1. From Behind the Blue Line


From Behind the Blue Line

THE BOOK: From Behind the Blue Line.


THE AUTHOR: William Mark.

THE PUBLISHER: Terri Gerrell with Southern Yellow Pine Publishing. I met Terri through the Tallahassee Writers Association and wasn’t happy with my first “self-publishing” company. She agreed to take a look at my second novel and after reading the first part, she was ready to sign me up which also included my first novel! It has been a great partnership thus far.

SUMMARY: After a heinous murder of a child, the father, also a police officer, asks his long time friend — although estranged — to help him kill the men responsible. Afraid to leave the murderers’ fate in the hands of a jury, he wants revenge. Together the pair devise a cunning and clever plan to find and execute the two men even though they are in police custody. But to pull off this vengeful plan, they must do so under the watchful eye of an unscrupulous Internal Affairs commander as well as determined homicide detectives.

THE BACK STORY: The premise of the story came to me working as a police officer and sharing an awful scenario, similar to that of my characters, with a fellow officer. I built the plot from there.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The “thin blue line” has been adopted by law enforcement officers and the brotherhood among them. It represents a code. In my story, the characters choose to step from behind that line to get the revenge and justice they seek.William Mark

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?: My book contains a gritty realism that many police procedurals do not have. I’ve been there, done that and my experience will come out in the pages. The investigations are what real detectives would do, not some of this fantasy science or exotic evidence that exists in some books.


“WOW! JUST WOW! One of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s very evident that the author has a background in law enforcement …. and I have no doubt that if anyone could pull off the perfect crime, it would be him.” — Linda Strong.

“I just had to write a review about this book!!! I am an avid book reader and especially love crime novels, so I have to admit I was a little apprehensive when I first got this book because it was the first one published by Mr. Mark. I literally could not stop reading this once I started!!! I immediately became attached to the characters and felt their pain that Mr. Mark so eloquently describes in the book! His attention to detail in every word kept me reading page after page! The story is so well written and keeps you guessing at every turn! And even up until the end, I found myself torn with the decisions the characters made and couldn’t help but try to imagine myself in their situations! I absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait to see more from Mr. Mark!!! The sooner the better!!!!!! “I found the plot interesting and gripping. It was clever and not at all what I expected from this book. It was clearly written and the details provided an extra layer to enjoy.” — Annie 867.

“This is a fantastic crime novel from a first time author, though you wouldn’t think it with how well he skillfully describes police procedures, action, and deep personal loss.” — Clinton Albritton.

“This book was very hard to put down. It captured my interest from the very first page. I have 4 family members who are in law enforcement and this book described the feelings that police officers face every day.” — Amazon customer.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Born and raised in Tallahassee, the main locale I choose to write about. I do love to travel and hope to see as much of the world as I can. I enjoy a good beer, a good book and a good movie. I’m a cop, SWAT guy, former homicide dick, softball teammate, brother, son, husband to very beautiful and patient woman, but the hat I enjoy wearing the most, is father. Savannah (7), Connor (4) and Clayton (1) are my pride and joy. I’ve seen the ugliest side of human nature and have struggled to crawl out of the abyss, but surrounding myself with good people has helped me see that good exists in this world. This realization is the fuel for my books.

AUTHOR COMMENTS:  “Police officers chose to enter a noble profession where appreciation is too far and few between. The good ones choose to stay and fight evil everyday by doing what’s right and will always respond to the cry of help. They are not superheroes, they are not invincible — they are fallible and they are real. They are people.”


Chapter 7

The late morning sun hung bright in the sky adding an unwanted heat to the crime scene. The canvass search for evidence had turned up one of Caitlin’s flip-flop shoes about fifty yards down the off ramp and by sight, it didn’t yield any actual evidence, but it was yet to be processed in the lab. With any luck, there was some DNA on the shoe that would lead to the suspects. A plaster mold was taken of the tire track left on scene but it was not very clear and there only appeared to be half of a tire track captured in the small dirt patch. The canvass of the nearby hotels was mostly unsuccessful in providing any leads and detectives were putting a priority on the composite sketches from the possible witness from the Fun Station.

At first look at the case, the detectives knew they were going to have to rely on a lucky break, hoping the suspects talked to some police snitch or getting popped for some other crime with some evidence found linking them to Caitlin Akers’ murder, because the scene wasn’t telling them much. They would obviously put forth the effort on the forensic evidence but that normally took time and would possibly allow the suspects to leave the area or get rid of additional evidence.

A move to interview all sex offenders and predators in a three to four mile area was set and put into motion by a secondary team of detectives. The operation led to several arrests for violations but no leads towards the case that motivated the course of action.

Det. Durgenhoff knew that he wasn’t going to move this case but this case was going to move him and dictate the investigation on its own. Experienced in working child death and abduction cases, he knew he was going to have to look into the family life of the victim. This meant interrogating a fellow cop. A cop of higher rank in the department. Durgenhoff told himself, “He better not turn out to be a child molester.”

Durgenhoff checked his watch, noticing that it was approaching lunchtime and traffic was still held up for the crime scene. He was given word that Lt. Akers and his wife were en route to the scene about ten minutes prior and felt pigeon sized butterflies in his stomach ever since. He always hated the part of any death investigation when the parents became involved, especially when they came onto the actual crime scene. No cop ever likes that part, he thought, none ever should.

A black Chevy Tahoe with tinted windows pulled up to the edge of the outer crime scene. The Chief of Police exited the driver’s door and opened up the back door for Wendy Akers. Her demeanor, Durgenhoff could tell from a hundred yards away, was of a person with a heavy and broken heart. Not a broken heart from a failed relationship but a broken heart caused from a monumental tragic event that only a murdered child could bring.

Dylan Akers appeared from around the back of the Tahoe and grabbed his wife around the shoulders consoling her. The couple walked bravely towards the inner crime scene where their daughter lay slain. Wendy Akers was holding back an explosive amount of emotion just waiting to vent outward. She looked ahead at the white sheet covering the body, trying earnestly to prepare herself for the sight of her dead child. The body didn’t have to be Caitlin, there was still a chance it wasn’t her. If she didn’t look, then it would never be confirmed and therefore she might still be alive, she thought.

Beau Rivers had left the scene for about an hour to answer a call but quickly found a reason to return. He had gotten there just before the Akers and stood as a spectator as they walked to the crime scene.

As the couple approached the inner crime scene, a Forensic Tech was busy jotting notes on a pad and hadn’t noticed the Akers standing there. Durgenhoff waved off the Tech as the grieving parents walked by. He removed his sunglasses out of respect and caught the eye of the Chief who was following them. Durgenhoff nodded to the Chief who gave a quick smile, passing on the notion that he was running a thorough investigation.

With about thirty yards to go, Wendy Akers froze. Her husband tugged at her saying that it was okay. Durgenhoff knew it wasn’t okay; it wasn’t even near tolerable, let alone okay. He set aside his own guilt knowing that it wasn’t him consoling his wife who was about to look at their dead daughter lying in a watery culvert.

Suddenly, Wendy Akers pulled away, “I can’t do it, Dylan. I can’t. Not my baby!” She turned her back to the body, hugging herself in self-preservation and burying her face in a pile of tissues. Dylan Akers, known for his fortitude and inner strength, remained as close to stoic as one could in this situation. He rubbed his wife’s arms and shoulders from behind, not saying anything and letting her deal with the unprecedented situation in the only way she knew how. He knew he was going to have to be the strong one, for Wendy and for Caitlin. He fought the overwhelming urge to break down himself but knew he needed to get this over with and get away from the scene before he exploded. For a second, he thought he was on the job and was approaching a different murder scene, with a different victim and a different case. He wanted to believe this more than anything at this moment because that meant Caitlin would be at home playing music on her I-pod and dancing joyfully around the house like the carefree spirit she was growing up to be.

Durgenhoff leaned over the Chief and whispered, “We don’t need an identification from them, Chief. We ID’d her with the photographs they gave us and the memorial bracelet. They don’t have to do this if they don’t want to.”

“I know detective but he insisted and I’m not denying a father of that right.”

Durgenhoff took the reply as an order and stood still. The level of respect he held for the Chief elevated.

Dylan Akers continued to walk up and kneeled before the white sheet. He hid his puffy, watery eyes behind a dark pair of Ray-Ban’s. He took a deep breath, praying to God, that the little girl under the sheet was not his Caitlin. He gestured to the crime scene Tech who grabbed hold of one corner of the sheet. He wasn’t ready but given the circumstances, he knew he’d never, ever, be ready for this.

As the sheet moved back slowly, it revealed his only child, lying lifeless, yet looking as if she was sleeping after a long, full day at a theme park. He knelt down next to his daughter, tears streaming down both his cheeks from under the dark sunglasses. The emotions were an uncontrollable cascade of anger, fear, sorrow and bitter helplessness. He turned his head in the direction of the head crime scene tech but not looking directly at her.

“You’re done collecting, taking pictures?”

“Yes, Lieutenant,” she said respectfully.

Dylan turned back to his daughter and reached out to touch her one last time. He grazed her little lifeless, body with his left hand and smoothed her soft, light brown hair back behind her ear, a habit he would happily perform when her hair fell in front of her face and she didn’t seem to notice. He leaned in closer to his daughter and removed his sunglasses and softly spoke to Caitlin and only to her.

The Forensic Tech was standing just out of earshot and couldn’t make out what he said to his daughter. She felt intrusive and embarrassed for even trying. She was thankful for the breeze that swept by blocking the grieving fathers words.

Dylan Akers ended the heart wrenching, yet beautiful moment, by standing up and walking directly back to his wife. He stopped briefly and leaned in to tell her that their child was dead. He spoke briefly to the Chief then continued towards the Tahoe without stopping or conversing with anyone else. Wendy Akers let out a primal cry and sank to her knees at knowing she would never see her daughter alive again.

The Chief of Police walked over the Det. Durgenhoff and motioned for the other detectives and officers to gather around. They all stepped up knowing that he was going to pass on whatever Akers had told him.

“Lt. Akers wants me to express his extreme appreciation for all that you’ve done and will continue to do for his family. He wants me to convey that he not only wants the perpetrators arrested but a solid case built to ensure a conviction. This not only happened to one of our own but in our community. Let’s make it so that little Caitlin is the only victim of this sick individual. Let’s go out, do our job and do it right.”

LOCAL OUTLETS: My Favorite Books, 1415 Timberlane Rd, TLH, Florida 32312; Southern Yellow Pines Publishing.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon.com and Barnesandnobles.com.

PRICE: $15.95.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Williammark649@gmail.com

@williammark649 https://www.facebook.com/pages/William-Mark/646479505377248



2. The Passion Thief

The Passion ThiefTHE BOOK: The Passion Thief.


THE AUTHOR: Anne McCarthy Strauss.

THE EDITOR: Patricia D. Eddy.

THE PUBLISHER: Booktrope, Seattle, WA. Booktrope is a hybrid publisher that offers authors expertise and structure we need (like a traditional publisher) but also offers a system where authors have more creative control and better royalties – similar to self-publishing but without the cost. PRINT ISBN 978-1-62015-594-3 EPUB ISBN 978-1-62015-615-5.

SUMMARY: Betty and Stan Boomer have been married for just over twenty years. Stan is a terrific guy, but he’s been married to his job longer than he’s been married to Betty. All his energy goes to his work, giving Betty a fabulous lifestyle and leaving Stan snoring upright on the couch by nine o’clock most nights. Despite her job as a freelance globe-trotting journalist, Betty feels lonely and unfulfilled. She fills the emptiness with nightly drinking. As her alcohol intake increases, she finds herself searching the Internet for her college boyfriend Michael, the proverbial one who got away. When she finds him and reaches him by email, memories of their youthful passion reignite a lust Betty thought had dried up long ago. Michael responds to Betty’s cyber message, and temptation calls. While Stan’s idea of excitement is staying up past ten o’clock on a Saturday night, Michael has evolved into a flashy Las Vegas casino manager with three ex-wives. Which man offers stimulation and which one brings monotony coupled with reliability is vividly clear. Written with both torment and comedy, The Passion Thief defines the yearning many women feel to find more passion within or outside of their marriage. Ultimately, Betty must choose staying in her marriage, leaving Stan for Michael, or building a new life on her own.

THE BACK STORY:  “Having been married twenty years, I’m aware that my own marriage has changed over time, just as anything would change in a period of two decades. Love, luck and hard work have kept my husband and me together through serious sickness, job losses that lasted for years, and the ordinary difficulties of living with another person on a day-to-day basis. Most of my female friends are divorced for understandable reasons and the married friends who will admit it are not happy in their marriages. If they’re not unhappy, they’re either bored or imagining something more or something better. I’ve concluded that the number of couples who have been happily married for more than a decade or two is dismally low. Having reached that conclusion, I created Betty Boomer, a younger member of the boomer generation with the name to prove it. Married for twenty years to Stan, a great guy and outstanding provider, she is nevertheless bored, unhappy, and longing for the romance her marriage no longer provides. With technology making it possible for people to find about anyone from their past, Betty does just that, seeking out and locating her college boyfriend, Michael. Real people who haven’t looked up an old flame on the Internet are few and far between. I researched real-life stories and created a character based on a conglomeration of women who try to create a happy present by reaching back into their pasts. Of course, not all outcomes are the same. Betty draws the conclusion that she must stay with Stan, leave him for Michael, or build a new life of her own. The Passion Thief keeps the reader guessing who or what Betty will choose and how it will work out for her.”

WHY THIS TITLE?: “Like most writers, I believe that both the title and the cover are serious factors that strongly affect whether or not a prospective reader wiAnne McCarthy Straussll take a book down from a shelf or click on its image for an online purchase. I held a number of brainstorming sessions over the title of this book. The winner was The Passion Thief for two reasons. One, I think it is a compelling title. Second and, to me, most important, is that the title gives the reader the opportunity to decide who or what The Passion thief is. Is it time? The temptation of a long-lost lover? Or is The Passion Thief the institution of marriage itself? Each reader can decide for him or herself.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?  There are many books written today about couples who renew their acquaintance after years apart. The Internet has made this possibility easy in many cases. Without spoiling the ending, I must say that the relationship and ultimate conclusion of the renewal of contact between the characters Betty and Michael is not what is typically found in books on this subject. The book might make the reader with a decision regarding whether or not to reach out through cyberspace to someone from their past.


http://www.sanfranciscobookreview.com/2015/03/the-passion-thief/ “Betty Boomer is in her mid-40s. Dissatisfied with her marriage and the direction of her life, she decides to reach out to her college boyfriend, Michael. Michael, the flashy casino manager, is the exact opposite of her husband Stan, the workaholic banker. Any woman would be lucky to be married to the loyal Stan; however, the passion has long left their marriage. Betty flies to Vegas to meet up with Michael, finding the flame is still very much alive and things with him are exciting and unpredictable. The two begin a year-long, long distance affair, but when Michael asks Betty to leave her husband, she’s forced to decide between the two. While many have an aversion to books that deal with infidelity, — San Francisco Book Review.

“The Passion Thief is an excellent story of finding one’s self amidst the chaos of life. As we age, for women in particular, all of the variables in life that are beyond our control seem to culminate, leaving us to question where our priorities lie. While it is a work of fiction, the book is a testament to that. If anything, the book serves as a cautionary tale that the grass is not always greener on the other side. — Christina McPherson-Mock, TheAuthorsShow.com.

“I am one of the women who will admit that Stan sounds as interesting as watching grass grow. I would never have married him, but neither was I turned on by Michael. That being said, I definitely agree with Strauss when she writes about boredom in the bedroom (and beyond), and I admire Betty who had the courage to take that leap to find a more fulfilling life. When we reach a certain age, we tend to ask, “Is that all there is?” When that time arrives, we are definitely ready for a change. The author has produced a very well written book that had me laughing until the tears rolled, yet I wanted to cry when she described Betty attempting to make the best of a life some would envy, yet drive others mad. I loved the raw emotion, the reality of the characters, and the wonderful descriptions of some of Betty’s travel adventures. Overall, this was a great read and I’m looking forward to Strauss’ next book.” —  Linda Thompson, Show Host http://www.TheAuthorsShow.com

“Anne McCarthy Strauss has written a truly unique story about an unhappy marriage. She finds humor in an otherwise heartbreaking situation. I actually found myself laughing out loud at many points, despite the serious subject matter. The many unexpected twists and turns keep the reader guessing how protagonist Betty Boomer’s situation will be resolved until the book’s extraordinary ending.” – Patricia Mann, Author of “Is This All There Is?”

AUTHOR PROFILE: Anne McCarthy Strauss has been writing since she penciled The Princeton Street News, a weekly report on the lives of her Long Island, New York neighbors, at age ten. Today, she is a versatile novelist, writer, interviewer, researcher and public relations pro who focuses on shelter, alternative healthcare, technology and women’s fiction. After majoring in boys and Journalism (her own description) at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Anne pursued a career in corporate public relations and freelance writing. She is the author of A Medical Affair (Booktrope 2013) and The Passion Thief (Booktrope 2014). Anne has written for both consumer and trade magazines including Old House Journal, Waterfront Home & Design, Design Trade Magazine, Design New England, Design Industry News, Distinction, Log Home Design Ideas and Florida Design Review. She has been a regular contributor to Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and Vineyard Style. She also writes content for a number of technology companies. Anne lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, with her husband and their two unconditionally loving Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) She appeared on HBO in the film Hard Times: Lost on Long Island (Blowback Productions, 2010). When not writing, she’s likely to be hiking, kayaking, painting, crafting, swimming, or spending time with her dogs. Whenever possible, she travels to Pawley’s Island, South Carolina for a retreat of uninterrupted writing. Anne is hard at work on her next novel and on a non-fiction book on long-term marriage.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “Technology makes it possible for people to find out just about anything about just about anyone, whether or not they knew that person in the past. Many people today do this without giving it a second thought. The Passion Thief may encourage or discourage the reader from seeking out information that used to be private. And it might make some of us consider just how public we want our cyber profiles to be.”



An Evening in Oldtown

Date: Friday, May 17, 2013

Location: Oldtown, Connecticut.

Miles Traveled: 0 .

Alcohol intake: 2 daiquiris, ½ bottle Chardonnay T.S.O.

Time since Orgasm: 16 months, two weeks, and four days.

A search engine and a bottle of wine are a dangerous combination. My husband Stan Boomer is one of those rare human beings that most would term real mensch. He is one of those guys who would do anything for anyone. Stan is the guy you call when you need a ride to the airport or when your mother needs to go to the doctor, and you’re out of town on business. If you ask to borrow his snow blower, he’ll come over to your house, and do the job himself.

Stan is kind to strangers; he takes the time to greet passersby walking babies or dogs. Not a bad bone in the man’s body. Despite being a Board Member and Chief Operating Officer at Oldtown Community Bank, he insists on personally managing the bank’s local branch in town. In that role, Stan is Jimmy Stewart come-to-life from the classic film “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Stan is not the kind of guy who deserves a wife who, drunk, Googles old boyfriends because her husband is tired from a hard day at work. But I’m not a woman who is sold on the idea of calling it a night at 9 p.m. And, so, after twenty-three years of marriage, it began.

At the time of our marriage in 1991, I was concerned that my new name associated me with the Baby Boomer generation whose older members were already well into middle age. When the word “boomer” became synonymous with “senior,” it became burdensome. I felt my name gave the same impression as “Betty Over-45” or “Betty You’re-Not-Getting-Any-Younger” or “Betty Older-Than-Dirt.”

I’d asked Stan to come home early that night—no Kiwanis Club or Chamber of Commerce meetings. No dinners with corporate bigwigs who did their commercial banking at Oldtown Community Bank, while I stayed home alone banging on my computer until midnight, trying to meet yet another impossible deadline I’d set for myself. (I’m a freelance writer—mostly travel pieces—who takes on way too many assignments.) No family business dinners with his dad and his brother, who are Chairman and President, respectively, at OCB, one of the largest privately held banks in New England. I wanted the night to be special. Good God, maybe we’d even make love.

I thought of slipping some Viagra into his cocktail but figured he’d know for sure when he got a spontaneous erection just as I was serving the soufflé. Then it would be anyone’s guess which would stand longer—Stan’s hard-on or the soufflé. According to the expiration date on his prescription bottle, we had only a month left to use ten pills. This was a battle against time I know we’d lose, but I, for one, was ready to go down fighting.

I decided against making a Viagra cocktail for Stan. We didn’t need to make love. If it happened without medical assistance, all the better. I just wanted to see my husband stay awake past 9:30 and perhaps have a conversation with me instead of gluing himself to the television like a patient on life support, sucking on a respirator for survival. The strange thing was that I was the one who was supposed to be experiencing a diminishing sex drive. I’d begun perimenopause, which was nothing more than a funny sounding word until it happened to me, three years earlier at forty-three.

Everything I’d ever heard about the approach to menopause told me that my sex drive would dwindle and eventually die. But for me, it was the complete reverse. For the first time in twenty years, I’d started to notice great-looking young guys. I’m talking about guys my daughter’s age. They were everywhere and they were hot. Where had they (or I) been these past two decades that I hadn’t even seen them? And what kind of pervert was I to be noticing them now? With my sexual urges in overdrive, I’d replaced the tee shirts and cotton underpants I usually wore to bed with silk teddies and satin nightgowns. Wearing them made me feel sensuous as hell. I came on to Stan on a nightly basis, but was lucky if I could keep him awake more than twice a month. And I figured those performances were just to placate me and keep me at bay for a few days.

God! I felt like a man. Am I being too hard on him? I wondered. He works huge hours. But I want companionship in my marriage—to say nothing of sex! I was so horny that I planned to pursue my husband with abandon that very evening. I’d prepared with a shower, makeup, and a tight black sweater with a provocative neckline worn over my Victoria’s Secret Angel Bra. A girl’s gotta keep her hopes up. And her boobs. I collected the ingredients for a pitcher of daiquiris, lining them up on the granite countertop as if they were the makings of a science experiment. Removing a crystal pitcher from one of the solid cherry cabinets that lined the kitchen, I deposited the ice procured from the freezer section of the stainless steel fridge. The kitchen was one of my favorite rooms in the large English Tudor home that we had gutted and customized to our (actually, my) taste in the twenty-two years that we’d lived there.

White rum. Check. Lime juice. Check. Simple syrup. Check. Depositing the ingredients into the pitcher, I mixed them with the gusto of Tom Cruise in the movie “Cocktail.” The contents swirled together like grains of colored sand in a cheap souvenir from the southwest. After about sixty seconds and a touch more lime juice, the daiquiris in the pitcher were the perfect shade of pale green.

(You can read the first two chapters in their entirety on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Thief-Anne-McCarthy-Strauss-ebook/dp/B00PM6556G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442678922&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Passion+Thief#reader_B00PM6556).

LOCAL OUTLETS: Barnes & Noble, Saratoga Springs, New York.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

PRICE: $3.99 to buy (free to subscribed to Kindle Unlimited) – Amazon $18.95 Paper Back List price:- Amazon $16.53 Paper Back List price – Barnes & Nobles.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/annemccarthystrauss Twitter handle: @annestr Email: annemstrauss@gmail.com

1. The Rivergrass Legacy


THE BOOK: The Rivergrass Legacy


THE AUTHOR: John Chaplick

THE EDITOR: Paula Stahel of Breath & Shadows Productions

THE PUBLISHER: Cricket Cottage Publishing

SUMMARY (from back cover of the book): Set in the Rivergrass area near the Florida Everglades, this riveting novel holds the reader on edge from start to finish. What begins as a routine business acquisition analysis of a tropical fish hatchery turns into the discovery of a money-laundering plot.

Sole heir to the Concord Industries fortune, Grant Abbot Lonsdale III finds himself trapped between a vicious Colombian drug cartel and the hatchery’s owners who refuse to acknowledge his findings. While he struggles to reconcile his New England mindset with a rural Southern culture, Grant is haunted by the mistake he made years before when he yielded to parental pressure and rejected Sarah Jane Jankovic, his true love from the slums of South Boston.

The Rivergrass Legacy weaves an intricate tapestry of mystery and romance that challenges Grant’s aristocratic family values and changes his life and Sarah’s.

THE BACK STORY:  A few The Rivergrass Legacyyears ago I spent several months searching for the kind of fiction novel plot that would combine my background in forensic accounting (fraud, embezzlement, money laundering) with a venue far different from any I had either written about or read about. Prompted by my lifelong hobby of raising tropical fish, I visited several fish hatcheries in South Florida. It was during one of these trips that the idea occurred to me to merge these two interests into what I knew would be an engaging story. Eighteen months later, having published the book, I gave a signed copy of it to each of the hatchery owners, who were delighted to read it.

WHY THIS TITLE? I originally titled the manuscript The Hatchery until my beta readers pleaded for something more catchy. I decided the plot needed something that would capture both a unique geographic venue and the impact of the adventure on the life of the protagonist. The Rivergrass Legacy title accomplished both of those objectives.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Readers want more than simply an engaging story. They want to be transported to a place they’ve never been before. And they want a plot that introduces them to a unique concept that is extraordinary enough to hold their attention and make them apprehensive, and yet real enough to be believable. Moreover, they want to identify with an imperfect protagonist who makes the same kind of mistakes they might make. The Rivergrass Legacy treats the reader to all of these experiences.

REVIEW COMMENTS: Five or six of these can be seen on my amazon.com link where a number of fife-star ratings are shown. However my favorite review I’ve quoted below, written by a person who never liked to read books but was persuaded (pressured) by his wife to read “Rivergrass:”

“I just finished ‘The Rivergrass Legacy’ and thoroughly enjoyed it! It kept me in suspense from beginning, through the first climax, to end, keeping me awake long past bedtime for two nights. Terrific plot, believable characters just sufficiently larger than life to make them interesting, some Florida interest, a little business education thrown in, and a sprinkling of humor (my favorite: Grant’s visit to the Myakka clothing store which had me laughing out loud.)

AUTHOR PROFILE: The morning after I retired from my consulting business I finished my first coffee of the day and it suddenly occurred to me that I had no plans. No one needed my advice, I had no required meetings to attend, no more reports were due. I found myself alone in the kitchen staring at four walls with nothing left except the prospect of either watching the grass grow or maybe learning how to cultivate roses. The only barrier between me and the onset of panic was the recollection of a promise I had made to myself twenty years earlier that one day I would write a book. I had already completed two of the three things a person should accomplish before leaving this earth…I had planted a tree, raised a child, and now it was time to complete the third: write a book.

I began by meeting with a seasoned, and somewhat caustic, writer who admitted she really didn’t see the point in passing on literary advice to a CPA. She began our conversation by asking if I had ever read anything other than the Internal Revenue Code. Our dialogue went downhill from there but at least I learned how much work lay ahead of me before I could produce any credible writings. Three years, two critique groups, and a lot of scathing reviews later I managed to climb high enough on the learning curve to produce my first full-length novel-An enduring Conspiracy. Much more climbing allowed me to write The Rivergrass Legacy. It’s been an interesting journey.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: The plot and character development in Rivergrass are shaped by my basic parameters for every novel I write:

1. The underlying premise must be broad…money laundering, which has been referred to as our economy’s next largest threat to undermining our financial system.

2. No such thing as a perfectly righteous hero or a completely evil villain

3. Strong non-dialogue descriptions which I call “atmospherics” are required

4. No character stays the same throughout the book. Obstacles change them

5. All my books have a twist at the end. No, please don’t read the end first!

6. Author should capture the reader’s interest early on…preferably on page one

7. Dialogue is critical to defining the characters through their manner of speech

8. My books are condensed to minimize unnecessary “filler” narrative.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Read the first chapter on the book’s Amazon  page.

LOCAL OUTLETS: None except those held in stock by the Life Enrichment Center in Tampa where I teach writing classes

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: All my books are available either via my website @ EngagingBooksBlog.com or through amazon.com.

PRICE: Rivergrass and “Bridge of the Paper Tiger” are $12.00 and “Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion” is $14.00

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: My website is as shown above and my email address is jpchaplick@gmail.com. I have an Amazon author’s page and a presence on both linkedin and facebook

2. Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan

Love, Loss, Longing


Iris Dorbian.

THE EDITOR: Various (including myself, a professional editor).


SUMMARY: Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl is a young adult coming of age story set in downtown New York City in the early 1980s. MTV is in its infancy, the Internet does not exist, Ronald Reagan is president and yuppies are running Wall Street. Edie is a naive NYU student desperate to lose her virginity and to experience adventure that will finally make her worldly, setting her further apart from her bland suburban roots. But in her quest to mold herself into an ideal of sophistication and cool, the New Jersey-born coed gets more than she bargained for, triggering a chain of events that will have lasting repercussions.

