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Book Review: ‘Madison’s Song’ by Christine Amsden

MadisonsSong_medMadison’s Song is the latest addition to theCassie Scot Paranormal Detective fantasy/mystery series. Though not the latest instalment, it is a stand-alone, companion book to the series and, though there are mystery elements in it, it is primarily a romantic fantasy.

So far I’ve read and enjoyed all of the books and this one didn’t disappoint. As usual, Amsden delivers a fast-pace, highly entertaining read with fully sympathetic and compelling characters. This time I was especially swept away by the romance between Madison and Scott.

Madison Carter is a sweet, shy music teacher from a small town. When her brother Clinton’s life is put in danger, she must unwillingly join forces with Scott Lee, a very alluring and dangerous alpha werewolf, to find Clinton and help him. Scott is slave to the moon, a vicious killer and man-eating monster, but he has a soft spot for Madison, whom he was forced to “mark”, make love to, two years ago in order to save her life. Since then, they’ve been bonded in more ways than both are willing to admit. Needless to say, sparks fly from the very beginning. As they follow the trail to Clinton, they find themselves thrown in a secret lab, prisoners of a psychopathic doctor with a very dark agenda. Romance, suspense, mystery, action and thrills abound, and then some.

Fans of the Cassie Scot series and romantic fantasy will gobble this one up. Amsden hooks us from page one and doesn’t let us go until the end. With minimalist descriptions, non-stop action, and skillful characterization, this author delivers a tale that both engages and captivates. I was also impressed by the world building and all the fascinating dynamics about werewolves and their packs. I was able to forget reality and immersed myself into the world of the impossible. Highly recommended!

Visit the author’s website or find out more on Amazon. You can also check out the publisher at Twilight Times Books.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics.

Profile: Christine Amsden, Author of ‘Madison’s Song’

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“Writing has taught me the importance of self-confidence in becoming good at anything,” says Christine Amsden, who, in spite of having been diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision, has gone on to become the award-winning, bestselling author of the Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective fantasy/mystery series published by Twilight Times Books.

“My parents encouraged reading a LOT,” says this speculative fiction writer, who grew up gobbling up The Chronicles of Narnia, The Baby Sitter’s Club, andFlowers in the Attic. “I know they read to me too, but I was an advanced reader at an early age and preferred to read on my own when I could. I have memories of staring at picture books, making up stories about the pictures though I couldn’t understand the words.” At the tender age of 8, she wrote her first short story, about Cabbage Patch Dolls going to Mars. From then on, she wrote fairly consistently until 2003, which marked the beginning of her professional career when she attended a workshop with Orson Scott Card.

Amsden may be legally blind, but she hasn’t allowed that part of her life to stop her from becoming a prolific author, and nowadays she splits her time between writing, freelance editing, and coaching — with a keen focus on writing. She loves to write about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations, giving special attention to people and relationships, her way of making science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. “I will continue to marry romance with speculative fiction because I simply love both genres,” states the author. “I love a good character story. I think character is more important than just about anything else, and a great character will have me reading any genre at all and loving it. I get a lot of people telling me that they like my books even though they ‘don’t normally read stuff like that.’ I think it’s because of the characters.”

In what she describes as her messy, cluttered desk, and with a special arm attached to her monitor to help her eyes and back, Amsden creates her stories rich in characterization and world building. Her latest book, Madison’s Song, a companion to her Cassie Scot series, is about a shy young woman who has suffered more than her fair share of betrayal in the past. A friend of Cassie (the only ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers), Madison now gets a chance to prove that she can be more than a plump, shy sidekick. When her brother’s life is in danger, she faces her greatest fear with head held high to save him. The story is equally about Scott, a werewolf who has fallen in love with a woman he doesn’t believe he deserves.

MadisonsSong_medAmsden’s writing style is straightforward and conversational, which is probably why most readers and reviewers describe her work as highly entertaining and fast paced. “I’m not the sort to hide the story behind flowery prose,” she says. “I like the words to get out of the way of the story.” She’s a fast writer as well, finishing the rough draft of the book in only two months, though she then put it aside for a year before revising it, a process that took her five additional months. Her writing process, though fluid, is different with each book. “My best story ideas are the ones that come to me while I’m doing something else, although this doesn’t excuse me from putting in my hours of conscious effort. No two projects that I’ve worked on have developed in exactly the same way, either. I like to try new strategies, mix things up, so life doesn’t get boring.”

Like the Cassie Scot series, Madison’s Song will also be available in audiobook format, which is how Amsden “reads” most books these days. “It was important to me, when I became an author, to make my books available to listen to as well as read, and not just for others with disabilities. Audiobooks are a terrific way to enjoy books for busy people whose reading time can be combined with a daily commute, or with housework.”

Like most authors, Amsden loves sharing her creative ideas with the world, something which can be understandably challenging. “Nothing is universally liked,” states the author. “I try not to read negative comments or reviews, but it’s almost impossible to avoid all of it. When someone ‘gets me’ I feel an almost euphoric connectedness to the world; when someone doesn’t, (in a really big way), it almost makes me feel isolated.”

The definition of success varies from writer to writer. For Amsden, it has changed since she started writing. “At one time (not too long ago), I had an unrealistic expectation of success that involved becoming a bestseller and making an upper-class living off of my books,” she confesses. “When the Cassie Scot series came out, I sold thousands of books but still didn’t make the kind of money that would let me ‘earn a living’ off of it. It made me rethink my definition of success, becauseMessyDeskby all measurable standards my books are doing well – I’ve got great reviews, I’ve won several awards, I’ve sold many thousands of books, and I’m making money. I feel most successful when I connect with readers who love my books. So maybe that’s what success is. I’d love to connect with more readers, sell more books, and make more money, but I’m becoming satisfied with who and what I am now. (Like Cassie.)”

At the moment, the author is waiting for her next book, Kaitlin’s Tale, to be released by Twilight Times Books. She’s also hard at work on a new series set in a completely different world and with a new cast of characters. Though it’s way too early to say much about it, readers can count on it being filled with romance and the paranormal.

A native of St. Louis, Christine Amsden now lives in Olathe, Kansas with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success, and their two beautiful children.

TouchofFateSigningBibliography:

Touch of Fate (Twilight Times Books, 2006)

The Immortality Virus(Twilight Times Books, 2011)

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Twilight Times Books, 2013)

Secrets and Lies (Twilight Times Books, 2013)

Mind Games (Twilight Times Books, 2014)

Stolen Dreams (Twilight Times Books, 2014)

Madison’s Song (Twilight Times Books, 2015)

Connect with Christine Amsden on the web:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

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

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

Worse trait?

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a love interest in the book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maggie: If it requires another dangerous adventure… Maybe.

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

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SUMMARY:

Twin sisters separated by war, bound by love…

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

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

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

Two unforgettable stories of courage, strength and honor.

Find on AMAZON.

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

Find Alison on the web:

Website: http://www.alisonbruce.ca

Blog: http://alisonebruce.blogspot.ca

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alisonebruce

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

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

Find Kat on the web:

Website: www.katflannery-author.com

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

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

Book News: STONEWISER fantasy trilogy FREE on Kindle TODAY through September 2nd

Here it is, Folks!

Dora Machado’s entire Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy, published by Mermaid Press, FREE on Kindle.

WHEN?  Starting today, from Saturday August 31 to Monday September 2

To get your free download NOW from the Kindle store, click on each title below. It’s as simple as that!

stonewiser-theheartofthestone-156x240Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone 


Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for best Debut Novel

Finalist for 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Award for SFF

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9780979968242 (2)Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone

Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Gold Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

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9780979968259Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone

Winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Silver Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

For those of you audio book lovers, the first book in the series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone is now available from Audible. Be sure to check it out!

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Dora Tapestry 1 June 2013 (480x640)About Dora Machado

Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel,The Curse Giver, from Twilight Times Books, available July 2013. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue.

After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind’s adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats. Visit her atwww.DoraMachado.com.

First Chapter Reveal: Incidental Daughter by Val Stasik

Incidental DaughterTitle: Incidental Daughter
Author: Val Stasik
Format: Paperback, ebook
Length: 280 pages
Publisher: Armery & Hallquist Publishing

Purchase at AMAZON

When successful publisher Liz Michaels’ marriage to blue blood, Addison Tiffin Payne, fails after the loss of their baby and his growing alcoholism, she pours all her creative energy and passion into her work and finds comfort in her friendship with the co-owners of her company as well as the appearances of the spirits of her Polish mother and grandmother, who never speak except in dreams she cannot remember. Only her feelings from those dreams linger.

When Liz’s ex-husband plans to stage her suicide by pushing her off the balcony of her high-rise home in order to collect on a life insurance policy, he topples to his death instead. When the police arrive, Liz, the potential victim, becomes the prime murder suspect. She meets Pittsburgh Police Detective Jim Shannon, who may threaten her freedom or possibly gain her love. Her life is further complicated by her former mother-in-law’s attempts to destroy her reputation and damage her career. Her swirling feelings are complicated by the simultaneous appearance of a talented, familiar-looking intern at her workplace. He turns out to be her half-brother, but he is unaware of their connection. Although Liz is finished with a past that included a botched meeting with her biological father, the past is not done with her, for the intern and Shannon link her to that past. The cause of her ex-husband’s death is determined and Shannon and his partner, Santello, arrest the person responsible for what led to his death.

Internal conflict is soon compounded by external threats created by her former mother-in-law as well as someone seeking revenge on Shannon and his fellow detective. Just as Shannon and Liz are getting better acquainted, he is gunned downed, but survives. When Liz is leaving Shannon’s hospital room, she passes a woman whom she doesn’t realize is her dead father’s wife. The woman, Eileen, is also Shannon’s sister and notices the resemblance to her dead husband. Eileen did not learn of the existence of her husband’s daughter until after his death. This encounter sets in motion a series of touchy revelations and family get-togethers. All seems to be going well until Payne’s grieving mother decides to make Liz pay for Payne’s death. Warned by the mother’s housekeeper, Detective Santello and another detective rush to Liz’s office. In the shootout, Payne’s mother is killed but not before killing Santello who took the bullet meant for Liz. Will Liz be destroyed by this vortex, or will she use the crisis to open the door to a second chance at love and family?

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CHAPTER 1

A FAMILIAR BELLOWING in the outer office captured Liz Michael’s attention. She slipped the contract for the purchase of William Penn Press back into its folder and navigated through the precisely-stacked piles of manuscripts to lift a slat of the blinds covering the door and floor-to-ceiling windows that faced the outer office. Addy Payne strained toward Mandy, pounded her desk, and demanded to see Liz. Paper clips, pens, and papers flew off her desk like hard rain.

Liz glanced at her watch. Only 2:17, but the flush of booze had already spread from her ex-husband’s face to his scalp in sharp contrast to his sleek, white-blond hair. This bloated caricature was not the man she had once loved. She shook her head. No, she could not possibly have fallen in love with that.

As he headed for her office, trailed by Mandy, Liz considered escaping through the other door in her office, but she knew he’d keep coming back—best to deal with him now. She whirled back to her desk, sat, and pretended to peruse the documents in the William Penn Press folder. Addy whipped the door open, but held it, and peered at Mandy as though she were the intruder. Mandy’s hazel eyes pleaded with Liz, and she shrugged her plump shoulders.

“It’s okay, Mandy. Call Miriam and tell her I’ll have the contract ready for her before four.”

Mandy scurried out of the room like a rabbit frantic for cover. Addy smiled, shook his head, and closed the door. He removed a stack of manuscripts from a tan guest chair, sat, and adjusted his perfectly pressed pants. “You look well,” he said.

Liz stood, marched to the blinds, and opened them. Mandy glanced up from her phone call to Miriam and nodded her readiness to call security at Liz’s signal. Liz returned to her desk, sat, folded her hands, and calmly stared at him a moment. “What brings you here today, Addy?”

He glanced back at the open blinds, raised his brows, and looked back at her with a slow, feline smile. “What? No ‘How are you? It’s good to see you, Addy.’”

Liz stared back at him, unsmiling.

He shook his head. “Poor sales technique, Lizzie.”

“I’m not selling anything. What do you want? I’m busy.”

Addy glanced at the stacks of manuscripts and nodded. “I can see that. You used to be a lot neater.”

She continued to stare.

He relaxed back into the chair, placed a leg over his knee, and rested his hands on the arms of the chair in one graceful movement. He considered her a moment. “I need money.”

“You’re wasting my time. Get a job.”

His gray eyes darkened. “Pittsburgh isn’t exactly the center of the advertising world.”

“Not my problem. I told you the last time, no more loans―as if I’ll ever see the money I’ve already given you.” She cocked her head to one side. “Tell me, Addy, whatever happened to all of your contacts? Why don’t you go to your family?”

He looked away from her and studied the awards on one wall and then the print of Cassatt’s The Boating Party on the opposite wall. The muffled ring of Mandy’s phone in the outer office underscored the silence.

“They don’t know, do they? They think you’re still the Great Ad Man, pulling off one outrageous magic trick after another.”

He returned his gaze to her. “I want to start my own agency.”

She gave him a tight-lipped smile and shook her head. “You don’t know you’ve dropped off the edge, do you? You had quite a run taking risks with your accounts. . . . Oh, you had us all fooled. Me. Your clients. We thought your three-martini lunches fueled your success, till your lack of follow-through took everything south. . . . Lay off the booze, Addy. Then go to New York, LA, Chicago. Find a job with an agency where they don’t know you.”

His whole body deflated. “It’s been too long since the last job. Even if I were hired, I’d have to start at the bottom.”

Liz leaned back in her chair. “Screwed everybody who could give you a good reference, huh? Why don’t you try something else? Maybe banking? Or drive a cab? Who knows? You could end up head of the company.”

He looked worse than he had the last time if that was possible. Now that he was sitting across from her, she could see tiny veins were beginning to sprout on his nose. “By the way, as I’ve said many times, AA has quite a history for turning people’s lives around. Why don’t you give them a try? What could it hurt?”

He sprang from his chair and, hands fisted, leaned on her desk. She scowled at the stink of whiskey on his breath. “Look, I’m not some jerk barfly from a dirty Pennsylvania steel town.” His eyes bulged. “You know I come from one of the oldest families in Ohio. I have an MBA from Harvard. I’ve made three different agencies big money. And I know I can create the best ad agency this town that thinks it’s a city has ever seen.”

Liz rose from her desk. “Then I suggest you create a business plan―they did teach you how to write a business plan at Harvard, didn’t they―and take it to the bank for a loan.”

She jerked the hem of her linen jacket. “Now, I have work to do.” She strode to the door, but before she could open it, he grabbed her arm.

“You’ve never forgiven me, have you?

She froze, her face a rigid mask. “Let go of me.”

Addy freed her and she opened the door. He left without another word.

Character Interview: Veronica Vasquez from R. Barri Flowers’ crime thriller, BEFORE HE KILLS AGAIN

character interviews logo

We’re thrilled to have here today, Special Agent Veronica Vasquez from R. Barri Flowers’ crime thriller, BEFORE HE KILLS AGAIN. Veronica is a thirty-five year old Criminal psychologist and profiler with the FBI’s Serial Killer Unit., living in Washington, DC, but visiting Portland, Oregon.

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

 

Thank you so for this interview, Veronica. 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? 

 

Yes, I believe the book was pretty accurate in its depiction of me as a career FBI criminal psychologist, a widow still hoping to find love again, and a sister seeking to reestablish the bonds with my estranged sister. 

 

That said, I would like to tell the readers that I didn’t run away from my hometown of Portland for the sake of running away, per se, but rather because it was time to start a new life. Though there have been some regrets along the way, I firmly believe that things happen as they were meant to, for better or worse. 

 

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

 

Before He Kills Again_CoverYes, the author was spot on in colorizing my personality. I am basically the same down to earth, yet analytical character with an open mind as a profiler and tender heart for those who mean something to me as illustrated. Like other people, I have a few flaws and am continually trying to rectify them. 

 

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

 

My dedication to the job, even as other things were falling apart in my life. An honorable mention would be a willingness to look at the big picture while zeroing in on the smaller one. 

 

Worse trait? 

 

My worst trait is perhaps a stubbornness that I inherited from my mother—in which I can be pretty inflexible to my own detriment. It’s something I’m working on. 

 

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!)? 

 

That’s a great question. If it were a television movie, it would definitely be Kelli Giddish, who resembles me physically and is a great actress. For a motion picture, I would say that Kate Hudson or Amanda Seyfried would be ideal choices to play me. If they decided on a British actress, I’d love to see Dominique McElligott in the role. 

 

Do you have a love interest in the book? 

 

Yes, I am happy to say. Things between me and Homicide Detective Sergeant Bryan Waldicott of the Portland Police Bureau become pretty intense as the story moves along.

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

 

I would say about three-quarters of the way when I think I’ve got the bead on the serial killer and am forced to look in a different direction, unsure just who the unsub is. 

