Mar 022015
 

amazon Goodreads
Gillian Harris is loving her time in London. Her brother, Avery, is too busy to notice what she’s up to and Gillian has no problem ditching the sweet chaperone that’s been introducing her to the ton.

Until one evening gets particularly out of hand and the trustee to the Harris fortune, the Marquis of Landover, deems it necessary to take her in his hand to keep her out of trouble until Avery is able to do so himself.

Luckily, with a little maneuvering and some other “caged” friends Gillian is able to earn her freedom.

But is it what she wants?

Hott Review:

I first read “The Indomitable Miss Harris” when I was about Gillian’s age, then Gillian’s antics and headstrong nature were very like my own and I fell in love not only with the book but also with Amanda Scott.
Reading it now, though when my children are Gillian’s age, I see it differently. While it’s still an amazing book jammed with enthralling historical events and brimming with amazing scenes, I just couldn’t get past the fact that Gillian was selfish and bratty. (Absolutely the Mom in me!)
Overall, I’m not sorry I read this book, either time, I doubt that I’ll read it again. If you’re younger than 25, buy it but, if you’re older than 25, borrowing it would probably be best! :)

More…

Author: Amanda Scott
Source: Purchased from Amazon July 10, 2013
Grade: B+
Ages: 18-25
Steam: YA – Just a scene or two of mild mischief
Setting: London, England 1814
This Counts for these Challenges: 2015 Let Me Count The Ways Reading Challenge, 2015 TBR Pile Challenge, 2015 Just for Fun Reading Challenge, 2015 What’s In A Name Reading Challenge, 2015 Romantic Suspense Reading Challenge, 2015 Women Challenge, 2015 Historical Romance Reading Challenge, 2015 Full House Reading Challenge, Monthly Mix-up Mania, 2014 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

Author Bio:

Amanda is a fourth-generation Californian, who was born and raised in Salinas and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in history from Mills College in Oakland. She did graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in British History, before obtaining her Master’s in History from California State University at San Jose. She now lives with her husband and editor-cat Willy Magee in northern California.

As a child, Amanda Scott was a model for O’Connor Moffatt in San Francisco (now Macy’s). She was also a Sputnik child, one of those selected after the satellite went up for one of California’s first programs for gifted children. She remained in that program through high school. After graduate school, she taught for the Salinas City School District for three years before marrying her husband, who was then a captain in the Air Force. They lived in Honolulu for a year, then in Papillion, Nebraska, for seven. Their son was born in Nebraska. They have lived in northern California since 1980.

Scott grew up in a family of lawyers, and is descended from a long line of them. Her father was a three-term District Attorney of Monterey County before his death in 1955 at age 36. Her grandfather was City Attorney of Salinas for 36 years after serving two terms as District Attorney, and two of her ancestors were State Supreme Court Justices (one in Missouri, the other the first Supreme Court Justice for the State of Arkansas). One brother, having carried on the Scott tradition in the Monterey County DA’s office, is now a judge. The other is an electrician in Knoxville, TN, and her sister is a teacher in the Sacramento area.

The women of Amanda Scott’s family have been no less successful than the men. Her mother was a child actress known as Baby Lowell, who performed all over the west coast and in Hollywood movies, and then was a dancer with the San Francisco Opera Ballet until her marriage. Her mother’s sister, Loretta Lowell, was also a child actress. She performed in the Our Gang comedies and in several Loretta Young movies before becoming one of the first women in the US Air Force. Scott’s paternal grandmother was active in local and State politics and served as president of the California State PTA, and her maternal grandmother was a teacher (and stage mother) before working for Monterey County. The place of women in Scott’s family has always been a strong one. Though they married strong men, the women have, for generations, been well educated and encouraged to succeed at whatever they chose to do.

Amanda Scott’s first book was OMAHA CITY ARCHITECTURE, a coffee-table photo essay on the historical architecture of Omaha, written for Landmarks, Inc. under her married name as a Junior League project. Others took the photos; she did the research and wrote the text on an old Smith-Corona portable electric. She sold her first novel, THE FUGITIVE HEIRESS—likewise written on the battered Smith-Corona in 1980. Since then, she has sold many more books, but since the second one she has used a word processor and computer. Twenty-five of her novels are set in the English Regency period (1810-1820). Others are set in 15th-century England and 14th- through 18th-century Scotland, and three are contemporary romances. Many of her titles are currently available at bookstores and online.

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Feb 282015
 

Albany, New York, January 2020 (parallel universe)

A blizzard sweeps up the coast and shuts down the city. When it is over, funeral director Kevin Novak is found dead in the basement of his funeral home. The arrow sticking out of his chest came from his own hunting bow. A loving husband and father and an active member of a local megachurch, Novak had no known enemies. His family and friends say he had been depressed because his best friend died suddenly of a heart attack and Novak blamed himself. But what does his guilt have to do with his death? Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. Three people — the minister of the megachurch, the psychiatrist who provides counseling to church members, and a medium visiting from the South – say they reached out to Kevin Novak. One of them might know why Novak was murdered. But Detective Hannah McCabe and her partner, Mike Baxter, must sort through lies and evasions as they try to find the killer. The relationship between the partners is threatened as McCabe deals with a political controversy involving her family, unanswered questions about their last high-profile case, and her own guilt because a young woman died after McCabe failed to act.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery (near-future police procedural)
Published by: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 10:1250048303 | 13:978-1250048301
Series: Detective Hannah McCabe #2
Purchase Links:

I got to visit a bit with Frankie Bailey & here’s what I learned:

Which of your characters was the hardest to write and why?

In the first book in the series, The Red Queen Dies, the most difficult character to write was Hannah McCabe, my protagonist. I was still getting to know her, and it was only after I’d written the first draft that I began to understand how she sees the world. With this second book, my ensemble cast was in place and I picked up with their lives three months later. So the hardest character to write was “the villain”. That’s because – as many writers will tell you – it’s important that the villain be three-dimensional. He or she should not be a cartoon bad guy/gal. Ideally, the villain struggles with the stress of concealing his guilt and the need to “appear normal”. At the same time – to play fair with the readers – there should be clues that the villain is a viable suspect. This requires stepping into the villain’s shoes and imagining what he or she would feel and do and have that occur even if the story is not being told from the villain’s point of view.

What has been the biggest challenge to your writing career?

I’ve been writing – a published writer — since 1991. If you had asked me this question two or three years ago, I would have said finding the time to write always has been my biggest challenge. As a faculty member, I do academic research and writing. The historical and mass media/popular culture research that I do is a slow, labor-intensive process. When I became a published mystery writer, I already had tenure at my university, but I needed and wanted to continue my academic research/writing. Finding enough time for both seemed to be the challenge – especially when I was fortunate enough to receive a contract from St. Martin’s (a major New York publisher) for the first book in my new series. So I grappled with the time issue. But, as I did, I realized that I now have two careers. And if I’m putting in the time I should claim both. Being a criminal justice professor and a mystery writer overlap and intersect. As long as I see them as running parallel to and enhancing each other, it works.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I have to “warm up” when I’m starting a new book. I’m neither a pantser, nor a plotter. I don’t plunge in and keep writing until the end. I also don’t do extensive plot outlines. I’m a hybrid. I like to know where I’m going and to have an overview of the book.
When I’m starting a book, I have to write and re-write the first paragraph and then the first page, and then the first five pages. I continue this write and revise, write and revise process until I find my rhythm and the opening scene that sets the mood. This means that I spend a long time revising the first fifty pages or so. I also need to have a title. The task of finding a title is easier with this new series than with my Lizzie Stuart series.
With the Hannah McCabe series, the books have a children’s literature/ballad theme. The inspiration for the first book was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The inspiration for What the Fly Saw is an English nursery rhyme, “The Ballad of Cock Robin”. But I still have to do my warming up process. Once I’ve gotten started, I continue to revise as I’m writing, but I move along much faster.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Saturday, January 18, 20205:47 AM

After the storm had passed, in the chilly hour before dawn, the last of the “space zombies” found their way back to their nest in the derelict house.

From his command post, the squad leader gave the signal. “Go!”

A black van pulled up in front of the house. Albany PD vice cops wearing protective gear jumped out and stormed up the walk. They used a battering ram to smash open the wooden door.

“Police! Albany PD!”

“Police!”

Their high-powered torches illuminated the grotesque horror movie creatures in the 3-D posters on the walls.

One of the cops ripped down a dangling black plastic replica of the 2012 UFO. He tossed the boomerang-shaped object to the floor.

Hippie freaks, he thought. Ought to make them all go live out in the Mojave Desert and wait for the mother ship to arrive.

He kicked at the nearest mattress on the floor. “Police!” he shouted down at the long-haired occupant. “On your feet!”

Blank eyes in an eerie white-painted face stared up at him.

“Hands up! Hands up!” the cop yelled as the kid stumbled to his feet. He shoved him against the wall and patted him down.

Upstairs, in a bathroom, another cop had found a girl sprawled out, unconscious, on the dirty tile floor beside the toilet. She had vomited in the toilet bowl. Her jeans were stained with urine and feces.

Reaching down, he shook her, and then rolled her onto her side to see her face beneath the mop of dark hair. A nasty bruise on her cheekbone stood out against the streaked white paint. He moved her red scarf aside to feel for a pulse in her throat. The scarf was damp, like her tee shirt and soiled blue jeans.

“Whaddya have?” another cop asked from the doorway.

“Looks like an OD,” the cop inside the bathroom said. “Still breathing, but the wagon had better get here fast.”

“Got it,” the other cop said, touching the comm button on his helmet.

The cop in the bathroom spotted a smear of blood on the corner of the sink. That explained the bruise. She’d banged her face on the sink when she passed out.

Downstairs in the kitchen, cops surveyed the debris of dirty dishes and rotting garbage – and an impressive array of drugs and paraphernalia.
One of them lowered her weapon and observed, “With a stash like this, they could have stayed zonked out until the next UFO came to visit.”

Chapter 2

Saturday afternoon3:17 PM

Funeral director Kevin Novak stared at the Cupid and Psyche bronze clock on his host, Olive Cooper’s mantel. He had allowed himself to become marooned on a conversational island with Paige, Olive’s great niece.

As Paige complained about the conversation and laughter filling the long room — the “rabble babble,” as she put it — Kevin found a name for what he had been feeling for the past forty-eight plus hours. Grief.

He was experiencing first-hand what he had often observed when relatives came into the funeral home after the unexpected death of a loved one. That first stage of grieving the experts described as denial, but he often thought of as amazement and disbelief. The stage of bereavement when family members spoke of their dead loved one in the present tense because they couldn’t yet believe their lives had been ripped apart.

It seemed in this state of mind, one went through the usual motions, saying what was expected. But the shell was thin. His was developing cracks. He could tell because he felt no inclination at all to warn Paige Cooper that he had glanced over her shoulder and seen her Great Aunt Olive headed their way and Paige had better shut up. So he must be moving into the next stage: anger.

“Where in the galaxy did Aunt Olive find these people?” Paige said. “Look at them.”

“Some of them are from the church’s community outreach,” Kevin said.

True, Olive’s guest list for this celebration of her life reflected her eccentricities. An odd assortment of guests: old friends, relatives, church members and business associates, and other people who tickled Olive’s fancy or touched her big heart. But they had all cleaned up and put on their best in Olive’s honor.

“It’s freezing in here,” Paige said. She pulled the belt of her hand-knit cardigan tighter and held her hands out toward the fireplace.

“Feels fine to me,” Kevin said.

“It really is annoying we have to come out for this farce when there’s a blizzard on the way. The least Aunt Olive could do is heat this mausoleum. Everyone here except her will come down with pneumonia, and we’ll still have to do this all over again when she finally does kick off.”

“When I finally do ‘kick off’, Paige,” her great aunt said, right behind her. “You may feel free not to attend my funeral. In fact, if you die first – maybe of the pneumonia you expect to catch – you’ll spare us both that annoyance. And for your information, it was your father who insisted on including you in this shindig.”

Paige flushed an unbecoming shade of scarlet. “Aunt Olive, I didn’t mean –”

“I know what you meant. Get yourself a glass of champagne, now you’re actually old enough to drink, and make the best of the situation.”
Olive’s sharp gaze fastened on Kevin. “And since you already know you’re going to get to bury me when I’m dead, you can relax and enjoy the party.”

“I always enjoy your parties, Olive,” Kevin said.

“Come with me,” she said. “There’s someone I want you to meet.”

Aware of Paige’s suspicious glare, Kevin smiled in her direction. That would teach the little brat to say funeral directors reminded her of vultures without first checking for one of the species within hearing distance.

Vultures sometimes exacted their petty revenge.

“At your service, Olive,” he said, offering his arm to the woman, who was eighty-five years old and counting and might well live to be a hundred.

