Archive for November, 2012


SPECTRA Tour Information


About the Book

Imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit and betrayed by those closest to him, Dean Weston struggles to stop the genocide of newly discovered energy-based life forms so unique they cause humans to acquire extraordinary intelligence for a brief period following exposure. As genius edges toward insanity for those exploiting the peaceful entities, a ruthless experiment goes awry leading to the creation of an evil capable of redefining human existence.

Amazon / MuseItUpPublishing


About the Author

Joanne Elder is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering Science at the University of Western Ontario. During her professional career, she spent several years in the aeronautical and nuclear industries, published numerous technical papers in the field of Metallurgic Engineering and presented at international conferences. She now resides in King City, Ontario with her two teen-aged children and husband.

You can visit Joanne Elder’s website at www.sciencefictionthrillers.com. 

Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | MuseItUp Publishing



Would you call yourself a born writer?

During my engineering career, I published many technical papers. Never did I think my love for science fiction would pull me to write in that genre, but it did. I feel fortunate, as few people stumble upon an unexpected passion as I have done with writing.        It’s an incredible thing to discover a born talent within you and run with it.

What was your inspiration for Spectra?

Often science fiction plots involve extraterrestrials carrying out ruthless experiments on humans. I loved the thought of switching it up and stirring in some deadly consequences for those immoral enough to exploit a newly discovered, peaceful and intelligent life form.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I love to explore the “unknown” and science fiction is the perfect avenue to do that with. As we know from the past, today’s speculative fiction may become tomorrow’s scientific fact. A subplot in Spectra narrows in on the human soul and what it is. Scientifically speaking, if it exists, it has to be something. So does God for that matter. I carried out a lot of research into the human energy field. In particular, a study done at UCLA where it was actually measured, thus proving that we have an “aura.” I also researched dark plasma theory to model the energy life forms in Spectra as plasma life, which, interestingly, could well exist. Spectra is fiction, but real science does support the existence of energy based life as portrayed in the book.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It took just under a year to complete Spectra.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I’m extremely disciplined. When I’m writing, I become fully engaged with my story. I like to write first thing in the morning as I find I’m more creative when I’m fresh. If I get a dose of writer’s block, I take my dog for a walk. That usually cures it.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The scientific research I did for Spectra was fascinating and intriguing. The challenge was to take this research and convey it in a completely non-technical manner so it would be thought provoking for the reader but not confusing.

What do you love most about being an author?

I love the creative aspect of writing. Writing is complete escapism and I enjoy it even more than reading a good book.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I’m published with MuseItUp Publishing, a small press. I was able to submit to them without using an agent, who would have been entitled to a percentage of the royalties. MuseItUp is a fantastic publisher and I’m very pleased with them. From the author’s point of view, small presses have many advantages such as the ability to put forth ideas for the cover art etc.

Where can we find you on the web?

My website is www.sciencefictionthrillers.com and my facebook page is www.facebook.com/Spectra.Series. Follow me on Twitter @JoanneElder.

Watch the trailer! 

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Serial Date was a surprisingly entertaining read filled with witty writing and dark humor. 

In an unexpected turn of fate, former assassin Leine Basso is offered a job working security in Los Angeles at a gigantic hit reality show called ImageSerial Date–where beautiful young women get to date ex-cons posing as serial killers. Though L.A.brings her bad memories, Leine can’t just ignore $2,000 a week, especially when she needs the money. 

Already there’s been one murder: one of the young women on the show was brutally mutilated and hidden in the prop closet, and it seems the killer will strike again. But is the killer one of the ex-cons or is he an outsider? Santiago Jensen, the handsome detective in charge of the case, isn’t so sure, even though all evidence seems to point out to one of the ‘bachelors.’ 

Soon, the police find a letter supposedly written by the killer, a letter that reveals a very focused agenda. Then, Leine’s daughter is kidnapped by someone claiming to be the killer. Leine hasn’t seen her in years because, unfortunately, her daughter doesn’t want her in her life–a fact that tortures Leine every day of her existence. 

In order to find her daughter, Leine must use her skills as an assassin and come to terms with her own identity, something that secretly terrifies her. Soon, a grim picture emerges: is the killer someone from her past set on revenge? 

I thoroughly enjoyed Serial Date. The author has a distinct style that is witty, smart, and darkly humorous. The prose is sharp and gritty. I love satires and this one was no exception. I especially enjoyed all the subtle, indirect criticism of television and reality shows. I kept chuckling as I read.

The story is told in multiple points of view separated by chapters, so there’s no distracting head switching. The pace is pretty quick with a fair share of exciting twists and turns. To add more flavor, Santiago and Leine provide a sprinkle of romance. 

I have to admit, though, that the fact that Leine was a former assassin bothered me a lot in the beginning, even though the author stresses the fact that she killed criminals. I kept wondering if I was going to forgive her for that. Surprisingly, I did. Leine comes out as a very human character who is deeply sorry about her past and who wants to reconcile with her beloved daughter. This emotional subplot about her and her daughter really brought the story to a higher level for me. 

