The Dead Shoe Society – A “Killer” Anthology You Don’t Want to Miss!

The Dead Shoe Society

The Dead Shoe Society combines murder, mystery, mayham…and so much more! A “killer” anthology you don’t want to miss!

                             “Taken” by Lori Gordon

He’d let his hair grow out while he was in treatment. It whipped across his face as a gust of wind kicked up from the east, courtesy of Lake Michigan. Ethan pulled his black hair back into a makeshift bun and strutted down the obnoxiously long block until he reached an alleyway. He rounded the corner and swore under his breath. A semi idled in the alley, the large mouth of its back door yawning wide to accommodate corrugated containers from the shoe store being hand loaded into its belly.

Wanting a closer look, Ethan pulled up the collar of his leather jacket, lowered his head, and began weaving down the alley like a misbegotten drunk. His nostrils flared as he staggered into brick walls, cursing up a blue streak in the belligerent way fellows who’ve had a few too many often do, and mumbled to himself as he neared the truck.

Two men clad in black overcoats stood at the back door, supervising the loading of the containers, their breath coming out in cold puffs of air as they spoke. Ethan could tell by the cut of their coats and the sheen of their shoes that their garments were pricy — these were no ordinary shop employees. From a distance, he couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it was clear that they were speaking either Russian or Polish — though he had no basis for feeling the way he did, something about that struck him as off. Had he been in Ukrainian village, or the Northwest side of Chicago, he might have felt differently, but here in the alley behind expensive boutiques, in the middle of the night?

Ethan did his best to make enough ruckus to draw their attention. The larger of the two, a burly, bald-headed type, broke off the conversation, frowned, and eyed him with suspicion. His right hand slipped beneath his overcoat — a telltale sign that his fingers now coiled around the barrel of a gun.

Bugger. That was a complication Ethan hadn’t been looking for. It meant these bastards had something to hide which didn’t bode well for Shark’s little friends. Son of a blooming bitch. A little voice inside his head mocked him, telling himself that he should have left well enough alone, but it was too late. He was here and in too deep. He figured he might as well make the best of it and see if he could get a bead on what was going on. No time like the present to put on a good show.

“Hey!” Ethan grinned and waved both hands in the air, affecting his best New York accent. “Hey, do you think one of you guys can help me out?” He let his jaw go slack, rubbed the stubble on his left cheek and concentrated on making his eyes as unfocused as a man on a drunk. “I’ve gotten twisted around.”

The bald-headed man barked out a stream of guttural Russian/Polish to his companion and approached Ethan with a menacing look in his eye. “What is it you are wanting? You have no business here.”

“Business?” Ethan stumbled forward and clutched his belly as he laughed. “No business, not tonight.” He let his legs propel him sideways where he laid a hand on a brick wall for support. “No, man. I was supposed to be meeting my friends at a gentleman’s club after dinner.” He winked and leered, finally getting the man’s attention.

“A gentleman’s club you say? How is it you are lost here?”

Ethan raised his hand to give the bald man a high five, dropping it when the man didn’t respond. “Women,” he sighed. “My girl called to check up on me, can you imagine that? She’s not used to me being out of town. My friends went ahead without me and I don’t know where the hell they are.”

“Women,” the man grunted in agreement. “They need to learn their place, no?”

“Yes!” Ethan pointed a finger in the air. “Damn straight.” He lurched forward, slurring his words, “They don’t understand sometimes we men need a little fun, to blow off some steam, you know?”

Badly smiled, revealing a golden front tooth, and waved towards his companion to join them. “This man is looking for a gentleman’s club. What is the closest one nearby? We help him get where he wants to go, yes?”

The smaller man scurried forward, hands stuffed in the pockets of his coat. The bald man narrowed his eyes. “You and your friends, you have a lot of dough?”

“Oh.” Ethan nodded. “Yes, absolutely. They said this was a high class place, all the way.”

“Not exactly downtown, but I am guessing you are looking for VIP’s on Kingsbury Street — oddly enough a block or so off Hooker Street,” the man snorted with laughter. “You will need to take a cab, my friend; it’s not far from North Ave, which on a cold night is quite a walk from here.”

Ethan knew the gig was up; he had no reason to hang around. He also had no reason to make the men suspicious. Putting on his best obnoxious tourist act, he backed up and pointed at the men with both index fingers. “You guys are golden. Thanks. I owe you one.”

“Hey.” Baldy’s hand clamped on tight to Ethan’s upper arm. He leaned in towards Ethan, close enough for him to smell the mint on the man’s breath. “You go there, ask for Pepper. Tell her you get a lap dance and anything else you want on Vlad. Go. Have fun. Enjoy.”

Ethan nodded. “Thanks. On Vlad. Thanks, man. Have a good one.” He turned back the way he’d come and waved to the two men, anxious to get the hell out of there. Vlad. A Russian name. Did the Russian mob have a presence in Chicago? Who the hell could keep track of these things, certainly not him; he’d lived most of his life abroad.

He did know one thing for sure. There was an odd smell coming from the truck they’d been guarding, and it sure as hell wasn’t from the scent of shoe leather being transported in the wee hours of the morning.

The Dead Shoe Society is Stephen Penner, Mark Souza, Jonas Saul, Kate Cornwell, EVictoria Flynn, Christi Craig and Lori Gordon. Seven Stories, Seven Genre’s, Seven Authors.

Cover Design by Heidi Sutherland

You can purchase The Dead Shoe Society at Amazon:  http://amzn.to/zGuJAn

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Spotlight on Nicholas A Rose author of the ilvenworld novels

Thrillers, Chillers and Darn Good Books

Today’s spotlight is on Nicholas A Rose, author of the ilvenworld novels, Gifted Apprentice, Markan Empire and Markan Throne. If you enjoy epic fantasy it’s time to pull up a chair and come join us as we journey into a world where new enemies plot, old enemies wait, and only a sylph stands in their way. If you haven’t had a chance to sample Nicholas A Rose’s writing yet, this is your chance to get a sneak peak and discover a great new author.

Author Bio:

Nicholas A. Rose has been reading fantasy fiction for longer than he can remember and writing it for only a little less time.  Love of the sea and ships; mountains and the outdoors; and the rather more sedentary pastimes of chess, real ale and reading have all influenced his writing.

Nicholas lives in and is inspired by North Wales and believes all his best ideas come when out in the hills, often without pen and paper.

For those who must know, the “A” stands for Andrew.

Genre:

Fantasy fiction.  Some call it epic and others heroic, but there is a lot of cross-over in the sub-genres these days.

You have a continuing character in your novels. Give us a bit of background about him/her:

I have a character who appears in all the books.  His name is Sallis ti Ath and he was born on one of the islands that are independent of the continent.  He has a gift of being able to find criminals, wherever they run.  In Markan Throne he was set onto one of the central characters.

Although Sallis becomes a bounty hunter, he has a well developed sense of justice.  He never harms the innocent and only collects his fee on conviction, rather than arrest, of the criminal.

Sallis is respected and tolerated in Marka (the city he works from), rather than liked, but he has earned his reputation fairly.  The City Guard always turn to him first when they find themselves floundering!

Tell us a little about your books.

All my books are set on the “ilvenworld”, a fantasy world not too dissimilar from our own.

There are two series on the go.  The “Markan” novels (so far, Markan Throne and Markan Empire are out there, the third to follow) concentrate on the reestablishment of the Markan Empire and the struggle the rightful claimant has to win his throne.  These I would describe as “epic” in scale, with several plotlines on the go at once.

In Markan Throne, one claimant is accused of arranging the murder of another, and this book deals with the consequences of that.  The man accused of the murder must clear his name before the claims can go forward.  At the same time, a third claimant is determined to take the throne for himself and lays siege to Marka.

In Markan Empire, a new enemy threatens the stability of the fledgling empire, and the defeated besiegers are still lurking, waiting for an opportunity to strike again.  Spies are sent to learn the intentions of this dangerous new enemy, with surprising results.

The “Gifted” novellas (Gifted Apprentice, with a sequel following) map Sallis ti Ath’s journey from farmboy on an insignificant island to feared bounty bounter in Marka.  Starting a little earlier in the timeline than the “Markan” novels, these lean more to “heroic fantasy”, concentrating on one central character.  As novellas they are also shorter.

Gifted Apprentice begins with a sick Sallis ti Ath needing a touch-healer to cure him.  The price of this is the boy himself.  This novella shows the young Sallis as he learns his skills, including some that are not on the curriculum.  The second novella will deal with his journey to Marka and putting his new skills into practice professionally.

Novel Excerpt from Markan Throne:

Belaika shivered in the pre-dawn gloom and stared up at the heavens, mouth open with wonder at the display of shooting stars.  While his silver-gray eyes were turned upward, his ear-points twitched as he waited for the whistle that must come, informing him of the intentions of his master’s enemies.

Sounds reached him from behind, where the army readied itself for battle.  He shivered again, this time not from cold.  Although he was an army scout, subject to the same discipline as all other soldiers, he did not like battles.  He and his kind were scouts and messengers; they were not expected to fight.

Pitched too high for human hearing, the sharp whistle reached Belaika and he stiffened, stretching up to his full height to acknowledge it with a whistle of his own.  He trotted through the outer row of wooden stakes, twisting his way through the defenses and heard the whistle repeated as the message was relayed to the flank camps.

Most of the soldiers acknowledged him as he passed.  He returned their greetings with nods and smiles.  Infantrymen formed up before the earth bank and small detachments of mounted cavalry were behind them, all in full view of the approaching enemy.  Behind the earth bank stood the war-machines: ballistas and huge mangonels.

He reached the yeoman.  “Donenya, I heard,” he said.

“How far?” asked the yeoman.

“Five milas, closing.”  He gave the rest of the message.

The yeoman nodded.  “Go and tell the boss,” he said.

Se bata.”

As he turned away from the yeoman, soldiers lifted a hopper full of spears and positioned it on the ballista.  Along the rank of ballistas, more men did the same.  The green fire was prepared, but the huge cauldrons were not yet lit.  The bombardiers hated handling green fire: they said the only thing worse than handling it was having it land on you.  The throwing arm of the last mangonel was now being hauled down, so it would not be seen until it was too late.  These war-machines – although in a line – were three ranks, each with a corresponding row of marker posts out in the field, masquerading as advance stakes.  All the mangonels had been ranged the previous day, pins locking the throwing arms into their respective ranges and colored boards attached to each machine to tell the bombardiers which was in which rank.  Red for the first – or furthest – markers, white for the second and blue for the third.  The men already positioned at the advance stakes were expected to turn and run, lulling the enemy into a false sense of security.  They wanted the enemy to believe this was only a small army, not the full force.

Joining the paved road on which the army was camped, Belaika began to run, only slowing as he approached his master’s tent.  Orders were shouted, repeated over and over as the yeoman did his work.  At this tent, he was challenged, although he was well known to the guardsmen.

“Akram,” he said.

“Pass.”  The guard nodded and relaxed the spear that had been leveled against Belaika’s chest, more for show than real threat.  The guard winked at the scout.  “He’s awake.”

Belaika nodded and pushed through the tent flap.  He doubted if many had slept well.

Enya,” he began, “they are five milas away, coming fast.  They move one mila every fifteen minutes, but their war-machines are five milas further back, moving one mila every twenty-five minutes.  The yeoman knows.”

Marcus Vintner, allegedly descended from the first Mark and claimant to the vacant Markan Throne, looked up from his map.  Light-crystals provided plenty of light in the centre of the otherwise dim tent.  The bedding was untouched, for Marcus had slept with his head on his arm at the map-table.  Belaika was a little taller than his owner, his appearance more striking thanks to the gray, green and brown skin-paint that covered his body, with vivid slashes of black across face and chest.  Despite this, Marcus was the one with real presence.  Belaika’s silver-gray eyes, cat-slit black pupils narrowed against the brightness, and his pointed ears, betrayed his sylph race and hence his status.

What can your readers look forward to? Do you have an upcoming new release?

Gifted Hunter, sequel to Gifted Apprentice, is out next.  This should be available towards the end of January 2012.  Markan Sword will follow that later in the year, the third and final novel in the “Markan” trilogy.  It’s perhaps inadvisable to work on two projects together, but they are at least related to each other.

Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

Ilvenworld Website Blurbs, covers, maps.  This is quite a new website, so is still evolving.

Ilvenworld Blog What I’m up to, where I’m at, news.  When it’s coming out, this is where you’ll hear about it first!

Smashwords Author Page

Amazon Author Page

You can purchase Nicholas A. Rose’s books at the following retailers (these links will take you to Markan Throne, but all published books are listed):

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Sony eBook Store

Diesel eBooks

iTunes Store

Kobo eBooks

and, of course Amazon Kindle

Please remember that all books by Nicholas A. Rose are ebooks, not printed.

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Spotlight on Heidi Sutherland, Author of Brother’s in Betrayal

Today’s spotlight is on Heidi Sutherland, author of the hot new release Brother’s in Betrayal – the first in a trilogy. If you enjoy romantic suspense, be sure to check out this sizzling debut novel from an up and coming new author. If you haven’t sampled her writing yet, this is your chance to get a sneak peak at a real page-turner and discover a great new author.

Author Bio:

Heidi Sutherlin is a writer of Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romance, a Graphic Designer and a Cover Artist. She currently wreaks her particular brand of digital mayhem from her home in beautiful Central Oregon while riding herd on a wily four year old and a plastic addicted black Lab named Frannie.

Genre:

Romantic Suspense

What drew you to romantic suspense?

I read all kinds of genres but throughout all of the books that I read two things draw me: mystery and happily ever after. There needs to be an element to solve for me and the HEA is mandatory. That’s why all of the books that I write, regardless of genre will include those two elements in some shape or form.

Tell us a little about your book.

BROTHERS IN BETRAYAL is the first of the trilogy The Sins of the Fathers, focusing on three men, bonded in childhood and the three women that they come to love. Each of them will be threatened by a shared betrayal that will bring them closer even as it shatters the memories that they hold dear.

This first book tells Noah’s story:

Elite Pacific Northwest software designer, Grace Mason is not the criminal that Special Agent Noah Jeffries expected to find.

Unaware that she’s a suspected accomplice in an arms smuggling ring, Grace struggles to cope with the mysterious and disturbing changes in the company that she helped to build. When the danger begins to escalate she has no choice but to place her life in the hands of a man who threatens her control and makes her want what she promised herself she’d never take. Grace couldn’t have known that falling for the sexy FBI agent would make her the focus of a dead man’s vendetta.

Now Noah must uncover more than the details in a smuggling case as a betrayal from his past threatens the future of a woman he never meant to care for.

Novel Excerpt

“Are you finished with your tantrum? Pretty impressive, really. I didn’t expect you to last longer than a half hour at the most, but I think you actually managed to drag me through the entire complex. That takes you passed spoiled, right into dedicated. Nice job.”

His eyes glittered as he looked down at her, contradicting the bored tone he assumed, his jaw hardening in preparation for the battle to come.

“Spoiled!” she spluttered, “How dare you!”

“Yes, spoiled.”

He took one, then two, then three steps forward forcing her to move back until she felt the cold brick wall at her back. He was so close she could smell him; wood shavings and spice. The eyes that she had thought blue were suddenly cold and metallic. Not cold, no, a molten, gun metal blue. She’d never been able to visualize that color until now.

“You’re not happy that you have to show me around, I get it. Big deal, grow up and act like a professional. You’re more than welcome to continue to waste my time and your own, but I promise you that I won’t be going anywhere until I have what I came for. If that takes me a day or a month, fine, it will be spent within a foot from your side. You can enjoy it, or you can fight it, either way, you’re mine until I decide differently. Understand?”

He moved in so close that she could count the places they weren’t touching on one hand. From this vantage point, his face had lost the easy humor it held all afternoon. How could she have thought him gullible? How could she have ever overlooked this strength? His body was as hard as the steel in his eyes, and she could almost imagine being taken by – oh my God, she was doing it again. What was wrong with her! Then her eyes widened as the harsh words he’d just uttered managed to sink into her poor fogged brain.

He knew the exact moment when she snapped. He was watching the tide of thoughts and emotions that moved in waves across her face. Even with his patience at an end, she fascinated and stimulated him like no other female ever had. My God, she was beautiful. He watched as she seemed enveloped with her desire, followed by puzzlement and soft feminine wondering, the abrupt reeling in of the desire came next and finally the explosion of temper when his words registered. Good, he thought, let’s see how she handles someone who pushes back.

Grace jerked her arms up from where his body had them pinned, and shoved at his chest with both hands. In a far distant section of her brain she filed away the feel of his muscular frame on her oversensitive palms. She stomped on the lingering desire, even now racing through her senses and spun away and out of his reach. She turned on him then and planted both hands on her hips. The Peter Pan pose nearly had Noah laughing out loud, but he managed to just catch himself and schooled his features into his earlier scowl.

“Look here, you …you…man.” Smooth Grace, she thought. Taking a deep breath, she began again. “I am not a babysitter, nor am I a tour guide, and in the last three hours you haven’t once asked me a question pertaining to anything that we do here. What do you want? How can I help you? I’m a programmer, not a God damned promoter. We have sales reps and company flutter bugs who wine and dine and dimple for all of the other over-sexed, over-funded, pampered rich boys who fly in on their private jet, looking around for a new toy for the company that Daddy bought and doesn’t have the time to play with it. I cannot help you. Deal with it.” With an impressive flounce she turned on her booted heel and stalked away from him.

He followed, of course, though he did make certain to keep a few hundred feet between them. She was just angry enough that he wasn’t certain that she wouldn’t try to brain him with a handy stapler, or maybe even an office chair.

He wasn’t concerned. He knew where she was going. She was on her way to see Jude, where she’d no doubt explain that in no uncertain terms would she continue to “babysit” him.

My God, he thought again, she was beautiful.

He allowed a small chuckle to slip through his stony facade and then gave up completely and allowed his face to rest in its natural state, the crooked smile blooming on his lips. He hadn’t intended to push her so hard, but he couldn’t resist throwing a well timed boot into her little tantrum. And tantrum it was. Miss Grace Mason was a spoiled little code monkey, who needed a bit of a tune up, and he was just the man to do it.

What can your readers look forward to? Do you have an upcoming new release?

In the coming year I have a number of titles that I will be releasing, the first of which being the second book in the Sins of the Fathers series, BROTHERS IN DECEPTION, the story of Gage and Sam.

Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

You can learn more about me on my blog, facebook page and over at Goodreads. I’m also very active on Twitter and I love to meet new people, so feel free to stop by and say hello!

Blog – http://heidisutherlin.blogspot.com/

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5301155.Heidi_Sutherlin

Twitter – @heidisutherlin

You purchase Heidi Sutherland’s books at the following retailers:

BROTHERS IN BETRAYAL is available in both ebook and paperback. The ebook is currently $.99.

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Brothers-Betrayal-Sins-Fathers-ebook/dp/B006E902YU/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1322267487&sr=1-1

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1107459453?ean=2940013514317&itm=3&usri=brothers+in+betrayal

Brazen Snake Books – http://www.brazensnakebooks.com

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Spotlight on Larry Enright author of Buffalo Nickel Christmas

Thrillers, Chillers andDarn Good Books

 

 

Today’s spotlight is on Larry Enright, an author whose books are receiving rave reviews. His books are heartwarming, humorous and revealing, and if you haven’t sampled his writing yet, this is your chance to get a sneak peak and discover a great new author.

Author Bio: Larry Enright was born to Irish Catholic first-generation immigrants and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After college, he moved to the Philadelphia area where for the past 40 years he has filled his life with many careers including teacher, musician, computer programmer, researcher, and writer. He has written four novels. The best seller “Four Years from Home” (2010) is his first published work. “A King in a Court of Fools” was published in September 2011. “Buffalo Nickel Christmas,” his newest work, will be out this Thanksgiving.

Genre: Mystery, humor, nostalgia.

You have a continuing character in your novels. Give us a bit of background about him/her:

Both “Four Years from Home” and “A King in a Court of Fools” are about the Ryan family. Tom Ryan, the oldest of the five children, is the narrator and protagonist in “Four Years from Home.” In that work, he is an unlikable man in his 20s, thinks of himself as king, bully extraordinaire, and the only one with a clue. This comes from his experiences as a boy and his decisions as a young man. This self perception is laid bare to the reader’s examination and judgment throughout the novel as the dark mystery surrounding Harry, the youngest brother, unfolds. “A King in a Court of Fools” takes the family back to when Tom was in 6th grade and leader of the Caswell gang, a loosely knit association of kids and siblings. This story is told by Harry and is much lighter in tone and content than “Four Years.” “A King” is a period piece with nostalgia, funny kid situations, and a view of the simpler life of the 50s. My newest work, “Buffalo Nickel Christmas,” will also be a story about the Ryans. Those who have read “Four Years” will understand an underlying irony beyond what I have described, but am unable to divulge.

Your books “A King in a Court of Fools” and “Four Years From Home” are selling quite well. Do you think people crave a simpler time and place?            

There is definitely an audience for psychological mystery, which is what “Four Years from Home” is. It is a dark and twisting story about a person you cannot help but hate. It requires some perseverance to listen to his story in its entirety, but you will not be disappointed. There is also an audience for a simple, funny, and heartwarming story, which is how “A King in a Court of Fools” has been described in reviews. People enjoy the uplifting and simple just as people enjoy reading about personal sacrifice and the extent to which love will take us.

Did you have any special inspiration for your books?

My inspiration is my life, things that have happened, things that could have happened. And when blended, reformed, changed, they become a story.

Tell us a little about your books.

“Four Years from Home”

Tom Ryan — firstborn of five children in a large, Irish Catholic family, smart and acerbic, a cheat and a bully — calls himself the future king of the Ryans. There are other opinions. His mother calls him a holy terror. Mrs. Ioli calls the police on him. His father says that had Trouble been a saint, that would have been Tom’s middle name. But his parents, neighbors, peers, and siblings all must bow down before him or suffer the consequences. Just ask the Christmas turkey leftovers he buried in the side yard.

Harry, the youngest Ryan, was the shining star of the family. Bright, sensitive, and caring, he was protected by parental radar, called by God and Grandma Ryan to the priesthood, and was in Tom’s eyes, a brown-nosing little punk who had become a threat to his kingdom and the primary target of his search and destroy missions.

Then Harry changed. He abandoned his vocation and quit the church, and when he left for college, he left for good. He never called. He rarely wrote. His picture disappeared from the mantle. It was as if he had ceased to exist and his shining star had been but a passing comet. The enemy had retreated and Tom’s war was over.

“Four Years from Home” begins on Christmas 1972 during Harry’s senior year at college. The Ryan family has gathered without Harry for another bittersweet holiday celebration. When an unexpected and unwelcome gift arrives, the family demands answers and Tom Ryan, bully cum laude, must make a reluctant journey of discovery and self-discovery into a mystery that can only end in tragedy.

“A King in a Court of Fools”

A King in a Court of Fools begins with a book — The Book of Tom — a journal writing assignment from Tom Ryan’s sixth-grade teacher, Sister Jeanne Lorette. That’s what she called it. Tom called it punishment. In it, he chronicles the adventures of the Caswell Gang, a group of siblings and friends with two things in common — their love of adventure and their allegiance to Tom, their king.

The 1950s book was misplaced a long time ago, and all the children have since grown up, but Harry, Tom’s youngest brother, still remembers it and retells for us one of its stories in a nostalgic, heartwarming, and humorous way that will have you wishing for adventure, too.

“Buffalo Nickel Christmas”

This story takes place a few months after “A King in a Court of Fools,” the week before Christmas. A Monster snowstorm is on the way, and the excitement preceding the holiday intensifies with the storm. Preparations, plans, and wishes all lead to a most unlikely adventure for the Caswell gang, and adventure with magic, kings, wizards, and Santa Claus. Once again, Harry narrates this tale in a fashion that only he can.

Novel Excerpt from chapter four of the new release, “Buffalo Nickel Christmas.”

The Post Office has no official motto. The one that everyone thinks is their motto is actually just words engraved on the outside of the James A. Farley Post Office building at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street in New York City: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” And that was actually a translation of an ancient Greek work of Herodotus describing the Persian system of mounted mail carriers around 500 B.C.

None of us knew anything about Herodotus or Persia or any Post Office in New York. We just knew that nothing stopped the mail. But, deep down, we were all just a little surprised when Mr. Pearson, our mailman, rang the doorbell.

Mom answered the door. “Mr. Pearson, what on earth are you doing out in this weather?”

“Only the truck routes are canceled today, Mrs. Ryan. All the walkers are still a go.”

Our post office, the one without the engraving on the outside and the Persian mounted postal carriers, was not that far from us, and we were on what they called a walking route.

“Would you like to come in and warm up a bit?”

Mr. Pearson zipped his uniform jacket up closer to his chin, covering his red flannel shirt. He was our regular mailman and always seemed to have a red flannel shirt on except during the hottest days of summer. And he always smelled like bacon no matter what time of year it was. “No, thank you, I’m nearly done. I would have dropped your mail in the box, but your Sears catalog came today and it’s too big. I didn’t want it getting ruined in the snow.”

“That was very thoughtful, Mr. Pearson. We were wondering where it had gotten to.”

“It does seem like they mailed them late this year, but that’s just more rush business for the mailmen and there’s nothing wrong with that.” He saw me peeking out from behind Mom and winked, “You might want to pay special attention to page 269, Harry. That’s my favorite.”

The Sears catalog — the most amazing book ever made, over three hundred fifty pages of the neatest things in the whole world. You could get anything from the Sears catalog: toys, men’s clothes, women’s clothes, more toys, boots, jewelry, fragrances, watches, even more toys, cowboy hats, guns, wagons, bikes, even kits to build a real house. And did I mention toys? The catalog that came every December was officially named the Sears Christmas Book but everyone called it the Wish Book. That year, the 1956 Sears Christmas Book had a picture of a boy in blue pajamas and a girl in pink pajamas looking over the banister from the steps at a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and all the presents waiting for them — if only their parents would call the phone number on page 377 and place their orders with Santa.

Tom liked to call it the “Santa Gimme Book,” as in, “Santa, gimme this,” and “Santa gimme that.”

Mom held the catalog high over her head to prevent The Jumping Ryans from grabbing it. They were the world famous circus act, now in town for a limited engagement. She handed it to Dad.

“I called dibs. I get it first,” Tom complained.

“We can all look at it in the living room,” Dad said.

I wrapped myself around Dad’s left leg, and Sam tried to hold him back by his belt, but Dad was unstoppable. The catalog gave him super powers. I seem to remember a special deal on that in last year’s Wish Book. He made it to his easy chair, plopped down and extended the footrest, and the little cloud of mosquitoes gathered around the irresistible light. I got the best seat in the house.

“How come Harry always gets to sit in your lap?”

Dad adjusted me leftwards so I wasn’t sitting on the car keys in his pocket. “You’re too heavy, Tom. You can see well enough from there.”

“It’s not the same.”

“You’ll be fine.”

Kate bent over and stuck her sweetest smile right in Dad’s face. “I’m not too heavy.”

Tom used his knee and the leverage of the wall to edge her forward so he could get a better view of the book.

“Stop pushing, Tom.”

“Stop being so crowdy,” Tom said, leaning so close I could feel his breath on my neck.

“That’s not even a word.”

“You’re not even a word.”

What can your readers look forward to? Do you have an upcoming new release?

After “Buffalo Nickel Christmas,” I will be returning to Tom Ryan at a later point in his life. I’ve been kicking around a few ideas for where his life goes, and I think it’s time for the pen to put them to paper.

Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

My website is http://www.larryenright.net/ . There are a couple of book videos I did of “Four Years from Home” there, samples, tidbits, that kind of thing.

I’d love for you to follow me on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/LarryEnrightAuthor . It’s the one social media site I can handle without going crazy, although I also tweet occasionally from @LarryEnright.

You purchase Larry Enright’s books at the following retailers:

Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Larry-Enright/e/B0045Z9HX2/

 – also available on the U.K., DE, and FR sites.

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/larry-enright

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Spotlight on Carolyn Arnold, Author of “Eleven”

Everybody loves a good mystery, especially one that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Today I am talking to author Carolyn Arnold whose novel Ties that Bind is receiving rave reviews. She has a new book out – ELEVEN – which is sure to keep you glued to the edge of your seat. If you haven’t read Carolyn Arnold yet, this is your chance to get a sneak peak and discover a great new author.

 Author Bio:

Carolyn Arnold is the author of several novels in the mystery, thriller and suspense genres.  TIES THAT BIND, the first in a police procedural mystery series surrounding Detective Madison Knight, was her debut novel and published May 2011.

Carolyn was born in 1976 in the rural town of Picton, Ontario.  While her passion for writing dates back to her teen years, it wasn’t until 2008 that she completed her first novel.  She lives with her husband and her two beagles in Southwestern Ontario.

Do you work with an outline?
I’m a complete “panster” which means no outline for me.  I know the basics of how the story is going to end but I let the characters lead me along.  Before I write I do set out with an understanding as to the main characters.  This affords me an intimate relationship with them from the first word.  Of course, that relationship only grows.

You have a continuing character in your novels. Give us a bit of background about her:

At the age of 34, Madison Knight knows she wasn’t destined to be a cop, coming from generations of those who served before her. She isn’t holding onto a childhood trauma for which she seeks retribution. In fact, she’s probably a poor candidate for a Major Crimes Detective with her distaste for the sight of blood. But she pushes herself beyond it because she wanted a purpose to her life as opposed to just making it through it.

She didn’t want to be part of the “cookie-cutter mold” with family and kids even though she came close – once. The once being enough to seal the fact she didn’t need a man, and given time and opportunity any man would cheat. Instead she was left with a broken heart and her belief there was someone special out there for everyone was shattered.

Maybe if she saw things through her mother’s eyes, she would be considered a perfect daughter as opposed to the other daughter. Her sister has the “perfect” life – a husband and three girls. At times Madison contemplated whether it was simply her career choice that drew the barrier in the relationship with her mother, or if it was the fact her grandmother left her everything. It is possible Madison will never know for sure.

What Madison does know is the memory of her grandmother helps coax her through the times she struggles. Her grandmother was the one person that truly believed in her, and for that Madison could never let her down. This could be why Madison is determined to find justice for the victims and closure for the family left behind no matter what the costs.

Tell us a little about your books.

TIES THAT BIND, the first in the Madison Knight series, available now

The first case was ruled an isolated incident until the second victim.  Madison Knight and her partner must work to stop a potential serial killer from striking again.

ELEVEN, FBI Thriller, available now

New FBI Special Agent Brandon Fisher never expected this when he became FBI – eleven rooms, ten bodies and one empty grave.

JUSTIFIED, the second in the Madison Knight series scheduled for December 2011

It’s Christmas Eve and the case has Madison Knight and her partner dealing with blood and lots of it. Everyone wanted the victim dead.  In order obtain justice Madison Knight and her partner must find out who has the most motive and hold the guilty accountable.

Novel Excerpt – “Eleven”

Nothing in the twenty weeks at Quantico prepared me for this.

A Crime Scene Investigator, who had identified himself as Earl Royster when we first arrived, came out of a room and addressed FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper.  “All of the victims were buried–”  He held up a finger, his eyes squeezed shut and he sneezed.  “Sorry ‘bout that.  My allergies don’t like it down here.  They were all buried the same way.”

This was my first case with the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit and it took us to Salt Lick, Kentucky.  The discovery was made this morning, and were briefed and flown out from Quantico to the Louisville field office where we picked up a couple SUVs.  We drove from there and got here about four in the afternoon.

We were in a bunker illuminated by portable lights brought in by the local investigative team.  A series of four tunnels spread out as a root system beneath a house the size of a mobile trailer, and extended under an abandoned corn field.

A doorway in the cellar of the house led down eleven feet to a main hub from which the tunnels fed off.  The walls were packed dirt and an electrical cord ran along the ceiling with pigtail fixtures attached every few feet.

We were standing in the hub which was fifteen and a quarter feet wide, and arched out to a depth of seven and half feet.  The tunnels were only about three feet wide and the height clearance was about the same as here, six and a half feet.  The bulbs dangled down from the fixtures another eight inches.

I pulled out on the collar of my shirt wishing for a smaller frame than my six foot two.  As it was the three of us could have reached out and touched each other if we were inclined.

“It’s believed each victim had the same cuts inflicted,” Royster said.  “Although most of the remains are skeletal so it’s not as easy to know for sure, but based on burial method this guy obviously had a ritual.  The most recent victim is only a few years old and was preserved by the soil.  The oldest remains are estimated to date back twenty-five to thirty years.  Bingham moved in twenty-six years ago.”

Lance Bingham was the property owner, age sixty-two, and was currently serving three to five years in a correctional facility for killing two cows and assaulting a neighbor.  If he moved in twenty-six years ago that would put Bingham at thirty-six.  The statistical age for a serial killer to start out is early to mid thirties.

The CSI continued to relay more information about how the tunnels branched out in various directions and the ends came to a bulbus tip.

“There’s eleven rooms and only ten bodies.”  Jack rushed the briefing along as he pulled a cigarette out of a shirt pocket.  He didn’t light up, but his lips suctioned around it like a life supply.

Royster’s eyes went from the cigarette to Jack’s face.  “Yes.  There’s one tunnel that leads to a dead end and there’s one empty grave.”

“What do you make of it?”  Jack spoke with the cigarette bobbing in his mouth, and turned to me.

“Of the empty grave?”

Jack’s smile slanted higher on the right, his eyes pinched and he removed the cigarette from his mouth.  “That and the latest victim.”

Bingham had been in prison for the last three years.  The elaborate tunnel system he had going would have taken years to plan and dig and it would have taken strength, leaning towards Bingham not working alone.  “He had help.  Someone followed behind him.”

Jack perched the unlit smoke back in his lips.  “Humm.”

“Anyway you’ll want to see it for yourself.  I haven’t seen anything like it,” Royster continued.

Jack’s eyes narrowed and his brows compressed.

“Come–”  The back of a wrist came to his nose in an instant.  The spray of sneeze only somewhat diverted.  More sniffles.  “Sorry ‘bout that.  Anyway this way.”

Jack motioned for me to go ahead of him.

What can your readers look forward to? Anything new in the works?

Coming this December is the release of the second in the Madison Knight series, JUSTIFIED.     

Here’s the book blurb:

Madison Knight should have ignored the call.  Now she is spending Christmas Eve dealing with her least favorite thing…blood and lots of it.

When a female victim is found in her home it has Madison and her partner tapping into the vic’s personal life.  With a rash of former business partners and lovers, all of whom wanted her dead, there are not enough hours to question them all.

But trying to find the person who had the most motive isn’t all that’s on Madison’s mind.  As she struggles to establish balance in her own life, she knows she has to get her focus back.  Justice requires it.

Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

Website                                         

Blog

Twitter
Facebook page 
Goodreads

Email

You can purchase Carolyn Arnold’s books at the following retailers:

Amazon

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Discovering New Authors

I have a long list of favorite authors, as I’m sure most of you do. My bookshelves are piled high with books waiting to be read. I’ve been reading most of these writers for more years than I’d care to count but once upon a time, they were unknown to me, which got me wondering, how do YOU choose a new book by unfamiliar author? With so many books out there these days, and so many more options to choose from, what makes you plunk down a handle of change to sample an Indie author, or spend the big bucks to snag the latest release from a bestselling traditionally published author.

I tend to rely on recommendations from friends and family. They know my taste and know if I will enjoy an author’s work, but when I’m let loose in a bookstore, that’s another story. The cover is the first thing that grabs me. If it’s appealing or intriguing, I’ll pick it up. I might skim the inside flap or the back cover to see if the story peaks my interest, but it’s the writing that seals the deal for me. I’ll read the first page and then flip to the middle. If I have the sense that I like the writer’s style, I may skim a few more pages to get a sense of the characters to see if they are likable or wooden.

If I’m already a fan of an author, I don’t need to be hooked with the first paragraph because I know they’ll deliver.

When sampling a new author, if the writing and the characters are engaging, I’ll go along for the ride even if I’m not crazy about the plot because writers tend to get better with time. I’ve read many a first book by unknown authors and with each new release they raised the bar a little further, ultimately ending up on my must read list.

For me, it’s all about the writing…I like a book that make me care about the characters…where I can lose myself in the story and be entertained.

What about you? How you discover new author’s?

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#tagit

 

Over the course of the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a group of wonderful, talented, and amazing people on twitter and it should come as no surprise that they are all a part of the writing community. My biggest regret is that recently I haven’t been able to tweet with them as often as I have in the past – and should any of you happen to be reading this, I miss you all and hope to be back at it soon (right after I finish the short story for the Dead Shoe Anthology).

 My debut novel was released in August and I joined The Independent Author Network aka @AuthorNetwork to help market the book. I not only made some new friends, I’ve also have been blown away by what a supportive and tireless group they are. Thank you to @JamieDebree for making me aware of them.

But that’s how we writers and authors roll – we cheer each other on, we celebrate the success of others and commiserate when sales are lackluster or a rejection letter comes via e-mail. These days there are many paths an aspiring author can take, but in the end, we all hope for the same thing. For readers to discover us and enjoy out work.

Writers want to be read. Readers are constantly searching for new authors which got me thinking. With the holidays approaching we are all going to be busier than ever. Nestled between writing, marketing, tweeting, family and work, time must also be made for shopping, family gatherings, parties and gift giving, and okay, taking a selfish moment for some holiday cheer. The hours we stretch each day will be pulled tighter than the drum some hopeful child hopes to find under his or her Christmas tree.

William Potter @WilliamPotter68 created #IAN and spends countless hours promoting authors works. Cynthia Meyers-Hanson @mchanson714 on twitter does an author spotlight each week and uses the hash tag #authorshelpingauthors as a way of paying it forward. Derek Blass @derekblass founded #AmazonLikes which is a fantastic concept and I am only naming a few. There are countless others who use their time and resources to help other authors succeed and I’d like to toss in my meager two cents and ask for your help in promoting the #tagit hash tag.

I’m sure my idea isn’t a novel one – pun intended – but I did a search and haven’t found that hash tag used for promoting authors work. As the holiday season approaches what better gift can we give our fellow authors than the chance to help readers discover their work?

I pledge to tag at least three authors’ books each day. Don’t we all have a few minutes to tag a book or three to help get each other’s books noticed on Amazon? The more Indie Authors do to stand together the louder we will be heard and more readers will discover new favorite authors. And isn’t that what we all want? ‘Tis the season (or soon will be) after all – so let’s give a little as a thank you for all the support our writing community gives to us each day. We can all use a little help from a friend – be a friend, even if you are reaching out to authors you may not know well, but admire. Give back to those who give to you and #tagit.

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