Friday, January 30, 2015

Excerpt and more for Christian devotional, 40 Days of Grace by Kim Y. Jackson

We're wrapping up the week with the spotlight shining on the Christian devotional, 40 Days of Grace by Kim Y. Jackson. 

Kim is doing a virtual book tour with Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and will be giving away on copy of her book. To enter for a chance to win, use the form below.


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Paperback: 140 pages 
Publisher: God's Glory (December 18, 2014) 
ISBN-10: 0974374938 
ISBN-13: 978-0974374932

40DGFrontCoverAbout the book: 
Forty Days of Grace is a prayer devotional full of wisdom orchestrated by God to manifest His purpose through a chosen nation. As you read Forty Days of Grace, God will daily impart into you revelation and knowledge for strength and encouragement. On each page God depicts His grace given for you to complete the work He has chosen for you to do. Everyone who takes the journey through Forty Days of Grace can anticipate receiving God’s triumphant Victory. As you travel within the pages of Forty Days of Grace - A Prayer Devotional, the power of God is unveiled for you to know that His Grace is Sufficient and for you to daily experience His Abundant Grace.

Kim JacksonBio: Elder Kim Y. Jackson, M. Divinity is a licensed Elder at Greater Bethlehem Church (Bishop Jason Nelson). An anointed writer, conference speaker, teacher, oracle and psalmist for the Lord, Elder Jackson is called to write the plans of God for His people.

Her self-published non-fiction Christian books include In the Garden: A Woman's Journey Orchestrated by God for Deliverance and Spiritual Maturity, and Forty Days of Grace: A Prayer Devotional and True Worship: Understanding the Command of God for a Chosen People.

She has also contributed to the anthologies This Far By Faith, Have a Little Faith, and Keeping the Faith. Her written works have also been featured in numerous print and online publications.

Elder Kim Jackson is also the founder of the Women Writers of God’s Word Author’s Tour. Through the power of the Holy Spirit Elder Jackson imparts revelation knowledge to empower believers of Christ. As an oracle and scribe for the Lord, God has released her to effectively minister in the areas of healing and deliverance. Elder Jackson ministers at several recovery houses, transitional homes and support groups. Elder Jackson has fully accepted her calling to preach, write for the Lord, teach God's word and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She stands on God's word and encourages other believers to "Write the Vision" (Habakkuk 2:2) that God has given to them.

Social links: Website | Facebook

Purchase the book: Amazon


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Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author Kim Y. Jackson and is hosted and managed by Paulette from Write Now Literary Book Tours. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Paulette @ pharperjohnson@gmail.com

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book excerpt for Christian non-fiction book Hanging On by Elizabeth Chalker

Today I'm featuring the non-fiction Christian book Hanging On by the Scratch Marks My Nails Left Behind: Raw Faith by Elizabeth Chalker.

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Paperback: 470 pages
Format: Paperback/Kindle
ISBN-10: 1612151205 
ISBN-13: 978-1612151205

author photo 
Bio: Elizabeth Chalker is still in the furnace of life’s' calamities and fighting the good fight of faith and endurance, keeping her eyes on the prize of heaven. Before serious, physical illness devastated her body, Elizabeth was on the fast track as a successful psychologist and addictions specialist, working with violent juvenile offenders and their families, near completion of her third graduate degree. Her life is a testimony of faith that is steadfast and remains no matter the seemingly dark, unjust, and treacherous circumstances of life. She resides in Lighthouse Point, Florida. Elizabeth continues to minister to those in need and aspires to show God's glory through every breath she takes. "This is a real life story of being in the fire, where I currently remain, where my heart for the Lord has become increasingly insatiable. A deepened intimacy has developed and continues to grow even through this very moment, and will continue beyond. As you read, this is my hope and prayer for you as well."

About the book:
book cover
Hanging On by the Scratch Marks My Nails Left Behind: Raw Faith was written while still in the midst of trials with no promise for the suffering to end. It took 10 years to write while suffering serious, physical illness. 

My prayer for the book is to inspire individuals to self-examine and find their core; to realize that we are all children of God and therefore, one in Him. We tend to see life and our circumstances as if from under a quilt as it is being made, where all that is seen is a bunch of haphazard threads from our view. God’s view is from above where everything comes together and forms a beautiful and complete picture. 

My hope is also to encourage individuals to seek love and extend love. One of the most important messages of the book is to strengthen anyone who reads it, to cause him or her to embrace all of who he or she is, the parts we deem ‘dark’ and unacceptable as well as the parts we see as praiseworthy and pleasant. Most importantly, my hope is that the reader will embrace intimacy in relationship with God and realize that raw expression of heart, no matter how unacceptable to the world, is honorable in the eyes of God and welcomed.
 

Social media: Website    Twitter   Facebook
Purchase the book: Amazon   Barnes   Itunes


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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book blast and giveaway for The Fall of the Prodigal by Michelle Lindo-Rice

Welcome to today's special feature. It's a book excerpt for the Christian novel The Fall of the Prodigal by Michelle Lindo-Rice. Enjoy!

During this special promotion, Michelle will be giving away 2 $10 Amazon gift cards to two lucky winners chosen via rafflecopter. Use the form below to enter for a chance to win. 


Bio: Michelle Lindo-Rice enjoys crafting women's fiction with themes centered around the four "F" words: Faith, Friendship, Family and Forgiveness. Her first published work, Sing A New Song, was a Black Expressions featured selection. Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Lindo-Rice calls herself a lifelong learner. She has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Teachers College, Columbia University. When she moved to Florida, she enrolled in Argosy University where she completed her Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership. A pastor's kid, Michelle upholds the faith, preaching, teaching and ministering through praise and worship. Feel free to connect with her at michellelindorice.com You can read her testimony, learn about her books, PLEASE join her mailing list, or read a sample chapter at michellelindorice.com

About The Fall of the Prodigal:
A condemned man, his two brides, and one untimely death. Michael Ward is at the top of his game and he doesn't need anyone or anything. Money is his new best friend--until he's arrested for a heinous crime. As much as he hates to admit it, Michael needs his brother, Keith Ward, the man who stole his wife and children. Will Michael open his heart to forgive his brother? Verona "Tiger" Stachs has been Michaels' attorney for years. She's in love with him, but is tired of being treated as his guinea pig. A lapsed Christian, Verona finds herself being drawn closer to God. She thought she was through with God, but soon discovers He's nowhere through with her. Which relationship will she choose? Keith Ward's a prominent minister and family man, yet he yearns to rekindle his relationship with his brother. When Michael calls him explaining that he desperately needs his help, Keith jumps at the chance to set things right with Michael. Will Keith be able to lead Michael into the light?


Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Urban Books (January 27, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1601626983
ISBN-13: 978-1601626981

 
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Buy links: Amazon   Barnes & Noble


This virtual book tour is hosted by Write Now Literary 


Friday, January 23, 2015

Interview with children's author Fiona Ingram

Today’s spotlight shines on children’s author Fiona Ingram and the second book in her Chronicle of the Stone series, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur. Fiona is doing a virtual book tour and this is one stop along the way with Women on Writing's The Muffin.

Bio:
Fiona Ingram was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel resulted in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—The Chronicles of the Stone. This was inspired by a family trip the author took with her mom and two young nephews aged ten and twelve at the time. The book began as a short story for her nephews and grew from there. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is a treat for young King Arthur fans. Fiona is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, set in Mexico.

While writing The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, Fiona fostered (and later adopted) a young African child from a disadvantaged background. Her daughter became the inspiration for the little heroine, Kim, in The Search for the Stone of Excalibur. Interestingly, the fictional character’s background and social problems are reflected in the book as Kim learns to deal with life. Fiona’s experiences in teaching her daughter to read and to enjoy books also inspired many of her articles on child literacy and getting kids to love reading.

Welcome, Fiona. Please tell us about your current release.
In Book One: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, when cousins Justin and Adam Sinclair visit Egypt with their aunt and grandmother on the trip of a lifetime, they have no idea what is in store for them. Having escaped the clutches of the evil Dr. Khalid in Egypt and rescued the first Stone of Power, Justin and Adam are keen to embark upon the next adventure. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur grew from Book One. This quest takes them to Britain, and unravels the mystery behind King Arthur—half myth, half legend—and his fantastical sword Excalibur. What gave Excalibur its incredible powers, so great that even historians have recorded its singular abilities? Could it be that a Stone of Power is embedded in the hilt? Right from the start, this adventure is not like the first. For one, Aunt Isabel has sent a girl, Kim, along with the cousins. Will this mess up the boys’ plans? And how annoying that Kim has such good ideas when the boys are stumped…


What inspired you to write this book?
I am a huge King Arthur fan and having travelled all over Scotland, visiting castles, I decided that Britain would be the location of the boys’ quest for the second Stone of Power. The legends and stories about King Arthur and Excalibur are the perfect vehicle for this book. There is so much magic and mystery surrounding this historical figure that I had enough material to craft a fascinating adventure. If you love history, geography, action, adventure, archaeology and a story that grips you from page one (plus lots of danger!) then this is the book for you. This will also appeal to any young explorers who want to save the world or (for those readers a little older) remember their plans to do so!


Excerpt:
Adam was so close that he could have reached out and touched the rider. The spectral figure drew his sword from its scabbard and held it aloft. It seemed to Adam that he saw every detail with strangely magnified clarity. It was the same sword from the museum, but it looked so different now. The metal gleamed with a peculiar bluish sheen. Curious characters embossed the length of the blade. At the top, just under the crossguard, was a small circle with a seven-pointed star inside it. Sparkling gems decorated the hilt and pommel, with two dragons’ heads facing inward on the crossguard. The stone between the dragons’ open mouths glowed brilliant red. Suddenly, a fiery, almost blinding light shot from the stone, dazzling him. The white horse reared on its hindquarters. The radiant beam lit up the forest as the warrior whirled the blade around his head several times. Adam fell to his knees, shaking with a mixture of terror and excitement as he realized the second Stone of Power was embedded in the sword of Arthur. But the stone in the museum sword was nothing like this one.



What exciting story are you working on next?
My next project (almost completed) is Book 3 in the series: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. It’s chock full of excitement, an exotic environment, lots of danger and definitely an adventure any kid would enjoy! Continuing the adventure that ended in Britain just a short while ago, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair, with their friend Kim Maleka, are now hunting for the third Stone of Power, one of seven mysterious stones lost centuries ago. The third stone might be located in an ancient city, hidden in the depths of the Mexican jungle. Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the trio travels through the jungle in search of the lost city of stone gods. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started off as a story teller aged ten, entertaining my younger brothers and their friends with tales of brave kids embarking upon adventures, usually populated with monsters, vampires and other interesting creatures. Then I graduated to writing plays which my (4) brothers and I would act out for my long-suffering and patient parents. Then I wrote comical poetry for the family, and finally after being an actress and drama coach for a while (after university and overseas training), I drifted into writing and publishing, somewhere I am happiest!

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?
Yes, I write full time and in a variety of genres. I write middle-grade adventure and animal rescue books under my own name. I also write historical romance under a pseudonym (Arabella Sheraton). Added to that is teaching novel writing for an online writing college—it’s very fulfilling to watch new writers grow. I also edit for a big US book review site. I write every day and give myself a day off occasionally to recharge the batteries. Because I do lots of different things I tend to work on one thing for a couple of hours, and then give myself a break and work on something else. I start early in the morning and have a charming little office at the bottom of the garden, surrounded by trees and flowers, and a small fountain. It’s just big enough for me, my bookshelves, my two dogs’ baskets and lots of books and CDs.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure—one can consider from a writer or a reader point of view. I like to research everything in depth, and try to create the scenes so that readers imagine it as a movie. I have had a few people tell me that when they read my books it’s like a movie in their heads. If you mean do I have a special ritual before starting to write, or play music etc., then nothing so interesting. I get into the office, dig in and write!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I first wanted to be a nurse, but my grandmother sensibly suggested I do a stint at a local hospital during a school holiday when I was at high school—I discovered I hated the sight of blood. Then I wanted to be an actress and even won scholarships after university to study drama in London and mime in Paris. Upon my return home I found treading the boards was not exactly what I had imagined, although the overseas experience was just incredible and added to my ability to write. Finally, I came back to my creative roots and moved into editing and publishing; my mother’s invitation to take us to Egypt kick started my career as a children’s author.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
This is a note for parents/grandparents or anyone with young relatives. Learning to love reading is the best gift in the world for any child and will change their lives. From a love of reading, a child will develop a love of learning new things and embrace education. With an enquiring and questing mind, that child will achieve anything they set their sights on. However, loving to read is not natural, as in learning to speak or walk. A love of reading must be taught, so that reading becomes associated with pleasure. To do this, read with your child or young relative as much as possible. Have fun reading with that child. Let them read anything their heart desires, even if it is only comics. From enjoying one kind of reading matter, a child will soon explore further. Let them see you reading often. Have books in the house. Get movies of kids’ books and then buy the original books. Reading is an advantage, so make sure your child has every single one you can offer.



Thank you, Fiona!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Interview with fantasy adventure author S.S. Dudley

Today’s spotlight shines on the fantasy/adventure novel Elf Hills by S.S. Dudley.

During his virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, S.S. will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a 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.

Author bio and links:
S. S. Dudley grew up in Wyoming, USA, an avid reader and lover of the outdoors. He studied at the University of Wyoming and the University of Illinois. He started his first book (an epic fantasy hand-written in with a blue fountain pen…) when he was 13, but never finished it. At some point (as his mother recently reminded him), he decided that he needed to go do something (like get a job) for a while before he could, or should, write. He did, and spent time in Colombia, Panamá, Antarctica and the dark recesses of large science buildings on college campuses. That done, he now writes, lives and runs in Northern California with his wife and two children. He can be found at http://www.ssdudley.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Please tell us a bit about Elf Hills:
Something strange, something magical, is going on in the dusty hills behind the small town of Villaloma. Yet each time Linda Peters puts on her running shoes and sets out to find the enchanted kingdom she imagines—full of dancing elves, unicorns, and more—something stops her. And with school starting soon, she only has a few more chances to really search the hills.

While Linda’s frustration and doubt grow, her cousin, Nugu, looks for answers in his books and wonders if maybe, just maybe, Linda’s stories are for real.

The day finally arrives when Linda can run far, the day she is sure she will find her magic city. But when she and Nugu feel their goal must lie just beyond the next hill, they only find more hill.

Is it all a figment of an over-active imagination; a wistful fantasy?

Or is there truly something magical in those hills that only the strong of heart—and leg—can discover?


Excerpt from Elf Hills © 2014 by S. S. Dudley

From Chapter 4:
A rustle from a bush to the side of the trail attracted his attention. He watched, expecting a rabbit or ground squirrel to pop out and hoping for a snake or something he could actually catch. Distracted from his search, he quietly picked his way down from the rocks, watching the bush. It rustled again as his foot touched down.

A wave of apprehension washed over him. Something about the moment was familiar, as if he had been in this situation before. The images were vague, so he dismissed them. His imagination got away from him sometimes.

He tiptoed toward the bush, his eyes scanning and probing, looking for a sign of the critter hidden underneath.

He reached out to grab a branch and pull it back—again the images washed over him, memories… There! It was a… a raccoon? Big round eyes, a wide face with a black, furry mask, short stubby ears, and lots of fur. It was holding something shiny in its hands—paws? The creature quickly concealed what it held and growled, showing a mouthful of teeth.

"Augh!" Nugu fell back, scrambling like a crab.

A safe ten feet away, Nugu watched the bush. It rattled again. The raccoon—it could only be a raccoon, he thought—waddled out into the open. It was walking on two feet. Do raccoons walk on two feet? Nugu tried to remember all of the animal documentaries he had seen. Maybe? And do raccoons get so big? This guy looked like he could take on Jeremiah, Nugu's four-year-old (almost five) brother. It reminded Nugu of something else entirely, some creature from a book… or a movie.

Unconsciously, feeling more nervous, Nugu took a couple steps backward.

The big, standing raccoon looked at him, and threw its arms in the air. "BaaaagahLOO!" it grunted. Nugu jumped straight up, turned, and ran.

Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
Nap. As a writer, it is darn hard to write when you are sleepy and can’t motivate yourself to move your fingers. So I lay down and take a nap. But I am particular: I lay down on the floor, legs crossed, arms crossed across my chest, and usually for 21 to 26 minutes. Depending on how tired I feel. I discovered this in college once. Can still remember that day. Getting into position, sleeping profoundly for 21 minutes, and waking completely refreshed and ready for more studying. It works like a charm most times.

What do you think you’re really good at?
I’m a good dad. A pretty good husband (though I’ve been known to be a bit spacey). I believe strongly in my abilities as a writer and editor. I have extensive experience in these, even though I am only just now starting to write fiction. I’m a good mentor, too. So I’ve been told, anyway. Once upon a time I was very good in martial arts and swimming.

What do you think you’re really bad at?
Ugh. That’s a long list. Remembering things. Staying focused. Being selfish (yes, a strange one, but it gets to a point where I get in the way of my own dreams. One has to be a bit selfish about their time and energy to move forward). Steven Pressfield would call it "resistance." Saving money. Braiding hair. Cracking eggs (Yes, I know. My six-year-old laughs at me).

Is your life anything like it was two years ago?
Um… for the most part. I live in the same town, my day job is the same day job. I am writing. The biggest change has been the arrival of my son into the world. He threw a huge wrench into our otherwise organized lives. A good wrench. But wow, going from one to two kids—for us, anyway—was tough. Somehow I managed to get the books written while also doing the day job and changing several thousand diapers. Oh yeah, and not sleeping.

I have published books now, too. That’s a big difference. It makes the writing “real.”

Anything else you’d like readers to know?
·  The e-book price is $0.99, paperback $8.99. 
·  Kindle version and paperback are available from Amazon.
·  ePub, PDF, Kindle and other versions are available from Smashwords here: Smashwords
·  Folks who sign up for my newsletter through my website can have the e-book free.
·  Folks who purchase through my Website (Kindle, ePub, PDF; via payhip.com) and share their purchase via social media can have it 50% off.
·  iBooks and B&N coming soon.

Thanks, S.S.!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Interview with international thriller author Ian Coates

Today’s fun interview is with thriller author Ian Coates as he shares about his newest novel, Eavesdrop.  

Bio:
Author Ian Coates graduated with honors in engineering. He worked in the high tech electronics industry for thirty years, where he specialized in the design of radio communication equipment. His intimate knowledge of that environment always triggered his imagination to think about the mysterious world of international spies.

A lifelong love of books led him into writing, but it was being named one of the winners in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook centenary novel writing competition that spurred him on to complete his spy thriller, Eavesdrop.

The novel was written largely on planes and in airport lounges as well as in snatched moments before starting work each morning. Eavesdrop was released by Bad Day Books, the suspense and thriller imprint of Assent Publishing.

Ian is proud to support the British Science Association and donates a proportion of his book proceeds to that charity. He lives and writes in Buckinghamshire, England, with his wife and two daughters.

Welcome, Ian. Please tell us about your current release.
James Winter is a Customs Investigation Officer, but when the smuggling ring he’s closing-in on suddenly develops an uncanny knack of avoiding arrest, he is suspended on suspicion of helping them. As he tries to clear his name, he uncovers a group of assassins, industrial espionage, and a very determined Mossad agent.

The story starts with three apparently separate story threads. The first follows the assassins – they are operating in London, and when their hits suddenly start to go wrong, they begin to think they have a traitor in their midst.

The second story thread follows the smugglers. They are setting-up a new run to smuggle diamonds from Antwerp to London, and need to bring in a new courier to help. However, they soon begin to think that the man they’ve chosen is not all that he seems.

The third thread follows Winter as he tries to discover who was behind his dismissal. As the story progresses, these three threads start to come together until, by the time we reach the climax in the snowy wastes of Finland, they’ve become just one storyline and we suddenly realize there’s a lot more at stake than just Winter’s career.

It’s a fast paced thriller, and it’s the book’s title that gives us a clue as to what links the story threads.

What inspired you to write this book?
I graduated in electronics, and my first job was working for a company that designed radio equipment – transmitters, receivers, walkie-talkies and the like – and one of the ranges we made had a facility for encrypted audio. That was at the time of the Northern Ireland troubles, and we sold some of those to the Northern Ireland police force – the idea was that they didn’t want the IRA listening in to what they were saying.  And that got me thinking - what if I wanted to be able to intercept their conversations? How might I go about it? That was what gave me the main idea for Eavesdrop.

But I don’t think a single idea is large enough or strong enough to support something as big as a novel. For that, I think you need two or even three solid ideas that work together to create an overall plot. The second idea for Eavesdrop came when I thinking about the attempts to achieve peace in the Middle East, and how it is that we never seem to be able to manage it, especially around Israel.

It was only when those two ideas, together with some thoughts I’d had about smuggling, all coalesced that I realized I had a plot powerful enough to support a full length thriller – and Eavesdrop was born.


Excerpt from Eavesdrop:

Copyright © 2014 Ian Coates
All rights reserved.

PROLOGUE
August 2nd, 2010

Bashar Al-Jabib wriggled forward into position in the long grass. Everywhere smelled fresh and damp. Perched on the crag among the trees that carpeted the higher slope, he commanded an uninterrupted view of the lake in the valley bottom. Water glinted silver when the first rays of sun reached its mirrored surface. Thin ribbons of mist hung here and there above it like wraiths.

