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

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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

head-shot

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.

 

 

Lady Brenda and Devlin’s Curse

Her biography is amazing; her accomplishments, rich and varied; and, she’s a great lady! Please welcome to the blog, multi-talented author, radio personality, medium and screen writer Lady Brenda McKoy.

 

crystal ball me2Lady Brenda aka Brenda McKoy was born in Southern California and raised in east Africa. Writing vampire fantasy and non-fiction in the metaphysical genre, she most recently published Devlin’s Curse through Solstice Publishing (2016). Non-fiction works include Tarot Secrets and Reiki for Witches, also from Solstice Sisters Publishing (2015), and The Wings of Isis from O-Books (2010). As a screenwriter, she has two optioned screenplays to her credit Red Bluff and the Heart of Anubis.

An internationally acclaimed professional psychic for over 25 years she is known for her straightforward, on target predictions. Presently, Lady Brenda hosts of Psychic Viewpoint on Psychic Access Talk Radio as well as her own radio program The Destiny Show on KTMQ and Lady Brenda’s Psychic Hour on KSHJ. She has made guest appearances on radio nationally and internationally on The Jamie and Danny Show with Danny Bonaduce, and as the in house psychic for the annual KROQ Halloween Party. Lady Brenda has been a guest on such television shows as The Daily Show, Woman to Woman News on CBS, Men are from Mars Woman are from Venus on NBC with Cybill Shepard, Jay Leno and The Learning Channel.

As a medium, Lady Brenda specializes in spirit contact and has performed séances, ghostbusting, exorcisms and table tipping throughout the United States, UK, Mexico and in Egypt.

tarot secretsLady Brenda has a PhD in Religious Philosophy, is an ordained minister and Reiki Master woi book coverTeacher. She is the founder and High Priestess of The Grove of the Green Cobra, School of Ancient Mysteries and The DejaVu School of Healing provides classes in various metaphysical and healing subjects.

As a spiritual tour guide, Brenda has led tours to Egypt to facilitate meditations and rituals in Pyramids and the ancient temples.

Other interests: A professional belly dancer since 1990, Lady Brenda performs and promotes events at restaurants and other venues all over southern California and Nevada.

Lady Brenda resides primarily on her small ranch in Southern California with her husband, two dogs and four horses. She travels once a month to her haunted Victorian home in the living Ghost Town of Virginia City, Nevada, the backdrop for her upcoming novel, Devlin’s Curse.

 

NEW FROM LADY BRENDA: DEVLIN’S CURSE

Devlin's Curse (1)A wicked tale of love and immortality, set against the backdrop of the Old West…

Esmeralda Jones, exorcist and healer, travels to the notorious gold town of Virginia City where a demonic presence lurks deep in the Gilded Bird mine. A woman with a mysterious past she sets herself up in a fine salon where she can fulfill her calling to purge innocent souls from unspeakable evil. An unexpected encounter with Devlin Winter, gambler, gunfighter and sinfully handsome vampire puts her soul and carefully guarded heart in peril.

Driven by a passion of many lifetimes and the thirst for revenge, Devlin doesn’t count on Esmeralda becoming the bait that draws him into the demon’s lair, deep inside the Gilded Bird mine. During his quest he confronts Virginia City’s most prominent mine owner, a rabid pack of hired guns and a Babylonian demon. Devlin and Esmeralda face a fierce battle that even his immortal strength and her magical abilities may not be enough to win against. A battle in which Esmeralda herself may have to choose between a half-life and immortality to survive.

 

What was your inspiration for Devlin’s Curse?

Devlin’s Curse  was inspired by my love of Old West lore, magic, vampires  and the living ghost town of  Virginia City Nevada. The characters for the story were first originally created in a previous screenplay I wrote entitled Red Bluff then spun off to the novel Devlin’s Curse. The book tells the tale of Devlin Winter, gambler, gunfighter and vampire that comes to Virginia City to kill a demon that lives deep in a gold mine. His plans are shot to hell when the woman he loves Esmeralda Jones arrives in Virginia City and becomes the bait that draws him into a battle between a corrupt mine owner, a pack of desperate gunslingers and a Babylonia demon.

 

Why did you choose the town of Virginia City as the location of your story?

The first time I laid eyes on Virginia City Nevada, I could feel the spirits all around me. The history and the rich tapestry of notorious characters from the gold rush days led my husband and I to buy a historic house on the hill. It was built by one of the original founders of the town and owner of a famous gold mine, the Belcher mine.  Many of the historic saloons, opera house and landmarks of Virginia City are mentioned in Devlin’s Curse. The battle between good and evil and the underlying love story is woven into the history and legends of some of the town’s most prominent characters and locations.

 

Why do you write?

The voices in my head tell me to write! Characters and stories come to me late at night and even in my dreams. I always keep a notebook beside my bed in case I need to scribble a plot or dialog down in the wee hours of the morning.

 

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Bram Stoker, Ann Rice, Alexander Dumas, Max Brand, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Eloisa James and Jane Feather.

Publication1dev3

Thank you so much Lady Brenda for stopping by and sharing your latest success with us. Good luck with the book and everything you do.

ABF

LINKS

www.ladybbooks.com

www.ladybrendapsychic.com

Twitter: @ladybrendamckoy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brenda.mckoy.9

https://www.facebook.com/Lady-Brenda-159720594098554/?fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15050449.Lady_Brenda?ref=ru_lihp_up_rs_0_mclk-up2980336249

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOLSTICE AUTHOR VANAYSSA SOMERS WEIGHS IN ON THE BOY SCOUT

 

VANAYSSA SOMERSTHE BOY SCOUT by Vanayssa Somers

BUY THIS BOOK: http://amzn.to/1PWvuOg

Published: February 12, 2016

Published by Summer Solstice Publishing

The Magic Will Find You!

           

My desire to write was driven by the transformative power of Story. As a child, I loved books about characters who did the right thing and overcame great odds. I was fired with the hunger to experience transformation in my own life and inspire others.

Born in a Yukon winter, I moved to beautiful British Columbia as a toddler and grew up in the deep forests of Vancouver Island. Over the years I trained as a Registered Nurse, earned a B.A. in Sociology from University of Victoria, worked as a Reiki Master, Psychic and NLP counselor. I was blessed to mother a beautiful daughter who, unfortunately, passed away in her twenties. Through that loss I discovered a gold mine of new depth in myself and in life itself, as she returned to visit me and open a new awareness of life after death. The greatest gift of all is life itself.

Over the years I have sought to help and inspire others through my work as a nurse, as the owner/operator of a seaside spa in the U.K., as counselor and psychic.  A graduate of The Monroe Institute and a follower of Bruce Moen’s books and website, I work in soul retrieval and connection with my family in the Afterlife. I believe romantic love to be one of life’s highest experiences. Writing romance is my joy.

VANAYSSA AUTHOR

To contact Vanayssa Somers, click on this link: www.paranormalfantasyromance.com/contact

 

BLURB

A massive shipping container stands open and waiting on the dock of a huge port city, in almost any country. A truck drives up and a load of human beings, in this case, youngsters, are off loaded and packed inside the crate. A crane lifts the container. It takes its place among dozens of other gigantic shipping containers, all locked together on board a freighter.

A week or two later, the container is lifted once more and deposited on another dock, thousands of miles from home. At some point, the kidnappers unlock the crate and those souls who have survived the ocean journey are gathered up and taken somewhere to be sold.

Sold as slaves for either sex, or hard labor, or both. For the remainder of their lives.

Behind them, their country; their birthrights; their families; their rights to education, freedom of speech, equality, all the things we take for granted.

Shocking enough when it takes place on the other side of the world.

More so, when it takes place in America, and the youngsters being kidnapped are American children.

Melchior, King of Fairies, and Theresa, a young American woman are passionately in love, soon to be wed. But a new purpose takes hold of these two magical Wizards as they discover the hazards young people face, unknowingly, every time they step outside their home.

In any country on earth.

Even ours.

 

Amazon reviews for Vanayssa Somers Books:

…one of the best supernatural romance books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Following Theresa, through the span of many years was both interesting and intriguing, never once slowing down. The transition from past to present was seamless. It flowed with the grace of a well trained ballerina gliding across the stage and air with one toe keeping it all in balance. The story is the most interesting of concepts and the romance filled my heart and drew me in. I would recommend this story for anyone who loves the mix of supernatural and love, or to anyone who just loves love. Well done Miss Somers, this story and your writing is a true treasure.

***************************

…I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down. Vanayssa Somers made the story and the characters come to life in a way that few authors are able to do. She did her research well on the pagan practices and the horrible time of burning ‘witches’ and any one that dared to be ‘different’ This book has everything from shape shifters to wizards to fairies & more. Truly mesmerizing to the reader with believable characters and places.

 

CHAPTER NINETEEN from The Boy Scout

by Vanayssa Somers

 

Bad Medicine

 

While Theresa engaged Callaway’s shamanic alter ego far away in his ancient Chinese hiding place, 21st century police were setting out to raid his current hideaway. And bring an end to the longest crime spree in human history.

It was 1530 hours on the police clock, a hot summer sun high in the sky.

In the lush forests outside of Summerford, near the border between New Hampshire and Maine, nine vehicles thundered up the graveled road and long driveway toward Callahan’s home.

Avalon’s covert team, subcontracted to Interpol, had been able to bring expanded information to McEwan about Callahan/Tenga. His history, his global organization, his fetish for children. The military intelligence section of Melchior’s elite staff had no problem gathering this data. A lot of it had been gathered already, from centuries of battling the wicked shaman’s efforts to destroy Fairyland. It was there, available, in their Special Ops security files.

Consultation with the U.S., European and Asian headquarters of Interpol, together with intel provided by the covert team from Avalon, had produced a full, massive dossier on Bradley Callahan. Philanthropist, Honorary Boy Scout, Inspirational Speaker.

Arch-criminal, kidnapper, human trafficker, drug boss, rapist, murderer. Killer of small children.

The full extent of Callahan’s crimes was still not fully compiled. A team of experienced staff were busy twenty-four hours a day, raking through every ounce of evidence from every part of the world, fitting the pieces together like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.

His activities were so widely established, and covered so many criminal categories, as to be unbelievable. How could one human being create and manage such a vast rulership of evil?

As one of the top officers of Europol, the European organization independent of, but parallel to, Interpol, had said, it almost felt as though Callahan were not human, but some other kind of creature. Something unheard of in the annals of crime.

The estate was surrounded by forested acreage with wide views of mountains and ocean. Its privacy was underlined by a seven foot tall ironwork fence and gate at the final approach to the house itself.

A disembodied voice echoed from an intercom in the gate, demanding to know their identity and purpose.

The first vehicle, its markings indicating the presence of U.S. law enforcement, pulled to a stop at the gate. A grim-faced officer leaned out his window, requesting admission. He identified himself as an officer with Summerford’s Police Special Reaction Team.

The housekeeper/general assistant on the other end of the intercom went silent for about a full minute as eight more vehicles growled their way up behind the first one.

Then, just before the driver of the first vehicle put his foot to the floor to smash his way through the gate, an answer came.

“Mr. Callahan is not home at this time. We have standing orders never to admit anyone while he is absent from the property, ever, no matter who they are. However, I have sent him a message to tell him you are at the gate and require admission. He may reply shortly.”

