As you know on Fridays I bring you new books and new authors. Today I do both. I met Ana Spoke through her blog, where she shares her adventures in writing, promoting, creating covers… She tells it all exactly as it is, and will give you names, numbers and everything in between. Here is her blog, if you don’t believe me.
After reading about her adventures in publishing, promoting and about her book, I knew I had to bring her here, as I was convinced if you hadn’t met her you’d enjoy it as much as I do.
So, here she is:
Ana Spoke is the author of Shizzle, Inc, which has been prominently featured in Top 100 Amazon bestseller lists since its release in September 2015. She is currently working on the second instalment of the Isa Maxwell series. Ana lives in Australia with her fiancé.
Isa Maxwell is an average busty blonde, a recent graduate of a community college, and rap-loving, gun-toting, self-proclaimed badass. More than anything else, Isa wants to be discovered, so that she can solve her financial woes and win back Brad, the love of her life.
Thanks to her clumsiness, street smarts, and an unbelievable bit of luck, Isa lands a dream job at Shizzle, Inc. Things start to look up when Mr. Hue, the playboy billionaire owner of Shizzle, Inc takes Isa under his wing. Isa even gets a number of new love interests, but all is not what it seems. In fact, absolutely nothing is what it seems.
Can Isa survive the tough world of corporate intrigue and constant looming bodily harm? Or will her efforts be the end of Shizzle, Inc and possibly her life?
As you know, on Fridays I bring you guest authors and new books. Sometimes I keep reading and commenting on people’s blogs (and vice versa) and I’m convinced I’ve talked about the author’s books, and then realise that’s not the case. That happened to me with Peter Wells (and his blog Counting Ducks). We read and comment on each other’s posts, and I even remembered having read reviews about his book, but I had yet to feature him. Well, finally, here he is.
Peter Wells, who has lived by the maxim, “If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same” has had a life, working in the corporate, financial and self-employed worlds, and in his spare time has enjoyed adventures on a number of continents and sailing over several seas. His writing is inspired by his working and traveling life, and the people he has met through them. He now lives just south of London and is the proud father of three daughters.
Having spent his childhood in a barren emotional wasteland overseen by a father who valued order above feeling, Bill finally meets a woman who leads him to a place he can call home. Arriving in the small coastal town in England with his new wife, he finds that he is quickly assimilated into her community and extended family. With his somewhat murky past behind him, he forges a new life within a solid, caring community and discovers what being valued means. As it happens, his wife appears to be overly interested in “organizing” everything and everyone around her, including her young cousin who is the apple of her father’s eye. Within the garden of Eden Bill knows he can show no interest in this apple called Misty. He knows the price of doing so, and the value of what he now enjoys. Will that be enough to protect him from desire? Luck is with him: she has no interest in him. But what if circumstances where to change and she looked at her world and him with new eyes. Would he cling to common sense? With the hand of a surgeon, Peter Wells gently probes the thoughts of the mundane to seek those corners that still long for adventure. Those bits and pieces of each of us that gaze out on the world and find something to settle on and wonder… Tenderly touching the wounded, lonely parts of his character’s hearts, Peter gently leads them to a destiny they never could have imagined on their own. When an Obsession knocks on the doors of your Paradise, should they remain closed?
Peter Wells cannot be described as merely an accomplished breakout novelist. In his first book, as well as in his very popular blog, he has proven himself to be the most subtle of humorists, a most astute observer of human emotion and behavior, and the kind of philosopher I simply can’t get enough of.
This novel gets inside the minds and hearts of a cadre of characters that you won’t soon forget. Why? Because they are us–real, quirky, flawed, complex, dreamers, well-intended, unsure, conflicted, and presented with difficult situations through which they must navigate. Sound familiar? It should! It’s called life. And it’s messy. Peter captures how these people deal with their challenges in a way that only he can. It’s as if he has special spectacles through which he can see into a person’s (fictional or not) psyche. And he does it with a wit that I, as a humorist, envy.
As a writer, I know it’s best to show not tell. Let me give you a few snippets of Peter’s laser-like wit that cuts to the heart of his characters:
Of Misty, the object of much consternation, he tells us: “Through no fault of her own, she was more than averagely pretty, and this had made her a prize for those not necessarily interested in marriage.”
Of the protagonist’s (Bill’s) wife and mother-in-law complaining about their husbands: “Grumbling at low volume was their normality. Mother and daughter now joyously celebrating a common burden: men with no imagination.”
Of Bill’s (Peter’s) insightfulness: “Secrecy is often the strategy of the socially awkward or shy.” I very much related to that observation!
I could go on, but won’t. I don’t want to give away the many gems in this novel, which is a veritable treasure chest of jewels.
At the heart of it is the basic human dilemma: do you settle for a good enough safe life or do you risk it all for the fantasy dangling before you? Peter takes us on the ride with characters who grapple with the choices they make and the consequences of their choices. And what a ride it is.
Don’t make us wait too long, Peter, for another book. Until then, I remain a loyal follower of your blog on WordPress.
The Man Who Missed the Boat by Peter Wells
It should have been an ordinary Saturday morning. A short walk down his street to give a piano lesson at the home of a family he knew well. As it turned out, he knew them rather better than was good for him.
How much trouble can a well-intentioned piano teacher land in? Simon Baxter discovers that being “well-meaning” is sometimes not enough to protect you from the chaos in other people’s lives. Even an excessive sense of “good manners” can be disastrous in the wrong circumstances. Under pressure the unorganised desires kept strictly deep inside us can surface and bring chaos to the lives of ourselves and anyone near us.
Will our untrained hero make it safely across the river of life or, like so many of us, get swept up by the current of events towards an unplanned adventure?
In the sudden change from “Not being loved enough” to “Being loved too much, and by more than one women,” Simon finds out more about himself than he would like. Can he choose wisely, and live with the consequences?
In this, his second novel, Peter Wells continues to cast his gentle but penetrating light on those foibles and weaknesses which lie beneath the exterior of the apparently most ordered lives. Those hidden character traits which can, in the right circumstances, surface and toss their owner, and anyone around him or her, most unpleasantly.
Resonating with the twinkle-eyed wit of Mark Twain and with the compassionate insight into the human condition reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway, Peter Wells presents his readers with a most engaging and delightful look at the twists of fate in the otherwise ordinary lives of the many characters who populate his latest book.
We get to know Simon (the kind hearted, often confused protagonist), Ruth (the jilted wife in an uneventful marriage), Giles (the regretful cheating husband whose former predictable life continues to spiral out of control), Amy (Ruth and Giles’ teenage daughter seeking stability from Simon, her piano teacher), Sadie (the wealthy woman who finds Simon’s brand of innocence quite alluring), Bobbie (an impetuous, heartless young woman who uses Giles for her own entertainment and crime spree), and Herman Melville (yes, that’s right, a frumpy man whose wife left him and who longs for Ruth’s attention).
When I say, “we get to know” these people, I truly mean it. We learn as much about these people as clergy learn about their confessors or therapists learn about their clients. We know their innermost thoughts and feelings because Peter takes us into their minds, hearts and souls. I was so awestruck at Peter’s ability to get inside each character so completely that I often stopped and reread passages of his prose.
Peter is able to seamlessly pop in and out of each character’s point of view by being the omniscient narrator of this story of a Simon, a simple piano teacher who stumbles into the family drama of one of his pupils. As the quintessential storyteller, he engages us by adding his own observations and cues us to pay attention to certain elements of the story and not to others, telling us what is important and what is “for another time.
Thanks to Peter Wells for his books, thanks to Lorna for her reviews, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!
It’s Friday, and time for a new book. You know how happy I am when we’re visited again by writers who’ve brought us their books before. Well, today is one of those day. The fabulous Hunter S. Jones is back with us again, and she brings us the first novel in a new historical series. And it sounds fabulous!
Secrets from a Dangerous Time by Hunter S. Jones
Chaos reigns in a lawless time filled with revenge and betrayals. Casey King must change her name, fake a marriage and forget modern comforts to survive within the world she now finds herself. An unprecedented storm hurls her back in time to Reconstruction Era in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She finds herself in a world full of violence and mystery.
The charismatic Dr. Garrett Cleighton, a mixed heritage Cherokee, decides to give her a part in his traveling medicine show. Casey takes a chance in order to hide her secrets. Following the American Civil War, the Southern States are reeling under the revenge taken on them by the victors. Does Dr. Cleighton keep his promises or betray her? Can his band of musicians, entertainers and misfits keep Casey safe through the turmoil? Will she survive?
Author Hunter S. Jones mixes romance with Civil War drama and brings contemporary suspense to life in the setting of the Reconstruction South. The journey begins in Secrets from a Dangerous Time, Story 1.
I love historical fiction so much but have read little to nothing that deals with late 19th century American history so was thrilled to pick up author Hunter S. Jones’ “Secrets from a Dangerous Time”. The story of Casey, who is struggling to survive in the South post-Civil War and ends up joining a traveling medicine show run by Dr. Garret Cleighton. The chemistry between the two is pretty immediate and intense but Casey has her share of secrets. I loved the historical elements to the story as well as the original tale woven throughout. Looking forward to part 2 in this great adventure.
As you know on Fridays I bring you new authors and books. I’m still trying to catch up and thank people who were kind enough to feature my new YA series in their blog, and there was one author that I realised at the time had never appeared but I managed to misplace her information.
So, today I bring you Susanne Leist. She is very kind and supportive of other authors. But don’t just think that because she’s kind she can’t pull a good intrigue and a scary one at that.
From the bio in Amazon:
Hi! I’m Susanne Leist and I’ve just published my first book, The Dead Game. I’ve read almost every murder mystery. I’ve been faced with countless clues and dead bodies over the years. My goal has been to write a book different than any other book that I’ve ever read. And I believe I have accomplished that goal. My book is a murder mystery with its requisite twists and turns, but it is set against of backdrop of unexplainable phenomena.
I can’t give away too much of the plot, but it is a heady roller coaster ride–fun for all!
Terror has to come to our town.
Why the big unhappy frown?
The Dead are here to stay.
They have come out to play.
The church is burning down.
There goes our pretty town.
I am their leader, you see.
Bow down now and worship me.
THE DEAD GAME
Book 1 in Series
Can you feel your heart beating? Is it beating too fast? Do you feel trapped? This
is because you are. You’re standing in a pool of water, in the basement of End
House, wearing your party clothes. But there is no party, no host and no
guests. The door behind you locks shut. The only way is forward, through the
falling cages with their sharp edges, ready to ensnare their next victim.
Circular saws begin to descend, looking for heads to slice off.
Meanwhile, Linda is upstairs with the rest of her friends being pursued by creatures
through revolving rooms. Or are they illusions? What should she do?
The owner of End House takes no prisoners.
The Dead Game by Susanne Leist is a mysterious supernatural thriller with plenty of twists and turns that is well-written and keeps you turning the page. From the first page you start a wild ride and just when you think all is well, she throws in another twist.
Rhonda Cratty, Parenting & Education ExaminerI was absolutely surprised by this book! I knew it had some enigmatic mystery and some dark action, but the author set up the story so well I was happily amazed. It starts with a very engaging character, a young woman who is very well portrayed in a community, Oasis, Florida. The town’s mysteries are maze-like and become deeper and more sinister as the book progresses. This is a very original approach to the concept of vampires and their existence.
Ray Miller “Relevant Reviewer”
The Dead Game by Susanne Leist is a top-notch haunted house horror thriller. The author excels at spooky descriptions, terrifying scenarios like opening a door and stepping into a black abyss or forever trapped in a dark maze with endless rooms stretching into infinity. Her characters are perfect and the reader can easily connect with them.
Simon Okill, Simon’s Phantom BlogA beachfront town, a haunted mansion, people disappearing or turning up dead–these are the elements of gothic horror, but this unique novel has a more than a few twists. The writing is first-rate, and the pace is fast. The characters are well-defined, and the plot is imaginative and unpredictable…
Howard Lipman, pen name PanOrpheus, author
Susanne’s take on vampires is fresh and new but you’ll have to read to know. She takes the age old vampire legend and turns it into something I’ve never read before…
Elle Klass, Author of As Snow Falls
From the Author
I have always loved to read books. My goal has been to write a book different than any other book that I’ve ever read. And I believe I have accomplished this goal. The Dead Game has dead bodies and suspects like a traditional murder mystery. However, it also has humans, vampires, and vampire derivatives. It has plenty of romance and thrills. And don’t forget the haunted house–we must have one of these.
Thanks so much to Susanne for all her help and for his fascinating book. Thanks to you all for reading, and if you’re as intrigued as I am, like, comment, share, and CLICK!
Ah, before you go, I’m trying to put together an e-mail list to be better organised and keep in touch with both readers and other authors more easily (and also contact people about news and freebies). I’m exploring a few ways of creating the list (might ask for feedback soon) but if you’d like to join, here I leave you a link http://eepurl.com/bAUc0v. Go on, CLICK! And thanks!
As you know I’ve dedicated (and hope to carry on soon) some posts to classic writers. More recently it struck me that there are modern books, many times by indie writers, that either revisit old classics, giving them a twist, or like in the case of today’s author, tell us ‘what happened next’ for some of our favourite books.
I decided to share again my post on the Brönte Sisters when I saw that Luccia Gray had the second book book of her series The Eyre Hall Trilogy available in pre-order (for only $0.99). But a bit more about that later. First, my original post.
Another Friday and another guest post. This time I’ve decided to bring you a classic writer, or rather, three!
I’m sure you’ve read about them. The Brönte sisters. These three talented women, Charlotte, Emily and Anne lived in the XIX century in England, Yorkshire to be more specific. And specific we must be, as particularly in the case of Emily, the setting is paramount in their stories. Their father was an Irish clergyman (Patrick) and their mother Maria died shortly after Anne’s (the youngest) birth, of cancer, when Emily was three. The family moved to Haworth were their father was given a parsonage. (It has now become a museum of all things Brönte and I thoroughly recommend a visit. Haworth is a beautiful place and if you love steam engines and nice shops and tearooms, and the odd pub or two, you’ll love it.) Their aunt Elizabeth moved in with the family, to look after the children. Two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died of tb in their childhood. Due to this, the girls were removed from school and spent most of their childhood at home, where they entertained themselves reading and writing stories (and creating beautiful miniature manuscripts that you can see if you visit the museum). The girls used male pseudonyms (Currer, Ellis and Acton) as their pen-names. Charlotte worked as a teacher and Emily attended her school for a while but felt homesick and went back home. She worked as a governess in Halifax and then the three sisters went to Brussels, Belgium (1842) to educate themselves, planning on setting up a school. Emily left to attend her aunt’s funeral and did not return and eventually Charlotte and Anne abandoned the idea of setting up their own school and went back home. Their brother, Patrick Branwell (‘Branwell’), who loved painting (although from the works I’ve seen…anyway…) became dependent on alcohol and opium and died in 1948. Emily died shortly after (as I’m a doctor I doubt it was of a ‘chill’ she caught at his graveside but…). Anne also studied with Charlotte and Emily and later worked as a governess for many years, obtaining inspiration for her novel Agnes Grey that was published (under name Acton Bell) to mixed reviews in 1847. Next year she published The Tenant of Wilfell Hall. She caught tuberculosis and died in Scarborough in 1849. With the dead of Anne, Charlotte was the only surviving member of the family. The poems of the three sisters were published in 1846 and Wuthering Heights, Emily’s novel, a year later, to some mixed reviews. Charlotte, the oldest of the three, had been writing since her time as a teacher, and during the sisters’ stay in Brussels she wrote Villete and The Professor. She submitted The Professor to publishers before Jane Eyre but it was not published until after her death. Shirley had mixed reviews but opened the London literary world for her and she met other writers like William Thackeray and Elizabeth Gaskell. She decided to edit the work of her sisters. The curate of Haworth, Arthur Nicholls, proposed in marriage (her father did not see it with good eyes and Arthur left) and they got married some time later. Unfortunately, Charlotte died shortly after, whilst pregnant.
All Hallows at Eyre Hall: The breathtaking sequel to Jane Eyre (The Eyre Hall Trilogy) (Volume 1) by Luccia Gray
Experience the mystery and magic of a Victorian Gothic Romance, set in Eyre Hall, and rediscover the charm of Jane Eyre in this stunning sequel. Twenty-two years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane is coping with the imminent death of her bedridden husband, while Richard Mason, Rochester’s first wife’s brother, has returned from Jamaica, revealing unspeakable secrets once again, and drawing Jane into a complex conspiracy. Everything Jane holds dear is threatened. Who was the man she thought she loved? What is she prepared to do to safeguard her family and preserve her own stability?
Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall: Book Two Eyre Hall Trilogy (The Eyre Hall Trilogy 2)by Luccia Gray
Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is the second volume of The Eyre Hall Trilogy, which will chronicle the lives and vicissitudes of the residents of Eyre Hall from the beginning to the height of the Victorian era.
Following Edward Rochester’s death, Jane Eyre, who has been blackmailed into marrying a man she despises, will have to cope with the return of the man she loved and lost. The secrets she has tried so hard to conceal must be disclosed, giving rise to unexpected events and more shocking revelations.
Romance, mystery, and excitement will unfold exploring the evolution of the original characters, and bringing to life new and intriguing ones, spinning a unique and absorbing narrative, which will move the action from the Yorkshire countryside, to Victorian London, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Colonial Jamaica.
Available on pre-order (for $0.99). Due out on the 28th of August
Thanks so much to the Brönte Sisters for the many hours of joy (and suffering) they’ve given us, thanks to Luccia Gray for bringing back some of our favourite characters, and thanks to you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment, and CLICK!
As you know, on Friday’s I bring you guest authors. Recently I’ve also been trying to bring to my blog authors and bloggers I know and exchange comments with often, but I’ve come to realise they’ve never made it as guests to my blog yet. Today it’s Judith Barrow’s turn. She’s a fellow author who is very generous in discovering interesting content and promoting it, she is a sharp reviewer with a very keen eye on Rosie’s Book Review Team (hey!), and she writes about subjects that will be close to many people’s hearts. And her latest book was just published on the 17th of July, so, what better reason!
Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, near Oldham,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for thirty four years.
She has BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University and a MA in Creative Writing with Trinity College, Carmarthen. She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions. She has completed three children’s books.
She is also a Creative Writing tutor.
And now, the books:
Pattern of Shadows
Mary is a nursing sister at Lancashire prison camp for the housing and treatment of German POWs. Life at work is difficult but fulfilling, life at home a constant round of arguments, until Frank Shuttleworth, a guard at the camp turns up. Frank is difficult to love but persistent and won’t leave until Mary agrees to walk out with him.
Here is what Judith tells us about the book:
Pattern of Shadows was inspired by my research into Glen Mill, a disused cotton mill in Oldham, Lancashire, and its history of being the first German POW camp in the country.
I was researching for an earlier book in the Local Studies and Archives in Oldham, while staying in the area, but reading about the mill brought back a personal memory of my childhood and I was sidetracked.
My mother was a winder in a cotton mill and, well before the days of Health and Safety, I would go to wait for her to finish work on my way home from school.
I remember the muffled boom and then the sudden clatter of so many different machines as I stepped through the small door, the sound of women singing and shouting above the noise, the colours of the cotton and cloth – so bright and intricate.
Above all I remember the smell: of oil, grease – and in the storage area. the lovely smell of the new material stored in bales.
When I thought about Glen Mill I wondered what life would have been like for all those men imprisoned there. I realised how different their days must have been from my memories of a mill and I knew I wanted to write about that.
In May 1950, Britain is struggling with the hardships of rationing and the aftermath of the Second World War. Peter Schormann, a German ex-prisoner of war, has left his home country to be with Mary Howarth, matron of a small hospital in Wales. The two met when Mary was a nurse at the POW camp hospital. They intend to marry, but the memory of Frank Shuttleworth, an ex-boyfriend of Mary’s, continues to haunt them and there are many obstacles in the way of their happiness, not the least of which is Mary’s troubled family. When tragedy strikes, Mary hopes it will unite her siblings, but it is only when a child disappears that the whole family pulls together to save one of their own from a common enemy.
Living in the Shadows (Just published on the 17th of July)
It’s 1969 and Mary Schormann is living quietly in Wales with her ex-POW husband, Peter, and her teenage twins, Richard and Victoria.
Her niece, Linda Booth, is a nurse – following in Mary’s footsteps – and works in the maternity ward of her local hospital in Lancashire.
At the end of a long night shift, a bullying new father visits the maternity ward and brings back Linda’s darkest nightmares, her terror of being locked in. Who is this man, and why does he scare her so?
There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way Linda can escape their murderous consequences.
When Meg Matthews gives an interview on the local radio station it leads to a friendship with three other women. They share a terrible secret. Together, can they find the strength to expose the silent trauma they have endured all their lives?
Silent Trauma is the result of years of research, and the need to tell the story in a way that readers will engage with the truth behind the drug Stilboestrol. So I had the idea of intertwining this main theme around and through the lives of four fictional characters, four women, all affected throughout their lives by the damage the drug has done to them. Their stories underpin all the harm the drug has done to so many women all over the world. The story is fictional, the facts are real.
Judith Barrow’s books are also available in Honno (Welsh Women’s Press):
In Honnos you can find an anthology Judith has contributed to:
Coming Up Roses:
A fiction anthology from Welsh women writing about gardens: what they mean to them, what happens in them and where they take them…
In ‘Yellow Ribbons on a Pear Tree’ an Italian POW returns home to a mixed welcome from his wife and family; ‘Gift’ is a tale of loss and love and of misunderstandings set around a memorial oak sapling; ‘Rosemary and Rue’ concerns memory and what it means to lose it and ‘Seasons of Brews and Roses’ tells of the love between mother and daughter and its waxing and waning, in good times and bad.
There are sad stories and happy ones, tales from home and abroad – all of them share a love for plants and planting, flowers and seeds, a real sense of the power of growing things to change lives.
“Crime, romance, loss, haunted tales… this collection has it all. 20 great stories… an ideal prsent for the gardener in your life.”
Lynda’s Book Blog (http://lyndasbookblog.blogspot.com/)
“Sad, tense, funny, bizarre but best of all, original plots and a huge variety of themes show how creative writers can transform fruit and veg, flower borders and potting sheds to delve into our deepest fears and unrequited longings but also bring on the growth of new possibilities with each passing season.”
As you know on Friday I bring you new books and authors. J.P. McLean has already been my guest before and her series (initially a trilogy, but these things have a way of growing…) The Gift has featured with pride of place before. I knew that the next novel was nearly ready, and the author has been so kind as to send us her reflections about her writing and where she is now. And here, the floor is yours, J. P.:
Thank you, Olga for once again hosting me on your Friday guest author feature. It’s great to be back.
I’m at an interesting crossroads. Having recently released Penance, the fourth book in the contemporary fantasy series, The Gift Legacy, I’m now ready to start a new project. The decision is whether to take the road that leads to the next book in the series, or take the road not yet travelled, and write a brand new story instead.
On the familiar road, a small but devoted group of readers, who love The Gift Legacy, cheer me on (a writer’s dream!). I know the terrain and the characters and just how to tamper with their brakes to heighten the excitement.
There are no street lamps on the second road and no map. The characters taunt me with their thumbs out, but do I dare pick them up? Will we get along in the tight confines of the car?
What if there’s a curve so sharp we crash?
Hmm. Decisions, decisions. If you have thoughts on the matter, I’d love to hear them.
You can reach me through my blog, on Twitter (@jpmclean1) or on Facebook. And if you’d curious about The Gift Legacy, you can read excerpts and learn more about it on my website.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Thanks so much J.P.!
And here, I had to tell you a bit more about Penance
When Emelynn Taylor chooses a man’s life over a secret, she draws the attention of the wrong people. International Covert Operations wields the secret like a weapon to coerce the Tribunal Novem’s cooperation. And all ICO wants in exchange for protecting the secret is Emelynn’s services.
With a new job, a new handler and no choice, Emelynn goes undercover to unravel a dangerous drug ring. She soon finds herself in a deadly game of cat and mouse in which she breaks all the rules: the same rules that got her into trouble in the first place.
Here the links in Amazon, although you can check J.P.’s website for more links and information:
Today is Friday and it’s guest author day. I have known R.E. McDermott (or Bob for his friends) for a while and had his book in my list to read for a very long time. We exchanged some information recently, including his contribution to my enquiries about paid promos, and I finally read his first book. And I thought as he hadn’t featured yet, I’d combine a post about him with a review. Two for the price of one!
Just in case you don’t know him, here is a bit about R.E. McDermott:
I grew up on the Gulf Coast and a seagoing career just came naturally. After graduation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, I sailed as a ship’s officer for a number of years and then spent a decade in shore side ship management before becoming an independent (i.e. self-employed) marine surveyor in 1986. Some years later I formed a company specializing in ship construction management and supervision. I’ve been a lot of places, seen interesting things, and lived for extended periods in both South America and the Far East (Singapore and China). By far the most interesting aspect of travel (and life in general) is the people you meet along the way, and I’ve had the good fortune to encounter a lot of interesting characters. Bits and pieces of some of them make their way into the characters of my novels.
I write the type of stories I like to read. For me, that means ordinary people forced by circumstances into extraordinary situations. I dislike stories in which the hero is some combination of brain surgeon/nuclear physicist (or who has some equally far-fetched skill set) and who just coincidentally happens to be an ace helicopter pilot and a fifth degree black belt in several different martial arts. Like the rest of us mortals, my characters are normal people who screw up from time to time and have to live with the results.
I’m currently retired from the marine business and living in Tennessee with my lovely (and patient) wife of 39 years. Our current and mutual ambition is to return to Singapore for several months each year. In addition to writing and travel, I occasionally (when cornered) complete a task on my ‘honey do’ list, and from time to time, join my wife in badgering our children to produce grandchildren. All in all, a rewarding life.
In case you want to keep track, this is his Amazon page:
When marine engineer and very part-time spook Tom Dugan becomes collateral damage in the War on Terror, he’s not about to take it lying down.
Falsely implicated in a hijacking, he’s offered a chance to clear himself by helping the CIA snare their real prey, Dugan’s best friend, London ship owner Alex Kairouz. Reluctantly, Dugan agrees to go undercover in Alex’s company, despite doubts about his friend’s guilt. Once undercover, Dugan’s steadfast refusal to accept Alex’s guilt puts him at odds not only with his CIA superiors, but also with a beautiful British agent with whom he’s romantically involved.
When a tanker is found adrift near Singapore with a dead crew, and another explodes in Panama as Alex lies near death after a suspicious suicide attempt, Dugan is framed for the attacks. Out of options, and convinced the attacks are prelude to an even more devastating assault, Dugan eludes capture to follow his last lead to Russia, only to be shanghaied as an ‘advisor’ to a Russian Spetsnaz unit on a suicide mission.
Deadly Straits is a non-stop thrill ride, from London streets, to the dry docks of Singapore, to the decks of the tankers that feed the world’s thirst for oil, with stops along the way in Panama, Langley, Virginia, and Teheran. Richly spiced with detail from the author’s 30 years sailing, building, and repairing ships worldwide, it is, in the words of one reviewer, “fast-paced, multilayered and gripping.”
“An awesome book! It has a very Tom Clancy feel. Kudos to Mr. McDermott. Well done, Sir.”
D. Bosshardt, Amazon – 5 Stars
“An absolute cracker of a thriller, quite simply on a par with Clancy et al. When I’d finished I wanted more! A terrific story superbly written.
‘Tao” Amazon (UK) – 5 Stars
“A little Clancy, a bit of Ludlum, and a lot of Mr. McDermott!”
Libby Dunkin, Amazon – 5 Stars
“Move over WEB Griffin, Cussler, & Ludlum. Weaving together come-alive characters, McDermott takes us through an all too realistic plot involving oil tankers used to cause havoc to the worlds’ shipping … a page turner.”
Bob Hopfe, Amazon – 5 Stars
“A brilliant thriller. I was quite surprised that this is a first novel. On par with high ranking thrillers. Action non-stop …a great read.”
