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Book Review: Frazier, the Very Special Cat by Faye Rapoport DesPres

Frazier, the Very Special Cat is a sweet, heart-warming story for young children! It teaches love for animals, counting, the senses, and encourages discussion and problem-solving.

Frazier is a stray blond tabby not doing very well on his own, but things get worse when he gets hurt. Fortunately, the author is able to trap him and bring him to the vet. Now, all he needs is a permanent happy home…but who will want to take a chance on a one-eyed cat? Not to despair, for a fully happy ending awaits this sweet kitty!

Frazier, the Very Special Cat is Book 3 in the Stray Cat Stories series, and it is the perfect tale to read at bedtime or discuss with an adult in a home or school environment. The rhythm and repetition make it a fun read-aloud picture book. A charming addition to any child’s cat bookshelf!

The book is available in Kindle, paperback and hardcover. Find out more and get your copy on Amazon


Faye Rapoport DesPres is the author of the memoir-in-essays Message From a Blue Jay (Buddhapuss Ink, 2014) and the Stray Cat Stories Children’s Books Series (Writer’s Coffee Bar Press). She earned her MFA at the Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College and has published creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry in a variety of literary journals. A life-long advocate for animals, wildlife, and the environment, Faye donates a portion of the proceeds from her children’s books to non-profit animal rescue organizations. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jean-Paul Des Pres, and their rescued cats.

Connect with Faye on the Web: 

Twitter: @FayeRapoDesPres

Instagram: FayeInBoston


Follow the author on Amazon and receive updates of her new books in this series. 

Meet Frazier from Faye Rapoport DesPres’ Children’s Book, ‘Frazier: The Very Special Cat’

We’re thrilled to have here today Frazier from Faye Rapoport DesPres’ new children’s book, Frazier: The Very Special Cat.  Frazier is a former stray cat of unknown age who lives in Massachusetts.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Frazier.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I think Faye did a pretty good job telling my story. Maybe the only thing I’d want my readers to know is that I am definitely the King of my castle, a condo in Massachusetts. I have a great human mom and now two feline siblings, but I’m the boss.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I think I am portrayed just as I really am — sweet, brave, and lovable.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I know what I want, and I get it. After all, I’m a cat — it goes without saying that I should get what I want. But I do give lots of love back in return.

Worse trait?

Cats can have bad traits? That’s news to me.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Brad Pitt.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

No, but I have a sister I love a lot. Her name is Snow White (though she’s called Opal by our human mom now).

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I was nervous when I lived outside. It was hard finding enough food and water, and I got into a lot of fights. I never felt safe or like I could really rest. I had no idea how my story would turn out, and things were getting bleaker by the day, especially after I got injured. Thankfully a human or two stepped in and brought me inside and to a doctor. That was the beginning of a whole new life for me.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

That’s a hard question. I guess I wouldn’t want to be the veterinarian, because I might have tried to scratch him once or twice in real life before I realized he was trying to help me. Faye doesn’t mention that in the book!

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Let’s just say I’m very happy about the ending.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Call my agent.

Thank you for this interview, Frazier.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I’m here lounging on the bed if anyone wants to see me.


Frazier: The Very Special Cat is the third book in the Stray Cat Stories children’s book series. It tells the heartwarming story of a big orange tom cat who needed help and the humans who came to his rescue. The book, which is based on a true story and features colorful, charming illustrations by Laurel McKinstry Petersen, teaches children about compassion for stray animals and ways they can help. It also includes a message about being different and still being happy and loved. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of books in the Stray Cat Stories Series is donated to non-profit animal rescue organizations.

Find out more on Amazon

An Excerpt from Rosemary and Larry Mild’s Mystery ‘Death Rules the Night’

Publisher: Magic Island Literary Works
Find out more HERE.

About the Book:

In Death Rules the Night, the fourth Dan and Rivka Sherman mystery, Rosemary and Larry Mild deliver a smart, suspenseful tale that will keep readers spellbound.

About Death Rules the Night: Reluctant sleuths Dan and Rivka yearn for a tranquil life as owners of The Olde Victorian Bookstore in Annapolis, Maryland. When copies of a tell-all book on the prominent Atkins family go missing from the bookstore, from all the local libraries, and even from the author’s bookshelves, Dan wants to know why. But the price of “why” brings threats, stalking, break-ins—and a brutal murder. He and Rivka fear for their lives.

The Atkins family secrets are weaving a sinister web. Tom Dwyer, a retired truck driver, is ready to confess to a crime that he and Frank Mulhaney, another driver, committed twenty years ago. Frank plots revenge on Tom. Bookstore clerk Ivy hears ugly gossip aimed at derailing her wedding. Will the family secrets finally see the light of day? And will the killer ever be caught?

Death Rules the Night is a tightly woven, cleverly plotted tale with an irresistible cast of characters—including Lord Byron, the wily bookstore cat who springs his own surprise.

About the Authors:

ROSEMARY AND LARRY MILD, cheerful partners in crime, coauthor mystery, suspense, and fantasy fiction.  Rosemary and Larry have published award-winning novels, short stories, and essays. They co-authored the popular Paco and Molly Mystery Series; Hawaii adventure/thrillers Cry Ohana and Honolulu Heat; and three volumes of short stories, many of which appear in anthologies. After forty-plus years in Maryland, the Milds currently make their home in Honolulu, where they cherish time with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. 

ROSEMARY, a graduate of Smith College and former assistant editor of Harper’s, also delves into her own nonfiction life. She published two memoirs: Love! Laugh! Panic! Life With My Mother and the acclaimed Miriam’s World—and Mine, for the beloved daughter they lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. On her lighter side, Rosemary also writes award-winning humorous essays, such as failing the test to get on Jeopardy; and working for a giant free-spending corporation on a sudden budget: “No new pencil unless you turn in the old stub.”  

LARRY, who was only called Lawrence when he’d done something wrong, graduated from American University in Information Systems Management. In 2019 he published his autobiography, No Place To Be But Here: My Life and Times, which traces his thirty-eight-year professional engineering career from its beginning as an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy, to a field engineer riding Navy ships, to a digital systems/instrument designer for major Government contractors in the signal analysis field, to where he rose to the most senior level of principal engineer when he retired in 1993.

Making use of his past creativity and problem-solving abilities, Larry naturally drifted into the realm of mystery writing, where he also claims to be more devious than his partner in crime and best love, Rosemary. So he conjures up their plots and writes the first drafts, leaving Rosemary to breathe life into their characters and sizzle into their scenes. A perfect marriage of their talents.

THE MILDS are active members of Sisters in Crime where Larry is a Mister in Crime; Mystery Writers of America; and Hawaii Fiction Writers. In 2013 they waved goodbye to Severna Park, Maryland and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they cherish quality time with their daughters and grandchildren. When Honolulu hosted Left Coast Crime in 2017, Rosemary and Larry were the program co-chairs for “Honolulu Havoc.”

Over a dozen worldwide trips to Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Great Britain, France, Italy, Israel, Egypt, and more have wormed their way into their amazing stories. In their limited spare time, they are active members of the Honolulu Jewish Film Festival committee, where Larry is the statistician and recordkeeper for their film ratings.  

Connect with the authors on the web:

Brother and Sister from Death Rules the Night by Rosemary and Larry Mild

Cora drove her bright green Mercedes SL Class convertible up to the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel entrance and turned the car over to a young, good-looking valet parker, who tried unsuccessfully to flirt with her. Inside the lobby, she ignored the reception desk and headed straight for the elevator. Dressed in a navy business suit, she made her way directly to room 233. She knocked rapidly four times and waited.

“Who’s there?” a deep male voice answered. 

“Your sister.” 

Muddy opened the door and blinked twice. “What the hell are you doing here?” 

“That’s no way to greet your sister. Aren’t you going to invite me in?” 

“Sister schmister. What the hell are you up to? You’re not one to make social calls, especially not to me. Out with it, woman. You must want something from me.” 

“Of course not, dear brother. It’s just that I hadn’t heard from you in several days, and I wanted to thank you for handling the movers at the old house. It sure made our lives a lot easier on moving day. At first, I wondered why you volunteered, but then I realized that you were just being nice.” 

“Meaning you thought I was acting out of character?” he asked. His sarcastic tone was not missed. 

“Don’t get me wrong, Muddy. Motive aside, you were appreciated. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to come in and sit down.” 

“Of course, my manners seem to be malfunctioning today.” His hand swept through a healthy arc, showing her the way in. 

Cora took a seat in front of the wide glass sliding doors. The expanse revealed a view of the Annapolis City Dock and its famous Ego Alley, a tiny harbor inlet where boat owners paraded their floating prides and joys during the summer season. Muddy sat down on the bed opposite her and tried to analyze her real reason for coming. 

“Yeah, I was just being nice.” He sounded as though even he wasn’t convinced of his own generosity. Her gratitude didn’t sound right to him. She hasn’t any idea that I really needed time in the empty house to seal off the secret room from the new owners. 

“Muddy, I know you were opposed to Rae selling the house, but Daddy left it to her, and she should be free to do with it as she pleases. I believe she sold it for money to support her writing career.” 

“Rae should’ve asked each of us whether we wanted to buy it beforehand,” he complained. “She never asked me. That’s why I’m so pissed at her.” The old buzzard could have left something for his only son. The house would have been nice—even a partnership, so I could have blocked any sale. 

“I didn’t know you wanted to buy the house,” said Cora. “Were you able to save that much dough serving in the Merchant Marines all this time?” The Merchant Marines pays well, but not that well, she thought. 

“No, but one of you sisters might have wanted to keep it—maybe turn it into a bed and breakfast or something.” He admitted to himself, No way I could have saved that much, even if I’d behaved and avoided spending the lion’s share on whisky, waste, and whores. 

“I have no interest in that sort of thing,” said Cora, “and Gloria certainly couldn’t handle a project like that. No, Rae did the right thing in selling it. There are far too many rooms to clean and take care of without maintaining an expensive household staff.” 

“But our house has been in the family since colonial times,” Muddy protested, “and I don’t want to see strangers living in it.” Ordinarily, I wouldn’t give a crap. 

“I didn’t know you felt that way,” she said. “You’ve never taken any interest in the family history before.” The sonofabitch is lying. What’s his motive? 

“There’re a lot of things you don’t know about me,” declared Muddy. 

“I’m sure there are, but one thing is nagging at me.” 

“What’s that?” 

“Why are you so suddenly interested in Daddy’s book?” 

“Who says I am?” 

“It’s kind of obvious. I hear you’ve been following Dan Sherman, that bookseller, all over the place ever since he borrowed Daddy’s manuscript from Rae.” 

“Damn it. You’ve been talking to that Sherman guy, haven’t you?” 

“Maybe,” she admitted. “But why are you following him around otherwise?” 

“That’s my business—and you’d better stay out of it if you know what’s good for you.” He hadn’t meant to voice an ugly threat; it just spilled out. 

“What are you trying to hide, little brother?” Now I’ve got him, she thought. 

“That also is my business, not yours.” The bitch is getting too close. 

“I’ll bet dollars to donuts it has something to do with the house. Doesn’t it, Muddy dear?” 

“You’re all wrong, Cora. You couldn’t be more wrong.” Too damn close. 

“Ah! Perhaps you protest way too much, little brother.” 

“Now you’re getting much too obnoxious, I think you ought to leave.” 

“Why, Muddy? Am I getting too close to the truth?” 

“You wouldn’t know the truth if you stepped in it. Now get the hell out of here before I throw you out.” 

Cora stood and walked toward the door. As she passed him, he reached out and pinched her hard on the rump. It was his way of curbing his frustration—a way of having the last word. She spun around and slapped him—a stinging blow across the face in one swinging action. Stunned for only a few seconds, he returned an even stronger slap. She ran out the door in tears, the left side of her face wearing a red mark half the size of his hand. It smarted now, but later, it would turn sore, black and blue. She had failed to get Muddy to admit to anything, but she thought she knew what he might be hiding.

Character Interview: Kate Hamilton from Connie Berry’s traditional mystery ‘The Art of Betrayal’

We’re thrilled to have here today Kate Hamilton from Connie Berry’s new traditional mystery The Art of Betrayal.  Kate is an antiques dealer and appraiser, in her mid-forties, living currently in the village of Long Barston in Suffolk, England.

It is a pleasure to have Kate Hamilton with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Kate. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

KATE: There is the small matter of my age. I’m either 45 or 46, a detail my author has never pinned down. I suspect it’s because she’s neglected to give me a birthday, which I consider unfair and unfeeling. I love parties. And cake.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

KATE: I must admit Connie knows me pretty well. After all, she and I share a lot in common. We were both born into southern Wisconsin’s Norwegian-Danish community, and we both grew up in the high-end antiques trade. We had fathers we loved and were blessed with intelligent, wise mothers, who’ve been both our trusted confidants and advisors. Both of us are curious by nature, and we’ll often go to great lengths to straighten out mysteries and illogicalities. As you might imagine, that sometimes gets us into trouble.

Early on in our relationship, Connie subjected me to an Enneagram test. Not surprisingly, I turned out to be an Investigator, which is the role I’ve been playing recently. I came to England to visit my daughter last Christmas (she’s a student at Magdalen College, Oxford), and I ended up solving a series of deaths connected with an Anglo-Saxon treasure trove dug up on the estate of Finchley Hall, a crumbling Elizabethan stately home owned by Lady Barbara Finchley-fforde. According to my Enneagram, I’m alert, insightful, and curious. I need to understand why things are the way they are, so I ask questions and test assumptions. I’m reluctant to rely on the opinions and ideas of others. At my best, I notice details and patterns others miss. At my worst, I can become scattered and fearful.

At the moment, I’m running an antiquities shop on Long Barston’s High Street while the owner, my friend Ivor Tweedy, recovers from bilateral hip-replacement surgery. I think Connie has done a good job of describing the affection I feel for this small village in rural Suffolk—and for the people I’ve come to care about.

With that said, however, I do feel Connie sometimes shares more of my private thoughts than I’d like—my relationship with Detective Inspector Tom Mallory, for example. We met almost a year ago on a snowy road in the Scottish Hebrides. I suspect Connie’s readers knew I was in love with him before I did. Is that fair?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

KATE: Detective Inspector Mallory might tell you my strength is noticing details others miss and seeing patterns in seemingly unrelated facts. But I’d say my strongest trait is loyalty. The reason I get involved in solving murders isn’t (as some suspect) because I make a habit of stumbling over bodies, but because I can’t sit by and allow people I care about to be hurt. In Scotland I got involved in a bizarre murder case because my late husband’s best childhood friend was falsely accused. Last Christmas when a young museum curator was found dead in a lake in Finchley Park, Lady Barbara Finchley-fforde asked me to clear the name of the initial suspect, her missing son. At the moment, I’m looking into the death of a reclusive widow who came into Ivor’s shop to consign a Chinese pottery jar from the Han-dynasty tombs of Imperial China. Ivor’s reputation is at stake, not to speak of his bank account. The jar has gone missing, and insurance won’t pay.

Worst trait?

KATE: As much as I hate to admit it, my worst trait is nosiness. What can I say—I’m an Investigator. When things don’t make sense, I simply have to find out what’s really going on. That gets me in trouble when I’m caught snooping or when I ask the wrong person the right question.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

KATE: What an interesting question! My choice would be Carey Milligan, although she’s twenty years younger than I am, and we don’t look much alike. I don’t have her adorable dimples, for one thing. And she usually lightens her hair, so I’d have to insist the producers dye her hair dark brown and give her blue contact lenses. Carey and I are about the same height—5’ 7”—but I admit to having a little more weight on my frame than she does. What I like most about Carey is her energy, wit, and vulnerability. She’s a versatile actress, known for costume dramas. I loved her as Edith Pretty in The Dig and as Daisy in The Great Gatsby, so she can play a range of ages. She does a brilliant American accent, too.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

KATE: At last I can say without hesitation that I do. When Detective Inspector Tom Mallory and I first met on Scotland’s Isle of Glenroth, I thought he looked like a monk—all right, a dishy monk. It took me some time to let my guard down enough to find out if I really liked him. I don’t risk my heart easily. This is no doubt traceable to my history of losing people I love. I lost my brother Matt, my hero, when he was eleven and I was five. He was a Down Syndrome child and suffered from congenital heart problems. When I was seventeen, my beloved father was killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve. Three years ago, my first husband, Bill, a Scottish transplant to the U. S., died in a boating incident, leaving me with two teenagers to raise.

Tom gradually worked his way into my heart—which is a problem. Of all the eligible men in the world, why did I have to fall in love with a man who lives on the other side of a great big ocean? Will we ever solve the problem of two careers on two very different continents? I can’t say. For now, though, I’m enjoying spending as much time with him as I can.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

KATE: Without giving away any spoilers, I’d have to say about mid-way through the book. None of my so-called theories had panned out. The only clues I had made no sense. A young woman showed up on my doorstep in the pouring rain, pleading for my help. The National Trust’s decision to take on Finchley Hall was delayed, putting my friend Lady Barbara in a financial bind. Ivor’s recovery from hip surgery hit a brick wall. And to cap everything else off, Tom’s mother Liz (definitely not my fan) produced a gorgeous blonde, the spitting image of his dead wife. Since throwing in the towel wasn’t an option, I had no choice but to persevere.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

KATE: I wouldn’t trade places with anyone right now. Even if Tom and I don’t know where we’re going, I’m sticking around to find out. If I had to choose someone I definitely would not want to be, however, my answer would be Professor Markham, a retired university lecturer who’s writing a scholarly volume on the history of East Anglia before the Norman Invasion. Ivor sold him a translation of The Little Domesday Book, part of the so-called “Great Survey,” a census record of men, land, and property ordered in 1085-86by William the Conqueror. I delivered the volume to the professor and realized he paid for the book with money that should have gone for things like food. Professor Markham lives in the Essex village of Hatfield Broad Oak, in a demi-detached row house stuffed with mismatched furniture, lamps with exposed wiring, tottering piles of scholarly journals and magazines, and an ill-tempered gray cat who took an instant dislike to me. Professor Markham lives in the past. Literally. On his desk is a circular file of Anglo-Saxon and Early Norman names—the equivalent of an eleventh-century Rolodex. These long-dead people are his closest companions. I love history, too, but I don’t want to live there.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

KATE: I like a happy ending where justice is served and all the loose ends are tied up. The world should be a place where truth and goodness triumph and evil is shown up for what it is. In the real world, that doesn’t always happen. But in the world of fiction, where I live, it can and often does. Exactly how is Connie’s problem. I was just happy to be of assistance. For now, the ending of The Art of Betrayal is my secret. To find out, you’ll have to read the book.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

KATE: Please, just give me a birthday! Everyone deserves a birthday—even fictional characters. And—oh, yes—please, no high towers or slick rooftops next time. And definitely no spiders.

Thank you for this interview, Kate Hamilton.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

KATE: You will. Connie is just finishing up a new adventure to be titled The Burden of Memory, which will be released sometime in 2022. A few surprises are in the works. That’s all I’m allowed to say.

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit Beyond the Books! I had a great time and look forward to being with you again sometime.

Connie Berry is the author of the Kate Hamilton Mysteries, set in the UK and featuring an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. Like her protagonist, Connie was raised by antiques dealers who instilled in her a passion for history, fine art, and travel. During college she studied at the University of Freiburg in Germany and St. Clare’s College, Oxford, where she fell under the spell of the British Isles. In 2019 Connie won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery and was a finalist for the Agatha Award’s Best Debut. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and is on the board of the Guppies and her local Sisters in Crime chapter. Besides reading and writing mysteries, Connie loves history, foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Emmie. You can learn more about Connie and her writing at her website

American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is spending the month of May in the Suffolk village of Long Barston, tending her friend Ivor Tweedy’s antiquities shop while he recovers from hip surgery. Kate is thrilled when a reclusive widow consigns an ancient Chinese jar—until the Chinese jar is stolen and a body turns up in the middle of the May Fair. With no insurance covering the loss, Tweedy may be ruined. As DI Tom Mallory searches for the victim’s missing daughter, Kate notices puzzling connections with a well-known local legend. This fiendishly complex case pits Kate against the murky depths of Anglo-Saxon history, the spring floods, a house with a tragic history, and a clever killer with an old secret. It’s up to Kate to unravel a Celtic knot of lies and betrayal. You can find The Art of Betrayal wherever good books are sold.

Amazon: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery: Berry, Connie: 9781643855943: Books

Indiebound: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery |

Character Interview: Kate Medina from Amy Rivers’ psychological suspense novel ‘Complicit’

We’re thrilled to have here today Kate Medina from Amy Rivers’ new psychological suspense, Complicit.  Kate is a 36-year old high school psychologist living in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Kate.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I’m not going to lie. When I first read the book, I was frustrated with how obnoxious I sounded. I was going through a lot and I think the author could be have been kinder—shown me in a more favorable light. But as I thought about it, my training took over and I realized that my behavior was pretty normal. I was grieving and recovering from trauma. No one is at their best under those circumstances, and I guess I’m no exception. It’s just a little hard to swallow at first, you know?

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

She knows me pretty well. It’s not always easy to see what she writes about me, but once I get over being mad, I usually realize she’s right. And it’s probably a good thing for readers to see that every reacts differently and no one makes the right decision every time.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m determined—some might even say stubborn. Roman would say pig-headed…but back to determination. Up until my mom died, I’d been pretty focused. Anything I wanted to do, I did. Moving back home was a hiccup—I lost myself a bit. And I was a little bit afraid that I wasn’t going to get that back, but those kinds of traits are pretty deeply engrained. Thankfully, I’m feeling strong again. What’s going on in town is wrong, and I’m not going to stop until the trafficking ring is fully exposed.

Worse trait?

One irritating thing I’ve learned lately is that I am an avoider. I’ve always thought that putting things behind me was a strength, but I realize that I’ve been avoiding dealing with so many things. It almost cost me my relationship with my sister. And Roman. Seems like everyone in my family uses avoidance as a coping mechanism.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I’d love Gina Rodriguez to play me! She’s such a strong, beautiful Latina woman. If my story was ever made into a movie, I would just like to see someone play me (and my sister Tilly) who will be a good role model for girls. Someone we might have looked up to when we were younger.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Um. *blushes* Yes. I have never been a romantic. I’ve always been too focused on my professional life to care much about dating. But being back in town, back in contact with Roman…well, it really turned my world upside down. It’s still a little surreal to think that we went from barely being able to being around each other to…well, where we are now.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When wasn’t I nervous about the way it was going to turn out? I’m still worried about the way things will turn out. Staying in Alamogordo to do what needs to be done to stop the abuse is terrifying. These guys know who I am. They know where to find me. The only thing I’m sure about is that I have to do this, no matter what happens to me.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I hope she’s not reading this….definitely Tilly. I’ve always envied her freedom, but I never really knew her story. What happened to her. I’m so grateful that we’re working on patching up our relationship, but honestly, I wouldn’t want to spend any time living her life with the memories she has.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

The ending is full of both satisfaction and frustration. There is so much work to do to fix the problems we’ve uncovered. And, of course, the trafficking ring isn’t the end. Sexual assault and interpersonal violence are so prevalent, even in small towns like mine. I never thought this particular type of violence would become a calling, but I can’t see myself doing anything else but fighting for these girls and for an end to the violence and degradation.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Ha! She’d better be writing another book with me in it. My story is not anywhere near finished. But I would suggest that she give everyone else’s love life some attention and let Roman and I have some privacy.

Thank you for this interview, Kate.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

You’d better believe it! And let me say this to whoever is running the trafficking ring. You may be laying low, but I won’t let you stay in the shadows for long.


Amy Rivers writes novels, short stories and personal essays. She is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her novel All The Broken People was recently selected as the Colorado Author Project winner in the adult fiction category. She’s been published in We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor, Flash! A Celebration of Short Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, and Splice Today, as well as Novelty Bride Magazine and She was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about.

About the Book

Kate Medina had been working as a forensic psychologist and loving every minute until a violent attack left her shaken to the core. She’s retreated to her hometown where it’s safe, accepting a job where the prospect of violence is slim to none. As a high school psychologist, Kate tends to the emotional needs of the youth. It’s not the career she envisioned

Five years later, a student disappears, leaving the school in crisis. Roman Aguilar, the lead detective, reaches out to Kate for assistance. Kate’s position at the school and her training make her an ideal ally, but her complicated relationship with Roman puts them at odds. 

When the girl’s body is found, changing the focus of the investigation to homicide, Kate finds herself in the middle of a situation she never anticipated. What started as her desire to help puts Kate directly in the crosshairs of an enemy who remains largely in shadow. As her past and present collide, Kate is dragged into the middle of a dangerous game where only one thing is clear—no one can be trusted. 

Talking Craft with Thriller Author Amy Rivers

The Dark Phantom Review

Amy Rivers writes novels, short stories and personal essays. She is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her novel All The Broken People was recently selected as the Colorado Author Project winner in the adult fiction category. She’s been published in We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor, Flash! A Celebration of Short Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, and Splice Today, as well as Novelty Bride Magazine and She was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about. Visit her at


Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Complicit. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

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Book Review: ‘River Aria’ by Joan Schweighardt

From the pen of talented historical novelist Joan Schweighardt comes another well-crafted, meticulously researched story about family, community, immigration, oppression, the environment, and having to face the consequences of one’s actions.

It’s 1928 and the Great Depression is looming around the corner when two impoverish but talented mixed-raced—Amerindian and European—Brazilian immigrant cousins travel to NYC to find a better life and fulfill their dreams. Estela, a singer of arias and a product of the Teatro Amazonas during the time of the rubber boom, has a beautiful voice and dreams of becoming a famous opera singer; Jojo is a fisherman and a gifted artist. As a start, Estela is offered a seamstress position at the Metropolitan Opera House while Jojo is offered a scholarship at an art school. Will they achieve their dreams against all obstacles? If yes, at what price?

River Aria is the third installment in this author’s series and is focused on the next generation of the family featured in the first book. There is so much I enjoyed about this novel! The worlds of art and music in 1920s NYC come together engrossingly. The multifaceted, original characters—you don’t often read stories about indigenous people from Brazil—and their struggles to find purpose and meaning in a complex, ruthless city that is a character all on its own, kept me riveted. Parentage and identity are big themes with both Estela and Jojo as they struggle with their origins and how it affects their lives. Having read other books by Schweighardt, I’ve become familiar with her literary prose. She always strives for depth, and she pays great attention to detail.

The author visited the rainforest, as well as Manaus, the Amazon, and Rio Negro as part of her research, and considering the authentic feel of the plot and characters, I’m not surprised. In spite of this, however, the writing doesn’t get too heavy-handed, which is sometimes a problem in this type of book. I particularly recommend River Aria to historical fiction fans who have a special interest in the rubber boom that took place in Brazil in the early 1900s and how it affected the fishing villages and the indigenous people living there.

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Picture Book Review: Five Funny Tummy Men, by Jean Reed

Why does your tummy ache? Why does it make noises? What happens in your stomach after you eat? Why should you eat slowly?

In this educational picture book, the author answers these questions and more, describing the “five tummy men” that inhabit our stomachs and their specific jobs:

Mr. Boss, the one in charge

Mr. Swallow, catcher of food

Mr. Grinder, most happy when you chew well

Mr. Piler, sorter of nutrients into piles for different parts of your body

Mr. Deliveryman, carrier of piles to your body

FIVE FUNNY TUMMY MEN encourages dialogue between children and adults, making it a good resource for class or homeschooling discussions. Children are told to eat healthy and chew well and not snack a lot between meals, and in a simple, clear and friendly manner this cute little book explains exactly why. Recommend for readers 4-8. A multicultural edition of the book is also available.

Available at Amazon and B&N

Multicultural edition on B&N

Meet Historical Novelist Joan Schweighardt

As The Pages Turn

Joan Schweighardt is the author of River Aria , which is both a standalone novel and the third book in a trilogy, as well as other novels, nonfiction titles, and children’s books. She is also a freelance writer and ghostwriter.

As long as you are willing to bend a little…it is possible to make a living doing what you love.

Q: What’s inside the mind of a historical fiction author?

A: I wrote contemporary fiction for several years before I began to write historical. Historical novels are generally bigger projects, because they require so much research. If there is a fire in the year 1908 in the town of Hoboken, NJ—as was the case in my historical novel Before We Died—would it have been responded to by horse-drawn fire wagons or motorized fire engines? Both were operational in 1908, but which would have been used in Hoboken?…

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New Book: ‘Somebody Else’s Troubles,’ by J.A. English

An inventive, intriguing, and extraordinarily thought-provoking tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles centers on a titillating question: who among us hasn’t dreamed of walking to the corner store and simply disappearing?

About Somebody Else’s Troubles:  Ohio businessman Travers Landeman has plenty of troubles. Between a marriage that is loveless at best, a hateful, greedy, self-consumed wife, and a family business changing in unexpected and unwelcome ways, Travers copes in the best way he knows how: by making a conscious effort not to think.  But when his teenage nephew, Matthew Calkins, reaches out to him for help, Travers turns away. When his inaction causes unspeakable guilt, Travers fakes his death on the Caribbean Island of Mabuhay, an act that sets into motion a most unusual series of events—events that will bond together a most unusual cadre of people.

Years pass and it appears that Travers, now settled in to a new life with a new family and a new name, has gotten away with it.  Or has he?

The Atlantis Fidelity Insurance Company hires Albert Sydney McNab to bring Travers back to Ohio. But McNab, a bumbling, sore-footed, ne’er-do-well with a litany of failed careers—waiter, bus driver, door-to-door salesman—is surprisingly somehow hot on Travers’ trail.

Chicago bookseller Joe Rogers leads a group of amateur archaeologists to Mabuhay. Dealt a fistful of trouble when he acquired Chicago’s oldest bookstore, The Yellow Harp, Joe Rogers has a penchant for vodka, an abject ineptitude for following orders, and an abundance of useless knowledge. But at a dig site in Mabuhay, Rogers discovers an ancient treasure—a jeweled mask. Will Joe, who has his own axe to grind with Atlantis Fidelity Insurance, step off the sidelines and get back in the game?

Esmerelda McNab, United Nations Ambassador of the UN’s newest member nation, the Commonwealth of Mabuhay, has her own set of troubles—protestors who denounce her part in the sale of the mask that Joe Rogers discovered as “cultural genocide.”

Do love, peace, and redemption even exist on Mabuhay?  Or are somebody else’s troubles just that?

A brilliantly-rendered tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles takes readers on an unforgettable journey spanning from the streets of Chicago’s gritty Austin neighborhood to the remote island paradise of Mabuhay.  Resplendent with richly-drawn characters that spring to life in the novel’s pages, Somebody Else’s Troubles is peppered with wit and subtle humor. Novelist J.A. English delivers a clever, captivating, smart, seamless story replete with fascinating historical detail and literary allusion.   A beautifully written literary novel about escape and inertia, action and inaction, faith and doubt, and finding home—and hope—in the unlikeliest of places, Somebody Else’s Troubles is destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

About the author:

A proud native of Paterson, New Jersey, J.A. English came of age in Mexico City, Mexico. He received his B. A. cum laude from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and an M. A. from Rice University in Houston, Texas. English is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He has lived for a half century in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, where he still maintains a residence, but now spends much of his time in Sosua, Dominican Republic. English is a widely-published writer whose works have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader and Co-Existence, the literary journal which featured the works of Henry Miller.  Visit J.A. English online at:

Find out more on Amazon

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