Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dear Reader, Love, Sheila Lowe

Dear Reader…

When I started writing my first mystery, I could not have guessed that murder would soon become all too real in my own life.

As a forensic handwriting examiner with thousands of cases over more than thirty-five years of practice, I had collected some interesting tales. And, as someone who wanted to write a mystery since reading Enid Blyton’s The Sea of Adventure, which I received on my eighth birthday, finally, in 1997, I sat down to do it. It started with a title, Poison Pen, and bits of a story about a colleague who died, an apparent suicide, at 37. I wrote a few chapters, realized that I didn’t know what I was doing, got discouraged and put the manuscript aside.

Fast forward to the morning of February 19, 2000 and the phone call that changed everything. It came from a detective with the Orange County (California) Sheriff’s office. After introducing himself, he said, “I’m sorry to tell you, your daughter has been murdered.” Yep, just like that.

After staring at the phone for a long moment before handing it to my then-husband, I learned that Jennifer was the victim in a murder-suicide by Tom Schnaible, the man who was living with her. Tom was a federal agent who worked for the INS—what is now known as the Department of Homeland Security. He shot her eight times as she ran from him, then put the gun in his own mouth and pulled the trigger. Jen had planned to leave him the next day.

Nine or ten months earlier when they first met, Tom gave me a sample of his handwriting to analyze. The red flags I saw in it made me shudder. The three of us talked about the problems they might face in a relationship, including his need for absolute control and Jen’s absolute refusal to be controlled. She was 27 and as her mother, I had always found it a challenge to get her to do…well, anything I wanted her to. And as usual, she did not listen to the warning.

There are no words to describe the experience of burying one’s child. Seeing her lying in a casket—her, but not her—watching that wooden box lowered into the ground; going home after the funeral knowing there would be no more phone calls, no lunches out, no family dinners with my only daughter. Trying to help my two sons understand that there was nothing they could have done to save their older sister, for whom they grieved deeply. Catching myself in a store in the following months, seeing a cookbook she would have liked, thinking, “I should buy this for Jen…Oh.”

As the weeks went by and it became necessary to get back to “real life,” I picked up the Poison Pen manuscript again. A good distraction. I started working on it with a friend I had known only as a psychic—he’d given me loads of readings. But I discovered that he had published a dozen mysteries with Random House in the early ‘80s, and he was willing to teach me the basics of mystery writing. So, every couple of weeks I drove the sixty miles to his home and spent a couple of hours reading aloud my latest pages. He was enthusiastic when my writing worked and when it was crap, he pulled no punches. So, Poison Pen eventually got finished, won third place in a competition by the Southwest Writers organization…and took another seven years to get published. But that’s another story.

Suffice it to say, Dear Reader, seventeen years later I continue to work at honing my craft, and now, the seventh book in my Forensic Handwriting Mysteries, Written Off, is ready for its November 14, 2017 release. It’s about a female serial killer in prison in Maine, and the murdered professor who was writing a book about her. While searching for the manuscript in the professor’s two-hundred-year-old mansion, handwriting expert Claudia Rose uncovers explosive research about some trouble university students who are dubbed “Maynard’s Maniacs” by their classmates. The professor’s academic success and personal fortune made her the envy of fellow faculty members, and the University anticipates being the beneficiary of her estate. But a charming stranger shows up brandishing a new will, and all bets are off. After answering the local police chief’s call to examine the will, Claudia rushes back to the professor’s isolated mansion and becomes trapped in a blizzard. With a killer.
I hope you will give Written Off a try.

Sheila Lowe, author

Find out more on Amazon

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dear Reader, Love Austiage

Dear Reader…

By now everyone has heard the story about how the inspiration of the book came from a visit to the children’s hospital, but what a lot of people haven’t heard is the 5 months that followed when I was writing the book.

