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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Ten Plus One Questions with Author Sam Abbott

A Cold GoodbyeSome others will give a full paragraph on who they are and others are a bit more shy about telling readers who they are. Then of course there are authors who can write word after word and save that for their creations I believe that author Sam Abbott falls into the category of saving their writing. I say this as there are several Ned Fain books in publcation. Also one thing read the answers carefully as you will learn some real information about Sam Abbott is. So without further comment lets get to those questions.

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

As a kid I used to write 10 to 20 page thank-you notes for birthday and Christmas gifts; I guess I could say that was the bug first biting me. I’m a late starter, though; took me years to actually pen my first story.

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

My husband travels a lot for work, so my writing time isn’t much noticed by him. Other than that, I’ve been in business for myself for years, and writing has now become the business I wish I’d always been doing.

Question 3: What inspired you to write A Cold Goodbye?

Honestly, I don’t remember anything specific. Readers often ask where my ideas come from and the only answer I can give is that they just don’t stop. It’s rather problematic, actually, and can be quite a distraction.

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters? 

The books I write are the books I like to read, which covers a fairly broad spectrum. Ned Fain evolved in my mind over a period of time and he was pretty real to me before I even began to think of a plot. Much of that thought process developed during my morning walks with my dogs, and as I got to know Ned I began to imagine his story. I did want a character who was physically challenged, including in his looks, and in the second book in the series that leads to Sylvi, who turns out to be a pretty different lady. As to the opening setting of the book, I wanted something a little off-the-wall, so began with “somewhere” in a zoo and ended up at the polar bear pit.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books? 

Well, The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis, completely enchanted me, and I read the series over and over. At age 12 I discovered boys, (Sam Abbott is a pseudonym, if you didn’t already know) and went through a dreamy-eyed phase of Georgette Heyer historical romances. However, Miss Heyer was also an accomplished writer of mystery, and before you know it I’d worked my way to Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh among others.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

Nervous. ‘Nuff said.

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

Absolutely I’ll keep writing; Ned Fain isn’t ready to retire yet. Another PI series I’m working on as Liz Dodwell features a gorgeous, yet emotionally scarred, Icelandic woman: Elka Dahl, the Agency Confidential Series. And I have an ongoing series of an amateur sleuth who also happens to be a shipwreck treasure hunter – the Captain Finn Treasure Mysteries. Last year I wrote a cozy mystery story of a pet-sitter – Polly Parrett, which I’m picking back up for the end of this year. There’s also a new detective series in the works – a supernatural mystery, of sorts – and I’m adding to my range with a little Arthurian Sword & Sorcery.

By now you’re thinking I’m all over the place. Well, yep; it’s true. I’ve tried, I’ve really tried, to stick with one series at a time but finally had to accept my mind just doesn’t work that way. Though I’ve trained myself to create in-depth outlines I still get blocked at times. When that happens, I jump to a different series and keep on writing.

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?

For Ned Fain I chose a male pen name because men are still more likely to read mystery/thriller. However, it seems more and more women are learning to enjoy this type of intrigue, which is why I created Elka Dahl. As for cozies, mature women far outnumber everyone else.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

Write something short and get it out there so you can get past that fear of failure and learn the production side of the business. Don’t sweat reviews and don’t reply to reviews. If you don’t have any reviews, it’s no big deal. As I write this there are two books in the Amazon top 100 that have only three reviews, and another with just one; and every top author has plenty of one-star reviews. Once your book is published, the real work begins: it won’t sell unless you put some effort into marketing it, so do your due diligence.

Question 10: When not writing how does you like to spend your time?

Ah, reading is definitely up there, along with walking the dogs – I have a pit bull and two poodles. My husband and I love dining out and traveling and I like to yodel. (Just kidding about that last one).

The + 1 Question (In this case I ask authors to answer one or the other. We got a bonus as answered both.)

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why? 

Hmm, I had to think about this and I’m inclined to say I’d go to Afghanistan – where Ned Fain met his fate – and hand out books to the remaining troops, or visit military bases here in the US.

If your book got turned into a movie do you have any actors/actresses you’d like to see play your characters?

For Ned, JR Martinez would certainly have to be in the running, but I could also see Robert Downey, Jr., Bradley Cooper or James Franco.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Reviews

 

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A Cold Goodbye: Ned Fain, Private Investigator (Book 1) by Sam Abbott

A Cold GoodbyeThe world has seen skirmishes, battles, police actions and wars for too long. It’s a fact of human history that at some point humanity has been fighting each other for some reason or another. This violence impacts so many from the home fronts to those fighting the battles and there are many common outcomes of these battles. One of the biggest is what to do with those who come back damaged, either physically, mentally or both. What will they be able to give to society and what will society do for them?

The book A Cold Goodbye will introduce the reader to one such soldier, Ned Fain. He is a former JAG officer who was fragged by someone in Afghanistan. He was defending some foreign soldiers and after the outcome of the case someone tossed a grenade into the bathroom. Unfortunately, Ned was in that bathroom and things did not go well for him.

He’s now back in the states, working as a painter while trying to get a real job. His wife has left him and the visual scars cause people to turn their heads. He’s out looking for a new job and is very unimpressed with the man he is about to interview with. Ned does not like how this supervisor tosses one of his own employees “under the bus” for work not done. So, he does what anyone should in that point walks out, not interviewing and heads to the bus stop.

The one problem the bus won’t be there for some time and decides again to stop into the local zoo. This decision will put him in the spot to witness a very icy murder. The fallout will happen in front of a class of children on a field trip and thanks to Ned’s quick thinking he may spare those kids years of therapy.

It is here when the book really takes off. We find out that there is a young teacher who went to the bathroom at the wrong time. She becomes a prime subject and while Ned is talking to the police she hears how he was at one time a JAG officer. This woman will seek out his help and he will get involved in the case. He may not be a practicing lawyer but this down on his luck ex-soldier is about to get back into the action. The best thing about the job is he gets himself a sweet car to make get rid of the need for public transportation and for this Mustang fan it’s the perfect choice.

A Cold Goodbye will take the reader into Ned’s life. We get to see how the “accident” may have transformed him physically but mentally his mind is still there. He is even able to give information to the police, and district attorney, items they have not gotten to themselves due to his keen observation skills.

Author Sam Abbott does a great job of putting imagery into the mind so the reader can picture some of the things happening in the book. The use of the imagination in this form helps connect the reader with the story. The characters are very believable and you will find yourself routing for the young teacher, and Ned. This is book one in a series and we will see how he will find himself getting ready for a new career as a private investigator.

This is a great entry into the Mystery and Thriller genre and should have readers wanting more from Ned. The book will end faster than you think but as a reader you will not feel let down. A Cold Goodbye is a great read, and I will share that there is one more mystery. Sam Abbott is pseudonym for the actual author, whose name will remain a mystery at least from my point of view.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Ten Plus One Questions with Author Jessica A. Scott

Jessica ScottI have to say that it is always a bit humbling when an author reaches out to you for a book review. This is what Jessica A Scott did and I have to say I’ve enjoyed working with her when it came to her book and the questions below. I got a sense of the author through the may post it notes behind her in the author photo on the page. Those notes combined with the honest answers below make me hope there will be a lot more coming from the author. So please enjoy the answers to those Ten Plus One Questions.

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

I think I have always wanted to be a writer. I’d been making up stories since I was old enough to think, and as soon as my mom taught me to read and write when I was three years old, I knew that’s how I wanted to spend my time. My stories got better and more complex over time, of course, but I’ve always known that writing was what I wanted to do with my life.

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

Honestly, I don’t think they minded too much. I’m sure that my parents would have preferred that I do something that paid more (haha), but they were/are still very supportive of me and my pursuit of my dream, so I don’t think the loss of my time was much of an issue for anyone, especially since I’m able to balance writing with friends and family time fairly well.

Question 3: What inspired you to write Chase and Charlie?

I know this is a cliché in the writing business, but for this book, the idea came to me in a dream I had years ago. The dream itself was really strange (like most of my dreams are), but it gave me a general idea and the main character, who I instantly fell in love with and just HAD to write about. I think when a story idea comes to me in a dream, it makes me want to write it more, since it feels more real to me. It makes me feel like I myself have lived at least a part of it, or have met the characters before!

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters? 

Well, like I mentioned, I got the idea for the plot and the characters Chase and Charlie from a dream, but the story itself really began to develop on its own once I started writing it. Charlie, the main character/narrator, is a little bit like me, and a little bit better and more courageous and funny than me, and I feel like she just sort of wrote her own story. I just held the pen!

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books? 

I’m not sure if her books really inspired mine, since they are so different, but J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was always my favorite as a kid, because I was always amazed by how she had created an entire world for her and her characters, complete with different languages, names, and ideas that no one else had really put together before. I wanted to be able to do that, and do that in a way that seemed real to the reader, and to me.

I also read a lot of Dean Koontz books, even as a child, and I was (and still am) inspired by the way he took somewhat unbelievable or fantastical events and made them seem like something that could really happen. I am a huge fan of realistic fiction, and that is what I strive to write.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

This is a good question! Honestly, I was kind of in shock when I first held the printed, paper copy of my book in my hand. It seemed so bizarre to me to read my own words, that I’d only seen on notebook paper and on my computer screen, inside of a real, honest-to-goodness, published book! (Which looks pretty great, thanks to my best friend and cover artist Sarah Hance.) I still don’t know if I quite believe it really happened… haha!

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

Of course I continue to write! Even if I never had anything published, or never have any commercial success, I will still continue to write, because that is my passion. My main genre focus is still thriller/romantic suspense, but I am experimenting with some different genres lately, such as the mystery and crime genres. I think it is a good thing to try different genres from time to time—it is a good exercise for your creativity!

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?

The characters in Chase and Charlie are sort of a “young twenty-something,” so I think that people in that age group would enjoy it, as would teenagers. There really isn’t anything too offensive in it, so I think that it could be read by anyone who likes suspense, regardless of age. I think young women especially would enjoy it, because it is always good for us to read a book about a strong, self-possessed, relatable female character who really gets things done.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

Yes, I have two suggestions, actually. First: NEVER GIVE UP!! Writing a book is hard, and it takes a lot of work, but mostly it takes perseverance. There will be days when you feel like you don’t connect with your characters, or days when you feel like you just don’t want to write anymore, but you can’t give up. Writing is something you have to do for you, not for anyone else, so you have to keep at it until you make yourself proud.

Secondly, I would suggest reading a book called On Writing by Stephen King. This is the best book about writing I have ever read, and it helped me a lot when I was experiencing writer’s block on a recent book. On Writing not only gives you a lot of great tips and advice about writing and how to improve your process, it also lets you see how a successful author like Stephen King became a successful author like Stephen King. Most importantly, though, it gives writers hope. As King himself says, “writing is a lonely job,” and it is really great to hear stories and advice from someone (a surprisingly relatable someone!) who has been there before, and who understands what being an author is really like.

Question 10: When not writing how do you like to spend your time?

When I’m not writing, I like to read, which actually helps a lot with the writing, so I’m not sure that counts. I also like to watch old movies and tv shows, like Chase and Charlie do in my novel (Maybe that’s where they get it from!). Writing is always my favorite thing to do though, so usually when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing!

The + 1 Question

If your book got turned into a movie do you have any actors/actresses you’d like to see play your characters?

Hmm… that’s a tough one. I’m not sure who I’d like to play Chase or Hoagie, but I could definitely see Jennifer Lawrence playing Charlie. They both have a lot of spunk and a great sense of humor toward life, and I feel like Lawrence would really capture Charlie’s lighthearted, “never say die” attitude.

Where to find Jessica online

 

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Interview

 

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Chase and Charlie by Jessica A Scott

Chase & CharlieOne never knows how siblings will act together as they grow up and mature. They can either become best of friends, or complete strangers. The fact is that although they may be related there is no real reason to for them to like each other. One of the big differences is when the siblings are of the opposite sex. It seems that brothers and sisters have a closer bond with each other and if the boy is older he feels he needs to watch out for his little sister.

