Monday, November 14, 2022

Book Spotlight: Hotter Than Helen by Susan Wingate


 Psychological women's suspense that reads like the sharp edge of a dagger…

By Susan Wingate

When Georgette’s old friend, Helen, comes back to Sunnydale, the town begins to sizzle. Is Helen attracted to Hawthorne Biggs, Georgette’s new beau or is it just Georgette’s imagination? But when Helen goes missing, all seems lost. Will they find Helen dead? Does Hawthorne truly have Georgette’s best interests at heart? HOTTER THAN HELEN is a psychological women’s suspense.

Book Information

Release Date: November 16, 2022

Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press

Soft Cover: ISBN:978-1509243501; 329 pages; $15.99; eBook $4.99


Book Excerpt

Chapter 1

Sunnydale, Arizona, 2009

Steel shackles jangled at his ankles, sounding much like the ghost of Christmas future when he shuffled to a stop on the cold travertine floor. Cabling, the kind used on bicycle locks, wrapped around his thin waist and angled off in a Y, snaring each of his wrists. He held his arms close to his stomach, monk-style as if praying, but unlike a monk, he held his head high, not down.

At a thick, red mahogany podium, the orange-clad prisoner stood next to a smaller-framed bailiff. The bailiff’s hand cupped the man’s elbow when someone called out, “All rise. The Honorable Judge Lindon.” The bailiff stepped back to the right, but the prisoner’s eyes shifted left where his lawyer stepped up. The packed courtroom stood almost in unison.

Everyone watched as the judge walked in from a door along the courtroom wall where his desk sat. Sidling behind the wide bench, a dense desk spanned no less than eight feet long and three feet wide of the same rich mahogany as the podium where the orange-clad

man stood.

The judge sat, pausing midway down to eye the prisoner over his black-rimmed reading glasses, sitting slowly before lifting the docket in front of him and reading from the papers.

He looked pissed.

Once settled, he slid his black leather and wood chair under the bench. Everyone else in the courtroom sat. Everyone except, of course, the prisoner and his lawyer. 

The judge wasted no time. “Your sentence, sir…in light of this…” he hesitated briefly, rolling his hand in a circle as he spoke, then continued, “…this new information and these errors,” he glared at the lawyer, “in allowing this new information from reaching the court at the time of your trial.” The judge kept a hard scowl as he looked between both men but mostly at the man’s attorney. “I have no other reasonable choice than to reduce said sentence to a lesser term, no more than two years beginning today.” He slammed his gavel so abruptly he made the stumpy, tightly-combed, gray-haired court recorder jump. She looked up suddenly but went back to typing.


About the Author

Susan Wingate writes about big trouble in small towns. She lives with her husband on an island off the coast of Washington State where, against State laws, she feeds the wildlife because she wants them to follow her. Her ukulele playing is, “Coming along,” as her Sitto used to say.

Susan’s eight-time award-winning novel, How the Deer Moon Hungers was chosen by The International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club as their October 2022 Official Book Selection of the Month. 

Susan has an insatiable appetite for online word games and puzzles. She thinks it might be obsessive-compulsive but is fine with that.

Susan’s poetry, short stories, and essays have been published in journals such as the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Superstition Review, and Suspense Magazine, as well as several others.

Susan is represented by Chip MacGregor and is a proud member of PENAmerica, Int’l Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association.

Her latest book is the mystery thriller, Hotter Than Helen (The Bobby’s Diner Series Book 2).

Visit her website at www.SusanWingate or follow her at Twitter and Facebook.


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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Author Post: That Little Voice by Richard I. Levine




There’s a killer loose on the island of Oahu. His targets? Young, native-Hawaiian women. But it also appears that he’s targeting and taunting Honolulu police detective Henry Benjamin who knew each victim and whose wife, Maya, had been the first name on that list. In addition to battling his personal demons, this New York transplant’s aggressive style didn’t sit well with his laid-back colleagues who viewed Henry’s uncharacteristic lack of progress in the investigation as evidence that fueled ongoing rumors that he could be the killer. Was he, or could it have been someone within the municipal hierarchy with a vendetta? As it was, after thirteen years on the job Henry had been disillusioned with paradise. His career choice long killed any fantasy of living in a grass hut on a wind-swept beach, being serenaded by the lazy sounds of the ocean and a slack key guitar. Instead, it had opened his eyes to a Hawaii that tourists will never see.


That Little Voice

 That little voice is always there. We all have one, maybe two. We simply need to acknowledge it exists and allow ourselves an open mind to hear its counsel. Trust me, I don’t have a multiple personality or dissociative identity disorder of any kind. At least I don’t think so.

 To be clear, I’m not poking fun at anyone who is coping with this condition. With that disclaimer out of the way, the little voice I am referring to is also known as our intuition. But what is it exactly? At the risk of seeming to be “out there” (or as my friend describes it; being connected to the woo woo world), based upon so many past experiences I firmly believe my intuition is a connection between me and my spirit guides, or if you prefer, my guardian angels. We all have them and they’re always with us—from our entry into this physical world at birth, to the time we are called back home. It’s that little voice that warns us something doesn’t seem right. It’s that reflex that makes the hairs on the back of our necks stand up. It’s that second-guessing that convinces us to delay a trip or to take a detour. It’s the whisper that seemingly comes out of nowhere when we suddenly think of a long-lost friend or relative right before they call. How many times have we had that happen and think “what a coincidence, I just thought of her yesterday!”

