Sunday, June 26, 2016

Guest post: "It's All About the Hook," by Brian W. Matthews, Author of 'The Conveyance'

It’s all about the hook.
You know what I mean—that curved piece of metal at the end of a clear nylon filament that snags a trout or bass or whatever fish you fancy. Except in writing, the hook is the concept that catches the author’s attention, that brings him into the story to the point where he forgets everything else.
Many of my hooks come from my childhood. They come from the movies I watched or the books that I read. Films about about zombies or vampires or aliens. Books about possession and ghosts. When I read The Exorcist, it scared me so badly I stayed awake for two straight nights. All of these images—some recalled as fragments and some remembered whole cloth—bubble up in my imagination and provide the fodder for my hooks.
One of my favorite movies growing up was The Day the Earth Stood Still. (The original with Michael Rennie, not that godawful remake with Keanu Reeves.)  The story was both terrifying and hopeful. Terrifying for its premise that aliens existed and monstrous robots like Gort could destroy the world; hopeful in that those same aliens could also end up helping us as a race. That was the tension (the hook) that made the movie work so well—would humanity learn and survive, or would it resort to the mindset of the era (McCarthyism and the paranoid suspicion about everyone labeled as “different”) and attempt to destroy Klaatu? The stakes were high. The entire planet could be wiped out!
What a great plot line.
It got my blood pumping as a child, and I still watch it when it pops up on Turner Classic Movies.
In writing, the best hooks evoke the greatest tension, but they could often be summed up quite simply. Consider Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, one of the best supernatural thrillers of all time. How many words could describe this classic? Thousands and thousands. But for me, here’s the hook, “Ghosts force an old curmudgeon to bear witness to his broken life in an effort to save him from eternal damnation.” Think about it. Ghosts. A broken life. Eternal damnation. Who wouldn’t want to write that story, learn more about the old curmudgeon and how his life turned out so poorly? That hook still sends chills up my spine and it’s over a hundred years old.
Could you see this as a contemporary story? I could. The best hooks never age. They only improve with time.
Hooks are an essential part of my writing. If the hook draws me into a story, it will likely do the same for my reader. And for a writer, finding the right hook is like finding the prize at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.
For The Conveyance, the hook became “how far would someone go for love, even if that love ended up hurting others?” With that theme in mind, I developed three subplots, all variations on the hazards of love. I’m not talking about healthy love, either. I’m talking about toxic love, or misplaced love, or jealous love. Love that hurts. Love that challenges our moral compasses. Love that can kill.
I’m a horror author; shiny, happy people don’t make the cut.
So the next time you’re reading a book and you find yourself immersed in the story, where you lose track of time and forget to feed the cat (or your kids), think about what happened.
What took you by the hand and drew you into this imaginary world?
What got your blood pumping?

What was the hook?

Brian W. Matthews’s latest book is The Conveyance, a horror/science fiction novel about a child therapist who uncovers a secret long kept hidden form the world. Together with his friend, police detective Frank Swinicki, he doggedly follows a trail of murder and madness, eventually exposing a sinister conspiracy that threatens the existence of the human race. The Conveyance can be purchased directly from the publisher at or from Amazon.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

Guest post: "Rhythm," by Michelle Nott, Author of 'Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses'

Rhythm. Whether writing poetry, fiction or non-fiction, readers soak in your words like their ears pick up sound. When a sound is too long and drown out and never-ending like this sentence is becoming, the reader tunes out. When words whisper, readers lean in.

The long and short of writing a sentence. There may be a time when you want to use a longer sentence to slow the reader down to contemplate a character's emotion. Or make her stop. To gather her own thoughts. But, wait! No, don't! Keep going! Tell us more! Short sentences also speed up your reader. Speed can imply urgency and certain emotions that it evokes.

However, every scene is unique. Sometimes, an average length sentence is just what you need. Be care, however, not to use the same length of sentence throughout a paragraph. Doing so would evoke a very boring read as this one is doing.

Like everything in life, all is good at the right time and in the right dose. Effective writers use sentences to their advantage. Keep them short. Or tell your reader how the character feels. Or take them on a journey up a treacherous mountain, full of obstacles that leave them panting for breath and light. On the top, they'll find it.

When a story is told effectively, the reader goes along with each word as if a note to a song. High notes and low notes. A pause. A twist of phrase. Keep the rhythm and the reader will enjoy your story like a favorite song.


Title: Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses
Genre: Early Reader, ages 6-9
Author: Michelle Nott
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses is about a little boy and his imaginary frog named Hoppie. Whenever Freddy struggles, Hoppie helps out. Specifically, Freddy's having problems at school that he doesn't realize stem from his poor eyesight. Not sure how to tell Mom about his trouble, he explains that Hoppie is the one with headaches, etc. Of course, Mom understands that Hoppie is the tool that Freddy uses to express himself. So, she takes Freddy (and Hoppie) to see the eye doctor. When Freddy leaves with brand new eyeglasses, Hoppie stays to assist the eye doctor with the other young patients.


Before becoming an author, Michelle Nott enjoyed being a French teacher (pre-K to university levels) in the U.S., working for a French company in Paris and an art gallery in NYC. She has also edited and written articles for numerous on-line and print magazines in the American and European markets.

In 2004, Michelle moved to Belgium. When she noticed that her daughters' book collection included more French titles than English ones, she decided to put her creative writing degree to use. Many of these early stories can be found on her blog Good Night, Sleep Tight where she also reflects on raising Third Culture Kids.

In 2015, Michelle and her family returned to the U.S. But with American and French citizenship, they travel to Europe regularly. Their favorite places include the French Alps, the Belgian countryside, and the Cornish coast in the UK. Her family's life and adventures prove great inspirations for her stories.

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses is Michelle's first book for children. Her future children's books are represented by Essie White at Storm Literary Agency. She is a member of SCBWI, Children's Book Insider and Houston Writer's Guild.

Connect with Michelle Nott on the Net!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Musical Points of View by Rachel Dunne, author of In the Shadows


Inside the Book:

Title: In the Shadows
Author: Rachel Dunne
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Fantasy/Action Adventure
Format: Paperback/Ebook

A breathtaking talent makes her debut with this first book in a dark epic fantasy trilogy, in which a mismatched band of mortals led by a violent, secretive man must stand against a pair of resentful gods to save their world. Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the Twins grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked until now. Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—to set off a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it. When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law. These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.
   photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N  
Musical Points of View

  Music is vital to my writing process—I can’t write if I don’t have some sort of music playing, but I use music as much more than background noise. For each of In the Shadow of the Gods’ four main point of view characters, I have a carefully curated playlist with a different style of music, and starting a specific playlist helps me immediately get into the head of whichever character I’m writing. Below, I’ll share snippets of each of my playlists, as well as why they so perfectly fit each of my point of view characters.  


 **Playlist link:   [spotify id="spotify%3Auser%3A122276589%3Aplaylist%3A37Xho45JMQSqC0hzetSKU5" width="300" height="380" /]

 Scal is a big, tough warrior, a man who can kill without thinking…but only because that’s the only way he knows how to live. At heart, he’s kind of a pacifist, and spends entirely too much time caught up in his own thoughts. His playlist is mostly songs that break my heart a little every time I hear them, heartfelt and sweet and sad…with, occasionally, a light and cheerful song thrown in, because that’s a pretty accurate mix of what makes Scal.  


 **Playlist link: [spotify id="spotify%3Auser%3A122276589%3Aplaylist%3A0DuRqgKiBOA9DSgxnPOtld" width="300" height="380" /]

 Rora grows up to be an assassin and a thief, and never lets her lack of height get in her way. Even though it’s totally anachronistic, I always picture Rora as a rocker. She’s spunky and full of fire and totally willing to kick anyone’s butt, but she’s also too responsible to ever rock out too hard. Her kind of rock is more indie: mostly fun and upbeat, but also with some pretty deep, underlying meaning if you’re willing to listen close.  


 **Playlist link: [spotify id="spotify%3Auser%3A122276589%3Aplaylist%3A1YA1LKJCiDN4fosOQCkdBP" width="300" height="380" /]

 Keiro, with his wandering heart and slow-and-steady-wins-the-race attitude, is pure indie folk. Slow and peaceful and thoughtful, his kind of music can wander just as much as he does but always hits the mark. This kind of music has always felt endlessly hopeful to me, even if it occasionally dips into melancholy—it still fits Keiro like a good old shoe.  


**Playlist link: [spotify id="spotify%3Auser%3A122276589%3Aplaylist%3A7fHeEjMtL94bteotEIM0t0" width="300" height="380" /]

 Joros is the idea-man, the schemer, and will do whatever he has to as long as he can come out on top without dirtying his own hands. His music is powerful and swaggering, tough as nails and taking no prisoners, and more intense than any of the others’. Some of his music also makes me chuckle every once in a while, whether it’s intentional or not…just like Joros himself.

Meet the Author:

Rachel Dunne
Living in the cold reaches of the upper Midwest with her great beast of a dog, Rachel Dunne has developed a great fondness for indoor activities. For as long as snow continues falling in Wisconsin, she promises to stay inside and keep writing. Her first novel, In the Shadow of the Gods, was a semi-finalist for the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and will be published by Harper Voyager in June of 2016. Its two sequels will follow.  
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The Writing Life with Horror Author Patrick C. Greene

With the success of his first novel PROGENY from Hobbes End Publishing, Patrick C. Greene became known for a brand of horror as emotional as it is terrifying, as engaging as it is suspenseful. Living at night, deep in the mountains of Western North Carolina with his wife and two sons, Greene expresses his morbid interests via painting and illustration when not writing. In addition to his novels Progeny and The Crimson Calling, the short story collection Dark Destinies, and multiple appearances in both The Endlands and Wrapped anthology series, Greene is currently hard at work on what he hopes to be a perennial Halloween favorite called The Death of October. Follow the author on Facebook

Welcome to The Writer's Life eMagazine, Patrick! Tell us, what’s inside the mind of a horror author?

In my case, there’s a bunch of puzzle pieces for present, future, and even past stories, lots of metal earworms, meal planning, envy, guilt over my envy, pride for having guilt over my envy, and guilt for the pride.

What is so great about being an author?

I have a great source of therapy and people think I’m smart.

When do you hate it?

When I see reality TV stars peaking the bestseller lists with their ghostwritten, third-grade reading level, heavily embellished, self-aggrandizing “biographies” while I’m just looking to achieve fifty reviews on amazon.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

First is coffee and a brunchish type meal, then a coupla hours at the gym to get the blood flowing, then onto the actual writing, which is done at my night job, by the way, between various tasks.

Do you think authors have big egos? Do you?

I’ve heard of egotistical authors but most I’ve met have been kind and compassionate to the extreme. Come to think of it, I think authors, or artists of any kind and their patrons, are on average more empathetic and introspective than normies. I do have moments of rather extreme self-satisfaction but then, those are more than matched by extended, tortured spells of doubt and nearly nihilistic existentialism.

How do you handle negative reviews?

I try to learn from them, if there’s anything instructive to be gleaned. In some cases, the reader is just not going to connect with your story or your aesthetic no matter what. I can dismiss them rather easily. I know there are far too many variables for a negative review to be taken as purely personal.

How do you handle positive reviews?

Well of course, those are from only the most discerning and intellectually advanced of readers, so I embrace them like a beloved pet, or in some cases a lifesaving flotation device.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

The question of genre immediately arises, then the traditional tiptoeing around the topic of earnings and method of publication, followed by extended reflection from the questioner regarding their favorite books, or their own potential dabblings in the field, had they but the time. Honestly, I’m not that comfortable talking about myself, especially when it comes to my writing, so I welcome having the conversation steered back toward the asker. It’s research of a kind, after all, for a potential character or conversation to be worked into my work.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

It depends. I have found myself thinking I will just jot down a few lines to fend off self-loathing and I actually wind up churning out something that makes me very happy. If I have just finished a draft, yeah, I’ll leave it alone for a day or two. There is always something that “needs” to be written, whether it’s a short story I backburnered in favor of the latest novel or a blog entry. Not a lot of inspiration is required for a blog entry and, you know, what the hell else am I gonna do?

Any writing quirks?

I like to have some music on. Movie soundtracks or hard rock, generally.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

Well, that has happened, still happens, and will happen. I actually tend to hide the fact that I’m a writer in most settings because I’m afraid of coming off as pretentious, or, you know, insane.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?

The love part yeah. As a prose writer I’ve never been to the hate end of the spectrum, but with screenwriting, yeah plenty of times. There was frustration, even despair, but the idea of just setting down the pen so to speak, never to raise it again for purposes of creating a story doesn’t even seem possible.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

I used to, but after having seen the meaning or even just the fun diversion that my writing has brought to some readers I have since re-thought that. I feel like I’ve been very lucky in a lot of respects, and I’m not sure that’s the same thing as success. Besides, all the clichés about success now appear to be true with a few years of observation and struggle behind me. I could probably be making decent money writing copy or news but that would feel like work I think.

What has writing taught you?

Lots of patience, not just with my projects but with family and life. Also, I’ve learned that there are all kinds of thoughts, feelings and…beings living in us, more than we could possibly comprehend.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

If you can’t cross the road with the big dogs, then don’t try to swim with eagles where kings fear to tread.


Genre: Action/horror
Author: Patrick C Greene
Publisher: Hobbes End

Check out THE CRIMSON CALLING on Amazon!

About the Book: Centuries after their eradication and the death of their Queen in the Great Fire of London in 1666, the Vampire population now numbers in only the hundreds. A few of the remaining survivors regrouped and a High Council was born. Now a new threat has arrived: modern day military is not only tracking members of the council, they are attempting to create their own vampire soldiers. Enter Olivia Irons. Ex Black Ops. Doing her best to live a normal civilian life, but it never feels right. No family, no friends, and trouble always seems to follow. When the Sanguinarian Council offers her the chance of a lifetime, the biggest risk of all seems like the only path left to choose. How will she answer The Crimson Calling?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Interview with Dudley Mecum, author of A Sojourn Among the Avatars of Wisdom


Inside the Book:

Sojourn pic

Title: A Sojourn Among the Avatars of Wisdom 
Author: Dudley Mecum 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Visionary and Metaphysical 
Format: Ebook

Chris Cole enjoys aiming for the stars. After he rockets into orbit aboard the space shuttle, his mission is cut short when he is the victim of an accident aboard the International Space Station. Whisked back to earth for medical observation, Chris is eventually released. Before his return flight to Kennedy Space Center the next day, Chris decides to attend a nearby medieval fair with an acquaintance—a decision that will change the course of his life forever. Shortly after the astronaut's arrival at the festival, the king unexpectedly selects Chris to be a contestant in a tournament. As Chris's quest to become a knight begins, he learns how to wield a sword, battle foes, and achieve greatness. Unfortunately, villainy, treachery, and a crucible await him. As enemies emerge from the shadows, others use him as a pawn to settle old scores. Guided by a cast of colorful characters who dispense timeless advice, Chris is overcome with self-doubt as he ponders whether it is really possible to change his destiny. In this gripping fantasy tale, wisdom of the world's greatest philosophers and modern sages is brought to life as one man attempts to escape from a prison of his own making.
A Sojourn Among the Avatars of Wisdom is available for order at

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it? 

My book is a gift to my younger self. You see, I experienced a lot of setbacks when I was young, perhaps more setbacks than most people endure. A seventeen-year stretch of stuttering as a young adult preceded a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, which causes constant headaches. That tag team prevented me from experiencing much success in life. When the stars didn’t align to provide me salvation from my current state of affairs, I endeavored in a new adventure, one that required a great deal of patience. Fifteen years passed until my idea became reality. When I turned to quote books for inspiration, the wisdom revealed was compiled author or by subject, which is very dry and lacks context. So, I felt the need to find a more cohesive, yet entertaining medium in which to impart the wisdom of the ages that gives hope for those who have endured a lot of adversity in their lives, perhaps more misfortune than their fair share. The best approach was to weave the non-fictional elements of wisdom into a fictional narrative. Complementing the adventure and wisdom, I included the traditional literary devices such as symbolism, irony, and foreshadowing. Finally, my book is an homage to Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School, a mid-19th century art movement. The story depicts three out of four scenes from his Voyage of Life series of paintings. In essence, my book would convey not my wisdom, but the counsel of the world’s greatest sages, allowing my younger self to avoid common mistakes and achieve a greater success in life. Similarly, I’m hopeful that most readers will find my narrative entertaining and its underlying wisdom compelling. 

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

My book became a Rubik’s Cube of sorts because certain scenes called for specific wisdom and vice versa. In addition, I had to figure out who would impart what wisdom and in what order. The end result called for a colorful cast of characters and a multitude of scenes in which solicited advice would be given.

Do you plan subsequent books?

A sequel is planned for A Sojourn among the Avatars of Wisdom, which is hinted at in the last page of my book. Perhaps there will be more fantasy elements than imparted wisdom in that I don’t want to spend another fifteen years writing the sequel. 

When and why did you begin writing?

Shortly after graduate school, I wrote recommendations on various airline stocks as if I were a research analyst for a commercial or investment bank. The individuals who read my work really liked my writing. I kept their comments in the back of my mind for the next twenty years until I started writing my book.

What is your greatest strength as an author?

I tend to be persistent. It took me fifteen years to finish my book. Not too many people can do that. 

Did writing this book teach you anything?

I found that I needed to trust my instincts. I looked at quote books for inspiration and found their cataloging of quotes by author or by subject too dry. It’s as if each quote were a star in the sky. Even the notable quotes that I was drawn to, by themselves, really didn’t amount to much because there was no connective tissue. Only by writing a narrative, which not only provides context for each quote, but also related the quotes to each other, did I succeed in my quest. As a result, the “constellations of wisdom” are evident. Trusting my instincts proved to be the best thing I learned when writing my book.

Meet the Author:

  Dudley Mecum, a trained commercial pilot, earned an MBA in Finance, later working at a defense manufacturer. He currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where he enjoys fine art, swimming, and virtual flying.

Interview with Christiane Banks, author of Amelia's Prayer



Inside the Book:

Amelia's Prayer

Title: Amelia's Prayer 
Author: Christiane Banks 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Religious Fiction 
Format: Ebook/Hardcover/Paperback

Sebastian Lavalle is just fifteen when he leaves home in 1934 to join the navy. Seven years later, Sebastian unfortunately knows all too well about the horrors of World War II and what it is like to fear the unknown. When repairs force his ship to the rugged shore of Newcastle, the young French naval officer is invited to a tea dance to celebrate Bastille Day. He seizes the opportunity, hoping to find comfort and a small taste of the home he misses so much. Amelia Sullivan, the daughter of Irish immigrant parents is thrilled to be attending the tea dance. When Sebastian's eyes find her in the crowd, he drinks in her exotic beauty. Moments later as he draws her into his arms for a dance, there is no doubt in his mind that he has just met the woman of his dreams. Days later, Sebastian professes his love and marries her, sending them both on an unforgettable journey through betrayal, survival and forgiveness. The saga takes the reader from England's coast, to the French Riviera and also to America. Their soul searching journey explores the many facets and depths of love leading to the realization of what true happiness means.. Amelia's Prayer is a tender and moving saga spanning forty years after two young souls are flung together during World War II.  

Amelia's Prayer is available for order at

What is your favourite quality about yourself?

I am a very dedicated and committed person to family, friends and loved ones. This comes in very useful when writing a book -  one needs commitment, dedication and tenacity.

What is your least favourite quality about yourself?

I like to be in control of everything and everyone. It’s not something I like about myself, I am currently working on improving and understanding the only control I have is of myself.

When did you first know you could be a writer?

It seems to me have always been able to tell stories. But first, knowing that I could be a writer did not come to me until quite late in my lifetime.  I was well over 50 and had the good fortune to meet an author by the name of Joyce Holms, well established who wrote a detective series in Scotland. 

Although many people have told me, prior to meeting Joyce, that I should write a book. It was Joyce validating that indeed I could write a book. She knew by talking to me - that was my aha moment!

Who or what influenced your writing over the years?

I have over the years been influenced by people I meet, talk to and spend time with. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most interesting people; young and old; wise and not so wise. Everyone has their story. The human touch, simplicity, truths writing about what I know and understand and definitely other authors!

How did you come up with the title of the book?

By consensus. I had several ideas. I picked out my favourite and asked friends and family who knew the storyline and we all picked the same one. It seemed to be the right choice.

What is the hardest part of writing your book?

The execution of the manuscript. The story was in place and the outline however I am dyslexic transferring it from my mind onto paper was very difficult. I made notes taped with my voice on to tape, gave it to a friend of mine who typed every word.  I would read it back several times and then eventually turn it into a manuscript.  Amelia’s Prayer has had 17 versions of the manuscript!

Meet the Author:

Christiane Banks lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband. Amelia's Prayer, which took six years to write, is her debut novel.

Interview with Will Slatyer, author of Life/Death Rhythms of Capitalist Regimes - Debt Before Dishonour

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Title: Life/Death Rhythms of Capitalist Regimes - Debt Before Dishonour 
Author: Will Slatyer 
Publisher: Partridge Publishing 
Genre: Business and Economics 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Life/Death Rhythms of Capitalist Regimes – Debt before Dishonour explores the cyclical theory of cultural development, with particular attention paid to the introduction of democratic forms of government in the British Empire and the United States republic. The cyclical theory allows a forecast of the fading of the dominance of the United States as an imperial power. Similar to cultural survival of the loss of dominance experienced by the British Empire after the Great War, the United States will survive in a new form. Which superpower will take over the reins remains to be seen, but the likely contender is the People’s Republic of China. This conclusion and the timing will allow long-term planning by corporations and governments. In the age of political correctness, it is unlikely that readers will experience any such forecasts by government bodies. Throughout history, societies have used and abused debt, revolted and warred over debt, and have forbidden usury. But the modern financial world as we know it simply cannot exist without usury. Since the 1400s, modern governments have found new ways to expand debt to produce modern economies, which are still subject to the age-old basic principle of debt – that it needs to be repaid or dire consequences ensue.

Life/Death Rhythms of Capitalist Regimes is available for order at


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it? 

The book is an outline of dominant world cultures since 1400 which demonstrates that the rise and fall of each culture or society is cyclical. Once the cycle is recognized then the future of the current dominant culture can be forecast. My forecast is that the USA will lose dominance to China 2020-2028. There is a connection between climate change and the rise and fall of dominant cultures that suggests future hot/dry weather will cause psychological upheaval in the 2030s. 

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it? 

Most history is about the details of historical figures. I could not find books which dealt with the big picture of many dominant cultures. 

Do you plan subsequent books? 

At my age I doubt that another large book is in my future. 

When and why did you begin writing? 

I commenced writing when as a commodities futures broker, I needed books to educate my clients. 

What is your greatest strength as an author? 

I enjoy research 

Did writing this book teach you anything? 

Patience over decades of research

Monday, June 20, 2016

His Lass Wears Tartan Book Blast

We're happy to have Kathleen Shaputis and her HIS LASS WEARS TARTAN on the blog today!  Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Author: Kathleen Shaputis
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Pages:  270
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Independent and dedicatedly single, Rogue Bruce enjoys running Castle Baillie with her Aunt Baillie from America. They specialize in romantic Elizabethan-themed weddings, complete with resident ghost, Lord Kai (nothing like a haunted castle to set the mood for love). But love is something Rogue is not the least bit interested in. Content with her work and stable of horses, no man is necessary for her happiness.

Matchmaking is in the air, though, focusing on Bruce MacKenzie, a Thor in plaid and jeans from town, and Jonathan Olson, a snobbish Rhett Butler type. With two men after her heart (she’d thought safely locked away), Rogue is torn with confusion. Murder and a psychic yank the soundtrack of Rogue’s life from romantic to scary, while she has choices to make in this sizzling triangle.

You can pick up your copy at Amazon.

Book Excerpt:

“Who created these torture devices for women?” Rogue muttered as the high-heeled ankle boots her glittery Seattle friend, Rafael, had picked out for her squeezed her toes. Dashing around the white-silk-draped chairs inside the reception tent set up on the castle grounds, she lifted her floor-length emerald skirt of fluff and ribbons and screamed internally about her aching feet.  Her steps made soft clicks on the temporary polished flooring. “Spike heels make my legs look better, she tells me. Heels? Seriously? Buried under twenty yards of bloody material, no one will notice, I swear, and this dress weighs a ton.”
Why must my bloody underwear be authentic if no one knows or sees it? Seriously, another full day of endless agony in this restrictive Elizabethan costume of layered torture. You know an evil man must have created the corset. No woman would have designed something so miserable and called it fashionable. How many times had she pleaded with Aunt Baillie to let her wear something soft, something comfortable like pants and a jacket? Her aunt’s normally sweet face would transform into a stony glare, forcing Rogue to relent and don one of the many costumes made specifically for her. 
“The Baillie Castle Bed and Breakfast promises a fairy-tale environment for couples in love and bridal parties and a stop-time fantasy for families and guests,” Rogue mimicked her American aunt and business partner. “These expensive weddings pay the taxes and daily upkeep of your renovated castle.”
Rogue could barely breathe in the tightly wrapped bodice as she rounded out of the heated white tent, her eyes on the temporary stone path placed in the soggy Scottish mud. Plowing into something solid, Rogue cursed and frantically reached out, wobbling on the spiked heels. Grabbing at anything, her fingers found soft, crushable flannel before warm, strong hands wrapped around her wrists. Staring at the manly fingers holding her steady, Rogue’s eyes traveled up the long, chiseled arms of a young man to his concerned face, locking eyes with her.
“Ya be all right, miss?”
His baritone voice tickled her ears, causing the breath to catch in her throat as the heat from his grasp flushed in a wave across her face. All she could handle was a weak nod while staring at his serious face framed with shaggy blond hair, a chill breeze lifting the bangs from his ruddy forehead. His oddly green eyes blinked above a well-freckled nose and broke the spell.

About the Author

Kathleen Shaputis, author/ghostwriter, lives in the glorious Pacific Northwest with her husband, Bob, a clowder of cats and two pompously protective Pomeranians with little social aptitude, Brugh and Bouncer. If not writing, she’s busy reading and watching romantic comedies, her ultimate paradise.

Visit Kathleen’s website or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Body of the Crime Book Blast

We're so excited to be hosting Jennifer Chase's BODY OF THE CRIME Book Blast today!  Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

About the Book:

Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Genre: Crime Thriller

Three grisly murders linked to five old cold cases, dubbed the Flower Girl Murders, pushes detectives to their limit to find a clever and extremely brutal serial killer, leaving a California town demanding justice. The District Attorney’s Serial Special Task Force retains the help of the reclusive Dr. Chip Palmer, a forensic expert and criminal profiler, to steer them in the right direction.

Palmer is known for his astute academic interpretations of serial and predatory crimes, along with his unconventional tactics that goes against general police procedures. He is partnered with the tough and beautiful D.A. Inspector Kate Rawlins, a homicide detective transplanted from Phoenix, and the chemistry ignites between the team—turbulent and deadly.

The Flower Girl Murders leaves three homicides, five cold cases, two seasoned detectives, three suspects, and one serial killer calling all the shots. The investigation must rely on one eccentric forensic scientist to unravel the clues to solve the case. But at what cost?
Body of the Crime is available at Amazon.

Book Excerpt:

THE DENSE PINE AND OAK trees made a semi-circle pattern in the forest. Dried leaves blew in the breeze, swirled around like unique pieces of confetti, cascading downward, and finally resting on the ground.
The isolated location seemed serene and picturesque, which lent to the stark contrast of the woman’s dead body.
Her long brown hair hung straight and spilled down over her shoulders and slender body. Each strand appeared to have been carefully washed and combed precisely in place. The unknown woman wore a light blue button-down sweater that remained in an orderly fashion with every button fastened, and it was pulled down to cover her belly. Her arms gently placed over her chest, each finger laced next to the other. Tucked carefully underneath her hands was a stem with a pale pink flower that looked like a daisy, now wilted. The victim’s fingernails scrubbed clean, and her hands lacked any jewelry or identifying marks.
Upon a quick glance, it seemed that she was merely daydreaming. Looking closely, her fixed dull eyes gave the undeniable lifeless gaze. The relaxed expression on her face seemed almost contrived and had a peculiar quality to it—even a ghostly facade.
From the waist up, the woman looked like she had taken a nap after a morning of running errands or after coming home from a luncheon with friends. The woman was in a carefully posed position that told the story of an organized killer who was in complete control, but that was where the structured behavior of the murderer abruptly stopped.
In a disturbing contrast, the horrifying viciousness of what was left of the bottom half of the body was the aftermath of a long, torturous assault from someone completely out of control. It suggested a perpetrator who lacked any impulse control and mental stability. 

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is an award-winning author and consulting criminologist.  She has authored six crime fiction novels, including the multiple award-winning Emily Stone thriller series along with a screenwriting workbook.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor degree in police forensics and a Master's degree in criminology.  These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. 
She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

Visit Jennifer Chase’s website.

Connect with Jennifer on Facebook and Twitter.