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Academic Curveball: Book 1 in Braxton Campus Mysteries – RELEASE DAY

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It’s release day for Academic Curveball, the first book in the Braxton Campus Mystery series. Download for Kindle or Kindle Unlimited today via Amazon. Physical books will be available at the end of the month. And stay tuned… Broken Heart Attack, the 2nd in the series, will be launched before December 31st! Check out some amazing reviews on the book for today’s launch via Goodreads.

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***Interview Below***

If you’ve been following my blog for the last two years, you probably know I like to try new things and have a little fun with my posts. As an author, I also want to find new avenues to share my books and writing. Although I love regular Q&A interviews where I can share who I am and what my books are about, I thought it was time to combine together a few disparate things. I’m not exactly sure how this is going to work, but me being a creative guy, and you being fun guinea pigs providing a safe place to make a fool of myself, here goes something quite different. How about if my 6-month old shiba inu puppy interviews the main character from my new Braxton Campus Mysteries series. The first book, Academic Curveball, is currently available in ARC (advanced reader copy) format and officially launches on October 15th, 2018. You can buy or download it here. For now, let’s get on to the interview…

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Interviewer – Baxter

  • 6-month-old puppy who fancies himself a very smart canine
  • 22 lbs, black and tan, no job, rambunctious, acts like a frat boy
  • Likes
    • Biting, hiding under the couch, pouncing on you while you sleep, dominating other dogs, eating things he shouldn’t, running out the front door to escape, digging in flower beds
  • Dislikes
    • Vacuum cleaners, his harness and leash, bedtime, the cone after he was neutered, being neutered, the word ‘no’

***

Interviewee – Kellan Ayrwick

  • 32-year-old single father who fancies himself an amateur sleuth
  • 5-9, fit, wavy dirty-blond hair, wears glasses, baby blue eyes, professor, TV show director, former frat boy
  • Likes
    • Desserts, daughter Emma, black and white films, the beach, sarcasm, Nana D, compliments, Top 40’s music, sleeping, puzzles, cozy college campus, solving cases before the sheriff
  • Dislikes
    • Fake people, Dr. Myriam Castle, Sheriff April Montague, bad weather, wearing ties, the supernatural or ghosts, shaving, weird Shakespearean quotes

***

  • Question 1: Who are you and why are you forcing me to interview you? (Baxter)
    • I’m Kellan, the main character in your owner’s latest mystery series. I had to leave LA for a quick trip to visit my small, secluded hometown in Pennsylvania for my father’s retirement from Braxton College. He was the president, and my parents forced me to come home. I left almost a decade ago because they can be very intrusive. Love ’em to pieces, but wow… talk about family drama!
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Please do not refer to Jay as my OWNER. Jay is lucky I chose to come live with him. There are days when his helicopter parenting can be so bad, I want to lick him to death to get him to stop holding me back. And you don’t know family drama. My siblings were awful! They made me bite them all the time just to shut them up. I’m the quiet one. Grr…
  • Question 2: What can tell me about living in this Wharton County, Pennsylvania? I’m looking for more space as this box in the biggest urban center in the world is a little confining. (Baxter)
    • Wharton County is in north central PA near the NY border. It’s about 90 miles south of Buffalo and trapped between the Saddlebrooke National Forest and the Wharton Mountain range. It’s not a real place, but it is based on a bunch of different places Jay’s visited or lived in Pennsylvania. There are 4 major towns, and the one my family hails from is called Braxton. There’s a great college there, too, where many of my family members work, and it seems perhaps possibly me, too, in the near future. The best part of the campus is built across two different sections of the town and is connected by a really cool cable car system. Jay told me it’s based on where he went to college… do you know where that is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Listen, Kellan… I didn’t want to do this interview, but since it’s been forced on me, remember I ASK the questions. You ANSWER them. Got that? From what I hear, everyone tells you what to do anyway, Kellan… between your boss Myriam, your grandmother Nana D, and that weirdo sheriff, you can barely breathe without someone torturing you. Stand up for yourself, man. Have a little bark and a little bite! WOOF!
  • Question 3: What happens in this first book? Should I plan to tell my friends about it? They do read in case you were wondering. We’re a smart breed. (Baxter)
    • I can honestly tell you this is the best book I’ve EVER been in. And I’m probably the funniest guy you’ll ever meet. It all starts off when I come home for what should’ve been a long weekend, but then there’s a murder. And my boss in LA makes me stay to cover it for our TV show. Then my family and a good friend are major suspects, so I’m forced to try to find the real killer. Nana D of course tries to set me up, but my wife has only been gone for two years, so I’m not quite ready. I had an awesome time at the baseball games learning all about the sport but when I thought someone on the team was changing their grades in order to play in the season opener, I knew I was on to something big. Little did I realize how much more complex it really was. Wanna know who the killer is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • One, this is the only book you’ve been in so far, Kellan. I know Jay wrote the second one, but he’s still editing it. It’s not real until he gives it to someone to read. I’ve had a look, and I can definitely tell you it’s AWESOME, but I might be biased. Although I was super annoyed with Jay for making me wear that cone of shame for two weeks after my surgery, having such a fantastic story with engaging characters helped pass the time quickly. GO BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERIES!!! RAH RAH! And two, no, don’t spoil it for me, you doofus. I think people should find out for themselves who killed someone. Duh!
  • Question 4: Do you know where Jay keeps the treats in this joint? (Baxter)
    • I’m not real, dog. How would I know that? I can’t see or hear anything outside of Braxton. You came here to visit me. You’re as bad as Nana D with these questions. Go take a nap, dog.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • If you weren’t paying me to do this interview, I’d bite your face off. But I’m glad to see we’re both frat boys. Jay was one, too. I guess we have some things in common. Wait… now that I think about it, you’re awfully similar to Jay… what kinda sick twist of fate is this?
  • Question 5: Anything else you want to share before I go for a walk to get away from you and this tedious discussion? I’ve got some flowers to eat. (Baxter)
    • I’ve got tons of stories to share in the next few years. Jay’s helped me write lots of books and together, we’re planning at least 10 in the series. What I love the most is how he let me write them in 1st person, so the entire book is always from my perspective. I’ve got a really fun voice and way of talking about myself and others, so you’ll likely laugh a lot. I’m also a bit clumsy, like to complain, and am a really sweet but sexy guy. Sometimes I get a bit arrogant. Other times I behave a bit like a fool. But as I get older, things start to look pretty awesome from my position. I just can’t figure out what’s gonna happen in my love life, but you know there’s gotta be more than one woman after me based on what’s happened in that first book, right?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Kellan, your modesty knows no bounds. I’m sure any readers are already swooning rolling their eyes over it. Thanks for chatting today. I’ll leave you with a little surprise before I bounce.

