Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Featured Book: Dead Cold by Jennifer Chase

Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller
What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.



ESCAPE WAS IMPOSSIBLE. TEARS STREAMED down her face as she sat in the darkness and waited for the man to return. There was no other choice—but to wait.
She hadn’t eaten anything in three days and had only a limited amount of water—her strength continued to fade with every hour. With her wrists and ankles secured with duct tape, her skin stung with pain every time she struggled to move. At least the man had peeled the tape from her eyes and mouth so that she could see something besides pitch-blackness.
Even if she could escape, the only way to safety was jumping into the frigid water, but she could not swim and would drown before ever reaching the shore.
The only thing thirteen-year-old Kayla Swanson thought about was home. Fond memories flashed through her mind of her parents, her little brother, and her dog Charlie. She was never going to see them again. Their smiling faces were forever etched in Kayla’s mind, and she constantly held them close to her heart.  
The boat rocked, and seemed to sway more violently as the tide flooded in and out of the harbor. Kayla could hear a consistent clanking noise above her as the boat rolled back and forth. The sound had a hypnotic quality, and kept her mind on something else besides when the man would return and what he would do next. 
Her lips were dry and cracked as she bordered on dehydration. Even her tears dried on her cheeks, leaving her skin stiff and drawn. Her body began to shake, not only from fear, but also because of the extreme exhaustion and the constant dampness all around her.
The boat rocked more, but this time it shifted from the opposite sides. Kayla heard soft footsteps above, which she knew wasn’t her captor’s heavy walk. She strained her eyes in the darkness and thought she saw a thin shadow stealthily move along the upper deck.
Was it a ghost?
Kayla remembered a television series where a team of people hunted ghosts and they had said that ghosts could occupy any type of space, house, property, and even a boat.
She blinked her eyes several times and hoped that she could catch a glimpse of the ghost again. With every ounce of declining strength, Kayla scooted her body closer to the narrow stairs leading to the upper deck.
Painfully craning her neck, she strained to see something up in the darkness.
The dark shadowed areas played tricks on her eyes—it was there, then it wasn’t.
She waited for several minutes.
Nothing appeared.
The only sounds she heard were the usual boat noises she had grown accustomed to hearing. Whatever she thought she heard was gone now. It was most likely her imagination trying to give her some hope and a few moments break from her dire circumstances.
As she relaxed her shoulders and leaned back against the wall, the reality of her world pressing down hard. Tears streamed down her face. She tasted the saltiness that settled around her mouth. Her last moments were approaching, and there was nothing she could do.

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and 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.

Her latest book is the crime thriller, Dead Cold.




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

On the Hot Seat with Thriller Author Sheila Lowe

The mother of a tattoo artist and a former rock star, Sheila Lowe lives in Ventura with Lexie the Very Bad Cat, where she writes the award-winning Forensic Handwriting mystery series. Like her fictional character Claudia Rose, Sheila is a real-life forensic handwriting expert who testifies in court cases. Despite sharing living space with a cat—a Very Bad one at that—Sheila’s books are decidedly non-cozy.
Find out more abut her latest thriller WRITTEN OFF on Amazon
Connect with the author on the web:

Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
Written Off is the story of a female serial killer in prison in Maine and the murdered professor who was writing a book about her. While on assignment to find the manuscript in the professor’s two-hundred-year-old mansion, forensic handwriting expert Claudia Rose uncovers explosive research about a group of troubled university students dubbed “Maynard’s Maniacs.” The professor’s personal wealth and academic success made her the target of jealousy at the small private university where she taught. The University expects to benefit from her will, but when a surprise visitor arrives brandishing a new will, all bets are off. After discussing the new will with the local police chief, Claudia rushes back to the isolated mansion where she’s staying, hoping to avoid an impending storm. She ends up trapped in a blizzard. With a killer.
As for what inspired me to write it, I always start with a title and build a story around it. In this case, the title changed halfway through, when I realized that the original title, Unholy Writ, was not going to work after all. I’ve wanted to use Unholy Writ for a long time, but it will have to wait for another story. Honestly, I don’t remember what got me started on the story of Roxanne Becker, a convicted serial killer, but around the time I changed the title, I realized that the theme of the book was what can happen to children who get cheated out of the good start in life they deserve.

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
I’ve gone every which way. For seven years, I tried to get my first mystery, Poison Pen, published by a major publishing house, finally giving up and making a deal with a small press, Capital Crime, in 2007. What a thrill it was when Publisher’s Weekly gave the book a starred review and it was immediately picked up, along with the next three in the series, by an editor at Penguin’s Obsidian. While I was writing book 4, that wonderful editor left the company and was replaced by another, who declined to renew my contract. My then-agent told me that other publishers would not want to pick up a series in the middle. Long story short, I decided to self-publish a standalone where my series characters played a smaller role. Eventually, I got my rights back from Penguin and switched all my titles over to Suspense, another smaller press (they publish Suspense Magazine).
Although I am grateful for having had the big house experience, with Penguin, it wasn’t all sweetness and light. They would send an email with the book cover graphic and a boilerplate note: “here’s your new cover, we hope you love it as much as we do.” And if I didn’t love it—oh well, “it’s too late to make changes.” I like working with a smaller press because I have input into my covers and titles; I get the final say in the text, and I get paid far better. With a big publishing house, you’ll get 8-10% of the cover price if the book is a mass market paperback, which means about .65-.80 cents a book. With a smaller house, you might get better than 50%. Certainly, you have more room to negotiate.
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?
Oops, I answered that above.
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
My publisher is ultimately responsible for the cover, but as I mentioned earlier, with a smaller house I get input into the design. Since it’s my story, I know the elements that are best brought out. In the case of Written Off, I thought that since a creepy old hut in the snowy woods figures into the prologue, a picture of a creepy old hut would offer the kind of atmosphere I wanted. So I googled some photos and sent them to my publisher to see what she thought. The first design they sent looked too Christmassy to me with the red text against the snowy white and green trees. I want my books to look like the psychological suspense stories they are, not cozies. So the cover designer darkened the edges and, voila! Suspense!
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
Shannon Raab, my publisher, is a terrific graphic designer. The covers Penguin did for the first editions of my book were great covers, but they made my books look cozy, which they are not. When I got my rights back from Penguin and Shannon redid the covers, they finally had the look I wanted—psychological suspense.
How was your experience working with the designer?
Shannon is great. We have an excellent working relationship. She listens to me, I listen to her, and somehow it comes out right.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
I posted the cover on my social media and got an overwhelming positive response. Of course, everyone had their own comment on how to tweak it, but once I told them “this is it,” they loved it.
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
Look at covers you like and see who is credited with the design, it should be noted in the front cover. When I did my standalone I found an extremely reasonable designer named Lynn Stanzione. Ask around, too, on the various lists you of which you are a member. People love to share good names.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?

Aside from “please give the book a try,” just keep reading. Teach your kids to love books, too. And when you write a review, please don’t reveal important plot points. Or if you must, include spoiler alerts. Be honest, and remember there’s a real human being behind the book, so be kind, too.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

New release: 'A Deadly Eclair' by Daryl Wood Gerber

National best-selling author Daryl Wood Gerber delivers an irresistible tale in A Deadly Éclair. Brimming with the ingredients of a winning recipe—a to-die-for setting, a captivating cast of characters, fabulous French bistro fare, and sumptuous suspense—A Deadly Éclair marks the advent of a mouthwatering new mystery series.
About  A Deadly Éclair:  It’s always been Mimi Rousseau’s dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she’s been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband’s tremendous debt. But when Mimi’s best friend Jorianne James introduces her to Bryan Baker, an entrepreneur who invests in promising prospects, Mimi’s dream becomes a reality and Bistro Rousseau is born. Now, working the bistro and inn until she’s able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn’s first wedding ever.

This wedding will be the talk of the town, as celebrity talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan’s half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as the perfect venue for her extravagant nuptials. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south—especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners’ dinner—but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until morning rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven if Bryan dies.

Now it’s up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again. Murder, after all, is not a good addition to any menu….

A fresh, fun, and fantastic French Bistro tale, A Deadly Éclair is peppered with charm, wit, and swoon-worthy recipes.  This clever culinary cozy will delight with its tantalizing twists and turns, sizzling storyline, and masterful plotting.  A delicious, decadent and delectable new mystery, A Deadly Éclair is resplendent with flavor, spice, and zest. Written by a true master of the cozy mystery, A Deadly Éclair is a tale to be devoured.   
Find out more on Amazon!

Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries as well as the Cheese Shop Mysteries, which she pens as Avery Aames. Daryl has also penned two stand-alone suspense novels, Day of Secrets and Girl on the Run. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line. Visit Daryl Wood Gerber online at: www.darylwoodgerber.com