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Archive for August, 2011

Quinn Barrett is a native of Southern California, currently residing in the West Los Angeles area. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in English, she worked as a corporate business development strategist specializing in emerging growth technology, software and Internet companies. She is married and raising a teenage son. Her hobbies include reading, walking, golf, cooking, and travel. Invisible Snow is her first novel.

About Invisible Snow

Invisible Snow is a classic family drama about wealth, power, greed, and redemption. Marriage is a delicate dance of power between lovers, but Kate and Paul Delacroix are strangers caught in a disparate union somewhere between betrayal and truth. Confronting their true selves for the first time results in an epic clash of wills where only one will prevail. The legacy of the family business is at stake, but power is not always about money. Their showdown results in a shocking twist of fate—a destiny Kate never saw coming.

First-time novelist Quinn Barrett takes readers on a riveting journey about personal empowerment and self-realization. She explores conventional perceptions about families and the illusions we attach to them. This complex family drama challenges us to consider the personal choices we make and why we make them.

Visit www.invisiblesnow.com for more details.

The Interview

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

My father was an avid reader and it rubbed off on me. I read and re-read everything I could find. My favorite book series as a child was Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series. It was the first time I ever thought about being a writer.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

My novel is a story most of us can relate to on some level. Invisible Snow is a classic family drama about money, power, greed, and redemption, but it’s not a romance novel or a soap opera. It’s about finding the balance within the family unit as well as life. The idea itself has marinated over time from years of sitting in work and church meetings, women’s groups, booster club and PTA meetings. I sensed an underlying hostility from many dutiful women who performed their simple assignments with masterful precision, but seemed frustratingly unfulfilled. It made me realize that most of us lose ourselves in simple tasks to avoid walking our true path, living our own dreams. Kate’s journey is about coming to terms with her choices and breaking free of her self-imposed limitations.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I use an outline, but it’s a fluid outline. The story has a way of writing itself, but the outline gives me general direction. I find myself updating the outline frequently during the writing process.

Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?

Good ideas can hit anytime, but I seem to get a lot of promptings while exercising. I think the best ideas come when we’re not fixated on the process. Walking and aerobic exercise helps me to get out of my head.

Are you a disciplined writer?

I am naturally very organized and that helps a lot. I try to write every day, but I don’t force anything. If I’m not feeling the juices flowing, I just try again the next day or when an idea hits.

When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?

I’m a total night owl. Some times I write so late that I could be considered an early bird, too.

What is your opinion about critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one? Do you think the wrong critique group can ‘crush’ a fledgling writer?

I am wary of writing groups especially groups where there is a mixture of genres between, fiction, non-fiction, poets, etc. Group information can be very subjective so beware.

I’ve had opportunities to join writing groups, but I prefer to work alone. I have an editor I work with closely, but also I have about eight close friends who are avid fiction readers so once I’m far enough along I ask them to take a gander to get their impressions. After I incorporate their notes, I ask my first wave of readers to enlist their fiction book-loving friends who don’t know me to read my draft. You’d be surprised how many people are happy to participate in this process.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Yes . . . www.invisiblesnow.com

Readers can also get more information about me at http://www.quinnbarrett.com which provides links to my blog, Facebook, and Twitter account, too.

Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

I’m working on a sequel as well as another original book, but I have lots of ideas in notes and journals that I plan to develop and write eventually.

As an author, what is your greatest reward?

I just got a review for Invisible Snow praising my skillful writing style . . . that was pretty cool. In general, however, personal accomplishment is the best reward. Not everyone can write a novel so I don’t take the achievement lightly.

Quinn Barrett can be found on:

http://www.invisblesnow.com
http://www.quinnbarrett.com
http://www.facebook.com/quinnbarrett
http://www.facebook.com/invisiblesnow
http://www.twitter.com/quinnbarrett

Invisible Snow is available on: Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, and Smashwords.

Invisible Snow Giveaway

Connect with me on Facebook, like my Invisible Snow fan page, and follow me on Twitter to become eligible to receive an Invisible Snow eBook. Once you connect with me, email me at info@quinnbarrett.com. My first 10 new friends, fans and followers will receive an Invisible Snow eBook in the digital version of their choice: PDF, .mobi or ePub.