***

Stay tuned for the next interview when Baxter takes on… NANA D. Here’s a quick snapshot of Nana D’s latest conversation with her grandson, Kellan, in book two set to be published in December 2018:

SCENE from BROKEN HEART ATTACK (Book 2 in Braxton Campus Mysteries)

As people filed out of the lobby and into the venue, the noise level grew more tolerable and I could freely move around without feeling every nook and cranny of every weirdo in the joint. First up was texting Nana D to find out who had my ticket and where I’d be sitting. If she put me next to some new Tinder date she blindly setup for me…

Me: Where are you? It’s like a blue-haired Neil Diamond concert in here today.

Nana D: More like a wannabe Lady Gaga gig. Don’t you know any current pop references?

Me: Given the number of septuagenarians, I assumed they wouldn’t know who she was.

Nana D: You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME, don’t you, Kellan?

Me: That was weak even for you. Epic FAIL! Where’s my ticket?

Nana D: Bite me. I left it at the Box Office. Wasn’t sure you’d show. Go get it. Now.

Me: Yes, Chief. On my way. You’re feisty today. Too much bran? Not enough veges?

Nana D: Pop a cork in it and get to your seat. You ain’t seen nothing yet, brilliant one. Just wait til I introduce you to…

***

Note from Baxter: In case you’re curious about the last introduction, Nana D has a habit of setting Kellan up with the weirdest women I’ve ever met. In the last book, we learned there was a two-time bigamist who Nana D thought might be Kellan’s future girlfriend. I’m kinda hoping to meet that crazy old woman one day. I hear she’s a real ball buster… hey wait… is she the one who took mine away when they neutered me three weeks ago!!! PAYBACK WILL BE MINE!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Cozy Mystery Series Readathon (Nov 2018) — Winning Books & Schedule

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The voters have spoken… our winning book series to read in November 2018 is the Renaissance Faire cozy mysteries by Joyce and Jim Lavene. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the last month to choose the category for the readathon, the authors and books series to vote on, and the suggestions to make this as fun as it will be. Since there are 8 books in the series, we cannot easily read them all in one month. We probably could, but there are many of us with other ARCs or pre-scheduled reads, so I think we should do 50%… essentially the first 4 books. Below is our schedule and the books:

In order, they are:

  1. Wicked Weaves
  2. Ghastly Glass
  3. Deadly Daggers
  4. Harrowing Hats

Given how busy everyone is, let’s just focus on getting them all read and reviewed in the month of November 2018. Read 1, 2, 3, or 4 books — however much time you have available. Our tentative schedule to post each review is:

  1. Wicked Weaves – Due 11/9
  2. Ghastly Glass – Due 11/16
  3.  Deadly Daggers – Due 11/23
  4. Harrowing Hats – Due 11/30

I’ll create the new pages and links throughout the next couple of weeks. For now, buy them or order them from your local library. If you have them already – awesome. I can’t wait to get started!

