Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Guest Post: HANG ON EVERY WORD by Julie B. Cosgrove

My guest today is Julie B. Cosgrove. She can tell you all about herself. 😊


     I have always loved word puzzles and word games. Scrabble is more often set up on my dining room table than placemats and napkins.  I play Words with Friends and Wordle daily. Even as a preteen, I would grab the newspaper section from my Dad so I could be the first to solve the Jumble, then try and find as many words as I could made out of the letters in the posted word of the day.
     Back then I was a suspense and mystery buff, too. Still am. I binge out on British mysteries like Death in Paradise, Shakespeare & Hathaway, Father Brown, Vera … just to name a few (they do them so very well), and watch reruns of Diagnosis Murder, Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Psych, Quincy, etc. Since middle school―let’s not discuss how long ago that was―I’ve love reading cozy mysteries, my genre of choice.
     So, is it any surprise my wise, older sister asked why I didn’t combine the two and write a cozy mystery series about Wordplay? Gauntlet thrown, how could I say no? Blessings abound, my publisher agreed. Thanks, sis.
     I designed Scrub Oak, Texas, complete with the shops and shopkeepers, the police, the churches, and the town folk. It is a great place to visit, so I hope you will explore the town and it’s citizens through the pages of my books. I can honestly say this has been the most fun I have experienced in my writing career journey yet!  

Here are brief synopses of the first three Word Play Mysteries…

Word Has It  –  Not prone to gossip, Wanda  keeps herself to herself. But when she hears from her nephew Todd, now a local policeman. that a ring of thieves may be hiding out in the area, she begins to wonder of the old Ferguson place is still abandoned. When words like jewels, woodshed, landing, and evil appear on their weekly word game days after a deadly shooting on the property, she determines it is a sign she and her friends should investigate.

Word Gets Around – Each of the three ladies receive a nonsensical note slipped between the wiper blades of their cars. When the ladies combine the words on a word game board, it spells trouble for one of Betty’s former students, who is now a freelance reporter for the Oakmont County Gazette. Could it be she reported way too much?

In Other Words – Many English words contain the same letters but in different order, like stressed and desserts. After the local store owner is found dead in the alley, the ladies will need their word playing skills to unravel the dual meanings of the graffiti that appears around town before two more people’s games end.


On August 26th, number four releases.

Hang On Every Word – Wanda Warner, widow in the small town of Scrub Oak, lands a gig as the word puzzle designer for the local newspaper. Then the answers to her clues end up as clues to crimes. Some merchants wonder if she is feeding the crooks information so she can get credit for solving more mysteries.  Will her nephew Todd be pressured into arresting his own aunt?

 

Details can be found on my website, www.juliebcosgrove.com  or on Amazon.com at https://amzn.to/38uLAW6 .

 

Here is a sample of what you’ll read…

 

"No fingerprints were left behind, so he or she wore gloves. He or she knew the tills would be full. These robberies appear to be planned out, as most are. Not spontaneous as if the word puzzles you designed in the newspaper helped them decide who to hit.”

“How long does it take to grab gloves?” She waggled a finger at her nephew. “Pardon me for saying so, but these three all seem like hit and runs, no pun intended. My guess is the burglar lives elsewhere.”

“I hope you’re right. Vicki is an old friend. And Mason seems like a great guy.” He leaned in and brushed her cheek with his lips. “And I’m rather fond of my aunt as well. I don’t want to see any of you handcuffed." Todd rose, put on his police Stetson, and left her kitchen.

Wanda stared as he closed the door behind him. Did he seriously think she might be involved? Surely not.

Images zipped across her imagination― red flashing lights, squawking highway patrol radios, and herself in handcuffs slammed face down against the hood of her car.

Oh, get a grip.

 

 

Four more Wordplay Mysteries books are under contract to be publish in 2023-2025.  In the meantime, I have been contracted to write a novella with six other faith-based mystery authors in a series called The Visitor. They will come out about once a month starting in February 2023.






 

  

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Reviews for ANGEL OF THE L TRAIN!

The reviews are coming in for ANGEL OF THE L TRAIN. I am thrilled that readers are enjoying the story. 

One reviewer said, "Marzec writes a fast-paced, mystery-filled suspense novel that I couldn't put down."

