Summer reading anyone?

So what are you reading this summer?

Got something new on your Kindle or Nook or iPad? Time to load up for vacation, trips, and lying around in the hammock. Here’s what the T-PAC crowd has written recently, plus some tantalizing new stuff coming out soon.

BP_FC_low_resBLACK PULP, co-edited and contributed to by Gary Phillips, is out now.  It’s an anthology of original stories featuring black characters in leading roles in retro stories running the genre gamut.  Black Pulp is rip-roaring fun offering exciting tales of derring-do from larger-than-life heroes and heroines; aviators in sky battles, lords of the jungle, criminal masterminds, pirates battling slavers and the walking dead, gadget-wielding soldiers-of-fortune saving the world to mysterious mystics.  Available in ebook and print-on-demand, and here’s a riveting review on Los Angeles Review of Books

“Literature for the masses kindled the imagination and used our reading skills so that we could regale ourselves in the cold chambers of alienation and poverty. We could become Doc Savage or The Shadow, Conan the Barbarian or the brooding King Kull and make a difference in a world definitely gone wrong.”–Walter Mosley from his introduction.


Redemption, by Kate Flora

Kate Flora’s Redemption takes us to Portland, Maine, but not to the postcard Maine, or to the action-packed world of police procedurals where handsome big city detectives eat, sleep (with sexy broads,) drink, get beat up (occasionally, and with little bruising), and solve complicated high powered crimes that save the world from catastrophe. No, Kate Flora’s detective, Joe Burgess, is a regular guy. He wishes he could take more showers and get more sleep. He argues with his girlfriend and she moves out. He’s not always happy with his fellow police. And the murder he’s trying to solve in REDEMPION is that of an alcoholic Vietnam vet who has PTSD and supports himself by collecting bottles in the streets of Portland. Flora takes us inside Joe’s world and shows us the underside of Vacationland. It’s not pretty. But it’s real, and Joe is real. Justice ain’t easy. Reading REDEMPTION, I wanted to believe that Joe Burgess wasn’t fictional. Because if I’m ever in trouble, he’s the guy I’d want on my side. In the meantime, I’ll take more books about him from Kate Flora. — Amazon reviewer

Louise’s Gamble, by Sarah R. Shaber

“Shaber brews a delightful mix of feminine wiles (long before women’s liberation) and real-life history that will keep readers turning the pages.”–Publishers Weekly
“Shaber plunges readers into the life of a widow, a working woman in the middle of the war-time shortages and secrets.The suspense and details of life in 1942 all add up to a fascinating story.”-Lesa’s Book Reviews
“This is the second in a series set in Washington, DC during WWII.  Shaber has created a wonderful cast of characters, and the descriptions of 1940s life, including shopping, dining at the Mayflower Hotel, working at the OSS, and living at a boarding house make for a wonderfully entertaining read.”–Historical Novel Society

Angel Among Us, by Katy Munger

Munger follows Angel of Darkness (2012) with another installment in the adventures of Kevin Fahey, the Dead Detective, who continues his postmortem roaming in a small Delaware town, seeking redemption for his past misdeeds. His latest effort involves the disappearance of Arcelia Gallagher. The beloved, pregnant preschool teacher’s distraught husband doesn’t know that his wife has a violent past. The illegal-immigrant community in the town may know why she is missing, but its members are too afraid to speak up. The police investigation keeps officers returning to the local Catholic church and to Delmonte House, a recently restored mansion. The search will keep readers in suspense as officers look for Arcelia, and Fahey stalks the mansion’s halls. Will the police locate Arcelia and will she be alive? Readers who enjoy Mary Stanton’s Beaufort & Company novels will like this series as well, but it will also appeal to procedural fans who can accept the paranormal angle. –Barbara Bibel, BOOKLIST

BROKEN-SHIELD-HI-RESBroken Shield, by J.D. Rhoades

Chief Deputy Tim Buckthorn and his beloved hometown of Pine Lake thought they’d seen the last of FBI agent Tony Wolf. But when evidence of a kidnapping literally falls from the sky, Wolf returns to assist in the search for an abducted young girl. Buckthorn, Wolf, and brilliant FBI prodigy Leila Dushane race against the clock to piece the clues together. When the evil they find follows them home, Pine Lake once again suffers terrible tragedy at the hands of violent and lawless men. Tim Buckthorn, who’s lived his life as a sworn officer of the law, will have to cross every line he ever knew on a quest to protect the people and the place he loves.

“A blistering follow-up to BREAKING COVER. The prose is fast and smart, the pace frantic and the characters driven, dangerous and yet full of heart. BROKEN SHIELD reaffirms JD Rhoades’ position as the king of redneck noir.” -Zoë Sharp, author of the Charlie Fox crime thriller series

Deus ex Machina, by Sparkle Hayter

Two short stories. In Deus ex Machina, a starving writer splurges on a cab ride after missing the last Metro, and ends up on an unexpected journey. In Diary of Sue Peaner, things get a little too real for a reality show contestant.

Open Season on Lawyers, by Taffy Cannon

“Somebody was killing the sleazy lawyers of Los Angeles. In the beginning, hardly anyone even noticed,” begins Taffy Cannon’s (Guns and Roses) sharply clever Open Season on Lawyers. LAPD homicide detective Joanna Davis pursues a murderer whose vengeance takes strange parallels to the lawyers’ perceived crimes (a lawyer who defended a caterer against charges of food poisoning later dies of it, for example); readers just might be torn between wanting her to catch him and wanting him to get away. — Publishers Weekly. This classic from Taffy Cannon is now available for Kindle.

