new release

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

Posted on

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.

Academic-Curve-Ball-Main-File

***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…

dd subheading

***

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!

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.

Advertisements

Book 3: Academic Curve Ball: A Braxton Campus Mystery Series Debut – Beta Readers

Posted on

Academic Curve Ball is off to beta readers this week for a final read before I submit to the editor. I’m very excited to share this news. If you’re interested in beta reading from 8/22 thru 8/28, let me know. I have a few spots open before I close up and email the latest draft. I will have one more edit with hopefully nothing too major, then turn it over to the publishers to launch in October. More news to come with the cover reveal and pre-order opportunities coming up soon!

***

In last week’s post, Top Secret Hints About My Next Book, I revealed a few fun facts about my upcoming third book. Today, I am going to reveal the book’s tentative title and description. It was emailed last weekend to a few friendly readers who have expressed interest in taking an early look at my foray into a new genre. I’m hopeful to release the official publication timeline in the next two weeks, but for now, it’s time to share a few things…

Academic Curve Ball*

(Debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series)

 

Overview*

Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, moved to LA to escape his complicated but lovable family. When Kellan requests time off to attend a party for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, his boss assigns him to meet with Abby Monroe, a source for their upcoming tv series who happens to live nearby. Unfortunately, while Kellan’s socializing at the campus event, he stumbles upon Abby’s dead body in a stairwell at Diamond Hall.

Although Kellan’s family and friends are on the suspect list, he’s compelled to investigate once he learns about a mysterious donation to the college, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and fluctuating grades to allow the star baseball pitcher to play in the season opener. As Kellan settles back into his hometown and finds a second body on campus, his eccentric and trouble-making nana helps him weed through the clues. Is it the shady director of the athletic teams? A victim’s soon-to-be ex-husband? A player desperate to be noticed by an MLB scout? Kellan’s intent on solving the case just a smidge before the county sheriff, but that dangerous win might place him in even hotter water.

In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, charming, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the memorable Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. Is he ready to move back home, take a job as a professor at the college, and re-unite with a former girlfriend? Or will he return to LA to raise his young daughter away from all the chaos?

*Both are subject to change, but for now… this is where it stands!

***

Stay tuned for updates via my author website at https://jamesjcudney.com or join the quarterly mailing list to get exclusive content about future books and releases. Next newsletter to be sent next week!

Book 3

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.

Book 3: Tentative Title & Description REVEAL

Posted on Updated on

In last week’s post, Top Secret Hints About My Next Book, I revealed a few fun facts about my upcoming third book. Today, I am going to reveal the book’s tentative title and description. It was emailed last weekend to a few friendly readers who have expressed interest in taking an early look at my foray into a new genre. I’m hopeful to release the official publication timeline in the next two weeks, but for now, it’s time to share a few things…

Academic Curve Ball*

(Debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series)

 

Overview*

Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, moved to LA eight years ago to escape his complicated but lovable family. When Kellan requests time off to attend a party for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, his boss assigns him to meet with Abby Monroe, a source for their upcoming tv series who happens to live nearby. Unfortunately, while Kellan’s socializing at the campus event, he stumbles upon Abby’s dead body in a stairwell at Diamond Hall.

Although Kellan’s family and friends are on the suspect list, he’s compelled to investigate once he learns about a mysterious donation to the college, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and fluctuating grades to allow the star baseball pitcher to play in the season opener. As Kellan settles back into his hometown and finds a second body on campus, his eccentric and trouble-making nana helps him weed through the clues. Is it the shady director of the athletic teams? A victim’s soon-to-be ex-husband? A player desperate to be noticed by an MLB scout? Kellan’s intent on solving the case just a smidge before the county sheriff, but that dangerous win might place him in even hotter water.

In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, charming, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the memorable Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. Is he ready to move back home, take a job as a professor at the college, and re-unite with a former girlfriend? Or will he return to LA to raise his young daughter away from all the chaos?

*Both are subject to change, but for now… this is where it stands!

***

Stay tuned for updates via my author website at https://jamesjcudney.com or join the quarterly mailing list to get exclusive content about future books and releases. Next newsletter to be sent next week!

Book 3

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.

Book 3 – Top Secret Hints About My Next Project

Posted on

A few weeks ago, I mentioned in my post, The Writing Race is On, that I’d started drafting two new books because I couldn’t decide which plot to focus on. After a few weeks of back and forth scribblings, I’ve finally made a decision… and I am super excited to start sharing a bunch of hints with everyone. Today I’m dropping a ton of news about the book, including the genre, setting, main character, publication schedule, and key themes the novel will cover. While you’ll learn a lot today, I promise there are tons of surprises in store over the next few weeks, including a title reveal, a cover reveal, details about the characters and setting, giveaways, pre-orders and a whole lot more. I’d love to hear all your feedback and I might even answer a few questions if you’re brave or curious enough to ask. I’ll also be on the lookout for a few beta readers in this sub-genre and some early ARC recipients this fall. Let’s take our first preview together…

Book 3

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.

