Thursday teaser: Wired Dawn

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This week’s Thursday teaser excerpt is extra-special: it’s from Chapter 1 of the latest Paradise Crime novel—which releases tomorrow!

Read on to learn how you could win a free copy.

By Toby Neal

The boy ran, stumbling in the darkness, toward the farthest black corner of the cave. His breath tore through his lungs. He put his hands out, slowing as the fire got further away, its flickering light dimming behind him. The darkness thickened, and he tripped and almost fell on the loose, jagged stones of the cavern floor.

That voice like warm honey called his name. “Come, Nakai. What you running for? Where you think you can go?”

Nakai reached the back corner of the cave, a dark and drafty spot where he could feel fresh air welling like spring water from somewhere deep in the earth.

The man’s footsteps approached, unhurried and confident. Nakai glanced back and saw his flashlight swinging, illuminating the harsh volcanic walls with every swing. “Stop this foolishness, boy.”

Frantic, Nakai felt down the wall to the vent where the air came through. There was a small opening there, and he dropped to his knees and wriggled through.

Pitch darkness on the other side of the wall was thick as a muffling black blanket. Nakai crawled forward, biting his lips to keep from whimpering at the pain of rocks digging into his hands and knees.

“What, boy? You trying fo’ get away?” That voice was the sound of evil disguised as a friend, the sound of the worst kind of betrayal. Even now, the boy’s skin crawled at the memory of the man’s hands on him, touching him, stroking and petting, pinching and forcing. “You want to leave so bad? You go, then. And sleep well in the dark.”

Nakai stopped, holding his breath, turning back toward the slit illuminated by the flashlight’s beam. He heard the scrape of a rock, and then the light blinked out.

He was in total darkness, and he was trapped.

Nakai turned and felt his way back in the direction from which he’d come.

Panic rose in a strangling wave and sweat burst out over his body as he crawled forward, and forward, and forward—and felt nothing ahead. No cleft, no wall. No light whatsoever.

He was lost in the dark already.

“Let me out! Help me!”

The stone seemed to vibrate around him, as if he sat on the head of a giant drum. “That’s why music sounds so good in the cave,” the man had told the circle of boys on Nakai’s first night with the group of runaways.  “This lava tube goes on for miles, and the porousness of the stone helps sound carry.”

Maybe it would carry his calls for help. “Let me out!” Nakai cried again. “Help! I’m stuck in here!”

Nothing but the faintest echo of his terror came back to him.

Nakai crawled rapidly now, heedless of bleeding, determined to at least hit some kind of surface—and suddenly, he was out in space, falling into blackness that swallowed his scream.

What’s Wired Dawn about?

Paradise has no protection from a hidden evil.

Security specialist Sophie Ang goes “off the grid” into the remote valley of Kalalau on Kaua`i, where she stumbles across the disappearance of a young boy. As she races against time to save him, uncovering ugly secrets hidden in the heart of the jungle, the events she tried to flee on Oahu gather momentum.

Special Agent Marcella Scott straps on her Manolos and wades in to help deal with what the cyber vigilante the Ghost has left behind, trying to clear her friend from a murder charge.

Can Sophie and Marcella find their way to the truth through the tangled layers of darkness surrounding them?

“If you’re ready to hold your breath and drop everything for hours, find your most comfy chair and start reading this series!”—Laura P., Goodreads

Get it on starting December 8 from:

Write a comment for a chance to win a free copy.

About the author

Fast paced, character-driven stories set in wonderful places. “No one can read just one!”

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. After a few “stretches of exile” to pursue education, the islands have been home for the last fifteen years.

Toby is a mental health therapist, a career that has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her books.

Outside of work and writing, Toby volunteers in a nonprofit for children and enjoys life in Hawaii through beach walking, body boarding, scuba diving, photography, and hiking.

Visit her on:

And follow her on Twitter @TobywNeal.

 

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Thursday teaser: Stranger at Sunset #excerpt

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Read on to see how you can win a copy of this week’s excerpt.

By Eden Baylee

The naked woman strolled back into his field of vision as a cramp sneaked up on him. A painful twitch stabbed his wrist, reminded him of old wounds. He dropped the binoculars secured by a strap around his neck to shake out both his hands. By the time he brought the lens to his face again, she had disappeared, no … wait, she popped up from behind the bed carrying two pillows. With an unhurried pace, she stepped out on the balcony and propped the cushions on the chair, even fluffed them before re-entering the suite. She closed the wooden French doors behind her.

The light in her room replaced the sun’s blush, a poor substitute given a set of floor-to-ceiling jalousies bracketed his view. He waited to see what she would do next. His breathing deafened his ears as if he were wheezing through a mask; adrenaline pumped in his veins. She moved in front of the window facing him. With hands on her hips, legs spread apart, she stood full frontal and stared straight at him. He shrank back and jostled her image.

Could she see him?

