#Spotlight on Mad About Moon by @Melissa_Foster #NewRelease Contemporary #Romance

Mad About Moon by Melissa Foster releases today. 

~~About the Book~~

Author: Melissa Foster

Published: April 10th 2019 by World Literary Press

Category: Contemporary Romance

Can true love strike twice in one lifetime? 

Josie Beckley refuses to believe there is a limit on happiness. A decade after she escaped her abusive parents and lost touch with her siblings, the death of her husband leaves her and her son homeless. But Josie has never been one to wallow in sadness, and when she takes a chance on reconnecting with her siblings, a sinfully handsome bright light from her past shows up and offers to help her find a way out of the darkness.

Most people wouldn’t see Jed Moon as someone to look up to. He’s been in and out of jail and has lived a less-than-stellar lifestyle. But years ago one woman saw through his bullshit, and he’s never forgotten her. Now she’s back in his life, and as a prospect for the Dark Knights motorcycle club, Jed promises to keep an eye on the sassy, sexy single mother who has never stopped lighting his fantasies on fire.

Jed and Josie’s combustible connection is stronger than ever. Having Josie and her son in his life brings out all of Jed’s protective instincts-and visions of a future he never imagined having. But when a shocking revelation knocks the insatiable lovers to their knees, it forces them to make choices that could change their lives forever.

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#GuestPost ~ Katherine McIntyre #newrelease Of Tinkers and Technomancers (The Whitfield Files Book One) @PixieRants #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m delighted to welcome Katherine McIntyre  with a guest post and extract from her latest book, released today. Of Tinkers and Technomancers (The Whitfield Files Book One) is a steampunk romance—here’s the book info…

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#GuestPost by N. Lombardi Jnr #Author of Mystery/Legal #Thriller Justice Gone #NewRelease #Extract #FridayReads

Im happy to welcome Nicholas Lombardi on the publication day of his novel, Justice Gone which was inspired by a real and shocking incident. Before we hear from Nick, here the book info….

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#GuestPost from Glynis Astie ~ My First Book Boyfriend ~ and her #NewRelease Girls’ Night Out @GlynisAstie #TuesdayBookBlog

Im delighted to welcome Glynis Astie back to Between The Lines. Glynis has written several wonderful guest posts previously including Tea and Harry Potter and The Philosophy of Yoda. Here, Glynis tells us about her first book boyfriend…..

It’s true what they say—you never forget your first. I remember it like it was yesterday. I took in his warm hazel eyes, his dark, curly brown hair and his beautiful boyish smile and I was done for.

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Sharing Our Horizon by Xenia Tran (@WhippetHaiku) ~ A Journey Through the Scottish Highlands with Two Adopted Whippets #Photography #Poetry

I enjoy the poetry, prose and photographs to be found on Xenia’s blog, Whippet Wisdom, very much. Xenia has put together a wonderful selection of her work in her debut release, Sharing Our Horizon.

If you’re a dog and/or nature lover this could be a book for you or a lovely gift for someone you know, and at the same time you’d be helping rescue centres care for and rehome abandoned and abused animals, with 60% of the proceeds going to animal charities.

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#GuestPost & #Extract from The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi ~ Underwater Fantasy @Sonia_Faruqi #TuesdayBookBlog

My guest today is Sonia Faruqi with a character’s perspective post and details of, plus an extract from, her debut release.

Here’s the book info…..

Coralline is a mermaid who is engaged to the merman of her dreams. But when an oil spill wreaks havoc on her idyllic village life, her little brother falls gravely ill. Desperate to save him, she embarks on a quest to find a legendary elixir made of starlight.

Izar, a human man, is on the cusp of an invention that will enable him to mine the depths of the ocean. His discovery will soon make him the richest man on earth—while threatening merpeople with extinction. But then, suddenly, Izar finds himself transformed into a merman and caught in a web of betrayal and intrigue. Meeting Coralline in the ocean, he decides to join her on her quest for the elixir, hoping it will turn him human again.

The quest pushes Coralline and Izar together, even though their worlds are at odds. Their pasts threaten to tear them apart, while a growing attraction adds to the danger. Ultimately, each of them faces an impossible choice. Should Coralline leave her fiancé for a man who might betray her? And Izar has a dark secret of his own—one that could cause him to lose Coralline forever.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Goodreads

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#NewRelease ~ The Emissary 2 : To Love Somebody by @MarciaMeara ~ Book Info & Short #Extract

I’m delighted to welcome Marcia Meara with the info on her new release and a short extract.