The housekeeper/assistant had, in fact, telepathed to Tenga, far in another Age and place. Interrupting the Boss’s plans for his special prisoner trapped in an Energy Web, under an ancient sun looking down upon a volcanic planet.

“Fine. There are nine police investigation vehicles here, and we are coming in. We are fully armored and carrying battle-trained personnel. If you prefer, we can break down the gate. Or, you can open the gate and preserve this very nice entryway for future use. It’s up to you.”

Moments later the gate swung open, admitting the cavalcade of ominous looking armored vans and trucks. Two of the trucks each carried in back ten police officers in full riot gear complete with assault-style semi-automatic rifles.

The other trucks were transporting a full squad of uniformed officers carrying long guns.

At the front of the house an armored truck pulled to a halt. It was a Cadillac Gage Peacekeeper II, built for urban police special actions.

Innocent bystanders and witnesses could be placed behind it, sheltering them from a firestorm of bullets if it came to that.

Within minutes, law enforcement descended in full, irresistible power on the home base of Bradley Callahan, Arch Criminal.

In a steady stream, police boots thumped into the entryway, up the stairs, through the house, into the basement, looking not only for the obvious but for the hidden, the covert, the subversive.

Experts among the teams began to probe corners, window frames, behind pictures, closet shelving, anyplace a hidden compartment or room might await their ferocious, unrelenting onslaught.

Like a mighty ancient army entering a walled city with merciless swords drawn, set to draw blood, the officers carried their long shields, their rifles, their full battle equipment and protective gear.

Nothing in this entire estate, its length and breadth, in the house or on the grounds or in the forest surrounding the estate, would escape their precise and exhaustive examination.

One voice shouted, “I’ve got something!”

The lead investigator, Terry Kincaid, the only member of the raid not equipped with rifles or riot gear, shambled calmly over to his officer.

Kincaid was a veteran of the force, had seen just about everything crime and human madness could throw at law enforcement.

But the dossier on this guy defied belief. He had even wondered if someone was exaggerating when he’d spent the entire previous night sitting up in his study steaming his way through a mountain of paper and computer files.

He stood at the side of one of his best officers, a guy who was known as the go-to person for finding hidden stuff. Monty had a gift. He could sense when something was there, when someone had spent real time figuring out how to cache something away.

But this was outstanding. He’d found a hidden latch, in a closet, disguised as part of the molding, and pressed it. Bingo. The wall had slid smoothly aside, revealing what was almost, basically, another, smaller, house.

Terry stood gazing at the scene before him, at what looked amazingly like a Thaan – a sacred space. Something he’d learned about in a rare trip to the far north, the farthest reaches of Alaska. It was part of shamanic ritual, a place where all the shaman’s stuff was kept, where he carried out chanting and vibratory exercises which, it was said, could open hidden worlds and give a shaman the ability to even change shape and appearance. Not all medicine men everywhere in the world called their sacred space a Thaan – but that was what it was, no matter where on the planet rooms like this were found.

He and his wife had been travelling tourists, and both had an interest in ancient pagan practices. They’d explored aboriginal practices in Australia and Eurasia. Whenever a holiday beckoned, Marta Kincaid made sure it was an educational trip.

The history of North America’s aboriginal peoples was one of Marta’s specialties. She was a professional expert witness, acting on behalf of the Native population when legal need arose. The opportunity to explore further and deeper than anything she’d ever stumbled across had made her persuasive in arguing that her husband should accompany her. Go with her to those far northern reaches and learn about ancient medicine man practices.

You never know, she’d said, when this stuff might come in handy. You get all sorts in our big cities, and you should grab this chance to learn.

So he’d gone with her. Like she’d said. You never know.

And right now, he knew he’d be taking her out for a very special dinner quite soon.

It was an Aladdin’s cave of…stuff.

Shaman’s stuff.

So. This Callahan…maybe had a hidden side. Something no one had suspected.

Maybe he was up to his eyes in this cultish activity. No, not cultish. Way deeper, more extensive, more ancient, than any cult.

Shamanism was a part of human development from the most ancient times, in all parts of the globe.

We’d left it behind, supposedly. But Kincaid knew well, from his private reading, that quantum physics was beginning to open doors onto atomic secrets that were confusingly similar to the old shamanic dreamworld skills.

He felt goosebumps form all over his body as he stood methodically taking note of the items hanging on walls, standing on cabinet shelves, lying carefully stacked on the floor against walls, systematically arranged on large and small tables.

And then he noticed a glass cabinet with items that reminded him of something much more prosaic. Something he actually had experience of in previous crimes. Something quite common in the hiding places of the most dangerous killers. Crazed killers.

If only he was wrong. But the moment his eyes fell on the cabinet, he knew.

It was a collection. This Callahan was the worst kind of criminal – he killed and collected mementoes of his victims.

A Collector.

Above the cabinet, a corkboard. With photos. He moved closer. Children. Beautiful little children, wide eyes staring at the camera in confusion and fear.

He sighed deeply, feeling the mix of despair and finality, a familiar feeling, something he’d come to recognize as the beginning of the solution.

In here, in these rooms, behind the sliding wall, was the evidence that would convict Callahan more than any testimony of any witness.

Stepping across the room, he donned a pair of plastic gloves and carefully slid the glass cabinet door open. Using a pair of tweezers, he picked up the first small item on the lower shelf. A tiny mitten, blue, a common kind of mitten any mother places lovingly on the small hand of a beloved child.

He replaced the mitten and took a look at the other pieces in the heartbreak collection. Every piece was something obviously belonging to a small child.

Although there was no evidence yet of bodies, he knew there would be bodies. Somewhere.

Beneath all the exotic, unusual aspects of this madman, there lay the mind of a common killer. The need to keep souvenirs of each victim. So often, the nail in the killer’s coffin. Irrefutable evidence of murder.

He felt himself going pale with stress. So this would be one of those cases. The worst kind. Haunting his retirement years, keeping him awake, making him bolt upright in bed at two in the morning, sweat pouring off his forehead.

Whatever ancient pagan parts there were to this man, this monster, in the end they all came down to the commonplace. A man who took what he wanted, without regard for anything or anyone.

A common psychopath. Dressed in more ritualistic, unusual garb, perhaps, but common in the basic facts.

He turned to the officers directly behind him, and gave orders.

“Get the forensic team in here, now. There will be bodies, probably many. Children, by the look of things.”

One of his officers, carefully stepping around with the plastic booties they were all wearing, said to him, “Sir, look at this.”

He pointed toward a post-it note, pinned to a corkboard on one wall.

It read, in perfect penmanship, “Get someone to move the bodies at the west fence.”

“Shit,” Kincaid said.

The young officer swallowed hard, took off his hat, smoothed his hair, wiped his forehead, looked at the floor. His lips trembled briefly, just slightly. Then the hat went back on, the head went up, and the sharp, probing eyes began to search the room again.

Members of the forensic team had been downstairs, carefully going through a whole library of what was probably going to be major evidence. He heard footsteps enter the room, and two of its members stood beside him, gazing around in awe.

Now, Kincaid pointed to the post-it note on the corkboard, and to the collection of souvenirs on the cupboard shelves.

The District Attorney commented, “There’s enough here to keep everyone busy for a long time, and we had better get some team members over from another area, there’s just too much for our outfit. We’re a pretty small city. What do you think?” She’d come along due to the high profile of this suspect and the wide assortment of offences he appeared to have committed.

He agreed, and she went off to make some calls and confer with her team downstairs.  They needed help. Particularly because every single piece of evidence had to be handled meticulously and documented in detail. And there were hundreds of pieces of evidence, in all likelihood. Anyone making a mistake in this crime scene – for that was what this house was beginning to look like – would suffer for it.

Children, many of them, probably, had lost their lives here, in this house. Mistakes would be unacceptable.

Terry walked around, taking mental note of every item. He wished he could take pictures for his own use, so he could show Marta. But absolute professionalism was required in this nest of terror.

He recognized many items they’d learned of on that trip, and then from extensive reading they’d both done after returning home. Reading and internet research, videos of topics which ninety-nine percent of people knew nothing about.

There, on that table, was a Shila Dhunga, a clear quartz crystal which represented the celestial mountain. A mountain which connected the shaman to three different worlds – the upper, middle and lower.

By accessing these three worlds through the quartz crystal, the medicine man, supposedly healer, could See the spirits causing sickness in a tribe member.

It worked through the aesiric trance. Necessary to be an effective healer. Or whatever this particular shaman was. Not, perhaps, a healer.

There on the table was a shaligram – a black fossil ammonite, representing the cycles of birth and annihilation.

An aura duster. A fetish pot, interesting. Each shaman made a different kind of collection of items for this. On the wall, a medicine shield, a prayer stick. Here and there, a strange sight, a pile of animal skins. Pieces of leather. Bones, of what origin he could not say offhand. But they would find out. A shudder passed over his back.

He wandered further into the rooms. Feathers, vines, leaves, twigs. Rattles, larger ones, small ones.

On one wall, a collection of some very fine drums. Beautiful art work on some of them. Skins stretched across the frames perfectly, expert craftsmanship. He wondered if Callahan made his own drums. He wondered what animal the skins came from, shut out nightmare imagination.

Or maybe Callahan was not the shaman, himself. Maybe someone in his outfit was the medicine man. At this point, they couldn’t take anything for granted.

There was a healer’s staff. Altar decorations. An altar. A magical wand, used to project black or white energy to someone or something else.

And there. One of the most vital of ancient shamanic tools, a talking stick.

While this kind of stick was used in a healing group, like AA, to help someone take their turn at speaking, it also had other uses.

It represented the world tree, its leaves, branches, trunk and roots. It represented the three worlds again, the upper, middle and lower.

This was essential helper to the shaman as he travelled through time and space, searching for the spirits causing illness, searching for animal totems, this was a tool synonymous with shamanism.

He felt a yearning to remove the talking stick from the wall, where it lay lengthwise, carefully arranged on hide-covered nails, to feel it in his hands, smell it, handle it.

Ignoring his need to reach out and touch it, Kincaid leaned over, hands behind his back, and examined the ornate carving, not only there for beauty and to give visual information of ancient history, but for the more exotic purpose of symbolism.

For these tools were not just outward show, or meant to induce trance in someone seeking a medicine healer’s help.

These tools could be used to carry out shape-changing, travel into the depths of the earth and to the far reaches of the universe. Apparently. So the videos had said.

He’d wondered about that. You just never knew. Married to the kind of woman he was married to, he’d learned to have an open mind.

These tools were used to achieve states and experiences that quantum physicists were only now, at this end of the historical dialectic, beginning to identify as being humanly possible.

They expressed an ancient hominid acquaintance with the deepest, farthest reaches of the subconscious, almost unknown to the white man. Or woman.

He really had to stop thinking and speaking in terms of male presence all the time. There were now plenty of female shamans in the world. Some, quite famous. Using the internet to find clients, as all these practitioners did. Making far more money than Kincaid and his sort could hope to ever see as they plodded through the muck. Through the detritus of criminal madness which peopled their daily work life. Nothing exotic about the worlds he and his officers travelled in. No, sir.

When it came down to it, Callahan was common muck. When you stripped all this mind-blowing stuff aside.

He was just another killer. Just another rapist.

There was a cell waiting with Callahan’s name on it. Possibly, it would have to be a very special cell. Perhaps, lead-lined. Unless, at last, the finality of true death awaited him. At the hands of a jury.

And where, exactly, would they find a jury of Callahan’s peers?  The idea was laughable.

But shape-shifting and time travel were not necessary parts of jury selection. The presence of a healthy conscience and normal intelligence were the things that mattered there.

And Kincaid was going to put him there. In the hands of a jury. Oh yes. He teetered back on his heels, his hands quiet behind his back, head lifted as he gazed around one last time. Lips compressed, eyes wide.

Next step. Get out there and catch this son of a bitch. Put him away for life, or, if he had his way, put him into the Chair.

But first, they had to find the bodies.

The little bodies.

Like any decent human being, he felt tears start up behind his eyes. But he was used to this.

He could handle himself. No tears.

Not here in front of his officers, anyway.

And he marveled at his wife’s intuition. Marty. An amazing woman. She’d known, somehow.

Some day, he’d need to know all about shamanism.

Who would ever have guessed?

Kincaid could not know that this particular shaman was huddled in a parallel universe, invisible, but very much present in the room, watching in impotent, growing rage as the officers went through his sacred sanctuary inch by inch, exploring, taking notes, peering, judging, gathering evidence by the minute, evidence that would destroy Callahan’s painstakingly-structured life.

His entire world-wide network, all his contacts. In his computer, the speeches he had written, speeches people paid him top dollar to listen to. And the children, the little ones he had loved so much.

The police! They could never understand.

And his magic. His sacred tools. What did these fools know of magic carpets, magic chants and spells? What did they know of travel through time, of shape shifting?

He would show them a thing or two. But he would have to be careful about how he handled this. He could not be shot. If he were killed by a police bullet, he’d be dead. Like anybody else. Simple as that. No matter what animal he was shaped like.

He moved out of his safe place in limbo and took a stance in the woods facing the house. He eyed up the armored Cadillac Gage, the Peacekeeper II.

Perfect.

He hoped one of the intruders carried a camera. Because what they were about to see, they would never see again.  Experts would perhaps call this “a mass hypnotic trance” experience. Except they wouldn’t be able to, because he was going to destroy the house and everyone in it. The house and all the evidence against him. He’d crush the computers, smash the hard drives. Grind any evidence against him into the earth.

He knew where the evidence was.

And he’d have to go after the officers heading out to find and dig up the bodies. Without that cursed post-it note he’d left pinned to the corkboard, they would have had no idea about the bodies.

He’d have to kill, destroy, every single police officer on his property. Every one.

But he savored the moment. It was delicious. The world would be left in horror, speculating.

Maybe he could even make an insurance claim for the damage he would do to the house itself.

Grinning from ear to ear, excited beyond measure, Tenga prepared himself.

The only one who would instantly know what had happened here, would be Melchior, King of Avalon.

He wondered suddenly, where Melchior was. The question took up residence in the back of his mind. He knew the Special Ops team had joined up with Interpol to investigate himself, the one-of-a-kind outlaw, Callahan.

So why wasn’t Melchior and his little team of “covert operators” here, with the police? It bothered him more than it should, and he remembered the thought that had passed through the prisoner’s mind, Theresa’s mind, about Melchior being there in the Mesozoic…but that was impossible. The woman was probably just hysterical. Like most women.

Right now he had to give the Summerford Police Force a thrill they would not forget. Just before he killed them all.

Muttering a spell, he threw back his head and uttered a chant.

One young officer, trailing behind his colleagues with shovels, all heading for the west fence, heard a strange shout in the woods and paused. He peered toward the trees.

“What was that?” he asked aloud. The others stopped, frowned, looked back at him.

“Come on, Talbot, there’s a job to do here. What do you mean, what was what?”

At that moment, the forest facing the ironwork fence began to move, to wave back and forth. The group froze, their shovels over their shoulders, faces turned as one toward the woods.

“What the hell? What’s making the trees move like that?” asked the one who’d urged Talbot to hurry up.

The sentence was barely out of his mouth when a nightmare roar sounded and they stood in shock. An unbelievable sight met their eyes.

A dinosaur, as massive as a two storey building began to lumber out of the woods toward them. It paused, lifted its terrifying head armed with rows of sharp teeth, turned to look right at them, and began to move deliberately toward the group.

As one, the men screamed, yelled for help, threw their shovels aside, and fled toward the house. Other officers, hearing the racket, came out and stood staring.

One of them yelled into the house, “Everybody run. Hide. There’s a goddamn dinosaur out here. T Rex. It’s coming right for us.”

No sooner had the men slammed the door shut – as though that would help –than the sound of tearing, crunching metal echoed around the property.

The armored van, built to withstand automatic machine gun fire, lay with its roof crushed down to the ground, bent beyond repair, a gigantic foot resting on what was left of the truck’s body. The animal stood at least thirty feet tall, its own armored plates far superior to any armored vehicle when combined with the killing power of the giant predator.

The windows were filled with human faces, expressing a combination of fear, horror, and excitement.

“Max,” one of them yelled through the house to the forensic photographer, “get in here. This is the picture of the century. You’re missing it…”

His voice faded as they all turned and fled toward the back of the house, and Kincaid came out of the hidden den to see what the uproar was about.

He was just in time to see the entire front of the house begin to shake and come apart, the window frames falling inward, the door falling flat on the floor, and a massive green leg intruding through the wall.

