Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Virtual Book Tour Guests’ Category

Title: MISS MANAGEMENT
Author: Traci Highland
Publisher: Cheshire Lane Press
Pages: 215
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Mags has gotten herself in a ton of trouble: she’s lost her job, any hope for references, and she’s going to run out of money…. fast.

Yeah, sure, it may be her fault for punching her boss, but the jerk totally had it coming.

Nobody listens to her until she reaches her boiling point, and by then, well, she’ll admit that there’s no stopping Mr. Fist To The Face.

Now her years of hard work as a speech therapist are about to go down the drain unless she can find some way to salvage her career. So when her Aunt Elise calls to say that she has a job for her, it’s not like she can say no, even if the job is up in the wilds of Vermont.

Between stuffed moose, sloppy dogs and sexy men, Vermont proves to be a lot more interesting than she expected. But when she uncovers a scheme that would put her new employers’ livelihood in jeopardy, more than just hydrangea bushes are about to get squashed.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

First Chapter

Nothing says Happy Friday like having Mr. Roth dribble crackers and sing La Cucaracha.  Nothing.

“Great job!  But let’s make sure to give those crackers an exaggerated swallow before the next stanza.  All right?”  I grab the paper cloth from the box and give his chin a wipe.

He stares at me with rheumatic eyes, pushing his whole damn heart into his smile.

“Your smile always makes my day, Mr. Roth.”  I pick the last remnant of saltine out of his gray stubble and throw the paper towel into the garbage.  When Mr. Roth first came to see me, the stroke had paralyzed the left side of his face.  The paralysis had diminished somewhat and now he can do things like smile.  And sing.  Sort of.

At least we fixed the swallowing.  That’s a biggie.  He exhales a barely audible bar of his favorite song and I join him.  “Make it louder for me!  La cucaracha!  La cucaracha!  Ya no puede caminar…”

His smile widens and his voice rises, like a phoenix, dammit.  That asshat Dr. Robbins said he’d never speak again.  And here Mr. Roth is, six months later, singing.

Days like this, I love my job.  Just as we’re about to finish up our session, Dolly pokes her head in the door. “I’m sorry, Mags, but Dr. Robbins says you’re going to have to keep it down.”

“Tell him to shut his damn door.”  That man exists to be the pain in my neck.  You know the pain, the one you wake up with every morning and no amount of Advil can kill?  That one.

“Was I too loud?”  Mr. Roth asks, worry crossing his cherubic, drooly face.

“No, angel.  Not a bit.  You’re a rock star and I’m damn proud of you.” One day I am going to open my own clinic, so naysayers like Dr. Robbins can learn to shut the hell up.

Dr. Robbins, the asshat, runs the clinic. So naturally, he feels that everything in the office is his, too, like, you know, the pretty nurses and speech pathologists that he employs.

Grabbing Mr. Roth’s arm, I help him with his jacket.  Dolly clicks the pen in her hand like it’s a hand grenade.  On off, on off, on off.

“Stop it,” I hiss to her as I grab Mr. Roth’s gloves.  “Now keep practicing those scales we talked about and I’ll see you next week.”

He squeezes my hand and then says to Dolly, “She’s a saint, this one.  A regular saint.”

His r’s don’t come out quite right but hey, it’s a work in progress.

The second he’s out the door, I walk over to the nurses’ station and pull up the electronic records on my next patient. I haul on down to room number six, where Mr. Earle is waiting for me to re-adjust his tracheal tube.

I reach for the handle and I’m blindsided by Susie, the intern.  She’s the best kind of intern, hard-working and wicked smart, and rather pretty in a cute, slightly disheveled kind of way.  She’s shaking as she bumps into me, wiping tears from her eyes.

“What’s wrong?” There can be lots of things wrong when you’re twenty-one.  Hormones and boozing and all that, but this looks… different.

“Nothing, I’m fine. Tracheal tube, right?”  She straightens her Hello Kitty scrubs and adjusts the chunky black-rimmed glasses, making sure the floating strands of pinkish hair stay behind her ears.

I open my mouth but the words just sort of dry up.  Sometimes, it’s best just to leave it.  She knows I’m here—prodding would be rude, right?  Let her tell me when she’s ready, or not, her choice.  Besides, I’m running behind.

Susie and I wrestle Mr. Earle’s tube back where it belongs and the second we finish and leave the room, Susie’s face pales.

Dr. Robbins is standing in the hall, blocking the path between where we stand and the nurses’ station.

He looks up at Susie and gives her a grin that turns my stomach into a rolling pool of bile and fire. His yellowish, crooked teeth and greasy hair make him look more like a Goodfellas reject than a doctor.  But hey, it could just be that I’m biased because he told me once that he hired me for my boobs.

Not my stellar resume.  Not my incredible grades that I worked by butt off to earn, but because he liked my boobs.

I wanted to quit right then and there.  To stand up and shout and sue and do all those noble things I would tell my sisters to do if they were in the same situation.

But yeah, I had just gotten divorced and needed the job.  Nothing like having to buy your cheating ex out of half of your own damn house.

So the words disappeared and I sort of just resorted to sending politely worded emails, like “Please remember to interact with the staff in a professional manner.” And “I believe we are due for the state-mandated sexual harassment prevention course.  Can I sign us up?”

