Book Blitz! The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr

The Murders at Astaire Castle banner

We’re happy to be hosting Lauren Carr and her THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE Book Blitz today!

The Murders at Astaire Castle

Title: The Murders at Astaire Castle
Author: Lauren Carr
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Pages: 286
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Mac Faraday Meets the Wolf Man!

Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.

In The Murders at Astaire Castle, Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop—even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!

Topping the list of the ten most haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago—and Mac Faraday owns it!

In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.

“Halloween has always been a fun time,” best-selling author Lauren Carr explains in a note at the beginning of her fifth Mac Faraday mystery. “It’s the time to break out and be someone else. As a child, I would pretend to be one of the Bobbsey Twins searching for clues to lead me to a secret treasure. If I was lucky, it was made up of chocolate. As a teenager, I was Nancy Drew. Always, when October rolled around, I craved mysteries with something extra added—something beyond the normal—something supernatural. As an author, I couldn’t resist taking this one Mac Faraday Mystery on a scary Halloween adventure.”

In this latest installment of Carr’s hit series, what starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet—including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.

Book Excerpt:

Prologue

November 2002 – Astaire Castle, top of Spencer Mountain, Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Shivering, Rafaela turned up the fan for the heater in her old Plymouth. The weather channel was calling for snow. With an eye on the storm clouds heading straight for Spencer Mountain, she picked up the speed a notch. Her car bumped along the worn road cut through the trees and rock to take her to Astaire Castle.

The notion of being trapped at the castle by a winter storm made her curse the day she had accepted the job as housekeeper at the Astaire estate. The young illegal immigrant thought her prayers had been answered by landing the job at the luxurious estate. Not only was it prestigious to work in a castle, but lucrative since Damian Wagner was paying almost twice her normal hourly wage.

What a gem to put on my housekeeping resume! To be hire by only one of the world’s most famous authors of horror books—even more famous than Robin Spencer—to clean an honest-to-goodness castle. So what if the Astaire Castle has a reputation of being haunted? I’ll be making a bundle for cleaning five days a week in the daylight. Besides, I don’t believe in no ghosts.

Rafaela regretted her decision the first time she walked into Astaire Castle.

At first, she dismissed her cleaning supplies moving from where she had left them as forgetfulness. Then there was the time she kept hearing someone whispering her name. She had looked around, but never saw anyone. Same with doors closing or opening or footsteps coming up behind her, and the old-time music and party noises in empty rooms when no one was there—she tried to tell herself that it was all her imagination.

None of that was anything compared to the Wolf Man who she had seen in the dining room mirror while she was cleaning it.

She had heard all about the Wolf Man who lived in the woods surrounding Astaire Castle. The woman with two teenagers who lived in the apartment next to hers was quick to tell her about him. Rafaela had dismissed it all as ghost stories made up by her neighbor’s kids to scare her—until she had seen him with her own two eyes.

That day she ran out of the castle. She returned only after Genevieve, Damian Wagner’s daughter, had promised that her father finish his book and be moving out of the castle by the end of the year—at which time he would pay her a handsome bonus that would give her enough money to visit her family in Brazil for Christmas.

Rafaela caught her breath when her Plymouth entered through the gate at the end of the road to pull into the front courtyard and fountain.

The fountain was off. Damian Wagner had never bothered to turn it on. He wouldn’t notice if it was. He spent his time banging away on his computer in the study on the top floor. He wouldn’t eat if it weren’t for his daughter bringing food to him.

Then there was the editor—Mr. Jansen.

He reminded Rafaela of a bird with his bony frame, high cheekbones over a pointy chin, and thick eyeglasses with his blinking eyes magnified behind them. He sounded like a squawking bird with his high-pitched voice no matter what his mood or what he was saying. Ready to pounce in anticipation of any need from Damian Wagner, he was always lurking nearby.

Damian’s daughter, Genevieve, was as charming as beautiful. She often asked Rafaela about her family in Brazil and about her life in Deep Creek Lake. For the new immigrant to America, Rafaela felt as if she was making a friend who would give her good references for more housekeeping jobs in the resort town of Spencer—more millionaire estates to clean—estates that weren’t haunted.

Rafaela pulled her car around the circular drive and parked at the bottom of the steep steps that led to the front door. When she got out of her car, the wind howled and whipped her long dark hair around her head. The wind actually seemed to want to rip her thin coat off her body. Grabbing her box of cleaning supplies, she squared her shoulders, and sucked up her nerve to go inside.

Need to make this quick. They don’t have enough money to make me stay here during that storm.

The wind yanked the heavy wooden door from her grasp to slam it against the side of the house.

“Stupid door!” Rafaela set the box inside the foyer and went outside to grab the door and pull it shut. “Mr. Wagner! Mr. Jansen! Genevieve! It’s me, Rafaela! Hope I’m not disturbing you.” She picked up the box and made her way through the foyer.

“Raf-aela …”

She stopped. With wide eyes, she peered up the staircase to the second floor balcony. “Is that you, Mr. Wagner?” She paused to listen. “Genevieve?”

“Get out. Now.”

Has to be my imagination. She reassured herself. “There’s no such thing as ghosts. There’s no such thing as ghosts,” she muttered over and over to herself while hurrying to the back of the castle.

“I don’t suppose you had any trick-or-treaters last night, did you?” she called out to ease her nerves with the sound of her own voice. “Not up here I suppose.”

She waited for an answer. She heard footsteps on the floor up above.

The smell of burnt meat came to her nose. It smelled like steak that had been left on the grill for too long.

They must have grilled steaks last night.

“Lots of little children stopped by my apartment.” Feeling braver as she rattled on, Rafaela set the box of cleaning supplies on the kitchen table and gathered together her duster and furniture polish.

Best to start in the living room. The antiques, wood, and silver takes the longest.

Admiring the decades-old priceless china encased in the china closet, she went through the dining room. With her cleaning lady’s eye, she gauged what needed to be addressed on this visit that she may have missed before. She stopped when the blotch of red on the doorframe through the kitchen caught her eye.

What’s that? Catsup?

It wasn’t until she spotted a spot on the floor that she first considered that it wasn’t a condiment, but something much more sinister. She spotted another. Bigger this time … and another.

There was a red pool in front of the kitchen door that opened out onto the back patio and deck that projected out over the rocks to provide a massive view of the valley down below. All of the drops and splatters and pools led to the common source—the fire pit outside.

She saw the flames and smoke wafting in the wind whipping around her where she stood in the open doorway. She stared at the blackened objects in the pit. What at first appeared to be a burnt log projecting out of the flames took shape.

The hand and fingers reached out to her.

The index finger was pointing at her.

Through the rapid beating of her heart, Rafaela could hear the footsteps behind her coming closer.

“Get out!”

His image was reflected in the glass pane of the door. The wild hair. The crazed eyes.

It’s the Wolf Man!

Watch the Trailer!

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About the Author:

Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on DeepCreekLake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder.

Lauren launched the Lovers in Crime (first introduced in Shades of Murder) mystery series in September 2012 with Dead on Ice.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

For More Information

Giveaway!

Lauren Carr is giving away one paperback copy, two ebook copies and three audiobooks of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Six winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins October 6 and ends October 31.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Character Interview: Savannah Evans from Gary Rodriguez’s Tween/YA Adventure Novel, ‘Escape Through The Wilderness’

Escape Through the Wilderness coverThank you so much for this interview, Savi.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I do think I was portrayed fairly and accurately throughout the book.  I believe I am a strong and compassionate person who values friendships and holds deep spiritual convictions.  The book did a good job of showing my inclination toward leadership, my passion for faith, and my feelings about friendships.  The story also revealed why I’ve been carrying some deep hurt inside of me the last several months.

I’d also like to make sure the readers know that I feel badly about what I did to Jade during the elk stampede.  Especially, after I found out all she’d been through before arriving at Camp Arrowhead. I wish there was a way I could take that moment back.  That was a real low point for me.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’d have to say my faith.  Some people are ashamed to let others know they believe in God and read the Bible.  I’m not ashamed of that at all. As a matter of fact, I’m proud of it.

Life is full of challenges.  When I face trouble, I know where to turn for help.  It has always been a comfort to know that I don’t have to face life’s difficulties alone.

In today’s culture, being a Christian, especially from the South, often has a stigma attached to it.  But I love who I am and where I’m from, and I’m grateful for my conservative southern upbringing.  But I try not to be a “preachy” person.  I think it’s more important to live out what I believe than just to talk about it.  That said, when my friends ask me questions about my faith, then I’m happy to share with them.

Worse trait?

I get impatient at times.  My impatience was evident when I thought Jade was asking me too many questions during a particularly trying situation.

When I look back on the incident I know she was just scared, like we all were, and needed some help and reassurance.  I could have handled myself a lot better.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part, if your book were made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

The most important thing for me is that the actress portrayed my faith and values accurately.  That would ensure they would represent me, in a way, that is credible and in keeping with who I am.

If I had to pick a random person I’ve never met, I think I’d choose either Shailene Woodley, an American actress, starring in Divergent or Ella Purnell, an English actress, you may have seen in Maleficent.

They’re both great actresses, and I’d be honored to have either of them choose to play me in the movie version of Escape Through The Wilderness.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Honestly, I was nervous from the time we started the river-rafting trip, especially after the accident.  It was very scary for the four of us to be alone in the wilderness and so far away from camp.  But things really got bad after Rico and Conner got hurt.  That’s when I started to think “there’s no way we’re going to make it back to camp alive.” However, I decided it was best to keep those thoughts to myself.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I think I’d have to say Conner.  When I first met him, he was a bully, and I detest bullies.  Then he seemed weak and ineffective when we got in trouble on the river.  Eventually, he changed into someone I actually liked.  But if I had to choose, he’s the one I’d least want to be.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

It was a difficult but awesome ending.  It leaves readers uncertain about the outcome until the last few pages.  It’s one of those dramatic and suspenseful endings that I wouldn’t change for the world.  I’m convinced that readers will love it.  There’s no way you can guess how things will turn out.  Even I was fooled.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

Create another thrilling adventure. Escape Through The Wilderness was so exciting and intense.  I’d like to see the sequel match the level of intensity found in the first book.  I think readers will expect that.  I happen to know the author quite well, and he listens to my input.  I’ll make sure he makes the sequel at least as good as Escape Through The Wilderness.

Thank you for this interview, Savi.  Will we see more of you in the future?

I’m not trying to be elusive, but you’ll have to read the first book to find out.  I will say this is the first book in the series. Look for the second book sometimes around the summer of 2015.

Before I go, I want to thank you for taking time to interview me.  I hope your readers enjoy the book.

Finally, Escape Through The Wilderness is the kind of book that was written to impact and inspire readers.  If you read the book and enjoy it, please consider buying a copy for a friend. Good friends have given me several of my favorite books.  Sharing a good story is a special way to bless someone.

Thanks again for your time.

Savi Evans

Gary Rodriguez

 

Gary Rodriguez is president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development and conflict resolution. He is the author of the new adventure novel Escape through the Wilderness scheduled for release in June 2014. 

His first book Purpose-Centered Public Speaking was an instant hit and recently republished by Tate Publishing. 

His extensive resume includes eighteen years as an executive in the radio business where he spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting. He was twice nominated as medium market manager of the year by the Bobby Poe report, a national media publication. 

For over thirty-five years, Gary has spoken in public both nationally and internationally.  Gary’s resume includes a season in the U.S. Army where he was highly decorated as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. He was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in Viet Nam.

For more information about Escape Through The Wilderness please visit: http://ettw.tateauthor.com or http://leadermetrix.com/authorspeaker/

Interview with Jeff Gunhus, author of ‘Night Terror’

Jeff GunhusJeff Gunhus is the author of both adult thrillers and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. As a father of five, he and his wife lead an active lifestyle simply trying to keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

His latest book is the thriller/horror novel, Night Terror.

For More Information

About the Book:

Night Terror 2Ten years after her abduction and near-sacrifice to the Source, Sarah Tremont struggles to be a normal teenager. As much as she’s tried to suppress the power inside of her, it’s grown dangerously strong and has drawn the attention of those who want to possess her power for themselves.

The nightmare that she thought was long over starts again as powerful forces descend upon Prescott City to seek her out. With her parents and Joseph Lonetree’s help, Sarah must stand up to an evil much more powerful than the one she faced in the caves a decade earlier. But in the end, she discovers the greatest danger might come from the power living inside of her.

For More Information

  • Night Terror is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Jeff. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I am a multi-published hybrid with self-published and traditionally published titles. That makes me sound like some kind of mutant from the X-Men, but that’s the state of publishing today.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

My first book was a non-fiction motivational career guide for college students called No Parachute Required, published by Hyperion. Based on that experience, I chose to self-publish my first novel, Jack Templar Monster Hunter. This middle grade fantasy was written in an attempt to get my reluctant reader 11-year-old excited about reading. It was too personal of a project to give up creative control. It’s been very successful and I’ve been happy with my decision. I’ve recently sold one of my self-published books, Killer Within, to Thomas & Mercer. I’m interested to see how this partnership goes. So far, working with the T&M team has been amazing.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Thomas & Mercer purchased Killer Within in August and they are re-releasing the book in its new form in February 2015.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It was amazing. With No Parachute Required I took my wife to a nice dinner. With Killer Within, I took my wife and our five kids to a nice dinner. That give you a sense of how much time has passed between those two events!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

For No Parachute Required, I did a radio interview. I was totally under-prepared and the radio host had obviously not read the book, so it got off to a slow start. Once I relaxed I remember I was the expert on the subject so I got into my groove. Now I always prepare before interviews.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

My dissatisfaction with my own writing has increased over time. I stand in awe of the masters of my genre and I read them often to keep my ego in check. My work gets compared to Stephen King a lot in reviews, so I start to believe I write like Stephen King. Then I reread The Stand or The Shining and all those thoughts get wiped away…but page two or three! It’s humbling but it also keeps me hungry and pushes to me to attend workshops, read more, ask for critiques and just generally try harder. I think it’s a positive thing.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

The rise of the self-published author has been a disruptive force in what many view as a stodgy industry of insiders. I’ve been surprised how very established authors (not all) have risen up against the new models, sometimes with a lot of vehemence and invective. The Amazon-Hachette dispute is an example of this with the James Pattersons of the world on one side and the Hugh Howeys on the other. It will be interesting how it all sorts out.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Connecting with readers. I love getting emails from readers who have enjoyed the books…or even if they haven’t. The idea that someone chose to spend hours with a story I wrote is humbling to me.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Read Stephen King’s book, On Writing, once every six months. Pay attention to when he says that to be a writer you must write a lot and read a lot. Do both of these activities every day and call yourself out for the liar you are when you claim not to have the time. Either do it or don’t. Simple as that.

Character Interview: Jesus Jackson from James Ryan Daley’s Young Adult Mystery ‘Jesus Jackson’

jesusWe’re thrilled to have here today Jesus Jackson from James Ryan Daley’s new Young Adult Mystery, Jesus Jackson.  Jesus Jackson is a 33 ¾ year-old Spiritual Contractor who can usually be found lingering around empty high school football fields.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Jesus Jackson.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Well, first of all, thank you for having me. Normally, I like to stay out of the spotlight, but given the momentousness of the occasion, I’m happy to have the opportunity to speak directly to the public. That said, I think Mr. Daley did an okay job with the portrayal of my character. He opted to tell the story from the point-of-view of a not-entirely-satisfied client of mine (a young would-be atheist named Jonathan Stiles), so the portrayal was not exactly glowing. I mean, it could have been a lot worse, but I don’t think the book will be sending many new clients my way.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

The author certainly made my personality quite colorful (and he was spot on with my wardrobe, from the color of my jogging outfits, to the texture of my leisure suits), which I do appreciate. However,  I think he did me a real disservice by questioning the sincerity of my offer to whip up some new faith for young Jonathan. I mean, sure, claiming that you can give someone 100% faith in nothingness may sound like a load of baloney, but that’s why I offer the money-back guarantee!

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

You know, I’m a people person. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is think about all of the people I can help that day. Well, actually the first thing I do is a twenty-seven minute Ab-Buster Pilates routine, but right after that: I think about the people.

Worse trait?

Sometimes I just care too much.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I can’t play myself? Are you sure? I have a SAG card, you know. Okay, fine: If I have to choose, I’m going to go with Russel Brand. He’s got the hair and the beard, and he looks great in sunglasses.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Alas, no. My occupation leaves me little time for romance. But if I were to be so bold as to make a suggestion for the author (should he decide to write one in for me someday), I would have to say Emma Stone. She was so good in The Help.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Nervous? Me? No way. Not even for a second. I knew how the whole thing was going to turn out all along. Sure, there were some unexpected twists and turns, and a few points where I had to push Jonathan to get him where he needed to be (sorry about that whole thing on the bleachers, by the way), but in the end, it all went exactly according to plan. Honestly….

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I would not want to be Mr. Finger, the school psychologist. His office is way too small, and his clothes are atrocious.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I was really pleased with the way that everything worked out. In my line of work there’s just no way of knowing what a client will do once you set them off on their own, but I’ve got high hopes for Jonathan. I think the kid will be alright. Also, I made twelve bucks on the whole deal. So you know: I’ve got that going for me.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

I have exactly five words of wisdom for James Ryan Daley: America’s Next Top Spiritual Contractor.

Thank you for this interview, Jesus Jackson.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I can’t say for sure, but you if you ever need my services, I’d be happy to provide you with a free estimate. I’ll just leave my card right here….

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JRD1James Ryan Daley is a writer, editor, and digital designer. After earning an MFA in fiction at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004, James has spent most of the years since teaching writing to college students, creating websites about video games, and editing anthologies of fiction and political rhetoric. When he’s not glued to his computer, James can usually be found skiing the slopes of Vermont’s famous mountains or sailing the harbors of Rhode Island. He lives in Newport, RI with his wife and two daughters.

Book info:

Title:  Jesus Jackson
Genre:  Young Adult Mystery
Author: James Ryan Daley
Website: www.jamesryandaley.com
Publisher:  The Poisoned Pencil
The Poisoned Pen / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

In the Spotlight: Hooked by Bobbi JG Weiss

HookedTitle: Hooked
Author: Bobbi JG Weiss
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: July 21, 2014
Pages: 518
ISBN: 978-0990360001
Genre: Dark Fantasy / Horror
Format: Paperback, eBook, ePub, PDF

He is not Captain Hook.

His name is Jonathan Stuart, and he’s just an ornery post-alcoholic bookstore owner from Pasadena with a mania for fencing and a bad habit of disappointing his girlfriend. He doesn’t want to be in the Neverland, impossibly trapped aboard the Jolly Roger with a horde of greedy stinking pirates. He was tricked there by Peter Pan.

Pan happily invites children to come to his wondrous magical island, but he has to trick adults. No adult in their right mind would go willingly. Adults, you see, don’t have a very good time in the Neverland. The fairies and mermaids are against them. The island itself is against them. Most of all, Peter Pan is against them.

In particular, Peter Pan is against Jonathan Stuart. Why? Jonathan had better figure that out, and he’d better do it fast before his mutating memories insist that, not only does he indeed belong in this nightmarish hell of bloodthirsty children, ticking crocodiles and vengeful boy gods, but he’s never existed anyplace else.

So you see, he’s definitely not Captain Hook.

Well, not yet.

Book Excerpt:

Stuart didn’t laugh when he saw himself in the mirror this time. At first he wasn’t sure why, because he certainly looked like a lunatic who had just escaped out of a billboard for Captain Morgan rum. And then it hit him. “Everything fits.”

“ ‘Course it fits,” Smee said with exasperation. “It’s yers, ain’t it? An’ here, sar, the final touch.” Smee held it out.

Stuart wasn’t surprised to see his grandfather’s saber laying across those callused palms, tucked into a beautiful silver scabbard. “Of all things,” he said with a mixture of wonder and dread, “this makes the most sense.” His hand gravitated toward the hilt.

“Sense, sar?” Smee asked.

Stuart drew his hand back, slowly, with effort. The air grew heavier. “Oh, yes,” he replied as Smee, ever the dutiful valet, settled a red baldric across his charge’s left shoulder, the wide and heavily ornamented belt holding the scabbard at Stuart’s right hip. Stuart fought down panic. His flesh was tingling with a sudden black energy, the same energy he had felt during his ghostly saber battle that night at home. How long ago had that been?

Guided once more by its own objectives, his left hand reached to his right hip and this time succeeded in drawing the saber out. He gripped it, feeling the same marvelous balance between blade and hilt, the same eerie sense of sentience. It had him. He was on its home turf now, and he couldn’t run from it, not here. Something dark closed around him like great black jaws.

“Ah, yeh cut a fine figure, sar. The boys’ll be glad to see yeh.” All smiles and bounce, Smee plucked the saber from his hand and slid it back into its scabbard. He pulled out a rag hanging from his pocket, flapped it over Stuart’s clothes like a butler giving his master a final dusting, then propelled Stuart towards the door. “Come on, sar!”

The doorway was small. Stuart had to stoop to avoid bashing his head. The heels of the jack boots boosted him three inches beyond his own six foot height, and the wig and the hat added another three or four inches easy. He had to remain stooped as Smee led him along a short passageway, and then he went blind as sunlight — not from one sun but two — smacked him full in the face.

His eyes may have been useless, but his nostrils flared at the intense smell of salt and sea. His ears heard vast expanses of heavy canvas flap overhead while waves rippled below. The clamor of many gruff male voices all chattering at once was interrupted as Smee cried out, “All right, ya scurvy scugs! All hands fall in abaft the mizz’n!” Then Smee conducted him up the starboard ladder.

Stuart could do nothing but stumble along, shading his eyes with his hands and blinking, trying to adjust to the brilliance. As he did, he took in more sounds from below — the pounding of bare feet running every whichway, the creak of ropes, the deep grunts and moans of the vast wooden hull. When he could finally see, he found himself standing on the quarterdeck of a three-masted ship, looking down into the faces of forty or so swarthy pirates who stared back up at him, most of their mouths hanging open to reveal an alarming absence of teeth. Eight or nine more men up in the rigging hung like monkeys, gaping down at him.

Stuart gaped back. It had been much easier to deal with Smee. One man. One apparition. One entity to deny as a dream. But try as he might, Stuart couldn’t simply dismiss this motley and very real crowd before him. If nothing else, the overwhelming stench of the men couldn’t be explained away as a dream. A pig farm smelled better than this. He thought he could actually feel the hairs inside his nostrils cower down and try to flatten out rather than conduct such nauseating information to his brain.

Smee nudged him. “Say somethin’!” he whispered.

Stuart couldn’t move. Say something?

“Call all hands from below!” came a bellow from the main deck.

Smee nodded down at the man who had spoken, a handsome Italian pirate with a long black ponytail. “Cecco,” he informed Stuart. “Yer first mate an’ a fine feller.”

“I can’t take this…”

“Aw, c’mon, compose yerself, sar. Fer Chrissake, this here’s yer crew!”

Stuart clutched the edge of the rail hard enough to make his fingers cramp. “This is not my crew.”

“Sar—”

“This is not my crew! I don’t have a crew!” He glared down at Smee, noticing how the layers of heavy clothing restricted his movements. In order to tilt his head — Smee wasn’t short so much as Stuart was tall, especially in the jack boots — he had to strain against his cravat. He wasn’t used to anything around his neck, and it contributed to the trapped animal feeling he already had. He struggled for control. “This isn’t real. I refuse to believe this is real, and I am most certainly not—”

“Captain Hook!”

The exclamation came from a young boy no more than eight years old, dressed in a filthy white shirt and black knickers. Stuart turned toward the voice, squinting to see its owner against the dazzling suns. He saw that the boy had climbed up out of the hatch, his expression a strange mixture of relief and trepidation. Come to think of it, all the pirates wore that expression.

“’Course yeh remember Lil’ Lad Jack,” Smee told Stuart. “Hard worker, he is. Good learner.”

“Captain Hook,” Jack repeated, quieter this time. He almost sounded reverent.

“Hook?” Stuart spat out before he knew what his mouth was doing. “Hook?” He held up his hands. “I’ve got two hands, you stupid little brat! I haven’t got a hook! How can I be Captain Hook if I haven’t got a hook? Anybody in this looney bin got an answer for that one?”

“He’s a bleedin’ ghost!” someone in the crowd muttered.

At that, Cecco turned on a tall, lean pirate whose every inch of visible flesh was covered with tattoos, including his hands and bare feet. Even his face was tattooed, although it was half-hidden by a hat bespangled with coins, jewels and a potpourri of shiny baubles. “What’s that you say about the Captain, Mister Jukes?” Cecco asked sharply.

Feet shuffled. Someone coughed. Jukes tried to duck behind one of his fellows, who roughly pushed him away. “Nothin’,” Jukes squeaked. “I didn’t say nothin’.”

“Aye, nothing,” Cecco repeated with satisfaction. “That man up there is no ghost, ya slackjawed jackanapes!” he boomed, and the men jumped. Stuart jumped, too — Cecco might as well have been using a bullhorn, he was so loud. “That’s the only man the Sea-Cook fears! He’s the only man who ever snared a siren, ate of her flesh and lived! He’s the only man who outsmarted Pan, outsmarted the croc, outsmarted death itself, to come back and beat Pan at his own game! Now act like his crew, by thunder, or you’ll feel the kiss o’ the cat!”

A roar went up the likes of which Stuart hadn’t heard since the last time he went to a Lakers game. They were cheering him! And not one of them, Smee included, seemed to care about his obvious lack of a hook.

Purchase The Book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hooked-Bobbi-JG-Weiss/dp/0990360008/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1411257379&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Hooked+Bobbi+JG+Weiss

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hooked-bobbi-jg-weiss/1120077616?ean=9780990360001&itm=1&usri=hooked+bobbi+jg+weiss
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/480554
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22963267-hooked

Interview with Dr. John & Elizabeth McIntosh, authors of ‘Mastering Negative Impulsive Thoughts’

John McIntoshDoctor H. John McIntosh is known as the “Medical Guru” through his columns and media presence.  He was educated as a medical doctor in Scotland. He received a general medical degree from Dundee University Medical School in 1984 and moved to Australia in 1993. He received his Specialist Physician qualification in 1988 from the Royal College of Physicians (UK) and specialist Family Physician qualifications in 1990 from the Royal College of General Practitioners. Other certifications include: Approved Trainer of medical students, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners; James Cook University Medical School, Central Queensland University; Trainer of Cognitive Institute programs, Cognitive Institute of Australia; Approved Trainer of sports medicine first aid courses, Sports Medicine, Australia; and Approved Allergan Cosmetic Injector training and trainer of injectors (doctors and nurses). Dr. McIntosh was the driving force in the building of the Mackay GP Superclinic. In 2013, his medical clinics were awarded the national AGPAL Community Engagement Award for outstanding level of commitment and involvement of the community and won a finalist award in the 2014 Telstra Australian Business Awards.

Elizabeth McIntoshRev. Elizabeth McIntosh is known as the “Positivity Expert” from her life’s work and research in the field. She trained as a life and wellness coach; certified personal fitness trainer under Ken Ware, Mr. Universe of 1994; counselor, hypnotherapist, meditation and yoga teacher; and spa trainer. She is a Reiki master Levels 1, 2 and 3, and a Reiki Master Trainer. She holds a BMSc in Metaphysics from the University of Sedona and the University of Metaphysics, and is an ordained minister through the University of Metaphysics. She runs retreats at her resort in Bali and has produced a series of CDs on health, relaxation, and success, and a TV documentary series, as well as being a magazine columnist and radio talkback presenter.

Their latest book is the nonfiction/self-help, Mastering Negative Impulsive Thoughts.

Visit the authors’ website at www.positivityexpert.com.

About the Book:

Mastering Negative Impulsive Thoughts 3Doctor John McIntosh and Rev. Elizabeth McIntosh, authors of an important new book, MASTERING NEGATIVE IMPULSIVE THOUGHTS, use “nits” as both an acronym for their book’s title and as an analogy for the clearly unhealthy effects of negative thinking.

“Negative thoughts occur impulsively, so that is why they are Negative Impulsive Thoughts, or NITs, for short,” the authors say. “The nice analogy is that nits are also head lice and both (nits and NITs) are irritating, contagious, hard to recognize, hard to eliminate, breed fast, and spread like an epidemic.”

Unlike other, similar books that claim to have a magic route to happiness and health, MASTERING NEGATIVE IMPULSIVE THOUGHTS is based on solid clinical research, say the authors, who together have extensive experience in general medicine, medical research, and holistic health/wellness practices.

For More Information

  • Mastering Negative Impulse Thoughts is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, John and Elizabeth. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is our first official publication in book form, however we have separately been writing articles and columns over the years on many health, fitness and wellbeing topics.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

We chose the self-published route to maintain control and get this important information out into the community! We chose this route because of the long delays that we would face going down the traditional publishing route and also wanted to ensure that we had control over editing and content issues. It also allowed us to fit the book publishing processes around our existing full time businesses and clinical practice.

There are several flow on books that can come out of this principle and we have been approached about focusing the principles to help children, relationships and the workplace – because the principle work!

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

We self-published so there was no “contract”.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

We feel an incredible sense of achievement to be able to write this book of which we are very passionate about, to help thousands of people, and at the same time still managing our national and international businesses. Amzingly we have also opened another 4 businesses in this few years too but that is the power of Positive Thinking and Mastering NITs! So we did not have the luxury of taking ourselves off to a mountain cabin in the woods for months, like they do in the movies – maybe later on our yacht….

Champagne, millionaire oysters and a cheese platter on the beach in front of our house, looking over the Great Barrier Reef as the sunsets and snuggled together has been our favourite. We always celebrate each step along the way and love to show our appreciation to each other and our friends who help us to make it possible.

(NB Millionaire oysters – natural oysters with smoked salmon, yogurt and “caviar”)

Sometimes with our projects, it can feel more like a progressive achievement or transition, than a “TA-DA”- we made it, but we do make a point of celebrating our victories no matter how big or small they are.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

Face book, we started with a network of people that were already familiar, with our background and level of expertise’s in the field, public speaking and seminars teaching people about the principles and philosophy of the book.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Every step forward is exponential growth, both in writing development, and with all the press releases and interviews it was a fantastic way to fine tune our explanations and objectives resulting in us becoming more refined, exponents of our philosophy.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It is quite different looking from the outside, and not until you are doing your due diligence, that you really begin to uncover the secret world of publishing. Going in with eyes wide open still does not give you total immunity to the fascinating characters that one encounters on the journey. The Smeegles that lurk in corners, the Emperors and kings who sit in their publishing houses, choosing who will be granted a audience with them. The countless wheelers and dealers that over promise and under deliverer after taking your money, all very new and exciting and confusing to the newcomers.

You absorb as much information and advice from the wise ones that have tread the path before you, then a glistening jewel in the form of our publicist attracts your attention out of the corner of your eye, and following your gut feeling and you build a relationship and trust with each other over time. It was a wonderful and exciting introduction to the fascinating world of publishing.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Although it is quite an ego stroke, becoming an Author brings with it the assumption that you must know what you are talking about, that you have graduated into the ranks of and expert in that field.   And although there will always be many who challenge your belief and opinions, when you have your own research and are backed by scientific, proof, you don’t have to work as hard in promoting your ideas and concepts over and over and you can tell people to just go read the book and finally you can relax and enjoy the whole experience of being an author and I like it!

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

The same rules of success apply in any field,

Be passionate about what you are doing enough to get you through the inevitable tough times.

Develop discipline and “stick-to-it-ness” and just keep going word by word.

Try to see how the broader community or world will benefit from your book and not just a means of stroking your ego or making money. This is call right intention, to also help others, and this means Grace is then on your side.

Believe in your own power –if you don’t read our book! A great exercise is to remember when you did achieve what you set out to do, and build on the feeling to affirm your powerful belief that “you can do it”!

Never, never, never give up. Sometimes life does take priority and you must put your book aside for a while – that doesn’t mean you have given up, and sometimes it can be a great exercise in that you come back with fresh eyes and new insights, adding more depth to your book

Believe that you deserve success! Exactly what you believe deep down will be attracted to your life, even though this may sound strange. So whether you believe you will be successful or you believe you will fail, either way you will be right!

 

Interview with Author Marilyn Horowitz

Author Marilyn Horowitz

Author Marilyn Horowitz

BIO: Marilyn Ida Horowitz is a producer, writing coach, and award-winning professor of screenwriting at New York University. From her books on her trademarked writing system—now standard reading at NYU—to her appearances at Screenwriters World and The Great American Screenwriting Conference & PitchFest, Marilyn has guided the careers of literally hundreds of writers. She is currently featured in the Now Write! Screenwriting Anthology (Tarcher/Penguin) and in the upcoming The Expert Success Solution (Morgan James). Her production credits include And Then Came Love (2007), starring Vanessa Williams.

Follow Marilyn at her website, http://www.marilynhorowitz.com

@marilynhorowitz

Connect with Marilyn on Facebook

 

INTERVIEW:
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Marilyn. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: This is my first published novel but I have self-published my non-fiction books on screenwriting for over fifteen years. Two of these books are textbooks at New York University where I teach.
Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: I wrote a thriller entitled, The Cold Room, which was optioned before it was ever published.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: I was very fortunate that after eight months and many rejections, I found a home at Koehler Books.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: I didn’t take it personally. Rather, I used the feedback to improve the book. It’s important to remember that something that is original hasn’t been seen before, and people need time to get used to it.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: I self-published my books on screenwriting because I had an audience and could make more money that way.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: I’m a writer. I was relieved not celebratory. I was immediately worried about the next one.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: As I said, I had a built in audience, but I did expand my website and got on Facebook and twitter.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: No, I believe everything works out for the best.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: My new book, The Book of Zev, is coming out in December, and I am in the middle of a new one. I hope my writing is improving every day.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: I would have written better, and I would not have relied on agents etc.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: The book isn’t out so I will keep you posted, but hopefully the answer will be the newest book.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: “Heiress” would have been good. 

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: Even if I ever get that lucky, I would never stop writing.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Prolific, happy, healthy, successful, respected and financially secure.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Don’t get it right, get it written – then get it right!

 

The Book of Zev

The Book of Zev

The Book of Zev Synopsis
The Book of Zev is a psychological thriller that tells the story of two gentle people who change the course of history. Zev Bronfman, a strapping 32-year old-virgin, angry atheist, refugee from a religious Jewish life, and former engineer for the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia, drives a cab and sleeps around in New York City. After a bitter divorce, Sarah Hirshbaum, a beautiful, redheaded, depressed, God-hating kosher chef, seesaws between yoga and too much red wine. Independently, the two consult the same psychic who inadvertently sends Sarah Zev’s session tape. When Sarah contacts Zev to pick up the recording, a series of events forces them to connect with a powerful terrorist in order to thwart his plans to destroy the UN and Israel.

Pre-order from Amazon

About the Book
• Paperback: 298 pages
• Publisher: Koehler Books (December 1, 2014)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1940192781
• ISBN-13: 978-1940192789
• Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches

The Book of Zev Book Excerpt

What a fool she had been to fall in love with a man, any man. For a brief time the way Michael had made her feel thwarted her chronic nihilism. He had filled her with that most evil thing— hope. Michael resembled Clark Kent from Superman. He was tall and muscular. Dark, curly hair fell forward on his high forehead, framing an intelligent face with a cleft chin. Horn-rimmed glasses topped off his profile. Sarah had hoped the marriage vows would be kept, and furthermore that the two of them would always inhabit that euphoric state known as “being in love.” It had lasted for a year or two, and then somehow, the connection had slipped away. Sarah found herself living with a man who would do anything for her except the one thing she needed.

In short, he had stopped making love to her for over a year before the end. Once she saw that the magic was gone forever, she ended the marriage although her married friends all seemed to have accepted that it was natural for the romance to end, and that a descent into a comfortable sort of brother-sister arrangement was fine. They didn’t understand why she would give up such a good and decent man and risk being alone. Was it “good and decent” not to try to meet the other half of a relationship halfway? She wanted a life filled with romance—and she had never felt as alone as she did on those sexless mornings. The worst was knowing that he hadn’t wanted to try. He kept saying that he couldn’t, but a book she read to try to understand his behavior stated bluntly that “couldn’t” meant “wouldn’t.” She keenly remembered the dreadful recognition when she’d read those words.

Today was the worst so far. Well, it was a Sunday. She felt like the Little Match Girl in the fairytale, who is not allowed to come in out of the snowstorm until all of her matches are sold. The child dies, unloved and unnoticed. Sarah felt the Little Match Girl’s pain and could not comfort herself. She just had to wait it out, and usually this agony would pass into her unconscious because she was too busy prepping a new cooking job. Thanksgiving was the beginning of one of her busy seasons.

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