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Inside the Book:

 

The last twenty years have seen a huge increase, not only in children with learning and behavior problems, but in children with bewildering combinations of them. These combinations can defy easy categorization and resist treatment. Figuring these children out can feel like trying to decrypt an especially complex code, without a cypher. Even professionals find it challenging.

 

We have seen family after family exhausted, overwhelmed and confused about how to sort through all the data and figure out how to proceed. There is certainly no shortage of information out there. What seems to be missing is guidance on how to synthesize it to create a larger picture that gives parents a clearly sequenced path forward.

This book presents a new kind of resource for a new kind of need. It includes:

• Extensive checklists to help you see new possibilities and find avenues of support you may not have considered

• Explanation of the hidden factors that may be worsening your child’s learning or behavior problems

• Discussion of the difference between digging deeper for true causes and merely assigning diagnoses to the “tip of the iceberg” symptoms you are seeing

• Descriptions of the major areas of developmental, learning and behavioral challenges, as well as common misdiagnoses.

• Lots of useful ‘news you can use’ about what options are available to you, which practitioners do what, and what questions to ask along the way

• Descriptions of both Western medicine and alternative medicine solutions

• Sequence matters: helpful information on how to prioritize treatments in a complex situation

• Stories of families who have been in the same trenches you have

• Tips on how to work more productively with your child’s school; develop a plan of action that makes sense for your budget, your family’s schedule and your sanity; maintain a healthy connection with your child; and more!

Written by over 20 professionals, Child Decoded is a thorough, must-have resource that any family with struggling children should consult!

 

BUY HERE:

Meet the Authors:

Kim Gangwish has  been  practicing  in  the  fields  of  mental  health  and  applied physiology for the last 18 years. Ms. Gangwish specializes in a form of acupressure that focuses on  neurological  integration,  called  LEAP  (Learning  Enhancement  Acupressure  Program).  She works  with  both  children  and  adults  who  have  learning  or  sensory  issues,  or  mild  traumatic head injuries. Her passion for educating caregivers has led her to present at international health conferences,  educational  programs  for  school  districts,  and  parent  and  adoption  support organizations,  where  she  emphasizes  the  importance  of  exploring underlying  causal  factors that contribute to learning and sensory issues. Being an adoptive mother herself, Ms. Gangwish is  very  active  in  the  adoption  community.  She  has  written  an ongoing  column  in  Adoption Today  magazine  and  founded  a  non-profit  organization  that  supports  adopted  children  and their families through an integrated team of therapeutic professionals. Ms. Gangwish runs her practice,  The  Life  Enrichment  Center,  in both  Louisville  and  Denver,  Colorado.  Kim  is also  the founder    and    CTO    (Chief    Technology    Officer)    of    a    biomedical    company,    Genovus Biotechnologies  Inc.,  which  is  developing  a  peripheral  neurostimulation  device  to  help  people with degenerative  neuromuscular diseases. She  lives in Louisville  with her two sons and many animals. You can read more about her and her work at www.neural-integration.com.
Dr. Robin McEvoy is a developmental neuropsychologist practicing in Denver, Colorado. She evaluates and diagnoses a wide range of learning disabilities and learning needs in children, adolescents, and adults. She then works with the family to develop a treatment plan to  remediate  weaknesses  and  accentuate  strengths.  In  addition  to  her  private  practice,  Dr. McEvoy   is   an   assistant   professor   at   the   University   of   Colorado   Health   Sciences   Center. Although  evaluation  is  the  heart  of  her  work,  Dr.  McEvoy  also  loves  the  educational  process  – speaking  to  parents,  schools,  or  other  health  professionals  about  learning,  development,  and parenting  in  this  new  age  where  many  learning  and  developmental challenges  are  more frequent.
Dr.  McEvoy  and  her  daughter,  Tessa,  have  published  a  children’s  book, Buddy: A Story for Dyslexia. This book has a lovely endorsement from Dr. Sally Shaywitz, a leading authority in
the  field.  Proceeds from  the  book  are  being  used  to fund  reading  remediation for  low  income children. You can find the book at www.learningmoxie.com. You can read more about Robin McEvoy at her website www.robinmcevoy.com. She blogs about  learning  and  learning  challenges  at  www.learningmoxie.com.  You  can  follow  her  on Facebook  at  www.facebook.com/DrRobinMcEvoy  or  on  Twitter at  twitter.com/RobinMcEvoy. She will try to be fascinating.
Marijke Jones got her BA from Cornell University, and finally settled down in Colorado after living in Japan and traveling throughout Asia and other parts of the world. She has been a copy and developmental editor for over ten years and has worked on a number of manuscripts, McGraw-Hill textbooks, website content, and other miscellaneous projects during that time. She has also published essays, mostly about her experiences raising, homeschooling, and trying to figure out her twice exceptional son. Ms. Jones is passionate about helping families with struggling children find answers and peace of mind. She believes that for each thing a child can’t do, there is something amazing that he can do. A former therapist who specialized in trauma, she also believes that monitoring children’s emotional and mental health is every bit as important as remediating their learning issues. She lives with her incredibly patient husband in Louisville, Colorado, where she enjoys the beautiful Rocky Mountains and all they have to offer. Occasionally, her two adult children come home from college or Europe or wherever they have been having more adventures than she has.

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Inside the Book:

Title: Chemistry of Magic
Author: Patricia Rice
Publisher: Book View Cafe
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ecopy 

A dying viscount, a bookish botanist, and a marriage of convenience that becomes. . . inconvenient. . .



Diagnosed with consumption, Viscount “Devil” Dare knows his days are numbered. With his greedy cousin scheming to throw Dare’s mother and sisters out of their home after his death, he can hardly refuse a mysterious lady’s solution—wedding vows. Her lands would ensure his industrial success—and secure the future for those he loves. 



Bookish botanist Emilia McDowell desperately needs the land she will inherit once she marries. Her gift for the healing arts requires growing and experimenting with herbs if she’s to save lives. When she learns that her funds would benefit handsome Lord Dare, who is said to be dying, she offers a marriage of convenience. 



But if Emilia touches Dare, her dangerous healing gift could kill her. As they learn to love under trying circumstances, Emilia longs to find the courage to be a true wife—until she discovers Dare’s plans for her inheritance. Can love and marriage surmount death and betrayal?

PRE-ORDER HERE: AMAZON|GOOGLE PLAY|KOBO|B&N

MEET THE AUTHOR

With several million books in print and New York Times and USA Today’s bestseller lists under her belt, former CPA Patricia Rice writes emotionally-charged contemporary and historical romances which have won numerous awards, including the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice and Career Achievement Awards.  



Her books have also been honored as Romance Writers of America RITA® finalists in the historical, regency and contemporary categories.



A firm believer in happily-ever-after for good reason, Patricia Rice is married to her high school sweetheart and has two children. A native of Kentucky and New York, a past resident of North Carolina and St. Louis, Missouri, she currently resides in Southern California, and now does accounting only for herself. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Authors Guild, and Novelists, Inc.

 

CONNECT WITH PATRICIA: WEBSITE|TWITTER|FACEBOOK

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margaretfentonbirminghamMargaret Fenton grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and moved to Birmingham in 1996. She received her B.A. in English from the Newcomb College of Tulane University, and her Master of Social Work from Tulane. She spent nearly ten years as a child and family therapist for the Department of Human Resources before taking a break to focus on her writing. Hence, her work tends to reflect her interest in social causes and mental health, especially where kids are concerned.  She is the planning coordinator of Murder in the Magic City, a one-day, one-track annual mystery fan conference in Homewood, Alabama. She is President of the Birmingham Chapter of Sisters in Crime and a member of the Mystery Writers of America. Margaret lives in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover with her husband, a software developer.

Mayra Calvani: Please tell us about Little Girl Gone, and what compelled you to write it.

Margaret Fenton:  Little Girl Gone is the second in the Claire Conover mysteries.  I was inspired to write the story based on a newspaper article I read several years ago about teens and sexting.  Claire is also continuing her relationship with Grant Summerville, the man she met in the first book, Little Lamb Lost.

M.C.: What is your book about?

M.F.:  Claire Conover is back in the sequel to Little Lamb Lost.  She has taken into custody a 13-year-old girl found sleeping behind a grocery store.  The girl’s murdered mother is found at a construction site owned by a family friend, then the girl disappears.   Her mother worked in an illegal gambling industry in Birmingham.  Things only get more complicated from there.  Is it possible the girl pulled the trigger?  She doesn’t have a lot of street smarts, so where could she have run? Claire has to find the answers, and the girl, fast.