Susie freezes beside me.  Her cheeks turn to scrambled eggs and she grabs my hand.  “Don’t let him touch me again.”  She whispers.

Again?  Touch her?  My vision blurs.  Like actually blurs as he walks towards us.  That creep. That stupid, sexist creep.  He touched her?  She’s just a child.  Mostly.  Practically.  Hell, it doesn’t matter how old she is!  He’s a monster.

Dr. Robbins sidles over and his snakelike tongue pokes in and out of his mouth as his eyes roam over Susie.  “Susan, do you know where the canned peaches are?  I need to use them for a videofluoroscopy this afternoon.”  He leans in closer to her and she clenches my hand as his chili taco breath assaults us. “Maybe you can show me in the supply closet?”

She shakes like a shake weight in those cheesy late-night infomercials.  “No.” Her voice is barely above a whisper, but I can hear her just fine.

He, however, moves closer.  “Stop,” I say.  As usual, my words do nothing. No one listens, dammit.  Again and again and again I’ve asked him to stop doing this.

“Stop,” I say again, louder.

He just moves on in closer, like I’m nothing more than a lamp.

That’s when I see it.  He reaches down and grabs her ass.  She jumps and he smiles.  “Get off.”  She hisses but he doesn’t listen, he never listens.  He cups her whole cheek now, grinning.

I punch him in the face.

His head slams back, blinking like, well, like I just punched him in the face.

Oh crap.

Did I really just punch my boss in the face?

My fingertips chill and my hand aches.

I didn’ttell me I didn’t.

Susie gasps, her hands covering her mouth and a look of unadulterated panic in her eyes. My throat tightens.

Oh my God, I totally did.

“She asked you to stop.” It’s the only thing that leaves my mouth in a somewhat coherent fashion.

He narrows his eyes, a large red bump creeping across his smarmy face. “You hit me!”

Susie, her jaw now on the ground, looks at me. Her eyes are wide and frightened like a deer’s.  Her voice is flat when she says, “You punched him.”

I kind of hate deer.

“Yes!  Yes, I see that.  You’re fine, right, Dr. Robbins?  You should have stopped.  We all know you can’t go around grabbing asses like they’re doorknobs. But you just kept grabbing and squishing it around so I had to, had to—“

“You’re fired.”  He growls.

“You can’t!”

“Get out, Miss Anderson.  Get out now before I call the police.”

Well, damn.

About the Author

Traci Highland writes funny books for sassy ladies.  She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and has a Master’s from Quinnipiac University.  She uses this education to write books, bake cakes, garden and make homemade jams.  Her children say she’s bossy, her husband says she’s high-maintenance, but the dog thinks she’s perfect.

Her latest book is the romantic comedy, Miss Management.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Police Chief Bulletin #1
My fellow police officers, thank you for
your hard work,
Putting your life in the line of duty
every day.
This will be the first of many bulletins
that I will be sending,
Your supervising officer will be having
meetings about my bulletins.
I want to address an issue that’s been
going on in our community,
There have been too many minorities
driving in our neighborhoods.
I’ve been told by residents that they’re
scared and afraid of them,
I don’t know exactly why as I am not in
the streets everyday.
In order to get control of our community
again we must pull over cars,
Any car that is expensive and they look
out of place, pull them over.
Find a reason to pull these cars over,
whether it’s a tail light,
Or they can be driving too slow, too fast,
failure to signal when changing lanes.
There are certain cars to look for,
especially tinted windows,
Ferraris, Bentleys, Mercedes Benz,
Lamborghinis, you get my drift.
You know the procedure, asking for a
driver’s license and registration,
Make sure that you’re assertive in your
behavior and taking control of situations.
I want officers to be partnered up in the
cars while you’re on duty,
We need to conduct these pullovers between
7pm and 5am daily.
It seems to be that at night these
minorities are driving through our neighborhood,
Even if you recognize cars and know who
these people are, pull them over.
I can’t have our citizens of our community
constantly calling me about this,
So let’s clean this up as soon as possible
and I want it tracked how many you do.
I want three done a week amongst partners
and body cams will show that,
If you have to agitate a driver to
escalate a situation, do it.
Cars swerving means they must be drunk or
high so sniff out the car,
Find a purpose and reason to search the
car without a warrant.
I appreciate your time in reading this
bulletin,
If you have any questions or concerns,
please consult your supervising officer.
Police Chief”
–From Code
Blue
by Jamell Crouthers
Jamell Crouthers is a poet, author, blogger and podcaster who has taken on a journey of writing in the prime of his life. He has been writing poetry since the age of 13 but never thought he could utilize his talent to tell stories and write books. He is not the traditional author as he writes his books in poetry format with a focus on storylines and societal issues.
After publishing 11 books (so far), his goals and plans are to continue writing books on taboo subjects that aren’t discussed enough in today’s world and bringing those main subjects tothe forefront. Jamell’s blogs tackle societal issues, how he writes his books, his journey as an author and some motivational blogs that will get you to focus on your goals. His goal and moniker is, “to change the world, one book at a time.”
Book Description:
The Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun series chronicles a police officer named Gary who has been on the force for a few years. He soon is entrenched in a lot of lies, corruption, racism and agendas being pushed by his superiors. The question throughout this series is whether he as a good cop becomes part of the corruption or does he report it?
Part of this series features his son Gary, Jr who is a young teenager wanting to be like his father and go into the police force. He soon learns through the news daily that the police force is not what it really is. Gary ends up having to share the truths of what goes on at work and the relationship between him and his son changes because of it. Now it becomes up to Gary what he is going to do about what goes on at work.
Interview:
Welcome, Jamell!  Your series, Code Blue, sounds thrilling! Can you tell us why you wrote it?
Jamell: I wrote the Code Blue series because of all that’s been going on in America with police brutality, racism and corruption on the police force. I felt that I needed to write something but it had to be different than the average police book you would read. With all of the news coverage, I wanted to ask the
all-important question, do good cops know who the bad ones are.
Your protagonist, Gary, is put in a sticky situation. Does he become part of the corruption or does he report it? What a situation to be in. Can you tell us more about Gary?
Jamell: I don’t want to give away too much but if it’s a series, you can say he condones the corruption and is involved in it to where he covers up for his partners and lies to his family about what’s going on. Let’s just say it takes
him time to report all of it and his guilty conscience and sanity become a major component to his life. Gary is a compassionate person who wants nothing more than to make the neighborhood he grew up in and his city a better, safer place to live. He’s definitely a family man who has a young son and a wife that he loves dearly and has great parents who raised him to do right by others. The only problem is he’s involved in a lot of things he never thought he would be and it ends up costing him the most important people in his life, his family and friends. 
Can you tell us a little about the other main characters?
Jamell: The other main character in this series is Gary, Jr. He is a young teenager who is growing into his own and starting to see the world for what it really is. He’s no longer living in this shell that his father tried to put him in (moving to the suburbs, putting him in a better school, living in a nice home). The series takes a different dynamic where Gary and Gary, Jr talk to each other through letters and it gets to a place where their relationship becomes
tumultuous and it’s due to Gary not being honest with what goes on in the streets every night he goes to work.
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?
Jamell: In Code Blue Part 1, I will say the pivotal moment is when Gary’s partners shoot and kill a man who wasn’t the suspect in a store robbery. They botched the ID because the suspect was wearing a hoodie and so was the man that they killed. Gary’s ride to the police station that night was very long and the question is, will he write up another falsified report of what happened or will he tell the truth.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
Jamell: I definitely will say yes my writing has improved and it’s because I’m constantly challenging myself to write story lines that have relevance to what’s currently going on in the world. With me working on various series, and
a plethora of characters, there’s always the challenge of how can I keep a reader engaged in these characters? How can I make the reader feel, emote and understand these characters and where they are coming from. It’s all about
putting the reader in these character’s shoes to make them say, “Hey this character is me, or I know someone who has gone through this.”
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Jamell: I edit and proofread my work and it’s a tedious and arduous process but eventually, it gets done.
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Jamell: Yes it does in some ways, which is why some of my books I’ve paid someone to make them for me and some I’ve been fortunate to make on my own. One of my series I’ve changed the book cover 3 times to make it more appealing.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
Jamell: I wanted to be a lawyer at first, I was into police shows like New York Undercover, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and SVU (I’ve literally grown up watching Mariska Hargitay) and then I wanted to be a sports broadcaster (I have old YouTube videos of me talking about the NBA).
Do your novels carry a message?
Jamell: My novels definitely do, each book carries a message and I want readers to take the time to think about the world, discuss it with others and try to make the world a better place to live in.  A lot of us are fortunate to live
comfortable lives but there are others who need us to be there for them or to understand them and who they are. We spend too much time being judgmental of others and not being compassionate enough.
Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?
Jamell: There are a lot of books coming in the near future, I do podcasts where I discuss societal issues and in my spare time I’m always listening to music. I love my sports (basketball, football and baseball) and I’m big on family and
keeping my close knit friends around me. My quote with my writing journey is, “Trying to change the world, one book at a time.”

Read Full Post »

OUR SECRET POWERS: TELEPATHY, CLAIRVOYANCE AND PRECOGNITION by Terje Gerotti Simonsen, Nonfiction, 528 pp., $21.48 (paperback) $9.99 (Kindle)

Is the paranormal normal?

Many readers will be surprised when learning that reputable scientists, among them several Nobel laureates, have claimed that telepathy is a reality. Their curiosity will increase when reading that both Cleopatra’s lost palace and Richard III’s burial place were recovered by means of clairvoyance. And some will think it to be sheer science fiction when finding out about Stargate––the espionage program where the American military and CIA for 20 years engaged in the development of psychic spies!

Simonsen, a Norwegian historian of ideas, introduces an array of entertaining paranormal tales from history, archaeology, anthropology and psychology, and presents scientific research that has provided fascinating results. He argues that the stories we hear about telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition ought not to be dismissed as superstition.

In step with spiritual and occult traditions, the author suggests that consciousness is not limited to our own head. Rather he thinks that all humans (and perhaps all living beings) are linked together in a “Mental Internet.’ Via this network we may exchange ‘telepathic emails’ with friends and family and make clairvoyant ‘downloads’ of information.  Thus perhaps what we usually call ‘supernatural’ is completely natural but little understood communications via this Mental Internet?

