Monday, April 27, 2015

Excerpt from contemporary romantic comedy Perfect Fit by Lynda Simmons

We’re kicking off the week with a special excerpt from the new contemporary romantic comedy novel, Perfect Fit, by Lynda Simmons.

During her virtual book tour, Lynda will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

A little bit about the author:
Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two-story mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat – a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she’s not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she’s found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

A little bit about Perfect Fit:
Fast-paced, funny and incurably romantic

Rachel Banks has never believed in magic or moonlight, but if she’d thought that putting a piece of wedding cake under her pillow would conjure up a nightmare in the form of blue-eyed charmer Mark Robison, she’d have stuffed that cake into her mouth instead! Mark is only in Madeira Beach for some much needed R&R and his new neighbor is not the kind of woman made for vacation memories. But there’s something about the incurable romantic that just keeps drawing him back.

Jennifer Crusie. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Lynda Simmons? Oh, yeah!

Excerpt from Perfect Fit:
Amanda snapped on her gear and opened the front door. “That was chance. But this.” She picked up a couple of bags. “This is fate.”

Rachel stopped in the doorway. “Do you really believe that? Do you think it’s possible for two people to be destined for each other? Like soul mates.” She shook her head. “Forget it. Let’s go.”

Amanda blocked the way. “Who did you meet?”

“No one, and I’m late.”

Amanda planted her skates sideways. “You cannot do this. Not after I told you about the real estate broker.”

Rachel looked through the fringe of Amanda’s bangs into her frank green eyes and wondered if she should take a chance. “Let me ask you this. Have you ever heard of dreaming on a piece of wedding cake?”

“Sure, it’s an old custom. Like walking to church because it’s lucky and passing on a green wedding gown because it’s not. But most people serve the cake for dessert these days.”

Rachel tried a smile. “Not all.”

“Someone gave you cake to dream on?” Rachel nodded and it was Amanda’s turn to laugh. “Don’t tell me you did it.”

When Rachel didn’t answer, Amanda’s mouth dropped open and her voice rose. “You did, didn’t you?” She put the bags down. “Okay, I need details. Did you have a dream?”

It was on the tip of Rachel’s tongue to say no, to deny that anything out of the ordinary had occurred. But she found herself nodding and watched Amanda’s eyes grow even rounder.

“Did you see him? The man you’re supposed to marry?”

Rachel took comfort in the fact that her friend had been sucked into the fantasy as easily as she had and nodded a third time.

Amanda stepped closer. “Alright, this next part is really important. Where exactly did they get this cake?”


Friday, April 24, 2015

Book excerpt feature for action-adventure-romance novel Gideon by Cherry Adair

The spotlight is shining on the action adventure romance novel Gideon by Cherry Adair, today.

If the cover isn’t enough to pique your interest, Cherry will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance at the gift card, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

New York Times/USAToday Bestselling author Cherry Adair’s innovative action-adventure novels have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike. With the creation of her kick butt counterterrorist group, T-FLAC, years before action adventure romances were popular, Cherry has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels. She hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on a new T-FLAC trilogy. Cherry loves to hear from readers.

A bit about Gideon:
T-FLAC is back in an exciting action-adventure romance filled with danger, subterfuge and steamy, red-hot attraction.


Powerful cartel leader Sin Diaz lives a dangerous life filled with secrets and lies, and surrounded by people who claim to have known him all his life. Yet flashes of another life, totally unrelated to the jungles of Cosio, hang tantalizingly on the edges of his memory. He'll trust no one until he recalls his true past.


T-FLAC operative Riva Rimaldi's mission is simple. Go undercover, learn terrorist Escobar Maza's agenda, then kill him. But when the helicopter she's on crashes deep in the jungle of the small, volatile country of Cosio, she finds herself in the wrong hands. Is the sexy as hell leader of the ANSL, Sin Diaz, the enemy of her enemy, worse than Maza himself? Or is he someone entirely different than his reputation – and will he become her lover?


Sin and Riva must work together to stop a madman who will go to any lengths to attain his terrifying goal. But can they unravel the truth in time? The timer is ticking.

