Thursday, August 4, 2016

Clementina by Simon Cann - Book Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Leathan Wilkey has been hired to babysit Clementina, a seventeen-year-old whose rich daddy is going through a messy divorce and is over-compensating.

Leathan soon tires of her spending habits, her selfie obsession, and her social media preoccupation as his ward drags him from shop to boutique to jeweler, approaching each with the self-possession that comes from a lifetime of getting her own way and never once having to worry about money.

But when Clementina snaps her fingers and her boyfriend doesn’t come running, something is up. He doesn’t appear because he’s been murdered.

When Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend has no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner.

Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who is now menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.


Clementina was clearly offended.

Offended by my apparently uncouth utterance. Offended that I was not paying due reverence. Offended that I was thinking money, when I should be appreciating the art. Offended in the way that only a seventeen-year-old can be offended.

She was able simultaneously to be both a child and a world-weary adult. Neither of whom was accepting of my situation; both of whom were deeply saddened by my obvious circumstances.

She was saddened that I could live in a world like this.

Some people are saddened about famine in Africa. Some are saddened about wars or religious fundamentalists imposing their unyielding doctrines on populations, killing and mutilating children and innocent adults. Clementina was saddened and offended—on my behalf—that the world of jewelry and the exquisite pleasure of fine gems set in delicate pieces of lovingly shaped precious metal had been withheld from me.

She knew—as only one who had been indoctrinated into the secret society knew—that if I had been exposed to the world of bijouterie, then I would appreciate the treat that was waiting for me.

What she didn’t know was that I hated being patronized by seventeen-year-olds. Even if their father was paying me. Not that her father and I had actually done anything as tedious as agreeing a fee.

Or meeting.

Or talking. Even on the phone.


What are four things you can’t live without?

Oxygen, food, sleep, and the internet.

What is your favorite television show?

The Wire, followed by Justified.

If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?

Honestly? I wouldn’t. I’m happy being me and have enough trouble keeping my own characters in line without worrying about someone else’s characters.

What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?

After Clementina, there are two more Leathan Wilkey/Paris books coming. The first is Diplomatic Baggage, the second, The Camera.
I’ll put up details on my website ( as soon as they’re available for pre-order. If you join my readers group mailing list (details are at the top of the home page on my website) I’ll let you know as soon as the next books are out.  If you join the readers’ group, I’ll also send you my free introductory library.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Frederick Forsyth—everything he’s written and Robert Harris—most of his books, but in particular Fatherland. Both authors are masters of the intelligent modern thriller.


About the Author

Simon Cann is the author of the Boniface, Montbretia Armstrong, and Leathan Wilkey series of books.
In addition to his fiction, Simon has written a range of music-related and business-related books, and has also worked as a ghostwriter.
Before turning full-time to writing, Simon spent nearly two decades as a management consultant, where his clients included aeronautical, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, chemical, entertainment, and broadcasting companies.
He lives in London.

Author Links:

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Free of Malice by Liz Lazarus - Book Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Laura Holland awakes in the middle of the night to see a stranger standing in her bedroom doorway. She manages to defend herself from the would-be rapist, though he threatens to return as he retreats. Traumatized with recurring nightmares, Laura seeks therapy and is exposed to a unique treatment called EMDR. She also seeks self-protection— buying a gun against the wishes of her husband. When Laura learns she could have gone to prison had she shot her fleeing assailant, she decides to write a hypothetical legal case using the details of that night. She enlists the help of criminal defense lawyer, Thomas Bennett, who proves to be well versed in the justice system but has an uncanny resemblance to her attacker. As the two work together to develop the story, Laura's discomfort escalates particularly when Thomas seems to know more about that night than he should. Reality and fiction soon merge as her real life drama begins to mirror the fiction she's trying to create.


“I told you I don’t want to see a psychiatrist,” I pushed back. “I just need more time. I’ll bounce back. You know I almost came in the house on my own today. Besides, if I see a psychiatrist, on every job application I complete in the future, I’ll have to check the ‘Yes’ box when they ask if I’ve had mental health treatment.” 

“Jesus. No you don’t. You’re too innocent sometimes.” 

He gently tapped me on the nose. 

“You can check the box ‘No.’ Besides, if that’s the only thing stopping you, I think you should give it a try. Her name is Barbara Cole. I’ll take you to Houston’s afterward,” he added. 

I ignored the bribe. “But what can she do that you can’t? All she’ll do is listen and you do that for me already. Psychiatrists are for people who don’t have friends or husbands to talk to.” 

Chris shook his head. 

“Please? Do it for me.” 

The tone in his voice was different—more helpless than normal. Chris had been so understanding, so comforting this past month, especially considering I had been waking him every night. How could I refuse his request? 

I sighed. “Okay,” I relented. “I’ll go.” 

“One visit. That’s all I’m asking. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back. She’s a psychologist, by the way, not a psychiatrist. She does therapy, not drugs.”

He glanced at the clock. It was 3:30 a.m. 

Chris grabbed Konk, my stuffed animal gorilla that I won at the state fair by outshooting him at the basketball game. He had sworn the scum running the game couldn’t take his eyes off my butt and let me win. 

“Here’s Konk,” he said. “I’m going to finish my presentation since I’m up. I’ll just be in the office. Want the door open?” 

“Yes,” I said as I wrapped my arms tightly around Konk. 

“Hey, we’ll celebrate your first therapy visit and my signed contract, I hope, this evening.” 

“You mean you hope my first visit?” I said with a playful smile. 

He gave me a look—he was in no mood for jokes. 

“Fine. Fine. I’ll go,” I assured. 

“If you’re asleep when I leave, just come by my office after the appointment and we’ll head to dinner. Try to get some sleep. I love you.” 

“I love you, too.”


What inspired you to write this book?

Like the main character, I was attacked by a stranger in my home in the middle of the night. In order to heal, I started to write about how I was feeling and what had changed in my life. At the time, I didn't know about EMDR therapy to heal from trauma, so used writing as a catharsis. Also like the main character, all I had for self-defense was a can of Mace. After the attack, I said to my brother-in-law, if I had owned a gun, I would have shot the guy as he left. My brother-in-law informed me that I was fortunate that I didn't - as the shooting might not have been a clear case of self-defense. That idea sparked my interest in learning about the criminal justice system and inspired me to write the hypothetical case portrayed in the book. The ending, which I won't spoil, was prompted by a question from my mother. Once you've finished the book, you can write to me at and I'll tell you more about that.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

I have a few favorite scenes. Without giving too much away, I like when Chris and Laura go on their anniversary trip to Ellijay, Georgia. I also like with Laura and Vicki do some sleuthing. Some people have said the “sleuthing” scene seemed too bold for Laura, but I’d like to think that I made her so single-minded and determined that she threw caution and reason to the wind.

Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.

There’s a funny story about the man’s profile on my book cover. Years ago when I was at work, one of my colleagues decided to be silly and Xeroxed his face. (Let’s be glad he chose the face – could have been worse!) The picture came out so blurred and creepy that you couldn’t tell who he was. I actually saved that piece of paper and years later showed it to my graphics designer, Tracy Glenn, to use as the inspiration for the profile on the book.

Some people thought the profile shot was of Thomas, as in Thomas Barnette, my college friend and favorite singer who created the book’s theme song, Let Me Breathe. They do look similar, and yes his CD cover is a profile shot, but that was some unexpected serendipity. I actually hadn’t considered that we both used profile shots until I put the two side by side, and how interesting that they face each other! Now, if you ask Thomas, he may still swear it’s him.


As you can see, the Advance Reader Copy of FREE OF MALICE had only the profile, and the rest of the cover was black. My thinking was that in the age of so many “busy” covers, wouldn’t a plain one stand out? But then, after receiving advice from several people (Candy Brakewood, Lynn Epstein, and Esther Levine at Book Atlanta to name a few), I decided to add more color.

The bullseye was a natural choice as it was already part of our Website design and has significance in the book for two reasons. First, the Laura character takes shooting lessons at Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range and practices with a target. Secondly, Laura’s attacker had what looked like a bullseye on the back of his shirt—she got a glimpse of it as he ran away.

We offered up two choices of bulls-eye designs via social media and asked for votes. (Thanks to Jill Dible of Jill Dible Design for options A and B.)  Surprisingly, the race was nearly 50/50, but I had a stronger preference for Option A because it “pops”.

