Monday, October 24, 2016

Bury the Living - Spotlight

 Bury the Living (The Revolutionary Series Book 1)
September 2016
About Bury the Living

“McIsaac puts plenty of history and a little fantasy and romance into this entertaining time travel tale. McIsaac has an undeniable talent for immersing the reader in the plight of the Irish in the 1920s, at the height of the Irish Civil War. Comparisons to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series are inevitable.” —Publishers Weekly

Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.

When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. There she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves. In this captivating and adventurous novel from Jodi McIsaac, history belongs to those with the courage to change it.

About Jodi McIsaac

Jodi McIsaac is the author of several novels, including A Cure for Madness and the Thin Veil Series. She grew up in New Brunswick, on Canada’s east coast. After abandoning her Olympic speed skating dream, she wrote
speeches for a politician, volunteered in a refugee camp, waited tables in Belfast, earned a couple of university degrees, and started a boutique copywriting agency. She loves running, geek culture, and whiskey.

Twitter: @jodimcisaac

Friday, October 21, 2016

Poisonfeather - Spotlight and Excerpt

Poisonfeather (The Gibson Vaughn Series Book 2)

Thomas & Mercer
October 4, 2016

Gibson Vaughn, hero of the bestselling novel The Short Drop, returns in a smoldering thriller.

When jailed billionaire Charles Merrick hints publicly that he has stashed a fortune in an offshore cache, a school of sharks converges upon his release from federal prison.

Among his swindled victims is Judge Hammond Birk, the man who saved Gibson Vaughn’s life when he was a troubled teenager. Now Gibson intends to repay that debt by recovering Merrick’s victims’ money.

But Gibson isn’t the only one on the trail of the hidden fortune.

The promise of billions has drawn a horde of ruthless treasure hunters, including an edgy ex-con, a female bartender with a mysterious history, a Chinese spy with a passion for fly-fishing, and a veritable army of hardened mercenaries. To stay ahead of the sharks and win justice for his mentor, Gibson will need all his formidable skills. But at the end of the road, he’ll still have to face “Poisonfeather”—a geopolitical secret that just might get Gibson killed…or worse.

About Matthew FitzSimmons

Matthew FitzSimmons was born in Illinois and grew up in London. He now lives in Washington, DC, where he taught English literature and theater at a private high school for more than a decade. Poisonfeather is his second novel.


Twitter: @MatthewFitz_1

About Poisonfeather

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Devil's Work - Spotlight

 Idgie Says: 
Apparently there are TWO plot twists in this book.  If you like suspense, this is a book for you!


About the book: 

Thomas & Mercer
September, 2016

It was the job Sophie Greenwood had dreamed of since childhood: working for iconic children’s publisher Jackdaw Books in marketing. After years out of the workforce to have her daughter, Sophie can’t wait to get back in and hopefully mend her strained relationship with her unemployed husband. But on the very first day, an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie would rather forget, and she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.
A mouse nailed to the front door. A stranger following her home in the shadows. Unexplainable whispers in the office late at night.
A series of disturbing events lead Sophie to think someone is out to get her, and as her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must confront dark secrets from the past and race to uncover the truth about her new job… before it kills her. What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor?
A Q&A with Mark Edwards, Author of The Devil's Work

As a six word story, explain what The Devil’s Work is about?

Dream job becomes a terrifying nightmare.

(My original pitch was 'The Devil Wears Prada rewritten by Stephen King’ but that’s eight words!)

As opposed to other types of fiction, what do you think the is appeal of psychological thrillers?

Psychological thrillers are hot right now because readers want to connect with stories in which they can imagine themselves. Marriage, relationships with friends and children, co-workers and lovers…Psychological thriller writers take ordinary situations and add a layer of fear and darkness – from the toxic marriage in Gone Girl to the everyday voyeur in Girl on the Train, readers like those familiar situations and characters and thinking about what they would do if it were them. I think it’s a reaction to the Dan Brown years, which were followed by the Stieg Larsson-fuelled Scandinavian noir period – we’ve gone from worldwide conspiracy theories and outlandish situations to what is now called domestic noir. It’s not new but it’s never been more popular.

How do you come up with the idea for a great plot twist? No spoilers since there is a great one in The Devil’s Work!

