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Beyond the Books with MC Domovitch

Monique DornovitchM C Domovitch is the author of nine novels, four of which were published under the name of Carol Ann Martin (by Penguin), another two under the name Monique Domovitch (by Carina Press) The other three are published as M C Domovitch, Scorpio Rising, The Sting of the Scorpio (Both now republished in one single tome) and Scar Tissue. The decision to use a different pen name was based on her departure from cozy mysteries and entering the Romance and Romantic Suspense genres.

Before becoming an author, Monique had multiple careers, beginning with modeling. She won a modeling contest in the 70s and became one of Canada’s top models. After retiring from the fashion industry, she studied finance and joined an investment company. This led to a new career as host of her own television show about investing, with the television network, WTN. Following her retirement from finance, she decided to pursue her true passion, writing. At a writing workshop at San Diego’s Writers’ Conference, one of her unpublished books caught the eye of a publisher and of an agent. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Domovitch lives with her physician husband and their dogs. They divide their time between homes in Victoria and Toronto Canada and Key Largo Florida.

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About the Book:

When successful model Ciara Cain wakes up in hospital, remembering nothing of the weeks she has been missing, her only clues are the ugly words carved into her skin. According to the police she was a victim of the Cutter, a serial Scar Tissuekiller who has already murdered three women. For her protection the police and her doctors give a press conference, announcing that because her amnesia is organically caused, her memory loss is permanent. But, whether her memory returns or not is anybody’s guess.
Overnight, Ciara’s glamorous life is gone. Her scars have killed both her modelling career and her relationship with her rich boyfriend. With nothing to keep her in New York, she returns to her home town of Seattle, moves in with her sister and goes about building a new life. But when her sister lets it slip that Ciara’s memory is returning, the killer comes after her again. If Ciara is to stay alive, she must keep one step ahead of the Cutter.

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Scar Tissue teaserQ: Welcome to Beyond the Books, M. C.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Scar Tissue is actually my ninth novel. It is the first in a new series, Mindsight. The main character is Ciara.

The book starts with her running for her life through the woods. She runs onto a highway and gets hit by a car as tries to flag it down. The next thing she knows, she’s in hospital and remembers nothing of her accident or what brought her there. The interesting thing about this character is that the accident has left her with a tiny bit of scar tissue from a bleed in her brain, which gives her an ability she views as a curse. However, in time, this ability will help save her life.

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?

I was extremely lucky. So many authors never get the opportunity to get picked up by a publishing house, I was certain I’d have to go the self-published route, but, before I had fully polished my first novel, I was already offered two contracts for series, one with Penguin and the other with Harlequin. I published a total of six books with them. I guess you can call me a hybrid author in that I do both. I work with publishers and I also self-publish.

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

That was my first big surprise, the amount of time everything takes when you go the traditional route. Once your novel is done, you can expect about one year before it sees the shelves of a bookstore. By then you’ve already finished another novel and should be hard at work on a third.

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

I cried. Being an author was always my life’s dream, and starting late in life, as I did, I really did not expect it would come so easily.

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

I did a few online book tours, and blabbed about it all over Facebook and Twitter. I still do that. I also created an author website for myself, which I’ve just updated a couple of weeks ago. Once in a while I post a few lines on my blog page. What I like best about my site is that it offers the possibility for reader to register for my newsletter. In return for registering, they might occasionally get free books, or participate in draws for free kindles. I just had a draw last week for a kindle fire. The winner was so thrilled. She said it was the first time in her life she ever won anything.

That list of readers makes up my fan base. They are the readers who post reviews, and a few have even become my beta readers.

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

English is my second language. I am French by birth. When I was young we all spoke French at home. So my biggest challenge has always been syntax. I still struggle with it, but after going through the editing process so many times, I’ve gotten better at it.

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

My biggest surprise is how much it has changed. Years ago, when I used to dream about being a writer, nobody self-published. The few who did used what was then called vanity presses. They were poo-pooed in the industry and nobody ever sold books that way.

Now, it’s a brand new world out there. Self-publishing is recognized as a legitimate business.

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

Holding that book, you worked so hard on, in your hands for the first time is an indescribably sensation. You really feel that you’ve created something. Otherwise, your novel is likely to rot away in a dark drawer somewhere and gather dust.

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

Do it. Get to it. Don’t put it off. If I could live my life over again, I’d start writing straight out of school. I know it’s scary. It feels like a huge financial risk. It’s practically impossible to earn a living in the first years of a writing career. But, you can have a job, but get up early and write before going to work. You can stay up and write instead of watching TV. If you want it, make it happen. Your destiny rests with you.

 

 

The First Page: Scar Tissue by MC Domovitch

Beyond the Books First Page Feature & Interview

The First Page is one of Beyond the Book’s newest features. Here we get a glimpse into an author’s work and what better place to begin than the first page? Authors share their first pages and answer a few questions about why they started their books off the way they did. Today we welcome MC Domovitch, author of Scar Tissue.

Scar TissueTitle: Scar Tissue
Author: MC Domovitch
Publisher: Lansen Publishing
Pages: 396
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Paranormal

When successful model Ciara Cain wakes up in hospital, remembering nothing of the weeks she has been missing, her only clues are the ugly words carved into her skin. According to the police she was a victim of the Cutter, a serial killer who has already murdered three women. For her protection the police and her doctors give a press conference, announcing that because her amnesia is organically caused, her memory loss is permanent. But, whether her memory returns or not is anybody’s guess.
Overnight, Ciara’s glamorous life is gone. Her scars have killed both her modelling career and her relationship with her rich boyfriend. With nothing to keep her in New York, she returns to her home town of Seattle, moves in with her sister and goes about building a new life. But when her sister lets it slip that Ciara’s memory is returning, the killer comes after her again. If Ciara is to stay alive, she must keep one step ahead of the Cutter.

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The First Page:

I don’t want to die.

That single thought pounded through her mind as she hurtled through the woods. The blackness had dropped all at once, and now the trees were merely shadows against a dark night. The rain came down hard. Lightning cracked, sounding so much like a gunshot that she muffled a scream. But she had not been hit. She was still alive. She ran on.

Branches and bushes whipped at her, scratching her arms and legs. She tripped over an exposed root and crashed to the ground, but was back on her feet in an instant.

A brilliant flash of lightening was followed by thunder. Ka-boom. Everything that had been black a moment ago became white. Had she been spotted? No, surely not.

A crunching sound came from her right. She whipped her head toward it and picked up her pace. Her breathing was ragged, short puffs of steam in the frigid April air. It couldn’t have been more than fifty degrees. Sweat and rain mixed with the dirt and blood from her countless wounds and ran down her face and neck in rivulets. Thanks to the adrenaline pumping through her veins, she was numb to the cold and the pain, but she would feel it later—if she got out of here alive.

Please God, let me live.

But she’d had no real food for days, no water except the occasional sip. Her body couldn’t keep going much longer. She was close to collapsing.

Must. Keep. Going.

If she wanted to stay alive, she needed to put as much distance as possible between herself and her captor. She had no idea how long she’d been running or in which direction she was going. Had her kidnapper even noticed she’d escaped? Was that monster already on her trail, getting closer with every passing second? A horrendous thought came to her. She could be running in a circle, her every step bringing her closer to her jailer. A sob escaped her throat.

Dear God. Please. Please.

She squinted, trying to see through the inky night. There had to be a road, a house, something, and then she saw them. Some distance away there were lights, and her last vestiges of hope crashed.

Flashlights.

Had a posse been formed? Were they closing in on her? In her panic, she tripped and came down hard, again. This time she thought she might have broken an arm. She was crying now. She’d come so close. But she would be caught. And she would die.

She looked up at the lights moving through the trees, and blinked. Could her imagination be playing tricks on her? She stared, and in moment of clarity she understood. Those weren’t flashlights. They were headlights. Headlights meant cars, and cars meant a road. Just ahead, maybe a few hundred yards farther, lay safety.

Interview:

Welcome M.C. Can you tell us what your book is about?

Gladly. Scar Tissue, is the story of Ciara Kelly, the only surviving victim of the Cutter, a serial killer who has already murdered three women. As the title suggests, Ciara gets away, but not without wounds, both physical and psychological. But there is also a third wound, a tiny bit of scar tissue from a brain bleed she suffered during her MC Domovitchescape, and which leaves her with an unusual ability. When the Cutter comes after her again, she must run for her life, and that strange ability comes in handy.

The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

Some writers might have started the story earlier, with the kidnapping. But since the story is one of survival, I started it with her escape. The harrowing part is that when Ciara wakes up in the hospital, she remembers nothing of her ordeal. She wouldn’t recognize the murderer if he stood in front of her.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

In this case, the beginning remained the same from the first draft on. Oh, there was plenty of editing, but the scene itself was never changed. Not the case with the book I’m writing now. I’m only half way through and I must have changed it half a dozen times.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

Not really. The scene is so dramatic, so captivating. It grabs the reader right from the first page and that’s what I try to do with all my novels.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

Start your book late in the story, and end it early. No long backstory. What you do is weave it throughout the book instead of plunking it down at the beginning. And make that first line a real grabber.

Thank you for having me on your blog. I enjoyed answering your questions.

M.C. Domovitch

 

Baseball’s Dynasties and The Players Who Built Them Book Blast!

 

 

We’re happy to be hosting Jonathan Weeks’ BASEBALL’S DYNASTIES AND THE PLAYERS WHO BUILT THEM Book Blast today!
About the Book:

 

Title: Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them
Author: Jonathan Weeks
Publisher: Rowan and Littlefield

Pages: 408Genre: Sports History

Baseball has had its fair share of one-and-out champions, but few clubs have dominated the sport for any great length of time. Given the level of competition and the expansive length of the season, it is a remarkable accomplishment for a team to make multiple World Series appearances in a short timespan. From the Baltimore Orioles of the 1800s who would go to any length to win—including physically accosting opponents—to the 1934 Cardinals known as the “Gashouse Gang” for their rough tactics and determination, and on to George Steinbrenner’s dominant Yankees of the late twentieth century, baseball’s greatest teams somehow found a way to win year after year.Spanning three centuries of the game, Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them examines twenty-two of baseball’s most iconic teams. Each chapter not only chronicles the club’s era of supremacy, but also provides an in-depth look at the players who helped make their teams great. Nearly two hundred player profiles are included, featuring such well-known stars as Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, and Pete Rose, as well as players who were perhaps overshadowed by their teammates but were nonetheless vital to their team’s reign, such as Pepper Martin, Allie Reynolds, and George Foster.

With a concluding chapter that profiles the clubs that were on the cusp of greatness, Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them is a fascinating survey of what makes some teams dominate year after year while others get only a small taste of glory before falling to the wayside. Written in a lively style with amusing anecdotes and colorful quotes, this comprehensive book will be of interest to all fans and historians of baseball.

For More Information

  • Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Book Excerpt:

With a roster full of superstars, the Orioles captured three
straight pennants from 1894–1896. They followed with a pair of near misses,
placing second in 1897 and 1898. Along the way, they developed a reputation as one
of the nastiest teams in baseball. John Heydler, an umpire who would later
ascend to the NL presidency, described the Orioles of the 1890s as “mean,
vicious, ready at any time to maim a rival player or an umpire.” Infielder John
McGraw was proud of that distinction. “We’d go tearing into a bag with flying
spikes as though with murderous intent,” he boasted. “We were a cocky,
swashbuckling crew and wanted everybody to know it.”
Pirates great Honus Wagner manufactured a tall tale about a
harrowing trip around the bases against the Orioles. After driving a ball deep
into the outfield, he claimed to have been tripped at first base by Jack Doyle
and then knocked flat by Hughie Jennings at second. Climbing to his feet, he
lumbered toward third, only to find John McGraw holding a shotgun on him. “You
stop right there!” McGraw allegedly bellowed. Although Wagner’s story is
obviously apocryphal, numerous reliable accounts confirm the fact that the
Orioles resorted to underhanded tactics regularly. When they weren’t physically
accosting opponents, they were treating them to streams of verbal abuse. Baltimore
players were so free in their use of profanity that a resolution was adopted in
1898, imposing mandatory expulsions upon anyone using “villainously foul”
language.
Even the groundskeepers at Baltimore
were deceitful. Soap flakes were mixed with the soil around the pitcher’s mound
to make the hands of opposing hurlers slippery when they reached into the dirt.
Orioles moundsmen knew to keep untainted soil in their pockets. The
infield was mixed with clay and rarely watered, creating a surface not unlike
cement. Baltimore players chopped down on the ball, creating dramatically high
hops that gave them a head start to first base (hence, the origin of the term
Baltimore chop). The outfield was ruddy and riddled with weeds. Outfielders
allegedly kept extra balls hidden out there in the event that the ones in play
eluded them.

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About the Author

Jonathan Weeks spent most of his life in the Capital District area of New York. He earned a degree in psychology from SUNY Albany. In 2004, he migrated to Malone, NY. He continues to gripe about the frigid winter temperatures to the present day. A member of the Society for American Baseball Research, he writes about the game because he lacked the skill to play it professionally. He still can’t hit a curve ball or lay off the high heat. Baseball’s Dynasties is his fourth nonfiction work.

For More Information

 

Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them Book Blast

 

 

We’re happy to be hosting Jonathan Weeks’ BASEBALL’S DYNASTIES AND THE PLAYERS WHO BUILT THEM Book Blast today!
About the Book:

 

Title:
Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built ThemAuthor: Jonathan Weeks

Publisher: Rowan and Littlefield

Pages: 408

Genre: Sports History

Baseball has had its fair share of one-and-out champions, but few clubs have dominated the sport for any great length of time. Given the level of competition and the expansive length of the season, it is a remarkable accomplishment for a team to make multiple World Series appearances in a short timespan. From the Baltimore Orioles of the 1800s who would go to any length to win—including physically accosting opponents—to the 1934 Cardinals known as the “Gashouse Gang” for their rough tactics and determination, and on to George Steinbrenner’s dominant Yankees of the late twentieth century, baseball’s greatest teams somehow found a way to win year after year.Spanning three centuries of the game, Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them examines twenty-two of baseball’s most iconic teams. Each chapter not only chronicles the club’s era of supremacy, but also provides an in-depth look at the players who helped make their teams great. Nearly two hundred player profiles are included, featuring such well-known stars as Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, and Pete Rose, as well as players who were perhaps overshadowed by their teammates but were nonetheless vital to their team’s reign, such as Pepper Martin, Allie Reynolds, and George Foster.

With a concluding chapter that profiles the clubs that were on the cusp of greatness, Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them is a fascinating survey of what makes some teams dominate year after year while others get only a small taste of glory before falling to the wayside. Written in a lively style with amusing anecdotes and colorful quotes, this comprehensive book will be of interest to all fans and historians of baseball.

For More Information

  • Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Book Excerpt:

With a roster full of superstars, the Orioles captured three
straight pennants from 1894–1896. They followed with a pair of near misses,
placing second in 1897 and 1898. Along the way, they developed a reputation as one
of the nastiest teams in baseball. John Heydler, an umpire who would later
ascend to the NL presidency, described the Orioles of the 1890s as “mean,
vicious, ready at any time to maim a rival player or an umpire.” Infielder John
McGraw was proud of that distinction. “We’d go tearing into a bag with flying
spikes as though with murderous intent,” he boasted. “We were a cocky,
swashbuckling crew and wanted everybody to know it.”
Pirates great Honus Wagner manufactured a tall tale about a
harrowing trip around the bases against the Orioles. After driving a ball deep
into the outfield, he claimed to have been tripped at first base by Jack Doyle
and then knocked flat by Hughie Jennings at second. Climbing to his feet, he
lumbered toward third, only to find John McGraw holding a shotgun on him. “You
stop right there!” McGraw allegedly bellowed. Although Wagner’s story is
obviously apocryphal, numerous reliable accounts confirm the fact that the
Orioles resorted to underhanded tactics regularly. When they weren’t physically
accosting opponents, they were treating them to streams of verbal abuse. Baltimore
players were so free in their use of profanity that a resolution was adopted in
1898, imposing mandatory expulsions upon anyone using “villainously foul”
language.
Even the groundskeepers at Baltimore
were deceitful. Soap flakes were mixed with the soil around the pitcher’s mound
to make the hands of opposing hurlers slippery when they reached into the dirt.
Orioles moundsmen knew to keep untainted soil in their pockets. The
infield was mixed with clay and rarely watered, creating a surface not unlike
cement. Baltimore players chopped down on the ball, creating dramatically high
hops that gave them a head start to first base (hence, the origin of the term
Baltimore chop). The outfield was ruddy and riddled with weeds. Outfielders
allegedly kept extra balls hidden out there in the event that the ones in play
eluded them.

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About the Author

Jonathan Weeks spent most of his life in the Capital District area of New York. He earned a degree in psychology from SUNY Albany. In 2004, he migrated to Malone, NY. He continues to gripe about the frigid winter temperatures to the present day. A member of the Society for American Baseball Research, he writes about the game because he lacked the skill to play it professionally. He still can’t hit a curve ball or lay off the high heat. Baseball’s Dynasties is his fourth nonfiction work.

 

For More Information

 

The First Page: Interview with Davin Whitehurst, author of ‘I Have Faith’

I Have Faith

Title: I Have Faith
Author: Davin Whitehurst
Publisher: Childlike Faith Publishing
Pages: 26
Genre:  Children

Are you ready to get your child excited about faith? “I Have Faith” puts your child right in the footsteps of Danny as he begins to learn about faith. Danny and his older brother have been wanting a dog, but both know their parents don’t think they are ready for a dog. When Danny’s mom begins teaching him what the bible says about faith, he puts his faith into action. After praying and releasing his faith for a dog, doubt and even his best friend keep telling him that he will never get a dog. Over time Danny never loses his faith in the promises of God and finds that God is faithful and that faith works. Come along on this journey that is a real life event that took place in the author’s life as a child.

This book has great illustrations that support a wonderful story about finding faith in God. As you are teaching your child about principals in the bible; this book will help you teach faith. What a wonderful experience it is when we can see our children begin to develop their faith in God, and grow from a tiny mustard seed to a firmly planted tree. The back of the book has a parent/child discussion which will help children gain understanding in faith and some scriptures that Danny’s mom used to get him excited about faith.

The First Page:

(add photo)

Interview with Davin:

Welcome Davin. Can you tell us what your book is about?

The story is based out of my childhood. All names have been changed to protect the innocent, just kidding, but the names have been changed. Danny is a young boy who has always wanted to get a puppy. As his mom begins to teach him about faith, Danny decides to put his faith into action. Danny prays for a dog one night and believes it is a done deal. The only issue is everyone around him says the opposite of him. His brother, parents and even his best friend all say he can’t have a dog. Over time he comes home from school to find his dad with his prayer in his lap. The story shows how faith is developed and is a great way for parents to teach children about faith.

The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

I wanted to start the book from Danny’s prospective. It’s his story so he draws the child in and lets them know that he is going to show them what faith is and how they can develope it.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

In my first draft I had it starting off with Danny and his mother reading and learning about faith. As the illustrations started coming together, I felt a void in the story. That’s when I came up with the idea of Danny telling the story. Not only did this show I needed a different first page, but I also had to change up the manuscript a little to reflect the change in storytelling. Once we had the first page done and the story change, it all seemed to fit.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

Because I was patient in getting the story and illustrations right, I never second guessed the outcome. I think it fits the story well so that children can relate to Danny.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

To me, the start of anything is crucial. The first page is what sets the tone for the book in so many cases. I think that patience is a key element to the story line. Let the elements come together and when there is a hole in the story, fill it. Let the first page kick start the story and get the child or audience engaged with what is happening. Sometimes you only have a page to get them in. If that needs to be the first page, do it.

About the Author:

Davin Whitehurst

Davin Whitehurst lives in the beautiful high desert of Southern Arizona with his wife and son. He is releasing his first book “I have Faith” in May of 2016 but has so many more that are in the making. The motivation behind the books are deeply rooted from in his own past. He is a living testimony of Proverbs 22:6. Growing up in Southwest Kansas and in a Christian household, he was trained up in the way he should go. By the time he became a teenager, Davin turned away from God and left church. Fast forward into his late twenties and God brought him back with a powerful calling. He and his family have been faithfully serving at Seed of Abraham Christian Center International for over seven years now. Proof that when we teach our children the way they should go. When they get older, they know where to turn and will not depart from God. Davin wants each book written to be a resource that parents have to help train their children in the way they should go. He writes stories in a simple way that will be fun and practical for every child. He wants children to get excited about faith and the things of God.

His latest release is the children’s book, I Have Faith.

For More Information

In the Spotlight: Cocktales & Mock-Tales by Julianne McLean & Mark Lynch

Cocktails and Mock-TalesTitle: Cocktales & Mock-Tales
Authors: Julianne McLean & Mark Lynch
Publisher: ASJ Publishing
Pages: 90
Genre: Humor

Cocktails and Mock- Tales is not just about alcoholic beverages. The book is about sensations that tickle your tastebuds and humour that tickles your fancy. It includes non-alcoholic beverages that the whole family can enjoy and even herbal recipes for the adventurous.

Have one extremely tall high ball glass and a giant cocktail shaker at the ready

Ingredients:

Unlimited centilitres of wit and humour

9 cl or 3oz titillating snippets of history and gossip

Add flavours of exotic destinations

A dusting of spice mixed with satire

Several centilitres of high spirits (optional)

Shake with vigour. Garnish with an open mind and your own sense of humour

Now you are ready to truly laugh and savour Cocktails and Mock Tales!

Amaze your friends and family with your knowledge of the origins of international beverages and excite their tastebuds with these exotic sensations.

For More Information

  • Cocktails & Mock-Tales is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

Daiquiri

The daiquiri is a family of cocktails of which the primary ingredients are white rum, lime or lemon juice and sugar.

The drink was supposedly invented by American mining engineer Jennings Cox who was in partying and experimenting in Cuba at the time of the Spanish American War. Daiquiri is also the name of a beach and an iron ore mine near Santiago in Cuba.

Serves 1

6cl white rum

3cl lime juice

2cl sugar syrup

Sugar on the rim of the glass.

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Strawberry Daiquiri Mock-tail

Serves1

2 large strawberries

1⁄4 cup of white sugar

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

¾ cup of chilled lemon lime soda

4 ice cubes

In a blender, mix the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and lime soda. Add the ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled Tom Collins glass. Garnish with a slice of lime or lemon

Raven’s Peak Book Blast! Win a copy of RAVEN’S PEAK! Ends Today!

 

We’re thrilled to be hosting Lincoln Cole and his RAVEN’S PEAK Book Blast today! Fill out the form at the bottom and leave a comment on this blog post to win a FREE autographed copy of his book! Good luck!

 

Title:
Raven’s Peak
Author: Lincoln Cole
Publisher: Kindle Press
Pages: 276
Genre: Horror/Paranormal Thriller/Urban Fantasy
A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.
Abigail rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, but also to trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is something hard to have for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger.
Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?

Raven’s Peak is available at Amazon.

Book Excerpt:

“Reverend, you have a
visitor.”
He couldn’t remember when he
fell in love with the pain. When agony first turned to pleasure, and then to
joy. Of course, it hadn’t always been like this. He remembered screaming all
those years ago when first they put him in this cell; those memories were
vague, though, like reflections in a dusty mirror.
“Open D4.”
A buzz as the door slid open,
inconsequential. The aching need was what drove him in this moment, and
nothing else mattered. It was a primal desire: a longing for the tingly rush of
adrenaline each time the lash licked his flesh. The blood dripping down his
parched skin fulfilled him like biting into a juicy strawberry on a warm
summer’s day.
“Some woman. Says she needs to
speak with you immediately. She says her name is Frieda.”
A pause, the lash hovering in
the air like a poised snake. The Reverend remembered that name, found it
dancing in the recesses of his mind. He tried to pull himself back from the
ritual, back to reality, but it was an uphill slog through knee-deep mud to
reclaim those memories.
It was always difficult to
focus when he was in the midst of his cleansing. All he managed to cling to was
the name. Frieda. It was the name of an angel, he
knew. . . or perhaps a devil.
One and the same when all was
said and done.
She belonged to a past life,
only the whispers of which he could recall. The ritual reclaimed him, embraced
him with its fiery need. His memories were nothing compared to the whip in his
hand, its nine tails gracing his flesh.
The lash struck down on his
left shoulder blade, scattering droplets of blood against the wall behind him.
Those droplets would stain the granite for months, he knew, before finally
fading away. He clenched his teeth in a feral grin as the whip landed with a
sickening, wet slapping sound.
“Jesus,” a new voice whispered
from the doorway. “Does he always do that?”
“Every morning.”
“You’ll cuff him?”
“Why? Are you scared?”
The Reverend raised the lash
into the air, poised for another strike.
“Just…man, you said he was
crazy…but this…”
The lash came down, lapping at
his back and the tender muscles hidden there. He let out a groan of mixed agony
and pleasure.
These men were meaningless,
their voices only echoes amid the rest, an endless drone. He wanted them to
leave him alone with his ritual. They weren’t worth his time.
“I think we can spare the
handcuffs this time; the last guy who tried spent a month in the hospital.”
“Regulation says we have to.”
“Then you do it.”
The guards fell silent. The
cat-o’-nine-tails, his friend, his love, became the only sound in the roughhewn
cell, echoing off the granite walls. He took a rasping breath, blew it out, and
cracked the lash again. More blood. More agony. More pleasure.
“I don’t think we need to cuff
him,” the second guard decided.
“Good idea. Besides, the
Reverend isn’t going to cause us any trouble. He only hurts himself. Right,
Reverend?”
The air tasted of copper,
sickly sweet. He wished he could see his back and the scars, but there were no
mirrors in his cell. They removed the only one he had when he broke shards off
to slice into his arms and legs. They were afraid he would kill himself.
How ironic was that?
“Right, Reverend?”
Mirrors were dangerous things,
he remembered from that past life. They called the other side, the darker side.
An imperfect reflection stared back, threatening to steal pieces of the soul
away forever.
“Reverend? Can you hear me?”
The guard reached out to tap
the Reverend on the shoulder. Just a tap, no danger at all, but his hand never
even came close. Honed reflexes reacted before anyone could possibly understand
what was happening.
Suddenly the Reverend was
standing. He hovered above the guard who was down on his knees. The man let out
a sharp cry, his left shoulder twisted up at an uncomfortable angle by the
Reverend’s iron grip.
The lash hung in the air,
ready to strike at its new prey.
The Reverend looked curiously
at the man, seeing him for the first time. He recognized him as one of the
first guardsmen he’d ever spoken with when placed in this cell. A nice European
chap with a wife and two young children. A little overweight and balding, but
well-intentioned.
Most of him didn’t want to
hurt this man, but there was a part—a hungry, needful part—that did. That part
wanted to hurt this man in ways neither of them could even imagine. One twist
would snap his arm. Two would shatter the bone; the sound as it snapped would
be . . .
A symphony rivaling
Tchaikovsky.
The second guard—the younger
one that smelled of fear—stumbled back, struggling to draw his gun.
“No! No, don’t!”
That from the first, on his
knees as if praying. The Reverend wondered if he prayed at night with his
family before heading to bed. Doubtless, he prayed that he would make it home
safely from work and that one of the inmates wouldn’t rip his throat out or
gouge out his eyes. Right now, he was waving his free hand at his partner to
get his attention, to stop him.
The younger guard finally
worked the gun free and pointed it at the Reverend. His hands were shaking as
he said, “Let him go!”
“Don’t shoot, Ed!”
“Let him go!”
The older guard, pleading this
time: “Don’t piss him off!”
The look that crossed his
young partner’s face in that moment was precious: primal fear. It was an
expression the Reverend had seen many times in his life, and he understood the
thoughts going through the man’s mind: he couldn’t imagine how he might
die in this cell, but he believed he could. That belief
stemmed from something deeper than what his eyes could see. A terror so
profound it beggared reality.
An immutable silence hung in
the air. Both guards twitched and shifted, one in pain and the other in terror.
The Reverend was immovable, a statue in his sanctuary, eyes boring into the
man’s soul.
“Don’t shoot,” the guard on
his knees murmured. “You’ll miss, and we’ll be dead.”
“I have a clear shot. I can’t
miss.”
This time, the response was
weaker. “We’ll still be dead.”
A hesitation. The guard
lowered his gun in confused fear, pointing it at the floor. The Reverend curled
his lips and released, freeing the kneeling guard.
The man rubbed his shoulder
and climbed shakily to his feet. He backed away from the Reverend and stood
beside the other, red-faced and panting.
“I heard you,” the Reverend
said. The words were hard to come by; he’d rarely spoken these last five
years.
“I’m sorry, Reverend,” the
guard replied meekly. “My mistake.”
“Bring me to Frieda,” he
whispered.
“You don’t—” the younger guard
began. A sharp look from his companion silenced him.
“Right away, sir.”
“Steve, we should cuff…”
Steve ignored him, turning and
stepping outside the cell. The Reverend looked longingly at the lash in his
hand before dropping it onto his hard bed. His cultivated pain had faded to a
dull ache. He would need to begin anew when he returned, restart the cleansing.
There was always more to
cleanse.
They traveled through the
black-site prison deep below the earth’s surface, past neglected cells and
through rough cut stone. A few of the rusty cages held prisoners, but most
stood empty and silent. These prisoners were relics of a forgotten time, most
of whom couldn’t even remember the misdeed that had brought them here.
The Reverend remembered his
misdeeds. Every day he thought of the pain and terror he had inflicted, and
every day he prayed it would wash away.
They were deep within the
earth, but not enough to benefit from the world’s core heat. It was kept
unnaturally cold as well to keep the prisoners docile. That meant there were
only a few lights and frigid temperatures. Last winter he thought he might lose
a finger to frostbite. He’d cherished the idea, but it wasn’t to be. He had
looked forward to cutting it off.
There were only a handful of
guards in this section of the prison, maybe one every twenty meters. The actual
security system relied on a single exit shaft as the only means of escape.
Sure, he could fight his way free, but locking the elevator meant he would
never reach the surface.
And pumping out the oxygen
meant the situation would be contained.
The Council didn’t want to
bring civilians in on the secretive depths of their hellhole prison. The fewer
guards they needed to hire, the fewer people knew of their existence, and any
guards who were brought in were fed half-truths and lies about their true
purpose. How many such men and women, he’d always wondered, knew who he was or
why he was here?
Probably none. That was for
the best. If they knew, they never would have been able to do their jobs.
As they walked, the Reverend
felt the ritual wash away and he became himself once more. Just a man getting
on in years: broken, pathetic, and alone as he paid for his mistakes.
Finally, they arrived at the
entrance of the prison: an enclosed set of rooms cut into the stone walls
backing up to a shaft. A solitary elevator bridged the prison to the world
above, guarded by six men, but that wasn’t where they took him.
They guided him to one of the
side rooms, opening the door but waiting outside. Inside were a plain brown
table and one-way mirror, similar to a police station, but nothing else.
A woman sat at the table facing
away from the door. She had brown hair and a white business suit with matching
heels. Very pristine; Frieda was always so well-dressed.
“Here we are,” the guard said.
The Reverend didn’t acknowledge the man, but he did walk into the chamber. He
strode past the table and sat in the chair facing Frieda.
He studied her: she had deep
blue eyes and a mole on her left cheek. She looked older, and he couldn’t
remember the last time she’d come to visit him.
Probably not since the day she
helped lock him in that cell.
“Close the door,” Frieda said
to the guards while still facing the Reverend.
“But ma’am, we are supposed
to—”
“Close the door,” she
reiterated. Her tone was exactly the same, but an undercurrent was there. Hers
was a powerful presence, the type normal people obeyed instinctually. She was
always in charge, no matter the situation.
“We will be right out here,”
Steve replied finally, pulling the heavy metal door closed.
Silence enveloped the room, a
humming emptiness.
He stared at her, and she
stared at him. Seconds slipped past.
He wondered how she saw him.
What must he look like today? His hair and beard must be shaggy and unkempt
with strands of gray mixed into the black. He imagined his face, but with eyes
that were sunken, skin that was pale and leathery. Doubtless, he looked
thinner, almost emaciated.
He was also covered in blood,
the smell of which would be overpowering. It disgusted him; he hated how his
daily ritual left him, battering his body to maintain control, yet he answered
its call without question.
“Do you remember what you told
me the first time we met?” the Reverend asked finally, facing Frieda again.
“We need your help,” Frieda
said, ignoring his question. “You’ve been here for a long time, and things have
been getting worse.”
“You quoted Nietzsche, that
first meeting. I thought it was pessimistic and rhetorical,” he continued.
“Crime is getting worse. The
world is getting darker and…”
“I thought you were talking
about something that might happen to someone else but never to me. I had no
idea just how spot on you were: that you were prophesizing my future,” he
spoke. “Do you remember your exact words?”
“We need your help,” Frieda
finished. Then she added softer: “I need your help.”
He didn’t respond. Instead, he
said: “Do you remember?”
She sighed. “I do.”
“Repeat it for me.”
She frowned. “When we first
met, I said to you: ‘Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the
process he does not become a monster
.’”
He nodded. “You were right.
Now I am a monster.”
“You aren’t a monster,”
she whispered.
“No,” he said. “I am your monster.”
“Reverend…”
Rage exploded through his
body, and he felt every muscle tense. “That is not my name!”
he roared, slamming his fist on the table. It made a loud crashing sound,
shredding the silence, and the wood nearly folded beneath the impact.
Frieda slid her chair back in
an instant, falling into a fighting stance. One hand gripped the cross hanging
around her neck, and the other slid into her vest pocket. She wore an
expression he could barely recognize, something he’d never seen on her face
before.
Fear.
She was afraid of him. The
realization stung, and more than a little bit.
The Reverend didn’t move from
his seat, but he could still feel heat coursing through his veins. He forced
his pulse to slow, his emotions to subside. He loved the feeling of rage but
was terrified of what would happen if he gave into it; if he embraced it.
He glanced at the hand in her
pocket and realized what weapon she had chosen to defend herself. A pang shot
through his chest.
“Would it work?” he asked.
She didn’t answer, but a
minute trace of shame crossed her face. He stood slowly and walked around the
table, reaching a hand toward her. To her credit, she barely flinched as he
touched her. He gently pulled her fist out of the pocket and opened it. In her
grip was a small vial filled with water.
Will it work?” he
asked.
“Arthur…” she breathed.
The name brought a flood of
memories, furrowing his brow. A little girl playing in a field, picking
blueberries and laughing. A wife with auburn hair who watched him with love and
longing as he played with their daughter. He quashed them; he feared the pain
the memories would bring.
That was a pain he did not
cherish.
“I need to know,” he
whispered.
He slid the vial from her hand
and popped the top off. She watched in resignation as he held up his right
arm and poured a few droplets onto his exposed skin. It tingled where it
touched, little more than a tickle, and he felt his skin turn hot.
But it didn’t burn.
He let out the shuddering breath
he hadn’t realized he was holding.
“Thank God,” Frieda whispered.
“I’m not sure She deserves
it,” Arthur replied.
“We need your help,” Frieda
said again. When he looked at her face once more, he saw moisture in her eyes.
He couldn’t tell if it was from relief that the blessed water didn’t work, or
sadness that it almost had.
“How can I possibly help?” he
asked, gesturing at his body helplessly with his arms. “You see what I am. What
I’ve become.”
“I know what you were.”
“What I am no longer,” he
corrected. “I was ignorant and foolish. I can never be that man again.”
“Three girls are missing,” she
said.
“Three girls are always
missing,” he said, “and countless more.”
“But not like these,” she
said. “These are ours.”
He was quiet for a moment.
“Rescues?”
She nodded. “Two showed
potential. All three were being fostered by the Greathouse family.”
He remembered Charles
Greathouse, an old and idealistic man who just wanted to help. “Of course, you
went to Charles,” Arthur said. “He took care of your little witches until they
were ready to become soldiers.”
“He volunteered.”
“And now he’s dead,” Arthur
said. Frieda didn’t correct him. “Who took the girls?”
“We don’t know. But there’s
more. It killed three of ours.”
“Hunters?”
“Yes.”
“Who?”
“Michael and Rachael Felton.”
“And the third?”
“Abigail.”
He cursed. “You know she
wasn’t ready. Not for this.”
“You’ve been here for five
years,” Frieda said. “She grew up.”
“She’s still a child.”
“She wasn’t anymore.”
“She’s my child.”
Frieda hesitated, frowning. He
knew as well as she did what had happened to put him in this prison and what
part Abigail had played in it. If Abigail hadn’t stopped him…
“We didn’t expect . . .”
Frieda said finally, sliding away from the minefield in the conversation.
“You never do.”
“I’m sorry,” Frieda said. “I
know you were close.”
The Reverend—Arthur—had
trained Abigail. Raised her from a child after rescuing her from a cult many
years earlier. It was after his own child had been murdered, and he had needed
a reason to go on with his life. His faith was wavering, and she had become his
salvation. They were more than close. They were family.
And now she was dead.
“What took them? Was it the
Ninth Circle?”
“I don’t think so,” she said.
“Our informants haven’t heard anything.”
“A demon?”
“Probably several.”
“Where did it take them?” he
asked.
“We don’t know.”
“What is it going to do with
them?”
This time, she didn’t answer.
She didn’t need to.
“So you want me to clean up
your mess?”
“It killed three of our best,”
Frieda said. “I don’t…I don’t know what else to do.”
“What does the Council want
you to do?”
“Wait and see.”
“And you disagree?”
“I’m afraid that it’ll be too
late by the time the Council decides to act.”
“You have others you could
send.”
“Not that can handle something
like this,” she said.
“You mean none that you could
send without the Council finding out and reprimanding you?”
“You were always the best,
Arthur.”
“Now I am in prison.”
“You are here voluntarily,”
she said. “I’ve taken care of everything. There is a car waiting topside and a
jet idling. So, will you help?”
He was silent for a moment,
thinking. “I’m not that man anymore.”
“I trust you.”
“You shouldn’t.”
“I do.”
“What happens if I say ‘no’?”
“I don’t know,” Frieda said,
shaking her head. “You are my last hope.”
“What happens,” he began, a
lump in his throat, “when I don’t come back? What happens when I become the new
threat and you have no one else to send?”
Frieda wouldn’t even look him
in the eyes.
“When that day comes,” she
said softly, staring at the table, “I’ll have an answer to a question I’ve
wondered about for a long time.”
“What question is that?”
She looked up at him. “What is
my faith worth?”

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About the Author

 

Lincoln Cole is
a Columbus-based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different
parts of the world, including
Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his
pugamonster and wife. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through
the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to
anyone who will listen.
For More Information

 

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Giveaway

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