Mystery Book 9

Prohibition and Predators. 

Hope Sze escapes for a romantic weekend away at the Rumrunner’s Rest, a Roaring Twenties inn once celebrated both for Prohibition’s best alcohol and the smoothest jazz bands north of the Detroit River.

Then a convention of fictional villains overrun the tavern, her friend glimpses a ghost, and Hope uncovers a grisly surprise in the fireplace that may be related to Al Capone.

Tonight, unless Hope unravels a century’s worth of clues, death will collect several more lives. Including the one she holds most dear.

Buy links: https://windtreepress.com/portfolio/white-lightning/

Direct links: https://books2read.com/whitelightningyi

amazon.com short https://amzn.to/3n5kuIl

Melissa Yi, also known as Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes, studied emergency medicine at McGill University in Montreal. She was so shocked by the patients crammed into the waiting area, and the examining rooms without running water, that she began to contemplate murder. And so she created Dr. Hope Sze, the resident who could save lives and fight crime.  Her most recent crime novel, White Lightning, is already up for many awards. She appeared on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning and recently had so many print interviews that an addiction services counsellor said, “I see you in the newspaper more often than I see you in the emergency room.”

Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes applied to medical school mostly because she wanted to save lives, but also because she’s nosy. Medicine is a fascinating and frustrating window into other people’s lives. She shares her sometimes painful, occasionally hilarious stories in The Medical Post, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and in her essay collections The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World, FIfty Shades of Grey’s Anatomy, and Broken Bones.

Website: http://www.melissayuaninnes.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dr_sassy

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/MelissaYiYuanInnes/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melissa-yi

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/4600856.Melissa_Yuan_Innes

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MelissaYuanInnes

Instagram: https://instagram.com/melissa.yuaninnes

Author central: amazon.com/author/myi

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/melissayi_

TikTok: @myi_books

Guest Blogger~ Debbie Burke

Hi, Ladies of Mystery, I’m crime novelist Debbie Burke. Thank you to Paty Jager for her gracious invitation to chat with you today. Here’s a little about my main character.

Montana widow Tawny Lindholm is swept up into a terrorist plot when she trusts the wrong man.

After Tawny receives a new smartphone as a gift, she’s baffled. This instrument of the devil behaves as if possessed and she dubs it Lucifer. Enter a dashing widower who offers to help her untangle its mysteries. Lonely and vulnerable after her husband’s death, Tawny falls prey to his charm. She doesn’t realize he is a terrorist who sent her the device as part of his plot to destroy the electrical grid. His target: Hungry Horse Dam where Tawny is a longtime seasonal employee. He sets her up as the scapegoat to take the fall for his crime.

Soon she’s being followed. When she can’t explain large cash deposits, the bank and suspicious feds freeze her money. She’s broke, her family is threatened, and she’s on the run.

Can she turn the devil back on himself to save her own life and prevent a blackout affecting millions?

Are there autobiographical elements?

Tawny’s struggles mirror my own experiences with a frustrating new smartphone.

Fortunately, though, I haven’t met any charming terrorists!

When I was writing the book, news stories about the vulnerability of the power grid kept surfacing. Documentaries exposed how easily a smartphone could trigger a cyberattack that would disrupt electricity to vast swaths of the U.S.

I was onto something timely…and scary.

Tawny may seem like an unlikely thriller hero—an everywoman like your neighbor or coworker—but, with technology intruding into all aspects of today’s life, this scenario could happen to anyone…even you.

Instrument of the Devil is the first book in the Tawny Lindholm Thrillers with Passion series. Toward the end of the book, a larger-than-life lawyer named Tillman Rosenbaum comes on scene to defend her. He’s brilliant, arrogant, and sexy. Their gasoline-and-match chemistry leads into the second book, Stalking Midas, where Tawny goes to work for Tillman as an investigator.

Each book is written as a standalone and can be read in any order but there is an ongoing arc of their stormy relationship.  

The series is meant to be entertaining, with fast-moving action, surprise-twist plots, and quirky characters. But it also examines timely issues like terrorism, racism, elder fraud, teen suicide, and a justice system that rarely gives justice. 

