Thursday, March 29, 2012

Murder, Mystery, Prizes and More - Meet Author Harlow Coban

Today I'm excited to saying that I'm hosting author, Harlow Coban on tour with her new book Life in Death.

As part of the tour, Harlow has offered participants a chance to win any number of prizes.  They include, but are not limited to:
Amazon Gift Cards
Book Lover Note Cards
Kindle Cover
Book Tote
Hunger Games Trilogy

So comment frequently today for a both a better chance to win, and more importantly, to get to know the author and learn more about her book.  Let's see if we can get a conversation going!   I know I'm intrigued just by the title.  Life in Death - kind of gets you thinking doesn't it?

Anyway, enough babble from me.  Let's begin with the leading question - who is Harlow Coban?

Author, Harlow Coban was born in Kansas City, MO but grew up in Denver, CO.  She relocated to North Carolina five years ago with her husband, two dogs, and 16-year-old twins.

She shares a birthday with the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte.  In keeping with his legacy, she is currently working on taking over the world.  Harlow's positive attitude and fresh take on life are her tools and conquest is certain.

She spends her free time writing, dancing, traveling and defending mailboxes from her 16-year-old twins' driving.

Her debut novel, LIFE IN DEATH (February 2012), is a murder mystery which pulls from real-life situations from her own family history.  She felt compelled to share her story with the world while offering a thrilling, entertaining, and amusing escape for readers.

In keeping with her commitment to improving the lives of children, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her book will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in her home state of North Carolina.

And now I'm turning it over to Harlow who kicks off with the sentence I posed for her to finish:  Life hasn't been quite the same since....   The hitch is that the story must be about a trip.  But that trip can be anything from a journey around the world to a jaunt to the corner store. 

Welcome Harlow! 

Life hasn't been quite the same since...Myrtle Beach

It was the Thursday before a weekend trip to Myrtle Beach.  On a whim, I decided to get my hair done.  My stylist was out of town, so I used a new stylist.

I had my shoulder length hair cut into a chin length bob.  Upon seeing my reflection in the mirror, I had one thought:  "Fred Flintstone wants his head back."  I had no idea short hair could make your face look fat.

Next, I asked her to give me blonde highlights.  Bad idea!  I was speechless when she showed me her handiwork.  The highlights were more like globs of color--canary yellow to be exact.  My hair was ruined and I prayed for death.  

I stopped at a store on the way home and picked up a hat.  Tufts of yellow hair peeked out from underneath the brim.  I simply could not hide my hideous hair.

My husband--a man of few words--had some for me:  "Oh my god.  What happened?"  I cried all night.  

The next morning, we drove to Myrtle Beach.  I'd temporarily forgotten about my hair until I caught sight of myself in the hotel lobby mirror.  I was horrified all over again.  I needed a wig.  Why hadn't I thought of that sooner?

We trolled Myrtle Beach for wig stores and finally found one.  You could only try on three wigs per visit.  I know, right?  I selected the best of the three wigs I'd tried on and wore it out of the store.  I felt better immediately.
We spent the remainder of the trip lounging on the beach and sightseeing.  Somehow, my wig managed to stay in place as I rode a zip line.

I will never, ever, ever use a different stylist.

Bad hair days are no joke.

Blurb for Life In Death:

When a girl that social worker Kari Marchant places in foster care is brutally murdered, she's compelled to learn why.  Her quest for the truth pits her against friends and coworkers.  As Karl works to solve the horrific plot, more people die.  She's been targeted for death and she doesn't even know it.  How far should she go to learn the truth--even if it threatens her life?

When homicide detective Rance Nicolet meets Kari, his attraction to her is powerful--and the feeling is mutual.  But things between them go terribly wrong when Kari's old lover is found murdered with a letter from her in his pocket.  The evidence against Kari is damning.  Rance's personal and professional lives collide.  Does he blindly believe the woman he's falling in love with or follow the evidence no matter where it leads?  

Excerpt from Life In Death:

"Frost.  Call on line one."  The voice boomed overhead and interrupted Scott Frost mid-climb.  He jumped off his truck, pushed up the sleeves on his dingy green work shirt and walked to the phone mounted on the wall, his face a scowl of irritation.

He grabbed the receiver.  "Hello."

"They found Patience," his wife, Andrea, whispered.

Mammoth garbage trucks rumbled and shook the walls as they rolled out into the street for the day's work, their giant bellies hungry for trash.  Scott strained to hear his wife over the noise.

"I told you never to call me here."

"Do you know what they did to her?"  Her voice rose an octave.

"Hold it together."  He clenched his fist and resisted the impulse to smash it through the wall.  "She's the one who ran off."

