Monday, September 30, 2013

The Seventh Equinox - book trailer reveal

THE SEVENTH EQUINOX by Matthew Warner will debut on November 6th but the pre-order starts today and we're celebrating with the reveal of the book trailer:

“The best part of Warner’s easy-paced, almost pastoral tale is the friction between Bessie’s attraction to Robin, her longing to believe in magic, and her fear of trusting again—all of which run deep. This is a world-shattering crisis acted out in small scale, with a subtle appeal to romantic fantasy.”
Publishers Weekly
The Seventh Equinox

From the Back:
Her recent divorce left Bessie Henderson on guard against being exploited by any man. When she escapes to Augusta, Virginia, she’s captivated by the small town’s charm, but also its quirks: her intrusive elderly neighbor, the secret labyrinth of caverns beneath her Victorian house — and the man hiding from the law in her root cellar.
But Robin Goodfellow is not just a criminal. He’s a fertility demigod called the Hunter. He’s been injured, and he needs Bessie’s life force to survive. By the spring equinox, he must complete the grand Hunt, an ancient ritual of environmental renewal, or the planet will slowly die.

As the equinox nears, the couple must reconcile their growing feelings for each other. Bessie may not be ready to trust and give to another man, especially one who takes so much from her. And Robin must choose between love and duty — a duty that means life for the planet but death for himself.

About the Author:
Matthew Warner’s publishing credits span a variety of formats, although readers mostly know him through his horror novels and short stories. Dramatic works include films from Darkstone Entertainment based on his screenplays, plus a radio play and stage play premiered by theaters in central Virginia. Warner lives with his wife, the artist Deena Warner, and sons, Owen and Thomas. Readers can visit him at

Pre-order NOW for $2 off

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Time has Come

by Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

The Youghiogheny River
By george, I think I've got it.

If you've been following me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I've had random, episodic scenes coming to me for, oh, the last month or so. The story has, I think, finally come to together.

It is time to move Jim Duncan and Sally Castle from the world of short fiction to the novel. My main project for October will be plotting and writing the synopsis/summary for the first Laurel Highlands Mysteries novel, tentatively titled Every Other Monday is Murder.

I've been reading a lot of Don Maass as the lead-in to this project. Honestly, I feel a little intimidated. Who am I to think I can actually pull this off? But when you wake up with scenes for a story running through your head, well, it's a story begging to be written, right? And I get the feeling that this one is bigger than a short story.

So, here I go. Wish me luck. And check in at the end of October to ask if I'm done (if nothing else, knowing people will be checking up on me will keep me honest).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Random Updates

By Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

I had a lot of posts last week (well, a lot for me), so some random updates.

Wedding Bells: Hero's Sword Vol. 3 is with the publisher. I do not have a release date yet for this, but if I get one, you'll know. In the meantime, I am hard at work on Lightning Strike: Hero's Sword Vol 4.

I am so close to being able to share the cover of Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales, which is the short-story anthology that will be published by my Sisters in Crime chapter this December. It is so gorgeous; I think you'll think so too. My story in the anthology is part of The Laurel Highlands mysteries, and will be published under my crime fiction pen name, Liz Milliron. There are so many great authors in this anthology, you're going to want to get a copy. And we've decided to do a print edition as well, so those of you who don't read ebooks will be able to get in on the fun!

Speaking of The Laurel Highlands Mysteries, you may have noticed that summer has come and gone. I keep checking Mysterical-e, but they have not published the Spring/Summer 2013 issue yet. I'll keep checking.

And if you follow my Facebook page, you'll know that random scenes for a Laurel Highlands novel have been coming to me sporadically over the last month or so. I admit, it's a weird way to work on a novel. Usually my stories are much more linear. But the book finally has a working title, Every Other Monday is Murder, and a plot. So I expect to be spending more dedicated time on the first draft. Hmm, maybe I've found my NaNoWriMo project?

Anyway, keep watching this space for more updates. And if you want those updates delivered right to your email inbox, go ahead and sign-up to get the newsletter (that box, right up there on top of the right-hand column).

