#IWSG — Do Writers Read?

Great question for #writers! 😊👍

WordDreams...

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s question – It’s been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don’t enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

To be honest, I’ve never heard any recommend NOT reading as part of writing. In fact, I’m drenched in quotes about “To write…

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#Review “One Night Gone” by Tara Laskowski

One Night Gone cover

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5/5 Stars!

Excellent read seamlessly weaving the summer of 1986 and fall of 2015 together to solve a mystery and a murder.

Carny girl Maureen Haddaway disappears near the end of summer. Except for one friend, no one appears to care in the upscale touristy town of Opal Beach. Maureen was one of those girls—here today, gone tomorrow—low class and with questionable morals which made her unworthy of true concern or a real investigation.

Fast-forward to 2015 and meteorologist Allison Simpson is a betrayed, disgraced divorcee desperate to piece her life back together and reclaim her dignity. Talked into house-sitting in ritzy Opal Beach during the off-season, Allison gets drawn into the mystery of Maureen’s disappearance.

I’m not generally a fan of dual timelines, but One Night Gone drew me in from the beginning. There’s no fluff or filler and its dual POVs of Maureen and Allison got me into their heads and mindsets without locking me inside, desperate to escape. They have a great awareness of the characters they interact with so I had a good idea of who they each were dealing with. Good writing!

I felt bad for Maureen—her situation kept going from bad to worse, and she didn’t always make the best decisions and was too smart for her own good sometimes, but her intentions were not self-serving.

Didn’t feel as bad for Allison. While she had done nothing wrong and was indeed, the victim in her situation, her response could have been less… dramatic—even though I loved it!

That being said, and unless I missed something, I didn’t get the whole Allison meltdown-thingy in the aftermath. Duke was a cheating dork. Bye!

However, she had a good rebound. She’s nowhere near perfect and no longer tries to be.

There are lots and lots and lots of villains in this read. Everyone is bad! Okay, maybe bad is overstepping, but they all have agendas in 1986 and in 2015. Getting in the way could be deadly, and with so many agendas in play, I didn’t see the plot twist coming until the author smacked me with it! HA! Bravo! Well-played!

Great ending and the only thing missing FOR ME was another good dig at Duke the dork ‘cuz he SO deserved it!

One Night Gone is a slow-boiling thrill ride I highly recommend!

Enjoy!

~~~

Synopsis:

“A subtly but relentlessly unsettling novel.” —TANA FRENCH, author of The Witch Elm

It was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

“A heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel of betrayal and revenge. Stunning!” —Carol Goodman, award-winning author of The Night Visitors

“Featuring a brilliantly executed dual timeline with two unforgettable narrators, One Night Gone is a timely and timeless mystery that will keep you obsessively reading well past your bedtime.” —Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery,Suspense

Published by: Graydon House Books (Harlequin)

Publication Date: October 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 352

ISBN: 1525832190 (ISBN13: 9781525832192)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

Opal Beach was about a two-hour drive without traffic from downtown Philadelphia. It was somewhere halfway between Ocean City and Atlantic City and way less touristy. The beach always reminded me of vacations as a kid, running barefoot on hot sand, creating lopsided sand castles with plastic buckets, breaking crab legs and sucking out the meat. But there was also a sense of slowing down, of taking it all in, and I needed that now. I could feel the air change, the way it clung, coated, opened everything up. Through the car windows, the Oc¬tober air was shockingly cold but also reviving. The salty air had always bothered my mother and sister, who complained it was too humid and their tongues felt strange, but I loved the way it worked its fingers into my hair and curled around the tendrils. It made me feel a little wild, a little different. Untamed. Like anything could happen. Was I really doing this? Was I really pressing on this pedal, steering, guiding these four wheels to a stranger’s beach house, where I would live for the next three months alone? It had all happened so fast. A blur, really. Annie’s friend Sharon, with that same nurse-like efficiency that Annie had, set it all up so quickly that I’d barely had time to adjust to the idea before it was actually happening. But I was used to life messing with me now, used to tripping over a curb or forgetting to eat breakfast or chipping a nail, waking up only to discover that everything I’d known to be true was suddenly different. So in some ways this journey, the picking up and leaving behind, felt like an emerging. Like Rockefeller, the hermit crab I’d bought on our family vacation one year at a boardwalk shack, I was crawling out of a dingy shell and moving into a shinier, larger home. (Unlike Rockefeller, though, I hoped I wouldn’t die from the soap residue that was left inside the new shell when someone tried to clean it too vigorously before setting him inside the cage.) I drove down a two-lane road just off the ocean, the main drag for all the beachfront houses. I could imagine that on a weekend in July it looked like a parking lot as families navigated in or out of town, canoes and coolers tied up on their roof racks. But now it was eerily vacant, and I had the sense I was the last woman on earth, that in my quiet drive alone the rest of humanity had vanished. I was trying to decide if that was a good thing or not when a giant orange Hummer zoomed into view behind me and passed without slowing down. “Well, so much for that. Asshole,” I said. The houses were dramatically large and looming, blocking what otherwise would’ve been a magnificent view. You could tell which ones were just rentals—the monstrosities with thirteen bedrooms and a six-car garage that five families could rent out at once. But further down the road, the houses had more style and character. The kind of places—lots of windows, big porches, nice landscaping—that would make your mouth water even without the lush ocean backdrop as icing on the cake. I slowed as my GPS indicated I was getting close, but even so I almost missed the tiny driveway and its faded, weather-beaten road sign declaring my new mailing address: Piper Sand Road. I had made it. The long gravel drive split off halfway up, with one side leading to the Worthington house and the other side to their neighbor’s. When I’d first met the Worthingtons for my “job interview” just a few weeks before, I’d been so nervous about the whole thing that I’d taken the wrong driveway and parked in the neighbor’s lot and stared at it for a good minute before realizing the house number was wrong. But now, pulling into the correct driveway slowly, it felt like an adventure movie soundtrack should be swelling. And our heroine finds her destiny. I could imagine Annie’s reaction when she finally saw the house in person. It was stunning. The surrounding homes were propped up on beams, like old ladies hitching up their skirts so they wouldn’t get wet in the surf, but that just gave the Worthingtons’ house an understated effect. It stood confident and modest between them, a beach gingerbread house right out of a fairy tale, with light blue curtains and sweeping eaves. I parked right at the porch steps and got out, wrapping my cardigan around me to stave off the whipping wind. The front porch was small but quaint, with two wooden rocking chairs and a small white table with flaking paint. I ran my palm along the back of one of the tall chairs, and it creaked from my touch. The chairs seemed to be more for decoration than sitting. Dolores, Sharon’s sister who lived in town, was supposed to be meeting me to hand over the keys. Yet it seemed I’d arrived first. I’d had to come one week sooner than planned, as Patty and John had been whisked away to her mysterious assignment in Eastern Europe a little earlier than expected. Patty had called me from the airport with the news. I’d pictured her in her white visor and tennis sneakers rushing through the terminals, bags bouncing off her lower back as she breathlessly gave me instructions. Still, I half expected Patty to appear in the window as I squatted down and peered inside the house. It was hard to see with the bright sun glaring at my back, but I could make out the shadowy silhouette of the large island counter in the middle of the kitchen. Beyond that room, I remembered, was the living room, with doors and stairs leading to all the many nooks of the house. All empty now, waiting for me. A shiver curled from my spine up to my neck, unwinding inside me. Calm down, you idiot, I told myself. Not everything is a trap. Think positively, and positive things will come. *** Excerpt from One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski. Copyright © 2019 by Tara Laskowski. Reproduced with permission from Graydon House Books (Harlequin). All rights reserved.

 

~~~

Enter To Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harlequin and Tara Laskowski. There will be 1 winner of one (1) copy of One Night Gone (print). The giveaway begins on September 23, 2019 and runs through October 6, 2019. Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

#BookTour “One Night Gone” by Tara Laskowski

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowskion Tour September 23 – October 4, 2019

Synopsis:

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

“A subtly but relentlessly unsettling novel.” —TANA FRENCH, author of The Witch Elm

It was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

“A heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel of betrayal and revenge. Stunning!” —Carol Goodman, award-winning author of The Night Visitors

“Featuring a brilliantly executed dual timeline with two unforgettable narrators, One Night Gone is a timely and timeless mystery that will keep you obsessively reading well past your bedtime.” —Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery,Suspense

Published by: Graydon House Books (Harlequin)

Publication Date: October 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 352

ISBN: 1525832190 (ISBN13: 9781525832192)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

Opal Beach was about a two-hour drive without traffic from downtown Philadelphia. It was somewhere halfway between Ocean City and Atlantic City and way less touristy. The beach always reminded me of vacations as a kid, running barefoot on hot sand, creating lopsided sand castles with plastic buckets, breaking crab legs and sucking out the meat. But there was also a sense of slowing down, of taking it all in, and I needed that now. I could feel the air change, the way it clung, coated, opened everything up. Through the car windows, the Oc¬tober air was shockingly cold but also reviving. The salty air had always bothered my mother and sister, who complained it was too humid and their tongues felt strange, but I loved the way it worked its fingers into my hair and curled around the tendrils. It made me feel a little wild, a little different. Untamed. Like anything could happen. Was I really doing this? Was I really pressing on this pedal, steering, guiding these four wheels to a stranger’s beach house, where I would live for the next three months alone? It had all happened so fast. A blur, really. Annie’s friend Sharon, with that same nurse-like efficiency that Annie had, set it all up so quickly that I’d barely had time to adjust to the idea before it was actually happening. But I was used to life messing with me now, used to tripping over a curb or forgetting to eat breakfast or chipping a nail, waking up only to discover that everything I’d known to be true was suddenly different. So in some ways this journey, the picking up and leaving behind, felt like an emerging. Like Rockefeller, the hermit crab I’d bought on our family vacation one year at a boardwalk shack, I was crawling out of a dingy shell and moving into a shinier, larger home. (Unlike Rockefeller, though, I hoped I wouldn’t die from the soap residue that was left inside the new shell when someone tried to clean it too vigorously before setting him inside the cage.) I drove down a two-lane road just off the ocean, the main drag for all the beachfront houses. I could imagine that on a weekend in July it looked like a parking lot as families navigated in or out of town, canoes and coolers tied up on their roof racks. But now it was eerily vacant, and I had the sense I was the last woman on earth, that in my quiet drive alone the rest of humanity had vanished. I was trying to decide if that was a good thing or not when a giant orange Hummer zoomed into view behind me and passed without slowing down. “Well, so much for that. Asshole,” I said. The houses were dramatically large and looming, blocking what otherwise would’ve been a magnificent view. You could tell which ones were just rentals—the monstrosities with thirteen bedrooms and a six-car garage that five families could rent out at once. But further down the road, the houses had more style and character. The kind of places—lots of windows, big porches, nice landscaping—that would make your mouth water even without the lush ocean backdrop as icing on the cake. I slowed as my GPS indicated I was getting close, but even so I almost missed the tiny driveway and its faded, weather-beaten road sign declaring my new mailing address: Piper Sand Road. I had made it. The long gravel drive split off halfway up, with one side leading to the Worthington house and the other side to their neighbor’s. When I’d first met the Worthingtons for my “job interview” just a few weeks before, I’d been so nervous about the whole thing that I’d taken the wrong driveway and parked in the neighbor’s lot and stared at it for a good minute before realizing the house number was wrong. But now, pulling into the correct driveway slowly, it felt like an adventure movie soundtrack should be swelling. And our heroine finds her destiny. I could imagine Annie’s reaction when she finally saw the house in person. It was stunning. The surrounding homes were propped up on beams, like old ladies hitching up their skirts so they wouldn’t get wet in the surf, but that just gave the Worthingtons’ house an understated effect. It stood confident and modest between them, a beach gingerbread house right out of a fairy tale, with light blue curtains and sweeping eaves. I parked right at the porch steps and got out, wrapping my cardigan around me to stave off the whipping wind. The front porch was small but quaint, with two wooden rocking chairs and a small white table with flaking paint. I ran my palm along the back of one of the tall chairs, and it creaked from my touch. The chairs seemed to be more for decoration than sitting. Dolores, Sharon’s sister who lived in town, was supposed to be meeting me to hand over the keys. Yet it seemed I’d arrived first. I’d had to come one week sooner than planned, as Patty and John had been whisked away to her mysterious assignment in Eastern Europe a little earlier than expected. Patty had called me from the airport with the news. I’d pictured her in her white visor and tennis sneakers rushing through the terminals, bags bouncing off her lower back as she breathlessly gave me instructions. Still, I half expected Patty to appear in the window as I squatted down and peered inside the house. It was hard to see with the bright sun glaring at my back, but I could make out the shadowy silhouette of the large island counter in the middle of the kitchen. Beyond that room, I remembered, was the living room, with doors and stairs leading to all the many nooks of the house. All empty now, waiting for me. A shiver curled from my spine up to my neck, unwinding inside me. Calm down, you idiot, I told myself. Not everything is a trap. Think positively, and positive things will come. *** Excerpt from One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski. Copyright © 2019 by Tara Laskowski. Reproduced with permission from Graydon House Books (Harlequin). All rights reserved.

 

~~~

Author Bio:

TARA LASKOWSKI TARA LASKOWSKI is the award-winning author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, which was named a best book of 2017 by Jennifer Egan in The Guardian. She has had stories published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and the Norton anthology New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, among others. Her Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine story, “States of Matter,” was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2017 Best Small Fictions anthology, and her short story “The Case of the Vanishing Professor” is a finalist for the 2019 Agatha Award. Tara was the winner of the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project’s Literary Awards Prize, has been the editor of the popular online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010, and is a member of Sisters in Crime. She earned a BA in English with a minor in writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. Tara grew up in Pennsylvania and lives in Virginia. One Night Gone is her first novel.

Visit Tara at: TaraLaskowski.com, Goodreads, BookBub, @TaraLWrites, Instagram, & Facebook

~~~

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

Enter To Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harlequin and Tara Laskowski. There will be 1 winner of one (1) copy of One Night Gone (print). The giveaway begins on September 23, 2019 and runs through October 6, 2019. Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

#BlogBlitz “The Meaning of Life” by Robert Scollo

 photo The Meaning of Life_zpshcnzjlgl.jpg

Fiction, Suspense
Publisher: Xlibris
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
While change is in progress in James’ life, terrorists give just 48 hours to agree to their demands. Is it too late to stop them?
The Shaw family have experienced insurmountable tragedy in their lives culminating in the sons’ mother wasting away from cancer and the father committing suicide because he can’t bear life without her. Whilst the son James is undergoing counselling, he too is confronted by another death which leads him to examine the meaning of life, and in total despair, he attempts to take his own. Whilst building the courage to do so, he is visited by an entity who encourages him to help save the world, which is rapidly destroying itself though pollution, climate change, over-population, and war.
The boy agrees, and progressively encourages the world leaders to participate in this change, sometimes by force, but not before he has to thwart terrorists who attempt to disrupt the inaugural conference of the world leaders, and then threaten the United States with nuclear warheads they have stolen from a Russian facility, giving them 48 hours to agree to their demands. The chase is on as the FBI attempt to locate these terrorists before the warheads are detonated. They travel half the globe to find them, but is it too late?
 Excerpt
There is a hint of anger in the Russian president’s face, although James can’t read his
mind.
‘I don’t care whether you want to help or not. I don’t give a shit, but I’ll give you

three possibilities on how this will go down. I can make you a puppet so that you

appear a fool in front of everyone. I kill you now and encourage your replacement to help, or you do this willingly. Which is your pleasure?’
‘I’m not going to be made a fool of, and I’m not going to help you.’
‘Fine!’
The president opens the right-hand top drawer of his desk, finds nothing, and opens
the drawer below. He reaches inside, pulls out a PSM pistol, and holds it to his head. The president’s eyes widen. He can feel his index finger beginning to press the trigger.
‘Wait, stop,’ pleads the president.
James let the president rest the gun on his desk.
‘OK, I promise I will help you.’
‘I am completely baffled as to why you are totally against helping change the

world for the good of mankind. I understand that the majority of your people love and worship you, but everyone else hates your guts. Others think you’re an arrogant tyrant, a liar, and a lowlife. Wouldn’t you rather be remembered as the greatest saviour of the world? A leader with the foresight and the passion to help his fellow man? I don’t care whether you take credit for the contribution you will make in helping the world but as long as you do it for the right reasons and not take advantage or manipulate those who are vulnerable and are trying to help.’
‘Yes, I understand what you are saying.’
‘I hope I can believe you because we will have no further discussions. If you lie
to me again, I will not give you another chance to plead for forgiveness. You will cease to be. You may consider this a threat, but I call it giving advice. Agree willingly, contribute positively, participate completely, and help change the world, and humankind will live a long and peaceful life, including your family, for generations to come.’
‘I still don’t understand why you are doing this. What’s in it for you?’
‘Nothing, nothing at all. I’m not in this for fame or gratitude, and I don’t want to

be mentioned outside the group. I’ve had a happy life, but I’ve also experienced great sorrow, so much sorrow that I wanted to end my life. The majority of the people on this planet know nothing but sorrow and hardship until they die. On the other hand, very few of them enjoy wealth and power and sometimes greed to the detriment of the poor and the environment. But no more. I want those people like you, with wealth and power, to contribute and help everyone and everything on this planet for its long-term survival and happiness. You may think that I’m a fool, but I know what’s coming even though you don’t believe it. The destruction of this planet will not come in our lifetime, but it’s not that far away. In two, three, or maybe four generations, we will have contributed to our own destruction to the point where change will not make a difference. We need to start changing now before it’s too late.’
About the Author

 photo The Meaning of Life Author Robert Scollo_zps96ycsjbv.jpg

Robert Scollo lives in Melbourne, Australia, and has just turned sixty. The Meaning of Life is this first book, and he hopes that it inspires people to help one another.
The author says, “Frustration. We are constantly frustrated when we hear how badly we treat one another. We whine and complain. We turn our backs when people ask for help, or we ignore famine and prosecution, or we abuse the environment and leave it barren and toxic, or we slaughter animals to extinction, but no one does anything about it because we’re a single voice in the wilderness. Apart from one impossible thing occurring in this novel, everything else is achievable. We just need enough of the right people to listen.”
Robert hopes that more people than not will enjoy the book, and if they do, the main character James will return in a second novel.
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