Books/blogtour/fiction/crime fiction

What does it matter? Marine or Trucker? Legal or not?

Title: Yeager’s Law
Author: Scott Bell
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Abel Yeager is dead broke, down on his luck, and suffering from a serious case of what-the-hell-does-it-matter. His transition from active Marine to stateside long-haul trucker hit a wicked speed bump when his rig was involved in a wreck that claimed the life of a pregnant woman and laid him up for several months.

Back at work but deeply in debt, Yeager meets bookstore owner Charlie Buchanan in St. Louis and jumps at the chance to haul a load of remainder books to Austin for her. On the way south, a crew of truck thieves tracks his every move. But none of them know what Charlie’s ex has smuggled inside the book pallets, who he stole it from, or how far the owner will go to get it back. Charlie’s the first person Yeager has cared about in a long time, but as their bond deepens, so does the danger they’re in.

With enemy forces closing in, Yeager battles greed, corruption, and his own fatalism in a bid to hold true to Yeager’s First Law: come home at the end of the day.

Yeagers-Law-800 Cover reveal and Promotional


Author Bio:

Scott Bell has over 25 years of experience protecting the assets of retail companies. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice from North Texas State University.

With the kids grown and time on his hands, Scott turned back to his first love—writing. His short stories have been published in The Western OnlineCast of Wonders, and in the anthology, Desolation.

When he’s not writing, Scott is on the eternal quest to answer the question: What would John Wayne do?


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A feather in his cap: Yankee Dudel and Independence


Written in my heart’s own blood


Diana Gabaldon

I wait with patience now, for each and every book in this series, and each time, there is the worry that it might be the last.

Once again, have we come to end of the story. But not to worry, having been reading her website and blog and Facebook page, I am now assured that the 9th book is being written and that if you really want, you can get daily spoilers from the text. I did think about this but then thought maybe not so much, as if I get really interested in the spoilers and then have to wait another few years – it takes around 4 for her to write the full nine‐course meal with wine‐pairings and dessert trolley. Or full-length book. Then I might get rather frustrated!

All are safe again but – we never did find out the full story of the daughter and her husband travails before they finally reached home – is there a book in that I wonder? And will they become the next hero and heroine of the saga as time moves on and a new American history can be developed with them and their children now they are all well and all together? We shall see – read the daily spoilers if you can’t wait to find out!

And by, jove, aren’t they all very lusty right into middle age and beyond…never missing an opportunity for some hanky panky.

Now that I’ve got all that off my chest what did I think?

Well, it is always surprising to me, how Gabaldon manages to write a book of some 800 or more pages and yet we have only moved on a very few years in people’s lives. Her books are always chock-a-block with rich descriptions and intense language. Yet her academic background is not in literature as you might imagine but in Quantitative Behavioural Ecology (PhD) and scientific computing. Now take your prejudices out of your pocket and look at them again, as at the same time as she studied the reasons why birds build their nests where they do, she also wrote scripts for cartoons and comics. And for 12 years she was an academic professor before giving it all up to become an author about Scotland and Scottish people to which she had no affinity. Unlike so many Americans she has no Scottish roots at all and at the time of writing her first novel had not even been to Scotland once. Indeed she was born in Arizona and still lives there.

She admits to taking an amount of novelistic license with her ‘history’ of the American War of independence including some of the actions and whereabouts of General Sir Banastre Tarleton, 1st Baronet, GCB (21 August 1754 – 15 January 1833) who was a British soldier and politician; and who is probably best remembered for his military service during the American War of Independence. He became the focal point of a propaganda campaign claiming that his men had slaughtered surrendering Continental Army troops at the Battle of Waxhaws also known as the Waxhaw Massacre. His first name – Banastre – was in fact a family surname which was given to him as is often the case, in order to remember that side of the family. This is still quite a common practice in the USA where we do see a number of rather unusual first names used (especially for girls we British think).

He was hailed by the Loyalists and British as an outstanding leader of light cavalry and was praised for his tactical prowess and resolve, even against superior numbers. His green uniform was the standard of the British Legion, a provincial unit organised in New York in 1778. Tarleton was later elected a Member of Parliament for Liverpool and became a prominent Whig politician. Tarleton’s cavalrymen were frequently called ‘Tarleton’s Raiders’. All this of course from the trusty Wikipedia site plus some others. See the picture of tarleton below as painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Quite a dashing young man don’t you think? And look – a feather in his cap!


Now I did use my search engine quite a lot for this post as I so love it when people use unusual words. I have a bit of a thing about etymology…

So I started of course with looking at just what a ‘Dumpy’ chicken looked like dumpy chicken and then went on to actual language.