The creature was coming inside, was going to destroy the entire structure of the home. The entire crime scene. There would be nothing left to convict Callahan with. That was the only thing Kincaid could think as he stood his ground.

Max materialized beside him, camera flashing and popping. Then Max grabbed Kincaid’s coat and yelled, “Get out of here, Detective. Run. Shit, what’s wrong with you, man? Run!”

But Kincaid looked around, frantically trying to think how to stop the beast. This house was all they had to follow Callahan’s own path of destruction around the globe. If the beast came fully inside, tore the roof off the house, which it clearly intended to…

Then it gave a mighty shove forward, another huge leg thumped onto the floorboards and suddenly the dinosaur was right there, in front of him, right in the house, the roof crashing in, boards falling everywhere, glass splintering.

And the whole earth seemed to be shaking, as in an earthquake. The house shook, the ground shook.

The beast thundered toward Kincaid, who astonished even himself by standing his ground. Moved into shooting stance with arms outstretched. He lifted his weapon toward the T Rex’s head. And suddenly, the game changed.

A stand of century-old virgin timber at the front entrance, a half dozen 80-foot Douglas fir trees which had formed a source of pleasure and shade for those who lived there, began to teeter and fall forward, tumbling in majestic collapse over what remained of the roof of the house, and with a never-to-be-forgotten rumble, gave up the ghost. Kincaid fled to the back door with the remainder of his men, watching over his shoulder as a small forest fell on the beast, no doubt crushing it under a gargantuan weight of board feet.

Then Kincaid stopped, whirled around, his eyes bugging out in disbelief once more.

The T Rex was no more. Not dead. Not lying stretched out across the remains of the front entryway.

No.

The great predator had vanished.

He called the men to come back. Ordered them to pull themselves together and get back in there. Or else.

“It was a bunch of trees falling, the animal has disappeared,” he hollered to them.

Cautiously, taking courage from the new silence in the house, a couple of his officers returned, expecting a scene of total carnage.

Yes, the front of the house was in carnage. But there was no sign of the towering beast.

There was no body. The mighty tail, which had apparently dragged and swished across the fir trees, pulling them down, had disappeared along with the rest of the beast.

what remained of the roof of the house, and with a never-to-be-forgotten rumble, gave up the ghost. Kincaid fled to the back door with the remainder of his men, watching over his shoulder as a small forest fell on the beast, no doubt crushing it under a gargantuan weight of board feet.

Then Kincaid stopped, whirled around, his eyes bugging out in disbelief once more.

The T Rex was no more. Not dead. Not lying stretched out across the remains of the front entryway.

No.

The great predator had vanished.

He called the men to come back. Ordered them to pull themselves together and get back in there. Or else.

“It was a bunch of trees falling, the animal has disappeared,” he hollered to them.

Cautiously, taking courage from the new silence in the house, a couple of his officers returned, expecting a scene of total carnage.

Yes, the front of the house was in carnage. But there was no sign of the towering beast.

There was no body. The mighty tail, which had apparently dragged and swished across the fir trees, pulling them down, had disappeared along with the rest of the beast.

 

what remained of the roof of the house, and with a never-to-be-forgotten rumble, gave up the ghost. Kincaid fled to the back door with the remainder of his men, watching over his shoulder as a small forest fell on the beast, no doubt crushing it under a gargantuan weight of board feet.

Then Kincaid stopped, whirled around, his eyes bugging out in disbelief once more.

The T Rex was no more. Not dead. Not lying stretched out across the remains of the front entryway.

No.

The great predator had vanished.

He called the men to come back. Ordered them to pull themselves together and get back in there. Or else.

“It was a bunch of trees falling, the animal has disappeared,” he hollered to them.

Cautiously, taking courage from the new silence in the house, a couple of his officers returned, expecting a scene of total carnage.

Yes, the front of the house was in carnage. But there was no sign of the towering beast.

There was no body. The mighty tail, which had apparently dragged and swished across the fir trees, pulling them down, had disappeared along with the rest of the beast.

 

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SEXY TALK TIME WITH AUTHOR JEWEL E. LEONARD

author picIt gives me great pleasure to introduce to you debut novelist Jewel E. Leonard. Jewel and I struck up an immediate friendship when we crossed twitter paths on Ang D’Onofrio’s #2bitTues one liner theme party for WIPs.

There’s a lot to love about Jewel. Not only is she fast with a quip, but she is a cat woman like yours truly! There’s more: her collection of male chicken sculptures (cocks) and her penchant for hot, steamy, erotic passages has translated into a toe curler of a read. Check out the blurb and excerpt and then dash down to the interview. My ears are burning!

 

 

THE BLURB

TBRBookCoverPreviewGoodFresh from a failed marriage, Rhea hops on a train going from Los Angeles to Chicago. It’s the perfect escape from her troubles with the added bonus of meeting a sexy stranger. What begins as innocent flirtation swiftly escalates to sexual encounters beyond her wildest dreams.

** This erotic romance novella is for adults only! It contains super hot, one-on-one anonymous sex.

 

 

 

THE EXCERPT

“I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that your ex wasn’t the complimentary type.”

Rhea’s hands traveled down to Surfer Boy’s shoulders where she transitioned into a deep tissue massage.  He groaned, bracing himself against the seat.  She otherwise failed to acknowledge his statement.  She preferred to leave Mark out of this.

Unlike last night, Rhea watched what she touched.  The way his t-shirt pulled and puckered over his skin.  Rhea clenched her jaw, making a conscious effort to keep her arousal at bay.  But—as they had both demonstrated previously—blood was apt to flow wherever it damn well pleased.  Her core throbbed despite her efforts to repress it; the best she could do was to focus on him with what little concentration she had to spare.

