11 Jan 2015

“CHIMERAS: A Medical Mystery” by E.E. Giorgi

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“CHIMERAS: A Medical Mystery” by E.E. Giorgi is an excellent medical thriller that opens a variety of issues about genetics and places them in the context of a fairly fast paced and cleverly plotted crime story. It is written competently by an author who knows her science but also knows how to create and keep tension and drama at the same time.

The book feels never dry and is told with the powerfully honest voice of Detective Ulysses / Track Presius, an epigenetic chimera, which gives a unique perspective into his ‘being different’ and how it affects him and his work. He is a well-chosen character with some darker components, a protagonist who can keep your interest. He is joined by a partner in crime and by a scientist, both of are equally fascinating.
The book uses a wonderfully descriptive style and keeps the reader on their toes, with the science and also the crime side of it.
I have read a lot of information about genetics because my partner suffers from haemophilia and so the issues that are raised here in the context of genetic science resonated well with me. I found it particularly rewarding that the author added a section about the science at the end of the book, which clarified a few topics, and reassured me how medically sound and competent the foundations for this story are.
This is a very rewarding read and was even better than I hoped for. A writer to watch.

 Here is a link to my interview with E.E. Giorgi

Author’s blog: http://chimerasthebooks.blogspot.com/

Chimeras: http://smarturl.it/chimeras

Mosaics: http://smarturl.it/mosaics

Gene Cards: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NH8V8OE

And for those who don’t read books but love to stare at images, this is my photography portfolio: http://elenaedi.smugmug.com/

 

08 Jan 2015

“The Human Forged” by Anthony J. Melchiorri

3 Comments Book Reviews

amazonToday I’m pleased to introduce you to a very talented science fiction writer and share my reviews for two of his books.

“The Human Forged” by Anthony J. Melchiorri is a dark and deep psychological science fiction thriller about modern technology and cloning that follows a former US Army Specialist Nick on a misadventure.
Set in 2094 the world has technologically advanced and living ‘natural’, i.e. without technological enhancement or net connection, seems dangerous, particularly as Nick enters an underground rave in an abandoned Estonian prison with a Costa Rican and a Russian girl he literally just met.
To me the technology part of the story seems only too realistic as applications and technological advances replace natural skills and knowledge these days and the book captures current themes and places them into a fascinating future scenario. Melchiorri does a great job at showing us how this has both, advantages and dangers.
Not surprisingly Nick is abducted at the rave and on his break to freedom and back to civilisation we witness with him and his clone James a lot about cloning and some other ongoing conspiracies.
The book has some well paced action scenes, great inventive ideas about a future society, and it reflects well on the human condition and the dangers of cloning. Almost philosophical at times this is a feast for readers who like more substance to their science fiction stories.
A great read.

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Interview with Anthony:
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

When I’m not writing or reading, I’m finishing up my PhD in bioengineering. My research focuses on developing new 3D printed medical devices to treat children born with heart defects. Research constantly exposes me to new ideas and technologies that help inspire each new novel I write. Outside of my research and writing, I’m an avid runner and love to travel when I can.

Tell us about your books.  When did you have the first idea for it? And how did you decide on the characters, plots and title?

My most recently published book, The God Organ, was inspired by the idea of ever-advancing medical technology. Over the past century, we’ve practically doubled the life expectancy of human beings born in developed countries, with developments in medicine and biotechnology a major factor in improving our lives. But I wondered what would happen when certain medical technologies become a luxury. For example, if a company were to develop an artificial organ utilizing tissue and genetic engineering technologies that we are research today, what would happen if only some people could afford the organ? And what would happen if others resented it, if they wanted to destroy that technology?

All the characters and the resulting plot spawned from those questions as I delved into various people and their conflicting roles in the development of the artificial organ, the god organ, that imparted virtual immortality in its recipients.

Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer? Black Market DNA - High Resolution

Since I first wrote “The Bunny Family Goes to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s” in first grade, I loved writing stories. I dabbled in writing while I grew up, concocting short stories and awful poetry. At the University of Iowa, I majored in biomedical engineering and earned a second degree in English, reigniting my passion for writing. At the advice of one of my instructors, I started plugging away more seriously, writing down 500 words a day in a short story or a start to a novel. Making writing a habit, like exercise, was the turning point in my productivity and seriousness as a writer.

Which genre are you most comfortable with and why?

I am most comfortable in the realm of medical thrillers and science fiction. The easiest explanation for that is not only in the books I like to read, but also my experience in the medical device and biomedical research arena. My constant exposure to biotechnology has inspired me to ask many “what if” questions that naturally spawn stories spiced with medicine and technology.

Would you say there is a message in your books beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the readers and reviewers?

I try to not to proselytize too much in any of my books, but I do try to incorporate questions that I hope make readers think by addressing the potential implications of constantly advancing technology. It’s fun to see how readers see these questions in the books but will have drastically different opinions on what they think I meant when I wrote these stories. However, my number one goal has always been to write an entertaining and thought-provoking story without trying to push any specific agenda.

Did you have it all planned out before you write your stories or do the characters and story surprise you?

I do my best to outline my stories. But I often find, about half-way or two-thirds of the way through the book, my characters end up twisting the story and pushing it in new directions. That’s fine with me and I’m constantly adjusting my outline to fit the characters’ decisions.

What is your writing environment like? Do you need silence or music to write?

Most of the time, I write at my kitchen table with a drink within reach of my laptop. Depending on the time of the day, I might have a constantly refilled cup of coffee or just a pint of whatever ale I’ve got in my refrigerator. Music is a constant companion while I write and I couldn’t write without it.

Hot or cold?

I tend to prefer a bit of cold. I find I can always layer up to stay warm, but when it’s too hot out, there’s only so much I can take off before I get arrested.

How do you handle criticism of your work? 

1.) Not everyone is going to like your writing, and that’s okay. And 2.) you can learn from readers’ criticisms to constantly improve your writing. In my opinion, writing is a craft that can constantly be honed and I hope to continue doing so for the rest of my life.

Buy links:

The God Organ – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NPKZ87C

Enhancement – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L00LWBU

The Human Forged – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NBGD8EK

 

Social media:

Website: http://anthonyjmelchiorri.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anthonyjmelchiorri

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tony_melchiorri

 

God Organ B“The God Organ” by Anthony J. Melchiorri is an accomplished and thought-provoking medical thriller that touches upon a lot of contemporary issues within a plot rich and well paced storyline.

Immortality is within reach.

In 2063, a biotechnological revolution sweeps the nation. Behind this movement is Chicago-based medical giant LyfeGen. The company dominates the biotech industry with their Sustain, an implantable artificial organ designed to grant its recipients near-immortality. But many of those recipients are suddenly dying.

Biomedical scientist Preston Carter developed the Sustain to improve and save lives. Yet there are others that would see him fail. Extreme religious groups, radical movements, and competing corporations would prefer to see LyfeGen collapse rather than allow “the god organ” to fundamentally alter medicine and the human body. In a race against time, Carter must learn to trust resourceful journalist Audrey Cook. She may hold the key to discovering who is sabotaging the Sustain. And with the organ already implanted in his own body, Carter must uncover the truth before he’s killed by his invention.

THE GOD ORGAN is a near-future medical thriller that takes the reader on a suspenseful ride filled with sinister conspiracies, intriguing biomedical science, and rampant corruption that will leave readers wondering just how dangerous becoming a god may really be.

The book raises a lot of questions, such as medical and industrial ethics and the clash between technological advancements with religious beliefs. As the title gives away, there is controversy around the ‘god organ’.

The book is entertaining with a good pace, interesting characters and a really well chosen subject.

Very enjoyable.

05 Jan 2015

Pre-release Review of THE HEALER #asmsg

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healer cover for kindleThanks Anna Burke for this amazing pre-release review of THE HEALER
The book will be released Jan 15th and is available for preorder already
Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller

The Healer by Christoph Fischer is a book you must read as soon as it is released. You do not want to run the risk that the buzz about the book will spoil this thriller for you. The book is, of course, well-written. It’s a quick read that you will want to hurtle through in an afternoon, or over a weekend. At its core are interesting, enigmatic characters, and a clever plot. The story is told from the point of view of the main character, Erica Whittaker, who in midlife is diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It comes as no surprise that she’s desperate. Traditional medicine has nothing more to offer her. She is about to give up and accept her fate when, at the urging of her devoted office assistant, Hilda, Erica decides to pursue another path. That path takes her to the door of a once-renowned faith healer, Arpan. Using a different name, the man is, virtually, a recluse. A man with a mysterious past, Arpan also possesses a great gift, as testimonials from previous recipients of his healing bear out. He is, at first, reluctant to treat Erica. When he finally takes Erica on as a client, his treatment unleashes a series of unfortunate events, as big pharma and other opponents from his past, line up against him. Erica, who has secrets of her own, soon finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue, being stalked, cornered, and manipulated, fighting for her life. Will she survive? What will happen to Arpan, and those around him? You’ll have to read the book, of course, to find out. Quite entertaining and well worth the read, this book is highly recommended.

The Healer

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/TheHealerNovelbyChristophFischer?ref=hl
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23662030-the-healer

 

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22 Dec 2014

Proof reading done – in time for X-mas – ARC available now

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Sleepless nights, day and night shifts in a battle against time but we made it. Proof reading for THE HEALER is over before the family takes X-mas residence in our house. PHEW. alone-62253__18010805611_10152384793562132_1943034565340600365_n10847351_10152384793482132_2567215174734993777_o

 

Interested parties for a pdf or mobi advance review copy please get in touch.

“The Healer” is also available for pre-order on Amazon

and you can find The book on Goodreads 

and on Facebook 10873399_10152397846467132_4198746476491138703_ounnamed

I’ll try to be quiet for a few days now, so

MERRY X-MAS to you all –

or: Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

and Frohe Weihnachten!

 

 

So the first review for THE HEALER  is out – from an early Advance Review Copy, and althought it is another month before the book is out, this is too good to keep to myself. Thanks Paulette Mahurin for this excellent write-up and the 5 stars: 

“The story opens with Erica, a pancreatic cancer patient, having just finished a bout of radiation. She is out in the Wales’ countryside in search of a Guru healer, Arpan. The lush marketing4countryside descriptions and crisp dialogue instantly drew me into the story, as well as my instant liking and empathy for the protagonist Erica, who’s desperate to find a cure to her illness. Arpan is her answer and when she is immediately rejected by him, his icy voice (coming from inside his humble dwelling) jumps off the page as she begs, “I’m very ill. You are my only hope,” he responds, “You’ve come to the wrong place.” She continues to beg him to share his gift, to save her life, even with this, he asks her to leave. How can one not want to continue reading this story to find out what happens, so thick is the initial tension and conflict that drives the story. When she falls to her knees and he softens a little she says his name and he again rejects her stating that his name is Amesh, one that suits him better. He explains that the man who could help her disappeared with the name, garnering some sympathy for this character, leaving the reader to wonder what his story is and why he is so resistant to helping this struggling, suffering woman. Finally, he comes out of his home and they meet. He’s not what she expected, a bare shell of the man she’d seen images of, a mere reflection of his earlier self as Arpan. When Amesh’s apprentice, Anuj, leads her off the property there is much rich and wise dialogue, “I’m his apprentice and I, too, can see the disorder in your life that needs to be rectified. You carry hurt and anger with you. Your disease has prompted you to fast track those issues and sort them out. Look into your heart and you will find this to be true.” Her car is broken down and she is told to walk to the nearest place but when she arrives no one is there so she returns to Amesh’s place. Then Amesh, invites her in to rest. When she felt Amesh’s hands on her shoulders, the warmth of his hands radiated powerfully through her body. And thus, the healing begins—for both of them. As the author Christoph Fischer moves the story along, we encounter mysterious events, intrigue, and the power of the mind interspersed into scenes and dialogue. When all is said and done, and Erica returns to have her follow-up scans, an unfriendly doctor challenges her with, “What is it you want from this scan,” Dr Kowalski asked, still in a tone that sounded unfriendly. “The notes from your doctor indicate clearly that the tumor is very advanced, and you know that. So why are we looking at it again? Is it a second opinion you want, or do you want to see how fast it grows?” No spoilers with how this all turns out but one can surmise they will be glued to the page as they navigate through corruption, betrayal, illusions, and one mystery after another, right up to the very last sentence in the epilogue, which I didn’t see coming. This was an interesting read, a very satisfying read, with so much of the human condition playing into the scenes: desperation, fear, hope, joy, conniving, greed, and trust. Another great story by the talented Christoph Fischer.

“The Healer” is available for pre-order on Amazon

You can also find The book on Goodreads 

and on Facebook healer cover for kindle

 

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

 

 

 

Scheduled Release Date is Thursday January 15 2015

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Short Biography: P1120877

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath.  He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. “Time To Let Go” , his first contemporary work was published in May 2014, and “Conditions” in October 2014. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

03 Dec 2014

Cover Reveal for my medical thriller – “The Healer”

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Today I proudly present the cover for my forthcoming new book – “The Healer”, a medical thriller due to be released Jan 2015.
Cover artist Daz Smith has outdone himself, if I may say so.

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When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

Scheduled Release Date is Thursday January 15 2015

marketing1a

Short Biography: P1120877

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath.  He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. “Time To Let Go” , his first contemporary work was published in May 2014, and “Conditions” in October 2014. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

21 Nov 2014

Interview with Eden Baylee, author of “Stranger at Sunset”

18 Comments Book Reviews, News

 

“Stranger at Sunset” by Eden Baylee is a fantastic read. So much, that I read it twice. I first noticed Eden through her blog and didn’t realise for too long what a gifted writer she is. Her thriller is amazing (my review is below) and her adult fiction has literary quality. Today I am proudly presenting you with an interview with Eden.

Hi Eden, I must say, your bio is very impressive. Tell us about your transition from banking to writing?

Thanks so much for inviting me on your terrific blog, Christoph. It’s so cozy here. eden

The transition took twenty years and hasn’t been easy, but it’s been tremendously rewarding. I actually left my job after ten years to pursue a writing career the first time. I moved to NYC and immersed myself in the writing scene there. Unfortunately, not long after, I was diagnosed with cancer—bad timing! It forced me to move back to Canada for treatment. The process of getting my health back took about two years, and by then I was not financially sound.

I had to return to work and thought I’d only stay for a year or two before leaving again. Who knew it would take another ten years before I got up the nerve to do it?

All I can say is I was in a much better position to leave the second time. I would encourage writers to keep their day jobs unless they are able amass enough savings to last at least 3-5 years. I was never able to work a full-time job and write, so I had to make a choice.

What made you decide to be a writer? Have you always written?

Before I was ever a writer, I was and still am an avid reader.  Reading and writing have been passions of mine from when I was young, though I can’t say I ever thought I would become a writer professionally. I just never considered it a financially viable profession for me when I was in my twenties. At the time, I was concerned with material things.

That changed over the years of course. Life is not just about money and things. It’s about what makes me happy, and the combination of a life-threatening illness and not being happy in my job made me rethink my priorities.

Writing may not be bringing me riches monetarily (not yet anyway), but I’m much happier with where I am in life right now.

You started off with Erotica but even there you’ve written quite deep characters. I was surprised to find you turn to crime fiction instead of a literary theme. Tell us about the transition. Cover_small

I read my first book of erotic fiction when I was eleven, and it definitely affected my psyche. The novella was Story of O by Pauline Réage. I started with erotica because I enjoy reading well-written stories about love, romance, and sex as relevant to the story. The genre, however, works best as short novels, approximately 25K – 35K words. I’d written eight of them and compiled them into two anthologies. (Fall into Winter and Spring into Summer). After that, it was time to move on.

I’ve been a reader of many genres, and mystery/suspense novels have always interested me. I also needed a challenge. Writing Stranger at Sunset was challenging because it forced me to plot. There are intricate threads in my book that will be carried over to the next two books since it’s the first of a trilogy. With short stories, I rarely had to plot.

The transition to writing a full-length novel really tested me. It made me feel much more confident about my writing, more so than for the fact that I changed genres.

Who are your favourite crime authors?

I love the classical writers and I’ve read some excellent indie writers too. A short list of authors I enjoy are: Dashiell Hammett, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler,  Elmore Leonard,  James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, Patricia Highsmith.

For good indie mystery/thriller/crime writers, there are too many to mention, but you can find many of them interviewed on my blog. I tend to support the writers I enjoy reading as I want to see them succeed and continue to write.

I love your blog posts, especially the music ones. Tell my readers about them and about your connection to music. 

Thank you for your compliment, Christoph! I’m a fan of 60s and 70s rock, blues, and jazz, so music is something I enjoy very much. I also play harmonica and guitar, though neither proficiently.

As a child, I grew up with music based on the taste of older influencers. Cousins, aunts and uncles shared their record collections with me, and that’s the music that touches me the most, even today.

There is so much ‘bad’ music out there, so in blogging about what I enjoy, I am also re-discovering music I haven’t listened to in some time. Perhaps in the process, I’m sharing what I like with a new generation.

Music, as a universal language, unites people. By blogging about it, it’s another way for me to connect to others.

You’ve written great characters. Would you say you’re like any of them? Or, how do you create your characters?  Did you have any actors or people in mind when writing your characters?

In formulating a story, my main focus is on characterization. I believe that a story exists because the characters make it happen. Even though my book, Stranger at Sunset is a mystery/thriller and considered genre fiction, it doesn’t imply you can have a great plot at the expense of great characters. 

I enjoyed Dr. Kate Hampton, the protagonist of the book. I relate to her, which in itself is a little scary. Some readers have said she is not likeable. Others think she is terrific. It’s a strangely dichotomous reaction, but I can understand why. For me, she represents two sides of one person – the one you show to the world and the one you keep hidden.

I would say many of us keep parts of ourselves hidden, even to the people closest to us. That’s why I think her story is interesting, and why she will have two more books written about her.

As much as I love film, I don’t write a book with specific actors in mind. It’s less important for me who plays the characters. I prefer to think of film directors and how they would convey the overall plot. To that end, I love the filmmaking styles of David Fincher, the Coen Brothers, and Alfred Hitchcock.

What is your writing environment like?

Sitting for long periods of time to write is not a good idea, so I stand at my kitchen counter. Sometimes, I have ankle weights and exercise at the same time. When standing becomes tiring, I stop for a while and take a walk or do yoga or meditate. I like writing by natural light, so that dictates where I write most days.

Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it? Tell us about the artist.

Yes, I use award-winning designer, JB Graphics from Toronto. (http://www.john-beadle.com/). He designs my covers, website, and any other artwork I need. I am involved in most aspects of the design, mainly because visual art interests me.

I also know the message I want to convey, and how a cover can set a mood for a book since it’s the first thing a potential buyer sees.

My requirements for a cover are that it should look professional across all platforms, with a unique design and the right proportion of image and fonts. 

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

As you know, Christoph, being a self-published author is never just about the writing. When we go this route, we expect to do it all, and if we can’t, then we hire professionals to help us.

Given that, each day is somewhat of a juggle to write, read, and promote.

There are many things that need to be done to spread the word of a book before and after it’s written. Selling books is a huge part of being a full-time writer. It’s what pays the bills and allows me to keep writing.

The highs come when I realize I’m living the life I want to live, moment by moment. It’s all about the writing.

The lows come on days when I don’t know if I’m coming or going, when I haven’t slept enough, and I’m “chasing” a story that’s just not happening. Doubt about my abilities as a writer creeps in. I’m not one to wallow, but at one or two in the morning, the mind can play tricks on my self-confidence.

As writing for me can be all-encompassing, I have to force myself to walk away from my laptop and decompress. It’s difficult but it’s necessary.

What is your advice to new writers? 

My main tip is to keep writing. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned by writing continuously. The fact that I cringe a little when reading some of my earlier works is a good thing. It means I’ve moved on from there. I feel the mark of any writer should be to improve with each book they write.

I’d also advise to hit a word count or daily goal you set for yourself. As a writer of fiction, I’m fully aware that my imagination is a function of my brain; the brain is a muscle. And like any muscle, it needs exercise daily or it will atrophy.

What makes you laugh?

Many things and sometimes everything! I love dry, witty English humour, but I also like silly slap-stick. I don’t need anything highbrow, as anything that hints at farting usually makes me giggle.

There’s nothing like having a great belly laugh, the type that doubles you over with tears streaming down your face because you just can’t stop. This usually only happens with a few close friends. I’m convinced they’ve discovered the way to kill me is by making me laugh until I can’t breathe!

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?  

Haha! I suppose if I took someone it would no longer be lonely. I’ve answered this question before and my top 3 things are always the same: 

  1. Solar-powered laptop with an unlimited iTunes account and WiFi. This satisfies my need to read, write, and listen to music.
  2. Power tools to build a proper shelter.
  3. Lip balm because I loathe chapped lips.

Who would you like to invite for dinner? download

You, Christoph, of course! I think you would be an amazing dinner guest – fun, intelligent, and we can even speak in my poor German if you like! I make a wonderful schnitzel, just so you know.

Perfect. It’s a date…
What song would you pick to go with your book?

Actually, Stranger at Sunset has a soundtrack for sale on iTunes. Because of my love for music, I inserted songs into the storytelling, so I have a playlist of approximately thirteen songs that go with the book.

In one of my erotic novellas, “Seduced by the Blues,” the male lead is a blues guitarist, and there are numerous references to music in that book, including one of my all time favourite musicians, Van Morrison.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

I hire a hitman … just kidding. (hehe)

I take criticism of my work as a valuable lesson to improve my writing. If someone reads my work and takes the time to write a review, or to tell me what they thought, then they are doing something very few do. They are making a concerted effort to express their opinions for why they liked or did not like a book.

As an author, you need to have a thick skin, and if you don’t, grow one fast. Our writing will not appeal to everyone. That is just not possible.

If you think the criticism is valid, then learn from it and move on.

If you think the criticism is bullshit, do the same.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, not just professional critics/reviewers. The worst thing is to let negativity paralyze you … so don’t allow this to happen. 

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Hmm… what an interesting question. Toronto, Canada is not known for ‘weird,’ but right now I will say the weather is weird. It’s snowing in mid November. I hate the cold, so I’m not looking forward to this winter. This weird pattern is probably the case for the weather worldwide.

Nice: All the festivals and events we have, along with numerous restaurants. There is never a shortage of things to do and places to eat.

Fact: Toronto is the center of Canada for business, art, and … condominiums. A friend who is a realtor said we have the most condos of any city in all of North America. She must be right because our skyline is littered with cranes and tall buildings. 

What are you working on now?

I’m writing my next novel called, A Fragile Truce, which is the book that follows Stranger at Sunset. I’m excited to see where the main character, Dr. Kate Hampton goes next. I hope my readers will be as well.

Thanks so much Christoph for the opportunity to share with your readers. You are an amazing advocate for indie writers, and I’m so happy we are connected.

Big hugs, eden  eden

Stranger at Sunset by Eden Baylee

Author Bio

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

Author Links

Website | Blog | Amazon Author page US | Amazon Author page UK

Twitter @edenbaylee | Facebook | Goodreads | Youtube | Pinterest | Linkedin

* * *

My review of the book: Cover_small
A group of strangers and acquaintances spend a week together in a holiday resort in Jamaica after a tropical storm has recently devastated parts of it. One of those guests has given the resort a terrible write up in a travel magazine, another is an egotistic self-declared ‘alpha’ male, there are a few couples and house staff and then there is our heroine psychologist Kate.

The atmosphere is loaded with tension between the owner and the reviewer as well as between some of guests, there is plenty of sexual chemistry and the air is also full of secrets, plans and deceits. The focus of the narrative shifts to let us into the minds and thoughts of the well-chosen and perfectly fleshed out characters. They are all multi-dimensional and I ended up feeling for even the less likable ones because of the insights into their pasts or backgrounds. Kate as the trained psychologist is a great character who, with a razor sharp ability to dissect and analyse them, brings further dimensions to our perception and understanding of the cast.
The writing establishes and carries forward an excellent sense of expectation from page one, where a brief and ominous episode with binoculars already whets our curiosity. Atmospheric, stylish and confident Baylee feeds us the story day by day until some big events do take place. I do not wish to spoil the experience by hinting at what is going to happen, only that I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was genuinely surprised by the way everything developed.
I read some of Baylee’s erotic writing which has much more depth than the genre normally calls for and “Stranger at Sunset” is no exception. A psychological thriller of literary quality.

 

Stranger at Sunset (Book summary)

Vacation can be a killer.

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.

 

Available in e-book and print

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon worldwide http://authl.it/B00L7BVDFM

Apple | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo

Also available in Print | iTunes Soundtrack

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15 Apr 2014

NEW RELEASE & REVIEW: “THE BONE CHURCH” by VICTORIA DOUGHERTY

3 Comments Book Reviews

Today I have the privilege of announcing the brand new release of 
21457935“The Bone Church” by Victoria Dougherty. This is her debut novel but Victoria has established herself already as artful writer with her blog COLD.

I was lucky enough to get hold of an ARC. Here is what I thought:

The book is a gripping and atmospheric historical thriller that intelligently weaves two narratives into one another: One is set in 1956 and involves a rescue mission to get a woman out of Czechoslovakia, aided by the Vatican while another plot line is set in German-occupied Moravia and Prague during WW2.

Both plots involve Magdalena, a Jewish woman, and her gentile husband Felix, under-ground hiding and resistance fighters, an assassination plot. The suspense will keep you close to the edge of your seat. The book is both, entertaining with its dramatic curve, and also educational and insightful for those of us who have only basic knowledge of life in Czechoslovakia during and especially after WW2.

Dougherty skilfully portrays life and its difficulties for Jews, Czechs and gypsies under the Nazis with excellently drawn characters, while also providing some lesser known facts and historical events in Czechia and Slovakia; in particular a show trial in 1952 really showed me how little I knew about the post-war period.
Although the level of suspense is always high in the rewarding way of great underground spy thrillers, it never loses sight of the seriousness of the times.

The bone church of the title is a small Roman Catholic chapel in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic and contains artistically arranged bones from skeletons to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. Its symbolism and function as returning focal point for the story contributes to the artful and ever so stylish canvass that the author is painting on.

Dougherty has a sharp and observing mind that can quickly draw a picture, scene or a character with only a few well-chosen words and attributes, but her descriptions go beyond bare skeletons and show how well-researched the book is and how competent the writing.
Her understanding of the human psyche makes her characters either likeable or laughable but always memorable. Her dry sense of humour and wit liven the novel in a welcomed, understated way. Corruption and underhand dealings are seen for what they are, as is naivety. It is hard to pitch irony in a serious novel but the author has done a perfect job at it.

The writing is authentic, stylish, realistic and very addictive. 

8054971

Find the book on Amazon: http://bookShow.me/061598052X

her stunning website
Victoria’s twitter name:
My previous feature on Victoria:
About this author

Victoria Dougherty has for nearly twenty years distinguished herself as a master storyteller, writing fiction, drama, speeches, essays, and television news segments/video scripts.

In Prague, Ms. Dougherty co-founded the acclaimed Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting to sold-out audiences in several Czech plays – from Vaclav Havel’s riveting “Protest” to the unintentionally hilarious communist propaganda play “Karhan’s Men.” Black Box Theater was profiled in feature articles in USA Today, International Herald Tribune, and numerous European publications.

Currently, Ms. Dougherty lives with her family in Charlottesville, VA, and has recently completed a series of thematically linked Cold War spy thrillers. She is represented by Josh Getzler of Hannigan Salky & Getzler

05 Apr 2014

“Shimmer In the Dark: Rogue Genesis” by Ceri London, Review & Interview

3 Comments Book Reviews, News

Rogue One man. Two worlds separated by a universe. Space-time warped by black holes. In the passing of seconds on Earth, Major Niall Kearey has witnessed the birth and death of generations on Astereal. His mind shortcuts light years to visit a fantastical world of floating sky cities populated by telepaths.

Astereal is in decline, the dueling forces of black holes threaten extinction. Ancient prophecy predicts their interstellar visitor brings salvation. As Niall faces the staggering truth – that his alien dream world is real – he and his family are targeted by secret societies, scheming politicians, and the US military.

Time is running out as Astereal races towards annihilation and temporal alignment with Earth. Power brokers vie for control of his capabilities. Niall must act, balancing the needs of Earth, his family, and the alien civilization he has come to know and love. The fate of two worlds rests on Niall Kearey’s shoulders.

My review: Shimmer

“Rogue Genesis” by Ceri London is a complex, highly intelligent and competently written Science Fiction / fantasy thriller. I don’t often read Science Fiction and only let my curiosity get the better of me because several of my friends raved about this book. They were right to do so.

The story is based on a excellent idea: A man from Earth who kind of lives in two worlds at the same time.
The other world, Astereal, is in danger because the fragile balance of black holes holding it in place is coming loose. The concept of time folds, time warps, astral travel or whatever phrase you would like to use for this double excistence is highly original, fascinating and certainly unique. It made the story stand out from others in the genre just for that. With this creative set up, the subplots and the competent military/ technological writing it is impossible to find fault with this book.

Our protagonist, US Air Force Major Niall Kearey, is a splendid character with his own family life, deep thought and with – literally – A LOT on his overloaded mind. The way the author blends the telepathic fantasy side with more technological science fiction and fantasy is brilliant and made me think that maybe I should read scifi books more often. This is a far cry from repetitive and formulaic writing; this novel is innovative and therefore hugely rewarding. 
It is also a gripping thriller, a family story and simply a must read.

Scroll down for an excerpt from the book at the end of this feature and watch the stunning Book Trailer here:  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI9X6qsXtc8&feature=youtu.be

Interview with Ceri:  7055294
Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?  

My first stab at writing a novel was about twenty years ago. I wrote a Star Trek story for fun and, in a moment of delusion, submitted it with high hopes to the authorised publisher of ST novels. Naturally, it was returned in due course. What was I thinking?  Undeterred, I took a writing evening class and wrote several stories that I shared on the internet under a pseudonym. They’ve been long removed and will probably never see the light of day again unless I rewrite them from scratch. Thankfully, writing is a labour of love that can’t help but improve over the course of time. I enjoy crafting an imaginary world and developing the discipline for writing a story that holds people’s attention, although there’s always room for improvement. Then real life got busy and the writing muse went into hibernation up until a few years ago when I enrolled on a Writer’s Bureau course. That got my creative juices flowing again.

Tell us about your Rogue Genesis. When did you have the first idea for it?

Much of the premise behind Rogue Genesis originates from stories I wrote ten years ago. I researched various ideas at the time, so I looked up old bookmarks, and started to research Earth history, related mysteries of the world, electromagnetism, psychic gifts, and anything else that interested me.  That’s when the Shimmer in the Dark concept properly came into being with Rogue Genesis being the first book in the series.

Rogue Genesis is a story about a military man, Major Niall Kearey, who has the unique ability to project his mind through tiny holes in space. I created a doomed world across the universe that exists in a faster timeflow, so he could live on and off with the telepathic civilization that live there, without ever leaving Earth. These aliens have a prophecy that a man from across the stars can save them from extinction, and their time is running out. Niall thinks Astereal is a dream, but he has an uncanny sixth sense for danger that’s been noticed by sinister forces on Earth. They secretly arrange his transfer to an environment that encourages psychic ability, and that’s when Niall begins to wake up to his destiny. The impact on him, his life, and his family, is dramatic, a thrilling rollercoaster ride set on Earth and spanning the universe.

And how did you decide on the characters, plots and title?

I wanted a military man, at home in Special Ops, ruthless when he needs to be, but someone whose prime motivation is saving life. So after a lot of research, I wrote a character with a career based in the US Air Force Special Tactics, whose mission includes retrieving allies and US military in trouble behind enemy lines. I made him a family man who loves his wife and kids, giving him a lot to lose. Although he’s generally a well-adjusted guy, Niall keeps his psychic gifts secret, an issue stemming from his childhood. That secrecy will come to haunt him.

I wrote the outline of the plot as part of my Writer’s Bureau course, but it was frontloaded and centred on the alien’s plight, Niall’s growing abilities, and the different timeflows between the alien planet and Earth. The back end was in my head, but it was too complicated to write down, so I captured it in one line, maybe two. As it turned out, the end changed one night when I hit upon a solution to a problem and that radically altered the scope of the series. It did make the whole project infinitely more complex, but much more interesting to write.

I chose the title Shimmer in the Dark a long time back, and eventually settled on The Boat People as the title for the first book in the series. The aliens were facing extinction, they needed refuge and I thought The Boat People was a really apt title that resonated atmosphere. However, feedback suggested readers would connect it to a Vietnam refugee story, and it wasn’t sci-fi enough. So I looked for an alternative. It took a while to hit upon Rogue Genesis, but now I’m very happy I changed it. Rogue Genesis has more than one meaning that encompasses the story, but that doesn’t become obvious until the end.

What do your family or friends say about your books. Do they mind you taking so much time to write?

My family is very supportive, although they do think I spend way too much time on my laptop. Right now my daughter is having a fascinating, in-depth conversation with her boyfriend, but because I’m typing away, chatting to you, they’re oblivious to my presence. They think I and my laptop are one with the furniture, cocooned in our own little world. Little do they know I can type and listen at the same time!

I must admit I cringe when I discover friends or family are reading Rogue Genesis, I’m so convinced they will decide I’ve left this planet and wonder what possessed me to think I could write let alone publish a science fiction novel. They don’t know I’ve been secretly writing for years. It’s wonderful discovering several of them genuinely got caught up in the story. Their eyes light up as they tell me what they enjoyed most. Some love the science aspects. Others got caught up by the emotional drama. One friend doesn’t usually read science fiction, but it felt so real to her, she ended up feeling that some of it could be based in truth. Another friend’s daughter told me their dad was raving about my book to his family (good raving I hasten to add). That reaction makes all the work worthwhile.

When did you decide to write science fiction? Would you consider writing outside of the genre?

I’ve always written science fiction, but I have dabbled with romance along the way and recently published a racy sci-fi short story for a romance anthology. Any story I write has a thriller edge to it with dark overtones, so I won’t be churning out any chick-lit romance soon.

There is a military side to the story, a futuristic side and a family / personal side. Which one are you most comfortable with?

I carried out a lot of research to get the military side right. One of my earliest beta readers is US military. Generally, I’d got the military aspects right, but his main feedback was that the military characters were too generic—I needed to differentiate my hero as US Air Force.  More research followed, and I found more military beta readers who helped me craft realistic scenes. I also had two excellent beta readers (critique partners/editors) who constantly berated me to stop being so motherly and to let my hero toughen up. Of course, when I did let go, it was great fun. I’ll keep working at it, because I love writing military characters and they are an important ingredient for this series.

I’m definitely more comfortable with the futuristic scenes. Anything feels possible. Of course, the science needs research! Oh, to have a geologist, an anthropologist, and a theoretical physicist on my team. I tend to include too much research in the story and I’m often told to dumb it down. Every now and again I rebel, and some people have commented that they glossed over the science bits, but that it didn’t slow them down, or affect their enjoyment of the story.

So, to answer your question, I’m most at home with the family stuff. In my mind, the story is all about the emotional drama driving a character’s motives and hang ups, and I invest a lot of time on this aspect. My editors then invest a lot of their time cutting it out. I admit, I fret over the most ridiculous stuff, like making sure the kids have had their shots, because I can’t possibly risk them getting malaria—the lectures I got over that one!

Would you say there is a message in your books beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the readers and reviewers?

I didn’t set out to sell a message or theme. Various themes evolved. If I was to try and pinpoint one theme in this story, Rogue Genesis explores what happens when the corrupt and powerful try to direct one man’s instinct to protect and serve in order to secure their selfish interests. In one wonderful review I received, the reader instinctively encapsulated several themes in the book, all without giving the plot away! In many ways she opened my eyes to my own story.

“Yes, a lot of the book made me sick. I want to howl in despair at the horror of the reality of what humans truly are, what they are truly capable of. Of human avarice, hatred, brutality and vicious self-aggrandizement, the truly black and horrific souls within. Sick, in that everything that London writes is so very gut-wrenchingly believable in so many ways. So real within the fictitious world that she creates. Amidst the black holes, space-time jumps, dark matter universes and other fascinating and well-researched portions of the book, London delves into the human psyche, and lays bare its soul. Leiah “So, I Read This Book Today . . .” Amazon

Which part are you most proud of?

There’s a section midway when all Niall’s secrets are leaking out and his family get caught in the crossfire. All hell breaks loose, Niall’s life is upturned in a way he’d never anticipated, and he can’t escape his responsibility for the train wreck that follows. From that moment, he’s in a fight for his life, for his family’s survival, at a time when he’s in turmoil and struggling to work out who he can trust. It’s a pivotal moment for Niall and the story.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

I get a kick out of writing Senator Charles Biron. He’s a complicated antagonist—ruthless, cynical, and manipulative, but his love for his niece is as genuine as it is selfish and controlling. His interest in Niall Kearey is scientific at first, but as the story evolves, and Niall frustrates Charles ambitions, the senator has no qualms messing Niall’s life up even more. And yet, he does have a heart. In the end, his feelings for a woman will prove pivotal to the story, although that will emerge more in the sequel, and it will be very subtle. Blink and readers might miss it. If one of my beta readers had his way, Charles Biron’s atoms would be spread across the cosmos by now, but I continue to defend him to the last. Shimmer

Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it? Tell us about the artist.

My brother is the cover artist. He has experience in special visual effects and would disclaim he is a cover artist, but he did me this huge favour, and I love the cover he conjured up. It has a dynamic quality that is quite stunning. I had a lot of say in the cover, but we fought over the colours. I wanted warmer tones, more vibrant. He put his foot down, and I must concede he was right. There is a beautiful purity to the star background that is magical, and it blends in amazingly with the magnetic forces of the planet. His cover art draws many compliments.

Who are your favourite authors?

I had to name fifteen authors recently for a friend. All these authors wrote books that captured my attention and their stories stayed with me for a long time: Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, David Eddings, Clive Cussler, Anne McCaffrey, James Clavall, Jean M Auel, Patricia Cornwell, Catherine Cookson, Jack London, Richard Adams, John Grisham, James Patterson, Julian May, Stephen R Donaldson. Not in any particular order!

What is your life like outside of writing? 17826638

I tutor piano, so on Saturday mornings and weekdays after school, my home is open to children and their parents. Sometimes, I’m awestruck by the young talent coaxing my rebellious piano to life and it’s fascinating to see them develop. My family is my main focus, and my parents live nearby. My daughters often have friends around. The house veers from quiet during the day to noisy and busy from three to evening. Usually, it’s quiet again by nine p.m. when I get back to writing or editing. I used to watch a lot more TV, but recently it’s become a treat to sit down with my daughters or husband to watch a favourite show. We got behind on one show by a year! Thirty-three episodes stacked up on the viewer.

What makes you laugh?

My daughters. We can have the most insane conversations. My youngest especially can give me a raised eyebrow with an “I can’t believe you just said that,” look and I instantly crack up. Proper tears of laughter.  Once I start, she joins in. We get so hysterical I once had to stop the car.

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

I don’t read as much as I should. I save reading up for holidays when I devour book after book. So I would take a stack of books, paper or e-books, I don’t mind.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Winnie the Pooh lives not too far from us. The High Weald is to the north, the South Downs to the south, so it isn’t far to reach beautiful countryside. It’s a bad idea to cross town during the London to Brighton Cycle Ride.

What are you working on now? 

I am working on the sequel to Rogue Genesis. I have completed the first draft, and have nearly completed all the revisions following a developmental edit, and will soon start a first full edit. I’m thrilled because my editor did not predict where the story was going to go, despite a glimpse of the world ahead in the rest of the series, and there were enough twists to keep him happy. And <drum roll> I’ve just had a short story published in World of Worlds, an ASMSG anthology of science-fiction and fantasy. Bridge Builder follows the fate of a character from Rogue Genesis and offers a teasing glimpse of the story to come in the Shimmer in the Dark series. It’s free and full of great stories by indie authors.

Christoph, thank you so much for having me on your blog today.  I’ve had a great time and I’ve loved answering your questions!

Links:

http://cerilondon.wordpress.com/shimmer-in-the-dark-rogue-genesis/

https://twitter.com/CeriLondon

https://www.facebook.com/Ceri.London.Author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7055294.Ceri_London

Places to buy Shimmer in the Dark: Rogue Genesis

SPECIAL OFFER: Shimmer in the Dark: Rogue Genesis will be on special offer on Saturday, APRIL 5th at $1.50 via Amazon and Smashwords.

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/ShimmerRogueGenesis

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/335025

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rogue-genesis-ceri-london/1116227104

Kobo US: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/rogue-genesis-shimmer-in-the-dark-1

 

Excerpt from Shimmer in the Dark: Rogue Genesis

~oOo~

Niall pressed back against a stone feed barn for cattle and primed a device best described as a shock grenade. He caught the tiniest of movements in a drainage ditch several yards south east of his position.

Earlier, when an enemy scout failed to detect his presence, Niall had let the young Morrígan pass. Their job was to ambush the main force, and he was certain Paladin’s huge powerhouse of an engine had to be their next target. Now, his every instinct screamed that the bulk of the Morrígan forces was seconds away from overrunning their position.

He bit his lip in an effort to keep his mental shields strong as his body sweltered in the torrid humidity of the northern hemisphere. No wonder the Astereans preferred the upper atmosphere with its comfortable temperature and clean air. Action would be a relief after the long hours of waiting. Failure wasn’t an option. Paladin must not fall.

The stakes wouldn’t be so high if the city was already grounded.

He understood why the High Council vetoed his suggestion. He wouldn’t want to face the ire of its residents either. But something was driving the Morrígan, and it was noteworthy that refugees from the downed cities were allowed to pass into Asterean territory unchallenged. Understanding the enemy was key to defeating it, and if turning off the magnetic fields supporting Paladin diverted the Morrígan to another target, it would have been valuable strategic information.

In ten.

Niall tensed as his young lookout on the barn roof began a mental countdown.

Nine. The number passed through his mental shields like osmosis, a neat trick that Niall had not mastered. Pwyll was a seriously talented telepath.

Seven.

On five, Niall released the pin.

On three, he drew back his arm.

One.

Niall stepped out and hurled the grenade high into the air. He dived to the ground and rolled behind the building. For a split second, he thought he had escaped unseen and unscathed. A quick body check revealed a circular blade embedded in his thigh. A searing agony from the severed muscle in Miach’s leg threatened to cut out his mental shields.

“Shit!”

The shock wave from the exploding grenade drowned out his curse. Sweat beaded on his brow. Pwyll dropped down beside him and they both ducked beneath the meager cover the stone building afforded them. Niall choked back a cry of pain.

The pulse mines detonated by the shock frequency obliterated every unprotected ear in range, and would, in theory, knock their enemy unconscious en masse. The agony torturing Miach’s central nervous system was a good indicator their ear protection worked.

“Your leg,” Pwyll mouthed, pointing at the semicircle of blade sticking out of Niall’s thigh.

For a moment Niall forgot why he couldn’t hear him. Then he took out his ear-plugs as sweat broke out on his forehead. His leg burned like fire.

“Don’t take it out,” he said when Pwyll moved to grasp it. The razor-sharp blade was cutting deep into muscle tissue, possibly a major artery. “Don’t want to bleed out. Rip your shirt up. Then we wait for the falc’hun. Let a healer deal with it.”

Pwyll gave him a strip of his shirt.  Niall tied a tourniquet above the angry wound then banged the back of his head on the shed to help him think.

He nodded to the corner of the building. “Take a quick look and tell me what you see.”

The kid moved so fast Niall wondered that he saw anything at all.

“Everything is quiet. Do you think they are waiting for us to check they are dead?”

“Maybe, which is why we’re gonna sit tight and wait for the falc’hun.” They sat quietly for several moments. “At least we have falc’huns,” Niall added.

The young Asterean guard snorted; even rookies knew about the enforced ground surveillance at Zorachi Plains when the magnetic grid shifted. Niall’Kearey had instigated new protocols for navigation updates. Astereal would not be without air support for so long again.

Although . . .  Niall thought about it, the grid would become increasingly unstable as Alignment approached.

Pwyll remained nervously watchful. “They were close enough to get you,” he explained, his voice little more than a whisper.

The boy would go far. Good instincts. Fire shot up Niall’s leg. Fuck. Mustn’t. Scream. Think of something else. “Are those mines as good as I’m told?”

Pwyll grinned. “Better.”

Niall nodded. Miach would be fine. Asterean weaponry might suck—with the possible exception of these pulse mines—but their healers were second to none. At least he could report his host’s nervous system fully intact and functional. They both heard the approaching whine at the same time.

Niall released a chunk of lower lip from between his teeth. “Exfil’s here.”

The familiar words churned the permanent knot in Miach’s gut. The falc’hun wouldn’t take Niall home. Nor find his family.

~oOo~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27 Mar 2014

Author Interview: Seumas Gallacher

Comments Off on Author Interview: Seumas Gallacher Book Reviews, News

wall copy 2

I am finally catching up with one of the great indie thriller writers. I reviewed two of his marvellous books, Vengeance Wears Black recently here  and The Violin Man’s Legacy here.

Today I have the pleasure of an interview with Seumas Gallacher

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

Born in the Govan Docklands in Glasgow in the same street as the former Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. He’s older than me by a handful of years, has much more money, but I’m better looking than he is. I have an IQ that apparently lets me solve the problems of the Universe, but I can’t switch a laptop on without the risk of it exploding. Wandered through the maze of international banking (shssh, whisper that) for forty years before escaping into the world of quill-scraping. LUVVIN IT!

Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?

Scribbled teenaged angst-ridden poetry and dabbled in short story fiction many years ago. Discovered ‘that book’ we all supposedly have in us about five years ago, and enjoying it so much now, I don’t wanna stop.

Tell us about your first book? How did you decide on the characters, plots and title?

‘The Violin Man’s Legacy’, the first book in what has now developed into the Jack Calder crime thriller series is about a trio of former SAS officers who set up their own security firm to engage in protection of high value goods and personnel. In the course of their business, they encounter international crime lords of sundry hue. Not being bound by the normal terms of engagement, they deploy their extensive black operations skills in countering the bad guys.

The idea for the stories was born in the Far East where at one point I was doing a ‘turnaround’ project for a stricken ferry company. I was obliged to fire trade union workers, policemen and local mayors in some places. That called for the need of an armoured car and armed bodyguards who were trained by a former SAS officer, who became a pal. The characters, plot and title were developed in a ten-day period when I walked twelve kilometres every evening, just thinking about how the book should be shaped.

Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?

I think a writer’s entire life and experience influences his/her work. As for other authors, see the question below about them.

When did you decide to write in this genre?

I’m attracted to any kind of good writing, but crime fiction seemed the easier route to begin with as a newbie scribbler.

Who would you hope plays the characters in a movie version?

Any of the usual suspects who attract audiences would be good.

Did you have it all planned out before you write your stories or do the characters and story surprise you?

Always surprises. I usually know how the ending is going to pan out, but the plot and characters hijack the laptop so often, and they drive the narrative.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

A minor character in the first novel, a South American guy called Rico, who helped to make things happen for the main men was a heap of fun. I reluctantly had to write him out of the novel (without killing him). I think he make an appearance again in a later book.

What would your character(s) say about you?

I’d like to think they consider me flexible in allowing them to get on with their business. I understand some of the sh*t they have to put up with.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

I absolutely enjoy every bit of the ‘business’ of writing. My regret is that I didn’t discover this gig forty years ago.  No least favourite thing. The whole nine yards comes as a package deal. The writing, the proofreading, the editing, the artwork, the Kindle formatting, the promotion. You name it, I LUV IT!

Who are your favourite authors?

So many, but include Dickens, Churchill, Steinbeck, Ruark, O’Hara, Solzhenitsyn.

Who are your favourite independent writers?

Again, so many, as I try to buy at least one new author’s work per week and eventually do a review for them, as part of my way of ‘giving back’. Include John Dolan, Joe McCoubrey, Rachel Abbott, Andrew Peters, Nancy Jardine, O.G.Tomes, Mac Logan, Eric Gates, Alex Shaw… the list goes on… there are some outstanding quill-scrapers out there.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

About to start eBook, ‘One Last Summer’ by Gerald Neal.

What makes you laugh?

Lots of things tickle me. My god of comedy has been Billy Connolly for forty years. Anything that borders or overshoots on irreverence is always good.

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

A television set tuned to receive all the English Premier League football matches, an endless supply of Diet Coke, and good Scottish cheese, and my laptop.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

So many again. If they were alive, Peter Ustinov and Winston Churchill. Also the above mentioned Mister Connolly, along with Judy Dench.

Hot or cold?

Hot.

Salty or sweet?

Sweet.

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?

Hopefully they’d think me witty and loyal as best. Oddest is spouting irreverence at the most inopportune times.

What would you chose as those qualities?

I never ever give up. (Best and oddest)

How do you handle criticism of your work?

I differentiate between ‘criticism’ and ‘critique’. The former is relegated to the mental garbage can. The latter I try to take aboard.

What are you working on now?

The fourth novel in the Jack Calder series, ‘Killer City’. I’m also currently considering publishing my thoughts, guidance and experience about this gig of self-publishing via Kindle and the proper use of the social networks to ‘build the platform’.

Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

Just that I hope people get as much pleasure out of reading them as I do creating them. And many thanks, Christoph, for giving me room on this superb blog.

 Connect with Seumas: 

Blog                : seumasgallacher.com

Twitter                        : @seumasgallacher

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

Email               : seumasgallacher@yahoo.com

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11 Feb 2014

“Smokescreen” by Khaled Talib

1 Comment Book Reviews

“Smokescreen” by Khaled Talib is a fast paced, action packed and highly intelligent espionage thriller that I must highly recommend. Smoke Screen
It concerns an assassination plot, in this case the killing of the Israeli Prime Minister on a visit to Singapore. Talib does an excellent job at showing the different sides and interests in this conspiracy story that has a great complexity of plot, to say the least.
Exposing connections between unlikely allies and focusing on the role of Singapore in the peace process covers some of the well researched and plausible background for the story, but this novel is not limited to political and diplomatic issues.
There is plenty of action, violence, sex even and powerful writing that makes for a gripping read and fast turning of the pages.
The setting in Singapore has been a particular plus for me for personal reasons but it adds a new aspect and dimension to the ‘issue’ of Israel and the peace negotiations that I am certain will be appreciated by many readers. There are several great scenes that as responsible reviewer I must not spoil for you but let me assure you that Talib is creative in his writing. Realistic dialogue, fast pacing and well chosen characters make for an explosive combination that keep the readers interest and suspense up throughout.
Excellent

At an ancient café in Cairo, two veteran spies plot a covert mission to resolve — once and for all — the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. The pledge: Israel will make a major concession as part of the peace treaty. In Singapore, Jethro Westrope, a magazine journalist, stumbles onto the scene of a murder: the beautiful Niki Kishwani directs him, in her last breath, to a digital recorder, evidence that puts Jethro’s life in serious danger. And, much worse, he is framed for Niki’s murder. Jethro sets out to find Niki’s killer and is drawn into a web of deception and intrigue involving officials from the Singaporean, Israeli, and American governments, each with a complex, competing, and potentially deadly agenda. Against this pulse-pounding backdrop, Jethro races to find answers and save himself —yet nothing is as it seems. He finds himself at the centre of a political plot so diabolical and sweeping in its world implications that he is stunned to discover tomorrow’s news headlines today. He is being set up not only as a murderer but as an assassin, and something much larger than his own fate is in his hands

Interview with the author:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person. Khaled

Well, for starters, you shouldn’t trust me with chocolates. Imagine a vampire staring at someone’s neck after it has been nicked by a razor blade while shaving. My mother, repeatedly to this day, complains that I eat chocolates as if they were rice. However, I have to watch myself these days because my doctor has warned me about having too many sweets. Try to imagine a vampire changing diet from blood to water. Not going to happen.

By nature, I am a tenacious person. I think it is an important asset to have as a writer. When my publisher rejected my novel Smokescreen the first time around, he wrote an email saying he ex-pected a fuming email in response. Instead, I replied politely enquiring if I could resubmit my manuscript. A year later, I sent him a new pitch. I scored.

What made you become a writer? Have you always written?

During my first year in primary school, I couldn’t read and write well. To overcome this problem, my mother gave me a book to read entitled, Circus Days Again. I read it slowly. Written by an English author named Grid Blyton, I found myself yearning for more books afterwards. I discovered a treasure box of old books that belonged to my mother in the basement. Inside this box, there were some books penned by another English author with the same surname as Grid. I assumed they were either married to each other or they were siblings. It took me a long time to realise that Grid was in fact Enid. You see, I could not make out the ‘E’ in the author’s name on the book cover because it was written cursively.
One day my mother came home with some fresh books. She bought them from a bookstore. These books were also by Enid Blyton. However, they were different. They had the element of mystery and suspense, which intrigued me. From that day, I became acquainted with the Famous Five, Five Find-Outers. I also discovered the Secret Seven, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators and The Hardy Boys. Before I knew it, I was participating in book quizzes and storytelling competitions in school.
When I was fourteen, I decided to try to write a detective story. During school recess, I stayed back in class to write the story in a textbook. One day, however, I decided to take a break. I stepped out of class and left the textbook on my desk. When I came back later, I found one of my classmates reading the material. Instead of encouraging me to go on, he mocked my writing. He even invited everyone else in class to laugh at me. They couldn’t understand what I was doing.
The scary part is the same classmate tried to contact me months after I had signed a contract with my publisher. I refused to return his telephone call out of fear that he might jinx my publishing effort. I am not superstitious but it is so uncanny that he should show up after thirty-five years when my novel was about to be released.
I guess I have always wanted to write but I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t dare tell anyone that I wanted to write. I was afraid they might laugh at me – again. But one thing led to another and a book was born. I think the secret is to believe in yourself. It’s not easy but it can be done… the question is, how badly do you want it?

When did you decided to write thrillers?

One evening in Singapore, I attended a high society party. Suddenly, an apparition appeared in the image of a young man. I am not sure why he appeared. Maybe I was bored, maybe I was looking for inspiration. The apparition stalked me for days… and the days became years. That stalker is my protagonist, Jethro Westrope. My subconscious was pestering me to write a book. So I discarded the time has come. 

What is the easiest about writing and what is the hardest?

For me, the easiest part about writing is to describe action scenes and develop characters People seem to love my protagonist and hate his nemesis with a vengeance. I take that as a compliment. I also enjoy doing research, and I get a rush when I discover something interesting that I can put into the book. The hardest part would be sitting down and writing… and oh, the rewrites… it really sucks you dry.

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

A reviewer said she felt like my novel had a “hidden story within a story.” I’ll leave it to the reader to decipher the mystery. Smokescreen delves into many themes from a micro to a macro perspective. It also discusses issues concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the United State’s position on the question of Palestine.

What do you like most about your characters? Which one is your favourite?

Smokescreen is made up of an eclectic mix of interesting characters, each with a unique personality. What makes these characters interesting is that they are made up of people from various parts of the world. So readers can expect different tones of voices. My favourite character is the mysterious spy named ‘X.’ He is an enigmatic personality.

Who would play the characters in a film?

I never thought of that. Now that you’ve asked, here are my choice selections:
• Donald Sutherland would be the perfect actor to play ‘X’.
• Laurence Fishburne could play Michael Dexter, the United States ambassador.
• Ryan Reynolds would be suitable for the character of Dexter’s sidekick, Robert De Angelo.
• George Young, a British actor in Singapore, could get away with being my protagonist.

What are your next projects? Tell us about your other books.

I am working on a new novel set in Europe. This time, the novel takes a different theme altogether, but it’s still within the thriller genre. I have a created a new characters.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

Oh, so many. I am an eclectic personality so my influences include Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Paulo Coelho, Naguib Mahfouz… the list goes on. And I have so many favourite books – too many to mention. To Kill a Mocking is a favourite classic while Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders is a must read… it’s a sad story. I even read books for children, romance novels and young adults… practically anything that I find appealing. I also have a fascination for old movies. Some of my favourites include Juggernaut, The Pink Panther, Three Days of the Condor , Our Man Flint, Murder by Death, Clue, Death on the Nile, The Rear Window, and of course the James Bond franchise, particularly the ones with Sean Connery and Roger Moore. 

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

They would say I am honest, trustworthy, harmless, quiet and hard working. At the same time, they will also say that I am fussy, serious and intense.

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

I love all animals, especially cats. But I have never seen a green cat, which is my favourite colour. If I step into an office and I don’t see plants, it would really bother me. I am not into sports so you’ll find me most of the time day dreaming at a sheesha cafe having a puff. Well, people might see me as day dreaming but the truth is I am concocting stories in my head.
Singapore is such a small island so there isn‘t really much to do apart from the usual like going to a cafe with friends or to the movies. Blame it on gravity otherwise I’ll be sitting on the moon or some exploring some planet. However, when I do get the opportunity to do some recreational activity, I enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of the island. Strangely, despite its size, there’s always something new to discover. I am hoping to visit some island that belongs to Singapore. It’s has a lighthouse with an interesting history.

What would you take to a remote island?

Apart from the necessary, a pencil sharpener… in case I need to sharpen some sticks.

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

I’d like to invite Keith Thomson, the New York Times bestselling author of Once a Spy, for dinner. I promised him a meal if we ever meet after he gave me a blurb for my book. In fact, I think I owe everyone else lunch, including Jon McGoran, author of Drift, Ruth Harris, co-author of Brainwashed and Hooked and Jake Needham, author of The Umbrella Man and The Ambassador’s Wife.

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

Smokescreen taking the espionage thriller genre to a unique level. Readers can expect the unexpected. It’s not every day someone from Singapore writes a thriller novel so I hope people will enjoy this book.

 

BUY LINKS

AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Smokescreen-Khaled-Talib-ebook/dp/B00H4CVRL8

SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384871

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