First on my hit list [I may well have missed some out that my readers are not sure of, but as I have read a lot of Victorian and historical literature I do know what a Macaroni is for instance – a dandy from Regency times in case you were wondering – and other terms which are not that common] was

  • Absquatulated. Now Gabaldon took a bit of a liberty with this one as apparently it didn’t come into common use until 1820/ 1830. It means to escape, flee or abscond. It is slang and is pseudo-latin.
  • Extravasation . Is to erupt, or an egress or passage out.
  • Peelywally. I was fairly sure I knew this as Scottish dialect but checked anyway and I was right – pale and sickly looking.
  • Cingulum . a belt or girdle. A cloth round the neck.
  • Banyan. A loose flannel undergarment from the Indies. OR a title of bravery. Take your pick on context.
  • Leporello. Nothing to do with lepers, but accordion or concertina pleated material.
  • Gorget. A piece of armour that protects the throat, later morphed into a crescent shaped piece of metal with a chain for officers to denote rank and regiment.

I also liked her use of the Scottish dialect and speech patterns and also the use of the Scottish spellings of words. One could really almost hear the characters speaking. Not having yet been able to see the TV series, I do hope they speak with a good broad accent!

I also checked on what type of drink Bunnahanhain was, I was fairly sure that it was whiskey and so it was, from Islay.

Now some of you may have already recognised Peleg if you read your and know your Bible, I don’t, but it appears that it means division as it was during his days that inhabitants of the earth were divide up between him and his brother. The sons of Eber.

I did also wonder what a trudging stream was, and couldn’t find any reference other than its use as trudging – being hard work to walk in and slow and difficult – we trudge when we are tired. So the stream was such a stream – one difficult and tiring to walk in.

Other words I checked on were: castrametation the laying out of an army camp; and yaupon holly which actually seems to mean tree tree – yaupon coming from the Catawban word for tree; and gigging which is practised in the Southern States – and is the use of a gig or 3 pronged pole to catch – yes – frogs usually.

So was this book all that I hoped it would be having waited to read it until I was on the Queen Mary (I had figured I needed something substantial to keep me from getting too bored as I knew I would be doing a lot of sitting around)? The short answer is yes. It was all that I hoped. Another 5 stars for Gabaldon. I guess more than anything it is her language that attracts me. The storyline is interesting of course, but that would only give it 3-4 stars. It is the language that makes it up to 5.

Oh and by the way, as I will write in my post about my visit to Boston I went on the Tea Party tour! So I know a little more about how the war started – sort of…


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What Concoctions do we make?

Title: Dangerous Concoctions
Series: A Curvy Assignments Novel (Book #2)
Author: Victoria Bright
Publisher: Entice Imprint
Publication Date: July 9th, 2015
Genre: Erotic Suspense

Mixing the past and present could have dangerous consequences…

I’ve always been a man of second chances, forgiving Arianna proved that. Sometimes, a second opportunity was all someone needed to do things right. I knew that better than anyone. Now that I had my girl back and business was prospering, things were finally falling into place. Little did I know, my newfound happiness wouldn’t last very long.

When a man responsible for my near demise resurfaces, my life is shaken up once again. What seemed like an innocent, harmless favor quickly turned out to be a malicious scheme that put my business, relationship, and freedom at risk.

With time running out, I race around the city piecing together the complicated puzzle I was a part of, only to come face to face with the men responsible. In this erotic suspense, will my past repeat itself in order to settle a score or am I doomed to take the fall for something I didn’t do?

 f78e5-6904186 dangerousConcoctionsEbook

Author Bio:

Victoria Bright is from a small town in North Carolina and currently resides in Greenville, South Carolina. She has been writing since she was in the eighth grade, starting with small short stories. As her classmates began showing interest in her work, she began to write longer stories, filling multiple spiral notebooks with her thoughts. During her freshman year in high school, her English teacher encouraged her to enter a writing contest in which she won local, region and state levels. She has entered many writing contests since and have won a few. Figuring out she had a passion to share stories with anyone who would listen, she set out to write her first book Love Unbroken.

Victoria is very versatile in the genre of books she likes to read. Her bookchoice mostly varies on her mood, but she is particularly interested in crime stories, romance, teen fiction, sci-fi, and is now venturing a little in paranormal fiction. As for her own writing, she doesn’t really put it into a category or genre. She just writes whatever is on her mind and lets it create itself!

Author Links:

Goodreads Facebook | Website


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Summer is a cumin in: Foxgloves, daisies and gillyflowers all

Foxglove Summer


Ben Aaronavitch

I gave this book 4* but more because of previous books as he seems to be out of his comfort zone in this one- London being that comfort zone – and this book is set in the countryside.

I would like to add to readers of this book that Ben is wrong is stating that Foxgloves like acid soil. They are happy in clay too, provided it is not too heavy. They like soil to be fairly moist with sun to light shade. See below our stately foxglove in our London garden!