Cheryl M-M, Amazon (UK) – 5 Stars
“In 1994 (Debt of Honor), Tom Clancy used a jumbo jet as a weapon … it happened on 9/11. In 2011 R.E. McDermott published “Deadly Straits” where supertankers are used as terror weapons with deadly results. Let’s hope we don’t look back and say McDermott predicted that. This is a book of action and suspense, well written with multiple plots woven into one coherent whole. I’ve read several best-sellers that are legends in the genre and this book is as well done as any of them, if not better.”
Stephen C. Lovely, Amazon – 5 Stars
“McDermott consistently gets it right. The captains, mates and engineers sound like captains, mates and engineers … like visiting old friends. Tom Dugan – a skilled professional a bit rough around the edges – works well as the protagonist. Smart and educated, he also regularly gets grease under his nails, and moves easily between action and insight. A book even a thriller skeptic and ship geek can love. A gripping read – highly recommended.”
Rick Spilman, The Old Salt Blog – 5 Stars
“In a book that takes no prisoners, McDermott tells a tale of high seas terrorism and tells it well. Go get this one, right now!”
Nancy, Cheryl’s Book Nook – 5 Stars
“In 20 years at sea as mate and captain, I’ve been through the Panama Canal too many times to count, and through the Bosphorus and Malacca Straits as well. You nailed it. Yours was the first novel to convince me the author had been there too. Well Done.”
Captain Dave Fath (via email)
What would happen if the great straits of the world were left out of action? How would petrol and other goods move around? This is the question at the heart of this novel, the first in the Tom Dugan’s series that focuses on a number of international secret agents (and some amateurs that get caught in the crossfire) who by default end up working together investigating a terrorist threat affecting the oceans. I must admit I know very little (being generous) about tankers and the ins and outs of high seas transportation, but that did not detract from my understanding of the plot or my enjoyment of the novel.
We have Tom Dugan, a reluctant hero, an independent and fairly free agent, who is recruited because of his inside knowledge (he is a marine engineer) and because, through a friend, he becomes embroiled in the conspiracy. Although we don’t know him well (this being a series there should be time to get to know more about him), he has an interesting backstory, he is likeable and engaging, friend of his friends, honest and loyal.
His friend, Alex Kairouz, is also a strong character, and especially his friend’s family, his daughter Cassie (a great character) and Mrs. Farnshaw are in a league of their own.
And one of the strongest points for me was not only the many stranded plot, detailed enough to result convincing (and make you hope somebody is really organising a team to look after this aspect of international security), but the assorted and totally credible secondary characters.
Even those who have a very small part (like the Turkish pilot), are unforgettable, and some, like Arnett, the female second mate, the whole of the Italian crew, and the Russian special forces team, deserve books of their own. Some of the baddies have their epic moments too, and you do get attached to the characters and by the end, care for them and with them.
When you read this novel, you can see it in your mind’s eye. This is a big adventure, if it were made into a movie, a huge blockbuster, a thriller/conspiracy theory novel following a number of complex plots, international terrorism using religion, nationalist ideology, and greed as a way of manipulating a number of players. Chechens, Iranians, Venezuelans, Americans, Russians, Panamanians…
This is an ambitious novel that I recommend to people who like their adventures on a grand scale and who love complex and detailed stories.
And another one in the series:
Deadly Coast (A Tom Dugan Novel)
DUGAN THOUGHT SOMALI PIRATES WERE BAD NEWS. THEN IT GOT WORSE.
As Tom Dugan and Alex Kairouz, his partner and best friend, struggle to ransom their ship and crew from murderous Somali pirates, things take a turn for the worse. A US Navy contracted tanker with a full load of jet fuel is also hijacked, not by garden variety pirates, but by terrorists with links to Al Qaeda, changing the playing field completely.
With a possible link between piracy and terrorism now in play, the US and British goverments order the halt of all negotiations for captive ships, and enraged pirates ratchet up the mistreatment of the captive crews. When one of their crewman is murdered in front of him on a live video feed, a frustrated Dugan takes matters into his own hands and starts his own rescue operation, only to stumble across something far more sinister — a rogue salvage operation for a long lost weapon of mass destruction. Isolated at sea on an old tanker previously destined for the ship breakers, Dugan and his hastily assembled little force of Russian mercenaries find themselves the last line of defense between the world and a terrifying bio-weapon.
Weaving historical fact with speculative fiction, Deadly Coast takes the reader from London board rooms into the very real world of modern day pirates — and their victims.
Here a review, and now that I know the Russians are back, I must read this book too!
McDermott hits it out of the park with this book!
By Adoptive Dad on September 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
McDermott has hit it out of the park with his follow-up to Deadly Straits. We have the same players from Deadly Straits, but this time they are taking on the pirates in Somalia. What I love about McDermott is that the story could actually have happened. He takes fact, adds a little spice of fiction, and comes with an awesome recipe of a successful story.
The Russians are back in action with this book, and they are funnier than ever. McDermott totally made me laugh out loud several times with the antics of the Russians.
And in case you want something on a smaller scale, a short story:
Waiting for Jimmy Dean (A short story)
A humorous short story.
Things looked pretty bleak for Buddy in the Fall of 1961. His aspirations to be a cattle baron dashed by his parents’ refusal to let him enter the calf scramble, he didn’t think life could get much worse. And then it did.
A poignant and often hilarious tale of growing up in a simpler time.
As you know on Fridays it’s guest author day. Recently I’ve been trying to catch up with some authors whose blogs I’ve been following for a while, but for some reason I haven’t featured yet. Today, it’s the turn of Noelle Granger (or N.A. Granger in her books).We not only have background interests (medical ) in common, but Noelle also spotted we had both studied at Mount Holyoke College (in my case only one year as an exchange student, but hey, it goes to prove the world is very small).
First, as I’ve mentioned her blog, and to make sure I don’t forget it, here is SaylingAway. Go and check it and you’ll see that Noelle loves her traveling, but she also features fellow authors, shares her writing, and muses about life.
And a little about her:
Noelle A. Granger grew up in Plymouth, MA, in a rambling, 125 year old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming and she was one of the first tour guides at Plymouth Plantation.
She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents, the last 28 years of which were spent in the medical school of the University of North Carolina, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. Death in a Red Canvas Sail is her first book and features an emergency room nurse as her protagonist. The book is set in a coastal town in Maine, similar to Plymouth, and she has used her knowledge of such a small town, her experiences sailing along the Maine coast, and her medical background to enrich the story.
She has also had short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, published in Deep South Magazine, Sea Level Magazine, the Bella Online Literary Review, and Coastal Style Magazine. Her second novel in the Rhe Brewster mystery series, Death in a White Dacron Sail, is her most recent novel.
N.A. Granger lives in Chapel Hill, NC, with her husband Gene, a physician, and is the mother of two children.
Death in a Red Canvas Chair: A Rhe Brewster Mystery (Rhe Brewster Mysteries Book 1)
On a warm fall afternoon, the sweet odor of decay distracts Rhe Brewster from the noise and fury of her son’s soccer game. She’s a tall, attractive emergency room nurse with a type A personality, a nose for investigation and a yen for adrenalin. This time her nose leads her to the wet, decaying body of a young woman, sitting in a red canvas chair at the far end of the soccer field. Her first call is to her brother-in-law, Sam Brewster, who is Sheriff of Pequod, the coastal Maine town where she lives. Sam and Rhe’s best friend Paulette, Pequod’s answer to Betty Crocker, are her biggest sources of encouragement when Rhe decides to help the police find the killer.
Her discovery that the victim is a student at the local college is initially thwarted by an old frenemy, Bitsy Wellington, the Dean of Students. Will, Rhe’s husband and a professor at the same college, resents her involvement in anything other than being a wife and mother and must be manipulated by Rhe so that she can follow her instincts.
Rhe’s interviews of college students leads her to a young woman who had been recruited the previous year to be an escort on a Caribbean cruise ship, and Rhe trails her to a high class brothel at a local seaside estate. The man behind the cruise ship escort service and the brothel is the owner of a chain of mortuaries and is related to the dead student.
When Rhe happens on the murder of a young hospital employee who also works for the mortuary chain, she becomes too much of a threat to the owner’s multiple enterprises. She is kidnapped by two of his thugs and is left to die in a mortuary freezer. In the freezer she finds frozen body parts, which are linked to a transplantation program at her hospital.
Despite all the twists and turns in her investigation, Rhe ultimately understands why the student was killed and who did it. And she solves the riddle of why the body was placed in the red canvas chair on the soccer field.
N.A. Granger has given me a new favorite sleuth. I immediately fell in love with Rhe Brewster. She is a nurse, a mom, and wicked smart. Rhe, an insightful tenacious snoop, finds a body beside the Pequod soccer field. She then uses her connections with the sheriff and medical examiner to insert herself into the investigation. I felt like I was right there with Rhe as she chased down clues between making dinner for her son, shifts in the ER, and eating muffins with her best friend. By the end of the book, I felt I knew Rhe.
Death In A Canvas Chair is a fun read. The quaint little town of Pequod, Maine is a hotbed of iniquity – they’ve got co-eds behaving badly, gangsters lurking in the shadows, and dead bodies turning up on soccer fields. I could not put the book down until I knew who killed the co-ed.
Death in a Dacron Sail (Rhe Brewster Mysteries Book 2)
On an icy February morning, Rhe Brewster, an emergency room nurse with a nose for investigation, is called to a dock in the harbor of the small coastal town of Pequod, Maine. A consultant to the Pequod Police Department, Rhe is responding to a discovery by one of the local lobstermen: a finger caught in one of his traps. The subsequent finding of the body of a young girl, wrapped in a sail and without a finger, sends the investigation into high gear and reveals the existence of three other missing girls, as well as a childhood friend of Rhe’s. Battered by vitriolic objections from her husband about her work, the pregnant Rhe continues her search, dealing with unexpected obstacles and ultimately facing the challenge of crossing an enormous frozen bog to save herself. Will she survive? Is the kidnapper someone she knows? In Death in a Dacron Sail, the second book in the Rhe Brewster mystery series, Rhe’s nerves and endurance are put to the test as the kidnapper’s action hits close to home.
Death in a Dacron sail is the type of book I love to read. It’s a cozy yet exciting crime mystery.
The plot is tightly woven with plenty of forensic information given by Rhe Brewster, nurse and amateur sleuth narrator. Rhe is helping the police, as consultant, with an unpleasant crime involving a missing child. There is plenty of fast-paced action and suspense, in spite of the idyllic small town location, and there are many surprises and twists, making it a gripping page turner.
It’s also very well written. The prose flows so smoothly that it is a pleasure to read.
However, the very best part of this novel is the characterization. Readers won’t be interested in a good plot and wonderful writing if they can’t engage with the characters. Detective, crime thrillers, and mysteries often run the risk of being plot driven in detriment of character development, but that’s not the case here. On the contrary, the reader will love Rhe, because she is clever, and generous, and caring, but she’s also naïve, sometimes insecure, and others too patient with people who just don’t deserve it! I’ve wanted to tell her to be careful with someone who’s close to her since book one (no name so no spoilers!), and to stand up to her bullying boss!
The other characters, both good and bad, are also so real they almost jump out of the page to watch you reading!
By the way, just in case you were wondering, it can be read as a stand-alone novel, because the cases are independent, and although the main characters are the same, there is enough background information for readers to feel comfortable reading book two alone or first.
I’m impatiently waiting for book three because although Rhe Brewster will be solving another riveting case, I’m just as interested in finding out the direction her personal life will take in book three.