 

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 definitely wouldn’t want to be the killer that’s for sure, because he’s going down—if I have any say in the matter. 

 

Beyond that, though I love my sister Alexandra, I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes. Mainly because it would just be too weird as we know each other too well (not always a good thing). Also, I don’t get along too well with her new husband and certainly wouldn’t want to wake up one morning and find that I was married to him.

 

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

 

I feel it was really a great ending—everything you would expect in a good thriller with a heart pounding conclusion that wraps up everything while leaving open the door to the future.

 

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

 

I would tell him to keep my character three-dimensional while exploring new ways for me to do my job and pursue a social life. 

 

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

 

You certainly will. BEFORE HE KILLS AGAIN is the first in a new crime series, starring me as a tough but vulnerable FBI criminal psychologist and profiler, ready to do my part in solving cases and bringing perps to justice; along with continuing an exciting new romance and exploring its potential. 

 

Thanks for interviewing me. It was fun. Hope to do it again sometime.

 

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R. Barri Flowers is an award winning criminologist and internationally bestselling author of more than sixty books–including thriller and suspense fiction, relationship fiction, young adult mysteries, true crime, and criminology titles.

Bestselling mystery and thriller fiction, including SEDUCED TO KILL IN KAUAI, MURDER IN MAUI, MURDER IN HONOLULU, KILLER IN THE WOODS, DARK STREETS OF WHITECHAPEL, STATE’S EVIDENCE, PERSUASIVE EVIDENCE, and JUSTICE SERVED.

Author Photo R Barri FlowersOther novels by the author include the bestselling relationship novel, FOREVER SWEETHEARTS, and young adult novels, COUNT DRACULA’S TEENAGE DAUGHTER, GHOST GIRL IN SHADOW BAY, and DANGER IN TIME.

Flowers has also written a number of bestselling true crime books, including THE SEX SLAVE MURDERS, THE PICKAXE KILLERS, SERIAL KILLER COUPLES and MASS MURDER IN THE SKY. He was editor as well of the bestselling anthology, MASTERS OF TRUE CRIME.

The author has been interviewed on the Biography Channel and Investigation Discovery.

Official Website: http://www.rbarriflowers.com/

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._Barri_Flowers

Video Introduction to Author: http://youtu.be/kKvkXirbpgM

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/R.-Barri-Flowers/e/B000APKBLI

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RBarriFlowers

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Mystery Fiction Blog: http://www.mysterywriters.org/?q=node/334

Thriller Fiction Blog: http://hawaiimysteriesauthorrbarriflowers.blogspot.com/

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Character Interview: Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s Rowena and the Dark Lord

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s new fantasy novel, Rowena and the Dark Lord, book 2 in the Land’s End series.  Cedric is a 35 year old Earl, master mage, and ruler of Huel in Land’s End.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Cedric.  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? 

Damn right, I want to set things straight. They have me portrayed as the villain, the Dark Lord. That is utter nonsense.

Rowena_and_the_Dark_Lord_Front_Cover (1)I am the Earl of Huel. And yes, I am a powerful mage. Rowena is my wife. Everything I do is to protect her and our unborn child. How can that be villainous?

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

I should be the hero in this book! Twice, I have rescued Rowena from certain death, and have killed the villains who dared to kidnap her. Yes, one was my worthless brother, a fool who would have risked her life among depraved men. The other was the King, an abusive tyrant who struck Rowena in front of the whole court. Of course I had to kill him. So why I am considered the villain?

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

I never give up. It’s to the death. And I have never lost a battle yet.

Worse trait?

My weakness for Rowena. We are destined to be together, whether she believes it or not. She is my heaven, and without her I am in hell.

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? 

That fellow who plays Eric in True Blood…Alexander Skarsgard. He is strong. He looks like me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Rowena, of course. Our telepathic bond becomes stronger with each passing day. Soon, we will not be separated.

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

When I had to leave my body and take on another. It was the first time I had done that. Luckily, I chose well. Ha! Wait until you read the sex scene that results from my invading another body. Rowena will feel the lust of two men for her…

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? 

Why would I want to be anyone else? There is no need. I cannot be killed. Yes, you heard me right. I cannot be killed.

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

Pah! This is not the ending that should be. I will be back in book three to make it right.

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

She has no choice. She must write another book. My power will influence her. I am a powerful mage, you see.

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

Look for me in Rowena and the Viking Warlord, book 3 in the Land’s Ends series, coming in fall 2013.  The battle begins…

about the book

Dark magic…dark passions….

When Rowena is abducted from Arizona and taken back to medieval Land’s End, one thing is clear: she must learn to control her powers of magic. It isn’t easy being a modern girl in an archaic land, and when Rowena accidently conjures up a Roman Legion in mid-battle, Land’s End is on the brink of a war that could jeopardize everything and everyone she loves.

The stakes are raised when the Dark Lord reappears and traps Rowena in a cyclone of lust and passion. Once again, she is torn between the man she loves and the mage who fires her desire.

Purchase the book on Amazon.

Currently #2 Timetravel in Canada!  Top 100 in US!

about the author

Campbell-author-400Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.

Melodie got her start writing comedy (stand-up and columns.)  In1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference.  She has over 200 publications including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories and 4 novels. Her fifth novel, a mob caper entitled The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books) will be released Oct. 1. She has won 6 awards for fiction, and was a finalist for both the 2012 Derringer and Arthur Ellis Awards.

Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Her humour column ‘Bad Girl’ appears inThe Sage.

Find Melodie on the web:

www.melodiecampbell.com

www.funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.com

Facebook: MelodieCampbellAuthor

Twitter: @MelodieCampbell

Book Review: Shot in the Dark by Jennifer Conner

Jennifer Conner’s latest romantic suspense is a thrilling, steaming read that will be enjoyed by fans of the genre. 

Handsome, sharp-witted, and smartass Devan Burke is a detective working for the LAPD. In the evenings, he likes to keep himself wired up by ordering double espressos from the Naughty Latte stand’s drive-through, especially because of the pretty blond working there. Dev is a loner and blames himself for the death of a kid during a store shootout, during which he was also shot in the leg and, as a result, has been limping and using a cane since then.   

Beautiful and just as sharp-witted and smartass as Dev, Luci Lombard is working at the Naughty Latte stand in order to support herself through school at the University of Chinese Culture and Health Studies. 

One night, only a few minutes after Dev leaves the coffee stand, he receives a message that the place has just been robbed. Back at the stand, he finds a very distraught Luci lying on the floor with her hands tied behind her back. Fortunately, the assailant didn’t have enough time to rape her. Although the robber was wearing a mask, she remembers he was wearing cowboy boots and tattoos on his arm: strange octagon symbols mixed into a vine. Dev offers to bring her to the hospital and then home. 

Since she doesn’t have medical insurance, he very generously pays for her medical bills. To show her appreciation, Luci decides to help Dev with his leg problem so he can get back in active duty. She believes his pain and limp could be improved with the aid of a chiropractor and holistic medicine. Though Dev is skeptical at first, he decides to let Luci help him. Thus, their relationship begins to evolve, rising in intensity as their feelings for each other deepen.

But the man with the tattoos isn’t a simple robber. In fact, he’s a member of the Mafia. And he hasn’t forgotten Luci and is intent on finishing what he started… 

Shot in the Dark is a light, quick, very entertaining read filled with lots of romance and lots of suspense. Having read Conner’s work before, I know she has a soft spot for tortured, imperfect heroes with big hearts who at times suffer a disability. In this case, it’s Dev’s leg and how it affects his self image and self esteem, and how, with a smart and kind heroine, he outgrows those feelings of insecurity. Her heroines are intelligent and independent, yet feminine enough to turn to their heroes for protection when needed. A very nice combination. The story, which moves at a good pace, is mainly told from both from Dev’s and Luci’s points of view, separated by chapters, so the readers get to know the feelings and motivations of both characters. Some chapters are also told from the robber’s point of view. If you’re a fan of romantic suspense, you’ll want to pick this one up. 

You can find more about bestselling author Jennifer Conner and her romantic suspense novels from her website athttp://www.jenniferconnerbooks.com 

Read more reviews and purchase the book from Amazon.

My review was first published in Blogcritics.

Interview & Review: SEVERED THREADS, by Kaylin McFarren

Please welcome my special guest, romantic suspense author Kaylin McFarren. I recently had the chance to read and review her latest novel, Severed Threads, and I have to say it is an entertaining, thrilling read. Kaylin was generous enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions about her book and her writing. I hope you’ll enjoy the interview!

About the author

A native of California, Kaylin McFarren has traveled around the world and is now settled in Oregon.

As the director of a fine art gallery, she assisted in developing the careers of numerous visual artists who under her guidance gained recognition through promotional opportunities and in national publications. Eager to unleash and develop her own creativity, she has since channeled her energy toward writing novels. As a result, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards and was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest. She is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers.

Thanks for this interview, Kaylin! Do you consider yourself a born writer?

Definitely. Since the age of eight, I’ve loved to write stories and have been filled with an active imagination.

What compelled you to start writing professionally?

Like many authors, I was originally inspired to write my first novel after reading a great book and seeing an amazing movie. Mine happened to be Memoirs of a Geisha and The Notebook, which will always be my favourites.

Severed Threads is full of romance, suspense and danger. What was the most challenging aspect of writing this romantic thriller?

The most difficult task to writing a suspense story is to keep the action moving while revealing character traits and emotions along the way. Severed Threads contains an array of characters and each serve their purpose in revealing a twisting and turning plot that ultimately leads to a pleasant resolve. However, keeping the voices of each person unique also proved to be a challenge.

Tell us something about your hero and heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.

Chase Cohen is a handsome, womanizing, thrill-seeking treasure hunter who has found his greatest challenge and true love in Rachel Lyons. But she doesn’t trust Chase for good reasons and won’t be easy to win over.no matter how hard he tries.

What did you find most fascinating while researching underwater archaeology and ancient Chinese treasures?

I had no idea how much gold had been lost at sea. According to Greg Stemm, co-founder and co-chairman of Odyssey, there’s billions of dollars scattered beneath the ocean. However, much of the ocean floor is unexplored and unmapped and global imaging shows crushing depths ranging up to six miles. And there could even be gold or diamond mines that far surpass what anyone on earth could imagine. Since trade included priceless collectibles and dishware from China as well as gold and silver, these were lost along with ships that sank during storms and battles hundreds of years ago and many will never be recovered.at least not in our lifetime.

How long did it take you to write the novel and did you work from an outline?

It took me close to two years to write Severed Threads. This included the time needed to research details and edit my final manuscript. I typically create a synopsis and then write by the seat of my pants. I’m not big on storyboards and planning, as I’m too anxious to get my stories on paper.

What was the editing process like?

Although I tend to edit as I go, I eventually asked three published authors and two experienced readers to assist with my initial editing before hiring a professional editor to review my manuscript. After taking all of their advice into consideration, I fine-tuned my writing and sent it in for publication, hoping I’d done my best in creating a fast-paced, entertaining tale.

What advice would you give to first-time novelists who are just starting to market their books?

Spend a little extra time in researching your options. If you chose to approach a publishing house, be sure the agents you contact are experienced in your genre and have a great track record. If you decide to self-publish, be prepared to spend a little extra money and time in promoting your titles as well as yourself.

What’s on the horizon for Kaylin McFarren?

I’m currently completing the second book in the Threads series – Buried Threads – and will be following this with a third – Banished Threads. I’ve enjoyed my characters so much in my first installment that I decided to take them on adventures around the world and have been urged to do so by readers who follow my stories.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

Keep reading and if you enjoy the work created by an author, be sure to let them know. Your praise and support encourages every author to write!

Thanks, Kaylin!

Find out more about Severed Threads on Amazon.

View the original article on blogcritics.org

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Review of SEVERED THREADS

ImageThe story opens during a diving salvage operation with experienced divers and treasure hunters Sam Lyons and Chase Cohen. Though they’re working on the Griffith wreckage, Sam believes the site also contains the wreckage of none other than the Wanli II—the Ming Dynasty Emperor’s lost dragon ship containing an ancient figure head, a fierce dragon in gold leaf and preserved in resin for all posterity—the gift Mai Le intended for her lover.

Unexpectedly, however, things turn bad for Sam while he’s underwater: he suffers cardiac arrest for no apparent reason. Indeed, the circumstances surrounding his death appear more than a little mysterious.

Chase, who had loved him like a father, feels responsible and doesn’t know what to make of it. Did something malfunction or did something scare Sam down there? He’d been an experienced diver with over 20 years of experience under his belt. What had Chase missed? Sam was the only man Chase had allowed himself to trust. He and his daughter Rachel were the only two people he really cared for. But now all had changed: Sam was dead, and Rachel would forever blame him for his death.

Move four years forward. Rachel Lyons, Sam’s Daughter, is working at a grant foundation. All is pretty quiet and routine in her life…until she’s approached by a museum director asking for a grant to conduct another diving salvage operation, run by none other than Chase’s Trident Ventures.

Though Rachel has no intention of helping Chase, Chase is set on convincing her. Since the operation focuses on discovering the Wanli II, if they succeed, her father would receive his long overdue reward and the museum would fund a permanent exhibition to honor his memory.

Yet, Rachel is still hesitant. Then, a twist of fate puts Rachel’s brother in danger, forcing her to change her mind about funding Chase’s project.  Chase is more than suspicious about her sudden change of heart, but he isn’t about to say no to this opportunity which could help him leave his mark upon the world as a renowned treasure hunter.

Thus, she grants him the money and insists on joining the underwater expedition. Can she put aside pride and work with Chase on a daily basis?

Severed Threads is an engaging, entertaining read! I’ve always enjoyed stories about lost treasures and underwater archaeology and this one didn’t disappoint. The hero and heroine are realistic and sympathetic and there’s a sizzling chemistry between them. The plot is believable with a fair share of exciting twists and turns. I found the workings of a grant foundation and a diving salvage operation quite interesting and informative. Pacing is fairly quick with a nice balance of action, dialogue, description and the inner thoughts of the characters.

In short, Severed Threads is an exciting novel featuring danger in the high seas, romance, action and adventure, murder, and even a sprinkle of the paranormal for good measure. Recommended.

Purchase from Amazon.

Visit Kaylin McFarren’s website.

 

Character Interview: Rachel Lyons from ‘Severed Threads’ by Kaylin McFarren

We’re thrilled to have here today Rachel Lyons from Kaylin McFarren’s new romantic suspense novel, Severed Threads. Rachel is consultant for the Warren Nash Foundation from San Palo, California. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Rachel. 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?

For some readers, I might seem crass, bitter and unstable, but I assure you I’m a much happier, stable and self-assured person than I used to be.

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

For the most part, I would have to say yes. Although I’m not as foolish and cold-hearted as I might have come across.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My ability to stay focused on a difficult task as well as my willingness to do anything to protect a member of my family.

Worse trait?

I guess I would have to say trust issues, which I honestly believe are justified, and how hard it is sometimes to open my heart and give love away freely.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. Chase Cohen an ex-lover who abandoned me when I needed him most and returned to San Palo four years later for personal reasons.

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

When all of Chase’s secrets were revealed, I wasn’t sure how I would react. But I don’t want to give too much away.

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?

Most definitely Selena Pollero. As readers will find out, she has her own hidden agenda.

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

I’m actually rather pleased with how all the loose ends come together, although some readers might disagree.

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

I would love to go to exotic fun places, but make sure I’m protected against villains this time.

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

Definitely. In fact, I’ll be a major character in two forth-coming books!! J

About the Book:

Believing herself responsible for her father’s fatal diving accident, Rachel Lyons has withdrawn from the world and assumed a safe position at a foundation office. When called upon by a museum director to assist her former love interest with the recovery of a cursed relic from a sunken Chinese merchant ship, she has no intention of cooperating – until her brother is kidnapped by a drug-dealing gangster. In order to save him and gain control over her own life, Rachel must not only overcome her greatest fears, but also relive the circumstances that lead to her father’s death.

About the Author:

As many people know, Kaylin McFarren wasn’t born with a pen in hand like so many of her talented fellow authors. However, she has been involved with business and personal writing projects for many years. Her careers have taken her in all directions, ranging from fashion modeling and interior design to office manager and art gallery director. Yet her love of reading and interest in creative writing has remained ever present. As a result of her tapping into her imagination and utilizing her own life experiences, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards. Her first novel, Flaherty’s Crossing was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest and her second book, Severed Threads, has already garnered two first place awards.

Kaylin is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers. She received her AA in Literature at Highline Community College, which originally sparked her passion for writing. In her free time, she also enjoys giving back to the community through participation and support of various educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently the president of the Soulful Giving Foundation – a non-profit she and her husband formed to fund expanded research, and the care and treatment of cancer patients and their families.

Her latest book is a romantic suspense titled Severed Threads.

You can visit Kaylin online at www.KaylinMcFarren.com.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/4kaylin

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kaylin.mcfarren

Blog: http://kaylinmcfarren.wordpress.com/

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