In this book Peter Grant is drawn out into the country with Fae who are unicorns with nasty anger management issues. Unicorns are not always nice – even to virgins and you have to be really really pure of mind and body before they like you. Otherwise beware. Those horns are really sharp.

I was still confused even at the end of the book about the changelings – the girl returned had a bad temper and used glamour – how and why if she was the human? Is glamour something that can be learnt?

Why do the girls not just look alike but appear the same age – how did this happen? And what relationship is there between them?

I like the idea of the shadows of the world before – the wyld wood – and that the land of the fae is just a molecule away from our world.

Didn’t feel that this book was quite as good as previous – it didn’t seem as well thought out and as clear in the story-telling. Interestingly, my husband who is also a Ben Aaronvitch fan agreed with me – stay in London is our advice to Ben.

Foxglove in a London (clay) garden

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Fixed in Writing about Blood

Author Interview: T.E.Woods

The Justice Novels: Fixed in Blood

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

I’ve been interested in the notion of justice for a long time. When you think about it, is there really such a thing? If someone has wronged you, can you ever really be made whole? Surely you can be compensated or you can learn to forgive and forget. And certainly you can punish. But once someone has harmed you, you can never go back to that pre-harm moment, can you? You are forever changed.

My curiosity about the notion of justice led me to develop this series. I like the idea of a female avenger. We don’t see much of that…well, there’s Xena, Warrior Princess. I also liked the idea that Lydia is finding her own healing by providing whatever justice she can to others when no one was there for her when she needed it most. I also like the relationship between Mort and Lydia. There’s genuine love there…without the typical romantic side of it. Theirs is a different kind of love…but a love nonetheless.

I think my years as a clinical psychologist give me a unique perspective through which to view my characters. I’ve been told by many that they seem more fully developed than most characters in the murder mystery genre. It’s probably my trained-in tendency to go for the deep, underlying motives of behaviour that allows me to write my characters in what some view as a rich and layered way. Anyway, I hope the readers find it unique.

  1. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I don’t think about things very long at all, actually. If I think something’s a good idea, or if I have a thought as to how to move the plot along, I’ll start writing. I’ll let it develop as I write. There’s an organic side to writing that sounds odd, but really does happen. Once I start writing, the story and the characters lead me along to what should happen next. Now, this style of operation means a lot of words get edited out, but I’d rather capture my ramblings as they’re popping in my head than to overthink and self-edit before my fingers touch the keyboard. Besides, lots of things I’ve edited out wind up finding a place in another story, so the words aren’t really wasted.

Sometimes (often?) I get stuck. For that I use a whiteboard I have mounted to my office wall. I’ll diagram the scene and sit back and look at it…always hoping there’ll be some magical glowing arrow that will appear and tell me where to take the scene. So far, no luck with the magic neon. But if I stare at something long enough, the way out will emerge for me.

  1. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

I research as I go. If I get to a point where, say, I need an untraceable poison for my murderer to use, I’ll not research it beforehand. I’ll wait til I’m at the point in the scene and then I’ll look for the answer. Sometimes I’m researching when I’m not even planning to. I might walk into a restaurant or drive by a particularly steep cliff, and realize this would be great to use in a story. I’ll whip out my phone or my tablet, take a few pictures, jot a few notes, and file them away until my writing seems to find a place for them.

My day job (I’m a shrink, remember?) allows me work with incredibly brave people who are working hard to change their lives. I hear stories of abuse and abandonment; urges and obsessions; secrets and shames. It’s hard to un-ring that bell once their experiences have made their way into my awareness. While I would never duplicate a patient’s story in one of my books, I guess you could call my daily exposure to the glories and the darkness of the human condition a sort of research. I’m always amazed when a reader tells me “Oh, that was so entertaining, but of course something like that could never happen in real life”. I want to tell them that I’ve heard countless stories of experiences much more bizarre than the scene I wrote. But, of course, I can’t. But wait, didn’t I just?

  1. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

I use the internet incessantly. I tell my husband he’s only allowed to die of natural causes after a well-documented and easily explained illness. Should he perish suddenly and detectives pull the searches from my laptop? Let’s just say the cuffs would be on my wrists faster than butter on popcorn and I’d have some explaining to do. I also use my colleagues. My job has me interacting with social workers, physicians, police, crisis workers…any number of professionals one might imagine would be involved should there be murders or mayhem afoot. They’re quite generous in answering questions like “How does a regular person get in to see someone in prison?” or “Where would a person need to be cut so that they could bleed out in less than thirty seconds?” I also use Google Maps a lot. It’s amazing that I can be sitting in my home office in Madison, Wisconsin, decide Lydia is going to have dinner in some bistro on Whidbey Island, and with a few strokes of the keys learn not only the names of the streets she’d take to get there, but also how long it would take and how many miles she’d travel.  The last two books I’ve written have characters in the Russian Mob. I’m learning all about translator apps. I can type what I want my character to say using English, press “enter”, et voila, the Russian translation instantly appears.