THE BACK STORY: The story is loosely inspired by my experiences as a college student at NYU in the same period. I had been waiting to write a novel about my wild and wooly misadventures as an undergrad in the greatest city in the world and during a period where so many things we in flux. It was an extraordinary time and I was lucky to have been in the company of so many amazingly creative, gifted and brilliant young people. To give you an idea, Bill Wilhelm (whom New Yorkers know better as Mayor Bill de Blasio) was the president of my NYU dorm when I was living there). But it was also a time charged with uncertainty and youthful indiscretions. In many ways, this novel is my bittersweet tribute to my college years as well as an homage to a period forever lost in time.

I wrote the first draft (which was very different from the current version) ten years ago. I put it aside to work on another book project. Then I went back to it and did a revision. Unfortunately, the second draft lost a lot of the original urgency and momentum. But I didn’t immediately make the necessary tweaks. Life intervened, and I got involved with other things. Last year I went back to it and read it with clear eyes,making notes as to what worked and what didn’t work. The current version is the result.

WHIris DorbianY THIS TITLE? Originally, the title was “Desperate But Not Serious,” from an Adam Ant song from that time period. But I thought it was a bit cutesy using the title of a song for a book that does explore some serious elements. Then I remembered the title of a play that had been performed in New York City around the same time I was trying to come up with a different title. It was called “Love, Loss and what I Wore.” I really liked it and decided to riff on it — Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan. Recently, I came up with the subtitle “Diary of a Mad Club Girl.” because I thought it would be an enticing hook for readers, as well as giving them an idea of one of the main character’s obsessions while in college (along with taking drugs and a classmate named Peter).

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT: I firmly believe that a lot of the issues that Edie and her friends struggle with in my book are issues that young people, past, present and in the future, wrestle with as they make the rough and tumble transition from childhood to adulthood.


“Iris Dorbian’s young adult coming of age story, “Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl,” is a marvelous and compelling tale that reads like a memoir and immerses the reader in New York City during the 1980s. This story is so authentic and real that at times I had to remind myself that I was reading fiction. I fell in love with New York City all over again as I was seeing and experiencing it through Edie’s eyes. Dorbian’s chracters are thoughtfully and carefully crafted, and her plot takes the reader through Edie’s four years at NYU with an intuitive feel for how those college years do rush by, and she conveys that dislocated, sad and nostalgic feeling many seniors get as they approach graduation day. Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan” is a most impressive debut novel that was a sheer delight to read. It’s most highly recommended.” — Readers’ Favorite.

“A wonderful book! Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan effortlessly captured the feel and vibe of 1980s New York. Nothing is spared in this illuminating slice of life — the characters, the situations or the setting. As someone who was attending NYU at the time (School of the Arts), I can certainly vouch for the realistic tone the author brings to the book. This is an author to watch.” — Tom, Amazon reader.

“Great fast read book. Since I grew up in the same era, I could really relate to the story. Thanks for the memories, Iris.” — Gail, an Amazon.com reader.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Iris Dorbian is a business journalist/blogger who has covered a wide range of sectors including small business, media, private equity/venture capital and theater/arts. Among the outlets she has written for are the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, DM News, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, PR News and Stage Directions (where she served as editor-in-chief for eight years). She is the author of Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater, which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008 and Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl,” which was published by Tablo in February 2015. Her personal essays and short stories have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Gothesque Magazine and Jewish Literary Journal. A New Jersey native, Iris has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: The overall message of the book is, you don’t have to look to your peers, celebrities or the media to be cool; trust yourself and who you are and you will find what you’re looking for. If that’s maturity, as it is with Edie, then so be it.

SAMPLE CHAPTER:   https://read.amazon.com/?asin=B00TTOMNAS.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT:  Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Love-Loss-Longing-Age-Reagan-ebook/dp/B00TTOMNAS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439420407&sr=1-1.

PRICE: $2.99. Right now it’s available in Kindle on Amazon; however, the book will be coming out in print in the future to be determined. 

Linkedin Site: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/iris-dorbian/1/759/358

Twitter site: https://twitter.com/IrisDorbian

Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/iris.dorbian

Contact info: irisdorbian@gmail.com

1. Waving Backwards


THE BOOK: Waving Backwards.Waving Backwards


THE AUTHOR: V.L. Brunskill.

THE PUBLISHER: Southern Yellow Pine Publishing (SYP) Publishes fiction and non-fiction books that are set in the South, or written by Southern writers.

SUMMARY: Imagine not knowing who you are, until you find yourself in a statue 800 miles from home. Waving Backwards is the story of intensely passionate and fiercely independent New York college student Lara Bonavito’s unforgettable journey of self-discovery in sigh-worthy Savannah, Georgia. Adopted into an abusive and impoverished home, Lara’s quest to find her roots lands her in the Southern jewel’s historic district.

A vivid cast of characters help her unravel clues found in a cryptic letter hidden in the family bible for two decades. “The baby’s roots are with the Southern lady who waves forever.” With the help of mischievously handsome trolley tour guide Robert Taylor, Kipling-quoting florist Abel Bloom, and comically outspoken Louisiana beauty Susan Fletcher, Lara uncovers family secrets wrapped in the mystique of Savannah’s Waving Girl statue.

Waving Backwards is a coming-of-age quest that reveals the healing power of family bonds and maternal love. Themes of this novel include- adoption, travel, family, love, and finding yourself.

V.L. BrunskillTHE BACK STORY: I always wanted to write a novel. As a former music journalist (Creem, Metronome, Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix) and tech writer, writing has always been a part of my life. However, writing 65,000 words is significantly more daunting than penning 1000 word feature articles. I wrote the first draft of Waving Backwards in 30 days, and spent the next three years immersed in rewrites. It was tough for me to hand my manuscript over to the first reader. Writers are notoriously self-critical, and I am no exception.

The idea for Waving Backwards was born after I found my birth parents. I was reunited with them in 1991, following a daunting 13-year search. I moved south to be closer to them. That experience inspired me to start the blog http://www.adoptionfind.wordpress.com, where I offer resources for adoptees who would like to find their biological parents.

