05 June, 2023

#BookSpotlight :: Far Out by Khaled Talib - #Thriller @KhaledTalib @Partnerincr1me


Far Out

by Khaled Talib

June 5 - 30, 2023 Virtual Book Tour



Far Out by Khaled Talib

Hollywood movie star Goldie Saint Helen comes out of a coma after a car accident with an altered identity. She now believes she is a hippie detective living in the Sixties, hired to find a missing teenage girl who is about to end up a guinea pig in a CIA drug experiment.

Goldie also thinks screenwriter Blake Deco, her husband, is an intern at her detective agency. For the time being, Blake plays along as advised by the hospital until she recovers her memory.

However, sinister plotters think it is better that Goldie does not wake up from her fantasy-and they have their reasons.

The couple finds themselves embroiled in a dangerous situation. Blake must use his past military skills as he races against the clock to save his wife before she loses her mind forever.

Praise for Far Out:

"Here is Hollywood in all its glam, seductive sleaze as a cast of greed-enabled sharks angle to glom on to a famous movie star’s megamillions. Lots of action plus insider gossip in a witty, entertaining thriller with a groovy 1960's vibe."
~ Ruth Harris, NYTimes & Amazon bestselling author

Far Out Trailer:

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Running Wild Press
Publication Date: January 2024
Number of Pages: 325
ISBN: 978-1955062923

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

As she lay on the verge along the Pacific Coast Highway under a starless April sky, a faint bleat caught Goldie’s lips. Her heart pounded irregularly as her breath whizzed in and out of her mouth. Blurry faces swam in her vision, and obfuscated voices floated through and lingered in her distorted senses. She heard maybe six; maybe more, maybe less. Her fading bleariness made it hard to tell.

Out of the corner of her eye, Goldie noticed the coils of steam spewing from the hood of an overturned Lexus underneath the mountain incline on the other side of the road. The red car had smashed into a barrier.

How did it happen?

She sucked in the salty breeze, struggling to refocus despite her discombobulation. As she writhed in pain, she felt her eyelids flicker, pulled down by her mortality.

Is it time to go?

Too soon to die.

At least let me say goodbye to…who?

Why can’t I remember anyone?

A hand repeatedly patted Goldie’s cheek, pulling her out of her stupor.

“Stay with me, okay? Don’t sleep. Help is on the way.” The soothing feminine voice kept Goldie in a state of equanimity. Her gaze strayed toward its owner, a young woman with long, dark hair bracketing a set of angelic eyes within a pale, long face etched with concern and worry.

Angel Eyes leered down at Goldie. “Do you feel pain anywhere? Blink once for yes, and twice for no.”

Goldie blinked once.

“Don’t move.” Angel Eyes gleamed with emotion. “An ambulance will be here shortly.”

“She sure looks like Goldie Saint Helen, the movie star,” came from another, astonished voice, this one belonging to a plump curly-haired girl with ringlets across her forehead. “Hey, wait a minute―it is her!”

Movie star? Who? Me?

“You sure?” Goldie heard another voice ask, this one from a man. Moments later, he inched forward, revealing himself: A blond with a surfer haircut.

“Remember Gun Kiss? We watched the movie last year,” said the curly-haired girl. “Goldie Saint Helen. She was kidnapped by a Mexican drug lord. Her husband saved her, and he wrote the original screenplay inspired by the incident.”

>Mexican drug lord? Husband? What’s my husband’s name?

A chilly breeze carrying the salty air swept over Goldie’s warm body, and she shivered involuntarily.

“Someone get her a blanket from the van,” Angel Eyes demanded.

The curly-haired girl stood up and scampered away. She returned momentarily with a blanket.

Goldie felt the thick blanket spread over her right up to her neck, rendering immediate warmth.

A smile blossomed across Angel Eyes’s face. “We’ll stay here with you until the ambulance arrives. You’ll be okay.”

A sting suppressed Goldie’s attempt to raise her lips into a smile. So, she blinked once to acknowledge Angel Eyes’s statement.

Car doors banged shut, and Goldie looked up as she heard someone approach.

“What happened here?” asked a woman wearing a jumper.

Goldie looked up at the woman, but the throbbing headache behind her eyes, which had spread across her cheek and down her ears, restrained her from prolonging her focusing. She dropped her eyes, subsiding the tension.

The woman doubled over, hands on her knees, her eyes fixed on Goldie; the look in them was somewhat curious, somewhat empathetic.

“We’re not sure,” the blond man replied. “ We pulled her out of her car,” he said, pointing to the burning car. Flames unfurled from the hood, but were being fought by men with handheld extinguishers containing the fire from spreading in the interior and trunk.

“Did you kids hit her?” a beefy man asked, to which he received a volley of antagonistic replies.

The blond man stood and cocked his head towards a white van parked up ahead, along the verge. “That’s our van over there. Go see if there’s any damage, then come and apologize to us.”

The beefy man raised both hands, palms up. “Take it easy, man. Just making sure.”

“Why don’t we let the police handle it?” said the curly-haired girl.

The beefy man balked, pulling along the woman in the jumper.

Goldie saw more cars blur by, some stopping. Onlookers approached and jostled for a good spot.

“Hey, isn’t she Goldie Saint Helen?” asked a man in a yellow polo T-shirt. He took his phone out of his pocket and took a few pictures of Goldie. The camera flashed repeatedly, briefly blinding her.

“Have you no shame, Mister? She’s a human being,” snapped the curly-haired girl, glowering at the opportunist.

The man in the yellow T-shirt retreated to his car.

“Asshole.” The curly-haired girl stood up and snapped at the other bystanders. “Well, what are you people waiting for? Go ahead and take some more pictures!”

“Take it easy, I can help,” said a bob-haired woman in a gray sweater and white athletic pants.

“Nothing much to be done here, unless you’re a doctor,” Angel Eyes replied to her.

“I’m a nurse,” the bob-haired woman said. “I just thought―”


Excerpt from Far Out by Khaled Talib. Copyright 2024 by Khaled Talib. Reproduced with permission from Khaled Talib. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Khaled Talib

Born and raised in Singapore, Khaled Talib’s books have received reviews in Publishers Weekly and international newspapers.

The author is also a member of the International Thriller Writers.

His books have received praise from New York Times bestselling thriller authors, Gayle Lynds, Ruth Harris, and USA Today bestselling authors, Jon Land, Jean Rabe and Fiona Quinn.

Before he started writing thrillers, Khaled was a magazine journalist and public relations consultant.

When he is not writing, Khaled spends most of his time reading, baking, traveling the world.

Catch Up With Khaled Talib:
BookBub - @KhaledTalib
Instagram - @khaled_talib_books
Twitter - @KhaledTalib
Facebook - @khaled.talib
YouTube - @KhaledTalib



Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaway entries!





This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Khaled Talib. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.



Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours


29 May, 2023

#BookSpotlight :: Copper Waters (The Annalisse #4) by Marlene M. Bell - #Mystery #CozyMystery @ewephoric @Partnersincr1me


Copper Waters by Marlene M Bell Banner

Copper Waters

The Annalisse series, Book 4

by Marlene M. Bell

May 29 - June 23, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


Copper Waters by Marlene M Bell

A rural New Zealand vacation turns poisonous.

Annalisse Drury and Alec Zavos are on opposite sides when an ex-lover from Alec’s past introduces him to his alleged son. With Alec’s marriage proposal in limbo, Annalisse accepts a key to her dream cottage—an invitation to a sheep station on South Island, New Zealand—only this time, she travels alone.

Unbeknownst to her, a mutual friend follows on the flight, and together they are confronted by two peculiar deaths—either accidental, or the deliberate acts of a psychopath.

Temuka police investigators are closing these cases too quickly. They want Annalisse to exit their country before she reveals the town’s darkest secrets. Will she return to Alec, or sacrifice their future together to expose it all?

Praise for Copper Waters:

"Marlene M. Bell's COPPER WATERS is a well-written murder mystery with descriptive scenes, an intriguing setting, and enough push and pull between the characters and within the plot to keep readers engaged."
~ IndieReader

"Marlene M. Bell is a master storyteller when it comes to the cozy mystery genre."
~ Book Review Directory

"Copper Waters is an entertaining and fast-paced mystery, where small-town intrigue, family drama, and a high-stakes whodunit will deepen readers' affection for the tenacious Annalisse."
~ Self-Publishing Review

"Copper Waters is emotional and thrilling, surprising and life-changing."
~ Review by Book Excellence

Copper Waters Trailer:

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery (cozy type)
Published by: Ewephoric Publishing
Publication Date: December 2022
Number of Pages: 342
ISBN: 978-0999539491
Series: The Annalisse series, Book 4
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter Five

Homicides R Us

“Bill, get left!” I yell while checking for oncoming traffic. That’s when I notice a group standing in a semicircle near a driveway—around limbs. From here, it looks like a person’s body.

“Oh no.” I stare through the windshield.

We slow to a stop and park near the curb of a strip shopping area, leaving our engine running.

“We should help.” I jump out to investigate. Women wearing rompers and a guy in greasy mechanic’s overalls are standing over someone on the pavement.

“What happened?” I ask Bill, jogging to the scene and scanning the narrow two-lane road where no other vehicle has pulled over other than us. A familiar beige fishing hat lies a few feet from the victim.

“A mad driver went on a strop!” a female screams from the gawking crowd.

“It’s Alastair,” Bill mutters, his words loud enough for me to catch them. “Did he have a heart attack or did someone hit him?”

Bill reaches the bystanders on Main Street before I do and throws his arm out, blocking me with his body and a stern glare.

“Annalisse, would you please wait in the car?”

“Can’t someone help him?”

“It’s too late for that.”

I change my mind about approaching Alastair. He’s in a bad way if Bill wants to shield me from viewing him. Travelers like us from the US who allow a local to drive their rental car will shoot us to the top of the authority’s suspect list—even if Ethan sent Alastair to pick us up at the airport. Our first day in Temuka and a nice old man is sprawled out dead on the road less than an hour after he stepped out of our vehicle. We’re so naive when it comes to learning the customs of another country before making the trip. Why didn’t I research this?

I can’t help but think of the police encounters we’ve participated in and the hours of interrogation that happened not too long ago. This time we aren’t witnesses to the crime and weren’t in close proximity of Alastair when he was hit.

Who is Alastair McGregor, really? A chilliness penetrates my hands. Why did he insist on walking along the roadside? Did he want to throw himself in front of a moving car, or is this just an accident?

I wave Bill over at the same time one of the women throws up what appears to be her luncheon salad near Alastair’s prone body. I’ve seen no movement and try not to think about what’s staring me right in the face.

Bill speaks to the male witness and returns to the car. “I hope you didn’t see him like that. According to one of the witnesses, Alastair was strolling his usual path. He takes this walk each day, rain or shine, and his reputation precedes him. They all know him well―a businessman and an environmental activist from their community.”

“Was he hit by a car, or did he collapse in front of traffic?”

“He was struck from behind, then the car came back around to finish the job.” Bill shudders.

“Not an accident?” I’m in utter disbelief. “Activists make enemies. Alastair mentioned a protest next week at Bluebasin Lake. I hope someone didn’t do this on purpose to keep him from the protest.”

“His cranium was crushed. Brain matter everywhere. The crime appears to be more deliberate, according to the ladies who saw the whole thing.”

My fish and chips crawl up my throat where I can taste them again. I close my eyes to Bill’s description of the crime scene and try not to relive it in my mind.

“There’s no chance he could survive?” I ask.

“No way. His head was mashed under the tires. Once struck, he didn’t have a chance to get out of the way. Per the eyewitnesses, the driver sped through like a crazy person in a rage.” He verifies the navigation while we’re stopped and makes his U-turn in the road.

“Shouldn’t we wait around for the police?” If we take off, won’t that look like we showed up to make sure—”

“This country has a constitutional monarchy where England runs the show here. I’m not familiar with how a monarchy works, not yet anyway―homework for later. Let the police interview witnesses who saw the incident as it happened. We’ll go down to the precinct and tell them how we met Alastair and when we saw him last.” Bill glances into his rearview mirror. “I should also bone up on the local government in Temuka. We’re tourists in their country and should understand our rights before going to the police.”

“The cottage is that way.” I point over the seat.

“We’re taking the scenic route. I don’t want to drive past that crowd with police on the way and remind them we could’ve staged this. It’s not like they know us.”

Poor Alastair. If he didn’t meet us, he might still be alive. “I wish he wasn’t sent to the airport to pick us up.” I say what Bill could be thinking.

“We didn’t do this to him. A person in a dark Land Rover did,” Bill announces without warning.

“They saw the car? I hope the driver gets what’s coming for murder. Knowing the make of the car will narrow down the suspects. How many Rover models can there be in a town of a few thousand people?”

“Land Rover has an entire line. Remember, we’re in a British Commonwealth, and Land Rover is a UK company. You might not have noticed how many Brit vehicles we passed leaving Christchurch. Tons. They aren’t all the boxy type we think about,” Bill says. “The police will have their work cut out finding the hit-and-run driver if witnesses didn’t get a license.”

My heart sinks for Alastair’s daughter. “Whoever gets the nasty job of notifying Alastair’s daughter, I pity that person. Before you returned with the rental car at the airport, I spoke to a woman named Jenny at the sweet shop. She may hear about it first.”

“Immediate family notification isn’t going to be a problem.”


“The women had strange expressions when I brought up his family in a general way. It seems that Sidney and her son died two years ago, with Alastair at the wheel of their car.”

My hand flies to my mouth. “You’re kidding.”

“According to them, Alastair’s alone and has no living relatives.”

The ache in my heart increases, as does the sadness.

“The family were in a car accident together, and he was the sole survivor? That’s painful just thinking about it. Why did he tell us that his daughter owns, present tense, the shop on Whaler’s Street? I thought Jenny was an employee.”

“Jenny could’ve stepped in to take over the shop for Sidney, and Alastair might’ve been so lonely after her death that he took on the taxi service to give himself purpose.”

“Whoa. It takes a story like Alastair’s to remind us not to squander our time with friends and family.”

“So true.”

“I’m glad we ate when we did because there’s no way I could handle food after all this mess. Who ran Alastair down in broad daylight—without fear of being seen and then drove away?”