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Shirley Roe is an author and Managing Editor for Allbooks Review International. As a freelance writer, she spends time between Canada and the USA. Her published work, including inspirational articles and award winning poetry, has appeared in magazines, anthologies and daily newspapers. She writes a syndicated column for 21 news outlets in North America including World News.

Winner of the Editor’s Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry for 2002 and 2004 as well as recipient of the Freelance Writing Org. Int. First Place Award in 2003 for Business Articles, she excels in several genres.

Shirley’s first novel, Of Dreams and Nightmares was released in the fall of 2004. It won the UK Gold Blether Award in 2004. It has now been rereleased as Dreams and Nightmares: The Martha Whittaker Story by Realtime Publishing. Now My Life Begins was released in 2011 in print and ebook version. Shirley and her husband enjoy travelling and every trip is research for the next story.

Thanks for this interview, Shirley! You’ve had two novels published recently. Dreams and Nightmares: The Martha Whittaker Story, was released this past December and Now My Life Begins just came out last month. At the same time, you’re Managing Editor at AllBookReviews.com. Where do you get your energy and how do you divide your time?

Writing is my passion and I never feel rushed or bothered when I write. If the mood strikes, I work on the novels whatever time of day or night. Allbooks Review requires several hours a day and I diligently do whatever is required first thing in the morning. My day starts about 6 a.m. and I have quite a lot done by 9 a.m. when most people start their day. I am very fortunate to have a great family of people working with me at Allbooks Review and with 32 reviewers, an editor and marketing person, we manage to get it all done. Since I travel a great deal, I always have the computer with me and continue to conduct my business while traveling. 

Let’s talk first about Dreams and Nightmares: The Martha Whittaker Story, which I hear won the UK Blether GOLD Award. What’s it about and what compelled you to write it?

Dreams and Nightmares is the story of a young English aristocrat in the mid 1800’s. Through an arranged marriage, she finds herself taken from the safety and security of England and transported to America. There Martha, her new husband, his three sons and several other pioneers travel by wagon train to Wyoming territory. We follow her through many trials and tribulations as her life is drastically changed.

I wrote this story because the character of Martha literally haunted me. I think most authors would understand that.  I dreamt of her, I would visualize her trudging across the prairie, and I simply could not shake the feeling that she wanted her story told. I soon became to think of the Whittakers as my family. When I started I had no idea it would turn into a trilogy, I just  knew Martha’s story had to be told. 

How did you set out to research the pioneering era?

I spent hours in the library, on the internet and reading books of that era to learn as much as I could. The research took two years before I felt ready to begin. Whenever I travel, I always try to learn new things about the places I go. This can be very helpful in putting together a novel. 

Now My Life Begins just came out last month. How is that novel different from Dreams and Nightmares?

Once again the character of Jenny Barstow haunted me and she too had a story to tell. It is set in the early 1900’s and is the story of a young woman in Edinburgh  and her life as she experiences both WWI and WWII. Having spent time in the city of Edinburgh, I was captivated by it and wanted to use it as a setting in one of my novels. This book will not become a trilogy as I feel the story was told in its entirety in one book. Jenny and Martha do have some similarities in that they are both young, impressionable and innocent when their stories begin. 

How would you describe your writing style? Does it change from one book to another?

I like an easy, flowing style that tells a story. I feel the main character is most important in all of my books.  I try to let the reader embrace the characters as if they are good friends. All of my books are stories of families, how they lived and what challenges they had to face. I love history and try to ensure that all of the historical facts are accurate. The combination of real historical events and fictitious characters has always appealed to me. 

Do you have a link to an excerpt or would you like to post here a short excerpt so readers can have a taste of your writing?

From Dreams and Nightmares:

Once she was free, she would hideout on shore and then

return to England never to see Jebediah Whittaker again.

The night of the escape came in a blanket of fog.

Darkness descended over the anchored ship and the taste of

salt was heavy in the air. As she crept out on the deck, her

small bag containing only a few possessions in hand, she

took her position behind the post as arranged. She thanked

God for bringing this heavy fog to hide her escape.

Jebediah and the boys had been sound asleep when she

crept from the dark cabin. Martha was to wait until

Richard signaled her from the dinghy, then they would

lower the boat and escape into the night. She pulled her

cloak tightly around her to ward off the damp night air. Her

body shivered with anticipation. After what seemed like

hours, but was in fact only minutes, a small flicker of light

appeared. Her heart was pounding; her palms wet with

nervous perspiration. She pulled the cloak over her head

and advanced quickly to the small boat that would be her

salvation. At last, I will be free, she thought as her feet

connected with the wooden deck; each step moving her

closer to freedom. Coming from behind, she could see that

Richard was swinging the brilliant necklace back and forth.

