OUTSIDE THE LINES: MARIE LAVENDER

 

Marie LavenderPlease welcome back to the blog, crowd-pleaser Marie Lavender. With a shiny new release out, Marie takes a pause to answer some questions about multi-genre writing and staying outside the box. Oh! And she has a WIP on the go too. Hey, Marie.

 

1.

With so many sub-genres to choose from, romance fans are truly fortunate. How do you define your work? Are you a traditional romance writer?

 

UYL promo - AI actually prefer to define myself as a multi-genre author because I’m truly all over the place when it comes to the type of books I write. After releasing a children’s fantasy in 2015, I took a hard look at my works-in-progress, and then realized I needed to make a change instead of just calling myself a romance author. Some of the stories I have planned are dystopian or have time travel themes. I’ve even tried my hand at horror. Compared to some of the romance stories I’ve written, it was just easier to term my work as multi-genre.

As for what types of romance I write, I never like to box myself in. If I can cross different genres, it’s all for the better. Case in point, book two of the Blood at First Sight Series, Blood Instincts, which I’m currently editing, is more detailed than the first book in the trilogy. It’s a paranormal romance/urban fantasy with a futuristic angle. Also, the book I just sent off to beta readers, titled Directions of the Heart, is a modern romantic drama collection. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll always have a soft spot for romance. But I see no reason not to break the mold with genres now and then. Even Upon Your Love is a family saga as well as a historical romance.

Ed. – I love mixing it up too. There are more surprises for the reader and the writer, I think.

 

2.

The challenges the protagonists face in UPON YOUR LOVE are not time sensitive: work vs. family; personal goals vs. self-sacrifice. When thinking about the near past, how do these challenges differ in a contemporary setting?

 

I think they are universal themes. Even today, parents struggle to raise their children UYL promo - C - Adrienne and Christian1while balancing careers. And who hasn’t accepted a not so great job just to make ends meet? Obviously, some of the challenges Adrienne faces as a woman in Victorian New Orleans aren’t quite as relevant, but I think readers will quickly see she is a formidable character, and will appreciate that she knows what she wants. Shouldn’t we all be so self-aware? Besides, she quickly became a female quite out of her time as I grew to understand her during the writing process. I believe the audience can easily picture the heroine in the present day, making her own mark on the world.

 

3.

What would Scarlett O’Hara think?

 

Are you kidding? Scarlett would be appalled at Adrienne’s behavior, like most of her contemporaries. Perhaps Ms. O’Hara could even take a page from Adrienne’s book. She’s rather admirable.

Ed. – Well, fiddle-dee-dee. lol.

 

4.

What are the greatest villains in romance: persons, places or things? How do you co-opt these in your own work?

 

UYL promo - C - Adrienne and Christian6I always gauge these things based on the character’s strengths and fears, things deep in his or her background which can influence what happens. The plot forms from there. For one, I believe society usually interferes with the HEA (or, Happily Ever After) in romance. That especially occurs with historical romance. Modern settings are a different animal entirely. Secondly, events or yes, villains often prevent the characters from finding their happiness. To me, every story is different. Every character is different too, so it all depends upon the subtle nuances you discover as the tale progresses.

 

5.

Strong female leads always rule. Which of your three characters in UPON YOUR LOVE are the strongest? Weakest? Is this deliberate, or did they emerge that way as you wrote?

 

Am I biased if I say I believe they’re all strong, at least in their own ways? Of course,UYL promo - C - Adrienne and Christian8 conflict Adrienne is the one rated most likely to be stubborn and act as unladylike as possible, to forge her own path, in a sense. But I do not think any of them are weak. If a reader reads the series from the beginning to the end of the trilogy, he or she will notice how these characters grow as capable women in a time when females don’t have much power at all. I even admire the ones that aren’t mentioned in the blurb; Claudette Giroux has a quiet kind of strength, which, of course, appeals to Eric Caron.

Ed. – Not biased at all, more like a true believer, which is essential to reader belief, yes?

 

6.

Romance is alive and well, yet so many stories end tragically. Categorically, this may not be romance in a true sense (no happily ever after). Where do you think the demand for tragedy comes from?

 

Ah, you thought you’d catch me in a spoiler, didn’t you? Did I say there was no HEA in this book? Well, I would never categorize it as a historical romance without one. As for tragedy, I think personal tragedies hit us all at some point in our lives. My stories tend to have some drama here and there. And my loyal fans know I enjoy torturing my characters for a while before they can have what they want.

 

7.

What can readers take away from UPON YOUR LOVE after the last page is turned?

 

I think a key lesson is that we’re all human, capable of flaws and strengths, and you’ll often see that nowhere else but close to home, within your own families. One takeaway here is how important family is, and how strong they can make us once they band together.

 

8.

Last words?

 

Check out the book! Upon Your Love will be a pleasant surprise, I promise. Emotion-filled, yes, but entirely worth it. You can find out more about me and my work via my website, as well as my monthly author newsletter. Follow me on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for other updates. Also, I host three blogs if you’re interested; Writing in the Modern Age, the MLB blog and the I Love Romance Blog.

As always, happy reading! Thanks for hanging out with me for a bit! 🙂

And thank you so much, A.B. You’re a great friend and such a talented author!

 

Why, thank you! It’s always a pleasure dreaming up new questions to tease out your authorly insights. Congrats, again, on the release!

UPON YOUR LOVE released February 26th, and is available through most booksellers online.

 

Read This

 

Upon your love-final coverThe Hill family saga concludes as loyalties are questioned, faiths will be tested and undying love may come at a terrible cost…

Fara Hill, mother and faithful wife, is torn between her family at home and her urge to be at sea. Soon, she learns some disturbing truths. Was the past a fairy tale instead of reality?

Chloe Hill, loving wife and young mother, questions her faith when her husband sets an ultimatum she cannot meet. Will she be able to keep her marriage from falling apart?

Adrienne Bellamont Hill, born of a valiant captain and a fiery redhead, is untamed to her core and will bow to no man. Then Christian du Plessis enters her life with an offer she can’t refuse. Discovering the man behind the polished gentleman, she is drawn to him in many ways. Holding out for love is a family tradition, but can she resist the temptation of passion?

Christian finds this young woman to be a fascinating challenge, and is torn between keeping his distance from her and succumbing to her charms. A fierce battle of wills ensues as he sees she is much more than he ever imagined.

But danger lurks, threatening to destroy everything…

Can these two strong-willed individuals unite in the cause before time runs out?

 

See the Trailer

Marie Youtube art.png

 

Excerpt

The neigh of a horse brought her out of her reverie and she looked over, but her mare stood quietly beside the stream. Adrienne’s instincts nagged at her and she stood up, her ears on alert. The clomp of hoof beats came to her on the swift afternoon breeze. Was the rider coming from the estate or perhaps it was simply a stranger? In any case, a sense of unease grew in the pit of her stomach and she reached down to unearth a small dagger Gabriel had gifted to her two summers ago. She kept it in a sheath around her thigh. Gabe had always said that if she didn’t have a sword on hand, it was best to have something. And she couldn’t agree more.

She clucked her tongue to alert Persephone and led her quickly by the reins under the cover of the trees. The rider was closer now and her mare shifted uneasily, blowing a breath out of her nose. She must have heard the approaching horse as well. “Shh. It’s all right,” Adrienne whispered, stroking her neck. She tied the reins to a tree and waited.

When the rider appeared from the forest, she couldn’t see him clearly. It was a man—that much she was certain—but the lapels of his dark coat and the thicket of limbs brushing her face kept her from placing his identity. He had dark hair and was tall, his body lean and muscled. She watched as he got down from a fine, black stallion and led it to the stream for a rest. The man took a drink from his cupped hands. He wiped the remnants of the water from his chin, and then seemed to search the area nearby. She shivered. Was it possible the man had been tracking her? If that was the case, her dagger would certainly come in handy. Adrienne crouched on alert, spying through her vantage point in the trees. From behind, she observed as the tension eased from his shoulders and he sighed.

A frisson of unease ran through her again. Taking it as a sign, she confirmed he was still faced away before she quietly eased out of her haven. Stepping up behind him, she lifted her dagger to his throat. A smile of grim determination danced over her lips as he stiffened.

“Who are you? Why are you here? Are you following me?”

“What if I was?”

Fine shivers moved along the surface of her skin, caused by the deep timbre of his voice.

“I would have to ask for your reasons, Monsieur.”

“I haven’t come to kidnap you, if that’s what you’re worried about,” he sighed. “I didn’t expect you’d be prepared. I commend the effort, of course.”

She frowned. The compliment threw her for a moment, but she then brushed it off. Surely, he ridiculed her, and thought he could overtake her somehow. She shook her head. He would be gravely disappointed.

“You will state your reasons for your presence and your identity, sir.”

“And if I don’t?”

“You will regret it, of course.”

“Indeed? Do you intend to harm an unarmed man?”

She scoffed. “Unarmed? No, I doubt that. With the way you appeared to be tracking me, I am sure you’re quite armed.”

“Right again. What will you do about it?”

She shrugged. “This is Bellamont land. You’ve clearly trespassed. If I must, I will drag you straight back to the house. You know, I believe the foreman has a Winchester sporting rifle. He can be quite formidable when he puts his mind to the task.”

“I’m sure,” he murmured.

“What say you then?”

“I say, Mademoiselle, that you have no idea who you’re dealing with.”

Before she could open her mouth to take him to task, she felt a blow to her arm and the numbing pain caused her to drop the knife. Everything else happened in a blur. As he turned, he caught her leg, which caused her to collapse. But, before she landed, he grasped her up in his arms. He was too close, she thought. Panic threatened inside of her, but she fought it by degrees. She was a fighter, not some idiot who would succumb to a man’s power. Gabriel had taught her many tricks, as had her father. She forced herself to go limp so that he’d pull her closer. She let her eyes drift closed and pretended to have swooned.

Mon Dieu,” he whispered.

Then she unmanned him with a swift rise of her knee. He coughed out a grunted response, releasing her.

She retreated from him, intent on finding her dagger, but did not see it. The leaves in the grass crunched beneath her hands and knees as she struggled to her feet. She would have to rely on the resources of the forest to save her if he pursued further. Somehow, she doubted he’d be able to. She turned and her mouth dropped open as she looked at her attacker.

His dark hair had fallen over one eye and he was hardly doubled over in pain. No, he scowled at her now and he seemed quite well. She’d missed her target, she realized. His identity shocked her further. She felt quite stupid for not recognizing him, even from behind. But, why had Christian tried to attack her?

 “How…,” she whispered.

“You are not as fast as I, Mademoiselle.” Then he laughed, but there was no mirth in his expression. His eyes seemed darker suddenly. “You little brat,” he bit out. “You almost had me.”