With his naked eye, he peeked in her direction. Nothing had changed. Motionless, she continued to stand in position. Unable to resist, he gathered his wits and raised the binoculars once again, adjusted the focus ring on her legs—those legs that seemed to go on forever.

Horizontal louvers interrupted his view of her body as he slanted the lens upward, advancing an inch at a time. He paused at her navel, swallowed hard, paused again when his lens reached her breasts.

Blood pumped in his ears as he moved up the curves of her collarbone to her long neck. When he met her eyes, he expelled a bellyful of relief. She wasn’t looking at him; she was looking through him. Her almond-shaped eyes trapped him in irrational fear of discovery.

Like a leech, he clung to her to draw out her secrets, imagined the pulse at her neck racing, wondered how it would feel to pull the pins from her hair, to touch her porcelain skin. Only a tiny squint betrayed her otherwise stoic expression.

As if she could read his mind, she turned away and broke the spell. When she faced him again, the mischief in her eyes had disappeared. She cranked the window handle, tilting the slats in unison against one another, narrowing his view with each turn of her wrist. He held his breath with one last image of her—a lowering of her chin before the light vanished from the room.

About Stranger at Sunset

Vacation can be a killer.

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.

Available from:

Amazon  US | Amazon UK | Amazon worldwide

Win a free copy

Author Eden Baylee will give a free e-copy of Stranger at Sunset to the first two people to write a Comment, below.

About the author

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

Find more about Eden at her BestSelling Reads author page, or her links below:

Website | Blog | Twitter @edenbaylee | Facebook

Goodreads | Youtube | Pinterest | Linkedin

Amazon Author page US | Amazon Author page UK

 

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Monday musings: On Cyber Monday, books and writing

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It’s Cyber Monday, the day when we’re all supposed to head to the online shops and buy electronics. Now, don’t worry—I’m not here to complain about the over-commercializations of the holiday. Not this time, anyway.

But this day every year is a good place to mark the evolution of our market economy. To observe just how much has changed in our shopping and buying habits.

It seems that the growth of digital e-books at the expense of paper has slowed. Maybe we’re reaching some kind of equilibrium.  We’ve learned the relative strengths and weaknesses of each, and are allowing both formats their space.

It also seems fitting that on Cyber Monday, two major Canadian newspaper chains are closing dozens of community newspaper. The owners say that in many communities, declining advertising revenue means the community newspaper business model is no longer viable.

Why not? The easy.analysis is to blame the eruption of online news and entertainment.

It’s an easy analysis, but it’s simplistic.

As many sides as a diamond

There are many sides to this shift. The newspaper industry has been decimated by the public shift online. Hundreds, if not thousands of journalists have lost what on time seemed a great career. Not to mention all the thousands of other Jo’s at a newspaper.

On another side, some journalists have made the shift online, themselves.And for readers, there is a vast  range of choice in new online sources for news and entertainment, and it”s so easy to find the information you want.

On a third side, there’s also a proliferation of “fake news” sources. I don’t know whether the proportion of deliberately false information online is greater than it ever was for print, but there sure is a lot of it, and people sure pay attention.

And on yet another side, there is the tracking by tech and social media companies of everything that we look at, read or buy.

Somebody’s making money. Who do you think it is?

Community newspapers are closing because there just is not enough money in the business. I know from personal experience how much cheaper online advertising is than for print—partly because of lower production costs, but mostly because of the different, per-click model, but mostly because when online advertising began,  no one knew what they were doing.

But someone is making money online. I’ll let you work that out for yourself.

Trying to stay optimistic

For avid book readers, this is a great day. So many of the authors I know are doing some kind of Black Friday or Cyber Monday launches, promotions,sales and announcements. And most e-book prices are a fraction of the cost of paper books.

Yes, there are a lot of really bad books out there. Because it’s so much easier and cheaper to produce an e-book, it’s also easier to find not only bad writing, but books produced by those who obviously have no clue to to format a book, or what punctuation is for. You can usually tell these by the amateurish covers, but not always.

Still, readers have a lot more choice. Which means it’s up to you to make good choices.

Good luck, and happy holidays.

 

 

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Thanksgiving giveaway: A Case of Sour Grapes #excerpt

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This week’s excerpt comes from

Gae-Lynn Woods

Keep reading to see how you could win a free copy this Thanksgiving.

THE SHADOWS

IT’S A HELPLESS FEELING knowing it’s nearly midnight and your best friend is roaming the streets in pursuit of someone who might want to hurt you both, and you can do nothing to help her.

Except exactly what she tells you to do.

So I did. As I snatched up the phone on Aunt Kay’s desk and dialed, the conference room window exploded. A chorus of screams sounded and my heart jumped into overdrive. Despite the fear, I surprised myself by dropping the phone and squatting to duck walk into the conference room.

Kay and Babby hissed behind me like a pair of spitting cobras, but I stayed low and ignored them. If our intruder was throwing things, he might be armed. That was bad for Cass. I crunched across the conference room floor, bits of glass glittering in the sparse light filtering through the blinds. As had been the case for months now, there was absolutely no breeze, but the humid air rushed to invade our cool offices. The wooden slat blinds were ajar and through the slit I could see into the street. Lights were on around the square and I realized why Cass had reacted so quickly. From the conference room, she would’ve seen the glow of street lights even against the closed blinds. There was no logical reason for our power to go out.

Smart cookie.

Arcadia has a beautiful old courthouse in the middle of a grass lawn wrapped by the one way street that goes around the square. Seconds had passed since the window shattered, but nothing moved. I stayed low and waited, watching. Cass rounded the corner of the block at a full sprint. A sliver of shadow separated from the base of a giant oak on the courthouse lawn and scurried east.

I shouted through the empty window frame, “That way, Cass. He’s on foot.” I pointed and watched as she ran after him. Moments later sirens filled the night air, still heavy with a heat that would keep us in the eighties through the night.

My knees were protesting and I was ready to stand when a second shadow moved. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing at first, but a dark mass peeled away from the tall war memorial and morphed into the blackness beneath another live oak. I couldn’t decide what to do. Cass was out of earshot and I couldn’t see clearly where this figure was headed. I kept my eyes on the lawn and whispered for cousin Cindy to join me.

“There’s glass everywhere, Maxine. I’m not coming in there.”

I resisted the urge to snap at her. “Call 911 again. There’s a second man on the courthouse lawn. He was hiding — wait. There he goes again. South. Call now, Cindy.”

She backed away and I heard a phone being uncradled and a voice murmuring. More sirens wailed into the night but they were too late. I’d lose this second man if I didn’t hit street level.

I think that’s when I realized just how badly I wanted to be a detective. Maybe even needed it. I was utterly helpless while my best friend was out risking her life for a case I’d stumbled into. In those minutes when Cass was out of my sight, before I heard the gunshots, a tiny piece of me grew up.

But the rest of me was still impulsively immature.

Then a gunshot cracked and an image of Cass unconscious in a hospital bed those few weeks ago hit my brain. Icy fear flooded my body.

A second gunshot sounded.

I ran for the agency’s front door.

About A Case of Sour Grapes

Wine, women, and song. What could possibly go wrong?

Meet Maxine Leverman, lover of expensive shoes, beautiful handbags, and her lingerie wearing ex-husband’s hush money. When she pleads her way into a job at family run Lost and Found Investigations, Maxine’s only goal is to gain the concealed carry license and PI skills she needs to find the man who attacked her, and then kill him. (Or maybe just put him in jail, that decision can wait.)

But when she secretly takes a missing husband case on her first day at the agency, she stumbles into a high-stakes game of blackmail and murder. Maxine must unravel the links between a forgotten folk punk band, an international drug cartel, and the tangled history of the missing husband to keep the women in his life alive.

Fans of the early Stephanie Plum novels and Stuart Woods’ Holly Barker series will love Maxine’s tenacity, grit, and lust for life.

Get it on Amazon.

How to win a free copy

For a free book, answer: If you were Maxine’s best friend Cass, would Maxine’s bravery/impulsiveness inspire you or drive you crazy?

Leave your answers in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

BestSelling Reads page   |   Amazon author page   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   |    Website   |    Blog

 

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Thursday teaser: The Oblivious Girl’s Handbook

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This week’s excerpt is courtesy of bestselling DelSheree Gladden

“Joseph and I are very independent,” I said. Then I remembered Monroe having to hold my hand through the crowd and felt the need to clarify. “What I mean is, because he’s gone so often, we know how to get along without each other when we have to. Clingy would not work for us, not with his job. I wouldn’t want him hanging all over me all the time, either. Maybe it’s not how every relationship goes, but it works for us. See?”

I took my phone from my purse and had Joseph’s Facebook profile up in a few taps. One more tap brought up all his pictures. They were what I’d wanted to show him before. Sliding it across the table, I gestured at the pictures.

Monroe took the phone, scrolling through the pictures, but his frown only deepened. “What am I supposed to be seeing? It just looks like Joseph hangs out in a lot of bars, with a lot of other women…all over the state.”

Frustrated by his negativity, I held back on snapping at him only by reminding myself that he was a cop and it was likely a habit to always think the worst of people. I turned the phone so I could see the pictures and tapped on one of Joseph at dinner with a brunette woman at least a decade his senior. Maybe if you just looked at the pictures his behavior seemed odd, but the comment that went along with the post clearly identified the woman as a client. It was a business dinner.

I pushed the phone back at Monroe. “Joseph is so good at his job because he’s friendly and makes people feel like they’re the center of his attention when he’s with them.”

Still skeptical, Monroe navigated to anther picture. One of him and a group of friends out at a club, drinking, laughing, enjoying each other’s company. I still didn’t see the problem. “He goes out with friends when he’s in town. So? He went to college with the guy on his left. They usually hang out when Joseph is in San Diego. The blonde is his girlfriend.”

“And the other blonde? The one Joseph has his arm around?” Monroe asked.

I rolled my eyes. “Probably one of Caleb’s friends. Like the four other people in the picture with their arms around each other’s shoulders. They’re all just posing for the picture. Besides, if it was anything more than that, why would Joseph post it publicly?”

Monroe shrugged, not backing off but not pushing it either. He went back to his sandwich. I spooned soup into my mouth, annoyed he would judge Joseph when he barely knew him. It was a mystery to me why Joseph was on his bad side. Everyone who met my boyfriend loved him. Except Monroe, apparently.

That bothered me more than I wanted to admit, though I wasn’t sure why. What did his opinion matter? I barely knew the guy. Joseph and I had been together for almost three years. No doubt Monroe’s instincts were fabulous for police work, but my relationship with Joseph wasn’t a case in need of solving.

Did you like that excerpt? Check out The Oblivious Girl’s Handbook 

Being oblivious to all the signs that your life is about to fall apart doesn’t stop it from happening to Sara Taylor.

Alone except for the Siamese cat her boyfriend—ex-boyfriend—Joseph left behind to teach her a lesson, Sara has no clue how to survive on her own. She hasn’t handled her own bills in years, can’t meet a deadline without someone else programming alarms into her phone, and is constantly either losing important things or getting herself hopelessly lost. Sara has no idea how she’s supposed to move out of her university apartment and start her first real job without someone there to hold her hand.

Although she knows her new friend Monroe would step in to help, she’s not about to call him after having thrown him out of her apartment when his suspicions about Joseph prove true and Sara is left angry and mortified. It doesn’t take long before she is desperate to lean on someone else’s strength, even for just a few minutes, as real life begins to overwhelm her. Pride forces her to either sink or swim, even when sinking seems the most likely outcome.

Get it from

About the author

DelShereeGladden4DelSheree Gladden was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by. When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.
Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at
And find her on social media
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Monday musings: The co-authoring experience, part 2

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This week, we continue and conclude last week’s conversation with Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman, co-authors of the bestselling Scorch Romance-Thriller series about what it’s like to be co-authors. This week focuses on characters and the development of the author.

Sometimes the behavior or reaction of a character surprises the author. Which characters in the Scorch series surprised you?

Emily Kimelman: All of the characters surprised me at one point or another, but Luca (the lead brother in Smoke Road) really surprised me. I was having trouble connecting with him, figuring out what made him tick, and then I found out he was a practicing Catholic and after that I understood him a lot better. His faith and its connection to his family history really affected Luca a lot.

The other character who surprised me the most was Avital, from Cinder Road. I wrote a scene that left her and Dolf in a position that, um, how do I put this… left them in a hot situation and I told Toby that they couldn’t get it on, but I had no idea how she was going to keep them apart. But she did. When I read her scene the next day I was like, “Oh crap, that’s good.” Avital is a badass with an iron will—I already knew that about Avital but I didn’t expect her to act the way that Toby wrote it, which was spot-on. 

That’s one of the great joys about co-authoring: your character in the other author’s hands, acting in ways that surprise and delight. 

Toby Neal: Yes, I agree. Our characters often surprise us in our work alone, too, and sometimes we have to sit with it and decide if that was really something that a character would do—and edit if necessary. Most of the time, once Emily and I were past the first fourth or so of a book, we really “knew” each other’s characters and were able to nail it, surprises and all.

But we sometimes had to cut things that didn’t ring true, and usually in they happened in that first third or so of the book when we didn’t yet really know our partner’s concept for their character.

For instance, in the scene with Dolf and Avital that kicks off the second book, we broke all the romance trope rules. We had a forbidden love thing going on with a widow and her husband’s twin (not an unfamiliar trope), but we broke the rules by having them sleep together in the first chapter.

We agreed that that would kick things off—contrary to most romances, which build to a climax (so to speak), but I took it further than our agreed upon love scene and … well. Let’s just say Dolf and Avital ended up all over the house in compromising positions. Damn, it was hot. I’m good at sex scenes! I patted myself on the back and went on with my day.

Emily disagreed, and cut my scene. 

To the bone, so to speak (everything becomes an innuendo as soon as we talk sex.)

I was upset and offended at first, but came to agree with Emily eventually that the ensuing sex around the house was out of character for Avital (though Dolf, being a guy who’d been in love with this woman for years, would have been happy to get whatever he could!) And through the challenge we experienced during that editing process (her having an instinctive NO and cutting, me recoiling in hurt and frustration, us having to hash it out) we added to our Process Document: if either of us has a hard no to something big, we have to highlight and discuss before just chucking in the Recycle bin.

Now, let me pause a moment to talk about sex.

Sex is a huge element in most stories because it’s a basic human drive, and in romance it’s a pillar of the genre. But what “floats your boat” in a love scene is hugely individual to the reader, hence the plethora of genres and heat levels within romance. As we proceeded, we discussed what we wanted our sexy times to be like. Emily told me she was eclectic; she liked a variety of writers and styles, and was not easily offended by certain words and whatnot. 

I however, was super specific. I wanted sex to be lyrically written with exceptional prose, no clichés, no jarring expletives or use of crude words. Those things pinged my brain to fall out of the story as a reader, and I wanted to write what I liked to read. Emily was amenable to this, so I gave her several books by authors whose work in this area I admired (and I have to say, there aren’t many of them. If you like Diana Gabaldon’s style with sex or Laura Florand’s, you will know how I like to read/write sex) and thus we proceeded. 

I wrote many of the first few books’ scenes as Emily was learning my particular bent with this, but by the second book she was going strong and we were able to massage the scenes into a unified style that effectively created romantic, emotional but hot mood we had agreed upon.

So that was probably TMI, but it was also a surprise to discover in setting out, that there are many many ways to “do it” and one or the other partner may be as fussy as I was.

Okay, last question: You have written and published the last of the Scorch Romance Thriller series – at least for now, as you’ve stated. But since Book 6, you’ve both released new titles in your own individual series, and say you’re working on new titles. Toby, you’ve also announced you’re working on your autobiography, and Emily, you’re working on Sydney Rye #10.

What do you think you are each taking from your co-authoring experience into your own series? In terms of process, style, understanding of characters, plotting? In other words, do you think your experience or the stories of the Scorch series themselves have affected your other writing in the future?

Emily Kimelman: I think writing with Toby has affected my writing style for sure. I can’t imagine how you could write six books with another person and walk away without having gleamed a lot of insights. One of the big difference between our styles was that I write a fast and sloppy first draft and enjoy what we started calling the “franken” edit (after Frankenstein). Toby and I had to outline for obvious reasons, but we did get a lot looser with it as we moved toward the end of the series.

 

I have returned to my no outline ways, except I keep “Take off Your Pants” by Libby Hawker close at hand and I make notes about future scenes rather than just running at the thing full bore until it’s over.

I think both of us got really good at delving into our characters motivations—we had to explain them to each other, which was totally surprising at first but came to be a key to the style we developed. I think I spend more time questioning myself than I used to … or more to the point, questioning my characters. Why did you do that? And their answers always open up new paths and interesting plot twists.

Also, mixing up our points of view and changing our tense throughout the series kept it super fresh and was really eye opening to me. I’d never thought to do that in one series and loved it. So, now I use multiple POVs in my other work. And I have plans to change up my tense in future series.

I also think that spending a year kicking skinhead butt and exploring romance has made it possible for me to return to my own work with more excitement. Although, after Charlottesville I did think I want to kill some Nazis in my next book. And then I laughed at myself because I’d spent a year taking down white supremacists. So, I’ll continue destroying ISIS in my Sydney Rye series for now … but fictional Nazis better watch out because I’m not done with them yet!

Toby Neal: Great answer Emily!

I was already doing a lot of the things Emily mentions as far as POV and tense shifts, but now I’ve begun to dictate the majority of my first draft as a result of working with Emily.

Reading our prose to each other was something we came up with about two-thirds of the way into the books to circumvent the tendency to waste our writing energy editing each other’s work. Doing so has opened a whole new area for me. I not only compose verbally now, but plan to read my own books for audiobook distribution.

I have literally discovered my voice as a result of working with Emily!

I also have begun using Scrivener, which Emily uses but I hadn’t liked. Now I dictate and put my rough prose into my nice clean Scrivener outline and I can manipulate scenes in new ways. My newest book has five points of view, and very short chapters of a page or two. I think it’s added to the intensity of the book and will appeal to the modern reader. Experimenting is what keeps us growing!

Many of the ways Emily and I benefited from co-authoring are intangible and still being revealed, but Emily’s innovation with tech also inspired me to try a lot of new things with marketing.
I miss the excitement we generated together and the fun and immediacy of sharing good work. Now, by the time my book gets to readers, I’m “over it” and never got to share the joy of a great scene with a peer. Though I like the freedom of my solo writing, I miss the fun of co-authoring. I highly recommend it as a way to learn, grow, and break out of ruts!

Thanks very much to you both.

Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman are the co-authors of the Scorch Romance Thriller series, six post-apocalyptic stories revolving around six Luciano brothers, a sister and their mother, and the others who come into and change their lives.

About the series

From award-winning, bestselling authors whose writing Kirkus Reviews calls “persistently riveting,” comes the Scorch Series, romantic action adventure for fans of romance thrillers, apocalyptic and family romance sagas.