***

Based on last month’s poll, you voted to combine two of the options into a single approach for our November 2018 Readathon. The winner is: “Cozy Mystery Series.” Many thanks to all the voters and promoters for the readathon. I’m very excited to choose a series with 4 or 5 books that we can read all throughout November and post our reviews. Some of the suggestions may have more than 5, but we will only read the first 5. A few have less than 5, so we will just read 3 or 4 depending on what wins. I’ve also chosen authors I’ve never read before but have on my TBR.

November 2018 - Choose 4 Books to Read & Review (1)

You can choose your top 3 series to read.  The poll is open today through 10/12 (one full week). On 10/13, I’ll announce the book series with the most votes. We’ll have three weeks to buy or borrow the books and set the reading and review schedule. Links to the Goodreads description of the fist book are below the poll to help you choose.

Descriptions of Books

Cindy Blackburn – Cue Ball

Betty Hechtman – Yarn Retreat

Nancy Atherton – Aunt Dimity

Ellery Adams – Book Retreat

Julia Buckley – A Writer’s Apprentice

Avery Ames – A Cheese Shop

Nancy Martin – Blackbird Sisters

Kate Carlisle – Fixer-Upper

Bailey Cates – Magical Bakery

Alice Kimberly – Haunted Bookshop

Heather Blake – Wishcraft

Jim & Joyce Lavene – Renaissance Faire

Lorna Barrett – Booktown

Jana DeLeon – Miss Fortune

Lea Wait – Mainely Needlepoint

Laura Childs – A Tea Shop

Krista Davis – Domestic Diva

Daryl Wood Gerber – Cookbook Nook

Eva Gates – Lighthouse Library

Betty Webb – Gunn Zoo

Leslie Budewitz – A Spice Shop

Kelly Lane – Olive Grove

Laura Childs – Scrapbooking

Cozy Mystery Series Readathon (Nov 2018) — LAST DAY TO VOTE to choose the author / series

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VOTE via Cozy Mystery Series Readathon (Nov 2018) — POLL to choose the author / series

 

***

Based on last month’s poll, you voted to combine two of the options into a single approach for our November 2018 Readathon. The winner is: “Cozy Mystery Series.” Many thanks to all the voters and promoters for the readathon. I’m very excited to choose a series with 4 or 5 books that we can read all throughout November and post our reviews. Some of the suggestions may have more than 5, but we will only read the first 5. A few have less than 5, so we will just read 3 or 4 depending on what wins. I’ve also chosen authors I’ve never read before but have on my TBR.

November 2018 - Choose 4 Books to Read & Review (1)

You can choose your top 3 series to read.  The poll is open today through 10/12 (one full week). On 10/13, I’ll announce the book series with the most votes. We’ll have three weeks to buy or borrow the books and set the reading and review schedule. Links to the Goodreads description of the fist book are below the poll to help you choose.

Descriptions of Books

Cindy Blackburn – Cue Ball

Betty Hechtman – Yarn Retreat

Nancy Atherton – Aunt Dimity

Ellery Adams – Book Retreat

Julia Buckley – A Writer’s Apprentice

Avery Ames – A Cheese Shop

Nancy Martin – Blackbird Sisters

Kate Carlisle – Fixer-Upper

Bailey Cates – Magical Bakery

Alice Kimberly – Haunted Bookshop

Heather Blake – Wishcraft

Jim & Joyce Lavene – Renaissance Faire

Lorna Barrett – Booktown

Jana DeLeon – Miss Fortune

Lea Wait – Mainely Needlepoint

Laura Childs – A Tea Shop

Krista Davis – Domestic Diva

Daryl Wood Gerber – Cookbook Nook

Eva Gates – Lighthouse Library

Betty Webb – Gunn Zoo

Leslie Budewitz – A Spice Shop

Kelly Lane – Olive Grove

Laura Childs – Scrapbooking

Author Alert: Didi Oviatt’s Book Makeovers!

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Earlier this year, I had the privilege to read two fantastic books by Didi Oviatt. I’m going to be reading a third sometime in the next three months, too, once it’s ready to launch. While this prolific and creative writer works on that next book, she’s also signed on with a new publisher and has re-issued her earlier books – it’s makeover time! And what gorgeous covers they’ve come up with.

In today’s post, I’m sharing the new covers, new blurbs, some updated special scenes, and the links to get everything when it’s re-published this month. If you’ve missed out in the past, now’s your time to jump on the bandwagon because once it gets rolling, you might not catch up! Here’s a link to her dedicated author page on my blog — very few have earned this spot… but she’s definitely one of them!

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Aggravated Momentum:

The life of a seemingly normal family is shattered as long-buried skeletons emerge and dark family secrets surface.

Danger lurks so close to home. But who is the cold, calculated murderer? Can it be Markie or Kam: one of the independent sisters, guilty of nothing more than getting tangled with the wrong people at the wrong time?

Or is it another cowardly snake, curled in a hidden corner?

The deeper you dig, the more breathtaking the secrets you will find.

 
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Search For Maylee:

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her.

It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead, and travels across the country to find more clues about Maylee’s disappearance.