One comment I did take to heart from the voting was that the cover doesn’t fully describe the book, and I suppose that would be a challenge for any novel. It’s true, the cover doesn’t portray Laura’s therapy and healing, her trauma and suspicion, the hypothetical legal case or the racial tension. But maybe the eerie profile and the colorful bullseye will be enough to intrigue you to take a peek inside.

What exciting story are you working on next?

My book has a theme song written and sung by Thomas Barnette. Thomas and I met our first day at Georgia Tech and have been close friends ever since. I co-produced his debut CD and the song, "Let Me Breathe," is featured in Free of Malice. As you may have guessed from the book trailer on my website,, the character of Thomas Bennett is loosely based on my friend.

What is your favorite TV show?

Suits is about a law firm in New York:  “big-time Manhattan corporate lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) hires the only guy who impresses him—college dropout Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). The fact that Ross isn't actually a lawyer isn't lost on Specter, who believes his new right-hand man is a legal prodigy with the book smarts of a Harvard law grad and the street smarts of a hustler.” I love really clever shows and Suits does not disappoint. The plot line, characters and acting are superb, and this season is getting really hot as Mike’s secret has unraveled and he has been sent to prison.

Anything else you might want to add?

My book has a theme song written and sung by Thomas Barnette. Thomas and I met our first day at Georgia Tech and have been close friends ever since. I co-produced his debut CD and the song, "Let Me Breathe," is featured in Free of Malice. As you may have guessed from the book trailer on my website,, the character of Thomas Bennett is loosely based on my friend.



About the Author

Liz Lazarus is the author of Free of Malice, a psychological, legal thriller loosely based on her personal experience and a series of ‘what if’ questions that trace the after effects of a foiled attack; a woman healing, and grappling with the legal system to acknowledge her right to self-defense.

She was born in Valdosta, Georgia, graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern with an MBA in their executive master’s program. She spent most of her career at General Electric’s Healthcare division and is currently a Managing Director at a strategic planning consulting firm in addition to being an author.

Free of Malice is her debut novel, set in Atlanta, and supplemented by extensive research with both therapists and criminal defense attorneys. She currently lives in Brookhaven, GA, with her fiancé, Richard, and their very spoiled orange tabby, Buckwheat.

Author Links:

Liz Lazarus will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

The Other Side of Hope by R.F. Dunham - Book Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

In 732 A.D., the Frankish and Burgundian forces led by Charles Martel defeated an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi and halted the Muslim advance into Christian Europe. At least, that's what happened in the world as you know it.

Step into the world of The Other Side of Hope, where the world as you know it is turned on its head. A world where Charles Martel fell on that field south of Tours, France and was never given his nickname, "The Hammer." A world where Europe came under Muslim rule and Christianity was eventually forced to flee to the shores of a distant land in search of religious freedom. A land where, without support from European colonial powers, they found only conflict and poverty.

In the modern day, this world remains divided. The wealthy Muslim East and the poverty-stricken Christian West are constantly at odds. A single spark is all it takes to ignite fresh conflict and the cycle seems never-ending.

Follow the paths of Ethan Lewis and Hamid Damir as they are put on a collision course with the other side. Will they find hope for a brighter future or be lost in the despair of intractable conflict?


Hamid looked down at his plate then back up at Dilara. “You know writers don’t make any money. Not for years, if ever.”

“That’s not the point.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s not the point, it’s reality. I know you want to write and you know I think you’re a great writer, but that doesn’t change the fact that we need your paycheck.”

Dilara closed her eyes and took several deep breaths. 

Hamid wasn’t sure if he should take that as a good sign or a bad one. 

“We can make changes. Sacrifices. It would be worth it,” she said

Hamid raised his eyebrows. “Worth it? Who knows when it would be worth it. Even if we did move, the gas I’d spend getting to work would cancel out any savings. It’d take you months to write a book, years to get it published, and even then you might not make enough money for it to matter.”

“Sometimes I wonder if you even know me at all.” She picked up her fork and went back to eating.

Hamid stared at her, his own food forgotten. “Of course, I know you.”

Dilara slammed her fork down again. “No. I don’t think you do. You think money is what matters to me? That I want to write so I can make money?”

“No, I don’t think that.” He shook his head. “But that’s what I have to think about, our finances, our family.”

“What about doing something with my life? What about my dreams? Do you think about that?”

