Monday, April 23, 2018

A Shot in the Dark

A SHOT IN THE DARK by Cleo Coyle
◊ Series: A Coffeehouse Mystery, Book 17
◊ Hardcover: 352 pages
◊ Genre:  Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Berkley (April 17, 2018)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 0451488849
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0451488848


From Cleo Coyle, the New York Times bestselling author of Dead Cold Brew, comes a delicious new entry in the "fun and gripping" (The Huffington Post) Coffeehouse Mysteries.

          A new smartphone dating game turns the Village Blend into a hookup hot spot, until one dark night, when a gunshot leaves a dead body behind and the landmark coffeehouse becomes the center of a whole new scene--a crime scene.  
As Village Blend manager Clare Cosi attempts to finalize a date for her wedding, her ex-husband becomes addicted to making dates through smartphone swipes. Clare has mixed feelings about these quickie matchups happening in her coffeehouse. Even her octogenarian employer is selecting suitors by screenshot! But business is booming, and Clare works hard to keep the espresso shots flowing. Then one dark night, another kind of shot leaves a dead body for her to find. 
The corpse is a successful entrepreneur who became notorious for his "hit it and quit it" behavior: prowling for women on dating apps, then devastating his conquests with morning-after insults. Though the NYPD quickly arrests one of his recent victims, Clare finds reason to believe she's been framed. 
Now, with the help of her ex and crew of quirky baristas, Clare starts "swiping" through suspects in her own shop, determined to find the real killer before another shot rings out.

Includes a bang-up menu of tempting recipes.

Just when you can’t envision what the next adventure protagonist Clare Cosi will encounter, author Cleo Coyle will surprise you by taking you on a roller coast ride of thrillers.

Keeping the series and the characters fresh and current with the times, the author combines social media, smartphone dating, and murder for a fascinating read in the latest release. The story moves at a good pace and keeps you guessing until the very end.

The author blends the story so that new readers aren’t left wondering if they are missing something. At the same time, returning fans can enjoy catching up without having too much back story to bore them. This 17th installment in the series can be read as a standalone.

The author’s talent for merging the cast of favorite characters with new individuals keeps the series and each new story energized. Incorporating aspects of daily life readers can relate to enhances the story and gives it depth.

You can’t help but get up caught up in the excitement and feel the adrenaline rush as Clare, aided by her family and friends, does what she does best – get to the heart of the case no matter the risk.

The core case of characters is realistic and likable. The protagonist is strong, independent, determined with traits and faults readers adore. An added bonus, numerous recipes and coffee tips can be found at the end of the story.

A SHOT IN THE DARK is a tantalizing murder mystery filled with suspense, fun and intrigue. You don’t have to love coffee to enjoy this spellbinding mystery.

A Shot in the Dark by Cleo Coyle, A Coffeehouse Mystery (Book #17), Berkley, @2018, ISBN: 978-0451488848, Hardcover, 352 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Be sure to stop back on May 6th when author Cleo Coyle will be visiting Thoughts in Progress to talk more about this fascinating book. Have you read any of the Coffeehouse Mystery series? What are your thoughts on dating through social media?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Where It All Began … Tick Tock

I’m super excited today to welcome fellow blogger, friend and outstanding author Alex J. Cavanaugh to Thoughts in Progress.

As many of you know, Alex is the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group which offers support for writers and authors alike. Alex is joining us today to talk a bit about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and a huge event they have coming up. Welcome, Alex.

Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime comes out May 1 – the third anthology from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. How did it all come about? Maybe I need to go back and give you some history.

Seven years ago, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group began. At first, it was just a monthly blog hop. But it eventually morphed into a website that we like to call the database of all databases for writers. A Facebook group also began at the same time. Along the line, we opened a Twitter and Instagram account, started a newsletter, published two free writing eBooks, began a Goodreads book club, and launched our own Twitter pitch party, #IWSGPit.

But before we hit our one-year milestone with the website, we decided we needed to do something special. An anthology contest was suggested and once we had a few things lined up, we dove into the opportunity. I’m not sure anyone is prepared for their first anthology project, but somehow we waded through all of the submissions, sent the best ones to our selected judges, and then turned the winners over to Dancing Lemur Press for publication under their imprint, Freedom Fox Press.

Our first contest’s theme was parallel universes and the genre science fiction. The result was Parallels: Felix Was Here. We decided to make it a yearly contest, and that book was followed by Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, a fantasy book with the theme of hero lost. This past year, we selected mystery/crime/thriller and a theme of tick tock – something having to do with clocks and time. And now Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime comes out on May 1.

Readers (and most people) see only the finished book. Which is how is should be. But there’s so much work behind the scenes. Months beforehand, we announce the genre and start working on a theme. Then judges (authors and agents) are selected based on the genre, which involves a lot of emails. After submissions open, the IWSG admins prepare for the avalanche of stories. The writers have two months to submit–which means the admins have just one week longer than that to read every single one and narrow it down for the judges. We tally up their votes and the best ten to twelve stories make it into the anthology. From there, Dancing Lemur Press takes over and handles everything else.

It’s exhausting for the admins. But when we see the results, it’s worth it. Three excellent anthologies – and many more to come!

Alex, it is amazing. Thanks for giving us a behind the scenes look at how TICK TOCK (as well as the other anthology projects) came to be.

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Alex (you really should be), here’s a bit of background on him.

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

For more on Alex and his writing, visit his website and connect with him on Twitter and the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website.

You can also find the IWSG books HERE.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have you read any of the anthology books? Are you a member of the IWSG?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Queen Anne’s Lace

QUEEN ANNE’S LACE by Susan Wittig Albert
◊ Series: A China Bayles Mystery, Book 26
◊ Hardcover: 304 pages
◊ Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
◊ Publisher: Berkley (April 3, 2018)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 0425280055
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0425280058


 A present day ghost leads China Bayles to a secret from Pecan Springs's past in this haunting mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert.

While helping Ruby Wilcox clean up the loft above their shops, China comes upon a box of antique handcrafted lace and old photographs. Following the discovery, she hears a woman humming an old Scottish ballad and smells the delicate scent of lavender....
Soon, strange happenings start to occur in Thyme and Seasons: misplaced items, a ringing bell, and the appearance of lavender sprigs in odd places. When a customer mentions seeing a mysterious woman picking flowers nearby and then suddenly disappearing, China must finally admit what Ruby has always known--their building is haunted. But by whom?
As China investigates, the tragic story of a woman in one of the old photographs unfolds. Annie Laurie was a young widow who'd lost both her husband and her child in the same day. She manages to survive through her lace-making business and finds happiness again only to have a suspicious death overshadow her new life.
China delves into Annie's century-old mystery and realizes that solving it could have unimaginable repercussions in the here and now.

An interest in herbs first drew me to the China Bayles Mystery series by Susan Wittig Albert. Great storytelling by Albert keeps me coming back for more and more.

QUEEN ANNE’S LACE, the latest installment in the series, is a prime example of Albert’s writing abilities. She combines mystery and a touch of the supernatural with family and friendship blends it into a story about the past and present for a tantalizing tale. The intrigue pulls you in quickly and the characters hold you spellbound until the very end.

Albert has created a protagonist and cast of supporting characters that are realistic and likable. They are easy for readers to relate to. Even though this is the 26th installment in the series, Albert keeps it fresh and inviting. She blends enough of the back story so that new readers aren’t left in the dark. At the same time, she doesn’t rehash events in such a manner that returning fans feel overwhelmed with the same old story.

Another interesting aspect of the story is the depth of research Albert does in order to feature herbs throughout the tale. There are even recipes included at the end using herbs.

Albert delivers another story that will tug on your heart strings and make you ponder what you would do if you were in China’s place.

Queen Anne’s Lace by Susan Wittig Albert, A China Bayles Mystery (Book #26), Berkley, @2018, ISBN: 978-0425280058, Hardcover, 304 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks for stopping by. Have you ever picked up a book and read it, then discovered it was the latest in a series? Do you go back and read the earlier installments and/or keep going with any future books?

