Hand of Fatima by Myrna Sokoloff

MEDIA KIT Black_chanceryHand of Fatima
by Myrna Sokoloff



It had been a year since the sealed casket of Holly’s beloved husband Jake had been flown from the war zone to Dover Air Force Base with an honor guard. The American flag and the music didn’t lesson the agony of his death for her.

Nobody ever told Holly what had really happened on that classified mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The painful memory of his death came crashing in on her when Alex, a former special-warfare operator, approached her on a clear autumn day. Alex and his teammate TJ had been wounded on the same raid with Jake.

These tough wounded warriors were determined to find out the facts, but they knew for sure that the SEALS had been betrayed.

By uncovering the treacherous truth about the Helmand mission, this group of patriots and their friends discover an even more sinister plot that will put the country in danger . . . and it leads straight to the White House.

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Excerpt One:


Alex paced in front of D.C.’s Union Station. He had worked with Susanna and trusted her but she still worked for the President he did not trust.

Susanna saw Alex, took a deep breath and walked towards him. “Alex,” she whispered.

He turned and walked into the station and got lost in the crowds surrounding the fast food restaurants and sat at on a bench.

Alex started, “Tariq betrayed us.”

Susanna gasped, “How do you know this?”

“We’ve tracked him since the attack in Helmand Province,” Alex said breathlessly, waiting to see Susanna’s reaction.

Susanna looked stunned.

“Tracked him—how could you track him? Do you have mercenaries in the field or is TJ’s dad at NSA going outside the wire?”

“Tariq was there on the day of the attack.” Susanna’s mouth fell open.

Alex leaned close to her. “I’m not telling you the details because then you don’t know anything to testify to in case…”

“Testify,” she shouted. “What do you mean? How do you know he was at the site of the attack?”

Alex looked glum. “I saw him!”

Susanna gasped. “Are you sure it was Tariq?”

“Yes absolutely. You forget I was observing his interrogation at Gitmo. You know what this means Susanna?” he carefully said.

Susanna sighed and leaned back on the bench, “The President’s poster boy for Gitmo releases reverts to his old ways…he’s still a terrorist.”

“And worse, he set us up. He just didn’t escape into thin air—he led us into a trap by giving us false info in order to kill us. He was laughing at us!” Alex was intent on making her see the danger.

Susanna got up and started walking, pulling her coat around her against the chill autumn wind. Alex followed but hung behind giving her some space. Her pace slowed as she faced him.

Alex pleaded, “We need to tell Holly, wife of a dead SEAL and a respected analyst.”

“Holly is not political and she was devastated by Jake’s death. To bring it up again is cruel, especially if she finds out it was avoidable. I am speaking as her friend!” cried Susanna.

“Don’t you think she would want to know? And if her best friend knew something, don’t you think she’d be mad if you kept it from her?” asked Alex.

Susanna looked exasperated. But what he said made her feel unsure of her position. Maybe Holly would want to know.

“I tried to talk to her at Temple, but she was with family and besides, I lost my nerve,” he said, embarrassingly.

“I know how we can all meet away from prying eyes. It’s Sukkot Thursday night.” Alex looked stunned and smiled.

“I didn’t know you were Jewish!” he laughed.

“Holly always invites this Catholic to her sister’s Sukkah in her backyard in Connecticut. There will be lots of people all unrelated to our work. Holly said I could bring guests. Ask TJ. We’ll take the train.” Alex grinned and nodded his head.

Alex walked out of the station, happy he had met with Susanna. And he was glad he was going to see Holly again but he didn’t want to think of her in personal terms.

His thoughts went to Tariq. He was sure he had seen him at the edge of the staging area, which didn’t surprise him. After all, he had provided the intel. Then he thought he made a mistake and then everything was explosions, pain and darkness.

Alex was wounded. In the hospital room and in therapy, he felt like he had forgotten something important. But he was confused and the doctors told him some memory loss was perfectly normal after an explosion.

But it came back to him one night when he was watching The Godfather, and he called TJ.

“TJ, remember the scene in The Godfather when Michael was hiding out in Sicily after killing Sollozo and McClusky. His beautiful Sicilian wife—what was her name?”

“Appollonia…yeah I remember her,” said TJ.

Alex continued dramatically, “She was about to start the car. Michael called to his bodyguard Fabrizio. He looked back at Michael and then ran. In that instant Michael knew he had been betrayed and then his wife turned on the ignition and blew up. It had been meant for him.”

“Yeah, yeah I get it, but…,” interjected TJ.

“When I was watching that scene it came back to me. I saw Tariq that day and when I called to him he looked back with the same expression and then ran just like Fabrizio and then the explosions started.”

“We can’t use The Godfather as a reason you remembered Tariq. They’ll have you back in psych evaluation and think you are confusing life with a movie.”

“You do it all the time,” laughed Alex

“Yeah, I know, but not at a debriefing.” TJ sighed.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I grew up in the beautiful suburb of Westport Connecticut. After Boston University, I moved to New York City. In Manhattan I spent time in many political campaigns as fundraiser and writer. New York was a Democratic town. We never fought with Republicans, we fought with each other! It was exciting and I thought I was making a contribution. When I moved to California, my connections helped me transistion into the political world in LA.September 11th, 2001, changed me and I had to re-evaluate my politics. I used to work in lower Manhattan and saw on TV the streets and buildings covered with dust and so many people killed in an instant. In LA, I volunteered for the USO at LAX and watched Marines from Camp Pendleton fly out to their next training base. I also served an Army Family Readiness unit near me.I called families of deployed soldiers to check if they needed anything and helped with the Army Christmas parties for the kids. It didn’t seem enough. I had to find another way to express my ideas and support the troops. I made political commercials and wrote articles.In 2008 I was the co-writer and executive producer of the political comedy feature ‘An American Carol’

I decided to write my first novel ‘Hand of Fatima‘ because I was angry about the lies surrounding Benghazi, the terrorist attack that occurred in 2012. The four men that died that day had families and friends who loved them. Our leaders acted as if it was a political mess to get passed and forgotten. The novel is a thriller about terrorism and how it affects real people.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Myrna-Sokoloff/e/B00GLDOL2S/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1413853834&sr=8-1

Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Hand-Fatima-Myrna-Sokoloff/dp/1492713872/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413853834&sr=8-1&keywords=myrna+sokoloff

Audible:  http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Hand-of-Fatima-Audiobook/B00PUN7A9G/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl/181-1762828-8077211?qid=1416777266&sr=1-1

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Hand-of-Fatima/dp/B00PX8NSTY/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1416767761

Website: http://myrnasokoloff.net/






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The Doctor’s Daughter: Journey to Justice by Belle Blackburn

book_template_10_12_2014-upload-2I am thrilled to introduce you to a new author to me – Belle Blackburn. I read her first novel – The Doctor’s Daughter: Journey to Justice – and loved it. So I tracked down the author and she graciously agreed to do an interview with me. This is definitely a book worth checking out.


The Doctor’s Daughter: Journey to Justice
by Belle Blackburn

Everybody, including her mother, believes that Kate’s father committed suicide. Determined to prove otherwise, Kate sets out on a fascinating and sometimes hysterical journey through antebellum law and medicine. Set in 1860s Nashville and told with a biting wit, determined Kate finally discovers the truth – but at what cost? Will she ruin her own life trying to defend the life of her dead father?

My Review5 star

This is such a good story. It’s set in the 1860’s and you will feel like you are experiencing that time period – from the sense of community, quilting bees, some very strong beliefs, the practicality of the times, slavery, the upcoming war – north vs the south. It is such a compelling read that really makes you feel like you understand more about what was going on in the 1860’s and get a good idea of how people maybe thought and acted.

The characters are really well done, even the secondary characters. I think we all know Mrs. Goad. The characters were people that I could easily envision, felt like I knew and had some strong feelings about whether I liked them or not.

This is Kate’s journey from that of a young 18 year old girl who is out to prove that her father did not commit suicide. I really liked Kate but her strong-willed, stubborn attitude you know is going to get her into something she might not be able to get out of. She has her eyes opened wide by what she learns, the hard way. She gets answers that she really wasn’t expecting. Her journey was very believable and kept me wondering what exactly was going to happen to her. I loved every bit of her journey and at times so wanted to give her some advice.

Brilliantly written story Ms. Blackburn, I absolutely loved it. I am looking forward to book 2. I highly recommend The Doctor’s Daughter: Journey to Justice.


An Author’s Journey through Reading

Author’s Website: belleblackburn.com

1. When did you start reading?
Age four. I loved being read to better than anything but for some reason my mother did not want to spend her entire day doing that. My brother was two years older and every day he would come home from school and teach me what he had learned and I was absolutely thrilled to not have to depend on someone else to read to me.

2. What was the first book you remember reading? What was the first book that had a real ‘wow’ factor for you?
I do not remember sadly. I was a real fan of kid mysteries in my early elementary years. I remember reading Black Beauty, which just fueled my obsession with having a horse (didn’t happen in my subdivision!).

3. What attracted you to or got you started reading?
Being read to started the whole thing.

4. What genres have you read? Was there any progression to the genres you’ve read over the years? Did you start in one genre and then discover others the older you got? i.e. scifi and then romance, then paranormal, then espionage…
I have always liked a good mystery. I also like to read a book where I learn something. I read Gone with the Wind when I was 14. I knew there had been a Civil War at some point but it was just boring history facts. When I read that it brought home the humanity of the people who endured that event. I saw the movie and the scene with all those injured soldiers stayed with me. So that got me started on historical fiction, which I now write. History is learned easily when it is the background of a good story. I would never have gone looking for information on the French Revolution but I learned a lot reading the Josephine B. series. I have just never read any paranormal (outside of the little bit in Outlander), sci-fi or fantasy. I have also never read a typical romance book. General fiction is fine. A good biography is fine. I just want a good story. Overall I am probably a history and mystery kind of gal.

5. Who are your favorite authors and when did you start following them?
Susan Howatch has been a big influence, who was very proliferative but no longer writes. She helped me to see that just because you think you know a situation or a person’s mind, you are likely 100% wrong. She was a master at delving into people’s complicated heads. She was brilliant. Margaret Mitchell had a big influence as I discovered her book as a teenager.

6. What genre(s) do you read today?
Outside of fantasy and sci-fi (which I plan to eventually try someday) I will read anything that catches my attention and comes recommended. Nothing like a personal recommendation. Sells more books than ads hands down. A nice NPR interview also will make me check out a book. I like a good biography.

7. What do you like in a story? What does it have to have to grab you?
Something has to actually happen. Ambience and description are nice in small doses but it has to actually be about something. I like to get inside a character’s head and motivation and go on an adventure with them. I love to find a book that I just can’t stop reading and get some sleep.

8. What got you started with writing? And how long have you been writing?
I have planned to write my whole life but life itself kept happening. In my bio it explains how I got started a few years ago.

9. What do you like to write about?
I find that I am most comfortable writing about real, true life. When I was pregnant for the first time I read every book on the subject, which was a complete waste. The “discomfort” of giving birth was described, when what I experienced was so awful I thought people would die if they hurt that much. And babies might be colicky for a couple of hours in the evening. Try 19 straight hours of screaming. I prefer to not sugar coat life but tell it as it is. I might add here that I love my children very much! Life with babies is just not always a Hallmark commercial.

10. What are you currently working on?
The sequel to The Doctor’s Daughter: Journey to Justice.

11. How did you come up with your plot for your latest book?
History dictates a lot of my storyline. I am picking up where the last one left off, which is soon after the Union has occupied Nashville in 1862. The plot for this one was set by the end of the first one.

12.Anything else you’d like to share?
I love my readers!

Author’s books:
The Doctor’s Daughter: Journey to Justice (sequel on the way).


bhuff copyAuthor’s Bio:
Belle Blackburn

I was the little nerdette with a library card in my hand, reading the kiddie books and planning what I would write. Come college time accounting seemed a more certain way to bring in a dollar so journalism was a minor. Writing was put on the back burner while dollars were made and kids and parents were raised, however, reading was always on the front burner. Probably my biggest influences would be Susan Howatch, Diana Gabaldon and Margaret Mitchell. A conversation with my husband 20 years earlier about suicide vs. murder percolated in the back of my mind and then announced it wanted to be written. I obeyed and out came The Doctor’s Daughter: Journey to Justice. The history of Nashville during the Civil War is just so interesting and so important at that time but most people won’t sit down with a history book so I sneaked the history and the antebellum law and medicine in with a good story. Painless education!

Where can these books be purchased (please indicate paperback &/or ebook &/or audiobook) – you can include the link with the book when you list it.

Paperback can be ordered through any bookstore but easiest and quickest way is through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Doctors-Daughter-Journey-Justice/dp/0615690955
Ebook can be ordered through Amazon at the above link.

How and where to connect with this author:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/belle.blackburn.3
GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6620920.Belle_Blackburn

Deviation by Christine Manzari

This post is part of a cover reveal for the re-release of Christine Manzari’s DEVIATION. One randomly drawn winner will be awarded a $25 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Being a Sophisticate of the Program seems like it’d be a pretty sweet deal: a little genetic alteration and anyone can be smarter, faster, and stronger. It’s a dream come true. All you have to give up is your freedom.

Cleo is a Sophisticate and she has a bright future in the Program. But she has a secret. When she gets upset, bad things happen. Explosive things. Things she can’t control.

When her secret is discovered, she’s sent to the Academy to train in the military branch of the Program. She’s destined to be a human weapon in the war that’s been going on since Wormwood occurred nearly 30 years ago. She soon learns that although her ability is unique, there are others like her — other Sophisticates with lethal skills and odd code names like Archerfish and Mimic Octopus.

Immersed in a dangerous game of supernatural powers and dubious motives, Cleo doesn’t know who to trust. Ozzy, the annoyingly attractive cadet who has perfect aim in weapons class and deviant lips behind closed doors, begs her not to use her powers. He’s the golden boy of the Program, but can she trust him? Or will she find herself a target, caught in his crosshairs?

Enjoy an excerpt:

My hands were shaking. My blood was on fire and my skin was crawling as if my insides were actually boiling. Air. I needed air. I tried to crawl off the bed and get to the window, but the words from the email were blazing through me — a bellowing inferno of indignation.


Cease and Desist.






My hands covered my ears as the words screamed through my head. Or was I screaming?

Pressure was building inside me and I just wanted to let it go, to feel relief. It was too much. I was too hot.


The computer exploded, throwing flaming plastic and metal across the bed. The television answered with its own death, spewing its fiery innards onto the desk and floor, igniting the carpet instantly. The rage in my chest echoed like a heartbeat and with each pulse, something in the room burst into flames. In less than a minute, I was surrounded by broken and burning bits of my room, all of them melting or on fire. A small untouched circle of floor under my feet was my haven, my island in the disaster. Flames raced up the drapes, licking at the ceiling as shards of glass from the window fell inward with an eerie tinkling.

I stared in disbelief, unable to move, as the room burned around me and smoke curled to the ceiling like agitated ghosts. The goldfish flopped helplessly among the wet rubble of his shattered home. Pictures hanging on the wall curled up in the heat, catching flame and falling to the floor in large, ashy flakes.

What had I done?

About the Author:

The first thing Christine does when she’s getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She’s addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. Books, books, books. She also has a weakness for adventure, inappropriate humor, and coke (the caffeine-laden bubbly kind). Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.

Website: www.christinemanzari.com

Email: christine@christinemanzari.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChristineManzari

Twitter: twitter.com/Xenatine

Instagram: instagram.com/xenatine

Pinterest: pinterest.com/xenatine/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/Christine_Manzari

Buy the book at Amazon, Smashwords, or Smashwords.


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The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis

Cover_The Clock Strikes Midnight 2The Clock Strikes at Midnight
by Joan C. Curtis



The Clock Strikes Midnight is a race against time in a quest for revenge and atonement. This is a story about hate, love, betrayal and forgiveness.

If you found out you had only 3 months to live, what would you do? That’s the question Janie Knox faces in this fast-paced mystery full of uncertainty and tension that will surprise you until the very last page.

Hiding behind the façade of a normal life, Janie keeps her family secrets tucked inside a broken heart. Everything changes on the day she learns she’s going to die. With the clock ticking and her time running out, she rushes to finish what she couldn’t do when she was 17—destroy her mother’s killer. But she can’t do it alone.

Janie returns to her childhood home to elicit help from her sister. She faces more than she bargained for when she discovers her sister’s life in shambles. Meanwhile her mother’s convicted killer, her stepfather, recently released from prison, blackmails the sisters and plots to extract millions from the state in retribution. New revelations challenge Janie’s resolve, but she refuses to allow either time or her enemies to her stop her from uncovering the truth she’s held captive for over 20 years.




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“Daddy, when I get my kitty, can I name him Davy?” she had asked, yanking Marlene’s Davy Crockett mug full of M&M’s from her grasp.

The colorful candy spilled all over the backseat of the car.

“Mama, tell Janie to—”

“Janie, behave,” Daddy said, admonishing her for an instant with his eyes from the rearview mirror.

“Malcolm, look out—!” Mom screamed.

Janie slammed into Marlene. Pain. The world tumbled topsy-turvy. The mug flew across the interior of the car, colors of the rainbow falling all around her.

Then, everything went black.

When she opened her eyes, Mom’s blood-streaked face rose in front of her out of the darkness.

“Wrap your arms around my neck, honey.” Mom lifted her from the wreckage.

Janie clutched her doll by the dress while the rain beat her curly hair flat.

Marlene stood on the side of the road.

“Try to walk,” Mom said, toppling her from her arms.

Her head pounded and blood trickled down her leg. She leaned on her good leg and limped in the direction of her sister.

“Mama, where’s Daddy?” Marlene asked between sobs.

Mom took Marlene’s hand and yanked her forward with Janie in tow.

Marlene lurched back toward the smashed Oldsmobile with smoke billowing from its hood and a big tree lying across the roof. The Davy Crockett mug lay shattered by the back tire.

“Daddy! We can’t leave Daddy!” Marlene yelled, picking up pieces of the broken glass.

They had left Daddy that day and piled into an old Chevy pick-up truck with a bashed in headlamp, belonging to a man with carrot-red hair. Mom pushed them inside the truck and ordered the man to get help. But by then it was too late for Daddy.

It was too late for all of them.

Interview with Joan C Curtis

1. Do you have any phobias? Not really. I don’t particularly like snakes, but I wouldn’t call it a phobia.

2. Ever broken any bones? Never have. I guess I didn’t play at anything dangerous. I was a girlie girl. I did play badminton in the backyard but I guess I was smart enough never to run into any trees.

3. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Coffee. Actually coffee is probably my favorite everything.

4. If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why? Jane Eyre because she isn’t beautiful, but she’s smart and she finally gets the man she loves in the end.

5. What part of the writing process do you dread? Getting the rejections. When we work so hard on our writing, to get a rejection without any reason is very hard. It’s like a slap in the face. But, I’ve learned to move forward.


Author Pic_The Clock Strikes MidnightAUTHOR Bio and Links:
Joan Curtis authored four business books published by Praeger Press. She is also published numerous stories, including:

• Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004
• A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint River Review, 1996
• Jacque’s Story in From Eulogy to Joy, 2002
• The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997
• A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997,
• My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994

Her first place writing awards include : Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants competition, best proposal for a nonfiction piece in the Harriette Austin competition, and best story, Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar in the Cassell Network of Freelance Writer’s Association.

Other Books:

Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA 2012.

The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, Praeger Press, 2010, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA

Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, 2009, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA.

Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives, 2000 published by Quorum Books, Greenwood Press.

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner. She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

Links: website: http://www.joancurtis.com

Blog: http://www.joancurtis.com/blog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/joanccurtisauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/joancurtis

MuseItUp Publishing Author’s page: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/52-our-authors/authors-c/455-joan-curtishttps://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/52-our-authors/authors-c/455-joan-curtis


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Mask of The Verdoy by Phil Lecomber

MEDIA KIT Cover - high res (2)Mask of the Verdoy
by Phil Lecomber



LONDON, 1932 … a city held tight in the grip of the Great Depression. GEORGE HARLEY’S London. The West End rotten with petty crime and prostitution; anarchists blowing up trams; fascists marching on the East End.

And then, one smoggy night …

The cruel stripe of a cutthroat razor … three boys dead in their beds … and a masked killer mysteriously vanishing across the smoky rooftops of Fitzrovia.

Before long the cockney detective is drawn into a dark world of murder and intrigue, as he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the very security of the British nation.

God save the King! eh, George?

THE 1930s … thinking debutantes, Bright Young Things and P. G. Wodehouse? Think again—more like fascists, psychopaths, and kings of the underworld. GEORGE HARLEY’S London is a city of crime and corruption … of murder most foul, and smiling, damned villains.

In part an homage to Grahame Greene’s Brighton Rock, and to the writings of Gerald Kersh, James Curtis, Patrick Hamilton, Norman Collins and the other chroniclers of London lowlife in the 1930s, Mask of the Verdoy also tips its hat to the heyday of the British crime thriller—but unlike the quaint sleepy villages and sprawling country estates of Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot, George Harley operates in the spielers, clip-joints and all-night cafés that pimple the seedy underbelly of a city struggling under the austerity of the Great Slump.

With Mussolini’s dictatorship already into its seventh year in Italy, and with a certain Herr Hitler standing for presidential elections in Germany, 1932 sees the rise in the UK of the British Brotherhood of Fascists, led by the charismatic Sir Pelham Saint Clair. This Blackshirt baronet is everything that Harley despises and the chippy cockney soon has the suave aristocrat on his blacklist.

But not at the very top. Pride of place is already taken by his arch enemy, Osbert Morkens—the serial killer responsible for the murder and decapitation of Harley’s fiancée, Cynthia … And, of course—they never did find her head.

Mask of the Verdoy is the first in the period crime thriller series, the George Harley Mysteries.


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Excerpt Three:

STILL CLUTCHING THE distraught Gladys close to him the Italian moved forwards and fired up at the cage, the round ricocheting off the bars, briefly illuminating the gloom with a spray of sparks. Harley hunkered down, swore, and redoubled his efforts, finally forcing the catch and dropping through the small opening just as another bullet passed inches from his head.

The cage slewed as he dropped inside, the box of dynamite shifting a little to the left.

Now that his eyes had adjusted to the darkness he could quite plainly make out the length of two-core cable running through a drilled hole in the side of the box of explosives and out through the cage, snaking away into the gloom. He turned to peer through the bars—and was dismayed to see the second hand of the oversized clock ticking past the three minute mark.

He quickly lay down and started to crawl towards the bomb, the cage listing dangerously to and fro.

Girardi now fired again; this time the bullet made it through the bars to clatter terrifyingly around the inside of the cage.

‘Smith! You still there?’ shouted Harley, feeling in his jacket for his penknife.

‘You betcha, guv!’ came a voice from the gloom.

‘Shine a spotlight down there on that cowson, would yer? Try and dazzle him for me. Make it sharpish, now! We’ve only got seconds before this bloody thing goes up.’

The Main Things that Inspire my Writing

Our innate need for stories.

As humans we have an innate need for stories; those stories might be in the form of films, novels, gossip, jokes, news articles, songs … whatever—it’s all storytelling.

The wonderful Angela Carter included a story from Kenya in one of her anthologies of fairy fales (Marina Warner cites this tale in the introduction to her excellent book “From the Beast to the Blonde”). I think this Kenyan folktale sums it up quite nicely:

The wife of the Sultan has grown ill and is wasting away in the palace, while the wife of a poor man in the village thrives. The poor man is summoned by the Sultan who demands to know the secret of his wife’s happiness. ‘Oh, that’s easy,’ says the poor man. ‘I just feed her the meat of the tongue.’ The Sultan immediately sends out for every type of tongue that money can buy—ox tongue, larks’ tongue, lambs’ tongue … but still the Sultana withers away. Eventually the Sultan demands that the two wives swap places; no sooner has the exchange taken place than the Sultana, now living in the village with the poor man, starts to thrive; whereas the poor man’s wife, surrounded by the luxury in the palace, withers away.

You see, what the Sultan didn’t understand was that the “meats of the tongue” that the poor man fed his wife were in fact stories … they nourish us all, from king to peasant.

Writing keeps me (relatively) sane

The act of writing fiction (and of course of reading it too), helps us exercise those psychological muscles. Creating (hopefully) well-rounded fictional characters is an excellent way of practising Theory of Mind (often abbreviated as ToM)—the ability to attribute mental states (beliefs, intents, desires etc.) to others and therefore understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own. This is key to maintaining healthy relationships, both at home and in society.

Creating plot and motivation also gives us an opportunity to be more inward-looking in an increasingly frenetic world; forcing us to contemplate the consequences of an individual’s actions and the relative value of external events. All in all it’s a great form of mental health workout!

It’s a much-needed outlet for my creativity

I’ve always thought of myself as a creative type of person (I studied Art at college, and wrote and performed music for years), but we can all benefit from having a creative aspect to our lives. It’s widely recognized that creativity can help improve self-esteem, motivation and achievement. It also better equips us to ask ‘what if?’ when things don’t go according to plan; to be more experimental with our problem solving. That can only be a good thing.
The 1930s period setting of my writing gives me that much-needed ‘authenticity’ in a superficial age

This is probably just me turning into a grouchy old man, but it seems like modern life has become shallower, more superficial. No longer are we looking to be particularly moved or challenged by our contemporary culture but simply titillated, entertained. The plethora of reality television programmes and the hunger for talentless-celebrity, “Big Brother”, “The X Factor” (I’m writing this from the UK, but I know you guys in the US have the equivalent output – actually, I think you even have Simon Cowell now as well, apologies for that!) … it’s like junk food, it OK at filling a gap but it’s not exactly nourishing.

So I think one of the reasons that I was inspired to write about the interwar period is that the past, by its very nature, has ‘authenticity’ – an idea played around with by Michael Crichton in his novel “Timeline”. This craving for authenticity is one of the reasons I spent such a long time researching the slang and idioms of London in the 1930s.


Apparently Confucius said: “What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.” But I’m guessing he never wrote a period crime thriller.

I think, to be honest, one of the reasons we create something so complex and time-consuming as a novel is for people to say ‘Well done! You can do this; you can now call yourself a writer.’ Or musician, or actor, or … you get the point.

George Harley

Then, of course, there’s George himself; now that I’ve breathed life into my main character it’s going to be pretty difficult to ignore that voice in my head!


MEDIA KIT Phil Lecomber author portrait 2AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Phil Lecomber was born in 1965 in Slade Green, on the outskirts of South East London—just a few hundred yards from the muddy swirl of the Thames.

Most of his working life has been spent in and around the capital in a variety of occupations. He has worked as a musician in the city’s clubs, pubs and dives; as a steel-fixer helping to build the towering edifices of the square mile (and also working on some of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as Tower Bridge); as a designer of stained-glass windows; and—for the last quarter of a century—as the director of a small company in Mayfair specializing in the electronic security of some of the world’s finest works of art.

All of which, of course, has provided wonderful material for a novelist’s inspiration.

Always an avid reader, a chance encounter as a teenager with a Gerald Kersh short story led to a fascination with the ‘Morbid Age’— the years between the wars. The world that Phil has created for the George Harley Mysteries is the result of the consumption and distillation of myriad contemporary novels, films, historical accounts, biographies and slang dictionaries of the 1930s—with a nod here and there to some of the real-life colourful characters that he’s had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with over the years.

So, the scene is now set … enter George Harley, stage left …

Phil lives in the beautiful West Country city of Bath with his wife, Susie. They have two sons, Jack and Ned.







Phil Lecomber interviewed by Crime Fiction Lover



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Found Near Water by Katherine Hayton

MEDIA KIT Found, Near Water - Kindle CoverFound, Near Water
by Katherine Hayton



Rena Sutherland wakes from a coma into a mother’s nightmare. Her daughter’s is missing – lost for four days – but no one has noticed; no one has complained; no one has been searching.

As the victim support officer assigned to her case, Christine Emmett puts aside her own problems as she tries to guide Rena through the maelstrom of her daughter’s disappearance.

A task made harder by an ex-husband desperate for control; a paedophile on early-release in the community; and a psychic who knows more than seems possible.

And intertwined throughout, the stories of six women; six daughters lost.



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On the fifteenth of March 2007 I came home after a short day’s work, and Emma wasn’t there. Jacob was, but he was unconscious on the bed and from the smell of him he hadn’t got to that state accidentally.

There were the police asking endless questions. There was the media attention and my daughter’s photo pasted across the front page of a lot of newspapers. She didn’t look anything like those photos. She was living, breathing, full of motion and life and energy. She would snuggle in next to me on a weekend morning and run a length of my hair through her pudgy wee hands and exclaim in admiration ‘Mummy. You’re so pretty.’

I thought that not knowing was the worst thing I could ever endure. Not knowing if she was in trouble or needing my help or in pain. I worried that she’d been taken by someone that would hurt her, then I worried that she’d been taken by someone who would love her and care for her and in a year or two she’d have forgotten I ever existed. Not knowing was killing me.

But it turned out that knowing was far worse. When I went to the hospital to identify my beautiful girl’s broken body – that was worse than not knowing. When I buried her in the cemetery and compared the size of the gravesite to the other freshly buried bodies – that was worse than not knowing. When I drank myself to sleep on the anniversary of her sixth birthday, and realised that I would likely be doing that until my life ended – that was worse than not knowing.

Interview with Katherine Hayton

1. What is the first curse word that comes to mind? How often and why do you use it?
Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. Often. Although I don’t say it out loud nearly as often as my head provides it. I don’t curse much at all, really. You want to show some sort of restraint with swearing, it gives it much more emotional power when you do let loose. I usually save it up for situations involving far more physical pain than my low thresholds are used to, or when someone scares the shit bejesus out of my. My characters could learn a bit of a lesson from that. They swear far more often than I do. But they swear far less than I think it.

2. How would you spend ten thousand bucks?
Quickly and easily. Yes, I would like those return business class tickets to New York – wait! Where’d it go?

3. What are 5 things within touching distance?
My laptop (I’m typing on it right now!), a sheepskin rug that I drape over the leather couch to keep my derriere warm, my Samsung Galaxy 5 phone so I can easily get involved in a quick game of farm heroes if I need to, My Kindle which is crying out for someone to either read more or organise better so that I don’t have endless pages I can’t be bothered to forward through for titles. I wish someone would get onto that. Fast. I’ve developed a habit of buying books that Amazon keep checking to see if I want because I already own a copy. Or two. The last thing is my sheepy. He’s a ten dollar pet-pillow that I bought three years ago thinking it would be given to one of my close (young) relatives as a cheap Christmas present. I still haven’t managed to make myself part with him though. Sometimes you just need a bit of warmth, and holding a pet-pillow is just what you need to make you feel better. It’s like an adult snuggly. Yes there is such a thing. Yes I did mean to say adult.

4. Do you have a crush on anyone?
I fancied the pants off Walter White for a short time, but then he died and I went off him. I don’t need anyone at the moment apart from my darling – he’s the only one for me. Which is handy because crushes take up such a lot of time and effort and I’ve got enough on my plate to deal with in any given day.

5. What is your least favorite word?
Mucus. Especially when it’s paired with any sort of descriptive word. Dribbling mucus. Congealing mucus. Dried, flaking mucus.
Susan tried to snort the mucus back into her nasal passages, she didn’t want to have to wipe her nose again. Some of the gelled mucus ran down into her throat, catching the back of her tongue where her taste buds assured her they didn’t appreciate her efforts. Most continued to dribble in a foul trail down her philtrum until it edged over her upper lip. She rolled over in bed and picked up a tissue to blow and wipe it away. Too late she felt the tissue was damp; she’d already wiped the cold, congealing mucus from the tissue onto her already mucus-laden face. Dried, flaking mucus peeled from the corners of Susan’s nose where it had spread into scabs formed where her skin had been scraped away by tissue after tissue until it was red raw.
See what I mean? Makes you feel ill doesn’t it.
I don’t like the word Pus much either but I’m already feeling squeamish enough without adding anything to that one.


MEDIA KIT Close-Up Author PhotoAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Katherine Hayton is a 41 year old woman who works in insurance, doesn’t have children or pets, can’t drive, has lived in Christchurch her entire life, and currently resides two minutes’ walk from where she was born.
For some reason she’s developed a rich fantasy life. Enjoy.

Amazon Links:

Author Page: amazon.com/author/katherinehayton
Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00LNUMCZ2
Paperback: http://amzn.com/0473279932

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathay1973

Blogger: http://kathay1973.blogspot.co.nz/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Katherine-Hayton/1481785105415848

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8390059.Katherine_Hayton

Website: http://kathay1973.com



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Olympus Confidential by Robert B. Warren

by Robert B. Warren



When a band of super-powered humans stirs up trouble in New Olympia, Zeus knows just who to call.

Wisecracking private investigator Plato Jones is used to cleaning up the gods’ messes. But this might be his most dangerous case yet, placing him deep behind enemy lines, in Tartarus Maximum Security Penitentiary. After infiltrating the enemy’s organization, Plato inches closer to the truth. But he learns a hard lesson along the way: to defeat a villain, he might have to become one himself.

Olympus Confidential skillfully weaves humor and Greek mythology into this fast-paced fantasy. Whether new or returning to the Plato Jones series, fans of thrillers, contemporary fantasy, and Greek mythology will have a tough time putting this one down.



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“Have you heard about the recent bank heist?” Hermes asked.

I had. According to reports, four robbers, all resembling humans, used godlike abilities to murder two security guards, injure a dozen police officers, and cause extensive property damage. Three of them had been captured but no longer displayed superhuman powers. The fourth escaped by flying away, taking the entire haul with him—over a million stolen credits.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Then you know how important it is for us to handle this before it becomes a bigger issue,” Hermes said.

“What’s the matter? You and Daddy Dearest afraid of being overthrown by a few puny humans?”

Anger flashed in Hermes’s eyes. I was still too hung over to care.

“Excuse me?” he said.

“You heard me. Humans have been pushed around by the Gods from the very beginning. And it’s not just us; it’s other races too. Minotaurs, satyrs, giants, anything that walks, crawls, swims, or takes a dump. We’ve all had enough of your crap.”

Hermes grinned unexpectedly. “That’s borderline heresy, Mr. Jones. But considering what you’ve been through, I’ll give you a pass, this time.”


An Author’s Journey through Reading to Writing
Meet Robert B. Warren

1. When did you start reading?
I’ve been reading since childhood. My mom used to read to me when I was very young, which brings me to a funny story. I’d memorize text from the books she read to me, then recite them—while pretending to read—in front of other people, much to everyone’s amazement. From that day on, I associated books and reading with good things.

2. What was the first book you remember reading? What was the first book that had a real ‘wow’ factor for you?
I’ve read a lot of books, but the first one that really stood out was Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. The book takes place in the Southern US during the Depression, and shows the struggles that people went through on a daily basis during that era. It was eyeopening and made me appreciate everything I have. That mentality has stuck with me to this day.

3. What attracted you to or got you started reading?
As a kid, I was a fan of roleplaying video games—Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, etc. These games were story-driven with tons of text dialogue. Reading comprehension was vital to understanding the narrative. I was also really into comic books.

4. What genres (topics) have you read? Was there any progression to the genres you’ve read over the years? Did you start in one genre and then discover others the older you got? i.e. scifi and then romance, then paranormal, then espionage….
I’ve read numerous genres, but I have a special place in my heart for fantasy, mystery, and thrillers. When I was young, my dad and I would watch fantasy and scifi movies together. Eventually, I discovered that some of these films were based on novels, such as the Conan the Barbarian movies. It was surprising to see how different the two versions were, and very intriguing. Nowadays, when I watch a film adaptation of a novel, I always make sure to pick up said novel.

I actually started out writing traditional fantasy. My love of rpgs and comics fueled my creativity during that time. But as I got older, I branched out into other genres, particularly thrillers and paranormal mysteries. Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series had a lot to do with this. The books were fun and fast paced, and inspired me to try my hand at writing something similar.

5. Who are your favorite authors today? What types of books do you like to read today?
Janny Wurts, Raymond E. Feist, the late Robert B. Parker, and Harlan Coben are my all-time favorite authors. Nowadays, I mostly read thrillers and urban fantasy. But I also enjoy a good memoir from time to time, such as Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War and Rebecca Walker’s Black, White and Jewish.

6. What do you like in a story? What does it have to have to grab you?
I typically like a good mixture of action and comedy. But I’m a sucker for urban crime dramas. I’m not very demanding when it comes to what I look for. As long as it keeps my attention and has a likable protagonist, I’m happy.

7. What got you started with writing? And how long have you been writing?
Growing up, I actually wanted to work in the comic industry. I used to draw, ink, and write dialogue for a handful of personal projects. At length, I realized that I was better at writing than drawing and decided to concentrate on the former—so I guess I can say I’ve been writing since my first comic book.

8. What do you like to write about?
I like to write about average people being thrust into crazy situations. The fun is seeing these characters try to make sense of the madness going on around them, while keeping their sanity intact.

9. What are you currently working on?
I recently completed a YA fantasy/thriller. At the moment, I’m working on the next book in the Plato Jones series. It’s turning out to be another wild ride.

10. What inspired the plot for your current novel?
I’d have to say, 80’s pop culture. In the novel, there are several nods to popular franchises from that decade, as well as songs that were popular at the time. I encourage readers to find them all.

11. Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m immensely thankful for the opportunity to connect with readers. You guys are the best! I’ll do my best to keep you entertained.

MEDIA KIT robertbwarrenAUTHOR Bio and Links:

A fan of thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction, Robert B. Warren has been writing stories ever since he could hold a pencil. In 2009, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and creative writing from the University of Alabama. He currently lives in the south.





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Hunting Mariah by J. E. Spina

J.E. Spina’s first novel, Hunting Mariah, is now published to Create Space http://www.createspace.com/5060224. It will be available on Amazon sites in five days and 6-8 weeks to other online sites.

J E. Spina will be offering a giveaway on Goodreads as soon as the Kindle version is available. Please go to her blog for more updates on upcoming links http://jemsbooks.wordpress.com. and website http://jemsbooks.com

Mariah719_edited-1 510x690Synopsis of Hunting Mariah

An insane killer, obsessed with blood and death, seeks revenge with those he perceives wronged him. He is now on the loose. His next victim may be Mariah. During his rampages he writes macabre poems for his victims.

Mariah has lost her memory. Will she remember what has transpired in her past? Can Mariah escape the deadly killer’s grasp? Will she finally be safe? Will the killer be apprehended?

Author’s Bio:

J.E. Spina’s novel has been a long time in coming. She started it over twenty years ago but put it on the back burner until this year when she decided it was time to get it ready for publication.  J.E. Spina is an author of five children’s books, one of which received the Silver Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards. She writes her children’s books under Janice Spina.

J.E. Spina has written three other novels – a spiritual/mystery, historical/drama, and a YA fantasy which she hopes to edit and publish over the next two years. In between she will continue to publish more children’s books under Janice Spina. Besides being an author Janice is also a copy editor, blogger, avid reader, book reviewer and supporter of fellow authors.


To Connect with J.E. Spina

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Buy links:

Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OTN69OY

Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Mariah-J-E-Spina/dp/0692317171/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414105264&sr=1-1&keywords=Hunting+Mariah