Spotlight & Excerpt: Politics Makes Strange Deadfellows + Giveaway

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Politics Makes Strange Deadfellows

Kate Matthews Mystery Series Book 2

by Jane DiLucchio

Genre: Cozy LGBTQ Mystery

 

Kate Matthews expected to face challenges when she was elected to the Santa Barbara City Council. She hadn’t counted on her sister-in-law, Michelle, being one of them.

Kate understood that Michelle was mentally ill and periodically homeless. What she didn’t understand was why Michelle turned up in Santa Barbara only to disappeared again—until the police announced that Michelle was wanted in connection with a murder.

Wading through the morass of Michelle’s life in order to find out the truth while also handling Council politics and issues proves to be more complicated than Kate could ever have anticipated. When her wife and children become entangled in the quagmire, Kate finds out just how much she is willing to do to save her family.

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politicsmakestrangedeadfellows - excerpt

Celia Tucker, California Coastal Commissioner and all-around pain in the butt, was my regular massage client Sunday afternoons. As I parked the car in the driveway of her ocean-view home, I took deep, centering breaths, knowing that Celia’s high energy level required me to be even calmer than usual during a session.
A gush of wind greeted me when I opened the unlocked front door. A gray, marble-floored entry led to a wide living room framed by windows and glass French doors overlooking the distant ocean.
I called my greetings as I set up the massage table between the couch and the fireplace. I covered the table with my usual soft, flannel sheets then topped it with an 800-thread-count linen that Celia had left out for me. She preferred the feel of her Egyptian cotton next to her bare skin.

As I spread the oil on her exposed leg, Celia screamed, “My back! My back’s burning!” She jerked herself upright on the massage table. As she sat up, the sheet fell from her shoulders. Red welts were forming on her back. “Epi. EpiPen.”
Celia’s gasp and waving arm propelled me to her purse. I dug through it and located the plastic tube. Mentally reviewing the instructions Celia had given me when I first started working with her, I popped open the top and slid the pen out of the holder. Grasping it firmly in my fist, I flipped up the safety lid and then pushed the pen against Celia’s thigh. I held it there as I counted ten long seconds. Each second was accompanied by wheezes from Celia’s constricting trachea. Her lips were swelling.
I tossed the pen aside and scanned the room for Celia’s phone while I massaged the medication into her leg. In those scant seconds, redness spread across the leg I had just oiled.
I sprinted across the room to an end table beside the couch, grabbed the phone, and punched in 9-1-1.
Despite the epinephrine, Celia’s breathing worsened. The emergency dispatcher stayed on the line as I detailed the developments. As she was describing what I might do in order to help Celia breathe, the EMTs pounded on the door.


Going Coastal

Kate Matthews Mystery Series Book 1

 

A client dying on her massage table is traumatic enough for Kate Matthews, but when the police declare that death a homicide, her life is upended as she is cast as the major suspect.


None of this is what Kate expected from her move to the peaceful, beach town of Santa Barbara, California. After a near-fatal heart attack, an early retirement from her Los Angeles law firm, and a change in careers, Kate envisioned a quiet life with her wife, Alicia, and their grown children.


Since her client, Celia Tucker, held a politically-influential position on the California Coastal Commission, the murder becomes a media event. Kate finds herself and her family sucked into the maelstrom. The former lawyer has all she can do to find the truth behind Celia’s death without adding her own name to the body count.

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politicsmakestrangedeadfellows - excerpt

Celia Tucker, California Coastal Commissioner and all-around pain in the butt, was my regular massage client Sunday afternoons. As I parked the car in the driveway of her ocean-view home, I took deep, centering breaths, knowing that Celia’s high energy level required me to be even calmer than usual during a session.
A gush of wind greeted me when I opened the unlocked front door. A gray, marble-floored entry led to a wide living room framed by windows and glass French doors overlooking the distant ocean.
I called my greetings as I set up the massage table between the couch and the fireplace. I covered the table with my usual soft, flannel sheets then topped it with an 800-thread-count linen that Celia had left out for me. She preferred the feel of her Egyptian cotton next to her bare skin.

As I spread the oil on her exposed leg, Celia screamed, “My back! My back’s burning!” She jerked herself upright on the massage table. As she sat up, the sheet fell from her shoulders. Red welts were forming on her back. “Epi. EpiPen.”
Celia’s gasp and waving arm propelled me to her purse. I dug through it and located the plastic tube. Mentally reviewing the instructions Celia had given me when I first started working with her, I popped open the top and slid the pen out of the holder. Grasping it firmly in my fist, I flipped up the safety lid and then pushed the pen against Celia’s thigh. I held it there as I counted ten long seconds. Each second was accompanied by wheezes from Celia’s constricting trachea. Her lips were swelling.
I tossed the pen aside and scanned the room for Celia’s phone while I massaged the medication into her leg. In those scant seconds, redness spread across the leg I had just oiled.
I sprinted across the room to an end table beside the couch, grabbed the phone, and punched in 9-1-1.
Despite the epinephrine, Celia’s breathing worsened. The emergency dispatcher stayed on the line as I detailed the developments. As she was describing what I might do in order to help Celia breathe, the EMTs pounded on the door.


Jane DiLucchio is a late bloomer when it comes to writing.

She spent many years as a teacher (first elementary school and later at the community college level), massage therapist, and backyard farmer before giving in to the little voices that kept sounding off in her head.

Since there’s a thin line between a psychotic and a writer (psychotics try to convince everyone that the voices they hear are real; writers write it down and tell everyone its fiction), Jane finally decided to give in to the voices rather than undergo intensive psychotherapy.

Jane and her wife are raising their two cats in a loving home in Southern California. (Actually, the cats allow Jane and Sue to live with them in return for certain personal services, but that’s another story entirely.) Jane continues to raise crops, travel, write, and spend time with her friends and family – all activities she loves.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: You’ll Be Fine + Giveaway

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Book Title: You’ll Be Fine

Author: Jen Michalski

Publisher: NineStar Press

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: August 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary F/F Romance, Family comedy, trans character

Tropes:  Comedy of errors, love triangle

Theme:  Forgiveness

Heat Rating: 2 flames     

Length: 77 900 words/ 343 pages

It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.

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you'll be fine

Second chances don’t mean repeating the same mistakes

Blurb  

After Alex’s mother passes away, Alex takes leave from her job as a writer for a lifestyle magazine to return home to Maryland and join her brother Owen, a study in failure to launch, in sorting out their mother’s whimsical, often self-destructive, life.

While home, Alex plans to profile Juliette Sprigg, an Eastern Shore restaurant owner and celebrity chef in the making who Alex secretly dated in high school. And when Alex enlists the help of Carolyn, the editor of the local newspaper, in finding a photographer for the article’s photo shoot, Alex struggles with the deepening, tender relationship that blossoms between them as well.

To complicate matters, Alex and Owen’s “Aunt” Johanna, who has transitioned to a woman, offers to come from Seattle to help with arrangements, and all hell breaks loose when she announces she is actually Alex and Owen’s long-estranged father. Can Alex accept her mother and father for who they are, rather than who she hoped they would be? And can Alex apply the same philosophy to herself?

“An enjoyable story about an adult trying to grow up.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

 

Excerpt 

The last time she’d seen Juliette was high school graduation. They hadn’t spoken for weeks, and their last names—Sprigg and Maas—ensured they’d be nowhere near each other in the audience of graduating seniors. Alex had told Owen and her mother to meet her in the parking lot after the ceremony. She had no intention of lingering in the high school gym, drinking fruit punch and eating sheet cake emblazoned with GO SENIORS and CONGRATULATIONS with the other kids who’d treated her like she was some highly contagious lesbian fungus.

She’d gotten through the first row of cars and spotted her mother in the fourth row, near the exit, leaning against their Subaru. Her mother wore Ray Bans and a black fedora, her arms crossed like she was the third Blues Brother or had materialized from some mid-80s new wave music video. As Alex raised her hand to wave to her, she felt another hand on her shoulder.

“Alex.” It was Juliette’s mother, Barbara Sprigg. She wore a floral print dress with a ruffled collar. A small crucifix hugged her thick neck. Her hair was red like Juliette’s but her face ruddier, plastered with freckles. She smiled. “You’re in a hurry! Congratulations!”

“Thanks.” Alex glanced over Mrs. Sprigg’s shoulder, saw Juliette, still in her graduation gown, lagging behind with her father and little sister. “My mom is taking us out to dinner.”

“Oh, I won’t keep you.” Mrs. Sprigg said, clasping Alex’s forearm as she did so. “You haven’t been by the house for a long time—Juliette says you’ve been so busy getting ready for Swarthmore. I’m sure your mother is so proud.”

“Uh huh.” Alex nodded. “I know Juliette is excited to go to Eastern Shore State.”

“Well, she’s⎯” Mrs. Sprigg glanced over her shoulder, “never been much of the academic type. I’m just glad I taught her to bake.”

“It’s a shame they didn’t let you guys supply the cakes.” Juliette’s mother ran a bake shop in town. Even now, she smelled faintly of sugar and frosting.

