Monday, June 29, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of 'Turning to Stone' Gabriel Valjan

Name: Gabriel Valjan

Book: Turning To Stone

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing. Turning To Stone is Book 4. Boston, Massachusetts is where Gabriel lives and writes. His short stories started appearing online and in print in 2010.

Find out more on Amazon

Questionnaire:

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

It didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been reading since I was a kid, never thinking that I could pull it off, but I started off slowly, with short stories. The first book in the Roma Series, Roma, Underground, came about as a challenge from a coworker. I realized that I had a lot going on with Alabaster, so I ran with it. The fourth book is out; I’ve already been written the fifth.

Tell us (we won’t tell, promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

I can’t say that there is any glory in writing, but I really enjoy it. I’m disciplined, write daily, but I don’t consider it work because I have so much fun. While I may experience frustration at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Along the way, I’ve gotten to meet other writers in person or in the virtual world. Winter Goose Publishing has a gaggle of talented and supportive writers.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I’m traditionally published. I had submitted Roma, Underground when I chanced upon a call for submissions from Winter Goose one day. Working with Editor-in-Chief James Logan at Winter Goose was congenial. Later, Sherry Foley – a talented author herself – would act as a preliminary editor and reader before the book went to James. The Roma books go through at least three iterations of editing, all of which have been smooth experiences.
Before I submit any of my novels, a proofreader, a cultural editor and a line editor put the story and writing through its paces. In a word, a lot of work is put into the novel, and I haven’t even mentioned the cover-art process, which has been a collaborative effort between Winter Goose and me.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

I don’t hear any complaints. The only grief I get is from my tuxedo cat, Mr. Squeak, who glares at me if I don’t give him his quota of petting. He is known to jump into my lap while I am writing. He needs his pets. He will not be denied.

Does Mr. Squeak actually get his food on time or does he have to wait until you type just one more word?

I have two cats, Mr. Squeak and Mr. Squawk. The latter is a Bengal cat and the breed is notorious for a loud, distinctive yowl. He’s very hard to ignore, so I have to walk away from the screen and feed him. He’ll sit at his dish waiting. Both cats are a captive audience. I read dialog. Squawk dislikes adverbs. Squeak is more patient, but he’ll walk away when he disapproves. They are generous with their time and tolerant of their human so I am indulgent with treats.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

People who know me know that I hate talking on the phone. My hearing is not ideal so I’m more of a text/email person. My daily writing never interferes with meals.

What was the craziest or most insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

I wouldn’t say it was insane but the story behind Turning To Stone’s cover art is interesting. I found a black-and-white photograph online of the Medusa, taken from the side. I wrote to the photographer to ask for permission to use his photograph and where the picture had been taken. I never received a response. I spent a day on the computer looking at numerous Medusas (thank you, Google images) when I found my infamous lady. I contacted my cultural editor to hunt down the Medusa like Perseus. He took several photos and Winter Goose worked the image to our liking. Readers will find the photo credit on the inside cover. Hint: She lives in an Italian cemetery.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I don’t know about which ones to avoid. I do use Twitter and it has been a pleasant experience. Taking inspiration from author Laurie King, I’ve created Pinterest boards for each of my Roma novels so that readers can sample the writing and have visuals of Italian cuisine and locations cited in my writing.

The Pinterest board for Book 4: Turning To Stone | https://www.pinterest.com/gvaljan/turning-to-stone/

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

Amazon Author Central and Winter Goose are my two data sources on sales. Amazon Central does not detail digital sales. My sales have been evenly divided between paperback and digital, which I find interesting. While the sales haven’t been tremendous, I’d like to think that word-of-mouth is what will lift my Series up. I’m also counting on Completists, those people who like to binge read novels, starting with the first book in the series to the current addition. I know that I’m guilty of it, having read JK Rowling and Walter Mosley, to name just two authors. Such readers read for the characters, and Alabaster is an intelligent, no-nonsense woman. The problem, however, is that an author often needs a few books out there, and today’s market is a hard one in which to make my voice heard above all the noise. I’m patient and so is Winter Goose, for which I am grateful.

Each book is written as a stand-alone, but I designed the Series in such a way that readers will see a range of emotional development and responses in each of the main characters. The main character, Bianca, will confront her issues with intimacy. Readers will have had hints about what happened to her, but its magnitude is not exposed until Book 5. With each book, readers will learn more about – and love, or, understand – how each character ticks.  

Bianca is in Naples for Turning To Stone. Loki, her mysterious contact, is now giving her baffling anagrams. They seem to lead to a charismatic entrepreneur who has a plan to partner with organized crime to manipulate the euro and American dollar. Against a backdrop of gritty streets, financial speculation, and a group of female assassins on motorcycles, Bianca and her friends discover that Naples might just be the most dangerous city in Italy.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I have two pet peeves: cheesy cover art and authors who’ll DM me on Twitter to tell me to buy their books. The former devalues whatever merit the writing has. After all the effort, your book deserves better. The latter is obnoxious behavior on social media. I understand self-promotion is part of the deal, but I subscribe to Kristin Lamb’s 80-20 Rule: be social 80% of the time, with the remainder devoted to self-promotion. Kristin runs the popular blog We Are Not Alone and is the author of Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World. 

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above don’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

Let’s see what I can say before the chamomile makes me fall asleep. I didn’t get published until I was forty-two, two years after I started writing. I guess that is fast to some people, but I tell people that it took four decades of reading, of having intellectual curiosity, to become the writer I am today. At the heart of all writing is a person’s understanding of language and the impulse to frame a story. Grammar and technique can be taught, but ideas cannot. Tell the story that you have inside you. You have no control over whether you’ll make money (or not), be famous or forever obscure. Read widely other authors and genres to see how they “work” and why what they did did work. Should you be fortunate to meet your readers, stay until you have met every last one of them. You’ll be the better person. Don’t compete with other writers. Somebody will always be better at something than you. Just be you. Respect the time your readers spend with you and be grateful that they chose to spend that precious time with you.



Aeromancist by Charmaine Pauls (Book Cover Reveal)




About The Book



Title:  Aeromancist
Book 3: Seven Forbidden Arts Series
Author: Charmaine Pauls
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher:  Mélange Books
Publication Date: July 6, 2015


Preorder Book Buy Links: 
Amazon:   http://www.amazon.com/Aeromancist-Seven-Forbidden-Arts-Book-ebook/dp/B010766W5S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1435450290&sr=1-1&keywords=aeromancist



Book Description:

Passion always comes with a price.

All he could offer was thirty days of passion.

He condemned her to a terrible fate instead.

Now he’ll do everything in his power to save her.

He is known as the Weatherman. Lann Dréan is the last of his kind. A price on his head, chased for a power he should not possess, he can’t promise any woman forever. All he can offer Katherine White is thirty days of passion. But his uncontainable desire comes with an unforeseen price. Lann’s lust will cost Kat everything. Now he’ll do anything to save her from the fate he has brought upon her.

* This book contains adult content with explicit language and frequent, consummated love scenes, including light bondage, sex toys and breath play. Reader discretion is advised.

 

About The Author


Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to France with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published six novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles.

When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Chile with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

Read more about Charmaine’s romance novels and psychological short stories here on www.charmainepauls.com.


Contact Charmaine at:

Website: www.charmainepauls.com 
Blog: www.charmainepauls.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charmaine-Pauls/175738829145132 Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharmainePauls Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AuthorCharmainePauls

 

Book Cover Reveal Event Page




Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Straight From the Mouth of Christi J. Whitney, author of 'Grey'




Christi J. Whitney is a former high school theatre director with a love for the arts. She lives just outside Atlanta with her husband and two sons. When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she can be found directing plays, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, obsessing over Doctor Who, watching superhero movies, or pretending she’s just a tad bit British.

Her latest book is the young adult urban fantasy novel, Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1).
For More Information
About the Book:



Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades, and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.

But when strangers arrive in town, Sebastian soon realizes that his world is nothing at all what it seemed. Secretive gypsies surround him, shadowy figures stalk him, and the girl he’s been dreaming about turns up at school.

Now Sebastian must protect this girl at all costs, even if it means he will never be normal again.

For More Information


Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

Sure! I always enjoy a proper interrogation. The simplest answer to your question is because I love telling stories. I’ve always been a daydreamer, inventing fantasy worlds in my head since I was a child. Creating stories with characters I love and then having the opportunity to bring them to life is just unbelievably rewarding, and being an author is something I’ve dreamed about for many years.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

Well, I guess when you tell people you’re an author, it can sound pretty cool and exciting, but it’s basically like any other job. It’s a lot of hard work and many lonely hours in front of a computer. Tempering the business end of things—like marking and deadlines—with the creative process of writing can something be a daunting challenge, but I get to go to work in my pajamas, which is a huge perk. I also get to lose myself in fantasy worlds on a daily basis.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

My YA series was picked up by HarperCollins’ global science fiction/fantasy imprint HarperVoyager in February of 2014. I was one of a handful of debut authors chosen as part of an open submissions call by HarperVoyagerUK back in 2012. The timeframe from that initial submission to the day I received the call offering to buy my series was sixteen months. It was another fourteen months before actual publication. So I’ve been working with them on this entire process for almost two and a half years. Before that, Grey had gone through another journey consisting of countless rejections before coming to HarperVoyager.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

Oh, gosh, snark isn’t really my thing. I save that for my characters. But I suppose I’d say the same thing most people do. Publishing can be an incredibly long and often frustrating process.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

Well, when I wrote Grey, I was still teaching school, so I did a large amount of my writing during lunch breaks, between classes, and late at night. Now I’m able to do most of my writing in the mornings, which takes less time away from my family. Still, there are long nights of editing as I push to make deadlines, and I have to put extra hours into promoting the book. But my family has been so incredibly supportive throughout the entire process, especially my encouraging and very understanding husband. I’m a fortunate author.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

I once took a conference call with a few film producers while I was riding on the monorail at Walt Disney World during a vacation. It was crazy hectic, trying to plug my ear against the noise of a theme park while talking to people I’d never met before discussing my book and its potential.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

If it connects you with readers, then it definitely helps. I use several different ones, most frequently Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. But the social media you should avoid as a writer is any one that keeps you from writing. It can be such a time thief.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

As a debut author, the majority of marketing and promotion is my responsibility. Trying to get the word out about your book can be daunting and tiring, but it’s also been really cool connecting with people who love reading YA as much as I do. Since Grey is a digital release first, I haven’t had book signings or launch parties. Most of my sales are coming my own marketing, from word of mouth, virtual tours, book reviews, book bloggers, and lovely interviews like this one.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

Being a debut author is like being a tiny pebble dropped in an enormous pond. You’ve worked so hard on your book, spent grueling months editing and revising and revising again. You’ve gone through book cover samples and copy edits, while trying to build your online platform at the same time. You sweat blood and cry tears over your characters and your story. It’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done. And then, it’s publication time, and the ripple from your tiny pebble seems so small in all that water that is the book world, and you just wish you could yell in the loudest voice possible to every single reader on the planet . . . HERE I AM!!!!!!!

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

Wow, that’s super nice of you! Could I have a bit of milk? As to what I love about being a published author, well . . . I’m a published author! I mean, what more can you say about getting to do something you’ve dreamed about doing for years? No matter how hard and frustrating it can be, it has actually happened! I’m so blessed, I’m determined to cherish and love every minute of it.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of Wayne Zurl, Author of From New York To The Smokies Anthology Collection

Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

In a semi-professional sense I used to write non-fiction magazine articles that corresponded with a volunteer job I took after retiring from my police job. After ten years of that and the onset of a burned-out feeling, I needed a creative outlet. I thought I’d try writing fiction. Even if I never sold anything, stacking up manuscripts made more sense than trying to find a place to put model airplanes or oil paintings.


Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

I believe everyone’s concept (or dream) of being a writer is banging away on a typewriter in some furnished room in Paris or on the veranda of some garden spot overlooking a beautiful body of water and then adjourning to a local gin mill after hours to socialize with others of similar pursuits. Then after publication, you take a rest and when the inspiration hits you beginning the process all over again. The publisher’s marketing people take care of selling your books, make bookings and travel arrangements for your traditional book signings, and your life is fun and simple. After coming down from Cloud Nine, we know that that dream is complete hogwash. After you write your version of the great American novel, you become all too familiar with Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and any of the modern electronic social media venues necessary to peddle your books.

But if you like to see what you’ve written in print and hear a few kind individuals who take their valuable time to positively review what you’ve done, you feel good about the venture.


Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

For my first novel, A NEW PROSPECT, which was published in 2011, I began the traditional process of looking for an agent. I received so many rejections, I considered changing my deodorant. These came from people who never read one word of my book. Then I looked for any publisher who would accept submissions directly from a writer and I promised myself to accept the first reasonable contract offered. I was lucky enough to find someone willing to take a chance on me and Sam Jenkins. Just before getting the novel under contract, I found a publisher looking for novelette-length stories destined to be produced as one-hour audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. I remained with her from just shortly after she opened her doors in 2008 until she stopped taking new work in 2014. That amounted to twenty novelettes from the series.


What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

Most agents never write more than, “Sorry, not for us,” when they reject your idea. One nitwit had the courtesy to write back with a suggestion. His words of wisdom were: “Your main character, a sixty-year-old retired New York cop who takes a chief’s job in Tennessee, just isn’t trendy. If you consider making him a young vampire private eye from Orange County who fights crime in a Batman-like, vigilante style, I think it would fly. Get back to me and we might do something.” At that point, I gave up on finding an agent.


What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I hate how the world has changed. No more stickball, no trips to the beach as a family during those summer vacations from school, no old-fashioned kids playing with their friends. Too much texting and farting about with cell phones.



About The Anthology Collection



Title: From New York To The Smokies 
Author: Wayne Zurl 
Series: 5 Book Anthology Collection from the Sam Jenkins Mystery Series 
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC 
Publication Date: April 16, 2015 
Format: Paperback - 163 pages / eBook  / PDF 
ISBN: 978-1680460780 
Genre: Mystery / Police Procedural   


Buy The Anthology Collection:

Book Description: 

Author Wayne Zurl is back with his popular Sam Jenkins Mysteries SeriesFrom New York To The Smokies is a 5 book anthology collection from the Sam Jenkins Mysteries Series!    


THE BOAT TO PRISON 

Seventeen-year-old Sam Jenkins is busy fishing and falling in love with a girl named Kate. But with a father involved with the union and a divorced mother, Sam often finds himself acting like the adult of the family. During a fishing trip off Long Island, Sam overhears a conversation involving dangerous plans that can land his dad in jail. To keep his father out of prison, Sam teams up with detectives from the county’s rackets bureau and enlists the help of two friends to pull off an operation far beyond their usual high school curriculum.   

FAVORS 

Police community Service Aide Liz Lopez should be in fine spirits—she’s in line for a promotion to police officer and a raise. But her sullen demeanor tells her boss, Lieutenant Sam Jenkins, that Liz is anything but happy. Jenkins begins an unofficial investigation to find out what’s going on. The detective learns of a bizarre home life and a dark secret Liz keeps under wraps. FAVORS is a story of how the police take care of their own—in an honest and compassionate way.   

ANGEL OF THE LORD 

A killer is on the loose in Prospect, Tennessee. He strikes repeatedly, each time leaving a cryptic message for the police to find. By the time a fifth body turns up, Police Chief Sam Jenkins is under pressure—either solve the murders or bring in outside help. But the chief’s ego won’t allow others to work his cases. And at the eleventh hour he tracks down a prime suspect, but death is only seconds away for the next victim.   

MASSACRE AT BIG BEAR CREEK 

A misunderstanding between hunters rapidly escalates into a battle not seen in Southern Appalachia since the Hatfield and McCoy feud. As bodies pile up faster than evidence, Sam Jenkins and the officers of Prospect PD scour the remote hills and valleys of East Tennessee and North Carolina to solve a case that reads more like an old west adventure than a modern police drama.   

ODE TO WILLIE JOE 

Prospect, Tennessee Police Chief Sam Jenkins receives two reports of UFO sightings in three days. The gritty ex-New York detective doesn’t believe in coincidence…or space aliens, but he can’t find anything to explain a glowing spaceship and little green men—until he sends Sergeant Stan Rose and Officer Junior Huskey to Campbell’s Woods. They call in a startling discovery, and the investigation begins.


  
    


Book Excerpt:

     From ANGEL OF THE LORD

The rain never stopped. From early June through late August, it poured or drizzled almost every day. I thought if I stood still too long I might begin to mold. It reminded me of the monsoons in Southeast Asia.
Drops of rain falling from the brim of my cap were exceeded only by the young woman’s tears.
“When did you see the boy last?” I asked.
“Right after breakfast. He went into the living room to watch TV, and I started doing laundry in the basement.”
“And when you came upstairs he was gone?”
More tears rolled over her cheeks as she stood there, wringing her hands. “Yes.”
“Was your door locked?”
“Lord have mercy, no.”
“Is your son’s rain jacket here?”
She shrugged and cried a little more.
“Let’s look,” I suggested.
We walked to the mud room off the kitchen. A small hooded jacket hung on one of the five pegs over an antique wooden chair not six feet from the back door. A small pair of bright blue rubber Wellingtons sat on the floor.
“You call for him outside?”
“Of course. I ran all around.”
Without the puffy eyes and fear scarring her face, Emily Suttles would have been an attractive brunette.
“And then you called 9-1-1?”
“Yes.”
“What was he watching?”
“I don’t know. He knows how to work the TV.”
“You turn it off?”
“One of the policemen did.”
“Let’s take a look.”
She stared at me as if I had two heads. “Why?”
“Indulge me.”
Back in the living room, Emily picked up the remote control and turned on a flat screen about the size of a stretch van. The American Movie Classics channel came on playing a scene from Halloween 4.
“Did you or the cops look through the house?” I asked.
“Yes, of course.”
“All over?”
“Every room.”
“Slowly or quick?”
“Quick. I was frantic.”
“Let’s try again. Where’s Elijah’s room?”
“Upstairs.” Emily began to look impatient. “I know he’s not there.”
We walked upstairs anyway. I looked under the bed. Nothing. The boy’s mother called his name. More nothing. I opened the closet. Huddled in the left corner, leaning against the wall, four-year-old Elijah Suttles slept peacefully, a small flashlight in his right hand. I shook his knee.
“Hey, partner, you doing okay in here?”
He opened his eyes, blinked rapidly, and looked frightened.
“Take it easy, son. I’m a policeman. Your mom couldn’t find you and asked for some help.”
“Jesus have mercy, Elijah,” his mother said, “you ‘bout scared me half ta death. You come out here right now, young man.”
“Go slow, Mrs. Suttles. He probably had a good reason to hide in here. Didn’t you, son?”
The little boy nodded, but still looked scared.
“Something happen on the TV?”
Another nod.
“Ready to come out now?”
The boy stuck out a hand, and I pulled. Once on his feet, he scrambled to his mother and locked onto her leg, mumbling an apology.
“Some of these slasher movies scare me, too,” I said. “He just ran from the killer on the screen. Wasn’t a bad idea.”
Emily Suttles hugged her son, looked at me, and said, “Thank you.”
“I’ll call the three officers and let them know your son’s safe.”

I switched on the ignition in my unmarked Crown Victoria and keyed the microphone. “Prospect-one to headquarters and all units. The missing child has been found. Resume patrol. Five-twelve, close out the call at 1015 hours.”
PO Johnny Rutledge acknowledged. “10-4, Prospect-one.”
“Five-oh-nine, I copy that,” Billy Puckett said.
After a long moment of silence, Sergeant Bettye Lambert, our desk officer, broke in. “Unit 513, five-one-three, do you copy?”
No answer.
“Anyone know 513’s 10-35?” I asked.
“Joey was goin’ house ta house, east end o’ the street,” Puckett said.
“I’m probably the closest,” I said. “I’ll check.”
Just as I shifted into reverse, PO Joey Gillespie spoke on the radio.
“513 ta Prospect-one. Boss, ya gonna need ta see this. 1175 Benny Stillwell Road, obvious 10-5.”
10-5 is our brevity code for a homicide.
* * * *
Two men lay face down on the kitchen floor. One with a shaved head made it easy to see the small caliber bullet hole at the base of his skull—a .25 perhaps or more likely a .22. Blood trickled from the wound down past his right ear, over a thick neck, and onto the Mexican tile floor. The other victim’s blood oozed to his left. Funny, the little details you notice at the scene of a murder.
“You call crime scene and the ME?” I asked.
“Yessir, had Miss Bettye do it right after I called ya.”
I nodded and looked around the kitchen of a relatively new and expensive home. “Big house.”
Joey Gillespie nodded.
“At least 4,000 square feet,” I guessed. “And quality. These guys had bucks.”
He nodded again and looked a little queasy.
“The air hasn’t come on recently. In this humidity blood tends to stink quicker. Smell bother you?”
“Yessir, I ain’t used ta this.”
“Nobody gets used to it, kid. You just learn to ignore it.”
“I guess.”
“You search the rest of the house?”
“Jest looked on the first floor ta see if there was anybody here.”
“Basement?”
“Nosir. On a slab.”
“Let’s go upstairs.”
I drew my old Smith & Wesson from the holster on my right hip, and Joey pulled out his .40 caliber Glock.
“Look around, and pay attention. Don’t watch me. There’s probably no one here, but we’ll do this by the numbers.”
“Yessir. I’m right behind ya.”
We made a quick sweep of the first floor, opening all the closets before ascending the stairs. The landing above left us in a hallway with what looked like four bedrooms, two baths and two closet doors. We found nothing in the guest johns or closets. A lack of personal property in three of the bedrooms led me to believe they were set also aside for guests. We looked further in the master suite and discovered two closets holding clothing for two different people.
“I guess the two guys slept t’gether,” Joey said.
“Yep.”
“Strange, huh?”
“Not strange, just a minority.”
“Uh-huh.”
Two car doors slammed out front.
“Let’s see who’s here,” I suggested.
Jackie Shuman and David Sparks, crime scene investigators from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, had arrived and stood in the foyer holding cameras and forensic kits. Moments later, Deputy Medical Examiner Morris Rappaport and his assistant Earl Ogle pulled up in the morgue wagon.

“How’d ya find these two?” Jackie asked of no one in particular.
“I’s checkin’ the neighborhood for a missin’ child,” Joey said. “Got no answer here, but there was two cars in the driveway and the garage was closed. Figgered someone’s home, so I walked ‘round back and seen them layin’ here on the floor.”
“Nice wheels out there,” David said.
“Audi S7 and an F-Type Jag,” I said. “Pushing a hundred grand apiece.”
“And they’re relatively new, right?” Morris asked.
“The Jag’s new, and the Audi’s not far behind.”
“With these two sporty drivers, why do you suppose there’s an oil spot on the concrete driveway?”
“Good question, Mo,” I said. “Something for our ace evidence technicians to explore.”
“We’ll git’er done,” Jackie said.
“And take pictures of this table top. Someone ruined a nice antique.”
Jackie looked closer at the numbers someone crudely scratched into the mellow wood finish.
“Thirteen thirteen,” he said. “Wonder what that means?”
“Two unlucky numbers,” Morris said.
“Two unlucky guys,” I said. “Has to mean something. Finding out will keep me from playing in the traffic.”


 
Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE



About The Author

       
       


Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara. 

Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books. Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award.

His full-length novels are: A NEW PROSPECT, A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT, HEROES & LOVERS, and PIGEON RIVER BLUES

The all new FROM NEW YORK TO THE SMOKIES, an anthology of five Sam Jenkins mysteries is available in print and eBook, published by Melange Books, LLC. 

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You may read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.   

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Pursuit of Justice by Ben Matthews #LegalThriller



Title: The Pursuit of Justice
Author: Ben Matthews
Publisher: Rushton Press
Genre: Legal Thriller
Format: Kindle/Paperback

  “A satisfying, well plotted mystery that should please the court.” — Kirkus Reviews

 Attorney Raymond Jackson is troubled by ethics charges, his failing practice, and memories of his still missing sister. When he agrees to resolve the ethics charges by taking on a case from the public defender, he gets saddled with a client nobody wants. The client is charged with the murder of his former girlfriend, an exotic dancer who was pregnant at the time of the crime. Investigating the State’s key witness, Ray discovers several similar unsolved murders from the past few years. Needing help, Ray must turn to the man he trusts the least. Ray also becomes involved in a money laundering investigation with his old girlfriend. As the bodies pile up, Ray finds himself framed for murder on the eve of trial. When the investigations collide, the cases become personal and Ray must choose between justice for his client or himself.

  “Matthews…keeps the pages turning.”—Kirkus Reviews

To Purchase The Pursuit of Justice

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Blended Family Bliss, a nonfiction work.

For More Information
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Ben Matthews is a native of South Carolina.  He is a graduate of Presbyterian College, the University Of South Carolina School Of Law and is admitted to the South Carolina Bar. He maintains a law practice in South Carolina.   His practice has allowed him to appear in the Horry County Courtrooms on many occasions. Although he is not a resident of Myrtle Beach, he spent many weeks of summer, multiple spring breaks and a host of weekends along the Grand Strand where he learned to water ski, fish, crab, shrimp, scuba dive and party. It is still the number one getaway for him and his wife.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of 'April Snow' Lynn Steward

Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. April Snow is volume two in the Dana McGarry Series.  A Very Good Life was published in March 2014.


Questionnaire:

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, would be a fun project.  But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York in the seventies because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, the TV series expanded to five seasons! Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingle fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business.
After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character, Dana McGarry, needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to convert the pilot into a novel.  A Very Good Life, inspired by the pilot and first season, was published last year. My new novel, April Snow, is based on season two.                                   
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

After two careers in competitive, fast-paced industries, I have found writing to be the most relaxing and pleasant work I have known. Ideas for stories develop as I research real life female characters in the worlds of fashion, art, and business and events in the archives of newspapers and magazines. Once a flicker of a story is sparked, I can spend endless enjoyable hours developing plots and characters on the page. The only demands are the ones I put on myself; overall, it is the most wonderful experience.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I self-published April Snow, as I did A Very Good Life. I spent three years researching, developing and writing before volume one was finished, so by then, I was ready to publish. I knew it could take years to find an agent, and more time to be picked-up by a traditional publisher.  In preparation, I did extensive research on the self-publishing process, and found bloggers tremendously helpful. I also hired a good team: a graphic designer, a formatting company, two editors, a proofreader, and a lawyer to vet the manuscript. The Amazon community was great and responsive, and the whole process went smoothly. I am grateful for the opportunity to self-publish, and I appreciate the opportunity to be discovered by a traditional publisher if I am successful on-line. I also happen to have a strong marketing background and am not only knowledgeable about design, I enjoy the creative process. Even so, I have a graphic designer to help me as there is just never enough time to do it all. Social media and promotion are crucial and must be done regularly before and after publishing if you want your book to be discovered.  I strongly recommend hiring the right people if you can’t do it yourself.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

I do not have children, very few family distractions, and understanding friends. The good news is that I manage my own time, the bad news is that, without boundaries, I don’t know when to take a break.
  
Are your plants actually still alive?

Few plants, some survive.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
I turn off my cell phone, and put it in another room. I skip dinner many nights.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

I’m happy to say all went smoothly and I kept my sanity.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I try to keep my Facebook page current, I have 509 Likes, and I work on Pinterest every morning. I haven’t been too active on Twitter.  However, I don’t think social networks are working that well for me. I will be hiring a consultant for advice. Another learning curve in the world of self-publishing!

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

Sales are good when I take advantage of Amazon’s promotions, but, as I have read repeatedly, the more books available, the better the sales. I am hoping that April Snow will increase sales of book one, A Very Good Life.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I was number one for twenty-six hours on Amazon’s list of Top 100 Free Books.
I was watching the list on my iPad while I was working at my desk, and saw that A Very Good Life was number 42, then every time I glanced at the screen, it was running up the chart. When it reached number five, I thought, OMG, could it really….and then it hit the top….and sat at number one for twenty six hours over Memorial Day weekend. BTY…free books are a must if you want to garner reviews. 

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I love the independence, the solitude, and the creative process.




Thursday, June 4, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of 'Ashamet, Desert-Born' Terry Jackman

Terry Jackman’s debut novel is Ashamet, Desert-Born, an adventure fantasy in an Arabian Nights world – or is it? (oh, Terry is really Teresa but NOBODY calls her that) Otherwise she’s a mild-mannered English lady living in a pretty village, not so far from the Manchester United stadium, with an ancient cross, cobblestones and a duckpond. Don’t believe her? Check the wiki entry for Lymm, or http.lymm.com or www.lymmvillage.co.uk/blog and see for yourself?
Well, that’s one version.

The other Terry, apart from being an English teacher who grew up in a house without books, was once the best qualified professional picture framer in the world. Which led to articles, seminars and guest appearances, and ultimately into fiction.

And if you think that’s odd ask her how she sold her first three articles, and how Ashamet got published!


Questionnaire:

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I’m sure there are people who actually decide that but honestly I just needed to write. In fact my first articles were my way of finding out if I could write anything worth reading. I hadn’t planned on getting sucked into more for another ten years. I always wanted to write fiction. I just got delayed enroute. 

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
         
          The perks? You can live inside your head for hours, days, years, where all kinds of fascinating things and people have sneakily taken up residence. And you get to meet great real people, both readers and writers.
Demands? You need to get all those fascinating things and people onto a page, before they nag you to death!

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

          I went traditional. Some of my best friends have self-published successfully but I guess I don’t have that degree of confidence, or nerve. Getting paid has always been my way of checking that what I’ve written is good enough. I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask about the nitty gritty of it though, since for me it was enormous fun from start to finish.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

          Happily my family have been very good about my continual absences from their lives, to the point of humoring some strange woman who actually can’t concentrate on writing if they’re too near. I think that says it all.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

          No pets these days, I’m afraid, but my husband has learned to cook a lot more than fish fingers.

Are your plants actually still alive?

          Ah. Only if I put them next to a water tap, thus reminding myself to water them. Occasionally.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

          Um. I have been known to ignore calls, helped by the fact there’s 1] an answering machine and 2] the few people who know my mobile number also know it’s wise to text. And I usually leave early for work, so I can read or think on the bus then grab a coffee in town and work on, with one eye on the clock and less distance to cover. And did I mention my other half can cook?

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

          Oh that’s SO easy. As you may have gathered I love writing, but I’m not good at submitting. I sent Ashamet out twice. One UK publisher held onto it for a year, the other said it was “too difficult to market”. Ah, I thought, it’s not good enough then, and shelved it. Yes, I know one is supposed to send and send and send and… but I didn’t.
Only then Dragonwell Publishing heard about it from someone else and asked if I would be “interested” in sending them something! Instant panic and emails to friends, the best of which replied, “Stop panicking woman, just send it!” and so Ashamet was sold, in ten incredible days. Truth really can be stranger than fiction.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

          I like talking to people, but I don’t enjoy selling ‘me’, so a lot of my interactions are with people I already know, like the British Science Fiction Association where I coordinate the writers’ groups, and swap crits, or NorthwriteSF, which is a face to face group for published writers (something I couldn’t do when I started out). Or even reading stories for Albedo One magazine in Ireland and giving some feedback. I guess I like to pay forward.
          I like to follow discussions too, on Facebook or LinkedIn, but otherwise I think my favorite social media is now face to face at conventions. I’ve met some lovely people that way, and listened to and taken part in some great panels. (I’m actually a pretty good moderator, being a nicely balanced Libra type.)

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

          Since Ashamet is my debut the only answer I can give to this is: I’d love some. I do know some people have pre-ordered, which feels wonderful, and yes, I will be pushy enough to mention the date in my regular page in Focus magazine. After that… a Brit publisher had very kindly invited me to read as a guest at one of their own launches in July, and another has offered to add copies of Ashamet to their dealer table. (See what I mean about lovely people?) But honestly I’m really crossing my fingers and hoping that enough people will read it and give favorable reviews to spread the word. I’d far rather have other people say Ashamet is worth reading than claim it myself.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

          Scream, as in bad? The last time someone asked me that question I chose the remark “There’s no demand for it”, which I always heard just after I’d asked for something! But about this, I don’t think I can complain at all right now. So far for me the whole publishing experience has been a lot more fun than I expected. I might have muttered something unladylike when we had to scrap the original cover art quite late in, but then I think the new version is even better – so who’s complaining?

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

          I love that I’ve achieved this goal, and that someone loved Ashamet enough to ask for it.
I love having a publisher who discusses everything, and an editor who kept making me laugh and wanted words adding rather than taking out.
I love the idea that other people, I hope, will enjoy reading Ashamet, Desert-Born as much as I enjoyed writing it.

ABOUT THE BOOK

TitleAshamet, Desert-Born
Genre: Fantasy/adventure/romance/paranormal
Author: Terry Jackman
Find out more on Amazon
A desert world. A warrior nation that worships its emperor as a god. But for Ashamet, its prince, a future filled with danger...
Ashamet is confident his swordsmanship, and his arranged marriage, will be enough to maintain the empire’s peace. But when a divine symbol magically appears on his arm, closely followed by an attempt on his life, he no longer knows who to trust. Worse, the strange attraction he feels toward a foreign slave could be another trap. As events unravel, too fast,Ashamet must find out if this innocent young male is a tool for his enemies--or the magic key to his survival.
"Ashamet, Desert-Born" is a debut adventure fantasy with an exotic Arabian-style setting and elements of same-sex romance.