Waving Backwards shares what it feels like to be an adoptee in search. Adoptees have no source to pin themselves to. They don’t see resemblance when they look in the mirror. They are recast without any idea who starred in the story that came before.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Looking back is required to move forward. Humans have a natural tendency to look at what came before (ancestors/history) in order to define themselves. In Waving Backwards, Lara waves backwards both literally and figuratively.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Waving Backwards is what the publishing world calls a cozy mystery. However, the fact that the story is set in sigh-worthy Savannah brings romance and historical significance to the tale. Waving Backwards is a fast-paced read that takes you from New York to Savannah. As readers tag along on Lara’s quest to find her family, they also learn the story of Savannah’s Waving Girl Florence Martus, who waved at every ship that arrived in Savannah for 44 years. There are unexpected twists and turns on every page. Several sleepless readers have told me that once you start, you can’t put the book down.


“Brunskill’s novel is certainly about “Mama and them,” but in Waving Backwards the theme of “Mama and them” gets taken places that readers have likely never considered.

“The story of Lara Bonavito’s search for and discovery of her family is the meat of this novel, and Brunskill does a fine job of conveying the mixture of emotions the success of such a search can bring to one who discovers and reunites with one’s birth family. For all the ancillary complications of the plot, how Lara is able to accept, process, and move forward from the powerful experience of finding her roots is what one should read Waving Backwards for. All that other stuff – romance, mystery, charm, and history – that’s just Savannah being Savannah.” — Scholars and Rogues

Waving Backwards is a compelling reminder of the need we all feel to know who we are and where we came from, and when that quest comes with a cryptic clue, a memorable romance and the charm only a city like Savannah can provide, we rush along with determined Lara Bonavito to uncover the ultimate truths.  — John Warley, Author of A Southern Girl, Bethesda’s Child, and The Moralist.

In her debut novel, music journalist to the stars, V.L Brunskill, intricately weaves the very complex issues of a modern day Northern adoption-seeker into the historical quilt and Southern charm of a place I now call home. Brava! Waving Backwards: A Savannah Novel, has something for every reader.  — Bertice Berry, PhD., Best-Selling Author of Redemption Song and The Ties That Bind

AUTHOR PROFILE:  V.L. Brunskill has been a professional writer for twenty years. She ditched journalism class after landing her very first interview with the late, great, punk icon Joey Ramone. As a national music journalist, V.L. has written for publications such as Metronome magazine, CREEM, The Boston Globe, and Boston Phoenix. From hundreds of rock star interviews to rocking ions, V.L. went on to become a technical writer in the semiconductor and IT fields.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on Christmas Eve, and adopted after seven months, V.L. was reborn in 1991, when she was reunited with her biological parents. She moved south to be closer to both. V.L. assists other adoptees to search on her blog adoptionfind.wordpress.com V.L. lives in Savannah, Georgia, with her bass-player husband, above-average daughter, and delightfully bad dog.

“Searching is difficult. Finding is life-altering.” -V.L. Brunskill.

AUTHOR COMMENTS:  I am an adoption rights advocate and have found that most people are not aware of the antiquated adoption laws that continue to rule American adoptees. I would just like to touch upon the topic here as means of enlightenment.

As a New York state adoptee, I am not allowed to obtain a copy of my original birth certificate (OBC). I found my biological family, and all of my parents agree that I should have my records. Yet, I am refused access. Why? Because adoption law in most American states requires that records remain sealed ‘in the best interest of the child.’

Well, as most adult adoptees will tell you, we are no longer children. Records pertaining to our births are our property. Adoptees should have the same civil rights as every other American citizen. An un-amended birth certificate should be provided to every adoptee upon reaching the age of eighteen.

To learn more about the fight for equal access, please visit http://www.bastards.org/.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://www.amazon.com/Waving-Backwards-Savannah-V-L-Brunskill-ebook/dp/B00ZZ1F3IS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=#reader_B00ZZ1F3IS LOCAL OUTLETS:

* Cadre Shops: Richmond Hill, GA US HWY 17

* Visit Savannah Gift Shop (Upstairs Shop) Savannah Visitor Information

* E. Shaver Book Sellers: Savannah, GA

* Barnes & Nobles: Savannah, GA

* Sandfly Market Place: Savannah, GA

* The Book Lady Bookstore: Savannah, GA

* CJs Hallmark, kidway Village Walk, Savannah, GA

* Arts & Crafts Emporium, River Street, Savannah, GA

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Southern Yellow Pine Publishing.

PRICE: $14.95 or, on Kindle, $4.99.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Email vbrunskill@gmail.com Blog- adoptionfind.wordpress.com Twitter- @RockMemoir Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/vlbrunskill Amazon author page- amazon.com/author/vlbrunskill

2. Chase



THE AUTHOR:  Sydney Scrogham

THE EDITOR: Joe Coccaro and Courtney Davison

THE PUBLISHER: Koehler Books, through their hybrid Emerging Authors Program – an excellent option for debut authors.

SUMMARY: Lauren is about to lose her horse, Emblem. In an attempt to keep her animal, she pursues an escaped bright-red horse for a ten thousand dollar award. That’s when she disappears into Agalrae, another realm, and faces Chase, a man who thinks like a horse and hasn’t met another person before.

THE BACK STORY: I originally wrote it because I had a suicidal friend ask me, “How do you know that God is real and that He cares?”  Writing Chase was my way of wrestling with that question.  The first draft took 18 days to write.  When I was in high school, I took a creative writing class.  The teacher was an editor, and she submitted Chase for publication.  The small press accepted it, and I started down a long three and a half year road that would end with Chase still unpublished.  Discouraged but determined, I Googled “small presses in Virginia” to launch my search for a new publisher.  That began my relationship with Koehler Books and Chase’s well-anticipated arrival into the world.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Chase is my favorite character in the story.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: There’s a man who acts like a horse and a young girl who falls in love with him.  The fantasy world, Agalrae, where they meet, is based off of Skyline Drive scenery in Virginia.


Chase is full of phrases such as, “An ice storm stirs my belly,” and “my insides liquefied.” It’s creative writing in excellence.”  — andy Tramp, Goodreads reviewer.

“This compelling story is like no other horse book I’ve read before. It combines the horse and fantasy genres, and is beautifully written. It has a fast pace that will keep you turning just one more page. If you’re looking for something new and exciting, you’ll find it in Chase!” –– Horsecrazygirls.com.

“Definitely a page turner and worth the read! If you love fantasy or horses, be sure to check out this book; but even if you don’t, you may just find yourself drawn in by the characters and story of Agalrae.” — Denica McCall, author of Flowers In The Darkness.

Sydney ScroghamAUTHOR PROFILE: I started writing when I was 12.  I wrote a 30-some book “series” based on Beanie Babies who owned a My Little Pony farm, and the world (Agalrae) for my debut novel Chase began there.  I originally wrote Chase when I was about 15 in 18 days. If I’m not writing, I’m at the barn with my horse Snowdy.  It’d be hard to write without inspiring things like my first horse Blue, my favorite TV shows ABC’s Castle and Once Upon A Time, Marvel movies, and emotional soundtracks on YouTube.

Sydney is also the third generation of highly knowledgeable Porsche owners. A blue 911 was the first car she got to drive out on the highway. She was so young at her first Porsche Parade that she can’t remember it, and she was homeschooled so she could travel to races.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “I want this to enhance peoples’ relationship with God.”


Using the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Chase-Sydney-Scrogham-ebook/dp/B0125P90EO/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon and Barnes & noble

PRICE: 14.95 paperback, 5.99 eBook

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: I love the Twitterverse – @sydney_writer or check out my contact page: http://www.sswriter.com/contact-me/.  I’ve also got Pinterest boards for Chase @sszoewriter.

1. Echoes from the Other Land


THE BOOK: Echoes from the Other Land.



THE EDITOR: M.G. Vassangi

THE PUBLISHER: Mawenzi Press, Toronto, Canada (formerly known as TSAR)

Echoes From Another LandAWARDS: Echoes from the Other Land was nominated for the 2011 Frank O’Connor International Award. The collection was also placed 6th in the top ten winners of the CBC Reader’s Choice Contest for Giller Prize.

SUMMARY: These haunting stories beautifully evoke the oppressive lives of modern women in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Anis, a computer programmer, is at the end of her rope, putting up with the bullying criticism of a no-good, unemployed lout of a husband; Azar is a young divorcee, and the only person she can talk to is Reza; but she can see him only late at night when “they” are not around; Sharmin has Down’s syndrome and hopelessly loves Azad; he loves Kazhal, beautiful and blessed; but Kazhal is married off and is divorced at twenty and now awaits a hopeless future . . . For these and other characters the weight of traditional attitudes, the harassment of the religious establishment make for a frustrating, confining, and sometimes unlivable existence. THE BACK STORY: I have been writing stories since I was in grade five but the ones that appear in this collection were written between 2005 and 2009. Luckily the first publisher I approached accepted my submission and published my book in 2010.

WHY THIS TITLE? Even though women of the Middle East are often othered in Western media, their emotions and desires are very similar to that of Western women. I wanted my audience to hear an echo from a stranged land.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: To be entertained while gaining some insight into the lives of real people who happened to be born in Iran.


“Ranging across regions, ethnicities, genders, sexualities and political dispositions, Homa’s characters give us a prismatic portrait of Iran that resists both internal tyrannies and Western demonization. Her style is elegantly spare, gem-solid. This is a voice we all need to hear. Ava Homa is Canada’s exquisite answer to Raymond Carver. “ Susan Holbrook, author of Joy Is So Exhausting

“Homa announces new beginnings— less irony, more hope—and from a breathtakingly multicultural and international perspective. Readers will experience awe and beauty at the force of Homa’s art to convey female Iranian protagonists wholeheartedly grasping their lives. A taut and subtle plain-spokenness enlivens her writing, belying rich dramatic tensions that build just beneath the surface—which will surprise readers and then captivate them.” —Louis Cabri, author of The Mood Embosser

“Homa uses very tight, descriptive prose that takes us right into the moment of the story. She describes sights, smells, textures and sounds, as well as emotions, disagreements and passions that cut deeply to the heart of knowing her characters from the inside. She does this with an almost painful honesty, a striking truth and vulnerability that cannot be dismissed or ignored.” —Black Coffee Poet.

“Subtle and powerful, haunting the reader with the silence between the words.” —Carole Giangrande, The Thoughtful Blogger.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Ava Homa is a writer, freelance journalist, editor, teacher, and translator. Born and raised in the Kurdish region of Iran, Homa earned a Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor and works as an instructor at George Brown College in Toronto. Her writings have appeared in numerous periodicals including The Toronto Quarterly, Windsor Review, the Toronto Star, Literary Review of Canada, and Rabble. She loves outdoor activities, dancing, photography, and just being in the nature. To learn more please visit http://www.AvaHoma.com

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “Life in a strictly patriarchal culture can be suffocating but so is being misrepresented in the national and international media. Kurdish and Iranian women are more than just victims. I wanted to portray an in-depth and honest image.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://www.avahoma.com/excerpt.html

LOCAL OUTLETS: You can order it through your local bookstore. WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapter (Indigo) http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Other-Land-Ava-Homa-ebook/dp/B007SXPLGA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435095273&sr=8-1&keywords=Echoes+from+the+Other+Land

PRICE: $8.11 Kindle and $19.95 paperback.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: http://www.AvaHoma.com https://www.facebook.com/ava.homa http://ava-homa.blogspot.com/ https://twitter.com/AvaHoma.