Monday, September 17, 2018

Cover Reveal: Scene of the Crime by Jennifer Chase

Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Mystery Suspense

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.




Chapter 1

NOTHING CAPTURED HIS ATTENTION. IT wasn’t as if he wasn’t looking for anything specific or that he didn’t care about anything, but everything became like white noise. Looking down, he spotted a couple squashed beer cans, which had resulted from the constant compression of car tires repeatedly running over them. Now they lay in the gutter unnoticed—as discarded litter. Out of boredom, he kicked the aluminum pancakes with his worn out running shoes. The compressed disks clattered a ways before landing back in a different part of the same gutter, just as his life.
Roger Case was in one of those moods where everything seemed futile. It was a time when his temperament plummeted; he entertained the spirit of defeat, which was becoming more common these days. His concentration slipped farther into the dwindling mindset of drugs and crime to the point of mania. Rationalizing his motives, he preferred to enact self-medication.
He needed something strong to take away his thoughts of negativity. The repetitive movements of his hands and arms worsened. He wanted anything that would take away his fears, his depression, and his unrelenting obsession for the next quick fix. Roger knew that even when he felt the most empowering high that there was a high price to pay—and it was predictable and inevitable—the hard, downward crash.
Roger hadn’t always been teetering on that slippery slope, dangling over the life of crime; in fact, he still remembered when things were normal and even mundane. He grew up in a typical middle class family with his mom and dad, along with his older brother and sister. Reflecting on those memories now, he would trade just about anything to have those times back.
Now he waited with anticipation for his contact. It was going to make everything better—at least for a while. He convinced himself that just a little bit of crystal meth would help him get back on track—to see things clearly again. It wasn’t as if he was a full-blown addict, he just needed something to help motivate and push him in the right direction.
He heard a hollow scraping noise and stopped to listen. Standing quietly, still straining to hear, but that sound never repeated. He looked around. Curious. The sound seemed to resonate in his head instead of around the street. Upon further inspection, he realized it came from inside the cement structure.
The old water treatment plant had been decommissioned by the county some time ago, now outdated, and was nothing more than an eyesore gathering the grime and deteriorating aspects of time gone by. Something loomed in Roger’s vision and waited in darkness—he strained his eyes looking into the long structure that seemed to lead to nowhere.
Maybe his connection made a change of plans and the meeting place was at the cement sinew, and out of sight from any onlookers, or cops happening by on their route. It was possible. At this point in Roger’s life, anything was possible.
Roger contemplated his options for a moment and then decided to check it out. He turned toward the water treatment plant and headed inside. The first thing he noticed was the temperature difference—cold and damp compared to the warmer street areas.
He slowed his pace, unsure if he should call out or announce his presence. Fidgeting nonstop with his hands, pressing his fingers tighter and then releasing them, Roger moved farther into the tunnel.
A shuffling sound came from the other end.
“Hello?” he finally said, his voice weak and tinny which made him unconsciously twitch.
A muffled dragging sound was the responded answer. It resonated from the back-left area.
“Hey, I don’t have time for this… you either want the money or not.” He tried to sound tough but his nerves were frayed. It wasn’t something he was used to feeling. In fact, Roger couldn’t remember the last time he felt scared, frustrated, angry or anxious.
The damp cement tunnel seemed to pull him closer to the heart of it—into the bowels of no return. Instead of turning around and leaving, Roger slowly moved deeper into the cavern. It was as if someone or something else had control over his body. His insatiable curiosity had put him in troubling situations throughout his life. It contributed to him getting into deep trouble with a growing rap sheet to prove it.
Most memories had a calming effect on Roger, which had initiated his fidgeting to cease and his hesitation to subside. He didn’t understand many people’s fears and phobias, most things were just benign and didn’t amount to anything remotely scary or debilitating.
There it was again—a dragging sound followed by what he thought were hushed whispers.
He would smack a kid if they jumped out at him or gave him any crap. Most likely, they were tagging gang symbols and looking to get into trouble.
There was the distinct sound of two people whispering to each other.
Roger tried to sharpen his vision but the darkness played tricks on him with weird shadow figure apparitions. He blinked his eyes quickly trying to concentrate on the area and where the kids were hiding; his eyes began to water from the extreme effort. Wiping away the aggravated tears, Roger felt his surroundings close in tightly around him as his perception changed. The darkness seemed to give a strange rippled effect.
The voices became louder. There was nothing sinister about the voices, but they were speaking faster with more of an urgent tone.
“Hey, you little maggots, I know you’re here,” stated Roger.
He stopped and stood still.                                                         
The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.
A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.
The anonymous whispers stopped.
All buzzing in his ears stopped.
Roger Case’s heart stopped too.

