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2018 Interview with Romantic Suspense Author Sharon Kay Connell

His Perfect Love as seen on Amazon

Sharon’s New Interview! 2018

Today I’m ecstatic to interview this wonderful woman again, romantic suspense Christian Author, Sharon K. Connell.  Sharon we’re thrilled to have you join us today. The reason I am so excited is because you have been through a long road rather recently… the dreaded rewrite- which is why I’d love your expertise. I think it’s wonderful to rewrite and your insight can also help aspiring authors. We need to know when an author should rewrite and I’d like to discuss the pleading reviews. I call it “pleading” because all of us seem to be posting memes and little snippets to leave a review yet so many never do or they simply forget. Without further ado, let’s get cracking!

  1. You are a romantic suspense author. And so readers know, I’ve had the privilege of reading one of Sharon’s novels entitled, “His Perfect Love.” It did have me on pins and needles several points in the story. And that Patricia! Doh! Well, let’s just say she was not my favorite person lol. What made you want to write the genre of romantic suspense?

When I started out writing, I had no idea what I was doing, much less that I was writing romantic suspense. My reading choices were mainly historical romance set in the British or Irish realm. I knew I was writing romance, but I wanted it to be more than just boy meets girl, falls in love, someone makes their life miserable because she loves him and can’t have him, etc. There had to be an element of drama in the story, but it also had to be realistic. Little by little, Paths of Righteousness, my very first attempt at writing, evolved. It wound up being my second published book. Scenarios of danger and suspense crept in to add stumbling stones for my characters.

By the time my forth book His Perfect Love came along, I realized that romantic suspense was what I enjoyed writing. And by then, I had actually learned how to write the story in a way that kept the interest of my readers.

 

By the way, you neglected to mention that Patricia wasn’t so bad at the end of His Perfect Love. LOL  Me- Of course! But I didn’t wanna spoil it.

  1. Recently, I noticed you are rewriting some of your earlier works. I’ve seen this done over the last year with many authors. But this is where I’m curious- since I’ve done it myself- tell us what made you decide to rewrite your books?

My first books were written before I knew anything about writing. They were (and There Abideth Hope, my third published novels, still is) full of head-hopping and needless information that tends to slow down the reading. I made a lot of mistakes. After taking classes in writing and with the help of my critiquers and other authors, I’ve learned how to write in a way that’s exciting. My earlier readers all said they loved the stories, but I knew they could be so much better. And to me, that meant they were worth the trouble of rewriting to improve the story and flow.

  1. Is there a specific sign to look out for that will aid author’s and confirm that they too need to rewrite their novels?

I have no idea what that sign would be except that you are not happy with the way your first edition came out. If it’s just minor things that you know you should or shouldn’t have done, I wouldn’t rewrite. I’d go ahead with new stories. But if it’s like my case where you know the story is good but most people probably won’t want to read it because of the tediousness of the writing, then perhaps it should be rewritten.

Many times, an established author said to me, “Don’t bother rewriting. Just go on with a new story. However, those first three stories, A Very Present Help, Paths of Righteousness, and There Abideth Hope, would not leave my mind. A Very Present Help has been republished in a 2nd edition now, and everyone who reads it loves it. That makes it worth the time and trouble. I’m in the middle of the rewrite on Paths of Righteousness, and then There Abideth Hope will be next.

  1. What helped you (if any) with your vision of the new cover you had made?

When I did the covers of my first three novels, again, I didn’t know what I was doing. Since I’m an indie author, and I was under the restrictions of a tight budget, I used cover templates from CreateSpace. They’re okay, but not what I wanted. When I redid the cover for A Very Present Help, I told my artist what I had in mind, gave her some pictures of what I wanted in the cover, and she did the rest. I wanted a scene from the book itself, not the same old covers as everyone else had on romantic suspense. It was important to me that the cover of the book reflected something from the story, not just the genre.

  1. When beginning a new novel, what inspiration do you draw from?

Life in general, I guess. An idea for a problem in the life of a character will come into my head and stick. Then I have to figure out the old who, what, where, when, why, and how? Eventually all the pieces come together, with the help of a lot of prayer.

  1. Now, this is difficult to talk about at times because of the nature of some or misunderstandings of others, what do you do with a bad review?

I ignore it, for the most part.

Since I’ve been published, I really haven’t had any formal bad reviews. But before I actually published my first story, I had a woman who offered to beta read for me tear my writing apart. Everything was wrong. Granted, I realize now that most of my writing was terrible, but she didn’t like anything. I had to sit back and lick my wounds for a while, and then decide what I could learn from what she said. Was what she said true or not? I did a lot of research about writing and found that a lot of it wasn’t true. Mainly, I think she just didn’t like my story, and tried to set herself up as the perfect judge of writing. I doubt if she cared for Christian Romance Suspense at all, now that I look back on her comments.

However, I did learn some things from what she said. And that’s what we need to take away from reviews when they aren’t what we would like to hear. Yes, it hurts. There’s no doubt about that. But is what’s being said true? If it is, then change it. If it’s not, ignore it.

Bottom line for me is this. I don’t put a lot of stock in reviews. I do ask for them, but I don’t seek them. Not everyone is going to like what I write. I accept that.

  1. Have you ever been misquoted in a review?

Not that I know of.

  1. How high do you hold the reviews?

First, let me say this. I will not give a review on a book if I can’t give it at least a 3 star. What is the purpose of discouraging a writer that way? I rarely give a 5 star. I suppose because I’m a writer and when I read, I have a problem separating the reader from the writer. The book has to have kept my interest so well that I can barely put it down to get a 5 star. If I’ve received a book outside of the genre I love to read, it’s hard for me to really get into the story. Having said that, I have given many 5 star reviews in the genre in which I do read.

Reviews are great when they’re from people who truly love what you write. It feels good when people pat you on the back. But I also think that if someone likes what they read in the blurbs written to give a general idea of the story, and they view the sample pages to see how you write, they’ll get a better idea of what they’re getting from that than a review based on readers likes or dislikes.

  1. What encouragement can you give to authors or aspiring authors regarding reviews?

Take the good and let them encourage you to do even better for your readers. Take the bad with a grain of salt, learn from it if you can, and don’t let it discourage you. Remember, not all readers are alike any more than all writers are. They may have picked up your book and find that it’s not written in a style they like to read. There are many other reasons why they might not become engrossed in your story. Shake it off. Eventually you’ll become more thick-skinned about it in the same way actors do when they get bad reviews.

  1. Let’s talk about marketing. For a lot of authors, this is an Achilles heal. Let others know how you approach the marketing process?

After any trials with outside marketing, I’ve recently decided that my time and money is better spent on doing it myself. I set up my own memes with the use of Canva and a GIF maker program. A file keeps all my blurbs organized so that all I have to do is copy and paste into the meme or GIF, and then Tweet or Post. In a separate file, I keep the pictures I use from free picture sources like Pixabay, and I pull them up from there whenever I make a new advertising meme.

Each day, I chose which pages on Facebook I’ll post my ads. Usually about three or four different groups. I post those every day, and tweet three times a day on Twitter.

When I first started advertising, I used one of the programs for scheduling your posts, but I found that they often did not work the way I wanted them to. Now I just set aside the time and do it myself.

This works for me because I’m generally at home all day. I’m a full-time, at home author. It may not work for those who have full-time out of the home jobs. What you have to do is find out what works best for you. Through trial and error, mostly.

  1. Do you use any special marketing company to help get your novels out there?

No. Not anymore.

  1. Where do you enjoy marketing the most?

I like Twitter because of the retweeting process, and I also like Facebook because you can put more information into your ads.

  1. What is the newest thing that you’ve learning in the area of self-publishing?

For me, it’s that no one knows how to present my books the way I can. After all, I am the author. LOL

  1. Where do you like to research when learning new things about writing?

Everywhere. In books, in blogs, Facebook writing forums, new and experienced authors, Twitter tweets. There’s a wealth of information out there.

  1. I know in your work, you have elements of crime including detectives. So where do you like to go to gather some of that info?

For my stories, I’m very fortunate to have acquaintances in those fields. Just like in the medical field. And whenever I find out that someone online has experience or works in an area where I might need technical, professional advice, I write to them and ask if I can put them on a resource list for future reference. I also use the expertise of people in my offline life. People I have known for years.

Then, there’s always the internet. There are official sites for all kinds of things like the FBI, military, etc. I’ve even gone to a medical site where a doctor is available for questions. People are more than happy to give you the information you need if you ask. When I wrote A Very Present Help, there were three Des Plaines Sherriff deputies in my church and many former and current military. With Paths of Righteousness, I was working in a medical office and the doctors and nurses I worked with were more than happy to give me information. When I wrote There Abideth Hope, the Lord provided me with a direct contact to Search and Rescue. And with His Perfect Love, I used contact and information from past stories, along with contacts from new sources. All you have to do is look and ask. The file I keep lists all kinds of professionals with their contact information and expertise.

As far as the scenes and information for the backgrounds, most of that was from experience. But there too, all you have to do is put the help wanted sign out, and you’ll be amazed at how willing people are to supply the information you need.

  1. What is the number one important thing to you when you’re writing the suspenseful parts in your novels?

That the actions, feelings, and emotions are real. I don’t want the story to come off like old drama from TV shows and movies of long ago. No overacting, please. I try to put myself into the situation and feel everything in order to know how the character would feel and respond. (I just wrote a blog on this) I also contact those who know if something actually can be done the way I’ve written it. Mostly with fight scenes, or things like, would someone bleed to death before help came in this scenario.

  1. What is the number one important thing to you when writing romance in your novels?

That would be the same as with the suspense. It has to be real. The emotion has to be right for the action and vice versa.

  1. What genre do you enjoy reading the most?

As I said before, Christian Historical Romance from the area of England, Scotland, and/or Ireland.

  1. Okay, now since you’ve been interviewed by me before, you know this game. It’s called “Tell Your Readers What You Like.” I will give you options and you tell the readers what you like! Simple right? Lol. Alright, here’s the first one. Slurpee, Frozen Yogurt, or Ice cream?

Both of the last two, there’s no difference to me.

  1. Movie first, or the Book first?

I prefer to read the book first, but sometimes I’m not aware there is a book. LOL Or…if you’re asking which I like better, it’s a tie.

  1. Toilet paper stuck to your shoe, or sitting in gum?- yes you must pick one! Lol

Aimee, you should know by now that you cannot make me do anything. But for the enjoyment of your readers, I’d say TP stuck on my shoe would be better.  Me- Yes I know, but it’s so much trying to get you to answer lol.

  1. Reader contacting you by email, Reader contacting you by Direct Message?

Since I only open emails from people I know personally, I guess I would prefer DM. However, the best way is through a comment on any of my links.

  1. Killing of a Main Character or Doing Something Absolutely Shocking?

Shocking!

  1. Killing off the Villain or Having the Villain Make a 360?

Make a 360.

  1. Audio books or Kindles? (Paperback is not an option here girl lol.)

Since I don’t use either, I can’t answer. I guess if I had to choose, it would be audio because I can’t stand reading online after I’ve worked online all day.

  1. Bowl of pasta or a bowl of vegetables?

Pasta, of course.

  1. Chinese food or Pizza?

Chinese.

  1. Pizza or a cheeseburger?

Cheeseburger.

  1. Fries or onion rings?

Onion Rings. Oh yeah!

  1. What do you put on your hamburger? (i.e. ketchup, mustard, mayo.)

Cheese, mayo, ketchup, tomato, lettuce…and sometimes a slice of dill pickle.

  1. Tell readers what is to come with your writing this year?

I’ll complete the rewrite on Paths of Righteousness and then start the rewrite of There Abideth Hope. I also hope to get further into the writing of my fifth novel, tentatively titled Treasures in a Field, before the end of the year.

  1. Tell readers a Bible verse that encourages you to continue pressing on in your writing.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

  1. What helpful information can you tell the aspiring author who may doubt themselves?

Never doubt yourself. There are too many other people in the world who are willing to do that for you. If you have been called to write, do it. Learn all you can before you publish (although you will never know everything there is to know about writing), and always take everything told to you in the way of criticism with a grain of salt. Glean what you can; pitch the rest.

  1. Where can readers find your new and fabulous novels?

 

His Perfect Love http://amzn.to/2iCMALI

A Very Present Help http://amzn.to/2yuF4eE

Here are my links:

Website: http://sharonkconnell.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell

Author’s book page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/averypresenthelpbook1

Author’s Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristianRomanceSuspense/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonKConnell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/SharonKConnell

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonkconnell 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rosecastle1/

 

Blogging on WordPress: https://sharonkconnell.wordpress.com/

Books:

My book trailers:

His Perfect Love by Sharon K. Connell https://youtu.be/e3tRr6mLzZk

A Very Present Help by SharonKConnell https://youtu.be/3a75HKgSkao music by Ross Bugden

https://youtu.be/wYyoOE5IzS0 Music by Chris Trosclaire

My current work in progress Paths of Righteousness (Book not available at this time. In process of being rewritten)

Current Book trailer: http://youtu.be/w2JkmYqhFyE

And my first edition of There Abideth Hope (Book not available for sale at this time. To be rewritten)

Current Book trailer: http://youtu.be/16G7IZaZB9Y

 

Bio

 

Sharon K. Connell began her writing career shortly after Hurricane Ivan hit Florida in September 2004. After constant encouragement from a dear friend, she started her first story without any training or knowledge of the craft. Since then, she has taken classes through the University of Iowa’s online courses. She holds a certificate in fiction writing from the International Writing Program and is constantly improving her skills through information obtained from reading, online writing groups, organizations, and her fellow authors.

 

As a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers organization, Sharon is active in the Scribes critique group. She is also a member of CyFair Writers and Houston Writers House. She manages her own group forum on Facebook for writers and readers, sends out a monthly online newsletter, and maintains a website.

 

Most of her working career included clerical positions from file clerk to office manager, in a variety of offices from advertising to the medical field. She has traveled to all but six states in the U.S. and has visited Mexico and Canada. Some of the experiences she has had are included in the fiction stories she writes.

Sharon is now a full-time author living in Houston, Texas. Her genre is Christian Romance Suspense, with as much mystery and humor as she can squeeze into a story.

 

I am so thankful you’ve taken the time out of your busy writing schedule to answer these questions, Sharon. I know your expertise and all the Lord has taught you throughout the years is valuable information for all of us.

Y’ all, be sure to follow her around cyber world and stay connected so you know when she releases these novels. Trust me! Christian Romantic Suspense isn’t my usual reading genre, but it’s exciting, nail-biting, thrilling, and has that touch of romance you simply can’t pass up!

AVeryPresentHelp--9x6--FullCover jpeg 4 marketing - Copy - Copy.jpg

 

Be sure to see what God’s doing at my self-publishing house website. Stay connected and follow blog for future author interviews, and posts including book chapters, and devotionals.

http://deadmanwalkingpublications.com/

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Chapter 3 of Possessions of the Human Kind Saga Chapter One

 

 

If you have not yet read the 1st two chapters of this novel free, check in previous blog posts for them and catch up.