Hamid put both hands on his head and looked at the ceiling. “Yes, I think about that. But we have dreams, too. Dreams we’ve been working toward since college. You really want to throw all of that away?”

Dilara looked away and got quiet.

He’d gotten through. Good.

“Maybe those aren’t my dreams anymore.”


What inspired you to write this book?

Quite simply, the rampant violence and misunderstanding in the world. It really started with wanting to help Christians and Muslims understand each other better but it’s just as applicable to the race motivated violence that’s running wild in our country lately. 
I wanted to give people a chance to see the world from the other side of the conflict, to humanize their enemies. I’ve found that it’s much easier to hate an idea than it is to hate a person. When you put a face on the thing you hate, you suddenly realize that it’s not as different from you as you thought it was.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

That would have to be the final scene with Hamid and Ethan. That scene is the reason the whole book was written. Since it comes at the end, I can’t tell you much about it. You’ll just have to read it! 
I can tell you that it’s a very long sequence. It actually stretches across several chapters, with breaks to go see what’s happening with other characters, and multiple perspective switches. It was very challenging to write, but I’m thrilled with the way it came out and the ending has been one of the things readers have said tons of great things about. 

Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.

That’s a funny story! The book had a different cover at first release — one that I designed myself. While there are authors out there with graphic design skills, I am not one of them. So it wasn’t very good. Fortunately, I did have a professional graphic designer working on a better one. Tyler basically took some vague ramblings from me about the general themes of story, a contrast between hope and darkness, and came out with the cover you can find now. I couldn’t be happier with it.

What are your future ambitions?

My current writing ambitions are to develop two universes that I’ve been working in. The first is the world of The Other Side of Hope. For a while I thought I was done with that world but enough people have been asking for more that I’m diving in. There are endless possibilities to work with and I’m excited to see what’s going to come of it.
The second is a fantasy world called Samokei. There’s one story, Everyday, available in that universe on my website now. I’m working on the first collection of stories and sending them out to my email subscribers as they’re written.

What exciting story are you working on next?

Three in all, with a fourth on the back burner for now. 
The Other Side of Unity is a prequel to The Other Side of Hope that goes all the way back to the point of divergence, the thing that was changed in history to create the alternate world of the story.
The Samokei Chronicles: Line of Bunitheor is a collection of fantasy stories exploring the mystery surrounding the ancient magic that some believe is attached to the original dynasty of Samokei.
Those two stories are both being sent out to email subscribers completely free, so sign up now to get them!
The third doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s also set in Samokei. It will be a series of books (most likely novellas) featuring an order of peacekeepers with unusual powers called the Zhugo. 

What is your favorite TV show?

That’s a tough one… I don’t get cable or satellite so all of my TV watching is done through Netflix. That means I’m about a season behind on all the major shows (more on others, I’m only on season 4 of The Walking Dead) but my current favorite is probably The Arrow. I’m loving that whole universe but The Arrow is the most enjoyable to me. Probably because Oliver Queen is basically Bruce Wayne with a bow and arrow in this version and I’ve always been a big Batman fan. 

Anything else you might want to add?

I’ve mentioned my email list a couple of time, but I’d like to draw attention to it one more time. Signing up is without a doubt the best way to connect with me and keep up with what I’m doing. So if any of this sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend you join. I’ll send you lots of free stuff, including The Other Side of Unity and The Samokei Chronicles: Line of Bunitheor. Those will both be released as paid books eventually but this is your chance to get them completely free as they’re being written! I hope to see you there!


About the Author

R.F. Dunham writes with one purpose: to take you places you've never been before. That might be a distant fantasy land, the far reaches of space, the future of earth, or simply to an idea you've never encountered. A student of language and culture, Dunham's stories will pull you into complex worlds that challenge your perception of your own surroundings.

After working for over two years as a professional ghostwriter, the time has finally come for him to release his first full-length novel published in his own name, The Other Side of Hope. His short story, “Just a Drop,” was recently published in Nebula Rift Science Fiction magazine and an interactive version of the story is currently in beta testing. When he’s not writing, R.F. can be found playing the trumpet, writing his thesis in Arabic linguistics, or hiking in the mountains of Virginia.

Author Links:

R.F. Dunham will be awarding $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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