Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BOOK: Dead of Summer by Sherry Knowlton



In a tale of suspense that travels from Southcentral Pennsylvania to Africa to the iconic Woodstock Festival of 1969, Dead of Summer embroils Alexa Williams in the dangerous world of sex trafficking.

With help from friends, family, and her yoga practice, Alexa Williams is finally starting to recover from last autumn’s trauma of finding a dead body and the violence that ensued. The young attorney can’t believe that her summer has begun with the discovery of another body. This time, the dead woman was famous for her worldwide campaign against sex trafficking. The murder hits close to home: the late activist was a friend and mentor to Alexa’s best friend, Melissa.

While the town mourns, Alexa stumbles into a burglary at Melissa’s home, barely escaping serious harm. A client asks for help in convincing the police that her foster child is not a runaway, and Alexa learns that other local girls have gone missing. Drawn into the fight to save lost and exploited children, Alexa discovers a community of child activists. A local philanthropist wants Alexa to join his foster care empire. A sexy social worker and a hip college professor want a more personal connection with Alexa, but she is also drawn to the police detective leading the murder investigation.

Searching for answers, Alexa becomes entangled in a web of deception and danger that puts both her heart and her life at risk. By the time she discovers that the key to the present lies in the halcyon days of peace and music, it may be too late.

Sherry Knowlton (nee Rothenberger), author of the Alexa Williams novels, DEAD of AUTUMN and DEAD of SUMMER was born and raised in Chambersburg, PA, where she developed a lifelong passion for books. She was that kid who would sneak a flashlight to bed at night so she could read beneath the covers. All the local librarians knew her by name.

Sherry launched her writing career with a mimeographed elementary school newsletter and went on to write and edit for her high school and college newspapers. Since then, Sherry’s creative and technical writing has run the gamut from poetry, essays, and short stories to environmental newsletters, policy papers, regulations, and grant proposals.

Sherry spent much of her early career in state government, working primarily with social and human services programs, including services for abused children, rape crisis, domestic violence, and family planning. In the 1990s, she served as the Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The latter part of Sherry’s career has focused on the field of Medicaid managed care. Now retired from executive positions in the health insurance industry, Sherry runs her own health care consulting business.

Sherry has a B.A. in English and psychology from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

Sherry and her husband, Mike, began their journey together in the days of peace and music when they traversed the country in a hippie van. Running out of money several months into the trip, Sherry waitressed the night shift at a cowboy hangout in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Mike washed dishes in a bakery. Undeterred, they embraced the travel experience and continue to explore far-flung places around the globe. Sherry and Mike have one son, Josh, a craft brewer in upstate New York.

Sherry lives in the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania, where her novels are set.

Sherry is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters In Crime and Pennwriters.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

IN MEMORIAM: Ron Shannon, Author



Ron Shannon discovered a passion for storytelling at a very young age: while listening to his teacher read the Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol to the overly-excited members of his sixth grade class. Later, he went on to study at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey and graduated with the unlikely degree combination of accounting and English. Later he completed his Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He wrote two novels, The Hedgerows of June and Gabriel's Wing. Ron lived, daydreamed, and wrote at the New Jersey shore until he passed away in September 2015.

On a personal note, when I think of Ron Shannon, I will remember how he was the type of author who understood how important community was and knew how to pay it forward. He was always kind to me, and that can be rare in this business. I will miss you, Ron.

Monday, September 21, 2015




1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Don’t tell the others, but my time hopping heroine Quin is my favourite. Mostly because she’s been with me the longest, and was the person my teenage self wanted to be. Also because she’s a redhead like me.

2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
I had to write the death of a character’s mother, and my beta reader made me re-write it twice because she didn’t feel there was enough emotion and she knew I could do better. Since it was based on losing my own mum when I was nineteen, it brought a lot of those bad memories back up and left me in tears. But since it was important to the story and I’d committed myself to writing it, I couldn’t just cut it out and no do it. That scene was one that sparked my hero’s transformation, so couldn’t be skipped over.

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
I’m not a sports junkie, hate to watch any kind of sport, but I love to dance and I used to do a lot of aerobics. Long walks are good too. Otherwise I tend to be a bit of a couch potato, though I try hard to get up and move about regularly because that’s just not healthy on a day to day basis.

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I love alternative rock. I’m not too keen on the really shouty stuff, although if I’m feeling rage-y or writing something violent or dangerous, that’s a good fit as background. In general I prefer the loud but lyrical stuff, mixed with the odd ballad. Current muses are Linkin Park, Starset, and Red.

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
Totally taken for a ride! I cannot outline. I’ve tried, and it just kills my creativity and enthusiasm for a story, and usually means me abandoning it unfinished. My process is non-linear and chaotic, but it works for me so I don’t see any reason to change it.

13. Celebrity crush.
Don’t get me wrong, but right now my crush is Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. She’s seriously awesome! I don’t normally fall for women, but I just adore her in Avengers and wish she’d get her own film.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 22 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, Broad Universe, and EPIC, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), the EPIC eBook awards, and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Friday, September 18, 2015

EVENT: Pennwriters 2015: Building Bridges (Photos)


As always Jason Jack Miller and I had a wonderful time at the Pennwriters Conference this year. Since it was held in Pittsburgh, the theme was quite appropriate: Building Bridges. It was great to connect with old friends and meet so many new writers and editors. Here are just a few photos of the event.

Friday, September 04, 2015

BOOK: The Scarlet Jaguar by Win Scott Eckert

Winner of the 2014 New Pulp Award for Best Novella!

When we last saw Patricia Wildman, daughter of Doc Wildman, the bronze champion of justice, six months had passed since the main events of The Evil in Pemberley House. She and her associate Parker, an ex-Scotland Yard Inspector, had set up Empire State Investigations at her Pemberley House estate—and she just received a mysterious phone call from her supposedly late father . . .

Several months later, Pat receives a visitor, a young girl named Emma Ponsonby, whose father, a British diplomat to a small Central American country, has been kidnapped by the Scarlet Jaguar. Pat, following in her father’s footsteps of righting wrongs and assisting those in need, agrees to help, but before they can set off on their quest the Scarlet Jaguar sends a gruesome warning.

Undeterred, the investigation takes Pat, Parker, and their young charge from Pemberley House in the Derbyshire countryside . . . To New York, where they battle agents of the Scarlet Jaguar and meet Pat’s old friend, the icy, pale-skinned beauty Helen Benson, who agrees to join them on their quest . . . To the small nation of Xibum, where the Scarlet Jaguar’s reign of uncanny assassinations threatens to expand to the rest of Central America—and beyond!

Now, it’s a race against time deep in the wilds of the Central American jungle, as Pat Wildman and her crew search for Emma’s father, and confront the Scarlet Jaguar’s weird power to eliminate his enemies from afar, marked only by a wisp of crimson smoke—smoke resembling nothing so much as the head of a blood-red screaming jaguar. But who—or what—is the Scarlet Jaguar? A power-mad dictator determined to reclaim power? A revolutionary movement bent on taking over the country, and the rest of Central America?

Or a front for something even more sinister . . .?


Win Scott Eckert is an author and editor, best known for his work on the literary-crossover Wold Newton Universe, created by author Philip José Farmer, but much expanded-upon subsequently by Eckert and others. He holds a B.A. in Anthropology and a Juris Doctorate.

Eckert is editor of—and contributor to—the 2005 MonkeyBrain-published work Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe (originally titled: Creative Mythography: An Expansion of Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe), collecting Farmer's little-seen stories and essays which expand upon the Wold Newtonian concept, alongside "contributions from Farmer’s successors—scholars, writers, and pop-culture historians—who bring even more fictional characters into the fold".

Myths for the Modern Age was a 2007 Locus Award finalist for best non-fiction work.

In 2006, he wrote the foreword to Bison Books' new edition of Philip José Farmer's original Wold Newtonian work Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke (Bison Books, 2006).

Eckert's two-volume Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World (Black Coat Press, 2010) uses literary/film/TV crossovers between members of the core Wold Newton family and other fictional individuals to create an expanded shared continuity called the Crossover Universe.

He is the coauthor with Philip José Farmer of the Wold Newton novel The Evil in Pemberley House, about Patricia Wildman, the daughter of a bronze-skinned pulp hero. Pat Wildman’s adventures continue in Eckert’s sequel, The Scarlet Jaguar. He has coedited three Green Hornet anthologies for Moonstone Books, and his tales of Zorro, The Green Hornet, The Avenger, The Phantom, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Captain Midnight, The Domino Lady, and Sherlock Holmes, can be found in the pages of various character-themed anthologies, Tales of the Wold Newton Universe, and in the annual series The Worlds of Philip José Farmer and Tales of the Shadowmen. A Girl and Her Cat (coauthored with Matthew Baugh), a new Honey West novel, was released in 2014. A hardcover limited edition of The Scarlet Jaguar is due out in November 2015.


Cover Art by Mark Sparacio