Meet My Character Week – Kaine Martin – #Suspense #Paranormal

CHARACTER’S NAME: Kaine Martin

  1. Who are you? (Give a brief description of yourself)

Hello, my name is Kaine, and I’m an anthropologist. Rarely people notice me, mostly because I don’t like to be in the spotlight.

I’m very shy, and I’m never confident about whether people might like me or not. This side of my character leads me generally to be mistaken for a person who gets above himself, as it happened with Nora, one of my colleagues.

  1. Who are your companions?

Well, first of all, there is Mark. He’s the other side of my sky, the man I love with all my strengths.

He’s completely different from me, self-confident, charming, and sexy as hell. The typical guy who’s always in the spotlight.

We complete each other, and I believe we were just meant to be together.

Then, there is Jason Murdock. He is an anthropologist who was trying to track an elusive and mysterious tribe in Africa. Eight years ago, he was considered missing, until one day, I received an email from him. That message changed my life forever, giving me a precious lead to continue his research and be the one to bring the tribe to the spotlight.

 

  1. Do you have a mentor? Tell us about them.

From the time I reached Jason to Africa, my life reached a sudden turn, and with so many things going the wrong way, I ended up into a curse.

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, and sometimes I find it also hard to believe it myself, but it’s true.

The most important mentor has been also my tormentor, the high priestess Akuna-Ra.

She helped me to release my inner power to communicate with the entities of the underworld, and opened my eyes to a brand-new vision of the Universe.

You won’t believe its complexity, not at least until you start to see the reality from a completely different perspective.

 

  1. If you could live your life again would you make the same choices?

Absolutely, because even the wrong one, the one that cursed me, turned out to be a blessing.

  1. What is the hardest choice you’ve had to make in the course of your adventures? What was the easiest?

The hardest choice was perhaps leaving for an undefined period to search the tribe in Africa.

I just started my relationship with Mark, and I was afraid this long period away from each other could undermine our future together.

The easiest choice was choosing to remain in Africa, and propose Mark to move there with me.

If you are going to read about my adventure, I’m sure you will also be tempted to leave everything behind.

 

  1. Would you die for those you love? Would you kill for them?

I don’t believe in violence, and I don’t believe that dying for someone I love would make things easy. They will mourn my absence and the pain would be unbearable.

I would rather try to solve every situation in a less dramatic way.

The same is for killing; there must be a better way than to kill or be killed by someone.

Maybe I might summon the forces of the underworld.

 

  1. Have you ever loved/been loved?

Yes, I love, and also I am loved.

I fell in love with many guys before, but only Mark made me feel special.

You know, when everybody started to believe I was dead, he ran to Africa even to bring back my corpse. He’d never accept my death without having the certainty.

 

  1. Tell us about your family.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to be said.

I was raised by my mother alone, and I don’t have any siblings.

My father died shortly after I was born, and I have no memory of him. Many times, I fantasize about how it would have been to have him close to me.

I wonder about what kind of person he was and whether he’d been proud of me like my mother was.

Mom has been for me more than just family, she supported me, and even after her death, she returned as a ghost to help me make the right decision, guiding me to the right path. She also tried to guide Mark when he didn’t know where to search for me.

 

  1. Do you believe in magic?

Of course, I do! My whole life revolves between this world and the underworld. Without magic, I could never keep the balance between them, and believe me, it’s a hard job!

  1. Why should we read about your adventure?

Because it’s so crazy that sometimes I also feel impossible that things like that could happen, particularly to me.

Before this adventure started, I never considered magic being something real.

It was just mumbo-jumbo, something that shamans used because they didn’t have scientific knowledge. Only now, I understand how wrong I was, and I thank Akuna-Ra for introducing me to magic and release those dormant powers in me.

Therefore, if you think magic doesn’t exist, this is a book to open your eyes and entertain you with a fascinating new point of view.

If you, instead, believe in magic, this is going to be a compelling read to find out something more about it.

Together with this, you will discover the powerful beauty of the African Rainforest and the amazing people living around it.

So, what are you waiting for? Come to find me there, I’ll be waiting between one spell and another, trying to stay alive.

 

Mandatory info (author):

Paula J. Mann lives a double life. She is a geologist by day and a novelist by night. She’s best known for writing psychological thrillers and dramas, like ‘A Tale of a Rough Diamond.’
She also writes historical fiction, like the Amazon.co.uk best-selling Aquila et Noctua, and paranormal suspense.
She loves traveling and shares her experiences on her blog:

Author’s name: P. J. Mann

Link to book or books where this character appears:

Thou Shalt Never Tell

Website/Blog/Facebook/Twitter page

Blog: http://paperpenandinkwell.blogspot.com.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paperpenandinkwell
Website https://pjmannauthor.com
twitter: https://twitter.com/PjMann2016

*Optional – short piece on why you chose to showcase this character and what draws you to him/her/it/them. Is there a basis in reality for this character – for example.

I chose this character and this particular book because there’s a lot about the places I visited, and for which I fell in love.

Africa is a very diverse continent, and every country has its peculiar beauties that draw me there. Kaine is a bit like me, shy and introverted, although I don’t have any special mediumistic power, I’m attracted by everything belonging to magic rites and supernatural forces.

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Bundle Author Interview – Joslyn Chase #Crime #Suspense #Bloodonthecobbles

 

Author name: Joslyn Chase

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it?

I first learned about book bundling when I attended a Business Master class at WMG Publishing and met Chuck Heintzelman, the founder of BundleRabbit. I also met some excellent editors there who shared their experiences with book bundles.

I find the idea very exciting and innovative. The potential for cross-promotion and cooperation is awesome. I’ve been in three or four bundles, and I’ve edited and produced a collaborative project, And Then There Were Nine, nine thrilling stories from nine masters of suspense.

I hope to be more heavily involved in bundling with other authors in the future. I believe it’s a great way to have fun and profit.

What other bundles are you involved with?

My first bundle was a Halloween Horror bundle that has since been discontinued. But I’m proud to be a part of Steve Vernon’s Cat Tales bundle and A.L. Butcher’s Blood On The Cobbles. I was also fortunate enough to be included in a Story Bundle Historical Mystery bundle, and that was a lot of fun.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I am definitely a plotter. That’s what works best with my temperament and writing style. I leave a lot of room for organic growth, the way I do it. For my outline, I basically define the goal for each scene, but I generally have no idea how the characters will get from Point A to Point B until I start writing. And, of course, as the story progresses, things change and that’s fine. But I like starting out with some clearly defined goalposts to aim for.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

Enjoy your time as an unpublished author. Appreciate those moments when the world is wide open and all the possibilities are in the future where anything can happen. It’s exciting and creatively nourishing to dream like that. After publication, so much happens. It’s still a creative process, of course, but business matters come into it, too, and there are so many demands on your time and attention. Some of the innocence is lost. It’s like moving from childhood to adult life. Hang on to the child.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?

I adore the research part of writing a book. There’s so much to learn and so many fascinating topics—I spend a lot of time gathering information and getting a feel for the background before I begin writing.

Perhaps the wildest subject I studied while preparing to write my thriller, Nocturne In Ashes, was volcanoes. Mt. Rainier, in particular. It’s a pretty scary topic, especially when you live in the shadow of the mountain and you realize it’s not a question of “if” the volcano will blow, but “when.”

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

Storytelling is everything. It comes into nearly every aspect of societal life and relationships. We communicate by story, relate to each other by story, learn best through concepts put into story form. I write a blog on the subject of Story Power on my website, joslynchase.com.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?

Every word of a story comes through a character. Ground the reader inside your viewpoint character’s head and make sure they’re the one telling the story, so readers see what they see, feel what they feel, and are able to experience the story through the senses, opinion, and emotion of the viewpoint character. In other words, get out of your own way and let the characters speak.

Tell us about your latest piece?

In April 2020, I published a collection of short stories titled No Rest: 14 Tales of Chilling Suspense. I’m pretty excited about it, and some of my personal favorites are in this volume.

I’m also thrilled to announce that my story, “The Wolf and Lamb,” is on the cover of the current Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, something I’ve aspired to since junior high school.

What’s your next writing adventure?

Last October, I started planning a six-book series of thrillers based on my protagonist’s experience in the EIS—Epidemic Intelligence Service, the disease detectives of the CDC. I’m excited about the project, but also a little bowled over now, with the Covid crisis that I didn’t see coming.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things, but I feel like it must have altered things dramatically within the CDC and now I don’t know how much of the research and preparation I’ve put into it remains valid. Or how readers will respond to books on the subject. To be honest, I’ve had some doubts about moving ahead with the project and I put the brakes on for a few weeks, but now I’m re-energized and moving ahead. I’m planning a release date for the first book in November.

What was the last book you’ve read?

I just finished reading Ann Cleeve’s third Vera Stanhope novel, Hidden Depths. I’m very much enjoying the series, and the television program, as well.

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this?

I think in large part, yes—readers are wary of books produced by indie authors. The indie movement, which I think is a wonderful thing, has moved the role of gatekeeper from the publishing companies to the readers, themselves. It’s a responsibility many readers are not used to having and may not be comfortable with, at first.

In today’s marketplace, we all rely on social proof—the all-important consumer review. But someone’s got to be the first to leave one. Investing time and money in an untried author and a book with no reviews is a risk many readers aren’t willing to take, and understandably so. That’s why there are so many free books on the market—they are the no-risk samples readers can try before sinking their cash into a new author.

I think this can be a very healthy revolution for both writers and readers, but so much depends on the review. I hope readers will take the time to leave an honest review after reading, a courtesy for other readers and a crucial element for writers.

Is there a message in your books?

There is a message in my books, though I usually don’t know what it is until I’m finished writing. And sometimes, not even then. This is the sort of thing that typically comes through the subconscious mind, though I might start out with a hint of what I want to say to the reader.

How important is writing to you?

Writing is supremely important to me. I’ve waited my whole life to get to this season where I could have a writing career. I know myself well enough to recognize that I couldn’t embark on a writer’s life until my kids were grown. It’s all-engrossing, takes up all my time, attention, and affection. Well, almost all. I try to save out a bit to spend on family and friends J

Links:

 

joslynchase.com

 

Joslyn Chase YouTube channel

 

Joslyn Chase Facebook Page

 

Joslyn Chase Amazon Page

 

Joslyn Chase on Goodreads

 

Joslyn Chase on BookBub

 

Bio:

Joslyn Chase is a prize-winning author of mysteries and thrillers. Any day where she can send readers to the edge of their seats, chewing their fingernails to the nub and prickling with suspense, is a good day in her book.

Joslyn’s love for travel has led her to ride camels through the Nubian desert, fend off monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar, and hike the Bavarian Alps. But she still believes that sometimes the best adventures come in getting the words on the page and in the thrill of reading a great story.

Joslyn believes in the power of story, and writes a blog on the subject which you can find at joslynchase.com. Join the growing group of readers who’ve discovered the thrill of Chase when you sign up, and get access to updates and bonuses.

Connect with Joslyn at https://www.facebook.com/StoryChase/ and visit the Joslyn Chase YouTube channel to see trailers for many of her books.

Blood on the Cobbles Bundle

From legends of murder, and undead killers walking, to missing girls, deadly diseases, suspense and gore aplenty; from sleuths and detectives, murder and vengeance enter into a world of crime, clues and mayhem.

12 authors weave tales both long and short of crime and suspense.

A collection of short stories and novels.

https://books2read.com/Bloodonthecobblesbundle

 

Spotlight – False Memory – Romantic Suspense

Freebie—FALSE MEMORY (Book 1 of the False Trilogy) by Meli Raine (@meliraineauthor) #romance #suspense #romanticsuspense #freebie

Release date: November 13, 2018

Genre: Romantic Suspense

FREE First in Series throughout February.

She’s faking her amnesia to fool a very real killer.

It all started with the bereavement flowers with my name on them.

Not the best way to wake up, right? I work in a flower shop. I know a funeral arrangement when I see one.

I know a killer when I see one, too. And one is standing in my hospital room right now, straight behind the man who saved my life.

I can’t tell anyone the truth, because that’s the fastest way to really die. So I do the next best thing. I “lose” my memory.

I fake my amnesia.

Pretending not to remember a brutal attempted murder has its perks. The killer is backing down, spending less time around me, loosening the noose.

The less I claim to recall, the more my rescuer, Duff, works to help me “remember.” I hate lying to him.

But he doesn’t understand that my memory is dangerous. To me. And to him.

Fooling everyone isn’t easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Except it’s starting to look like I’ve been fooling myself.

In more ways than one.

The False Trilogy includes False Hope and False Start.

Buy Links:

Apple Books:   https://books.apple.com/us/book/false-memory/id1387687477

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/false-memory-false-1

Nook:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/false-memory-meli-raine/1132505173?ean=2940161244715

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Meli_Raine_False_Memory_False_1?id=MnuiDwAAQBAJ

Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/False-Memory-1-Meli-Raine-ebook/dp/B07V9Y48KQ/

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.com/False-Memory-1-Meli-Raine-ebook/dp/B07V9Y48KQ/

Amazon AU:  https://www.amazon.com.au/False-Memory-1-Meli-Raine-ebook/dp/B07V9Y48KQ/

Amazon CA:  https://www.amazon.ca/False-Memory-1-Meli-Raine-ebook/dp/B07V9Y48KQ/

 

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40405827-false-memory

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/false-memory-by-meli-raine

 

Audio narrated by Sebastian York and Andi Arndt available on Audible Escape.

 

Audible:  https://www.amazon.com/False-Memory-Book-1/dp/B07VXRJLP8/

Amazon Audio:  https://www.amazon.com/False-Memory-Book-1/dp/B07VXRJLP8/

iTunes:  https://books.apple.com/us/audiobook/false-memory-false-book-1-unabridged/id1475182605

Author Bio:

Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them. Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://meliraine.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/meliraine

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/meliraineauthor

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/meli-raine

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13536295.Meli_Raine

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/beV0gf

Reviews and Endorsements for Meli Raine Books:

“The first book in the False trilogy is a psychological thriller worthy of Hitchcock, keeping you guessing until the very end.” — Apple Books Editors

“…intrigue and dark humor on display in this thriller…”

While the immediate—and more compelling—tension in Raine’s (A Shameless Little Bet, 2018, etc.) heart-pumping series opener comes from Lily’s constant proximity to her would-be killer, the action takes place against a backdrop of secret government scandals. The “screwed-up D.C.-insider scandal,” as it is clumsily summarized early on, is pleasingly twisty…

Fortunately, Lily’s voice is captivating, wry, and tough enough to sell this thriller. The novel ends with a cliffhanger that startles, if only because readers will have become so attached to Lily.

— Kirkus Reviews

“Fresh, riveting, and thrumming with emotion and romantic suspense, False Memory is absolutely unputdownable. You need this book!” – New York Times bestselling author Meghan March

“I accidentally lost a day to this trilogy! It is unputdownable. Apparently I’m on a dark-and-twisty binge, and this book is addictive.” – USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen (review for Harmless series)

 

False Memory Freebie Blitz

 

Excerpt #1: 

Blink.

I open my eyes. It’s light.

“Can you believe it, Lily?” a woman says to me. “It looks like Bosworth is going to win! When people ask you who the president is, you’re going to have to remember the new one. President Harwell Bosworth. Of course, we won’t know for sure until late tonight, but I’ll keep you posted. I’ll keep you posted, sweetie,” she says as she adjusts the IV in my right arm, the one that burns whenever they start a new bag of medicine.

“When the doctor asks you who the president is, you’ll have the right answer. I know you will. I don’t care how long you’ve been like this. The doctors are wrong. Plenty of people have come out of this after more than a year. I know you’re going to be one of them. My Lily is a fighter.”

She squeezes my hand.

I almost squeeze back. Almost. So close.

I look to the left. A dark man. No–dark clothes. Dark hair. Pale skin peeking out under it all. Someone has something on my head and tape pulls at the corner of my eye. Blinking is harder. It hurts, like someone weakened the tender skin under my eyes. I close my eyes.

Open them.

“Hey there, Lily,” a nurse says. I try to look over at her but can’t. Eyes hurt.

Close eyes.

Open them.

The man.

Oh, God, I know that man.

Freebie blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.

Chameleon – Blog Tour – Paranormal

Chameleon
by Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA Paranormal Psychological Suspense
FIVE GIRLS. AN ISOLATED CONVENT. A SUPERNATURAL PRESENCE. A DARK SECRET.
SHORTLISTED for the 2017 Dante Rossetti Awards for Young Adult Fiction!
I can’t believe it has come to this. The way things have blown out of proportion. I only wanted to contact my dead father. Ask his forgiveness.
Seven months.
Seven months isn’t that long, is it?
I’ll go through the motions, no need to make friends that I’ll never see again. When you get close to people, you end up getting hurt.
Puerto Rico, 1973
17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.
At night, the waterfall’s dark music haunts her dreams of drowning…
When Paloma holds another séance, she accidentally awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. The body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…
Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?
If you love the vibes in “The Orphanage,” “The Craft” and “Pretty Little Liars,” you’ll enjoy this mess-with-your-head, YA supernatural/psychological thriller!
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
She’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in Comparative Literature. She lives in Belgium with her husband and two evil cats.
$25 cash paypal
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

Excerpt 1:

I cannot clearly say how I had entered

the wood; I was so full of sleep just at

the point where I abandoned the true path.

–Dante Alighieri, Inferno 1. 11-12

 

Chapter 1

 

Puerto Rico, 1973

 

Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss embraced us from both sides, but not enough to shield us from the prison that would be my home for the next seven months. The high stone walls and neo-Gothic bell tower loomed over us as my stepfather drove his Mercedes through the spiked iron gates and into the sloping, curving driveway.

A spider of dread crawled up my back. Prison indeed.

I couldn’t believe it had come to this. The way things had blown out of proportion. I’d only wanted to contact my dead father. Ask his forgiveness.

My mother reached for my hand from the front seat without turning around to look at me. I stared at her perfectly polished red nails and the glittery square cut emerald on her ring finger. Her fingers flicked, silently pleading for my attention, but I was frozen inside. Her hand retreated.

I stared at the convent, my eyes studying the dark arched windows, the worn, age-blackened stones. The place looked haunted. Perfect for my state of mind. What was my mother thinking?

Something moved behind one of the windows. A face. For an instant my pulse raced at the sheer paleness of it, at the two dark holes that made up its eyes.

“What are you looking at?” Sara, my six-year-old half sister, asked.

I pointed. “A girl.”

She followed my line of vision. “Where?”

“There. High up. In the window.”

She dipped her head so she could have a better look. “I don’t see anything.”

            I felt a shiver, but not from the cold. It’s white. It’s watching us.

Then the car moved too close to the building, and the face vanished from view.

“Is this your new school, Paloma?” Sara asked.

I nodded. Sara was the child, female version of my stepfather. Her bottomless dark eyes, framed by velvety lashes, stared at me with misery. “I don’t like it,” she whispered, grabbing my hand.

“It’ll be okay,” I whispered back, and gave her hand a little squeeze.

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

“Well, here we are,” Domenico said in his strong Castilian accent, stopping the car in front of the entrance. He climbed out and opened the door for my mother. Then he proceeded to take out my suitcases from the trunk.

My mother was silent. She stepped out like a wooden mannequin, her eyes shimmery with unshed tears.

I climbed out, followed by Sara, the gravel crunching under our shoes. The early morning air was cool and a blanket of mist still lingered—not surprising, since the convent was on the outskirts of El Yunque, the island’s rain forest. More Spanish moss hung from the oak trees and rippled in the breeze like long, shivering memories. I could smell the dew on the leaves and the rich perfume of moist earth, redolent of open graves.

I glanced at the ominous clouds. “Beautiful morning.”

An ongoing distant hum resonated all around us. One, two beats passed, before it struck me: Waterfall.

Something within me shut down—or exploded, I couldn’t be sure.

I shut my eyes for a second, wiping out memories of chilled water searing my lungs.

I repeated the eighth multiplication table in my head.

“After you,” Domenico said, interrupting my thoughts.

I wanted to loathe him. Tried to, anyway. I could see what my mother saw in him: a powerfully charismatic, handsome man with the infinite skill to make people do his bidding. My mother, with her small delicate features and petite frame, looked invisible beside him. A mere spectre. But that was just a façade. I knew better.

The big oak door opened and a nun clad in black habit and a wimple came down the steps to greet us.

Sara wrapped her arms around my waist. Her gesture both comforted me and heightened my anxiety. Nuns in habit made me think of great black birds.

“Bienvenidos,” the nun said. Like my stepfather, she also had a Castilian accent. “I’m Madre Estela and I’m second in charge to Madre Superiora. You must be Señor and Señora de Aznar.”

They exchanged small talk. Madre Estela sounded polite enough, but she didn’t offer to shake hands with my parents, which I found strange. Maybe nuns weren’t allowed to shake hands. I wouldn’t be surprised. I noticed the wedding band on her ring finger. Married to God. Absurd.

“You must be Paloma,” she said tonelessly.

“Yes,” I said. Wasn’t it obvious? I didn’t know what else to say.

The cross on her chest caught my attention. It had a crucified Christ on it and I noticed the thorns cutting Christ’s forehead, the little drops of blood glistening on His fragile body.

“Welcome to our school, Paloma.” Her critical gaze scrutinized my makeup, my tight jeans. “I’ve heard much about you.”

I didn’t miss the hint of cold disapproval in her voice. I wasn’t sure how much my parents had complained about my behavior, but considering I had been kicked out—well, actually, kindly asked to leave—my previous school in the middle of October, it couldn’t be good.

“Are you ready to resume your senior year of high school?” Stress on resume.

“I can’t wait,” I said. There was no point in being nice—or pretending to be. That just wasn’t me. I felt miserable and couldn’t hide it. Besides, I could tell from our short exchange that she’d made up her mind not to like me long before meeting me, and I had the sinking feeling that no matter what I said or did, her opinion wouldn’t change. I had already been stamped in her Inquisition book, tagged a criminal.

Madre Estela’s stony eyes moved to Sara. My little sister’s arms clutched my waist even tighter. From the nun’s expression, I could tell she was wondering if I had infected Sara with whatever plague ailed me. She dismissed us and turned back to my mother and stepfather. “Madre Superiora is expecting you in her office.  Let’s not keep her waiting, shall we not? Don’t concern yourselves with the suitcases. Someone will come for them shortly.”

They thanked her and followed her up the steps.

“I don’t want to go in,” Sara said.

“It’ll be okay,” I said. I glanced at the window. I wanted to see the pale face again. But there was nothing.

A drop of rain hit my cheek and I wiped it off. Then I held Sara’s hand and together we walked up the steps and through the arched doorway.

I felt my throat closing up.

            Seven months.

