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.

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Monday musings: Advice for aspiring and experienced authors

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By Dawn Torrens

I am a full-time author and an occasional headline reviewer for BBC Radio WM 95.6 FM. I have written and published 14 books in various romantic genres over the past six years, including the bestselling Amelia’s Story.

Inspiration

My inspiration comes from many different areas of my life. It could be a dream I had the night before, which sows the seed of a story in my mind. One of my books, Broken Wings, was born from such a dream! I may read a news article, or take a simple walk in the park and something I witness can spark an idea for my next story.

Inspiration can come from anywhere or anything if you walk through life with your eyes wide open. I pay attention to my surroundings and current affairs issues. All of which provide me with inspiration.

Advice for aspiring writers

My first piece of advice would be, NEVER GIVE UP. If you have a dream, then pursue it regardless of what others think. Remember it is your dream, not theirs.

Secondly, no matter how good you think you are at editing your own work, always hire a professional editor and proofreader. Your work will one day be up for public viewing and you want those all-important reviews to be in favour of you, not against you. I cannot stress enough the importance of this. Remember, it is your reputation on the line so you want your work to be as word perfect as it can be.

Thirdly, good writers are also avid readers too. Read and read as often as you can. See how other successful authors form their stories, introduce their characters and back stories. Pay attention to the flow and movement of their story. You will be surprised how much you can learn yourself as an aspiring writer by reading great authors’ work.

Promotion: advice is for new and aspiring authors

Ah… Promotion, promotion, promotion—very important. If people don’t know about your book or books, how will you sell them?

Use your Facebook fan page to offer monthly giveaways to your fans. If you do not have one, create one now, even if your book is not yet published. Get the word out about your debut novel, create interest before it is published and get people excited about it.

People love giveaways, so offer a special new release giveaway to help generate interest. This will encourage word to spread about your book and your author name.

Your author name is your brand. That is what you have to build on. Offer your Kindle book up for free occasionally (you need to be enrolled into Amazon’s KDP programme for this) or reduce the price to 99p or 99c.

There are many book promotional sites out there, which have thousands of avid readers on their mailing lists just waiting to be notified about discounted and free books. This is a great way to get your unheard of book and name out there into the big world. Sites such as BookBub have millions of subscribers. They are very picky and you may have to be patient and submit your book several times over a period of time before they accept you. They are costly though, so you would need to budget for their promotions, but trust me they are so worth it and can get your book into the hands of 20, 30 and 40 thousand readers in one day.

There are other smaller and cheaper sites too, such as Robin Reads, Freebooksy, Bargainbooksy, Booksends, Ereader News Today, Digital Book Today, Kindle Promos, Armadillo Books, Pixel of Ink, Indie Book Today, Adnetwork, Venture Galleries and many more. Look them up and familiarise yourself with them and their submission process and costs. This will help you once you are published and prepare you for your first promotion.

Also, set up your own website—this is your very own promotional platform. Make it interesting and not too cluttered. People want to be able to navigate your site with ease, otherwise they will not visit it again. The main important thing to remember is you have to speculate to accumulate, so budget for promotional costs monthly based on what you can afford, even if it is as little at £10 per month.

Make sure you promote, whether big or small as you need to grow your brand, and get the word out about your brand—YOUR NAME!

Research

Research is so important. You have to know what you are talking about. Because if you don’t, some reader somewhere will pick up on it.

I do tons of research for each and every book I write. If there is a medical condition that my characters get and I do not know much about it, then I research it to death. I also talk to people I know that may suffer from the same condition to get clarity.

I spend a third of my time researching. I love it and gain much knowledge from it too. I am learning about things all the time that I otherwise would not know about such as, places, medical conditions, trauma units, investigations and the process of all these subjects. I also have many methods of research. I try to write about things I have much knowledge about, however, when you write a lot of books you do have to broaden your horizon.

Characters based on real people

Ha,ha… Oh indeed, yes! I know so many interesting characters in my real life that occasionally one or two of them make their way into my books!

Favourite pastimes

My favourite pastimes are jogging, walking, and spending lots of time with my daughter and family. I take part in a lot of charity runs at least four times a year, for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and cancer research, through organisations like, Race for Life and The Great Morrison’s Run. Jogging clears my head and I come up with some great ideas while I am out jogging.

