Monday, November 14, 2016

NEW FALL 2016 RELEASE - Into The Mist by Lynn Emery Book 4: LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series


Topics: Faith, Supernatural forces, Family loyalty, Redemption, Creole and Cajun Culture
 
Children are missing in ever increasing numbers. LaShaun Rousselle and Deputy Chase Broussard have to make sure their child isn’t next. After a series of gruesome murders, LaShaun has to answer one critical question to stop the bloodbath: are the children victims or weapons?

LaShaun Rousselle finds herself and her young family at the center of a devious and deadly series of crimes once more. A girl goes missing, bad enough. Yet when LaShaun follows the threads, she discovers the six year old is only one of many. What’s the connection to a string of attempts to get at LaShaun’s own child, Joëlle? She must help sort through the facts and evidence to convince level-headed law officers that supernatural forces are at work. Her life and the lives of those she cherish depend on LaShaun making a way out of no way.

LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series - A Darker Shade of Midnight is the first book in the LaShaun Rousselle paranormal mystery series. The second book is Between Dusk and Dawn. The third book is Only By Moonlight. Into The Mist is the fourth title in the LaShaun Rousselle mystery series.

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A DARKER SHADE OF MIDNIGHT - BOOK REVIEW
Book Review Written by Beverly Jackson VINE VOICE 

In A Darker Shade of Midnight by Lynn Emery, LaShaun Rousselle is returning home to Vermillion Parish,
Louisiana because her grandmother is dying. Shortly after crossing the county line, LaShaun finds herself sitting in the sheriff's station wondering what bogus charges warranted her being detained. Yes, she has a scandalous past that caused her to leave home ten years ago, but that is the past. When the sheriff department finds nothing but a broken taillight, feisty LaShaun cannot help shaking up the sheriff and the department by issuing them a challenge, knowing some fear her voodoo powers. With that settled, LaShaun is looking forward to making peace with her grandmother, Monmon Odette, and catching up with family. Unfortunately, life will be anything but peaceful for LaShaun - greedy relatives, a sadistic ex-lover, an attraction to a deputy, an evil force and murder all come into her life. Fearing that mayhem and evil are a curse she cannot overcome, LaShaun starts to despair that she should not have returned home. Will LaShaun be able to trust her psychic powers, and accept help from unexpected sources, or will the demon win this round for her soul?

A Darker Shade of Midnight is a tale of revenge, deceit, betrayal and political corruption. This combination makes for a juicy murder and the plot serves up several victims. Drama of the family fighting among themselves adds another layer of tension and intrigue to a plot with all kinds of twists. Emery is known for her love of
Louisiana, a setting she vividly brings to life in this story. I enjoyed how the paranormal elements were skillfully woven into the storyline with grace and ease, being a natural part of the locale.

LaShaun is an alpha female who fights back at the least challenge, but over the course of the story she learns to accept who she is and how to accept genuine help. It is a nice touch to see her interact with the sexy deputy, Chase Broussard, as the attraction between them allows the reader a respite from all of the mayhem in the story. While fans of the author will love visiting with old friends and new readers will be entertained by the characters, they might be slightly confused by references to previously mentioned events.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy paranormal mysteries and fans of Lynn Emery. A good read for a summer night, as the forces of good and evil battle with each other.

This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Reviewed by
Beverly, APOOO Literary Book Review

EXCERPT FROM BOOK 1: A DARKER SHADE OF MIDNIGHT

LaShaun went to her. She kissed the hand that had guided her through childhood. Now the knuckles were knotted, the tapered fingers weakened by arthritis. Yet, the skin appeared strangely smooth. 

“Bon soir, Monmon. You should be in bed.” LaShaun kissed her forehead. She breathed in the familiar scent of Cashmere Bouquet. The fragrance of lavender and chamomile came from another era.

“So, you finally come home. To watch me die, eh?” Monmon Odette patted LaShaun’s cheek.

“To celebrate your life, sweet mother,” LaShaun whispered. A tear slipped down her face. No need to make pointless protestations otherwise. They both knew Monmon Odette’s time on earth was growing shorter. 

Monmon Odette shushed away her sadness with a soft hiss. She produced a scented lace handkerchief from the pocket of her robe and dabbed away the tear. LaShaun sat on the floor and rested her head in Monmon Odette’s lap.

“Don’t grieve just yet,
Cher . The blood is still runnin’ warm in these old veins. I’ve got just enough time left I think.” 

“Time for what?” LaShaun toyed with the hem of her grandmother’s cotton gingham robe. 

“You’ll know soon enough. But tonight you need rest after a long journey. You’ve come back home through time and space I think,” Monmon Odette murmured.

LaShaun looked up at her. “Has anything changed here?” 

Monmon Odette patted her shoulder as a signal she wanted to stand. With a short grunt from the effort, and a hand from LaShaun, she rose from the chair. Monmon Odette held LaShaun’s arm as they walked down the hallway to her bedroom.

“Some things are eternal. The movement of the wind, the heat on the bayou when summer comes. All that is the same.”

“The land stays the same if people don’t ruin it. Like they ruin a lot of things,” LaShaun said softly.

“Human nature doesn’t change either,
Cher .” Monmon stopped and gave LaShaun a sideways glance. “The same deadly sins rule a man’s nature.”

“And women,” LaShaun added raising an eyebrow back at her. 

Monmon Odette laughed and started walking again. “True. But age does make a difference. When you get to be old you look at things differently.”

They arrived at the door to her grandmother’s bedroom. As they entered, LaShaun let her go in first. Then she fluffed the down pillows as her grandmother sank onto the bed. LaShaun helped her remove the robe and ease back onto the pillows. Once she’d tucked the vintage quilt around Monmon Odette’s chest her grandmother sighed. 

“Thank you, sweet girl. Now sit with me awhile.” 

LaShaun sank onto the cushioned seat of a large oak rocking chair next to the bed. A Bible was on the nightstand. “Of course. Shall I read to you?” 

“Non.” 

Monmon Odette closed her eyes after a few moments. LaShaun watched the slight rise and fall of her grandmother’s chest. After a while, she gazed around. Monmon Odette had redecorated. Her grandmother had a fondness for antiques, history and tradition. Yet, Monmon Odette was no old lady clinging to the past. LaShaun smiled when she saw the combination radio and compact disc player on the other wide nightstand. The high tech device didn’t clash with the country style décor. Curtains with a lovely old rose pattern on a cream background matched the quilt, the rug and pillow shams. An overhead cane ceiling fan looked old enough to have come from one of the plantation homes along
Vermilion River. Then LaShaun saw the family photos on a round table. She left the rocker and went to it. Several pictures were sepia toned, taken before the turn of the last century. “Celie LeGrange, 1866-1932” was written at the bottom of one. Monmon Odette’s mother. Jules Paul LeGrange, husband to Celie and Monmon Odette’s father, stared stone-faced from another photo. An even older picture of a lovely woman dressed in a long dress and button top shoes sat next to it. LaShaun did not have to read the faint letters to know her. Acelie LeGrange stared at her descendant across time, two hundred years to be exact. LaShaun’s mother stared from a photo taken in 1982. She looked beautiful in a flowered sundress. Francine stood next to a five year old LaShaun. Both wore forced smiles trying hard to look happy for the camera. LaShaun didn’t remember that particular day, but she remembered her mother’s overwrought disposition. Still in love with Antoine St. Julien even five years after he married another, Francine never found happiness.

“I’m glad you’re home,
Cher . Have you forgiven me?”

LaShaun looked up to find her grandmother’s dark gaze fixed on her. “I didn’t blame you for anything that happened to me, Monmon.”

“Maybe you should have, and for your maman, too. So many mistakes and no time to fix them. But I may still have time to do some good for you.” Monmon Odette inhaled deeply causing a rattling sound deep in her chest. She breathed out slowly then closed her eyes.

“I made my own choices, and my own mistakes.” LaShaun blinked away tears.

Monmon Odette nodded without opening her eyes. “Maybe Le Bon Dieu will have mercy on this old woman.”

( Continued... )

© 2014 All rights reserved. A Darker Shade of Midnight is the first book in the LaShaun Rousselle paranormal mystery series. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Lynn Emery. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


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MEET THE AUTHOR - Provided by (BPM) Black Pearl Magazine

Lynn Emery, Author
Mix knowledge of voodoo, Louisiana politics and forensic social work, and you get a snapshot of author Lynn Emery. Lynn’s recent titles include murder mysteries set in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana featuring a Creole psychic and a Cajun deputy. The titles in this series are: A Darker Shade of Midnight (#1), Between Dusk and Dawn (#2), and Only By Moonlight (#3). Into The Mist (#4) continues the harrowing case files of LaShaun Rousselle and Deputy Chase Broussard. Into the Mist will be released in fall 2016.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd when I was ten years old. I already loved reading, but that book with its twist at the end did it. I closed the book and decided I wanted to write mysteries. I didn’t even know who Agatha Christie was, or that she was a white Englishwoman who was already dead by then. I didn’t think about being a poor little black girl living in the south who couldn’t even get to a library. I didn’t consult anybody, which meant no one told me my aspiration was outlandish and impossible. I simply said, “I’m going to write a murder mystery. Life happened. High school, college and my entrance to the adult world of working nine to five. Yet twenty years later I went back to my dream and started writing again.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish? 
I attended a writer’s conference within driving distance of my hometown. I took a fellow author’s advice to attend writing events where editors and agents would be presenters and taking appointments. The advice I didn’t take was to schedule an appointment with them, a mistake that almost cost me dearly. You see Monica Harris, the founding editor of Arabesque, was there. But I lacked confidence because I hadn’t finished my first book. I was told more than once not to expect to sell that first book. I also was told editors don’t consider, much less buy, unfinished books, certainly not from first time authors.

Another published author who belonged to my RWA chapter was horrified when I told her I hadn’t scheduled to meet with Monica. I was literally the only writer of color at this conference, and Monica was hungry for submissions. A young editor, Monica had been only recently hired by Kensington Publishers and her big assignment was to launch the first, and at that time only, line of African-American romances. My work-in-progress was romantic suspense.

This published author pushed me, not so gently, into approaching Monica during a break between her presentations. I went to my hotel room and quickly practiced a three to five minute pitch. I sweated during her workshop, and then screwed up the guts to follow Monica and introduce myself. In the hotel lobby I breathlessly pitched my book in the five minutes she graciously allowed me. About five or six weeks later, Monica called to offer me a contract. I sold my first book, and even though Monica knew it was unfinished. Night Magic was released in 1995.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?

I would have to say courage, with a capital “C”. If I hadn’t pushed up my own courage, I wouldn’t have met Monica at all at that small conference. So writers should have courage, which will lead you to another capital “C” word, confidence. Courage will give you the confidence you may lack in your developing skill as a story teller and promoter of your own work. Courage will help writers overcome the tendency to stay in their isolated, insulated little worlds. When you step out of your comfort zone, you’re willing to network with and talk to other writers and publishing professionals.

BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.
Into The Mist is the fourth title in the LaShaun Rousselle mystery series set in Vermilion Parish,
Louisiana. LaShaun teams up with Cajun Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Chase Broussard to solve grisly killings in this lovely bayou setting. Using her psychic abilities and Chase’s crime fighting skills, they fight human and supernatural killers.

LaShaun Rousselle led a bad girl life in her teens and twenties, using the spells Monmon Odette, her beloved grandmother, taught her for all the wrong reasons. The results led to such a horrible string of events, that she left Beau Chene,
Louisiana. LaShaun moved to Los Angeles with the thought that she would never return to Louisiana, much less Beau Chene. The series opens with her arriving back because of Monmon Odette, and over the course of the first three books she builds a life that she didn’t expect to have at all, including or especially in Beau Chene.

Into The Mist opens with LaShaun being drawn into yet another of Chase’s cases, a kidnapping. As the story unfolds, the evil that that seems to have put a child’s life in danger creeps ever closer to those LaShaun loves the most. Everything LaShaun holds most dear is on the line, and she has to find answers to protect her family and the world.

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
As a clinical social worker, I’ve been involved in child welfare cases, attended school conferences to advocate for children, and conducted abuse investigations. I also worked as a juvenile court consultant and in a psychiatric hospital. Although I do research even with my experience, a lot of the issues about children in the child welfare and special education systems come from what I’ve seen up close. The children in Into The Mist face these same challenges for a unique reason, and flaws in both systems only add to their vulnerability, as LaShaun and Chase discover.

BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why?
Into The Mist is a mystery with paranormal elements. I write mysteries now, though my first seven books are romantic suspense. What’s interesting is I never intended to write romance. The first writing group I found, or rather a member found me because we worked in the same building, was a local chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America). I even told her that I wasn’t writing romance, but she said that didn’t matter. So I joined. A published author who belonged to that RWA chapter advised me to try writing romance because editors were in the market for them in a big way (this was the mid-1990s). Breaking into the mystery genre was tough, but for writers of color it was pretty much impossible back then. I felt very discouraged until she told me about romantic suspense, the subgenre I hadn’t even heard of at the time. Once I found out I could kill people, the words started flowing on my first book.

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change? 
I’ve learned and been blessed to see the lesson in everything that has happened in my journey, so I can’t honestly say I’d change much. Even the bad helped make me either a better writer or better professional writer in terms of the business side of publishing. In 2000, I was blessed to have BET produce a made for television movie based on my novel After All. Holly Robinson Peete starred as Michelle Toussaint, a character I created. Seeing her on the screen saying that name gave me chills. Still I couldn’t really celebrate because BET used the old publishing contract I’d signed, and they were known at the time, to pay well below the industry standard for the movie rights. That was one bitter pill to swallow. Even worse, I couldn’t stop them from making the movie. Thankfully the script, performance and production came out fine. The only thing I would change, if I could, was for myself and the other Arabesque authors to have more leverage, support or legal alternatives back then. Still, I had fun throwing a premier party at my house. I got to ride in a limo to BET studios twice for interviews. And it’s kind of fun to say, “My second novel was made into a movie.”

BPM: How may our readers follow you online? 
Readers are welcome to visit my website at www.lynnemery.com. I’d love for them to sign up for my monthly newsletter while they’re there. The newsletter includes exclusive free books and other goodies available only to subscribers, in addition to fun articles. Let’s socialize!

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