Seven months wasn’t that long, was it? Besides, Thanksgiving break was just around the corner. Six weeks, to be exact. I had already marked my calendar. I couldn’t wait. I would go through the motions, no need to make friends that I’d never see again. When you get close to people, you end up getting hurt.

 

Excerpt 2 (from Chapter 9):

Madre Estela remained standing by the door. “Get a bucket and fill it with water.”

Her hypercritical eyes sliced through my self-worth as I grabbed one of the metal buckets, lifted it into the sink, and turned on the faucet. I watched, transfixed, as the water gushed like a torrent spurting from an open artery. The cold spray raised goosebumps on my arms.

Madre Estela snapped her fingers. “Move.”

As I hauled the bucket to the door, some of the water slushed over the edge and splattered to the floor.

“Add the detergent,” she said stiffly, irritated by my clumsiness.

I chose a green bottle, twisted the cap, and poured. The acrid pine smell stung my nostrils.

“Get a sponge and a brush from there. Get going. We don’t have all evening—unless you want to work in the dark.”

I gritted my teeth, but pretended not to be bothered. I suspected that the one thing that this nun couldn’t stand was indifference.

Outside, it was almost dusk. In spite of the intense screeching of the coquíes, the drum of the waterfall hit my ears. It was louder now than the last time I’d been here. How was that possible?

I felt a drop of rain. Great.

Madre Estela put one hand out, palm up. “My, my. What’s this?” She looked chagrined, and I suddenly realized why. If it rained, I would have to go inside, ruining her plans. “What are you standing there for? Start scrubbing.”

I was tempted to throw the bucket of greenish water at her face. Instead, I prayed for rain as I walked across the rose garden. Once at the gate, I glanced back at her.

“You’ll work until I come for you, understood?” she said, hands on hips in her usual stance. She pointed to one of the second-floor windows. “I’ll be watching from there.”

And that was it. She was gone.

For a moment I just stood there. If only my friends could see me now. They would never believe it.

I opened the gate and walked into the graveyard. The statue of Gabriel greeted me, its face fiercer in the dusk. The temperature must have been in the low seventies. I was glad I had my cardigan.

Suddenly, the garden lamp post lit up. I turned, startled. I wasn’t sure if it had automatically switched on or if someone, maybe Madre Estela, had done it from indoors. I glanced up at the second-floor window, expecting to find her face. I had the chilling sensation of being watched. There was nothing. The windows glowed with yellow light, a multitude of feral eyes keeping guard.

However, behind one of the ground-floor windows on the right, a figure appeared. Tall, blurred. Madre Superiora? I was sure that was her office. Yet, something about the shape of the head and the shoulders made me think of…Rubia. What was she doing in Madre Superiora’s office?

Just as abruptly as it’d appeared, the figure vanished from view.

The incident left me strangely unsettled.

Focus.

I splashed some of the water on one of the tombstones and got to work. The sound of hard bristles against stone blocked the hum of the waterfall. Almost.

Go away, damn it. 

As I crouched to work on a second tombstone, doing my best not to get wet in the process, something shifted at the edge of my vision. I jumped to my feet, my heart thudding. Gabriel. Its wings had rippled with movement.

Dear God…what’s happening to me?

I rubbed my forehead and grimaced, my fingers shaking.

I felt another drop of rain. If it was going to rain, why didn’t it? The sky was playing with me, too. Mocking me.

I cursed the clouds and started scrubbing again.

I had another sensation of being watched and this time, yes, it was Madre Estela behind the window. I pretended I hadn’t seen her and tried to keep focused on the task at hand.  The water had turned blackish with grime.

I don’t know how long I scrubbed. I lost track of time. But it was dark. My back and shoulders were sore and my hands stung from the harsh detergent.

Madre Estela was long gone from the window.

Half panting, I sat down on the edge of the tombstone and tossed the brush aside in disgust. I looked at the statue again, but it was motionless. I turned to the windows again, my eyes slowly moving from one to the other.

From one to the other.

Expecting to see the face. Wanting to see it.

Nothing.

Yet, that weird sensation of being watched, again.

My gaze shifted to the woods, to the exact place where the cemetery ended and the forest started. There was a path there. Narrow, obscured by the trees. For a long moment I sat, mesmerized. Then I stood up and began to approach it. The breeze picked up as I got closer, carrying with it the cool, slightly pungent smell of the waterfall.

I stopped at the very edge, the darkness enveloping me, the dampness seeping through my clothes.

The wind sighed, rustling the leaves and fluttering my hair.

Icy breath, on the back of my neck.

I’m in here… a voice whispered from the shadows.

I spun around in terror.

Then I hit something hard.

 

Excerpt 3 (from Chapter 11):

 

The foliage swallowed me. Sodden leaves gave under my shoes. Twisted limbs and giant ferns reached out to scratch my arms, my legs.

“Adelita!” I called, hastening my pace.

Flash of white ahead.

“Adelita!” No response. “Damn it. It’s getting freaking dark!”

Voices? I halted, panting.

Then broke into a run again. The mist, carried by the waterfall, clung to my lashes, my cheeks, my lips. I tasted its bitterness on my tongue.

Giggling.

“I’m here!” Adelita called.

I slowed my pace. Toward the end of the path, fibrous vines hung from branches like a curtain of snakes. I pushed them aside and staggered forward. Slowly, I looked up.

Against the blackening sky, the monster roared, cradled by twisted, stunted trunks and wisps of fog, looming over me in all its brutal magnificence. Its crystalline waters gushed ferociously, cascading into a murky, swirling pool that spiraled into a descending rock-studded stream gurgling with white iridescent foam.

A cloud of spray enveloped me, cold and impersonal like the wings of some giant bat. Had it not been for one of the vines, I would have fallen to my knees.

Cold water, sucking me down, searing my throat, my eyes. Can’t see, can’t breathe; his hands grab me; blackness, like tar, steals its way down my lungs, spreading its web and filling every corner, every crevice; utter agony before oblivion settles—  

The sight of Adelita, standing at the edge of the pool, shook me out of my trance. She was very still, her skirt puffing from the thundering falls.

“Step back!” I shouted.

Slowly, Adelita lifted her arm and pointed to the center of the waterfall. “She’s in there.”

“Who?” When she didn’t answer, I answered for her. “The ghost? Your invisible friend?”

Adelita lowered her arm. She seemed to have fallen into one of her sudden spells.

“Is that who you were speaking to?” I said urgently.

She was silent.

“Adelita,” I coaxed. She was about ten yards from me. I took one step toward her, my toes curling. “Please… step back.”

“She wants to speak to us,” Adelita said, moving closer to the edge.

“What’s wrong with you? Stop!”

She turned her head to look at me. When she smiled, her teeth looked unnaturally white, as if the iridescence of the foamy water reflected on them.

I edged a little closer and extended my hand. “Please.” I clenched my teeth. “I can’t come any closer,” I said, stressing each word. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing reality to go away, willing it all to be a nightmare. But when I opened my eyes, Adelita’s toes stood just over the edge. For an instant, as if suspended, she seemed to sway, before she opened her wings like an angel about to take flight.

“No!” I sprang forward and seized her arm. She twisted, lost her balance and clutched at my gold chain—“No!”—The gold snapped. I grabbed her shirt and jerked her toward me. We staggered in a drunken embrace before stumbling to the ground. My hand groped wildly around my neck, but my pendant, the most precious object I possessed, was gone. I searched for it on my hands and knees, my flesh sinking into the cold, wet earth.

Then I stood and stared hard at her.

Smudged with dirt, she sagged against a moss-covered boulder. “It’s in there,” she said, her gaze lowered, pointing to the water.

“How do you know?”

“I saw it fall,” she said.