N.N. Light said, "Fans of the world of gossip will love this book. Fans of clean romance will love this book. Fans of Christian romance will love this book. An excellent addition to this genre."

G.P. said, "The twists and turns in this book along with the romance and inspiration kept me turning pages, and I enjoyed the characters who came to life. I recommend it for those who enjoy Christian romance with mystery."

Ms. Caine said, "Ms. Marzec keeps the reader intrigued and engaged. The backdrop of the big city combined with an additional country setting blend well in telling the story. Well done"

Ms. Bailey said, "Marzec shows a surprisingly profound insight into gossip mags, a dirty industry. She shows how the editors and journalists have sold their souls, and she accurately portrays John’s struggle not to....But Marzec doesn’t neglect the most important healing of all. The spiritual message is strong, with Thea’s faith being tested but surviving and John inching his way back to belief."

Another from Kelly, "I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I think this should be made into a movie!"

From Erin S., "There’s something in this story for everyone: intrigue, mystery, and romance. It follows two people searching for true home and family, one of whom desperately needs forgiveness. Once you pick up The Angel of the L Train, you’ll be hooked until the last page."

If you haven't read it yet, you're missing out! You can find it at any of the ebook retailers below:

Amazon.

Pelican Book Group

Apple

Nook

Kobo

 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

AUTHOR TAKEOVER

Today is the day! I have taken over the Sharing Is Caring Book Blog. Please visit the site and learn more about ANGEL OF THE L TRAIN!

 
Learn a bit more about me, read the book blurb, read the reviews, and enjoy!
 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Guest Post: WILDE TREASURES by K.M. Fawcett

My guest today is K.M. Fawcett. Whether it's contemporary romance or science fiction romance, she writes stories featuring underdogs and fish-out-of-water characters who find their place in the universe. She believes in happy endings and true love conquering all. She and her husband—the inspiration for all her heroes (and some of her villains)—own Tenchi Dojo in NJ, where they teach traditional Okinawan karate and weapons. K.M. incorporates two decades of martial arts experience into her stories to create strong, kick-ass characters who aren’t afraid to fight for the life and love they deserve. Hang out with her on social media and subscribe to her newsletter at www.kmfawcett.com for sneak peeks at upcoming books.

Rick McKinnon is on the hunt for booty...

...pirate booty, that is. With one week left to find the hidden trove before his mafia boss investor starts busting kneecaps, Rick discovers the location is inside a 200-year-old well on private property. Unfortunately, claustrophobic Rick gets stuck.

The last thing Willow Wilde needs after moving away from her thieving ex is to rescue a sexy hustler from her well. But when the fortune hunter offers a piece of buried treasure in exchange for her help, Willow gets swept into an adventure sure to solve her money woes and add to her man troubles. As long as she can guard against Rick’s sultry charms, she won’t get hurt again.

But the two aren’t the only ones searching for the lost loot, and a threat from the past will do anything to get the gold. It’s now a race against time as Rick and Willow chase a string of clues throughout the small town of Candlewood Falls. And to survive this dangerous game, they’ll have to learn to trust each other with their lives…and their hearts.

~

Fans of Romancing the Stone, The Lost City, and National Treasure are sure to enjoy this contemporary romance novel with its exciting mix of adventure, suspense, and hidden clues. Although Wilde Treasures is book #4 in the series, each Candlewood Falls novel is designed to be read as a standalone, as each book's protective hero and smart, sassy, and strong heroine find their happily ever after.


Universal Book link: https://books2read.com/Wilde-Treasures

Read an excerpt: 

Willow donned the gloves and hard hat with 360ΒΊ Halo light. “You should know, I’m a bit of a treasure hunter myself. One of my hobbies is Geocaching.”

Rick snickered. “That’s cute.”

“Don’t be rude. Geocaching is a type of treasure hunting.”

“Yes, with coordinates, clues, and a plastic cache at the end. It’s not real. That’s like telling Bruce Springsteen you’re a bit of a rock star because you sing karaoke. Or telling Dax Fabion you’re a bit of a pro hockey player because you play a few pickup games at the ice rink on weekends. Or telling—”

“Okay. I get it. But for your information, I found over a thousand Geocaches. All I’m saying is you can have confidence that if there is a treasure down there, I’ll find it.”

Rick went quiet for a moment as he searched her eyes. “I do have confidence in you, Willow,” he said without a hint of irony.

“Thank you.” She couldn’t break away from his mesmerizing deep blue eyes. He really was a good-looking guy. She usually wasn’t into men with facial hair, but for some reason, the dark stubble suited him and gave him a rugged, sexy vibe. Maybe it was the strong jaw or the high cheekbones. Well, whatever spell Rick McKinnon’s face had over her, she wanted to get to know him better. 

Rick raised an eyebrow in question.


Realizing she stared too long, she cleared her throat. 


“Be careful on the ladder,” he said. “You should have plenty of light. The Halo works great. It’ll light up the well bright as day down there. You ready?”


“I am.” Her heart pounded with all the excitement of a real treasure hunt and the anticipation of opening a chest filled with gold and jewels.

Check it out here: 

https://www.amazon.com/Wilde-Treasures-Candlewood-Falls-Romance-ebook/dp/B09WB36QNC/


 


Friday, August 12, 2022

 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Release of ANGEL OF THE L TRAIN!


 
 On Friday, August 12, 2022, ANGEL OF THE L TRAIN will be available on most digital platforms. 

Amazon

Kobo

 Barnes & Noble

 Google

 Apple

Pelican Book Group


Enjoy an excerpt from the first chapter: 

Thea Ahern twisted her hands in her lap as she sat in front of the huge polished desk of LetSlip’s CEO. The receptionist in the notorious gossip magazine’s human resources office took one look at Thea and sent her directly to this office, which seemed odd. Still, this interview was the first one she’d managed to get, and while LetSlip’s reputation might be unsavory, it was a job—and she needed money. 

As the petite CEO studied Thea’s portfolio, Thea glanced at the huge, abstract painting covering the wall on her left. She clamped her jaw together in an effort to prevent displaying any trace of emotion. Her mother created that work of art ten years ago or so. Sorrow pierced Thea as she remembered her mother’s joy in splashing the canvas with the vivid colors. It spanned the entire wall, brightening up the otherwise drab office. 

“I’m impressed with your work.” The woman stated from across the other side of the massive desk. 

“Thank you, Ms. Capello.” Thea gave a tentative smile as a sense of relief flowed through her. 

“Please, call me Salbatora. We use first names only at LetSlip. We’re all family here.” The woman shoved aside Thea’s portfolio. “You haven’t lived in Brooklyn for long. I can tell by your accent. Where did you grow up?”

“In south Jersey,” Thea answered. 

“Down the shore?” The woman tapped her well- manicured fingers on the shiny desk. 

“Sort of, actually in the Pine Barrens.” 

“I’ve never been there.” The woman turned her head to stare at the painting on the wall. 

A strange chill slid up Thea’s spine. 

The woman returned her attention to Thea. “How do you like New York?”

Thea faltered. It’s too noisy—especially at night. “It’s lively.” 

A flash of humor crossed Salbatora’s face. “Yes, that it is.” The CEO folded her hands on the desk, her eyes seemed suddenly remote. “Can you tell me about a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills?” 

Thea’s heart pounded. When it came to dealing with stress and managing to cope, Thea considered herself the reigning champion. She believed she deserved a trophy. But she must not tell her problems to Salbatora. Not now. Not ever. 

A minute ticked by. Thea stared at her hands as perspiration beaded on her brow. She needed to say something. She closed her eyes and remembered...a scary incident. Thank you, Lord. 

“When I went to college, pets weren’t allowed in the dorm, but one of the guys kept a lizard in his room, using a heat lamp for warmth. Word went out about a room inspection, and the lizard owner threw a blanket over the terrarium before he went to eat dinner.”

“I see...” The words were a bare whisper. 

Thea drew in a breath and continued the story. “The blanket caught on fire and smoke filled the hallway. The sprinklers went on, but the situation was chaotic for several minutes. Some of the students became hysterical about leaving their stuff, but I stayed calm and led them out of the building.” 

“The lizard?” 

“He passed away, but none of the students were injured.” Thea did not consider herself a heroine, but the event remained a traumatic memory. No doubt, it wasn’t the sort of stress workers withstood putting together a gossip magazine. “At any rate, the campus police arrived quickly. Still, most things in the dorm were ruined by water damage.” 

“What did you lose?”

“My laptop, books, clothes, and bedding—like everyone else in the building.” Thea shrugged. “But folks in my hometown helped me out afterward.” 

“How fortunate for you.”

“Yes. The people in the town where I grew up are the best.” Thea sighed. She missed her home. 

“What town is that?”

“Woods End. It’s very small. Out in the Pine Barrens, as I said.” 

“I guess that’s why I never heard of it.” Salbatora stood. 

Thea swallowed hard and rose. Was she being dismissed? Did she fail the interview? Maybe the example she gave didn’t measure up to the CEO’s standards. 

Salbatora pressed a button on her phone. “Liz, please come in and show Thea where she’ll be working.”

“Right away.” Came a reply. 

Thea swayed and held onto the edge of the desk. I got the job? 

“I’m sure you’ll enjoy working at LetSlip. You’ll be assigned a mentor for a few weeks.” 

Thea nodded. “Thank you.” 

“My pleasure. And don’t ever hesitate to come to me with any questions.” 

A knock came at the door and Liz entered with a clipboard. “Follow me, Thea. I’ll get you situated right away.”

Thea reached for her portfolio. “Bye.” She waved to Salbatora, but the CEO of LetSlip stood next to the painting on the wall and stared at it in utter fascination with a bemused smile lighting up her face. 

An icy shiver slid down Thea’s spine, but she ignored it attributing the sensation to the Arctic temperature of the room. 

~*~

Thea sat in the small cubicle Liz assigned to her and ran a shaky hand over the cover of the brand-new laptop on the desk. Taking a deep breath, she opened the laptop, turned it on, and began the process of signing in. 

Seeing her mother’s painting in the office of the CEO continued to disturb her. The gallery who sold her mother’s work catered to corporate offices because those buyers paid well, so it made perfect sense for the artwork to be on that wall. Yet, it seemed a rather odd twist of fate that this is where Thea landed a job.

She checked inside the drawers of the desk as the computer took its time devouring her information. Working at a publication famous for gossip wasn’t exactly what she had in mind when she graduated. Publishing articles about celebrity gossip didn’t sit right with her conscience either, but LetSlip’s salary turned out to be more generous than she expected. At the moment, money was what mattered the most. Besides, no other company seemed interested in her. Other businesses wanted someone with more experience. 

Unease wound through her. Once, her mother had been a famous screen actress, but she gave up her career to raise Thea in the anonymity of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. No one ever suspected Althea Ahern was the famous, Oscar-winning Paris Hulette. 

Over the years, her mother’s royalties dwindled to a sad pittance, but Mom’s paintings sold on a regular basis and all was well until the awful time when Mom stopped painting. A lump welled up in Thea’s throat. She pressed her lips together to keep the emotion at bay. This job at LetSlip was a blessing. Since she prayed fervently for help, LetSlip must be the answer to her prayers. 









 



 

 

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Another Piece of the Story for ANGEL OF THE L TRAIN

     That’s my mom in her younger days. She thought she could be a star. She liked to sing and some folks said she looked like Barbara Stanwyck, a well-known actress in the 1930s and 1940s.. My mom and her sister went to New York and would have starved if it weren’t for a kind restaurant owner who gave them food—and a job. He also gave my mom her famous, secret rice pudding recipe. 😊
     Mom never became an actress or a singer—though she sang to me and my siblings all the time. But what if she had found fame? Would she have met my dad? Probably not. What about her art, which was what she loved? Would she have given that up for the glamor and glitter of Hollywood?
     I don’t know, but that idea was one of the pieces that fit into ANGEL OF THE L TRAIN. In my book, the heroine’s mother once was a famous, Oscar-winning actress. However, she vanishes from the public eye and nobody has any idea what happened to her. 
     When the heroine’s daughter helps to save the life of a man in the New York subway, she becomes the victim of a media frenzy. Almost identical to her mother at a younger age, the heroine’s life is upended by the unwanted and unrelenting attention.
     At any rate, I’m glad my mom was never picked to be a movie star. But the idea that she might have done so made this book fun to write. 

You can pre-order the book now at: