Sunday, May 31, 2020

Kathleen Kelley Reardon Rounds Out Our Tour

Our last stop on the virtual book tour is Kathleen Kelley Reardon.


Kathleen Kelley Reardon is professor emerita of business and preventive medicine at the University of Southern California. She has published ten nonfiction books and two crime mysteries. She draws upon her research on gender issues, love of crime mysteries and knowledge of the academic underworld for both Shadow Campus (2013) and Damned If She Does (2020). She keeps herself guessing as to who-done-it, so the reader is unsure right to the end. Kathleen is also an artist and her work is at and her Facebook page.

Twitter: @kathreardon

Publication date: January 24, 2020
Publisher: Big Table Publishing
Genre: crime mystery
Young professor Meg Doherty has long held a dark secret. When a renowned professor is viciously murdered at a Manhattan hotel conference, Meg stumbles upon the scene and quickly becomes a prime suspect. Caught in NYC’s blinding media spotlight, gilded society and criminal underworld, Meg and her brother, Shamus, risk their lives to prove her innocence.
Forbes described Shadow Campus as a “fast-paced” and “masterful debut.”
Kirkus Reviews found Damned If She Does “informed and searing” and a “page-turning success”

Buy the book: Damned If She Does
Backstory for DAMNED IF SHE DOES
Damned If She Does (2020) by Kathleen Kelley Reardon

As a child, I loved art and writing. A truly wonderful Bunnell High School English teacher, Judith Kase, saw promise and creativity in my writing and encouraged both. For five years, I taught high school English in South Windsor and Stratford, Connecticut. Having also studied communication at the University of Connecticut, my career path took me on to an MA and Ph.D. at UMass, Amherst. As a newly minted professor in my twenties, I published research papers and my first of ten nonfiction books, Persuasion in Practice (Sage). It’s still in print today.

Fiction took a back seat to research and writing, tenure and promotion.  So, it wasn’t until my forties that I returned to it.  Experiences as a female academic seeking tenure at a business school inspired me to begin writing Shadow Campus – my first crime mystery. Publication came years later. With three children and on route to full professor, there was little extra time. But I came back to the manuscript during the summers.

I was writing Damned If She Does long before the MeToo era began. Meg, one of two lead characters, keeps a dark secret until she stumbles upon the dead body of the man who caused it all and quickly becomes the prime suspect. Four characters from Shadow Campus return in this second crime mystery, which I anticipate becoming part of a trilogy. The first book took place in L.A, the second in New York City, and the third, now partially written, will be situated in West Cork Ireland.

Interview with primary character, Shamus Doherty
Kathleen: Shamus, I’m delighted that you’re here. I know you’re a private person. Let’s start there. You finally said yes to this interview on the fourth try.
Shamus: You’ve put me in two novels. I guess you could say my life is no longer my own. Besides, my sister can’t seem to shake the notion that her brother is an introvert whose love life won’t blossom until he opens up.  
Kathleen: Any other reason?
Shamus: (smiling) Maybe I’m just a little worried about what you’ll write about me in the third book.
Kathleen: At this point, I may have little wiggle room. Our readers know you as well as I do.  Some tell me what you’ll do next.
Shamus: You reap what you sow.
Kathleen: Let me ask you this: You’ve stolen the hearts of many female readers. They describe you as a “diamond in the rough.” What’s your response to that?
Shamus: Detective Jeffries says any charm I might have is wasted – that I’m oblivious to women noticing me.
Kathleen: Do you think he has a point?
Shamus: I think he’s just grumpy.
Kathleen: He is that. So, tell me, in book three you’ll be in Ireland. Are you looking forward to that?
Shamus: I’m not much for travel, but my Irish roots go way back. I think we can tell Meg that I’m branching out.
Kathleen: She’s going along, isn’t she?
Shamus: Yep. She’s been there many times and loves it, especially West Cork.
Kathleen: You’re becoming quite the amateur detective. Is that something you plan to turn into a career?
Shamus: It’s born of necessity. My dream is building beautiful homes. Maybe someday a degree in architecture.
Kathleen: I guess we’ll see.
Shamus: (Smiling) Unless you want to tell us now.
Kathleen: Thank you for being here, Shamus. 
Shamus: Ah, you’re keeping it a secret. I knew it. 
Kathleen: One last thing, Shamus.  Is Denise in your future?
Shamus: She’s in my present. That’s really all I can say.

