Ann Everett, author of True
Ann: Name three things you always have with you.
Jada: Wikket is the black cat who insists on helping Macey with her investigations (Take the Body and Run). My husband gave me a small, stuffed black cat. I keep Wikket in my backpack, which serves as my purse. Wikket goes everywhere with me. The security person at the airport in Orlando thought the cat was funny . . . I think funny-peculiar, not funny-ha-ha.
I always have my Kindle. Waiting in line or stuck in traffic? No problem, I’ll take a walk on the wild side with True.
The third thing I always have with me is my imagination. If I can’t whip out my Kindle, then I’ll check in with my characters. Lately, Wikket is intent on leading Macey into another spot of trouble that might get her killed, while blatantly interfering with her love life.
Ann: If you’re talking about my book, True, be warned, it may set your hair on fire!
Do you laugh at your own jokes?
Jada: Yes, I laugh at my own jokes. Sometimes I’m the only one laughing. Here’s an example of a joke that I think’s funny. How do you get a handkerchief to dance? Put a little boogie in it.
Yeah, I don’t hear you laughing right now 😉
Ann: I’m laughing on the inside!
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find/recognize?
Jada: Yes, but if I told you, I’d have to wipe your memory.
Ann: If you’re like me, you hide them well enough no one will ever guess who they are!!
Name three places you want to visit inside the US.
Jada: I want to take the train between Fairbanks and Anchorage. I’ve visited Fairbanks, but didn’t have time for the train journey. I’ve heard you see tons of wildlife during the trip. It might also be a fun concept for a book. The heroine takes the train. It goes off the rails due to a freefalling glacier. The hunky guy across the aisle had been covertly watching her. As the train careens into the snow, he catches her in his strong arms. They brave the snowy forest, intent on finding help for the others. They see bears and moose, but don’t realize a two-legged predator is on their trail. The heroine and hero fight off the serial killer with snowballs, triggering an avalanche which buries the killer but leaves them unscathed. They manage to find both civilization and love.
I’d like to revisit Mammoth Cave. A few years ago, I hiked the area above the caves. I’d love to go back, and visit the caves.
I have a friend who lives in a nudist resort. I would love to take a tour with her. Yes, I’m exercising the option of keeping my clothes on. I may get thank-you notes.
Ann: My memory is so bad, I’d forgotten I visited Mammoth Cave years ago! As for the train ride, just be prepared they NEVER leave on time. I took a train trip and on the return, it was delayed 5 hours!! Holy smokes.
Name three of your pet peeves.
Jada: Bad drivers, bad drivers, bad drivers. I have a long commute to my day job. Drivers who cut in and out of traffic, speed, and ride bumpers make me understand road ragers. I saw a great bumper sticker, “I brake for tailgators”.
Ann: Unfortunately, I may fit into that bad driver category! I don’t speed or ride bumpers or weave in and out, but my slow, steady speed is not good for the other drivers on the road!!
Debbie Burke, Kindle Scout Winner and author of Instrument of the Devil
Talented author Debbie Burke won a contract through Kindle Scout for her book Instrument of the Devil.
Debbie also participates in the Kboards thread Kindle Scout Experiences and Nomination Requests.
I thought her cover, title, one-liner, description, and excerpt were all terrific. I nominated her book for a Kindle Press contract. I wasn’t a bit surprised when she won!
She wrote another great article about her Kindle Scout experiences on The Kill Zone.
Debbie was kind enough to quote some of my remarks about Kindle Scout. She even included a link to my Kindle Scout winner, Take the Body and Run.
In case you missed it, here’s the link to her previous article:
My Review of The Freak Show Below by Jada Ryker
With a title like that and an exciting cover, who wouldn’t want to check out The Freak Show Below? The author, Jada Ryker, is extremely talented and has been published by Kindle Press. I thought it was amazing that she gave people who had nominated this book on Kindle Scout the opportunity to get the book for free upon release, so I downloaded it as soon as it became available. I’m so glad I did.
