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Friday, May 7, 2021

Mia P. Manansala Interview - Arsenic and Adobo

Photo Credit: Jamilla Yipp Photography

Mia P. Manansala (she/her) is a certified book coach and the author of ARSENIC AND ADOBO (Berkley May 4, 2021), the first in the Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery series. She uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture. 

She is the winner of the 2018 Hugh Holton Award, the 2018 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, the 2017 William F. Deeck - Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, and the 2016 Mystery Writers of America/Helen McCloy Scholarship. She's also a 2017 Pitch Wars alum and 2018-2020 mentor.

A lover of all things geeky, Mia spends her days procrastibaking, playing JRPGs and dating sims, reading cozy mysteries, and cuddling her dogs Gumiho, Max Power, and Bayley Banks (bonus points if you get all the references).

Mia is quite the joiner, as she is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Color, Banyan: Asian American Writers Collective, International Thriller Writers, the Chicago Writers Association, and the Chicago Nerd Social Club.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I love seeing the excitement that other Filipinos have when they see/hear about my book because we’re so hungry for representation. But more specifically, I recently received a message from an Asian American writer who told me that reading my story made them examine their work-in-progress, which had a White protagonist. They said that my novel gave them the “Aha!” moment they needed to change the character into one that reflected their own cultural background, one that they’d never tried to write before. That message made me realize that although I started writing only for myself, my work has the potential to affect so many others. It’s amazing.

Tell us your latest news.
ARSENIC AND ADOBO was one of the April picks for the Book of the Month subscription service, so if you’d like a hardcover edition, make sure to check it out. Book 2 in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series is titled Homicide and Halo-Halo, with a tentative release date of February 2022. It’s with my editors now and I’m waiting for their feedback. Currently working on Book 3 in the series, as well as some other exciting things, but I can’t talk about them yet.

In your newest book, ARSENIC AND ADOBO; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
Sure! ARSENIC AND ADOBO is a Filipino-American culinary cozy mystery, in which a young woman returns to her small Midwestern town to recover from a breakup, only to have to deal with her family’s failing business, a gaggle of meddling aunties, and her vindictive ex-boyfriend-turned-food critic who has the bad taste to die in her aunt’s restaurant.

  • 1. ARSENIC AND ADOBO was originally sold as Love, Loss, and Lumpia, but my editors (rightfully) said that title didn’t have enough of a mystery feel. I submitted a list of possible new titles and they selected Arsenic and Adobo from it.
  • 2. The town name of Shady Palms is an inside joke between me and a few of my friends. I’d originally put it in as a placeholder name, thinking it was too ridiculous to use, but it stuck. My friend and fellow cozy writer, Raquel Reyes, even helped me come up with a backstory so the name would make sense.
  • 3. I had to do a major rewrite halfway through the book since an important clue and plotline revolved around evidence that would’ve been a HIPAA violation if I’d left it in. Shout out to my beta readers Abby Collette/Abby Vandiver and Robin St. Clare (both writers as well as legal and medical professionals) who caught that major flub and saved me from an embarrassing mistake.
  • 4. The opening chapters of ARSENIC AND ADOBO won the 2018 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award as well as the 2018 Hugh Holton Award.
  • 5. The opening lines popped into my head, fully formed, while I was riding the train to work one day. Since I first started this story in 2018, those two lines have never changed.
  • 6. The original inspiration for this story came from a conversation between me and my mentor, Kellye Garrett, where we were joking that cozies often followed rom-com tropes. “Cozies are just rom-coms with dead bodies!” I said, and a couple weeks later, the opening lines popped into my head.
  • 7. I’m on my second agent because my first literary agent couldn’t sell my first book after a year and half on submission (ARSENIC AND ADOBO is my second finished novel) and didn’t like my second. I signed with my agent Jill Marsal two weeks after I started querying, and she in turn sold my book at auction within two weeks of going on sub.
  • 8. The Calendar Crew (my protagonist’s godmothers, who are the meddling aunties mentioned in story description) are the most annoying characters yet the most fun to write.
  • 9. Adeena, my protagonist’s best friend, had much more page-time and a bigger backstory in original versions, but I had to trim it down to keep the focus on Lila. It was tough because she has such a strong personality that demanded to be heard!
  • 10. The romance was the hardest part for me to write, but also the most interesting. I like that it challenges me creatively—it’s easier for me to think up murders and motives than it is for me to dig deep and put emotion on the page.
What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
If they’re already cozy mystery fans, I want them to feel like they’re reading something comforting and familiar yet new and exciting at the same time. If they’ve never read a cozy mystery and/or aren’t familiar with Filipino food, I hope they find themselves drawn into a new world, engaging with the characters as they try to figure out whodunit, and that they come away from my novel hungry for Filipino food and more stories from me.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Lila?
That despite all my careful planning before I started writing the story, she was a character with a mind of her own and would expand and grow in ways I hadn’t originally predicted.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d love to introduce my protagonist, Lila, to Odessa Dean from Olivia Blacke’s debut cozy, KILLER CONTENT. Odessa is a Southern small-town transplant currently living (and solving murders) in Williamsburg, NYC. Odessa is young, sheltered, and just beginning to expand her palate thanks to all the deliciousness New York has to offer. I’m sure Lila would love to take Odessa under her wing and introduce her to the world of Filipino food, and they could maybe solve a couple cases together in the meantime.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I started this book early 2018 and my father passed away at the end of 2018. I had to set it aside for a while as I dealt with my grief and helping my family. I wish he could be here for this, but the book is dedicated to him.

