Thursday, October 30, 2014

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Heroes, Monsters, Monkeys and More by Gail Z. Martin - and Giveaway

Please welcome Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery as part of her Days of the Dead Blog Tour!

Heroes, Monsters, Monkeys and More

By Gail Z. Martin

I broke some kind of personal record this year for participating in anthologies, with stories in eleven different collections, plus a couple of anthologies that won’t come out until 2015 but had stories due this year. Some of them were an easy fit for tales that tie into the extended universe of my books. Others required coming up with something entirely new, and several were a stretch into genres where I’d never written before. Three were illustrated, something new for me, and one was in a shared world of another author.

That’s why I enjoy being part of anthologies. They give me a sandbox in which to stretch and play, experiment and grow. I can do things in twenty or thirty pages that I can’t easily do in three hundred or four hundred pages, with less risk and more fun. Plus, these anthologies were run by friends of mine. It’s fun when your friends as you to come out and play.

Anthologies also make good sense. Because story collections are like sampler plates, readers who may not have ready any of an author’s novels may find a short story in an anthology by that author and go looking for other works. I’ve had a number of emails from readers who found my novels in just that way.

Another benefit of writing for anthologies is it can give you an idea of whether or not a new world you’ve created is sustainable for larger, longer works. I had written several stories in my Deadly Curiosities universe before I was asked to do a full-length novel. Because I had already tried out the world and its characters, taking on a novel in a whole new genre didn’t seem as daunting as it might have.

Some of the anthologies were for a good cause. Dance Like a Monkey was a charity anthology to help the family of the late C.J. Henderson with medical expenses. I won’t make a dime from it, but C.J. was a friend of mine and I’m happy to contribute to something that may help his family through a rough time.

Athena’s Daughters, an anthology about adventurous women characters written by wild women authors, portrays female characters in a positive light and does so with characters from a wide variety of ages, ethnicities, circumstances and physical abilities. It helps to answer the hunger I’m seeing for more diverse main characters in speculative fiction. Readers want to read about protagonists who look like them, and for too long, the genre has relegated women, minorities and people with disabilities to the role of sidekick or secondary character, if they’re present at all. It’s got an all-new Deadly Curiosities short story that is pretty spooky.

Likewise, the Heroes anthology specifically called for superheroes who were diverse. Instead of a bunch of buff beefcake in spandex, you’ve got over-the-hill heroes, unlikely champions and superheroes who don’t fit the mold.

Unexpected Journeys and Unconventional Fantasy were membership-only anthologies for the British Fantasy Society and the World Fantasy Society, and both contained reprints of my story, Buttons. It’s a great way for me to connect with other professionals in the field who may see my story and want to talk about future anthologies or collaboration. Positive exposure doesn’t hurt.

My story for Big Bad 2 was a foray into horror, something I skirt but don’t set out to write most of the time. It was fun to write a story from the villain’s point of view, and I’m proud of the piece, especially since I considered it to be a stretch beyond my comfort zone.

With Great Power was another superhero anthology. C.J. Henderson personally asked me to write a story with a female hero because he said he wanted something really different and from a woman’s perspective, and he trusted me to deliver that. I was daunted by the request, but the unconventional heroine I supplied fit the bill.

In Icarus: A Graphic Novel, my short story was a stretch goal for the Kickstarter campaign, and it was written to a prompt by Icarus author Gregory Wilson, using his characters and attempting to match his voice and style. Quite a departure, plus it will be illustrated by LucasArts/Marvel artist Joe Corroney.

Realms of Imagination got another all-new Deadly Curiosities story, a good fit for a collection of urban fantasy stories.

Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens has a Sound and Fury Adventure, a spin-off from the steampunk universe my co-author and I created for our upcoming Iron and Blood steampunk novels. The anthology’s premise is just what it sounds like—stories incorporating steampunk and aliens. Who could resist?

Dreams of Steel 5 also has a Sound and Fury Adventure story, set in the alternative history Pittsburgh we created for the Iron and Blood books.

