MEET DEBUT AUTHOR KAREN MILLIE-JAMES

 

KAREN MILLIE-JAMES grew up in north-west London and now lives in the Buckinghamshire countryside with her husband, daughter and their three dogs.  Karen founded her international business consultancy practice in 1993 and is widely recognised as an expert in the corporate field, sitting on many boards of directors around the globe in an advisory capacity.

THE SHADOWS BEHIND HER SMILE is Karen’s first novel.

The sequel, Where in the Dark, which continues the story of Cydney Granger,

will be available worldwide later in 2016.

Find out more at www. karenmilliejames.com

 

Blurb

41zejsiXpiL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_As soon as corporate forensic specialist, Cydney Granger, hears the crunch of tyres on her driveway, she knows they’ve come to report her husband is dead. After all, Captain Steve Granger had barely left for Afghanistan when she’d had the first of those terrible premonitions.

Although Cydney is a psychic medium, she’s disturbed by her inability to connect with Steve. But when she’s contacted by recently deceased Ray Gordon, he agrees to help her, on one condition – can she put a stop to his brother’s greed and corruption and ensure Ray’s family get the inheritance they deserve?

Sean O’Connell, Steve’s former sergeant, had promised he would always protect Cydney and the children in the event of Steve’s death. However, during Cydney’s investigations into the scrupulous activities of two high-powered businessmen, and when George Edwards appears on the scene intent on pursuing her, Sean finds himself out of his depth.

From the heart of Cydney’s corporate world in London to the ruins of war-torn Damascus, men will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Faced with secrets, fraud, attempted murder, and blackmail, can Cydney come out of this unscathed? And, after four years, is she ready to let Steve go?

A brilliant plot that combines the heat of the business world with the secrecy of the Special Forces.

In a genre of its own encompassing crime and mystery, this unique thriller is impossible to put down.

 

 

 

A LITTLE Q & A

 

IMG_1833If this were a Twitter pitch party, you would squeeze your tag line into a 140 characters. Would you like to try?

Transported from the boardroom to war-torn Damascus, the suspense erupts with a background of romance and a hint of the paranormal

 

Who are your main characters?

Cydney Granger – a strong, self-assured businesswoman with a hidden side.

Sean O’Connell – ex Special Forces who always gets to the truth

George Edwards – lawyer with a background he never wants to reveal

Rupert Van der Hausen – South African industrialist, whose fortune continues growing despite the circumstances

Steve Granger – Captain in the Special Forces.  A born leader of men. Killed on a secret mission – but his body was never found.

Craig Benton and Robert Crossley – accumulated their wealth through insider dealing and corruption

Ray Gordon  – in spirit, desperate to stop his brother, Charles, from defrauding his wife.

 

Tell me about the title. Are there any hidden subtexts we should know about?

Cydney has everything to the outside world but her feelings are kept firmly under wraps and nobody is allowed in especially as a result of her father dying in her childhood, and losing her husband, Steve.  Can she release those shadows and learn to love again with George.

 

How many books do you have planned?

The sequel, Where in The Dark, will be released towards the end of 2016.  There will possibly be a third book in the series.  I doubt I can let Cydney go now.

 

Tell me about your home base. Country or city?

I now live in the Buckinghamshire countryside in a cottage built in the 1890’s which has been extended and modernised.  We love the outdoor life with our three dogs.

 

Are you a fan of self-promotion? What is your weapon of choice? (I love Twitter)

I love the interaction and groups on Facebook.  I am still learning about Twitter but the social media scene helps you meet so many new people.

 

If eyes are the windows to the soul, the telly is the window to writing prompts. What are you watching on the telly these days?

I love period dramas and have just finished watching War and Peace.

 

Share your method with us.

I have no actual method.  I sit down and the story flows.  After a few chapters I read through, maybe change things around, then carry on writing.  I think through the characterisation and how the various people would react to circumstances, normally in the early hours of the morning when I can’t sleep, or when I’m driving.  Sometimes I would think of an amazing sentence or description and have to write it down to use when the occasion arises.

 

All writing and no play makes the writer suffer. What do you do in your spare time (other than work the day job)?

Believe it or not, I read.  I always have done from an early age, especially the classics.  I go to the theatre and love musicals.  I dance, particularly Ceroc and jive, and play tennis or table tennis.

