My Writing Process by Kelly Stone Gamble

This stop is part of a book tour organized by the publisher. Enter to win your choice of Red Adept swag or a $5 Amazon GC.

My Writing Process
Writers often talk about their ‘process’ and I bow to those who can actually define one. I’ve thought long and hard about what my own process for writing is, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to describe how I write is to talk about my first paintball experience.

When my sons were in high school, I tried to be the ‘cool’ mom and was willing to try anything at least once. I discovered I’m pretty good at laser tag, terrified of SCUBA and can still throw a mean left upper cut. But, typically, these activities weren’t necessarily planned well in advance, it was more like, “What should we do today? Go for a hike? Rollerblade? Try out the new boxing gym that opened downtown?” And soon, we were in padded helmets, boxing gloves and mouth pieces, punching bags and showing off our fancy footwork. That’s how we ended up at paintball.

I have to say I was uncomfortable at first. The gear can be heavy, the mask is designed for protection, not necessarily sight, and the gun full of paint was not something I was used to carrying around. But I soon got used to all of this and became somewhat comfortable with the restrictions. I started to gain confidence and began to formulate a plan of attack.

I found myself becoming frustrated quite often, as I would have what I considered a great hiding spot but was soon discovered by one of my sons who was more than happy to stealthily sneak up from behind and unload his purple paint on me while the other stayed at a safe distance and sniped me with green. I looked like Barney the Dinosaur, and, yet, no-one had a trace of my yellow paint on them. But frustration be damned, I was determined to make something happen.

I decided that hiding and playing it safe was not necessarily the best strategy. So I went rouge. I ran through the paintball court, shooting left, then right, behind me, above me, at anything that appeared to be moving. I even tried a fancy roll, which was much more graceful in design than in execution, but came up shooting.

I got slaughtered. I couldn’t have been more covered had I climbed in a barrel of paint. When the alarm sounded, indicating the session was over, I ran to the exit. I was a mess, exhausted and a bit humiliated by my performance.

But as we took off our gear, I noticed that there were splatters of yellow on my sons: a knee here, a butt cheek there and a few chest shots. Regardless of the pain and frustration I had experienced, I had managed to make a half dozen shots stick and some of them were expert in placement. In my mind, all of the mediocre could be deleted, leaving nothing but the perfect yellow circles.

My writing process is a lot like this. It begins with spontaneity, I have an idea, so I dive right in. I start with a plan, but soon find myself running through my field of thoughts, throwing paint everywhere. It is definitely exhausting and can be frustrating at times. But then I go back and evaluate what I’ve actually done. I delete the ineffective splatters and wash off what didn’t stick. And what’s left?

Bull’s-eye.

About the Author: 1_26 bio shotKelly Stone Gamble lives in a hunting lodge in Idabel, Oklahoma, and spends way too much time looking for Bigfoot and the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, both of which are said to reside in her 1,800 acre backyard. When she isn’t writing, trying to keep her dog from befriending a skunk, or shooting various wildlife (camera shooting, that is), she teaches Communications, Humanities and English to students at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

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1_26 They-Call-Me-Crazy-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalCass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn’t stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.

The police chief wants a quick verdict—he’s running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland’s corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass’s life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he’s not talking.

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Interview: Rich Zahradnik

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rich Zahradnik whose debut novel Last Words was release last fall by Coffeetown Enterprises. It’s the first of a series featuring Coleridge Taylor, a journalist who has been demoted to writing obits after a previous source he used proved to be unreliable. It began as a “what if…?” What if a big-time police reporter were forced to do the dull work of obituaries, always dealing with the dead but never pursuing the why of their deaths.

Rich himself is a former long-term reporter, so we asked him to describe his journalistic experience compared to his character’s.

“Taylor obviously came up earlier than I did at a different time for newspapers. I started in the suburbs, while he’s always been in the city. He’s covered police stories far more than I ever did. Much of my career was in media and business journalism. I think Taylor is a much more tenacious reporter than me, braver even, doing anything to get the story. That’s what’s important to him. Other things have always competed with journalism in my life, including writing fiction.”

Music also plays a big part of the story, with Coleridge Taylor mentioning music often. The author admits he likes most of the music that Taylor does, but he found out about a lot of the groups later than Taylor did, because the author was in high school from 1974-78.

“My group of friends and I thought we were mired in a musical wasteland, disco on the one side and hair bands (Styx, Foreigner, Kansas) on the other. Punk had not reached Poughkeepsie, so I did not become a fan of that music until I reached college, when I discovered the Talking Heads, the Police, and the Ramones. I also became a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen, who was neither punk, nor hair band, just real. My three favorite songs:

1. Thunder Road
2. Pyscho Killer
3. Sweet Jane (with the Intro)”

“When Laura and Taylor go out for drinks, the song “Gloria” by Patti Smith is playing in the background. What made you choose that song for them?” I asked.

“I loved Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” and I wanted to have Patti Smith singing a song from ’75 that she did sing and most readers would know.”

The author set the book in 1975 because there were striking parellels to America today.

“Then as now, an unpopular war was finally coming to its sad end. A major institution, the city itself, tumbled toward bankruptcy, threatening a cataclysm on the entire financial system. This as banks and ratings agencies ignored the warning signs or willfully misled the public,” he explained. “I chose this time period for the differences as well as the similarities. Solving a mystery in 1975 required good old-fashioned legwork and serious brainwork, rather than science fiction-like instant DNA typing and surveillance video available from any and every angle. Taylor has to find a pay phone when he needs to call someone. There’s something satisfying in that for me.”

Part of the challenge of writing this book was that for a good part of it, Rich was also working full time, so there were days he might only write half a page, which was very discouraging to him.

“I thought I’d never finish,” he admitted. “The second was thinking that since I lived through 1975 I wouldn’t have to do a lot of research. I was wrong about that. It was all the little details that needed checking. Like when did the cost of a pay phone or subway token go up. I learned a lot more about what a terrible beautiful mess Times Square was at the time than I could fit in. Some was cut; some I couldn’t even use. Things like the signage, the history of some of the restaurants. I could have written pages alone on the Horn & Hardart Automat and bored everyone but myself.”

“Did anything surprise you as were writing LAST WORDS?”

“Characters who came out of nowhere and became interesting and important. How grim 1975 really was. Time has a way of mellowing things. I remember the mid-Seventies as a difficult period, but I was a kid so I wasn’t really plugged into how terrible things were in New York and the country. Gas shortages. Inflation. Unemployment. Crime. The South Bronx burning.”

“Taylor carries a hefty literary name being named after the English Romantic poet Samuel Coleridge. What inspired you to connect Taylor to the English Romantic poet?”

“Taylor has a poor relationship with his father, an alcoholic English professor. His father gave him that name, and Taylor hates the ornamentation of it. Doesn’t much like his father either. Journalism is pretty much the opposite of poetry. I liked the name for all the contradictions it implies. I’m a huge fan of Morse and really wanted to go the one-last-name-only route, but didn’t want to be too much of copycat. This was my compromise.”

Finally, I asked, “If you could go back in time, when and where would you go? Why?”

“I’m obsessed with time travel stories. In fact, I’m writing a time travel novel for middle graders. It’s hard to pick one, but if I had to, the time of Christ. His life affected all of Western Civilization, the entire glove. I’d like to see what really happened during that period. Either that or my own childhood, to see everything I’ve forgotten.”

1_22 mystery RecordPlayer_image copy

1_22 mystery last_words_300In March of 1975, as New York City hurtles toward bankruptcy and the Bronx burns, newsman Coleridge Taylor roams police precincts and ERs. In LAST WORDS by Rich Zahradnik (Camel Press, $12.49 paperback; $4.95 Kindle), Taylor searches for the story that will deliver him from obits, his place of exile at the Messenger-Telegram. Ever since he was demoted from the police beat for inventing sources, the 34-year-old has been a lost soul. A break comes at Bellevue, where Taylor views the body of a homeless teen picked up in the Meatpacking District. Taylor smells a rat: the dead boy looks too clean and he’s wearing a distinctive Army field jacket. A little digging reveals that the jacket belonged to a hobo named Mark Voichek and that the teen was a spoiled society kid up to no good, the son of a city official. Taylor’s efforts to learn Voichek’s secret put him on the hit list of three goons who are willing to kill any number of street people to cover tracks that just might lead to City Hall. Taylor has only one ally in the newsroom, young and lovely reporter Laura Wheeler. Time is not on his side. If he doesn’t wrap this story up soon, he’ll be back on the obits page—as a headline, not a byline, in Rich Zahradnik’s LAST WORDS.

About the Author: 1_22 mystery Rich_Zahradnik_imageRICH ZAHRADNIK is the author of the Coleridge Taylor Mystery series published by Camel Press. He was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter, often writing news stories and analysis about the journalism business, broadcasting, film production, publishing and the online industry.
In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York’s Center for Fiction. He has been a media entrepreneur throughout his career. He was the founding executive producer of CNNfn.com, a leading financial news website and a Webby winner; managing editor of Netscape.com, and a partner in the soccer-news website company Goal Networks. Zahradnik received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University.

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Interview and Giveaway: Eden Baylee

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Eden Baylee who is giving away two Amazon gift certificates for her book, Stranger at Sunset. Read our review here. Leave a comment or ask the author a question to be entered in the drawing.

Stranger at Sunset wasn’t the first title for the story. Eden had several others including Strangers in Paradise, Strange Encounters, and so on.

“I settled on Stranger at Sunset because there are several meanings the title can take,” she explained. ‘Stranger’ can be both a noun and an adjective, and it alludes to how we view others as well as ourselves. ‘Sunset’ refers to the time when a pivotal scene takes place in the book as well as the name of the resort.”

Eden currently has thirteen titles available, because she sells her novellas both separately and in anthology format. Even though it’s hard to choose a favorite, she is a bit partial to Stranger at Sunset, partly because it’s her latest and she believes she has improved as she continues to write, but also because Kate Hampton is a character that she can see a future with. In fact, she’s working on the next book in the series now and admitted she’s excited to see where Kate goes next.

“How do you do research for your books?” I asked.

“When researching a location, the best thing is to go there. My current book, Stranger at Sunset, takes place in Jamaica, and getting a feel for the setting was a big part of the book. I’ve stayed at Sunset Villa, where the novel takes place, though the name has been changed for the book. As in the story, the real resort is located next to where Ian Fleming lived and wrote his James Bond novels. Given this, it was an inspiring place to draw upon for a mystery/suspense novel.

“I feel there is little else that can infuse as much realism into a novel as actually visiting a location where the story takes place. In doing so, you have the advantage of experiencing an environment with all five senses. If it’s not possible to be there in person, YouTube videos of a location are probably the next best thing.

“Research for other aspects of the book involved reading and surfing the Internet for information. My protagonist is a psychiatrist, and my lifelong interest in psychology made this part fun. I still read texts from the field just because I’m interested in the mind. One of my go-to books is the seminal work of Dr. Hervey M. Cleckley called The Mask of Sanity.

“The book describes his interviews with patients in a locked institution. His detailed clinical description of psychopathy is still relevant today even though the book was written back in the forties.

“I was also a student of Freud’s writings, but many of his observations are no longer studied. It still makes for good fiction though.”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

My main tip is to keep writing. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned by writing continuously. The fact that I cringe a little by reading some of my earlier works is a good thing. It means I’ve moved on from there. I feel the mark of any writer should be to improve with each book they write.

I’d also advise to hit a word count or daily goal you set for yourself. As a writer of fiction, I’m fully aware that my imagination is a function of my brain; the brain is a muscle. And like any muscle, it needs exercise daily or it will atrophy.

About the Author: 1_21 edenEden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

Author Links

Website | Blog | Amazon Author page US | Amazon Author page UK

Twitter @edenbaylee | Facebook | Goodreads | Youtube | Pinterest | LinkedIn

 

1_21 Cover_smallVacation can be a killer. 

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.

 

 

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Interview and Giveaway: Kat Martin

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kat Martin, whose newest book Against the Sky is being released on January 26. To celebrate the release, Kat will be giving away a copy of Against the Wild to two lucky winners– please leave your email address.

Kat started writing because of her husband. He had written a novel he couldn’t sell, so she started helping him.

“I got hooked!” she told me. “Basically it’s as simple as that. Once I got going, I felt I had discovered my true calling.”

She began writing in 1985, had her first book published in 1988, and has written 65+ books (she’s lost count of how many she actually has written. She doesn’t have a favorite book, but she does love all the AGAINST books.

Against the Sky is a fish out of water story. Nick Brodie, an ex-Anchorage cop, is tough as nails, a true man’s man, comfortable in the hard life in Alaska. But Samantha Hollis, the owner of the Perfect Pup pet grooming parlor in San Francisco likes shopping at Sak’s and a day at the spa.

“It was fun finding ways to make their relationship work when they seem so very far apart,” Kat said.

She’s currently working on the final edits and marketing for the next book in the series, Against the Tide, which is being released on May 27. It’s the story of Nick’s brother, Rafe Brodie. I asked her to tell us a little about it.

“It starts with a murder and expands into high action suspense. Lots of secrets in Against the Tide,” she shared.

“Do you ever suffer from writers’ block?” I wondered.

“I never used to get writers’ block. Even now I don’t call it that–too terrifying a word. I do get stuck on the story line, trying to make the clues fits, to solve the murder or whatever, to figure out a way to tell the story that makes sense. I stop writing, read, take a trip, a day off. I don’t stay off the computer very long.”

Kat just works through her characters and the plot a little at a time. She’ll get an idea for a story, then she tries to solve the mystery as she writes it. If she gets off-track, she’ll stop. She also looks for the right guy to tackle that mystery and creates a woman strong enough to handle him.

“I’m not much on re-writing,” she confessed. “Rather not make the mistake in the first place.”

Kat has a great office in their home in Montana, with wonderful views out over the mountains. During the winner in California, she can look out at the channel where the boats go in and out of the harbor.

“The view helps me stay focused yet relaxed,” she said.

“Do you hear from your readers much?” I asked.

“My Facebook page is very active. Readers seem to like both my old historicals and my contemporary romantic suspense novels. The AGAINST books have been especially popular. One thing readers say that I love hearing is that they read them over and over. What a terrific compliment. Makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

“What did you want to be when you grew up?”

“I had no idea. I loved learning, but couldn’t really figure out what I wanted to do. After I got out of college, I went into real estate. I enjoyed it and was pretty successful, but it wasn’t until I started writing that I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up!”

Since Kat writes a lot of crime, she does most of her research on the internet.

“Things change very fast,” she told me. “I like to be accurate. The web is the only way to do that.”

Finally, I asked, “What advice do you have for a new writer?”

“Tough to give advice these days since I can’t figure out what to do to advance my own career. Get the book written would be my first advice. Then try for an agent and go the traditional print book route if possible. If that doesn’t work, you can always self publish. But the money is better with both print and digital and a good publisher behind you. Traditional publishing has huge advantages. Like getting your books in front of people who don’t read digital.–which is nearly 60% of the market.”

About the Author: 1_20 Kat---Ventura-Star(250by175New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains. Her last nine books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list.

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1_20 AgainsttheSky(300x500)In America’s last wilderness there are no limits to what a man can do.

For detective Nick Brodie, that means keeping the perps off the streets of Anchorage 24/7. Nick has never backed down from danger, but after the horrors he’s seen, he’s definitely in need of a break.

Samantha Hollis never thought she’d meet anyone like Nick, especially in a place like Las Vegas. But after one reckless, passionate night, she discovers the charismatic stranger is everything she wants in a man. But can he ever be anything more than a one-night stand?

When Nick invites her to Alaska, Samantha decides to find out, never guessing the depths she’ll discover in him or the tangle of murder, kidnapping, and danger about to engulf them both…

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Gone Before Goodbye by Nora Leduc – spotlight and giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The auther will be awarding a $30 Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Cover_GoneBeforeGoodbyeThe police are stumped. Was she a runaway careening toward disaster or the victim of a predator preying on teenage girls?

When rebellious seventeen-year-old Lisa Grant vanishes from her New Hampshire home, her guardian, Teagan Raynes, becomes ensnared in the frantic hunt to find her. Search dogs lose the girl’s scent at Pretty Park, where another teenager disappeared three months ago. Law enforcement fears a stalker is using the park to abduct young girls. Desperate, Teagan, reluctantly puts her faith in the lead detective, the notorious Noah Cassidy.

Hot-headed, Noah Cassidy’s reputation and job are on the line. Rumors that he attempted to kill the man found guilty of destroying his family in a boating accident have tainted him. To prove his worth, Noah devotes every minute to the case and realizes he’s up against a cunning adversary. Worse, he finds himself distracted by feelings for the attractive, gutsy Teagan. To erase her doubts about him, he must earn back his reputation and let go of his past. He knows what he has to do. He must bring Lisa home and take down the monster who is hunting the girls of Pretty Park before it’s too late.

Enjoy an excerpt:

In the hallway, Teagan unlocked the door. On the street, a postal truck crawled up the block of New England style houses with sprawling porches, rectangular ranches, and modern Cape Cod homes. She grabbed the envelopes from the mailbox attached to the beige clapboards, stepped inside, and closed the entryway.

She sorted through the ads and bills to the last piece, a large white envelope. The sender used a printed label addressed to her. What was this? She ripped open the flap and pulled out…a holy card?

The picture of Mary Magdalene decorated the front. Someone must have sent a prayer for Lisa? Teagan flipped to the other side and frowned at the words.

Tu sequens morieris

Someone wrote to her in…Latin? Strange. The prick of sweat stabbed the back of her neck. She sat on the sofa and scooped up her phone from the coffee table. As she searched online for a translation, she dug into her memory of high school Spanish to help crack the code. Tu was you and morieris had something to do with death and sequens translated to—

Her breath whooshed out of her. She dropped her cell on the cushion, but the phrase stared up from the screen.

You die next.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
AuthorPic_Gone Before GoodbyeNora grew up in rural New Hampshire, picking blueberries in her backyard and wandering the woods with her brothers. Now that she’s older, she still lives in rural New Hampshire and enjoys writing stories. She was first published in 2000 and has written historical romances, contemporary romance, romantic suspense and mystery. She is a co-founder of the New Hampshire Romance Writers chapter, which meets monthly at the Bow Library. Here she enjoys great speakers and the company of fabulous authors.

When not writing, Nora spends time with her family, sews quilts, gardens and takes road trips to anywhere fun.

Visit her:
Website: noraleduc.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/57070.Nora_LeDuc
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Before-Goodbye-Mystery-6-oh-3-ebook/dp/B00OTWAGHC
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/nora-leduc
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nora.leduc.

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Crashers by Lindy Hudis – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lindy will be awarding an autographed paperback copy of Crashers (US Only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Fraudulent car accidents is a multi-million dollar racket, involving unscrupulous medical providers, personal injury attorneys, and the cooperating passengers involved in the accidents and who also receive a portion of the illegal proceeds. Such is the fate of newly engaged Nathan and Shari, whose joy is tempered by the dark cloud of mounting debt. A chance encounter with a stranger in whom Shari confides her troubles, proves fortuitous: he tells her of a get-rich-quick scheme that will put her and her fiance on easy street. Seduced by the chance to move from hard times to good times in no time, she finds herself acting as a stuffed passenger the victim in a staged auto accident. Shari gets her payday, but getting out and breaking free of the insurance fraud underworld will take nothing short of a miracle. A modern day cautionary tale that uncovers how the innocent get lured into the scheme of cappers and hammers.

Enjoy an excerpt:

As the blare of the clock radio on the night table jolted her awake, Shari Barnes rubbed her eyes, blew her long brown hair out of her face, and snuggled into Nathan Townsend’s chest. She curled her body around his middle and took a deep whiff of his salty, masculine neck.

But she couldn’t ignore the voice on the radio.

“Monday morning traffic,” she sighed.

Nathan matched the sigh and put his arms around her. “At least you don’t have to drive over the hill.”

“Yeah, I would just die if I had to drive into Beverly Hills every day to work in a beautiful office.”

Shari giggled and disappeared under their thick blue comforter for a few more moments of sleepy-headed bliss. She felt Nathan stretch up, and a moment later the radio shut off. Then he slid down next to her in the single bed they shared in their Studio City apartment, a few blocks north of Ventura Boulevard. The constant drone and rumble of another L.A. morning came clearly through the open window: cars honking, rock music blaring, the frantic scurrying sounds of the film shoot a few blocks away. Shari ran her bare feet up the inside of Nathan’s thigh.

He jumped. “Shit, your feet are cold.” He pushed her legs off of him.

“What time is it?” she murmured between kisses.

“Um, seven.” He nuzzled her neck and she felt him becoming erect against her.

“No time for that!” She threw off the covers. “Gotta be at work on time for once; gotta get my asp out of bed.”

“There’s a snake in the bed?” Nathan grabbed her with both hands and gave her belly gentle nips.

“Yeah, of the one-eyed variety.”

Shari leaped to the floor and padded naked into the bathroom. She turned the hot water in the shower to high and stepped in, filling the small bathroom with steam.

She had just poured a green drop of shampoo into her palm and was running her hands together when the flimsy yellow and white shower curtain flew back and Nathan grinned in at her. She smiled back, surprised by neither his arrival nor the partial hard-on that preceded him.

“Mind if we join you?” he asked.

“There’s enough shampoo for everybody,” Shari said as she rubbed her hands across her scalp.

He stepped into the stall, pulled the curtain closed and began to lather her hair for her. She put her hands on his back, feeling the taut muscles and the water streaming there, but did not reach down between them. It took him about five seconds to realize it and hold her away.

“You okay?”

“Fine….”

“Don’t lie; I can always tell when you have something on your mind.”

“You know me better than I know me,” she said.

“You know it.” He pushed her wet hair over her shoulders. “Come on, give.”

“I was thinking maybe I should get a second job.”

“You’re worrying about money again?”

“Well, I have to shoot my student thesis film this year or I won’t graduate. But where am I going to get the money I need?”

“How much do you need?”

“At least five figures.”

About the Author:

Lindy S. Hudis is a graduate of New York University, where she studied drama at Tisch School of the Arts. She is the author of several titles, including her romance suspense novel, Weekends, her “Hollywood” story City of Toys, and her crime novel, Crashers. She is also the author of an erotic short story series, “The S&M Club” and “The Mile High Club”. Her short film “The Lesson” was screened at the Seattle Underground Film Festival and Cine-Nights in 2000. She is also an actress, having appeared in the television daytime drama “Sunset Beach”. She and her husband, Hollywood stuntman Stephen Hudis, have formed their own production company called Impact Motion Pictures, and have several projects and screenplays in development. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

Twitter ~ Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

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Yesterday People by Terri Herman-Ponce – Excerpt and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Read an exclusive excerpt from Yesterday People and you might win a $50 Amazon or B/N GC. Enter the rafflecopter below and click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

David Bellotti’s only focus is to find his abducted twelve-year old daughter. When he sees her on a news segment with her captor, a renowned archaeologist who’s made a major discovery, David sets out to bring her back home. But the search leads him to a secret message that could alter man’s history forever.

A message David and his daughter inscribed twelve-thousand years ago.

A message that will prove dangerous in the wrong hands.

Protecting this powerful information seems simple until David realizes some people will use his daughter against him to get it, at whatever the cost. Now David must make a choice. Protect mankind from a secret past that must remain hidden, or save his little girl.

Enjoy the exclusive excerpt:

The bartender handed over my drink and the woman ordered hers. Tequila. Straight up.

I felt my brows rise and my interest pique. “I’m impressed,” I said.

“Won’t drink anything else.” The woman took the drink and held up her glass in salute. “Ever have?”

I shook my head.

“You’re missing out then. Tequila is the nectar that leads you straight to the devil.” She gave me a shrewd smile that made my knees buckle and my imagination stray to a bedroom and lots of sweat. “I’m Kyra Brand,” she said, holding out her hand. “You can call me Kyra.”

“David Bellotti,” I said, taking it. “And you can call me David.”

Her skin was warm, her grip firm, and the connection that fired between us made the temperature in hell seem tame.

“So, David,” she said, sipping her tequila. “What brings you here?”

“An invitation and a car.”

Kyra laughed.

“Actually,” I said, “I work for PROs. They just started donating money to Soft Zephyr Charity and I’m here sort of as a goodwill ambassador.”

Her smile widened just a bit. I decided I liked it. A lot.

“Sort of?” she asked, the mischief in her eyes kicking up a few notches.

I shrugged.

She went for more tequila, her red lips caressing the glass while her pink tongue darted out to lick the little bit that dripped over the side. I resisted the urge to tug at my tux collar, but it was getting way too damned hot in here.

“Let me guess,” Kyra said. “Ex-Navy SEAL?”

I shook my head. “Ex-Marine.”

Kyra nodded, like she approved. Then she leaned in, peering up at me with a beguiling look that made my heart stutter. “Tell me, do you know Mommie Dearest? Is she for real? Because I’ve heard stories.”

I had to laugh at that, and it felt good to laugh for a change. “I work for her. She’s my CO.”

“Wow. I can’t imagine that. I’ve heard she’s tough.”

Not the word I would have used, but good enough. “How do you know MD?”

“I know a few people in the biz.” Kyra motioned to the ballroom and the people around us, the deep plunge in her gown shifting just enough to tease at what was underneath.

Heat pulsed through my blood that had nothing to do with alcohol.

“So you know my story but I don’t know yours, Kyra. What brings you here?”

“Looking for a man.” Kyra gave me sly eyes and her red lips curved into an equally sly smile. “Preferably only for just the night.”

I paused, the wine at my mouth, and my gaze locked with hers.

About the Author:

Terri looks for any opportunity to make stuff up. She thinks anything that can’t so easily be explained is worth an extra look and often makes a great story. She loves red wine, scotch, sunrises, Ancient Egypt, the beach—and a host of other stuff that would take too much real estate to talk about. The youngest of five children, Terri lives with her husband and son on Long Island. And, in her next life, if she hasn’t moved on to somewhere else, she wants to be an astronomer. Terri’s fascinated with the night skies almost as much as she’s fascinated with ancient Egypt.

Terri is a member of member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and you can read about her at TerriPonce.com. If you love social media, you can also find Terri on Facebook and on Twitter. Come visit. She’d love to hear from you!

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How the Water Falls by K.P. Kollenborn

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. K.P. Kollenborn will be awarding a print copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

1_6 how the water If a book is writtern

If a books is written but no one reads it, does the book still have a soul?
Of course playing off the cliche: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” But to clarify the meaning, in a nutshell, it’s a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality. So contemplating on the same plane of knowledge and existence, if a book was indeed written but no one reads it, does the book still have a soul?

Having posing this question to other authors, all say “yes!” The life brought into the story is evidence of the book’s existence, thereby concluding it does posses a “soul,” as it were. Like all living beings giving birth, life breeds life.

But I raise the question of why writers write, and how their existence is influenced by the deepest desire to have their voices heard. Even through the argument that an artist should only write for her or himself, without worry of an audience, yet still, writers wish to share their art; and by sharing, an audience is needed, regardless of size. So, once a writer has composed words onto paper, but no one “listens” to the interpretations, how is the connection and kinship shared? To create life is one form of the soul, but to sustain it, to give it purpose, that is the destination. If a reader doesn’t know the existence of the book or choses to not read it, endorsing George Berkley’s observations about whether something can exist without being perceived, does that book truly exist? And if that book doesn’t exist, can it truly have a soul?

Whether a tree does make a sound, or whether a book does encompass a soul, to be perceived is the question of any argument. Naturally the answer is bi-polar in examination. Shared knowledge is a writer’s ambition, and that is the only reality a writer is able to express.

1_6 how the water Cover_How the Water Falls On the fringes of a civil war arise a kaleidoscope of stories of abuse, power, betrayal, sex, love, and absolution, all united by the failings of a dying government. Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa’s apartheid, How the Water Falls is a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Dingane smeared a smile, exposing two missing teeth, one on the top, the other on the bottom. “Yes, baas,” he replied evenly, sarcastically. “An’ how fery kind of you. A man wit morals may pay more. But not you, baas. Tank you for being like any utta man on dis block so my childrren can starve.”

Huffing, the owner crossed his arms. “Well, it’s not my fault you people breed like rabbits! That’s the real problem. You people don’t stop having children you cahn’t afford!”

Looking at Robert as if soliciting strength to not hit his employer, Dingane returned to stare at him. “Could you, honestly, feed a family wit 30 rrands a mont? Afta taxes?”

“I write your paychecks. I know how much you make!”

“Den shall I make a sign for you, too, baas? Come join us?”

Straining his jaw, he cleared his throat. “Dingane, I’m warning you. If you do not come inside now, I suggest you don’t come inside my store— ever again!”

He sighed and shrugged. “You hafe my addrress to mail my las’ check, baas.”

Exhaling, the store owner began pointing once more. “You need to leave these premises for loitering, Dingane! I can call the police on this matter and they can arrest you, and your two girlfriends, for that!” Then pointing at Lena and the other young woman, he vented, “The same applies to you both! I’ll call your bosses as well if both of you don’t remove all this nonsense!”

The owner stomped inside his store, glaring out the window as he picked up his phone.

Dingane joked, “All dis calling will only wear out dat little pointy finger of ‘is!”

Lena and Robert laughed.

Robert promptly announced, “Well, Lena, it looks like I won the bet. It took more than ten minutes before one of them brroke down!”

About the Author: 1_6 how the water AuthorPic_How the Water FallsAlthough I’ve been writing since childhood, I have a BA in history. I love studying history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned to value our lessons, and the best way to recite our lessons are through storytelling. That’s why I love history: To learn. To question. To redeem our humanity. Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, our society’s past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future.

I am fortunate to have been trained by one the top ten writing teachers in the US, the late Leonard Bishop, and author of ‘Dare to be a Great Writer.’ I owe my love of writing to him. In addition to writing, I draw, paint, create graphic design, and am an amateur photographer.

website: www.kpkollenborn.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kollenborn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KPKollenborn
Blog: http://kpkollenborn.blogspot.com
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5386352.K_P_Kollenborn
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kollenborn/videos
Google+ https://plus.google.com/+KPKollenborn/posts
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kpkollenborn
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Water-Falls-K-P-Kollenborn-ebook/dp/B00L8F1UZA

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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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