About the authors

Born in Philadelphia and having lived in many places around the world, Emily Kimelman is the author of nine books in her bestselling Sydney Rye series (with a tenth coming soon) and two Kindle World novellas in addition to the Scorch series.

Find out all about Emily on her BestSelling Reads author page.

Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. Her career as a mental health therapist has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her books.

She is the author of 27 books in addition to the Scorch series: 12 Lei Crime series books, two companion books to the series, two Kindle World novellas, four “Somewhere in” romances, a young adult fantasy novel and five in her new Wired series, with a six soon to come.

Learn more about her on her BestSelling Reads author page.

 

 

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Thursday teaser: 6 Hours 42 Minutes

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Vigilante series, book 5

By Claude Bouchard

Claude Bouchard

Gina Tomasso had remained speechless with fear ever since the little man, the one they called Sparks, had ushered her and Leslie out of the kitchenette at ten that morning. The most communication she had managed since was to shake her head twice, once when asked if she needed to use the bathroom and once when Sara and Leslie had tried to coax her to eat a slice of pizza.

She could not understand how the others could just sit there as the minutes dragged by, one leading to the next, and seem relatively calm. Some, like Simon Chase and Leslie, maybe, because they thrived on conflict, nothing ever seemed to faze them, but even Annette and Erin didn’t seem too concerned, under the circumstances.

In comparison, she was certain that the terror, the panic she felt, was slowly ripping bite after ragged bite within her, an accelerated form of psychological cancer which would actually kill her if this nightmare did not end soon.

She had almost screamed, in fact, she had tried to, when Sara had been selected to be set free a little earlier but had found herself unable to, as if the relentless, evil dread within her had left even her vocal chords paralysed.

She watched with dead eyes as the head robber, Bull, closed the phone and approached the hostages once again.

“Here’s the deal,” he announced. “I’m sure, positive, in fact, that the captain out there is stalling with bringing in the helicopter he promised me but I’ve decided to give him another hostage, just to show him the kind of guy I am.”

Gina felt her heart lurch at those words and prayed, “Me! Please! Please choose me!”

As before, Bull scanned the group, his eyes roaming past the faces, past hers and onwards then back to her.

“How about you?” he asked, his tone almost kind as he gazed at her.

“Oh My God,” thought Gina as she frantically nodded and scrambled to her feet, almost falling back down in her haste.

“Just wait there for a second,” said Bull as he pulled his phone back out and placed a call. “Leblanc, just to show you that I’m a man of my word, I’m sending you another hostage. You tell your guys to stay back.”

He closed the phone, looked at Gina and smiled. “Let’s go.”

Juice took a step forward and Bull stopped him. “I’ll let her out. You keep an eye on our other guests.”

He motioned Gina towards the front door with an almost gallant gesture then followed her. Once there, he looked through a gap in the vertical blinds to ensure that the coast was clear then pulled out a key and unlocked the door.

“Thanks for being so brave,” he said to Gina as he pulled the door open for her. “Don’t run, just walk.”

She smiled with relief and walked quickly down the pathway leading to the street crowded with cops and their cars. Bull watched her go from the partially open door and  when she was ten feet or so down the path, he raised his gun and shot her twice in the back then closed and relocked the door.

About 6 Hours 42 Minutes

Though most of them dabbled in a variety of criminal activities, they weren’t experienced in this particular field and had never been involved in a job like this before. However, with proper planning, careful organization and the inside information available to them, they were certain that this bank heist would be a piece of cake. Ten minutes, in and out, was all it would take and they’d be sharing 2.5 million dollars. Nothing could go wrong as they had thought of everything … how could they possibly know a new member of the board was visiting the bank that morning? And how could they know that new board member was Chris Barry?

Get it on Amazon.

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You could WIN a free copy of 6 Hours 42 Minutes from the author, Claude Bouchard. All you have to do is leave a comment telling us the title of the sixth book in the Vigilante series.

About the author

USA Today bestselling author Claude Bouchard was born in Montreal, Canada, at a very young age, where he still resides with his spouse, Joanne, under the watchful eyes of two black females of the feline persuasion.

He completed his studies at McGill University and worked in various management capacities for a handful of firms over countless years. From there, considering his extensive background in human resources and finance, it was a logical leap in his career path to stay home and write crime thrillers.

His first novel, Vigilante, was published in 2009.  Since then, besides writing Asylum, a stand-alone, the Vigilante Series has grown to thirteen thrilling installments with his latest release, Make It Happen.

Claude has also penned Something’s Cooking, a faux-erotica parody and cookbook under the pseudonyms Réal E. Hotte and Dasha Sugah, as well as Nasty in Nice, his contribution to Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World. His books have topped the chart in the Vigilante Justice category on Amazon and some 600,000 copies have been distributed to date.

Claude’s other interests include reading, playing guitar, painting, cooking, traveling and trying to stay in reasonable shape.

Visit his:

And follow him on Twitter @ceebee308.

 

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Thursday teaser: For Everly

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By Raine Thomas

Thirty minutes later, Everly finally arrived at the restaurant. Between traffic and the unfamiliar area of town, it took her longer than she expected to get there. She thought she had given herself extra time, but she was still five minutes late. When she pulled up, she found herself at a valet stand. Rolling down her window, she flagged the valet who eyed her car as though it had just broken down at his feet. He approached with notable reluctance.

Waving at the twenty-dollar valet fee posted on a nearby folding sign, she asked, “Is there self-parking?”

“No, ma’am,” he replied stiffly.

She swallowed and nodded, getting out of her car so he could park it. She only had twenty dollars in cash, and she had intended to pay for her lunch with it. She knew the bank account was low until she got paid again on Friday, but she’d have to risk debiting her meal. Why hadn’t she thought to set some parameters when Cole suggested the restaurant?

Her headache ballooned as she hurried through the front door of the restaurant and looked around without spotting Cole. Frowning, she approached the maître d.

“Miss Wallace?” he greeted her.

Surprised, she nodded.

“Welcome. Mr. Parker is waiting at your table. It would be my pleasure to escort you there. May I take your coat?”

Damn. She probably couldn’t even afford the free bread at this place.

Giving the maître d a wan smile, she shrugged out of her coat, putting her gloves in the pockets and wrapping her scarf around one of her purse straps. She was sure she was imagining it, but she swore the maître d held her Target-brand garment a few inches away from his body as he turned to hand it off to whoever guarded the coat room.

Shifting uncomfortably when he gave her a quick once-over and lingered disapprovingly on her jeans, she took a deep breath and followed him into the dining room. There wasn’t anything she could do about how she was dressed, was there?

Lord, what a hot mess this was.

As she spotted Cole across the dining room at a table with a beautiful view of the outside terrace, another thought occurred to her. How should she greet him? Should she shake his hand since this was a business meeting? Go in for the awkward hug since she was good friends with his brother?

Bow because he looked like a god in his simple black V-neck sweater and gray pants?

She caught his gaze when she was still about ten feet from the table. A variety of expressions crossed his features, so many that she couldn’t read them all. She definitely caught irritation, though, and was puzzled when he ended up smiling.

OhGodOhGodOhGod…

He stood up. The maître d deposited her with a slight bow, so she ruled out that form of greeting. Then it was just her and Cole.

“Hello, Everly,” he said, his voice as smooth as a buttered biscuit.

“Hi.”

Had that been her voice that came out all breathy? She prayed it hadn’t sounded as ridiculous as she thought.

She started to lift her right hand for a shake, then realized he was tilting in for the awkward hug. To avoid hitting him in the crotch, she adjusted her trajectory. He smoothly used his left hand to continue her forward motion so that her hand ended up encircling his neck.

Then before she knew what was happening, her lips were pressed against his.

About For Everly

Determined to overcome a dark and tragic past, college student Everly Wallace is only months away from earning her degree in physical therapy. She’s consumed with school, caring for her ailing grandfather, and figuring out how to pay the next bill. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but it just might be the one thing she needs.

Major League pitcher Cole Parker hasn’t fought for anything in his life. He went from a privileged upbringing to a multimillion dollar All-Star career. But when his pitching shoulder starts to give him trouble at only twenty-four years old, he faces the possibility of his injury becoming public knowledge and costing him everything.

In a desperate bid to save his career, Cole decides to hire someone to treat his injury, someone who will keep things off the record and out of the media. He finds the perfect solution in Everly. As mysterious as she is beautiful, she provides an enticing distraction from his pain. Soon, physical therapy is the last thing on his mind.

When an act of betrayal brings the truths they both fear to light, Cole will have to fight for the first time in his life…not just for his career, but for Everly’s love.

Where to get it

About the author

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Find Raine on social media

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Thursday teaser: In Sheep’s Clothing

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Sydney Rye #9

By Emily Kimelman

The ninth Sydney Rye adventure launched on September 27. And for those of you who have inexplicably resisted the urge to buy it, here is a taste.

Chapter One

Sydney Rye

Exquisite, slippery red pulsed, the color shifting with each wave of pain. Metal dug around in my side. I couldn’t move to stop it. Couldn’t even beg. And I would have.

My mind didn’t form sentences or thoughts, only witnessed the color and experienced the pain.

Then Blue, his whimper close, his tongue on my cheek.

A breeze, the scent of wet stone joining the colors of pain.

Lightning cracked through the color. Voices in the distance…no not voices, bells.

The rocking motion lulled me back to sleep.

I waited in a sea of blue, slipping up and down waves, the sky above me swirling with storm clouds.

Lightning struck, and everything went white.

About In Sheep’s Clothing

Sydney Rye is missing.

All that’s left of her is a depression in the dirt and a pool of blood.

Robert Maxim is ruthless, powerful, and determined to find her.

April Madden is a preacher’s wife, and Sydney’s mother. She’s willing to risk everything…her sobriety, her marriage, even her faith, to hunt for her daughter.

But they can’t find Sydney Rye if she doesn’t want to be found.

ISIS has a new enemy, a ghost haunting their territory, infecting their flock with radical ideals. They will do anything to capture her. Their reign depends on this new prophet’s destruction.

Graffiti of a woman’s silhouette, set in a snarling wolf’s profile, appears in ISIS-controlled territory convincing Robert Maxim that Sydney Rye is alive. When women in the area begin attacking their abusers, he suspects Sydney is responsible. But Robert can’t believe she is involved after rumors claim a prophet, a weapon of God, has risen to free women from oppression.

April Madden hears the devil whispering to her; just one little cocktail to dull the pain. Instead of picking up a glass, she throws herself into a quest; track down her missing daughter, her only surviving child, and make amends. Traveling into the Islamic State is fraught with danger and thick with obstacles. April doesn’t have her daughter’s combat training or Blue, Sydney’s loyal, giant dog. But she does have her instincts, tenacity and the voice that whispers; your daughter is alive, don’t give up.

Get In Sheep’s Clothing today because you love powerful women, gritty mysteries, and heroic dogs. Join the hunt for Sydney Rye!

Get it on

About the author

Emily Kimelman not only writes adventure, she lives it every day. Embodying the true meaning of wanderlust, she’s written her Sydney Rye mysteries from all over the world. From the jungles of Costa Rica to the mountains of Spain, she finds inspiration for her stories in her own life.

While living under communist rule in the former Soviet Union, the KGB sprinkled her with “spy dust,” a radioactive concoction that made her glow and left a trail they could follow. She was two. She was destined for amazing things after that, and she continues to find adventure to inspire characters like the badass Sydney Rye. 

Download the first Sydney Rye Thriller, Unleashed, for FREE on all major ebook platforms and join the adventure!

Emily can be found:

BestSelling Reads Author page   |   Website   |   Facebook    |   Twitter

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Monday musings: Indie Writer Life…the Struggle is Real(ly Worth It)

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By Raine Thomas

Pinterest

I was reflecting on my writing journey the other day as I prepared for my BookBub ad promoting the sale of my New Adult romance, Meant for Her. Since I first released Meant for Her, the writing industry has changed in some dramatic ways…ways that changed the lives of many indie authors. My internal reflection was on whether those changes were for the better.

I published my first three books in July of 2011. At that time, the decision about whether to go indie or traditional was a hot button among writers everywhere. Then some pioneering indie authors proved themselves by making bestseller lists and gaining avid followings, earning them publishing deals from major houses. A number of traditionally published authors have since published books independently, many with great success. The hard line between indies and traditionals back in 2011 has definitely blurred.

This has opened the door to many more authors who have dreamed of being published and who are now following in the footsteps of the indie authors before them, uploading their work onto retail sites that are now inundated with available books. On the plus side, readers now have more choices than ever. As a reader myself, I rejoice over this! As an author, however, I spend part of every day wondering how I’m going to get my books seen among the masses. It’s a challenge that many of us are facing.

That’s hardly the only challenge about being an indie author today. Not so long ago, I was making enough income from my books that I gave serious thought to writing full time. Now, I consider it lucky if my royalties cover the cost of what it takes to publish my books. All of my author friends who actually did quit their jobs to write have had to go back to work, so I’m not alone in my struggles.

More difficult to face, though, is the reduction in reader engagement. When I first published the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy, I received regular e-mails and social media messages from readers telling me how much they enjoyed the books or asking when my next book would be released. That interest kept me motivated and encouraged me to write seven books in that series when I only intended to write three. Any writer will tell you that fan feedback is the number one thing that keeps us writing. Once that interest fades, our passion can fade along with it.

It occurred to me in my musings last week that I’m rarely contacted by fans these days. The thought was deflating, making me question why I continued to try and breathe life into a fading writing career. Then just this morning I received an e-mail asking when my next book was going to be released, as the fan couldn’t wait to read it.

It was like a sign from the universe, and it inspired me to write this post. Whether or not they’re for the better, there have been notable changes in the publishing industry over the past few years. We indie authors shouldn’t allow those changes to impact the writers we are today. Instead, we need to focus on the future, on honing our craft and figuring out how to adapt to today’s reader culture.

Looking back on the publishing path that brought me to where I am now is helpful in that it laid the foundation for my writing career. Now I need to move forward and work on overcoming the struggles faced by today’s indie authors. I hope all of the other indies out there remember the passion that got them started. We need to remind ourselves that we’re doing something we love…and that makes it all worth it.

About Raine

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream.

When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Where to find her

BestSelling Reads author page  |  Amazon Author page  |  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Tumblr  |  Instagram  |  YouTube  |  Goodreads  |Linkedin  |  Tsu

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