Al-Jabib’s pulse quickened with excitement. After many months of planning, it was finally time to set things in motion. He smiled to himself. They would be proud of him back home.

On the far bank, an angler tied a new fly to his line. After one final inspection, he cast toward the row of willows that edged the water, then slowly drew it back by hand so that the lure glided smoothly across the surface.

Al-Jabib reached for his rifle, felt its cold metal against his fingertips. Without taking his eyes off the fisherman, he seated the bipod in the soil to support the muzzle, and pushed the stock hard against his shoulder. Shuffling awkwardly until he was aligned with the weapon, he squinted into its telescopic sight. He noticed his nerves didn’t flutter. Years ago, he would have wet himself doing this.

Not now.

He adjusted the focus and flicked off the safety catch.

The fisherman raised his rod and flicked it forward again, letting the line run through his fingers. The man’s face looked content. Al-Jabib could see it clearly as he squeezed the trigger.

The bullet entered through the angler’s right eye. Blood spattered across the fishing bag that stood on the bank as he toppled backwards and the rod splashed into the water. In the woods, the gunshot sent a pair of pigeons flapping away through the undergrowth.

Staying on his stomach, Al-Jabib shuffled backwards off the small square of tarpaulin he’d been lying on. His whole body tingled with exhilaration. It had been a beautifully placed shot. Easy.

He retrieved the spent case, and did his best to rough-up the flattened grass before he wriggled further back into the trees. Only when he was well into their cover did he stand and brush himself down.

Al-Jabib slid his hand inside his jacket and felt for the locket that hung around his neck. His fingers caressed the polished metal, conjuring the memories, the screams, the falling masonry, and choking dust. He shouldn’t be wearing it, but it had seemed so appropriate; a fresh chapter of history was going to be written and it fell to him to prepare the ground. It was his destiny.

As he hiked the mile back to the hire car, he tapped a number into his mobile and spoke in Arabic.



Two weeks later

The meeting in Tel-Aviv drew to a close. Fluorescent strips lit the windowless room three floors below ground. The ashtrays on the table around which the eight men sat were full, and thick cigarette smoke hung in the air, the air conditioning too slow to remove it.

Ehud Mandell, a large man with heavy jowls and thick spectacles, looked around at the others from his place at the head of the table. “Any other items?” He wanted to go home. Already, the meeting had gone over time. Mandell chaired these cross-departmental security meetings, held every month under the grandiose directive of ensuring the continued security of the homeland of the Israeli State. He scratched his mop of white hair as he waited. Most of the others were already gathering up their papers.

The head of International Analysis coughed. “I have one thing.” Leon Cardash was the antithesis of Mandell: short, with sallow features that looked malnourished. His head jerked in short rapid movements when he looked around the table like a bird nervously searching for grubs.

Mandell sighed. The traffic was going to be hell. “Go on,” he said. Cardash was not known for getting to the point quickly.

“I…well…rather the head of the European team, asked me to raise this.” Cardash coughed again. “He’s very reliable, and if he says…well…if he thinks this committee needs to know about it, certainly we should not dismiss it.”

“Just get on with it,” Mandell barked.

He smiled obsequiously. “Well, a couple of weeks ago in England, one of their top government officials was assassinated during a weekend fishing break. It seems it was…er…a very professional job.”

The Chief of the Israeli Air Force spoke up. “So what? Let the Brits sort out their own mess. It’s nothing to do with us.”

Cardash tugged at his earlobe and looked down at the sheet of paper in front of him.

“Well, you see, there we’re not quite so sure. As you say, it is probably nothing, but the thing is, the British police—and we’ve seen all their reports—the thing is, they can find no motive at all.”

“I still don’t see why this is relevant.”

“It may not be, of course, but Charles Asquith—that’s the dead man—well, he was always a strong advocate of Israel and had an influential place in the British government that was often to our advantage. He has, on occasions persuaded it to make decisions that favor our position. My European head was concerned that Asquith may have been…” He hesitated as he chose for the most appropriate phrase. “…well, perhaps he was permanently removed because of it.”

Mandell took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. It had been a long day. It was fifty-fifty whether anything raised by Analysis was useful, but they were right just frequently enough that one couldn’t take the chance of dismissing them. He turned to the head of Mossad. “Perhaps you could check it out, Avraham? Do you have anyone in England who could take a look?”

The head of Mossad nodded slowly. “I’ve a man in London, Sol Halutz. He’s a pain in the arse, but he’s good at bringing a fresh perspective to things. I’ll get him to dig around.”


What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ve started work on a new thriller with the working title of The Rival. It deals with industrial espionage, a long-hidden family secret, an unusual double blackmail, and what happens when two people being blackmailed don’t want to be blackmailed any more.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve wanted to write novels since I was about 7 or 8, but wouldn’t have called myself a writer at that point. I remember once copying out the first few chapters of one of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven mysteries into a fresh notebook, changing the name of the children and the dog, and then putting my name on the front cover. I suppose I could call myself a writer by the time I reached the age of fourteen, because that was when I won a competition run by the local authority with a private-eye novella.

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 work as a technical manager in the electronics industry, so I fit my writing in between holding down a busy full-time job and helping to bring up a family. That means it gets written over breakfast, during additional snatched moments here and there, and during holidays.

Eavesdrop was largely written during a spell when I did a lot of business travel, which meant much of it was written on planes and in airport lounges.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Perhaps the fact that I write my first drafts longhand in spiral notebooks with a lovely propelling pencil that my wife bought me. There’s something special about the visceral connection between hand, pencil and paper that seems to help my creative process.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
One of my earliest memories is of wanting to be a spy.  I think that came from reading and re-reading a big fat storybook called something like “Spy Stories for Boys.” I absolutely loved that book, and that’s what made me think I wanted to become a spy when I grew up. As I got older, though, I realized it was probably rather a dangerous profession, so started to think more about technology. I confess to being a coward

As a child, I never appreciated there was such a job as a writer. I don’t know where I thought books came from, but I didn’t realize it was something you could do for a living. If I had known writing could be a profession, I guess that’s what I would have said I wanted to do.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just that I hope people enjoy reading Eavesdrop. Certainly I’d love to hear from them, and I can be contacted via social media or my website. If readers like the book, please add a review on Amazon to encourage others to also give the story a try.



Thanks, Ian!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book excerpt for contemporary romance novel Under Texas Blue Skies by Debra Holt

Welcome to today’s special feature: the contemporary romance novel, Under Texas Blue Skies by Debra Holt.

As Debra does a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, she will be awarding one lucky winner with a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. 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. 


Blurb about Under Texas Blue Skies:
J.D. Sterling, the sexy star of country music, had come back home to McKenna Springs, Texas. Years before, he had left to chase his dream and had succeeded. His life was almost perfect. Almost. He was still missing the part of his heart he had left behind…Mandy Lawson.

Amanda Lawson had changed from the young, innocent Mandy…the teenager madly in love with the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Heartbreak and tragedy would do that to a person. She was determined to keep her well-ordered, work-driven life on the successful path she had fought to achieve on her own. No singing cowboy with a devil’s smile in his green eyes and a sexy body in tight jeans was going to be allowed close enough to break her heart again.


Excerpt from Under Texas Blue Skies:
“I have other business in town also,” Amanda spoke up. “I don’t know why I was called out here but…”

“Because I want you.” Those jade green eyes pinned her to her spot. J.D.’s choice of words knocked the air out of Amanda’s lungs for a moment. Did he think that he could turn that look on her, along with that famous half-grin that sent deep grooves down his cheeks and made fingers itch to touch them and females swoon at his feet? He was still the lying, no good cowboy who had played her for a fool and then left her behind when the bright lights beckoned. He wanted her? Well, he'd had her once, but never again.

Cold blue eyes pinned him. “People don’t always get what they want, J.D. But sometimes they do get what they deserve.”

When Mandy stood looking at him with those blue eyes, where once there had been the warmth of love glowing in them for him, there was now a cool curtain, devoid of anything but a banked anger mixed with a dash of indifference. For some reason, he felt he had been judged and found lacking in her estimation. He definitely had to regroup. There was another battle ahead, and he had fought many in his lifetime and won each of them. This would be the most important one. Losing was not an option.


Author bio and links:
Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and owning a wedding planning business (ah, romance!).

Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!) When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance...Janet Dailey's Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles...and sighs... to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

The Seymour Agency represents Debra and she is soon to have two contemporary romances published by Spencer Hill/Tulip Romance and Astraea Press. Debra invites you to visit her website at www.debraholtbooks.com. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at debraholtbooks@gmail.com.


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