Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Saga of Waillyrn Sound by George Stringfellow - Interview : Featured Author

Streble Helmkin has one burning desire, to set sail with his father and uncle on their next Viking voyage. He is told he’s too young to go this year and will be needed at home. Maybe he’ll be ready next year.

After he saves the Village Chieftain’s children from a wolf attack, Streble earns the respect of his entire village, proving he is worthy to make the voyage. What he experiences on the expedition including the supernatural encounter he will face alone forces a boy into manhood.

The Saga of Waillyrn Sound inspired by the Vinland Sagas, is a mythic adventure told in a time before magic was replaced by technology. A young man comes of age learning a basic truth reminding us all to be careful what we wish for. Sometimes we get what we ask for.


Streble packed the buck down a long ridgeline descending the mountain.  He had nearly reached the bottom of the slope where the hills flattened out into farm fields, still two miles from the village, when a girl’s frightened scream pierced the air. 
            The scream was close, coming from just over the rise to his right.  Turning in that direction and taking a few steps brought him to the top of the ridge where he stopped, viewing the scene below. 
            A short distance away and first in line was an unattended horse hitched to a sled filled with logs, in frenzied flight headed toward the village being chased by wolves.  Behind the runaway stood Kliven, servant of the village chieftain, swinging a sword attempting to ward off the attack of two other wolves.  He stood alone in defense of the two people kneeling behind him in the snow. 
            As Streble topped the ridgeline, another larger wolf attacked the sword-bearer from behind.  There was no time to shout a warning as the pack leader lunged through the air snatching Kliven at the back of the neck bringing the defender down. 
            The kneeling girl screamed again at the sound of Kliven’s neck snapping as the three ravenous wolves began tearing the body apart.  She buried her face in the chest of the boy at her side she was holding on to. 
            Streble threw the buck from his shoulders snatching the bow from its bindings as he ran down the short incline. He notched an arrow in his bow letting it fly while still on the run, dropping the first of the three predators. Arming the bow again, he lunged to a sudden stop glancing at the two people he placed himself in front of, then faced the wolves who acknowledged the new threat. In front were the predators, behind him sat Ragardson and Gudrid, brother and sister, children of the village chieftain. 
            The pack leader and its mate snarled at the intruder. For a brief moment, hunter and prey stood mute and unmoving staring each other down. The hunter saw hunger and intent in their eyes. The wolves took a few cautious steps towards him. At that moment it was uncertain just who was the hunter, and who the prey was. 
            The second wolf started moving with stealthy steps around Streble’s side. He watched this one’s slow prod from the corner of his eye. His focus was locked on the eyes of the pack leader that stood waiting. Whether he shot the creeping wolf on the left, or the pack leader he faced, there would be no time to replace the spent shaft before the remaining wolf attacked. 
            Streble would not let circumstances dictate the outcome of the showdown. With a rapid shift of the eye he sent his arrow into the creeping wolf on his left. The arrow lodged in its neck and the wolf dropped kicking and scraping the snow with it paws in dying agony. 
            Once the arrow left the bow, the pack leader lunged at Streble’s chest. The hunter dropped the bow and to his knees simultaneously. Going under the leaping pack leader, he ducked his head reaching for the dagger at his back. Gudrid screamed again. The pack leader was going to land in her lap. 


How did you start your writing career?
When I was in the sixth grade, a friend and I started writing action scenes about a squad of U. S. Marines in the Pacific during WW II.  First one then the other would write a scene, the other would pick up the action carrying the story forward.  I don’t think we ever finished the story but it was enough to keep the girls we sat next to interested in what we were doing.
Later in life I spent a year and a half stationed in Germany while in the U. S. Army where letters home started turning into novellas.  Working the long winter nights in Germany were conducive to changing these letters home into my first fiction novella. 

Tell us about your current release. 

The idea for The Saga of Waillyrn  Sound came after reading the Vinland Sagas published by Penquin Classics.  Did the Vikings who discovered Iceland, Greenland, and what they referred to as Vinland really believe the world was flat?  Did they think the oceans they sailed were filled with sea monsters and deadly peril? 

Waillyrn Sound mixes these questions with Edgar Allan Poe’s Descent Into the Maelstrom when Streble Helmkin, a Viking lad of sixteen takes his first voyage to distant shores.  What Streble experiences on that voyage, including the supernatural encounter he will face alone will test his courage and turn a boy into a man. 

Tell us about your next release. 

I’m currently working on a novel-length manuscript tentatively titled, Cast A Wicked Spell.  Johnny Ace wrote the song, Pledging My Love wherein he states his love will last always and forever.
Valeric Ashton pledges his love to Sharla Dubain, two lovers in France caught up in the events of the Reign of Terror that toppled the French Monarchy.  Separated by circumstances beyond their control, Sharla takes her lovers’s vow to horrific ends that culminates in a climax 220 years later near Salem, Oregon.

Who is your favorite author?

There are several that include Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Ernest Heminway, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz.  Today I read everything I can get my hands on by Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books? 

You know you’ve got something really good going when one of the characters in your story takes over the writing and begins to write their own story.
What do you think makes a good story? 

Quick-paced action mingled with surprise plot twists.  Character conflict supported by contrast, hardships they face, and obstacles overcome. 

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
Originally perceived, The Saga Of Waillyrn Sound would become a three-part novel.  The first part written and published on Amazon’s Kindle is Streble Helmkin’s first voyage into the sound filled with potential catastrophic destruction. The Saga of the Silver Mountain would take Streble and his family to Greenland where they would meet Greenland’s colonizer, Eric The Red and his son Leif.  The third part of Streble’s story, The Saga of a New Found Land, would take them all to Vinland.  Whether or not the Helmkin family would return from this last voyage would be in the hands of the Norse Gods.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
I’ve learned from a very good professional writer and an excellent instructor that if you want to be a writer you must; read a lot, write a lot, and hang out with other writers.  If there’s a writer’s group in your area, join it.  If not, check out the groups online – there are several – and don’t be afraid to contribute.  Seek out and participate in critique groups.  Don’t take their criticism of your writing personally or take offense at what they say or the ideas they have to offer.  It’s been my experience to note that serious writers are a friendly sort of people who are willing to help you with your work.  Most importantly, write something every day.  This can only improve your skills moving you forward in your work and your desire to write. 


I've been asked several times over the years, "Were you born in a barn?" The answer quite simply is no, I was not born in a barn, but most assuredly, I grew up in one. I was born on a Utah dairy farm in the last year Harry Truman was president. This made me the perfect age to be heavily influenced by Beatlemania.
The four lads from Liverpool had a dramatic effect on my life.  After graduating from high school, I won the lottery spending the next year and a half living near Nuremburg, Germany at the behest of the U. S. Army. The letters I wrote home started turning into novellas. The first of these, October Night's Feast was published by Vantage Press in 1982. 
Today I live, work and still write novellas in Northwest Montana's Flathead Valley.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cedardale Court by Nathan Christensen - Interview : Featured Author

BLURB (from Goodreads)

Cedardale Court is a neo-gothic murder mystery with enough fools and old flames to keep you happily mixed up for most of a long weekend. When Canner Connelly and his daughter, Chloe, move in with their Uncle Henry, and a simple drainage problem turns a normal Sunday morning into a slightly darker affair, it's not easy to tell where everyone might end up, or if they'll even make it at all.


 I apologize for the delay. My review should be posted within the next several weeks.              

How did you start your writing career?
I’m sure I started out the same way everyone does. My wife and I had a colicky baby. I spent the first three months of fatherhood rocking Sevyn with my foot, in this thing we called The Bouncy (a steel framed contraption that appeared absolutely capable of launching our newborn child through the front window if I got too carried away) and, while I waited for the sun to come up and my shift to be over, I wrote. Honestly, I don’t think anyone even pays attention to what goes on the air after 3 a.m., and there’s a very limited amount of stimulating conversation to be had with an unreasonably grumpy person, or someone who can’t manage to touch their hand to their own mouth. Needless to say, that first draft was a little hairy, but creating my own story, such as it was, kept my mind going, and me from melting right into oblivion.
Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
When I was 19, I took a trip to Alaska to work at a summer camp for kids who lived out in the bush. In the moments before we left Oregon, I grabbed a book from the airport gift shop, and read it three times before we came back home. Even if I had been able to sleep (the sun there never goes down), or if I hadn’t needed an excuse to stay indoors (the mosquitoes there are as big as sparrows), I wouldn’t have been able to avoid falling in love with its honesty. William Goldman’s The Princess Bride is, still I think, one of the best things written down, by anyone, ever. I read it now to my daughter while she’s in the bathtub, and it will always be marvelously special to me. I could never hope to be any more, or any less, than the kind of person it takes to write something that beautiful, but, if I’m going to answer thoroughly, it wasn’t until I started reading Christopher Moore that I found the guts to write anything at all. To me, he is the bravest son-of-a-bitch in the world, and without either of them, I wouldn’t be here answering any of your questions.
Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?
Billie Knottingham, the wife of a dear friend of mine, began telling me how ridiculous I was from the moment I asked her to start editing. I’m a three time college dropout and, even though I have a lot of spunk, it became immediately clear that I could have used that lost time in school to learn control, and that spunk is overrated. I’m not delusional. I don’t pretend to have mastered anything. I really hope Cedardale Court is the worst book I ever write, but, without Billie, I would never have known where my changes needed to be made.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what?
I do, but not all the time. Writing a novel, for me, is a year long process. Two to four hours a day; seven days a week; taking a day or two here and there to rest when the gears start to grind; and then it’s over. That’s a lot of hours to occupy with a worthwhile playlist. Every scene and scenario I write, along with every character, requires a different mood, and different music is a part of that. Sometimes Debussy blends right into Led Zeppelin, into The Wu-Tang Clan, into John Mayer, and then into nothing at all.
What book are you reading now?
T.H. White. I miss Dumbledore from time to time. I know that that completely contradicts everything I just said about The Princess Bride. But, I am too afraid that rereading him would ruin that particular type of magic I once found there. What if he’s not as wonderful as I remember him? So, to recreate without destroying, I find that The Once and Future King, being such a slow read, and Merlin such a fantastic alternative, that I’m very happy to pick it up and read it a bit at a time over the year. I would compare it to losing a favorite pair of glasses. Nothing will probably ever feel that perfect again, and the bridge of your nose may take some time getting used to this new thing perched there, but it absolutely doesn’t mean you have to live the rest of your life without having the right prescription. Even if it is in a new frame.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I’m a stay-at-home-dad. And I write books when everyone else is asleep. I think that pretty much sums it up. Alright, red wine, if you really want to know.
Have you attended a high school reunion? What did you learn?
I’ve watched Gross Pointe Blank too many times to ever go to a reunion. “It was just as if everyone had swelled.” I can’t imagine that not being totally accurate. And anything I really cared to know or share with someone, I likely already took care of on facebook.
If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
Everyone I just pissed off with my answer to the last question.

Thank you, Laurie. You’re an unbelievable darling, and very kind for having me.

(image & info from Smashwords)

Nathan Lee Christensen is a stay at home dad who writes books while his daughter is napping. He's happily married, lives in Pacifica, Ca, and, while he doesn't quite understand why he's awake at 2:30 in the morning trying to think up interesting things to say about himself so his bio doesn't sound idiotic, he's overjoyed that his debut novel has just been published, and can't wait to celebrate by going straight to bed.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Rosen Singularity by Lior Samson - Interview & Giveaway : Featured Author

Rosen David, a research biologist who does no research, is about to find out what the late Steve Jobs meant. Working in biotech and looking for novel patterns in the work of others, he makes a dramatic new discovery with profound implications for medicine and society. When his work starts disappearing and his life is threatened, his settled existence becomes complicated and dangerous. His actions entangle him in the invisible network of an elderly, jet-setting doctor with unusual patients, including a pair of sybaritic California billionaires and the brutal and long-lived African dictator, Edgar Jabari Mbutsu. Rosen ends up playing in a high stakes game with powerful players who leave him wondering how long he will live. The rules are unclear, the cards he holds are of uncertain value, and he may be called upon to bet everything.

This provocative thriller from critically acclaimed novelist Lior Samson will have you turning the pages with anticipation and thinking about some of the hard choices that medical advances could soon force upon us all. Packed with energy, passion, and technical savvy, The Rosen Singularity is a thriller for our times.


5 Stars

With action sequences taking place in far-flung locations around the world, vibrant and distinctive characters, and thoughtful, yet engaging narratives and conversations, the Rosen Singularity is an intelligently written thriller that is easy to read. At the same time, it examines complex, genuinely provocative medical technology by painting a stark, ugly picture of an exclusive group with access to profoundly superior medical care which allows them to live significantly longer, healthier lives. 

The nerdy protagonist, a mathematical biologist, stumbles upon some nearly untraceable data. He then proceeds to aggregate and correlate the separate pieces uncovering a startling, irrefutable scientific breakthrough affecting human longevity.  Unwittingly, he unleashes the significant might of a small, extremely powerful cabal determined to harness his brilliant mind and bend it to their will, while protecting dark secrets from public knowledge.

The ideas and story are compelling, but the best part of this book, for me anyway, is the diversity of the characters within and the fact that the human elements are so rich and full. The characters lived within my imagination; I felt their pain, their loyalties, their greed, and their inherent ideals.  I rejoiced with them during their triumphs and gasped at their misfortunes.  This is an exciting, pulse-pounding story of an unlikely underdog relentlessly determined to shine a light into the dark abyss of secrecy, corruption, and entitlement.

Reviewed by Laurie-J

Excerpt from The Rosen Singularity  (Gesher Press, 2011)

[Author’s note: It’s always challenging to choose an excerpt from a thriller. Almost any selection is likely either to be confusing or to give away too much of the plot. Here, therefore, is the Prologue in its entirety, which one hopes is enough to entice the reader into wanting more.]

The keys slipped from Janella’s shaking hand. She did a perfect grand-plié to retrieve them, then struggled to guide the front-door key into the lock.

She was chilled to the core of her small frame. The forty-minute hike down Mass Avenue from Bram’s apartment near the West Somerville line to the icy porch of the white Victorian in Cambridge had left her sobered but shivering. She opened the front door, sending a swirl of powdery snow onto the mat inside. She stepped cautiously, but the old wide-board flooring creaked as she entered the darkened house. She paused, listening, trying to control her shaking as she removed her wool tam and placed it with her keys and purse on the stand by the door. The house was silent.

She jumped suddenly.

“Oh, shit!” she whispered. She had forgotten the manila envelope with the research paper at Bram’s apartment. “Douglas will kill me if he finds out.”

Douglas was even more possessive of the paper and the work it represented than he was of her. He did not approve of her involvement with Bram Dekker but had said nothing. He had, however, said clearly that their work was strictly confidential and no longer to be discussed with anyone. Not only had she shown the paper to Bram, but Bram had been the one to confirm her sense of its singular importance. They had spent the first part of the evening at the kitchen table, washing down pepperoni pizza with cheap Chianti and talking their way through the highly technical research results. They had spent the rest of the evening in bed with Dutch beer from Bram’s stock, arguing about the grim developments in the war in Vietnam, about the proper care and feeding of laboratory rats, and about the correct way to write DO loops in FORTRAN programs. Between debating the implications of Gödel’s Theorem and disagreeing about Chomsky’s notions of deep-structure grammar in natural language, they had managed to squeeze in two rounds of lovemaking.

Janella, realizing she would have to retrieve the paper, replaced her tam over her dark hair, grabbed her keys from the table, and slipped back out. A dusting of new snow was already beginning to obscure her tracks on the sidewalk. She crossed her arms and set off at a jog in hopes of warming herself. Like a member of the corps de ballet crossing a darkened stage, she ran through the night with sure-footed steps, her long plaid scarf a pink-and-purple banner streaming behind her.

It was long after midnight on a winter weekday, and she ran alone, unnoticed on the deserted streets. Gradually, her pace warmed her, the heat starting in her thighs, then rising and spreading until she had to loosen her fur-trimmed jacket to keep from overheating.

She was almost within sight of Bram’s basement apartment when she finally slowed to catch her breath. As her breathing quieted, the winter stillness deepened. Through the muting curtain of falling snow, she could hear the sound of hurried steps behind her.

With a dancer’s heightened sense of place and position, she waited until the unseen follower was nearly upon her before planting her left foot, kicking off with her right, and spinning around with determined precision.


You use a pen name; what is that about?

My pen name, Lior Samson, is my alter ego. It’s me, but a me in a particular role. It is also, in a sense, my name. Lior is my Hebrew name and Samson was my father’s birth surname, so it is, in a way, just another version of my legal name. The question I most often get asked is why I use a pen name at all. In part it’s about brand identity. As Larry Constantine, I have had 17 non-fiction books published along with a couple hundred professional articles and papers. My fiction comes from such a different place, and a pen name allows me to draw certain lines around these two distinct parts of my life. At the same time, the dual identity is hardly a secret. Just as everyone knows that John le Carré is really David Cornwall, anyone who is curious can quickly find out that Lior Samson is Larry Constantine.

How did you become a writer in the first place?

I sold my first magazine article at age 22 and have been writing professionally ever since. I have even won awards for my writing, but it is only in the last year or so that I have come to think of myself as a writer. The turning point came with an extremely positive review of my second novel, The Dome, from veteran critic Alan Caruba. Here a complete stranger, with no axe to grind and no particular connection to me, was saying that I was a good writer. It started me thinking that maybe I could do this, maybe I was a “real” writer.

Although writing comes naturally for some, and many authors claim that writing is a pleasure, neither has been the case for me. Mastering the craft has been a slow and, at times, arduous endeavor. I was in my fifties before I received my first award as a writer. I would have to say that most of the technical writing that accounts for the vast majority of my oeuvre was not much fun at all. It was only after I started writing novels that the writing itself became a joy, a reward in its own right.

What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?

My wife has been very supportive and helpful, both by “allowing” me to devote the time to writing and by absolutely tearing apart and trashing most of what I write. She is a hard-to-please critic with a sharp eye for spotting bad characterization, clumsy dialogue, or plot holes. And she has an even sharper tongue for expressing what’s wrong with my writing. I love it. She is simultaneously my number-one fan and my biggest critic. My kids think it’s cool that their dad is a novelist, but my mother-in-law still doesn’t buy it. She keeps asking me when my books will be published, meaning, it doesn’t count selling thousands of copies unless it’s with a traditional publishing house. Maybe she’ll finally believe it when the movie versions are in theaters. (Actually, I have already received a draft of the screenplay for Bashert. How cool is that?)

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?

Idolatry and hero worship are not in my makeup, but there certainly are writers whom I admire and whose work I treasure. At the top of the list would probably be Ursula K. LeGuin, whose rich imagination and deep humanity are coupled with lucid, fluid prose that is among the best writing in the English language today. Alongside her would be Harlan Ellison, whose punchy, idiosyncratic style sometimes borders on poetry and is always provocative. These literary choices reflect my early interest in science fiction, and my first forays into writing fiction were all science fiction short stories, which were recently reprinted in Requisite Variety: Collected Short Fiction.

My writing is still genre fiction, but these days I write thrillers. In this genre, two authors are always first to come to my mind—Francine Matthews, whose first espionage novel, The Cutout, is nothing short of brilliant, and Joe Finder, who consistently delivers modern thrillers with writing a cut-and-a-half above the competition. I would also now add a third, a new, indie writer named Avraham Azrieli, who has launched a wonderfully complex and thought-provoking series of historical thrillers with The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin.

I have also paid homage to some favorite writers directly in my fiction. Kurt Vonnegut gets center stage in part of Bashert, and Rebecca Goldstein merits mention in The Rosen Singularity  for her brilliant and unusual novel 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction.

Tell us about your current release.

The Rosen Singularity  is nominally a contemporary thriller with a medical focus, but it defies formulas. It is also a radical departure from my first three thrillers. I hesitate to call them a series, but they do fall in a sequence and share some common characters. The Rosen Singularity  is a complete departure, however, a stand-alone story of a different sort. It returns to a theme I first addressed many years ago in, “Death’s Children,” a novella that appears in my science fiction compilation, Requisite Variety.

The Rosen Singularity  is a contemporary exploration of longevity and life extension inspired, in part, by the words of the late Steve Jobs, who told the 2005 graduating class of Stanford, “Death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” That from a man who was already looking Death in the face and bravely staring it down.

The Rosen Singularity is about Rosen David, a research biologist who does no research. Looking for novel patterns in the work of others, he makes a dramatic discovery. His settled existence becomes complicated and dangerous as he is entangled in the invisible network of an elderly, jet-setting doctor with unusual patients, including a pair of sybaritic California billionaires and the brutal and long-lived African dictator, Edgar Jabari Mbutsu.

At the same time that the book is a contemporary thriller, it is also a story of personal transformation and transcendence, as well as an unusual love story, a triangle of decidedly odd dimensions. I think I am drawn to such stories of love that defy ordinary assumptions. My first novel, Bashert, is also a thriller that embeds an exceptional love story.

Tell us about your next release.

My next novel, already underway, picks up where my third novel, Web Games, left off. It follows technology journalist Karl Lustig and his wife, Shira Rozeyn, to England and Portugal and into the dark depths of multinational conspiracies that threaten to drop planes out of the sky. Just as Web Games has caused a stir in the cyber-security community, I think this next novel will bring me once again to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security as a novelist with provocative insights into real threats to modern society.

Do you have a Website or Blog?

I have an author website, Although I don’t regularly blog, I do publish occasional short essays on the author website under the title OnWords. The truth is that I think the “blogosphere” is already overcrowded. I would rather write because I have something to say than because my blog needs a new entry. Between writing for my day job as an industrial designer and working on the next novel, it would be hard to find the time and attention needed to feed a steady stream of blog entries.


Enter and Comment for a chance to win a Signed, First Edition copy of The Rosen Singularity. This giveaway ends January 31. Open For US/CAN Shipping.


Lior Samson is the pen name of Larry Constantine, a designer and university professor who cops to the charges of being a propeller-head, one whose work life has been mostly about technology while his interests have always been more about people. His life, he says, is dominated by dualities. He lives in New England but teaches at a university in Portugal. He is an award-winning author with 22 published books, including classics in computer science plus four novels and a collection of short fiction. He is a designer of complex industrial systems who teaches students how to make technology simpler for people. His academic background is in computer science—and psychology. When he is not teaching or writing, he cooks gourmet meals for friends and family and composes choral and instrumental music.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

M.O.D. by JC Allen - Interview, Giveaway : Featured Author

Where would you draw the line between right and wrong?

When a wanted hacker from the 80's resurfaces with the means and intent to overthrow what he perceives to be a corrupt government, this question becomes of tantamount importance to the future of the country. Scott Carver is asked to make this decision when this hacker, going by the acronym "M.O.D." asks him to help plan a revolution.

Scott is a young FBI agent partnered with a 14-year veteran, the temperamental Sheelia Tanner. MOD hand-picks the two agents to toy with in their home town of Vero Beach, Florida, with the ultimate goal of recruiting them.

While eluding authorities for decades, MOD has pirated trillions of dollars in fund and equipment for his rebellion. He aims to topple the government in the name of the Constitution and its founding fathers, making several compelling arguments. Is he maniacal? ... or is he right?

While Scott accepts the offer to join, Sheelia rejects it and vows to hunt her old partner down along with MOD. One of MOD's old adversaries, "MaStErMiNd," who is still serving time in federal prison for crimes for which he believes MOD set him up, approaches Sheelia with an offer to help. He thinks he can catch MOD, for a price: his freedom.

Sheelia, with the full support of the President, accepts the offer, kicking off a digital struggle over the fate of the country. Political and ethical lines are blurred, right and wrong are no longer black and white, only fuzzy shades of gray. The two sides debate and wrestle with these issues as they prepare for the showdown that will change history forever.


The partners fixed and ate breakfast together while reading the newspaper.  “Who is M.O.D.?” was the headline.  The majority of the first section was dedicated to the subject in one way or another.
Sheelia finished first and called her boss.  Scott remained silently reading and eating until he heard Sheelia shriek, “You’re kidding!”
He jerked his head to face her, “What is it?”
Sheelia finished her conversation as Scott impatiently waited, then said, “More than 35,000 US troops disappeared last night, along with another few thousand ships, planes, tanks, missiles, explosives, etc.  Not surprisingly, nobody knows where any of them went.  Planes disappeared from radar, vehicles vanished from the road, and the people… nobody has a clue.  That’s not the worst though.”
Scott shrugged, “Nothing will surprise me at this point.”
“Oh yeah?  We lost over 800 field agents and a few hundred support crew, technicians, etc.  The CIA lost contact with a fourth of their operatives.  Even members of the Secret Service are missing.  Some of these people had personal transponders embedded in their bodies and they still can’t find them.  The Army and Marines have recalled all troops to defend the country.  The Air Force and Navy have ordered all ships and planes to return as well.  They’re calling up the Reserves, National Guard, and Coast Guard.”
“We’re going to war with ourselves.  Great,” Scott said lazily.


How did you start your writing career?
I began writing the true story of what had happened to me and people kept telling me I had a talent for it, so I continued spending my spare time writing novels the way I felt they should be written, instead of the cookie-cutter method I had grown bored of reading.  Everyone encouraged me to publish, so I spent about four years trying the traditional route before stumbling upon e-publishing.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
I have always wanted to travel to the Amazon jungle and live with the tribes who have maintained an uncomplicated, balanced life for millennia.   I often dream of the simple life, free from worries and the manufactured drama of the "civilized" world.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?
I always try to find interesting places to go in my books.  I am fascinated with local histories and customs as well as the obvious scenic changes.

Tell us about your current release.
MOD is a fantastical story of political and social debate about good and evil.  It's about a nefarious hacker with the lofty aim of overthrowing the US government because he feels it has devolved into a tyranny.  He amassed trillions of dollars worth of supplies and technology (mostly stolen through his clandestine activities over the past 30 years) in preparation for his own revolution.   It focuses mainly on an unlikely FBI duo - one of whom is targeted to join the enormous empire MOD has built.  It blurs all the lines.

Tell us about your next release.
My next release is probably going to be a YA sci-fi trilogy in which a young girl finds an interesting artifact and her family helps her figure out what it is, which turns out to be the key to a time machine.  They have to locate the time machine, then use it to foil an evil plot by going back into four controversial points in history (the JFK assassination, Jesus' birth, the Salem witch trials, and ancient Rome), and must answer riddles along the way.  They learn previously unknown historical facts throughout their journey and have to save the world in the process.  It's called Chronicles of Time, and Book I is very close to being released.  I have several others (over 20) that are coming soon as well.  Among those are: Guilty of Innocence - a hard-hitting, vicious thriller series (currently on volume #4); Edge of Knight - a YA fantasy series about a young boy who must face the devil... eventually (on #5); Generation One - a sci-fi space exploration series in which a more realistic view of space travel takes place; The Terea series - a YA fantasy series about a young Elvin sorceress; Noah's Revenge - an Armageddon sci-fi novel with a unique survival plan; and Novel Ideas - a story set in the future, about the retirement of the last producer of original ideas, who joins his granddaughter in fighting the government to encourage the world to start unplugging and creating again.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
The most surprising things I have found while writing my books are that I enjoy writing, and that others enjoy what I have written.  It still humbles me every day to hear someone praise my work, or even criticize it, because it has engaged them so.

What do you think makes a good story?
I always thought great characters made for great stories.  You have to have a good plot, but your characters are what make or break the story.  If they're boring, the story is boring.  If they're great, the story can be great. 

I have a small website:, and you can follow me on Twitter @jcallenbooks.  The video book trailer can be seen on YouTube:


Free copies of M.O.D. will be gifted (via Smashwords coupon) to the first ten people to contact my editor at  

One paperback will be awarded by a random drawing of all participants in the giveaway.  The paperback giveaway will run through the end of January 2012 and is open to all US/Canada residents.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Shadows to Light by Regan Black - Character Interview & Giveaway

A supernatural healer, Mira escapes a trial of her peers only to be sent on an impossible mission: Rescue her scientist father from a madman using him to create bio-weapons. But she's no spy. On her own, with no real clues, she isn't sure where to turn.

Part of a covert task force searching for a missing government scientist, Jameson is tasked with staring at a laboratory building day in and day out. The boredom is overwhelming until Mira, a woman he cannot forget, shows up in a place she should never be.

Forced together by circumstance, Mira and Jameson enter an adventure that will push them to their limits - and quite possibly beyond.


This excerpt is Mira's escape from the formal inquiry which was about to find her guilty of all charges and strip her of her gift for healing:

Mira stared after her mother for only a moment, then forced herself to act. If the Five had already decided her fate, it was likely they wouldn't deliberate much longer. Only long enough to make it look good.
Caught up in the bizarre moment, Mira couldn't rely on how much time she thought had passed. She knew the shock of events distorted perception. Almost like going blindly into a coma patient.
Digging into the paper bag, she found a small box atop a janitor's uniform, including the headscarf and protective mask. The order of healers she'd been born to was nothing if not germ phobic.
She changed quickly, between worried glances toward the door. A closer look at the box revealed a pair of colored contact lenses and a key. With the lenses in place, she pocketed the box and key. Stuffing her inquiry scrubs into the bag, she buried the bag under the other trash bin in the closet. She snapped on the protective gloves to complete the uniform and made her way to the service corridor.
She found it more challenging to keep from tugging at the head scarf than she did to continue at a sedate pace as she worked her way closer to freedom.
As she neared the first intersection, something flickered at the edge of her vision. Blinking only made it brighter until a green box hovered just in front of her. Automatically she reached for it, but her hand passed right through the odd image.
Two small dots, in red, jarred her from the confusion as Mira recognized the purpose of the device. She blinked and shifted her eyes, the display moved with her, lighting up a path that kept her away from the red dots.
If her mother was up to speed on technology, things were dire indeed. Mira didn't have the luxury of assessing who turned her world upside down or why. Right now she simply had to get away with her gift for healing in tact.
She'd groaned as much as the next novice during training, but she couldn't imagine life without her power, no matter the often overwhelming side effects.
The path illuminated on the display was pulsing now, and she picked up her pace. It wasn't audible, but somehow she felt the cadence and her body was drawn to match it. Entering the next stairwell as directed, she rushed down, past the ground floor and into the first sublevel.
The black bag her mother described was right there. She picked it up, fighting the urge to look inside.
According to her display, the area was free of red dots and she needed to exit the stairwell. Still, she hesitated.
The display pulsed twice and she watched her arm lift toward the door handle. If she survived, she'd definitely track down the biomedical engineer behind this little miracle.
Following the cues promptly now, she moved toward the exit with the determination of an employee in search of fresh air.
Just one last guard desk. And now, one small red light on the display. She bit back a curse, and tried to think utterly boring thoughts to calm her racing heart.
"Hold on a minute," the guard came around the counter. "Cuff." With a security wand in one hand, he motioned for her to raise her left wrist.
The display overrode her natural resistance. The wand beeped what she hoped was the correct sound. The guard didn't appear bothered or surprised by the readout. He set the wand on his counter and pulled a display from his pocket, turning it so she could see. "You seen this woman anywhere?"
She studied the image of herself, surprised no one had drawn in fangs and a mustache on her graduation picture. Of course, the Five didn't have a sense of humor. Mira managed not to cringe at the straight fall of black hair and happy expression in her blue eyes. So much had changed inside her since that day, but not much had changed on the outside.
"No, sir. She hasn't been anywhere on my route."
The guard picked up his wand, studied it and huffed a little. "Inquiry was even on your floor. Wonder how she got by 'em. And they call me incompetent." He waved her on. "Enjoy your break. Take a few extra minutes. I'll fix the log for ya."
She gave him a small smile, then remembered he couldn't really see it behind her mask. "Thanks."
The small display at the edge of her vision changed color when she stepped outside so she could see it in the bright afternoon sunlight. She couldn't believe it. Her hearing had started early, but her body felt like it had been standing for days rather than a few hours. Medically, she understood the phenomenon. There wasn't much she didn't understand in the human body, but that didn't make feeling it any easier.
She paused at the picnic area with its shaded tables and ruthlessly groomed privet hedge. It seemed not even a leaf was allowed to grow out of place in her order's headquarters.
No wonder she wasn't welcome. She'd grown well beyond anyone's expectations or knowledge. A dark sedan pulled up at the wrought iron gate and the rear door swung open.
Trap or salvation?
Her display beeped, though she was sure she only heard it in her head. No red dots in front of her. But two red dots in the building were gaining on her position. She waved the cuff over the gate lock and strolled through as if every janitor got a ride home from work in a private car. Sliding into the darkness of the back seat, she felt butter-soft leather under her palms just before the unmistakable hiss of a hypospray met her neck and her world went dark.


Character Interview: Mira Luther, heroine of Shadows to Light

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

I feel like I owe my dad an apology, because I just assumed he was too selfishly consumed with his work to be a real part of our family. I didn't take the time to listen to the greater message he was trying to teach me when we were together and I later I didn't try to look at things from his side to understand that he was actually protecting my mom and me.

What would we find under your bed?

Not much at the moment. I'm just getting used to the idea of having a real, permanent place of my own. The black bag my mom gave me is there right now. I'm just not ready to part with it and there isn't another good place for it. Of course the box with the special contacts my dad designed is hidden under the bed frame. Shhh, don't tell Jameson. ;) I told him he had to get his own set of lenses - if he can sweet talk them out of my dad.

Tell us about your favorite restaurant.

I love Leanore's in the Financial District for multiple reasons, not just the great service and fabulous, full-caff coffee. (that's something we don't talk about in government circles, by the way.) Sure, I have a new friend in Leanore herself and the staff is cool. The atmosphere is great! It's really laid back, but the food is five-star all the way. Have you heard about the lobster ravioli? To die for, seriously!

What one word best describes you?

Determined. Or amazing. Of course, I wouldn't call myself amazing, that's just what others think these days because I'm so different. Determined is how I see myself, though.

What group did you hang out with in high school?

I was a total wallflower all through my school years. I got good at blending into the woodwork and connecting with the shy types. Staying on the fringes and observing others helped me learn to read body language. I think that helped me develop my skills as a healer too - understanding what people weren't saying aloud was almost more important than what they did talk about.

Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extravert? Why?

It's such a novel experience to have real friends now. I love it! We're all still getting to know each other, but I'd bet they think I'm an introvert because I'm so slow to trust and open up to people. Years of living under the radar will do that, y'know? But they understand and it's fantastic to discover I can trust all of them with my secrets.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I spend time with Jameson! We watch movies together and share a big bowl of popcorn. It's a good thing I like action films as much as he does, but he hangs in there when I choose a chick flick. We've discovered we both like to read mystery and thriller novels and we get into some heated debates trying to solve the crimes before the book does.

Thanks so much for having me here, Laurie!

Mira, thank you for taking time out today to talk with me.  It's been great finding out a little more about your background.  



Regan Black is fiercely committed to guiding paranormal romance readers through action packed stories to the best happily ever after endings so you can savor a fantastic escape from the daily grind.  If you are looking for a proven author who can deliver a fast-paced, exciting novel for your essential escape, you’ve come to the right place. With 41 years of experience telling tales to amuse friends and family, my mission is to deliver stories from the heart, full of unforgettable, passionate characters who know what they want and are willing to risk it all to reach the goal.

Regan's Website

Enter and Comment to win a digital copy of Shadows to Light.
This Giveaway ends Jan 7, 2012 at 11:59PM Central Time.

The Shadows of Justice novels in order:
       The books in this series may be read in any order and each book reads well as a stand-alone novel.

Read Free samples of Regan's books and check all the buy links HERE

Justice Incarnate is always free now on all platforms.
Readers who sign up for Regan's 2096 newsletter still receive the free short story of Mira's Gift (where she and Jameson meet)