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Author Spotlight: Lori Soard

lori-headHello and welcome, my dear friends. I’d like to introduce a wonderful author to you today, share an excerpt of her novel, Dear Viking (what an intriguing title, don’t you think?), ask Lori Soard a few questions and also invite you to take part in a contest. Are you sitting comfortably? Then, let’s begin…

Lori Soard has a PhD in Journalism but she’s hardly the stuffy professor type. She enjoys writing romantic comedies, such as Finding Ms. Right, gets excited over a good comedy and has even seen one of her books turned in a Manga comic. When she isn’t working on fiction, she is writing articles, designing websites and promoting authors.

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tnDearVikingDescription: Rök Erikson comes from a long line of Viking warriors. The tradition of his upbringing, his new Christian faith and the code of honor that says he must protect his family at all costs wage war within him. He and his brothers go on a mission to kill Jarl Van of Colby before the man can make another attempt on their father’s life. The code of honor insists that they either kill or be killed, however, there are dark forces at work of which Rök is unaware.

Leani is the daughter of the jarl Rök believes is making attempts on his father’s life. When the eldest brother reaches her village ahead of Rök and the rest of the party, he kills her father and defiles her frail sister. Enraged, and fearing for her own life, Leani drives a silver dagger into his neck. Leani is captured by the vile Eriksons and forced to leave behind her broken sister as they take her to face a trial for killing the Viking who murdered her father.

Leani’s life hangs in the balance as she struggles with her guilt over taking the life of another and tries to find forgiveness where none should exist. Her faith will be tested to the limits as she fights a growing attraction to her enemy, tries to hide the truth about her identity, uncovers a treachery that runs deep within the Erikson clan, and sees how God can come to your rescue even when all hope seems lost…

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Get the book: http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/76-Dear-Viking.aspx

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Excerpt:

…Bright twines of lightning lit the sky. Leani lifted her head, allowing the rain to saturate her face. If she could only wash the sin of murder from her soul. The thunder stopped for a moment, as if the angels held their breath.

Leani looked to the crest of the hill. Lightning spooned across the night, highlighting the dark figure standing on the mound. Leani’s heartbeat hammered in her ears. She rose to her feet, braced for another confrontation.

A leather tunic covered his torso and a red cape was clasped with a bronze brooch. With the lightning flashing around his head and his long golden-brown hair blowing in the wind, the man looked like the war god. Impossible. Leani didn’t believe in gods. Her family had converted to Christianity when she’d been in her ninth summer.

An inner awareness whispered that she knew this man, had always known him. Yet, he was a stranger. The night closed around them once again as the storm paused.

Leani pushed aside the stubborn hair that kept blowing across her face. Her gaze was unfocused on the blackness of the hill. The very earth seemed to hiss with the next jagged burst of lightning.

The man was no longer in sight, and Leani wondered if he had been real. A weight settled on her spirit, like water washing over the sides of a sinking ship. When the light came again, the warrior was twenty feet in front of her, taking ground-eating strides.

Leani’s knees trembled. Had she avenged her father’s death only to meet the same shame as her sister? She glanced around frantically for a weapon. She would not give up her life or her virtue without a fight.

With each step in her direction, the man appeared even more imposing—broader of shoulder, firmer of resolve. Leani took a step backward and another. Lightning flashed and she had the impression of pale silver eyes. Piercing. Cutting. Another bolt and she saw an angled jaw and firm chin.

Halting when her back hit the rough planks of the door, Leani resisted pushing her way inside. Another assault would kill what little essence her sister had left in a hollowed-out body. If she kept the Viking monster from her dwelling, he would never realize another woman was within.

Leani summoned all her courage into a tight fist of bravery, letting it sit heavily in her midriff. Her only weapon lay buried in the fallen man’s neck.

Fear dissolved as the man passed her by and dropped to his knees beside the dead warrior.

“Brother.” His voice cracked on the word.

Leani edged closer. The warrior pulled the dagger free and held his hands over the wound as if he could hold the blood in.

Vikings were cold, heartless warriors. She’d been raised among them. Never had she seen such a display of emotion on a battlefield. They did not stop to cry over those who had fallen. Dying in war was glorious. Brother… Father… It did not matter the relationship to the fallen warrior. Vikings didn’t lament the passing of life from this world to the next.

“May the angels of heaven escort you on your journey to Valhalla with the Valkyries.”

The man’s voice had the sharp timber of cracking ice. Leani shivered again.

“Angels?” The word slipped past her curious lips. Was the man a Christian? But, he’d also mentioned the lovely maidens sent down from Asgard to escort slain warriors to the great hall of Valhalla.

The man rose slowly to his feet and turned to face her. Leani’s heartbeat pounded in her ears. He had called the vile, murdering beast brother. Had he seen her plunge the knife into his brother’s throat? Would he now ram his sword through her?

“Murderess.” The words sizzled off his lips like steam.

Leani raised her chin, fighting her own conscience at having taken another’s life. She had killed to avenge two wrongs and to protect others from the same fate as had befallen her sister. If that was wrong, then she was a murderess.

“Your brother was the murderer.”

“Your jarl tried to assassinate my family. My brother was justified in whatever he did.”

“J-Jarl?” The bitter taste in her mouth must have been a premonition. Had these men come here to eliminate her father for political reasons?

“Jarl Van of Colby.”

Leani expected the words and yet they still stole her breath. “Jarl Van is dead.”

“It’s no less than he deserves.”

If Leani had possession of the knife she’d sunk into his brother, she’d sink it into his flesh as well. Her father had been a gentle farmer. Now he lay dead because of this man’s brother. What would he do to her if he discovered she was Jarl Van’s daughter?…

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Q&A with Lori:

 

Q: When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?

A: I love to read and my taste is really eclectic. I read everything from cookbooks to nonfiction accounts of history to horror novels to romances. I love a good mystery. As long as the book is well written, it usually interests me.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I’m about halfway through a contemporary romance novel about a new town I’ve created. The main character is the director of a nursing home that is in trouble, but the residents are like her family. She is trying to figure out how to save the nursing home. Her old high school crush may be on the scene as well, standing in the way of her saving the home.

Q: What is your biggest challenge with the story?

A: There is a secondary character, an elderly woman, who has such a forceful personality that she takes over every scene she is in. I’ve had to do a lot of re-rewriting to keep her in line. In fact, I’m thinking about writing her love story as a historical book. She is that dynamic. Her name is Libby and I talk about her in my blog post What a Character! (http://lorisoard.com/loris-books-writing-news/what-a-character/)
Q: What are your hobbies?

A: My kids keep me pretty busy. Every once in a while, I’ll try a craft or attempt to learn to play the piano, but most of my time is spent with my youngest daughter and her competitive cheerleading activities or running up to see my oldest daughter at college. I am truly blessed to have not one, but two amazing daughters. They are smart, independent, funny, kind and everything I wanted them to be.
Q: What is your favorite television show?

A: We have Netflix and I love to wait until a show has been out several seasons and then watch a bunch of episodes at once. My recent favorite was Revenge, but I just finished watching it. I’ll have to find something new to watch. A lot of people have been recommending Breaking Bad, so hubby and I are thinking about starting on that series next.
Q: You mentioned your husband. Tell us about him…

A: We’ve been married for 24 years. He is my high school sweetheart. We are pretty boring to other people, but not to each other. I get his sense of humor and vice versa. We love to cuddle up in our jammies and watch reruns of Quincy on Netflix. He drives me crazy, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything. He is a wonderful, Christian man, dedicated father and hard worker. He’s also taken a lot of teasing for titles like Housebreaking a Husband, but was good spirited about it.
Q: Why writing?

A: I can’t imagine doing anything else. I truly love what I do and feel extremely blessed to be able to make a living writing. I haven’t got God’s plans for my life or my family completely figured out, but I do know that this is one thing he wants me to do. If I can touch one person’s heart or change someone in a small way, then I’ve made an impact on this world. What could be better?

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Contest: Sign up for my newsletter and you will automatically be entered into a drawing for a $10 Panera gift card (US recipients) and an electronic copy of my book The Lipstick Diaries (worldwide).

http://promodivas.us4.list-manage1.com/subscribe/post?u=18678da28dbe76d27e71a0c0f&id=4cd0411237

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And if you’d like to learn more about Lori, you can find her here: http://lorisoard.com

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Guest Posts

 

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Author Spotlight: Bethany Daniel

mandyHello and welcome, dear friends. New on my blog, please welcome author Bethany Daniel.

Bethany Daniel lives in Tx with her husband and 2 sons. She enjoys reading, photography and of course, writing. Bethany really found the passion for writing again this last year and came up with the idea for Reconnected after years of following Hollywood gossip and reading books about girls always chasing the guys and thought it would be nice for it to be the other way around. She is currently writing Disconnected, the story of Reconnected from Liam’s POV.

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Description: A fast paced love story!
Katy Warren thought her life was perfect. Then her new husband, and also highschool sweetheart, gets discovered while theater acting and gets swept away to Hollywood. Once there, things change. Liam throws himself into the Hollywood life and ignores Katy.

One night after a particularly crazy party, Katy can’t take it anymore and leaves Liam and his celebrity behind but doesn’t get an official divorce.

Four years later, Liam goes to Georgia for filming and crosses paths with Katy again. But now she’s just Kate and she has a boyfriend and she doesn’t want anything to do with her marriage. Liam has other plans.

Coming Soon: Disconnected – Liam’s POV!

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Here’s what the readers had to say about Reconnected:

“I enjoyed what I read, just needed more” – Lost Island of Book Reviews

“A fun and sweet read that is perfect for any book lover’s summer reading list.” Bibliophile Book Reviews for Indie and Established Authors

“As a blogger it’s nice sometimes to have a straight forward love story that can be enjoyed right until the very end and that’s exactly what I did in this case.” – Rose’s Book Blog

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Excerpt:

Prologue

“Babe, let’s go! I have to be to the theater in 30 minutes!” Liam yelled from down the hall and I took one last look in the mirror and ran towards him grabbing my sweater along the way.

“Ok, ok….I’m ready! Are you nervous about tonight?” I asked him grabbing his hand and walking towards our little rundown car.

He took a deep breath as he fiddled with the keys in his pocket and opened each door. “I don’t know. I mean, everyone is talkin’ about the Hollywood scouts being in the audience tonight. It would be amazing to be noticed by them, you know? The theater isn’t horrible by any means.” he smiled softly and started driving towards the theater. “But you can bet I’m going to do my damned best tonight.”

I laugh and squeeze his hand. “You do great every night baby, that’s why EVERYONE is always talking about you and why everybody keeps coming back to watch you over and over. I’m very proud of you, you know.”

He flashed me a wide grin and we drove the rest of the way in silence. Once we arrived at the theater, Liam gave me one last kiss and looked towards the backstage. “Here goes nothing.” he whispered and squeezed me tight.

“Good luck! Not that you need it.” I smiled and waved at him and went to find my seat.

All around me people were buzzing about the Hollywood people being here. I didn’t see anyone that really screamed Hollywood Exec to me, but I was positive they were somewhere with a great seat of the show.

Around an hour later, the show started and everyone sat riveted to the actors. I felt just as nervous as they did as I noticed them sneak a glance in the audience for the scouts. Liam really did do an even better job tonight then before if that was even possible.

After the show, I ran backstage and gave him a tight hug and quick kiss. “You did great babe!” I whispered in his ear as some people I didn’t recognize moved through the crowd and stopped in front of us.

“Mr. Warren? I’m Mitchell Fallon, I’m a talent scout for Excite Entertainment of L.A and we would really like to talk with you.” he smiled and I felt Liam take a deep breath.

“Uh, Yes sir, where would you like to talk?” he asked as he grabbed my hand.

“There’s a meeting room down the hall. We can talk….privately.” he muttered looking down at me like I was some kind of groupie.

I raised my eyebrow and smiled softly. “Mr. Fallon, I’m Liam’s wife.” I emphasized the last word and looked him in the eye. “I’m sure it would be ok for me to sit in on the conversation?”

“Oh…yes, of course.” he nodded and walked ahead of us.

“Is this really happening?” Liam whispered leaning into me.

I giggled and nodded. “Uh-huh….I think it really is.”

A couple months later, everything was happening in a whirlwind. There were contracts, photo shoots for head shots, interviews and script readings. It didn’t take long for Liam to have a large entourage and for me to be pushed into the background often.

One night, Liam came home from yet another company hosted party, obviously trashed and I looked over at him shaking my head.

“Liam, what the heck is happening?” I asked tucking a loose strand of his hair back.

“What do you mean?” he slurred and flopped over on his back. “We’re living the life baby!” he laughed and pulled a blanket up and over his face.

I gently pulled it down and looked down at him sadly. “What if I don’t want this life? What if it’s just not what I pictured for our lives?”

He snorted and rolled over. “It’s all part of the package baby, get used to it.”

The very next night when I came home from doing some sight-seeing, I found our home overflowing with drunk women, and many of them hanging all over my husband. Not to mention a bunch of people standing around smoking and drinking who knows what.

“Liam Elliott Warren, what the hell is going on?!” I yelled storming through the room shoving half-dressed girls out of the way as I went.

“We’re hosting a party! You know, rubbing elbows and all that.” he smiled and took a sip of wine from his glass.

“Are you kidding me? You have women all over you right now….” I shook my head and started for the stairs.

“Where you going, Katy?” He asked leaning against the couch.

Taking a deep breath, I wiped my eyes and looked directly at him. “To our room, and I’m going to pack a suitcase. If this “party” isn’t over in the next couple of hours, I’m leaving. I can’t do this.”

“Baby, you know I love you, right?” he asked and took a step towards the stairs and motioned his arms around. “This is just business.”

I sniffled and shook my head running to our room and started shoving my things into a large suitcase.

Several hours later, the music was still thumping, and girls were still giggling and I could hear Liam murmuring to them. He didn’t even bother to come talk to me.

By the time I came out of the room around nine the next morning, the house was a disaster and there was a note on the table from Liam saying he had left for set to start filming.

So I did exactly what I told him I’d do. With tears streaming down my face, I turned his note over and wrote on the back “I’m leaving. I hope you have all the successes you’ve ever wanted. I won’t be along for this crazy ride. Goodbye, Love, Katy”

With one final look around, I rubbed some tears away and walked out of Liam Warren’s life

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Connect with Bethany Daniel here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorbethanydaniel

Twitter: @author_bethanyd

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7085559.Bethany_Daniel

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Author Interviews, Guest Posts

 

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Author Spotlight: Ty Patterson

Hello and welcome, my friends. Today I’d like to introduce author Ty Patterson. Please welcome him with your usual enthusiasm.

Ty Patterson will talk about his thriller, The Warrior. Read the description, some of the readers’ opinions, and then enjoy an excerpt from the book.

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Ty Patterson

Ty discovered reading at an early age and the backs of cereal cartons were frequently part of his reading diet when nothing else was at hand.

Reading has held him in thrall ever since. Reading takes him to multi textured worlds and fills his world with visual imagery; all fuelled just by the power of the black word on a white page.

He uses his life experiences, of living in a couple of continents, of selling tea to street side stalls, to infuse his writing. And to take his readers on the same flights of visual imagination that his favourite authors take him on.

Ty is privileged that his wife and son shape their lives to accommodate his writing. They also humour his ridiculous belief that he is in charge.

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Blurb: Zeb Carter is almost your average Private Military Contractor.

When working for a WDE (We Don’t Exist) Agency, Zeb witnesses a gruesome crime in the Congo and tracks the perpetrators down to New York. Only to discover that not only are they protected by the FBI, but also are closely connected to a very high profile politician.

Zeb can walk away from his hunt, or pursue with it and put those close to him in the sights of the killers.

A thriller that spans Congo and New York, The Warrior is dotted with gritty action, a central character that fuels imagination, and is also about the brotherhood of warriors.

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This is what the readers think about The Warrior.

Excellent. There’s little I can say here that hasn’t already been written but “The Warrior” is a very intriguing read and very hard to put down. If you are a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books as I am, do yourself a favor and get a copy of “The Warrior.” You won’t be disappointed.

Awesome Thriller. I’m not much on reading thriller books but Patterson drew me in. It is well thought out, constructed, and keeps you intrigued to know what will happen.

Fast paced/Cool lead. I don’t normally read thrillers, but I was gifted a copy of The Warrior by Ty Patterson and I like to try new things, so I went for it. Glad I did.

A fast paced thriller. This novel is fast-paced, with a great cast of characters. The action-packed story kept me interested until the very end. I would definitely recommend this book to others, especially those who love action and adventure. Looking forward to seeing what else this author has to offer.

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Excerpt:

He lies in the slow night, waiting, the tabla playing in his head.

The tabla, an instrument played widely in India has a small wooden drum, the sidda, and a larger metal one, the dagga. The sidda is played with the fingers and palm of the right hand and the dagga with the fingers, palm and wrist of the left hand. The black spot on the tabla determines its tone and consists of soot, metallic dusts, plant extracts. The exact manner of its creation has remained a secret for hundreds of years and is passed on from father to son of tabla makers in dusty parts of India. Its teaching too is passed from teacher to pupil with no formal instructions in existence.

All these facts flit through his mind subconsciously as he strokes the leather skin of the tabla and plays out taals in his mind.

He came to the village just as dusk has been settling in, and has become one with the rain forest. The mud huts with thatched roofs are just about a hundred meters away, so close that he can hear conversations in the huts, families eating, children crying, and women cooking. The village is split by a road going across it with huts almost evenly scattered on either side of it, about 200 of them in all. He knows from his reconnaissance file that there is a concrete structure in the middle of the village that serves as a communal school and youth center.

He observes the arrival of the soldiers close to midnight, about 40 of them in two trucks and an open topped Jeep, a few white skinned among them. He hears them banging through huts, the screams of women and children, sounds of violence, and the occasional shots. He has called Andrews on his satellite phone and relayed the goings on. Andrews has been categorical. He is not to go into the village. He is not to engage; he is to stay where he is, observe and record as much as possible. Andrews will call the Democratic Republic of Congo’s embassy in Washington as well as the US Embassy in the Congo and alert them to the incident. He will also call some media companies and get them to look into what’s happening. He is playing the teentaal in his mind on the tabla, when the trucks roar off; the screams and moans of the women and children subside, but by not much. He can see the front of the Jeep its body hidden by a hut. Ghostly shadows move between the huts occasionally. If sound could be blotted, it would be a lazy evening in the Congo.

Zeb is a Specialist, a Troubleshooter, a Private Military Contractor if you want to be nit-picky. In an earlier life he was with the US Special Forces. Some would say he is a mercenary. He is hired around the world for his skills in finding stuff. Stuff such as stolen nuclear war heads or terrorists. He is also hired for finding people. Hostages kidnapped for ransom, soldiers held prisoners in enemy territory, civilians held hostage by nutters, find anyone really. He has often acted as body guard, security consultant, or a protector. Sometimes he is hired to make people disappear. Bad people, roaches. Some call him an assassin. He knows he isn’t one, but can do that job better than the best assassins in the world. Labels don’t bother him. His job is a violent, high risk one. He wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t.

Armed forces across the world hire him, as do police forces, national governments, Hollywood stars and billionaires.

His last assignment had been to retrieve a stolen Russian nuclear warhead. He had to work with the Agency as well as various covert government organizations in Europe, USA and Russia, infiltrate a few terrorist cells, and negotiate with the world’s most wanted arms dealers before locating the warhead in a mosque in Detroit. He had then called in the Agency, who had then called in a few WDE (We Don’t Exist) organizations to conduct a dawn raid on the mosque. He was part of the team that went in; it was his finger that pulled the trigger splattering the brains of two members of the cell.

He had flown to New York for his debrief at one of the several anonymous offices maintained or temporarily occupied by various Federal agencies. Andrews was waiting for him in the colorless office.

‘We have something else for you, if you are interested.’ That was Andrews. Very good at the small talk. ‘But first things first,’ continued Andrews, ‘Report?’

He wordlessly handed across his report to Andrews, who made a show of going through it. He had worked with Andrews for a long time, could easily read him. Andrews wasn’t really interested in his report. He would have been thoroughly debriefed by the WDE agents. Andrews was here to stoke his interest in the next assignment, whatever it was. He was bored of these games, but went along. Andrews was a first rate handler who gave him interesting assignments and just for that he could go along with his games. For a short while.

Andrews finally put the report down, drummed his fingers on the desk, looked at him, away and then back at him. ‘We might have a problem.’ Pause. ‘In the Congo.’ Andrews waits for his response. Realizing it could be a long wait, Andrews continues. ‘As you know the Democratic Republic of Congo has a UN Peace Keeping Force, which has not been particularly effective in keeping the peace. In fact it has been accused of not doing enough to keep out rebel troops, getting involved with drug and gold smuggling.’

Andrews waited for a response, got none and forged ahead. ‘But the UN Force is not what is troubling us. There are a bunch of military contractors out there, gone to train the DRC’s army. Six of them. The Agency has used them in the past but stopped dealing with them. Too brutal. Don’t play by the unwritten rules in our game. Multiple paymasters at the same time and some of those paymasters, the bad guys. That kind of stuff. Over the past few months there have been whispers of Western military contractors actively working with the other side, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR, involved in all kinds of nasty stuff. And don’t even ask me why a force for the liberation of Rwanda is active in the DRC.’

He watched Andrews speak. ‘So?’ He asked once Andrews had finished. ‘The firetrucking thing is,’ Andrews in his inimitable style, ‘we don’t know whether those rogue contractors are the same we used in the past. The Agency has stopped dealing with them but it would be minefield territory if those chimpanzees are the same and it comes out that the Agency has associated with them. China is expanding its presence in Africa and we want to be seen as the good guys. We want you to go to the DRC and find out who those guys are what the frick they are doing. No action. Just investigate and report.’

‘Nope.’

Andrews waited for an explanation, got none, did his routine of looking away and back, and drummed his fingers. ‘Yes, I did think you would say something like that. Not challenging enough for you and all that. I want you to meet someone,’ and slipped out of the room. He can back a little while later with the Director. And then it became personal.

He has been in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a couple of months now under the guise of an aid worker for a charity. He has worked in remote villages and steadily moved his way from Kinshasa on the east to North and South Kivu on the west. He has travelled by train, boat, ridden carts and donkeys as he travels through the remotest villages. He has gone drinking with the Congolese, helped thatch huts, build schools, all the while keeping his ears open for gossip on foreign contractors. Information has been surprisingly easy to come by. The aid workers and the Congolese are all too happy to have someone to listen to them. Years of inhuman brutality need a willing listener. There are several mercenaries in the Congo. Some of them South African, some Belgian, British, many nationalities. He has met a few of them. Most of them have been hired for the protection of villages, close body protection of businessmen or politicians, protection of assets or security advice for various governments or businesses. He even talks to several contractors.

It’s in Kindu, almost in the center of the DRC that he first hears of a group of contractors who have gone to the other side. The Congolese who mention them are fearful and whisper about mass rape and these contractors in the same breath. ‘La mal personnes’ and ‘atrocities’ are phrases used by them, describing the contractors as evil, committing atrocities. Many Ngok and Primus beers over several days and he hears that the contractors and the FDLR soldiers they are associated with are now based near Lake Kivu near the border with Rwanda. After all it’s quite difficult for 6 white men to blend in with black soldiers so they get noticed. The Congolese talk about a band of black and white soldiers who capture mines, often killing several mine workers and then looting the mines. Artisanal and small scale mining is wide spread in the DRC and because of the small scale of operations; it is very easy for armed bands of men to hijack the mines. The FDLR soldiers and the white skinned contractors roam across the mines, taking them over and trade in gold, minerals, diamonds, ivory, coffee, drugs, anything that has value. They prey on the local villages for food and women. The DRC’s army and police is either incapable of dealing with this force or is unwilling. Or, more likely, is in collusion. The UN Peace Keeping Force is usually too late to the scene and stretched too thin.

On a few occasions he is lucky to meet victims who have suffered at the hands of this band of soldiers. They all speak of the ruthlessness of the soldiers both black and white. He records his conversations with the Congolese victims and pretty soon has a dossier of atrocity. A few victims have even identified the mercenaries from their Agency photographs he is carrying. He has decided to visit a few villages in North and South Kivu before making his way back to Kinshasa and then back to the US.

And so he lies on the outskirts of Luvungi one of the villages in the vicinity of Lake Kivu. This is the third village near Lake Kivu that he has surveilled. It’s been a couple of hours since the trucks left, the jeep is still there, and nothing has changed. He does not know how many soldiers have gone in the trucks or how many have been left behind. He knows these have been the FDLR soldiers since he recognizes their uniforms, or soldiers impersonating them.

Of course he is going in; it isn’t in him to be a passive spectator. Andrews can go firetruck himself. The rainforest comes almost to the edges of the village with plenty of foliage to give him cover. He decides to start with the hut on the extreme right and make his way to those on his left where the Jeep is standing.

He centers himself and drifts from shadow to shadow towards the perimeter of the village. Some of the huts are dark; some are lit from within by lamps, candle, or burning ovens, throwing a chiaroscuro on the ground outside the huts. No movement that he can see. He sidles round the side of the first hut and peers through the door, his body masked by the wall. Nothing. Something cooking on the oven but the hut is empty. The next hut is empty too, and so are the next ten. He goes to the next row of huts closer to the road. He can hear a woman wailing inside, another voice murmuring something. He peers inside. A woman is laying barely clothed on the mud floor, her mouth bleeding, forehead bleeding, with a wash of blood down her thighs. Another woman pressing a wet cloth to her head. He stills even more, his pulse slows, his mind going into the familiar grey fog where bad begets action.

The next hut is empty and after a quick glance he moves on. Something tugs at the edge of his vision; he goes back and takes a slow look inside. There, just near the oven something familiar and yet not. He goes closer and sees a small baby, maybe 6 months old, lying close to the fire, her hand outstretched towards the coals. He hunches down and put his ears against her chest. She is breathing. He moves her further from the fire and ghosts out.

The next hut a young girl raped, alone and unconscious, another hut an old woman beaten and bleeding, laying on the ground her clothes barely covering her body, moaning softly. She sees him with blank eyes not registering his presence. He crosses the road to the huts on the other side. The first hut he looks into has a young girl maybe seven years old lying on her side facing the door. The stench of blood and burning hair fills the hut. Her long hair is stretched behind her going into the oven. He scoops up the hair, kills the fire, kneels beside her. Her dark eyes look at him as she rolls on her back pliantly, thighs spread. Empty eyes saying nothing, her silence saying it all.

Looking down at her, Zeb allows the rage to blossom, unfurling from its tight core within, spreading through him, reaching out across his body to his extremities, making him the most efficient killing machine on earth. Those eyes are still staring at him as he leaves the hut.

Next hut, scuffling and grunting from within. White male nearly six feet, laying on top of a young girl his hand choking her. Sight is action, the blackness in him is lightning fast as he grabs the man by his collar, flings him back against the wall and pins him there. Jason Boulder, ex Delta, ex Iraq, Somalia and now here. Zeb recognizes him from Andrews’ dossier. Boulder looks at him in disbelief and is about to yell out when Zeb’s blade punctures his carotid. Zeb rolls the body on its belly to lie on its spurting blood, spreads a tattered blanker over it. All this in just a few seconds with the girl not fully comprehending what has happened. He slips out of the hut and pauses in the shadow of the hut to take stock. Still the same; women wailing, others consoling them, no one running in his direction, no bullets fired at him. No men of any kind.

He quickly checks all the other huts in that row and discovers more carnage, more blank eyes, but no other soldiers or mercenaries. It takes him another hour to go through all the huts on that side of the road before he heads towards the huts where the Jeep is parked. He reckons there must be about two hundred women beaten, raped, many of those young girls. His iPhone is nearly full of the pictures he has taken and he makes a mental note to transfer those to Andrews when he has a good connection.

He doesn’t know how many soldiers have stayed behind and whether the mercenaries he is seeking are here. The only clue he has is Boulder’s presence. The Jeep might have some answers.

The Jeep is parked on the central road in the village with four huts on either side of the road, in its immediate vicinity. All those huts are lit from within throwing the vehicle in sharp focus. He moves along the far row of huts, towards the driver’s side, keeping an eye on the Jeep and at the same time checking out the huts. In some of these huts he sees some men shot and dead. They account for the shots he has heard. Still, for a village of this size there should be more men about and their absence bothers him. Maybe they weren’t in the village when the trucks arrived or they were carted off in the trucks by the soldiers. He tucks this mystery at the back of his mind and concentrates on the Jeep and the huts in its immediate vicinity. After clearing the huts in his row, he lies prone on the ground in the deepest shadow and looks at the Jeep from the side of his eyes to see if he can detect any movement or any presence of people. He takes a risk and runs at a half crouch towards the Jeep keeping out of its windscreen’s sight line. The Jeep is a standard FDLR vehicle, battered but serviceable with its keys still in. He is tempted to pocket the keys but squelches the thought. Not knowing the strength of the soldiers left in the village, he doesn’t want to give his presence away.

He looks across the driver’s seat towards the other row. He thinks he hears some murmuring above the women’s anguish but he isn’t sure.

He crouches and runs towards the row of huts. The first of the four is empty. The next one has a woman facing the door and when he peeks his head through, her eyes widen and mouth opens. All she can feel is a rush of air as he flows across the hut, clamps his hand over her mouth, squeezes a pressure point on her carotid and renders her unconscious. He lays her in the dark shadows in the hut and moves on to the next. This is where he can hear the murmuring louder. He goes around the rectangular hut to see if he can peer through any crack in the wall but there is none. The hut has two windows on the two opposite walls, peering through them would throw the light on his face.

Over the years of working as a PMC with the Agency, he has amassed exotic gadgets from shoe heel cameras to bug sized remote controlled robots. He unsheathes a meter long slender cable from the leg of his fatigues. One end of the cable has a USB plug in and the other end a self-focusing 20 Megapixel camera. The camera plugs into his iPhone and draws its power from the phone. He plugs the cable camera into his iPhone, loops the camera through a corner of the window and watches its feed on his phone.

Two white males, one with his back to the door the other sideways, are squatting beside an almost naked woman. She is still and he can’t detect if she is unconscious or dead or just lying still. The men are counting something and one of them is stuffing what looks to be gravel and large pebbles into pouches, and then packing those away into a duffel bag. The other is making notes in a dirty folder. He turns the camera 360 to get a full view of the hut. Nothing, no one else in the hut.

He slips the camera out and sheaths it back on his fatigues. He goes to the back of the hut and slips across to the last one to recce it. It is empty though showing signs of being ransacked. Clothing strewn across the floor, the meager utensils scattered across the hut.

He has to go in to see if these two are part of the Rogue 6, see if that woman is alive. He also wants some answers to what happened in the village. No camouflage, no way to get in stealthily, so he just slips inside the door, moves to its side and stands with his back to the wall. Sideways is still counting when he feels the weight of Zeb’s stare and looks up. His face goes slack with astonishment and then blurts, ‘Who the fuck are you dude?’ Zeb gives him impassive. He recognizes Sideways. Conley Stark, 35, ex Rangers, served twice in Iraq, likes knives, dishonorable discharge for raping a woman. Stark makes another attempt, ‘Qui etes-vous?’ Zeb has never believed in pleasantries. Backside now turns around to see what the fuss is about. Brink Schulte, ex Rangers, served with Conley in Iraq. ‘Who the hell is the dumbfuck Con?’

‘Whoever he is and he’s certainly dumb, will be pretty soon dead.’

Zeb calm, allowing his presence to fill the room. This will end in only one way. Stark limbers up smoothly and a FS- MK II knife appears in his right hand. Brink pauses from his book keeping to watch Con take out the intruder. He loves a good fight and Con is the best he has seen with a knife. The book keeping can wait for a few minutes. Or maybe not… The intruder moves from still to attack in a nanosecond, a blindingly silent high leap from standing. His left leg takes out Con’s knife arm. Brink can hear the bone snap, even as his right leg collapses Con’s throat. Zero to dead in less than a second Brink thinks dimly as the intruder lands smoothly and faces him. Not a glance to Con who is in his death throes.

Even as Zeb launched his Kalari Payattu strike on Con, he is aware a third had entered the room, uttered something in astonishment, grabbed the duffel back lying near Brink and escaped out. Once Stark is out of the equation he turns his gaze on Schulte. Answers. Schulte has them. Zeb wants them. Schulte will give them. He hasn’t a choice.

A long hour later Zeb comes out of the hut. The Jeep is gone, presumably taken by Holt. It was he who had come into the room during the fight. Carsten Holt. Unofficial leader of the Rogue 6. Rogue 3, he corrects himself. Ex-Seal, used by the Agency for wet work, expert in close protection work and explosives. Quit the army to go freelance and earned a reputation for not being particular how he earned his money. Now running a mine hijacking and mineral trading racket in the Congo. The Agency had him on a watch list for some time and was in the process of blacklisting him and his closest associates when Congo happened. The surviving two with Holt are Quink Jones and Pieter Mendes. Both of them Ex Rangers.

He powers up his satellite phone and wakes up Andrews. Over 200 women raped, some of them young girls, some children and infants killed, by about 40 FDLR soldiers and 6 Agency mercenaries. The Rogue 6 headed by Holt were involved in mine capturing, smuggling of drugs, ivory, gold copper and cobalt. Many of the villagers in the DRC who worked in the mines, had a private stash of the ore which they used to trade and it was in search of such homes that Holt and his band had come to Luvungi for. The men in the village had been working in the mines and yet to return when Holt and the soldiers had arrived. Cobalt ore and pebbles were what Stark and Schulte were weighing and recording when Zeb had rudely interrupted them and helped them on their way to their Maker. Rape and killing was part of instilling fear and cooperation. Schulte knew that Holt was working with someone in the States for mine capturing and selling the minerals but did not know who that was.

Andrews goes Chernobyl, his tirade lasting a good few minutes, burning the air. Andrews calms down a long while later. ‘You have to come back immediately. We need you to meet the UN and depose. You are the first eye witness account of this horrific… this atrocious… this sickening… whatever one calls it.’

Zeb is silent.

‘I know you want to track Holt, but that can wait. I guess Schulte, Stark and Boulder are in no position to embarrass the Agency?’ Andrews, knowing fully well what the answer is. Zeb doesn’t answer.

‘You should come back immediately. Once the news breaks out that FDLR soldiers and some mercenaries who seem to be American were involved in mass and multiple rapes in the Congo, the shit will not just hit the fan, it will create a mushroom cloud over Washington and the New York. The White House will be brown. I need you back with your photographs and your record of the events to prevent collateral damage here. Your being there, we could spin it that you helped stopped the most horrific abuse in Africa in history. I can see the headlines now.’

Collateral damage. Andrews speak for covering his and the Director’s ass and playing the D.C. game.

‘I know you want to track Holt, Jones and Mendes, but this is more important than them. I will put them on an international black list and get international warrants issued on them. In any case Holt and the other two have left and will likely disappear now that you have located them.’

‘I just realized there is another reason for you to return immediately. Given what has happened, the villagers there may not be able to distinguish you from the rogue soldiers. Tempers are no doubt going to be high there for some time. I also don’t want to explain your presence to the authorities there right now, even if you are guised as an aid worker. You are not exactly unknown to some intelligence agencies around the world. It’s best you disappear from there.’

Zeb looks back at the hut which has the girl with the vacant eyes and makes his mind up. Holt is on a countdown. He just does not know it.

~~~

Get in contact with Ty Patterson via one of the following links, or leave him a comment below.

Email: ty@pattersonty.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/typatterson67
Blog: http://pattersonty.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTyPatterson

 
 

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Author Spotlight: Helen Johnston

Hello and welcome. Today, I’d like to introduce my friend and fellow countrywoman, Helen Johnston.

me!

Over to you, Helen.

~

I grew up in my family’s home in the county of Hampshire, England. My childhood dreams were filled with the desire to become a dancer. An only child, but I was never alone, my years were spent entertained with my vivid imagination. I met and married my husband not long after leaving school and soon after our son was born. My family is made complete with my two cats that are spoiled rotten, which results in them often thinking they rule the home.

My life consisted of home life and a few jobs in the retail industry and my vivid imagination refused to stay quiet. So combined with my love of erotica and all things vampire I decided to try my hand at writing and have never looked back.
~

Get sucked into the Journey that is Innocence Lost. Impossibilities and heartaches, wonder if love prevails all. Join us as we follow the story of Siobhan and Blake as they battle through the trials and tribulations of two very different worlds.

Blake is an Elder Vampire, over four hundred years old, dark, mysterious, bold, tall, and extremely gorgeous, as only a vampire as he could be. Centuries of feeling incomplete, knowing there’s a part of him that is missing, a part he yearns to be complete. Never knowing he would find this in the oddest way. A chance meeting with a gypsy fortune teller has him intrigued when she foretold of when and where he could find his Queen.

But he is warned there would be many brutal obstacles to be overcome before any kind of happy ever after could be accomplished, before his Queen, the missing link to his soul, the woman whom would complete him, would be safe in his arms.

Siobhan, pronounced (Ser-bi-on) is a beautiful young woman, an innocent, on holiday with her friends when she unexpectedly meets a tall charismatic man who completely and utterly sweeps her off her feet. She is drawn to him like a moth to a flame. He’s so sexually dominant, taking his time to initiate her, step by slow step, patiently and completely too all the carnal pleasures, her body could endure. What he made her feel…

But unbeknown to either of them, a dark and evil presence from Blake’s past has been observing them, planning to shred their worlds apart, and sooner rather than later. Siobhan is cruelly ripped from his embrace and is thrust into a world beyond anything she has ever dreamt of or could ever have imagined existed.

Follow us as Blake has to battle with forces he’s not sure he can defeat all to bring home the one and only woman he would ever have, love and desire with all that he is.

Welcome to Innocence Lost.

cover artwork for Innocence Lost

~~~

Amazon UK

Amazon US

This is what some of the readers had to say about Innocence Lost:

Total Mindblowing – How to put into words how much I enjoyed this book. I fully admit to being a book addict and as such have read a great many genres of books over the year and have become a great lover of many authors on the market today.
Innocence Lost was such a fresh and eye opening book for me, the story totally original filled with characters that are more than what they are appear, you just can’t help reading some more to find out more.
The main characters in the book are lovable for the fact that they’re so easily connected to, you could easily imagine yourself in either of their places.
If you love a great story that will have you engrossed till the end, passion hot enough to scorch the pages and are wanting a love story like no other then I would 100% recommend.

By far one of the most exciting stories I have read this year, can’t wait for the second book.
Well done Helen, look forward to reading some more.
– Vicky Grant, Amazon reviewer.

~

OMG So sexy – I think I have fallen in love with this man, I want one. But back to the book, it is a really, really good read. To be honest I have gotten a little bored with the whole Vampire romance, but Helen Johnston has brought the Vamps back to me in the shape of Blake.
The story is very well written and I am in awe of the details she goes into with the BDSM scenes. As I said in my title it is a very sexy book and well worth putting aside a whole day with a bottle of wine.

Enjoy everyone as much as I did the sexy and dangerous journey that Siobhan has to travel until her man can bring her back home. – lovetoread, Amazon reviewer.

~~~

Excerpt:

They had been told to meet be at a certain place at a specific time. Their horses seemed agitated but they pushed them faster and further into the darkness. The trees were so close together now that very little of the starry night sky breached their thick branches. A small light in the distance their only guide.

The incredibly bright, colourful caravans encircled a huge blazing camp fire. Above which was a crackling pig roasting. It smelt so tempting, though neither Blake nor his men would be invited to take part in the celebratory feast later that night. No, they were here only for Blake to see the grandmother of the leader. She, being the most infamous of all great fortune tellers.

Four riders flanked them on either side as soon as they had been heard approaching the campNot a word was spoken as they were escorted between the caravans. They were shown where to dismount and tether their horses. The leader then pointed to the caravan Blake was to enter. Alone.

“Stay with the horses,” Blake instructed his three men, with a curt nod, as he climbed up the worn wooden steps and knocked gently on the open top half of the stable door.

“Come in,” called a voice that sounded like as if owner was having great difficulty in breathing. He opened the bottom half of the door and had to duck his six foot four frame to enter the small caravan. He was met with the sight of a tiny old lady smoking a pipe of sweet smelling tobacco. She grinned a toothless, gummy smile in his direction as she indicated, her finger crooked with arthritis, for him to sit opposite her.

Once he was seated, she grabbed his hand and pulled his arm across the round, lace covered table with incredible speed and strength for someone who looked as frail as she.

“It is true! My vision foretold of our meeting. You are no mere mortal man. More of a Lord of your kind. So I will address you as such, my Lord,” she went quiet, deep in thought, searching for the answers she knew he desired to hear.

Blake’s eyes roamed the small caravan, it was filled with knick-knacks, a lifetimes worth of collecting. Every available space was used. All the objects were lovingly taken care of and not a speck of dust was to be seen anywhere. His attention snapped back to the lady when she started to speak again.

“You will meet your soul mate, your Queen. But it will be some fifty years from this date. You will travel to a hot and foreign land. Finding her will be easy. Holding onto her will prove to be your worst nightmare. Take heed my Lord, she is an innocent and must stay that way until the moons align. Do not attempt to dally with her. Be warned, your heart will break into a million stabbing pieces before she belongs to you fully. This journey is going to make you pray for death,” The gypsy suddenly sagged in her chair, looking, if such a thing was possible, even older than her years.

“Now leave, please my Lord,” she was gasping for breath. “Your reading has drained me.” she closed her eyes and drifted off in an uneasy sleep. She missed the expression on Blake’s handsome face, his startling green eyes watched her thoughtfully as he pondered her words.

~~~

I know you enjoyed that excerpt. I know I did! Get in touch with Helen Johnston here:

Blog: http://helenjohnston123.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HelenJohnstonIL

Pintrest: http://pinterest.com/helenjoi/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6456359.Helen_Johnston

LinkdIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=tab_pro

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Author Interviews, Guest Posts

 

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Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Eliott McKay

Eliott McKayHello and welcome, my dear friends. Today I’d like you to meet Eliott McKay, author of Midnight Engagement.

Don’t judge me, but I very much appreciate Eliott’s two favourite rules of writing. I’ll let Eliott explain.

1. I once had the opportunity to be critiqued at a writer’s conference by the amazing Julianna Baggott. I’ll never forget her first words to our group, in this arcane voice: “Be not vaguely bitter.” It’s advice I have taken to heart and applied to other emotions as well.

2. An editor of mine once gave me a command of matchless wisdom: “Thou shall eat as many cookies as necessary while editing.” I adhere strictly to this practice.

In a former life, Eliott worked as a tax auditor, one who got sent to North Dakota for part of a summer. After visiting the largest statue of a bovine — a holstein that stands at eighteen feet — there was no more entertainment to be had. She made her own, writing books, and she never stopped.

~~~

MIDNIGHT ENGAGEMENT – GIVEAWAY, EXCERPT AND REVIEW

Midnight Engagment

Eliott McKay has an e-book to give away, mobi or epub.

To enter, all you have to do is follow my blog and post a comment beneath this post to confirm it. Believe me, this book is worth it.

You have one week to sign up. I will announce the winner on Friday, 24 May.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Description: Some people inherit family businesses, while others get hand-me-downs. Michaela got an atrocious pair of spectacles that hide her true identity — the one she doesn’t know about!

~

“Reading this book was like reading a poet who stepped out of her comfort zone and then wowed her audience with a fabulous novel. McKay’s descriptive style and eloquent wording captured me right from the beginning.” – Jeff LaFerney

“I am in awe of this book mainly due to the authors descriptive work which is second to none. In fact I can honestly say I have never read a book with such vivid descriptions within its pages.” – Fiona Wilson: http://amzn.to/10JOTb7

~~~

Excerpt:

A sly alarm snaked up Michaela’s spine. Her body reacted to Conrad’s presence from across the room. She needed to be careful. Tentatively, she crept over to the side of the bed and knelt down, unsure of herself. It seemed best to test the boundaries. In a bold, yet timid move, she reached out a shaky hand, little at a time, and moved it slowly toward Conrad’s chest. The boundary lit up with a tangible buzz upon immediate impact.

Her hand, at first shocked by the current, adjusted to the tremors emanating from his person. Conrad’s eyes opened, dark pools of liquid topaz in the soft amber light. His head turned toward her with a painful twinge, which she felt. It reverberated through her along with his unspoken words: Where have you been? His voice was clear and true, as if he had spoken aloud, and Michaela somehow communicated back all the things she so desperately needed to say, how she never meant to hurt him.

“Shhh… ” he said in her mind. She felt him hope she would stay.

The non-empty space between them was filled with the hum of life. There was no privacy here, nor shame, only the living vibration of their combined beings, all-encompassing, nothing hiding. Michaela moved a hand along their barrier, pressing gently, and discovered that she could feel the contours of his body.

“Hold my hand,” came the soft command.

Michaela obeyed. Her fingers traced down the contours of Conrad’s good arm, the movement spit a trail of fizz like a welders fuse. Eyes closed, her fingers spread along his hand and twined with his. Though they were not actually touching, she felt his grip tighten and his chest wince as he did so. A bright flash released a bluish tint that circulated between them causing a joyous burst to rupture in Michaela’s chest, a feeling in which they both reveled. The very marrow of their souls mingled. It was hard to discern whose thoughts and feelings were whose, but there was an unmistakable yearning for each other.

~~~

Review:

I can describe this book in three words: unusual, surprising, original. But there’s a lot more to it than that. A paranormal romance with suspense blended in, it way a joy to read.

By far the strongest point of Eliott McKay’s writing style is the descriptive. Michaela lives in a fantasy world, so a good description is essential in helping us get a picture. And what a picture it is! I got lost in the richness of texture and just allowed the story to tow me along. I loved the wide vocabulary range and the way the author used ordinary words in an unusual way – it made for a very different voice, refreshing and fun. I simply cannot fault the writing.

The characters are well-formed and have clear, individual voices. The feelings Conrad and Michaela have for one another are so well-described, it would be impossible not to empathise. With their kinds physically repelling each other, you wonder if they’ll ever be allowed to be together. But Michaela is fighting the unwanted half of her being, because we always have a choice about whom we can become.

Did I mention there are werewolves and vampires in the book? No? Well, that’s probably because Michaela doesn’t like saying the words aloud. She refers to them as v and w. How sweet is that? She thought she was a simple h until she discovered she could understand a weird language.

Engaging all the way through. I very much enjoyed this book. The cover picture fits very well with the story and I like its clean appearance. A nice package overall, this is a read well deserving of five stars.

~~~

Click on one of these links to connect with Eliott McKay.

Blog: www.eliottmckay.com

Twitter: @EliottMcKay
 
 

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Author Spotlight: Jessica O’Gorek

Good morning. Please welcome today an author with a very imaginative, original mind: Jessica O’Gorek. Just have a read of that novel’s description and excerpt! It’s certainly making it on my TBR list.

meBio: I was born in Chesapeake, Virginia on April 19th, 1979. I was raised within the American Indian religion and was taught great respect for the earth and all its living beings. Powwows, sweat lodges, vision quests, you name it, I’ve done it. I was the weird kid who would confront kids on the playground in elementary school when they squished a bug. I would very sincerely tell them what they were doing was morally wrong and then I would pray for the bug to come back as a butterfly in its next life.

​​I grew up admiring my father, Barry Weinstock, as an author. When I was twelve I started hand writing novels. My first one was two thousand pages. My daughter, who is thirteen, is currently working on her first novel. I hope to continue the legacy.

~~~

GEMINI RISING FRONT

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Description: Mother Earth, wounded by the human race and its disregard for her resources, will recruit human souls to serve Her and turn against humanity. A rising force festers; Gemini, a clan of paranormal beings will systematically possess and destroy towns, cities, and states. Amidst the chaos, a forbidden relationship between Onyx, a lead Gemini, and Violette, a human, begins. They will both find themselves in the middle of a revolutionary war that will either save, or destroy our world.

~~~

“First, I loved the concept of the Gemini and what they represent, the mystery of what they really are, and the idea that the planet has a soul and she is pissed. Humans have some serious karma to work out. What will happen? Will the human race redeem ourselves? Are we really doomed? Such a great idea! THEN I got sucked into the quickly moving plot and read the whole thing in one night.”

“When I reached the last page, I wished for it to keep going. I look forward to the next book and to continue the adventure.”

Excerpt:

Violette was about to give up on finding Slate when she heard a faint whisper coming from the break in the wall that led to the field. She couldn’t be sure, but it sounded like Slate calling her name very softly. “Hello?” she called back, stepping into the waist high wheat. The moonlight was very bright and the whole field was a dancing sea of silver lines. “Slate?” she called out timidly, listening for a reply.

“Over here,” came the response. She walked about twenty feet out, wading into the moonlit meadow; she said his name again. In response his head popped up about ten feet away from her, a startled expression on his face. “Hey!” he said. “How did you find me?”

“Why were you hiding?”

“Hiding? I wasn’t, I was right here.”

“Okay.” She said this in a teasing tone. “So may I join you?” she asked, cocking her head to the right.

Her hair was hanging seductively over half of her face; one moonlit eye stared down at him, imploring him to agree. He didn’t answer very quickly, and she thought she may have actually seen a hint of fear in his eyes. He finally nodded.

“I want to thank you so much for what you did this morning. That could not have been easy.”

He shrugged. “I saw a man beating on a little girl and my instinct won out. You’re welcome.”

She winced at the ‘little girl’ term, but kept smiling.

“So do you still think things are normal around here?” She flounced down beside him but he looked away, avoiding her question.

“I never said they were normal. You were venting and I listened, but not once did I give you my opinion on this place and normalcy.”

“Well? Would you agree things are a little cult-like here?” Her description struck a small chord with him. She could tell by the way his eyebrows lifted.

“Cult-like?” He repeated the term as if contemplating its meaning.

She leaned in a few inches closer to his face. “You have some interesting ways of stalling. I know you don’t want to answer my question. That’s pretty obvious.”

His knowing smile made him look older and wiser, but he did not agree or disagree; just changed the subject. “You were coming down on Sister Angie’s behalf, right?”

His question annoyed her. “Yes!” she half yelled, “I can’t believe you would ask that!” Her eyes flashed a little and as she shook her head, her hair followed her movements. “Why would you ask that, Slate?”

“I just want to make sure you’re not getting in over your head, little one, that’s all.” What he just called her replayed itself in her head. Little one. She closed her eyes for a few sweet seconds to savor the intimacy. When she opened her eyes to look at him again, his face was in shadow, almost completely black despite the moon. She needed a deep breath, and when she took one, it was accompanied by a wonderful smell that was oddly familiar. She could not identify it. “Slate?” She said his name as if asking him if he was still with her.

“Yes?” The tone of his voice was low and elusive, almost mysterious. She looked down and realized he had one of her hands between both of his. He was rubbing and kneading it softly. This knocked her a little off balance, almost like vertigo. A slow fire spread up her arm, starting where his fingertips were. This was what she wanted, she reminded herself. But for some reason, a part of her wanted to cringe away from him. She fought back her shyness and leaned a little closer into his touch. The smooth way he massaged her palm rendered her helpless, it felt so good and he smelled so inviting and sweet. She felt very safe. If she started to melt into the grass he would surely catch and rescue her.

Shouldn’t one of them be saying something? Didn’t any of these actions need explaining?

“I…”

“Shhh,” he soothed her.

“What are you doing?” she asked in a slurred voice. His reply only sent more tingles to her belly where they danced a jig and then found their way lower.

“I’m just touching you, Violette. Do you like this?” His voice was velvety, so unlike any tone she’d ever heard from him before.

“Hmm mmm,” was her senseless reply. It also must have served as permission for his hands to explore more. She felt the heat of his palm on her wounded cheek before it was actually there, just grazing the surface. There was a slight stinging but she didn’t care. His thumb touched the cut on her lip tenderly. She jerked back just a little but relaxed quickly. All rational thought had left her and she was simply lost.

“You know I desire you?” he asked bravely. All she could do was nod and stare, as his other hand lifted her hair and began to twirl it. “Do you?” His tone was a little rough.

“Yes, I know,” she said, as if following a command.

His face was still and dark and beautiful; she wanted to see his eyes, though she didn’t dare return his touch.

He began to lift the strand of hair higher into the air, twisting it around his finger and forcing her to sit up on her knees. Still under his spell, she happily arched her neck and stayed perched, her throat exposed. His hands left her and she felt something solid against her belly. Alarmed, she looked down. He had nuzzled the side of his face against her flat stomach and then whispered “damn it” quite clearly, as if he’d been defeated by an enemy.

~~~

10 Quick-Fire Questions with Jessica O’Gorek

1) Maldives or Alaska?

Alaska.

2) Solitude or a roomful?

Solitude.

3) Book or movie?

Book.

4) Steak or salad?

Salad.

5) Wisdom or luck?

Wisdom.

6) Pen or sword?

Sword.

7) Beethoven or birdsong?

Beethoven.

8) Tent or mansion?

Tent.

9) Hug or chocolate?

Chocolate.

10) Angels or zombies?

Zombies.

~~~

This is how you can find out more about Jessica O’Gorek and Gemini Rising:

http://1geminirising.wix.com/geminirising (you may have to paste this link into your browser for it to work)

http://geminirising1.blogspot.com

https://twitter.com/GeminiRising1

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-OGorek/306913389429972

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Author Interviews

 

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Author Spotlight – Georgiann Baldino

Hello and welcome. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Georgiann Baldino, speaker and author.

georgiann webGeorgiann Baldino loves to explore the ways great events affect real people. Her published works span a number categories, including suspense, historical fiction and a travelogue. Her excuses for following diverse subjects are: people captivate her, and she follows their struggles regardless of genre. When not writing, she volunteers at a cancer center and for a woman’s club. Her hobbies are gardening and yoga. She and her husband live in the western suburbs of Chicago near their extended family.

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Candidate Lincoln, a novel, is a biographical work. The characters are real but, of course, some of the dialogues are fictional. Georgiann Baldino describes it as a real-life David vs. Goliath story, one in which David loses. It’s an intriguing bite of a piece of the US history.

candidate web cover smCandidate Lincoln, a novel is available

On kindle: Amazon USAmazon UK

In Paperback

On Smashwords

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Description: By today’s standards Abraham Lincoln was an unlikely politician, and yet his candidacy for the U.S. Senate redefined America’s democracy.

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Praise for Candidate Lincoln, a novel:

“Wonderfully well-written and entertaining” – Joseph A. Truglio, Civil War News, says. “I loved it. Get yourself a copy and join in the fun.” To read the review in full, please click this link.

Excerpt:

“A large proportion of the audience got up to go away.
The chairman rushed forward. “Friends, please. Remain and hear the address of Abraham Lincoln.”

Lincoln strode forward, awkward in his steps, gangly in appearance. His ill-fitting dress and strange manner provoked audible laughter. The crowd remained standing as though undecided as whether to stay or go.

Mr. Lincoln got underway haltingly but increased in confidence as he spoke. People eased forward. Gradually they sat down. Before he got long into his message, the crowd grew still as could be. Ones, who had scoffed, now nodded. … Syllables of Lincoln’s high, staccato voice carried through the grove.

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy,” Lincoln said. “Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.”

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10 Quick-fire Questions with Georgiann Baldino

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1) Best age to live your life is: this century or another?

I find myself “living” in both this century and the nineteenth. Right now is a greater time for me as a writer because of access to social media and self-publishing. I’ll give just one example: A literary journal published my second short story in 2003 and paid me $10. That might have been the end of it. However, in 2010 I released “Hostage” again as an ebook. Readers all over the world now have access, and the story sells in Australia, Europe and Canada as well as the U.S., receiving four-star reviews.
When I write historical fiction or history, I also live in the past. The way the American Civil War forced individuals to face great events fascinates me. Putting a human face on history has become my focus. The limitations of nineteenth century society adds conflict and develops story lines. Then digitized texts of the period give me direct access to what people experienced. It’s a great time to live in two centuries.

2) Most interesting personality you’d love to meet?

Myra Bradwell, America’s “first” female lawyer. She was a proper Victorian lady, who stepped out of her comfort zone, passed the Bar exam with honors, but was denied a license to practice law. She took her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices ruled against her. In response, she didn’t wait for permission. Myra went ahead and published a legal newspaper. She became so influential that lawyers and justices relied on her to clarify and publish rulings. She made herself indispensable to the very people who wanted to keep her out of the courtroom.

3) What would you ask him/her?

Myra, how did you face continual opposition and still respond with humor and grace? (I suspect she focused on making society better for everyone.)

4) If you were transported back in time to the days of the Civil War, what would you do?

I’d like to think I would take up the cause of freedom for enslaved people. The courage to do that was rare in those times, however. It was a very dark period when hope was in short supply. Shelby Foote, the historian and author who wrote about it eloquently, said, “American history is amazing in its combination of glory and shame.” From the vantage point of the twenty-first century we can see the destructive power of hatred and bigotry. Your question poses a time-travel dilemma. If I knew then, what I know now…I would want to help slaves escape to freedom.

5) Would you change history, if you had the means and opportunity to do so?

We change history by the choices we make and causes we support. Civil War soldiers realized they were making history, so they kept journals and wrote letters. They wanted to understand their contributions to the great battles and pinpoint the time and place they served. I have come to understand that history is what we make of it. Our choices matter. How future generations interpret it is out of our control, but we can give them raw material for a great story.

6) What is the one question you absolutely need an answer for?

I need to follow ideas wherever they lead. So the question I absolutely need to ask (and answer for myself) is: ‘What did I learn, and how can I do better the next time?’

7) Which of the events in your lifetime you feel has affected real people most?

So many to choose from. My gut reaction is to pick the Women’s Movement and similar struggles for equal rights. I think diversity is the best hope for the world, and women taking positions of responsibility represents progress. I mean women of all races and sexual orientations, and notice that I did not say ‘positions of power’ but responsibility.

8) If you could influence today’s events, would you?

Everyone has influence. Even me. The scope of my influence is the way I treat my neighbors, raise my family and get involved in community. Would I influence world events? Yes. Can I? Yes. Would I step onto the world stage? Yes. I was fortunate to hear Joyce Carol Oates speak at a literary event. She said she could never predict which young writers in her classes would become popular or successful. To her, many people with talent never receive the opportunities to make it big in publishing. However, she did advise writers to prepare well. We must learn our craft and perform it well; preparation is what we have to offer.

9) Worst human trait and would you wipe it out if you could?

Avarice. How many pairs of shoes does a person need? Isn’t it better to give the money for this year’s latest fad to a community pantry to feed the hungry? (I’m not a fan of platform shoes anyway.)

10) Which major event of the last twelve months would be worth immortalizing in a book for future generations, and would you do it?

The influential story for me this year was the devastation from hurricane Sandy. The super storm provided life and death drama as well as heroes to admire. The aftermath is still heartbreaking for the people who live it. Will I add this to the list of stories to write? No. The list of ambitious projects is already longer than I can complete in a lifetime.

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Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Georgiann-Baldino/e/B003P9L25K

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/georgiann

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGeorgiannBaldino

 
7 Comments

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Author Interviews

 

Tags: , , ,

 
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