The Don of Siracusa Blog Tour: By Sean Rea

 

 

Don of Siracusa

 

 

Stefano Caruso always does things the right way. With a grandfather who was forced to flee the venal Sicilian mafia and start life anew in America, Stefano now heads the corporation his father and grandfather built. Handsome and successful, he’s on top of the world…until one day he has an unexpected visitor and gets shocking news. Stefano is being cheated and lied to, and the company his family built from the ground up is in mortal jeopardy. That’s when Benito Cuggi, the face of the modern-day mafia, comes into his life. Cuggi appears to live by a strict code of morals that the laws of Western society cannot enforce. Loyalty and trust are rewarded, while betrayal is punished. Now Stefano faces a difficult choice. Can he ally himself with what he’s been taught to hate and fear? Or should he let what generations of his family built be stolen out from under him?

Fraught with moral complexity, Siracusa is a fast-paced, exciting crime thriller that pits good against evil and righteousness versus deception, while asking whether good men should sometimes do bad things to punish evil….

 

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The Don of Siracusa Book Trailer

 

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Sean Rea author

 

Sean Rea studied at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, majoring in communications and minoring in management. He has travelled much of America and nearly all of Italy. Like his protagonist, Stefano, from a young age Sean was exposed to the world of big business through his father and nonno, and he drew on much of this in crafting the business aspects of Siracusa. Sean is a long-time fan of the crime-fiction genre and all things mafia-related. THE DON OF SIRACUSA is his first novel. ​

 

 

 

Word Q AND A made with wood building blocks

 

 

 

Q&A Mystery Thriller Week

Author: Sean Rea

Title: “The Don of Siracusa”

 

 

 

  • What was it like writing your first book?

 

Challenging, rewarding, infuriating, and fun. I started writing “The Don of Siracusa” when I was right in the middle of pursuing my degree, so I didn’t have too much time to devote to writing. When I finally did get a “finished” manuscript together the first thing I did was ask friends and family what they thought, and they confirmed what I basically already knew – the book was a mess!

 

Back to the drawing board I went, and when I had actually completed university, I decided that enough was enough. I poured everything I had into fixing the scattered manuscript and after much trial and error, and some help from a few close friends that edited and made suggestions, I had something I was proud of.

I learned so much in the process of writing this first one, and although it was infuriating sometimes, I can’t wait to get to work on my second novel. Whether that will be “The Don of Siracusa 2” or another idea I’m fleshing out is yet to be seen.

 

 

“Stay faithful to the stories in your head” – Paula Hawkins 

 

 

 

  • What was the most challenging aspect of writing?

 

Many writers complain about lacking motivation to write, or hitting a writer’s block, but I rarely seemed to run into that issue. Something I’ve always been good at is pouring my thoughts onto a page relatively unrestricted and incredibly quick. Unfortunately for me, that style of writing is what creates the challenge for me. I abhor editing my own work, though I realize the importance of it. For me, my often “planless” writing leads me down roads I don’t know my way back from. This results in a ton of deleted content, and plenty of hours trying to piece together scenes, dialogues, or plot points that don’t quite make sense.

The other challenge for me is being such a heavy critic of myself. There are times when I may feel like the quality of my writing isn’t quite up to snuff. I always want to be improving as a writer, and critiquing my own work so harshly allows me to improve, but it can also hold me back. It’s about finding a balance between not getting complacent when writing, but also not criticizing yourself into a standstill.

 

 

 

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  • What was the most rewarding? 

 

The most rewarding aspect of writing, to follow up on the previous question, is when it all comes together. I am definitely quite hard on myself when it comes to my writing, but that’s not to say there aren’t times where I go, “Damn, maybe I’m actually pretty good at this thing.”

I really love the English language and writing in general. I have such an appreciation for when words come together to make you feel something, and I’m always looking for the best way to put words together. So, when I craft a great monologue, or write a scene that gets your heart to race or ache – that is what it’s all about.

As for the most rewarding moment, walking into Chapters and seeing my book on a shelf… that was a pretty insane experience. 

 

 

 

Rewards Green Road Sign Against Clouds and Sunburst.

 

 

 

  • What elements make a good crime thriller?

 

This may be a somewhat subjective answer, but for me a great read has to be visceral. I want to feel what the character feels, I want to be emotionally invested in characters, and of course I want to be engaged in the journey they’re on. 

Dialogue, to me, is something that many writers struggle with, and clunky or non-realistic dialogue is an immediate immersion breaker for me.

I think characters are always at the heart of a novel, because I’ve read some great books with mediocre or seemingly uninteresting plots, but never a great book with poorly written characters. 

Everything else comes about as a result of a great character, because once the reader cares, they’ll follow that character down whatever path you take them. The same goes for me when I read a book – what really gets me to fly through the pages is when I need to know what happens to a character. 

And it never hurts to sprinkle in a generous serving of sex, violence, and depravity to keep a reader interested…

 

 

 

Bestseller neon sign on brick wall background.

 

 

 

  • Who are your favorite crime writers?

 

I love both true and fictional crime stories, and I’ll read most any crime story out there. 

My obvious favorite crime writers would be Mario Puzo and Nicholas Pileggi. Mafia fiction, in both book and film form, is my favourite genre. But I also happen to really enjoy John Grisham, Dan Brown’s earlier novels, and I’ve recently begun, and fallen in love with, Truman Capote’s works. And of course, I used to be obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and the Hardy Boys, perhaps that’s where this all started!

However, the obsession doesn’t stop at reading… when I’m not reading or writing I’m usually watching some true crime documentary, or some crime thriller film/tv series. Most recently I binge watched the entirety of the Mindhunter Netflix series on serial killers, promptly ordering and binge-reading the novel written by the main character’s real-life counterpart.

As for me, I would love to attempt writing something Grisham or Baldacci-esque, although I am also tempted to stray from the crime fiction niche and try my hand at something more classic. Regardless, the world of crime fiction has been very good to me, and I take so much inspiration from all the writers listed above.

 

www.seanrea.com

 

 

 

 

Book Review: All Out War by Sean Parnell

 

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“Eric Steele and author Sean Parnell are the real deal.”— Lee Child

Special operative Eric Steele, introduced in Man of War, is on the hunt for a formidable Russian terrorist in this high-intensity tale of international intrigue from the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Outlaw Platoon.

Badly injured while stopping a rogue agent from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, elite warrior Eric Steele is drawn back into service before he’s ready when unknown assailants break into his home near Pittsburgh, injuring his mother and stealing his father’s pistol.

An Alpha—an elite soldier under the direct command of the president of the United States—Steele is hell-bent on finding the attackers and bringing them to justice. While tracking his foe, Steele discovers he’s become entangled in a far more sinister plan that’s already been set in motion.

A terrorist named Zakayev, once locked away in a maximum-security prison in Russia, has escaped and joined forces with Hassan Sitta, a man who’s shown his prowess and ingenuity with a spectacular bomb planted somewhere in the Middle East that hasn’t been ignited—and no one can find. But that is only the beginning of a horrifying plan that, if it succeeds, will shatter international alliances and bring the world to the brink of war.

Now, the hunted must turn the tables on the hunter—Steele must find a way to stay alive and stop Zakayev before innocent lives are lost.

 

Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

 

 

 

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This is one of the best new series on the market. Eric Steele and the covert Alpha system is awesome. As an Alpha, highly skilled operative Eric Steele has direct access to the president of the United States, as well as unique resources that make this series a joy to read. There’s also what I call an “entertainment factor” revealed in Steele’s character and overall tone of writing. Wonderful.

 

 

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About the Author

 

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Sean Parnell is the author of the bestselling memoir Outlaw Platoon. He is a retired Army Infantry captain who served in some of the heaviest combat of the Afghan War. He recounts those battles in vivid detail during his leadership presentations for the nation’s most successful teams and corporations. He is also the Co-Founder of the American Warrior Initiative, a charity that honors and empowers our nation’s veterans. Sean lives with his three children near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Website | Twitter | Amazon

 

 

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Book Review: Crusader One by Andrews & Wilson

 

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Tier One Thrillers Book #3

Nothing stops former Navy SEAL and Tier One operator John Dempsey from answering the call of duty—including a mission with the highest stakes he’s ever faced. When one of the most brazen and lethal acts of terrorism rocks American and Israeli intelligence forces at the highest levels, Dempsey’s ultracovert antiterror unit, Ember, mobilizes.

But this operation isn’t just a retaliatory strike by Ember; it’s a mission of vengeance for Dempsey—against the Iranian terrorist mastermind who slaughtered Dempsey’s Tier One comrades. Racing from Tel Aviv to Tehran, the elite American warrior and his formidable Israeli counterpart must forsake their backup in a capture-or-kill gambit that could turn into a suicide run.

But with missiles flying across the Middle East, Dempsey’s do-or-die quest must succeed. If it doesn’t, it’s a short countdown to World War III.

 

AmazonAudible | Goodreads

 

 

Book review

 

 

 

Finding this series has been one of the best discoveries this year! I’ve been absolutely devouring each and every book. I started out with book #4 American Operator, then went backwards to War Shadows, and now, Crusader One. Having thoroughly enjoyed this series I’m going to re-read American Operator, because that’s just how I roll, well that, and it’s amazing book. Next up on the menu will be book #5 Red Specter which you can pre-order right away.

To say Crusader One is good would be a serious understatement. There are many Black Ops, off the books, covert military thrillers out there—And there’s Team Ember starring ex Tier One Operator John Dempsey. The combination of plotting a realistic military thriller, 3-D characters, high stakes, and covert operations, makes this one hard to beat. I mean, it completely blew me away. And it was the same with every book in the Tier One series. It’s that good. Highly recommended—NO, it’s mandatory for all fans of military or counter terrorism thrillers.

 

Don’t forget to pre-order Red Specter

 

 

Red Specter book image

 

 

It’s strike—and counterstrike—as John Dempsey takes the fight to the Russians in a riveting Tier One Thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling authors of American Operator.

When shadow warrior and former Tier One Navy SEAL John Dempsey goes undercover to meet with a Vory arms dealer, he thinks he’s laying the groundwork to penetrate the Russian criminal underground. Instead, he walks into a trap orchestrated by Zeta, the secret Russian task force behind a recent assassination attempt on the US President. For Dempsey and his team, the only way out is to lay waste to the Russians, putting a target on Ember’s back.

With Ember pitted against Zeta, a dangerous game of strike and counterstrike ensues—sanctioned in the halls of the Kremlin and the White House but disavowed to the world. As the line between espionage, counterterrorism, and spec op blurs, Ember is ordered to eliminate their ultimate adversary, which means taking the fight against Zeta to Russian soil. But like a phoenix risen from the Cold War embers, Zeta is more capable than anyone imagines, and the Russians retaliate with an operation that will find Dempsey and task force Ember battling for survival.

 

 

Special force assault team helicopter drops during sunset

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Paco Chierici author of Lions of the Sky

 

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Interview with Paco Chierici author of Lions of the Sky

 

What motivated you to write a novel? 

I have always aspired to write a novel, ever since I was a child.  As a first timer I had a sense of how difficult it would be, and still I underestimated by a lot.  Lions of the Sky was motivated by my desire to share the inherent drama of naval aviation while telling a thrilling story.  It’s such a fantastic world, filled with wildly interesting people and daily craziness. And when you add the peril of actual military action to the mix, it elevates the stakes even further.

 

 

In learning how to write fiction what helped you the most?

I love reading fiction.  I’m a voracious consumer of books.  I took note of how my favorite authors crafted their stories and did my best to write with purpose.  I love characters, so I took great care to create fully developed, real people who would react in a natural manner to the circumstances I threw them into.  I also love the details of flying jets from aircraft carriers and wanted to share the intricacies with the reader in a manner that pulled them into the cockpit as a participant without overwhelming them with minutia.  Lastly, I have always enjoyed explaining how the high level global maneuvering of governments affect the individuals at the pointy end of the spear. When you read the news about “The Chinese” aggressively building up their military presence in the South China Sea, and “The Americans” sending ships to sail through the islands asserting freedom of navigation, there are actual humans representing those nations who are put at risk.  I tell stories where the global tensions build on a macro scale, but the reader gets to focus on how those tensions affect the individuals at the points of contact.

 

 

How did you come up with the title Lions of the Sky?

I must say that coming up with a good title was almost as challenging as writing the book itself.  I was in the Blacklions squadron myself, so I am partial to that squadron name. My characters end up in the Blacklions as well, once the trials of their training are complete, and are then sent to face the threat in the South China Sea.  I liked the simplicity and allusion of Lions of the Sky.  

 

 

How competitive are fighter pilots?

The short answer is, massively competitive.  Every aspect of being a fighter pilot is a competition.  From the moment we decide we aspire to be fighter pilots we are put into a pool of applicants that far exceeds the number required.  I don’t know the exact numbers, but say thousands per year for just a couple hundred slots at the far end of the funnel. Every academic test, every flight, every physical fitness test, every medical exam, is an opportunity to fail and be removed.  Over the course of our 18 months of flight training we fly hundreds of flights, each graded. If one fails too many flights, you are washed out. Once we finish flight school and get to the Fleet the competition changes gears. Each aircraft carrier landing is graded and all the grades are posted in each squadron’s Ready Room for all to see.  

It is such a competitive environment that when we dogfight against each other, before each flight we recite the Training Rules in an almost religious manner.  They are strict guidelines designed to reign in our natural desire to win every fight so that we preserve a measure of safety while practicing aerial combat.  

So yes, fighter pilots are extremely competitive.

 

 

As the instructor what role does Sam Richardson play in shaping the younger pilots?

Sam’s role is to make sure that the students he greets at their arrival to the F/A-18 training squadron are transformed from excited young bucks eager to play with their new toy into men and women who are prepared to go into combat the day after they graduate nine months later.  He sets the tone with his example and experience but he’s also approachable in that he’s only four years older than his students.  

 

 

What drives Keely Silvers to achieve her lifelong dream? 

Keely is driven by the belief that the cockpit of a fighter is absolutely where she belongs. She is surprised at first that there would be any opposition to her becoming a fighter pilot based on her gender, then annoyed, then angry at constantly having to defend herself.  Her crisis of confidence is especially powerful because it seems to validate the external beliefs she has been battling. And its resolution is particularly poignant as well, not to give away too much. 

 

 

Does Lions of the Sky employ any themes?

Lions explores a number of classic themes including love, war, death, survival, prejudice, and in a manner particular to being a fighter pilot, coming of age. 

 

 

Who are your favorite authors?

My current favorites are Daniel Silva (Gabriel Allon series) and Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch series).  They both write character-centric thrillers and are masters at building tension while still writing beautifully. I aspire to their level of craftsmanship. 

I have always loved Hemingway, Le Carré, and Elmore Leonard for much the same reason. They have the ability to tell beautiful stories that have a tremendous amount of tension and fantastic, rich characters. 

 

Are you excited about the new Top Gun movie?

I am.  The first was such a cultural event that has had amazing staying power.  I have some friends still in the Navy that worked on the new film as liaisons and they assure me it’s going to be a good movie.  I’m hopeful that the new movie will be just as fun and fix some of the cheesier parts.  

 

What’s next for you?

I’m four chapters into the sequel to Lions, titled The Dragon.  We join Slammer Richardson on his next adventure, which is completely different from Lions.  It’s Slammer, this time, who is in crisis.  Shot down, stuck behind enemy lines, rescued and captured.  He’s got to find a way to make it back to the carrier so he can save the woman who helped him and stop an imminent war based on false pretenses. 

 

 

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In the world of fighter pilots, the most alpha of the alpha, competition is everything and the stakes are impossibly high. A Top Gun for the new millennium, LIONS OF THE SKY propels us into a realm in which friendship, loyalty, and skill are tested, battles won and lost in an instant, and lives irrevocably changed in the time it takes to plug in your afterburners.

 

AmazonGoodreads | Website

 

 

 

Fighter Jet Head-On View

 

 

 

About the Author

 

During his active duty career in the U.S. Navy, Francesco “Paco” Chierici flew A-6E Intruders and F-14A Tomcats, deployed to conflict zones from Somalia to Iraq and was stationed aboard carriers including the USS Ranger, Nimitz and Kitty Hawk. Unable to give up dogfighting, he flew the F-5 Tiger II for a further ten years as a Bandit. Throughout his military career, Paco accumulated 3,000 tactical hours, 400 carrier landings, a Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star and three Strike/Flight Air Medals.

Prior to writing Lions in the Sky, Paco published extensively in Aviation Classics Magazine, AOPA Magazine, and Fighter Sweep, as well as creating and producing the award winning naval aviation documentary Speed and Angels.

Currently a 737 captain, Paco can often be found in the skies above California flying a Yak-50 with a group of likeminded G-hounds to get his dogfighting fix. A graduate of Boston University, Paco lives in Northern California with his wife Hillary, and two children.

 

www.lionsofthesky.com

 

 

 

 

Audiobook Blog Tour Series: Brass In Pocket Inspector Drake #1 by Stephen Puleston

 

Inspector Drake Banner

 

 

 

 

Brass in Pocket Puleston audio

 

 

About Audiobook #1

Author: Stephen Puleston

Narrator: Richard Elfyn

Length: 10 hours 10 minutes

Publisher: Stephen Puleston⎮2018

Genre: Modern Detective

Series: Inspector Drake Mysteries, Book 1

Release date: Oct. 26, 2018

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: It is the middle of the night….

The road is deserted….

A killer is waiting….

Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer – traffic cones in the shape of a number four. The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages, or is there some hidden meaning in them? Does it all mean more killings are likely? 

When a politician is killed, Drake has his answer. And then the killer sends more song lyrics. Now Drake has to face the possibility of more deaths, but with numbers dominating the case, Drake has to face his own rituals and obsessions. Finally, when the killer threatens Drake and his family, he faces his greatest challenge in finding the killer before he strikes again.

 

Audible | Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

REVIEWS - Glowing Neon Sign on stonework wall

 

 

 

If you read a book by Stephen Puleston you’re going to get a solid story. Brass in Pocket is a traditional detective mystery, and excellent British crime thriller starring Inspector Ian Drake. I haven’t digested a British crime book in a while, so this was quite refreshing. The audiobook production, sound quality, narration by Richard Elfyn were nothing less than spectacular. Now I’m on to book #2! WORSE THAN DEAD.

 

 

Five stars in the dark. Customer experience and satisfaction concept.

 

 

 

 

Interview in progress sign on office door

 

 

 

 

*What do you enjoy most about writing crime fiction?

As I write a series involving Inspector Drake I enjoy developing his character and family life alongside the hurdles he faces day to day with the challenging and changing world of fighting crime. Crime fiction also gives me the opportunity to develop current themes faced in society today.

 

 

*What were your inspirations for creating Detective Ian Drake?

I’ve read a lot of the years and there isn’t one thing that inspired me other than a love of crime/mystery fiction and a desire to write a good story. I have a background in the law so I draw a lot on my work in the criminal courts and doing divorce work for inspiration. My home country Wales also gives me great inspiration for the background and setting of the books. 

 

 

*Who are your favorite detectives?

I enjoy a wide ranging and varied writers. Philip Marlowe must rank as one of the great fictional creations as the classic hard-boiled detective. I am a great fan of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch too. In the UK I would have to say that John Rebus by Ian Rankin is one of my favourites – grumpy and irascible but determined too. And for great detective drama I think Spiral from France and Craith/Hidden from Wales are top class.

 

 

*What was the best feedback you’ve received from readers?

The feedback I most enjoyed was from a reader in the outback of Australia who lives in a remote location and loved being able to learn about Wales from reading my books.

 

 

*What was it like preparing for an audiobook production? 

Great fun! I enjoyed preparing the spreadsheet of characters with various accents for the narrator and coordinating all the arrangements for the production with the studio.

 

 

*What do you think about experiencing audiobooks as a different medium than paperbacks, or ebooks?

In many ways audiobooks complement ebooks – using Amazon’s whisper sync technology allows you to move from ebook to audiobook without loosing your place. And that should encourage reading, which can only be a good thing. And audio books are a performance in themselves which make them a different sort of experience altogether.

 

 

Author Stephen Puleston

 

 

 

About the Author: Stephen Puleston

I write crime fiction based in Wales and about Wales. The rural landscape of north Wales provides the backdrop to the Inspector Drake novels. And Cardiff, the capital of Wales, provides the setting for the Inspector Marco novels set in a modern urban environment.

I love the novels of Raymond Chandler, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Henning Mankell, Val McDermid – the list could go on! And I enjoy watching detective series on the television the recent Hinterland series based near Aberystwyth in Wales was great. One of my favourites is the French series Spiral but The Bridge and Broadchurch and the Rebus series with Ken Stott and Kenneth Branagh in Wallander are great too.

I was born in Anglesey an island off the north Wales coast and after leaving school in Holyhead I went to University in London before training as a solicitor/lawyer. I practised in a small family business doing criminal work in the magistrates and crown courts, divorce and family work.

I still live on Anglesey, North Wales near the beach and the mountains of Snowdonia.

 

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Narrator Richard E

 

 

About the Narrator: Richard Elfyn

Richard Elfyn is a hugely experienced and talented actor with film credits including APOSTLE, MARIAH MUNDI AND THE MIDAS BOX, THE KILLER ELITE and THE DARK. TV credits include THE CROWN, KEEPING FAITH, HINTERLAND, EMMERDALE and STELLA and numerous leading regular roles for S4C including political drama BYW CELWYDD. Richard is regularly heard on BBC Radio 4 dramas and is a highly skilled voice over artist. He has re-voiced many Welsh language versions of popular animations including FIREMAN SAM, BEN 10 and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Evolution and Development of the Jonathan Quinn Series with Author Brett Battles

 

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Jonathan Quinn is the best at what he does: making bodies disappear. Within the espionage world, his reputation is impeccable.

There was a time, though, when that reputation was still being built under his mentor, Durrie. A time when the very man who had taught Quinn all he knew could have derailed the young cleaner’s future.

Fifteen years ago, Quinn was offered a job. On the surface, a straightforward mission to stop a terrorist. But the client gave Quinn the additional task of taking on Durrie as his number two, as a last chance for the veteran agent to be rehabilitated.

Durrie had been on a downward spiral, going from being a highly respected operative to an unreliable has-been. These changes threatened to destroy everything—not only in Quinn’s life, but Orlando’s, too. She was Durrie’s girlfriend, and Quinn’s best friend.

Both she and Quinn were desperate to help Durrie return to the person he once was.
They hoped this job would be the answer.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Website

 

 

 

Interview with microphone

 

 

 

Discuss the evolution of freelance operative and professional “cleaner,” Jonathan Quinn.

When Quinn shows up in The Cleaner, the first book of the series, he’s been in the business for, I think, just under fifteen years. His first five years were spent as an apprentice, then, after being on his own, he becomes one of the best body removal specialist in the espionage world. To be clear, he’s not an assassin, though if he needs to act, he will. He’s the guy you hire to “clean” the scene of an operation so that it looks like nothing happened. This includes making whatever bodies have been left behind disappear forever. With the exception of his apprentice, Nate, from the first time we see Quinn, he’s basically a loner. But, over the course of the series (twelve novels, several short stories and a novella, so far), he reunites with Orlando, the woman he has secretly loved for years. With her and Nate, they become a team that only gets better and better at what they do. 

 

 

 

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How did the relationship between Quinn and Orlando originate?

Quinn and Orlando started off as apprentices at the same time, for mentors where friends. So, they often worked together. Quinn found himself drawn to her from the very start. But his mentor, Durrie, made the first move, beginning a relationship with Orlando that left Quinn out in the cold. Five years later, after a tragedy that threatened to divide Quinn and Orlando forever, Quinn has little choice but to go to her for help. From that moment, their relationship begins to mend until it becomes something even more than Quinn could have ever hoped.

 

 

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Who are the members of Quinn’s team?

Orlando, of course, who is both a badass in the field and pretty handy with computers. Nate, who is Quinn’s apprentice in the first several books, and partner in those that come after. Daeng, a former Thai monk who is pretty chill even in highly stressful situations. And, most recently, Jar, (my current favorite character) a young Thai woman who is on the autism spectrum, and is even better at all things cyber than Orlando. She’s also getting better at working in the field, too. There are other operatives who make occasional appearances, but these are the core members of the team.

 

 

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Discuss the development of the series featuring Nate in Night Man.

It wasn’t too long into the Quinn series that I began to think about featuring his apprentice Nate in his own stories. The problem was coming up with an angle that would set his books apart from Quinn’s. A few novels ago, an event happened in the Quinn novels that opened up an avenue I hadn’t even considered before. And from that came Night Man. I’ve also been able to set up up so that these “personal missions” of Nates come between jobs he does with Quinn, allowing him to continue on in the Quinn books, too. I’d tell you more but, you know…spoilers.

 

 

 

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Did anything stand out in your writing process during Night Man?

A few things. The Night Man books—well, book at the moment—will all be more crime based thrillers as opposed to spy thrillers like Quinn. This have given me a whole new area to dive into, which is exciting. I love that Nate is driven to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves by…let’s just call it…a voice in his head that he can’t say no to. The stories are also told in first person by Nate, which is different than the Quinn books, too. I absolutely love writing in first person. Finally, Night Man was a blast to write.  I’m not saying my other novels weren’t fun, too. It’s just that Night Man was enjoyable from beginning to end.

 

“Stay faithful to the stories in your head” – Paula Hawkins

 

 

In addition to the recently released NIGHT MAN, Battles has just published THE DAMAGED, another novel in his Jonathan Quinn spy thriller series. This time the story takes place fifteen years ago, when Quinn was still establishing himself as a cleaner—the person who makes bodies disappear—and centers around his deteriorating relationship with his mentor, who may or may not be going mad. A dangerous thing in a world full of guns and secrets and death.

 

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Brett Battles is a Barry Award-winning author of over thirty novels, including Rewinder, the Jonathan Quinn series, the Logan Harper series, and the Project Eden series. He’s also the coauthor, with Robert Gregory Browne, of the Alexandra Poe series. You can learn more at his website:

BrettBattles.com

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Eye For Eye by J.K. Franko

 

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Book 1 of the Talion Series

 

 

 

 

“NEW TWIST ON STRANGERS ON A TRAIN” – THE SUNDAY TIMES 

When I first met Susie, she appeared to be a normal, happily-married woman dealing with tragedy.

Then, I uncovered her secrets. While I could understand everything that she’d done, I could never approve.

But, knowing what she was capable of, it became clear that if I was going to survive her, I had to play by her rules.

And, the first and most important rule is… leave no singing bones.

 

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A gripping crime, nail biting suspense, stellar plot twists…

 

 

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This book kept getting better and better as I kept reading. A couple with an interesting past, to say the least, gets caught up in a GRIPPING crime. A mother, father consumed by grief. The thirst for revenge grows stronger, the lies run deeper, and the deception even more sinister. Great suspense with major plot twists! Author J.K. Franko does an excellent job detailing each character with dark, twisted motivations. Realistic and chilling, Eye for Eye kept me on the edge of my seat!

 

 

 

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J.K. Franko was born and raised in Texas at a time when what he really wanted to do in life – writing and film – were not considered legitimate jobs. His Cuban-American parents believed there were only three acceptable career paths for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect.

After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name).

Franko was on law journal. His work was cited by courts, and he was recognized on the National Law Journal’s “Worth Reading” list – which for law is the equivalent to a top review in the New York Times.

While moving up the big law firm ladder, Franko also published a non-fiction book and a number of articles.

After ten years as a lawyer, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He decided to go back to school where he got an MBA, and later pursued a PhD, crossing the line from well-educated to over-educated around the turn of the century.

He left law for corporate America, with long stints working in Europe and Asia.

It was his wife who pushed him to write novels. And, after thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight literary miscarriages over the course of eighteen years, he completed his first book, finally launching his career as a writer of fiction.

Ironically, although he started writing fiction before any of his three children were born, they were all old enough to see and remember their father’s first book launch.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in South Florida with their four dogs and one cat.

 

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How Honey Became a Character by LC Hayden

 

 

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How Honey Became a Character

By L.C. Hayden

 

 

In order to understand how Honey, the dog, came to be a character in my latest thriller When Memory Fails, one must first know a bit about the story’s basic plot.

Sandy Sechrest, her boyfriend Daniel, and retired Detective Harry Bronson head for Sechrest Falls, a ghost town in Colorado, which houses an alluring ledger that the three seek. The sole resident in this ghost town is a character simply known as The Hermit.

In order for this story to work, I knew that the Hermit needed to be a strong character, one that the readers would identify with. However, when I read the first draft of When Memory Fails, the Hermit was definitely not memorable. The story needed something that would give the Hermit a boost.  I considered adding another character. I quickly eliminated that idea as it would only detract from the story.

What then? I thought and thought. Then it hit me.

The Hermit would have a dog. Yes, the right type of dog would be ideal.

Once I had decided this, my next step was to create such a dog. That meant first finding the right kind of breed. I felt overwhelmed when I realized that a lot of types of breeds exist, not to mention the sub-breeds. Which one should I choose? And how could I narrow this list down?

As I’m brooding over this, my dog, a Basenji named Honey, nudged me.

I looked at her.

She nudged me again. Feed me.

“Later,” I told her. I wanted to finish my research.

She gently hit my hand with her nose. No, now.

I glared at her. She nudged me again. I sighed and stood up. “Okay, dog, you win.” I went to the kitchen and prepared her food. For any other dog, this would be the end of the task. But not for Honey. She insists on me being present when she eats. If I simply put her food down and walk away, she will follow me and not eat. She’d rather starve. Consequently, I crossed my arms and waited until she finished eating.

Once she did, I quickly headed for my computer to finish my work. Honey ran in front of me, blocking my way. I stopped and looked at her.

Aren’t you forgetting something? her eyes seemed to ask.

I gave myself a mental tap on my forehead. Oh, yeah. Her after-dinner treat: a dental chew stick we call Greenie. Thank God she is willing to eat this by herself without me being present. I gave it to her and made a mad dash for my computer.

Minutes later, she stood by me and yelped. Basenji’s don’t bark as their ancestors used to live with the Egyptian pharaohs in their castles. Therefore, the dogs were not allowed to bark. To guarantee that there would be no barking in the castle, the king ordered the dogs’ vocal chords removed. Through generations, this breed of dogs lost their ability to bark, but they are definitely not one-hundred percent quiet. They learned to yodel and make all kinds of other noises. Thus the reason Honey yelped instead of barked.

I knew what she wanted. “Let me finish this first, and then we’ll take you for your walk,” I told her.

She let out another high pitch yelp.

I ignored her.

She yelped again.

I did my darnest to ignore her.

She yelped.

I stood up. “Okay, okay, you win. I get it. You want your walk now.”

Rich, my husband, put her harness on and the three of us went for the walk. Half-an-hour later, as we headed home, I treasured the idea that Honey likes to take a nap after her walk. Good. Finally, I’ll find the time to continue editing my novel.

We reached our house, and Rich said that he was a bit tired and was also going to take a nap. Great! A picture of a quiet house danced in my head. I could finally focus on my research.

That lasted a whole five minutes.

Honey let out a loud whining, not once, but a constant sound that sent a chill running down my back. I bolted out of my chair, nearly knocking it down, and ran down the hallway and into our bedroom.

Thankfully, being hard of hearing, my husband remained sound asleep. Honey stood beside the bed by his head, looking up at him, whining.

“Honey, what’s wrong? You’re going to wake Daddy up. Hush.” I pulled her toward me.

She worked her way free and resumed her stance by Rich’s head. Once again, she whined. I grabbed her again and the entire incident repeated itself.

In spite of my efforts to keep the dog quiet, my husband woke up. He opened his eyes and looked at her. “What’s wrong, Honey? You ate, you got your treat, and your walk. What do you want?”

Honey whined.

Rich sat up on the bed.

“Honey?”

She continued to whine.

“Do you want to play? Is that it?”

Her answer came in the form of another whine.

“Okay, okay. We’ll play.” Rich got up and reached for his shoes.

Soon as he was out of bed, the dog jumped up and occupied the same spot Rich had just vacated. She curled up and went to sleep.

Rich and I stood looking at her. She wanted his spot, and she got the spot.

I shook my head. “What a dog,” I told my husband.

Rich agreed.

I went back to work on my computer.

Now, let’s see, where was I? Oh yeah, I was about to decide on what kind of a breed the dog in my story should be. I considered the qualifications I needed for my fictional dog to have.

First of all, the dog shouldn’t be too big or too small. It had to be just the right size. An image of Honey popped in my head. I nodded. Yeah, a dog about her size would be ideal.

Second, I needed basically a quiet dog, like a Basenji.

Same image popped up. Honey.

I needed a dog that had a cute personality.

Honey.

I needed a dog that had a strong personality that always found a way to communicate with the humans in the story.

Honey.

I shook off the images and began the research. I typed in on the Google bar dog breeds. I heard Honey gently snoring, happy that everything had gone according to her schedule.

Honey.

I closed the search bar. I didn’t need to do any research. I had everything I needed here at home.

And that’s how Honey became a character in my book—and will continue to be a character in future Bronson books.

Honey. What a dog.

Read Honey’s first adventure in When Memory Fails at www.tinyurl.com/LCHaydenMemory .

 

 

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What happens when you lose your memory and others are depending on you?

When Sandra Sechrest discovers the terrible secret about her family’s ancestors, she’s determined to right the wrongs. She seeks Bronson, a retired detective’s help. They along with Bronson’s nephew travel to a ghost town in Colorado to unearth the secrets buried there.

But Sandra’s family led by the evil Bobbi Lazzarone will do anything to guarantee that Sandra fails—anything, including murder.

Suddenly Sandra, Daniel, and Bronson are thrown into a world filled with deception and danger. Bronson swears to protect the young couple at all costs, but when the house he’s at explodes, Bronson is left for dead, and Daniel and Sandra are forced to fend for themselves.

When Bronson regains consciousness, he can’t remember who he is, where he’s at, and why he’s there. Will he regain his memory in time to save Daniel and Sandra? Or has he finally met his match When Memory Fails?

 

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About L.C. Hayden

 

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L. C. Hayden is known for her adventures and for her travels. When her fans ask her why she does this, she answers, “Take Aimee Brent, my character in the Aimee Brent Mystery Series. She learned how to scuba dive. Do you really think I’m going to let her have more fun than me? No way! She had to learn how to scuba dive, so I learned how to scuba dive.
“Harry Bronson, my character in the Harry Bronson Thriller Series, has a motor home and travels all over. Well, guess what? I have a motor home and I travel all over.”

Hayden considers herself very lucky. She has been touched many times by miracles and angels. That led her to write her series based on hers and others’ angel and miracle experiences. “These books are very well received, both nationally and internationally.”

One of Hayden’s greatest joy is being a grandmother. “That’s the reason I wrote the children’s picture books. Don’t be surprised if the age level for my children’s books increases as my grandkids grow up.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post-Apocalyptic Thrillers with Nicholas Sansbury Smith

 

 

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Please welcome Nicholas Sansbury Smith author of the post-apocalyptic thriller series – Hell Divers. Nick is one of my favorite writers and has penned one of the most entertaining, all time favorite series. I’m more than happy to introduce his work. Check out the video below.

 

Hell Divers V: Captives Book Trailer

 

 

 

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling series

They dive so humanity survives …

More than two centuries after World War III poisoned the planet, the final bastion of humanity lives on massive airships circling the globe in search of a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to earth long ago. The only thing keeping the two surviving lifeboats in the sky are Hell Divers—men and women who risk their lives by skydiving to the surface to scavenge for parts the ships desperately need.

When one of the remaining airships is damaged in an electrical storm, a Hell Diver team is deployed to a hostile zone called Hades. But there’s something down there far worse than the mutated creatures discovered on dives in the past—something that threatens the fragile future of humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review – Hell Divers 5 – Captives 

 

There’s good writing, and then there’s writing that far exceeds the readers expectations. Those are the ones that stick with you long after you read them. Nick is in the latter category. I didn’t even read the post-apocalyptic thriller genre until I came across the Hell Divers series—Now I’m a hard core fan. Each book gets better and better as the series continues. Captives, book 5 is a great development of the storyline as the Hell Diver teams fight for survival. They’ve waited for decades searching desperately for a habitable place on Earth. But once they find it, it isn’t what they expect. Once again they find themselves in not only the fight for survival, but what they live for. The values that make us human race. Excellent series. Highly recommended. Especially the audiobooks! They’re all narrated by the R.C. Bray. Look at the clip below to see what he has to say about Hell Divers.

 

 

Five stars in the dark. Customer experience and satisfaction concept.

 

 

 

Audiobook Narrator R.C. Bray on Hell Divers

 

 

 

 

 

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Nicholas Sansbury Smith is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Hell Divers series. His other work includes the Extinction Cycle series, the Trackers series, and the Orbs series. He worked for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management in disaster planning and mitigation before switching careers to focus on his one true passion–writing. When he isn’t writing or daydreaming about the apocalypse, he enjoys running, biking, spending time with his family, and traveling the world. He is an Ironman triathlete and lives in Iowa with his wife, their dogs, and a house full of books.

 

Hell Diver Series

Extinction Cycle Series

Trackers – A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Series

Orbs – A Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Survival Series

 

Connect with Nick

 

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nicholassansburysmith.com

 

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Author Owen Mullen Discusses Crime Thriller Out of the Silence

 

 

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About Owen Mullen

Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist. And So It Began earned a coveted Sunday Times Crime Club ⭐Star pick

 

 

Interview

 

How did the idea for Out of the Silence develop into a full novel?

 

Hi Benjamin, and thank you for inviting me here.

I woke up with the idea one morning; it came to me almost whole. The beginning and ending arrived exactly as they appear in the book. After that I pieced the individual character’s stories together, then folded them in and out of each other as I wrote. The original draft underwent many, many revisions until I was satisfied I was telling the tale I’d imagined.

 

 

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Did you decide that Ralph Buchanan would be an investigative reporter early in the process?

Ralph wasn’t in the original run of the story and didn’t appear until my wife read what I’d written and asked ‘Yes, it’s very good, but which part will Leonardo play?’ And Ralph was born.

 

 

Why was he banished to Pakistan by his Newspaper?

He was banished because of his drink-fuelled behaviour. In the original I spent 40,000 words exploring Ralph’s back story until again, my wife Christine asked ‘What story are you telling?’

 

 

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Who is Simone Jasnin and what’s her role in the story?

Simone is the Doctor who treats the injured Afra in a rural hospital. Incensed by what she’s seen she goes to Lahore seeking someone to help her expose these types of injustices. That someone turns out to be Ralph Buchanan

 

How did you determine Pakistan was the setting for the story?

Pakistan was perfect for this story…a beautiful, diverse country rich in culture and history, but like most places when you scratch the surface a darker truth lies hidden.

 

 

 

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What was your research about Pakistan like?

Exciting! I travelled to the region, read many books, spoke to people and spent long hours on the internet.

 

What’s next for you?

I’ve literally just finished the follow-up to In Harm’s Way which picks the story up five years on. Next project is already underway; a story about two South London gangsters.

 

 

 

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When no one knows you are in danger how can you ever be saved…
The Baxter house in the Lowther Hills, in Scotland, has been on the estate agent’s books for decades. Dilapidated and near-derelict, nobody is interested in it. But, for one potential buyer, the remote location and rat-infested cellar are perfect.

For the first year, Mackenzie’s marriage to Derek was ideal. But Derek believes she is having an affair and when she realises her husband is becoming controlling, she knows she’s made a terrible mistake.

But Mackenzie has a drinking problem so when she threatens to leave Derek and then disappears no one believes she has been abducted.

DS Geddes is handed the case but isn’t convinced anything criminal has taken place until a startling development comes to light.

Has Mackenzie been abducted or has she simply left her husband?

And who has bought The Baxter house and for what purpose?

 

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Owen Mullen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; Owen still loves to perform on occasion. His great love for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home away from home in the Greek Islands where the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’, and the In Harm’s Way psychological thriller were created.

My books raise a lot of social issues…If you would like a set of questions for #bookgroupdiscussions please contact me.