Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Win a $25 Amazon/BN GC - The Least Envied by Sean DeLauder

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sean DeLauder will be awarding $25 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

The Writer's View: Sean DeLauder

I should begin by apologizing for my deception. These photos are profoundly misleading because they suggest I have a “writing place”. I don’t. There are certainly locations where I wind up over and over again, but that’s more a matter of convenience and timing. I asked my wife to catch me writing and take pictures, and this is a small sample, but it leaves out examples of when I’m:

1. typing notes on my phone while she’s driving
2. scribbling on napkins at restaurants or dinner
3. writing on a notepad while I’m at work
4. not paying attention while my wife is saying something important
5. standing in the shower, repeating mental notes over and over again in the hope that I don’t forget them (Unlike the others, this was a conscious decision. You’re welcome.)
6. et cetera, ad infinitum

Here we are in the living room with the entire family. Writing during the day, while the boys are awake, is an exercise in futility. I can’t help myself, though, because it’s impulsive, but I’m rarely allowed to sit still long enough to gather my thoughts before I’m asked to play or leave the couch of my own volition. At the moment, my oldest boy, Graham, is either playing a game or watching PBS kids on the iPad, so I have a momentary respite.

One of the first things I do when I wake up or before I go to sleep is flip open the laptop. Again, it’s a compulsion I can’t resist. For the sake of curiosity, that’s Tom Holland’s In the Shadow of the Sword and Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian, along with the baby monitor, on the nightstand. If I look a bit sheepish, it’s because I always feel preposterous when people take my picture. Also, there’s probably a little scribe in the back of my head noting that I haven’t finished building our bed frame, so the mattresses are sitting on the floor, as though my wife and I are still paupered college students who can’t afford to furnish our house.

Here’s the view of our idyllic back yard from the open porch, sprinkled with oak and fruit trees, and the boys’ swingset. An excellent place to write, but let’s be realistic. I live in Ohio, so, practically speaking, I could probably spend 3 months out here comfortably. The rest of the time I would be freezing, wet, or sweating. I love the variety of Ohio’s weather, but it’s not great for sitting in. Besides, when I’m writing I’m not paying any attention to what’s going on around me. At least, I’m trying not to. Where I am physically is utterly irrelevant; it’s all about whether or not I have the time to transport myself mentally and explore for a while.

If you were my book, this is what the world would look like to you. That’s right, your view permanently obstructed by my titanic face. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be.

12_18 Cover_The Least EnviedCast back in time to a perilous wasteland, Andrew is tasked with recording the fate of an individual history has chosen to ignore. Threatened by knee-high creatures called Wogs, an enigmatic beast known as the Forest Monster, and the man orchestrating the slow annihilation of the world, Andrew discovers all hope for salvation and survival rests with a boy without a history.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Gordimer’s focus returned and he leaned forward.

“Still want to be a hero? Or afraid?” he asked, teeth gritting. His eyes glinted with wildness, but his voice was biting and controlled. “A little fear is good, yes. It prevents you from becoming arrogant, forgetting your limitations. But to face fear and overcome it.” The old man punched a finger in the air. “Ah ha! Then the curtains of limitation begin to draw aside. Success is limited only by a lack of daring.”

Gordimer grinned and his eyes opened wide.

“And if death scares you, boy, perhaps heroing is something you should reconsider.”

If Gordimer was trying to frighten him, Billy-Bob thought, he’d been successful. At the same time, Gordimer seemed to be trying to encourage him. To face a fear and overcome it was to master that fear forever. And if he mastered one fear, how difficult would it be to master others? The first step in mastering fear must be to confront that fear.

“Where West do I go?”

For an instant Billy-Bob thought Gordimer’s sneer wavered, giving way to a smile of admiration that lit and faded in an instant.

“Doesn't matter, really. Just go West. All the way to Beta. It's where most heroes end up.”

“Beta?” asked Billy-Bob.

“It’s a town,” Gordimer explained.


“Over there,” said Gordimer. He pointed down the street toward the blankness beyond.

“I’ve been over there,” said Billy-Bob. “There’s just rocks and a crack that’s too wide to cross.”

“Past that.”

“Past that is nothing.”

“Past the nothing, too.”

“What is past nothing?”

Gordimer smiled.


12_18 AuthorPic_The Least EnviedAbout the Author: This author has held several positions in recent years, including Content Writer, Grant Writer, Obituary Clerk, and Staff Writer, and is under the false impression that these experiences have added to his character since they have not contributed much to his finances. He was awarded a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism and a BA in Technical Communication by Bowling Green State University because they are giving and eager to make friends. He has a few scattered publications with The Circle magazine, Wild Violet, Toasted Cheese, and Lovable Losers Literary Revue, and resides in the drab, northeastern region of Ohio because it makes everything else seem fascinating, exotic, and beautiful.

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

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Win a $10 Amazon/BN Gift Card: Book Blast: Dark Wolf Enterprises by A.M. Griffin

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The big break Trudy Hollander’s small accounting firm needs has finally arrived, but unfortunately it comes with murder, mayhem and Kristof Farkas, a man she just can’t seem to resist. Even worse, Kristof is the CFO of Dark Wolf Enterprises—the one person who can pull the plug on the job that will take her company to the next level.

And then there are the assassins who can jump from three stories up and still be able to run away…

Kristof has no intention of giving in to his inner wolf and claiming Trudy. She’s human. Too fragile to withstand being a shifter’s mate. But the need to protect her is stronger than his resolve, and his desire is more powerful yet. He’ll fight with everything he has to keep her safe, both from those who would hurt her, and from himself.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Kristof is some kind of freak and he’s being attacked by wolves. She was god knows where with god knows who.

She could be killed out here and no one would know how to find her body.

Her gaze shifted to the cockpit door. They could kill her.

Flare gun.

She scrambled to the back of the plane and flung open the closet door. On the top shelf was the metal box Kristof had told her about. Grabbing it, she pulled the box down. The handle slipped in her sweaty palms and hit the floor with a crash. The contents spilled at her feet.

She spotted the flare gun immediately. Grabbing it, she ran back to her seat by the window and aimed the gun at the cockpit door.

While she waited for the pilots to come out, she continued to watch the fighting below. One of the wolves was down, leaving Kristof to fight the other two. She peered at the cockpit door. Still shut. Then back to Kristof. One of the others wolves was now limping badly.

Kristof snarled and grabbed the uninjured wolf by the neck and shook him. The wolf went limp and appeared to be more like a rag doll than anything else. Kristof stopped and opened his mouth. The wolf he held there fell to the ground in a lump. The only wolf left stood his ground. Both he and Kristof growled and circled each other until, finally, the injured wolf seemed to realize this was a losing fight and scampered off into the darkness.

Standing alone, Kristof let out a long howl at the night.

Trudy pressed her face to the glass and looked left to right, trying to see if she spotted any more of the other wolves.

Kristof ran off, to where she couldn’t see.

He’s leaving me.

The thought ripped through her mind. Then an instant later, another thought eased the first.

He’d never leave me. I belong to him.

She’d no time to pick apart the last thought because, on the next blink, Kristof—the wolf—was standing outside of her window—watching her.

She knew it was him and not some other wolf, she felt he was hers. Their eyes locked. A part of her wanted to shrink away under his stare, but the other…wanted to claim him.

The cockpit door creaked open and the pilot peered at her. Yelping she raised her gun and aimed. Screaming, he shut the door before she could fire off a shot.

“Come out here and I’ll kill you! Do you see what happened to your buddies?” Her hands shook as she aimed the gun.

She was going to die. There was a man-wolf killer outside and a pilot-kidnapper in here.

Another glance outside and Kristof stood, as a man, watching her. A naked man. A wonderfully naked man.

She shook her head.


“Trudy. Open the hatch. I’m coming back up,” He yelled out to her.”

Was she supposed to let him back in? He hadn’t said that.

She chewed on her lower lip, waiting for an answer she couldn’t think of. If she opened the door would he attack her? Was he a rabid beast who couldn’t control himself?

She shook her head. “No. You said not to open the hatch.”

“I meant don’t open the hatch for them.”

“Since I know your secret are you going to kill me now?”

“Don’t be silly. It’s cold out here. Open the hatch.”

Should she let him back in?

“Are the pilots still alive?” he asked.

Her gaze shot back to the cockpit. “Yes. But not for long,” she yelled, loud enough for the pilots to hear.

“I’m naked and it’s about thirty degrees out here. Can you please let me in?”

“Wh-what about your super-human heating abilities? Aren’t you supposed to be so hot that’d you’d melt snow?”

He cocked his head to the side. “This is not a young adult story. I’m freezing my ass off.”

“If he kills me I’m going to be so pissed,” she mumbled to herself.

About the Author:A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

Where you can find me:

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Win a $50 Amazon GC - Gone by Anna Bloom

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anna will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thank you for having me on your blog today!

You asked me to describe my writing space or the view from outside my window, so what I thought I would do is give you an idea of how I work and the inspirational views that I use to keep my imagination fired up.

I don’t have a specific writing space, so I can’t show you my office or anything of the like. I do have a desk, of course. It’s beautiful. My husband bought it for me last year from an antiques shop and it’s a bureau style piece of furniture, where you pull down the front to write. Every time I sit at it I think of its previous owners who more than likely used it to keep up to date with correspondence and household affairs, not to write long manuscripts on. The desk has huge sentimental value because it was bought for me the day before my dear Nan passed away and on the day she died I visited her in the hospice and very proudly showed her a picture. Every time I sit at it, I remind myself to write a book that she would be proud of. She was an avid reader and instilled a love of books in me from a very young age.

I don’t always sit at my desk though, and I move it around the house. It’s currently in my bedroom but I haven’t written at it in ages; I’ve been propped on my bed, or sat at the dining room table so I can stay with my family while I write.

My view while I write, as such changes on a daily basis, and I’m pretty sure that no one wants to see a picture of my white bedroom walls. So I thought instead of sharing a picture of my writing view, I would share the view I look at on a daily basis while I hatch up what I’m going to write that day. Everyday I get home from work after lunch and the first thing I do is put the dog on his lead and walk over to common land that is close to our house. It’s called Happy Valley and it certainly puts me in a creative, happy place. When I write I like to empty my mind of everything else, so a march over the fields helps me do this. Once I’ve covered enough space and my mind is empty of the mundane worries of my daily life I start to let my imagination drift, and that’s when the conversations, and scenes start to come to me. They flood me with such inspiration that once they are in place there is little I can think of until I have written them down. For me my daily walk and the view I take in is the perfect combination to put me in the right place to write, it stirs my senses and allows me to dream big and write even bigger.

I took my family and dog out for a walk this morning so I could take the pictures for you, so here is Happy Valley on a crisp winter morning, with the sky a brilliant blue and the sun blinding in that way unique to winter, who could help but be inspired by a view like this?
Rebecca Walters is haunted by past tragedies and the names that people call her. When her parents take her to Cornwall for two weeks and she meets local artist Joshua Adams, Rebecca starts to understand that her future is what she can make it. But when her past secrets start to catch up with her will Rebecca fight to remain the girl she's found or will she run from a past that won't stay Gone.

Enjoy an excerpt:

For the first time in a long time I want to do more than just graze my lips against another shoulder.

I can’t though.

While she is technically not a holiday maker and therefore hasn’t fallen in my ‘Not to be Approached’ criteria, I know she is not staying. And if she is not staying I know we will never do more than walk down a beach holding hands. I don’t do goodbyes of any description.
,br> Last night as we sat on the moonlight flooded beach we told each other everything, but at the same time nothing. She is eighteen, to my twenty. Her family have moved here so her sister can have a life not in the middle of London.

The girl who looks like she is made of the sun is leaving in two weeks to go to university. But that’s not all I found out. Without knowing it, she hinted at all the stuff she doesn’t want anyone to know. As we sat on the dark sand I found all the answers to the things she wasn’t telling me. They were hiding in every moment of silence that hung between us in the night air. She is lonely, frustrated, confused, all of these things and something else. There is something else there. It’s in the way she holds her body, and it’s in the way her fingers absentmindedly graze over the bangles adorning her wrists.

Something, or someone.

Something that she thinks defines her. She does not want anyone to know it. She does not want me to know it. And to be honest I’m not sure if I want to know either. Well at least I thought I didn’t until we reached her gate last night, and instead of giving her a good bye wave I stepped right into her space, holding myself back from kissing her and asked instead if she would like a surf lesson.

About the Author:
Anna Bloom is a contemporary romance writer with the sole writing ambition of writing about life as it happens. Dedicated to real characters, real problems and real romance Anna writes tales to stir your heart and head. Combining a busy schedule of looking after two young children, working in a local school and writing swoon worthy romance for Mature Teen readers, she also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys and talking to the voices in her head- all in the name of her art.

Buy the book at Amazon or Amazon UK.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Win a $25 Amazon/BN GC - Interview with Joy Frawley, author of TWO WORLDS TWO MEN

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A $25 Amazon/Barnes and Noble gift card will be awarded to one randomly selected winner during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks for coming by My World of Dreams-- and welcome. Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your characters’ lives / lifestyles?

Absolutely, Two Worlds Two Men is a time travel romance that has a lot of history about Scotland. I researched a lot about the country in regards to its history with superstition and old wives tales because I really had no idea what historical items to add to the characters. Also, one of the main characters, Colin, is a medieval clan leader whose behaviors and pressures are not anything I would relate to so it was important to me to spend time online and reading books about the country. Even the description of clothing for both sexes was an item that needed some research as well as how the castle in the story, Kilchurn, was laid out.

Who inspires you?

My son inspires me often because he is spending his senior year of high school as a Rotary Club exchange student in Denmark. His fearlessness is something I truly admire because I am not sure I would have had the courage to leave the US and go to another country at 17 years old to live with strangers. However, these wonderful strangers have become his other family. It’s a beautiful thing.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, and am the youngest of three girls. I recently moved to beautiful Traverse City, Michigan, where I found the community very supporting of anyone in the arts whether it is books or sculpture. It attracted me as a writer and the energy as well.

How did you get into writing?

I was at one of those crossroads in life that forced me to face the fact I had become complacent and unhappy with the status quo. My life as it was simply left a void and I instinctively knew it was time to make a change, however bold, that would bring creativity to my day to day work. I had been in the finance insurance industries my entire career and as my son grew up I saw it as the opportune time to cut many ties and take on a new route in my life. Hence, Two Worlds Two Men was born and I have been writing ever since with a contentment I had lost for many years previously.

What do you consider your best accomplishment?

I really have two. My son and getting my book, Two Worlds Two Men, published. My son for obvious reasons-he is awesome! And getting my book published because it was one of those out of this world goals people make and never believe in it or follow through enough to actually accomplish. To have gotten published with no writing background and veer off into a completely new industry is something I am proud of because I changed the avenue of my life with a lot of work and perseverance. I would not have had the courage to do that even a few years ago.

What is your favorite quote?

Oh, that is so hard! I am into quotes hard core and simply love them. But I guess the one that comes to me right now is about appreciating our limitless nature by Poet William Blake:

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is. Infinite.

What sacrifices have you had to make to be a writer?

Well, I may not suggest this to anyone but I sacrificed my job and security to write and find a spark again. Would everyone be able to do this? Maybe not. But I had more fear of staying where I was at then throwing it all to the wind and see where I landed.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

I believe, without a doubt, that the cover is important to marketing your product. When I was asked by my publisher, Resplendence, what features I envisioned on the cover of Two Worlds Two Men I was somewhat vague. I gave them feedback that was pretty general as far as the look of the characters and only suggested that I thought the castle in the book, Kilchurn, would be a nice touch on the front cover. The reason I did this was that I instinctively thought the art department would probably have a better idea of what sells then I did. Simply put, they had the experience I did not have and I feel that can go a long way to making any product better. Then, when I got the email of the final cover artwork from my editor I was positively impressed. The cover of Two Worlds Two Men is steamy, but still classy and that is precisely what I wanted as the author.

How did you come up with the title? Names?

I originally had the title, Kilchurn, which was named after the castle in book. However, upon the suggestion of a judge in a writing competition I entered I changed it to Two Worlds Two Men. She said that the title was, to her, a major component to grab reader’s attention and that Kilchurn was just plain boring. She was right and like the cover artwork I took the feedback from someone with the experience I did not have and changed it to Two Worlds Two Men. I think it is very obvious which title grabs your attention better. It’s really funny because when I tell women the name of my book they arch their eyebrows and purr nice. When I tell men the name of my book they give seem to suddenly wake up and smirk. It is as if my romance may have a few redeeming qualities even for a man to entertain as a read. It’s quite funny how it all worked out.

What was the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That an author can get emotionally attached to the characters they write about. When I began writing the ending of Two Worlds Two Men I cried. A lot. I don’t want to give away the story but this is a time travel romance and my heroine, Jocelyn, is in love with two men. I think we all know in the real world it is hard enough to handle one man or woman let alone two so Jocelyn must decide where and who she wants to be with. Both Neely and Colin are sexy and smart men so the decision forced Jocelyn to ponder. As the writer I bounced back and forth which male character I liked better. If I’m honest I still don’t have a favorite.

Jocelyn and Neely are having a perfectly pleasant dinner at the Sheep Heid Inn when it happens: Jocelyn suddenly finds herself sitting across the table, not from Neely, but a strange man dressed in medieval garb. This man is no apparition. His eyes, the deepest brown, clearly look on her in intimacy; his touch causes her pulse to rise. Jocelyn realizes two things: from his clothes, he is clearly an aristocrat, and that she, Jocelyn Stewart, seems to be in some sort of romantic relationship with him! Minutes later Jocelyn returns to Neely, in the present day, weak and terrified. Together they begin to unravel the forgotten past and find themselves facing the reality of medieval Scotland. A strange world steeped in folklore and superstition; where life begins and often ends with the sword. As Jocelyn travels back to medieval times she learns that the man she keeps seeing is no other than Sir Colin Campbell of the powerful Campbell Clan. When Jocelyn is with Colin, she wants never to leave his side; then she returns to the present and cannot imagine herself with anyone but Neely. Jocelyn struggles with a choice. Which man will gain her heart when both offer such different love? She is in love with two different men in two different worlds.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jocelyn looked around for the driver who was supposed to be waiting for her arrival with a sign. She had hired someone to pick her up because, as an American and first-time visitor to Scotland, she had figured it would be less stressful.

She didn’t see the driver anywhere; then, just as she started feeling nervous, she saw a man holding a sign with her name on it. And what a man he was! He was broad shouldered, strong and had dark brown hair with reddish tints. He exuded masculinity like some cologne, and even across the airport, she thought she could smell it. Smoothing her unruly hair, she started to walk over to him.

The man, seeing her approach him, took a step toward her. “Are you Jocelyn?”

When he spoke her name, she found herself frozen in place unable to respond. She’d heard this voice before; she knew this voice. This man spoke her name exactly like the dream she had had all those years ago! She had been stirred awake in bed by a voice of a man, who spoke her name with a Scottish accent. His voice was gentle and low; as if he wanted to gain her attention, but not cause her alarm. Jocelyn had clutched the sheets to her chest and stared out into the darkness of her bedroom almost feeling his intimate presence beside her. She lifted her hand up to her ear having sworn his warm breath had brushed her skin. Jocelyn remembered she had turned her head, anxiously, toward the pillow next to her and almost thought she would be looking into the eyes of a stranger; yet she had not been frightened. This man, his voice, somehow comforted her.

Now, she stood in the airport and caught her breath as she faced the man before her. Her eyes searched his face for something; though what it was she wasn’t sure. Jocelyn felt her heart beating so fast she was certain the man could hear it as memories flooded her mind of that night so long ago when he or someone spoke her name in the darkness. Was that the reason for her vacation to Scotland? Was she unconsciously trying to find the man?

About the Author:
Joy Frawley is an author and writer of the romance novella: Two Worlds, Two Men from Resplendence Publishing. Joy lives in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan relishing in living the life of the classic “townie” with her two dogs Piggs and Diggs. You can reach her at or Buy the book at Amazon or Resplendence Publishing.

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Win a $15 Starbucks GC - The Writer's View: Sandra Hunter

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sandra will be awarding a luggage tag, mini book necklace, and a $15 Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Author's View: Inside - Sandra Hunter
I keep a dream journal on my desktop computer. I started it in 2005 – a few years after I gave birth to my daughter. It seemed that my dreams were becoming more vivid but maybe it was only hormones!

In dream life, the mundane becomes exotic: a whole re-education in observing the ordinary. Dreams are these odd, mysterious, and dangerously beautiful little packages that unravel themselves when you are at your most vulnerable. The dream world has been a fertile source of writing for centuries. For anyone who’s interested in trying this out, and especially for writers, I recommend keeping a keep a notebook by the bed so you can write down your dreams immediately. They’re so evanescent that if you wait until the morning, they’ll most likely have disappeared. Experienced dream loser here!

My dreams can be a sequence of strange events or images, or a single truncated scene. For example, in one dream I was fronting a punk band and screaming “Life is death!” In another brief one, I was watching a television show about two French comedians who sat on the floor and played guitar. They pulled a lot of faces and sang songs. They ended each song by doing somersaults and ending up with their shoes up against the camera.

Often I’ll add details from my dreams into my fiction. A whole story developed from the punk band dream. It’s called “The Stob of Ob” (you can read it here at the Turk’s Head Review).

But the following dream was already developed in short story form. The language is as close to what I remember from the dream. It’s the first dream I’ve had with an actual narrative voice:

She heard him and saw him but only sideways because he would always turn his head or disappear. He didn’t trust her. And she had to write some of his work, to translate what he’d made in music. And she had to write in a different shape of language, something she didn’t know but flowed when she allowed her pen to write. She was working with other musicians but none like him.

As she wrote the words and shapes came before she saw them in her mind. And she wrote them onto paper that was sometimes long and sometimes wide, like manuscript.

He looked at what she’d written, and laughed and said, “That’s it.” And they both laughed but she couldn’t look at him because he’d disappear and she would miss him in the way that the body misses music.

When she walked along a street, he’d arrive behind her and when she looked he’d gone inside somewhere or he’d turned into a metal pipe or a gas gauge.

And then she called him in her mind, “Tom” and she saw him reflected in a window as he stood behind her. Someone took a photograph of the reflection. And her image was trapped in the glass.

And she walked along and laughed aloud to think of the music she had written with him. And she heard him laughing, too, and she knew he was thinking the same thing.

And she walked along the wet street full of yellow pipes and gas gauges and she called him. Tom. Kiss me. And he came but his head turned sideways and as she pressed the corner of her mouth to his, he turned into someone else but very slowly so she could still see him, almost. And she said Stay, Tom. His whole body stayed and he let himself hold her and hold her.

After Indian Independence Arjun brings his family to London, but hopes of a better life rapidly dissipate. His wife Sunila spends all day longing for a nice tea service, his son suddenly hates anything Indian, and his daughter, well, that’s a whole other problem. As he struggles to enforce the values he grew up with, his family eagerly embraces the new. But when Arjun’s right leg suddenly fails him, his sense of imbalance is more than external. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he is forced to question his youthful impatience and careless cruelty to his family, until he learns, ultimately, to love them despite — or because of — their flaws. In a series of tender and touching glimpses into the shared life of a married couple, Sandra Hunter creates strikingly sympathetic characters — ones that remind us of our own shortfalls, successes, hypocrisies, and humanity.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sometimes she goes to stand at the bottom of the garden, pretending to tidy up the compost heap, and allows the forbidden thought to come: divorce.

She can only whisper it. It’s a bad word. Bad people do it. But in the Woman’s Own magazine at the doctor’s office, she read that Elizabeth Taylor had done it. She’d done it so many times that it was just part of her normal routine. Get up, put on face cream, divorce Richard. How daring it sounds, so chic. Sunila practices. Get up, put on Johnson’s Baby Lotion, divorce Arjun. I’ll just divorce him and he can take his disapproving face and jump in the lake.

About the Author:
Sandra Hunter’s fiction has been published in a number of literary magazines and received awards including the 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, 2012 Cobalt Fiction Prize, 2011 Arthur Edelstein Short Fiction Prize and three Pushcart Prize nominations. Her debut novel, Losing Touch, was released in July (OneWorld Publications). She lives in Simi Valley, CA, with her husband and daughter, and is always on the look out for the perfect gluten-free cupcake.

Website ~ Amazon ~ Facebook ~ Twitter: @sandrajhunter

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card - Flash Fiction from Lynda Simmons, author of LOVE, ALBERT

12_8 VBT_TourBanner_LoveAlbert copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance at winning a $50 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner above to see the rest of the stops.

Enjoy a special treat. The author has written flash fiction pieces-- here is the last installment. To read them in order, please go here: Lynda's Facebook Page.

Under the I
(With Bingo Lady, Joyce)

“What time is it?” Grace asks and I have to smile.

She’s been one of my most successful participants, her assistance invaluable to the program.

“Four o’clock,” she says, for what will probably be the last time. Today will see changes for everyone. It’s taken some time, but we’re ready to move into the next phase here at the new and improved Willow Tree Long Term Care, and I could not be more pleased.

We have a big group today and fortunately that nice male nurse, Dylan, knows exactly how I like things arranged. He has everyone seated with a bingo card taped to the table in front of them and a dauber near at hand. Right now it’s a bit of a challenge to keep them from getting up and wandering off – Alzheimer’s and dementia do take a toll on one’s ability to concentrate – but once we get started that won’t be a problem. I will have their full and undivided attention.

Honestly, I don’t know how I managed before Dylan. The boy has been a godsend and I’ll make sure he’s properly rewarded for his dedication. I already have the new Director thinking about a bonus for him. All she needs now is a little help with the amount and Dylan will finally stop dreaming about Africa or Micronesia or anywhere else for that matter. He’ll be mine forever. “We’re all ready here,” he calls, my cue to flick the switch and get the balls rolling, so to speak.

The setup is simple. I have one eighteen-inch round wire bingo cage, painted on either side with a black and white bullseye pattern. A spout on the bottom channels the balls into a neat, even row and all seventy-five balls are white. The game begins the moment the cage begins to turn, and ends when all the balls have been used. An uncomplicated system that has served me well for more than ten years.

He leaves to tend to other residents, I hit the switch and we’re off.

The cage turns at a carefully controlled speed. Fast enough to draw the attention to the spinning bullseye pattern and hold it there, but slow enough to avoid headaches or a sensation of dizziness. The well-being of the participants is of utmost importance. I need them to keep coming back willingly, after all.

The balls begin to drop. “I want you to pick up a dauber. Feel the tension leave your body as you mark the card.” It’s true that you can’t hypnotize someone to do something they would normally find objectionable. But you’d be amazed at what you can achieve by having a number of people perform small parts of a whole. And fascinated by the power of the subconscious in someone with dementia. I truly believe that once we get through this next round, we’ll be able to work some miracles here at Willow Tree.

I move the balls across to the counter. “Concentrate on the sound of my voice.”

