Friday, December 27, 2019

Character Guest Post: Emily Murnane of Richard Robbins' PANICLES

Today is character guest post day!Emily Murnane of Richard Robbins' new book, PANICLES, with us today. Welcome, Emily!

I just don’t understand how people view living things. Whether they be plants, animals, or family and friends. We are not just items to be used up and discarded, we are miracles, which should be tended to, and allowed to grow to our full potential, live our lives on our own, and to fulfill our own destinies, whatever they may be. And I’m going to do something about it.
I’ve got this degree in Plant Biology, so I want to use that somehow. I’ve come up with a new idea for a business, which I hope will work. I’m going to open a nursery. It’ll specialize in rare and unusual flowering plants, some of which I’ll develop myself. But... besides selling plants like everyone else, I’ll also provide services for weddings and other catered events.
 For example when people plan events, like weddings, they order flower-based centerpieces. They’re beautiful, for sure, but expensive, and when the event is over, the flowers are thrown away in the garbage. That seems so wasteful to me. Rather than using flowers, which are discarded after one use, I can take flowering plants, each one in their own little decorated pot, and make centerpieces out of them. I can take eight or ten small, potted, flowering plants, however many seats there are at a table, decorate the pots with custom printed wrappers in whatever manner they’d like, including pictures of the bride and groom, the wedding invitation—really anything on them—and stack them together in a way that creates a single centerpiece that rivals or beats any cut flowers. And for less money. Then, at the end of the night, the centerpieces are dismantled into their component pots, and each person at the table gets to take home a plant with a decorative pot, and they can put it on their window sill, or plant it in their garden, and enjoy it for years, or even a lifetime of pleasure and memories.
I just don’t get it. They keep those flowering plants in commercial nurseries, lined up in rows like prisoners, and subject them to artificial light and chemicals. Then, as soon as they flower, those flowers are cut off and sold. Yes, they’re beautiful, but they get dressed up like tarts, to display their beauty for a week or so, until they inevitably die and are discarded and forgotten, only to be replaced by the next new batch, beginning the cycle all over again. Why would anybody do that, when the flowers could have stayed on the plant and lived their natural life cycle happily, without bothering anybody? Let their life cycle be their choice, not some selfish stranger’s. When their cycle runs its natural course, they can produce new flowers, their cousins—peaceful, natural, and beautiful.
It reminds me of Panicles. A Panicle is a type of plant which generally grows on short hills. All the flower clusters come off the main branch. Some clusters have only one flower, some have many, but each one is attached to the main branch. And when the flower dies, the main branch remains, and grows stronger. It keeps growing for generations, like a family. It just lives its natural course, on its own, happily. As should we.

Inside the book

Author: Richard Robbins
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Pages: 281
Genre: Literary Fiction

Is it better to take the risk and pursue the glory of fame and fortune, or to live a simpler, more grounded life?

“Richard Robbins has presented a cast of interesting characters, and each one is fully explored. The plot engages the reader from the first page to the last. The writing style is fast-paced and flows smoothly. Author Richard Robbins has penned a captivating novel in Panicles. A fascinating read!” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Deborah Lloyd (5 STARS)

Follow the fates of two families, one wealthy and powerful, the other blue collar, from a chance meeting at a Florida poolside, to the highest levels of politics and power. This sweeping saga of love, war, money, and power leaves each family weighing their duty to their family versus service to their country.

It all leads to a fateful choice—a sacrifice—which could change the course of history.
EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS a contemporary literary exploration of two very different families, with their ties to politics, power and influence, and to each other. [DRM-Free]
Panicles will make you think, make you cry, make you laugh and smile and keep you reading until the very end.” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Trudi LoPreto (5 STARS)

Panicles is a novel that invites reflection with its subtle and significant meaning... Connections, effects, and a great storyline make Panicles a remarkable novel from many points of view.” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Astrid Iustulin (5 STARS)

Books by Richard Robbins:

  • Love, Loss, and Lagniappe
  • Panicles
  • The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy (Coming 2020)

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meet the author

Richard’s first novel, the award winning Love, Loss, and Lagniappe was inspired by actual events in his life, and utilizes his Medical and Business School background to explore the journey of self-
discovery after heartbreaking loss, while revealing the scientific basis for the meaning of life (You’ll have to read it to find out!)

Panicles, explores the price of fame and fortune through the eyes of two families, one wealthy and powerful, the other blue collar, from a chance meeting at a Florida poolside, to the highest levels of politics and power. This sweeping saga of love, war, money, and power leaves each family weighing their duty to their family versus service to their country.It all leads to a fateful choice—a sacrifice—which could change the course of history.

Richard lives in New York City and New Orleans with his love and inspiration, Lisa, my wife of thirty years (and counting), near their beloved grown children.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Character Guest Post: Nikki Durrance of Kathy Holmes' Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon

Today is character guest post day!  We have Nikki Durrance of Kathy Holmes' new book, Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon, with us today. Welcome, Nikki!

The Art of People-Watching

When you feel like somebody is watching, it’s good to be able to watch them back. I’ve honed my people-watching skills starting with that night at the Petrossian Bar at Bellagio in Las Vegas. There I was perched on my author’s shoulder, sipping my mini Martini while she sipped hers, and I began to notice a suspicious blind man at the bar. I whispered the details in my author’s ear and now I’m starring in Déjà vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon.