Image courtesy of Jim Kelly, used under Creative Commons

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Author Interview: Cheryl Carpinello

By Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

Young Knights of the Round Table Blog Tour Button

Today, I am excited to welcome author Cheryl Carpinello to the blog! Take it away, Cheryl!

1. What drew you to this story?

After writing Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, I wanted my next Arthurian Tale to appeal more to boys. With my emphasis on encouraging reluctant young readers, this made sense because boys are usually the ones not reading as much. However, the story is also definitely for girls. I also wanted to write more of an action/adventure story that incorporated what I call the cornerstones of Arthurian Legend: Honor, Loyalty, and Friendship. It’s also a story that I would have loved reading back when I was younger.

2. Do you find yourself coming back to certain themes? Why or why not, and what are they?

Coming from a teaching background, I’m aware of the need and struggle of kids of all ages to find out who they are, to determine what they are capable of achieving, and to discover how they fit into the world around them. In a sense, these are the themes that run through my stories. In Young Knights, the three protagonists face deadly challenges revolving around these themes. In Guinevere, she, at the tender age of 12, must find a way to come to terms with a future that has already been decided for her.

3. What’s the one thing you must have when you write?

Music. Music has always inspired me and carried me to other worlds. Sometimes it’s the lyrics, but more often it’s the tune. For my current WIP, I’m addicted to Mumford and Sons.

4. What three people, living or dead, would you most like to talk to and why?

On a world scale, at this point in my life, I would like to sit down with Zahi Hawass, former Secretary General of Egyptian Antiquities. He intimately knows all of Egypt’s ancient monuments, and his insights into the lives of the ancient Egyptian people and their pharaohs would be fascinating to hear.

For my craft of writing, I would like to visit with Aristotle. His Poetics forms the basics of writing even today, over 2500 years ago. Without his guidance, writing might look very different today.

On a personal level, it would be my parents who both passed from this world when I was in my early twenties. I would share all that has happened in my life, what I’ve learned and experienced, and my successes and my failures.

5. If your book was made into a movie, who would write the soundtrack?

I love the soundtrack of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, so I would have to say Howard Shore.

6. What’s up next for you?

I’m working on the second draft of my next story which will be for upper MG and YA readers. My scene shifts from Medieval Times to Ancient Egypt and the time of the Pharaohs. In it, the protagonist teams up with an famous pharaoh in a search for a lost queen and a quest for honor. Similar to the concept behind Young Knights, this story takes readers on a search for self and also holds some surprises!

About the Book

The King's Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello Title: Young Knights of the Round Table: The King's Ransom

Author: Cheryl Carpinello

Publication Date (Kindle): May, 2012

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

Number of pages: 84

Recommended age: 9+

Summary (Amazon):
In medieval Wales, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith's apprentice Bryan are brought together in friendship by one they call the Wild Man. When an advisor to the king is killed and a jewelled medallion is stolen from the king’s treasury, the Wild Man is accused of the theft and murder. Filled with disbelief at the arrest of the Wild Man, the three friends embark upon a knight’s quest to save their friend’s life. To succeed, the three must confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all. Join Gavin, Philip, and Bryan on their quest and share the adventures that await them in the land of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.


Amazon * Muse it Up * Barnes and Noble

The Buzz

"The King's Ransom is a fast-moving story, a tale of knights and castles and villains. As Gavin, Phillip, and Bryan set about to save their friend, the reader is brought vividly into the medieval world of King Arthur. There is just the right balance of action and character development to entice young readers and reluctant readers to pick this book up, as was the author's intent. I recommend it to all middle grade readers." ~ Laurie C., Amazon, 5 Stars
"The adventures these future Young Knights of the Round Table experience in their quest to save their friend are filled with the fantasy and adventure story elements that children love to read. There's a villain, secret passages in castles, swordplay, and even a witch. And with King Arthur's appearance, astonishing secret identities being revealed, and a happy ending, what more could anyone want in a good read?" ~ Tyler T., Amazon, 5 Stars
"This was a great book! I liked all of the action and excitement in it. Ms. Carpinello wrote this book really well and it was very appropriate for kids even though it deals with fighting and a wrongfully accused person. Ms. Carpinello described the time period really well, I felt like I was a knight in medieval times! I really love that the story features a bit of King Arthur legends in it! The ending had a couple fo great twists that had me totally surprised!." ~ Erik @ This Kid Reviews Books, 5 Stars.


