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Presenting Alison Henderson

I am shining my Gone Writing spotlight today on my friend and local author buddy, Alison Henderson, whose new book, UNDERCOVER NANNY, has just been released.

Alison wasn’t always a writer, but she has always embraced creativity and relished new experiences. Seeking to expand her horizons beyond Kansas City, she chose a college in upstate New York. By the time Alison was twenty-one, she had traveled the world from Tunisia to Japan. Little did she suspect she was collecting material for future characters and stories along the way.

Alison began writing when her daughter entered preschool (she’s now a full-fledged adult), and she became addicted to the challenge of translating the living, breathing images in her mind into words. She writes romance because that’s what she like to read. The world provides more than enough drama and tragedy, Alison believes, and she prefers to give her readers the happily-ever-after we all crave.

She has been married to her personal hero for more than thirty years. After decades of living in the Midwest, Alison and her husband heeded the siren call of sun and sea and moved to the most breathtakingly beautiful place imaginable – the gorgeous central coast of California. She looks forward to the new stories this place inspires

Alison and I get together for a weekly C&C (that’s caffeine and conversation), and she has told me a lot about how UNDERCOVER NANNY came together. I was especially interested in the origins of Balthazar, the Capuchin monkey, who is featured on the cover of the new book.

GW: What is a monkey doing on the cover of UNDERCOVER NANNY?

Alison: The inspiration for Balthazar came from a most unexpected source. My husband is a big fan of early rock ‘n roll, and one of his favorite songs is a number by the Coasters called “Run Red Run.”  After hearing him sing this for years, I knew I had to add a monkey to one of my books.

GW: What role does Balthazar play in the story?

Alison: Balthazar, a white-faced Capuchin, likes to play dress-up and steal every shiny object he can lay his hands on. He thwarts a would-be kidnapper in UNDERCOVER NANNY.

GW: You’ve told me that you like to insert humor into your novels to break the suspense. Can you give us some examples?

Alison: Yes, I love to add humor to my stories, even the most action-packed suspense or mystery. An unexpected laugh can give the reader the perfect release from relentless tension. Each book in my Phoenix, Ltd. female bodyguard series features a specific humorous element. In UNWRITTEN RULES, a pair of meddling grandmothers stirred things up for my hero and heroine. BOILING POINT included a cooking robot named GRAMPA who attacked the villain with a kitchen torch at the opportune moment.

GW: And Balthazar fills that role in UNDERCOVER NANNY?

Alison: That’s correct. Given the lyrics of “Run Red Run,” Balthazar has a lot to live up to, but I think he rises to the occasion admirably.

GW: Having been privileged to read an early draft of UNDERCOVER NANNY, I have to agree that Balthazar is a very special character.

For those readers who are unfamiliar with “Run Red Run,” here are the lyrics to the first couple of verses:

“Oh, Red went and bought himself a monkey
Got him from a pawn shop broker
Taught that monkey how to guzzle beer
And he taught him out to play stud poker
Last night when they were gambling in the kitchen
The monkey he was taking a beating
The monkey said Red, “I’m going to shoot you dead
Because I know that well, you been a cheating.”

Well, run Red run, because he’s got your gun
And he’s aiming it at your head
Run Red run, because he’s got your gun
And he’s aiming it at your head
You better get up and wail
You better move your tail before he fills it full of lead.”

 

Alison was kind enough to share a sample of UNDERCOVER NANNY with us.

UNDERCOVER NANNY

Kidnapping. Extortion. Antiquities smuggling. Add one light-fingered, bad-tempered monkey, and it’s all in a day’s work for novice bodyguard Casey Callahan when she’s hired to protect the five-year-old niece of a handsome archaeology professor.

Alec Bainbridge has been balancing excavation and teaching duties with single parenthood since the death of his sister. When a stranger attempts to kidnap his niece, he hires a bodyguard to pose as the little girl’s nanny. However, the young woman who shows up is a far cry from the matronly type he was expecting. 

Amid break-ins, anonymous threats, and arson, Casey and Alec race to identify the villains before they harm the child or make off with a priceless Egyptian artifact. All the while, their mutual attraction complicates an already volatile situation. With an innocent child’s life at stake, Casey and Alec risk everything to solve the mystery before their growing feelings become the final casualty.

 

Excerpt

Alec climbed the two flights of stairs to the playroom, where he found Grace and Balthazar playing her current favorite make-believe—Jungle Adventurer. Grace was wearing her pith helmet, while the monkey sported his veiled pink princess hat.

“He’s a giant gorilla who’s rescuing the hippo from the flooded river.” She pointed at her stuffed hippo, who was wrapped in an old blue bath towel.

Alec gave a mental shrug. After the kind of day he’d had, he could see no reason why a heroic giant gorilla shouldn’t wear a conical pink princess hat.

 

CONNECT WITH ALISON HENDERSON

Website address: http://www.alisonhenderson.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonhendersonauthor/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Alison-Henderson

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Introducing Author C. A. Asbrey

The Gone Writing spotlight is shining full-force today on C. A. Asbrey, author of the newly released novel, The Innocents.

