Friday, November 25, 2011

Committed by JW Mefford - Excerpt, Interview & Giveaway: Featured Author




COMMITTED (The Michael Doyle Chronicles: Book One)
Author: John W. Mefford
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Release date: 11.1.11

 
Sinful deception. A malicious corporate takeover. A grisly murder. Unrelenting greed.

We all have that inner voice, the one who knows all but refuses to let even our closest confidantes inside. The one we must calm when we’re most unsettled. The one who seeks to understand our path, our destiny.

Michael Doyle lives in emotional anonymity, resistant to fully devote himself to anyone or any cause. Without warning, a technology conglomerate acquires Michael’s company, and he quickly sees through the fog of political posturing: false hope, layoffs, and blatant dishonesty.

Then, death reaches up and grabs him. Shaken to the core, Michael leans on his live-in girlfriend, who has touched his heart like no one else. But her haunting past resurfaces, and she’s pulled into a seedy web by an outside force so cruel, so cunning it destroys every soul in its path.

Can Michael rise above his greatest fear to uncover the truth about a murder and save the life of the person he loves most?

Only if he's...COMMITTED.

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GIVEAWAY
Enter HERE and Comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Committed.  This giveaway ends December 10th 11:59 PM CST.


EXCERPT
Fluorescent lights shined through stained plastic, creating a slight yellow hue in the white walled room. I sat in an ice-cold chair that must have weighed fifty pounds, in front of a square metal table that was bolted to the painted concrete floor. Comfort and style weren’t the objectives in decorating the police department interview room.

A rectangular mirror faced me on the opposite wall. It was probably one of those two-way mirrors to allow someone on the other side to study my every movement. I had nothing to hide, but butterflies fluttered in my stomach like I was preparing to perform in front of a sold-out crowd.

A microphone dangled from the ceiling. It swayed gently from the air blowing out of the filthy vent. I saw cameras placed in two corners of the square room. The thick white door opened and Detective Carl Pearson walked in, followed by another person, also in plain clothes.

“Hey, Carl, does this mean I need to worry about the DVD being sold on the black market?” I pointed at the camera, hoping my humor might reduce the pressure.

Carl gave me a mild smirk and introduced his partner.

“Michael, this is Detective Smith, Roger Smith. He’ll be helping in the investigation.”

“Any relation to the former GM CEO?” Two stern, blank faces stared back. “You know, the guy from the 1980’s who had the documentary made about him, Roger and Me?” I wasn’t sure if they knew or cared GM Roger Smith was an older white guy, while Detective Roger Smith standing before me was African-American. It was all nervous chatter.

“Michael, we’d like for you to begin by recalling any interaction you had with Tiffany, and then any interaction you personally witnessed Tiffany having with anyone else.” Carl seemed natural giving instructions.

I couldn’t provide any specific evidence that would help find the killer, but I did tell them Tiffany was sharper than your average administrative assistant and quite attractive.

“I never found Tiffany very warm, which seemed a bit odd for a receptionist,” I said, offering more opinion than fact. “She seemed emotionally distant. As far I knew she didn’t have many friends. But I sensed the wheels in her mind were always turning. Smart as a whip.”

Then, the detectives asked me to recount every step of the gloomy morning in which I found Tiffany’s arm.

My breathing accelerated as I began to think through the sequence of events. Perspiration formed on the back of my neck. I closed my eyes and felt the cold rain pelting my face as I peered up into the thick, dark sky to locate the gutter leak. I moved slowly to the right…suddenly, it felt like a hand reached up to drag me downward so I wouldn’t miss the plastic bag. It must have been Tiffany’s spirit crying out in desperation.

Once I knew something was in that bag, the weight of it made me wonder if there was a body inside. Then, the bag split open, and Tiffany’s arm slid out. I stared at the blank wall in the interview room while a slide show of pictures projected in my mind. The pale white color of the arm stood out from the darkness of the bag and the surrounding alley. A red line of what appeared to be dried blood scaled up her forearm and disappeared into the bag. Part of me wanted to look in the bag, but my flight instincts took over. I ran away as fast as I could.

I’m still not sure why I screamed for help. How could I believe anyone would still be alive? Tiffany’s arm never showed any signs of life.

Was there life after death? Can a spirit talk to us from the other side of life as we know it? Was it heaven? Was it hell? Or, was there a state in between, where some type of resolution must occur before deciding a person’s ultimate fate? Tiffany’s fate.

I was a mildly religious person, one foot in, one foot out, like many things in my life. I felt certain there was a God, an almighty being who put us on the Earth for a purpose. Beyond that, the path and ultimate destiny beyond death…I wasn’t sure.

My pulse began to slow to a more normal pace. I looked at my watch. Thirty minutes had passed. I’d lost all concept of time as I recounted the details of the day my life changed forever.

Roger turned off the recording device.

“I appreciate you being so thorough,” Carl said calmly, his head down as he finished his notes.

Roger thanked me for coming in. “We’ll let you know if we have more questions.”

“I have one question for you guys. Do you have any leads as to who did this?” I hoped he’d confide in me just as I had opened my soul for them.

“No comment.” Roger responded without hesitation.

***

I shut my car door and rested my head on the chilled, vinyl steering wheel, waiting for a flood of emotions to gush out. I noticed a thick layer of dust accumulating on the dashboard, then realized I wasn’t distraught or haunted by my detailed description of the events from that morning. The recounting had opened my eyes to the fragility of life and allowed me to explore a different perspective on what happens following death. It had been cathartic. I was more at peace, yet I felt my role in this ordeal wasn’t finished.



REVIEW

This book is in my TBR.  My review will be posted later.

INTERVIEW

How did you start your writing career?

Prior to my first newspaper interview, the only writing I had done was writing copy for my radio broadcast at the campus radio station. The editor handed me the box score of a Texas Rangers game and told me to use her typewriter to write a one-page story. My hands got clammy and I sweated for the next ten minutes. She walked back in, read over the story, and offered me the job on the spot. It didn’t pay much, but I became a writing sponge, soaking up every bit of advice from my colleagues and editor. Years later, that experience gave me the confidence to return to my roots and create a story that would be my first book.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?


I like to say I don’t dream, I just plan way ahead. I’ve seen many incredible pictures of the Amalfi coast in Italy, so that’s high on my list of places to visit. I recently read a blog about the top 30 places to visit in Spain. It appears to be an amazing array of natural beauty and historical architecture, so Spain is also on the short list. For me, traveling is the development of a story that will be re-told someday. I love to have my breath taken away…somewhat like reading a thrilling mystery.


As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Depending on the season, I either wanted to be a football player, basketball player, or baseball player. But even at age 10, I told myself that I needed another career after my professional days ended, likely around age 35. Kids have such simplistic minds. They only see what’s possible. I never played professional sports, but now I find myself developing that later-in-life career – author. I used to think that scoring a touchdown or making a long jump shot was the ultimate high. Now, I realize that creating a story that evokes emotion from a reader is the best feeling in the world.


What are your favorite TV shows?

 I’m really drawn to shows with fast-paced story lines and quick, witty banter, all wrapped around an intriguing mystery. And the best show on TV – according to an unofficial poll released by me – is Castle. Playing the lead, Rick Castle, Nathan Fillion’s comedic timing is impeccable. The supporting cast is outstanding and the writers have done a marvelous job of developing long-running story lines that provide depth and meaning to the series. Nathan’s character, Castle, is an author who is paired up with an NYPD detective, Beckett. At least once a year, they have an episode where Castle plays poker with his best writer friends, including James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell. And to top it all off, Nathan’s character is based on a real-life author named, Richard Castle.

Here’s a great line from Castle: I had sex with my ex-wife this morning…And she's thinking about moving back to New York. Do you know what that would mean to me? That would be a very special brand of hell. The hell of a deep-fried Twinkie.

When's the last time you played that musical instrument?


I haven’t picked up a trombone since I played the final note in high school. I sold it to help pay for my first car, a used 1977 chocolate brown Monte Carlo. I’ve played a little piano, but not in the last 10 years or so. I would love to pick it back up and maybe even write some music of my own, but these days I spend all of my spare time tapping away on a different set of keys.

Beatles or Monkees? Why?


 Without a doubt, The Beatles. They hit the mainstream music scene before I recognized any music other than the theme to The Electric Company. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate their lyrics and music. For me, Paul McCartney – as the lead for The Beatles, Wings, and as a solo artist – is far and away the greatest rock-and-roll star ever. Pure greatness.


Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

Two stand out. After developing my writing chops for about three years at the newspaper, my columns really started to flow. Following one of my better columns, I received a typed letter in the mail from a retired journalist. His praise for my writing gave me a smile that didn’t leave my face for the next week. The second “letter” was an email I received just after the 11/1 launch of my debut novel, Committed. She is an avid reader – just the type of person from whom I enjoy receiving feedback. Her praise was effusive. Among the many number of wonderful compliments, she said “You have IT!” It helped reaffirm what I already knew – writing is like oxygen for my soul.

What is the next big thing?

I’m very excited about Book Two of The Michael Doyle Chronicles. I’ve written an early draft and toyed with a couple of titles. Like my first book, it takes a present-day issue for which everyone can relate and weaves a spine-tingling, emotional plot around it. As you learn more about the characters and their challenges, you find yourself on edge wondering how, even if, they can survive this mind-blowing series of events. My current target release date is March / April, 2012.
While I still have a lot of plot and character treats left in the bag, is there a certain aspect of Michael or Marisa that readers would like for me to divulge in a future book? I’d love to hear your feedback. 
 
 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behavior, John W. Mefford has been writing his debut novel since he first entered the work force twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until late 2009.

Considered a visionary leader in his fifteen-year IT career, he quit his job and started writing, pouring out his thoughts with no net.

When he’s not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land -- even if they piss him off.

Committed is the first book in the series, The Michael Doyle Chronicles.

John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three adorable kids, and a feisty fat cat.


THANKS FOR LOOKING!

15 comments:

Laurie said...

Good morning! It's super having you visit my blog today! John, I'm excited to know that you have another Michael Doyle thriller coming out soon too, because I am looking forward to reading Committed and I just know it will be the kind of story I love to read. Thanks so much for the interview!!

Paige said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!

WakeAngel said...

Love finding new books to read! Will have to give this one a try!

John W. Mefford said...

Thank you for having me, Laurie. And I appeciate the feedback from everyone thus far.

Love the question about the Beatles and The Monkees.

LuckysD said...

Definitely putting this on my list to read!! Great interview!

John W. Mefford said...

Great, LuckysD! I hope you enjoy COMMITTED. Let me know what you think...send me a comment, a tweet or feel free to write a review. And I have to admit, Laurie has a great set of questions.

Leah said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I like that you posted an excerpt.

John W. Mefford said...

Thanks Leah. I hope you'll give COMMITTED a try. Let me know what you think:)

Helen Hanson said...

Whew! I would have been so disappointed if you'd said the Monkees . . .

Great interview!

John W. Mefford said...

Hey Helen, I think The Monkees are in the same company as The Bugaloos! Thx for the feedback.:)

sweety said...

Thanks for the giveaway!!

sweety225(at)rocketmail(dot)com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I too am a Castle lover and I so love seeing who's who at the poker table.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

John W. Mefford said...

Hey Lisa, I think one time it would be cool to see a Castle poker game with successful indie authors. I'm raising my hand!

Thank you for the comment:)

Andrea said...

Thanks for the giveaway. The excerpt makes the book look very interesting.

ainfinger(at)comcast(dot)net

Jaclyn Cotton said...

Thank you for a great giveaway!!
Happy Holidays!
~Jaclyn~
www.jaclynsmusings.com