A jolt of nausea hit me and I held my stomach. “That can’t be.”

I stared at the swirling pool and thought I saw it twinkling in the depths. I squeezed my eyes shut—for an eternity, it seemed—before I spun and grabbed Adelita and shook her violently. “You’re lying! That’s what you do. You lie.” I kept shaking her. I wanted to hurt her, hurt her. That was the only way to ease my pain.

She started whimpering, in a manner not unlike my sister Sara. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she kept saying.

I shoved her away and reeled backwards. I felt breathless, delirious.

I glanced one more time at the swirling pool, before I grasped her muddy hand and we headed back. She didn’t resist, an obedient, repentant little child.

By the time we got back to the graveyard, it was already dark. The lamp post cast an iridescent glow on the white roses and tombstones.

To my dismay, Madre Estela had just stepped out of the garden gate and was marching in our direction. With the light behind her, her face was a black mask. But her chin was high and her stride purposeful.

As if out of habit, she went for Adelita first. “What are you doing here? You haven’t done any of your chores.”

I stepped forward and shielded Adelita with my arm. “This isn’t her fault,” I said quickly. “I told her to come and help me.”

She bared her teeth. “Help do what?” she said, her eyes sweeping over our dirt-covered hair and clothes.

“We heard voices coming from there,” I said, gesturing. “We thought one of the girls had gotten lost, so we decided to take a look.”

This made her pause, but only for an instant—before her hand came down, hard and brutal. I staggered backwards, more from shock than pain. No one had ever slapped me before. I touched my burning cheek and just stared at her.

“Voices here, voices there,” she said, disgusted, as if she couldn’t stand to hear more of it. “There are no voices, do you understand? No voices,” she repeated, as if she were trying to convince herself of the fact. “You should know better than listen to Adelita’s lies.”

Adelita didn’t even flinch when Madre Estela twisted her ear. I thought she was going to wrench it off her head right in front of my eyes.

“Pick up the things and go change immediately, both of you,” she ordered, “before you catch pneumonia.”

Before we went inside, I glanced back at Madre Estela. The vegetation rose up behind her, dark and menacing. Her eyes seemed strangely unfocused. She was clutching her wooden cross and murmuring a prayer. A gust of wind rattled the branches.

 

 

 

Cover Reveal – The False Series- Romantic Suspense

Cover Reveal: THE FALSE SERIES: False Memory (Book 1), False Hope (Book 2) & False Start (Book 3)

Author: Meli Raine

Release date: November 13, 2018

Genre: Romantic Suspense

 

Series Description: She’s faking her amnesia to fool a very real killer.

 

FALSE MEMORY (Book 1)

Release Date:  11/13/18

Apple Books Exclusive:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/false-memory/id1387687477?mt=11

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40405827-false-memory

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/false-memory-by-meli-raine

It all started with the bereavement flowers with my name on them.

Not the best way to wake up, right? I work in a flower shop. I know a funeral arrangement when I see one.

I know a killer when I see one, too. And one is standing in my hospital room right now, straight behind the man who saved my life.

I can’t tell anyone the truth, because that’s the fastest way to really die. So I do the next best thing. I “lose” my memory.

I fake my amnesia.

Pretending not to remember a brutal attempted murder has its perks. The killer is backing down, spending less time around me, loosening the noose.

The less I claim to recall, the more my rescuer, Duff, works to help me “remember.” I hate lying to him.

But he doesn’t understand that my memory is dangerous. To me. And to him.

Fooling everyone isn’t easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Except it’s starting to look like I’ve been fooling myself.

In more ways than one.

 

FALSE HOPE (Book 2)

Release Date:  12.11.18

Apple Books Exclusive:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/false-hope/id1421994196?mt=11

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42088265-false-hope

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/false-hope-by-meli-raine

 

FALSE START (Book 3)

Release Date:  01/15/19

Apple Books Exclusive:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/false-start/id1421999168?mt=11

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42088271-false-start

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/false-start-by-meli-raine

 

Author Bio:

 

Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them. Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.

 

Social Media Links:

 

Website:  http://meliraine.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/meliraine

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/meliraineauthor

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/meli-raine

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13536295.Meli_Raine

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/beV0gf

 

Cover reveal organized by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Dirty Dozen – Warrior Bundle – Linda Maye Adams – Military

Author name: Linda Maye Adams

Remembering Warriors is a commemorative Bundle – Why is it important to you to support these causes? The women veterans of wars are often entirely left out of the story.  Worse, they don’t speak up.  I was in a call for veteran’s stories (Red, White & True), and was shocked that I was one of only two women veterans in the entire book.  We need our voices to be heard.

 

Do you have anyone you remember who was wounded or fought in war (either past or present)? I was one of the 40,000 women who served in the first Persian Gulf War, Desert Storm.  But I had one friend who didn’t come home whole from there.  It was hard afterward, watching as she self-destructed bit-by-bit.  The Army taught us how to go to war, but not how to transition back to normal.

*Please tell us about your publications. I’m indie published.  Since the bundle is military-themed, these are some of my publications that focus on the military.

GALCOM Universe series

  • Crying Planet
  • Lonely Planet
  • Watcher Ghost (short story)

Fantasy Novels

  • Rogue God

Speculative Fiction Short Stories

  • Devil Winds
  • Monkey River
  • New Robot Smell
  • Rejected by Aliens
  • Theater Ship

Writing Craft

  • Writer’s Guide to Military Culture

Military

  • Red, White & True
  • Women at War: Stories and Poems – these include poetry written during Desert Storm.

crying planet - cover

What first prompted you to publish your work? I’ve written stories as long as I can remember.  My uncle, Ernie Rydberg, was a writer during the pulp era, and into the 1970s.  I would visit his house in San Diego and see The Writer on his coffee table.  I loved writing stories and having the adventures in the stories, and I always wanted to publish them.  Indie’s a wonderful opportunity to publish stories that the traditional publishers deem as too different.

 What have you found the most challenging part of the process? For Soldier, Storyteller, it was figuring out how to tell this story in a way that was interesting to readers and not doing military babble or “exorcising demons.”  I knew when I came back from Desert Storm that I had a story, but it took 25 years for me to figure out not only how to tell it, but what to tell.  It wasn’t the story I thought 25 years ago, but answering a question that people always asked me: What was it like?

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I’m a pantser.  I’ve had people crossing their eyes when I describe my writing process. I don’t use beats or plan anything at all out.  I don’t even know how the story will end beyond a vague “Good guys win” or “Blow up something.”  I just get an idea and start writing, discovering the story much like a reader discovers the story when they turn the page. It’s a lot of fun following a rabbit hole and finding some really cool that makes the story.

What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work? Free is too low of a standard, and writers are too eager for validation and accept a low standard.  Years and years ago, I sent stories out to the non-paying markets.  They were easier to get into,  but at a cost.  I did not realize I was subconsciously telling myself I wasn’t good enough to get paid for my writing.  The result was that I never had the incentive to push my craft skills.  Once I started thinking about getting paid professionally, my skills made huge leaps.  I could see what a disservice I did to myself with free when I was invited to write for a non-paying military call from a literary magazine.  They didn’t pay, of course. I had a look a sample story they had posted and immediately passed.  I was already writing above what they were publishing.  My time is important. Free doesn’t respect my time.

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

This depends on the genre.  If it’s science fiction or fantasy, the awesome world building is at the top of the list because that’s what the readers read for.  If it’s a mystery, great characters come first.  Technically perfect?  Nowhere on my list.  That might please an English teacher, but it doesn’t make for very interesting stories.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? For Soldier, Storyteller, I had to research to fill in gaps.  It was hard being a soldier during Desert Storm because we were cut off from the rest of the world!  I did an event timeline of the war and looked up articles in the Tacoma Morning News Tribune about the day my unit left.  I hadn’t remembered it had rained when I left until I saw an article about a storm.  Probably the most shocking thing I found in my research was how close I was to the front line.  We were always told 70 kilometers.  In my head, I translated that was 70 miles.  Nope.  It was 43 miles.  Oh, boy…  I was very glad I didn’t know that at the time.  It made me queasy 25 years later!

 

What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?Outlining.  I was a natural pantser; it was how I started writing.  But I was trying to learn how to be a better writer, and I did not realize that most writing advice assumes outlining.  I picked up so much outlining advice that I broke my writing.

In 2007, I was ready to give up writing novels because they came out so horribly broken that I didn’t even want to show them to other writers for help.  The more broken my writing got, the more advice I read to try to fix what was happening, and the worse the problem got.  I even tried outlining, and the problem got worse.  Other writers were telling me I wasn’t outlining correctly.  I despaired that I would ever be able to write novels.  But I’d been a soldier and it was accomplish the mission.

So I tried writing classes that were popping up everywhere.  I asked, “Are you pantser friendly?” and was told “Yes, we teach both outliners and pantsers.”  Then I’d go to the class and the instructor wouldn’t know what to do with me and often treated me like I was stupid because I wasn’t getting with the program.  Then I ran across Dean Wesley Smith’s site, and his workshops.  I asked him if the workshops were pantser friendly, and he said that was how he wrote.

Whoa!  Someone who wrote like me.

 Tell us about your latest piece? After going to war, I’ve realized I like my adventures safely tucked into a work of fiction, not in real life.  And I write like what I want to read, women having adventures. I currently am writing the third book in a science fiction series that uses my military background but puts a civilian in as the main character.  She travels to different worlds to fix problems with ghosts.  The character is still mystified about how the military works and why no one uses their first names. The book is called Cursed Planet.

 What’s your next writing adventure? You mean I have to pick?  I haven’t decided yet.  I’m from Los Angeles and regularly saw brush fires every year, so I thought that might be a good fit for my ghost science fiction series.  Or I could do an attack on a spaceship and play with how technology both works in unexpected ways and sometimes screws things up.  I’m also thinking about a series set in Hollywood in the 1940s, with Jack Reacher as a woman character.  So many fun ideas, so little time.

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? I think that the bookstores are going to have to fundamentally change how they sell books.  Retail has not responded well to all the changes, judging from the number of big companies closing stories, like Macy’s and Sears.  Their default was to expand in either more stores or more diverse products.  Barnes and Noble sells gifts.  Who makes a specific trip to B&N to buy Moleskines or puzzles?  Retail needs to identify what experience they can offer that Amazon can’t, but everyone is still focusing on selling products and not an experience.

Links: http://www.lindamayeadams.com

lonely planet - cover.jpg

Bio:

Linda Maye Adams was probably the least likely person to be in the Army—even the Army thought so!  She was an enlisted soldier and served for twelve years and was one of the women who deployed to Desert Storm.  But she’d much prefer her adventures to be in books.  She is the author of the military-based GALCOM Universe series, including the novels Crying Planet and Lonely Planet.  She’s also received three honorable mentions in the Writers of the Future contest and an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock Magazine’s contest.  Linda is a native of Los Angeles, California, and currently lives in Northern Virginia.  Find out more about Linda Maye Adams on her website at http://www.lindamayeadams.com.

https://books2read.com/rememberingwarriors

Learn about Remembering Warriors here

Book Spotlight – Finding Angel – Romance/ Suspense/Erotica

Out Now!—Finding Angel by Jan Graham (@jan_graham) #romance #suspense #romanticsuspense

Finding Angel release date: January 30th, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Blurb:

It’s time to participate in a dangerous dance of murder, trust, love, and intrigue.

Trouble isn’t Angel’s middle name, so why does it follow her wherever she goes? Her life should be less complicated after the death of her ex, but his actions continue to haunt her. While trying to gain some distance from a crime boss who has a contract out on her, and a cop who believes she’s the key to taking said bad guy down, Angel runs straight into the arms of two dominant brothers with an unexpected interest in making her theirs.

Faced with a difficult choice, Angel must decide who she can trust. Two kinky brothers that she just met? A cop she has more in common with than she realizes? Or a crime boss adept at murder? Trusting them all may end up saving her life.

Finding Angel is more than a love story between one woman and two men, it’s a romantic suspense with a whole lot of trouble.

Finding Angel Cover_200

This book contains erotic sex scenes, BDSM elements, a Ménage a Trois romantic pairing (M/F/M) and non-graphic descriptions of past sexual and physical abuse suffered by the female protagonist.  Note: There is no sexual relationship between siblings

 

Buy Links

Kindle US – http://amzn.to/2FjpUHY

Kindle AU – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B077XFD747

Kindle UK – http://amzn.to/2FlpDo1

*****

FA Teaser 3 - Lost.jpg

Excerpt One

Angel felt dirty, which probably had less to do with cleaning and more to do with the fact she’d just finished texting a crime lord. Adrian always had that effect on her. He may have been a good-looking, well-dressed, and very suave man, but the way he looked at her—like a predatory animal eyeing its prey—always made her nervous.

As she stood in the shower letting the warm water run over her body, Angel imagined the last five years of fear and turmoil washing away. She hadn’t sought out anything that she encountered in her life leading to this point. However, thinking back, she knew she had made some very bad choices. That had to change. If the last five years had taught Angel one thing, it was this. She was worth more than she had encountered in her life thus far. She was a good woman, caring and kind, and someone of that nature deserved better.

Angel remembered the day she’d arrived home to find Samuel gone. She shivered as she recalled the sight that met her when she entered the house. It was a mess. Everything thrown on the floor, cupboards open, books and CDs strewn across the living area, the stereo speakers kicked in and pillows from the sofa ripped open. Samuel’s computer was still on his desk, the side ripped open and a gaping hole where the hard drive used to be. If her life had been anything like normal, then she’d have been on the phone to the police within minutes. But, there was nothing normal about her life. And in this house, police were the enemy.

Angel recollected walking into the kitchen to place the bags of groceries on the counter as a knock sounded on the door. One of Samuel’s associates greeted her, only to become annoyed when he discovered Sam wasn’t home. Angel sent him away, telling him to ring Samuel if he needed to see him. After he’d left, Angel heard the faint ring of Samuel’s phone. She knew he wouldn’t have left it behind. It was like a third arm for him, he was never without it. She’d walked toward the back of the house, reaching for the back door just as the phone stopped ringing.

It was then she noticed the garage door was ajar. They only used the garage for storage. It was a single old building away from the house, built during a time when cars were smaller and detached garages popular because people didn’t mind walking to get what they needed. Angel recalled the crunch of the gravel drive under her feet and the creak of the rickety wooden door.

The air was cool around her as she stared at Samuel’s Harley Davidson belt buckle. She lowered her eyes, scanning down his legs to his feet. He wasn’t wearing shoes. His feet looked pale, she’d thought, as her eyes scanned back up his body to his chest. His shoulders relaxed, his hands by his sides. She smiled at him when her eyes reached his face, his head slanted to the side, the securely tied noose around his neck attached firmly to the middle rafter of the roof.

Angel drifted back to the present. As the water from the shower tumbled over her body, she smiled. She couldn’t have dreamed of a better end for that shit of a man.

 

FA Teaser 1- fallen

About the Author

Jan Graham is an author of Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense. Her stories contain erotic elements, with some including elements of BDSM. She has numerous published titles to her credit, with more to come once she overcomes her current bout of procrastination. Jan lives in Newcastle, Australia where she writes, reads, feeds her Netflix addiction and drinks coffee with friends.

For those who enjoy labels and tags, as well as being an author, Jan is a submissive, an aunt, dyslexic, a lover of all things tempting and naughty (including chocolate), a participant in the BDSM community, a widow, an orphan, and sometimes, a wild child.

In short, she is generally a bit of an eccentric who lives her life slightly left of center. You can find out more about Jan and her work by stalking her on the various social media sites where she occasionally hangs out.

Social Media Hangouts

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

Goodreads

Newsletter Sign-up

 

 

Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.

Swift Six Author Interview – A. A. Bavar multigenre #kindlescout

#Meetanauthor #Swiftsix

Name: A. A. Bavar

What attracts you to the genre in which you write?
I’m not bound to any one genre. What genre I choose to write mostly depends on my mood at that specific moment, or the premise that pops into my head. From there, it develops almost organically. Originally, I started as a screenwriter and wrote action, comedy, and thrillers. As an author, my books follow the same pattern. I’ve written fantasy, action, comedy, and creative non-fiction. Bottom line, my motivation is to write stories that move my readers independent of the genre.

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures?
That a bird in the hand is no doubt the best advice anyone could get. How I wish I had taken that to heart when I was offered my first sale many years ago. But, alas, I trusted my agent and the rest is history and a lot of hard work!

If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you choose?
Wow, this is a difficult one. I had a quick five minute “lunch” with New Line Cinema and Harrison Ford – remember the bird? – and that didn’t change my life the way I had envisioned, although it could have. I guess it depends on whether you want to meet someone influential or a person you admire. Today, I’d choose Bryan Cranston. I respect his work and he could definitely be cast in my screenplay Shutdown.

Who has been the greatest influence on your own work?
My children and upbringing. When I started writing, it was very clear to me that anything I wrote should be a source of pride for my children. Not because of any success it may have, but because it upholds good morals and integrity. I would never write anything that my children shouldn’t read.

As an author, I greatly admire the writing styles of Alexandre Dumas and Robert Ludlum.

Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print?
Absolutely not.

Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?
The Three Musketeers by Dumas. I love the humour and adventure. It is a complete work that encompasses every aspect of life: dignity, honour, love, loss, and survival.

The Bourne Identity by Ludlum. The book is very different from the movie, and for the better. It’s fast paced and adrenaline packed. What better to take my mind off my troubles when stuck on an island by myself?

The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It’s the perfect love story.
 

Author bio and book synopsis

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

I was only nine when my mother rushed me out of school to board a plane for Italy. It was the beginning of the Iranian Revolution, the beginning of my exile. From there, life became an adventure, from going to school in an ancient castle in Florence and playing tennis on the lawns at Wimbledon, to dribbling a soccer ball on the white, sandy beaches of Brazil. What I didn’t realize was that my roots had been permanently up-heaved and that I would spend the rest of my life trying to find a place to belong.

Can you imagine being nine and suddenly going to school in Italy without knowing a single word in Italian or having any friends? And then, as you’re slowly finding your way, to be yanked away again to live in England? Again, no friends, but at least I was fluent in English. But that didn’t last long either, since I soon found myself in Brazil. Once again, no friends and no language. Luckily, I went to the American school so the transition was a bit smoother, but unfortunately, the Iran/U.S. relationship wasn’t. We were right in the middle of the hostage crisis… more on this later. Yes, you guessed it, I’m writing my own life story.

When people ask me where I’m from, I find myself stammering, wondering what I should say. Am I Iranian? Brazilian? American? No, not really… more like an international, cultural mess. So I say I’m from earth, even though when I first came to the U.S. I was tagged as an alien! On the positive side, as a citizen of the world, I understand the nuances of many diverse cultures and can write about almost anything, usually with a lot of humour. Too bad I still haven’t found a place I can truly call home.

After high school in Brazil, I moved to the U.S. and majored in computer engineering with a concentration in creative writing. I met my future wife in engineering lab and we got married soon after graduation.

In 1999, I wrote my first screenplay, Shutdown, which was considered for production by New Line Cinema with Harrison Ford. I went on to write several other screenplays, and in 2015 published my first novel, Az – Revenge of an Archangel.

Also in 2015, I was approached by one of the jurors in the Boston Marathon bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and wrote the book Juror 83, which for personal reasons was not published.

In 2016, I entered a script competition and wrote an episode for the sitcom Last Man Standing called My Truck Needs a Wash, while working on my novel Samantha which I finished in 2017. Samantha is a romantic thriller with a touch of magic. Imagine Bewitched meets Fatal Attraction! Doesn’t that say it all? It’s currently competing on Kindle Scout, so please go to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2YWWJWSRZQ9XT and NOMINATE it for publication by Amazon. Thank you!

Right now I’m working on my next novel, Kiss Me at the Finish Line, due for publication in December, 2017. It’s an action drama based on my work in Juror 83.

 

 

Links
Vote for Samantha: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2YWWJWSRZQ9XT
Az – Revenge of an Archangel: https://www.amazon.com/Az-Revenge-Archangel-Bavar-ebook/dp/B00XIN9ICC

Social media
www.aabavar.com
https://www.facebook.com/amir.bavar.5
https://www.instagram.com/amirbavar/

Author Interview 107 – Dean Mayes – Paranormal/Thriller

Welcome to Dean Mayes.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born and raised in country Victoria, Australia. In the mid 90’s, after I completed my degree in Nursing, I moved to Adelaide in South Australia and I’ve been living there ever since.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My writing has crossed genres since I was first published back in 2010. My debut, “The Hambledown Dream” (2010, Central Avenue Publishing) was a romantic fiction novel with a paranormal undercurrent that explored reincarnation. My follow up novel “Gifts of the Peramangk” (2012, Central Avenue Publishing) was a more literary fiction/coming of age story about an Aboriginal child prodigy living here in Adelaide. For my upcoming novel “The Recipient” (2016, Central Avenue Publishing), I have gone in the direction of an action oriented psychological thriller but I have reintroduced a paranormal theme relating to organ donors and their recipients.

Where do you find inspiration? Inspiration comes from many places and it is usually unexpected. I find that if I go looking for inspiration, it is rare that I find it. “The Recipient” was actually inspired by a very intense and vivid nightmare where I was witnessing a violent assault and then, at one point, I couldn’t discern between whether I was witnessing it or whether I was actually experiencing it myself. When I woke from the nightmare, I madly began scribbling as much as I could remember down in a notebook I keep beside my bed. Before too long, I had the rudimentary beginnings of what has become “The Recipient”.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? I think that all my characters have been favorite – especially when I have been in the thick of writing them. Casey Schillinge, my protagonist in “The Recipient” has definitely been the most interesting character to write because there are several facets to her persona that make her complex. She is highly intelligent and technically savvy and she is also stubborn and dogged. When she latches onto something – a suspicion or a gut feeling – she will follow it through to the end, despite encouragement from others to slow down. She is also pragmatic and empirical which makes the nightmares she experiences at the beginning of the novel so frightening for her. She cannot quantify them so they knock her off balance.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? I actually don’t. All of my characters are created in service to whatever story I am telling and their roles are important. If I infuse my characters with a certain level of evil or “badness”, there is a context to that which I value.

Are your characters based on real people? Some of them are. Over time, I have infused some of my characters with the qualities and mannerisms of people who have been and are important in my life. I like to be able to do that because I think it gives them more gravitas, it makes them more real to life and tactile.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?Maybe peripheral characters but, in the main, all of the characters I have created have remained integral to my works.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I do! Even with the more fantastical story writing I have done, the importance of creating a real world feel cannot be understated.

“The Hambledown Dream” featured the dual settings of Chicago in the United States and the South Coast of New South Wales here in Australia. I’m familiar with the South Coast because I spent a lot of time there growing up so it wasn’t a stretch to recreate that in the novel. For Chicago, I did a lot of visual research into things like the architecture and the socio-economics of the inner northern suburbs which is where a lot of the early part of that novel takes place. I also have friends living in that part of the city so I had eyes and ears on the ground there and they were great in helping to visualize the feel of the city. And then there were subjects like cancer which required me to refresh my knowledge about disease process and treatment modalities. I have been an Intensive Care Nurse for over a decade now so I was able to tap into a lot of resources in order to bring that to life in the novel.

For “Gifts of the Peramangk”, I spent about a year on pure research into the White Australia policy and the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Australians. These remain sensitive subjects in our national conversation and I didn’t want illustrate anything in the novel that would disrepect the gravity of those issues. Additionally, I spent a lot of time researching the Peramangk people. This is a nation state in our Aboriginal nation for which not a lot is known, so I needed to ensure that I could present them in such a way that was respectful and authentic.

In “The Recipient” I have returned to a more medically oriented story so here I tapped into a number of resources in the field of transplant surgery and after care. Getting that aspect of the story right was important because it allowed me to introduce the paranormal elements seamlessly. Some of the early feedback I’ve had from medical professionals has been really positive in that they were totally convinced of the possibilities of what I was throwing up. Police procedure also featured heavily in the novel and so here I talked to a number of law enforcement agencies here in Australia and they were really grand in helping me to portray procedures accurately.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? I don’t set out to convey a message in my writing. I am more compelled to create a really good and satisfying story. If I were to consider it though, “Gifts of the Peramangk” probably contains the most powerful message that says no matter who you are, if you apply yourself and you work hard, you can achieve anything. It’s not a conscious message on my part though. I think it depends on the topic and the motivation of the writer as to whether a message is important to impart in a work of fiction.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) For me, great characters are the kernel of great story writing. If I can believe in the characters then I can believe in the story. How they see the world influences the world building aspect so I guess world building is the next most important aspect. The plot has to be solid of course. For me, the plot of my stories is set out in a rudimentary fashion when I begin and I allow my characters and their motivations – to an extent – to drive the story forward. Technical perfection comes afterwards but it is no less important for me than any of the others. It is just that this is how I write and how I edit so I guess I am setting out my process in the steps that I follow. I won’t release a product until I know that it is technically perfect.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Presently – print and digital. My publisher and I have focused on these two branches of the market primarily because of production costs and the obvious reach of those branches. Audio is attractive to me but the production costs are prohibitive right now. If I were to attain significant success that would allow me to invest in audio production, I would definitely consider it.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do! It’s one of my OCD quirks! I have gotten better at focusing on pure writing, getting the words and the ideas onto the page but I still go back often and review and refine. I really enjoy the editing process and regard it as one of the most important aspects of writing. Professional editing is essential to a good end product and I do believe a book that has not been professionally edited suffers in the long run. That is a lesson I have learned through experience.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I think they are. It comes down to the sad fact that, with the explosion in self publishing, we’ve seen all manner of people producing works featuring varying levels of quality. It is a sad fact that many of those works have come from self published authors who have not invested the time and the money in having their work professionally edited and proofed before proceeding to publication and they do themselves a disservice because of it. That said, poor editing and proofing is not confined to self published authors. I was reading a book just last month (January, 2016) from one of the major publishing houses and I came across several instances of grammatical errors, poor sentence construction and confusing paragraphs. So poor editing is not confined to self published authors by any stretch.

Do you read work by self-published authors? I have. There are several self published authors whose work I really admire and have returned to subsequently. It is clear to me that they have invested in their work to ensure they have produced the best product possible.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? When I started out, I did read and comment on reviews but I don’t anymore. I think an author runs the risk of being misinterpreted in their responses to reviews and I have seen cases where and author has responded in a respectful manner to a review and it has been totally taken out of context. I keep myself at arms length from reviews now.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No. I usually pick up a book based on a recommendation or if something about the title or the liner notes strikes me as interesting. I’ll avoid reviews because many of them will contain spoilers and that it definitely a killer for me.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? I’m really not sure about that one so I’ll just say that I don’t have a view.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Books work on a subconscious level and they fire our imagination in ways that a video game or movie can’t. I requires effort and engagement to ‘see’ the world an author has created whereas a game or movie presents it to you in all its technicolour glory. That said – I am a casual gamer and I love movies  soooo…does that cancel my answer out?

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Keep a notebook with you to jot down ideas and notes as they come to you – and only write in pencil. Forget about social media, word counts, group discussions and marketing advice and just write.

Have a basic story structure but don’t be dictated by it. The is more than one way to get from Point A to Point B.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? Marketing should be all about the Pull. In the first instance, you should a have product that is professionally edited and proofed. You should have a website that is simple but engaging. It should reflect a little bit about you and the information there should be concise and easy to find. Pick three social networking platforms and stick to those. Don’t allow yourself to be overrun by the false notion that you have to be everywhere and across everything. It will not make you happy and you’ll end up resenting it.

Don’t Push! Don’t Facebook or Tweet or G+ incessantly with “BUY MY BOOKS” You will find yourself muted or blocked or even reported. Social Networking/Marketing should be all about building relationships and, in the first instance, you shouldn’t even mention your works. If you’ve structured you platform correctly, you’ll have relevant links that are easy to see and find. If your connection wants to discover more about you, they will.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I just finished a gorgeous romance novel set here in Australia called “Summer Harvest” by Georgina Penney. It was just a joy to read.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? I keep returning to the works of John Jackson Miller who has writted a lot in the Star Wars universe. He is a really great author. I don’t have a favorite indie but I do read a lot of them.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I think it is an essential part of an author’s marketing strategy and I will often do giveaways. This should be dictated by cost/benefit considerations as each author will have flexibility in what they can offer as to what they can’t.

Do you have a favourite movie? Two words = Star Wars.

Do you have any pets? My writing partner is a spaniel named Sam.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? I’m not sure if I should answer that question. I will say that I did learn a lot from it and I did use it in my writing.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I love romance novels.

Links to Dean Mayes:

 

Official Website: http://www.deanfromaustralia.com

Publisher’s Website: http://centralavenuepublishing.com

Facbook: https://www.facebook.com/Dean-Mayes-The-Hambledown-Dreamer-263088081779/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hambledown_Road

 

9781771680387

Review – The Forty Minute War – Sci-fi/Thriller

The Forty Minute War

Janet and Chris Morris.

http://www.amazon.com/FORTY-MINUTE-WAR-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B016QNZV26/

 

Although first written in the mid 1980s, and set during the height of the Cold War the Forty Minute War could be set anytime from the advent of the atomic bomb to the present day.  The enemies may have changed but warfare, and its terrible consequences has not. Right from the get-go the action is intense, enthralling, but at the same time heart breaking. This is a story of human folly, human stubbornness, and human desperation. It’s also a story of human courage. Expect a high death count, expect tears and disbelief, expect emotion. The reader quickly gets attached to the characters – especially Marc and Chris, but also Marc’s ops team. They are all skilled in the field but also flawed – they are above all people desperately trying to right a wrong and save what remains of the world even though they know it will likely mean their death.  I admit I shed more than one tear during the read and ended up really wanting to know what happened next. Without wanting to give any spoilers the ending is a surprise but leave questions unanswered. Questions such as if not then, when is it going to happen?

As usual Janet and Chris Morris create a world that is so real, and characters which become friends (or enemies).  Well researched and superbly written the novel takes the reader to the darkest place of the human soul, and then back again with a frighteningly believable plot. There are elements of dark humour, of love against impossible odds, of daring to hope when hope is gone. Aside from being a breath taking adventure it’s a story about the unquenchable human spirit to survive.

Most definitely 5 stars – I couldn’t put this down.