She alternated between deep tissue and Swedish massages, at times doing nothing more than running her hands over his muscles and lamenting that he hadn’t taken off his shirt first.

“Oh you are so good at that,” Surfer Boy murmured.  “But . . .  my thigh’s really cramped.”

“Oh, sure, sure, I’m on it!  Turn back around, then.”

He repositioned himself so that he was sitting in the seat the way its designers intended.  Rhea leaned forward and rested her hands on his knees, her v-neck shirt gapping away from her chest.  When Surfer Boy inhaled, she saw how his eyes locked onto her exposed skin.  “That’s . . .  swell,” he breathed.

Her gaze dropped to his crotch: That was swell, too.  She smiled.  “So which muscle is giving you grief?”  Her hands slid up the length of both thighs, stopping so close to his crotch that she could feel the fabric of his shorts straining over his hard-on.

“That one.”  Surfer Boy nodded to his left leg.

She slowly assessed his muscle spasm with both hands, her smiling broadening.  “You are aware that I can totally tell you’re faking your cramp.”

“How else was I gonna get you to touch me there and still look cool about it?”

“You don’t need to play these games.”  Her thumb slid across his zipper.  He pushed back from beneath it.  “I’m alone in a confined space with you already.  You closed the door and the curtains and I didn’t protest either.”  Rhea raised her eyebrows pointedly.

Surfer Boy lifted her face by the chin, meeting her gaze.  “Kiss me.”

She leaned in, pressing her lips to his; she could swear there was a spark between them, but it was possible that it was just static electricity.  Albuquerque—or the air aboard the train, anyway—was dry.

He tilted his head, gliding a hand up the nape of her neck.  Rhea sighed.  She felt him smile against her lips.

“. . . What?”  She asked, pulling back.

“I liked that sound.  And I wanna hear you make it again.”

“I’m sure there are plenty of ways to make me sigh.  Or . . .”  Rhea bit her lip.  “To get me to make even better sounds.”

“Is . . . that . . . an invitation?”

Oh just screw me already!  She chose a more diplomatic reply, instead: “As a general rule, I don’t touch my clients’ willies.”

“As a general rule?”

“Allow me to translate . . .  I’ve never done that.”  With a coy little smile, she added, “I also don’t go around kissing strangers.  You’re the exception to all those rules, so . . .”

“So.”  Surfer Boy brushed back her hair, sliding his hand down her neck to her collarbone.  Further down he went until he cupped her left breast through her shirt and squeezed it with restraint.

She moaned, her head tipping back.  “Yes.”

“Oh that is a better sound.”  Surfer Boy kissed the side of her neck.  His kisses turned to sucking and she leaned into him with a deeper moan.  She shuddered and sighed.

Rhea was having the inarguable need to be free of her underwear…

 

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THE INTERVIEW

Tell me about your new novel.

Tales by Rails is a 28,000 word novella, which makes it the shortest completed writing project I’ve ever done.  The novella follows Rhea’s escapades immediately following her divorce.  She’s without a home when she decides to take an unplanned vacation from her problems—so she hops on a train going from Los Angeles to Chicago (the Southwest Chief—a route I’ve traveled many times over).  She’s open to adventure as she has no plans for her future, which is good because the sexy stranger she meets on the train wouldn’t factor into them.  What starts as innocent flirtation swiftly escalates to adult encounters beyond her wildest imagination . . . and before the 43 hour train ride is over, Rhea finds herself facing a whole new set of problems.

 

I’m all for a good pas de deux, but the up against the wall encounters played out on television and in film seem to be at hyper saturation levels? Can you account for the popular preoccupation with vertical coital?

I could take a stab at it, I suppose.  My best explanation for the popularity of showing not a horizontal mambo but a vertical one is because the average person in the real world has neither the physique nor the stamina  . . .  nor the prowess . . .  nor the health insurance coverage . . .  to successfully do, if you will, such acrobatics.
I won’t name names but I personally know a great many women who fantasize about being pressed against a wall (to put it politely) but who can’t seem to manage the mechanics of such feats with their partners.  There’s also the lack of wall space in the average person’s home to contend with.
Lastly, I think it looks better to viewers to have lovers upright rather than on their backs, particularly women—in that case, gravity is their breast friend.  When laying down, things tend to flatten or ooze into armpits without a bra (and let’s face it, if they can get away with showing chest meat, they will).  If you’re going for realism, there’s nothing wrong with a little chesticle displacement.  But this is Hollywood we’re talking about, right. . .?

 

A fine, practical answer with a bit of humor.  I love it!

 

E.L. James has taken plenty of critical hits for FIFTY SHADES OF GREY yet her choke hold on the mommy porn market remains solid. In your opinion, is she getting a raw deal?

In all things sex, I think discussing this phenomenon is about as taboo as taboo things get.  Erotica writers like me have to be careful if we’re going to criticize James because our audience is sipping from the same chalice as hers.  We don’t want to support it either because there are folks who will think less of our work if we associate with hers positively.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

As a person with feelings, I think it’s horrible the way people treat her.  I think it’s safe to assume she has feelings, too, and I like believing she did the best she knew how.  Lord knows I am!
I think the critics of literature need to have some perspective when they assess Fifty Shades of Grey (the reaction to The Flintstones movie comes to mind—what did you expect? It was a movie based off The Flintstones . . .  Not gonna be fine art!).   It’s erotica, not classic literature.
(Would I like to see higher standards for self-pubbed erotica? As a reader, hell yes please.)
I can’t and won’t touch upon the debate on BDSM because I have no first-hand knowledge of  anything BDSM.  I can’t and won’t touch upon the underlying problems posed by the book and the relationship the main characters have, as I read very little of the first book myself (page one and the first sex scene before I NOPE’d right out of there).  Nothing against James, but her writing was not my cup of tea.

I do, of course, make a passing reference to it in my novella because it seems these days you can’t have a talk about sex and not bring it up.  🙂  If you read my novella following this review, you’ll see where I injected a bit of my reality into Rhea’s existence when it comes to the topic of Fifty Shades.

 

We’re definitely on the same page here!

 

Playboy Magazine is getting out of porn art photography with Pam Anderson as the final centerfold. Has a battle been lost or won?

For Playboy to cease photographing nude women is throwing in the towel.  The plethora of pornography on the Internet squeezed the life out of an empire and I am, frankly, stunned it took that company as long as it did to give up the ghost.  With the Internet, all kinks are easily accessible and in many places even free . . .  (I’m lookin’ at you, Tumblr!  Not a complaint at all, just an observation.)  Could they find a new niche?  I’m sure they could.  Would it be cost-effective?  In any way successful?  Couldn’t tell ya.

 

Sensual encounters with strangers are among the top fantasies for men and women. Do these always result in happy endings in your fiction?

Yes.  No, wait.  Do you mean happy endings like the fabled Happily Ever After?  Or happy endings like, you know, *eyebrow waggle, nudge-nudge-wink-wink* happy endings?
*Carefully sidles on to the next question . . . *  😉

 

*Nudge. Nudge.* Let the reader find out!

So what’s wrong with being on Team Slytherin?

For the life of me, I can’t figure it out.  I’ve been placed in Slytherin by several Sorting Hats and I’m fairly certain it’s because I always say I want recognition.  When seeking recognition became a villainous trait, I don’t know.  But I will tell you this:
I have always thought snakes are beautiful.

 

Clarification: Jewel gave me her top ten list of getting to know the author points. Here it is:

AUTHOR TOP TEN

  • My longing for success has always earned me a spot in Slytherin when I take those Hogwarts house sorting quizzes online.
  • My poisons of choice are coffee, cola and chocolate. And Red Wines.
  • I’ve been writing since the early 80s. One of the earliest stories I remember writing was about a runaway. Tales by Rails?  About a runaway.  Some things never change.
  • I have a neck fetish. I may also have a thing for a finely groomed mustache.
  • I wrote smut in elementary school. It was so dirty that when my parents found it, they wouldn’t allow my older brothers to read it. (I didn’t know a thing about what I was writing.)
  • I have a cock collection. My roosters range from ceramic to wood to metal and they are all over my kitchen.  My husband always tells me to pick up another decoration when he sees them on sale.
  • I’m writing my dearly departed kitty into a novel. She’s going to be a vampire.
  • I love music. The more I listen, the more I write.
  • Like Surfer Boy, I’ve never stepped foot on a plane. I have traveled much of the United States and into Vancouver, British Columbia.  I love road trips and train rides! I collect key chains from states I’ve driven through.
  • No matter how hopeless I feel, no matter how likely I am to fail in this endeavor . . . I will keep going. I always do.   As long as the stories are there, I’ll write them.

 

I recently rewatched BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970), the ‘go to’ dirty movie in my time. What was yours?

I’ve heard tales of a movie called Debbie Does Dallas but I’m pretty sure it’s just an urban legend. 😉
One of these days I think I need to watch it when my son’s at school.  For . . .  research purposes.  Yeah.

 

What will you do with your kitchen cocks when you run out of space?

I’m a long way from that point, sadly.  But should the time come, I have no doubt that the cocks will propagate into other rooms of the house.  There’s space on top of our bookshelves and I have a half-empty antique China Cabinet . . .

 

This might be a good time to open the doors to the henhouse!

 

chickens

 

I agree that a well-groomed mustache can be comely, but if given the right circumstances would you ever give a full beard a try?

I’m not a huge fan of the full beard.  It takes impeccable grooming and just the right face to pull that off.  I like my honey with a neatly trimmed Goatee (actually, it’s a Van Dyke).
Before I get hate-mail for not being gung-ho about full beards, let me just say my father has a full beard (that is kept groomed but has been around longer than I have).  So . . .  yeah.  To quote Chandler from FRIENDS: “Can open . . .  Worms everywhere . . .”

 

Lol. Fair enough. On a serious note:

 

My condolences on the loss of your kitty. Tell me how (he/she) inspired a vampire character in your next work?

catThank you.  My first kitty (after a lifetime of pining for one) went to the Rainbow Bridge the day after Christmas in 2012.  She was my constant companion, kept me company while I was on bedrest with my son.  Never left my side through my ill-fated second pregnancy.  She was the best kitty a girl could ask for.  It was only natural to want to immortalize her.  A vampire (vampurr) seemed like just the way.

Her name was Miranda.  When it came to affection, she got overstimulated quickly and turned to love bites as a means of defense.  And every time she nibbled, she’d lick us afterward in apology.  When hubby and I were hashing out some of that future book, I said I wanted to have some vampires in my paranormal universe.  One careless comment led to another about this sexy but naive vamp who would bite her (lucky) victims and then lick their necks afterward and the next thing I knew, Miranda the kitty became Miranda the vampire.
I’m so excited to tell her story (but alas, it’s a few books down the road)!

 

What are you doing right now this minute?

I’m watching as my new cat, Pandora, wanders down the hall in search of mischief.  My 20 month-old daughter is working on getting to her feet at her toy piano.  My boys (hubby and son) are playing Minecraft on either side of me.  My phone is buzzing like crazy (my Starbucks app is out of date, I can’t stand for that!).  And I’m finishing this interview.  Thank you so much for the smiles and some really interesting, challenging questions!

 

Thanks for stopping by Jewel. Best of luck with your sizzling new book!

Best,

ABF