Featured Author: Melissa Silvey

Featured Author:

Melissa Silvey

Melissa Silvey

  1. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Who is Melissa Silvey?  I’m a mom and a student.  I also have a part time job so sometimes my schedule can be hectic.  I’m 42 years old which means I’m an older student.  I’m finding I don’t mind that at all; in fact it’s kind of liberating.  I don’t have any social pressures and can just be myself.  I’m taking my second creative writing class.  I don’t have a lot of free time to work on my own novels, but I love going to college so I’m not complaining.  Also I’m currently addicted to ABC’sOnce Upon A Time” and I’m learning a lot more than I thought I’d ever want to know about tumblr and twitter and shipping and canon and otp.  The show is blowing my mind, and learning the lingo behind internet pairings of fictional charcters is fun and new and exciting!

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.

What brought me to romance novels?  I remember when I was pre-teen to early teenage years picking up second hand romance novels and I just fell in love.  Although I go through spurts of reading other genres, I always go back to romance.  I think it’s because it’s half fantasy and half reality.  And that’s the fun of it.  I want my stories to be relatable and still have a hint of, “I wish that would happen to me!”

3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I don’t really have a lot of free time to promote myself and my books.  I post the odd tweet or FB post, but currently not much more than that.  I’ve decided to take a few marketing classes, I think that will help significantly.  Yes, I think it is difficult to try to be writer and promoter.  Thankfully I have a couple of people who believe in me and are trying to promote my books some as well.

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

I remember the first time someone liked my books other than my mom and my sister.  I felt validated.  I’d been writing half my life but not really allowing anyone to read what I wrote.  Finally I came to a point of, “What the heck am I waiting for?”  My mom encouraged me to self-publish, and since then I am really encouraged by the response.  And of course I try to improve my writing skills when I get a bad review.  But of course it hurts when someone gives a bad review to your life’s work.  I just think I have to use those to better myself and my writing.

5.  Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

I have several books available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  I’m currently working on the third book of my Executioner series.  Happy endings are hard sometimes!  Most of the reviews are positive; I don’t think I’ve had any negative reviews yet.

6.   Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

My website is: http://www.melissasilvey.com/

The link to the list of my books on Amazon is: www.tinyurl.com/msilvey

And I love goodreads.com so here is the link to my author page there:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6949604.Melissa_Silvey

7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

I’d like to thank you for having me!  It’s my first so I’m very excited to share with you!  This is an excerpt from The Executioner: A Love Story.  My mom actually gave me the idea for the book and I ran with it.  Everyone needs love, I guess, even kick-butt vigilantes.  Arianna has to be one of my favorite characters: gorgeous yet insecure, hard as nails on the exterior but a lost girl on the inside.  She’s more than enough woman for any man, so I guess that’s why she needs two!

The link to The Executioner: A Love Story is here: www.tinyurl.com/mj75vjp

The Executioner: A Love Story

When they returned to her car he opened the door for her.  He was polite and chivalrous.

“How old are you,” she wondered as she drove back to the apartment.

“I am twenty-six,” he said as he pushed several buttons on her radio and set her clock.

“That’s been off since daylight savings time.  Thank you.  I tried to fix it, but I couldn’t figure it out.  I thought it would at least be right again in the fall.”  He also reset the navigation system that had blinked on the menu page for days.

“I have a talent for technology,” he said proudly.

And I have a talent for killing people, she thought.  “I wish I had your talent.”

“I’m twenty-six too, by the way.”  She examined his face again.  She knew she looked young, but he looked much younger than her.  “Where did you go to college?”

MIT,” he said offhandedly.

“Wow,” she said, stunned to silence again.  She glanced at her newly set clock, and saw it was only 5:30.  “We’re here early.”  She pulled into her parking space and he hurried out of the car to open the door for her again.

“Where did you go to college?”  He asked as they walked up the steps together.

“I went to college in Pennsylvania.”  Her voice became quiet.  “But I didn’t finish.”

“Maybe, if you want to start again, I could tutor you,” he offered as they made it to their shared porch and he unlocked his door.

“I think you’d get tired of me really fast,” she remarked innocently.

“I don’t think I’d ever get tired of you,” he smiled.  Her heart skipped a beat.  She held her keys to her side.  She didn’t want to unlock her door and go inside.  She didn’t want to be alone again, staring at the TV and trying not to think of what she’d done.

“You could go to church with me if you want,” he offered lightly.  “I’ll let you drive, even.  Your car is awesome.”

She made a noise in the back of her throat and stared down at her hands.  He looked disappointed.

“I’m sorry, I just…”  What could she say?  She committed twenty-three murders in five years and she didn’t think Jesus would care about her reasons and her excuses?  “I’m just really tired from the flight,” she lied quickly.  “Thank you for going out with me.”  She reached out her hand to him, and he took it and shook it.  His hands were soft and warm.

He released it suddenly.  “I hear you crying at night,” he said lightly.  He didn’t look away.  “I feel bad and wish I could knock on your door.  I wish I could help.”

Her mouth flew open and her eyes grew wide.  “You can knock on my door any time.”  His eyes were gentle, and his smile was warm.  She quickly unlocked her door and hurried inside.

*** Melissa is a good colleague of mine and I urge you to check her book out.  Thank you Melissa for allowing me to interview you 🙂

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Featured Author: Debra Kamza/ Ampbreia Weiss

Featured Author:

Ampbreia1

Debra Kamza / Ampbreia Weiss

1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I was born in Vallejo, CA but have lived in Everett WA since I was 5.  My childhood was a mostly happy one full of countless pets, huge family get-togethers, camping trips, and lots of books.  I have always loved reading, learning, and writing.  For as long as I remember, I’ve written stories and poems and loved to keep my little brother and friends entertained with ongoing stories whose ends I teasingly left dangling.  My older sister was annoyed, though, at my habit of getting up in the middle of the night to write whenever a dream inspired me, which was often.

I was raised a Pentecostal Christian, rebelled from its social divisiveness, anti-feminism, and boxed thinking when I was a teenager but fell straight into Shi-ite Islam not long after, not because I was particularly attracted to it but only because I was curious about it and greatly mislead about it by the Iranian guy I met in college and later married.  Yeah.  My book covers that in detail.  Suffice it say her that I am seriously burned out on religion.  I don’t mind if other people practice it; good for them if it makes them happy; but I’m long since done with it.  It’s just not for me.

I used to play piano, sing, and even wrote some music as a young adult but have since lost interest in that.  Having kids kind of diverted my attention from it in no small way.  Little fingers on the keyboard you know?  But my own little girl eventually took up where I left off all on her own initiative.

In the present, I’m married to a good guy now and we work together in an aerospace calibration lab.  I also love to dabble in arts of all kinds, dress up with my family and go to festivals, and dance.  I especially love belly dancing and have been doing it for seven years now.

2.   What made you decide to write Lost in Foreign Passions? Were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events?

It’s a memoir of that turbulent time of my life when I mistakenly put my trust in a foreigner, went to live in his very troubled homeland, and adopted his religion just because it was so important to him.  A three-year nightmare was the immediate but mind-opening result, not to mention the loss of my son.  Writing it all out was a necessary catharsis for me and I thought it might help others as well.  Even if not for all that, it was still the adventure of a lifetime and an important learning experience.

3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I honestly don’t really know how to do that other than to mention it in my blog now and then and to have an author site here and there. I have never had an agent, never found one willing to deal with that kind of political-religious hot potato.  I did originally trust it to Publish America because they claimed they were a “traditional publisher” but ended up having to end my 7-year contract with them four years early due to very shady unprofessional, non-traditional behavior on their part.  After that, I couldn’t bring myself to trust another publisher and, like the thing with religion, decided to go it on my own when the right opportunity presented itself: Amazon Author Central, which has been wonderful to me.

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

Happy and relieved I guess that someone actually cared and that they found my story worth their time.  She was really enthusiastic about it and that felt wonderful, reassuring, you know.  I’m confident in my writing ability, but I wrote this memoir AND published it despite my very real fear (a terror really) that people would judge me very badly for it or consider me hopelessly stupid for haven fallen for all I did.  Nevertheless, it was a story I felt needed telling.  I was being brave, you see.

5.   Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

DreamLover  Passions2ndEd

Those who have read it have liked it very much.  Many who know me personally or have heard of me from others have told me they’d like to read it and are disappointed that they can’t find it in brick and mortar book stores.  But it really isn’t very widely known.

6.    Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author). 

Well, I have two author sites:  one for my pen Debra Kamza (former married name) under which I wrote my memoir at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/BOOBNVI6Y2

and one for the fiction and poetry I write under the name of Ampbreia Weiss at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/BOOBNVPADM ,

only one book of which is posted there right now, Dream Lover.

These are the only two I have published through Amazon Author Central so far, but I plan on doing more.

I also have a blog at http://www.ampbreia.wordpress.com

where I write about anything and everything.

7.     I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky number.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

I was staring right up the surgery lamp as they lifted me onto to table and peeled up my dress in order to shave me.  I felt the cold of the water and heard the scrape of the razor below my abdomen while seeing only the lamp, a male surgeon, and a nurse.  I knew they were going to cut me open yet, wrapped in a strange euphoria, I didn’t care.

They didn’t see me watching and acted as if I was still unconscious.  I wanted to let him know I wasn’t, so I asked the surgeon if he could please arrange a mirror for me to watch the surgery in.  I must have been out of my mind to want that!

He gave me a startled look, dropped whatever he was holding and ordered the nurse to him on the double.  Dazedly, I watched the nurse put together a hypo and even that didn’t bother me (usually, such a sight would have made me cringe).  Then, recovering himself nicely, the surgeon inserted the hypo into my IV, telling me, “You will fall asleep in ten seconds.”

I didn’t believe him.  I giggled while he counted to ten.  It was the last thing I remembered of the surgery room.

Two days later, I awoke in a hospital bed in a dirty and dimly lit room. A stranger — a tall, swarthy, young man — was sitting, asleep, in a chair at my side. I couldn’t move my hand to nudge him, so I patiently waited for him to wake up on his own.  When he did, he jumped up with a show of great excitement and said, “You have a son, Honume Jon!”

I almost had heart failure at this I was in such a total amnesiac stupor.  I gave him a long stare.  “A son?  How could I have a son when I’ve never been pregnant? Who are you, anyway?”

“I’m your husband Peeshee jon.  Don’t you remember me?”

I didn’t remember him or anything else.  I demanded proof of everything he said.  I checked my belly for signs of pregnancy: It lay flat as a pancake with nothing of note moving within.  I thought nothing ever had been in there.  As disoriented as I was, I think I expected being pregnant to be proof of having just delivered a baby.  I wanted to see marriage documents.  I wanted to know where I was and, when he answered that, where the hell Iran was.

He willingly showed me marriage documents and where Iran was on a world map, but it didn’t mean anything to me.  The last thing I could recall was being in high school, and that was foggy.

Seeing the baby was all that would make any of this real, but that was the one thing the dark young man failed to produce on demand.  I bugged him endlessly to see the baby he swore I’d had.  Why couldn’t he show me this baby if it really existed?

For this last he offered no answer.

A day and a half passed during which the stranger, Reza, stayed with me almost constantly, making his wild claims, sleeping on a lower bed at the side of the room, and taking savory meals of choloe kebab.  I was brought nothing but bouillon and juice.  My stomach churned in hungry protest at this unfairness.  Besides being discombobulated to say the least, I waxed a bit cranky.

“When are you going to show me the baby you claim I had?” I demanded for what must have been the umpteenth time.  “I don’t know why you people are telling me such a thing when you’re not prepared to prove it.  Is this some kind of elaborate hoax? because if it is, your hoax has got holes in it.  This place is furnished like a hospital, but get real: it’s filthy!  Everyone knows that hospitals are sterile and new mothers in them are allowed to hold their babies as soon as they’ve given birth.  So where’s my baby?”

Reza was, by now, waving his hands in desperation for me to shut up. Finally, he swore he’d get me the baby if it were the last thing he did that day.  He did too, within the very hour.  He chased the nurse in with him and had her place the warm, flannel wrapped bundle in my arms.

At first, even then, I didn’t believe the baby could be mine.  I thought, for one thing, that a mother would remember nine months of grueling pregnancy.  I didn’t remember any of it.  Secondly, the baby was huge: almost ten pounds.  He was either a month old already or had come from a much larger woman than I was.  Heck, I knew my own size at least: five foot nothing and ninety-five pounds soaking wet.

The baby was beautiful, though.  He had huge black eyes, a shock of curly brown hair, and the sweetest little grin on I’d ever seen.  The feel of him against me was like the tickle of a kitten’s purr at my side.  Well, I thought, he certainly is a sweetie even if this is a trick.  I still didn’t think he could possibly be a newborn.  I thought that, besides being much smaller, newborns were always bald, red-skinned, and incapable of smiling.  This baby, if he was mine, put lie to that theory.

For nearly a half-hour, they let me hold him.  He smiling at me nearly the whole time, snuggled in the crook of my arm but when he started gnawing on his fist, then crying, I didn’t know what it was about.  The nurse did.  She came rushing to take the baby from me, saying it was his feeding time and she had a bottle ready for him in the nursery.  She was gone with him before I’d even thought up a protest.

I started regaining my memory from that moment on.

*** Debra is a great friend and colleague who I’ve known for MANY YEARS.    We share a common interest, we both lived in Iran while married to our Iranian husbands and had traumatic experiences.  I urge you strongly to read her book.  Debra also designed the cover of my book, so her talent runs LONG!

Featured Author: Clancy Tucker

Featured Author:

Clancy Tucker

Clancy_Tucker_2

  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Began writing at roughly eight-years-of-age, but have been a full time writer for the past 16 years. Thus far, have completed 23 full length manuscripts, 146 short stories / novellas and numerous bush poems. I write an eclectic daily blog that encourages and hosts writers, authors, Human Rights lawyers, musicians, poets and others from around the world. The blog currently goes to 34 countries. I also mentor 43 young writers around Australia, write a monthly editorial for a newspaper and lecture to members of the U3A – University of The Third Age. Not only, I am a Human Rights activist and social justice campaigner.

Writing is a tough gig, but I’ve been fortunate to win some major awards. Not that they have done me any favours.

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events. 

My first book is modern / historical fiction for young adults. I wrote it hoping it might become a prescribed text for junior high school kids and, hoping kids would enjoy an enthralling story about drought, tough times and life in 1910 Australia – rather than reading a text book. Interestingly, the book has become loved by people from 8 to 80 years of age. Why historical fiction? I grew up on farms and have always had a great admiration for our pioneers.

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

Marketing is a necessary evil for an author. Sadly, it takes an author away from writing. Normally I promote my work by promoting and marketing my brand – Clancy Tucker. Book reviews in major newspapers and interviews like this have always been beneficial. I have a large contingent of followers on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. However, the search for the ‘silver bullet’ to success has alluded me.

4    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

Yes, it was by an editor; not that I knew at the time. Her helpful comments made a lot of sense. I guess I’ve always been open to suggestions and advice, so I didn’t take any offence. Learning to take good advice onboard is paramount if you want to be the best writer you can be. I’ve had many top reviews.

5.   Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

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Yes, my first book, ‘Gunnedah Hero’, is part of a series. The sequel is already finished (A Drover’s Blanket) and I have at least another 15 stories to write in the series. Gunnedah Hero has won two awards in the Australian National Literary Awards and has been received well by all ages. It would make a magnificent movie for the entire family.

6.     Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

Daily Blog: http://clancytucker.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/2-october-2013-top-photographs-for-2012.html

Book Reviews: http://clancytucker.blogspot.com.au/p/book-reviews.html

Website: http://clancytucker.com.au/

My Photography: http://clancytucker.blogspot.com.au/p/photography.html

My YouTube (book trailers and photography): http://www.youtube.com/user/1000teebee?feature=watch

Biography: http://clancytucker.blogspot.com.au/p/clancy.html

7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Intro:    Gunnedah Hero is about a 14 year-old boy, Smokey Danson who, during a severe drought in 1910, takes the remaining family cattle up what is known in Australia as ‘The Long Paddock’ – the public roads, searching for food and water to keep them alive. Smokey has a pack horse and three loyal cattle dogs. On the trip he experiences all sorts of disasters, suffers from loneliness, meets great people, finds a cache of gold, is a key witness in a double murder case and is hailed the Gunnedah Hero.

“The snake became more and more aggressive and unpredictable. Sam was growling deeper now and had crouched on the ground in the attack position. Roscoe and Jedda were also awake, aware of the slippery predator and barking loudly. Their noise didn’t help the situation. In a split second, Sam attacked the snake and I felt its cold tail crease my forehead as it writhed in battle. I took a chance, got to my feet and jumped to a safe place on the other side of the campfire. While my brave kelpie fought the snake, I searched for a large piece of timber that would do the reptile some damage. Normally I’d have used the stockwhip to kill it, but Sam was too close. I was petrified I’d strike her by mistake.

I grabbed a sizeable piece of lumber and turned back to the verandah. As I swivelled around I heard a piercing squeal and saw Sam limp away. She flopped under the lemon tree and frantically rubbed her snout with both paws. The snake had been badly mauled by her sharp teeth but it was still writhing close to my saddle, smearing blood on the floorboards of the verandah. I was furious and smashed the snake with the timber at least half a dozen times. It was still moving so I thumped it another three times until it was dead. Roscoe and Jedda sniffed at its messy remains while I dashed towards Sam. It was too late. She was dead.

Tears welled in my eyes as I pulled her from beneath the tree where she’d sought refuge. I tucked her in my arms and walked to the back of the house where I found a piece of rusty steel to dig a grave. Jedda and Roscoe looked on as I buried my brave cattle dog. Covering her with dusty soil, I erected a crudely-made cross from two flat boards I found nearby then scrawled ‘Sam Danson’ across it with a piece of charcoal I’d rescued from the campfire. I squatted on the parched earth and wept, overcome by an enormous sense of loss.” 

***Clancy is a wonderful, humble man whom I look up to quite a bit.  I strongly recommend that you check out his book and his links. 

Featured Author: MARTA MERAJVER-KURLAT

Featured Author:

MARTA MERAJVER-KURLAT

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1.   Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

First of all, let me thank you for your kind invitation. I’m an Argentine author, translator, psychoanalyst, and an English Language and Literature teacher, as well as a wife and mother and a friend to my friends. I spent my youth traveling, studying, and working around the world. I love reading, animals, nature, knitting, and cooking, so it would be accurate to say that the person behind the pen is both multifaceted and complex 🙂

2.    What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.

My mom was a great writer, and I played at writing before I knew what was at stake. I’ve written ever since I can remember, but began to publish children’s stories in my thirties. Then there came a long period of “abstinence”, until a stupid discussion about suicide prompted me to write my first novel, “Just Toss the Ashes”, in 2005. I am now working on my fourth novel, after having published two others, four self-help books, a guide to Joyce’s Ulysses, and a biography of Korean filmmaker Kim-ki Duk. My fiction deals with real life; thus, it is triggered by true events, although I do not write about any particular person or real situation. I tend to focus on the unpalatable side of life, drawing attention to what people would rather not hear about. Going against the grain will not earn me a place among best-selling authors for sure, but I have no regrets.

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

The truth is I do not do much to promote my books. Once they are out of my hands, I leave that to the publisher, who does what he can. I have tried some resources, but don’t find them helpful. In the long run, my books sell either because people find me “interesting” -*grin*- and are intrigued about my work or because readers recommend them to friends. “Just Toss the Ashes” has been selling steadily since it was first published, and that is a remarkably long time for a novel to keep in the loop.

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

My first review was not bad, but the critic who wrote it for an American online magazine specializing in Latin American literature read the Spanish version, and I’m afraid her Spanish wasn’t good enough to cope with the nuances of the language. How it made me feel? I just wanted to kill her. There were many others for the English version, all of them showing full understanding and appreciation of the novel.

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

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I don’t write series. This particular book explores suicide and its sequels, through the journey the dead woman’s son undertakes to find out about a mother he didn’t really know. The public has embraced it as a means to understand something that may be unthinkable or taboo, depending on each person’s take on the meaning of life. Also, many people that experienced a loss through suicide approached me to tell me that the novel had proved healing.

6.     Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

The direct link to the book and its reviews is http://www.amazon.com/Just-Toss-the-Ashes-ebook/dp/B0010XG5VY/ref=la_B009TC8C5A_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382720711&sr=1-5

Other interesting links are my website http://www.martamerajver.com.ar/marta/

My Amazon page if you’re interested in my other books,

http://www.amazon.com/Marta-Merajver-Kurlat/e/B009TC8C5A

my Facebook pages in English and Spanish https://www.facebook.com/martamerajverkurlat

and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marta-Merajver-Kurlat-Talleres-de-Lengua-y-Literatura-Ingl%C3%A9s-y-Espa%C3%B1ol/413887565360477?ref=hl (2077 people following)

Last but not least, The Write Room Blog, a wonderful group in which thirty-odd writers work and publish http://www.thewriteroomblog.com

There’s also a Pinterest site that reveals a lot about me

http://www.pinterest.com/martamerajver/

7.      I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Let me give you an excerpt that describes how the dead woman’s psychiatrist feels after he learns she has committed suicide:

“Heading downtown from his luxurious home in Martínez, he went over the Sylvia case in his mind, since he would not have time to stop by the office to pick up his notes. He would do it later and possibly use them to present a paper at the next conference. He wondered fleetingly why he hadn’t seen it coming, but discarded the notion almost violently. He wasn’t a magician and she had deceived him. One way or another, patients always lie whether they know it or not, and they always hide things, even when they don’t intend to. Dr. Garnet intuited that this act was not the result of a sudden impulse, but rather had been carefully planned and that, in a way, she had used him, sometimes as a pawn and sometimes as a king, in a game of chess. As a pawn he was disposable and to top it off, she had checkmated him. She had shut down all movement with no warning, sending up smoke screens that had kept him from seeing what she was up to. And now, she had wiped him off the board. Looking for a parking spot, he was frankly angry. The suicide of a patient that he had diagnosed as non-suicidal could damage his professional reputation. Not to mention that the family could lay the blame on him publicly as well as privately.

This…”lady” had been a hard nut to crack from the start.”

Thanks again, Lori, for having me on your page. I feel honored, for I very much admire you and your work!

*** Marta is a WONDERFUL author and par excellent’ colleague.  She is caring and warm hearted and I strongly encourage you to read her work!  Thank you so much Marta for allowing me to interview you.

Featured Author: Sharla Shults

Featured AuthorSharla Lee Shults

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  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

A mathematician by nature is a strange beginning for a writer of poetry. Born into a family rooted in the field of education destined my life’s profession to becoming a teacher. The atmosphere of a small town kept families close and the importance of school was instilled at an early age.

As an educator, I always found myself writing but that role primarily centered on lesson plans, along with curriculum. I definitely never envisioned myself as a published writer/author. My expertise was in mathematics and science. Did I think about writing a textbook? Nah!

Almost thirty years in the education field finds me today enjoying retirement but not yet ready to cut the educational umbilical cord. Instead of a real-life classroom where I greet my students face-to-face, we meet in the virtual world of the online classroom where the students are now teachers. The most rewarding part is when my long ago eighth grade to senior high classroom students appear as students of mine once again, this time as an educators themselves. Priceless!

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.  

Poetry became a way of expressing my innermost thoughts to touch the heart and soul of those I love, as well as strangers. Poetic verses found themselves being generated from random thoughts, impromptu conversations, casual images or pure imagination reflecting feelings to warm the heart and lift the spirit.

My first two books, Echoes and Remembering reflect inspirational poetry. Both fact and fiction found their place with family being my inspiration: my husband for divine love and spiritual uplifts; our children for many memories, happiness as well as tears; my mother who taught me life is a bed of thorny roses; my dad for believing in me, keeping me toward life’s goal.

A shift in poetic thinking guided my third book, Awakenings, toward historical poetry. This was somewhat out of character since history had always been a back burner subject of mine so to speak. Through the years, however, a strong affinity toward America and her history developed. Therefore, the focus of Awakenings became Embrace the Past, Empower the Present, Enrich the Future.

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

Promotion has been difficult. Time and consistency are most important factors in promotion. Neither of these worked well for me over the past year. Life got in the way. As I strive to move forward, it is the social media networks that have become my sources of communication and promotion, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Writers’ Group, Pinterest, Scoop.It, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, personal blogs, personal website. Then, of course, the best is perhaps the book signings. Unlike social media, with the book signings you get to meet the author face-to-face. You sell yourself first, then, your book.

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

Oh, yes! I remember that moment well. It was the first review of my first book, Echoes. I cried. Heartbreakingly cried! It was so vindictive and definitely was written as a means to belittle me, as the author, as well as my writing. I have contacted Amazon repeatedly hoping to get it removed because it is not a review for the content of the book. No response.

On the flip side, the remaining reviews have been excellent 4 to 5-star. From heartbreaking to heartwarming. These have brought on their own share of tears but this time happily and thankfully! I truly treasure those than imply they ‘see’ what I ‘see’ when I write. Creativity arises from imagery. The words of imagery are the photographs of poetry.

5.   Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

I will focus here on Awakenings, which presents some of America’s momentous historical events in poetic verse. The rhythmic character of the verses in this book is designed to add flair to what is sometimes regarded as dull reading. History by its very nature is extremely poignant. The scene begins with the seventeenth century, a time absorbed in thoughts of death, physical love, and religious devotion. The woman’s role adheres to silence in the public arena and provides unstinting obedience to father and husband. Emotions unwind and remain somewhat unsettles as the journey through time spans five centuries.

The audience for Awakenings is somewhat limited since its very nature is poetry. The average reader is more inclined toward selecting a novel rather than a book of poetic verse. Public reaction has been slow but good. Once the purpose behind Awakenings is understood I am hopeful the audience will expand.

6.    Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

Instead of sharing one person and book, I would like to introduce all who read this interview to a group of writers. What started out as a bunch of Tweeters learning to Tweet appropriate blurbs for promotion has evolved into a blog where friends from disparate approaches to life and writing work together and share: The Write Room Blog @ http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/

From mystery to romance to poetry and more – visit The Write Room Blog for sure! Into the scary bit? At The Write Room you’ll find a hit!

7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

 

Dedication

“Free will is not the liberty to do whatever one likes, but the power of doing whatever one sees ought to be done, even in the very face of otherwise overwhelming impulse. There lies freedom, indeed.”

—Anonymous

Awakenings

Awakenings is dedicated to those who laid the foundation and established the platform for our American freedom: those who have served in the past, presently serve, or will serve our military forces in the future. A profound appreciation is extended for the sacrifice of these brave men and women who left or will leave their homes and family to ensure America’s freedom endures.

A grave price is being paid every moment of every day of the year for all the freedom America has to offer. Let us not forget those who have fought or are fighting for our nation; they are the epitome of the human spirit called freedom!

What does the past whisper to you?

Whisperings from the Past

Whisperings from the past reveal themselves in many forms: happy whisperings from the heart, melancholy whisperings from the mind, quiet whisperings from the soul. Each of these is grounded in beliefs instilled in us by our ancestors from events that transpired years upon years upon years ago.

Food for thought…

What thoughts whisper to you

On leaving for a new place

Where everything you know

Reflects a different face?

Are you ready for choices

To be rightly made

Based on courage, faith, and hope

None of which outweighed?

Could you undergo

Trials day by day

Putting forward trust

To guide the way?

What strengths of yesterday

Uphold tomorrow’s visions?

Dreams of utopia

May need many revisions

What lights shine for you

Reflective of yearnings

Not easily dimmed

By futile burnings?

How does your place in time

Connect to the past

Reflective of groundings

In beliefs that last?

“History is the memory of time, the life of the dead and the happiness of the living.”

—Captain John Smith (1580–1631)

EchoesRemembering

*** Sharla is quite a prolific writer, a kind human being and such an intelligent and caring individual.  I highly recommend her books.  I personally have “AWAKENINGS”, and LOVED IT!!

Featured Author: Kathy Clark

Featured Author:  Kathy Clark

P14 CU - CONTEST

 

1.   Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I’ve always been an avid reader, but when I read The Flame and the Flower a zillion years ago, I knew I wanted to be a writer.  Just a few months ago my mother found a half dozen “books” I’d written when I was six or seven, so I guess my inspiration went much further back than I realized.

 

2.    What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.  

  In 1982 I sold my first book to Dell for their Candlelight Ecstasy line.  I eventually sold to Harlequin and went on to have 23 romance novels published that sold almost 4 million copies worldwide.  Many won awards and made it on best sellers’ lists, but I kind of burned out of genre romance.  I took a few years off to write screenplays, with limited success.  In 2012 I finally returned to writing novels because I had some characters in my head that demanded it.  (Yes, I hear voices, which is an occupational hazard!) But I wanted more freedom than the highly structured romance genre

After Midnight Paperback cover_edited-2              CRIES IN THE NIGHT ebook cover

I decided because of royalties and distribution to go the e-pub route.  In September my first romantic suspense After Midnight was published on Amazon.  It has an element of romance, but the suspense drives the plot, and it is much edgier and more mainstream than any book I had written.  It was the first of a series I called Denver After Dark because the first three books are about three brothers, one a cop, one a firefighter and the third a paramedic, set in Denver, ColoradoAfter Midnight was named as the Best Suspense Indie Book of 2013 and won third place in the prestigious Readers’ Favorite award of 2013.  Cries in the Night, the second book in the series is an insider’s look at domestic violence and the man who saves her life and helps her learn to be a survivor and not a victim.  It was released just this month which is, coincidentally, Domestic Violence Awareness month.  

 

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

Having come from a traditionally published background that did almost all the promotion for me, learning how to self-promote has been difficult.  My husband volunteered to take on that task and he spends several hours a day on social media promoting me and my books.  We also are active members of several writers’ groups and volunteer to speak at writer and reader functions.

 

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

I was very lucky to have excellent reviews on all of my books.  However, I clearly remember that first one that was done by Melinda Helfer for Romantic Times.  She loved my book and ranked it as a recommended read which made me feel validated.  That book (Another Sunny Day) hit the New York Times best sellers’ list and did very well. 

 

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

Cries in the Night in my latest book in the Denver After Dark series.  It is about a victim’s advocate who is being stalked by a psycho and the firefighter who helps her heal from old wounds in her past.  I was a victim’s advocate for several years, and I saw, first hand, the pain and suffering of domestic violence and how its ripple effects leave long-lasting scars on the entire family.  I had never seen a story about these wonderful volunteers, so the book was born.  Plus, my father was a firefighter, so I think they are the most courageous heroes.  The book has exploded.  All of its reviews are five stars except for one four star, and the sales have been phenomenal.  I guess it just hit a nerve, but I’m very proud of it.  It’s definitely the best book I’ve ever written.

My husband and I also write Young Adult books under the pen name of Bob Kat. 

 

6.     Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

My greatest source for research on Cries in the Night (other than the internet) was to go to a fire house and sit down with the firefighters and talk to them.  I was lucky to find a terrific fire captain who not only helped with the specifics and details of their work, schedules and equipment, but he actually proof read the book and did an amazing job.  He has been a wonderful source of information and has become a good friend.  (Yes, he’s hot!)

 

7.      I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

 

The opening chapter is so powerful and it sets the story up so well, I’ve included the entire chapter.  I hope it touches you and makes you want to read on.

 

CRIES IN THE NIGHT

 CRIES IN THE NIGHT ebook cover

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

The back door slammed with such force that the small house shuddered.  In the spare bedroom the woman froze in front of the ironing board, the iron paused in mid-air.  Steam poured out of the holes with a hiss, but she didn’t notice.  Instead, her gaze raced across the room and met the wide eyes of her son who had been playing with a boxful of Matchbox cars. 

He dropped the tiny red Ferrari he had been holding and scuttled backward, disappearing under the bed.  No words had been spoken, but he knew the drill.  This wasn’t his first rodeo.  He had learned early that out of sight also meant out of the line of fire.

The woman wasn’t so lucky. 

Heavy, quick footsteps signaled the man’s approach down the hallway.  Her heart pounded in her chest, and she realized she hadn’t taken a breath since he had entered the house.  She exhaled slowly, trying to calm her nerves and steel herself for the battle ahead.  Even before she saw his face, she knew he was angry . . . at her, at his son, at his boss, at his life.  It didn’t really matter.  He always came home to share his dissatisfaction with her. 

“Where the hell is he?”  The man wasn’t large, but when he was in one of his moods, he seemed to expand in size until his presence filled the doorway. 

“Who?” she managed to ask, struggling to keep her expression under control.  For some reason, it made him angrier if she showed fear even though her legs were visibly trembling. 

He threw his car keys at her.  She tried to dodge, but the unexpected movement and her own swollen bulk slowed her.  The keys smashed into her left cheek, then fell to the floor with a clatter. 

“You know who.  That piece of shit kid.  He left his goddamn sled in the driveway and I ran over it.  Twenty bucks.  Trashed.  I work hard and get paid shit.  And he just throws his toys around like they were nothing.”

“He’s usually really careful . . .”

He cut her off.   “Didn’t he go to school today?”

“They had a teacher’s workday.”

“Then he has no excuse for not bringing in the garbage cans.”

“It was snowing too hard.”

“Not too hard for him to play.”  He kicked the basket of laundry against the wall.  “You fuckin’ baby him too much.”

“He’s only six.”  She knew that arguing only made him angrier, but her motherly instinct was to defend her young. 

The man’s dark gaze raked the room before focusing on the abandoned Matchbox cars.  His nostrils flared and he moved toward the bed, knowing it was the most likely hiding place. 

“No!” the woman cried.  “Leave him alone.”  She reached out to grab him, but he swung his arm to fend her off as if he was swatting away an annoying insect.  She reacted by striking back.  Unfortunately, the iron was still clenched in her hand.  The hot surface landed flat against his forearm and the back of his hand.  Steam oozed out of the holes as the skin sizzled. 

With a guttural roar, he jerked back as quickly as possible and looked down at the arced-shaped blisters that had already bubbled up.  Like an enraged bull in the ring distracted by the matador’s cape, he turned his attention back to her.

“What the fuck?”  He knocked the iron out of her hand, grabbed the front of her sweater in his meaty fist and pulled her forward, over the ironing board which clattered to the floor.  Her feet scrambled to keep upright as he dragged her over the metal legs. 

“I . . . I’m . . . sorry, Carlos.  I didn’t mean to . . .”

He silenced her with a punch in the jaw so hard that her teeth rattled.  Momentarily dazed, she didn’t struggle as he slammed her back against the door frame.  Her head cracked against the wood and she could feel the sharp edges biting into her shoulders.  She didn’t fight back as he hit her again and again.  She knew she deserved this.  If she hadn’t hit him with the iron, he wouldn’t have come at her like this.  The skin over her eye slit under his knuckles, and she could feel the warm flow of blood pour down her face.  As bad as it hurt, she knew it was nothing like the pain he was feeling from the burn.  So she let him take it out on her.  She owed him that.

It wasn’t until his blows moved lower that her defense mechanism got its second wind.  His fist buried into her breast.  Swollen from the imminent birth of her baby, the pain shot through her like a lightning bolt.  He drew back and would have landed a blow in her expanded abdomen, but she collapsed, trying in the only way she knew how to defend her unborn baby.  He released his hold on her sweater, but instead of stepping away, he kicked her.

She curled her body in a protective shell, putting all the flesh and bone she could between his steel-toed boot and her stomach.  He kicked her again and again, cursing her with words that burned her soul as much as her ears.  Finally, she blacked out.

A child’s scream woke her.  She struggled to open her eyes, but one was swollen shut. 

“Mama, mama!” the little boy cried. 

Her hands slid in the puddles of blood on the floor as she struggled to push into a sitting position.  Her blood.  She could see it staining the white yarn of her sweater.  In the back of her mind came the random thought that that was her favorite sweater, and now it was probably ruined.  She had so few clothes that still fit. 

Her son’s small hands wrapped around her wrist and she stifled a scream as he pulled.   Pains shot up and down her arm telling her it was probably either broken or badly bruised.  Her brain struggled through the fog as she tried to remember where she was and why she was bleeding and aching all over. 

Carlos!  She straightened and tried to look around.  Was he hurting Danny?  Her son seemed to sense her fears and with a maturity well beyond his years, he comforted her.

“He’s gone.  But he hurt you,” Danny told her.

“I’m okay,” she lied, trying, as always, to protect him from the truth.  But this was worse than the last time which had been worse than the time before that which had been worse than the time before.  She could remember them all.  In a twisted measure of days, months and years, each marked a new ending and a new beginning of sorts.  She had never doubted that she had done something wrong to deserve his anger, and she had never doubted she would survive.  This time, she wasn’t so sure. 

A searing pain, much deeper than all the others pierced through her, starting deep in her stomach and radiating out.  She heard another scream and was surprised that it had come from her mouth.

“Mama . . .?”  Danny’s voice was terrified. 

The room began to swirl around her, and her vision blurred.  Another pain doubled her over and she slid back to the floor.

Julie’s cell phone began ringing as she juggled a bag of groceries in one arm and inserted the key into her back door lock. 

“Hold on, hold on, hold on . . .,” she chanted as she hurried inside, dropped the bag on the table and pulled her phone out of her purse. 

“This is Julie,” she spoke into the small receiver.

“We’ve got a domestic and fire at 238 W. Maple Ave.,” the voice recited crisply.

“I heard it on my scanner.”  As she spoke, Julie held the phone against her ear with her shoulder and jotted down the address on a piece of unopened mail.  “I’m on my way.”

“I’ll notify the officers on-scene.  What’s your ETA?” 

“I’m pretty close.  I’ll be there in ten.”

The line clicked off and Julie let the phone slide off her shoulder and into her hand.  She grabbed the perishable items out of the bag and tossed them into the refrigerator and left the rest of the items to be put away later.   She picked up her keys, checked to make sure her thin billfold was still in her pocket and left without bothering to take the address with her.  She knew it by heart.  She had been there before.

Less than ten minutes later, she found a parking space.  It had been snowing off and on all day, and it had picked up again just before she arrived.  Julie looped her scarf around her neck, buttoned her coat up, pulled on her gloves and got out of her car.  A white ladder truck and an engine with the familiar DFD logo painted on it were parked directly in front of the house, their hoses snaked across the snow.  The generators rumbled, spotlights focused their harsh beams on the action, radios crackled with sporadic chatter and firefighters shouted back and forth to each other as they focused a steady stream of water on the blaze that had gobbled up the left side of the house.  

Julie quickened her pace as much as she dared on the icy sidewalk made worse by the steady flow of water that was draining from the house.   An ambulance was at the end of the driveway.  The back doors were open and the stretcher was out. 

“Hey Julie.  Sorry to get you out on a night like this,” one of the cops said as he approached her.  He flipped his little spiral notebook closed and tucked it into the breast pocket of his jacket. 

“Is she alive?”  Julie held her breath, afraid of the answer.

“Barely.  He beat the shit out of her . . . again.”

“No surprise there.  Why can’t you guys put him away for good?”

The cop shrugged.  “She always bails him out and won’t testify against him.”

“I thought she had a restraining order against him.”

“She does.  But an RO is only paper.  It doesn’t stop fists.”

Two paramedics pushed the stretcher down the driveway from the house.  A thin blanket covered the woman’s prone body.  Her young son walked beside it, his hand on his mom’s arm, a gesture that was probably reassuring for both of them.  It wasn’t until she got closer that Julie noticed the rounded mound showing the woman was pregnant.

“Oh my God,” Julie cried and hurried over to the stretcher. 

The woman looked up at her . . . or tried to.  Her swollen and battered eyes clearly hampered her vision, but she was able to recognize Julie.  An expression flashed across her face, one that was part embarrassment and part happiness to see someone she knew.  “Julie . . . I know what you’re thinking . . . don’t be mad at me,” she said in a voice that shook with pain. 

“Gloria, you don’t have to apologize to me . . . or to him,” Julie rushed to calm her.  She gently took the woman’s hand and walked next to the stretcher as the two paramedics struggled pushing it through several inches of unshoveled snow and over the shattered remains of a sled. 

“He didn’t mean to hurt me,” the woman told her.

Like hell he didn’t, Julie thought, but aloud she said, “How do you feel?”

Gloria lifted her other hand that already had an IV attached and rubbed her belly.  “Not so good.  I’m worried about my baby.”

Julie looked up at one of the paramedics and he shrugged.  “They’re going to do everything they can to help you both,” she told the woman. 

“I burned him with the iron.  That’s why he got so mad,” Gloria continued, anxious that Julie know why the event had happened. 

“You need to focus on yourself and your baby,” Julie spoke soothingly.  “I’ll stay with Danny until someone comes.  Have you called your mother?”

Gloria turned her head as if afraid of being overheard.  “No, would you do that for me?  Her number is in my phone . . . you know, the one you gave me.  It’s hidden in the laundry room.  Danny will show you.”  She tried to give her son a smile, but she could manage only a stiff grimace. 

The little boy looked at Julie and nodded shyly. 

“We’ve got to go,” the female paramedic said as the stretcher reached the ambulance.  She and her partner prepared the stretcher for loading and Julie reached out for Danny’s hand. 

“Only my mother,” Gloria pleaded, twisting around and leaning toward Julie.  “Don’t let him go with anyone else.  Promise me.”

“Don’t worry about him.  I promise I won’t leave him until your mother comes for him,” Julie assured her, and Gloria relaxed back against the cushion.  The two women weren’t long-time friends or even acquaintances.  Their relationship had started almost two years ago when Julie had responded to a domestic call.  That one hadn’t resulted in hospitalization.  But it had been the first in several similar events that had created a trust great enough that Gloria knew she could leave Danny in Julie’s care.

Danny trembled but didn’t pull his hand away as he watched his mother being loaded into the ambulance.  The red and blue lights bounced off the surrounding trees and houses, magnified by the stark whiteness of the snow and turning the still-falling snowflakes into confetti.  Julie looked down at the little boy whose gaze followed the twinkling lights as they disappeared down the street. Looking down she realized he wasn’t wearing a coat.  She unbuttoned her own, took it off and knelt down in front of Danny.  Even though it was much too large and drug on the ground, he burrowed gratefully into the warmth of the wool.  Shivers of cold and lingering fear shook his tiny body.  “They’re going to take good care of your mama.  But right now we need to call your grandma.  Can you tell me your mom’s secret hiding place?”

“It’s in the house,” he told her, then lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper.  “In the smelly things.”

Smelly things?  Her mind scrambled for what that might mean.  “Dirty clothes?” she asked.

“No, the good smelly things.  You know, the ones with the little bear on the box,” he whispered back.

“Dryer sheets?”

He nodded.

Good choice.  Men like Carlos never did laundry, so it would be unlikely he would stumble on it there.  Julie looked around.  Apparently the fire was out.  Smoke no longer billowed from the roof, and the firefighters were straightening out the hoses in preparation of rolling them back up.  One of the firefighters walked out of the house with an axe swung over his shoulder.  She lifted her hand and waved at him.  She recognized him from several other fires she had been called out to. 

