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Archive for December, 2019

When attorneys Vernetta Henderson and Neddy McClain are tapped to take on the biggest case of their careers, they are less than thrilled about working together. Their strained relationship, however, is the least of their problems. Their socialite client—charged with the brutal murder of her husband—is demanding an immediate dismissal of the case. But a ruthless prosecutor is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen. Forced to fight a common enemy, the two women close ranks and, in the process, develop a bond that sees them through the uncertainties of trial, the pain of betrayal and pressures neither could have imagined.

cLICK BELOw TO GET YOUR FREE COPY!

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2WNlraB

______________________

 

 

 

Prologue

If Max Montgomery ever had to commit to monogamy to save his wife’s life, she would just have to come back and haunt him from the afterlife.

Max rested his forearm on the registration desk as his eyes anxiously crisscrossed the lobby of the Beverly Hills Ritz-Carlton. He watched as people milled about, dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns. He made eye contact with a short, brown-skinned cutie who sashayed by in a dress so tight he could see the faint outline of her thong. Max smiled. She smiled back. Too bad he was already about to get laid. Otherwise, he definitely would’ve taken the time to follow up on that.

“Here’s your key, Mr. Montgomery,” said a cherub-faced girl with a shrill voice. “You’ll be in room 502. One of our most elegant suites.”

When he reached for the key, his fingertips accidentally brushed her hand and she nervously looked away. She wants me, Max thought. But she was way too young for his taste.

He thanked her and headed for the bank of elevators in the rear of the lobby. Max tapped the elevator button and the car to his left instantly glided open. Some of the tension eased from his body once he was safely inside. He had waited nearly a week for this night and his wait was almost over.

The anonymous invitation to a “private evening of intimacy” had intrigued him and he had immediately decided to accept. No questions asked. A man like Max didn’t make hasty decisions very often. On the rare occasion that he did, it was only because he was banking on a huge payoff.

Max stepped off the elevator, studied the sign directly in front of him, then turned left down a long hallway. He walked with a distinctive, self-assured stride, like a male model taking a slow stroll down the catwalk. He stopped in front of a door near the end of the hallway and fished the plastic card key from his breast pocket.

A huge smile of anticipation spread across his face as he entered the lavish suite. The place was a classy ensemble of muted colors, luxurious fabrics, and calming scents. From the flowing silk curtains to the massive mahogany sleigh bed to the sleek suede comforter, everything in the room spelled class with a capital C. And that pleased him.

Max made his way over to a nightstand near the window, his feet sinking into the plush, caramel-colored carpet with every step. He examined a champagne bottle sitting near an antique lamp. Dom Pérignon, vintage 1995. Definitely his style. He only hoped his host was familiar with some of his more erotic personal preferences.

The sight of a red teddy hanging from the corner of the headboard triggered a twinge of arousal that warmed him inside. He rubbed the soft fabric between his fingers, smiled again, then tossed it onto the bed. On the floor near the nightstand was a large wicker basket with three packages of rose petals, twelve scented candles, two champagne glasses, and a book of matches. He set the basket on the bed and read the fancy gold card inside. It provided additional instructions for the evening.

Max glanced at his watch. He didn’t have much time. He scooped up the basket with one hand, began undoing his tie with the other and proceeded into the bathroom. It was just as dazzling as the rest of the suite. The marble floor, the shiny granite countertop, the extravagant gold fixtures were all symbols of an affluent lifestyle Max knew well.

As the card commanded, Max filled the oversized Jacuzzi tub with water, sprinkled it with the rose petals and positioned the candles about the room. He lit each one, then turned off the lights to admire his handiwork. Yes, yes, yes. He was about to have himself one big ball.

Max ripped up both the invitation and the card and flushed them down the toilet. A married man could never be too careful. Just as he was about to head back into the bedroom, the enormous mirror on the wall directly across from the tub stopped him in his tracks. Max grinned. He would get to watch.

Marching into the bedroom, he stripped off his Hugo Boss suit and draped it over the back of an armchair near the bed, making sure his pants were carefully folded along the crease line. After removing the rest of his clothes, he grabbed the champagne bottle and strutted naked into the bathroom, where he eased into the steaming hot water and waited.

All day long he had tried to figure out who his freaky little hostess might be. He had instantly ruled out Janice. A single parent with three kids didn’t have the time, not to mention the energy, to plan something this elaborate. She could barely escape from her solo law practice for their once-a-week lunchtime romps. That left Paula, a stewardess who had served him on a flight to New York three months earlier, and Natasha, the big-breasted Swede who was temping as a receptionist at his firm’s Newport Beach office. She had straight out boned him with her eyes when he walked up to the reception desk to find out her name. Yeah, both Paula and Natasha were kinky enough to plan something like this.

Max poured himself a glass of champagne and took a slow, satisfying sip. The air jets pelting his back with spurts of water felt great. He closed his eyes and slowly twisted his head to the left as far as it would go, then repeated the move on the opposite side. The muscles along the base of his neck felt like dense, knotted fists. Maybe she would give him a massage afterward.

At the sound of the hotel room door opening, Max bolted forward, causing rose petals to splash onto the floor. He could feel his pulse racing as he waited for his mystery date to appear, and when she did not, he settled back into the tub and tried to calm himself down. She was probably just slipping into that sexy little teddy. He was so hard now he had to fight the urge to jack himself off.