What they don’t know could get them killed.

Excerpt from Gideon:
Her visions were never wrong. They always came true. Could the circumstances leading up to them be changed, and would that change negate the outcome? Possibly. Problem was, she didn't have visions for herself. This vision was Sin's future.

It told her no matter how much she resisted, how much she fought him, they were going to have sex. Not only were they going to connect, she was damn well going to enjoy it. The future image was so powerful she almost reached an orgasm, as her vision of the future merged with what was happening in the now.

Her fists unfurled. Her fingers gripped the soft, damp hair on his hot, naked chest as his fingers dug into the balls of her shoulders. No room to move, no way other than to stand on her toes to better reach his mouth. Eyes squeezed tight, Riva lived a duel sensation as he kissed her in the now, and her mind showed her their future in sensual Technicolor.

The morning sunlight flooding the small hut faded. Cave-like darkness surrounded them, and there was nothing but the feel of him surrounding her. No, damn it. That was the vision. It didn't have to happen. She, like the prisoners, could zig instead of zag. She'd make different choices. Make damn sure that never happened.

In the now, he was only kissing her. His hands were on her shoulders, holding her in place.

It was just a kiss.


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Interview with filmmaker and debut novelist Richard A. Lester

Debut thriller novelist Richard A. Lester is my guest today. He’s talking with me about The Check Out. You’ll quickly see that Richard isn’t new to writing by any stretch.

Richard A Lester is an American writer of short stories, screenplays, and novels. He has worked on productions for Azbest Films and Piano Man Pictures. His debut novel, The Check Out, was nominated for a Southern Independent Booksellers Award in 2014. The audio version of the novel received the award for Best Narration, Male in the 2014 Television, Internet, and Video DC awards for narrator Steve Ember.

Richard's first independent film will have clips featured in an upcoming program on The Weather Channel. He has a short form documentary, as well as a noir inspired short film coming this year. In addition, Richard and his music will make an appearance in the horror film I Filmed Your Death in 2015. The film stars Micheal Horse, Lloyd Kaufman, and The Monkees' Peter Tork.

Welcome, Richard. Please tell us about your current release.
The Check Out is a “satirical thriller,” similar in style to Carl Hiaasen or Christopher Moore. It’s about a group of shady employees at a failing grocery store who become mired in their own bizarre circumstances. They each decide to steal $10,000 worth of prize money from the store on the same night. As you can imagine, things don’t go so well for some of them.

What inspired you to write this book?
I actually worked at a grocery store for a while, and I would get bored rather easily. I know it’s hard to imagine that a grocery store wouldn’t be the most exciting place to work! To pass the time, I would come up with crazy scenarios that could happen. I’d look at a customer and create a back story for him or her. I’d catch a line of a conversation that would make me laugh, and riff on that in my head for a while. I had written scripts for a number of years, and worked on a few films, so I always kept these ideas around for a future project. One day, they all clicked in place, and I decided to try my hand at a novel.

Excerpt from The Check Out:
The flow of smooth jazz overhead was shattered by the booming voice from the Megasaver’s intercom. It was gruff, proud, and threatening. All around the store, employees stopped and raised their heads like obedient dogs. They abandoned customers and tasks alike as they awaited their master’s command. Everyone that is, except for Maxine Watkins.
            Maxine walked toward her cash registers with deliberate ease and stared straight ahead. She nodded and said hello to everyone that she passed, and even stopped a few times to give directions. She showed absolutely no sign of acknowledgement when she heard her name ring from the overhead speakers. She smiled and kept walking at her own pace, refusing to be disturbed by the little man above her.
            Maxine stood at five feet two inches, about the same size as the chip on her shoulder. Her curly, dark hair was pulled back, and she peered out at the world through large, dark lenses in frames that were twenty years old. She found no reason to update her style of dress, nor had the money to do so. In the five years she had worked at the MegaSaver, she had amassed just enough money for a small apartment a few miles away, a used Pontiac Grand Prix that barely got her back and forth to work, and the paperwork that finalized her divorce. Though it wasn’t a lot, and she wanted better, she was proud of what she had, and protected it fiercely.
            “Miss Maxine!” a short, chubby woman in a MegaSaver polo shirt exclaimed as she trotted up to her supervisor. “Mr. Larry just paged you! Didn’t you hear?”
            Maxine huffed with indifference and walked up to her nest at the customer service desk. Her eyes scanned the counter as she mentally took inventory of her clipboards, staplers, tape dispensers, paperwork, and various other items.
            “Miss Maxine!” the chubby cashier repeated with panic, as if Maxine had missed it the first time.
“Yeah, I heard him.” Maxine idly replied as she began rubbing cocoa butter lotion over her dark skin. She massaged her elbows and arms until her skin gleamed in the fluorescent light.
            The chubby girl’s breath grew more forced as she stared at Maxine, waiting for something to happen. Maxine continued kneading herself, purposefully ignoring the office above where she could feel Larry’s eyes blazing towards her. A wry smile crossed her face as she set the lotion down, only to pick up a pencil, and begin writing something unnecessary on a sheet of paper.
            “But Miss Maxine!” the chubby girl protested.
            Maxine lowered her pencil and turned towards the chubby girl.
            “Listen, child. If you jump just one time when a white man tells you to, he will own you the rest of your life. You understand that?” Maxine’s voice held more anger than she meant for it to.
            The chubby girl took a shocked step backwards.
“But, I’m white…” she stammered.
“Hmm,” Maxine said as she resumed her needless scribble. “I guess that’s your problem, sweetheart.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am putting the finishing touches on a short that I directed last year. I hope to have that in some festivals late this year and next. As for writing, I have started on my second novel. It is connected to The Check Out, as a sort of prequel. It can easily stand alone, so you don’t have to read both to understand the story. It’s a different type of story with a darker tone. I’m really excited about how it is going so far.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have written stories and things since I was a child. I wrote and directed an independent film about 12 years ago or so. Since then, I’ve written numerous scripts, short stories, and now novels. I suppose I considered myself a writer most of my life. Now that I have a novel out, it does feel more “official.”

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
At this point, I do work a regular 8-5. I also work a lot in independent film. When I have a novel that I’m working on, I spend a long time gathering ideas and working them into a loose outline. When I feel that I have enough of an idea of where things are going, I start writing the first chapter. I make sure to schedule at least 3 or 4 days where I have a few hours to write. Weekends are usually spent writing for most of the day. I try to take a break from film while I write and vice versa. They are such different ways of telling stories, and I enjoy all the different aspects of both.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure. I use a lot of flashback in my writing. I like starting in the middle of a situation and then showing how the character got to that point. Usually, the path is a strange, crooked one.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
That changed every day. Some days, I wanted to teach. I also wanted to be a famous rock musician. Once, I even wanted to be a seismologist!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If readers enjoy The Check Out, I would invite them to visit my web site ( or to see all of the movie projects that I am involved in. We have produced a couple of exploitation themed shorts, a documentary about a car museum, music videos, and my film noir short. We have a lot more scheduled for the future, including a space hero web series.


Thanks, Richard!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Interview with non-fiction spiritual writer Marie Saint-Louis

Today's special guest is clairvoyant and spiritual writer Marie Saint-Louis. She's chatting with me about her first book in a new series, RSVP from Heaven.

Marie Saint-Louis is a psychic medium with an international cliental that includes celebrities and she has read at functions sponsored by major corporations. She also frequently appears at events in the Phoenix area and at private parties.

“My story all began at a radio station sponsored swap meet located in a casino parking lot. Just months earlier, I won a large jackpot on a nickel slot machine and decided to bring my gift of talking to the dead and guiding people on their lives through reading at parties and events. The jackpot allowed me to pay the vendor fees to get started. I’ve never looked back since.”

She believes that “no event is too small or location too far” for her to share her gift.

“Since childhood, I’ve talked to the deceased and was able to tell people very detailed things about their lives that couldn’t be explained. I’ve never read a book, or studied how to be a psychic medium….I was born this way.”

