Friday, May 25, 2018

Interview with mystery author Sam Stone

Author Sam Stone helps me wrap up this week by chatting about her new supernatural crime thriller, Posing for Picasso.

Blurb about Posing for Picasso:
It was Annabel, and something was wrong with the features … He thought he saw a triangle, not an irregular jigsaw shape after all. And it was missing from her face. As if a sharp pastry cutter mould had been stamped through her skull.

Someone is killing young girls in New York. Horrific murders where the bodies are being mutilated and parts harvested for unknown reasons. Detective Jake Chandler has a mystery on his hands, and even though there seems to be a connection to the Russian artist Avgustin Juniper, Juniper himself seems innocent and as confused as everyone else as to what is happening.

So why is Juniper painting all the murdered women, and what is stalking the artist? Something wants to return … something which was also known to Pablo Picasso … and only Chandler can stop it.

“A powerful mix of the supernatural and police investigation.” Peter James

“A novel that is dark, disturbing, and utterly tremendous entertainment.” Ken Bruen

“Confidently blends the supernatural and the Gothic with the crime novel. Satisfyingly gruesome; genuinely spooky.” Mike Ripley

Stone’s trademark imagination runs riot as the traditional spooky chiller meets hardcase crime head-on. Intriguing, smart and very entertaining.” Paul Finch

Welcome, Sam. Please tell us about your current release.
Posing for Picasso is something of a departure for me from my usual work. I’ve been fascinated with thrillers since a young age however. I decided that I wanted to write a cross-genre story and the title came to me first. I first posed myself a question of ‘what if’? As a fan of Picasso’s work I began to explore the thought of ‘What if Picasso’s models actually looked like the figures depicted in his most famous works?’ After that the idea shaped itself into this story. It is set in modern day New York, with exerts from Picasso’s (fictional) diaries. The story is about inspiration and where that comes from.

Excerpt from Posing for Picasso:
Juniper reached the top of the stairs and began to walk down the landing towards his apartment.
The front door was slightly ajar.
How careless! Juniper thought. Idiot! He cursed himself for being too distracted. I’m probably in love. I’m entitled to make some mistakes. Besides, no one ever came up this far. Juniper only had models calling, no one else. Until recently he hadn’t had much money, but was careful not to get into debt. He had no enemies. And, although New York was known for crime, he hoped there was nothing of interest in this old building that might attract the wrong sort to come snooping—especially this far up. Despite his earlier irritation about the front door being left ajar, he had always felt safe here.
Juniper walked inside his apartment. The door opened up onto his working space. The lights were off, but moonlight poured through the starlight window. It illuminated the picture on his easel. The painting he was working on of Annabel, glowed with the same ethereal quality that she had when he looked at her. It really was perfect—almost finished. Just a few more strokes of the brush and it would be there.
He closed the door behind him, then placed the bag of wine and food onto the bureau along with his keys and wallet.
Juniper approached the easel. He almost stepped on the paint brush that he had dropped earlier. He smiled at the memory and then bent to retrieve it. He dipped the brush in spirits, rinsed through the hardening paint, cleaning it. Then he selected another brush from the jar next to the spirits and picked up a tube of dark blue oil paint. He squeezed a little onto his palette, ran the brush into it, then added a little white to lighten the color until he was happy that the shade matched the one he had used on the canvas.
The brush twitched in his fingers. The air beside him moved. Pressure built between his eyes as he tried to resist. He knew Annabel would be waiting in the bedroom for him, yet he had to do this. Just one, two, three, strokes. There! It was done. Now he could forget this until tomorrow.
A stifled sound, almost a cry, came from the bedroom. Juniper froze, startled, but also because he was unsure what he had heard. Maybe Annabel had turned off the radio beside the bed. Maybe it was the groan of the shower as the stop button was pressed. This old building often emitted sounds that Juniper had learned to live with but that sound, he couldn’t quite place.
Juniper put the paint brush down on the table beside his easel. Then he walked down the narrow corridor, past the empty, dark bathroom and opened the door to the bedroom.
The bed was empty. Annabel was on the balcony outside, or at least that was what he thought. There was a shape there, strangely dulled, not illuminated at all in the street lights.
“I’m back!” he called.
The shape moved. Juniper knew that eyes watched him. The hair on his arms and the back of his neck stood up.
“I hope you missed me …” Avgustin said. His voice was soft, teasing.
A prickle of anxiety crept along his spine as Annabel didn’t answer. A peculiar lethargy consumed his limbs. He stopped in the middle of the room as overwhelming tiredness swept over him. His eyes dulled, as though he was wearing sunglasses in the dark, but he could still make out a second shape. And this one he knew without doubt really was Annabel. Juniper blinked. He forced his arm to move, rubbed a softly clenched fist into one of his eyes. There was a blur, a flurry of movement and then a dull thud: a sound that would replay over and over in his head.
The tiredness began to leave him. It was as though some miasma had enclosed his body, but now the fog was clearing. Juniper crossed the threshold onto the balcony. The whole space was lit up now, not only by the streetlight below, but also by the side light on his wall outside.
There was no one there.
He experienced a sense of confusion and then the sounds of hysteria floated up to him as though he were waking from a drug induced sleep.
He staggered to the railing, every step forced the paralysis farther away, and his eyes cast downwards, into the street below.
It was hard to make sense of what he saw at first. A weird shape in a robe. A twisted body—arms and legs at painful angles. And a face turned upwards that was somehow incomplete.
Four stories up, Juniper could not make out all of the detail and so he later told himself that his hysterical mind had created this bizarre image. It was as though something was gone—like a jigsaw puzzle awaiting its final piece. A part that had been lost. No! Stolen.
But it wasn’t a puzzle that lay below him. It was Annabel, and something was wrong with the features that had inspired him. He thought he saw a triangle, not an irregular jigsaw shape after all. And it was missing from her face. As if a sharp pastry cutter mold had been stamped through her features.
“Annabel!” he screamed.
Below a man looked up and shouted. Juniper didn’t understand his words. They did not make any sense at all because what the man was saying was wrong. Impossible.
“It was him!” shouted the man. “He threw her over.”
Darkness swamped his vision again. Tears seeped like black rain. Juniper was blind. His heart a cold mass that hurt beyond endurance but still somehow continued to pump blood through his icy veins. He slumped to the ground and he stayed there until the uniformed police arrived to take him away.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next work is the sixth book in my Kat Lightfoot Mysteries Series – And Then There Was Kat. These are horror/steampunk adventures set in the 19th Century. They are often fun, scary and fantastical! Each one in the series plays homage to a famous film or book you’ve mostly likely heard of, but they are all original and unique plots and adventures. (Zombies At Tiffany’s, Kat on a Hot Tin Airship, What’s Dead PussyKat, Kat of Green Tentacles, and Kat and the Pendulum) I have a great deal of fun writing them.

I’ve also just finished my first none supernatural novel – a straight forward thriller that I hope to share more with you about in the near future.

Next up after the Lightfoot Novella – I have to write two western horror stories, one Lovecraftian story set in the roman era and a horror story that’s based in the North West of England because I was born there. These are for various anthologies.

Then I think I’ll be back on writing a new thriller that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have been writing since the age of 11 after I read my first adult thriller The Collector by John Fowles. I always thought I could be a writer. I spent all of my free time either reading or writing. Even though I had some short fiction and poetry published I couldn’t really lay claim to that title of ‘writer’ until my first book was published in 2007. After that there was the fear of ‘Can I really do this again? Or is it a fluke? I’ve just finished my 18th novel and I’ve over 40 short stories published, as well as my first screenplay that went to DVD last November. Perhaps I can now say, ‘yes, I’m a writer!’

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’ve been very fortunate for the last few years to be able to write full time. This is absolutely a job for me but it is also a passion. And, I’d even go as far as saying it is an obsession at times too.

I wake at 6.30 am every morning and after getting my first cup of tea I’m straight to work. If I’m working on a novel I’m aiming to write no less than 5000 words a day these days but my record so far is 9015! The first two hours is usually spent editing what I wrote the day before, this is a process of warming up my brain, reminding myself of the thought processes I had and then I’m ready to gallop forward.

My husband, David, stops me for meals – I probably wouldn’t eat otherwise (I am so fully submerged in the world I’m creating that sometimes it’s difficult to leave it!). So I get enforced breaks thanks to him. Depending where I am in the novel, I break for the day anytime between 4-6 pm. Then I go and prep dinner. Cooking and a glass of wine brings me back down to Earth!

When I’m not writing I’m mentally plotting the next part of the book, or indeed the start of a new one. I feel like I’m always working – but that is when I’m happiest.

Other writing days in between writing novels or short stories might involve writing up ideas into synopsis’s for my agent. I’m doing a lot more of this these days!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
The way I write is perhaps a little unique in that I have to have a race with myself. From the very first line I’m seeing the goal post. I truly believe the best thing to do is just write and get to the finish line. You can always tweak and improve once you have a full draft. And, there are no half-finished books in bookstores! So not finished, not published!

Also, I deliberately end every day in the middle of some important moment. That way it’s easier to pick up where you left off the day before!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My other passion was drama and music. I wanted to be a singer as well as a writer. I became a high school English/Drama teacher first, but because I studied music for many years I was also a private vocal coach. I’m a lyric soprano and I still sing for pleasure.

Ultimately though my vocation has always been writing.

As a child I was always making up stories and conversations in my head that I wanted to write down. I lived in a world of fiction. Books – the best entertainment in the world – captivated me. I always had a good imagination too, but it took me a while to have the confidence to start sending work out, so in that way I was a late bloomer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you want to know more about my work then please check out my website.

I have a range of titles – A science fiction post-apocalyptic trilogy (third part due out soon) which is kind of Independence Day meets Lord of the Rings via Men are from Mars Women are from Venus. I also have an award-winning vampire series (The Vampire Gene Series) which was how I started, this I describe as Queen of the Damned meets Quantum Leap with a dash of Hellraiser (Currently 6 titles), and of course my Kat Lightfoot Mysteries.

I’m certainly going more towards writing thrillers now though, so if this is more your thing, then hopefully I’ll have something to reveal soon!

Hope you enjoy Posing for Picasso!


Thanks for joining me today.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Interview with novelist Natashia Brewer

Author Natashia Brewer is here today and we’re talking about her new Christian novel, Biblical Proportions.

During her book tour, Natashia will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) 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.

Natashia Brewer is the established Resonation Entertainment Group in 2014. Since the launch of her company, she has released many motivating and inspiring musical and literary projects, like: The Infinite Love EP; Love Song the book; and Biblical Proportions. When she isn’t creating music for upcoming projects, writing books, conducting interviews, or writing blog post, Natashia is a contributing songwriter for the charity Songs of Love, creating personalized songs for sick children.

In addition to being a published author, songwriter, and music producer, Natashia is a speaker whose objective is to use her life’s testimony to uplift and inspire others. Letting people know that they can change their lives if they change their minds.
Natashia is currently married with two children, she resides in Maryland.

Welcome, Natashia. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Biblical Proportions is a story about twin brothers who are music executives in their family business, the dynamics of this book was inspired by the story of Esau and Jacob from the Bible. James and Edward are polar opposites, but they find themselves in the battle of a lifetime. These two gentlemen where fighting the consequences of some bad choices and the only way out was to strengthen their faith and surrender to the will of the Lord. They found their strength, peace, and their purpose along the way.

What inspired you to write this book?
This idea of writing the book Biblical Proportions was dropped in my spirit as I was reading the Bible and recognized that the situations we are dealing with today are already written. At that moment I recognized that stories needed to be told to: one to bring awareness to how relatable the Bible is; two show the readers how important developing a relationship with the Lord is; and three share an overall message. 

Excerpt from Biblical Proportions:
Cynthia could not resist that man of hers. So, she grabbed his hands and stood in front of him. He pulled her close, embraced her, and placed his forehead upon hers. He began to pray over him and his wife. 
“Dear Lord, hear my pleas. I lift my heart to you today. I ask that you give Cynthia and me strength to make the right decisions. I ask that you show me how to love her through the pain that I have inflicted upon her. I ask that you open her heart to receive and forgive. I ask that you heal the deep wounds that have been created because of poor choices. I decree and declare that our marriage will be made whole again. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen!” Edward prayed.
Cynthia was full of emotions as Edward gently lifted her face and kissed her quivering lips. The peck quickly turned into something that neither of them thought it would be. 

Life Lesson Two: Ignoring an issue will not make it disappear. You must become grounded in the word so that you will have the strength to endure the storm.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next book is titled – There Was Power in the Pain, From the Pit to the Palace which is the story about my life.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I held a copy on my first book in my hands. It was a very humbling and surreal moment.

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 not write full-time. I am a songwriter, music producer, and a speaker. I also have a background in IT Project Management and I work temporary assignments from time to time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My interesting writing quirk would be that I must be in my bed and listening to music. I don’t want anyone around me. Just me, my laptop, and my music – in the zone

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I wanted to be a lawyer (well what others wanted me to be). I spent a lot of time alone growing up which increased my creativity. I loved to draw and build things. I also found a love for writing and music.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
One final thought/statement, I believe that if you change your mind, you can change your life. If you are ready to do something different and change your life, join the Renew Your Mind Challenge Facebook group. Thank you. Peace and blessings.

Biblical Proportions is now available for purchase, visit – today. 


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Interview with mystery writer Yolanda Renee

Today is the sixth interview in a series with the authors of

Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

About the anthology:
The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

“Each story is fast paced, grabbing the reader from the beginning.”
- Readers' Favorite, 5 stars

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter.

So far, we’ve had C.D. Gallant-King (on April 19), Gwen Gardner (on April 26), Jemi Fraser (on May 2), Christine Clemetson (on May 11), Rebecca M. Douglass (on May 15) and now Yolanda Renee is here to chat about her mystery short story called “Cypress, Like the Tree.”

Looking for a new adventure, Renée moved to Myrtle Beach South Carolina. A storyteller from a very early age, an avid reader, and with an education and background in business and accounting, becoming a writer only made sense. And writing mysteries pure logic.

That some of her stories mirror her life, only coincidence. Honest!
Welcome, Yolanda. What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
The speed at which the story can be told. I’m a flash fiction junkie and to tell a complete story in a few words is an exciting challenge.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
In “Cypress, Like the Tree,” I wrote of an incident in my own life. I turned it on its head by asking the question, “what if a murder had happened instead’? In the first IWSG Anthology, Parallels Felix Was and in my story Ever-Ton, I wrote the story around a scene from a dream. Several of my recent short stories were written around current events, again using the ‘what if’ writing technique. Many of my stories are based on dreams, nightmares, and scenes from my own life.

What genre are you inspired to write the most? Why?
I love mysteries, romance, and horror. I like combining all three. Why? Because it’s what I want to read.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the draft of the 5th book in my Detective Quaid series, Murder, Just Because, about a serial killer who sees murder as his artistic expression. Stowy Jenkins, the antagonist, appears in the Prequel to the Detective Quaid Series, The Snowman. He is arrested and sentenced to life, but in Murder, Just Because, he escapes and vengeance is his motive.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After a poem was published in a newsletter. It was an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment. I was hooked.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
My advice is simple, stay on top of what’s selling and pay attention to what the literary agents and publishers are looking for. Writer’s conferences are one of the best places to get the skinny on the market.

Marketing is my most significant failing especially as I write what I want to read. But maybe mixing romance, mystery, and horror is asking a lot from the readers. I know I’m not the only one out there that blends the genres, just that some do it more successfully than others. Who knows maybe someday, I’ll be mainstream…

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My desk, room, even my life must all be organized before I can concentrate on a new book project. Chaos throws off my muse.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a history teacher but pursued accounting because I also wanted to run my own business. I’ve done all it, even teaching, but hands down, writing is the most satisfying.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just how important it is to leave a review. One sentence is enough, and the author appreciates it beyond measure, and yes, even the negative ones. Happy reading everyone!

Thanks for being here today, Yolanda!

Tick Tock links:

Purchase links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes