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Book Review: The Domino Game by Greg Wilson

Book Review: The Domino Game by Greg Wilson

Title: The Domino Game
Author: Greg Wilson

I got sent a free ecopy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley.

Pub Date: 18 March 2016 

About the book:

When Russian federal agent Nikolai Aven starts investigating the affairs of Moscow tycoon, Marat Ivankov, he finds himself caught in a web of corruption involving the lethal Russian mafia and their powerful political friends. 
With the lives of his wife and daughter at stake, Nikolai turns to the only person he believes can help, US Embassy attaché, Jack Hartman. But this is Russia. Trust is a commodity that can be bought and sold and nothing is what it seems.
Driven by a primal resolve to protect his twelve year old daughter and exact revenge, Nikolai pursues his betrayers through the crazy, helter skelter world of the New Russia to the power bases of the United States, the thriving new frontier for Russian organised crime, in a life & death game he is determined to win.
A masterful thriller packed with intrigue, and well-drawn characters and set against the fascinating backdrop of modern-day Moscow and New York.

If you like political books, or mystery thrillers then you might like this one. Had me guessing about which characters were the good guys and which were the bad guys.

Watch the video for my full review:

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Excerpt: Skeletons in the Attic by Judy Penz Sheluk

Excerpt: Skeletons in the Attic by Judy Penz Sheluk

Title: Skeletons in the Attic

Author: Judy Penz Sheluk

About the book

What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.
Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?

Excerpt: Skeletons in the Attic by Judy Penz Sheluk


       Leith Hampton let out a theatrical courtroom sigh, well practiced but over the top for his audience of one. “You haven’t really been listening, have you, Calamity?”
I was forced to admit I had not, although he now had my undivided attention. Marketville was a commuter community about an hour north of Toronto, the sort of town where families with two kids, a collie, and a cat moved to looking for a bigger house, a better school, and soccer fields. It didn’t sound much like me, or my father.
“You’re saying my father owned a house in Marketville? I don’t understand. Why didn’t he live there?”
Leith shrugged. “It seems he couldn’t bear to part with it, and he couldn’t stand living in it. He’s been renting it out since 1986.”
The year my mother had left. I’d been six. I tried to remember a house in Marketville. Nothing came to mind. Even my memories of my mother were vague.
“The house has gone through some hard times, what with tenants coming and going over the years,” Leith continued. “I’ve done my best to manage the property for a modest monthly maintenance fee, but not living nearby…” He colored slightly and I wondered just how modest that fee had been. I glanced back at the photo of his vibrant young family and suspected such treasures did not come cheap. There was probably alimony for the other trophy wives as well. I decided to let it go. My father had trusted him. That had to be enough.
“So you’re saying I’ve inherited a fixer-upper.”
“I suppose you could put it that way, although your father had recently hired a company to make some basic improvements when the last tenant moved out.” He flipped through his notes in the folder. “Royce Contracting and Property Management. I gather the owner of the company, Royce Ashford, lives next door. But I’m not sure much, if anything, has been done to the house yet. Naturally all work would have stopped following your father’s death.”
“You said he wanted me to move into the house? When was he going to tell me?”
“I think the initial plan was that your father was going to move back in there. But of course now—”
“Now that he’s dead, you think he wanted me to move there?”
“Actually, it’s more than wanted, Calamity. It’s a provision of the will that you move into Sixteen Snapdragon Circle for a period of one year. After that time, you are free to do what you wish with it. Go back to renting it, continue to live there, or sell it.”
“And if I decide to sell it?”
“Homes in that area of Marketville typically sell quickly and for a decent price, certainly several times your parents’ original investment back in 1979. You’d have to put in some elbow grease, not to mention some basic renovations, but your father left you some money for that as well.”
“He had money set aside? Enough for renovations?” I thought about the shabby townhouse, the threadbare carpets, the flannel sheet covering holes in the fabric of the ancient olive green brocade sofa. I always thought my dad was frugal because he had to be. It never occurred to me he was squirreling away money to fix up a house I didn’t even know existed.
“About a hundred thousand dollars, although only half of that is allocated to renovation. The balance of fifty thousand would be paid to you in weekly installments while you lived there rent-free. Certainly enough for you to take a year off work and fulfill the other requirement.”
Fifty thousand dollars. Almost twice what I made in a single year at my call center job at the bank. Leaving there would definitely not be a hardship. And my month-to-month lease would be easy enough to break with thirty days notice. “What’s the other requirement?”
Leith leaned back in his chair and let out another one of his theatrical sighs. I got the impression he didn’t really approve of the condition.
“Your father wants you to find out who murdered your mother. And he believes the clues may be hidden in the Marketville house.”

About the author: 

Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series, was published in August 2016.
Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, Flash and Bang and Live Free or Tri.
Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Find Judy on her website/blog at www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she interviews other authors and blogs about the writing life.

Find Judy’s books on Amazon: amazon.com/author/judypenzsheluk

The Art Of Writing More Than One Book At A Time – Word Management

The Art Of Writing More Than One Book At A Time – Word Management, guest post by Bernadette Marie

Perhaps it’s just the way my mind works, but I find it hard to concentrate on one thing for a long period of time. Somehow, the time slips away, but the productivity wasn’t the best.

The Art Of Writing More Than One Book At A Time – Word Management, guest post by Bernadette Marie
I often have three books being written at one time—and by the grace of a good editor, they characters don’t overlap. Keeping my writing on track becomes a game of numbers and minutes.

Currently, I have three books going at the same time. One, of course, will have a release date coming quicker than the others. It’s the next book in my series. The others are companion books or a trilogy that I plan to release when all three books are done. So I start imposing some deadlines. I start with when I want the books done. How many days are there between now and then? My average word count is 55-65 thousand words. (I write contemporary series romance. I have 28 books. I know my style.) And simple math. How many words do I need each day?

I have three books being written, and each day the word count is met in a ten or twenty-minute window. Why? Because I’m looking at a few hundred words a day. A scene or two. Yes, I can crank out a book in two months easy. But when I break down a book by the day, I find that it’s not overwhelming, and usually, I write twice as many words than I set out to write.

You’ve heard the saying, “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time. Well, the same logic can be used when writing as well. Make it manageable, and it won’t overwhelm.

The Art Of Writing More Than One Book At A Time – Word Management, guest post by Bernadette Marie
Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it.

When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.

A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too. Bernadette Marie is also the CEO of Illumination Author Events.
Twitter: @writesromance


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Interview with Kathleen E. Stauffer

Interview with Kathleen E. Stauffer

What genre do you write and why?  

After thirty pages into my first book, writer’s block raised its gutsy head, and I somewhat facetiously said a prayer, Dear God, if I am to write a book, I’m going to need some help. “Help” came in interesting and unpredictable ways, and my genre was established: inspiration fiction--with a mix of suspense, psychological intrigue, a little humor, a little romance, and scripture.

Interview with Kathleen E. Stauffer
Tell us about your latest book.  

Do Not Be Deceived is the story of Cassandra Walwyn, a young child, who awakens in the middle of the night to watch her mother and older sister escape in an unfamiliar car. She is left a shattered soul, living with her abusive father in a dilapidated house at the edge of a small town where everyone seems to know everyone’s business. She awaits for their return as days stretch into weeks, then months, then years. Driven by loneliness, she grabs at every lifeline and eventually visits the only two buildings in her rural neighbourhood—the tumbledown shack across the road and a little country church beyond the brambles and bushes. Clinging fiercely to the God she barely knows, she weathers the storms of adolescence and struggles to sort out the good from the bad. As she enters adulthood, she begins to realize that her shame because of abandonment and abuse can be turned into something good for God.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 

Marketing and promoting are difficult for most authors, it seems, whether one publishes with a traditional company or publishes independently. I write a bi-weekly blog called Stauffer Thoughts and post it to facebook.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Most writers are pulled to write; it’s like a calling. I would also speculate that most good writers don’t necessarily choose their subject manner. Sometimes, this “message” is more radical than one they would personally choose it to be. Writing requires transparency whether the writer is telling his or her own story, someone else’s story, or making it all up. And even with the “making it all up,” a person needs a starting point, in that, there is always a cross between fiction and what is real.