        Coming soon!

plan x mockup 12Rory Tate (also known as Lise McClendon) has a new thriller coming out in early June. PLAN X tells the intriguing story of police officer Cody Byrne, charged with finding the next-of-kin for a professor of Shakespeare injured in a lab explosion. What should be a simple task leads to ancient manuscripts that may or may not be truly Shakespearean and secrets someone is trying very hard to keep.
PLAN X is both thrilling and sophisticated. In a serpentine story that races from small-town Montana to the vaulted halls of Windsor Castle, nothing is as it seems, including the works of the great Shakespeare himself. Former military and current police officer Cody Byrne is unforgettable–a heroine you want to root for. I love this book! –New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author J. Carson Black

A thrilling police procedural as (Iraqi war veteran turned) police officer Cody Byrne investigates the death of a Montana professor who may have been hiding one of the biggest secrets in academia—or perpetuating one of the biggest frauds—one that could scandalize the royal family of Great Britain. An entertaining read!     –Robin Burcell, award-winning author of THE BLACK LIST

What’s in the hopper? Another Next Big Thing.

My work-in-progress, of course! My Next Big Thing is a mystery, a police procedural, a thriller, a crime novel. Call it what you will. Plan X, as in X marks the spot? Maybe… read on.

1. What is the title of your work-in-progress?

Plan X. The title came directly from the writing. For once I’ve never been tempted to change it, although if you give me some feedback that it stinks, I’m listening! The term features in the story  on a challenge coin, the kind of memento given to military to commemorate a unit or mission. The meaning of it is a mystery in itself, one the main character has to decipher.

2. Where did the idea come from for the WIP?

If I knew where my ideas came from I’d be a lot better off! However… this book begins with a large explosion in Bozeman, Montana. Just before I moved there, a gas explosion rocked downtown Bozeman, wiping out almost an entire block and killing one person. My explosion is more nefarious, of course, a bomb set by a bad actor. Two professors at Montana State are killed while engaged in some intimate activity late at night in a science lab. The real explosion set my imagination going. What better way to start off a story than with a big ol’ bang?

3. What genre does your book come under? 

Plan X is a mystery. It’s a police procedural. The main character is a young female police officer in Bozeman. She is tasked with finding the identity and next-of-kin for one of the victims of the bombing, a professor of Shakespeare in the English Department.What should be a simple task turns into something else completely, and yes, there’s the rub.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmm. Good question. I could see somebody like Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain, tough, independent, serious, playing Cody Byrne. Cody is just back from a reserve tour in Iraq as a bomb scene investigator and is struggling with emotional issues. She has panic attacks and, embarrassingly, faints dead away sometimes. She has a fierce sense of duty. So the actress needs to be strong with a vulnerable side. Cody is a complex character, an independent woman who doesn’t want to be quite so alone in the world.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Plan X is about a young cop whose sanity is shaken by her Iraq tour and her brother’s death as she searches for the identity of a murdered Shakespeare professor, and the father she never knew.

(You can’t believe how long it took me to write that!)

6. Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

At this point the book is still on my computer. But it will be represented by my agent and/or published by Thalia Press.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Oh, ages. I can’t really remember when I started the first draft. I spend a lot of time filling a notebook full of ideas, scraps of research, working on characters especially. I remember Meredith Blevins helping me by telling me to interview my character. That was a great idea! During the formative weeks (months…) I also do a computer diary every morning, working on ideas, getting the juices flowing. Sue Grafton gave me that tip!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I was inspired, in a way, by Michael Gruber’s Book of Air and Shadows, a literary thriller about a lost Shakespeare play. In the end I found Air and Shadows unappealing, but the concept remained intriguing. What would happen if a new Shakespeare play was found? Would anyone believe it? Who would find it, and how? It is, of course, a lot more complicated than that in my story. The Shakespeare professor is… [cue scary music] not who he seems.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See #8. I also wanted to write a book set in Montana again, about a hometown girl who becomes a police officer. And still make that rather small stage engaging for readers, and expand the character’s reach around the world. (She goes to the UK on the search for the prof’s family.)

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There is a royal connection which leads to MI-5 and the British Library and Windsor Castle. As well as the search for the professor’s identity, Cody’s search for connection with her family drives the story. Her mother is a feminist who wrote a book about the Vagina Dentata myth. (Look it up!) Her real father is a mystery to her. It turns out he has some big secrets of his own. Her brother was in the Army and killed in Afghanistan. He has a past as well. A big part of the story is her journey to find out who her father is, how to honor her brother’s memory, how to stand up to her rather scary mother. And to figure out her ‘Man Problem.’ Yes, there’s some romance for our girl!
And that’s my Next Big Thing!

Chilling Crime for Winter

The theme is winter, and the Thalia Press Authors Co-op rises to the occasion, digging deep into their devious imaginations with short stories of cold, ice, mystery, and of course unexplained homicide.

Eight established crime authors and eight chilling stories to send shivers down your spine: The anthology, Dead of Winter, edited by Katy Munger and Lise McClendon, will release next week as an e-book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Enjoy this collection of intriguing, surprise-filled stories full of buried secrets, back-stabbing and revenge —  all set against the wintry backdrop of the cruelest season. Continue reading “Chilling Crime for Winter”