Hawk Mackinney: Curse of the Ancients


Hawk will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


Curse of the Ancients

by Hawk MacKinney


GENRE: Mystery/Suspense


As Craige Ingram climbed the stairs of the derelict building, that peculiar stench of a dead body hit him. It was the same smell no matter where—SpecOps SEAL encounter gone sour, or in a vacant, roach-infested apartment. Inside, his SEAL buddy-turned head of Buckingham Parish Homicide’s Investigative Support Division, Grayson MacGerald, was huddled with the coroner next to a swollen decaying corpse that was days old and hardly more than oozing dead meat. The PI inside Craige had a gut feeling that there was more to this than a dead body, and Craige’s Grannie always told him, “Trust your feelin’s.” But that was before Mihály Keaulescu set down two of his Black Falcon choppers on Craige’s Moccasin Hollow private airstrip in an uninvited stopover. It got worse. From his airstrip to Israel, to Turkey and a nightmare-dream of one-of-a-kind ancient artifacts that not only threatened the serene life Craige knew and loved at Moccasin Hollow, it would destroy the world.



Craige cinched his chinstrap tighter and in the distance, glimpsed a profile of what looked to be a Bell Textron’s 62X KW warrior carrying an ALQ 131 or a 144 or a modified 147A white-noise jammer in the crook of his arm. Craige pressed his goggles to the ground tighter. Ready as he could get for the back-blast inferno and flesh-boiling incandescence. The ground punched his belly. He felt more than heard the rumbling plasma-searing waves tearing the ground with seismic jolting thuds. The pressure waves jarred his eardrums.

Follow-up chopper runs unleashed a consuming churning hell along the steep walls and dry wadi. Low-altitude chopper sorties took over with end-of-the-world sunbursts sterilizing a morass of targets. Laser guided missiles pulverized crumpled ledges and overhangs into igneous mini-lahars. Bunker buster smart bombs whistled into caves smashing tunnel walls, roasting any bottom feeders hiding inside. Secondary strikes continued, napalm, thermite, and phosphorous blanketed the area. The smothering white-heat boiled in the solar-hot overkill incineration of containers of stored Marburg-Ebolapox, leaving a sterile landscape of glazed sand, gravel, vaporized odds-and-ends, and a few recognizable body parts. The fearful kill-beauty of magenta and mauve mushrooms and cherry-white red-orange acrid plumes left the eerie shimmering moonscape. Avram ordered re-targeting the whole valley, including the passageways that had been tunneled into. He was taking no chances.

Craige felt a sad lament as the gunships made their final runs, missiles and bombs slammed into the mountain. Undiscovered artifacts destroyed, the site possibly entombed beyond recovery. It wasn’t the worst of what might’ve been. If the virus had been loosed, there’d be damn few survivors.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

With postgraduate degrees and faculty positions at several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to his work in classrooms and laboratories, he has written numerous professional articles on chordate neuroembryology and authored several novels that reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for both the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his protagonist in the Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series. Hidden Vault of Secrets and Westobou Gold, Books 1 and 2 in the series, have received national and international attention. Hawk is also writing a science fiction series, The Cairns of Sainctuarie.


YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiAGlgQQsMQ&feature=youtu.be

Website: http://hawkmackinney.net

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Ancents-Moccasin-Hollow-Mystery/dp/0997096268/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2

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Dixie Lee Brown: Heart of a Seal


Dixie will be awarding $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


Author Interview

1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book? Thanks for having me on your blog today, Danita. What an interesting question. There was never a moment when I made a conscious decision to write romantic suspense. In some respects, it’s as though the genre chose me instead of the other way around. As a lover of romance, I read many of the sub-genres, including contemporary, paranormal, historical and romantic suspense, but when I started writing, there was no question that the stories I needed to tell were romantic suspense.

My new release, Heart of a SEAL, is the first book in the Hearts of Valor series, but the hero, Navy SEAL Luke Harding, made his debut as a secondary character in Rescued by the Ranger, a standalone novel I wrote about a wounded Army Ranger named Garrett Harding. Luke is Garrett’s younger brother, and it soon became obvious that Luke’s story needed to be told too.

2. Writers write what they know and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world? I am the baby of my family with two siblings, four and eight years older than me. According to statistics, the lastborn is least likely to be disciplined. They learn at an early age how to duck their chores. They are more social and outgoing, love the limelight, and are financially irresponsible, at least compared to children of the other birth orders. It’s often said they just want to have a good time.

This analysis couldn’t be further from the truth in my case, which gives rise to my theory that a child’s formative years have more to do with a person’s characteristics than birth order. I was raised by an alcoholic father who was verbally abusive and a mother who suffered his behavior because circumstances gave her no other choice. I was quiet and severely introverted, preferring to stay out of the limelight and never do anything to call attention to myself. My chores and homework were always done and my grades were exceptional. Perfectionism was important for survival and I found refuge in the worlds created by authors in books such as Gone With the Wind, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Watership Down.  As an adult, I still get lost in the alternate reality of a story. Now, as an author, I get to create some of my own.

3. Where is your favorite place to write? At the beach, in a cozy bungalow overlooking the ocean. If it’s stormy…even better!

4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains? It’s not easy to ruthlessly slice and dice the words, phrases and scenes I’ve sweated blood to bring into the world, but I’ve found it’s gotten easier…marginally! I save the remains, creating a special file entitled “Bits and Pieces” where I save everything just in case I ever need them! So far I haven’t. Lol!

5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? Picking one favorite author would be nearly impossible, but I’d like to have met Margaret Mitchell, and I’d ask her why she never wrote another epic novel like Gone With the Wind. I’m afraid “one” question wouldn’t be enough though.

6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows. I’m a small-town girl, which isn’t a secret, but what not very many people know is I never drive in big city traffic. It terrifies me. Crazy? Maybe. Limiting? Definitely!

7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a back pack for company. What three items are in your survival pack? Food, water and my dog…because you’re never alone when you have a dog.

8. If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be? I’m not much into the whole superhero, super power craze, but I wouldn’t mind being able to manipulate time once in a while—make it stand still so loved ones never age—or stop bad things from happening—or go back in time and do it different the next time. Yeah, I could get into that!

9. Favorite snack? Salted nuts.

10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit? I definitely know how to get where I’m going (as long as it’s not in a big city 😊) and I NEVER drive the speed limit!

Thanks again for hosting me on your blog, Danita.

Heart of a SEAL

by Dixie Lee Brown

GENRE:  Romantic Suspense


They’re brothers in arms, Navy SEALS risking their lives for their country . . . and the women they love.

This is Luke Harding’s story.

Six months in a desert hellhole taught Navy SEAL Luke Harding things he never wanted to learn about life and death. Only tender memories of the beautiful brunette he met a few weeks before his deployment helped get him through the torturous days and nights. Back in the States after a perilous rescue, physically and emotionally damaged, Luke’s about to plunge into a new kind of war. In a seemingly bucolic Idaho town, Sally Duncan faces real—and unpredictable—danger.

All Sally ever wanted was a safe place to raise her nine-year-old daughter. Her identity hidden behind a façade of secrets and lies, can she trust Luke—a man she barely knows—with the truth? Even as they give in to long-denied passion, a killer with a personal vendetta is setting an ambush that will leave them praying for a miracle and fighting for the future they may not live to see.



Luke stepped from the shower and made quick work of drying off before wrapping the towel around his waist. Sandy-colored clumps of wet hair stuck out every which way as his image stared back at him from the mirror. He raked his fingers through the strands, in serious need of a haircut, and called it good. Grabbing the shaving cream from his kit, he applied it evenly to his whiskered face and dragged the razor down his rough skin, systematically shaving from right to left. He paused for a heartbeat when he heard a knock.

“Be right out.” Luke turned the water on as hot as he could get it and let it run. Jen probably had to use the bathroom. He’d throw on some clothes and finish up in here later. A smile formed beneath what was left of the shaving cream. There wasn’t much he wouldn’t do for that little girl.

An instant later the door opened behind him, and the razor went still in his hand.

He stared at Sally’s reflection in the steamed-over mirror. Her in that damn shirt of his, leaning against the bathroom door, both hands behind her back. A good deal of shapely thigh led his gaze to well-toned calves. He followed them down to pretty pink toenails on bare feet. Did she know what coming in here like that would do to him? He took the last two swipes of shaving cream off with the razor, rinsed his face in the hot, running water and patted it dry. Barely able to swallow and momentarily unable to form an articulate sentence, he turned slowly.

Her blue eyes went wide as her gaze dropped below his waist, immediately answering his unspoken question. Evidently, she could see the hard-on he sported beneath the form-fitting towel that hugged his hips.

He took a step toward her. “Sally?” That was all he managed to force from his mouth. It sounded more like a command than the question with which he’d intended to rule out the possibility something was wrong.

A secretive smile played on her lips as she brought one hand up and raised it in front of her with a dismissive shake of her head. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking. This can wait till you’re finished.” Her gaze dipped once again to the towel draped around his hips, and she swiveled with a hand on the doorknob.

Oh no. Hell no. He wasn’t letting her escape that easily. He was damn sure she’d stepped out of her comfort zone for a reason and her baby blues were daring him to find out why. He closed the gap and caught the door as she opened it a sliver. Peering through the opening, he saw Jen, still intent on her game. A glance toward the motel room door confirmed that the dead bolt was thrown and locked. They could have a few minutes of privacy.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Dixie Lee Brown lives and writes in Central Oregon, inspired by gorgeous scenery and at least three hundred sunny days a year. Having moved from South Dakota as a child to Washington, Montana and then to Oregon, she feels at home in the west. She resides with two dogs and a cat, who are currently all the responsibility she can handle. Dixie works fulltime as a bookkeeper. When she’s not writing or working, she loves to read, enjoys movies, and if it were possible, she’d spend all of her time at the beach. She is also the author of the Trust No One romantic suspense series, published by Avon Impulse.


Please visit her website: www.dixiebrown.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/Dixie-Lee-Brown-311618418919108/

Twitter: @DixieLeeBrown

Or join her street team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/309603219231692/


Order today at:


Amazon – http://amzn.to/2n6Wzt1

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/2EpY38y

iTunes – https://apple.co/2GblJ2l

Google Play – http://bit.ly/2n5CpPT

Kobo – http://bit.ly/2DCARY2


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Nan Dixon: To Catch a Thief


Nan Dixon will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Author Interview

1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?

When I first started writing, I didn’t know what a genre was! Then as I learned the craft of writing, I realized I was writing romance. I have written books in many different genres, but the Fitzgerald House series sold first. It’s Contemporary, but a couple of the books in the series have been classified as Suspense.

For this book, I always wanted to have a 4th Fitzgerald sister in the series, but she was cut from the first book. Carolina was my way of adding back a 4th sister in the Fitzgerald House world. And it’s another way to look at the Fitzgerald family and see their reactions to bad news. This book gave me a chance to show how the Fitzgeralds would struggle with discovering a half-sister.

2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?

I am a middle child of five. I think my ordinal position in the family is perfect! I’m pretty gregarious and will ask all sorts of questions to strangers.

3. Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a home office which used to be a bedroom. One of my kid’s Christmas present one year was to help me paint the room. I write on my desk treadmill so I can get my steps in.

4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?

I believe the magic in my writing happens in revisions, so I will kill my darlings. But I do cut and paste them into a CUT SCENES file that I keep for all my books.

5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?

I have so many favorites, but I’ll go with Kristan Higgins. And I would ask her if she wants to have a drink with me! That would lead to lots of discussions. (She is really a wonderful person!)

6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.

I use a pen name and Dixon was my maternal grandmother’s middle name. (It was spelled differently)

7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a back pack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?
a. Unending supply of tea

b. Unending supply of prosecco

c. Unending supply of books

I think I could survive until rescued!

8. If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be?

I think I would like to ensure that all children have enough to eat every day.

9. Favorite snack?

Wow – I haven’t had this question. I eat a lot of crystallized ginger. Mostly because I have some weird food intolerances. But I also like just a little chocolate midafternoon.

10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit?

Oh my – I’ll say it this way – I love that WAZE tells me where the highway patrol have been reported. J


To Catch A Thief

by Nan Dixon


GENRE: Contemporary


What would you do for your family?

When Carolina Castillo’s once vivacious mother becomes ill, she gives up her singing dreams and comes home to Savannah. She’d do anything for her Mamá, even work at Fitzgerald House for the family she should have been part of. She’d even steal.

Carolina’s decisions make perfect sense until she comes up against the immovable rock that is gorgeous FBI agent Sage Cornell. The honorable cop sees the world in black-and-white. He would never understand the difficult choices she’s had to make, the secrets she’s been forced to keep close. And he could never love a woman like her. Or could he?



A woman with gorgeous black hair had her head down on her arms. Beyond her was a small bench. Sage passed behind her, not wanting to disturb her nap.

Shoving her chair back, she slammed it into him. He went down like a roped calf.

“Oh, my God!” the woman cried.

His head rang. Pain stabbed behind his eyes.

“Are you okay?” She snatched his hand, trying to pull him to his feet.

“Wait.” He would fall over or faint if he moved too soon. “Wait.”

She crouched next to him. “I didn’t mean to knock you down.”

“S’okay.” He took deep breaths. “I just need…”

“What? How can I help?”

He tried to get his feet under him but stumbled.

“Let me.” She supported his elbow.

He clawed his way to his feet and finally looked at the woman who’d knocked him down like he was a bowling pin.

She was beautiful. Her dark blue eyes looked almost black and her skin was a luscious golden-olive color. And her hair? Black, curly and long enough to play peekaboo with her breasts. He swiped at his chin to make sure he wasn’t drooling.

“I’m so sorry.” She led him to the chair she’d abandoned. “I wasn’t paying any attention.”

“I thought you were sleeping.” A shard of pain slammed into him. He grasped his head and couldn’t contain the groan.

“You hurt your head.” Her fingers explored his skull.

The bump she was going to find was old, but her touch was cool and soothing.

“Is this the spot?” she asked.

“Yeah, but you didn’t cause it.” He swallowed back the nausea that always accompanied his headaches. “I was hurt a—” he couldn’t remember how long ago he’d been hurt “—while ago. I get headaches.”

“So does my mother.” She kneaded his shoulders, working her fingers up the tendons of his neck. “Does this help?”

“Yes.” He groaned. “That’s…good.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Award winning author Nan Dixon spent her formative years as an actress, singer, dancer and competitive golfer. But the need to eat had her studying accounting in college. Unfortunately, being a successful financial executive didn’t feed her passion to perform. When the pharmaceutical company she worked for was purchased, Nan got the chance of a lifetime—the opportunity to pursue a writing career.  She’s a five-time Golden Heart® finalist, lives in the Midwest and is active in her local RWA chapter and on the board of a dance company. She has five children, three sons-in-law, two granddaughters, one grandson and one neurotic cat.






Buy Links – http://www.nandixon.com/category/books/

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James M Jackson: Empty Promises

http://goddessfishpromotions. blogspot.com/2018/02/vbt-empty-promises-by-james-m- jackson.html

James M. Jackson will be awarding the chance to name a character who will appear in FALSE BOTTOM (Seamus McCree #6) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



Author Interview

1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?

I am an eclectic reader, but my first love is the mystery/suspense/thriller genre. When I decided to become an author, I figured I’d write the kind of books I like to read.

Empty Promises is the fifth book in the Seamus McCree series. I’m a pantser and with my novels, I usually find out what issue I’m writing about only after I complete the first draft. Seamus McCree has lived by the belief that his word is his bond. In Empty Promises I discovered I was exploring how he reacts after he takes a series of actions that increasingly conflict with his core values. Like most of us, he self-justifies his decisions, but as they accumulate, they begin to wear him down. His personal consequences are wrapped inside a page-turner of a story with all the twists and turns of a suspenseful thriller.

  1. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?

I am the first born of three children. My sisters are five and ten years younger than I. To a considerable degree I reflect the first child syndrome: motivated to succeed, a need for control, something of a perfectionist, occasionally bossy, and boringly responsible.

In the Seamus McCree series, my understanding of these characteristics shows up in Paddy, Seamus’s son and only child. He displays all my characteristics, plus he’s always been comfortable in the adult world. Seamus has an older sister, but their father died when he was a youngster. As sometimes happens, he assumed the “male” role of the family at an early age, and so exhibits many of the characteristics traditionally thought of as first-born traits and few of the “baby in the family” traits. That he and Paddy are alike in many regards also means they can both be stubborn and at times overly sure of themselves.

  1. Where is your favorite place to write?

In the summer my study is in a second story loft that looks out a wall of windows through the trees and onto a small inland lake.

  1. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?

My dead darlings fall into two categories. Sometimes I write wonderful scenes that are cute or funny or provide social commentary. Usually around the third draft, I’ll realize they have only a passing relationship with the plot or character and don’t have requisite tension for a good scene. I hit the delete key and forget about them forever.

I use real places in my novels, and in early drafts I can wax poetic when describing a location. Sometimes I only realize I’ve gone overboard when my editor points it out. Then my task becomes choosing the salient points and letting the reader fill in the rest of the picture.

  1. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?

I’ve been lucky to meet many of my favorite living authors, so let’s assume I can meet Ben Franklin during a séance. I’ve admired Poor Richard’s Almanac, his Autobiography, and his letters to newspaper editors, so, there’s much I’d like to know. But since I’m entangled with the dynamics of the McCree family in my writing, I’d ask him why he never reconciled with his son, the loyalist governor of New Jersey who exiled himself to England after the Revolutionary War.

  1. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.

I don’t’ do heights. My theory is that if we were meant to be high above the ground in places where we could fall, we’d have wings.

  1. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a back pack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?

I want to live through this. I’m taking a charged pre-paid satellite phone with GPS tracking to call someone to come get me, a filled water bottle, and a water purifier to replenish my supply.

  1. If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be?

Here’s where my innate “ability” to look a gift horse in the mouth and worry about the negative consequences makes me shy away from the normal kinds of superpowers. However, I love being in new and interesting places and traveling can be a real hassle. I’ll accept the ability to safely teletransport myself and whoever I’m with to wherever I’d like to go.

  1. Favorite snack?

If I’m not careful I can eat a lot—I mean a lot—of trail mix.

  1. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit?

Sometimes I have no clue where I’m headed, but I’m still doing seven miles over the speed limit. Thanks for having me today, Danita.

Empty Promises

by James M. Jackson

GENRE:   Mystery/Suspense/Domestic Thriller



If you love the suspense and plot twists of domestic thrillers, this page-turner will be for you. Seamus McCree’s first solo bodyguard assignment goes from bad to worse. His client disappears. His granddog finds a buried human bone. Police find a fresh human body.

His client is to testify in a Chicago money laundering trial. He’s paranoid that with a price on his head, if the police know where he’s staying, the information will leak. Seamus promised his business partner and lover, Abigail Hancock, that he’d keep the witness safe at the McCree family camp located deep in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s woods.

Abigail is furious at his incompetence and their relationship flounders. Even his often-helpful son, Paddy, must put family safety ahead of helping his father. Seamus risks his own safety and freedom to turn amateur sleuth in hopes he can solve the crimes, fulfill his promise of protection, and win back Abigail. Wit and grit are on his side, but the clock is ticking . . . and the hit man is on his way.



Had Owen returned my call? Had Abigail found anything? Any word from Bartelle after Owen ratted me out? My phone claimed it had no voice or text messages. Sometimes the signal is so weak the phone doesn’t receive messages, so I brought the remainder of my drink to the deck, where the signal was strongest, and dialed voicemail. The sun-heated decking was uncomfortable on my bare feet. I shifted weight from foot to foot to minimize the discomfort and keyed in my password.

You have no messages at this time.

Back inside, I booted up the computer and checked email. Nothing relevant and no help for my situation.

I had a long, positive history with Sheriff Lon Bartelle. Was it strong enough for him to cut me some slack over my initially lying to him? Surely, the best way to tell him of my malfeasance was face-to-face. Like a man mounting the scaffold for his hanging, I forced leaden legs to return me to the deck. My call to Bartelle brought the information that he was in the office but not available to come to the phone.

I put Atty on a lead to do her business and then shut her in the house. “Sorry girl, I need to leave you home for this one. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

She trotted to the living room and, without a glance back, crawled onto the couch, where she didn’t belong. She pawed the throw pillow resting against one arm, knocking it flat, and stretched out, snuggling into the back of the couch and resting her head on the flattened pillow. Her eyes met mine and she grinned, as if to say, “What? I’m just following orders.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree series consisting of five novels and one novella. Jim splits his time between the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Georgia’s Lowcountry. He claims the moves between locations are weather-related, but others suggest they may have more to do with not overstaying his welcome. He is the past president of the 700+ member Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime. You can find information about Jim and his books at http://jamesmjackson.com. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and/or Amazon.






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Holly Bush: For This Moment


Holly Bush will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



For This Moment

by Holly Bush


GENRE: Historical Romance


1871 – Born to privilege and duty in Virginia, Olivia Gentry comes of age as women begin to find their social and political independence. She has been raised and educated to carry on the Gentry family’s successful horse breeding stables with her brothers at Paradise, their family home. Having been deceived in love as a young woman and unsure of her instincts, she is wary to commit to a marriage, but she cannot deny her long-buried feelings for a family friend.

Jim Somerset has been in love with Olivia Gentry from the moment she gazed up at him as a young girl. A farrier by trade like his father before him, he and his business’s future are inexorably entwined with the Gentry family. He has watched her be courted by statesmen, and considers her and her goals out of the reach of a common workman, like himself.  But he is fearful that he will never rid Olivia from his mind and from his heart. Has the moment come for him to reveal his passions for her? Find out in the third installment of the Gentrys of Paradise.



Twilight had descended, though, and she wasn’t walking into the woods, where tree cover had already made it dark. But Olivia was heading toward the woods, where she could skirt the cool edges, away from the crowds until her breathing and sense were restored. She noticed two things as she walked. The sound of human voices had dimmed, and Jim Somerset was standing directly ahead of her.

“Of all people,” she said softly.

He pushed off the tree he was leaning against and walked toward her. He didn’t stop until he was standing close to her.

“Are you engaged to him?”

She shook her head. “No.”

“What did that kiss mean?” he blurted out.

“I didn’t kiss him,” she said and looked so forlorn, so lost, that he wanted to gather her in his arms like he would a sister or brother who’d skinned a knee. But that wasn’t quite true, or even true a small amount, because he wanted to ease her to the ground and cover her body with his. He wanted to touch her face and hair. He wanted to put his lips on hers.

“At the creek when you kissed me,” he clarified.

She was silent for so long he wondered if she’d heard him or was ever going to answer if she had heard him. He was staring at her, waiting, when the tears began to roll down her cheeks and drop off her chin. The muscles in his chest contorted and twisted as he watched each tear fall. He had to force himself to breathe. Her hurt, her pain, was constricting his heart’s ability to beat and his lungs’ capacity to draw air and he understood at that moment with some clarity what poets meant by heartbreak.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S.in the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and and occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush.












Julia Donner: The Rake and the Bishop’s Daughter


Julia will be awarding a $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



The Rake and the Bishop’s Daughter

by Julia Donner

GENRE: Regency Romance


Society’s beloved wastrel, Sir Harry Collyns, pushes his popularity past the point of acceptability when he poses for a statue that creates a social uproar. People line up for blocks to see Handsome Harry in the nude, sculpted by a female artist! Bored with the fuss and scandal, Harry hitches up his fastest team, heads for the country, and a near fatal curricle accident. When the bandages are removed from his head days later, he discovers the angel-voiced widow who’d cared for him is neither elderly nor as mild as her tone, but a straight-laced do-gooder unimpressed with his flamboyant past and dashing good looks. Head-battered and heading for a broken heart, he falls into love with Widow Olivia St. Clair, who might be the one woman in England that Harry can’t charm into loving him back.



The visitor’s ice-blue stare made a slow survey of Harry’s wrinkled clothes. He raised high-arched, silver eyebrows in a way that had Harry suppressing an involuntary cringe. “How very good of you to welcome me so readily, Sir Harry, and into my own withdrawing room. Is this a new fashion in London?”

“I beg your pardon, but this is the home of Mrs. St. Clair.”

“No, this dwelling has been in the Mainstay family for over a century.”

Understanding flooded over Harry. He felt the blood drain from his face. That’s where he’d heard the name. The caller was Lord Alisdair, younger son of the Duke of Godolming, the Right Honorable Reverend Bishop Mainstay. Olivia was the daughter and granddaughter of two of the most well-known martinets in England.

Another horrible thought invaded. He began to make feverish calculations. Had her father arrived while Harry had fulfilled his joking promise to make her howl? Thinking the house empty, they hadn’t been quiet nor reserved. And where was she? He hoped still sleeping. This debacle was bad enough without drawing her into the awkwardness.

Nervousness and an emotional noose constricted Harry’s throat. He had to forcibly swallow in order to speak—to somehow salvage this situation. “I’m sorry no one was here to greet you. The Hoskins are not well. Have you waited long?”

His stare glacial, Bishop Mainstay meaningfully replied, “Long enough.”

Harry’s heart sank. He heard himself babble, “If you’ll excuse me, I’ll fetch Mrs. St. Clair.”

“No, you will not. You are leaving. While you were out, your belongings were packed. They are waiting for you at the end of the lane with your vehicle and team. Good-bye, Sir Harry. We won’t be seeing you again.”

His belongings were packed? The portmanteau was in the same room where Olivia napped. Why didn’t she come down?


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Julia Donner (aka M.L.Rigdon) grew up in historic Galena, IL, USA, and spent most of her time in the museum of her aunt, who encouraged her interest in history and understood the need to cherish a dream. She started writing in secret in her teens and never stopped, merging it with her mother’s encouragement to study theater and music, which led to performing in the Midwest, California and as far away as Austria.

Donner never forgot what it was like to write alone as a girl and is a happy member of Summit City Scribes. Concern for the failing educational system led her to develop Your Futures in Ink, a panel of local and regional authors, who go into to schools to encourage students and answer questions about writing.

THE TIGRESSE AND THE RAVEN, first book in the regency Friendship Series, is an RWA contest finalist. The ninth book in the series, A ROGUE FOR MISS PRIM and the tenth, AN AMERICAN FOR AGNES, are available now. A LAIRD’S PROMISE will be released by Spring 2018.


M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)


Follow on Twitter @RigdonML

Blog: https://historyfanforever.wordpress.com/

Website http://www.MLRigdon.com




Book Link:





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Brian Paone on Tour: Moonlight City Drive


One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.



Author Interview

Do you have any tattoos?  Where? When did you get it/them? Where are they on your body?

–         No. I was always the “piercing guy.” I have 11 piercings in my body, 5 of them ear piercings. I got all of them between the ages of 16 and 20. Now that I’m 41, I don’t regret any of them, but I don’t flaunt and brag about them anymore like I did when I was young and foolish.

Is your life anything like it was two years ago?

–         Two years ago I was living in Japan with my wife and three kids and no pets. Now I live in North Carolina with my wife and four kids and dogs. I’d say just geography and number of carbon-based life forms in my house have changed. My wife is an officer in the Navy, so we move around every three years. We were stationed in Japan from 2011 – 2015 and it was the greatest place I’ve ever lived. Even better than the place I call “home”: Salem, MA. I climbed Mt. Fuji twice while we were there, my kids went to Japanese Yochien (and became fluent in Japanese), and I wrote and published my third novel during our tenure in Japan; a romantic time-travel novel titled Yours Truly, 2095.

How long have you been writing?

–         In the 7th grade. I wrote my first fictional short story called, “The Night is Young.” It wasn’t part of some homework assignment, or in-class exercise. I wrote the story over the weekend, purely because I loved to read and wanted to write something that was my own. After that, I never stopped writing. However, I only wrote short stories from 1988 to 2005. It was then that I began work on my first novel. My career as a novelist would never have happened, or at least to the success that I have had, if one of my best friends hadn’t died in 2005. My friend David, who was the lead singer of the industrial-rock band God Lives Underwater who enjoyed some commercial success in the 90s, had been struggling with drug addiction, depression, and the throes of the music business since I met him in 1995. We became fast friends, and I was one of the few people who stuck with him through all his highs and lows. When he passed away in 2005, I didn’t know where the put my grief. I just couldn’t find a healthy outlet for how I was feeling about losing him. It was suggested to me to write a memoir about our friendship, but in novel format so it read more like a story than a journal. My wife was the biggest advocate of me using my grief to write my first novel and recant all the good and bad times that come with being close to someone who struggles with addiction, and someone who was on major tours, on MTV, and all over the radio. He was a multi-dimensional person, and our friendship was trying and rewarding all at the same time. I started writing what would eventually become my first novel, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, in January 2006 and it was published in October 2007—on the second anniversary of his death. The book sold above and beyond anyone’s expectations, and that’s how I stopped writing short stories and focused on writing novels.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

–         There is good procrastination and then there is bad procrastination. When I think of good procrastination, I think of the artist’s end result being that much more superior because they procrastinated and allowed the idea to really blossom over time. Now, don’t get me wrong. Don’t confuse procrastination with “spending extra time to get it right.” Procrastination’s little sister is the word “lazy.” And yet, sometimes being lazy allows enough time to pass in the world, so the world can be ready for your release. Unfortunately, this only happens about 5% of time. The other 95% of the time, procrastination is evil and can kill momentum and a career faster than you can say “Crocodile Dundee for President.”

So what demons will try to tempt you to taste the fruit of laziness, or making excuses?

—      First, I’d like to talk about the internet and social media. The internet (and I also mean to include social media from this point on) is a fantastic tool to help market and promote yourself after your work is released, or just prior, to get fans or potential new fans to know that your book is coming out. Where the internet can become a black hole of procrastination, is when someone “takes a break” to check their Facebook, or Twitter, or even their email. Social media platforms have algorithms in place, designed by some of the top programmers in the world, to subliminally try to keep you on the page. Everything from the layout, and the manner in which new notifications come in, are designed to keep you put. So, I would suggest only checking your email, Facebook, Twitter etc. AFTER you have finished writing for the day. If you need to take a break, do something that keeps the creative juices flowing, but gives you an emotional break. Listen to a few songs, take a walk around the block, alphabetize your spice rack. Anything but falling down the rabbit hole of social media sites. Now, when I write, I keep my internet browser closed. Completely closed. Not minimized. Closed. If I need to research anything about what I am writing, I use my google or Wikipedia app on my iPhone. That way I know I am only trapped in those functions and I won’t wander into distraction that eventually leads to full-blown procrastination.