There’s also an upcoming story for a collection involving corsets, and a space-themed anthology for the Origins convention. Beyond that, who knows? I’m having too much fun to quit now.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for stories and books by author friends of mine. And, a special 50% off discount from Double-Dragon ebooks! You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here:

Trick or Treat: Enjoy an excerpt from Retribution, my short story in the Athena’s Daughters I anthology here:

And a bonus excerpt from He Was a Wonderful Man, a short story by my friend Janine Spendlove, from the Heroes anthology:

And a second bonus excerpt from Lunar Camp by my friend Maggie Allen, also in Athena’s Daughters I:

About Gail

Gail Z. Martin is the author of the new epic fantasy Reign of Ash (Orbit Books 2014) and Deadly Curiosities, a new urban fantasy novel (July 2014 Solaris Books), set in Charleston, SC. She is also author of Ice Forged in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, War of Shadows (Orbit Books, 2015), and Iron and Blood, a Steampunk novel (2015, Solaris Books) which will be co-authored with her husband, Larry N. Martin.  She is the author of The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread) from Orbit Books.  She writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

Gail’s work will appear in at several new anthologies in 2014: Clockwork Universe Steampunk vs. Aliens, Athena’s Daughters, Dreams of Steel 5, The Big Bad 2, Dance Like a Monkey, plus an illustrated story in Icarus: A Graphic Novel, Heroes (stretch goal author) the British Fantasy Society’s Unexpected Journeys and With Great Power, a superhero anthology. Other US/UK anthologies include Magic (Solaris), The Bitten Word, Rum & Runestones, Spells & Swashbucklers, and The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women.

Find her at, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at blog and She leads monthly conversations on Goodreads and posts free excerpts of her work on Wattpad

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a SIGNED Trade Paperback copy of Ice Forged (The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga 1) by Gail Z. Martin.

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on November 13, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NYCC: Marc Evan Jackson and the Detroit Creativity Project

To kick off the posting of our many videos from New York Comic Con 2014, we are featuring an interview with Marc Evan Jackson. Marc is an Actor, Improv Comedian, Musician, Voice-Over Actor, and a Co-Founder of the Detroit Creativity Project. This Saturday, Keegan-Michael Key is hosting the 2nd Annual Detroit Party to benefit the Project.

Hosted by Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele)

Featuring: Marc Evan Jackson
(DCP co-founder, 22 Jump Street, Brooklyn 99)

Paget Brewster
(Criminal Minds, Huff, Friends)

Kumail Nanjiani
(Silicon Valley, The Meltdown, Portlandia)

Thomas Middleditch
(Silicon Valley, Splinterhead)

Allee Willis
(Grammy Award-winning songwriter for the “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack, & nominated for “Friends” theme song “I’ll Be There for You”, Artist, Author, & Director)

Benmont Tench
(Founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)

And performances by
Sara Watkins
(Watkins Family Hour)

Martin Starr
(Freaks & Geeks, Party Down, Silicon Valley)
with Common Rotation

and more!
Proceeds will provide arts education for Detroit kids.

Tickets may be purchased here. And if you can't attend the Detroit Party,
you may make a donation to the Detroit Creativity Project here.

Marc Evan Jackson
Actor, Improv Comedian, Musician,
Voice-Over Actor, & Co-founder of

Hailing from Amherst, New York, MARC EVAN JACKSON is an enormously interesting person. After graduating with a degree in Philosophy from Calvin College and a couple years sailing aboard schooners in Maine, Marc worked as an on-air host for National Public Radio affiliate stations in Michigan before joining the Second City's resident company in Detroit as Musical Director and Stage Actor before moving to The Second City in Hollywood as Improv Instructor /Director.

Marc voiced the title character in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award-winning “Brick Novax’s Diary” and acted in 2013 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection Film, “Toy’s House” along-side Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, & Megan Mullally. Now titled, “The Kings of Summer”, this film was released in 2013. Marc also appeared in the 2014 audience favorite, “22 Jump Street”.

He also plays “Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars” (a sci-fi western set in Mars) in the nationally acclaimed old-time radio show “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” which is a stage production performed monthly at Largo at the Coronet in Hollywood, CA. The Thrilling Adventure Hour is also syndicated in a weekly podcast on iTunes via the Nerdist Network

Film and television credits include: “Parks & Rec”, “Brooklyn Nine Nine”, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, Broken Lizard’s “The Slammin’ Salmon,” ”Funny or Die Presents” on HBO, “Psych” on the USA Network, “Last Comic Standing” “Key&Peele,” and “Reno 911!” on Comedy Central, “Happy Endings” and “According to Jim” on ABC, “Scare Tactics” on NBC/Universal’s SyFy Channel, and many others.