Max reached for the champagne bottle to refill his glass just as a sharp, searing pain attacked his left temple. He hoped it wasn’t another migraine. There was a time when he could almost will them away if he concentrated hard enough. But that wasn’t working anymore. He sat the bottle back down. He would wait and share the rest with her.

Max leaned back, sucked in a long, deep breath, and closed his eyes for several seconds. When he reopened them, he could not focus. A thick curtain of haze had suddenly filled the room. He tried to sit up, but his head felt heavier than a bowling ball and fell backward, slamming hard against the tiled wall. He was now blind, dizzy, and in excruciating pain.

By the time the bathroom door opened, Max could feel the presence of someone else in the room. He could even hear a voice. A voice he was too dazed to place, speaking words he could not quite make out. Max had never had a migraine like this one before. He tried to speak, but his lips spewed nothing but gibberish. Had the champagne been spiked?

Without warning, a powerful jolt of pain pierced the right side of Max’s chest at the same time that his head seemed to explode.

His visitor, hovering over him now, plunged a knife deep into Max’s chest, then repeated the motion. A second time, a third time, a fourth time. The stabbing continued until the rose petals disappeared into a pool of deep, dark red.

______________________

Award-winning author and attorney Pamela Samuels Young writes mysteries that matter. Dubbed “John Grisham with a sister’s twist” by one reviewer, Pamela’s fast-paced novels often tackle important social issues.

Her most recent legal thriller, Failure to Protect, takes on the bullying epidemic and its devastating aftermath. Pamela won the prestigious NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter, which provides a realistic look inside the world of child sex trafficking. Her courtroom drama Abuse of Discretion centers around a troubling teen sexting case. #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult editions of the two books. A young adult version of Failure to Protect goes on sale in December 2019.

Pamela also writes dangerously sassy romantic suspense under the pen name Sassy Sinclair. Her first foray into the romance genre, Unlawful Desires (2017), was awarded Best Erotic Romance by Romance Slam Jam. Her second book, Unlawful Seduction (2018), was honored as a finalist in Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume contest in the Best Contemporary Erotica category.

The prolific writer is a frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, bullying, online safety, fiction writing, self-empowerment, and pursuing your passion. To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or to read excerpts of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com and www.sassysinclair.com .

website & Social links

Website: www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorpsy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPamelaSamuelsYoung/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorpsy/

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Title: CHRISTMAS IN NEWFOUNDLAND: MEMORIES AND MYSTERIES

Author: Mike Martin

Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing

Pages: 113

Genre: Mystery/Memoir

From the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mysteries comes “Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries,” a welcome addition to the Sgt. Windflower family of books.

Christmas in Newfoundland is a special time. In the depths of long winter nights memories are made and stories are told. Of Christmas by candlelight and horse and buggy rides to church. Of shopping on Water Street in St. John’s before malls and the Internet.

In later years, Sgt. Windflower came to work and then to stay in the quiet town of Grand Bank by the Atlantic Ocean where the salt air froze in the wind and the Mounties were welcomed to warm themselves by every fire.

Come and warm yourself by the fire and hear their stories. Some memories and some mysteries. Enjoy some holiday time with Sgt. Windflower and all the familiar characters that you’d come to know and love. Good food, good friends and always another chair at the table.

Book Excerpt:

A Windflower Christmas

It was just days before Christmas, and Sergeant Winston Windflower only had one big problem. That was what to get his girlfriend, Sheila Hillier, for Christmas. Other than that, life was good for the RCMP officer in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. Crime was low, if not non-existent, and spirits were running high as the holiday neared its peak in this little seaside town.

Of course, being the holiday season, the Mountie was concerned about impaired driving. But Windflower and his team had been out on the roads for the past two weekends with the R.I.D.E. program. He figured that meant everyone would be on their best behaviour for the next couple of weeks. That was especially true since one town resident had been charged with impaired driving and two others had received suspended licences because they were just over the legal limit of alcohol.

Fortunately, even the weather was cooperating. They hadn’t had any snow in Grand Bank for almost two weeks. That was a relief to not only the snow shovellers catching a break after a series of early winter storms but also to the RCMP officers, as they had already worked several overnight shifts because of storms. The best news was that there wasn’t even any snow in the short-term forecast.

All of this meant the town could be festive and safe during the holiday season already well underway.

The old Town of Grand Bank went all out to pretty itself up for Christmas. Almost every house had some form of decoration, and Christmas lights were aplenty all over town. Some people went old-fashioned and just had a wreath on their front door and a couple of strings of lights hanging from their eaves. Others decided to splurge on nativity scenes and blow-up Santas, as they held nothing back in their gaudy and joyous celebration of the season.

Old Saint Nick had already made one visit. That was last weekend during the Santa Claus parade led by the antique pumper truck from the volunteer fire department. Local RCMP vehicles were decked out in flashing lights and ribbons as the Mounties collected toys and gifts along the parade route for the Salvation Army. Sheila had rounded up a few extra dollars from local businesses to ensure that even the abandoned buildings near the wharf were gaily festooned with ribbons, bows and the essential Christmas lights in time for the parade. Now, Saint Nick’s return engagement on December 25th was eagerly anticipated.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/32hC9zY 

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series.is Darkest Before the Dawn which won the Bony Blithe Award in 2019. A new book in the series, Fire, Fog and Water is being released in October.