Bill’s detour takes us to the cottage cutoff from the opposite direction. It’ll add a few extra miles, but I don’t mind when we have so much breathtaking countryside to absorb. I power the window down as we pass gigantic, smooth-barked, native trees filled with noisy birds that include hooked beaks and fat little bellies. Purple wildflowers that look like asters dot the meadows, and plants shaped like Scheffleras grow from the bases of those big trees.

A faded green sign marks the dirt road to Woolcombe Station’s cottage on an idyllic triangular property marked by old fence posts. Pristine hedges and more flowering shrubs in pinks and yellows line the wooden porch to the main entrance. Shed dormers break up the A-frame roof, a dead giveaway for their heavy snows during winter. As per Ethan’s description, weatherworn gray planks in vertical lengths give the home a rustic, country feel. Crisscross windows in washed-out white casings add to the ambiance, but the most glorious part of this little house is the pond and stepping stones that wind to the rear. Water spilling over rocks nearby from a stream to our left pulls me in to its sound. The trickle and movement of water is so calming.

We park next to clumps of small pampas-like grass finely maintained by a groundskeeper, I suspect. Not a blade of ground cover is out of place. Mowed volunteer grass on the outer yard matches what’s near the porch—a landscape that looks utterly natural and not at all commercially grown.

“The cottage is larger, and the outside is cleaner than I expected. Quaint and pretty. Ready to check out the inside, or would you rather get some exercise?” I ask Bill.

“Inside first.”

Bill’s standing behind me as I dig into my tote compartment that holds Ethan’s box with the key. I slip the key into the slot and the door opens to a spacious world of twenty-by-twenty neutral tile and monochromatic sage-green area rugs. Two leather armchairs side by side and an exquisite nubby sofa crowd a large, calf-height, wooden coffee table similar in color to the gray exterior of the home. A vaulted ceiling adds size to the space, an illusion of a much larger dwelling than it is.

“Chic. Someone has a knack for decorating.” I glance into the ugly mustard-tiled kitchen. “Ugh. Spoke too soon. We have early seventies over there.”

“Not a guy’s pad, that’s for sure.” Bill wanders past me, leaving the vast room for a short hallway. “Looks like two bedrooms and a main bath,” he remarks loud enough for me to catch his remark from the end of the hall.

The kitchenette is cubbyhole small, as if it’s been left that way from a modern renovation of the living room. One bright window has a view to the pond from booth seating made from the same nubby fabric as the couch. The stove and oven are a single-unit throwback from the Nixon administration, with electric elements and a tea-stained, harvest gold range top.

“Not exactly gourmet cooking appliances.” My fingernail scrapes off some of the old grease. “I see a lot of takeout in our future. Are the bedrooms nice?” I stroll to the hall and smell the pungent odor of fresh paint.

“Rooms are clean. Dresser, mirror, and a queen-size bed in each.”

“I believe we’ve solved our travel problems, having only one car between us. Since the cottage is in the boonies, if you’d care to use the other bedroom, I’d like you to stay here. Having someone in the house will distract me from noticing paranormal activity at night.” I’m holding a straight face but about to burst from his expression. It’s priceless.

“Is that right? Alec didn’t mention that you see ghosts.” Bill settles himself against the wall, with wide eyes and hands hidden behind him.

“Drake, lighten up already. I’m kidding. We have enough to worry about without people in the hereafter joining our vacation.”

“If you’re sure you don’t mind?” Bill’s lips flatline. “I don’t want to impose.” He hesitates as something stirs behind his eyes.

“I’ll let Alec know the arrangements, don’t worry. Unless he plans on showing up unannounced? I don’t know what the two of you talked about.”

“He knows he’s being slightly overprotective, but it’s well-founded. Trouble seems to like you… a lot.” Bill shoves a hand in his pants pocket and twists his mouth into a pucker.

Alec does the same pocket thing when he’s frustrated with me.

“Come on.” I bump him on the elbow. “I want you to camp here. Alec trusts you, as I do.”

Bill’s serious nature is absorbing everything I say as truth. I’ll have to be careful teasing him. He hasn’t crossed any line since we met last year, so I feel protected in his presence, as if Alec were here. “I hereby promise not to make a nuisance of myself. Cross my heart.” I cross myself and hold up the Boy Scout salute. “Scout’s honor.”

He looks at the sofa and touches it as if soothing the fabric. “Considering the incident with Alastair, it’s a good idea not to hang around town for lodging until we talk with police and explain how he showed up at the airport.”

“I agree. The last time you spoke to Alec, what was his general mood?”

“Crazy worried,” Bill says. “In his shoes, I’d be the same way.”

I drop my gaze to the floor and consider how I left Alec with Noah. “He put you on the flight because you’d keep me from harm. You can’t do that from a motel in town. I’ll call Alec and give him the details about Alastair and tell him you’re staying at the cottage. I considered keeping the hit-and-run from Alec, but he should be told everything.”

“I’ll bring in our things. Thank you for taking pity on a detective out of his element.” He’s outside before I can thank him for his mediation.

Homicides R Us is back in business.


Excerpt from Copper Waters by Marlene M. Bell. Copyright 2022 by Marlene M. Bell. Reproduced with permission from Marlene M. Bell. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Marlene M. Bell

Marlene M. Bell is an eclectic mystery writer, artist, photographer, and she raises sheep on a ranch in wooded East Texas with her husband, Gregg.

Marlene’s Annalisse series boasts numerous honors including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery (Spent Identity,) and FAPA— Florida Author’s President’s Gold Award for two other installments, (Stolen Obsession and Scattered Legacy.) Her mysteries with a touch of romantic suspense are found at her websites or at online retail outlets.

She also offers the first of her children's picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! Based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. The simple text and illustrations are a touching tribute of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb.

Catch Up With Marlene M. Bell:
BookBub - @dorsetgalwrites
Instagram - @marlenemysteries
Twitter - @ewephoric
Facebook - @marlenembell
YouTube - @marlenebell4960



Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaway entries!




This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Marlene M. Bell. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.



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25 May, 2023

Read an Excerpt from Our Right Time by Summerita Rhayne - @SummeritaRhayne #AsianLiterature #Romance


Hitansh stood looking at the rundown house. He might be foolish and sentimental, but for him, this would always be home. The peeling paint, the exposed bricks couldn't detract from the rush of warmth that filled his insides. It was like sipping a hot, comforting cup of tea in the morning, a relaxing drink to unwind in the evening. The tree in the backyard where they had fought and made up, stood dried up now. He and Ishani. For a moment, he was tempted to walk away. Surely, he couldn't risk it all over again. Risk feeling again...

Read an Excerpt from Our Right Time

The clouds were just turning silver at the edges as the sun prepared to sink towards the horizon when he drove up to the house in the rental car.

He might be foolish and sentimental – hell, was there any doubt about it – but for him, this would always be Home. The exposed bricks, the peeling paint, the general air of a rundown place…none of the facts could detract from the rush of warmth that filled his insides as he stood looking at it. It was like sipping a hot, comforting cup of tea in the morning, a relaxing drink to unwind in the evening.

Viewed objectively, it seemed a bad proposition. Hitansh began to walk around it, his black leather boots making crunching sounds over gravel yet, easily covering the muddy areas of the neglected yard. Extensive work would be needed. It looked like the previous owners had just let it go.