P.S. Hope you’re having a great and HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH!!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tick Tock … What Do You Know

It’s a pleasure to welcome today’s guest to Thoughts in Progress as this is an amazing lady who knows the book world not only as an author and blogger, but as a publisher.

Please join me in welcoming Diane L. Wolfe, who is here today to talk to us about the publishing aspect of her world. Diane’s company, Dancing Lemur Press LLC/Freedom Fox Press has just published an intriguing anthology that will soon be available to purchase. Welcome, Diane.

Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime is the third anthology for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. It’s the ninth anthology for Dancing Lemur Press LLC/Freedom Fox Press, so we’ve some experience putting them together. This one ran very smoothly, and we give credit to the authors and their high level of responsibility.

There’s a lot that can go wrong during the process. Writers can balk on the contract, miss editing deadlines, fail to supply bios and author shots, ignore emails, and fall short of marketing expectations. (And we’ve had all of that happen.) Fortunately, these eleven authors rose to the challenge.

They were on time with edits and went above and beyond to ensure their stories were the very best. They sought out reviewers and spread the news of the release. A website and a Facebook group were created. Several reviewers offered to do multiple interviews and posts and the authors were prompt in putting everything together for us. Add in all of the sites they lined up on their own, and they have a great online tour planned.

We couldn’t work with a better group. Dancing Lemur Press is very proud of these authors and their upcoming book.
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

$14.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 204 pages, $4.99 eBook
Mystery & Detective / Crime / Thrillers
Print ISBN 9781939844545 eBook ISBN 9781939844552
Freedom Fox Press

“Each story is fast paced, grabbing the reader from the beginning.”  - Readers' Favorite, 5 stars

“I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of thought-provoking crime stories.” - Denise Covey, author

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter.

For more on Tick Tock, visit the following links:

Diane, thanks for sharing this behind-the-scenes look at the anthology. It is packed with fascinating stories.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Be sure to come back as there will be more on this tantalizing book as it nears its release date (including my review). What do you enjoy most about reading an anthology?

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mornings on Main

It’s a pleasure to welcome New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas back to Thoughts in Progress and today she is here to talk about her latest release, MORNING ON MAIN.

Jodi, a master of family drama, returns with MORNINGS ON MAIN (HQN Books, April 2018, $15.99 U.S./$19.99 CAN.), a riveting tale that follows three generations of women, each facing challenging circumstances, but whose stories unite as they strive to overcome their individual burdens.   

Jillian James has been a wanderer as long as she can remember, traveling from town to town, never staying too long in any one place. Not running to or from anything, or hiding out. Just drifting…the way she was taught as a child by her nomadic single father, a man who liked to travel and went wherever the jobs took him, never putting down roots or getting involved for too long with anyone. And Jillian is the same way—no strings anywhere, no place to call home. And no one to call family, not since she last saw her father the day he dropped her off at college—before disappearing from her life completely. But now, twelve years later, Jillian is hoping to find some trace of him in the only place she believes he ever had a special connection—the small, welcoming town of Laurel Springs, Texas.
          Soon after arriving, Jillian lands a temporary job courtesy of Connor Larady, a man of many hats—town mayor, land owner, newspaper publisher, unpublished novelist and, most important, devoted single dad to his rebellious teenaged daughter, Sunnie, and doting grandson to Eugenia Larady, better known to everyone as Gram. Connor hires Jillian to help out in aging Gram’s quilt shop, cataloguing and preserving each quilt’s history, just as Gram starts struggling with her own slipping memory.
          Despite her better judgment, Jillian soon finds herself growing closer to each of the Laradys: helping Sunnie cope with a tragic past while struggling to figure out what she wants from her future; spending time with the shy, handsome Connor while knowing that any romance between them will only end in sadness when she eventually leaves; and connecting with the lovely Gram, a woman who is the heart of the entire town, building literal and invisible threads throughout the community--and whose fading memories and occasional flashbacks, a shocked Jillian realizes, contain clues to her own family history.
          Jillian has spent her life avoiding attachments. According to her father’s rules, it hurts too much to care. But for the first time in her life, she’s starting to wonder if his rules are wrong, if it’s better to be part of something greater than just herself—part of a community, of a family, of loving someone.

Now please join me in giving a warm welcome to Jodi as she joins us to talk about her latest release. Welcome, Jodi.

Stories dance in my head all the time, but now and then one lives on after I turn the book in. MORNINGS ON MAIN is still waltzing in my thoughts. I hope that the people of Laurel Springs come as alive to you as they did to me.

MORNINGS ON MAIN weaves three women’s stories together as the stories of the town’s history is displayed in quilts. Quilts have always fascinated me. I remember laying under my grandmother’s quilt from that drifted down from the ceiling. I remember my mother quilting long after her mind had had been invaded by Alzheimer’s. I love seeing my sisters’ quilts displayed on their bedroom walls. 

But, I don’t quilt. 

My mother only read my first book before she stopped reading completely.  I’ll never forget what she said about my patchwork stories that blend together.  She said, “Jodi, you quilt with words. 

Come visit my town and I hope you’ll stay for a while, Jodi.

Jodi, thanks for sharing these women’s stories with us. Stories like this are always fascinating.

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Jodi, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Jodi Thomas
A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.  

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes fulltime, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and checking up on their two grown sons. 

For more on Jodi, went her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks so much for visiting today. Sorry that I’ve been MIA but I will be back online full time before too long. I hope you’ll check out Jodi’s latest release. Do you enjoy stories featuring several generations of one family?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Release News … The Sometimes Sisters!

It’s a pleasure to tell you that THE SOMETIMES SISTERS by Carolyn Brown hit the bookshelves this past week with its release on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

This story is about a bittersweet inheritance that reunites three estranged sisters in a novel of family, trust, and forgiveness from New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown.

When they were growing up, Dana, Harper, and Tawny thought of themselves as “sometimes sisters.” They connected only during the summer month they’d all spend at their grandmother’s rustic lakeside resort in north Texas. But secrets started building, and ten years have passed since they’ve all been together—in fact, they’ve rarely spoken, and it broke their grandmother’s heart. 
Now she’s gone, leaving Annie’s Place to her granddaughters—twelve cabins, a small house, a café, a convenience store, and a lot of family memories. It’s where Dana, Harper, and Tawny once shared so many good times. They’ve returned, sharing only hidden regrets, a guarded mistrust, and haunting guilt. But now, in this healing summer place, the secrets that once drove them apart could bring them back together—especially when they discover that their grandmother may have been hiding something, too…
          To overcome the past and find future happiness, these “sometimes sisters” have one more chance to realize they are always family.

THE SOMETIMES SISTERS is available on Amazon Kindle.  

You can also learn more about the book and the author by checking out the following hashtags: #KindleUnLimited #RockstarLit #CarolynBrown

For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Carolyn Brown
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Brown was born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma. These days she and her husband make their home in Davis, Oklahoma, a small town of less than three thousand people where everyone knows everyone, knows what they are doing and with whom, and read the weekly newspaper to see who got caught.

A plaque hangs on her office wall that says I know the voices are not real but they have such great ideas. That is her motto and muse as she goes through the days with quirky characters in her head, telling their stories, one by one, and loving her job.

She has been married almost half a century to a retired English teacher that she calls Mr. B and he does not read her books before they are published because she cannot afford a divorce. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them busy and young.

When Carolyn is not writing she likes to sit in the back yard and watch the two tom cats protect the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, other cats, spiders and blue jays.

For more on Carolyn and her writing, check out the following sites:

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you’ll check out Carolyn’s book and be sure to stop back by here next week when I share my thoughts on this delightful and heartwarming story. Do you have siblings that you are close to or maybe just ‘sometimes siblings?’