Another thing I need to point out, just for those sensitive readers out there, is that there’s a lot of foul language. 

In short, I highly recommend Serial Date to those who enjoy murder mysteries with a touch of satire. 

For more about the book visit: Amazon.comBarnesandnoble.com and Smashwords.com.

Visit the author’s website

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Please welcome my special guest, romantic suspense author Kaylin McFarren. I recently had the chance to read and review her latest novel, Severed Threads, and I have to say it is an entertaining, thrilling read. Kaylin was generous enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions about her book and her writing. I hope you’ll enjoy the interview!

About the author

A native of California, Kaylin McFarren has traveled around the world and is now settled in Oregon.

As the director of a fine art gallery, she assisted in developing the careers of numerous visual artists who under her guidance gained recognition through promotional opportunities and in national publications. Eager to unleash and develop her own creativity, she has since channeled her energy toward writing novels. As a result, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards and was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest. She is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers.

Thanks for this interview, Kaylin! Do you consider yourself a born writer?

Definitely. Since the age of eight, I’ve loved to write stories and have been filled with an active imagination.

What compelled you to start writing professionally?

Like many authors, I was originally inspired to write my first novel after reading a great book and seeing an amazing movie. Mine happened to be Memoirs of a Geisha and The Notebook, which will always be my favourites.

Severed Threads is full of romance, suspense and danger. What was the most challenging aspect of writing this romantic thriller?

The most difficult task to writing a suspense story is to keep the action moving while revealing character traits and emotions along the way. Severed Threads contains an array of characters and each serve their purpose in revealing a twisting and turning plot that ultimately leads to a pleasant resolve. However, keeping the voices of each person unique also proved to be a challenge.

Tell us something about your hero and heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.

Chase Cohen is a handsome, womanizing, thrill-seeking treasure hunter who has found his greatest challenge and true love in Rachel Lyons. But she doesn’t trust Chase for good reasons and won’t be easy to win over.no matter how hard he tries.

What did you find most fascinating while researching underwater archaeology and ancient Chinese treasures?

I had no idea how much gold had been lost at sea. According to Greg Stemm, co-founder and co-chairman of Odyssey, there’s billions of dollars scattered beneath the ocean. However, much of the ocean floor is unexplored and unmapped and global imaging shows crushing depths ranging up to six miles. And there could even be gold or diamond mines that far surpass what anyone on earth could imagine. Since trade included priceless collectibles and dishware from China as well as gold and silver, these were lost along with ships that sank during storms and battles hundreds of years ago and many will never be recovered.at least not in our lifetime.

How long did it take you to write the novel and did you work from an outline?

It took me close to two years to write Severed Threads. This included the time needed to research details and edit my final manuscript. I typically create a synopsis and then write by the seat of my pants. I’m not big on storyboards and planning, as I’m too anxious to get my stories on paper.

What was the editing process like?

Although I tend to edit as I go, I eventually asked three published authors and two experienced readers to assist with my initial editing before hiring a professional editor to review my manuscript. After taking all of their advice into consideration, I fine-tuned my writing and sent it in for publication, hoping I’d done my best in creating a fast-paced, entertaining tale.

What advice would you give to first-time novelists who are just starting to market their books?

Spend a little extra time in researching your options. If you chose to approach a publishing house, be sure the agents you contact are experienced in your genre and have a great track record. If you decide to self-publish, be prepared to spend a little extra money and time in promoting your titles as well as yourself.

What’s on the horizon for Kaylin McFarren?

I’m currently completing the second book in the Threads series – Buried Threads – and will be following this with a third – Banished Threads. I’ve enjoyed my characters so much in my first installment that I decided to take them on adventures around the world and have been urged to do so by readers who follow my stories.

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

Keep reading and if you enjoy the work created by an author, be sure to let them know. Your praise and support encourages every author to write!

Thanks, Kaylin!

Find out more about Severed Threads on Amazon.

View the original article on blogcritics.org

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ImageThe story opens during a diving salvage operation with experienced divers and treasure hunters Sam Lyons and Chase Cohen. Though they’re working on the Griffith wreckage, Sam believes the site also contains the wreckage of none other than the Wanli II—the Ming Dynasty Emperor’s lost dragon ship containing an ancient figure head, a fierce dragon in gold leaf and preserved in resin for all posterity—the gift Mai Le intended for her lover. 

Unexpectedly, however, things turn bad for Sam while he’s underwater: he suffers cardiac arrest for no apparent reason. Indeed, the circumstances surrounding his death appear more than a little mysterious. 

Chase, who had loved him like a father, feels responsible and doesn’t know what to make of it. Did something malfunction or did something scare Sam down there? He’d been an experienced diver with over 20 years of experience under his belt. What had Chase missed? Sam was the only man Chase had allowed himself to trust. He and his daughter Rachel were the only two people he really cared for. But now all had changed: Sam was dead, and Rachel would forever blame him for his death. 

Move four years forward. Rachel Lyons, Sam’s Daughter, is working at a grant foundation. All is pretty quiet and routine in her life…until she’s approached by a museum director asking for a grant to conduct another diving salvage operation, run by none other than Chase’s Trident Ventures.      