 

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Sherbet strawberries!

 

What are you doing right now this minute?

Watching Would I Lie to You on TV.  So funny and makes me laugh out loud.

 

What’s next?

Continue my writing.  Possible radio and TV interviews promoting my background in business, which are in the pipeline.

 

 

Excerpt

As Ray left her, albeit reluctantly, his body melting out of the taxi, Cydney’s skin returned to normal. She was now alone and the thoughts of the man faded to be replaced by the nose-to-tail traffic as the taxi driver turned south off the Marylebone Road and into Park Crescent, a beautiful area of London with elegant stuccoed terraced houses forming a semi-circle, which linked to Regents Park opposite. As they moved between the two halves of the crescent, Cydney looked into the private garden and saw between the railings the seven feet high statue of Queen Victoria’s father, Prince Edward, wearing his field marshall uniform. Driving through brought pictures to her mind of old English gentry and41zejsiXpiL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_ peers of the realm visiting in their private carriages.

Turning her attention to the day ahead, Cydney took the opportunity to read through her papers once again. It was important nothing should go wrong and that the client maintained his faith in her. However, thoughts of Ray wouldn’t leave her. She took out her mobile and dialled her assistant.

“Granger Associates – Jennifer Vere-Nicholson speaking.”

Cydney never tired of hearing the sound of the phone answered so professionally by the staff of her own company. Jenny was her right-hand woman and had started work the day she and Steve had established the company. She had built up her own client base and always explained that she was learning from the master. Her father had been knighted several years ago for his contribution to industry and Cydney liked the fact she had such a good pedigree. Jenny was in her mid-twenties and had joined the company straight from university where she’d read law and criminology, deciding she didn’t want to go into law itself but work in commerce. Cydney had taught her the business world she’d come to know and love and now she completely relied on her; she was worth her weight in gold. With no time for small talk she got straight to the point.

“I’m on the way to the meeting but I want you to do a complete check on a company for me called Rayshel Plastics. Get Richard to help you. I want everything by the time I come into the office tomorrow morning.”

“Not much notice then…”

“This is important – full report, records, accounts, criminal stuff.”

Cydney rang off. She knew they could trust Richard. Even though retired from CID he still had an ‘in’ to the powers that be. Now she could sit back and relax a bit whilst they did their work.

 

THE SHADOWS BEHIND HER SMILE is Karen’s first novel. Where in the Dark, which continues the story of Cydney Granger, will be available worldwide later in 2016.

Links – Multi-Media:

Find out more about Karen at:

Website: www.karenmilliejames.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KMillieJames

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Karen-Millie-James-1672621729620381/

Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/karen-millie-james-098a911

 

Buy Links:

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadows-Behind-Her-Smile-ebook/dp/B01BQ9OY3C

USA: http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Behind-Her-Smile-ebook/dp/B01BQ9OY3C

www.kingoftheroadpublishing.com

 

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SHE’S BAAAACK! KC SPRAYBERRY & THE LIE, RELEASING MARCH 4

The Lie by KC SprayberryFor those looking for a good psyche out in YA, look to author KC Sprayberry and her characters in The Lie, coming next month on Amazon and through Solstice Publishing. Gritty without gratuity, The Lie offers up heaps of poor judgement and plenty of guilt after a foolish prank goes badly wrong. For older teens.

In her own words; author K.C. Sprayberry:

To understand the lie, someone must answer the question: How well do you know your friends? That is the underlying theme of this young adult psychological thriller. Amy has always been a loyal friend to Jane. Despite her family’s dislike of Jane, Amy continues to support her friend, to take the blame for minor incidents, until a cold Friday night in November that changes the lives of an entire community.

 

The Lie releases March 4, 2016

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01BX85XSG

 

Blurb:

 

For high school siblings, Amy and Bryce, the night began The Lie by KC Sprayberrywith a football game. Bryce was stuck at home with a cold, brought on by an uncaring coach. Amy was in the stands, playing with the band whose funding had been taken away and given to the football team.

Her best friend, Jane, brought the band together to play a prank on the team in protest.

The prank went wrong. Horribly, tragically wrong.

And the lie that started it all would not stop.

 

About the Author:

KC SprayberryBorn and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines.

