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Interview with Isidore Farrugia from Gabriel Valjan’s new mystery-suspense novel, ‘Turning To Stone’

character interviewTitle: Turning To Stone

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Author: Gabriel Valjan

Website: http://wintergoosepublishing.com

Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing

Purchase link: http://amzn.to/1N73WGy

We’re thrilled to have here today Isidore Farrugia from Gabriel Valjan’s new mystery-suspense novel, Turning To Stone. Isidore Farrugia is a fortyish-something detective living in Naples, Italy.

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

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

I do think that the author did a great job because I was in quite a mess, doing undercover narcotics work within a Camorra clan. Most readers know about the Sicilian mafia, but not much has been written about the Neapolitan criminal organization, or about the ‘Ndrangheta, which hails from my native Calabria. Each criminal enterprise has its own structure and Tomasso, another character in the novel, explains it well, although he gets a little poetic at times. As for me, the only quibble I had with the author is that he had me get shot at more than once. I took two bullets in a place that made me the butt of unwanted jokes from my colleagues. Please, give me a little dignity. It had better not happen again.

TurningtoStone_FlatforeBooks (1)Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

He was kinder to me than I am to myself. I’m a driven individual, often temperamental, although Claudio Ferrero, the journalist undercover like me in Turning to Stone, but with the ‘Ndrangheta, would pick a choice word to describe me. This time around, Gabriel managed to show me at my best. I began my career doing undercover work in Taormina (Sicily), where I made a name for myself before I started working narcotics. The author got it: undercover work is a combination of acting and gardening in that you’ve got to play a role and spread the manure just right because the stakes are high, and they were in this outing of the Roma Series.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Tenacity.

Worse trait?

Stubbornness. There are stronger words in Italian and even more in Calabrese, but I am pigheaded. Plain and simple: I am the one with long ears. I’ll get fixated on something and I won’t let go.

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

I can’t think of a particular actor, but if I could pick someone who could convey my energy and my moodiness then I would pick Idris Elba, but he’s too dark-skinned, though my mother was Spanish and dark and my father, Calabrese, and darker. Elba’s Luther has some of my energy, although I’ve been far more violent than him – by necessity, of course.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I do. Her name is Noelle. We met in Milan. Readers learned about her and my first experience with yoga in Book 3 of the Roma Series: Threading the Needle. Now, there the author put me smack in the middle of a thorn bush. In Threading, I had the Italian version of Internal Affairs on my back and the media chanting my name – all because I’d accompanied Bianca to a meeting and some college kid got gunned down in an alley. It wasn’t the first time I helped her. I flew all the way to Boston (Book 2: Wasp’s Nest) to warn her that a professional killer was after her. Hey, I think there’s a pattern here. Perhaps, the author doesn’t like me, but he gave me Noelle. No complaints there, and I’m more flexible, too. Win-win.

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

I was deep undercover with the Camorra and I had to go to a meeting, which I don’t want to spoil for readers, but let’s just say that it went horribly wrong.

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

Tough question; come to think of it, it’s not one that would have occurred to me, to be honest.  Who among my fellow characters would I not want to be?  There are admirable traits among all of them, but I guess that — it’s still weird contemplating it — it would be Dante, because he has to put up with Bianca. She has formidable computer and research skills, and I admire her composure and utter equanimity under pressure.  What gets under my skin, though, is that she can be a bit abrupt sometimes, a little too direct, which strikes me as a very American trait. At times, I think she gets obsessive to the point that she is secretive and withholds information from the rest of the team. I do love her in my own way, but I don’t know how Dante does it. Perhaps, Bianca and I are too alike and I see myself reflected back at me. I know my answer sounds more like I wouldn’t want to be Bianca, but that isn’t the case. I just don’t know whether I could be Dante and have her around me 24/7. I’ll say this, though: they complement each other, but she is too much work for me. What’s that word in English I’ve heard used to describe people like her?  Don’t tell me, I’ll think of it. Ah, yes, I’ve got it: high-maintenance.

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

We grew closer as a team, but my gut tells me that something bad is on the horizon. Bianca has become introverted, as if she were hiding something. Then, I heard that she was going to Boston, which says right there that something is wrong between her and Dante. Bianca says it’s work, but I know her. She is running away from Dante. She can say it’s Rendition, but I don’t believe it one bit. Gabriel always includes the first chapter of the next book in the Series at the end of his novels. Book 5: Corporate Citizen looks promising. But, why did it have to be Boston? I’m telling you that Gabriel has it in for me. So, my Italian is not exactly RAI, but Silvio, our translator, can help out. Oh, before I forget, Silvio has a pet in Turning. Tell me, who walks a cat?

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

  1. Please don’t have me shot at again. Please. I feel like Sergeant Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon. ‘I’m getting too old for this…’
  2. I’d like for him to bring up some of past work in Calabria. I’m proud of that time in my life. It was my work on the San Luca Vendetta that caught the attention of the late anti-Mafia magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. The ‘Ndrangheta is impenetrable, but I got in and did my job.
  3. We both know that Alessandro has bad luck with women, but please find him a girlfriend soon. He’s got that puppy-dog look and it’s breaking my heart.

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

Yes, you will. Readers can learn about me in the first three Roma Series books, and join me in Turning To Stone for an adventure in Naples. Loki, Bianca’s mysterious contact, is now giving her baffling anagrams. They seem to lead to a charismatic entrepreneur who has a plan to partner with organized crime to manipulate the euro and American dollar. Against a backdrop of gritty streets, financial speculation, and a group of female assassins on motorcycles, we discover that Naples might just be the most dangerous city in Italy.

author pic

About the Author:

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing. His fourth book, Turning To Stone, came out 15 June 2015. Gabriel writes short stories, which are available online and in print. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Connect with Gabriel Valjan on the web:

Blog: https://gabrielswharf.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gabriel-Valjan/291400997547203

Twitter: @GValjan

Website: www.gabrielvaljan.com

Pinterest boards for the Roma Series books

Book 4: Turning To Stone | https://www.pinterest.com/gvaljan/turning-to-stone/

Book 3: Threading the Needle | https://www.pinterest.com/gvaljan/threading-the-needle/

Books 2: Wasp’s Nest  | https://www.pinterest.com/gvaljan/wasp-s-nest/

Book 1: Roma, Underground  | https://www.pinterest.com/gvaljan/roma

Book Review: Turning to Stone (Roma Series Book 4), by Gabriel Valjan

TurningtoStone_FlatforeBooksInternational spy Alabaster Black returns in this the latest instalment in Valjan’s exciting mystery/suspense Roma series.

This time Alabaster (aka Bianca Nerini) and her colleagues takes us to Naples, where tension is rapidly escalating between mafia clans and where she must outwit a powerful crime syndicate named Camorra.

Counterfeited euros and bonds, anagrams, car bombings, sexy women assassins on motorcycles, undercover detectives, and delicious Italian food mix together in this page-turning thriller filled with international intrigue. At the heart of the plot is a mysterious agent named Loki who, via the computer, communicates intelligence to Bianca. The problem is, we don’t know who she or he is, or what his motives are. We only know Loki has an avid affinity for anagrams which Bianca must decipher. Needless to say, not an easy task.

I’ve read all of the Roma series books and I found this to be the most complex and skilfully plotted. There are a lot of secondary characters and I was grateful for the list of character descriptions at the start of the book, which I found helpful, especially at the beginning until I familiarized myself with all the names. Valjan has a gift when it comes to writing about organized crime, and I found the dynamics between clashing mafia clans and their doings terrifyingly real. The inter-relations between special agents, the FBI, the Italian regional police, and capitalist magnates also ring with authenticity. The story moves fairly quickly with a lot of dialogue propelling the plot.

Turning to Stone is a deftly written novel and one fans of suspense will surely enjoy. Recommended.

Find out more from Amazon.

Visit Gabriel Valjan’s Amazon page and website.

Character Interview: Caleb Madroc from Donna Galanti’s paranormal suspense, ‘A Hidden Element’

?????????????????????????????????????????????We’re thrilled to have here today Caleb Madroc from Donna Galanti’s new paranormal suspense novel, book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element.  Caleb is 25 and an Elyon Community cult member living in the wilds of Oregon in a secret community his father created.

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

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

I am not as saintly as the author makes me out to be. I train our community to kill people with their minds, and I cannot save all the lost souls hurt by my father’s oppression. I should do more to escape his evil rule, and stop him! He believes I’m weak and I can never be as strong as he, and I think he may be right. But I should still try to stop him, even while he threatens to kill my sons if I don’t obey him! And I know I’m weak, because I’ve never tried to stop my father’s hateful leadership because he is my father. Even while I hate him, part of me still loves him and yearns for his fatherly love that I once had as a child.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I help others in my community. I save them from severe punishment, and even death, and in doing so put myself in the position to be punished by whipping. I can stand the whippings—if it means sparing the punished some pain. Those scars I can bear. The scars of my lost love, Rachel, and not knowing my sons sear my heart forever.

Worse trait?

Not having the strength to fight my father and stop him from his evil oppression of our people. I fear he will kill my sons if he does.

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

Sam Winchester from Supernatural! He is strong and tormented and on a dangerous mission like me, yet has a full heart ready to give away if he only had the chance.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

In my community we are forced to breed as dictated by my father. This sickens me and so for years I pretended to be impotent, but lost my will just once at nineteen. She had been such a beautiful, sweet female. Rachel was her name and she pleased me across a sea of soft nights. I fell in love with her from that first night, possessing her body, soul, and mind. But our bond was soon severed. She was sent to mate with another…and then another and another. But she was already pregnant then with our twins I would never know, raised by a community of women. And I would never get to touch her again, until the day I led her to her death. You can read about my first love interest before I came to Oregon in The Dark Inside.

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

When I was betrayed by an evil whore, my father was taken away, and I thought I’d lose my sons forever. I grew so weary of helping everyone else and never helping myself. All seemed lost.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really want to be and why?

Ben Fieldstone. He and I are very much alike. We both are willing to sacrifice all for our families, and for love. Yet he’s lucky as he got to be a father to his son, unlike me who’s been separated from my own sons. He also gets to love Laura, who is beautiful inside and out. I will always keep close in my heart the secret night I spent with her where we were forced together in an intimate space. We did not betray Ben, though it was difficult to not make love to her. My desire for her was – and is – very strong.

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

Torn. I get a sense of hope, but what I also know about normal society drives fear in me that all may not go well. I am afraid of going from one prison to another prison of a different making.

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

Please give me someone to love of my own choosing. Live has been so full of ugliness and loneliness these past few years. And let me watch my sons grow to become the amazing men I know they will become.

Thank you for this interview, Caleb! Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I am hopeful I can assimilate into regular society and that the world can accept me, even with the terrible things I’ve been forced to do. Don’t judge me by what I’ve done through oppression rather judge me for what’s in my heart.

ABOUT A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

Evil lurks within…

When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so? 

PRAISE FOR A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall

 “Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

 “Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector

Donna GalantiABOUT DONNA:

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.

Website: www.ElementTrilogy.com

Blog: http://www.elementtrilogy.com/blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767306.Donna_Galanti

BUY THE ELEMENT TRILOGY BOOKS:

Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element: http://amzn.to/1p1YD1o
Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element: http://amzn.to/1mNcyCO
ON SALE NOW THROUGH 8/31 FOR JUST $.99cents!

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! 

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Profile: Donna Galanti, Author of ‘A Human Element’

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and the forthcoming Joshua and The Lightning Road.

Galanti, Donna 2An avid reader as a child, Galanti grew up in a nurturing environment, immersed in books such as The Hobbit,Little House in the Big WoodsThe Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of The Mountain, Call of the Wild and White Fang. “My favorite author was Roald Dahl and my favorite book of his was Danny the Champion of the World,” says Galanti, whose dark imagination ran wild from the start.

From her early years in England to her later work in Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer, Galanti always dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote her first murder mystery screenplay at the tender age of seven. She had a career in writing for marketing and communications and ran her own resume writing service, but it wasn’t until her mother died five years ago that she began writing novels out of her grief. Eventually, that grief turned to peace, when she fully realized what it was she truly loved to do: becoming a storyteller. In addition to being a full-time author, Galanti also works part time as a freelance copywriter for an advertising agency.

“I write from the dark side with a glimpse of hope. I am drawn to writing the hero’s journey – more so the tormented hero, and tormented villain. I enjoy creating empathy for both by blurring the lines between good and evil,” states the author, whose first two books in The Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element (Imajin Books, August 2014) are both full of murder and mystery with a dash of steam, and both have their own tormented hero and villain. “I slay my own demons through my writing – and I highly recommend it!” she says.

A Human Element, just released by Imajin Books, is the thrilling, unrelenting page-turner story of Laura Armstrong. Her friends and family members are being murdered and, despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown, where she eventually unravels a terrifying secret that binds her to the killer.

The book has already garnered excellent praise from New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and international bestselling author M.J. Rose.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]Galanti lives in an old farmhouse – sadly, with no ghosts – with many fireplaces where she often curls up to create her page-turners. Other times she works in her office overlooking the woods. Throughout the year she meets weekly with a women’s writing group at a café where they write together and share advice and their success stories.

“When I am creating a new book I love to sit outdoors overlooking the woods with a pen and notebook and handwrite my ideas. My thoughts are slowed down this way as my brain connects to pen in hand, and it opens my mind up to brainstorm,” says the author, describing her creative process. “There is nothing more freeing creatively to journal story ideas and throw all sorts of ‘what if?’ questions out there to find the kernel of a good story you want to pursue. Then I create character worksheets and type up a ten page synopsis of the book. I do all this before I write that first word of the story. And I always create a title first! It’s what drives my inspiration for the story.”

Galanti began writing A Human Element seventeen years ago from a vision she had while driving to work one day. She wrote two chapters and shelved them for over a decade. When she finally decided to continue the story, she wrote Monday through Friday from 4:30am to 6:30am. After seven months she typed THE END.

All writers have their stronger and weaker points, and for this author, revision is her favorite process. That’s where she can make her story shine. “Knowing how important this process is has been one of my strong points,” she says. “There are many layers to a story to be found after you write that first draft, and that’s what I love to do: peel back the layers.” One area she struggled in for a long time was to slow down her writing. She can be a very fast writer, creating pages and pages of words that often would need to be trimmed down. She has since then learned to slow down her writing and craft her words with care as she writes them, so she doesn’t have to spend so much time on revision.

In an era when small presses, the good, the bad and the ugly, abound, Galanti’s experience has been nothing but positive. “My experience with Imajin Books has been amazing!” she says of her Canadian-based publisher. “Imajin Books is dedicated to working with me to help my books succeed. The owner, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, is a bestselling author in her own right.” Imajin Books was very responsive and provided in-depth editorial guidance as well as marketing plans, not to mention fantastic book cover designs. The publishing industry is notorious for being slow-moving, but in the case of The Element Trilogy, Imajin Books made the process quick and efficient.

As with many authors, Galanti finds starting a new book most challenging. The first blank page can be a scary thing, until the story takes over, propelling your main character into his new unbalanced world toward the ultimate end. However, being an author can be extremely rewarding. “When it comes to readers, there is nothing more thrilling than reading wonderful reviews about your book that you spent months, or years, creating and shaping,” she says. “It’s from that private place in your heart, where you love the most – and hurt the most – that you pour out pages to show the world. And it’s all worthwhile when you discover that others have been touched by your story, just as you were touched while you were writing it. Second, it’s rewarding to pay it forward to up-and-coming authors. There is a wonderful feeling that comes from speaking to writers about your publishing journey and sharing advice and techniques on how to find success as an author, and hope that they do.”

Galanti is currently working on the idea for the third and final book in The Element Trilogy called, A Healing Element, and gearing up to release book 2, A Hidden Element, on August 28th. A native of upstate New York, the author now lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle—preferably with ghosts.

Connect with the author on Facebook Twitter and her Blog.

This profile was originally published in Blogcritics

Character Interview: Dr. Bruce Starkman from Allen Malnak’s historical thriller, Hitler’s Silver Box

ATT00002We’re thrilled to have here today Dr. Bruce Starkman from Allen Malnak’s new historical thriller novel Hitler’s Silver Box. Dr.Starkman is a thirty year old ER physician living in Chicago, IL.
It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
“Thank you so for this interview, Dr. Starkman. May I call you Bruce?”  
“Please do.”
“Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
“I don’t view myself as a hero. All I wanted was to be allowed to pursue my profession. To me working in an ER is not heroic, and what I did in the novel I needed to do not only to protect the life of my loved one and myself but to prevent a worldwide tragedy.”
“Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?”
“Except that Allen made me a tad too charming and much better looking, he did an OK job.”
“What do you believe is your strongest trait?”
“My ability to think and react quickly when bad things are happening all around me.”
“Worse trait??
“That damned claustrophobia when I’m in a confined space, especially a dreaded tunnel, when it’s dark. Just can’t breathe or think clearly.”
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be? 
“I’d pick Ben Affleck.”
“Do you have a love interest in the book?” 
“Miriam is the love of my life. I’d do anything to keep her safe and by my side. She’s also a wonderful human being and a true hero.”
“At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?”
“There were several times. The worst was when I was stuck in the tunnel. The other was near the end when we both were fighting for our lives.”
“If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?”
“I would not want to be Gerhard. To me he will always represent unadulterated evil.”
“How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?” 
“I’ve often been disappointed with endings. This one was close to perfect with all the loose ends tied up.”
“What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?”
“Don’t let any of my favorite characters be murdered by sadists.”
“Thank you for this interview, Dr. Starkman.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?”
“You’ll have to ask Dr. Malnak, but I hear he’s working on a sequel. Unlike me, he’s gotten kind of lazy.”
Purchase the book on Amazon and B&N.
—————————————————-

ATT00001After completing his medical residency and liver disease fellowship, Dr. Malnak practiced as a board certified internist. He served as Chief of Internal Medicine at the US Army Hospital, Fort Sill, OK., and was medical director of several organizations. Dr. Malnak was also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Stritch School of Medicine of Loyola University.

Dr. Malnak’s father emigrated to the US from Lithuania when he was sixteen, leaving behind a large family. They were all subsequently sent to a Nazi death camp during World War II and were exterminated. As a result of that tragic familial history, Dr. Malnak developed a keen interest in the Holocaust and has read widely on the subject. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Florida with their whippet, Paige, and parakeet, Kiwi. Hitler’s Silver Box is his first novel.

Purchase the book on Amazon and B&N.

 

Book Review: The Book of Thoth, by Paul Leone

TheBookofThoth_fullsize

The Book of Thoth is volume II in Paul Leone’s Vatican Vampire Hunters series. Unlike the first book, which takes place in London, this one takes place in New York City, where not only criminals and the Russian mafia but also demon vampires roam the streets, preying on the innocent.

One night, beautiful Manhattan socialite Nicole Van Wyck is violently exposed to the hidden wars between the living and the damned, and discovers a secret band of vampire hunters posing as “Pelton Investigation.” Thus enter Wally, Marty, Sarah, Riley, and Lamar, who are more than dubious about letting what they believe is a spoiled “princess” join them – but that Nicole does, and with a vengeance.

Like soldiers of the night, or modern knights, they arm themselves with pistols, fireman axes, big scary knives, rosaries, crucifixes, and bottles of holy water in order to rid the city of these evil demons. Soon, however, they learned about a powerful vampire who is preying on young lives, a so-called “Count” who has a minion named Alice – both sadistically cruel and despicable villains who seem to be after a mysterious book of ancient secrets and magical wisdom, possibly written by the devil himself. Will Nicole and her new vampire-hunter friends get to them before they find the infamous Book of Thoth?

The Book of Thoth was an exciting read! I have to say, I enjoyed this instalment even more than the first. I loved the characters, from the protagonist – brave and noble Nicole Van Wyck, the NY-socialite-princess-turned-vampire-hunter – to the interesting array of secondary characters, to the two villains every reader will love to hate. There’s a lot of action fight scenes – very well done without being overwhelming, and the author did an excellent job developing the double chase as the hunters go after the villains and the villains go after the Book of Thoth.

There’s a lot of tension with just the right amount of comic relief. The dialogue is crisp and gritty, too. I also appreciate how the love-story sub-plot doesn’t get in the way of the main storyline. The ending is satisfying, sad and happy, all in one. In sum, I really enjoyed reading this novel and can highly recommend it to fans of Christian fantasy and vampire-slayer type tales.

Visit the author’s website.

Find out more about the book on Amazon.

View the original article on blogcritics.org

Character Interview: Bianca Nerini from Gabriel Valjan’s mystery/suspense novel Threading the Needle

452aa0176bbdf3729bb23aa476635f5fWe’re thrilled to have here today, Bianca, from Gabriel Valjan’s new mystery/suspense novel, Threading the Needle.  Bianca is a thirty-something forensic accountant living somewhere in Italy.

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

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

I have to say that I was a little defensive when I first read the book. The first two chapters make me out to be a cold-hearted bitch. First, I dragged one of my friends, Commissario Farrugia, into the mess; but that isn’t true at all. He insisted on helping me. Who knew what would happen to Charlie? I mean, it was supposed to be a simple meeting. Whatever. God, now I sound like Alessandro. In the second chapter Dante grills me about what happened, I couldn’t tell him that Charlie had slipped me a jump-key before he got killed. I had to at least find out what was on the thing, right? Dante wasn’t very nice to me, and don’t get me started on Loki, who told me flat out to stay away from this; but how could I? Farrugia was now in a mess with Internal Affairs and this young kid, Charlie Brooks, was dead and it is was all somehow my fault. The news blew it all out of proportion. Let’s just say that the author and I didn’t see eye-to-eye from the start, but it all worked out, with a lot of yelling and revisions.

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

Colorizing? I can’t say that I’ve heard that term before. Well, I have to say I was a real mess this time around in Milan. It’s not like Rome or Boston where I felt I held the cards in my hand. When I read through the drafts, I think the author was fair. He’d let me know when I was difficult, but he also showed me what a wonderful group of friends I have. I had to rely on them a lot because I was rather cloistered in Milan, with Loki as my only contact, which was no picnic at times. Matters were tense between me and Dante and I hated – HATED – being dependent on everyone. I was in a new city and I had an ant problem in my apartment. I also had to admit that I was out of my element. If it wasn’t for Gennaro explaining to me about Gladio…yeah, I was colorized well.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Some people say it is my intelligence, but I think they’ve got it wrong. Yeah, I’m competent, but my talent is persistence, my discipline, and my capacity to make creative leaps with information. I’m not always right, but connecting the dots is what drives me, and I don’t mean in a conspiracy–theory kind of way, although with Rendition you never know. I used to work for a covert organization that focused on white-collar crime before any one knew what white-collar crime was…what I’m trying to say is it’s like seeing a number in those colorblind tests. Not everybody can do it. You could see a six or a nine, but I see both. I’m good at that.

Worst trait?

Where do I start? Pride. I’m stubborn. Dante and I have had monumental arguments over this. I’m not exactly romantic or girly-girly, but a part of me refuses to capitulate and admit that I want to be desired, taken care of; but the thing is, I have a hard time letting my guard down. You can say that I have “trust issues.” Like I said, I have too much pride and I’m stubborn.

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

Kate Winslet. I wish that I looked like her. She is pretty. The point is I want an intelligent woman, one with soul, who will do me justice. I don’t want some bobblehead with breasts. Not that I don’t have a nice figure, but readers of Roma, Underground and Wasp’s Nest know that I like to eat. All I ask is that someone let it be a real woman. I’d also like a dog, a cane corso, to make a cameo appearance, like Hitchcock did in his movie, but that is an inside joke between me and the author. Kate Winslet would be my ideal.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Dante. He drives me nuts, but I’d go through the gates of hell for him. Enough said.

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

I knew how it would turn out. My worry was whether the author was going to get the Italian point of view right. That’s not something I could do but to his credit the author delivered. He conveyed a difficult time in Italian history, one that I think few Americans know about but should, since terrorism and manipulating public opinion are relevant today.

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

Loki. I would not want to be Loki. Why is very simple. I walked away from Rendition on my terms, which is not to say that I haven’t paid a price, but I can’t imagine being Loki and living life in two different worlds. I don’t even know whether Loki is a he or a she, but I know the weight of living in the shadows has to be tremendous. The one thing I learned about working in the intelligence community and from observing organized crime is that you never leave, never are free, but something has to be said about living life on your own terms. I’m not convinced that Loki does – but then again I’ve always wondered with Loki if I am being played.

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

I am a better person.

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

Like I said earlier, I am not a girly-girl kind of woman, but maybe show a softer side to me? If I am difficult it is for a reason. I have a lot on my mind. If it is not Dante, then it is Alessandro and his love misadventures, or it is Gennaro in one of his legendary moods, or I am stumped like everybody else as Silvio negotiates Italian and English. At least, I can say that the food is great. The author writes food well.

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

Rumor has it that the author has already written the next two books, Turning to Stone and Corporate Citizen.

 Purchase THREADING THE NEEDLE on Amazon / B&N

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gabriel_valjan_wintergoose-199x300Gabriel’s short stories and some of his poetry continue to appear in literary journals and online magazines. Ronan Bennett short-listed Gabriel for the 2010 Fish Prize. Gabriel won first prize in ZOUCH Magazine’s inaugural Lit Bits Contest. Winter Goose Publishing publishes his Roma Series: Roma, Underground(February 2012), Wasp’s Nest (November 2012) and Threading the Needle(October 2013). Gabriel lives in New England.

Twitter: GValjan

Character Interview: Madam from Allison M. Dickson’s psychological thriller, STRINGS

Strings_Cover_253x391We’re thrilled to have here today Madam from Allison M. Dickson’s thriller, STRINGS.  She’s coming to us all the way from the great state of New York.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

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

It’s as truthful a portrayal as one can ask for. It was brutal and I wish people hadn’t seen some of the things that had happened, particularly with Victor, but I hope people can understand how trapped I felt.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m a survivor, through and through. Dante, my chosen father, taught me well in that regard.

Worst trait?

I crave power and control.

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

Frances Fisher or Tilda Swinton would be wonderful.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Oh Benny Rosen… I wouldn’t call him a love interest necessarily, though he nearly had me fooled.

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

I had a feeling it would all go south with Nina. There was always something about that girl…

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

As poorly as I have things, I don’t know that I could survive any length of time a captor in the Ballas house.

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

Some endings satisfy you. Others make you crave more.

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

I suppose I could ask for mercy, but given my life up to this point, I should know better.

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

I don’t think I’ll be staying put for long.

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Allison Author Photo1Allison M. Dickson is a writer of dark contemporary fiction living in Dayton, Ohio. Though STRINGS is her debut novel, she has been writing for a number of years, with several short stories (including “Dust” and “Under the Scotch Broom”) available on Amazon. Two of her stories were featured The Endlands Volume 2 from Hobbes End Publishing. In 2014, Hobbes End will also be releasing her dystopian science fiction novel, THE LAST SUPPER, and she is independently producing her pulpy dieselpunk noir novel, COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER to be released in November of 2013. When she isn’t writing, she’s one of the co-hosts of the weekly Creative Commoners podcast.  She might also be found gaming, watching movies, hiking the local nature preserve with her husband and two kids who also serve as willing guinea pigs for her many culinary experiments.

WEBSITE TWITTER FACEBOOK BOOK TRAILER 

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Character Interview: Maggie & Matty Becker from Alison Bruce & Kat Flannery’s historical romance, HAZARDOUS UNIONS

We’re thrilled to have here today Maggie and Matty from Alison Bruce and Kat Flannery’s new historical romance, Hazardous Unions. Maggie and Matty are twins sisters, age 18. They were separated by the Civil War. Maggie’s employer served with the Confederate Army. Matty’s employer stayed with the Union.

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

Bruce-HU-400Thank you so for this interview, Maggie and Matty.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Maggie: First I would like to thank you for bringing us together, though I understand it is only temporary. It seems like an age since I saw Matty and I have missed her so much.

I suppose Miss Bruce was fair enough in her telling my story. I think she makes me seem as if I was more in charge of the situation than I really was. But then Captain Stone keeps saying I’m officer material and that’s plain silly.

Matty: Oh, yes thank you kindly for having my sister and I here. I’ve missed her so.

I’m quite satisfied with Miss. Flannery’s portrayal of me however, I do wish she’d have kept out the part where I drugged Colonel Black.

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

Maggie: Miss Bruce did a fine job, but I can’t help wondering why she thought I would make a good subject when the rich and beautiful Patience was also available.

Matty: I feel Miss. Flannery could’ve added more about how much I read. You know I love Mr. Poe, Mag and I really thought she could’ve added more about that.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Maggie: I’m practical. I’m not the sort of young lady requires men to lay down their cloaks so they can step over puddles.

Matty: I’m giving. Pa taught us to love one another.

Worse trait?

Maggie: I’m practical. I’m not the sort of young lady that lay their cloaks down for.

Matty: Well, if you read the book I have a tendency to over embellish the truth.

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

Maggie: I am very sorry, but your question makes no… oh wait, like a stage play? I cannot answer that but Miss Bruce says that I look a lot like an actress named Haylie Duff.

Matty: Maggie, I’m not sure I know what the question means. What is a television?

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Maggie: That is a rather personal question… I suppose you mean Captain Seth Stone.

Matty: Colonel Cole Black is quite handsome, but he has a nasty temper.

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

Maggie: I was nervous before the story began, from the moment we heard the Yankees were coming. It doesn’t matter that I’m a Yankee by birth and inclination, the family I was employed to take care of was on the Confederate side and the Major was languishing in a Union prison. I was deathly afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep the major’s wife and daughter safe.

Matty: On the second attempt on my life. I didn’t think Miss Flannery would ever get me out of the trouble I’d gotten caught up in.

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

Maggie: I truly would not want to be poor Nate Wentworth. What I put that man through to keep him safe. (giggles)

Matty: Oh, I wouldn’t want to be Mrs. Worthington. She is an awful women with a strong disregard for anyone who is not white.

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

Maggie: I would be happier if Miss Bruce or Miss Flannery brought Matty and I together but I know we’ll be together eventually. Other than that, I am content with how things are left. Very content.

Matty: I agree, Mag. I would have loved to been reunited but all in all I’m quite happy with the ending.

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

Maggie: I would truly like it if Miss Bruce found a happy ending for Thaddeus and I hope I am there to see it. Perhaps she’ll make me a little less practical and a bit more romantic, like Matty.

Matty: Please, have my sister in it. Maybe we could go on an adventure together. Oh, what trouble we would find.

Thank you for this interview, Maggie and Matty.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Maggie: If it requires another dangerous adventure… Maybe.

Matty: Oh, I don’t know. I’m quite content to settle down and have a family.

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SUMMARY:

Twin sisters separated by war, bound by love…

After the death of their father, twin sisters Maggie and Matty Becker are forced to take positions with officers’ families at a nearby fort. When the southern states secede, the twins are separated, and they find themselves on opposite sides of America’s bloodiest war.

In the south, Maggie travels with the Hamiltons to Bellevue, a plantation in west Tennessee. When Major Hamilton is captured, it is up to Maggie to hold things together and deal with the Union cavalry troop that winters at Bellevue. Racism, politics and a matchmaking stepmother test Maggie’s resourcefulness as she fights for Bellevue, a wounded Confederate officer and the affections of the Union commander.

In the north, Matty discovers an incriminating letter in General Worthington’s office, and soon she is on the run. With no one to turn to for help, she drugs the wealthy Colonel Cole Black and marries him, in hopes of getting the letter to his father, the governor of Michigan. But Cole is not happy about being married, and Matty’s life becomes all about survival.

Two unforgettable stories of courage, strength and honor.

Find on AMAZON.

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Alison's bio pic.Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, suspense and historical romance novels.

Find Alison on the web:

Website: http://www.alisonbruce.ca

Blog: http://alisonebruce.blogspot.ca

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alisonebruce

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonbruce.books

Kat bio picKat Flannery’s love of history shows in the novels she writes. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. When not researching for her next book, Kat can be found running her three sons to hockey and lacrosse. She’s been published in numerous periodicals. This is Kat’s third book and she is hard at work on her next.

Find Kat on the web:

Website: www.katflannery-author.com

Blog: www.kat-scratch.blogspot.ca
Twitter: https://twitter.com/katflannery1

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kat-Flannery/131065966999142

Character Interview: Captain Shelby from Jesse Giles Christiansen’s mystery suspense, PELICAN BAY

We’re thrilled to have here today Captain Shelby from Jesse Giles Christiansen’s new mystery suspense novel, PELICAN BAY. Captain Shelby is of unknown years and is a commercial fisherman living in Pelican Bay, South Carolina.

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

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

Methinks me author did his right best, but if all ye scopies had left me alone the way ye should’ve, there’d be no need for this here book. It’s got words too big fer me to read anyway.   

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

Color me personality? If ye mean pertrayed, ‘twas better if I was pertrayed as a man left in peace to fetch his fiskr from the deep. A man found innocent of them accidents and other land nonsense.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

PelicanBaymedForMayraFer a man to know himself, he must know the sea. I know the sea better than ye, so I suppose I know meself better than ye.

Worse trait?

Sometimes the sea and her ally, the sky, become right crooked on me behalf. But that wouldn’t happen if ye would leave me be. 

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

Me boy Ethan told me once there be this actor named Johnny Depp. Said he could capture all me sides and looks. Don’t know who he be, but methinks Ethan’s a right smart scopie. 

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Love interest? Ye must be referrin’ to me Laura Lie. But she joined the sea too long ago fer me to remember. 

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

Never minded much the ways of the land. But truth be told, started gettin’ right nervous when that boat mob formed.

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

That poor old Pete and his uncle. In the wrong places at the wrong time, and cursedly part of a dim-witted line.  

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

The ways of the land are only after givin’ a man a fair shake if he follows their plan. Men are quick to condemn he who sails his own course. 

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

Please be after showin’ me origins, fer I be a man too, just like ye. 

Thank you for this interview, (name of character).  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

That be up to me author, but truth be said, me nerves be tattered with all this book stuff and land nonsense.

Purchase PELICAN BAY on Amazon.

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JGCAuthorPhotoJesse Giles Christiansen is an American author who writes compelling literary fiction that weaves the real with the surreal. He attended Florida State University where he received his B.A. in English literature. He wrote his first novel, “About: Journey Into The Mystic” after spending a summer in Alaska working on fishing boats. His newest novel, “Pelican Bay,” focuses on a very old fisherman, Captain Shelby, and the mysterious happenings linked to him surrounding a nosy, sea-battered beach town (release date: July 20th, 2013, Imajin Books). One of his literary goals is to write at least fifty novels, and he reminds himself always of something that Ray Bradbury once said: “You fail only if you stop writing.”

Web Site: www.jessegileschristiansen.com
Blog: www.jgchristiansen.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JesseGilesChris
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jesse.gileschristiansen.7

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