Teaser from “Take the Monkeys and Run” #teasertuesday

teasertuesdays2014eTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, read the rules at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

I picked up “Take the Monkeys and Run” by Karen Cantwell because of the clever title. I figured from the cover that it would be a cozy mystery, and took a quick glance at the preview, but it really was was the title that got me!

From my current position:

I tried to look into the house through the glass panes of the door, fairly certain that I had heard the door open last night after the horrible man-beast howl. They were covered in dirt and grime, and since I hadn’t come equipped with my nosy neighbor cleaning kit, I used my sweatshirt sleeve. I wiped away just enough dirt to see that the panes had been covered up from the inside with cardboard.

Karen Cantwell, Take the Monkeys and Run

51uEKSWmZRL._SL250_Film lover Barbara Marr is a typical suburban mom living the typical suburban life in her sleepy little town of Rustic Woods, Virginia. Typical, that is until she sets out to find the missing link between a bizarre monkey sighting in her yard and the bone chilling middle-of-the-night fright fest at the strangely vacant house next door. When Barb talks her two friends into some seemingly innocent Charlie’s Angels-like sleuthing, they stumble upon way more than they bargained for and uncover a piece of neighborhood history that certain people would kill to keep on the cutting room floor.

237 pages of laugh-out-loud fun.

“This fun if light novel’s quippy, hilarious narrator, Barbara Marr, has so much warmth and genuine gumption, you’d certainly want her on your criminal investigative team.” – Publishers Weekly

Semi-Finalist, 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest
“Barbara Marr is…perhaps the most hilarious amateur sleuth in literature….Cantwell handles her characters with flair and pizazz…blending page-turning action with those little tender moments that get you right in the gut…”

“The story is fast-paced, fun and with quite a few twists all rolled into one cute adventure.” – Socrate’s Book Reviews

“It was just plain fun to read.” Red Adept Reviews

“Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell could easily become one of my favorite books of all time.” — Syria Says

“If you like a good mystery but want a refreshing new take with a bit of light fare, enough to make you laugh out loud, then Karen Cantwell’s Take the Monkeys and Run will take you there.” Reviewed by Lee Libro at Literary Magic
Books in the series: Take the Monkeys and Run (#1), Citizen Insane (#2), Silenced by the Yams (#3), Saturday Night Cleaver (#4)

Excerpt from Don’t Forget Steven #teasertuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, read the rules at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Don’t Forget Steven is getting close to publication, so I through I would grab a teaser from there this week. It is a young adult book, a fairly short read. I should be getting a trailer together pretty soon too…

Here’s a good one:

Steven was panting, his eyes wild. His shirt was torn, baring his shoulder and chest. His arms were bleeding from long, deep gashes. Leo swore.

“The hell happened to you? Looks like you tangled with a cougar!” he exclaimed.

P.D. Workman, Don’t Forget Steven


steven kindleThings never have been easy for Steven. He accepts that, and just makes the best of things. He might not have parents or a happy home. Or enough to eat most days. But at least he has a couple of loyal friends who stand by him and help out when they can. At least he has school, someplace he can go to escape the abuse.

Just when he thought things couldn’t get much worse, they did.

Steven is accused of murder. But that isn’t the worst part. The really bad part is not even knowing if he did it. 

Excerpt from Looking Over Your Shoulder #SampleSunday

It has been almost a year since I published Looking Over Your Shoulder, and looking over my blog posts, I never did an excerpt of it for Sample Sunday. So without further ado, here it is!