  • 1. I taught English in South Korea for over three years.
  • 2. While in South Korea, I was (VERY briefly) a member of a roller derby team.
  • 3. My favorite colors are purple and teal (or peacock colors, as I call them).
  • 4. I love stars and galaxy/space patterns.
  • 5. I’m a certified book coach, and love guiding writers to the best version of their stories.
  • 6. Baking is my love language.
  • 7. Mystery is my favorite genre overall, but Romance is my current favorite (fake dating is the best trope ever)
  • 8. I’m a beginner-level tarot card reader and want to buy ALL the decks.
  • 9. I became obsessed with candles a couple years ago (I light one as part of my writing ritual) and go through two or three a month.
  • 10. I have three dogs, and their names are all pop culture/mythology related.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Travel abroad

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
From 2011-2014 (and half of 2010), I taught English in a small town in South Korea. I had just graduated from college and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but for the first time ever, I was living on my own and experiencing a freedom and lightness that I still think about sometimes. I love my life now, but I owe much of who I am today to those years abroad.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Phone, keys, face mask, and small zipper pouch with lip balm, lotion, and hand sanitizer inside (I frequently forget my wallet in a different bag)

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
How I should’ve gotten more writing done.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Despite loving romance in fiction, I’m NOT a very romantic person. However, love has been (and still is) a huge driving force in my life and I’ve learned and grown so much because of it. So even though I’m not a fan of the drama and pain of heart break, I have to go with true love.

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

You can purchase Arsenic and Adobo at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MIA P. MANANSALA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Amanda McKinney Interview - Rattlesnake Road

Photo Content from Amanda McKinney

Amanda McKinney is the bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than fifteen romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY in 2017, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Her books include the bestselling series, STEELE SHADOWS SECURITY, the multi-award-winning BERRY SPRINGS series, BLACK ROSE MYSTERIES, and many more to come.

Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries peppered with steamy romance. Amanda is a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Arkansas with her handsome husband, two beautiful boys, and three obnoxious dogs.


