Monday, February 21, 2011

An Untitled Short Story

Julie Titus threw out a challenge on Twitter that if anyone wanted a short story idea she had one she wasn't going to write. I decided to bite and Julie sent me her story idea and I whipped up a rough draft using her idea. I haven't titled it yet, so if anyone has a title you'd like to suggest I'm wide open for ideas. I wrote this in first person, because that was a challenge for me. It's a rough draft and critiques are welcome. I also hope to write a draft in third person. Let me know what you think.


"Oh, crap!" Jumping out of bed, I grabbed my frayed rob, rushing out of the bedroom. "David Michael, Cassandra Lynn, get up. I overslept and we're all going to be late."

I could hear their mumbled groans as I rushed back to the bedroom for a quick tooth brush, face wash and into my nurse's uniform.

"Mom, Corey wet the bed again. I need a shower."

"So-wee." Corey sobbed at the top of his lung.

"You don't have time for a shower, David, just wash off. Cassandra, get Corey changed while I see what I can throw together for breakfast."

Of all the mornings for David to forget to reset the alarm. But then that was classic these days. He couldn't even take the time to give me a quick peck on the cheek, let alone pay attention to anything I said the night before--like don't forget to set the alarm, I have to be back at work at nine.

"Okay, Sierra, pull it together," I muttered. It's seven forty-five. Twenty minutes to the school; thirty minutes to the baby-sitters and thirty minutes back to the hospital. I'd be a little late, but that was better than now showing up at all. And with the flu running rampant we were so short-handed the hospital probably wouldn't even notice.

"Hurry up kids." I could hear them arguing upstairs, Corey still screaming at the top of his lungs. "Cassandra, what's wrong with Corey?"

"David called him a baby."

"David Michael, you apologize to your brother." As if that would help.

"He is a baby." David yelled down the stairs. "A bed-wetting, cry-baby."

Rummaging through the cabinets I looked for something quick and simple. No time for cereal, and I certainly didn't have time to cook. Pop tarts it was. Pulling the box from the cabinet I tossed it on the table glancing again at the clock. Eight a.m. Where had the last fifteen minutes gone? "Last call, get down here now!" I yelled up the stairs reaching for my purse, coat and keys.

"I can't find my math book," David yelled at the top of his lungs.

"Mom, Corey threw up on my shoes." Cassandra screamed to be heard over David's yelling.

Taking a deep breath I counted to ten and headed upstairs. Minutes were ticking by quickly. Stopping by David's room I picked up his book bag and coat and tossed them to him. "Downstairs, now." I proceeded to Cassandra's room went straight to the closet and pulled out a pair of shoes, tossing them to her along with her coat. "Downstairs, now!" Picking Up Corey, I headed for the bathroom and washed his face.

"I not a baby," he whined sniffling against the washcloth.

"Then stop acting like one," I barked before sitting down and landing a quick swat on his backside. "Downstairs, now." Picking up Corey's coat I breathed deeply again before heading downstairs.

"Mom, David ate the last pop tart," Cassandra whined as I entered the kitchen.

"Enough," I yelled, glancing again at the clock. Eight-thirty. How had that happened? Grabbing my purse and keys I herded them toward the door. "Move, we're late."

"I've got a math test and if I'm late the teacher won't let me take it," David whined.

Fastening Corey's seatbelt around him, I slammed the door to the van. "You should have thought of that before you wasted the last half hour."

Okay, 20 minutes to school, thirty minutes to the babysitters and thirty minutes back to work. I could still make it by ten if I hurried.

My sour mood had rubbed off on the kids who now sulked in the backseat. At least they had shut up. I screeched to a halt in front of the Windsor Elementary. I saw Principal Birnman approaching. "Hurry up, kids, get out before he gets here."

"We need lunch money," David piped up.

Grabbing my purse I rummaged around coming up with three dollars and some change. "Here, give divide it with your sister," I muttered shoving the money into his. "Get out."

The knock on my side window shouldn't have surprised me, but still I started, jerking around. Rolling down the window I smiled in a way I hoped wasn't too unpleasant. "Good morning, Mr. Birnman. I'm sorry the kids are late. I overslept. Too many hours at work I’m afraid. The flu has really wiped us out there." I stopped talking, noting the stern jaw, beady eyes and scrunched up forehead.

"Mrs. Holloway, it's imperative I speak with you about David. His grades are near failing, and his attitude has become both disrespectful and antagonistic."

"I hun-gwee!" Cory screamed from the backseat before bursting into crocodile tears.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Holloway, I'll speak with him."

Pulling my own rather crumpled pop tart from my purse I handed it to Corey as Mr. Birnman continued to drone on and on about the importance of parental support.
Starting the car I hit the window button and smiled at Mr. Birnman. "Sorry, sir, I really have to go."

Glancing in the rearview mirror I saw Mr. Birnman shaking his fist at me. That was just great. Could this day get any worse?

No sooner had the thought processed than I noticed the yellow light signaling I was low on fuel. "Thir-stee!" Cory screamed from the back seat with more crocodile tears.

Okay, no need to panic, there was a Shell station just ahead. Quick fill-up, grab a juice and I could be on my way. Pulling in next to the pumps I grabbed my debit card and hopped out. "I'll get you a juice, Corey, just stop crying, please."

Inserting the card into the slot I typed in my pin number and waited. "Sorry, ma'am, you need to call your bank," blurted out over the income for the entire world to hear.

Opening the door I grabbed my cell phone, dialed the number and went through the normal routine of card number, birthdate, last four of social.

"Overdrawn? But that's impossible." The voice on the other end wasn't sympathetic as she extolled the virtues of keeping a close eye on my balance, and this was the third time I'd been overdrawn in the last two months. One more and my card would be revoked. David.

"Okay. Could I just transfer a hundred dollars from savings to my checking account, please."

I listened to the voice as it asked another barrage of questions.

"No, I don't have the number with me. You've got it right there in front of you!"

The voice continued to drone and informed me if I didn't have the number I would have to come into the bank. Slamming the phone shut I got back into the car, once again confronted with Corey's screams for juice. Ignoring him I started the van, praying I had enough gas to make it to the bank. Thirty minutes later I pulled into the Chevron station next to the bank and filled up. It was now ten a.m. and I was an hour late for work. It would take at least fifteen minutes to get to Marybeth's and drop off Corey, and then another thirty minutes to the hospital.
Driving as fast as I dared I cut the time to Marybeth's to ten minutes, jumping from the van and grabbing Corey I raced to the door.

"Mrs. Holloway, I thought maybe you weren't coming today."

Pushing Corey into her arms, I shook my head. "Running late."

Turning I started back toward the van. "Oh, Mrs. Holloway, I forgot to tell you, I can't babysit anymore after today. I got a job."

Great. Just freakin' great. Now on top of everything else I had to find another babysitter before morning.

Pulling out of the subdivision I headed toward Man-O-War. I still have a 30 minute drive ahead of me. I was over an hour late, and if traffic was any indication I would be almost two hours late by the time I finally got there. Unless. . .

I knew what David would say. But Dennison Lane would cut fifteen minutes off my commute time. It was dangerous due to the construction, and the fact it probably hadn't been cleared like the main streets. Still fifteen minutes was fifteen minutes. Turning left on Beaver, I took the Dennison turn-off, trying hard not to read the warning signs. My gaze drifted to the rearview mirror and I caught sight of my reflection. Oh, my God, do I really look that bad? I'd probably scare the patients to death. Little wisps of hair stood on edge, deep dark circles surrounded both eyes, and my lips were drawn into a perpetual frown. No wonder David no longer kissed me goodbye. "Oh, God, if I just didn't have to deal with people today. No patients, no doctors, no babysitters or principals, no kids and especially no David. No screaming, crying or arguing. In fact, no noise at all. Just one day. All I needed was one day to pull myself together."

Pulling into the parking lot I parked and glanced at the clock. Eleven a.m. That couldn't be right--not unless time stood still. Maybe Dennison was a short shortcut than I'd thought. Stepping out I noticed the quiet. An unearthly, unnatural quiet. Where was everyone? Even the guard was missing from the shack.

Grabbing my purse I headed in, running a hand through my messed up hair. Carol Ann was going to be furious I was so late, but she'd get over it. Pushing open the door I entered the hospital, stopping just inside. "What the. . .," I mumbled. There was no one there. No patients, no nurses. The hospital appeared to be deserted. I spent the next hour going from floor to floor, room to room, but it was the same everywhere. Not a single soul. Had there been an emergency evacuation? All the phones were dead and my cell wasn't getting a signal. Everything was sort of gray, like the electricity was functioning on low.

"Dammit, they could have called me." Everyone knows not to come in but me. Thanks a lot, Carol Ann.

Leaving the hospital I head back to the car and turn on the radio. Nothing. What if there had been some sort of terrorist attack and everyone had been evacuated?
Where would they take them? And why was it so freakin' quiet?

