Interviews. Reviews. Book Announcements.

Dedicated to writers, readers, and lovers of Paranormal Mystery everywhere!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Color of Clouds with J. C. Whyte!

Today I have the good fortune to have an interview with author J.C. Whyte!

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Q:  How is the title meaningful to the book?

A:  The clouds mentioned in the title are not really clouds at all. And along with the colors, they cannot be seen by the physical eye. It all has to do with what takes place in the unseen dimension beyond our physical world. Yet the colorful clouds play a huge part in this story where two people become trapped in the unseen dimension.

Q:  How is the main character like you?

A:  There are actually six main characters on a cruise ship crossing the Pacific. These six are assigned to the same dining table each night and soon become friends. But during their crossing, a series of natural as well as unnatural events converge upon the characters to threaten their very lives. A seventh character – the narrator – doesn’t even have a life, at least not at the time of the story. He’s dead spirit guide Pedro who communicates through the psychic in their group.

The only character I may be somewhat like is Deanna, the wife of skeptical physicist Paul who constantly pooh-poohs the otherworldly talk of the psychic. Like Deanna, I’m married to a die-hard scientist who believes in the infallibility of his chosen profession. Yet unlike physicist Paul, my scientist is open to the possibility of what lies beyond the visible realm.

Q:  What would you do over again if you could on this book?

A: That’s an impossible question to answer right now. The Color of Clouds was only just released this past spring, so I’m still extremely happy with the book.

If anything, I might work a bit on the dialogue, since that’s always a bit tricky for me.

Q:  How important is the setting to the story?

A:  I chose to place this story on a cruise ship crossing the Pacific because the characters cannot escape to safety. Not even a helicopter can reach the ship in the middle of the vast ocean. So they all must deal with the circumstances presented.

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  Nothing at the moment, sad to say. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer who waits until inspiration strikes. And at the moment, I’m too busy traveling and planning more travel to sit down and write. Hopefully, I’ll be including some of my travel adventures in an upcoming novel or two. That is, if and when the spirit next strikes.

J.C. Whyte discovered her love for writing while still in elementary school, creating children’s stories. But as an adult, J.C. had to face the harsh reality that such writing seldom pays the bills. So she earned degrees in both Journalism and Communications, and then turned to Public Relations, where for ten years she focused her creative energies into feature writing.

After marriage, kids, several more degrees and occupations (including stints as a travel agent and paralegal), J. C. entered law school. While there, she became a columnist for the school newsletter and later, one of her humorous articles was even published in The National Jurist.

Graduating and passing the Bar, J.C. realized within a few short years that creative writing was still what made her heart sing. So now, as a grandma, she has returned to where her life’s calling began, beginning in 2013 with publication of her children’s book Karmack and now in 2015 with her first novel for adults, The Color of Clouds.

 Buy links:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dying with the Paranormal at Heart by Tj O'Connor


Dying With The Paranormal At Heart
By Tj O'Connor

Dying is not for the faint of heart. Neither is being a dead detective—a Ghost Gumshoe. In fact, it’s downright unusual. Bizarre. Confusing. Often, just… weird.


Oliver “Tuck” Tucker is a dead detective—and often, a detective for the dead. In my first published series from Midnight Ink, Tuck is killed and returns to solve his own murder. What he doesn’t understand at first, is that his murder had to happen. It was ordained. There were victims waiting for him who needed him to solve their crimes, too. So, as the Ghost Gumshoe—a moniker I’m not entirely thrilled about (and neither is Tuck)—Tuck and his history professor wife, Angel, and his former partner Bear Braddock, solve murders. Oh, and Hercule helps, too. He’s Tuck’s dog—a black Lab with a nose for spirits and bad guys.

You see, Tuck has a gift. He can work with the living for the dead. For those wronged spirits—those murdered whose killers never faced justice—Tuck has become the detective for the dead. And, for his cases, there is no statute of limitations—in this lifetime or before.

With each of Tuck’s cases, my stories offer three important elements. First, there is the traditional murder that begins the case—Tuck’s murder in Dying to Know; a mysterious philanthropist in Dying for the Past; and in the upcoming Dying to Tell, the murder of a reclusive banker. There are historical subplots involving murders in years past—often decades past. In Dying to Know, Tuck chases a killer with connections to a Civil War gravesite and missing teenage girls from fifty years past. In Dying for the Past, Tuck searches for a 1939 gangster’s journal with the keys to crime families and spy rings in Washington DC. And, in Dying to Tell, there’s a World War II Egyptian treasure trove and German spies everywhere. And, finally, the current murder and the historical subplot all collide at the end to twist into a larger plot that connects the two. I don’t want to give away the endings so I won’t go into those details!

And how, might you ask, does Tuck and his partners solve murders from the distant past—Civil War graves? 1930’s gangsters? World War II spies? Easy. It’s the paranormal twist I add to each novel.

You see, being a dead detective is not offering up a ghost story. No. Tuck’s stories are traditional murder mysteries with a paranormal twist. Tuck uses some interesting skills in his living-challenged world to reach in and out of history to find clues and chase his killers.

For Tuck, being back among the living and not really one of them is a challenge. Not everyone can see or hear him. Those who can came by this connection very hard. It took an emotional connection—and sometimes a perilous one. And it’s the emotional side of Tuck’s existence that connects him to the dead. It’s their pain and their demand for justice that connects with Tuck and moves the stories forward.

Tuck learns more and more about his abilities with each book. At first, he’s just coming to grips with his new existence. He must learn to connect with people—whether they realize he’s doing it or not. Then he must learn what strange skills he has and how to use them to solve the murders. For instance, early on, Tuck learns that it’s emotions—hate, fear, love—that bind him to the world. And it’s those emotions that form the nexus between the historical murder he’s trying to solve and the modern one before him. Often, the dead seek him out and tell their own stories—not directly, mind you—but with snippets of their past and clues here and there. Tuck can often touch someone’s personal object—a ring, a necklace, letters, etc.—and he’s flashed to a place and time where something meaningful has happened in the case—a murder scene, a witness’s viewpoint, perhaps a lead on the suspects. Unfortunately for Tuck, the vignettes are not always clear. And they’re not always meaningful until the rest of his case plays out. His trips into the past and present taunt him and pull him through his investigation but never really lead him to the killer. Not until it’s time.

Then, wham. The historical murder collides with the present-day and the sparks start flying.

Tuck’s skills are not without error, however. He doesn’t have the gift of clairvoyance and has no claim to a crystal ball. Instead, it’s like watching an old movie that’s been damaged by the years.  Sometimes the clues are there. Sometimes they’re missing. Sometimes what he sees is real—and sometimes it leads him down the wrong path. But always they have meaning. He just isn’t sure he likes it!

And Tuck has some help along the way, too. In each book, we learn more about Tuck’s family past. He grew up in foster care and never knew his family. Now, though, he’s learning that being a ghost is hereditary. He just isn’t sure he likes it. With each story, Tuck’s family lore comes out and tells the story of how Oliver Tucker and his family have been integrally linked to crime and adventure for generations. And not always on the right side of the law, either.

So for Tuck—who really tells the story, not me—it’s his life and death that make the mysteries. And to connect all the dots from past to present, he has a few paranormal tricks up his sleeves to bind history—and the killers—together.

But in the end, it’s the living, not the dead, who are most dangerous.

Tj O’CONNOR IS THE 2015 GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS BOOK AWARDS FOR MYSTERIES and the author of Dying to Know and Dying for the Past, available in books stores and e-books from Midnight Ink. His third paranormal mystery, DYING TO TELL, will be released January 2016. He is currently working on a traditional mystery and a new thriller. Tj is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the Americas—among others. He was raised in New York's Hudson Valley and lives with his wife and Lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children. Dying to Know is also a Foreword Review’s 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award finalist.

Learn about Tj’s world at:

Web Site:

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Watery Death by Joyce and Jim Lavene

A Watery Death
By Joyce and Jim Lavene
Missing Pieces Mystery #8 

It’s the Fourth of July weekend in Duck, North Carolina and twenty-thousand visitors are on hand to enjoy the parade, the festivities – and learn about the murder of Captain Bill Lucky.

Lucky is the captain of the new gambling ship, Andalusia II, which is modeled after the famous ghost ship that haunts the small town on the Outer Banks.

Whispers of unusual sea creatures surround Lucky’s death.  It isn’t the first time that mermaids have been seen in Duck, but it’s the first time one of them has been accused of murder.

Mayor Dae O’Donnell has her hands full with setting up the parade, convincing her friend Trudy she shouldn’t call off her wedding, and getting her shop, Missing Pieces, ready for the summer crowd.  

Dae doesn’t ask to be involved in Lucky’s death, but she can’t ignore it. 

