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Character Interview: Kate Hamilton from Connie Berry’s traditional mystery ‘The Art of Betrayal’

We’re thrilled to have here today Kate Hamilton from Connie Berry’s new traditional mystery The Art of Betrayal.  Kate is an antiques dealer and appraiser, in her mid-forties, living currently in the village of Long Barston in Suffolk, England.

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

Thank you so much for this interview, Kate. 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?

KATE: There is the small matter of my age. I’m either 45 or 46, a detail my author has never pinned down. I suspect it’s because she’s neglected to give me a birthday, which I consider unfair and unfeeling. I love parties. And cake.

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

KATE: I must admit Connie knows me pretty well. After all, she and I share a lot in common. We were both born into southern Wisconsin’s Norwegian-Danish community, and we both grew up in the high-end antiques trade. We had fathers we loved and were blessed with intelligent, wise mothers, who’ve been both our trusted confidants and advisors. Both of us are curious by nature, and we’ll often go to great lengths to straighten out mysteries and illogicalities. As you might imagine, that sometimes gets us into trouble.

Early on in our relationship, Connie subjected me to an Enneagram test. Not surprisingly, I turned out to be an Investigator, which is the role I’ve been playing recently. I came to England to visit my daughter last Christmas (she’s a student at Magdalen College, Oxford), and I ended up solving a series of deaths connected with an Anglo-Saxon treasure trove dug up on the estate of Finchley Hall, a crumbling Elizabethan stately home owned by Lady Barbara Finchley-fforde. According to my Enneagram, I’m alert, insightful, and curious. I need to understand why things are the way they are, so I ask questions and test assumptions. I’m reluctant to rely on the opinions and ideas of others. At my best, I notice details and patterns others miss. At my worst, I can become scattered and fearful.

At the moment, I’m running an antiquities shop on Long Barston’s High Street while the owner, my friend Ivor Tweedy, recovers from bilateral hip-replacement surgery. I think Connie has done a good job of describing the affection I feel for this small village in rural Suffolk—and for the people I’ve come to care about.

With that said, however, I do feel Connie sometimes shares more of my private thoughts than I’d like—my relationship with Detective Inspector Tom Mallory, for example. We met almost a year ago on a snowy road in the Scottish Hebrides. I suspect Connie’s readers knew I was in love with him before I did. Is that fair?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

KATE: Detective Inspector Mallory might tell you my strength is noticing details others miss and seeing patterns in seemingly unrelated facts. But I’d say my strongest trait is loyalty. The reason I get involved in solving murders isn’t (as some suspect) because I make a habit of stumbling over bodies, but because I can’t sit by and allow people I care about to be hurt. In Scotland I got involved in a bizarre murder case because my late husband’s best childhood friend was falsely accused. Last Christmas when a young museum curator was found dead in a lake in Finchley Park, Lady Barbara Finchley-fforde asked me to clear the name of the initial suspect, her missing son. At the moment, I’m looking into the death of a reclusive widow who came into Ivor’s shop to consign a Chinese pottery jar from the Han-dynasty tombs of Imperial China. Ivor’s reputation is at stake, not to speak of his bank account. The jar has gone missing, and insurance won’t pay.

Worst trait?

KATE: As much as I hate to admit it, my worst trait is nosiness. What can I say—I’m an Investigator. When things don’t make sense, I simply have to find out what’s really going on. That gets me in trouble when I’m caught snooping or when I ask the wrong person the right question.

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: What an interesting question! My choice would be Carey Milligan, although she’s twenty years younger than I am, and we don’t look much alike. I don’t have her adorable dimples, for one thing. And she usually lightens her hair, so I’d have to insist the producers dye her hair dark brown and give her blue contact lenses. Carey and I are about the same height—5’ 7”—but I admit to having a little more weight on my frame than she does. What I like most about Carey is her energy, wit, and vulnerability. She’s a versatile actress, known for costume dramas. I loved her as Edith Pretty in The Dig and as Daisy in The Great Gatsby, so she can play a range of ages. She does a brilliant American accent, too.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

KATE: At last I can say without hesitation that I do. When Detective Inspector Tom Mallory and I first met on Scotland’s Isle of Glenroth, I thought he looked like a monk—all right, a dishy monk. It took me some time to let my guard down enough to find out if I really liked him. I don’t risk my heart easily. This is no doubt traceable to my history of losing people I love. I lost my brother Matt, my hero, when he was eleven and I was five. He was a Down Syndrome child and suffered from congenital heart problems. When I was seventeen, my beloved father was killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve. Three years ago, my first husband, Bill, a Scottish transplant to the U. S., died in a boating incident, leaving me with two teenagers to raise.

Tom gradually worked his way into my heart—which is a problem. Of all the eligible men in the world, why did I have to fall in love with a man who lives on the other side of a great big ocean? Will we ever solve the problem of two careers on two very different continents? I can’t say. For now, though, I’m enjoying spending as much time with him as I can.

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

KATE: Without giving away any spoilers, I’d have to say about mid-way through the book. None of my so-called theories had panned out. The only clues I had made no sense. A young woman showed up on my doorstep in the pouring rain, pleading for my help. The National Trust’s decision to take on Finchley Hall was delayed, putting my friend Lady Barbara in a financial bind. Ivor’s recovery from hip surgery hit a brick wall. And to cap everything else off, Tom’s mother Liz (definitely not my fan) produced a gorgeous blonde, the spitting image of his dead wife. Since throwing in the towel wasn’t an option, I had no choice but to persevere.

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?

KATE: I wouldn’t trade places with anyone right now. Even if Tom and I don’t know where we’re going, I’m sticking around to find out. If I had to choose someone I definitely would not want to be, however, my answer would be Professor Markham, a retired university lecturer who’s writing a scholarly volume on the history of East Anglia before the Norman Invasion. Ivor sold him a translation of The Little Domesday Book, part of the so-called “Great Survey,” a census record of men, land, and property ordered in 1085-86by William the Conqueror. I delivered the volume to the professor and realized he paid for the book with money that should have gone for things like food. Professor Markham lives in the Essex village of Hatfield Broad Oak, in a demi-detached row house stuffed with mismatched furniture, lamps with exposed wiring, tottering piles of scholarly journals and magazines, and an ill-tempered gray cat who took an instant dislike to me. Professor Markham lives in the past. Literally. On his desk is a circular file of Anglo-Saxon and Early Norman names—the equivalent of an eleventh-century Rolodex. These long-dead people are his closest companions. I love history, too, but I don’t want to live there.

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

KATE: I like a happy ending where justice is served and all the loose ends are tied up. The world should be a place where truth and goodness triumph and evil is shown up for what it is. In the real world, that doesn’t always happen. But in the world of fiction, where I live, it can and often does. Exactly how is Connie’s problem. I was just happy to be of assistance. For now, the ending of The Art of Betrayal is my secret. To find out, you’ll have to read the book.

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

KATE: Please, just give me a birthday! Everyone deserves a birthday—even fictional characters. And—oh, yes—please, no high towers or slick rooftops next time. And definitely no spiders.

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

KATE: You will. Connie is just finishing up a new adventure to be titled The Burden of Memory, which will be released sometime in 2022. A few surprises are in the works. That’s all I’m allowed to say.

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit Beyond the Books! I had a great time and look forward to being with you again sometime.


Connie Berry is the author of the Kate Hamilton Mysteries, set in the UK and featuring an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. Like her protagonist, Connie was raised by antiques dealers who instilled in her a passion for history, fine art, and travel. During college she studied at the University of Freiburg in Germany and St. Clare’s College, Oxford, where she fell under the spell of the British Isles. In 2019 Connie won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery and was a finalist for the Agatha Award’s Best Debut. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and is on the board of the Guppies and her local Sisters in Crime chapter. Besides reading and writing mysteries, Connie loves history, foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Emmie. You can learn more about Connie and her writing at her website www.connieberry.com.


American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is spending the month of May in the Suffolk village of Long Barston, tending her friend Ivor Tweedy’s antiquities shop while he recovers from hip surgery. Kate is thrilled when a reclusive widow consigns an ancient Chinese jar—until the Chinese jar is stolen and a body turns up in the middle of the May Fair. With no insurance covering the loss, Tweedy may be ruined. As DI Tom Mallory searches for the victim’s missing daughter, Kate notices puzzling connections with a well-known local legend. This fiendishly complex case pits Kate against the murky depths of Anglo-Saxon history, the spring floods, a house with a tragic history, and a clever killer with an old secret. It’s up to Kate to unravel a Celtic knot of lies and betrayal. You can find The Art of Betrayal wherever good books are sold.

Amazon: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery: Berry, Connie: 9781643855943: Amazon.com: Books

Indiebound: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery | IndieBound.org

Book Excerpt: THE FRAGILE ONES by Jennifer Chase

Title: THE FRAGILE ONES
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 300
Genre: Crime Thriller

Purchase: https://amzn.to/38AVsdG

BOOK BLURB:

“Please Mommy, can Tessa and I go play on the swing by the creek?” the little girl begs, pushing a blonde curl from her eyes. “We’ll stay together, and we promise to be safe.” Hours later, their mother waits anxiously for her darling girls to arrive home with a list of reasons why they are late. But the front door never opens…

When the bodies of eleven and twelve-year-old sisters, Tessa and Megan, are found at the bottom of a ravine—dressed in matching pastel summer outfits, their small bodies broken from the fall—Detective Katie Scott is called to one of the most shocking and heartbreaking crime scenes of her career.

Carefully picking through the fragile remains, Katie makes the first of many disturbing discoveries: the girls were not biological sisters. The youngest, Megan, is a DNA match to a kidnapping case years before. The tiny number burnt into her skin the mark of a terrifying killer intent on keeping count of his collection.

Her PTSD from the army triggered, Katie is left reeling as she maps other missing children in the local area. Has this twisted soul found a way to stay nearby his victims? Could he be watching now as Katie hits one dead end after another?

A wild storm building, matching a fiber found during the autopsy to a nearby boatyard is the break Katie needs. But when another girl goes missing, just as lightning strikes and the power goes out, Katie only has her instincts, her team and her service dog to rely on. As time runs out for Katie to finds the stolen child alive, who will become the next number on this monster’s deadly list?

Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh, you better buckle-up for the ride of your life! BEWARE – this gripping crime thriller is guaranteed to keep you up all night!

PRAISE

Wow!!!… a page-turningnail-biting crime thriller!!… absolutely fantastic… had me completely hooked… filled with nail-biting suspense… keeps you on edge.’ Bookworm86, 5 stars

Excellent… nail-biting… had me enthralled from page one gripped through each twist and turn… jaw-dropping and totally unexpected… brilliant.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

My heart was in my throat… kept me tapping my e-reader screen.’ Robin Loves Reading, 5 stars

Oh, my goodness!… non-stop!’ Diane is Reading, 5 stars

THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS PUTTING THIS BOOK DOWN!!!!!… I was literally holding my breath… I HAD TO KNOW!!!!! As for the explosive ending? WOW definitely not what or who I was expecting.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

BOOK EXCERPT:


“Please can we go?” whined Tessa as she followed her mother through the living room and into the kitchen. “Please,” she said again, pushing her blonde curls away from her eyes. “I really want to go to the swing by the creek.”

“Not by yourself,” countered Mrs. Mayfield, ignoring her daughter’s angry stare. “We’ve talked about this before.”

“Yes, and you said I couldn’t go alone, and I’m not. Megan will be with me.” Tessa’s older sister was barely a year older and her best friend. Her mother began emptying the dishwasher, putting plates and glasses away in the cabinet. It was unclear if she was thinking about what Tessa had said or not, so she tried again. “I’m almost eleven and Megan is almost twelve. We’re practically teenagers,” she said. “Besides, Janey and her brother will probably be there.”

Mrs. Mayfield laughed. “You know, you would be a good lawyer the way you make your case.”

“I don’t want to be a lawyer. I’m going to be a vet,” Tessa said, grinning.

“Well, I know you are going to be whatever you want to be.” Mrs. Mayfield laughed to herself as she slipped the last piece of silverware into the drawer and turned to face her daughter. At the sound of her name, Megan had joined Tessa in the doorway and they both stood quietly waiting for an answer. Glancing at the wall clock with a sigh, she said, “You both have to be back by four thirty, not a second later. Understand?”

“Thank you! Thank you!” Tessa said, grabbing her sister’s hand in glee. Both girls were in denim shorts and pastel T-shirts with their favorite matching blue sneakers.

“Be home on time,” their mom called after them.

“We will,” chimed the girls.

Mrs. Mayfield heard the front door shut, followed by the sound of running footsteps.

She smiled and went back to her chores as the afternoon ticked by.

At 4:45 p.m. Mrs. Mayfield was waiting impatiently to hear the girls enter the house with a list of a dozen reasons why they were late—but the front door never opened. An hour after that, unable to wait any longer, she looked outside, thinking that the girls might be in the yard.

Debris from a croquet set littered the lawn; the wooden mallets abandoned and colored balls scattered as if the girls had been playing only moments ago. The trampoline in the corner had one of the girls’ bright blue sweatshirts hanging on the edge. It swayed slightly in the breeze.

There was no sign of them.

She ran through the house to the backyard, but it, too, was deserted. No whispers. No giggles. No shrieks of laughter. The wind was picking up and whistling through the branches and leaves of the surrounding trees—almost whispering a warning.

Mrs. Mayfield pulled off her apron and reached for her coat, deciding to walk to the creek and bring the girls back herself. At this point, she was more angry than concerned, knowing how they could be forgetful when they were having fun, and often lost track of time.

But surely they would be on their way home by now? she thought to herself asher pace quickened from a fast walk to a jog. Against her better judgment, and knowing that she couldn’t shelter them forever, she had crumbled and let them go down to the creek where one of the neighboring boys had constructed a swing that they loved to play on.

And now fear ripped through her body. “Tessa!” she yelled. “Megan!” Terrible scenarios shuffled through her thoughts as she tried desperately to keep her emotions on an even keel.

“Tessa! Megan!”

She yelled their names over and over until her voice went hoarse. Her chest felt strangely heavy and her vision blurred as she ran, but her strength and mother’s instinct pushed her forward, down the trail leading to the creek. The trail was well-worn by local kids looking for adventure and fun. Stumbling as she ran, she frantically turned left and then right. There wasn’t a soul around… She was alone. She kept moving.

Looking up at the tall pine trees, everything spun in a dizzying blur of forest and darkening sky. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and open again, then stopped for a moment to listen.

The swing was only visible at the bottom of the path just above the creek and she could hear the water rushing below. Peering over the edge, there was no sign of them—or anyone. She kept turning, expecting to see her girls everywhere she looked. They weren’t there. All around her were discarded candy wrappers and remnants of fast food containers. Proof that children played here often.

There was no sound apart from the whisper of the trees. No children laughing nearby.

“Megan! Tessa!” she yelled again, but there was only silence. She ran all the way up the trail to the street, still calling their names in a full-blown panic.

Mrs. Mayfield turned her attention up the road, her mother’s instinct in high gear. Something blue lying beneath a bush caught her eye and she ran towards it.

She leaned down and her hand trembled over the light blue canvas before she forced herself to grab the abandoned blue sneaker.

“No,” she said, barely breathing.

Written on the side tread of the shoe with a thick black pen was one word: Tessa.

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

Website: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jchasenovelist

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferChase

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2780337.Jennifer_Chase

Book Excerpt: The Fragile Ones by Jennifer Chase

We’re so excited to welcome Jennifer Chase, author of The Fragile Ones

THE FRAGILE ONES

The Fragile Ones

“Please Mommy, can Tessa and I go play on the swing by the creek?” the little girl begs, pushing a blonde curl from her eyes. “We’ll stay together, and we promise to be safe.” Hours later, their mother waits anxiously for her darling girls to arrive home with a list of reasons why they are late. But the front door never opens…

When the bodies of eleven and twelve-year-old sisters, Tessa and Megan, are found at the bottom of a ravine—dressed in matching pastel summer outfits, their small bodies broken from the fall—Detective Katie Scott is called to one of the most shocking and heartbreaking crime scenes of her career.

Carefully picking through the fragile remains, Katie makes the first of many disturbing discoveries: the girls were not biological sisters. The youngest, Megan, is a DNA match to a kidnapping case years before. The tiny number burnt into her skin the mark of a terrifying killer intent on keeping count of his collection.

Her PTSD from the army triggered, Katie is left reeling as she maps other missing children in the local area. Has this twisted soul found a way to stay nearby his victims? Could he be watching now as Katie hits one dead end after another?

A wild storm building, matching a fiber found during the autopsy to a nearby boatyard is the break Katie needs. But when another girl goes missing, just as lightning strikes and the power goes out, Katie only has her instincts, her team and her service dog to rely on. As time runs out for Katie to finds the stolen child alive, who will become the next number on this monster’s deadly list?

Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh, you better buckle-up for the ride of your life! BEWARE – this gripping crime thriller is guaranteed to keep you up all night!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Walmart | BookBub

Excellent… nail-biting… had me enthralled from page one… gripped through each twist and turn… jaw-dropping and totally unexpected… brilliant.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

Enjoy an excerpt from The Fragile Ones

PROLOGUE

“Please can we go?” whined Tessa as she followed her mother through the living room and into the kitchen. “Please,” she said again, pushing her blonde curls away from her eyes. “I really want to go to the swing by the creek.”

“Not by yourself,” countered Mrs. Mayfield, ignoring her daughter’s angry stare. “We’ve talked about this before.”

“Yes, and you said I couldn’t go alone, and I’m not. Megan will be with me.” Tessa’s older sister was barely a year older and her best friend. Her mother began emptying the dishwasher, putting plates and glasses away in the cabinet. It was unclear if she was thinking about what Tessa had said or not, so she tried again. “I’m almost eleven and Megan is almost twelve. We’re practically teenagers,” she said. “Besides, Janey and her brother will probably be there.”

Mrs. Mayfield laughed. “You know, you would be a good lawyer the way you make your case.”

“I don’t want to be a lawyer. I’m going to be a vet,” Tessa said, grinning.

“Well, I know you are going to be whatever you want to be.” Mrs. Mayfield laughed to herself as she slipped the last piece of silverware into the drawer and turned to face her daughter. At the sound of her name, Megan had joined Tessa in the doorway and they both stood quietly waiting for an answer. Glancing at the wall clock with a sigh, she said, “You both have to be back by four thirty, not a second later. Understand?”

“Thank you! Thank you!” Tessa said, grabbing her sister’s hand in glee. Both girls were in denim shorts and pastel T-shirts with their favorite matching blue sneakers.

“Be home on time,” their mom called after them.

“We will,” chimed the girls.

Mrs. Mayfield heard the front door shut, followed by the sound of running footsteps.

She smiled and went back to her chores as the afternoon ticked by.

At 4:45 p.m. Mrs. Mayfield was waiting impatiently to hear the girls enter the house with a list of a dozen reasons why they were late—but the front door never opened. An hour after that, unable to wait any longer, she looked outside, thinking that the girls might be in the yard.

Debris from a croquet set littered the lawn; the wooden mallets abandoned and colored balls scattered as if the girls had been playing only moments ago. The trampoline in the corner had one of the girls’ bright blue sweatshirts hanging on the edge. It swayed slightly in the breeze.

There was no sign of them.

She ran through the house to the backyard, but it, too, was deserted. No whispers. No giggles. No shrieks of laughter. The wind was picking up and whistling through the branches and leaves of the surrounding trees—almost whispering a warning.

Mrs. Mayfield pulled off her apron and reached for her coat, deciding to walk to the creek and bring the girls back herself. At this point, she was more angry than concerned, knowing how they could be forgetful when they were having fun, and often lost track of time.

But surely they would be on their way home by now? she thought to herself asher pace quickened from a fast walk to a jog. Against her better judgment, and knowing that she couldn’t shelter them forever, she had crumbled and let them go down to the creek where one of the neighboring boys had constructed a swing that they loved to play on.

And now fear ripped through her body. “Tessa!” she yelled. “Megan!” Terrible scenarios shuffled through her thoughts as she tried desperately to keep her emotions on an even keel.

“Tessa! Megan!”

She yelled their names over and over until her voice went hoarse. Her chest felt strangely heavy and her vision blurred as she ran, but her strength and mother’s instinct pushed her forward, down the trail leading to the creek. The trail was well-worn by local kids looking for adventure and fun. Stumbling as she ran, she frantically turned left and then right. There wasn’t a soul around… She was alone. She kept moving.

Looking up at the tall pine trees, everything spun in a dizzying blur of forest and darkening sky. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and open again, then stopped for a moment to listen.

The swing was only visible at the bottom of the path just above the creek and she could hear the water rushing below. Peering over the edge, there was no sign of them—or anyone. She kept turning, expecting to see her girls everywhere she looked. They weren’t there. All around her were discarded candy wrappers and remnants of fast food containers. Proof that children played here often.

There was no sound apart from the whisper of the trees. No children laughing nearby.

“Megan! Tessa!” she yelled again, but there was only silence. She ran all the way up the trail to the street, still calling their names in a full-blown panic.

Mrs. Mayfield turned her attention up the road, her mother’s instinct in high gear. Something blue lying beneath a bush caught her eye and she ran towards it.

She leaned down and her hand trembled over the light blue canvas before she forced herself to grab the abandoned blue sneaker.

No,” she said, barely breathing.

Written on the side tread of the shoe with a thick black pen was one word: Tessa.

Copyright © 2021 by Jennifer Chase. Shared with permission.

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. Find out more about Jennifer and her books at https://authorjenniferchase.com/. Follow her at Twitter and Facebook.

Character Interview: Kate Medina from Amy Rivers’ psychological suspense novel ‘Complicit’

We’re thrilled to have here today Kate Medina from Amy Rivers’ new psychological suspense, Complicit.  Kate is a 36-year old high school psychologist living in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Kate.  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’m not going to lie. When I first read the book, I was frustrated with how obnoxious I sounded. I was going through a lot and I think the author could be have been kinder—shown me in a more favorable light. But as I thought about it, my training took over and I realized that my behavior was pretty normal. I was grieving and recovering from trauma. No one is at their best under those circumstances, and I guess I’m no exception. It’s just a little hard to swallow at first, you know?

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

She knows me pretty well. It’s not always easy to see what she writes about me, but once I get over being mad, I usually realize she’s right. And it’s probably a good thing for readers to see that every reacts differently and no one makes the right decision every time.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m determined—some might even say stubborn. Roman would say pig-headed…but back to determination. Up until my mom died, I’d been pretty focused. Anything I wanted to do, I did. Moving back home was a hiccup—I lost myself a bit. And I was a little bit afraid that I wasn’t going to get that back, but those kinds of traits are pretty deeply engrained. Thankfully, I’m feeling strong again. What’s going on in town is wrong, and I’m not going to stop until the trafficking ring is fully exposed.

Worse trait?

One irritating thing I’ve learned lately is that I am an avoider. I’ve always thought that putting things behind me was a strength, but I realize that I’ve been avoiding dealing with so many things. It almost cost me my relationship with my sister. And Roman. Seems like everyone in my family uses avoidance as a coping mechanism.

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’d love Gina Rodriguez to play me! She’s such a strong, beautiful Latina woman. If my story was ever made into a movie, I would just like to see someone play me (and my sister Tilly) who will be a good role model for girls. Someone we might have looked up to when we were younger.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Um. *blushes* Yes. I have never been a romantic. I’ve always been too focused on my professional life to care much about dating. But being back in town, back in contact with Roman…well, it really turned my world upside down. It’s still a little surreal to think that we went from barely being able to being around each other to…well, where we are now.

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

When wasn’t I nervous about the way it was going to turn out? I’m still worried about the way things will turn out. Staying in Alamogordo to do what needs to be done to stop the abuse is terrifying. These guys know who I am. They know where to find me. The only thing I’m sure about is that I have to do this, no matter what happens to me.

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 hope she’s not reading this….definitely Tilly. I’ve always envied her freedom, but I never really knew her story. What happened to her. I’m so grateful that we’re working on patching up our relationship, but honestly, I wouldn’t want to spend any time living her life with the memories she has.

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

The ending is full of both satisfaction and frustration. There is so much work to do to fix the problems we’ve uncovered. And, of course, the trafficking ring isn’t the end. Sexual assault and interpersonal violence are so prevalent, even in small towns like mine. I never thought this particular type of violence would become a calling, but I can’t see myself doing anything else but fighting for these girls and for an end to the violence and degradation.

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

Ha! She’d better be writing another book with me in it. My story is not anywhere near finished. But I would suggest that she give everyone else’s love life some attention and let Roman and I have some privacy.

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

You’d better believe it! And let me say this to whoever is running the trafficking ring. You may be laying low, but I won’t let you stay in the shadows for long.

/////////////////

Amy Rivers writes novels, short stories and personal essays. She is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her novel All The Broken People was recently selected as the Colorado Author Project winner in the adult fiction category. She’s been published in We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor, Flash! A Celebration of Short Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, and Splice Today, as well as Novelty Bride Magazine and ESME.com. She was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about. http://www.amyrivers.com

About the Book

Kate Medina had been working as a forensic psychologist and loving every minute until a violent attack left her shaken to the core. She’s retreated to her hometown where it’s safe, accepting a job where the prospect of violence is slim to none. As a high school psychologist, Kate tends to the emotional needs of the youth. It’s not the career she envisioned

Five years later, a student disappears, leaving the school in crisis. Roman Aguilar, the lead detective, reaches out to Kate for assistance. Kate’s position at the school and her training make her an ideal ally, but her complicated relationship with Roman puts them at odds. 

When the girl’s body is found, changing the focus of the investigation to homicide, Kate finds herself in the middle of a situation she never anticipated. What started as her desire to help puts Kate directly in the crosshairs of an enemy who remains largely in shadow. As her past and present collide, Kate is dragged into the middle of a dangerous game where only one thing is clear—no one can be trusted. 

Character Interview: Bianca Brosnan from Lyla Oweds’ YA urban fantasy novel ‘The Grimm Cases series’

We’re thrilled to have here today Bianca Brosnan from Lyla Oweds’,  Young Adult Urban Fantasy, The Grimm Cases series. She is coming to us all the way from the Northeast United States.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so 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?

Thank you for having me! To be honest, I have so many things to say—I don’t even know where to begin. For starters, everyone around me keeps throwing out the words ‘trauma’ and ‘recovery’, but I think they really don’t understand me at all. I’m completely fine. So what if I’m a little paranoid and anxious. As Finn finally admitted, almost everything I’ve ever worried about happens anyway, so it just means I’m right. I don’t understand why people can’t just take me at face value.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m clear-headed and logical. It’s everyone else who doesn’t get it.

Worst trait?

I have a tendency to be too trusting. Just look at what happened the last time I let someone in? My own best friend had me institutionalized.

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?

Demi Lovato

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I’m kind-of dating these four guys, but they’re not allowed to have a steady girlfriend either. So, it’s complicated.

But we are best friends.

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

Yes. I was positive I was going to be used in a cannibalistic ritual.

I was eventually right (or at least, they tried).

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?

Finn. Because I hate him.

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

Well, my story is still ongoing, but as of right now I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress. I can be around other people without having an anxiety attack at least.

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

I would say to stop putting me in all these dangerous situations. I’m really tiring of having to kill people. I’m a pacifist at heart.

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

You sure will, I have thirteen more books to suffer through before Lyla finally gives me my happy ending.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lyla Oweds is an Amazon bestselling paranormal romance and urban fantasy author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. She grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has a deep appreciation for the paranormal, hauntings, and Edgar Allan Poe. As such, she loves all things fantasy, mystery, crime, and horror.

When not reading, writing, or working as a web programmer, Lyla can be found doing adult-y things such as being a mom to small children, cleaning, and gardening. She also frequently enjoys makeup videos, massages, wine, and coffee.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: http://lylaoweds.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lylaoweds

ABOUT THE BOOK

The things I see aren’t for the faint of heart.

And I am no longer willing to ignore them. Not even when my family, and my best friend, tell me to keep quiet about what’s happening. They say people will think I’m crazy.

Maybe I am.

But the spirit haunting my professor’s house is definitely trying to tell me something, and I’m the only one who can see it.

The one person who can help me is my best friend’s brother. But I don’t know if I can trust him or his friends. Or if I can step outside the protective bubble I’ve built around myself.

At this point it’s a toss up: the ghosts will kill me or my panic attacks will.

Either way, I figure I’m going to die.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3r4qCRt

Talking Craft with Thriller Author Amy Rivers

The Dark Phantom Review

Amy Rivers writes novels, short stories and personal essays. She is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her novel All The Broken People was recently selected as the Colorado Author Project winner in the adult fiction category. She’s been published in We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor, Flash! A Celebration of Short Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, and Splice Today, as well as Novelty Bride Magazine and ESME.com. She was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about. Visit her at www.amyrivers.com.

INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Complicit. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

View original post 1,866 more words

Interview with Kathleen Shaputis Author of His Kilt Dropped Here

Kathleen Shaputis, author/ghostwriter, lives in the glorious Pacific Northwest with her husband, Bob, a clowder of cats, two pompously protective Pomeranians with little social aptitude, Brugh and Miss Jazzy, and an overgrown adolescent blue tick coon hound, Juno.

If not writing during her lifestyle in an acre of forest, she keeps busy reading from her never-ending, to-be-read pile and watching romantic comedies. Her hygge in the woods.

Her latest book, His Kilt Dropped Here, finds Rogue Bruce enjoying running a Scottish castle turned bed-and-breakfast with her Aunt Baillie from America. They specialize in hosting romantic Elizabethan-themed weddings, complete with resident ghost, Lord Kai. But love is something Rogue is not the least bit interested in. Content with her work, she requires no male accompaniment for happiness.

A new delivery service brings Bruce MacKenzie, a Thor look-alike in plaid and denim, fetching more than the usual number of groceries from town, while Jonathan Olson, a snobbish, dark, Rhett Butler type, arrives at the castle to administer a writing seminar for aspiring authors. With two men after the heart she’d thought safely locked away, Rogue is flattered and confused. But when things start to take a sinister turn, danger befalls Rogue and those dear to her. The musical soundtrack of Rogue’s life flares from complacent, to dizzyingly romantic, to heart-thumping scary in this sizzling triangle.

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

I am grateful to say I am a multi-published author, a childhood dream come true. I’ve done a nation-wide book tour and I’ve taught classes to new writers. One last checkbox is having one of my books made into a movie and I have a walk-on part.

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

My first book published was with 10 Speed Press, a non-fiction titled Grandma Online. I was peddling a rom com at writers conferences, and got a few nibbles, nothing exciting. I had been at two good-sized events, earlier in the year, where I heard a lot of “nonfiction is easier to sell.” I don’t write nonfiction as I am not an expert at anything. Around the end of summer, I woke up one morning and heard myself say, “I am a computer technician at work and a grandmother. What if I wrote a book for grandmothers about using a computer?”

I bought a copy of Eva Shaw’s book, Writing the Nonfiction Book. I studied every page about book proposals. My next conference was in January. I sold my pitch to the publisher over a glass of wine the first night. She had just had twins and her mother lived in Australia, she understood the concept immediately. We shook hands over a sweet deal.

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

The book came out about fourteen months later. First there was a word count problem. After I turned in my manuscript, per the contract, and a month early, I was hit with a demand for thirty-thousand additional words in two months. The contract should have read 60,000 words and not 30,000 words.

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

The night I shook hands over accepting the offer, I dashed up to my hotel room to call my husband. He wasn’t home. I called my sister. No one. Now this was before cell phones and I didn’t bring my address book with me, so I couldn’t call any of my girlfriends. I watched Run-away Bride on pay per view and ate some delicious cookies a dear friend had made me for luck to take with me.

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

I decoupaged a copy of the book’s cover onto a pair of earrings. Then made a couple of badges that said, “Ask me about Grandma Online.” I also bought a box of special pens with purple ink for book signings. The purple went with the purple cover.

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

Having a few nonfiction titles and a half-dozen novels, I’ve learned and stretched in a variety of ways. Grammar issues tend to jump out now. JK Rowling started one of her Harry Potter books with, “It was…” and I about had a fit. I was furious with her. An important part of a good story starts with a hook in the first line.

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

Publishing a book is hard work whether you self-publish or with a publisher. Having any modicum of success takes hard work plus luck. The industry contracts and expands constantly. There is never a “right” time to publish – there is just now. You can’t live with “if only…” If only I’d lived in the 1800’s like Jo in Little Women publishing would have been easier. eBooks did not kill hard cover or paperback books. And the Seven Sisters of New York Publishing are now the Big Five. Things will keep changing.

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

Being recognized by a fan, or when someone understands and loves one of your favorite characters.

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

Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” This is my motto. Write the book you dream of. When things open up, sign up for a conference. Or take an online writing class. The creative energy of being around or with other writers in intoxicating, uplifting, magical. Learn, know, succeed.

THE MYSTERY AT TURKELTON MANOR by KRAIG DAFOE

AN EXTRAORDINARY MIDDLE GRADE MYSTERY NOVEL FOR KIDS 10+…. 

The Mystery at Turkelton Manor

Twelve-year-old Nathaniel Jones wants to be a detective. Though his imagination tends to run wild, Nate knows something strange is going on and he is determined to figure it out. Hearing noises at night, the young detective sees a strange figure lurking about. The Turkeltons are rich and Nate’s grandfather is their groundskeeper. As a result, Nate gets to spend the summer on the manor grounds. With priceless art and expensive jewelry in the mix, and someone creeping around at night, Nate becomes determined to catch a thief. There’s just one problem; nothing seems to be missing.

Chapter One
A Shipment Arrives
Mid-day Friday     
Picasso, Dali and Monet were just a few of the artists whose works graced the walls of Turkelton Manor. The museum-like display was worth a small fortune, but no ropes or security guards kept visitors from getting too close.
     Around mid-day on Friday, Nate was riding his bicycle along the long paved driveway of the manor when he noticed a small white delivery van enter through the open gates of the estate.
          Usually closed and controlled by remote, the twelve-foot double gate was currently broken, along with many other things at the estate, which its new owners were in the process of fixing.
     The day could never be boring if Nate’s imagination had anything to do with it, but it seemed he rarely had to depend on his imagination to keep him busy for long, and this sunny summer day was no exception.
     The vehicle had no windows except for the ones up front and, at first, Nate thought it might be Fed Ex, but a sharp glint of sunlight bouncing off the hood of the van kept him from seeing it had no Fed Ex markings, until it got closer and the glare went away.
     Nate was always paying attention to the little things, and his observation skills often amused his family, but it never surprised them as Nate’s father was a police detective and his grandfather on his father’s side of the family was a famous private investigator. Family members commented that it ran in his blood.
          The delivery van stopped just before it reached the  detective and the driver got out and buttoned his suit jacket. The idea that he wore a dark suit struck Nate a little odd, as he was driving a delivery van. The man was small, around five feet, eight inches tall, and very lean. He looked to be in his late forties or early fifties as his hair was beginning to gray above the ears and recede at the top, but it was possible that premature graying made him look older than he was.
     “Hello,” the stranger said politely as Nate stopped his bicycle and stood with it balanced between his legs. “I have a delivery of art for the Turkeltons. Do you know if they are at home?”
     There was something in the man’s tone that made Nate think he sounded like a bit of a snob, but he wasn’t able to put his finger on it. The man spoke as though he had an accent, though only with certain words.
     “I’m not sure,” Nate replied. “I know some people are working at the house though. Just follow the drive straight down,” Nate said, as he looked the direction of the house and pointed.
     The man smiled at him. “Of course,” he said, looking down the drive. The man gave him a little bow and then he unbuttoned his suit jacket before hopping back into the van. As he slowly pulled away, he waved and smiled again.
     The boy turned his bike and followed the vehicle down to the huge house looming in the distance. Pink Dogwood trees lined both sides of the driveway which ran pretty much straight down to the manor. The trees offered, aside from their visual beauty, an aroma that varied from day to day. This day they smelled as pretty as they looked, while other days the odor was downright unpleasant. Nate was familiar with these trees, but didn’t dwell too much on why their smell changed.
     Through the trees, Nate could see much of the grounds. To his right, as he rode toward the manor, was a thick batch of woods. The many oaks and maples intertwined with various other trees struggling for sunlight through the thick canopy. Where the woods ended, a lush green paddock for the horses began. On the opposite side of the driveway was a large pond, or a small lake depending on who was referring to it.
     The boy’s curiosity started getting the best of him and he wanted to see some of the art that was in the van. When the vehicle approached the circular round about in front of the house, the driver was careful not to hit the various other work trucks parked there or drive on the grass in the center. The house was under renovation and the construction crew was still hard at work.
     Nate rode around the circle a couple of times after the man found a place to park. An empty water fountain sat in the center of the grass circle and Nate couldn’t help but think it was big enough to swim in, if it were full. He watched as the man made his way up the curvy brick walk that had low flowering shrubs on either side of it, and then climbed the steep wide stairs leading to the large front door of the manor.
     Nate continued to ride around the circle and watch as the man waited for someone to answer the door. Typically, Nate would be helping his grandfather work on the grounds, but today Grandpa William was running errands and Nate opted to stay behind to help his grandmother with household chores. Nate’s grandfather, on his mother’s side, was the groundskeeper for the estate, which afforded him the opportunity to live on the property, which in turn meant Nate was able to spend the summer enjoying the surroundings.
     After a few moments, the main door of the manor opened, and the man entered, but Nate couldn’t see who answered the door. Aside from the family, there was a part-time staff of helpers plus the construction workers. He hadn’t yet met the Turkeltons as summer had just begun and the family was usually busy, but he knew there were four of them. The two children, one boy and one girl were about his age, but Nate was in no hurry to meet them as he didn’t feel comfortable around people his age and much preferred talking to adults. Nate was shy and this tended to trip him up in conversations. Kids at school often teased him, which is why he usually spent the summers with his grandparents, away from his hometown, alternating between them every other year.
     Nate was from a little town called Crape Myrtle Cove, just forty-five minutes north of Sleepy Shores, where Turkelton Manor is located. This was much closer than his other grandparents who lived just outside of Los Angeles, which was all the way across the country.
     Nate stopped his bike near the delivery van and put the kickstand down. The boy walked up to the van and looked inside through the driver side window to see how much art was in there.
     Though he couldn’t see the entire back of the van, he could see a couple of large pieces still in wooden crates and a dozen or so smaller framed pieces set in racks. There were also four small sculptures and a couple of busts, none more than a couple feet tall.         
     After a few minutes, the man exited the manor with a couple of the construction workers following him. One of the men was at least six foot, two inches tall and very muscular while the other man was smaller, but still in good shape.
     Nate quickly moved away from the van without the men seeing him and repositioned himself nearby, behind one of the other work trucks. He was close enough to hear the construction workers as they spoke and as long as he stayed crouched down, they wouldn’t be able to see him, though if anyone looked out the second floor windows of the manor, they would have no trouble spying the curious boy.
     “I don’t know why we have to unload this stuff,” the smaller one said.
    “Just do it Bobby,” the other replied without looking at his co-worker. “Get it done and we can get out of here for the weekend. The boss said we could cut out a little early today.”
     The three men approached the back of the van. The driver of the van opened the back doors and latched them to the side of the vehicle.
     “Gentlemen,” he said. “Please be very careful. Some of these pieces are priceless.”
     “Really,” Bobby said sarcastically. “I’m sure you put a price on ‘em when you sold ‘em.”
     The man held his tongue and smiled, while nodding toward the construction worker, acknowledging his correctness. The other worker seemed to take everything in stride where the smaller man seemed mad at the world. Nate watched the men as they unloaded the truck. They would have to make several trips up the stairs, which didn’t seem to make Bobby very happy. With each trip, the worker seemed to become more displeased with the task. At one point, he nearly dropped one of the busts and Nate could see the deliveryman flinch when it almost hit the ground.
     “Please be careful my good man,” he said as the man struggled to regain his hold.
     Nate wasn’t sure, but the bust looked like Mozart. The worker hosted the piece to his shoulder.
     “Don’t worry pal, I got it,” he replied sarcastically.
     The deliveryman disappeared inside as the workers came back for the last of the art in the van. They still had no idea Nate was watching them.
     “I wonder how much this stuff is really worth,” Bobby said.
     “Don’t know, don’t care,” the other man replied.
     “I bet these guys wouldn’t even know if something was missing,” Bobby commented. “They’re so rich; this is probably like us buying groceries or something.”
    “Whatever man, let’s just get it done,” the other man said. “I just want to go home.”
   As the two men made the last trip up the stairs, Nate got back on his bike and headed up the driveway toward the gate. After a few minutes, the man in the delivery van left. He saw Nate near the end of the drive and waved to him as he pulled out.
     A few minutes after the deliveryman left, the construction workers filed out, four trucks in all.  Nate saw the one named Bobby in the passenger’s seat of one of the trucks. The man had a scowl on his face as though he was still upset that he had to unload the art.
     Shortly after the workers left, Nate’s grandfather returned from running his errands and Nate spent the afternoon helping him with some odd jobs.
     “You trim the hedges by the manor and along the walkways while I prepare some of the flower beds for planting,” Grandpa William instructed.
     “No problem, Grandpa,” Nate replied.
     Hours passed with the two hardly seeing each other. Around five o’clock Nate and Grandpa William went in for dinner. The boy loved his grandmothers cooking and the three would often have lively discussions about their day. William and Beatty Livingston, both in their mid-fifties, just recently moved into their new home on the same grounds as the Manor, which was a benefit associated with being the groundskeeper.
     “So, what did you do while I was running around today?” Nate’s grandfather asked him. “I could have used your help in town gathering supplies.”
     “After I helped around the house a bit, I rode my bike for a while,” Nate replied. “The Turkeltons got a delivery of art today.”
     “Really?” Grandpa William replied. “Anything interesting?”
     “Yeah,” Nate said. “One of the construction guys wasn’t too happy about having to unload it,” Nate responded with a smile.
     “And how would you know that?” Grandpa William asked.
     “I overheard him talking,” Nate said.
     “Overheard or spied on?” Grandpa William asked with a scowl.
     Nate didn’t respond as he stuffed some mashed potatoes into his mouth and averted his eyes.
     “What have I told you about eavesdropping?” Grandpa William asked.
     “I know,” Nate replied after swallowing. “I shouldn’t go snooping around.”
     “That’s right,” Grandpa William replied. “I know grandpa Jones encourages the matter seeing he was your age when he got started in the private investigation business, but I don’t think it’s appropriate behavior for someone so young.”
     “I’m almost a teenager, Grandpa,” Nate replied.
     “You still have ten whole months to go,” Grandma Beatty replied. “Don’t be in too much of a hurry to grow up Nathaniel. There are a lot of experiences for you to have and you have plenty of time to figure out what you want to be when you get older.”
     Nate already knew what he wanted to be. Though he was twelve at the time of starting his investigation firm, Nate’s Grandpa Jones, with the help and support of his friends and family, quickly made a name for himself and for almost fifty years, his firm, “The Three Investigators,” named for him and his two partners, has been going strong.
     Though Nate didn’t really have much in common with William, and he preferred the summers in California, he still loved William and Beatty very much and they loved him.
     After eating, Nate retired to the basement for a while and crawled into his secret fort to read. Nate built the fort out of the excess furniture and some old blankets and tarps, which were plentiful as the groundskeeper’s house was much smaller than where the Livingstons lived before. Still, the ranch style home was more than they needed and Nate had the basement to himself, unless his grandmother was doing laundry. Piled nearly to the ceiling in some areas, boxes and furniture cluttered what would normally be a family room.       Nate arranged the items so that he would have to crawl under a table piled high with boxes to get inside. A blanket hung to the floor on the inside of the table so it would take great effort to peek inside. This was the only way into his sanctuary and he knew neither his grandfather nor grandmother would crawl underneath to get into the area. Inside the fort were his books, a laptop, a writing desk, some old newspapers and magazines, a television, a chair, a couch and a lamp. The only thing missing from this space was his bed, so when he had free time, this was where he would spend it in the evenings, unless he was playing board games or cards with his grandparents, which they did often to appease him.
     The boy liked to keep up with the world through books, however, on this occasion, he decided on something a little more adventurous and read an Enola Holmes mystery. He had read all the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and, after hearing about several of his grandfather’s old cases, Nate thought reading about a mystery from the female perspective would broaden his senses. 
     Just before dark, Grandpa William yelled down the stairs to his grandson.
     “Nate, can you go out and close the front gate and lock it?” Grandpa William asked.
     “Sure, grandpa,” Nate replied.
     “Make sure you don’t actually lock it though,” Grandpa William shouted.
      “I know, Grandpa,” Nate replied.
     Nate walked out to the gates, as they weren’t far from the groundskeeper’s home. They could be seen from the front windows if it weren’t for the trees that stood in the way. He closed the metal gates and ran a chain around them at the middle. He didn’t lock the gates in case of an emergency, but Nate looped a paddle lock through the chains to give the appearance of a locked gate. When the gate was fixed, they wouldn’t need the chain or lock.
     The sun was just setting over the horizon and the street lamps came on in the cul-de-sac outside the gates. Nate looked around at the other homes in the neighborhood, most of which sat much closer to the road than did the manor. This was definitely a much nicer neighborhood than he was used to.
     No matter where he stayed for the summer, Nate always called his mother every evening. Usually he was too busy to miss home, but he was never too busy to miss his mom and dad.
     Nate returned to the basement of the home, using the outside door on the side of the property that gave him direct access to the basement. It wouldn’t take the boy long to drift off to sleep, when the time came. He read a little more of his book and instead of drifting off in his chair, he opted for the comfort of his bed, not knowing that he wouldn’t be asleep for long. 

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3quD4tz

Kraig Dafoe was born in New York.  Kraig went back to college at the age of 42 earning his BA in English writing, and graduating cum laude from Washburn University in 2017. Deciding to continue his education, Kraig received his Master of Liberal Studies degree in 2019. Kraig is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Visit his website at http://www.kwdafoe.com.

OTHER BOOKS BY KRAIG DAFOE

The Rise of the Reaper: Duty Calls

Search for the Lost Realm

Skorch the Bounty Hunter

A Collection of Twisted Tales

Book Excerpt & Giveaway: Banewind by M.B. Chapman

Title: BANEWIND
Author: M.B. Chapman
Publisher: Light Messages / Torchflame Books
Pages: 268
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Fiction

Almost two weeks ago I was just a normal girl getting ready to start my senior year of high school, deciding where I wanted my life to go. And now?

I’ve kissed a boy. I’ve been to another world. I’ve seen death.

And I don’t know what my life’s become.

Banewind tells the spellbinding story of 18-year-old Genevieve DeWinter, a typical high school girl who finds herself entangled in the throes of adventure, romance, and survival after discovering the existence of a group of magical beings known as Formulists and their co-existing world, Banewind.

With the arrival of several mages in her hometown of Parma, Ohio, Genevieve soon learns that these extraordinary secrets are rooted deep within her family’s history when it is revealed her deceased mother was a heroic warrior in a long lineage of female protectors called the Holy Guardian. Now, a vengeful group of Formulists known as the Voidweavers have returned and set their sights on Genevieve, believing she might be the next Holy Guardian and the key to awakening their fallen leader, the Void King, who had been destroyed by Genevieve’s mother when she sacrificed herself a decade earlier to save Banewind and all of humanity from an unthinkable evil.

With the help of new allies, Genevieve must fight to stay alive as she unravels the mystery and danger that have shattered the stability of the life she once knew before the Voidweavers succeed in shadowing the world in chaos and darkness once again.

Now that he’s in better light, I can get a good view of him. I’m right on the age part—he’s probably eighteen or nineteen—and he’s very attractive. He has black hair that swoops over the side of his forehead, and blue eyes that are sparkling like sapphires. His face is beautiful, with high-set cheekbones and a slender nose. His skin is pale and ashen, but it suits him well. And his body appears fit beneath the turquoise track jacket and matching track pants he wears. “Want me to help you look for him?” He takes another step toward me. “It’s okay. Thanks.” I back up. “You don’t have to do that.” “I don’t mind.” He stares at me with a wolfish grin, and I feel as though his blue eyes are piercing through my body. “It really isn’t smart for you to be out here alone.” “What about you?” I snap back. “I mean, really. A girl can’t spend her time alone in the woods, but it’s perfectly acceptable for a boy?” His eyes widen in surprise. “I-I guess you make a good point.” He bites his lips. They have a blue tint to them. “What’s your name?” “Genevieve.” Can he tell I’m caught off-guard? “I’m Scythe. Nice to meet you.” We both stand there in awkward silence. “Okay. Well, I’m going to go find my dog. Take care.” “Wait.” He jerks his hand towards me. “Why don’t you stay here, and I’ll go find the dog and bring him back to you.” He looks proud of himself for suggesting this. “If not, you might get lost.” “These woods aren’t that big. I’ll be fine.” I’m beginning to get agitated with this punk. “I appreciate you offering to help. But seriously, I’m just going to—” The tree behind Scythe explodes into thousands of splinters, crackling while the red blaze ascends to the top. As I fall to the ground, I see him bound to the left and roll behind a hollowed trunk, taking cover from the hissing flames. The clearing illuminates with a fiery orange light as the trunk bursts into dancing embers. I cover my eyes, blinded by the fire’s brightness as it continues to engulf the shrubbery around me. My face is drenched in sweat, and my breathing is swift and shallow. Up and down, up and down, up and down. My chest rises and falls so fast I’m afraid I’ll pass out if I don’t get myself under control. Another explosion. I cover my ears and scream. I drag myself over to a stump and hide behind it, scanning the clearing to see what has become of the boy. About twenty feet from me, his body lies sprawled out, with flames flickering just inches from his clothes. A nearby tree explodes and falls to the ground, revealing a figure in a hooded red cloak standing in its place.


“This story has a great mix of fantasy and young adult romance. Love the strong female protagonist at the center of the story! It is like Harry Potter, but with a unique, imaginative world all its own. There is a rich backstory of the fantasy land woven throughout the book that makes me excited for future books by this author!”— Amazon Reviewer
“I think this could be the next big thing. I would love to see this made into a movie or tv show. The story is intriguing, the characters easy to imagine, and the writing is great. Super easy read and kept me invested the entire time! Ready for book 2!”— Amazon Reviewer
I don’t think this is a series but it sure could be! The mixture it has sets this into a good read! Especially if you are snowed in. Well written and thought out plot and characters! Very interesting read that you will find yourself completely drawn in and lost from the reality of life!– Amazon Reviewer

Amazon → https://amzn.to/36O4Ust  

Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3kLolHjKobo books: https://bit.ly/36QgZx5

M.B. Chapman is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • This giveaway ends midnight March 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on April 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Matt Chapman grew up outside of Cleveland and now lives in St. Louis, Missouri where he is completing his residency in Psychiatric medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a graduate of Creighton University School of Medicine where he obtained his MD and a graduate of Saint Louis University where he majored in Biology.

Matt has had a passion for writing and reading since childhood and continues to find time for these interests among his other pursuits, including medical education and leadership studies. He is currently working on his next novel in The Banewind Series.

Website: https://www.lightmessages.com/mb-chapman

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mbchapman90

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Book Review: ‘River Aria’ by Joan Schweighardt

From the pen of talented historical novelist Joan Schweighardt comes another well-crafted, meticulously researched story about family, community, immigration, oppression, the environment, and having to face the consequences of one’s actions.

It’s 1928 and the Great Depression is looming around the corner when two impoverish but talented mixed-raced—Amerindian and European—Brazilian immigrant cousins travel to NYC to find a better life and fulfill their dreams. Estela, a singer of arias and a product of the Teatro Amazonas during the time of the rubber boom, has a beautiful voice and dreams of becoming a famous opera singer; Jojo is a fisherman and a gifted artist. As a start, Estela is offered a seamstress position at the Metropolitan Opera House while Jojo is offered a scholarship at an art school. Will they achieve their dreams against all obstacles? If yes, at what price?

River Aria is the third installment in this author’s series and is focused on the next generation of the family featured in the first book. There is so much I enjoyed about this novel! The worlds of art and music in 1920s NYC come together engrossingly. The multifaceted, original characters—you don’t often read stories about indigenous people from Brazil—and their struggles to find purpose and meaning in a complex, ruthless city that is a character all on its own, kept me riveted. Parentage and identity are big themes with both Estela and Jojo as they struggle with their origins and how it affects their lives. Having read other books by Schweighardt, I’ve become familiar with her literary prose. She always strives for depth, and she pays great attention to detail.

The author visited the rainforest, as well as Manaus, the Amazon, and Rio Negro as part of her research, and considering the authentic feel of the plot and characters, I’m not surprised. In spite of this, however, the writing doesn’t get too heavy-handed, which is sometimes a problem in this type of book. I particularly recommend River Aria to historical fiction fans who have a special interest in the rubber boom that took place in Brazil in the early 1900s and how it affected the fishing villages and the indigenous people living there.

Find out more at www.joanschweighardt.com

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