Monday, December 26, 2022

Book Spotlight: Christmas in Newfoundland by: Mike Martin


From the author of the Award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mysteries including Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries Book 1, comes another welcome addition to the Sgt. Windflower family of books…

By Mike Martin

Book Blurb

From the author of the Award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mysteries including Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries Book 1, comes another welcome addition to the Sgt. Windflower family of books.

Come sit by the fire of the woodstove in the kitchen and listen to stories of Christmas long ago in Grand Bank and Ramea and tales of great adventure and Christmas magic in St. John’s in the 1960s and onward. Have Christmas dinner with Sgt. Windflower and Sheila and their two little girls. Then wait and see if any special visitors show up to entertain them.

Sing along with the choir or have a drink with old friends to celebrate Tibb’s Eve. Follow along as Eddie Tizzard has a special mission in the middle of a snowstorm and Herb Stoodley becomes an unlikely Christmas hero.

Christmas in Newfoundland is always a time for good food, good friends, and good cheer. And there’s always another chair at the table.

Release Date: September 26, 2022

Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing

Soft Cover: 978-1990896033; 141 pages; $16.95; eBook $4.99



Book Excerpt


Christmas Memories

It was their very first Christmas together and while it was so exciting to be in love and together during this magical season, it was also a little bit awkward as they tried to develop their own holiday traditions.

Their memories and celebrations of Christmas had been very different growing up. Windflower’s holidays in Pink Lake, his northern Alberta birthplace had been full of love but also tinged with sadness and a healthy dash of chaos. His parents had given him everything they had, which meant he got all the most favourite toys that they could order from the Sears catalogue.

His parents were no longer with him and that made him sad sometimes this time of year. He missed his mother especially. She had been so kind to him and everyone around him. He missed his dad, too, but not in the same way. His dad had worked as a logger most of his life and that meant he was away a lot, clearing brush and hauling raw lumber down to Edmonton.

Christmas Eve was his favourite time when he was little. Maybe the same even today. He loved the feeling of expectation. That something really good was going to happen. He always got new pajamas and slippers on the night before Christmas and there was a special meal of venison stew and bannock with dark fruitcake for dessert. Santa didn’t play a big role in a Pink Lake Christmas, everyone knew their parents were bringing the gifts. But that did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. Certainly not Windflower’s.

He liked Christmas Eve, too, because that was the one night before the parties began. Before the drinking began. Everything really was calm and bright and full of hope. The next day some of his relatives would arrive with their Christmas stash and over the following days his father’s friends would also pop by. It was great fun at the beginning but as the night and the drinks wore on, it became louder and a little frightening for a little boy. Sometimes his mother would take him to be with Auntie Marie and Uncle Frank. He liked that and loved his aunt who would make him special treats and tell him stories of the old days and their Christmas around a large community fire. 

Sometimes his father would go away with his friends and he and his mom would be left waiting for his return. It could be later that evening or a few days but eventually he would come home, most often drunk, and spend the next day recovering. Windflower knew to be very quiet around those times. His mother had warned him not to wake the sleeping bear.

Those were all but passing memories for Windflower now and he was looking forward to spending time and celebrating Christmas with Sheila, the light and love of his life.

Sheila loved, loved, loved Christmas. Everything about Christmas. She had taken out all the old ornaments weeks before Christmas so she could look at them and pressured Windflower to go out early in December to get their tree. The first Sunday in the month they drove to the woods on the outskirts of town and walked in to get their tree. They didn’t have far to go. About five minutes in, Sheila found the tall balsam fir she was looking for. 

“Perfect,” she announced.

“Okay,” said Windflower and he sawed the tree near the bottom and tied it to the top of her car. They drove home and while he made them hot chocolate, Sheila laid out all the decorations that she wanted to use.


About the Author

Mike Martin was born in St. John’s, NL on the east coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand.

He is the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mystery series set in beautiful Grand Bank. There are now 12 books in this light mystery series with the publication of Dangerous Waters. A Tangled Web was shortlisted in 2017 for the best light mystery of the year, and Darkest Before the Dawn won the 2019 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. Mike has also published Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries, a Sgt. Windflower Book of Christmas past and present. And now Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries 2.

Mike is Past Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers and a member of the Newfoundland Writers’ Guild and Ottawa Independent Writers and Capital Crime Writers.