 I dedicated 5 nonstop months of my life to this book while I was writing it I knew that what I was doing had so much good intent behind it, and I believed that when it came time to publish that the publishers would also see that level of good intent behind it and wish to support it. Once I completed my manuscript I started to look for publishers and everyone initially because of my background as an athlete and someone who had lived her life very public they were more than happy to set up meetings and as soon as I would sit down with them they would tell me to scrap the entire idea of The Mirror Said You’re BeYouTiful and to write something that was completely different. So, meeting after meeting after meeting ended and I refused to change my book. Many people called me stubborn, and told me that it was time to cave. But as you can see today I never did, but throughout this process there was a constant fear and self-doubt. A feeling that what if it didn’t work out or what if my writing wasn’t good enough. Then it hit me the self-doubt that trickled in at night they were all signs that I cared about this book.
In a moment of realization, I found that self-doubt shouldn’t be viewed as fear or inability, but rather it should be seen as a sign of caring and passion, and if you care about what you do and you’re passionate about it then you will succeed at it eventually. Throughout the process of writing and publishing this book I learned that doubt should be processed as a green light and not a red light.

Now having gone through this whole process and having had the book out it makes it more valuable than ever because I know that me not caving was worth it. Over the last three months I’ve been doing press, and now I’m on my book tour and it has been the most incredible experience. These experiences remind you of how important it is to always trust your gut instinct and to do what you think is the right decision.

I hope that once you finish reading this book that you go on applying the lessons learned from it, but that you also pass on the information. Thank you for reading and supporting my book it means so much! I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it!

Never give up, and never give in when you believe in something, you believing in yourself is all you need!

Loads of Love,
About the Author

Austiage is a former national-level champion fencer who was born in Washington, DC. She speaks seven languages, attended American University, and is the founder of the Star Individuality Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports youths in developing their unique individuality. Her book The Mirror Said, “You’re Be-You-Tiful” explores the societal pressures that many people are faced with today and offers a game plan for nurturing individuality and owning one’s beauty.
You can visit Austiage’s website at

About the Book:

Author: Austiage
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 212
Genre: Self-Help

In her motivational self-help book, THE MIRROR SAID, “YOU’RE BE-YOU-TIFUL, former elite athlete Austiage offers readers a foundation for embracing their unique beauty in a world that doesn’t always value diversity and individuality. Writing in a welcoming, conversational style, Austiage outlines a plan for embracing a positive self-image that develops from the inside out.
An unexpected question (“Does the mirror make you feel ugly?”) was the spark that led Austiage to pen THE MIRROR SAID, “YOU’RE BE-YOU-TIFUL.” She met the young girl, Julianne, who posed the question while donating supplies to a children’s hospital. After talking with the girl about beauty and what it means, the author felt moved to share her thoughts with others on this delicate subject, which many people—young and old, male and female—frequently struggle with. The book has a powerful message that begins by focusing on the individual.
Austiage asserts that beauty is much more than aesthetic. She emphasizes that character is an essential component of beauty and encourages readers to bolster their character by being positive and kind to themselves and others. The author repeatedly stresses the importance of having a strong belief in one’s self and explains how this belief affects how people see themselves, the type of people they invite into their lives, and the manner in which they take care of themselves and pursue their goals.
THE MIRROR SAID, “YOU’RE BE-YOU-TIFUL” takes an in-depth look at the necessity of self-care including eating well without foregoing pleasure, incorporating fitness and relaxation in one’s daily life, using makeup to highlight and enhance one’s beauty, discarding fear and doubt to follow opportunities to find one’s passion, and reevaluating relationships to make conscious decisions about the people in one’s life.
Austiage says, “In my point of view, my book is about helping those who are at the point in their lives that they want to feel better about themselves. I think my book will help people understand that they aren’t the only contributing factor in feeling good or bad about themselves. Rather, the everyday lifestyle choices they make, the people they surround themselves with, and the words they use all merge to develop a feeling unique to how they feel about their identity. Learning how to break down different aspects of daily life and to reevaluate them will dramatically change the way they perceive themselves.” Austiage wrote THE MIRROR SAID, “YOU’RE BE-YOU-TIFUL” “to help everyone understand that they have the ability to feel beautiful. Ultimately, I want readers to step away from my book feeling happiness, beauty, and pride from the inside out.”


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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Dear Reader, Love Marguerite Ashton

Dear Reader,

I want to thank you for giving Detective Lily Blanchette a chance to invade your personal reading space. As a person who’s addicted to books, I understand the importance of being invested in a character that I want to see win, solve a crime or to find their soul mate. And that’s what goes through my mind every time I start a new story for Lily.

I’m aware of my different writing style, but I think it comes from my days as an actress. I found it hard to relax in front of the camera. But the minute I got behind one, it felt more natural to me. Just like writing Her Final Watch. The beauty of seeing Lily’s story unfold in front of me was amazing.