Our Secret Powers gives us a thoughtful and engaging presentation of a controversial subject and would make an excellent travel companion.

Watch the Trailer!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CemWOrGnVU

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 

Interview

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes, to some extent I would––but naturally I started out as an eager and fanciful talker, being often reprimanded at school by the teacher! I always loved stories; first when my mother and grandmother read for me as a child, classical things as nursery-rhymes, Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows, and Norwegian folk-fairytales. When I become older and started to read myself––I started to read quite early, at about 4 years of age––there were of course cartoons, especially the older Donald Duck stories by Carl Barks, which I devoured en masse. Then there came the one thousand and One Nights, and tons of mythology. All this quite versatile verbal input gave me a stark need for an output––a need first met by talking extensively, later by writing!

What was your inspiration for Our Secret Powers?

Well, I had some peculiar experiences that I did not understand, e.g. knowing beforehand what people would say during a conversation, which I perceived to be some kind of telepathy. Also some trusted friends told me strange stories—e.g. seemingly miraculous answers to prayers—that I found no real reason to doubt. Later, I met some professional psychics which made a mixed bag, but where some really impressed me. E.g. I was going to a date, and an old Norwegian psychic told me in advance that the particular woman I was about to meet that night would be 1,64 m tall––which turned out to be correct!

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I have always been drawn to heretical ideas and the esoteric––the hidden sides of the soul and the depths of reality, and as a Historian of Ideas and writer I have therefore dealt with such ideas and movements: the Kabbalah, Sufism, Christian mysticism, Zen-budhism, Occultism etc.

How long did it take you to complete the book?

The writing took about 2 years or so. But the preparations took several years ––the experiencing, thinking, questioning and reading.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

In periods I am quite disciplined; then I will typically work in separate 2 stints. First stint will then last for, say, 2-3 hours. Then I will have a break, go for a walk, go to a café and get something to eat––and hopefully also meet an interesting person or two to talk to! Then I will go home again, and have the second stint, which could last 3-4 hours. But I would describe my routine as being a ‘writing night,’ rather than a ‘writing day’, as I prefer to work when there are few distractions from noise, sunlight (which is terrific, but which somehow tend to ‘whiteout’ my concentration) phone-calls etc––all those typical day-things. Perhaps also the subject-matter––hidden traditions, secret powers, the depth of the soul etc.––more or less demands the Night to get in the right mood!

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I think I’ll have to say that it was to weave together the whole thing in an ordered tapestry. The paranormal is a puzzling field where there much irrationality of many kinds come together; so to say something structured and comprehensible about this field, and at the same time don’t trivialize the enigmatic nature of it, has been challenging, for sure.

What do you love most about being an author?

I would have to say it is the freedom. I have no interest whatsoever in participating in the conflicts, power-games, and positioning which quite often will occur in the usual work-space. I like people a lot, but prefer much to meet them as free and equal interlocutors and not as competitors! Perhaps it is my Christian background, or the influence from Buddhist ethics, or perhaps I am just shy of conflicts!

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?

My first 4 releases, 2 books and 2 long essays, written in Norwegian, were with traditional publishers. When going abroad, entering the English-speaking cultural field, I was––after having been turned down in the 11th hour by an academic publisher––lucky enough to meet Pari Publishing, a scientifically oriented indie-publisher with a soft spot for paranormal phenomena––not the most usual combination! I would say that I have been most happy with working with them; they have given me a great amount of freedom (and as said, freedom is what I really like about being a writer). The only problem, which they themselves also are very open about, is that they don’t have that much financial resources available; trivial as it may seem, that can make it difficult to produce large print-runs, as the printer will often demand to be paid upfront, and it will take months before the publisher get their money back.

Where can we find you on the web?

My author page on Amazon is one place, and here you will of course be able to buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/author/terjesimonsen
And if you want to ask me something, you can just drop me a PM on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terje.simonsen.9
Soon there will also be a separate Facebook-page for the book, Our Secret Powers

About the Author

Terje G. Simonsen is an author with a Ph.D. in the History of Ideas. He has increasingly focused his attention on the esoteric and occult traditions and on paranormal phenomena, as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, healing etc. Recently he published the highly acclaimed Our Secret Powers, based on his extraordinary knowledge within this field. Elegantly and with great personal wit and insight, he discusses parapsychological phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition. Several of the world’s most renowned experts on the paranormal has praised Simonsen’s work: The bestselling parapsychologist, Dean Radin, PhD, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, says: ‘As an encyclopedic introduction to the psychic side of the fascinating but puzzling domain known as the paranormal, there is no better choice than Our Secret Powers.” And Stanley Krippner, PhD, expert on hypnosis, shamanism and altered states of consciousness, former leader of two departments in the American Psychological Association, says: “This is an outstanding book and it deserves all the attention it can get. Not only is Our Secret Powers a book for all seasons, it is a book for all reasons!’”

 

Read Full Post »

 

Jennifer Chase

“The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.

A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.

The anonymous whispers stopped.

All buzzing in his ears stopped.

Roger Case’s heart stopped too.”

–From Scene of the Crime by Jennifer Chase

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 Scene of the Crime, Book 2 in the Palmer Forensic Mystery series.