But will she be able to pry Maylee’s case back open, and what will she uncover in the process of searching for Maylee?

It’s a cold, dark world we live in, and Autumn is about to find out just how cruel it can be. But strength and determination are on her side, and she will do whatever it takes to deliver justice.

Excerpt from Search For Maylee

This wasn’t the same manager that she’d spoken to when she picked out the apartment. This new guy had a much smoother and kinder face, and he appeared to be a lot younger, probably in his late twenties. Perhaps a College drop-out? Autumn speculated, concluding that he was most likely managing the place for the free rent that the job entails. Was she stereotyping him? Maybe… Did she care? No.

“Can I help you ma’am?”  His smile rang friendly.

“Hi, yes.” She hesitated, “My name is Autumn. I’m renting an apartment here. I’m sorry to bother you so late.”  She straightened her wrinkly top and fiddled with a gnawed off thumbnail before saying, “I’m just arriving, and I was wondering if you know of anyone that I could pay to help me unpack?”

“Oh, hey, yes, I heard about you!”  His handsome smile grew causing his ears to lift, and a cute little crease to form just below the right cheekbone. “Apt 22 right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Howdy then, ma’am, I’m Jeremy.”

It was a very informal introduction yet he insisted on shaking her hand. His palm was big and his fingers were slightly calloused. A heavy free hand slapped her on the shoulder causing her entire body to jolt. He seemed like a very outgoing young man. A few husky voices rang in from behind him. Autumn could hear a couple of men laughing and joking in the background. It actually sounded like they were having a blast. She couldn’t quite make out their jokes or comments, but it wasn’t from lack of trying. A listening ear strained to make out their words.

Autumn tried, without success, to recall the last time she was able to laugh so freely.  Even with her friends, witty conversation and playful banter had been forced since the loss of Maylee. The lighthearted beam that Autumn used to carry with her everywhere, was now nothing more than a distant flicker.

It existed somewhere, but she was unable to actually grasp it tight enough to hang on for more than a few seconds at a time. Every time that lighthearted twinkle returned to her eyes, or a gleeful fire began to build in her chest, it was quickly distinguished with grief. Washed away before anything more than a spark could ignite. But, at least there was hope. Autumn was here for a reason and maybe someday she could get that light back.

Jeremy must have noticed her distraction by his guests because he tilted his head to the side, leaned into her personal space, and made a fully conscious effort to engage her in eye contact. That attractive crease in his cheek returned with the questioning grin he threw at her. Embarrassed butterflies escaped Autumn’s chest and a lump formed in her throat.

“Care to join?” He asked, pointing over his tall shoulder with a large outstretched thumb. “I’ve got a few friends over. We just finished up a barbeque. I’m sure there’s a burger left if you’re hungry?”

“Oh no,” was her very quick response.

Autumn couldn’t possibly impose on a party of strangers. The pull of her tired eyelids were nagging at her to get settled for the night, and she couldn’t help but to notice there wasn’t a female voice to be heard. This entire situation had danger written all over it. If there was one quality Autumn truly admired about herself it was a keen sense of reserved caution. After all, you’re nothing if not safe.

After declining the drink to go along with the already turned down burger that her stomach was very loudly cursing her for, Autumn again asked for help. Jeremy shouted over his shoulder toward the kitchen causing her to nearly jump out of her skin.

“Hey guys,” he yelled at his guests without taking his eyes off of her. The smile he had remained intact.  “I’ve got a quick job to do for a tenant, wanna’ help?”

Autumn’s eyes widened in fear, her feet shifted nervously beneath her, and she struggled to find words.

“I… Um… I can find someone else, really.” She hesitated.

Jeremy leaned forward and whispered, so that no one else could hear.

“They really only look scary, and they might smell, but they’re harmless, I assure you.” He said with a wink.

The three men that entered the room caused Autumn’s mouth to open, just a crack, and her shoulders to lower with the air that escaped her. An awkward rush of defeat crawled up her legs and stopped in her neck, threatening to drain the very life from her. The first man in sight was clearly older than Jeremy, by at least five years – was her guess.

He appeared to nearly double Jeremy in weight, and not the unhealthy kind either. There wasn’t an ounce of blubber to be found, only the thick hard kind of weight that most men only dream of developing. His hair was light, short, and squared off in a boxy type cut that had a weird way of making the muscles between his neck and shoulders look even bigger. A superman symbol was tattooed on his neck, just above the collarbone. It was the first tattoo Autumn noticed but definitely not the only one in the room.

Two more men emerged from behind the giant. One looked a lot like Jeremy, with the same smile and an identical crease below the cheekbone. It wasn’t really a dimple so much as a handsome dip of the skin, or a glorified wrinkle in the perfect spot.

 

Author Bio & links:
Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her  thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, sun-bathing in the desert heat, along with watching the relaxing dance of a campfire plays an important part of her day-to-day lifestyle.
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*** Original 365 Daily Challenge Post from 2017 ***

Relentless: (a) ‘a force to be reckoned with’ or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Didi Oviatt

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who she is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work.

———-

Hello there This Is My Truth Now readers (and hi Ryder!).  Allow me to introduce myself before I proceed to barge my way into Jay’s blog for the day. My name is Didi Oviatt, and sometimes I consider myself to be a professional make believer. I write suspense novels and short stories, but to stop myself from getting carried away by talking too much about myself, which I’m good at *wink wink* let me first dive into Jay’s 365 word of the day!!

I think I’ll follow the lead of Chauncey Rogers. In his Author Alert on Jay’s blog last week Chauncey chose the word of the day (chicken), and did all the breaking down of this word rather than letting Jay do it. Now, because this is the big Book Blog Tour banner month for James J. Cudney’s novel Watching Glass Shatter, I feel like he could use the break today. [Alert Interruption from Jay — Yes, totally. I am grateful to you!]

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I’m choosing the word Relentless! I love this word, and for so many great reasons.

The word relentless is really a force to be reckoned with. It’s an adjective and it’s very definition states: oppressively constant; incessant. Some of the official synonyms listed for the word Relentless are: Persistent, constant, unabating, and even never-ending.

See, I told you, it’s quite a powerful word, right?!

Today when I think of this word, the very first thing that comes to mind is Ryder and his relentless love of chasing birds. The second thing that comes to mind is Jay and his relentless dedication to this perfectly executed blog, along with his relentless love for writing and producing such amazing literature and blog posts. Jay, you’re a fantastic human and I couldn’t be any more grateful to be here today. [Alert Interruption from Jay — Shh, I’m just me!]

The third thing that comes to mind with this powerhouse word of the day, is the character is my new release. Her name is Autumn, and the book is called Search For Maylee. You see, Autumn’s niece Maylee vanished. The last time anyone seen her was three years ago right after Autumn dropped her off in the parking lot of her High School. The case file was eventually placed on a dusty old shelf to grow cold and forgotten, yet Autumn refuses to let it go and give up. Autumn is RELENTLESS!

Autumn fights through her fears and anxiety in order to take matters into her own hands. Upon tracking down a current address for an old lead, she sells everything she has and moves across the country to find him…. and watch. Autumn has no intention of confronting this man, but rather to stock him in hopes of finding anything that might lead her to Maylee. What Autumn finds is far beyond anything she could have imagined. And, because of her relentless dedication to finding her niece, she continues to push through no matter what heart wrenching circumstance is wedged in her way.

[Alert Interruption from Jay — See, I told you she’s awesome and generous and cool! Now follow her site and blog to get more great deals and news in the future!]

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To see more about Didi Oviatt on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and books will added as she publishes them and I review them. You will also see my review at that link — and let me tell you, it was a GREAT Book. You won’t be disappointed and you may just find a new favorite to follow.

Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Braxton Campus Mysteries – Be a Beta Reader for Broken Heart Attack (Book 2)

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Broken Heart Attack, the second book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, a light investigative / cozy mystery series, is ready for a beta read. I’m looking for readers in this sub-genre who’ve read the first book or are interested in reading the first book (for free) and then being a beta reader on the second book over the next few weeks. It will be available on Fri 10/12 and I’d want to collect all feedback on Broken Heart Attack by Fri 10/26 so that I can revise and edit by November 1st for the next review round. If you’re interested, message me at jamesjcudney4@gmail.com. A description of the book’s plot is below as well as details on the first book which is available for purchase starting 10/15.

Broken Heart Attack

When an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt, a potential long-lost relative, and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance? Kellan is back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life exorbitantly difficult, will he be able to find a killer or will he get caught up in his own complicated version of stage fright?

Academic-Curve-Ball-Main-File
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I’m excited to reveal the cover for the debut novel in my new Braxton Campus Mysteries series. The first book is called Academic Curveball and is available for pre-sale on Amazon as of today. The official publication date when you can download to Kindle is October 15th followed soon after by the physical printed copy. Stay tuned in the coming days for opportunities to get an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) to help with early reviews.  I’ll share quotes, samples, giveaways, and character bios. This is one cast of characters you won’t want to miss. Please share this post and news wherever you’d like… and tell me what you think of the cover and the story description!

Academic-Curve-Ball-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

Add to Goodreads                                                  Amazon Pre-Sale

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Description of Book

When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds the dead body of a professor in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Then he finds a second body after discovering mysterious donations to the college’s athletic program, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball pitcher isn’t expelled.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana weeding through the clues, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. Fate has other plans. Kellan is close to discovering the killer’s identity just as someone he loves is put in grave danger of becoming victim number three. And if that’s not enough to wreak havoc on his family, everything comes crashing to a halt when his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the charming Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. When this first book ends, the drama is set for the next adventure in Kellan’s future… and it’s one you won’t want to miss.

*** Below was also sent last week ***

As a quick teaser… here’s a little snapshot of a scene between the main character, Kellan, and his septuagenarian grandmother, Nana D. There’s a fine line between respect and fun banter in everything they do… but you’ll adore their charming relationship.

The sun disappeared as I pulled up to my parents’ house, parked the Jeep, and walked toward the trunk to get my bags. Given the temperature had slipped to single digits, and the icy snow wildly pelted my body, I tried my best to hurry to the front door. I’d left all my winter clothes in Braxton which didn’t help at the moment since they were inside the house. Unfortunately, fate opted for revenge over some past indiscretion to come back with the vengeance of a thousand plagues. Before long, I skated across a sheet of ice like an awkward ballerina wearing clown shoes and fell flat on my back.

I snapped a selfie while laughing on the frosty ground to let Nana D know I’d arrived. She loved getting pictures and seeing me make a fool of myself. I couldn’t decipher her immediate reply given my glasses had fogged over, and my vision was worse than that of a secret lovechild of Mr. Magoo’s. I searched for a piece of a flannel shirt untouched by the falling sleet or the embarrassing crash to the ground and wiped them dry. A glance at the picture I’d sent caused the loudest and most absurd guffaw to erupt from my throat. My usually clean-cut dark blond hair was littered with leaves, and the four days of stubble on my cheeks and chin was covered in mounds of white snow. I dusted myself off and rushed under the protection of a covered porch to read her text.

Nana D: Is that a dirty wet mop on your head? You’re dressed like a hooligan. Put on a coat, it’s cold out.

Me: Thanks, Captain Obvious. I fell on the walkway. You think I’m normally this much of a disaster?

Nana D: And you’re supposed to be the brilliant one? Have you given up on life, or did it give up on you?

Me: Keep it up, and I won’t visit this weekend. You’re supposed to be a sweet and loving grandma.

Nana D: If that’s what you want, go down to the old folks’ home and rent yourself a little biddy. Maybe you two can share some smashed peas, green Jell-O, and a tasty glass of Ovaltine. I’ll even pay.

Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1)

Author news coming week of September 24th with the full cover reveal, launch date, and opportunities for joining the early release reading team. Stay tuned!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Cozy Mystery Series Readathon (Nov 2018) — POLL to choose the author / series

Posted on Updated on

Based on last month’s poll, you voted to combine two of the options into a single approach for our November 2018 Readathon. The winner is: “Cozy Mystery Series.” Many thanks to all the voters and promoters for the readathon. I’m very excited to choose a series with 4 or 5 books that we can read all throughout November and post our reviews. Some of the suggestions may have more than 5, but we will only read the first 5. A few have less than 5, so we will just read 3 or 4 depending on what wins. I’ve also chosen authors I’ve never read before but have on my TBR.

November 2018 - Choose 4 Books to Read & Review (1)

You can choose your top 3 series to read.  The poll is open today through 10/12 (one full week). On 10/13, I’ll announce the book series with the most votes. We’ll have three weeks to buy or borrow the books and set the reading and review schedule. Links to the Goodreads description of the fist book are below the poll to help you choose.

Descriptions of Books

Cindy Blackburn – Cue Ball

Betty Hechtman – Yarn Retreat

Nancy Atherton – Aunt Dimity

Ellery Adams – Book Retreat

Julia Buckley – A Writer’s Apprentice

Avery Ames – A Cheese Shop

Nancy Martin – Blackbird Sisters

Kate Carlisle – Fixer-Upper

Bailey Cates – Magical Bakery

Alice Kimberly – Haunted Bookshop

Heather Blake – Wishcraft

Jim & Joyce Lavene – Renaissance Faire

Lorna Barrett – Booktown

Jana DeLeon – Miss Fortune

Lea Wait – Mainely Needlepoint

Laura Childs – A Tea Shop

Krista Davis – Domestic Diva

Daryl Wood Gerber – Cookbook Nook

Eva Gates – Lighthouse Library

Betty Webb – Gunn Zoo

Leslie Budewitz – A Spice Shop

Kelly Lane – Olive Grove

Laura Childs – Scrapbooking

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*** Prior Posts / History for Readathon ***

Based on last week’s poll, you voted to combine two of the options into a single approach for our November 2018 Readathon. The winner is: “Cozy Mystery Series.” Many thanks to all the voters and promoters for the readathon. I’m very excited to choose a series with 4 or 5 books that we can read all throughout November and post our reviews. Some of the suggestions may have more than 5, but we will only read the first 5. I’ve chosen authors I’ve never read before but have on my TBR.

I’ve listed a few suggestions below, but I’d love input and feedback on authors and series to include in the poll. I plan to post the poll on 10/5 and run it thru 10/11 for everyone to vote. We’ll have 3 weeks to buy or borrow the books and set the reading and review schedule. Given it’s a series, we might be more informal with the dates and just note that all should be done by 11/30.  Thoughts? Suggestions? I’d like to have 10 or 12 in the poll. Here goes:

 

November 2018 - Choose 4 Books to Read & Review (1)

*** (Previous Posts Below) ***

Hi. I’m very excited for our November 2018 Readathon. If you’re new to my readathons, read the original post below or check out the main pages on my blog to read all about the past ones: Children’s Books and Agatha Christie. For the November 2018 readathon, we’ll read 4 or 5 books throughout the month based on the votes in this week’s poll. I suggested four categories. You added six new ones rounding out the total to ten options.