Marie lives in Mesa, Arizona with her two cats, numerous houseplants, and visiting spirits.

Welcome, Marie. Please tell us about your current release.
The book tells my story. Here's a blurb:
Marie Saint-Louis is a psychic medium who has spent years sharing guidance and communicating with the deceased for her clients from the comforts of her home. Now, she yearns to bring her spiritual gifts to the public.

Of course, it won’t be easy.

The stakes are high as Marie battles anxiety, rejection, and skeptics along the way at the most amazing parties and unique events around.

You’re invited to sit table side during readings at an Arizona casino swap meet and have front row seats with costumed guests during three nights of dazzling Hollywood Halloween parties. You never will know where Marie will show up next!

Told in a down to earth and often intimate style, Marie shares true tales of the compelling people she meets who are searching for direction in love, career, family, relocation, and other topics. In the midst of busy fairs and festivals, she passes messages on from deceased loved ones to the individuals seated at her vendor table.

RSVP from Heaven is a fresh new approach in spiritual books that will entertain and captivate readers around the world. A remarkable timeless tale about the shared emotions we experience as people and our quest to find answers while living our personal journeys.

What inspired you to write this book?
My clients were constantly asked when I was going to write a book. Through the years, I’ve shared many of my true stories with them, but never thought of writing a book.

My brother encouraged me to begin taking a journal with me and writing about my experiences. So, I stocked up on notebooks and pens from the 99 Cents Only store and began taking them with me everywhere. I kept notes on everything going around me, the people I met, and the spiritual readings which were the basis for the book. Authenticity is key to everything written for my readers.

Excerpt from RSVP from Heaven:
(Chapter Seven Halloween: Hollywood Style)

She looked ferocious.

Ten airbrushed black jagged stripes on each leg, plus two diagonally on her butt made it twelve. Multiple shades of orange liquid latex covered a sculpted body and a tousled mane of long wavy golden brown hair hung down. My eyes traveled the length of her back stopping at the stripe encircled tail.

When she turned, an intricately painted tiger’s face smiled back at me. Jagged stripes crossed a white painted chest, traveling down to her navel followed by a barely there, black string bikini. Finishing off her unbelievable costume was a pair of stilettos covering her feet, resembling feline paws.

She was truly a work of art.

I was given the best seat in the house; an elevated raised area, where arriving joyful costumed guests glided along the red carpet among flashing bulbs as photographer’s cameras captured the excitement.

The attendees were adorned in spectacular costumes, apparently created by professionals; Mad Scientist, Circus Ringleader, Warrior Princesses, Knights, and an assortment of sexy storybook characters. Last but not least, recognizable horror figures and superheroes from popular movies.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m presently writing the next book in the RSVP from Heaven series. The second book, will take readers on more exciting journeys.

One chapter will be about my experiences sharing psychic medium readings with guests at a Tattoo and Motorcycle event. My vendor table was alongside tattoo artists, piercers, and a seamstress sewing on various types of patches on the leather jackets for bikers.

Readers will once again be introduced to people seeking guidance or longing to be connected guests to deceased loved ones.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I never set out to be a writer. In 2008, I began a hobby of entering contests and sweepstakes. I happened to win two essay contests within six months of each other. My clients continued to ask me to write a book for them so I finally sat down and finished the first one.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
At the time of writing my book, I was teaching students (16-21) at an alternative high school. At night, I had client appointments. Writing had to been done in between scheduled sessions and often did not end until 1am-2am in the morning.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write most of my books using sharpened number 2 lead pencils and notebooks from the 99 Cents Only store. I find my best ideas come from writing on the back of store receipts, paper plates, and restaurant napkins.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had several careers I was interested in as a child growing up. A park ranger, race car driver, fashion designer, and a teacher. After college, I ended up being a special education teacher in both juvenile correctional facilities and alternative school campuses.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want to connect with readers as much as I can through social media and there are several messages I hope readers take with them after finishing my book.

Here are two of them.
“We all have uncertainties about our life direction and purpose.”

I’ve have the pleasure to meet and guide people from all walks of life; college students, teachers, accountants, police officers, surgeons and even adult film stars. All of my stories make for a more interesting experience for my readers.

