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CAT Magazine

Promo Tour & Giveaway: Untimed by Andy Gavin (YA Time Travel)

by Andy Gavin

Genre YA Time Travel Adventure/Romance

Publisher Mascherato Publishing
Release Date December 18, 2012

Book Description:

Untimed is an action-packed time travel novel by Andy Gavin, author of The Darkening Dream and creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.

Charlie's the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can't remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don't take him seriously. Still, this isn't all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there's this girl... Yvaine... another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine's got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history -- like accidentally let the founding father be killed -- they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.

Excerpt: Chapter One "Untamed"

UNTIMED by Andy Gavin Illustrations by Dave Phillips Advance Review First Chapter Cover Art Not Final Formatting Not Final Illustration Formatting Not Final © 2011-2012, Andy Gavin. All rights reserved. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. MASCHERATO PUBLISHING PO Box 1550 Pacific Palisades, Ca, 90272 Copyright © Andy Gavin 2012 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. MS version: 3.20a 75,300 words, November 19, 2012, 1:19:29 PM PST Cover Photo-Illustration copyright © Cliff Nielsen 2012 Interior Illustrations copyright © Dave Phillips 2012 E-book ISBN 978-1-937945-05-3 Hardcover ISBN 978-1-937945-03-9 Trade Paperback ISBN 978-1-937945-04-6 Chapter One: Ignored Philadelphia, Autumn, 2010 and Winter, 2011 My mother loves me and all, it’s just that she can’t remember my name. “Call him Charlie,” is written on yellow Post-its all over our house. “Just a family joke,” Mom tells the rare friend who drops by and bothers to inquire. But it isn’t funny. And those house guests are more likely to notice the neon paper squares than they are me. “He’s getting so tall. What was his name again?” I always remind them. Not that it helps. Only Dad remembers, and Aunt Sophie, but they’re gone more often than not — months at a stretch. This time, when my dad returns he brings a ginormous stack of history books. “Read these.” The muted bulbs in the living room sharpen the shadows on his pale face, making him stand out like a cartoon in a live-action film. “You have to keep your facts straight.” I peruse the titles: Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Asprey’s The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, Ben Franklin’s Autobiography. Just three among many. “Listen to him, Charlie,” Aunt Sophie says. “You’ll be glad you did.” She brushes out her shining tresses. Dad’s sister always has a glow about her. “Where’d you go this time?” I say. Dad’s supposed to be this hotshot political historian. He reads and writes a lot, but I’ve never seen his name in print. “The Middle East.” Aunt Sophie’s more specific than usual. Dad frowns. “We dropped in on someone important.” When he says dropped in, I imagine Sophie dressed like Lara Croft, parachuting into Baghdad. “Is that where you got the new scar?” A pink welt snakes from the bridge of her nose to the corner of her mouth. She looks older than I remember — they both do. “An argument with a rival… researcher.” My aunt winds the old mantel clock, the one that belonged to her mom, my grandmother. Then tosses the key to my dad, who fumbles and drops it. “You need to tell him soon,” she says. Tell me what? I hate this. Dad looks away. “We’ll come back for his birthday.” * * * While Dad and Sophie unpack, Mom helps me carry the dusty books to my room. “Time isn’t right for either of you yet,” she says. Whatever that means. I snag the thinnest volume and hop onto my bed to read. Not much else to do since I don’t have friends and school makes me feel even more the ghost. * * * Mrs. Pinkle, my ninth-grade homeroom teacher, pauses on my name during roll call. Like she does every morning. “Charlie Horologe,” she says, squinting at the laminated chart, then at me, as if seeing both for the first time. “Here.” On the bright side, I always get B’s no matter what I write on the paper. In Earth Science, the teacher describes a primitive battery built from a glass of salt water covered in tin foil. She calls it a Leyden jar. I already know about them from Ben Franklin’s autobiography — he used one to kill and cook a turkey, which I doubt would fly with the school board. The teacher beats the topic to death, so I practice note-taking in the cipher Dad taught me over the weekend. He shows me all sorts of cool things — when he’s around. The system’s simple, just twenty-six made-up letters to replace the regular ones. Nobody else knows them. I write in highlighter and outline in red, which makes the page look like some punk wizard’s spell book. My science notes devolve into a story about how the blonde in the front row invites me to help her with her homework. At her house. In her bedroom. With her parents out of town. Good thing it’s in cipher. After school is practice, and that’s better. With my slight build and long legs, I’m good at track and field — not that the rest of the team notices. A more observant coach might call me a well-rounded athlete. The pole vault is my favorite, and only one other kid can even do it right. Last month at the Pennsylvania state regionals, I cleared 16’ 4”, which for my age is like world class. Davy — that’s the other guy — managed just 14’ 8”. And won. As if I never ran that track, planted the pole in the box, and threw myself over the bar. The judges were looking somewhere else? Or maybe their score sheets blew away in the wind. I’m used to it. * * * Dad is nothing if not scheduled. He and Sophie visit twice a year, two weeks in October, and two weeks in January for my birthday. But after my aunt’s little aside, I don’t know if I can wait three months for the big reveal, whatever it is. So I catch them in his study. “Dad, why don’t you just tell me?” He looks up from his cheesesteak and the book he’s reading — small, with only a few shiny metallic pages. I haven’t seen it before, which is strange, since I comb through all his worldly possessions whenever he’s away. “I’m old enough to handle it.” I sound brave, but even Mom never looks him in the eye. And he’s never home — it’s not like I have practice at this. My stomach twists. I might not like what he has to say. “Man is not God.” One of his favorite expressions, but what the hell is it supposed to mean? “Fink.” For some reason Aunt Sophie always calls him that. “Show him the pages.” He sighs and gathers up the weird metallic book. “This is between the three of us. No need to stress your mother.” What about stressing me? He stares at some imaginary point on the ceiling, like he always does when he lectures. “Our family has—” The front doorbell rings. His gaze snaps down, his mouth snaps shut. Out in the hall, I hear my mom answer, then men’s voices. “Charlie,” Dad says, “go see who it is.” “But—” “Close the door behind you.” * * * I stomp down the hall. Mom is talking to the police. Two cops and a guy in a suit. “Ma’am,” Uniform with Mustache says, “is your husband home?” “May I help you?” she asks. “We have a warrant.” He fumbles in his jacket and hands her an official-looking paper. “This is for John Doe,” she tells him. The cop turns to the man in the suit, deep blue, with a matching bowler hat like some guy on PBS. The dude even carries a cane — not the old-lady-with-a-limp type, more stroll-in-the-park. Blue Suit — a detective? — tilts forward to whisper in the cop’s ear. I can’t hear anything but I notice his outfit is crisp. Every seam stands out bright and clear. Everything else about him too. “We need to speak to your husband,” the uniformed cop says. I mentally kick myself for not ambushing Dad an hour earlier. Eventually, the police tire of the runaround and shove past me as if I don’t exist. I tag along to watch them search the house. When they reach the study, Dad and Sophie are gone. The window’s closed and bolted from the inside. All the other rooms are empty too, but this doesn’t stop them from slitting every sofa cushion and uncovering my box of secret DVDs. * * * Mom and I don’t talk about Dad’s hasty departure, but I do hear her call the police and ask about the warrant. They have no idea who she’s talking about. Yesterday, I thought Dad was about to deliver the Your mother and I have grown apart speech. Now I’m thinking more along the lines of secret agent or international kingpin. But the months crawl by, business as usual, until my birthday comes and goes without any answers — or the promised visit from Dad. I try not to let on that it bothers me. He’s never missed my birthday, but then, the cops never came before, either. Mom and I celebrate with cupcakes. Mine is jammed with sixteen candles, one extra for good luck. I pry up the wrapping paper from the corner of her present. “It’s customary to blow out the candles first,” Mom says. “More a guideline than a rule,” I say. “Call it advanced reconnaissance.” That’s a phrase I picked up from Sophie. Mom does a dorky eye roll, but I get the present open and find she did well by me, the latest iPhone — even if she skimped on the gigabytes. I use it to take two photos of her and then, holding it out, one of us together. She smiles and pats my hand. “This way, when you’re out on a date you can check in.” I’m thinking more about surfing the web during class. “Mom, girls never notice me.” “How about Michelle next door? She’s cute.” Mom’s right about the cute. We live in a duplex, an old house her family bought like a hundred years ago. Our tenants, the Montags, rent the other half, and we’ve celebrated every Fourth of July together as long as I can remember. “Girls don’t pay attention to me.” Sometimes paraphrasing helps Mom understand. “All teenage boys say that — your father certainly did.” My throat tightens. “There’s a father-son track event this week.” A month ago, I went into orbit when I discovered it fell during Dad’s visit, but now it’s just a major bummer — and a pending embarrassment. She kisses me on the forehead. “He’ll be here if he can, honey. And if not, I’ll race. You don’t get your speed from his side of the family.” True enough. She was a college tennis champ and he’s a flat-foot who likes foie gras. But still. * * * Our history class takes a field trip to Independence Park, where the teacher prattles on in front of the Liberty Bell. I’ve probably read more about it than she has. Michelle is standing nearby with a girlfriend. The other day I tapped out a script on my phone — using our family cipher — complete with her possible responses to my asking her out. Maybe Mom’s right. I slide over. “Hey, Michelle, I’m really looking forward to next Fourth of July.” “It’s January.” She has a lot of eyeliner on, which would look pretty sexy if she wasn’t glaring at me. “Do I know you from somewhere?” That wasn’t in my script. I drift away. Being forgettable has advantages. I tighten the laces on my trainers then flop a leg up on the fence to stretch. Soon as I’m loose enough, I sprint up the park toward the red brick hulk of Independence Hall. The teachers will notice the headcount is one short but of course they’ll have trouble figuring out who’s missing. And while a bunch of cops are lounging about — national historic landmark and all — even if one stops me, he won’t remember my name long enough to write up a ticket. The sky gleams with that cloudless blue that sometimes graces Philly. The air is crisp and smells of wood smoke. I consider lapping the building. Then I notice the man exiting the hall. He glides out the white-painted door behind someone else and seesaws down the steps to the slate courtyard. He wears a deep blue suit and a matching bowler hat. His stride is rapid and he taps his walking stick against the pavement like clockwork. The police detective. I shift into a jog and follow him down the block toward the river. I don’t think he sees me, but he has this peculiar way of looking around, pivoting his head side to side as he goes. It’s hard to explain what makes him different. His motions are stiff but he cuts through space without apparent effort. Despite the dull navy outfit, he looks sharper than the rest of the world, more in focus. Like Dad and Sophie. The man turns left at Chestnut and Third, and I follow him into Franklin Court. He stops inside the skeleton of Ben Franklin’s missing house. Some idiots tore it down two hundred years ago, but for the bicentennial the city erected a steel ‘ghost house’ to replace it. I tuck myself behind one of the big white girders and watch. The man unbuttons his suit and winds himself. Yes, that’s right. He winds himself. Like a clock. There’s no shirt under his jacket — just clockwork guts, spinning gears, and whirling cogs. There’s even a rocking pendulum. He takes a T-shaped key from his pocket, sticks it in his torso, and cranks. Hardly police standard procedure. Clueless tourists pass him without so much as a sideways glance. And I always assumed the going unnoticed thing was just me. He stops winding and scans the courtyard, calibrating his head on first one point then another while his finger spins brass dials on his chest. I watch, almost afraid to breathe. CHIME. The man rings, a deep brassy sound — not unlike Grandmom’s old mantel clock. I must have gasped, because he looks at me, his head ratcheting around 270 degrees until our eyes lock. Glass eyes. Glass eyes set in a face of carved ivory. His mouth opens and the ivory mask that is his face parts along his jaw line to reveal more cogs. CHIME. The sound reverberates through the empty bones of Franklin Court. He takes his cane from under his arm and draws a blade from it as a stage-magician might a handkerchief. CHIME. He raises the thin line of steel and glides in my direction. CHIME. Heart beating like a rabbit’s, I scuttle across the cobblestones and fling myself over a low brick wall. CHIME. His walking-stick-cum-sword strikes against the brick and throws sparks. He’s so close I hear his clockwork innards ticking, a tiny metallic tinkle. CHIME. I roll away from the wall and spring to my feet. He bounds over in pursuit. CHIME. I backpedal. I could run faster if I turned around, but a stab in the back isn’t high on my wishlist. CHIME. He strides toward me, one hand on his hip, the other slices the air with his rapier. An older couple shuffles by and glances his way, but apparently they don’t see what I see. CHIME. I stumble over a rock, snatch it up, and hurl it at him. Thanks to shot put practice, it strikes him full in the face, stopping him cold. CHIME. He tilts his head from side to side. I see a thin crack in his ivory mask, but otherwise he seems unharmed. CHIME. I dance to the side, eying the pavement, find another rock and grab it. CHIME. We stand our ground, he with his sword and me with my stone. “Your move, Timex!” I hope I sound braver than I feel. CHIME. Beneath the clockwork man, a hole opens. The manhole-sized circle in the cobblestones seethes and boils, spilling pale light up into the world. He stands above it, legs spread, toes on the pavement, heels dipping into nothingness. The sun dims in the sky. Like an eclipse — still visible, just not as bright. My heart threatens to break through my ribs, but I inch closer. The mechanical man brings his legs together and drops into the hole. The seething boiling hole. I step forward and look down…. Into a whirlpool that could eat the Titanic for breakfast. But there’s no water, only a swirling tube made of a million pulverized galaxies. Not that my eyes can really latch onto anything inside, except for the man. His crisp dark form shrinks into faraway brightness. Is this where Dad goes when he drops in on someone? Is the clockwork dude his rival researcher? The sun brightens, and as it does, the hole starts to contract. Sharp edges of pavement eat into it, closing fast. I can’t let him get away. Somehow we’re all connected. Me, the mechanical man, Sophie, and Dad. I take a step forward and let myself fall.

About The Author:

Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.

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Promotional Book Tour & Giveaway - The Crimson Key by Wes Dodd

The Crimson Key
by Wes Dodd

Wes Dodd was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1958, currently residing in Southside Virginia. He has two daughters and three grandchildren. Within the last couple years he has discovered a passion for creating and breathing life into great stories. He has published three novels: The Crimson Key, a mystery, The Secret Guardian, fantasy and Saving Faith, a romantic thriller.

The Crimson Key
Publisher: Outskirt Press
Release Date: July 2012

Book Description:

David Paige, a young detective from Charleston, S.C., is about to embark on an investigation of a lifetime—his own. After an unexpected tragedy shatters his perfect world, he discovers that his mother had been keeping a life-long secret from him, revealing that he is not who he believed he was. With no family member to turn to, David has to rely on his detective skills and a mysterious item left to him from his mother—a crimson-colored key.

The search for the truth takes David to New York City, where he runs head on into lies, deception and murder, all in an attempt to cover up a string of dreadful crimes. Then if this is not enough to deal with, he falls for the daughter of a prominent man, both sharing an undeniable attraction—which complicates his life even further.

It isn’t until a near-death experience, and help from his mother through several frightening nightmares, that the pieces of the puzzle finally begin to come together. The Crimson Key ultimately unveils many secrets, surprising many people including David—opening his eyes and heart as well.

Chapter 1

On a dark mid-November night in 1986, rain fell hard from the black sky above, rain bitterly cold like liquid ice. The fierce wind whipped it in sheets, punishing anything in its path. On the outskirts of Philadelphia in a suburban neighborhood, a fiery red Z28 slowly pulled to a curb in front of a small three-bedroom, single-story brick house. The driver, a distraught young woman, slowly leaned forward, resting her head on the leather-covered steering wheel. She cried uncontrollably. A few minutes passed before she finally reached up and turned off the ignition, silencing the motor and radio just as Michael Jackson’s Thriller was ending. She sat up straight once again, wiping her face in an attempt to regain her composure for the clandestine mission ahead of her. She cast a pair of glassy eyes to her right, drawn to a small basket much like a picnic basket in the dark leather seat beside her. While she gazed relentlessly at the basket, she realized once again that she had made the right decision.

Alice Paige rose up in her bed, awakened by a pounding on her door. She peered at the clock—1:07 a.m. She carefully placed her book on the nightstand, the book she was reading when she drifted off. “Who is at my door at one in the morning?” she thought to herself as she slipped on her heavy brown robe. Reaching the front door, she pulled the curtain back carefully, just enough to peek outside. Though the front was dimly lit and the rain poured down, she instantly recognized the figure that stood on her front stoop. The long blonde hair and familiar curvatures of her slender face could be but one person. Alice slowly opened the door and invited her twin sister, Amber, inside.

Alice and Amber were identical twins at birth, though now complete opposites in many ways. Alice had light ash brown hair that she kept very short. She never wore makeup and was considered plain-looking and ordinary in her ways. Amber, on the other hand, was gifted with rare beauty and a voluptuous figure. She did very well in beauty pageants and at age eighteen went off to New York City in pursuit of a modeling career. Alice remained hidden in her shadow.

Amber entered slowly, carrying an odd-looking basket covered entirely with a blue blanket, wet from the rain. She tugged a large suitcase on wheels that seemed to be very heavy. She sat the basket down gingerly, as if what lay hidden within might be fragile. Amber then fell into her sister’s arms, releasing a flood of emotions. She hugged Alice tightly, clinging firmly to her as if hanging on for dear life.   

Black Eyed Pea Soup & A Hippy Martha Stewart! Oh Yeah, & A Giveaway

1. Favorite Author & give one quote from your favorite book by them.

T“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 
― A.A. Milne 

2. Fantasy or Mystery


3. Horror or Comedy


4. Soda or Tea

Tea. I never drink soda. I make homemade drinking vinegar if I want a soda. Tasty and good for you!

5. Indoors or Outdoors

Indoors. Definitely. Outside can be nice, but I don't like the heat. Or the cold. Or the rain. Or, really, most weather. I LOVE a rainstorm when I'm inside with a nice book though. And I love to go for a hike in the woods or on the beach. As long as it's not to hot. Or too cold. Or too windy. And not if there are too many bugs. I used to love camping, but then my husband showed me that, no, I was just poor. I couldn't afford a hotel. 

6. One thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I'm sort of a hippie version of Martha Stewart.

Now that is one I've not heard before, sweet :)

7. Describe your office 

A giant mess. At home I have a standing desk in the family room so I can stand and write, then take off after the munchkin with ease. It is, unfortunately so covered in paperwork, bills and toddler art at this time that I am having a problem balancing my laptop on it. It's becoming a huge problem. When my son is in preschool, I work in a coffee shop down the street where a nice young man gives me free refills on both my coffee and my bacon. I like that office best.

8. Night owl or early bird.

Before I had my son, night owl, definitely. Now not so much, but he, at four, loves to sleep in until 9 or so, (please don't hate me) so thankfully I don't have to dial it back too much. Although, I do find myself getting up much earlier these days so I can write before he gets up.

9. First dinner you had with your Significant Other.

It was at a fancy restaurant and I was not used to such a proper setting, and he was not used to taking Dominatrixes out to dinner, so it was rather nerve-wracking for us both.

10. Using the letters of Angel as an acronym, describe your book.


by Mona Darling

About The Author:

Mona Darling aka Dead Cow Girl, spent close to twenty years as an A-list professional dominatrix before becoming a D-list mommy blogger. After spending many years traveling the world being told that she is fabulous, she now spends her days being told she doesn’t drive fast enough by her three-year-old son.
Dead Cow Girl was a nickname she received in grade school after a humiliating morning involving a mobile butcher and a school bus. She chose to use that name to reclaim the part of her that spent much of her childhood red-faced with shame, embarrassed for her unique childhood. She also likes it because it is readily available on nearly every social media platform.

She writes, sporadically, about food, sex and toddler-related mayhem at

Genre: Women's Studies

Publisher: Darling Propaganda LLC
Release Date: Feb 2013

Book Description:

Glitter is about the female sexual experience, which contrary to what the media would have you believe, is not all bubble baths and chick flicks.

Women are constantly judged as slutty, or uptight, but the reality is somewhere in between those two, and sometimes, nowhere near either. We have secret shames and private desires and we all feel we are the only one.

We are good church-going girls with a fondness for the paddle, PTA moms who hire escorts, feminists who like to bottom in the bedroom, slutty virgins, bi-curious married laddies and women with a past. We are gay, straight, and undecided.

We are all over the map, and we are amazing.

I can turn any holiday into a mini food festival. New years day, often means my friends and neighbors are tired and/or hung over. I like making a huge pot of  Lucky New Years Day Black Eyed Peas soup.  The black eye peas represent coins, and the kale represents cash, and it's good luck to eat as you get ready to start a new year. It's also pretty awesome at calming and filling the stomach of friends who may have been over served the evening before. It sits in the slow cooker all night and is available to anyone who stops by anytime New Years Day.

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound (more or less) cooked ham cut into small cubes
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 or 2 bunches collard greens, tough stems and ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
  • 4 or 5 carrots, chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • a dash of Cayenne pepper if you want to add a little extra warmth. 

Pick through peas to remove any debris or small stones and rinse well. Transfer to a large bowl, cover by 3 inches with water (left over beer or chicken broth) cover and set aside at room temperature overnight; drain and rinse well.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion, garlic, ham, ham hock and celery. Cook until onion is translucent. Add peas and broth, bring to a boil and skim off and discard any foam on the surface. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Add collard greens and carrots and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne and serve.

Ever Wonder How Much Fiction Is Real Life? Guest Post & Kindle Fire Givewaway: Laina Turner - The Presley Thurman Mysteries

The Presley Thurman Mysteries
by Laina Turner

How much real life is in my fiction writing?

Someone asked me the other day how much of me and/or my friends pop up in the characters I create in my fiction writing. My answer is more than I realize after I read what I am writing. Funny how personal details just seem to sneak in when you don’t expect it.
It’s normal to take the familiar and put a fun twist to it. I have friends who ask to be a character in my books. They find it fun to be a part of something fictionalized. They give me all sorts of ideas on what they want their characters to do, which is a great help. I have a friend who in some form or another has made his way into almost every book I have written. No one but the two of us would ever be able to tell because it mannerisms, habits, personal type details that are slipped in, but we know the details are there and it’s fun.
I also ask my kids for ideas or to help me decide what hair color or eye color to give a character. It makes it a fun family event and increases my mommy cool factor.
Other real life aspects I utilize for my writing is just people watching. I love when I fly because airports are the best places to study people and write down observed eccentricities I may want to use later. Life is much stranger than anything I could ever make up and being observant to details and nuances is what makes me able to write what I do.


You can also find her at:

Facebook Fan Page Laina Turner
Twitter: @lturnermolaski

About The Author:

Who am I? It kind of depends on the day. I am a human compendium of unrelated things. I used to think I was just weird, had shiny ball syndrome and couldn’t focus, scattered, you name it. Then I decided it was OK to be all over the place as long as each avenue I wanted to explore had meaning and purpose or was fun. So I embrace the fact I am a college professor, a writer of fiction and non-fiction, promoter of other authors, human resource professional, business consultant, mom, and all around interesting person (according to my closest friends).

When I’m not working toward my goals I like, ok fine, LOVE wine, coffee, shopping, and books. I enjoy my kids, they are awesome. I hate the cold but yet live in the mid-west. Vegas is one of my favorite spots as I love to people watch and if I ever get married again it will definitely be in a drive through chapel by a fake Elvis.

Genre: Mystery Romance
Publisher: Five Seas Ink
Release Date: July 2012

Book Description:

This six-book set includes...

Stilettos & Scoundrels

Presley tells her boss what he can do with her job in HR and embarks on a new career as a freelance journalist. What seems like a simple interview with a Senator turns to murder when the day after her interview the Senator turns up dead. Does the fact that Presley was one of the last people to see him alive make her a suspect? Her ex-boyfriend Cooper, who was in charge of the Senators security, might think so. Presley is determined to clear her name but can she do it and resist Cooper’s charms?

Necklaces & Nooses

When Presley’s boss is found hanging she thinks its suicide until the police discover its homicide. Who would want to kill a boutique owner? Presley’s not sure but she’s determined to find out. The cute detective assigned to the case makes it all the more exciting.

Handbags & Hooligans

Presley went to Vegas to watch her friend Anna get married and the event turned into solving the mystery of her brothers girlfriend disappearance. But Ashley wasn't exactly the schoolteacher she appeared to be. Who was she and was she kidnapped?

The holiday short…Mistletoe & Murder

In this holiday short story, Presley goes home for Christmas expecting it to be a relaxing holiday until her old boyfriend, Brian, asks for her help finding out who has been stealing from him and it turns from theft to murder. Why would anyone want to kill Tommy and what was he hiding?

Gems & Gunshots

Presley heads to San Diego to hang out with Cooper and enjoy the great west coast weather. She didn’t expect that while hanging out at the local coffee shop she would be a witness to a robbery and murder at Gemstone’s Unlimited. Much to Cooper’s dismay Presley feels compelled to investigate. She discovers that not only was the store owner a womanizer but also was filing false insurance claims for diamonds that weren’t really stolen. Was that why he was being blackmailed? Was that why someone robbed his store? Presley is determined to find out!

As a bonus get the short story prequel, A Day in the Life of Trixie Pristine.

In this short story prequel, Trixie and her friends Berklie and Sophie, considered themselves typical thirty something females until someone turned up murdered in their newly opened bookstore/wine bar. They thought they would be living out their dream in their new shop not trying to catch a killer. Who killed Sylvia and why? Or was one of them the intended target?

Excerpt One:

Stilettos & Scoundrels “Hello?” “Presley! I need to talk to you right away!” It was Helen Daniels, hysterical. I could hardly understand her. “What is it, Helen? What’s wrong?” I had fallen asleep, but the sound of fear in Helen’s voice quickly woke me up. “Just meet me at Gardner’s old warehouse in thirty minutes. If you’re not there, I will not be able to wait. It’s not safe. You have to hurry!” “Helen! Calm down, safe from whom? Why all the drama? Helen…Helen?” She’d hung up. I glanced at my watch. Crap! I’d never make it there in thirty minutes. All I could hope for was Dirt and his deputies were out investigating the Senator’s murder rather than trying to keep the streets safe from speeders. I ran out of the house, running past my mother still working in her garden. “Presley, where are you going? “I’ll be back in a bit.” “For dinner?” “I don’t know.” I said exasperatedly. I didn’t need the third degree. “Where are you going?” “I’ll explain later. Just eat without me if I’m not back.” “Pres!” “Bye, Mother.” I pushed seventy in a forty-five mile an hour zone, my Kia humming, just hoping to get there on time. I was surprised my car could go that fast. In Chicago, the traffic was so bad you didn’t really have a chance to speed this much. My phone rang again, but I didn’t look at it. I needed to concentrate on my driving. Gardner’s warehouse, located about twenty miles outside of town, used to be a production plant for some automotive part. The plant closed years before, when I still lived here. It was so long ago that I couldn’t remember what the company actually produced. I pulled in the parking lot, gravel flying, hoping Helen was still here. The clock on my dash said it had been thirty-three minutes since she called me. I pocketed my keys, not wanting to weigh myself down with my purse, and jogged around to the front entrance. I had on flip-flops, not the best jogging shoes, but I was so startled when Helen called I just ran out of the house without paying attention to what I had on. This was a big place, and I huffed trying to catch my breath. I really must get in shape, I wheezed to myself. Helen hadn’t specified exactly where to meet her, so I assumed she might be at the front entrance. She wasn’t waiting outside for me, so I tried the front door or what I presumed was the front door. It was unlocked, which I thought strange for an abandoned building, but I assumed Helen had unlocked it. Though had it been locked, I could have crawled through one of the many broken windows. I carefully stepped inside the building and the darkness engulfed me. The little bit of light in the building was let in by the broken windows, and it took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust. It smelled dank and musty, and I could hear the scurrying of what were probably little furry rodents. I shuddered involuntarily and didn’t want to think about what type of creepy crawlies were in this building, especially with me in flip-flops. I wasn’t thrilled about stepping any further into the building. “Helen,” I called softly. No answer. Where the hell is she? I tiptoed a little further into the building in an effort to be quiet, though I still couldn’t see very well, so tiptoeing wouldn’t do me any good if there was anything in my way. All of a sudden, I felt a hand on my arm; I jumped about ten feet and started to scream. “Shh, Presley. It’s just me,” Helen said. “Do you think you could be a little quieter?” “Then don’t ask me to come to an abandoned building and grab me when I’m not expecting it. I can’t see! You could have been anyone or anything,” I retorted. “I am not a big fan of the creepy things I am sure are in this building.” I took one look at Helen and grew concerned. She was usually one of those women who always looked impeccable, but her dark brown hair, usually in a knot at the nape of her neck, was disheveled and loose. I could tell Helen had been crying, from her smudged make-up. She definitely wasn’t her normal well put together self. I could see that, even in this poor light. I still felt a stab of jealousy because, even a little worse for wear, Helen looked better than most women. Not fair at all. “So what is going on, Helen? Why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff? Why did we have to meet here, of all places?” I asked, looking around and waving my arms. “Should we even be here? The place looks about ready to fall down. I’m sure the owners wouldn’t be too happy if we fell through the floor or something. This building is quite a liability.” “It’s the only place I could go where I could easily see if I was being followed. Besides, we own the building. Or rather, I do now,” Helen, replied giving a little laugh—the hysterical kind, rather than the ha-ha kind. “Why would anyone be following you?” I took a step forward, concerned Helen might really be in danger. It seemed so surreal. Helen tried to keep herself from crying again. “They called my house, Presley. They called my house and demanded money. They said if I didn’t pay up, they would make sure I met the same fate as Tom. I knew they would want their money, but I didn’t think it would be like this. I thought I would have some more time. I can’t get my hands on that kind of money right now. It would look too suspicious; besides, I don’t even know yet where I am going to get it!” Helen then burst into tears. I waited for a few uncomfortable moments for the tears to subside. To help Helen, I needed her to calm down and tell me everything she knew. Plus, I had a few questions of my own. “Do you know who it was that called you, Helen? Who did the Senator owe money to?” “I don’t know specifically who the caller was, nor who Tom owed money to. I didn’t recognize any voices and they didn’t tell me their names. Tom tried to hide as much as he could from me about this aspect of his life, I told you that already, and when I forced the issue, he told me as little as possible. Usually just enough to get me to shut up. To be honest, it got to where I didn’t even ask much because I didn’t really care.” “Who else knows about the Senator’s gambling problem? Maybe that’s who called you. Could it be blackmail?” I thought blackmail seemed as good a reason as any. “The only people who know about this, besides the people he owed the money to, are me and Tobey. As the Senator’s assistant, Tobey was privy to a lot more information than I thought he should have been,” Helen explained. “Tom said he would find out anyway, and that we could trust him. I don’t think Tobey is the type to try to blackmail anyone. Other than that, there is no way Tom would have told anyone else. He might have been a gambler, but he wasn’t stupid. At least not that stupid.” “What about Garrison Palazzo.”