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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Guest Author Post - Victoria Laurie

Please welcome Ms. Victoria Laurie to the blog today.  She is a professional psychic of many years and wanted to portray an intuitive as a normal person.

This House Was Designed for Murder

Of all the covers on the Psychic Eye Mystery series, I think the cover for A Panicked Premonition is my absolute favorite. I’m so in love with the scene that it captures; from Abby’s alarmed posture, to that glorious bloody handprint which evokes such wonderful tension, to the Architectural Digest –worthy house in the background.

Typically, an author gets very little say in what imagery goes on our covers, but we are often allowed to make suggestions, and for this cover I’m very proud that what I envisioned and suggested to the awesome art department at Penguin was not only listened to and put to use, but also taken to such an aesthetically interesting level. (And yes, I had to FIGHT for that bloody handprint!) J

The fabulous thing here is that the cover also highlights a theme that really, until this book, I’m not sure I was completely consciously aware of, and that is the integral role architecture plays in my novels. It’s probably a natural condition of being in love with an architect—my S.O.—who’s also the inspiration for Dutch, by the way. Brian—my hunka gorgeous man—is such an interesting character in his own right and his love of architecture and art is such an interesting and wonderful thing to be exposed to. Early on in our relationship I started to see how architecture is really so much more than an expression of something abstract; it’s actually an expression of our personas –who we are is distinctly reflected in where we live and even where we work.

And I think it’s this concept that crept into my creative psyche and began to majorly influence the scenes in the stories that I write. Giving a description of the locations and homes that Abby and her gang visit or spend time in became an interaction every bit as revealing as her interviews with suspects and witnesses. And in A Panicked Premonition I definitely turned up the volume on this theme.

The house in the background on the cover is the setting for a violent crime, (duh, hello bloody handprint!) and Abby’s intuition suggests the structure itself has actually absorbed a lot of the energy of that violence, which plays counter to what we’re visually seeing in the image of the house in my description—and the cover. When I was writing the novel I liked that juxtaposition so much that I used it in several more places throughout the story, and if you’re very clever and looking carefully you’ll be able to find the clues hidden in the homes and buildings that Abby and Candice visit as they work their way through the mystery.

I think of this novel as a bit of a treasure hunt that way, and it’s added a no small measure of extra excitement for the release of A Panicked Premonition. Giving my fans and readers something extra to think about as they follow along is something that gives me a squidgy little thrill. In any event, I so hope you enjoy this one. I loooooved writing it, like, I actually had a blast parceling out the somewhat complicated plot, putting in a lot of twists, turns, and crazy characters just to keep you all guessing! I’m thrilled that it’ll be released this 4th of July too—

just in time to take a nice break from the rat race and dive into something fun and intriguing. May your holiday week be glorious, and may you all enjoy my latest and greatest!


Victoria Laurie
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here is a wonderful short video interview with Ms. Laurie too:


Thank you Ms. Laurie

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Reader Poll - Give me some feedback

Hello there,  I would like to do something a little different on the blog.  Something interactive, get your participation.  So please answer this one question and feel free to give your own suggestion as well.  I'm looking forward to your responses.

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review - A Ghostly Light

I have reviewed each in this series from the debut issue.  The sixth, Give Up The Ghost (click here), The fifth, Keeper of the Castle (click here), fourth, Home for the Haunting (click here), the third, Murder on the House (click here), the second book, Deadbolt (click here), and the debut book, If Walls Could Talk (click here).  Plus we have several interviews and guest posts from Ms. Blackwell.  Today is a review of the newest addition to one of her series.

Author: Juliet Blackwell

Copyright: June 2017 (Berkley) 355 pgs

Series: 7th in Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy

Main Characters: Mel Turner, woman construction renovation Owner/Operator

Setting: Modern day, San Francisco

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From the book cover:  "Dangerous tides ahead...

When her friend Alicia hires Turner Construction to renovate a historic lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay, Mel Turner can’t wait to get her hands dirty. Alicia plans to transform the island property into a welcoming inn, and while Mel has never attempted a project so ambitious—or so tall—before, she’s definitely up for the challenge.

But trouble soon arises when Alicia’s abusive ex-husband shows up to threaten both her and Mel, and later turns up dead at the base of the lighthouse stairs. With no other suspects in sight, things start looking choppy for Alicia. Now, if Mel wants to clear her friend’s name, she’ll need the help of the lighthouse’s resident ghosts to shine a light on the real culprit..."

Mel Turner, construction renovator extraordinaire, is very down to earth and works nearly all the time.  Her life is complicated and seeing ghosts adds to that, but she has developed a fear oh heights after the last book.  Landon Demetrius is a visiting mathematician professor at a local university and Mel's new boyfriend.  I have to say, personally he is more suited to Mel than Graham ever was.  Mel's close friend Luz, a professor and other friend Stephen are along to help.  Mel’s dad, Bill, their friend Stan, and her ex-stepson Caleb get a little page-time which are all enjoyable.  Alicia is a troubled representative of the man renovating the lighthouse and buildings for a B&B.  Ida Prescott Vigilance, the longtime ghost of the lighthouse is my pick for break-out character - you'll understand when you finish the book.

The island with a lighthouse and caretaker buildings is a great setting for a mystery, throw in the ghosts and it is sheer delight.  The writing accentuates the loneliness on the island for the caretakers with only a tiny bit of gothic atmosphere.

Finding the killer of a brutal wife beater isn't on most people's priority list, but his gentle-natured battered ex-wife is the police's prime suspect and nobody wants her to take the blame.  The plot presents a victim that nobody is mourning, thus dealing with his ghost isn't Mel's preference either.  The sub plot of the ghost of a woman lighthouse keeper who is distraught reveals a touching tale that you follow her story as eagerly, if not more so, than the main plot.

Yes, I really like a suspenseful killer reveal.  I have to admit, this wasn't the nail-biting climax, but it was so well done that I loved it all the same.  The wrap up is heartwarming and left me with a big smile.

I will remember this book and the emotions it evoked for a good while.  It has poignant moments sprinkled through the mystery and the characters are vibrant.  Ms. Blackwell continues to grow as a author, perfecting her craft, and it shows.

Ratings: Near Perfect - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend. 

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Author Guest Post - Juliette Blackwell

Ms. Blackwell has been a guest of this blog since the beginning.  We are excited to welcome her back to share how she came up with the fascinating setting of her newest book in the series.

On Ideas, Lighthouses, and Strong Women

“Where do you get your ideas?”

This is one of the most common questions a writer is asked, and I wish I had a good

The truth is, I can’t stop with the ideas. Whether people-watching in parks or on public transportation, from stories in the newspaper or on the radio, or sparked by some overheard bit of conversation or a strange turn of phrase ….no matter what, in the course of my everyday life I see waaaay more ideas than I could ever use in my books.

Case in point: several years ago I noticed a want-ad for a couple interested in running the historic East Brother lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay, which had been turned into a rather idiosyncratic bed and breakfast. The ad specifically asked for two people, and at least one had to have a Coast Guard boat piloting license.  Further, they should enjoy “cooking, history, basic maintenance, and hospitality.”

A want-ad for a lighthouse keeper/B&B host? What a great set-up for a novel!  Also…who knew there was a functioning lighthouse in San Francisco Bay?

I spoke to my sister, the historian, who mentioned that many women became lighthouse keepers back in the day. In fact, this was one of the only professions in which women could earn the same money as their male counterparts. Usually the women had been the wives or daughters of the original male keeper, had served as his unofficial assistants, and then inherited the demanding job when the man died or
was incapacitated.

Fascinated, I made my way to Point San Pablo, the
secluded houseboat community that serves as the departure dock for the lighthouse island, and –my notepad always
at the ready-- talked to a few of the residents before climbing aboard the small boat that ferries passengers over to the island to roam the grounds. The island location is gorgeous, of course, and the Victorian lighthouse and residence is stunning. Also, lighthouse keepers kept careful logs – a rich font of information. (Read more about East Brother Lighthouse, and see some great photos, here:

This was years ago, mind you, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the charming little lighthouse in the Bay, which most people whiz by on the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge without even noticing. Finally, I found the perfect opportunity to put the locale to use, in my latest Haunted Home Renovation book, A GHOSTLY LIGHT.

Of course, I took a bit of artistic license with East Brother Lighthouse and Point San Pablo, and as I wrote the story began to careen and twist the way all good mysteries
do. But how better to use the setting and history of the East Brother Lighthouse than to create the fictional need for its thorough renovation?

In A GHOSTLY LIGHT, Mel Turner, general contractor extraordinaire, steps in to fix up a dilapidated lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay when her friend, Alicia, gets the
financial backing to transform it into an inn. But Mel’s not only gifted with a hammer; she’s also able to see ghosts. And who’s ever heard of a lighthouse without a resident ghost (or two?) Soon Mel’s trying to figure out how to placate the island’s agitated spirit – a woman lighthouse keeper-- while searching for buried treasure, uncovering the fate of a long-ago missing boy, and exonerating her friend Alicia, who
now stands accused of killing her violent ex-husband.

Just a week in the life of Mel Turner, reluctant ghost-buster.

And now I have a few ideas for the next book…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thank you Ms. Blackwell, always a pleasure to have you visit!  I loved the setting of the lighthouse island for this mystery.  My review will be coming in a few days.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

International Bookmark Swap

I found this fascinating website that I want to share with you.  For the many people who love print books, the bookmark is more than a place holder but artistic and a personal expression.  

Now you can swap bookmarks with people around the world.  International Friends of Bookmarks has created a website where you can sign up and give particulars of what sort of bookmarks you are interested in receiving and what kind you have to send (click here).  You can then browse by country and see who is looking for bookmarks that you can send.  

What a fantastic way to reach out and share the love of reading and a sense of community.  It is simple and easy that deserves to be shared.  I hope it spreads and catches on to be a huge success.   

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