But there were spots of beauty – the filigree latticework on the parapet, the neatly laid arches over the windows, the red brick exterior. He would retain all those features. The parapet coping needed repair. He made a mental note of it. Pity the cassia tree in the backyard had dried up. He would plant another. When they had a disagreement, she would make a chain of the bright, yellow flowers and present it to him. They had their ways of making up, mostly silly ones.

They. He and Ishani.

She’d used to make flowery ornaments out of those flowers too. It had been all too easy for her to come here. From where he stood in the backyard, he could see the edge of Mr. Bose's property, marked by the thick spreading branches of a banyan tree. He ought to have seen also the edge of the upper storey balcony, but now that view was gone. The skyline had altered because of some construction the other neighbors got done. He’d used to cut through the barren ground, now quite overgrown, that lay between the houses and vault over Mr. Bose’s boundary wall when he would be in a hurry to meet her. She usually scolded him the owners of the yard would catch him for trespassing. He had laughed it off. He didn’t care. A few minutes were mostly all he had to spare between getting the kids lunch and then going off to his evening job, so he had to make the best of them while meeting her.

Even back then he’d known in his mind that he wouldn’t marry her, not with the kids in tow, so to speak, but he had indulged himself, discarded the looming thoughts of future and lived for the moment when he was with her.

About the Author: 
Summerita Rhayne writes contemporary and historical romance with lots of emotional conflict. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with prestigious publishers such as Harlequin and Harper Collins India. She has found, if the inspiration is strong enough, the story characters will find a way to make the writer pen them down, even when writing time is in short supply.

At heart, she's a family person and also loves her teaching profession. She loves to bury her nose in classics especially Jane Austen novels, though she’s currently picking up courage to read Beowulf. She’s not good at it, but loves to play chess.

Summerita on the Web:
Website * Facebook Page * Twitter * Goodreads

24 May, 2023

Read an Excerpt from Flawed (In Disgrace #1) by Shilpa Suraj - #Contemporary #Romance #PreOrder @shilpaauthor @BookReviewTours

Why would anyone want perfection when they could have Vaani Jaishankar instead?

Aditya Khamankar was a chartered accountant who built his life on a bedrock of numbers. For no matter what happened, numbers and math never let you down. They stayed the same. And that fundamental fact defined many of his choices. He was the obedient son, the diligent student, the overachieving employee, the reliable friend. All he wanted in his life was routine and sensible discourse. All he craved in that same life was peace and quiet. And then his senior partner’s flighty daughter came home. And life as he knew it was never the same again…

Reality television villain and tabloid fodder, Vaani Jaishankar lived for the arclights. The notoriety, the glamour, the larger than life noise that came with it held her in thrall. Until the industry she loved and the people she trusted used and abandoned her. And now, she was back home. Darkening the doorstep of her childhood home, something she’d sworn she’d never do and working in her father’s accountancy firm…Could God just take her now already? And then there was her father’s business partner…

What happens when Perfection meets Flawed? Do the cracks beneath his façade show? Or is it as well hidden as the foundation of grit and ambition her shiny polish conceals?

When attraction wars with common sense and love burns a fiery rope that ties them together, Aditya and Vaani need to decide if this is enough…If they are enough for each other? For the world doesn’t believe they are and the world isn’t done with them yet…

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Read an excerpt from Flawed

Shravan Uncle and he were still discussing their plans and action points when they strode into the office together. They came to an abrupt halt when they saw her perched on a tabletop chatting with their intern, Rama. She was swinging one ripped-jean-clad leg as she bent low over his system to look at something on his screen. Rama on the other hand was looking right down her flimsy crop top.

“Vaani!” Shravan Uncle’s voice cracked like a whip through the office space. 

Their entire staff jumped at the same time. So basically, three people were startled. Vaani, Rama and Aditya himself because that was currently their entire staff. 

“You are here to work,” Shravan Uncle continued his harangue. “Not to distract everybody else and stop them from working.” 

“Who is this mysterious them?” She made a show of looking all around their empty desks. “I can only see sweet Rama here. And he was showing me how to use your boring accounting software. You should be happy that I am taking initiative, no?”

Fear swam through Aditya at the thought of her accessing their software and fiddling with their client’s accounts. 

“You’re not going to be working on that,” he said, his voice coming out gruff and angry. 

“Oh?” She stared at him as if seeing him for the first time. “What am I going to be working on then?” 

His brain froze. What would she work on? He scrambled for something, anything that he could use when Shravan Uncle said, “You can start by keeping the office clean.”

Her mouth dropped open in outrage. “Of all the sexist things to say, Appa,” she seethed. “Just because I am a woman, I am in charge of housekeeping, is it?” 

“No. It’s because you are the only one here who has not sat for any accountancy exams,” her father said bluntly. “Also, you failed math in school.” 

Aditya cleared his throat, pity clearing out the chaos in his brain. Vaani’s mortification was obvious for everyone to see.

“Actually, there is something else you can do,” he said. 

“Don’t say bring everyone coffee,” she warned. 

The pity disappeared beneath a swell of irritation. 

“We just landed a large contract,” he snapped. “We’re going to need new employees. You can find them for us. Consider yourself our very first Human Resources professional.”

About the Author:
A published author with Harlequin India – Mills & Boon India Collection and Juggernaut, Shilpa Suraj’s books have hit both the Hot New Releases and Bestseller lists on Amazon. Her next novel, tentatively titled ‘Wrong,’ has been contracted by Rupa Publications and will release later this year. She is also part of the Flipped Anthology by Harper Collins and had an audiobook book Insta Reddy release with Storytel.

She is, amongst other things, currently working on ‘Frazzled and Fabulous,’ a humorous, true-to-life parenting story that is part memoir and part nonfiction.

An avid reader with a passion for creative writing and storytelling saw her participating in writing competitions at school and dabbling in copy writing for an ad agency as a teenager. Twenty years in the corporate space, including a stint in Corporate Communications for Google, India, and a spell at entrepreneurship all hold her in good stead for her multiple current roles of author, mother and Head of Human Resources & Public Relations at an architecture and interior design firm.

Contact the Author:
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23 May, 2023

#BookSpotlight :: The Disappearance of Emily by Elizabeth Pantley - #CozyMystery @Partnersincr1me


The Disappearance of Emily

by Elizabeth Pantley

May 23, 2023 Book Blast


The Disappearance of Emily by Elizabeth Pantley

A magic mirror. An enchanted world. A mysterious missing mother. A suspicious package. An unexplained death. A community of strange, quirky people. A sassy cat and a hilarious, perpetually annoyed witch. Come visit Destiny Falls and escape to a great time.

…Hayden’s life was normal until she fell through a mirror and was thrust into an alternate, magical place. Destiny Falls is not on any map and is home to a family she never knew she had. The town is enchanted and charming, and the amazing mansion she lives in changes to meet the needs of the people who live there, including her! Every day she discovers a new enchantment.

But something is amiss. Hayden gets an ominous warning from a strange woman, who promises to tell her the town secrets and give her a package – if she’ll meet her at the mysterious ferry that lacks a published destination. The ferry visit is cancelled, but the package is delivered. Once it arrives, someone turns up dead. Then the suspicious episodes start, too many to call them coincidences. She and her family are targeted and in danger.