This was no time to be admiring his newfound wealth;

perhaps she should not have given it to him until she

reached the shore.

As Richard turned towards her, Martha gasped in

horror. There in front of her, holding her mother’s necklace

was Jebediah Whittaker, looking like the devil himself.

“Going somewhere, Martha?” he sneered.

‘Forcing it’ works for me when I feel block or uninspired. I just insist until something starts to happen on the page. How do you keep your narrative exciting when you don’t feel like working on a novel but yet you have to?

Actually, I just walk away and give it some time to come back to me. Forcing never works for me. 

What qualities are important in a writer who wants to succeed? How do you define success as an author?

I think to produce a good book, a writer must be thorough in their research, their character development and their descriptions of places and events. Writers must realize that their work should be edited before submission. This is the one thing that we constantly find at Allbooks Review. An unedited book with typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, will not make it in today’s market. As far as my view of success goes, I honestly feel that if the readers love your books, you are a success. I never felt that success was in the money made or the number of books sold, but in the reception of the story by the people that read the book. When my fans asked for more of Martha Whittaker’s story, I felt truly blessed and obligated to continue with the trilogy. In my mind, this made Dreams and Nightmares a great success. Marketing your books is also a huge part of being a success and that is where people like you come in. I appreciate your help. 

Please share with us your website and/or blog link(s) so readers can find out more about you and your works?

My current website for my books is www.booksbyshirleyroe.bravehost.com however I am hoping to update it in the near future. The web address for Allbooks Review International is www.allbooksreviewint.com and my books are listed there as well. 

What’s on the horizon for Shirley Roe?

I am working on book seven and eight at the moment and I will definitely be working with Allbooks Review International for years to come.

 

 

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Janelle Meraz Hooper is an Anglo-Hispanic writer who was born in Oklahoma; she now lives in Washington State. An award-winning author, her books are character-driven and lean heavily on the lives and challenges of women. She has been awarded the 2002 Bold Media Book Award for Fiction, the 1999 Surrey Writing Contest 1st Place for Fiction, and was also a finalist at the 2004 Oklahoma Book Awards. Her books include A Three-Turtle Summer, As Brown As I Want: The Indianhead Diaries, Custer and His Naked Ladies, Bears in the Hibiscus, and Free-Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories.

Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it?

Photo by Bonnie King

My latest published book (2010) is Bears in the Hibiscus, a humorous romance about a woman in her late thirties starting over. This is the first book I’ve written that isn’t based on my family. I’m sure they breathed a sigh of relief when I emailed them to say I’d finally stopped writing about them!

I wrote the book because so many of my friends are starting over. Some of the for the third and fourth time. Love isn’t just for the young. It’s for all ages, just with different challenges.

Are you a full-time writer or do you have another job?

I’m a full-time writer.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I work with an outline. I’ve tried it both ways but the outline method works the best for me. For me, the main difference is it’s faster!

Do you use index cards to plot your book?

No. I do everything on the computer.

How long did it take you to write the book?

I wrote this one in a year. In 2011, I wrote two books, one was a romance, the other a literary novella. Neither one is published yet.

What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

I like to go places where I can people-watch. When I was a child in Oklahoma, on summer nights it was too hot to sleep. It was a popular past time to go downtown, buy an ice cream cone, then sit in the car and watch the people go by. Lawton was great for people-watching. The streets were full of Indians, cowboys, Hispanics, blacks, and Asians, and more. An awful lot of them were our friends. I’ve never forgotten those nights. Many of those people are in my Turtle Trilogy (A Three-Turtle Summer, As Brown As I Want: The Indianhead Diaries, and Custer and His Naked Ladies).

How was your experience in looking for a publisher?

Well, not good. I sent out my first novel to agents and publishers right after 9-11-2001 and most of my manuscripts were sent back unopened. Someone said they were afraid of bombs. I finally self-published in 2002.

What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

I’d advise them to carefully watch everything I do—and do the opposite!

What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?

The best way for me to sell a book is at a book event. I have to put the book in a potential reader’s hand. The next best way is on Facebook. My Facebook readers are very faithful. I have blogs and websites that get a lot of hits but I have no way of knowing if any of them result in sales.

Share with us some writing tips!

I have a section on writing tips for students on my web page. My favorites are:

Exercise! Writing is exhausting work. Having enough stamina to do that one extra rewrite can make the difference between success and failure.

Listen- Are you listening? Really listening? I used to be a big talker at parties. Then I figured out that I’d be better off if I listened more. I listen not only to what people say but how they say it. Also, listen to the sounds around you. Listen to the sounds a prom dress makes when it dances across the floor. Listen to the different sounds the leaves in the trees make in the different seasons. Listen to the sounds of children playing.
.
Read. Everything- Well…almost everything. Let’s stay in the deep end of the IQ and morality pool. Remember that old computer saying: Garbage in, garbage out!

The best tool a writer can have is self-discipline. ‘Nuff said.

In college, an English instructor told me that I’d be a good writer someday when “I’d lived enough”. My first two novels are about my childhood. All I gained by waiting was perspective.

What authors or type of books do you read for fun?

I have a lot of interests so I like to read books on American Native history, marine science, archaeology, geology, interior design, biographies, etc.

Do you think a critique group is essential for a writer?

Yes, if you can find a good one. My definition of a good critique group is one that is nurturing and sociable. I seldom get out. When I do, I want to have a good time! Most of the serious critiquing goes on through email the next day.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Yes. My main ones are:
www.JanelleMerazHooper.com
A site I started for local indie authors: www.NorthwestAuthors.org
A blog: http://JanelleMerazHooper.blogspot.com
Social networks include Facebook and National Society of Hispanic Professionals.

Do you have another novel on the works?

I have a new light romance, Boogie, Boots & Cherry Pie, but it isn’t published yet. I imagine it won’t be out until September. I’ve turned it in to my publisher but it is in a long queue. He’s putting it on Kindle for me to begin with. The paperback will come later. (All of my other books are available on Kindle and paperback.)

Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

Right now, I’m writing a one-man show for a Hollywood actor (Rudy Ramos) on Geronimo. It’s a very different take on the Chiricahua Apache. I’ve been interested in him since childhood. It is so different I haven’t had the nerve to show it to anyone yet, not even my husband.

I’m holding on to a literary novella titled The Welfare Resort because I thinking of expanding it into a novel.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Anyone who has read my Turtle Trilogy will realize I’ve had a very unusual life as an Anglo-Hispanic. To the first part, I was never white enough to fit in. To the second part, I was never brown enough to be really accepted. But to be fair, my Hispanic mother’s side of the family was very sociable and loved to play cards till all hours of the night and ballroom dance. I was just a nerdy little kid sitting on the floor of the living room reading a stack of library books. I didn’t play cribbage. I didn’t dance. I didn’t tell funny stories. But oh, how I loved them. Especially the women. They were the inspiration for my Turtle Trilogy.

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Vincent Hobbes was born in Dallas, TX in 1975. He has been actively writing since he was fifteen years old. His roots lay in horror, but he has recently branched out into other genres. In 2007, he was published. The Contrived Senator was the first book in a fantasy series. In 2008, he released Exiles, the second book in the series. Short stories have always been a favorite of Vincent’s, and in 2010 he teamed up with 11 incredible authors, and created The Endlands. This horror anthology is an ode to the kooky and bizarre. The Endlands was released January 17th, 2011. Vincent is currently working on more novels, including a dystopian book. He lives north of the DFW metroplex with his wife, two dogs, two cats, chickens and ducks.

You can read more about him at: www.VincentHobbes.com

Horror is such a broad subject and there are so many subcategories. Please tell us a little about the kind of horror fiction you write.

Horror indeed has many subcategories. Personally, I can’t stand gore for the sake of gore, or shock value for lack of quality. Now, I don’t mind some blood and guts on occasion, but I feel it’s overused in both the book industry and movie industry. As for myself, I prefer psychological horror—to leave something up to the imagination. Alfred Hitchcock was a master at this, as was Rod Serling. I find if you let the reader’s imagination run wild, it will turn out much scarier.

How did the project come about and how long did it take to complete?

This project has been in my head for years. I approached my publisher a few years ago, and he agreed to it. So, I’d say The Endlands was years in the making, though it took about a year to put together. We searched for talent and found eleven other incredible authors to take part.

What are some of the themes explored in the book?

Fear of the unknown is a common theme in the Endlands. The classic good vs. evil is prevalent. Stories that boggle the imagination and cause the reader to question their own sanity. The Endlands has a little bit of everything in it.

Where is the book available?

The book is available on all major online book retailers, including ebook format. Hopefully it will be on the shelves soon, and many libraries are carrying it.

What is your writing schedule like? Do you have any special rituals or quirks?

I attempt to write every day. It’s important for me to stay in practice, though sometimes life doesn’t work out that way. I try to keep a minimum word count daily, and many nights I stay up late, inspired to peck away at my keyboard until exhausted. A good writing environment is important to me. I cherish silence when I write. My wife has learned to stay away when I’m really going at it. Loud music helps, too. Just depends on what I’m working on.

How do you keep your narrative exciting when you don’t feel like writing but you know you have to? Do you force it?

I always force myself to write, even if I don’t feel like it. That doesn’t mean the words are always good, but that doesn’t matter. If I end up throwing away or deleting what I’ve written, that’s fine…it’s like working out, sometimes you don’t want to, but we do it anyways.

What is your editing process like? Do you edit as you write or do you leave that for the second draft?

I always save editing for later. Usually it’s for a second if not third draft. Then, I have editors who help me after that.

You write short stories but you’ve also written novels. How is your creative process like when writing a short story as opposed to a novel?

With short stories, I write fast and furious. A quicker pace. Usually I can complete a draft in one sitting, or a few days at best. I get inspired and type away until I’m finished. For example, I wrote a short story for The Endlands anthology called, The Hour of the Time. I literally wrote it in an hour. It just came to me; the words flowed and the story came together.

With novels, it’s a different monster. It takes tons of patience and months or even years to finish. I find writing both gives me balance; a short story gives me an instant fix while writing a novel tests my endurance.

Would you say the horror book market is rising, declining or at a plateau?

Hard to say. Horror movies have probably taken away from the book market, and it seems the book industry doesn’t put as much effort into horror as it once did. My local mega-chain bookstore doesn’t even have a horror section. However, there are still wonderful horror writers out there, and many small presses have put out some great work. I think horror will always maintain its spot in the industry, though it’s being defined differently. Nowadays, horror can be labelled as mystery, drama, suspense or whatever, so I’d say horror will always have its spot.

Do you have a website and/or blog?

I do. My website is: www.VincentHobbes.com. I also post blogs on it. I review books and movies, horror mostly (go figure). It’s something I enjoy doing and my fans seem to enjoy it, as well.

What’s inside the mind of the horror writer?

Do you really want to know?

I can’t speak for other horror writers, but for me, it’s to explain the unexplained. Sometimes it’s to face my own fears. I’m inquisitive by nature, always asking ‘what if’ questions. Human nature—our flaws, our quirks—intrigue me. I find myself studying people.

Leave us with some words of wisdom for aspiring writers.

A good writer must read. If you want to write, then WRITE! Don’t think about it, don’t talk about it, just write. Put your heart on paper and see what happens. It’s a journey in itself.

Thank you, Vincent!

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In order for paranormal fiction – any fiction, really – to have an impact on the reader, you’ve got to strive for that old cliché, “the willing suspension of disbelief.” In effect you’re inviting the reader into funhouse of your own creation. You meet him at the entrance and whisper in his ear: “Hey, look, dude: We both know that there’s no such thing as vampires, and demons, and ghosts, and all that. But let’s pretend, you and I – just for a little while. And who knows, maybe you’ll feel a bit differently about such things – in the dark. Now take my hand – it’s time to go inside.” Then the reader turns to page one – and so it begins.

So how do you help the reader get to that cooperative frame of mind that will allow you to really mess up with his head? The answer, in a word, is plausibility. Apart from the vampires, or ghosts, or werewolves (or, as in the case of my novel Hard Spell, all three and more) everything else in the story has got to seem as realistic as possible. It seems to me that there are two ways to achieve plausibility, and the wise speculative fiction writer will use both of them.

One is consistency. Not only do the supernatural elements have to remain consistent with each other (if sunlight fries vampires in your world, then you’d better not have one going for a noonday stroll later in the story – unless he’s using a lot of sunscreen), but also with the reader’s understanding of the real world.

So, say you’ve got a couple of cops, in a universe where the supernatural exists and everyone knows it. Sometimes supernatural creatures break the law, and you’ve got to bust ‘em. But the writer should treat it as normal police routine. You bust a vampire – perhaps you have to use the threat of a crucifix or some garlic to subdue him, but you’ve done it before. You put on the cuffs – maybe a pair that’s silver-plated – read the vamp his rights, and take him to the station. On the way, you and your partner talk about sports, or women, or bitch about your boss. You don’t make a big deal about having a vampire in the back seat, because in your world it isn’t a big deal. Your cops are acting consistent with the way cops act in “normal” TV and movies (which presumably reflects real life, more or less), and that gives you plausibility.

The other route to plausibility is detail. You make your world seem real by putting real things in it, to the greatest extent possible. Your cops don’t stop at “a fast food place” and have lunch. They stop at the Mickey Dee’s on 4th Street where one cop orders the Double Whopper with Cheese and the other gets the nine-piece McNuggets, even though he’s always getting the barbecue sauce on his shirt, which pisses his wife Margaret off no end when she has to launder it. And those cops, they don’t carry “guns.” Each holster contains a 9-mm Beretta, the same model used by the U.S. military, even though Harry’s brother, who’s with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan, says the things haven’t got near the stopping power of the old .45s that used to be standard military issue. Stephen King does this a lot (and very well), and some critics get on him for it, saying that a King novel is a “pop-culture extravaganza, full of brand names and trademarks” (that’s not a real quote, but it’s close). They say that like it’s a bad thing – but its not. It’s one way of making it real. And for your reader to believe the unbelievable, he or she has to be visiting a world that seems real. That’s the only way to gain willing suspension of disbelief – which in paranormal fiction is just another word for “entertainment.”

So take my hand, and let’s go through the fun house together. Yes, I know it’s dark, but the floor is even – you won’t trip. Probably. And if something should reach out for you from the dark – something with cold flesh and sharp claws and breath that reeks of the graveyard – just remind yourself: “It’s only a story.”

About the author:

Justin Gustainis was born in Northeast Pennsylvania in 1951. He attended college at the University of Scranton, a Jesuit university that figures prominently in several of his writings. After earning both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army. Following military service, he held a variety of jobs, including speechwriter and professional bodyguard, before earning a Ph.D. at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

He was married to Patricia A. Grogan of Toledo, Ohio, from 1977 until her death in 2007. He misses her a lot. Mr. Gustainis currently lives in Plattsburgh, New York. He is a Professor of Communication at Plattsburgh State University, where he earned the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002. His academic publications include the book American Rhetoric and the Vietnam War, published in 1993, and a number of scholarly articles that hardly anybody has ever read. In the Summer of 2008, he attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

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The next presidential election is getting near… and handsome, charismatic Senator Howard Stark wants to become president. There’s only one problem: He’s possessed by Sargatanas, a powerful demon who wants to unleash all evil on earth. To make things worse, Stark’s assistant happens to be a malevolent, highly-intelligent practitioner of the black arts, and she’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants. One by one, the other candidates begin to die, some of illness, others due to mysterious accidents.

Enter the good guys: occult investigator Quincey Morris and his partner, white witch Libby Chastain. Together, they risk their lives while trying to find a way to exorcise the senator, which isn’t easy. After all, how do you get past the U.S. Secret Service and the forces of hell itself?

Sympathy for the Devil is pure entertainment. I’ve read all of the books in the Morris and Chastain Investigation series and I have to say I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed them. Just like in the earlier installments, the story, told from multiple points of view, opens with a reader-grabbing scene and continues its quick, suspenseful pace until the end. Author Justin Gustainis raises the stakes high and makes the characters sympathetic, getting you to care for their predicament. He’s also great at making you hate the villain. The secondary characters are interesting, too — even some of the bad ones are likable.

Lots of action and dialogue propel the plot; Gustainis doesn’t spend much time on description. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy and supernatural, and political thrillers, you’ll relish this one. Also, Sympathy for the Devil stands alone perfectly, so don’t worry if you haven’t read the earlier novels. I certainly look forward to reading what Quincey and Libby are up to next.

Visit the author’s website.

Purchase from Amazon.

Watch the trailer!

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