Storytelling with Steven James & Lynn Constantine

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Bestselling author Steven James hosts Lynn Constantine on the Story Blender Podcast

 

 

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This podcast originally appears on thestoryblender.com Feb. 19, 2019. Duration: 55 min.

 

Lynne Constantine is a coffee-drinking, Twitter-addicted fiction author always working on her next book. She is the international bestselling co-author of THE LAST MRS. PARRISH written under the pen name Liv Constantine. Her next book, THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU, comes out on May 7th.

 

 

 

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The internationally bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrishfollows that success with an addictive novel filled with shocking twists about the aftermath of a brutal high-society murder.

Dr. Kate English has it all. Not only is she the heiress to a large fortune; she has a gorgeous husband and daughter, a high-flying career, and a beautiful home anyone would envy.

But all that changes the night Kate’s mother, Lily, is found dead, brutally murdered in her own home. Heartbroken and distraught, Kate reaches out to her estranged best friend, Blaire Barrington, who rushes to her side for the funeral, where the years of distance between them are forgotten in a moment.

That evening, Kate’s grief turns to horror when she receives an anonymous text: You think you’re sad now, just wait. By the time I’m finished with you, you’ll wish you had been buried today. More than ever, Kate needs her old friend’s help.

Once Blaire decides to take the investigation into her own hands, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems in Baltimore high society. As infidelity, lies, and betrayals come to light, and tensions rise to a boiling point, she begins to alienate Kate’s friends and relatives with her relentless, accusatory questions, as she tries to find Lily’s killer. The murderer could be anyone—friend, neighbor, loved one. But whoever it is, it’s clear that Kate is next on their list. . .

In The Last Time I Saw You, Liv Constantine takes the lightning pace of The Last Mrs. Parrish and raises the stakes, creating an exquisitely tension-filled and absorbing tale of psychological suspense in which innocent lives—and one woman’s sanity—hang in the balance.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Website

 

 

 

Liv Constantine authors

 

Liv Constantine is the pen name of USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and international bestselling authors and sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine, co-authors of the Reese Witherspoon book club pick, THE LAST MRS. PARRISH. Separated by three states, they spend hours plotting via FaceTime and burning up each other’s emails. They attribute their ability to concoct dark story lines to the hours they spent listening to tales handed down by their Greek grandmother. Their next book, THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU, will be released on May 7, 2019.

 

 

livconstantine.com

 

stevenjames.net

 

thestoryblender.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED Hotel: A Q&A with Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller

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BOOK RELEASE DAY – RED Hotel by Gary Grossman & Ed Fuller

 

 

 

 

 

A Q&A WITH THE AUTHORS

 

ED FULLER:

What was the primary motivation for writing a thriller before you met Gary Grossman? 

Growing up, I loved the James Bond books and movies. The adventure and the characters were exciting.  Then, over my 40 years with Marriott, I experienced a number of global crises situations that felt like they could have even come from Bond.  Along the way – a long way – 22 years as President of International for Marriott, I learned through kidnappings, evacuations, dealing with drug cartels, and foreign governments that crisis management was absolutely critical.  Since retiring from Marriott I decided to combine my realities with my early fantasies. RED HOTEL was born.

 

 

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ED FULLER:

What was your experience writing fiction versus non-fiction?

While I was still working with Marriott, I wrote a book “You Can’t Lead with your Feet on the Desk.” It was a business book that reflected my experiences and philosophies.  It was published by Wiley in the US, China, and Japan.  The reason I sought partnership with Gary Grossman was based on my lack of experience as a fiction writer.  So the way it works is I contribute stories and strategy and Gary applies the glue, creativity, and through-line that binds our stories, characters, and the overall international plot.

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

After meeting Ed Fuller what potential did you see in his story concept?

Gary Grossman – Initially, I wondered what would I have in common professionally with the former President of Marriott International.  After all, I was a thriller writer, he was a global executive with the responsibility over thousands of peoples’ lives and careers. I worked in fiction.  He worked in reality. But then we met and in the first thirty seconds I realized Ed was as much in the anti-terrorism business as the hotel business. He extracted his teams in Cairo and Tripoli during the fall of Mubarak and Gaddafi.  Company hotels were bombed. He dealt with drug cartels, kidnappings, and high-level officials in foreign governments around the world. Then I asked Ed who he had on speed dial. He told me. Dramatically. And I realized we could work together and create a wonderful plot fictionalizing Ed’s real life experiences.  

 

 

CLAP-THRILLER

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

How did you co-create Dan Reilly?

Dan does real life things, but in a fictional world.  Where Ed didn’t carry a gun, we gave one to Dan for a key scene.  But there’s so much of Ed in Dan. Key was focusing on Ed Fuller’s creation of the color code threat assessment levels he implemented at Marriott that we adapted for RED HOTEL.  So, as you meet Dan Reilly in print, you’ll understand a great deal about Ed Fuller’s remarkable career.

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

Tell us more about him and what makes him your protagonist?

Dan Reilly has contacts in the international intelligence community, just as Ed does.  For the sake of RED HOTEL, that pits him against a master assassin in the employ of the president of the Russian Federation.   The background for the entire plot deals with the president and his desire to rebuild the old Soviet bloc on Russia’s western front.   Fiction for RED HOTEL, but a real and present danger for NATO and the West.

 

 

 

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GARY GROSSMAN:

What kind of terrorists is he dealing with?

Spoiler alert.  The terrorists are actually agents of Russia.  But that’s for Dan Reilly and his team to figure out.  So right now, consider yourself head of the protagonist.  But there are more surprises in RED HOTEL to discover.

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

What are the stakes if they’re aren’t stopped?

The clock is ticking for Russia to make a dramatic and bold move.  To expand Russia’s existing borders into western Europe. So throughout RED HOTEL, all the Russian president needs is the right provocation.  That’s when and where Dan Reilly must step in.

 

 

 

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GARY GROSSMAN:

Describe how you came up with the title, Red Hotel.

The RED in RED HOTEL refers to the highest threat level in the color code system created by Ed Fuller at Marriott and Dan Reilly in the thriller.  RED means the property looks and feels more protected, and in Ed’s experience, the more visible the defenses against terrorists, the more likely bad guys are to move on.

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

What’s next for you?

Ed and I are nearly finished with the first draft of the sequel to RED HOTEL.  It picks right up from where the first book leaves off. So, stay tuned and thanks for deep diving into RED HOTEL.  We hope you’ll enjoy it.

# # #

 

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ED FULLER is a hospitality industry leader, educator, and author of the international Top 20 bestselling business book, You Can’t Lead with Your Feet on the Desk, published by Wiley. He is president of the Irvine, California-based Laguna Strategic Advisors, a global consortium that provides business consulting services to corporations and governments. Fuller is a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigators National Academy Associates Foundation (FBINAA). He has served as a Board Executive of several Charity Boards and Three University Boards. His 40-year career with Marriott included serving as CMO and several regional operational positions which was capped by his role as president and managing director of Marriott International for 22 years. As worldwide chief, he directed and administered corporate expansion of 555 hotels in 73 countries and $8 billion in sales. During that time, he oversaw the creation of Marriott International’s Global Security Strategy. Fuller served as a captain in the U.S. Army and was decorated with a Bronze Star and Army Commendation medals.

 

 

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Gary Grossman is a multiple Emmy Award winning television producer and author of the bestselling international political thrillers Executive Actions, Executive Treason, Executive Command, Executive Force, and Old Earth. He has also written two highly regarded non-fiction books on TV history. Grossman has been published by Dell/Delacorte, Byron Preiss Publishing, Diversion Books, Harlequin, Arlington House, and CBS/Popular Library. He has produced for NBC News, served as a columnist for the Boston Herald American, written for the Boston Globe and the New York Times. Grossman is Contributing Editor to Media Ethics Magazine and has produced more than 10,000 television programs for 40 networks. He’s a member of ITW, the International Thriller Writers Association and the Military Writers Society of America.

 

 

RED Hotel

REDHotel.com

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Mortal Fall by Christine Carbo

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Glacier Park Mystery #2

 

A wildlife biologist’s shocking death leads to chilling discoveries about a home for troubled teens in Christine Carbo’s haunting and compelling new crime novel set in the wilds of Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park police officer Monty Harris knows that each summer at least one person—be it a reckless, arrogant climber or a distracted hiker—will meet tragedy in the park. But Paul “Wolfie” Sedgewick’s fatal fall from the sheer cliffs near Going-To-the-Sun Road is incomprehensible. Wolfie was an experienced and highly regarded wildlife biologist who knew all too well the perils that Glacier’s treacherous terrain presents—and how to avoid them.

The case, so close to home, has frayed park employee emotions. Yet calm and methodical lead investigator Monty senses in his gut that something isn’t right. So when whispers of irresponsibility or suicide emerge, tarnishing Wolfie’s reputation, Monty dedicates himself to uncovering the truth, for the sake of the man’s family and to satisfy his own persistent sense of unease.

Monty discovers that Wolfie’s zealous studies of Glacier’s mysterious, embattled wolverine population, so vital to park ecology, had met resistance, both local and federal. To muddy the waters further, a wilderness facility for rehabilitating troubled teens—one that Monty’s older brother attended—may have a disturbing connection to the case. As Monty delves further into an investigation that goes deeper than he ever imagined, he wrestles with the demons of his past, which lead back to harsh betrayals he thought he’d buried long ago.

 

 

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

 

 

 

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I love Christine Carbo’s writing! Glacier Park Mystery book 2, Mortal Fall was exceptional in every sense of the word. Carbo delivers great crime fiction book after book in this series. Not one but two mysterious bodies are discovered without a trace or hint. Glacier National Park police officer Monty Harris picks up the case and attempts to solve the crime? Or was it an accident? Great character development and arc in this one. A solid mystery with exceptional writing. Don’t miss it! There’s two more books in the seres so I trying desperately to catch up. The Weight of Night and A Sharp Solitude

 

 

 

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Glacier Park Mystery Series

 

The Wild Inside

Mortal Fall

The Weight of Night

A Sharp Solitude

 

 

 

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Christine Carbo is the author of The Wild Inside, Mortal Fall, The Weight of Night, and A Sharp Solitude (all from Atria Books/Simon and Schuster) and a recipient of the Womens’ National Book Association Pinckley Prize, the Silver Falchion Award and the High Plains Book Award. After earning a pilot’s license, pursuing various adventures in Norway, and working a brief stint as a flight attendant, she got an MA in English and linguistics and taught college-level courses. She still teaches, in a vastly different realm, as the owner of a Pilates studio. A Florida native, she and her family live in Whitefish, Montana. Find out more at ChristineCarbo.com.

 

 

Mysteries, thrillers, authors, readers, true crime. Bring your voice. Make some noise in this year’s MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK May 13-24 2019.  #MTW2019 Spread the word.  Sign up to participate:  Participate in MTW 2019

 

 

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An Interview with Scott Bell Author of the Abel Yeager Thrillers

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Abel Yeager has settled into a life of domestic bliss with his lovely wife, Charlotte. He’s left the violence and bloodshed behind to concentrate on being a good father and husband. For their long-delayed honeymoon, Abel and Charlie take a Hawaiian cruise. They’re looking forward to hiking volcanoes and sightseeing, once they meet up with Victor “Por Que” Ruiz and his new love, Dr. Alexandra Lopez.

Their idyllic vacation explodes in violence when a group of Hawaiian separatists, incited by a foreign power, rip through the islands, leaving blood and destruction in their wake. When Charlie is caught up with a group of hostages held by the terrorists as human shields, Abel is forced back into warrior mode.

The Hawaiians are supported by a few dozen foreign special forces soldiers, modern gear, and plenty of munitions. Abel has the help of three septuagenarian Vietnam veteran Marines and his pal Victor. Outnumbered and outgunned, Abel will stop at nothing to rescue his wife.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

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*How do you introduce your story to readers in the first chapter?

The beginning of a novel involves three aspects: A character, in a setting, with a problem. (Credit to Monalisa Foster, who came up with the easy definition.) A character means someone with whom the reader can identify. (It doesn’t mean an entire backstory infodump.) A setting is an identifiable place, usually created with minimal brushstrokes, though sometimes more. A problem can be anything from a ticking bomb to a hangnail, and it is rarely the main story problem, though it can be.  I never want to drop an unknown actor into a blank screen and hope the reader will engage–even when starting with an action scene, that’s a recipe for a weak opener.

 

 

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*What comes first before you write a book? An idea, character, specific crime?

Characters are always first. They may not be fully fleshed out, and I may not have everyone’s foibles identified, but I have a general idea of who’s who in the zoo. Next comes the “what if”. What if a truck driving Marine veteran unknowingly picks up a load of cartel cash, which is diverted for delivery to a bookstore? And what if the bookstore is run by a spunky woman who carries a big pistol for protection? What might happen to these two folks if they were jammed together?

 

 

*How do you navigate writing a story without an outline?

Rewrites. Lots of rewrites. Diving into any store without an outline sometimes means I write myself into a corner, but I can’t write to outline. A story is too organic for me to follow a cookbook. Things change. Ideas occur. Characters may go sideways on me. Writing to an outline would be more efficient, but I would get bored and quit.

 

 

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*How do you create your characters?

I look for stereotypes, then I try to twist them up a little. Or I take real life people and exaggerate something in their nature I like, or dislike. The Male Main Character in my Sam Cable mystery series is a big guy with a Boy Scout complex, not always the brightest guy in the room, but a stalwart, straightforward, action-oriented kind of guy, and I juxtapose him with my FMC who’s a small woman with a high IQ and a smartass view of the world. I like to take these different dynamics and throw them in the blender and see what happens.

 

*What’s your experience like writing in first person?

It’s limiting in a lot of ways.  Everyone starts out with 1st person, as it seems natural to tell a story from the “I” perspective, then you quickly realize you’re limited to only the things your POV can sense. I switch POVs from first to third in some novels, which I find helps me jump out of the track and tell a broader, richer story. “They” say don’t do this, but hey. Sue me.

 

 

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*Who is Abel Yeager?

At the DNA-level, Abel is modeled on my paternal grandfather, an uneducated man who was brilliant with mechanical devices and worked with his hands. He was also rumored to have the “hardest fists in the county.” Abel is a sheepdog among the sheep. A protector and a warrior who is fiercely protective of his friends, and bad news to his enemies.

 

 

*Do your books have any thematic elements?

I’m big on the Average Joe theme. None of my characters are James Bond or Jack Reacher types, and they all struggle with day-to-day things like paying the bills. Typically you’ll find my Everyman and Everywoman people thrown into combustible situations and forced to do their best. They make mistakes. They struggle to do the right thing. Sometimes they have to grow to reach their potential.

 

 

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*Name three of the hardest aspects of writing.

1.) The middle. Beginnings are easy, endings are fun. Bridging the gap from the endorphin rush of a good beginning to the pulse-pounding climax takes discipline and work ethic.

 

2.) Plotting. Writing organically (not by outline) can mean scrapping whole sections of a novel. Figuring out how to get my character out of the corner I just wrote him into and keep the plot on track can be a challenge.

 

3.) Waiting. If you trad publish like me, there’s a cycle of waiting that happens with every book and every short story. Query, wait, submit, wait, lather, rinse, repeat.

 

And, just for fun…

 

4.) Reviews. Getting reviews, querying bloggers for reviews, reading reviews and not responding to, or slitting your wrists over, the bad ones…the whole review process is a pain. I typically get good reviews, and I stay in the 4-plus range on average for both Goodreads and Amazon, and yet a single bad review can rub a blister on my ass for days at a time.

 

 

 

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Scott Bell writes because that way he can daydream and claim it on his taxes. A Certified Fraud Examiner and professional Suburban Man, Scott has a wife, two grown kids, and at least one cat sleeping on his keyboard. (The cat, not the wife and kids. They have their own keyboards to sleep on.)

His works include the mystery/thrillers Yeager’s Law, Yeager’s Mission, and April’s Fool, along with the forthcoming Yeager’s Getaway and May Day. He has a Science Fiction novel out called Working Stiffs, and his short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and online publications.

 

 

Mysteries, thrillers, authors, readers, true crime. Bring your voice. Make some noise in this year’s MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK May 13-24 2019.  #MTW2019 Spread the word.  Sign up to participate:  Participate in MTW 2019

 

 

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Blog Tour: Five Bloody Hearts by Joy Ellis

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DETECTIVE MATT BALLARD’S LAST CASE MIGHT BE THE ONE THAT FINALLY BREAKS HIM.

Grace Repton, a beautiful older woman, walks into the police station to tell Matt she has information that could stop a murder. Her fiancé, the infamous serial killer Jeremy Reader, has told her that he has a disciple who is going to kill using Reader’s horrific methods.

Reader murdered five women and was finally brought to justice by Detective Ballard. Reader is safely imprisoned in a high security prison, and claiming to be a reformed man who wants to help the police.

But can Matt believe the serial killer or his peculiar wife to be? Can the love of a good woman really change a serial killer?

And the Fenland police also have another investigation on their hands. A Lithuanian migrant worker is found dead on the fens. There is no ID on him, but he has a Tree of Life tattoo. The third body to be found with this distinctive tattoo. Is this gang war or something even more sinister?

 

 

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CAN YOU TRUST A KILLER TO HELP STOP A KILLER?

The police are stretched to breaking point with multiple copycat murders. And Matt and his girlfriend Liz will fight for everything they care about in a heart-stopping conclusion that will have you on the edge of your seat.

 

 

The Setting

England’s rural fenland is a strange place, with its never-ending fields, winding tracks, and long straight droves (the old livestock routes) that lead to nowhere. The lonely lanes are flanked either side by deep drainage ditches and are, for a good part of the year, filled with tall, whispering reeds. Closer to the Wash, high seabanks form a barrier between river and marsh, and the richly fertile soil of the drained land. But when the mists come down, as they so often do, perspective is destroyed and all sense of direction lost, and then the fens become a rather frightening place of mystery and danger. Somewhere that you do not want to be at night.

 

 

 

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This is the sequel to the #1 best-selling BEWARE THE PAST. Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Robert Bryndza, Mel Sherratt, Angela Marsons, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

A MYSTERY TO MAKE YOUR HEART RACE

 

Amazon | Goodreads |Website

 

 

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I loved this one. Five Bloody Hearts by Joy Ellis is definitely a gripping crime thriller. As I read, I pictured the scenes playing out in my  head as a movie. This would be a GREAT MOVIE. A brilliant, imaginative plot with good depth of character makes this one a winner. Joy Ellis is a good voice to have in crime fiction. The way she crafts scenes in her writing is superb. It captures the story and propels the reader until the end.

 

 

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ALSO BY JOY ELLIS

THE BEST-SELLING NIKKI GALENA SERIES
Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS
Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS
Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS
Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS
Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS
Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS
Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS
Book 8: THIEVES ON THE FENS
Book 9: FIRE ON THE FENS

JACKMAN & EVANS
Book 1: THE MURDERER’S SON
Book 2: THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS
Book 3: THE FOURTH FRIEND
Book 4: THE GUILTY ONES
Book 5: THE STOLEN BOYS

DETECTIVE MATT BALLARD
Book 1: BEWARE THE PAST
Book 2: FIVE BLOODY HEARTS

STANDALONES
GUIDE STAR

 

 

 

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JOY ELLIS – Author Bio

“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!

And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, and our two second generation Springer spaniels. I had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now I can, and as my partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; my choice of genre was suddenly clear. I have set my crime thrillers here in the misty fens because I sincerely love the remoteness and airy beauty of the marshlands. This area is steeped in superstitions and lends itself so well to murder!”

 

 

Mysteries, thrillers, authors, readers, true crime. Bring your voice. Make some noise in this year’s MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK May 13-24 2019.  #MTW2019 Spread the word.  Sign up to participate:  Participate in MTW 2019

 

 

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Author Interview with Rebekah Dodson of the Life After US series

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It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Seven months ago, Vicki Morel was supposed to be happy, not in the midst of the apocalypse. She and her fiancé, Will, should have been married and about to celebrate the birth of their child. Instead, she is on the run in fear for her life and the life of her baby. Her only hope is Ambrose—the man she truly loves.

Vicki entered Ambrose’s life like a bomb and blew everything apart. Just when he thought they could get out of this hell hole alive, she walked away. Or did she? After a cryptic message on a satellite phone, Ambrose is willing to risk it all to find her. Through a plane crash, escaping crazy doomsday preppers, and invading a military base, Ambrose and his band of survivors is determined to rescue Vicki. He wasn’t born a leader, yet the people follow him, determined to carve their own path in this world.

When everything ends, the daisy’s song promises a new beginning, a different life, and a fresh path in this altered world.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

Rebekah Dobson author photo

 

 

 

*How did you develop a love for writing?

As a kid, I was homeschooled, which meant I had a lot of free time on my hands. Both my mother and I disliked math, so she always gives me an option to write a story about topics instead. Thus, I started writing historical romances from a very young age! This was cultivated over the years with journaling and writing poetry, but I never lost my intense obsession with historical figures and romance.

 

 

*Writer. Editor. Teacher. Mother. Wife…Is it hard wearing so many different hats?

 

Yes, definitely. I couldn’t do it without my husband, who is a disabled veteran who stays home to help with kids and things. Wearing so many different hats requires precise time management; my days start at 4am and end at 9pm, and in that short amount of time I have to fit in writing, editing, teaching, and grading. It’s very tiring, so I have to snatch a little downtime whenever I can steal it. And wine, lots of wine.

 

 

*How does being an editor and teacher influence your writing? And vice versa? 

Being and editor and teacher has influenced my writing because it made it more precise with the rules of grammar, and also concise and clear writing. As an editor I’m able to quickly fix my own grammar mistakes with commas and dialogue, and as a teacher (in technical writing and GED studies) I’m also able to say things with less wordiness. I can’t believe how much my writing has increased in quality just since I started teaching five years ago! My writing also influences my editing and teaching, because I’m able to look at things more creatively. When a client is stuck on a scene I can help them pull through with a new idea or piece of dialogue, and when my students are frustrated with assignments I’m able to communicate clearly how to overcome their issues.

 

 

*What do you love most about history? 

The fact that it’s ALWAYS changing, and most of what we know isn’t really what happened. What we know is never fact; it’s just based on anecdotal pieces of evidence that we have based on a triangulation of artifacts: painting, first-hand accounts, records, and all of that. But I’m more interested in the little details: what did people look like? How did they walk? What did they do for fun? Those are some things we have lost to time in many cultures.

Also, I’m really fascinated with food. In my book Mirrors I spend three days researching medieval banquets for a simple 3 paragraphs of writing! It was awesome to be able to describe it through my time traveler’s eyes! You’ll notice I’m always about the food in many of my books.

 

 

*Is it challenging writing in different genres? 

No, not at all. It’s very refreshing. When I’m stuck writing romance, or I don’t have any fresh ideas, I switch to fantasy to unlock my creativity. The (time travel) fantasy I write isn’t far from science fiction, so that seemed a logical jump. It’s also exciting to go back to plain ol’ romance where all I have to worry about is boy + girl, or boy + boy, or girl + girl or… well, you get the drift.

 

 

*There seems to be an underlying theme of love and romance in all of your series. One of your catch phrases is “Love even in the apocalypse.” Can you tell us more about this and how it bleeds into your writing process?

I think all my characters start with a small motive of love. In my Curse of Lanval series, I knew he was going to find Marie, who is based on the historical poet from the 12th century, Marie de France. I didn’t know they’d have such an epic time at figuring it out, however. In Life After Us, I knew Vicki and Ambrose were going to fall in love after the airport, I just wasn’t sure how it was going to happen.

Romance plays a huge part in my process because it makes everything more intense and dangerous, I feel. The dialogue is more exciting, and so is the body language. When friends fight, for example, they aren’t staring deep into each other eyes or wanting to hold the other person. I love writing a romantic angle because it shows us some raw human emotion: the need to be loved, held, and care for are fundamental, “lizard” brain stuff. It’s as old as time itself.

 

 

*Daisy Song in the Life After Us series is awesome. How did you take the initial idea and shape it into a compelling story?

Oddly enough, this book series Life After Us was born from the song “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” by John Denver. I was at the gym one day when the song came on and I started thinking about a couple embracing at an airport where one of them is leaving and not coming back (that became Vicki and Will).

I kept thinking about it all day – why wasn’t he coming back? What if he doesn’t love her, and he’s trying to escape? But why would he do that? Does he get kidnapped by terrorists? What if the airport was bombed and America was invaded, and one of them was lost?

It just rolled downhill from there: what if they had to escape the end of the world and flee Portland, Oregon, a perfect place for an invasion that no one ever considers. So, I sat down to write what became chapter two of Poppy Bloom that very day. Over a few months, a friend and I started bouncing ideas between each other, and Vicki, Will, and Ambrose as characters were born.

And actually, there’s a bit of a joke in there, as well. My best friend and beta reader at the time challenged me to sneak some WWE characters in there, so you’ll notice some names of famous wrestlers sprinkled throughout. Which ones? I won’t say…

 

 

*What is your creative process for characters? 

A LOT of looking at pictures and photographs! Before I even write much about them I make a graphic or teaser about the character, so I know exactly what they look like, so I can refer to it when they need to do something like rub their chin or push back their hair or something. Then – and this is weird, but – I write out a modified Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying sheet, where I know their alignment (morality, basically) and what they look like, their strengths and weaknesses, and what their fears and dreams are. When I get stuck in a scene, I have an arsenal of things to work with. No more dialogue? Well, talk about dreams. Run out of scenes? Drop them in their fantasy. It’s grand fun.  

 

 

*Tell us about the relationship between Vicki Morel and Ambrose Palamo. 

Vicki and Ambrose really have some things they have to get over in their past, and that prevents them from having a real relationship. In Lavender Dream, we learn Ambrose had his heart broken and hasn’t been able to move past that. In Daisy Song, we learn more about Vicki’s parents and her abuse as child, which lead her to an “easy going” man like Will. Both of them quickly learn they lacked affection growing up, and that’s what they truly seek from each other.

In the beginning, though, they hate each other. Vicki doesn’t like to be ordered around: she has an absent fiancé, so she does what she wants. Ambrose isn’t used to ordering people around but suddenly has to step up. After the airport attack, it’s all about not dying, but then Ambrose realizes that he’d like Vicki to die less, and one day he wakes up and realizes he can’t live without her (like I said, it’s that need for affection thing). That’s when the story changes (at the end of book 1, Poppy Bloom), when Ambrose realizes that there’s no one else he’d rather be stuck with than her. And even though they only spend a few short weeks together in Book 2, Lavender Dream, he will go to the ends of the earth to save her in our third and final book.

I guess you could say they are enemies turned friends turned lovers, but that’s not entirely true. I think they were both lonely for a long time and it took the end of the world to see that time was of the essence to be happy, or as happy as they could be. In the end Vicki ends up being very broken, and Ambrose becomes the leader, and so their roles change, and with it does their relationship.

I’m excited to show you what this means in the new Series release, which will include exclusive content with Vick and Ambrose a year after the Daisy Song ends. Look for it in March 2019!

 

 

*How has writing this series affected you? 

This is the first book I ever wrote in third person (my preferred writing style is first person, and first person POV switch between male and female) and I learned a great deal about “head hopping.” My first editor for Poppy Bloom left me a crying, sobbing mess in the corner when she destroyed my book for “hopping” between Ambrose and Vicki’s innermost thoughts. But I fixed it, and the next too books came out even better!

In fact, I’d say this series affected me because in Daisy Song, Vicki had to go to some dark places. She’s suffering abuse and has PTSD, and I did a lot of research on the victimization of women especially. As a result, my next novel, a standalone called Road More Traveled, is a romantic suspense about a woman who is feeling a criminal from her past. I channeled a lot of Vicki into my new character, but instead of giving them PTSD, I’m watching it unfold and allowing the character to heal. I’m glad I was able to write Vicki’s anguish to the point that it influenced another new book. And guess what? It’s also in 3rd person, which is quickly becoming my new favorite way to write. Stay tuned for a release date, likely it will be April!

 

 

Rebekah Dodson Author Bio

Rebekah Dodson is a prolific word weaver of romance, fantasy, and science fiction novels. Her works include the series Postcards from Paris, The Surrogate, The Curse of Lanval series, several stand alone novels, and her upcoming YA novel, Clock City. She has been writing her whole life, with her first published work of historical fiction with 4H Clubs of America at the age of 12, and poetry at the age of 16 with the National Poetry Society. With an extensive academic background including education, history, psychology and English, she currently works as a college professor by day and a writer by night.

 

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John David Bethel Discusses His Writing Process With No Immaculate Conceptions

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One month after his college graduation, Dean Eaton is writing speeches for presumptive presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Peter Dottier. Two months later, he is being pursued by a psychopath.

Dean Eaton is determined to make his own way after college. He wants to break away from the life paved for him by his parents. His first step is a week or so camping to clear his head and rejuvenate his spirit. What begins well ends with him witnessing the assassination of an undercover FBI agent. This brings Eaton into the orbit of Special Agent Steven Blanchard who convinces Dean to join him to bring down the deadly arms dealer who had the agent murdered. This partnership calls for Eaton to be placed on the staff of Senator Peter Dottier in order to track down a contact of the murdered FBI agent who, according to Blanchard, is a member of the senator’s staff.

As he struggles to learn and fit in to the confusing and often devious world of politics and public policy, Dean finds a mentor in his landlord, Ambassador Belmont Towbin, a respected eminence grise in Washington.

Throughout his learning process, Dean is also dealing with the dangers of his role identifying the contact. It soon becomes obvious that all is not as Blanchard has represented. Not even close. As Dean’s suspicions grow, Reisa Winston, Blanchard’s partner, reveals that he is the contact, and things go south from there.

No Immaculate Conceptions is a novel of politics and a study of the deadly ambitions of significant players in Washington who often use their power and positions for personal ends.

 

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Meet author John David Bethel a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has been published in popular consumer magazines and respected political journals. He is the author of Evil Town, a novel of political intrigue, and Blood Moon, a psychological crime thriller inspired by a true story of kidnapping, torture, extortion and murder.

 

 

John David Bethel image

 

 

Did you outline this book or was it more intuitive?

I don’t work from an outline.  I begin with a kernel of an idea and build on that foundation.  In the case of No Immaculate Conceptions that kernel was the main character’s camping trip during which he discovers a wounded, and soon to be dead, federal agent.  From there it’s off to Washington, where – one month after his college graduation – Dean Eaton is writing speeches for presumptive presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Peter Dottier.  Two months later, he is being pursued by a psychopath.

 

*Is your writing approach to every book the same?

Yes, and in the case of No Immaculate Conceptions, I set Dean down in Washington with Senator Dottier in order to track down a contact of the murdered FBI agent who, according to Dean’s FBI handler, is a member of the senator’s staff.

 

Washington DC National Mall, including Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson Memorial with mirror reflections on water

 

 

*Where did the kernel of the idea for No Immaculate Conceptions begin?

From a daydream.  I was wondering how I would react in a situation where outside forces put my life in danger and I hadn’t a clue what they wanted.  That evolved into the initial plot-line for the novel whereby Dean is wandering around a lovely, pristine environment and realizes he is being followed, and then shot at.  This brings him into the orbit of FBI Special Agent Steven Blanchard who convinces Dean to join him to bring down the deadly arms dealer who had the agent murdered.

 

*Who is Dean Eaton and what motivates him?

Eaton is a child of privilege who has had all the advantages of life and wants to find his own way.  This has created in him not only a drive toward independence, but also the willingness to take chances, go out on a limb to gain new experiences.  In the novel, he goes so far out on that limb there is a high likelihood it will break off.

 

 

3D rendering of a compass with a Motivation icon.

 

 

 

*How do you create characters for your books?

There are authors who create back stories for their characters to understand how they will react as the plot advances.  My technique is to place the characters in the action and let that dictate the development of their personalities. It fits with the intuitive way I develop my novels.

 

*Name some struggles you had writing this book.  

Fortunately, I’ve not had struggles with writing any of my novels.  It sounds overly simplistic but I begin at the beginning and stop at the end.  The editing process often takes a good bit longer than does writing the original draft.  

 

 

 

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*No Immaculate Conceptions is lengthy book. Had you been writing this for a while, or did it just flow naturally?  

Once the kernel of the plot line was on paper (on the screen), things advanced naturally and fairly swiftly.  

There is the advice given to all writers to “write what you know.”  I know politics and I write about it. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I find the going easy when I put it all down.  I mine my experiences in Washington as a speechwriter and communications strategist – adding drama – and it all seems to work out.  

 

 

*Describe your mindset when you begin to write.

My wife tells me I go into a zone and it takes some prodding to get back into the present.  A “fugue state” perhaps describes it best.

 

 

*What kind of advice would you give to new writers?

Write because you enjoy the creative process, and believe in yourself.   

I’m often asked why I write and my answer is because I have to.  The urge to create has to be satisfied…as presumptuous as that sounds.

 

 

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Mr. Bethel spent 35 years in politics and government. He served in the Senior Executive Service as a political appointee where he was Senior Adviser/Director of Speechwriting for the Secretary of Commerce; directed speechwriting offices for other Cabinet officials, serving as Chief Speechwriter to the Secretary of Education; and lead speechwriter in the Department of Transportation’s Office of Policy and International Affairs. He also served as press secretary/speechwriter to members of U.S. Congress.

Mr. Bethel works as a media consultant for a number of prominent communications management firms. He writes speeches, opinion editorials and Congressional testimony for CEOs of the nation’s largest corporations, including the Hilton Hotels Corporation, and Royal Caribbean Lines. His op-ed pieces have appeared in The Washington Post and other prominent newspapers around the country.

David Bethel graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Tulane University and lives in Miami, Florida.

 

David Bethel is a writer of fiction and non-fiction.  He is the author of Evil Town and Blood Moon. www.johndavidbethel.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Next Victim by Helen H. Durrant

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NEXT VICTIM by Helen H. Durrant

 

 

helen durrant

 

MEET DETECTIVE RACHEL KING IN THIS BRILLIANT NEW CRIME SERIES.

DISCOVER A BRAND NEW MYSTERY FROM #1 BEST-SELLING AUTHOR HELEN H. DURRANT THAT WILL HAVE YOU GRIPPED FROM START TO NERVE-SHREDDING FINISH.

A young man’s body is found burnt and tortured by a Manchester canal.

Detective Rachel King investigates. But she has a secret, the love of her life is a well-known villain. He has recently come back on the scene. But what does he really want?

A brutal serial killer with a taste for good-looking young blonde men.

A student who believes she has a lost brother. But even her own father doesn’t believe her. She was involved with the first victim.

As the murders continue, can Rachel keep her family together and stop the killer?

 

 

Woman with the magnifying glass

 

 

THE DETECTIVE

DCI Rachel King. Thirty-nine year-old mother of two teenage daughters. Divorced from Alan.  She lives in the Cheshire village of Poynton – about ten miles from central Manchester. She is good at her job, gets results but does make mistakes. One of them was getting involved with a budding villain in her teens. No one, family, friends or colleagues know anything about this.

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This is just great crime fiction. The victim. The body. The killer. The ensuing investigation. The demonstration of his M.O. and motivation for his work. I always enjoy when there’s a formidable antagonist in the mix. I prefer stories when the killer’s point of view is used early on versus later in the book. That, with detective Rachel King’s life creates a more powerful story. In other words, Helen Durrant knows how to deliver! I’m definitely  recommending this series.

 

 

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ALSO BY HELEN H. DURRANT

THE CALLADINE & BAYLISS MYSTERY SERIES

Book 1: DEAD WRONG

Book 2: DEAD SILENT

Book 3: DEAD LIST

Book 4: DEAD LOST

Book 5: DEAD & BURIED

Book 6: DEAD NASTY

Book 7: DEAD JEALOUS

 

THE DCI GRECO BOOKS

Book 1: DARK MURDER

Book 2: DARK HOUSES

Book 3: DARK TRADE

 

 

helen durrant

 

 

HELEN H. DURRANT

OVER 700,000 books sold of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco Series

I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.

I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!

I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.

 

 

Mystery & thriller fans, bloggers, authors don’t miss out on MTW 2019 May 13-24. 

Participate in MTW 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Fat Chance by A.B. Morgan

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A missing barrister, a severed thumb and fat chance of finding out the truth.

Ella Fitzwilliam’s world is about to spiral out of control. She’s not cut out to be a private investigator. With little or no aptitude for the job, she’s been sent undercover to expose the hidden lives of two men who meet nearly every week at Buxham’s – a private members’ club where portions are large and secrets are held in strictest confidence.

One of those men is Harry Drysdale, a defence barrister, and the other is Marcus Carver, an eminent surgeon with a tarnished past and much to lose. Ella knows he has unhealthy appetites, she’s sure he’s feeding his perverted habits and putting his female patients at risk but she has to prove it.

When Harry Drysdale goes missing, Konrad Neale TV journalist tries to reveal the truth behind the lies, but some of the secrets start to reveal themselves… and they are big.

 

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I like A.B. Morgan’s writing style. Right away, she places you in the mindset of the character within the scene. Well established point of view characters make this an easy and entertaining read. Great suspense, mystery, intrigue, and well balanced writing.

 

 

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Alison Morgan author bio

 

Alison Morgan lives in rural Bedfordshire, UK, with her engineer husband and bonkers dog. Life is never boring and they are usually planning the next adventure. Alison spent several decades working on the front line of mental health services as a specialist nurse and latterly as manager of an early intervention service for first episode psychosis. However, when a heart problem brought her career to a juddering halt, she had to find a way of managing her own sanity, so she sat down to write some useful clinical guidelines for student nurses. Instead, a story that had been lurking in her mind came spewing forth onto the pages of what became her first novel. Since then she has been unable to stem the flow of ideas and writes full-time from a luxurious shack at the top of the garden. Alison writes under the name A B Morgan and. within her storylines, she continues to make good use of her years of experience in mental health services, where the truth is often much stranger than fiction.

 

www.abmorgan.co.uk

 

 

 

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Mystery & thriller fans, bloggers, authors don’t miss out on MTW 2019 May 13-24. 

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Book Review: The Burning Men by Steve Parker

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THE BURNING MEN by Steve Parker 

Discover a crime thriller full of shocking twists by one of the most exciting new authors you’ll read this year.

A MAN IS BURNT AT THE STAKE IN A LONDON PARK. HIS SMOULDERING CORPSE IS A MESSAGE OF THE MOST VIOLENT KIND.

The man burnt alive is Davey Caine. He is the heir to the criminal empire created by his father, William ‘Billy’ Caine. Billy is a notorious and violent gangster with total control of South East London. But he’s not the man he used to be and the sharks smell blood in the water.

Detectives Ray Paterson and Johnny Clocks must find the killer before Billy extracts his own brand of justice. They find themselves drawn ever deeper into London’s underworld.

The streets explode into violence and the body count rises. Men are shot and burned alive in a tit-for-tat power struggle between rival gangs.

Detectives Ray Paterson and Johnny Clocks find themselves trying to control men of extreme viciousness. Men who have no fear of the law and its consequences and who are unafraid to kill anyone who stands in their way — including police detectives.

Paterson is stunned when he’s offered the chance to stop the conflict dead in its tracks. If he ignores it, the mayhem continues. If he takes it, there will be a price to pay.

What he doesn’t know is that the price will come with hidden and devastating consequences.

ON THE STREETS OF LONDON, A SIMMERING GANG WAR IS ABOUT TO ERUPT WITH PATERSON AND CLOCKS CAUGHT RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE.

This is the third in a series of action-packed, edge-of-your-seat crime thrillers, with an ending that will have your heart in your mouth.

Perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Martina Cole.

Detective Superintendent Ray Paterson is a young and (thanks to family money) wealthy womaniser, separated from his model wife and tipped to be the youngest ever commissioner of police. He knows he’s weak when it comes to practical policing and struggles to find a place among his peers, desperate to be a good policeman and not just a ‘climber’.

Detective Inspector Johnny Clocks is a foul-mouthed, working-class officer. He grew up surrounded by rogues and villains to become a first-class thief taker with the Met police. However, his childish attitude has short-circuited his career and he spends his days antagonising as many people as he can.
 
THE AUTHOR

Steve Parker is a retired police officer who served for 20 years in numerous high-profiles squads.

THE SETTING
Bermondsey is an area of London nestled on the banks of the River Thames. It once had a reputation for housing more armed robbers, murderers and career criminals than anywhere else in the country. Now one of the most upmarket places to live and work in London, it has all but severed itself from its working-class roots. Home to the iconic Tower Bridge and crammed with expensive apartments, art galleries, fancy restaurants and famous residents. But for the police, those who truly know, Bermondsey never lost its roots . . . or its reputation.

DETECTIVE RAY PATERSON
Book 1: THEIR LAST WORDS
Book 2: THE LOST CHILDREN
Book 3: THE BURNING MEN

 

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This one was definitely a page turner! Detectives Ray Paterson and Johnny Clocks are quite a pair! I love how Steve Parker has created these characters and put them in the midst of a stellar plot. I can’t say this about every book, but it was so easy to get lost in pages to find out what happens next. A gripping crime. Hidden messages. Gangsters in London’s underworld–This was quite a surprise!

 

 

 

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