You can follow the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries on Facebook at


Twitter: @mike54martin

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Monday, December 12, 2022

Book Blast: The Timber Stone by: Dave Abare


Former rock star and world-class drinker Joshua Traxon leaves LA for small town VT, escaping tragedy, finding love…

By Dave Abare

Book Blurb

Josh Traxon, a former rock/reality TV star, moves from L.A. to Vermont, after a failed reality TV show and the death of his lover Sasha, for which he blames himself. He and his spunky pug Pickle soon meet their beautiful neighbor, Laurel, her young boy, Ethan, and her mother, who Josh often spars with. Laurel’s ex-boyfriend Barry tries to stir up trouble, but with his wit, humor, and a little bravado, Josh dispatches him—and wins Laurel’s affections. Narrating directly to the reader at times, Josh humorously and candidly describes his fondness for chess, his dog, and his embarrassment and guilt in being a womanizer for much of his life. His love of tequila and whiskey, however, is a problem, and much of that is tied to his shame in lying about the auto accident in California that killed his girlfriend.

As Laurel and Josh grow closer, he notices her getting sick often, but his focus remains on himself and dealing with his past. As his drinking intensifies, Laurel expresses concerns, and he admits the details of the accident to her. He decides he owes Sasha’s father the truth—that Josh had been behind the wheel, not Sasha—and plans a trip to Connecticut to confess. Laurel accompanies him, and despite her hesitations, she falls in love with him as he recounts poignant and hysterical details of his youth. But soon after arriving, Laurel gets sick again. Josh thinks she’s pregnant with Barry’s baby, but she tells him she has cancer. They share a tender moment before she sends him away to visit Sasha’s father, though he doesn’t want to leave. During the tense visit, Josh realizes (through words Sasha had spoken to him years earlier and the father’s current actions) that he’d sexually abused her, and Josh attacks the man physically.

When Josh returns to Laurel, they talk more about her illness, cry, and make love. The next morning, as Josh recounts memories of living there, he mentions his dog Timber and that there was a heart-shaped stone his mother found and placed on his gravesite. Laurel says they must go get it, and Josh agrees. They meet the man who owns his childhood home, and he shows Josh the stone, which he’d dug up years earlier. The two of them end up playing a chess match that Josh loses, which is a rare event for him. The man tells him he can take the Timber Stone, which Josh does.

Back in Vermont, all Josh wants is to get drunk but an unexpected visit from a boy in town keeps him sober, A battle with Laurel’s ex, Barry, gets Josh briefly thrown in jail. After, he visits Barry at his home to agree to disagree, but to care for Laurel like grown-ups. Josh discovers Barry likes chess and they end up playing, though Josh beats him handily. When Josh arrives home, he discovers Laurel is in the hospital and goes to see her. She looks frail and ill, though he tries to lighten the mood with humor and levity. But Laurel’s cancer has progressed rapidly.

She lives only weeks longer, and at the very end, they share a heartfelt moment where they talk and listen to music together, and she gives him a letter. It details her love for him, her joy in meeting him, and hopes that he will continue having a relationship with her son, as Ethan also loves Josh. Shortly after her funeral, Josh is talking with Ethan in his backyard and Ethan mentions a special spot he and his mother had for picnics. Josh gets the Timber Stone and asks if he can leave it in that spot. Ethan agrees, they cry, and then Josh mentions how he now has a family, a purpose.

A few weeks later, a newly sober Josh drives down the coast to spread Laurel’s ashes, as she’d have wanted. He realizes his relationship with fame has evolved, how he’s discovered what’s truly important to him now—sobriety and being there for young Ethan—and how he wishes he’d learned that lesson, and met Laurel, sooner. Still, he’s grateful for the brief time they had together, and how because of her, he’s found out who he really is, and can now thrive in his awakening.

Book Information

Release Date: October 26, 2022

Publisher: Hear Our Voice LLC

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1957913179; 306 pages; $14.05; eBook $.99; FREE on Kindle Unlimited



Book Excerpt


The daylight had stretched itself over the landscape of my front yard, bending off the bright white corners of the outside trim and spilling into pockets that had been dark an hour earlier. A lone beam ricocheted off one of the white gutters that hung from the piece of roofing that covered my front porch, illuminating a patch of grass that was withered and amber in color. In L.A. ninety percent of the grass looked that way, and if you were lucky, you'd get a patch of hunter green, shaggy growth here and there on your lawn, which in total was no bigger than a card table. This particular patch, however, wasn't the result of poor soil or climate, but instead, the ball of wrinkles and eyeballs I was carrying.

When I lived out west, one of the roadies and guitar techs for my band, Jeremiah Stoven—what a name on that guy—showed up at my place with this nine-week-old puppy. It was wiggling and whining to get out of his arms, dead staring me, so he let it go and the dog was about to stroke out trying to climb up my leg. I sat down on the floor, and his wrinkled, smushed-in face released this maniacal tongue that wiped across every inch of my cheeks and chin as Jeremiah told me their dog had four puppies and this was the last one. He knew I was a dog nut and said he wanted me to have it. Ballsy move, just showing up with it, aware that I'd always been enamored with the critters. I hadn't had a dog in ages, so Jeremiah said, “It's time, dude,” and just left the two-pound hairball with me, almost four years ago now. Have to say, it was a near genius move on Jeremiah's part, arriving pup in hand, never letting me get a word in, and then vanishing as the canine was pissing on my Fender jazz bass. The little bugger had some accidents early on, but he was a quick study to housebreaking.
Pickle had decided, for reasons that only his tiny, deranged mind could know, that when he peed in the front yard of his new place, it would only happen on this one, now brownish spot of turf. He’d storm out of the house, perform his ritualistic dance of what I'd always called “devil circles,” where he’d speed in figure eights confined to a small stretch of earth, then explode into random darts and weaves with his tongue dangling and flopping like an uncooked slice of bacon out of the side of his mouth. Then, without warning, he’d make a beeline to ‘the spot’ and take a leak. I guess this lunatic expulsion of energy was formally called “the zoomies,” according to whatever experts study dogs going batshit nuts, and it was completely normal, but a sight to behold. He'd always done the frantic running, zoomy whatever it is, but the peeing on that specific patch was new behavior. Of course, I had just taken a small animal that had known the same home for his entire life across the country and plopped him in a place that looked entirely different than anything he'd experienced. There was one dainty tree in our backyard in L.A. that wasn't any taller than the fence that bordered our property, and now he's surrounded by hundreds that dwarf most of the houses we had on our old block. Go ahead and take a leak wherever you want, buddy.


About the Author

Dave Abare was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and has spent most of his life in and around the Connecticut area. He became enamored with writing at a very young age, writing his first book, “Troll Island” at eleven years old. This work was never published, thankfully, but it was the beginning of a passion that has only intensified over his adult years.

His love of music led him to begin a part-time gig as a music writer, interviewing bands for his own “Fanzine” in the mid-eighties, including such Metal icons as Slayer, Metallica, and Anthrax, as well as bands such as Van Halen, Blues Traveler, Motorhead and Big Head Todd and the Monsters for other publications. In the last several years, Dave has spent his time working on short stories, poems, and his debut novel, “The Swing Over the Ocean,” which was, in his words, “a bit of a mess” in terms of editing, etc., but an invaluable self-publishing learning experience. Most recently, he’s completed work on his second novel, “The Timber Stone,” which is available for pre-order now.

In addition to writing and music, Dave enjoys reading, travel, cars, and Pugs (and all critters), as well as frequenting local New England wineries and breweries, with Tree House Brewing Co in Charlton, MA being his favorite. You can follow him @AbareDavey on Twitter or look for his Facebook Author Page.


Twitter: @abaredavey


Instagram: @authodavect

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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Book Tour: Three Small Bones by: Jennifer Chase


Cold Case Detective Katie Scott unearths her next investigation after a devastating house fire when fire fighters discover an entire family of bones in the basement…

By Jennifer Chase

Book Blurb

Smoke curls from what’s left of the beautiful family home on the edge of the woods. The heat is unbearable as she descends the stairs to the basement, past a set of bicycles––two big, one small. That’s when she sees three little white bones in the cracked earth at her feet, turning her blood to ice…

When firefighters tackling a blazing house in a quiet suburb of Pine Valley, California discover human remains, Detective Katie Scott races to 717 Maple Street. She calls a halt to the excavations the moment she sees the full number and size of the bones; someone has buried a whole family down here.

Working night and day, it’s up to Katie to prove her theory that the fire was no accident, that someone wanted to expose the secret in the basement. Tiny traces of explosives residue found at the scene is all the proof she needs. But the Cross family have been missing for months––leaving friends and loved ones in agonizing pain––what twisted soul would do this now? And why?

The case takes another heart-shattering turn when Katie’s suspicions over recent renovation work on the house leads to the discovery of more bodies in the back yard: two little girls, buried years apart. What other devastating secrets are hidden in this perfect family home?

It’s a dead end at every turn as Katie tracks down anyone who knew the family. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, reports of the Cross’s landlord harassing the family before they went missing gives Katie a crucial lead. With a menacing grey sedan following her every move, how many more innocent lives will be lost before Katie can dig up the truth?

“Edge-of-your-seat suspense to the very end! … Clear your schedule… you will not want to put it down!” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“Love, love, LOVE… I absolutely adore this series!!” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“Grabbed me from the very first page! It was so intense, and enthralling. I stayed up until 11pm two nights in a row so I could finish it.” NetGalley reviewer

Book Information

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Publisher:  Bookouture

Soft Cover: ISBN: ‎ 978-1803145945; 329 pages; $11.99; eBook $3.99


My Review:

This book follows Katie Scott who is found painting her farmhouse she inherited from her parents upon
their death. When her partner shows up to bring her to a crime scene that maybe a cold case. A fire
uncovers the fact that a body is buried under the ash and rubble of the fire. Who was killed and why?

The more they dig through debris the more bodies they find and the more questions of what happened arise.
Who wanted to kill them?

This book had so much going on with strong characters and intriguing storylines. It pulls you in and you
you want to know what happens in this book and keep reading until you have it all solved.  Definitely a great mystery read!


Book Excerpt



Four Years Ago

The heat was even more scorching than usual. It wasn’t a surprise to the special army team whose mission it was to find bombs and insurgents in Afghanistan while keeping civilians safe. It was late afternoon, barely 1700 hours. Still, the temperature raged at one hundred ten degrees and wasn’t showing any remorse.

The assignment was to enter a small village, search it, and maintain a presence while waiting for further orders. They had intelligence information that the enemy had possibly used the village for storing bomb-making paraphernalia. The inhabitants were not known hostiles, merely farmers, and would not pose any type of danger.

Katie Scott took point, which meant she was holding the most exposed position leading her unit. She trudged forward, feeling every muscle ache in her body. Her gear seemed heavier than it had only two hours ago. She adjusted her helmet and, keeping her weapon poised and ready, watched the black German shepherd pad along the roadway. The dog’s posture was almost regal and he was on high alert, ears perked forward as his head moved from side to side catching scents from the open area. Cisco was Katie’s constant companion and partner, one who had alerted her team to danger on several occasions. The dog was invaluable in so many ways, thwarting multiple potential dangers and keeping the team safe.

They finally entered the village. A couple of elderly townspeople acknowledged the American soldiers with a subtle nod but stopped what they were doing immediately to take refuge in their small, makeshift homes. There were supposed to be families with children in the village, but now Katie could only see two young men out and about.

It seemed strange.

Something was out of place.

Katie slowed her pace and her sergeant caught up with her.

“What’s up, Scotty?” he said quietly, still keeping his eyes on any movement around the village.

“I don’t know…” she said softly. “But something is wrong.”

They stopped.

The rest of the team spread out and kept a watchful eye around them.

Cisco stopped too. He stood completely still, taking in the sights and sounds as the hot breeze ruffled his black fur. He growled and turned his attention ahead toward a group of buildings.

“He senses something,” she whispered to her sergeant.

The sergeant gestured for the rest to follow in that direction.

The company moved out. Each soldier had their position, watching for any movement as they covered each other’s backs.

Katie could feel her heart beating hard. She shivered even though the temperature was blistering. Moving cautiously in the direction that Cisco had headed, she brought the dog close by her side. She was ready to return fire or take cover. She took a deep breath to steady her nerves and keep focus. They continued to advance.

A building made of mud bricks and concrete with blocked up windows sat silent. It didn’t appear to be the same structure type as the family homes around it. On one side of the dwelling the windows were crumbling, appearing more ancient than the rest.

Katie watched Cisco slow his pace. His fur bristled down his spine.

The team stopped just before the entrance. There was no visibility as to what was inside.

Under the direction of the sergeant, two team members opened the door and then cleared the entrance, heading farther inside.

Katie heard gasps from her group. She cautiously entered behind them, directing her weapon in front of her. The musty stench hit her first—it was an unmistakable odor. As her vision slowly became accustomed to the dim, dusty lighting, she saw what her teammates had seen. Death.

At first, it appeared to be a large pile of clothes. Katie saw shoes and various materials, but she then realized that the clothes were covering bodies that were by now mostly bones but there were some that were in the first stages of decomposition. There were smaller bones that had been children.

She gulped and took a few steps back. Her mouth went dry and her heart hammered. Her team searched and cleared the building before moving out in formation.

Cisco kept close to her side as Katie tried hard to erase the horrific spectacle from her mind. It had been a massacre. Parents had still had their arms wrapped around their children. She had seen tiny shoes and part of a toy.

Without warning, gunfire bombarded them, peppering off the old clay walls. Smoke filled the air. The team took their positions and returned fire. Katie tucked into a safe place with Cisco next to her. She began to help hold off the ambush attack by firing in the direction of the threat.

Later on, Katie realized that it had been the longest gun battle she had been in, lasting nearly thirty minutes. But the worst part wasn’t the shooting. It was that now she could never forget the image of the town whose inhabitants had been systematically murdered just to keep the enemy’s weapons safe. Something had changed in her perspective that day. The incident fused into her soul, and she would always now carry it with her.




About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today Best Selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master's degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.

Her latest book is the crime thriller, Three Small Bones.You can visit her website at or connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

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