This mystery had me on the edge of my seat from the very beginning. The main characters are sisters, Kirbie and Laken Stone. Kirbie is tight-laced and very professional while Laken is a party girl who is recovering from an addiction to alcohol. I immediately saw myself in Kirbie–wanting to be the best big sister, setting a perfect example, etc. (I will say there is no Laken in my family!) Even though Kirbie is very by-the-book, she is incredibly likable, and the more we find out about the girls’ past the more I felt for both sisters.
Laken has been tricked into signing a contract to work in The Freak Show Below at the local casino. Ryker does a great job of keeping us tantalized about what that means without giving it away until over halfway through the book. In the meantime, we meet lots of wonderful, freaky characters who have entered agreements with the scummy casino owner for one reason or another. Some of these characters will instantly tug at your heart (like Henry!) and some of them will make you want to punch them in the face through your Kindle (like Stella!) As Laken got more and more involved in the Freak Show, I became more and more invested in hoping she got out before anything awful happened to her! I was praying Kirbie would find her quickly!
Of course, Kirbie wasn’t looking for Laken all alone. Hunky HR manager, Evan, is there to help. I loved the chemistry between these two. It was cute and sexy without being overbearing.
Another aspect of the book that really drew me in is the story of Kirbie and Laken’s sister, Spooky, and the tragic events that happened to her when they were all children. It was both heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time.
I’m not going to tell you whether or not Laken has to perform in the Freak Show, but I will tell you the daring rescue mission is definitely worth the read, as is Laken’s heroic attempt to escape. I certainly did not see the ending coming and was surprised by more than one turn of events in this one.
I felt Ryker did an amazing job of setting us up right in the action. Unlike a lot of books, there wasn’t a long, drawn out backstory. A lot has happened with these characters before we are dropped into their lives, but she gives it to us a piece at a time. I really feel like a prequel could be in order as interesting as the backstory is. Despite knowing I didn’t have all of the information just yet, I didn’t feel like I had accidentally picked up book two in a series, though.
If you like quick-paced, clever, creative mysteries that will keep you entertained while you try to figure out lots of different puzzles, then this is a great read for you. I actually think this is the first true mystery I’ve reviewed, at least recently, but I am now a huge fan of Jada Ryker’s and will be checking out her other books as well.
If you’d like to read The Freak Show Below (A Kirbie Stone Mystery Book 1) you can check it out here. The current price is $2.99.
readper is run by the talented Jaxon Reed, author of the Redwood Trilogy, the Empathic Detective novels, and Thieves & Wizards.
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Interview with Reilly Garrett
1. I’ve only read one of your books (so far), but can see that it takes a very organized and analytical mind to keep track of the characters while maintain their distinct identity in the mind of your reader. Not a lot of authors could do that. How do you do it? (I can just imagine assorted pieces of candy representing the characters – spread out on your desk.
For me, the characters live in my brain. It’s easy to keep up with them, because it’s like they’re my imaginary friends. The difficult part is when they don’t want to follow the plot I’ve outlined for them. They insist upon following their own motivations and making their own decisions.
2. Describe your approach to writing. Pantzer vs plotter. Do you complete each page, perfect, before moving to the next or do you write your entire draft then go back and add layers, etc. How many times do you go over your manuscript before submitting it?
I craft an outline, with a summary and outline of chapters. I don’t get into too much detail, because the characters will take the action into side roads. I write the story as it takes place in my head. At the next writing session, I’ll go back over what I wrote the last time, both to familiarize myself with the past action and to ferret out any typos or errors. Once the manuscript is done, I’ll go over it one more time.
3. What has been your biggest challenge in your writing career?
Finding time to write is difficult. I work around 50 hours per week. My commute each day is about three hours. I normally do my writing on the weekends.
4. Do you frequently find yourself in the middle of something (albeit in a mall, grocery store, etc.) and find yourself experiencing one of those Aha moments as far as a plot point your current work in progress? How do you translate those thoughts into your current work?
I’ll usually have a thought that takes root in my brain. I had read about the audit of a body bequeathal program. I thought, what if a body donation program had bigger problems than incomplete paperwork or missed deadlines? And with that thought, the plot for Take the Body and Run was born.
When I researched body bequeathal programs, I ran across an interesting reason for donation on the MedCure Body Donation website: “I want to continue to travel to new places after I die.”
5. Give us a glimpse of your current work in progress.
My last book was Take the Body and Run. The book won a contract with Kindle Press through the reader-powered Kindle Scout program. The contemporary mystery/romance/humor is about a hunted woman hiding under a dead friend’s identity, a handsome lawman, a death doctor with fart machine-will travel, and a cranky cat with a nose for crime.
I’m working on a short story for a holiday anthology. In the short prequel “Two Tickets to Paradise,” Macey Malloy risks her life when she’s embroiled in a brutal murder and meets her feline, crime-solving partner.
6. Give us an anecdote relating to submitting one of your works.
I submitted Take the Body and Run to the Kindle Scout program on impulse, and I was shocked when I won a contract. I had previously submitted my mystery with a chick-lit twist to a major romance publisher. They rejected it. To be fair, they wanted sexy billionaires and wealthy, powerful ranchers. The only billionaires I’ve personally met were jerks. Granted, the “n” or “total population” of “Billionaires I Have Met” is tiny. I’ve never met a wealthy rancher. I grew up around farmers; they don’t necessarily fit a glamorous view. In my defense, I thought the publisher would read the story, fall in love with it, and say, “Who needs charismatic billionaires and rich ranchers?”
I even had the support of one of their great, established writers. She’d read my work and loved it.
Did all of that result in a contract? Ah, no. Rejection.
Interview with Cheryl Holloway, Talented Author of Cougar Tales
Guest Author Interview – Jada Ryker
Posted on September 23, 2016 by Cheryl Holloway
Title: Take the Body and Run
Synopsis: 2016 Kindle Scout Winner
Macey’s first day in the college employee relations department ends with a knife at her throat.
Macey is certain things can’t get any worse. She’s wrong. An angry employee vows to put her on an online hit list. When he turns up dead, she’s a suspect—and on the hit list.
To keep her secrets and her life, Macey partners with two unexpected allies who cause her pulse to race with steamy attraction—and exasperating annoyance. Vince, a handsome, driven lawman, digs up more than just clues to the brutal murder. Brett, a fun-loving pathologist with a deadly sense of humor, drives everyone crazy with his fart machine-will travel. Macey’s supersized black cat, Wikket, possessing courage, curiosity, and crankiness in equal portions, assists in his own grumpy, feline fashion, golden eyes open and claws extended.
CH: Today’s Guest Author is Jada Ryker. She is the 2016 Kindle Scout Winner and I am excited to have her as my guest. Welcome to my blog, Jada.
CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?
JR: If you’re looking for a “goofy thriller” with fun adventures, try Take the Body and Run.
CH: Can you give us a brief account of your winning the June 2016 Kindle Scout Program?
JR: I submitted Take the Body and Run on impulse. I had previously submitted my mystery with a chick-lit twist to a major romance publisher. They rejected it. To be fair, they wanted sexy billionaires and wealthy, powerful ranchers. The only billionaires I’ve personally met were jerks. Granted, the “n” or “total population” of “Billionaires I Have Met” is tiny. I’ve never met a wealthy rancher. I grew up around farmers; they don’t necessarily fit a glamorous view. In my defense, I thought the publisher would read the story, fall in love with it, and say, “Who needs charismatic billionaires and rich ranchers?” After all, I had a hunted woman hiding under a dead friend’s identity, a handsome lawman, a death doctor with fart machine-will travel, and a cranky cat with a nose for crime.
I even had the support of one of their great, established writers. She’d read my work and loved it.
Did all of that result in a contract? Ah, no. Rejection.
That’s not the end of the book’s rejection story. Before that submission, I’d entered the book into the St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition. My book is a mystery, it’s free to enter, and the winner gets a publishing contract. The downside is submitting by December 15, and then not knowing anything until the end of March. It’s not a “Thanks, but No Thanks”… rather, the author simply doesn’t hear anything. Except for the winner, that is. Needless to say, that wasn’t me.
I had a full-length novel, ready to go. My husband suggested I submit it to the Kindle Scout program. I submitted it. It went live on May 4, 2016. I hoped that the “force was with me” (May the Force be with You). I was lucky, and I won a contract.
CH: What’s the process for landing a Kindle Press Publishing Contract? Is this the first time you’ve won a publishing contract?
JR: This was my first contract ever. As part of the process, you should objectively evaluate the work. Before you even submit, make sure you’ve got a great cover, fantastic blurb, and a book as error free as you can get it.
I’ve written about my perspective of the process on my website. Here’s the link to the first part: http://jadaryker.com/?p=97
You should also check out the submission guidelines: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/about#how-it-works-authors
For your audience, here’s the checklist:
Submit Your Book
Submit your new, never-before-published, English-language book of 50,000 words or more to Kindle Scout and be considered for a publishing contract with Kindle Press in 45 days or less.
Complete, copyedited, never-before-published manuscript
The manuscript should be of about 50,000 words or more in Word format. Make sure the entire book is ready to publish. This means (at the very least!) the manuscript has been professionally copyedited. They recommend following The Chicago Manual of Style.
Great title and book cover image
Having a title and cover image that reflects the essence and uniqueness of your book—its setting, characters and plot—gets readers to jump in and start reading.
Book one-liner of 45 characters or less
This will be used throughout the Kindle Scout website.
Book description of 500 characters or less
Summarize your book for potential readers. Keep it compelling and remember—building an audience starts here. This is a reader’s first experience with your book.
Your bio and photo
A short bio (500 characters or less) and your photo give readers a chance to connect with you. You will also have a chance to answer questions about your book and personal story in a short Q & A section.
Thank you note of 500 characters or less
Readers who nominate your book will appreciate hearing a word of thanks from you. At the end of every campaign, we notify readers whether the books they nominated were selected. The thank you note you submit will be included in the reader notification—no matter the outcome.
CH: Where did you get the premise for this story?
JR: I wanted to create a heroine who is feisty but with human frailties. Macey Malloy is the star of Take the Body and Run. She starts a new job, gets held at knifepoint, and meets a handsome doctor…all on her first day of work.
CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your chick-lit writing?
JR: I like to read books that hold my interest on every page. I don’t want to have to “skip the boring parts.”
So, I tried to write what I like to read. If I’ve succeeded, then it will hold the reader’s interest from beginning to end.
CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?
JR: I’ll usually have a thought that takes root in my brain. I had read about the audit of a body bequeathal program. I thought, what if a body donation program had bigger problems than incomplete paperwork or missed deadlines? And with that thought, the plot for Take the Body and Run was born.
When I researched body bequeathal programs, I ran across an interesting reason for donation on the MedCure Body Donation website: “I want to continue to travel to new places after I die.”
CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?
JR: I tried to create believable situations, but inject humor. The book is not only a mystery…it’s also a romance and hopefully, readers will also think it’s funny.
CH: Which character was hardest to write?
JR: Characters I love and characters I hate are the easiest to write. The hardest character for me to write was Macey’s father. Her feelings for him are mixed, and she’s afraid of him.
CH: Who was your favorite character to write?
JR: I loved writing about Brett Reed. He’s a pathologist, so his patients are dead. He has a quirky sense of humor. He has a fart machine-will travel, and it creates some funny situations.
CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?
JR: I don’t like to read cliffhangers. I tried to resolve the story/plot lines, but keep the reader wanting more Macey and her cat, Wikket.
CH: Where do you get your inspiration when you write?
JR: I look at everyday situations or issues, and I think: “What if?” From there, plots take root in my twisted brain.
CH: Is there an overall message in your book that you want the readers to grasp?