Certainly, we’ve made sacrifices along the way, but in selecting our martyrs I did my best to bring a little joy to the sorrow. Like Edna, for instance. Her daughter was heartbroken when her mother passed so suddenly. But didn’t that free up the money so she and her little family could take a holiday at last? And as much as I hated to think of poor Bernice out there dying in the snow, or dear Rick gasping out his last in the furnace room, I knew in my heart that the love blossoming between their spouses would finally have a chance to bloom and grow. Silver linings, silver linings.

The click of the balls relaxes even me. “Today, we move on. Exploring new avenues that will take us all in wonderful , unexpected directions.”

If I’m guilty of a selfish act, it’s Gina Baron, the former Executive Director. She was a demon that one, fighting me at every turn. All she had to do was sanction the introduction of hypno-therapy and none of this would have happened. But she was short-sighted, just like the doctor, but a much easier subject. I admit I enjoyed watching her slow descent into madness. Making the candles appear and disappear. Loading her drawers with strings of pearls she couldn’t see was more fun than I’ve had in a long time. And the photographs of her mother? I probably stretched that out much longer than necessary just because I could.

More balls roll along the spout. “Grace, it’s time to think about your daughter Margo.” Pause. “Let Karen go, Grace. Let her go.”

Of course, Gina is water under the bridge now, just like those folks who were inconvenienced by a bit of food poisoning. Sam n’ Ella, nice couple but don’t invite them to dinner, I like to say. No permanent harm, but enough to drive Willow Tree over the edge. Make them turn this into a better place.

And that new Executive Director is just lovely. A real treat to work with. She’ll be so pleased when the cold spots and irritating odors disappear once that priest she called in finishes up. I want her to enjoy her office and her job. Honestly, if Dylan wasn’t gay I’d set them up today. But like I said, you can’t make a person do something under hypnosis that they wouldn’t normally do. Pity really.

A tap at the door makes me jump, but it’s only Grace’s daughter waving through the window.

“Grace,” I say. “Look who’s here.”

She turns her head.

“Now smile,” I say, and she does. And doesn’t Margo just beam. Her mother recognizes her, or she thinks she does which is all that matters. Joy from sorrow. That’s my motto.

Margo moves along. The final ball drops into place.

Time to wrap things up.

“We need to focus on the doctor now,” I tell them. “His time at Willow Tree is over.”

12_8 love BookCover_LoveAlbertSometimes all love needs is a road trip, a rubber chicken and a touch of magic

Vicky Ferguson loves her husband Reid, always has, always will. But with two kids to think about, it’s time for the free-wheeling, sports car loving pilot to put his feet on the ground and lay down some roots. Reid can’t imagine life without Vicky but neither can he see himself pushing a lawn mower or driving a mini-van. They’re on track to a divorce neither one wants until a last request from beloved Uncle Albert puts them on the road together one last time.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Which brings us to the issue at hand,” the lawyer said and opened a file. “I have here the last will and testament of Albert Ferguson. Handwritten but perfectly legal.” He leaned down and picked up Albert’s old leather suitcase. It was the only thing the old man ever carried – the true master of travelling light. Lyle set the case on the desk, undid the straps and slid back the zipper. Reached inside and came up with a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, complete with bulbous pink nose, bushy eyebrows, and a formidable mustache.

Reid sat forward. “Not the glasses,” he said, a smile already tugging at his lips.

Lyle nodded solemnly and put them on, carefully adjusting the nose over his own before picking up the paper again. The lawyer’s delivery was perfectly straight, if a bit nasal. “I, Albert John Ferguson, being of sound mind and body— ”

Reid glanced over at Vicky. She was staring at the lawyer, eyes wide, lips pinched tightly together, holding back her laughter.

“Do hereby bequeath all my worldly goods to my favorite nephew and niece, Reid Allan Ferguson and Victoria Ann Ferguson, to be used as they see fit. This includes one hand buzzer, one whoopee cushion, one pair of Groucho glasses.” He reached into the suitcase again. “One rubber chicken –”

“I’ll take that.” Vicky’s face turned pink when the lawyer paused and looked at her over the nose of the glasses. “For the kids,” she added, and turned to Reid. “Unless you want it.”

“Not at all.” He pointed to the suitcase. “But I’ve got dibs on the fl y-in-the-ice-cube.”

“One fly-in-the-ice-cube,” Lyle continued, and set it in front of Reid. “One can of worms—”

“Snakes,” Reid cut in. “They’re snakes.”

The lawyer slid the can toward him and Reid popped the lid. Three long colorful snakes sprang from the tin and flew over the desk, squeaking as they bounced against the walls. “They were always his favorite.” Reid smiled at Vicky. “Do you mind if I take them?”

She held up the whoopee cushion. “Not as long as I can have this,” she said, and Reid understood why Albert had loved her, too.

“You can go through the rest on your own later,” Lyle said, taking off the glasses and setting them aside. “But in return for his worldly goods, Albert has a favor to ask.”

Reid raised his head. “A favor?”

“More of a decree really.” Lyle cleared his throat and resumed reading from the will. “In return for my worldly goods, Reid and Vicky must promise to take my remains to Seaport, Oregon. ”

The chicken’s head bobbed as she sat up straighter. “But I thought he’d already been buried.”

“Not quite.” Lyle lifted a plain white shoebox out of the suitcase and set it on the desk in front of them. “He’s been waiting for you.”

Reid stared at the box. “That’s Albert?”

“Ashes to ashes.” The lawyer picked up the box. “I know it’s not much to look at, but it’s practical, sturdy, and holds up to five pounds of loved one, no problem.” He looked from Reid to Vicky. “The point is Albert didn’t want a fancy urn because he wasn’t planning to spend much time in it anyway.”

Reid shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

Lyle smiled. “Your Uncle Albert wants to fly one last time.”

About the Author:12_8 love AuthorPhoto_LyndaSimmonsLynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat - a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she's not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she's found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Win a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card - The Writer's View: Lisa Fernow

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lisa will be awarding a $30 GC to winner's choice of online bookseller to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Writer's View: Lisa Fernow

Hi everyone, from not so sunny Seattle! As you can see from the photo, the view from my house is pretty dreary today, which, perversely, I like. On a clear day you can see all the way to Mount Rainier, perfectly framed in the window. Either way it’s a lovely distraction from writing.

I am in what Patricia Highsmith (author of the iconic mystery, Strangers on a Train) calls the development stage of my next tango mystery. This means I look out the window a lot, thinking about what the book needs.

To the left of my chair is a small glass topped table. I’m re-reading Chris Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey that talks about mythic structure. I’m doing this to help me put the general story arc in place BEFORE I start writing scenes. Big learning from the first book! As I go through The Writer’s Journey chapters I write down whatever ideas come up. You may notice a pile of index cards with scribbles on them. Each is an idea for a scene, or perhaps a clue. They won’t all make it into the book, of course. My plan this time around is to have a general outline - which I have permission to deviate from once I get underway.

The large bulletin board you see in the last photo shows how the scenes build to a story – it includes a big excel spreadsheet which places the characters across the top and the timeline down the side so I can keep everyone straight. Then I post the index cards in the order of the story.

The only thing missing from the scene today is my cat, Pierre, who likes to sit on my forearms to prevent me from tupisesre38&E4h. Whoops, better sign off now!

What happens when a dancer violates the tango code?

Tango instructor and chronic rule-breaker Antonia “Ant” Blakeley has no respect for authority. So when a much-hated member of the Atlanta tango community is stabbed in the middle of the dance floor, leaving her troubled nephew Christian first on the list of suspects, the last thing she wants to do is use her tango expertise to help the police work out how someone could have struck the fatal blow, unseen. As someone who has experienced police incompetence first hand Antonia doesn’t trust them to find the real killer. So she lies to give Christian an alibi, and the coverup begins.

Unfortunately for Ant, former marine Detective Sam Morrow is on the case and he will do whatever it takes to solve the crime. He’s not about to let Antonia hijack his case. As both Ant and Sam investigate (or in Ant’s case, interfere), the two sleuths are about to find out the more antagonistic meaning of “it takes two to tango.”

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Tango can be about many things—seduction, longing, nostalgia, intimacy, tenderness— you get the picture. Whatever the music and the moment inspires. This song isn’t one we normally dance to but I happen to think it’s a beautiful piece, especially if you understand the words. It’s called ‘Uno.’ One.” Uno, oh yeah, she thought.

“He gave away his heart to a woman who betrayed him and now he can’t love the way he used to. That’s life and death stuff.” She was pleased to see Christian nodding, solemnly. “For this exercise I want you to move with whatever emotion inspires you. No partners. Walk around the room in the line of dance, counterclockwise, everyone, remember? Don’t worry about steps, the idea is to get used to feeling the music and transmitting it through your bodies.”

Antonia started the track, savoring the instrumental opening. When Sosa finally started to sing the yearning in his voice punctured her heart as it never failed to do. The class shuffled around the room, some self-consciously, others with more abandon. One of the Emory students seemed to be channeling Martha Graham, in a good way.

Something out of the corner of her eye caught her attention: a stranger, not that much taller than she was, standing in the doorway. His military bearing, neatly trimmed mustache, and close-cropped sandy hair would have conveyed unyielding strength if it hadn’t been for the fact that his eyes were pale blue and his nose had been broken at least once. He would have been just her type if she were interested in a relationship.

About the Author:
Lisa Fernow grew up on the classic mysteries of Ngaio Marsh and Elizabeth Peters. Lisa has danced Argentine tango since 1996, studying with such legendary masters as Cacho Dante, Susana Miller, and Brigitta Winkler, as well as other inspiring instructors in Atlanta, Seattle, and Portland. Lisa’s short story,Death of a Tango Dancer was featured in King County Library’s Take Time to Read program. She lives in Seattle, Washington. Dead on Her Feet is the first book in a planned series set in the tango world. Read more at

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Win a $10 Amazon/BN GC VBT: Intensity by C.C. Koen

12_2 intensity VBT_TourBanner_Intensity copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

12_2 intensity Cover_IntensityWhat would you do to improve your life?

Twenty-one-year-old Serena Thomas is faced with a tough decision. Unable to get ahead of debt and loneliness since her grandmother’s death she finds a new job, placing the sheltered virgin in an underground escort business. She tells herself it’s just a temporary life choice, but destiny has a different plan. She meets a mysterious and gorgeous man, who happens to be her new boss. Will Serena fit in or will she be left all alone again?

Lincoln (aka: Linc) Jefferson has an unusual life. He established The Lounge, an exclusive escort club for very personal reasons. A place where the women say who, when, and what type of sex they’re willing to have. The escorts possess all the power and the money. It’s a business Linc guards at all costs. Trying to maintain the secrecy is a constant challenge and one that’s tested when he enters into a relationship with Serena. She tempts him unlike any woman, even though he’s surrounded by beauty on a daily basis. The more time they spend together the harder it is for him to keep his secrets. Will Serena stand by his side or will she abandon him?

Sparks and passion fly, taking these two on a journey neither could have expected.

Enjoy the excerpt:

He yanked me up from my seat and launched his lips on mine so fast the contact zapped me with a thousand volts. His strokes, bold at first, lightened to soft, tender kisses almost as if he was asking permission to enter—to taste.

The heat from his hands, holding my upper arms, seared me.

My fists clenched and unclenched over and over at my sides.

Touch him? Don’t touch him?

Unable to deny myself, I moved closer, aligning my body with his. My hands gravitated of their own volition, melting to his tight abs and drifting upward, over his chest and up to his neck, where I held on for the ride.

His loud groan rumbled across my breasts, and his firm arms wound around my back, crushing me against him.

For the first time in my life, I surrendered and parted my lips, ready to welcome him in. Instead of tongues diving toward one another, Linc stilled and clamped his mouth shut. As I started to step away, he clenched my hips, holding me in place. He pressed his forehead to mine and slammed his eyes closed.

Kiss me, please.

About the Author: C.C. Koen writes contemporary romance with a twist. An avid reader who enjoys mystery and suspense, her stories will never be what you expect. Determined to find adventure in her dreams and life, she enjoys skydiving, sailing and any activity that challenges her. Teacher by day, romance writer at night produce an active imagination that comes to life in her writing. Intensity is her debut novel.

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Win a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card - Book Blast: The 13th Descent by Ky Lehman

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ky will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



The revolutionary year following Serenay "Ren" Avalon's eighteenth birthday could rival Clark Kent's entire adolescence.

After her mother and her grandmother were killed in a car bomb explosion at the heart of their sleepy hillside town where nothing extraordinary usually happens, she discovers that her mother is actually alive and in hiding, her long lost father is a Father, and her best friend, who turns out was once an Archangel, has taken a gargantuan step back in his evolution to live on Earth with her for the past thirteen lifetimes. And besides being the only one in her immediate circle with a serious case of past life dementia, she learns that during her first lifetime, she was married to one of the greatest teachers history has ever known who is now the gorgeous lead singer of a hot new rock band taking the world by storm, and who is keen to meet up with her again in the twenty first century.

As Ren realizes that the powerful family name she bears also brings with it the promise of an unnatural death, she is reminded that it has always brought hope to people on both sides of the veil, human and Tor. As the world draws closer to being completely shrouded by the dark cloaks of her age-old enemies, the Bloodstones, she now, more than ever before, has to draw strength from her origins to protect her family and their ancient truth from this global force responsible for torturing and killing centuries of her ancestors.

As she struggles to unearth who she was, who she is, and who she chooses to be, as well as the expectations of her first mortal love and the heavenly love she has always guiltily denied, she has until midnight on the Solstice find a way to bring light to a compromised heart and to a world on the brink of perpetual darkness.

This first book in The Rosefire Trilogy by debut YA author, Ky Lehman, is a reminder of how the choices we make in the throes of love, loss, hope, and adversity are what makes the divine human, and the human divine.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Come on, Renay! You’re as slow as a wet week,” she snaps.

“Right behind you,” I grumble, trying to coax my jelly legs to step out of the car.

She bustles us inside and disarms her house alarm. She grabs my hand, leads me straight to the navy blue comfy couch and gestures for me to sit. “Drink?” she asks.

“No, thanks.”

She goes to the kitchen and gets me a tall glass of water anyway.

Then everything goes from strange to downright bizarre when she sits down, squishes in next to me, puts her arm around my shoulders and rests her cheek on my hair. I am wedged in-between her and the armrest: I couldn’t move if I tried, and I honestly don’t want to. Hugs from my one and only aunt are like sunny days in the winter. They are rare. They are warm. They smell of cream and cinnamon. They go by too quickly. And you know you’ll have to wait a while for the next one.

“Look at me, Renay,” she gently commands. Bleary eyed, she carefully scans my face and sighs.

It seems she is already regretting what she is yet to say. A chill of forewarning forces a shiver: it sets my heart pounding and my legs that have finally regained feeling start to twitch and shake, preparing to run. She senses my panic and holds me tighter, and starts to softly hum a familiar tune that Nanna must have used to calm her down too. Slowly, the dread resides and the warmth returns. My stiff posture thaws allowing me to slump into her side. Realising she has been given the green light, she takes a deep breath and starts talking.

Aunt Romey has never been one to beat around the bush. Simple English. No fluff. The bare facts followed by her opinion of them. But this time, the candour I usually appreciate brings with it a realisation that hits me so hard, that, for the first time since the bomb went off, I am relieved the undercooked takeout chicken kept me home that night.

Bedtime stories that once lulled me into sweet dreams now leave me feeling cold, heavy and sick.

Horrifying truth gives a voice to the intoxicated mutterings of a grieving husband and father.

Nanna’s fairy tales.

Georgie Pa’s drunken rants.

All of the frayed strands and loose ends I’ve obliviously left hanging tangle and weave into the blood stained tapestry that is Aunt Romey’s history lesson.

Three versions of the same unfathomable story, each with its own conclusion. The fairy tale ends in hope.

The drunken rant ends in fear.

And the history lesson will only end with the death of the Three Roses, who my newfound enemies believe are Nanna, Mum and me.

Surrounded by the ghosts of our ancestors and their vindicating screams, I cling to the only olive branch within reach.

Mum may be on the run, but she is alive and well.

But the sinewy little branch is not strong enough to bear the weight of centuries of lost life. It snaps, and I limply fall into large, familiar, bloodstained hands that carry me off into the black quiet.

About the Author:
KY LEHMAN is a novelist, a children's author, a teacher of swimming and water safety, wife to her high school sweetheart and the proud mother of their three very tall sons. She lives in the Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia, with her husband and their children where she is currently writing the second book in The Rosefire Trilogy, The 13th Rising.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Enter to win a $40 Amazon GC - Interview with Phil Lecomber, author of THE MASK OF THE VERDOY

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Phil will be awarding a $40 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to My World of Dreams!

Thank you!

What do you do when you are not writing?

Well, at the moment it seems that most of my spare time is taken up with marketing Mask of the Verdoy, but I do still have a ‘day-job’ – running a small company in London specializing in the electronic security of works of art, which is extremely interesting—and often challenging! But if I do find myself with any spare time I like to cook, play music (I was a musician, performing in bands and writing/recording songs for a good few years in my earlier life), read, have friends over for extended meals … and I’ve also been known to take the odd glass of Scotch and enjoy a decent cigar.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I think an early influence to cite would have to be the immortal Charles Dickens. When he gets it right it’s as though you have an old entertaining friend spinning you a yarn. In A Christmas Carol he says: “… as close to it as I am now to you, and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow …” and that’s exactly what he does, his work is suffused with his voice, as though he’s whispering it in your ear ... that’s a tough trick to pull off without getting in the way of the narrative; and then, of course there’s his great characterization achieved through the idiosyncrasies of dialogue—something I definitely aspire to.

As for my delve into 1930s fiction – well, I’ve been greatly influenced by the writings of authors such as Patrick Hamilton, Gerald Kersh and Graham Greene, who are all expert at capturing the often stark reality of life in Britain between the wars.

There are also authors who have inspired me to write: Angela Carter, Ray Bradbury, Michael Chabon, Russell Hoban … I’m not quite sure where to stop with such a list.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Well, the challenges in getting a traditional publishing deal were actually insurmountable! I’m still getting rejection letters from pitches to literary agents that I made over six months ago, which would be extraordinary if applied to any other field (imagine not hearing about a job application for over six months). So, when I decided this summer to enter the fascinating world of indie publishing I must admit it was a steep learning curve. I think the biggest challenge was in researching what was relevant advice—there’s so much info out there on the net that it’s often difficult sifting the wheat from the chaff. But once I’d written myself a little manifesto on the way forward I threw myself into the challenge with great gusto.

I think the most important thing for indie authors to do (after creating a good book, of course) is to give great attention to detail, and to try to approach every aspect in the most professional way possible. A striking cover, a great blurb, editorial assessment and proofreading – these are all extremely important to get right if you want your book to succeed.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

Blimey! Where did that one come from? Erm … maybe waking up one day with the instant ability to be able to play jazz piano like Bill Evans?

What was your first job?

Labouring on a construction site. I subsequently went on to wear many different hats – steel-fixer, stained-glass designer, musician, company director ... and now—author!

What types of books do you write?

Period thrillers set in the seedy underbelly of 1930s London.

Who's your main audience?

I think anyone who enjoys allowing a novel to draw them into another world for a while, populated with characters that they can begin to think of as actual acquaintances—good and bad alike. And those that like the twist and turn of a good mystery plot—and, of course, the smoggy backstreets in Mask of the Verdoy should appeal to fans of Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper and the others denizens of Old London Town.

Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?

I think my favourite would have to be George Harley himself. I’ve lived with him for a few years now, and can hear his voice in my head. In fact, once you’ve fleshed out your character well enough to know them inside out you only have to place them in a situation and then just watch them react. George has many laudable attributes: although he fraternizes with criminals he also has a strong set of personal morals and always strives to ‘do the right thing’. He’s intelligent, autodidactic, loyal and diligent, and once committed to a cause will see it through to the end. And with all the stories he has to tell he’d make a good drinking partner.

After that it would have to be Vi Coleridge – Harley’s formidable next-door-neighbour; I’ve got a soft spot for Vi. I tried hard to create strong female characters in the book; personalities that were well-rounded and essential to the plot—rather than just props. Hopefully, I think I might have succeeded with Mrs Coleridge.

What does your writing schedule look like?

Well, the majority of Mask of the Verdoy was written on a train during my daily four hour commute to London and back; and that was after around three years of researching the 1930s. This research will serve for the other books in the series, and I’ve now cut down on the travel; so, in the New Year I should be settling down to a writing schedule which is a little more normal, I guess. Generally I tend to plot and create new chapters in the morning (when my brain is more creative) and re-write and edit in the afternoon; and remember—writing is all about the re-writing!

