Lisa Kramer Taruschio – Verdi’s Dream

Title: Verdi’s Dream

Author: Lisa Kramer Taruschio

ISBN: Applied for, not yet issued

Page count: 330?

Genre: Historical thriller, Espionage, Love story

Price: $6.89 on Kindle

Author Bio:

I am a former New Yorker born and raised, now living in Italy permanently. Many years ago, while on my Jr Year Abroad, I married an Italian and psychologically never quite left Italy (and never wanted to; must have been Italian in another life).  I am a graduate, with honors, of Columbia University, B.A. in English and Italian Language and Literature, a professional writer, translator (screenplay of Life is Beautiful for Miramax Books), editor (non-fiction books and former Chief Copy Editor at Trade Dept. at Harcourt Brace), teacher of senior year English Lit students (How to Write a Term Paper or Essay in English at the Italian University).

Tell us about your book:

Verdi’s Dream is an historical thriller and passionate love story set in Milan in April, 1945. The plot is based on a true episode, the Secret Surrender of Nazi troops in northern Italy to Allen Dulles, Chief of Station of the OSS in Bern, Switzerland. As the negotiations between Dulles and SS General Karl Wolff proceed in utmost secrecy (against the express orders of FDR and Hitler), Dulles sends an American agent, Robert Simon, in to the north to protect the negotiations from sabotage by a renegade Italian partisan group refusing American or Allied intervention and wanting Italy for the Italians after the war. Simon and Sara Levy, a member of the partisan group, fall immediately and passionately in love, but their affair, the Surrender, the end of the war—are desperate races to a finish that seems to have no winners.

Chapter 1 opens in a piazza in Milan, Piazzale Loreto, where the murdered Duce and his mistress, strung up feet first over a garage in the center of the piazza, sway over the heads of a crowd madly rejoicing in war’s end. A beautiful redhead, Sara Levy, enters the piazza and begins her frantic search for her lover, Robert Simon, whom she knows was involved in the race to capture Mussolini.

In the novel: real Nazis, real partisans, real love—and real betrayal.

How long did it take to write the book?

A long time.

What inspired you to write the book?

My first job out of Columbia was with the NY desk of two Italian news weeklies. As staff secretary, I was sent (with the Junior correspondent) to Washington. D.C. to interview former Italian-American OSS  agents who had gone on to careers in Congress after the war for an article (for an Italian magazine) on Why the Allies failed to Capture Mussolini Alive. (Il Duce and his mistress were shot to death by partisans and their bodies strung up feet-first in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto two days after the war ended—on the same day that Hilter killed himself in the bunker in Berlin).  The answers I found and subsequent research carried out (including Dulles’s book entitled ‘The Secret Surrender’) planted the seed for the historical framework and chronology for the novel. Some time later, the fictional character were ‘born’ in my imagination, and before I knew it, I had a story that had to be told.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

Over the years, I held full-time jobs in New York and was a single Mom while turning myself into a writer of fiction. The first years I wrote like a madwoman, usually late at night and then on whatever temp or receptionist jobs I could get that gave me free time (transcriptionist, translating, whatever). But there were long phases when I had to leave the novel alone, and during which I wrote other stuff (3 more novels all in various states of disarray at the moment, and lots of short stories).

This novel is extensively researched. The bibliography goes from New York Times articles from May 1945 through 1949, to books on Wild Bill Donovan, FDR and of course Dulles, to days spent at the Mudd Library at Princeton where Dulles’s papers are housed. Also did lots of research on Jews in Italy historically and especially during the Holocaust.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

A confirmed sense of how important an individual’s sense of (psychic) identity is, especiallyh for Americans, whose heritage is by definition always mixed, and how true the old Italian proverb ‘All the world is one country’ is.  Readers, hopefully, will also come away with a satisfying sense of a ripping good tale coming full cycle—and considerable regret that the novel is over!!

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon Kindle

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
The very splendid jacket is by Milton Glaser.

Other info appears on my blog at

Excerpt from book:


Through heavy patches of fog the trucks, insignia painted over, tail boards shut, dirty canvas sagging on the humped steel supports, traveled slowly down the country road, like ghost ships sailing against the pitch-gray night sky. Now and then, one of the men in the back would poke his head out of the canvas flaps to scan the bleak, end-of-winter horizon looking for a sign of journey’s end; now and then drivers and passengers up front, unshaven, too exhausted for speech, measured the progress southward through flat farmland by the almost phosphorescent limestone roadside markers: Milano 10 km., Milano, 5 km.

Reaching the city’s northernmost limits at last, wheels thumping loudly over the cobblestones, the convoy sought its destination—one of the newer and larger squares that soon revealed itself dank and lifeless as a stone tomb in the eerie pre-dawn light. The street-level shops of the buildings lining the circular space were shuttered tight; even the balconies on the upper storeys seemed to droop like closed eyelids.

Waving a dirty red bandanna from his window, the lead driver signaled the convoy to follow as he headed toward a gas station at the center of the square. As the slowing vehicles drew up in a jagged semicircle around the pumps, the men, partisans all, began springing to the ground, opening the canvas backs, shouldering rifles, looping heavy ropes over their shoulders. They were a rag-tag crew worn out by their long journey and the bitter night. Slapping their arms, blowing into their hands, they restored chilled limbs and exchanged mumbled words. Finally, the trucks’ engines stilled, only the scrambling sounds made by the last few to exit the trucks could be heard.

As though heeding some tacit order, the random brigade began its last task at an unhurried, almost lazy, pace. The men’s faces were expressionless —no fear, apprehension, remorse or concern, as though this were merely one more job, no more and no less arduous for it being the last of their mission. They unloaded the nearly twenty cadavers, all in Fascist uniforms, one-by-one, and were still at the heavy heaving when a bright morning sun emerged to light the carnage piling up like so many sacks of potatoes on the stones. Systematically the living persisted, as calmly as though they had all the time in the world. And perhaps, in fact, they did.

The war was over.



Lorie Ham – The Final Note

Title: The Final Note

Author: Lorie Ham

ISBN: ·  ISBN-10: 1451502893 ISBN-13: 978-1451502893

Page count: 352

Genre: mystery

Price: 12.95

Author Bio:

Lorie Ham has been singing gospel music and writing since she was a child.  Her first song and poem were published when she was 13 and she has gone on to publish many articles, short stories and poems throughout the years as well as write for a local newspaper.  Lorie continues to sing and 4 of her 5 mystery novels feature gospel singer Alexandra Walters and are set here in the San Joaquin Valley. Her new project is an animal rescue mystery, another area where Lorie has experience. Soon she will be the publisher of a new online magazine called Kings River Life.  Lorie is married to Larry Ham, who works for a Christian radio production company.  They have 2 children, Jessica and Joseph, 5 cats, 4 dogs and several rats.

Tell us about your book:

This book is the final in a series-

Alexandra Walters, a gospel singer living in the small town of Donlyn which is nestled in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley of California, finds herself the victim of a stalker during a reunion tour with her family singing group.  By the end of the tour, the stalker is dead and Alex finds herself the prime suspect.   The murder takes place in the California Coastal town of Ayr (near Santa Cruz), where Roxi Carlucci lives.  Roxi is the cousin of private investigator Stephen Carlucci, one of two men vying for Alex’s affection.  Donlyn Police Detective Will Knight is the other.  Roxi, Stephen, Alex, Will, and a cast of Alex’s roommates and friends return in this final novel of the series to help find the real killer.  To further complicate the matter the stalker returns—is Alex being stalked by a ghost?

In the end not only is the stalker revealed and the killer caught, but Alex finally chooses between the two men she loves.

How long did it take to write the book?

3 years

What inspired you to write the book?

I have been singing gospel music since I was 5 and writing since I was 7.  As a teen I always wanted to write a book but it wasn’t until in my early 20’s someone suggested I write a book about a gospel singer that things clicked and my series came to life.  I have always loved mysteries and so deciding for it to be a mystery was easy.  MURDER SHE WROTE was actually a huge inspiration for writing mysteries.  This book finished out the series tying up loose ends, introducing new characters for a new series, and stands well on it’s own as a mystery as well.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

Since I have always been someone on the go, and for most of my novel writing life have been a mom, writing is something I’ve always had to do whenever and where ever I could.  No particular routine though most of the time now I write either in my kitchen or a nice coffee shop.  For this series I did not need to do a lot of research because the gospel music part came from my own life, and they are set mostly in a fictional version of my hometown.  There always has been a mafia twist in my books and for that I began researching in my late teens since I had a fascination with the mafia-since I didn’t have internet I read as many true crime mafia books as I could find and even requested info from the FBI.  Parts of the latest book are set in the Santa Cruz area and I did travel there for that research.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Mostly just an enjoyable time of escape.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon and from myself

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
website (it does not have info on the new book as I’m in between webmasters)
Twitter @mysteryrat

my online magazine that has a serialized version of my book, DEADLY DISCRIMINATION-

Excerpt from book:


A maid watched a tall, darkly handsome man crouch down and push something under a room door.  He stood up and tipped his hat at her like someone in an old movie, the light bouncing off his ornate ruby ring and bracelet made them sparkle.  His smile sent a chill down her spine as he turned around and headed back to the elevator, leaving behind him a faint citrus smell that wafted down the hallway at the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Inn Express.

Note found slipped under Alexandra Walters’ hotel room door:
Hope you had a nice swim.  I’m having room service bring up some lunch for you and your little girl.  Please enjoy this at my expense.  You have a long trip to Texas, so I won’t keep you.

A secret admirer

Chapter 1

On The Road Again

Life on the road stinks, I thought as I hit my head against the wall of the bus while trying to sleep in a tiny bunk that forced you to feel every bump in the road.  I had been on the road for twenty days.  Somehow it just wasn’t what I remembered from when I’d traveled as a kid with my family singing Gospel music.

Sure, it was cool touring the country in a converted Greyhound bus.  Except of course, for the fact that you seldom saw anything but the inside of the bus as you rambled past the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and most other tourist sights in the middle of the night.  During the day generally all we saw was the inside of a mall before going late afternoon to set up at the next church for a concert; if we were lucky.

Sometimes we spent the night in a hotel, which was my favorite part.  I had always loved hotels.  I would live in them, if given the chance.  You never had to cook, no housework, and no worries except what cable show to watch while lounging on your bed.  Or maybe what book to read.

I sighed.  When my family showed up at my doorstep and said they were hitting the road for a Walters Family reunion tour and would I like to go, it sounded great.  Of course, I was being stalked by a mysterious stranger, had brought two men to blows over me, and had just solved a murder, so going away anywhere would have sounded good.               Escape—yes that was what life on the road was really about.  That and the music—I’d never get tired of the music.  And I had my little girl, Jessica, with me.  What else did I need?

I shook my blonde mess of hair and rolled my eyes.  Oh, I don’t know, maybe ten minutes of privacy?  Or not to have my folks talk to me like I was twelve and decide for me when and where we’d eat.  I guess it wasn’t really that bad; it was nice being with my family again.  My brother Jonathon had already won a hundred games of Skip Bo—only to be tied with my dad.  But I was ready to go home, well almost.  If only I didn’t have to choose between two men.  And if only I didn’t have someone stalking me.

Unfortunately, I’d been unable to escape the mysterious stranger who was now following me on the road.  Every church and hotel had an envelope, a package, or flowers waiting for me.  It was creepy and my sort of boyfriend, P.I. Stephen Carlucci, had been unable to find out who it was.  Since he was the best P.I. in California, that was saying something.   Whoever this person was, they were smart, even if they were crazy.  The stalker managed to cover his tracks even when he had room service send breakfast up to our room in Sante Fe.  Paying with cash, he managed to stay invisible and unknown.  Perhaps I was being stalked by the Invisible Man or a ghost.

He had also started sending typewritten notes instead of handwritten one and I found myself wondering why.  Had he gotten hand cramps from writing so many notes by hand?  Or perhaps he’d just decided to enter the electronic age.  Everything else was the same-same blue stationery, same creepy messages.

I gave up trying to sleep and headed to the front of the bus.  I grabbed a soda from the fridge and went to sit on the step by the driver.  My dad turned his head and smiled at me.  “Hey, kid, too bumpy back there?  These California roads are the worst we’ve been on.”

“It’s not so much the roads.”

He nodded.  “Not ready to face home.  Well, we still have a couple more concerts to go so don’t worry about it yet.”

I hadn’t told my dad about the stalker, but he’d been witness to the fight between Stephen and Detective Wright.  Will.  “I’ll survive, Daddy.  Always have.  You see, the problem is there just isn’t a man that can compare to you.”

His deep, soft baritone laughter made me smile.  I’d always loved his laugh.  “I don’t know about that, but Pepsi should make things all better.”

Our family were Pepsiaholics.  Whenever things were bad, we reached for one—whenever we needed to relax, we reached for one.  We single handedly kept Pepsi in business.  Yikes—it was worse than my friend Dorian and coffee.  When we started the tour there were probably more Pepsi’s in the bins underneath than CDs.

We sat in silence for several minutes as the dark road sped along underneath the big tires.  If only I could figure out who the stalker was—then somehow I’d deal with Stephen and Will.   I hadn’t even heard from Will, which was a disappointment.  Will had said he would give me my space, but made it clear he expected an answer when I got home.  He’d remained true to his word.   But I had the feeling he was checking up on me through my little brother, Tommy.  They’d hit it off really well.  But then Tommy was the kind of person everyone liked.

“Still a night owl I see,” came Tommy’s voice from behind me, making me jump.  He sat down in the chair behind me and I twisted around to frown at him.

“Thanks for the heart attack.”

He laughed, sounding a lot like Dad.  His appearance, though, was very little like our father’s.  Tommy’s long, wavy hair fell past his shoulders, instead of being tied back in a tidy ponytail like during the day.  But he did have the famous Pepsi in hand.  I laughed.  “I swear this bus must be half filled with Pepsi.  I’m surprised this thing can even move.  Think of how our gas mileage would improve without that load.  Why are you up?”

A frown creased his forehead.

“Ah, you don’t want to go home either.”

“Not so much that—I’ve had my fill of reliving the good old days.  No offense, Dad.”

“None taken, Son.  I’m ready to go back to the easy life in North Carolina, myself.”

Tommy sighed.  “Unfortunately, I don’t have a home to go back to.  I left the band before coming to see you, and the lease is up on my apartment in San Francisco.  All of my stuff is in a storage unit in Oakland.   I have no clue what I’m going to do beyond this week.”

“You could move in with me, at least for awhile.  Emilio is on tour with his band for about three months so I have a spare room.”  I lived in an old two-story home I rented rooms out in, and Emilio was one of many tenants and friends.   Besides Jessica, the house was the only good thing my ex had left me.

I smiled.  “And you did seem to enjoy snooping around with me on that last case.  Maybe you should ask Stephen for a job.”

He looked at me with blue eyes identical to Dad’s.  Wow, did we really become our parents?  “That’s a great idea.  I need something different.  Thanks, Sis.”  Tommy got up and headed toward the back.

“Able to sleep now?”

“No way. I have planning to do for when we get home.”  The mischievous twinkle in his eyes made me laugh.  Wow—this was scary.   I didn’t want to become my mom.  Not that I didn’t love her, I just wasn’t anything like her.  Or at least I didn’t think I was.  Now I had one more thing to worry about.

The morning sun slipped through the blinds on the window by my bed and woke me way before I wanted to get up. I’d finally managed to sleep but it had been fitful and full of dreams about mysterious strangers and rats—I’d never really recovered from being trapped in a burning barn with rats last year.

Dad had stopped hours ago at an RV Park near Sacramento in a small town called Woodland.  I lay there on my bed and listened to the quiet of the morning.  Not a sole on this bus was a morning person.  Not even my little girl, Jessica.  My Boo Boo Kitty.

The quiet was nice.  Once the day actually started by nine or ten the bus would be a bustle of activity.  Everyone vying for their shot at the tiny shower, mom cooking Dad’s bacon and eggs, Jessica jabbering away at whoever would listen.  It saddened me that she’d be going to kindergarten soon—I just wasn’t ready for that.  Before I knew it she’d be headed to college.

I rolled over and looked at my cell phone sitting on the windowsill.  It was only seven thirty, but I knew no more sleep would be coming.  I grabbed the phone and quietly rolled out of bed.  My clothes retrieved from the drawer under my bunk, I headed for the tiny bathroom.  It took awhile for the water to get warm, but once it did, I enjoyed the feeling as it washed over me, taking the chill from the morning.

Morning clean, I dressed, combed my hair, put on a bit of makeup, and headed for the front of the bus.  It was now nine and my stomach growled.  Time to find food.  I left a note on the table and headed out the door.  Downtown Woodland was just a short walk away, and for a change, I allowed myself to enjoy the morning.

This had always been a favorite town of mine.  Though the modern world was creeping up on it, Woodland retained much of its quaint character.  The downtown was filled with little shops, coffee houses, and restaurants—one of my favorites being an awesome BBQ place.  This was the part of traveling I loved.  Seeing and experiencing new places.  I did more of that now, traveling on my own, than we’d ever done as a family.  Then it was more about getting from service to service on time and killing time once you got there.

I stopped at a corner and felt an odd chill run down my spine.  I’d have sworn someone was following me. I turned around but saw no one who seemed the least bit interested in me.  Perhaps it was Tommy practicing to be a P.I..  No, too early for him too.

A little coffee shop caught my eye, and I went inside and slid into a corner booth.

“May I help you,” asked a red-haired waitress who looked to be about twenty.  She reminded me of Missy, the waitress at the NoName Café back home in Donlyn, now only about four hours away.

“Waffles sound awfully good.  And coffee.”

She looked up from her order pad. “Cream?”

“Yes, thanks.”

Off she went and I turned to look out the window.  Not that many people were out on the streets yet, but there were a few here and there.  For a second I swore a man in a dark suit was looking right at me, but then he walked away.  I had too active an imagination.

I jumped when I noticed the waitress was standing there staring out the window, too.  “That was a creepy looking fella, wasn’t it?  Friend of yours?”

“Uh, no.  Why do you ask?”

“He was looking right at you.”  She poured the coffee and left without another word.

Odd.  Was she right? Was he my stalker?  A chill ran down my spine again.  What did he want?  What did he plan on doing?  I found myself wanting to run back to the bus and keep Jessica safe.  But it was time to stop running.  I had to find this man and stop him.


Dawson Vosburg – Double Life

Title: Double Life

Author: Dawson Vosburg

ISBN: 978-1-4357-2428-3

Page count: 188

Genre: Young Adult

Price: $14.00

Author Bio:

Dawson Vosburg was born in 1994 and attends Liberty Christian School in Anderson, Indiana, where he works on his next book. His hobbies include writing, bowling, filmmaking, art, parkour, and guitar.

Tell us about your book:

Double Life follows the adventures of a 13-year-old, 7th grade boy named Josiah Jones. He finds a pair of sunglasses that leads him into the world of a secret government agency called the BLUE. The BLUE is constantly battling against the evil forces of the RED Agency, a diabolical organization that seeks to destroy the BLUE. Along the way, he meets his imaginary friends and people he has met in real life who battle the evil alongside him in this spectacular adventure.

How long did it take to write the book?

About a year.

What inspired you to write the book?

When I was about five, I used to ride my bike around the big driveway of the dentist’s office next  door when they didn’t have any customers. And I would pretend that I was Agent 12 with my imaginary friends Bob and Joe in the BLUE Agency, fighting the evil RED Agency.

Years later, when I was in a frenzy to find a new book idea, I remembered my childhood musings and quickly decided to adapt it into a novel, and Double Life was born.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

Most of my “nugget of gold” novels are written during November, which is National Novel Writing Month or “NaNoWriMo,” where one is challenged to write 50k words in a month. Double Life was my first undertaking of this challenge. I usually go, every day, after school, to the library and sit down to write at one of the public computers. Writing for me is like going somewhere else, and if I don’t do it for a long enough time I get depressed. Once you start writing, you feel like you always have to be plugged into these characters or part of you dies.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I really hope people get the sense of imagination and wonder, and also eager excitement for the next book. It’s really supposed to be a book where you make friends and wish that this were real, just like I used to as a kid.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon paperback:

Kindle edition:

Createspace version (no reviews but 4 bucks cheaper):

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
My website:

My blog:

JJ Talk Radio (weekly indie author show):

Excerpt from book:

I inspected the sunglasses, looking for the slightest defect in them. No imperfections were found.

I tried them on.

Instantly I felt like I had been sucked out of my body. For one second, I was a void, a vacuum. Then, all of a sudden, I could sense my existence again.

There I was in the car. But it was not my car. It was David’s Dodge Charger. And it was not my mom driving the car-it was David.

You read it here first. David, my imaginary friend, was driving the car instead of my mom.