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. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Skye Taylor Stops By

This week's author is Skye Taylor.  Let's get to know a little bit about her!

Skye Taylor, mother, grandmother and returned Peace Corps Volunteer, loves adventure and lives in St Augustine Florida where she enjoys the history of America’s oldest city, walking on the beach, and volunteering with the USO. Her published work includes Bullseye, The Candidate, The Camerons of Tide’s Way series and Iain’s Plaid. Visit her website: to read her short stories and essays about her time spent in the South Pacific with the Peace Corps. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Florida Writer’s Association, RWA and Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association. Skye has twice won silver in the Royal Palm Literary Awards with Healing a Hero and Worry Stone, and The Candidate placed second for Strong Romantic Elements in the ACRA Reader’s Choice Awards.
She loves hearing from her readers at

Twitter: (Skyewriter22)
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About Bullseye: A Jesse Quinn Mystery (Jesse Quinn Mysteries Book 1)
Publication date: Feb 26, 2020
Publisher: SandCastle Books
Genre: Mystery
Dan Hoffman’s wife is dead. His fingerprints are on the glass prism she was bludgeoned with, and powerful people want him in cuffs. But Detective Jesse Quinn has a history with Dan and she believes he’s innocent. A man on the run claims the murder is tied to a long-ago cover-up over an incident in Afghanistan. Four people are dead, and two attempts have been made. A rival in the Sheriff’s office wants to take over the investigation and time is running out. Will Jesse be able to put all the pieces together before she is sidelined and Dan arrested for his wife’s murder?

Buy the book: Bullseye: A Jesse Quinn Mystery (Jesse Quinn Mysteries Book 1)

Interview with Skye Taylor
Do you have any writing totems? Superstitions? Strange routines? Things you do or have to have around you when you begin your writing process?
I have a squishy Minion who sits by my monitor and when I’m really frustrated I can take it out on him. but for the most part, he just monitors my day. But, for every book, I have had a small token or totem that sits next to the minion while I’m writing the book. Then my brother made me a beautiful display cabinet that hands on the wall next to that window overlooking the ocean where the token gets displayed. 

While I was writing Worry Stone, I had two small smooth stones I found on a beach. Falling for Zoe has a wee Smurf fireman. Loving Meg, a German Shepherd figurine. Dog tags for Healing a Hero, a small piece of plaid for Iain’s Plaid and so on. Now I have a pair of cufflinks because my new heroine is a deputy detective with the St John’s County Sheriff’s Major Crimes squad.

What is your most recent book? What inspired it?
Bullseye is book 1 in my new series, the Jesse Quinn Mysteries. I can’t say that any one thing inspired it. As I mentioned earlier, I have grown weary of the same old, same old that seems to dominate the romance genre so I was looking for a new challenge and opted for mystery. While other authors have created best-selling series with amateur sleuths, as my son points out, how many people do you know that have that many people around them die mysterious deaths? So, cozies were not my style either. Could have opted for a PI, but ended up deciding to have my main character be in law enforcement. 

I love to get right into my research for any book, contemporary or historical, so I signed up for the Citizens Law Enforcement Academy and enjoyed every night of the 12 week course: the chance to drive a police cruiser, on their training course, meeting the K-9’s who serve, visting the incident house where real life situations play out on a screen in front of you, waiting for your response, a visit to all the special teams that included SWAT, diving, helicopter, hostage negotiation etc. Then I went on two ride-alongs and got to see what a deputy’s life and work are like up close and personal. It was an eye-opening experience that gave me a whole new appreciation for the dedication, professionalism and patience that our men and women in law enforcement exhibit every day. 

Is this your first book? Your first fiction book?
Bullseye is my ninth novel, but first mystery. 

How long did it take you to write your book? How many rewrites did it go through?
Due to many interruptions (family emergencies and my dad’s passing) this book took longer than any of my previous books, and it was nearly a year before it was completed. It went through a couple rewrites, but at least a dozen edits – serious edits that you might consider rewrites of at least portions of the book. 

What do you want your writer’s epitaph to be?
I’ve had readers tell me they want to go to Tide’s Way – the fictitious coastal town in North Carolina where my 6 book contemporary romance series was set. Or they want to invite the Camerons over for dinner. I think I would be happy to have my writer’s epitaph be that, She created characters I couldn’t forget. Although my tagline would be okay too: Writing Stories that Take Flight.

Interview with Jesse Quinn
Interviewer: Good afternoon, Deputy Detective Jessalyn Quinn, or do you prefer to be called Jesse?
Jesse: Only my mother and my ex call me Jessalyn but everyone who knows the real me calls me Jesse. I like it because my dad used to call me Jesse Girl when I was little. He was killed in the line of duty when I was twelve he’s the reason I wanted to be a cop. I aspire to be a law enforcement officer he would have been proud of. 

Interviewer: So, I guess you’ve wanted to be in law enforcement all your life.
Jesse: Pretty much. I tried living the life my mother thought proper for a southern lady. You know, dutiful wife and mother, active in the community and all that stuff. But it didn’t work out. And it definitely wasn’t fulfilling once my kids got to school age and started having a life of their own. Elliott, my ex, was another mistake, but the less said about him the better. When that life began to unravel I enrolled at the Police Academy and got a job with the St John’s County Sheriff’s department right after graduating. And I love my work.

Interviewer: But does your work sometimes interfere with your family life? It must be hard being a good mom and a good cop.

Jesse: Mike only has two years left in high school and Jacqui’s a freshman. They’re good kids and for the most part, I trust them to make good decision. Sometimes I do get caught up on a case and I worry what might be going on at home when I can’t be there, but so far I’ve been able to balance the two pretty well. Jacqui’s just turned thirteen and wants to be 21 so I have to be especially vigilant with her, but her father, while he wasn’t much of a husband, is a good dad to his daughter and he’s been there when I can’t be. My mom has taken Jacqui under her wing too so there’s that. And Mike has Seth.

Interviewer: Who’s Seth?

Jesse: He started out as Mike’s tutor. Mike wasn’t okay with his father taking off for a younger woman and his grades were slipping badly. So, Seth came into his life, got him back on track in school, then stayed around to be all the things Mike’s dad never had the time for.
Interviewer: So, is there a new man in your life, or have you turned your back on that kind of relationship? Once burned, twice shy and all. 

Jesse: (blushing a little) Well, Seth has hung around for more than just Mike. I tried to pretend there was nothing there and once Mike was doing okay, Seth would be gone. But he’s more persistent than that. And incredibly patient, waiting for me to loosen up, and maybe take a chance on him. He’s good company, a good listener and a great cook. I don’t know if it will ever be more than just friendship, but . . . who knows. Maybe.

Interviewer: So, tell me a little about your work. How did you end up on the Major Crimes Squad?
Jesse: Being a detective is a lot more rewarding than riding in a patrol car ever was. Some of the things a deputy sees, no one should ever have to see. People can be incredibly stupid or just as incredibly evil. Some folk just get into trouble without half trying. Being on patrol is day after day of dealing with the worst of people every day and the best of people on their worst days. Major Crimes has its share, more than its share, of just plain evil, way too much human suffering and pain, but it’s also rewarding when you solve the puzzle. Figure out who did it and nail them. Sometimes you have to tell someone a loved one has perished and that’s never easy, but when you manage to track down the perpetrator and throw in them in jail, you get to go back and give the family some sense of justice. That’s the rewarding part. And sometimes you get to intervene in someone’s plan to hurt another, save a kid from a life of sexual slavery, or drugs, or convince a battered wife to finally leave her spouse and start healing again. At the end of the day, I know I’ve made a difference, and that’s what makes this job worth the hardships and the ugliness, time away from family or just the nightmares you live with for the rest of you life. 

Interviewer: Well, Detective Quinn, it’s been interesting chatting with you, but I can hear your phone beeping so I guess I better let you get back to your work. Thanks for coming in today.   
Jesse: (Reaching for her phone) It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Excerpt from Bullseye
The tang of salty air filled my senses as I gazed up at the familiar, sprawling mansion where I’d spent so much of my youth. Hanging out with my ex’s sister and being courted by Elliott the Rat while the house still belonged to the Edwards family.
Then there was that intense fling I wasn’t so proud of. The one with Dan Hoffman, current owner of the property.
Dan had called 911 when he arrived home from work and found his wife Laney unconscious. According to Lt. Ward, Dan had desperately demanded an ambulance, but when the EMT rig rolled in the wife was already dead.
I ducked under the yellow crime scene tape stretched across the cobblestone drive, and strode toward the house. At the top of the wide, stone staircase a handsome black rookie stepped into my path.
“Ma’am? This is a crime scene. No one is—”
I shoved the front of my suit jacket aside. As he gawked at the badge hanging on a lanyard around my neck, I held out my ID folder.
He accepted the black folder. “Jessalyn Quinn.” He frowned, then his head jerked up and his eyes met mine. “You’re Jesse Quinn? The Jesse Quinn?”
“That would be me.” I tried to add a jaunty grin.
“But you’re . . . I mean—”
I made the tsking sound Mother never missed an opportunity to scold me for. “Too short? Too female? Looks can be deceiving. Didn’t they teach you that at the academy?”
Nothing about my diminutive, tailored appearance matches the reputation of an impetuous rookie barely off probation who had taken out three armed thieves at a convenience store my first week alone on the job. I’d been far too hasty back then and way overconfident. However, having prevailed in spite of taking a round in my thigh, the incident had gained me creds. Big time. No one had ever questioned my ability to handle myself since if you didn’t count the testosterone-laden ribbing dished out on a regular basis.
“Sorry, Detective Quinn. No disrespect meant.” The young deputy started poking at the electronic tablet he held, logging my information and the time I’d arrived.
“None taken.” I slipped my ID back into my pocket. “Were you first on the scene?”
He nodded. “I was just a couple blocks away. Got here before the EMTs.”
“Deputy—” I glanced at his name tag. “MacKenzie. I’ll catch up with you later.”
“Just ask for Mac,” he replied, nodding. 
“Mac,” I repeated as I stepped past him and into the cool interior of the beautiful old house.
When I’d stepped out of my cruiser, the tidal wave of déjà vu had been strong, but inside, the clash of history, of memories good and bad, swelled in my chest. I did my best to ignore the tightness and inspect my surroundings impartially.
My sturdy, leather-soled shoes clicked loudly on the bare, hardwood floor that had once been covered with a luxurious Oriental carpet. A carpet that had tickled my bare backside on more than one occasion. Another wave of shame burned through me as I hurried through to the next room.
The old family room hit me even harder. I clenched my teeth and forced the memories back into the box where they belonged.