SceneoftheCrime

Book Description:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

Interview:

Welcome Jennifer! Can we begin by having you tell us how you got started writing mysteries? Did the movies influence you? Books?

Jennifer: Books, movies, news headlines, true crime stories have all inspired my writing. I’ve loved books ever since I was old enough to appreciate the amazing stories at the library. Mysteries have a special place for me. I love puzzles, forensic evidence, and the delicate balance of the human psyche of what makes a person do the things they do. I’ve always written stories and screenplays, but it was not until 2008 did I chose to write novels professionally and I have not looked back.

Do you find writing mysteries comes natural to you or did you struggle sometimes?

Jennifer: I think when you love something, it comes a bit more easily and you don’t have to fight as hard. I have more ideas than I could ever write in a lifetime. It’s difficult to turn off the writer’s brain sometimes. These ideas come to me when I’m basically anywhere, running errands, exercising, driving, and even in the shower.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Jennifer: Anyone can write. You have to sit down with something to say and convey it to the reader. But, I do feel that you have to understand emotions, not necessarily feel all of them in order to express emotions in your characters that readers will respond to. It helps, for example, that if you’ve felt great loss or extreme fear at some time in your life to write those strong emotions with conviction.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Jennifer: That’s a very interesting question. The way I see it, at least for me, is that it’s the ultimate expression to tell a story and have your readers experience an incredible journey understanding what you’re trying to express. My first novel, Compulsion, was actually similar to therapy for me as I wrote it. I had experienced a violent psychopath neighbor, so being able to write through my stress and experiences was very liberating.

How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?

Jennifer: It’s a difficult balancing act. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but it is challenging field because there’s no sure thing in this career. There are definite successful levels that you can achieve, such as a best seller and award winner, but that doesn’t mean you’ve now have it made. Every book you write there is always some type challenge you must meet and overcome.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book, Scene of the Crime?

Jennifer: Taunting the police and orchestrating killer hit squads, The Slayer is the ultimate puppet master. He believes that he has discovered the recipe for the perfect murder.

Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins, together they are reunited as a team to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—leaving them vulnerable and fighting to stay alive. But that still doesn’t stop the sparks to ignite between them.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Jennifer: With my background in criminology and profiling, most would think that writing from the mind of a serial killer would be easy. To some degree it is for me, but it takes the most energy and effort to create the killer in a way that doesn’t seem contrived and superficial. I make sure that I put aside enough time with breaks to complete this part of the book.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point when the reader just can’t put the book down. Can you give us one of those pivotal points in your book?

Jennifer: Without giving anything away, there will be someone within the underdog team that will be kidnapped and you’re not going to see it coming. Everything changes from that point on for the characters.

Will there be a follow up book to Scene of the Crime or other books in the near future?

Jennifer: Absolutely. I love creating mysteries for Dr. Chip Palmer to solve. Evidence of the Crime will be out early 2019. In addition, Dark Lies from the Emily Stone Thriller Series will be out this fall.

Thank you so much for the interview!

Read Full Post »

Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her middle grade series Spine Chillers. She also published her YA fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.

Her latest book is the mid-grade horror, Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

Jane is ecstatic when she gets the role of Red Riding Hood in her school play, but she didn’t realize that they’d be using the stuffed wolf prop as the Big Bad Wolf. That tattered old prop has always scared her and, lately, she has been having strange dreams about it that make it seem like it’s something more.

Jane will have to get help to save herself from the hungry spirit that has haunted her people and her nightmares before it consumes her, or worse, escapes the prison of the last creature it took to sate its horrible appetite.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I wouldn’t call myself a born writer, though ever since I was a child I’ve always had a vivid imagination. I made up stories to tell my older sister to make her laugh. For a long time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an artist or a marine biologist, basically one of those other dreams that you think you want as a child and then realize you don’t really want when you’re older. When I was older I enjoyed reading and writing. I began trying my hand at writing short stories and eventually novels. I found that I really loved it. So I guess you could say that it was really when I was a lot older that I realized my dream job was writing.

In my experience I’ve found that most people don’t start out being a “born writer.” People can have a talent for writing, but it takes a lot of hard work to hone it as a skill. I have many early manuscripts that will hopefully never be seen by anyone. At the time I thought they were good, but now I realize they were not. I think that one of the marks of knowing you are a better writer is being able to look at your first work and realize that you weren’t born a natural, but you’ve improved since then.

What was your inspiration for Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf?

I had a lot of inspiration for this particular story. Some of my inspiration comes from Native American legends about the hunting grounds and stories about the legend of the wendigo. Even though the wendigo is typically portrayed as a werewolf, the essence of the legend is actually about the spirit of one who commits the taboo of cannibalism. While my story might not be entirely true to the legend, I combined many Native American themes. In this way I try to honor them and to make them all true in the context of the book. Being quarter Cherokee, I tried to do it in the best way that I possibly could.