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born and raised in NW Arkansas, in a small, country town that has more cows than people. Big trucks, American flags, cowboy hats, sweet tea—all the fantastic southern clichés. I loved it. I still live in the same area, now with my handsome husband, two beautiful boys, three obnoxious dogs, and an aggressively large, crafty oraWhat inspired you to pen your first novel?
nge fox that I’m certain is plotting the takeover of our home.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Hands down, when I turned my passion of writing into an official business - HH Tisevich, LLC. I, the woman who wandered aimlessly from job to job for decades, became a small business owner. It became very real at that point, and I have loved every minute of the journey.

My mother’s support and encouragement are the sole reasons I had the confidence to write my first book and chase my dream. Every book I write is dedicated to her because every new release is a testament to the biggest thing my mother taught me —to never, ever give up.

Tell us your latest news.
I made my first (successful) loaf of homemade gluten-free bread. I also have a new small-town romance mystery coming out May 04. The catchy summary that took me a week to write goes a little something like this: After leaving her posh NYC life behind, Grey Dalton escapes to the small, southern town of Berry Springs to pick up the broken pieces of her life. On impulse, she purchases a rumored-to-be-haunted house where she finds herself thrown into decade-old murder mystery. Men are the last thing on her mind—until she meets a tattooed cowboy and a dashing businessman. One will steal her heart, the other, her soul. Rattlesnake Road pushes the boundaries and blends genres in this raw, emotional, no-holds-barred story about love, loss, hitting rock bottom, and clawing your way to the other side.

Can you tell us when you started RATTLESNAKE ROAD, how that came about?
I began writing Rattlesnake Road a year ago, but had been plotting it for a year before that. It was a story that was clawing to get out of me, waking me at 3am, slowly revealing itself in incoherent sentences and images. It is unlike anything I have written before. As writers, especially in romance, most of us have a curated list if tropes we refer to when plotting a story. I threw mine out the window and set out to write an extremely raw, real-life story that doesn’t sugar-coat the ups and downs of life. The characters are deeply flawed. The hero isn’t perfect, the heroine isn’t perfect, the story isn’t perfect. Rattlesnake Road blends addiction with faith, mental health with love. It is messy and raw and the type of book that will leave an impression and have people talking.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
The quote, “Growth and comfort do not coexist,” replayed over and over in my head while writing this book. Rattlesnake Road is a story about not giving up and being open to things you might have previously shut out. It’s about overcoming darkness and allowing light in. At the end of the day, I hope it reminds people of the power of faith.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Grey?
That sex is her coping mechanism. That one really crept up on me.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Etta, a muu-muu wearing, seventy-something Southern spitfire to Gage from Cabin 1 (Steele Shadows Security), a cocky, reckless train wreck of an alpha male. I’d love to watch her set him straight—and she would, with gusto.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Self-doubt and fear of putting myself out there. I pulled from real-life experiences and to create Rattlesnake Road, occasionally blurring the line between truth and fiction. That was scary. The book is deeply personal to me, and was, at times, extremely uncomfortable to write. I truly left my heart right there in the pages.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Hike in nature alone. Be still, quite. Listen.

Best date you've ever had?
It involved my husband, four martinis, a keytar (look it up), and a bar top in a hole-in-the-wall Irish pub.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
To any moment with my mother.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
As noted above, my mother is the one who pushed me to pursue my dream of writing. Not long after I wrote my first book, she passed away—and writing was the one thing that got me through that very dark time. It was a monumental point in my life where I realized how interconnected things are, that everything happens for a reason, and that God truly has our backs. You just have to have open eyes and open hearts to see it.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Under-eye concealer (damn the dark circles), my cell phone, wallet, and my Glock 43. Yes, I know how to use it and have my concealed carry license, thank you very much.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Anywhere alone in the middle of the woods. That’s my happy place.

First Heartbreak?
Losing my shepherd-mix, Auggie, to cancer. Seriously, that was worse than any of my relationships ending… not sure what that says about me. ;)

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love, without question.

  • The Search, Nora Roberts
  • The Dark Lure, Loreth Anne White
  • Verity, Colleen Hoover
  • Whiskey Beach, Nora Roberts
  • Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
  • Naked in Death, J.D. Robb
  • City of Shadows, Ariana Franklin
  • Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank
  • Ricochet, Sandra Brown
Writing Behind the Scenes
I’m someone who loves schedules, plans, and consistency. Spontaneity scares the crap out of me. So I keep myself on a tight schedule packed with deadlines. A typical writing day for me is waking up at 3:30am, stumbling to my desk—coffee in hand—to get in as much writing time I can before the kiddos wake. For better or worse, this my most productive time of the day. I have a daily word count goal and write every day, no matter what. I find this helps to keep the same tone throughout the book and the creative juices flowing. When I begin a book, the first thing I do is write a detailed outline—bulleted of course. And although the story develops as I go, I try to stick to that outline as much as possible. I’ve realized that if I don’t, the story becomes scattered, filled with major plot holes. And no one likes a massive plot hole.

★ From bestselling and award-winning author Amanda McKinney comes her most evocative and twisted small-town Mystery Romance... ★

Everyone hits rock bottom, only the brave escape.

Welcome to 1314 Rattlesnake Road.

A quaint two-bedroom log cabin nestled deep in the woods of the small, southern town of Berry Springs—the perfect hideaway to escape your past.

Tucked inside thick, mahogany walls lay mysterious letters, forgotten and untouched for decades. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame breathtaking views of jagged cliffs, deep valleys, and endless lies. Mature oak trees, tall enough to touch the clouds, carry the whispers of the haunted, of stories untold

Inside sits Grey Dalton, emotionally battered and bruised, her only wish to pick up the broken pieces of her life. But outside, await two men, one a tattooed cowboy, the other a dashing businessman.

One will steal her heart, the other, her soul.

Rattlesnake Road is a standalone mystery romance about love, loss, hitting rock bottom, and clawing your way to the other side.

Your escape awaits…
You can purchase Rattlesnake Road at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you AMANDA MCKINNEY for making this giveaway possible.
1Winner will receive a Copy of Rattlesnake Road by Amanda McKinney.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Katherine A. Sherbrooke Interview - Leaving Coy's Hill

Photo Content from Katherine Sherbrooke

Katherine Sherbrooke is the author of Leaving Coy's Hill (May, 2021) Fill the Sky and a family memoir, Finding Home (2011). An alumna of Dartmouth College and Stanford Business School, she wanted to be an author from the time she opened her first book, and lived on books like food and water for a long time. Somewhere along the line, though, she caught the start-up bug and co-founded a Boston based company called Circles. After that wonderful 15 year+ entrepreneurial adventure, she "remembered" her original dream and finally sat down to write. She lives outside Boston with her family.

Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Essex County, NJ and I call Cohasset, MA home

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Sitting in living rooms with readers discussing my first novel, Fill the Sky, was hugely rewarding. There were many magical moments, but one in particular stands out. One night, a woman pulled me aside to tell me that for a very long time she hadn’t been able to understand or forgive her best friend for an extramarital affair she’d been having. She opened her copy of Fill the Sky and pointed to a highlighted sentence. “After reading this,” she said, “I now understand what my friend has been going through. I know how to support her now.” That did it for me!

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I’ve wanted to write fiction since I was a kid, but I ended up in business instead and essentially “forgot” about that dream. In between start-ups (or so I thought) in 2011, I decided to write a family memoir about my parent’s turbulent love affair, purely as a personal project. My only goal at the time was to capture the details of their magical story before the memories were lost to us. That process sparked the old flame, and I knew I had to finally try my hand at a novel.

Tell us your latest news.
I recently made plane reservations (first time in over a year), and feel like a kid who has never been on a trip before. Assuming I haven’t just jinxed us writing this, we are planning a week in warmer weather (anywhere is warmer than New England right now) where we can turn our faces to the sun, play outdoor games and stop shivering for a few days.

