Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Blast: Free of Malice by Liz Lazarus - Win $25 Amazon Gift Card






Title: FREE OF MALICE
Author: Liz Lazarus
Publisher: Mitchell Cove Publishing LLC
Pages: 274
Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Laura Holland awakes in the middle of the night to see a stranger standing in her bedroom doorway. She manages to defend herself from the would-be rapist, though he threatens to return as he retreats. Traumatized with recurring nightmares, Laura seeks therapy and is exposed to a unique treatment called EMDR. She also seeks self-protection— buying a gun against the wishes of her husband. When Laura learns she could have gone to prison had she shot her fleeing assailant, she decides to write a hypothetical legal case using the details of that night. She enlists the help of criminal defense lawyer, Thomas Bennett, who proves to be well versed in the justice system but has an uncanny resemblance to her attacker. As the two work together to develop the story, Laura's discomfort escalates particularly when Thomas seems to know more about that night than he should. Reality and fiction soon merge as her real life drama begins to mirror the fiction she's trying to create.

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Book Excerpt:
Run. Run faster. As much as I strained my legs to move, they were immobile, like I was waist deep in quicksand.
Why can’t I move?
I tried to scream for help but my mouth was full, like it was stuffed with cotton—no sound would escape.
I felt something clutching my shoulder. No, it was someone. He was pushing me forward and then yanking me back. I tried to jerk away but he had a tight grip, like a vice.
I have to break free.
The tugging got harder, more forceful. He was calling my name— over and over. He knew my name.
“Laura, Laura.”
I jolted awake—my husband’s hand still on my shoulder.
“Honey, wake up. You’re having another bad dream.”
Slowly, I turned over in bed and looked at him—his dark brown eyes were fixated on me. I could see them clearly as the light from the bathroom brightened our bedroom.
For a month now, we had slept with this light on.
I could see the small wrinkle on his forehead. I loved that wrinkle though wished he didn’t have good reason to be so concerned. I was enduring the nightmares, but he had to deal with my tossing and mumbling in terror.
I remember when we first met—ten years ago in chemistry lab at Georgia Tech. He had walked up to me with those warm eyes and a charming, confident smile and asked, “Want to be partners?”
Two years later he took me to Stone Mountain Park, rented a small rowboat and, in the moonlight, he pulled out a diamond ring and asked me again, “Want to be partners?”
Life had seemed just about perfect.
Until now.
We looked at each other for a moment. Then he propped himself up on his elbow and said softly, “Laura, I feel so helpless. I know it’s only been a month, but...”
He hesitated.
“What?” I asked.
“It’s just as bad as that first night. After it happened. Look, I want to make you feel safe again, but I don’t know how.”
He rubbed his eyes and looked away. I waited, staring at him.
What isn’t he saying?
“I know you don’t want to see a therapist, but seeing someone doesn’t mean you’re crazy. Therapists don’t treat just crazy people. They help people who have been through traumas and you have. Hell, no one even has to know.”
He paused for a second.
“Don’t be mad at me, but yesterday I made an appointment for you. I was going to talk to you about it in the morning if you had another bad dream. I found a woman who is downtown by my office. She’s been practicing for about twenty years, got her doctorate from Emory and comes with really good patient reviews.”
He looked for my reaction and continued. “I made the appointment for you at 4:00 so we can go to dinner afterward. You know what you always say. You’ll try anything once, right?”
“I told you I don’t want to see a psychiatrist,” I pushed back. “I just need more time. I’ll bounce back. You know I almost came in the house on my own today. Besides, if I see a psychiatrist, on every job application I complete in the future, I’ll have to check the ‘Yes’ box when they ask if I’ve had mental health treatment.”
“Jesus. No you don’t. You’re too innocent sometimes.”
He gently tapped me on the nose.
“You can check the box ‘No.’ Besides, if that’s the only thing stopping you, I think you should give it a try. Her name is Barbara Cole. I’ll take you to Houston’s afterward,” he added.
I ignored the bribe. “But what can she do that you can’t? All she’ll do is listen and you do that for me already. Psychiatrists are for people who don’t have friends or husbands to talk to.”
Chris shook his head.
“Please? Do it for me.”
The tone in his voice was different—more helpless than normal. Chris had been so understanding, so comforting this past month, especially considering I had been waking him every night. How could I refuse his request?
I sighed. “Okay,” I relented. “I’ll go.”
“One visit. That’s all I’m asking. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back. She’s a psychologist, by the way, not a psychiatrist. She does therapy, not drugs.”
He glanced at the clock. It was 3:30 a.m.
Chris grabbed Konk, my stuffed animal gorilla that I won at the state fair by outshooting him at the basketball game. He had sworn the scum running the game couldn’t take his eyes off my butt and let me win.
“Here’s Konk,” he said. “I’m going to finish my presentation since I’m up. I’ll just be in the office. Want the door open?”
“Yes,” I said as I wrapped my arms tightly around Konk.
“Hey, we’ll celebrate your first therapy visit and my signed contract, I hope, this evening.”
“You mean you hope my first visit?” I said with a playful smile.
He gave me a look—he was in no mood for jokes.
“Fine. Fine. I’ll go,” I assured.
“If you’re asleep when I leave, just come by my office after the appointment and we’ll head to dinner. Try to get some sleep. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

About the Author


Liz Lazarus is the author of Free of Malice, a psychological, legal thriller loosely based on her personal experience and a series of ‘what if’ questions that trace the after effects of a foiled attack; a woman healing, and grappling with the legal system to acknowledge her right to self-defense.

She was born in Valdosta, Georgia, graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern with an MBA in their executive master’s program. She spent most of her career at General Electric’s Healthcare division and is currently a Managing Director at a strategic planning consulting firm in addition to being an author.

Free of Malice is her debut novel, set in Atlanta, and supplemented by extensive research with both therapists and criminal defense attorneys. She currently lives in Brookhaven, GA, with her fiancé, Richard, and their very spoiled orange tabby, Buckwheat.

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Giveaway

Liz is giving away a $25 B&N Gift Card & an autographed copy of FREE OF MALICE!!


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 B&N Gift Card or one autographed copy of FREE OF MALICE
  • This giveaway begins April 11 and ends on May 11.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 12.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Interview with Charles Leon Fantroy, Jr., author of 'My Life: Poetic Literature'



Charles Leon Fantroy Jr. was born and raised in Washington D.C. His journey through the trenches of a Federal Penitentiary started at seventeen years old. He honed and practiced his writing skills during his years of incarceration behind the four walls of Leavenworth, as a way to express himself. Now at the conscious age of thirty six, he has finally perfected his true passion, which is to share his rhythmical array of completed poems, fictional novels, as well as full length movie scripts. He has continued to educate himself in completing eighteen months at Stratford University as a certified internet specialist. Charles Leon Fantroy Jr. is soon to be released from prison where he looks to delve into a bright future of continuing to write quality novels and movie scripts as well as being a positive influence to society.

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About the Book:

Title: My Life: Poetic Literature
Author: Charles Leon Fantroy
Publisher: ‘JourStarr Quality Publications
Pages: 151
Genre: Poetry
MY LIFE: POETIC LITERATURE is a compilation which derives from my many thoughts over a span of thirteen years.

My poetic words speak to the multitude of those who encounter hardship and encourage all to overcome the adversities that one faces. I aim to have my words reverberate from a mental realm; because if a particular plight cannot be handled mentally, than the physicalities are but a hindrance.

The mind is the maker and the molder of all conditions.The thoughts that I’ve transcribed onto paper are channeled to positively engage and to motivate all; no matter nationality or creed. I myself am a voice with an abundance of thoughts to share.

For More Information

  • My Life: Poetic Literature  is available at Amazon.

What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

I honestly can say that life experiences at the time inspired a natural tendency for me to want to dig deep within to express some of my deepest thoughts.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I would say my writing capabilities came about when I was nineteen. But I didn't fully embrace the art of writing until I was twenty three.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

By me being a script writer, when I do watch a movie my sites are more set on the formula in which the plot point and dialogue all coexist; that to me makes a great movie. So yes, in my mind I am constantly taking mental notes.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

It took for me to do some self-analysis of myself in my later teens, at which time I realized my passion for writing.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

Believe in yourself, believe in your work, and never stop writing.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

I'm a very focused individual. So, no I do not let unimportant occurrences hinder me from my writing.

What hours do you write best?

My writing hours vary, but they are extensive. A typical writing session is normally nine to twelve hours.

How often do you write?

Seven days a week I am writing something, even if just editing one of my novels or movie scripts.

Are you an avid reader?

Yes, I am very much so an avid reader. I once read a sixteen hundred page dictionary.

What are you reading now?

This question coincides with your last question. (smile) I am now reading the dictionary, which I've been studying for the past few days to broaden my vernacular.

What are you currently working on?

I am now currently working on the novel to one of my movie scripts titled TRUE OBSESSION about a college teen in Texas who is sentenced to death for the killing of his stepsister. His appeal lawyer and investigator unearth some evidence that may set an innocent man free.

Book Feature: Liefdom by Jesse Teller - Please support his KindleScout Campaign!





Inside the Book:



 
A fiery fairy battles for purpose.
Liefdom is the story of Gentry Mandrake. Born with natural weapons in a race known for pacifism, he is cast out and hated for his differences. He hunts for a place among his people, while fighting to defend the human child bound to him. His violent nature makes him wonder at the purity of his soul, while the dark creatures he must face seem too great to defeat. Can he overcome such terrible foes to defend those he loves?



For more about Liefdom, and Jesse Teller, visit his KindleScout campaign page: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1HPG86CQEF8U0

Meet the Author:

Jesse Teller
   
Jesse Teller lives in Missouri. He hasn’t always, but like storytelling, it snuck into his bones. He lives with his wonderful, supportive wife and two inspiring kids. When he is not pounding too hard on his poor keyboard, you can find him bumping into walls and mumbling to himself.

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WHAT IS A KINDLESCOUT CAMPAIGN?

Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

PLEASE VOTE FOR LIEFDOM BY CLICKING HERE


Monday, April 18, 2016

A Bookish Conversation with Phil Fragasso, author of 'Going Both Ways'



Phil Fragasso sold his first article at the age of 16. Since then he has written and published a wide variety of books and articles, including the recent bittersweet love story, Still Counting. After many years as a corporate marketer, he left to pursue endeavors that were more fulfilling personally and more contributory on a societal level. Today he focuses his time on writing and teaching.

His latest book is Going Both Ways.

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About the Book:


Title: GOING BOTH WAYS
Author: Phil Fragasso
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Pages: 276
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Satire/Humor/Mainstream Fiction

After a prolonged rant about how easy women have it, Patrick awakens as a woman (Trish). But rather than staying a woman, he's male one day and female the next. The male and female characters share a single mindset – so Patrick is always in Trish's head and vice versa.

As much as Patrick tries to keep his situation private, he eventually becomes a worldwide sensation sought after by luminaries as diverse as the Pope and Hugh Hefner. While attending a party, Patrick meets a rap superstar named Gi-Slam. Their connection is immediate and powerful.

Gi-Slam's onstage biker-bitch character contrasts with her genuine girl-next-door persona (Gigi). Gigi is bi-sexual and she has a relationship with both Trish and Patrick. As the relationship with Gigi deepens, Trish takes her leave and Patrick experiences true love for the first time.

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What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

I can’t point to any specific event or moment in time. I’ve been an avid reader since early childhood. I remember being sick in bed with the flu when I was in grammar school. My father brought me a stack of books – mostly fiction and biographies – from the library and he couldn’t believe how fast I read them all and asked for another batch. I loved the way reading helped me escape the discomfort of being sick, and somewhere deep in my psyche the seed was probably planted that I would like to offer that same kind of respite and joy to future readers.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

For as long as I can remember. Like many kids I starting writing goofy stories for my own enjoyment and to share with friends. I sold my first article when I was 16. I’ve since sold three novels, two nonfiction books, three books of humor, and dozens of magazine articles (and self-published several other books). I’ve often said my tragic flaw is having too many interests – which is why I’ve written in such a wide variety of genres. Nonetheless, I do think it is curiosity that has driven my writing life.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

I trend to take notes everywhere. Ideas for plots, characters, and dialogue pop up while I’m showering, driving, falling asleep, walking the dogs, etc. When I’m reading or watching movies/TV, I’ll sometimes think about different ways a scene could have been handled. Depending on where I am, I often record my ideas as a voice memo on my iPhone or send myself an email reminder. Because I’m always taking notes I have way more storylines, situations, characters, and plot twists than I could ever use. I can’t point to how or why, but I do believe that inspiration derives from being open to new ideas and keeping my eyes and ears wide open.


Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

I guess I’m in that stage of life called semi-retirement – meaning that I no longer have a 9-5 job. I do, however, mix and match four different jobs. Writing is certainly my focus and I write every single day. I’m also an adjunct professor at Boston College and I still do the occasional consulting project. And fourth, I’m a part-time chauffeur for a local car service company where I get to meet a wide variety of people and get inspiration for characters and storylines.


How often do you write?

I’m very disciplined about writing, so I write every single day. When I wrote Going Both Ways I had an objective of at least 500 words a day, 7 days a week. If you wait for inspiration, you’ll wait a long time.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently writing two novels. I’m finishing a black comedy about the current state of American politics. While I’m certain I could place it with a publisher, I think time is of the essence so I’m going to self-publish it around May 1. As my longer term project, I’m writing a “road-tripper” novel that explores love, loss, and the full range of interpersonal relationships.

Chapter reveal: CAPTCHA Thief, by Rosie Claverton




Title:  CAPTCHA Thief
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Author: Rosie Claverton
Publisher: Crime Scene Books
Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane and her sidekick Jason Carr are swept up in a tortuous and increasingly dangerous adventure following the murder of a security guard at the National Museum of Wales and the theft of a priceless Impressionist painting. As Amy seeks to help track an art thief and Jason seeks to impress the National Crime Agency investigator Frieda Haas sent to recover the missing painting – and its abductor—Jason and Amy become entangled in a perilous web.   As the evidence leads Amy and the police in circles, Jason finds himself taking more and more risks in his hunt for the thief. Nothing is as it seems. Are Amy and Jason merely playthings for a vicious murderer? Can they survive the game? The stakes are high, and this game is serious. Dead serious….


About the Author:

Rosie Claverton grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home. She then moved to London to specialize in psychiatry. Her first short film Dragon Chasers aired on BBC Wales in Autumn 2012. She co-wrote the ground-breaking series of short films The Underwater Realm.  Between writing and practicing medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series.


Chapter 1: A Mere Impression

Night after night, he returned to that one place.
If he listened very carefully, he could hear the water lapping against the gondola. His body seemed to sway with the gentle motion of the little boat, and the air held the cloying mist of a Venice evening, the rich aroma of ripe, roasting tomatoes drifting across the canals. The last rays of sunlight played warm across his face, before the great orb finally dipped below the horizon.
In that beautiful half-light, the vivid pinks and oranges of a Mediterranean sunset, the glorious San Giorgio monastery loomed before him. With the sun behind the tower, he couldn’t see the detail of it, only shadows in grey and greyer and black. It was breathtaking. It was priceless.
But the real beauty lay in the reflection. The building stretched out over the water, rippling with every wave, the boat moving with the monastery. No clear, still reflecting pool this. The ever-shifting waters tossed the light this way and that, until the magnificent tower was no more than an uncertain shadow on the water. An absence of colour.
Chink!
The sharp noise broke his reverie and Paul Roberts was back in Cardiff.
Angry at the disturbance, he moved his flashlight towards the sound. It was probably just the old building settling, shifting some of the workmen’s tools. The museum renovations were taking bloody months—Mike from the day shift said the builders were more often holding mugs of tea than hammers and saws.
Paul returned to the picture, but Venice was gone, the illusion faded with that rude awakening. He was alone in the chilled gallery, his ill-fitting uniform chafing against his skin. He itched at the reddened skin where the waistband of his trousers dug into flesh. He had put on weight again.
He lumbered across the gallery, the last vestiges of Italy falling away behind him, as he headed for the pokey little security office and his instant noodles. He might stream the NFL kickoff game—working night shifts had given him a taste for American sport. As a Welshman, his first loyalty was to the rugby, but American football had its charms. Even if those boys were sissies for needing all that padding just to run about a field.
Shhhhhck!
The ripping sound cut right through him and Paul turned on his heel, flashlight raised like a baton. “Who’s there?”
Between the little puddles of light around the artworks, the black was absolute, only made deeper by the brightness of the lights. Paul squinted into the black spaces, his head beating up into his throat as the seconds stretched into millennia in his panic. Who was lurking in the darkness and what did they want? His boss was never going to forgive him—neglecting his duties, mooning at paintings. If something was lost, could he forgive himself?
He heard a whisper of movement to his right. Despite the screaming of his nerves, Paul ran through the archway into the adjacent gallery, looking left and right for the intruder.
Then he saw her.
The cruel rend was jagged, uneven across the background—more like a lumberjack’s hack than a surgeon’s precision. The top of the canvas had flopped over like a dog-ear, obscuring face and gloves and bustle. All that remained visible were her perfect skirts, fold upon fold of cerulean, azure and sapphire, and that cheeky inch of scandalous toe protruding beneath them.
The bastard had cut The Blue Lady.
Paul could weep for her. His hand stuttered forward, to restore her beauty, but then he jerked back. He must not damage her. Talia and Soo-jin and Noah—they would know what to do for the best. They would save her.
He should call them right away, before the cops. They had to preserve her—the weight of the canvas threatened to tear her further, rip her open like one of Jack the Ripper’s whores. Split open for the vultures—
Thud!
Paul’s head collided with the painting and he slid, stunned, to the ground. He tried to get up, face his attacker, but his arms were strangely heavy, his legs uncooperative. His body was a sack of stones, beyond his control, a ghost of something like pain spreading over the back of his head.
He gasped for air that would not come and, as he looked up at the encroaching darkness, his vision was filled with the most perfect blue.
And a splatter of red.

A Bookish Conversation with Larry D. Thompson, author of 'Dark Money'



Larry D. Thompson was first a trial lawyer. He tried more than 300 cases throughout Texas, winning in excess of 95% of them. When his youngest son graduated from college, he decided to write his first novel. Since his mother was an English teacher and his brother, Thomas Thompson, had been a best-selling author, it seemed the natural thing to do.

Larry writes about what he knows best…lawyers, courtrooms and trials. The legal thriller is his genre. DARK MONEY is his fifth story and the second in the Jack Bryant series.
Larry and his wife, Vicki, call Houston home and spend their summers on a mountain top in Vail, Colorado. He has two daughters, two sons and four grandchildren.

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About the Book:

DARK MONEY is a thriller, a mystery and an expose’ of the corruption of money in politics.

Jackson Bryant, the millionaire plaintiff lawyer who turned to pro bono work in Dead Peasants, is caught up in the collision of money and politics when he receives a call from his old army buddy, Walt Frazier. Walt needs his assistance in evaluating security for Texas Governor Rob Lardner at a
Halloween costume fundraiser thrown by one of the nation’s richest Republican billionaires at his mansion in Fort Worth.

Miriam Van Zandt is the best marksman among The Alamo Defenders, an anti-government militia group in West Texas. She attends the fund raiser dressed as a cat burglar---wounds the governor and murders the host’s brother, another Republican billionaire. She is shot in the leg but manages to escape.
Jack is appointed special prosecutor and must call on the Texas DPS SWAT team to track Van Zandt and attack the Alamo Defenders’ compound in a lonely part of West Texas. Van Zandt’s father, founder of the Defenders, is killed in the attack and Miriam is left in a coma. The authorities declare victory and close the case---but Jack knows better. The person behind the Halloween massacre has yet to be caught. When Walt and the protective detail are sued by the fund raiser host and the widow of the dead man, Jack follows the dark money of political contributions from the Cayman Islands to Washington to Eastern Europe, New York and New Orleans to track the real killer and absolve his friend and the Protective Detail of responsibility for the massacre.

For More Information

  • Dark Money is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

I think I always knew I would eventually be a writer. However, I started to work as a trial lawyer and found I was very good. So, between trying cases and raising kids, there was no time to write. When my youngest graduated from college, I decided it was time. As to inspiration, it was my older brother, Thomas Thompson, an internationally known writer of true crime who died at a very young age in the eighties.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Probably by the time I was in high school.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

No.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

The answer to that is yes and yes. Reading and writing have always been a passion, but I didn’t start writing until most people were thinking about retiring. Better late than never.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

I graduated from The University of Texas School of Law when I was 23 and was trying cases at 24. Since then, I have tried close to 400 civil cases, winning in excess of 95% of them. I cut back to half time as a lawyer on January 1 of this year to devote more time to writing.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

(l) Write regularly. Maybe you can’t do it every day, but certainly four or five days a week. (2) Create characters that the reader will relate to, even the villains. (3) Revise, revise, revise. After you finish the first draft, it will need at least ten revisions to hone and condense the story. (4) And I’ll add one more that comes from Elmore Leonard: Cut out the parts that the reader is going to skip anyway.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

No. However, life gets in the way. Day job and family and other things. With me it was trying cases. When I knew a trial was imminent, I had to drop everything to prepare for it and then try the case. During that time, I could not write.

What hours do you write best?

I’m a morning person. I prefer to get up, have breakfast while reading the paper, check emails and then turn to writing. As the day wears on, my creative juices begin to disappear.

How often do you write?

Four or five days a week, sometimes more, but usually never more than about five hours at a time.

Are you an avid reader?

Absolutely. I started reading in the first grade and never quit. If I have a choice between a good book and television, I’ll take the book every time.

What are you reading now?

I quote Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing so much that I decided to work my way through his books. Currentlly, I’m reading “Fire In The Hole,” his fourth Raylan Givens story.