"Calm down, Sierra. There's a perfectly logical explanation for this. I'll just go back to Marybeth's. She's a news fanatic and she'll know what's going on."

It was a little freaky driving down the empty streets. No cars and all the lights on green. It took me less than fifteen minutes to get back to Marybeth's. I let out a sigh of relief when I saw her van still in the driveway. I knocked on the door and waited. "Marybeth? It's me Sierra." No answer.

Walking around the house I knocked on windows, trying to peer in. She was home. She had to be home. Kicking out a basement window I climbed in and made my way upstairs and through the house. Empty.

Okay, I'm just tired. That's it. This is all a dream. A bad dream, but still a dream. I just need a short nap and when I wake up everything will be back to normal. Sitting down in the recliner I close my eyes and in no time I'm fast asleep.

I have no clue how long I slept, but when I woke the house was still empty, and the world was still quiet. It appeared to be close to dawn. I had to find David and the kids.

I kept my eyes on the road, looking neither left nor right, and I didn't worry about stopping for lights and stop signs. There wasn't another single person anywhere.
Pulling up in front of the house I fought back tears of fear and frustration. David's car was gone and the house was dark and lonely. Still I had to know.
Unlocking the door I went inside, calling out. "David, kids, I'm home."

Going from room to room I picked up pieces of my life. David's shirt where he'd dropped it the night before. Cassandra's hair berets. David Lynn's comics and finally Corey's stuffed "gobie". Tears came in earnest then as I remembered my prayer. No, people. No David. No kids." I hadn't wanted them so God had taken them away from me. How could I do that? How could I even think that? "I want them back. Please, I want my family back." I cried out, hugging the small stuffed dog to my chest. "Please, God, give me my family back."

* * *

I don't know how long I cried. Long enough to cause my body to hurt inside and out. Suddenly there were voices above me. "David?"

I felt his hand wrapped tightly around mine.

"I'm here, honey. Everything's gonna be okay."

"What happened?" I croaked, my throat dry, voice raspy.

"You were in an accident. God, Sierra, I thought I'd lost you. You've been in a coma."

"How long?" I asked opening my eyes, blinking in the bright light.

"A whole day. The longest day of my life."

There hadn't been an evacuation. No magical disappearance. No bad dream. A coma. Twenty-four hours of nothing. I wanted to laugh, but it hurt too bad. I honed in on David's voice, whispering to me.

"It's gonna be all right, honey. I promise things are going to be different. I'm gonna spend more time at home, help you with the kids. I love you, Sierra."

Closing my eyes, I drifted back into the darkness, this time into a deep natural sleep. Everything was going to be okay. David loved me. He was going to help with the kids. I had his promise. A promise of a better life. "Please, God, don't let this be a dream."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Interview with Al Boudreau - In Memory of Greed


Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Independent Author Al Boudreau, author of In Memory of Greed.

LP: Good morning Al, and thank you for being my guest today.

AB: Good morning, Linda. Thank you for having me.

LP: Let’s jump right in. Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live now, and where did you grow up?

AB: I grew up in Southwest New Hampshire and moved to Southern Maine about eight years ago.

LP: Do you feel that the environment you were raised in has any effect on your choice of genre?

AB: My environment allowed my creative spirit to grow, as I spent a great deal of time hiking, canoeing, and camping with some very colorful characters.

LP: Sounds like a perfect life to me. When and why did you begin writing?

AB: I started writing about eighteen months ago in order to begin a new adventure in my life. Ultimately, writing will become my second career and life’s work, if all goes as planned.

LP: Share with us what inspired your first book.

AB: My first book, “In Memory of Greed,” was inspired by observations pertaining to big business and bigger government taking advantage of the middle class. Members of the middle class are people who really make our country great. To eliminate corruption and wrong-doing, I feel there must be a chorus of voices. I consider my writing to be a voice in that larger choir.

LP: As member of that middle class, Al, I’m even more interested in reading your book now. I personally love book titles, and I’m often amazed at how well a title fits the book. How do you come up with your titles?

AB: The title is a summary of the plot subject matter. It also represents a hope; that by making our voices heard, greed and power, for powers sake, can have a spotlight focused on them, making it untenable for those who abuse their positions to continue.

LP: I hear comments all the time that readers “just didn’t get it” when describing certain books that attempted to convey a message. Is there a specific message in your novels that you’d like the reader to grasp?

AB: My specific message to my readers is, take a good, hard look at what’s going on all around you. Don’t believe all you read in the papers or see on tv. Rather, dig deeper and seek the truth. It’s there, if you choose to see.

LP: How much of your book is realistic or based on real life issues?

AB: My book is based on real life issues. I feel, if I’m to achieve my goals as a writer, my readers should be entertained and enlightened about important issues which adversely affect us all.

LP: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

AB: Writing is something I’m passionate about. I will feel like a true writer when I am able to do it full time and balance everything it takes to do so successfully.

LP: Do you have a specific writing style?

AB: I don’t feel I have developed a specific writing style, as my experience is limited. Hopefully, I will grow into that as my body of work expands.

LP: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

AB: Though I read many books by authors I admire, I don’t necessarily have a mentor. Amanda Hocking provides me with inspiration. She is so successful and talented, yet grounded and approachable. She is a true professional and I am so proud of her.

LP: I believe Amanda is an inspiration to all Independent Authors. I’m picked up on the fact that, like me, you’re an avid reader yourself. What book are you reading now?

AB: I am presently reading ‘Sankofa,’ by Wyatt Bryson.

LP: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

AB: I am highly anticipating all three of L. M. Stulls works, and an upcoming novel by Marni Mann, called ‘Memoirs aren’t Fairytales.’

LP: If you had it to do all over again, would you change anything in your first book?

AB: In my humble opinion, any author who says they wouldn’t change things in their first novel is not being critical enough … a resounding yes!

LP: Are you currently working on a new book, and if so, can you share some of it with us?

AB: I have begun a detailed outline of my next novel. The title is yet to be determined. The plot deals with social unrest and the governments nefarious plans to deal with it.

LP: You’ll have to keep us updated on your progess. What has been the most challening part of writing your current work in progress?

AB: Time is the most challenging part of writing my current WIP. As an indie author, promoting takes up the bulk of my time lately.

LP: Who are your favorite authors and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

AB: I don’t have a favorite author. Someone who I respect a great deal is Dan Brown. The research required to write a novel like ‘The DaVinci Code’ is truly staggering. My hat’s off to him for that reason.

LP: Do you actually travel to the places you write about?

AB: I feel I must travel in order to convey the true nature of the locales in which my characters do their thing. I feel it provides color and richness that research alone does not.

LP: Do you design your own covers?

AB: I only have one cover and I did design it. I took the cover photo in Africa and completed the cover design as well.

LP: You did a great job. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

AB: The hardest part of writing my book was re-writing my book three times. It was a painful, but necessary process.

LP: I hear you there. I’m getting ready to start the first rewrite of my current WIP. Do you feel that you learned something from writing your book, and if so, what?

AB: In the process of writing ‘In Memory of Greed,’ I learned what to do differently with my next novel. As I write, I feel there should be a tremendous amount of growth from one book to the next.

LP: Do you have any advice for other writers?

AB: I don’t feel nearly experienced enough to be doling out advice. For myself, I try to read other authors works and learn from their talents.

LP: Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

AB: I feel that we should all try reading genres outside the ones we generally gravitate toward. You never know what you might like until you try it. I hope a large percentage of female readers will give my Mystery/Thriller a chance, as the women in my novels are smart, savvy people who get the job done, despite the obstacles they encounter.

LP: Love smart/savvy women. Thank you, Al, for sharing with us today. I look forward to reading and reviewing your book in the near future. I hope when your new book is ready for publication you’ll drop me a line and stop by to update us.

AB: Thank you, Linda, for the opportunity to share with you today and I’ll definitely let you know about my upcoming releases.


Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m looking forward to reading In Memory of Greed.

Ready to download a sample or buy now?

http://amzn.com/B004L2LJ94
http://tiny.cc/2d76v
http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B004L2LJ94

The Portal Between by Sarah Barnard


I am a single mother raising two children and I write while they're at school or after they're in bed.
I started writing during a period of bleakness after a long term relationship came to an end and a very good friend badgered and cajoled me into writing and eventually challenged me to take part in the NaNoWriMo online challenge in November 2005. The Portal Between is the result of that challenge and was mostly written during that month. I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days and loved every agonising moment.
I was born in March 1969, the same month John Wyndham died. Apparently I watched the moon landings. I was four months old so I don't remember, but I've been told I watched them.
There followed a relatively uneventful childhood and traditionally turbulent teenage years.
I left school at 18 to start teacher training but never finished it. I then drifted into a series of jobs - I was not really happy in any of them. I spent most of my time in various retail chains and eventually ended up working for the Post Office. In 2000 I had my first child. His sister followed in 2003. But I never went back to work after I had her. I set up my own business instead - Ethics Trading. I downsized my life and started to live more simply. But I discovered the vast wealth of the internet!
The Portal Between is the first in a series of books, followed by The Portal Sundered and with a third book and a Portal book for younger readers, The Map and The Stone.
************************************************************************************
Sam has been missing for two long years. Kate struggles on with her own children and Sam's after Jack left her but she continues to believe that one day Sam will be back. It's Hallowe'en, Samhain and it's a dark moon. Abruptly in a flurry of mystery and magic, Sam is back and Kate's already insecure world is torn apart as forces beyond her experience and understanding flood into her life.
From the Author
THE PORTAL BETWEEN is my debut novel and the first in the Portal series.
I have a good friend to thank for it. I was going through a tough time in my life and finding some relief in writing and she pushed me into taking it further and actually finishing a full novel and then publishing it. I haven't stopped since then and I have no intention of stopping, even when the Portal series is done.

Download a Sample or Buy Now

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Luck by Alex Knight 99 cents


Margaret Anne and Maxwell Sinclair have lost their only son and one another.

“I shall love you forever.” Her prophetic last words to Maxwell haunt him for what seems like an eternity. Reunited by a miracle, they have little time for bliss as their idyllic existence is once again threatened.

When an assortment of criminals and hunters come calling, the Sinclairs learn that home isn’t always a safe haven -- even for a couple of vampires!

Gone are the coffins that contain a handful of dirt from the homeland. Gone too are the crosses, wreathes of garlic flowers and all the things you thought would keep you safe.

Night after night the Sinclairs prowl neighboring cities ridding them of their criminal element with style, humor and marital devotion reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles. Amid plots and subplots, Margaret Anne leads Maxwell into a world of computers and cars, he recounts tales from an earlier era and they both lead an intrepid vampire hunter on a merry chase.

What Luck is a about greed, violence, unconditional loyalty and a love that refused to die. Not today’s typical vampire fare – these characters are seasoned with a pinch of humor and a dash of class.

Download a Sample or Buy Now

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Steven Savile - Silver


A lifelong genre fan, Steven Savile has written for Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, Stargate, Guild Wars, Warhammer, Slaine, Star Wars and the Jurassic Park series, as well as Fantastic TV, a critical study of 50 years worth of science fiction on television. In 2009 won the International Media Tie-In Writer's Scribe Award for his original novel Primeval: Shadow of the Jaguar. Steven has sold over quarter of a million books worldwide, won multiple awards, including the Writers of the Future and Scribe Award, and is a number one bestseller in the United Kingdom.

***********************************************************************************
Sometimes the truth is anything but honest.

Sometimes the stories everyone knows by heart are lies.

Sometimes lies are all we have left.

Two thousand years ago, thirty silver Tyrian shekels were paid to secure the most infamous betrayal of all time. Melted down by the grandsons of Judas Iscariot, in the dark heart of the Sicarii fortress, Masada, the silver was re-forged as a dagger. When the Sicarii zealots committed mass suicide in AD73 the dagger of Iscariot and the truth of his sacrifice were lost. Until now.

A religious cult calling itself the Disciples of Judas has risen in the Middle East. Its influence is pernicious, its reach long. In thirteen cities across Europe thirteen people martyr themselves in the name of Judas, promising forty days and forty nights of terror. They twist the words of ancient prophecies to drive home the fear. Everything you believe in will be proved wrong. Everything you hold true will fail.

Day by day the West wakes to increasingly harrowing acts of terror. As fear cripples the capitals of Europe, who will be the next to fall? London? Rome? Berlin?

In a race against time - and prophecy - believing the terrorists intend to assassinate the Pope as part of their plan to bring down the Catholic Church, Sir Charles Wyndham's team of combat specialists, codename Ogmios, tracks a labyrinthine course through truth, shades of truth and outright lies that takes them from the backstreets of London to the shadow of Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin and all the way into the heart of the Holy See itself.

Forty days and forty nights of fear. And today is day one.