If someone from the sea isn’t his killer, who is? And will he or she strike again to lay the blame on the town’s watery visitors?

“Fourth of July Weekend in Duck, Parades, festivities and Captain Lucky is murdered. Who would have wanted the captain of the gambling ship dead......was it a mermaid/merman who killed him? You have to read this book for yourself to find out. Wonderful story, with characters that I have grown to care about. Can't wait for the next one!!” ~ Amy Connolley

“Readers will find themselves drawn into the investigation of the death. Throw in a little ghostly activity, the promise of a pirates’ treasure, and the reader will be hooked.” ~ Fresh Fiction

“As is typical with the Lavenes’ cozy mysteries, this one is filled with likable (if eccentric) characters and boasts a vividly realized small-town setting. The combination of small-town ambience, a psychic main character, and plenty of antiques should give the authors plenty to work with in subsequent adventures.” ~ Booklist

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Deadlines: A Written to Death Mystery by E. Hepner

Deadlines: A Written to Death Mystery
Written to Death Mysteries Book 1
Kindle Edition
E. Hepner

Ainsley Moss never thought she’d become a representative for the dead. But as a newbie obituary writer for the Aurora Fall’s Guardian, she gets a sneak peek at her new profession. Her ex-best friend and rival newspaper worker turns up blue and stiff as a board in the women’s bathroom—after they’ve had a less than civil confrontation.

Ainsley’s in the habit of memorializing the dead, not finding them. But now she’s saddled with a motive for murder—killing to drum up obituaries in order to further her career in a dying newspaper business where everything is going digital.

When another victim meets his maker with a connection to the first victim, Ainsley has to make nice with a hard ass, bombshell Detective who’s dead set on closing the case or risk the calm of their cozy town. Ainsley’s charming, ex-boyfriend turned roommate Gage Sullivan comes to her aid as they throw themselves into deadly research. Every obituary interview brings them that much closer to finding a killer connection. While fighting her new rep as a prime suspect, her matchmaking, Stepford mother is intent on keeping her daughter’s dirty laundry under wraps and her sex addicted wealthy grandparents want to buy her way out of jail. Or at least help her learn how to make a shiv.

None too thrilled with the idea of making friends with a cell mate named Betty the Bruiser, she’ll wade knee deep into a cesspool of the town’s secrets, gossip, and lies. But with a whacky cast of characters hell bent on keeping the peace, no bit of personal information is sacred. They have to find a killer—before Ainsley loses her freedom and her chance to make peace with a fate that scares her more than anything else in life.

Meet the Author 
E. Hepner is the cozy mystery pen name of erotica and erotic romance author Elise Hepner. She writes small town heroines with an alternative edge put in big time situations where death, hijinks, and overall shenanigans ensue on a daily basis. Also a little romance--which they may or may not be ready for, given the pile up of dead bodies. When not thinking about corpses and trickery she's planted in front of the TV petting her demanding cat or looking up things on Google that she really doesn't want on her internet history.

Available at: 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bubba Done It By Maggie Toussaint

I'm welcoming talented author Maggie Toussaint to my Paranormal Mysteries Blog today. Her new book is Bubba Done It - an unlikely title for a paranormal mystery but Maggie's Dreamwalker Mysteries are great!

Welcome to my paranormal mystery blog, Maggie!

1. Bubba Done It is the second book in your Dreamwalker Mysteries. Please give us a brief synopsis of the story.

Thanks for the warm welcome, Joyce! I’m delighted to be here at Writers and Readers of Paranormal Mystery. My newest book, Bubba Done It, is both paranormal and cozy. Amateur sleuth Baxley Powell, a woman who talks to the dead in her dreams, now has an “in” with the cops and is a bona fide police consultant. Baxley and the sheriff are summoned to a crime scene arriving just in time to hear the dying banker confess who stabbed him: Bubba Done It.

While the sheriff believes he can solve this homicide in a day or two, Baxley knows their town is full of Bubbas. Among the top 5 suspects is her screw-up brother-in-law, Bubba Powell. She’s known this Bubba all his life, and he wouldn’t hurt a flea, would he? Turns out he’s seeing the dead man’s estranged wife. Suddenly everything gets more complicated for Baxley.

She dreamwalks to talk to the dead guy, but a scary entity has taped his mouth shut. Said entity shows up throughout the book, needling Baxley and finally helping her when her dad goes AWOL on the Other Side. Meanwhile, Baxley and the sheriff sift through the Bubbas’ lives.  The top suspects are a down-on-his-luck fisherman, a crackhead evangelist, a politically-connected investor, and her brother in-law. Each Bubba had a combination of means, motive, and opportunity to want to get rid of the banker.

Baxley gets distracted by a cold case, that of the dead man’s missing niece. She wonders if the two cases are connected and tries to prove it while she’s also pet sitting and landscaping, her other day jobs. The banker’s funeral arrives, and the funeral reception is marred by a food fight as the Bubbas feel the heat of the investigation.
The screws tighten, and Baxley’s life is on the line. Will she find the killer before he takes her out of the picture?

2.  How do you come up with your titles?

Titles are very important to me. I’d like to say that I have an organized process for selecting a title, but I don’t want to mislead you. I’ve now published 13 books, and of those, only one title was modified by a publisher, and that was to add the comma in Death, Island Style.

Brainstorming helps. I jot down ideas for titles as they come to me. Every possibility seems brilliant when I write them down. It takes several days for me to figure out which title is right for the book. My first mystery series was about an accountant, and coins factored in all the titles: In For a Penny, On the Nickel, and Dime If I Know.

This book was always going to be Bubba Done It. Once the idea settled in my head, I got right to work on writing the book. I need the right title before I can get started.

3. Are you ever worried that your books are too ‘Southern’ to have a large audience?

Sure, I worry about this, but then I think about Margaret Mitchell. She wrote Gone With The Wind very Southern, and most everyone has heard of her book. I enjoy writing Southern because I am Southern. This type of story comes the most naturally to me. Initially, I wrote other books set in Maryland that weren’t as Southern, but I love the challenge of writing every woman stories into my fiction. The Southern part comes across as my branding, which works for me.

4. Please describe your writing process.

You would ask this ((grin)). I started out writing as an outliner, then I tried winging a few books. Painful lesson learned: winging it means side trips to nowhere and lots of rewriting. Now I have major plot points I write to. Once I start a book, I set word count goals for each week. Mornings are my golden power hours.

5. Please tell us something about yourself and how you relate to this book.

I’m of the generation that started out with no television, though TV quickly became a staple in our household. In our rural Southern community, we only received three stations, and they all went off the air at midnight when I was a kid.

My aunts, uncles, cousins, and the entire neighborhood valued oral story telling. I literally grew up at the knees of fabulous story tellers. The best stories were of disasters and scariness. Ghosts were a frequent character in the stories, and several relatives claimed to see ghosts.

I soaked it all in like a sponge. I don’t consider myself to be psychic though I sometimes get “a feeling” about this, that, or the other. In Bubba Done It, I live vicariously through Baxley’s adventures on this side of the dirt and the other. For me, it’s a matter of parsing together Christian teaching, a belief in life after death, a lifetime of interest in the paranormal, and making up stuff to make it all work out. I love this job!

6. What do you do to celebrate a new book coming out?

Book launches! I have branched out from the local booksignings I do to include Facebook parties, blog tours like this Great Escapes Blog Tour, special edition newsletters, library mailings, and blitzing all my social media. Contests and giveaways increase interest as does cool swag. Dinner out is a nice touch, as well.

7. Do you have any input into the covers?

Absolutely. Every publisher I’ve ever worked with had cover input sections in their guidelines packets. I’ve been very pleased with the cover artists I’ve had. Three of my backlist titles, which are now in Kindle format, I reissued and created the covers for. The process is time consuming, and it really made me appreciate a good cover artist all the more.

8. What is your dream review?

One that goes viral and thousands of people buy my books. The dream review would truthfully make my books sound like the best thing since sliced bread, and it would be posted where lots of people would encounter it.

9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I’m not a huge traveler, but I have spent some time overseas and some time seeing the sights in the U.S. For nearly 30 years, I lived in Maryland, returning to Georgia about ten years ago. Again, not a vast amount of travel experience, but just enough to know that I wouldn’t live anywhere else but coastal Georgia. There is no place like home.

10. What are you working on now?

Another mystery! I’ve got a total of four books written in my Dreamwalker mystery series and only three books in my Cleopatra Jones mystery series. Seemed like I should spend more time with Cleo, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

Thanks so much for having me, Joyce.

Bubba Done It is available in hardcover format at online retailers. The ebook (digital) format of the book will show up on those book pages as well for you folks who prefer digital books.

Bubba Done It at Amazon

Bubba Done It at Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Blood Gifted by Tima Marie Lacoba

Bloodgifted (The Dantonville Legacy Book 1) 
By Tima Maria Lacoba

Being unable to age is only the beginning.

Laura Dantonville is shocked to learn her strange genetic mutation, is linked to a dark family secret—a centuries-old curse that turned her Roman ancestor into a vampire. Now that she has come of age, she is the key to breaking that curse. But she’s also the prey of rogue vampires who inhabit the city’s frightening and violent underworld, as her blood gives them the ability to daywalk. For her protection she’s assigned a guardian—the handsome, sexy and dangerous Alec Munro—who wants nothing to do with her.

If not for her family, Alec Munro would never have been transformed into a vampire. He owes them nothing, yet he also knows his own fated role in breaking the curse, and the unthinkable consequences should he not accept.

To the Brethren, the ending of the curse spells disaster. Among a powerful few malice grows.

Bio for Tima Maria Lacoba

Tima Maria Lacoba is a paranormal, urban fantasy romance writer, who loves to include a bit of history, a bit of suspense and lots of thrills in her books. Her Dantonville Legacy Series--although set in modern-day Sydney--spans a two-thousand year period, and the ending of an ancient curse.

Both Bloodgifted and Bloodpledge, the first two books in the series, were in Amazon's Top 100 in Gothic Romance. Bloodgifted was also awarded 4th place in the Atlas Award, and Top Ten in the annual Choclit Competition.

Tima lives on the Central Coast, an hour's drive north of Sydney in Australia in a little house surrounded by bushland, possums and seed-dropping Rosellas on one side, and waterways on the other.

Prior to that she was a practicing archaeologist, having worked on some amazing digs around the world. After several years in the field she was drawn to teaching and ended up as Head of History in a local high school. It enabled her to take her students overseas to visit various archaeological sites in Europe and Britain. It was a way for her to combine her love of history with travel, and share it with others. On one tour, in Italy, she managed to indulge her other passion--gelato ice cream.

Nowadays, when not working in her garden, Tima's writing and plotting the next series of books.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Dead Girl Blues By Joyce and Jim Lavene

Dead Girl Blues

A Taxi for the Dead Novel
By Joyce and Jim Lavene

By the National Bestselling Authors of Broken Hearted Ghoul and Dae’s Christmas Past

When Nashville cop Skye Mertz and her husband, Jacob, are killed in a wreck, Skye is given the opportunity to come back for twenty years to raise her five-year-old daughter, Kate. With her ghostly mother-in-law’s help, Skye hopes to be there until Kate is old enough to take care of herself.

But three years into her twenty-year service to Abraham Lincoln Jones, the man who gave her the extra time, Skye is beginning to think life might have been easier before she died.

Abe asks her to investigate the murder of his sorcerer, Harold the Great, a man who was a victim of too many snakes. And the Life Extended People ( LEPs – a nice term for zombies) who work for Abe have begun turning into ghosts and disappearing. Only Lucas, the possibly evil, amnesiac sorcerer who lives with Skye and her family, can save her from being the next victim of the deadly curse.

To make matters more complicated, Skye has found a lead in solving the riddle of her husband’s death. She has never believed Jacob died as a result of the crash, but hasn’t been able to prove it. Many other people have lost their lives in the same lonely stretch of highway that he did three years before. Skye goes against Abe’s express wishes to discover the truth with a crazy man bent on vengeance.

Life was simpler when she could just take out a gun and shoot someone.

Praise for the fantasy mysteries of Joyce and Jim Lavene:

Missing Pieces Mysteries:
“Paranormal amateur sleuth fans will enjoy observing Dae use cognitive and ESP mental processes to uncover a murderer…Readers will enjoy.” ~ Midwest Book Review

Renaissance Faire Mysteries
 “Murderous Matrimony is the first book Ren Faire Mysteries that I have read. It is not only a cozy mystery, but full of surprises. It is charming, silly, fantasy, history, romantic, haunted and crazy. You are not sure what to believe is real, and what parts are not.  The characters are a variety of fun and crazy people. They have wizards, a fortune teller, and more fun characters waiting for you in every chapter.” ~ R. Laney

Retired Witches Mysteries:

“A delightful premise, a couple of enchanting protagonists, and cats as essential familiars . . . It is a promising series for urban fantasy and paranormal mystery readers.”—Library Journal

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, best-selling mystery fiction and urban fantasy as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at

Book One in the Taxi for the Dead Paranormal Mysteries:

Broken Hearted Ghoul