Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Straight Chatting from the Library: Merida Johns

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Merida Johns will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

Hands down, this would be Anne of Green Gables. This book is a tradition in the family. I have my original copy—printed in Toronto by The Ryerson Press—that was given to me as a Christmas present in 1960 from my Aunt Patricia.

What is your favorite book today?

This is a hard one! I would categorize my favorite book as a story about a woman who faces challenges and makes hard choices but who achieves self-awareness and a fulfilled life through it all. One that stands out is the historical fiction My Dear Hamilton about the life of Eliza Hamilton. For me, the most powerful aspect of this novel is Eliza’s awareness, in the end, of what makes a fulfilled life—a life of meaning.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Blackhorse Road is a story of choices and consequences.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading three books now. I try to mix it up with known and less known and independent authors. The first is The Pathfinder Diaries by Cory Belyea, who was a creative writing professor of mine. This is a compilation of stories about human connection, adventure, and friendship. If readers enjoy stories about friendship combined with a love of the sea, this is the book for them. The second is Early Warning by Jane Smiley, and the third is Murder in Mariposa Beach by less-known author Theresa Michael.

E-Reader or print? and why?

For several decades, my professional career involved computer information systems—so you’d guess that I’d like e-readers, and you’d be wrong. I love the print book in my hand. I like the feel and smell of the paper and details like a smooth or ragged trim. I like being able to put these treasures on my bookshelves—they are my companions that inspire me every day.

Dog-ear or bookmark? (don’t worry—Librarian Judith won’t hold it against you—much)

Oh, it is bookmarks! I have hundreds of bookmarks scattered through the house and in the books I’m reading. I like bookmarks with quotes on them and from places that I have visited so that when I open a book to read, I’m doubly inspired. (Of course, I have bookmarks for Blackhorse Road too.)

Favorite book you’ve read this year?

One book that continues to haunt me is The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman. This is a powerful historical fiction that delves into many cultural biases and the tragic story of Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system in the 1950s.

Favorite genre?

My favorite is women’s fiction and nonfiction. I love women’s diaries and letters, published and unpublished. This is a sampling of some on my bookshelf: Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinor Pruitt Stewart, Army Letters from an Officer’s Wife 1871-1881 by Frances M.A. Roe, Covered Wagon Women, Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1850, and Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel.


Under another hand, Blackhorse Road could all too easily have been a singular romance. Johns provides more as she follows Luci down the rabbit hole and out the other side of life experience, bringing readers into a world where . . . transgression changes everything and challenges carefully-constructed foundations of belief and values. As Luci lets go of her lifesavers and navigates obstacles to happiness, her story becomes a vivid portrait of hope and self-examination which ultimately moves into unexpected territory. Novel readers seeking a tale that closely considers deception and forgiveness, love gained and lost, and family ties will welcome the multifaceted Blackhorse Road's ability to come full circle in a satisfyingly unexpected way. - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

It’s the turbulent mid-1960s, and Luci, an eighteen-year-old Southern California girl, is on the quest for self-determination and new beginnings. Three powerful forces influence her values: the grit of her Irish great-grandmother, Lucinda McCormick; the philosophy of choice of her father, Sam; and the 1960s ideals of equity and altruism. But potent foes thwart Luci at every turn. Her budding romance with a handsome United States Air Force Academy cadet sets the stage for conflict and deception that last for two decades. When Luci discovers how her autonomy and love affair were hijacked, she struggles with anger and bitterness. But from a surprising source, she finds a forgiveness path that restores her well-being and hope and, in the end, faith in herself.


Uncertain what to make of Luci’s stillness, Barry brought his head close to hers and asked, “What are you thinking?”

Luci held back, still gazing ahead. She turned and drilled into Barry’s blue eyes. “I guess, using an Irish term, I could say, ‘What a bunch of malarkey!’” She drew back her lips in a saucy grin and weighed his reaction.

Luci’s response was unarming but charming. Barry laughed. “No one has ever told me in such a nice way that I’m full of bullshit.”

“Well, I guess there’s that!” Luci chuckled, then turned thoughtful. “Putting the ‘BS’ aside, I’d say the story is about choices, not a lovestruck fairy tale. It’s about risks and consequences and being true to your values. It’s about living who you are and not how someone else expects you to live.”