"The mix of history, suspense, and action in Silver is a perfect combination for those DaVinci Code fans looking for another electrifying read combining Biblical history with modern-day Armageddon."
-- Douglas Preston, NYT Bestselling author of IMPACT and BLASPHEMY

"Fascinating, gripping, horrific, tragic and compelling."
-- Steve Alten, NYT Bestselling author of MEG and THE SHELL GAME

"SILVER is a wild combination of Indiana Jones, The Da Vinci Code, and The Omen."
-- Kevin J Anderson, international bestselling author of THE SAGA OF SEVEN SUNS and co-author of PAUL OF DUNE

"Move over Dan Brown!"
-- Stel Pavlou, international bestselling author of DECIPHER and GENE

Buy Now

Monday, February 14, 2011

Erich's Plea by Tracey Alley 99 cents on Amazon Kindle



I was born, raised and still live in sunny south-east Queensland. I come from a large, wonderful family and have one dog, Angel and two cats, Jazz and Caesar.

I enjoy travel, boxing, yoga, horse-riding and would love to learn photography and scuba-diving - my two new challenges for the year.

I've been writing for as long as I can remember but found fantasy through role-playing and Dungeons & Dragons - since then I've never looked back. I love to read and write fantasy - the escapism is wonderful.

I have degrees in Ancient History, where I specialised in Egyptology, and Comparative Religions, where I specialised in ancient pagan religions. I incorporate a lot of that into my work, using old myths and legends and religious practices.
***********************************************************************************

The Kingdoms of Kaynos have been at peace for nearly a thousand years. Now the ambitions of a dark sorceress armed with a new, deadly type of magic called witchcraft threaten to tear the Kingdoms to pieces.

Locked deep in the bowels of Zeaburg's infamous, horror-filled subterranean prison the young druid Slade is haunted by a strange, recurring dream. A dream in which his beloved father, High King Erich of Vestland, pleads for Slade's help.

Convinced of the dreams truth Slade must somehow attempt the impossible and escape the inescapable Zeaburg prison in order to find and save his father.

Gathering an unlikely assortment of allies along the way Slade must not only find a way out of Zeaburg prison but must also find a way to prevent what threatens to be the bloodiest, most brutal war in the history of all the Kingdoms of Kaynos.

Will an unimaginable alliance, an unlikely friendship and a forbidden love be enough to save the Kingdoms of Kaynos?


*******************

author Christa Polkinhorn said...
Tracey, I love your book! I just finished reading it. I couldn't "put it down" (can you say that for an ebook?). I got sucked into the story and the fantastic world and the interesting characters you created. I screamed when "The End" appeared. I want to know what happens next. Is Slade going to find his father? What happened to his sister? What is going to happen to the other characters? Who is going to win the war. Fortunately, I saw in the beginning that this is Book One, so there should be more. Are you working on Book Two? Don't leave us hanging!
August 6, 2010 6:16 AM


Buy Now!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Excerpt From The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery



“Morning, Sheriff. I was beginning to worry about you.”

Sarah raised an eyebrow, looking at her favorite deputy, Joshua Cross, before glancing at the clock.

“It’s only eight-thirty.”

“Forget something?” Joshua raised an eyebrow, mocking her.

“Oh, shit,” she muttered. The toxicology report on Johanna Nelson. “Did they call?”

“About ten minutes ago. Doc Hawthorne says to call him when you get in. Got something on his mind.”

Sarah nodded. Doc Hawthorne had delivered Johanna Nelson, watched her grow up, and he’d been the one to tell her parents about her death. She was sure he had a lot on his mind. There were still unanswered questions about Johanna’s death, questions that would probably never be answered, as the case seemed no more than a tragic accident. Johanna had been drinking, lost control in the curve and hit a tree. Death had been instantaneous. And then there was what she had felt at the scene last night. Dammit, that was always the problem. She never knew when it was real. Had there really been someone else with Johanna?

Sarah hesitated, tempted to tell Joshua about her suspicion that Johanna had not been alone in the car. “Damn,” she muttered, grabbing a cup of too strong coffee as she headed for her office. And how would she explain her suspicions? Joshua, I have this gift, and it tells me things. She was sure that would go over great.

Grabbing the phone, she dialed Doc Hawthorne’s number. The sooner she made the call, the sooner Johanna’s parents would be allowed to lay their daughter to rest. Maybe Sarah could also lay her doubts to rest.

Five minutes later, Sarah grimaced as she slammed down the phone. The call to Doc had done no more than raise additional questions. Although Johanna smelled of alcohol, blood tests revealed she had not been drinking. Sarah knew there was something else. Something Doc had not told her. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but it was there. She’d have to go see him in person, take a look at the autopsy report, and find out what he was hiding. The knock on her door did nothing to improve her mood.

“Come in.”

“Everything okay?”

“Just fine,” Sarah muttered sarcastically. “Doc says Johanna wasn’t drinking.”