Marc Evan Jackson was cast as the lead, Jim Dunnigan, in “Suit Up” produced by Fox Digital Studio in association with DIRECTTV. This digital comedy follows a crisis guru, Dunnigan, as he pilots a college athletic department on the brink. Yahoo! Screen launched this eight-episode digital series in September 2012 and CRACKLE in November 2012. Since January 2013, “Suit Up” has been broadcasted on DIRECTV’s Audience Network. The broadcast series included bonus content, such as behind the scenes features and outtakes.

Marc, an actor, improviser, musician, writer and voice-over talent, lives in Los Angeles with his (current) wife Beth, a cat veterinarian.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Interview with Martin Rose, author of Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell - October 28, 2014

Please welcome Martin Rose to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell is published today by Talos.  Please join The Qwillery in wishing Martin a Happy Publication Day!

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Martin:  Like a lot of writers, I was young. I had some obstacles, but I fell into it when I was twelve. And it's hard to say why, why writing was the thing. I just had stories inside me, and it was self-evident the only natural answer was to let them out. So I started sending out stories to print publications when I was 13. I was very secretive about it, I didn't tell anyone, or ask for help. I still have my first rejection letter from Dani D'Atillio at Death's Realm back in 1994.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Martin:  Ambidextrous. Nowadays I make a general outline, but I pantsed Bring Me Flesh something fierce.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Martin:  Time. Always time. On the surface, it's hard for any writer who starts early in their career to find time, especially if they're not in a financially comfortable place in life. But there's this whole other aspect of time involved in writing that is just not very sexy. It's learning how to deal with time when your heart isn't in it, and how, you know, you could be spending your time on all these other very pleasurable distractions that life provides you. It's not exciting to spend hour after hour in a chair, pecking at the keyboard. And there are all these days and months and years ahead of you, spent waiting for editors and publishers and agents to get back to you. You have to learn to mitigate and leverage time, because if you don't... you give up. Nothing breaks a writer with greater efficiency than Time. And I think that's true of any profession that requires discipline and mastery.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Martin:  I read it all. A lot of books have stuck with me, but it's hard to say what made an influence, because I really, really have a deep desire to innovate language, to create a voice and a style that is all its own, and not beholden to the past. When I was a teenager, I cut my teeth on Lloyd Alexander, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Robert R. McCammon, Edgar Allen Poe, Alexandre Dumas and Edith Wharton. When I got older I found Graham Greene, David Sedaris, Donna Tartt, Robin Hobb, Charlotte Bronte. I read a lot of non-fiction. Economics, political science, history. These days I'm going through Laird Barron's back catalog with a great deal of enjoyment, as well as John Langan, Stephen Graham Jones. Read my first John LeCarre book, and I'm looking forward to reading more of him. Anyone can track my readings on

TQ:  Describe Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell in 140 characters or less.

Martin:  Love the dead without the guilt. Blood, bullets, conspiracy, and a very dysfunctional family.

TQ:  Tell us something about Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell that is not in the book description.

Martin:  Well, without giving too much away, there's a suit of armor and a troublesome infestation of flies. There's a particular part I'd love to tell people about, but it would spoil the surprise.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell? Your publisher describes the novel as " imaginative spin on the hard-boiled detective genre and a new twist on the zombie novel." Why zombies? Are your zombies the classic Romero zombie or something else?

Martin:  I'd written a short story with Vitus, a few years back, I think in 2009, and that became the springboard. It was just meant to be a one off short that ended up in a zombie anthology, but Vitus had a persistent voice.

Out of the entire monster catalog a writer can choose from, zombie was not really ever on my list; but I found that a zombie of Vitus's caliber gave me a lot of play I couldn't get out of other monsters that have really come back into public focus, like vampires and werewolves. And vampires and werewolves are often spun to be very sexual, mysterious and seductive creatures, in the popular sphere. But with Vitus, there was no expectation for that kind of glamor. He's not attractive, he's not happy, he's got a lot of trauma. And rather than go with classic Romero zombie – not to say you won't find an element of that in Bring Me Flesh as well – Vitus is self-aware of his monstrousness, and the only reason he has that self-awareness is because he takes medication to keep him sentient. Zombies' continuing popularity is really a sign of a zeitgeist. It's not going away anytime soon. The BBC is running a program called "In The Flesh", about a boy who happens to be a zombie, and is being integrated back into society through medication. I expect our culture will be taking this subject farther to reflect the various social, economic, and political issues that have become too controversial, or uncomfortable, to talk about openly.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell?

Martin:  Some was accidental. I have a friend who's an officer in NYC, and I'd done some research with him about evidence rooms that inadvertantly ended up forming a particular character in the book. I ended up taking the research into some interesting spaces – for instance, I spent a lot of hours poring over materials dealing with the subject of leprosy in medieval times. When I was young, my step-mother told me about a leper colony in Hawaii, and that really began to form the basis for another character. Vitus's back story takes the reader to Kosovo, and the conflicts that erupted in Yugoslavia during the 90s, the NATO airstrikes, and I brushed up on that. Hopefully I didn't screw any of that up, but if there are mistakes, they're all mine. But Kosovo is where Vitus ends up. The recent wars involving the middle east are probably the most accessible to the reader, but I wanted to delve into an area that people would be less knowledgable about, (Kosovo, Bosnia, and Sarajevo) and unable to form instantaneous opinions on.

TQ:  In Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Martin:  They're all hard. I'm not a large fan of turning my characters into avatars for myself. That doesn't mean I don't take little things from experience and just patch them in places to bolster the identity of a character and flesh them out. But because I don't necessarily want characters to reflect my attitudes or personality, it actually can be quite a grind, to build a person from scratch and make them breathe for the reader, when you may not even like the character yourself. That's what made Vitus the hardest. His brother, Jamie, was a bit of a surprise, but still hard. I did not expect him to flesh out as much as he did. There were intense psychological scenes in the last half of the book I had to take breaks through. I think having empathy makes it harder. That quality creates an obligation to care more about what happens to everyone, even the villains.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell.


"Another man walked in my shoes. I never really got to know him, the boy that I was. At twenty years of age, he died ignobly as part of a military sanctioned, pharmaceutical experiment. In his place, I was born – as a darkling encased in rotting meat, a walking, talking corpse, still picking pieces of his wife and son from his teeth. A convenient tragedy packing heat. I was a pathetic human and I made for an even more pathetic monster."

TQ:  What's next?

Martin:  Hopefully, a follow up, if Skyhorse wants it. I'll be a tourist in the zombie universe for another book or two, if circumstance allows; and then I'll move onto other pastures. I'm always writing. Anyone interested can keep up with my commentary, observations, news, and unwanted opinions over at my wordpress,

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Martin:  Thanks for having me, and happy reading to everyone. There're amazing books coming out this month; I know I'll be reading quite a few of them myself!

Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell: A Horror Novel
Talos, October 28, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 232 pages

Vitus Adamson is falling apart. As a pre-deceased private investigator, he takes the prescription Atroxipine hourly to keep his undead body upright and functioning. Whenever he is injured, he seeks Niko, a bombshell mortician with bedroom eyes and a way with corpses, to piece him back together. Decomposition, however, is the least of his worries when two clients posing his most dangerous job yet appear at his door looking for their lost son.

Vitus is horrified to discover the photo of the couple's missing son is a picture-perfect reproduction of his long dead son. This leads him to question the events of his tormented past; he must face the possibility that the wife and child he believed he murdered ten years ago in a zombie-fugue have somehow survived . . . or is it just wishful thinking designed to pull him into an elaborate trap?

Unfolding like a classic film noir mixed with elements of a B-movie, Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell is an imaginative spin on the hard-boiled detective genre and a new twist on the zombie novel. In Vitus Adamson, you will find a protagonist you can care about and invest in as he takes you through his emotional journey of betrayal and quest for redemption.

About Martin

Martin Rose lives in New Jersey, where he writes a range of fiction from the fantastic to the macabre. Visit for details.

Monday, October 27, 2014

ParaMysMo 2014: Joyce and Jim Lavene - October 27, 2014

Please welcome Joyce and Jim Lavene to The Qwillery. Writing as J.J. Cook they are the authors of the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries and the Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mysteries. As Joyce and Jim Lavene they have written several series including the Renaissance Faire Mysteries and the upcoming the Retired Witches Mystery series, which debuts with Spell Booked in December. They also write as Ellie Grant (the Maggie Grady series).

Celebrating Halloween!
By Joyce and Jim Lavene

Halloween is one of our favorite times of year. We love everything about it from the pumpkins to the candy. We always have a party with games and a bonfire. It’s only natural that some of our characters and books would celebrate it too!

Ghastly Glass is our Halloween Renaissance Faire mystery. Renaissance Faire Village is dressed up with super scary decorations. Fairies become dark and werewolves prowl the cobblestones. The whole place changes to reflect the season. We modeled this after some of the theme parks across the country which hold similar celebrations. It was fun to write!

In our new series, The Retired Witches Mysteries, the second book – Looking for Mr. Goodwitch - will take place during the pagan holiday Halloween is taken from – Samhain. This is celebrated on October 31st and is known as the witches’ New Year.

