Month: February 2016

Interview: Diana Rubino

Diana Rubino’s passion for history and travel has taken her to every locale of her stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. Her urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband Chris.

Visit her at,,, and on Twitter @DianaLRubino.

Tell us about your new release.

FromHeretoFourteenthStreetSmallerIt’s titled FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET, the love story of an Italian immigrant and an Irish cop. They face poverty prejudice, solve a murder…and beat all the odds. What led you to write this book? My great grandmother, Josephine Arnone, “Josie Red” to her friends, because of her abundant head of red hair, was way ahead of her time.

Born in 1895 (but it could’ve been sooner, as she was known to lie about her age), she left grade school, became a successful businesswoman and a Jersey City committewoman, as well as a wife and mother of four. She owned apartment buildings, parking garages, a summer home, did a bit of Prohibition-era bootlegging, small-time loan-sharking, and paid cash for everything.

When I began outlining From Here to Fourteenth Street, I modeled my heroine, Vita Caputo, after her. Although the story is set in New York the year before Grandma was born, I was able to bring Vita to life by calling on the family legends and stories, all word of mouth, for she never kept a journal.

Vita’s hero Tom McGlory isn’t based on any real person, but I did a lot of reading about Metropolitan Policemen and made sure he was the complete opposite! He’s trustworthy and would never take a bribe or graft. I always liked the name McGlory—then, years after the book first came out, I remembered that was the name of my first car mechanic—Ronnie McGlory.

Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book?

Oh, yes…I visited the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, set up to display different eras when immigrants lived there. They also have lectures and guest speakers. If you’re ever in Manhattan, it’s well worth a visit.

How important is setting to your story?

New York City’s history always fascinated me—how it became the most powerful hub in the world from a sprawling wilderness in exchange for $24 with Native Americans by the Dutch in 1626.

Growing up in Jersey City, I could see the Statue of Liberty from our living room window if I leaned way over (luckily I didn’t lean too far over). As a child model, I spent many an afternoon on job interviews and modeling assignments in the city, and got hooked on Nedick’s, a fast food chain whose orange drinks were every kid’s dream. Even better than the vanilla egg creams. We never drove to the city—we either took the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train (‘the tube’ in those days) or the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Which is more important characters or setting?

I’ve learned that most genres should be character-driven. Except for possibly thrillers or mysteries, where the plot drives the story, in romance it’s the hero and heroine, and general fiction, it’s the characters the readers connect with, grow to care about, and root for. So I’ve made all my books character-driven. The settings provide a backdrop, and the characters get involved with actual events that happened.

What do you hope readers take away from your work?

I want them to forget their problems for a while, have a laugh, and learn a bit about history.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I bicycle, golf, play my piano and devour books of any genre.

Which book impacted you as a teenager?

In 7th grade, we had to read TUNED OUT, a novel about the summer of 1967, where a teen finds out his older brother, who he idolizes, is taking LSD. It’s set in New York, written in first person, and opened my young eyes to the reality of drug addiction.

Once more I must mention—a short story—The Cask of Amontillado by Poe; I had to read that in 8th grade. From then on, I became a huge Poe fan.

Have you ever written a scene that ‘creeped’ you out?

51DEjOLgA5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Yes, in my New Adult thriller STILL CRAZY, an obsessed man stalks his former girlfriend. Many of the scenes in that book creeped me out!

Do you have a reoccurring theme to your books?

Yes, love overcomes all obstacles; hatred, poverty, prejudice, and inner conflicts such as opposing views and goals.

What are you reading now?

I just finished SALEM WITCHES by Stacy Schiff, and am studying THE EMOTION THESAURUS, a thorough source for digging into your characters’ emotions. What’s next for you? I’ve always wanted to write a novel set during the Salem witch trials; I’m getting an outline into focus.


As Vita gathered her soap and towel, Madame Branchard tapped on her door. “You have a gentleman caller, Vita. A policeman.

