Book Tour: The Desk from Hoboken by ML Condike

March 17, 2024 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours, Writing with 0 and 0
Home > Columns > Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley > Book Tour: The Desk from Hoboken by ML Condike


A Genealogy Mystery Series



Date Published: March 5, 2024

Publisher: Harbor Lane Books, LLC.





In a bid to heal from the grief of a personal loss, forensic genealogist, RaeJean Hunter, takes on a straightforward case —identify human remains found on a nearby college campus, believed to be the 180-year-old remains of Mary Rogers, a woman who died mysteriously in 1841 and was believed to have been buried in the nearby cemetery that had washed away. It should be simple enough, a project to get her back in the game.

Unfortunately, it quickly becomes anything but. In fact, it becomes downright dangerous.

Someone doesn’t want RaeJean to investigate the puzzling death of the woman whose death inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Mystery of Marie Roget.” As she follows clues through four states and discovers living
family members who both help and hinder her search, she quickly realizes that the secrets of Mary Rogers’ demise were never meant to be exposed.

What lengths will someone go to keep the truth buried in the past? As threats escalate and RaeJean and her family’s lives become endangered, she’s forced to follow every lead and use every skill she has to find the answers
she needs before it’s too late. Using DNA from two famous New England families, historical data, modern genealogical techniques, and a little guidance from a seemingly mystical antique desk, RaeJean takes on the cold
case despite being given every reason to abandon it.

After all, what truths have been hidden for 180 years that would be worth bribery, kidnapping, and even murder?

RaeJean Hunter is about to find out.



About the Author

ML Condike has published short stories in anthologies that include Strange
& Sweet, (2019), Tall Tales and Timeless Stories, (2022), Malice in
Dallas, Metroplex Mysteries, Volume 1 (2022), and won first place in the
fifteenth annual Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards, Mystery/Crime
category (2019), and 2nd Place in the Tennessee Williams Short Story
Contest, Key West Art & Historical Society (2022).

She’s an associate member of Mystery Writers of America Florida
Chapter, Sisters in Crime National, Sisters in Crime North Dallas
(Treasurer), Granbury Writers’ Bloc, and Key West Writers Guild.

As the result of her study of genealogy for her debut novel The Desk from Hoboken, she researched her own family and she discovered she had a direct bloodline to a Patriot. So, most recently she has been inducted into the
Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).


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Chapter One

Come on, girl! It’ll be fun.” It was mid March and I stood in my bathing suit on the edge of our pool in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. Our corgi, Sophie, watched from ten feet away, ears !at against her head. Her look suggested she wasn’t joining me. She didn’t like water, never mind “fifty-eight-degree water. It would be shocking.

Every year, my husband, Sam, and I vied for the title of First-In-The-Pool. Today, I was determined to swim and win regardless of the pool temperature.

“It’s now or never!” I leaped in, submerged, and then in a split second, shot straight up out of the frigid water. “It’s cold! It’s cold! It’s cold!”

Sophie circled the pool, barking as I splashed my way to the steps and climbed out.

“Phew! What a wake up call, Sophie!” I toweled my hair while she licked my wet legs.

“You win!” Sam shouted from the back door, saluting me with his steaming coffee mug.

“I’ll be in as soon as I dry of.”

He grinned, disappearing back inside.

Five minutes later, I grabbed the hot mug as the last fragrant squirts of Cinnabon coffee gurgled from the Keurig. Something had changed in me overnight. It could have been the promise of spring, with the leaves budding, but I had a hunch it had something to do with the phone call from late yesterday afternoon. A potential client needed a genealogist.

Whatever it was, I felt alive again. Smiling, I joined Sam in the breakfast nook.

“You look happy. Finally beat me to the “first dip. How was it?”

“Bloody cold.” I sipped my coffee in silence. The strong brew made my lips tingle. Or maybe it was simply rekindled optimism.

I, RaeJean O’Leary Hunter, a notorious workaholic, hadn’t entered my home office since the mental fog set in six months ago. Life’s current had pulled me under. Today, I’d resurfaced, gasping for a breath of fresh air.

Sam gazed at me over the rim of his mug. “Thinking about returning to work?”

