Diamonds Are Forever by Jeannette de Beauvoir

We’re all attracted to things that sparkle. From the moment we’re born, our eyes follow shiny objects. And because everyone likes them, precious stones and gems have acquired a substantial monetary value.

 

And therein, naturally, lies crime.

 

In the nursery rhyme, the “little star” twinkles “like a diamond in the sky,” but diamonds are no little stars: they’re big and bright and can be very, very dangerous. Blood diamonds cost countless people their lives and limbs. Diamonds are stolen and imitated, fought over and killed for, and still every February we buy them, give them, and receive them as delicate, beautiful expressions of love.

 

One of my novels, Deadly Jewels, deals with a diamond theft during World War Two that has repercussions in the present day, its unfinished business echoing up through the years. And you might think that it was easier to steal diamonds back then, but you’d be wrong: unlike other crimes, which seem to be more and more blocked by technological advances in loss prevention and law enforcement, it seems that jewel thieves are alive and well and very much at it.

 

One of the things that we say about murder is that we only know about the failures—a successful murderer being, of course, one who is never caught because murder is never suspected. The same cannot be said for heists: we know only too well when and where they occur, and sometimes even by whom.

 

And I have to say that the recent history of heists isn’t without some humor.

 

Take the so-called Pink Panther gang, some very serious thieves from Eastern Europe who earned their nickname following the 1993 theft of a £500,000 diamond in central London—they hid the stone in a jar of face cream, a move learned from watching The Return of the Pink Panther. That’s right: Inspector Clouseau taught them. They’ve been enormously successful and are responsible for what are considered some of the most glamorous heists ever.

 

A science museum isn’t the first place you’d think of as a backdrop to a diamond heist, but in 2002 that happened in the Netherlands during an exhibition called The Diamond: From Rough Stone to Gem. Thieves got away with $12 million in diamonds and jewelry after smashing a window to get in (they weren’t picked up on video and none of the guards saw or heard anything) and accessing six of 28 alarmed cabinets in the main jewelry room before escaping. That one still has a lot of people scratching their heads.

 

In 2013, thieves netted $136 million in diamonds belonging to an Israeli guest at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes—the same hotel that was the setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 jewelry heist film To Catch a Thief.

 

I could go on and on—really, I could—but you get the point. There’s something about diamonds that brings out the James Bond or Marilyn Monroe in all of us. And the mystery not only of their attraction but of the lengths to which people will go to steal them is one of endless fascination—for this mystery writer, anyway!

 

 

Award-winning author Jeannette de Beauvoir writes mystery and historical fiction (or a combination thereof!) that’s been translated into 12 languages. A Booksense Book-of-the-Year finalist, she’s a member of the Authors Guild, the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the National Writers Union.

 

All her novels are firmly rooted in a sense of place, and her delight is to find characters true to the spaces in which they live. She herself lives and writes in a cottage in Provincetown, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and loves the collection of people who assemble at a place like land’s end.

 

The Sydney Riley Provincetown mystery series is in its fifth installment on November 15th with the release of A Fatal Folly.

 

Find out more—and read her blog—at her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Patreon, Amazon, and Goodreads.

The Haunted Storage Van by Nancy Boyarsky

As mystery writers, we dream up plots, then create characters to act them out. But in every day life, we often encounter mysteries of a different sort, if we take the time to be observant.

On my morning walks around my neighborhood, I’ve spotted some strange and even scary stuff. These aren’t the kind of situations I’d write a book about. But they stir my interest, and I find myself trying to puzzle out what’s going on. It’s kind of like the old game, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Take one example: A couple of blocks away from me is a house that has looked deserted as long as I can remember and has fallen into serious disrepair.

It wasn’t so much the house that caught my attention but the backyard, which was surrounded by a tall wire fence and further screened from the street by a hedge, dying from lack of water.

One day I paused to look through the thinning hedge and spotted something odd. Lining both sides of the yard were cages (rusty and leaning in various directions) large enough to hold human beings. The cages were empty. But then I noticed a very large portable storage unit (in a similar run-down state) parked at the back of the property. It got me thinking. Could whatever was once held in those cages now be locked up in the storage unit? There was no smell, but still . . .