Please stop by my website: debbieburkewriter.com

Twitter: @burke_writer

Try Instrument of the Devil for FREE then come back for the other Tawny Lindholm Thrillers with Passion

Click on covers below for Amazon links.

Links to other online booksellers:

Instrument of the Devil

Stalking Midas

Eyes in the Sky

Dead Man’s Bluff

Crowded Hearts – A Novella

Flight to Forever

  

  

Guest Blogger – Dwayne Clayden

Why I write Thrillers

For most of my 42 years as a paramedic and police officer, each day had the potential to ramp up my fight-or-flight response. I leaned toward the fight response. But not every day raised my adrenaline to toxic levels. There was a night shift in February, the temperature was minus thirty Celsius, and the only other vehicles on the streets were other police cruisers, tow trucks, and cabs. None of us had anything to do. We frequently checked in with dispatch, to make sure our radio was still working, but mostly to hear another voice.

There were many times where I felt my arteries pulsing in my temples. A foot pursuit, a car chase, walking into a bar fight, or checking an abandoned building at two A.M. There were the frequent times I got myself in nasty situations and needed backup from my team. There was the emotional response to traffic fatalities, suicides, abuse, and murder. Some will stick with me forever.

Now that I am writing crime thrillers full time, my goal is to write realistic police and paramedic scenes that evoke a response in the reader. I want to put the reader in the cruiser with the banter between partners, then the sudden shift to a crisis. They are in the foot pursuit with the officer. Their hearts beat faster, and their breath comes in gasps. That, maybe, there is a tear as they read about a serious injury or death.

In my third novel, Wolfman is Back, I was struggling with the last scenes. They wouldn’t come to me. We were on a flight back from Las Vegas when it hit me. I knew the ending. I grabbed a pen and my notebook and started writing. I wrote from takeoff to landing three hours later. But there was a point I was so emotionally involved in the story, that the tears flowed. I sniffled and watched the tears drop on my notebook.  I continued writing. At home, I typed those scenes into the manuscript. I cried again. Readers contacted me to tell me they had cried during those scenes. They had felt the emotion I felt, and I conveyed that onto the pages of the novel.

I love creating characters readers cheer for, and ones, well, that they don’t cheer for! Some of my characters are composites of partners—quirks and all.

I have received emails from readers complaining that they stayed up half the night because they couldn’t put the novel down. I love those comments—and I can totally relate!

I love reading thrillers. When a thriller has me up at midnight, and I say one more chapter, then damnit, I need to read the next chapter—those are the stories I want to write.

My goal is to write the novels I love to read.

I guess I’m continuing my career, and the emotional rollercoaster I rode for so many years, by putting my experiences and emotions on the page. And I love every minute!

Crisis Point book one in the Brad Coulter Novels

When his partner is killed during an armed robbery, Brad Coulter is left grappling with the loss along with a sudden burst of criminal activity in his quiet city. His new partner is a bitter veteran who challenges Coulter as he lands a spot on the newly developed Tactical Support Unit.

Between a violent shootout with a lone gunman high on glue, and a confrontation with a deadbeat father and abusive husband, Coulter and the TSU become experienced in managing extreme cases. But nothing can prepare them for the real crisis point that will forever change the face of a city and the cops that patrol its streets.

Crisis Point is a bestselling action-packed thriller set in Calgary, Alberta, that will have you racing to the showdown.


Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Point-Brad-Coulter-Novel-ebook/dp/B07BGBMQGX

Dwayne Clayden combines his knowledge and experience as a police officer and paramedic to write realistic crime thrillers.

Crisis Point, Dwayne’s first novel, was a finalist for the 2015 Crime Writers of Canada, Arthur Ellis Awards.

OutlawMC and Wolfman is Back are the second and third novels in the Brad Coulter Thriller Series.

The Brad Coulter Series will continue in 2020 with 13 Days of Terror.

In August 2020 Dwayne will release the first novel in a new crimer thriller series, Speargrass-Opioid.

In his 42 year career, Dwayne served as a police officer, paramedic, tactical paramedic, firefighter, emergency medical services (EMS) chief, educator, and academic chair.

Dwayne is a popular speaker at conferences and to writing groups presenting on realistic police, medical, and paramedic procedures.