Thank you so much for having me here today, Cathy! I’m so excited to be sharing the release of The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody with you and your followers. The great review you gave the first book of this trilogy definitely inspired me to continue the story of Jake, Dodger, and Azrael, and I hope you’ll enjoy this middle book just as much. I tried to provide all the laughs–and tears–the first book had, along with a few sneaky surprises here and there.

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Blog Tour #Spotlight & #Extract ~ Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott #NewRelease @DerekPhilpott #Humour

**Happy Release Day**

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the unique Dear Mr Pop Star, which features humorous letters to pop stars about their songs with genuine witty replies.

About the Book

For nearly 10 years, ‘Team Philpott’, as their followers fondly refer to them, have been on a quite bonkers crusade, writing good old-fashioned letters to pop and rock stars (sometimes even sent to their home addresses with prior consent!), either picking up on genuine ambiguities within their lyrics or often deliberately misunderstanding them for comedic effect.

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#GuestPost by @RachellAmphlett & #Excerpt from Call To Arms (Kay Hunter Book 5) #NewRelease

I’m delighted to welcome Rachel Amphlett with a guest post and extract from her new book, released yesterday. Call To Arms is the fifth book in the Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series. So without further ado, it’s over to Rachel….

How a character changes through a series

I’m often asked by readers if it’s possible to read the Kay Hunter books as standalones, or whether it’s best to start at the beginning with book one, Scared to Death.

In truth, each of the stories can be read separately and any order because the main crime is always solved, but I think to get a real sense of how Kay Hunter’s character has developed over five books, it is better to start at the beginning.

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#Guest Post by William L Myers #author of An Engineered Injustice (Philadelphia Legal) #NewRelease #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m delighted to welcome William Myers, with a guest post about the ups and downs of getting his first book published. It’s also the release day of his second novel An Engineered Injustice

Here’s the synopsis…..

When a passenger train derails in North Philadelphia with fatal results, idealistic criminal defense attorney Vaughn Coburn takes on the most personal case of his young career. The surviving engineer is his cousin Eddy, and when Eddy asks Vaughn to defend him, he can’t help but accept. Vaughn has a debt to repay, for he and his cousin share an old secret—one that changed both their lives forever.

As blame for the wreck zeros in on Eddy, Vaughn realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. Seeking the truth behind the crash, he finds himself the target of malicious attorneys, corrupt railroad men, and a mob boss whose son perished in the accident and wants nothing less than cold-blooded revenge. With the help of his ex-con private investigator and an old flame who works for the competition, Vaughn struggles to defeat powerful forces—and to escape his own past built on secrets and lies.

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His Guilty Secret ~ New Release by @helenefermont #Extract #Psychological @BookPublicistUK #TuesdayBookBlog

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for His Guilty Secret by Hélene Fermont 

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#GuestPost & #Extract from Margaret Skea #HistoricalFiction #wwwblogs @margaretskea1

I’m very pleased to welcome Margaret Skea, with a guest post and extract from her new book, Katharina: Deliverance, which is released today. Happy release day, Margaret, and over to you….

Sidetracked into a different world (and time).

So there I was, in March 2016, fresh from a month on a Hawthornden Fellowship – an all expenses stay in a 17th c  Scottish  castle with nothing to do but write. We were very well looked after – cooking, cleaning, clothes washing and so on all done for us – the only ‘rule’ a rule of silence in the castle from 9.00am – 6.30 pm. That, and the surroundings, made for an incredible work environment and having gone with heaps of research material, but not even the most sketchy plan for my next novel, I came home, after seventeen days of actual writing, ¼ of the way through Book 3 in my Scottish historical fiction series.  It seemed my next nine months were taken care of.

The best laid plans ‘gang oft agley’ as they say here. A couple of weeks into March I headed down to London for my first visit to London Book Fair. The buzz was energising and I managed to get individual appointments with several agents and agencies, hoping that someone would be keen on Scottish HF – after all, Outlander was proving popular…

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#NewRelease ~ Cayleth Warding and the Scarlet One by Jessica Hernandez #Fantasy

About the book

Fifty-three families looking for a new beginning board a ship and sail to an uninhabited island. Happily they live for well over two decades. Homes are built and the past is forgotten. Paradise, however, is no more after the adults suddenly vanish one night. For three years, the teens and children rule the island of Oridd. For three years, they survive. When an old woman unexpectedly appears on Oridd, all is cast into disarray as the strange and awful threaten to become commonplace. The old woman wants something, and she won’t leave until she gets it.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US | Goodreads

