About fbrooke

Frederick Lee Brooke is the author of the widely-acclaimed Annie Ogden mystery series, which includes Doing Max Vinyl, Zombie Candy, and Collateral Damage. The first book in Fred's entirely new dystopian series for YA and adult readers alike is Saving Raine (The Drone Wars: Book 1)A consummate jetsetter, he was born and raised in Chicago (where both Doing Max Vinyl and Zombie Candy are set) and has lived in Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, France, and Germany; he has called Switzerland his home for the past two decades, and travels widely throughout Europe (at latest count, he has visited Italy over 50 times!). Brooke’s love of the written and spoken word is vast—not only has he taught English in various European schools, he also knows French, German, and Italian, and dabbles in Turkish in his spare time. This love of language led him to quit his day job two years ago and focus on his original dream: writing fiction. When not writing books, his three kids (and their homework) keep him busy. He is currently working on a new series of thrillers and, once that’s done, he might take some time to visit one of those Swiss chocolate factories (but only for the free samples). He can often be found chopping vegetables in the kitchen, and makes a mean lasagna.

You can find him online at www.FrederickLeeBrooke.com. Sign up for his newsletter and read all about his travels, recipes, and upcoming works!

Thursday teaser: Saving Raine

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Win a free e-book copy of the Drone Wars: Book 1

By Frederick Lee Brooke

The pickup lights cut a path through the darkness as they shared a bag of tortilla chips. All at once, Matt’s eyes picked up a familiar form in the grass by the side of the road. He pulled over fifty yards ahead.

“What’re you doing?” Benjy asked.

Matt got out without answering, and walked back up the road. Benjy followed. They found a small doe sprawled in the ditch, eyes staring.

“Is it dead?” Benjy asked.

“Dead and delicious,” Matt said. “Can you lift her?”

His stepbrother studied the deer, trying to figure how to pick it up. He bent down, then stood again.

“You sure it’s dead?”

Matt prodded the deer with his boot. “Even if she weren’t, they don’t bite.”

Benjy worked his left arm under the animal’s neck. With his right hand he grabbed one of the hind legs, just below the knee. When he stood up, he managed to get about half the deer off the ground before collapsing.

“She’s too heavy. I can’t.”

“Let’s do it together,” Matt said. He picked up the neck and the front legs while Benjy lifted the hindquarters. Matt could’ve thrown the animal in the back of the truck himself, but getting Benjy to help somehow seemed right. Although he was tall for fourteen, Benjy’s arms and legs were thin as twigs.

Off in the distance, another car was coming. They jumped in quickly, and Matt hit the gas. After a brief stretch at high speed, they entered a town and had to slow down. The car tailing them had caught up, an old red Chrysler. The other driver rode him close, his high beam lighting up the truck interior. Matt looked away from his mirror, but the lights blinded him just the same. People shot each other over less.

“Want me to check him out?” Benjy asked.

“You’ve got your own Viper?”

“I brought two Vipers and two Tornados,” Benjy said. He rolled down his window and released a small quadcopter. Then he studied his Jetlink.

“What’s a fourteen-year-old doing with four drones?”

“These are just the ones I decided to bring.”

Matt looked at his stepbrother, unbelieving. Where had Benjy been hiding all these drones? He himself, like most people, owned one all-purpose Viper. “Well, what about those guys back there?”

“Two men. Skinheads. Maybe locals, picking a fight.”

They had reached the end of town, and the speed limit was back up to 50 mph. Matt gradually increased to 40 mph as the Chrysler rode up his tail. The road was deserted.

“Why doesn’t he pass?” Benjy asked.

Matt rolled down his window. “Get ready to take the wheel.”

“What? I can’t drive.”

On the next straightaway, the Chrysler made its move and pulled alongside. Matt met the gaze of the man in the passenger seat, whose shaved head gleamed in the ambient light.

“Pull over to the side. Pull over now.”

Matt had the slingshot ready while Benjy guided the truck with one hand on the wheel. In a split second, he could kill the man, whose impassive face was less than six feet away.