Who or what is causing the chaos? All signs point to the mysterious disappearance of her mother - way back when Hayden was just two days old. Can she identify and eliminate the threat before another person in her life is stolen away? Can she learn more about the secrets kept for her lifetime? With the help of her sassy sidekick cat, and a host of new family and friends, Hayden finds herself surrounded with support as she solves the mystery of the death and learns secrets about herself.

Praise for The Disappearance of Emily:

'Intriguing and totally unput-downable, it draws you in from the word go, and you will not want to leave until it chucks you at "The End."'
~ Carol, Goodreads

"Will blow you away!"
~ Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Better Beginnings, Inc.
Publication Date: March 2021
Number of Pages: 208
Series: Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic Series, Book 2
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


The mountain trail was tricky. I was moving slowly through the deep snow. I knew the lake had to be nearby. It was important to find it, but I could barely see ten feet in front of me due to the storm. The trail was steep and slippery, and I was making my way using trekking poles to assess where I should step next. My hands and feet were cold. I heard Latifa calling out to me. Where was she? What was she saying?

“Good morning, Sunshine!” Her lilting voice woke me from my dream. “Happy one-month-a-versary!”

It’s amazing how accustomed I’d grown to my cat’s telepathic voice in my head. I squinted at my fluffy Himalayan sidekick. She was sitting beside me on the bed. I stretched out my arms and gave an extra-loud yawn in her direction, hoping she’d get the hint that she had woken me up.

“Message received. Woke you up. So sorry. Got it.” She squinted at me and whispered, “Not sorry.”

I yawned at her again.

“Bet you forgot today is one month from the earth-shattering day we arrived in Destiny Falls.” Her big, baby blues were focused on me, and her whiskers were twitching. “I have appointed myself Keeper of Your Calendar. You can be so forgetful about celebratory dates.” She shook her furry head as if it were impossible to believe.

I gave another exaggerated stretch and reached over to the bedside table. With a flourish, I presented her with a small, gift-wrapped package.

“Squeeee! You remembered!” She head-butted my face and spun a little circle on the bed, then turned to tear open the package. There was more squealing as she discovered her new, feathered cat toy.

I patted my sidekick’s head and tossed my legs over the side of the bed. A glance at my phone confirmed that Latifa-the-alarm-clock was right on time. I needed to get changed and meet Axel downstairs for a morning jog into town. He was often too busy with work to join me in the morning, so it was a wonderful treat to have some extra time with my newfound brother.

My brother. How I loved the sound of that. After a lifetime as an only child in a tiny three-person family, finding out that I had siblings and a large hidden family was monumental. Add to that a mysterious, magical new world, and I was floating on cloud nine.

The only dark spot was missing my family and my best friend, Luna. I was still trying to figure out how to tell them about Destiny Falls. I’d have to sort this out soon, since my cover story of a working trip to Denmark was nearing its expiration. A month overseas was feasible, but as the timeline continued, I’d need to address my disappearance.

My Nana and Granana would be happy that I was happy. They’d been my biggest cheerleaders my entire life. They always said my happiness mattered most to them. Both my parents disappeared the week I was born, so my grandmother and great-grandmother jumped into raising me. They were dedicated to the job, with an enthusiasm that was a complete contrast to their tiny, delicate appearances. Luna and I referred to them as the Mighty Minis, which was an apt description.

Figuring out how to explain that I wasn’t really in Denmark, but in a magical, hidden town in an unknown location was a whole new ball of wax. Especially since the town was finicky about who it revealed itself to. Any e-mails or texts I attempted to send explaining my location, disappeared into the ether in a wisp of bounces— undeliverable, message not sent, connection lost. Even phone calls suddenly lost the signal. Maybe Axel, my brother—deep sigh of joy—could help me solve this problem.


I turned on the movie channel for Latifa, my furry little movie buff, tucked my ponytail through the back of my baseball cap, and headed out. I strolled slowly down the hallway, so I could absorb the beauty of this amazing home.

Hmm. That was odd. Where was the window seat? It was usually somewhere in my hallway, but it was oddly absent. There was a glorious swatch of sunlight, which is where it normally would be lounging. I snickered. Imagine that. A window seat that can lounge in the sun. Magic touched the Caldwell Crest home in the most interesting ways.

Caldwell Crest is a masterpiece of design. It could be described as a cozy, mansion-sized mountain cabin. I felt embraced by the sweeping staircase made of polished wood. I loved the plank wood floors and ceilings and the gorgeous but understated chandeliers. I adored the stone fireplaces that soared all the way up to the tall ceilings. The earthy colors of the décor were soothing. Even after a month, I was still adjusting to the fact that it was now where I lived.

The home was enchanting. I could almost believe the rumors that it was originally built as a castle back in the 1800s and magically remodeled many times. It’s difficult to understand Caldwell Crest and the mysterious place that was Destiny Falls, especially since the definition seemed to always be changing.

It had been a wild ride of a month since I’d been thrown through a portal and landed here.

Destiny Falls is different from any place I’ve ever known before. I had to let go of my preconceived notions of what defines a town. I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that the town isn’t on any map and isn’t accessible by normal means.

You must be called here by either the home or the town. Then you whoosh through time and space, to the accompaniment of a flash of brilliant light, as you tumble through a mirror. It’s a one-way trip. Once you’re here, you are, well . . . “trapped” is a harsh word for such a lovely place. However, it’s accurate. I cannot choose to leave. Destiny Falls controls the comings and goings.

I feel a bit like Alice falling through the mirror into wonderland. Albeit a much nicer wonderland than Alice had to deal with.

I’ve figured out that’s it’s easier if I just go with the flow and don’t try to understand all the nuances of this place.


Excerpt from The Disappearance of Emily by Elizabeth Pantley. Copyright 2023 by Elizabeth Pantley. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Pantley. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Elizabeth Pantley

Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents, published in over twenty languages.

She simultaneously writes the well-loved Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic book series and the new Magical Mystery Book Club series.

Elizabeth lives in the Pacific Northwest, the gorgeous inspiration for the setting in many of her books.

Catch Up With Elizabeth Pantley:
BookBub - @DestinyFalls
Instagram - @destinyfallsmystery
Facebook - @DestinyFallsMysteryandMagic



Tour Participants:

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08 May, 2023

Interview with James T. Hogg, Author of Girl With a Knife Series - #GirlWithAKnife #Historical #RevengeSaga

James T. Hogg is the pseudonym of one of the most prominent New York City real estate attorneys. As a real-life attorney he has published two non-fiction books about real estate and business, one of which was a Wall Street Journal best seller.
Girl With a Knife is his first novel, writing as James T. Hogg. The novel is based on a story he told many times to his now-grown children. The goal—then and now—was to create a story that the reader simply cannot put down, even when it is midnight and the reader has to get up to go to work the next morning. That has always been his simple goal—to write a page-turner, so that the reader can have a great time with an enjoyable read.
Hogg now lives in New Jersey and has been happily married for thirty-eight years to his soulmate wife. They are blessed to be the proud parents of two daughters. The author’s muse calls from his summer home getaway, where he goes to play loud music and write and write and write. Mr. Hogg is not a boring New York City lawyer, but actually a very interesting fellow.

James on the Web:
Website | Goodreads | Amazon 

Interview with James T. Hogg

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?