2013 EVVY Finalist and EVVY Merit Award for Juvenile/Young Adult from Colorado Independent Publishers Assoc.
2013 Ariana Cover Finalist
2012 Silver Award Recipient for YA Fiction from Children's Literary Classics and the CLC's 2012 Seal of Approval.
2012 Finalist E-Book Children from USA 2012 Best Book Awards

About the Author: Cheryl Carpinello

Cheryl Carpinello, Author
Cheryl Carpinello
Although a retired teacher, Cheryl Carpinello still has a passion for working with kids. She regularly conducts Medieval Writing Workshops for local elementary/middle schools and the Colorado Girl Scouts. She is not the only one who loves Medieval Times and the King Arthur Legend. The kids thoroughly enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns and knights!

She loves to travel and her other job is with a major airline. Her favorite trip was a two week visit to Egypt with her husband that included traveling by local train from one end of Egypt to the other. Some of her favorite books include The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King, and any by the duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Author Site:

Author Blog:

Facebook page: Author Cheryl Carpinello

Goodreads author page: Cheryl Carpinello

Twitter: @CCarpinello

Google+: Cheryl Carpinello

Young Knights of the Round Table Blog Tour Schedule (2013)

September 9
September 10
September 11
September 12
September 13
September 14
September 15
September 16
September 17
September 18
September 19
September 20
September 21
September 22
September 23
September 24
September 25
September 26
September 27
September 28
September 29
September 30

*** Young Knights of the Round Table Blog Tour Giveaway ***

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash

Contest runs: September 9 to October 6, 11:59 pm, 2013

Open: WW

How to enter: Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. If you have any additional questions - feel free to contact Renee at Mother Daughter Book Reviews.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Guest Post: Kate Voss's Top 5 Detectives

This special guest post is from Kate Voss. She's talking about her Top 5 detectives, leading up to the upcoming movie based on the classic Encyclopedia Brown series. Take it away Kate!

Top Five Detectives in Literary History

Nothing compares to jumping into an alternate reality, being presented with a string of clues, and then being left to wonder how to solve a mystery. The pure wonderment and complex solutions that mystery novels allow readers to experience is the reason they are my favorite genre.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the popular Encyclopedia Brown detective series, I have created a list of the best fictional sleuths in literature, from the bumbling and obese Nero Wolfe, to the feminine and feisty Nancy Drew.

5. Nero Wolfe, by Rex Stout

An armchair detective, a more extreme version of the infamous Sherlock Holmes, Wolfe solves crimes from the comfort of his home by reading the newspaper and listening to verbal accounts but never actually visiting the crime scene. Introduced in 1934 by Stout, the series features Wolfe’s sidekick Archie Goodwin, who is the street-smart narrator and manages the investigations outside of the brownstone that Wolfe refuses to leave. Wolfe is an eccentric, and quite large (estimated to be around 350 pounds), homebody who has the evidence for each case brought to his doorstep. Nero Wolfe was made into a television series called A Nero Wolfe Mystery by A&E in 2001, and starred Maury Chaykin as Nero and Timothy Hutton as Archie.

Favorite Story: “The League of Frightened Men,” 1935
Trademark: arrogant, hefty recluse with a strict schedule

C. Auguste Dupin, by Edgar Allen Poe

The clever Dupin was first introduced in 1841 in Poe’s story The Murders in the Rue Morgue, which is widely considered to the first-ever detective story. Apparently, Poe wrote these stories before the word “detective” was ever coined, and the Dupin character helped create the foundation for future detective novels to come. Dupin solved crimes by using his imagination and putting himself in the shoes of the criminal -- “If I were a criminal, what would I do?” Poe dubbed this type of thinking as “ratiocination.”

Dupin also has a narrator wingman, but is his name is never revealed within the three stories. Dupin is an eccentric, nocturnal observer who uses his senses to help the police solve crimes. The Murders in the Rue Morgue inspired one of the crimes in the 2012 film "The Raven," starring John Cusack.

Favorite story: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” 1841
Trademark: “Ratiocination”-- thinking like the criminal

3. Nancy Drew, by Carolyn Keene

The books Keene wrote about amateur detective Nancy Drew were some of the first popular detective stories to employ the skills of a female sleuth. I remember reading The Hidden Staircase when I was 9 years old and being wowed by Nancy’s wit and young age. Using the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene, many authors contributed to this series (to the horror of us Carolyn Keene diehards). In the original version, Nancy is an independent 16-year-old high school graduate who stumbles upon crimes (sometimes originating from her lawyer father’s cases).

The young Nancy Drew, who was introduced in 1930, has become a cultural icon-- the books have sold over 80 million copies, have been translated into over 45 languages, and have been adapted into five big screen flicks (one starring Emma Roberts), and two television series.

Favorite story: “The Hidden Staircase,” 1930
Trademark: feisty young prodigy

2. Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sherlock Holmes character has been reworked and crafted again and again as the years go by to resemble a more contemporary version of this popular sleuth. Many consider Sherlock Holmes to be the king of detection, the face of observation. Originally created in 1887, Sherlock Holmes is a consulting detective who has astounding observation skills. He can use abductive reasoning to solve any crime. Holmes, and his crime-solving friend and partner Dr. Watson, appear in four novels and 56 short stories. The Sherlock character has been made into many TV series and big screen flicks, including BBC One’s Sherlock, Elementary, and the 2009 film "Sherlock Holmes" starring Robert Downey Jr.

Favorite stories: “A Study in Scarlet,” 1887
Trademark: extraordinary knowledge, logical reasoning and attention to detail

1. Encyclopedia Brown, by Donald J. Sobol

Encyclopedia Brown is a children series created 50 years ago, featuring the brilliant boy detective, Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, who knows just about everything. This series is unique in that it lets the readers decide the fate of each story, and then provides the answer to the mystery in the back of the book. It is sort of a “create your own adventure” style of reading.

Each story in the series begins with the same formula - Brown solving a case at the dinner table for his father, the local police chief in the fictional town of Idaville, by briefly closing his eyes, thinking deeply, and then asking one single question which directly leads to him finding the solution. His enemy in most stories is the town bully, Bugs Meany, and his sidekick is Sally Kimball. The series was adapted for television in 1989 in the HBO series Encyclopedia Brown, and is soon to be made into a feature film by Warner Bros.

Favorite story: The Case of the Kidnapped Pigs from “Encyclopedia Brown Saves the Day,” 1970
Trademark: closing his eyes and thinking deeply

Author Bio: Kate Voss is an entertainment writer for Kate lives and works in the windy city. She is an avid reader of detective novels and her favorite TV show is BBC’s witty series, Sherlock.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Long and Winding Road

By Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

Note: I'm going to try to avoid spoilers. But if you are a regular watcher of "Waking the Dead" or "Longmire," and are not up-to-date on your viewing, you might want to catch up and come back later. Or not. But don't say I didn't warn you.

One of the staples of fiction is the concept of the "twist" and "turn." These are the little things that happen in a story to make the reader go "Wow!" Often times they take the story in a different direction, or reveal something to the reader.

And while all fiction makes use of these techniques, twists and turns are especially important in crime fiction, where part of the goal is to keep the reader guessing, glued to the page, wondering what comes next. If you think about it, one of the most common accolades given to "good" mysteries is "It kept me guessing until the very end!"

But, as with everything else, there are rules surrounding this device. The most important of them is this: don't cheat. And what I mean by that is the reader has to have a fighting chance of figuring it out. The author needs to spread enough evidence, and drop enough clues, that the reader could (in theory, anyway) figure out "whodunnit." (A lot of Agatha Christie detractors, by the way, accuse her of cheating frequently. I happen to disagree, but I digress.)

The rule applies to books and film/TV. And, recently, I saw two examples, one of which I thought was done well, one which, well, wasn't.

First, the example of how not to do a plot twist. While on vacation, I watched an episode of "Waking the Dead," a show that my father recommended highly, and a lot of my friends said they have enjoyed. It was, as is common with the show, in two parts. Okay, fine. The first half hung together well, although it was a lot of psychological stuff that got a bit tedious. But at least at the end of the first episode, I was engaged enough to want to plow on.

And everything was fine, for a while. I picked up on the odd behavior of the victim's daughter. I knew something was going on with her, something she was holding back that was pertinent to the investigation. But then bam! out of nowhere, the murderer is revealed and I was left shaking my head. "Did you see that coming? Was there anything in the last episode that would have drawn your attention to her?" I asked. My dad shook his head. "Nope, not a clue. Totally surprised."

Surprise = good. Out of nowhere? That, my friends, is cheating.

Now contrast that with the Season 2 finale of "Longmire." If you've been watching the show, you know that Walt's wife did not die of cancer, she was murdered by a drug addict in Denver. You know Walt went to Denver, probably for revenge. You know Henry followed him and is also involved (you know this through flashbacks, as well as Henry's conversation with an old Indian woman who tended to Walt's wounds). Clearly, Henry had something to do with this death, and if Walt wasn't actively involved, he at least knew about it. Fine.

Season finale. Walt arrests an Indian for charges of assault against a third party (not involved in the Denver murder story line). Henry says, "You have to let him go." And it turns out, Henry had engaged this man to travel to Denver to take out "justice" on Walt's wife's murderer. He assumes, and perhaps can be forgiven for this, that the addict died as a result of that justice. And bam! the guy says, "I did not kill him. It is not for me to decide who lives and who dies." He did knock out the guy's teeth, which he gave to Henry. The Denver police find those teeth in Henry's bar and arrest him. But (duh-duh-duh) as shocking as that is, we (the audience) know that all is not as it seems.

How? Well, first, there's the statement of the Indian. But more than that, there's a conversation between Walt and Cady. The addict had $700. But Walt and Cady know - Walt's wife wouldn't have had more than $50 in her purse. So where did the rest of the money come from? Something is not right here.

Plot twist? Yes. Unexpected? Yes. Cheating? I don't think so. We had enough clues to know Henry (and by association, Walt) was involved somehow, which is true. Assumptions were made. Those assumptions were wrong. But that one conversation, lasting only a few minutes, also tells us there is more here. And so, the season cliffhanger (Henry being led out in cuffs), sets up next season. Can Walt find his wife's killer and save his friend? (I really hope so.)

That, my friends, is the way to do a twist. Looking back, the clues were there. We could follow them. We just needed to be observant. And, after all, the misleading clue (known as "misdirection") is another staple in crime fiction.

So there you have it. The right way and the wrong way. The next time you read or see something and feel "cheated," ask yourself: Did the author/writer leave enough clues that I could have figured it out had I been paying attention?

What about you? Have you ever read, or seen, something and felt the writer cheated? Why?

Road image courtesy of Flavijus; used under creative commons. Waking the Dead and Longmire icons copyrighted by their respective creators.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It's Not Too Late

By Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

The start of the school year always puts me in a reflective mood. And here's what I'm reflecting on this morning.

Yesterday, Diana Nyad completed a historic swim from Cuba to Florida - at the age of 64.

One of my favorite authors, Hank Phillppi Ryan, is set to release another book next week, the follow up to her wildly successful novel The Other Woman. She published her first book at 55.

I turn 40 next week. I used to think that I was behind the eight ball - that I'd wasted so many years. But looking at these women, I now know the truth.

I'm not behind at all. I'm 15 to 20 years ahead of the curve.

Dream big.

PS: Read a flash fiction story "Twins" by Liz Milliron (my crime fiction alter ego) in this month's issue of

Image of Diana Nyda courtesy of Banned Network. Image of Hank Philippi Ryan courtesy of Lucius Beebe Memorial Library. Both used under Creative Commons.