Throughout the book, readers will witness people coming to me when they are searching for direction and needing hope. We all have been there before; when our relationships are breaking apart, we are unfulfilled in our careers, family members causing havoc, and wondering if relocation will give us new opportunities and a new lease on life.

There are many people having a similar struggle within their own lives. It may not be the exact situation, but they are hurting as much as you or even more.

“Value your time with loved ones and make peace with them if you need to”
What I hear from clients is that they wished they had spent more time with loved ones before they passed. I love the part in the book where I read at a festival for a young man from Detroit, Michigan.

Dion was unsure about having his first psychic medium reading but once he sat down, I read for him for over an hour. I still remember when I connected Dion to his deceased brother Bernard. At one point during the session, Dion looked at me and said. “Damn the last time I saw my brother we fought over something real stupid. I wish I could take it all back because weeks later Bernard was murdered.”

Readers can discover me on the following social media sites:

Thanks for being here today, Marie!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book excerpt for paranormal suspense novel Metamorphosis: The Trey Parker Story by R.W. Reels

I’m shining the spotlight on the paranormal suspense novel Metamorphosis: The Trey Parker Story by R.W. Reels.

As R.W. does a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, he will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome, R.W. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My infatuation with writing was born before I ever took my first breath, somewhere on the rural plains of Eastern North Carolina, nourished by the adventures of my grandmother’s childhood. From the time I was only four or five years old, her memories gave flight to my imagination and fuel to my curiosities. Her stories widened my eyes to the fascinatingly bizarre in the everyday.

As a young girl, my grandmother would bring her puppy with her to stalk rabbits every morning. The two of them would chase an unlucky long-eared rascal until it escaped into a hollow at the base of a tree, and she would run a stick around the inside of the opening as though churning butter. The spell of the sound and vibration would lure the rabbit out of the tree and into her hands.

Good fiction, inventive and provocative fiction, reverberates in readers and spellbinds them. It can spur surprise, delight, discomfort, and revelation and defy reason. As a storyteller, I strive to help others solve their problems by sharing things that I have read about, heard about, and seen. But I also prize the look on people’s faces when they hear the brilliant punch line of a joke, or when they experience an epiphany that knocks the logical wind out of them. These are the reactions that I live to inspire in my audiences when I write paranormal thrillers.

My obsession with the extraordinary in my writing might also, ironically, stem from my 20-year career in the U.S. Army. I can allow my mind to wander in the extraterrestrial sphere while my love for my country keeps me grounded in domestic affairs. Of all of my accomplishments, serving as a paratrooper in a Special Forces Group and a Field Artillery outfit during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm claims high rank. Few situations force a person to confront his humanity as painfully as going off to war, and this experience taught me both to accept accountability for my actions and to trust others. Eventually, I became a successful Army Recruiter and Station Commander, earning the Top Recruiting Station awards in Dallas and Seattle Recruiting Battalions. North Carolina Central University granted me a Public Service Award for my work in the local community. And currently, I serve fellow veterans as an HR Specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Other passions of mine include playing chess, traveling, and indulging in my contrarian nature by instigating debate. Spending time with my wife tops the list of my life’s privileges, however. Whether I am entertaining her with my emulation of Laurence Olivier as Marcus Crassus or protecting her from an elk during one of our photography excursions in the wild, I treasure her companionship and affection.

When I was twelve years old, I announced to my Aunt Becky and Cousin Tony that I wanted to write a book. They stared at me in astonishment. The world of publishing was an enigma to simple country folks in Beaufort, North Carolina in 1982. These days I am achieving my dream with the ebook, a medium through which I can express my individuality without sacrificing my voice to expectations of marketability, popularity, and deadlines. My goal is to create an opportunity for escapism that is bold and absolute.

A little bit about the novel:
Metamorphosis: The Trey Parker Story, the first novel in a three-part paranormal thriller series. A young male is forever changed after a near death experience. His incident invites the attention of a covert government agency. A gritty detective remains diligent in discovering the facts of the incident and encounters opposition from the unlikeliest of places.

Excerpt from Metamorphosis:
Ten years have passed since Trey’s question went unanswered, the sacred practice of attending church Sunday mornings now a distant memory. On a cool fall Saturday night, Trey’s thin, six-foot frame stands in the doorway of their small apartment. His mom is asleep on the brown suede couch, and he can overhear the faint sound of arguing neighbors next door. The aroma left from a well-cooked pot roast lingers and competes with Tracey’s smoldering cigarette in an ashtray on the floor, inches from the remote control—another failed attempt at quitting. While the ceiling fan does a poor job circulating warm air throughout the dimly lit apartment, it works wonders for the smoke.

Red, green, and blue lights from the television flicker on and off Tracey’s face while she curves into a ball in her blue scrubs. Above her on the wall is the blown-up picture of Nana and the family when it was still together: Toni still in Tracey’s stomach and James’s arms holding his wife and son tightly, Nana beside him.

Laughter from a discontinued sitcom cries out from the television—another episode of Three’s Company and Chrissy misunderstanding something she overheard.

Trey decides to go through with his plan. He pushes his silver-framed glasses up on the bridge of his nose. Heart pounding, he sneaks into the kitchen in search of his mother’s gun, bumping the table and almost knocking over a glass of water beside Tracey’s nursing books.

Plowing from right to left through the wood-finished cabinets, one after another, the anxious Trey can barely breathe from the pain in his chest. Finally, in the last cabinet above the refrigerator, he finds a scratched and dented blue coffee can without a lid.

Trey pulls the coffee can down with two trembling hands and peeks inside, then glances at his mom through the cutout to make sure she is still asleep. He sets the can on the counter. He grabs hold of the cold pistol—his shaky hand causing him to almost drop it in the process.

Trey fumbles with the right-handed pistol and is unable to shake the awkwardness since he is left-handed. He holds the pistol in his right hand and struggle to hold it firmly as he uses his left hand to pull the slide and peer into the half-cocked chamber to check if it’s loaded—it is. Another glance at Tracey. She pulls the red throw closer to her face and rolls over on the couch.

The pistol’s magazine is full and several loose bullets tumble over into the can. The refrigerator’s icemaker clanks out a few more cubes, which breaks Trey’s gaze on the bullets. Trey packs the gun at the small of his back. After a half-stride, the gun slithers down onto his buttocks. He goes perfectly still, repositions the pistol, and tightens his belt.

Trey scampers out of the kitchen and across the living room. He stops at Toni’s bedroom door. Shaking, he pushes it open, and get enough light from her night-light to make out her ten-year-old silhouette. Trey sees his sister curled under the butterfly-covered blanket Nana spent her last days on earth stitching. When Nana found out she was dying and would not see Toni grow up, she organized a box of gifts for her granddaughter, to be given at special occasions. The first gift was that butterfly-covered blanket and Toni cherishes it.


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Monday, April 20, 2015

Interview with urban fantasy author Steve McHugh

I’m kicking off the week with urban fantasy author Steve McHugh. He’s here to chat about the new book in his Hellequin Chronicles series, Prison of Hope.

During his virtual book tour, Steve will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Steve McHugh is the author of the popular Hellequin Chronicles. The fourth book, Prison of Hope, released on April 14th. He lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.

Welcome, Steve. Please tell us about your current release.
Prison of Hope is the 4th book in the Hellequin Chronicles, which center around a 1600 year old sorcerer, Nathan (Nate) Garrett, and his life. In Prison of Hope, Nate is tasked with tracking down and capturing one of the Titan’s who has escaped from Tartarus before he can fulfill his plan to start a civil war between those within the world who would use his escape to gain power.

What inspired you to write this book?
The Hellequin Chronicles world features a lot of characters from various mythologies from ancient Greece, Roman, Norse, British and several others. I’ve been dripping these characters into the first 3 books, and this is the one where you get a meet a lot more of the Greek side. I wanted to give Nate a big enough story that he can cut loose, and really show why people fear the guy.

Excerpt from Prison of Hope:
France. Now.

My mistake came in the form of saying “yes”—a simple, but powerful word that along with its brother, “no,” can do a lot of good or a lot of damage. Once that first word had left my lips, I was duty bound to follow through. I could have come up with an excuse to get out of it—hell, I could have shot myself and said someone was trying to kill me. Should have, would have, could have. Instead, I convinced myself it wouldn’t be bad, that it might even be fun. I was wrong. It was hell in a carriage.

I’d agreed, for some foolish reason, which I liked to believe had to do with drugged food and drink, to accompany Thomas Carpenter and his daughter Kasey on a school trip to Germany. Traveling along with my closest friend and his teenage daughter were over a hundred of her school friends, several parents and guardians, and their teachers. All spread out over a four-carriage train.

Avalon—the hidden true power of our world—arranged the trip, like it did for all Avalon-funded schools. But teenagers are moody and temper prone at the best of times. Throw in the beginnings of their powers, be those magical or otherwise, and you had the makings of a tense atmosphere.

Many of the kids with parents in attendance pretended that their parents didn’t exist, while most of the parents silently watched their offspring with the attentiveness of an eagle searching for its next victim. Occasionally, one of the teenagers would say something inappropriate and receive a chastised glance or a discreet cough aimed in their direction, which in turn made the teen sigh or roll their eyes. It was like the Cold War all over again. I was half-expecting someone to turn up and start building a really big wall between the two sides.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently in the editing process for Book 5, Lies Ripped Open, which is out in Aug this year, and I’m writing my first science fiction book. Which is a huge amount of fun to write.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got my first pay. That was the day I said, “well this is now your job.” That was a fantastic day.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have a fulltime job too, and I’m hoping that one day I will be able to write fulltime, but as I have a wife and three young daughters, I need to be in a place of financial security before that can happen. I write in the evening, lunch breaks, weekends, anytime I get a moment really.

Apart from spending time with my family, I read, play videogames and I really like Lego. I find Lego to be a nice relaxing way to spend an evening.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I really need to get myself some writing quirks. Like a parrot or a monocle. I guess the fact that I share my office with my bearded dragon, Kaiju. Who is currently looking at me as if he knows I’m writing about him.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. Or a ninja. The latter of which didn’t really work out for me. Probably for the best, stealth is not something I’m all that good at.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope if you decide to give the books a read that you enjoy them. They were a lot of fun to write, and I hope that comes through in the reading.


Thanks, Steve!

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Interview with paranormal mystery author T.M. Williams

Today’s special guest to wrap up the week is paranormal mystery author T.M. Williams. She’s here to chat with me about her new novel, Clusters.

As she does a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, T.M. Will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky random winner. If you’d like to enter for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

T.M. Williams began her writing career by accident when a song inspired a story. Once she discovered the writing bug she couldn't stop. Since starting her writing career late in 2012 she has gone on to write several more novels, including two Amazon best-sellers.

She writes experimental fiction and non-fiction. She is also a freelance journalist, copywriter, and public speaker.

Welcome, T.M. Please tell us a little bit about Clusters:
Seven year old Olivia Baxter and her dog vanish while playing in the front yard of her family's home. After a week of searching, Olivia's body was suddenly found in the closet, even after the police had thoroughly investigated the home.

Ethan Franco is a troubled journalist working for the Washington Gazette. His inability to move on from the past has deflated the passion he had for his career, causing him to lose his edge. Frustrated with Ethan Franco, but not wanting to lose his once star journalist, Editor-in-Chief, Jameson Stone assigns him a story to cover as a last chance to prove he could be the reporter he once was.

Ethan Franco begins his investigation into the mysterious death of Olivia Baxter and other unexplained disappearances, believing there may be a connection in the cases. No sooner did Franco begin his investigation then he realizes he is being tailed by government agencies.

Large footprints in the woods, strange sounds, foul stenches, and a looming government presence become pieces of the puzzle in cases of the missing.

Inspired by real events, the author of the Bohemian Grove trilogy and the Apocalypse brings forth a story that has been kept a secret for over a century -- a story that a large group of people are still trying to keep under wraps.

Excerpt from Clusters:
Just as Michael reached for the pot of coffee, replaying that scene in his head for the thousandth time, a noise from the back room stopped him. Claire was closest to the hallway where the sound came from and she spun around quickly, drawing her gun.

Deena shot up to her feet, her eyes bright with concern. “Who’s back there?” she whispered to the officers.

The Captain shook his head. No one was back there. Michael had checked the bedrooms just an hour before, like he had done every morning, hoping to find some missing clue as to Olivia’s sudden disappearance. Claire backed up to the north side of the hallway while Sean and Craig flanked the other side, their guns drawn as well.

The noise came again, clearer this time. “Is that a dog?” Claire whispered, her eyebrows drawn together in a deep V.

Whimpers filled the home, followed by – scratching? Claire narrowed her eyes as they made their way quickly down the hallway toward Olivia’s bedroom, with Michael leading. As they entered her room it was clear where the noise came  from.

“I think that’s our dog,” Deena said, wide-eyed.

The rangers all exchanged looks. The family dog had disappeared the same morning as Olivia.

Michael approached Olivia’s closet door and motioned for Craig and Sean to flank his right. He opened the door in one quick motion just as the frightened looking dog bounced out of the closet, causing Michael to stumble back at the sight inside.

Deena’s tortured scream pierced the air as she fell to the floor, crawling over to the dead body of her little girl, curled up on the closet floor.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The Bohemian Grove Trilogy, inspired by Sumerian mythology and ancient aliens is concluding this Spring. So we’re working on releasing that. I also have a psychological thriller called Children at the Window coming out this Summer and 2 more books in my Twisted Fairy Tale series releasing this summer. The first was Alice Hill in Silent Wonderland, an illustrated dark Alice in Wonderland tale.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I accidentally stumbled upon the passion of writing when I began writing at the end of 2012 and haven’t stopped since. I was offered a publishing contract 10 months later (it took me 4 months to complete my first manuscript) and you would think I considered myself a writer at that point. It wasn’t until I published my 5th book that I actually considered myself a writer and not just some weird fluke.

Strangely, I’ve had other authors tell me they still don’t consider me a writer because it’s not the only thing I do and that I only became interested in the last few years. (My background is business and marketing and I still am very much an entrepreneur). My response to that is; I’ve never really cared what anyone thought about me anyway, so why start now?

Weirdly enough, I considered myself a novelist before I considered myself a writer. I’ve never done anything in the right order anyway.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write full-time. After figuring out that I love to write and am pretty good at it (it actually took me longer to figure out the latter) I ended up getting a lot of writing gigs. So I’m a full-time writer, just not a full-time novelist. I also do a ton of freelance journalism.
My work day is pretty typical of a working mother. I’m juggling a million things at once and wondering how I’m not falling apart half the time. So far, so good.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My Brand and my business is The Accidental Writer because my writing career happened by accident. The genre I write is experimental fiction and non-fiction. It encompasses pretty much everything but what makes it unique is the style of writing. I write what the story calls me to write – whether it’s in first person prose or third person epic. I don’t follow any traditional storylines and can sometimes start the story with the ending, skip linear storylines, or even have a multiple climax storyline. It just depends on the book. You’ll either love it or hate it. Fortunately, most people seem to love it so far.

If you want a predictable story that follows all the rules, then I’m definitely not your author. If you’re the type of person who likes to stick to one genre because it’s comfortable then that’s not me either. If you want a book that makes you think, especially outside the box – then I recommend my books.

I guess the easier question would be, what isn’t a writing quirk for me? I seem to break all the rules.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Important. It’s true. I think that’s why I’ve never really stuck to one course in life because I just wanted to do something meaningful and empowering. Fortunately, I’ve been able to impact people with my work and am proud of that.

But, there was a long time I really wanted to be an archaeologist. I wanted to travel the world and go on adventures discovering things. My parents said it was unrealistic and isn’t something I could live off of. So I didn’t go that route. Now I find that I’m doing exactly that through my writing. It’s interesting how we tend to come full circle.


Thanks, T.M.!