JR: Macey Malloy spends her life looking over her shoulder, afraid the past will catch up with her. People can get so caught up in the past that they miss out on the present.
CH: This isn’t your first book, so how long have you been writing?
JR: I started self-publishing in 2014. I’ve written several books and published them myself through Kindle Direct Publishing (electronic version) and Createspace (paperback). I was really excited when Take the Body and Run was selected by Kindle Press.
Here’s the link to my Amazon author page if you’d like to see more of my work: https://www.amazon.com/Jada-Ryker/e/B00D8LR5XS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from your readers?
JR: Take the Body and Run was just released for pre-orders. Thus far, I only have one review from a Kindle Scout who got the book for free through the program. She wrote a very nice review. Here’s an excerpt:
“This book is hilarious! The author has a great sense of humor and I laughed out loud in a places.” –Lora Hasse, Amazon Reviewer
Another instance of feedback that stands out in my mind was for Dog Days of Karma. It’s the first book in that series. It’s a paranormal mystery/romance. The main character is Celeste Carr. A reader wanted to learn more about Ericka Maah, the mysterious senior partner in the firm. (The name of the firm is Carr-Maah Consulting.) I loved writing Equi Knocks of Karma, in which I expanded Ericka’s role.
CH: What’s next on the agenda in your writing career?
JR: I’m working on the next Macey book. I’ve written about 10,000 words, which is a great start. I’m looking forward to see what happens next.
CH: Can you give my audience your website address?
JR: Please do check out my website at http://jadaryker.com
CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?
JR: With the Kindle Press contract, my book is sold exclusively on Amazon. It was available for pre-order and now it has been released (on September 5, 2016).
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2cSsEAd
CH: Any closing remarks?
JR: Thank you, Cheryl, for the interview.
CH: Thank you so much, Jada Ryker, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers. It has been a real pleasure discussing your winning the Kindle Scout Program and your book with my audience. And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book, I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience.
She was raised in rural Kentucky, many of her younger years spent without electricity or running water. But the deprivation never broke Jada Ryker… it made her stronger. It built her character. And as an adult and an author with seven published books to her name, Jada has frequently tapped into the experiences of her younger years for inspiration.
Beginning in early 2014, with the publication of her first work, Murder Takes a Dare, Jada has quickly made a name for herself in the mystery adventure genre. Her newest novel, Take the Body and Run, was released on September 20th by Kindle Press after Jada earned a publishing contract through Amazon’s Kindle Scout program, a platform that allows readers to determine which books should be published and promoted by Amazon. Take the Body and Run is an eclectic tale of a hunted woman who hides under a dead friend’s identity, a handsome lawman, a death doctor with a fat machine, and a cranky cat with a nose for crime.
Jada currently resides in central Kentucky with her husband and their cat, an animal shelter rescue. To learn more about her and her writing, visit jadaryker.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
How would you say your childhood helped to shape who you are today?
I never take life for granted. For me, absolute poverty meant not having enough to eat. I didn’t know people ate three meals a day until I started school. I appreciate my day job, my family, and my friends.
Growing up, who were your biggest creative influences?
My elementary school library was filled with books that were many years, if not decades, out of date. And of course, no racy books were allowed. I remember enjoying classics like Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland. I did write my own stories, but given my family’s extreme poverty, paper was at a premium. I did spend time scavenging at various dumps with my brothers. It was fun and exciting, because we never knew what we’d find.
When did you start writing?
In the fourth grade, I wrote a story about owning and running a camel farm. I drew pictures to go with it. Unfortunately, our house burned when I was a child. It was little more than a shack my father had built from discarded lumber, but it was home.
What inspired the story of Take the Body and Run?
I wanted to create a heroine who is feisty, yet with human frailties. Macey Malloy is the star of Take the Body and Run. She starts a new job, gets held at knifepoint, and meets a handsome doctor…all on her first day of work.
What was the feeling like when you learned that you’d won the Kindle Scout publishing contract?
I was thrilled, amazed, and honored. Since the Kindle Scout program started, they’ve only selected 187 books, beginning November 2014. They’ve received thousands of submissions, not all of which get selected to run the thirty-day campaign.
At the same time, though, I felt weirdly guilty and slightly embarrassed. I’m a member of a KBoards forum dedicated to the Kindle Scout campaign. People ask questions, share information, and give one another moral support. The campaigners on there aren’t just covers, descriptions, excerpts, and an “About Me” paragraph. They are people with hopes and dreams. When they offer up a beautifully written excerpt and great story idea and don’t get selected, it hurts my heart.
How have you evolved as a writer since your earlier works?
I’ve improved as I’ve self-published my books. My very first one was Murder Takes a Dare. The heroine works in human resources (like me) and grew up in poverty (like me). Marisa also struggles with alcoholism. I included humor in the book, along with a murder mystery and Marisa’s personal demons.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
I love Kelpie Dreams, by Steve Vernon. It’s a funny fairy tale with plenty of twists and turns. Here’s the description: “Meet Lady Macbeth—a high school librarian, ex-assassin, and part-time kelpie, whose mother wanted to name her Hemorrhoid at birth. Now she has to take on a Sea Hag—eight legs of Godzilla-ugly poured into a bucket full of meanness—with the help of a one-woman army named Rhonda, a 200-year-old Sea Captain, and a hunky lighthouse keeper who won’t admit that he’s dead as well. KELPIE DREAMS is a funny, action-packed, paranormal romance novel for folks who HATE to read romance novels.”
Do you believe in soulmates, the idea that there is one right person for you in the world?
Before I met my wonderful husband, I would have said no, I don’t believe in soulmates. After ten perfect years with him, I know he’s the other half of my soul.
If you could change one thing about the world or society, what would it be?
No child should have to live with hunger.
What are you working on next?
In Take the Body and Run, I present a hunted woman hiding under a dead friend’s identity, a handsome lawman, a death doctor with fart machine-will travel, and a cranky cat with a nose for crime. I’m working on a prequel. It’s a short story that will appear in an anthology with other Kindle Scout winners. In the book, I didn’t explain how Macey ended up with her cranky (and nosy) cat. The story will show in a fun way how they joined forces.
Pages in the Caves Book Event and Signing
Pages in the Caves is a multi-genre author event and signing coming to Cave City, KY on Saturday, September 24, 2016. Come visit with the authors and learn about their stories. Books will be available for purchase and the authors are always happy to sign them personally to you.
The event will be held from 11 – 3 cdt, and for VIP ticket holders, there will be a catered dinner with the authors at 6:30. Only a limited number of VIP tickets are available, so don’t delay. Buy yours today.
BOOKS LAID BARE
Books Laid Bare wrote a great review of Take the Body and Run.
Here’s the link to the website:
And here is the wonderful review:
It was a real surprise, I found the pace of the story pull me in and kept me hooked.
Macey is her own creation, a self-made woman and by that I mean she left the old her behind when skipped out of home, leaving her family and her past exactly where she wanted them to be, in her past.
She did all she could to make sure that her new life was the one that she wanted but a new town and a new name wasn’t going to be enough to keep her out of harm’s way.
Now I liked Macey but what the heck sort of college was she working at they were awful! They were mean in many respects it was almost as if they couldn’t wait to show her the door and after the first day she had, I wouldn’t have needed any encouragement to wave them all goodbye, I’d have been beating my way out the door like a shot!
They did everything they could almost to get shot of her but would someone actually let her take the fall for a crime she didn’t commit, because when she happens upon the very employee who threatened her as dead as the proverbial dodo, it is no surprise that Macey is at the very top of the suspects list!
Would the fabulous Detective Knox be able to see the wood for the trees or would the feelings that they both seemed to have for each other, cloud the picture or would the truth he uncovers about her past put paid to any romantic possibilities?
I loved the humour that was spotted throughout the story but I especially liked Brett, although I don’t know that I would have wanted to spend much time in the same room as him, I think he was a little manic!
I had complete confidence in not only Vince but also Macey but there were other players woven into the story, and figuring them out wasn’t as straight forward. I thought I had worked out who was responsible but I hold my hands up and admit I was way off base – never would have got it, not in a million years!
Oh, just a word of warning…. please pay attention to the glossary of characters at the start of the book – you need to know the main player and if you don’t take in all the detail you will be left high and dry!!
Overall, a clever book, one that was certainly entertaining.
Knockin’ Book Reviews
Thank you to Knockin’ Book Reviews for a thoughtful review.
I decided to read and review this book based on the words “fart machine” in the blurb. What can I say? Farts are hilarious. I’m immature like that. I think the author and I share a similar sense of humor, for the most part.
I could immediately see why this book was a Kindle Scout winner. It’s well written, has a nice, even pace, just enough mystery to keep things interesting, and plenty of witty, snappy dialogue. Fun, quirky characters are also in abundance, which I love.
This book is also a bit of genre-bender, which is cool. There’s a little bit of something here for fans of satire, mystery, chick lit and romance. And it works really well as the first book in a series in all of those categories. Mostly.
I did have a few nitpicks that lowered my rating a bit:
There were some pranks that Macey’s staff played on her that, I think, were supposed to be funny, but that I found distinctly unfunny in a kind of could-get-arrested-for-assault kind of way. I’m pretty sure that slamming into your boss as hard as you can with rolling metal cart would get you in some serious trouble. (If I’m wrong about this, please let me know. I have some old bosses that are totally deserving of this kind of treatment.)
I realize this was a satire and I’m most likely overthinking this, but the fact that the wannabe Scooby gang was so involved in solving the case was a little too far-fetched for me. Any cop worth his badge would’ve put an end to that pretty quickly.
Cats are weird, for sure. But a cat that sneaks to work everyday with her owner? An owner that lets her not-terribly-friendly cat wander around her workplace? Nope. Not buyin’ it.
The whole cult thing was just…weird. I don’t see how it moved the story forward in any way. But I’ll give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume this was setup for future books in the series.
Minor gripes aside, this was an overall fun, light story from a talented author that’s definitely worth a read.
Full disclosure: the author generously offered a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, but I didn’t take it. I downloaded via Kindle Unlimited.
Renee’s Author Spotlight
Why did you decide to be a writer?
I spent the first twenty-odd years of my life in rural Kentucky, many of those years without electricity or running water. I decided to draw upon my early years of deprivation. I took those dark times and turned them into creatures of the light. My books combine humor and murder in a total package of entertaining and fun southern adventures. At the same time, I sketch in addiction/recovery issues and childhood angst with a deft and compassionate touch.
Do you have a “day job”? If so, what do you do?
I work in higher education. There are a ton of “hot button” issues in colleges and universities right now. It breaks my heart when I see instances of racism on college campuses. The administration has a duty to address and eradicate racism.
What genres do you write?
I write mysteries. I’ve spiced them with paranormal, romance, humor, chick lit, and even horror.
Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?
My husband, mother, and aunt read everything I write. (Thanks, guys!) My children are busy with their lives and families. My mom says: “Make the girls read your books.” Ah, I haven’t figured out how to do that.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Never give up. If I had given up, I wouldn’t have won the June 2016 Kindle Press contract through the Kindle Scout program with Take the Body and Run.
What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
Are you a pantser or outliner?
For each book, I develop a broad roadmap for the chapters. I find that the characters like to take their own unusual turns…and I let them. The initial concept and the finished product are wildly different.
How long does it take you to write a book?
When I pushed myself to see how quickly I could write a book, it took me about five weeks for a 60,000 word novel. But I used a week of vacation, and I didn’t have a life outside writing. I’d rather take my time, enjoy the process, and have fun. In that case, it takes me about twelve weeks from start to finish.
Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?
I’ve written mysteries without a supernatural element. Then, a mystery that included a paranormal element started cavorting around in my head. Celeste Carr and Ericka Maah run the Carr – Maah Consulting Agency, a human resources consulting agency. The Karma mystery series was born.
The characters are complete opposites. Celeste is practical. She rejects anything of a supernatural nature. Ericka is mysterious, with odd, unexplained things happening when she’s around. The two business partners clash, but each would give her life for the other.
The real life experience comes into play with the homelessness element. I work in a fair-sized city. I saw homeless people roaming the streets. I did some research on the homeless population. It inspired me to include a homeless man in the Karma series. Hobart plays a major role.
Do you have any advice for other authors?
If you work a day job while you’re writing and promoting, it takes off the pressure. I read a Facebook post by a new author who wrote: “I’m depending on my writing to finance my retirement.” I’ve read many excellent books by independent authors who are not (yet) famous and struggling to break even. Don’t bet the farm on fame and fortune through your writing.
Here’s the link to the website:
Sahara Foley’s Books and Book Reviews
Today, my featured author is Jada Ryker and she’s here to talk about her newest release, A Pink Zombie with a Mist. Quite a catchy title and one book that I’ve already read and reviewed on my blog. You can read my review here. Thank you for joining me and let’s get started.
Tell us about your newest release.
A Pink Zombie, with a Mist, is a mystery/horror book. It’s part of the Shaken, Not Stirred, Mystery/Horror series. The book is a standalone story, without any cliffhangers. It’s not a gory zombie book. Brains are taxed. Not eaten.
What is the story about?
Dr. Olivia West is frantic. Her best friend Emma is missing. Olivia suspects her disappearance is related to Heaven’s Bottom, a remote area in rural Kentucky with a chilling reputation. As children, she and Emma sneaked into the Bottom. They experienced frightening events. Emma is convinced they witnessed a magical ritual. Olivia believes in what she can see. She’s not sure what happened that night, but she’s positive it wasn’t supernatural.
After a shooting at the university, Detective Steven Lewis interrogates Olivia. Steven’s wife was a social worker. She entered Heaven’s Bottom to investigate a child abuse complaint. She didn’t leave alive. Steven discovers Olivia’s childhood connection to the Bottom. He’s determined to find the answers to his wife’s death, and he’s convinced Olivia has the answers.
Since their divergent goals are hurtling them both to Heaven’s Bottom, Olivia and Steven join forces.
Who is the main character?
Dr. Olivia West is an anthropology professor. She grew up on the border of Heaven’s Bottom. As children, she and her best friend Emma had a chilling experience in the Bottom.
What inspired this tale? How did the story come to you?
My opening scene includes a shooting on campus. I work in a university, and I was involved in an incident on campus. A man made his way into the work area. He was carrying a long case, like a case for a folding chair…or a rifle. He threatened one employee’s life. The incident ended without violence. The man eluded police and was never caught, but it made a mark on my psyche.
There’s an area near where I grew up, similar to Heaven’s Bottom but not as isolated. It doesn’t have any zombies…to the best of my knowledge.
Do you relate to your character? Is your protagonist anything like you personally?
If yes, then how?
Olivia and I share a background. I grew up in rural Kentucky, without electricity or running water. It was a difficult life. My father was an out-of-control, violent alcoholic. My brothers and I were abused and frequently did not have enough to eat. With our dirty, ragged clothing, we were social outcasts and easy targets for bullies.
What made you write this character; what made them important to you or made you want to tell their story?
I took the opportunity to combine a mystery/horror story with my own experiences, including higher education as a passport to a better life. Olivia is representative of those traumatic experiences. I had a chaotic childhood. I worked my way out of poverty. I held a menial, minimum-wage job in a gas station while I worked my butt off in college.
Is there anything specific you want readers to know about this piece of work?
A Pink Zombie, with a Mist, is not your run-of-the-mill zombie story. It’s a horror story, but it’s also a mystery. While it explores some serious themes, it incorporates humor and fun.
When will the novel be available for purchase?
It’s available now.
Jada, thank you for taking the time for this interview. And readers, if you like a fast-paced story full of zany characters, you should pick up a copy at your earliest convenience.