Good Editor Required by Barry Finlay – Guest Post and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barry will be awarding a medium or large t-shirt with the author’s “Keep On Climbing” logo on the front to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (US/CANADA ONLY). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

GOOD EDITOR REQUIRED

Now that I have gone through the writing process for a third time with my new book, The Vanishing Wife, I thought it might be of interest to your readers to share some thoughts on editing. I’m not referring to the work we do as authors to polish our manuscript. When I refer to editing, I’m talking about hiring a professional editor.

It’s not cheap and I’m sure that is a deterrent for many. But, can you really afford not to have your manuscript edited professionally? An author spends months, and in some cases years, pouring their heart and soul into their masterpiece. So shouldn’t the finished product be as good as it can possibly be? The answer in my opinion is a resounding “yes.”

The Wikipedia dictionary defines editing as “the process that can involve correction, condensation, organization, and many other modifications performed with an intention of producing a correct, consistent, accurate and complete work.” While I don’t always agree with Wikipedia definitions, I think this one is perfect because that’s exactly what we should all strive for in our work: correctness, consistency, accuracy and completeness. If we can honestly say that our manuscript meets those criteria, we will have a piece of work that will make us proud. I credit my editor for helping me get closer to reaching the four criteria by forcing me to stretch my writing capabilities to the limit. I didn’t agree with or accept everything she suggested but her questions and recommendations played a valuable role in making my books better.

That’s why I think a good editor is so important. As authors, after we have read our manuscript a few times, I really believe we start to see what we intended to be on the paper, not what is actually there. An editor is a second set of eyes and they will find the typos and grammar and punctuation issues. But a good editor will also challenge your writing to bring out the best in you. They will ask questions, find places in your work where you should elaborate, suggest the elimination of redundancies if any exist and help to make sure the storyline holds together. The final say as an author is yours, of course, but the editor will make you think about your work. And your work will be better for it.

Of course, even the best editors may not catch everything. We’ve all found typos in popular novels. Even if your manuscript is edited professionally, those evil little typos can still find a way to lie hidden among the 100,000 or so words you have so carefully written. Your friends will gleefully point them out to you and that’s when you can tell them that you left the typos in the book deliberately to test their observational skills. While we try to catch them all, one or two typos are not going to affect our credibility as a writer with most readers. But weaknesses in the story line or numerous typos or grammatical errors will.

So while you are writing your masterpiece, set aside some money to hire a good editor. Check their references and ask what they consider editing to be to ensure it’s in line with your expectations. Try to be objective when looking at the suggested changes and think long and hard about them before accepting or rejecting them. The end result will be a good working relationship and a product that will win over your readers and make them want to read more from you. Most of all, you will be happier with the result.

How far will a man go when his family is threatened? Mason Seaforth is about to find out. He is a mild mannered accountant living a quiet, idyllic life in the quiet community of Gulfport, Florida with his wife, Samantha. At least, it’s quiet and idyllic until Sami, as she’s known to her friends, vanishes the night of their 20th anniversary.

Mason is thrown into a life that is meant for other people as he and their brash friend, Marcie Kane, try everything to find out what has happened to Sami. A search of Sami’s computer uncovers notes describing a past that Sami has buried for more than 20 years. Then come the threatening phone calls: to Sami, to their daughter Jennifer at university in Miami, and to Mason.

Mason and Marcie are thrust into a race against a sadistic killer to discover what has happened to Mason’s wife. He reluctantly exchanges his spreadsheets for a Glock 17 and he and Marcie follow a trail left behind by Sami which leads them to a potential confrontation with some very dangerous men in Canada. Mason is required to make decisions that he could never imagine himself making and each one has deadlier consequences than the last. The wrong one could result in the death of his entire family.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sami never went anywhere without her cell phone, and if she had gone out for a walk, she would certainly have taken the phone with her. He reached for his own phone and dialed Sami’s number. The number rang. And rang, and rang again. Mason held his breath. “Please, Sami, please, pick up,” he whispered. On the sixth ring, he heard Sami’s confident voice message. “You have reached Samantha Seaforth. Please leave a message, and I will call you back.”

In a shaking voice, Mason heard himself doing as she asked. “Sweetie, it’s Mason, I’m leaving a message. Where are you? Please call me back right away.”

It had been two hours since he first noticed Sami was gone.

About the Author:

In 2009, Barry Finlay went up a mountain as an accountant and came down as a philanthropist. After over thirty years in various financial roles with the Canadian federal government, he took his life in a different direction and climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro at age sixty with his son Chris. The climb and their fundraising efforts to help kids in Tanzania led to the award-winning book, Kilimanjaro and Beyond: A Life-Changing Journey. He followed that up with the hilarious travel memoir, I Guess We Missed The Boat, which was named Best Travel Book of 2013 by Reader Views. Now, he has completed his debut fiction book, The Vanishing Wife. Barry was named to the Authors Show’s list of “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” in 2012. In 2013, he received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal for his philanthropic work in Africa. He lives in Ottawa, Canada with his wife Evelyn.


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Danse Macabre by Cristelle Comby – Q&A and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter will receive a signed copy of Danse Macabre. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to Long and Short Reviews, Cristelle. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

PCP: Pace, Character and Plot. You need those three elements to grab any reader’s attention. Characters the audience cares for, interesting things happening, twists and turns to keep them interested.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

To me it’s the characters. I create them; flesh them out as much as I can. Then I answer to questions: ‘Where are they now?’ and ‘Where are they going?’

Plot is what allows my character to undertake the emotional journey I want them to make. Throwing things in their path, making the journey harder for them is what makes it interesting for the readers.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

It’s the darkest book I’ve ever written. There are several deaths along the story and, though I tried not to be too graphic about it, it’s got dark spots.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?

The next book in the series, because this one ends with a cliff-hanger. It’s the one I’ve been dying to write since I started this series, but I had to set the stage for it properly.

What are you reading now?

I’ve just started to read Gone Girl (because of all the movie hype). I’m about four chapters in, and I still haven’t decided if I like it or not (not a good sign).

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

I stick with a two words routine. Book one was Russian Dolls, book two was Ruby Heart and this one’s Danse Macabre. They all fit the theme of the book, and key-words that connect with the case. For Danse Macabre, I’m especially glad to have been able to go with a French title (my mother tongue).

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I cannot write out of order. My mind is wired in a linear way, so I always start writing with the prologue and end with the epilogue. Some people can jump around all over the place, but that’s not me.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?

How much I like it. I have a very stressful day-job, and writing is like a big breath of fresh air amidst all the madness.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

It’s my feet on the cover of Danse Macabre. It was the first time I wore Pointe shoes, and I was in tears by the end of the photo shoot. Damn, but those things hurt.

Ebook or print? And why?

Print. I like the look and feel of a large library.

Favorite place to read?

On the train. I have an hour of commute to go to work every weekday. I alternate between playing audio books and music on my iPhone.

MEDIA KIT Book CoverPrivate investigators Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan are hired to succeed where the police have failed, to safely return home a missing ballerina. With no lead to pursue and no idea who could be behind the young woman’s kidnapping, they soon find themselves at a loss as to what to do.