C. A. Asbrey has traveled all over the world – a fine background for a writer. A voracious reader who graduated to the Adult section of her local library at the age of ten, Asbrey always dreamed of writing.

She has produced magazine and newspaper articles based on consumer law and written guides for the Consumer Direct Website, was Media Trained by The Rank Organization, and acted as a consultant to the BBC’s One Show and Watchdog. Asbrey also has been interviewed on BBC radio answering questions on consumer law to the public. The Innocents is her first foray into fiction.

For the moment, C. A. Asbrey lives with her husband and (her words) two daft cats in Northamptonshire, England. Another move is on the cards in 2108 to the beautiful city of York.

I asked C. A. how the concept for The Innocents came to her:

C. A.: I first became interested in the female pioneers in law enforcement when I joined the police in Scotland. History has always held a draw and the colorful stories of the older officers piqued my interest, making me look even further back.

The very first women in law enforcement had been in France, working for the Sûreté in the early 19th century. They were, however, no more than a network of spies and prostitutes, the most infamous being the notorious ‘Violette’. Now there’s another story which needs to be told!

GW: I hope that someday you will tell it. What else can you share about the early days of women in law enforcement?

C. A.: The first truly professional women in law enforcement worked for the Pinkerton Agency, and they were trained by the first female agent Kate Warne, an ex-actress and an expert in working undercover. Kate Warne was an expert at disguise, adopting roles, and accents. She was said to be daring and able to pass her characters off, even in close quarters. In the only known photograph of her she is dressed as a man. This was a skill set my childhood had prepared me to understand.

These women were fully-fledged agents, with their skills being held in high regard by Alan Pinkerton who once said, “In my service you will serve your country better than on the field. I have several female operatives. If you agree to come aboard you will go in training with the head of my female detectives, Kate Warne. She has never let me down.”

GW: I can understand this piquing your interest, but researching and writing a novel set in a different era is a demanding – some would say, daunting – task. What was it about the story that compelled you to take it on?

C. A.: I started to wonder why one of the female agents couldn’t be a Scottish Immigrant. After all, Alan Pinkerton was one. He came from Glasgow. Being a Scot in another land is something I know well. They do say you should write what you know.

My work has taken me all over the world, but working in the USA and visiting the places where these women worked deepened my passion for finding out more about how they lived. I also researched the tools and equipment available to them at the time. Connections to police and Home Office experts allowed me to research the birth of forensics with people who knew their subject intimately.

GW: I’m always fascinated by the stories behind the stories. Did the first draft leap from your pen immediately you began the project, or was it a drawn out affair?

C. A.: The topic for The Innocents Mystery Series simmered in the background for years, and all the time I was researching more and more deeply into the period. I love the rapid pace of innovation and invention in the 19th century. Nothing pleases me more than finding spy gadgets available at the time which were invented far earlier than most people would think possible.

Work and life got in the way of the books being anything more than an idea until I was suddenly grounded by a serious accident. The enforced leisure time of recuperation focused my mind and the old dream of writing resurfaced. It started as a short story which took on a life of its own when it grew and grew—then grew some more.

Eventually, The Innocents Mysteries evolved and I found the perfect home for it at Prairie Rose.

GW: I’m very glad you persevered, and am looking forward to reading your first novel. Thank you for taking the time to share your story.

 

The Innocents

Pinkerton Detective Abigail MacKay is a master of disguises—and of new crime-solving technology! But she’ll have to move fast to stay a step ahead of Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy.

Nat and Jake are the ringleaders of The Innocents, a western gang that specializes in holding up trains carrying payrolls—and Nat is pretty savvy when it comes to using the new sciences of 1868 in committing his crimes.

Charismatic Nat and handsome Jake are on the run, and they’ve always gotten away before—before Abi. But when Abi is caught by another band of outlaws during the chase, there’s no other choice for Nat and Jake but to save her life. Abi owes them, and she agrees to help them bring in the murderer of a family friend.

The web of criminal activity grows more entangled with each passing day, but Nat, Jake, and Abi are united in their efforts to find the murderer. Once that happens, all bets are off, and Abi will be turning Nat and Jake over to the law. But can she do it? She finds herself falling for Nat, but is that growing attraction real? Or is he just using her to learn more about the Pinkertons’ methods? Abi always gets her man—but she may have met her match in her “best enemies”—THE INNOCENTS.

 

C. A. was kind enough to share this excerpt from The Innocents

“Out of bed?” Nat appeared at the door, the light highlighting his tawny hair. “Looking for something?”

She paused, guilty eyes dropping along with the hand trailing along the shelf. “Yes. Something to read.”

“A book?” his eyes scanned the room, checking to see if anything which could be used as a weapon had gone missing. “You should’ve said.”

“All I can find are a few science books. Whose cabin is this? A doctor’s?”

“The owner was a prospector. Those books are mine.”

Her brows arched in surprise, and she turned and picked one up. “‘Carl Friederich Peschel’s Textbook of Physics.’” She continued along the spines. “‘Ganot’s Elementary Treatise on Experimental And Applied Physics’, ‘Balfour Stewart, An Elementary Treatise On Heat.’”

“So?” Nat’s jaw firmed in challenge. “Have you got anything against a man who wants to improve his mind?”

“Physics? You?”

His brow furrowed. “I’m supposed to believe you’re a Pinkerton and you can’t believe I’m interested in science? I like to learn all kinds of things. Something wrong with that?”

“But you?” She stared at him incredulously. “You’re a common criminal.”

His brows met. “Really, Miss MacKay? There’s nothing common about me. I’m particular about being about as uncommon a criminal as you’ll ever meet. I’ve got a Dickens if you want something simpler, but no women’s stuff. I prefer my heaving bosoms to be tangible.”

“Really?”

“Of course. Who wants imaginary bosoms?”

She huffed in exasperation. “Can we forget about the bosoms?”

His dark eyes twinkled with devilment. “I wish I could, but men are kinda made that way.”

“Science books?” Abigail changed the subject. “Are you trying to give up crime?”

“Nope, just trying to be more efficient at it. I’m a modern man. You have to move with the times, you know.” Nat’s cheeks dimpled. “But look who I’m talking to. You’re a veritable pioneer for females. You know how it is. I bet you’ve got all kinds of modern detective tricks. I’m looking forward to seeing those. When do they start? Are you doing it now?”

Abigail sighed. “I’m sorry I asked. Never mind. You have a Dickens? Which one?”

“Charles.” Nat’s eyes warmed as he relented at her exasperated glare. “Sorry, just having a bit of fun, but you’re too tired for it. You’re getting bored. I understand. I’ll dig out the book for you. Oh, and I found you a brush. It’s Jake’s, but I’ve cleaned it real well. I even soaked it in carbolic.”

Her eyes lit up surprised by his thoughtfulness, only to be quickly dampened by suspicion. “Thank you. My hair is getting knotted.”

He walked in, holding it behind his back. “I’ll help. You’ve got an arm injury and your hair’s real tangled.” His cheeks dimpled and his beguiling eyes danced with charm to ward off the objections about to tumble from her mouth. “Come on. Let me sort that out for you.” She paused and the dimple deepened. “You’re not fit to travel yet, but there’s no need for us to be enemies. Truce?”

She sighed. “Fine. A truce.” She sat, gathering her limited clothing about her. “It is a mess. You won’t tug at it, will you?”

“I have brushed hair before. I’m not a savage.”

She sat. “Women’s hair?”

He pulled over a chair to sit behind her, running his long ingers through the mad dark curls. “Do I look like I go around offering to brush men’s hair? Jees, your hair is thick.”

“Yes, it’s like my mother’s, but hers is red.”

She relaxed, enjoying the pleasurable sensation of his hands in her tresses, loosening the strands and identifying knots and tangles before working on them.“You were a mess when we found you.” He finished attending to an obstinate knot. “There.”

He ran the brush through her hair from root to tip marveling at the length as the ringlets unraveled and stretched. “Beautiful, just beautiful. As long as you are tall.”

She sat, luxuriating in the hypnotic strokes and the gentle caress of the brush as it travelled through her hair over and over again, reminding her of her childhood, and how much she missed her late husband’s soothing, sensual touch. Her heart broke yet again, just as it had a million times before. She was used to piecing it back together. Nobody touched her anymore. Nobody cherished her. Nobody cared.

Nat worked through the shock of hair with a soothing, reviving pressure. Somehow, his relaxing light-hearted chatter made this abnormal situation seem less stressful. She dropped her guard and allowed herself to unwind, settling into a luscious melting frame of mind, sinking further and further into indolent compliance. The long fingers swept her neck with a feather-like touch as he gathered her hair and her lips parted at the exhilaration which rushed through her. Did he know the nape was one of her most sensitive areas? She arched against the deep strokes of the brush and the delicate touch across her neck and shoulders. Stresses and strains melted away, and she lived in the delicious, delectable moment. The growing warmth deep below reminded her of her forgotten primal need for intimacy, growing until she suppressed the growing moan.

“There, that should do it,” he murmured in her ear as though under the same yielding spell of surrender. He pulled his chair alongside hers and brushed a few wisps from her face. “You are exquisite.” Crooked fingers pulled her around to face him with a gentle tug. He leaned in, touching her lips with his own, a velvet caress which released an exhilarating rush. The hand slipped into her newly-brushed hair, gathering a handful in a gesture which promised power but delivered tender restraint. His teeth caught on her lip, tasting her, before pushing on into a full hungry kiss.

He pulled back, looking into her eyes. “This is so difficult. I don’t even know who you really are. You might have a husband or lover.”

“I told you who I am.”

“No lovers? No men?”

Her eyes narrowed and she shook herself back to reality.

“What was I thinking? This is just another ploy isn’t it? You worm your way in and try to seduce information from me when I’m at my weakest?”

“I’d never—”

“No?” she snorted. “You don’t want to know about me, just men I’m connected to?” She stood. “Well, I’ll tell you once more. I am a Pinkerton Detective, and the only man I’m connected to is Alan Pinkerton. You can question me as much as you want. It’s all you’re going to get. Sooner or later, you’ll have to accept it and let me go.” 

“I wasn’t—”

“Oh, save it. You were dismissive earlier, now this?”

Her eyes widened as they fell on the brush on the table behind him. “Is that a horse brush? You used an animal brush on me.”

He fought the smile tugging at his lips. “I washed it.”

“A horse brush! You were so desperate to soften me up with this tactic you used a horse brush? You’re unbelievable.” She scratched at her scalp like a mad thing. “I’ve probably got fleas.”

“Hey! We look after our horses.”

“Look after?” Nat ran for the door as she grabbed the brush.

“I’ll show you looked after.”

Jake sat on the porch, his eyes lighting with amusement as the door opened. His nephew ran out. Nat turned, pointing a finger and opened his mouth to say something in the face of the tirade of impenetrable gibberish filling the air behind him. He ducked. A missile flew, right where his head had just been, and the brush clattered to the ground. Nat squared his shoulders, his voice hardening. “That’s enough. Put that down—” His eyes widened and he slammed the door, just in time for Jake to hear the metallic clatter of something against the other side.

“So, your seduction technique didn’t work, huh?” Jake swung back on his chair. “It’s good to know her throwin’ arm’s good and healthy, though.”

“What the hell language is that?”

Jake shrugged. “She’s Scottish, so it’s probably Gaelic. It ain’t quite the same as the Irish my grandpa taught me, but I think she just doubted your parentage.”

Nat propped his hands on his hips and scowled. “She insulted my mother?”

Jake’s smile stretched into a full grin. “Your ma was my sister. If anyone had used an animal brush on her hair you’d have heard all about it. I think you got off real light.”

“So what now?”

Jake shook his head. “Keep me out of it. You’re the criminal genius. I’m only the muscle. You’ll just have to try somethin’ else.”

CONNECT WITH C. A. Asbrey

Blogsite address: http://caasbrey.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mysteryscrivener/
Facebook group for The Innocents Mystery Series:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/937572179738970/?ref=br_rs
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CAASBREY


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Presenting Lynne Fellows

The Gone Writing spotlight went dark for a couple of months, but it’s shining once again. And the writer standing center stage is Lynne Fellows, one of the charter members of Mystery Authors International.

Fate determined the path for Lynne who, despite proud roots, bade Britain a fond farewell to follow her heart to Iberia, convinced she had been born in the wrong country.

After starting her writing adventure with NaNoWriMo back in 2012, she now pens her favourite mysteries with a sunnier, European flavour.

A translator and fur-mum to two adorable mutts, she might be spotted with her nose in a book, armed with just the teeniest chunk of chocolate and a zillion pomegranates!

I asked Lynne about her new book, Casualty of Court, and how it came to be.

Lynne: Casualty of Court releases on March 21st and follows on from where The Fifth Wheel ended, taking the characters back to Portugal for the trial of Stefan Pereira.

GW: What made you choose to base your plot around a trial?

Lynne: As a frustrated, would-have-loved-to-be lawyer myself, I couldn’t let him get away with it, could I? That doesn’t happen in my world. I’m a sucker for legal thrillers and courtroom dramas, always rooting for the underdog – assuming he/she is in the right, of course.

GW: How did you decide on the backdrop to the novel?

Lynne: The trial story was inevitable, and placing it in my favourite part of the world a foregone conclusion. So, against a backdrop of sunshine and holiday fun, the court case rolls on.

GW: How would you describe the genre?

Lynne (with a twinkle in her eye): It’s a cosy-style saga with a hint of psychopath, a whiff of Chick-lit, a dalliance with drama, and an air of mystery. In short, I’m an ‘all-or-nothing’ writer with a healthy aversion to sitting in any one box or genre 🙂 Mind games come into play, ratcheting up the tension. But, of course, not everyone is playing fair.

GW: I’m guessing that, with several main characters, you chose to tell the story from multiple points of view.

Lynne: Go to the head of the class. The story is told from the viewpoint of four principal characters, each with a stake in the outcome. It mixes the suspense of a court case with their personal stories, showing how they have been influenced by life events such as abandonment, disability, and family responsibilities.

GW: Did you find it hard to let go of your characters once you completed work on the novel, or are they still with you?

Lynne: Little did I expect these characters to become as much a part of my life as they have done. I can visualise each of them, I know them so well (cue Elaine Paige & Barbara Dixon). But, it doesn’t end here. I’m already several chapters into a third book and have plans for more. Writing a series is definitely addictive! They’ve got under my skin – I hope readers feel the same way too.

GW: Reading a good series is equally addictive. Thank you for sharing your story. Do you have any final word for readers of Gone Writing?

Lynne: Thanks for asking. Those who would like to read the prequel – The Fifth Wheel – before the release of Casualty of Court, can get a copy here.  It’s a short read, only 50 pages, and it sets the scene for the main book. Although it’s not necessary to read this first, it sure does help.

I hope this has piqued your interest, and I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments.

Thanks for reading – and I hope to make your acquaintance soon 🙂

CASUALTY OF COURT

Four lives – Three friends – Two sides – One verdict

CofC ecoverFern Mortimer wants her life back. After five years recovering from a hit-and-run accident, the last thing she needed was a maniac trying to kill her. Now, eight months after that attempt on her life, she returns to Portugal to face her nemesis in court.

Raven – Fern’s closest ally – offers support throughout. In return she wants a business partner.

Stefan Pereira has no intention of languishing in prison any longer. He’ll do whatever it takes to secure his freedom and complete his mission. He wants Fern dead.

Nessa – Stefan’s girlfriend – is at his side. She risks losing her best friends for the family she always wanted.

The trial pits them against each other.

Can Fern hold her nerve? She has a strong case, after all … and a witness. Does that even matter, when Stefan has his father’s money, the face of an angel and an ability to lie convincingly in three languages?

Inevitably, someone will be the Casualty of Court.

Casualty of Court picks up where The Fifth Wheel – A Prequel ended, and introduces The Blackleaf Agency Series.

Rather than a snippet of Casualty of Court, Lynne invited us to peek at Meet the Cast. This shorty links the prequel to the bigger story and offers an insight into what each character wants from the upcoming trial.

Fern.

He will not break me.

It’s been eight months, eight long months since Jorge—or as he is really known, Stefan Pereira—tried to drown me.

At last, it’s time to see him get what he deserves.  But, it also means I have to go back to Portugal too. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the country I dislike, just that one particular man.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand why he tried to kill me.

Something to do with his mother apparently. She was the hit-and-run driver whose carelessness put me in this wheelchair. It’s as though he wants to finish what she started.

But why? What did I ever do to him?

Raven

Is it all worth it?

It’s not Fern’s fault, I know that, but her timing stinks. Or rather the timing of this damn court case. Just as my professional life was getting back on track, we’re off to Portugal again to see that scum-bag get his just desserts.

I was working—not in a cocktail bar, although that would have been so much cooler—in a supermarket, stacking shelves. just before that holiday eight months ago. Not exactly my dream job. No, scrap that—definitely not my dream job! But, it was local and I needed to be more available to help Mum. Her MS meant she was in a wheelchair most of the time, and sheer bad luck saw her get one infection after the other. I gave up my preferred career, with the police force, to be nearer to her. And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Nessa

My past will not define me.

This court case can’t come soon enough. I haven’t seen Stefan in almost eight months, and I’ve so much to tell him. But what if he’s forgotten about me? What if he’s doesn’t want to see me? Or, even worse, what if he’s found guilty and given a long sentence?

I can’t think about that now. He has to go free. He has to.

I’m dreading seeing Fern again, but even more so Raven. She’s my best friend, for Pete’s sake, and she dropped me like stone for Blondie.

Stefan

It was all her own fault.

I can’t wait to get out of here. That stuck-up bitch has caused me enough hassle. Of course I’m going to get her. Wouldn’t you want revenge too?

It wasn’t meant to turn out like this. Damn fisherman saw her flailing about in the sea and called the coastguard. I probably should have dumped her overboard during the hours of darkness, but at least the ‘accident’ in broad daylight affords me a get-out-of-jail-card. She won’t know what’s hit her when she hears my version of events. That’ll teach her to go all high-and-mighty and press charges. If she’d just gone home quietly then I could have put an end to her misery months ago. Now we all have to go through this charade. See what I mean? She is such a selfish little princess, always putting herself first.

To read Meet the Cast in full, simply complete this form.

(It’s a freebie, not available on Amazon or any other e-retailer. You won’t be added to any mailing list without giving your express permission first, and you can also win an advanced, signed copy of Casualty of Court when the paperback is released later in the year.)

CONNECT WITH LYNNE FELLOWS

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LFWrites

Twitter: @lfwrites – https://twitter.com/lfwrites

Website/Blog: https://just4mybooks.wordpress.com

Subscribe: https://tinyletter.com/lfwrites

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/lsfellows


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Introducing Patricia Gligor

It’s that time again!

I am shining my Gone Writing light this month on Patricia Gligor, author and fellow-member of Mystery Authors International.

PEG resizedPatricia Gligor is a Cincinnati native. The first three books in her Malone mystery series, Mixed Messages, Unfinished Business, and Desperate Deeds take place on the west side of Cincinnati. In Mistaken Identity, the fourth book, her characters are vacationing on Fripp Island in South Carolina. Marnie Malone, the fifth book in her series, is set in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina.

I asked Patricia what inspired her to write her first book.

Patricia: One day, shortly after I’d moved into a new apartment on the west side of Cincinnati, I went for a walk in the neighborhood and spotted an old Victorian. I remember standing there, gazing up at the house, captivated. I’ve always loved old houses; they have so much character. Every old house has a history; people have lived there and, in many cases, died there. As I looked up at the Victorian, I found myself wondering what those walls would say if they could talk.

GW: Many people ask themselves that kind of question, but let the moment pass without acting on the thought. What did you do to satisfy your curiosity?

Patricia: I wanted to find out more about the house and the area so I went to the Cincinnati Historical Society and immersed myself in research.

GW: You’re a woman after my own heart. I love that aspect of writing. Tell me more.

Patricia: Little by little, I began to come up with plot ideas and possible scenarios. The people who would live in the house and in the neighborhood, the characters for my book, came to me gradually. I drew upon my own life experiences and I took bits and pieces of the lives of people I knew or had read or heard about. A physical characteristic here, a personality trait there.

GW: Did you accumulate all of this inside your head, or did you start to write things down at some point?

Patricia: I jotted down my ideas on scraps of paper and it wasn’t long before I had a huge pile, which eventually became a chapter-by-chapter outline. I fictionalized the house in my mind and on paper to fit the story I wanted to tell, which had slowly evolved. I constantly asked myself questions. What if, in the midst of my main character’s personal struggles, a serial killer is on the loose? What if she has reason to believe he’s after her?

MIXED MESSAGES

It’s estimated that there are at least twenty to thirty active serial killers in the United States at any given time. There’s one on the loose on the west side of Cincinnati.

Mixed MessagesIt’s the week of Halloween and Ann Kern struggles with several issues. Her primary concern is her marriage which, like her west side neighborhood, is in jeopardy. Her husband is drinking heavily and his behavior toward her is erratic. One minute, he’s the kind, loving man she married and, the next minute, he’s cold and cruel.

Ann dismisses a psychic’s warning that she is in danger. But, when she receives a series of ominous biblical quotes, she grows nervous and suspicious of everyone, including her own husband.

As the bizarre and frightening events unfold, Ann discovers a handmade tombstone marked with her name, pushing her close to the edge. Will she be the Westwood Strangler’s next victim?

 

Patricia was kind enough to share with us the following short excerpt from Mixed Messages.

Ann tried to shut the door in his face but he pushed hard against it and sent her tumbling backwards. She regained her balance and ran toward her apartment door. The man pounced at her and grabbed her wrist, twisting it. “Stop it!” she yelled. “You’re hurting me!” 

He shoved her into her apartment and slammed the door behind them.

She stifled a scream. Please God, she prayed, don’t let the kids wake up. Please help me. Is this him? Is he the Westwood Strangler? Am I his next victim? What can I do? I don’t want to die!

 

CONNECT WITH PATRICIA GLIGOR

Blog: http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Gligor/e/B007VDDUPQ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5780337.Patricia_Gligor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.gligor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PatriciaGligor


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Introducing George Nagle

My August spotlight is shining on George Nagle, a charter member of Mystery Authors International.

 

George+Nagle+6-3512537715-OGeorge is the 3rd of 6 children and grew up in western Pennsylvania. He earned his BS in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, his MSc in Biology and his MBA in Marketing and Management from Duquesne University. He is also a Master 5th degree black belt in the art of Taekwondo with Young Brothers in Pittsburgh. He currently is a global marketing and strategy professional in science industries. He also has one son, Matthew.

 

I read and reviewed The Life We Lead: Ascending a few months ago, and was interested in learning more from George about his inspiration for what he anticipates will be a three-book series.

George: The series was inspired by real life events and has been 25 years in the making.

GW: Intriguing. How would you describe the genre?

George: Ascending is a spy novel with lots of twists and turns that can make you laugh, cry, and feel the characters outrage and their love.

GW: So, there’s also some romance woven into the plot, à la James Bond?

George: There is a romantic sub-plot. However, my series is based on real-world spying, so the far-fetched gadgets  such as those found in James Bond movies won’t be appearing.

GW: No flying cars or death-defying stunts at 25,000 feet?

George: Afraid not.

GW: Would you care to elaborate on the premise for your series?

George: The Life We Lead follows the life of James, the main character, as he battles criminal syndicates while trying to have a normal life. At 425 pages, Ascending is the shortest book in the series, and serves as the introduction to James, Carissa (the group to which he belongs), and a whole cast of other characters.

GW: Finally, I believe you have some exciting news to share.

George: That’s right. The audio edition of The Life We Lead: Ascending will be available within the next few days.

GW: That is exciting news, indeed. And, I understand you chose to narrate the book yourself. Congratulations on your achievement, and thank you for sharing your story with us.

 

THE LIFE WE LEAD: ASCENDING

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.

Ascending-Cover_v2At 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.

 

Excerpt 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.”

 

CONNECT WITH GEORGE NAGLE

Website: http:thelifewelead.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmnagle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thelifeweleadascending/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/George-Nagle/e/B00PV6UUMG/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16099199.George_M_Nagle
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/gmnagle77


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Introducing Iris Chacon

I have chosen to train my spotlight this month on Iris Chacon, novelist and fellow member of Mystery Authors International.

8551298Iris Chacon has written for radio, television, motion pictures, and magazines for more than 30 years. She has taught writing-related courses at Christian schools from grade 5 through college, and she has worked as a musician. Duby’s Doctor is her fifth novel, and it carries on the Chacon tradition of good, clean fun, mystery, humor, romance, and a “sunshine state of mind.” Iris hails from the Sunshine State, Florida, where her ancestors have lived since Florida was a Spanish colony, before the United States existed. She is working on her next novel, which incorporates many of the adventures she has enjoyed in the American Southwest.

I ‘ve reviewed two of Iris’s novels, Finding Miranda and Schifflebein’s Folly, so I suggested we talk instead about Duby’s Doctor, which I have not yet had the chance to read.

As is my custom, I began our conversation by asking Iris where she got the idea for Duby’s Doctor.

Iris: Duby’s story was inspired by the landscapes, art culture, elaborate mansions, and live-aboard sailboats of Coconut Grove.

GW: Why Coconut Grove?

Iris: For years, I passed through the magical Grove community on my way to work in the high-rise offices of Miami. The unique aura and ambiance of the Grove always launched my imagination into a happy stratosphere of quirky characters and exotic locations.

GW: Sounds like a wonderful locale for a story. I don’t suppose any of the scenery was two-legged?

Iris (with a discrete blush): Sometimes the girls and I (we were in a carpool) would simply stop in the Grove and watch the panoply of beautiful people (mostly male) passing by.

GW: Knowing how an author’s mind works, I suppose one of those beautiful people evolved into your protagonist?

Iris: How did you guess? My brain conjured up a man who lived on a boat and worked undercover in an arms dealer’s mansion.

GW: So, you invented Agent Yves Dubreau, a/k/a Duby. Can you tell us anything else about him?

Iris: Since he lived in Coconut Grove, he also had to be an artsy type, so I decided that Duby would be a talented sketcher and painter.

GW: This sounds like another fun novel. I’m adding Duby’s Doctor to my ‘must read’ list.

Iris was kind enough to share an excerpt from Duby’s Doctor with us.

 

DUBY'S DOCTOR

29656137When he can steal time away from his undercover assignment (as an arms dealer’s bodyguard), Agent Yves Dubreau jogs with all the other muscular Coconut Grove athletes. He enjoys the morning tai chi group in Peacock Park, and he quietly remains on the fringes of the Grove’s art scene — until he blows his cover and gets himself murdered. When resuscitated, he is a scarred, nameless giant with no memories, no language, and only his drawings with which to communicate. Of course, he still has the same deadly enemies he had in his former life; he just doesn’t know it. Neither does naive lady-surgeon, Dr. Mitchell Oberon. Soon, Duby’s unscrupulous supervisor forces the unsuspecting Mitchell to shelter this recovering “John Doe” in her home and begin teaching him how to live again. Both Duby and Dr. Oberon will learn a lot about living— they just may not be living long. A murderous arms dealer will soon be stalking them.

Excerpt from Chapter 10
(Mitchell picks up John/Jean from his maintenance job at St. Luke’s Daycare)

“He’ll be right out,” the nun said. “He’s all right. We were just cleaning him up. It looked worse than it is. The bleeding seems to have stopped—”

“Bleeding?”

“—and the paramedics said—”

“Paramedics?”

“—they don’t think Mister Kavanaugh’s ribs are broken, just bruised—”

“Who?”

“—and the police said, since nobody seems to want to press charges, — ”

“Police?”

“—that we can just forget about it. Of course, Jean had to be punished for hitting—”

“Hitting?”

“—so he had to run laps. And that started the nosebleed again. But everything’s all right now. Here he is.”

Jean limped out of the back room, holding a bloodied washcloth against his nose.

Sister Elizabeth sighed. “It’s been an exciting day.”

Mitchell studied Jean from head to toe, incredulous. She pointed at his swollen left knee. “You ran on concrete? And hitting? You were hitting! The children?”

“Oh, dear, no!” said Sister Elizabeth. “He was hitting Mister Kavanaugh.”

Mitchell stared at Sister Elizabeth and back at Jean. “You ran on concrete and you hit Mister Kavanaugh? Who is Mister Kavanaugh?”

 “Debbie’s father,” answered Sister Elizabeth.

Mitchell was looking at Jean. “Excuse me, Sister, but unless Kavanaugh cut his tongue out, I’d like to hear Johnny answer something. John, why did you hit Debbie’s father?”

Jean pulled the washcloth away from his face to say, “He hits Debbie.”

After a pause, Mitchell muttered, “I told you never to run on the concrete.”

 

CONNECT WITH IRIS CHACON

Website: https://www.authoririschacon.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/IrisChacon1371
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoririschacon
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kmLxAq
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8551298.Iris_Chacon
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/guatemom578


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Introducing E M McIntyre

My June spotlight falls on award-winning author E M McIntyre, friend and fellow member of Independent Authors United.

E M McIntyre is the author of the Red King Trilogy. Her first novel, The Phantom of Faerie Mountain won 1st place in YA Fiction for the 2016 Purple Dragonfly awards and Silver placement for YA Mystery in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite awards. E M is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Nebraska where she works as a Pediatric Cancer research lab manager. When not daydreaming of magic, mystery, and mischievous characters, E M enjoys gardening and spending time with her crazy pack of Italian greyhounds.

I am always eager to learn how other authors find their inspiration, and I asked E M how she arrived at the idea for the Red King Trilogy.

E M: The Red King Trilogy evolved from the combination of a distance-learning writing class I took through the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL), and a prior once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the Highlands of Scotland. I was fortunate to spend eleven days in central Scotland during the summer of 2001. I fell instantly in love with the Highlands and, well, everything about that land so far from my home. I didn’t know it then, but a day-trip I made to climb Ben A’an (a popular miniature mountain) would shape my future goals.

GW: Sounds like an amazing adventure. Did you start in right away?

E M: Only if you consider a lapse of eight years to be ‘right away’.

GW: Please tell us more. What prompted you to start writing?

E M: The final assignment for my writing class at the ICL allowed me to begin a novel.

GW: Did you know from the outset where you would set the novel and who the main characters would be?

E M: There was no thinking about it; my story, my life-long dream of authorship, would take place in Scotland. A YA fantasy, aimed toward younger individuals in the spectrum became my goal. I knew I wanted my protagonist to be strong, intelligent, and perhaps a bit stubborn, but she would need an indigenous sidekick as well as a mythical companion.

GW: I know you have completed the first two installments in the Red King Trilogy. Can you share anything about your progress toward completing the third book?

E M: This final assignment for the ICL writing class led to the creation of my award winning THE PHANTOM OF FAERIE MOUNTAIN. I recently published the second installment in the trilogy, THE SECRET OF BERRY BRAE CIRCLE, and am in the planning stages of the conclusion, THE TALISMAN OF DARKTREE HOLLOW.

E M has been kind enough to share samples of THE PHANTOM OF FAERIE MOUNTAIN and THE SECRET OF BERRY BRAE CIRCLE with us.

 

 

THE PHANTOM OF FAERIE MOUNTAIN

A telepathic dog. An ancient prophecy. Two devious faeries. 14 yr old Abby Fletcher must unravel their connection when she is thrown into a world of unknowns after receiving a mysterious message from a frightening beast: The Red King must set me free. Determined to discover the meaning of this puzzling phrase, Abby sets off to explore a nearby Scottish mountainside in search of clues. What Abby doesn’t realize, however, is that it’s not a matter of where she will find her answers but when. Whisked back to the early 14th century, Abby must find the courage to solve the mystery of the Red King and save not only herself but a group of powerless captives wrapped up in a faerie plot.

Scene from Chapter One

A gruff, deliberate voice entered her mind: The Red King must set me free.

“Wha, what?” Abby choked in a whisper.

The beast blinked, entering her mind once again. The Red King must set me free.

Abby sat transfixed, hypnotized by the creature’s piercing gaze. She wanted to scream or cry or close her eyes, but she couldn’t look away. After a few moments, the creature raised its head, turned with a snort, and strode back toward the road. Disappearing into the thick fog, it paused for one purposeful glance back at Abby.

The Red King must set me free.

Then it was gone.

Abby stared in disbelief out the window. Did that really just happen?

 

THE SECRET OF BERRY BRAE CIRCLE

A kidnapped father. An ancient tome. A mystical gem. When 14-yr old Abby Fletcher returns home to present day Scotland with the help of her magical dog, Finlay, she receives a disturbing message: the Book of Shay in exchange for the life of her father. Pressed for time, Abby and the young Scotsman, Rory, set off in search of the mysterious book. In a whirlwind adventure filled with time travel, frightful adversaries and enchanted beings, their path leads to a time-worn stone circle. There, with Berry Brae’s secret revealed, Abby must make a life-changing decision in this second installment of the Red King Trilogy.

Scene from Chapter One

Abby felt a gentle hand stroke her forehead. “A-by?”

Abby opened her eyes. Her head throbbed. “Wha…What happened? Am I awake now?”

Rory’s fiery braids brushed Abby’s neck as he leaned over her. “Aye, A-by.” Concern filled the young Scotsman’s eyes. “Ye gave us quite a scare. Ye’ve been lost to us from the moment we arrived in yer time.”

“Are we really back?” Abby sat up with Rory’s help, unaware of those gathering around, watching her. Her mother held back tears as she shared hugs with Agatha and Mrs. MacTavish. Abby rubbed her face. “How long was I unconscious?”

 

CONNECT WITH E M MCINTYRE

Website: https://redkingtrilogy.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/finlayforever
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheRedKingTrilogy
Amazon: amazon.com/author/redkingtrilogy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13855383.E_M_McIntyre
Book 1 Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsGWWIr2-xU
Book 2 Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhgEqoIa8E