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Character Interview: Des Fairweather from Jane Tesh’s fantasy novel, Butterfly Waltz

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Des Fairweather from Jane Tesh’s new fantasy, Butterfly Waltz.  Des is a 27 year old musician living in Parkland, North Carolina.

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

Butterfly_C1_2Thank you so for this interview, Des.  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 very glad you invited me!  I do feel I was fairly portrayed in this book, although I wish I had been braver at the beginning and willing to take more chances.  But it all worked out in the end.

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

When you talk about colorizing personality my author actually works with colors.  She tells me my name is a combination of gray, blue, and green, while Jake’s, my best friend in the story, is a contrasting black, red, and yellow.  I thought she might be a little out there with this, but she discovered there is a condition called synesthesia, which a lot of writers have, where they see letters as colors. She likes to have a balance of colors in all her books.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I like to think I can help people who are in trouble.

Worse trait?

Sometimes I wish I could refuse Jake when he pesters me to join him tracking down his wild tabloid stories, but it’s hard for me to say no when a friend asks for my help.

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!)?

This is a very hard question!  I’ve been told I have soulful eyes, so an actor who looks like a younger Robert Downy, Jr., might be the one.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

In this story, I fall in love with an amazingly beautiful young woman who inspires me to write music. But she’s a magical creature, and I have a great fear and distrust of magic.

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

I was okay until I walked into this perfectly innocent-looking forest that abruptly closed around me, and I was attacked by a huge snake.  I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this situation.  I’m still not sure exactly what happened.

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?

Jake’s lifestyle would drive me crazy.  He’s brash, loud, and believes in everything: UFOs, ghosts, zombies, you name it.  He lives his life at high speed and doesn’t mind breaking the rules.  I’m a rule-follower who needs peace and quiet.

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

I don’t recall much of the ending, except that I’m writing more music.  I think you’ll see why when you read the book.

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

My author has told me my story is over, but if she ever decided to write another, I’d ask her to help me stop worrying.  Of course, she’s a big worrier, so I know where that comes from!

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

I appear briefly or I’m mentioned in my brothers’ books.  Jerry’s having all sorts of adventures with his wife, Madeline, in the Madeline Maclin Mystery series, and the author’s at work on Tucker’s story, which will be another fantasy.

I’ve enjoyed this!  Thanks for having me on Beyond the Books.



Visit Jane’s website at and her Facebook page,  You can also find her on Goodreads, Amazon’s Author Central,

Her blog is


When he helps his friend Jake Brenner, a tabloid writer on the hunt for a big supernatural story, Des Fairweather is swept up in a world of mystery and intrigue.  Despite his skepticism of the validity of the stories Jake is seeking, Des reluctantly accompanies Jake on his latest adventure—all with the promise that Jake can help Des secure an audition with the city symphony, a break Des desperately needs.

When Jake’s search takes the two out to the country to investigate an unusual phenomenon at the Snowden estate, Des encounters a startlingly beautiful young woman who claims to be magical.  That young woman is Kalida, a mysterious creature who has escaped from the people of the Caverns and renounced their evil ways.  But when Kalida is discovered, her people will stop at no end to get her to return to their world. Will Des be able to cast aside his fears in order to save Kalida….before it’s too late?

A mesmerizing tale that blends music, mystery and magic, Butterfly Waltz charms with its enchanting storyline and compelling characters. Resplendent with adventure, intrigue, and the allure of the supernatural, Butterfly Waltz is delightful.

Get your copy now on Amazon

Character Interview: Tommy Cucitti from Arnaldo Lopez Jr.’s thriller ‘Chickenhawk’

arnaldo 3We’re thrilled to have here today Tommy Cucitti from Arnaldo Lopez Jr.’s new thriller, Chickenhawk.  Tommy Cucitti is a 34 year old homicide detective living in Long Beach, NY.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Tommy Cucitti.  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? Well, in the book I notice that I’m portrayed as being a little immature and impulsive. It’s just that I like keeping it real, you know what I’m saying? Some people can’t handle that. So I guess that I wasn’t really portrayed fairly but I’m alright with that, I’m still good son.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? Colorizing? What the hell is that? If you’re talking about like, my personality and stuff, then yeah it was okay. Only thing is like I said yo, he made me look a little immature. I’m a grown-assed man! Yeah, he should have taken that into consideration when he was “colorizing” my personality, you know, make me a little more serious about things. He got my love for Hip-Hop down right though!

What do you believe is your strongest trait? I’m a damn good cop.

Worse trait? Uh, I do have a temper.

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!)? Yo, Channing Tatum of course!

Do you have a love interest in the book? Yeah, my girl Daphne. She’s hot!

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? At the part where me and my partner Eddie get transferred to the D.A.’s office.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? I would definitely not want to be that fat, greasy, nasty S.O.B. Bob Avni, for all of the reasons that I just now mentioned.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? The ending is real son! This go down in true New York fashion with plenty of gunplay and fists being thrown! I just feel kinda bad because of how me and Eddie end up but it’s all good.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it? Make me the main character next time and give me more love scenes with my girl!

Thank you for this interview, Tommy Cucitti.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future? Oh absolutely! From what I understand the author is busy working on the next novel with me in it!



Arnaldo Lopez Jr. has been employed by New York City Transit  for twenty-eight years and was formerly employed as a dispatcher with the NYPD.  Mr. Lopez is also a speaker and trainer, speaking on subjects as diverse as terrorism and customer service.  He created the civilian counter-terrorism training program currently in use by New York City Transit and many other major public transportation agencies around the country.

As well as writing, Mr. Lopez is an artist and photographer, having sold several of his works over the years.  As a writer he’s sold articles to Railway Age magazine, The Daily News magazine, Homeland Defense Journal, and Reptile & Amphibian magazine; scripts to Little Archie and Personality Comics; and short stories to Neo-Opsis magazine, Lost Souls e-zine, Nth Online magazine, Blood Moon magazine, and various other Sci-Fi and/or horror newsletters and fanzines.  He was also editor of Offworld, a small science fiction magazine that was once chosen as a “Best Bet” by Sci-Fi television.  Chickenhawk is his first novel.

Connect with Arnaldo Lopez Jr. on Facebook and Twitter.


Title: Chickenhawk

Genre: Thriller

Author: Arnaldo Lopez Jr.

Publisher: Koehler Books/Café Con Leche books

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Chickenhawk is an urban crime fiction novel that showcases New York City’s diversity, as well as the dark side of race relations, politics, sexuality, illness, madness, and infidelity. Eddie Ramos and Tommy Cucitti are Manhattan North Homicide detectives after a serial killer that manages to stay below their radar while the body count keeps climbing in a city that’s turning into a powder keg.

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

character interviewTitle: Turning To Stone

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Author: Gabriel Valjan


Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing

Purchase link:

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you believe is your strongest trait?


Worse trait?

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

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

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

Do you have a love interest in the book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

author pic

About the Author:

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

Connect with Gabriel Valjan on the web:



Twitter: @GValjan


Pinterest boards for the Roma Series books

Book 4: Turning To Stone |

Book 3: Threading the Needle |

Books 2: Wasp’s Nest  |

Book 1: Roma, Underground  |

Character Interview: Commander Truchaud from R.M. Cartmel’s mystery, The Charlemagne Connection

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Commander Truchaud from Dick Cartmel’s new mystery, The Charlemagne Connection. Commander Truchaud is a 45 year old police detective from Nuits-Saint-Georges, currently on leave there from his post in the National Police in Paris, the capital of France. It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Connect with the author on the web:

Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Amazon

RMCARTMEL_GARDENBB: Thank you so for this interview, Commander. 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? 

CT: I think so yes. Certainly the narrative is an accurate description of what actually happened, and he has described the feel of the middle of high summer on the Côte.

BB: What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

CT: I am a very thoughtful policeman. I wouldn’t have reached the rank of Commander if I wasn’t. That’s similar to being a Captain over here.

BB: Worst trait? 

CT: People tell me I’m not really a people person. I don’t really know what they mean by that.

BB: 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!)? 

CT: Of course I would say someone like George Clooney, but if you were then to ask me why, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea! If you want someone like me to play me who wasn’t me, I might say someone like Thierry Godard from the French Series Engrenages. But then I’m not really like Gilou at all. Maybe it should be someone like Clark Gregg who plays Agent Coulson in Agents of Shield or Ben Miller in Death in Paradise, are probably more like me, yes I think Ben Miller in that role.

BB: Do you have a love interest in the book? 

CT: Er, Yes I suppose I do. You’re not doing to discuss this with my superiors are you? I think my thoughts about one of the junior officers in the book are singularly inappropriate for a Commander.

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

CT: When the author described me looking at that officer’s knees. I was afraid he was going to go off at a tangent into some fantasy world of his own. We were at a potential crime scene, for heaven’s sake, and there was this author apparently concentrating on a police officer’s legs. I thought we ere going to have a fairly major row at that point.

Charlemagne_cover_webBB: 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? 

CT: Well fairly obviously the victim. Why? Because the victim won’t ever get to taste the wine that is being made during the course of the book, some of which I can assure you is exquisite.

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

CT: If I gave anything away, I have a sneaking feeling the author would be most upset, but what do I feel about it? Wistful, I suppose, would best describe it, but then we’re not talking about the solution of the book, we’re talking about the ending. What’s the difference? You’re going to have to read it and see.

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

CT: Interesting way of putting it. I sincerely hope he does so, this is the second book of a trilogy, and it can’t be a trilogy unless there are three of them! The first book, {The Richebourg Affair} is set in the spring. This one is set in the high summer, and the third one that he tells me he is writing now is set during the vintage, where they harvest the grapes and make the wine. So what words of advice would I give him? Do the research and get it right.

BB: Thank you for this interview, Commander Truchaud. Will we be seeing more of you in the future? 

CT: If you invite me, I will try my very best to get here, it’s been great fun.

Book Review: ‘Death Is Always a Resident,’ by Lorraine Jeffery

Death-is-Always-a-Resident-Ecover_9781462124763_FULL (1)Jan Myers is a widowed mom and director of the Forest Hills Skilled Nursing Facility in Ohio. One day she receives an unexpected visit from Detective Pollander from the Columbus Police Department, asking unsettling questions about a Mr. Packard Nickle, who used to be a resident but had suffered a heart attack and died recently.

Jan and the staff are disturbed by the detective’s visit, especially after he begins interrogating the nurses and aides.

Soon the reason for the detective’s visit becomes obvious: there’s been either negligence or murderous intent surrounding Mr. Nickel’s death, and the whole facility is put under the microscope, especially Jan, who’s the director. It turns out the victim was a very difficult and demanding man, and most nurses and residents would have cheerfully strangled him. Jan won’t be able to get any job in Ohio when he’s through. The list of suspects begins to pile up, and it’s up to Jan to investigate the case, especially now that she’s also a suspect…and someone wants her dead.

Death Is Always a Resident is a well written cozy mystery that kept me turning pages and wondering who the killer was until the end. Jan Myers is a likable protagonist, a kind, hard-working woman with problems of her own, with a high sense of justice and integrity. Her mother and her daughter are secondary characters that add flavor to the story.

The setting was very real to me, making me think that the author either did her research well or has experience with nursing facilities. This is the type of tale where the police stay sort of in the background while the civilian protagonist investigates on her own. The pacing felt right for this cozy–not too quick like a suspense thriller, yet not too slow to drag. There’s also a sprinkle of romance for good measure. In short, it is a nicely written, well-structured and plotted little mystery. I look forward to reading more books from this debut novelist!

Purchase from Amazon.

My review originally appeared on Blogcritics

Character Interview: Joseph Dangelo from Robert Lane’s mystery, Cooler Than Blood

Cover ArtWe’re thrilled to have here today Joseph Dangelo from Robert Lane’s new mystery, Cooler Than Blood.  Joseph Dangelo is a 44-year old business owner living in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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

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

I don’t read books; such a tedious exercise. But I want to take this opportunity to say that I run clean, legitimate businesses. We do not tolerate or endorse violence. If everyone understands that, then we should have no problems.

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

‘Colorizing my personality.’ Okay, that’s a good one. Listen, I’m a family man. I got a daughter. She means the world to me. I hope that’s how that nut case, Travis, portrayed me, because nothing is as important as family. Travis? I think he understands that. I think he understands a lot.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My family and my businesses.

Worse trait? 

My family and my businesses. They’re my only traits. Capise?  They have to be both traits.

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!)? 

You seen Frozen? My daughter, she teaches third grade, took her whole class to see it. Made me watch it. Not bad for a ‘toon. Maybe one of those cartoon characters could do me. I don’t want any flesh and blood pretending to be me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

You listening? My family and my businesses.

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

Again…I don’t know about the book, but I can tell you this: when Travis slammed me against the wall in my condo because he thought I insinuated that, well…you know…I knew his girlfriend, Kathleen? Was I nervous? Yeah. But—and he doesn’t know this, which is going to kill him because that smart-aleck thinks he knows everything—I was eating a cashew and it got stuck in my throat. So he’s thinking he’s putting the fear of god in me, and I’m thinking, I hope I don’t choke on this thing.

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? 

There’s this one guy and he’s cooked, you know. Way over his head. A shame, really. But he did it to himself. Don’t we all?

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

I don’t know how the book ended, but I can tell you about the last time I saw Jake Travis. I can—but I won’t.

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

Leave me out. I’ve got businesses to run.

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

You know I live in downtown St. Petersburg unless I get called back to Chicago. You seen the winters there? Travis is only fifteen minutes from me and that guy gets involved in some nasty stuff. I don’t know how he ended our story, but I’d be surprised if it’s the end of our story.




Genre: Mystery

Author: Robert Lane


Publisher: Mason Alley

Purchase on Amazon

18-year-old Jenny Spencer is missing after a violent nighttime encounter on a Florida beach. Jenny’s aunt, Susan Blake, asks wisecracking PI Jake Travis to investigate.

Susan and Jake had only spent one dinner together, but both felt an instant, overpowering attraction. Jake walked away.  After all, he was—and is—committed to Kathleen.  But having Susan in his life again could be dangerous:   dangerous in more ways than one.

As Jake and his partner, Garrett Demarcus, close in on finding Jenny, they uncover a shocking secret in Kathleen’s past.  Even more shocking is that Kathleen and Jenny’s life are strangely intertwined.

For Jake, this case may hit way too close to home—and what started as a race to find Jenny could become a fight to protect Kathleen.

As the case heats up and the danger escalates, Jake is forced to examine his moral boundaries.  How far is he willing to go for the woman he loves?   At what cost?  And what about that question that has dogged him since the beginning of the case: was there another person on the beach that night?


WinterSpring 2008 399


Robert Lane resides on Florida’s west coast.  He is also the author of The Second Letter.

Interview with E.M. Powell, author of The Blood of the Fifth Knight

E.M. PowellE.M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller The Fifth Knight, which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in the northwest of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society (HNS), International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America, as well as a reviewer of fiction and nonfiction for the HNS.

Her latest book is the historical mystery/thriller, THE BLOOD OF THE FIFTH KNIGHT.

For More Information

About the Book:

The Blood of the Fifth KnightEngland, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for her failed attempt to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.

Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.

As Palmer races to secure his King’s throne, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and worthy sequel to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

For More Information

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

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is the sequel to my bestselling debut, medieval thriller The Fifth Knight. So I wouldn’t quite describe myself as multi-published-yet!

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

I had a very unusual route to debut publication. Thanks to my agent, the peerless Josh Getzler at HSG, The Fifth Knight was signed by Thomas & Mercer as a Kindle Serial in 2012. Kindle Serials were an Amazon program where books were published in episodes (in my case, six), each two weeks apart. The episodes were downloaded automatically to buyers’ Kindles. There was a discussion board for each episode and I gained loyal readers. The Serial version sold really well, and then was released as a complete book.

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

The first episode went out a month after signing. I said it was an unusual route!

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

Pretty much stunned! I had been writing and trying to get published for ten years. Signing with an agent in 2012 was such a huge milestone for me. Then to get an offer in October, and then to have my story out there in November felt surreal. It was also strange in that I couldn’t actually get hold of the book while it went out as episodes. Kindle Serials were only available in the US, and I’m in the UK. But my arms hurt. From pinching myself. A lot.

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

I mentioned the discussion boards for Kindle Serials. So talking to readers and engaging with them was the first tangible thing. How lovely was that? Getting feedback about each stage of my story was very exciting. But I had to be really, really careful about spoilers. That was fine at the start. But as the book went further on, it was tricky at times to remember exactly which events fitted into which episode. I consulted my notes so much!

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

Getting published has definitely boosted my confidence. I have also found my market, which is for medieval thrillers and mysteries. That in turn has helped to target my research in finding unusual (sometimes gruesome!) aspects of history.

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

The support and generosity of readers and other writers alike. I mean those people who take time out of their own busy lives to help support and spread the word about my books. It happens time and time again and it genuinely never fails to amaze me. I hope I reciprocate, but I always feel like I’m in debt.

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

Hearing from readers who have loved my books. I’m an avid reader and the feeling of getting lost in a book, where the world fades away, is second to none. To think that I have done that for someone else is genuinely humbling and the absolute reward for me as a writer.

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

Learn your craft. You wouldn’t expect to pick up a block of wood and carve it into a perfect, tiny version of the Statue of Liberty on your first attempt. But some folks can. Because they’re spent a long, long time learning to choose the right wood, the right tools. Rejecting clumsy versions. Cutting their fingers on the blade. Having their attempts crack or splinter because they carved wrongly. Yet they do it over and over again, learning all they can, until they produce the finished article. It’s the same with novel writing. So learn the craft. And never, ever give up. You’ll get there!

First Chapter Reveal: Shadows in the Fog by Greg Messel

Shadows in the Fog 4Title: Shadows in the Fog
Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Pages: 353
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

The story begins on a stormy morning in February of 1959. The front page of the morning paper is dominated by news of the plane crash which killed rock ’n roll stars Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens.

Private Eye Sam Slater is hired to perform what he thinks is a routine two-day job as a favor for a friend. However, it all goes terribly wrong when a young San Francisco policeman is gunned down while sitting in a parked car with Sam.

The murder sets off a chain of events which will pull Sam and his wife and partner, Amelia, into a dangerous web of intrigue in the dark, shadowy alleys and back rooms of San Francisco’s Chinatown.

In the winter of 1959, Amelia resigns as a TWA stewardess and is now Sam’s full time partner in the private eye business.

Sam and Amelia inadvertently come in conflict with the San Francisco mob boss after helping a crusading newspaper reporter who is working to expose corruption in Chinatown. Now a mysterious dark car follows the Slaters every where they go. Sam and Amelia discover a hidden world of corrupt cops, gambling parlors, brothels and human trafficking exists right under their noses.

At the same time, a rising California politician hires Sam and Amelia to find his daughter who disappeared without a trace three years earlier. The search is prompted by the sudden appearance of a letter from the woman, who was presumed dead.

As Sam and Amelia pursue these cases, they discover that all the clues lead them back to Chinatown. The Slaters want to avoid taking on the San Francisco crime lords head-on. However, when Amelia is kidnapped in an alley during the Chinese New Year’s celebration, Sam plunges himself into danger desperately searching Chinatown to find her before it’s too late.

The reader will be drawn into fast moving events which culminate in a harrowing conclusion as Sam Slater races against the clock on a foggy night in Chinatown.

“Shadows In The Fog” is the fifth book in the the award winning Sam Slater Mysteries Series but is a stand-alone thriller in the tradition of great whodunits.

First Chapter:

Baby-faced San Francisco Police Detective Charlie Young sat at dusk in Golden Gate Park in his 1955 light blue Ford Fairlane awaiting the arrival of private eye Sam Slater.

Charlie’s boyish face reflected his angst as he absent-mindedly bit his lower lip and clenched his jaw. Young unfastened the top button on his white shirt and loosened his tie. He felt like he was choking to death.

He bounced his right leg in a kind of jitterbug move as was his nervous habit. Charlie was like a coiled spring ready to explode as he sat in his car parked at the curb on the winding two lane road outside the Conservatory of Flowers.

The sun began to disappear into the Pacific Ocean, which was not visible but just a few miles to the west of the park beyond the trees. Long shadows fell on the park and in a few minutes it would be dark.

Clenching and unclenching his fists, Charlie scanned the area for any suspicious people lurking in the fading light. He had a nagging feeling, in spite of the precautions he had taken, that out there in the darkness, someone was watching. His eyes darted from side to side as he checked the rear view mirror for any sign of Sam. The sidewalks and the lush lawns surrounding the landmark conservatory were largely deserted at this hour on a winter evening.

He glanced at his watch. Sam should arrive at any minute.

Then without warning, Charlie was temporarily blinded by some headlights in his rear view mirror as a car emerged out of the darkness.

Sam pulled his red and white 1957 Chevy in behind the cop’s car and killed the headlights. Charlie blinked his eyes to try to adjust to the reduced illumination.

Sam opened the passenger side door of Young’s Fairlane and slid into the front seat.

“Hello Mr. Slater, thanks for meeting me here,” Charlie said in greeting.

Sam seemed unnerved. “Why are we meeting here? I don’t like meeting on a dark street in the park.”

“I understand sir, but I’m afraid I’m being watched. I thought it was best that we meet under the cover of darkness. This is an isolated area of the park and I can see in both directions.” Sam disagreed and looked askance at the skittish cop sitting behind the wheel fidgeting and obsessively checking his rear view mirror.

“We could be sitting in my office in complete privacy with the door closed—safe and sound, but you refused…whatever…let’s just get this over with.”

Sam was anxious to rid himself of Charlie Young and his problems. He hadn’t wanted to take this job anyway. The troubled young cop was worried that his wife was seeing another man. Sam hated these kinds of jobs and took it only as a favor to his friend, San Francisco Police detective, Vince Marino.

“What did you find out, Mr. Slater? I mean what’s going on with Eve? What’s she doing all day?”

“I really don’t think you have anything to worry about concerning your wife,” Sam began, but the cop didn’t seem to be listening because he was distracted by a slow-moving car that suddenly flashed its high beams into the Charlie’s car. As the car drew closer, its headlights blasted into their eyes obscuring their vision.

Sam shielded his eyes to try to see the car, which veered out of the traffic lane and pulled up so close to the cop’s car that the driver’s side doors almost touched. Sam would later recall that the cop acted like he knew the person in the car because Charlie began to roll down his window. It was as if they were planning to talk.

Charlie only partially lowered his window before a hand holding a gun emerged from the approaching car.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

An explosion of gunfire riddled Charlie’s car, shattering the windows.

Five shots rang out in rapid succession. The young cop took the brunt of the gunfire and convulsed as the bullets slammed into his head and upper body. Sam scrambled for cover and tried to dive onto the floor of the car, but he didn’t fit, so he opened the passenger side door and rolled out on the damp grass by the curb.

Sam heard the squealing of tires as the gunman’s car drove away into the darkness. He never got a look at the assailant from his position on the grass next to the car.

Sam’s face and overcoat were covered with blood and he felt sure that he had been hit. He sensed it. Sam had seen a lot of men shot during the war and his own time in combat terminated when he was wounded in Germany.

He was a bloody mess and there had been bullets ricocheting all around the car. He pulled open his topcoat and feared the worst when he discovered blood splattered all over his suit jacket. Sam frantically looked for the source of all the blood in the faint light provided by the streetlight and the interior light of the car.

It was then that he found a bullet hole in his bloody raincoat just over his heart.

He pulled back his raincoat and saw a similar hole in his suit coat. He had taken a bullet but he was puzzled to see very little blood on his white shirt.

Sam paused to brush away some blood that trickled down into his eye as he reached into his vest pocket to pull out the silver cigarette case that Amelia had given him for Christmas. The cigarette case was dented by a round from the assailant’s gun and had potentially saved Sam’s life.

Sam collapsed onto the damp grass and breathed a sigh of relief. He had escaped a potentially life threatening shot by just inches and a twist of fate.

Sam peered into the young cop’s car which was covered with blood. Charlie was slumped on his side and not moving. Sam crawled on his hands and knees to try to re-enter the car to see if he could help Charlie but it was obviously too late.

The cop had been shot in the jaw on the left side of his face and Sam could also see a wound in his neck gushing blood. Charlie’s glassy eyes stared into the darkness. He was already dead.

“What happened here?” a voice said, startling Sam said.

He turned to find a man in a raincoat and hat standing on the sidewalk behind him.

“This man has been shot. He’s a San Francisco Policeman. I need you to call the cops and an ambulance.”

“Are you all right?”

“I’m not sure. Just hurry!”

The man in the raincoat hustled toward a phone booth just outside the observatory. Sam was bewildered by the sudden turn of events. It was supposed to be a routine report about the cop’s wife.

Sam never got to deliver good news for the Charlie Young. His wife wasn’t cheating on him. The sudden violent attack was the last thing Sam expected at the rendezvous in the park.

Sam felt something wet running down his forehead into his eyes. He swiped at it with the back of his hand and discovered it was blood—the cop’s blood which had been splattered all over Sam in the shooting.

Sam wondered what he must have looked like to the man in the raincoat.

The interior of the car was a gory mess with blood dripping from the interior roof of the car, the driver’s side window shot out and blood splattered on the windshield. Sam looked over his shoulder and saw the man in the raincoat in the phone booth. The police should arrive at any time.

Sam rose to his feet and leaned on the open car door. He tried to clear his head and comprehend what had just occurred.

He was spooked just seconds before the shooting when he saw the car heading towards them with the high beam headlights on. Sam was surprised that the paranoid young cop seemed unfazed by the approaching car. It was like he recognized the car. Suddenly Sam felt a little woozy and tumbled back onto the grass, reclining while he awaited the arrival of the police. He pulled his silver cigarette case out of his pocket and attempted to wipe it clean with his hand. The inscription on the case was “To My Dearest Sam. All My Love, Amelia.”

Sam’s thoughts turned to Amelia. He felt so lucky to be loved by her and the inscription reminded how much he cherished his life with her. A life that nearly ended just moments ago.

The word “Dearest” had been obliterated by the round dent from the bullet. Miraculously, Sam Slater was not lying dead in the front seat next to the young cop.


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

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

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

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

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

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

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

Worse trait?

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

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

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

Do you have a love interest in the book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Evil lurks within…

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


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

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

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

Donna GalantiABOUT DONNA:

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




Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element:
Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect with the author on Facebook Twitter and her Blog.

This profile was originally published in Blogcritics

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