Mike is currently Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers.

Website → www.sgtwindflowermysteries.com

Twitter Link: → http://ww.twitter.com/mike54martin

Facebook→https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkerOnTheCapeReviewsAndMore/

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Title: Failure To Protect
Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 414
Genre: Mystery/Legal Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

When the classroom is no longer a safe space for her child, the outraged mother of a bullied nine-year-old is determined to seek justice for her daughter. An ambitious school principal, however, is far more concerned about protecting her career than getting to the truth. She flat out denies any knowledge of the bullying and prefers to sweep everything under the rug. But just how low will she go?

 

When the mother’s two hard-charging female attorneys enter the picture, they face more than an uphill battle. As the case enters the courtroom, the women fight hard to expose the truth. But will a massive coverup hinder their quest for justice?

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2PXwixo

 

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“Please, Uncle Dre, let me stay home with you today. Can you homeschool me? Please!”

Dre stroked his goatee and laughed. “Unfortunately, I’m not smart enough to homeschool you or anybody else.”

“I’m serious,” Bailey pleaded, her face twisted in terror. “Please don’t make me go!”

As his Jeep inched along behind the long line of cars dropping off kids in front of Parker Elementary School, Dre peered over his shoulder at the cute little girl sitting in his back seat. Bailey’s stress level was way too high. She’d had a few run-ins with a bully at her old school, but he assumed the transfer to Parker had fixed everything.

“What’s going on? Why don’t you want to go to school?”

Bailey hugged her book bag to her chest as if it were a life raft. “I just don’t.”

“C’mon, talk to me. Is somebody bothering you here too?”

After a long beat, Bailey slowly bobbed her head.

Dre had purposely used the word bothering, not bullying. He was tired of hearing all the hoopla about bullies. Kids getting picked on was nothing new. It happened in his day and would keep happening until the end of time.

Truth be told, today’s kids were too damn soft. People turned backflips to protect them from the realities of life. Like everybody getting a freakin’ trophy just for participating. That was the stupidest crap he’d ever heard. Sometimes life is hard. Kids need to know that sooner rather than later.

“Please don’t tell my mom,” Bailey begged, her brown eyes glassy with tears. “She’ll fuss at me for not standing up for myself.”

Dre reached back and gave Bailey’s foot a playful squeeze. “No, she won’t. But you do have to start standing up for yourself. If somebody’s being mean to you, you have my permission to be mean right back.”

He wasn’t condoning violence, but if another kid started some mess, the only way to show ’em you weren’t no punk was to clap back twice as hard. Most bullies were wimps. Once you got in their face, they backed off. That’s what he’d taught his son to do and, to his knowledge, Little Dre had never had a problem. He would teach Bailey to do the same.

“You don’t get it,” Bailey huffed, her shoulders drooping. “That won’t help.”

They were almost at the drop-off point, when Dre steered his Jeep out of the line of cars and made a hasty U-turn in the middle of the street.

Bailey’s upper body sprang forward. “We’re going home?”

“Nope.” Dre pulled to a stop along the curb. “I’m walking you inside. I want you to show me who’s messing with you.”

Bailey slumped back against the seat, her lips protruding into a pout. “That’ll just make it worse.”

Turning off the engine, Dre hopped out and jogged around to open the back door. “Let’s go.”

He took Bailey’s hand as they stepped into the crosswalk. The closer they got to the school doors, the slower Bailey walked. By the time they reached the entrance, Dre felt like he was tugging a sixty-pound bag of potatoes.

“Please, Uncle Dre,” Bailey whispered, glancing all around. “Please don’t make me go!” Her tiny hand clutched two of his fingers.

Dre led Bailey off to the side, squatted until they were at eye level, and caressed her shoulders.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s no reason for you to be this stressed out about going to school. If somebody’s messing with you, I need to know about it. What’s the kid’s name?”

Bailey hung her head as a tear slid down her right cheek. For a second, Dre thought she was about to come clean.

“It doesn’t matter,” she mumbled, hoisting her book bag higher on her shoulder.

“Yes, it—”

Bailey jerked away from him and dashed inside the school.

He was about to go after her when a woman stepped in front of him, blocking his path.

“May I help you, sir?”

The woman’s chin jutted forward like an accusing finger pointing him out in a lineup. “And you are?”

“I’m Bailey’s”—he paused—”uh, I’m Bailey’s godfather.” He’d started to introduce himself as her uncle to make himself sound more legit but changed his mind.

“Your name?” Her tone conveyed all the warmth of an icicle.

“Andre Thomas.”

Dre pegged the woman to be in her early forties. Her thick, black hair fell a couple of inches below her ears in a blunt cut that matched her funky disposition. Her sleeveless, form-fitting, red dress hugged every inch of her curvy frame. Actually, she was kinda hot. Kerry Washington’s classy style with Cookie Lyon’s bad attitude.

“Bailey’s mother didn’t tell us someone else would be bringing her to school today.”

She looked him up and down like he was some pedophile on the prowl for a new victim.

Dre couldn’t seem to pull his eyes away. Despite an innate seductiveness, the woman still managed to carry herself with the spit-shine polish of a CEO. If professionalism had a smell, she would reek.

“Erika had an early meeting in Irvine and asked me to drop her off.”

Dre ran a hand over his shaved head. Rarely did anybody—especially a female—make him feel this degree of uneasiness. “I’m sorry. I didn’t get your name.”

“I’m the principal. Darcella Freeman.”

He should’ve guessed. A sister with a little power.

“I’ll be dropping Bailey off and picking her up from time to time,” Dre said, anxious for the chick to move out of his way so he could go after Bailey. “Erika got a big promotion. Her job’s a lot more demanding now.”

“Is that right?”

“Yep, that’s right.” What’s up with this chick?

“Please ask Bailey’s mother to email the office authorizing you to pick her up from school.”

Dre nodded. “Will do.”

He still wanted to go inside, but the woman stayed put like a queen guarding the gates of her castle.

Without saying goodbye, Dre pivoted and headed back across the street. As he opened the door to his Jeep, he made a mental note to have a talk with Erika. She’d been thrilled about getting Bailey into Parker Elementary because of its stellar reputation. But the place might not be any better for Bailey than her old school.

Dre also couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. And not just with Bailey.

About the Author

Award-winning author and attorney Pamela Samuels Young writes mysteries that matter. Dubbed “John Grisham with a sister’s twist” by one reviewer, Pamela’s fast-paced novels often tackle important social issues.

Her most recent legal thriller, Failure to Protect, takes on the bullying epidemic and its devastating aftermath. Pamela won the prestigious NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter, which provides a realistic look inside the world of child sex trafficking. Her courtroom drama Abuse of Discretion centers around a troubling teen sexting case. #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult editions of the two books. A young adult version of Failure to Protect goes on sale in December 2019.

Pamela also writes dangerously sassy romantic suspense under the pen name Sassy Sinclair. Her first foray into the romance genre, Unlawful Desires (2017), was awarded Best Erotic Romance by Romance Slam Jam. Her second book, Unlawful Seduction (2018), was honored as a finalist in Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume contest in the Best Contemporary Erotica category.

The prolific writer is a frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, bullying, online safety, fiction writing, self-empowerment, and pursuing your passion. To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or to read excerpts of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com and www.sassysinclair.com .

Website: www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorpsy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPamelaSamuelsYoung/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorpsy/

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Kathy Holmes grew up in Southern California near Disneyland and the beach with a book in one hand and a transistor radio in the other. She began writing stories about family and wrote her first song with a childhood friend. They called themselves the “Screamie Birds.”

Books have always spurred her love for travel, especially to places she’s read about, and location is often a character in her books.

After an exciting career in Silicon Valley, she is now combining her love for both books and music at Screamie Birds Studios. You can find out more about her books and music at http://www.kathyholmes.net.

Website: http://www.kathyholmes.net

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/screamiebirds

Inside the book

Nikki Durrance escaped the worst nightmare of her life when she fled Las Vegas for San Francisco, leaving her abusive husband Jeff behind at the Blue Diamond Saloon. Rebuilding her life in San Francisco with the help of her closest friend Sally, Nikki draws the line with one thing: men. But when she accompanies Sally on a business trip back in Las Vegas, Nikki meets Dr. Mike Fischer, a sexy and desirable pediatrician also from San Francisco.

After a whirlwind courtship followed by a proposal, Nikki panics and jumps on the nearest cruise ship to Mexico. Realizing she must face her fears rather than run from them, she returns home and accepts Mike’s proposal. Life picks up even more speed with Mike’s plans and Nikki panics once again, imagining that everything Mike does mirrors her ex-husband Jeff. Attempting to sort out what’s real and what’s not, Nikki begins to question everything, including her sanity when everything with Mike feels like déjà vu.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/32vYGZV

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/33yNop4

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes, I started writing short stories about my family in elementary school, dabbled with writing fiction, and wrote a song with a childhood friend. I was so curious about how books were printed, and my questions were answered when I got to tour my first print shop with my junior high Journalism class.

What was your inspiration for Déjà vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon?

Actually, the first chapter came to me in a nightmare when we were living in Florida. I woke up, heart pounding, sweating, and knew I had to write it down. When we moved to Las Vegas, I saw this place called “The Blue Diamond Saloon” and I knew I had to write the story with a Las Vegas setting.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It might have been a couple of years because after living in Florida, we lived in Oregon briefly before being relocated to Las Vegas for my husband’s job. I dabbled with it a bit in Oregon with an Oregon setting but changed the location to Las Vegas once we were there. I released the book first on Kindle and have now just released it in paperback

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

These days I’m also writing and producing music, so my daily schedule varies as far as what I’m working on. But I usually get up around 7 (or earlier if the cats wake me up), have coffee with my husband before he leaves for work) and then head out to my writing and music studio. I’m blessed to have a casita (separate building) set up for my studio so I can immerse myself in my books and music. My most productive working hours are from morning coffee until lunch. I usually have a short nap and then head back out to the studio in late afternoon for another hour or so until my husband gets home. I tend to get a second wind in the afternoon, maybe because early in my publishing career, I worked swing shift for a graphics/printing company for several years in San Francisco. I still love the smell of a print shop in the fall.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Deciding on the ending was challenging with this book. I usually write the beginning and the ending right away, but I wasn’t sure for a long time how it would end, who would be the bad guy, etc.

What do you love most about being an author?

I have a rich internal life, being an introvert and people-watcher, both good qualities for a writer. So writing, for me, is the joy of being in the company of strangers. When I spend too much time creating music, I start to miss 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 a bit of a hybrid—I have published with small publishers, and independently, depending on the book and the situation. My first book found an agent and a small press, but they soon went out of business. So I then self-published it and discovered the joy of independence. Since then I’ve published with other small publishers and independently.

This book was published independently. I have to say, I love being an Indie Author, retaining control over the book. The downside is it’s a lot of work, either doing it myself or obtaining the services of others such as editing and cover art. But I have a background in technical publishing in Silicon Valley, so I have a lot of experience formatting, editing, and other production tasks.

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James D. Bell - PhotoJames D. Bell is an award-winning author and retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America and Top 100 Attorneys of North America.  He is the author of two novels, Vampire Defense and Maximilian’s Treasure.  His short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, was published in Dog Stories for the Soul, alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris and others.  The son of a Choctaw mother and a Mississippi businessman, Judge Bell is devoted to his wife, Joanne.  They live in Brandon, Mississippi and have four children.  Judge Bell practices law in Jackson, Mississippi, but is frequently called back to the bench by the Mississippi Supreme Court for short term assignments. Visit the author’s website at www.judgebell.com.

About Maximilian’s Treasure:

Maximilian’s Treasure is inspired by an encounter I had 40 years ago with an elderly Choctaw gentleman who believed Civil War gold was buried on his farm.  In the novel, rumors of treasure incite a legal battle over possession of a Choctaw family farm.  Two young lawyers, John Brooks and Jackson Bradley, agree to help the family keep their farm.  Early legal success prompts the drive-by murder of the patriarch of the family.  The grandson chases the suspects whose bodies are found on the farm, scalped.  At the same time, clues to a vast treasure are found on the farm.  Jackson, pursued by fortune seekers, adventurers, an exotic beauty and a homicidal maniac, follows the clues to a Caribbean reef and the Chiapas jungle.  John stays behind to defend the grandson and continue the fight for the farm.  His efforts are complicated by arson, murder, race riots, and the realization that he lost his one true love.  The adventures of John and Jackson rush toward an intertwined triple climax that could shake the world and will leave you breathless.

INTERVIEW:

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

I fell in love with law practice the first time I stepped into a courtroom.  The life changing drama unveiling before my eyes gripped my imagination.  Almost immediately I wanted to write about my experiences.  I wanted to share my passion for the law with others.  My friend Jack and I were young lawyers defending citizens charged with crimes.  We attracted more than our share of attention because we kept winning cases.  Jack was a loyal friend, intrepid investigator and skilled researcher.  We were an unbeatable team.  Jack died twenty years ago.  I miss him, so I brought him back to life in my novels.  It has taken me way too long to write these stories.

maxstreasure-forprint

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 know the beginning and the end of the story.  I use an outline to sketch the route I plan to take to get to the end.  The outline keeps me focused, but sometimes the story starts telling itself and I just run with it.

Did your book require a lot of research?

I read books on Maximilian and on Cortez, and articles on Quantrill’s Raiders, Jesse and Frank James and the legend of their connection to Maximilian and a vast treasure.  That led me to research Aztec mythology and hummingbirds of all things.  You’ll see why when you read the book.  I even explored the places described in the book.  The research was enough to make me think my old friend may have been right!

What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?

A vivid imagination is vital, but I use actual experiences to give depth and realism to my writing.  I cross-examined witnesses like those in the book.  I’ve been to the swamp and the jungle.  I’ve climbed the cliff, hung by my fingertips over the precipice, entered the cave behind the waterfall, dodged bullets, investigated my own cases, elicited confessions on the witness stand, and won impossible cases.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

I am embarrassed to say that it took 35 years from conception to completion and 7 years to write.  I started Maximilian’s Treasure right after finishing my first novel in 2012.  I have the same problem most writers have; I have two full-time jobs and I’m a full-time husband.  That leaves little time to write.  I usually write when I travel on business.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

Absolutely.  I wrestle with a hundred excuses to delay writing.  Then, I finally get to work, and nothing:  Writer’s block.  I got over it by passing it to one of my characters.  In Maximilian’s Treasure, Jackson wants to get away to write about his recent spectacular case, but the blank computer screen stares at him and he gets writer’s block.  He doesn’t notice that he’s being followed by a crowd of fortune seekers and a homicidal maniac.  While he can’t think of anything to write, he’s living a fast paced, high risk adventure.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t let the blank computer screen intimidate you.  Just write, even if you don’t feel like it.  After a couple of pages, the story will start telling itself.  When you’re done for the day, you can delete the first two pages.  Find a reason bigger than yourself to write.  Make that your purpose.  I want to enrich the reader with truths that can change his or her life for the better.

 

 

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David Schaub is a writer and Academy Award ® nominated Animation Supervisor working in the film industry for more than 25 years. In 2019 he produced and directed the audio adaptation of SPIRITS OF THE WESTERN WILD.  He also developed STORY COMPASS® smartphone app for screenwriters (www.moviemethods.com) in 2017.

Schaub received Oscar nomination for animation in Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Disney), along with nominations for BAFTA Award, Saturn Award and Critic’s Choice Award, and won the Golden Satellite Award for Best Visual Effects for his team’s work on the film.

HEAD ANIMATION on Sony Picture’s SURFS UP – recognized with two Annie Awards among its ten nominations including Academy Award nomination and four Visual Effects Society (VES) award nominations.