I’ve created the poll below. You have until 9/28 to respond. Please pick your two favorites, and based on the responses, we can decide in early October what the focus will be… e.g. cozy mysteries with numbers in the title, supernatural holidays, or fairy tale re-tellings about food. Ha! If you want to add a new categories, let me know and I’ll update the poll. I can’t wait to see what everyone picks.

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With two successful readathons under our belt this year, I’m ready to plan the next one. In April, we held the fantastic Agatha Christie Readathon where we read 4 of her amazing books and shared brilliant reviews. In August, we held the fun Children’s Books Readathon where we read 10 books from a range of authors and shared awesome reviews. What’s next?

I’m targeting November for the readathon so we’re not too busy at the end of the year and right around some of the bigger holidays. I’ve got a few ideas, but I’d love to hear suggestions from everyone before I send out a poll with the topics and books. To kick it off, here’s a few thoughts:

  1. Book Series
    • Choose a book series with 4 books and read them all
  2. Cozy Mysteries
    • Pick a few themes from cooking to ghosts to pets to quilting
  3. Books with Numbers as the Title
    • It could be only a number or just be the main part of the title
  4. Historical Fiction By Year
    1. Pick books taking place in the 1600s, 1700s, 1800s and 1900s

November 2018 - Choose 4 Books to Read & Review

Let’s start thinking through our options… reply here thru 9/15 and then I’ll setup a poll to pick which one. Thanks!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Character Interview: Baxter the Shiba Inu Interviews Kellan Ayrwick from Academic Curveball

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If you’ve been following my blog for the last two years, you probably know I like to try new things and have a little fun with my posts. As an author, I also want to find new avenues to share my books and writing. Although I love regular Q&A interviews where I can share who I am and what my books are about, I thought it was time to combine together a few disparate things. I’m not exactly sure how this is going to work, but me being a creative guy, and you being fun guinea pigs providing a safe place to make a fool of myself, here goes something quite different. How about if my 6-month old shiba inu puppy interviews the main character from my new Braxton Campus Mysteries series. The first book, Academic Curveball, is currently available in ARC (advanced reader copy) format and officially launches on October 15th, 2018. You can buy or download it here. For now, let’s get on to the interview…

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Interviewer – Baxter

  • 6-month-old puppy who fancies himself a very smart canine
  • 22 lbs, black and tan, no job, rambunctious, acts like a frat boy
  • Likes
    • Biting, hiding under the couch, pouncing on you while you sleep, dominating other dogs, eating things he shouldn’t, running out the front door to escape, digging in flower beds
  • Dislikes
    • Vacuum cleaners, his harness and leash, bedtime, the cone after he was neutered, being neutered, the word ‘no’

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Interviewee – Kellan Ayrwick

  • 32-year-old single father who fancies himself an amateur sleuth
  • 5-9, fit, wavy dirty-blond hair, wears glasses, baby blue eyes, professor, TV show director, former frat boy
  • Likes
    • Desserts, daughter Emma, black and white films, the beach, sarcasm, Nana D, compliments, Top 40’s music, sleeping, puzzles, cozy college campus, solving cases before the sheriff
  • Dislikes
    • Fake people, Dr. Myriam Castle, Sheriff April Montague, bad weather, wearing ties, the supernatural or ghosts, shaving, weird Shakespearean quotes

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  • Question 1: Who are you and why are you forcing me to interview you? (Baxter)
    • I’m Kellan, the main character in your owner’s latest mystery series. I had to leave LA for a quick trip to visit my small, secluded hometown in Pennsylvania for my father’s retirement from Braxton College. He was the president, and my parents forced me to come home. I left almost a decade ago because they can be very intrusive. Love ’em to pieces, but wow… talk about family drama!
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Please do not refer to Jay as my OWNER. Jay is lucky I chose to come live with him. There are days when his helicopter parenting can be so bad, I want to lick him to death to get him to stop holding me back. And you don’t know family drama. My siblings were awful! They made me bite them all the time just to shut them up. I’m the quiet one. Grr…
  • Question 2: What can tell me about living in this Wharton County, Pennsylvania? I’m looking for more space as this box in the biggest urban center in the world is a little confining. (Baxter)
    • Wharton County is in north central PA near the NY border. It’s about 90 miles south of Buffalo and trapped between the Saddlebrooke National Forest and the Wharton Mountain range. It’s not a real place, but it is based on a bunch of different places Jay’s visited or lived in Pennsylvania. There are 4 major towns, and the one my family hails from is called Braxton. There’s a great college there, too, where many of my family members work, and it seems perhaps possibly me, too, in the near future. The best part of the campus is built across two different sections of the town and is connected by a really cool cable car system. Jay told me it’s based on where he went to college… do you know where that is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Listen, Kellan… I didn’t want to do this interview, but since it’s been forced on me, remember I ASK the questions. You ANSWER them. Got that? From what I hear, everyone tells you what to do anyway, Kellan… between your boss Myriam, your grandmother Nana D, and that weirdo sheriff, you can barely breathe without someone torturing you. Stand up for yourself, man. Have a little bark and a little bite! WOOF!
  • Question 3: What happens in this first book? Should I plan to tell my friends about it? They do read in case you were wondering. We’re a smart breed. (Baxter)
    • I can honestly tell you this is the best book I’ve EVER been in. And I’m probably the funniest guy you’ll ever meet. It all starts off when I come home for what should’ve been a long weekend, but then there’s a murder. And my boss in LA makes me stay to cover it for our TV show. Then my family and a good friend are major suspects, so I’m forced to try to find the real killer. Nana D of course tries to set me up, but my wife has only been gone for two years, so I’m not quite ready. I had an awesome time at the baseball games learning all about the sport but when I thought someone on the team was changing their grades in order to play in the season opener, I knew I was on to something big. Little did I realize how much more complex it really was. Wanna know who the killer is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • One, this is the only book you’ve been in so far, Kellan. I know Jay wrote the second one, but he’s still editing it. It’s not real until he gives it to someone to read. I’ve had a look, and I can definitely tell you it’s AWESOME, but I might be biased. Although I was super annoyed with Jay for making me wear that cone of shame for two weeks after my surgery, having such a fantastic story with engaging characters helped pass the time quickly. GO BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERIES!!! RAH RAH! And two, no, don’t spoil it for me, you doofus. I think people should find out for themselves who killed someone. Duh!
  • Question 4: Do you know where Jay keeps the treats in this joint? (Baxter)
    • I’m not real, dog. How would I know that? I can’t see or hear anything outside of Braxton. You came here to visit me. You’re as bad as Nana D with these questions. Go take a nap, dog.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • If you weren’t paying me to do this interview, I’d bite your face off. But I’m glad to see we’re both frat boys. Jay was one, too. I guess we have some things in common. Wait… now that I think about it, you’re awfully similar to Jay… what kinda sick twist of fate is this?
  • Question 5: Anything else you want to share before I go for a walk to get away from you and this tedious discussion? I’ve got some flowers to eat. (Baxter)
    • I’ve got tons of stories to share in the next few years. Jay’s helped me write lots of books and together, we’re planning at least 10 in the series. What I love the most is how he let me write them in 1st person, so the entire book is always from my perspective. I’ve got a really fun voice and way of talking about myself and others, so you’ll likely laugh a lot. I’m also a bit clumsy, like to complain, and am a really sweet but sexy guy. Sometimes I get a bit arrogant. Other times I behave a bit like a fool. But as I get older, things start to look pretty awesome from my position. I just can’t figure out what’s gonna happen in my love life, but you know there’s gotta be more than one woman after me based on what’s happened in that first book, right?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Kellan, your modesty knows no bounds. I’m sure any readers are already swooning rolling their eyes over it. Thanks for chatting today. I’ll leave you with a little surprise before I bounce.

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Stay tuned for the next interview when Baxter takes on… NANA D. Here’s a quick snapshot of Nana D’s latest conversation with her grandson, Kellan, in book two set to be published in December 2018:

SCENE from BROKEN HEART ATTACK (Book 2 in Braxton Campus Mysteries)

As people filed out of the lobby and into the venue, the noise level grew more tolerable and I could freely move around without feeling every nook and cranny of every weirdo in the joint. First up was texting Nana D to find out who had my ticket and where I’d be sitting. If she put me next to some new Tinder date she blindly setup for me…

Me: Where are you? It’s like a blue-haired Neil Diamond concert in here today.

Nana D: More like a wannabe Lady Gaga gig. Don’t you know any current pop references?

Me: Given the number of septuagenarians, I assumed they wouldn’t know who she was.

Nana D: You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME, don’t you, Kellan?

Me: That was weak even for you. Epic FAIL! Where’s my ticket?

Nana D: Bite me. I left it at the Box Office. Wasn’t sure you’d show. Go get it. Now.

Me: Yes, Chief. On my way. You’re feisty today. Too much bran? Not enough veges?

Nana D: Pop a cork in it and get to your seat. You ain’t seen nothing yet, brilliant one. Just wait til I introduce you to…

***

Note from Baxter: In case you’re curious about the last introduction, Nana D has a habit of setting Kellan up with the weirdest women I’ve ever met. In the last book, we learned there was a two-time bigamist who Nana D thought might be Kellan’s future girlfriend. I’m kinda hoping to meet that crazy old woman one day. I hear she’s a real ball buster… hey wait… is she the one who took mine away when they neutered me three weeks ago!!! PAYBACK WILL BE MINE!

Academic-Curve-Ball-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.