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SURVIVING HIROSHIMA by Anthony Drago & Douglas Wellman

Surviving Hiroshima

Author: Anthony Drago & Douglas Wellman
Publisher: Boutique of Quality Books Publishing Company
Pages: 282
Genre: Biography


From Russian nobility, the Palchikoffs barely escaped death at the hands of Bolshevik revolutionaries until Kaleria’s father, a White Russian officer, hijacked a ship to take them to safety in Hiroshima. Safety was short lived. Her father, a talented musician, established a new life for the family, but the outbreak of World War II created a cloud of suspicion that led to his imprisonment and years of deprivation for his family.

Then, on August 6, 1945, 22-year-old Kaleria was doing pre-breakfast chores when a blinding flash lit the sky over Hiroshima, Japan. A moment later, everything went black as the house collapsed on her and her family. Their world, and everyone else’s changed as the first atomic bomb was detonated over a city.

After the bombing, trapped in the center of previously unimagined devastation, Kaleria summoned her strength to come to the aid of bomb victims, treating the never-before seen effects of radiation. Fluent in English, Kaleria was soon recruited to work with General Douglas MacArthur’s occupation forces.

Book Excerpt:

At 09 15:15am Tinian time – 08 15:15am Hiroshima time – the bomb drop sequence counts down to zero and Little Boy falls free from the bomb bay. Major Ferebee announces, “Bomb away,” but the everyone already knows that. Suddenly no longer struggling with its nearly 10,000 pound load, the Enola Gay has leaped upward, jolting the crew. Tibbetts immediately pulls the aircraft into a 155 degree right turn to put as much distance as possible between them and the blast site. They will have some time to make their escape. It will take Little Boy 44 seconds to fall to its designated detonation altitude of just under 2,000 feet.

In 44 seconds the future of warfare will be inalterably changed.

In 44 seconds tens of thousands of people will witness a horror never before seen.

In 44 seconds a 24-year-old Russian émigré, Kaleria Palchkoff, will be in the center of a horrendous conflagration never before unleashed in human history.

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Meet The Authors

Anthony Drago

Anthony “Tony” Drago was born in Camden, New Jersey and spent much of his early childhood at his paternal grandparents Italian grocery store. From a young age, his mother, Kaleria Palchikoff Drago, would tell him the captivating story of her journey from Russia to Japan and then to the United States. It created Tony’s foundation for his love of history—especially his family’s history—bringing him to write this book.

After retiring in 2006, Tony doubled down on his passions—flying his airplane, restoring his classic car, and traveling the world with his wife, Kathy. Tony and Kathy have been married for forty-five years. They have three adult children and enjoy spending their days on the beach in their hometown of Carmel, California with their eight grandchildren and dogs, Tug and Maggie. For more information about Kaleria and the book, visit

Douglas Wellman

Douglas Wellman was a television producer-director for 35 years, as well as dean of the film school at the University of Southern California. He currently lives in Southern Utah with his wife, Deborah, where he works as a chaplain at a local hospital when he isn’t busy writing books.

For more information on Doug and the books he has written, visit his website at

The Wicked Cries Wolf Book Blast!

The Wicked Cries Wolf

Author: McKenna Grey
Publisher: Cambron Press
Pages: 289
Genre: Romantic Suspense / Thriller


In the shadow of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, a darkness lurks and threatens a quiet coastal village in The Wicked Cries Wolf, the third book in the Kyndall Family Thriller series.

A woman desperate for solitude. A man with an enemy he can’t see. A dangerous game neither wants to play.

International bestselling author Meaghan Ryers has gained wealth, success, and fame . . . and all she wants is to be left alone. When her sister suggests she escape to someplace quiet where no one will find her, Meaghan picks a spot on the map and heads for Alaska.

Sheriff Donovan Kyndall of Stewart’s Crossing, Alaska, arrives at the scene of a car fire after receiving a mysterious call. He doesn’t expect a woman from out of town to be at the scene, begging him to believe someone was killed. As clues into the fire emerge, Donovan has to ask himself how she’s connected and how a caller knows details from his own tragic past.

As the truth is revealed, Donovan and Meaghan are entangled in a puzzle of lies, treachery, and clues they must decode if they are to survive.

Praise for the Kyndall Family Thrillers

The Dragon’s Staircase is a mind boggling adventure that will keep you guessing until the last page.” Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick

“Holy smokes! This is one suspenseful, anxiety-ridden, skin-crawling tale of murder, mystery, and psychological creepiness. Looking for a hard-to-figure-out mystery with a side order of nail biting? Then look no further!”  InD’tale Magazine on The Dragon’s Staircase

“McKenna Grey & Everly Archard, I loved this book! I was captured, terrorized, thrilled, and couldn’t put it down. I loved the first book in the Kyndall Family Thrillers, “The Dragon’s Staircase”, and this one … well I read it in one day! I love all the Kyndall family characters and their love and protectiveness towards each other. Your mix of romance and thriller really is astounding! I cannot wait for book number three about Donovan Kyndall to come out.” —Kindle Reviewer on Shadow of the Forgotten

“I was literally at the edge of my seat. The suspense level is amazing.”

—Donna McBroom-Theriot, My Life, One Story at a Time

“I’m amazed at how smooth these two authors have combined their talents into one fabulous story.” –Linda Thompson, Host of

“THE DRAGON’S STAIRCASE by McKenna Grey and Everly Archard is romantic suspense full of thrills and spine-tingling moments. The twist at the end is as unexpected as it is disconcerting . . . the story keeps you guessing at every turn. This is a great start to a series that promises to be full of wonderful surprises.”

Readers’ Favorite

LOVED! LOVED! LOVED Shadow of the Forgotten, written by McKenna Grey and Everly Archard. A suspenseful story that makes you feel excited or anxious about what is going to happen next. It starts with fast action and it keeps going on until the very end. You won’t be disappointed! These authors have nicely woven endearing characters into a wilderness background that adds a touch of mystery. It’s gripping from the start to finish.” —Nicole Laverdure on Shadow of the Forgotten

“Beware, this new series is highly addictive! It’s suspenseful, mysterious, and riveting! You won’t want to miss it!” —Nicole Laverdure on “Blade of Death””A well written story and well developed characters . . . give the reader an exciting ride of investigation and the gentleness of a protective loving relationship.”

—Lyn Ehley, Book Reviewer







Book Excerpt:


Fire snaked into his lungs. Suffocating. Debilitating. He couldn’t breathe, his body immobile. He clawed at the air, at the coarse rope binding his feet, at everything his hands managed to reach. Why were his hands free?

Is this how someone feels when they burn?

Helios promised him there would be consequences. It had only been one more fire, one more kill. He had craved it more than he feared Helios’s warning.

One more mistake.

Smoke curled upward from the flames, dancing up the walls in a seductive swirl of lights and sound. The crackling of gunshots echoed somewhere beyond the steel door.

No chance of escape.

He didn’t deserve to die this way. His scream lodged deep in his lungs, so deep it burned his insides. A round of hacking coughs escaped his scorched lips. He desperately wanted water or a beer. Yes, when he got out of this—if he made it—he’d down a whole six-pack of Bud Light and thank whatever powers that be for his salvation.

I’ll be good. If you let me live, God, I’ll be good forever.

Did he hear his name coming back to him from the darkness beyond the flames? Yes, but from where, exactly?


It’s only in my head. No. No, no, no!

He heard shouts, or was fear mocking him? He yanked at the ropes around his ankles and brought away flesh covered in his own blood. Why couldn’t he move?

The door pounded. No, someone pounded on the door. The blaze caressed the floor around him, moving closer with a lover’s passion, inch by inch. He heard the loud crash this time and was certain someone stood on the other side of the door. A gust of air whooshed into the room and the fire found new life. It tormented him, licked his skin. A scream escaped, louder now because of the burn. Two strong bodies in masks lifted him away from the center of the inferno. His eyes remained opened, even as the sensation of floating carried him away from the chamber. He’d promised to be good and he would be. No man or woman or creature walking the earth could claim to be so good as he from this moment on and into forever.

Darkness consumed his whispered thanks while a cacophony of sirens trumpeted his fall into oblivion.

All Titles in the Series

All titles in this series can be read as stand-alone books.

“Blade of Death” – Short Story Prequel

The Dragon’s Staircase – Book One

Shadow of the Forgotten – Book Two

The Wicked Cries Wolf – Book Three

About the Author

McKenna Grey is the contemporary alter-ego of an award-winning, historical romance author. She writes romantic suspense, including the Kyndall Family series, and heartwarming, small-town romance to break up the murder and mayhem. She enjoys a quiet life in the northern Rocky Mountains.





New Book: ‘Somebody Else’s Troubles,’ by J.A. English

An inventive, intriguing, and extraordinarily thought-provoking tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles centers on a titillating question: who among us hasn’t dreamed of walking to the corner store and simply disappearing?

About Somebody Else’s Troubles:  Ohio businessman Travers Landeman has plenty of troubles. Between a marriage that is loveless at best, a hateful, greedy, self-consumed wife, and a family business changing in unexpected and unwelcome ways, Travers copes in the best way he knows how: by making a conscious effort not to think.  But when his teenage nephew, Matthew Calkins, reaches out to him for help, Travers turns away. When his inaction causes unspeakable guilt, Travers fakes his death on the Caribbean Island of Mabuhay, an act that sets into motion a most unusual series of events—events that will bond together a most unusual cadre of people.

Years pass and it appears that Travers, now settled in to a new life with a new family and a new name, has gotten away with it.  Or has he?

The Atlantis Fidelity Insurance Company hires Albert Sydney McNab to bring Travers back to Ohio. But McNab, a bumbling, sore-footed, ne’er-do-well with a litany of failed careers—waiter, bus driver, door-to-door salesman—is surprisingly somehow hot on Travers’ trail.

Chicago bookseller Joe Rogers leads a group of amateur archaeologists to Mabuhay. Dealt a fistful of trouble when he acquired Chicago’s oldest bookstore, The Yellow Harp, Joe Rogers has a penchant for vodka, an abject ineptitude for following orders, and an abundance of useless knowledge. But at a dig site in Mabuhay, Rogers discovers an ancient treasure—a jeweled mask. Will Joe, who has his own axe to grind with Atlantis Fidelity Insurance, step off the sidelines and get back in the game?

Esmerelda McNab, United Nations Ambassador of the UN’s newest member nation, the Commonwealth of Mabuhay, has her own set of troubles—protestors who denounce her part in the sale of the mask that Joe Rogers discovered as “cultural genocide.”

Do love, peace, and redemption even exist on Mabuhay?  Or are somebody else’s troubles just that?

A brilliantly-rendered tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles takes readers on an unforgettable journey spanning from the streets of Chicago’s gritty Austin neighborhood to the remote island paradise of Mabuhay.  Resplendent with richly-drawn characters that spring to life in the novel’s pages, Somebody Else’s Troubles is peppered with wit and subtle humor. Novelist J.A. English delivers a clever, captivating, smart, seamless story replete with fascinating historical detail and literary allusion.   A beautifully written literary novel about escape and inertia, action and inaction, faith and doubt, and finding home—and hope—in the unlikeliest of places, Somebody Else’s Troubles is destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

About the author:

A proud native of Paterson, New Jersey, J.A. English came of age in Mexico City, Mexico. He received his B. A. cum laude from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and an M. A. from Rice University in Houston, Texas. English is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He has lived for a half century in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, where he still maintains a residence, but now spends much of his time in Sosua, Dominican Republic. English is a widely-published writer whose works have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader and Co-Existence, the literary journal which featured the works of Henry Miller.  Visit J.A. English online at:

Find out more on Amazon

Book Feature: MAGNOLIA by James S. Kelly

Author: James S. Kelly
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Pages: 432
Genre: Historical Fiction/Civil War Love Story


Two young men grow up in the south, become great friends and love the same woman. One moves north as the civil war nears and becomes Administrative Asst to Abraham Lincoln The one who remained in the south vacates his office of US Senator to become the south’s chief spy. Both men are pitted against each other during the war. As the war ends, they try to renew their friendship but will the presence of the one they both love be an impediment.


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Book Excerpt:

As soon as the seven southern states seceded from the union, their sons and relatives in the Union Army and Navy resigned their commissions and became the elite officers of the Confederacy. They were euphoric; they threw parties and prided themselves on their great fortune. They didn’t’[t stop there; they became aggressive. The state of South Carolina, one of the first to secede, claimed that Forts Moultrie and Sumter in the Charleston Harbor belonged to the Confederacy; therefore, the Union Soldiers in the fort must vacate. General PGT Beauregard, the former Superintendent of Cadets at West Point, who immediately switched sides,  was in charge of that state’s militia, but was taking his orders from Jefferson Davis in Montgomery, the interim Capitol of the Confederacy. Whether Jefferson Davis’ request to Lincoln to turn over the forts was rejected because it lacked merit or Lincoln took too long to respond, is mute in the long run.

The firing on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 began a war that had no reason to happen. It was as though a disagreement between father and son had escalated way beyond what either wanted. At some point, each realized that they had gone beyond the normal barrier of good behavior and tried to step back and assess their actions. The father made every effort to try to explain to his son why his actions were unacceptable, but a sense of freedom to do as he wished, made that view almost impossible for the son to accept. He and his friends were caught up in a wave of excitement, which escalated into a cause. The normal civility between father and son was met with obstinacy and imprudence. Consequently, neither could see how to rectify a situation that continued to fester and finally got out of control. There seemed to be no common ground, no mediation and no chance for reconciliation. Just like a family, a nation was splitting apart.

So too, did the distance between two childhood friends from Charleston, South Carolina, widen even though in the early stages, they tried to maintain a sense of decorum and respect, ignoring all outside influences. But it was not to be. The tension had grown from anxiety to acceptance, on both sides; their views were incompatible.

On that fateful day, James Stephen Harris and his wife Claire were sitting at the dining room table in their rented Georgetown Residence in Washington DC. The lights on the black wrought iron lamps on their porch illuminated their entrance steps and their beautiful white slump stone exterior.. They were hosting four of their closest friends to celebrate Claire’s thirtieth birthday. Her mother and step-father planned to attend, but the situation was such that they wanted to see what would happen next before they crossed the Atlantic to be with the one they raised.

James had spent the busiest two weeks of his life getting acclimated to his new position as Special Advisor to the newly elected President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. All six friends looked solemn; the neighborhood outside was quiet; it was as though an honored member of their family had died. No one spoke of the situation; no one wanted to. They talked of trivial things until ten that evening and then the guests left.

Several hundred miles to the south in their home outside Charleston, South Carolina, John William Beauregard, with his wife Louisa and their two children were celebrating the same occasion with champagne at their magnificent plantation, called Magnolia. He’d resigned from the US Senate, as soon as the State of South Carolina seceded from the union. Interim President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, with an endorsement from John’s cousin, General PGT Beauregard, asked him to lead the Confederate Signal Corp. He was that new nation’s chief spy.

They were embarking on an adventure and everyone was excited. John looked over at his wife and said, “We won’t be told what to do or how to run our lives anymore by some Union Bureaucrat in Washington.”

“Be careful what you wish for, John.” She responded.

“I just don’t understand the provocation. Why start something that can’t be reversed. The forts weren’t being supplied, so why not wait. The defenders would eventually have no recourse but to leave. Firing on the forts seemed to force the issue.” James Beauregard, their son, who was scheduled to attend West Point in the fall asked.

“I wouldn’t have done it that way, but the die is cast. I believe many in our new administration wanted to make the break as sharp and as quick as possible, so there’d be no recourse.” His father responded

Over the next four years, the two childhood friends, James Harris and John Beauregard, would be rivals, as antagonistic and would use every conscious moment during that period to assist their side in this ridiculous loss of life, property and dignity..

About the Author

James S. (Jim) Kelly is a retired United States Air Force Colonel with over 100 combat missions in Vietnam. Prior to his retirement, Jim was Program Director for a Communication’s Program in Iran, working directly under the Shah. Jim and his wife, Patricia own and operate High Meadow’s Horse Ranch outside Solvang, California. All of his novels use Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley as a setting. Over the past 15 years, Jim and his wife have been active in a charity supporting our troops in forward operating locations, in hostile territory, overseas. To contact Jim, email him at



Character Interview: Madeleine Bacon from David Armstrong’s historical romance novel ‘The Rising Place’

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Madeleine Bacon from David Armstrong’s new historical romance novel, The Rising Place. Madeleine is a 39-year-old print shop owner, living in Hamilton, Mississippi.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Madeleine.  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 guess David Armstrong portrayed me pretty well, but I feel like he made me fatter than I really am. And that restaurant scene at the end of the novel—there’s no way anyone could have eaten as much food as David had me eating. Personally, I thought this was cruel of him to do so. If I had been with David when he was writing about me, eating like a pig, I would have cracked my walking cane over his head, too! 

TheRisingPlace_w14312_ibDo you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

He definitely did with that, and I’m a very colorful character. The only way I would have liked to have been portrayed differently is that I really did love my husband, Will Bacon, but this was never brought out. In fact, I loved Will a whole lot more than I did any of my three, previous husbands. I do wish David had shown this part of me, but it probably wouldn’t have been believable. Love didn’t seem to fit my character. It is what it is. 

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My inner strength. I grew up with an older brother who loved to tease me about how fat I was, so I learned young how to defend myself—with both my words and my fists! 

I’m not afraid of anyone. I’d stand up to the devil himself and spit in his eye, if I could.

Worse trait?

I’m afraid to reveal who I really am to others. I’m afraid they’ll see right through me—like Emily Hodge did. I’ve never wanted anyone to see my soft side. I’ve always been terrified of that. That’s probably why I never had any true friends, until Emily came along. Emily taught me how to open up, and thank God that she did! 

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!)?

Well, the book has already been made into a movie, and in it I was portrayed by Beth Grant, who is an excellent actress. But if there’s ever a remake of the film—which does happen, you know—I think I should be played by Lady Gaga. Lady is as colorful as me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. I love my husband, Will Bacon, though David never developed this—for some dumb reason. I also loved Emily Hodge—the best and only true friend I’ve ever had. 

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

That’s an easy one. I thought David was never going to write me into the story. I kept on trying and trying to get his attention to make me Will’s wife so we could complement each other’s character. At first, I thought David was going to portray Will as a confirmed sissy, who never wanted to get married, and leave it at that. But, finally, he listened to me and wrote about how Will was floundering after he came back from the War and in need of a job. Then I reminded David I was a rich widow, looking for a challenge as much as I was another husband. He finally got the message and brought Will and me together. I just wish he had done it sooner in the story, though, because I had such a great time with the other characters in the book who I got to meet—even Eddie Scruggs! 

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 wouldn’t have wanted to be Harry Devening. What a fool he was to have not loved Emily Hodge back. I can’t even conceive how Harry couldn’t have loved Emily—as beautiful and tender as she was. And then to have finally realized, like Harry did, what a great mistake he made in not returning Emily’s love—I would have rather died. Harry might have lost a leg after his plane crashed during the War, but he lost far more than that when he lost the love of a fine woman, like Emily Hodge. What a pity. 

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

I like how David ended the book, but I would have liked to know what, if anything, happened between Emily and Streete Wilder. Also, who was the old, gray-haired stranger at the start of the book? Was that Harry, Streete, or someone else? I hate it when authors tease us like that—makes me want to crack my cane over their skull!

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

Write me in at the beginning of the book. I’m a great character! 

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

You’ll have to ask David Armstrong, that one. Getting through to a hard-headed author like him was difficult enough, the first time around. 


High Res Headshot for VBT

David Armstrong was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, where he was a former mayor and candidate for the United States Congress. He received an undergraduate and master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University, where he taught American and local government. He also received a law degree from the University of Mississippi, graduating with honors. In addition to The Rising Place, David’s debut novel, he has written two other novels, one of which will be released this summer, and four screenplays. David has also taught screenwriting at the college level, and he has spoken at several literary and film festivals about writing novels and scripts.

David is the father of two grown sons, William and Canon. When he isn’t working on his fourth novel, he serves as the COO for the city of Columbus, Mississippi. He and his cat, Butch, live in one of the oldest and most haunted antebellum homes in Columbus.

David’s website is He may be reached at 

About the Book:

What if you found a hidden box of letters from World War II that belonged to an old maid spinster who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did read them and discovered an amazing story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened over seventy years ago in a small, southern town?

After a young attorney moves to Hamilton, Mississippi to practice law, his first case is to draft a will for Emily Hodge. “Miss Emily” is a seventy-five-year-old recluse who is shunned by Hamilton society, but the lawyer is fascinated with her and can’t understand why this lovely lady seems to have lived such a solitary and forgotten life.

When Emily later dies, the lawyer goes to her hospital room to retrieve her few possessions and bequeath them as she directed, and he finds a sewing box full of old letters in the back of her nightstand drawer. He takes the box of letters back to his office, and after he reads them all, he learns why Emily Hodge was ostracized by Hamilton society and why she died alone—though definitely not forgotten by those who loved her.

The purchase link is The Rising Place by David Armstrong.





Character Interview: Willard Bean from Paul Martin Midden’s novel, ‘Riley’

character interviews logo

We’re thrilled to have here today Willard from Midden’s new Novel, Riley.  Willard is a middle-aged man living in Washington D.C.

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

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

I do think I was fairly portrayed overall. This was important to me, since I was in hot water with a lot of the other characters around me. But I thought the author did well by me. There were some rocky times, but I think in the end he treated me fairly.

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

Riley FRONT COVER hi-res            I think so. He may have dwelled a bit too much on the OCD that some think is such a prominent part of my personality. It’s not debilitating, mind you, and it can be a useful part of my life.  But still . . . I think some people will think it’s . . . I don’t know . . . embarrassing a little. It is for me. But really, who cares how neatly I keep my apartment?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Doggedness. When I get a case, I am on it like the proverbial dog with a bone. I can’t stand loose ends—there’s that OCD again—and it is just natural for me to follow all leads until I am satisfied. And I am not easily satisfied.

Worse trait?

Sometimes I trip over my own feet. Not physically so often, but I tend to overthink things sometimes and make . . . um . . . ill-advised choices. For instance, there was a time when I talked myself out of being with the woman I loved. It’s hard to get over that. [Shakes his head.] The things I do to myself sometimes . . .

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 think somebody with gravitas combined with a capacity for nuance. Jude Law or Colin Firth perhaps, or Johnny Depp.

Do you have a love interest in the book?


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

Just between you and me, I was worried about another character harming himself; killing himself even. I worried about that for a long time. There are lots of ways to hurt yourself, and I could not stop thinking about all the bad things that could happen.

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?

The one I was just talking about. Truthfully he reminded me of myself when I was younger: smart, responsible, but a little . . . um . . . untested. A little anxious. A little fragile. It was hard going through my younger years; I have never had a desire to repeat them.

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

I could not be happier. For me it worked out as well as could be expected. It was tough going for a while, but I was dogged and did my part. You know: you can’t really control other people. There was some tragedy involved, but it was not my doing…

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

Be nicer to me.

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

Don’t know. That’s not up to me.



Paul Martin Midden is the author of five previous novels, each of which explores different writing styles. He practiced clinical psychology for over thirty years. Paul’s interests include historic restoration, travel, fitness, and wine tasting. He and his wife Patricia renovated an 1895 Romanesque home in 1995 and continue to enjoy urban living. Visit his website:

About the Book:

            When Riley Cotswald, a writer at work on her second novel, finally leaves her husband, she gets way more than she bargained for. Her characters’ lives echo her own dilemmas, and she feels a kinship to them as they come alive on her desktop. Her best friend Jennifer does not understand this but loves Riley. Maybe too much.

​After a particularly infuriating conversation with her husband Cameron, Riley impulsively gets involved with Edward, a socially-challenged man who had asked her out once, only to be rejected. When Riley runs into him again, she takes out her rage and frustration in a way that delights and intoxicates Edward but was a one-time event for Riley. Edward looks for ways to pursue the relationship but is frustrated at every turn. He begins to stalk Riley and then resorts to the Dark Web to find ways to retaliate against her. What follows is complicated, intense, and completely unforeseen.

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Character Interview: Karen Wilkes from James D. Bell’s legal thriller, ‘Maximilian’s Treasure’

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Karen Wilkes from James D. Bell’s new legal thriller, Maximilian’s Treasure.  Karen is a 26-year-old paralegal living in Jackson, Mississippi.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Karen.  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?

Karen:  Judge Bell is not going to read this, is he?  I don’t want him to think that I believe he fell short in his description of me.  He really did about as good a job as a man can do describing what I was thinking and feeling.  But any woman can tell you a man has no idea what we are really thinking!

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Maximilian’s Treasure is such an emotional rollercoaster, so many highs and lows.  Just imagine what you would be thinking when you know deep in your heart that you have found the perfect man, and you hear him fawning over another woman.

Excuse me.  I still get emotional just thinking about it.

I know John and I were never an item, but I thought it was just a matter of time before he would discover the truth that he couldn’t live without me.  After all we are not just a good team; we are the best.  He didn’t win all those cases by himself you know.  I just couldn’t believe he would be so foolish as to fall for some blond bombshell reporter. How could he be so shallow?  I decided to leave before I said something I would regret.  I moved to another city, hoping he would never find me.  I can’t wait to tell you what happened next. …

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

Karen:  I’m a strong, smart, fiercely loyal woman with a passionate desire to help others.  That’s why I became a paralegal.  I really feel for the people who seek our help.  They bring us their biggest problems and they count on us to find solutions.  Nothing compares to the feeling I get when I know we’ve truly helped someone.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Karen:  I’m loyal to a fault and I’ve learned to trust my instincts.  For instance, that new guy in the office, Peter; I felt there was something odd about him.  I didn’t trust him.  When you read the book, let me know if you think I was right about him.

Worse trait?

Karen:  Like I said, I’m loyal to a fault.  That, along with my passion to help people, gets me in trouble.  My heart is in everything I do.  That helps me do my best, but it exposes my heart to being broken, do you know what I mean?  Oh, and I do have a temper.  My dad always blamed it on my red hair.  I blame it on John!  He is too blind to see true love!

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!)?

Karen:  I’m thinking Rachel Bilson, or Emma Stone, or maybe Rachel Brosnahan.  It’s got to be someone smart with a strong personality, and she must be drop-dead beautiful, of course.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Karen:  Well, I don’t want to say too much, but let me tell you about B.H. Sutton!  That’s a real man.  He is smart, loyal, good-looking, strong, and he knows a good thing when he sees it.

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

Karen:  You probably would think I would say when we were run off the road, or when the deputy arrested us, or when John’s houseboat blew up.  But the time I was most nervous was at the wedding.  B.H. and I were holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes when John burst into the room.  That took the cake.

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?

Karen:  I can tell you it wouldn’t be Sandy.  I thought we were friends, but not after the way she went after John.  I would trade places with Natalia.  She is smart, brave, dangerously beautiful and lives a life of adventure, traveling around the world with a mysterious secret agenda.   She casts a spell over men with her exotic looks.  When the need arises, she is ready to step up and be a leader.  I could do that!

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

Karen:  I haven’t caught my breath yet.  So much happens so fast.  Everything is so interconnected.  It’s proof that we don’t live in some protected little bubble surrounding our own little world.  What happens far away matters here and what happened long ago matters now.  Everything you do has impact, for good or for bad, further and longer than you can imagine.

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

Karen:  Each of Judge Bell’s stories has a purpose, a moral to the story.  I hope he continues to write with purpose.  And he should emphasis me in his next book!

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

Karen:  Of course!  Everyone knows that the paralegal is the essential character in any law novel or law office.  Frankly, if Judge Bell doesn’t give me a leading role in his next book, I may write my own.  By the way, here’s some inside information.  Be on the lookout for the next novel, Whom Shall I Send?  It’s a romantic adventure.  I bet you can’t guess who he’s sending.


James D. Bell is an award-winning author and retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America and Top 100 Attorneys of North America.  He is the author of two novels, Vampire Defense and Maximilian’s Treasure.  His short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, was published in Dog Stories for the Soul, alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris and others.  The son of a Choctaw mother and a Mississippi businessman, Judge Bell is devoted to his wife, Joanne.  They live in Brandon, Mississippi and have four children.  Judge Bell practices law in Jackson, Mississippi, but is frequently called back to the bench by the Mississippi Supreme Court for short term assignments. Visit the author’s website at

The Story behind ‘Fortunate Son: the Story of Baby Boy Francis’ by Brooks Eason

The Story Behind the Book

Sometimes a person knows he wants to be an author but has a hard time deciding what to write. Sometimes it’s just the opposite, and a person who has no intention of becoming an author learns a story he feels compelled to write. In my case I was already an author and then  a story came along that I felt compelled to write. I had written one book, Travels with Bobby – Hiking in the Mountains of the American West. I knew I wanted to write another one, and an amazing true story that demanded to be written fell into my lap.
I was adopted as an infant, had wonderful parents, never searched for my birth mother, and never would have. But fifteen years ago I learned that Julie Francis was my birth mother as a result of litigation that lawyers pursued in four courts in two states in…

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TETRASTATUM by Dr. Richard & Tim Smith

Author: Dr. Richard & Tim Smith
Publisher: Epigraph Publishing
Pages: 300
Genre: Time Travel Thriller


In their debut novel TETRASTATUM, authors Dr. Richard and Tim Smith combine heady concepts about the universe with a thrilling science fiction story about the search for a new kind of time travel. The result is a stunning mixture of dense cosmology and old-fashioned storytelling that will appeal to a wide readership, from science professionals to lay fans of science fiction.

“Dr. Richard” and “Tim Smith” are the pseudonyms of Dr. Richard Connor and Marcus Rodriguez, respectively.

TETRASTATUM (‘the fourth state’) is the culmination of my 30 years working in the field of photonics,” Dr. Richard says. “I am an avid reader of sci-fi, and I wanted to create a new type of work that is both educational and entertaining in the genre. TETRASTATUM gives the reader a unique understanding of the existing laws of physics and extends them to provoke further thought from novice readers as well as advanced experts in the field.”

Kirkus Reviews notes that “authors Dr. Richard and Smith … tell their cerebral story with a heady mix of dense theory and absurdist humor.”

The Independent Review of Books declares:  “TETRASTATUM is like nothing you have ever read before. This is an impressive work of science fiction …”

The San Francisco Book Review adds that, “These recurring themes of characterization and distortion feed into the concern that is being voiced over the current state of our political climate…The layering of these themes is ultimately what gives TETRASTATUM a relevance that will keep readers turning pages and asking questions.”

“The book ultimately explains how human perceptions alter the future and puts forth a model based on quantum physics to explain ‘reality’,” Dr. Richard continues.  He calls science fiction “the perfect genre to explore socio-political ideas within the context of futuristic technologies and scientific theories.”

Dr. Richard and Smith are currently working with Norith Soth on adapting TETRASTATUM into a screenplay. Mr. Soth has penned work for Justin Lin (“Fast and Furious”), Stephen Chin (“War Dogs”), and Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead”).


Amazon →

Book Excerpt:

“Well, Dr. Smith, your colleague…uhm, whom you claim is watching us on some monitor-type device, has quite an imagination.  Images, imagination, create that which brings wonder into the realm of understanding.  I concede that I didn’t contemplate the idea of two spheres and two sets of waves when I derived my equations.  I missed the duality, nature’s constant.  But I confirm that this appears to be mathematically accurate and a plausible theory as to the nature of reality, itself.”  –Dr. Erwin Schrödinger

About the Author

Dr. Richard has been involved in the field of Photonics for over 30 years. He received his BA in physics (honors) from the University of California Fullerton. He was in a full scholarship PhD program in physics at the University of California Irvine and a PhD program in philosophy at Claremont Graduate School. Dr. Richard completed his two dissertations (involving human interpretations of laser and electro-optical images) while under top secret clearance. He also has an advanced placement teaching credential, an advanced certification (from the University of Wisconsin) in laser and optical design; and other advanced certifications in fiber optics, computer programming, technology business development, financial products, dance, anatomy and physiology.





Character Interview: Josie Kendal from Michael Bowen’s political thriller ‘False Flag in Autumn’

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have you her today, Josie, from Michael Bowen’s new political thriller, False Flag in Autumn.  Josie is a twenty-eight year old political communications specialist living in Washington, D.C.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Josie.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight without your readers?

I think Bowen pretty much nailed me.  I’m not a saint.  When I die the topic of canonization will not come up.  But I’ve only done one thing that I’m truly ashamed of, and he let me show my remorse for that.  I didn’t realize that I used naughty words as freely as I apparently do, but I have to admit, when I saw them there on the page they sounded like me.  It’s kind of a lazy habit that I fell into almost casually when I started working in Washington.  Bowen seems to think False Flag in Autumn is a redemption story, but to tell you the truth I’m not sure I need redemption all that much.  A lot of politics is like a spikes-high slide into second base:  it ain’t pretty – but that’s the way the game is played.  You can play the game that way, or you can sit on the sideline polishing your halo.  I want to be in the game.

False Flag in Autumn.jpgDo you feel the author did a good job of colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Well, I do like cocktails (especially when my husband, Rafe, makes them), and even though I’ve been (mostly) smoke-free for three years now, sometimes it’s a struggle to hang onto the “mostly.”  I like having to think fast and I like getting it right when I do.  And I do desperately love Rafe, and cherish both our intellectual sympatico and our sexual intimacy.  Bowen is right about all that stuff.  Bowen seems a little judgmental about me at times – I’m sure I picked up a subtly disapproving tone when he had me refer to “casual hook-ups that I got over when I was 20”.  I guess that’s because deep down he’s as crazy about me as Rafe is – and who could blame him for that?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Self-awareness.  I’m spunky but I’m not particularly brave, and I know it.  My mind is fast but it’s not deep, and I know that, too.  I’m pretty smart, but I’m not wise, at least not yet.  All I have to do to excite male sexual desire is breathe, and I’ve been known to use that gift teasingly. 

Worst trait?

I sometimes fall into the trap of kidding myself.  I spend all day spinning politicians and reporters, and sometimes when I look back on something that didn’t go well, I realize that I was spinning myself without realizing it (until it was too late).

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

Nicole Kidman.  With a glossy black wig and a little Creole make-up, she could play me perfectly, and even flashback to my student days at Tulane and my early internships in Washington if she had to. 

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Absolutely:  my husband, Rafe.  Charm, good looks, brains, guts – he’s more than twenty years older than I am, but he’s the whole package.  Rafe’s first wife died while she was pregnant with what would have been their first child, and I think that tragedy really deepened him.  When I first started working full-time in D.C., I treated the available males as a buffet.  Then, when I met Rafe, I realized that I’d been playing triple-A ball.  Rafe was my introduction to the major leagues.

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

When a White House aide showed me two personnel files with CI (“Congressional Influence”) stamped on them, and then winked at me.  I knew he wanted to use me as an unwitting pawn in a scheme that had “special prosecutor” written all over it, and I had no idea what the scheme was.  I knew right then I should just walk away – but I’m hard-wired not to walk away from heavy duty political action.

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?

Hank Sinclair, the White House aide.  He’s so breathtakingly handsome that he’s always had his way with women, and that has led him into some very bad habits.  Much, much worse, he’s book-smart but not gut-smart.  That’s a bad combination almost anywhere, but in Washington it can be fatal – literally fatal.

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

Bittersweet.  I found out something important about myself that maybe I’d rather have not known.  I guess it’s good to know, but there are times when I miss the illusion.

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

Maybe treat my occasional introspection the way you treat sex between me and Rafe:  just a hint here and there, and leave the rest to the readers’ imaginations.  Readers are smart.  They won’t have any trouble connecting the dots.

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

Let’s see what happens between now and November, 2020.  Depending on how things turn out, Bowen may be working with characters who sip sherry with the village vicar by then.



Michael Bowen is a retired trial lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School who has published nineteen mysteries, ranging from Washington crime stories to plucky couple puzzle mysteries (and sometimes  both at the same time).

About your book and purchase link:   False Flag in Autumn is available as both an ebook and in hard cover from amazon.  Fine bookstores can also order it through Ingram – and who knows, maybe some of them already have.

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