ANIMATION DIRECTOR on AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 (2014), CHRONICLES OF NARNIA (Disney), I AM LEGEND (Warner Bros.) and LEAD ANIMATOR on STUART LITTLE 1 & 2, EVOLUTION, CAST AWAY, GODZILLA, PATCH ADAMS and more.

ANIMATION DIRECTOR – Universal’s award-winning JURASSIC WORLD EXPEDITION (2019) VR EXPERIENCE. Exploring cinematic potential of virtual reality.

Website → https://www.dschaub2.com/

https://www.dschaub2.com/other-projects

Facebook → https://www.facebook.com/dschaub2writer

Goodreads → https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19662596.David_Schaub

Roger Vizard is a writer and self-taught artist. He was accepted into the animation program at Sheridan College in1987, then worked at Sullivan Bluth Studios in Ireland, then as an animation apprentice on “WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT” at Richard Williams’ studio in London.  He later became Williams’ assistant animator on “THIEF AND THE COBBLER.”

After several years working in Europe at studios like Gerhard Hahn in Germany and A-films in Denmark, he moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to work as a story board artist on the first season of Sonic the Hedgehog, then rolled back into animation again after that.  He successfully made the transition to from 2D to CGI on “STUART LITTLE 2” in 2001, and since that time have worked non-stop at animation/VFX studios in Los Angeles.

Website → https://www.rvizard.com/

 

Inside the Audiobook


Title: Spirits of the Western Wild
Authors: David Schaub & Roger Vizard
Publisher: Independent
Genre: Adventure / Mystery / Comedy

This mystical adventure follows a young adventure-seeker named Luther McCleron on a westward journey to learn more about his Grandfather. A series of fateful missteps take Luther far from his destination to a disheveled little town under the tyranny of a crooked sheriff named Big Willie. It’s here that Luther comes face-to-face with the legendary ghost of Monty: a curmudgeonly ghost who refuses to believe he’s dead. Luther just wants to get back to his quest, but Monty thwarts his plans by using Luther to take out his vengeance on Big Willie.

Through a catastrophic string of events, Luther and Monty find themselves hopelessly entangled in a combative partnership that escalates to the breaking point. Only by reconciling their differences are they able to uncover the profound connections that weave their fates together.

A mysterious book of premonitions, an ominous crow, and ancient Indian drive the mystical tone of this world; conjuring spiritual forces to help steer Luther on his journey through this western “twilight zone.”

All the loose ends resolve in a satisfying story of redemption, loyalty and ascension while exploring the mysterious nature of fate and destiny. Was all of this a coincidence? Or are we guided by ancient “spirits on the wind” that nudge and steer us along our path to assure that we arrive safely at our intended destination in the end?

5 out of 5 stars

 A fantastic and Immersive adventure for everyone. 

What a wonderful audio book and what a pleasure it was to be on this journey. Not only the adventure was captivating but also everything around it. The sounds effect and voices really bring it all together, you almost feel like you are right there witnessing all this first hand. The production quality is something I have never heard before. Very well done and I highly recommend it.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2qsxtKC

Audible → https://adbl.co/2OjjleM

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Since I am not writing every day, I think the answer would have to be no.  With so many different projects underway, writing is just one part of the equation that plays into the larger picture from one day to the next.

For me, writing is more of a means to an end.  It’s a vital creative step toward manifesting some end result… whether it’s a fully executed screenplay, game narrative or just a troublesome scene where the dialogue needs to be rewritten.

I’ve been working as an animation supervisor in production for over two decades now, so I really came in the back door on this writing thing.  I spent years working with writers, directors and producers – fully immersed in that world.  And when you are around those forces for long enough, it has a tendency to rub off.

I’ve broken down hundreds of screenplays (for cost estimates and bidding purposes), and through that process became fascinated with the mechanics of story.  I was exposed to some really great material, and some not-so great…  and developed my own instincts for what works and what doesn’t work in a story.

A few years ago I was convinced that it was all about story structure, and developed a smartphone app called STORY COMPASS ® (www.moviemethods.com) for screenwriters to keep at my fingertips as I write.  I also did a white-board animation that makes a case for story structure without being formulaic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=EyCeOfw4N-w&feature=emb_logo

Given the nature of how SPIRITS OF THE WESTERN WILD evolved, we really only used the app during the rewrite-phase.  With all of the broad strokes and creative elements in place, the app actually helped us fit together the larger puzzle in a way that ebbs and flows with a natural story rhythm.  We were able to dial in those structural nuances in the end, rather that fixating on the up front where it can block the creative flow.

What was your inspiration for SPIRITS OF THE WESTERN WILD?

It was Roger [Vizard], my story partner who pitched me the idea for a buddy film with a young cowboy and a crotchety old ghost who refused to believe he was dead.   It was mostly a character premise with some great drawings and situational gags.  We kicked ideas around between ourselves about where the story could go, and ultimately decided to join forces to see if we could shape it into a fully executed screenplay that would sustain itself as an animated feature.  It was the characters that inspired us, and that’s what drove everything down the story path.

How long did it take you to complete the screenplay?

