Two Alone in Dublin by Lucy Carey – Q&A and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lucy will be awarding a $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.

Thanks for stopping by Long and Short Reviews. Where does your inspiration come from?

It’s hard to point to one thing and say, “That’s where my inspiration comes from.” Usually, it’s a blend of things—an interesting place I’ve been, a funny, unusual person, a quirky fact I’ve heard. This book, “Two Alone in Dublin: A Lesbian Love Story” was partly inspired by an all-too-brief interaction with a Latina barista in a Dublin café. (One of my two main characters in the story is a Brazilian bombshell who has moved to Dublin for a new life.)

Would you ever want to change genres and if so what would you like to experiment with?

I do enjoy reading and writing in a variety of genres: literary, sci-fi and horror, in addition to lesbian romance. As a bisexual woman, I would also like to expand into straight and bisexual romance, as well as lesbian romance. In the near future, I’ll also be adding some erotic romance into the mix, so keep your eyes peeled for those!

Are your characters/ideas drawn from people that you know personally in any way?

Absolutely. I find people endlessly fascinating—what makes them tick, what makes them act the way they do—so I study and pay attention to what is going on around me. All of my characters are an amalgamation of what I observe in those real-life people, a hodge-podge of their best and worst qualities and personality traits.

Where would you like to be in 10 years with life or career?

I would like to be happy, whatever that might mean. I hope that means that I am a full-time author and am able to work for the love of writing rather than for the need of money. But as long as I’m content in life and doing something I enjoy, I’ll be satisfied.

What book or books are you reading now?

I am trying to read more fiction and non-fiction by female authors. That includes a book on “Anonymous”, as well as “Astray”, a collection of short stories by Emma Donoghue.

What do you do with your free-time when you are not writing or brain-storming?

I like to travel when I can and if I can bring my camera with me, all the better. I’m also a music nut; rock music of just about every genre is what I like best.

What is your fondest memory from childhood that left an impact on your life?

I have a really strong memory of sitting in a hallway in school, with a notebook in my hand, writing a story while I was waiting for my dad to pick me up to take me somewhere. I was quite young—I think eight or nine at most—but I remember thinking, “This is something I could do forever.” I still hope it is…!

12_12 Cover_Two Alone in DublinSurrounded by one million people in Dublin city, two women feel very alone. One a university student from a small town in the Irish countryside, the other an adventurous spirit from a city in Brazil, they’ve both been searching for the other among the irritations and noise of everyday life…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Mariana hadn’t worn this shade of lipstick in an age. She painted the brash, bright-red gloss around her full lips, rubbed her lips together and pouted. This was her going-out colour, a colour guaranteed to make her feel sexy and confident and womanly.

Had it really been so long since she had been on a date? she wondered. Despite this being her go-to colour for dates, it had been buried in the bottom of her makeup bag.

She checked her teeth for lipstick and, finding none, stepped back to look at her full reflection in the mirror.

She had chosen a form-fitting dress in a colour to match the shade of her lipstick and she adjusted the cups of her bra, to push her cleavage higher in its V-neck.

This, she thought to herself, must be what Susie had described as “putting your best foot forward.”

About the Author: Lucy Carey, Lesbian and Bisexual Romance and Erotic-Fiction Writer

I am a 30-year-old bisexual author who writes the kind of fiction I think other LGBTQ women want to read.

As someone born and raised in Ireland, let me assure you: our country is beautiful…and so are its women.

I aim to introduce you to the best of both—the stunning scenery of the Emerald Isle and its funny, complex, gorgeous, lesbian and bisexual women. I hope you enjoy it.

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Naked Montreal by Laura Roberts – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Laura will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card + free ecopy of Naked Montreal to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

12_11 naked Cover_NakedMontrealBusiness is pleasure for Francesca “Frankie” Parker, Montreal’s go-to guide for all things seductive in the Underground City. “Sexy Tourism for Canada’s Fetish Capital” is what her card promises, and mon ami, she delivers. So toss the travel pamphlets and enjoy your tour as Frankie leads you deep into the Sin City of the North and all your wildest fantasies. If you haven’t developed a fetish yet, don’t worry – by the time Frankie bids you adieu, you may have a hard time choosing a favorite!

Enjoy an excerpt:

My date for tonight, an overstuffed businessman with slicked-back hair in a greasy little ponytail and a vaguely Bronx accent, is so chuffed to be here with a beautiful woman that he’s practically salivating over my white flesh, my smooth black hair, my pouty red lips.

Little does he realize, I’m just the appetizer. The main course is on her way, ready to beat him into submission. She goes by the name Lady Evelyn, but I’ve never seen any evidence of her title’s origins. I keep getting texts from her that say she’s on her way, which usually means she’ll be fifteen minutes late. I’ve got to keep the Catch wriggling on the line for a few more minutes, until she shows.

I finally receive a text from Lady Evelyn announcing her arrival, and swiftly draw our meal to a close as the Consultant inhales the last bits of mungfish left on the plate. I casually gesture for the check, and he signs off on our decadent feast with a look of pure evil in his eyes. I stand up, as if headed for the ladies’ room.

“Meet me in back in five minutes,” I whisper in his ear.

His eyes widen, and a smirk creeps across his face. Showtime.

About the Author:12_11 naked AuthorPic1Laura Roberts writes about sex, travel and ninjas. Because what’s better than hot sex on a dream vacation while dodging shuriken?

As the author of the “V for Vixen” sex column, Laura began her career writing about Montrealers’ sexcapades, which have been collected together for her book, The Vixen Files. Blending real-life observations with fictional fantasies, she’s penned parts 1 and 2 of her serial novel, Naked Montreal, along with the short story collection The Montreal Guide to Sex, saucy poetry volume 69 Sexy Haiku, and satirical novella Ninjas of the 512. She’s currently hard at work on a sexy murder mystery entitled The Case of the Cunning Linguist.

Laura lives in an Apocalypse-proof bunker in sunny SoCal with her artist husband and their literary kitties, and blogs regularly at Buttontapper.com.

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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.

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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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Moonlight in Winter Park by Samantha Chase – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Samantha 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.

“Moonlight in Winter Park” – A modern-day Beauty and the Beast style Christmas.

All Hope Cooper needed this year was to have the kind of Christmas her family always cherished. But with her parents gone and her only brother having to work, it doesn’t look like it’s going to work out for her. There’s nothing she can do about her parents, but she most certainly can voice her annoyance at her brother’s boss for making him work out of town all through the holidays.

Beckett James hates the holidays and everything that goes with them. They were important at one time, but now the only thing that mattered was his company and its continued growth and anyone who worked for him better feel the same way. If not, then they could find employment elsewhere and good riddance. With a major expansion deal on the line, Beckett needs to focus. What he doesn’t need is Hope to come barging into his mountain retreat demanding that her brother come home immediately due to an emergency.

Suddenly it’s two alone in a snowstorm. Two alone for Christmas. And two alone to fight an attraction that had been there all along. Hope soon begins to realize she may have misjudged Beckett while he comes to see that there really is something special and magical about Christmas. But once they leave their private winter wonderland and return to their normal lives, will the magic still be there?

Enjoy an excerpt:

He stood there in front of her, looking all kinds of handsome. His dark hair slightly mussed, a gray wool scarf around his neck and a black wool jacket covering his muscular build. It wasn’t fair that he could look so good all the damn time – so calm and completely in control – when her life was spinning in the complete opposite direction.

“I…I really need to go,” she said finally and then forced herself to look up and meet his eyes. Damn. They were so dark, so intense and it would be so easy to just look into them forever. A sigh escaped before she could stop it. “Merry Christmas, Beckett,” she said with a bit of a forced smile.

“You too, Hope.”

“And I guess a Happy New Year, too,” she added and turned to climb into her car when his hand on her arm stopped her again. It was on the tip of her tongue to ask what he wanted, but suddenly his lips were on hers and Hope had to remember how to breathe.

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His lips were gentle at first but once she seemed to overcome her shock and relax, Beckett’s hands came up and cupped her face, caressed her cheeks. Hope sighed as her own hands crept up and clutched the front of his coat. It was so unexpected, such a complete surprise to her that Hope needed to keep herself anchored to something or her knees would surely give out and she’d be in a puddle on the ground.

After Beckett seemed satisfied with introducing himself to her through his kiss, he deepened it. His hand traveled up and into the riotous curls on her head as he moved closer to her. The feel of his lean body pressed up against hers sent Hope’s own body into overdrive. Over and over he slanted his lips over hers, his tongue teased hers, his breath mingled with hers. It was glorious and all-consuming and yet all she could do was purr against him.

Long moments later when Beckett finally lifted his head from hers, he stared down into her face. “Happy New Year, Hope,” he said, his voice slightly rough and gravelly. His hand trailed down her cheek to her chin before he let her go and stepped back.

And walked away.

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, blogging, playing way too many games of Scrabble on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina. For more information visit her website at www.chasing-romance.com.

Where to Find Me

Website: www.chasing-romance.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SamanthaChaseFanClub

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamanthaChase3

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/samanthachase31/

All Samantha’s books can be found on Amazon.

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Tale of Treasures by H.F. Parkhurst – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a grand prize of a $50 BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour and a second winner will win a $25 BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A four hundred year quest for a mysterious lost treasure; bloodthirsty Pirates; plundering Conquistadors; noble Indians; and a sinister and secret religious Order are the tantalizing ingredients stirred together in the turbulent, steamy, and exotic Spanish Main, of yesterday and today.

To the rhythmic background of classic R&B soul music, Harry Carlton and his new love Helen are unexpectedly thrust into a violent encounter with ruthless and malevolent forces and a rogue’s gallery of dastardly villains. These two, near their fifties, are not kindly white-haired grandparents ready to sit sedately in rocking chairs. Instead, they confront danger with bravery, and battle dishonesty and injustice with valor. They discover a priceless, lost artifact treasure of the ancient Indians of South and Central America. In the struggle to return the treasure to its rightful owners, they must outwit the assortment of murderous villains, and stay alive.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Aye, Capt’n.” Nate demonstrated their devious attack plan with tankards and bowls from the table. “By the time them Spanish scum be figuring what to do, we be attacking from three directions, be raking their sails and rigging, and be a blasting their ships into submission.”

The Sea Dragon crew had gathered around the three captains, and peered on silent and expectant. Always thirsty, many hoisted tankards of ale as the discussion lengthened, and Captain Nate fought the sea battle on the tabletop.

Mary pointed to the bowl representing Alonso’s ship. “This be your chance to show the fancy Spaniard who be the better man, and grab ye a share of rich booty?”

Goode scratched his beard and his broad belly. He squinted and with an intent eye peered at the layout of tankards and bowls. First, he gazed with skepticism in one direction, then another. He reached for his tankard and took a long swallow. With a broad grin, he lifted his tankard. “We sail me hearties.”

“Hoorah!” yelled the boisterous crew. They swilled drinks and trooped for the docks and Sea Dragon. On the evening tide, the pirate ships raised anchors, hoisted sails, and raced like lethal sharks across a moonlit sea to Old Man’s Cove, a thirst for gold singing in their blood.

About the Author:

H.F. earned double finalist honors in 2011 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Awards. Born and raised in the northeastern United States, he’s lived in the south, southwest, and mid-west of the US, as well as Asia, Australia, and Europe. A student of traditional Chinese martial arts for the last sixteen years, he practices daily. After forty years as a successful, international architectural interior designer of offices and hotels, he sought a new creative outlet.