Cover design

I have two cover designers, they are both incredible and each of them has their own special area of expertise: Ares Jun and David C. Cassidy. They are truly amazing cover designers and I would highly recommend them. They are the face of my stories and they convey through their designs perfectly what my stories are about.

My latest book

My latest release is called Amelia the Mother: A Pocket Full of Innocence, the third book in the Amelia series. It tells of Amelia’s emotional journey, showing what motherhood means to her.

Prior to that, I published Forbidden last March. This is a romantic suspense novel, which also touches on real-life happenings. This book was a challenge for me in many ways as I was writing about two characters from two entirely different cultures who fall in love against their families’ wishes. Jessica is white British, and Ajay is Hindu. The obstacles their parents place in their path is incredible. The parents are both strict, traditional Hindus and strict traditional Christians. Both sets of parents do not believe in interracial marriages of relationships of any kind. This makes the protagonists’ relationship very difficult. There are death, near-death and tragic circumstances along the way in this emotionally charged love story against the odds.

Come get to know me

I was born in Yorkshire, England. I currently live in Birmingham. I am married with an eight-year-old daughter, who is my entire world! My very first book, Amelia’s Story has inspired people all over the world and has been downloaded almost 400,000 times worldwide.

I am a prolific writer and in 2013, my works were recognised by BBC Radio WM, where I gave my first live interview on air in the BBC studios in Birmingham, UK. Since that interview, I became a regular on the show, lending my time as a headline reviewer once a week, discussing the day’s headlines with the presenter.

I live by the motto, “The child first and foremost.”

Visit my website, My books & I, and my Facebook author page, and follow me on  Twitter @Torrenstp.

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Caleb Pirtle joins BestSelling Reads

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Prolific, bestselling author Caleb Pirtle III has re-joined BestSelling Reads, the association of professional, independent authors. One of the first members of the group, Pirtle is returning in 2017.

The author of more than 70 books, Pirtle has been a newspaper reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and was the travel editor of Southern Living Magazine for ten years. He was editorial director for a Dallas custom publisher for more than 25 years.

A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Pirtle was the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Since then, several of his books and his magazine articles have received national and regional awards.

His fiction includes the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, and Night Side of Dark. The fourth book in the series, Place of Skulls, will be released in the spring of 2017. His latest novel is Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever.

He has also written three teleplays that were produced on major networks.

Pirtle is also the author of a number of non-fiction titles. Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk recounts the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield, and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow is the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II.

His coffee-table book, XIT: The American Cowboy, was the third-bestselling art book in publishing history.

With his wife, Linda, Caleb Pirtle founded Venture Galleries, an author’s promotional platform.

You can find more about Caleb on his BestSelling Reads author page or his Amazon Author page.

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Monday musings: My literary evolution

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By Elise Stokes

How have I evolved as a writer over the last five years, Scott Bury asked me. It’s a timely question, as I’m about to publish my fifth book YA book, Cassidy Jones & the Eternal Flame. So I’ve decided to answer his questions here.

How many books have you written?

Five—all in Cassidy Jones Adventures. The first installment, Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, was published in 2010.

Written for a young adult audience, the series follows the life of teenage superhero Cassidy Jones. Each installment introduces a new mystery with plenty of pulse-pounding action, while continuing ongoing storylines.

How have the main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

Cassidy has become more comfortable in her own skin and a powerful force to be reckoned with, though she has retained her naïve charm. She is fierce and loyal to a fault.

Emery Phillips’s “human-ness” leaks out more. He is still a Junior James Bond, but the reader is allowed glimpses behind his self-possessed veneer. As Cassidy sums Emery up in Eternal Flame: “Standing before me was a kid who didn’t have anything figured out any better than I did.”

How has your style changed over that same period?

As with any creative endeavor, the more you do it, the better you get. I don’t know if my writing style has changed per se. My skill has improved.

Has the way you write, or your process, evolved? For example, do you use outlines more or less now? What about the way you create characters or build worlds?

My writing process is as it has always been: chaotic. I don’t outline, or even think deeply about my stories. I just write and see what happens. Ideas and characters leap into my head as I’m writing, and sometimes I need to hit reverse and back way up, and sometimes something truly awesome develops because I wasn’t set on a particular course. I wouldn’t recommend this “free-spirited” approach. It isn’t efficient or productive, and it’s rather stressful to be frank, but for whatever reason it works for me.

When do you write? Is there a time of day, or a period during the week? A particular place you like to be to write?

I write when I have free time, which there never seems enough of. My brain is rendered to mush in the evenings, so I have to carve out time to write in the early morning or throughout the day between work and household tasks.

How do you create new characters?

I don’t know. They’re just suddenly there, and I learn more about their complexities with time.

Where do your ideas for plots originate?

Usually from an interesting conversation with my husband. In fact, he planted the seed for Cassidy Jones. Around eight years ago, we were brainstorming different story concepts, and he said, “You know what would be cool? A boy with enhanced senses.” I responded, “You know what would be even cooler? A girl with enhanced senses.”

Cassidy Jones’ and Emery Phillips’s latest adventure, Cassidy Jones & the Eternal Flame, will be out this spring. In the meantime, visit my website to find out more about this exciting series.

Elise Stokes lives with her husband and four children. She was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom. With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise’s understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate girls to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence.

The stories in Cassidy Jones Adventures are fun and relatable, and a bit edgy without taking the reader uncomfortably out of bounds. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant, Cassidy Jones and the Luminous, and Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame are the first five books in the series.

Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @CassidyJonesAdv.

 

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Monday musings: Writer—a creator or a narrator?

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By Samreen Ahsan

I’m Samreen Ahsan and I’m the author of multiple award-winning books. Many people who didn’t know me as an author, or who knew me before I started writing have asked me what inspired me to write. Some people also ask how do I develop a story in my mind—is it the start or the end I write first? When you write, is there a specific time of the day or an entire day dedicated to the writing?

Honestly speaking, there are no specific answers to these questions. For me, the rule of writing is: there is NO rule of writing. You don’t create a story—the story comes to you. It’s like a revelation. It can come to you anytime, anywhere. There are some places and events that help you strengthen your storyline, but of course, there is just one thing, one tiny ball of thoughts you need to prick, and boom—the story starts to flow in your mind. The characters talk to you, haunt you in your dreams, stalk you everywhere, asking you to write and write and write. You cannot concentrate anywhere unless you listen to those characters and write whatever they want you to write.

When a reader asks me why certain character acts in such a way, or when someone leaves a review saying, it should have been this or that way—I do not have answers for those comments. The story I wrote is how my characters came to me, the way they behaved, the way they felt. I write whatever they want me to write. It does sound like paranormal activity, and I’m sure many authors would agree how much their characters haunt them, and keep haunting them unless they finish their story. It may sound like a curse, but I find it a blessing.

A Silent Prayer coverIn this way, a writer is never alone. She has the characters to travel everywhere with her. There is an unseen world, parallel to our world, which we, as writers, carry in our heads silently. We see those characters talking to each other, we observe their behaviors, and narrate it.

I love to travel and I always imagine my characters while discovering new places, always thinking What if this particular character were to visit this place. I try to see these places from their point of view.

My first book, A Silent Prayer, is set in city of Toronto, where I live. The places mentioned in the story are based on my personal experience. The plot is based on mythical creatures, the Jinn mentioned in Holy Quran, and part of my faith is also believing in their existence. For some, it may sound like believing in vampires or dragons, but this is how it is. There is no explanation when it comes to faith. You either believe it, or you don’t. Religion does not really provide you any logic.

My second story, Once Upon A [Stolen] Time is a romantic fantasy, set in both modern and medieval England. If you ask me what the inspiration was: just like my main female character, I am also obsessed with castles and palaces. I always wanted to write a story that revolves around a haunted castle but I couldn’t prick that tiny ball of thoughts for some time. Then out of nowhere, I had a dream and I pricked that ball. I caught that one single thread and kept on pulling, until the story was fully developed, and the characters came out of their shells.

I have written romance novels so far but I don’t think this is the only genre I’ll write in the future. It depends on what kind of character comes into my mind and what kind of incident triggers the story.

There are some characters in my stories that change drastically. When I write about them, I am also surprised at how much they have developed from the start of the story to the end. The entire story doesn’t come at once. It comes in phases and sometimes what you’ve thought at initial stages, the story takes a totally different turn when you actually write it. It’s those characters that argue with you and want their way and you have no other choice than to listen to your characters and let them lead the story.

For me, I’m just the narrator for my characters, helping them fabricate their story, and showing it to the world.

For some information about me, visit my BestSelling Reads Author page. For my books, please visit my website: http://www.samreenahsan.com. You can also find me on my

And follow me on Twitter @samauthorcanada.