I’ll confess to about five years.  Crazy… right?  But keep in mind that this project evolved during our downtime between larger productions that we were both involved in.  Another obstacle was that our schedules and production commitments didn’t always align.  But for us, this was a “passion-project” that helped us maintain some level of sanity while working on some grueling visual effects shows.  The fact that we were just chipping away over time was enough to keep both of us sane.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

No, I am not very disciplined.  Neither is Roger.  Writing is hard, and I require a heavy dose of inspiration before I’m compelled to sit down and execute.  I’ve also discovered that if writing comes easy, then it means I’m not digging down deep enough.  So with that in mind, I’ve got to be good and ready for some level of pain and suffering ahead!

The good news is that when inspiration strikes, I am unstoppable.  Obsessively compulsive might be a better description.  I can remain focused for HUGE stretches of time, and those stretches can go for weeks, or months at a time.  There’s usually very little sleep involved, and it’s not a very healthy routine.  But it’s all in the interest of capturing lightning in a bottle during those times of intense focus.

Sometimes the marathon sessions pay off… other times the result is just a heaping pile of crumpled paper.  Same as any writer, I suppose.  I’m often overwhelmed at the endless possibilities and self-imposed forks in the road.  Of course, I feel like I need to go down all those dead ends to see if there’s anything lurking in the dark before turning back empty handed.   I hate that nagging feeling that I might have missed an undiscovered treasure down that darkened alley — especially if I feel I might have missed it because I was just too lazy to go look.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

As I mentioned, we started with some fun characters, but no sense of a real beginning, middle, or end from a story perspective. Definitely not the best starting point for the goal of a tightly woven screenplay!

I have to say that starting from that premise, the process of dredging up a meaningful story out of nothing was a grueling, soul-searching process.  I lost count of the rewrites. But those rewrites were absolutely necessary for us to find the story that was buried down much deeper.

Through that process, the characters became real to us.  So much dialogue had been written that we really began to understand their personalities and motivations.  From there, the characters just kind of spoke to us.  Then our job was to chase them on this adventure, getting them into deeper-and-deeper trouble as they went.

Ultimately, of course, we had to reel in that adventure and focus on structure, theme, and all that… But that came much later, where STORY COMPASS ® helped us fine-tune the beats.

Usually the process is done completely in reverse — first the story, then find suitable characters to people the story.  But finding the story with only characters as a premise was probably the most ridiculous challenge.  But the upside is that it resulted in a story that we would never have conceived of had we gone the traditional outlining route.

What do you love most about being an author?

Turning over that final page… fade to black… the end.

There’s nothing like the joy that comes from completion.

It’s from here that we have the potential to convert it from a stack of paper into a real thing.

Hopefully, a real thing worth producing!

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?

We went in the back door on the publishing side as well.

This project was crafted as a screenplay, with no intention of publishing as a book.

When Roger moved onto another animation gig, I decided to keep chipping away at the next steps toward production.  I had the crazy idea of producing it as an audiobook to make it super-easy for studio execs to absorb on their commute.  No reading required — just straight-up entertainment for the listener.

Self-funding the film wasn’t an option, but since I was looking for something to direct, I figured I could certainly produce an audio drama!  It was also a great opportunity to demonstrate my directing chops with actors, bringing it to life in a way that the written page alone could never achieve.

Once the audio was completed, I was informed by Amazon that a print (or Kindle) version had to be released before the audio version could be approved.  So that put me into another tailspin…

Unfortunately, Kindle doesn’t offer a solution to display screenplays in their native format, which is a strict standard by industry definition.  But I came up with a formatting solution that seems to work pretty well.

Now that the Kindle version is out there, I’m happy that it is.  Not only can you follow along with the audio version, but you also get a first-hand account of how the audio adaptation evolved from the written screenplay.  It’s also a convenient way to share some of the artwork that Roger and I have collaborated on along the way.

We are going to keep kicking this project down the road, with the goal of eventually making this film.

I started an Instagram feed for anyone interested in following that journey:

https://www.instagram.com/moviemethods/

I thought it would be entertaining to post the twists, turns and writing inspiration as we go. I’m sure there will be lots of discoveries, insights and takeaways on the bumpy road ahead.   Please FOLLOW – and enjoy the ride!

 

 

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Katie focuses her mind, trying to keep another anxiety attack at bay. The victim’s long brown hair is slick and wet, her body rigid in the grass. She looks more like a mannequin than the woman Katie had spoken with only yesterday, the woman she had promised to protect… 

When a cold, naked body is discovered by a couple on a jog through the lush woodlands of Pine Valley, California, new recruit Detective Katie Scott is stunned to discover the victim is Amanda Payton – a much-loved local nurse and the woman at the heart of an unsolved case she’s been investigating whilst getting a grip on her crippling PTSD.

Weeks earlier, Amanda had run, battered and bruised, out into the headlights of a passing patrol car. She claimed to have just escaped a kidnapping, but with no strong evidence, the case went cold. The Pine Valley police made a fatal mistake… 

Katie is certain the marks on Amanda’s wrists complete a pattern of women being taken, held captive and then showing up dead in remote locations around Pine Valley – and she won’t let someone die on her watch again.

But then a beautiful office worker with a link to the hospital where Amanda worked goes missing. With only days before the next body is due to show up, can Katie make amends for her past by saving this innocent life?

Totally gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Nothing will prepare you for this nail-biting roller-coaster ride…

Readers adore Jennifer Chase!

THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS PUTTING THIS BOOK DOWN!!!!!… I was literally holding my breathI HAD TO KNOW!!!!! As for the explosive ending WOW definitely not what or who I was expecting.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I was really wowed by itI couldn’t put the book down and was trying to read as fast as I could so I could find out who the killer was. The ending took me by surpriseI was literally gasping for air… I would definitely recommend.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Wow what an absolutely amazing fantastic read. I was hooked almost as soon as I started this book. I am still trying to pick my chin off the floor. I loved it from page one and couldn’t read the pages quick enough. I did not see the end coming…Awesome.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

If you read one police thriller this year make sure that it is this one… it will grip you from the start and will drag you into the story trying desperately to work out who the killer is but I promise you that you will not be able to figure it out.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘A great way to start a new series! It’s a wonderfully written roller-coaster ride. A must read!Book Obsessed Introverts, 5 stars

Wow!The hairs on my head stood up with this one!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://tinyurl.com/yxdmmftw

Book Excerpt

A heavy evening mist clung to the windshield of the police car, obscuring the view of the forgotten neighborhood. In the few occupied houses curtains were drawn tightly leaving only thin cracks of light seeping around the edges. Some homes even had bars across the windows. This small rural community had been ignored by the rest of the lively, growing town around it for too long. It was in desperate need of attention and restoration.
Deputy Stan Miller flipped on the wipers to clear his view, only to smear streaks of dirt across the windshield. He let out an annoyed sigh and turned the wipers to a higher speed—making it worse—and then off again.
“Now you’ve done it,” said Deputy Karl Windham beside him, and Miller laughed in spite of himself after a long and uneventful night shift.
“You’re going to criticize me?” Miller joked. “Me? The guy who has your back?” He sat up straighter, sucking in his waist and adjusting his seatbelt; it was no use pretending he hadn’t put on a few extra pounds recently.
“It’s the kiss of death out here tonight,” complained Windham watching out the side window as the mist turned to light rain.
“I bet it was Sheriff Scott’s idea to double us up, with all those recent ambushes on cops around the state.”
“It probably has something to do with the mayor’s office. Who knows? You know how they don’t tell us anything, even though we’re the ones putting our asses on the line every shift.” Still gazing out of the window, he watched a dark figure dart around a garbage can and disappear into the darkness, then he turned his attention to a skinny cat scurrying along the sidewalk, nose close to the ground tracking something.
The rain got heavier as they drove deeper into the Basin Woods Development. There were no other vehicles on the road. No lights in the distance. Only darkness.
“You hungry?” asked Miller.
“I wouldn’t turn down a cup of coffee,” replied Windham.
“Me neither.”
Deputy Miller took his eyes off the road for a moment to check the time and looked back just in time to see a slender woman stagger into the road ahead of them. She stopped still in the headlights. Her long hair, wet from the rain, was plastered against her head and around her face. She wore only a pair of panties and a tattered tank top. She looked terrified, dark eyes pleading in the glare of the lights, her mouth forming words they could not hear.
“Hey!” yelled Windham to his partner. “Stop!”
Miller jammed on the brakes, making the patrol car bounce to a stop inches before hitting the young woman. Weak and unbalanced, she fell to her knees. In the glare of the headlights, both men could clearly see the dirt embedded on her face and neck, the blood seeping from wounds on her hands, elbows, legs, and feet.
Deputy Miller turned to his partner with wide eyes. “What the…?” Jamming the vehicle into park he picked up the radio. “Dispatch, this is 3741, we have a possible 10-16 at Lincoln and Travis. Will keep you updated. Copy.”
“Copy that,” replied Dispatch.
He nodded to Windham who swung open the car door and ran to kneel beside the woman. “Miss…” he spoke gently. “Are you alright?”
She shook uncontrollably. Her head and shoulders drooped as her mouth tried to form around a word.
“Can you tell us what happened?” Windham said.
He gently touched her shoulder and she flinched away from him. “It’s okay. You’re okay now,” he reassured.
“Truth… truth… the truth… you don’t understand… otherwise…” she finally managed between gasps for breath. “I told the truth…” she muttered.
“What truth?” asked Deputy Miller who had retrieved a blanket from the trunk and now stood a few feet away.
She stopped speaking and slowly looked up at the deputy, her eyes filled with fear. Then she whispered, “I told the truth… I told the truth… told… the truth.”
Both deputies carefully helped the woman up and gently wrapped the blanket around her.
“What’s your name?” asked Windham.
“A… Aman… Amanda,” she said slowly.
“Okay, Amanda. We want to help you. Can you tell us what happened?”
“I tried…” she whispered. “It was…” Her voice trailed off.
Deputy Miller opened the back door to the patrol car as his partner gently guided her to sit down in the backseat. Miller handed her a small bottle of water and, after a few moments, her eyes focused on the officers and her breath began to steady.
Deputy Windham kneeled down to her eye level and asked, “Amanda, can you tell us what happened to you? Do you remember what happened? Anything?”
She shook her head as more tears welled up in her eyes.
“It’s okay.”
“A blue door with white trim,” she said quietly. “A big box…”
“What else, Amanda? Can you remember anything else?”
“There was a fantasy tree…”
Confused by the description, the deputy tried to make sense of it, pushing gently to pry out any more details from her. “Can you tell us what happened?”
Taking a couple of deep breaths, she finally spoke: “I was k-kidnapped.”

About The Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

Website → https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Twitter → https://twitter.com/JChaseNovelist

Facebook → https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferChase/

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