Why I write

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Chromatic Typewriter created by Tyree Callahan

Monday musings by bestselling author

DelSheree Gladden

Writing is an important form a stress relief for me. It produces a tangible product that helps me feel like I’m actually doing something and gives me a chance to quiet the chatter in my head and explore the thoughts and emotions that inspire the chatter.

I started writing as a pre-teen, mostly coming up with rambling stories and vignettes that never really went anywhere. My early writings mimicked favorite authors, but were good learning experiences. I didn’t just learn the mechanics of writing and how to tell an interesting story. Those were important skills, but I also learned that writing provided an outlet for me.

As a kid, I was quiet and often lonely. I wasn’t very good at expressing myself or making friends. Writing let me say all the things I wished I could say to other people, express the difficult thoughts and emotions I was struggling with through characters’ stories, and vent the frustrations and joys I didn’t know how to talk about out loud.

I go through times when I quite literally need to write. When there’s too much going on inside my head or heart, I struggle to communicate it in a constructive way with the people in my life. I get emotional and reactive and end up making a mess of it most of the time. Writing, either as stream of consciousness writing or working on a book, allows me to sort out what exactly it is that’s causing so much strife in my life and figure out a better way to express it. Of course, this isn’t fool proof and I still end up in arguments or crying over stupid things when I get stressed out, but it helps organize the chaos in my mind a little better so it doesn’t happen as often.

Writing is self-care for me, but it also gives me the opportunity to share something of myself with others. Even as an adult, I still have a hard time making new friends and starting up conversations with new people. It’s overwhelming to start fresh when there’s so much backstory to explain! It’s how I often feel when starting a new book and having a handful of characters I’ve thought about and developed or a long list of research I want to shove into the story. Writing fiction has actually taught me how to be a little bit better at sharing the important parts of who I am with new people and letting the little details filter out where they fit best. I’ll never be outgoing or overly social, but I can at least talk to people without being overwhelmed by anxiety most of the time.

Like any creative art, writing is about expression, exploration, and getting to know yourself and the world around you a little better.

DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree 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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Fight to Survive

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A Thursday teaser from the bestselling third Eva Driscoll thriller

By Alan McDermott

When Eva recovered consciousness, she tried to raise a hand to her head, but it wouldn’t move. She opened her eyes and saw why. She was strapped in tight and they’d stripped her naked.

She recognized it as part of the process to break her, but that wasn’t going to happen.

Standing before her was the first civilian she’d seen in the building. He was dressed entirely in black, and a cigarette hung from his mouth. He took off his hat and placed it on the worktable, then took a drag and dropped the butt on the floor. As he ground it out with his foot, he looked at Eva with interest.

Despite her nakedness, he didn’t seem to be enjoying the scenery. He looked more like a chess master weighing up his next move.

“Let’s start with names,” he said, a lifetime of smoking making his voice harsh. His English was excellent, more British than American, and with only a slight accent. “I’m Dong. What’s yours?”

Apt name, she thought. “Melanie Carr.”

Dong lit another smoke. “I mean your real name. We sent word to the Americans that we caught their spy, but they claim they don’t know you.”

He betrayed no anger in his voice, which told Eva he was trouble. The calm ones saw torture simply as a means to an end. It wasn’t personal, only a process intended to obtain information. He would inflict as much pain as necessary to get what he wanted and think nothing of it.

“I don’t work for the Americans,” she said.

Dong raised an eyebrow. “You don’t? Then who?”

Eva had spent time working on her story. Now she’d see how it played out.

“A private enterprise.”

He chewed the phrase over. “An interesting idea, but I can’t imagine Bloomingdale’s having much use for missile launch-site information.”

“I don’t know who they are, just that they would pay me well to get Hong out of the country.”

“And to install a virus on our servers, let’s not forget that.”

Eva dipped her head in an admission of guilt.

“So, tell me what you know,” Dong said.

“I met a guy called Johnson and he gave me instructions. That’s it.”

She didn’t hesitate to give up her contact. He’d undoubtedly used a false name and his description would match that of a million people.

Dong looked at her with curiosity, as if deciding whether she was telling the truth. He shucked off his coat and threw it on the bench.

“Sorry, but I don’t believe you.”

He looked at a few of the tools on the table, picking them up and inspecting them before moving on to the next one.

Eva recognized the ploy, designed to instill fear. He was doing a pretty good job of it.

Dong picked up something so small she could barely see it. “It’s amazing how much pain you can produce with such a tiny implement,” he said.

As he drew closer, Eva saw that it was a pin. A simple, metal pushpin like those used to stick papers to corkboards.

She knew exactly where he would use it and tried to curl her fingers into fists, but the straps made it impossible.

Dong hadn’t exaggerated; the pain was excruciating. He put the pin under the nail of her right forefinger and pushed it in a couple of millimeters.

Eva screamed in an attempt to force her body to ignore the pain, but it didn’t work. She screamed again, this time involuntarily, when Dong pushed the pin in a little more and started wiggling it around.

“I have lots more of these,” he said. “Is there anything else you would like to tell me about Johnson, or should I get the rest?”

“That’s all I know,” she sobbed, some of the tears real. Her only hope was to appear human in his eyes and pray she could trigger something in his conscience, even though she’d already recognized the psychopath in him.

“How unfortunate.”

Dong returned to the table and appeared to discard the pin approach. He ran his hand over the assembled tools and settled on a plastic bag.

Panic flooded her, but she concentrated on her breathing. She could hold her breath for more than a minute and twenty seconds, but this and waterboarding had been her worst fears realized during training.

Eva wriggled as best she could when Dong put the bag over her head, and took a deep breath just before he held the open end tight against her neck. She counted to forty, then began thrashing about as if she was starved of oxygen, hoping he would release his grip and allow her respite while he questioned her further.

He didn’t.

One minute ten.

One-twenty.

One-thirty.

Eva sucked in but inhaled nothing but carbon dioxide. The thrashing became real as every molecule in her body screamed for oxygen. Darkness began to cloud the edges of her sight, and it felt as if her head were in a vise, slowly being tightened . . .

Dong let go of her neck and air flooded into the bag. Eva gulped it in, but as she exhaled, he closed the supply once more.

Eva experienced full-blown terror for the first time in her life. She opened her lungs as far as she could, but the bag was now tight over her mouth and nose.

Nothing flashed before her eyes; her brain was too busy receiving signals from every part of her body demanding air. The vise was back, constricting her head and neck like an invisible python.

She didn’t hear the banging on the door, but it got Dong’s attention. He removed the bag from Eva’s head and threw it at the table.

“What?” he shouted.

The door opened. A soldier entered and bowed, then proffered a sheet of paper.

Dong snatched it from his hands and dismissed the soldier, who was eager to leave the room.

Eva was still gulping air. She’d been close to blackout, and didn’t expect the resulting headache to pass any time soon. She knew if Dong tried the same trick again, she would cave and tell him everything. The ESO, the exfil plan, even her bank account numbers.

“It seems fate has other ideas for you,” Dong said to her as he read the letter. “You’re being transferred, and they need you in good health.” He folded the paper in half. “Pity. I would have liked to learn more about this ‘private enterprise.’ Perhaps when they’ve finished with you at the next facility, we’ll be given more time to coax it out of you.”

Without another word he strode to the door and banged on it loudly. It opened, and he instructed the men outside to prepare her for departure.

Eva had no idea what had prompted the halt in proceedings, but she thanked all the gods she could think of for the respite.

One thing was sure: she would rather die than face another session like that.

Fight to Survive

She’s working for her enemies. Or so they think…

Ex-CIA assassin Eva Driscoll has found a new life in Australia and believes she’s outrun the Executive Security Office, the most powerful and secretive organization on the planet. But the ESO has been watching her every move and when they approach her with a high-risk mission in North Korea, Eva is forced to co-operate with the organization she once vowed to destroy.

But releasing a high-ranking defector proves costly, and Driscoll is captured and imprisoned in a secret camp on the Chinese border. What she witnesses there will haunt her forever . . . so she decides to take matters into her own hands. But how long can she keep the ESO thinking she’s working in their interests rather than her own?

When her handlers become suspicious, Eva knows time is not on her side. Can she defeat the evil at the heart of the camp and get out alive—or will this final installment really be her last?

Find it on Amazon.

Alan McDermott, action-thrillers

Alan McDermott

is a husband, father to beautiful twin girls, and a full-time author. Alan lives in the south of England, and in 2014 he swapped writing critical application for the NHS to penning thrillers that have gone on to sell close to a million copies. His debut novel, Gray Justice, was well received and earned him membership of Independent Authors International. That book launched in July 2011, and by the time he’d written the follow-ups, Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption, it had attracted the attention of a major publisher.

Alan signed with Thomas & Mercer in 2013 and has now written six novels in the Tom Gray series and a spinoff called Trojan. Alan’s eighth novel, Run and Hide, introduced a new female lead, Eva Driscoll, and a new thriller series that includes Seek and Destroy and Fight to Survive.

Alan can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page   |   Amazon Author page   |   Website   |   blog   |    Facebook    |   Twitter

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