"She didn't deserve that.  Nobody deserves that."

The phone slipped a bit in his sweaty hand.  Tolerance had never been one of Scott's virtues, and what little he did have waned with each whiny word his wife uttered.  "It'll all be over soon, you know that."

"They won't let us out."

He gnashed his teeth together until the noise in his head drowned out the roar of garbage trucks.  The pumping of his heart escalated and Scott imagined he could feel his blood pressure rising.

"Damn it, Andrea, take a valium.  These people are dangerous.  They'll kill us if we flake out."

Harlow loves to connect with her readers and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
and her website -


Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

This sounds like such an interesting book. And the trip to the wrong stylist sounds like one you will never make again!

Ryshia Kennie said...

Welcome to Once Upon a Time... Harlow!

I'm excited to meet you and hear about your new book. Life in Death - it's a fascinating title. I'm intrigued both by both the title and how it was conceived and about the fact that your story may be part autobiographical and part fiction. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Anne said...

Congrats on the new release.

OMG! Your hair story makes me feel so much better about my hair flubs.

Donna D said...

Welcome Harlow! This sounds like an incredible literary and emotional journey!

I am excited to hear about your new book, Life in Death!

Harlow Coban said...

Ryshia, thank you so much for hosting me! I looked into a family tragedy and learned a lot about police procedure. I felt confident after learning what I did that I could spin a tale using what I learned.

Stephanie/Anne/Donna, ladies, thank you for your comments. I have the attention span of a knat, so my book is really a thrill ride, with interesting character and plot twists. I hope you will give it a read.

Here's a question for your readers: If you had to write a book about one event in your life, what would it be and in what genre?

Ryshia Kennie said...

Ooh I love that, Harlow - I can hardly wait to see the answers.

Sue Farrell said...

Reading about the bad hair day was not the thing to do right now----I'm headed for the beauty shop for an appointment for color---now how much can go wrong?

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Harlow today.

Ryshia Kennie said...

GFP - My pleasure. I'm looking forward to an exciting and interesting day.

kmt1976 said...

Let's start with the hair. I just got a postcard that said my stylist left the salon. You are saying I should follow her to Denver rather than try one of the other ones???

intensev5 said...

That is the worst bad hair day story ever -- when I am having a bad hair day I will think of this and it won't seem too bad then!!!!

Lilian said...

"defending mailboxes from her 16-year-old twins' driving"
haha, sounds like my dad with me..I must've ran over the curb three times and hit the car in back of me when parallel parking while I was learning how to drive.

Thank you for introducing me to Harlow's new book! Life in Death sounds like a great mystery novel (just up my alley!).

Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

Laura said...

I can't wait to read the new book! I love mysteries and this sounds intriguing. Also, I totally relate to the bad hair stylist lament--I also have shed tears over a bad hair style!

Ryshia Kennie said...

Lilian - tou're welcome. Looking forward to taking peer at Life In Death too

Ryshia Kennie said...

Ack! Forget typos still getting the hang of my new phone- sigh

kmt1976 said...

I have to admit that the thought of TWO sixteen year-olds scares me. But, I had the fun (?) of teaching one 16 year-old how to drive a stick shift. I kept thinking of the cost of a new transmissiion AND of what my father went through all those years ago :>)

Lynne slatter said...

Life in Death looks like a great read & a great way to promote it.

traveler said...

Congratulations and best wishes on this wonderful release. It was a great interview and so interesting.

petite said...

What a captivating mystery! Fascinating to hear all about you and your new book, Life in Death.

Jenny said...

Wow, the book sounds fantastic! Good luck. So glad you stopped by Ryshia's Blog.


kmt1976 said...

Now for the book, it really looks interesting and I have listed it for my next trip to B&N (since we no longer have the other one)

Carol M said...

I enjoy stories that include homicide detectives. This sounds really good!

Deb830 said...

Welcome and congrats Harlow on your new release! I love the title "Life in Death". The blurb sounds intriguing and I look forward to reading it.

Thanks for sharing.

Deb ;0)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy said...

Having just recently served as temporary guardian for my infant nephew, the premise of this book has my interest.

My eyes were opened to the world of foster care, social workers, and child protective services. I am intrigued to read how your characters navigate through the complex , heart-breaking (and hopefully rewarding) challenges you've put before them in your novel.

Thank you Rhysia. You are a masterful story teller yourself... and I enjoy everything you write and recommend. Happy writing to both of you.

Nancy said...

The murder mystery is what draws me in but the foster care aspect to the story strikes a chord with me, too. Sounds like a great story.

MomJane said...

This story is absolutely awesome sounding. I think it takes a really talented writer to come up with such a great plot.

Karyn Good said...

Hi Harlow and Ryshia. I'm tempted to say there's nothing more traumatic than trying out a new stylist or teaching your kids to drive but of course there is. We don't need to look any further than your book to prove it. It sounds like a great story!

Ryshia Kennie said...

Just a brief jaunt to drive a mother (yes I have too the one I was born with and my MIL) around town and look at everyone that showed up. Welcome everyone and a big hello! I agree completely that the book sounds fascinating. Wendy, hugs to you - so glad you enjoy my stories. There can never be enough fiction - at least that's what my TBR pile says.

So is anyone going to take on Harlow's question - if you wrote about one event in your life what would it be and in what genre?

Ok - I'll go first. Picking berries under the hot prairie sun - becomes part of a historic romance. Almost drowning becomes part of a romantic suspense. There two events - one simple, one not so simple. Anyone else?

Joni said...

The book sounds wonderful and I am looking forward to reading it.

I would write about the train wreck my husband and I experienced as part of a suspense novel.

Dockdancer said...

There is nothing like a good murder mystery to get your mind thinking! Laughed at the comment by Joni :)

kmt1976 said...

We like to travel. So, my story would be about a little old lady who is an undercover detective :>)

Ryshia Kennie said...

Dockdancer - the train wreck stopped me too. Joni - a train wreck? Hard to top for story catalyst. Hope you came out of it ok.
kmt 1976 - that brings to mind Agatha Christie's Miss Marple or even the Snoop Sister Movies. A new version would be great.

kmt1976 said...

I think Miss Marple is too smart for me. I am probably one of the Snoop Sisters :>)

crazycatlady58 said...

I did the hair thing and it turned purple! There was a hat on real quick and a trip to the store to dye it dark to cover it and than god it did! So much for do it myself hair dying.

Sharon said...

Sounds like a great book. I can't wait to read it. That has to be the greatest wrong stylist story ever!

If I had to write a book about one event in my life it would be about the loss of my first child and the changes and growth in my life that came from it. As for genre autobiographical. Although I suppose self help would cover part of it as well.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Sharon I'm sorry. What an incredibly hard thing for you but what a gift for others a story like that could be.

Jessica Adamson said...

Oh wow what a hair story! That sounds horrible! I've done that before but my motto with bad hair is "hair grows back." Luckily my hair grows fast!

Catherine Lee said...

Harlow...Myrtle Beach (which is not far over the state line from me) is a wild place. You would have fit in with your bright hair!

Ryshia...I don't think I've been to your blog before. The masthead is beautiful. Have you been to China? I've been to the Great Wall. When you get to the top, there are vendors hawking water and T-shirts and other tourist trinkets...I believe they know how to say "cheap for you" in at least a half dozen languages! LOL.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Catherine - Glad you stopped by, hope to see you here again.

Yes, I have been to the Great Wall. New Year's Day and China was heating up for the Olympics. There was a run on the wall that day - imagine a traffic jam on an historic site! It was freezing cold with a wind that had the gondola shut down for a while. I've never been so cold in my life - a tough feat considering I come from Saskatchewan. And the vendors - lets say I was so cold I just handed over the money for that overpriced t-shirt and didn't even barter - a first!

Deb K said...

Oh this sounds like such a good book~right up my alley! If I was to write about event in my life it would be the time that I took care of my Mom when she was sick with cancer.It was so tough and yet at the same time we got so much closer.It's been almost 2 years and I still miss her as much as yesterday.

I can relate to the hair thing too~I once tried to dye my hair blonde and it turned Pink!! Sure glad that there was a Walgreen's open 24 hours..LOL

Ryshia Kennie said...

Deb - I'm sorry about your Mom. It's tough to lose a parent. Isn't that sometimes where the best stories originate - from the emotion that's based in truth?

BTW I think almost everyone who posted here might be advised to stay away from hair dye - canary yellow, pink, purple - yikes!

Jessica Adamson said...

All those colours are things I would want for my own hair. Currently it's a bright red. Haha.

marybelle said...

I should not have laughed so hard at your Myrtle Beach hair debacle, but it must have been so bad if you needed a wig. You poor darling & you look so beautiful in your photograph too.


Ryshia Kennie said...

Blogger is finally letting me comment after yesterday's glitch!

Harlow thanks for the chance to meet you - your book sounds fascinating.

Thanks everyone who stopped by and even hung out for a while making the day a lot of fun. I imagine Harlow will be picking winners of her various prizes at the end of her tour. Good luck! Either Harlow or I will contact you if there's a winner from this blog stop.