I started writing and telling stories when I was in high school – almost 50 years ago.  My mother wouldn’t let me watch TV one night.  After going ballistic at this horrible injustice, I took out a typewriter and started writing a novel.  Yes, truly.  It wasn’t a very well written novel.
Fast forward about 25 years and I had two daughters so I started telling them stories.  All sorts of stories as they grew up.  One of them turned into this 5 part novel Girl With A Knife.  Of course it was nothing like that when I told them the story; instead, it kind of evolved over time.

What inspires you to write?

A great question that is hard to answer.  I don’t actually enjoy the writing itself as it is almost painful to do it.  But after I have written something – even a poem – I feel this tingle of pride that I created something that was (maybe) beautiful and wonderful.  That may not be the best answer but it feels as true as I could make it.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 

I was sitting in the kitchen one day – about 20 years ago -- ranting (kind of like a jerk I admit) to my wife.  I was extolling how bad a book I had read was, yet it was a best seller.  My wife rolled her eyes and said something like: “I suppose you could write a best seller?”  And I said, “yes – here is the story….”  And then it was the strangest thing ever.  It just flowed out of me.  I don’t know where it came from, but there it was, at least the first part.  It was how awful things happen to the girl protagonist and then the story was how she gets her revenge.  My wife looked at me – shocked – and said:  “Oh my God – that could be a best seller.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?

Yes a whole bunch of them.  One of them is a kids book that I hope to publish someday.  It is about how girls – not boys – when they turn about 11 years old their baby ears fall off and their grown up ears come in.  I am sure you know all about this.  Anyway, it is a cute story about this my kids loved when they were about six.  I have a bunch of stuff already written and next week I go on vacation and have several books in mind to start on.

Tell us about your writing process.

I have a beach house in Cape May, NJ.  Called Hogg’s House, believe it or not.  I go down there to write.  I get up in the morning around 6:00 AM.  I turn on music crazily loud – blasting it.  And then I just write and write and write till about 3:00 in the afternoon my wrists are burning and I just cannot move any more.  Then I stop – workout – have a scotch and sometimes a cigar and a nice dinner.  Then the next day I do it again.  Once I have an outline, I can write a whole book first draft in about 2 weeks.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why? 

Luke – a young boy who lives in the church -- is gay.  He tells no one as being gay in Colonial times was an awful result.  He tells swashbuckling Mertens finally – who has become like a father figure.  Mertens then inspires Luke with a beautiful story about how sad he is that he humiliated his best friend long ago who told him he was gay – and wishes he could take it back.  He also says that Luke’s being gay was given to him by God since he was so strong inside.  Luke weeps – and embraces Mertens.  Mertens then reveals to the reader that he made up the story.  Later – and I know this is two scenes – Luke dies and when he dies he tells Mertens he knew he made it up all along but loved him all the more for it.  When I read it I start crying.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?

A interesting question and the answer is no.  But my super-ego certainly lives in Mertens, who is an aging warrior intent on redeeming himself for his terrible un-God-fearing life.

What is your most interesting writing quirk? 

You ask good questions and this is a good one.  I am not sure it is a quirk, but I find writing dialog incredibly easy.  It flows out of me and when I look back to edit I rarely have to change a word.  I think I just feel the characters and know what they are going to say.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style? 

I love to read.  Favorites include Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Kate Quinn – Ken Follett (whom I overall emulate) – Frederick Forsyth and a whole bunch more.  So far I have Ken Follett as a role model – and my writing is closest to his I would guess, although by no means am I in his league --- but I am planning to try to write something like Zafon, whose prose is simply artwork.  I don’t know if I can pull that off, but I will try.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?

My wife thankfully told me my first draft of my book ‘sucked.’  Her word.  I looked at it and realized she was right.  I threw it out and started all over.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?

Fiction or non-fiction?  If it is fiction, I guess I would say the odds are dramatically stacked against your being successful, and therefore only do it if – like Zafon said – you can simply not imagine life without writing in it.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?

Tools to make a raft to escape. 
A long sharp knife.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind? 

I do a ton of things.  Golf (I am bad at it), singing lessons, piano lessons, working out a lot, stand up comedy and trying to do things I haven’t yet tried that are outside my comfort zone.  Also – I guess not free time – but I love my day job as a real estate lawyer at my law firm – since I love it so much it is not really work is it?]

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?

I will be launching something called The Bruce Projects, where I will bring together all of the pieces of my life including the things I noted above – my writing – my philosophy ‘stuff’ and everything I have done and will do.  The theme will be The (Second) Most Interesting Man in The World.  I admit this could be a flop, but I am going to take a stab at it.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.

My wife and I collect pigs – I mean a lot of pigs – with pig topiaries in the front yard. 
My favorite hobby is just thinking and daydreaming and coming up with things that will either be really cool or result in me making a fool of myself. 
I have my head up my butt when I drive and get lost everywhere even in my home town.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

If this book is successful – and it is starting to look that way – I have a sequel that will largely focus around Nununyi, who is an American Indian woman so incredible with the bow and arrow that it is part of her.  She has a small role at first that gets larger as the book develops.  Many of my readers find her fascinating so I think I will build on her.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers? 

I hope they enjoy my book.  That is the only purpose of it – for the reader to just enjoy turning the pages and becoming engrossed in the plot and the characters to the point is at the end the reader is bummed out that they are finished.

An epic historical fiction novel of love and revenge, in the vein of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, debut author James T. Hogg’s Girl with a Knife: Assault features a compelling heroine who must fight for justice and vengeance in ever dangerous 1600's Colonial New England. 

Faythe Emily Wentworth was taught by her father how to fight, and never shies from a conflict, no matter the odds. In her small settlement town, she must always be on guard. She is especially wary of one of the Downing brothers who taunts her, longing to take her, threatening to do so by force...
Faythe’s little sister Chloe is different. She is sweet-tempered, always seeing the good in others, and never suspecting ill intent.
Chloe’s innocence is shattered in a vicious attack, and Faythe is determined to seek vengeance and justice for her sister, and later, her family.  Armed with a knife and a burning obsession, Faythe fights the superstitions and injustices that have led to her family’s destruction. 

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon.in | Amazon.com

01 May, 2023

Interview with Sudipta Mukherjee, #Author of The Space Between Us - #Contemporary #Fiction @AuthorSudipta


Sudipta Mukherjee is a young, female, bestselling author, out there to create her unique footprint in the literary world. She is Indian by origin, and cosmopolitan in her bearings.

Sudipta is a thinker and a writer, a fitness enthusiast, an explorer, and a deeply rooted humanitarian. She is a believer of love, and a student for life. Sudipta has published four books, so far. Three fiction and one, non-fiction.

The world needs stories, and she has a boxful!

Sudipta on the Web:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Linkedin

Interview with Sudipta Mukherjee

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?

Writing, for me is a journey. I like this journey. I am traveling, without too much focus on the destination. I will reach somewhere, I know, I am confident about it. For me, the path matters more. How I am traveling is more important than when I will reach my goal. Writing is a place of affection and reflection. A place in the world where I belong. It has given me a home and I am thankful for it. I like it, this feeling of home, enjoy every moment of it. The time I write, I feel alive.
Looking back I don’t recall an exact moment when that realization dawned, that yes, I want to become a writer. But the feeling or I’d rather the awareness of the fact that I have stories within me came when I started writing my first novel, The Crossroads. 

What inspires you to write?

Life. That’s my biggest inspiration. The stories that I tell are inspired from life, and people and their experiences, not to mention, circumstances. Relationship is my forte; I mean stories based on relationships. When I say relationship, I mean every kind. Man’s relationship with man or woman, man’s relationship with nature, man’s relationship with science, man’s relationship with himself, so on and so forth. It’s an inexhaustible source from where you can draw and draw without the fear of exhaustion.
Next comes reading. Reading is the creative anchor of my writing life. I read exhaustively, all kinds of book. Fiction definitely, biographies, autobiographies, religion, spiritual studies, metaphysics, at times self help books too, though I don’t find the genre too interesting. Books have told me stories of every kind. Books have taken me to places where my feet couldn’t. It has opened up different worlds in my one life. And I never regret the time I spend with books, reading hungrily, even when my eyes get tired. Books have taught me, how to write a story. Books have taught me how to live! I feel there is no better companion than a good book. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?

There were two thoughts. Firstly, I always wanted to write a story about an asexual relationship between a man and a prostitute. I mean, if a man visits a prostitute, not for sex, then what is the motivation behind those visits? What catapults him at her door, every night, night after night? What is it that he sees in her? How does the prostitute treat the man? Like any of his clients? Or is there a special something she gets aware of? Why does she allow him those visits, if that does not bring any monetary gain for her? I also wanted to write a story about estranged siblings who loses track of one another in the wake of the riots of 1965. I mixed these two ideas and knitted The Space Between Us. It’s a story of loss and separation, of discovering love and life in the haul of life.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?

Yes, many of them. Not tucked away in some drawer, but in my laptop. I am working on them, one by one. I will gradually publish them. 

Tell us about your writing process.

There is no hard and fast writing process that I follow. But yes, when I start writing a story, I don’t stop in the middle. I finish it in a go, and then I stop. Give myself a break of a couple of weeks. After that I sit down to read my first draft and edit. It is not a rule, but I try to stick to this process. This has worked for me. When I start a story, I write a certain number of words every day, religiously. 

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?

The characters that I create have different life stories, and have different life experiences. I create those stories with my imagination. They are not my life story. While the characters are born out of me, but chances are rare that they would inherit my quirks. My quirks are born and bred in me because of my life experiences, that are unique to me. My characters don’t share my life experiences. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?

I write the story that comes to me first. I don’t engineer a story. I believe in creating a story organically, one word at a time, one page at a time. If you call that a quirk, that’s it.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?

I read, and as I said before, and I read exhaustively. I read every kind of books. I don’t have a favorite author. I like good stories written by anybody. Each writer has a unique style of writing. Each has his or her own style of storytelling. I am more interested in the story and the way it has been told, and not particularly who told it. Simple as that. Some very popular writers at times write crap, although you will notice ‘bestseller’ tag attached to them. Likewise, some extremely beautiful stories remain in the shadows, not known by millions.
A good story tells me how story could be wonderfully told, apart from telling me the story itself. And a bad story teaches me what not to do. I have a writing style that is unique. All authors have. Actually, it is the writing style that differentiates one author from the other. I try not to copy writing style, because if I do, then I lose my uniqueness. My writing becomes an adapted version of the writer I copied from. This idea is something, I am not too comfortable with. I like to tell my story in my own way. And I assure you, you won’t be disappointed if you read one. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?

Write the story that comes to you first. Don’t engineer a story. Or write it in the reverse order. That was said by my mentor, Mr. Randhir Khare. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?

If you want to write a story, write it by all means. But write for the joy of writing, for the pleasure of creation. Don’t focus too much on publication. Because, publication is a different ball game altogether.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?

Why on a deserted island? I would like to carry those three things anywhere I go. Books. Laptop. Coffee. If I have these three, I don’t think I need anything else. Not even a partner. 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?

I don’t have a lot of free time to spend. Time, I feel, is the most precious resource, given that once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. The clock doesn’t back trace. I wish it could, but it doesn’t, unfortunately. Not for me, not for you. Not for anybody. Hence, we should use time wisely. Do things that give us happiness; do things that give our lives a meaning, a purpose.
If you are asking me about my hobbies, yes, there are a few things I practice, apart from reading. Like painting, traveling, at times cooking. I enjoy the moments when I cook. For me its an art, to be able to cook a dish nicely. I like to feed others. And I do experiment with different cuisines. Traveling is another thing I crave. I travel a lot, and mostly for pleasure. Traveling fascinates me like nothing else. It brings out the child inside me.
No, I don’t have any particular place to unwind. I do the ‘unwinding thing’ mostly while I meditate, siting in my home. But every day, well almost every day I go out in the nature and walk. It’s a way of life I have adapted myself to. 

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?

The list is actually too long to share. I love to travel, and would love to see all the myriad spectacles of the world, both natural and manmade. I post my travel highlights on Insta. If you follow me there, you would know what a musafir I am.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

The Convict. Monochrome. The Road Not Taken. One Summer Home. Actually, there are many more.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?

Buy my book! Read my stories. And if possible, drop a review on Amazon. That would mean a lot.
Because, dear readers, you are the reason I am. 

Vibrant and intense, The Space Between Us unfolds the turbulent story of a family, separated in the wake of the riots of 1965.Opening in a lesser-known village of East Pakistan, it snakes its way through the dark and infamous alleyways of Calcutta to the dazzling world of Bengali cinema. Extreme religious turbulence, fractures the once rich Dutta family, intosplinters, resulting in heart wrenching separations. Two siblings are individually thrown into unstoppable journeys that are unique and solitary. The space between them remains as destiny takes each on their individual paths to a defining conclusion. Spanning generations, this sweeping novel deftly weaves love and social and historical circumstance into an unforgettable tapestry that spans the limits of love and empathy and the varied hues of human relationships. What is it that shapes individual destiny? Can fate be scripted anew? And by whom? At what? The Space Between Us is a poignant story of enduring emotional power that attempts to reconcile the notion of individual destiny against the canvas of life.

Book Links:
Amazon.in | Amazon.com

03 March, 2023

#Interview with Fiona Lucas, Author of Never Forget You - @fionalucasbooks #Contemporary #Romance

Fiona Lucas is an award-winning author of contemporary women’s fiction. The Last Goodbye is her first novel written under the pen name of Fiona Lucas, but she’s been writing heartwarming love stories and feel-good women’s fiction as Fiona Harper for more than a decade.
During that time she has published 27 books and has won numerous awards, including a Romantic Novel Award, and chalked up a no.1 Kindle bestseller.
Find Fiona on TikTok, where she talks about her books, her writing process and gives writing and publishing tips.

Fiona on the Web:
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok | Youtube | Newsletter 

Interview with Author Fiona Lucas

The burning question that many aspiring authors would like to ask you is - how did you get started on this journey?