To make matters worse, the heart of England seems to be caught in the middle of a little Ice Age. With snow endlessly falling and Tube lines either too cramped up to use or out of service, it is a pain to do any legwork in the huge metropolis.

Oh, and because trouble never comes alone, there may also be a serial killer on the loose in the streets of East London…

Enjoy an excerpt:

I take a better look at the dancer facing us. He looks… fragile more than shy. He has bags under his eyes, his nails show the traces of nervous biting, and his clothes are ill-fitting. Lack of sleep, tension, weight loss. What is going on in Marc Jules’ life? What is he trying to hide from us? ‘That’s not all, is it?’ I lean forward, look at him square on. ‘There’s something you’re not telling us. It’s plain to see.’

The young man shrinks in on himself even more. ‘No… no, nothing. I told you everything I know. I have no idea where Isabella is. I swear.’ A thought strikes me, and I try another angle. ‘She obviously means something to you.’

The man’s eyes shift to the side as he focuses all of his attention on the half-empty lemonade glass sitting on the table. Gotcha!

‘You like her, yet you refuse to help us; it doesn’t make sense,’ I continue. ‘What would Isabella say if she could see you now?’

‘I don’t know anything,’ Marc protests with fervour.

‘Really?’

‘I’d tell you if I knew. I like her, she’s my friend. I want to find her too.’

‘Then stop lying to us,’ Egan says. ‘What are you not telling us?’

‘If what you’re saying is the truth, you would do well to stop keeping things from us. You’re slowing us down, Marc; you’re wasting our time,’

I continue, relentless. I can feel we’re close to breaking him, so very close. ‘Do you know how valuable time is, in a situation like this? Time is everything. Every second we’re wasting on you is taking us further away from Isabella.’

‘You’re letting her down, right now.’ Egan adds. ‘Maybe you’re not her friend after all.’

‘No — she’s my friend. I swear.’ Marc rushes the words out, tears welling up in his eyes.

‘She’s helped me when no one else would. I owe her so much.’

My eyebrows rise up at the words and I cock my head to the side, my expression expectant.
Marc bites down hard on his lip the second he finishes his sentence. He didn’t mean to reveal this much to us, but it’s too late now. The cat’s out of the bag. I soften my tone now that I’ve got what I wanted. ‘What do you mean, Marc? How did she help you?’

‘I don’t… she just…’ He stops himself, crosses his arms over his chest. ‘It’s nothing to do with any of this.’

‘Let us be the judges of that,’ Egan says. ‘If Isabella was involved, it could be relevant.’
‘It’ll stay between us,’ I promise. ‘We’re not the police, Marc. Whatever it is, no one else needs to know.’

The young man lets out a long breath as he uncrosses his arms. Defeated, he lets his hands hang limp in his lap.

About the Author: 12_18  AuthorPic_Danse MacabreCristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.

Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

Danse Macabre is her third new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the Neve and Egan series.

Website: http://cristelle-comby.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Cristelle
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Cristelle%20Comby&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CristelleComby

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Cajun Nights and the Characters Within: The Many Lives of a TV Series that Never Was by D.J. Donaldson- Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes D.J. Donaldson who is here to tell us how Cajun Nights almost became a TV series– three times.

CAJUN NIGHTS AND THE CHARACTERS WITHIN:
THE MANY LIVES OF A TV SERIES THAT NEVER WAS
by D.J. Donaldson

LIFE #1

Cajun Nights was my first novel featuring New Orleans medical examiner, Andy Broussard, and his suicide/death investigator, Kit Franklyn. A few weeks after the book was published, I got a call from my agent with the surprising news that, “There’s been a flurry of movie and TV interest in your book.” I’d never considered that such a thing was possible. So that was one of the best phone calls I ever had.

Subsequently, a production company headed by the former director of programming at CBS took an option on the series, planning to shape it into a TV show. As perhaps some of you know, this phase of things is known as “development hell”, because it takes a very long time to make anything happen. So a year went by with no news. I figure, okay, the thing is dead. But, the producers renewed their option for another year, which meant I got paid again. It wasn’t a lot of money, but with that check, I’d made more money from the two option years than the advance I was given on the book by the publisher.

So more time goes by with no news. Now, I’m not even thinking about it anymore. Then, while I was attending a scientific meeting in Dallas, I got a call from the agent in Hollywood who was handling the dramatic rights. CBS had agreed to pay for a pilot screenplay. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but if this guy had tracked me down in Dallas just to tell me that, it must be a big deal. And guess what… I got another check as an advance on the screenplay even though I wasn’t gonna write it. I was beginning to love the agent who created that contract.

They chose as a writer someone who’d had several movies produced. That may seem like something not worth mentioning, but I’d read an article once that said it was possible to have a career as a screenwriter and never have anything produced. (Yeah, I don’t quite get that either, but it sure seemed like the writer we had was the better kind.) With her experience and success, I was sure we’d get a great screenplay.

A few months later, a package arrives in the mail. IT’S THE SCREENPLAY. I’m so excited, I quickly skim the enclosed letter from the producers: “Read this over and tell us three things you don’t like about it.” That’s ridiculous, I’m gonna love it. After all, it was written by a pro.

Well, I hated all of it. The writer didn’t seem to “get” the relationship between Andy and Kit. I couldn’t believe it. The books show that non-romantic love is possible between an unrelated man and woman of greatly differing ages. Though he can’t admit it, Broussard loves Kit like the daughter he never had. Kit loves Broussard like a father, even though she has a father. How do I boil all the things I hate down to just three items? Somehow I manage and send my reply back.

As it turned out, the producers didn’t really care about any of my thoughts. Was I upset? Not really, because I figured they know TV, I don’t. And… surprise, when they gave the script to CBS, I got another check. Now I definitely love my agent.

The producers are sure the script will be approved and we’ll soon be shooting a pilot. They invite me to watch them film in New Orleans. They say they’ll even find a bit part for me. They predict that the series will run for ten years. And they should know. Their show, Cagney and Lacey, ran for seven seasons. Now I’m excited.

But… later, I get another call. CBS didn’t like the script. And they didn’t want to see a rewrite with the same story. The producers asked me if I had any ideas. The screenplay was based on the second book in the series. When I got this call I was sitting at my desk looking at the rough draft of book number three. I pitched them the story and they said, “Send us a copy by overnight mail.” This was back before manuscripts could be sent by e-mail. (I know, I can hardly remember those days myself.)

So another screenplay was written, which didn’t fare any better than the first. Thus life #1 of my hoped-for TV series went to a quiet demise.

LIFE #2

A few years later, while I was at the Kentucky book fair promoting book number five in the series, a young blonde fellow bought a book. We spoke for a few minutes and he moved on. Later, back in Memphis, I get a call from this guy. He wants to option the series for TV. I tell him about my earlier experience with the other producers, who failed, but he’s unfazed. We strike a deal. There’s talk about John Goodman playing Broussard. John Goodman… he lives in New Orleans and he’d be a great fit. I love it.

Within a few weeks the producer calls to say he’s on his way to Memphis and could I meet him and John Goodman’s “best friend,” at the Peabody Hotel. (The Peabody lobby is where William Faulkner and his mistress used to have drinks.) The meeting takes place and I give the best friend a copy of the latest book, which he assures us, will be in John Goodman’s hands within twenty-four hours. That was the last time I ever heard from him or the producer. So I guess the deal is off.

LIFE #3

In my primary occupation, I taught medical and dental students microscopic anatomy. One day I get a call from a former dental student. He’s now a part-time actor who’s been in a couple of notable films. He says that he and a long-time Hollywood promoter have formed a production company and are looking for material. He remembers that I wrote a few novels and wonders what I’ve been doing since he last saw me. I talk about my work and send him some books.

Very soon thereafter he calls me again and says he and his partner “are on fire over these forensic books.” They believe the series would make a great TV SERIES. He asks me who I’d like to play Broussard. I tell him I’ve always believed Wilford Brimley would be perfect. Incredibly, my former student says that his partner had lunch with Wilford just last week. He’s sure they can get him to sign on. With an actor of Wilford’s stature attached to the project, we’ll surely get a deal.

Was all this talk about Brimley just smoke? No. Because they actually got him on board. And what’s even better, my former student and his partner were working with another producer who had a development deal with the Sci-Fi network. They planned to present my series to the network three weeks hence, focusing on the real and apparent paranormal aspects of the first two books.

On presentation day at the Sci-Fi Network my student calls me just before they go in. I wait anxiously the rest of the day to hear how it went. Years later, I’m still waiting. The only contact I’ve had since presentation day is a big envelope from the producer who had the development deal. In the envelope is a bunch of stuff I wrote for the presentation along with a note from the producer that says, “Sorry we couldn’t have worked longer on this together.”

LESSON LEARNED

Early in the machinations of the first development deal, I used to caution myself not to spend any time thinking about how great it would be if every week I could watch my characters living and breathing on a TV show. My thinking was that if I kept a tight rein on my expectations, it’d be much easier on my psyche if things didn’t work out.

But then I realized I was missing out on the excitement of the possibility. Why not let my mind run with it? Then, even if none of the deals came to fruition I would still have the pleasure of being part of a great endeavor. So that’s what I did. And now, even though I never played that bit part in a pilot and I’ve never seen John Goodman or Wilford Brimley bring Broussard to life, I sure had a lot of fun along the way.

(By the way, if you’re a TV/film producer, the rights are available.)

12_17 _big_dondonaldson_64413Cajun Nights by D.J. Donaldson is the first novel in the incredibly popular Andy/Kit mystery series. Readers are thrown into the bayou with criminal psychologist Kit Franklyn, newly hired to investigate a string of murder-suicides plaguing the city. Her boss, chief medical examiner Andy Broussard (a super lovable protagonist and self-proclaimed foodie—a man after my own heart) accompanies her to the newest crime scene of yet another gruesome act. Throughout the novel, Kit and Broussard form a really fun team to follow, uncovering eerie clues linking the historic past of Haitian Voodoo and Sorcerers to the present.

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iTunes.

About the Author: D.J. Donaldson is a retired professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology. His entire academic career was spent at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, where he published dozens of papers on wound-healing and where he taught microscopic anatomy to thousands of medical and dental students.

He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers. In the spring of most years he simply cannot stop buying new flowers and other plants for the couple’s prized backyard garden.

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Ten Things You Don’t Know About M. Ryan Seaver – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One reader will receive a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ten Things You Don’t Know About M. Ryan Seaver
1) While I’m perfectly happy writing about violence and mayhem, in my real life, I’m a big baby. Horror movies terrify me, as does just about anything that jumps out at you and goes Boo. Even talking about most medical procedures will send me borderline catatonic, and I can’t have blood drawn at the doctor’s office without looking away.

2) I come from a literary family. My mother is mystery writer P.B. Ryan, author of the Nell Sweeney Mystery Series, and her twin sister, Pamela Burford, is the author of the Jane Delaney Mysteries. My younger sister, Leigh Ryan is an audiobook narrator, and voices Nell Sweeney herself. We make for quite the interesting bunch at family gatherings!

3) I can sing! I was a choir nerd all through high school, and was in all the school musicals. I took private singing lessons for seven years, and now squander every ounce of my training singing show-tunes in the shower and belting at karaoke.

4) I like to act out the various characters’ dialogue while I’m writing, out loud. In particular, I loved talking out the scenes between John and Mireille, although my French accent is atrocious.

5) My husband and I got together because of the Evil Dead movies. He and I met in college, and were casual friends…but I had a crush, and didn’t know how to tell him. We were both fans of the Evil Dead films starring Bruce Campbell, so I suggested we have a screening, just the two of us. I figured if he felt the same way, he’d make a move, and if he didn’t, we’d watch some movies we both liked, no harm, no foul. Little did I know, one of my friends had already spilled that I liked him. My plan wasn’t fooling anybody! We made it about twenty minutes into the first movie before he put me out of my misery. We’ve been together ten years now, and we’ve still never gotten through all three films.

6) Family lore says that we are descendants of Little John, Robin Hood’s trusty side kick. I don’t know how much stock I put in that story, but it’s a great ice breaker at parties.

7) I love thunder and lightning. The louder and brighter the better! Once, when I was about ten, I had a terrible bout of insomnia…three nights in the sweltering heat of summer, and no sleep. On the third night there was the wildest lightning storm I have ever seen—Howling wind that whipped the trees in my yard back and forth, lightning so bright and so frequent that it looked like daylight, and thunder that shook the house. The next morning I mentioned it to my family, but no one else had woken up. As terrible as those sleepless nights were, I’ve always been able to look back and think, Well at least I saw that.

8) As a kid, my parents had a tape of the Talking Heads Stop Making Sense concert. It was at the end of one of my tapes (Care Bears), and every time I saw that big white suit, I just assumed I was watching more children’s programming. I was an adult before I realized that I’d spent my formative years rocking out to Talking Heads.

9) John Arsenal has bad knees because I have bad knees. In other words, any time John complains that his knee is sore or makes crackling sounds, it’s probably because I was having a bad knee-day.

10) The villain for my next John Arsenal mystery is based on a nightmare I had. I actually woke up screaming! Once I calmed down though, I was elated. There’s nothing quite like meeting one of your characters face to face, even if it is only in your sleep.

12_16 seaver MEDIA KIT Book Cover seaver-no-bad-deed-small (2)Private detective John Arsenal can’t tell you what terrible crime he committed to wind up in a sweltering urban hellscape, surrounded by thieves, drug addicts and murderers—only that it was very bad, and now he’s being punished. That’s because in Hell—or Brimstone, as the damned prefer to call it—your identity, your memories, even your name, are stripped away from you.

John is relatively comfortable in his damnation, working easy cases and making himself at home in the grimy squalor of the afterlife. That is, until a mysterious woman appears in his office, begging him to find her missing sister, and promising him the impossible in return—a glimpse of his old life, before Brimstone.

To track down the enigmatic Sophie, John must delve into Brimstone’s darkest recesses, where murderous children run wild in packs, and a strange and terrifying new drug promises to deliver the user to the heights of ecstasy, but at the risk of being snuffed out of existence altogether. All the while, John must grapple with the vivid nightmares that have haunted him since his arrival in Brimstone, and confront the thing he desires and dreads the most—the truth of what he did to deserve damnation.

Enjoy an excerpt:

In the center of camp, one kid was beating with a slow, irregular tempo on a sort of makeshift drum, patched together out of skins stretched over an old rubber tire. He wasn’t playing it so much as he was testing it, tapping this spot and that, checking it for tone. He stood and stalked around to the other side of the drum, lanky and capable looking, and older than the rest, maybe twelve. I watched him working from a distance, and when he spoke, he didn’t bother looking at me.

“What do you want, mister?”

He was still slender like a kid, but tall, and he was working hard on the voice of a young man, or at least had been before whatever had ended his life stuck him in permanent adolescence. He had a smattering of painful-looking acne studded across both cheeks, and the beginning of a patchy beard coming through here and there. It looked like he had made some sort of attempt at shaving at one point, and I felt the stirrings of one of those troubling old half memories as I looked at him—the adolescent frustration of trying to pull a blade across pimply, broken skin.

I stepped closer to the kid and his work, and noticed the other kids glancing cautiously up at him. Him, not me. The captain, I decided. Any conversation I was going to have on this trip, I was having with him.

About the Author: 12_16 seaver MEDIA KIT Author amazon photo (2)I was raised in Rochester, New York, in a house that was constantly full of writers. On nights when my parents and their friends were holding court in our living room, I would practice the fine art of evading the little kids in the next room, setting up camp among the grown-ups, and being quiet long enough that they would forget I was there, and that it was past my bedtime. All my best dirty jokes were picked up this way.

I studied theatre performance at Northeastern University, where I spent a little time onstage, and a lot of time reading plays. I fell in love with Sam Shepard, Arthur Miller, and Nicky Silver. Exposed to plays day in and day out, I honed my ear for dialogue, and learned firsthand that if the writing doesn’t ring true, no amount of brilliant acting would make it right. I wrote my first play (terrible, melodramatic, with characters whose names did absolutely nothing to mask the real people they were based on). I showed it to no one. It’s probably still on my computer somewhere.

John Arsenal and Brimstone came to me during a bout of unemployment, in between searching desperately for a job, and baking more bread than was sane or reasonable for my two person household. The idea came to me in my sleep, demanding to be written, and that’s how the prologue of the book came into existence: In my darkened apartment in Boston at one o clock in the morning, my eyes barely able to focus on the computer screen long enough to get the words down. Sleep has continued to be the place where John Arsenal and I meet up to put the pieces of his story together. I’ve never been prone to insomnia, but John, it seems, is, and has never cared much for my sleep schedule.

In my life before Brimstone, I’ve worked as a telemarketer (I’m sorry) administrative assistant, waiter (badly, briefly), clerk and occasional story-time reader in a children’s bookstore, and professional hawker of everything from magazine subscriptions to national television advertising. I was better with magazines. I now live in Chicago with the love of my life, and my snarling, seven-toed demon-cat, Clara. No Bad Deed is the first book in the John Arsenal mystery series.

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Tango and Dead on Her Feet by Lisa Fernow – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lisa will be awarding a $30 GC to winner’s choice of online bookseller to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Guest Blog

I see that many of the books you feature here include romance novels, as well as mysteries, so I thought it might be fun to talk about where tango fits in all of this!

As a social tango dancer I have trained with masters from around the world and braved the nightclubs of Buenos Aires. Here is a scene from one of my favorites, El Beso – which means The Kiss. You can see that the dance floor is very crowded, and people are dancing in close embrace, where you are basically hugging your partner.

12_11 dead picture for post

When I go to the milongas (tango dances) in Buenos Aires, it’s always exciting because the dancers are usually highly experienced. Many have been dancing 365 days a year their entire lives.

When an Argentine milonguero takes you in his arms, you know it. First, he understands he is there to take care of you. His paramount concern is to make you feel safe and give you a good dance. Second, he is there to take charge. That doesn’t mean he bosses you around, not at all. Tango is a conversation; it’s give and take. But I love a man who projects a confidence that says, “I know the music, I know the tango, I know where everyone else is on the floor, and now I want to know you. Let’s share a moment together.”

It’s impossible to reveal anything but your most authentic self when you are dancing to some of the most heartbreaking, soulful, passionate music on earth with a partner who knows what he’s doing. And I always marvel how different each man is. At this point in my life I have probably danced with several hundred men, almost all of whom were complete strangers. Since my Spanish is very basic, I can’t communicate in words. But after one tanda (set) I feel I know everything that matters. Is he kind? Tender? Sensitive? Demanding? Full of longing? Playful? And he knows all he needs to know about me.

When you have a transcendent connection there is nothing like it. Well, I suppose great sex or religious ecstasy would come close ;)

I noticed a lot of the books covered in this blog are rated according to heat level so I would just like to say that most readers would probably rate Dead on Her Feet as sensual. Tango is about emotion, intimacy and passion – and it is certainly sexy – but it’s not sexual. What happens on the dance floor stays on the dance floor. Otherwise the passions you experience can spill over in dangerous ways. That’s why I couldn’t resist setting Dead on Her Feet in the tango community.

So, what are you reading now that really sweeps you off your feet?

12_11 dead Cover_Dead on Her Feet What happens when a dancer violates the tango code?

Tango instructor and chronic rule-breaker Antonia “Ant” Blakeley has no respect for authority. So when a much-hated member of the Atlanta tango community is stabbed in the middle of the dance floor, leaving her troubled nephew Christian first on the list of suspects, the last thing she wants to do is use her tango expertise to help the police work out how someone could have struck the fatal blow, unseen. As someone who has experienced police incompetence first hand Antonia doesn’t trust them to find the real killer. So she lies to give Christian an alibi, and the coverup begins.

Unfortunately for Ant, former marine Detective Sam Morrow is on the case and he will do whatever it takes to solve the crime. He’s not about to let Antonia hijack his case. As both Ant and Sam investigate (or in Ant’s case, interfere), the two sleuths are about to find out the more antagonistic meaning of “it takes two to tango.”

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Tango can be about many things—seduction, longing, nostalgia, intimacy, tenderness— you get the picture. Whatever the music and the moment inspires. This song isn’t one we normally dance to but I happen to think it’s a beautiful piece, especially if you understand the words. It’s called ‘Uno.’ One.” Uno, oh yeah, she thought.

“He gave away his heart to a woman who betrayed him and now he can’t love the way he used to. That’s life and death stuff.” She was pleased to see Christian nodding, solemnly. “For this exercise I want you to move with whatever emotion inspires you. No partners. Walk around the room in the line of dance, counterclockwise, everyone, remember? Don’t worry about steps, the idea is to get used to feeling the music and transmitting it through your bodies.”

Antonia started the track, savoring the instrumental opening. When Sosa finally started to sing the yearning in his voice punctured her heart as it never failed to do. The class shuffled around the room, some self-consciously, others with more abandon. One of the Emory students seemed to be channeling Martha Graham, in a good way.

Something out of the corner of her eye caught her attention: a stranger, not that much taller than she was, standing in the doorway. His military bearing, neatly trimmed mustache, and close-cropped sandy hair would have conveyed unyielding strength if it hadn’t been for the fact that his eyes were pale blue and his nose had been broken at least once. He would have been just her type if she were interested in a relationship.

About the Author: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALisa Fernow grew up on the classic mysteries of Ngaio Marsh and Elizabeth Peters. Lisa has danced Argentine tango since 1996, studying with such legendary masters as Cacho Dante, Susana Miller, and Brigitta Winkler, as well as other inspiring instructors in Atlanta, Seattle, and Portland. Lisa’s short story,Death of a Tango Dancer was featured in King County Library’s Take Time to Read program. She lives in Seattle, Washington. Dead on Her Feet is the first book in a planned series set in the tango world. Read more at www.LisaFernow.com.

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Hand of Fatima by Myrna Sokoloff – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

 

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Myrna will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and five randomly chosen winners via rafflecopter will receive a code for a free Audible copy of HAND OF FATIMA. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

It had been a year since the sealed casket of Holly’s beloved husband Jake had been flown from the war zone to Dover Air Force Base with an honor guard. The American flag and the music didn’t lesson the agony of his death for her.

Nobody ever told Holly what had really happened on that classified mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The painful memory of his death came crashing in on her when Alex, a former special-warfare operator, approached her on a clear autumn day. Alex and his teammate TJ had been wounded on the same raid with Jake.

These tough wounded warriors were determined to find out the facts, but they knew for sure that the SEALS had been betrayed.

By uncovering the treacherous truth about the Helmand mission, this group of patriots and their friends discover an even more sinister plot that will put the country in danger . . . and it leads straight to the White House.

Enjoy the excerpt:

Alex paced in front of D.C.’s Union Station. He had worked with Susanna and trusted her but she still worked for the President he did not trust.

Susanna saw Alex, took a deep breath and walked towards him. “Alex,” she whispered.

He turned and walked into the station and got lost in the crowds surrounding the fast food restaurants and sat at on a bench.

Alex started, “Tariq betrayed us.”

Susanna gasped, “How do you know this?”

“We’ve tracked him since the attack in Helmand Province,” Alex said breathlessly, waiting to see Susanna’s reaction.

Susanna looked stunned.

“Tracked him—how could you track him? Do you have mercenaries in the field or is TJ’s dad at NSA going outside the wire?”

“Tariq was there on the day of the attack.” Susanna’s mouth fell open.

Alex leaned close to her. “I’m not telling you the details because then you don’t know anything to testify to in case…”

“Testify,” she shouted. “What do you mean? How do you know he was at the site of the attack?”

Alex looked glum. “I saw him!”

Susanna gasped. “Are you sure it was Tariq?”

“Yes absolutely. You forget I was observing his interrogation at Gitmo. You know what this means Susanna?” he carefully said.

Susanna sighed and leaned back on the bench, “The President’s poster boy for Gitmo releases reverts to his old ways…he’s still a terrorist.”

“And worse, he set us up. He just didn’t escape into thin air—he led us into a trap by giving us false info in order to kill us. He was laughing at us!” Alex was intent on making her see the danger.

Susanna got up and started walking, pulling her coat around her against the chill autumn wind. Alex followed but hung behind giving her some space. Her pace slowed as she faced him.

Alex pleaded, “We need to tell Holly, wife of a dead SEAL and a respected analyst.”

“Holly is not political and she was devastated by Jake’s death. To bring it up again is cruel, especially if she finds out it was avoidable. I am speaking as her friend!” cried Susanna.

“Don’t you think she would want to know? And if her best friend knew something, don’t you think she’d be mad if you kept it from her?” asked Alex.

Susanna looked exasperated. But what he said made her feel unsure of her position. Maybe Holly would want to know.

“I tried to talk to her at Temple, but she was with family and besides, I lost my nerve,” he said, embarrassingly.

“I know how we can all meet away from prying eyes. It’s Sukkot Thursday night.” Alex looked stunned and smiled.

“I didn’t know you were Jewish!” he laughed.

“Holly always invites this Catholic to her sister’s Sukkah in her backyard in Connecticut. There will be lots of people all unrelated to our work. Holly said I could bring guests. Ask TJ. We’ll take the train.” Alex grinned and nodded his head.

Alex walked out of the station, happy he had met with Susanna. And he was glad he was going to see Holly again but he didn’t want to think of her in personal terms.

His thoughts went to Tariq. He was sure he had seen him at the edge of the staging area, which didn’t surprise him. After all, he had provided the intel. Then he thought he made a mistake and then everything was explosions, pain and darkness.

Alex was wounded. In the hospital room and in therapy, he felt like he had forgotten something important. But he was confused and the doctors told him some memory loss was perfectly normal after an explosion.

But it came back to him one night when he was watching The Godfather, and he called TJ.

“TJ, remember the scene in The Godfather when Michael was hiding out in Sicily after killing Sollozo and McClusky. His beautiful Sicilian wife—what was her name?”

“Appollonia…yeah I remember her,” said TJ.

Alex continued dramatically, “She was about to start the car. Michael called to his bodyguard Fabrizio. He looked back at Michael and then ran. In that instant Michael knew he had been betrayed and then his wife turned on the ignition and blew up. It had been meant for him.”

“Yeah, yeah I get it, but…,” interjected TJ.

“When I was watching that scene it came back to me. I saw Tariq that day and when I called to him he looked back with the same expression and then ran just like Fabrizio and then the explosions started.”

“We can’t use The Godfather as a reason you remembered Tariq. They’ll have you back in psych evaluation and think you are confusing life with a movie.”

“You do it all the time,” laughed Alex

“Yeah, I know, but not at a debriefing.” TJ sighed.

About the Author: I grew up in the beautiful suburb of Westport Connecticut. After Boston University, I moved to New York City. In Manhattan I spent time in many political campaigns as fundraiser and writer. New York was a Democratic town. We never fought with Republicans, we fought with each other! It was exciting and I thought I was making a contribution. When I moved to California, my connections helped me transition into the political world in LA.

September 11th, 2001, changed me and I had to re-evaluate my politics. I used to work in lower Manhattan and saw on TV the streets and buildings covered with dust and so many people killed in an instant. In LA, I volunteered for the USO at LAX and watched Marines from Camp Pendleton fly out to their next training base. I also served an Army Family Readiness unit near me.I called families of deployed soldiers to check if they needed anything and helped with the Army Christmas parties for the kids. It didn’t seem enough. I had to find another way to express my ideas and support the troops. I made political commercials and wrote articles.

In 2008 I was the co-writer and executive producer of the political comedy feature ‘An American Carol’

I decided to write my first novel ‘Hand of Fatima’ because I was angry about the lies surrounding Benghazi, the terrorist attack that occurred in 2012. The four men that died that day had families and friends who loved them. Our leaders acted as if it was a political mess to get passed and forgotten. The novel is a thriller about terrorism and how it affects real people.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Myrna-Sokoloff/e/B00GLDOL2S/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1413853834&sr=8-1

Website: http://myrnasokoloff.net/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Myrna888

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7312642.Myrna_Sokoloff

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Myrna-Sokoloff/234873910011084

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Where Do Ideas Come From? by Phil Lecomber – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Phil will be awarding a $40 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Where Do Ideas Come From?
What is the inspiration for our creative ideas? The word itself—from the Latin inspirare, to inhale or breathe into—gives us an idea of what the ancients believed. To them the inspired poet or artist was imbued with the spirit of the gods or muses, a similar source as that attributed to the ecstatic inspiration of religious prophets throughout the ages.

That creative inspiration comes from somewhere other than the logical brain would be hard to contest, but I don’t think most artists, writers and musicians nowadays would claim that they’d been visited by the divine (with maybe the exception of Bono!). So where do those ideas come from?

Well, for Leonardo da Vinci inspiration for a composition might come from a surprisingly commonplace source. He recommended that student artists should study walls “spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones” and with a little un-focussing of the eyes there might be found there “a resemblance to various different landscapes … strange expressions of faces … outlandish costumes … an infinite number of things which you can reduce into separate and well conceived forms.”

I’m sure we all recognize the form of daydreaming that da Vinci is describing, and can appreciate how helpful an aid it might be to visual composition. But what about the more complex ideas an author needs for plot and characterization? Well, when we daydream our more active facilities—including our will—withdraw a little to allow our imagination to step forward. Of course, this thing we call “imagination” is in itself a conglomerate of diverse mental processes: hopes, fears, memories, retrospection, supposition … and if imagination is allowed to take a step forward when we daydream, then why shouldn’t it take the opportunity for full control when we sleep-dream?

Personally, I think this dream-state is responsible for a lot of my creative output. Indeed, I often find the more ‘inspired’ twists and turns to a story’s plot have been deposited in my brain overnight, to be discovered like little surprise gifts on awakening. However, they do require a little ‘gestation’ period before they arrive fully-formed, kicking and screaming in my arms.

Of course, there are many examples from history of such unconscious inspiration. Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan famously came to him in its entirety whilst he dozed in his armchair following a dose of laudanum that had been prescribed for “a slight indisposition” (he doesn’t say what this was – I’ll leave you to fill in the gaps). On awakening he grabbed pen and paper and started to preserve the epic poem for posterity, only to be disturbed by a caller at the front door. By the time he could return to the poem (over an hour later) he discovered, to his horror, that most of its “two to three hundred lines” had been forgotten. A stranger story yet is that of the 18th century philologist Giovanni Gheradini, who was so affected by a serious nervous condition as to render him unable to feel hunger, thirst, heat, cold, smell or taste. Unable to even sleep he seemed likely to die – but one morning, having slept a little at last, he awoke with a desire to take a little snuff. After which he arose, seated himself at a table, grabbed a pen and wrote, in completion, his treatise, Voci e maniere di dire additate ai futuri vocabolaristi.

However, such inspiration is certainly not the result of any visitation from one of Zeus’ offspring. Just before he nodded off into his opium-induced reverie, Coleridge had been reading a description of Xanadu, the summer capital of the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan, by the clergyman and geographer, Samuel Purchas; and Dr. Gheradini had years of study in his particular field under his belt before he penned his miraculous treatise. No, rather than divine inspiration, these creative ideas arise from the heady fermentations of our own miraculous Pierian Spring—the human brain. And although it may seem that our conscious will has no control over them, as the essayist Logan Pearsall Smith put it: “… yet by labour and study it can clarify and enrich them; and can form standards and ideals which, long brooded over, may then sink down from the conscious into the unconscious strata of our mental existence, and mould and elaborate the unknown stores of energy which exists there, amorphous and concealed …”

So, as authors we read around our subject; we immerse ourselves in the atmosphere and culture of the world we wish to recreate; we learn how our characters’ voices sound … so that we might hear them more clearly when they whisper in our ears as we sleep. And remember: artistic inspiration is not the same as skill, technique or performance—unfortunately it isn’t so easily tamed as those particular beasts. And if all this sounds a little mysterious … well, I’m afraid that’s the nature of creativity; it thrives in the mysterious, in the symbolic, the suggestive …

As the American writer, Carl Sandburg said: ‘Nothing happens unless first a dream.’

LONDON, 1932 … a city held tight in the grip of the Great Depression. GEORGE HARLEY’S London. The West End rotten with petty crime and prostitution; anarchists blowing up trams; fascists marching on the East End.

And then, one smoggy night …

The cruel stripe of a cutthroat razor … three boys dead in their beds … and a masked killer mysteriously vanishing across the smoky rooftops of Fitzrovia.

Before long the cockney detective is drawn into a dark world of murder and intrigue, as he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the very security of the British nation.

God save the King! eh, George?

THE 1930s … thinking debutantes, Bright Young Things and P. G. Wodehouse? Think again—more like fascists, psychopaths, and kings of the underworld. GEORGE HARLEY’S London is a city of crime and corruption … of murder most foul, and smiling, damned villains.

In part an homage to Grahame Greene’s Brighton Rock, and to the writings of Gerald Kersh, James Curtis, Patrick Hamilton, Norman Collins and the other chroniclers of London lowlife in the 1930s, Mask of the Verdoy also tips its hat to the heyday of the British crime thriller—but unlike the quaint sleepy villages and sprawling country estates of Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot, George Harley operates in the spielers, clip-joints and all-night cafés that pimple the seedy underbelly of a city struggling under the austerity of the Great Slump.

With Mussolini’s dictatorship already into its seventh year in Italy, and with a certain Herr Hitler standing for presidential elections in Germany, 1932 sees the rise in the UK of the British Brotherhood of Fascists, led by the charismatic Sir Pelham Saint Clair. This Blackshirt baronet is everything that Harley despises and the chippy cockney soon has the suave aristocrat on his blacklist.

But not at the very top. Pride of place is already taken by his arch enemy, Osbert Morkens—the serial killer responsible for the murder and decapitation of Harley’s fiancée, Cynthia … And, of course—they never did find her head.

Mask of the Verdoy is the first in the period crime thriller series, the George Harley Mysteries.

Enjoy an excerpt:

STILL clutching THE distraught Gladys close to him the Italian moved forwards and fired up at the cage, the round ricocheting off the bars, briefly illuminating the gloom with a spray of sparks. Harley hunkered down, swore, and redoubled his efforts, finally forcing the catch and dropping through the small opening just as another bullet passed inches from his head.

The cage slewed as he dropped inside, the box of dynamite shifting a little to the left.

Now that his eyes had adjusted to the darkness he could quite plainly make out the length of two-core cable running through a drilled hole in the side of the box of explosives and out through the cage, snaking away into the gloom. He turned to peer through the bars—and was dismayed to see the second hand of the oversized clock ticking past the three minute mark.

He quickly lay down and started to crawl towards the bomb, the cage listing dangerously to and fro.

Girardi now fired again; this time the bullet made it through the bars to clatter terrifyingly around the inside of the cage.

‘Smith! You still there?’ shouted Harley, feeling in his jacket for his penknife.

‘You betcha, guv!’ came a voice from the gloom.

‘Shine a spotlight down there on that cowson, would yer? Try and dazzle him for me. Make it sharpish, now! We’ve only got seconds before this bloody thing goes up.’

About the Author:

Phil Lecomber was born in 1965 in Slade Green, on the outskirts of South East London—just a few hundred yards from the muddy swirl of the Thames.

Most of his working life has been spent in and around the capital in a variety of occupations. He has worked as a musician in the city’s clubs, pubs and dives; as a steel-fixer helping to build the towering edifices of the square mile (and also working on some of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as Tower Bridge); as a designer of stained-glass windows; and—for the last quarter of a century—as the director of a small company in Mayfair specializing in the electronic security of some of the world’s finest works of art.

All of which, of course, has provided wonderful material for a novelist’s inspiration.

Always an avid reader, a chance encounter as a teenager with a Gerald Kersh short story led to a fascination with the ‘Morbid Age’— the years between the wars. The world that Phil has created for the George Harley Mysteries is the result of the consumption and distillation of myriad contemporary novels, films, historical accounts, biographies and slang dictionaries of the 1930s—with a nod here and there to some of the real-life colourful characters that he’s had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with over the years.

So, the scene is now set … enter George Harley, stage left …

Phil lives in the beautiful West Country city of Bath with his wife, Susie. They have two sons, Jack and Ned.

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Shadow Catcher by James R. Hannibal – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. James will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

From James R. Hannibal—a veteran combat pilot with Top Secret clearance from the U.S. government—comes an electrifying high-tech thriller in the great tradition of Tom Clancy…

Over ten years ago, Air Force major Nick Baron was part of a failed special ops mission that left a B-2 stealth bomber at the bottom of the Persian Gulf. Now, leading his men—the Triple Seven Chase team—Baron must find the bomber and dispose of it for good before any unfriendly nation can steal the onboard technology for its own purposes. But as the team embarks on its mission, there are greater dangers waiting.

When the CIA intercepts a call signal from an operative in China long thought dead, the Triple Seven Chase team is given the perilous task of retrieving the lone soldier from deep within the Chinese wilderness. There is only one plane for such a dangerous mission: the Shadow Catcher, a plane with capabilities beyond anything that has ever flown.

What Baron and his men don’t know is that the enemy is already among them—and that the Shadow Catcher itself may be the ultimate prize.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Where am I?

Nick stood on a dirt road in thick darkness. He could not remember how he got there. On either side of the road, he saw the high mud walls common to desert villages. They seemed to be closing in on him. He could not feel the ground beneath his feet. The sound of his own breathing echoed in his ears. Then he saw the mosque, its distinctive dome with the worn crescent carved into the west side. Suddenly he knew where he was. He knew what he had to do.

He had to save Danny.

Nick found his teammate less than fifty yards ahead, crouched next to a gap in the wall surrounding the mosque’s small courtyard. Danny looked back at him. He stood up and waved as if they were meeting on a neighborhood street back home in Maryland, wearing that same ridiculous grin that he always wore.

“Get down, you idiot,” Nick whispered into his communications implant. “Stay there. Wait until I get to you.”

Danny did not respond. Instead, he disappeared through the gap in the wall like a ghost.

“Drake, I lost visual with Danny,” said Nick, rushing forward. “What’s going on in that courtyard? Where is the target?” He had to get to his friend, but no matter how hard he ran, the mosque stayed fifty yards ahead of him.

“You can see what I can,” replied Drake, his voice mechanical, distant. “Check the image on your handheld. I’ve got nothing on the thermal.”

Nick checked the faintly glowing monitor attached to his Falcon ROVER handheld. The receiver pulled real-time thermal video from an RQ-7 Shadow UAV flying overhead. He held the small screen up to his eyes, but he couldn’t focus his vision. He couldn’t make any sense of the hazy green image.

The target, Zaman Ramiz, had smuggled a nuclear weapon out of southern Russia. The Triple Seven had chased him from Azerbaijan, across northern Turkey and into Bazargan, just across the Iranian border. Drake had stayed behind to fly the Shadow. Nick and Danny had crossed the border in pursuit. Now the arms dealer’s men were dead, and Ramiz was holed up in the small mosque.

The whole village seemed to shift around him. Suddenly Nick was at the wall. Where was Danny? What a stupid question. He knew where Danny was. He was in that courtyard, and that courtyard was a deathtrap. He looked down at the handheld again. He still couldn’t see the video feed. He put the receiver away and cautiously leaned into the gap to get a look with his own eyes. A spray of bullets ricocheted off the wall beside his head, kicking brick fragments and dust into his face.

“He just shot at me,” Nick shouted as he pulled back behind the wall. He tried to rub the debris from his eyes. “I need to know where that’s coming from.”

Drake gave no response.

Nick had to keep the pressure on. He burst into the courtyard with his MP7 tucked into his shoulder, searching for a target, searching for his teammate. There, just ahead. Danny was lying motionless beside a wide, square fountain. The ancient stones were wet with blood.

Another burst of gunfire rang out from the shadows of the mosque. Nick felt two bullets slam into his vest. He dove into a prone position behind the fountain, shouting at Danny. But Danny did not answer.

Nick felt an icy grip crushing his chest. Pain radiated through his torso. He couldn’t breathe. He rolled over and tried to rip off his Kevlar vest, but there was no vest. He wore no protection over his cotton undershirt. The fabric felt warm and wet against his fingertips. He raised his hand to his eyes. It was covered in blood.

Footsteps. Ramiz stood over him, a blur at first and then slowly coming into focus. The arms dealer smiled down from behind the barrel of his Stechkin machine pistol.

He pulled the trigger.

“Okay, that’s really annoying.”

Nick fought to open his eyes. Drake’s hand was on his arm, shaking him.

“Seriously, how does Katy get any sleep when you’re home? You’re thrashing around in your bunk and moaning like a creature from a low-grade zombie movie.”

Nick blinked until his small berth on the Illustro came into focus. He wiped the sweat from his forehead. After taking a moment to gather his wits, he rolled onto his side and glowered across the tiny room at Drake. “I wasn’t moaning,” he said, trying to steady his voice. “And for the record, all zombie movies are low grade.”

About the Author:

James R. Hannibal is a former US Air Force Stealth Bomber pilot with over a thousand hours of combat experience including over-watch, close air support, and HVI captures. He graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1997 with a bachelors of science in Middle Eastern Studies and earned a masters of science from Central Missouri State University in Aviation Safety Sciences. His flying career included the A-10 Warthog, B-2 Stealth Bomber, MQ-1 Predator, T-38 Talon, T-37 Tweet, and the Boeing 737, 757, and 767. When he is not flying or writing thrillers, James occasionally reviews for the New York Journal of Books.

 

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Kobo, BAM, Powells, WalMart, or the publisher.

Find James at:

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/JamesRHannibal

Twitter – http://twitter.com/JamesRHannibal

Website – http://stealthcommand.com/

Check out the other books in the series:

How far will collateral damage from a CIA drone strike reach?

When a suicide bomber shatters the peace of a winter afternoon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., former pilot and undercover Cerberus operative Nick Baron receives an eerie invitation from the chess app on his phone—a mysterious figure named The Emissary wants to play.

Nick and his covert unit—the Triple Seven Chase team—soon find themselves drawn into battle against an unknown opponent who has resurrected an ancient order of assassins: the legendary Hashashin. And there is a long-awaited prophecy being fulfilled by a series of violent attacks which may culminate in a final apocalypse over Jerusalem.

As the Triple Seven fight to stop each attack, Nick tries to keep The Emissary on the hook by playing their digital chess game. The lines between the game and the fight begin to blur, as every time Nick loses a piece on the board, he loses one of his men. And if Nick cannot find a way to stop the terrorist mastermind, a checkmate may kill millions…

 

After the towers fall on 9/11, Lieutenant Nick Baron and the rest of the 81st Fighter Squadron are desperate for action. But CENTCOM puts them on the sidelines, leaving the young Warthog pilots restless—and reckless. Then the unthinkable happens. During a high-risk training flight, a rookie wingman slams into the ground.

In the darkness that follows, Nick wonders if he will ever learn to trust a wingman again—or even learn to trust himself. He will soon find out. Despite the black mark on his record, Nick’s application to the elite Stealth Wing is approved. A recruiter for a new covert team has taken note of Nick’s unique combination of skills. Suddenly Nick is swept into Operation Cerberus—a top secret mission that will take him from a harrowing flight over a black testing facility to a fight for his life on the Iraqi Dunes.

“Hannibal brings together a terrific mix of real air technology with intrigue and nonstop action. A true suspenseful story that will keep you turning the pages until the exciting finale; it really is a great tale.” —Clive Cussler

“Get out of the way, Nelson DeMille. Brad Thor—you’ve got competition!”—Raymond Benson

“A feast for thriller lovers!”—Grant Blackwood, New York Times bestselling author of The Kill Switch

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Found, Near Water by Katherine Hayton – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter will receive a $50 Amazon or BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Rena Sutherland wakes from a coma into a mother’s nightmare. Her daughter’s is missing – lost for four days – but no one has noticed; no one has complained; no one has been searching.

As the victim support officer assigned to her case, Christine Emmett puts aside her own problems as she tries to guide Rena through the maelstrom of her daughter’s disappearance.

A task made harder by an ex-husband desperate for control; a paedophile on early-release in the community; and a psychic who knows more than seems possible.

And intertwined throughout, the stories of six women; six daughters lost.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I set out the chairs in a circle. In my head I counted off each person as I placed their seat. Terry, dead daughter; Ilene, missing daughter; Kendra, missing daughter; Joanne, sick daughter; Christine, dead daughter. That last one is me, by the way.

There used to be a need for more chairs. I had quite the group running at one stage. Not now. We’ve dwindled and whittled our way to a close knit bunch. Like a knitting circle with barbed tongues driving all the young and optimistic members away.

I remember when I was talked into setting up this group. I was whining away to an old colleague one day and she mentioned that I may be helped by a support group. A support group! I “reminded” her that I was a fully qualified psychiatrist who had once had a roaring career until I realised how futile the entire field was. I wasn’t someone who attended a support group. I was the one to run it.

Famous last words.

There was a crunch of gravel outside and I walked to the window to have a nosey. Not one of mine. An elderly gent made slow progress towards the temporary library. He swayed so deeply from foot to foot he looked like a Weeble in full wobble.

I laid out a half packet of stale gingernuts which had mysteriously survived in our pantry and hoped that no one was feeling too hungry.

About the Author:

Katherine Hayton is a 41 year old woman who works in insurance, doesn’t have children or pets, can’t drive, has lived in Christchurch her entire life, and currently resides two minutes’ walk from where she was born.

For some reason she’s developed a rich fantasy life.

Buy her book and she’ll be able to retire in luxury. Or in comfort. Or in just-scraping-by-but-at-least-I’m-not-in-the-office-24-7-ness.

Go on.

Buy the book at Amazon.

Find the author at:

Author Amazon Page: amazon.com/author/katherinehayton

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathay1973

Blogger: http://kathay1973.blogspot.co.nz/

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Katherine-Hayton/1481785105415848

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8390059.Katherine_Hayton

Website: http://kathay1973.com

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The Fairyland Murders by J. A. Kazimer – Spotlight and Giveaway

12_3 fairyland MBB_TourBanner_TheFairylandMurders

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

12_3 fairyland Cover_TheFairylandMurdersBlue Reynolds knows the darker side of New Never City–the side that’s hopped-up on fairy dust and doesn’t care if your house gets blown down. Rent’s due and his PI business is all but make believe. But even Blue shudders at having to chase after Isabella Davis, a freckle-nosed redhead five feet tall on her tip-toes…if you don’t count the pretty pink wings.

Izzy is tough, and sneaky, and not too thrilled with the idea of being the new tooth fairy. The last six have been most gruesomely extracted. But Blue has a feeling that whoever is killing the tooth fairies is worse than your standard big bad psycho. The fairy council is hiding something. The Shadows are moving out into the light. And Blue is saddled with a shocking power that could take out half of New Never City…

Enjoy an excerpt:

“No buts, Isabella.” I gave her my most confident of smiles, all gleaming slightly tarnished teeth. “I’ll figure this out. Don’t worry your—”

She yanked her arm away. “If you say pretty little head, I will kill you in your sleep.”

Before I could comment, my cell phone rang. I pulled it out and checked the caller ID. The screen flashed Unknown Caller. “Reynolds,” I answered with hesitancy. Nothing I hated more than getting stuck on the phone for ten minutes with a guy trying to sell me lightning rods.

“To find the truth,” the speaker paused, “two past the midnight hour.”

Definitely not a lightning rod salesman. “What?”

The speaker’s sigh echoed through the phone. “If you want to know the truth about your new girlfriend, meet me under the 45th Street bridge at midnight tonight.”

I rolled my eyes. “Why not just say that in the first place?” Sometimes I hated my job. Everyone had something to hide, some angle to cover, which left me to weed through cryptic messages and layers of bullshit. My gaze inadvertently slid to Izzy, who stood next to me impatiently tapping her foot.

What was her angle? Was she really an innocent victim or was there more to her tale? Either way, I’d be stupid to trust her. On the other hand, no one had ever claimed Blue Reynolds was the brightest bulb in the pack.

About the Author:
12_3 fairyland AuthorPic_TheFairylandMurdersJ.A. Kazimer is a writer living in Denver, CO. Books include The Junkie Tales, The Body Dwellers, CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story, SHANK, Froggy Style, The Assassin’s Heart and The Fairyland Murders: A Deadly Ever After Mystery. Forthcoming novels include, The Assassin’s Kiss & Book 2 in A Deadly Ever After Series.

When J.A. Kazimer isn’t looking for the perfect place to hide the bodies, she spends her time surrounded by cats with attitude and a little puppy named ‘Killer’. Other hobbies include murdering houseplants, kayaking, snowboarding, reading, and theater.

After years of slacking she received a master’s degree in forensic psychology in 2007. In addition to studying the criminal mind, she spent a few years spilling drinks on people as a bartender and then wasted another few years stalking people while working as a private investigator in the Denver area.

Cheaters, drunks, deadbeats and family hold a special place in her heart, as well as a few pages in her novels.

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Buy The Fairyland Murders at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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