#BookTour “Dead in the Alley” by Sharon Michalove

Dead in the Alley by Sharon Michalove BannerJuly 18 – August 12, 2022 Virtual Book Tour






When Bay Bishop’s husband was murdered in the alley behind their northern Michigan restaurant, she thought she’d lost the love of her life.

Now she’s a suspect.

And her high-school boyfriend, who left her broken-hearted years ago, is one of the detectives on the case.

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery

Published by: Indie Published

Publication Date: August 10, 2022

Number of Pages: 320

ISBN: 978-1-7369187-4-6

Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Kindle Unlimited


Read an excerpt:

Derrick Anderson walked out the back door of the restaurant kitchen, pulling out a pack of cigarettes and his lighter. His wife, Bay, didn’t like him smoking but he definitely needed one, or three, to be the genial host this evening.

He didn’t mind that his day started at 3:00 a.m. The quiet in the restaurant soothed him and he forgot everything while he baked all the bread and prepared the desserts for the evening, maybe even try out a new idea or two. Then he’d take a nap before helping Bay set up the tables for the dinner service.

Today had been fraught. When he got back late in the day, he’d had it out with Vince about the missing cases of wine and, despite the man’s protestations of innocence, gave him his notice. Then he had a call from Wally Volker, their financial backer. Derrick needed to break Wally’s stranglehold on his balls before he left for a new life in the Maldives. A friend there had offered him the chance to manage the four themed restaurants at a new luxury resort. Besides the career boost, diving and surfing made the whole package irresistible. Why had he thought that Michigan would be a good place to escape his New York problems?

Just now, he’d had an argument with the sous chef, Ellen Paschen, and needed to cool off. He dropped the cigarette butt and ground it viciously with his toe when he heard the roar of a motorcycle revving up…


Chapter 1

New Eleanor, Michigan

The back door had slammed on the suffocating kitchen atmosphere. Derrick going out to the alley for a smoke, even though he knew I wanted him to stop. Ellen, our sous chef, glowered over a lemon sauce. Vince, our sommelier, leaned sulkily against the backdoor. Leaving them to brood on their own, I did a last-minute check of the fifteen tables for the first dinner service. We were booked for both seatings.

As the only fine-dining establishment in Sherburne, we realized early on that having set dining times worked better than a constant stream of customers. People from all over the area, both locals and tourists, had embraced the concept and our restaurant over the last two years. Our dream of creating a destination restaurant in my Northern Michigan hometown had become a reality.

We renovated a disused 1889 brewery located on the edge of town, close to the highway, creating the perfect space for our upscale restaurant. The venture cost more money than we planned, so we found a guy in Detroit who specialized in funding start-ups.

Rubbing my back as I straightened up for the last time, I looked with pride at the dining room. We had wanted an upscale but rustic feel. Snowy white tablecloths were covered with Inox hammered stainless-steel silverware; the handles designed to look like twigs. Handmade pottery that looked like the lakeshore in blues, greens, purple, and sand, came from Claybanks Pottery, down the road in New Era. Deep forest green napkins were folded into double stars, part of our signature look. In a few short years, Derrick and I had managed to make a success of our move from the frenzy of the New York City restaurant scene to my hometown of Sherburne, Michigan.

Above the dark paneled wainscoting, we had exposed brick darkened from years of brewing. Rough hardwood flooring stained black, and a pressed-tin ceiling enhanced the antique look. We festooned one exposed brick wall with enormous prints. Derrick matched his brilliance as a pastry chef with a natural gift for photography. His award-winning pictures illustrated our cookbook, Sherburne Bistro: American Classics.

Breathing deeply, I drank in the scent of grouse that permeated the space. Today marked the opening of grouse season in Michigan and our special prix fixe menu featured a British-themed dinner for tonight. Derrick’s friend, Jason, and my brother, Toby, went out hunting a couple of days ago, giving me time to hang them before plucking and cleaning them. I had brined them using a mixture of hard apple cider, fresh orange juice and peel, herbs, and spices for four hours. Then I put a sprinkling of bay leaves into the pan, giggling a little while I brushed olive oil over their fragrant flesh. My parents loved trees in the laurel family and named the three of us girls Laurel, Bay, and Olivia—guess they couldn’t stomach Olive. They told us that they expected all their children to be crowned with success, but maybe my capricious fairy godmother thought with a name like Bay, fate meant me to be a chef.

Looking at the array of oysters heaped up, ready to be opened, I reached for one and rubbed my thumb over the shell, admiring the geologic pattern. Then I picked up the curved oyster knife sitting nearby. Prying it open, I examined the flesh clinging to the pearlescent interior, then lowered my nose to inhale the scent of the ocean, briny and enticing. I loosened the flesh and slid the mollusk into my mouth, savoring the salty, mineral flavor. I had to walk away, before I ate them all.

We’d had a special menu printed up for the dinner, which I laid carefully on top of each plate, planning to offer it once a week through the end of the year.

Sherburne Bistro
The Glorious Grouse Dinner
Basket of Breads

Oysters with champagne mignonette

Rhode Island Moonstone ◾ Maine Glidden Point, Belon, Pemaquid ◾ Chesapeake Bay Olde Salt ◾ Washington State Shigoku, Kumamoto ◾ California Pacific Gold


Frisée with foie gras, pear, and cherries dressed with oil and sherry vinegar

Main Course

Whole roasted grouse napped with a wild cranberry game sauce
Pilaf of rice and mixed mushrooms garnished with chopped hazelnuts
Sweet and sour red cabbage

Dessert Selection

Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake. Cambridge Burnt Creme.
Sticky toffee pudding. Cranachan. Treacle tart

Cheese Plate

White Stilton with mango and ginger
Colton Bassett Stilton
Montgomery’s Farmhouse Cheddar
Parmigiano Reggiano DOP
Water biscuits made in-house

Hearing Ellen’s bad-tempered instructions to the commis, I went back into the open kitchen with its Wolf range and two freestanding ovens—a deck oven for breads and a convection oven for pastry. When I heard the sound of a motorcycle revving up outside over Ellen’s harangue, I saw the door to the alley propped open. Vince must have gone out to join Derrick in a last cigarette. The skid, the scream, and the sound of breaking glass got my attention. Vince barreled through the door and grabbed me by the shoulders. “You don’t want to go out there, Bay.”

I tried to push around him. “Why not?”

“Oh my God. Derrick,” he choked out, eyes rolling. “It’s…it’s a hit and run. Call 911.”

“An ambulance?”

He shook his head. “Too late for that. Just have the police come.”

Vince dropped heavily to a chair and clutched the sides of his head with shaking hands. When he finally looked up at me, his eyes were swollen, and rivulets ran down his cheeks. He kept clearing his throat, but no words came out.

I stumbled across the room to the phone at the reservation stand and dialed 911 and gave them the small amount of information I had. They told me to stay on the phone until someone arrived. Only a few minutes elapsed before I heard the sirens. I informed the dispatcher, hung up, then went back to Vince. He watched as a team of police officers exited the two squad cars. An ambulance pulled up behind them.

Putting a hand on his shoulder, I tried to shake him to attention.

When he turned to look at me, tears dripped from his red-rimmed, swollen eyes. “Hit by a motorcycle. When I got out there, the rider peeled out. Left him there, surrounded by trash, broken and bleeding. I rushed over but he… he… died. Never said a word.”

Tremors hit me. I sank to my knees as the sound of screaming enveloped me. “Dead, dead, no, no, no.” I wanted the voice to shut up, leave me to mourn. My voice. And I couldn’t stop the screaming or the tears as I curled on the floor in a ball of despair.

I don’t know how long I lay there, helpless to do anything more than cry. By the time the police swarmed in, Vince had helped me to my feet and got me into a chair. With the backdoor open, late afternoon sun lit the scene, but my vantage point didn’t allow me to see Derrick.

I looked down and my watch glinted back at me. We were supposed to open in a little over an hour. Vince hovered in the corner. I called out. “Vince, could you put a sign on the door and start calling people with reservations? Tell them we’re closed.”

He nodded and walked toward the reservation stand.

“Mrs. Anderson?” A policewoman stood in the doorway.

“Bishop,” I croaked.

She checked me out, her lips pursed, eyes narrowed. “O-kay, Ms. Bishop.” Her arms were folded across her chest. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Fresh tears welled but I wiped them away as I sniffled a few times. “Thanks.” I could barely push the word out.

“Did you see anything?”

My head bobbed a negative.

“I wouldn’t let her see, Macie,” Vince yelled from the dining room, sounding both protective and belligerent.

My head snapped up and I stared at her. Macie Collier had gone to school with my younger sister, Livvy. Even though I had been back for more than two years, I didn’t realize that Macie had joined the police force here. And how the hell did Vince know her?

“I thought you moved to Detroit.”

She flinched at my tone. “Didn’t like the big city life. I came back about a year ago. Guess you didn’t notice.” Hands on hips, she said, “You came back too.”

“Livvy didn’t say anything.”

She shrugged. “We don’t hang out much these days. Our lives kind of moved on different tracks after she went to Pratt.” She cleared her throat.

“Are you going to question me now?”

“Just waiting for Detective Fairchild. He’ll be in charge of the case.”

I stood and rolled my shoulders. “Do I need to ID the body?”

“Not necessary. The scene is pretty gruesome. Just as well that Vince kept you from looking.”

Gruesome. What did that mean? I slumped back into the chair, my lungs working hard to get in any air.

“I’m sure the detective will explain everything,” she said.

Macie leaned against the open kitchen door watching us, occasionally turning her head to look out as the police team scoured the alley for evidence. Then a man in a plaid sports jacket loomed up behind her. “Excuse me, Officer Collier.” She stepped aside. “Ms. Bishop? I’m Detective Fairchild.”

I looked past Macie as she moved to let Fairchild pass through. A few inches taller than my five five, shaven head, dark eyes, and stubble dotting his jaw. He closed the door, scratched his cheek, and leaned against the big worktable.

“Not a typical hit and run. Your husband looked like he might have been targeted. Whoever hit him deliberately ran over the body a couple of times.”

I could picture Derrick, lying in the alley, his body mangled, blood everywhere. My gag reflex kicked in, along with my overactive imagination, and I barely made it to the large commercial sink, pushing the dishwasher as I doubled over. When I wobbled to my feet, Ellen handed me a glass of water. Swishing warm water around cleared out the sour taste in my mouth.

I put down the glass and stared at the floor, my mind a whirl of conflicting ideas. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want him dead. True, he could be prickly, but that didn’t get you killed. People came to the restaurant for his desserts. None of that added up to being murdered by motorcycle.

“Could it have been mistaken identity?”

Macie snorted. “He’s dressed in his chef clothes, minus the tall hat.”

“Toque,” I said absently. Fairchild glared and her mouth snapped shut.

I stared at the grouse [k1] [SM2] and began putting plastic wrap over the pans. Seeing my sous chef, slack-eyed, leaning against a counter, I called out, “Ellen. Start putting these back in the cooler.” She jerked to attention, then robotically came over and picked up the pan, immediately dropping it on the floor.

“S-S-Sorry.” Her face drooped, a study in misery.

I motioned to the commis. “Just get it cleaned up.” Then I went back to covering the birds. Ellen picked up another pan and shoved it in the refrigerator.

Fairchild cleared his throat as he gazed around the kitchen at the small audience.

“Do you have an office?”

As we walked out of the kitchen and down a short corridor, he said, “Are you contacting your customers?”

I looked over at the edge of the desk, then nodded.

“Don’t give out any information. Just say unforeseen circumstances.”

“I’ll go tell Vince. He’s making the calls.”

When I got back, Fairchild sat behind the desk, fingers tented under his chin.

I bristled at the way he had co-opted my space. Then reality socked me in the eye. I collapsed into the chair.

“Did your husband have any enemies you know of?”

My lips pursed while I thought over his question. Derrick fit in surprisingly well for a big-city boy, learning to fish and hunt. He hung out with my brother and his friends. Joined Rotary and went to the lunches.

“Not here. We moved from New York to open the restaurant, but I don’t think he had any enemies who would have followed him.”

“Why did you choose Sherburne?” He leaned the chair back, his tone conversational.

“I’m from here. We wanted to open our own place, and Northern Michigan is much less expensive than New York. Less competition for fine dining too. We could see a better future.”

Fairchild’s phone beeped and he gave me a look that said get out. “Excuse me, but I need to take this.”

I walked out the door, leaving it slightly ajar, and leaned against the wall. He mumbled something, but I couldn’t catch the words.

Then he called out. “Ms. Bishop, you can come back in.”

He started to speak as I crossed the threshold. “The ambulance is going to take him now.”

Then the office door slammed against the wall as my dad walked in and glared at Fairchild. “Bay. You okay?”


“Why are you here, Mr. Bishop?” Fairchild asked with icy politeness.

“Vince called me. I’m going to take you home, Bay. You can find her at the Bishop Inn, Detective Fairchild.”

I almost laughed at that description. Bishop Inn hadn’t been my home for almost two decades. Even though I’d agreed to move back to Sherburne, our uneasy truce kept me on edge. My parents fell in love with Derrick; I felt like the outsider. My dad arriving on the scene threw me.

Fairchild’s lips twisted at my dad’s pronouncement, but he managed to say, “Fine. We’re still working the scene and the medical examiner has to look at the body. I’ll be at the Inn sometime in the next few hours. In the meantime, may I use your office, Ms. Bishop? I’ll let you know if we need to remove anything.”

My eyes searched the office, but I didn’t see anything incriminating. “What would you need to remove?”

“We’ll need to go through your business records and check the computer. I’ll need the password. I can have an officer work here, but we’d rather take everything back to the station.”

“Get it later, Fairchild. Can’t you see she’s in no state to talk to you?” Fairchild brushed past my dad. I tried to stand up again, but my legs wouldn’t hold me and I dropped back to the chair. Dad leaned down and kissed my cheek, then pulled out a handkerchief to mop my face. Deciding that today, my family could be my refuge, I stood and let him put his arm around me. “Let’s go, kiddo. Let your staff close the place up.”

I scanned the dining room. The kitchen had emptied out and everyone stood around, looking at me. Ellen, our sous chef, made shooing motions. “Go home with your dad, Bay. We’ve got this.”

I threw her a grateful look as my dad led me out.

A siren stuttered, then blared. The ambulance. I swallowed down the bile that rose in my throat as I thought of Derrick, encased in a body bag, being loaded into the meat wagon. We’d been together for ten years, married for six. We were a team. I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to go on without him.


Mourning had to take a back seat to business. When Derrick’s mother and father went back to New York, I breathed a sigh of relief at being able to go home. Three days had seemed more like three weeks. I let them stay at our place, and I stayed at the Inn, which made everyone but me more comfortable.

Helen and Frank seemed more interested in what would happen to the restaurant than the fact their son had died. Smiles morphed into frowns when they realized that they would not get a fat payoff. In fact, they had expected to inherit everything. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they hadn’t really believed Derrick and I were married, even though we’d invited them to join us at City Hall.

The empty feeling in the cute cottage Derrick and I had bought made me think of selling, but I needed to face the challenge of living by myself head-on. Family to roommates to Derrick, I had never lived alone. I looked around at the cream-colored walls, overstuffed couch, bookcases stuffed with cookbooks, and a big-screen TV in the corner. Maybe I’d get a cat.

An early morning meeting drove me out of the house to the restaurant. I picked my way down streets made unrecognizable in the morning fog. I pulled into the parking lot with relief and parked, not worrying about lines and spaces. I could move the car after the haze burned off. After a few days of being closed, the building smelled of dust and the faint reminder of hops and barley.

Empty filing cabinets and no computer greeted me when I opened the office door. I would have to call Detective Fairchild and find out about getting everything back. In the meantime, we’d have to use the backup laptop from home.

Food hadn’t been appealing lately but today hunger gnawed at me now. With no food in the cottage, I crossed my finger that I could forage something in the restaurant freezer. I thawed some of the sourdough bread Derrick made for the restaurant and grilled toast.

Nibbling on a slice slathered with rich butter and homemade cherry jam brought comfort as I remembered the two of us in the kitchen for hours before the staff arrived. Derrick kneading the bread in the big mixer while I planned menus. A faint hint of the yeasty smell of rising dough and the scent of freshly baked boules, as they came crackling from the specially built bread oven, had me hiccupping with emotion.

The memories warmed me, even as the sense of loss rolled over me like the tide washing up the beach. I wanted to cry out to Derrick. Who could hate you that much? How do I go on without you? I looked down at the plate of half-eaten toast and no longer saw any comfort.

My stomach turned and I quickly slid the remnants into a small plastic bag I retrieved from one of the cabinets. The jam jar shone like a jewel in the sun and the fat slab of butter mocked me as I thrust them into the small fridge. I tied the bag handles into a knot and slipped out the back door. The dumpster sat near our back door into the alley, the aroma of stale fat and decaying vegetables assaulting me when I tossed away my traitorous memories and my anger with the crusts.

As I turned back to the door, a rusty stain on the door sill caught my eye. Derrick’s blood. Scuttling back into the kitchen, I threw up the little I had eaten, then went back into the office for the cardigan I kept in the armoire that covered the wall behind the desk. Shivering, I wrapped my arms around myself, wishing for Derrick to hold me close. A sob tore through my chest. Derrick wasn’t here, and nothing would ever be right again.

A knock at the door alerted me to the arrival of our financier, Wally Volker. A Detroit venture capitalist, he specialized in financing restaurants. When we first decided to move to Sherburne and open our own place, Derrick approached several firms. Wally showed an interest in the concept, the location, and after sampling our food, he told us he could definitely help.

I spent a few moments staring at him through the glass paneled wood doors, then turned the lock and let him slip in before relocating it and pulling down the blinds. Even at 10:00 a.m. he has dark circles under his eyes. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he said.


Wally yawned. “Sorry. I picked up coffee before I left, and a donut, so I wouldn’t have to stop along the way. There’s a place down the road from me. Guess one cup didn’t really get my engine going.” He held out an empty cup, shaking it. I could hear the rattle of paper inside. I pointed to a wastepaper basket and he tossed it in like a basketball.

“Do you want more coffee? I can make some French press.”

“Nah. Let’s get this over with. Then we can go somewhere for lunch.” He put down a briefcase that seemed to bulge. Papers, maybe?

I looked at him, nonplussed. He had extended his condolences at the visitation that Derrick’s parents had insisted on and again at the funeral. Did he intend to condole me every time he saw me until the end of time? I sighed.

Now unencumbered, he clasped my hands in his and kissed me. His silvery white beard scraped against my cheek, and I drew back.

Voice surprisingly high, eyes like dark wells under the black brows that contrasted sharply with his shaggy salt-and-pepper hair, and a long, narrow, vulpine face reminded me of the big, bad wolf. Was I Little Red Riding Hood or would he huff and puff and blow my house down? For the last couple of days, dreams of fairy tales gone bad disturbed my sleep. The scowl on his face signaled more bad news. He opened the case and dumped a load of paper on the desk. “I picked up the paperwork from the police on my way over.”


“Why did I pick it up or what brought me to the police station?”


“The police called to let me know they found my stolen motorcycle.”

“Oh,” I said dully, not really interested.

“When I mentioned meeting with you, Detective Fairchild gave me the documents to bring over and said they’d return the computer later this morning.”

Rubbing my hands together on this chilly late September morning, I gestured toward the piles of paper on the table. “Have you looked through these?”

He shrugged. “I thought we could go over it together.”

I stalked back to the table and picked up a stack of documents, leafing through them, my jaw going slack as I took in the contents. “Unpaid vendor bills.” Checking another stack, I groaned. “A late notice on our insurance.”

My eye fell on several documents lying on the blotter. I blanched. My voice a cobra’s hiss, I said, “A missive from the bank, impressing on me the necessity discharging the outstanding payments on the house mortgage.

I picked up two others and waved them in his face. “Notices for nonpayment on the mortgage on the restaurant building.” I paused, gasping for air, picturing a Dickensesque scene with huge, uniformed men with mutton-chop whiskers carrying out all the furnishings.

Wally had been looking at yet another pile. He looked more basset hound than wolf, as his jowls slackened and drooped. “Your bank accounts are almost at zero. A few dollars in checking. Saving account empty. Investments cashed in.” My anger boiled up at his look of pity.

I threw the papers back onto the table, then slammed my fist into the hard wood before turning back to him, tears coursing down my cheeks.

“What’s going on here? Did Derrick know? Why didn’t you do something?” He came toward me, and I backed away, pushing a chair aside in my haste to move out of his reach.

“I’m sorry, Bay. All the paperwork Derrick sent me looked fine. My percentage payments arrived on time. But he must have known. Maybe there is another set of books? A lock box in the safe? Do you have a safety deposit box?”

“I didn’t find anything like that.”

Wally grabbed another fistful of documents, rapidly scanning them and sorting them into piles. “Late payments for supplies. But enough to keep the suppliers from cutting you off completely. Looks like he used cash advances to meet payroll. There were no indications of where the money went. The receipts looked healthy enough, assuming they were legit.” He tapped long, narrow fingers against the unpaid bill pile, rubbing his chin with his other hand. “Any signs of new accounts, Bay?”

New accounts? I twisted my rings around my finger over and over.

“Not that I know of.” My legs started to buckle, and Wally jumped up and shoved a chair against the backs of my knees before I could topple.

We stared at each other across the table. The silence stretched out and I thought our conversation might be over. My face dropped into my hands, and I fought not to cry, my swollen eyes almost closed.

The clatter of chair legs alerted me he had gotten up. His footsteps made a sharp, rapping sound against the wooden planks. His voice distant. “If he siphoned off money, he wouldn’t use a local bank. We’ll have to look through all the paperwork and the computer files. Maybe there will be a trail.”

“What do I do in the meantime?”

“Well, my dear, if we can’t find the money, I’m afraid you will have to close the restaurant and sell the assets.”

“Wha-wha-what about insurance?” I wiped my eyes with one of the pristine napkins still adorning the tables. Through swollen lids I peered at him. I could almost see the wheels turning.

Wally flicked one of the paper piles. “Since you owned the business jointly, insurance won’t cover this. As an owner, technically he had a right to the money. Besides, you don’t have any insurance.”


“You said he hadn’t paid the premiums.”

My heart sank as I reached for a jokey response. “Guess burning down the building won’t get me anywhere.”

Black humor that went nowhere. “You’ll have to sell the house too.”

His words pummeled me like a sudden fall of golf-ball-sized hail. My teeth chattered. I couldn’t help the hopeless moan his words wrenched out of me as a vision of crawling home to Bishop Inn rose in my mind’s eye. Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can’t go home again. Wrong, Tom. Sometimes you have no choice.

Pressure built in my chest, and I felt heat rising from my toes up through my trunk. Fire burned in my face and ears. Wally’s phone rang. I strained but couldn’t hear the whispered conversation. “Who?” I mouthed.

He turned off the phone. “The police. They’ll be by in a few minutes with your computer. In the meantime, call the bank and make an appointment for this afternoon to talk about your next steps. I’m afraid this mess won’t be resolved for a while.”

Sell my house. Lose the restaurant. Deal with betrayal. I wanted to mourn Derrick in peace but now I couldn’t mourn him at all. All remembrances of love, of happy times—gone. Bitterness at his betrayal filled my mouth with acid. I ran into the kitchen, filled a glass with water, and washed out my mouth over and over.

When I walked back out, Wally looked over and waved a sheaf of papers at me. “Go make copies of these. I’ll bring you the rest. After we consult with the bankers, I’ll take them back to Detroit and see if I can find anyway to fix at least some of this.”

I grabbed the papers and started backing toward the corridor that led to the restrooms and the office. He called after me. “After lunch, you can also forward me anything involving the business that’s on the computer.”

An hour later, two uniformed officers arrived and handed me the restaurant computer. One of the officers talked to Wally about the theft of his motorcycle.

“I reported the theft in Detroit,” I heard him say.

“We found an abandoned Yamaha that matches the description of yours.”

“You’re joking.”

“The lab guys are checking it out. But we’re pretty sure it’s yours.”

“Why would someone steal a motorcycle in Detroit and dump it here?”

“You’d have to speak with Detective Fairchild about that.”

I had tried to believe in Derrick’s death as accidental. Wally’s motorcycle as the murder weapon? Once I thought it, the word became a chant in my head. Murder, murder, murder.

My guts clenched in agony. I ran to the women’s bathroom and vomited bile over and over, eventually collapsing on the cold tile floor. Wally found me there and helped me out into the dining room.

Then I took a deep breath and called my parents to ask if I could come home.


Excerpt from Dead in the Alley by Sharon Michalove. Copyright 2022 by Sharon Michalove. Reproduced with permission from Sharon Michalove. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Sharon Michalove

Sharon Michalove grew up in suburban Chicago. She received four degrees from the University of Illinois because she didn’t have the gumption to go anywhere else, and spent most of her career at the university, eventually earning a PhD, working in departmental administration, publishing and libraries. Her specialties are 15th-16th century European history, polar exploration, and food history. She may be one of the few people in America to never live outside her home state.

In graduate school, she met and married the love of her life. They shared a love of music, theater, travel and cats. He died in 2013.

Sharon also loves hockey, reading, cooking, writing, and various less elevated activities like eating cookies and sampling gins and single malts. After spending most of her life in a medium-sized university town she moved back to Chicago in 2017 so she could go to more Blackhawks games and spend quality time at Eataly. In 2021 she accomplished a lifetime goal by publishing her first novel. Unfortunately her other lifetime goal, to be English, is likely to remain unfulfilled.

Catch Up With Sharon Michalove:
BookBub – @sdmichalove
Instagram – @sdmichaloveauthor
Twitter – @sdmichalove
Facebook – @sharonmichalove



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#BookTour “I Am Not OK” by K. Lucas

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We are so excited to share I Am Not OK by author K. Lucas with you all today! Read on for more info!


I Am Not Ok

Publication Date: July 5th, 2022

Genre: Psychological Thriller

All he ever wanted was a normal life, but now he’s been indicted for murder.

Ed is a social pariah, a target of bullies at work, and bears the brunt of his father’s brutality. When his co-workers start to go missing—people he has a reason to hate—Ed finds he’s a prime suspect.

Now, barbed wire, armed guards, and a forthcoming prison sentence separate him from the only person who matters: his twin sister, Emmie.

Emmie witnesses his abuse and vows to do everything she can to help him start a new life. But as the court date looms, everything she thought she knew is brought into question. Ed seems resigned to his fate and time is running out. She must convince her brother to fight for his defense before it’s too late.

CW: Profanity, Mental Illness, Abuse, Violence, Death

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About the Author


K. Lucas is an author who lives for the unexpected twist. Originally from California, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, son, three dogs, cat, chickens, and ducks. After earning a bachelor’s degree in information technology, she became a homeschool mom and then a full-time author. She loves all things thrilling & chilling, and her favorite pastimes include reading, watching scary movies, and exploring nature.

K Lucas

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#BookTour “Edge of Dusk” by Colleen Coble

July 11 – August 5, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

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Even though secrets lie off the coast of Rock Harbor, the truth will set Annie Pederson free—if it doesn’t kill her first.

Nine-year-old Annie Pederson’s life changed the night her sister was kidnapped. The two had been outside playing on a dock, and Annie never forgave herself for her role in her sister’s disappearance. Twenty-four years later and now a law enforcement ranger, Annie is still searching for answers as she grieves a new loss: the death of her husband and parents in a boating accident.

But Annie and her eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, aren’t the only people in the town of Rock Harbor whose lives have been marred by tragedy. While managing the property around the Tremolo Resort and Marina she inherited, Annie discovers a dead body floating in the cold Superior surf and begins to work with the sheriff’s office to tie the death to a series of other mysterious reports in the area.

At the same time, her first love, Jon Dustan, returns after nine years away, reigniting the town’s memory of a cold case he’d been suspiciously linked to before he left to pursue his orthopedic residency. For the sake of her investigation and her heart, Annie tries to stay away. But avoiding Jon becomes impossible once Annie realizes she is being targeted by someone desperate to keep secrets from the past hidden.

In this new series, bestselling romantic-suspense author Colleen Coble returns to one of her most beloved towns, where familiar faces—and unsolved cases—await.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Published by: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: July 12th 2022

Number of Pages: 352

ISBN: 078525370X (ISBN13: 9780785253709)

Series: Annie Pederson #1

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook.com | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:



Vitanen yanked her little sister’s hand to pull her to a stop in the deep shadows of the pines. Chills trickled down her spine, and she stared into the darkness. “Did you hear that?”

“It was just the loons,” Sarah said. “Daddy said there’s no such thing as the Windigo.”

Annie shuddered. “You’re only five—you don’t know that.” While at school she’d heard the story about the fifteen-foot- tall monster who ate humans. Annie peered into the shadows, searching for sunken red eyes in a stag skull staring back at her. The Windigo particularly liked little girls to fill its hungry belly. Sarah tugged her hand free. “Daddy said it was just an old Ojibwa legend. I want to see the loons.”

She took off down the needle-strewn path toward the water.

Annie’s heart seized in her throat. “Sarah, wait!”

Daddy had always told Annie she was responsible for her little sister, and she didn’t want to get in trouble when their parents found out they were out here in the dark. Sarah had begged to come out to see the loons, and Annie found it hard to say no to her. This was the first time they’d been to their little camp on Tremolo Island since the summer started, and it might be a long time before they had time to visit again. Daddy only brought them to get away when he had a lull at the marina. Annie loved it here, even if there wasn’t any power.

Her legs pumped and her breath whooshed in and out of her mouth. She emerged into the moonlight glimmering over Lake Superior. Her frantic gaze whipped around, first to make sure the Windigo hadn’t followed them, then to find her sister.

Sarah sat on the wooden dock with her legs dangling over the waves. Lightning flickered in the distance, and Annie smelled rain as it began to sprinkle. Clouds hung low over the water, and the darkness got thicker.

“We need to go back, Sarah.” While they could still find their way in the storm.

“I want to throw bread to the loons.” Sarah gave her a piece of the bread they’d gotten from the kitchen.

Annie jumped when the loon’s eerie yodel sounded. The oo-AH-ho sound was like no other waterfowl or bird. Normally she loved trying to determine whether the loon was yodeling, wailing, or calling, but right now she wanted to get her sister back into bed before they got in big trouble. They both knew better than to come down here by themselves. Mommy had warned them about the dangers more times than Annie could count.

She touched her sister’s shoulder. “Come on, Sarah.”

Sarah shrugged off her hand. “Just a minute. Look, the loon has a baby on its back.”

Annie had to see that. She threw in a couple of bread pieces and peered at the loons. “I’ve never seen that.”

“Me neither.”

The loons didn’t eat the bread, but she giggled when a big fish gulped down a piece right under their feet.

When she first heard the splashing, she thought it signaled more loons. But wait. Wasn’t that the sound of oars slapping the water? A figure in a dark hoodie sat in the canoe. Did the Windigo ride in a canoe?

The canoe bumped the dock, and a voice said, “Two to choose from. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

The voice was so cheerful, Annie wasn’t afraid. Before she could try to identify who it was, a hard hand grabbed her and dragged her into the canoe. “I think the younger one would be better.”

The sudden, sharp pain in Annie’s neck made her cry out, and she slapped her hand against her skin. Something wet and sticky clung to her fingers. In the next instant, she was in the icy water. The shock of the lake’s grip made her head go under.

She came up thrashing in panic and spitting water. Her legs wouldn’t kick very well, and she felt dizzy and disoriented. She tried to scream for Daddy, but her mouth wouldn’t work. Her neck hurt something awful, and she’d never felt so afraid.

She’d been right—it was the Windigo, and he meant to eat her sister.

“Sarah!” Annie’s voice sounded weak in her ears, and the storm was here with bigger waves churning around her. “Run!”

Her sister shrieked out her name, and Annie tried to move toward the sound, but a wave picked her up and tossed her against a piling supporting the dock. Her vision went dark, and she sank into the cold arms of the lake.

The next thing she knew, she was on her back, staring up into the rain pouring into her face. Her dad’s hand was on the awful pain in her neck, and her mother was screaming for Sarah.

She never saw her sister again.



her eyes after staring at the computer screen for the past two hours. She’d closed the lid on an investigation into a hit-and-run in the Kitchigami Wilderness Preserve, and she’d spent the past few hours finishing paperwork. It had been a grueling case, and she was glad it was over.

“I’ll be right back,” she told her eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, sitting on the floor of her office playing Pokémon Go on her iPad.

Kylie’s blonde head, so like Annie’s own, bobbed, too intent to respond verbally.

Kade Matthews looked up when Annie entered his office. Over the past few years he’d moved up and become head ranger. Kade’s six-feet-tall stocky frame and solid muscles exuded competence, and his blue eyes conveyed caring. Annie thanked the Lord every day for such a good boss. He was understanding when she needed time off with Kylie, and he let her know he valued her work and expertise. “Ready for a few days off?”

“Really? With all this work on your shoulders?”

He nodded. “I can handle it. I know this is a busy time for you.”

“I do have a lot of work to do out at the marina.”

Since her parents and husband died two years ago, she’d been tasked with running the Tremolo Marina and Cabin Resort. She managed with seasonal help and lots of her free time, but summer was always grueling. It was only June 3, and the season was off to a good start.

He cleared his throat, and his eyes softened. “I’m glad you stopped in. I didn’t want to send this report without talking to you first.”

“What report?” Her tongue felt thick in her mouth because she knew the likely topic.

“A child’s remains were found down around St. Ignace.”

It didn’t matter that it was so far. That route could have easily been chosen by the kidnapper. It was a common way to travel from lower Michigan to the U.P. “How old?”

“Five or six, according to the forensic anthropologist. I assume you want your DNA sent over for comparison?”

“Yes, of course.”

They’d been through this scenario two other times since she’d begun searching for answers, and each time she’d teetered between hope and despair. While she wanted closure on what had happened to her sister, she wasn’t sure she was ready to let go of hope. Though logically she knew her sister had to be dead. People didn’t take children except for nefarious purposes. Annie didn’t know how she’d react when word finally came that Sarah had been found.

Relief? Depression? Maybe a combination of the two. Maybe even a tailspin that would unhinge her. All these years later, and she still couldn’t think about that night without breaking into a cold sweat. Avoidance had been her modus operandi. Not many even knew about the incident. Kade did, of course. And Bree. Jon too. Probably some of the townspeople remembered and talked about it, too, but it had been long ago. Twenty-four years ago.

Nearly a quarter of a century and yet just yesterday. “How long before results are back on DNA?”

“Probably just a few days. With children they try to move quickly. I’ll get it sent over. You doing okay?”

She gave a vigorous nod. “Sure, I’m fine. I’ll file this report and get these pictures sent to you.”

“Bree told me to ask if you wanted a puppy, one of Samson’s.

There’s a male that looks just like him.”

She smiled just thinking of her daughter’s delight. “Kylie has been begging for a puppy since we lost Belle. How much are they going for?”

The little terrier had died in her sleep a month ago at age sixteen, and they both missed her. Samson was a world-renowned search-and-rescue dog, and his pups wouldn’t come cheap. She ran through how much she had in savings. Maybe not enough.

“We get two free pups, and Bree told me she would give you one.” “You don’t want to do that,” she protested. “You’d be giving up a lot of money.”

He shrugged. “We have everything we need. Head over there in the next few days, and you can take him home with you before our kids get too attached and bar the front door.”

She laughed. “Hunter says he’s marrying Kylie, so I think he will stick up for her.”

Kade and Bree’s little boy was four and adored Kylie. She was good with kids, and she loved spending time with the Matthews twins.

“You’re right about that. I’ll let Bree know you want him. He’s a cute little pup.”

“What are you doing with the other one?” “Lauri has claimed her.”

Kade’s younger sister was gaining a reputation for search-and- rescue herself, and she already had a dog. “What about Zorro?”

“He’s developed diabetes, and Lauri knows he needs to slow down some. She wants a new puppy to train so Zorro can help work with him.”

“She might want the one that looks like Samson.” “She wants a female this time.”

She glanced at her watch and rose. “I’ll get out of here. Thanks again for the puppy. Kylie will be ecstatic.”

She went back to her office. “Time for your doctor appointment, Bug.”

Kylie made a face. “I don’t want to go.”

At eight, Kylie knew her own mind better than Annie knew hers most days. She was the spitting image of Annie at the same age: corn silk–colored hair and big blue eyes set in a heart-shaped face. But Annie had never been that sure of herself. Her dad’s constant criticism had knocked that out of her.

She steered her daughter out the brick office building to the red Volkswagen crew-cab truck in the parking lot, then set out for town.

The old truck banged and jolted its way across the potholes left by this year’s massive snowfall until Annie reached the paved road into town. She couldn’t imagine living anywhere other than where the Snow King ruled nine months of the year. There was no other place on earth like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With the Keweenaw Peninsula to the north and Ottawa National Forest to the south, there could be no more beautiful spot in the world. Her devotion to this place had cost her dearly nine years ago, but every time she saw the cold, crystal-clear waters of the northernmost Great Lakes stretching to the horizon, she managed to convince herself it was worth it.

Part of the town’s special flavor came from the setting. Surrounded by forests on three sides, it had all the natural beauty anyone could want. Old-growth forests, sparkling lakes where fish thronged, and the brilliant blue of that Big Sea Water along the east side.

They drove through town, down Negaunee to Houghton Street to the businesses that comprised Rock Harbor’s downtown. The small, quaint village had been built in the 1850s when copper was king, and its Victorian-style buildings had been carefully preserved by the residents.

Dr. Ben Eckright’s office was a remodeled Victorian boardinghouse on the corner of Houghton and Pepin Streets. She parked in his side lot and let Kylie out of the back.

She glanced across the street to the law office, and her breath caught at the man getting out of the car. It couldn’t be. She stared at the sight of a familiar set of shoulders and closed her eyes a moment. Opening them didn’t reassure her. It really was him.

Jon Dunstan stood beside a shiny red Jaguar. Luckily, he hadn’t seen her yet, and she grabbed Kylie’s hand and ran with her for the side door, praying he wouldn’t look this way. She was still trembling when the door shut behind her.

/ / /

Excerpt from Edge of Dusk by Colleen Coble. Copyright 2022 by Colleen Coble. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.


Connect with Colleen online at:
Instagram – @ColleenCoble
Twitter – @ColleenCoble
Facebook – @ColleenCobleBooks


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#BookBlitz “Year Zero (Revolution’s Children Book 1)” by David Dean Lugo

Year Zero by David Dean Lugo is the first book in a new trilogy called Revolution’s Children and you’re going to want to read this!


Year Zero (Revolution’s Children Book 1)

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022

Genre: YA Dystopian

A thrilling new YA dystopian novel has dark parallels to a conceivable future America.

It’s been two years since the establishment of the brutal dictatorship The Incorporated Precincts of America and its governing Board and CEO, as well as the death of the old America. Sixteen-year-old Joey Cryer has two missions: to keep their six-year-old sister, Julia, safe, and to not die.

America first. America last. America always. This is the vow that the CEO leader of the IPA—The Incorporated Precincts of America—pledges to his suffering citizens. With violent protests breaking out in every city, attacks against immigrants, and the national crisis of the Capitol Event, young Joey must keep their vigilance in staying clear of the IPA’s ever-watching Sons of Liberty—its ruthless police force—to avoid becoming “disappeared” with his little sister. This means not maligning the governing body, The Corporation, with any thought, word, or action, or else suffer the consequence. One such sanction for disobeying citizens is being forced on to the required viewing television show “Manhunt,” where they fight for their lives against the Sons, upholding The Corporation’s domination over society.

Two years earlier, before the Second Revolution ended and before the election, Joey’s biggest concern was sitting at the right cafeteria table at his high school or if the girl they liked liked them back. Avoiding the school bully, Harlan Grundy, was always a plus, and so was not getting pummeled. So, it was no big surprise that Harlan became a Son, loyal to The Corporation and carrying out their dirty deeds to keep citizens in check and in fear. The only correct response to a Son? Everything is goodly.

Having lost everything in the revolution’s aftermath, Joey takes an unfathomable risk by helping the near-dead leader of the rebellion, John Doe. Having anything to do with Doe will skip you right past penalties and sanctions all the way to the death penalty, not only for you, but for anyone you love. And yet Joey’s sole mission is keep Julia safe until they can secretly escape to freedom. To do so, they finds they have an unlikely partner in a recently betrayed Harlan. Trusting their former enemy may be the only way to ensure their future—but is it worth the risk for Joey, Julia, and his community?

Add to Goodreads

Chapter One

No law respecting the established religion, prohibiting its free and compulsory practice, may be passed. All citizens free or otherwise are responsible for their speech, as is the press. The Board may sanction the people or the press should they choose to malign The Corporation or its representatives in print, thought, word, or action.

—First Amendment, Constitution Incorporated Precincts of America

A hand grabs my shoulder, and I know I’m screwed. The flickering light from the Jumbotron across the street dispels the concealing darkness. What was I thinking trying to sneak my way across town square after dark? I pull my hat lower, hoping that he won’t recognize me.

Especially if curfew has started.

Dan and Katie are starting the Manhunt preshow on the Jumbotron, which isn’t a good sign. Manhunt rarely starts before seven.

My mouth is dry, and my heart’s hammering fills my ears. It’s the fight-or-flight response kicking in big time. Except in my case, it’s the flight-and-still-get-pommeled response.

Even knowing how it will end, I still think about running.

Just for a second.

Old habits die hard.

I move my eyes to the hand, hoping it’s not covered by a white glove. Crap. It is. So, the he attached to the hand isn’t a regular cop. A cop will just shake me down and let me go. But not this guy.

He’s a Son of Liberty.

I’m surprised he hasn’t shot me yet. They usually do. I mean, it’s kinda their go-to move. I glance from his glove to his face.

I silence a scream. This guy isn’t any old Son. He’s Harlan Grundy. That name alone makes most kids cry. Always has.

Harlan’s been bullying kids since the old days, back when we still lived in a place called the USA. By the time The Corporation ran things and changed the name to The Incorporated Precincts of America, or IPA, Harlan had transformed bullying into an art form. I mean, watching him terrorize a kid is like watching Michelangelo turn a hunk of stone into a statue. Pure artistry.

Unless you’re the rock.

All the Sons are big, but Harlan’s bigger. Not like Schwarzenegger big. It’s more natural. Like a gorilla. Most let his stocky form, with its squashed nose, thick fingers, and stubby legs, fool them. But he possessed a speed unheard of, even among Olympic athletes.

And I, underneath this big ass coat, am just a scrawny sixteen-year-old. Exercise and me are not the best of friends. I mean, we wave when we pass by in the halls. Unless running from Harlan counts. Because if it does, I’m a gold medalist.

Okay, maybe a bronze because he always catches me.

“Hold it, citizen,” he says loud enough for me to hear over the Jumbotron’s droning voices. That is quite a feat since they always have it turned up to like a million.

Wait. Citizen?

He doesn’t recognize me.

He says something, but Dan speaks over him from the Jumbotron. “We’ll be back after this message.”

A second later, tolling bells replace his smug voice, sounding out the half hour. I glance at the screen, hoping it says six thirty. Instead, a robotic voice says, “The time is now seven thirty. Curfew is in effect.”

I’m doubly screwed.

After curfew, you get arrested or worse, unless you’re on official IPA business. It won’t take anyone more than one look to know I’m not. And Harlan’s fists and I have known each other since I was eight, and he was eleven. It’s only a matter of time until his dim brain dusts off the cobwebs and the first faint itch of recognition dawns on him.

If he doesn’t shoot me, which I doubt, I have two simple choices left. But I won’t get to choose. Instead, an Inquisitor will decide between sending me to a Liberty Camp or inducting me into the army.

The second is most likely. They’re drafting more people every day. Younger and younger too. I mean, except for like Ward Commanders, Inquisitors, and Auditors, the whole Corporation is getting younger. I guess they figure the young don’t have as much attachment to the way things were.

The CEO says we’re winning the war, and the extra troops are for the last push into Ottawa. But I’ve heard the rumors. Who hasn’t?

Some say Mexico, Canada’s ally, has won ground in the Southwest. Others say the early winter weather has paralyzed our troops in Ontario and Alaska. What’s happening in Europe is anyone’s guess.

So, whatever the Inquisitor decides, it’s better if Harlan shoots me.

Usually, I’m home before curfew, but I had forgotten it’s earlier now. That’s thanks to the Does—John and Jane Doe—and their rebels blowing up stuff. Last Tuesday, the day most Sons get their rations, they blew up the rationing center. Now, the rest of us are still living off our last pitiful portion.

Movies make rebellion seem exciting and heroic. I guess it is, fighting oppression or whatever. But from where I sit, trying to get by and staying off The Corporation’s radar, it’s terrifying. It doesn’t help people like me. Maybe it will someday, but I’m not holding my breath.

I burrow deeper into my father’s coat, trying to avoid eye contact. The coat must be the only reason Harlan hasn’t recognized me. There’s no point in trying to hide the bag of contraband I’m holding.

I mean, it’s right there.

Besides, it’s just dumb cans of stupid beef stew I bought at the black market. E-rations don’t hardly give anyone enough food. So, most people, leastways those who can afford it, turn to the black market. Even Block Watch Commanders like Harlan.

It’s not totally the Does fault, though. Food, at least the unpowdered kind, was scarce even before they blew up the rationing center. The troops passing through on their way north to the wall, took most of what we had. They didn’t bother leaving much for us citizens.

I’m not sweating the stew, though. I expect he’ll “impound” it. I’m more worried that what’s stuffed into my belt will spill out. If it does, he’ll definitely shoot me.

He’s eyeing the bag though. His mouth might even be watering. We both stand there, playing our weird freeze tag while waiting for the stupid bell to stop tolling.

As soon as it does, Harlan says, “You’re behind curfew, citizen. Slice me the stew, and I won’t donate a one.”

Ugh. Slanguage.

It takes me a moment to translate his words to regular English. If I give him the stew, he won’t give me a class one penalty. I can’t speak because he’ll recognize my voice, so I nod. Kneeling, I set the bag down and take off.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

If you do, they might see your face, connect it to a list of subversives, rebels, or whatever list you didn’t know you were on.

I’m two blocks away before a grin spreads across my face. Dumbass Harlan was so preoccupied by the bag that he didn’t notice the cans crammed in my pockets.

I decide to go home through the woods. It’s longer and a thousand percent spookier, but it has more cover. Plus, The Corporation hasn’t put cameras in the forest. At least not yet anyway. That might change if they suspect the squirrels of treason.

Plus, Harlan lives two houses away from me. If he’s heading home, it’s worth the extra twenty-minute walk to avoid him.

I trudge along. I can’t see a thing in the inky blackness. Everything is a muddied silhouette, and I don’t want to trip on something and break my neck. I used to find the sounds of leaves crunching under my feet satisfying. But I don’t anymore.

They just tell the Sons or the rebel squirrels where you are.

My breath comes quick now. Heart racing. It’s my anxiety getting the better of me. I don’t bother fighting it because I’m too busy cursing myself. If Harlan is out on patrol, he’s nowhere near his house. Then again, it might be dumb luck that we ran into each other.

Either way, I don’t really care right now because I’m sure Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers has spotted my dumbass alone in the woods. I stop for a second, but the sound of crunching leaves doesn’t.

A twig snaps.

I turn.

A half-naked figure lunges from the darkness, falling to the ground.

I almost scream.

A man lies motionless. I get a little closer and notice he’s covered in blood. Against my better judgment, I turn him over. A few holes leak his blood.

Someone shot him.

The only people with guns these days are Sons or rebels. Which means they’re probably out searching for him. That thought alone makes me nope my sorry ass out of the woods as fast as I can.

I emerge, unharassed by either rebel squirrels or a fictional slasher, near the non-Harlan end of my block. My breath comes in short, panicked gasps. I’m more than a little embarrassed by how fast I’m moving down the block.

I turn the corner. My house blazes bright in the frigid night. It’s almost enough to chase away the harsh twilight glow from the screens on the telephone poles.

Julia, my little sister hates being alone, but she isn’t right now. Unless Winnie’s wandered off again. She has turned on every light, which means he probably did. The Sons don’t pay him much mind, so he’ll be okay. Hopefully, she hasn’t used up our electricity ration for the month.

I linger in the driveway, eyes darting. I need to make sure I wasn’t followed.

An angry orange flower of fire blooms over the nearby hills. Must be the rebels blowing something up or being blown up themselves. Either way, a bunch of people are dead. A tenth of a second later, a dull roar reaches my ears, and everything shakes.

Every porch light in the neighborhood blinks on, and people spill out from their houses, scurrying around like angry ants. A few have wide eyes, their O-shaped mouths gulping the chilly night air. Which reminds me of the fish that Dad and I used to catch. Others just sigh, wringing their hands. A few look furious.

I’ve lived here for like forever and recognize everyone.

That is everyone except the young man with the neat dark hair walking along the walkway in front of the house next door. His hands are in his pockets, posture crisp but relaxed.

I do a double take because I didn’t expect to see anyone coming from there. It and the house across the street have stood vacant since the Perrys and the Youngs disappeared a year ago. He might be a zig though.

Zig is short for zigzag. They’re the people who refuse to go along with The Corporation but won’t join the resistance either. So, they zigzag between the two opposing forces that shape the IPA. They usually come in small groups, no more than four. There’s not a lot of them. At least as far as anyone can tell. Anyway, neither side likes them much, and both will see them wiped out just as soon. Which is why, if he is a zig, he certainly wouldn’t be so careless and let everyone know where he lives.

He might be a rebel. They sometimes hunker down in vacant buildings. That thought both excites and frightens me.

As he draws closer, there’s no mistaking this man for a zig or a rebel. He wears a suit, but the distant flames give everything a crimson tone, so I can’t tell what color it is. Something on his jacket flickers. He reaches the end of the walkway, and I notice that the light glints off a bunch of Corporation commendation pins on his lapel.

At first, he acknowledges no one as he crosses his arms and stares straight ahead. He appears calm, but his breath comes in peculiar fits like he’s out of breath but doesn’t want anyone to know. Maybe he’s asthmatic? I don’t know. His eyes don’t watch the distant flames like everyone else; they’re watching the streetlights.

Something glistens on his forehead like sweat, but the night is cold, so that’s impossible. He appears to sense me gawking and gives me a nod.

By reflex, I wave.

Another fireball blossoms, this one almost bright enough to read by. The windows rattle from the blast. The neighborhood lights blink a few times before going out. Someone screams as we’re plunged into a weird twilight of flickering screens since those never stop.

I swear Pinman smirks.

A second later, old Doc Salazar asks, “Do you think it’s the Canadians?”

That isn’t as silly as it sounds, since if you’re lucky enough to own a car, it’s like three hours to the border.

“Nah. I bet it’s the Does and the rebels,” Mr. Taylor replies.

Everyone stares at him for a moment. Calling the Does rebels is against the law.

“You mean terrorists,” a throaty unfamiliar voice—my new neighbor—says.

“Yes, y-yes,” Mr. Taylor stammers. He probably noticed every commendation on Pinman’s jacket. He chuckles nervously, running a hand across the back of his neck.

I don’t want to call attention to myself, but Taylor was my dad’s fishing buddy. I can’t count the number of times that the Taylors shared a meal with us after a good day on the lake.

A familiar voice breaks the uncomfortable silence. “Mr. Taylor is scaredly is all. He’s not trying to be outside the box.”

I look around, trying to find who spoke. For some reason, everyone’s staring at me like I punched a nun or something.

Well, everyone except Taylor. He’s got a grateful smile pasted on his stupid round face. The looks confirm my growing suspicion. The voice was familiar because it’s mine.

Pinman doesn’t reply, just cocks his head.

“Well, um, good night, sir,” Mr. Taylor croaks as he scurries back inside his house.

A second later, the loudspeakers atop every telephone pole on the block crackle to life. On the screens, a severe looking yet appealing middle-aged woman appears with her hair wrapped tight around her head. Everything can go dark but not PR Polly, the voice of The Corporation.

There’s a whine of feedback, and Polly stares with a Mona Lisa smile on her lips, waiting for it to pass. It fades to a crackling static and clears.

Her familiar, faintly British voice sounds out. “Return to your homes. All is goodly. We have the situation under control.” As always, she adds the Corporate slogan. “America first. America last. America always.”

Another squeal of feedback sounds out. Dan and Katie return to the screens, laughing about the ratings bonanza it’ll be when the real Does are caught and put on Manhunt. But since Manhunt is required viewing, ratings are a bonanza every day anyway. I’m also not sure how we’d know if they’re the real Does. I mean, every time they think they’ve got them, it turns out they’re regular rebels.

No one even knows what the Does look like.

A weird sensation tingles my leg. It’s my phone vibrating in my pocket. I put aside my stray thoughts for now as I fish it out.

“What did you think of this Realnews brief” flashes on the screen. Underneath, like always, are two emoji:

a smiley one,

and a frowning one.

I tap the smiley face to show that I loved it. No one clicks the other one anymore. Well, no one without a death wish.

Soft clicking echoes around me as my neighbors do the same. By the time I’m done, they’re scurrying back into their homes. I guess they’ve all realized it’s after curfew, so we are all technically criminals right now.

Pinman still stands there with his arms crossed, staring at me. I try not to meet his gaze and mumble something about how my little sister is waiting for dinner inside.

In the distance, sirens blare. A lot of them. All isn’t goodly. I sense the stranger watching me as I walk into my house.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

Available on Amazon

About the Author


Author David Dean Lugo often gets ideas for his stories by wondering what if? In his new young adult dystopian novel, Year Zero, he probed this when writing about a future fascist America run by a governing body called The Corporation and its CEO. Lugo believes that today’s trend of people judging one another too harshly—whether based on their political party, gender identity, or something else—is causing people to drift too far away from one another. His story explores potential extreme ramifications of this.

Lugo believes a great book is one that has believable characters that readers can identify with and relate to. He hopes his stories evoke emotion and thinking from his readers long after the book is closed.

When he isn’t writing thought-provoking YA novels, Lugo enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, playing video/board games, and hanging out with his amazing family. He lives in southwest New Hampshire with his wife Meredith, son Jacob, and their rascally Labrador/Collie mix named Astrid. Year Zero is the first volume in his The Revolution’s Children trilogy.

David Dean Lugo | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


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#BookTour “Cut Action Murder (The Blade Parker Series)” by Rebecca Kalyani

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Welcome to the book tour for Rebecca Kalyani’s murder mystery novel, Cut Action Murder! Read on for more details!

Cut Action Murder

Publication Date: August 13th, 2020

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Absolute Author Publishing

Find out who is committing the perfect murders in this debut mystery novel…

In a city where people are dying to be famous, Hollywood detectives Emma Blade and Matt Parker are searching for a killer. Somebody’s written a deadly screenplay—and life’s beginning to imitate art. Can Emma and her partner find the murderer before it’s too late? Cut Action Murder is a gripping Christian suspense novel. Adults and teens alike will enjoy this wholesome page-turner. Faith is tested and love blossoms in the midst of this cat-and-mouse tale that you won’t be able to put down.

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Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Rebecca Kalyani is an author, singer, actress and voice-over artist living in Los Angeles.

I love a good mystery novel. There is something about reading a great book that takes me away from all the craziness life can bring.

For music, fun videos and more visit her website at http://www.rebeccakalyani.com

Rebecca Kalyani

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#ReleaseTour “Lured to Paradise” by Macy Butler

Lured to Paradise by Macy Butler

Release Date: 26th July

Genre: a best-friend’s-brother steamy contemporary romance, standalone


Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3F0uhb6

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3v8AQot

#LuredtoParadise #MacyButler #NewRelease #Romance #BareNakedWords

Violet Monroe chose life on a tiny island to get as far away from her cheating ex and her meddling family as she could.
She didn’t need them, or anyone.
Especially not Hayden Kincaid.
Bouncing from city to city with a girl in every one, he was a playboy like all the rest.

And running from memories of ghosts in his past, his baggage was way over the weight limit.

Worse, he was Violet’s best friend’s brother.

Total kryptonite.

Meet the Author
Macy is a foul-mouthed tennis addict who loves to write about sassy heroines and the heroes that win their hearts from her home in the Florida Keys. Her passion is taking readers deep into the experience of paradise that she is privileged to live.

#ReleaseBlitz “The Girl Who Escaped” by Mark Nolan


Crime Thriller

Date Published: July 29, 2022.


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One month ago, four college girls were abducted.

Three were brutally murdered.

One girl escaped.

Angie Taylor was traumatized and shocked speechless.

The police think she killed her friends, and then had a mental breakdown.

Her psychiatrist believes she has an emotionally unstable personality disorder.

Can she ever speak up and describe the killer’s face to a police sketch artist?

Is the murderer stalking her right now, eager to finish what he started?

Everyone in the city is on edge, fearing the worst, not sure what to believe.

 A visit from a determined FBI agent shakes things up and raises the stakes.

FBI Special Agent Brenda Reynolds of the VSRT must investigate whether the mysterious silent girl is a victim, a killer, or has gone insane.

 Grab your copy of the suspense thriller everyone is talking about, and start reading right now.



 About the Author

Mark Nolan is an Amazon Bestselling Author and Kindle Unlimited All-Star.

His latest book is titled The Girl Who Escaped.



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#BookBlitz “Kairn (Mates of the Alliance Book 1)” by Fionne Foxxe Farraday


Mates of the Alliance Book 1

Sci-fi / Romance / Erotica

Date Published: May 11, 2022

Publisher: Jan-Carol Publishing, Inc.


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 Fighting to save a primitive planet targeted by the Alliance’s enemies, Kairn never expected to find the female who haunted his dreams made flesh and blood.

Daria’s life revolved around her work. She had given up on finding romance…let alone love. Earth was now under attack by an evil alien empire—under siege. Daria is trying to do her job as best she can in an upside-down world. Then the cavalry arrives…in the form of giant, gorgeous alien warriors.

These aliens are working toward restoring Earth to the pristine beauty she used to be. In their charismatic leader, Daria finds the most amazing partner. Laughter and love with her devoted alien, what’s an Earth girl going to do but grab on with both hands and hold on tight to enjoy the ride?

After all…what could possibly go wrong?


 About the Author

Fionne Foxxe Farraday the award-winning author of the 2022 INTERNATIONAL IMPACT BOOK AWARD for “Best Romance” novel. She also is a medical
professional working in the area of pulmonary and critical care medicine.

After years of working with patients, Farraday faced medical issues in March 2020 that put her on enforced medical leave without call responsibilities.

An avid reader, she soon exhausted her list of books and found herself bored with TV, leading her to begin outlining the story that would become KAIRN: Mates of the Alliance. Returning to ICU work during the dark days of the first Covid-19 wave, Fionne continued writing as a way to cope with the intense demands and the losses of countless patients. The writing took on a life of its own as Farraday fashioned the fictional happy endings which were in short supply in the ICU full of Covid-19 patients.

With her own background in medicine and family members who served in WWII and Vietnam, Farraday’s books are a salute to all of the medical and military personnel whose sacrifices allow us to do what we do. A mother, grandmother, and animal lover, Fionne Foxxe Farraday lives in Cookeville, TN.

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#ReleaseBlitz “Royally Complicated” by Gwyn McNamee and Christy Anderson



by Gwyn McNamee and Christy Anderson

BUY NOW: books2read.com/RoyallyComplicated

Photographer – Michelle Lancaster

Model – JJ Michaels

Genre: Standalone Royal Romance

#RoyallyComplicated #NowLive #RoyalRomance


Sex on the beach with a smoking hot stranger…

I blame the tequila.

And the way he rode the waves like he owned them.

And the delicious way the water trickled down over his washboard abs and the V thingy.

And the fact that I’m on the trip that was supposed to be my honeymoon until I caught the bastard cheating.

Yeah, I’m going to blame it on all that.

Because reckless behavior is so not usually me.

But surfer god Fyn is a breath of fresh air I so badly need.

A break from reality of the world around me.

One he seems to need, too.

It’s a single wild moment in my otherwise structured life that seems to be crumbling.

A perfect snapshot in time…

Until the royal guard shows up looking for him.

Turns out the king of the waves is actually a prince.

A real one next in line for the throne.

And I just banged him on the sand.

People say a one-night stand can be good for you, especially after a break-up.

I’m starting to question that advice.

Because finding my prince is only the beginning…

Things are about to get royally complicated.


Gwyn McNamee is an attorney, writer, wife, and mother (to one human baby and one fur baby). Originally from the Midwest, Gwyn relocated to her husband’s home town of Las Vegas in 2015 and is enjoying her respite from the cold and snow. Gwyn loves to write stories with a bit of suspense and action mingled with romance and heat. When she isn’t either writing or voraciously devouring any books she can get her hands on, Gwyn is busy adding to her tattoo collection, golfing, and stirring up trouble with her perfect mix of sweetness and sarcasm (usually while wearing heels). Gwyn loves to hear from her readers, and here’s where you can find her:

Newsletter: www.gwynmcnamee.com/newsletter

Website: http://www.gwynmcnamee.com/

Reader Group: bit.ly/GwynMcNameeRG

Facebook: bit.ly/GwynMcNameeFB

Tiktok: https://bit.ly/TiktokGM

Instagram: bit.ly/GwynMcNameeIG

Twitter: bit.ly/GwynMcNameeTwitter

Goodreads: bit.ly/GwynMcNameeGR

Bookbub: bit.ly/GwynMcNameeBB

Writing with a whole lot of sarcasm and humor, mixed with a bit of Southern charm, Christy Anderson ain’t no sweet tea kinda storyteller. As an author of romance, Christy believes it doesn’t always have to be hearts and flowers; sometimes, it is dark and twisted, but romance nonetheless. She mixes terror, revenge, and a sliver of love and hope into stories about family, friends, struggles, blurred lines, and happily-ever-afters. Christy lives in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Tennessee with her husband and 152 cats (not really, but close), where she enjoys writing one twist at a time. Christy loves to hear from her readers, and here’s where you can find her:

Newsletter: https://www.christyanderson.net/newsletter

Website: https://www.christyanderson.net/

Christy’s Little Birds: bit.ly/ChristysReaderGroup

Facebook: bit.ly/ChristyAndersonFB

Instagram: bit.ly/ChristyAndersonInstagram

Goodreads: bit.ly/ChristyAndersonGoodreads

BookBub: bit.ly/ChristyAndersonBookBub

BUY NOW: books2read.com/RoyallyComplicated


#CoverReveal “Short Stories for the Long Haul” by John T. Buckley

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Looking for a collection that has something for every mood? Check out Short Stories for the Long Haul by John T. Buckley! Coming soon!

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Short Stories for the Long Haul

Expected Publication Date: August 12th, 2022

Genre: Anthology/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ Crime Fiction & More

A collection of short stories that explore the human condition. Everything from a self absorbed wannabe quarterback who gets his shot, to a woman who marries her dog…

Coming Soon!

About the Author

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John T. Buckley is a 47 year old writer from Maine who’s been writing most of his life. He also loves to paint and seeing the world. He studied at University of Southern Maine as well as at SMTC in Cape Elizabeth. Fun fact, John T. Buckley was once the lead singer in a band called Mammyth.

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