It is the end of the harvest and the day remembers the summer season with plenty of pumpkins, gourds, warm soups, and stews. The time is used to honor ancestors, and a good time to have a séance. This is the time of the lighting of the fires and divinations.

The actual beginnings of our house-to-house drive for candy come from England. Children went from door to door asking for treats and money, but at Christmas instead of Halloween. They called this time souling. It was also a ritual to help get through the dark times ahead as winter set in.

As usual in the US, our holidays are all mixed up with traditions we’ve borrowed from around the world. Halloween has remnants of the Mexican Day of the Dead as well. Sugar skulls are delicious, and a reminder again of death.

This is the dark time of the year, before the winter solstice changes to allow more daylight hours. It can be a long time between Samhain and Beltane in the spring. Just as it is many months between Halloween and Easter.

We recommend a warm mug of apple cider sipped near a hot fire with plenty of friends and family, no matter why you celebrate in October. Enjoy the darkness. It is only by going through it that we reach the light.

Happy Halloween – Samhain!

Retired Witches Mysteries


Spell Booked
A Retired Witches Mystery 1
Berkley, December 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook,304 pages

The national bestselling authors of the Missing Pieces Mysteries summon up the first Retired Witches Mystery in a brand new supernatural series…

Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…

Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.

They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…

Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries

That Old Flame of Mine
A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery 1
Berkley, April 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Set in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, J. J. Cook’s thrilling new mystery series features Fire Chief Stella Griffin, who solves crime with the help of her predecessor, who just happens to be a ghost…


After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.

As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief. And if that isn’t enough to rattle her, attractive police officer John Trump seems to have taken an interest in her. But Stella’s got to stay focused if she hopes to smoke out a killer before her own life is extinguished.


Hero's Journey
A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Novella
Berkley. December 3, 2013

A hot dog and a hot head are on the loose in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, and it’s up to Fire Chief Stella Griffin to collar them both...

The Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade’s newly adopted Dalmatian puppy, Hero, is missing. Stella believes he just wandered away from her cabin and got lost. But despite posters and searches by the fire brigade and spotty sightings by locals, there are no leads, and the furry fire fighter has yet to return.

Stella is already worried with a series of progressively dangerous arson fires plaguing Sweet Pepper. And oddly enough, Hero’s appearances are coinciding with the fires. Now with the help of the ghost of Sweet Pepper’s former fire chief, Stella will have to dig up some clues if she hopes to find the pup before he’s lost for good—and find the arsonist before someone loses a life.

Includes a preview of the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery, Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire
A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery 2
Berkley, January 7, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Welcome to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, it’s home to the hottest and sweetest peppers in the world—as well as at least one ghost and a hotbed of secrets…


Fire Chief Stella Griffin is working to solve the mysterious death of her predecessor, Eric Gamlyn—who also haunts her cabin. Yet the more she learns, the more burning questions she must answer. Just as Stella thinks she has a lead from Deputy Chum, someone snuffs her hopes—and the lawman.

Adding fuel to the fire, Stella’s parents soon arrive—with her ex-boyfriend—hoping to persuade her to return to Chicago. Now Stella is torn between the life she left behind and uncovering what happened to her ghostly friend. But she’d better think fast or more than her investigation could go up in flames…


In Hot Water
A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery 3
Berkley, January 6, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, has the world’s hottest and sweetest peppers—as well as a ghost that cooks and a fire chief who fights crime…


Stella Griffin should be bubbling over with joy now that she’s the full-time fire chief of Sweet Pepper, except trouble is brewing on her doorstep. An angry resident has purchased her cabin, and—with a bulldozer in tow—is ready to tear it down. But as Stella worries over the fate of her home and Eric, her ghostly roommate, there’s soon an even greater cause for alarm.

A suspicious house fire in the pricey Sunset Beach community at Sweet Pepper Lake claims the life of ex-state representative Barney Falk. The nature of the death has Stella feeling out of her depth, so she teams up with the state’s arson investigator. Moving full steam ahead with the case, they must smoke out a killer before the firebug strikes again…

About the Authors

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction 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

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win 1 Mass Market Paperback copy of her/his choice of a That Old Flame of Mine, Playing with Fire or the upcoming Spell Booked. Please note that Spell Booked is not published until December 2014 so you will have to wait for that book if you win and that is your choice.

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on November 11, 2014. Void where prohibitedby law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway