Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hosting the Award Winning Author of Sweat- Mark Gilleo

I am thrilled to be part of the Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours team. I was lucky enough to be able to review the new book by award winning author, Mark Gilleo titled Sweat. If you like crime, thrillers, mysteries, and anything in between that has rich characters and a complex and exciting plot then this is the book for you. The author does a wonderful job of hooking you and keeping you turning the pages with all of the twists and turns in this story line.

Politics are complex enough and this being a voting year bringing politics to the forefront makes this a timely fictional read. There is much more than Jake Patrick bargined for when he decided to do a summer internship. Can you spell Conspiracy? Read on for a synopsis and the details about where to get this thriller. Leave a comment and let me know what you think about this exceptional voice in thriller fiction. My comment is Mark Gilleo is a winner so you better grab your copy ASAP.

TITLE:  Sweat

AUTHOR:  Mark Gilleo

PUBLISHED BY:  The Story Plant   (

PUBLICATION DATE:  August 28, 2012

ISBN-10: 1611880513
ISBN-13: 978-1611880519

GENRE:  Thriller

# OF PAGES:  364


When Jake Patrick took a summer internship at his estranged father’s corporation, he anticipated some much-needed extra cash and a couple of free meals from his guilty dad. He would never have guessed that he'd find himself in the center of an international scandal involving a U.S. senator, conspiracy, backroom politics, and murder. Or that his own life would hang in the balance. Or that he’d find help – and much more than that – from a collection of memorable characters operating on all sides of the law. Jake’s summer has turned into the most eventful one of his life. Now he just needs to survive it.
From the sweatshops of Saipan to the most powerful offices in Washington, SWEAT rockets through a story of crime and consequences with lightning pacing, a twisting plot, an unforgettable cast of characters, and wry humor. It is another nonstop thriller from one of the most exciting new voices in suspense fiction.


Mark Gilleo holds a graduate degree in international business from the University of South Carolina and an undergraduate degree in business from George Mason University. He enjoys traveling, hiking and biking. He speaks Japanese. A fourth-generation Washingtonian, he currently resides in the D.C. area. His first two novels were recognized as finalist and semifinalist, respectively, in the William Faulkner-Wis- dom creative writing competition.

AUTHOR SITES:  Website    (


As the van pulled away in a small cloud of dust, the senator inspected the main guard booth and the now present guard. Lee Chang took Peter by the arm and stepped away. The sweatshop boss dropped his voice to a whisper and looked over Peter’s shoulder as he spoke, “Interested in the usual companionship?”

Peter, in turn, looked over at the senator who looked back and nodded in approval to the conversation he couldn’t hear but fully understood. “Is Wei Ling available?” Peter asked as if ordering his favorite wine from the menu.

“Yes, of course. Wei is available. Shall I find a companion for the senator as well?”

“Yes, the senator would enjoy some company. Someone with a good command of English. I don’t think he wants to spend the evening playing charades,” Peter responded.

“No, I’m sure he wouldn’t.” Lee Chang smiled, nodded, and barked at Chow Ying in Chinese. The large subordinate walked across the front lot of Chang Industries, down the side of the main building, and vanished into the seamstresses’ two-story living quarters. The CEO, senator, and sweatshop ruler went upstairs to wait.

Traditional Chinese furnishings cluttered Lee Chang’s living room.

“Nice piece,” the senator said, running his hands across a large black cabinet with twelve rows and columns of square drawers.

Peter spoke. “It’s an antique herbal medicine cabinet. The Chinese characters written on the front of each drawer indicate the contents.”

“Tattooed reminders of a former life,” the senator said with poetic license.

Lee Chang stepped over and pulled open one of the drawers. “And now it holds my DVD collection.”

“Modernization never stops,” Peter added.

The three men found their way to the living room and Peter and Senator Day sat on the sofa. Lee took a seat on a comfortable wooden chair, small cylindrical pillows made from the finest Chinese silk supporting his arms.

The middle-aged woman who entered the room to serve tea didn’t speak. She had standing orders not to interrupt when her boss’s guests were wearing suits. The senator watched the woman skillfully pour tea from a blue and white ceramic teapot. He wondered if the woman was Lee Chang’s lover. Peter knew Lee’s taste ran much younger.

The intercom came to life on the wall near the door and Chow Ying announced that the ladies were ready. A brief exchange followed in rapid-fire Chinese before Lee Chang ended the conversation abruptly, flipping the intercom switch off.

“Gentlemen, if you are ready, the car is waiting.”

The senator took the front seat next to Chow Ying. Peter gladly sat in the back seat, squeezing in between the two beautiful Asian women. As he got comfortable in the rear of the car, Wei Ling whispered in his ear, her lips tickling his lobe. Peter smiled as his lover’s breath blew on his neck.
Shi Shi Wong, the senator’s date for the evening, looked up at the seamstresses’ quarters as the car began to move. She spotted several faces pressed against the glass of a second floor window and fought the urge to wave.

By the time the black Lincoln exited the gate of Chang Industries, Peter had one arm around each lady. He kept them close enough to feel their bodies move with every bump in the road. He leaned his torso into theirs with every turn of the car.

Peter Winthrop’s favorite table at The Palm was in an isolated corner next to a small balcony overlooking intimidating cliffs thirty yards from the back of the restaurant. A steady breeze pushed through the open French doors that led to the balcony, blowing out the candle in the center of the table as they arrived.

Peter asked for recommendations from the chef and ordered for everyone. They had spicy barbecued shrimp for an appetizer, followed by a salad with freshly sliced squid that the senator refused to eat. For the main course, the party of four shared a large red snapper served in a garlic and lemon-based Thai sauce. Copious amounts of wine accompanied every dish.

Chow Ying waited subserviently in the parking lot for over three hours. He fetched two cups of coffee from the back door of the kitchen and drank them in the Lincoln with the driver’s side doors open. With his second cup of coffee, he asked the waiter how much longer he thought the Winthrop party was going to be.

“Another hour at the most,” came the reply.

On the trip back to the hotel, the honorable senator from Massachusetts threw his honorability out the window and sat in the backseat with the ladies. Flirtatious groping ensued, the senator’s hands moving like ivy on human walls. His Rolex came to rest on Wei Ling’s shoulder. His Harvard class ring continued to caress the bare skin on Shi Shi Wong’s neck.

Peter made conversation with Chow Ying as the driver forced himself not to look in the rearview mirror. Peter, never bashful, glanced at Wei Ling on the opposite side of the backseat, their eyes meeting with a twinkle, her lips turning up in a smile for her lover. Peter smiled back.

Wei Ling was beautiful, and a sweetheart, and intriguing enough for Peter to find an excuse to stop in Saipan when he was on business in Asia. He usually brought her a gift, nothing too flashy, but something meaningful enough to keep her compliant in the sack. A dress, lingerie, earrings. He liked Wei Ling, a simple fact tempered by the realism that he was a CEO and she was a third-world seamstress. Pure attraction couldn’t bridge some gaps. But Lee Chang was proud of the fact that Peter had taken a fancy to Wei Ling. It was good business. She was a company asset. He wished he could put her on the corporate balance sheet.

Chow Ying dropped the party of four off at the Ritz, an eight-story oasis overlooking the finest stretch of white sand and blue water on the island. He gave Wei Ling and her sweatshop roommate-turned-prostitute-without-pay a brief command in Chinese and followed with a formal handshake to the senator and Peter. He waited for the four to vanish through the revolving door of the hotel and then pulled the Lincoln into the far corner of the parking lot.

The senator and Peter weaved slightly across the lobby of the hotel. Wei Ling and Shi Shi Wong followed several paces behind. The concierge and hotel manager, jaws dropping momentarily, engaged in a seemingly urgent conversation and didn’t look up until the elevator doors had closed.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Interview with Alyce Joy, Author of Ka-Boom

Please welcome Alyce Joy to the blog today. I can certainly relate to the answer she has about becoming organized and learning to file things on the computer. I have been writing for years and still can't seem to get a good filing system going. Enjoy the interview and feel free to comment. Alyce will be on later today to respond.

1 - Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an author.

I am a mother of 4, a grandmother of 13 and a great-grandmother of 13.  I have been married 54 years.   I always loved art, writing and composing stories for my grandchildren.  As I had so many stories, my family and friends encouraged me to put them down in writing.  My stories always involve one of my grandchildren.   I have 5 siblings who also are artistic.  My brother, Kelly, who is an accomplished painter and an excellent writer of historical thrillers.   My sister, Sandy, who paints on porcelain and jewelry, she is a fantastic free style painter.  I am very proud of them both.

2 - Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary. (You can follow this up with any points you hope readers will take away with them)

KA-BOOM! is the first in a series of possibly 8 books.  It is about a trouble, plagued fairy, with a shoe fetish.  The fairy of Spiritesville, sends her to different locations to do a job, whatever it might be.   She is not a perfect fairy, for she gets into a lot of serious difficulties.  Somehow, she always saves the day.  Everyone loves her, but she endures a lot of teasing because of her wild shoe fetish.  Sprout the fairy meets Taylor, a feisty little girl and the fun begins.  I hope the children learn about giving everyone a fair chance to show who they really are.  Don’t look down on people who don’t appear to look how you think they should look.

3 - Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

I got a call from Bernita, at Halo Publishing International, after my husband saw an advertisement on the TV.  He called to find about it.  We talked several times about it on the phone.  Bernita sent me all the information.  When I finished reading it, and hearing the difference between having an agent, or going with Halo Publishing, I was sold.  Lisa Umina, the founder and award winning author of The Milo Series, has been wonderful getting me through this process.   Step by step, they are with you all the way.  I am going to say the same about Virginia Grenier, the chief editor and award winning author of Babysitting Sugarpaw.  I’m just a grandma, who writes.  I’m cramming to learn my computer and all this high tech stuff and they are cramming to learn what my emails are saying.  I can’t say enough about these ladies that deal with me.  Everyone at Halo Publishing International, has been wonderful.  Halo has their own illustrators.  I was very pleased to meet Diane Lucas.  I was blown away when I learned she lives in Nova Scotia.  She did a beautiful job on the illustrations for KA-BOOM.

4 – How did you get the idea for this book?

Taylor was going through a phase where everything she said was so funny, and she was always serious.  Putting those things together with where she lives, and the huge pond and listening to the frogs, was all I needed to get it together. 

5 – What is a typical writing day like for you?

I have a nice quiet place to write.  During the day I write off and on.   Sometimes I write into the night.  It depends on what is going on in my head.  We have no air-conditioning, so in the summer I put the fan on the floor across from my desk and turn it on high.  I am happy with my long fruit juice Popsicle upside down in my glass and cool air on my legs.

6 – What do you enjoy most about writing?

It relaxes me.   I like to be alone with my thoughts and watch them develop into a good story.

7 – What is the most difficult part of writing?

The difficult part is when you are really into your story and you want to get it all down, when someone knocks on the door.  You are the only one there and it could be an emergency, so you answer the door, it’s a classmate of your husband’s and he’s not home yet so you have to entertain until he arrives.  How do you keep everything in your head, plus what you were scheming in the back of your mind to write in later?  Well, it all works out eventually.

8 – How has publishing a book changed your life?

It is showing me how disorganized I am.  Right now I am still learning how to use the darn computer.  I have to set up a filing system and put everything where it is supposed to be. 

9 – If your book is based on true events, how has that affected those around you?


10 – What are your plans now?

We are setting up book signings and school visits once school starts.  Interviews with local news papers and  TV interviews.

11 – What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Set goals to aim for.  I didn’t do that because I didn’t know I would be doing this at age 75.  If you really want it, never give up.  In this country, you can do anything you want.  You just have to make up your mind and work like the dickens for it.   My husband is 83 years old, I talked him into writing.   His writing space is a card table under the stairs.  Some of the stories he can tell would curl your hair.

12 – What advice can you give adults, children and/or teens as they prepare for life?

Don’t get stuck in the past.  Life is a blast now.  You’ll have to keep up with technology in order to keep up with life in today’s world.  You have to make a plan and stick with it.  There is nothing wrong with revising your plan as you go through life.  Never give up!

13 – Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership?

Not at this time.

14 – Do you make school visits or do speaking or book signing engagements.

This is all new to me.  I’ve never done them, but I am pretty sure of how I will do them.  I will have plenty of questions to ask them about the subjects and useful gifts they can use.  Also I think some games would be good.

15 – Do you have a website?

I have website:

My book, KA-BOOM, can be found at:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Great BooK: My Review

Title: Vin and the Dorky Duet

Author: Maggie Lyons

ISBN: 978-1-77127-073-1

Chapter Book- Middle Grade

Back Cover
The moment he walks through the door and sees the sharky grin on his older sister’s face,
Vin suspects Meg is hatching a plot. He’s right. Worse still, he’s central to the outcome. Meg
tells him that their music teachers, parents—everyone—expect him to play her duet for trumpet
and piano at the upcoming student concert. Vin is horrified.
Meg insists that his only escape route is to persuade another trumpet player to take his place.
She has the hunky Brad Stewart in mind and challenges Vin to introduce her to him. Vin doesn’t
know Brad any better than Meg does, but she points out that Vin is in two classes with Brad’s
nerdy brother. Eyeballs Stewart is the last person Vin wants to befriend until Meg’s promise of a
David Beckham autographed soccer jersey changes the seventh-grader’s mind. He has five days
to accomplish his mission—Operation BS—before the concert practice schedule kicks in.
His game plan, thwarted by exploding fish tanks, magnetic compost heaps, man-eating
bubble baths, and other disasters ultimately succeeds, but not exactly as Vin expects .

My Review:

It isn't every book for kids that grabs your attention from the first paragraph but Vin and the Dorky Duet does just that.  This is a fun and exciting book that will grab the reader and take them on a realistic adventure common for siblings.

The story keeps the reader turning the pages to see how the concert turns out and who lands the job of playing with Meg. It is all fun and  filled with the  goofy outcomes that make middle grade students keep reading. They will love the characters and finish the book wanting to read more.

Great job, Ms Lyons.

Visit for more information on this book and author.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Interview: Author of Night Buddies

Welcome Author Sands Hetherington to the blog today. He is the author of

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an author.

Hi and thanks for inviting me. I'm an old man and have dabbled in fiction since I was fifteen or sixteen. I received some tear-stained rejection letters from major magazines in my twenties, then went back to graduate school and got degrees in English and creative writing. I published some stories in "little" magazines. I quit writing at that point and eventually became six-year-old John's single parent. We always did bedtime stories. One night John up and presented me with a red crocodile named Crosley that he'd invented for an after-lights-out companion. We started making up John and Crosley episodes, and Crosley got to be a real member of the family. After a year or so, I started thinking about putting the two "Night Buddies" into a book. I've done it twice now.

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary.

It's called Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare. It features young John Degraffenreidt who isn't ready to go to bed yet, and Crosley, a zany red crocodile who shows up to rescue him and sneak him out on an adventure. It seems the whole world's supply of pineapple cheesecakes is disappearing, and since both buddies love the things, something's got to be done. They take the subway to the great pineapple cheesecake factory and start their investigation. Things get spooky from there. Not only that, but Crosley is allergic to water and has to do the Black Bottom dance for hours anytime he gets wet. Unless he takes his pills.

 Second book is Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine and it starts the same way. Some time has gone by and John is wide awake at bedtime again. Crosley reappears and rescues him per their Night Buddies Amalgamated contract. They borrow a really fantastic flying machine and fly off on their second adventure. This book is much longer and is coming out this fall.

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

It's an indie book and I'm the publisher, with the indispensable guidance of my Book Sherpa, Gail Kearns in Santa Barbara, CA.

How did you get the idea for this book?

As I mentioned, my son practically handed it to me. Right there was this kid who needed something to do after lights-out, and right there was this zany character for him to do it with, so I only needed to figure out why Crosley happened to be red and then sneak them out of the house.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

Two hours or a little more, starting late in the morning. Try for 500 words and redo once before quitting.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Mark Twain said it: "I hate writing. I love having written."

What is the most difficult part of writing?

I think it's sticking strictly to a schedule. It takes determination with nothing else pushing you.

How has publishing a book changed your life?

Not at all for now. The first title only hit the street on June 1st.

What are your plans now?

I need to launch the second book this fall. Then I'd like to get going on the third one. I've written just one page and can't figure how to get John out of his house. He was in a tight spot there at the end of the last story.

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?


What advice can you give adults, children and/or teens as they prepare for life?

Such a question! I'm definitely not a guru and would advise everyone to ignore any advice I might offer in this regard.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership?

Night Buddies Amalgamated is an organization that sends operatives out to rescue kids who aren't ready for bed yet. They're crocodiles, actually, and they sneak their charges out on late-night "programs." (That's Night Buddies-speak for adventures.) The buddies we are concerned with are John, of course; a smart, curly-haired, round-eyed city kid, and Crosley, a goofy crocodile in a yellow suit who carries a bunch of magic gadgets on his belt. He is bright red because he is allergic to water. Kind of. In a roundabout way. And he's a total fanatic about pineapple cheesecakes. Pineapple cheesecakes are always a big deal whenever Crosley is around.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Review: Ka-Boom


Author: Alyce Joy Rininger

Illustrations: Diane Lucas

ISBN: 13-978-1-61244-069-9

Chapter book

 Ka-Boom…. There is a blast from the doll house. What in the world could a fairy be doing in Taylor’s dollhouse?

Sprout is a fairy with a fetish for shoes and a heart for adventure. She has been given a very special assignment by the queen to help Taylor with an attitude adjustment. Taylor just doesn’t know it yet. And she has a way with words too. Sprout can make up the most exciting words when she wants to.

Changing Taylor’s attitude is no easy job. It takes others to help the process including a chipmunk and a snail, a frog or two and other quirky characters along the way.

This is a charming and action filled chapter book that will keep readers engaged in the story. The illustrations are beautiful and enhance the imagination as do all the funny new words that sprout introduces the reader to.

The reader will fall in love with Sprout and long for the next adventure. Where will the queen send Sprout next?

World of Ink Network


Partner & Founder, World of Ink Network
Phone: 435-625-1743

Alyce Joy is available for speaking and signing events.

For Immediate Release

Author Alyce Joy joins the World of Ink Network Virtual Tours

The World of Ink Network & Halo Publishing, Int. will be touring author Alyce Joy’s fantasy adventure children’s chapter book, Ka-Boom! throughout August 2012.
KA-BOOM! is about a little fairy named Sprout that runs into trouble quite often. She has a shoe fetish, but is one of the queen’s favorites because in the end she gets the job done.
Sprout meets a little girl named Taylor after blowing up Taylor’s dollhouse. Sprout doesn’t give up trying to get Taylor to trust her. She and Taylor finally become friends after Sprout shrinks Taylor and together they have a fantastic adventure. Taylor never thought she would be talking to Sir Leapsalot, let alone ride on his back and hopping lily pads. The message? Never give up.
Title: KA-BOOM!
Publisher: Halo Publishing Int.
ISBN-10: 161244069X
ISBN-13: 978-1612440699
Genre of Book: Children’s Chapter Book Fantasy Adventure
Paperback: 46 pages
July 2012
About the Book:
Sprout is a fairy from Spritesville, Ohio. Her given name is Sprunetta Brunetta. She doesn’t like it, because she thinks it sounds too much like somebody’s wicked sister. Since she is only four inches tall, all her friends call her Sprout.
This little fairy is in the service of her queen, the beloved Splaminda Herminda, who rules Spritesville. The queen sends Sprout to different places to do whatever job needs done. Sprout is not a perfect fairy. She has a wild shoe fetish, and is always getting into
some kind of trouble. Queen Splaminda realizes Sprout’s problems, but feels the fairy will grow out of her awkwardness, as she matures. Somehow, Sprout always manages to save the good and meek from the scary and sometimes bad…but… occasionally, she needs a little help.
To say the least, it was an explosive meeting between Taylor and Sprout. Taylor’s dollhouse blows up and her wary investigation finds Sprout among its wreckage. The little girl obviously thinks Sprout is a bad, fibbin’ fairy and the fun is about to begin.

Available wherever books are sold and online.
About the Author
Alyce Joy was blessed with four children for whom she composed bedtime verses every night. That inspired her to publish a children’s book of prayers, entitled, "Priceless Gems." When her children were grown, she began to write stories for her grandchildren.
Always fascinated with arts and crafts, she taught herself the art of pyrography. This fired her imagination, and she started burning life-sized pictures of wildlife onto all the doors of her home. Her wood burnings are scattered through the U.S. and Canada.
After deciding to put away her burning tools and torches, she enrolled in, and graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature.
Alyce Joy hopes every child who reads her stories will look forward to each new adventure, as her favorite fairy becomes entangled into many, outrageous happenstances.
Follow Alyce Joy at
You can find out more about Alyce Joy’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Life Gets in the Way

Life can totally get in the way of your writing, I can tell you from experience. We have spent the summer relocating to our dream retirement community in the southern part of Indiana in the woods and hills of Brown County. While dreams do come true, they come with a price.

The price includes: no sleep, sore muscles, stress from waiting to close on the old house while making payments and living in the new house, new job for spouse, new job for me, orienting with new rules while trying to build a writing career from home,  little time to write and the list goes on and on.

Today after the accumulation of several weeks of traveling back and forth, moving, lifting, and  finally sitting down to enjoy a cooler summer evening hoping to see the deer wander through the woods on our property what do we see...... Goats. Two big old skinny, disheveled and underfed goats.

A big scraggly bearded dirty white goat and a gnarly brown goat with horns. Goats. We could hardly believe our eyes and both my husband and I couldn't do anything but laugh. What a site we all made, two people growing old together and two old goats.

Must run and get the camera, there has to be a story in there somewhere.


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