She sucked in a breath and, when she saw him advance, she backed away. But, it UYL promo - C - Adrienne and Christian3.jpgeffectively put her back right up against a nearby tree. She cursed. Christian closed in, blocking her in with his arms as he braced his hands on the tree trunk. Her breaths came out in harsh pants and her stomach had fallen somewhere at her feet. Dear God, what would he do? She jerked her arms out to break his hold, but his muscles were like the ratlines between the shrouds of a mast in a ship’s rigging. Solid. Struggling with his obvious intimidation of her, she managed, “Why are you trying to kidnap me?”

Some of the arrogance left his face. “I’m not. I thought we already established that.”

“Then why… this?” she asked, weakly. And why couldn’t she breathe? His clean, male scent caused her to feel lightheaded. No, she thought. That just had to be terror.

“I wanted to get you alone so that we could continue our plans. I didn’t mean for you to see me as a threat. I certainly didn’t expect a dagger at my throat.” He reached out and cupped her face, stroking the line of her jaw gently with his thumb.

Adrienne gazed into his nearly black eyes. She thought she saw a hint of admiration and something more, perhaps desire, in his gaze.

“P… plans?” she stammered, annoyed with the hypnotic effect he had on her. And what was that strange, but wonderful scent coming off him? She detected cologne which contained a hint of fresh pine. But then, she’d smelled it before, both in her room and at the Broussard’s engagement party. Even though the fragrance was pleasant, she tried to ignore it.

“Our matchmaking endeavor, chére.”

“Oh. That.”

“Yes, that. Did you forget?”

She cleared her throat. “No, of course not.” Her resolve returned in full force then. She slapped his hand aside and sidestepped him. Stalking away to locate Persephone, she unearthed her mare from the brush in no time. When she returned, he still stood there, watching her. She shivered again.

Mon Dieu, she thought. Why was this happening to her? Why did the man tie her in knots?

 

About the Author

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

 

Links

http://marielavender.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
http://www.ambrosiainnovations.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
Amazon author page: Author.to/MarieLavender
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos 

Amazon Universal link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B06XBPVS7D

myBook.to/UYL

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/upon-your-love/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/upon-your-love-marie-lavender/1125931721

Books-A-Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Upon-Your-Love/Marie-Lavender/9781625265401?id=6842447479054

CreateSpace link:  https://www.createspace.com/6969887

 

RICHARD WALL ON MUSIC, MYTH AND THE CROSSROADS

My friend across the ocean has been at it again, writing, writing, writing about the things he loves most: music, myth, the ties that bind and, my favorite, the crossroads. Do you know what it means to journey to the crossroads? Richard Wall will tell you. Welcome Richard.

1.

As a funeral director and artist, I have long been fascinated by the story of the crossroads. For the untutored, can you give us a rundown on what the myth entails, and share with us your attraction to it?

 

In folk magic and mythology, crossroads represent a location “between the worlds”, a site where supernatural spirits / demons may be summoned in order to broker a supernatural deal. When bluesman Robert Johnson started out playing, his mentor, legendary bluesman, Son House, said Johnson had very little musical talent. The story goes that RJ “disappeared” for a year, and when he returned his playing had improved immensely. Son House said that Robert Johnson sold his soul at the crossroads, in return for musical talent – a cynic might say that twelve months of practice would achieve the same result, but why spoil a decent story with the truth…?

For a writer, the crossroads theme is a superb device for portraying all manner of human emotions. I mean, how desperate must you be to sell your soul? And how much of a bad guy must you be to trade for it? This is the premise of Fat Man Blues, supply and demand.

 

2.

You’ve got to be a musician. Right?

 

I wish! When I begin singing, deaf people stop lip-reading. I play delta blues tunes on a shiny resonator guitar (the one on the cover of Fat Man Blues) but only for myself or one or two close friends.

 

Ed. – I hear you! There was a time when I could belt out opera…but NEVER in public. lol

 

3.

You love the Blues. Do you love the past too?

 

I do indeed. And listening to old school delta blues music is like opening a door to the past. What I enjoy most from scratchy old recordings from the 1930s, apart from the rawness of the music, are the ad-libs and background detail you can sometimes hear – be it Charley Patton’s spoken asides, Robert Johnson’s bottleneck clattering against the frets of his guitar, or the sound of a steam train going past the hotel where Son House was being recorded.

 

4.

Which brings me to Fat Man Blues. Give us the broad strokes and then tell us if you saw yourself in Hobo John.

 

OK, in broad strokes, a blues nut from England visits present-day Mississippi, and is offered the chance to see the blues being played as it was in the 1930s. Naturally this comes at a price, but it’s an offer that he can’t refuse. Did I see myself in Hobo John? Absolutely I did! The opening chapter is based on a real life conversation that I had in a juke-joint in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Any white blues nut worth his or her salt would willingly sell their soul to see the delta blues as it was.

 

5.

You come face to face with the devil. What happens next?

 

I’d ask him if he wanted to sell me his soul… 🙂

 

Ed. – Clever!

 

If I did meet him, her, or it I would love for it to go the same way as the song “Conversation with the Devil” by Ray Wylie Hubbard: https://youtu.be/8qX5TSmTyHc

 

6.

The love that went into this work is on every page. Where did you write and how long did it take?

 

Thank you. I wrote it whenever I had free time outside of my day job, usually in the study at home. From start to finish it took me three years, but as a blues nut it was a labour of love.

 

7.

That new Rolling Stones album is out. Should we all race out and buy it?

 

I would say yes, go for it. Not only to hear the Stones going back to their roots and demonstrating that first and foremost they are the best kickass blues band on the planet, but also to get acquainted with some wonderful songs. The track “Commit a Crime”, originally sung by Howling Wolf, is magnificent.

 

Ed. – I’m on it.

 

8.

Have you ever been on a Blues holiday? Rubbish or worthwhile?

 

I once did a slide guitar weekend workshop, sitting in an arts centre with a dozen other white, middle-class, Charley Patton wannabes. I really enjoyed being in the company of like-minded anoraks, and my guitar playing skills rocketed from Terrible to Mediocre… 🙂

I think like everything in life, you get out what you put in.

 

9.

What do you do in your spare time? How do you fuel the creative beast?

 

I listen to music a lot, and I read a lot, both of which fuel the creative beast with tidbits of inspiration or ideas. I also take part in blog interviews…

 

Ed. – 🙂

 

10.

And you have a new work out, a short story. Tease us with a wee bit please?

 

I do indeed! Hank Williams’ Cadillac, out now on Amazon:

It was my buddy, Stu, who came up with the idea.

My name’s Vince, and when this story began, Stu and me, we were 19 year-old high-school drop-outs and occasionally reformed stoners sharing a broke-down, drunk-leaning, leaky old double-wide on a third-world trailer-park in a small town in Nowhere, Texas. 
Sometimes in life you don’t know where you’re headed until you reach that point where you lift your head, take a look around, and then have to decide if that’s really where you want to be. 
Somehow Stu and me ended up in entry-level jobs at Walmart. That was two years ago. 
Need I say more?
Notwithstanding our ongoing education from life and the internet – majoring in popular culture and low animal cunning – two years of the real world made us realise that maybe we should’ve made more of an effort at school.
As a fat man once said, “It is what it is.” 
It was late one Sunday evening, both of us dreading the prospect of another year-long week at the nowhere branch of a multinational retailing corporation, when Stu experienced a bong-inspired epiphany that he and I would join the US Marines. All we had to do, he said, was serve long enough to qualify for a college education, get ourselves a degree and then all our dreams would come true.
“Well, hell,” I said. “That’s pretty random, let’s do it.”
We had nothing to leave behind, Stu’s mom was dead, and mine was in jail, partly for dealing in meth-amphetamines and Oxycontin, but mostly for trying to kill me (but that’s a story for another day), and so we were raring to go, both of us excited to embark on this next stage of our lives.

 

 11.

Any last words?

 

Thanks for allowing me space on your blog, and to everyone reading this, go in peace, and play nicely.

 

Ed. – Amen, brother.

 

Novels and Short Stories by Richard Wall

 

Evil KineivalEvel Knievel and the Fat Elvis Diner: In this short story, an Englishman in Oklahoma is watching a storm approaching when he receives an email on his phone. As he waits for the email to download, it causes him to reflect on his childhood in 1970’s England, his relationship with his father and the journey that brought him to the USA.

 

 

 

Five Pairs of ShortsFive Pairs of Shorts is a collection of ten, 1000-word stories inspired in part by the weekly prompts of a small writing group somewhere in England.

 

 

 

 

 

Fat Man BluesFat Man Blues: “Hobo John” is an English blues enthusiast on a pilgrimage to present-day Mississippi. One night in Clarksdale he meets the mysterious Fat Man, who offers him the chance to see the real blues of the 1930s. Unable to refuse, Hobo John embarks on a journey through the afterlife in the company of Travellin’ Man, an old blues guitarist who shows him the sights, sounds and everyday life in the Mississippi Delta. Along the way, the Englishman discovers the harsh realities behind his romantic notion of the music he loves and the true price of the deal that he has made.

 

My Review of Fat Man Blues

Review Fat Man Blues

CadillacHank Williams’ Cadillac – Vince and Stu’s road trip through Texas is cut short when Stu’s ancient Honda breaks down in the quiet town of Rambling. Nearby is Bubba’s used-car lot, containing a collection of classic American cars. Following a bizarre encounter with a talking crow, and a deal signed in blood, Stu trades in his Honda for a powder-blue 1952 Cadillac convertible. Back on the road, the two buddies continue their journey in style, until a series of Burma Shave road signs and an encounter in a cemetery changes things forever.

 

All titles available through the author’s Amazon author page

About the Author

Author Richard WallRichard Wall was born in England in 1962, and grew up in a small market town in rural Herefordshire before joining the Royal Navy.

After 22 years in the submarine service and having traveled extensively, Richard now lives in Worcestershire where he works as a freelance Technical Author. Having a keen interest in writing since childhood, Richard joined Malvern Writers’ Circle in 2003 and since then has had poems published in magazines and newspapers and has appeared several times at Ledbury Poetry Festival.

His first stab at prose writing produced the short story, “Evel Knievel and The Fat Elvis Diner” (available on Kindle), followed by “Five Pairs of Shorts” a collection of ten short stories.

A self-confessed Delta Blues music anorak, Richard embarked on a pilgrimage to the USA to visit the Deep South, where a bizarre encounter in Clarksdale, Mississippi inspired him to write his début novel, Fat Man Blues.

Completed in 2015, Fat Man Blues has attracted acclaim on Amazon, together with a surprisingly wide cross-section of readership. Fat Man Blues has also caught the attention of an independent film-maker in New York City, who is interested in adapting the novel to a movie.

 

Richard blogs occasionally at http://rawall.wordpress.com.

 

Thank you for dropping by, Richard. Keep us posted on the movie! — ABF

#GUESSWRITE WINNER TANYA CHRIS TALKS RELATIONSHIPS & FORGIVENESS WITH HER NEW M/M COMING-OF-AGE ROMANCE

Welcome to the blog, Tanya!

1.

Tell us about you.

fred-the-catI live in the northeastern United States with my boyfriend and my cat. I’m going to allow my boyfriend his privacy, but the cat’s name is Fred. Here’s a picture of him dressed up for Christmas. You can see how much he enjoyed that. Fred’s favorite things are pats and food. If you aren’t feeding him, you should be patting him, and if you aren’t patting him, you’re useless and must die.

Oh, you said tell you about me. My favorite things are chocolate and good reviews. Don’t make me kill you.

Ed.- You got me at hello 😉

 

2.

Optimist or pessimist?

Optimism and pessimism are different filters through which we try to predict the future. I’ve given up on trying to predict the future. Whatever will be, will be, and it’ll be all right, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. So, that sounds somewhat optimistic.

 

3.

You have a lot of themes at play in WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN. Without giving spoilers, what underlying message do you hope to convey through the work?

The primary theme in When It All Falls Down is that relationships (people) are all that matter but that in order to make our relationships work, we have to be forgiving of each other.

 

4.

Are we better off as a society today? What, in your opinion, is the biggest lesson learned from our past?

We really are. I know it doesn’t feel that way in the US right now, but progress has never been linear. The overall trend, if you look at the history of civilization, has always been towards a more inclusive rendering of “liberty and justice for all” and I don’t think anyone can stop that upward trend for long, even if they manage to set back the clock temporarily.

 

5.

Growing up is tough. Growing old, maybe tougher. What does the raging success of the 50 Shades series say about adult readership?  Are they missing the point?

I haven’t read 50 Shades, so I can’t render an opinion on the series itself, but it’s an example of the billionaire trope which is enjoying popularity right now. Women today are required to be very strong, very adult, and so the temptation is there to escape into a world where someone (a man, for those who are heterosexual) takes over the adulting. That doesn’t mean those women want to abdicate control in real life, but at the end of a day of juggling work, family, and cultural expectations, they’re tired and sometimes overwhelmed and they deserve whatever fantasy brings them relief and joy.

 

6.

The definitions of family and gender are changing. Is it legislative or evolutionary?

I don’t think the compositions of family or gender are changing, just our ability to recognize the legitimacy of those various compositions thanks to social evolution. Legislation then slowly catches up to understanding.

 

7.

What are you working on now?

My next release will be Aftercare, which is a M/M BDSM romance. It features a Muslim immigrant (a very urbane, but somewhat, reluctant Dom) and the attorney who’s handling his brother’s murder case. I’ll be releasing that hopefully in April if I can get the editing finished! In the meantime, I’m writing a dystopia like everyone else in the US.

 

8.

Any last words?

I just want to put in a plug for the #guesswrite competition on Twitter. Any writer who’s trying to break in to self-publishing can definitely benefit from this prize package. I’m grateful to all the people who came before me, like the hosts of #guesswrite, for their guidance and example. I’ve made friends through Twitter and through NaNoWriMo who’ve critiqued my manuscripts, shared their lessons-learned, and been a source of inspiration and motivation. Remember: relationships are everything.

Ed. – Amen, sista!

 

When It All Falls Down

by Tanya Chris
Published by Tanya Chris Publishing (self-published)

M/M contemporary, coming-of-age romance, 64K words

Available 2/2/17 from Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. Eligible for Kindle Unlimited.

http://mybook.to/WIAFD

 

Blurb:

wiafd-cover-75dpiMaybe Charlie should have waited until he graduated high school before coming out, because since that revelation there’s been a growing distance between him and his friends. Charlie’s tough, though. He doesn’t mind eating lunch alone or watching his former gang interact with their new best buddy. What he does mind is seeing Drew Lavoitt suffer the same fate.

Drew didn’t come out. As far as he, or anyone else knows, he’s straight. What Drew did is accidentally hit and kill a little girl. Now the boy who was voted Most Popular, and who Charlie has maybe had a crush on since eighth grade, faces financial ruin, expulsion, and the fear that if he’s not everything, he’s not enough.

Popularity, wealth, acclaim—these things are easily lost. In each other’s arms, Drew and Charlie find something that can’t be taken from them. Together the two build a foundation on which they can re-create their lives.

 

Excerpt:

“Drew, I’m not your boyfriend.”

“At school, you said yes.”

“I can be your boyfriend at school, if that makes it easier for you to be at school, but I’m not your real boyfriend. Are you really expecting me to be … faithful to you?”

“I came out to my parents for you.”

“I don’t understand that part either. I don’t understand any of this.”

“What’s so hard to understand, Charlie? I want to be your boyfriend. Not just at school. All the time. But if you don’t want me—”

“Come on,” I said, cutting him off, “don’t start the drama up. You’ve got to know how much I want you.”

“Then we don’t have a problem.” He snuggled deeper into my side until he was rubbing his cheek along mine, our faces pressed right up together. Drew might not have a problem, but I did. My problem was that I wanted to turn my face into his and kiss him—not a quick brush of lips like what he’d given me in the hallway yesterday but the real thing. And then I decided, fuck it. I’d show him that being my boyfriend wasn’t what he wanted.

He was startled when I did it—when I brought my hand up to cup the back of his head and hold him still so I could really get my mouth against his, my tongue between those softly parted lips. Like he hadn’t been expecting it, like he hadn’t known that this was what happened when you rubbed your almost-too-skinny boy body up against a gay guy. He gasped, which opened him further up to me, and his body got stiff where it had been pliant, and I thought you see? and then that thought vanished beneath a whole bunch of oh my God because once he got past that initial shock, he kissed me back.

Praise for When It All Falls Down

“Read this faster than I’ve read anything in ages. Bittersweet, and strangely addictive.”

“Lately, books have seemed almost boring…and then I read this one.”

“Drew and Charlie are instantly shippable, love these boys to pieces.”

 

About the Author

tanyachrisTanya writes in a variety of romantic and erotic genres, being an avid follower of many of these genres herself. Some of her favorites are M/M romance, MFM threesomes, and BDSM with male submissives.

Tanya lives in New England with her boyfriend and her cat and has participated in many of the activities about which she writes, but not all of them. It’s left to the reader to decide which are which.

http://www.tanyachris.com
Twitter: @tanyachrs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tanyachrispublishing/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15067939.Tanya_Chris

 

Thanks for dropping by, Tanya. See you around the Twitterverse! — A.B.

 

LOOKING INTO THE UNEXPLAINED WITH DAVID MANNES

Hello from beautiful Bonville, Ontario! Like so many writers this time of year, I’m neck deep in a brand new work for NaNoWriMo 2016. For those not in the know, NaNo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Believe it or not, a 50K manuscript can be hashed out in a month if a writer dedicates about 1,600 new words to the page every day. But I digress…

The blog needs to be fed, and so it is my great pleasure to welcome multi-talented author David Mannes. Spiritual and curious, David plumbs a fascination with the paranormal while exploring relationships at their most personal. With TWO releases out this year, his energy and creativity is an inspiration to us all.

Welcome to the blog, David.

 

 

1.

As a Cantor-Educator you are a spiritual man who is also interested in the paranormal and the unexplained. How do you reconcile dogma with secular interests?

 

Judaism’s belief about what happens after you die is a gray spectrum with an evolution of beliefs over the millennium looking at biblical and Talmudic views. We do believe that the soul is eternal. But I certainly don’t believe in demons, possessed souls, or Satan- at least in terms of the Christian view, which has its origins with Egyptian, Greek, and Roman theology. In Judaism Satan-pronounced Sah-tahn in Hebrew- or the Accuser, is sort of like a prosecuting attorney.  (Satan is mentioned briefly by a couple of the prophets and predominantly in the book of Job (an allegory piece of literature about faith).  However,  I did live briefly in a haunted house for awhile in my teens. (See May, 1976 issue of Fate Magazine-‘The Spite House’) and I have friends who are psychic. I tend to keep an open mind as to what happens to our spirit after death and in terms of Jewish belief.

 

Re: the unexplained or extraterrestrial: In Jewish tradition God created and destroyed many worlds before creating this one, and then God continues to create.  God is a creative force. It’s what God does. Also, it’s pretty egotistical of us to think we’re the only intelligent life form in the universe, and really, looking at our world and the history of humankind, there’s got to be something out there smarter than us.  The universe is billions or trillions of years old.Humankind is still in it’s relative infancy.  We may have become more sophisticated, but we haven’t matured much.  We don’t know everything.  The world and the universe will continue to surprise us.

 

2.

Is that how you became involved in the arts? Or did the arts come first?

 

I was always interested in fine art (especially cartooning) and writing. I majored in Art initially in High school and my first year of college, then switched it to a minor and majored in English. I’ve been writing since upper elementary school and got a lot of encouragement from teachers and in creative writing classes. I’ve always had an overactive imagination. I knew I wanted to be a writer since fifth grade.

 

3.

Your character Jeff Reimer in THE CANTOR’S SON reminisces about the year of his Bar Mitzvah, which took place in the 1960s. I’ve been listening to a lot of Beatles lately and find it very reassuring. What is it about the 60’s that keeps us coming back?

 

We are the baby boomer generation. We had great music, great causes and its generational influence is still present. While The Cantor’s Son has a Jewish slant, it also speaks to baby boomers and any kid whose father was clergy.  I think it was a great era to grow up in, despite all the war and social problems.

 

4.

Jeff “comes home” after forty-six years. What is his take on ‘home’ in the year 2016 CE?

The book is about Jeff’s journey not only as a young adult but as an adult. Getting older gives us a different perspective on life and what’s important. There’s a lot of people (adults) that are still figuring it out.  Overall change happens. Growth happens. Life is a continual journey and Jeff is entering a new stage but experience has given him a new outlook too, one that I think the character is happy with.

 

5.

You have also authored THE REPTILIAN ENCOUNTER and SCARLET JUSTICE. Do these works support common themes, or are other agendas at work?

 

scarlet vengeance-001.jpgWell Scarlet Justice started out as a screenplay that I was going to produce with a couple of buddies, but there was a recession on in the early 90’s and we couldn’t find interest or financing so I did a novelization of it. I grew up watching old B westerns and the Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movies. While doing research for the Writing-on-Stone documentary I read a lot about the early years of the Mounted Police and it  gave me a lot of story ideas that I’ve incorporated in this series. The second book, Scarlet Vengeance will be out this fall, and I’m working on a third book in the series.

           

The Reptilian Encounter is actually the third part of a trilogy (I published the first two volumes independently on Amazon kindle) but it’s also a spin-off for a continuing series. I’ve been interested in UFOs since I was a kid. I use to read Frank Edward’s column in the newspaper and have been doing reading and research on UFO’s for probably about 50 years.  As well, having grown up in the 60’s, The Man from U.N.C.L.E was one of my favorite shows, as was X-Files in the ’90’s. Both influenced tunguska-cover-2the creation of my character Damien Wynter.  According to some of my research, after the Roswell crash of 1947 President Truman set up Majestic 12, a group of military, industrial, and private organizations and individuals who investigate and obtain alien technology, and understand extraterrestrials, but at the same time keeping it secret to prevent public panic. My novels are based on actual or alleged incidents but with fictional license and conclusions.  The series is sort of a Man from U.N.C.L.E meets the X-Files. The second book, The Tunguska Encounter is coming out this fall.   I’m hoping this series takes off and I think it’d be great to see The Reptillian Encounter made into a movie.

 

6.

And you have also worked in film as a producer/director and scriptwriter. How do these experiences compare to writing in solitude, if you, indeed, write in solitude?

 

Definitely there are parts of media production that are creatively collaborative; but both involve storytelling. I think visually no matter what the media. I always have. The difference for me is in the pacing. Working in media is a very intense and frantic pace a lot of the time, given budgets, deadlines, etc. Writing is more relaxed. The only deadline we have (other than from our illustrious publisher during the editing phase) is one that we set.  There are times I enjoy being in my ‘Batcave’ with music in the background and letting the story take me in new places.  Solitude is essential when writing. I find myself quite comfortable when I’m in ‘the zone’.

 

7.

What is the glue that holds society together currently?

 

Relationships and common goals. To have a society means that there has to be rules that everyone agrees to and abides by. That’s the main purpose of the Ten Commandments (though in Judaism according to the rabbis, there’s 613).  It’s the minimal rules to have a safe and just society.

 

 

8.

Many of us imagine life before the digital age. Others of us have lived it. Which category do you fall into? Can you share a pre Instagram anecdote with the readers? (Mine involves chasing my younger brother with a manual egg beater *lol*)

 

I definitely lived life before the digital age and was very thankful when computers came out. Made writing a lot easier..lol.  I remember as a kid we’d play army.  Our next door neighbors were an older couple.  They had a retaining wall on one side of their property.  We kids used to go around through another yard and take a running leap off the retaining wall and do a tuck and roll to pretend we were parachuting.  The problem was the cement walk that separated the wall and the grass. You had to jump far enough so you didn’t splat on the walk.  We didn’t understand liability issues, but the old guy was always chasing us away when he caught us doing that.

 

9.

What words of wisdom would you impart to our first extraterrestrials when they arrive?

 

Don’t judge us by the stupidity you see. We are worthy and capable of better. We are also tenacious and unpredictable. Don’t piss us off.

 

10.

Any last words?

 

Follow your dreams. You only live once. Appreciate the people in your life because that’s the most important.

 

Thanks, David. Now let’s check out the novels…

 

THE CANTOR’S SON

the-cantors-son-cover-conceptRabbi-Cantor Jeff Reimer returns to River City, Iowa after forty-six years, as spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom. As Jeff connects with the congregation on a variety of issues, he also connects with his past.  It leads him to reminisce about the year of his Bar Mitzvah, and the pivotal events and personal relationships that have led him back to River City again, and that makes Jeff the man he has become. This is a humorous coming-of-age story set in the turbulent 1960’s where Jeff fights off the stigma of being a clergyman’s son, contends with Junior High shop classes, stumbles through B’nai Mitzvah party dances and a semi-reluctant romance with April Blackman.

 

 

SCARLET VENGEANCE 

Released October 14, 2016

 

scarlet-vengeance-001Ride with Northwest Mounted Police Constable Alfred Kingsley and  ex-gunfighter turned scout Charlie Buck in two new adventures: Scarlet Vengeance–  Hatred is a powerful motivator. When rancher Amos Pike spots ex- runaway slave and black rancher, Elijah Samuels, a man he blames for his family’s downfall, Pike plots a merciless revenge to take away everything Samuel’s holds dear. But he doesn’t count on NWMP Constable Alfred Kingsley and Charlie Buck, who head out on the trail to track the kidnappers and murderers down.   In the second novella, Scarlet Gold, Kingsley and Buck, while on their way escorting a prisoner to Fort Benton, aid the U.S. cavalry and Marshal Ben Tucker track down a ruthless band of gold thieves in Montana.

 

THE TUNGUSKA ENCOUNTER

Released September 30, 2016

 

tunguska-cover-2The cold war is back on but with a twist…a remnant, a computer chip, exists from a  UFO that exploded over Russia in 1908. Now Damien Wynter, special agent for the clandestine Majic-12, is on a race to get it before  SETKA, his Russian counterparts.  From the canals of Venice to old city of Dubrovnik, to the pyramids of Bosnia, Wynter and  Michelle Martin run a gauntlet of anarchy, destruction and death in an all out battle to obtain technology that could be the greatest boon to humankind or launch its destruction in THE TUNGUSKA ENCOUNTER!

The Majic-12 series explores the clandestine side of UFOs and the covert organizations that investigate them.  This is an espionage-action-adventure sci-fi series that takes place in present day.

 

About the Author

david-m-mannes_4847_100516

 

David M. Mannes is a Cantor-Educator and a member of the American Conference of Cantors. He has served congregations in the United States and Canada.  He is also a former educational film producer/director and scriptwriter. He was nominated in 1990 for best non-dramatic script in the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association (A.M.P.I.A.) awards  for “Writing-on-Stone” that he wrote and produced for Alberta Parks. David is the author of  The Cantor’s Son, The Reptilian Encounter (Damien  Wynter –Majic-12 series), Scarlet Justice (Constable Alfred Kingsley and Charlie Buck series), among others. He has had a long time interest in history, as well as UFOs, paranormal and unexplained phenomena. David is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Alberta and the International Thrillers Writers.  David Mannes is married and lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

Links

 

Email: david_mannes@hotmail.com

Webpage: http://davidmannes.wix.com/david-mannes

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/David-M.-Mannes/e/B004RQNWNA

FORCE OF NATURE: LEXI MILES

 

author-pic-black-and-whiteAuthor Lexi Miles sparkles with an infectious laugh and unbinding enthusiasm that’s equally matched by her growing list of titles. Blogger, interviewer, noveller and hashtag host, her presence is everywhere. It’s an honor to have her here today. Welcome, Lexi!

 

 

1.

It is commonly held that being happy is hard work, yet your upbeat personality and hilarious *giggles* shine through every tweet. How do you maintain your positivity?

 

Thanks so much for the warm compliment.  I guess the simple answer is by focusing on the positive and being thankful for all the precious moments and gifts of life.  No small thing is wasted on me.  (giggles)

 

2.

Your communications training undoubtedly assists you in getting your message out. What advice can you give novices in negotiating the labyrinth that is social media?

 

Sometimes social media—all the choices—can be overwhelming, so my best advice is to start with the one you do most often and then add more as you go.  If you are trying to get the word out about your books then search your genre and get involved.  What is nice is that it is okay to ask questions, to look at what grabs your attention to make sure that you are hitting the mark, do research, and above all else have FUN as you do it.  The fun is so very important because that’s what attracts people to who and what you alone and uniquely can offer.  The key here is to have a presence somewhere, that is your voice, so that people know what you have going on, have an idea of what reading your books will be like, and, one of the best parts, they have a way to get to know you personally. 

 

3.

Twitter #hashtag games. That’s how we met! Care to comment on the trend and what it could mean for writers, those starting out in particular.

 

Yes, you are right A.B. that is how we met!  And it has been a fun friendship ever since!  (giggles) 

Having said that, I would love to chat about the #hastag games.  These events are so much fun to be a part of and personally, they are one of the highlights of my week.  So much so that I even co-host one every Tuesday with author Chloe Quinn called #FOODPARTY (please feel free to pop over to twitter for more details and to hang out with us and have fun). 

Before I go further, you might be asking what are #hashtag games?  To those who are unfamiliar, it is a writer event where authors are invited to share their work in accordance to the theme selected by the various hosts. 

One that I would definitely suggest for new writers to take part in is #Thurds on Thursdays simply because it awesome, A.B. hosts it, and it is unlike any other event.  Why?  If the book is published it can also be a part of the game (unlike most that include WIP, works in progress, only) and that is great exposure.  Ultimately what I am getting at here is it is like an international book convention on a weekly basis.

 

Ed-Thanks, Lexi. I love hosting #Thurds, and like you, #hashtag games are an integral part of my day. Promotions + friendship + fun. It’s a win, win!

 

In my opinion, for writers (especially newbies), all of the events are incredible to be a part of because they are one of the nicest ways to get to know people in the writer community, to find new readers, to find new reviewers, and for readers (which I also am) to find a new book to add to your collection on a weekly basis.  Another thing that I love is that you get instant feedback on your work and that is all-around fun!

 

4.

In your biography you credited your LIFE experiences for helping you develop as an author.  Tell us specifically what that means to you.

 

What I mean by that is that living life in general has taught me so many things as a person and therefore professionally as an author.  And each of those experiences means so much to me because ultimately they have made me who I am “exactly” today.  The good, the bad, and the I know better and will not do that again. Ha!

 

Ed.- Ha! I can relate!

 

5.

Name someone who inspires you.

 

I am inspired not by one person alone, but by anyone that goes after what they want with all that they have.  I am inspired by those who love whole-heartedly and are kind to others.  I am inspired by those who don’t see something as limiting but limitless.  Those are the people that inspire me!

 

6.

Your new romance, TOO MUCH TROUBLE, is coming out soon. Care to share the deets and maybe tease us with an excerpt?

 

Sure, just this once.  (giggles)  Just kidding, I’d love to do that!

 

I wrote this one because I was (and am still) a huge fan of the TV show “The Mentalist.”  The idea came to me because I just thought, how fun would it be to write about a heroine whose brother was a smooth talking scoundrel like that and she was the one to always bail him out.  Here’s the blurb.  

 

aweb-toomuchtrouble-copySela’s scam artist brother has gotten himself in trouble again.  As usual she is left to clean up his mess.  After a mediation, the only thing that she can do is to work off his debt by agreeing to be legal counsel on call for the family he scammed.  Very reluctantly, since the guy she will be working directly for is as infuriating as he is sexy, she agrees to do it to make the whole thing go away.  But this time has her brother’s serial nature of mistakes finally paid off for her in all the right ways?

 

 

 

 

7.

As a California native, is it even possible to live in a cooler climate? (I’m dusting off my winter boots right now.)

 

(Giggling) In my opinion, no, I love my home.  California is a fun place to be.  The weather is amazing and the options here of things to do is vast.  In any given direction it’s amusement parks, trips to museums, a chance to escape to the Sierra mountains (beautiful during wintery snow season or when warm and green), ranches, Japanese or Rose gardens, musicals, or lovely beaches.  I am in heaven.  But as awesome as it is here, I do love the snow (rarely have gotten up to the Sierra’s recently).  So, please promise, when the time comes, to build me a snowman, make a snow angel, and toss around a few snowballs. (giggles)

 

Ed.- You got a deal. I’ll send pics!

