Archive for the 'Mystery/Suspense' Category
Monday, April 29th, 2013
Join me in welcoming Jean Murray to Highlighted Author.
Author Jean Murray brings a wonderful new spin to the paranormal world with her Egyptian Underworld gods. She broke ground in the paranormal romance genre with Soul Reborn and now continues the Key to the Cursed journey with Soul Awakened.
In her pursuit of a nursing degree, Jean Murray aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. At the end of 2011 she said a heart-breaking goodbye to her Navy family and retired after twenty years of military service. Although her dreams of writing full time have yet to come true, she continues her writing journey and draws inspiration from her travels abroad. She enjoys spending time with her family and of course, writing about the “Carrigan sisters and their mates, Gods of the Underworld,” to bring you the next installment of the Key to the Cursed series.
I’m thrilled to present both these outstanding books this week as Jean has agreed to a series feature. Enjoy!
Key to the Cursed Series
By Jean Murray
BOOK I: Soul Reborn
“Only the strongest love can unlock the souls of the Underworld.”
What they’re saying:
“The Carrigan sisters are worthy heroines and the promise of continuing tales is welcome.”—Romantic Times (RT) Book Reviews (Sept2011) - 4/4.5 stars/Scorcher
“The first book in the “Key to the Cursed” series was absolutely phenomenal. Anything that deals with old world deities and is written well always hooks me from the get go. This was definitely an excellent book to begin a new series.”—Night Owl Reviews: Reviewer’s Top PICK/ 5 Stars (Abigail, Feb2013)
“This is the first book in the series by Jean Murray and I want to start off by saying I was blown away by this book and I cannot wait to read the rest of the books in this series. This book had elements that would satisfy not only fans of paranormal romance but also urban fantasy fans as it combined Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, the walking dead, betrayal, and the world at peril against the backdrop of a hot and passionate romance.”—Bitten by Paranormal Romance – 5/5 Alpha Howls, Hot
More reviews on Goodreads.
THE HUMAN REALM, HIS BATTLEFIELD.
Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.
DEADLY SECRETS BETTER LEFT UNEARTHED.
Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess’ undead army unleashing hell on earth. But Lilly has a secret—one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.
Movement flickered in the deep shadows.
Asar stilled. Midnight skin blending into the night, he slipped easily into the gloom of the New York City streets and waited.
The human heat signature he hunted lingered in the air like a fine French perfume. He was not surprised when a trio of pale-skinned, red-eyed revens zoned in on the same body heat. The undead craved the flesh of their once previous form.
It was not the human’s flesh Asar desired.
Saddled by his own hunger that burned like fire in his chest, he raced toward the haunting scent, anxious to claim the prey before the revens. He was not about to give up such a delicious soul to those ravenous cannibals.
Still too far away, he exploded with a shot of preternatural speed on the slippery, uneven pavement. Surefooted, he hurtled a foul dumpster and sprinted around the brick building. Hunger fueled his every step. He fully expected to hear a scream from the human victim before he reached the alley, but the air remained still.
He slid to a stop on the wet asphalt. The three revens he had sensed lay decapitated on the polluted street. Gaping chest wounds indicated the hearts had been destroyed.
Fragments of shimmering light illuminated the gray, decaying flesh, rising into the night air. Normally, he would have absorbed the shifting souls, but revens were tainted and doomed never to reach the afterlife. The undead were truly dead.
Where was the human?
The sound of shattering glass resonated from above, followed by a shower of diamond shards. Asar evaporated into the shadows against the cold brick of the building and narrowly avoided the carcass of a headless reven plummeting from the upper window. The body hit the pavement like a side of meat slammed onto a butcher’s countertop. Dark, putrid shrapnel of blood and bone spattered across the roadway. The reven’s head soon followed, bounced off the cement with a loud crack and rolled slowly down the sidewalk before coming to rest inches from his foot.
He did not give it a second look. Through the shattered second story window, he caught a glimpse of glowing green eyes and the flash of silver.
His body grew taut with anticipation. The humans he typically encountered at night were criminals and opportunists looting stores or transporting illegal goods — the unsavory dredges of humankind. No one else dared to be outdoors for fear of becoming a reven’s next meal.
The criminals were easy enough prey, overconfident with their modern weapons, but this opponent utilized a more ancient form of deliverance. The reven kills were calculated and completed with the precision and stealth of a skilled assassin. This hunter was no doubt getting paid top dollar for this kind of suicide mission.
The revelation made his chest burn hotter with dark need. His prey would not go down easily. The harder the fight, the more living energy he could absorb from the human’s soul.
He looked upward. The night sky was waning to lighter shades of blue. He had only an hour of darkness left before the horizon split open with the sun’s rays. He would like nothing more than to draw out the fight for his own perverse pleasure, but he had to end it soon or face the wrath of his ancient curse.
A pain he would sooner avoid.
A loud crash of metal against stone around the corner interrupted his reverie. He launched forward out of the shadows, unconcerned with revealing his location, and did not waste any time turning onto the dimly lit street.
Only to find it empty.
Asar scanned quickly around the perimeter while turning slowly in a circle. The hunter did not have enough time to scale a building or sprint down the long block. His prey had to be a short distance from here. He walked forward, following the heat trail that vanished in the middle of the street.
“Where did you go?” Asar turned, looking for some exit the hunter could have used. The pavement shifted slightly under his foot. Looking down, he rotated his foot to the right. NY City Water & Sewer.
So, his prey had gone underground to draw him into a more cramped battle. Little did the hunter know, Asar would be the only victor in this game of cat and mouse.
He would leave with the man’s soul.
Into the darkness of the small tunnel, he followed the exaggerated heat trail in the confined space. He heard the faint breathing and pounding of a human heart. Here kitty, kitty. The hunter was foolish enough to make a stand, but not for long. He followed the arresting scent, anxious to fill his hollow emptiness. Only a few more steps and then he’d see his prize—
His gaze shifted over a female with long blonde hair whose curvy hips were loaded with an arsenal of weapons. In her hand, she clasped a long, intricately carved blade—a blade she pointed directly at him.
Asar swallowed against the sudden constriction in his throat.
Not a hunter.
Energy rippled off her skin like streamers of bright sunlight. Her powerful essence of life called to him, the very energy that fed his unquenchable hunger. All he had to do was touch her silky skin or lips to devour the luscious beauty. He had already taken a few steps toward her when he stopped.
Another sensation of hunger distracted his senses. One he had not felt in very long time, nor cared to feel again. His hardened arousal was inconvenient, considering the moment.
An inconvenience he was willing to explore a little before he dined on her soul. Heat radiated off her skin, a sharp contrast to his own cold, dead body. His skin began to burn, even at this distance. A welcome, but deadly flame. Despite this threat, he drew in like a moth to a flame. Warm, soft and most importantly, alive.
Get your copy here:
BOOK II: Soul Awakened
What they’re saying:
“I know other readers are going to love this series as much as I do. Get settled in for a thrilling paranormal tale.”—Night Owl Reviews: Reviewer’s Top PICK/ 5 Stars (Abigail, Feb2013)
“I don’t know where to begin to describe the absolutely marvelous job that the author does in not only creating a wonderful world with so much depth and detail, but a story line the has the mystery and intrigue that will keep you glued to the pages.”—Bitten by Paranormal Romance, Ollie (Feb2013): 5/5 Alpha Howls, Hot
More reviews on Goodreads.
LOVE FOR BLOOD OR HONOR
Kendra, an Egyptologist and demi-god in waiting, is the key to unlocking Bakari, the Egyptian God of Death, from his cursed slumber. Desperate to free him, she inadvertently binds herself to the god with a spell that only death will undo. To save Bakari from himself, she may have to sacrifice her innocence, and possibly her soul, before he becomes his family’s worst enemy.
HAUNTED BY SINS OF THE PAST
Bakari awakens to a world at war and a beautiful woman who has tethered his soul to hers. In the wake of his self-destruction Kendra is his only hope of salvation, but another has vowed to keep Bakari from the one thing he craves most—his Parvana. His butterfly.
A familiar refuge of horror.
Black and desolate like his soul, the darkness draped the landscape of Bakari’s world. His prison for how long? He could gage only by his hunger, an unbearable pain burning through his chest and eating away what little of his soul remained. The darkness consumed everything, but his insanity.
The onyx obscurity wavered into shades of grey. Bright sunlight danced and flickered in the barren corners of his mind beyond his reach. Bolts of lightning ripped across his skin and mind and tore at the fine fabric of his consciousness. The sheets of darkness fell like ash and scattered into the cold abyss.
His mind retreated—fearful. He had been tricked before only to suffer at the sadistic hands of his captor. The next arc struck harder and deeper. The white inferno fried what tendrils of his coma remained. In the wake of his agony, the soft caress of a human soul and the scent of sweet honeysuckle penetrated his skin. The very element that fed his power—living energy.