Book Review: Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

Posted on Updated on

3+ out of 5 stars to Lies She Told, a thriller set to be released on September 12th by Cate Holahan. I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to sharing this review with you.

lies.jpg

Why This Book 
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books, the publisher, for sending me this copy to read and review in advance as an ARC. They found me on Goodreads based on my reading tastes, reviews and ratings, suggesting this as a potential book I might find engaging. And they were right. I had it sitting on the shelf for a few weeks as I got through other books, but as all my NetGalley reads aren’t due until September, I had some time to squeeze this one in.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Welcome to the concept of a book within a book… The primary story revolves around Liza Cole, an author living in the NYC metro area who’s had some good books and some not so good books. She’s been given a deadline to get the next one written since she won’t first draft an outline, which prompts her to dive head first into her own thrilling plot. While she’s writing the book, readers learn Liza’s trying to conceive a baby with her husband, David, but they’ve been unsuccessful due to a few issues she’s had in the past with uterine damage. David’s best friend, Nick, is presumed missing, which is setting off a few alarm bells. David starts worrying when they can’t find Nick and he’s being suspected of causing the disappearance. Eventually, his body is found in the East River, dying in a very similar way to the character in Liza’s book. Liza’s supported by her mother, agent Trevor and best friend, Chris.

In Liza’s story, her primary character, Beth, is a new stay-at-home mom who suspects her husband, Jake, is cheating on her. When she secretly monitors his behavior, Beth learns he has been spending a lot of time with a cop named Colleen. When she accuses her husband, he forces her to go to therapy, where Beth meets Tyler, a therapist who attempts to get her to realize she needs to end the marriage. Unfortunately, Beth isn’t ready and soon finds herself stalking Colleen. Next thing she knows, she’s killing Colleen and dumping her body in the East River, then sleeping with Tyler.

As the two stories begin weaving in and out, readers learn there are common things occurring in both, leaving us to question which one is real and which one is a story. Or perhaps… it’s all the same story happening from different perspectives. You don’t really know until the last few chapters when the random clues begin fitting together, revealing what has actually been happening along the path.

Approach & Style 
I read the paperback version sent to me by the publisher. It’s just under 300 pages, broken into three sections and alternating back and forth between the two story lines. There are 19 chapters, each dividing into two sub-chapters: (1) Liza and (2) Beth. As a result, chapters are relatively short, usually under 8 pages each. Both stories are told with first-person narration from the main female character’s point of view, and both are told in the present tense. I read the book over 3 days, about 100 pages each day.

Strengths 
The concept of the book is great. I love trying to solve not only the mystery within the novel, but also determining how the two stories would eventually link together and which was fake. I enjoy seeing parallels between the two lead characters and their families. The emotional aspects of the characters are strong and offer readers an easy connection. You can understand the pain and feel the impact of the actions happening around them. It’s full of suspense, some very descriptive scenes and lots of potential suspects and angles.

Concerns 
It was a hard read, and I’m normally good at keeping story lines separated. A few things that could have worked differently, which would have helped readers retain which characters belong in which section, as well as distinct from one another. Character names were too similar: Beth and Liza. I know this is supposed to help with the parallels, but it left you a tad confused at times. Jake and David. Sound a bit similar. Go with two very different options to help us keep it straighter. Something long, something short. I had to stop and start a lot. I don’t like to re-read the same thing over and over again. But I was OK here as it was a complex story, plotted out in a good way.

The ending came a bit from out of left field. You can guess the connection between reality and the made-up story, but why it happened was very unexpected. There were a few clues, but we needed more to not be fully surprised. I would have liked to be reading it and go “oh, now I understand how it ties all together.” Instead I went “Hmm… there were no clues of this before…” It wasn’t too much of a distraction, but it was enough to make me think the book needed another round of editing before its release. Add in a few more connected pieces of history. Make me impressed with the things I missed along the way.

Author & Other Similar Books 
The author has two other books prior to this one. I might give them a chance, depending on the plot and setting. I’ve read another book in the last few years like this one, but I can’t recall the title. It’s not a common story where there is 1 real story and 1 fake story an author is writing, which makes it a different type of read. You’re sure to be excited and thrilled at parts, but you will also be confused at some parts.

Questions & Final Thoughts 
The author can certainly write. She has a good eye for characters, setting and details. I’m glad the publisher sent this one to me, as I definitely found myself wanting to read it each night. But it was also one where I stopped a lot to check if the story had an error or if it was being written in a vague way on purpose. Overall, good book… lots of complexity in the details… good supporting characters and a treasure of relationship drama that you find quite engaging. Put it through another round of beta readers or editing and it would have been an easy 4 from me.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.