In a turbulent time of global conflict, he seeks to be an ardent voice of reason speaking against illogic and the darkness of injustice, violence, and hatred pursued by the irrational and fanatic zealot faithful, worldwide.

An Objectivist, his novels reflect his commitment to logical thinking and the right of free people to rationally choose a destiny in their own best self-interests. He enjoys spinning outrageous tales based on his fertile imagination and real life experiences. Married, he lives with his wife in Florida. Currently projects are two novel series: an Epic Fantasy and an Action/Adventure. Also in the works are sci-fi novels and short stories.

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A Fur Family Christmas by Melissa McClone – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Welcome to Melissa McClone who is joining up for some Christmas memories.  Leave a comment for a chance to win a Christmas swag pack of goodies!
A Fur Family Christmas
by Melissa McClone
melissa SantaPupandChaosChristmas is a time of togetherness, of family. Ours consists of two-legged and four –legged kiddos. Whether they are covered with skin or fur, Christmas is a big deal, which is one reason I love to put animals in my stories, particularly holiday ones. My furbabies love Christmas, too!

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Our first Christmas in our first house was spent with two kittens named Rocket and Spirit, who my hubby calls the most expensive “free” pets ever. We found them at a garage sale. I was only supposed to bring one home, but the little gray girl was so underweight and pathetic looking I couldn’t leave her.

I was pregnant with our first child at the time, but my first babies were those two cats. Spoiled doesn’t begin to describe them. I rubbed them to sleep. They both slept on my pillow. I hated to leave them alone for any length of time. I even took them to see the neighborhood Christmas lights. I hadn’t a clue at the time that they were training me to be a crazy cat lady! Of course, everyone else around me knew.

 

 

melissa IMG_1109That first Christmas morning back in 1997, we set up the camcorder on a tripod to videotape the cats opening their presents and stockings. We called it Kitty Christmas and that hasn’t changed even though we now have three kids, two dogs and many cats, including fosters from a local no-kill shelter where I volunteer. Each furbaby gets their own stocking, and each seems to know which one belongs to them. Santa Paws brings a bigger gift that goes under the tree!

 

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Christmas was easy until we adopted our youngest cat, Beauty, in 2011 when she was only a couple months old. Until then, we’d never had a tree climber. Oh, the cats loved to bat ornaments or steal them. They would sleep under the tree or in the nativity crèche. Rocket, who is no longer with us, loved a singing Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer that I bought from QVC after he went up to the TV and touched it with his paws during the presentation. But they left the tree itself alone. Not Beauty.

 

She demelissa beautyintreecided the Christmas tree was hers. And every year since then, she’s made herself at home amongst the branches. That means all my lovely glass-blown and other fragile ornaments no longer get hung. They sit in the ornament boxes, replaced by shatterproof balls and other unbreakable decorations. But I must admit, she looks pretty cute in their place!

This year we have a new foster with us so we’ll have to see if Beauty has company in her tree or not! But no matter how many climbers we end up with, it’ll be a very Merry Christmas at our house!

 

About the Author: 12_9 melissa AuthorPicWith a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa McClone worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! Since then, she has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

You can connect with Melissa on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy Mistletoe Magic at Amazon or it’s free on Smashwords. Buy Kiss Me, Cowboy at Amazon. Enjoy Mistletoe Wedding at Amazon.

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

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Deadman’s Blood by T. Lynne Tolles – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive a $50 Amazon gift card while five others will receive premium swag packs. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

As the dust settles from the destruction of the Bloodstone Heart, a small scroll that had been hidden in the hearth of the altar room for hundreds of years, reveals a prophecy that seems to be about the Larsen family. While the group tries to unravel the riddles of the prophecy they also start to notice they’ve acquired some interesting new powers from the Bloodstone itself, some of which are going to take some getting use to.

Darby and Devon head to Ireland to set up house and get ready for their impending nuptials when Darby is asked to help cure the Summer Queen of the Everworld or the delicate balance of power between the Seelie and Unseelie courts will topple throwing the planet into a deadly ice age. While at home, things take a turn for the worse when there’s a tragic airplane crash, the Larsen vampires start dropping like flies, Bernard goes missing, and all the bad deeds dealt seem to point towards one person – the Dark Angel.

What’s so important about the altar room? Why are people dying in the name of this prophecy? Will the Larsen’s survive these new tragedies? These questions and other deep seated secrets will be revealed in this final installment of the Blood Series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

He popped a mint in his mouth and proceeded to the restaurant entrance. He was used to women checking him out, and he had to admit he liked the attention. When he and Devon were younger and in school, Devon often accused him of being awful cocky about his looks. He knew he could come off a little arrogant, but he never cared much how others perceived him. But tonight, he didn’t want to leave that impression on Jules. She made him work for this date, like no other woman had, and he was determined to win her over.

He spoke to the hostess, who he could see was trying to flirt with him. He smiled at her attempts, but kept a watchful eye on the door for Jules. Being handsome did have its advantages; he got his pick of tables and chose one in a corner where he and Jules could have a bit of privacy.

He ordered a bottle of Chianti while he waited. He was doted on by his waitress, Brandi (with an “i”), and the hostess kept peeking at him as the time ticked on. He checked his watch a couple of times. No sign of her yet and it was half past when they were scheduled to meet.

Has she stood me up? he wondered. He had been persistent at pushing her into this date; he wondered if maybe he had pushed too hard too soon. He thought though, he himself had sometimes gotten tied up at the gallery and been late sometimes as much as an hour. It could be that she simply lost track of the time. He would give her another half hour before he headed home.

The time moved much slower the second half hour and when the hour was up, he had drank most of the bottle of Chianti. Good thing alcohol didn’t affect vampires the same as humans, or he might not be able to drive, but it would take a huge amount of wine to intoxicate him. Feeling Jules would not show, he raised his hand to Brandi as she passed, letting her know he was ready for his bill. She brought it to him promptly and he paid and left.

He sat in his car for a while deciding what to do now that his plans had changed. He decided he wasn’t quite ready to give up on the evening. He made a quick call to Jules’s office to see if she was there, but no one answered. His last ditch effort was to see if she was home, so he drove the several miles to her house. Her car was in the driveway and the lights were on. She either forgot about their plans or had chickened out.

About the Author: T. Lynne Tolles can be found most days, juggling one of two cat muses and a laptop, tripping over a Newfoundland puppy and washing a never-ending pile of laundry. When life doesn’t get in the way, she writes paranormal romances for new adults.

Her passion for witches, ghosts, and vampires together with a light-hearted wit are reflected in her loveable characters and the adventures of mystery they unravel to find their happily ever after.

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Interview with Dr. Barnes from Night Clinic by David Gelber – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Dr. Barnes is an Internist who stared moonlighting at the Night Clinic during his residency in Internal Medicine. He encounters a steady stream of unusual patients, yet cares for each with unique insight and compassion. I sat down and chatted with him recently.

Interview with Dr. Barnes

How did you first come to work at the Night Clinic?

I had some free time and I’m always in need of some extra cash. A hundred bucks an hour is pretty good when you’re living on a medical resident’s salary. Although, in retrospect it wasn’t enough.

Why is that?

Caring for international spies, mythological beasts, criminals, patients in the process of zombification and other bizarre folks is just not what one usually does as part of medical practice. I mean, whatever happened to the mundane diabetics or people with high blood pressure?

Surely you get your share of those patients.

I suppose I do. But, I see far more than my fair share of wierdos.

Are the patients you cared for as part of your residency different from the population you encounter at the clinic?

As different as night and day. Most of my residency was at University Hospital, filled with rich widows complaining of swollen legs or businessmen with high blood pressure, usually caused by worry over having only a hundred million in the bank instead of two hundred. Night clinic is for the people at the other end of the economic spectrum. We see alcoholics who are slowly drinking themselves to death and want us to slow down the inevitable, gang members after there’s been a rumble, addicts, hookers and the bizarre individual who only dares go out at night, shunning “normal” society. One of my favorites is Caleb, the street artist. I’m sure you’ve seen his work around town. He has some sort of ESP, his drawings and paintings have an intuition that could only come from some sort of mystical inspiration. I’ve never seen anyone like him at the University hospital.

Now that you’re finished with residency you work at the clinic full time?

Yes. I still work nights, often with Nurse James, usually five nights a week. The other docs at the clinic hate night work, most only work one night a month. There’s a big difference between days and nights at the clinic. Daytime is like any other doctor’s office, diabetics, hypertensives and such coming in for routine check ups. At night we’re more of an urgent care clinic, catering to creatures of the night, but seeing a wide range of urgent and emergent conditions.

Who is your most memorable patient?

I hope I don’t violate any HIPAA regulations, but I’d have to say it’s Medusa.

You mean Medusa, the ugly mythological monster who turned anyone who gazed upon her ugliness to stone?

Yes and no. She is the Medusa of mythology, but she is definitely not ugly. Alluring, sexy, beautiful, enchanting those are the words I would use to describe her. Her beauty is timeless and one winter day she strolls into my clinic announcing she’s cold. I felt sorry for her, dressed in a thin shirt and dress, so I gave her a cup of tea and a warm place to sit and she was content. Later she became the clinic’s savior. Now, if you want an interview, just track her down. She can tell you stories about famous people you just would not believe. King David, Pontius Pilate, King Arthur, Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra and so many more were part of her life, or, rather, she was part of their life. She’s married to a rich businessman at the moment. All I can say about her is that every man who gets a glimpse of her wants to get to “know” her better, if you get my drift. If you want to interview a truly interesting person, give her a call.

Does working at the clinic tax your medical skills in any way?

No more than working any other place. Sick people are sick people. It’s an unfortunate fact that rich, poor, fat or thin, man or woman, monster or god, everybody gets sick or hurt. Sometimes I need to search the innermost recesses of my brain to make a correct diagnosis or find the proper treatment. Luckily, I’ve had a very thorough medical education and, knock on wood, I’ve managed quite well so far.

Why do you think so many unusual patients show up at your clinic?

I think we provide excellent care and we don’t ask too many questions.

That could be said of most medical clinics, but they don’t treat spies or get mysterious packages delivered or give birth to dragons.

I see you’ve done your homework. I guess you are correct that we get more than our share of unusual patients. I think it’s because of Nurse James. She just attracts very bizarre types.

She did marry you.

Touche.

MEDIA KIT Night_Clinic_Cover_2d“Night Clinic” is a collection of short stories which tell the unusual events which occur at the free clinic attended by Dr. Barnes and Nurse James. Monsters, magical beasts, villains along with ordinary folks come to the clinic looking for health and hope.

“Night Clinic” is a unique melding of medicine and magic.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I glanced at Mr. V. M. Pire’s chart before going into the room. The space for age was left blank, his vitals were: BP 60/30, heart rate 40, respiratory rate 12, temperature 92.

“Miss James, are these vitals correct,” I asked, not believing the numbers.

“Took them three times, Dr. Barnes, but there’s no need for alarm. You’ll see what I mean when you see Mr. Pire,” She answered in her most professional tone.

This night gets more bizarre every minute. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, knocked on the door, and went in to see Mr. V. M. Pire. I saw a pale young man sitting on the chair in the corner, dressed in black pants, black shirt and wrapped in a black coat. Even with his coat he looked cold, shivering, his arms held tightly across his chest.

“Good evening, Mr. Pire. I’m Dr. Barnes. What brings you in here today?” I asked in my usual doctor’s bedside tone.

“What’s that supposed to mean? Do you think that I changed myself into a bat and flew in. Or maybe I just danced along the full moonbeam. I know what you’re thinking: Another deluded, crazy who can’t cope with reality,” he spouted with venom in his voice.

“Actually, the way this night has been going, I was truly expecting a vampire. Who else could have vital signs like yours and not be in a coma? So tell me, what’s the problem? If you don’t want to say, you are free to leave. I have plenty of other sick people to attend to.”

He calmed down, stood up, and started to pace around the room.

“I’m… I’m not sure where to start. You see, I… I’ve been having these fantasies and, well, with the full moon and everything, I just couldn’t stand it. I even went to their meeting, thought about joining in their activities.”

He paused for a moment. I could see he was upset and I tried to calm him down. I put my arm around him and lead him to the chair. He almost had tears in his eyes. “Go on,” I said in a soft voice. “What are these fantasies?”

He looked at me with his dark, deep set eyes. “To be a wewuff,” he whispered in a muffled voice.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand what you said,” I replied with true concern in my voice.

“To be a WEREWOLF,” he answered loudly. “It’s driving me crazy. I know it’s ridiculous. I mean, I’m a vampire, the best of the best. Last month I downed six units of AB neg in under thirty seconds, all from the same vic… same donor.”

“Sit down and tell me about it,” I suggested, doing my best to imitate a Psychiatrist.

“I guess it started last full moon. I was out at night, like usual, and as I was flying around the neighborhood, thinking about dinner, I saw a whole pack of them, werewolves. They were circling around some helpless wino and then they attacked. After their kill they all howled at the moon, gave each other high fives, and then there were the girls. Dozens of them, all gathered around these vicious beasts, oohing and awing. Meanwhile, every night I’m out, shivering, looking for blood. Alone, hated by everyone, even other vampires who would just as soon cut your head off as share a drop of their precious stash.”

“It must be a tough life,” I observed.

“You don’t know the half of it, Dr. Barnes. So, a couple of weeks ago, I’m laying in my coffin, trying to sleep. It must have been noon, and I start to thinking, Wouldn’t it be great to be a werewolf? Get to wear a fur coat, not be cold all the time, only worry about being a vicious monster once a month. Then I say to myself, ‘Get over it, you’re a vampire, you’re better than them.’ But, I can’t get over it; I can’t get the thoughts out of my head. I tried to talk to one of the Elders. Well, you would have thought I was wanting to become a priest, the way he reacted. After that I got scared, I guess, and then I went to see them tonight. All the werewolves were gathered together, I even went inside, tried to meet them. As soon as they saw me they surrounded me. ‘Look at sissy boy,’ they taunted. ‘Afraid of the big bad wolf?’ I tried to talk to them, but they just laughed. I left, feeling more and more depressed. I just wanted to end it all. I even broke into the hospital and stole this.”

He held up a case of thrombin.

“A couple of swigs of this, then all my blood congeals and it’s the end. Well, I got scared and I wasn’t sure what to do. I saw the Clinic sign and decided to stop in. So, here I am.”

I stared at him for few moments, not sure what to say or do.

About the Author: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADavid Gelber, a New York native, is the seventh of nine sons and one of three to pursue medicine. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1980 and went on to graduate medical school in 1984 from the University of Rochester.

He completed a residency in General Surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and Nassau County Medical Center on Long Island, NY, in 1989. Dr. Gelber now is in private practice in Houston, TX.

Gelber has been performing surgery for more than 25 years, but over the last few years he began to pursue his passion for writing, initially with his debut novel, “Future Hope”, followed by its sequel “Joshua and Aaron.”

These were followed by two books about surgery “Behind the Mask” and “Under the Drapes.” The apocalyptic “Last Light” and historical fantasy “Minotaur Revisited” round out his published works, while numerous articles have appeared on his blog “Heard in the OR.”

Now he presents “Little Bit’s Story” and his collection of magical medical short stories, “Night Clinic.”

He has been married to Laura for 28 years and has three college aged children. He and Laura share their home with five dogs and numerous birds.

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

 

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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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