“Tom?” His name lingered on her lips as she repeated it. She dropped her things and crossed the room.

“No, hon, not him. Another policeman. Theodore something, I think he said.”

No. There can’t be anything wrong. “Thanks,” she whispered, nudging Madame Branchard aside. She descended the steps, gripping the banister to support her wobbly legs. Stay calm! she warned herself. But of course it was no use; staying calm just wasn’t her nature.

“Theodore something” stood before the closed parlor door. He’s a policeman? Tall and hefty, a bold pink shirt peeking out of a buttoned waistcoat and fitted jacket, he looked way out of place against the dainty patterned wallpaper.

He removed his hat. “Miss Caputo.” He strained to keep his voice soft as he held out a piece of paper. “I’m police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.”

“Yes?” Her voice shook.

“I have a summons for you, Miss Caputo.” He held it out to her. But she stood rooted to that spot.

He stepped closer and she took it from him, unfolding it with icy fingers. Why would she be served with a summons? Was someone arresting her now for something she didn’t do?

A shot of anger tore through her at this system, at everything she wanted to change. She flipped it open and saw the word “Summons” in fancy script at the top. Her eyes widened with each sentence as she read. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.”

I hereby order Miss Vita Caputo to enter into holy matrimony with Mr. Thomas McGlory immediately following service of this summons.

Mystery reviews

51dhdPWtduL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_My Ramblings have taken me back in Time and Place to the first millennium of the Common Era, a time dominated by Rome, before and after its tumultous Fall.

Jerusalem is the scene of THE WOLF AND THE LAMB, by Frederick Ramsay (Poisoned Pen Press, 2014, $24.95). It’s the week of the Passover, and the Holy City is beset with unholy intrigue and violence. A rabbi from Galilee is making trouble, preaching an odd doctrine that makes the High Priest Caiaphas worried that the Roman procurator, Pilate, will call up more troops from Rome. Pile, however, has more to worry about than rabble-rousing preachers. He’s found standing over the body of a rival, literally red-handed. Who to call, to get him out of danger? Rabban Gamaliel, the leading jurist of the Sanhedrin, the expert on the Law, of course! Rabban Gamaliel, a descendant of the great sage Hillel, can only find Pilate innocent if he can discover who really killed the visiting Roman, which he does, using reason, deduction, observation, and a few good friends and bad servants. As he is doing so, another drama is being played out, one that will have repercussions than neither Gamaliel nor Pilate can imagine. Author’s Notes explain some of the more arcane historical facts behind this riveting tale.

514+Ls5yXIL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Followers of the adventures of Lindsay Davis’s cocky Roman sleuth Marcos Didius Falco will be glad to learn that the next generation has taken up where he left off. THE IDES OF APRIL (Minotaur, 2013, $15.99) introduces Flavia Albia, Falco’s adobted daughter, now a widow, who has taken her father’s old profession, as well as his ramshackle apartment in a rundown section of the Eternal City. She’s been hired by a woman she despises to investigate an accident at a building site. Things turn nasty when the woman herself is murdered. More bodies pile up, and Flavia finds herself facing a killer with a truly unexpected modus operandi. Falco and family are all on the case, and the killer is unmasked. Flavia Albia is a worthy heiress to the Falco legacy!

5170WU7oP7L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_In faraway Britannia, several emperoros later, Gaius Pereius Ruso has taken up his post as Medicus once again, in Ruth Downie’s SEMPER FIDELIS (Bloomsbury, 2013, $17.00). His latest problem would seem to be straightforward: a young recruit has fallen off a roof, apparently a suicide, but no one seems to know what led the youngster to such an end. To make matters worse, the Emperor Hadrian has decided to inspect his latest building project, a massive wall across Britain, dragging his wife and most of his court along with him. Ruso’s wife, Tilly, does some investigating on her own, and between them, the medicus and his woman uncover a nasty scandal in the ranks of the legions that could undermine the entire Roman army. An Author’s Note explains a few historical facts about Hadrian and his consort, and fills in some gaps in the story of the Wall.