Joshua seated himself comfortably in the old armchair Sarah had purchased at a yard sale.

“Don’t surprise me none. Never knew that girl to take a drink.”

“Then what the hell happened out there, Joshua? What am I supposed to tell her parents?”

Joshua shrugged, chewing a toothpick. A habit he’d taken up when he’d stopped smoking three years ago.

“You’d better put something on that burn.”

Sarah glanced down at her hand. She’d almost forgotten about burning herself that morning. The skin was now a fiery red.

“It’s not that bad. Did you need something?” Sarah wanted to be alone. She rubbed her temples. Everything seemed to be off kilter.

“Just worried about you. You look a little pale. Maybe you should have Doc take a look at that hand.”

Sarah stopped rubbing her temples. Genius. A perfect excuse to pick the old doctor’s brain. “Yeah, I’ll do that. But I’m fine, really. Nikki hasn’t been sleeping well lately, so, of course, neither have I.”

“I’m afraid you’re not gonna sleep too well in the next couple of weeks, either.” Joshua tossed a mystery novel on her desk. “Know him?”

Sarah glanced at the novel. “G. C. McAllister?” She read the title, A Jacody Ives Mystery – Pool of Tears. “No, I’ve never heard of him.” She glanced from the book to Joshua.

“Got a reputation for being a pretty ruthless bastard. Fancies himself as some kind of private detective like his character. Travels around to small towns looking for secrets. Digs around until he finds a good story. Rumor has it he’s destroyed a lot of lives.”

Sarah frowned. “What does that have to do with us?”

“He just made a reservation at The Lodge. Be here two weeks from today.”
Sarah felt the blood drain from her face. She forgot about Johanna, forgot the burn on her hand, and the need to talk to Doc Hawthorne. The dying words of a tortured soul seemed to echo in the room.

He’s coming, Sarah. He wants to destroy you.

The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Libby Hellmann - Doubleback - 99 Cents


From Publishers Weekly
Anthony-finalist Hellmann's taut second novel of suspense to feature Chicago PI Georgia Davis (after Easy Innocence) teams Davis with video producer Ellie Foreman, the heroine of the author's other series (A Shot to Die for, etc.). When eight-year-old Molly Messenger is apparently kidnapped, a family friend turns to Ellie for help. Feeling out of her depth, Ellie asks Georgia to get involved, only to have the girl reappear unharmed just days later. After Molly's bank manager mother, Christine, dies in a suspicious car accident, Georgia gets on a trail that leads from Wisconsin to Arizona. Meanwhile, Ellie stumbles onto a paramilitary training camp connected to Christine's bank. Hellmann skillfully juggles disparate threads of bank fraud, extortion, drugs and illegal immigration. While some may find the use of dual narrators confusing, it works with Ellie's cooler-head yin balancing out Georgia's take-no-prisoners yang. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Review
Teaming up two strong, intelligent lead characters makes for a rich, suspenseful story in Libby Fischer Hellmann's DOUBLEBACK -- Oline Cogdill, Mystery Scene

--Mystery Scene Magazine


Hellman's new book is one tough cookie. She has combined her two protagonists into a strong and moving novel. Others have done this; with Doubleback, Hellmann proves she can stand up to peer pressure.
--January Magazine, The Rap Sheet , Dick Adler

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Find Me - A work in Progress

Set up: Cody Allen is a homicide sergeant and Catherine Mans is a psychic consultant for the department. Thanks to Catherine they have just found the body of a young man that has been missing for three weeks. Not everyone in the department agees with the use of a psychic. This is the first draft and a work in progress.
************************************************************************************

Cody Allen studied the Timothy Bond witness list as he listened to the sounds of general celebration around him. Finding the body was a major coup for them. Hopefully forensics would now be able to work their magic and give them some clue as to the killer's identity. Still, he couldn't help but feel they'd missed something in the early interviews. Something important.

He glanced up as Jeremy Scalf stopped in front of his desk, a dark scowl clouding his features.

"Something I can do for you, Jeremy?"

"Yeah. I'd like to have my case back. That is unless you want to let your psycho-psychic pull out a name from her mumbo jumbo bag."

The sound of laughter died, as every ear in the station honed in to hear his response. Cody knew most of them supported his work with Catherine. Skeptical at times, but their skepticism was healthy and kept them alert and on their toes.

"Catherine Mans has proven her value to this department more than once, Jeremy. If you've got a problem with that then maybe you need to look into a transfer somewhere else."

"We could have found the body without her," Scalf muttered.