Like water for a dying man, the human’s energy trickled but did not satisfy his ravenous hunger. His chest clenched into a ball of fire, ignited by the minuscule energy he absorbed into his soul.
The vitality extinguished as quickly as it came. Left barren and wanting, rage consumed him. The goddess Kepi would pay for this new level of depravity. To have living nourishment so close, but denied to feed his dark hunger, was a torture like no other.
The walls of his wooden crypt pressed in upon him. He struggled to move an arm or leg, but the spell of his paralysis was unyielding. He screamed but not a word past his lips. In his mind he thrashed against the invisible bonds, willing himself to break free.
He had not reacted this way since the fateful day of his confinement to his tomb. During his imprisonment he had withdrawn into himself. Numb to the world. His only safeguard against the goddess and the oppressive confines of his prison. Those thoughts of Kepi worsened his agony and current insanity.
Silently screaming, cold tears slipped out of the corners of his closed eyes and trickled down into his hair. He called out to the merciful gods to save him, but in all this time none were answered. His despair suffocated whatever hope he may have left.
Bakari, a soft melody of a voice broke through the chaos in his mind. Ease your pain. She will come to you again. Hold your will, young god. She will set you free.
Get your copy here:
Want more Jean? Here’s where you can find her:Website: www.jean-murray.com Blog: www.wickedromance.wordpress.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJeanMurray Twitter: http://twitter.com/wickedromance Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5103113.Jean_Murray
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
Join me in welcoming Delilah Devlin to Highlighted Author.
Delilah Devlin is an award-winning author of erotic romance with a rapidly expanding reputation for writing edgy stories with complex characters. Ms. Devlin has published over a hundred stories in multiple sub-genres and lengths with Atria/Strebor, Avon, Berkley, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Kensington, Kindle, Running Press, and Samhain Publishing. In January 2013, she added Montlake Romance to her list of publishers when Shattered Souls released!
Until recently, Delilah lived in South Texas at the intersection of two dry creeks, surrounded by sexy cowboys in Wranglers. These days, she’s missing the wide-open skies and starry nights but loving her dark forest in Central Arkansas, with its eccentric characters and isolation—the better to feed her hungry muse!
For Delilah, the greatest sin is driving between the lines, because it’s comfortable and safe. Her personal journey has taken her through one war and many countries, cultures, jobs, and relationships to bring her to the place where she is now—writing sexy adventures that hold more than a kernel of autobiography and often share a common thread of self-discovery and transformation.
Whether creating dark, erotically-charged paranormal worlds or richly descriptive historical stories that ring with authenticity, Delilah Devlin “pens in uncharted territory that will leave the readers breathless and hungering for more…” (Paranormal Reviews)
What they’re saying:
“SHATTERED SOULS shocked me with its exhilarating story line and its magical world of Witches, Wraiths and Demons. Ms. Devlin wrote an intriguing urban fantasy with just the right balance of romance, nail-biting scenes and well-developed characters. She really got me hooked from the beginning until the end.” ~ 5 Feathers and Top Pick, Under The Covers
“An intriguing paranormal tale that combines romantic suspense with a mesmerizing tale of otherworldly beings.” ~Top Pick, Night Owl Reviews
Caitlyn O’Connell had it all: a career with the Memphis PD, a passionate marriage, and the satisfaction that her work made a difference in the world. But she also had a secret, a supernatural “gift” that cost her everything. Now she scrapes by as a private investigator, taking cases the cops won’t touch and counting down the minutes until happy hour.
But when Sam Pierce, her former partner and estranged ex-husband, comes to her for help with a bizarre murder case, Cait can’t say no. And not just because Sam is still as irresistibly sexy as he was on the day they met. Something sinister—and demonic—is terrorizing Memphis, leaving a bloody trail of bodies and clues only Cait can read. Together she and Sam will venture into a dark world of magic and unholy terror, hunting a killer who will lead them to the brink of reality as they know it—and back into the thrall of their stormy past. Steamy and suspenseful, Shattered Souls is the pulse-quickening new offering from fan favorite romance author Delilah Devlin.
Mama was making a spell again.
The little girl squirmed on her chair at the kitchen table and tried not to think about needing to pee. Mama wanted her to be quiet so she wouldn’t lose her train. Though what trains had to do with spells, the girl didn’t have a clue. Mama always said things that didn’t make sense. Must be because she was a jip-see. Daddy blamed all the strange things that happened in their house on account of her being jip-see.
Pink blossoms dropped into the heart-shaped flannel pouch, one by one.
Her mama’s eyebrows straightened, and her eyes got the faraway look. “One to silence darksome words. Let only gladsome thoughts be heard. Two to bring peace to this child’s mind—“
“That’s me, right, Mama?”
Dark brows wrinkled. “Yes, Caitydid, pay attention now. This is important.”
Another pretty pink blossom floated into the bag.
“Is it really from a dragon?” The little girl bit her lip because she’d done it again. Spoken when she was supposed to be dreaming about what it would be like if the spell worked.
Her mother plucked a blossom from the bowl in front of her. “The flower is a snapdragon, but only because it looks like a dragon’s head, sweetheart. See?” She held up another furled flower for the girl to study.
The little girl stared at the blossom, disappointment tugging her mouth downward. The curled bloom did indeed form a shape. But looking at the flower was a lot like lying in the grass with her mama watching the clouds float across the sky and trying to imagine animals and things when all she saw were white puffy clouds.
A flower was just a flower. How were pretty petals going to help her sleep?
“Now, are you done interrupting me?”
The little girl nodded, summoning a smile to please her mother. Then something shrieked behind her and she jumped. She clamped together her thighs and swung her feet, trying to ease the urgency. “Make them go away,” she wailed, slamming both hands over her ears—even though she knew that never worked.
Her mother’s sad, brown gaze settled on the girl for a long, unblinking moment. Then she pulled down the girl’s small hands and placed them in her lap. She leaned close, bracketing her cheeks between warm palms. “Don’t be afraid, baby. The bad voices will disappear. Only the good will remain.”
The little girl licked a tear from the side of her mouth. “But I want them all to go away, Mama.”
“Sweetheart, I can’t steal away a gift. I can only give you protection, for a time. Do you remember the words?”
The little girl nodded.
“Say them with me.” Mama’s warm hands fell away, and she dropped another blossom into the bag.
The little girl picked up the chant, closing her eyes and thinking as hard as she could about a time when she wouldn’t hear the eerie cries.
“One to silence darksome words.
Let only gladsome thoughts be heard.
Two to bring peace to this child’s mind,
Until her own strengths, she doth find.
Three to banish Wraith’s cruel rage.
Spirits harmless by thy wisdom sage.
Four to balance and turn the Wheel.
Rightful Change shall soothe and heal.
I call to thee, O dragon bright.
Lend us now your ancient might—”
Hands gripped Caitlin O’Connell’s shoulders and shook her. “Get up, dammit.”
The gruff voice was familiar. Felt right, hearing it in her bedroom—for all of two seconds. Then she pried open her eyes, wincing at the overhead light, and stared at Samuel Pierce.
Same taut expression, same hard body. Brown hair cut short, freshly shaved, and not a crease in his pale dress shirt or dark trousers. A silk tie ringed his strong neck. Strong lines bracketed his mouth, the corners turned down.
He didn’t seem particularly happy to be here. Which was sort of sad. Once upon a time, he’d sworn there was nowhere else he wanted to be more.
“How’d you get in?” she muttered. Was he aware his thumbs caressed her shoulders? She glanced down, then back up again.
Sam looked down at his hands, let go of her shoulders, and straightened. With his gaze still on hers, he raked a hand through his hair and sighed.
Now all six-foot-two inches of his sturdy frame loomed, bristling with ill-concealed impatience.
“Damn, Caitlyn, you still have a spare key on top of the door frame. I told you it wasn’t a good idea a long time ago. Anyone can let himself in.”
“Only person ever used it was you,” she grumbled, rubbing a hand over her eyes. “What time’s it?”
“Time to get your ass out of bed.”
“I don’t work on your schedule anymore.” She glanced at the clock on her nightstand and pulled on a scowl that would have had a lesser man backing up. “It’s eight-fucking-o’clock. Whatever it is can wait.”
“Sweetheart, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. Your choice.”
“Always preferred it hard,” she purred, but the sound was a little too raspy for sexy.
“Cut the crap, Cait.” His gaze lifted to the ceiling and his jaw tightened, a muscle flexing along the hard line.
When his eyes locked on her again, for just a moment, something warm but haunted shone in the blue depths.
She stared back, wishing he still loved her. But hey, wishes were like elbows, everybody had ’em. Cait hoped she hadn’t drooled, but knew she had bed-head, and dark mascara likely rimmed her lower lids. Just great. First time she’d seen Sam alone in months and he had the advantage.