This brings me to the book, Chase and Charlie, by author Jessica A. Scott. I will admit when I first saw the title I thought of many businesses and even TV shows that had similar names to the book. I think maybe I was sensing something when that analogy came to mind as the book makes use of old TV shows. I of course did not know that at the beginning but that’s what makes reading and discovery what’s in the pages so enjoyable.

Chase and Charlie will introduce the reader to brother and sister pair that seems more like an old comedic act. I write this as Chase is a gentle giant as we learn the boy is 6’6 and weighs 310 pounds. Charlie, on the other hand, is petite and seems to be an average height for a woman coming in at 5’5. I have to say when I read those descriptions I thought of Laurel and Hardy, or Abbott and Costello. I realize some reading this may not know those classic comedic teams but I digress as this is about the book.

Chase and Charlie opens innocently with an introduction to the characters and their unique love of movies. At the same time within that first page the reader will learn that Chase is accused of murder and Charlie will try to clear his name.  The supposed murder takes place after the two go to Chuck E Cheese and win enough tickets for a life-size Chuck E Cheese Doll. The two do get many looks from younger patrons, and their parents, for the win but this is a special night. The plan is to catch the latest Star Trek movie, and one last night out before Chase graduates college. However, they will never see the movie as a blackout happens within the theater and when the lights come back up someone is dead up front and Chase is standing there.

The book will take off from this point and some readers will find the book hard to put down. The reader will get to experience all the things Charlie will do to free her brother. She will go as far as attempting to break into a mental hospital which will leader her to meeting Hogarth, who offers to help her. Hogarth is a janitor of sorts at the hospital who suspect things are not right there and the two will find out how right he is. As they work on showing Chase’s innocence they will uncover so many secrets about the hospital while they race to hide from those who eventually want Charlie stopped from her snooping.

Chase and Charlie uses a wide range of analogies within the book, and references to pop culture. One of my personal favorites is a nod to the old show Hogan’s Heroes which I watched as a kid. The book uses many others which are well timed and show Charlie’s sarcastic character. There are moments of high suspense and danger running throughout the pages. The book is written through the eyes of Charlie which leads to unique perspective on the events as they happen. This will also make sure we know what she’s thinking and what she plans to do to clear her brother. There will be those who find the book to be hard to put down as they begin to read it due to how it’s written. In any case those who enjoy some pop culture mixed in with a suspenseful mystery will enjoy the book. I will advise do not ask questions about where are the parents as that may cause you to over think the situation. Their absence is explained within the pages as well. Readers should just sit back and enjoy the ride you will be taken on within the pages. The book is published by Black Rose Writing.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Ten Plus One Questions with Author Andy Peloquin

Author AnAndy Peloquindy Peloquin is one of those men that seems to have been writing his entire life. You will get a sense in that just from the first answer to the questions below. He is the man who brought us the great book Blade of the Destroyer and has written about 8,000 articles. To think he’s only in his 20’s says a lot about his dedication. So see how he answers the questions below.

 

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

I discovered my talent for writing around the age of 10 or 11. I had a teacher who was passionate about science and literature. His love of reading and writing rubbed off on me, and I have been writing ever since.

I write off and on until the age of 19 or 20, when I took a five-year hiatus. I published my very first book in March 2014, and I’ve been addicted to creating ever since!

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

My wife was very supportive–and still is to this day. I spent a lot of my Christmas/New Year holiday writing, and seeing as she was working (from home, thank the gods!), it wasn’t a big problem. As for how my kids take it, you’ll have to ask them. I know there are times when they wish I wasn’t working (so I could drive them places), but so far it hasn’t been a huge problem.

Question 3: What inspired you to write Blade of the Destroyer?

After reading books by Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, and Scott Lynch, I fell in love with anti-heroes and the darker underbelly of fantasy societies. I’ve always loved stories about assassins, thieves, and rogues, and it just felt natural to write one myself. There just aren’t enough good fantasy assassin stories!

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters?

The idea came to me in stages:

The creation of the “legendary assassin” started out as a short piece of prose I wrote years ago. In the piece, a terrified man tries to escape a monster hunting him. It’s this inexorable, implacable creature that kills him in the end.

When I started writing in 2013, I read over some of my older works and found that piece. The story just kind of grew from there–with the monster becoming a half-demon assassin. He is still implacable and inexorable, but more man and less monster.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books?

My favorite birthday gift to this day is still “The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes”. I read that book so many times before I had to give it away. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter series got me hooked on science fiction and fantasy.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

It was such a dream come true. To feel the pages turn in my hands, to see the AMAZING cover (done by my ultra-talented sister), and to inhale that “new book” smell–it was awesome. Even now, days later, I can’t stop smiling every time I see it on my desk or see my kids reading it.

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre?

I’m going to stick with dark fantasy for now. I love to explore the darker depths of human nature, so my books will be more focused on what monsters people are, rather than real monsters.

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?

Anyone who is interested in a gripping character, an intriguing story, and a bit of darkness. Epic fantasy readers may not like my less-than-happy endings, but I think they’ll be satisfied with them. The story is a rich, vivid, and graphic one that will paint a VERY clear picture in the readers’ heads. Definitely worth picking up!

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

Be prepared for A LOT of hard work. It’s amazingly fun to write that story, but that’s all the fun you get. From there, it’s hard work re-drafting, editing, implementing critiques and feedback from beta readers, and more. But it will all be worth it when you have a finished product you can be proud of.

Question 10: When not writing how do you like to spend your time?

I’m a HUGE comic book geek, and I stay pretty up to date with the latest from the Marvel Universe. I also watch TV, hit the gym, read, spend time with my kids, and play video games. I’m a down to earth kind of guy!

The + 1 Question

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

I would LOVE to go back to Japan on a book tour. I was born and raised there, leaving at the age of 14, and it would be wonderful to visit. I plan to do so at some point in my life, but being able to have an all-expenses-paid trip for a book tour would be twice the AWESOME.

 

Where to find him online:

Andy Peloquin

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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Interview

 

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Blade of the Destroyer by Andy Peloquin

Blade of the DestroyerThere are those that work on the fridges of society that want cash up front for a job they will do. They may not ask many questions but will do the job and see it through the end no matter the cost involved. There are also those that you may see as the scum of the Earth due to their brutality, yet they use some of their payment to help others.  The kindness may not out weight the darkness but at least they are “trying” to help others less fortunate.

Blade of the Destroyer will introduce the reader to just such a character, the Hunter. The city of Voramis knows his name to well and those with enough sense fear the hunter. Those with enough coin can hire the man and know that he will complete his assignment.  They know not to try and trick the man as he will come for them next if they fail to pay. At the same time this dark and deadly man cares for those he calls friends much like a dark Robin Hood.

The Hunter tracks his targets through the help of a magical blade. The blade feeds thoughts to the Hunter and seems to have an unending thirst for blood. If a person is killed with that blade their soul is taken to a place far worse than any hell. The Hunter uses a specific method to get the blade onto the scent of the target and travels across Voramis to find and kill the target on how the contract may wish. In any case the worst thing any man, or woman, can do is become the target of the Hunter.

There are those that live within some of his safe houses that do benefit from the coin he earns. He will help the wretches of society by putting a roof over there home, and even provide bandages. They do not live like kings, but at least better than those on the streets through his bit of kindness. They may not know who he truly is but he does call them friends and his coin helps protect them. –

There however is one major flaw in how the man takes on an assignment. He does not ask questions and one such very rich assignment will lead him to the point of a deep despair. He will find that he has stepped into a well built trap that will lead to danger for himself, his friends and potentially all of Voramis.

Blade of the Destroyer is written by author Andy Peloquin and takes the reader into a well built world.  Peloquin builds a world with a great mythology that will come apparent within the pages of the book. The Hunter will even find out more about who he is within the book and will face even more choices before the book ends. There is darkness and death within the pages but the well developed characters shine through.

Blade of the Destroyer is one of those books that when you start reading you may struggle to put down. The way in which the book is written takes the anti-hero, the Hunter, to a point that you will hope for him to win. You will shudder at first at his lethality but by the end of the book you want him to win. This is something that many authors do struggle with and Peloquin does masterfully.  The book is certainly a great read of those who enjoy a fantasy world, but at the same time just those who love a great story.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Reviews

 

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