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.



Other Books in the Series

Body of the Crime


Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.




Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Interview with Margaret Mizushima, author of 'Burning Ridge'

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the critically acclaimed Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Her books have garnered a Reader’s Favorite gold medal and have been listed as finalists in the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, the Colorado Book Awards, and the International Book Awards. Margaret serves on the board for the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and she lives in Colorado where she assists her husband with their veterinary practice and Angus cattle herd. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, on Twitter @margmizu, on Instagram at margmizu, and on her website at
Find out more on Amazon. 
Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
Burning Ridge is the fourth book in the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series. The series features Deputy Mattie Cobb, her K-9 partner Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker. Together they solve mysteries that affect the mountain community of Timber Creek, Colorado, a fictional town set in the high country of the Rocky Mountains. In Burning Ridge, Cole Walker and his two daughters discover a horrific murder on Redstone Ridge outside of Timber Creek, and Mattie and Robo are called in to investigate. When Mattie realizes she has a close personal tie to the victim, she vows to catch the killer; but before she succeeds, she becomes a target in the murderer’s deadly game.
My main character, Mattie Cobb, had a rough childhood. Her mother abandoned Mattie and her brother when they were children, and they were separated and raised in foster care. This book takes everything Mattie thought she knew about herself and turns her world upside down, so I guess you might say that Mattie’s story inspired me to write this particular mystery.

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
I went the traditional route, because I feared I didn’t have the technical skillset to go indie and I wanted some help with marketing and distribution. I met both my agent, Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management, and my publisher, Matthew Martz of Crooked Lane Books, at writing conferences here in Colorado. At first, Crooked Lane offered a revise and resubmit after some changes in plot structure, and although it felt risky, I decided I had little to lose but time. Thankfully, Nike Power, the editor I was working with at Crooked Lane, loved the new manuscript and subsequently offered a two-book contract. I’ve loved working with my publishing team and we plan to publish at least six books in the series together.
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing the story, or did it come later?
The title Burning Ridge came up in a brainstorming session that the Crooked Lane team, my agent, and I had while choosing a title for book three, Hunting Hour. We all loved the title, and for the first time ever, I decided to write a book to match the title. It’s important to mention again, however, that Mattie’s character arc inspired the story itself.
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
My publisher, Matthew Martz, had a basic idea of what he wanted the cover to look like before the book was written. Crooked Lane does fabulous covers, and he wanted a fiery background. The designers took a summary that I wrote describing the book and came up with a cover that we all love.  
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
This particular cover was designed by Melanie Sun, and the book was designed by Jennifer Canzone. They work with Crooked Lane Books, and I had nothing to do with finding them. I’m honored to have my books appear dressed in their designs!
How was your experience working with the designer?
Jennifer and Melanie have designed all of my books and covers. I provide a summary of the book and sometimes suggest a color (I wanted red for Stalking Ground, the second Timber Creek mystery, but they came up with the snow on the trees) and they take it from there. I also strive to suggest a tone when I write the summary for the Crooked Lane staff, so when a cover comes back to me, I’ve always loved it. I might want to darken the image or suggest some other minor change, which they take into consideration and make adjustments. I’ve been pleased with the process.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
Readers have expressed that they love the cover as much as I do. After seeing the Burning Ridge cover, one reader said that she could feel the love between Robo and Mattie and she could smell the air surrounding them. I love that the cover evokes such a sensory response.
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
Ask your friends whom they use. If you don’t have a lead, I’ve seen some great cover designers displaying their work on Twitter. It might be a place to start.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
Even though Burning Ridge is the fourth book in the series, it was written so that the mystery stands alone, as were all the books. But if you want the full impact of Mattie’s character development and the development of her relationship with her partner Robo and love interest Cole Walker, you might want to start with book one in the series, Killing Trail.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Cover Reveal: Unlawful Desires by Sassy Sinclair

Author: Sassy Sinclair
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 198
Genre: Erotic Romance

Sparks fly when a handsome lawyer falls hard for a smart, seductive woman who thinks like a man and acts like one too.

Sharla Ratliff is done with having her heart broken. Her new dating rules are simple. No emotion. No expectation of commitment. Sex purely for her own physical enjoyment. Then she meets Marcel Dennard. The attractive lawyer has all the trappings of success: a thriving career, women at his beck and call, and enough money in the bank for the finer things in life.

Their lust for each other doesn’t just create sparks, it sets off explosions. The sexual attraction between them is so passionately erotic they behave in ways that can only be called reckless. After a shocking series of events place both of their careers in jeopardy, can they restrain their sexual desires long enough to keep everything they’ve worked for from going up in smoke?




“But I don’t understand. You said you loved me!”
Marcel stood in the doorway of his bedroom as Camille snatched clothes from his closet and tossed them onto the bed.
He didn’t realize she kept that much stuff at his house. They’d only been seeing each other for five months and had never lived together. Once he got her out of his crib, he wasn’t letting another woman leave a bubblegum wrapper at his house, much less a toothbrush.
“Don’t just stand there,” Camille cried. “Say something!”
Since he couldn’t tell her what he was really thinking—that he couldn’t wait for her ass to leave—Marcel thought it was best to keep his mouth shut. Yeah, he’d told her he loved her. More than once, in fact. But only in response to her saying it first and usually about three seconds before he came. Never once had he initiated the phrase or uttered the words while fully clothed. That should’ve been a clue.
“You’re upset,” he said, backing out of the room. “I’ll wait in the den until you finish packing up.”
As Marcel turned to leave, Camille hurled a bottle of deodorant across the room. It nicked him on the shoulder.
“Hey!” He rubbed the sore spot. “Was that really necessary?”
“You used me!”
Marcel almost laughed out loud. He’d taken her to Paris, bought her designer purses and treated her to the finest restaurants in L.A. He even paid off one of her credit cards. And she was being used? Go figure.
“I told you from the start, I didn’t want a commitment. We had a good time while it lasted.”
“But I don’t understand what happened,” she sniveled.
He did. The same thing that always happened. He got bored. All relationships were great in the beginning. Unfortunately, he had an addiction to pussy. New pussy in particular. But new pussy can’t stay new forever.
Marcel glanced at his watch. He wanted Camille and her drama to disappear before the Clippers’ game came on.
 As he headed into the den, he knew he only had himself to blame. He had let his guard down with Camille. The minute she started texting him ten times a day and trying to track his every move, he should’ve called it quits. But the girl worked wonders between the sheets and that did have its value. And those legs of hers. He loved doing her standing up with her back against the wall, her long brown legs clamped tightly around his waist. Even now, he got excited just thinking about it. Too bad she’d gotten so clingy.
Marcel picked up the remote and switched on the TV. It took another thirty minutes before Camille trudged down the hallway dragging two military-size duffle bags behind her.
When in the hell did you sneak in all this shit? And why didn’t I notice?
Camille wasn’t crying anymore, which he considered a good sign.
“I’m sorry I got so upset,” she said. “You were right. You did tell me you didn’t want a commitment. I should’ve listened.”
Marcel didn’t respond. Her apology was probably a trick. He feared saying something that might set her off again. His goal was to get her ass on the other side of his front door and lock the dead bolt. At least he’d been smart enough not to give in to her pleas for a key. If he had, he would’ve had to change all the locks.
“Do you need help with your bags?” he asked.
Camille nodded.
Marcel took the bags from her, surprised at how heavy they were. They had to weigh close to fifty pounds apiece. When they got to the front door, he waited for her to open it.
Instead of reaching for the doorknob, Camille just stood there.
Now what?
"Can you get the door?" Marcel asked.
She turned around to face him. “Despite everything that happened, I really enjoyed being with you. You’re a great guy.”
“Back at you. Now open the door.”
 Camille clasped her hands in front of her and spoke in an annoying little girl’s voice. “Don’t I even get a hug goodbye?”
Here we go. Women were so transparent.
Marcel let the bags fall to the floor with a thud and pulled her into his arms for a quick hug. Damn, she smelled good. Felt good too.
When he tried to pull away, Camille moved in closer, snuggling her face into the crook of his neck. Then she licked his earlobe, which she knew drove him wild. He instantly grew rigid.
Camille grinded against his erection. “Uh-oh.” She grinned up at him. “Something tells me you don’t want me to leave.”
Women made the mistake of equating sex with love. Just because his dick wanted her to stay, didn’t mean he did.


Sassy Sinclair, AKA Pamela Samuels Young, is an attorney and award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers. Unlawful Desires is her first foray into the erotic romantic suspense genre. Her mystery Anybody’s Daughter won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction and was a Top Ten pick by In the Margins, the best books for at-risk teens. Her novels #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult adaptations of two of her most popular adult mysteries. Prior to embarking on a full-time writing career, Pamela was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers, LLP and Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law at Toyota. A former journalist, she also worked as a television news writer and associate producer for WXYZ-TV in Detroit and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. Pamela received her bachelor’s degree from USC and earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley School of Law. A natural hair enthusiast, Pamela wrote Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide to educate women about the true beauty of their kinky coils. The Compton native is a frequent speaker on the topics of child sex trafficking, teen sexting, self-empowerment, independent publishing and fiction writing.



Friday, September 7, 2018

Historical Mystery Author Marty Ambrose Talks about her Cover for 'Claire's Last Secret'

Marty Ambrose has been a writer most of her life, consumed with the world of literature whether teaching English at Florida Southwestern State College or creating her own fiction.  Her writing career has spanned almost fifteen years, with eight published novels for Avalon Books, Kensington Books, Thomas & Mercer—and, now, Severn House.
Two years ago, Marty had the opportunity to apply for a grant that took her to Geneva and Florence to research a new creative direction that builds on her interest in the Romantic poets:  historical fiction.  Her new book, Claire’s Last Secret, combines memoir and mystery in a genre-bending narrative of the Byron/Shelley “haunted summer,” with Claire Clairmont, as the protagonist/sleuth—the “almost famous” member of the group.  The novel spans two eras played out against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Italy and is the first of a trilogy.
Marty lives on an island in Southwest Florida with her husband, former news-anchor, Jim McLaughlin.  They are planning a three-week trip to Italy this fall to attend a book festival and research the second book, A Shadowed Fate.  Luckily, Jim is fluent in Italian and shares her love of history and literature.  Their German shepherd, Mango, has to stay home.
Find out more about CLAIRE'S LAST SECRET on Amazon
Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
It’s a re-telling of the Byron/Shelley “haunted summer” of 1816, but from the perspective of Claire Clairmont—Mary Shelley’s stepsister—when she is much older, living in Italy.  I liked have the “dual narrators” linking the past and the present, with a bit of a mystery twist, so it’s genre-bending . . . from the voice of the “almost-famous” member of the literary group.  I felt like Claire’s story had never really been told. I’ve always been very interested in the Byron/Shelley circle but, for some reason, I never paid much attention to Claire Clairmont.  Then I read The Young Romantics, which included a fragment from Claire’s journal where she noted that “summer of love” had not turned out so well for her.  I also realized that she lived to the age of 82 in Florence, Italy; it struck me that outliving everyone who had been a part of the greatest years of her life had to be challenging.  I started there . . . 

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
It took me about a year to research, write, and edit the book; then, my agent sold it in about six months.  After that, my editor and I did about six months of editing and the book was published about six months after that.  It took about two years to go from finished book to published book.
I went with trying to publish the traditional way, but it’s purely a matter of choice for each author.  Personally, I think the editorial process at a traditional publisher can’t really be duplicated with an indie press; the levels of editors, proofreaders, line editors, etc., all work together to make the manuscript a finished product.  I’ve never had an editor who didn’t improve my book.  It takes longer to go with a traditional publisher, but I think it’s worth the time and effort.
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it, or did it come later?
I love the title of my book, Claire’s Last Secret, and I’m delighted that my editor at Severn House also liked it.  I originally had the title, Claire’s Summer, but my agent and I felt it didn’t have enough “edge” for this kind of novel.  I mulled it over and the new title came to me the next day:  the book is really about Claire’s “secret.”  Voila.  The new title.
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
My publisher, Severn House, has in-house cover art designers, but I did have quite a bit of input.  I knew that I wanted the cover to reflect some of the important settings in Florence, especially the Boboli Gardens.  They did a beautiful job of creating those images in a dreamy landscape.  I loved it.
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
My cover designer is from Severn House.
How was your experience working with the designer?
I made suggestions to my editor who then worked with the designer to create the cover; I so liked how it reflected the mood and settings in the book.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
My book is being released on September 1st, so I haven’t had a great deal of response to the cover yet, but the advance readers have commented on the lovely Italian landscapes and the figure of Claire looking over images that reflected on her past.  So far so good!
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
I think it’s really important to work closely with your editor as to what you’d like to see in a cover.   Also, it’s essential to think about what kind of cover really reflects your book:  what would make a reader want to pick it up in a bookstore or order online? 
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
If you are interested in historical fiction and a new narrative about the Byron/Shelley circle, I think you’ll enjoy Claire’s Last Secret.  It was a book that I so loved writing!