Damned If She Does is based in New York City. As Covid-19 continues to bring great pain there, here are two excerpts reminding us of the city’s unique beauty:

When they left MOMA, it was dark and lightly snowing. Meg’s cheeks reddened from the cold; her eyes brightened. Rashid breathed in Manhattan’s icy magic. Leafless tree branches adorned with miniature white lights, obscure an hour earlier, now reached their glowing branches skyward like secondary characters boldly stealing the show. Cars and taxis moved rhythmically, cooperatively. Buildings glistened. Rainbow hued pigeons, heads bobbing, dexterously scurried and fluttered in a precarious dance with preoccupied pedestrians.
“No place quite like it,” Shamus said.
Rashid slowly nodded as he looked up transfixed by snowflakes bright against the darkening sky, some joining like starlings in harmonic formations, upward and downward, inward and outward, as if having practiced together for years …
 Shamus stopped in front of the Plaza Hotel. His parents had taken him and Meg there on pre-Christmas sojourns to see the decorations and to enjoy a brunch memorable for the steaming hot chocolate poured by fastidious waiters from gleaming silver, long-stemmed pots. He and Meg had looked forward to the annual pilgrimage almost as much as Christmas morning. It was a tradition of indulgence, a harbinger of more pleasures to come, costly for his parents, but one of exquisite happiness until things had gone sour between him and his father…
Crossing the street beside the hotel brought him into Central Park. A few minutes later, he was at the skating rink. He wiped snow from a bench and sat watching skaters glide and spin as his mind wrestled with how his sister had been nearly present for two murders. He’d have to shop around for a top-notch lawyer. The one he’d found would do for tonight. She seemed sharp enough in the few minutes they’d had to talk. But things were going from bad to worse, and Meg needed a shark.
Shamus purchased a hot chocolate, held it tight to warm his hands, and breathed in the rich, sweet distraction. He watched a woman twirl on one skate in the center of the rink and then began to make his way back to the hotel. Continuing along the park, cross-country skiers were taking to the roads now nearly clear of traffic. Another hour and the city would be pedestrians only, dodging the occasional determined plow. He looked up to find where John Lennon had lived and tragically died. Snow caressed the park trees, bordered and bejeweled the stone bridges, here and there spinning in mini tornadoes, as if this was perhaps its final show before bequeathing the stage to the colors of spring.
He shivered. The temperature was dropping. Reality was creeping back. His phone pinged: Meg texting that she’d meet him at the hotel. Couldn’t stay there another minute, she wrote. Okay, he texted back. See you there. He’d planned to talk with the lawyer, but that would have to wait.
Reaching the edge of the park, he looked back one more time to watch children rolling in the snow beneath street lamps, young adults making snow angels, throwing snowballs and playing Frisbee. Someday, he thought, on a night like this, maybe, just maybe, I’ll bring someone special here.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Author A. Piper Burgi Makes A Visit

A. Piper Burgi is this week's author, so let's find out a little bit about her!

A. Piper Burgi is the author of several non-fiction books and recently added five historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings. Her debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF HER MAJESTY, was a Golden Book Award Semi-Finalist, and Readers' Favorite Book Reviews named her women's fiction novel THE COUNTRY GIRL EMPRESS "...a must-read for historical fiction fans who can appreciate the imperial intrigues…"

She is also a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Independent Author Network, an Air Force Veteran, and a military spouse; plus a busy doggie mommy, a cook, a chauffeur - you get the picture. When she is not busy chasing after her three furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee, she can be found typing away on her computer.

Publication date: 16 Mar 2020
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Person
The sudden, violent death of Sisi’s only son, Crown Prince Rudolph at his hunting lodge Mayerling, shakes the Empire to its core. The fact that the dead body of his teenaged mistress is found next to him makes the scandal complete. Does this tragedy mark the end of the Danube monarchy, since Rudolph only had a daughter?


Note: All four books of the Country Girl Empress series (Kindle version only) are currently on sale at:

Interview with A. Piper Burgi

How long have you been writing fiction? When did you start?
I’ve been scribbling as long as I’ve known how to write. But I started writing seriously nearly a decade ago and added fiction writing to my repertoire four years later.

Why did you start —what triggered your writing?
I began writing in my spare time shortly after my mother suddenly passed away. Just a few months prior, she had asked for my help to get her memoirs published, but neither one of us had any idea where to begin. As I worked hard to keep my promise to my late mother, I needed to create some balance between the sad memories of my mother’s passing and my active lifestyle. And I found that when writing my stories. Before I knew it, I was entirely consumed by this new pastime.

What stimulates your creativity or serves as writing inspiration? Conversely, what creates a major writer’s block for you?
Many define writer’s block as their imaginary friends refusing to talk to them. Thankfully, so far, mine haven’t stopped talking to me for too long – knock on wood! I can’t rightfully claim that any one thing or situation stimulates my creativity, but rather my mind is constantly churning out ideas, and most of them I capture and incorporate into my writings.

Some techniques that have worked for me in the past: Setting deadlines, exercising, taking a break, going outdoors, talking to people around me, reading, and working on my manuscript back to front.

Do you have any writing totems? Superstitions? Strange routines? Things you do or have to have around you when you begin your writing process?
There’s no writing for me before my first cup of coffee in the morning, and I love to be surrounded by my dogs.

Do you keep a journal? If so, how often do you write in it? Is it for personal reflection, for tracking writing ideas or both? How do you use it?
The only journal I ever kept was the seizure diary for my two epi-warriors, Lana and Darren. In it, I kept track of all their activities, unusual behaviors, potential seizure triggers, and, of course, their seizure activity. It certainly helped my husband, and I provide detailed information to their veterinarian, which in turn assisted in providing them with the best possible care they required. After their passing, this journal became a valuable resource when I wrote my canine health book LIVING WITH CANINE EPILEPSY.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Christopher Bremicker Drops In

This week's guest author is Christopher Bremicker.

Christopher G. Bremicker was a Green Beret medic stationed at Ft. Bragg NC from 1968 to 1970. He has a BA in English and a Master’s in Business Administration, both from the University of Minnesota. He is a newspaperman, downhill skier, and grouse hunter. He plays handball and reviews theater. He is a sales associate at Walgreen’s in St. Paul, MN, his forty-sixth job since high school. His hometown is Cable, WI. He has won awards from Veterans Voices Writing Project Inc. from the VFW, and the American Legion.

About Song for My Baby and Other Stories
Publication date: June 16, 2020
Publisher: Unsolicited Press
Genre: Hybrid, fiction, nonfiction, memoir

Song for My Baby and Other Stories is best described as a work with great variety. What begins with the sudden demise of a father on a hunting trip, transforms into a collection that deals with mental illness, hitting bottom, and an appreciation for those who stick around in the worst of times. Bremicker takes readers for a ride with no degree of certainty. From a high stakes golf game to pay off a son’s cocaine debt, a dating service that results in twelve dates in twelve months, a kidney transplant, a heart attack, a relapse on alcohol, to years in and out of psych wards and veterans’ homes, the book shifts gears from story to story.

Buy the book: Song for My Baby and Other Stories
Unsolicited Press:

Interview with Christopher G. Bremicker
Why did you start writing —what triggered your writing? 
Death of my first psychiatrist. He rarely let me talk about writing, since I was desperate to make a living and most of his help involved vocational questions. When he died, I felt free to begin my writing career. In my family, I was recognized as the bookish one and destined to write. It was agreed I would start when I became an adult. I became an adult three years before my doctor’s death. but the vocational talks continued.

What stimulates your creativity or serves as a writing inspiration? 
My job at Walgreens, where I am a cashier.  I thrive on the wall to wall people. My writing and the job are like a teeter totter. I need one to do the other. I am terrified of retirement for that reason although I am of that age. 

Conversely, what creates a major writer’s block for you?
In general, I don’t get writer’s block. When I had it, it passed. I complained about it to my psychologist, but we decided the writing would come back. Hemingway said the way to handle it was to write one true sentence then the next true sentence. I usually ignore it or keep writing, even if it stinks. It’s better to force the issue than quit. Sometimes, I just take a few days off.

How long did it take you to write your book? 
The first story, a novella, I wrote thirty years ago. My father died six months earlier and the story reeks with grief. It is a tribute to him and my brother’s and my love for him. 

How many rewrites did it go through?
Many, as my writing coach at the VA and I edited each story. She would prefer to remain anonymous. I could not write after the heart attack and she helped rebuild my ability to write. I spent one hour per week in her office and countless hours in coffee shops working on the first fifteen stories. After a year and a half of this, I could write on my own and the last half of the book is all mine. The heart attack shattered my ability to think. I write with my sexuality and that’s where a heart attack gets a person. It’ll ruin you as a writer too. By the way, it’ll ruin you as a fisherman, too.