Thanks so much to Noelle for being our guest, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and of course, CLICK!
As you know on Fridays I try and bring you new authors that haven’t visited yet my blog. Sometimes I keep reading about some authors, I enjoy their blogs, and they become such familiar faces for me, that I’m surprised when I check back and realise they’ve never visited my blog yet.
That is the case with my guest today.
Nicholas Rossis is a writer I’ve known for a while and whose blog I thoroughly enjoy and I’ve mentioned before. (It’s full of useful information, don’t miss it!). How I hadn’t featured his books here before, is anybody’s guess, but finally, today is the day.
First, a bit about Nicholas:
Avid reader. Web developer. Architect by training, holder of a PhD in Digital Architecture from the University of Edinburgh. Now, author.
Nicholas loves to write. Except for his epic fantasy series, Pearseus, he has also published The Power of Six, a collection of short sci-fi stories. These have all become Amazon best-sellers. His latest book is Runaway Smile, a children’s book.
He lives in Athens, Greece, in the middle of a forest, with his wife, dog and two very silly cats, one of whom is always sitting on his lap, so please excuse any typos in his blog posts: typing with one hand can be hard. Mercifully, all his books are professionally edited!
Pearseus, Rise of the Prince (Book 1 of the Pearseus epic fantasy series)
Justice without compassion is but tyranny
The series that has reached #1 on Amazon!
The handful of humans that crash-landed on Pearseus three hundred years ago have by now colonized a large part of the planet, rebuilding their civilization from scratch. In the process, they have created a dystopia for themselves, splitting into three competing factions: the Capital, the Loyalists and the Democracies, all embroiled in endless intrigue and constant warfare.
An uneasy truce between the three parties still holds – barely. While man turns against man, the First, Pearseus’ indigenous people, wage their own war against a shadowy enemy; an ancient conflict that threatens to engulf and destroy all of humanity.
Following an unspeakable crime, the men and women of Pearseus struggle to live and love as their world crumbles all around them. But can love be found in the ruins of humanity’s civilization?
Pearseus: Mad Water (book 2 of the Pearseus epic fantasy series)
The Amazon best-selling series continues!
In the second book of the best-selling Pearseus series, the incessant scheming of the various players and their nebulous puppet-masters has brought about major change. Cyrus is now the new ruler of the Capital, struggling to fight Jonia’s revolt along with his own demons. Gella strives to keep abreast of Teo’s devious plans in order to end the war with Jonia. David returns to the First in an effort to overcome his loss of the Voice. Lehmor’s struggle to reunite with Moirah brings him to uncharted territories, where the enigmatic Iota play with minds, senses and the future of the entire planet.
Old foes and unlikely new friends appear as invisible forces continue to tear humanity apart. Masks drop to reveal the ultimate truth: on Pearseus, everyone has their own agenda. And they’ll stop at nothing to achieve it.
Pearseus: Vigil (book 3 of the Pearseus epic fantasy series)
It’s a difficult time on Pearseus. Teo Altman has assumed control of the Capital and has his eye on Parad’s children. Pratin and his monsters have laid siege on Malekshei. The Old Woman has forsaken Lehmor and the First. And Sol is preparing for the Capital’s inevitable invasion.
As Malekshei’s defenders fight for their lives, they realize they need an army to stop Pratin. To raise that army, they must do the unthinkable: wake up those who have been sleeping under Pearseus for the last hundred thousand years.
The prequel to the Amazon best-selling series, Pearseus.
If you like dark epic fantasy with a sci-fi twist, then you’ll love Pearseus: Schism, the novelette that lays the back story to the series that has reached #1 on Amazon.
It’s New Year’s Eve, the year of 2099, but the distinguished guests aboard the Pearseus won’t get to countdown seconds; soon they’ll be counting bodies and survivors after the spaceship’s crash landing on another planet.
The good news? The planet is seemingly hospitable both in resources and in terms of the natives’ attitude towards earthlings.
The bad news? They might have come on this planet bare of possessions, but what they haven’t been able to shed are the shortcomings of their human nature. Will that be the sole threat to a unified future, or is the new land and its first inhabitants not as innocent as they look?
Six science fiction short stories written by the author of Pearseus, the epic fantasy series that has reached #1 on Amazon. This edition includes one extra story, written by Amos M. Carpenter.
The Power of Six reached #1 on Amazon in October 2014.
Although they seem to be concerned with various themes, there are certain passions that run through them. What is the nature of reality; digital and corporeal? Is there more to the world than we can see? How far can we trust our senses? What are the consequences of our actions, and is it possible to change them? And if so, would we simply repeat same mistakes, or make new ones?
The anthology includes the following stories:
“Simulation Over”: How far can we trust our senses?
“For the Last Time”: The law of unintended consequences meets Murphy’s law during a man’s unexpected time travel.
“The Hand of God”: What do the game characters do when we stop playing?
“I Come in Peace”: an award-winning short story that poses the question: how far would man go to alleviate his loneliness?
“A Fresh Start”: If we were free to go anywhere in time and space, where would we choose to go?
“The Sentry”: What is a Sentry to do when the monster that steals away his family’s most precious possessions reappears?
“Big Bang”: A friendly game turns into much more in this short story written by Amos M. Carpenter.
Humorous and poignant, these short stories are exciting, intriguing and imaginative.
“I woke up this morning and I had lost my smile and it wasn’t my fault and I looked everywhere and it was gone. Then I met a workman and a king and the best salesman in the world and a clown and no-one wanted to give me theirs. At school, I asked Miss to give me hers, but she gave us a pop quiz instead, and then no-one was smiling and…”
A little boy wakes up in the morning and realizes he has lost his smile. After spending the entire day trying to find it, he learns the truth behind smiles: the only real smiles are the shared ones.