  1. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

Like I said, I use my buddies. I’m lucky in that regard. The old cliché is true. Ask someone to start talking about themselves, especially if they love their work, and all you have to do is sit back and listen. I think professionals want authors to get it right, so they’re eager to help if you convince them you’re going to treat their profession respectfully. Sometimes they’ll ask that I use their name for one of my characters. I have no problem doing that. It’s interesting, though. I’ve not encountered one person who wanted me to use their name who asked that I use it for a character in their same profession! Everybody wants their name to be either the powerful millionaire or the bad guy. What’s that tell you about the kind of people I hang with?

  1. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

You know how people use grains of sand or stars in the sky to denote big numbers? Let me tell you, a new, probably more accurate, metaphor for gigantic numbers is how many times a writer gets rejected. My agent shopped the first book I wrote to every agent around…big, small, independent, corporate…you name it, she pitched it. So many houses “loved” it. Yet not one of them bought it. Fortunately, I have a bull dog of an agent. She told me to go write another book. I did. She started shopping it around. It took nearly two years and dozens of rejections before Random House bought it. So, if you’re a writer who’s reading this…don’t stop. Don’t give up. A “no” means nothing more than “Not this house, Not this time”. If your writing is strong and your story is good, (and if your agent is a bull dog) you’ll find a home for it.

  1. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

Yes. I think that’s a strategy more and more houses are using. Self-publishing has, in my opinion, become somewhat like the minor leagues for the major baseball franchises. If you self-publish and demonstrate you can build an audience and bring in the sales, a major house will be much more inclined to invest in you. But you’ll need to sell big numbers. I’m talking several tens of thousands of self-published books.

  1. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

I think first and foremost any writer should get an agent. Let your agent guide you. Let your agent become your champion. He/she knows the business, has the contacts, and knows who’s buying what. If, after your agent has tried his/her damnedest to sell your book and your agent tells you it’s a good book, then go ahead and self-publish. Build those numbers. Give your agent the ammunition he/she needs to go back to the houses that rejected you and convince them they missed an opportunity. Let your agent guide you. Let your agent guide you. Let your agent guide you. Then trust your agent. (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m crazed about my agent.)

  1. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Depends on how you want to live. This is my first series. I’ve got four books out now. That means I’ve got five units on the market: the four books and a boxed trilogy of the first three books. Random House pays me quarterly. I make enough money now to live a VERY simple existence. Did you notice the VERY was in capital letters? I’m hoping, of course, those royalty checks grow and someday I’ll be able to write full time. Nothing would please me more. I love the time I spend writing. I love the marketing. I love hearing from the readers. Alas, at this age and stage of my life, I’m not interested in living a VERY simple existence. I keep my day job. Blissfully, it’s a day job I love. I’m a very lucky woman.

  1. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

I enjoy book tours so much. It’s great to meet the readers and hear what they liked/disliked about the book. There are always funny stories, too. I guess two pop into mind as I think about your question. One is a woman at a signing. You could tell she was a serious reader…and she took her critique of what she reads very seriously. During the Q and A she stood up, nodded to me, and promptly turned to face the audience. She started off on the character of my detective. She went on and on about the symbolism and metaphor he represented. She equated him to various characters in other works ranging from Shakespeare to Voltaire to Hemmingway. At one point she dramatically announced “Even his name…Mort…speaks to the death that surrounds him.” Finally she sat down. I thanked her for her kindness and called on the next person. I simply didn’t have the heart to tell her I’m not that deep. Mort was named when, as I was conceptualizing the book, I sat my husband down and told him I needed a name for my detective. “It should be one syllable,” I said. “Strong and clean.” Without thinking he said “Mort”. And that was that. Of course, he was drinking a can of soda just before he answered. My Mort could have been nothing more than a simple belch.

Another funny thing that occurs to me happened at a book club. One of those “meet the author” kind of things. The group had read my first book (The Fixer) and invited me to come to their meeting. Now, I don’t write cozy mysteries.  At the book club this sweet lady, older by several decades than the other members of the group, waited patiently while the others asked me their questions or shared their comments. Finally this lovely lady raised her hand and said, “You use the fuck word a lot in that opening chapter. I’m not that used to reading the fuck word. I was happy to see the fuck word wasn’t used much throughout the rest of the book, but I was wondering why you felt the need to use the fuck word so often in that first chapter. Aren’t you afraid of turning people like me off?” As she was speaking I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. I respectfully apologized for any offense she felt and explained that my bad guys talk like bad guys. Like with the first story I told you, I didn’t have the heart to tell her most folks say “the f-word”. I mean, once you say “the fuck word”, you’ve pretty much let the cat out of the bag.

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