Friday, August 31, 2012

Family Blood Ties Series by Dale Mayer : Interview & Excerpt



Author's note: This book is 182 pages and is book 1 of the Blood Ties Series... Blood doesn't just make her who she also makes her what she is.

Like being a sixteen-year-old vampire isn't hard enough, Tessa's throwback human genes make her an outcast among her relatives. But try as she might, she can't get a handle on the vampire lifestyle and all the...blood.

Turning her back on the vamp world, she embraces the human teenage lifestyle--high school, peer pressure and finding a boyfriend. Jared manages to stir something in her blood. He's smart and fun and oh, so cute. But Tessa's dream of a having the perfect boyfriend turns into a nightmare when vampires attack the movie theatre and kidnap her date.

Once again, Tessa finds herself torn between the human world and the vampire one. Will blood own out? Can she make peace with who she is as well as what?

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No, Cody had some serious skills, at least according to David. It would take a lot for someone to get the drop on him.
He just didn't have much class. Turning around, Tessa watched Cody land in front of her. His graceful controlled landing made her instantly jealous.
"There's no sign of anything unusual going on."
"No, of course not. Why would there be? It's not like they're going to advertise that they've kidnapped humans." She studied the huge stone mansion. "The captives are most likely to be downstairs."
"Whoa. You're not going into the house. If you're determined to take this further, we go back to our parents and let them go to the council. They will determine the best course of action."
Tessa stared at him in disbelief. Everything about the night had taken on a surreal appearance. She was here, where Jared was being held, with someone who could actually help her and he wanted to go for their parents. No knight riding to the rescue here.
Then he'd been raised by the old belief that vampires don't go against vampires - without just cause. She didn't think she could come up with enough evidence to prove her case.
She snagged his arm, willing him to listen. "We have to at least see if they are here."
"No Tessa." He shook his head, his vampire eyes glowing with terrible heat. "That's enough. This isn't a kid's game. This is vampire business."
"And who's going to believe me? No one. I'm not like you. My word doesn't mean anything to the others. If you don't see that Jared's been taken and kept as a captive yourself, you won't be able to convince them either."
He shook his head.
Fine. She'd go in alone. Turning away, she headed to the back of the house. "Go back home. I don't need you."
"What the..." He raced behind her. "Tessa stop. You can't go inside there. You're not allowed."
"And they're allowed to take humans?" She snorted. "I don't think so." The moon slid out from behind the clouds. Off to the left, a set of stairs cut down to a narrow wooden door. Probably the cellar. Perfect. She picked up her pace, reaching for the knob in seconds. She bolted though the unlocked door before Cody could drag her back out. Down a narrow hallway, she fled through another door that led to a wide open space. Empty space. Damn it. Could the prisoners have been moved already? How? There hadn't enough time for that.
"There, are you satisfied now?"
She spun around at the sound of Cody's voice. "No." She walked the perimeter of the room. At the far end, the room curved down and around. At the far end, her nostrils flared. Her weird knowing sense kicking in. Animal. Death. Fear. Pain.
This area had been used as housing for animals during the cold winter months. Horses, most likely. Ancient farm smells permeated the air. Hay. Manure. Blood.
"What's the matter?" Cody whispered.
She looked at him. "Can't you smell it?"
"Smell what?"
"Pain. Death."



This is book II in the Family Blood Ties series. Book one is Vampire in Denial. Both books end on big cliffhangers. Book II picks up exactly where Book I left off.

When Tessa rallies friends and family to find her missing date, they uncover a secret...and start a war that causes ripples in all aspects of their lives.

A vampire with throwback human genes. Sixteen-year-old Tessa finds more than just her friend in this journey...she also finds herself in need of rescue ... Imprisoned, she has to find a way to escape and reunite with her family before this war takes out those she loves.

The youngest of his ancient line. Eighteen-year-old Cody descends from flyer vampires wants Tessa back at his side where she belongs – even as he struggles with conflicting emotions about his best friend's kid sister...

A human determined to protect his people. Seventeen year-old Jared thought his life was over then he finds out that his rescuers are can he trust them? And then he finds out the truth about Tessa...and that she's been taken, too...

Three brave souls struggle as war breaks out around them...a war that shows them no mercy.

Kindle version currently FREE on Amazon for a limited time. 

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"Do you not know others in the Council or on committees we can trust? Are all the elders untrustworthy?"
Shocked silence surrounded her.
She closed her eyes and groaned softly. The fragile egos of the elders. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded." She tried again. "I'm trying to understand why you don't trust more people."
"We have elders we trust with many issues. This problem, however...well, it divided the Council when it happened before. It's looking to do the same again, on a much larger scale."
Rubbing the back of her neck, Tessa stared at the two men. "Surely there has to be someone you trust to take control. Or you can bring in many someones. You suggested the Council, then switched to the enforcers. Why?"
"I don't know," Serus muttered, "I started thinking about the members who'd been pro blood farming decades ago."
"It is an ancient problem," she said. "Then bring in young blood. Ones who don't have the same prejudices and beliefs. My generation."
Both men snorted, and Goran said, "We're not bringing in children to do a man's job."
"Why not?" She snapped at him. "I dare you to say that to Cody, Ian, or David."
"That's different. They're men."
Even Serus winced and closed his eyes as if waiting for Tessa to strike Goran a mortal blow.
"I'll ignore that comment, thank you," Tessa said stiffly. Once again, she realized, they'd had a group of vampires together and nothing had gotten done. They'd talked themselves into circles without achieving anything. Pulling out her cell phone, she texted David, repeating her words aloud as she typed. "Who can we contact to help? Dad suggests the Council and the enforcers, and yet has admitted both are problematic."
"Who are you texting?" Serus stared down at the phone in her hand suspiciously.
She smothered a smile. "David."
"David? Why not your mother?"
"Because I figure she's your age and will have the same prejudiced suggestions you do." She shot him a wry glance. "Am I wrong?"
He grimaced. "Probably not."
The wind picked up, chilling them as she waited to hear back.
The longer she waited, the more worried she became. Finally, she looked at her father. "Do we know if our group is still safe? That the people you called in haven't overpowered our people and locked them up?"
"Don't say that. Rhia would have let us know." Serus's face took on a grim look. "I would know if she were in trouble."
The cell phone jingled, relieving Tessa's anxiety, and she hurriedly read David's text.
"He suggests we bring in the media," she said, studying the mixed feelings crossing both men's faces. "Hmm. What do you think of that idea? Or do you consider that another age old prejudice?"
Goran's snort left no doubt about his opinion. "The media can't be trusted at the best of times. This isn't going to be any different."
"Don't you know anyone who's honest? Someone from before? Who, whether you liked them or not, you respected?"
"Hell, no."


Welcome Back, Dale!  It’s always so great to have you visit.  J Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

Tessa, from my Vampire series, is one of my all time favorite characters. She's a mix of child, teenager and burgeoning adult. She's svelte yet gauche. Classy and yet insecure. She's such a mix of confused teenager on a mission – yet she's gusty, scared and…adorable.


Tell us about your next release.

My next two releases are YAs. The first is a mystery adventure series called Gem Stone, A Gemma Stone Mystery Adventure. It's about a young girl who accidentally takes a picture of something she shouldn't have seen. And about what the men, caught in the photo, are willing to do to gain her silence. 

The second new release is Deadly Designs, book 2 of the Designs series.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

For me, the hardest part of writing is the revising stage. I love to write and let the words pour, but to make sure that all t's are crossed and I's are dotted is not so easy. Making sure each character has the same color eyes and hair they started with by the end of the book and to make sure that they drive the same vehicle in chapter 2 as well as in chapter 15 is challenging!

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

Pantser! It's the only way I work. I've tried plotting and that system is so not for me! I love a blank page – I know, I'm odd!

What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?

Having a sense of humor! And having your feet firmly based in reality. The life of a writer is not dreaming of the one big NY Times book, but in putting words on the page. Each book needs to be the best it can be. And every writer needs to stay focused on the book in front of them.

That I have a supportive family is the gold in my life. That I wake up with a smile on my face ready to go – each and every day – is a blessing.

Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?

Morning! I'm awake at 5 in the morning – every morning. I'm always dead tired by 10pm – every night. I also need 7 hours of sleep – or else! J

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

I've got lots of great ideas percolating in the back of my head! Book4 of the Psychic Visions series is due out In October/November and I'm planning to write book 5 during NaNoWriMo this November. I'm getting ready to start a brand new YA series. In truth I'm a third of the way through the first book, tentatively titled Child of Darkness. I also have a romantic intrigue trilogy coming this fall. Book 1 is in the rewrite process now.

In the far future? Almost anything. I'm seriously considering an adult paranormal/fantasy suspense series that could go a good ten books. I'm letting everything meld for awhile while I see what pops up first. J

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

Creating a book that other people enjoy! There is nothing like getting emails from happy readers. Truly, it is a joy and gives me purpose and motivation on those crappy days when I'm sitting down and working on a book that won't cooperate or I'm sure is sheer garbage. Making readers happy – makes me happy!


Freelance writer Dale Mayer lives in the beautiful Okanagan valley in British Columbia, Canada. She's multi-pubbed in nonfiction and is currently writing The Essential Series including The Career Essential Series(The Resume, The Cover Letter, The Interview), Lifestyle Essentials (Ergonomics for today's world, Raising the dyslexic child, etc.), and the Gardening Essential Series, (Beginning with Bulbs, Urban Farming, Gardening for Seeds, etc.).

Stay tuned as she adds to these and several other proposed series. For the last decade, she's written on all of these topics either under her own name or as a ghostwriter. As a researcher and technical writer, Dale has a wealth of knowledge she can't wait to share!

However, fiction is her passion. Here, she writes taut psychological suspense with romance and paranormal elements. She has recently branched out into writing both mystery and urban fantasy books for young adult with the occasional vampire book thrown in just for fun.

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Giveaway ends Sept 22nd  11:59PM Central Time.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Timeless Desire: An Outlander Love Story by Gwyn Cready: MY REVIEW

Two years after losing her husband, overworked librarian Panna Kennedy battles to distract herself from crushing Grief, even as she battles to deal with yet another library budget cut. During a routine search within the library’s lower levels, Panna opens an obscure, pad-locked door and finds herself transported to the magnificent, book-filled quarters of a handsome, eighteenth-century Englishman. She soon recognizes the man as Colonel John Bridgewater, the historic English war hero whose larger-than-life statue loomed over her desk.However, the life of the dashing Bridgewater is not at all what she imagined. He’s under house arrest for betraying England, and now looks upon her—a beautiful and unexpected half-dressed visitor—as a possible spy. Despite bad first impressions (on both sides), Bridgewater nonetheless warms to Panna, and pulls her into his escape—while both their hearts pull the other headlong into their soul-stirring secrets.Very quickly Panna is thrown into a whirlwind of high-stakes intrigue that sweeps her from Hadrian’s Wall to a forbidding stone castle in Scotland. And somewhere in the outland, Panna must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband, or with the man whose life now depends on her.Written in her signature style—described as delightfully original, fun and sexy—RITA Award-winning author Gwyn Cready produces yet another lightning-paced, delectable winner of a Time Travel Romance; a genre she has quickly come to master.

4 Stars
This was an enjoyable read that effectively combined multiple elements.  Mystery, adventure, humor, history, time travel all come out to play in this rousing romp featuring current day Panna Kennedy, head librarian of a small library in Carlisle Pennsylvania.  Panna is still grieving for her dead husband who passed away two years earlier.  Faced with huge budget cuts, she’s searching old storage areas of the library for items that can be turned to cash, when she discovers an odd room. Duty calls, interrupting her exploration for the present, but when she returns to the peculiar room hours later she steps through a portal, landing in the 18th century.  It is at this point that the fun ensues.
I got caught up in the story and was carried along effortlessly except for a few times when I felt overwhelmed by the political intrigue transpiring along the 18th century Scottish border, near Hadrian’s Wall.  I also could not help but compare this story to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  I feel Diana made the political aspects of her story easier to understand. However, I absolutely delighted in all the double entendres and sly sexual innuendos that are liberally sprinkled throughout Timeless Desire.  I particularly enjoyed the snap and sparkle that Panna brings to the tale. She manages to shake up John Bridgestone’s world, and that endeared her to me. This well-written story is sure to appeal to a wide range of readers.  I guarantee Mrs.  Brownlow’s sexual advice will cause anyone to laugh out loud.
This book was provided to me free of charge from the author’s publicist in return for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.
Reviewed by Laurie-J 
Gwyn Cready is the recipient of the 2009 RITA Award for Best Paranormal Romance and the author of Tumbling Through Time, Seducing Mr. Darcy, Flirting with Forever, Aching for Always and A Novel Seduction. She has been called "the master of time travel romance." A Novel Seduction is her first foray into contemporary romance as well as men in kilts, and she found both eminently satisfying. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Master of Whitehall by Rick H. Veal: Interview and Excerpt

After the brutal murder of her parents in a robbery, Katelyn Corbin, a thoroughly modern 21 year old college senior, finds herself attempting to re-start her life in Charleston, SC, where she finds love, healing and a brand new life in a most unexpected avenue.

This story follows Katelyn from her hometown just outside Atlanta to her new school in Charleston. There she meets James and is deeply intrigued by him from their first meeting; feeling as if he has touched her very soul. The more she considers him, the more intense her interest becomes. He is a wealthy patron of the arts, especially at her school. He is tall and handsome with a strong persona; a young widower, living alone in a huge, but beautifully restored old plantation house called 'Whitehall'. Their friendship soon becomes serious, becoming a full-on relationship as Katelyn falls madly in love with him. James soon makes his love for her just as obvious. Their lives begin to blend, twisting and turning, as they continue to grow closer.

After several strange incidents, Katelyn begins to develop a series of unsettling questions about her new love. However, she knows that after facing the catastrophe of her parent’s deaths, she can face anything life throws at her. She begins looking at the questions, searching her own soul. Finally deciding that she must know the answers, she confronts him. She soon discovers James' true nature; confirming her fears that he was indeed not the man she thought, but the man she feared him to be. The confirmation of her suspicions are shocking to her, turning her world view on its side. She is forced to acknowledge things about herself and her world that she never thought possible. With her new found knowledge, Katelyn realizes she must make a choice to live with or without James. She quickly decides to adapt her life and adjust her beliefs in order to continue to be with James.

Their love for each other develops and continues to grow as he assists her to close the gaping wounds left by the tragedy of her parent’s murders. Katelyn continues to uncover other secrets, discovering another existence, as she begins her new life with James. The story reaches a highly emotional and completely unexpected ending that fully illustrates Katelyn's personality of love and care for those around her.

The Master of Whitehall, a paranormal romance novel is complete at 104,000 words. The story unfolds over the course of nearly a year, and features flashbacks that more fully develop each of the characters, offering insights into their personal histories. The story is narrated in first person perspective by Katelyn as she offers a window into the world of possibilities of love between mortal and immortal.

The Master of Whitehall will be very appealing to readers of Rachel Caine's 'Morganville Vampires', Charlaine Harris’ ‘True Blood’ series, and Anne Rice's 'Vampire Chronicles'.

Excerpt from the beginning of chapter two, Katelyn introduces herself and tells about her parents murder and afterward:

My name is Katelyn Corbin, I'm twenty-one years old and a senior in college – or at least I will be in a few hours when I get to school. The nightmare I was having was about the murder of my parents last April. They worked in a small store we owned on the outskirts of Atlanta and were killed there during a robbery.
Two men came into the store, high on drugs and demanding money. My parents tried to give them all the money they had. But, when they got scared and could not move fast enough one of the men shot them both several times. They then wrecked the cash register getting away with only sixty-eight dollars, a handful of change, and two grocery bags they stuffed with snacks. In the end, my poor parents’ lives were worth less than a hundred dollars.
I had the misfortune to be the one to have to find my parents that awful day. I came in from school that afternoon so happy. It was early spring and I was almost finished with school for the year. I would start summer vacation in about two weeks and my best friend, Beth, and I were planning on a trip to Pensacola Beach to begin the summer. She and I and several of our friends had stopped for a late lunch after class and spent a couple of hours just chatting and enjoying ourselves in the warm sunshine. While we were having lunch we had all decided to go up toward Dalton, to the National Forest and go hiking that weekend.
When I got back to the store I ran in calling out, “Hey Mom! Dad!, guess what?” and going toward the back counter I abruptly stopped, frozen in place, my soul suddenly ripping wide open inside me. Confusion filled me as my mind refused to believe what my eyes were seeing. There was blood everywhere, it was splashed and splattered on everything, and my parents were laying there in the center of it all. I started crying and screaming as I ran to them, kneeling beside each one of them, calling out to them, trying to help, but there was nothing I could do. I saw my Dad's arm stretched out toward my mother almost like he had tried to help her as a final act. They were both dead and I knew it. I remember how cold they both felt lying there together. There was so much blood everywhere, it seemed to cover everything.
I somehow managed to reach the telephone on the counter and dial 9-1-1. When the operator answered all I could say through the tears was, “Help me … please … someone help me ...” and then I dropped the phone. I slid back down the counter, sitting in the gory mess beside my parents, confused and crying helplessly. I covered my face with my hands hoping to block out the terrible sight in front of me. My hands felt sticky and wet so I took them away from my face and looked at them. They were covered in their blood and it was all over my arms, too. I tried to wipe them clean on my shirt and jeans. The more I wiped the more it seemed to spread, I just couldn't get their blood off of me. I cried out with a plaintive wail as the pain tore through me again, my tears washing some of the blood from my face.
When the Marietta Police arrived they carefully removed me from that terrible scene and took me to the front of the store where I couldn't see anything going on in the back. The young officer was so nice to me. He found me a chair to sit in and then he took a seat facing me.
“Ma’am,” he said, “I have to ask you some questions, now. Can you understand me?”
“Yes, sir,” I replied through the haze, “you need to ask me something.”
“Very good,” he started, “my name is Officer Hemmings, and now, what is your name, ma’am?”
I looked at him blankly and then replied, “It … it’s Katelyn … Katelyn Corbin.”
“Thank you, Miss Corbin,” he said, writing in his notebook, “now this one may be a little harder, but do you know the two people in the back?”
I sat there for a minute, my world continuing to collapse in on itself. I just looked at him with a blank stare as his question penetrated my mind. I thought about it, trying to remember. Then I looked down, still in shock, and saw the blood covering my hands and arms, smeared on my jeans and the front of my shirt, I slowly looked up at him again my emotions beginning to crumble.
“It's alright,” he said, “take your time.”
Finally, sounding like a small child I simply said, “They're my Mommy and Daddy ...” and I broke down again as the sobs wracked through me, the tears flowing again.
I don't remember a lot about the rest of that day except that I left the store in an ambulance. I felt so alone and very scared as the paramedics and police helped me on the stretcher and began putting the straps over me. The paramedic that was riding with me was a young girl named Carrie, probably not much older than I was. She had me sitting up on the stretcher with my back against the pillow. She was so nice to me and talked to me telling me everything she was doing. She was so gentle and easy with me as she worked. She told me that she was going to give me some oxygen to help make me feel better as she gently placed the tubes over my ears and carefully set the end just inside my nose. The oxygen felt so pure and clean as I breathed it in, I could almost immediately feel it beginning to clear up my thinking. Then she added a little plastic thingy on my finger and told me that it would monitor all my vital signs and not cause any pain. I started to settle down just a little as we rode together, Carrie talking kindly to me and lightly patting my arm.
When we arrived at the hospital, Carrie swung into full action, staying right with me as the stretcher was rolled into the emergency room. I heard her call out that she had a trauma victim in shock. The rest all happened so quickly it was a blur. I was surrounded by medical staff, all talking and checking me at the same time. Someone said that they were going to give me some medication; that I would feel a little sting, and I would take a nap. I looked at Carrie and she softly patted my shoulder and told me that I was going to be alright now. I felt the quick sting of the needle and as I watched the bright lights above me, I smiled as they quickly turned gray. The last thing I remember was Carrie beginning to fade slowly away as a curtain of total blackness settled over me, thankfully blocking out all the hurt and pain …

Welcome Rick!  Thanks for taking this time to let us find out a little about you.  Easy question to start…. Who is your favorite author and character?

My favorite author is Anne Rice. I discovered her books years ago and have loved “The Vampire Chronicles” and “The Mayfair Witches”. Of course my favorite character of all has to be Lestat – The Brat Prince! He seems to me to embody what a vampire should be … he is what he is, he’s accepted it, and he enjoys every minute of it! When I read her stories it’s almost as if I am wrapped up in it, I can feel the characters and setting around me.

Anne Rice has a way of bringing her characters to life, you can feel like you know them, and like any personality there are some you like and some you don’t. I have tried to emulate her in bringing my characters to life for my readers. The greatest reward for me would be for someone to tell me that they laughed, loved and cried with Katelyn as she told her story in The Master of Whitehall. 


Tell us about your current and next release.

My current book is The Master of Whitehall, a contemporary paranormal romance novel. The story is set in Charleston, SC and revolves around Katelyn Corbin, a twenty-one year old college senior. Katelyn is trying to restart her life and finish college after her parents are murdered. She meets a seemingly wonderful young man, James Dubois, the real life Master of Whitehall, and falls madly in love with him. Although the story is set in the paranormal it’s ultimately a love story, real and unconditional, between her and James. It’s fun to watch as their relationship grows, bringing Katelyn face to face with ideas that she never thought possible, and how she accepts some unchangeable truths. I want my readers to really feel like they know Katelyn and the other characters as well, as they journey with her.

I actually have two other projects that I am working on right now. The first is an illustrated, signed and numbered, limited edition of 100 copies of The Master of Whitehall. It will contain some additional material and some that just could not make it into this edition due to editing limitations. I have commissioned the artist and she is currently working on the character studies of all five characters.

The second project is the next book; that story will begin approximately a year or so after the ending of the current story. Again, Katelyn will be telling the story and, like the readers, I look forward to hearing what she has to say! I suspect she will entertain us with stories of adventures in her new life. 


Tell us some more little known facts about yourself.


Gee, how do I talk about myself and not bore everyone! I’m single and have only one daughter, the cat. My favorite time of day is the morning, because everything starts fresh. I usually start my day with a cup of coffee and checking in with all the sites I follow on the net. I especially enjoy the Spring or Fall of the year so that I can start my day on the back deck and enjoy the cool air. I think that most folks would find that I’m good company morning or evening; although I’m not a late night person. I prefer an early night followed by an early morning. What would you find looking under my bed … most probably the cat, if you looked when you first arrived. After that it would be cat hair … I don’t have dust bunnies, every time I sweep they look more like full grown rabbits! My favorite saying is that if you write a book, write the one you would like to read and then others will also. That is what I’ve tried to do with The Master of Whitehall. 


Have you attended a high school reunion? What did you learn?


I attended the 10th and 20th reunions of my class. I did not keep contacts with my class because I left the area to serve in the military after graduation, so I received a nice surprise. I think the 20th union is probably the best one for anyone to attend … time and nature has a way of making everyone equal. By the time of 20th reunion, all the jocks are bald and the cheerleaders are fat! 


What factors influenced you to become a writer?


I returned to college as a non-traditional student and discovered writing there. I have been a reader all my life and often thought about writing but wasn’t sure how to do it. I have to credit my English professor, Dr. John Wright, with not only teaching me how to write to but to enjoy writing. I think it was in his classes that I knew someday I would write a novel. But an education in language and writing doesn’t end at the classroom door. I think we are all inspired by the authors we read and they continue teaching us about writing as we read. Then when we write we often use the style of our favorite authors. I think the best way to remain sane as a writer is to know that you are doing the best you can do, try to improve, and remember that everyone is not going to love, some are not even going to like, your work! Remember the voices in your head are just your characters telling you what to put on paper next. You should also hope that someone somewhere decides your book is an affront to society and the well-being of mankind in general and they want to sponsor a book burning. Then as an indie writer you take comfort in the fact that your book is only available to them from you … at full price … with no quantity discount!   