He noticed and walked toward them.  He was tall, well over six feet.  Dressed in full firefighting uniform, he looked big and menacing, sort of like an urban alien.  Steam radiated from his long black coat with its yellow reflective stripe and the top of his black helmet.  He had an air canister strapped on his back, but he had unfastened his respirator and it hung off to one side.  His face was smudged with a layer of carbon, marked with paths where sweat and water had streaked down.  After giving Julie a crooked grin, he swung the axe to the ground and knelt in front of Danny, as if he knew what an imposing sight he must be.

“You must be Daniel,” he said to him.  “I saw some amazing drawings on the refrigerator.  I was hoping I would get to meet the artist.  Were those yours?”

Danny nodded solemnly, but Julie could see that he was flattered. 

“And that must have been your room with the race car posters.”

Again Danny nodded.  “Did my room burn up?”

“No, we were able to stop the fire before it got to your room.  But I’m afraid some of your things got a little wet and are going to smell like smoke.”

“How about my baseball cap?  The doctor people made me and my mom leave so fast I didn’t get it.”

The firefighter said, “Oh yeah, I remember seeing a couple caps in there.  They’ll be fine.”  He took off his helmet and held it out to Danny.  “Maybe you’d like to wear my hat.”

Danny’s brown eyes stretched wide.  “Oh yes, sir.”

The man set the hat on the boy’s much smaller head and it settled down to cover his ears and face all the way down to his nose.  Instead of taking it off, Danny lifted his chin and looked out from underneath it.  But most noticeable was the twitch of a smile that had softened his tense lips. 

The firefighter stood and turned his attention to Julie.  He pushed the heavy cloth hood off his head, revealing rumpled dark brown hair.  As he looked at her, she was struck by the clarity of his bright blue eyes. 

“You’re Julie, aren’t you?” he asked.

She was a little surprised that he knew her name because they had never actually spoken.  Not that she was a stranger to any of the public responders because Julie or one of her volunteers showed up at all of the more serious crime, fire or accident scenes.  “Yes, I am.  And you’re . . .?”

“Rusty,” he answered and pointed toward his last name that was printed on his jacket as he added, “Wilson.  I’m sure you know my younger brothers.”

“Oh, so you’re that Wilson,” Julie teased.  She was very well acquainted with his brothers.  Sam was a Denver cop who she worked with often, and Chris, the youngest, was a paramedic out of Denver Health.  He wasn’t one of the ones on scene tonight, but their paths had crossed often in the course of their jobs. 

Rusty held up his hands.  “Whoa, you can’t believe everything you hear about me.”

“Why do you assume it’s all bad?” she asked.

“Because some of it is true.  I’m the first to admit that I enjoy life.  But my brothers like to exaggerate my . . .,” he grinned, “. . . transgressions.”

Julie shrugged.  This was not a point she wanted to debate in the middle of a snowy night when she was without a coat.  “I was just wondering if someone could take me inside for a minute.  I need to get Danny’s things and . . . well, something else.”

“Sure, I’ll take you in, but he needs to stay out here.”  Rusty called over one of the other firefighters.  “Jackson, would you hang with my friend Daniel for a few minutes?”

Jackson, a middle-aged black firefighter who had just finished shutting off the hydrant and screwing the cap back on, nodded and knelt down next to Danny.  “Hey buddy.  My name is Jackson.  Do you mind keeping me company while they go get some of your clothes?”

Danny nodded, solemn again.  He stayed, but his gaze moved back to Julie. 

“Don’t let anyone take him away, okay?” she asked Jackson. 

“Gotcha,” Jackson confirmed. 

After giving Danny a reassuring pat on the head, she turned to follow Rusty. 

“Don’t forget my cap,” Danny called after her.

“I won’t,” she called back. 

“Watch your step,” Rusty cautioned.  He had taken a flashlight out of his utility belt and turned it on, illuminating a wide arc of destruction. 

Apparently, the electricity was off and the spotlights didn’t penetrate past the front door.  The dark house took on a sinister spook-house sort of feeling as they stepped over the threshold and into the smoldering interior. 

“The fire didn’t make it to this part of the house, but the back two bedrooms are pretty much gone,” he added as they made their way around pieces of furniture that had been knocked over or tossed out of the way.

“Any idea what caused it?”  She followed directly behind him, keeping her hand on his back because nothing could be seen outside the beam of his light. 

“Looks like an iron on the carpet.  But the investigators will find out for sure.”

They picked their way along the soggy carpet of the hallway.  Even though the flames hadn’t made it into the hallway, the sheetrock was damp and there was a heavy, acrid smell that burned her lungs.  When they arrived at Danny’s room, she hurried to collect his jacket and a few items of clothing, including his Little League baseball cap that was sitting on his chest of drawers.  She also scooped up the stuffed monkey that held an obvious position of importance on his pillow and stuffed it all into his Cars backpack. 

“We need to get out of here,” Rusty reminded her. 

“I have one more thing,” she told him.  “Did you happen to notice a laundry room?”

“Not in this part of the house.  Maybe off the kitchen?”  He led the way back down the hall and across the small living room to the kitchen.  Sure enough, in the mud room that led outside was a small stackable washer and dryer that had probably been one of Gloria’s prized possessions.  But Julie had eyes only for the box of Snuggle dryer sheets on the shelf next to it. 

“Really?” Rusty asked when he saw her pick it up. 

She didn’t answer, but pulled out the sheets until she reached the bottom of the box.  Nestled there, just as Danny had told her was the emergency cell phone she had given Gloria the last time Julie had been called out to this house.  It was something she often gave to victims of domestic abuse because their controlling spouse or partner often refused to let them have any contact with the outside world.  She was glad to see that Gloria had listened to her recommendation to hide the phone in a safe place where Carlos wouldn’t find it because Gloria clearly hadn’t paid any attention to Julie’s other advice to not let him back in her life.  Julie held up the phone so Rusty could see it, then followed him out the back door and to the driveway. 

Once back outside, she took deep, cleansing breathes of the crisp cold air.  “I don’t know how you guys do it,” she admitted to Rusty. 

He flashed her a grin, his teeth looking incredibly white against his soot-blackened face.  “Are you kidding?  I’d do this even if they didn’t pay me.  But don’t tell anyone.”

Julie flipped open the phone, turned it on and watched as it booted up.  “Hey thanks,” she told him. 

“No problem.”  His expression sobered.  “You do good work, you know.  They need someone like you to help them after all this.”  He motioned around them at the devastation.  Yes, they had saved most of the house, but the smoke and the water had ruined much of what the flames hadn’t consumed.  These people had lost a lot, if not everything, and they would need all the help they could get. 

  “Hey Wilson.  We’re ready to roll,” the captain called and gave Julie a wave of acknowledgment. 

They walked back to where Danny and Jackson waited.  Rusty reached down and lifted his heavy helmet off of the boy’s head.  “Thank you for taking care of my helmet for me.  It looks good on you, but I’m going to need it in case I have to go to another fire tonight.”

“Sure,” Danny said with pride at having accomplished something so apparently important. 

“Maybe you can get your mom to bring you by the fire station sometime when she feels better,” Rusty suggested.  “I’ll give you a tour and let you sit in a fire truck.”

“Really?  Wow, okay,” Danny agreed. 

Rusty looked back at Julie.  “And I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah, we seem to hang out at the same places.”  She smiled.  “Thanks again.”  She nodded her head toward Danny, indicating that his kindness toward the little boy hadn’t gone unnoticed. 

Rusty dismissed it with a shrug, but he gave her another grin as he put his helmet back on and headed toward the waiting fire truck.

“Julie, we’re finished, too,” the police officer who had been standing nearby talking to the captain told her. 

“We can sit in my car and wait for his grandmother,” she suggested, but the officer shook his head.

“I can’t leave you here.  It’s still a hot scene.”

Julie glanced around, suddenly nervous.  “You mean he’s not in custody?” she asked while being careful to keep the conversation as neutral as possible.

“He was gone when we arrived, but you can bet he’ll come back.”

She shivered, not just because of the cold that was penetrating her heavy sweater.  She had never actually met Carlos, but she had seen his handiwork on at least three occasions.  “Let me make a quick call to Danny’s grandmother so she can be on her way.”  She went to the Contacts’ list.  There were only two numbers in it.  Gloria’s mother and Julie’s cell phone.  Even though she had encouraged Gloria to call her if Carlos came back, it was now clear that that hadn’t happened.  She clicked on the word “Mom” and put the phone to her ear. 

It rang five times before a sleepy voice answered, “Hello.”