3d-mockup-2Abe walked back into the terminal, looking around in confusion. The normally quiet rooms were in chaos. There were police and security everywhere. A cop in riot gear, minus the helmet, grabbed Abe by the arm, jabbing him in the ribs with a big, black, ominous looking gun strapped around his neck and body.
“Who are you?” the cop demanded.
Abe looked at him, uncomprehending.
“I’m Abe,” he said.
“What’s your full name? What are you doing here?”
“Aberahama VanRaemdonck.”
“What?” he demanded, looking irritated.
“That’s my name. Aberahama VanRaemdonck.”
“Close. Aber-a-hama. Van-RAM-donk.”
“What kind of a name is that?”
“Well, it’s Belgian, actually. What’s going on?”
His question recalled the cop abruptly to his duty.
“What are you doing wandering around here? Where’s your security tag?”
Abe touched his chest, and realized that he must have forgotten to put it back on when he had changed out of his apron.
“I… I guess I must have left it-” he gestured back out at the blacktop. “Do you want me to go get it?”
“No, you’re not going anywhere. Come with me.”
Still holding Abe by the arm with fingers like iron, the gun pressing into Abe’s side, the cop escorted him impatiently through the crowds of police and security and the barely controlled chaos of the airport. Hustling around a corner toward the administration offices, Abe caught sight of the other end of the runway, covered with emergency vehicles of all description, swarming with cops in black SWAT suits, yellow tape, and photographers.
“What happened?” Abe gaped.
The cop looked at him skeptically, shaking his head.
“Don’t try to play games with me,” he advised.
Abe shook his head.
“I’m not playing games. I don’t know what happened. Was there a crash?”
Abe tried to get a better view of what was going on through the window, but the cop continued to hurry him through the airport and back into the administration offices. As they got back to the bull pen, Abe saw Dennis, who was talking with another set of cops and some of the higher-ups. Dennis turned and spotted Abe.
“Abe! Are you okay?” he questioned. “I was worried that you got stuck in the middle of this-”
“What’s going-”
“No talking right now,” the cop hanging onto Abe snapped, pushing him past the bull pen and into a conference room.
“What-?” Dennis started, as he was pushed out of sight, and Abe didn’t catch anything more.
The conference room was quiet. It was full of police, many plain clothed, and some in full tactical gear like the one who had brought Abe in.
“Who’s this?” questioned an older man. He was completely bald. Probably he’d started shaving his head when it had started to thin. His eyes were piercing, an odd shade that hesitated between blue and brown. Dark green?
“Abrahama something,” the cop said. “No security I.D. He was out on the blacktop.”
“One of the missing,” the older cop commented. “Okay, put him in the room across the hall,” he pointed to one of the small meeting rooms. “Handcuffs and a guard at the door.”
“Wait a minute,” Abe protested. “Am I under arrest? What’s going on here?”
“You’re detained for questioning. That’s all you need to know.”
“What’s- I don’t understand what’s going on! What happened? What exactly do you think I did?” he questioned, panicked.
“I’ll come discuss it with you,” the bald cop told him.
“Who are you?” Abe demanded, resisting the pressure of the riot cop trying to push him into the other room.
“Special Agent Baxter Lovett,” the bald cop introduced himself. “Now go along quietly and I will be in to talk to you. If you resist, things will go very badly for you.”
Abe stared at Lovett blankly, trying to understand what was going on.
“Let’s go, Abrahama,” the younger one said, and tugged him across the busy room into the smaller one that Lovett had indicated. He pushed Abe in the door. “Put your hands on the table there,” he ordered. Abe put his hands down uncertainly, and the cop dragged his feet back and out wide, throwing him off balance. “Right there like that. Hold still.”
Abe stood there, frozen, while he was frisked. The cop took his keys, wallet, and everything from his pockets and felt carefully for any weapons. He stood Abe back up, pulling his hands behind him and handcuffing them.
“Have a seat. You’ll probably be waiting a while.”

Excerpt from “Diversion” #SampleSunday

diversion-3d-mock-up-5 transWhile Diversion is the second book in the “Breaking the Pattern” series, you can read it as a stand alone novel (readers have confirmed that they had no problem understanding what was going on). I will warn you, though, that it is a spoiler for the first book!

Watch the trailer, and read the excerpt below!


It hadn’t been cold or damp that day. It was been a mild, sunny day, which had started off very pleasantly, with the prospect of a date at the Harbor.

Sandy looked around the hotel lobby for her date. A couple of people looked at her or smiled, but no one approached. She hung around, watching the sidewalk outside for any one of interest. Friends, Johns, cops… She waited a while, then started to get impatient. Sandy looked at her watch. It had been half an hour. He wasn’t going to show. He’d chickened out or something.

Sandy left the hotel and walked down the street slowly, watching the traffic for any possibility of a pick-up. She wasn’t paying much attention to the others on the sidewalk around her. She was irritated by the no-show. As she crossed the alley, a van pulled up in front of her and the side door opened and before she had a chance to take it all in, a masked man grabbed her and threw her roughly in the back. The door slammed shut and the van lurched into the street and sped off. Sandy started to right herself, pushing herself up onto her elbows, disoriented. Her purse was snatched out of her hand, and a pair of hands closed around her arms, pulled her up and wrestled her around, and just as Sandy’s brain processed the thought that she needed to fight, handcuffs closed around her wrist. Sandy jerked back against them reflexively, crying out in protest, unable to formulate words. Once the cuffs were on, he dropped her to the floor of the van.

Sandy sat up and looked around. Since the cuffs had closed around her wrists, her brain had been trying to convince her that it was some sort of police sting or covert op. But looking around, she knew it was not true. They had lured and kidnapped her. They wore masks. The interior of the van was dark and bare, stripped of passenger seats, carpet, down to bare metal.

“What’s going on?” she demanded, finally finding her voice.

“Shut up or we’ll gag you,” the masked man growled.

Sandy considered and decided to obey. She couldn’t see out the front windshield. She sat up taller and strained for a look, and the man kicked her shoulder, knocking her down with a bone-shaking crash.

“Stay down,” he ordered.

Sandy didn’t move, laying partly on her face and partly on her side, breathing heavily and trying to assess the damage. Her shoulder throbbed where the kick had connected and her back and head where she’d landed. She was grateful that he had chosen to kick her shoulder instead of her face, which he could have done just as easily.

After ten or fifteen minutes, the van stopped. The man stooped down and lifted Sandy to her feet. Then he pulled a black garbage bag over her head. Sandy gasped, her life flashing before her eyes. She was sure he was now going to suffocate her. But the bag remained loose around her head and body as he took her out of the van and walked her into a building.

She was pushed to the floor again, roughly. Sandy felt him remove the handcuff from one wrist, and she was pulled over to a metal post and it was re-locked. Then he took the garbage bag back off her head. Sandy gasped for breath, even though it had not restricted her breathing.

“Please tell me what this is about,” Sandy pleaded. “What’s going on?”

“Shut up.”

He walked out of the room. Sandy could hear snatches of his conversation—maybe with the van driver—in the next room.

“…just gonna leave her?”

“…teach him to mess with me!”

“…what if…?”

“…I don’t care…”

More low voices Sandy couldn’t hear, getting gradually further away.

“…no one does that to me…”

Then a door slammed, and there was silence. Sandy sat there, listening, her eyes gradually adjusting to the dark. Where did they go? Who were they? What did they intend to do with her?

Somehow she fell asleep, frightened and confused, overwhelmed by the situation. Maybe when she woke back up, it would make sense.

Excerpt from Window Boy #TeaserTuesday #yalit

In case you missed it last week, Tattooed Teardrops is now out. Be sure to have a look at the trailer and excerpt. Beautiful cover, great story!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

I am reading a young adult book called Window Boy by Andrea White. I have only just begun it, but it had definitely drawn me in.

Here is my teaser:

After all, his wheelchair separates him from the other kids. Not only do the rest of the kids have desks, they’re all grouped together in the middle of the room. He’s parked next to the potted plants. He can’t complete the first assignment of the day. No one looks at him, not even the teacher.

Andrea White, Window Boy

41dxFknNuwL._SL250_Set in 1968, this touching novel tells the story of Sam Davis, a young man with cerebral palsy who peers though his bedroom window every day at the school he longs to attend. With great determination and the help of both his caretaker and his imaginary friend, Winston Churchill, Sam not only succeeds in gaining admittance to the school and the acceptance of his peers, but also fulfills his dream of becoming the school’s basketball coach. The narrative, full of poignant insights into attitudes toward people with disabilities, provides a glimpse into the life of Winston Churchill, who is a key inspiration for young Sam.

Last Chance for Stand Alone #Giveaway and Ruby is Published to #Wattpad #yalit

Don’t forget to sign up to win a free copy of Stand Alone in the widget to the right. Only a few hours before you are out of time!

Ruby is now being serialized on Wattpad. The first chapter is up today, and I plan to upload one chapter per week until the entire book is up. If you are a Wattpad user, head on over for a read today.

Ruby wattpad-3

Ruby nominated for In the Margins Best Books for Teens List #yalit #books

Earlier this year, I was advised that Ruby, Between the Cracks was “being considered for the In the Margins: Best Books for Teens list.” I bundled up copies to send off to the committee members. Yesterday, I got another e-mail which indicated Ruby had made it to the next stage:

Ruby has been nominated for the In the Margins selection list.  This means that one or more committee members read it and thought it was outstanding for our charge, which is to seek out and highlight fiction and non-fiction titles (PreK through adult) of high-interest appeal to youth, ages 9-21, that reflect marginalized and/or street culture with a preference for marginalized books (books that are self-published or from small independent publishers) and/or we have received positive teen feedback on your title.

The nominated titles list will be on the Library Services for Youth in Custody website permanently. 

I am honored and I’m very excited to see how far Ruby can go in this process. Ruby certainly meets the criteria of dealing with issues such as “street life, marginalized populations, crime, justice, war, violence, abuse, addiction, etc.”