Sadly, many people are no longer tuned into their intuition, and they no longer hear their little voice. With all the static noise and stress we are subjected to from the artificially created environment of the world we live in: traffic, construction noise, work deadlines, family obligations, political messaging, and so on, most folks have forgotten that we are all spiritual beings in the midst of a physical existence. But with intention and practice, we can learn to tune out the static and reconnect with our innate ability to listen to that little voice.

 On several occasions, while driving and simultaneously deep in the imaginary world of a current book project, I’ve arrived at my final destination without being able to recall any part of the drive. How did I not end up in a ditch on the side of the road? Please keep in mind that I don’t imbibe or do drugs—although one time after driving home late at night through a torrent of rain and wind (it was a dark and windy night…), and not being able to recall most of that journey, a stiff drink would have been justified. Was one angel providing the crystal-clear imagery of my next chapter while another angel took the wheel and safely guided me home? To that end, I believe my guardian angels have worked with me when I am writing—from an idea that wakes me in the middle of the night, to when I’m searching for just the right phrase, or better yet, when I’ve finished several pages of dialogue between two or more characters, and I then have to read over what I couldn’t recall having written. Sure, my fingers were dancing all over the keyboard, but I am convinced that those characters, by way of that little voice (my guardian angels or spirit guides) dictated the direction, tone, and length of the conversation.

 For my fellow authors who might feel frustrated because of writer’s block, allow me to suggest that you stop trying to force the next paragraph, sentence, or word. Take a break. Go for a walk and enjoy a little fresh air and sunshine, listen to some beautiful inspirational music or simply turn off all the electronics and find a quiet, peaceful place to meditate. Make this a part of your routine and I’ll bet, without trying, your intuition will reconnect, your little voice will begin to sing, and your imagination will begin to flow. As I button this up, my angels are laughing right now because one of them just said they should receive equal billing on my book covers. What’s next, a percentage?




Richard I Levine is a native New Yorker raised in the shadows of Yankee Stadium. After dabbling in several occupations and a one-year coast to coast wanderlust trip, this one-time volunteer fireman, bartender, and store manager returned to school to become a chiropractor. A twenty-three-year cancer survivor, he’s a strong advocate for the natural healing arts. Levine has four Indy-published novels and his fifth work, To Catch The Setting Sun, is published by The Wild Rose Press and was released in August 2022. In 2006 he wrote, produced and was on-air personality of the Dr. Rich Levine show on Seattle’s KKNW 1150AM and after a twenty-five-year practice in Bellevue, Washington, he closed up shop in 2017 and moved to Oahu to pursue a dream of acting and being on Hawaii 5-O. While briefly working as a ghostwriter/community liaison for a local Honolulu City Councilmember, he appeared as a background actor in over twenty-five 5-Os and Magnum P.Is. Richard can be seen in his first co-star role in the Magnum P.I. third season episode “Easy Money”. He presently resides in Hawaii. Visit Richard’s Amazon Page or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Book review: The Body in Bounty Bay by K.T. McGivens

If you like suspenseful mysteries with a feisty female sleuth, a historical setting of yesteryear, and lots of intrigue along with a murder, pick up a copy of The Body in Bounty Bay: A Katie Porter Mystery by K.T. McGivens. This is the thirteenth book in the series and promises a suspenseful and baffling murder mystery. Katie Porter (a reporter at the Fairfield Gazette) and her handsome fiancé Jim Fielding join their friends, a married couple, Robert and Ruth Reed, for a vacation in the charming little town of Bounty. But as with most quaint towns of that nature, there is a dark side that reveals itself in a murder. Mystery seems to dog Katie’s heels, but then she is so very good at solving them that it appears to be quite natural. There is a large cast, but the author handles them adeptly, so the threads never get tangled. Each person has their part to play in this gripping murder mystery and there is a delicious sense of racing against time before the killer strikes again.

I am usually good at spotting the murderer in movies and books, but this one stumped me. I was truly shocked at the final reveal, after a few people could have been pegged for the murderer and one had even been arrested. The plot is intricate without being convoluted as it twists and turns and is detailed with being bogged down in minutiae. K.T. cleverly weaves a lot of back stories into the plot so naturally in the dialogue and the choices the characters make. Red herrings abound and this is a fun aspect.

This is set in an era (post-war) when there were no laptops, mobile phones, apps, and the like. I liked this attention to detail and discovering how crimes were solved and reporters did their jobs in what to many people are ‘the olden days.’ To me it is very much that people used (in Hercule Poirot’s words) their ‘little grey cells’ more than they do today. Katie’s skills include observation and deduction. It's not all about death and gory theories though. I enjoyed the inclusion of social issues and how the kind-hearted Land Girls reach out, despite potential threats, to those less fortunate. Their reward is utterly delightful, and I also did not see that one coming as well! The social mores of the era are observed so don’t scratch your head and wonder why Katie and Jim are not sharing a hotel room.

In the interests of full disclosure, I was ecstatic to have a character based on myself. I won’t spoil it for readers but, yes, I am in there and I am both flattered and honoured to have been granted this privilege. K.T. McGivens has an eye for character quirks and although this was a tad scary, no knowing what she would pick up from my Twitter timeline, I was very happy. Yes, I would jump into a river to save a dog in the middle of the night! Although this is book thirteen in the series, you won’t be lost. I had not read any previous books and found enough detail to fill me in on Katie and her background. So, if you are in the mood for a clever murder mystery set in an era when things moved at a more leisurely pace, and you fancy your own deductive powers alongside Katie Porter’s, The Body in Bounty Bay is the book for you! Like me, you may decide to start at the very beginning of the series and solve mysteries with this intrepid and intelligent sleuth!