“Well, they wanted some asinine discount,” Mrs. Sprigg snorted. “Because Juliette is a student. Fine, but a 50% discount?”

“It was very nice to talk to you.” Alex tugged her arm away gently. “But I’ve got to go.”

“Is everything okay at home now, dear?” Mrs. Sprigg looked in the direction of the Subaru.

“Yes, why?” Alex glanced at Juliette again, her dark red hair, the few strands that stuck to her lip gloss. Alex wondered if the lip gloss smelled like mint, or strawberry. She wondered how Juliette’s hair would feel splayed between her fingers at that moment.

“Okay. I’m glad.” Mrs. Sprigg nodded, and Alex wondered what Juliette had told her. There was a lot, she thought, she could tell Mrs. Sprigg about Juliette.

They embraced, a half, light, back-patting hug, their cheeks brushing.

“Stay away from my daughter,” Mrs. Sprigg murmured into Alex’s ear. Then, as if nothing happened, Mrs. Sprigg waved vigorously and went to join the rest of the Spriggs. Stunned, Alex watched them walk toward their Buick. Before they reached it, Juliette turned her head, her mouth parted, her eyes searching Alex’s. Alex wondered, for a moment, if she had been too hasty, too harsh, to Juliette, if there was something salvageable between them.

No, she decided. Her life after high school would be awesome, and she wouldn’t remember Juliette any more than their high school mascot or her mom’s boyfriend Lewis. She held up her hand to Juliette, as if to wave. Instead, she gave her the finger and joined Owen and her mother at the other side of the parking lot.

“Did you just flip someone off?” Her mother lowered her sunglasses. Her hazel eyes bored into Alex with an unwavering intensity of a gamma ray. “At graduation?”

“It was Juliette,” Alex murmured, shaking her head. In her new life, she would be more mature. She felt fears in her eyes. “I shouldn’t have. I just—”

“Are you kidding?” Her mother grabbed Alex by the shoulders and looked up at her. She grinned. Alex noted her mother had borrowed her lipstick. “I’m more proud of that than your stupid diploma.”

Her mother pulled a pack of Benson & Hedges out of her dark cotton blazer with the rolled-up sleeves and tapped out a cigarette.

“Smoke?” She held out the pack to Alex. “You’re almost eighteen.”

Alex shook her head. “I don’t want lung cancer.”

“Your choice.” Her mother shrugged, lighting hers. She took a drag, then exhaled with a flourish. “Welcome to adulthood.”

 

About the Author 

Jen Michalski is the author of three novels, The Summer She Was Under Water, The Tide King (both Black Lawrence Press), and You’ll Be Fine (NineStar Press), a couplet of novellas entitled Could You Be With Her Now (Dzanc Books), and three collections of fiction. Her work has appeared in more than 100 publications, including Poets & Writers, The Washington Post, and the Literary Hub, and she’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize six times. She lives in Carlsbad, California, with her partner and dog.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebooks/paperback copies of You’ll Be Fine (reader’s choice)

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Book Blitz: Assembling the Wingpeople, by Nicky Bond

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Assembling the Wingpeople
by Nicky Bond
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Pages: 262

Can Tilda uproot her life and start again when her personality avoids risk-taking at every opportunity? Is Bea really in love with Mal or is her HRT causing emotional turbulence? And how long can Stewart use his estranged father’s death as the reason he has given up on himself?

Three people; three works in progress. Perhaps all it takes is one great weekend of connection, some belting nineties tunes, and a reminder of who they used to be before life got in the way.

From the author of Carry the Beautiful, Assembling the Wingpeople is a witty and honest look at getting older, the hang ups that never leave, and the struggle to find meaning without the societal brownie points of kids, spouse, and career.

Author Bio:
Nicky Bond was born in Liverpool, UK, in 1978. The eldest of seven children, she found books were a perfect way to drown out the lively household around her, and meant her hands were never free to change a nappy. She studied Psychology and English Literature at University College Northampton, before embarking upon a career in Education. Twelve years later, she stopped procrastinating and got writing.

Her first novel, Carry the Beautiful, was published in 2017. Her second, for pre-teens and those that care for them – Leeza McAuliffe Has Something To Say – came out in 2019. Assembling the Wingpeople – the sequel to Carry the Beautiful – will be published in Autumn 2021. Nicky is a regular supporter of Liverpool Women Football Club, relaxes by cooking, and spends a lot of time drinking tea.

Nicky Bond author photo

Twitter/ Instagram: @BondieLa