 

 

SEE THE TRAILER

https://youtu.be/p8liti0tEr0

 

MEET THE PROTAGONISTS:

A m y    P e a r s o n

Amy

Introduce yourself to our readers. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?

 

Hi, I’m Amy. This is my story, of trying to get rid of a weird friend and also trying to get my family to believe I’m not a total fool. I’m a senior at Landry High School and totally bummed. After all my hard work, I may not be able to go to college next year—because the football team and cheerleaders will get our funding. And that made all of the band so mad that we did something totally off the way… and we… we… we kind of made something really bad happen. I can’t talk about that. It’s too hard to even think about that night and if I do talk about it, a lot of good people are going to get into trouble.

 

What are your feelings about this story?

 

Sometimes, I think this story is a great way of showing people that you can’t always trust your friends. But then I start thinking about all the bad that happened for the next year, all the incredibly scary things we learned about the people who were the real masterminds of what happened, and I just want the whole thing to disappear, for it to have never happened. Only, that would be a lie. And that’s what got us here in the first place. A lie. A really big, horrid lie.

 

How do you feel about being a character in this book?

 

This is my story. A mistake I made. I’m not happy that people will see me having panic attacks or trying to get rid of a friend who wasn’t a real friend at all, but that’s what happened. We can’t change that now. Would I rather everyone watch my music videos and tell me want a great singer I am? Sure, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth.

 

TreyThe only good thing about this story… well, one of two good things… is Trey. He and I, we had the chance to fall in love. I mean really in love. I’m sure of that now and it hurts to know how sad he is but I’ll always have those special moments. (smiles softly) Do you think they can get Brant Daugherty to play Trey in the movie? You know, that guy from Pretty Little Liars?

 

 

 

What do you see in your future? (No spoilers please!)

 

My future is kind of going to stay like it is. Can’t really say anything else

 

Is there another The Lie in the future? Will you be part of it?

 

I don’t think there will be a sequel to The Lie. If there is, I doubt I’ll be part of it. Can’t say much more now.

 

Say a movie producer comes knocking. What actor/actress would you want to play you and why?

 

Oh, Sienna Miller. She looks exactly like me. And I’ve seen all her movies. She’s totally cool.

 

 

B r y c e    P e a r s o n

Bryce

Introduce yourself to our readers. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?

 

Hey, guys, I’m Bryce. A great gunner on the special teams for the Landry High School Wildcats. I’m also Amy’s two years younger brother. She’d want me to tell you that. But I’m more than a pesky brother. I’m the person she comes to whenever Amy gets caught up in a Jane disaster. Let me tell you, Jane is a total loser, a user, and someone that should just fall off the face of the earth.

What should you know about me? Other than the whole on the football thing? Well, I’m not a total jock. I have a 4.0 GPA, with a heavy emphasis on science and math. I want to be a volunteer firefighter with my dad at his station, when I’m old enough, and my future goal is to go to Jacksonville State University in Alabama, be a Gamecock. Oh, and get a date with Ziva from NCIS. That’s one hot chick!

 

What are your feelings about this story?

 

This story is important. People have to know about the Jane’s in this world. They’re users. They’ll take down anyone that gets caught in their web of deceit. And mostly, they will destroy anyone who stands in their way of getting what they want.

 

How do you feel about being a character in this book?

 

I have to be in this book. The author didn’t want me here except as a minor character at first, but I proved to her that I was necessary. Amy needed someone who had her back. My sis has this incredible talent—she plays five instruments and sings like an angel, but she doesn’t believe in herself. And that’s how come Jane was always using Amy.

 

What do you see in your future? (No spoilers please!)

 

My future? I’ll finish high school, help my dad reno houses, and go to Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Beyond that, I don’t really know. A lot of things are up in the air right now, but I won’t ever forget what Jane did to us.

 

Is there another The Lie in the future? Will you be part of it?

 

There will always be another The Lie in the future. Users are everywhere, and they never take responsibility for their actions. Will I be part of it? I hope not. I don’t ever want to live through that kind of stuff again.

 

Say a movie producer comes knocking. What actor/actress would you want to play you and why?

 

Movie? About our boring lives? (laughs) Yeah, I wish our lives had been normal and boring. I wish we could have booted Jane to the curb a long time ago. But that didn’t happen. So, a movie? Who plays me? Well… Theo James, the dude from Divergent and Insurgent. Yeah, he’s a lot like me. That will work. (Do you think there’s a chance Ziva from NCIS will be in the film too?)

 

J a n e    P r e s t o n

Jane

Introduce yourself to our readers. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?

 

I am Jane Preston. Don’t believe those Pearson’s. They’ll say anything to make me look bad. I can’t believe they would dare to open their mouths, after all the trouble they caused me. It’s Amy’s fault all this happened. She was the one that planned the whole problem, right from the beginning. She’s such a wuss. Always crying. Always wanting Mommy to like her. She needs to get a life. (emotionless laugh) Like that will happen now.

What are your feelings about this story?

 

Well, if it was the truth, more about how much of a troublemaker Amy was, it would be good. But it’s not. The whole thing is all wrong. Amy was the one that planned stuff, but then she’d chicken out and I’d have to step in and fix her messes. That dummy couldn’t do anything without Mommy’s approval, and Mommy didn’t like me. And I could never convince Amy to stop being such a Mommy’s brat.

 

How do you feel about being a character in this book?

 

Boring! Totally boring. Nobody asked me how I felt about all these lies those pathetic losers told about me. They didn’t care that my dreams got all messed up. All everyone did was talk bad about me. How awful is that? Nobody cares about me.

 

What do you see in your future? (No spoilers please!)

 

Oh, my future is great. As soon as I get away from these losers, I’ll have a lot of fun. JSU as a college is a total loss. I’ll be going to a much better college in a few years. Everybody thinks I’m stuck in this place, but they’re wrong. I’ll get away, as soon as everyone believes what a little loser Amy is.

 

Is there another The Lie in the future? Will you be part of it?

 

Gawd! I hope so. And whoever writes it better get it right this time. That dummy that was talking to Bryce and Amy all the time only got their “oh poor me” story. Dummy didn’t bother to talk to me, to figure out that I was only making all the losers in the world pay. I mean—who cares what happened to all those people? They were a total loss all their lives.

 

Say a movie producer comes knocking. What actor/actress would you want to play you and why?

 

Please let there be a movie. I’ll get a lot of money from it. And I’ll be able to go to a really great college without everyone hearing about pathetic Amy and her loser brother, Bryce. Who should play me? Jena Malone. She rocks. She’s that actress from the Hunger Games and she will do me very well. But she has to come see me, talk to me about how to make the movie more about me and the problems those stupid Pearsons gave me.

 

Social Media Links:

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/KC-Sprayberry/331150236901202

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

 

Blog: http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

 

Website: www.kcsprayberry.com

 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005DI1YOU

 

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KcSprayberry/posts

 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/boards/

 

Manic Readers:

http://www.manicreaders.com/KCSprayberry/

 

AUTHORSdB:

http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5230-k-c-sprayberry

 

TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY NINE: REILY GARRETT

“Life is short, cherish your time.” That’s the mantra author Reily Garrett lives by, noting that whatever and wherever we are on our own life trip, the option of escaping with a good read is always there.

Carnal Innocence cover - CopyCallie, an extraordinary genius raised in a Think Tank superstructure, has unique talents sought by scientists and terrorists alike.

A botched rescue attempt hurls her into a world of spies and terrorists while leaving her to adapt to a sexual mutilation that will last her lifetime.

Nate, an ex-Special Forces private investigator, is unprepared for cyclone Callie sideswiping his life during a meet and greet at his BDSM club. After an old team mate is assassinated, he must ferret out a traitor while keeping Callie from the radicals’ clutches.

From their first meeting, Callie embodies an otherworldly aura with mysteries neither his heart nor mind can refuse to unravel as he helps them navigate a world of sensual exploration and betrayal.

From the winner of The Romance Review’s Top Pick award comes the sequel to Carnal Beginnings. If you love a combination of BDSM/romance and suspense, don’t miss this action packed adventure.

ExcerptAs if in slow motion and instead of gravity pulling them toward the floor, some inexplicable force drew them vertical. It was a split-second in time, barely enough for his mind to register, yet he stood straight once again.

Firm, feminine curves alerted every cell in his being to attention. A deep breath and a unique blend of spice and mystery prevented further speculation as to her identity.

“Ah, crap. Sorry, mister. First time on roller blades.”

“Hmmm, so the calamity on wheels has a voice.”

With a screech and clatter, band members on stage stopped their warmup. All eyes focused on this mysterious mixture of curls and exotic-smelling femininity.

Thick tresses covered her face and failed to find any semblance of order. He could only guess at her features. Even so, the silken locks held him in thrall as they brushed against the back of his hands still holding her tight.

Soft and lustrous, they blunted his confusion over standing upright again. Nothing could’ve stopped him from bringing the satiny mane to his face. One whiff and a bouquet of exotic spices came to mind. Dear God. WTF?

Though she now stood directly in front of him, he still couldn’t discern her features. With great reluctance,Carnal Innocence Teaser 1 he released the firm, small waist under his grip in anticipation of what he’d find under the wild mass of wavy mane.

For reasons unknown, reverence stayed his hand. In that twinkling of time, in this reality, nothing could match his imagination. He couldn’t bring himself to spoil the moment with anything less than perfection.

She must have felt it too. As she raised her hand, it stopped midair, frozen, not spoiling the moment of faultless purity.

When time resumed, allowing her to reach up and part her hair, sweeping it aside, the first glimpse almost drove him to his knees.

A person’s visage was merely a composition of their features—eyes, nose, and mouth. Some wrinkled by age, others scarred by life or misarranged from genetics. This…was so much more. A glance away lacked the necessary time to clear his throat.

“Yes, I have a voice. It’s why I’m here.”

“To make apologies for running over people? Perhaps you should have some type of license for those things. Even a tolerant master would turn you over his knee.”

His nod to her blades demonstrated a monumental lack of judgment. Attached to those blades for heaven or hell, he hadn’t decided which—were long, gracefully-toned legs bearing smooth, supple skin.

His gaze traveled north along the well-shaped gentle curves not to be dissuaded by the outlandish garment covering delicate portions of her thighs. No stockings marred the perfection of this phenomenal anatomic vista.

A saw-tooth hem left long swags to dangle helplessly between and around her loins. Jesus. Is she wearing a G-string? As his gaze traveled back to her face, his conscience answered with a hell no.

On second thought, he realized she hadn’t dressed in an attempt to garner attention. This seraph merely garbed her thin build in a way natural to her angelic genealogy.

“Master? I have no master. I’m the singer in the band.”

How fortunate. His gaze traveled the length of her finely-toned, bare upper arm to her delicately boned finger, which pointed to the stage. Yeah, he had kinda noticed the stage, somewhere off in the distance.

The hard glares from the rest of her band brought a semblance of solidity to his thoughts. What the hell? If he hadn’t known each member personally, the warnings blazing from their collective stares might intimidate.

“And you’re looking for backup singers in the audience?” She’d look resplendent on his St. Andrews cross.

“No, I’m doing sound checks.”

biographyThough her kids are her life, writing is the life after. You know, the one you also enjoy…AFTER the kids are in bed or AFTER they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free reign.

In life, hobbies can come and go according to our physical abilities, but you can always enjoy a good book. Life isn’t perfect, but our imaginations can be. Relax, whether it’s in front of a fire or in your own personal dungeon. Take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if he’s four legged). Life is short, cherish your time.

Links Image

Carnal Innocence at Extasy Books

http://www.extasybooks.com/Carnal-Innocence/?keyword=carnal%20innocenc

Amazon link Carnal Innocence (pre-order)

http://www.amazon.com/Carnal-Innocence-Reily-Garrett-ebook/dp/B014XN074S/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1442276500&sr=8-6&keywords=Carnal+Innocence

reily blog

http://reilygarrett.blogspot.com/

reily website

http://reilygarrett.com/

reily facebook

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005398668399&fref=ts

Reily twitter

https://twitter.com/reily_garrett

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thank you for dropping by Reily. All the best for the sequel and the tour.

Readers, don’t forget to enter the draw.

Bye for now,

ABF

 “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
Toni Morrison

TOMORROW:

Mel Massey and SERVANT OF THE BLOOD.

Mel Massey Con Photo

SHYLA WOLFF BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY

wolfThe blog welcomes author Shyla Wolff to spotlight her upcoming release SHADOWED PASSAGE and highlight her GIVEAWAY currently running from May 11 to June 7. Shyla is a new friend, kind enough to feature me on her blog not once, but twice as part of my tour. I wish this talented artist the very best.

–ABF

ROSES signature

THE BOOK

shyla book

Tariffs paid on an ill-fated decision can last a lifetime. 

A young boy—tossed an impossible situation by his psychopathic uncle, father or sister, he must kill one for the other to survive.

Two decades later, Dylan has developed his psychic talents, trained by the military, learned the skills necessary to locate the family he’d abandoned as a child and kill the devil himself, Roth. On the day he’s discharged, his ex-boss offers assistance in locating his sisters, demanding help with one more mission in exchange.

Tori, a young woman weeks away from graduating with her Psych doctorate, is torn from her stable life and thrust into a world of espionage, warriors, and unexplainable phenomenon. The man she loves, Major Clannahan, attaches her to the unit charged with locating a terrorist cell. Dylan, leading the unit, draws her like no other. Yet the darkness buried in his soul will test her skills and patience beyond anything she’s ever known.

Kiera and Kyley, identical twins challenged by the extremes of evil yet remain pure of heart, both bound to their man with a love withstanding the tests of time and tragedy.  One a warrior, the other with a warrior’s heart, each wield formidable psychic talents, sought after by a psychopath and terrorist bent on destroying the country.

A group of psychic warriors, dedicated to fighting evil in the shadows, locating and helping others develop their paranormal talents without splintering society’s tenacious perception of reality.

These are the extraordinary people living among us, protecting and preserving our way of life. Courage and honor, duty and strength of will cansustain us for only so long. Eventually, we must find our own path forward, learning to open our hearts to love even as we risk the ultimate pain.

 LINKS

Amazon pre-order

http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Passage-Anath-Book-3-ebook/dp/B00XFRFAXM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431260019&sr=8-1&keywords=shadowed+passage

Shyla facebook

https://www.facebook.com/shyla.wolff

Shyla blog

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/

Twitter

@wolff_Shyla

https://twitter.com/wolff_shyla

 Shyla website

http://shylawolff.com/

EXCERPT

“The choice is yours, boy, but understand—not deciding is making a decision. Do it before I make the decision for you. Only difference is, I won’t kill one, I’ll kill them both. Father or sister. You have allthe power.” 

Roth kept his tone calm and gentle. The evil coiled tightly within warmed his soul. He fancied the boy killing his father, silently rooting for the infant to survive. He could have lots of fun with her over the coming years. 

The boy’s father would die either way. He’d bound and beaten him just for fun.

“Daddy? What do I do?” Tears streamed down Dylan’s face, sobs racked his entire nine-year-old battered frame. His gaze slid from his father to his baby sister, now held by Roth. When he looked back at his dad’s bruised and bloodied face, he cried harder. His dad’s eyes were swollen almost shut. 

The gun shook uncontrollably in the boy’s small hand. “Daddy?”

Boredom shadowed his mind as the excitement of the climax dimmed with the child’s indecisiveness. His gaze wandered out the window above the kitchen sink. 

In the back yard, a massive, wooden play structure stood, complete with swings, tunnels, overhead ladder, and a slide. How extravagant for just two children, one still an infant. His sister always belabored the little things. Shame she’s not present to witness this. He would’ve found this even more amusing. 

The blond haired infant cradled roughly in his left arm actually cooed at him. Disgusting. If he kept this thing, he’d have to hire a nanny. Still, the thought of it growing up with half the powers his sister enjoyed years ago made the brat worth the trouble…If she survived today. He sighed.

* * * *

“Dylan, son, it’s okay. You’re going to be all right. Look at me. Remember how we played catch this morning? When you think of me, you’ll remember how we played ball today. Okay, son?”

What else could he say in this horrific situation? His own psychotic brother-in-law was forcing Dylan to commit the most heinous act imaginable, choose between patricide and sororicide. Roth had always been the canary in the crazy mind but even Devon hadn’t seen this coming.

Awww, isn’t this touching?” Roth muttered, no doubt weary of his twisted game. “What a little wimp. I’m growing tired of your indecision, boy. I think I’ll just slice this little bitch’s throat. After all, she’d probably just grow up to be a carbon copy of her mother, stubborn and willful. Wouldn’t want more of that in the world, would we?” 

Noooo, please. Please don’t hurt her! She’s just a baby.” Facing where he knew his son to be by the sound of his sobbing stifled his thoughts. “Son, I know this is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but you must. Please. It’s all right. I love you more than anything.” 

