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Archive for the ‘Virtual Book Tour Guests’ Category

Geoff Armstrong began his teaching career in 1965 after receiving a teaching diploma from McGill University’s Macdonald College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montreal’s Concordia University in 1967 where his major field of study was history. Armstrong credits writers such as Bruce Catton, and Thomas B. Costain, as well as the encouragement of his father who had little formal education, but a deep love of reading and of history, as the inspiration for his own life-long interest.

Throughout a 25-year teaching career he taught history at several grade levels and learned quickly that to reach the hearts of his students, history had to be made immediately and deeply relevant and accessible: that some event that took place centuries before those students were born had a direct and profound influence on every aspect their lives. He also learned that talking down or writing down to his students was a recipe for defeat. It is this awareness, shaped by a quarter century of teaching and countless questions by thousands of intelligent young people that has informed and shaped his writing.

His latest book is Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo.

You can visit his website at www.MomentsThatMadeAmerica.com.

About the Book:

From its geological birth during the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent millions of years ago, through the nation-shaping key events that led to its political independence from the British superpower, and other crucial, sometimes miraculous events that worked to create the nation, Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo explores those defining moments, both tragic and inspirational that profoundly shaped the nation and its people – crucial turning points that worked inexorably to mold and make America. These pivotal “tipping” events formed America’s geographical, sociological, political and historical landscape. Part 1 culminates with the discovery of gold in California and the role it played in fulfilling America’s dream of Manifest Destiny.

ORDER YOUR COPY AT AMAZON:

https://www.amazon.com/Moments-That-Made-America-Alamo/dp/1727864913/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1CS06XA8TTF0I&keywords=moment%27s+that+made+america&qid=1550640819&s=gateway&sprefix=Moments+That+Made+A%2Caps%2C212&sr=8-2

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I believe that writing, like art or musical ability are gifts given to us as part of creation. I suppose this means that I was born to be a writer.

What was your inspiration for Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo?

There are a number of answers to this question, but the most accurate is one that I probably have already given:  I am a Canadian living in the United States and surrounded by Americans who know less about the history of their remarkable country than I do. My entire family lives in the United States. As a result, I spend almost half of my time in this country. Over the years I have become more and more appalled at how little Americans understand about how difficult it was for the United States to exist at all and how easy it would be to lose the freedom so many Americans take for granted. I had no choice. I had to write this series of books. The second book in the series of three, Moments That Made America: From Civil War to Superpower is now with the publisher.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I am surprised, though I shouldn’t be, about how much my fascination with history influences my writing and interests. I say “I shouldn’t be” because history has always been one of my interests as well as a favorite subject for my dad and my brother.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It is not a novel. It is a history of the United States told from a different perspective. I focused on those key moments that fundamentally and permanently made or changed America, tipping points that had they not happened or ended differently would have ended the American story or made the nation unrecognizable. The actual writing of the first of what has turned out to be three books took me about a year. The second book took about 10 months. The planning and research have taken a lifetime.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I might be an old guy (76), but I hold a full time day job (as well as morning, evening and sometimes much of the night) that presents me with frequent deadlines I cannot ignore. If I’m not disciplined, nothing gets done. I could also lose my job.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Carving out the time to do the extensive research and the writing. That’s where the discipline comes in. Another challenge. Is dealing with the conflicting viewpoints and the inevitable controversies that history produces.

What do you love most about being an author?

Having the freedom to write about anything I choose

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 sent query letters to dozens of publishers. It took me nearly a year, but I found an excellent publisher (History Publishing Company) in Palisades, NY. They have been very helpful and I count myself extremely fortunate to have found them.

Where can we find you on the web?

MomentsThatMadeAmerica.com also Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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David Reiss

“A swarm of medical automatons surrounded the gurney on which I was reclined, a humming and swirling dervish of blades, clamps, sponges and other surgical tools focused upon the stump of my shoulder. A surgical laser was carefully burning away flesh in a pattern that would increase the efficiency of repairs performed by the medical nanites once my right arm was reattached…”

–From FID’S CRUSADE by David Reiss

While growing up, David Reiss was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer.

Fortunately, he hasn’t changed much.

David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-six years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.

(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)

David’s first book, Fid’s Crusade, has just recently been published; this was his first novel-length project, but it certainly won’t be his last—he’s having far too much fun!

Book Description

Fid's Crusade

Consumed by grief, rage, and self-loathing, a brilliant inventor rebuilt himself to take on a new identity: the powered-armor-wearing supervillain, Doctor Fid. For twenty violent years, Fid has continued his quest to punish heroes who he considers to be unworthy of their accolades, and the Doctor has left a long trail of blood and misery in his wake. After a personal tragedy, however, Doctor Fid investigates a crime and uncovers a conspiracy so terrible that even he is taken aback.

Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must risk everything to save the world that he once sought to terrorize. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.

In the end, it may take a villain to save the entire Earth from those entrusted with the Earth’s protection.

Interview:

Welcome, David! Your new book, Fid’s Crusade, sounds out of this world, literally! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea to write your book?

Superheroes are everywhere these days and (as a long-time comic book geek) I’ve been thrilled to see some of my childhood’s favorite characters being brought to the big screen. One thing that I’ve noticed, however, is that in many of these stories…the action really starts with the villain. A bad guy robs a bank or tries to take over the city, and the heroes step up and risk their lives to save the day. There are definitely powerful stories to be told within that framework, but (in general) the protagonists are reactive. So…I suppose that my inspiration was to approach a very well-known and popular genre from an oblique angle, and to really focus in on the place where the majority of conflict originates: behind the villain’s mask.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters?

The protagonist is a brilliant powered-armor-wielding supervillain who goes by the name of Doctor Fid, but the truth is that the story is less about his strength and more about his moral and emotional evolution. He’s a character driven by grief and rage, and he’s spent twenty years trying to punish the heroes who he feels to be unworthy of the public’s trust. He’s a man who has gloried in violence and destruction, and yet, he’s also a socially awkward, desperately lonely figure who’s sacrificed everything for a cause that stopped being relevant years earlier. He’s tragic and flawed and dangerous…and terribly human. There are plenty of opportunities for the kind of action that is expected from a story about superheroes and supervillains, but the novel also explores themes of growth and empathy, of confronting the demons of one’s past and of trying to find a new path forward.

The cast includes a number of other characters, some of whom have succumbed to allow themselves be defined by their failings and others who choose to struggle against them. There are pacifistic villains and others who are monstrous, and heroes with a similar range of traits. Also, a young artificially-sentient android girl who is intelligent enough to near-instantaneously digest every word that has ever been published online about the subject of swimming, but still doggy-paddles because she’s afraid to get water in her eyes.

Everyone is human underneath their costumes. Even the robots.

Where was your book set and why did you choose that particular region/location?

Doctor Fid travels a fair bit but he makes his home in Boston. When I started writing, I chose the region out convenience—the main character had been an academic prior to embarking on his villainous career and M.I.T. was an obvious choice for his alma mater, the city is close enough to Manhattan that he could visit NYC regularly but remote enough that there would be a different cast of local heroes and villains, and that the city is sufficiently cosmopolitan to act as a backdrop for a wide range of competing cultures and influences.

Even though I’d visited Boston several times in the past—I had friends who attended college there, and my brother had lived there for a while—I needed to do a fair bit of research on the city (and surrounding regions) as the novel coalesced. I’ve come to love the city from a distance and hope to travel out there soon to explore some of the sites that I’ve experienced only in prose.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

There’s a sequence in which Doctor Fid travels across country to explore a deceased villain’s hidden lair. His original intent was to acquire lost technology, but that plan is derailed when he encounters a new character who will eventually have an immense impact upon his life. To me, that scene is one of the most pivotal moments in the protagonist’s journey; it has what I hope are touching moments but also provides hints at big changes and significant challenges that will need to be overcome.

Do you believe because you spent a lot of time reading when you were younger, that that was one influence that played a part in who you are today?

Being a voracious reader had a tremendous influence on my life, so much so that it’s difficult to imagine who I would be if not for the stories I immersed myself within.

If I’ve found love and happiness and friendship and trust, it’s because I experienced these things first within the pages of books and knew what to look for when those opportunities arose in real life.

What was it like growing up? Can you tell us a little bit about your background/family?

This is a tough one to answer because my family was wonderful. I’ve been loved and supported for my entire life.

And yet…I was an angry, bitter, and horrifically depressed child.

I was the strange kid who didn’t fit in, the weird one who never knew the right thing to say or how to say it, small enough to be every bully’s favorite target and lonely enough that I had no one to go to. I didn’t understand my peers, they didn’t understand me…and I was intelligent enough to be painfully aware of how isolated I’d become.

Fiction was my escape and I spent every moment I could with my nose in a book.

It took a long time and tens of thousands of pages, but I truly believe that it was within fantasy that I found my way back to reality. Through reading about the thoughts and experiences of so many fictional characters, I learned how to understand and interact with the people who I’d never been able to connect with in person.

It can get better. I promise.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?

I want all of my readers and fans to know how incredibly grateful I am for their support. Publishing Fid’s Crusade and its sequels has been a remarkable journey and I’m looking forward to sharing new stories in the future as well.

 

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“IF YOU’VE BEEN dieting forever with very mixed results, then you’ve finally come to the right place. These lifestyle changes that I am recommending will be like no diet that you have ever attempted, so if you combine what I’m about to teach you with the proven methods that Dr. Joel Fuhrman teaches you in his books—Eat to Live is the best one to start off with—you will be well on your way to attaining your goal of losing the dreaded weight that you have been desperately seeking to get rid of for so long.”

–From The ‘Real’ American Diet by Kevin C. Alston

Born & raised in the small town of Mullins, SC, by God-fearing parents who instilled religion into his life at an early age, Kevin C. Alston has an insatiable appetite for knowledge since birth. God blessed him with a keen, analytical mind, & an almost feverish desire to help others. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, married to the love of his life, with five wonderful kids, & a deep passion that still burns within him to help the less fortunate, through whatever means necessary.  The correlation between what we eat & the epidemic-like rise in diseases of today has the author on an impassioned mission to get to the bottom of what he thinks is a big conspiracy by our government & Big Business. His latest book is The ‘Real’ American Diet.

Book Description:

This book is a culmination of the author’s life, but mainly the past 10 years, where personal tragedies have led him to discover more about the correlation with food, nutrition & the diseases of today, & how it affects us all.

This program is an experiment of sorts, with the author using himself as the guinea pig, with positive results having been discovered, & hopefully, in time, even bigger positive results yet to come.

Between our government & Big Business, we, the people, are already involved in an experiment.  It’s like a big laboratory.  With all of the harmful toxins that are allowed in our air, food, &  water, diseases are at epidemic-like levels, & the author, for one, would like to know if there is more to this than is being told to us. It speaks volumes when other nations refuse to accept grains & meats from us, or at least it does to the author.

Most of the ailments we suffer from today emanate from our guts, & our poor diets keep the sickness-wheels turning, costing each of us millions of dollars, a whole lot of heartache, pain, & suffering.  It’s time to make a change, & that change started with the author’s experiment on himself.

Interview:

Welcome, Kevin!  Your new book, The ‘Real’ American Diet sounds like something we all could use today. Tell us what was the pivotal moment when you decided you should write about book that discusses the correlation with food, nutrition & the diseases of today and how it affects us all?

Kevin: Boy, can it be used today! After my mom died from cancer back in ’10, I thought about it. When my ‘other’ daughter passed, from cancer as well, I had had enough ( my ‘other’ daughter  is my oldest stepdaughter ). I actually saw my other daughter’s long struggle against, first, breast cancer, & then, liver cancer. It was not something any human being should have to experience.

You mention in your book that you have a ‘routine’ that you use every day. Can you tell us what that routine is?

Kevin: I start my day off the exact same way, no matter what time I actually get up ( crazy work schedule having a lot to do with it ). I start off with at least 40 ounces of water ( I’ve gone from tap water to alkaline water, probably about 4 years ago, I made the switch ) that I squeeze fresh lemon juice into, & I add probably almost a 1/2 capful of apple cider vinegar. Every day is begun that way, no exceptions.

Would you say you ate well or poorly as a child? Were you allowed sweets?

Kevin: No. I wouldn’t say that I ate poorly, but we did get our ‘bad’ things in. At the top of the list of the bad is probably the kids’ cereals that we all were bombarded with growing up. Those things are loaded with sugar! Is that really the way we want to start our days off, with a bowl of sugar? It’s no wonder diabetes is rampant. They’ve got us consuming more & more sugar. But, thank God my mom also taught us, me in particular, the importance of eating your green vegetables. The greener, the better. I try to have something green with every meal. The key word is ‘try’, but trust me, I will get it in that day, for sure, somehow

Where do you buy your vegetables and fruits? Is it important to stay out of the grocery stores and buy fresh?

Kevin: There’s a store called Nino Savaggio’s, which in essence is a Big vegetable/fruit market. They’ve got everything there, pretty much, but the fresh fruits & vegetables are the main draw, at least for me it is. I’m there quite often. I do still go to grocery stores, but not for my fruits & vegetables

How can your book help me with my diet?

Kevin: My book doesn’t try to get you to stop doing anything that you are already doing. It just focuses on starting your day out right, incorporating a few new, good habits into your life, & in doing this, it will entice you to make better decisions about what you ingest

What’s your view on soda? Is it okay to drink in moderation?

Kevin: My view on soda, we call it ‘pop’ up here. I haven’t had a pop since ’98. I just one day decided to stop drinking it, mainly because I knew it was mostly sugar, & since I didn’t really drink a lot of them, it would be much easier to quit, & I did, cold turkey. Juices, in my opinion, are just as bad as pops, especially if it’s not fresh-squeezed.

What’s your most favorite vegetable and fruit?

Kevin: My most favorite vegetable & fruit. My favorite vegetable is probably steamed okra. The sliminess turns a lot of people off, but not me. As for fruit, watermelon & peaches are probably neck-n-neck, in my book. But there are a few others that come close for both fruits & vegetables. I’m not a picky eater, & I love all food.

In closing, do you have anything you’d like to tell your readers?

Kevin: If someone was slowly poisoning a friend or loved one, what would you do about it? That’s where I come in, because I have lots of friends & loved ones, & from the past sufferings of quite a few of them, I felt compelled to try & help the others, as well as myself, because we are all being slowly poisoned by the powers-that-be, all in the name of the almighty dollar. Our air, our food, our water. That’s why there are so many ailments today that seem to be in epidemic-like occurrences. We need to stop the mad scientists! The money isn’t in a cure. It’s in keeping us sick, to keep the prescriptions being written, to keep the money train chugging along, full speed. Good health is your greatest wealth!

 

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Title: Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/Crime

BOOK BLURB:

He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?

Compulsive and gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Katie Scott’s first case will have you on the edge of your seat and gasping with shock.

Readers love Jennifer Chase!

‘WHAT A FANTASTIC READ! OMG! I just finished reading this book! It was an absolute thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read!… I couldn’t believe who the serial killer was; I thought I knew but was surprised! I could not put it down… BRAVO JENNIFER!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘GREAT!!! Thoroughly enjoyed!!! Jennifer Chase has become one of my favorite crime thriller authors. She totally captures you from beginning to end!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Fantastic read! The author kept me hooked from the first page till the last. I truly thought I knew the serial killer… Boy was I wrong. This is a fantastic read, it kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire time. Well done!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow!… Such a gripping tale… I couldn’t stop reading and found myself daydreaming about it while I was supposed to be working… A gripping thriller with multiple twists and turns. A must read!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Great book. I really liked it! Would like reading more of her books! This book keeps you involved and unable to put it down!! Great!!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Action-packed… An adrenaline-packed book from start to finish. ’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow… This book will take you for a ride. Have you soaked right in till the end! Absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read another from this author!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘This is one of the best books I have read in a while.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘From beginning to end this is a non-stop thriller.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Real page turner. I read this book in two hours. I could not put it down. I never guessed who the killer was until he was revealed. Mind blowing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Captivating from beginning to the last page. A “who did it” crime mystery that keeps you guessing, and then changing your mind!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one. I could not put this book down. A real page turner full of suspense!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

http://tinyurl.com/y582nct2

Book Excerpt:

Prologue

The oversized tires obliterated the rural roadway before the large truck came to an abrupt stop. The driver stalled the engine. Dust rose in a curious flowering cloud, swirling in front of the vehicle’s hood and creeping toward the back of the camper shell. When the surrounding vicinity finally cleared, a dense forest landscape emerged.

The truck overlooked the sheer cliff and rugged scenery that had become a permanent roadblock. The usual silence of the deserted region was interrupted by the incessant and rhythmic sound of a cooling engine.

Tick… Tick… Tick…

The vehicle remained parked. No one moved inside the cab or got out. The truck stayed immobile as if an unlikely statue in the vast wilderness—a distinct contrast between nature and manufactured steel.

The truck sat at the ideal vantage spot, which was both mesmerizing and terrifying for any spectator; but still the occupant chose to wait. The intense high beams pierced ahead into the picturesque hills, leaving a hazy view of the area above the massed trees.

When the driver’s door finally opened, a man stepped out, his steel-toed leather work boots hitting the dirt. They were well-worn, reflecting the many miles he had walked and the many hours he had labored. Swiftly the door shut as the man, medium build and wearing only a plain dark T-shirt, walked to the back of the truck and, with a loud bang, released the lift gate. He moved with purpose and with a calm assertiveness, as if he had performed this particular task many times before. His weathered hands, calloused from years of working with heavy tools and machinery without the protection of leather gloves, had a certain agility and speed.

He grasped two well-used shovels, a large arching pick, and a bulky utility garbage bag. As he tossed the bag onto the ground, the top burst open and several medium-sized teddy bears spilled out. Their smiling faces accentuated the brightly colored ribbons tied around their necks, contrasting with the muted shades of their surroundings.

The man pushed the floppy bag aside with the toe of his boot. He worked in quiet solitude, no humming, no whistling, and no talk.

He flipped on the flashlight fixed to his baseball cap. Straight ahead and slightly arced, the large beam illuminated his path while he strode steadily toward a particular wooded area.

The surrounding thickets and trees remained still without any wind to rustle the leaves. The only audible sound was the man’s quick footsteps—never with any hesitation. He walked with the gait of a young man, despite his stature of someone older.

He hesitated as if he had forgotten something, standing motionless with his arms down at his sides and his head hung forward as he shone the bright light at the ground and the tops of his boots. He still held firmly to the tools. He mumbled a few inaudible sentences of a memorized prayer, which sounded more like a warning than a passage from the Bible, then he raised his head and continued to walk into the dense forest.

Dropping his tools, he carefully pushed a pine branch aside and secured it with a worn piece of rope that had been left for the purpose. An opening was exposed—a tunnel barely large enough for a man to enter.

He grabbed his digging tools once again and proceeded. The flashlight on the front of his cap brightened the passageway as it veered to the right. He followed, only ducking his head twice before the path opened to an area with several boulders sticking out of the cliff. Clusters of unusual rock shapes, some sharp, some rounded, made the terrain appear more like a movie set or backdrop.

A narrow dirt path of crude, sloping man-made steps dropped fifteen feet to a landing jutting out from the rock formation. A small yellow flag was stuck into the earth, marking a spot. A slight evening breeze picked up, causing the flag to flutter.

The man balanced the shovels and pick against the hillside and pulled a hunting knife from a sheath attached to his belt. Pressing the bone handle tight against his palm, he drew the blade through the packed dirt to mark a rectangular pattern on the ground.

He stared intently at the soil, then retrieved the pick, gripping it tight, and swung it hard against the dry, heavily compacted earth. It dented the surface, spewing chips of dirt in every direction. A few small rocks buried in the soil since the beginning of time hampered his progress, but after several more arced swings, the ground began to crumble, exposing the fresh earth.

The heavy pick was exchanged for one of the shovels. Soon there was a small pile of California soil, comprised of sand, silt, clay, and small rock. The repeated movements of dig, scoop, and deposit continued for more than forty-five minutes at a brisk pace. The hard work of manual labor didn’t deter him. It only made him more determined to create a work of genius—his ultimate masterpiece.

At last he stepped back and admired his handiwork, perspiring heavily through his shirt from the effort. Exhilaration filled his body, keeping his muscles flexed and his heart pumping hard. He leaned against the shovel, a smile forming on his lips as he waited for his pulse to return to normal, and marveled at the unmistakable outline of a freshly dug grave.

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 sociopath, 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.

Her latest book is the thriller, Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1).

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Dead Cold  Scene of the Crime

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

 

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Self-taught artist, writer and musician, Carol Es is known primarily for creating personal narratives within a wide spectrum of media. A native Los Angelina, she often uses past experience as fuel for her subject matter.  Writing on art, her articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Whitehot Magazine, and Coagula Art Journal; her prose published with small presses — Bottle of Smoke Press, Islands Fold, and Chance Press among them. Additionally, she makes handmade Artist’s books which have been acquired for such collections as the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Carol is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner, and a Wynn Newhouse Award for her art. She’s also earned grants from Asylum Arts and the National Arts and Disability Center/California Arts Council for writing. In 2019, she won the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize (WORD Grant) from the American Jewish University.

Website: www.ShrapnelInTheSanFernandoValley.com

Blog: www.esart.com/blog

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

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

BOOK BLURB:

Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is a guided tour through a Tilt-A-Whirl life that takes so many turns that you may find yourself looking up from the pages and wondering how the hell one person managed to fit them all into 40-odd years. And many of them are odd years indeed. From a rootless, abusive childhood and mental illness through serious and successful careers in music and art, much of which were achieved while being involved in a notoriously destructive mind-control cult. Carol Es presents her story straight up. No padding, no parachute, no dancing around the hard stuff. Through the darkness, she somehow finds a glimmer of light by looking the big bad wolf straight in the eye, and it is liberating. When you dare to deal with truth, you are free. Free to find the humor that is just underneath everything and the joy that comes with taking the bumpy ride.

Illustrated with original sketches throughout, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is not just another survivor’s tale, it’s a creative perspective through moments of vulnerability where the most raw and intimate revelations are laid bare. As an artist and a woman finding self-worth, it’s truly a courageous, relatable story that will keep you engaged to the very end.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://amzn.to/2uiryWN

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130641373?ean=9781733520881

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Not really. But I was born to try to write.

What was your inspiration for Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley?

I had a horrific, yet an absurd and darkly humorous life with significant injustices and felt they needed to be heard.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Mental illness, dark comedy, dysfunctional relationships, surrealism, and art.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

About nine years in total.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Very much. Obsessed really. While working on the book, a typical day was waking up around 4:30 am and stopping at 6 or 7 to have dinner.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Focusing on my true feelings in my past when I’d been disassociating to get through traumatic experiences.

What do you love most about being an author?

Being able to express myself visually in words.

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?

It was a long process of lots of rejections and finally starting my own indy. Then, lots of learning along the way. Yes, I’m happy with my decision because now it’s all within my control.

Where can we find you on the web?

esart.com, or

esart.com/blog

ShrapnelInTheSanFernandoValley.com

DesertDogBooks.com

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Title: DARK SPIRAL DOWN
Author: Michael Houtz
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/International/Action

BOOK BLURB:

COLE HAUFNER is a reluctant superstar in the professional mixed martial arts world. After his latest fight, his wife and child perish in a car crash. His grief deepens when his brother, BUTCH, a Delta Force operator, is absent from the funeral and reported missing by two furtive strangers who show up unannounced at the burial. Despairing, and acting on a tip, Cole travels to his childhood home in southeast China, looking for his brother.

Butch and his teammate, HAMMER, are the sole American survivors of a gun battle between their unit and North Korean commandos, both sides fighting over possession of a stolen suitcase containing a miniaturized fusion device that could either provide unlimited clean energy or be converted to an undetectable bomb seven times more powerful than a nuclear explosion. Leading the North Koreans is the sociopath, Commander PARK. Pressed into helping the Koreans is a disgraced former CIA operative, BARRETT JENNINGS.

Cole meets with the uncle who raised him, MASTER LI, and is warned to stop his search for Butch. Barrett discovers Cole’s identity (with the help of a genius computer hacker, LILLY), which opens a twenty-year-old wound when Barrett was blamed for the disappearance of Cole’s father, along with the man’s invention. Barrett enlists the 14K organized crime syndicate to help capture Cole. Hammer, separated from Butch during the fight for the device, thwarts the gang’s attempt to kidnap Cole, and the two then set off to find Butch and the device. All parties converge on the city library where Butch, now disguised as a monk, is attempting to communicate with the Pentagon. Barrett and Park capture Butch, while the 14K gang nabs Cole.

Danger mounts as Chinese authorities begin investigating foul play within their borders. Cole fights his way free of the gang and reunites with Hammer.  Both men find Barrett’s apartment and discover Lilly (the man’s stepdaughter), who divulges Barrett’s identity and plan. Cole clashes with Hammer, who is willing to sacrifice Butch in order to recover the fusion device. Lilly offers her help in exchange for her and Barrett’s rescue from Park’s grip. Meanwhile, Barrett discovers the true nature of the case the North Koreans are pursuing and, sensing he and Lilly are to be assassinated by Park once he has the device, frees Butch. Butch, trusting Barrett was sent to rescue him, leads the turncoat to the site where he hid the device. Barrett, hoping to make a quick fortune selling it, shoots Butch before escaping with the case.

Cole, along with Hammer and Lilly, arrives at the location of Butch and finds him gravely wounded. Butch fingers Barrett for shooting him and for stealing the case. Cole wants only to save his brother but Butch makes him promise to kill Barrett and recover their dad’s invention. The revelation that the device is his father’s scientific discovery propels Cole forward to fulfill his brother’s mission. Cole is forced to abandon Butch at a hospital. Cole pursues Barrett to a remote dock where the ex-CIA man is planning to escape China by boat. With the Chinese military now actively looking for Cole, Cole confronts Barrett and Park sparking a gunfight. Barrett kills Park. As Barrett turns the gun on Cole, Hammer kills Barrett. Cole, Hammer and Lilly escape via the boat, and the fusion device is safely returned.

Praise for Michael Houtz

“If you’re in the market for a fast paced, action filled, page-turning thriller, Mike Houtz delivers a must-read novel. I highly recommend this emotional rollercoaster of a book for every die-hard thriller reader…Get it ASAP!”

~Lima Charlie Review

“…this work proves that author Houtz is undoubtedly a rising star in the publishing world.”

~Andrea Brunais, Author

“Mike Houtz takes us on fast-pace adventure in Dark Spiral Down, a thrilling ride along the border between China and North Korea, where Cole Haufner is in pursuit of his Delta Force brother and a device that has the potential to change the world forever or destroy it.”

~Dan Grant, Author

Dark Spiral Down is a phenomenal debut novel by Mike Houtz. This book has everything readers of the genre love: a great plot, memorable characters, and a powerful voice. It’s a must-read!”

~Ammar Habib, Bestselling & Award-Winning Author, Editor-in-Chief of Thriller Magazine

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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https://amzn.to/2UpXJmK

Chapter 1

Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday night Main Event, April 21st

“Ten seconds!”

From his corner, Cole Haufner heard the cry all the way across the blood-smeared octagon. He held his opponent immobile, letting the clock run out on the second of three periods. He was well ahead in the fight, but a nasty gash over his left eye, one that opened in the late first round from a flying elbow, threatened the outcome due to the amount of blood pouring from the wound. The win was not his primary goal. A six-figure purse for a victory ensured his son’s life-saving surgery.

The referee separated both fighters while directing them to their respective corners.

Cole jumped up from the mat, fist-pumped the air for the crowd, and made his way to his corner where two men stood ready to attend to him. As he approached his team, Cole saw the fight doctor walk through the cage door opening with a look of concern. A sense of dread attacked Cole.

“Lemme take a look at that,” the physician ordered as he stepped forward to scan Cole’s injury.

“I’m good, Doc, I’m good.” Blood poured down his face, spreading across Cole’s sweat-covered chest and pooling onto the canvas mat.

The fighter’s corner coach, Barry Liggit, and cut-man, Scott “Stitch” Bell, leaned in close to see the wound.

“I’m fine. Just get me ready,” Cole snarled. He needed the fight doctor to give him a break on the injury.

Beyond the blinding lights shining on the fight ring, more than thirteen thousand fans chanted, “Gentleman, gentleman, gentleman…”

The spectacle of the crowd embarrassed Cole. This unwanted praise railed against everything he’d been taught at the Chinese Buddhist monastery where he lived and studied as a young boy.

“You hear that?” Barry shouted over the noise of the crowd. “They want you, Cole. They know you’re the next middle-weight champion.”

The doctor repeatedly held pressure over the cut and released to see how quickly the wound bled. Each time he let go, a fountain of red erupted.

Cole saw the concern in the physician’s eyes. “Doc, you know I need this one,” he pleaded. “You know my family story. I swear I’ll finish this quick.”

“I’m giving you one minute.” the doctor shouted to Barry. “I’m not losing my medical license because of his injury.” The ER physician turned and nodded to the fight officials outside the cage that Round 3 would start.

The crowd erupted in a roar.

Stitch jumped in front of Cole with packing cream and the frozen steel plate to stem the bleeding long enough to ready the fighter.

Barry leaned close to Cole’s face. “You’ve never had a fight last more than a minute. What’s the deal?

You don’t have a lot of time! You got me?”

Cole looked to his right. An empty seat remained at ringside. His older brother, Butch, promised to attend. Cole started the headline match with some concern, but now, he worried over his brother’s absence. They hadn’t spoken in the last twenty-four hours, even though Butch was supposed to have received a special furlough from his military unit to be here. For Butch to break a promise wasn’t unusual—it came with his job. Amid one of the most important moments of his life, Cole couldn’t help but worry.

A hand jerked his head. “Are you even hearing me?” Barry yelled.

Cole shifted his gaze back to the ring, catching Stitch looking in the same direction.

“Holy shit. Are you dragging out this fight waiting for Butch?” Stitch shouted.

Busted. Cole looked away from Barry, unable to hold his coach’s gaze.

Barry put his hands on his hips, lips smashed into a line. “You gotta be kidding me! Well, that would explain why we’re in round three. You’re one lucky punch away from losing this fight. Don’t you think your son needs this win?”

You know he’s off limits. For the first time in the match, rage filled his body. The immediate image of his son’s physical struggles with a failing heart sent a powerful surge through his nervous system. He glared at his trainer, blood running down his face as the cold plate slipped from the gash. “Shut your mouth,” Cole hissed.

Barry swallowed. The corner man quickly recovered “This is it, brother. The crowd wants ‘the

Gentleman,’ but give them the ‘Beast’. Let’s see some of that monk shit and finish this fight.”

Sorry, Butch, I can’t wait any longer. I know you’ll understand. Cole opened his mouth so Barry could slide the mouthpiece into place. “Don’t blink or you two are gonna miss an old move of mine.”

Barry and Stitch grinned.

Dragging out the fight was a stupid move. Even though he’d never met his match, not even close in the ring, Cole faced a professional fighter. Barry was right. Another lucky punch like the one that cut him in round one could lose him the one hundred- thousand-dollar bonus offered for a win. His son needed him.

Focus. Breathe. For Max.

The referee made his way to the center of the octagon and motioned for the fight corners to clear the ring.

Stitch held the cold plate to Cole’s forehead cut for three more seconds then followed everyone else out with the door clanging shut.

Vision in Cole’s left eye blurred—the blood was already seeping from around the edges of the packing cream.

The ref signaled to the ringside table he was ready then waved with both hands for the fighters to approach the center.

Cole stepped forward in his usual calm manner— the source of the nickname “the Gentleman.”

The other fighter bounced on the balls of his feet, just out of reach.

“Ready.” The referee continued with a slight pause in between. “Let’s bring it!” With that, he jumped back out of the way of the combatants.

Cole ducked as his opponent unleashed a flurry of combinations, trying to finish the fight almost as quickly as it had resumed. He parried the punches and kicks, toying with the other man, aware he had less than a minute before the doctor returned to the ring. Cole only needed a fraction of a second. He searched for an opening.

The onslaught carried on for a full ten seconds before the fighter dropped back, his nostrils flaring like a bull’s.

Blood flowed freely again, saturating Cole’s chest and shorts while clouding his vision.

The opposing corner yelled to their fighter to go to a defensive position.

“I’m sorry,” Cole shouted to his opponent.

The sweating mass of muscle furrowed his forehead. “The hell you say?”

“Sorry about this.” Cole stood from his crouch and lowered his fists.

“What are you doing?” Barry screamed from just outside of the cage. “Hands up. Hands up!”

In the blink of an eye, the other man slid forward and threw a powerful right hand.

This moment was Cole’s. Rather than defend, he leaped from the canvas, performed a front somersault in mid-air, and extended his right leg, bringing his heel crashing down on top of the man’s head. A sickening thud sounded upon contact, and the other fighter collapsed to the mat, unmoving.

Cole rolled forward after the strike, coming to rest in a crouch some five feet away. Though he suspected the instant he’d made contact he’d finished off his opponent, Cole took nothing for granted. He spun in case of a counterattack.

The ref, initially stunned, dove onto the unmoving man. The crowd’s collective gasp morphed into a deafening roar when the signal was given the fight was over.

Panting from the effort, Cole watched as the cage door opened, and medical personnel raced inside.

Barry and Stitch rushed through the portal and drew him into crushing hugs amid incredible noise. Literally lifted off his feet, Cole only felt relief in accomplishing what he’d set out to do; he’d likely saved his son’s life.

About the Author

After a career in medicine, Mike Houtz succumbed to the call to hang up his stethoscope and pursue his other passion as a writer of fast-paced thrillers. A rabid fan of authors such as Clancy, Mark Greaney, Vince Flynn, and Brad Thor, Mike loves series writing with strong characters, fast pacing and international locations, all of which explode into action in his debut novel, a 2017 Zebulon Award winner. When not at the keyboard, he can be found on the firing range, traveling for research across the globe, or trying out the latest dry-fly pattern on a Gold Medal trout stream.

He lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

His latest book is the thriller/international/action novel, Dark Spiral Down.

Website: www.mikehoutz.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaelhoutz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.mikehoutz/

https://www.facebook.com/mike.houtz.77

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A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in historical, paranormal, erotic and contemporary romance, A.S. is the author of The Forever Brides series, the Everton Domestic Society series, and more. With several books currently contracted, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of edgy romance for years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the Southern Missouri with her real-life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, puttering in her garden and spoiling her fussy cat.

Website Link: http://asfenichel.com

Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/asfenichel

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/A.S.Fenichel

Click below to sign up for her newsletter!

http://asfenichel.com/

BOOK BLURB:

Can a broken engagement ignite the spark of true love?

Sylvia Dowder had almost made it to the altar when her fiancé unexpectedly became a viscount, and dropped her like a stale crumpet to make a more “suitable” match. Though Sylvia’s heart has been crushed, her spirit has not. She puts her wits and social savvy to use as a secret gossip columnist—and as the Everton Domestic Society’s party planner to the ton. Luckily, she’s not in danger of ever falling for an aristocrat again…

Especially not one like Anthony Braighton, Earl of Grafton. Raised in America, Anthony sees no reason to marry when he can enjoy all the perks of being an eligible earl. Determined to convince his family he doesn’t need a wife, he hires Sylvia to act as hostess and decorator for upcoming parties. Yet Sylvia is as adept at captivating his interest as she is at beautifying his home. And despite this Everton lady’s aversion to titled men, some attractions can’t be denied—and love rarely does go where it’s told . . .

ORDER YOUR COPY:

https://www.amazon.com/Ladys-Virtue-Everton-Domestic-Society-ebook/dp/B07DZJW3NC

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-ladys-virtue-as-fenichel/1128957664?ean=9781516105861

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/A_Lady_s_Virtue?id=WLJkDwAAQBAJ&hl=en_IN

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Would you call yourself a born writer?

No. I struggled through school, probably because I had very bad eyesight and no one realized until I was six. This left me pretty far behind other students. I was painfully shy, so that didn’t help.

What was your inspiration for A Lady’s Virtue?

Anthony Braighton and Sylvia Dowder first come to life in Tainted Bride. They have been after me for years to tell their story.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I like to write about empowered women regardless of the era. I also love men who aren’t threatened by a woman being smart, strong and wise.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

About three months from outline to ready for a beta reader.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I usually write for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple in the afternoon. There’s a lot of other business item that need doing in between. If I’m behind and have a deadline looming, I’ll write in the evening too. I’m pretty disciplined. In my opinion, writers write.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I had to grow Anthony up. When we first meet him, he’s only twenty-two. He’s headstrong and carefree. So, like with children, it was hard for me to see him any other way. I had to allow him to mature and become a man. It was difficult but a great learning experience.

What do you love most about being an author?

I love the moment before I put a single word on the page. That blank screen staring back at me is filled with endless possibilities. I know some authors find that moment daunting, but I love it.

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

I’m published with Kensington Publishing. I’ve been with them since 2014 and have been extremely happy. They treat me like family.

Where can we find you on the web?

Web Site- http://asfenichel.com/

Blog – http://asfenichel.com/blog/

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5154640.A_S_Fenichel

Twitter – https://twitter.com/asfenichel

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/A.S.Fenichel

Book Bub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/a-s-fenichel

 

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