51UXakF+YYL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_THE SEVENTH TRUMPET, by Peter Tremayne (Minotaur, 2012.$16.99) takes place well after the Romans left Britain, but their legacy lives on in the religion they brought with them. Fidelma of Cashiel was trained in the Law, and was, for a time a religiuex, but is now released from her vows, and is once again at her brother’s side as brehon, legal advisor. When the body of a young nobleman is discovered in a nearby kingdom, she is sent with her husband Eadulf, to find out who he is and who killed him. The search leads to a mysterious monastery, rumors of rebellion, and a military buildup that might set all Ireland ablaze. It’s up to Fidelma to unravel this tangled web of intrigue that leads to the bedchamber of her brother, the King of Cashel. Another puzzle for Fidelma to solve, and another visit to an era barely known or understood.

Reviews provided by Roberta Rogow for her column Roberta’s Ramblings for the Jan 2016 edition of The Book Breeze.

New Releases

Faint900 1.1 mbFAINT By Rolynn Anderson

Mild Contemporary Romantic Suspense Released Dec 2015 in print and ebook

Their dead clients refuse to rest in peace. How did small-town boutique funeral planning morph into crime-solving? Ask freelance embalmer Trudy Solomon, or Pete McDonald, a blind, forensic investigator. They’re unearthing mysteries of the deceased for their pregnant boss, Jan Keller, while her journalist husband, Roman, is benched by a ten million dollar defamation suit. A dead client goes missing, and investigating his disappearance forces Trudy and Pete to confront their fiercely independent styles. When danger stalks them, will they blend brains, brawn and belief in one another to solve crimes and save themselves?

519mAwStx8L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_DOWNWARD FACING DEATH By Michelle Kelly

Cozy Mystery Released Jan 19, 2016 by Minotaur Books

After ten years away, Keeley Carpenter is excited to be back in Belfrey, the traditional English village hometown she fled as a shy teen. She has a plan to reopen her father’s neglected butcher shop as a yoga café, where she will sell delicious vegetarian food by day and teach yoga classes at night. However, the more traditional residents of Belfrey do no take kindly to this idea – or really anything they deem even remotely “New Age-y.” Within an hour of her arrival, Keeley comes face to face with Detective Constable Ben Taylor, who tells her that someone has just tried to burn down her shop. When officers arrived to stop the blaze a body was found upstairs. Horrified by this news, Keeley is also startled to be reintroduced to Ben as DC Taylor, her high school crush. In spite of her instant attraction to him, Keeley is determined to keep Ben at arm’s length. As she makes plans for her opening day, she finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation. When Keeley starts being threatened, she realizes someone may be out to kill more than her business. Can she and Ben find the culprit before it’s too late?

5196aZ1kfUL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_THE LIFE I LEFT BEHIND By Colette McBeth

Thriller Released Jan 12, 2016 by Minotaur Books

Six years ago, Melody Pieterson was attacked and left for dead. Only a chance encounter with a dog walker saved her life. Melody’s neighbor and close friend David Alden was found guilty of the crime and imprisoned. The attack and David’s betrayal of her friendship left Melody a different person. She no longer trusts her own judgment, she no longer trusts her friends. She’s built a life behind walls and gates and security codes; she’s cloistered herself away from the world almost entirely. And then, soon after David is released from prison, Eve Elliot is murdered in an attack almost identical to Melody’s. With the start of a new police investigation, Melody is suddenly pulled from her ordered, secluded life and back into the messy world around her. But as she learns more about Eve’s murder, Melody starts to wonder if perhaps David hadn’t betrayed her after all…

Interview: Tracy Weber, author

Weber Small HeadshotTracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel.

A certified yoga therapist, Tracy is the owner of Whole Life Yoga, a Seattle yoga studio, as well as the creator and director of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any way possible. Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their challenging yet Murder Strikes Poseamazing German shepherd, Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

Karma’s a Killer is her third novel. For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website:

Tell us about your new release.

My newest release is Karma’s a Killer. Here’s my favorite blurb.

When Yoga instructor Kate Davidson agrees karmaCover768px[1]to teach doga—yoga for dogs—at a fundraiser for Dogma, a local animal rescue, she believes the only real damage will be to her reputation. But when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning, a few downward-facing dogs will be the least of Kate’s problems…

The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma’s innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them.

And if solving a murder weren’t complicated enough, Kate will also have to decide whether or not to reconcile with the estranged mother who abandoned her over thirty years ago. Not to mention having to contend with an almost-bankrupt animal rescue, a cantankerous crow, an unwanted pigeon houseguest, and a rabbit in a doga class. What could possibly go wrong?

Which is more important characters or setting?

That’s a really tough one. I guess I’d have to say characters, because readers see the fictional worlds I create through my characters’ eyes. Yet it’s impossible not to be influenced by setting, and my work is firmly set in the setting of the Pacific Northwest. I only write about places I love, and I immerse myself in those places when I write. Still, without the characters, the setting would be meaningless.

Do you have an interesting quirk about your personality that you’d like to share?

I love dogs. Seriously. Major big time. So much that I always stop strangers and drool Weber--A Killer Retreat Coverall over their canine companions. My husband’s nickname for me is “The Creepy Puppy Lady.”

What do you do when you are not writing?

I divide my time pretty much equally between running my yoga studio, teaching yoga, writing, and fawning over my special-needs German shepherd, Tasha. Actually, that’s not true. Tasha get’s 80% of my time. The remaining 20% is divided between writing and yoga. My husband gets any scraps that are left over.

Do you read the same genre you write?

Absolutely. I love all mysteries, but I’ve been a cozy mystery reader since long before I knew there was a genre by that name. I also love courtroom dramas, suspense and most anything written by Stephen King.

What is #1 on your bucket list?

Traveling to Africa and going on safari. I’ve wanted to do this since I was about three!

What social media do you participate in?

I love Facebook, though I have to admit, I’d get a lot more writing done if I spent less time on it. Still, how can you not love something that connects you with old friends, introduces you to new ones, and inundates you with cute puppy pictures! If you want to “friend” me at, I’d love it. I also have an author page at, but I post much more frequently on my personal page. When it comes to Twitter, I’m a Twidiot. I don’t even use any of the others.

Would you share an excerpt from your book?

I’d be delighted to! This scene takes place while Kate does a little breaking and entering, looking for clues. I don’t want to say much more for fear of giving anything away. 😉


I sat at the keyboard and tried to guess the computer’s password. DogMa, HEAT, PuppyLove, password1, and PasswordsSuck all netted nothing. I picked up the dog-shaped paperweight and absently tossed it back and forth between my hands. Its eyes seemed to glitter.

Look at me, dummy!

Could it be that obvious?

I set the fake dog next to the keyboard and typed in several iterations of the words “golden retriever.”


Well, it was worth a try.

I was trying various combinations of the names Maggie and Sally when the floor boards behind me creaked. I would have sworn that Rene had been gone less than two minutes.

“Wow, that was quick. You do have a small bladder.”

Rene replied with a high-pitched squeak. The door clicked shut behind her.

“Raise your hands and don’t make any fast moves.”

Adrenaline jolted down my spine.

The voice didn’t belong to Rene.

Interview: Tamela Miles

IMGL1254Tamela Miles is a California State University San Bernardino graduate student with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and a former flight attendant. She grew up in Altadena, California in that tumultuous time known as the 1980s. She now resides with her family in the Inland Empire, CA. She’s a horror/paranormal romance writer mainly because it feels so good having her characters do bad things and, later, pondering what makes them so bad and why they can never seem to change their wicked ways.