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Extract

An unusually vibrant blob nudged its way into the periphery of Cayleth’s gaze. The elder’s heart came to an abrupt halt as she realized that a gray-haired woman clothed in scarlet had entered the clearing. Loitering at a hundred or so yards from the tree line, the elderly stranger assessed the assembled crowd. Her lips curled upwards disquietingly as she lifted her chin and gave entrance to menace—which danced maniacally upon her face. Cayleth felt her stomach churn violently. She watched the stranger expose her neck and run her fingers from her forehead to the collar of her gown. The ruby gloves donned by the old woman weren’t gloves at all. Had they been, her caresses wouldn’t have left her looking like one just bathed in a pool of gore. Continue reading

The Brilliance of Small Characters #romantic #crime #thriller Parallel Lies ~ Georgia Rose @GeorgiaRoseBook

I’m very pleased to welcome Georgia Rose, author of The Grayson Trilogy, to BetweenTheLines today with a guest post and extract from her new book Parallel Lies, due for release on 12th September but available for pre-order now!

Don’t miss the link for a fabulous giveaway further down the post.

Over to you, Georgia…..

The Brilliance of Small Characters

I’m using the word brilliance here to mean vividness and wanted to clarify that before there’s any assumption that my characters have any special talents. They don’t. They are just normal people, like you and me. The main characters of a book are easy to write as you have the whole book to flesh them out, to add in the detail, the traits and flaws. But I particularly love writing the smaller characters. You might only have a few paragraphs in which to bring them alive, sometimes only a couple of lines.

We all live our lives with many people around us. Even if we try and live as hermit like as possible there are still those we interact with, if only briefly. I love people watching and particularly enjoy imagining the lives of those that cross my path, in waiting rooms, around town, I’m never bored. As some kind of amateur detective I pass the time when waiting in the queue at the supermarket by building a story line around someone else’s shopping basket – but then I imagine everyone does that, don’t they? Continue reading

Guest Post from Glynis Astie re #Prince #TuesdayBookBlog @GlynisAstie & #Excerpt from her upcoming #newrelease

Welcome, Glynis, it’s great to have you here!

The Healing Power of Prince

I have a very wise friend who once told me, “There’s nothing a little Prince can’t fix.” I met her my freshman year in college and besides finding a roommate and a friend for life, I found a new appreciation for this musical master. I had heard of him, of course, but my meager knowledge was merely the tip of the iceberg. So she graciously took me under her wing, regaling me with facts, photos and an endless supply of music. By the time I graduated, not only had I earned a B.S. in Psychological Services, but a healthy appreciation for the brilliance of Prince. Continue reading

#Guest Post from Erin Rhew ~ The Courage to Really Live ~ @ErinRhewBooks

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The Courage to Really Live

Thank you to Cathy for hosting me today, and a big hello to Cathy’s readers! <waves> I’m currently on blog tour with my husband, Deek Rhew, to celebrate the release of his book and the spotlight feature my publisher is putting on my trilogy, The Fulfillment Series!

In 2007, I thought I was going to die. Not in the “OMG, I’m going to die” figurative sense, but in the literal “I’m sick enough to actually die” sense. I’m thankful to have a huge family and tons of friends who supported me through many surgeries and on the long recovery road. 

This girl is dying. Continue reading

#Guest Post from Deek Rhew ~ talking #Cats & #NewRelease @DeekRhewBooks

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I’m so excited to be on Between the Lines! Thanks for having me on, Cathy, and hello to all you readers of Between the Lines!

Today I get to do a guest post, no limits, whatever I want. This Woop! Yaaaay! Okay, what do I do? Well, how about something fun! Erin and I are always talking about our literary cat, Trinity. We also call her Trinna Baby or Fatness or Fat Fat or Fatness Everchubs. She’s got a relaxed outlook on life and see-food-eat-it mentality. We love our, er, little ball of fur.

Trinny is the official leader of Rhewination, the street name for Erin and Deek and their fans. Have YOU joined the Rhewination?

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Why haven’t you fed the cat today?

Here she is looking down on her peeps.

She created her very first message to her Rhewvians. Check out her message:

http://www.rhewination.com/uploads/5/7/6/2/5762130/img_7255_966.mp4

But Trinna is more than just a dictator that likes to get her belly rubbed. The world is FULL of those! She’s also a literary cat! Continue reading

Enter to #win a Kindle Fire #Giveaway @TS_Krupa

In the run up to the release of her new novel on May 10th, The Ten Year Reunion, T.S. Krupa is giving away a Kindle Fire. To enter the contest (open to all) just follow this link…

http://www.tskrupa.com/giveaways/kindle-fire-contest-2016/

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 19.01.26Synopsis:
Ten years ago, Danielle ‘Dani’ Jackson graduated from Coastal State University in Wilmington, North Carolina and left her heartache behind –for what she thought was forever.  Now a promising pediatric surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital she is invited back for her college reunion. With the encouragement from her best friend, Dani begrudgingly goes back and faces her past – the death of her friend and her broken heart from Jake Dillon, her first love. During her trip she revisits the four years she spent at CSU. Her applying to CSU defied her father and the ‘perfect’ plan he had for her which was to attend an Ivy League school before medical school but Dani had other plans. She traded in her father’s dream for an institution with sandy beaches, soccer and one that made her feel at home. Dani never questioned the decision- she knew she was right but she didn’t know was how hard growing up was going to be.  
 
At the reunion she is reconnected with her friends Adeline ‘Addie’ Smith and Colleen ‘Callie’ Schumaker.  The girls met freshman year under Addie’s tenacity and quickly became inseparable but since graduation they have started to drift apart. The weekend is only further complicated when Jake shows up. Together they all realize that life has been hard on everyone and no one’s life has been perfect. The reunion weekend gives them the time to deal with the past and an opportunity for a second chance – for each of them.

#Interview with Barb Taub @barbtaub & Excerpt from her #newrelease #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m very pleased to welcome Barb Taub, a firm favourite in the world of writing and blogging.

Barb pix 300 dpiIn halcyon days BC (before children), Barb wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered towards the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled Aussie Dog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them traveling around the world, plus consulting with her daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American.

That’s some bio, Barb. Anything you can add? And you kind of answered the next part of my question which was going to be, what do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing? But maybe you could elaborate 🙂

I’ve always thought of myself as a writer. Although I was a journalist when younger, and had a syndicated humor column in several American newspapers, the financial realities of raising four kids who had unrealistic expectations — they thought they should eat EVERY day, sleep in actual beds, and wear clothes—meant that I spent many years on the Dark Side (HR professional). You can’t believe how much money employers are willing to pay you to fire people.  Continue reading

Released today! Taming Tom Jones by Margaret K Johnson ~ Guest post & Excerpt

TTJ CoverHer partner Michael has never been in a relationship for more than four years, so with their fourth anniversary coming up, Jen’s getting understandably nervous. Especially as she’s just discovered she’s pregnant, and she knows Michael doesn’t want any more children other than Kyle, his teenage son. 

She means to tell Michael about the baby right away, but then he comes home on a brand new motorbike, having traded in his sensible car, and the moment is lost. Is Michael having an early mid-life crisis? 

Jen decides to do some detective work about Michael’s exes in an effort to save their relationship, and embarks on a journey that will take her as far afield as North Norfolk and Cuba. But she has no idea of the can of worms she’s about to open. 

Why do all Michael’s relationships break up? And what’s the big secret he’s hiding?

I’m very pleased to welcome Margaret as she tells us about her new novel, with an invitation to attend the online launch party….

I started writing my novel Taming Tom Jones when I was at the University of East Anglia as a mature student, taking an MA in Scriptwriting. I was supposed to be building up to writing my dissertation – a full-length screenplay or stage play, but the beginning of Taming Tom Jones just sprang vividly into my head, and I quickly became obsessed with my character Jen and her dilemma. When the book starts, Jen has just found out she’s pregnant by her partner Michael, and she’s thrilled, because she’s always wanted a family. In fact, she’s so thrilled, it makes her realize just how much she’s been supressing her desire to have children; because, unfortunately, Michael doesn’t feel the same way. He’s always been honest about it, making sure she was aware of his views very early on in their relationship. His exact words were:  Continue reading

Linn B Halton’s Quintessentially Yours ~ New Release Coming Soon

Here is the fabulous cover for Quintessentially Yours, the follow-up to Under The Stars. The sequel can be read as a standalone novel, but personally I like to have the full back story on the characters so would recommend reading Under The Stars first.

Quintessentially Yours is due for release by Amazon on the 5th August and my review will be coming in September.

Quintessentially Yours medKatherine Dale lives her life according to her daily horoscope forecast. Having recently hit forty, Katherine is living with her partner, James Kingman, and their delightful little six-month-old daughter, Leyla. James is an up-and-coming name in astrology and that’s how they met. At a party to celebrate the publication of Katherine’s first novel, James was about to propose when Katherine announced the news that she was expecting a baby. ‘Ask me later, when I can fit into my dream dress’ she’d told him.

Wind forward thirteen months and while there is an engagement ring on Katherine’s finger, James still can’t mention the ‘m’ word. Leyla suffers from colic and won’t settle into any semblance of a routine. The lack of sleep is taking its toll on them all. James is at his wits’ end trying to cope with his increasing workload, while handling a hormonal woman who feels like an abject failure. And then there’s his boss, who has designs – on him! Continue reading

Feature ~ Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Today I’m featuring a new Contemporary  Fiction release ~ Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.