Julie turned away so Danny couldn’t hear the conversation as she gave Gloria’s mother a quick summary of the evening’s events.  “I’m taking Danny to the police station.  We’ll wait for you there.”  She gave the woman the address, and after getting her confirmation, Julie hung up. 

“Okay, Danny, we’re going to get to ride in a police car.  Have you ever done that before?”

He shook his head, but there was a spark of excitement in his eyes. 

“First, I’m going to trade you coats,” she told him.  She released his parka from his backpack where she had clipped it and handed it to him.  He took off her coat, and they exchanged.  She welcomed the warmth as she slipped her arms into the sleeves and buttoned it up.  Danny had a little trouble with his zipper, so she helped him get it started, then reached into the backpack and pulled out his cap.  The first genuine smile of the night spread across his face as he put it on and tugged it into position.  She didn’t even need a voiced “thanks” because his expression said it all. 

The police officer unlocked the doors of his cruiser and opened the back door for them.  Julie glanced back at her white Kia that was parked down the street.  She knew it was city policy that she couldn’t carry civilians in her personal vehicle and she had promised not to leave Danny’s side until his grandmother arrived.  That left her no choice but to ride with him in the patrol car to the station.  She would worry about getting a ride back to pick it up later.  Since Danny’s grandmother lived in Fort Collins, it would take her several hours to get dressed and drive to the station. 

The spotlights that had illuminated the scene switched off as the fire trucks prepared to leave.  With only the red and blue emergency lights still flashing, the night seemed darker and the shadows deeper.  Julie glanced around.  She had the uncomfortable feeling that Carlos was there, out of sight, but watching as she took his son away from him, hopefully forever.  She shivered again and silently urged Danny to hurry up.  She wanted to be inside the safety of the cruiser.

As soon as he was inside, she climbed in after him and tried not to notice the telltale smell of urine and vomit that usually clung in the air of the back seats of all the patrol cars.  It had been a long day and was turning out to be a long night.  But she, like Rusty, loved her job and would rather be here than any place she’d ever been.  Only she knew how desperate she was to never go back.

 ***Kathy is an accomplished author and a great  colleague of mine.  I’m sure you will enjoy any/all of her books.  Thank you Kathy for allowing us to get to know you and your work better.

Featured Author: Douglas Carlyle

Featured Author:     Douglas Carlyle

IMG_6926crop

  1. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

First of all, let me thank you, Lori, for taking the time to include me in your blog interviews.

 

I am an electrical engineer by degree. By trade, I spent 26 years with companies making integrated circuits such as the brains within your laptop, iPad, or cellphone.

 

However, early on, I knew I could write. English teachers in my high school entered several of my short stories in contests where they achieved great acclaim. In college freshman rhetoric, I had a very difficult professor. I got an ‘A’ in the class. He taught me a great deal about ‘how’ to write.

 

I began writing over a dozen years ago to pass the time during extensive business travel. I started writing a journal of sorts. I am never at a loss for words so the entries took on more of a story form. Then I introduced characters and a plot. Next came some fictional characters. I encountered dippin’ dots for the first time at the Brookfield Zoo in 2006. That was my epiphany. One finds inspiration in the most unexpected places. Suddenly, I had a piece that was missing to my story. That story became my latest novel, BOUNDARIES.

 

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.

 

My mother died of cancer in 1986. She was an incredibly important person in my life as you might expect. My mother’s last written words in her journal were “Fuller Brush Man.”

 

Then around 2003, my high school girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer. She lost her courageous battle in 2010. She had been a journalist. She began a novel when we were dating in the early 1970s. Though she worked on it for thirty-plus years, she never finished it. I took the story of the unfinished novel started by my dear friend, mixed it with the last words my mother wrote before she died, and wrote IN SEARCH OF THE FULLER BRUSH MAN. The novel is a memorial to those two fabulous women who were such an influence upon me.

 

3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I enjoy writing. I hate marketing. I love doing book signings where I can speak with my readers. I sell my print books at all of the large indie bookstores in Texas. I loathe shopping my stories on the internet. I love print books. I dislike technology. Within those parameters, I have a website. My books are all available in print as well as on Kindle and Nookpress. I begrudgingly joined Facebook. I don’t do Twitter. Sum total, I have ever an increasing base of readers with whom I have a relationship.

 

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

I absolutely enjoy each and every interview. My first was no different. I am not bashful. I speak my mind. This is the link to that interview. I encourage anyone who is reading this to take the time to read it.

 

http://christopherbunn.com/indie-author-interviews/author-interview-archives/doug-carlyle/

 

5.  Tell us about your books and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

Three book advert

My first published novel is IN SEARCH OF THE FULLER BRUSH MAN. Readers love it. The Book Readers’ Appreciation Group gave it their BRAG Medallion in April, 2012. I couldn’t be happier about it.

 

My second novel is the romantic fantasy VINEGARONE. A smaller audience has enjoyed it. Part of the problem is that marketing that novel took a back seat to finishing my third novel. The sales numbers reflect that. I could reach a much wider audience with a few investments of both cash and time. With two daughters in college, I have neither to spare at this time.

 

My latest novel is the first one I wrote, BOUNDARIES. It is a long novel at 208,000 words. It is my first (psychological) thriller. Agents and editors beat on me to finish it and put it on a shelf, or cut it down to something closer to 80,000 words. I tend to do my own thing. As you might guess, I have no agent. I released it last month in its beautiful entirety. I’m getting great feedback. I consider it a success.

 

My work in progress will be the first of a series I am calling the “Cat Kavanaugh Series”. She is a tough, and beautiful, former Army CBRNE Captain now FBI agent. The first book is half done. The title of it is BOOK REVIEW. I have the plot and title for the second in the series. The title will be EIGENGRAU.

 

6.   Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

My website is www.dbcarlyle.com . You will find all you need there.

 

7.      I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Here is a link to an excerpt from BOUNDARIES.

http://www.dbcarlyle.com/media/8ec07822bf2141f4ffff9a2affffe417.pdf

* I want to thank you for allowing me to interview you and showcase your book.  Your a very humble man, I can tell, and to me that equals CHARACTER which one should be fond of and learn from 🙂

 

Featured Author: Andrea Buginsky

Featured Author:   ANDREA BUGINSKY

1.   Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

My name is Andrea. I was born in New Jersey, but grew up in Florida. My family moved there when I was 7. I have a congenital heart condition, and it made it a bit tough growing up, but not impossible. It’s probably part of the reason I became a writer. I loved school and being with my family and friends. I now live in Kansas with my husband and our two furry children.

I have enjoyed writing when I was a kid. I decided to make it a career halfway through college, and earned my BA in Journalism. While freelance writing from home, I decided I wanted to write a book, and upon thinking about the type, I really liked the idea of a fantasy for teenagers. I started writing The Chosen, and the rest is history.

2.    What made you decide to write fantasy, were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.   

I love fantasy, and have lived in a fantasy world inside my head my whole life. So, when I started writing, I decided I wanted to write fantasies. The idea came to me when I was watching a movie called The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. I suddenly realized that as much as I loved fantasy, I should write my own. So, I did. The Chosen was my first fantasy series, and I’m happy to say, I’ll be getting back to writing more of them. New Avalon is my newest series, and I’m enjoying getting to know those characters too.

I have a lot of fun creating my own worlds and characters, adding magic, and bringing these new worlds to readers.

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I do find promoting a bit difficult, but it has gotten easier over the years as I’ve learned about marketing. One of the things I learned about promotion is that you have to show your readers that you get them, and that you understand what makes them tick. I have always felt a lot younger than my age, and I feel very comfortable talking to teens and about subjects in their world. I love to read YA and my favorite shows seem to be the ones aimed at teens. I like to think I “get” teens, and can write books for them that will help them escape their world when they need to.

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

 

I don’t remember the review per se, but I remember how it felt to see it. Very exciting! Not only did it mean someone read my book, but they cared enough to write their thoughts and feelings about it.

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

Destiny is the first of my new series, New Avalon. It has only been out for a few weeks, and it’s getting a great reaction from the public! I am so thrilled to see the reaction, from comments about the cover, to readers telling me how excited they are to read it, and hearing great reviews from those who have already read it.

6.     Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

 

I’ll start with my website, since that’s the best place to find me and all of my books:  http://www.andreabuginsky.com/

Next is my Facebook Author Page, where I try to post information not only about me and my books, but topics that I think will appeal to my readers: https://www.facebook.com/Andrea.Buginsky.Author

My Facebook Fan Page is another one where I try to get to know my readers. I welcome anyone who’s interested to join me there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/287037564737457/

And my Amazon Author Page is where you’ll find all of my books on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Buginsky/e/B005C4NJJS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1359736403&sr=8-1-spell

Some of my favorite websites include:

http://www.imdb.com/

http://www.teen.com/

http://www.amazon.com/

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/team/atlanta-braves/71601?q=atlanta-braves

http://www.tvguide.com/watchlist?newairingsonly=true

As you can see, most of my favorite web pages are about movies, books, and television, my three favorite hobbies.

7.      I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Elena was getting upset as she defended her family’s honor. She wasn’t thinking about where that might lead. She wasn’t thinking at all.

“Why, Elena, I didn’t mean to upset you.  I just meant that-“

“I know exactly what you meant, Barbara Thomas! You think your family is better than anyone else in this town. You always have. Just because your dad happens to be the former mayor’s son doesn’t mean you own this town and everyone in it! I’m so sick of your mock sentiment when all you really feel is that you’re better than everyone. You’re no better than the rest of us!”

As she yelled, things around her felt funny, and she realized she heard screaming. She looked around, and was startled to see everyone staring at her, horrified. She took a deep breath, and realized what had happened. She let her emotions get away from her, and her powers erupted.

The only words she could think of to describe the scene around her were total chaosEvery locker had burst open, and the entire contents – books, folders, papers, pictures, mirrors, backpacks – had come flying out. The posters on the walls were scattered everywhere. Most of the students and teachers were picking themselves up off the floor. Elena knew her powers had gotten totally out of hand, and she made everything around her fly out of control, literally.

She heard footsteps walking toward her, the only sound in the hall. She looked up and saw her counselor, Mrs. Adams, walking toward her. She gently took Elena by the shoulder and guided her to her office. She looked back and saw Barb and the other Bimbettes staring at her, as well as everyone else in the hall.

Thank you so much for having me over today, Lori! I really enjoyed our chat J

 

***Andrea is an accomplished author of MANY books.  I have read her book “My Open Heart” which was an autobiography of her living with heart disease.

Inspiring, touching, and UNDERSTANDING those who want SOBRIETY!

Hi all,

I just wanted to share this with you today, as most of you know I speak at a rehab hospital every month about my book and experience with drugs as well as what happened to me in Iran.  I usually get one or two war vets and last month one came to me with tears in his eyes.  He had lost his buddy in Iraq and suffered from PTSD *which I do too.  And he told me my talk was so inspiring and helpful that it motivated him to definitely get out of this slouch and take his life back.  That made me feel better than any book profits.  I sell my book at this rehab clinic but all the money goes to the clinic to help support long term rehab.  This is a letter I got from the supervisor at the clinic about last months talk.

Hi Lori,

I just have to tell you the your name is all over our patient surveys,  They loved your talk!!  With that being said I would like to put you down as a regular speaker in the rehab building.  One reason is you will get to talk to more people and the other is I am not scheduling very many at Partial anymore.  So can I put you down for the first Saturday of every month to speak in rehab?  We will be sure to have your book displayed on our front display the next time you come in.

Thank you

 

THIS MEANT SO MUCH TO ME, MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE AND I WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE.  THANK YOU, LORI

Featured Author: Lauren Algeo

Featured Author:    Lauren Algeo

 

LaurenAlgeo_500x500Lauren and her dog Kip

  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Hi, my name’s Lauren Algeo. I’m a 28 year old graphic designer from Kent, England. I currently write during my daily commute and spare time but would love to write for a living one day. I find writing a great way to unwind after a day at work and I get inspiration from everywhere. I always have a notepad in my bag for jotting down ideas. I live with my boyfriend and our dog, Kip, a German Shepherd we got from a rescue centre last year. For me, dog walking is a great opportunity to think through story ideas and new plots!

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events. 

I’m a huge fan of horror stories and thrillers so they were natural genres for me. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Lee Child, Jo Nesbo and James Patterson so I credit them with my love of those genres.

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

At the moment I mainly use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for promotion, as well as Goodreads. It can be quite difficult to find time to fit in promotion as well as writing and the day job but it seems to be going ok so far. I’m learning all the time and always appreciate any promoting suggestions.

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

My first review was a 5 star one on Amazon for my first book, Hikers – Part One: Power. It was really exciting to see it there and I love getting new reviews (good or bad), it’s always interesting to see people’s reactions to my books.

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

The first novel I published, Hikers – Part One: Power, is part of a horror series, the Hikers Trilogy. I’m currently editing Hikers – Part Two: Passion, which will be available to buy soon. So far the reaction has been great and I’ve had quite a few people contacting me to ask when Part Two will be out as they can’t wait to read it. I plan to start writing Part Three as soon as Part Two is published, and already have plenty of notes to get started with.

In between writing Hikers Part One and Two, I published a book called The Perfect Date. It’s a slight change of genre for me, more of a romance thriller, but there’s a plot twist that people have been very complimentary of so far – so not your average ‘romance’, more thriller!

6.    Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

For all the latest news on my books, go to:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/HikersTrilogy

Twitter:  @LaurenAlgeo

To purchase ebook or paperback versions of Hikers – Part One: Power visit:

Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hikers-Part-Power-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00B35DZMG

Amazon USA:

http://www.amazon.com/Hikers-Part-Power-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00B35DZMG

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/341549

7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

LaurenAlgeo_205x285

Thanks for having me! I’d like to share an excerpt from Hikers – Part One: Power. It’s a horror thriller about an ex-Detective Inspector, Scott Brewer, who hunts hikers, a family of hired assassins with the power of mind control. Brewer is joined on his mission by Georgie Duncan, a moody teenager with a turbulent past, and together they must find a way to kill the seemingly invincible hikers. This excerpt is from the very start of the trilogy. I hope you enjoy it!

Hikers_Cover.indd

Prologue

 ‘It’s time.’ The voice in his mind urged.

He felt a moment of doubt but couldn’t think of a rational reason why. He had been planning this for days. He was ready. They would all pay.

He slipped his right hand into the pocket of the large duffel coat he was wearing and felt the weight of the gun. He closed his hand around the cool metal and rested his finger on the trigger.

He stepped onto the escalator and surveyed the scene as it descended slowly in to Waterloo’s main train station. It was lunchtime and people were bustling to and fro in front of him. Not as busy as rush hour in the morning or evening but busy enough for him to blend in to the crowd.

He felt a shiver surge through his body and he pulled the heavy black coat tighter around himself. The weather had begun to turn and he knew there were cold days ahead.

‘There! There!’ The voice whispered excitedly.

He looked towards a small crowd gathered round some video equipment near the middle of the station. A TV actor was filming part of a drama series there today. The man could see him sitting in a chair to the side of the equipment, being fussed over by a makeup artist. He felt a tug of anger as he focussed on the man’s smug face.

That should have been his life. He deserved fame, money and recognition. Instead he had nothing.

He walked towards the set slowly, not wanting to draw too much attention to himself. He set his face in a mildly curious expression, as if he was just heading over to check out what was being filmed. A couple of others were doing the same but this was London and most people weren’t too bothered about minor celebrities when they had their own important lives.

The TV star was talking to a young woman who had just had her picture taken with him. She was giggling and toying coyly with her hair. Women just threw themselves at celebrities. He felt that ripple of rage again. He was only a few steps away now.

The actor half turned towards him as he reached them, a friendly smile on his face. He assumed the man was just another fan coming to say hello.

The man began to pull his hand out of his coat pocket. It looked as though he wanted to shake hands and the actor started to extend his own towards the man. Their eyes met for an instant and he felt that moment’s hesitation again.

Before he could comprehend it, his right hand was being thrust upwards and his thumb clicked off the safety.

‘Now!’ The voice in his head screamed.

The TV actor barely had time to register the change in intent before the man shot him in the chest.

The sound was deafening and echoed around the station but the man barely noticed, all he seemed to hear was an insane laughing in his mind.

He turned swiftly and shot the young woman before the actor’s body had even hit the ground. His shot was wide of target and only clipped her left arm but he didn’t care.

He twisted and turned, firing at anyone in his line of sight. He spun to the right suddenly and felt the gun being guided to a middle-aged man who had been walking past.

The man was frozen to the spot, his eyes wide with shock and a sandwich dangling in his stiff fingers. He had on a dark pinstripe suit and was carrying a brief case by his side.

The man thought he heard the voice whisper through its chilling laughter. ‘Bang.’

This time his shot was perfect and he hit the man dead centre in the chest. His finger carried on squeezing and the gun bucked in his hand as he found running targets. There was panic everywhere but the urgency that had consumed him seemed to be subsiding. The gun clicked empty and suddenly the crazy laughter that had filled his mind was gone.

The world seemed to swim back to the man slowly. He looked around confused. People were fleeing away from where he stood and there were several others lying on the floor. He could see blood pooled around some of the motionless ones. Others were writhing around, trying to drag themselves to the safety of cover.

He looked down at the gun in his hand, realising what he had done. Now all he could hear was screaming.

***Lauren is a friend and colleague of mine with a wonderful book to share!  Make sure to check out her links as well.