I started walking on the other side of the street. Some months later, I saw a moving van in front of the house. Two men were moving furniture from the house into a van. This came as a surprise, since I’d never seen evidence of anyone living there. Besides the movers, I noticed that the storage unit was now standing wide open. I hurried across the street to get a look. Inside were various neatly stacked cartons, labeled “towels,” “sheets,” “clothes,” etc. At the very back of the trailer were pet beds, stacked all the way to the ceiling, starting with the largest on the bottom and the smallest at the top.

So, I concluded, the house must have belonged to someone who had once owned a pet store or ran a pet rescue organization. Nothing sinister after all. I have to admit I was almost disappointed.

 

Nancy Boyarsky

Nancy was born in Oakland, California, and grew up with her parents and two sisters in the flatlands of East Oakland. When she was around eight—in a world that was a lot safer that today—she was allowed to roam the neighborhood by herself, and her visits to the tiny Alandale Public Library were the highlight of her week.

She attended public schools in Oakland. Her father opposed the idea of sending girls to college, being of the opinion that they would be better off working as waitresses to prepare them for their life’s work as housewives. Nancy ignored his advice and went on to UC Berkeley, where she supported herself by working in the campus library. In addition to the pleasure of working around books, the job had an added benefit of allowing student clerks to disappear into the stacks and read when work was slow. Nancy majored in English literature and graduated from Berkeley with honors.

Her first job was as an associate editor for a small, long-vanished publishing house in San Francisco. When her two daughters were born, she stayed home and began writing freelance articles for a local paper, as well as teaming up with her husband, Bill Boyarsky, on magazine articles. They lived in Sacramento for ten years, while her husband covered the state capital and political campaigns for the Associated Press.

The family moved to Los Angeles when Bill joined the staff of the Los Angeles Times. When her girls were in their teens, Nancy gave up freelancing and returned to full-time work, first as associate editor of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine and later as communications director for political affairs for ARCO. She quit ARCO when the first of her two granddaughters was born. Since then, she has devoted herself to writing and editing. Her primary hobby is painting portraits and images from old family photos dating from the early 1900s. She loves reading fiction, the theater, films, and travel, especially to the UK where the theater and books are a national passion.

Nancy Boyarsky coauthored Backroom Politics, a New York Times notable book, with her husband. She has written several textbooks on the justice system and contributed to political anthologies, including In the Running, about women’s political campaigns and The Challenge of California by the late Eugene Lee. She has also written articles on a variety of subjects for the Los Angeles Times, West magazine, Forbes, McCalls, Playgirl, Westways and other publications.

She is currently working on another mystery featuring Nicole, as well as Family Recipes for Gastroenteritis, a tragicomic memoir of growing up in Oakland in a family at the far end of disfunctionality.​

She lives in Los Angeles with her journalist husband, Bill Boyarsky.

MY SECOND DRIFTER SERIES NOVELLA HAS BEEN RELEASED Jackie Taylor Zortman

The second novella in my Drifters Series, JAKE-Winds of Change was recently released on Amazon.com. The first was called JAKE-Whiskey, Water & Wildfire and was enthusiastically received by my readers. Both novellas are eBooks and when the third is published, it will be a large trade paperback containing all three books in the series, also available as an eBook.

Jake is a wildland firefighter with a Harley who stays in top physical shape for his profession and is blessed with the kind of good looks that make women yearn to be his lover and men envious, being what is known as a “man’s man”.  He’s a drifter who travels until some town mentally signals him that he should stop and stay awhile. A pending disaster is usually the reason he is needed. Once the need is fulfilled, he rides again until another town flags him down. He once left a heartbroken woman in his wake and their relationship haunts him, having always been single and dedicated to remaining that way forever.

A ski trip to Telluride inspires him to remain in southwestern Colorado. He fails to find a job as a firefighter, so takes the Colorado law enforcement exam and becomes a police officer. He lands a job with the small Sierra, Colorado PD and is hired as their Fire Investigator.

Renting one of only two apartments in the historic Wander Inn, his neighbor in the other apartment is a gorgeous single woman named Kioni and they develop a sizzling, mutually agreeable no-strings-attached romance. Jake’s first friend in Sierra was Kioni’s mother, Yvette, a strangely mystical and magnetic older woman who works part-time in the local bookstore.

On a three-day road trip with Kioni, Jake unexpectedly manages to gather the loose ends of a case that has been his focus since the first moment he noticed the strange person of interest’s suspicious activities in Sierra. Unexpected twists and turns lead the case back to the Sierra PD and reveal shocking ties to the department’s detective.

Jake has a tremendous secret that is eventually revealed in each novella. Find out what his secret is at www.amazon.com/dp/B07WZVMWJH/.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jackie lives in a bustling Colorado mountain tourist town with her husband and Siamese cat. When the deep snows blanket the terrain outside her windows, it becomes the perfect spot in which to write. She’s an avid reader and loves being outdoors. She’s had numerous short stories and articles published for twenty-six years and is the author of a non-fiction book called We Are Different Now-A Grandparent’s Journey With Grief, two award-winning fiction novels featuring homicide detective Max Richards called Footprints in the Frost and Snow Angel and the first two of three Drifter novellas – JAKE-Whiskey, Water & Wildfire and JAKE-Winds of Change. In addition, she is a contributing author to the anthologies, Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides, American Blue, Recipes by the Book:  Oak Tree Authors Cook; Echoes From the Silence; Dusting Off Dreams and The Centennial Book of the National Society of Daughter of the Union 1861-1865. She is a Charter Member of The Public Safety Writers Association and a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She has won ten writing awards in the last six years.

www.jtzortman.wordpress.com

www.amazon.com/author/jackietaylorzortman

Spy Dreams or How I Took an Unexpected Trip by JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

When fiction spills over into the everyday, it’s time to pull back, don’t you think?

 

It happened to me. The end result could’ve been traumatic, like a broken bone or a concussion. It wasn’t, but it could’ve been. I’ve decided to focus my attention in a different direction for a while. It’ll be healthier.

 

Recently, I’ve been focusing intensely on refining and editing the manuscript of my third paranormal suspense novel. It’s a WWII spy story wherein the U.S. government recruits psychics to locate Nazi spies, and I identified with the story. I worked longer hours than normal and pushed past my tolerance level. The end result was that, by the end of a workday, I got exhausted to the point of not being able to do another thing. Totally out of it. Consequently, some of the exercises and the normally varied work I do each week for lifestyle balance went by the wayside. Result? Lack of balance.

 

I’m paying for it now. I’m finding it hard to relax. It’s taking longer than usual.

 

I had a wake-up call.

 

Just before dawn the other day I engaged in a powerful dream. As the dream developed, I found myself chased by a spy and engaging in personal defense of a kickboxing nature. Even in my dream, I wasn’t very good at it and the spy was winning. I got more passionate about my defense and brought the dreamed defense into real life. My leg kicked out, hit the dresser and, the next thing I knew, I was falling to the floor.

 

From deep sleep to the rude awakening of falling out of bed and landing on a hardwood floor is not the way I like to start my day. Fortunately, I must’ve been loose enough from sleep because I didn’t hurt myself—other than some bruising and my leg hurting from ramming against the dresser.

 

As you can imagine, I’ve adjusted my exercise regimen and my work habits so my dreams are nonviolent. I’m going swimming. I’ll do some gardening and get my bike out. I’ve learned my lesson. Moderation. No spy dreams from now on.

 

What about you? Have you had reality spill into your dreams? Did the dream come back and affect you in life? Tell me about it.

 

DESCRIPTION

During WWII, the US government recruits psychics to find Nazi spies on the East Coast.

 

Opening herself to ridicule by revealing she’s clairvoyant is the last thing U.S. WAVES Lieutenant Livvy Delacourt wants, but when Uncle Sam needs her psychic skill to track down Nazi spies, she jumps in with both feet.

 

Expect Trouble released in print and e-book formats and as an audiobook from Audible, Hoopla, Overdrive, and other audiobook distributors and clubs.

 

It was Runner-up for the Shelf Unbound Award and a Semifinalist for the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Award.

 

 

 

AUTHOR BIO

JoAnn Smith Ainsworth experienced WWII food rationing, Victory Gardens, and blackout sirens as a child. She lived in Philadelphia during the ’50s and she attended the Berkeley Psychic Institute in the late ’70s. These experiences bring authenticity to her historical paranormal suspense series.

 

She is the author of six published novels. She earned a B.A. from UC-Berkeley, an M.A.T. from Fairleigh Dickenson University, and M.B.A. studies from Pepperdine University. Ainsworth lives in northern California.

 

To learn more about this award-winning author, visit www.joannsmithainsworth.com.

 

 

 

LINKS:

For more, visit:  http://www.joannsmithainsworth.com.

Twitter @JoAnnAinsworth

Facebook:  JoAnn Smith Ainsworth Fan Page (https://www.facebook.com/JoAnnSmithAinsworthAuthor?ref=hl) and Profile Page.

Goodreads Blog:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1366481.JoAnn_Smith_Ainsworth/blog?format=rss

 

Contact her at JoAnnSmithAinsworth@gmail.com.

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/Zgbls6

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/HMX2KH

Books a Million (BAM) –   http://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=6000031779635&query=joann+smith+ainsworth&where=Books&search.x=22&search.y=8or http://tinyurl.com/ld8czbf

 

…and at an independent bookstore near you – http://www.indiebound.org/indie-bookstore-finder

 

 

 

 

Reviews of Expect Trouble: (286 words)

 

It’s 1943 and Lieutenant Olivia Delacourt is assigned her first really important mission. She is anxious to show the powers-that-be just how efficient she is. Olivia’s first surprise comes when she finds out who her commanding officer will be. Barrington Drew III is someone Olivia’s known since high school. As they set up their offices and welcome staff, she wonders what this mission will entail. The entire staff is in for a huge surprise.

I am elated about this book. Well written, plotted well AND history? It’s a sure fire winner. The characters are well defined and three dimensional. Ms. Ainsworth tells this story in an easy manner and keeps you asking for more. I found myself rooting for Olivia and her team. Imagine if this were a true story. It would add another layer to World War II. I enjoyed the setting and getting acquainted with the characters. I am ready for more of Ms. Ainsworth’s work!

 

Melanie Adkins, Book Reviewer

 

 

 

 

ManicReaders Review:  Despite its minor issues, the book’s twists and turns, not to mention the surprise ending, will keep you turning pages. …. Expect Trouble definitely gives the reader an authentic flavor of the WWII era on the home front, including the pace of life when the world wasn’t accessible via a computer keyboard and telephones were connected by switchboard operators. ……… Merrylee, Reviewer

 

 

If you like the British series The Bletchley Circle, you will enjoy this book! ………….. Patricia Simpson, Award Winning Author

 

 

Affair de Coeur Review Magazine:  This talented author strategically and skillfully takes the reader on a trip that will stay with them for a very long time. What a treasure! ……… Lauren Calder, Reviewer

Spotlight: The Very Least by Ken Kuhlken

ISBN-10: 1725909782

ISBN-13: 978-1725909786

Publisher: CreateSpace

September 13, 2018, 330 pages

Genre: Suspense thriller

Series: Hickey Family Crime Novel

 

 

Also available for Kindle

 

 

A dear friend of Clifford Hickey’s cousin Bo crosses the border on the run from a charge of molesting children in a church nursery school. Because Bo believes him innocent, journalist Clifford agrees to investigate. Soon he has made enemies of gangsters, politicians, and tycoons on both sides of the border. That’s the bad news. The good news: he meets Jodi McGee who helps him discover his purpose and write this story.

 

The Very Least is both a standalone novel of crime and suspense and a volume in the much-praised and awarded Hickey Family Crime series.

Anne Tyler, as Chair of the Ernest Hemingway Award selection committee, wrote, “The pace, clarity, and assurance of Midheaven made it a pleasure to read.”

From Kirkus Reviews: “Kuhlken has, with Jodi, created a character new to us–the born again adolescent who’s in-the-know–and he provides her with grit and honesty.”

Novelist Andy Straka commented, “Midheaven is one of those rare gems of a novel that sneaks up on you and nestles in your soul. I especially enjoyed the setting and character development. The sun-dappled mountains and cold water beauty of Lake Tahoe hold too many secrets for a teenage girl to bear. Jodi is a character you won’t soon forget.”

 

Some of Ken’s favorites are early mornings, the desert in spring, kind and honest people, baseball and other sports played by those who don’t take themselves too seriously, most kids, and films he and his Zoe can enjoy together.

He reads classic novels, philosophy, theology, and all sorts of mysteries. On his blog, he offers some hard truths and encouragement about living as a writer.

He has long been the author of novels, stories, articles, poems, and essays. Lots of honors have come his way, including a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship; Poets, Essayists and Novelist’s Ernest Hemingway Award; Private Eye Writers of America Best First Novel and Shamus Best Novel; and several San Diego and Los Angeles Book Awards.

https://www.kenkuhlken.net/

https://www.amazon.com/Ken-Kuhlken/e/B001JPBYLY/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

The Very Least

Amazon: https://amzn.to/30FEa91

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-very-least-ken-kuhlken/1129158286?ean=9781725909786

Summer Getaways for Writers by Amy M. Reade

               The unofficial summer is coming to an end, with Labor Day approaching and kids getting ready to go back to school (if they aren’t back already).

But there’s still over a month left of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere! What are you going to do with yourself until fall arrives in late September?

Fear not. I’ve compiled a list of ten great places for writers (and readers, too) to visit. I’ve tried to include places in the general geographic area of each segment of the country, but I know some of these places will be far away from some of you.

There’s an easy solution to that: make it a two-day trip!

I’m going to stick with places in the United States for now, but maybe someday I’ll do another list for people in other parts of the world. For now, I’ll start in the Northeast and make my way around the US in a clockwise manner.

  1. New England. The Mark Twain House and Museum is located in Hartford, Connecticut, and is the place where Mark Twain said he spent the happiest and most productive years of his life. The three-story, twenty-five room mansion is open to the public and visitors can also see a Ken Burns film about Mark Twain, browse in the museum shop, and have a bite to eat.
  2. Mid-Atlantic. The Poe Museum. Located in Richmond, Virginia, Edgar Allan Poe’s hometown, The Poe Museum contains the world’s largest collection of Poe memorabilia, a wonderful gift shop, and an Enchanted Garden. There are always exhibits to see, as well as a Sunday Reading Series and a monthly Unhappy Hour.
  3. The Gone with the Wind Trail has stops in several places in Georgia. Here are just three of them: Atlanta’s Margaret Mitchell house (which houses a museum including the apartment where she wrote most of Gone with the Wind); the Gone with the Wind Museum in Marietta, Georgia, where visitors can see tons of memorabilia from the movie; and Shady Oaks (located in Jonesboro, Georgia), a Tara-esque mansion complete with outbuildings and guides in period costume.
  4. Middle South. I am one of the world’s biggest fans of Ernest Hemingway’s writing, which is one of the reasons I’m including this site on my list (another reason being that I’ve already included a trip in the Southeast, and EH’s home in Key West, FL, didn’t fit). It’s the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, located in Piggot, Arkansas. Hemingway and his wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, spent time in Piggot with her family; in fact, the Pfeiffers had a barn on the property converted for Hemingway’s use as a writing studio. He wrote portions of A Farewell to Arms while in Piggot, as well as a number of short stories. Check out this website, too.
  5. The Southwestern Writers Collection, located in San Marcos, Texas, and part of the Texas State Library System, is home to countless archives of works by writers (filmmakers, too) of the American Southwest. Included in the collections are works by Cormac McCarthy, Sam Shepard, and Rick Riordan.
  6. The Merwin Conservancy on the island of Maui is a home and 19-acre garden that belonged to the United States Poet Laureate William S. Merwin. It is only open for garden tours one morning a month, so if you want to go, check the website’s calendar. The garden, which contains one of the world’s largest collection of palms, would be a wonderful place to rest, rejuvenate, and drink in inspiration.
  7. Located in Salinas, California, The National Steinbeck Center is a tribute to all things John Steinbeck, one of the most influential American authors of all time. The permanent exhibition in the center is set up to explore the locations where Steinbeck lived, wrote about, and traveled.
  8. Hugo House is a writer-centric haven for people who love the written word. Richard Hugo was born in Seattle and overcame poverty and grief to become a nationally-renowned poet. The Hugo House is a place where writers can take classes, attend workshops, readings, author interviews, and more. Most of the events are free.
  9. Spend some time taking in the scenery and wildlife in the Arctic National Refuge, but to really get an appreciation for this upper bend in the Yukon River, read Two Old Women by Velma Wallis. The story is based on an Athabascan Indian legend and tells the story of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a devastating winter famine. Once you’ve read the book, go to Fort Yukon and begin to get a glimpse of the scenery and culture that gave birth to the legend.
  10. In Mansfield, Missouri, in the land of the Ozarks, you’ll find Rocky Ridge Farm, home to The Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum. This tribute to one of America’s most beloved writers features the farm and home where Laura lived with Almanzo and Rose and where The Little House books were written.

