Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hannah Harrington - Speechless - Anti-Bullying Campaign Giveaway


October is National Bullying Prevention Month
and Teen Read Week

MTV, Brittany Snow and the Jed Foundation have come together to create the “Love is Louder Foundation” - a non-profit to help PREVENT BULLYING. They want to do something to help those feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone...and so can you.

Speechless is the official “Love is Louder” novel in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month and Teen Read Week from Harlequin TEEN. It’s a novel set in high school exploring the real-life teen issues of bullying, mean girls, LGBT awareness and hate crimes, told in the voice of a teen going through it all.

Thousands of people just like you have come together to raise the volume around the message that LOVE and SUPPORT are louder than any internal or external voice that brings you down.

Now we are asking for YOUR help. ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS SIGN A COPY of Speechless to show your support for Anti-Bullying Month. The book will be used to raise awareness against bullying.

http://www.LoveIsLouder.com/Speechless

Sign the book and then Tweet your support:

"I signed #SPEECHLESSnovel to support Anti-Bullying Month”

#LOVEISLOUDER

#SPEECHLESS

A new survey by Harlequin TEEN, a leading publisher of novels for teens and young adults, and the Jed Foundation’s Love is Louder movement, finds that 70 percent of young women between 16 and 21 have been bullied, with many young women admitting the issue is more serious than adults think.

The release of the survey coincides with National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month and the availability of Speechless, a Harlequin TEEN novel that examines the impact of words and the devastating consequences that result from gossiping. In Speechless, the book’s main character, Chelsea Knot, stumbles upon a classmate in a private situation and proceeds to tell her discovery to friends. The consequences are severe and lead Chelsea to take a vow of silence, during which she embarks on a journey of self-discovery that leads her to better understand the power of her words and actions.

“We know the issue of bullying is important to our readers and through Speechless, we hope to offer resources that drive more conversation,” said Michelle Renaud, Senior Manager, Harlequin. “For instance, Harlequin TEEN and Love is Louder have developed a book party guide that encourages teens to get together and use Speechless to talk about these issues and start a movement towards positive action.”


About the Book

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret.

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

Prices/Formats: $9.99 paperback, $9.99 ebook
Pages: 288
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Kindle

Excerpt:

Keeping secrets isn't my specialty. It never has been, ever since kindergarten when I found out Becky Swanson had a crush on Tommy Barnes, and I managed to circulate that fact to the entire class, including Tommy himself, within our fifteen minute recess—a pretty impressive feat, in retrospect. That was ten years ago, and it still may hold the record for my personal best.

The secret I have right now is so, so much juicier than that. I'm just about ready to burst at the seams.

"Will you stop the teasing already?" Kristen says. We're in her bedroom where I'm helping her decide on an outfit for tonight—a drawn-out process when your wardrobe is as massive as hers. "It's annoying. Just tell me."

Kristen is not a patient person. I realize I've been pushing it by alluding to my newfound information over the past twenty minutes without actually divulging anything. Of course I'm going to tell her; she's my best friend, and I can't keep it to myself much longer without truly pissing her off. A pissed-off Kristen is not a fun Kristen. Still, it's rare for me to have the upper hand with her, so I can't help but hold it over her head just a little.

"I don't know," I say innocently. "I'm not sure you can handle it…"

She turns around from where she's digging through her closet and chucks a black leather sandal at me. I shield my face with both hands, laughing as the shoe bounces off one arm and onto the mattress. Kristen props a hand on her narrow hip and cocks her head at me, her glossy, shoulder-length blond hair swaying with the motion.

"You're building this up way too much," she says. She yanks out a shimmery red top from her closet before facing me again. "I bet whatever it is, it's completely lame."

"Well, in that case, I'll keep it to myself." When she glares at me, I just smile in return and say, "Don't wear that. That baby-doll cut looks like something out of the maternity section."

She hangs the top back up and comes over to the bed, flopping down on her stomach next to me. "Spill," she whines, the previous iciness dissolving into borderline desperation. This is as close as Kristen ever gets to groveling. "Otherwise I'm uninviting you from the party."

The threat can't be real—Kristen knows I've been looking forward to her New Year's Eve party for over a month now. She even helped concoct the cover story necessary to convince my mother to let me come over to her house despite the grounding I received after my parents saw my latest report card. Like I'm ever going to need geometry in real life anyway.

Even though Kristen can be…touchy, she wouldn't uninvite me from the party over something like this—but I decide it's better to cave already than to test her on it.

"Okay, okay," I relent. "I'll tell you."

She breaks into a grin and scoots closer to me. I like having her attention like this; Kristen is easily bored, so when I do get her full focus, it makes me feel like I'm doing something right. She is, after all, one of—if not the—most popular girls in the sophomore class, if you keep track of that sort of thing, which I do. She's used to people fawning all over her to get on her good side. I've been on her good side for almost two years now, and I intend to stay there. I'd better make this good.

"So I met up with Megan today because she wanted me to help her pick out new shoes, right?" I start. "She also wanted to bitch to me about Owen, because he totally blew her off last weekend and they've been fighting a lot, and she's wondering if she should break up with him."

Kristen's mouth tugs into a frown. "Um, yawn. I already know this."

"I'm not done yet," I assure her. "Anyway, so Megan brings along Tessa Schauer, which…whatever. She's annoying, but I can deal. We shop for a while and everything's fine, and then I remember I need to call my mom about picking stuff up from the dry cleaners, except I'm an idiot who didn't charge my phone and the battery's dead. I ask Tessa if I can borrow hers since she's right there, and she hands it off and walks away. I call my mom, and then I'm about to give it back, but I decided to look through the pictures on the phone because I'm nosy like that, and…" I pause for a moment, just to draw out the anticipation.

"And…?" Kristen prompts. She's totally hanging on to every word.

"And," I say, "the first one I see? It's of Tessa. With Owen. Looking very…shall we say…friendly."

Her eyes widen. "How friendly?" she asks.

I dig my phone out of my pocket and toss it at her. "Look for yourself."

I watch in amusement as she fumbles with my phone, scrolling through my text messages. "Shut up," she gasps, looking back up at me. "You forwarded the pictures to yourself?"

"Duh."

"Won't Tessa know?"

I'm a little insulted by the question, to be honest. Of course I thought ahead. I'm not an amateur. "I deleted the sent texts," I explain. "She'll have no idea."

"That is…" Kristen pauses, and then grins up at me. "Totally brilliant."

I take the phone back and look at the screen, where the high-angled self-portrait of Tessa and Owen midkiss stares back at me. So tacky. Not just the picture, or how Owen's mouth is open so wide I can actually see his tongue entering Tessa's mouth (gross, gross, gross), but making out with your alleged best friend's boyfriend behind her back? That's just classless. I would never in a million years hook up with Kristen's boyfriend, Warren Snyder, while she's dating him. Okay, I would never hook up with him, period, because he's a sleaze, but that's beside the point. The point is, some things are sacred.

"She's a shitty friend," I tell Kristen. "I can't believe she did that to Megan." There's no way Megan will forgive her when she finds out. She's dated Owen for over a year, and Tessa's been her best friend for longer than that. An entire friendship down the drain, all because Tessa couldn't keep her hands off Owen. No boy is worth that. Not even Bren-don Ryan, whom I would do a number of immoral and insane things for, and who is quite possibly the love of my life, even if he doesn't know it yet. We've been caught in a wildly passionate, completely one-sided affair since freshman year.

"Tessa Schauer is a slutty bitch. I hope Megan kicks her ass," Kristen says. "When are you going to tell her?"

"Tonight, probably." Megan and Tessa will both be at the party, so I'll have to find a way to corner Megan alone and break the news. Tessa will know it's me, even if I erased my tracks, but whatever. Who cares? Snooping on someone's phone is a far more minor offense than slutting around with your best friend's boyfriend. No one will have sympathy for her.

Kristen rolls off the bed and stands in front of her full-length mirror, fiddling with the ends of her perfect hair. "You know, you could have some fun with this," she muses.

I sit up. "How?"

"If you tell Tessa you know about her and Owen, I bet she'd do just about anything to keep you from sharing that with Megan."

"Like blackmail?" I frown. "I don't know…"

"I'm just saying," Kristen says, "I know for afact that she has a fake ID. She was attention-whoring like crazy, showing it off to everyone who would listen in Econ last week. Maybe you could convince her to hook up the two of us with our own."

Interesting idea. Except—

"What would we do with a fake ID?" I ask. Buying booze is the obvious answer, but while Kristen might pass for twenty-one with the right push-up bra and a pair of heels, there's no way I could. I am much less…developed than her.

"Well, I could go to Rave with Warren, for starters," she says. "You only have to be eighteen to get in."

Rave is this nightclub in Westfield, the next town over. Warren turned eighteen last month and went there to celebrate, and wouldn't shut up about it for two weeks. I have to admit, it would be interesting to see what all the fuss is about.

And if it's important to Kristen, then it's important to me.

"I'll see what I can do," I tell her, and by the way Kristen smiles at me, I know that was exactly what she wanted to hear.


About the Author

Hannah Harrington resides in Michigan with one dog and too many cats. When she isn’t busy writing like a crazy person, she enjoys arguing about politics, watching documentaries, playing guitar (very badly), and speaking about herself in the third person.

Links to connect with Hannah:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter


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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Leigh Dunlap - Halifax - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I wanted an interesting last name for the characters and was searching my brain for something that was cool but not too distractingly odd. I was flying back from London and suddenly "Halifax" popped up on the skymap and I thought that was perfect. You can't go wrong with something with an "X" in it! After that I felt it was perfect for the title. It's a bit like the Halifax siblings themselves. They seem normal but there's so much more going on.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I'm a little cautious about imparting messages on anyone, but if the book has any kind of hit-you-over-the-head life lesson kind of message it would have to do with being confident in yourself and not trying to be something you're not just to please someone else. But that's really stretching it! I hope the book promotes some of the good ideas in the world. Friendship. Family. Devotion. Selflessness. If those things come through just a little bit for the reader I'll be a very happy writer.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Other than the aliens? In the context of high school and family relationships I'd say it's very realistic. It's a lot about the characters and their interaction with each other and I think those relationships will be very familiar to people, whether it be a boyfriend/girlfriend situation or a brother/sister one. I think the characters act very realistically in a very fantastical world.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No, there's nothing I would change. My "day job" is as a screenwriter and in that world I'm used to having a million hands all over my work, from re-writers to directors to actors and studio executives. What you write isn't what ends up being made. I love that the book is just how I intended it. If someone loves it, I take full credit. If they don't, I have to take responsibility for that. But it's all me.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For me it was a medium I'm not used to working in. In screenwriting you're trying to say things with immense economy. You try to have a bit of flare with a character description or location, but there's not a lot of room for prose. It's mostly dialogue. So when I sat down to write a book it was was initially so hard for me describe everything. I just wanted to skip to the dialogue! Once I got into the rhythm of it, though, it was a lot of fun. It was challenging, though, for sure. I'm proud of the job I did but my mind is definitely programed to write scripts.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
On a personal level I learned that I can broaden my horizons. You tend to think in terms of survival and achieving at what you know. Carving out time to try something new and actually following it through to the end is tough. It's hard enough doing what you do well, let alone trying to do something new. So it's nice to know I can still grow and change direction and try something new. Life can move in unexpected directions and it's fun to take new journeys.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I've always been a writer. Always loved it. I'm awful at math. No science for me! Won't be a doctor any time soon. But I could always write and my teachers always encouraged that and hopefully not just because I couldn't do anything else! I'm a dreamy person and I love hanging out in my head, living in other worlds, inventing new people and figuring out what their lives would be like. How much fun is that?! I'm blessed that I've been able to make a living at it. I don't know what else I would do.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
For someone who loves writing fiction and fantasy and science fiction, I actually adore non-fiction. I'm particularly obsessed with sports books and stories. I don't think it's such a stretch because sports offer up so much drama and interesting characters and inspirational moments. All things that I love. I really have two favorite authors in that regard. Michael Lewis for "Moneyball" and "The Blind Side", two of my favorite books and Jonathan Eig for "Luckiest Man" and "Opening Day". They both are so clear in their writing and they take you into their worlds and not only tell great stories but make you understand worlds you may have had a stereotypical view of and illuminating them from so many angles that you have such a great understanding of them.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I'm working on some screenwriting projects, mostly centered around sports. I'm working on one pilot about a female sportscaster and another one about a kid sports agent. My big job right now, though, is working on the second "Halifax" book, number two of a proposed trilogy. I'm having a blast doing that. It's so much fun to be back in the Halifax universe.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope they get lost in the world I've created and have a great time being there. To me that's the best thing about reading. You can hang out in a new place, lost in your head, and wander for awhile. 



About the Book

Teenagers seem like they are from another planet. What if they were? Izzy, Rom and Farrell Halifax are new to Lexham Academy and are fitting perfectly into their new school. But what the teachers and the rest of the student body don’t know is that they are aliens, tracking down intergalactic criminals that may be lurking among the halls. Leigh Dunlap’s HALIFAX (Publish Green, August 12, 2011) is a gripping science fiction thriller and a funny coming of age young adult novel about surviving the pitfalls of high school and killing the most dangerous aliens in the galaxy. A perfect read for Halloween!

Each Halifax sibling has a special ability. Farrell is stoic, strong, and the leader of the group, Izzy can read people’s emotions and Rom is an expert in computers, math and explosions. They have tracked down a prison barge that has crashed in the middle of a football field at a Lexham Academy, a private school in California. Unfortunately, aliens are the least of their problems. Homework, bad teachers, menacing jocks and a Halloween Carnival are making their mission much more difficult.

Price/Format: $0.99 ebook
Pages: 146
Genre: Sci-Fi / Young Adult / Paranormal
Publisher: Publish Green
Release Date: August 12, 2011
Buy Links: Amazon


About the Author

Leigh Dunlap is the screenwriter behind the hit movie "A Cinderella Story" starring Hilary Duff. She also wrote "Spy Girls", based on the popular teen book series, for producer Lawrence Bender (Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting) and "Camp Rockaway" for Sony Pictures and producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher (Gladiator, Stuart Little). Her project "16-Love" starring Lindsey Shaw and Chandler Massey, recently finished principal photography. "Halifax" is Leigh's first novel and combines two of her favorite things to write about --- Science Fiction and Romance. Leigh is a graduate of the USC School of Cinema-Television and lives in London, when she can, with her husband and son.

Link to connect with Leigh:
Web site





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Monday, October 29, 2012

J.B. Hickman - The Keeper of Dawn - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the name in the unlikeliest of places—my morning commute. I was stuck in rush hour traffic listening to "New Slang" by The Shins when these lyrics came over the radio:

God speed all the bakers at dawn, may they all cut their thumbs,
And bleed into their buns ’till they melt away.

I misunderstood the first line to be: God speed all the makers of dawn. Those words—makers of dawn—kept repeating in my head long after my commute was over. I eventually derived Keepers of Dawn from that phrase both for its symbolism of the lighthouse keepers’ plight, as well as the crux of the story—that unspeakable dread that the protagonist, Jacob Hawthorne, wrestles with throughout the narrative.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Jacob Hawthorne comes from a wounded past. It isn't until he is sent off to boarding school that he begins to put together the pieces of his estranged family. THE KEEPER OF DAWN is, without question, a story of denial. And it's not until tragedy strikes that Jacob is forced to journey into the past to reclaim a well-guarded family secret. In this regard, the narrative unwinds much the same way as a mystery novel might.

But in a more general sense, it's about sons growing up in the shadow of their fathers. The old adage—the sons of great men rarely attain greatness—haunts these boys as they try to define their own identity.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
THE KEEPER OF DAWN is a work of fiction. Even the setting, a remote island off the northeastern seaboard, is fictitious. But I strived very hard to ensure that I didn't introduce any credibility gaps. During my research, I visited Christ School, an all-boys prep school outside of Asheville, North Carolina. In the short while that I was there, I was struck by a feeling of seclusion. The campus had a gravity all its own, something distinctly apart from family and community. Inherently, teenagers tend to form social networks that are a world unto their own. This segregation only gets accentuated when they inhabit a secluded campus. And in a way, the island in my book becomes a sort of character that both restrains and empowers the wolf pack of privileged, adolescent boys as they struggle to redefine themselves in the wake of the lives they have left behind on the mainland. So I was very mindful of crafting realistic characters amidst this fictional backdrop.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
For me, this question is on par with asking a parent if they would change anything about their child. I have so much invested in this story and these characters, that I am satisfied with its ambitions, its simplicity, and yes, even its imperfections.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Revising, revising, and revising. I think many people tend to romanticize the act of writing fiction. Since a person's creativity and self expression are at the forefront, the blood, sweat and tears often don't get noticed. Writing the first hundred pages of the manuscript, and then throwing them all away and starting over was one of the many hurdles that I had to overcome in order to cross the finish line.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that the writer doesn't have as much control as you might think. Many readers talk about how surprised they are by how THE KEEPER OF DAWN ends. This is probably because I was also surprised by the ending, meaning that the ending I had envisioned differs drastically from what actually occurs. Obviously with fiction, everything originates in the writer's imagination. But the composition of prose often takes place over such a long period (four years, in my case), that the characters that you start with aren't quite the same when you finish. They've taken on a life of their own. At that point, it's the writer's job to recognize this and make sure that he or she doesn't get in the way of their own story.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I didn’t make a serious attempt at creative writing until I was in my mid-twenties. I guess that makes me a late bloomer, but it was well worth the wait. My desire to pursue writing didn't come all at once, but gradually, over time. Although an initial spark happened when the idea for a story grabbed my imagination so completely that I hardly slept a wink that night. Although that particular story never made it past the concept stage, it started me down the path to become a writer.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I tend to be attracted to authors whose body of work stretches over several genres. Paul Theroux accomplished this with his novels as well as his travel memoirs. I'm also a big fan of T.C Boyle and John Irving.

I avoid series writers like the plague. Diversity is a rare commodity in almost any money-making venture, and the publishing industry is no different. I have a great deal of respect for any individual who can resist the temptation of pursuing the more lucrative path and craft stories that forces them to step outside of their comfort zone.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I’m putting on the finishing touches to a travel memoir, LATITUDES, that’s scheduled to come out next summer (2013). It details a trip my wife and I had the privilege of taking a few years back where we quit our jobs and moved all of our possessions into storage to backpack around the globe. Five continents and seven months later, we returned home with a journal written aboard trains, planes, buses, impossibly small automobiles, feluccas, and overnight ferries.

After that, it’s on to my next novel—HURRICANE CHARLIE—a story of a widower and former composer who tries desperately not to get swallowed whole by his midlife crisis. It takes place at the height of the housing bubble in the New South, where our dear protagonist wrestles with regret, gentrification, and his own flavor of mild racism. While the new generation seems to be forcing Charlie into obsolescence, it’s also the innocence of youth that gives him one last shot at life. The composer within Charlie finds himself in a conflict of music versus noise, harmony versus chaos, where his only chance of survival depends on preventing himself from becoming his own worst enemy.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Feedback from readers has been that of overwhelming surprise over how THE KEEPER OF DAWN ends. This has prompted me to make the first half of the book available online, free of charge (downloads available at Smashwords) with the following challenge: any reader who can correctly predict the ending will receive a complimentary signed book, as well as a free download of the eBook in its entirety.

To me, this is more than just some marketing gimmick to drum-up interest in my book. I really like the idea of a writer being more interactive with his or her readers. Let's face it—until recently, reading and writing have been very solitary pastimes. But thankfully, new technologies such as eBooks and social networking websites have brought the reading community much closer. And this contest (if that's what you chose to call it) is my way of meeting the reader halfway, of giving them a choice to keep going. Besides, if you already know what's going to happen halfway through the book, then I've failed as a writer to craft an original story.

Predictions can be submitted at my website: www.jbhickmanonline.com. 



About the Book

Groomed for greatness, 15-year-old Jacob Hawthorne is sent to boarding school against his will. With a self-absorbed mother, an estranged father, and an older brother on the other side of the world, only the unlikely friendship with his grandfather can lure Jacob back home. But home feels like a distant memory from the shore of Raker Island, the isolated campus of one of the Northeast’s elite boarding schools.

As the surrogate bonds of a cloistered all-boys school fall into place, Jacob finds himself among other sons of privilege who suffer the same affliction—growing up in their fathers’ shadow. But when tragedy strikes, Jacob is forced to journey into the past to reclaim a well-guarded family secret.

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $14.95 paperback, $22.95 hardback
Pages: 252
Genre: Literary / Young Adult
Publisher: Shadeflower Press
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Smashwords


About the Author

THE KEEPER OF DAWN is J.B Hickman’s debut novel. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife and two children.  

Links to connect with J.B.:
Web site
Facebook
Goodreads





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Friday, October 26, 2012

Jayne J. Jones and Alicia M. Long - Capitol Hell - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title was just kind of intuitive. We wanted to find a pun that was fitting with Capitol Hill and 'Capitol Hell' just kind of came up. We thought it was a fun tongue-in-cheek way to poke fun at what life on the Hill can be like.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The main message of the novel is to work hard, pay attention to detail, and to be ready for anything. We poke a lot of fun at politics, politicians, and the Hill. And, we certainly show how tough that job can be. But, we both actually loved our time on the Hill and would encourage anyone who has public service in their heart to try and serve.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Our parents always told us to never kiss and tell. That being said, some of the stories in the book are based on our own experiences, some are from stories we've heard, some are highly embellished, and some are completely made up. It is up to the reader to try and decide what they thing might have actually happened!!

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
So far we have had a great ride and have had tons of positive feedback on the book. Much like life, neither one of us would go back and change a thing. It is the experiences that you have that make you who you are. And, its the experiences in the book that make Allison and Janet who they are! :)

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding time to write! Both of us have full time jobs. Much of the book was written while Alicia was in law school and while Jayne was working for the State of Minnesota. It took us four years to finish it, but every moment we took to sneak away to write, edit, and re-edit was worth it!

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Editors and proofreaders are a gift from God!! We couldn't have written this book without the support of our friends and family and the help and advice we received from our editor, proofreader, and publisher. They are truly all amazing. The rest we are still figuring out as we go!

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Both of us have always had creative spirits and we both have always been big readers. When we got the idea to tell a story about something we love, politics, it kind of all just came together! 


8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Alicia: I have too many favorite authors to count. I love reading anything and everything. But I would say some authors that I really love include John Grisham, Stephen King, and Vince Flynn. I also love a guilty pleasure "beach read" and "chick lit." Stephen King's book 'On Writing' was monumentally helpful in the writing process as was Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style'.

Jayne: Without question, Karen Kingsbury. I can't put down her books once I start them and am waiting in line for every new release.

9. Tell us your latest news.
The 'Capitol Hell' campaign continues! After stops throughout DC, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Texas, we are headed to New York, California, and Florida. Check out http://www.capitolhellbook.com/ to find out where the campaign is headed next!! We'd love to meet you in a bookstore near you!

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
THANK YOU!! We love you all and hope you enjoy the book and laugh out loud! We would LOVE to hear from you. Drop us a line at http://www.capitolhellbook.com/. Tells us what you think, invite us to your book club, talk politics or fashion with us. Bottom line, we LOVE our readers and LOVE hearing from them!!


About the Book

When recent college graduate Allison Amundson, a small town girl from South Dakota, lands the highly sought after job of scheduler to the newly-elected and rising star of the United States Senate, Senator Anders McDermott III, she thinks she is on the fast track to success.

However, she quickly learns that crazy co-workers, a high maintenance boss, an over-the-top family and an unexpected Presidential bid make Capitol Hill seem even more dysfunctional than portrayed on TV. In fact, it is Capitol Hell.

The second Allison sets foot in the prestigious Senate Russell Building, things begin to go awry. Allison soon realizes her co-workers consist of a Chief of Staff who has little to no control over the antics in the office, a Press Secretary who is not only pompous, but who is constantly primping and preening, and worst of all the Senator himself, who cares more about his rise to fame than the people of Minnesota.

As Allison struggles to juggle a new career, her blooming love interest in Cam (a quiet but loyal Legislative Assistant), and her ever-declining bank account, she is comforted only by her co-worker Janet, a fireplug who spends the majority of her time on-line dating, trying to land a Senator of her own.

Just as Allison and Janet begin to figure out the ins and outs of Capitol Hill, their lives are turned upside down when Senator McDermott announces his bid for President of the United States. Soon, Allison and Janet find themselves at the center of one of the craziest campaigns in history, and hilarity ensues.

This off-beat, funny novel captures and shares what it is like to be a young staffer working on Capitol Hill.

Price/Format: $15.95 paperback, $7.99 ebook
Pages: 328
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Kindle, CapitolHellBook.com


About the Authors

Jayne Jones, a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law, left Capitol Hill to work for the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she was the Executive Assistant to the Speaker of the House.

Following her drive and compassion to teach others about the legislative process and drafting legislation, Jayne is starting a summer academic program for teens to master public policy and the legislative process. Additionaly, Jayne teaches political science at Concordia University.

Jayne’s students have gained national attention and praise for their legislative activities and involvement. Her students drafted, advocated for and passed the Kyle Herman Bill of 2010 and worked hand-in-hand with state and federal elected officials on state and federal legislation to curb child abuse in the classroom—especially special education classrooms. This year, Jayne’s students tackled eliminating state legislator immunity from impaired driving with their legislation, “No Boozin’ and Cruzin.”

Jayne is a member of the Concordia University Advancement Committee and a former inner city Girl Scout troop leader and live-in nanny.

Jayne is proud of her work with Margaret's Missions, ensuring travelers with disabilities have access to see the world and enjoy life's greatest adventures!

Jayne is full of life and loves reality television. She wholeheartedly believes in living each day to the fullest and loves a great sale for funky jewelry and skirts under $20. She thrives on meeting current and former United States Presidents, cheering for the University of North Dakota Sioux hockey team, catching Alaskan halibut, securing emergency medical visas for orphans and aiming to win her family’s salsa making contest!

Jayne prefers bright colored shoes, trendy handbags that can be used as briefcases, and not missing an episode of the Young and the Restless.

On her bucket list: being on the Wheel of Fortune, going to happy hour with Kelly Ripa, and figuring out how to boil corn-on-the-cob for that oh-so-darn-good buttery taste.

She is currently planning her wedding on a shoestring budget and resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.

***

Alicia Long is originally from Hartford, South Dakota, a small town just outside of Sioux Falls. In 2003, she received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Upon graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work on Capitol Hill. While working on Capitol Hill, she served for United States Senators Norm Coleman (MN), John Thune (SD) and George Allen (VA). She also served in various capacities, including scheduler, legislative correspondent, legislative aide, intern coordinator and caseworker. While working on the Hill, she became proficient at mastering the metro system, crashing the nearest receptions, and acting as a tour guide for friends and family.

In 2007, Alicia returned to the Twin Cities to pursue her J.D. at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. She worked as a law clerk in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office. Upon graduation in 2010, she joined the Department of Justice as a Presidential Management Fellow and spent nearly a year working as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia.

Alicia is board member of the D.C. Chapter of University of Minnesota Alumni Association and is also a member of the University of St. Thomas School of Law Annual Giving Committee. She is also a former inner city Girl Scout troop leader. In her spare time, Alicia enjoys working on her golf swing, cheering on the Green Bay Packers, and reading everything from “In Touch” magazine to “The Great Gatsby.”

Alicia loves finding good deals on fashion, funky high heels, and opts for wearing Calvin Klein dresses and a blazer in lieu of a suit any day. You can often find her out to happy hour with friends, checking out local shops or at the beach. Her bucket list includes: going sky diving, traveling the world, mastering the New York Times crossword puzzle and marrying Green Bay Packer Quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Alicia currently resides in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia with her German Shepherd/Black Lab mix, Sarge.

Links to connect with Jayne and Alicia:
Web site
Facebook
Twitter



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Thursday, October 25, 2012

J.C. Martin - Oracle - Author Interview & Giveaway

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
It is named after the killer in the book, who calls himself The Oracle. The premise may centre around the modern Olympics in London, but for the killer, the Games still hold its original, ancient meaning. You will have to read the book to find out more!

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The theme of family in all its dysfunctional forms, and the social issues these could raise, are explored in the book. My protagonist Detective Lancer, his half-brother Reggie, his daughter Meghan, and the antagonist, all of them faced a difficult childhood in some form, and all of them responded to the challenges in a different way. I want readers to question just how much control a person has on one’s own destiny, irrespective of the curveballs life throws their way.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
The book is set in London in the run-up to the city hosting the Olympic Games. That much, and the locations I used, are true. The story and characters are purely fictitious.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I wouldn’t. I have received comments about a couple of loose ends at the end of the book, but that is where the second book in the series comes in!

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Actually sitting down and starting on it. The idea had been knocking about in my head for so long, it took a lot of discipline and patience to sit down and put it all on paper. I find that once I gain some momentum in the story, the rest goes pretty smoothly, but the toughest bit is always chapter 1 (or the prologue).

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Being my first published book, I learned a lot about the publishing process. Prior to this, I had no idea just how much work was involved from writing “The End”, to actually having a saleable book with a professional cover, ISBN, etc. I’ve gained a new appreciation for the role of the editor in polishing a manuscript until it becomes a sparkly book.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always enjoyed making up my own stories, or creating alternate endings to existing ones. At around the age of 10, I was stapling bits of scrap paper together to make my own comic book, which I both wrote and illustrated, about the imaginary adventures my then pet dogs go on. I wrote—and canned—my first “novel”, a teenage murder mystery, at 14, long hand, in a school exercise book.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Currently, my favourite author is Toby Neal. Her Lei Crime series are not only fast-paced, intense police procedurals with a likable, kick-butt heroine, her descriptive writing style really brings the exotic locations of her stories, set on the idyllic islands of Hawaii, to life: the places, the people, the sun and sea, as well as the grimy, crime-ridden Hawaii tourists do not see–all are described vividly. For someone who has never visited Hawaii, I almost feel like a local now after reading the first three books in the series!

9. Tell us your latest news.
I am working on the second book in the Detective Lancer series, and in keeping with the Greek mythological theme, have tentatively titled it Labyrinth. In non-writing news, I have a baby boy due in January, and am hoping my maternity leave will give me lots of spare writing time!

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you have read Oracle, thank you, I hope it didn’t disappoint! And if you haven’t, should you decide to, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


About the Book

As the countdown begins, the body count rises.

With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer stalking the streets, but they’ve got one anyway.

Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability.

Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter.

Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.

Price/Format: $14.99 paperback, $4.97 ebook
Pages: 312
Genre: Crime Thriller
Publisher: J. Taylor Publishing
Release Date: July 30, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble





About the Author

J.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children.

After working in pharmaceutical research, then in education as a schoolteacher, she decided to put the following to good use: one, her 2nd degree black belt in Wing Chun kung fu; and two, her overwhelming need to write dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant.

Her short stories have won various prizes and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle is her first novel.

Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.

Links to connect with J.C.:
Web site
Blog
Facebook
Twitter



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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Giacomo Giammatteo - Murder Takes Time - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title was originally going to be Friendship and Honor, but as I wrote the book, and realized I was going to make a series out of it, I opted to name the series F and H, and give each book a name based on the “rules of murder” listed in the book. “Murder Takes Time” is rule number one. It also reflects the events in the book, with how it took so many years for the relationships these boys had to deteriorate to the point of murder. Murder Has Consequences is book two, due out early next year.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That few things in life are black and white. They aren’t clear cut. Even murder.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Not the murders. Many of the events shown with the young boys were real. The smoking, stealing of cigarettes, even the roach races. I even have a picture of the original sign we used for the roach races on my website. I didn’t know we had that pic, but a friend of mine from the old neighborhood sent it to me.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I don’t think I would. I’m happy with it.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The most difficult part was having to dredge up some of the emotions for a few of the scenes. In order to get a “real” feel to the story, I had to feel it myself, all over again. That was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. I have a personal value I set for my writing. If I don’t cry, or laugh, or feel fear for the characters, then how can the readers. So when I read my work, if I don’t feel it, I dig deeper until I do.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
It brought back the reality that there are few people you can count on in life, but the ones that you count as friends make life worth it.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always enjoyed writing, but never considered it as an option, until my youngest son was a teenager. He and I were reading fantasy books together, as a means to get him interested in reading. That led to us discussing the books in detail—plots, characters, where the series might lead… Somewhere along the line we decided we could write a fantasy book, so we started off on our adventure. It wasn’t long before he abandoned the project—I think to chase girls—but then I found myself hooked. I played around for a few years, wrote several fantasy books, and put them on the shelf. Years later, I got the itch again and started on mystery/thrillers. 


8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have many authors I love, John Sandford being one of them. But if you’re talking “favorite,” it has to be Alexandre Dumas. He was, IMO, one of the best storytellers, and I think storytelling is the crux of all good books.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I am releasing the first book in a new series this week. The series is “Blood Flows South,” and the book is A Bullet For Carlos. This one features a female lead, Connie Gianelli.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I encourage readers to write to the authors and tell them what they think, whether it’s “hey, I loved this book,” or “I thought you could have done this better.” Speaking for myself, I love to hear from readers, and I am always open to suggestions on how to improve things. I list my email everywhere, so readers have access to it without having to track it down. And in case anyone missed it, here it is again: jim@giacomogiammatteo.com

Oh, and one more thing. Please leave reviews for the books you read. It is extremely difficult to get noticed these days, especially if an author doesn’t have big publishing money behind them. Reviews help. A lot!


About the Book

A string of brutal murders has bodies piling up in Brooklyn, and Detective Frankie Donovan knows what is going on. Clues left at the crime scenes point to someone from the old neighborhood, and that isn't good.

Frankie has taken two oaths in his life—the one he took to uphold the law when he became a cop, and the one he took with his two best friends when they were eight years old and inseparable.

Those relationships have forced Frankie to make many tough decisions, but now he faces the toughest one of his life; he has five murders to solve and one of those two friends is responsible. If Frankie lets him go, he breaks the oath he took as a cop and risks losing his job. But if he tries to bring him in, he breaks the oath he kept for twenty-five years—and risks losing his life.

In the neighborhood where Frankie Donovan grew up, you never broke an oath.

Publisher: Inferno Publishing Company
Release date: April 12, 2012
ISBN: 9780985030209
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 421
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble





Excerpt

Chapter 1
Rule Number One―Murder Takes Time

Brooklyn, New York—Current Day


He sipped the last of a shitty cup of coffee and stared across the street at Nino Tortella, the guy he was going to kill. Killing was an art, requiring finesse, planning, skill—and above all—patience. Patience had been the most difficult to learn. The killing came naturally. He cursed himself for that. Prayed to God every night for the strength to stop. But so far God hadn’t answered him, and there were still a few more people that needed killing.

The waitress leaned forward to refill his cup, her cleavage a hint that more than coffee was being offered. “You want more?”

He waved a hand—Nino was heading towards his car. “Just the check, please.” >From behind her ear she pulled a yellow pencil, tucked into a tight bun of red hair, then opened the receipt book clipped to the pocket of her apron. Cigarette smoke lingered on her breath, almost hidden by the gum she chewed.

Spearmint, he thought, and smiled. It was his favorite, too.

He waited for her to leave, scanned the table and booth, plucked a few strands of hair from the torn cushion and a fingernail clipping from the windowsill. After putting them into a small plastic bag, he wiped everything with a napkin. The check was $4.28. He pulled a five and a one from his money clip and left them on the table. As he moved to the door he glanced out the window. Nino already left the lot, but it was Thursday, and on Thursdays Nino stopped for pizza.

He parked three blocks from Nino’s house, finding a spot where the snow wasn’t piled high at the curb. After pulling a black wool cap over his forehead, he put leather gloves on, raised the collar on his coat then grabbed his black sports bag. Favoring his left leg, he walked down the street, dropping his eyes if he passed someone. The last thing he wanted was a witness remembering his face.

He counted the joints in the concrete as he walked. Numbers forced him to think logically, kept his mind off what he had to do. He didn’t want to kill Nino. He had to. It seemed as if all of his life he was doing things he didn’t want to do. He shook his head, focused on the numbers again.

When he drew near the house, he cast a quick glance to ensure the neighbors’ cars weren’t there. The door took less than thirty seconds to open. He kept his hat and gloves on, walked into the kitchen, and set his bag on the counter. He removed a pair of tongs and a shot glass, and set them on the coffee table.

A glance around the room had him straightening pictures and moving dirty dishes to the sink. A picture of an older woman stared at him from a shelf above an end table. Might be his mother, he thought, and gently set it face down. Back to the kitchen. He opened the top of the black bag and removed two smaller bags. He set one in the fridge and took the other with him.

The contents of the second bag—hair and other items—he spread throughout the living room. The crime scene unit would get a kick out of that. He did one final check, removed a baseball bat from the bag, then sat on the couch behind the door. The bat lay on the cushion beside him. While he stretched his legs and leaned back, he thought about Nino. It would be easy to just shoot him, but that wouldn’t be fair. Renzo suffered for what he did; Nino should too. He remembered Mamma Rosa’s warnings, that the things people did would come back to haunt them. Nino would pay the price now.

A car pulled into the driveway. He sat up straight and gripped the bat.

#

Nino had a smile on his face and a bounce in his step. It was only Thursday and already he’d sold more cars than he needed for the month. Maybe I’ll buy Anna that coat she’s been wanting. Nino’s stomach rumbled, but he had a pepperoni pizza in his hand and a bottle of Chianti tucked into his coat pocket. He opened the door, slipped the keys into his pocket, and kicked the door shut with his foot.

There was a black sports bag on the kitchen table. Wasn’t there before, Nino thought. A shiver ran down his spine. He felt a presence in the house. Before he could turn, something slammed into his back. His right kidney exploded with pain.

“Goddamn.” Nino dropped the pizza, stumbled, and fell to the floor. His right side felt on fire. As his left shoulder collided with the hardwood floor, a bat hit him just above the wrist. The snap of bones sounded just before the surge of pain.

“Fuck.” He rolled to the side and reached for his gun.

The bat swung again.

Nino’s ribs cracked like kindling. Something sharp jabbed deep inside him. His mouth filled with a warm coppery taste. Nino recognized the man who stood above him. “Anything you want,” he said.

“Just kill me quick.”

#

The bat struck Nino’s knee, the crunch of bones drowned by his screams. The man stared at Nino. Let him cry. “I got Renzo last month. You hear about that?”

Nino nodded.

He tapped Nino’s pocket with his foot, felt a gun. “If you reach for the gun, I’ll hit you again.”

Another nod.

He knelt next to Nino, took the shot glass from the coffee table. “Open your mouth.”

Nino opened his eyes wide and shook his head.

The man grabbed the tongs, shoved one end into the side of Nino’s mouth, and squeezed the handles, opening the tongs wide. When he had Nino’s mouth pried open enough, he shoved the shot glass in. It was a small shot glass, but to Nino it must have seemed big enough to hold a gallon. Nino tried screaming, but couldn’t. Couldn’t talk either, with the glass in there. Nino’s head bobbed, and he squirmed. Nothing but grunts came out—fear-tinged mumbles coated with blood.

The man stood, glared at Nino. Gripped the bat with both hands. “You shouldn’t have done it.”

A dark stain spread on the front of Nino’s pants. The stench of excrement filled the room. He stared at Nino, raised the bat over his head, and swung. Nino’s lips burst open, splitting apart from both sides. Teeth shattered, some flying out, others embedding into the flesh of his cheeks. The shot glass exploded. Glass dug deep gouges into his tongue, severing the front of it. Shards of glass pierced his lips and tunneled into his throat.

He stared at Nino’s face, the strips of torn flesh covered in blood. He gulped. Almost stopped. But then he thought about what Nino had done, and swung the bat one more time. After that, Nino Tortella lay still.

He returned to the kitchen and took a small box from the bag on the counter then went back to the living room. Inside the box were more hairs, blood, skin, and other evidence. He spread the items over and around the body then made a final trip to the kitchen to clean up. He undressed and placed his clothes into a large plastic bag, tied it, and set it inside the black bag. He took out a change of clothes, including shoes and plastic covers for them. Careful not to step in any blood, he went back to stand over the body.

Nino lay in his own piss, shit, and blood, eyes wide-open, mouth agape.

You should never have done it, Nino.

He blessed himself with the sign of the cross while he repeated the Trinitarian formula. “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” Then he shot Nino. Once in the head. Once in the heart. An eye for an eye. And then some.

Before stepping out the door, he removed the plastic covers for his shoes, placed them into the bag, then closed and locked the door behind him. The wind had picked up since he arrived, bringing a cold bite with it. He turned his collar up and tucked his head into his chest.

Forgive me, Father, for what I have done.

He walked two more blocks, almost to the car, when an image of Donnie Amato appeared in his head.

And for what I still have to do.



About the Author

I live in Texas now, but I grew up in Cleland Heights, a mixed ethnic neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware that sat on the fringes of the Italian, Irish and Polish neighborhoods. The main characters of Murder Takes Time grew up in Cleland Heights and many of the scenes in the book were taken from real-life experiences. Somehow I survived the transition to adulthood, but when my kids were young I left the Northeast and settled in Texas, where my wife suggested we get a few animals. I should have known better; we now have a full-blown animal sanctuary with rescues from all over. At last count we had 41 animals—12 dogs, a horse, a three-legged cat and 26 pigs.

Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy.

Since this is a bio some of you might wonder what I do. By day I am a headhunter, scouring the country for top talent to fill jobs in the biotech and medical device industry. In the evening I help my wife tend the animals, and at night—late at night—I turn into a writer.

Links to connect with Giacomo:
Web site
Facebook
Twitter

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

John Worsley Simpson - Missing Rebecca - Author Interview



Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The Rebecca part is obvious. She's the one who's missing. The title is meant to be a double entendre. Rebecca is missing and she's being missed by one of the principal characters.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Nothing profound, just the idea that things and people are often not what they appear to be, even to those in close proximity.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
All the details are "real," the geography is accurate, historical references are correct. In short, I always keep the supporting framework of my work within the bounds of possibility. My books don't reflect actual events as they occurred, but on more than one occasion, something similar to a plot of mine has transpired after or at about the same time as the book is published -- not that one was a cause of the other, it's just that my accounts are of things that might happen.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I might make it longer, flesh out some of the characters more.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing is writing, which really means rewriting. Getting the details right, doing the required research is easy. Getting the tone right, getting the rhythm right, getting the words right is challenging. And the really tough part is putting together a plot that is entertaining and interesting and exciting and believable.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I always learn a lot from writing -- apart from the nuts and bolts of background details. The characters I create take on lives of their own and offer insights into human behaviour, quirks, foibles and morality, that broaden my knowledge of my fellow creatures.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes, it originated with storybooks that my parents read to me as a child. I think that from the first, I knew that telling those sort of stories, creating worlds in my head, painting magic pictures with words was what I would do, what I had to do, what defined my purpose in life.

8. Who is your favorite (or favourite) author and what is it that really strikes you about his or her work?
I don't have one favourite author, but among my favourites are William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Morley Callaghan, Alice Munro, Eric Ambler, John le Carre, Graham Greene, Elmore Leonard, Rex Stout, Colin Dexter, John Mortimer, Charles Dickens and Gustave Flaubert. I could go on -- and on. There are many, many more and many of those left out are not lesser than the ones in this list. What strikes me about the work of all of these is that they use language so skillfully to tell wonderful, magical stories. They present a world that's better than the one we live in: the world of the imagination. What's the key difference between these and the thousands of others whose works fill the bookstore and library shelves? They could/can write. Their writing is like music, it sings, it resonates, it makes the soul dance and the heart throb.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Not much to tell at the moment beyond the fact that I have a redesigned website: johnworsleysimpson.ca

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy my new book and if you do, please have a look at my earlier books, and if you like any or all of them, please tell your friends. I don't have a big publicity budget, so word of mouth is what I rely on. Thanks.


About the Book

John's latest book, his fifth novel, Missing Rebecca, is a story of death and deception. After a whirlwind romance, Liam and Rebecca marry, knowing almost nothing of each other's backgrounds. Only months later, on an afternoon shopping trip to a mall in the Buffalo, New York, suburb of Cheektowaga, Rebecca vanishes, seemingly abducted. Or did she make herself disappear? Was the marriage a sham? Was Liam a dupe? This is a novel of high crimes and dark shadows, involving the immensely profitable drug industry in which exclusive access to the market for a medication can mean billions of dollars, and holding on to that exclusivity might lead to lies, deceit, corruption, payoffs, and even murder.

Publisher: Kindle, Create Space
Release date: May 29, 2012
ISBN: 9781475266603
ASIN: B007QLK8DU
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 217
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Excerpt

“Okay.” The detective moved the computer mouse on the table and the screen lit up. He clicked on a folder and a video player opened; another click and the video began to play. The first scene was inside one of the mall’s entrances. In a moment, Liam and Rebecca entered the frame from the bottom of the screen, their backs to the camera.

“Is that you and your wife?” Welburn asked.

“It is, yes. It was a cold day, like today, so Rebecca wore her red, quilted ski jacket. I wore my pea coat and watch cap—hello, sailor,” Peters said, grinning vacuously, and immediately felt stupid.

“Sure. And right away you split up.”

“Rebecca likes to shop alone, which is great. As men, you must appreciate that.”

The detectives exchanged a glance and then nodded politely.

They ran the video for about an hour, various cameras picking up Rebecca in her bright red coat and ink-black hair. One scene showed Rebecca heading past the camera toward the mall exit, carrying a Lord & Taylor bag. The next scene showed Peters carrying a huge Hugo Boss bag, passing Rebecca as she re-entered the mall empty handed. He waved to her as he passed, and she turned down a side corridor that led to the restrooms.

“I took the jacket and pants I’d bought out to the car,” Peters explained. “Rebecca had a couple of outfits in her bag. She left them in the car, too. I found them later.”

Almost instantly, because of the truncating of the video by the technician, a man wearing a long, black overcoat, its collar turned up, and a sloping-brim, Irish-style, tweed hat appeared from the bottom of the screen, his back to the camera, as if he had just entered the mall. He was carrying a duffel bag. His shoulders were hunched and he walked with long, quick strides, so that he was around the corner and in the restroom corridor in a few seconds.

Welburn paused the video.

“Let me explain. I’ve watched the video before, a few times. The original showed this corner of the hall for some time. There is an emergency exit at the end of the corridor to the restrooms, and there are a couple of utility rooms. If the exit door had been opened, an alarm would have sounded, and a signal flashed in the security room. It wasn’t opened. There’s no camera in the restroom hallway, by the way. It’s only a short hall, fully visible from the main hall. Anyway, you’ll see when I start the video again that two people—the guy in the long coat—and a woman in a long coat and a wide scarf covering her hair and most of her face come out of the restroom hallway. The guy is holding the woman’s elbow. Okay, watch.”

As soon as the detective restarted the video, the couple he had described came hurrying around the corner in the direction of the camera. The hat and collar of the man concealed his face, as did the woman’s scarf cover hers. He seemed almost to be pushing her. He wasn’t carrying the duffel bag.

“Now, the entire rest of the video shows no one in a red ski jacket, or even anyone roughly resembling your wife come out of that corridor, or from straight down the hall.”

“That must have been her.”

“With the long-overcoat guy? Yeah we think so. The height looks about right, for instance. And—I’m sorry about this, but we checked with the lost-and-found at the mall, and they had a red ski jacket that looks exactly like the one your wife was wearing. It was found in the ladies washroom in the hallway we’re looking at. And the duffel bag the guy was carrying was in the hallway.”



About the Author

JOHN WORSLEY SIMPSON is a crime-fiction writer. John was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, emigrated to Canada at the age of four and grew up in Toronto, He has been a reporter and editor in major newspapers and news services in North America, England and Ireland. He is married and lives in Newmarket, Ontario.

Links to connect with John:
Web site
Facebook
Twitter

Monday, October 22, 2012

Beverly Stowe McClure - Life on Hold - Author Interview & Giveaway

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title just came to me. When Myra learns the truth about her father, she more or less puts her life on hold to find him.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’ll let Myra’s father tell you in his words: “Myra, planting a seed does not make a man a father. Holding a sick child while she throws up, taking her to the lake on a hot summer day, calling out spelling words for her test, watching her blow out birthday candles, and comforting her when her heart is broken are what make a father.”

A family is made up of those who care for one another, whether by blood kin or adoption or some other means.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
I think the entire story is realistic. The idea for the novel came to me from an article in the local newspaper about a high school couple that had a baby they gave up for adoption and how they eventually found their son again. I could imagine how many young people had lived through the same or similar experiences. So I let Myra tell her story.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Nothing major comes to mind that I want to change. But then I haven’t read the published book. If I read the finished product, I’ll find scenes I wish I’d written differently, or else I’ll wonder if a character needs to be more likable or if we should hate him/her more. I guess I’m my own worst critic, so it’s better to know the book is the best that it can be. No changes necessary.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Deciding how Myra’s father would react when they met was hard. Would he be happy to see her and want a father-daughter relationship with her? Or would he act as though she did not exist? Would she be disappointed in him? Or would he fulfill the image she had invented of him of a loving father, happy to see his daughter? He showed me the answer when I was writing his scene.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
While writing Life on Hold, the characters often had ideas of their own and wandered off the path I had planned for them. I’ve learned from the past that it’s smart to listen to your characters. They often are right. If not, we backtrack and see where the road takes us. When a character does something totally unexpected, I listen. It’s his or her story, after all. I’m just writing it down. This novel also showed me the importance of family in a teen’s life.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
For many years I had no interest in writing or in reading. After I became a teacher, I had no choice but to read the books my students were required to read. Some we read together in class. Others, my 5th graders read individually for pleasure as well as book reports. To know whether they had actually read the book or not, I had to read them. And I made an amazing discovery. Unlike the books I read when I attended school, and the ones required in college, I enjoyed the books for children and teens. Guess I’ve never really grown up.

I also subscribed to a couple of magazines for the classroom. The kids loved the short stories and the activities. One day, that little light bulb went off above my head. Why couldn’t I write articles like the ones in the magazines? So I tried. Since I taught science and we did a lot of experiments in class, I started there. My first published article was about having fire drills in the home, the way we did at school. I wrote an article on how to make your own mini tornado. Art projects we did in class were accepted by leading children’s magazines. Being a published author was fun. Then I took a chance and wrote a novel. I’m still writing today. 


8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is usually the author of the book I’m reading at the moment. Yeah, I’m wishy-washy. If I had to name one, I’d say Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind. I read the book in high school, before I enjoyed reading, but liked the book even then. I’ve read it many times now. Once I met Scarlett O’Hara I was hooked. I loved Scarlett. I hated Scarlett. She is a complicated heroine with more flaws than good points, which makes her memorable. The other characters in the book had distinct personalities too. Ms. Mitchell’s characters are what stand out for me. The time period they lived in also is one of my favorite eras.

9. Tell us your latest news.
In early 2013, my mg/tween book A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat will be released in eBook by MuseItUp Publishing. Kate, Little Angel Sometimes, (title subject to change), a chapter book is due out May/June of 2013 from 4 RV Publishing, the publisher of Life on Hold. Recently my ya historical novel, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, from Twilight Times Books, won a gold medal in the Children’s Literary Classics competition, ya fiction category, as well as an Honor Award Winner in the Eric Hoffer Books Award and was also an Honor Winner in Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Awards contest, as well as a Finalist in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Stay true to yourselves. Write your story. Don’t try to follow trends. No matter your age, if you want to write, write. (I’m a grandma.) And have fun.


About the Book

A paper found. A secret revealed. A girl’s life changed forever. Myra Gibson’s life is a lie. For sixteen years her parents have kept their secret, but the adoption paper she discovers while cleaning the guesthouse tells the truth. As the past and present collide, Myra finally stands up for herself and begins a journey she may regret.

Price/Format: regularly $17.99, paperback, $13.99 (4RV Publishing's Christmas special)
Pages: 200
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: 4RV Publishing, LLC
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, 4RV Publishing


About the Author

When Beverly was a child she hated to read. Even though her eighth-grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to a high school anthology and it was published in Young America Sings she hated to write. In spite of her rocky relationship with books, she managed to graduate from high school then attended Midwestern State University, where she read more books than she could count. After four years, she graduated cum laude with, you guessed it, a teaching degree. And somewhere along the way, perhaps reading to her sons or reading great Newbery winners with her students, she discovered what she’d been missing: reading was fun. Now she reads most every day. She also writes stories and articles for children and teens.

Beverly lives in the country with her husband, two cats, and a variety of wild critters that stop by for a handout or just to peek in the door. Besides writing, she plays the piano, searches for her ancestors, and teaches a women’s Sunday school class. She also has the most beautiful grandchildren in the world.

Links to connect with Beverly:
Web site
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube



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Friday, October 19, 2012

Michael Loring - Dehumanized - Author Interview & Giveaway

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title Dehumanized actually came from a song. Originally I had actully planned on calling the book, "Werewolf Rehabilitation Camp" but felt that it was too long and too blunt. So I stressed for a while about a better title, and one day I was listening to a song called "Brompton Cocktail" by Avenged Sevenfold (yes, I'm a major rocker) and the singer mentions about feeling "so dehumanized." As soon as I heard the word I just knew it was the perfect title for my book.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is subtle, but it's there. In the book the main character, Ryan Zachery, deals with what he has become and how he eventually comes to terms with it. The message simply is accept yourself no matter what or who you are, even if no one else accepts you. Just be yourself, and things will turn out alright.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
When I set out to write this book I told myself to make it as realistic as possible. Obviously that was a hard task considering the book is about werewolves, but they are scientifically created werewolves and there is a lot of science behind the whole thing. I wanted to write a werewolf novel that made people go, "Oh man, that actually could happen!" So hopefully I did just that, or at least something close to that.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Not a single thing. I love every second of my book, and am extremely proud of how it came out. I honestly feel that it's perfect in the way it is right now.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The science. Like I said before I wanted to make sure that this book was as realistic as possible, and in order to do that I needed to have a whole lot of science behind everything, and that was difficult. Some things I left up to the science of nature, but there's a lot in the book that's explained through technical terms and laboratory mumbo-jumbo. I may have had a solid B+ in my science class in high school, but I still was never the science-boy. It was difficult to explain everything through science, and it took hours of research about the human anatomy and about the lunar cycles to be able to write a lot of scenes in Dehumanized.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Other than all that science? Haha! I'm not really sure what I learned. I think what I did realize though is that writing an entire book isn't as scary as I used to make it out to be. Dehumanized is the very first novel I have completed, and before that I spent years trying to think of a book idea, but always held back because I was scared it would be really hard and that I didn't have the talent for it. But when I finally sat down to begin Dehumanized, I found it isn't so hard. You just have to let yourself go and flow with the ideas in your mind.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Of course. It was in second grade when I said to myself that this is what I wanted to do with my life. My class had been assigned a short story project where everyone had to write something of their own creation. I wrote a four page story about a boy who was finally allowed to stay home alone, and is terrified of all the little noises the house makes when it's quiet. Everyone knows what that's like, right? Well, my teacher had said it was the best in class and had selected me to read it out loud in front of everyone. Afterwards everyone was impressed and my teacher said to me, "You should seriously think about being an author someday," and I did seriously think about it. 


8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh boy...you're making me choose here? Hmm...I'd have to say my favorite author is Jeff Lindsay, writer of the Dexter series. His books are about a serial killer that kills only other serial killers, but the series isn't about gore and bloodlust but rather the dark comedy of it all. His writing just flows so smoothly. The main character has such a funny way at looking at the fact he has this serious need to kill people. If I may, one of my favorite quotes from the series is from Double Dexter, the sixth novel in the series, and goes like this: "There I am; I, Dexter. I raise a hand to touch my face, but it is the hand with the knife and I stop halfway as the wicked blade comes near my dumbly gaping face and I just look at me. Still life with knife and numbskull. The two faces of me, Dexter the Demon and Dexter the Dope."

9. Tell us your latest news.
My latest news is that I'm working on the sequel to Dehumanized, and that is coming along slowly but surely. I am also working on a side project, a new novel that I hope to release sometime soon in the future.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would just like to thank everyone who has shown support for me and my writing. It sincerely means a lot to me since I spent YEARS thinking I'd never really be able to do it and now that I have done it everyone is being so wonderful and it warms my heart. So thank you everyone!


About the Book

A deadly and currently incurable disease has been released as the result of an unknown experiment that went awry. Dubbed 'Lycanthropy' by the media due to its similarity to the horror movie genre depiction about werewolves, anyone infected begins to change, and every night of the full moon the 'beast' within is released. Within one year, lycanthropy spread throughout Europe, Asia and has now infected the USA. In an attempt to control and treat the outbreak, concerned governments have begun creating camps to contain those who are infected and to help find a cure. Despite rumors comparing these camps to the concentration camps of almost 70 years ago, the US government maintains these camps have the best interests of the public and the residents at heart. Expectations for a cure in the next year remain high.

Ryan Zachery lived his life the way all high school teenagers should - carefree, and oblivious to anything around him. He had an attractive girlfriend and hope for the future. One night when he was walking home he was attacked by an unknown assailer. He awoke in the hospital to learn he had been infected by lycanthropy, a disease he had heard about but had ignored.

Taken by armed guards and dragged away from his parents who did not understand what was happening, Ryan was thrown into a US camp made for those 'suffering' from lycanthropy. Treated like prisoners, he and other lycanthropes were abused by the guards and by their own kind. Scientists regularly performed experiments that promised to treat the disease, yet only caused pain. If Ryan or any of the other roommates acted up or demanded answers, they were thrown into solitary, nicknamed the 'dungeon', and ignored until they became docile once more.

But at the night of the full moon, the beast within him is freed. The beast hates the prison and Ryan. When an experimental procedure allows the beast and Ryan to communicate, the two enemies become unlikely allies who will stop at nothing to tear down the walls keeping them prisoner. With the beast's help, Ryan learns how to change at will. When even his own kind begin to fear him, he creates a plan to release all lycanthropes. They caged the beast, but now he will show them that he will never be dehumanized.

Price/Format: $17.99 paperback, $4.99 ebook
Pages: 510
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Dystopia
Publisher: Bokheim Publishing
Release Date: July 21, 2012
Buy Links: Kindle, Nook, Smashwords


About the Author

Michael Loring was born in Bristol, Connecticut, but has lived in a variety of places such as Florida and Tennessee. He likes to think of himself as an amateur Lycanthropologist, studying werewolves ever since he was eight years old when he first saw An American Werewolf In London. He spent most of his life switching between home school and public school, always focusing on his passion of writing no matter what. His interest in writing was sparked in the second grade when his teacher encouraged him to write short stories for the class, earning him more than one award at school assemblies for Creative Writing. He currently resides back in his birthplace of Connecticut with a house full of women who like to drive him up the wall until he finishes his chores. Though they seem to avoid him during the night of the full moon for some unexplainable reason…

Links to connect with Michael:
Web site
Facebook
Twitter



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