For me, I had the pleasure of doing rewrites and edits, with the hope of creating a novel that you’ll enjoy. However, you as the reader, get the better deal. You get to see Lily’s life unfold without interruption. And I’m grateful because she goes through complex challenges in each book. You’ve got betrayal, murder, deception and family drama. There’s at least one thing in the list that we can all relate to. On top of that, Lily’s smack in the middle of an investigation. Talk about stress.

If you’re still reading this letter, and I hope that you are, let me explain Lily’s dilemma. It’s been two weeks since she killed her husband in self-defense and learned that she was pregnant. Now she has a decision to make. The choice is, to have a family, or let her child be placed for adoption. But before she can come to grips with the latest news, an undercover cop is murdered, and everything points to the mob.

That's when it hits home for Lily. She's the lead investigator. Her victim is a colleague and a mother. At this point, there's no turning back. She has to find her killer.

I don’t know about you, but I would stay in bed and binge-watch movies to help cope. But Lily, no way. She’s an alpha female who knows what she wants and will bend the rules to solve her case. The thing is, she’s still vulnerable. She’s risking her life, and with every second that passes, she hopes this isn’t her final watch.

So, thank you for your time and being the devoted reader that you are. I look forward to hanging out with you to discuss the book and answer questions.


About the Author
When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe. 

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in
Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible.



About the Book:

Speaking second-hand truths can be deadly …

Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob for prostitution and drugs.

But Lily's usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.

Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom she'd killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from her colleagues.

Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and another body is found.

When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled into a conflict that swirls around the boss's son who's hell-bent on revenge.

To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might still be alive if it wasn't for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice.

As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point to Ibee and Jeremiah - placing Lily's life and her unborn child in danger.



Monday, November 6, 2017

Dear Reader, Love Ken Malovos

Dear Reader…

My book, One Night In Amboise, starts in France with two overseas campus students. They are together one night and the next morning, she says it was rape and he says it wasn’t. From this start, I trace the lives of the two individuals as they cope with that one night. For the woman, it is a struggle and for the man it is constant questioning of what happened. The story is a legal mystery, so that is another layer of intrigue.

I hope that you can follow along with these two lives and try to see this initial event from both sides and imagine how it must feel for each of them to come to grips with it over time. .

We all have secrets, so it is not hard to imagine what it must be like to want to keep a secret and that is what the two individuals do in this story.

Love, Ken Malovos

About the Author

Ken Malovos has been practicing law in Sacramento for over forty years. He spent twelve years with the Public Defender’s Office and twenty-five years as a business litigator. He now serves full-time as a mediator and arbitrator. Ken has written two previous Mike Zorich novels and both have been recognized by Chanticleer Book Reviews. Contempt of Court was a First Place Category winner in the legal genre of the Mystery and Mayhem competition in 2014. Fatal Reunion was a finalist in the Thriller and Suspense competition in 2016. Ken and his wife live in Sacramento.

His latest book is the legal mystery, ONE NIGHT IN AMBOISE.

Visit his website at

About the Book:

JIM HANSEN AND CORINNE LARSON are overseas college students at Amboise, France. After meeting at a local bar they leave and encounter a drunk. JIM hits him and the man may be dead. At the manor house where they live, they kiss and make love. The next day she accuses him of rape but
does not formally charge him. He denies the charge. The police investigate the killing of the drunk.

After they return to California, CORINNE struggles with the whole incident, wondering if she was at fault. She talks to her sisters and then seeks professional help after turning to alcohol.  JIM goes to law school and becomes a deputy district attorney, always wondering if the allegation of rape will surface and whether he did the right thing. He marries another overseas student from Amboise.

ALICIA OBREGON contacts JIM and asks him to dismiss the criminal case against her husband. She informs JIM that she knows all about Amboise and threatens to expose him. He throws the case, thereby allowing a guilty person to go free. Over time he pays her money.

JIM is appointed a judge and ALICIA continues to blackmail him. CORINNE’s husband comes to Sacramento and confronts JIM in his chambers. JIM says he is sorry about the whole thing. JIM goes to a rehabilitation facility but in a few weeks he leaves, feeling he has resolved all of his concerns. 

ALICIA is found dead. ALICIA’s husband is charged with her murder but he implicates JIM because he knows all about the blackmailing scheme. JIM then is arrested and must stand trial for the murder of ALICIA. The prosecutor focuses on JIM’s motive. JIM asks noted trial lawyer MIKE ZORICH to represent him.  JIM turns down a plea bargain and a sensational jury trial follows. JIM is not truthful with his wife, his attorney or the jury. CORINNE’s husband testifies. The jury cannot reach a decision and JIM must live with a tarnished reputation amidst unsettled questions whether he killed ALICIA and raped CORINNE.



Dear Reader, Love Harlyn Bryan

Dear Reader…

Prepare yourself for a journey. Brace yourself for impact. You’re about to enter a world where there is a code, a way of life, that we don’t always want to talk about let alone see. Wounded explores a few dark topics but it also shows that light at the end of the tunnel. The characters that you are about to meet are authentic. They are flawed human beings and in the end may leave you with a lasting impression and possibly a discussion topic or two with fellow readers. This story was my pet project, something outside of the norm for me as a writer, yet it became something that my readers remembered me by. I hope that it becomes one of the first that you recall in a collection of future releases that you add to your bookshelves.

Harlyn B.
About the Author

Harlyn Bryan (1985-) was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin. At an early age Bryan expressed an interest in the arts, specifically writing, sketching and painting. Throughout her pre to late teens Bryan penned numerous poems, song lyrics, and short stories. In 2007 she self-published the novel Wounded to much local success. Her second novel, Wildfire, was released in May of 2017 with the second edition of Wounded following in November 2017. Bryan currently resides in the southern US with her husband and their three children.



About the Book:

Author: Harlyn Bryan
Publisher: RaeOv Sun Publishing
Pages: 282
Genre: Urban Romance


Sometimes there is a sense of comfort in chaos that peace cannot provide. After a tragic murder on the streets of her old neighborhood Sierra Vincent left town vowing to never return to the place of her nightmares. It is by chance that she meets and falls for big time hustler Nick Maguire and from that point forward she finds herself once again entangled in the web of a war that she did not create. Follow her path back to a place she never wished to go and to a person that she believed she had left behind.



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dear Reader, Love Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy

Dear Reader…

I’ve always wondered what brings people into a room together or onto a street at the same time, and where their souls’ journeys will be leading. This can give rise to many curious inquiries, each one yielding its own story.

Sometimes, something captures my imagination.

The story in Night In Jerusalem takes place in a city redolent of mystery and the unseen. It is not uncommon for visitors there to fall completely under the spell of its energy, having visions of the archetypes of religious faith as they wander the city streets.  Psychiatrists call this experience the “Jerusalem Syndrome.” I have always been affected by the energy of place, and never more so than in Jerusalem. Its unseen, nighttime world is the wellspring of the book’s plot, even though the story is set against the backdrop of the Six Day War. I want the cover on Night In Jerusalem to evoke the mood of the city and point to the spiritual story that unfolds there.

I have always been intrigued by the miraculous: how and where the soul’s journey leads and how it reveals its destiny; how two people who are destined to love, even under the threat of war and extinction, can find one another. Night In Jerusalem is a love story set during Israel’s Six Day War in which passion, mystical encounters and the miraculous come together to change the lives of everyone caught up in it.

The story came to me on a movie set. We were filming on a blazingly hot day, dressed as lightly as possible. A young Hasidic woman in long black clothes and a wig kept coming out to look at us from her balcony. We spent most of the afternoon filming there, and she kept reappearing. I realized she was attracted to one of the crew members who had unbuttoned the top of his shirt, exposing his handsome chest. I sensed how strongly she yearned for contact. The gap between us could have been crossed in a few paces, yet we were centuries apart. I imagined what it would be like to be her, what courage it would take for her to break free, how she might do it. Decades later, I wrote her story in Night In Jerusalem.

I set the book in Israel at the time of the Six Day War, which I experienced firsthand. I remember vividly huddling in shelters with other women, listening to Arab radio news reports proclaiming victory while we contemplated how we would end it for ourselves. It turned out, of course, that the war went the other way. We were to live! Winston Churchill wrote that there is nothing as exhilarating as when someone shoots at you and misses. Emerging from that shelter was exhilarating. It also brought up questions that have been with me ever since - why does it take such courage to truly love, how impossible it seems to bring peace to the world, and, of course, why “God works in mysterious ways.” There are endless ways to work with these themes, it’s just a matter of grounding them in a time and place, with characters you love and admire. The characters in Night In Jerusalem, and their responses to the challenges they encounter, express different points of view that I share, even as they conflict with each other.

We live with and by each other’s stories.

The themes in this novel have been with me my entire life. I do not have easy answers to the questions they bring up: why does it take such courage to truly love, how impossible it seems to bring peace to the world, and, of course, why “God works in mysterious ways.” The characters express different points of view that I share, even as they conflict with each other. I want the book to show how these differences can be contained in fulfilled and inspiring lives, and how happiness depends on us embracing our individual destiny, not on following any prescribed path.

About the Author

Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy worked as an actress and writer in film and television in the United States and Israel. Night in Jerusalem is her debut novel, which she has adapted to film. She lives in Ojai California with her husband and daughter.

She writes, “I lived in Israel in the 1960s, a naive twenty-year-old, hoping to find myself and my place in the world. The possibility of war was remote to me. I imagined the tensions in the region would somehow be resolved peacefully. Then, the Six Day War erupted and I experienced it firsthand in Jerusalem.

I have drawn Night in Jerusalem from my experiences during that time. The historical events portrayed in the novel are accurate. The characters are based on people I knew in the city. Like me, they were struggling to make sense of their lives, responding to inherited challenges they could not escape that shaped their destiny in ways they and the entire Middle East could not have imagined.

I have always been intrigued by the miraculous. How and where the soul’s journey leads and how it reveals its destiny. How two people who are destined, even under the threat of war and extinction, can find one another.

Israel’s Six Day War is not a fiction; neither was the miracle of its victory. What better time to discover love through intrigue, passion, and the miraculous.

Writing this story was in part reliving my history in Israel, in part a mystical adventure. I am grateful that so many who have read Night In Jerusalem have experienced this as well.”



About the Book:

A bewitching love story that is also an extraordinary portrait of Jerusalem, its faith, spirituality, identity, and kaleidoscope of clashing beliefs, Night in Jerusalem is a novel of mystery, beauty,
historical insight, and sexual passion.
David Bennett is invited to Jerusalem in 1967 by his cousin who, to the alarm of his aristocratic British family, has embraced Judaism. He introduces David to his mentor, Reb Eli, a revered sage in the orthodox community. Despite his resistance to religious teaching, David becomes enthralled by the rabbi’s wisdom and compassionate presence. When David discloses a sexual problem, Reb Eli unwittingly sets off a chain of events that transforms his life and the life of the mysterious prostitute, Tamar, who, in a reprise of an ancient biblical story, leads both men to an astonishing realization. As passions rise, the Six Day War erupts, reshaping the lives of everyone caught up in it.


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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Dear Reader, Love Nadia Natali

This memoir is about my bumpy journey toward truth and authenticity with the hope that those of you who read it can glean some value.

You may believe fame and wealth bring happiness. That was not my experience.
My mother, sister of George and Ira Gershwin, and my father who invented color film were the primary models in my childhood. Growing up with such talent as I did, you learn early on that it distorts values.

I unwittingly set my brilliant father up as an authority figure, even though he was terrifying and unpredictable. And because the family dynamic was unhealthy I didn’t know whom to trust or even that trust was possible, especially in myself. Later as a young woman I turned away from my background and looked to teachers and professionals for the truth. It took some time for me to realize that their expertise could only take me so far.

After one false start and then another I found a caring partner, Enrico, whom I initially turned to, believing he could impart a way for me to find my own direction and answers, as he seemed to have found for himself. What was so radical to learn was how and where to look. What I learned was going to sensations in the body rather than the thinking mind was where the key to change and transformation lay.

We married and moved out to the wilderness where we faced floods, fire, rattle snakes, mountain lions and bears. In the years it took to build a house we lived in a teepee. We tried to create our own paradise where we raised and homeschooled three children.

Our life turned upside down when the kids became teenagers. Paradise crashed and my relationship with Enrico deteriorated. The grown children struggled to find a place in the outside world. We faced tragedy and I, cancer. This was when my hard earned ability to experience the somatic (inner experience as sensation) helped regulate me and provide me with a chance to find authenticity and authority, as well as a more mature relationship with Enrico. I was able to use this inner working as a way to help others, which I call DanceMedicine, a healing through movement.

We are still living in the wilderness and offer workshops and retreats to anyone who is interested.

About the Author

Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook. 
Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.

DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.

Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.