Ruby In the Margins-4

Here is some more information about the In the Margins list:

In the Margins Committee

What is it? A group of Librarians under the umbrella of Library Services for Youth in Custody seeking out and highlighting books: preschool through adult fiction and non-fiction titles of high-interest appeal to boys or girls, ages 9 -18 who may fit into one or all of the following categories:

•multicultural (primarily African American and Latino)

• living in poverty, on the streets, in restrictive custody or all three

• reluctant readers

The books: The committee will select and review the best books of the year, specifically for the population listed above. Titles of interest may be unusual, possibly unreviewed, have multicultural characters, dealing with difficult situations including (but not limited to) street life, marginalized populations, crime, justice, war, violence, abuse, addiction, etc.

Tattooed Teardrops Makes its Debut! #books #yalit

Tattooed Teardrops has now been released!

Available in Kindle and in soft cover through Amazon, or if you’re in Calgary, I’ll have my physical copies in a couple of weeks, just drop me a line.

Gotta love that cover!

Tattooed Teardrops release
“I don’t plan on getting in any trouble.”

Tamara had thought that when she got out of juvie, things would be easier. But before long, it seems like her life is spiraling into chaos.

If she can’t prove to her probation officer that she is innocent of the allegations against her, she’s going back to prison, and Tamara just can’t let that happen.

—For me, a sign of a good book is that it is a quick read, holds my interest front to back and I like the characters. This book met the mark on all three of those characteristics.

—A slimy villain, an eager-to-please side-kick and a heroine who simply wants to move on from her past make for an intriguing tale, indeed! A realistic and beautiful story filled with suspense, heart-breaking friendship and loyalty that will keep you reading until the very end.

Excerpt from Wanted #teasertuesday

Of course, after I posted my teaser, I got notice from Amazon that Tattooed Teardrops is now up and available for purchase! Follow the link!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Good grief, Tuesday already? I couldn’t believe it when my reminder went off. I am in the midst of Wanted by Nick Stephenson, a thriller that I saw advertised as being similar to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. While the characters and tone are similar to Dan Brown, I’m not yet seeing plot twists similar to Dan Brown’s writing, and I’m 56% of the way through.

Here is my teaser:

“Shh, shh, don’t try to move,” said Reiniger. “I just severed your femoral artery. You will lose blood fast, and then pass out. I promise you won’t feel a thing.”

Nick Stephenson, Wanted

51uj9M2jQHL._SL250_Nowhere to hide… 
What should have been a relaxing vacation in Paris turns into another unwinnable situation for expert criminology consultant Leopold Blake. Caught in the cross hairs of a ruthless assassin and on the run from the police for a murder he didn’t commit, Blake and his team must fight to clear his name before it’s too late. 

As enemies close in from all sides, Blake is about to learn who he can trust – and who is determined to destroy him – as The City of Light becomes a new hunting ground.Wanted is another exhilarating instalment in the Leopold Blake series of thrillers, which can be read and enjoyed in any order. 

Cross-promotion with Kathryn Elizabeth Jones #fridayflicks

Thank you to Kathryn Elizabeth Jones for posting my Stand Alone trailer for Friday Flicks! I apologize for not posting this yesterday, but we were occupied with driving home from Montana. Boy, am I glad to be home again.


Don’t forget to enter to win an autographed copy of Stand Alone at Goodreads! (See the widget to the right!


Is Justine crazy?

Everyone thinks so…

Her mother. The kids at school, and the teachers and administrators too. Even the police who pick her up from her night rambles. Maybe them most of all.

Justine’s therapist says she is ‘troubled’, but it means the same thing. He thinks that her vivid, reoccurring nightmares and atrocious behavior point to some trauma in her past; but Em, Justine’s mother, can’t explain it.

Justine used to have Christian, her best friend and skateboard partner. He was the only one who accepted her. Maybe because skating is the only time that Justine is really free to be herself. Now that Christian is gone… Justine keeps thinking things can’t get any worse.

Even as she sees her life spinning further and further out of control, Justine can’t give up her sense of who she is—someone far different than the loving daughter Em expects her to be—to just fit in and be happy. She is sure that Em secretly holds the key to who Justine really is. But if she does, Em isn’t talking.

—This book is a wonderful story filled with many twists and turns… it will keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. The end will blow you away. A great story.

—As PD Workman draws you inside Justine’s head you begin to wonder what really makes her act the way she does.  Good luck trying to put the book down until you find out why…

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