So my point is, if you’re called to write, write! And, don’t give up when others criticize or question what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. It will take a while, but eventually, you will be comfortable telling people, “I’m a writer.”

What's the best thing about being a writer? 

If you have a lap top, you can write; if you have a pencil and paper, you can write. If you’re awake at night, you can run story starters through your head. And, on the really lucky nights when you cannot sleep, the plot you’ve been waiting to evolve, pops into your head. Eureka can happen at any time.
The best think about writing for me is that it fills the empty spaces during my retirement years. Can’t sleep? Write. Don’t want to clean the house? Write. And, also, and more importantly for me, because I write inspiration fiction, it enables me to be a witness for my faith in an Almighty God.

Interview with Kathleen E. Stauffer
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I write a bi-weekly blog (http://tinyurl.com/staufferthoughts) with links to amazon.com and barnes and noble sites where my books will pop up. Tate Publishing is establishing a website for me this month.

Who is you favourite character in your book and why?

Cassandra Walwyn, protagonist in Do Not Be Deceived, is my favorite character because in spite of everything that happened, she refused to give up. What happened to her (abuse and abandonment) didn’t kill her. Nor, did it allow her to be bitter or filled with hatred. Instead, it turned her into someone who rose above it all, someone who chose to forgive and love.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

I’ve received these comments about my book: “intense,” “I couldn’t put it down,” “it was hard for me to read it,” “…one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.”  If a reader likes suspense and psychological intrigue, she will like this book. I’ve also been told, “When I finished it. I started to read it, again.”

Who inspires you?

I read God’s Holy Scripture every morning. I could study His Word for the rest of my life and never get to the bottom of it. Depending on my circumstances, my attitude, and the fact that they vary on a daily basis, God’s Word speaks to me. There are hidden treasures, and if it is in scripture, it has something to say to me.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

My husband and I are fortunate, in that, during retirement we can spend more time with children and grandchildren and are able to travel as we choose. I enjoy the usual routines of a day without having to be rushed—whether it is baking a pie, taking care of outdoor flowers, biking, exercising, or reading a good book.

Book Showcase: The Wish Rider by Barbara Casey

Book Showcase: The Wish Rider by Barbara Casey

Book Details:

Title:  The Wish Rider (Book 2 of The F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey
Category:  YA Fiction, 160 pages
Publisher:  Gauthier Publications
Content Rating: PG-13

About the Book:

Seventeen-year-old Dara Roux and her two best friends, Mackenzie Yarborough and Jennifer Torres, the three collectively referred to as the F.I.G.'s (Females of Intellectual Genius) because each has an intelligence quotient in the genius range, have just returned from Frascati, Italy. It was there that their much loved teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, discovered that her birth parents were gypsies, and that she had a connection to the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world.

Now, with graduation from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women behind them, Dara asks her friends to help her locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. Relying on Dara’s gift for speaking and understanding foreign languages, the black and white images that stir musical cadences in Jennifer’s mind, and Mackenzie’s mathematical calculations that normally provide numerical solutions and answers to life’s most difficult questions, the determined young women tirelessly go from one address to another in search of Dara’s mother.

Their determination turns to desperation, however, as they encounter a dark hidden society more dangerous and terrifying than they could have imagined. It is there that
Dara hopes to find out why she was abandoned in a candy store all those years ago.

About the Author:  

​Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2014 Barbara became a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in true crime and other cutting-edge adult nonfiction.

​Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Connect with the author:  Website

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