 

8.

What is one thing that you are looking forward to?

 

In the upcoming months I am going to be sharing a few new titles, making a few appearances, and the thing that has me doing cartwheels are the new book trailers that are on the way soon!

 

Ed. – Be sure and send those trailers our way.

 

9.

How can someone contact you, buy your books, and do you have a newsletter?

 

You can contact me via my twitter www.twitter.com/leximilesbooks, or through my contact page on my website www.LexiMilesAuthor.com/contact.

You can get my books via my Amazon author page www.amazon.com/author/leximiles.

And yes, I have a newsletter for my VIP readers/friends and you can follow it and my other info and book clubs here: www.LexiMilesAuthor.com/follow-lexi.

 

10.

Have I forgotten anything?

 

I think what you asked covered it.  Such a nice, fresh, and wide scope.  Thank you A.B. again for taking time out to do this!  I really appreciate it.

Hugs,

Lexi

 

Any time, doll. Let’s check out Lexi’s vast list of titles…

 

 

lexi banner.png

 

Coming Soon

 

cover-dangerous-listing-copyDangerous Listings: A realtor named Piper rents out a listing and stumbles into a dangerous situation.  She soon finds herself hold up with the ever sexy and mysterious Marko, and she’s not complaining.  Is danger just the thing they need to kick off their sexy romance? (Vol 0.5 in the Sensual Protection series, proceeds Private Lessons)

 

 

 

 

 

 

aweb-privatelessons-copyPrivate Lessons: Dorian “Ryan” DeVain, a travel agent, gets tricked into taking much needed self-defense classes by her best friend Piper.  She is apprehensive, even given the looming threat of her past, until she meets the ultra-sexy brown haired instructor Jimmy Jalin.  Will there be sexy benefits included with his training? (Vol 1 of the Sensual Protection series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

aweb-convinceme-copyConvince Me: Josephine Summers, a feisty red headed chef has just been blacklisted for declining her boss’ romantic advances.  Determined for a fresh start Jo has a chance meeting with the dreamy lawyer with the penetrating blue eyes, Roger, who convinces her to become his live in chef.  After that things really heat up.  Is Jo going find it difficult to keep things strictly professional? (Vol 1 of Seductive Recipes Series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

aweb-mixmatched-copyMix Matched: Maxi is a bartender at a bar that the mega-hot Wolf Crane owns.  Wolf, off the clock, is known for giving romantic help to others so they find their romantic match.  She gets the idea to have Wolf use his skills to help her until she can get him to realize that she is his perfect match.  Can she sway him to see her daydream for them? (Vol 1 of the Happy Hour Series) (NANOWRIMO Nov 2015)

 

 

 

 

 

 

cover-click-for-more-copyClick For More: Ariel Bowie, is in her late twenties and is a successful career focused clothing boutique chain owner.  Ariel has been receiving a lot of pressure from the hens, ladies in her family, to wed—and to do it fast—because wedding is expected for the ladies in the Bowie family.  With Ariel’s baby sister’s nuptials approaching, during a late night of rom-com watching, Ariel decides it is time to take action and list herself with the wed quick website Click for More.  She comes across the oh-so-gorgeous dark haired businessman Cort Abbot, who too has his own reasons to wed, and soon she finds herself married to this sexy stranger and loving every minute of it.  But some people aren’t as happy as she is about her new marriage.  Will they cause problems in paradise, or will the couple find that some things are meant to last?

 

Out September 2016

 

 

cover-foodparty-copy#FoodParty: Cookbook that features recipes from the various romance novels.  (Co-author Lexi Miles and Chloe Quinn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out Now

 

custom-fit-print-displayCustom Fit: Sunni is one of the most sought after style consultants and is totally put off when her boss Zelina calls her into her office, as if Sunni is a newbie cub, and gives her an emergency assignment.  Sunni’s protest comes to a halt when she realizes that she just got the assignment of a lifetime: dressing the ultra-sexy singer/actor Striker Clint for the entire holiday season.  The only rule, to avoid termination, no romantic involvement with the client.  But Striker is not just any client, Sunni has had it bad for him since she laid eyes on him in one of his earlier films.  Are some rules made to be broken?

 

 

 

cover-focused-on-love-pic-copyFocused On Love: A collection of emotionally stirring poems that are all about love: falling in love, passion, losing love, forever love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

smiling-lexiWhat People will take away from anything I write: Love is worth it.  All of the stories, that are coming soon or that are out, show challenges that couples face and how they evolve as individuals and couples because of them.  I think that love makes us the best versions of ourselves.  You know, the most courageous people that we can be because we know that we are loved and accepted deeply.  In my opinion, romantic love, centers us and makes everything about life more vibrant and beautiful.  Love, in many ways, is like that spice of a secret recipe in cooking that makes life taste better!

 

Journey to Publishing

When I was younger, the writing bug bit me when I did a writing project in elementary school where we got the assignment to create our own fresh stories in the vein of the different genres that we were studying: fairytales, tall tales, magic, and the others.  I had always been creative—really creative—imagination running wild as I played with my Barbies, stuffed bears, and My Little Ponies.  So, when it hit me that I not only got a chance to create and act out those ideas, but to also write them down to share the fun, over and over, anytime they were read, with others I was hooked!  And to this day, I have continued to share them—and have not looked back.

 

Over the past several years I have actively been working on a number of romance books that are all just about at fruition and ready to be shared with avid romance readers or what I like to call rommies.  Although they are all romance there is a broad scope from suspense romance to everyday life contemporary romance.  My stories deal with intense subjects that cause the characters to peel back and share layers of themselves: the fire-hot passion of a couple, overcoming a challenge, learning some strength from examination, and always end with a HEA (happily ever after).  Those are my favorite kind of books; naturally I write those tender, cute, and wild rides.
aseries-flavors-of-lexiI write in a variety of flavors and call them the 4 flavors of Lexi.  The scope is Sweet (mild romance with some heat), Fire (very sensual and sexy), Alarm (erotic), and Magic (romance with a bit of supernatural flare).

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Lexi Miles was born in northern California and has lived in various places in California and Nevada (Las Vegas and Reno).  Tropical warm spots and out of the way ranches are Lexi’s favorite escapes. She has one sister, Cat. Presently she resides in California and is a proud pup mom of two mischievous Yorkies.  They are handfuls and most definitely light up her life!

 

Cultivation of Lexi’s writing is attributed to a lot of reading, variety of writing contests, her college studies in communication, and her association and mentoring from professors, published authors, and editors.  In addition, she credits the tool of LIFE in general as one of the key factors in the development of her writing. Lexi personally edited and consulted for various published novels as well.

 

Lexi embraces who she is and is a huge fan of positivity; accordingly, she loves to giggle and make others smile as often as she can.  Lexi, has a deep interest in personal growth and is always open to learning new things that challenge her.  On her off-time, she adores the chance to binge watch/read a good romance, mystery, suspense, or life stories in general.  Whenever possible, Lexi tries to help others achieve their goals in life.  Lexi strongly believes that life is an incredible gift and is to be enjoyed!

 

Lexi fell in LOVE with writing—head over heels in love—from the time that she could first hold a pen and she just never stopped falling.  Lexi loves writing romance; she believes there is something extraordinary about the magic of love shared by a couple.  Lexi is thrilled to pen that beauty of love on paper!

 

Fun Activities: Netflix binges, bubble baths, listen to music, (I am a singer), love Renaissance Fairs, adore the superhero genre, love taking my dogs for walks, working out, and adore cooking.  One of my most favorite activities to do is bowling.  I like to go bowling by myself and brainstorm book ideas as well as clear my head.  I love pretty fragrances from Bath and Body Works and Vicki’s Secret!

 

Recent Random Activities: made chocolate chip brownies, grocery shopped, and revisited an old vision board of mine

 

Fun Facts: prefer lemonade or iced tea to any soda and I love to write at night

 

Most Excited About: My books are now offered in both ebook and print

 

Main Objective for Interview: to have people get to know me better, to have a bump up in readers, bump in newsletter follows so that I can connect more with readers, bump in reviews, for people to be acquainted with my author central page, and people talking about the books.

 

Links

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/leximiles

Website: www.LexiMilesAuthor.com

Email: LexiMiles.Author@gmail.com

Novel Info: www.LexiMilesAuthor.com/novels

Follow Newsletter: www.LexiMilesAuthor.com/follow-lexi

Lexi’s Rom Readers https://www.facebook.com/groups/1746560782284851/

A SHADOWY PAST AND A DESIRE TO GET CLOSE IN M. A. CORTEZ’ YA SISTER SLEUTHS

In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, mystery writer M. A. Cortez crafted a tale of two sisters who meet two sisters with secrets to hide. Drawn to the irresistible unknown, the young sleuths pursue a line of inquiry that combines deduction with the acute in-your-face panache of youth. Welcome to the blog, M.A.

 

1.

Your character Samantha has Autism Spectrum Disorder. How did you prepare your character in terms of research?

 

Samantha’s character was inspired by a family member who is on the spectrum but is much younger than Sam. I did further research by interviewing teens and siblings of teens on the spectrum, and visited several online sites hosted by young people with ASD. There are many informative online resources that bring awareness to the understanding of Autism.

 

Book Description
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Sandy and Samantha may be twins, but sharing the same birthday is where their similarities end. Sandy is desperate to find a friend she can relate to. Samantha lives life on the Autism spectrum, her social skills can be off putting to some, but her honesty is endearing to others. Sandy likes cute boys and cute clothes. Samantha likes math and mysteries. It seems like the girls will never find a common ground until they stumble upon another set of siblings. Sisters who are hiding secrets, telling lies, and living in the shadows of the past.

 

 

 

 

2.

Does Samantha’s ASD advance her deductive powers?

 

I would say she’s a natural born detective, but yes, I believe her fascination, (single mindedness tends to be a common trait among those on the spectrum) with the Nancy Drew mysteries gives her an advantage. Individuals on the spectrum often have an eye for detail, which of course makes for a good detective.

 

3.

Twin siblings I’ve known over the years acknowledge a shared telepathy: if her sister is ill, she feels it too. Do Sandy and Samantha possess the same ability?

 

They can definitely hone into each-other’s energy but not things like injuries, or physical pain.

 

4.

The girls find common ground when they discover the siblings. Can you tease us with a little more from the plot?

 

The second set of siblings, Adriana and Anabelle, had a quarrel that they never had the chance to resolve. It’s the bond of sisterhood that motivates Samantha and Sandy to help their new friend solve the mystery of her twin sister’s death.