I also had inspiration in some odd places. For one thing, the inspiration for the prop room and even the stuffed wolf came from the movie The Neverending Story. In the movie, the main character finds himself hiding in a room full of old science equipment and of all things, there’s a stuffed wolf head on a broom handle that falls down and scares him. Quite honestly, being young when I watched this movie, it scared me too. I try to evoke that feeling in the description of the taxidermy wolf. Something about it is off, and it definitely shouldn’t be there.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I like to explore the themes of good and evil and the battle within oneself to do the right thing. I try to show that everyone, especially a child, has the capacity to be courageous and powerful even when facing their fears. Many of the creatures in the stories reflect a primal fear in the form of a monster. Many times the child is forced overcome it by themselves because the adults don’t see what they do or refuse to believe it. I feel that in life, there are times when children must face things by themselves. When they do it can be scary, but gaining the ability to stand up to adversity by oneself is a stepping stone to growing up. A child forced to make an adult decision in a sort of “bird out of the nest” moment is also a recurring theme in the stories.

In Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf, the battle mostly takes place in the character’s mind. She is being chased by something horrible that wants to devour her spiritually as well as physically. It takes a great deal of strength for her not to give up when she feels physically and mentally weak from its attack.  Some of the themes I think that are recurring in this story are that you are more powerful than you think, you are not alone, and there is no shame in seeking the help of others to help you with your problems.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

This one took about a month and a half to complete. It was the third book that I wrote, though technically it’s the second in the series. Since I already had extensive notes about the character background, setting, and managed to write a rough outline, writing it didn’t take very long. Writing up specific notes for this story was a work in progress. I did a little research and was inspired by various things and jotted new notes down over the course of about two weeks.

Completing the notes on the entire series of books took longer than I would’ve liked. When I got the idea for this series I was working on my young adult fantasy series, Blood Rain. I intended to work on Spine Chillers, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be an adult story or a story with child characters. It went through a few different versions before it became what it is today.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

When I’m inspired I’m fairly disciplined but I have a lot of responsibilities that have to come first. I have a few cups of coffee with breakfast so that I feel alert. A good rule to follow is never write anything when you’re still groggy in the morning! I also have to do a few things around the house before I can begin writing. I write in the living room on my laptop, but if my house is cluttered I can’t concentrate. So I do some cleaning up before I get started. Also I have two daughters, so I have to write at odd times during the day. When they take their naps, or when they are at school are the best times for me to write.

On a good day I usually can write over two thousand words. On days where I’m not feeling as inspired, I try to at least write something. Sometimes I write up character backgrounds for a role playing game, or I start writing a new short story. If I really can’t think of what to write, then I take a break from it for a few days to a week. One of the things I try not to do is to write on a story that I’m enjoying on a day that I don’t feel like it. Doing that tends to produce something that is at best mediocre, and I strive to make my work as good as it can be. Basically I try not to force it, but on an average day I write for at least two to three hours without a break. If for some reason I have a day where I have no other responsibilities, such as if someone is watching my kids and I’m caught up with my chores, I can write all day long.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I think the most challenging thing about writing this book was balancing the scenes in the real world with the scenes in the dream world. In most stories you are supposed to avoid very detailed dream sequences because it takes away from the action of the story. In this case the action of the story takes place partially in main character’s dream world. This also made many of the scenes a bit abstract. It was a challenge to balance making the scene frightening but also to convey elements of fantasy, all the while allowing  a character to have a bit of control over her dream.

Another challenge was making the story fitting for my intended audience. There are some adult themes in this story, specifically the concept of cannibalism. There is often a fine line that has to be drawn between the grotesque and what is appropriate. Through most of the story Jane is fighting for her life while the cannibal spirit chases her in her dreams. To make this concept creative and different each time was also somewhat difficult. I think in the end I managed to balance things well, but only my readers can tell me for sure.

What do you love most about being an author?

I think what I love most about being an author is being able to exercise my creativity in a way that is meant to be enjoyed by others. I like the fact that I can paint a picture in another person’s mind. Each individual that reads my work will have a similar experience but one that is unique to them personally.

I also like to entertain people. Even though I made these stories as a way for children to cope with a fear in a dangerous world, I like the fact that I can do it in a way they will enjoy. Reading is a great way to escape and to experience something that you’ve never experienced before. I think everyone occasionally wants to experience something supernatural, something amazing but terrifying and to be able to come back to the real world in the end. Sometimes that makes the real world seem a little better.

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?

While I have had some correspondence with a traditional publisher, I am happy with my decision to self-publish. By self publishing I have a great deal of freedom over the process. For one thing, I was able to pick out my artists and have some say in the cover art. When you go through a traditional publisher you usually don’t handle that sort of thing.

Also I have been able to be as creative with my writing as I would like. Sometimes people write better stories when they aren’t told what they “can” and “can’t” do. There are many books now that blur genre lines and the lines of what is acceptable for a certain audience. In my books I try to treat my audience with respect. For the most part I write my stories as though I am writing to adults because I believe children are more capable than we tend to give them credit for. Even though I might tone down the violence and the gore, I don’t sugarcoat the darker elements of the story. I like to think these books would appeal to more than just one age group.

Where can we find you on the web?

I have a facebook page under WriterNancyGray. I also have a website nancygray.net. I have a blog on nancygray.blogspot.com. If anyone would like to contact me the best way is though facebook or through my website. I have plenty of room for comments and I would love to hear from you. If you like the books please leave a review on the store page, and you can expect more Spine Chillers from me in the future.

Thank you so much for having me here today to talk to you about my books! I really appreciate the opportunity.

Read Full Post »

Title: TAKING CONTROL: RICK’S STORY
Author: Morgan Malone
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 170
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Summer on the Jersey Shore and all Rick Sheridan wants is some
solitude at his beach house. Then he spots a lean, leggy blonde coming
out of the surf and his plans are shot to hell. And the dangerous
looking knife strapped to her arm tells him this is no damsel in
distress. As a not-so retired Marine, at 51, Rick’s learned that nothing
is for certain, plans can spin out of control and shit happens.Wounded and weary from one too many wars, Britt Capshaw thought a summer
at the Shore, hanging out in her family’s beach cottage, would help her
heal. And figure out what to do with the rest of her life. Out of the
military, disillusioned and distrustful of any two-legged male, Britt’s
one love is Alex, the yellow Labrador retriever she rescued from
Afghanistan.

Rick and Britt are immediately attracted to one another, but after years
in combat, they are wary of letting down their guard, of giving up
control. The summer heats up and fireworks are flying between them even
after the Fourth of July. But, ghosts from their pasts haunt them and
finally bring them face to face with some dark secrets that may destroy
the fragile trust they’ve built.

Can Britt trust Rick with her dangerous past? Will Rick be able to let
go of the rigid control he needs to keep Britt and himself safe from
more heartbreak? These two brave souls fight against surrendering their
hearts and finally finding love. Who will win?

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Chapter One

The tang of the salt air hit Rick before he saw or even heard the Atlantic Ocean. He rolled down the window of his battered green Jeep and took a deep, cleansing breath. A calm he hadn’t felt in months began to spread through him—almost, but not quite, reaching his troubled soul. Nine months since he had been down the Shore. Nine months of running away, nine months of searching.

Springsteen was singing about glory days on the radio. Rick sang along for a few bars then abruptly switched off the radio. His glory days were long behind him. Not that any of my days were glory days. Hard to glorify any of the campaigns, missions and damn stupid forays the government had sent him on over the last twenty-five years. Mud, dust, dirt and blood comprised most of his memories. The silence in the Jeep was filled by the crashing of waves and the ocean breeze. Cool air flowed through the window, blowing away the heat and humidity of the July evening, washing some of the bitter regret from Rick’s face. He glanced in the rearview mirror before he put on his turn signal to leave the highway and cut toward the shore. The man who stared back at him looked weary and old. The highlights in his strawberry blond hair appeared golden in the light but he guessed it was probably just more gray hair. His dark tan seemed to emphasize the wrinkles that creased his forehead and fanned out from the corners of his eyes. Years of facing bright sun and fierce winds were embedded in those lines.

Zipping down Long Beach Boulevard, Rick caught a few glimpses of the water between the houses. The moon hung low in the summer sky, casting a glittering path across the waves and brightening the road ahead of him. With a great sigh of relief, Rick turned down First Street, then pulled the dusty Jeep into the sand-covered drive of a three-story house facing the Atlantic. Built into the dune, the garage faced the street; access to the front of the house was up a flight of wooden stairs. Rick swung his long, jean-clad legs out of the Jeep. With dusty cowboy boots planted in the drifting beach sand, he paused for a moment. Home. Reaching into the back seat, he pulled a worn green canvas bag out and slung a leather computer case over his shoulder. Traveling light meant only one trip up the long flight of stairs to the ocean-facing deck. He paused by a loose brick to feel around under it for his spare key. Hmmm, not precisely where I left it the last time. What’s up?

Easing his gun from the small of his back, he climbed the deck stairs swiftly and silently. Rick left the duffel and briefcase on the edge of the deck, glanced briefly out at the beach before moving quickly to the French doors to his right. He tried the handle, but the door was locked. Shifting the gun to his left hand, he quietly unlocked the door. Nothing in the open-plan living and dining area, or in the kitchen appeared to be out of place. The space was neat and dust-free because he had called ahead so his cleaning service would prepare the cottage for him—including stocking the fridge and pantry. And wine rack, he noted, as he slipped silently through the room and up the stairs to the second floor. A quick search of the two bedrooms and bathrooms on the upper level revealed nothing and no one.

Still puzzled, with the pistol still in his hand, Rick went back down to the main floor. As he stepped into the living room, he saw a small mahogany box on the couch, weighing down a sheet of folded grey paper. He recognized the box. He had sent enough of them to grieving parents and spouses. Purple Heart. Kat.

A wave of regret swept through him, tugging at a heart he frequently maintained had lost any ability to feel. But, he had come close almost a year ago and his brush with the beautiful and brilliant redhead had sent him running away from the inevitable pain and disappointment he knew he would cause her.

I guess she took me up on my offer. His last gift to her had been flowers and a note telling her to use the cottage while he was away, advising he probably would not return until the Fourth of July. The Fourth was hours away, but for a moment he was transported back to the autumn when he had almost fallen in love with the gutsy widow of a JAG soldier who had died in Iraq ten years earlier. A lawyer who had been blown apart by an IED—like so many men Rick had known in the past decade. A fate Rick had narrowly escaped on too many occasions. I’ve dodged the bullet so many times. My luck must be damn close to running out. Or it should be.