This is a bit of a long story! Back in 2004, I got an idea for a love story and I was desperate for something creative to do while looking after my two small children. Writing was something I’d loved at school and seemed like the perfect fit – most of it happened in my head and I didn’t need any special equipment or need to leave the house and hire babysitters – so I decided to give it a go. I quickly became addicted!
This was back in the days before Facebook or Twitter, but I found an online message board with other aspiring romance writers and learned about the Romantic Novelists’ Association in the UK, which had a scheme for new writers, where you could send your manuscript in and a published author would critique it for you. By that point, I’d ditched novel attempt number 1 and was ready to get some feedback on novel attempt number 2 so I decided to join up. I submitted my manuscript, terrified of what I would hear back – I hadn’t shown my writing to anyone up until that point. I just hoped that the verdict would be that my book didn’t totally stink and I that I shouldn’t give up and try knitting instead!
To cut a long story short, the authors who read my manuscript really liked it and the New Writers’ Scheme organiser sent it straight to her editor at Harlequin Mills & Boon. I was gobsmacked. I’d given myself a deadline of 5 years to get published and it all seemed to be moving much faster than I’d anticipated! A few weeks later, the editor phoned me an offered me a one-book deal. I was so shocked that I didn’t even scream with joy or cry on the phone, I must have been the most unexciting author ever to break the news to! So that was how my journey began. I’m still with Harlequin, although now they’ve been bought out by Harper Collins and I write for one of their commercial fiction imprints, HQ.

2) At this point of your career, what is the one advice you would give your younger self who was working on the first draft of her debut novel?

When it comes to writing, I’d say, “Don’t freak out when you get stuck or you think everything you’re writing is awful. It happens with every book. It happens with every writer. Just calm down and keeping going. You can fix it later.” When it comes to the publishing industry, I’d say, “Don’t expect your career to have a steady upward trajectory – it’s going to be a rollercoaster. There are going to be highs and there are going to be horrible lows. You’re going to have to be determined and just keep going if you want a long lasting career.”

3) You have over a decade of writing experience under the name of Fiona Harper. Why did you decide to debut under Fiona Lucas after all this time?

It’s actually a really boring answer to do with sales and distribution. While I had some phenomenal sales with some of my Fiona Harper books, there were a couple that didn’t sell as well as the others. I don’t know what it was, whether it was the cover, the title, or it just didn’t hit what readers were looking for at that time. But it meant that when the next book came out, retailers looked at the sales numbers of the couple of previous books and decided not to stock it, even if they loved the story and packaging! It's not unusual for authors to try a new pen name if this happens. We were very open about my writing history, but retailers (especially when it comes to the big supermarkets, where most books are sold in the UK) see you as a new entity - a  new product, if you like – with a new name. And it worked. My Fiona Lucas books have been stocked by retailers who wouldn’t stock my last few Fiona Harper books. But I also felt it worked creatively, as my Fiona Lucas books have been more emotional and dealt with darker subjects than most of my Fiona Harper novels.

4) Your profile on Instagram says ‘I write emotional, heartbreaking love stories’. Is that something you set out to do in the first place or is it something you discovered that you do best once you set upon your storytelling journey?

I definitely set out to write love stories, but I was probably drawn more to writing lighter, funnier stories when I first started. However, now when I look back at my very first attempt at writing a book, I can see it had both humour AND big emotion, which eventually became more obvious to me as my style developed. Strangely, it was both there in the beginning but has also been an evolution.

5) Both ’The Last Goodbye’ & ’Never Forget You’ have blurbs, if you do not mind my saying so, that tell a cliched outline. Yet the books are so much more. Do you want to lure readers in with familiarity? Do you worry that some readers might read the blurb and say ‘oh! I know this story already’?

I have to admit that because I’m traditionally published, it’s often not me who gets to write the blurbs! I have done a couple of times but usually my editor writes them and then I get to say what I think. It’s so tough with blurbs, because you have to say enough to intrigue readers but not so much that you give the story away!

6) In ’The Last Goodbye’ more than the central love story, what drew me in was the way you portrayed how different people experience and react to loss. What were you hoping to deliver with the book?

I really wanted to explore if it’s possible to move on after tragic loss. How do you find hope again when everything you hoped for has been shattered? I wanted to make Anna’s journey one of almost “waking up” after being in a fog of loss and grief and learning to embrace life with all its ups and downs again rather than hide away from it, trying to live in the past.

7) The book could have ended up being a very heavy read, but while it did make me tear up & even cry at places, there was this underlying sense of hope throughout. How did you balance it out without making it obvious?

It’s a tricky tightrope to walk! I think adding moments of warmth and humour in definitely helps, but also making sure the ends of each storylines held some hope for all the characters.

8) In 'Never Forget You’, did you plan out the amnesia theme from the beginning or did you let the characters tell you?

The amnesia element was there in the very first spark of the idea for that book! I was having a restless night a couple of years ago, and a couple of days earlier, I’d read a story about a man who had suddenly lost his memory – I mean, he woke up one morning and didn’t recognise his wife! And while I was tossing and turning, I must have been thinking about that story, because I ended up wondering, “What if you weren’t in your own bed when you woke up and discovered you’d lost your memory? What if you were far away from home and you had now idea where home was and how you’d got there?

9) As a writer, what is the most important thing for you? What do you want the readers to remember your books for? And as a reader, what’s the one thing you want to take away from books? Does the reader in you make it harder or easier to be a writer?

I think, first and foremost, I want readers to simply enjoy the book, enjoy the adventure that the story takes them on. If certain themes, ideas and emotions that resonated with me when I wrote the book also resonate with them, then I’m really pleased that we’ve made that connection together. I know not every book is every reader’s cup of tea, but I’d like to think my stories give people a sense of hope.
I’m really not sure if being a reader makes writing harder or easier – both I think! I do try and remember what makes me love a book or what irritates me when I write my own, but it can be hard to step back and get the perspective to see if I’m delivering what I plan to. I can never read my finished books the way a reader does, because I’m always aware of all the different versions and changes that happened along the way, and I know all the secrets and plot twists before I start the first page!

10) Please tell us what more we can expect from you in the next couple of years?

I’m currently working on my next book for Harper Collins, which will be out in November 2024 – long wait, I know! My working title is Always You, but that may change! I’m also planning to independently publish some of my backlist under my former pen name of Fiona Harper – shorter, lighter romances and rom coms. But that’s a whole new arena for me, so I’ve got a steep learning curve ahead of me!

Good Luck Fiona!

Check out these Books:

What if you met the right person at the wrong time?

When Lili meets Ben by chance one hot summer’s day, it feels like fate. But life is about to take them in different directions, and so they agree to meet next July, in the beautiful hidden garden where they first laid eyes on each other. But one of them never shows up…

 Five years later, Ben still wonders how he got things so wrong – he let the love of his life slip between his fingers. And then a stranger, Alice, arrives in his tiny Scottish hometown. Alice has no memory of how she got there: she can’t remember anything before that morning. The only clue to her past is the silver bee necklace she wears – the very same one Ben bought for Lili that magical summer’s day…

As Ben, Lili and Alice’s stories converge, so begins a beautiful and deeply emotional story of love, forgiveness and second chances.

Book Links:

How can you move on if you can’t let go?

Spencer was the love of Anna’s life: her husband, her best friend, her rock. She thought their love would last forever.

But three years ago, Spencer was tragically killed in an accident and Anna’s world was shattered. How can she ever move on, when she’s lost her soulmate?

On New Year’s Eve Anna calls Spencer’s phone number, just to hear his old voicemail greeting. But to her shock, someone answers…

Brody has inherited Spencer’s old number and is the first person who truly understands what Anna’s going through. As her and Brody’s phone calls become lengthier and more frequent, they begin opening up to each other—and slowly rediscover how to smile, how to laugh, even how to hope.

But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again?

Book Links:

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