“How have you been?” she asked him.

“Fine,” Kevin said. “Never better.”

“Don’t give me that. Anyone who knows you can tell you’re still taking Bob’s death hard.”

“Having your best friend collapse with a heart attack while you’re beating him at tennis and then die on the operating table can have that effect.”

“It’s been over four months since it happened. You should be coping with it by now.”

“I am coping with it.”

“You’re still off-kilter. Not your usual self. That’s why I want you to meet Luanne Woodward.”

“Luanne? That medium or spiritualist or whatever she calls herself that you found somewhere?”

“I didn’t find her ‘somewhere’. She was the featured lecturer at a fundraiser.”

“Lecturer? Don’t you mean ‘performer’?”

“She talked about being a medium and answered questions. She’s an interesting woman. I think you could benefit from talking to her.”

“I don’t believe in that hocus-pocus, Olive.”

“I don’t believe in most of it, either. I’m almost ancient enough to remember the Fox Sisters and their flimflam. But, as I said, Luanne’s interesting. I invited her today so you could meet her.”

Kevin noticed one of Olive’s guests filling his plate high with the urgency of a man who expected the bounty in front of him to disappear.
“And do what?” he said in belated response to Olive. “Sign up for her next séance?”

“That might not be a bad idea. Spiritual therapy, so to speak.”

“I get my spiritual therapy at church on Sunday from our minister. You might consider doing the same.”

“At my age, I take what I need from wherever I happen to find it. And the fact you’re going all righteous on me instead of laughing about my eccentricities, as you like to call them, proves you’re off-kilter. We need to get you put to right.”

“Olive, I don’t think a medium and a séance will do the trick.”

“You need an opportunity to confront your feelings.”

“I have confronted my feelings. I confronted them after Bob died. I sought counseling from both Reverend Wyatt and Jonathan Burdett.”

Olive stopped walking and glared at him. “Now, if you want to talk about hocus-pocus, psychiatrists are right up there. You lie on their couch spilling your guts. And they mumble an occasional Freudian pearl of wisdom while they’re thinking about how they intend to spend what they’re charging you.”

“Burdett offers the option of sitting in a comfortable armchair, and, as you well know, his services are free to church members.”

“The church pays his salary, so he’s not free. He’s full of his diplomas and his jargon, that’s what he is.”

“And what about your medium? Is she one-hundred percent jargon free?”

“Not a chance. They all have their language intended to impress, but she’s a hell of a lot more fun then Burdett. So come along and meet her.”

“I suppose it would be a waste of time to say no?”

“Yes, it would. You said you were at my service.”

“Yes, I did say that.”

Not much sleep last night or the night before. His moment of irritation with Paige had given way to weariness. No doubt he would feel the anger later. No chance he’d be able to skip over that stage. Not with the piper to pay.

“Luanne,” Olive said to the plump, blonde woman sipping from a champagne glass as she observed the people around her. “I’d like you to meet Kevin Novak, the friend of mine I was telling you about.”

“I’m so happy to meet you, Mr. Novak,” she said in a Southern drawl that suited her pleasant, round face. Her blue gaze met and held his.

If he believed in such things, Kevin would have sworn she’d looked past his tailored suit and crisp white shirt, straight into his tarnished soul.

He took a step back, and reached out to steady Olive, whose hand rested on his arm.

“Sorry, Olive” he said. “I just remembered something I need to do.”

Luanne Woodward said, “It’s all right, Kevin, honey. You don’t have to run away from me.”

But he did, Kevin thought. He had to run as fast as he could.

Author Bio:

Frankie Y. Bailey is a mystery writer and a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY). Her academic research focuses on crime history, popular culture/mass media, and material culture. She has done research and written about topics ranging from local history and women who kill to African American characters in crime and detective fiction. She is currently at work on a book about dress, appearance, and criminal justice. She is the author of two mystery series, featuring crime historian Lizzie Stuart, and Albany police detective Hannah McCabe. Frankie is a past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. A dog lover, she now shares her home with a Maine Coon cat/mix named Harry.

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Feb 262015
 

Three amazing women. Three different crossroads. Three versions of hapiness. One amazing bond. Dissatisfaction is something Pam Eiland never thought she’d feel. She loves her husband and her family, but she’s shocked when she realizes that at some point she’s gotten old (fifty!?!) and is now not only going to be a grandmother but she [More…]

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