About the book

Everything I never told youLydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue – in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the centre of every party. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio. Her father is an American born of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous in any setting.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest in the family – Hannah – who observes far more than anyone realises and who may be the only one who knows what really happened.

Everything I Never Told You is a gripping page-turner, about secrets, love, longing, lies and race.

Celeste has very kindly shared the thoughts and ideas that prompted her to write her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You. 

My husband was reminiscing about his school days—in particular, about a friend who’d been a bit of a troublemaker in his youth. When they were seven or eight, my husband said, he’d been playing at this friend’s house and his friend had pushed his own little sister into a lake.  

It was a funny anecdote with a happy ending: the parents pulled the sister from the water, the friend was in big trouble.  But I kept thinking: what had this brother-sister relationship been like before that day? What would it be like after? And—this was the question that haunted me, perhaps because I’m a writer, perhaps because I’m a morbid thinker, perhaps simply because I’m a terrible swimmer—what if the parents hadn’t been there?

The story grew from that little seed. Lydia, drowning, was the first image I wrote.  I pictured the lake in my own hometown, a beautiful pool we called the Duck Pond.  It is small enough to see across, but a boy in my grade had nearly drowned in it when he was six or seven, and it had always seemed a bit sinister to me after that.  I imagined it at night, when it would be very quiet and the lake water would be almost black, and imagined Lydia plunging below the surface.  Then I tried to trace the story back, to figure out how she’d gotten there, and why she’d been at the pond that night.  

As the novel developed, the particulars changed: Lydia, the girl in  Everything I Never Told You, is sixteen when she drowns, and the circumstances of her death aren’t immediately clear.  But it all started with that image of a girl falling into the water.  

About the author

celeste-ng-headshot-photo-credit-kevin-day-photography-920x614Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. Her fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize. Currently, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.

http://www.celesteng.com 

@pronounced_ing

Praise for Everything I Never Told You 

“If we know this story, we haven’t seen it yet in American fiction, not until now… Ng has set two tasks in this novel’s doubled heart—to be exciting, and to tell a story bigger than whatever is behind the crime. She does both by turning the nest of familial resentments into at least four smaller, prickly mysteries full of secrets the family members won’t share… What emerges is a deep, heartfelt portrait of a family struggling with its place in history, and a young woman hoping to be the fulfillment of that struggle. This is, in the end, a novel about the burden of being the first of your kind—a burden you do not always survive.” — ALEXANDER CHEE, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“[A]n accomplished debut… It’s also heart-wrenching. Ng deftly pulls together the strands of this complex, multigenerational novel. Everything I Never Told You is an engaging work that casts a powerful light on the secrets that have kept an American family together — and that finally end up tearing it apart.’ — LOS ANGELES TIMES

‘The mysterious circumstances of 16-year-old Lydia Lee’s tragic death have her loved ones wondering how, exactly, she spent her free time. This ghostly debut novel calls to mind The Lovely Bones.’ – MARIE CLAIRE

[A] moving tale… of daughters for whom cultural disconnect is but the first challenge – VOGUE

“Both a propulsive mystery and a profound examination of a mixed-race family… [an] explosive debut.”— ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

A “cleverly crafted, emotionally perceptive debut … Ng’s themes of assimilation are themselves deftly interlaced into a taut tale of ever deepening and quickening suspense.”— O MAGAZINE

‘Emotionally involving […] Lydia is remarkably imagined, her unhappy teenage life crafted without an ounce of cliché. Ng’s prose is precise and sensitive, her characters richly drawn.’

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW)

‘Ng constructs a mesmerizing narrative that shrinks enormous issues of race, prejudice, identity, and gender into the miniaturist dynamics of a single family. A breathtaking triumph, reminiscent of prophetic debuts by Ha Jin, Chang-rae Lee, and ­Chimamanda Adichie, whose first titles matured into spectacular, continuing literary legacies.’ LIBRARY JOURNAL (STARRED REVIEW)

‘I couldn’t stop reading Everything I Never Told You . . . the writing is so smooth and keenly observed. The portrait of each member of the Lee family, the exploration of their mixed-race issues and the search for the killer of their sister and daughter, Lydia, pulled at my heartstrings to the very end.’ – UWEM AKPAN

New Release ~ Blond Cargo by John Lansing. Interview and Excerpt

Ahead of the release of Blond Cargo (Jack Bertolino #2) on Monday 20th October, I’m very pleased to welcome John Lansing to Between The Lines.

John, where did the inspiration for Jack Bertolino’s character come from?

Jack Bertolino is an amalgam of all my favorite detectives that I’ve read about in books, written about on television, seen in film, met in real life, or just wanted to be. I’ve always been drawn to flawed characters that were interested in reinventing themselves. Maybe because of my own personal demons and varied career paths. 

I wanted to write about a detective who was standing at the crossroads, recovering from a nasty divorce, retiring from the NYPD, leaving the old neighborhood in Staten Island, and moving west to find some peace in his life.

It certainly didn’t work out the way he planned. Twenty-five years of taking down drug dealers, money launderers and thieves, came back to haunt him and shook up his newfound state of bliss in Marina del Rey, California.

What’s more important, character or plot?

This question also encompasses question #4.

When I first began writing, I was writing scripts for network television. In that arena, an outline was imperative. First of all, you would never get an assignment until a story, and then the outline was approved. And then once you were green-lit, if another script fell out of the schedule, you might be asked to turn in a finished script in a week’s time. An almost impossible feat without a concise outline. 

When I started writing books, my process changed. I began with a premise, which dictated the characters I’d need to tell the story, and they defined the plot. No outline. Flying without a net. Frightening and exhilarating, but it seems to be working. It’s not a better way, just different.

If you have well defined characters that people can empathize with, care about, you can lead them most anywhere. But ultimately, it’s the plot that shows the audience how your protagonist responds to conflict, how he thinks, what makes him tick, and why you should care about him.

So, long winded answer, I think it’s a 50-50 split.

This is your second novel, did you find the process any easier/different this time round?

The only process that’s been easier for me the second time around is the marketing of the book. When I wrote The Devil’s Necktie, I didn’t know what a blog was. I’d never heard of a blog tour. I didn’t have a clue what social media was all about, and it was damn intimidating. It was a difficult learning curve, but I’m starting get the hang of it. 

Writing a book is difficult work. There’s no other way to say it. It’s gratifying when you’re in the zone and the words are flying off the page, but it’s not for the faint of heart. But as I was telling someone, it’s the only discipline in the creative arts where you don’t have to be hired to ply your craft. You can write a book on a napkin, on a plane, in a one-room shack, all you have to do is commit to writing every day, and you can end up with a completed first draft. I think that’s pretty cool.

Could you describe your writing day, and do you work to a structured outline or where ever the characters take you?

When I’m writing a book, it’s pretty much a 24/7 kind of thing. The characters are bouncing around in my head most of the day. I’m problem solving in my sleep. I sometimes wake up with the answers and head for the computer. I write the scene, pour some coffee, walk the dog, and then rewrite the work.

My biggest production occurs in the afternoon. And then the dog demands another walk. I’ll get a little lunch, take a hard look at what’s on the page, and I might do a simple step outline for the next sequence, just to keep things straight in my head. It’s only a road map. Nothing is set in stone. I like to end the day, having some idea of the direction I want to take the next day.

Are you planning more Jack Bertolino stories?

I’m knee deep into the third book in the Jack Bertolino series. And in November, Chris Sulavik at Tatra Press is publishing my short story, The Test. It’s a coming of age tale, set on Long Island in 1963 that deals with race, violence, social politics, and young love.

That’s good to know! What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

This is a hard question. I began my career, out of college, as a theatre actor before getting into television and film. I started writing for television and moved behind the camera, creating for the first time in my life instead of interpreting. Writing novels is my third career.

I think the best advice I could give to my younger self would be to pick up a pen every day. Fight the negative voices. Make writing a habit. It might be the only habit you have that can enrich your life.

On your bucket list?

Bucket list, huh? To have ten Jack Bertolino novels published in the next eight years. Okay, and to find the time to travel more. There’s too much of the world I haven’t seen.

Best gift you ever received?

I think the best gift I’ve ever received was getting cast as an understudy for Danny Zuko in the first national tour of Grease. It was a life changer. I rode that train until I won the title role. I spent a year playing Zuko on Broadway. It was a gift that set me on a life course, which allowed me to become a writer. All of my past experiences come into play when I’m sitting in front of my computer.

If you won the lottery what would you do first? 

Well, now that I’ve won the lottery, I can afford to take that time to travel I was talking about on my bucket list. Maybe spend a few months at a time in another country where I can get Jack Bertolino involved in new cases in exotic locals.

Thanks so much, John, for taking the time to share your thoughts

BlondCargoJack Bertolino’s son, Chris, was the victim of a brutal murder attempt and Vincent Cardona, a mafia boss, provided information that helped Jack take down the perpetrator of the crime. Jack accepted the favor knowing there’d be blowback. In Blond Cargo the mobster’s daughter has gone missing and Cardona turned in his chit. Jack discovers that the young, blond, mafia princess has been kidnapped and imprisoned while rich, politically connected men negotiate her value as a sex slave. 

A sizzling whodunit for fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, Blond Cargo taps into the real-life crime world to deliver a thrilling, action-packed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the explosive, unprecedented finale.

Excerpt from Blond Cargo:

Jack carried a Subway turkey sandwich, a tall unsweetened iced coffee, a bottle of water, and a smile as he keyed the security gate that led to the dock in Marina del Rey where his boat was moored. The marina was always quiet during the week. Just the way he liked it.
He stopped to admire his twenty-eight feet of heaven before stepping onto his boat’s transom and then . . .
“Yo, Mr. B.”
Jack never forgot a voice, which explained his reluctance to turn around.
“Yo, yo, Mr. B.”
Miserably persistent, Jack thought. He turned to face Peter Maniacci, who was dressed head-to-toe in black. With his outstretched arms draped over the chain-link fence, Peter looked like an Italian scarecrow. The black circles under his eyes belied his youth. The sharp points of his sideburns, his boots, and the .38 hanging lazily from a shoulder holster added menace to his goofy grin.
So close, Jack thought. His only worry that day had been
whether to eat his sandwich dockside or out on the Pacific with a view of the Santa Monica Pier.
“How you doing, Peter?”
“How you doin’?”
Jack let out a labored sigh. “We could do this all day. What’s up?”
“That’s funny, Mr. B. How’s the boy? How’s his pitching arm?”
Jack’s face tightened. He wasn’t happy that Peter knew
any of his son’s particulars. When he didn’t answer, Peter continued.
“Hey, nice boat. I used to fish for fluke off the north shore. Long Island. I think I must be in the wrong business.”
“Count on it,” Jack said. “What can I do for you?”
“My boss was wondering if you could spare a few minutes of your time.”
As if on cue, a black Town Car materialized behind Peter and came to a smooth, silent stop. The car rose visibly when Peter’s boss, a thick, broad-shouldered man, stepped out of the rear seat.
Vincent Cardona. Expensive suit, the body of a defensive linebacker—fleshy but muscled. Dark, penetrating eyes. Cardona looked in both directions before leveling his feral gaze on Jack. An attempt at a smile fell short of the mark. A thick manila envelope was tucked under one beefy arm.
Jack had been aware there would be some form of payback due for information Cardona had provided on Arturo Delgado, the man responsible for the attempted murder of his son. He just didn’t think it would come due this quickly. He opened the locked gate and let the big man follow him down the dock toward his used Cutwater cabin cruiser.
As Peter stood sentry in front of the Lincoln Town Car, Jack allowed the devil entry to his little piece of paradise.
“How’s your boy? How’s the pitching arm?” Vincent asked bluntly. Just a reminder of why he was there.
“On the mend.” Jack gestured to one of two canvas deck chairs in the open cockpit of the boat. Both men sat in silence as Jack waited for Cardona to explain the reason for his visit.
Jack wasn’t comfortable with Cardona’s talking about Chris, but the big man had taken it upon himself to station Peter outside Saint John’s Health Center while his son was drifting between life and death. Cardona’s enforcer had scared off Delgado, and that might have saved his son’s life. The unsolicited good deed was greatly appreciated by Jack. The debt weighed heavily.
“It rips your heart out when your children have problems and you can’t do nothing to help,” Cardona said with the raspy wheeze of a man who had abused cigars, drugs, booze, and fatty sausage for most of his life.
“What can I do for you?” Jack asked, not wanting to prolong the impromptu meeting.
Cardona, unfazed by Jack’s brusqueness, answered by pulling out a picture and handing it to Jack.
“Angelica Marie Cardona. She’s my girl. My only. My angel. Her mother died giving birth. I didn’t have the heart to re-up. I raised her by myself.”
Mobster with a heart of gold. Right, Jack thought. But Cardona’s wife must have been a stunner because Angelica, blond, early twenties, with flawless skin and gray-green eyes, didn’t get her good looks from her father. Cardona’s gift was her self-assured attitude, which all but leaped off the photograph.
“Beautiful.”
Jack Bertolino, master of the understatement, he thought.
“And doesn’t she know it. Too much so for her own good. You make mistakes, my line of business. Whatever.”
“What can I do for you, Vincent?” Jack said, dialing back the attitude.
Cardona tracked a seagull soaring overhead with his heavy-lidded eyes and rubbed the stubble on his jaw.
Jack would have paid good money to change places with the gull.
“I shoulda never moved out here. L.A. I’m a black-socks- on-the-beach kinda guy. East Coast all the way. Never fit in. But I’m a good earner and the powers that be decided they were happy with the arrangement. Everyone was happy except Angelica and me.
“She turned thirteen, didn’t wanna have nothing to do with her old man. Turned iceberg cold. I tried everything— private schools, horses, ballet, therapy, live-in help; nothin’ worked. She closed up tighter than a drum. I finally threatened to send her to the nuns.”
“How did that work out?”
“I’m fuckin’ sitting here, aren’t I? On this fuckin’ dinghy . . . no offense meant,” he said, trying to cover, but the flash of anger told the real story. “I hear you’re an independent contractor now.”
It was Tommy Aronsohn, his old friend and ex–district attorney, who had set him up with his PI’s license and first client, Lawrence Weller and NCI Corp. But Jack Bertolino and Associates, Private Investigation, still didn’t come trippingly off his tongue.
And thinking of the disaster up north, he said, “We’ll see how that goes.”
“This is the point. I haven’t seen my daughter in close to a month. Haven’t heard word one since around the time your son was laid up in Saint John’s,” he said. Reminder number two. “It’s killing me,” he continued. “I’m getting a fuckin’ ulcer. Then this.”
Cardona pulled out the L.A. Times with the front-page spread reporting on the woman who had died when her boat crashed on the rocks at Paradise Cove. As it turned out, a second woman down in Orange County had washed up on the beach a few weeks earlier at the Terranea resort, scaring the joy out of newlyweds taking photos at sunset. Talk about twisted memories, Jack thought. As if marriage wasn’t tough enough. He’d already read both articles with his morning coffee and hadn’t bought into the pattern the reporter inferred.
“And the connection?”
“I got a bad feeling is all. She’s never disappeared like this before—not for this long anyway,” he said, amending his statement. “And then . . .” Cardona said, waving the newspaper like it was on fire. “It says here they were both blonds. Both about Angelica’s age. They could be fuckin’ cousins. Could be nothing.”
“Did you file a missing-persons report?”
Cardona gave him a hard side eye. “Jack, don’t fuck with me. We take care of our own.”
Jack thought before he spoke. “I’m not one of yours.”
“Semantics.”
“What about your crew?”
Cardona flopped open his meaty hands. “I get angina, I don’t call my cousin Frankie, who has a certain skill set but stinks when it comes to open-heart surgery. Look, I get it. You were on the other team. But this is straight-up business. One man to another. One father to another. I need you to find my girl. You got my number. Use it, Jack. Money’s no object. Find my baby.”
Strike three.
Jack didn’t answer. He stared out at the navy-blue water of the marina, past row upon row of beautiful yachts, symbols of dreams fulfilled, and knew they were empty notions compared to family.
Cardona hadn’t actually spoken the words you owe me, but they filled the subtext of everything he’d said. He was not subtle. The big man had reached out when Jack was in need, and Jack had accepted the offer. Now Vincent Cardona wanted his pound of flesh.
“This is everything I know. Last address, phone numbers, phone bills, e-mail accounts, bank, credit cards, friends and whatnot. The whole shot,” Cardona said, holding the manila envelope out in Jack’s direction.
“I have other commitments,” Jack stated.
“You look real fuckin’ busy, Jack, if you don’t mind my sayin’.” His eyes crinkled into a sarcastic grin. Vincent Cardona does charm.
Jack accepted the overstuffed envelope with a sigh.
“If she don’t want to come back, fine. No funny business, no strong-arm bullshit from my end. You got my word. I just need to know that my blood is alive. I’m fuckin’ worried and I don’t do worry too good. Sleep on it, Jack. But do the right thing.”
Cardona’s eyes locked on to Jack’s. Jack remained silent. He’d take a look. No promises, not yet.
Vincent’s knees cracked and the canvas chair squeaked like it was in pain as he stood up. He covered a belch behind his fist and rubbed his gut as he moved stiffly past Jack. The boat rocked when Cardona stepped off and walked heavily away, his Italian leather shoes echoing on the wooden dock.
The weight of the world. Jack could relate.
Peter Maniacci opened the gate for his boss and then the door to the Lincoln Town Car, which plunged to curb level as the big man slid in. Peter ran around to the other side of the car and tossed Jack a wave like the queen mum. He jumped into the Lincoln, which lurched forward before Peter could slam the door shut.
Jack walked into the boat’s deckhouse, grabbed a bottle of water, and downed two more Excedrin. He stretched his back, which was going into a spasm from yesterday’s violence, and chased the pills with a Vicodin to stay one step ahead of the pain that he knew was headed his way.
Jack had already decided to take the case.

About the author

JohnLansingJohn Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead role in the Broadway production of “Grease.” He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.” John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. “The Devil’s Necktie” was his first novel. A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

The Devil’s Necktie may be found at Amazon US and Amazon UK and my review is here

Blond Cargo may be found at Amazon US and Amazon UK