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Monday musings: The method behind my madness

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By Raine Thomas

With pre-orders for my latest release, Imperfect Harmony (House of Archer #1), just going live, I’ve been reflecting on the time and effort it took to begin this new series. My readers are embarking on this rocker romance journey with me, and many of them are curious about my writing process and how the House of Archer series came about. Since other BSR authors have taken the plunge and answered specific questions about their books and writing styles, today I thought I’d take a turn.

Here’s the scoop:

How many books have you written?

Imperfect Harmony is my thirteenth published novel.

Please explain your various series and standalone books.

My Estilorian series is YA fantasy romance and currently includes seven books. The first three are the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy, followed by the Firstborn Trilogy, and then the latest book, Deceive. This is one of my most popular series. It has won multiple awards and the first three books have been optioned for film.

I also have a New Adult Sci-Fi series called the Ascendant series. It won an award for Best Sci-Fi Book and is right up there with the Estilorian series in terms of popularity.

My single-most bestselling book, however, is For Everly, a standalone contemporary baseball romance. It has a companion novel, also a standalone, called Meant for Her, which is written in the same setting and has appearances by the characters in For Everly.

For now, though, my focus is on my latest series, House of Archer, a rock star contemporary romance series that I’ve loved writing! Imperfect Harmony is book one.

How have the main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

What I did in my Estilorian series is switch the main characters within each book. All of the characters remain in the stories and the world, but switching the main characters gives me more flexibility with growing the series. In the Ascendant series, the two main characters grow together, overcoming many challenges and becoming stronger for that.

Has the way you write, or your process, evolved?

I have definitely fine-tuned my writing process. My first books were written with loose outlines. Now I tend to create very detailed ones. The outlines might take me a couple of months to complete, but then the writing is often done within a few weeks.

What about the way you create characters or build worlds?

This process hasn’t changed for me. I always begin my stories by creating detailed character sketches, which includes their world. I use images I find online, research settings, and brainstorm on personality traits. It’s all a ton of fun to me!

When do you write? Is there a time of day, or a period during the week?

Since I work full-time, most of my writing is done in the evenings and on weekends. My family often has to drag me away from my computer to get time with me, which can be a hardship on all of us. Fortunately, they’re very understanding and supportive!

Is there a particular place you like to be to write?

As long as I have my laptop and a pair of headphones to listen to Spotify, I’m good to go!

~    ~     ~

Care to check out Imperfect Harmony, the first book in my House of Archer series? You can pre-order it on Amazon now:

And you can connect with me on:

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Tumblr  |  Instagram  |  YouTube  |  Goodreads  |Linkedin  |  Tsu

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Thursday teaser: Broken Wings

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By Dawn Torrens

Angelina could not stem the tears falling down her cheeks. She could hardly breathe from the fear that this could be the last time she ever saw him alive. Joshua ran his finger slowly over the small scar etched into her right eyebrow. He held her face in the palms of his large hands and kissed it, brushing the tears from her sodden cheeks. He felt her pain. He was feeling it too. No words could take their pain away; it was something they had to endure together until his return.

They lay on the bank together side by side with nothing but the glistening stars and the glow from the moon as cover. Their silence was a comfortable one—one that could only be shared by two souls that truly understood one another completely. Angelina turned to Joshua and surveyed him, taking in every inch of him. She searched his face as if discovering him for the first time.

Her heart was beating so fast that she feared it would burst. Joshua sensed her anxiety and pulled her to him, “Angelina, we have to go now. I wish I could stay here like this with you but I have just five hours before I have to report in.”

He was hurting now, feeling the pull of his heart. He had to be strong for Angelina, and he did not want to make his departure any harder for her than it already was. “Joshua, I want you to write me whenever you can. I want to know how you’re feeling out there and what you are going through. I want to know everything. I need to feel close to you as if I am right there with you. Please promise me you will do that for me?”

Joshua’s eyes glistened while he held her face in the palm of his hands, “I promise, darling.” He pulled her close, holding her as if for the last time.

About Broken Wings

Two people who have both suffered tragic loss in their young life; both of them avoiding love for completely different reasons. Joshua, a soldier in the British Army, a bomb disposal expert and the very best at what he does. Angelina, an editor for a local newspaper and writer in her spare time. Both of them focused on their careers.

Brought together unexpectedly, they fall unconditionally and irrevocably in love with each other. All is perfect in their lives until Joshua is unexpectedly posted to Afghanistan for six months. Angelina’s worst fears are finally realized. Joshua has to go; it’s his duty as a soldier, but the pull in his heart is strong and he leaves her behind with a heavy heart.

Angelina is devastated and she prays for his safe return. Until one day, a few weeks into Joshua’s deployment, there is a knock on her door that changes her life forever.

Find it on Amazon.

About the author

D.G. Torrens is the author of 14 books, including the bestselling trilogy, Amelia’s Story #1, Amelia’s Destiny #2 and Amelia The Mother #3. This is an emotion-charged true story that the author wrote for her daughter.

Born in England, passionate about writing, D.G. Torrens is married with a daughter. She is a prolific writer and in 2013, her works were recognized by BBC Radio WM, where she has given several live interviews in the BBC studios in Birmingham, UK. Thereafter, D.G. became a regular Headline Reviewer for the radio show for the next 12 months.

Visit her:

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Thursday teaser: Avengers of Blood

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

THE PHONE SLIPPED AS he wrote, and Tom Kado hunched his shoulder to bring the handset up against his ear. “Would you repeat that?”

The forensics man from Thayerville, Alabama, sighed. “Calvin Whitman. Born September 13, 1935. Died December 27, 1978. White male. Six feet two inches tall, two hundred and ten pounds. I still think something’s wrong with those fingerprints.”

“I can fax copies to you. I’ll even overnight an original to Alabama,” Kado said, finishing his notes. “But I’m absolutely certain that your dead Calvin Whitman has been living in Arcadia for over thirty years.”

“It doesn’t seem possible.”

“Why?”

“I’m looking at his file. His house burned the night of December 27. The fire started from faulty Christmas tree lights. The house went up fast. His bedroom was on the second floor but they found Whitman in the remains of his bed in the living room. Looks like the middle of the house collapsed and most of the second story dropped to the first floor.”

“How did they confirm that it was Calvin Whitman?”

“Let’s see.” Kado heard a sneeze. “Sorry, I had to dig this file out of storage. You’re lucky we still have it. This was part of a group scheduled to be shredded last year. I don’t know why they missed it.” The sound of shuffling paper came through the phone. “Here we go. Seems they found a ring that belonged to Whitman on the right hand, and some of the hair was still on his head. From the photo in the file, he had very thick black hair.”

“Was an autopsy performed?”

“Yes. Cause of death was smoke inhalation.”

“Dental comparison?” Kado asked.

“Umm,” more paper shuffling, “no.”

“Isn’t that odd?”

“Maybe. No fingerprints, either, probably due to the fire damage to the body. A deputy confirmed that it was Whitman. Nobody questioned his identification. Say, Tom?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you have a photo of this Calvin Whitehead? He must have been an old man, right?”

It was Kado’s turn to shuffle through paperwork. He located the crime scene photos and found only one photograph of Calvin Whitman. It was hanging on the wall behind the cash register and Kado needed a magnifying glass to see it clearly in the crime scene photo. In the picture, Whitman was frowning at the camera as he held a pair of scissors, ready to snip a ribbon stretched across the little store’s doors. Half a dozen locals looked on, smiling broadly. “There must be a driver’s license photo on file, and that’ll be pretty recent. We’ve got one early photo of him in a newspaper. Do you want a copy?”

“Of both, please.”

“Do you have one for me?”

“Yeah, I’ll send it when we’re done.” He sighed heavily again. “If you’re right, you know what this means for us?”

“Yup, you’ve got an open case,” Kado answered.

“A very old, very cold murder case.”

“And the very dead Calvin Whitman or Whitehead is your prime suspect.”

“Man, I’m gonna land in a white-hot shit storm.”

“Sorry about that,” Kado said, with genuine feeling. “When you send Whitman’s photograph, would you include his arrest record?”

“What arrest record?”

“Well, why is he in your system?”

“For exclusion purposes, of course.”

Kado felt dread tighten his gut. “What do you mean?”

“I didn’t mention it earlier?”

“Mention what?” Kado asked as the dread uncoiled along his spine.

“Calvin Whitman was Thayerville’s sheriff when he died. Had been, for close to twenty years. Everybody loved him. This, his still being alive, means that he’s a criminal. That’s why I’m gonna land in a shit storm.”

About Avengers of Blood

A deadly game of cat and mouse is playing out in Forney County…

Detective Cass Elliot is still on suspension after killing a fellow officer and Sheriff Hoffner refuses to sign her release papers. But when four people are murdered in one night, one with the exceptional brutality of a lynching, the Medical Examiner side-steps Hoffner to hire Cass and loan her to Forney County’s overstretched police department.

As Cass and her partner investigate, they realize that three of the murders were committed by the same person but find no connection between the victims. Their frustration intensifies when another victim survives and disappears instead of coming to the police.

Sheriff Hoffner is frantic about anonymous letters claiming one of his star officers is dirty, and Cass suspects a link to the current crimes. The pieces fall together when she uncovers the true identity of the man who was lynched, revealing connections between the victims, the killer, and an unpunished crime committed nearly fifty years ago.

Find it on

About the author

Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

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Monday musings: Writer—a creator or a narrator?

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The Muses Melpomene (tragedy), Erato (love poetry), and Polyhymnia (sacred poetry, hymns), by Eustache Le Sueur. Source: Wikipedia

 

I’m Samreen Ahsan and I’m the author of multiple award-winning books. Many people who didn’t know me as an author, or who knew me before I started writing, have asked me what inspired me to write. Some people also ask how I develop a story in my mind; is it the start or the end I write first? When you write, is there a specific time of the day or an entire day dedicated to the writing?

Honestly speaking, there are no specific answers to these questions. For me, the rule of writing is: there is NO rule of writing. You don’t create a story—the story comes to you. It’s like a revelation. It can come to you anytime, anywhere. There are some places and events that help you strengthen your storyline but of course, there is just one thing, one tiny ball of thoughts you need to prick, and boom—the story starts to flow in your mind. The characters talk to you, haunt you in your dreams, stalk you everywhere, asking you to write and write and write. You cannot concentrate anywhere unless you listen to those characters and write whatever they want you to write.

When a reader asks me why a certain character acts in such a way, or someone leaves a review saying: it should have been this or that way—I do not have answers for those comments. The story is how my characters came to me, the way they behaved, the way they felt. I write whatever they want me to write. It does sound like a paranormal activity and I’m sure many of the authors would agree how much the characters haunt you, and keep haunting you unless you finish their story. It may sound like a curse, but I find it a blessing.

In this way, a writer is never alone. She has the characters to travel everywhere with her. There is an unseen world, parallel to our world, which we, as writers, carry in our heads silently. We see those characters talking to each other, we observe their behaviors, and narrate it.

I love to travel and I always imagine my characters while discovering the new places, always thinking what if this particular character visit this place. I try to see these places from their point of view.

My first book, A Silent Prayer is set in city of Toronto, where I live. The places mentioned in the story are based on my personal experience. The plot is based on mythical creatures, the Jinn mentioned in Holy Quran, and part of my faith is also believing in their existence. For some, it may sound like believing in vampires or dragons but this is how it is. There is no explanation when it comes to faith. You either believe it, or you don’t. Religion does not really provide you any logic.

My second story, Once Upon A [Stolen] Time is a romantic fantasy, set in both modern and medieval England. If you ask me, what was the inspiration: just like my main female character, I am also obsessed with castles and palaces. I always wanted to write a story that revolves around a haunted castle but I couldn’t prick that tiny ball of thoughts for sometime. Then out of nowhere, I had a dream and I pricked that ball, that one single thread you keep on pulling, until your story is fully developed, characters coming out of their shells.

I have written romance novels so far, but I don’t think this is the only genre I’d write in the future. It depends what kind of character comes into my mind and what kind of incident triggers the story.

There are some characters in my stories that change drastically and when I write about them, I also get surprised by how much they develop from the start to the end of the story. The entire story doesn’t come in one go. It comes in phases. Sometimes, despite what you thought at initial stages, the story takes a totally different turn when you actually write it. It’s those characters that argue with you and want their way and you have no other choice than to listen to your characters and let them lead the story.

I’m just the narrator for my characters. I help them fabricate their story, and show it to the world.

Samreen Ahsan is the author of The Prayer Series: A Silent Prayer and A Prayer Heeded, as well as a new series beginning with Once Upon A [Stolen] Time. To find out more about her and her books, visit her:

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Thursday teaser: Nightmare Sally—The latest Reed Ferguson mystery

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By Renée Pawlish

She looked nervous.

That was my first impression as I watched her for a moment from the entryway of the Cherry Hills Country Club restaurant.

“May I help you, sir?” a hostess in dark slacks and a white blouse asked me.

“I’m meeting someone,” I said, then gestured at the woman, who was sitting near a window across the room.

“Ah, yes. Are you Reed Ferguson?”

I nodded.

“Mrs. Evans is expecting you.”

She escorted me to Mrs. Evans’s table, then said to her, “Your guest has arrived.”

Mrs. Evans thanked the hostess, then indicated I should sit down.

I introduced myself and she smiled.

“Call me Brenda.”

She discreetly sized me up, probably wondering how could this brown-haired guy with boring hazel eyes be a private investigator.

If my guess was correct, Brenda Evans was in her fifties. That was maybe ten years or so younger than my mother, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at her. Her cream-colored pantsuit hung loosely on her thin frame, her cheeks were hollow, and her short blond hair had a strange quality I couldn’t put my finger on.

“I’ve met you before, but it was a long time ago,” she said.

“I’m sorry, I don’t remember.”

“When your parents lived in Denver, we golfed here at the club with them.”

I nodded, letting her ease into the conversation. A waiter came over and asked if I wanted something to drink. Brenda was sipping coffee, but that wasn’t generally my style, and I asked for a Coke. He nodded and scurried away. It was after one on a beautiful September day, and the restaurant was quiet, only a few other diners in the room. The murmur of their conversations drifted into the background as Brenda and I talked.

“I talked to your mother the other day on the phone and was telling her about my … situation,” she said, “and she suggested I contact you.”

I leaned in a bit. “I’m happy to help if I can.”

“Your mother speaks very highly of you. She says you’re quite the detective.”

“That’s nice to hear.”

And it was. My parents had been slow to warm up to the idea of my being a private investigator, but now that I had been in the business for several years, they were coming around. Brenda interrupted my thoughts.

“But she does say that she worries about your getting into dangerous situations.”

There it is, I thought. That was the one thing with my mother that wouldn’t go away. She always assumed that when I was working on a case, somehow I would end up getting hurt. I’m sure she was sitting on the balcony of her Florida condo right now, wondering what kind of precarious situation I was in.

Brenda smiled. “I assure you, there’s nothing dangerous in what I’m asking you to do.”

“Okay,” I said. “What do you need?”

“I want you to get a message to my daughter.”

I watched her twist a gold ring on a bony finger. The waiter returned with my Coke and asked if I wanted anything to eat. Brenda wasn’t eating, so I declined.

“We – my husband, Joel, and I,” she continued after the waiter left, “haven’t had contact with her in months. She barely talks to us.” Sadness spread across her pale face.

“What’s her name?”

“Sally. I don’t think you ever met her.”

I couldn’t recall if I had. “Tell me about her.”

About Nightmare Sally

Reed Ferguson’s latest case could be a nightmare!

When Brenda Evans asks private investigator Reed Ferguson to deliver a message to her estranged daughter, Sally, Reed thinks this will be the easiest case he’s ever had. Unfortunately, Sally has moved without leaving a forwarding address. When Reed finally finds Sally, she happens to be the prime suspect in a murder. Sally claims she’s innocent, and Brenda wants Reed to prove it.

Reed’s investigation leads him through the seedy side of Denver, involving ex-cons, a masked social media personality, and back to Sally, who has secrets of her own. One thing is certain: danger is at every turn as Reed hunts for the killer.

Nightmare Sally is a suspense-filled mystery, with a Bogie-wannabe detective, a lots of humor, and a clever homage to film noir. From the award-wining author of This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies. Great for fans who love a fast-paced, humorous read, without a lot of swearing or sex.

Published this week on Amazon.

About the author

Renée Pawlish is the award-winning author of the bestselling Reed Ferguson mystery series, horror bestseller Nephilim Genesis of Evil, The Noah Winters YA Adventure series, middle-grade historical novel This War We’re In, Take Five, a short story collection, and
The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a nonfiction account of a haunted house investigation.

Renée has been called “a promising new voice to the comic murder mystery genre” and “a powerful storyteller”. Nephilim Genesis of Evil has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti.

Renée was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado.

Renée can be found:

And follow her on Twitter @ReneePawlish.

 

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