I am what is called a ‘pantser’ – I make up my books as I go along rather than plotting them meticulously first. This means that my twists don’t usually arrive until I reach that point in the book. I frequently change my mind too. There are two big twists in The Devil’s Work. The first was planned from early on but with the final twist, I changed my mind at the last minute. It’s a risky but exciting way of working. If I can surprise myself I can definitely surprise readers. The hard part is then going back and making sure it all fits together.

A character in The Devil’s Work gets into trouble because of social media--do you think social media is a positive part of our zeitgeist or negative?
I confess to being a social media addict – mostly Facebook and Twitter. As a writer, I love how social media allows writers to connect with readers. I have a very active Facebook page ( and spend a lot of time engaging with readers and answering questions. It’s also fantastic for meeting other writers. If I go to a festival I feel like I know everyone because we’ve chatted so much online. And, of course, it’s great for keeping in touch with people you rarely see in real life.

I can see the negatives too. Fortunately, I have never been the victim of trolls and haven’t been publically shamed because of something I did or said. Some of the abuse that happens on Twitter is horrific. I also have an allergy to mobs – I can’t bear it when a swarm of self-righteous moral guardians attack individuals because they have made a mistake or said something controversial. It’s led to a culture where many people are afraid to speak freely – and led to the rise of professional agitators who make a living out of winding other people up by saying outrageous things.

In your bio, you say that you devour TV show box sets--do you like them because you can binge or because of all the special features?

When I say box sets I mean streaming via Netflix or via Amazon. But yes, I hate having to wait. I have watched The Walking Dead week-by-week, series-by-series, over the last six or seven years and it’s agony having to wait between each episode. Having said that, it does make it feel more special…in a world where everything is available instantly, it’s nice to feel that sense of anticipation and excitement.

What TV shows would you recommend?

Like everyone else I know, I’ve just finished watching Stranger Things on Netflix. I loved all the Spielberg and King references. The cast, especially the kids, was amazing. I think Millie Brown, who played Eleven, is like the reincarnation of River Phoenix.

I’ve also just watched The Girlfriend Experience, which was chilly and unsettling with an insane final episode. They really pushed the boundaries of what you can show on TV, and I loved how it kept switching tracks so you never knew what to expect.

The best crime thriller I’ve seen recently is the Swedish/Danish series, The Bridge, which is just sublime. Saga, the central character who might have Asperger’s, is a wonderful creation. I also loved The Fall, a serial killer drama set in Belfast, starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. It’s terrifying and stylish.

* * *
Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which terrifying things happen to ordinary people. His first solo novel, The Magpies (2013), reached the No.1 spot on Amazon UK as did his third novel Because She Loves Me (2014). He has also co-written various crime novels with Louise Voss such as Killing Cupid (2011) and The Blissfully Dead (2015).

Mark grew up on the south coast of England and starting writing in his twenties while working in a number of dead-end jobs. He lived in Tokyo for a year before returning to the UK and starting a career in marketing. As well as a full-time writer, Mark is a stay at home dad for his three children, his wife and a ginger cat.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Find Her - Spotlight

Find HerIdgie Says:
I did plan to review this book, but I have to admit that sexual predator books are not on my "want to read" list and the first chapter is very disturbing.  So I will share this book with you, but admit that, in the end, I didn't go past the first two chapters.  I'm not saying it's a badly written book, it just wasn't the type of book that I wanted to invest in.

Penguin Group
Paperback October 18, 2016



The Next - Spotlight and Author Q & A

THE NEXT is Gangi’s first novel, and has been met with astounding praise. Cathleen Schine called it “an elegantly written, thoughtfully sharp and surprisingly touching whirlwind of a book.” Erica Jong said, “I was instantly hooked by Gangi’s vivid writing, her psychological acumen, and her sharp observation of love and life. She is a fascinating writer who understands love, sex, men, and women."
The tale will hold you captive from the start: Joanna DeAngelis dies wrong. Consumed by breast cancer, betrayals, disappointments, and a blind lust to avenge a badly broken heart, she turns away from her devoted daughters and dog on her deathbed, and finds herself alone in a darkness of her own making. With no light to guide her to death’s promised land of peace, Joanna’s ghost plots a course for revenge on her much-younger ex, Ned McGowan, the man who abandoned her to take up—and trade up—with another woman. Joanna’s desperate needs—when she was alive, and now, while she’s trying to die properly—inspire a deep descent into the seat of the soul, an unflinching look at choices and consequences, at the last gasps of lust and love, and the wisdom to know how to go.
But an equally compelling story is the one of Gangi, who has been living with breast cancer for 15 years and wrote this first book in her late fifties. 