The author was born and has spent the majority of his life in the upstate of South Carolina. He joined the Navy immediately out of high school where he had the pleasure of visiting some eighteen different countries during a six year span. After returning home he attended The University of South Carolina graduating with a double Associates Degree with Honors. He completed his education at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History. He has worked in the education field as a teacher and in various management positions in industry. He currently lives alone with his one daughter, a three year old Tuxedo cat, who graciously allows him to think he actually owns the house. The Master of Whitehall is his debut novel.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

At First Touch by Mattie Dunman : Interview, Review, Excerpt


At First Touch focuses on the struggles of sixteen-year old Liz Hannigan, a sharply intelligent and strong-willed girl with a secret; she can download the mind of anyone she touches, making her a target for government agencies and a shadowy organization known as the Coalition. With her freedom at stake, and the opportunity to put down roots and experience a longed-for normal life, Liz must use all her abilities to break away from her past. 


Liz Hannigan has been on the run since she was twelve years old.

Her mother is dead. Her father has lost his job. And thanks to an experimental procedure, Liz is now able to ‘download’ the contents of every brain around her with a simple touch. Forced to hide from both the federal government and a darkling group of morally deficient scientists known as the Coalition determined to exploit her abilities, she moves with her father to the bucolic coal town of Pound, West Virginia. 

But the hunt for Liz and her abilities hasn’t ended, and her hopes for peace are shattered when she inadvertently downloads the enigmatic Carey Drake, whose unusual good looks and charm conceal a secret as shocking as her own. Stunned by the knowledge that she has found someone else who has extraordinary abilities, Liz finds herself drawn to Carey, discovering a deep attraction, and dares to hope for the first time she might find love. 

But when an agent of the Coalition begins stalking her, Liz must find a way to work with the government agency she most mistrusts as she strives to build a longed-for normal life and take down the agent who has tracked her down. Caught up in a struggle to save herself and those she loves, the girl who sees all is blind to true danger until it is too late.


I was out on the main road and about twenty minutes into my run when I heard the sound of a motor gunning and the beep of a horn. I slowed my pace and turned around to see Preston’s truck chugging along about two hundred yards behind me. His head was out of the window and he was screaming at me; I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but I felt pretty confident that it wasn’t complimentary.
I came to a stop, wondering if I should do something. I wasn’t really concerned; it wasn’t as though he would run me over or anything, but the blind hatred on his face made me a little nervous. Finally, I decided to ignore him and let him get his fill of throwing abuse my way and then drive on past.  Picking up the pace again, I resolutely faced forward, pretending that the continued screeching behind me was a trick of the wind.
Suddenly the engine gave an almighty roar and I heard the unwelcome sound of squealing tires. With only a second to register that I had vastly underestimated Preston’s anger and mental instability, I swirled around in time to see the grille of the truck just a few feet from my face. I made to jump out of the way, but all my knowledge and stolen tricks didn’t make me fly, or move faster, or be any less breakable than any other human being. I knew in that moment how useless my ability really was. In the face of the giant metal monster brimming with torque, my mind was of no matter, it just screamed out with the desire to live, to keep going.
There was a blow like a train hitting me, but strangely there was no pain, and I was moving faster than I could have imagined away from the truck and into the field next to the road. I was sure that the truck had hit me and I was just flying through the air to my death, by some fortunate stroke lucky enough to be spared the pain of impact. In another instant the movement had stopped and I realized I was being held in a pair of strong arms against a rock-hard chest.
Carey looked down at me, his eyes frantic. “Are you alright? He didn’t hit you, did he?”
“N-no,” I stuttered. Having downloaded Carey I was aware of his incredible speed, but there’s something very different about knowing something theoretically and experiencing it firsthand.
He put me down gently in the grass and I just sat there, too dumbfounded to speak.  Even as he anxiously surveyed me for damage, we heard the rending scream of out of control tires and the heavy metal sound of Preston’s truck crashing into something.
“I’ll be right back,” Carey said and then I blinked and he was gone. 