Do you have more suggestions for places for writers to visit this summer? Please share your ideas in the comments so we can all learn about them!

 

Amy M. Reade is a recovering attorney who discovered, quite by accident, a passion for fiction writing. She has penned nine mysteries and is working on two more, plus a Cape May County historical mystery series. She writes in the Gothic, traditional, contemporary, and cozy mystery subgenres and looks forward to continuing the two series she has begun since December 2018. She also loves to read, cook, and travel.

She is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, House of the Hanging Jade, the Malice series, the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series, and the Libraries of the World Mystery series.

Her most recent work is Dead, White, and Blue, Book Two in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series.

How AFTER YOU’VE GONE Got Its Title By Kay Kendall

All my mysteries take their titles from popular songs. My first mysteries are entitled Desolation Row and Rainy Day Women. That’s appropriate since the books take place in the late 1960s. But my third mystery takes place in 1923, and I can hardly use a Bob Dylan song, can I?

How lucky that I found a song popular back then yet still covered today by contemporary artists.

Fiona Apple sings “After You’ve Gone.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH3tvv-qnrI

The song “After You’ve Gone” was penned in 1918, remaining popular throughout the next several decades—especially during the 1920s, which is what I was looking for. Even in the last 30 years many singers have covered it. Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Edie Gourmet, and many more. In truth, the song is fantastic. It still holds up.

Copyright laws don’t cover song titles, but the lyrics are. While Dylan’s are still protected, “After You’ve Gone” is no longer under copyright. These from the chorus fit the storyline of my new mystery.

After you’ve gone and left me crying

After you’ve gone there’s no denying,

You’ll feel blue, you’ll feel sad,

You’ll miss the bestest pal you’ve ever had.

There’ll come a time, now don’t forget it,

There’ll come a time, when you’ll regret it.

Oh! Babe, think what you’re doing.

You know my love for you will drive me to ruin,

After you’ve gone,

After you’ve gone away, away.

 

After You’ve Gone (1918)
Music by Turner Layton and lyrics by Henry Creamer

 

When you read my new mystery, you’ll see how many of my characters are living their lives after someone has gone—someone very near and dear to them. They’ve been left bereft and must learn to carry on without these people. The biggest loss of all kicks off the mystery, of course. But there are others—oh so many others. Just count them all up. You’ll see.

Author Kay Kendall is passionate about historical mysteries.  

She lives in Texas with her Canadian husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. 

Visit Kay at her website  http://www.austinstarr.com/  

or on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/KayKendallAuthor