M.C.:  What themes do you explore in Little Girl Gone?

M.F.:  Claire is a child protective services social worker, so all of my books explore kids in danger who come into the foster care/adoptive system.  As I said above, there is a bit about sexting in this book and the effects that cell phones have on everyone.  Information is instant now, and that’s part of what I touch on in this book.

M.C.:  Why do you write?

M.F.:  I had a wonderful mother who instilled a love of reading in me at a very early age.  I loved mysteries most of all.  I loved Trixie Belden, the Hardy Boys, and Encyclopedia  Brown as a child, and then read a lot of Agatha Christie and Rex Stout.  After I moved to Birmingham in 1996, I got to know the late Anne George.  She was the wonderful author of the Southern Sisters mysteries and she really encouraged me to give writing a go.

M.C.:  When do you feel the most creative?

M.F.:  First thing in the morning.  I grab a cup of coffee, stay in my p.j.’s and write until lunchtime at least.

M.C.:  How picky are you with language?

M.F.:  Not very.  I write based on rhythm and feel.  Sometimes the grammar isn’t totally correct, but it’s dialogue so I think it’s okay.  I wish I had a broader vocabulary sometimes.

M.C.:  When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?

M.F:  Absolutely.  When I was writing Little Lamb Lost, I was really struggling with the all-important opening paragraph.  I hated what I had written and needed something new.  I grabbed a drink and went and sat outside on my porch and cleared my mind.  Then it came to me.  The perfect opening sentence for that book.  I’m convinced it was a gift from someone, somewhere.

LGGcoverM.C.:  What is your worst time as a writer?

M.F.:  After Little Lamb Lost came out in 2009, my publisher decided they were only going to publish thrillers.  Little Girl Gone is not a thriller.  They asked me to rework it, but it just wasn’t going to happen, so they passed.  Not having a publisher after you’ve had one is really hard.  It was tough dealing with that feeling of rejection and trying to decide what to do next.

M.C.:  Your best?

M.F.:  Oh I love this story.  I had the most amazing and inspirational English teacher in high school.  When I got published, I really wanted to share that with him.  I started to look for him, as he wasn’t teaching at my high school anymore.  I searched a while and even heard a rumor he had died.  Then one of my friends tracked him down.  I wrote him a long, gushy letter and sent him a copy of the book.  He loved it!  We are in touch again and even friends on Facebook.  He influenced me to major in English in college and start writing.

M.C.:  Is there anything that would stop you from writing?

M.F.:  Catastrophic head injury, maybe.  Maybe.

M.C.: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?

M.F.:  The story above about my teacher.

M.C.:  Is writing an obsession to you?

M.F:  It’s just something I really enjoy.  I have to work not to get too obsessed with the story at the expense of everything else in life.

M.C.:  Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?

M.F.:  Claire and I do have a lot in common. We are both social workers, although she is a lot more of a workaholic than I ever was.  I dealt with the mental health side of things at DHR, while Claire is an actual social worker.  And of course, she’s younger and prettier than I am!  I think most authors create protagonists that are younger and better looking and tougher.

M.C.:  Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?

M.F.:  My writing, at least, is fed by darker points of reality.  The thing I love about any good mystery is that justice is always served.  That doesn’t always happen in reality and that’s disappointing.  So it’s nice to get drunk on fiction.

M.C.:  Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?

M.F:  I do.  www.margaretfenton.com  Thanks for this interview, it was fun!

 

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phil in b&W.jpgPhilip Cioffari is the author of the novels: DARK ROAD, DEAD END; JESUSVILLE;  CATHOLIC BOYS; and the short story collection, A HISTORY OF THINGS LOST OR BROKEN, which won the Tartt Fiction Prize, and the D. H. Lawrence award for fiction. His short stories have been published widely in commercial and literary magazines and anthologies, including North American Review, Playboy, Michigan Quarterly Review, Northwest Review, Florida Fiction, and Southern Humanities Review. He has written and directed for Off and Off-Off Broadway. His Indie feature film, which he wrote and directed, LOVE IN THE AGE OF DION, has won numerous awards, including Best Feature Film at the Long Island Int’l Film Expo, and Best Director at the NY Independent Film & Video Festival. He is a Professor of English, and director of the Performing and Literary Arts Honors Program, at William Paterson University. www.philipcioffari.com

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Bronx Kill. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A: My novel, The Bronx Kill, is about a drowning death and the effect it has on those involved in the incident. On a hot August night, five teenage friends challenge each other to swim the East River from the Bronx to Queens. In the attempt, one boy drowns and the body of the only girl among them is never found. The three survivors take a vow never again to speak about the incident. When they reunite five years later, they find themselves at the mercy of the drowned boy’s brother, an NYPD detective, who holds them responsible for his brother’s death and vows to bring them to justice by any means possible. The lead character, Danny Baker, one of the three survivors, must fight not only to preserve his childhood friendships but to save himself and his friends from the detective’s brand of vigilante justice.

Bronx Kill Cover JPEG.jpgI wanted to write about the complexity and durability of friendship. The apparent and not-so-apparent ties that bind us, the debts we owe one another, the divisive factors that can tear a friendship apart, the loyalties that can supersede everything, even ethical and moral principles—these are my concerns here.

In particular, my focus is on friendship that originates in childhood, that continues to hold us together long after childhood ends, friendship that develops and matures over time, that changes as the dynamic of the relationship changes, friendship that allows us at its best to be individuals within the larger framework of the we.

The characters in this novel have been friends since grade school. They have experienced the small triumphs and defeats that occur in playgrounds and alleys, on handball courts and ballfields. They have endured the mean streets of the Bronx, faced hardship, humiliation and loss; but it isn’t until their mid-twenties that they must confront the most severe test of their loyalty to one another. I wrote it as a suspense thriller because I thought that was the most effective way to engage the reader in this story.

Q: What do you think makes a good mystery/thriller? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: Of course there are many elements that go into making a successful story. In my book, I strove 1) for a high level of tension throughout, 2) a strong atmosphere of danger and foreboding, and 3) strong, clearly defined characters. I also try to find something sympathetic in each of my characters, even the seemingly unlikeable ones.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A:  I work out the details of the story as I write. I take notes along the way but mostly the process is intuitive, instinctual as I move for scene to scene. What does my character want? What would be the step or steps he/she would take to get what he/she wants? The way I see it character drives plot.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: Characters usually form inside my head. I may jot down a few notes but mostly I get a feel for them, who they are, what they want. Then they become more defined in the writing process. My lead character in The Bronx Kill is Danny Baker, a 24 year old man who returns to his hometown, the Bronx, after a self-imposed exile of five years. He is haunted by a sense of guilt and responsibility for the death of his friend. He wants to find the truth about what happened the night of the drowning, but as important is his search to find out the truth about himself, why he did what he did, why he hadn’t acted differently, what more could he have done to save his friend. I knew Danny well enough that I didn’t really have to go outside myself to develop him.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: The obsessed detective who seeks revenge for his brother’s death came to me as I was writing the story of these friends. He assumed a greater role in my mind, and hence in the story, as I got deeper into the book. He wasn’t there at the start. What characterizes him is his unswerving dedication to seeking justice for his dead brother. He’s ruthless and will use any means necessary to enact his vengeance, which adds considerably to sense of imminent danger in the book.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: As Elmore Leonard said, cut out the boring parts. I try to make each scene absolutely necessary. Each scene jumps the story forward. I use the mood and atmosphere not only of the physical setting but also the interior landscape of the characters’ minds to keep the tension high and unrelenting.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: I use as much specific, physical detail of the place—whether it be a street, a room, a tavern—to create a visual image for the reader. I always have a particular street or room or bar in mind when I write.  I use the quality of light to highlight atmosphere. I make sure I know my settings well. I’ve been there, lived there. I know the place in all seasons, at different times of the day and night, on holidays and work days. I try to capture the feel of a place, not only its physical details.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: I never start with theme. Theme is something I discover after I’ve written the final word. I concentrate on telling the truest, most convincing story I can tell. Theme will take care of itself. And, yes, themes recur in my work. That’s probably inevitable.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: For me, editing improves my work. Makes it tighter, more focused. I cut out waste, superfluity.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Perseverance. Showing up at your desk everyday. Continually improving your writing style. Keeping an open, curious mind. (Sorry, that’s four)

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: Writing has always brought me pleasure. If it didn’t, I’d stop.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: Taking workshops and going to writers’ conferences have helped me immeasurably.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Learning the craft of writing is a life-long endeavor. Enjoy the ride.

 

 

 

 

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The prayer of Jesus in John 17 was that His Church would be one, and that together we would display the glory of God to a lost and dying world. Our unity would prove our message. Sadly, we’ve badly missed the mark.



Bishop Robert lifts the veil on what the Holy Spirit has been doing across the globe, enflaming hearts of believers everywhere to fulfill Christ’s prayer. Today, God is moving His Church to the place of unity we see in John 17! Count to One lays a simple and compelling foundation every believer can stand upon, examining the issues and answering the questions everyone asks about overcoming the barriers to genuine Christian unity.



God gave Bishop Robert an interesting task one day in prayer, telling him “I am teaching you to count to one!” The lesson was to be found in a simple truth revealed in the pages of the Scriptures. The Lord’s determination to see the unity of His Body restored and His desire to see the power of His glory displayed to a lost and dying world will strike you with deliberate force as you take in the message of Count to One.



Christ desires to see His Body as one—a powerful and life-changing reflection of His own ministry on Earth, and Bishop Robert lays out the principles that every believer in Jesus can use to begin breaking down the barriers, which have held them back and building bridges of unity within the Body of Christ. Using a combination of fascinating historical insights and refreshingly simple applications of Scripture, Bishop Robert leads you down the path to real freedom to love your brothers and sisters in Christ in a new and effective way.



Read the book and meet the family you never believed you had. Welcome home!



For more information, please visit www.BishopRobert.com

 
 
 
Bishop Robert is a voice for unity in the Body of Christ. His heart’s cry is the prayer of Jesus in John 17, that followers of Jesus may be one, and so proclaim the message of the Gospel in the power of His glory.



God gave Bishop Robert an interesting task one day in prayer, telling him “I am teaching you to count to one!” The lesson was to be found in a simple truth revealed in the pages of the scriptures. The Lord’s determination to see the unity of His Body restored and His desire to see the power of His glory displayed to a lost and dying world will strike you with deliberate force as you take in the message of Count To One. 



Bishop Robert serves as the President & Chief Executive Officer of Count to One, a ministry which exists to promote greater unity in the Body of Christ worldwide. Christ said that our love for one another would be the way the world would know that we are His disciples. As followers of Christ forgive one another and love one another – we will be in a better position to serve Jesus and fulfill the Great Commission.

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EchoesOfTerrorFrontTitle: Echoes of Terror

Author: Maris Soule

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Five Star

Websitehttp://marissoule.com 

Find out more on Amazon

The latest release by award-winning novelist Maris Soule, Echoes of Terror is a taut, tense tale about secrets, deadly intentions, and what happens when murder hits way too close to home.   Set against the backdrop of Skagway, Alaska,Echoes of Terror introduces protagonist Katherine Ward, a Skagway police officer who finds herself thrust in extraordinary—and extraordinarily frightening–circumstances when her past, present and future threaten to collide in a most dangerous way.

About Echoes of Terror:  Rural Skagway, Alaska’s small police force is accustomed to an occasional crime–a stolen bike here, a DUI there.  But when a teenager goes missing, the Skagway Police force is hardly prepared, especially with its Police Chief  in the hospital and an officer missing. Officer Katherine Ward is assigned the case, never expecting it to parallel her own kidnapping experience seventeen years earlier.  Soon, Katherine realizes what originally appeared to be the case of a rebellious teen runaway is anything but.  There’s something—or someone—sinister at work in this usually quiet town and a teenager’s life is in danger.

But missing teen Misty Morgan isn’t your average teenage girl:  she’s the daughter of a billionaire.  Misty thought running off with a college boy would get her father’s attention, but now she and another kidnapped teen are praying for their lives at the hands of a ruthless kidnapper. Stuck in China on a business trip, Misty’s father suspected his daughter was up to something and asked his longtime friend, Marine veteran Vince Nanini, to fly to Alaska and stop Misty. Problem is, Vince arrives too late to stop the kidnapping, and the police aren’t eager to let him help find the missing teen.