Though Rachel has no intention of helping Chase, Chase is set on convincing her. Since the operation focuses on discovering the Wanli II, if they succeed, her father would receive his long overdue reward and the museum would fund a permanent exhibition to honor his memory. 

Yet, Rachel is still hesitant. Then, a twist of fate puts Rachel’s brother in danger, forcing her to change her mind about funding Chase’s project.  Chase is more than suspicious about her sudden change of heart, but he isn’t about to say no to this opportunity which could help him leave his mark upon the world as a renowned treasure hunter. 

Thus, she grants him the money and insists on joining the underwater expedition. Can she put aside pride and work with Chase on a daily basis? 

Severed Threads is an engaging, entertaining read! I’ve always enjoyed stories about lost treasures and underwater archaeology and this one didn’t disappoint. The hero and heroine are realistic and sympathetic and there’s a sizzling chemistry between them. The plot is believable with a fair share of exciting twists and turns. I found the workings of a grant foundation and a diving salvage operation quite interesting and informative. Pacing is fairly quick with a nice balance of action, dialogue, description and the inner thoughts of the characters. 

In short, Severed Threads is an exciting novel featuring danger in the high seas, romance, action and adventure, murder, and even a sprinkle of the paranormal for good measure. Recommended. 

Purchase from Amazon

Visit Kaylin McFarren’s website


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About the author

John Knoerle began his creative endeavors in the early 70s as a member of the DeLuxe Radio Theatre, a comedy troupe in Santa Barbara. He then moved to LA and did stand-up comedy, opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams.

Knoerle wrote the screenplay Quiet Fire, which starred Karen Black, and the stage play The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, an LA Time’s Critic’s Choice. He also worked as a staff writer for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Knoerle moved to Chicago in 1996 with his wife Judie. His first novel, “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel, “The Violin Player,” won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction.

John Knoerle’s novel, A Pure Double Cross, was the first volume of a late 40s spy trilogy featuring former OSS agent Hal Schroeder. The second volume, A Despicable Profession, was published in 2010. Knoerle’s latest book, The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy, has just been released.

Visit his website at www.JohnKnoerle.com

About the book

October, 1948. Former OSS agent Hal Schroeder gets an invitation to WashingtonD.C. from Frank Wisner, who heads the CIAs new covert ops division. Hal is whisked off to Wisners Maryland shore retreat and introduced to a brace of Romanian royals, including the scarily beautiful Princess Stela Varadja, a direct descendant of Vlad Tepes Draculea.

Then Frank Wisner pops the question. Would Hal consider parachuting into a remote mountain camp to meet with the leader of a group of Romanian anti-Communist guerillas? Hal had already survived two previous suicide missions and a third did not appeal. But he told Frank Wisner he would need a few days to think it over and had some sightseeing to do. As it turns out, Hal gets to do a lot more sightseeing than he bargained for. Proxy Assassin is a journey that brings the American Spy Trilogy to a surprising, and emotional, conclusion.

Purchase links: http://JohnKnoerle.com


Would you call yourself a born writer?

My mother, at eighty-eight years old, still cranks out articles for The Almanac in Palo Alto, CA, as she has for decades, so I have some ink in my veins.

But I do believe that writers are made, not born. It’s plain hard work. Whoever said, “Writing is rewriting” had it right. The idea that the story, in all its intimate detail, will pour forth in a booze-and- nicotine-fuelled fury like Kerouac’s “On the Road” is pure fantasy.

In fact, Kerouac had taken reams of notes during his cross-country trek before he cranked out OTR in three weeks in April of 1951.

What was your inspiration for “The Proxy Assassin: Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy”?

Book Two concluded with Hal Schroeder pretty much single-handedly preventing World War III.

Tough to top that, so I decided  to paint a deeper and richer portrait of American espionage in 1948, the beginning of the Cold War. But what was my hook?

Extended research uncovered a fascinating character. A Romanian Princess, a direct descendant of Vlad Tepes Draculea, who had an affair with the head of the American OSS station in Bucharest during WWII.

To this day I have seen only one photo of her, on a Paris train platform in the company, of all people, of Sigmund Freud! She looked like what you would expect a descendant of Vlad the Impaler to look: dark-eyed and scarily beautiful.

Princess Stela Varadja was my inspiration.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Duplicity in the service of country. Pretending to be someone you’re not. Lying, mendacity and prevarication. Who isn’t interested in that?

Also fame. Fame that is not sought but thrust upon you. How that can split a person in two.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It took me four years to complete this novel. And it took me ten years to complete The American Spy Trilogy. I am now sixty-three years old. Still feisty, still engaged, but let’s face it, this trilogy will be my legacy for better or worse.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I hadn’t thought it all the way through, my Spy Trilogy. It just wasn’t possible to peer that far into the future. I faced the monumental task of trying to thread it all together.

Why had 19-year-old Hal Schroeder been plucked from obscurity to become a behind-German-lines OSS agent in WWII? Why did he keep pursuing his spy career despite his better judgment? Would he keep signing on to suicide missions, or finally tell the higher-ups to get stuffed?