* * *

Barry put his arm around Luci’s shoulder, pulling her closer. He felt like beating his chest and announcing to the world he had the most beautiful girl in his arms. The lengths of their bodies touched each other, and Barry took in Luci’s scent. No girl had ever had such a powerful effect over him. In the past, emotion and sex had fueled his excitement. Now, those feelings mingled with wanting mutual fulfillment and creating an enduring relationship filled with love, joy, hope, amusement, inspiration, and even awe.


For three decades, I was a university professor who taught classes and wrote textbooks on “nerdy” subjects centering on computer systems in healthcare.

But a decade ago, informed by my experience in a male-dominated area, I started my practice as a leadership coach to help women break the glass ceiling and fulfill their leadership and economic potential. Consequently, during the past ten years, I transitioned from writing textbooks to motivational books on creating environments where people flourish through better leadership.

About a year ago, I was on a conference call discussing concepts of what makes a fulfilling life with fellow life coaches. Bang! Like a thunderclap, I had an insight. What would it be like to help people understand the concepts of a flourishing life in a story instead of through a motivational book or text? After all, I thought, storytelling has been the most compelling form of communication for thousands of years. As far as I could recall, none of the great prophets fed up learning objectives and multiple-choice questions to their followers. No! They got their message across through stories.

Motivational books and textbooks give frameworks, theories, and ideas, but they don’t immerse us in the human experience. They don’t show us how others face challenges, embrace their passions, overcome sorrow, celebrate achievement, quash self-doubts, develop positive emotions and relationships, handle betrayal, or act on aspirations.

Storytelling ignites our imagination and emotion. We experience being part of the story rather than being served up a platter of facts, exercises, and information.

This eye-opener was enough for me to take on the challenge of novel writing. My passion is to help people catapult beyond concepts and theories and jump into the wonderment of imagination in designing a flourishing life for themselves. Storytelling does this best.

Happily, as a fiction writer, I have jettisoned learning objectives and test questions. Ah…the freedom makes me feel as light as a balloon on a summer breeze.



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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Straight Browsing from the Library: All Bags Go to Cleveland by C.S. Hale

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A randomly drawn winner will receive a $50 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


If I’d never heard of me would I read my book?

Your favorite author was once someone you had never heard of. Back before I returned to school at 40 to get my teaching certificate, I loved to browse the “featured” section of my local library and read the back of the books, hoping to find something new. Wandering bookstores used to be a favorite pastime before they became so few and far between.

I’m now rural, living on an island, and juggling two full-time jobs - writer and teacher. My opportunity to read for fun is rare, but I can still stumble across the unexpected find. My monthly writers’ group does a raffle at the end of the meeting, raising funds to help pay for our speaker’s dinner. I am usually unlucky in other things, but for some reason I nearly always win the raffle if I buy a ticket, so I frequently don’t. I did purchase one at the November meeting and, sigh, won.

The books I received were chapter president Marie Tremayne’s RITA winner Lady in Waiting and Darynda Jones’s Second Grave on the Left. I finally had the opportunity to become bored shortly after Christmas and picked up Grave. I devoured it. How I had managed to miss this delightful series astounds me, but over the next two months I renewed my library card that had lapsed (due to the four years I spent completing my masters and then publishing two books). I even found her new series self-published on Amazon. Yay! More laughs to come.

So would I read my book? Most authors write what they want to read. In fact, I had initially intended to finish writing book #3 in my Bánalfar series, but faced with facing all of the trauma I had put Astrid through in books 1 and 2, I really needed an escape. Getting Cleveland out of the drawer and dusting it off provided that. Out loud laughs, a chance to virtually travel, and chocolate.

So if you like chocolate and a paranormal mash-up of My Big, Fat Greek Wedding and When Harry Met Sally sounds like your thing, give Cleveland a try.


Angela Grimalke appears more blonde bombshell than the gremlin she is. But there is no denying her supernatural truth after her clumsiness gets her fired from her modeling career. Forced to work for her family’s upscale airline, she spends her days slinging luggage and wishing her parents would get off her back about finding a nice gremlin guy to settle down with.

Relationships were the last thing on her mind, not that her family would accept that.

For Dave Ford his frequent business travel made it next to impossible for him to find a woman who could tolerate his chaotic schedule. Which is why he appreciates Angela. Neither of them are looking for love, but Dave feeds Angela's addiction for chocolate while she provides him with the chaos to keep him on his toes.

However, as Angela’s parents bombard her with a parade of "eligible" gremlin men at their weekly family dinners, she finds herself torn between who she longs to be and her family’s expectations. Will she give in and live the life of magic they want for her? Or risk it all by to confessing to Dave that she isn’t human?


“You owe me.”

Angela glanced up from her computer screen. Dave Ford stood in front of her. The blood drained from her face. “Do I?” She raised her “helpful” smile.

“Yes.” Dave handed over his passport and put the Louis Vuitton garment bag on the scale. “Last time, you sent my bag to Cleveland.”

“The system isn’t perfect,” Angela said, punching Dave’s information into the computer. “Things do happen sometimes.”

“You control the system. I think you owe me a glass of wine for having to find a tailor at six a.m. I had a nine o’clock business meeting and just my jeans and sweatshirt.”

“Hmm. By that reckoning, I think I’d owe the tailor for having to get you a functional suit so quickly at that early hour.”

“I tipped him £100. Least you can do is buy me a glass of wine in return.”

Angela lifted her gaze. Dave—all six feet of him with his fabulous hair— had a hopeful expression on his face.

“I’m not in the habit of buying strange men alcohol.”

Dave stuck his hand out. “Hi. Dave Ford. Business traveler.” Angela laughed. “All I’m asking for is a glass of Malbec. Or maybe pinot noir. Small price to pay in comparison to my having to fight off jet lag via acupuncture.”


Dave shrugged. “It was early for the tailor. His aim wasn’t quite what it could have been.”

Angela dipped into Dave’s mind. The tailor had stabbed him a couple of times. And Dave was playing with her. He wanted to see what she’d do.


Catherine “C.S.” Hale has been writing fantasy since she could hold a pencil. When not holed up in a comfortable corner writing all her books out by longhand, she can be found somewhere by the sea, enjoying tea and pastries.


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Straight Chatting from the Library: Ben Gartner

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ben Gartner will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

I really remember James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. That was probably second or third grade. I also remember getting into the Dragonlance Chronicles. Typically, I preferred the fantastical and this was reflected in a lot of my writing at the time. Still does, to a certain degree, though my fantasy these days tends to lean toward the more realistic and plausible, with a hint of magic.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Two siblings travel through time to save the world.

E-Reader or print? and why?

Both. I prefer print if I can relax in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and read into the night. But I have no qualms with e-readers. I love that I can sync my place across multiple devices, can easily download from my library or NetGalley or any of the retail shops, and can easily look up words while reading!

One book at a time or multiples?

Definitely multiple, but this is a bit of a trick answer. You see, I have two children and I read with each of them on alternating nights. So, I have a book of my own going, plus a book with each of them. For my own pleasure reading, it is rare that I have more than one going, though I’m not counting reading my own stuff, editing, etc.

Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)

Bookmark! I have been known to dog-ear in my past, though, I’ll admit.

When do you do most of your reading?

Seeing as how I have a day job, I do most of my reading at night. Though it’s nice to get in some pages in the morning or afternoons on the weekend, time permitting…

Favorite place to read?

Comfy chair in a quiet space. And since I have two kids, that’s why most of my reading happens at night after everyone is in their own rooms reading. ;)

Favorite genre?

I like stories and characters I can trust, even if they have magical or fantastical elements. Or even if they end up tricking me, then that is what I can trust about them. What’s interesting to my answer about this question is that I have a harder time now reading full-on fantasy and science fiction (though I do occasionally), but I love watching those movies. Conversely, I don’t really like to watch horror movies and yet I love to read Stephen King.

I love realistic contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy and science fiction that has some basis in reality. Though I am open to anything and everything that has a good story.

Do you loan your books?

Definitely! I love encouraging and sharing the exchange of ideas and what better way to do that than over a book discussion!

Re-reader or not?

Typically not, though there are a few notable exceptions. I’ve re-read Stephen King’s On Writing a few times, and probably will a few more.

I also read the Lord of the Rings book as a kid, then re-read them to my oldest, then again to my youngest. It took awhile, but it was worth it!

Thanks so much for having me today. It was a pleasure. And let me just say that I love hearing from readers, parents, teachers, librarians, and the writing community. Don’t be shy about reaching out.


Siblings John and Sarah barely made it home last time, but in their next time traveling adventure the challenge really heats up. Surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier, they must fulfill their quest to unite the emperor with his enemy, an Alemanni barbarian, or risk being stuck in time forever.

An action-packed fantasy full of sword fights, chariot chases, fearsome wild animals, and high mountain survival. For graduates of the Magic Tree House looking for a thrilling middle grade page-turner, read Sol Invictus, book two of The Eye of Ra series!


John’s whole body shook. His irregular breathing created a feedback loop of anxious nerves. On one side of him, Lucas was now armed. On the other, a squad or regiment or whatever you call it of Roman soldiers pointed spears at them, and they looked very, very serious. John’s worrying spiraled and he couldn’t steady himself and—

If only he could trace the eye of Ra again. Why on Earth had he thought tracing it would be a good idea in the first place? What was he thinking?!

Then Sarah asked for him to hand it over. Of course! She would save them. She got them out of ancient Egypt. She’d save them again.

He couldn’t get the leather cord over his head, so Sarah leaned in close and put her finger on the pendant. With the loop still around his neck, their foreheads pressed together.

“We’re going to get out of here, Johnny,” she whispered.

“Get up!” the boy standing over him said again.

Given that he was one of the fighters about to face a lion, John assumed he was a venator and thus wasn’t trying to kill them, or the other people in the ring. They were supposed to work together to overcome the lion, right? In fact, this boy had offered to help them. John examined Sarah’s face—her single pointed look of determination as she traced the eye. Why was she reluctant to accept this boy’s help, to work together?

Sarah finished tracing the almond eye and moved to the line with the curlicue finish while mumbling to herself in some kind of mantra, “Please work, please work, please work.”


Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra adventure series for middle graders (ages 8-12). His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.



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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Straight Browsing from the Library: Shelter for Cerise by Nicole Flockton

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nicole Flockton will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


After surviving a terrifying tornado, Cerise Robinson has re-evaluated her life goals. Her focus now is on, Finn, her foster son and following her dream to adopt him so that she can call him her own. A relationship is the last thing she’s looking for, yet Brodie is not only handsome and sets her heart racing, he’s also wonderful to Finn. He’s almost too good to be true.

Volunteer fire fighter, Brodie Spelling is as happy on the back of horse working on a dude ranch as he was at creating code for the very successful app he and his college buddies developed. So maybe he’s a tech millionaire. No one else needs to know. He’s finally found the balance his life needed—yet something is missing. When he meets Cerise, he discovers an attraction he isn’t expecting. Nor the connection he quickly develops with her foster son. Does he now have the lost piece to complete his puzzle?

As their relationship develops, danger lurks in the shadows waiting to take what Cerise wants most. She will stop at nothing to save Finn, even if it means putting her life on the line…and losing Brodie.


“I’m glad you came tonight. Did you have fun?”

Brodie stepped a little closer and brushed the back of his knuckles along her soft cheek, careful not to mess up her glitter. “Yeah, I did.”

“Even though they gave you hard time about knowing those tech millionaires but not being in the inner sanctum with them?”

“Yeah, even then. I got to spend time with you. That’s what I enjoyed the most.”

Cerise ducked her head. The urge to taste her was overwhelming him. The scent of her perfume had driven him crazy all night. Along with the way her cheeks sparkled when the light hit them. And she’d reapplied her gloss before leaving so they shone temptingly in the sparsely lit parking lot.

“I liked being with you too.”

He slipped an arm around her waist, waiting a few seconds to see if she would pull away. When she didn’t he raised his other hand and smoothed it over her head. “Can I kiss you, Sparkles?”

“If you don’t, I think I might have to hurt you.”


USA Today Bestselling author Nicole Flockton writes sexy contemporary romances that sparkle. Nicole likes nothing better than taking characters and creating unique situations where they fight to find their true love.

Apart from writing Nicole is busy spreading glitter all over social media, looking after her very own hero – her wonderfully supportive husband, and two fabulous kids. She also enjoys watching sports and, of course, reading.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Straight Browsing from the Library: Dead Silent by various authors

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Three randomly drawn winners will receive a $10 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


The secrets must be kept, or the body count will rise...
Are you ready for the eighteen deadly crime thrillers that will keep you up all night?

Shrouded in mystery, these thrillers by eighteen Wall Street Journal, USA Today and International Best-selling authors, will keep you turning the pages for weeks. It’s a limited time collection that will introduce you to your new favorite writers.

What made the art thieves kill? Why does the old case haunt the detective? Can the assassins be stopped?

From Los Angeles to Scotland to Prague, the twists and turns will leave you in a cold sweat, needing to know what happens next with page after page of the deadliest crimes you can imagine.

This mystery, thriller, and suspense boxset is perfect for fans of David Baldacci, James Patterson, Chris Collett, Angela Marsons, and Lisa Gray.


I read the heading as I took it from her. Phi Sigma Eta - A Co-ed Fraternity. I laughed and immediately felt guilty. Why shouldn’t there be a fraternity for mortuary students? Hadn’t I spent hours trying to convince Gran that the death industry was a noble one? “Are you going to join?” I asked.

She snorted again. “No way. My mama would kill me. On the way out the door this morning, she says,” the girl adopted an artificially high tone, “Rochelle, watch yourself, girl. There’s gonna be a lot of strange folks at that school. You’re not there for socializing.”

I nodded. I got it. I’d tried to convince Gran that funeral directors were like the pastors of their own ever-changing flocks. I’d thought this was an especially nice touch, since Gran was born again in the 1970s during the Jesus Movement. It didn’t sway her. “Yeah, my Gran isn’t too crazy about my career choice either.”

“Oh, Mama is fine with the career choice. It was hers, not mine.”

I looked Rochelle up and down critically for the first time. She didn’t look like most of the students on campus, and it wasn’t because she was Black. She was too all-American. Too clean cut. Too old, probably only a couple of years younger than me. And above all, too pretty in a TV newscaster kind of way. “Why did you agree? I mean, it’s kind of . . . Well, you gotta be into it.”

“My uncle owns a funeral home and. . . It’s a long story.” She stuck out a hand. “Rochelle.” I took it and shook. “Imogene.”

We fell into step, meandering through a swirl of leaves in the general direction of what I hoped were the classrooms.

“Where are you headed?” Rochelle asked. “Anatomy 101. How about you?”

“Same. Do you know where it is?”

I stopped walking. “No. I thought you did.”

Rochelle pulled a campus map from her backpack. “I think it’s behind the registration building.”

We looked at the map together, pivoted, then pushed our way down a narrow wind-tunnel of a path between the registration offices and the library.


Books by: Judith Lucci, Fiona Quinn, Sandra Woffington, Michelle Medhat, Dan Petrosini, Greta Boris, David Berens, J.D. Weston, Tom Fowler, Chris Patchell, L.K. Hill, Gavin Reese, K.C. Sivils, Tom Schneider, Elleby Harper, Dwayne Gill, James Harper, Jay Tinsiano, and Jay Newton

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Straight Reading from the Library: Hungry Business

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maria DeBlassie will be awarding a free ecopy of Hungry Business to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Read our earlier interview with the author here:


From the multi-award-winning author of Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings comes a cozy Gothic short story about searching for soul, meaning, love in a world that's forgotten the power of everyday conjuring.

Looking for love can be deadly…

You know how it goes. You go out, hoping to meet someone. You wade through your fair share of brainless automatons, lifeless bodies, and ravenous undead good at passing as human.

The more you go out, the less hope you feel and the colder your body gets. But you keep at it. All you need is one beating heart to match your own before yours stops pumping altogether. How hard can it be to find one living, breathing human in a city full of bodies?


It’s hungry business.

CW: Assault


This short story is a different take on the zombie virus - these undead still seek out the living for their own reasons, but they go about it in an entirely different way - through dating.

In this quick read, Ms. DeBlassie takes the reader through many emotions. It is written in a second person POV, which I usually don't enjoy, but which works in this case. I don't know if it's because it's so short, but I was finished with the story before it actually dawned on me how it was written. She takes you right into the action and doesn't slow down until the end.

The main character is strong - way stronger than I think I would have been in the same situation. I do understand her desire for making a connection with someone, though. Even if it's just the cat across the street.

Good job, Ms.DeBlassie. I'll be on the lookout for more of your stories. 4 stars.

At home, you take a bath as hot as you can stand and read an old bodice ripper until the warmth returns to your veins, and the flames of hope have been fanned enough that you can crawl into your flannel jammies and be grateful you are still alive. The light in your apartment slowly seeps into your chest, and you settle into your perch on the window.

You inspect the damage to your pinky finger as you wait for the cat to appear. The bath stopped the spread of the decay but the tip is gray and blue. There is pus where your fingernail should have been. You smother it in aloe vera, grated ginger, and bandages, hoping it will be enough to bring life back into your appendage. You don’t really know how to treat something like this. You sigh and lean back against the window frame. Your orange tabby cat has made its appearance—yours, yes, though you know you shouldn’t feel so possessive about a creature you only know from a distance. It’s just nice to know it’s there.

Here’s the thing you love about the cat across the way: It’s proof that there are other beating hearts out there. Cats won’t settle where Hungries live. Perhaps their feline instincts tell them they’re easy prey for the things that are never satiated. That’s why you never see alley cats in the humanless neighborhoods. In fact, it was their strange mass exodus from certain parts of the city that first alerted officials to the virus now plaguing them. And this cat—bright orange like a flame with a soft, full belly—seems happy enough in its home. You wonder what kind of human it belongs to.


Maria DeBlassie, Ph.D. is a native New Mexican mestiza blogger, award-winning writer, and award-winning educator living in the Land of Enchantment. Her first book, Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic and Daily Conjurings (Moon Books 2018), and her ongoing blog, Enchantment Learning and Living are about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and the life of a kitchen witch. When she is not practicing her own brand of brujeria, she’s reading, teaching, and writing about bodice rippers and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there. Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Straight Browsing from the Library: Without a Head by M. Glenda Rosen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. M. Glenda Rosen will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Jenna Preston is used to investigating cheating spouses, fraud, and even a murder or two in her role as a private investigator. But she’s never consulted on a case quite like the one at Darcy’s Salon in East Hampton. A killer has struck and left behind a woman’s head in the upscale salon’s shampoo sink.

As Jenna struggles to make sense of the what’s happened, she comes up against entitled and badly behaved beach dwellers, greedy parties with motives all their own, and the billion dollar beauty industry. With her loyal dog Watson at her side, Jenna pieces together clues and tracks down a killer who claims victims that are dying to be beautiful.


Saturday, as always was an exceptionally busy day, “in season” at Darcy’s Salon, which is why she had gotten there so early. She always wanted the salon looking perfect, ready for stylists and clients, who this day had appointments beginning at 7 am.

Located off the main avenue of this posh resort at the East End of Long Island, less than ninety miles from Manhattan, the salon was known for catering to the rich and famous, as well as some of wanna-be customers, primping for weekend parties and fundraising events.

The salon was truly beautiful with warm color tones and soft matching leather client chairs facing gold (well, fake gold), trimmed mirrors. There was a reception area with the latest issues of fashion magazines from Paris and Rome, and a few of the more popular Hampton rags, like Dan’s Papers were spread out on a marble table, next to it a coffee machine offering gourmet flavored coffee and teas.

Most of the women who came to Darcy’s Salon had plenty of money, some from their own success, although others were arm candy for much older, wealthy men. Sometimes one of them would joke (maybe not) that they were “Dying To Be Beautiful” like some of the famous models and celebrities, many of who summered in The Hamptons.

“Jenna, you’ve seen how difficult and fussy they can be, and their egos—they’re constantly seeking confirmation of how beautiful they look. They want to come to a high-end salon, expecting to be treated like royalty. And believe me, we do.”


Marcia Rosen (aka M. Glenda Rosen) is author of ten books including The Senior Sleuths and Dying To Be Beautiful Mystery Series and The Gourmet Gangster, Mysteries and Menus (with her son Jory Rosen). She is also author of The Woman’s Business Therapist and award-winning My Memoir Workbook. Marcia was owner of a successful national marketing and public relations agency, received numerous awards for her work on behalf of business and professional women and has given many presentations, now as Zoom Events, such as: Encouraging the Writer Within You, Writing A Mystery...Not A Mystery, Book Marketing with Zoom and Podcasts, Writing From Your Soul, Memoir Writing and The Senior Sleuths & Dying To Be Beautiful Mysteries. Member of Sisters In Crime, Southwest Writers, Central Coast Writers and Public Safety Writers Association. Board Member, 2021, National Association of Independent Writers and Editors.

Sample of Scheduled Zoom Programs: The National Steinbeck Center (6 week program on About Being an Author), Shelter Island Library, an hour marketing presentation. Public Safety Writer's Association Encouraging the Writer Within You, Central Coast Writers “About Being an Author,” Podcast Marketing for Southwest Writers, Murder on The Beach bookstore, Memoir Writing Sessions, Shelter Island and Westhampton Beach Library, “Writing Mysteries…Not A Mystery,” and other venues and topics for 2021.

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