Monday, November 30, 2020

The First Page & Interview: LAST GIRLS ALIVE by Jennifer Chase



LAST GIRLS ALIVE

Jennifer Chase
Bookouture
Crime Thriller

Half-buried in the muddy earth and surrounded by puddles of water lies the naked body of a beautiful young girl. Her pale skin looks like porcelain in the early morning light. Her fragile arms bent and crooked like a broken doll.

When Detective Katie Scott is called to the discovery of a young girl buried on the grounds of a former children’s home in Pine Valley, California, she’s hopeful it’s the end to a devastating cold case she’s been working on. No one has seen Candace Harlan since she ran away from Elm Hill Manor five years ago. Her death will be a tragedy, but it will also bring peace to those who miss her most. But the girl in the ground is not Candace.

The victim is almost identical to Candace in every way, but fear grips Katie as she takes in the black ink that decorates the girl’s back—a terrifying message tattooed on her skin after she drew her last breath.

Forcing down traumatic memories of losing her own parents, Katie is certain someone mistook this poor soul for Candace, and that this crumbling home for lost girls is at the heart of this terrible crime. She sets to work digging into the tragic history of the owners who lost so many children of their own and tracking down the last six residents and the staff who cared for them—but no one wants to talk, let alone remember.

The next day, as second girl’s body is found down by the creek at high water, the same words etched into her skin. Katie’s worst fear is confirmed: someone is picking off the last of the Elm Hill girls one by one. But what does the tattoo mean? And what monster would target these innocent girls who have already been through so much?

Katie must dig deep to confront her own fears and protect the vulnerable—but as the body count rises further, will there be anyone left to save?

An absolutely gripping, dark, and totally unputdownable serial killer thriller that will keep you racing through the pages all night long. Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh will read in one sitting!

PRAISE

This novel is about Detective Kati Scott, Kati is a detective for the Pine Valley department. Her and partner work on solving cold cases together.  Kati hasn’t had an easy life but things will be getting worst for her before getting any better.  Kati has a lot of anxiety but she makes it work.  She and her partner are put on a case where a girl from the past is found on the property of a former children’s home in Pine Valley. and it’s up to her and her partner to figure out who the killer is.  This novel was so good. I was hooked from the start, I couldn’t stop reading I just need to find out what happens next with Katie and the case. Katie is a total badass. She is one strong lady. She is a very good female lead.  I loved the story soo much it was full of suspense and mystery.  I loved how it wasn’t very predictable. Things could change at any time and the ending was perfectly full of action. I really enjoyed this book. The writing was perfect and it flowed very well. This is my first Jennifer Chase book, I will definitely be looking for more. This book had everything I like action/mystery/romance/ suspense.

– 5 Star Review NetGalley

“A nail biting, suspense packed action crammed thriller that keeps you on edge…”

– 5 Star Review Amazon

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3nQSoAe



 



 

PROLOGUE

Hurry,” Candace whispered urgently as she disappeared down the wooden staircase and into the pitch-black basement.

“Wait,” was Tanis’s breathless reply as she slowed to glance behind her. In just a flimsy yellow nightgown, the damp air from below chilled her bare arms and feet. She shuddered.

The padlock Candace had picked open swung precariously from the latch, ready to drop and awake the rest of the sleeping house. This was a bad idea.

C’mon,” urged Candace from somewhere down in the abyss. “Hurry up!

They were going to get caught.

The consequences would be merciless.

Shifting her weight on the wooden landing, Tanis pushed herself onward and pressed her foot onto the first wooden step. And then another. Each footstep creaked beneath her slight weight. She clutched the loose railing and clumsily made her way through the dark until her feet touched cold cement.

Hands fisted at her sides in fear, she frantically blinked her eyes, straining to see through the darkness—to the unknown. It left her powerless. There had been no time to find a flashlight, but it would only capture unwanted attention anyway.

A hand grabbed her arm.

“C’mon, we’ve got to go now.”

Candace took Tanis’s hand and pulled her toward the end of the basement and around a sharp corner to where a dim light from outside allowed her eyes to begin to focus.

The girls moved as fast as they dared through the maze beneath the old house.

Tanis could only see Candace’s long hair flicking from side to side as they ran. At one point, she closed her eyes and relied on her friend’s strong will and instinct to get them to safety.

They stopped abruptly at a storm door, the only thing standing between them and freedom. Panting in the darkness, a creak from upstairs lifted both their heads in fear—someone was awake.

Candace lunged forward and grabbed the large bolt locking the door with both hands and pulled. It gave way with a loud clunking sound, and she pushed the bulky door open to reveal the half-moon outside.


 


Welcome to the blog! The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

Two reasons: I wanted to capture the reader's curiosity and imagination, and to give some insight into what the book will ultimately be about.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

I take my first pages seriously. I changed it once to make it more streamlined and snappy.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

No. The manuscript goes through several editing stages giving me time to think about changes if I decided to change anything.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

The first page, even the first line is like the hook in a movie. Think about what draws you immediately into a story or a movie, and that will help you make your first page a success.

 





Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JChaseNovelist

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


Thursday, November 26, 2020

The First Page & Interview: BLACK SUN MOON (Book 6 in the Sword and Sorcery Series) by Dylan Doose




BLACK SUN MOON (Book 6 in the Sword and Sorcery Series)

Dylan Doose
Independent
Epic Fantasy

In the beginning there was madness and there was death.

A string of occult murders leads veteran holy-man-with-a-big-sword, Cullum Shrike, to Wardbrook, a treacherous place of pagan practices, corrupt leaders, and sinister sorcery.

Cullum must purge his beliefs as he is forced to face the evil within, for when all light dies, only darkness can kill a shadow.

New heroes join the fray. Are they friend or foe?

Cullum Shrike, warrior priest of the holy Order of Seekers. Haunted by the ghosts of his failures, he clings to his faith even as treachery and insidious betrayal are revealed.

Nyva, the witch, is bound to the black house on the hill. She is stronger than she could imagine, she just needs someone to unlock her latent power.

An unlikely pair, but a pair they do make and when the dancing starts, they might just bring the house down.

Don’t miss this thrilling—and terrifying—stand-alone full-length novel in the dark and gritty Sword and Sorcery series!

ORDER YOUR COPY


Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JCX9SSL


 



 

A Bat Out of Hell

Eight hooves of nocturne-black steeds thundered across the prairie, the torches of their riders setting the sweat on their backs to glistening as they charged a firelit cave entrenched in a hillock beyond the moonlit pasture.

A glowing hunter’s moon frowned down from above, thousands of frantic flying silhouettes cast upon it. The bats screamed as they flapped from the cave into the night sky.

A girl screamed from within.

The bats dipped low at the riders.

“We’re too late,” Herres called as the bats shrieked and flapped around them.

“We’re not. We can’t be.” Cullum whacked at the bats with his torch. The faces of the last two victims flashed in his mind’s eye. Not again. I won’t fail again.

As he closed in on the cave and the pagan magic within, his Luminescent-blessed left hand ached with the Bloodburn—a gift possessed by all Seekers, an ability to sense sorcery. Every sorcerer, every beast, every incarnate, every single magical thing gave off a signature Bloodburn. A good Seeker could differentiate between species of creature, legion of demon, discipline of sorcery, by having a strong awareness of their supernatural sense. Cullum was not merely a good Seeker. He was a gifted Vicar, and not only could he make all these differentiations, but by reading the blood the way a scholar reads a tome, he was able to trace all magical discharge back to its caster. He welcomed the pain in his hand. He always did.


 


Welcome to the blog! The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

Thanks for having me on the blog. This being the first page to the first chapter of the prequel of the series, I had to be sure to capture a few very important elements. The world of my series is extremely dark, and I wanted to make that clear to the reader from the outset. In this world, magic is tied to occultism, and both the heroes and the villains play with the same fire. I also wanted to start on a point of high action that stirred questions in the reader’s mind and simultaneously offered insight into Cullum’s goal and inner conflict.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

That first page changed very little. Everything else in the story changed around the very beginning and the very end of that novel. That isn’t always the case in my writing. I often need to change everything.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

No. To me, that’s a wasteful line of thinking. I write the best book I can at that moment, and then move to the next, taking everything I’ve learned with me.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

Your first page is an invitation to the reader. It’s an invitation to another world. If you don’t make the party intriguing, no one will come.

 






Dylan Doose is the author of the ongoing dark fantasy series, Sword & Sorcery. He also pens the new weird western series, Red Harvest. His debut novel received honorable mention in Library Journal’s Indie Ebook Awards and was a Shelf Unbound Magazine Notable 100.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://www.dylandooseauthor.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dylan_Doose

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

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The First Page: BECOMING AMERICAN: A POLITICAL MEMOIR by Cary D. Lowe


BECOMING AMERICAN: A POLITICAL MEMOIR
Cary D. Lowe
Black Rose Press
Memoir

Becoming American is the inspiring story of the author’s transformation from a child of Holocaust survivors in post-war Europe to an American lawyer, academic, and activist associated with such famed political leaders as Robert Kennedy, George McGovern, Jerry Brown, and Tom Hayden.

Searching for his great-grandparents’ graves in a hidden cemetery outside Prague makes him recall his experiences of becoming American: listening to Army Counterintelligence agents gathered at his family home in Austria; a tense encounter with Russian soldiers during the post-war occupation; seeing Jim Crow racism in the South during his first visit to the United States; becoming an American citizen in his teens; having his citizenship challenged by border guards; fearing for his new country upon witnessing the Watts riots in Los Angeles; advancing the American dream as a real estate lawyer, helping develop entire new communities; and rising to leadership positions in organizations shaping government policies around some of the most important issues of our time.

Becoming American won the 2020 Discovery Award for best political writing from an independent publisher. It features a foreword by bestselling author Edith Eger.

 



Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3njh97y

B&N:

https://bit.ly/2Gi81Qe

 

 

CHAPTER 1

THE SEARCH

Growing up in postwar Austria, my greatest hope was someday to become an American. A real American, like the khaki-clad soldiers occupying the country or the cowboys in the westerns at the local cinema. My father, a refugee from Vienna who worked on the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, promised me that hope would be fulfilled one day. What I didn’t realize then was that becoming American would cut me off from my roots. Many years later, after my parents and my brother had died, I resolved to restore that connection.

***

On a sunny autumn afternoon in 1997, I arrived with my nine-year-old daughter at the entrance of a long-closed Jewish cemetery near Strakonice, in the countryside south of Prague. Thirty-five years after we had left Europe for America, a search worthy of Indiana Jones had brought me and Coralea here from our home in Los Angeles. Inside, I hoped to find the graves of my paternal great-grandparents.

 

Stepping out of the car into a light breeze, I felt the momentary burst of elation of a marathon runner crossing the finish line. Then reality interrupted. Pursing my lips, I turned to Coralea.

 

“I just hope this is the right cemetery,” I said. “Aunt Mimi told me only that it was near Strakonice, but she didn’t seem sure. It’s been a long time since she was here.”

 


 

Welcome to the blog! The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

The event which I begin describing on the first page sets the stage for the entire story that follows. It creates suspense which will not be resolved until the final pages of the book. It also introduces me and informs the reader of my motivation in telling this story.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

I changed the first page just once, as part of a significant reorganization of the book’s opening chapters. I eliminated text that was backstory and replaced it with text that immediately draws the reader into the events driving the story narrative.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

No. Once I settled on this opening to the story, I was satisfied with it.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

The decision to rewrite the opening chapters, beginning with the first page, was the most important decision I made regarding the structure of my book. The original opening provided interesting context for my story, but was not effective in drawing the reader in and creating suspense to keep them engaged. The final first page, and especially the first paragraph, are a vast improvement. I attribute my publisher’s quick decision to offer me a contract to that change.

 
 


Cary Lowe is the author of the award-winning book Becoming American: A Political Memoir. He has published over fifty essays on political and civic issues in major newspapers, as well as professional reports and articles in professional journals.

Mr. Lowe is a retired California land use lawyer with 45 years of experience representing public agencies, developers, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations. He holds a law degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He taught courses in law and urban planning at USC, UCLA, and UC San Diego, and he writes and lectures on land use and environmental issues. In addition to his legal experience, Mr. Lowe is a credentialed mediator affiliated with the Land Use & Environmental Mediation Group of the National Conflict Resolution Center.


Website:  https://carylowewriter.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/carylowewriter/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Interview: RECKLESS IN RED by Rachael Miles


RECKLESS IN RED
Rachael Miles
Regency Romance

Lena Frost is a force to be reckoned with. A woman who has made her way in society without family or fortune, she’s about to realize her first big success as an artist. . . . Until her business partner makes off with her money, leaving her with little more than her hopes—and a dead body in her studio. Now Lena is at the mercy of a strikingly handsome stranger demanding answers she dare not reveal . . .

Is it her seductive eyes, or his suspicion that she’s up to no good that have Clive Somerville shadowing Lena’s every move? Either way, his secret investigation for the Home Office has him determined to uncover Lena’s hidden agenda.  But the closer he gets to her, the more he longs to be her protector. Is she a victim of circumstance? Or a dark force in a conspiracy that could destroy everything Clive holds dear?  Discovering the truth could have dire consequences, not only for Lena, but for his heart . . .

Reckless in Red was a 2019 finalist for the Holt Medallion in Historical Fiction and a first-place winner in the 2020 National Federation of Press Women’s communications contests in the category Fiction for Adult Readers: Novels.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3ftmvby

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/31cAnBO

 



 


Welcome to the blog! The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

 

In Reckless in Red, I wanted Lena to be in danger from the very first page. And I wanted her to meet the hero — Lord Clive Somerville—in a situation that will make her distrust him for a very long time. The note itself also needed to be a sort of character in the book, a stand-in for Lena’s missing partner Horatio. And though the note’s message seems straight-forward in this minute, Lena will eventually realize that Horatio left her more than one message, so I needed to spend a little of the first page drawing the reader’s attention to the paper itself. 

 

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons? 

It always takes me a little time to discover where a book starts. But with Reckless in Red, I knew from the beginning that it started with that message: Run. The other bits weren’t so solid, but the note remained through all the revisions.

 

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page? 

 

I revise the first page so many times before publication that it’s not usually the place that I wish I’d done something differently. That usually happens somewhere in the middle.

 

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

 

What you can do with a first page depends on your genre. With most genre fiction, the first page must introduce the character and some part of the conflict. It doesn’t have to be all of the conflict, but some part of the conflict has to be present from the very first page.







Rachael Miles writes ‘cozily scrumptious’ historical romances set in the British Regency. Her books have been positively reviewed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, which praised her ‘impeccably researched and beautifully crafted’ novels, comparing her works to those of Jo Beverly and Mary Jo Putney. Her novel, Reckless in Red, won first place in adult fiction: novels in the National Federation of Press Women’s writing contest. A native Texan, Miles is a former professor of book history and nineteenth-century literature. She lives in upstate New York with her indulgent husband, three rescued dogs, and all the squirrels, chipmunks, and deer who eat at her bird feeders.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: rachaelmiles.com

Twitter Address: http://www.twitter.com/rachael_miles1

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