What do you love most about being an author?

Beethoven, when asked what he liked most about music, replied that music could make people do things. Music could make people dance, march off to war, weep tears of joy or tears of sadness.

Or so the legend goes. The dirty little secret of creative types from low (me) to high (Ludwig), is that we are all control freaks. We enjoy making people do stuff.  Whether dance, march or cry.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I have been self-published for many years after an unhappy experience with an ‘established’ publisher. It is the only way to go if you are interested in maintaining creative integrity.

Where can we find you on the web?


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M.R. Dowsing lives in London, where he writes for the music magazines R2 and Bucketfull Of Brains, performs original songs under the name Hungry Dog Brand, and puts on a regular music night called Dogfishtrombone. He holds a BA in Studies In Contemporary Writing. By day he works as a bookseller.

The Assassination Of Adolf Hitler is his first novel. He quit his bookselling job in order to have time to research it properly and, luckily, managed to get his job back a year later before starvation set in. He hopes to be able to quit again soon in order to complete a sequel.

His first name is Martin.

Your book has a fascinating premise. How did you come up with the idea? 

I don’t actually remember what triggered the idea, but I do remember that around five or six years ago something made me think that it was strange that no-one had used the idea of travelling back in time to kill Hitler as the basis for a novel. It seemed like an obvious winner to me, so I filed it away in my head and kept my mouth shut about it. Every now and again I would give it some thought and, at first, I began to feel that perhaps it was not so strange that it hadn’t been done, because it was quite a problematic concept; it could involve years of research to do it well, and there were so many different directions it could spin off into… Eventually, though, I felt that I was beginning to see a way in which it could be contained somewhat and, three or four years after I first had the idea, I finally talked myself into writing it. 

I’ve very recently found out that Stephen Fry used a similar premise in Making History, a book that I was unaware of, but it seems like a completely different approach to mine, so I don’t think it’s a problem. 

Time-travel and Hitler is an interesting combination. Does that make your novel a historical fantasy?  

I suppose you could call it that. I think of it as a historical thriller which happens to use a science fiction device. 

What type of research did you have to do for the novel? 

Lots of research about Hitler and the beginnings of the Nazi party, in particular. Quite dark stuff, some of it, and it was a bit of a relief when the book was finished and I could read about other things. Also, quite a bit of general research on the periods in question. Some of the research was quite enjoyable, though – I enjoyed my visits to the British Library to look at old maps and such. I also visited quite a few of the locations used in the novel, which was both interesting and valuable. I had to keep thinking about what would have been there when the story was set and what wouldn’t. One trip was a bit rough though – the weather was brutal and I came down with the worst cold I’ve ever had so that I couldn’t even sleep at nights! 

How long did it take you to write it? 

Well, I should point out that I left my day job as a bookseller in order to write it. If I’d been working as well, it would have taken much, much longer – if it had have happened at all. I forced myself to write a thousand words a day and, after about three months, I had something like a first draft. I then spent another three months rewriting it over and over again and adding detail. After this, I still occasionally went back into it and changed a few things. 

Did you plot the book in advance? If yes, how did you go about it? 

I actually just had what might be called the “arc” of the story in my head, and then just worked it out as I went along. I think if I had have planned it all out in advance I would have ended up deviating considerably from the plan anyway. I think in some ways you have to follow the characters and discover what the story is yourself rather than writing characters to fit into a pre-conceived plan. 

What was the most difficult aspect of writing the book? 

Probably making the time travel aspect work. It gave me headaches and I’m still not satisfied with it! I read a book called How To Build A Time Machine by Paul Davies, which is about how a real time machine might work. I realised that I couldn’t possibly use any of it or I would get bogged down in scientific gobbledegook.  

What is your favorite scene in the novel? 

I’m not sure I have a favourite scene as such, but I think the section set in Munich is the best part. I have a favourite character, Steiner, who was created on the spur of the moment. I still feel like I want to find out more about him, so I’m hoping to feature him more prominently in a future book. 

Tell us about your main character and what makes him compelling. 

Michael Lear is a well-intentioned man who has suffered a personal tragedy in the loss of his parents. In some ways he’s very well suited to the task of going in back in time to kill Hitler but, in other ways, he’s completely the wrong kind of person. This means that during the course of the story he has to become a different person, and adapt to strange and unexpected situations very quickly. 

I understand you also write for magazines. What is a typical writing day for you and how do you balance your two types of writing? 

Well, I’m back working as a bookseller again now and I don’t have time to write every day. I have to steal hours when I can. Reviewing music for a magazine means that I receive a bunch of CDs through the post, often only a week or so before the deadline, and I’ve somehow got to get my head around all this stuff enough to write something intelligent about it. I think you have to listen to an album at least twice before you can do that – more would be better, but it’s not always possible. I’ve actually just spent most of my Saturday banging out reviews for R2 magazine. I’m not complaining though, as the standard of the music has been very high. 

Is there a second novel in the works? 

There’s a second novel in my head which I have made a few notes for, but it’s not really “in the works” yet. 

Where can we find you on the web?





http://www.myspace.com/hungrydogbrand (for my music). 

The book, which is eBook only at the moment, is available from Amazon, Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony Reader Store and more.


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About Dr. Carolle 

Dr. Carolle was born and raised in Haiti to a family of healers, herbalists, midwives and shamans, and was educated in Haiti and the best universities in Mexico, Jamaica, and the US.

After completing her postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology in Wisconsin she settled in San Diego in 1982. She soon was regarded as one of the best ob-gyn around-tall and regal, a lone black female among the elite. But her success harbored a secret: when a patient entered her office, Dr. Carolle could quickly and intuitively see the root cause of her patient’s illness, often times knowing she could help the patient without having to put her under the knife. She knew she dared not make these claims aloud. Struggling to fit in with the Western medical paradigm, her intuition and vision were best left unmentioned until she had no choice than to quit.

In 2005, she built the Dr. Carolle’s Wellness and Retreat Center of San Diego, the only place in the world where you can get UNSTUCK by spending as much time as you want – a few hours, one day, or a weekend with her. She helps those who want to quickly discover the root causes of their disease, which usually are hidden emotions. She provides guidance on how to bring them to consciousness, and how to effectively deal with them.

Dr. Carolle has worked extensively with female veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to sexual trauma during their military experience – MST, to include in-depth assessments, providing specialized alternative treatments, and testifying on their behalf at the Department of Veterans Affairs. In July 2012, she joined forces with Tara Wise, the founder of the National Military Women Veterans Association to help bring MST – military sexual trauma to the forefront.

Dr. Carolle continues to provide free intuitive gynecological care to the people of Haiti and underserved women through Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul Village with Father Joe Carroll, and Native-American Health programs. In 1993, Dr. Carolle founded the non-profit organization, Health Through Communications Foundationand its Angels For Haiti Project to provide the undeserved with education, health-care, and hope for the future. See www.HealthThroughCommunications.org.

As an international motivational speaker, Dr. Carolle brings her message of self-empowerment to women through her award-winning books, CDs, DVDs, live workshops and training programs, radio, media appearances andvirtual events.

To find out more about Dr. Carolle and her work, please visit: http://www.drcarolle.com 


Born and raised in Haiti to a family of healers, US trained physician Carolle Jean-Murat came to be regarded as a world-class surgeon. But her success har­bored a secret: in the operating room, she could quickly intuit the root cause of her patient’s illness, often times knowing she could help the patient without surgery. Dr. Jean-Murat knew that to fellow surgeons, her intuition was best left unmen­tioned. But when the devastating earthquake hit Haiti and Carolle returned to help, she had to acknowledge the shaman she had become.

This mesmerizing story takes us inside the secret world of voodoo as a heal­ing practice, and sheds light on why it remains a mystery to most and shunned by many.

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Debut author Traci McDonald has been a writer since she figured out how to make words on a page. Traci wrote for English classes like most people, but she wrote everything else in between. Traci won minor competitions with short stories, poetry and lyrics before becoming visually impaired. That is just a political correct way of saying Traci McDonald is blind. Traci lost her eyesight 17 years ago, but it never stopped her from living life and following her dreams. She has struggled with her health and raising kids, prior to the publication of her first novel. Traci is very excited to see her dream in life coming true. She lives in a small cozy town in the Mojave Desert, less than 150 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Traci McDonald has four other books in the process of becoming published and a whole list of others she plans to write.

Blog Address: Writing Blind http://tracimcdonlad.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tracimcauthor

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/traci.mcdonald

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6420858.Traci_McDonald

Publisher Website: http://adamsmedia.com or http://crimsonromance.com

About the book

Killing Casanova is based in the small ranch community of Lindley, Nevada where Jake Caswell claims the skills and reputation of infamous womanizer ‘Casanova’, until he meets Cassie Taylor, who is seemingly oblivious to Jake’s irresistible charms. Jake determines to add Cassie to Casanova’s list of conquests and unknowingly pulls her into his troubled life. Cassie uncovers old tragic wounds and a world of violence she did not expect, and her own life is at risk from Casanova’s enemies. Worse, she fears the truth about him will leave her heart as the next victim of Casanova’s flawed perceptions. Will Cassie be able to uncover the man behind the mask amidst the threat of peril? Is there hope for love in a tangled web of danger and blind distrust?

Publisher: Crimson Romance

ISBN Number: 978-1440552427

ISBN 10: 1440552428

ASIN: B008DVPAW6 (eBook)

Publication Date: July 2012

Genre: Mainstream Romance/Suspense

Get a sneak peek of the book at http://youtu.be/SuE_kpSHock

Review from The Brand Buzz Network:

Sometimes it takes not only a hurting heart but also a blind author to open our eyes to love, lies and deceit. Traci McDonald’s hero in Killing Casanova, Cassie Taylor is immune to Jake Caswell’s charms in the small ranch community of Lindley, Nevada. Jake’s reputation of being a womanizer with a “Casanova” like quality only hides his truly troubled life. Cassie unknowingly keeps herself from becoming his latest conquest and in the process uncovers old tragic wounds.

This unique love story mixed with non-stop suspenseful action with romantic undertones. You get horses, sexy cowboys, the visually impaired and even the occasional blind heart. Will these two unlikely hearts find love amongst all the troubles from Jake’s past? Will Cassie break down the barriers and leave you open and exposed so your feelings spill across the written page as a reader?

Author Traci McDonald maybe blind, but she knows how to unmask the threat of peril, stir up the heart and leave you wanting more.

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Pump Up Your Book Presents The Third Grace Virtual Book Publicity Tour – Kindle Fire HD Giveaway!

Click HERE to enter!

ImageWhen author and city-slicker Deb Elkink fell in love and married an introverted cowboy, she moved from her bright lights to his isolated cattle ranch far off in the prairie grasslands. Still—between learning to pilot a light aircraft, sewing for a costume rental store, and cooking for branding crews of a hundred—Deb graduated with a B.A. in Communications from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN; she also holds an M.A. in Theology (both summa cum laude).

Her award-winning debut novel, THE THIRD GRACE, is set in the contrasting locales of Parisian street and Nebraskan farmyard, and incorporates Greek mythology and aesthetics with the personal search for self. Her writing has been described as “layered and sumptuous,” “compelling,” and “satisfying.”

Visit her website atwww.DebElkink.com.

Pick up your paperback copy of Deb Elkink’s THE THIRD GRACE at Amazon.

Thanks for agreeing to an interview today, Deb. What’s the significance of your novel’s title, The Third Grace?

A: It’s lovely to chat with you, thanks. The Third Grace grapples with mythological, aesthetic, and spiritual themes, and the concept of grace runs throughout it.

Can you expound a bit on that?

Well, to begin with, I always christen my characters according to name meaning. Back when she was 17, farm-girl Mary Grace (meaning “bitter” and “charm”) felt anything but graceful. She fell in love when French exchange student François flattered her with compliments comparing her to a Greek goddess, Aglaia (meaning “brightly shining one, keeper of treasures”). Mary Grace legally adopted the name when she redefined herself, running away from farm, family, and faith to the big city of Denver, determined to become a poised costume designer and climb the ladder of success in the arts world.

Then, my title reflects the artistic and literary aspect of grace through Aglaia’s professional involvement with the stage and her obsession with Greek mythology. Her namesake goddess was the most beautiful sister of the Three Graces (or Charites)—daughters of Zeus and attendants of Aphrodite presiding over the banquet, the dance, and all the fine arts. Even Aglaia’s love of sewing imitates the artistry of these goddesses, and François’s enduring stories continue to enchant her all these years later.

Now, she’s about to leave on a business trip to Paris, the city of her dreams and the pinnacle of sophistication. Aglaia also hopes to play the tourist and visit the Louvre’s marble statue grouping of The Three Graces that François used as the icon of his seduction. Maybe between business meetings and sightseeing she’ll even look for her lost lover in the flesh. But she keeps running into her past life through her reading material and her memories, which together remind her of a third definition of grace as the “unmerited favor of God.”

There’s more to the title The Third Grace, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Suffice it to say that Aglaia faces what Mary Grace, The Three Graces, and the metaphysical concept of grace itself are all about.


So your story includes a lot of Greek mythology?

Yes, and I loved researching the topic, which holds the key to François’s motivation and much of Aglaia’s identity.

For example, I learned about Chaos, the dark nothingness from which all else sprang. And I read about Gaia, who gave birth to the starry heavens as eternal home for the blessed and bestial gods, and then gave birth to Tartarus as the lowest level of the underworld and a wretched pit of blackness reserved for eternal punishment, and then gave birth to Eros as erotic love: heaven, hell, and sex all born out of one divine womb.

The Graces figure in many of François’s mythological tales: Embodying refinement, they dressed the gods in the finest of clothing for their sumptuous banquets and brought luxury to the pantheon on Mount Olympus; they wove the rainbow for Iris to wear; they were involved in the love affair between Orion and the nymph Merope; they tempted Sisyphus, and his lust damned him to the everlasting task of rolling a boulder uphill.

It sounds as though there are parallels between Greek myths and biblical stories—I mean, creation and heaven and hell . . .

That’s exactly the connection François made when he jotted notes into the margins of a Bible his host family forced on him that summer in Aglaia’s past—notes she now discovers, and which reignite all her passionate teen memories of him. For example, where Genesis says, “In the beginning, God created,” he wrote, “In the beginning, the gods created.” The juxtaposition of motifs is at the heart of the story: fatalism versus faith, devolution versus incarnation, imagination versus reality, wandering journey versus purposeful quest.

How do you answer the criticism by some conservative readers that The Third Grace is too steamy?

I wonder: Don’t they have memories of falling in love, being swept away by that sultry glance and that first kiss?

In fact, it’s true that my whole novel is steeped in sensuality: tastes of French wine and Mennonite borscht, scent of fine perfume, howling of prairie wind and murmurs of throaty saxophone, glimpses in a Parisian market of dead chickens hanging from twine-wrapped claws and brown blocks of Marseillaise soap. And I admit that a few of my scenes sizzle with romance some readers find perturbing.

My answer is that real life can’t avoid the senses of the physical body, which is after all the container of the soul. I didn’t write these scenes to cause discomfort, but I also didn’t write my story for children. Maybe it’s a bit spicy, but I wouldn’t call it erotic.

Please share with us a few telling lines from the novel, with some context.

François quotes Ancient Greek poetry about the Three Graces as he sweet-talks Aglaia:

“Their alluring eyes glance from under their brows, and from their eyelids drips desire that unstrings the limbs.”

Aglaia’s boss at Incognito Costume Shop, Ebenezer MacAdam, sees her floundering in her personal life and refers to Dante’s Divine Comedy when he tells her:

We all wake one day, midway the path of life, to find ourselves in a dark wood where the right way is wholly lost and gone. Perhaps trying to look good is the first step homeward.

Dr. Lou Chapman, Aglaia’s mentor manipulating her for professional and personal ends, schemes with a colleague (the university theater department head) in trying to hire Aglaia away from her current job:

I think she’ll bite, Oliver. I’ve inferred to Aglaia that you’ll give her a lecturing position in the arts program.

Much later, in a short but pivotal line, Lou writes alongside François’s penciled jottings in the Bible another message in ink—a direct challenge to the boyfriend’s influence:


In a scene where Aglaia reconnects, rather unwillingly, with a plodding and unimaginative childhood friend who still lives out in the country and eventually reveals a pivotal bit of news, we read:

Naomi had never been as pretty as Aglaia, a fact she freely admitted as a teen. But she still wore joy on her face like a makeup.

Aglaia is overwhelmed by feelings stimulated not only through mythological stories but also through Bible verses learned by heart as a child and haunting her again as, emotionally and spiritually parched, she reads Francois’s margin notes:

Her subconscious was soaked in the words of the text, and they taunted her now . . . Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters, her memory echoed.

In another echo of the words of invitation Aglaia can’t get out of her mind, her farmer parents make an astounding request:

“Won’t you come back home to us? . . . “Won’t you come back?”

Some of these lines arouse in me a desiderium—that ardent longing (or even grieving) as for something lost. My epitaphs at the very beginning of the book express it well:

Be mindful, goddess! of thy promise made;

Must sad Ulysses ever be delay’d?

Around their lord my sad companions mourn,

Each breast beats homeward, anxious to return.

(Homer, Odyssey)

Man has always lost his way. He has been a tramp ever since Eden; but he always knew, or thought he knew, what he was looking for.

(G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World)

Does your next novel deal with similar themes of finding oneself, of looking for meaning?

In in a way, it does. Libby, a Minneapolis salesclerk being harassed by a bag lady, is on the verge of her first home purchase, while her best friend is tempting her instead to spend her money in traveling along to “sacred sites” around the globe. Discovering a child’s Victorian ring in her deceased grandmother’s effects sends Libby to a mansion museum in North Dakota, where she finds her own heritage and the true meaning of “home.”

That sounds intriguing. I’ll be watching for it.

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Brandt Dodson comes from a long line of police officers on both sides of his family, extending back to the 1930s. He was formerly employed with the Indianapolis office of the FBI and uses this background to imbue his novels with the realism his readers have come to expect. He is the creator of the Colton Parker series as well as several stand-alone novels and short stories. The Sons of Jude is the first in a series featuring the Chicago Police Department, soon to be followed by Chicago Knights. Brandt lives in southern Indiana with his wife and their two sons.

Visit Brandt Dodson’s website at www.brandtdodson.com.

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About the Book:

When Chicago detectives Frank Campello and Andy Polanski are assigned to investigate the murder of Trina Martinez it seems like an ordinary homicide. An unfortunate young girl in the wrong place at the wrong time has been brutally murdered. But their investigation is halted by a wall of silence, a wall erected by powerful interests that will render their inquiry a lost cause.

Then they enlist the support of reporter Christy Lee – and come under immediate fire. Polanski is arrested. Campello threatened. Christy is attacked.

It’s the case that every cop gets. The one that changes his life. The one where justice is elusive and the hunter becomes the hunted.

Frank Campello and Andy Polanski are The Sons of Jude. 

Book Trailer Link: 



Would you call yourself a born writer? 

I think so. I know that as a boy I would often write stories in spiral-bound notebooks and try to sell them, and I can remember looking forward to the opportunity to write short stories in my grade school English classes. It was one of the few things that I can remember coming easily. In high school, I won an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. on the basis of an essay I’d written. And my first novel, OriginalSin, was written in a week, longhand, and was picked up by an editor the following week. It led to a three-book contract.

I’ve often taken the right-brain, left-brain tests that are supposed to show whether you are a character-driven novelist who feels the need to outline or a plot-driven novelist who writes by the seat-of-the-pants. My results have consistently shown that I’m both. And that’s accurate. I love plot-driven novels that are imbued with fully-realized characters. Sometimes I outline; sometimes I don’t.

I do what I do, but I don’t know how I do it. 


What was your inspiration for The Sons of Jude? 

The inspiration came from two sources, extending over a period of about 24 years.

My wife and I were living in the Chicago area in the fall of 1986 when I missed my train on the way home from the city. I had to hang out at Union Station while waiting for the next one and stumbled onto the set of Brian DePalma’s The Untouchables. They were filming the climactic shootout scene that occurs with Kevin Costner and Andy Garcia. I promised myself that I would see the film when it was released, and I did. Early in the movie, Sean Connery’s character, Malone, refers to St. Jude as the patron saint of lost causes and policemen. Coming from a family of cops, the line stuck with me.

Fast forward to the late summer of 2010. My agent was approached by a publisher looking for a crime novelist. They wanted a police procedural and since crime thrillers are my forte, I was asked to draft a proposal. I was watching a retrospective about the events of 9-11, and saw dozens of police officers charge into the buildings in hopes of finding survivors. The heroism I saw made me wonder why cops do what they do when they know it’s a lost cause. An arrest today does not improve the situation for tomorrow. Crime still happens. It was then that I remembered the line from The Untouchables and I did some research. I learned that not only is St. Jude the patron saint of policemen, but of the Chicago Police Department in particular. I liked the concept of showing the stresses a police officer must confront in the face of overwhelming odds, and so The Sons of Jude was born. 

What themes do you like to explore in your writing? 

I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of the loner; by the person who stands against the odds even when they are overwhelming. My favorite movies include: High Noon, The Untouchables, and FriendlyPersuasion. It is no secret that Gary Cooper is in most of my favorites, because he often played the part of a loner standing up for the thing that is right even when no one else would. That theme occurs in most of my fiction. But there are others.

The importance of family is a recurring theme. The relevance of fathers in the lives of their children surfaces repeatedly in my fiction. So there are these repetitive themes and they are nearly always moral stances. Moral choices that often go against the grain. 

How long did it take you to complete the novel? 

This was the first novel that I’ve outlined to any great extent. I spent a couple of months thinking about it and playing it out in my head. Because of the theme – standing true in a corrosive environment – the novel could have become pedantic very quickly. I wanted to avoid that.  But I also like to push the envelope; to try new things. I have always written as a “pantser” before, so I wanted to take time to flesh this one out.

The actual writing took about three months, once I knew where I was going. I’m not sure I’d consider myself an outliner, yet, but I’m no longer a pure pantser either. Each novel has been a new, more challenging process. 

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day. 

I think all writers are disciplined to a greater or lesser extent. It would impossible to produce a novel-length manuscript without it.

I practice medicine during the day so most of my writing is done at night. I’m a podiatrist specializing in surgery and the treatment of difficult-to-heal wounds. If I can, I write on my lunch hour and always at night. I usually begin around 9 pm and will write to 11 or later. Weekends are choice time, too.

I nearly always begin by re-reading my previous day’s work. But if I’m still having trouble getting started, I’ll read a few lines from a favorite author. That nearly always helps to stoke the fire. I write for a word count and won’t quit until I have at least a thousand words. On a good day, I’ve been known to produce 5000 words of useable script. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. 

What did you find most challenging about writing this book? 

I nearly always begin with a theme in mind. This is good in some ways because it forces me to develop the framework – the skeleton – on which the whole story will hang. It also helps me develop the plot.

But it can also work against me, if I’m not careful, because, as I’ve mentioned, the work can become rather pedantic. Even preachy. I don’t want that. I want to entertain.

The most challenging part of writing The Sons of Jude was to not slip into a mode where I portray the Chicago PD or the Chicago political system in clichés. There is corruption in Chicago, just as there is in any other city. But I didn’t want readers coming away from the book thinking that Chicago cops – or all Chicago politicians – are on the take. That’s simply not true. Most cops in any city are decent hard-working, self-sacrificing people. I’ve seen it too many times to not believe that and that includes Chicago. 

What do you love most about being an author? 

Writing is escapism for me. I’ve always loved learning new things. Writing stories – novels or shorter length – gives me that opportunity. I get to do research and meet new people, but I also get to role play. I can be anyone at any time and in any place. What other occupation allows you to do that just the way you want to? I’ve known screen writers who longed to become novelists for the solitary approach that novel writing gives them. 

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision? 

I’m with a small press and, yes, I’m happy with that decision. I get more editorial and marketing support than some of my friends who are publishing with bigger houses and fewer headaches than my friends who are self-publishing. I’m in that happy middle ground.

The process happened rather quickly for me. I pitched my novel at a writer’s conference the week after I’d written it and that led to a three-book contract. My editor immediately took the novel apart, explaining to me that there were parts he liked and parts he didn’t like. That was quite a shock. I said, “But Nick. I thought you loved it.” He said, “I do. But not these 42,000 words.”

I did a lot of re-writing, but he was right. His suggestions made it a better book. 

Where can we find you on the web? 

I’m all over the place which is pretty good considering I didn’t even know what ‘the web’ meant until I started publishing.

I have a website: www.brandtdodson.com and I’m on Facebook and Twitter. I always respond to reader’s questions and I enjoy the opportunity to correspond with them. It’s a nice thing to be able to do.

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