She enjoy emails from people who like her work. In fact, she loves emails. She can be contacted at or her Facebook page, Tamela Miles Books, as well as @jackiebrown20 on Twitter. She also welcomes reader reviews and enjoys the feedback from people who love to read as much as she does. Ms. Miles has a current short novella 3 book series on her writing plate, entitled the Hell On Heels Series. For those who are already excited about it (yippee!), please feel free to check out the author’s soundtrack playlist for Hell On Heels on, listed as Hell On Heels:Songs from the Edge by Tamela Miles.

A compilation of all of her short stories, entitled Rock Paper Scissors, which includes four new short horror/paranormal romance stories is now available from Broken Publications.

RockPaperScissorsBookCoverBrokenPubTell us about your new release. Thanks to the The Book Breeze for taking time out to interview me! I’m pleased to have the opportunity to share a few things about me and my writing. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS is my first horror/paranormal romance short story anthology and it’s newly published by Broken Publications. It features stories that are classic, leave-the-lights-on horror to softer, but still intense paranormal romance.

What led you to write this book? I wanted to share my writing visions with readers, let them take a peek at what unfolds in my mind. I like to think that those readers who enjoy my writing really are seeing very similar to what I see when I craft a horror story that scares me as I’m writing it and also fall in love with the darkly atmospheric romantic elements in my paranormal romance stories. I wrote strictly as a hobby for about 25 years until 2011, when I decided to self-publish my work. The decision to do that came from my disappointment in reading novels and short stories that ended with an unsatisfying conclusion. For days afterward, I would re-work the stories in my head, coming up with endings that made me happy. In spite of reading some not-so-great books, I realized that many authors spend a considerable amount of time creating something tangible they’re proud of and share it with the world. I said to myself, “Well, what about me? If these other authors can do it, why not me, too?”

Which is more important characters or setting? Setting definitely takes backseat when I’m writing. The process of crafting a story always begins with envisioning strong characters who, I’m convinced, have always been in the back of my mind begging me to bring them to life on the page.

Do you people watch for character inspiration? I love watching people for character inspiration! I’ll typically see an unusual face in a crowd and the face sticks with me before, invariably, I make that stranger a familiar face with a character name. It’s not just faces – I’m always absorbing what goes on around me, like an intriguing voice or overheard conversation that I use as a basis for a new story.

Which book impacted you as a teenager? I loved, loved any and all Christopher Pike novels, usually written for tweens and teens. I spent countless hours reading his books and tried to figure out what made him such a great author. I now know that a lot of it was sheer hard work and persistence, as well as a vivid imagination.

Do you read the same genre you write? Yes, absolutely! I love losing myself in paranormal romance and horror fiction so much that even tv takes a distant second to my reading.

Have you ever written a scene that ‘creeped’ you out? Oh, yes! I often write about angels and demons, holy war kinds of things. I was writing a particularly dark scene, both in terms of horror and emotionally. Putting the characters words on the screen made the whole scene just a little too real and I had to stop because the Santa Ana winds (which come to Southern California every year around the holidays) were blowing so fiercely that it was like a perfectly creepy backdrop for the scene of good vs. evil that I was working on. The intense alternative rock music I had playing in the background only made it worse! What social media do you participate in? I’m on Twitter as @jackiebrown20 and I have a Facebook author page, which is Tamela Miles Books.

What’s next for you? I’m excited and overjoyed to announce I’m very recently contracted with The Wild Rose Press for Book 1 in my Hell On Heels Series, entitled “Heart of a Hunter”. It’s a solid paranormal romance, which I’m proud of! Once the editing process is complete, I anticipate a 2016 release.

SleepingSLEEPING BEAUTIES, Tamela’s first short novella which introduces the beautiful ladies of The Trifecta trapped in a nightmarish landscape, is now available.

Excerpt from ROCK PAPER SCISSORS short story, “One”

Anya and Ethan were seated across from each other in the college cafeteria, their plastic plates and soda cans pushed to the side of the table. The place was humming with activity as students exchanged hurried goodbyes on their way to their next class.

“Sleeping better these days?” Ethan inquired, laying one long leg on the empty chair.

Anya smiled tiredly. “Sadly, no. I used to be dead to the world as soon as my head hit the pillow, but now…,” she trailed off. She rested her chin in her hand, shaking her head. “And, my love life sucks right now as my little brother pointed out this morning.”

Ethan grinned. “Ah, yes. More tidbits of wisdom from the idiot Chris.” His gaze moved away from hers to just above her head and licked his lips. He appeared to be in deep thought. “Chris has a real respect problem,” he said softly.

Anya blinked in astonishment, leaning forward on the table. “My dad said the same thing this morning. Chris and I have always been at war.” She rolled her eyes.

Ethan rubbed his stubbled chin and gave her a warm smile. “You need to craft your life just like we craft our stories, Anya. Your life is like a story, slowly unfolding from one day to the next but you maintain control over the main character. You need to shape things to be the way that you want them, not wait around on some mythical predetermined course of events to make your decisions for you. Fate is what you make it.”

Anya nodded. “Yes, I agree. I have sort of taken my hands off the wheel when it comes to my life. I’m guilty of drifting. Ever since I broke things off with my last boyfriend, I’ve just been drifting from one day to the next, I guess.” She shrugged. “I suppose I really was in love.”

She stood up, grabbing the handle of her rolling bag. “Gotta run, Ethan. I’ll be late for class. Call me tonight?”

Ethan nodded, rising to his feet. He caught Anya in his arms, hugging her fiercely. He kissed the top of her head. “Things often get better. You’ll see, things will be as they should be again soon,” he whispered. She kissed his cheek and headed out of the place with a wave.

As Anya exited the cafeteria, the buzzing returned, louder and more insistent. She paused and rubbed her forehead. “It’s all in the telling,” a voice said in her mind, chuckling. She turned around quickly, expecting to see Ethan directly behind her. He wasn’t there, just as her dad hadn’t been there in the kitchen earlier. But I heard his voice so clearly, she thought to herself, heading down one of the concrete paths to class.

New Releases

51mCihageJL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_DESTINY Montana Dreams Book 2 By Cait Jarrod

Released Nov 23, 15 by author in print and ebook

Autumn Wilcox receives a note, a request to find the elusive rainbow her deceased friend insists will reveal Autumn’s destiny. For her friend, she agrees and seeks a pilot. Life’s tragedies cause Travis Carson to withdraw and plunge into work. After his brother settles in Montana, he quits Search and Rescue to join him. The day he heads out, friends ask him for a favor— to give a woman a ride. Simply done, but the swirl of energy radiating off her has him agreeing to and doing the unimaginable.



Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]CAPTURING GABRIEL Romancing the Guardians, Book 3 By Lyn Horner

Spicy Romantic Suspense/Paranormal Released Dec 29, 2015 by author in print and ebook

Josie Tseda has vowed to find Gabriel Valdez, a Guardian of Danu, and bring him to meet with the other Guardians. Locating him in the mountains of Colombia and convincing him to accompany her to the U.S. proves a challenge. Their mutual attraction only complicates matters. Seeking revenge for his mother’s death, Gabriel battles drug traffickers in his country. He distrusts the feisty female who delivers an urgent message, supposedly from the High Guardian. It may be a lie to ensnare him. As romance blooms, will her mission and the secret power he wields stand between them?


perf5.000x8.000.inddFORGET ME NOT By Maureen L Bonatch

Mild romance/fantasy Release Jan 6, 2016 by The Wild Rose Press in ebook

What if your memories hadn’t been made yet? The car accident totaled Sabrina’s convertible and reinvented her memories. She can’t recall dumping Cole ten years ago. What her new clairvoyant visions tell Sabrina is he’s her husband. Any practical girl would question her sanity. But if Sabrina wants to make this imaginary future a reality, she’ll have to regain Cole’s trust and eliminate her rival, the coffee shop waitress who’s pegged Cole as husband #4. If Cole can’t believe she’s a changed woman, can Sabrina accept the only second chance she has at love exists in her memories?