 

Excerpt

I pace back and forth in front of my computer, compelled to check my messages again. A jolt of excitement rushes through me when I see the little exclamation point that means I have a message in my inbox. As I move the cursor to open it, I realize I’m not as angry with Annabelle as I thought. I’m more curious to see what she has to say. Sandy, I know you came to my house. I watched you from the window. Was that your sister with you? I tried to get your attention with the roses. I’m trapped up here. They won’t let me leave. I hoped she would let you in, but she sends everyone one away. Please try again.  I need a friend.

 

5.

Sister Sleuths is a mystery. Tell us how you got started in the genre. Who are your idols?

 

I’ve always loved Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew. The Sister Sleuths is my first attempt at writing a mystery. It was so much fun planting clues, asking questions and solving the mystery that I just had to write a sequel.

 

6.

The past is often characterized as ‘shadowy’ in literature. Is this a popular subtext in your writing? In 27xs and Moon Dance as well?

 

Not in those stories, but I have a WIP titled Dream Well that fits that subtext.

 

7.

You live in Colorado, a place that, to me, conjures up fabulous vistas and weather. What’s a day in your life like?

 

It’s not very glamorous. Most days are filled with typical household tasks. I try to write everyday or do something creative, like crafting or sewing. I love to spend time with my big family on weekends. When the weather permits I get outside and enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.  

 

About the Author

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M.A. Cortez is the author of The Sister Sleuths and the Shadowman, 27xs, and Moon Dance. She lives in Colorado surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

 

 

 

Links

getBook.at/SisterSleuthsandTheShadowman

https://twitter.com/@maryanncortez16

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryAnnCortez

https://itsthewriteplace.blogspot.com

 

Thank you for joining us, M.A. Please come back again when the sequel comes out.–ABF

 

TOMORROW:  The blog takes a long weekend to rest, recharge and resume work on the WIP. We will return Monday with Texas native and paranormal romance author Rachael Tamayo. See you then!

JOHN L. DEBOER EXPLORES TERROR IN THE BACKYARD

Seven-time thriller writer John De Boer has a new book coming out later this year. WHEN THE REAPER COMES places a coordinated multi-threat right in the backyard of the protagonist, an Ex-Navy SEAL on protection detail for a rock star with a fatwa. John has written in a number of genres. REAPER is his first foray into international terrorism.

 

1.

Welcome back to the blog, John. WHEN THE REAPER COMES is your seventh in a list of thrillers, this time with analogous threats in the protagonist’s backyard. How does terror at home differ from terror abroad?

 

Thank you for having me back, A.B. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my latest book, When the Reaper Comes, and the issues it deals with.

Homeland terror vs. terror abroad. Naturally, the further away such incidents occur, the more they’re removed from the threat radar. I don’t know the Canadian mindset, but I think Americans are pretty much inured to the multitude of terrorist attacks that have been going on in the Middle East and Asia for generations.

But attacks in Europe is another story. Europe, for most Americans, is the land of our ancestors. When Europeans become targeted by ISIS and its ilk, the question of America being next inevitably rises – especially when isolated instances of terrorism related to Islamic extremism have occurred here over recent years. Granted, these attacks have been committed by so-called lone wolves, but we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, in my view, wherein ISIS, and not just its ideological adherents, decides to take the war against infidels directly to America (and/or Canada!). After all, the precedent was established on September 11, 2001.

That is the premise of my book.

 

Book Description

when-the-reaper-comes-cover-artAs the NSA gets a strong lead on one of the most prominent faces of ISIS, the Islamic State embarks on a bold course of action – an attack on American soil.

Former Navy SEAL Adam Taylor, on a break between assignments for a global paramilitary security firm, is visiting his folks in his home town when he gets a new mission – provide security for a rock star who is in town for a St. Patrick’s Day concert. Unknown to Adam, a team of American ISIS soldiers will soon arrive with a plan to wreak havoc on the Jersey Shore, and Adam will get caught up in a deadly game of wits between the terrorist menace and those tasked to protect the citizens of the homeland.

 

2.

Navy SEAL Adam Taylor must coordinate security for a rock star. What was it like putting these two in a room?

 

The first meeting between my protagonist, Adam Taylor, and my fictional rock star, Brian Callahan, was revealing, and it was one on my favorite scenes in the book.

Callahan, like Bruce Springsteen, is noted for songs with patriotic themes. He had made some comments in Rolling Stone that essentially blamed Islam itself for creating ISIS. In addition, his latest album cover tried to do a Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper thing, but with various well-known enemies of the U.S., past and present, depicted on it. Also included was an image of Muhammad, which according to Muslim edicts is punishable by death. An imam put out a fatwa on Callahan, and his record company was worried an assassination attempt would occur during a St. Patrick’s Day concert he was going to put on in Asbury Park, N.J. So they hired the paramilitary security firm Adam works for to protect their cash cow. Since Adam happened to be in the area visiting his folks between assignments, he got the job.

Besides the inherent conflict between Adam and Callahan’s bodyguards, the issue of Callahan’s supposed anti-Muslim beliefs arose during the meeting. Callahan’s explanation presents a capsule of the research I did for the subject. Most notable of my sources was an article last year in The Atlantic: “What ISIS Really Wants – and How to Stop It.” I recommend that eye-opening article to anyone who hasn’t read it.

(This issue between Muslims and non-Muslim Americans is also represented by two Muslim women characters in my story, each with differing viewpoints on what it means to be Muslim in America.)

 

3.

The film LONDON HAS FALLEN was roundly criticized for playing up to people’s worst fears. What are the challenges facing thriller writers in 2016?

 

Despite the real terror extant around the world in 2016, fictionalizing it presents no problems for the thriller writer! Though I have to admit, I was a little concerned while I was writing the novel that real events were mirroring my invented ones, possibly making me look like a copycat!

There are numerous subgenres of the thriller genre – legal, medical, political, psychological, etc. – other than plots involving terrorism, providing the thriller writer with abundant themes. And there remains plenty of fodder for new terrorism thrillers. Just ask Nelson DeMille, whose protagonist, John Corey, combats terrorists in novel after novel.

When the Reaper Comes is my first foray into this subgenre. I’ve written medical, crime, psychological, and personal-revenge thrillers. Good guys vs. bad guys with potential lethal consequences is the heart of any thriller, and I see no dearth of such plots in the future.

 

4.

Give a sketch of the bad guy. Can you share an excerpt?

 

I have more than one bad guy in my book, but the main protagonist, Yusuf Khouri, is a Muslim man born to Muslim immigrants in New Jersey. He becomes radicalized, as the expression goes, in his youth, fueled by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and eventually becomes an ISIS fighter in Syria. An ISIS sheikh decides to take the fight to America by sending a team of U.S.-born-and-raised soldiers to attack the Callahan concert as their first mission. This team is led by Khouri. As Americans, they can blend in with the locals. I’ve chosen a scene for the excerpt that will show a little of that situation.

 

Excerpt from WHEN THE REAPER COMES

Angela Martin’s apartment

Friday morning

 

“I’m Joseph,” Yusuf Khouri said when Angela opened the door.

“Come in, Joseph.”

As Angela closed the door behind him, Khouri quickly scanned the living room, on alert. When he didn’t see federal agents suddenly storm into the room, he relaxed. He dropped his duffel bag on the floor, the jostling of its contents making a sound of metal on metal.

“Is Abdel here?” he asked.

“Yes. He’s in the kitchen.”

“Muhammad?”

“He called after you did last night. He’ll be here this afternoon.”

“Good.”

“I’ve made coffee. Would you like some?”

“Yes, thank you.” Khouri followed her into the kitchen where Abdel Hadad sat at the table reading a newspaper. He looked up.

“Yusuf?”

“That’s me.”

Hadad stood and offered his hand. “I’m Abdel.”

The two men shook hands. “Allah Akbar,” Khouri said, and this was answered in kind by Hadad.

“You don’t know each other?” Angela asked.

Khouri smiled. “I don’t know you, either. The sheikh brought us together. Better to have no connections from the past.”

“That makes sense.” Angela went to the coffeemaker, poured a cup, and handed it to Khouri. “Well, you can get acquainted now. I have to go to work. I’ll be back after five. There’s food in the fridge and in the pantry. See you later,” she said and left.

Khouri sat at the table across from Hadad. “Anything exciting in the news?”

Hadad laughed. “Republican senators are saying Obama is weak on combating the ISIS threat. They want boots on the ground.”

“Yes, that euphemism has become quite popular. Makes it sound less scary. As if these inanimate boots aren’t being worn by flesh-and-blood soldiers who could be shot out of them.”

“Do you think they will commit to ground troops?”

“They’re stupid enough to do that. And it would mean our campaign is succeeding, right? Get those soldiers into another war they can’t win in the Middle East. One can never underestimate the macho jingoism of Americans. And while their troops are dying over there, we’ll cause havoc over here. The two-pronged strategy will get them to fold.”

“Yeah, that’s another weakness of theirs. Okay to wave the flag and send troops into battle until the bodies start to pile up. ‘Gee, we didn’t think it would be like this. Oh, dear. This has to stop.’”

“Exactly.” Khouri sipped from his cup. “So where are you from?”

“Milwaukee. I was in Syria for six months before the sheikh sent me here. I flew into New York yesterday. And you?”

“I grew up in Long Branch, just a few miles from here. I came from Iraq through Canada.” Khouri chuckled. “Tell me, Abdel, do I look Italian?”

Hadad perused the features of the other man for a moment. “I don’t know. Maybe a little. Why?”

“That’s who I was when I crossed the border. Tony D’Agostino.” He smiled. “Fooled the Customs guy.”

“Are you back to Yusuf now?”

Khouri shook his head. “Sergio Montez, resident of Newark, at your service.”

Hadad frowned.

“What’s the matter?”

“Why all the aliases? I’m using my own passport and driver’s license.”

“But no one, Allah willing, is looking for you, my friend. I, on the other hand, have attracted the attention of the NSA.”

Hadad looked alarmed. “Really?”

“I must assume so. I made speeches for the cause in my youth. And there’s something else.”

Hadad didn’t respond, but stared intently at Khouri.

“I took over from Jihadi John when he was injured.”

Hadad’s jaw dropped. “I heard rumors he’d been hit in a drone attack when I was in Syria. So you’re the American they were talking about?”

Khouri nodded.

“I’m in the presence of a freakin’ celebrity!”

Khouri deflected the compliment by changing the subject. “Do you know anything about Muhammad Basara, the missing member of our group?”

“No, only that he’s an American, too. He was supposed to come yesterday, but he got detained at Orly because – get this – he had the same name as a suspected terrorist!” Hadad laughed.

Khouri narrowed his eyes at the other man. “Soldier for Allah, you mean.”

Hadad’s smile disappeared. “Of course. From the point of view of the French is what I was referring to.”

“Yes, the French.” Khouri shook his head and took another sip of coffee. He looked down at the table for a moment before his head came up. “Anyway, do we have the bicycle?”

“Yup. Complete with a basket that will accommodate the IED.”

“Show me what you’ve made and how it works.”

 

5.

Lew Wallace’s BEN-HUR, written in 1880, is getting a cinematic re-tell, this time with a stress on the book’s original themes, including forgiveness. What themes do you focus on in your work? Are they enduring?

 

I have read the reviews of the Ben-Hur movie remake but have not seen the film. Frankly, I can’t believe it can top the original, 1959 version! But I understand that the new one adheres to the book by Lew Wallace more faithfully, in that forgiveness, rather than revenge, plays a more important role. Christ-like forgiveness for what Judah Ben-Hur and his family suffered is certainly admirable, but is, frankly, a difficult standard for most of us – including me! – to embrace. For example, I don’t think I could do what those families of the slain churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. did – forgive the killer of their loved ones.

In my books, I focus on right vs. wrong. As I said, the good guys against the bad guys. The good guys aren’t always so good, and the bad guys can have admirable qualities, but justice for wrongdoing must be served in my stories. Ambiguity is okay for characters, but not for my plot climaxes!  In one of my books, the protagonist, while not actually forgiving the antagonist for almost doing him in, at least lets her go without retribution. If I was Wallace’s Ben-Hur, I might have left it at that. But I’m not, and I didn’t.

 

6.

Is Adam Taylor a hero?

 

Adam Taylor is a hero in the classic sense. I didn’t burden him with flaws (or ambiguity!), unlike some of my other protagonists. He had been a Navy SEAL involved in the raid that got Osama bin Laden, and when he became disillusioned because of publicity hunting by two of his comrades, he left the service. Then he traveled around the world protecting diplomats and other celebrities from harm. In my story he wins the battle of wits with Khouri and defeats him. So he is a true-blue American hero. As far as protagonist character types go, I think he comes close to the Harry Bosch character in Michael Connelly’s novels.

 

7.

When does the book come out?

 

I’ve finished the first round of editing, and there weren’t many issues to deal with, so I expect the book will be coming out before next year.

 

8.

Any last words?

 

I hope you don’t mean that in the literal sense, because I’m not ready for that yet! But if I could one day be included in a book of Famous Last Words, that would be cool.

Thanks again for letting me opine.

 

Ed – Opine as much as you like! You’re a fantastic interview!

 

About the Author

 

johns-author-photoAfter graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, John L. DeBoer, M.D., F.A.C.S. completed surgical training in the U.S. Army and then spent three years in the Medical Corps as a general surgeon. Thirty years of private practice later, he retired to begin a new career as a writer. A member of International Thriller Writers, Dr. DeBoer is the author of seven published novels. For the last twenty-eight years, he has called North Carolina home.

 

Links

 

TOMORROW: Mary Ann Cortez talks SISTER SLEUTHS,  Autism Spectrum and characters finding their matching groove.

UNSTOPPABLE MARIE LAVENDER

 

TOMORROW: John L. DeBoer talks terror, counter-terror, expansion and containment as the focal of his new release WHEN THE REAPER COMES.

BLOGGER, JOURNALIST, NOVELIST DEBBIE DE LOUISE: ALL WRITING, ALL GOOD

Good Monday morning mighty Blogosphere. It’s decidedly fall-like outside, and with the cooler temperatures and school buses rattling past my front window, there is a tremendous sense of excitement brewing. Beginning last week, guest bloggers have been dropping by to share their work and insights. This week, we continue. Today’s guest, Debbie De Louise, is a multi-published author, catwoman, and library scientist. Check out what she has to say about A STONE’S THROW, the future of paper, and her exciting work-in-progress. Welcome, Debbie…

 

1.

You are an award winning writer with a third book releasing through Solstice Publishing. Trace your career for us with an anecdote or two.

 

After I self-published my first book, “Cloudy Rainbow,” I tried writing another but gave up. I didn’t have any experience promoting books at that time and had no network of professional contacts. Everyone in my family bought the book, of course, but it didn’t sell well otherwise. Since my daughter was young at the time, I decided it was a good time to take a break from writing.

 

I probably would not have written another book except for three things that happened years later. The first was that a patron at the library where I work kept asking if I was writing something else. She had read and enjoyed my first novel and urged me not to give up. This went on for some time, but then my library began to offer online classes through a database called Gale Courses. All the librarians were encouraged to enroll in one of the classes before we advertised the database to the public. Since Gale Courses included quite a few publishing classes, I enrolled in one. I got hooked and kept taking classes. Then I started writing articles and short stories again. I began sending out my work. I received rejections for the stories, but some of the articles were published online and in my local newspaper.

 

As I kept writing, I came up with more ideas. One of them grew into my second novel, “A Stone’s Throw”. Although I received some initial rejections for the manuscript, I took a chance and participated in an online twitter event called Pit2Pub where authors could tweet a pitch to publishers. I received several responses to my pitch and was offered a contract by Limitless Publishing. A year later, I pitched another book at this same event and was signed with Solstice Publishing.

 

2.

We have Sisters in Crime in common. What came first for you: crime writing or your Sisters’ membership?

 

I don’t consider myself exclusively a crime writer. My books usually feature both mystery and romance. I joined Sisters-in-Crime recently because I wanted to belong to a professional organization of mystery authors for contacts and networking opportunities. I also plan to join the International Thriller Writers after my book with Solstice is published.

 

3.

As a librarian, what kind of future do you see for paper-bound books in the digital age? Will libraries become museum pieces?

 

I don’t think digital books will replace physical books anytime soon. Patrons at my library still request physical books and indicate that, even though some of them have e-readers, they still prefer books in a physical format. I, myself, feel that way. While I appreciate the availability of the written word in various formats and own a Kindle Fire, I still return to the traditional format of paperback or hardcover books. My daughter who is of the generation that grew up with computers and is constantly on different electronic devices also still enjoys reading physical books.

 

Regarding libraries becoming antiquated, it’s true they are changing, but I don’t see them disappearing soon either. Libraries play much more of a role in society than places to borrow books and other materials. They are community centers featuring a variety of programs from defensive driving courses to cooking and exercise classes. Our library hosts a literacy group for adults learning English as a Second Language, and we also recently started a writer’s club in addition to open poetry nights and a memoir writing class. Children and YA programs are popular, and we loan free passes to local museums. Through Overdrive and subscription databases, we also extend the “walls” of the library into the homes of our patrons.

 

4.

Comparing journal articles, short stories and novels is tantamount to comparing apples and oranges and… heroically sized watermelons, but I’ll ask you to try. As a crafter of all three, do you favor one method of expression over another?

 

There are pluses and minuses to each type of writing, but I believe they are all connected in certain ways. Novel writing is extremely time-consuming but can be more rewarding because the product you produce is one that allows for full creative expression and the opportunity to receive recognition and acclaim (and eventually some profit). Article-writing is factual and requires research without the added imaginative spark. However, unless you’re writing scholarly articles, there’s always room for creative ways to present research. Blog posts are a perfect example of this. Also, even with novels and short stories, some factual research is necessary to lend realism to the writing.

 

I truly can’t say which type of writing I prefer because I like them all and enjoy doing each as a change from the other. It’s like an artist working in different mediums. It gives you a chance to develop skills in other areas. Another plus is that you can occasionally use something you’ve written in one type of writing in another. For instance, short story themes can be expanded into novels. Information from articles can be used in short stories and novels.

 

5.

We also have kitties in common so I have to ask about the Cat Writer’s Association. Where do we sign up?

 

Just check out their website www.catwriters.com. There’s an application form there that gives information on how to join. It’s a great organization, and I have been a member for many years.

 

6.

Tell us about your new release.

.

My upcoming mystery novel that I just signed with Solstice, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” (tentative title) can be read as a standalone or sequel to my novel “A Stone’s Throw” that was published last November. I don’t want to give too much away about it except to say that it features kidnapping, burglary, and murder. Some of the characters from “A Stone’s Throw” are in it and some new characters are introduced. It takes place in the same small, upstate fictional town of Cobble Cove, New York near the holidays and there are some scenes in New York City, too. I consider it a mystery, but it features many cozy elements and no explicit violence.

 

7.

And the WIP?

 

I’m very excited about my WIP because it’s totally different from my previous books. I usually write in third person but, in this book, I alternate chapters between first and third person. Most of the narrative is told by the main character, but I do include some other “voices.” The action also alternates from the present time to incidents that occurred twenty years before. While this book features a mystery, I consider it a psychological thriller. It deals with a variety of topics including alcoholism and mental illness Again, I can’t go into detail, but I’m hoping to begin querying it sometime in the fall to agents as well as publishers.

 

8.

Let’s finish with a library anecdote: humorous, spooky or both.

 

Lots of funny things happen in the library. My co-workers all say that we could write a book about them, but I can’t think of anything specific right now, so I’ll share a romantic anecdote instead. I actually met my husband when I first started working at the library. He was teaching computer classes there in the early days when there was a big demand for them. We still offer computer classes, but they are now given by our computer support technicians. Anthony was not an employee. He gave the classes in the evenings, and I took one. No one knew we began “seeing” one another until we were announced we were engaged. My co-workers threw an engagement party for us in the library’s community room and many attended the wedding. That was 24 years ago, and I am still working at the library and married to Anthony.

 

 

A STONE’S THROW

stonesthrowamazonWidowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…

After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past…

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John.

As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

Ed.-WOW!

 

1

 

Excerpt

 

After Alicia unpacked her things, heated up Sheila’s stew that turned out to be quite tasty, and changed into pajamas, she lay in bed with a book, but she couldn’t concentrate on her reading. She turned off the light and tried to sleep, but the heavy rain against the window kept her up, as did the loud purring of Sneaky Cat, who snuggled against her, happy to have company again. She thought about Tina, the girl who’d stayed here last. From what Alicia knew of her, Tina was a young library school graduate who’d been hired by Sheila as quickly as Alicia had. She’d lived over the library in this space, as well, taken care of Sneaky, and left after a year and a half to care for her sick mother in Florida.

 

Sneaky dug his paws into the quilt at her back. It had been a long time since she’d had a cat, but she recalled the kneading sensation both male and female cats practiced to comfort themselves. Maybe it would comfort her too. Had she done the right thing by returning to Cobble Cove? Would she be bored in this small town with only a hand full of people patronizing the library each day? Sheila had mentioned the large number of homebound patrons, the seniors of the town, who needed books delivered. She might enjoy that. She liked reader’s advisory work, selecting books that would interest people. Sometimes it was a challenge, but she always learned through the experience and even found new authors and books for herself.

 

After a few hours of restlessness, Sneaky finally got sick of her tossing and left the room. She felt strangely deserted. She decided it might be better to get up and do something than spend unproductive time in bed. She turned on the light and went out into the hall. All was quiet from downstairs except the continuous downpour. She didn’t plan to go into the library, but she considered checking some of the unprocessed books Sheila had mentioned Mac was working on in the storage room. Perhaps she’d find something more interesting than her current reading that could help her fall asleep.

 

When she entered the storage room, she didn’t see Sneaky, although she thought he might’ve headed there to use his litter box. Cats can be quiet and liked to sleep in the strangest spots, so he could be there in some corner. Mac’s jacket was still draped across the chair by the desk. She laughed recalling the story about what Sneaky had once done to it out of spite, so typical of an angered cat. She sat in the chair and perused the stack of books on the desk. A few were from James Patterson’s “Private” series. She didn’t read too many series and had only read a few of Patterson’s standalone titles. As she was about to choose a book from the pile, she heard scratching in the corner. She jumped. Hopefully, that was Sneaky and not a mouse he hadn’t caught, for this place probably attracted them. She walked cautiously to the corner where she’d heard the noise. It wasn’t coming from the litter box under the window but from the opposite side.

 

Since the one bulb in the room was dim, she could hardly see in the dark recesses of the room. She wished she had a flashlight. As she approached the area where she heard the noise, she saw a bunch of boxes. She was relieved to see Sneaky scratching the side of one, cardboard pieces scattered at his feet. “Oh, Sneaky,” she said. “You scared me, but you’re only using a box for a scratching post.” The cat, caught in the act, stopped in mid-scratch and scampered away through his cat flap. Alicia made a note to speak to John about helping her find a real scratching post for Sneaky,. but before she left the room, she went over to the boxes. She figured they contained more books, but when she looked inside the one Sneaky had been scratching, she saw a few papers bundled together with rope. Newspapers? They weren’t that thick. She realized as she picked up the first bundle, they were a stack of letters. She felt uneasy snooping through them and was about to toss them next to the other two stacks in the box when she caught the name on the top envelope, Miss Carol Parsons. Her heart thudded in tempo with the rain. Were these the letters Mac wrote to Peter’s mother all those years ago? If so, how had Mac gotten them back?

 

About the Author

 

debbieDebbie De Louise is a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. Her first novel, “Cloudy Rainbow,” received an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest self-published awards. Her mystery novel, “A Stone’s Throw” was published November 2015 by Limitless Publishing. The sequel, tentatively titled “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” is currently contracted with Solstice Publishing. Debbie was awarded the Lawrence C. Lobaugh Memorial Award in Journalism from Long Island University/C.W. Post where she earned a B.A. in English and a M.L.S. in Library Science. A member of Sisters in Crime and the Cat Writer’s Association, she has published articles in several pet publications and journals. Her Catster.com article, “Brush Your Cat for Bonding, Beauty, and Better Health,” won a special award from Hartz Corporation. Her short mystery, “Stitches in Time” was published in the Cat Crimes Through Time Anthology. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats and is currently working on a standalone psychological thriller.

 

Links

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW/

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com

 

Here are some teasers for a Stone’s Throw and its buy links:

Buy links for A STONE’S THROW:

Amazon U.S.: KINDLE: http://amzn.to/1MjaJgN

Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1Sdh82D

Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/1SdheHi

Amazon U.K.: http://amzn.to/1QutXBW

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1nQPyv4

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1KGYHep

Also available on iTunes and Ingram

Thanks for dropping by, Debbie. We wish you well and look forward to that new release! — ABF

 

TOMORROW: Novelist, blogger and graphic designer Marie Lavender.

 

 

 

GOING NOIR WITH SIMON MALTMAN

Simon Author PhotoIt’s September 1 and the blog is alive again, and what better way to begin a new season than with a catch up. Some of the writers appearing over the next few weeks are returning as old friends dearly missed, while others are completely new with plenty of stories to tell. Today, we begin with North Irish author Simon Maltman. Simon’s into noir, music and characters from a time long passed. Welcome, Simon.

 

1.

You’re a contemporary artist with a foot in the past and your fans love that. What drew you to the 1940s and the noir it evokes?

 

The Billy Chapman character was actually the first protagonist I had come up with for crime fiction stories and I had used him in an earlier short story. I really love the original film noir movies and that was a big influence. Raymond Chandler is a great favourite of mine too which is probably pretty obvious to anyone familiar with his work. I suppose that part of the ‘story within a story’ in my novel is a bit of a homage to the likes of Philip Marlowe. I wanted to see what a PI in Belfast from that time might get mixed up in.

 

2.

I love dark humor and use it wherever I can. How do you account for yours? Where does it come from?

 

I think it would be fair to say that coming from Northern Ireland, there is a lot of it about. It’s quite unique here in its style and there can be trouble in translation! I’ve had a great editor to help me out!  Even for those from the Republic or the rest of the UK, it can be taken up wrong and is often very dark, black really! I enjoy that and I enjoy comedy in general. I try not to take myself too seriously and I think there’s good reason to find humour in life as much as you can.

 

3.

Tell us about your music and whether you put that skill to use in your writing. Do you hear the music in your fiction?

 

That’s an interesting question. I actually view them quite separately. With music I love recording and I am very much for the first take is great- that’s the one! Some say that’s just lazy haha! I find I have to be much more disciplined in writing and that it is much more about chipping away and refining. In that sense it reminds me of the editing and production elements in the recording of a song. I’ve heard people like Nick Cave say it’s harder to write a song than a book, but one or two verses compared to 50,000 words or so- I have to disagree!!

 

4.

The book cracks on at a fantastic speed with no words wasted. Are you like that personally?

 

Haha I’m not sure! My wife thinks I can be quite verbose at times! I probably do prefer to be concise when writing in work contexts and the like that’s true. When I was first approached about writing a novel I had just been doing short stories and it seemed like a mammoth task for sure. In saying that, the shorts I have written after it, I’ve struggled now to keep the word count down!

 

5.

I’m intrigued by the spate of recent past films cropping up. The Seventies and Eighties appear to be everywhere. I speculate that it has a lot to do with gadgetry and the lack thereof. Do you think modern characters are shortchanged by technology that does all the work for them?

 

I think there’s definitely something in that. I find it can be a narrative problem sometimes that everyone has a mobile phone and are so ‘connected’ all the time; especially when you want someone to be trapped by some type of elaborate threat! I suppose there’s always a pining for ‘simpler times’ and that too. Maybe it is harder to ground characters now in a way and still hoping they appear to live in the real present with all its trappings.

 

6.

Your character Brian Caskey is an ex-cop with a lot of baggage. Are ‘dark’ characters more interesting to write?

 

Yes, I think they are. An interesting nice guy protagonist is always going to be harder to pull off without them being a bit boring I think. Maybe that’s very cynical haha! I also think most people have their demons anyway and crime fiction in particular just highlights more of those flaws.

 

7.

And you’re a poet and short story teller as well?

 

Yes, I haven’t written much poetry in a long time. I enjoy still writing the short stories. In general I kind of focused in on crime fiction a few years ago and it’s definitely what suits me best, or is for now anyway.

 

8.

Northern Island and its history informs your story. Tell us about home and hearth.

 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely developed a real love of my country and it’s scenery, culture and history. There’s a lot of bad stuff, but so there is anywhere else I suppose. However dark is a story I am trying to tell, I always endeavour to tease out some of the beauty that Northern Ireland has to offer. I thinks it’s true too to write about what you know and I find it essential to plot stories in real places.

Simon’s novel A CHASER ON THE ROCKS will be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Solstice Publishing.

 

A BIT ABOUT…

chaser coverHardened by the mean streets of Belfast, ex-cop Brian Caskey works as a struggling PI. He is isolated and erratic, often losing the battle to maintain his fragile mental health. Caskey escapes the real world by writing crime fiction stories about a 1940’s PI investigating mysteries during the Belfast Blitz.

‘A Chaser on the Rocks’ follows both of these characters in parallel as a ‘novel within a novel’. The two stories collide in a dramatic conclusion set against the backdrop of The Giant’s Causeway.

Simon Maltman has created a modern noir with a new twist, a dash of black humour and a fresh approach and comment on storytelling.

 

Excerpt

“Reaching to check for my phone, I realised I had left it in the car and my smokes too. I started to idle back towards the car when I heard what sounded like a large door slam followed by fast footsteps. I jumped over the three foot, outer wall onto the grass at the side of the driveway. Ducking down behind it, my breath rattled in my throat and a wave of nausea splashed about my stomach. I felt cold, but clammy, in my jacket and pulled it close to me opening out my collar. The footsteps had turned the corner and were running towards me. Each pair sounded several paces behind the other. One set passed and I stiffened. An alarm started to scream out into the cold air. A second pair of trainers raced past. The last set approached and for no good reason my body shot up. I looked the husband in the eye before I lunged at his sprinting silhouette, pushing him over with a shove. I tumbled over the wall after him and scrambled to get up myself; a few feet to the side of him. A blaze of light danced on my eyes and half my vision melted away like a Dali clock. Two scuffled steps and he was on me. I flapped like a swan in a sand pit and hit out as best I could. We rolled and I could feel my back scraping on stones and dirt. He hit me a few more times but was too close to hurt me much. I heard shouts, then the beginning of car sirens as he started to try and get off me. I got in a punch to his back which I could hear in his groan had hurt him some. He seemed to struggle to his feet and this time the running was accompanied by a siren duet. I fell against the wall and felt unconsciousness almost overwhelm me. The sirens were close now and an engine started. There was a crash of metal on metal, then a car door and more shouting. I went to sleep.”

 

Praise for Simon Maltman

 

“I’m amazed how a writer can cram so much into such a short space of narrative. You hit the ground running and it’s a sprint finish.”

Crime Book Junkie

“Praise Satan for Bangorian Simon Maltman.”

Irish News

“Long may he continue.”

Hotpress magazine

“A compelling tale… a short but snappy read that gives a fresh glimpse into a life of crime and where it can lead you.”

Writing.ie

“Those who foresaw the end of the book as artefact with the coming of the digital age hadn’t banked on the ingenuity and skill of a number of young writers who are converting the e-book into a work of artistic relevance. Such a case is that of Simon Maltman, a multifaceted writer and musician from Bangor.”

Dr. David M. Clark

Director Departamento de Filoloxía Inglesa

Universidade da Coruña

 

About the Author

Simon Maltman is a writer and musician from Northern Ireland. This is his debut novel after previously having crime fiction short stories featured in a number of magazines and anthologies. He has also had poetry and articles published in a range of magazines. Simon has self-published a number of crime fiction e-books over the last year. There is work underway for further crime fiction releases in the near future.

Simon is an established musician, along with his current band The Hung Jury. He lives in County Down with his wife and two daughters.

 

Links

facebook.com/simonmaltmancrimefiction

twitter.com/simonmaltman

Novellette RETURN RUN  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01I1Y6RX0

 

All the best with the new release, Simon. Come back again!

–ABF

TOMORROW: Fresh off the Carnival of Parahorror in Buffalo, NY, Susan Lynn Solomon flys in with a Wicca tale or two.