–        The second procrastination demon that I find rears its ugly head often, is believing that “I will get to writing today after I finish the list of A, B, and C things.” If today is a Writing Day, then writing should be A on your list. When I am writing a novel, I set aside three of the seven days of the week to just writing. The other four days can be filled with cleaning the house, laundry, grocery shopping, vacuuming etc. Pick the days you are going to write… and WRITE. It’s so easy to say, “Well, today I’m going to write after I put in a load of laundry, vacuum the house, and go get an oil change.” And what happens is, you get home from the oil change, somehow it’s already two o’clock (probably because you spent a wasted hour on Facebook) and now it’s time for the kids to come home from school. You really think you’re going to get anything of quality written after the kids come home from school? No. I have three little kids, and trust me, my writing ended when that bus pulled up. But guess what, if today was supposed to be a writing day, then make tomorrow the day to do laundry, vacuum, and get your oil change. Those household tasks aren’t going anywhere. Now don’t misunderstand me. I hate a dirty house, dishes in the sink, laundry piled up. What I am trying to say is, if today is a writing day, make it a Writing Day (proper noun). It should never be something to check off on a to-do list. Because guess what… you’ll never check it off, and the procrastination demon will go to bed that night with a tummy full of victory.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

I approached the narrative as a Dick Tracy meets Sin City. And having the story take place in 1947 Vegas was pertinent for the vibe and atmosphere of the Jack-the-Ripper-style killer and the salty private detective. Being from Massachusetts (but moving around the world because we’re military), I find that my “missing home” comes out in the locations of my novels. All three of my previously published novels take place in MA, but when I started writing Moonlight City Drive, I wanted to break away from locating the action in MA. But sometimes you can’t escape your roots, and even though 95% of the novel takes place in Las Vegas, somehow the characters wind up in Salem, MA at one point. It’s like a magnet I can’t escape.


Moonlight City Drive

by Brian Paone


GENRE: Crime/Thriller Romantic Paranormal






11:18 p.m. Subject is checking into the Desert Palms Motel, accompanied by an unknown female.

Snapshot in the parking lot. Man and woman embrace. Betrayal, I see it every day, like my own reflection in the mirror staring back at me. Another case, another bottle of booze, life is no longer a mystery to me …

… Because I’m the private eye, hot on your trail; the top gun for hire. You’ll find me lurking in the shadows, always searching for a clue. I’m the bulletproof detective. I got my eye on you …

What’s a little sin under the covers, what’s a little blood between lovers? What’s a little death to be discovered, cold stiff body under the covers?

I’m digging you a desert grave, underneath the burning sun. You won’t be found by anyone. Vultures circle in the sky, and you, my dear, are the reason why.

… I was always easily influenced.



Smith spit out another peanut shell onto his Chevy’s floorboard as his gaze stayed trained on the Desert Palms Motel’s front entrance. His fingers instinctively found the opened bag in the complete darkness and pinched another nut. He squeezed his eyes closed to ward off the simmering residual headache from the most recent blackout. The sound of the rain pelting the windshield was soothing.

“Come on. Where are you? You took the last two nights off. I can’t imagine you being on vacation.”

Headlights turning into the parking lot diverted his attention from the motel’s front door. He squinted to decipher the make and model of the vehicle through the downpour. A Bentley. He sighed and returned his focus to the motel as he fingered the brim of his newly purchased replacement fedora and then tossed it next to him in frustration.

Smith removed his revolver from his shoulder holster and checked that all six chambers were loaded for the umpteenth time. He secured the weapon and grabbed the small notebook from underneath his discarded fedora, lying on the passenger seat, where Wynn should be sitting. But she had maintained radio silence throughout the past two days since storming from Hank’s office. He shook his head in disgust for letting Wynn’s drama distract him from the job at hand.

He swiped the Chevy’s dashboard with his palm to clean off the thick layer of dust that had collected from months of neglect. He wiped his hands on his pants, leaving a graying smear across the fabric covering his thighs. He reached into his trench coat’s inner pocket and removed a silver flask. He opened the top and looked at the engraved insignia on the front. His index finger traced the shining eyeball hanging freely in the cut-out middle of a pyramid. Taking a swig from the decorated flask, he grimaced as the brown liquid hit the back of his throat.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Brian Paone was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. Brian has, thus far, published four novels: a memoir about being friends with a drug-addicted rock star, Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts; a macabre cerebral-horror novel, Welcome to Parkview; a time-travel romance novel, Yours Truly, 2095, (which was nominated for a Hugo Award, though it did not make the finalists); and a supernatural, crime-noir detective novel, Moonlight City Drive. Along with his four novels, Brian has published three short stories: “Outside of Heaven,” which is featured in the anthology, A Matter of Words; “The Whaler’s Dues,” which is featured in the anthology, A Journey of Words; and “Anesthetize (or A Dream Played in Reverse on Piano Keys),” which is featured in the anthology, A Haunting of Words. Brian is also a vocalist and has released seven albums with his four bands: Yellow #1, Drop Kick Jesus, The Grave Machine, and Transpose. He is married to a US Naval Officer, and they have four children. Brian is also a police officer and has been working in law enforcement since 2002. He is a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, a New England Patriots fanatic, and his favorite color is burnt orange. For more information on all his books and music, visit www.BrianPaone.com


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Moonlight-City-Drive-Brian-Paone-ebook/dp/B076B7X9RQ


B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moonlight-city-drive-brian-paone/1127206870



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Ella Quinn: The Marquis and I

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Ella will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

The Marquis and I

by Ella Quinn

GENRE: Historical Romance


Trouble is no match for a lady of the extended Worthington family—except when it comes in the form of a most irresistible gentleman . . .

Lady Charlotte Carpenter’s brother-in-law has put an infamous brothel owner out of business—yet it is Charlotte who suffers the consequences. Abducted by thugs and held at an inn, she is plotting her escape when she’s suddenly rescued by a dashing gentleman. Only afterward does she realize she’s seen him before—with two courtesans! Unwilling to tarry with such a man, Charlotte makes her second escape. But it is too late to repair her reputation . . .

A known gossip has spied Charlotte’s movements, and his report is speeding through the rumor mill. Soon, everyone knows that Charlotte spent the night with Constantine, Marquis of Kenilworth. And everyone agrees the only answer is marriage—including Constantine himself, his overjoyed mother—and his mistress! But Charlotte’s abductors aren’t finished with her yet. Now Constantine will do anything to protect the spirited woman he loves and win her heart . . .



Wife? Wed? No, no, no! Being betrothed was bad enough. But she could get out of that. But married! Lord Kenilworth was the last man in the world she would wed. Just the idea that he would touch her with the same hands he used to mistreat other women made her stomach lurch.

Charlotte quickly shoved the memory of his kiss aside. If she had known who he was, she would never have kissed him.

Taking a deep breath, she said with as firm a voice as she could muster, “Despite what his lordship said, I do not wish to marry him. There must be a way to—”

“That is neither here nor there, my dear.” Lady Bellamny waved away Charlotte’s complaint in a voice so composed it made her want to slaughter someone. Preferably Lord Kenilworth. “I stopped by Stanwood House to inform your sister I intended to be out of Town for a few days. Instead, I found your cousin Jane, Mrs. Addison. Knowing that I am a trustworthy friend of the family, she told me what had occurred. Unless I am mistaken, you were with Lord Kenilworth at least overnight, and you were seen entering the inn with him.” She raised a brow. “In a rather disheveled state.”

Charlotte decided to ignore her creased, dusty gown, and address the most important issue. “I did not exactly spend the night with him.” Not all night and, technically, she had entered the inn first. “He followed me into the inn. I—”

“Close enough, my lady.” His tone was as dry as sand. “We were seen together walking toward this place, and I held the door open for you.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.

After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!

She loves having readers connect with her.


Website: www.ellaquinnauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor

Twitter www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor

Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom


The Marquis and I Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2s3Cqbp

Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2rI8cKu

Kobo http://bit.ly/2r8Dyet

iTunes http://apple.co/2tT1wZb


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Alexander Charalambides on Tour: K.I.A


Alexander Charalambides will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Author Interview


  1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author. I wouldn’t say it was any specific trait, more like a lack of any other marketable skills.


  1. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you? Genre as a concept comes after the story is finished. Please don’t limit yourself!


  1. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter? Anything a pantser writes could be improved with forethought and planning. The only thing a pantser really gains by being spontaneous is a frustrating drafting process as they try to keep their story internally consistent and maybe a faster writing speed.


  1. Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline? K.I.A. is a story about alienation and isolation, but that’s very general, so I wouldn’t call that one of my fears, everyone deals with that some point, but Black Blade (my previous book) deals with evil actions taken from a lost or skewed perspective, which I worry about a lot when writing.


  1. Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you? I missed a deadline once when I was very ill. Most people are understanding, and I never miss without a good reason. Maybe that’s the key to not being scared of them?


  1. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention? Good? Bad? Boring, probably. I like to write manic or otherwise obsessive characters, but I like to think I’m pretty diplomatic. It’d certainly lead things in a different direction!


  1. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without. One of Stephen King’s best pieces of advice in his On Writing is to have a dedicated space for writing, mine is a wooden desk, I’m sitting there right now. As for comfort food? I can’t eat while I write, all my fingers are busy punching letters!


  1. Writing inspirations? The things that push me to write are other stories that are mostly terrible, but with tiny motes of good ideas still floating around inside them. Maybe this is why some people work endlessly over old cars?


  1. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? I think if I were to meet George Grosz (questions about time travel/necromancy not withstanding) I’d probably ask him if he needed a hug or not.


  1. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t. I’m not sure how quirky this is, but I have a tendency to go on a bit when someone asks me what I’m working on. It’s mostly just to find out if anyone thinks it’s a good idea or not.



by Alexander Charalambides


GENRE: Thriller/NA






Hildegard lives in a real-life dollhouse, surrounded by prop houses and actors who play friends, teachers and foster parents. Only one man ever seemed real, and after his disappearance, she’s had enough playing along. As Hildegard makes her final preparations to run away from home, a swarm of black clad soldiers appear, controlling the police and swarming across her home town. She can evade them for now, but after learning their mission, she decides to play along one last time, following them to Truman Academy, a lonely building on a freezing aleutian island. Hildegard knows it for what it is: just another prop, but not everyone feels the same way. Through the hell of endless drills and marching, Hildegard befriends the stealthy Grace and bloodthirsty David, and enlists them in an effort to unravel the plan of the man called G and his monstrous menagerie of inhuman soldiers.



“Bacteria again,” David says. “A biological weapon?”

“I don’t know.” Islet slurps the last of his soup. “I only sequenced part of it, and they keep the different teams apart.”

“Is that what they’re going to launch from the Silo?” Grace asks.

“You knew?” Islet asks.

“We found out about the Mobile Silo a while ago,” I say. “We saw blueprints for it, orders for parts, too.”

“Well, that’s what they’ve been doing for days now,” Dr. Islet says. “Hauling down the tanks of bacteria, assembling missiles.”

“They’re going to launch.” Grace stands up as she says it.

“Right,” I say. “There’s not going to be any placement in special forces. Or graduation.”

A few students stand up, like Grace. A few gasp. Most don’t seem surprised. “If I had to guess, I’d say that once they launch, they won’t need us. It’ll be a massacre.”

“You think so?” Islet pushes his glasses back up his nose. “It could be, we’ve been getting weapon shipments with the missile parts and replacement components for the Mobile Silo.”

“Stop saying we,” David grunts. “Unless you’re with them.”

“No, no, I’m not.” Islet waves his hands back and forth. “You’re right.”

“We have to stop them,” Grace says. I can’t help but tally up the numbers. At the very least the baggers outnumber the students two to one. Almost certainly more, not counting KU Giant. Then there’s the equipment discrepancy, and the differences in energy from eating and sleeping. I know there are vehicles, too, I’ve seen plenty of personnel carriers and jeeps with mounted guns, as well as the helicopters that are always coming and going.

“Uh, Hildegard,” Grace says. “We were sort of hoping you’d come up with something.”

I only wanted to find out what happened to Cooper. To be honest, I think I might already have lost my chance. It can’t be my priority anymore. By the sound of it, it’s not just the students that are in danger.

“There’s only one way we can get enough supplies, weapons, and bodies to stop the launch.”

“Okay,” Grace says. “What’s that?”

“This should be good.” David leans back on the walls of the cabin. All the students stare at me.

“We have to take over the school.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Alexander Charalambides was born in London and grew up in Berkshire in the UK

.He studied Creative Writing, and graduated from the Open University.

As a freelance writer Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips, wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.

In 2008 he moved to the USA and now lives in New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains with his family and two dogs, Gwynne and Gimli.


Website: AlexanderCharalambides.com

Facebook: facebook.com/ajcharalambides

Twitter: twitter.com/ajcharalambides

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/K-I-Alexander-Charalambides-ebook/dp/B075F9J9DC


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Leslie Croxford on Tour: Deep Sahara


Leslie will be awarding $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


Deep Sahara

by Leslie Croxford

Author Interview

1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author. I am very persistent and did not allow myself to become discouraged by rejection by publishers and agents. In fact I always tried to listen to their criticisms and revised my work in the light of them. This, I suppose, indicates that I always believed I had something worth saying if I could only get the means of expressing it right.

2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you? I have never worried about genre. It is a prefabricated way of looking at fiction. I just wrote and tended to find what I was saying fitted across the borders of genres – something that pleases me.

3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter? I start with a situation or image and then the story just develops. As Humpty Dumpty says: how do I know what I mean till I hear what I say.

4. Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline? My novels are about things I want to explore, which necessarily means anxieties I wish to disentangle. No single character embodies it all. It can pervade the entire atmosphere and even style of the novel.

5. Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you? I have a day job that is demanding as well as a determination to write. Miraculously I’ve been able to sustain both activities. But when the pressure mounts I sleep as much as possible – which is the advice given to me by the Nobel Prize winning Egyptian novelist Naguib Mafouz.

6. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention? The outcome for my characters is usually a greater accommodation to whatever case they find themselves in.

7. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without. I write in my study and need tea until 11: 30 am, then coffee.

8. Writing inspirations? My inspirations are unclassifiable. They are ideas that suddenly open up to me when I’m not seeking for them. In fact, not striving for them seems essential. As many writers have said, they are moments of grace.

9. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? As I said above (in 5.) I met Naguib Mafouz who, though he may not have been my absolutely favourite author, gave me the very good advice to my question about how to deal with difficult moments: sleep.

10. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t. I like to sit down to write immediately I rise in the morning, but my wife likes me to have a long, leisurely breakfast with her.


GENRE:  Thriller


Klaus Werner travels to the Algerian Sahara to research a book on desert insects. He is billeted in a local monastery, but upon arrival he finds it empty of its inhabitants. He soon discovers that it is a recent crime scene.






I left Rome in the summer of 1980. The day before that, I went to see Father Carlo. He had asked me back for a final visit, although he’d already given me the travel information.

Late for my appointment, I hastened toward the German Catholic Church of Santa Maria dell’Anima, on Vicolo della Pace, not far from Piazza Navona. My mother used to take me there every Sunday during my boyhood. The rector had been German; now, its priests were not necessarily so. Yet even the Italian ones spoke the language, knew the country and were likely to have carried on their ministry in Germany at some point.

That was the case with Father Carlo. He was sitting in his office in the adjoining building. It gave onto the courtyard at the back of the church. The blinds were drawn against the summer afternoon glare when I finally entered.

Recalling the priest now, it’s hard to bring him into focus with all that’s happened since. Even then, I was still feeling the effect of the sedatives I’d been taking.

My wife Anja had died. But what I suffered was not only her loss, but the loss of myself, in a total breakdown.

I’d been in our apartment the week after she died. Staring vacantly at some mirror in the empty bedroom, I winced. Something had just moved in the glass. It was a stranger: me.

Father Carlo was waiting for me at his desk. He sat beneath a framed photograph of what I’d later come to know was the young Pius XII as Apostolic Nuncio to Germany in the 1920s. It was at one of the parties Pacelli – as he then was – threw for the political and diplomatic elite in the Tiergarten quarter of Berlin where he’d lived.

Father Carlo adjusted his monk’s habit over an ample midriff as he shifted in his chair to look up from the desk. But he continued 10 straightening its contents, then the rimless spectacles he was taking me in through.

I was sweating and out of breath. I apologised for being late, but explained that, having sold my car, I had walked all the way there from my apartment.

Mentioning it made me recall its shadowy silence, shuttered, too, against the city’s brilliance and traffic. My possessions were half-packed there – the few I would be taking with me tomorrow. Standing there alone, I had simply looked at the rest and left them to move only later if the owner absolutely demanded it. Anja and I had accumulated so much together.

“You’re not very late,” my spiritual advisor said. (For this was what the monk, now indicating the chair at the other side of the desk, had more or less become for me over the last few weeks, regardless of my lack of religious belief. With Anja’s death I had soon found myself using Carlo as a secular Father Confessor, judging it better to rely on him than on the doctor, who’d been of little help.)

“Anyway, you’re here now,” Father Carlo said, “ready to move on. That’s all that matters.”

The priest told me how pleased he was that I had finally decided to undertake the publishing project I’d been offered; how personally helpful I was sure to find it; how conducive to work the monastery would prove. These were all things Father Carlo had said several times before, but which he nevertheless chose to repeat now, with this show of paternal concern.

“Look, I’ve written a letter of introduction to the Abbot for you.” Father Carlo passed me one of two envelopes lying on the desk. They were sealed and made of fine paper.

“He’ll make sure you’re well looked after. And then it occurred to me that while you’re here for me to wish you Godspeed, I might as well also send a note with you for another monk, Father Erich. He’s one of the Order’s hermits, in permanent retreat even further south. I hope you’ll meet him too. There’s every reason why you should.”

“How can I, if he’s a hermit?”

“They come in when the monastery holds a chapter. And the Abbot will take care of giving him the letter. Or any of the monks should know how to get it to him.”

“I’ll do what I can,” I said. “It’s most important that he should receive it,” Father Carlo said, glasses glinting as he handed over the letter.

Taking it, I could not see beyond the opaque lenses.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Leslie Croxford is a British author and Senior Vice-President of the British University in Egypt. Born in Alexandria, he obtained a doctorate in History from Cambridge University. He has written one novel, Soloman’s Folly (Chatto & Windus), and is completing his third. He and his wife live in Cairo.




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