"I don't doubt that," Cody stated raising his voice just slightly as he stood up. He wanted the whole department to hear what he had to say. "Ninety-nine percent of all cases are solved by good solid police work. And yes, we would have found the body eventually. Three months from now. Six months from now. Maybe even a year from now. And by the time we found it any usable evidence would have been long gone. The fact that we found it in three weeks gives us one leg up on the killer, and if we get lucky there'll still be some form of DNA to help us close this case. We can thank Catherine Mans for that. And I don't want anyone in this room to forget that."
Cody allowed his gaze to drift around the room noting those that met his eyes with a slight nod, and those that simply turned away. It was always a good thing to know just who had your back--and who didn't.

Sitting back down Cody picked up the file and handed it to Scalf. "I want every witness on that list re-interviewed. Someone knows something, so let's find out who it is."

He watched Scalf walk away, noting the stiff back, heavy feet. Scalf was harboring a deep anger. It flowed out from him with every step. Anger that strong, that deep could only be borne from hatred. The problem was hatred of what. Him? Catherine? Or psychics in general?



If you enjoyed this excerpt or if you feel it needs something more, please leave a comment below. Critiques are always welcome and help authors to improve.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Second Chances by Valerie Maarten


"Second Chances" (reg. price $2.99)
Premise: After 20 years of the pain and suffering from the loss of a loved one, Dain and Kadi must confront the ghosts that haunt their past, present and future. Will they, in turn, be able to embrace their Second Chances?
The set-up: After the release of the man that killed his sister, Hanna, another girl is mysteriously murdered in the same fashion. All suspicion was then cast to Ryan Crowe for the deed. Now Dain’s wrath is beyond reasoning.
************************************************************************
Dain sat mindlessly in front of the television set, flicking channel after channel at a dizzying pace. He didn’t want to watch it, but he didn’t have the courage to turn it off. Somehow, his family’s pain had merged with another family’s grief and it was one big story. All of the news stations lead off with the story of Hanna’s murder. Dain was numb and beyond consoling. Libby had wisely screened all of his calls and even filtered his call with his mother and sisters, which was unusual. Though he was grateful.

He stared blankly at the screen. Then a phrase…a word made his heart lurch forward. His back stiffened and his ears perked up. ’What?’ He turned up the volume so he could hear.

“The convicted murderer, Ryan Crowe has just received a ‘Get out of jail free’ card from his daughter, Kadi Crowe. It has been reported that she has provided the authorities with an alibi of her father’s whereabouts on the night of the murder and he will be walking through these doors…a free man.” He heard the reporter’s words, but he couldn’t believe them.

“Here they come right now!” He could hear the raw excitement in the young reporter’s voice. He cringed.

“Ms. Crowe, is it true that you’ve provided your father with an iron-clad alibi of his whereabouts, last night?”

Words overlapped and questions were being hurled in the air with hopes of being answered.

“Ms. Crowe, as a Child’s Right Advocate, don’t you find your position to defend your father…ironic, since he’s been accused of violating the rights of those you’ve vowed to protect?”

He watched intently as Kadi and Ryan made their way through the horde of people that waited outside the police station. His anger began as a slow simmer, seething just below the surface. He could feel the intense heat welling up…up.

“Mr. Crowe, how does it feel to have nine lives? Are you feeling lucky?”

Kadi had a frightened look on her face, eyes wide like a deer caught in the headlights. Slowly. His temper was oozing to the surface like lava. Hell hot and dangerously close to eruption.

“Maybe you should play the lottery. No one seems to be as lucky as you are right now.”

She feigned innocence, clinging to Ryan Crowe as if he was a cherished being, worthy of such attention. Then it happened. It was like the unexpected eruption of a volcano. He had reached his tolerance level and his rage came spewing forth with deadly consequences.

“LIBBY!” His voice was so loud and so threatening, everyone within earshot froze in place. No one even dared to move.

*************************************************************************************

ORDER NOW!

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Second-Chances-ebook/dp/B004AYD6ZS/ref=pd_rhf_p_img_4

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Second-Chances/dp/B004AYD6ZS/ref=pd_rhf_p_img_2

B&N http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Second-Chances/Valerie-Maarten/e/2940011136665/?itm=2&USRI=valerie+maarten

Diesel E-book Store http://staging.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000029245/Maarten-Valerie/Second-Chances/1.html

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29245

Sony E-book Store http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/valerie-maarten/second-chances/_/R-400000000000000323661

Website http://thewriteworld.webs.com/