Something made him decide not to shoot. Maybe there’d been enough killing for one night. Maybe it was the fact that the man didn’t show a weapon. Maybe he was just tired. He retook the wheel, braked, signaled, and pulled over.

The skinheads got out and walked back to the truck, two men in black leather. Still no weapons. He got out to meet them.

About Saving Raine

A country torn apart by greed, corruption, and chaos.
A boy sent on a mission that could kill him.
A girl who’s in grave danger…and doesn’t have a clue.

Can Matt beat the odds stacked against him and outrun the drones raining down on his head in time to save his woman–and America?

Praise for SAVING RAINE…

“…skilled, full of action, truth, possibilities, and drama.” (Carol Keen, Amazon Reviewer)

“…an adrenaline-soaked adventure that kept this reader’s attention from beginning to end.” (Long and Short Reviews)

Find it on Amazon.

Win a free e-book

Just leave a comment. The author will choose one lucky winner of an e-book version of Saving Raine.

About the author

Frederick Lee Brooke launched the Drone Wars Series in 2013 with Saving Raine, and the sequel, Inferno, followed in 2014. The third and last book in the series, The Drone Wars, released in June, 2015 wraps up the short, catastrophic period in which Matt Carney first learned he had a twin brother.

A resident of Switzerland since 1991, Frederick Lee Brooke is also the author of the Annie Ogden Mystery Series. He has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He makes frequent trips to the United States to visit friends and family. Visit Fred on Facebook or Twitter.

Visit his

 

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Thursday teaser: Collateral Damage

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cover-collateral-damage1(Annie Ogden Series Book 3)

By Frederick Lee Brooke

Sometimes it bugs the hell out of me. She calls, I jump. She knows I’ll do anything for her, anytime. She takes advantage of me. We’ll have a fantastic time, laughing together, kissing, and dreaming about the future, and the next day she’ll be twelve kinds of bitchy. We spend a glorious day and a half after getting engaged, and then she calls me from her ex-boyfriend’s car. She’s on her way to Florida.

Fine.

She goes on a road trip with her ex-lover. Accepting this is part of being an adult. I’m not jealous. I’m not worried. I’m not happy, either, but I’ll deal with it. Even though Garcia is a certified wingnut who does stalkerish things like attacking Annie wearing a mask or breaking into her sister’s apartment and spending the night in a closet. Talk about unhealthy fixations.

And what happens at their famous party? Garcia’s best friend is butchered with a bayonet. They have Garcia’s fingerprints, they have the murder weapon, and they have the body. He’s got a mile-long record. Florida hasn’t outlawed capital punishment like a lot of other states, including Illinois. He’s gonna fry.

Will you come to Florida?

Will you help me find the real killer?

Not because there’s anything between them. Not because he wrote her a love poem, oh no. For justice.

Of course, it’s for justice. We all want justice. And the police don’t know what they’re doing, right, Annie?

It means nothing to her that the murder victim is the nephew of a US senator. That means the police will be working three times as hard to build a solid case. They’ll want ironclad evidence, spotless procedure, and the best witnesses money can buy. To Annie, all this means nothing. Garcia is innocent no matter what everyone else says, no matter what all the evidence says. He couldn’t have done it. When Annie becomes irrational, watch out. You don’t stand a chance. Her ears might as well be plugged.

There’s always a motive if you look hard enough. Two war buddies could have a fight, two roommates who’ve done three tours in Iraq. They can call it PTSD. Maybe drugs. No shortage of motives in that minestrone. That DA would have to be a real idiot to botch this one.

Or was this wishful thinking?

I was boarding my Tampa-bound plane as these thoughts traversed my love-addled brain. Annie only had to call to set off a chain reaction in my body chemistry. Hormonal reactions.

I’m getting married again.

It hit me for the five hundredth time. I was standing there, waiting for someone to move in the cramped airplane aisle, so I could sit. A single mom was buckling three kids into their seats. Suddenly I felt the contentment of an old mafia don surrounded by laughing grandchildren. Annie and I would make wonderful kids. We would have a blast raising them. God made me for that.

About Collateral Damage

Annie Ogden is back. Like it or not, she’s about to learn about COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

A love story.

When Annie Ogden’s ex-boyfriend Michael Garcia reappears, she has to confront a lie dating back to her time in Iraq. Will she go back to hot, passionate Michael, who has developed a disturbing interest in meth, or stick with her pudgy PI partner and fiancé, Salvatore?

A murder.

The calculus changes when Michael is arrested for murder. When Salvatore refuses to help investigate, Annie is forced to try to find the killer herself. Meanwhile her sister’s creepy husband, Todd, is making more of an ass of himself than usual.

An obsession.

Annie’s problems with three obsessive men suddenly pale in significance when she realizes the killer has set his sights on her. Having changed his mind about helping her, Salvatore finds himself in a desperate race against time, the only man capable of finding the killer before it’s too late.

Get it from Amazon.

About the author

fredbrookeFrederick Lee Brooke launched the Drone Wars Series in 2013 with Saving Raine, and the sequel, Inferno, followed in 2014. The third and last book in the series, The Drone Wars, released in June, 2015 wraps up the short, catastrophic period in which Matt Carney first learned he had a twin brother.

A resident of Switzerland since 1991, Frederick Lee Brooke is also the author of the Annie Ogden Mystery Series. He has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He makes frequent trips to the United States to visit friends and family. Visit Fred on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @FrederickBrooke.

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Focus Friday: The Drone Wars

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Book 3 of The Drone Wars Series

By Frederick Lee Brooke

w2_NdsXzY1KowkK100IieFO3Q1_KMtLjS2d-OvLynNo[1]As O.C. backed out of the space, the three agents burst out of the restaurant. Their Eliminator streaked ahead and hovered, staying ten feet in front of the windshield. Matt saw a pistol in the lead agent’s hand, then saw the others drawing as they ran after them. They were flicking off their safeties. His nightmare was unfolding as reality. He wanted to rip off the bandage, but that drone was getting a read on all of them now. This was outstripping his innermost fears. What the hell was the world coming to?

“Homeland Security, stop your vehicle or we’ll shoot.” The voice came out of the Eliminator, amplified to megaphone. It must have been audible across the road.

Matt was surprised when O.C. slammed on the brakes. They stopped in the middle of the lot, fifty feet beyond the lead agent. Maybe Sander had signaled it, or maybe O.C. decided on his own. Maybe they would have shredded the tires with bullets anyway if they’d made a run for it. The agents ran up on the left side and fanned out in an arc.

When O.C. rolled down his window, Matt did the same. Matt’s window stopped halfway, some child safety regulation, but halfway was enough. Had there been a camera in the restaurant? Luke had said most stores and restaurants had cameras linked directly to Homeland Security.

“Otis Curtis from up in Dalton, that correct?” the lead agent demanded in the same southern drawl O.C. had. The agent spoke in his own voice now, not using the drone. He stood twenty feet away and gripped a nine-millimeter pistol in two hands, a pro. That was how fast their facial recognition worked. Or maybe they had linked to O.C. through the vehicle registration.

“That’s me. Who’s asking?”

“Homeland Security, jackass. We’re most interested in Matt Carney, but we’re going to bring in you other folks for aiding and abetting. I want everybody out of the truck, and real easy.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” O.C. said.

“I said out of the truck!” the agent screamed.

The agent was still bellowing, eyes shut for a fraction of a second, when a bullet exploded in the middle of his forehead. Time slowed down. Matt saw blood pouring out. The agent staggered backward, his eyes losing focus.

Just as quickly, the second agent froze up like a brick wall and fell to the ground. The third agent was zigzagging towards them in a crouch as O.C.’s shots went high. The angle was bad. In one smooth motion, Matt brought up his slingshot and fired. Aiming was as close to instinctive as nine years of practice could make it. The ball bearing hit just north of the bridge of the agent’s nose, shattering bone and digging a crater in his brain, instantly ending motor functions.

Raine was screaming, covering her eyes. The fallen men were still visibly pumping blood as O.C. hit the gas, and tossed his weapon in Sander’s direction. A huge, long-barreled pistol. Sander caught it by the barrel and instantly dropped it in his lap. Sander blew on his burnt fingers, at the same time scanning right and left for additional threats.

Hitting the street on two wheels, O.C. swerved to the right without braking. He headed south without letting the pedal up. The whining old truck engine was almost as loud as Raine’s screams.

About The Drone Wars

Matt Carney has nailed every mission underground guerilla organization March22 has given him, beating the odds time after time. But when he gets his new assignment, he quickly sees his chances of success dwindling to zero.

“Find the man,” they tell him. Except the man he is supposed to find is at the top of Homeland Security’s Most Wanted list, an expert at escape and deception.

“Stop the man,” they tell him. Except the man he’s supposed to stop is plotting the murder of millions of Americans in a sociopathic quest for a new social order.

…and this man, the one they want him to find and stop, is his own father.

Malls, airports and factories erupt in pillars of fire, thousands die, and cities teeter on the brink of collapse as Matt and his twin brother, Luke, fight to stop a man on an apocalyptic quest to obtain the final piece of his deranged puzzle—a piece that will allow him to put into motion his plans for the complete annihilation of the United States.

120,000 dead. Entire cities devastated. The country a hair’s breadth from a fate worse than death. Can Matt and Luke stop this nightmare before the world as they know it comes to a devastating end?

Get it from Amazon.

About the author

fredbrookeFrederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and followed with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred’s entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December, 2013.

A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago.

When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.

Visit his

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Win-a-Book Wednesday: The Drone Wars

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By Frederick Lee Brooke

w2_NdsXzY1KowkK100IieFO3Q1_KMtLjS2d-OvLynNo[1]

You can WIN an e-copy of the culmination of Frederick Lee Brook’s The Drone Wars. Just answer this question in the Comments section below:

How does Matt Carney communicate with his twin brother Luke?

About The Drone Wars

Matt Carney has nailed every mission underground guerilla organization March22 has given him, beating the odds time after time. But when he gets his new assignment, he quickly sees his chances of success dwindling to zero.

“Find the man,” they tell him. Except the man he is supposed to find is at the top of Homeland Security’s Most Wanted list, an expert at escape and deception.

“Stop the man,” they tell him. Except the man he’s supposed to stop is plotting the murder of millions of Americans in a sociopathic quest for a new social order.

…and this man, the one they want him to find and stop, is his own father.

Malls, airports and factories erupt in pillars of fire, thousands die, and cities teeter on the brink of collapse as Matt and his twin brother, Luke, fight to stop a man on an apocalyptic quest to obtain the final piece of his deranged puzzle—a piece that will allow him to put into motion his plans for the complete annihilation of the United States.

120,000 dead. Entire cities devastated. The country a hair’s breadth from a fate worse than death. Can Matt and Luke stop this nightmare before the world as they know it comes to a devastating end?

About the author

fredbrookeFrederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and following with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013.

Fred’s dystopian series for YA and adult readers, The Drone Wars, began with Saving Raine in 2013, followed by Inferno in 2014, and now The Drone Wars in 2015.

A resident of Switzerland for the last 20 years, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer.

When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.

Visit his

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Win-a-Book Wednesday: Collateral Damage by Frederick Lee Brooke

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This week’s contest stakes is an e-copy of Frederick Lee Brooke’s bestselling Collateral Damage, the third Annie Ogden novel.

To win, leave a comment below answering the question: 

In the book, Annie Ogden is 30 years old. Do you think the cover picture does her justice?

cover-collateral-damage1

Fred will choose the most interesting answers as winners!

About Frederick Lee Brooke

Frederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and following with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred’s entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December, 2013.

A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago.

When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.

Contact Frederick Lee Brooke on Facebook, Twitter (@FrederickBrooke), Goodreads, his blog or via email at info@frederickleebrooke.com.

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Friday Focus: Saving Raine by Frederick Lee Brooke

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The Drone Wars, Book 1

Saving_Raine_Cover_Final_600px_72ppi“So how does the Bible Party fit in when the world has gone completely mad?” Pastor Peaches said. “What is our role? What is our mission? Do we even have one? Are we still relevant?

“Friends, I think you know what I’m going to say. The Bible Party isn’t just relevant today, it’s never been more relevant. Our message is the essence of what’s missing in this country. Peace.” She looked all around as dozens of people nodded in anticipation. “And love. You knew I was going to say it. Peace and love. Peace and love. It’s so simple, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” confirmed a man somewhere in the middle of the crowd, a lone voice swept up in the feeling. A few people laughed as tension was released. Pastor Peaches hugged herself.

“And it feels…so…good, peace and love, it feels so good to me, when I say that message. I want to say to each and every person I meet, peace be with you, sir. I love you, ma’am. That’s right, because it’s personal. It starts with looking someone in the eye, and giving a sign of peace. Let’s do it right now. How about it, everybody? Give a neighbor your hand. Give them a hug. They won’t bite. Go on. You have my blessing. Right now!”

A kind of controlled pandemonium broke out as people rose from their chairs and started pumping each other’s hands. Matt read one man’s lips: “Peace be with you.” He saw them shaking hands, some timidly, some with gushing enthusiasm. A young woman threw her arms around the woman leaning on a cane beside her. The old woman looked like she hadn’t smiled in ten years.

Pastor Peaches walked over to him and stuck out her hand. “Peace be with you, Matt.” Luckily, the slingshot was in his left hand. She pulled him closer and placed her arms around his neck. As she hugged him, Matt saw the drone cam come from behind a potted palm and swoop in close. The little red light on the front lit up. It hovered six feet from his face as he hugged Pastor Peaches.

She didn’t say a word, and when she pulled away, she was already gazing at Nasreen. She hugged Nasreen, too, and Matt felt his whole body trembling. 

He missed Raine. Suddenly, shuddering where he stood, with the crowd still in an uproar, he wished he could hug Raine tonight. He wished he were already in California. Why did the roads have to be so dangerous? What had they done to deserve choppers shooting missiles at trucks? He wished he could hold Raine and talk to her, free her from this pessimistic hole she’d fallen into, thinking he’d never come. He wished he could explain why he’d left school. If only he could explain it in person, she would understand.

He found himself sitting on the floor, his back pressed against the hard tent canvas. Denver was halfway to California, but they still had so far to go. What if he got there and she told him she wanted to stay with that moron she’d slept with? How long was this Bible Party caravan going to take to get to California?

“Are you okay, Matt?” Nasreen offered her hand, and he struggled to his feet. “Peace be with you,” Nasreen said, and embraced him. With a smile, Nasreen went back to her position three steps away. Pastor Peaches had returned to the lectern, looking out over the crowd.

“Was I right about that feeling good? I was right, wasn’t I? I want you to practice that every day. I want you to give a sign of peace to all the people in your life, starting tonight, when you get home, or when you go back to work. I want you to have love in your heart for people you don’t know, people who suffer from misfortune, pain and sickness. I want you to open your heart to the people you hate, people who’ve wronged you, people who’ve spit on you. Jesus did it. It feels good, people. It does them good. It does you good. And finally, I want you to share your love with Jesus.”

Matt scanned the crowd, trying to ignore the constantly moving cameras. No assassins in this crowd, just a bunch of giddy Christians. They settled back in their seats and waited for whatever Pastor Peaches would think of next.

He had to give up assuming Raine would be happy to see him. She didn’t want him to come. He was going there in spite of her wishes, against her wishes. His only sign of peace was to refuse to let her die there. He’d bring her north, or someplace safe. Then she could break up if she still felt like it.

Bitch.

It was easier said than done, all this peace and love stuff.

Find Saving Raine on

fredbrookeFrederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and following with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred’s entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December, 2013.

A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago.

When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.

You can connect with Fred through email via info@frederickleebrooke.com, follow him on Twitter @frederickbrooke, visit his BSR Author page, his Amazon author page, his Goodreads page, his Google + site or his Facebook site. But the best way to find out more about him and his work is on his blog.

 

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Win-A-Book Wednesday: Doing Max Vinyl by Fredrick Lee Brooke

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Welcome back to Win-A-Book Wednesday! Come up with a caption for our featured book cover and leave it as a comment in this post. The winner will receive an e-copy of this very book from the author.

Today’s is Frederick Lee Brooke’s mystery  Doing Max Vinyl.  People are always asking, “Doing Max Vinyl”, what does that mean? So now, over to you.

Fred wants to know what you think could it mean?

 He’ll choose the most creative submission and send the winner a signed copy of the book. FrederickLeeBrooke_DoingMaxVinyl1-200x300
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Monday Musings: The Winners Are…

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Announcing the September Giveaway Winners!

What a lot of goodies we have to give away this time, and all stuff readers love the most: Books, books, and more books! Eight runner-up winners each won the paperback book of their choice, signed by the Bestselling Reads author, plus a $10 Amazon gift card with which to buy more books. The authors are now busy signing books, packing them up and sending them to these ten winners. All the winners are enjoying having a little cash in the Amazon bank.

Would you like to be one of the lucky ones next time? In a few days Bestselling Reads will launch its October giveaway with even more prizes. Don’t miss it!

The paperback winners and their book choices, are:

 

Todd T.

Paperback winner Todd T.

Todd T. from Canada – A Walk in the Snark, by Rachel Thompson

Leah G. from Manila – Dark Water, by Shannon Mayer

LL from California – Dark Pool, by Helen Hanson

Sebella from North Carolina – Forbidden Call, by Martha Bourke

Lisa from Florida – 3 Lies, by Helen Hanson

Donna F. – still thinking it over

Anni P. – still thinking it over

Stuart F. from the U.K. – 3 Lies, by Helen Hanson

Paperback winner Stuart F.

Paperback winner Stuart F.

We also had a 2nd winner of paperbacks by BSR authors plus a $20 Amazon gift card. Congratulations to Becki from Canada, who chose the following books:

Nevermore, by Shannon Mayer

The Mancode: Exposed, by Rachel Thompson

Jaguar Sun, by Martha Bourke

And finally our Grand Prize Winner … DRUMROLL please! Congrats to Jennifer W. from West Virginia, who won a virtual boxed set of 5 books plus a $50 Amazon gift

card.

Grand Prize Winner Jennifer W. from W. Virginia.

Grand Prize Winner Jennifer W.

Jennifer W. is set for reading material for the next six months.

Here are her choices:

3 Lies, by Helen Hanson

Zombie Candy, by Frederick Lee Brooke

The Ninth District, by Douglas Dorow

Blood Orchids, by Toby Neal

Priceless, by Shannon Mayer

Please note we are not able to send signed paperbacks overseas, so winners from locations other than the U.S. and Canada are receiving e-books signed via Authorgraph.

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Monday Musings: An Author’s Autograph

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open books FReds (5)I (Fred Lee Brooke) went to college with the well known writer David Foster Wallace. We were friends in the early days when he was starting to write fiction. When I visited him in Arizona, he took us out into the Sonora Desert to see the saguaro cactus. In 1987, long before he became famous for books like Infinite Jest and Girl with the Curious Hair, he wrote me a personal message as he signed his first book, Broom of the System.

That copy, along with all personally signed books, occupies a special place on my bookshelf. I have books signed by James Welch and David Foster Wallace, both of whom are now gone. They live on through their stories, but also through their autographs and kind words. I’m more inclined to continue following the career of the authors of whom I own signed books.

With a signed copy, you feel as though you’re holding in your hand something the author also held in his hand. Of course it goes much deeper than that – the author gave birth to the book you’re holding, and worked on it till it became the masterpiece you enjoyed so much. There’s a feeling of author and reader sharing something intimate.

Some authors write a personal message that goes beyond merely signing their name. All authors love to know their readers, and know that you’ve bonded with the characters they created.

That’s why Bestselling Reads, in our giveaways, plan to make it possible for you to win signed copies of any of the books written by members of the group. See below for details of the September giveaway. Enter today, because the drawing closes on  September 30th.

The grand prize winner gets to choose a total of five titles, choosing from all the books available by BSR member authors. Five titles from one author, or mix and match with one title each from five different authors. Plus a $50 Amazon gift card to add even more titles to your shelf!

Second prize is a virtual boxed set of 3 signed paperbacks plus a $20 Amazon gift card.

8 runner-up winners will receive 1 signed paperback of their choice by any BSR member author plus a $10 Amazon gift card.

With prizes like this, all you avid readers can get your fill of books to read, and discover new genres, new series, and new authors. And the books you receive in the mail will be personally signed by the author. Enter today!

You never know if you might end up connecting with a literary light.

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EXCERPT: Collateral Damage by Frederick Lee Brooke

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collateral damage hi res cover (2)I heard June’s voice, far in the distance. Far, far above me, obviously. How deep did these things go, anyway? I had no idea what she was saying.
“I’m fine,” I yelled. “Never better!”
I yelled with all my strength. But it must not have been loud enough, because she kept yelling for a while longer. I didn’t answer. The carpet muffled any sound I could produce. I had to conserve my energy.
No way was I going to get myself out of this carpet. This sinkhole would shift again and swallow me up. I must be a long way down now. With luck, I would drown and die quickly. I would breathe the water in and let it happen. I wasn’t going to fight it. How could I fight it? I couldn’t move a muscle, and my head was killing me anyway.
If June could get herself out of here somehow, that would be miracle enough. She could tell them all what happened to us. First Sharona’s body, then going back to Arnica’s house, and those men hiding in there…where was Arnica anyway? June would make it. June was tough, practical and battle hardened, and she’d gotten out of her carpet. A little thing like a broken arm never stopped June.
If I survived this, I could tackle the calculus of sinkholes. Make them a little more logical and comprehensible for folks in the future. What did I know about sinkholes? Something eroded underneath, removing support. The earth imploded into the hollow space, creating a hole. There had to be an equation for that sequence. Calculate the amount of upward force needed to prevent a break in the crust. Add the erosive force of water dissolving the material underneath. It all seemed a bit complex, come to think of it. What the hell, I wasn’t going to make it out of here anyway.
Salvatore would cry when they told him. If only he wouldn’t feel guilty. He would probably get a case of the guilts for not coming down and helping me. But I’m the one who got us into this mess, trying to get Michael out of jail, chasing after Arnica. It was too much. These killers were too vicious. Salvatore would beat himself up for a long time. He would retreat into his shell, live alone, run his PI school, and do his investigations. He was going to suffer. We really did have something, we had a good future ahead of us, and I screwed it up.
Michael would react differently. I knew he would miss me, but Michael after all got by just fine for 523 days without me. He would drink a few shots of Jack and smoke some weed. Maybe he’d do that for a few days in a row, and then he would get on with whatever he’d been doing before he came to Chicago.fredbrooke
Salvatore I was sorry for. He’d suffered so much with his previous partners. He didn’t deserve to suffer any more with me. Not like this. But I couldn’t do anything about it.
I guess it’s the living that suffer the most, because once you’re dead you don’t give a damn. I was almost there, and I could already feel my own indifference growing. Good to know that if my time had to run out, it ran out equally on all things, including feeling sorry for all the mistakes I’d made.

§ § § § § § §

About Collateral Damage:

A love story.

When Annie Ogden’s ex-boyfriend Michael Garcia reappears, she has to confront a lie dating back to her time in Iraq. Will she go back to hot, passionate Michael, who has developed a disturbing interest in meth, or will she stick with her pudgy PI partner and fiancé, Salvatore?

A murder.

The calculus changes when Michael is arrested for murder. When Salvatore refuses to help investigate, Annie is forced to try to find the killer herself. Meanwhile her sister’s creepy husband, Todd, is making more of an ass of himself than usual.

An obsession.

Annie’s problems with three obsessive men suddenly pale in significance when she realizes the killer has set his sights on her.

§ § § § § § §

Frederick Lee Brooke is the author of the widely-acclaimed Annie Ogden mystery series, which includes Doing Max Vinyl, Zombie Candy, and Collateral Damage, available now. The books do not have to be read in order.

Having lived in Switzerland for the past two decades, Brooke has taught English, run a business and learned French, German and Italian. You can find him online at www.FrederickLeeBrooke.com. Sign up for his newsletter and read all about his travels, recipes, and upcoming works!

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