Dylan retched, fumbling and almost dropping the Glock 9mm pistol. It probably felt like the heaviest thing he’d ever held, certainly his first time holding a gun. 

His small frame trembled, tears streamed from his eyes, hair matted to his face. Red, swollen tissue marred the right side of his face, the result of Roth’s cold temper. The kitchen table supported his slight weight as he leaned one forearm on its edge.

“Roth, please don’t do this. He’s just a boy. Be the sniveling coward you’ve always been. Do it yourself.” Articulation was slurred through split and bloody lips. His tongue slipped between the gap of two missing teeth. 

Though partially open, his right eye refused to focus properly. Warm, wet liquid traced a path down his face. Gravity would always trump decency. Blood splattered his clothes. Patches of gray clouded the edges of his vision. Unconsciousness lumbered near. The drumming in his head kept pace with his rapid-fire pulse. No child should ever see his father this way, unable to protect his family. Even if his son survived Roth, which he began to doubt, he’d be scarred for life.

“Oh, Devon, Devon, Devon. You just don’t get it, do you? I’m not a coward,” Roth admonished. “I have no qualms about ending any of your lives. Watch, let me demonstrate.” His patronizing voice oozed in the air like oil spreading over water to corrupt with its filth. Roth pulled the six-inch blade from its sheath at his waist and held it to the baby’s throat, who lay cuddled in the crook of his left arm.

“No, don’t. You bastard!” Devon strained at the rope binding his hands behind his back. “Dylan, listen. Take the family crest ring off my finger. Go ahead, son, take it. It’s yours. It’s our coat of arms.” Twisting sideways forced the bonds to cut his wrists as he removed the ring from fingers slick with blood. 

When his son took it, he realized these would be his last words to his boy. “Put it in your pocket, you can get a chain for it until you’re grown. That ring is a symbol of your strength, son, a symbol of your commitment to do whatever’s necessary to protect your family. Remember this, Dylan.” Dear God, he’ll have nightmares the rest of his life…if he survives. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Of the many lessons life seems intent on throwing her way; the most important one Shyla’s learned is to take the time to enjoy family and friends. The flux and flow of changes aren’t something to fight, but adapt to with the best of your ability. One day’s heartbreak is often followed by another day’s triumph. The only barricades remaining are the ones we refuse to navigate. She hopes you’ve enjoyed this story. Shyla’s website, ShylaWolff.com, will be updated as Dylan’s journey continues.

NOTE: My apologies to Shyla and viewers for displaying Rafflecopter script. Haven’t figured out how to translate it directly into my blog. Just click the URL and you’re in –ABF

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TAKING CHARGE: AUTHOR JOHN DEBOER

The Authors John DeBoerThe page welcomes John DeBoer, our first guest in a spotlight series that will cover the site in tandem with the Blog Tour. Today, John offers up two selections from his authorial archive and boldly tries on the site’s Proustian questionnaire. Eureka! Thank you, John.

THE BOOKS…

Get the Picture

Get the pictureJack Lansing, M.D. is a widower who’s now ready to get on with his life when a chance meeting with a beautiful young woman changes everything – but not in the way he hopes. After a one-night tryst with the enticing vixen, the unsuspecting surgeon finds himself the target of a powerful U.S. senator, organized crime, and a figure from his past he’d long forgotten – all because he succumbs to the charms of a woman he can’t resist, despite the predicament she has put him in. Beginning in Jack’s once-peaceful beach town, a deadly game of sex, money, and retribution plays out to a thrilling conclusion.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Sincerest Form of FlatteryFormer surgeon Jack Lansing, M.D. has become a bestselling mystery writer. At a book-signing event he meets an old colleague who, unbeknownst to Jack, has carried a grudge against him for thirty years. Then murders start popping up in and around Jack’s peaceful beach town – murders that mimic the plots in his books and make him a suspect. Jack must convince the police and the FBI of his innocence while trying to solve the mystery himself. Because, realizes, he and his wife could be the killer’s final victims. It is a chilling tale of twists and turns worthy of Jack’s imagination. But this time he doesn’t know how it will end.

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

Q: What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

A: I hesitate to invoke Greek mythology to explain what overcomes my “thinking blocks,” but perhaps there is a Muse-like feature we all carry in our brains. All I know is that when stuck thinking of an idea for my next book, or trying to figure out what my character will do next in the one I’m working on, I always manage, though it might take days or even weeks, to have that Eureka! moment. So far.

Q: Characters have a great capacity for love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and real life?

A: Love makes the world go around, as they say. Some have it, others don’t but want it. It’s the human condition. I’ve written novels in which the journey to attain love is part and parcel of the story, but in other novels of mine, an abiding love is already present and provides the foundation, the support, for the protagonist’s struggle with conflict. So I don’t think a character, or a real person, for that matter, needs to be always searching for it.

Q: Without giving specifics, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

A: Yup. That’s me. My story conflicts all get resolved in favor of the good guys.

Q: What would you like to be remembered for?

A: Irrespective of career accomplishments, I’d like to be remembered as a good person.

Q: If you could dine with any historical figure, living or dead, who would it be and why?

A:  I’d like to have dinner with Yogi Berra. His unintentional wit has always amused me, and he seems like a genuinely funny guy. I think our senses of humor are compatible. And I love Italian food!

Q: Past, present, or future? Where does your mind dwell?

A: Well, I have a long past, the results of which, especially my family growing up and aging, I continue to see in the present. And this naturally leads to musings about what the future has in store for them. I suppose I dwell in the present – have to write and promote those books! – but I can’t escape thinking of what preceded the now and what lies ahead.

Q: What informs your writing most?

A: Reading . I’m a voracious reader of books in my genre, and seeing what works in them and what doesn’t makes me a better writer for it.

Q: Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

A: I assume this question is meant to inquire whether global events affect what I do in my home town. Two of my novels – one published, the other being written – have international aspects, and attendant author points of view, but other than that, I don’t think I’m in the position to respond in a meaningful way to foreign situations. All I can do is use the power of persuasion to sway votes for those who do have the power to effect change in the world for the good.

Q: Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

A: Junk food. Not the sugary, dessert-like goodies, but those other snacks that go very nicely with an adult beverage. I’ve never met a chip I didn’t like!

Q: Your greatest victory?

A: Getting my wife to marry me!

Q: Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place, or thing.

A: Linda Anderson. I was smitten with her in junior high school. Alas, it was unrequited puppy love, and I never got the chance to see if it would bloom, because my family moved away, and I never saw her again. Are you still out there, Linda?

Q: What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

A: I try to have different themes in my novels, but the overriding driver in my stories is what is common to all thrillers – the triumph of the good guys against sinister forces.

Q: Who do you admire and why?

A:  Professionally speaking, I, of course, admire the stars of my genre – DeMille, Connelly, Iles, Crais, Child, etc. But I don’t know them as people; I’m not even on their Christmas card lists. The one person I admire the most, and forgive me for getting a little mushy here, is my wife. Not only has she put up with me all these years, her constant effort to do the right thing and her innate ability to put all those she meets at ease, not to mention her work ethic, are what I find most admirable.

Q: Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

A: Ha! I can only speak for myself, but my experiences with other writers, and learning about the early struggles of those writers now at the top of their profession, leads me to the conclusion that we’re all works in progress!

THE BIOGRAPHY

After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, John L. DeBoer, M.D., F.A.C.S. completed a surgical residency 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.

When not creating new plot lines for his novels, Dr. DeBoer pursues his interests in cooking, films and film history,  politics, and the amazing cosmos.  Though he’s an avid tennis player, his yet-to-be-fulfilled goal is to achieve a level of mediocrity in the frustrating game of golf.

The father of two grown sons, he lives with his wife in North Carolina.

 LINKS

http://www.amazon.ca/Sincerest-Form-Flattery-John-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00W23X3CK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429530507&sr=8-2&keywords=John+DeBoer

http://www.amazon.ca/Get-Picture-John-L-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00VKYI2VY/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1429530586&sr=1-3&keywords=John+DeBoer

http://www.amazon.com/Get-Picture-John-L-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00VKYI2VY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429530682&sr=8-2&keywords=John+DeBoer

http://www.amazon.com/Sincerest-Form-Flattery-John-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00W23X3CK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1429530682&sr=8-3&keywords=John+DeBoer

Thanks for taking the chair, John. Tomorrow: Romance author Marie Lavender talks SECOND NATURE, BLOOD AT FIRST SIGHT, Book 1 in a series. 

Mariepic2

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