But back to the Petrossian Bar for a peek into that scene:

A man held his cigarette between his forefinger and middle finger with his elbow bent, sending the smoke vertically into the air vent in the ceiling. Like a man who had been practicing the art of smoking his entire life, he moved with panache and ease. The cocktail waitress placed his cup and container of steamy liquid in front of him, and he expertly placed his tea bag and poured the liquid into the cup. He glanced at the ceiling and danced to the drumming of the piano, beating out the rhythm with his head.

A tall woman with coppery-colored hair trailing down to her waist, wearing a shimmering silver dress reserved for special occasions, approached him and asked him to dance. He stood up, took her arm, and twirled her in a circle, and then with his hand on her waist, the two glided onto the dance floor, never revealing that they were blind.

But something wasn’t quite right with that scenario, and it was more than the fact that two blind people were behaving as if they were sighted. And then I realized what I had seen. Surreptitiously, he had slipped something in her handbag that matched the dress and had attached to the back of the dress so that it looked like a flap or back pocket. But as the song ended, the two parted, and she swung the now visible bag over to her front side, and she left without seemingly saying a word to him. The cocktail waitress approached our table and placed a drink in front of me and said, “A French Martini—from the gentleman over there.” She pointed to where the blind man sat but he was no longer there.

It’s got your imagination going wild, doesn’t it?

Inside the book

Title: Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon
Author: Kathy Holmes
Publisher: Screamie Birds Studios
Pages: 249
Genre: Psychological Suspense

Nikki Durrance escaped the worst nightmare of her life when she fled Las Vegas for San Francisco, leaving her abusive husband Jeff behind at the Blue Diamond Saloon. Rebuilding her life in San Francisco with the help of her closest friend Sally, Nikki draws the line with one thing: men. But when she accompanies Sally on a business trip back in Las Vegas, Nikki meets Dr. Mike Fischer, a sexy and desirable pediatrician also from San Francisco.

After a whirlwind courtship followed by a proposal, Nikki panics and jumps on the nearest cruise ship to Mexico. Realizing she must face her fears rather than run from them, she returns home and accepts Mike’s proposal. Life picks up even more speed with Mike’s plans and Nikki panics once again, imagining that everything Mike does mirrors her ex-husband Jeff. Attempting to sort out what’s real and what’s not, Nikki begins to question everything, including her sanity when everything with Mike feels like déjà vu.

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meet the author

Kathy Holmes grew up in Southern California near Disneyland and the beach with a book in one hand and a transistor radio in the other. She began writing stories about family and wrote her first song with a childhood friend. They called themselves the “Screamie Birds.”

Books have always spurred her love for travel, especially to places she’s read about, and location is often a character in her books.

After an exciting career in Silicon Valley, she is now combining her love for both books and music at Screamie Birds Studios. You can find out more about her books and music at



Book Feature: Edge of Death by Joni Parker

Title: Edge of Death, Book Two of the Admiralty Archives 
Author: Joni Parker 
Publisher: Village Green Press LLC 
Pages: 452 
Genre: Urban Fantasy

In this second installment of The Admiralty Archives, the warrior Lady Alexin, the Keeper of the Keys for the Elf realm of Eledon, finds herself exiled to the harsh world of near-future London. Rendered little more than a political pawn by the Elfin Council of Elders to avoid a war with the Rock Elves, she has little choice but to struggle to find her way in this strange new land. Taken under the protection of kindly mentors, Vice Admiral Malcolm Teller of the British Royal Navy and his wife, Alex brings all her skills to the fore as she uncovers a series of deadly plots.

Murder is on everyone's mind as an underground White Supremacist organization takes aim at Admiral Teller while two wizards, resurrected from death, must kill Alex in order to survive. To make matters worse, the Rock Elves dispatch a hundred assassins from Eledon with their sole mission to bring Lady Alexin to the very… Edge of Death.

Pick up your copy at Amazon →


Chapter 1: Edge of Death

Alex had never felt so alone in her entire life. She stared blankly out the window of the limousine she shared with Admiral Teller and his staff. Her eyes focused on her reflection as a tear escaped down her cheek. She swiped it away. It wasn’t that she didn’t feel grateful for their help and support, but her heart ached—she wanted to go home…to Eledon…to her Elf grandparents…to her job as the Keeper of the Keys…not to London.
Alex’s mortal father had died when she was four and she’d been raised by mortals until she turned fifteen. She thought she’d have a better understanding of life here on Earth, but she didn’t. She even missed the snooty Council of Elders and the grumpy Chamber Elf. Helping those mortals had been the worst decision she’d ever made. Over seven hundred sailors on five ships had been stranded in Eledon and she’d returned them safely. She brushed away another tear and looked around. Good, no one’s looking at me. She turned back to the window.

An unusual sound caught her attention and she gazed out the sunroof of the black limousine. It was a helicopter. Or a chopper. A helo—whatever they called it. Alex leaned her head back and sighed. What was it doing here? It wasn’t part of the motorcade. Over the past few weeks, she’d seen a lot of them flying in and out of Portsmouth’s Royal Naval Base in southern England. The Royal Marines had told her about them. This one hovered way too close. The pilots smiled and waved at her, so she waved back. Friendly, she thought, at first. But why were they wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day? Her instincts told her something wasn’t right. Who were these men? Assassins? Why were they waving at me? The hairs on the back of her neck rose as she thought of the worst-case scenario. The helo was going to attack them.
She nudged Leftenant Nelson of the British Royal Navy—the red-haired, fair-skinned man raised his chin, but his eyes remained fixed on the screen of his mobile. He played a video game to pass the time.
            “Wait.” The young officer pushed the buttons with his thumbs and stared intensely at the small screen. The car crashed and the game ended. “Damn it!” He shook his fist and gritted his teeth. “I can’t get past this level. What in the bloody hell do you want?” He pulled his ear buds out and turned sharply; his eyes narrowed—his anger still prevailing.
            “Sorry, but why is that helicopter flying so low?” Alex pointed up. She had learned one thing about the mortal world—it could be dangerous here.
            “It’s just a traffic helicopter, looking for accidents on the highway.”
            “So why are those men wearing sunglasses? It’s cloudy out.”
            “They’re pilots—they think it makes them look cool.” He waved his hand dismissively and went back to his game.
            “Good.” Alex felt relieved. Her instincts were wrong. No need to worry. This was normal. Since that night she was supposed to return home to Eledon, but couldn’t, she wasn’t quite sure what was normal and what wasn’t here in the mortal world. She relived the scene, repeating in her head on an endless loop and clenched her jaw. Lord Fissure of the Rock Elves had threatened to kill her grandfather if she tried to return home—and the sneer on his face told her that he’d won.
Sitting across from her was Vice Admiral Sir Malcolm Teller. He was a kind man, but he was a mortal…and a target. She’d already foiled three assassination attempts on him. He was targeted by a white supremacist group called the 23rd Infantry, just because he was a black man. It didn’t make sense to her. Over the past few weeks, he’d also become her mentor and benefactor and promised to help her find a way home. But how? He didn’t know anything about the Elf world. Were there more entry points somewhere? Even she didn’t know—she was stranded. No, exiled.
Next to him on a laptop computer was Captain Jonas, a brilliant naval officer and the Admiral’s chief of staff, who always looked at her with suspicion. Was there any way to convince him I wasn’t a scout for an alien invasion? She doubted it. He was a stubborn man.
Over the past few weeks, the Admiral had taken charge of the return of the sailors, the ships, and the civilians who’d been stranded in Eledon, while she’d made friends with Captain Shauna O’Leary, Royal Marines. Alex worked out with the Marines on a daily basis and learned a lot about the mortal world from them. This morning, however, she was notified the Admiral had completed his task and would be leaving for London in an hour. She would have liked more time—she barely had a chance to say farewell to Shauna. But she packed quickly and got to the limousine before anyone else.
Alex had no clue what to do next, but she felt an urgent need to get back to Eledon to protect her grandfather from those Rock Elves, especially Lord Fissure. Until she figured out how, the Admiral had offered to let her stay with him and his wife. Without any other option, she agreed.
Her best hope of getting home was to find Ecstasy, the wizard. He’d brought her to the mortal world in the first place, but even Detective Inspector Tyler of Scotland Yard couldn’t find him. So, how could she?

*          *          *

Leftenant Nelson tapped her arm. “Hey, Alex. I didn’t mean to snap at you like that. You didn’t know about the traffic helo. Sorry.”
            “It’s all right. Sorry, I bothered you.” Alex wasn’t really sorry, but thought it was the polite thing to say. He’d always been pleasant to her. The chopper rose higher over the vehicle, pacing the limo’s speed on the highway. Its body was made of glass and metal with pods on either side. Alex stared at it curiously and went back to her thoughts.
            Without warning, the limo veered off the main highway and exited onto a two-lane country road. Alex grabbed hold of a handle to her left and sat up straight, alert for trouble. Her eyes widened and her pulse quickened as her head swiveled around, looking for the source of the problem.
            “What’s going on, Jonas?” Admiral Teller dropped the newspaper onto his lap and looked over to the Captain.
            “I’ll find out, Admiral.” He pressed a button near his head. “Petty Officer Thomas, where are we going?”
“Following the security car in front, Captain. It’ll take us around an accident ahead.” 
Captain Jonas glanced at the traffic on the highway. It wasn’t slowing down and his phone didn’t have any reported accidents. “Thomas, there aren’t any accidents reported. Call the security car and get them back on the highway. We have an appointment at the Ministry this morning.”
“Yes, Captain.”
Yet, the limo continued along the empty country road.
Thomas reported back. “Captain, no reply from the security car.”
The Captain grew alarmed; this wasn’t supposed to happen. He checked his phone again, still no accidents. He craned his neck to look at the traffic, flowing smoothly on the highway.
The sound of the chopper drew closer. Alex looked out the sunroof—the pilots grinned. This time, not in a friendly way. Alarm bells went off in her head.
“I thought the chopper was supposed to watch traffic on the highway.” Alex looked to Nelson, who was also peering out the sunroof; his jaw tight and his eyes focused on the chopper.
“I don’t like this.” Captain Jonas pressed the button. “Thomas, get us out of here!” His eyes narrowed.
“I can’t, sir. We’re boxed in.”
“Leftenant, send out a distress message immediately!”
Nelson’s thumbs flew over the screen of his mobile phone, sending out a text message.
Alex felt helpless and she could tell the men didn’t know what to do either. She turned in her seat to see the driver’s face in the rearview mirror. His eyes were so wide she could see white around his pupils as he clutched the steering wheel.
Captain Jonas slammed his laptop shut and pushed the intercom. “Thomas, take evasive action. Turn left up ahead.” He turned to his right. “Fasten your seat belt, Admiral. Leftenant, call for help again.”
The Admiral put on his seatbelt and Alex tightened hers. The Leftenant sent out another message over his phone. Thomas slammed on the brakes and turned the limo to the left. The long vehicle barely made the sharp turn and skidded sideways before it straightened. Then he stepped on the gas. All at once, he jammed on the brakes and nearly ran into the chopper as it hovered low over the road.
Alex broke into a sweat. How are we going to get out of this? She looked to the Admiral, who looked at the Captain. No one had any answers.
“Turn right!” The Captain pointed to a smaller road.
Thomas quickly turned the limo down a road which became a dirt path leading into a pasture where black and white cows munched on grass. The limo broke through a barbed wire fence and drove into the field. Alex gripped the handle as she bounced in the seat. Oh, my stars!
“Damn it! Turn around! Get us out of here!” The Captain’s eyes grew large as the chopper followed behind. “Did you send the message, Nelson?” He pulled the Admiral away from the window as Nelson frantically texted another distress message.
“Jonas, this car is armored. We’re safer in here than out there.” The Admiral pointed out the window.
“Thomas, get us out of here!” Jonas waved his hand forward.
“I can’t, sir! I’ve lost control!” The steering wheel spun wildly under his hands as the limo fishtailed across the grass.
Alex rocked to the right as the chopper’s nose tilted down. “It’s aiming at us!” She pointed out the back window. The Marines had told her about helos, firing rockets and shooting guns, but that was in a war zone, not in the English countryside.
Two white streams of churning smoke fired from the pods on the chopper, exploding just behind the vehicle, kicking up mounds of dirt, and lifting the rear end. Gunfire strafed the back window, shattering the glass but remaining intact.
Alex covered her face as the limo sped through the field, barely missing a cow. Seconds later, the limo ran into a stone wall and came to an abrupt stop. The airbags deployed and everyone sat stunned for a few seconds.
“The chopper’s coming around for another crack at us, Captain.” Leftenant Nelson grabbed the door handle. “Let’s get out of here!” He scrambled out the door, followed by the rest, jumping behind a stone wall in front of a stand of trees.
Just as they ducked behind the wall, the chopper sent two more rockets at the car, which exploded at the rear. Then it opened fire with machine guns. In spite of the armor plating and bulletproof glass, the limo was severely damaged—it hissed and steamed.
Alex hunkered down next to Nelson as bullets pounded against the wall. She’d never felt anything so powerful and wondered if the wall was strong enough to protect them. It brought back memories of when she’d been shot, but somehow, she didn’t remember it this way. Her recent training with the Marines had involved simulated bullets; this wasn’t the same. Her panic rose. She couldn’t move. Her breathing grew shallow; sweat dripped off her face. She felt if she was on the edge of death, about to go over. The men were just as scared as she was.
Her courage was buoyed by a short lull in the action; she peeked around the wall and saw the chopper back up to maneuver for another round. I have to do something.
“Is there a weak point on the chopper?” Alex asked.
“The rotor on top.” The Captain pointed up.
As the chopper flew forward, Alex aimed the palms of her hands at the rotor. “Break!” she shouted. An intense beam of blue light shot from her hands, knocking the rotor off. The blades struck the ground, sending dirt and shrapnel in all directions while the cabin tumbled across the field and exploded.
“What in the bloody hell was that?” Captain Jonas stared at her—his eyes wide.
“My blue light.” She grinned at him.
“My God!” The Captain glared at her. “Don’t do that again!”
Why was he so surprised? The Captain had seen her use it before when she’d healed some people. She pressed her lips together in frustration.
“Wicked.” Nelson glanced at her and nodded, raising an eyebrow.
Wow, that’s weird. He can raise one eyebrow at a time. At least, Alex thought it was unusual. She’d never seen…
“Stay down!” Captain Jonas pushed the Admiral’s head behind the wall as he detected movement to the left. The two fake security vehicles had arrived on scene. Out of one car, two men in black ran at them on the left—they were scouts, leading the attack.
“Men on the left.” She nodded to Leftenant Nelson.
“More on the right.” The Leftenant grimaced. “We’re screwed.”
“I’ll use my blue light again.” Alex was about to raise her hands.
“No!” The Captain glared at her. “Don’t use that thing. It’s unnatural.”
“So are guns. We can’t just sit here and do nothing.” Then, she had another idea.

Fantasy novels are Joni Parker’s writing passion. Thus far, she’s written two complete series:“The Seaward Isle Saga,” a trilogy, and “The Chronicles of Eledon,” the award-winning four-book series. Her latest series, “The Admiralty Archives,” began with the publication of her book, “Curse of the Sea” and continues with the second book in that series, “Edge of Death.” Her work extends beyond novels into short stories and blog articles. Joni’s retired from military and federal government service and devotes her time to writing. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Character Guest Post: Diamond of TG Wolff's WIDOW'S RUN

Today is character guest post day!  We have Diamond of TG Wolff's new book, WIDOW'S RUN, with us today. Welcome, Diamond!


Hello everyone, my name is Diamond. It’s the only name you need to know. No, my mother didn’t name me Diamond. What she calls me is none of your business. What I call her is part of a defamation suit I’m vigorously defending.

I was given the name Diamond by one of my CIA trainers, a gem of a man his mother called Enrique Torres. We were on this volcano, working to snag a nasty nest of weapons dealers. I was tucked away in relative safety, being the rookie. My job was to watch and report. It started out normal.

Have you every noticed how the most messed up days start out completely normal? No warning, no literary foreshadowing. Wouldn’t it be helpful if you woke up and, say, the sky was orange. Then you’d be like ‘oh no, it’s going to be one of those days.’ And you could prepare.

I was not prepared. The conversation between the lead agent, a man I only knew as Rogue, and the head weapon nasty got hot. The barrels of weapons swung up. Rogue’s hands were in the air. His #2 guy was pulled from around the vehicle, forced to his knees. Rogue was talking fast. I relayed the events to the team, but even as I called them in, I knew they were too far away.

I needed a distraction. I looked around me. I bypassed the weapons stash for the high-tech case carrying a compound I liked to call boom boom clay. The steep side of the volcano was armored in fissured rock looking for an excuse to go avalanche. I worked quickly, planting the explosive at points that, to my eye, appeared to be the weak links. I set the detonators, keeping my ears tuned to the drama below me.

The shouting escalated.

Birds took flight, almost as though they knew the violence about to unfold.

I ran now. I didn’t care about being spotted. Actually, I wanted to be, if it would turn them away from Rogue. A voice rose above the others. The order clear, even if I didn’t understand the language.

I triggered the detonators, sprinting like the devil was on my heels. “Get clear. Get clear,” I ordered my listening audience.

“Listen, Rookie, you don’t give the orders. I do,” Enrique Torres snapped back.

The explosions sounded. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

Silence followed. One. Two. Three. Or, it would have been silent if Torres wasn’t in my ear. “What the hell did you do? Get down here. Now.”

His order was countermanded by the volcano. The ground beneath my feet shook. My feet slid out from under me as my footholds fell away. Faster, faster, faster I pushed until across the crumbling landscape until rock solidly held my weight.

I looked to the clearing where men scrambled like rats desperate to leave a ship. Where Rogue had stood, a body laid wearing the enemy’s colors. The truck Rogue arrived in was gunning for the narrow mountain pass. Someone jumped for the vehicle, only to have his body thrown unnaturally back.

I noticed the shouting, now. It had changed in tone and timbre. Ugly, authoritative, nasty language had turned to panic, desperation. Earthquake. Eruption. Avalanche. Three forces of nature capable of annihilating man. The weapon nasties knew it. The diesel fueled engines were their only chance.

“Rogue is first out of the gate,” I told Torres. “The weapon nasties are following. They are freaked out.”

“You brought a mountain down on them. I’d be freaked out, too. Stay put until I come get you. You move, your butt is behind a desk for the rest of your natural life.”

As threats went, it was doozy.

The weapons nasties were intercepted their government’s elite military. They spoke quickly, their voices higher now, nearly begging. Hands behind their back, they still tried to run down the mountain, shouting the volcano was erupting. I laughed until I cried. “Not so tough without your rocket launcher.”

Small rocks tumbled nearby. My hand on my weapon, I turned. It was Enrique Torres, wearing a very serious expression. I laughed harder.

He squatted next to me, examining the small cuts I’d gotten in my escape. He shook his head when I couldn’t stop chuckling. “You are one hard woman. Gorgeous, but hard.” He pulled me to my feet. “Come on, Diamond. You’re on clean up.”

That’s the story behind my name. I was Diamond for the rest of my tenure with the CIA. I put it aside when I married. Suburban life and a day job didn’t require a cover. That changed in a day. My husband went to a conference in Rome. I was to fly out the next day to join him for a little vacation. Instead, I went to claim his body.

Somebody knows what happened that night. Somebody saw the hands that pushed him in front of that car. Somebody understands the reason behind it all.

The police say it was an accident, case closed. I buried my husband, buried a part of myself, maybe the best part. What’s left is Diamond and I’m just getting started. Murder is filthy business. Good thing I play dirty.

Inside the book

Author: TG Wolff
Publisher: Down & Out Books
Pages: 236
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

One night in Rome. One car. One dead scientist. Italian police investigate, but in the end, all they have are kind words for the new widow. Months later, a video emerges challenging the facts. Had he stepped into traffic, or was he pushed? The widow returns to the police, where there are more kind words but no answers. Exit the widow.

Enter Diamond. One name for a woman with one purpose. Resurrecting her CIA cover, she follows the shaky video down the rabbit hole. Her widow’s run unearths a plethora of suspects:  the small-time crook, the mule-loving rancher, the lady in waiting, the Russian bookseller, the soon-to-be priest. Following the stink greed leaves in its wake reveals big lies and ugly truths. Murder is filthy business. Good thing Diamond likes playing dirty.

“TG Wolff’s novel is for crime-fiction fans who like it action-packed and hard-edged. Written with feisty panache, it introduces Diamond, one of the most aggressive, ill-tempered, and wholly irresistible heroines to ever swagger across the page.” –David Housewright, Edgar Award-winning author of Dead Man’s Mistress

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meet the author

TG Wolff writes thrillers and mysteries that play within the gray area between good and bad, right and wrong. Cause and effect drive the stories, drawing from 20+ years’ experience in Civil Engineering, where “cause” is more often a symptom of a bigger, more challenging problem. Diverse characters mirror the complexities of real life and real people, balanced with a healthy dose of entertainment. TG Wolff holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.


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Monday, December 9, 2019

Interview with Psychological Thriller Author Simon Dillon

The spirit of Simon Dillon took human form in 1975, in accordance with The Prophecy. He kept a low profile during his formative years, living the first twenty or so of them in Oxford, before attending University in Southampton, and shortly afterwards hiding undercover in a television job. In the intervening years, he honed his writing skills and has now been unleashed on the world, deploying various short stories and novels to deliberately and ruthlessly entertain his readers. He presently lives in the South-West of England with his wife and two children, busily brainwashing the latter with the books he loved growing up.

website & Social links


Title: Phantom Audition
Author: Simon Dillon
Publisher: Dragon Soul Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Small-time actress Mia Yardley, recently widowed wife of renowned actor Steven Yardley, discovers her late husband’s secret acting diary. The diary details appointments made with a psychic medium, who advised Steven on which roles to take. It also raises questions about his mysterious and inexplicable suicide. Seeking answers, Mia speaks to the medium, but in doing so is drawn into an ever- deepening mystery about what happened to her husband during the final days of his life. Eventually, she is forced to ask the terrible question: was Steven Yardley murdered by a vengeful evil from beyond the grave?


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Can you tell us what your new book is about?

Phantom Audition is gothic thriller about widowed bit-part actress Mia Yardley, who investigates the mysterious suicide of her more famous actor husband, Steven. Before his death, Steven took a film role playing famous abstract artist Edward Bingley, who also committed suicide in mysterious circumstances. When Mia discovers her husband only took roles based on consultations with a medium, she comes to suspect her husband may have buried himself in the role a little too much - possibly to the point where supernatural forces were involved.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Mia is a woman isolated by grief, surrounded by hostile staff and relatives (including Steven’s sister Jemima). They look down their nose at her, thinking her unworthy of inheriting the Yardley ancestral Jacobean mansion. The house intimidates and unnerves Mia, and she is desperately trying to rediscover who she is, to escape her husband’s shadow.

In flashbacks, Steven is introduced. He appears charming at first, but did his later behaviour (mirroring that of Edward Bingley) reveal his true character, or was something more sinister responsible for his descent into drug addicted hedonism?

Other key characters include Mia’s loyal best friend Bronwyn, who helps investigate Steven’s suicide, the enigmatic Etta Amble, the medium Steven consulted, and Verity, a member of Mia’s staff who may just have a few dark secrets of her own. Lurking behind the main story is the past relationship between Edward Bingley and his fellow artist Horace Bailey. Were they the best of friends, as everyone thought? Or was Bailey secretly jealous of Bingley’s immense success?

Your book is set in the south-west of England.  Can you tell us why you chose this location in particular?

Mainly because I live here and love the area. Many of my novels take place in the south-west, with its rugged coastlines and beautiful countryside. Then of course there’s Dartmoor; a perfect combination of beautiful, bleak, and sinister.

But most of the novel takes place inside Elm House, the Jacobean mansion. Many of these old buildings are fascinating, and a great many of them still contain priest holes, like in the book. Of course, a good sinister haunted house is essential for a story like this.

How long did it take you to write your book?

I finished the first draft of this one in two months, which is something of a record for me. Of course, that doesn’t include all the outlines, character profiles, and research I did beforehand, so add at least another month of work on top of that.

What has been the most pivotal point of your writing life?

That’s an exceptionally difficult question, and probably impossible to answer with any degree of accuracy. Certainly, being published by a traditional publisher was a pivotal point. Dragon Soul Press have published three of my gothic horror/thrillers so far, with Spectre of Springwell Forest, The Irresistible Summons, and of course this one, Phantom Audition.

What kind of advice would you give other gothic horror/thriller authors?

Find a great ending and work backwards from that point. Don’t waste your time on anything less than an ending that you personally are absolutely blown away by.

This may seem like odd advice considering the genre, but don’t try too hard to scare people - at least not at first. You want to draw them in, lulling them into the narrative, seducing them into your world… until they cannot escape. My favourite horror stories are those that don’t overtly scare the reader whilst the plot is in progress, but then send them back into the real world feeling profoundly disturbed and unsettled by the finale. Covertly getting beneath the skin of the reader is a skill to be mastered in this genre.

Be sparing with blood and gore and deploy it selectively. Gruesome, gross-out sequences tend to result in either lurid fascination or revulsion, not fear. The more you use them, the less effective they are.

Focus on building suspense, mystery, and something that gets the reader consistently turning pages.

Don’t overcomplicate the narrative but have a single, ideally sympathetic protagonist, who is easy to relate to and root for - even if they make poor choices.

Be aware of genre conventions and master them. Don’t break an honoured convention unless for this reason: to replace it with something better. Working within a formula is fine, but don’t be predictable. Agatha Christie worked within a formula, with consistently unpredictable results. Give the reader what they want, but not the way they expect it.

Don’t make your premise too outlandish and unrelatable. All the best gothic horror comes from easily relatable real-life situations, often exaggerated and dialed up to eleven. For example, a child who acts up in school causing grief for the parents is a real-life situation that can then be exaggerated into a horror tale. Is the child possessed, for instance?

Finally, whatever you do, don’t consciously insert any kind of heavy-handed “message”. Grinding the religious or political axe is for preachers, politicians, activists, and so on, not authors in this genre. Instead, simply concentrate on telling a good story. Whatever is important to you will then be inherent in the text. What’s more, your beliefs will come over far less finger-waggingly and far more convincingly.





Title: Grasshopper Eye and the Lost Vial
Author: Michelle Jester
Publisher: Yellow Duckie Press
Pages: 36
Genre: Children (Juvenile>general, Juvenile>social issues> feelings and emotions)

When the villagers first noticed that each of them had one item missing from their homes, they set out on a journey that ends with them finding something far more valuable than things. Go with Grasshopper Eye on a journey through friendships, feeling, and fitting in.



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Grasshopper Eye lived in a village deep in the forest. He made small vials that villagers could put their sad tears in.

He felt that letting sad tears fall down your face or wiping them away was a huge waste of something that took so much pain to make.





Michelle Jester is the author of several novels that fall into the Coming of Age, New Adult contemporary romance, Social Issues, Women’s Lit categories. Michelle’s titles, published through RopeSwing Press, include The Funeral Flower, Love, Cutter, and Two Thousand Lines (due out November 21, 2019.) In addition, Michelle is releasing a children’s book, Grasshopper Eye and the Lost Vial, through Yellow Duckie Press on the same day as Two Thousand Lines. It is featured in the contemporary novel, however is a stand-alone publications for a younger audience.

Michelle also writes several professional and personal blogs, contributes articles for independent publications, and is the Editor-in-chief for Modern Grace magazine. In addition, she is a Media and Publishing consultant, photographer, and graphic designer.

In 2007, she received the Louisiana Distinguished Civilian Service Medal for her work with military and their families. She has served as Public Relations manager and volunteer to non-profit organizations geared toward helping Veterans of war and their families. Michelle is a self proclaimed hopeless romantic who lives in Louisiana with her husband, high school sweetheart and a retired Army Master Sergeant. Together they have

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Interview with Children's Book Author Marin

My name is Marin and I was a child a very long time ago. My father passed away when I was one year old. My mother remarried and I was raised by my loving (but strict!) grandparents. After losing their son, they were terrified by the thought of losing their grandson. For this reason, they didn’t let me play on the street, swim in the nearby pond or explore the forest with the rest of the kids. This was also the reason I learned to read and write long before I went to school. My grandparents surrounded me with books. Books became my imaginary parents and my fictional friends. Apart from my genetic building blocks, books also came to be the main component in my development as a creative, compassionate and competitive individual.

I studied nuclear physics, art, and literature, but I enjoyed art the most. As a young artist, I was eager to succeed, winning prizes from various countries. I later became a partner in an advertising agency and switched my attention to serving clients. My last award was somewhere in the early nineties – The Best in the West by Corel Draw Corporation.

Oh, a few more boring things about me: I do not drive, I do not drink carbonated beverages, I have never consumed food from McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC or any other fast food restaurant, I do not have a mobile phone, I have never used legal or illegal drugs (except Gravol when I fly), and I have never visited my GP (much to the disapproval of my wife).

I read. I read every day. I am what I am today because of books. This publishing house is my little “thank you” to all of them.

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Author: Marin
Publisher: Fontreal
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

‘TWAS THE NIGHT is a wordless book that “tells” a heartwarming and inspirational Christmas story. The illustrations gift each reader, young and young at heart, the opportunity to reimagine the Season’s wonder, and the freedom “to script” (if they choose to) their own lines to go with the images. Keep dreaming big!



Can you tell us what your new book is about?

The title of my new book is ‘Twas the Night. Although it sounds familiar and seemingly predictable, “it’s quite probable that the story will be like none they (the readers) have read or experienced before,” as one reviewer put it. I will open the hardcover for you and let you have a sneak peek: it is an entirely wordless book with rich illustrations that invite “the readers” to harness their imagination and develop their own story each time they look through the pages.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

There are two main protagonists in the story – a boy in a wheelchair and an injured dove. Although the key events revolve around Christmas, the illustrations intentionally did not include crowds filling the well-lit and festive streets. The goal was to centre “the readers’” attention to the plot, characters and make room for them as first-hand witnesses of the Christmas wonder. Also, I wanted to remove every other living creature from the plot, to simplify the narrative while making it mysterious and sophisticated.

Your book is set in a big city.  Can you tell us why you chose this location in particular?

Counter-intuitively, big cities often hinder social interactions. Many people, although surrounded by other human beings, feel lonely and isolated. Prevailing images of glass, concrete and asphalt are juxtaposed with the warmth and friendship between the boy and the dove. 

How long did it take you to write your book?

I have never really calculated the time spent developing “the story,” executing the illustrations, and designing the book as I simultaneously worked on other titles as well. Since the book did not require text editing, I believe it was ready for print within 30 or 40 days.

What has been the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I was a very busy and devoted parent dedicating the little free time I had to my family. When my two children went to university, I found myself with plenty of time to put my ideas into text and illustrations. I owned an advertising company for many years, and am familiar with the creative process; however, writing, illustrating, designing and publishing children’s picture books is incomparable pleasure.  

What kind of advice would you give other children’s authors?

Creativity is considered a matter of inspiration, maybe divine. Ideas are the seeds our imagination turns into gardens. Stay true to yourself and your garden will be as unique as you.


Interview with Crime Thriller Author Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

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Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 320
Genre: Crime Thriller

Katie focuses her mind, trying to keep another anxiety attack at bay. The victim’s long brown hair is slick and wet, her body rigid in the grass. She looks more like a mannequin than the woman Katie had spoken with only yesterday, the woman she had promised to protect…

When a cold, naked body is discovered by a couple on a jog through the lush woodlands of Pine Valley, California, new recruit Detective Katie Scott is stunned to discover the victim is Amanda Payton – a much-loved local nurse and the woman at the heart of an unsolved case she’s been investigating whilst getting a grip on her crippling PTSD.

Weeks earlier, Amanda had run, battered and bruised, out into the headlights of a passing patrol car. She claimed to have just escaped a kidnapping, but with no strong evidence, the case went cold. The Pine Valley police made a fatal mistake… 

Katie is certain the marks on Amanda’s wrists complete a pattern of women being taken, held captive and then showing up dead in remote locations around Pine Valley – and she won’t let someone die on her watch again.

But then a beautiful office worker with a link to the hospital where Amanda worked goes missing. With only days before the next body is due to show up, can Katie make amends for her past by saving this innocent life?

Totally gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Nothing will prepare you for this nail-biting roller-coaster ride…

Readers adore Jennifer Chase! 

THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS PUTTING THIS BOOK DOWN!!!!!… I was literally holding my breathI HAD TO KNOW!!!!! As for the explosive ending WOW definitely not what or who I was expecting.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I was really wowed by itI couldn’t put the book down and was trying to read as fast as I could so I could find out who the killer was. The ending took me by surpriseI was literally gasping for air… I would definitely recommend.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Wow what an absolutely amazing fantastic read. I was hooked almost as soon as I started this book. I am still trying to pick my chin off the floor. I loved it from page one and couldn’t read the pages quick enough. I did not see the end coming…Awesome.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

If you read one police thriller this year make sure that it is this one… it will grip you from the start and will drag you into the story trying desperately to work out who the killer is but I promise you that you will not be able to figure it out.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘A great way to start a new series! It’s a wonderfully written roller-coaster ride. A must read!Book Obsessed Introverts, 5 stars

Wow!The hairs on my head stood up with this one!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars


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Can you tell us what your new book is about?

Her Last Whisper revolves around when a cold, naked body is discovered by a couple on a jog through the lush woodlands of Pine Valley, California, new recruit and ex-army veteran Detective Katie Scott is stunned to discover the victim is Amanda Payton – a much-loved local nurse and the woman at the heart of an unsolved case she’s been investigating while getting a grip on her crippling PTSD. The victim was the woman Katie had spoken with only yesterday, the woman she had promised to protect… the case takes Katie and her K9 partner on a twisty investigation to find a crafty killer.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Detective Katie Scott returns to her hometown from two tours in the army as a military K9 team with Cisco, her eighty pound black German shepherd. She had previously been a patrol police officer, but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do now. She needed time to settle back into regular life again, but she finds herself involved in a missing person’s case that turned into a homicide. Her uncle is the local sheriff and decides to promote her to head up the cold case unit for the Pine Valley Sheriff’s Department.

Deputy Sean McGaven is a deputy sheriff that has been assigned to work with Katie. He’s adept at finding out information on the computer about anyone. He’s the one that has Katie’s back. Secretly he wants to become a K9 unit for the department.

Sheriff Wayne Scott is Katie’s uncle and he had watched out for her ever since her parents were killed in a car accident. He is a well-loved sheriff and has background of solving many of the cases over the years.

Chad Ferguson is the childhood friend and love interest for Katie. He is one of the local firefighters and has never fallen for anyone else. But, he wonders how long he will wait for her as she gets things straight in her life.

Your book is set in the California Mountains.  Can you tell us why you chose this location in particular?

I love this type of setting because it allows for so much intrigue and investigative techniques for crime scenes… and the unknown in a rural location.

How long did it take you to write your book?

It took about two months to write the first draft for Her Last Whisper. Then it went through various levels of editing with the publisher, which takes another four to six weeks.

What has been the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I love writing stories. I love creating characters, including the bad guys of course. I love creating unusual crime scenes and investigations. The most pivotal points of my writing life is winning writing awards and hearing from readers and fans.

What kind of advice would you give other crime fiction authors?

There’s always an abundance of advice for writers out there, but I like to stick to the basics. If you truly love writing and have the fortitude to go the distance through re-writes… then write, write, and keep on writing. Always hone your craft and don’t worry about the little stuff like bad reviews and people who aren’t supportive. Stay true to your writing—write what you want not what someone thinks you should write J