5 Stars

I was pulled into Liz’s story from the very first page.  The story flows smoothly with an engaging, likable protagonist who is pitted against forces that conspire to harness her power and use her talents for their own purposes.  With terrific pacing, believable dialogue, and a mesmerizing voice, this book rises well above the norm in its Young Adult Paranormal Fiction genre. Read my Full Review on Night Owl Reviews.


How did you start your writing career?

It’s hard to say. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and as a kid I entered every contest I could find, made up stories to entertain myself and my friends. I got serious about it about four years ago when I wrote my first book during a bout of pneumonia. Nothing like being trapped indoors for a month and bored out of your mind for motivation. 

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

 I do use a pen name, Mattie Dunman. It’s my maternal grandmother’s first name and my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. I loved them both and they are no longer with us, so I thought it would be a good way to remember them. I think they’d both be pleased. 

What was the scariest moment of your life?

 I’ve had a few close brushes, but I think one of the worst moments was when I was nearly killed by a Christmas tree. I was driving home on I-79 and a beat-up pickup truck with a fully decorated Christmas tree (I mean lights and ornaments and everything) in its bed, swerved in front of me and slammed on the brakes. The tree just flew off the truck and headed right for me. I was really lucky no one was in the lane next to me and managed to get out of the way, but I’ve always felt really uncomfortable around tinsel ever since. 

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula? 

I have kind of an odd process for writing scenes. I sometimes go to sleep thinking about what needs to happen next in the story and if I’m lucky, I dream about it, which gives me some ideas. Most of the time I let my characters have a conversation in my head, let them act out the scene, and then I just start writing. I know ahead of time that certain things have to be accomplished, but most of the action and plot comes straight from the characters.  

What songs are most played on your IPod?

My playlist is pretty eclectic. When I write, I tend to listen to soothing music so I don’t sing along and get distracted. So typically it’s a blend of Rachmaninoff, Puccini, and Ralph Vaughn Williams. But writing certain scenes requires a different energy, and The Black Keyes’s “Sinister Kid” and “I’m Not the One” usually provoke the right atmosphere. I’ve also had AWOL Nation’s “It’s Not Your Fault” on repeat for the last month.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go? 

I have a long, long list of places I’d like to go, but if I had the opportunity I’d really like to go to the Orkney Islands in Scotland. There’s a phenomenal blend of culture from the Picts, the Celts, and Norse mythologies there. One of the projects I’m working on has derived a lot of inspiration from the area and history, so I’d love to go there in person. Pictures only go so far. 

Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself? 

I don’t think it’s possible to write a character that doesn’t reflect me in some way; after all, you write what you know. But I think it’s more accurate to say that my experiences have helped shape the way my characters react to stress or romance. Some characters resemble me more than others. For instance, the heroine in a project I’m working on is an exaggerated version of me and my history of clumsiness; the poor thing walks into way more walls than I really do. On the other hand, in AT FIRST TOUCH, Liz tends to weigh her decisions carefully, which is something I don’t do as often as I should. And I wish I had superpowers..

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it? 

If I have a motto, it’s probably “You pays your money, and you takes your choice.” My mom told me that years ago; it’s apparently something my great-grandfather said a lot after going to the races. It’s always seemed eminently sensible to me.

Mattie Dunman is a lifelong resident of "Wild & Wonderful" West Virginia, and has dreamed of being a writer since she first held a pen in hand.

Mattie has pursued several useless degrees to support this dream, and presently enjoys teaching (or tormenting, as the case may be) college students the dying art of public speaking. She spends most of her free time writing, but also indulges in reading and traveling.

She is the proud owner of an adorably insane American Eskimo named Finn, and a tyrant cat named Bella, who take up more of her attention than they probably should.

Mattie is currently working on the second book in the First Touch series, and is ecstatic about her new release, 
At First Touch.

For more information on Mattie or At First Touch, please check out!

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