The co-author of four paramedic textbooks, he has spoken internationally at EMS conferences for the past three decades.

Email:                            DwayneClayden@gmail.com

Website:                        http://www.dwayneclayden.com

Connect with me:         LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

Guest: Lori Robinett

Why do I write thrillers?

I write thrillers for the same reason I read them – I’m a chicken. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting my PI license or going to the police academy, but . . .

During a police ride-along, the line between imaginary and real was highlighted for me. Downtown beat. Night shift. Before I went, I researched protocol, questions to ask, how to act. I felt REAL as I climbed into the powerful SUV, with rifle behind my head and a Toughbook in my lap.

Our first call was a gang of 20+ people, shots fired. We raced to the scene.  Gary (not his real name) angled the vehicle across the street, told me to stay put, jumped out and locked the vehicle with a beep. People ran, angry shouts could be heard. Others approached the SUV, one guy sneering at me through the passenger window, teeth bared. After things were sorted out, we were off, hurrying from call to call. To the ER for a rape. To a high rise apartment for a man who wondered if his TV was too loud (yeah, seriously). To a robbery. To a threatened suicide. To runaways.

About the time my ridealong was scheduled to be over, we responded to a low-income apartment building I recognized from frequent appearances on the local news. Another officer met us there and warned Gary to leave me in the SUV because the subject was known to “get hairy.” Gary assured me I’d be able to hear everything he said and, again, locked me in the vehicle.

As I sat in the dark, I listened. The officers knocked, announced themselves. A man’s voice answered, loudly. A crash. Yelling, more crashes, more yelling. Something slammed into a wall. Someone grunted.  More yelling. Then . . . a loud bang.

 Someone’s been shot. I took a deep breath, looked in the side mirror and thought, what  am I doing here?

The radio crackled. “Need a bus!”

Lights strobe in the darkness as more patrol cars and an ambulance converged on the scene.  My heart pounded. People began to wander past and looked into the SUV, probably wondering who the middle-aged white lady was.

More yelling, more thumps and grunts, then “Officer 443 en route to hospital.”

Oh, that’s not good. Officer 443 is my guy.

There I sat, alone. In a bad part of town. Late at night. But, I reasoned, I was sitting in a police vehicle. Surely, somebody’d come back for it, right? They probably didn’t care about a writer, but the SUV, that was different. So, I settled in and watched. And scribbled notes.

And Gary did return. An hour later. The perp had attempted suicide by overdose, but he’d failed. Instead, he went nuts and attacked one of the paramedics. Gary had restrained the guy while the paramedics worked on him as they raced to the hospital.

Yup, I’ll stick to writing about crime. It’s easier, and much less dangerous.

llrobinett-72dpi-1500x20002

Fatal Obsession is the most recent Widow’s Web novel – an exciting series where women face challenges that threaten to destroy them, just as they begin to find the strengths within them.

Sophie grew up in the foster care system, an orphan separated from her brother after their parents are killed. After she marries Blake Kendrick and gets pregnant, she’s thrilled that she’s finally part of a real family. When she learns that her husband, a brilliant cancer researcher, has experimented on their unborn child, her world shatters. The powerful man her husband works for is determined to get that child, to use the research within Sophie’s body to save his dying mother. Sophie is forced to go on the run, terrified of what might be growing within her, worried that her baby might need treatment by the very man who is hunting them. The skills she learned in foster care serve her well as she must discriminate between who she can trust and who she can’t, who is a real friend and who is a threat. All the while, an experiment grows within her . . . will they survive?

All ebook buy links are available here:

https://books.pronoun.com/fatal-obsession/

img_0028-002Lori Robinett is the author of the Widow’s Web series. She lives in central Missouri with her husband of 20+ years on a small hobby farm, which is maintained exclusively for the comfort and enjoyment of their miniature schnauzer and beagle. She enjoys reading, writing, and scrapbooking. If you can’t find her, check out the backroads, where she may be bouncing along dirt roads in her lifted Jeep.

Social Media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriLRobinettauthor/

Twitter: @LoriRobinett https://twitter.com/LoriRobinett

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/LoriLRobinett/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/llrobinett/

Website: http://lorilrobinett.com