When Katherine realizes the same man who kidnapped and raped her years ago is the one holding Misty and the other teenager, the terror of those months in captivity resurfaces.  Together, Katherine and Vince must figure out where the kidnapper has taken two teenagers, and fast.  But nothing is at it seems in this race to stop a madman before he kills again. The clock is ticking—and this time, the past is close behind. Dangerously close behind…

Brimming with tension, filled with twists and turns, and resplendent with pulse-quickening suspense that reaches a dramatic and shocking crescendo, Echoes of Terror is a bone-chilling tale that grabs readers and doesn’t let go. Award-winning novelist Maris Soule delivers a briskly paced, masterfully plotted, spine-tinglingly realistic thriller that will leave readers gasping for breath.

According to bestselling novelist Libby Fischer Hellmann, author of the Ellie Foreman mystery series, “The pace and writing will keep you turning pages. And the twist at the end?  I didn’t see if coming. Do yourself a favor and read this thriller now.”

CHAPTER ONE

7:25 a.m. Thursday

“That guy is a frickin’ idiot.”

“Who’s an idiot?”

Brian Bane glanced at the girl sitting next to him before again splitting his attention between the twisting road in front of his Chevy Blazer and the tailgating Ford Explorer. On their right the roadway dropped over a thousand feet. As much as he liked excitement, this Internet-born adventure was not starting out as he’d imagined.

“The guy behind us,” he said, keeping a tight hold on the steering wheel. “He came up out of nowhere. Now he’s all over my ass. Like there’s any way for me to go faster up this grade.”

Misty—or Miss T as she was known on ChatPlace—twisted in her seat to look behind them. Her wild, blonde curls brushed her shoulders, and her mini-skirt showed a teasing view of her inner thigh. “Shit,” she hissed through her teeth.

“What?” Brian said.

“He sent Vince.”

“Who sent Vince?”

“My dad.”

“Your dad?” Brain didn’t like the sound of that. “So who’s Vince?”

“He’s a guy Dad knew in the Marines. He’s supposed to do computer security for my dad’s business, but he keeps acting like he’s my bodyguard. I can’t do a frickin’ thing without him showing up.”

She flopped back against the seat, and crossed her arms over her chest. The fact that her old man had sent someone after her, and the way she was pouting, didn’t bode well. For the first time since he’d picked Misty up in Skagway, Brian wasn’t so certain she was the eighteen years she’d advertised.

“How old are you, Misty? Your real age, I mean.”

She glared at him, and then looked away. “Age is meaningless.”

Meaningless, my ass, he thought. Damn, I’m so screwed. He was about to take an under-aged girl into Canada. No wonder some steroid filled ex-Marine with an over attachment to the boss’s daughter was after him. He’d be lucky if he wasn’t arrested as an International felon.

“Do you think—?”

A thump to the back corner bumper sent the Blazer into a fishtail, and Brian gasped, clinging to the steering wheel as he fought to bring the car back under control. “Jeez, Misty, your dad’s buddy just rammed us.”

“Then step on the gas,” Misty ordered, giving a quick glance behind them. “Outrun him.”

“In this thing?” The old Blazer was tired iron. The first part of the Klondike Highway, from Skagway to White Pass and the Canadian line, was a twisting, turning two-laner that rose from sea level to over three thousand feet. The steep incline was already taxing the engine. They’d be lucky to outrun a snowplow through this stretch.

Again the Explorer rammed into them, this time lurching them straight toward the guardrail as the road turned. Misty yelped and grabbed at the door. Brian swung the wheel. The sensation of the front right fender grating on metal vibrated through the steering column. When they came out of the turn, the Explorer was nearly side by side.

“Your dad’s buddy is nuts! He’s going to kill us.”

“Just go faster!”

“I’m going as fast as I can.”

The powerful Explorer began squeezing them closer to the guardrail. Jaw clenched and muscles taut, Brian struggled to keep his SUV on the pavement. Adrenalin pumped through his body, a bitter taste rising to his throat.

And then his heart nearly stopped.

Just a few hundred feet ahead, the guardrail turned into a twisted, jagged strip of metal that hung limply to the ground. Open air replaced protection. One bump from the Explorer as they passed that broken section of guardrail, and they’d definitely be going over the edge, tumbling down the mountainside.

“That’s it, Babe.”

Brian pulled his foot from the gas and began to brake.

“What are you doing? Don’t slow down!”

“Forget it,” he said in disgust. Man, his friends had been right about this whole hooking up online thing. They’d tried to talk him out of it, but all Brian had been seeing was a summer traveling through Canada with a hot chick. Instead of lots of sex and partying, after this ex-Marine got through with him, he’d be lucky if all of his body parts were intact.

Brian brought the Blazer to a complete stop, his entire body shaking. The Explorer angled in front of him, preventing a forward escape. With a sigh, Brian shifted into park, and then turned toward Misty—the beautiful, sexy Miss T.

The beautiful, sexy, under-aged, Miss T, he mentally corrected. “Wouldn’t you know I’d hook up with jailbait.”

She glared at him. “So it didn’t work out. Stop whining. Vince isn’t going to do anything to you.”

“Oh yeah?” Brian sure hoped that was true. “So, what was this, just a little joy ride for you?”

“What it was is none of your business.” Once again she looked away, out the side window.

Brian stared at her for a second, kicking himself for being such an idiot, then he stepped out of the car. As he looked toward the Explorer, he wondered if he should act angry—after all, Misty had duped him. Or guilty—because he should have known she was under-age.

The other car door began to open, and Brian called out, “Listen, man, I had no idea she was—” He broke off as the man straightened and faced him. He almost laughed when he saw the bear mask . . .

Then he saw the gun.

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MarisSoule2015

Acclaimed novelist Maris Soule is a two time RITA finalist who has won numerous awards for her novels over the last three decades. Born and raised in California, Maris majored in art at U.C. Davis and taught art for 8 years before retiring to raise a family. Maris and her husband divide their time between Michigan and Florida. Echoes of Terror is her 30th book.  Visit Maris Soule online at: www.marissoule.com

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184cd-author2blisaLiza Treviño hails from Texas, spending many of her formative years on the I-35 corridor of San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.  In pursuit of adventure and a Ph.D., Liza moved to Los Angeles where she compiled a collection of short-term, low-level Hollywood jobs like script girl, producer assistant and production assistant.  Her time as a Hollywood Jane-of-all-trades gave her an insider’s view to a world most only see from the outside, providing the inspiration for creating a new breed of Latina heroine. Visit her at  lizatrevino.com

Find out more on Amazon: All That Glitters

INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, All That Glitters: A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Hollywood Dreams. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A: It follows the rags-to-riches Hollywood journey of a creative, ambitious, street smart and gorgeous Latina who sets her sights on making it big in Hollywood as a writer and film director in the 1980s. All That Glitters has grit, glamour, Hollywood and some romance mixed in for good measure.

I was re-reading a Jackie Collins book I’d love as a teenager, and I began thinking I wanted to read this kind of story, but with a Latina as the main character.  That’s definitely something I wanted to read. I couldn’t find it in the marketplace, so I started writing.

All That Glitters CoverQ: What do you think makes a good women’s fiction book? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: The thing about women’s fiction is that it mixes with so many other genres, well, any other genre, really.  That’s what I find so interesting about this genre. It allows me to investigate a woman’s point-of-view and her character’s evolution in relation to any other genre or story that I’m interested in experiencing, whether it be a Hollywood romance or a horror or a mystery. But I digress… three fundamental elements are a believable character or characters the will draw the reader in. A character that makes you care or, whether it’s love or hate, the character has drawn you in. Also important is a universal struggle. Sure, there’s plot, structure and what not, but is the central question or struggle one that is a larger one that the reader can understand? So, again, no matter what the particulars are, the reader is caught up in the ‘what would I do’ game. And, finally, a good villain. Whether it’s external or internal, the project needs to struggle and be tested, and that’s exactly what a great villain does for the story.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: Originally, I just started writing. I had an idea of the overall structure I wanted, as well as a few specific things I wanted to happen, so I attempted to write with that in mind.  What I discovered was that, for me, that didn’t work out so well. At all. It’s really important to get that ‘inspiration about the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it, but when digging into the actual work of writing an entire novel, I need to outline and plot. It helps me see where the holes are and  what is and isn’t working.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: The initial idea for Alexandria Moreno came from the fact that I was reading a lot of Los Angeles and Hollywood fiction. I have a soft spot for this type of writing.  And, two of my favorite characters from this type of writing, and in general, are Lucky Santangelo and Maria from Play It As It Lays. From there, I wanted to create a Latina heroine that was a blend of those two characters – a character with ambition, confidence and who also exhibited nearly clinically depressed ennui. I also wanted to explore Hollywood glamour – both its magic and its darkness.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: My villain was more difficult, but fun.  I say difficult because there were different iterations of this character in earlier drafts of the story. Once I got my head straight about the structure of this story, I realized there were three different characters that would be so much better if I just combined them into one person. After I realized that, filling him out and finding the physical traits was the easy part.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: That’s where plotting or outlining comes in handy. Even with an outline, you can find yourself at odds with the pacing when you actually get into writing. To keep the narrative exciting, I think it’s important to keep the protagonist always discovering something. It’s important to end chapters with a question asked and lingering, which will propel your reader to move onto the next chapter and further into the story.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: I’m a big architecture and urban planning geek, so setting is always a particular joy and challenge to me.  I go out of my way to select specific details that interact with buildings or rooms, like light quality, grit on the windows or streets, or the furniture upholstery. Depending on the type of scene I’m working on, will determine how I go about filling out the scene. That is, if I have general action occurring, then I will go broader with descriptions, like how is traffic on the street moving. But, if the scene is more intimate in nature, like a stilted conversation between two estranged friends, then I’ll pick small details that would evoke what the character is doing and experiencing. For example, with the stilted conversation I just mentioned, I might add a detail about the table their sitting at and the grain on the table or crumpled napkins sitting on the table.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: I set out to write about relationships. There are three key relationships in the book, and each of the relationship highlights different but complimentary themes that overlap. Themes that include the redemptive nature of loyalty and friendship, the destructive power of giving into your worst impulses, facing your demons, learning to love yourself, self-acceptance and trust. But, I’m most intrigued by the idea of free will vs. fate. Do we have free will or are things set before we even take our first breath? How in control are we of our life journeys?  Is there some pre-determined destination that all of our little, everyday decisions ultimately leads us?  Or, is it all just chaos? And, if it is chaos, then how do we account for certain repetitions in life? I suppose I’m quite taken with that theme because I see it played out and the questions come up again and again in different stories I’ve written. And, to all of this, I’d say that the themes became apparent after I wrote the story.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: There’s an argument to be made on both sides. Ultimately, I believe it’s not an either/or proposition. Craft and art co-exist. What I found is that art is the inspiration and vision of what you want to say and craft gives you the skills to create. Editing, when done constructively, can bring out the beauty of the initial inspiration, not diminish it.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Desire, perserverance and discipline. You have to want to tell the story that’s in your head. You have to want to tell it so much that you will persevere against all odds. I know that sounds  melodramatic, but it’s true.  There’s nothing harder to do than to keep pushing forward through all the obstacles that come with everyday life. And that’s where the discipline comes.  You have to train yourself to say no to that snooze button if you’re going to get up early to write. In the end, you have to shut everything else out so that the story you want to tell can make it to the page. Simple, right?

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?

A: I don’t see it like that because homework has such a negative connotation – at least to me, anyway. Homework was something assigned to me that I had to get done in order to not fail out of school, never get into a good college, and have my life ruined. See what I mean?  Instead, writing and all the other stuff is something I choose to do, so, yeah, it’s work, but it’s an entire world/universe that I’ve created and choose to visit. That’s WAY better than homework.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: So many resources over the years were helpful. Among the best, I think are local writer’s conferences. It is a great way to dip your toe into the waters of the publishing world. You spend a couple of days hanging out with a bunch of writers who have varying degrees of experience and success. The most important thing from going to this is just being around other people who have the same passion or crazy idea about writing that you do. That’s awesome.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Draw inspiration from everything, always be curious about the world around you and you’ll never want for inspiration or stories.

Also, that words matter. It sounds funny or obvious, but it’s something I’ve learned. Once you have to name, describe or explain the idea floating in your head and make it concrete in the real, physical world, then how you express it with language makes all the difference. Now, that sounds paralyzing. But, it isn’t.  Because the other thing that writing has taught me is that fifteen minutes can be an eternity.  I used to think I needed hours and hours of dedicated time to get writing done. Timed writing sprints are a Godsend for focusing your thoughts and getting your story out of your head and onto the page.  Then, after you’ve finished your draft, the ‘words matter’ revision and refinement process can begin.

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