“Actually, I am. I received a voicemail late yesterday about a case that could be a good segue back to work. Easy, I think.” My stomach $uttered at the prospect, but I knew I had to take the plunge, not unlike diving into the frigid pool in order to feel like a winner again. I smiled to myself.

Sam grinned. “That’s great. Maybe we should resume the office remodel.”

“I’d like that.” We’d purchased the house as is and had been remodeling for a while. Actually, it was more of a restoration, but we’d suspended our work when I got pregnant. If I took the case, I’d need a workspace other than our library. 2 The Desk from Hoboken

“Great. I’ll call the contractor.” He kissed me and disappeared into his office.

After rinsing my cup, I scrambled upstairs with the intent of checking on my neglected office and preparing it for the work crew. I rushed past the door to the room where I’d wallowed for months. After two steps, I froze. A lingering compulsion sabotaged my plan. Instead, I stepped back and entered the unlit nursery.

Scooping up the stuffed bunny that Sam had bought the day we’d learned I was pregnant, I sat in the Boston rocker, reliving the months after our loss. The tiny bunny sprawled across my lap as I agonized over the only thing I tended to worry about since that time, the secret I’d kept from Sam.

Determined to move on, I sucked in a breath and glanced down at Sophie. “Big girls don’t cry.”

It worked. Today, I didn’t shed a tear.

 I stood, tossing the toy onto the chair. “Let’s go.” I followed the dog as she padded out the door.

Guest Post

How to Sell Your First Novel

There are thousands of books, internet articles, podcasts, blogs, etc. suggesting how to sell your first novel. Each of them has a nugget that could help, but there’s no one magic answer.

First and foremost, you have to have a product worth selling. Yes, a product! The publishing industry is a commercial enterprise. You must have something a buyer wants. A few words of caution here. Don’t rush the first book. It could make or break your future opportunities.

Write the best book you can. Have readers and writers review it. Once you feel it’s ready, hire a reputable editor. An inexpensive one might do if you’re a natural writer, but an experienced editor in your genre is worth their weight in gold. They’ll save you from sure failure!

Once you have that “golden” product, you must decide if you want to self-publish, acquire an agent, or query publishers who take work directly from writers. This is a personal choice and I have no recommendations.

I wanted vetting by a well-known, successful agent. After 104 queries, I found an agent willing to take on a debut author. I hoped to be published by a big press, so my agent queried them all. After several dozen rejections, we agreed to change our strategy and try a small independent press. Voila! Success!

Smaller publishers offer a variety of services. However, don’t become complacent and think your publisher is your marketer. They will do their best because your success is their success. However, you are not their only author. Their budget doesn’t belong to you. For you to be worth their time and money, your book has to sell!

Start early gathering your tribe of reader-followers. I’ve posted a morning picture to Facebook since 2018 ( and collected a lot of friends. Readers, authors, and folks worldwide share my sunrises. If I’m traveling, I photograph the sunrise where I’m staying. If I never wrote again, I’d still greet my FB friends with a daily sunrise!

The balance between over-selling the book and getting people interested in buying your product is delicate. You’ll find it when your follower numbers decline, indicating they’re sick of “buy my book” ads. Back off selling and try to find interesting information to share.

I have no advice about book tours or signings. I’ve read mixed reviews about signing tours. Study your market and learn where the majority of your readers shop. I’m guessing it’s on the internet. Get your book listed on as many sites as possible and get prerelease reviews from anyone who will agree to read and review your book. My publisher used Readers’ Favorite: Book World ( ) and Net Galley ( ). Become an Amazon and Goodreads author.

Good luck with your first book!

Author Details
Author Details
Marianne H. Donley writes fiction in the form of short stories, funny romances, and quirky murder mysteries. She makes her home in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and a really sweet, bad dog. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Sisters in Crime, Guppies, Capital Crime, and Charmed Writers. You can follow Marianne’s various social media here:
Marianne H. Donley writes fiction in the form of short stories, funny romances, and quirky murder mysteries. She makes her home in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and a really sweet, bad dog. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Sisters in Crime, Guppies, Capital Crime, and Charmed Writers. You can follow Marianne’s various social media here:

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