Now available – The book that started it all is now an audio book.

Congratulations to Don Massenzio! He’s a great supporter of authors and readers…and now you can listen to the audiobook of his first Frank Rozzani novel!

Author Don Massenzio

Frankly Speaking - CoverI’m excited to announce that my first book, Frankly Speaking, is now available as an audio book. You can find it on Amazon, Audible and Apple Books.

A Bit About the Book

A 16 year old girl has disappeared. The police believe she is a runaway. Her parents believe she has been taken and is being held against her will. When the parents enlist the services of Frank Rozzani, a former police officer turned private detective, a series of events begins to unfold that implicates a popular local pastor and the religious stronghold of the ultra-conservative community.

Frank Rozzani, a transplant to Jacksonville, Florida from Syracuse, New York, must find the young girl despite the obstacles launched at him from the local police and others whose interests may be compromised by his investigation. Frank enlists the help of his associate Clifford “Jonesy” Jones to find the girl, uncover the…

View original post 39 more words

Advertisements

Author Spotlight: John Howell

Today on Reade and Write I welcome John W. Howell, author of the newly-released novel Circumstances of Childhood. John is a well-regarded author with several novels under his belt, and it is an honor and a pleasure to have him here today.

Click for Amazon Kindle

Shipping on October 1st. Priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.

Here is the blurb:

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstances of Childhood will keep you riveted.

Here is an excerpt.

I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.

When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?

I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.

For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.

“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.

Author Bio:

John's Bio

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

My Girl front His Revenge Our Justice

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Congratulations, John, and best wishes for much success with your new Circumstances of Childhood.

Until next time,

Amy

We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB (Yesterday’s was a blooper–sorry)

It’s the last Friday of the month–time again for some good news to take you into October with a smile. You’ll love this one, about making the holiday season more fun for some special people. I chose it because there are only 88 days until Christmas!

Here’s how #WATWB works: On the last Friday of each month a number of bloggers participate in a blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

Click here to read the story.

These are the cohosts for this month: Michelle WallaceShilpa Garg,  Andrea Michaels, Peter Nena, and Emerald Barnes  Click on the name of the cohost to visit his or her blog.

Want to join? Click this link to sign up and help spread some happiness!

Author Spotlight: Susan Toy

Waaay back in April, 2015, I hosted a guest blog by Susan M. Toy, a multi-published and talented writer (if you’d like to read the post, you can find it here).

Susan is back today, this time answering my questions about her writing and her lifestyle, which consists of dividing her time between Canada and the Island of Bequia, which is a Caribbean island and part of the Grenadines (pronounced “Bek-way”). Susan is the author of Islands in the Clouds: A Bequia Perspectives Novel 1; One Woman’s Island: A Bequia Perspectives Novel 2; and That Last Summer: An IslandShorts ebook.

Welcome, Susan!

I know I’m not the only person who’s envious of your lifestyle- dividing your time between your home in Canada and your home in Bequia. I’d never heard of Bequia before I started reading your blog. Tell me about the first time you visited the island.

The first time we arrived on Bequia was by ferry (and I was feeling quite unwell after a rather rough hour-long crossing from St. Vincent, the mainland). We were staying at a hotel that was, at that time, the largest on the island, with 25 rooms. The hotel management sent a water taxi to take us to their pier – getting into another boat was NOT something I wanted to do! But it proved to be a very short trip that we could have actually walked, had we known. We came into the island on New Year’s Eve Day (what is known there as “Old Year’s Night”) and we hadn’t realized what a big deal that night is to Bequians. We crashed early, because we’d already been travelling for two days to get there, so we were abruptly wakened at midnight by, what we later discovered to be, boat flares being shot off in lieu of fireworks. We had thought they were gunshots at the time …

We spent three weeks on Bequia, walked a lot, tried as many restaurants as we could, went out on a day charter boat, met many people (some of whom we still know and are friends with to this day), and discovered that we were on to something pretty special when we chose to go there for a holiday. We hadn’t been back home in Calgary for more than an hour before I was faxing back to someone on Bequia, making arrangements for another holiday the next December.

Do you find either of your writing locations to be more inspiring than the other?

Not really, as I tend to write about the characters first and an incident and then see where that leads to as far as location is concerned. As for where I’m able to write best, the stories seem to come to me no matter which location I’m actually situated in. Right now, for instance, I’m sitting in the trailer park Laundromat washing my clothes. I’ve always enjoyed writing in coffee shops and libraries, i.e. public places, and can pretty much tune out everything around me whenever I’m in writing mode. Editing, though, needs to be done in private, for concentration purposes.

Are there places you love to visit besides Canada and Bequia?

I really haven’t been to many other places besides the two. That’s one of the reasons I read … so I can visit places all over the world without having the expense of travelling to them!

I find that weather can play a huge part in many stories. Given the huge differences in climate between your two homes, do you use weather as a plot tool? Which climate do you prefer, or do you like both?

I haven’t used weather as a plot tool, but definitely as a way of describing the place and time when and where the stories are set more accurately, and to make the setting more believable. My novella, That Last Summer, takes place at a cottage in Ontario during the summer of 1965, so I did mention the weather I remember we experienced when we spent summers at a similar cottage. And Island in the Clouds takes place on Bequia over one week during July when the rains haven’t yet started (usually, rainy season begins on June 1st), and the characters comment on how dry the island is for that time of year. Otherwise, the weather does not play, or has not so far played, a big role in my writing.

Can you give us three blurbs about your books Island in the Clouds, One Woman’s Island, and That Last Summer?

Island in the Clouds

Island in the Clouds is a wondrous mystery, set on the lush island of Bequia in the Caribbean. A Canadian with a secret past becomes both suspect and investigator for two murders on the island. Along the way, he shares sharp insights into the history and life of this gleaming gem of a place. Susan M. Toy is a keen stylist who never fails to drive her story forward with a sure hand. As in all well-crafted mysteries, the solution to the crimes is both thoroughly surprising and perfectly logical. Toy shows us the sights and lets us hear the rhythms of the islanders and, cunningly, allows us to peek into the lives of a sexy set of expats.
~ Michael Fay, founder of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society (I have also published 5 of Michael’s longform short stories under the IslandShorts imprint.)

One Woman’s Island

One Woman’s Island beautifully captures the spirit of being on the island of Bequia. The author’s ear for local dialogue is faultless. Besides its lush and exotic setting, however, the book accurately and with pathos reflects the end of an unsatisfactory marriage for main character Mariana who is constantly searching for something meaningful to take its place. She takes a young girl Verity and her two children under her wing and hears about her folly in no uncertain terms from one of the die-hard ex-pats who lives there. With its complex characters, fast-moving plot, authentic setting and the underlying seriousness of the questions it so skillfully raises, One Woman’s Island is a book that should garner a wide readership, one far larger than those who are familiar with Bequia. ~ Felicity Harley, author of The Burning Years (Felicity is a fellow-Bequia author)

That Last Summer

In the summer of 1965, Rachel Wainstaff is uprooted from her life in Toronto and her boyfriend to spend a reluctant summer with her family at their secluded cottage at Lone Pine Lake. In this story of self-discovery and young love, Rachel’s joys and disappointments are inextricably tied to making new friends and meeting a special boy, all while dealing with the irritation of her younger sister. Still, the true heart of this piece lies in the complicated relationship the teenaged Rachel has with her mother and father. That Last Summer is a poignant love letter to the lazy, sun-soaked days of an Ontario summer at the cottage.
~ Kim McCullough, author of Clearwater (Kim is a Calgary author I first met at the Fernie Writers’ Conference)

The Bequia Perspectives Novels

There seems to be a huge character quietly looming across your book series: Bequia, the island herself. Each book, even though different, reveals more and more about her as a character and a force. Quite cool.
~ Karen Parker, Galveston, TX (Karen is a blogger I met online – Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge)

Of the recipes that you’ve included in One Woman’s Island, do you have a favorite?

Two, actually, but only because I created them myself: Sue’s Cinnamon Buns and the Island in the Clouds Cocktail.

Which came first for you: novels or short stories? I’m curious because I gave myself a goal of finishing my first short story by July 1st and I found it very hard to write.

I first began writing a novel, but only because that’s what the story I wanted to tell had demanded it to be. I’m a great believer in the story dictating its terms to the writer. I did enter many writing contests early on though, and took classes in short story writing, and have a slew of short stories and novellas to show for all that. Two of those novellas have since morphed into novels (that I have yet to publish) and a couple of the short stories have been published. One of the contests I entered a number of times was the 24-hour short story contest in which we received a prompt at noon on a Saturday and had 24 hours to write and submit a story that was within the required number of words (sometimes 800, sometimes 1200, usually no more than 1500). I found that was a great way to focus my storytelling in order to produce something within the contest parameters. My stories never won anything, but this way of writing trained me to concentrate and just tell the story with as few characters and side-plots as possible. Also, I entered the 3-Day Novel Contest four times and finished and published That Last Summer as a result.

What do you like to do in your spare time (if you have any)?

I have ALL spare time now, as I am officially retired from paid work. I’ve always been a big reader, but now I am reading even more than ever, and using the libraries as much as I can (the bonus of being able to borrow books online, even during the winter when I’m living in the Caribbean). And I continue to promote other authors. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but that’s not just a hobby, because I love to eat and figure that, since we have to eat to live, we might as well eat the best meals we can all the time. I’m catching up on watching DVDs while I have access to the local Ontario library’s collection of movies. So that’s not really spare time as much as … my entire life right now!

What’s the best thing about Alberta/Ontario?

Alberta – the mountains and those long vistas looking towards the mountains from Calgary. And I would be remiss not to include all my book pals I met while living there, and whom I miss incredibly whenever all I want to do is just sit down with a like-minded friend, enjoy a coffee, and talk books.

Ontario – the memories of having grown up here, and the physical access to libraries, as well as the sanctuary my trailer provides me with. It’s a great place to read and think and write.

But not the snow or winter, in either province! They never were the best things for me!

What’s the best thing about Bequia?

My cats, and the house, and Dennis are there! And that view of the ocean to the west of the island is really pretty incredibly stunning from our verandah. That’s why our house is named “The View.”

Living within a completely different culture has given me a better understanding of the world and other people. (And I believe everyone should step out of their comfort zones and live somewhere different, even if just for a short while. Not as a tourist, but an actual resident. I think this could change everyone’s attitude for the better and would go a long way towards acceptance of different ideas and ways of living.)

And no snow or winter – ever!! Bonus points for Bequia on that!

If you’d like to learn more about Susan, you can find her blog and purchase her books here.

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

 

Author Spotlight: George Nagle

 

Good morning! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may remember that I am part of a group called Mystery Authors International. Today another member of the group is here to tell us about his upcoming release, The Life We Live: Ascending. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s garnering some great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and it’s just 99¢ right now. Welcome, George Nagle!

What is The Life We Lead: Ascending all about?

The DEA, FBI, and CIA have failed for years to bring down the Spara family, who control the world’s largest drug cartel. A secret society of spies whose members are under the age of 25 will try to succeed where the government has failed.

At only 21 years old, James is the most skillful member of this society. His new target is the Spara family. Through their relationship with Russia, the Sparas are the largest distributor of heroin in the world.  While beginning his investigation in Russia, James inadvertently saves the life of a former KBG officer who has a connection to the Tan family. This connection leads James farther into the heart of the criminal cartel.  However, the Tans have a dark secret of their own, which could jeopardize James’s perfect record and his tenure as a spy as he struggles to do what is right while protecting his family, friends and the love of his life.

Tell us how the story came about.

The Life We Lead: Ascending is just the first in a series of what should be three books. At 425 pages, it is the shortest of the series and really the introduction to James, the group, Carissa and a whole cast of others.  The Life We Lead follows the life of James, the main character, as he battles criminal syndicates while trying to have a normal life.  It is inspired by real-life events; however, names, places, timelines and such have all been altered.  This story has been 25 years in the making and certainly won’t disappoint with an incredible ending to the series.  This series is based on real-world spying, so the far fetched gadgets and such like those found in James Bond won’t be appearing. It is a spy novel has lots of twists in turns that can make you laugh, cry, feel the characters’ outrage, and even their love. The subtitle to the book is a clue as to why it ends where it does, too.

Care to share an excerpt with us?

Sure. This comes from Chapter 3; James and Daen capture Nikolias after Petior has been abducted.

“You are our prisoner, but you are a captive of whatever group you…” Daen began, but Nikolias cut him off.

“What makes you think I want to leave?” growled Nikolias.

“When you help us, your bosses will not be too happy with you. You and your cousin will need to leave to survive,” replied Daen.

“So he says,” Nikolias said curtly, with a head gesture towards James.

“What did he say? Why did he just do that?” asked James.

“Sounds like he doesn’t feel the need for our help. It seems he doesn’t want to, or have a reason to leave,” Daen replied, a puzzled look on his face.

“I am no traitor, and I will die to help our fraternity and country. I am loyal and believe in things, unlike you American dogs,” Nikolias stated in English.

James bowed his head, closed his eyes, and rubbed his left temple for a moment with his left hand. He dragged it down his face before speaking again.

“Okay, tell us what the fraternity’s cause is. What’s so special about it that you’re willing to risk your life, your cousin’s life, because someone felt I disrespected them near a train?” asked James.

Nikolias laughed. “We know you’re looking for drugs. You feel drugs are not disrespectful and destroying. You think we do not know that is why you are here? We see you peoples, and how you treat us. You all deserve death for your exploits on us, and our children.”

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am the 3rd of 6 children and grew up in western Pennsylvania. I earned my BS in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, my MSc in Biology and my MBA in Marketing and Management from Duquesne University. I am also a Master 5th degree black belt in the art of Taekwondo with Young Brothers in Pittsburgh. I am currently working in the science industry as a global marketing and strategy professional. I have one son, Matthew.

Where can readers connect with you?

Website:   https://georgemnagle.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/thelifeweleadascending/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/gmnagle

Amazon Author page:  https://www.amazon.com/George-Nagle/e/B00PV6UUMG/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads Author page:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16099199.George_M_Nagle

Smashwords Author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/gmnagle77

And last, but not least, where can we find the book?

Thanks for visiting today, George! Good luck with your new release!

Until next time,

Amy

Blog Tour: Gus Kenney

You  might remember today’s guest from a post back in March of this year. Gus Kenney is the author of The Changeling and the Cupboard and The Complications of Being Lucy, among other books, and he’s here again to discuss his newest work, Traitor’s Niece, Book Three in The Complications of Being Lucy series.

Tell us about your new book, Gus.  

Traitor’s Niece: The Complications of Being Lucy Book 3 is categorized as Sci Fi/Fantasy / Action & Adventure / Folklore & Legend / Fantasy & Magic. Here’s a blurb:

Sever all ties.

Lucy is a pawn. A dark means to a deadly end.

An enemy, burning with centuries of betrayal, has made the opening move to shatter an already divided empire. His first step, the slaying of one of Lucy’s guardians. Broken with grief and compelled by rage, Lucy embarks on a journey of vengeance to the shadowed and forgotten corners of the five lands. With those she has left by her side, sacrifices will be made to bring her closer to retribution but only if she doesn’t succumb to the manipulations of a ruthless enemy first.

Buy Link: http://smarturl.it/traitorsNieceb3

Author Bio

Gus lives in western New York with his amazing wife and five four legged children. He decided he wanted to be a writer when he realized that he could never be a spy as good as Timothy Dalton’s Bond and that Hired Sword was not part of any growth industry. When he is not semi-busy writing, he spends his time pretending he knows what he is doing at a nine-to-five job and the rest of it complaining that it is taking way too long for them to start showing new episodes of his favorite cartoons. If you’re bored, or just a creeper, you can check out the insanity that doesn’t make it into his books on his social media outlets.

Author Links

https://www.facebook.com/gus.kenney

https://www.facebook.com/Lucybison/

https://www.twitter.com/LucyBison

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/telleroftalesoflucy

https://www.instagram.com/lucybison/

http://linkedin.com/in/gus-kenney-3599a2138

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13628983.Gus_Kenney

https://www.amazon.com/Gus-Kenney/e/B00UPGZ7SY/

http://bit.ly/ComplicationsOfBeingLucySeries

Email: guskenney@yahoo.com

Other Books In the series:

The Changeling and The Cupboard (The Complications of Being Lucy Book 1)

http://smarturl.it/CompOfLucyBk1

The Changeling and the Borrowed Family (The Complications of Being Lucy Book 2)

http://smarturl.it/CompOfLucyBk2

Care to share an excerpt with us?

“I feel bad for them.” I whispered to Frankie.

“Why?” He screwed up his eye as he pushed his glasses up his nose.

“Spending their whole life trapped in a fake world and having to constantly be under harsh scrutiny. Feeling like they have to act a certain way in front of total strangers. Not free to be themselves.” I shrugged. “Not to mention their diet.”

“I guess.” Frankie consented my point. “Sounds like it would be better to be locked up like an animal than be a popular kid.”

We watched as Regina and her clique posed by the fence while a trainer led a zebra over to stand behind them. They took multiple pictures with their phones of the animal they had been allowed to feed the watchful eye of the zoo staff while the rest of us got to hear all the interesting facts about the creature. So far they were leading the class in animal interactions, mostly in regard to things that were either very safe or cute. The teacher, a sucker to their machinations, let it happen as long as the other students turned down the opportunity to do it first. There were none that dared oppose them. It was only because kids from other schools that were touring the zoo today getting to the pens, cages, or habitats first that prevented Regina’s monopoly of feedings and petting.

“Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.” A fun phrase that I didn’t feel I often got to use on Frankie. “Popularity is overrated. Right, Palmer?”

Frankie and I glanced around and found the boy standing by the otter tank where we had been ten minutes ago. With the popular kids demanding the most attention, they congregated at the head of the tour and the rest of the class trailed behind like a comet of social hierarchy. Frankie, Palmer and I were at the back like little pieces of debris that get pulled from the trail when the comet’s flight takes it too close to an object of immense gravity. Right now that object, for Palmer at least, was otters.

“Buddy system.” I reminded Frankie, and he trudged over to get his friend. Uncle Mort turned around from his post amidst a few of the other parents and gave me a concerned look. I didn’t know if it was concern for my well-being or his own dissatisfaction with the situation. Mingling with the other adults he was forced to endure conversations about parenting woes, pro sports stories, job worries, and other problems faced by normal people. I managed a weak smile and this seemed to pacify him slightly. I almost felt bad for getting him involved with the field trip. I thought it might be fun going to the zoo, as I had never done so before, and he had been insistent that I travel nowhere, school function or otherwise, without him. Luckily for me the school was trying to save the money for getting us a bus and had parents volunteer to chaperone and drive. It had all worked out until we actually got here. The whispers and comments started quickly as my guardian, the mortician, joined us and his stern personality sealed my fate as forever a target of ridicule. He had asked me once after one particular comment reached his ears if I wanted him to speak to the teacher, since he was not prepared to assault a child in front of witnesses(his words), and I told him it wasn’t necessary. In truth it would only make things worse.

But worse came when I saw the animals and felt bad for their situation. It seemed that the first ten years of my life had been spent in a cage and some of these majestic creatures had been incarcerated long before I was born. They looked depressed and broken of spirit. Made me wish I could set them free like me. That’s a lie, I reminded myself. I was only living the illusion of freedom. As long as no one found out who I was then I was safe and free to live my life as my family saw fit. Monthly reports from Lord Cid’s adviser so far reported the illusion was holding. Just like the illusion that the animals around me were happy.

“He says he doesn’t agree with you.” Frankie said, walking back with Palmer in tow. It took me a moment to recall what we had just been talking about.

“Is that so?” I looked Palmer up and down, from his buzzed head to his ragged shoes.

“Yes.” He admitted. It was the longest conversation I had ever had with the boy.

“Well, you’re entitled to your opinion.”

“That’s it.” Frankie sounded shocked. “You normally argue with me whenever I say something in opposition to your ideas.”

“That’s because you’re my friend and therefore available to friendly discussions and disagreements about our views. Palmer is your friend and not privy to such treatments from me.” I informed my stunned friend.

“So because he is not your friend you aren’t going to disagree with him?”

“No. I’m not going to argue with him about his opinion because it doesn’t matter to me.” I glanced at Palmer and his face betrayed no sign of caring what I was saying about him. Clearly he shared my opinion on some level.

“But mine does?” Frankie scratched his head of unruly hair. “Because I matter to you?” He left it as a question which meant it was up to me to answer it or not. I decided not to since Frankie tended to draw his own conclusions. “I don’t think it works that way.”

“How about we go into the reptile house and discuss it?” I suggested, veering toward the enclosure in the center of the zoo. The class was being split up as the skittish and not surprisingly popular kids put up a fuss about dealing with the creatures contained within the building. The teacher left a few parents in charge of the group going inside and I whisked in behind them quickly. “Maybe you can find John Smith a girlfriend.”

“I think he would prefer a domesticated partner.” Frankie said, already excitedly running up to the first habitat he saw.

“You should mention that to your mom and dad and see what they say.” I laughed on the inside at the fun Cecilia and Tim would have with their son on the topic. I was unsure if my friend even heard me as his eyes were glazed in wonder at the large creatures piled up within their own coils in multiple enclosures. My fear of snakes had diminished thanks to Frankie’s pet python but being in a room full of them made me squirm as much as they did. I abandoned my friend to look at a few tanks full of turtles. Nice safe turtles. When I got bored watching them just look like parts of the scenery, I turned to find my friend. The room was mostly empty except for a man standing by the exit. I wasn’t sure if he had just arrived or was just leaving, but his presence was alarming to me. Not because of the large nose on his face or the tough look of his skin; it was simply because the Troll was looking at me with what felt like above average interest. I looked away to see if Uncle Mort had noticed him and discovered that he was not in the room.

Trying for calm and orderly, I went to the adjoining room and found the class and some adults, but still no uncle. He must be with the others, I grumbled in my head. How he would let that happen was a mystery, however I it put from my mind when I realized that the troll had followed me. I settled on finding Frankie and hurried to him.

“Do you recognize that guy?” I hissed in his ear and tried to not look obvious as I pointed the man out with a jerk of my head.

“No.” Frankie shook his head. “Do you think I know every Fey?”

“No. Just the famous ones.” And I was relieved that the Troll wasn’t one of them. “How do you approach someone that is probably glamoured?”

“You want to know how to go talk to a total stranger?” Frankie asked, and it made me feel like an idiot for even voicing the question. I had always figured that the Heralds had some kind of protocol, statute, or heck even a hand shake that let each of them know they were dealing with one of their own in the world outside the mounds. But Frankie was right, if you didn’t know them, why approach? And if you needed to you were probably someone of authority.

“Let’s go get my uncle.” I whispered and pulled Frankie from the class.

“Why? He is probably just some guy here to look at the–oh. Nope.” His eyes got huge in the refraction of his thick glasses as he saw, at the same moment I did, the shadow of a blade that appeared in the Troll’s hand. “Should we walk slowly and casually toward the exit?”

“I…” I shot a quick look to the man as Frankie and I angled from the group and around the central display, putting it between us and the Troll for a moment. He carelessly bumped an adult from another group of students and didn’t utter an apology. They say manners cost nothing but in this case it cost the Troll the illusion of being there on friendly terms. “No.” I took a deep breath to ready myself for what was to come next. “Run!”

I needn’t tell Frankie twice. He burst away from me in a blur that took me by surprise; much as seeing the Troll aggressively shoving people out of his path as he took chase. Knowing that looking back only impeded my progress, I focused on the distant exit and Frankie’s back, which I was gaining on. I caught up with him as the floor beneath us buckled and folded. Several people in the reptile house shouted in surprise at the tremors felt. I tripped over a piece of rock that suddenly jutted through the tile, skinning my knee when I hit the floor. I hissed in pain but knew better than to lay there. The Troll had managed to gain ground once the shifting ground settled back down.

“Ow.” Frankie moaned as I yanked him to his feet and we continued racing for the exit. By now several bodies were piled against it, sounding panicked.

“Capricorn.” I discovered the panic was because the frame had been crumpled in the Art induced quake and the heavy wooden doors would not budge.

“This way.” Frankie tugged my hand and I didn’t fight him as I thought he was leading me toward another exit. I didn’t see one beneath the dark shadows that formed when many of the light fixtures shook loose or just blew a bulb. “Sorry.”

“Oh no.” It dawned on me too late where Frankie was dragging me and I would never have been able to slow down anyway. “Nononononono!”

The senses-deadening darkness of the world inside the shadows swept over me as I was unwillingly shifted for the first time in almost a year. I thought my fear had peaked at running from a strange and hostile Troll, but being pulled into the land that Crouchers roamed ramped it up to nauseous levels. In times past I had, under my own volition, used Frankie’s ability to Shadow Shift to get places I needed to in a hurry. It had been uncomfortable and disconcerting every time, but being dragged into the darkness made the old fears of the first time I had shifted swell up in a suffocating wave that turned my insides nearly out. Blissfully, it lasted only a second and we were soon running (mostly Frankie dragging me for the first delirious steps) from the shadows just outside a thick canopy near the reptile house. My eyes screamed a discomfort to match my stomach as they adjusted and I searched for direction in the crowded zoo.

“Where’s your uncle?” Frankie asked the question I had been screaming in my head. I had a vague idea of where the tour was supposed to progress but quickly realized that we were running the wrong way. I jerked Frankie to a stop, needing a moment to catch my breath and explain. Before I could open my mouth to do more than suck air, the doors to the building we just fled exploded outward and the Troll came rushing toward us.

Thanks for stopping by, Gus! Best wishes with your new release.

Until next time,

Amy

 

Author Spotlight: DB Corey

Today I welcome DB Corey to Reade and Write. I had the pleasure of meeting DB and his wife, Maggie, at the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival in August and they are both charming and fun. DB is here to talk (with his characteristic razor-sharp sense of humor) about his newest release, The Lesser Sin. His first novel, Chain of Evidence, has garnered some incredible reviews on Amazon and I need to add both his books to my TBR.

Tell us about your new book.

Law Abiding Citizen meets Femme Fatale. The Lesser Sin is the first in a two-part series—a dark thriller, it’s the tale of Hanna Braver, a CIA sniper that leaves Afghanistan to hunt down the man that got away with the brutal murder of her sister. A devout Catholic, Hanna struggles with the concepts of her faith as love of family compels her to seek justice by committing the most grievous of Mortal sins, jeopardizing her Immortal Soul in the process.

Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone compelled by the anti-hero plotline. Anyone who cheers a progressively gritty protagonist that does the wrong thing, for the right reason … and begins to like it.

Tell us about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

Choice – The book is set in the tristate area of Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. Virginia was easy because Hanna works for the CIA, and headquarters (Langley) is in Virginia. Maryland because I am so familiar with the area, and Delaware because of its rural characteristics and summer resort action.

Research – I did Google Earth searches on the eastern shore area of Delaware, and several on Virginia—primarily the Langley compound. After the late-night knock on my door, I explained to the Feds that I was writing a book and that was the reason for my surveillance of Spook Central. After reading the manuscript, they decided not to put me in jail, but only because they liked the book. Said it made the agency look good. (OK, I’m only kidding, but one must be careful of what one Googles). Additionally, I spoke with local police agencies in all three states and a couple former CIA types (Retired), one of which happens to be a fellow author, and one a Beta reader and fan. A Roman Catholic priest rounds out the research pool. I was very careful as to what I asked. I don’t want to be looking up, after I’m gone.

Choice – I chose these three states because of their proximity to each other. Hanna is hunting Daemon Goode. I didn’t want it to be too easy for her.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

As suggested by the title, a religious thread runs through this story: confessions, Bible passages, prayers and the like. There’s even a little Latin for those linguists and priests out there. I maintain religion in this tale as barrier, an obstacle that forces Hanna to come to terms with it, but I didn’t want the Faith component to hijack the story or have it come off as “preachy.” One reviewer pointed out that it wasn’t, so I must have succeeded. I wanted to weave it in as a character in the book, much like The DaVinci Code or The Exorcist. Not as an entity unto itself.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

Ah, dreams. Hanna Braver – Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Cole – I lean toward Lance Reddick (The Fringe, Bosch), but he’s a bit tall for the character. Hanna is taller than Cole, but so was Jack Reacher vs. Tom Cruise, so I’ll leave that open for now.

Have you written any other books?

Sure. One really bad one (sitting on the shelf at home), and Chain of Evidence, my first novel published to rave reviews (Amazon).

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I was when I started writing, stayed with a critique group for a year or so, but dropped out after that. I found that some of the folks in the group had a thin skin, and served up more resentment than constructive criticism. But, http://www.writing.com is a writer’s community, and that worked out well for me.

Do you write every day?

I try, but holding a day job makes it difficult to stick with it (sadly, writing has not provided a living wage. Yet. But I am hopeful).

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I like thrillers, mystery, crime, humor, horror, and sci-fi. Writers? Same as most, I suppose: Patterson, King, Clancy, Cornwell, Flynn and the like. But those are easy, they’re so well known. I really enjoy reading books from writers that I know personally; colleagues I meet at festivals and conferences. The last one I read was Sand and Fire by Tom Young—an excellent military yarn by a great writer, fellow flier, and personal friend-o-mine.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

Singapore and Ireland. Maybe Hawaii if my wife would let me. All those grass skirts….

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t let frustration deter you. READ the writers you admire—their first books. Learn from what they did. How they did it. Especially their first chapter.

Learn how to grab your reader early. That is paramount!

Oh … and don’t quit your day job.

And while you’re at it, read:

The First Five Chapters – Noah Lukeman

Hooked – Les Edgerton – another personal friend-o-mine

What is your favorite movie and why?

God, so many. Scent of a Woman, The Sandlot, The Green Mile, A Christmas Story … more.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Stay 30.

Describe yourself in three words.

Generous, Considerate, Optimistic … so optimistic.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

“What are you working on now?”

Well, since you asked, Amy, I’m writing the follow up to The Lesser Sin. No title yet, but the obvious choice is The Greater Sin. And I have another series on the backburner I really want to write: a near-future thriller revolving around a young girl and the grandmother that raised her, taken against her will by a desperate government. And then there’s a second in The Moby Truax (Chain of Evidence) series. So much to write, so little time.

Where can readers connect with you?

Facebook

Website (has my email link)

Twitter 

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iTunes

Pronoun

Google Play

Thanks so much for stopping by, DB! Best wishes with The Lesser Sin.

Until next time,

Amy