“How much did you have to drink last night?” he asked quietly.
“What do you care?” she said thickly, hiding her face with her arm. “Enough. Slept good.” A faint staticky whisper sounded inside her head, and her hand shot out for the glass on her nightstand.
The glass slid out of her fingers before she had a chance to grab tight. “No way, babe. I need you sober.”
Now she was pissed. Her head began to pound. She came up on her elbows. “I’m not your partner anymore. Not a cop. And I don’t get out of bed before noon.”
With a quick move, he peeled away the sheet covering her.
“Agh.” She fell back to free an arm to stop him, not sure what he’d see, but hoping that at least her underwear was clean.
But he was fast, and the room spun.
She opened her mouth to deliver another complaint when she was yanked upright by a grip on her upper arm. “Sam, what the hell do you—”
A grunt sounded as he pulled her over his shoulder and stomped toward the bathroom.
Upside down, her stomach lurched. “Stop moving. I’m gonna throw up.”
He came to a halt at her shower, rustled the curtain, and turned on the faucets. Then he dumped her on the tiled floor under a spray of cold water.
The water made her jump. She sputtered, cursing, and pushed back her hair to scowl up at him. “Why are you doing this?”
“Get washed up.” Sam’s lips twisted in disgust. “You’re coming downtown with me.”
Sitting in the bottom of the stall, she firmed her lips, ready to tell him to go to hell.
His stark, angry expression halted her.
“I need you.”
Just those three words were all it took. She sighed, put her face into the water, and let it sluice over her before gathering her armor around her and giving him a glare. “Do you mind?”
A look came over his face, but before she had a chance to put a name to it, he turned away and stalked back to the bedroom. The sounds of drawers slamming told her he wasn’t letting her off.
“What’s this about?” she shouted, beginning to shiver. With a jerk, she pulled her sodden t-shirt over her head and tossed it outside the stall. Her underwear followed, and she slid up the tiled wall to turn on the hot water.
“Just hurry it up. I don’t have all day to wait on you to get your head straight.”
Cait turned her face into the spray again, closing her eyes as the water warmed, and she swayed. Her legs stiffened, catching her before she slid to the floor again. If she passed out now, he’d just shove her into her clothes wet.
She’d seen him this mad a time or two. Quiet fury made his movements jerk. His face became a tight, scary mask. She loved that look… when it wasn’t directed at her.
Must be something big for him to be in such a foul mood, but what did he want with her? The way he acted, she wondered why he hadn’t slapped on cuffs. He treated her the same way he did scumbag suspects.
Still, he hadn’t Mirandized her. Maybe he just needed her expert opinion, which set her stomach roiling even more. The only area of police work where she’d had a specialized skill set was the “full moon” cases.
Trying to remedy the dehydration that would keep her head muzzy for hours, she opened her mouth and drank down the warm water. She’d really needed that gulp of scotch before she got out of bed, but she didn’t think he’d buy that she needed it to think.
The curtain flew back. Sam reached in, turned off the faucets, and tossed her a towel, his frowning gaze sweeping her body only briefly. “Five minutes. Your clothes are on the bed. I’ll be in the car. Don’t make me come back in here.”
She watched the stiff set of his shoulders and wondered if seeing her naked again after all this time had bothered him. Seeing him fully clothed set all her dormant hormones firing, even if they were swimming in alcohol.
Cait sighed and blotted her body with the towel. If he’d been even the least bit nicer, she might have asked him to join her for old times’ sake. However, she guessed they both needed to hold on tight to their anger or they’d never get through the day.
Anger was the deepest emotion either one of them could risk. Anything else would hurt too damn much.
Get your copy of Shattered Souls here: http://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Souls-Caitlyn-OConnell-ebook/dp/B009EWCLK2/ref=tmm_kin_title_0
Connect with Delilah. Here’s where you can find her:
Monday, March 25th, 2013
Join me in welcoming John J. Zelenski to Highlighted Author.
John J. Zelenski is an award winning author of the Supernatural Thriller, Walkers Vale. It has been received favorably thus far in print and on radio and television, including ION TV’s Northeast Current – The Christian Author Show – The Paranormal Christian Radio Show, PRT Paranormal Talk Radio Show, and The Artist First World Radio Network. Walker’s Vale has also been featured and highlighted in HM Magazine, The Midwest Book Review, The Sunday Times, and The Weekender. Most recently, he has been selected as one of the “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” by The Authors Show.
John resides in beautiful northestern PA with his wife and two children.
Welcome, John, please tell us a little more about yourself and your featured book.
Hello, my name is John J. Zelenski and my debut novel is Walker’s Vale. My book is a Christian-based supernatural, paranormal thriller that was in part inspired by some of my own supernatural events I experienced as a child when my family and I moved into our then new home.
I’ve been writing on and off actually since high school (was that really 1990?) but only began to focus on something more than a hobby within the past five years. I’ve always enjoyed books and found that writing, as for presumably all authors, is an escape to another dimension where the subconscious has room to play in an uninhibited environment.
I’ve always enjoyed “scary” movies, and suspense/ mystery types as well, so it was only natural my first novel would be in this type of genre. Being a Christian and trying to merge faith and horror has had its challenges, however, I believe that faith-based horror/mystery/suspense is a genre which is really in need of someone to bring it to the forefront for readers to not only be entertained, but also to be challenged in their thinking. Could this be me? I sincerely hope so!
Walker’s Vale on the surface is essentially about a man coming to terms with his faith or lack thereof, and the struggles associated with raising a handicapped child. But far deeper, there is a story of hope for all of us who need to ask “why” to the difficult questions which seemingly have no answer. For those who have read Walker’s Vale and believed the story to be over, they should be happy to know that a second book is planned to continue the saga. At the present however, another book tentatively titled The Third Chamber is on paper, uh- I mean glaring electronic screen, which is also in the supernatural genre, but this time delves into a love story…did I just say love story?
Listen in as AuthorsFirst Radio Network interviews John J. Zelenski
What they’re saying:
“”Walker’s Vale” is a riveting read that will keep the pages turning, very much recommended.”—Bethan, Midwest Book Review
“It’s not your everyday paranormal adventure, this one makes you have faith and you truly feel the emotions within the novel. Great Read, highly recommend this to families and lovers of the christian and paranormal genre’s.”—D.J. Kile, Amazon Review
James Cooper moved his family to Walker’s Vale, Pennsylvania, in search of the ideal life. What he got was just the opposite. As this small town’s eerie history is revealed and repeated, it’s clear the devil is in the details—and he’s waiting for the Cooper’s young daughter. When the FBI come knocking at his door, James quickly realizes that his ideal life may come with a steeper price than he thought. This story of faith, deception, and horror will captivate readers as one man fights for his family’s safety and embarks on a journey toward redemption in this suspenseful supernatural thriller.
The pungent smell of gasoline burned quickly through my nostrils and settled deep into my throat. Coughing to the point of vomiting, I desperately fought to keep myself above the fluid surrounding me. On all sides as far as I could see, icy golden liquid moved hypnotically in wavelike patterns that crashed fiercely with each roll. The devastating sound of each swell, louder than anything I could ever recall, pierced my ear drums as I felt warm liquid flow from each ear. Now, in utter and eerie silence I found myself alone in this demented sea of chaos.
As I, again, brought my head to the surface, I began to feel the waves calm, and the putrid smell was replaced with an aroma of what can be best described as a sugary mix of sweet bread and warm chocolate. The bitter coldness of the liquid also began to warm to room temperature, allowing me to float almost effortlessly in its midst. Still unable to hear, I watched as two large cylindrical pillars rose from the sea and ascended as far as I could see into the red vapor atmosphere above me. In the center between the columns rose a marble stairway that was shaped much like a cubed maze in pattern.
From the very top there shone a reddish metallic light that beckoned me to approach it. I couldn’t explain the overwhelming desire to reach the light; I only felt that somehow it was drawing me toward it. I lifted myself from the watery pit and began to climb this maze, one block at a time.
Higher and higher I ascended, until the yellow sea below became like a small puddle. As I neared what appeared to be the pinnacle, the light from above began to grow dimmer, and the environment shifted once again. A bitter cold wind blew from all directions at me, as if some force was trying to throw me from the staircase. Just as I was about to lose my grip, a small angelic being lowered its tiny hand toward me; I desperately grabbed on to avoid what would have been undoubtedly my death.
As the being pulled me to the surface where it stood, I could see that it was neither female nor male by appearance and was eight or ten-years-old. It had one of the most beautiful and otherworldly expressions I had ever seen. Its beautifully formed face sparkled with tiny beads of sunlight and its flowing bronze hair seemed to float effortlessly above the shoulders. I stood in its presence, awed by the majestic quality it radiated. As it glided around me, guided by its large powerful wings, the creature carefully examined me from top to bottom. It hovered behind me for what seemed like seconds, and without warning, the being made contact by gently touching my ears. A sudden rush of electricity flowed through me as I began to hear childish laughter from behind. As I turned to face my healer, the angelic entity began to transform before me into a distorted, hideous monstrosity. It laughed at me with an insane ferocity and lunged at me with pincher-like claws, obviously trying to tear me into shreds. Thick black smoke poured through the monster’s mammoth fangs, which reeked of poisonous, decaying elements.
I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Jesus, help me please!” in absolute desperation. At once, the creature lunged backward and began to twist its body into a serpent-like coil. It released a piercingly loud howl as if in extreme torment while it continued to writhe and convulse its body. With nowhere to go, I decided the only way to escape the beast was to jump off of the ledge. With the demon now disoriented, I leaped from the edge back into the red mist and fell swiftly through the haze, turning end over end.
As I began to accelerate rapidly toward the liquid bottom, I again was overcome with the intense smell of gasoline. I tried to reach out to grab either of the pillars, only to see them crumble into the sea below me. What was before a shimmering yellow ocean was now a black moving tide of insects and vermin. I could do nothing to stop myself as I fell directly into the cavernous pit.
Spiders, centipedes, and other forms of bugs crawled on and inside me until I could no longer breathe, and I started to sink further into their abyss. I continued to fall deeper while I gasped for some oxygen—helplessly covered in crawling blackness. Until…
Get your copy of Walker’s Vale at Amazon:
Want to connect with John? Here’s where you can find him:
Monday, March 11th, 2013
Join me in welcoming Michael Hebler to Highlighted Author
Michael Hebler is a native of Orange County, California where he still resides. After receiving his degree in theatre arts, Michael began working in film publicity, which he continues to share with his writing career. To date, Hebler’s previous published credits include, “The Night After Christmas,” a timeless holiday picture book for believers of any age, and the free Chupacabra Series short story, “Hunt for the Chupacabra.”
In addition to authoring his novels and children’s books, Hebler also writes his blog, “My Little Obsessions,” where he likes to muse about what distractions life has to offer.
A Book and a Chat with Michael Hebler
Night of the Chupacabra
What they’re saying:
“The story is so action packed and heartfelt, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this story.”—Diana Ramsey, Offbeat Vagabond Book Blog
“Michael Hebler has definitely stumbled onto a cast of characters and a villain so exceptional that this is a remarkable and fun/horror novel.”—Heather Boustead, Reflections of a Bookworm
“I loved the twists, especially the revelation on the legend of the first chupacabra, that I believe wouldn’t bore readers.”—Jenai Kaori, Bookingly Yours Book Reviews
Night of the Chupacabra
A scarred man – on the inside and out – searches desperately for his missing family while the creature that separated them is never far behind.
There is a creature that lurks in the vast open deserts of the west. It can only survive on blood and, although it prefers to prey on the weak and young, it will slaughter anyone or anything, once provoked. It is unnatural, deceptive, and difficult to kill. Word about the existence of this elusive beast has not spread since anyone who has crossed paths with it did not live long enough to tell of their account.
Get your copy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Chupacabra-The-Series-ebook/dp/B009QMZ8XM/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_2
Want more Michael? Here’s where you can find him:
Monday, January 28th, 2013
Join me in welcoming Diane Lefer to Highlighted
Diane Lefer is an author, playwright, and activist, a native New Yorker transplanted to LA. In addition to Nobody Wakes Up Pretty, her recent books include The Blessing Next to the Wound, nonfiction co-authored with Colombian exile Hector Aristizábal and recommended by Amnesty International as a book to read during Banned Books Week; and the short-story collection, California Transit, awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize.
Her works for the stage have been produced in LA, NYC, Chicago, Houston, and other US cities and include Nightwind, also in collaboration with Aristizábal, which has been performed all over the world including for human rights organizations in Afghanistan and Colombia. Diane has led arts-and-games-based writing workshops to boost literacy skills and promote social justice in the US and, in Spanish, in South America. Many years ago, she wrote for Violent World, a short-lived magazine edited by a former CIA agent. She is now a peaceful person and contributing writer to LA Progressive, New Clear Vision, and Numéro Cinq.
Welcome, Diane. Please tell us about yourself.
In the aftermath of the devastation caused by Sandy, so many New Yorkers found their homes and neighborhoods devastated, changed most likely forever. My own experience of losing my NYC community seems so small, worth only a whimper. But the reality is, I’m a native New Yorker and though I loved to travel, I never really expected to leave home.
The neighborhood where I lived for many years was my model of what a community can be. We were people of every race and ethnicity and socioeconomic status. In the same apartment building, you’d find a famous actor and a garment factory worker, a high school teacher, a prostitute, a social worker, a jazz musician, and—not to make it sound too much like Utopia, yes, I also crossed paths more often than would be considered healthy with figures from the world of organized crime. But we all knew each other and got along. The languages you heard most often on the street? English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Ukrainian, and Serbo-Croatian. The kids would be throwing Frisbees and footballs and the grownups would sit on the stoops with cans of soda and beer, talking and keeping an eye on the kids. I remember how we all chipped in to plant trees, and also to charter a fishing boat off Sheepshead Bay. Anyone who could afford to chipped in a little extra so that the kids on welfare could come along. We caught enough bluefish to feed the entire block and when we returned, the neighbors who’d stayed behind had made salads and baked cakes. We threw a big fish fry behind the one of the buildings and everyone was invited.
Then, as the neighborhood gentrified, longtime tenants were forced out. Everything changed. Suddenly, the black teenagers who’d lived on the block all their lives were being stopped and questioned by the new residents who either challenged them—”What are you doing here?” or startled them by asking for cocaine.
I ended up in Los Angeles—where crime tends to be disorganized. And I guess my nostalgia for the community we once had and my hurt at its loss helped fuel the writing of Nobody Wakes Up Pretty. The mystery genre gave me a form that allowed me to incorporate some of my feelings into a story that would entertain rather than preach or complain.
Los Angeles has been home now for 16 years. When I left NYC, I realized I was an urban girl at heart. I needed a big city and LA seemed like the one place in the US where coming from New York didn’t carry a stigma. I arrived here feeling like an exile and soon grew to love it. I didn’t come out here to pursue a career in film or TV or music. I just wanted to be able to afford rent while continuing to write which is exactly what I did. My short story collection, California Transit, received the Mary McCarthy Prize and was published by Sarabande Books. I have two novels in the publishing pipeline—and please take heart, writers out there: one of these manuscripts found a home after making the rounds of publishers since 1978.
No fame and fortune but here in California I’ve found many opportunities closer to my heart, serving as a Spanish-English interpreter for immigrants held in detention centers; collaborating with exiled Colombian theatre artist Hector Aristizábal. Besides the play we created, Nightwind, which has toured the US and the world including performances for human rights organization in Afghanistan, and our nonfiction book, The Blessing Next to the Wound, I’ve learned so much from Hector. Inspired by him, I developed arts-based writing workshops for kids in the LA County foster-care system who’d been diagnosed with severe psychological problems, and then was able to take the program to young people in Colombia and Bolivia.
Los Angeles also gave me the chance to live out my Jane Goodall fantasies by working with the research department of the LA Zoo. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the very existence of zoos, but I do have to tell you that by “research,” we don’t mean anything invasive or hurtful to the animals. It’s all behavioral observation aimed at seeing that the animals live the best lives possible. My first big project was the breeding program for the endangered drill baboon. Unfortunately, the young male was more, uh, interested in me than in the female baboons we hoped he’d mate with. Which may explain how an X-rated scene with a monkey found its way into my novel.
Whatever else I do, I am always always always writing.
Nobody Wakes Up Pretty
New York City, 1992. There goes the neighborhood
For Holly, it’s the summer when the city she’s lived in all her life changes past recognition. And the funerals are about to begin.
“Let’s get this out of the way,” she says. “I’m a white woman who likes black men.” That includes her lover Samps. Once a young artist of promise, he’s now homeless, living in a Harlem squat, and maybe, Holly fears, clinically insane. But that doesn’t explain why she’s caught up in a web that connects Jewish, Italian, and black organized crime. Or what any of this has to do with the midtown law firm where she temps, a missing Haitian girl, and a world-famous Japanese monkey. Her friends are getting shot. She and Samps can try to save themselves—or do what they can to stop the killing.
If for some reason the video doesn’t play, you can find it here:
What they’re saying:
“A sexy, funny, tender-hearted puzzler about a young woman sifting the ashes of America’s endless class warfare.”—Domenic Stansberry, Edgar Award Winner and author of Naked Moon
Nobody Wakes Up Pretty
“I don’t do funerals,” said Samps.
We were in Ti-Jean’s for dinner. Whenever Samps was flush, he stocked up on herb and took me out to eat. I thought the money would be better spent on a pager, or a phone service, anything so that I could reach him when I needed him.
“You didn’t need me,” he said. “Wanted me, maybe.”
“Samps.” My voice sounded whiny. I hated the way being with Samps often brought out the worst in me. “No funerals? What kinda African American are you?”
He said, “If you called me, I still wouldn’t have gone.”
“But at least—”
“Black man carrying a pager. You want me to be arrested, huh?” he asked. “You want me to be police-brutalized?”
No doubt Samps was paranoid, but no doubt that for a black male to be paranoid in these United States was the best way to ensure survival, so though I thought he was nuts, I still let him call the shots. Where to eat, for example. We couldn’t go to white-owned places ‘cause of how they’d react to him being with me. We couldn’t patronize black-owned establishments for the same reason. We always went to Chinese restaurants ‘cause he figured the Chinese, being superior to both black and white, wouldn’t give a shit. The only reason we’d started hanging out at Ti-Jean’s was that my neighbor Claude had recommended this great little ‘Aitian place, and due to his Creole accent, Samps had thought the place was Asian.
The first time we walked in, Samps wanted to turn and walk right out, but we stayed, and of course he and Ti-Jean became fast friends, though Samps still always took a seat with his back to the wall.
“I live mysteriously,” Samps said. “The less you know, the better. If you’re questioned, you won’t be able to give anything away.”
“And I don’t think there is anything to give away,” I said. “You talk like you’re in the Mafia. Junie was connected, and he wasn’t as secretive as you are.”
“And Junie’s dead,” Samps said.
You could never argue with his logic.
So. Ti-Jean was waiting for our order. Samps took out his slide rule. No one in the world still used a slide rule but Samps had a way of coming up with things, like my blue dress, or the pornographic Polaroids he’d found in someone’s abandoned squat along with a dog collar and some empty crack vials. The pictures sold so briskly, he was already out of stock, and that’s how come he was moving slow—a sufficiency of herb, and how come he was treating.
Samps abided by a spiritual practice of his own devising, part of which required that he follow a complex set of dietary rules. He consulted the slide rule to determine which days were meatless, or fleshless, as he preferred to say.
“Why couldn’t you figure this out before we came in?” I asked. “You’re keeping Ti-Jean waiting.”
Ti-Jean didn’t mind. In his country, intellectuals were taken so seriously they were killed, and so in his view, Samps merited respect. He also respected Samps’s age, the silver showing in his hair. In America, Ti-Jean understood, artists and intellectuals are despised. Samps was both—and black—a triple whammy. While Americans couldn’t understand how someone of Samps’s abilities could end up living in the street, Ti-Jean didn’t find this at all surprising.
Samps concluded his calculations. “Fish,” he said.
“Make that two fish,” I said.
Samps handed over two fives, Ti-Jean whistled, and his son came running out of the kitchen. He handed the boy one of the bills and spoke in Creole. We watched out the window as the kid ran across the street. I could actually see through the storefront window to where Wally at the fish store was wrapping the fillets in white paper. He waved at me.
Still Ti-Jean waited. “Will you drink with me?” he said at last.
“Avec plaisir.” Samps took his survival kit, an old green book bag containing soap, toothbrush, razor, everything, he said, you’d need to have with you if you landed unexpectedly in jail, off the extra chair and motioned Ti-Jean to sit.
Ti-Jean’s wife must have been watching from the kitchen because she immediately appeared with a tray holding three glasses and a bottle of rum. Then her son ran in and they disappeared back into the kitchen with the fish. Soon we smelled onions frying.
“I have many questions,” said Ti-Jean. He didn’t ask any.
Now I have a history of finishing people’s sentences and jumping in with unsolicited advice, but since I’d been with Samps, I’d learned to hold my tongue or, as he put it, “sit under the table.” Just listen, be there. Don’t call attention to yourself. Make yourself a quiet part of the environment until specifically invited to join in. Fighting my own nature, I waited for Ti-Jean to make up his mind to continue.
“My daughter,” he said at last, “is not my daughter.”
“I didn’t know you had a daughter,” I said, forgetting to keep my mouth shut.
“I don’t,” he said. “She is the daughter of my good good friend. My good good friend he has died, and so she is my daughter now, you see?”
Made sense so far.
“But look? Where is she? You do not see her here, huh? This is a girl, she has fifteen years. And where is she? So what I want to know, does the government send a lawyer?”
“You mean like to investigate a missing person?” I asked.
“No, no,” he said. “To the juvenile hall.”
Samps and I waited again, this time because we really didn’t know what he was talking about.
“Yes, yes,” Ti-Jean said. “Yesterday the INScome. They say, Where is Marie-Ange? Well, I would like to know that, too, no? They say they arrest her and they going to deport her back to Haiti. Back to Haiti? I think that’s where she is. When I try to bring her here last year, they say no, because she is not my daughter. Now they say she is in this hall with very bad children, and a white lawyer come and pay money to get her out so she can sleep with her family till she see the judge. So they come looking for her here because I am the family. This I do not understand. They say I cannot give her papers because I am not the family but now they say I am. Does the government send the lawyer?” he continued. “He say her family sends him. But I don’t. I have not the money to pay this white lawyer. I never hear of this white lawyer. So who sends him? And where is Marie-Ange?”
Ti-Jean’s wife brought out the fish, but we didn’t feel like eating.
Samps said the story was very sad but all too common, lawyers being liars and crooks, and the system created to hold black folks down and he could attest to it from the brief time he spent in law school. I knew a little bit about INS. The firm I worked for handled some immigration cases—certainly not for poor Haitians, basically for international corporate types and the occasional royal, but even I realized I’d need to know a lot more before I offered an opinion.
I couldn’t help thinking that what Ti-Jean had told us sounded very bad. I felt sick to my stomach for even looking at those Polaroids. Someone like Marie-Ange, she could end up like that. There was no telling whose hands she’d fallen into. But I didn’t want to say that to Ti-Jean. So I stayed under the table and said nothing.
Get your copy of Nobody Wakes Up Pretty here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=stripbooks&field-keywords=Diane+Lefer
Want more Diane? Here’s where you can find fer:
Monday, January 21st, 2013
Join me in welcoming Pamela King Cable to Highlighted Author.
Sometimes, with the submission process and wait we have here at Highlighted Author, it’s difficult to schedule features to coincide with the excitement that surrounds a new release. We miss the opportunity to be part of a Blast or Tour that announces a fantastic book to the world. But, hosting Highlighted Author has given me the opportunity to meet some truly amazing people.
Well, this week I get to share with you both. I’m delighted to have Pamela King Cable here as part of the Televenge Blog Tour. Her tour stops are listed below the feature, so be sure to check them out and support her along the way.
Welcome, Pamela. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born a coal miner’s granddaughter, raised by a tribe of wild Pentecostals and storytellers, and lived to write about it. Religion and spirituality with mystical twists unearthed from my family’s history is who I am as a writer. It is my passion. I studied creative writing at The University of Akron and Kent State University but my best education came from mentors and writers in the trenches. When I’m not writing, I speak to book clubs, women’s groups, national and local civic organizations, and at writing conferences and churches across the country. More than a decade in the writing, Televenge is my debut novel. Living on a farm in Ohio with my husband, Michael, I can be found in my pajamas under a mountain of research, hard at work on the next book.
How long have you been writing?
The inspiration to write on a full-time basis didn’t begin in the 6th grade when I wrote that first story, or during my turbulent years as a young adult writing in my journal and pounding out short stories on an old IBM typewriter. It began one day in 2002, when the man I was about to marry looked up from a manuscript I’d written and said, “This is a great story. Let’s find a way for you to do this full-time.”
What inspired your latest book?
Inspired by my spirituality and my own story, I wrote Televenge after surviving life’s heartaches and hardships. My mother says I cut my teeth on the back of a church pew. I grew up first as a Baptist and then as a Pentecostal—a fundamentalist, attending revivals in tents, tabernacles, and clapboard churches. Eventually, I became an evangelical, joining a church where I experienced a world that encompassed both the sublime and the bizarre. For twenty-five years, I was a member of a megachurch operated by a TV evangelist. As part of its inner circle, I was married to a ministry team member who traveled with this televangelist, holding mammoth faith-healing crusades all over the world. Under much distress, I left the church losing everything in the wake of my rebellion, including my husband in a bitter divorce.
I began to study televangelism markets more closely and the devastating effects of some megachurches, interviewing more than a hundred people who broke away for many of the same reasons that I did. Some I knew personally, some I didn’t, but a similar thread ran through our lives. We got sick of gulping the dogma, and when we broke free we suffered unbearable losses. We were in a tug of war with the pastor for our loved one who felt if they left the church, they were bound for Hell. Many families were split apart because we had become “an apostate.” Those who left also endured horrific personal trauma and ruin, feeling void of hope, of help, and of God. And of course my own experience, living in the world of an evangelical cult and breaking out of it, gave me plenty to write about.
What do you hope readers will learn from/enjoy about your book?
The truth behind the high-stake events in Televenge. It underscores the extremes to which some spiritual leaders will go for money, power, and fame, and the horrors many suffer to be free of religious legalism. Nothing before Televenge has told a tale about evangelicals like this one. Televenge is a powerful story of faith and unconditional love, as well as a vivid portrayal of heartbreaking loss and incredible courage, transporting you into my world of the sublime and the bizarre.
What they’re saying:
Televenge is “ … an emotional rollercoaster that ends as intensely as it begins . . . those who commit to Cable’s tome will find themselves captivated and deeply devoted to Andie. Fans of Fannie Flagg and Janet Evanovich will be hooked on this saga of religion, romance, and crime.”—Library Journal Editor’s Pick BookExpo America 2012 Shannon Marie Robinson, Library Journal
“Cable’s unflinching fictional exposé of the dark side of televangelism has a human victim in the person of Andie Oliver. … Cable, a former member of a megachurch, places Andie’s desperate struggle against the oppression of (Reverend) Artury’s church, its brutal inner circle, murderous practices, financial fraud, and (husband) Joe’s abuse. This powerful story, skillfully written and with well-drawn characters, reveals the classic entrapment of vulnerable people in the name of a vengeful god …”—Publishers Weekly
“A captivating, beautifully rendered, unforgettable look at a world so few of us understand. Ms. Cable has courageously opened the door…and my eyes.”—Lesley Kagen, NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of Good Graces
“Pamela King Cable’s debut novel breathes good and evil, frost and fire. You can finish it, but it won’t let you go.”—Jacquelyn Mitchard, NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of The Deep End of theOcean
Interview with Vipp Jaswal, Fox Radio News in New York City.
Andie Oliver is a faithful woman—to God, to husband Joe, and to televangelist Calvin Artury, a Godfather in a Mafia of holy men. Joe works limitless hours on the megachurch ministry team, falling deeper into debauchery, while Andie attempts to free him from the Reverend’s control and far-reaching influence. Uncovering long-hidden truths—even murder—she loses everything, including her children. Andie fights for redemption for her family and herself, confronting the very definition of sin, and shaking the Christian evangelical world to its core. Evading ruthless adversaries who will go to any lengths to protect Reverend Artury, Andie battles the dark side of televangelism.
Would you share an excerpt with us?
You can also hear her read the first scene of Televenge here:
Where can we buy your book?
Barnes and Noble
Any place that sells good books can order Televenge for you if it’s not on the shelf.
What’s coming up next?
After publishing Televenge in October 2012, the book I’ve just completed is called:
Neeley McPherson accidentally killed her parents on her fifth birthday. Thrown into the care of her scheming and alcoholic grandfather, she is raised by his elderly farmhand, Gideon, a black man, whom she grows to love. Neeley turns thirteen during the winter of 1959, and when Gideon is accused of stealing a watch and using a Whites Only restroom, she determines to break him out of jail.
The infamous Catfish Cole, Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon of the Carolinas, pursues Neeley and Gideon in their courageous escape to the frozen Blue Ridge Mountains. After Gideon’s truck hits ice and careens down a steep slope, they travel on foot through a blizzard, and arrive at a farm of sorts—a wolf sanctuary where Neeley crosses the bridge between the real and the supernatural. It is here she discovers her grandfather’s deception, confronts the Klan, and uncovers the shocking secrets of the Cherokee family who befriends her. Giving sanctuary, the healing power of second chances, and overcoming prejudice entwine, leading Neeley to tragedy once again but also granting her the desire of her heart.
The Sanctum is a coming-of-age Southern tale dusted with a bit of magic, and set in a volatile time in America when the winds of change begin to blow.
Thank you for being with us this week, Pamela. Best of luck to you and Televenge.
What more Pamela? Here’s where you can connect with her:
Web site: http://www.pamelakingcable.com
Facebook Book page: https://www.facebook.com/southernfriedwomen
Below is a list of this month’s stops for the Televenge Blog Tour. You can find the entire list on her website at http://www.pamelakingcable.com/events.html.
I am a reader, not a writer
The Written World
Sara’s Organized Chaos
Reviews by Molly
West Metro Mommy
Monday, December 24th, 2012
Join me in welcoming Mary L. Ball to Highlighted Author.
Mary L. Ball is an author of inspirational fiction and she’s with us today to share her latest release Escape to Big Fork Lake.
I live in North Carolina, between the glorious mountains and the wonderful beaches. That provides me the opportunity to be at either location in little more than three hours. When I’m not writing I enjoy reading and the outdoors (fishing and hiking). Singing gospel music with my husband is something I also like doing.
I delight in writing Inspirational fiction, mostly romantic suspense or mystery. My faith is what encourages me to write about situations everyone can face and the joys of overcoming those trials. We all encounter the same problems no matter who we are. I also write a weekly column on Examiner.com centered on my faith in Jesus Christ. That links is http://www.examiner.com/christian-living-in-greensboro/mary-lou-ball
I just got finished submitting my latest manuscript, The Ring of Fate, to my publisher and await the news of its fate. My soon to be work in progress will be titled Redemption in Big Fork Lake. I have had lots of ladies ask me about the character “Rob” in Escape to Big Fork Lake, and they want to know what happened to him and where did he go when he left Atlanta? That is to be revealed soon.
Listen in as The Writer’s Lounge interviews Mary
What they’re saying:
“Escape to Big Fork Lake by Mary L. Ball is an entertaining Christian suspense-filled romance. The relationship between Noah and Sam is well done. They loved and desired each other but held strong to their Christian morals. I wasn’t sure who did the heinous crime until toward the end of the book. There were clues thrown in and red herrings. Escape To Big Fork Lake is a fast, easy read and a great cozy mystery.”—Anne B- for Readers Favorite.com, August 16, 2012
“Escape to Big Fork Lake was a very enjoyable romantic suspense. I liked getting to know the characters and the little town of Big Fork Lake. It was interesting learning a little about running an Inn. I wouldn’t classify this as an edge-of-your-seat type story but it did have a few twists and turns along the way that were a bit of a surprise. That’s always a plus when you can’t figure it all out until the end. There was an underlying message about trusting God and keeping the faith no matter what, as well as a message about remaining morally pure before marriage, which I was delighted to see. It was a good reminder that whatever your failures might be, God meets you where you are. If you’re looking for a little R & R with splash of suspense, you may want to take a trip to Big Fork Lake.”—Sherry, Love2readnovels.com
“…threats a-plenty keep readers on their mental toes: a mysterious murder, struggles to keep the inn financially viable, doubts about people’s motives and characters. In addition to romance and mayhem, Escape to Big Fork Mountain shows how faith can be a support in times of trouble. This theme underlies the plot like a strong bedrock for life. The novel is a satisfying blend of entertainment and integrity, as Sam discovers herself and uncovers valuable relationships, one romantic, others personal.”—Bonnie Mccune
“Sam is in for a life change when she is down on her luck she gets the break she needs. This inspiration romance that is filled with mystery and suspense had me hooked till the last word was read. I truly felt this story was well thought out and had a message of God’s love for each and every one of his children. It was nice to watch Sam and Noah relationship grow. Noah learning to trust and Sam having someone love her no matter what. I also liked watching Sam come to know Jesus. Ms. Ball did an awesome with putting in some of the unexpected to this story. A great story that will leave you happy!”—Tifferz
Escape to Big Fork Lake
Will an inheritance bring new happiness or a trap for murder?
Bad luck seems to follow Sam Blacker. She loses her job and faces daily struggles keeping her drunken neighbor away from her. When an unexpected inheritance gives her a chance for a new beginning, Sam, a city girl at heart, is hesitant. However, after a brutal attack she has no choice.
Making a decision that will forever change her life she flees to the small fishing town of Big Fork Lake, Alabama and soon finds herself in the arms of Noah Frye. A tumultuous relationship with Noah sparks buried desires of the heart, even if he is a Christian, surely, she can get around that little problem.
As Sam and Noah’s passion grows trouble lurks in the shadows, waiting and watching. Inescapable, Sam’s bad luck returns when she stumbles upon a murder and becomes the only suspect. Will she have to run again, this time to stay out of prison? Worse, will she lose the best man she’s ever found? And what about the newfound hunger in heart to know God—can she truly trust in Him?
Sam’s eyes popped open. She heaved a rapid breath.
A rough, sweaty hand rubbed her head. Hungry fingers clumsily caressed her hair and brushed against her cheek.
The air filled with an odd stench and assaulted her nose. Sam’s stomach churned. She swallowed back the nausea that stirred from the pungent reek of liquor.
With a quick breath, she squelched the panic that bolted through her like lightening and concentrated on the eerie shadow that lurked above her head.
The light from a moonbeam shined across the room and created a spotlight on the staggering silhouette.
Immediately, she recognized Rob.
She jerked her body up in an instant.
Quickly, her head hit the couch hard as her body slammed down tight with the cushions. Rob lashed out and grabbed the front of her blouse. The gold-colored shiny circles popped off as the cotton material ripped.
Sam clawed his face, managing to pull away and scramble to her feet.
She forged the strength from somewhere deep within and gave him a quick shove. His body fell backward.
Her heart leapt as she raced toward the simmering glow coming from the nightlight in the hallway. Rob dashed after her like a dog snapping at her heels.
As Sam approached her front door, her peripheral vision glimpsed the statue made of metal perched on the shelf over her coat rack. She knew the little figurine wouldn’t offer much defense because it was small and hollow, but what other choice did she have?
Quickly, she snatched up the horse. She whacked Rob, hitting him hard, then another time, until he staggered and fell.
Sam ran as fast as she could and left Rob lying on the hallway floor. A moan escaped his lips as a trickle of blood oozed from his head.
She scurried down the steps as remorse hit her. Of all the stupid things she could’ve done! Why had she forgotten to lock her door?
Sam dashed down the sidewalk. She was aware, vaguely, of the passing city blocks.
The sting of the air in her eyes, on her cheeks, slowly revealed the brutal chill. The February night embraced her entire body. Her skin tingled as the wintry air swirled inside her torn garment.
With shivering hands, Sam grabbed the fabric and held tight. She blinked and fought against tears as they trickled down her cheek. This was no time to cry—she needed to stay strong.
Blurred with emotion, she was grateful for living in the city. The streetlights shined on the sidewalk and gave her a clear path in the night.
After a few blocks, she slowed down to a jog, finally able to stop running. Sam’s heart beat in rapid succession as she leaned against a building and heaved, barely aware of the frosty concrete pressed against her back.
Sam concentrated on inhaling slow breaths in and out, until her lungs felt normal again. She slid down the rough surface and landed flat on the icy sidewalk. Crouched down, Sam held her ribs as they throbbed.
Rubbing her cheeks, she swiped away the moisture that flowed over her face.
No, she wouldn’t give in to despair. Now she could go back to the police and get help. Maybe, with a court order, she could keep Rob away. She could concentrate on getting her life back on the right track.
Sam sat there in the dismal hour of darkness and focused on calming her shaky nerves. Her emotions drained her. Hunkered down on the sidewalk mindlessly, Sam watched the nightlife across the street.
After what seemed like hours, pins and needles pricked her frigid, stiff body. She clutched at her torn top and shivered once more. How could she have nowhere to go? How did she manage to lose connections to all her friends? They had all married or moved away. Totally alone, she knew there was no other choice but to return home.
Get your copy of Escape to Big Fork Lake here:
Publisher’s website http://www.prismbookgroup.com/escapetobigforklake.html
Want more Mary? Here’s where you can find her:
Author site: http://MaryLouwrites.weebly.com
Monday, September 3rd, 2012
Join me in welcoming Mitzi Szereto to Highlighted Author.
Mitzi Szereto is an author and anthology editor of multi-genre fiction and nonfiction. She has her own blog, Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog (mitziszereto.com/blog) and a Web TV channel, Mitzi TV (mitziszereto.com/tv), which covers “quirky” London.
Her books include the Jane Austen parody Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire, Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance, In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales, Getting Even: Revenge Stories, Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers, Dying For It: Tales of Sex and Death, the Erotic Travel Tales anthologies, and many other titles.
A popular social media personality and frequent interviewee, she has pioneered erotic writing workshops in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe and lectured in creative writing at several British universities. Her anthology Erotic Travel Tales 2 is the first anthology of erotica to feature a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She divides her time between England and the United States.
And for this spotlight, we can’t forget Teddy Tedaloo. Teddy is a celebrity teddy bear, trendsetter, world traveller, and the production assistant extraordinaire/co-star of the web TV channel Mitzi TV. Widely popular in social media circles such as Facebook and Twitter, he’s known for his entertaining commentary as well as being an advocate for animal welfare. He lives (and goes) wherever Mitzi lives (and goes). Normal for Norfolk is his first novel.
Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) is the quirky new crime novel and the first in the fun new series from bestselling author Mitzi Szereto, co-authored with her celebrity sidekick bear, Teddy Tedaloo. If you’ve heard of the raunchy teddy bear from the current American hit film “Ted”, you’ll definitely want to meet Normal for Norfolk’s unlikely hero, Thelonious T. Bear, a Mini Cooper-driving teddy from ol’ Blighty!
Check out all her audio/video interviews at her Website!
Normal for Norfolk Book Trailer
What they’re saying:
“For anyone who’s ever wondered what Paddington at Large would have been like if it had been written by Raymond Chandler—and who hasn’t?—Mitzi Szereto has the answer. Like Philip Marlowe, Szereto’s Thelonious T. Bear is a modern knight errant who plays it cool even as the light of suspicion shines on him. And like Paddington, he’s short of stature and long on charm. If you like your sleuths tough, cynical and cute as a button, Normal for Norfolk is the book for you.”—Steve Hockensmith, author of Holmes on the Range
“Normal for Norfolk has it all: magic, gritty realism, humor, cultural commentary, intelligence, charm, and suspense. The hero of this novel, Thelonious T. Bear, finds himself at the heart of a mystery. He’s a photojournalist like no other, a pub-loving, anthropomorphized bear who wears cologne and a deerstalker hat. I am eager to read the next book in Mitzi Szereto’s series.”—Janice Eidus, author of The War of the Rosens and The Last Jewish Virgin
Normal for Norfolk
Pub landlords are being murdered in Norfolk!
Thelonious T. Bear, ursine photojournalist, leaves behind the big city life of London to take an assignment in the Norfolk countryside, where he hopes to find the real England. Instead he stumbles upon gastro-pubs, crazed Audi drivers and murder. As the hapless Thelonious keeps ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time, he attracts the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Horatio Sidebottom of Norfolk Constabulary CID, who’s determined to tie Thelonious to the crimes. Add in a pair of hoods from London’s East End, celebrity TV chef Paolo Louis Black, and plenty of oddball local characters and it all adds up to a madcap journey through England’s most quirky county, where everything is normal for Norfolk!
Get your own copy HERE.
Want more Mitzi and Teddy?
Monday, June 25th, 2012
Please join me in welcoming Barry S. Willdorf to Highlighted Author.
Barry attended Colby College, the University of Manchester, England, and Columbia Law School. He’s Global E-book award winner and an EPIC finalist in historical fiction for The Flight of the Sorceress (Wild Child Publishing).
Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that he was the first person to surf on Cape Ann. *grin*
Welcome, Barry. Please tell us about yourself.
Hello readers and blog-surfers. My name is Barry Willdorf and I write books. I have a new mystery/thriller, and if it is your genre maybe you’ll want to read further. I’m not a real great self-promoter but A Shot In The Arm is worth a look.
With your legal background and experiences, this book should be fascinating. What were some of your experiences during this time?
While at Columbia I joined Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and in 1967 was an organizer for “Vietnam Summer.” In 1970 and 1971, I worked full-time for a civil liberties organization defending anti-war Marines. During a forty-plus year career as a trial lawyer, I have successfully defended GIs in more than two dozen courts martial. I have made headline news recovering assets in a South African diamond mine swindle. I’ve gotten the third-highest (at the time) settlement for the wrongful death of a mother on welfare. In 2005, with my long-time colleague Laura Stevens, I was honored as Lawyer of the Year by the San Francisco AIDS Legal Referral Panel for ground-breaking trial work on behalf of AIDS patients.
Would you tell us about your featured book, A Shot In The Arm ?
When a pretty young addict is found dead in her bed from an overdose, her treatment counselor, a black militant, is charged with providing her with drugs for sex. Nate Lewis is paid to defend him but learns too late that his retainer was stolen from rogue government agents involved in dealing drugs to buy guns for anti-communist guerrillas.
The book is set in the midst of the Bay Area scene at the time. Drugs. Sex. Political ferment. Peruse the menu at the Trident Restaurant on the Sausalito waterfront (owned by recording artists, The Kingston Trio.) Slide seamlessly among the old, waterlogged houseboats that lined the shore. Mingle with Vietnam era soldiers and sailors, black militants and hippies. Score drugs on practically every street corner. Stroll the Fillmore district before it was gentrified. Witness a car chase over the dirt roads that once crisscrossed a section of San Francisco called Bernal Hill. Sneak into the City’s shipyards and foundries when they still bustled with activity. Spend time at the Hamilton Air Force Base officer’s club. Sip Java where longshoremen once prowled. Attend court at Frank Lloyd Wright’s leaky Marin County Civic Center.
A Shot In The Arm is the second part of my 1970s Trilogy. In them I have an overriding timely topic: class, race and family. I try not to be didactic or an iconoclast. But the issues do inform the plot. Plus, as a semi-retired trial lawyer used to speaking to captive audiences, who had more than a hundred trials under his belt, I convey accurate legal narratives in every story. I learned to snoop in funky places as a criminal investigator in NYC. I lay claim to being the first surfer on Cape Ann, MA, and have witnesses to prove it. I’ve baited hooks and swabbed vomit working on a charter fishing boat. I homesteaded in the Mendocino County mountains and sold the house I hand-built for a profit. There’s a whole lot more about me on my website.
What they’re saying:
“A Shot In The Arm delivers a dark murder plot with characters that are right on the money.”— Mark Rudd, author of Underground: My life in SDS and the Weathermen
“The legal details are sharp; the drinking and drugging and low life neighborhoods are Day-Glo vivid.”—Meredith Sue Willis, author of Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel
“A detective story with a sense of geography, a sense of morality, and a sense of humor.”—Frances Lefkowitz, author of To Have Not.
“Gripping. Exciting. Add ‘A Shot in the Arm’ to the classic tales of the City by the Bay.”—Hilton Obenzinger, author of Cannibal Eliot
A Shot in the Arm
Against Christina’s advice, Nate Lewis defends a black militant accused of homicide. But his fat cash retainer was stolen from government agents involved in a drugs-for-guns operation. Soon Nate is the last man standing as the agents attempt to recover the cash. Only Christina can save him. But she’s caught him philandering. Will she?
Would you share an excerpt with us?
A Shot in the Arm
I come from a family of rationalizers. My father manufactured a persona as the embattled husband of a shrew. By the time he slunk out our door for the last time, he had convinced himself he was the victim—an abused spouse. Five minutes later he strolled into the waiting arms of a Raquel Welch look-alike, only a few years older than my sister.
Meanwhile, my mother was doing some Olympic-class rationalizing of her own, to the tune of outright perjury on her divorce declaration of domestic expenses. She wanted to soak the bastard for all the spousal support she could get and so resorted to outlandish fantasies of her personal needs.
But that night, I took the Lewis family rationalizing grand prize. I could hear myself explaining it to the woman I had the nerve to call “the love of my life.” It went sort of like this— Honey, sweetie, I just had to fuck Sheila. How else could I be sure Mo and the DEA would believe we were all washed up? That was the only way I could be sure they’d leave you alone, baby—to keep you safe.
In ’73, the blood alcohol limit for drunk driving was .15. I was somewhere around a .20. Sheila, probably in self- defense, suggested we each take our own car. I took the drive slow and careful, taking the time to convince myself that when I was fucking Sheila I was doing if for Christina’s sake. Between the booze and my inherited rationalization gene, I was completely convinced by the time I got to Gate 5 that getting laid was the only way I could save Christina’s life. I got out of the car and crossed my fingers. If I was super- lucky, I’d never even have to use the explanation.
Get your copy here:
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Both A Shot In The Arm and part one, Burning Questions can also be purchased through Amazon. Part One is a KDP offering this month. You can also get A Shot In The Armat Barnes & Noble. Part three, The Fourth Conspirator, will be available this fall.
FOR WRITERS WHO ARE CREATING A TRIAL SCENE OR DELVING INTO SOME LEGAL ISSUES, I recommend taking a look at my e-book, SEE YOU IN COURT –THINGS LAWYERS KNOW THAT YOU SHOULD TOO. Get it right. Make it sound real. It’s available on Smashwords and Scribd for only a buck. It will be the best buck you ever spent.
Find Barry at his websites:
Monday, June 11th, 2012
Join me in welcoming Jerome Peterson to Highlighted Author.
Jerome Peterson was born in Rockford, Illinois, on May 16, 1957. He attended a Catholic grade school, Lincoln Junior High, and graduated from East Senior High in 1975. He started writing poetry while in high school. The day after graduation, Jerome traveled extensively throughout the western United States both by vehicle and by thumb. During this time, he learned to play guitar. Listening to music inspired him to write lyrics for songs and recorded ten original songs in a professional studio, but also has experience as a street musician. Jerome has worked a wide variety of jobs, ranging from newspaper carrier to pastor, and has lived across the US from Oregon to Mississippi.
In early 2000, Jerome wrote his first unpublished novel. Soon to follow were numerous poems and short stories. In 2007, Jerome started writing articles for local newspapers and newsletters such as The Union Democrat, The Sierra Mountain Times, Amador Community News, The Stanislaus Connection, and the Health Resource Guide. He has also had some of his poems published in the Rattlesnake Review, a publication out of Sacramento. He now has four books published, Thumb Flagging, The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai, The Mind Is Sorry The Body Suffers: Collected Poems And Drawings, and Leaving Family Behind.
He has been married since 1979, is the father of two, and grandfather to five. Jerome currently lives in Sonora, California, with his wife, Carolyn, and a dog named Mcgee.
Hello. My name is Jerome Peterson. I am 55 years old and have been married for 33 years to my wife, Carolyn. I am an author. I have seriously been writing fiction for 12 years. I write suspense and poetry. I have four books published; three are novels; one is poetry. My novels are adventure/suspense; paranormal/suspense; historical/suspense. Currently, I am writing my next novel which is a sequel to Leaving Family Behind.
What they’re saying:
“Leaving Family Behind by Jerome Peterson was a novel of astounding beauty and power, a moving saga about families, relationships, and the boundaries of love… Peterson’s narrative power sweeps you into a past rich and alive with people and culture. The many different nationalities of immigrants alone on the ship that the main characters encounter are vibrant and sustaining enough to stay with you long after the book is done.
In short, I highly recommend this book. Jerome Peterson has given us a refreshing new novel with beautiful writing that is unique and descriptive.”—Janine Williams
“Jerome Peterson stands out with one wonderful novel after another . . . he gives us heroes to root for, characters who stay with us long after we close the book, and ever and always, vivid prose alive on the page.”—Bill Manville, Columnist of the New York Daily News
“I was entranced . . . This is a great read and I highly recommend it.” Darya Crockett, Coastal Editing
Leaving Family Behind
From Lithuania to Philadelphia, Leaving Family Behind tells of two immigrants’ historical journey in the early 1900s. It is a story where Jonas and Evelina Violettskus will stop at nothing in pursuit of their individual dreams.
Evelina rebels when her older brother forces her to abandon her goal to be a pianist, so he can accomplish his own dream of purchasing farmland in America. Thus begins a bitter sibling rivalry that affects their epic odyssey of self-discovery.
Jonas expects Evelina to leave home and country behind, travel thousands of miles through Eastern Europe, and then cross the Atlantic Ocean with a smile on her face and gratefulness in her heart. When she doesn’t react this way, their feud begins. Dreams are important and can guide us in life. But when dreams clash, are they worth the risk of hurting loved ones and causing bitterness that could last forever?
Irena led Evelina into the packed drawing room. An immediate hush fell upon the elegantly dressed crowd. Many women wore feathered hats that fluffed as proud as peacocks. The men wore woolen suits, shiny shoes, and dangling gold chains that were attached to watches hidden in vest pockets. Evelina wore the white dress her teacher had previously bought her. She felt just as elegant. Marija nearly broke into tears when the wealthy group applauded because of her daughter. She could not help but think of how glad she was for standing up to Petras when Evelina first revealed her dream of being a pianist. A tear did escape down her cheek, as her girl bowed before the eager crowd.
Once Evelina touched the ivory keys, all anxiety left her. That unexplainable phenomenon of impulses between brain, soul, and fingers emerged on the scene, producing a paradox of soothing the raging beast and exciting the shy prude. The crowd was unable to distinguish between the young woman and instrument, for they were one.
Page 180 & 181
Steaming into the Upper Bay with less than a mile to go the captain of the Amerika laid on the ship’s horn. Its blast echoed throughout the bay on the New York side as well as the New Jersey side, frightening a flock of plump pigeons, yet alerting the multitudes of seagulls. A score of gulls picked up speed and brought attention by circling numerous times around the head of the Statue of Liberty. Many passengers witnessed this phenomenon, but it was Jeanne who was the first to holler out, “Look everybody; there is the Statue of Liberty!”
This fact brought a pandemonium of frenzy. To these people the statue was everything good and true with liberty and justice for all. The statue was lady liberty and a mother beyond all mothers. She was rich with comfort, strong with security, and a doorway to neverland for those who dared to follow their dream. People were fainting and falling here and there into the arms of one another and straight down to the deck. The rich men, however, made toasts in the restaurant and at the bar for a splendid voyage, while rich women commented to no one in particular by saying, “Oh, really.”
Get your copy of Leaving Family Behind at Amazon.
Want more Jerome? Here’s where you can find him:
Author site: www.jeromejohnpeterson.com