He stared at the medal receptacle and message for several minutes. Then, sighing and squaring his shoulders, he sat down on the sofa and eased the short letter out from under the gift Kat had left him. His hands were shaking as he unfolded the heavy grey stationery. The unshed tears in his eyes blurred the bold handwriting.

 

To Rick. For gallant service above and beyond the call of duty, in honor of all your scars—seen and unseen—this medal is yours. You are an officer and a gentleman—and I will never forget you. Kat

 

Rick opened the box. Damn it, Kat. You still know how to get to me. Inside, resting on velvet, as he knew it would be, was a Purple Heart. Awarded to Kat’s late husband posthumously, delivered to Kat by some unremembered officer, accepted with tears and a tremulous smile. And a vacant, sad face that said without words, “What good is this? How will I live without him? I don’t want a medal, I want my husband back. But I will take this in his honor and I will hate it and the war that did this to us. And you for being the bearer of this final reminder of how much I have lost.” Rick knew. He had delivered such medals to grieving widows, sorrow-stricken mothers, and bereft fathers. Until the day, long ago, when he had gone silent, had disappeared into the secret society of warriors who went unmentioned, unnoticed and with nothing but a helmet sitting on a pile of stones to mark their passing.

For the first time in many years, Rick hung his head and wept.

 

 

 

 

Morgan Malone is the pen name of a retired lawyer who turned in her
judicial robes to write romantic memoir and sexy contemporary romance,
which always features silver foxes and the independent women who tame
them.Morgan fell in love with romantic heroes after reading her mother’s
first edition of “Gone with the Wind” when she was 12 years old. Rhett
Butler became the standard by which she measured all men. Some have met
the mark, most have failed to even come close and one or two surpassed
even Rhett’s dark and dangerous allure.

Morgan lives near Saratoga Springs, NY with her beloved chocolate Lab.
She can be found on occasion drinking margaritas and dancing at local
hostelries, but look for her most often in independent book stores and
the library, searching for her next great love in tales of romance,
history, adventure and lust. When she can’t find the perfect man, she
retreats to her upstairs office and creates him, body and soul, for her
pleasure and for yours. Remember: love, like wine, gets better with age.

Her recent novel is the contemporary romance, Taking Control: Rick’s Story.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Read Full Post »

Photograph by Naomi Joy Photography

M.T. Ellis is a Brisbane/ Lockyer Valley-based author. Her debut crime thriller, Azrael, won Bronze in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Suspense/Thriller Catagory. Her short story, The Ballerina in the Box, was short-listed in the Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition. Two of M.T. Ellis’s stories made it onto a billboard during the Queensland Writers Centre’s 8 Word Story competition.

Her dogs, Opal, Zeus and Matilda, occupy a lot of her time. She would write books about their adventures if she thought people were even half as interested in them as she is.

M.T. Ellis is an Australian Writers’ Centre graduate, freelance writer and journalist. The second novel in her Detective Allira Rose Series will be out on October 1, 2018.

Her latest book is the crime thriller, Azrael.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

Emily thought her ordeal was over after she escaped a brutal kidnapping. She’s wrong. He’s coming for her again.

The body Detective Rose is looking at bears a striking resemblance to Emily, a woman who survived a horrific, sexually motivated abduction five years ago. Her fear is confirmed when Emily goes missing again.

When another woman, Grace, is abducted, Detective Rose finds herself doubting the instincts that tell her the disappearance is the result of intimate partner violence. She connects the cases and recruits Grace’s partner, Ethan, to help in the search. Together they must find Grace and Emily before it’s too late.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I would say that I was a born reader. I remember going to the library a lot as a child and participating in the MS Readathon at school. We’d read a certain number of books to raise money to help people living with Multiple Sclerosis. It wasn’t until I was 18 or 19 when I thought about writing a book and I didn’t end up doing it until I was about 31.

What was your inspiration for Azrael?

I had a nightmare that I was being held captive in an old house by a sexual predator. I had been looking for a story idea for a while and that dream turned out to be a big enough story to fill a book.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I like to try and understand why people do the things that they do. Whether it be serial killers or normal people who make a terrible mistake.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

The whole book took a few years. I started it and then took a break for about 18 months and then I finished the rest in about 6 months. The editing and printing took another few months.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

If I have a deadline I’m very disciplined. If I don’t have a deadline I waste a lot of time thinking about writing and not actually doing anything about it! I write better in the morning so I will check my emails and then start writing. I don’t usually aim for a certain number of words per day because if it’s not flowing and I force the words out, I usually end up deleting them later because they are terrible. I basically write until it’s not working and then I take a break and come back to it later.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Researching killers and rapists can take you to some pretty dark places. Sometimes it’s hard to see that there is still good in the world after being immersed in the horror of true crime all day.

What do you love most about being an author?

I find it quite thrilling when the words are flowing and the story is spilling out. I sometimes find that writing a novel is more fun than reading one.

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 self-published. I wasn’t sure that I had made the right decision until my novel, Azrael, won Bronze in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards in New York. I’ve found people are more upbeat after I tell them I have won an award than when they first hear I’m a self-published author.

Where can we find you on the web?

You can find me on social media @mtellisAuthor or my website is http://www.mtellis.com.au.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: