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In the Spotlight: Josephine Baker’s Last Dance by Sherry Jones

From the author of The Jewel of Medina, a moving and insightful novel based on the life of legendary performer and activist Josephine Baker, perfect for fans of The Paris Wife and Hidden Figures.

Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker—actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world—in Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones brings to life Josephine’s early years in servitude and poverty in America, her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page.

With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today.

Purchase Josephine Baker’s Last Dance in paperback,  ebook,  and  audiobook  formats on  Simon and Schuster’s website (available on Amazon,  Barnes and Noble,  BooksAMillion,  Indiebound,  Kobo,  and  other sites). Learn more about Sherry’s books  at  www.authorsherryjones.com

Book Excerpt:

Just before she entered the stage door, a drop of rain hit her on the head. No, that was not a bad omen, only a reminder to do her best, to shine like the star she was, or would be. Wilsie came running up—Mr. Sissle was there, but Mr. Blake had yet to arrive. “You’ll knock ’em dead, Tumpy. Just do your dancing and forget the rest.” Josephine didn’t need to be told that. She was ready.

She flexed and stretched her arms as she walked with Wilsie across the stage, past the musicians gathering, trumpets and saxophones and drums and a clarinet, down into the auditorium, where a slender man spoke to a white-haired man at his side. He turned his head very slightly and looked her up and down from the corners of his shrewd, hard eyes. His mouth pursed.

“How old are you?” he’d said before Wilsie had even introduced them. The stage door opened, and a very dark-skinned man with a bald head hurried in, talking about “the damned rain,” scampering down the steps, striding up the aisle, shaking water from his clothes.

“Eubie Blake,” he said, smiling, holding out his hand to her.

“This is Tumpy, Mr. Blake, the one I told you about,” Wilsie said. “She’s here to audition for Clara’s spot in the chorus.”

The man with Mr. Sissle—the stage manager—motioned to her and she followed him up the stage steps. Did she know the songs? Could she dance to “I’m Just Wild about Harry”? Josephine wanted to jump for joy. She pretended to watch as Wilsie showed her the steps, which she already knew as if she’d made them up herself. Josephine stripped down to her dingy leotard, tossed her clothes on a chair, then ran and leaped to the center of the stage. This was it. She bent over to grasp her ankles, stretching her legs, then stood and pulled her arms over her head.

“Ready?” Mr. Sissle barked. The music started, and she began the dance, so simple she could have done it in her sleep. Practicing in the Standard, she’d gotten bored with it and had made up her own steps, throwing in a little Black Bottom, wiggling her ass and kicking her legs twice as high as they wanted to go, taken by the music, played by it, the instruments’ instrument, flapping her hands, step and kick and spin and spin and squat and jump and down in a split, up and jump and kick and spin—oops, the steps, she didn’t need no damn steps, she had better ones—and kick and jump and wiggle and spin. She looked out into the auditorium—a big mistake: Mr. Blake’s mouth was open and Mr. Sissle’s eyes had narrowed to slits. Don’t be nervous, just dance. Only the music remained now, her feet and the stage.

When she’d finished, panting, and pulled on her dress and shoes, Wilsie came running over, her eyes shining. “You made their heads spin, you better believe it,” she whispered, but when they went down into the aisle Josephine heard Mr. Sissle muttering.

“Too young, too dark, too ugly,” he said. The world stopped turning, then, the sun frozen in its arc, every clock still, every breath caught in every throat. Mr. Blake turned to her, smiling as if everything were normal, and congratulated her on “a remarkable dance.”

“I can see that you are well qualified for our chorus, Tumpy,” he said, and on his lips, the name sounded like a little child’s.

“You have real talent, and spark, besides. How did you learn to do that at such a young age? You are—how old?”

“Fifteen,” she said.

Mr. Sissle snorted, and cut Wilsie a look. “Wasting my time,” he said. Mr. Blake looked at her as if she’d just wandered in from the orphanage.

“I’m very sorry, there’s been a mix-up,” he said. “You must be sixteen to dance professionally in New York State.”

“I’ll be sixteen in June,” Josephine said. Her voice sounded plaintive and faraway.

“We need someone now.” Mr. Sissle folded his arms as if she were underage on purpose. Mr. Blake led her toward the stage door, an apologetic Wilsie saying she hadn’t known. Mr. Sissle followed, talking to Mr. Blake about adding some steps to “I’m Just Wild about Harry,” saying they should put in some kicks, that he’d been thinking about it for a while. Uh-huh.

“Come and see us in New York after your birthday, doll,” Mr. Blake said. “You never know when we might have an opening.” He opened the door and let the rain pour in before shutting it again. He looked at Josephine’s thin, optimistic dress. Where was her umbrella? She hung her head. He stepped over to retrieve a black umbrella propped against the wall and handed it to her. She took it without even knowing, her thoughts colliding like too many birds in a cage. She would have to stay in Philadelphia, she had failed—too young, too dark, too ugly—she should have lied about her age, what had gotten into her? Showing off, that was what.

And now Mr. Sissle disliked her, and she would never get into their show; it didn’t matter how many times she went back. As she stepped out into the rain with that big umbrella in her hands unopened and felt the rain pour down her face; she was glad, for now they would think it was water instead of tears, but when she looked back, Wilsie was crying, too, in the open doorway.

Seeing the men watching from a window, she stopped. They wouldn’t forget her; she’d make them remember. She walked slowly, her silk dress dripping, while Mr. Sissle gesticulated with excitement as he stole her ideas—authentic Negro dancing were the last words she’d heard—and Mr. Blake looking as if he wanted to run out there, scoop her up, and carry her back inside.

( Continued… )

© 2018 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sherry Jones. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

About the Author

Author and journalist Sherry Jones is best known for her international bestseller The Jewel of Medina. She is also the author of The Sword of MedinaFour SistersAll QueensThe Sharp Hook of Love, and the novella White Heart.  Sherry lives in Spokane, WA, where, like Josephine Baker, she enjoys dancing, singing, eating, advocating for equality, and drinking champagne.

Her latest novel is Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

Website: http://authorsherryjones.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sherryjones
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sherryjones
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherry-jones
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sherryjonesfanpage
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/josephinebakerslastdance
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cybersecuritytechnologywriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1219600.Sherry_Jones

 

First Chapter Reveal: THE DESIRE CARD by Lee Matthew Goldberg

 

Title: THE DESIRE CARD
Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Publisher: Fahrenheit Press
Pages: TBA
Genre: Crime/Suspense

BOOK BLURB:

Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That’s the promise the Desire Card gives to its elite clients. But if the Card doesn’t feel like they’ve been justly compensated, the “price” will be more menacing than the clients could ever imagine.

Harrison Stockton learns this lesson all too well. Harrison has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street along with a fondness for alcohol and pills, and a family he adores, yet has no time for. All of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his executive job and discovers he has liver cirrhosis with mere months left to live.

After finding himself far down on the donor list, Harrison takes matters into his own hands. This decision sparks a gritty and gripping quest that takes him to the slums of Mumbai in search of a black market organ and forces him under the Desire Card’s thumb. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and put a stop to the Card.

THE DESIRE CARD is a taut international thriller that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires. It’s the first book in a series followed by PREY NO MORE that focuses on other people indebted to this sinister organization, where the actual price is the cost of one’s soul.

PRAISE:

“Careful what you wish for, especially from a nefarious shadow organization, in this gripping start to Lee Matthew Goldberg’s fast-paced, highly compelling, buzz worthy new series. If you love characters morally compromised, richly drawn, and constantly surprising, you’ll love THE DESIRE CARD. I burned through the first book and can’t wait to get my hands on PREY NO MORE to see where this endlessly exciting story takes me next! Loved it!” – Daniel Palmer, critically acclaimed suspense author

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Chapter 1

HARRISON SAT OUTSIDE THE OFFICE OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR AWAITING HIS FATE. The end of the month meant slash and burn time, but he had successfully avoided the axe for twelve months now. Something told him this wasn’t going to be lucky number thirteen. After almost twenty years of dedication, he swore he wouldn’t beg, wouldn’t give that fucker Thom Bartlett any satisfaction in letting him go. Thom, with his faux British accent even though he lived in the U.S. since he was two, his nose up the CEO’s ass at every chance, his chastising of Harrison’s “extracurricular activities,” even though Thom was just as guilty of similar vices. Harrison stared at this fucker’s door, as if by monitoring he could will it to stay closed and ensure that he’d forever remain a part of Sanford & Co.’s Mergers and Acquisitions team.

A sharp pain in his abdomen caused him to pitch forward. His stomach churned as a flood of bile crept up his throat. Thom’s door now appeared so out of focus that for a second Harrison forgot where he was.

“Bad lunch?” his buddy Whit whispered, from a nearby seat.

Thom’s ancient secretary glanced up at them from her fury of typing and went back to punishing the keys.

Harrison clutched his stomach and let out a stifled belch. The air now smelled like he’d been dining on garbage. His chronic halitosis had only been getting worse. He could barely recall the last time he’d kissed Helene like when they were young with an appetite to devour. At most he received a peck while she held her breath. It’s not like her body hadn’t also changed, and yet he still found her a knockout: whip-smart and sophisticated, alluring whenever she was in deep thought and chewed on the earpiece of her reading glasses. Only once had he participated in a particular “extracurricular activity” outside of their marriage. It was something he instantly regretted—but she had been treating him like a pariah in the bedroom for almost a year, and he found himself in the arms of another. So now he let her give those little digs about his hygiene, one of the small pleasures she seemed to have during the scant few hours a day when he was home.

Whit seemed to inch his chair away from Harrison’s death burp and occupied himself with the new Breitling hanging from his wrist. Here the two were about to be sliced up and gutted and Whit had spent last weekend dropping $10K on a watch. Sure Harrison indulged in more luxuries than most and hated his old Tag enough to go splurging, but unlike Whit, he had two kids in uptown private schools to worry about.

“Drinks at Mobeley’s later tonight?” Whit asked, placing his hand on Harrison’s shoulder. “Whatever the outcome of this summons might be?”

Harrison nodded with tired eyes.

“You’re a VP here, Harry. Higher up on the rung than me. You’ve got a better chance of surviving.”

Whit’s hand still massaged Harrison’s shoulder, but his encouragement was not convincing. He had probably expected a similar consoling reply, except the room was spinning too much for Harrison to care.

“You’re not looking well,” Whit said. Thom’s secretary seemed to glance up from her typing again to nod in agreement. The two of them caught each other’s eye, as if they were conspiring against him. Well, we couldn’t all look like Whit. Just a few years younger but still with a full head of thick black hair only slightly graying at the temples, something that made him appear even more distinguished. Pecs and abs that he never shut up about. A terror on the racquetball courts who slaughtered Harrison every time. The son of a well-known surgeon at N.Y.U Medical with a hot Japanese wife barely out of her twenties whose goal in life was to be at his beck and call. Whit had been made an Associate two years earlier than Harrison and was able to maintain a rapport with the higher ups that Harrison could never manage: calling the CEO Dougie to his face instead of Mr. Sanford and still having a job the next day.

The secretary picked up the phone on her desk while still typing away.

“Certainly, Mr. Bartlett,” she chirped into the receiver, and then turned her disapproving gaze to Harrison. “Mr. Bartlett will see you now, Mr. Stockton.”

Harrison gathered up his briefcase and overcoat. He had to hold onto the seat as he stood, his feet pivoting and almost sending him to the ground.

“Gotta watch those martini lunches,” Whit said, slapping Harrison on the back and pushing him toward his doom.

Harrison put one foot in front of the other slowly, avoiding Thom’s inevitable decision for as long as possible.

Even if he wound up getting let go today, an outsider looking in might assume that his life was still going well: two decades of marriage, healthy kids, and a fantastic New York apartment; but he felt like he’d just been going through the motions for too long. A major chunk had been missing, a spark of excitement, adventure, and meaning. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was, just that he desperately longed for it to exist.

As he put his hand on the doorknob and turned, he tried to think of what would make him happy, something he wanted more than anything that would cause him to shoot out of bed every morning with a smile.

He squeezed his eyes shut, willing this desired vision to appear, but all he saw was darkness.

Who in their right mind didn’t covet Thom Bartlett’s office? High floor with downtown skyline views, fluffy clouds outside of the windows, a wet bar that Harrison eyed. Some good Scotch had already been opened. Harrison had forced himself to keep sober during a gobbled lunch of an Italian sub without his trusty flask to chase it down. Now his hands trembled at the thought of that Scotch burning his throat.

“Can I offer you something?” Thom asked, indicating the bar with a grand sweep of his arm, as if to say, yes, I have a bar in my office, which you, dear sir, never had here and regrettably never will.

“I might as well,” Harrison coughed, scooting over and pouring two shots worth into a glass. He sat across from Thom and put the comforting drink to his lips.

Thom fiddled with a stack of papers in a folder on his desk. He looked up at Harrison through the thick frames he kept low on his sloping nose, almost touching his top lip.

“So Sanford & Co. has become swollen lately. We’re too big for our own good right now and need to restructure–”

“Just spit it out,” Harrison said, knocking back half the glass of Scotch.

“I’m sorry, Harrison. We’re going to have to let you go, effective today.”

Thom delivered this news while fixing his Windsor knot, which Harrison figured had taken him numerous tries that morning to perfect. Harrison wanted to grab him by that knot and choke his tiny little bird head until it popped off.

“I’ve given practically twenty years to this firm,” he said, running his hands through his thinning hair. “I sleep here, I eat here. I barely exist at home anymore.”

“It’s the same for all of us, mate.”

“I’m not your fucking mate,” Harrison said, finishing the rest of the Scotch and starting to sway.

“Old boy, I am not the villain here. Every firm on the Street has been feeling this strain since the economy collapsed. Now we are offering you a solid severance package, which I think is more than generous. I’ll also save you the spectacle of having security escort you out.”

“What was Sanford’s reason?” Harrison asked quietly, not wanting to hear the answer but knowing that he’d be unable to leave without one.

Thom had already started pushing the folder across the desk, shutting Harrison up, getting this over with. His face looked exhausted from delivering executions.

“We’ve heard from some clients,” he said, taking off his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Heard what…?”

“Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately, huh, Harry?” he asked, his voice rising to the level of an uncomfortable squeal. “Your skin, mate…sorry, but you’re looking rather yellow, and your eyes, well there’s this permanent creaminess to them… I’m just using the client’s words–”

“Which client?”

“Which one hasn’t mentioned this is more like it.”

Harrison went to respond but now Thom was on a roll.

“As a VP, this is a face-to-face business. I go for manicures, mate, you think I like it–it’s a requirement. Maybe if you cut back on the drink….”

“I’ve advised some huge mergers here over the years.” Harrison pointed at Thom with his empty glass. “I didn’t realize this was only a pretty boys game.”

“You’ve let some messy pitchbooks slide through recently, as well.”

“Shouldn’t the analysts be blamed for creating them?”

“Don’t think they haven’t been dealt with, too.”

“So maybe I’ve gotten lax with a couple of pitchbooks for smaller clients, but never any of the big ones.”

“When…was the last time you’ve been to a doctor, Harry?”

“Doctors,” Harrison said, brushing them all away with a flick of his wrist. He had always believed that no matter what, doctors tried to find something wrong with you so you’d give them more business. And yeah, his skin had developed a yellowish hue as of late and sometimes his gut felt like it was rotting. Varicose veins had multiplied along his thighs and there were moments when he’d lose balance and have to go and dry heave in an empty stall once no one else was around, but he was a professional drinker just like his dad had been, and that son-of-a-bitch had put back a liter of gin and a pack of smokes a day up until the ripe old age of eighty-eight. Hell, who needed to live longer than that anyway? Life could be brutal, and if some booze, some smokes and some pills provided a relief from the banality of it all, then screw any doctor who’d tell him otherwise.

Thom tapped on the folder to indicate that it was time to wrap this up.

“I have to make sure that you understand what’s in the package,” he said, pushing it closer to Harrison until it practically fell off the desk.

Harrison opened it up and flipped through: six months pay, benefits as well, blah, blah, blah. He closed it shut and went to throw it in his briefcase.

“Tut tut,” Thom said, wagging his finger. “There’s something you missed that Mr. Sanford wanted to make sure you saw.”

Harrison re-opened the folder and spied a card clipped to the first page.

[]

“What the hell is a Desire Card?”

Thom reached over and un-clipped the card.

“You have been a valued employee here. Mr. Sanford wanted to make sure you understood that we’re not parting on bad terms. This is what’s best for everyone.”

Thom handed him the card. Harrison turned it over and over with his stubby fingers.

“It’s like…a phone or something too?”

“Of sorts, just to keep their network as secure and exclusive as possible. We didn’t include this in everyone’s package, so you know. This is an organization that Mr. Sanford has a long history with, very hush-hush obviously, very elite. If you want something…anything…they have the power to make it happen.”

“Can they get me my job back?”

“Cute, Harrison, don’t ever lose that charm.”

Thom reached over to take the empty glass away.

“So tonight, Harry, instead of drowning your sorrows in a bottle, give the Card a try and have them ring you up a girl I guarantee you’ll enjoy. Or whatever else you wish. We promise we’ll give a glowing report to any future job prospects so consider this the start of a paid vacation.”

Thom stuck out his hand to shake, the nails manicured, no rogue cuticles to speak of; but the hand was delicate and unassuming, not someone with the power to hold Harrison’s life in his palm, just a meager messenger. Harrison slipped the Desire Card in his pocket and shook Thom’s hand, squeezing hard as Thom grimaced.

“And see a doctor,” Thom replied, giddy now that this ordeal was over.

“Watch out, you’ll be gutted next,” Harrison said, rising and feeling his legs give out. He collapsed back into the chair as Thom let out a spurt of a laugh.

“You all right there, mate?”

“Piss on England.”

Harrison gave standing up another try. He gripped Thom’s desk for support. Thom looked worried that Harrison might take the whole desk down with him, but Harrison was doing his best to maintain even though it felt like he was viewing Thom through the wrong end of a telescope.

“You can go ahead and send Mr. Carmichael in,” Thom said, fixing his Windsor knot again that had become slightly askew. “Best to Helene and the children.”

Harrison slung his coat over his arm and gripped his briefcase as he headed for the door. After a few steps, his vision became cloudier and he could feel the creamy tears falling from his eyes. They stung his cheeks as he grappled with the doorknob and lurched into the hallway.

In the front office, Whit was leaning over the secretary’s desk; the two engaged in hushed words that stopped once Harrison emerged. Harrison ran his finger from one side of his neck to the other. Whit gave him a solemn nod back, but Harrison couldn’t hold it in any longer and puked up the barely digested Scotch.

“Oh my!” he heard the secretary say.

He stared at his sickness bubbling on the floor, a mix of half-chewed capicola and salami in an amber soup with specks of dark red blood throughout, the clots of blood so dark they looked like tar. He wiped his mouth and trudged past all the onlookers toward the elevators outside, glad that a part of him would remain embedded in Sanford & Co.’s carpet.

As the elevator arrived and he stepped inside, he wished for the undoing of everyone involved in his termination, knowing that only their collective downfall could get him to shoot out of bed with a smile.

 

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR (St. Martin’s Press), which was acquired by Macmillan Entertainment with the film in development. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The first two books in a thriller series, THE DESIRE CARD and PREY NO MORE, are forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in winter 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at www.leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG.

 

 

Interview with Jamell Crouthers, Author of Code Blue

Police Chief Bulletin #1
My fellow police officers, thank you for
your hard work,
Putting your life in the line of duty
every day.
This will be the first of many bulletins
that I will be sending,
Your supervising officer will be having
meetings about my bulletins.
I want to address an issue that’s been
going on in our community,
There have been too many minorities
driving in our neighborhoods.
I’ve been told by residents that they’re
scared and afraid of them,
I don’t know exactly why as I am not in
the streets everyday.
In order to get control of our community
again we must pull over cars,
Any car that is expensive and they look
out of place, pull them over.
Find a reason to pull these cars over,
whether it’s a tail light,
Or they can be driving too slow, too fast,
failure to signal when changing lanes.
There are certain cars to look for,
especially tinted windows,
Ferraris, Bentleys, Mercedes Benz,
Lamborghinis, you get my drift.
You know the procedure, asking for a
driver’s license and registration,
Make sure that you’re assertive in your
behavior and taking control of situations.
I want officers to be partnered up in the
cars while you’re on duty,
We need to conduct these pullovers between
7pm and 5am daily.
It seems to be that at night these
minorities are driving through our neighborhood,
Even if you recognize cars and know who
these people are, pull them over.
I can’t have our citizens of our community
constantly calling me about this,
So let’s clean this up as soon as possible
and I want it tracked how many you do.
I want three done a week amongst partners
and body cams will show that,
If you have to agitate a driver to
escalate a situation, do it.
Cars swerving means they must be drunk or
high so sniff out the car,
Find a purpose and reason to search the
car without a warrant.
I appreciate your time in reading this
bulletin,
If you have any questions or concerns,
please consult your supervising officer.
Police Chief”
–From Code
Blue
by Jamell Crouthers
Jamell Crouthers is a poet, author, blogger and podcaster who has taken on a journey of writing in the prime of his life. He has been writing poetry since the age of 13 but never thought he could utilize his talent to tell stories and write books. He is not the traditional author as he writes his books in poetry format with a focus on storylines and societal issues.
After publishing 11 books (so far), his goals and plans are to continue writing books on taboo subjects that aren’t discussed enough in today’s world and bringing those main subjects tothe forefront. Jamell’s blogs tackle societal issues, how he writes his books, his journey as an author and some motivational blogs that will get you to focus on your goals. His goal and moniker is, “to change the world, one book at a time.”
Book Description:
The Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun series chronicles a police officer named Gary who has been on the force for a few years. He soon is entrenched in a lot of lies, corruption, racism and agendas being pushed by his superiors. The question throughout this series is whether he as a good cop becomes part of the corruption or does he report it?
Part of this series features his son Gary, Jr who is a young teenager wanting to be like his father and go into the police force. He soon learns through the news daily that the police force is not what it really is. Gary ends up having to share the truths of what goes on at work and the relationship between him and his son changes because of it. Now it becomes up to Gary what he is going to do about what goes on at work.
Interview:
Welcome, Jamell! Your series, Code Blue, sounds thrilling! Can you tell us why you wrote it?
Jamell: I wrote the Code Blue series because of all that’s been going on in America with police brutality, racism and corruption on the police force. I felt that I needed to write something but it had to be different than the average police book you would read. With all of the news coverage, I wanted to ask the
all-important question, do good cops know who the bad ones are.
Your protagonist, Gary, is put in a sticky situation. Does he become part of the corruption or does he report it? What a situation to be in. Can you tell us more about Gary?
Jamell: I don’t want to give away too much but if it’s a series, you can say he condones the corruption and is involved in it to where he covers up for his partners and lies to his family about what’s going on. Let’s just say it takes
him time to report all of it and his guilty conscience and sanity become a major component to his life. Gary is a compassionate person who wants nothing more than to make the neighborhood he grew up in and his city a better, safer place to live. He’s definitely a family man who has a young son and a wife that he loves dearly and has great parents who raised him to do right by others. The only problem is he’s involved in a lot of things he never thought he would be and it ends up costing him the most important people in his life, his family and friends.
Can you tell us a little about the other main characters?
Jamell: The other main character in this series is Gary, Jr. He is a young teenager who is growing into his own and starting to see the world for what it really is. He’s no longer living in this shell that his father tried to put him in (moving to the suburbs, putting him in a better school, living in a nice home). The series takes a different dynamic where Gary and Gary, Jr talk to each other through letters and it gets to a place where their relationship becomes
tumultuous and it’s due to Gary not being honest with what goes on in the streets every night he goes to work.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?
Jamell: In Code Blue Part 1, I will say the pivotal moment is when Gary’s partners shoot and kill a man who wasn’t the suspect in a store robbery. They botched the ID because the suspect was wearing a hoodie and so was the man that they killed. Gary’s ride to the police station that night was very long and the question is, will he write up another falsified report of what happened or will he tell the truth.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
Jamell: I definitely will say yes my writing has improved and it’s because I’m constantly challenging myself to write story lines that have relevance to what’s currently going on in the world. With me working on various series, and
a plethora of characters, there’s always the challenge of how can I keep a reader engaged in these characters? How can I make the reader feel, emote and understand these characters and where they are coming from. It’s all about
putting the reader in these character’s shoes to make them say, “Hey this character is me, or I know someone who has gone through this.”
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Jamell: I edit and proofread my work and it’s a tedious and arduous process but eventually, it gets done.
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Jamell: Yes it does in some ways, which is why some of my books I’ve paid someone to make them for me and some I’ve been fortunate to make on my own. One of my series I’ve changed the book cover 3 times to make it more appealing.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
Jamell: I wanted to be a lawyer at first, I was into police shows like New York Undercover, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and SVU (I’ve literally grown up watching Mariska Hargitay) and then I wanted to be a sports broadcaster (I have old YouTube videos of me talking about the NBA).
Do your novels carry a message?
Jamell: My novels definitely do, each book carries a message and I want readers to take the time to think about the world, discuss it with others and try to make the world a better place to live in. A lot of us are fortunate to live
comfortable lives but there are others who need us to be there for them or to understand them and who they are. We spend too much time being judgmental of others and not being compassionate enough.
Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?
Jamell: There are a lot of books coming in the near future, I do podcasts where I discuss societal issues and in my spare time I’m always listening to music. I love my sports (basketball, football and baseball) and I’m big on family and
keeping my close knit friends around me. My quote with my writing journey is, “Trying to change the world, one book at a time.”

Interview with ‘Scene of the Crime’ Jennifer Chase

“The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.

A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.

The anonymous whispers stopped.

All buzzing in his ears stopped.

Roger Case’s heart stopped too.”

From Scene of the Crime by Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. Her latest book is Scene of the Crime, Book 2 in the Palmer Forensic Mystery series.

Book Description:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

Interview:

Welcome Jennifer! Can we begin by having you tell us how you got started writing mysteries? Did the movies influence you? Books?

Jennifer: Books, movies, news headlines, true crime stories have all inspired my writing. I’ve loved books ever since I was old enough to appreciate the amazing stories at the library. Mysteries have a special place for me. I love puzzles, forensic evidence, and the delicate balance of the human psyche of what makes a person do the things they do. I’ve always written stories and screenplays, but it was not until 2008 did I chose to write novels professionally and I have not looked back.

Do you find writing mysteries comes natural to you or did you struggle sometimes?

Jennifer: I think when you love something, it comes a bit more easily and you don’t have to fight as hard. I have more ideas than I could ever write in a lifetime. It’s difficult to turn off the writer’s brain sometimes. These ideas come to me when I’m basically anywhere, running errands, exercising, driving, and even in the shower.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Jennifer: Anyone can write. You have to sit down with something to say and convey it to the reader. But, I do feel that you have to understand emotions, not necessarily feel all of them in order to express emotions in your characters that readers will respond to. It helps, for example, that if you’ve felt great loss or extreme fear at some time in your life to write those strong emotions with conviction.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Jennifer: That’s a very interesting question. The way I see it, at least for me, is that it’s the ultimate expression to tell a story and have your readers experience an incredible journey understanding what you’re trying to express. My first novel, Compulsion, was actually similar to therapy for me as I wrote it. I had experienced a violent psychopath neighbor, so being able to write through my stress and experiences was very liberating.

How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?

Jennifer: It’s a difficult balancing act. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but it is challenging field because there’s no sure thing in this career. There are definite successful levels that you can achieve, such as a best seller and award winner, but that doesn’t mean you’ve now have it made. Every book you write there is always some type challenge you must meet and overcome.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book, Scene of the Crime?

Jennifer: Taunting the police and orchestrating killer hit squads, The Slayer is the ultimate puppet master. He believes that he has discovered the recipe for the perfect murder.

Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins, together they are reunited as a team to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—leaving them vulnerable and fighting to stay alive. But that still doesn’t stop the sparks to ignite between them.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Jennifer: With my background in criminology and profiling, most would think that writing from the mind of a serial killer would be easy. To some degree it is for me, but it takes the most energy and effort to create the killer in a way that doesn’t seem contrived and superficial. I make sure that I put aside enough time with breaks to complete this part of the book.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point when the reader just can’t put the book down. Can you give us one of those pivotal points in your book?

Jennifer: Without giving anything away, there will be someone within the underdog team that will be kidnapped and you’re not going to see it coming. Everything changes from that point on for the characters.

Will there be a follow up book to Scene of the Crime or other books in the near future?

Jennifer: Absolutely. I love creating mysteries for Dr. Chip Palmer to solve. Evidence of the Crime will be out early 2019. In addition, Dark Lies from the Emily Stone Thriller Series will be out this fall.

Thank you so much for the interview!

Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike Martin

Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike Martin, Mystery, 280 pp.

Title: DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN

Author: Mike Martin

Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing

Pages: 280

Genre: Mystery
Darkest Before the Dawn is the latest adventure of Sgt. Winston
Windflower, a Mountie who finds himself surrounded by a new family and a
new life in tiny Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There are signs of trouble
that may disturb his pleasant life, including a series of unsolved
break-ins and the lack of supports for young people in the most trying
time of their lives. But there are always good friends, good food and
the sense that if we all pull together, we can find a way to get through
even the darkest days.Ghosts, mysterious deaths, and a new character enliven the pages as
Windflower and Tizzard and the other police officers awaken the secrets
that have been lying dormant in this sleepy little town. The deeper they
dig the more they find as the criminals they seek dive deeper behind
the curtains of anonymity and technology. But more than anything, this
is a story of love and loss, of growing up and learning how to grow old
gracefully. It is also about family and community and looking after each
other. Of not giving up hope just before the dawn.

 

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and
now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance
writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers,
magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and
New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series.is Darkest Before the Dawn.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Joerg H. Tauboth, author of Three Brothers

Joerg H. Trauboth (Wikipedia) was born just outside of Berlin in 1943 during an air-raid. He discovered his love for writing early in his career as an officer and was awarded top honors by the General Inspector of the German Bundeswehr. Along the way, he flew over two thousand flight hours as a Weapons Systems Officer and instructor in the Phantom RF4E (in which he survived two critical lightening strikes). After a training in George AFB (CA), Major Joerg H. Trauboth flew the  Phantom F4F  and finally – followed by another conversion training in Cottesmore (UK) –  the Tornado aircrafts. Trauboth became a General Staff Officer in the Military Academy of the German Armed Forces in Hamburg-Blankenese and enrolled as LtCol  in the NATO Defense College in Rome. He has served in the German national operational headquarters as well as in the NATO Headquarters in Brussels as the German representative in the areas of Crisis Management, Operations, and Intelligence.

At the age of fifty, he retired early from his post as a Colonel in the German Air Force to become a Special Risk Consultant at the Control Risk Group in London. He was trained and engaged in negotiating extortion and kidnapping situations in South America and Eastern Europe.

The former Colonel, eager to start making money on his own soon founded the Trauboth Risk Management company. He received a startup award and quickly made a reputation for himself internationally as an top-notch crisis manager in Europe. During his time as CEO, he conceptualized crisis prevention strategies for a number of European companies and employed a 24-hour task force to protect them from product tampering, product recalls, kidnappings, and image crises. He was also a co-founder and the first president of the European Crisis Management Academy in Vienna and wrote a standard reference book on the subject of crisis management for companies at risk of threat.

Today Joerg H. Trauboth is an author, filmmaker with more than 75.000 youtube clicks, and an enthusiastic Grumman Tiger pilot. (See this latest night flight-video here. And if you want to know who his favorite Co-Pilot is, have a look here.)  The crisis manager and active pilot has served as the European Director and President of the US – based international American Yankee Pilots Organization.

His advice on crisis management is continually sought after and he is present as expert in radio and television interviews regarding his opinion on  international crisis situations.

Joerg H. Trauboth has been  53 years married with Martina. They have two sons, three grandchildren, and both live near Bonn, Germany. In addition, Trauboth voluntarily contributes his expertise to the Crisis Invention Team of the German Federal Foreign Office in Bonn and reads from his fiction and non fiction books on readers’ tours followed by discussions with his readers about the dramatically changing world.

Joerg’s latest book is the thriller, Three Brothers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE

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

I have published two non-fiction reference books on Crisis Management in Germany and now my first novel, a thriller entitled Three Brothers (original German title: Drei Brüder). It has just been published as a print and eBook for the English-speaking market, and was translated by U.S.-native Leanne Cvetan, who lives not far from me in Frankfurt. I was lucky to find her through an internet search in only two months. She was able to accurately convey my thinking and intention between the lines. Readers of the German and English version have confirmed this and that makes this author very happy.

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?

After about 15 unsuccessful attempts and losing months, I often empathized with the former welfare recipient Joanne Rowling who had more than 30 unsuccessful attempts with her Harry Potter idea. Publishers said the book was too long and not a seller. And now look at this lady!

Just as she did, I found by recommendation a small publisher in my local area, Franz Koenig of www.ratio-books.de. He was fascinated by Three Brothers right from the beginning. We began with the German edition Drei Brüder in 2015 and this year we are going international, followed by an audio book. Yes, sometimes I had wish I had a big publisher with a huge marketing machine behind me. But seeing what is possible today for a new author with social media, reading tours and events organized by a one-man publishing house, it is amazing what can happen!  The success of my other two reference books, as well as my life experience (from a fighter bomber crew member to an emergency pastoral counsellor) allowed me access to radio and TV interviews in Germany and even got my name into Wikipedia. But most importantly: I trust my publisher and he likewise trusts me. He knows that I must have my freedom to be creative. And I know that I must give him maximum support with marketing. We are a team.

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

I wrote this thriller in about five months. All the unsuccessful submissions to publishers and agents cost me a further six months. By chance, I found a publisher in my local area and soon signed the contract. My distress during the time that was wasted was that a thriller about terrorism would negatively impact the political developments in the world. But the opposite happened, thankfully.

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

In Germany, they say you need to be a either a doctor or an author to be accepted as somebody different. I was always different in my life and did not need one nor the other. Therefore, after my first non-fiction book, I just continued to work in my real job as a crisis management consultant. But after my first thriller, devoted to my wife Martina, there was a noticeable difference. We went out for dinner and I dreamed of a successful career like Tom Clancy or Brad Thor and of Hollywood. Who knows…?

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

Press release, press conference, social media. Follow up actions: readings, presentations and talk shows as security and crisis management expert. I learned to play with social media and am still learning.

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

All over the world the number of new books and authors is so great that you have an almost preordained risk of falling into obscurity if you do not do any marketing for yourself. A book is 30 % writing and 70 % marketing. I am not a top-listed author (yet!) but my publisher and I are very happy with the number of books and eBooks we have sold based on various marketing campaigns. International exposure, such as support from the wonderful Dorothy Thompson, will definitely help the success of Three Brothers.

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

The book market is both hard-fought and fruitful. Amazon is devouring the traditional market, simultaneously giving huge opportunities especially to newcomers and even known names.

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

Feeling good about having created something tangible and exciting. Like a mother with her newborn baby. Everything else, like making a profit with it, is a very nice add-on.

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

Don’t just have a dream – do it. You just might be the next top author in the charts.

About the Book:

Title: THREE BROTHERS
Author: Joerg H. Trauboth
Publisher: Ratio Books
Pages: 581
Genre: Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

Marc Anderson and his two commando brothers Thomas and Tim are highly respected elite soldiers in the secretive German Commando Special Forces, the KSK. Together with the American Navy Seals, they successfully rescue the crew of a downed American F-15 tactical fighter jet in the Hindu Kusch Mountains under a barrage of heavy fire from the Taliban. However, their next mission – in Northern Iraq – to save two German hostages taken captive by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ends in disaster for the three brothers in arms. The perfectly laid-out strategy of Operation Eagle is betrayed, causes Marc, Thomas, and Tim to narrowly escape death. The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) starts the hunt for the informant.

The devoted commando brothers decide to leave the KSK and start a new career together as security advisors with a family-owned company based in Cologne. But the terrorist activities of ISIS continue to determine their fate. The brothers are faced with one of their greatest challenges when ISIS kidnaps company heir Johannes Ericson and his partner Karina Marie. Moreover, the terrorists demand a ransom and extort the German government to immediately suspend its military intervention in the fight against ISIS. It is a race against time to save the couple from assassination.

Joerg H. Trauboth has written more than just an exhilarating novel. Three Brothers unites the current omnipresent threat of terrorism with the author’s first-hand experience as a crisis manager and a military and terrorism expert. The result is an unrivaled political thriller. In this gripping novel, Trauboth foretells possible scenarios for our society in light of the rise of radical Islamic terrorism. Read the full chapter 1 here …

Three Brothers is the English translation of the successful German thriller Drei Brüder (ratio-books), highly appreciated by thousands of readers, as well as military organizations and government officials alike. Jörg H. Trauboth’s storytelling skills can be compared to those of Tom Clancy and similar authors as James Patterson. The German version of the novel will also soon be available as an audio book.

Drei Brüder has been translated into English by (US native) Leanne Cvetan.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

{Author Interview} Nadia Natali, Author of Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin

Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook. 

Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.

DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.

Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

 

Growing up as Frankie Gershwin’s daughter, the sister of George and Ira Gershwin, was quite a challenge. I didn’t have the perspective to realize that so much unhappiness in a family was out of the ordinary. But I knew something was off. My mother was often depressed and my father was tyrannical and scary, one never knew when he would blow up. I learned early on that I had to be the cheery one, the one to fix the problems. Both sides of my family were famous; the Gershwin side and my father who invented color film. But even though there was more than enough recognition, money and parties I understood that wasn’t what made people happy.

As a young adult adrift and depressed I broke from that unsatisfactory life by marrying Enrico Natali, a photographer, deeply immersed in his own questions about life. We moved into the wilderness away from what we considered as the dysfunction of society. That’s when we discovered that life had other kinds of challenges: flood, fire, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears. We lived in a teepee for more than four years while building a house. Curiously my mother never commented on my life choice. She must have realized on some level that her own life was less than satisfactory.

Enrico had developed a serious meditation practice that had become a kind of ground for him. As for me I danced. Understanding the somatic, the inner body experience, became my way to shift the inner story.

We raised and homeschooled our three children. I taught them to read, Enrico taught them math. The kids ran free, happy, always engaged, making things, and discovering. We were so sure we were doing the right thing. However, we didn’t have a clue how they would make the transition to the so-called ‘real world’. The children thrived until they became teenagers. They then wanted out. Everything fell apart for them and for Enrico and me. Our lives were turned upside down, our paradise lost. There was tragedy: our son lost his life while attempting to cross our river during a fierce storm. Later I was further challenged by advanced breast cancer.

It was during these times that I delved deeply into the somatic recesses of myself. I began to find my own voice, a long learning process. I emerged with a profound trust in my own authority. It became clear that everyone has to find his or her way through layers of inauthenticity, where a deep knowing can develop. And I came to see that is the best anyone can offer to the world.

Enrico and I still live in the wilds of the Lost Padres National Forest, a paradise with many steps going up and down, a life I would not change.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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

This is the second time I am published

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?  

Both times I started out self-publishing and then looked for a publisher. Both times I offered to pay for part of, or more of the printing costs and that allowed both of us to take more of a risk. The first book was a cookbook, Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center, the publisher was North Atlantic Books. They did very little PR and I felt disappointed in them. The second book, a memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, I approached Rarebird Lit as a PR agency to help me get my book out. I asked them after we started if they would be willing to become my publisher and they agreed wholeheartedly.

I was willing to pay for the printing, which I believe made a big difference. The PR they did for me was not inspiring.

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

Just a few months

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

It was such a long process writing, self publishing and then finally getting published that it was almost unbelievable. I didn’t know what to do until the books arrived and then I had a big party.

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

I did very little the first time. The second time I had my memoir with Rarebird Lit and agreed to spend the year doing whatever I needed to do to get it out. I travelled a very little to go on book tours. I realized later that social media is probably the best way and am terrible doing Facebook and Twitter. It is probably one of the best ways to go.

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

It is hard to tell because I have been growing all through the process, before the process and after.

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

How much I have to put out and the need to be current in all the ways possible.

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

It is the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of putting out, stepping up and not needing it to be anything other than what shows up.

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

It is wonderful to write and to see the project to it’s very end; a valuable experience in itself. But if one were hoping to become famous and rich from the experience I would say that is the absolute wrong reason to be writing. It may happen once in a while but as my memoir tells the story, that kind of success does not make one happy.

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