Can you tell us when you started LEAVING COY'S HILL, how that came about?
I began research for LEAVING COY’S HILL in 2017. I was working on a different novel at the time, and as a stalling tactic (because the real work that was giving me trouble), I began to research names for secondary characters who I wanted to be named after impressive but lesser-known women in history. I have no idea what I googled, but up popped the name Lucy Stone. I had never heard of her, and the more I learned about her the more amazed I became. And when I discovered why she was essentially erased from the popular narrative of women’s rights in the US, I knew hers was the story I needed to write.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Two things. I hope they mull over what has and hasn’t changed for women since Lucy’s time, how much freer we are technically, and yet how many of us are still constrained by the same limitations, self-doubt, and societal expectations as Lucy. Secondly, I hope readers find themselves rooting for Lucy. She wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but she was a force for good, and with any luck, readers will be inspired to follow in her footsteps and fight for the world they want to live in.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Lucy and Henry?
In creating Lucy, I learned that there’s a difference between courage and self-confidence. Lucy had incredible courage. She was never afraid in the classic sense, even when she was in great danger. But she harbored self-doubt that was sometimes crippling, that deep-seeded worry that her best wasn’t good enough to make a difference. In creating Henry, I learned a man can be ambitious and rudderless at the same time. He had big ideas and grand plans, but managed to be continually distracted or thwarted. I’m not sure I know anyone quite like him.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Nette Brown plays a very important role in my novel. She’s Lucy’s oldest and dearest friend, the one who keeps it real without judging, the one that only wants what’s best for Lucy. I’d love Nette to meet Shay, Edward’s best friend in Dear Edward, by Anna Napolitano (which is a stunningly gorgeous book). Shay is that person for Edward and seeing the inside of their friendship is a rare treat in literature. In my view, there aren’t enough friendship stories in fiction, or characters that are truly selfless, who stand by and support their friend at all costs, not because of what’s in it for them, but simply out of love. We’re taught as fiction writers to create tension and drama in every relationship. But learning to rely on someone else carries its own kind of risk, and having that person deliver is a beautiful thing. I think Nette and Shay would like each other.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Stay up for 36-48 hours straight, not because of work or some other obligation, but because you can’t get enough of the people you’re with, the sunrise you don’t want to miss, the song you need to hear one more time, the laughter that keeps you going.

Best date you've ever had?
It happened somewhere in those 36-48 hours.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I went to high school in the 1980s. It felt like a very uncomplicated time. MTV was the new rage, there were no cell-phones or internet, we were too young for the aids crisis to be knocking at our doors, all wildly naïve and thought the world didn’t extend all that far beyond our own backyards. Clearly we weren’t learning how to be socially aware or politically active, but neither did we have shooter drills at school, worry constantly about whether or not the planet would survive or have all our dumb mistakes recorded on video for all to see. My 16 year-old son was listening to an 80s playlist in my car not too long ago and remarked that the era seemed like a much funner time to be a teenager than now. Sadly for him, I’d have to agree.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Just about nothing makes me sadder than seeing someone picked on or unfairly criticized. I’d like the think I listen for that in conversations and probe with meaningful questions: What makes you say that about that person? Maybe you’re being too hard on them? Have you considered how what you’re saying would make that person feel? It’s not the stuff of pushing of a bully on the playground, but hopefully it has a similar impact.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like but there have been times when I’ve sat down to re-read something I’ve written, maybe as recently as the day before, and not remembered writing it at all. That’s a sign that that the work was coming entirely out of my subconcious. When that happens, I usually really like what I’ve written. It’s an incredible feeling.

First Heartbreak?
First love, first heartbreak. Not long after graduating from high school I was dumped. Hard. It took me some time to get over that one.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
One of the most extraordinary experiences had to be visiting a township in Cape Town, South Africa. We were with a local guide, and two adorable little girls came running over and stuck to me like glue, holding my hand and wanting me to bend down so they could touch my hair and face. The guide explained that they probably had never seen anyone with blond hair before. What struck me most was how easily they giggled and smiled. They weren’t at all afraid, even though I must have looked quite alien to them. I wish there was more of that energy in the world.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or to have never loved before?
True love with heart break for sure. As E.M. Forrester said, “the sadness now is part of the joy then.”

  • Fun
  • Real
  • Interested
  • Understanding
  • Reliable
  • Honest
  • Kind
  • Curious
  • Positive
  • Self-aware
Deleted Scene from LEAVING COY'S HILL
There was a scene I loved that showed Lucy as a young woman (17 or so) following her father into a church meeting where the male members of the congregation are voting on whether or not to expel the Deacon of the church based on five counts of abolitionist activities. Lucy eagerly raises her hand to vote against expelling the Deacon and is quickly reminded by the presiding Minister that women are not allowed to vote on church matters. She continues to raise her hand for each subsequent vote, to the consternation of the rest of the attendees, including her father. The scene is a great example of Lucy’s determination to stand up for what’s right, not to mention, of course, the absurd lack of an ability to vote simply because of gender, a cause that would occupy much of her life.

I took the scene out because, as good as it was, I had three or four scenes from her early years to choose from (all of which happened in real life, by the way) to establish her determination and bias toward action in the face of unfair rules and customs. More than one of those scenes would have been redundant. Each scene in a book has to do the work of pushing forward the plot, a key character or a central theme. If that work has already been done, the scene has to go, as painful as that is.

An unforgettable story about the triumphs and travails of a woman unwilling to play by the rules, based on the the remarkable life of pioneering feminist and abolitionist Lucy Stone.

Born on a farm in 1818, Lucy Stone dreamt of extraordinary things for a girl of her time, like continuing her education beyond the eighth grade and working for the abolitionist cause, and of ordinary things, such as raising a family of her own. But when she learns that the Constitution affords no rights to married women, she declares that she will never marry and dedicates her life to fighting for change.

At a time when it is considered promiscuous for women to speak in public, Lucy risks everything for the anti-slavery movement, her powerful oratory mesmerizing even her most ardent detractors as she rapidly becomes a household name. And when she begins to lecture on the “woman question,” she inspires a young Susan B. Anthony to join the movement. But life as a crusader is a lonely one.

When Henry Blackwell, a dashing and forward-thinking man, proposes a marriage of equals, Lucy must reconcile her desire for love and children with her public persona and the legal perils of marriage she has long railed against. And when a wrenching controversy pits Stone and Anthony against each other, Lucy makes a decision that will impact her legacy forever.

Based on true events, Leaving Coy’s Hill is a timeless story of women’s quest for personal and professional fulfillment within society’s stubborn constraints. And as an abolitionist and women’s rights activist fighting for the future of a deeply divided country, Lucy Stone’s quest to live a life on her own terms is as relevant as ever. In this “propulsive,” “astonishing,” and “powerful” story, Katherine Sherbrooke brings to life a true American heroine for a new generation.

You can purchase Leaving Coy's Hill at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KATHERINE A. SHERBROOKE for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of Leaving Coy's Hill by Katherine A. Sherbrooke.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post with Stephen Blackmoore - Bottle Demon

Photo Credit: Kari Blackmoore

Stephen Blackmoore is the Los Angeles based author of the noir / urban fantasy Eric Carter series, including DEAD THINGS, BROKEN SOULS, the upcoming HUNGRY GHOSTS, and the stand-alone CITY OF THE LOST. He has written tie-in novels for the role-playing game Spirit of The Century (KHAN OF MARS), the video-game Wasteland 2 (ALL BAD THINGS) and the television series Heroes Reborn (DIRTY DEEDS), as well as part of the Gods & Monster series (MYTHBREAKER). His short stories can be found at FIRESIDE FICTION, PLOTS WITH GUNS, and in anthologies such as URBAN ALLIES, DEADLY TREATS, DON'T READ THIS BOOK, UNCAGE ME and many others.


  • "No offense, but nobody showed up for the funeral."
    "I had a funeral?"
    "No, but if you had, nobody would have shown up for it."
  • "Eating souls take a lot out of you."
  • "Why's it a hobo?"
    "I merely assume it's a hobo. It's a body. Not sure whose, and I don't see how it makes much of a difference."
    "I think it makes a difference to the hobo."
  • "Well, isn't this a pickle?"
    "If you mean vaguely dildo-shaped and shoved repeatedly up your ass, sure."
  • "It's like fucking Hogwarts in here," I say.
    "Are you calling me Dumbledore?"
    "I was thinking more Voldemort, actually."
  • I know that lost look. You think you know all the angles. You think you know exactly what's going on, and then BAM, you get a truth bullet right in the forehead and you know just how wrong you fucking are.
  • I flip a few pages until I find an entry from the 1920s and point it out.
    "'Bird cage, brass: Do not open'," Gabriela says. "That's it?"
    "You really want to find out?"
    "Yes," she says.
    "Me too. I just haven't had time to go looking for it.
  • "Techno mages."
    "I dated one of those in college. Tried to make a flying car."
    "What is it with those guys and flying cars?"
    "Right? Anyway, he drove it off a cliff. It didn't work."
    "Sorry to hear it."
    "We were about to break up anyway."
  • "I've just got a carefully crafted shell hiding the fact that I'm a complete sociopath."
    "I thought we all did that," I say.
    "Yes, but I'm good at it.
  • "I'm just thinking that as soon as I think I know what the hell is going on, the universe pulls the rug out from under me."
    "Sure that's the universe's fault?"
    "No, but it's nice to have something to blame it on."
Journey to writing BOTTLE DEMON
Bottle Demon is the sixth book in the Eric Carter Necromancer series. A few major story arcs get resolved in this one and a couple new ones come into play that will go forward into the next three books.

Getting to this point has been a weird experience for me. I still have trouble with the idea that this is the sixth book. That there was ever a first book. Or that I ever got published in the first place.

My plans are not what you would call detailed. So though I knew what Bottle Demon was going to be about and how it would end I didn't have a lot of clarity on how I was going to get there.

I don't have Grand Plans. I have more like There's A Grand Plan Somewhere Over In That Direction I Think Maybe Oh That Road Looks Interesting Let's Try SHINY.

This works out for me most of the time. If I have something too heavily planned out I can get caught in a hole where I keep trying to make something work that doesn't and the answer is to simply ditch it and try something else.

I'm running into that right now on the eighth Eric Carter book, HATE MACHINE. I had in mind a scene I thought would be awesome but to do it I'd have to yank the story around in a direction that simply won't work. It wastes a lot of time.

Fortunately, with Bottle Demon I didn't run into that too much. My goal was to tie up a bunch of plotlines and clear the decks for new things. So I already had those pieces in mind when I wrote it.

Having multiple books to try to look back on and draw from helps immensely. At the same time keeping everything straight can be a challenge. I had a side character in this who I had forgotten I had named in a previous book, mostly because it's only mentioned once.

Fortunately my copyeditor caught it and I was able to fix it.

Overall, I'm happy with how it turned out and I hope fans of the series enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

The sixth book of this dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful gods and goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts.

The Necromancer is dead. Long live the Necromancer.

After being attacked by a demon in the one place he thought he was safe, Eric Carter has been killed, his soul sent to take its place as a stand-in for the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli. But somebody on Earth isn't done with him, yet. Somebody with the power to bring him back from the dead. He doesn't know who, and worse he doesn't know why.

Between an angry death goddess, family secrets steeped in blood, a Djinn who's biding his time, and a killer mage who can create copy after copy of himself, Eric's new life looks to be just as violent as his last one. But if he doesn't get to the bottom of why he's back, it's going to be a hell of a lot shorter.

You can purchase Bottle Demon at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you STEPHEN BLACKMOORE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Bottle Demon by Stephen Blackmoore.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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