Do you use your OWN experiences?

To a certain extent, especially for the characters’ motives and emotions; and I’ve had the benefit of having a number of diverse occupations over the years, most of them in London—which has been a great source of inspiration for characterization.

Was it easy to pick the title for your book?

No! I knew I wanted to choose something that would have people intrigued, and it also had to have the air of one of those old movies about it, like The Maltese Falcon and The Thirty-Nine Steps; but it took me a long time to come up with Mask of the Verdoy. And don’t worry—you’re not supposed to know what “Verdoy” means, not until you’re a good way into the book that is.

Pick one profession you would choose if you were not an author. Why?

Jazz pianist. Why? Because, strangely enough, I woke up this morning with the super-power of being able to play the piano like the great Bill Evans, and it’d be a waste if I didn’t put that to good use—right?

What are you currently working on?

The second book in the George Harley MysteriesThe Grimaldi Vaults. Here’s the setup from my website:

February 1933. With Hitler now Reichschancellor of Germany, Ilse Blau—the infamous star of erotic films and self-styled ‘Queen of Depravity’ of Weimar cabaret—adopts a pseudonym and flees Berlin to escape the cultural cleansing of the Nazi regime.

A few weeks later, whilst investigating a seemingly run-of-the-mill missing persons case, George Harley stumbles upon a clandestine decadent night-club in the vaults of the Joseph Grimaldi pub in Soho.

A child abduction … a dismembered body in a suitcase … Occultist rituals … it isn’t long before Harley is once again trawling the seedy labyrinth of the capital’s demimonde searching for clues to another sinister mystery.

And behind it all lurks the menacing shadow of his arch-enemy, Osbert Morkens—but he’s still safely locked up in his padded cell in Broadmoor … isn’t he?

Black Magic.
And scary clowns.

It’s business as usual for Harley in … THE GRIMALDI VAULTS—the second in the George Harley Mysteries series.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Marmalade … or snail (my darling wife took me to Heston Blumenthal’s ‘Fat Duck’ restaurant once – we had a blast!)

Night owl or early bird?

Red or white wine?

Roller Coasters or Water Rides?
Roller coaster

Swimming in the ocean or a pool?
You’re kidding, right? Have you ever swum in the ocean in Britain? It’s bloody cold, I can tell you! Saying that, I do always like to have a dip if we’re at the seaside—but it’s more like a form of masochism than an enjoyable pursuit.

Walking or fitness club?
Walking, I’m not very clubbable.

Any last words?
Thank you and goodbye – or as George would say, Abyssinia!

Thanks you for chatting with me and our readers and for allowing My World of Dreams to be part of your tour!

LONDON, 1932 … a city held tight in the grip of the Great Depression. GEORGE HARLEY’S London. The West End rotten with petty crime and prostitution; anarchists blowing up trams; fascists marching on the East End.

And then, one smoggy night …

The cruel stripe of a cutthroat razor … three boys dead in their beds … and a masked killer mysteriously vanishing across the smoky rooftops of Fitzrovia.

Before long the cockney detective is drawn into a dark world of murder and intrigue, as he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the very security of the British nation.

God save the King! eh, George?

THE 1930s … thinking debutantes, Bright Young Things and P. G. Wodehouse? Think again—more like fascists, psychopaths, and kings of the underworld. GEORGE HARLEY’S London is a city of crime and corruption … of murder most foul, and smiling, damned villains.

In part an homage to Grahame Greene’s Brighton Rock, and to the writings of Gerald Kersh, James Curtis, Patrick Hamilton, Norman Collins and the other chroniclers of London lowlife in the 1930s, Mask of the Verdoy also tips its hat to the heyday of the British crime thriller—but unlike the quaint sleepy villages and sprawling country estates of Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot, George Harley operates in the spielers, clip-joints and all-night cafés that pimple the seedy underbelly of a city struggling under the austerity of the Great Slump.

With Mussolini’s dictatorship already into its seventh year in Italy, and with a certain Herr Hitler standing for presidential elections in Germany, 1932 sees the rise in the UK of the British Brotherhood of Fascists, led by the charismatic Sir Pelham Saint Clair. This Blackshirt baronet is everything that Harley despises and the chippy cockney soon has the suave aristocrat on his blacklist.

But not at the very top. Pride of place is already taken by his arch enemy, Osbert Morkens—the serial killer responsible for the murder and decapitation of Harley’s fiancée, Cynthia … And, of course—they never did find her head.

Mask of the Verdoy is the first in the period crime thriller series, the George Harley Mysteries.

Enjoy an excerpt:

STILL CLUTCHING THE distraught Gladys close to him the Italian moved forwards and fired up at the cage, the round ricocheting off the bars, briefly illuminating the gloom with a spray of sparks. Harley hunkered down, swore, and redoubled his efforts, finally forcing the catch and dropping through the small opening just as another bullet passed inches from his head.

The cage slewed as he dropped inside, the box of dynamite shifting a little to the left.

Now that his eyes had adjusted to the darkness he could quite plainly make out the length of two-core cable running through a drilled hole in the side of the box of explosives and out through the cage, snaking away into the gloom. He turned to peer through the bars—and was dismayed to see the second hand of the oversized clock ticking past the three minute mark.

He quickly lay down and started to crawl towards the bomb, the cage listing dangerously to and fro.

Girardi now fired again; this time the bullet made it through the bars to clatter terrifyingly around the inside of the cage.

‘Smith! You still there?’ shouted Harley, feeling in his jacket for his penknife.

‘You betcha, guv!’ came a voice from the gloom.

‘Shine a spotlight down there on that cowson, would yer? Try and dazzle him for me. Make it sharpish, now! We’ve only got seconds before this bloody thing goes up.’

About the Author:
Phil Lecomber was born in 1965 in Slade Green, on the outskirts of South East London—just a few hundred yards from the muddy swirl of the Thames.

Most of his working life has been spent in and around the capital in a variety of occupations. He has worked as a musician in the city’s clubs, pubs and dives; as a steel-fixer helping to build the towering edifices of the square mile (and also working on some of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as Tower Bridge); as a designer of stained-glass windows; and—for the last quarter of a century—as the director of a small company in Mayfair specializing in the electronic security of some of the world’s finest works of art.

All of which, of course, has provided wonderful material for a novelist’s inspiration.

Always an avid reader, a chance encounter as a teenager with a Gerald Kersh short story led to a fascination with the ‘Morbid Age’— the years between the wars. The world that Phil has created for the George Harley Mysteries is the result of the consumption and distillation of myriad contemporary novels, films, historical accounts, biographies and slang dictionaries of the 1930s—with a nod here and there to some of the real-life colourful characters that he’s had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with over the years.

So, the scene is now set … enter George Harley, stage left …

Phil lives in the beautiful West Country city of Bath with his wife, Susie. They have two sons, Jack and Ned.

Buy the book at Amazon or Book Depository.

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