A Conversation with Stephanie Gangi, author of The Next

Right off the bat, do you believe in ghosts?
In a way I do. Not apparitions rattling chains or howling through hallways, no. But the ghosts that haunt me in the dark are the lives and loves lost to me, my secret regrets, missed chances, truths revealed in ways that I couldn’t see. The memory of crossing the borders of another person, spirits touching, by way of desire and intimacy. The quest to find that again! Some of the ghosts swirling inside me are well past their expiration dates. An old hurt or disappointment rises up and I think, “Not you again, I thought I laid you to rest.”

Why did you decide to make The Next a ghost story?
I was struggling with how to write a revenge story with which I felt comfortable. I guess I had to give myself permission to be angry. To imagine doing violence. I chose the ghost device so I could just let it rip, unrestrained, but as I wrote further and further in to the story, kind of going deeper into the whys of revenge, rather than just the acts of revenge, it really felt right. The ghost metaphor fit: To be a woman of a certain age, the loss of visibility. To be sick, a distortion of your old healthy self. To be uncoupled and unsure of who you are alone. Older, sick, single, unseen.

You are, as you say, a woman of a certain age and this is your debut. Where’ve you been?
Good question. I guess I’m a late bloomer. I’ve always been writing, and always had “real” jobs that involved writing and editing. Life happened, and I was detoured by all the things one is detoured by: relationships, family, finances, health issues. Lots of writers manage to work beautifully alongside similar challenges. I didn’t, until I did. 

Those challenges are explored in The Next. The voice is so authentic, it’s hard not to hear it as autobiographical. Is it?
I’m not a ghost yet, but yes, there’s a lot that happens in the book that has happened to me. 

Like Joanna, I have two daughters, I live in Manhattan, and I’ve been in relationships that ended in ways that left me feeling disappointed. I’ve had my feelings hurt, I’ve been angry. I’ve faced getting older, I’ve faced serious illness, I’ve had to confront how I spend my days in light of that. Also, I have a very big poodle.

Having said that, I’ve also been very lucky in love. I’ve had great big romances with good men that didn’t last forever, but that doesn’t mean they were any less wonderful.
And I’ve never taken revenge. That’s not to say I haven’t thought about it!

You mentioned serious illness. Breast cancer?
Yes. I’ve been living with breast cancer for 15 years or so. A bunch of recurrences along the way. I’m on drug treatment now and it’s going well for me. I feel great and grateful for the care I’ve gotten over the years.

Fifteen years – it’s hard to imagine coping with breast cancer for so long, and yet it’s hopeful for women newly diagnosed.
Breast cancer has become a chronic illness rather than a death sentence. A cultural shift in thinking has taken place over the years of my own experience with the disease. I feel like the poster child for BC as chronic illness, and very very lucky to have it under control.
And, I have had to figure out how to live with it. Not battle it. Not just survive it.
Figuring all this out – how to live fully when well, how to stay ‘you’ when sick – takes up a lot of energy, honestly. Psychic, physical, financial, you name it. The truth is, it all kept nudging me along to now, to the next. And The Next!

For the protagonist in The Next, falling in love with a younger man is very good medicine until it runs out. Your protagonist gets betrayed when she’s sick, and then obsessed with the betrayal.
I suffered a broken heart pretty late in life. It was tough. I spent an embarrassing number of hours rehashing the details, the injustices, the drama with my friends. And I could see how one could become kind of obsessive, have it take over and turn into rage if the stakes were high enough. 

During the dying days of my relationship, who explodes on the scene but Adele, with the record 21. I would walk down Broadway and it seemed that every shop was blasting Adele, Rumour Has It, Rolling in the Deep, Someone Like You, to name the most obvious. Those songs felt like anthems for betrayed women. For revenge.

A year later I read Gone Girl. I thought, I want to do that. Little did I know how hard it was! Anyway, forces converged. I stopped whining and started writing.
Speaking of Adele, you’ve got a lot of music in the book.

I’m sort of surprised that music doesn’t permeate more fiction. I hear a song and remember someone, or a moment in time, or a scent or even, who I was once. Melodies and lyrics pop up in my mind all the time. Certainly, I can’t imagine falling in love – making love – without specific songs providing the soundtrack. And no break-up and its subsequent wallowing is complete without an anthem. Without Adele!

The title combined with the cover imagery is so intriguing and mysterious. How did it come about?
The Next was my first title, first draft. I kept lists – dozens and dozens –but I always came back to The Next. When I’d test it, readers would say, “The Next what?” And I loved that response. Because yeah, exactly. Leaving it so open-ended really worked for me. When Jen Enderlin at St. Martin’s bought the book, she never questioned the title. I finally got the nerve one day to say, “So, how do you feel about the title?” and she said, “What do you mean? The title’s perfect.” That was when I knew I was with the right editor!

When I saw the current cover – there was no question. They nailed it. It’s a fantastic image that enhances the story and the title. And the blue was especially calibrated for The Next. Olga Grlic, the creative director at St. Martin’s, calls it The Next Blue. I love that! My own blue!

You alternate between a first person voice, and a close third person. Why did you choose to tell the story that way?
It was definitely a critical choice. Joanna’s voice is very strong. She’s ricocheting between rage and sorrow and joy with extreme intensity, and I thought an entire narrative in that voice might veer off into a rant. I wanted to let her rant a little, but not a whole book’s worth.

As I wrote, the other characters – Ned, Laney and Anna (and Tom!) – came so much to life that a close third-person worked for them. Alternating the chapters gave me the dimension I was looking for and also, balanced out Joanna’s intensity.
I was so committed to this structure that towards the final draft, I separated the two narrative voices and revised so they could basically stand alone, and then wove them back together. I tried to make sure that whatever was going on with Joanna teed up the third person stories, chapter by chapter.

Tom! The relationship between Joanna and Tom in The Next is so affecting. Did you plan to write a dog story?
I have a great dog, Enzo, who is absolutely the model for Tom. He’s a 90-lb standard and just the most expressive and sweet dog I’ve ever owned. He has literally propped me up when I was sick.

I’d not intended to have Tom become such a crucial character in the novel. He just popped up one day and I let him have free run on the page (probably because Enzo is always nudging my arm to get me to stop typing!). What happened next, the way Tom evolved within the world of the story, was magical for me. Completely unexpected.

Dogs –and Tom, the poodle in the story – embody old-fashioned values: faithfulness, reliability, devotion, pure love. I think Tom displays all of those things in a way that Joanna recognizes. 

At its heart, The Next is a mother-daughter story. What do your own daughters think?
They think it’s too sexy! Also, they’re very proud.

The book is so cinematic. Did you have movies in mind when you wrote it?
I really didn’t but that was a universal comment from readers along the way. 

I was reading a lot of fiction – trying to see behind the curtain – and reading about craft to teach myself to write a novel. To get a break, I binged on Breaking Bad, which was enormously helpful – Walt, after all, is a dying man trying to get what he deserves, with twisted scruples and a ticking clock. 

How was the experience of writing your first novel? And then selling it!
Fun! I taught myself something new in my late fifties. I did something I’d always wanted to do. I made my heart’s desire my priority. I flopped a few times along the way but I didn’t stop. I course-corrected and pushed on. I had no social life, I was writing at four in the morning and then going to my day job. But it was a phenomenal experience.

Selling it, honestly, was icing on the cake. I truly mean that. Not that it’s not fantastic – like winning the lottery at my age, especially with the tremendous support from St. Martin’s – but I really did feel very gratified to just write this book and finally meet this other me. The writer me.

What are you working on?
Novel #2, still no title. This one’s a little different – a bigger canvas in a way. It’s another mother-daughter story that begins in the 1960s and wraps up today. The mother is not so literal a ghost as in The Next, but she’s still haunting everyone. I can’t say more – too new and exciting. I don’t want to jinx it.