Chapter Three

 

Later that evening, Leslie nestles into a warm bubble bath reliving the abnormal events of the day in her mind.  Placing a washcloth over her exhausted eyes, she leans back to relax.  With the feeling of eyes all around watching every move, Leslie quickly rips the cloth away. She glances around her new surroundings, but doesn’t see a soul.

“Ugh!  Calm down, Leslie.  Don’t be so paranoid,” She sensibly tells herself.

Her ears tweak to the sound of arguing.  The noise escalates. It sounds like it’s coming from next door accompanied by things banging around.  Concern and grievance paints her brows.  She tosses on her robe and hurries to the front door tracking wet footprints onto the carpet.  Pressing her ear to the door, she strains to hear more about the argument, in case she may need to call the police or intervene, which she’d rather not do.

“No!  I don’t want to do this.  It’s so dangerous for us to be here!”  A woman’s voice exclaims in a heated dispute.

“NANCY!”  A man hollers, and as Leslie unbolts her front door poking her head out into the hall, the commotion dies down. Do they know she’s listening?

“Hello?”  Leslie calls out but no one answers, not even a neighboring doctor poking a head out which is strange.  Auspicious whispers resound throughout the hall.  Leslie is more on edge yet steps into the hall regardless of the sense of uneasiness she discerns.  She tugs on the collar of her robe.

The hallway lights unexpectedly flicker on and off as they do in Unit 5.   Leslie calls out regardless of the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.  Once more then I’m leaving. She decides.

“Hello?  Is anyone there?”

Just then, the door to her neighbors clicks, then a slow creak.   Leslie swallows as the light from the apartment escapes into the hall.

“Nancy, come out here.  I think it’s the new doctor.”  A man says stepping into the hallway.  Soothing classical music plays from inside his home.

“Hello.  I’m sorry I’m in my bathrobe.  I heard…well, I heard arguing.  And after today, I was a little concerned,” Leslie claws at the collar of her pink bathrobe, her sentiment more than embarrassing she’s without the proper attire.

“No, nonsense.  It’s alright really.  I’m sorry my wife and I we were uh-” The man’s cheeks turn flush.

“We were yelling at each other,” His wife says joining them, in the hall.  “Are you married?  Well if you are you can certainly understand,” The woman wearing all black jests as she holds out her hand to Leslie.

“My name is Dr. Nancy Cartwright.  And this handsome man is my husband Dr. Frank Cartwright.”

“Oh both doctors?  How marvelous.  How long have you been here?”  Leslie shakes her hand.

“About a year or so.  So!  You must be the new doctor.  You mentioned the day you had.  Was it that bad?”  Frank prods with his hands on his hips.

“Unexpected, I would say.  Nothing a good Valium couldn’t cure to help me get a good night’s sleep.”  Leslie humorously snickers.

“We’ve been there.  Oh, you must have visited Unit 5 today?  Yes, Claire is extremely adamant about giving the WHOLE tour.”  Frank says, his goofy tone makes Leslie smirk.

“Yes, it was quite the experience I can tell you that.  Well, I don’t have to if you’ve been here a year.”

“Where did you attend school?  I’m sorry what your name is?”  Frank asks.

“I’m sorry.  Dr. Leslie Johnson, how do you do?”  They politely shake hands.  “I went to Harvard and Oxford for my doctorate. Of course that was well over ten years ago,” She chuckles.  “It was there one of my old professors and mentor lined me up on a phone interview with Claire.  He thought I could be of some help here.  But, oddly enough, I’m not sure how much help I can give when my patient list is in Unit 5.”

“You get what you get.  So, having your entire patient list on the fifth floor?”  Frank blurts out in a less than compassionate tone of voice.

Leslie fidgets and flinches. “Yes?  But how did you…?”

Leslie creases her forehead when Nancy socks her husband slightly on the arm while giving him a stern look, with her deep brown eyes.

“Jeez, Frank!”

“What?”  He meets his wife’s angry, accusing eyes. She crosses her arms.

This dark haired couple have been an item since they were freshman in college.  With many of the same interests, including psychiatry, they both believe it’s a match made in heaven.  She’s a dedicated doctor with classical music taste, while he likes the wild side of rock n’ roll and screamo music.  Her long, black hair and smoky make-up complete her look, along with her dark, doe eyes. His brown eyes can see directly into you, regardless of how preppy he looks in his Brooks Brothers sweaters and khaki pants.  No children, they fight loudly at times yet no one wants to get involved. The Cartwright’s also know every sneaky detail within the facility.

“You can be a little more amiable.  See!  This is exactly what I’m talking about.  You have a kinder manner with your patients than with anyone else.  Why can’t you bring that home with you?”  Nancy uncrosses her arms shunning her head from him.

“I’m just telling her the truth.  Claire doesn’t care what patient list we have.  And that’s the truth!”  He points his finger like a weapon desiring to stir up an argument again.  Then he faces Leslie.

“Well, I can relate, Leslie.  That is exactly what happened to me when I came on board,” Frank explains.  “That’s all I meant,” He lowers his voice.

“Same here.  I’ve been dealing mostly with patients who suffer from severe depression, suicidal tendencies, and insomnia, but Frank definitely had his work cut out for him,” Nancy says pulling her long, straight black hair back twirling it into a tight bun.

“It took me six months of hard work to even get on my patients’ good side so they would view me as a helper and not one who would hurt them.”  Frank states buttoning up his knit sweater.  “Staying late and arriving early. It’s been…”

“Honey, it’s getting late,” Nancy says staring at her wristwatch.

“I’m sorry to keep you,” Leslie backs up a few steps to her front door, ready to go inside.  This particular couple rubs her the wrong way.  Sure, couples fight, but the banging around doesn’t explain only arguing. It explains violence. “It’s late.”

“We will talk more soon.  Maybe tomorrow?”  Frank inquires.

“Sure.  I would like to speak more freely with you both.  Maybe over a cup of coffee?”  She politely mulls she will give them a chance, after all, not every first impression is correct.

“That sounds nice.  I’d love to.  We just need to check our schedules.  Sometimes our patients need us.  Well, you will soon see,” Nancy says heading toward her open apartment door, as the sound of “Fur Elise” plays dimly in the background.

“Pleasure to meet you,” Frank says.  “Again, I’m sorry about the noise.  It’s been one of those days…”

“Not a problem.  Nice to meet you both.”

Leslie treks back into the apartment with mixed feelings about the less than gaudy, black haired couple.  As she heads to the bedroom, to call it a night, there’s a light tap on the door.  Thinking nothing of it, and dripping onto the carpet, she flings the door open, no one is there.  She slams the front door, shakes her head, and giggles. I must be hearing things.  I have to get some sleep.  I’m exhausted.

*KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK*

Leslie flips around facing the front door, as that familiar disturbing sensation develops in the pit of her stomach.  It’s more than knots it’s terror.  She slowly tiptoes toward the door.  With each step, the nausea grows.  This time she runs the chain across.  Cautiously, she peeks through the peephole.  It’s Frank.  She sighs and cracks open the door but no one is there.  Leslie rubs her groggy eyes. An icy breeze blows through the crack chilling her to the bone.  Gasping, she quickly slams the door and runs into her bedroom. She snuggles underneath the covers shaking uncontrollably in fear. Something is near.

“Jesus, please help me.  Why did you send me here? I’m scared to death.”  She prays as the feeling in her stomach flees.  Finally, she’s able to fall asleep.

 

If you love this novel, it is available in every Ebook device for only 99cents! Pick it up on your favorite device in the menu here—> deadmanwalkingpublications.com 

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“The Curse of the Gateway” Part Two of the Gateway Series- Read Chapter One FREE!

THE CURSE OF THE GATEWAY TEASER (2)

This is Part Two. Readers want to begin with “The Gateway” Part One of the Gateway Series!

Here is the first chapter of “The Curse of the Gateway.”

“The Curse of the Gateway”

 

Missing Parts of the Case: Part Two of the Gateway Series

 

 

By: Aimée Marie Bejarano

 

The Curse of the Gateway

(Part Two of the Gateway Series)

Copyright © 2014 Aimée Marie Bejarano

All Rights Reserved

No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written permission by the copyright owner. IF this novel is given out as a free pdf, it is NOT by permission of author and it’s piracy.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Published August 19, 2016 Released under “Missing Parts of the Case” later redone and released as “The Curse of the Gateway” Missing Parts of the Case (Part Two of the Gateway Series) Both are the same novel and under copyright of the author.

 

Chapter One

Gabriel violently yanks Aiden by his t-shirt, wrenching him across the threshold of Grace’s brick home. Aiden is stunned gaping at Grace, disheveled on the ground hugging herself. Tears streaming down her red face. He briefly questions if Gabriel has finally figured out that he has feelings for her.

“What?! What is it, Grace?” His blue eyes widen.

 

Several months prior.

 

Aiden Jenson nervously sits on the witness stand, having just endured a thorough and detailed testimony. His account of the days leading up to, and the day of his shooting is on display, naked as day.  It was a dark day set up, and meticulously planned out by Detective Phil Linton.

Aiden wipes his sweaty palms on his ironed suit pants, crinkling them. The D.A. settles in her chair at the prosecution table, with her notes strategically laid out.  She waits for the defense attorney, whom she’s gone to bat against before, to question her witness.

Stewing in a new, navy blue suit, calm and cool, appearing like he doesn’t have a care in the world, is the deceptive and cunning, Phil Linton. He carefully studies Aiden, thinking and presuming the color tie his attorney instructed him to wear will give off a wonderful, first impression to the jury.  Linton scowls at Aiden, wishing he was in a pool of blood, and imagining every crooked, menacing thing he’d like to inflict, if only given the chance.

Judge Prodeman, the man with the scar on his face, who was indicted with the attempted murder of Aiden Jenson and bribery, was wise and took a plea deal. He avoided a lengthy trial, but lost his high paying job.  The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the case of Chacho Macho since Judge Prodeman was the judge presiding over his case. It was due to the fact it was not a fair trial from the start. Because of all the evidence admitted, Chacho Macho also took a plea deal for the murder of young girl he brutally raped and murdered.

Justice has been served for everyone. But, not just yet for Phil Linton.  He’s willing to brazenly stand toe to toe with Aiden Jenson. More of a sick, foolish challenge. He despises Aiden.  Always has.  And in his pride and arrogant ways thinks he can get away with attempted murder, not only that day in the bushes, but in the hospital, after the gateway episode. Aiden was recovering from his severe burns and bite to his leg. Linton’s also charged with a slew of minor charges which he’s denied with preposterous claims of being framed. But there’s far too much evidence piled against him.  Amidst wise counsel from his defense attorney to take a deal, knowing the enormous amount of evidence, Phil Linton refused and wants his day in court.

One huge problem stands in his way; the D.A. sitting rather comfortably is Rose Lee, a powerful District Attorney known for tearing people apart on the witness stand.  She has a 98% conviction rate and can’t wait to see if Linton will take the stand. She’s fully prepared and confident in this case regardless that Aiden Jenson was not being truthful in the beginning, about the attempt on his life.  Rose Lee has made it simple to the jury in her opening remarks, how Aiden Jenson must have felt, from nearly being murdered and dumped down a shallow embankment, like a bag of garbage.  Plus, the continued threats from the man in blue, the constant torment, and fear he must have endured.  Linton would have killed Aiden if he loosed his lips.

At the defense table, Linton’s lawyer stands up and straightens his striped tie, he behaves rather smug and pedantic.  He figures he knows precisely how to handle this snot nosed journalist.  Discredit.  His plan is to catch Aiden Jenson in a lie, and bring up past lies, regardless of Aiden’s valid reasons.

“So, Mr. Jenson,”  He clears his throat and swaggers towards the witness stand.  Aiden swallows preparing himself, knowing he’s going to be dragged through the ringer with this man.  The jury eyes Aiden then the defense attorney.

“What you’re saying is you lied? You’re an admitted liar is that what you’re saying?!  You obviously just admitted to all of us, that you lied when you were shot!” The defense attorney motions towards the jury for brownie points.
“Objection your honor!  He’s harassing my witness!”  Ms. Lee stands up and angrily smacks a hand on the table. Reporters and news stations stand piled inside the courtroom, for the most anticipated, broadcasted trial of the year.

The judge bangs the gavel; the courtroom erupts with gasps and echoing whispers. The judge’s deep, brown eyes scowl at the defense attorney. “Counselor, clean it up!  He’s already admitted he was not truthful in the original report.  You need to move on.  Quiet in the courtroom!” The Judge grimaces across the courtroom, his robe more as sackcloth and his presence commands the utmost authority.

Ms. Lee sits back down while the defense attorney nods and carefully eyes the judge.  “Yes, your honor,” The defense attorney takes a different tone then shoots a firm glare at Aiden, with a hand on his chin.  “So, Mr. Jenson, tell us why you lied then?”

Ms. Lee gives a 360 eye roll and sits down.  The defense attorney steps closer to the witness stand.  Linton proudly smiles as he fixes the edges of his mustache with the tips of his calculating fingers.

“I was scared, sir. That’s what I’ve been relaying here, in detail.” Aiden nods, without so much as a smile or his impish grin at the murderer’s attorney who in his mind has a special place in hell.

Scared?” The attorney crosses his arms, and rubs his chin.

Aiden shifts and fidgets on the witness stand.  “Yes, scared,” His ocean, blue eyes pierce at the attorney.  He knows he must remain strong.  All eyes rest upon him, the time is now.

“Look, I frankly don’t care what you think, but a man of the law plotted to have me shot and killed. He dumped me down a hill thinking I was dead.  He paid off Judge Prodeman, and when he found out I was alive, he decided to pay me a little visit in the hospital, and threatened to kill me if I said anything!”  He loudly speaks into the microphone before him. His eyes tell a tale of their own. The jury has no doubt, he’s more than truthful.

“But you admitted to lying when filing your original report,” The defense attorney smirks.  The tone of his voice nettles Aiden, like the continuing sounds of fingernails scratching on a chalkboard.

“If I presumably lied, then why did Detective Harry Jade and two security officers at the hospital testify to the fact that Linton tried to kill me yet again, when I was being treated for severe burns last year?  Are they lying to you as well?”

“Let’s be correct here, Mr. Jenson,” He flings his index finger up in the air. “Only Detective Jade testified that my client allegedly made an attempt on your life. Security officers arrived after the fact. Isn’t that right?”

Aiden clears his throat and scopes the jury. “Yes, sir. That is correct.”

“Let’s return to what we were originally speaking of, shall we? You were about to explain to all of us that you were scared, and that’s why you lied, in the original reports. Is that what you want me and this,” He pauses for impact. “hardworking jury to believe?”  The attorney considers each of the juror’s then looks back at Aiden. Some of the jurors frown.

“He knew exactly where to find me, and could end my life whenever he wanted.  He reminded me of that every chance he had. Usually, and cowardly I might add, when I was alone.”

“Uh huh!  A decorated detective said this to you?  He said he was going to kill you if you said anything?”  He sarcastically states again peering over at the jury, with an arrogant look.

“Yes, Phil Linton did.  And I’d refrain from calling him decorated or a detective. From what I’ve heard, he was suspended and then fired,”  Aiden looks directly at a fuming Linton at the defense table.

Some in the courtroom laugh, while the judge fires a threatening glare across the courtroom hushing all spectators.

“Your honor, I want that last comment stricken from the record.”

The judge clears his throat. “Denied. It’s already been brought into trial through evidence. Move on counselor.”

The defense attorney grinds his teeth.  “He has a medal and a commendation.  He’s a hero cop regardless of your lies!” He points his long, bony finger at Aiden.

“You really believe that crap he’s told you?”

Easy there, Aiden. Ms. Lee thinks hopeful his defensive attitude won’t sway the jury against him.

“Mr. Jenson, please stick to answering the questions,”  The judge politely interjects.

“No, it’s alright your honor.  I’d like to know what he means,”  The defense attorney passively waves his arm challenging Aiden Jenson, apparently not cognizant to who he is, or what he’s dealing with.

Ms. Lee smirks understanding Aiden Jenson and how he plays. And from the countless hours spent grilling him in her office, she knows his sly ways.  She was in fact, counting on this.

“We have history.  There have been several cases I had written about previously, where the person behind bars was proven to be innocent.”

“And what does this have to do with my client?”  The defense attorney crosses his arms. He knows full well that Aiden Jenson had Phil Linton as his source only once, and it ended in a near homicide. Ms. Lee’s heart pounds with excitement.

“Well, sir, he was the arresting officer on all of those cases I had written.”

The courtroom erupts in gasps and low chatters, while camera’s flash. The judge bangs the gavel harder.

“You’re honor, I move to strike that!”  The defense attorney points his long arm at Aiden.

Ms. Lee stands up. “Your honor, defense opened the door,” She gives a child-like grin in the defense attorney’s direction.

“Indeed,” The judge nods his head.  “Sorry, counselor, but you opened the door by asking the witness what he meant.  The objection is overruled.”

Ms. Lee scoots back into her seat, while the courtroom continues whispering and gossiping. The judge grows irate and hot under the collar.

“If you don’t settle down, I’ll clear this courtroom and remove the cameras!  You’re here out of a courtesy.  Don’t make me take it back and send you out!”

The courtroom quiets down.  The defense attorney clears his throat.  “Nothing further your honor,” The attorney straightens his tie.  I shouldn’t have asked him that!  The defense attorney thinks avoiding eye contact with Phil Linton; he can sense his evil inspection in his peripheral vision.

Ms. Lee stands up.  “Uh, your honor, since the defense has made it clear they do not believe Mr. Aiden Jenson, I’d like to now present state’s exhibit Y.  It’s the video tape of the day of the shooting.  Also exhibit Z which has photos of that day as well.”

The defense attorney springs up.  “I object to this, your honor!  It’s a blatant attack against my client, which could only serve to prejudice the jury against him!”

The judge sighs.  “Counselor, you’re objection has been noted and we’ve already discussed this in chambers, in great lengths.  You’ve made your detailed arguments.  You’re objection is again, overruled.  There is no violation here.  This is a recording of a crime, and the jury has every right to see it.  Ms. Lee, you may continue,” The judge courteously motions with his arm.

“Thank you, your honor.  I’ll be redirecting the witness after as well.  If someone could please get the lights and after the video is over I’ll get your response, Mr. Jenson,”  Aiden Jenson nods at Ms. Lee.

Ms. Lee steps up to the television and places a dvd into the player. The courtroom is darkened.  All spectators rest on pins and needles to view the actual crime.

Aiden grins at Ms. Lee as Linton shoots daggers at him from his chair, on the opposite end of the courtroom.  There is no denying the plans and actions of the ex-Detective Phil Linton.  The jury attentively watches the video completely floored.  Some look back and forth between the video and the defendant. The video moves around, but very clearly captures the crime and faces of the perpetrators.  It is still fresh to Aiden and difficult to watch. Aiden clears his throat and turns away.  It’s as if he can feel the pain of that bullet fresh in his abdomen.

Then the gun blares. *Bang!*

Aiden swallows, almost unable to hold back the bile bubbling in his throat.  He breathes deeply in and out, calming down. Ms. Lee notices his demeanor and gives him a look of concern. His nod in return reassures her that he is fine and can hold it together.

Ms. Lee is fully prepared and has blown up several photos of who is holding the gun.  No denying it’s the judge and Phil Linton.

When the video is complete, Aiden explains in greater detail and points at the photos he had taken of the two men dumping his body.  While the men were certain he was dead, Aiden made sure he snapped pictures with his microfilm and hid the video recorded in his van.  It’s clear Linton tried to murder him.  In addition, he bribed a powerful judge who earlier that day testified against Phil Linton as part of his plea deal for a reduced sentence.

“Uh, Mr. Jenson, you mentioned that Detective Phil Linton was the one who was your source that day, correct?”

“Yes ma’am, he was.”

“Did you have any idea he was bribing Judge Prodeman the day of your arrival?”

“None,”  He shakes his head then wipes his sweaty palms on his suit pants again crinkling them.

“What about any of the times previous to that day you were brutally shot?  Did you know about the bribe?”

“No, Ms. Lee.  I was stunned to see what I did, and was thankful I caught it on video and film.”

“And the video we saw, please explain to the jury how you were able to capture that?”

“I had a specially made button that matched my coat. Inside of it holds a little camera. It sends a direct feed into my van. It recorded everything.”

“Impressive, Mr. Jenson.  And did you have that specially made specifically because of your occupation as a journalist, and the possibility that some jobs can be dangerous?”

“Uh, yes, Ms. Lee. That’s exactly why I had it made.”

“And uh, what made Phil Linton become your source that day?”  Ms. Lee paces around the front of the witness stand in her high heels and arms crossed.  Her long, thick, black hair trails down her back.  She looks pristine in her olive colored skirt suit and smells of Jasmine.

“I was merely trying to pry information from police officers, which wasn’t working, I might add,” Aiden’s slight smirk has the jury giggling. Terrific! He has the jury on his side believing him. Ms. Lee ruminates.

“That’s typical I imagine, as a journalist, to try to gain information from law enforcement?”

“Uh yes, Ms. Lee.”

“Alright. Please, continue, Mr. Jenson.”

“Well, that’s when Phil Linton strolled by.  He nudged my arm and pulled me aside. He explained how he overheard how I was trying to gather information, from some of the officers. He told me where to be that day.  I had no idea whatsoever, what I was in for.”

She approaches the witness stand and folds her hands. “So, from what we’ve seen, we can only state that Detective Phil Linton set you up for murder, am I right?”  She turns and plunges her manicured finger directly at the dirty ex-cop who swallows.

“Yes.”

“Objection, your honor!  She’s testifying!”  The defense attorney shoots up from his chair.

“Withdrawn!  Nothing further.  Thank you, Mr. Jenson,”  Ms. Lee gives a nod to the judge then stands back at the prosecution table.  “The people rest, your honor.”

The judge nods then veers at the defense table, as Ms. Lee gracefully sits down along with the opposing attorney. Ms. Lee is beginning to grate on him. The defense knows he has no chance of winning.

The judge politely grins at Aiden. “Mr. Jenson, you are dismissed.”

With a nod, he steps down and sits next to Ms. Lee.

“Counselor, are you ready for your first witness?”

The defense attorney clears his throat then stands again to his shaky legs. “Uh, your honor, we will rest on all of our objections.”

The courtroom is livid this perplexes the jury by the look on their faces.

The judge raises his brows and glances towards the jury.  “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to go to lunch.  When we resume, you will hear the state and the defense’s closing arguments.  See you in an hour. Actually, you have been patient over several weeks of this trial. Jury, please take an hour and a half. I’m told they have a wonderful spread of deli for you, and dessert.”

The jury smile heading out of the courtroom in an orderly line alleviated they are appreciated.

The reporters lurk nearby.  They give updates of the case live while others try catching Aiden Jenson or Phil Linton for a brief interview. They shout their questions at Aiden yet he ignores them.

Aiden stands up and stretches his arms overhead then leans over to the D.A with a disconcerting glare. “What are they pulling, Ms. Lee? I wasn’t expecting this.”

“Aiden, relax this is good news for us.  He has absolutely no defense to his crimes.  We have witnesses and video along with photos.  I believe he knows it’s best not to put up a fight if he’s going to try to appeal this.  Can’t argue you’ve had a lousy defense if he puts up a good defense.  I’m certain that’s what he’s doing, and where he’s headed.”

“Yeah it figures.  I hate the system sometimes,”  He peers down at Ms. Lee.  “No offense.”

She laughs and tucks her hair behind her ears.  “None taken.  It’s not a perfect system, but there’s no way, with the amount of proof we have, that Phil Linton will ever see this world again uh, outside of a prison that is.  Rest assured, Aiden.  I’ve got this under control.  You should trust me,” She brings out more folders from her briefcase for her well prepared closing argument.

He gives a subtle wink.  “You’re not the one I don’t trust.  I can’t wait for this to be over. Perhaps I can get a good night’s sleep.”

“Most victims I speak to find when they testify it’s good medicine. I have a feeling you’ll have a restful sleep tonight, Aiden. It’s almost over.  I do need to speak with you, before the day is over. It’s a rather difficult subject so please, stick around,” Her tone worries Aiden.

When the jury returns from lunch, the powerful, shark Ms. Lee presents her passionate closing statement, to an expectant jury.  She refers to photos again and vastly animated.  She helps them relate, if placed in Aiden Jenson’s shoes.  Many nod in agreement, one juror in particular tears up.  Some of the jurors refuse to glance at Phil Linton, which is a good sign.  And again, photos of Aiden Jenson sit on display when he was in the hospital recovering from his bullet wound.  The particular photo she ends with is the empty syringe which almost seals the nails in Linton’s coffin. Ms. Lee gives the jury thanks for their patience and service as the judge gives a subtle smile. He motions for the defense to make their closing arguments.

Ms. Lee holds her breath, sits, and crosses her legs waiting to hear what these guys have planned.  Aiden gives her a high five underneath the table.

The defense attorney stands, straightens the knot on his tie, and strolls to the jury box. He purposefully glares at each of them dead in the eye.  Some appear uncomfortable while others seem plain old irritated by his demeanor.  The courtroom eagerly awaits wondering what his argument will be.  How can he leave reasonable doubt, and how can he compete with the argument which was just left by Ms. Lee?

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,”  He smirks.  “This whole trial is one, big attempt to smite my client’s good name!  Everything is a sham!  Who have we been talking about this entire trial?  A man named, Aiden Jenson. He’s a popular journalist working for a big newspaper, a top newspaper I might add. He’s only doing this to further his reputation, name, and gain more money!  Especially with his book “The Gateway.” This is all a publicity stunt to sell more books and more newspapers!”

Jeez, this guy’s an idiot. Aiden scrutinizes.

“Phil Linton is innocent! A-hem, thank you.”

The defense attorney nods then sits back down with Phil Linton whom he can feel hot daggers, at his collar.  Linton’s beginning to give him the creeps.

The judge is not impressed and raises both brows.  “Okay.  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you are not to use this man’s prior reports of misconduct as an officer against him. In other words, the prior investigations from Internal Affairs against him.  They have nothing to do with this case…”

As the judge finishes his statement to the jury, he dismisses them for deliberation.

Aiden takes a deep breath outside the courtroom.  Ms. Lee strolls to him with a sly grin.  “You did very well, Aiden.  There’s no denying what was done to you.  And I believe that every juror was sympathetic. If an officer of the law threatened them, after they survived from a first attempt on their lives by that same officer, well, they would have done the same thing and maybe hesitate come forward.  I expect a quick verdict on both counts of attempted murder, and all the smaller counts included.”

Aiden shakes her hand.  “Thank you.  I appreciate that.  I hope they convict him too.”

“Well, your friend uh, Grace Rodriguez testifying at the beginning of the week was wonderful.  Her account of how he had you pinned up against the wall of her apartment had the courtroom on the edge of their seat.”

“Yes, she said she’d help me and testify.  She knew then something was wrong.  And Harry, well, he saved me from Linton’s last failed attempt. He always has my back.”

“Yes. Harry Jade. Wonderful detective.  His testimony helped as well. Linton really should have taken my plea, but can’t cure stupid.  Why don’t you get some fresh air and relax.  I’ll call you first thing when there’s a verdict. And uh, just ignore the riff-raff of reporters,” She chuckles and gives him a friendly pat on his arm.

“What did you need to speak with-”

“Later, Aiden. I promise I’ll let you know.”

Highly concerned, Aiden heads over to the water fountain, he leans over sipping some cool water. Linton hatefully swaggers up behind him with his hands in his pant pockets.

“This ‘aint over, Aiden.  You’ll pay for this one way or another,”  Linton curtly whispers near the journalist’s ear.

Chills crawl up Aiden’s back. He wipes his mouth and quickly spins around. The look on Linton’s face is sheer evil.

“You’re threatening me again, Linton?”

Aiden raises his voice drawing the reporters’ attention as they step out of the courtroom. Immediately, they rush up to the men who stand toe to toe. Ms. Lee hears the ruckus, pushes through the gathering spectators, and hustles over with a few officers at her side.

“Take this man into custody!”  She points, as they swiftly remove Aiden Jenson, the state’s best witness safely into another room.

Linton’s lawyer wipes his glossy forehead, and yanks his client away from the reporters for a much needed tongue lashing which naturally Linton refuses to heed.

Within the hour, the jury relays a message that they have reached a verdict. They’re brought back into the courtroom.  A record and a shock.  Every officer including Detective Harry Jade waits to hear the anticipated verdict hoping this will be the end of Phil Linton.  The evidence is clear of his guilt however one can never be too certain how a jury will be swayed.

Grace is working at the law office and eagerly awaits by the television set when those red letters fly across the screen saying, VERDICT REACHED.  She’s been praying for a guilty verdict knowing how deceptive Phil Linton is.  The attorneys’ in the office cease from their work, and scurry around the television, for the decision broadcasting all across America, interrupting regularly scheduled programs.

“I have been told that the jury has reached a verdict,”  The judge clears his throat, as cameras roll the live footage.

The jury foreperson stands up, with a piece of paper folded in his grasp.

“Yes, we have your honor.”

“Please, pass it to the bailiff,”  The judge motions with a pleasant smile.

The bailiff brings the verdict slip to the judge who reads it then passes it back to the bailiff.  He hands it to the foreman.

“And what say you?”

“For count one hindering prosecution, we find the defendant guilty,”  The courtroom gasps, as the judge bangs his gavel down.  “For count two of intimidating a witness, we find the defendant guilty.  For count three of staging a crime scene, we find the defendant guilty.”

Ms. Lee confidently folds her hands as her shoulders lower.  All of her hard work is indeed paying off.

“For count four of bribery, we find the defendant guilty.  For count five to the attempted murder of Aiden Jenson, we find the defendant guilty.  To count six of the attempted murder of Aiden Jenson, we find the defendant….guilty.”

“We’ve got him!”  Ms. Lee smiles beams and stares at Aiden, by her side.

Gasps fill the courtroom again, as Aiden sinks in the chair sighing. Ms. Lee slaps him a high five.  Detective Harry Jade approaches Aiden and places a strong hand on his friend’s shoulder.  Aiden peers back at his best friend with a nod of relief.  The gavel bangs down with a stern eye from the judge silencing the courtroom.  Phil Linton curses under his breath snapping a few choice phrases to his idiot attorney who can’t wait to flee the courtroom and get away from his client. He’s already packing up his briefcase.

The judge specifically addresses them.  “Thank you members of the jury.”

Then the jury foreperson stands again and speaks up.  “Your honor, we the jury well, we had one thing we wanted to add to our verdict.”

“Objection, your honor!”  The defense bellows jolting up with sweat dripping off the sides of his temples.

The judge sighs.  “Relax, counselor.  They want to add something, and I’m eager to know what it is.  Foreperson please, continue,”  The judge pleasantly motions.

“We wanted to say that we admire Mr. Aiden Jenson, and how he came forward after all this time.  Fear is a terrible thing,”  Aiden smiles and gives a nod to the jury who has all eyes peering at him.

“Objection!”  The defense attorney bellows again.  The judge ignores him, for only a moment.

“Indeed, fear is a terrible thing,”  The judge nods.  “I thank you for that.  Counselor, sit down. They are merely wishing him well before they leave,”  The defense attorney sits as Ms. Lee smirks.  “Jury, we thank you so much for your service over the past weeks.  You are dismissed.  You are also free to speak to anyone of the press as you see fit.  Or you may keep silent regarding this case.  That is your right and your decision.  Thank you again for the time you have taken away from your jobs, and your families. This court doesn’t take lightly your service and sacrifice. We thank you. You are dismissed.”

The jury is escorted out of the courtroom. Some reporters stagger out incredibly anxious to interview the jury, as the judge speaks up.

“We need to return for sentencing.  I see that we can meet…” the judge looks down studying his calendar.  “…next month at a date to be set.  But, there is another issue I’d like to address,” The courtroom sits on pins and needles, while the white haired judge looks up and tosses his pen down.  “I’m told there was something of a threat that happened over an hour ago.  Sir?  Did you in fact threaten, Aiden Jenson, by the water fountain?”  The judge folds his hands curiously, and intently eyes the untrustworthy ex-cop.

Phil Linton glares at his attorney who gives him a nod that he must answer the judge.  Linton stands up and clears his throat for the obvious lies about to spiel forth.  “Sir, I merely told him he will pay.  But, I meant for the lies he has said.  I certainly did not mean death or injury.”

Aiden makes an obvious noise with his mouth blowing off the bull crap excuse.

The judge glances at Aiden.  “Mr. Jenson, what did you make of this when he stated those words to you?”

Aiden Jenson stands to his feet.  “Your honor, I was simply getting a drink of water when he approached me.  He said, this isn’t over and I would pay one way or another.  If it was as he said, then why on earth did he lower his voice and corner me? Why was his tone less than amiable?”

The judge raises his brows again drawing his attention to the dirty ex-cop.  “That’s a valid question.  Why did you lower your voice and have an unfriendly tone?  And why address, Mr. Jenson, by the water fountain, which is clearly off near a corner of the courthouse?”  The judge’s tone grows more disconcerted, sensing he’s being lied to.

Linton thinks of another lie.  “I uh, don’t know uh, possibly because of the news crews,” He fixes the edges of his mustache.  “They’d make anything news even if innocently said,”  He coolly remarks.

Aiden shakes his head and sits down as the judge places the gavel down.  “I have not seen someone as cunning as you seem to be.  I’m ashamed and completely stunned, that a man of the law is so crooked and was able to stay on the police force, as long as you have done.  I think New York will be a lot safer knowing you no longer patrol the streets.  Now, Aiden Jenson, do you wish to press charges to this threat?”

Aiden quickly converses with Ms. Lee then stands up.  “Your honor, I think Phil Linton is in enough trouble.  I will be glad when the sentence is handed down.  I’d rather just let this go.”

At his words, Detective Harry Jade’s face is unnerving knowing Linton may still attempt something to hurt his friend.

“Phil Linton, I think you have been temporarily reprieved.  You’re bail is still set at two million dollars.”

Ms. Lee swiftly stands.  “Your honor, we would like his bail revoked. The state again would like to remind you of the callous nature of his crimes and would like Phil Linton to be remanded until sentencing. He is now a convicted man. This is highly unorthodox to allow a convicted man out on bail!”

Aiden swallows, Jade swallows as well and crosses his arms, eying the judge peculiarly. Something isn’t sitting right.

Linton’s attorney shoots up. “Uh, your honor, I’d like to remind the court that my client has come for every day of this court case. He hasn’t fled and he’s been out on bond.”

“Ms. Lee, you’ve already stated your objections in great detail.  He has given us his passport and agreed to return for sentencing.  I have the stipulation that he is remain on house arrest being monitored 24/7.  Mr. Linton, you are ordered to be back here for sentencing next month.  That will give your attorney time to get an argument together, as to why you shouldn’t receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.  And at that time, I will hear the victim’s statement.  I’d suggest you get your faculties together, Mr. Linton.  Thank you.  We are adjourned!”

He bangs the gavel down as the reporter’s hustles out to snag Aiden or Linton outside and catch a reaction to the verdict.

Reporters waste no time surrounding Aiden Jenson, the man of the hour, as he steps outside of the courtroom. He has a glow about him, a weight has indeed been lifted, yet something is troubling him greatly. Linton is out on bail for thirty days. He sighs and rubs his sleepy eyes. Sleep may not be possible, after all.

“Sir, did the short verdict time stun you?”  “Aiden, what does your editor, Carlisle, have to say about this case?”  “Mr. Jenson, will you write a book about all of this since “The Gateway” has been an international bestseller for so long?”

Aiden raises his hand and shoots a slight nod at Saline Davis also up front waiting to get the goods from him.  She looks great in a pin striped, skirt suit still trying to make it big as permanent news anchor and leave the world of newspaper articles behind.  George, of course, is holding his camera standing behind her. He wiggles his fingers at Aiden.

“First off, I was extremely shocked at the time the jury was out and I’m certainly thankful, for their service and that they saw the truth.  My editor, Carlisle, is behind me as long as I write an article for the paper,” The reporters laugh as cameras flash. “And as far as another book, I’m not sure about that. I’m just thankful that next month Phil Linton will be behind bars, and know what it’s like to live in fear.  No more questions, please. I’d like to go home.  Read the rest in The Daylight News tomorrow.”

“Come on, Aiden!  Tell us were you at all afraid that the jury would come back with a not guilty?  Late Breaking Channel Nine News wants to know!”  Saline Davis shoves her microphone in his face stopping him from leaving. He frowns; her mic almost pops him in the lip.

“Ms. Davis, you look terrific!”  Aiden sarcastically eyes her up and down then gives a flirtatious wink.  She clears her throat with an embarrassing smile as reporters smirk and giggle knowing the rivalry between the two.

“Saline, anyone in my position of course would be afraid that the jury may not rule in my favor.  But, that’s why there’s a sharp D.A. named Ms. Rose Lee, who has had my back one-hundred percent!”

Aiden points to Ms. Lee just stepping out of the courtroom carrying her thick briefcase.  The reporters surround her and shout their questions, as she looks over at Aiden and sends him a friendly wink. She begins addressing their questions one at a time.

Then Phil Linton steps out of the courtroom also thronged by reporters. It seems with his presence, the temperature in the courthouse changes a few degrees.

“Mr. Linton, why did you threaten Aiden today?”  “Are you angry with the verdict?”  “Is it true you bribed Judge Prodeman?”  Why did you try to kill Aiden Jenson? Twice?” “Is it true you were under investigation for several years by Internal Affairs?” “Why do you think the judge allowed you out on bail, after you’ve been convicted of these crimes?”

Saline Davis also shoves her microphone in Linton’s face, in hopes to squeeze the dirt out of him or twist what she can.

“I’m very disappointed with the accusations against me.  They’re all lies!  I never threatened, Aiden Jenson, and I never bribed anyone,” He gives a slight nod of his head and purses his lips.  “A good cop is now fired and going to do time,” He touches up his mustache with his thumb and forefinger.  “It’s a sad day today that the system has failed the people of New York.”

Phil Linton’s defense attorney escorts him outside down the front steps of the packed courthouse and into a cab fleeing from the mass of reporters.

Aiden Jenson hugs Ms. Lee who joins him outside.  Aiden breathes in the fresh air as relief and redemption embrace him.

“I can’t tell you how hard this was, but you made it much easier. Thank you.”

“Hey, it’s my job, Aiden.  And this case brings my conviction rate up to 99%.” She winks. “Listen, now that we’re alone, uh, there’s a problem. I want you to know, I have the very best people and law enforcement working on it.”

“Does this have something to do with why Linton is out on bail?”

She clears her throat. “Aiden, we suspect the judge has been bribed. Then after this, allowing a convicted man for murder out free on bail, well,”

“Great. This is just great. Are you saying I’ll have to go to court again?”

“Calm down, Aiden.  I’m not saying anything like that. Right now, we only have the judge and his peculiar behavior, buying expensive things and such. He also has been meeting someone late at night, during the trial, and we have no clue who it is. However, we’re now tapping his phone. I’m so sorry, Aiden. I know you wanted this whole charade to be over. I need definite proof before I go around accusing a judge of bribery.”

“That makes a lot of sense, as to why Linton is out.”

“Trust me, Aiden. I’m on top of it. One-hundred percent. I can have a unit detailed to you.”

“No, no. I can’t have that. If he’s going to kill me, I’m fed up. He should get it over with.”

“Well, keep your friends Jade and his partner near you, please. Until this is over. They’re bad for business.”

“Yes they are. Listen, I’m confident we will figure this entire thing out. For now, join me across the street for a steak.  I’m starving. I’d like a big dinner,” Ms. Lee hands her coat to Aiden, who politely lays it around her shoulders.

“You’re absolutely right, Ms. Lee. I’ll focus on the bright side.  Dinner is on me.  For a job well done.  You drink champagne, right?”

“I’m a lawyer, Aiden. I’m not dead,”  He laughs as they walk arm in arm towards the restaurant.  “Plus, I don’t have to go in until Monday.  And uh, call your detective friends to join us. We all need to celebrate.”

“Oh those boys love a good steak.”

 

There’s a brand new review for this novel! You can read it here! Novel now only 99cents! Happy reading! https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3CHJG7RTISMLW/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01I77DMBG 

 

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Free Chapters of “The Gateway” Part One of the Gateway Series

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The 1st two chapters of “The Gateway” Part One of the Gateway Series- a supernatural, scifi, and urban fantasy read!

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

“Hello! SOMEONE HELP ME! I need help!” Grace sways back and forth, on the floor, of her kitchen.  She’s pale and trembling with a broken phone tightly pressing against her ear, with a white knuckled grip.  There’s a sense of hopelessness and terror. “I need help!” Her voice trails off.

Ten minutes earlier.

Grace leans over and picks up a toy train from the carpet of her New York apartment. A severe storm is blowing into the city.  The wind fiercely whistles as the raindrops violently beat against the windows like loud pops of pebbles, as surely as if a teenage boy was getting his girlfriend’s attention. That’s when one of the woman’s children calls for her from the back bedroom.

The mother of four sighs while tying her robe around her waist. She tiredly drags her body towards the back room, where her children lively giggle getting ready for bedtime. Grace was hoping they wouldn’t need her, and she can retire for the evening, but with small children, it’s inevitable. But, she was still hopeful.

It’s a chilly and damp night. Grace checks the thermostat then steps into the room for Manny who is still calling her.  The four-year-old jumps into her tired arms.  She sighs, his hugs warm her.

“Momma! I can’t put my shirt on.  It’s stuck.” His voice slightly muffles from being tangled in his shirt. Grace lovingly grabs Manny by the shoulders and sits him on the bed.

“You’re old enough to put this on yourself, aren’t you? Come on buddy?”

Manny shakes his head. She sighs, grabs the wrinkled up pajama shirt, which is over half his head and one arm, and fixes it for the black, curly haired cutie. He smiles clinching onto his mom while she embraces him and lays him into his nice, warm Superman covers.

“Did you brush your teeth?”

“Yes mom.”  They all answer.

Emilio, her eight-year-old son jumps up and down landing on his butt on the top bunk bed.  While José, her six-year-old, snuggles underneath the covers in his own bed near the door. Smiling proudly, she endearingly watches her children settle in for the night. Grace tucks each one in and gives a special kiss on their innocent foreheads.  You definitely have a full load here, Grace.  But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just then, the sound upon the windows grows – deafeningly loud.

“What is that, mommy?”

Manny glances toward the window at the startling noises. “Honey, it’s only raindrops. There’s a storm coming.”  Grace brushes her long, black, curly hair off her shoulders and flicks off the bedroom light.  She turns on the hallway light knowing her children need it for comfort, especially during a storm.  Manny looks at her with a disconcerting glare, their bedroom lights up from the lightning outside.

“It’s alright.  Just ignore the storm, honey.  If you watch the lightning, it’s very peaceful. God watches over us.  Remember, I told you the last time that God makes the storms?”

“Yeah, loser!” Emilio heckles his nervy brother. Manny twists his lips shooting Emilio a weird look.

“That’s your brother!” Grace is already irritated from the lack of sleep the night before. She eyes Manny whose countenance drops at the hurtful words of his big brother. Then she eyes Emilio.

“I’ve told you once, I’ve told you twice.  He will always be your brother. Don’t make fun of him. Now, please apologize.” She crosses her arms.

Emilio covers his head with a pillow and muffles, “I’m sorry, Manny.”

“It’s okay, Emilio.  I love you,” Little Manny brightly smiles.

Emilio wrinkles his nose at the very thought of his brother always saying he loves him and the others.

“That was sweet of you, Emilio.  Alright, boys. Go to sleep.  I love you. I’ll make some waffles in the morning.  Night.”

The noise of the storm rises over the chime of the mobile, dimly playing above her eight-month-old son Chico, asleep in a crib in her bedroom. Chills creep up her arms. She thinks nothing of it and quickly checks the thermostat again.  Maybe it’s broken. It’s awfully cold in here.  Grace crosses her arms.  I was hoping this wouldn’t happen in a new place.

About two months ago, Grace Rodriguez moved into a two-bedroom apartment in a large New York complex.  It is located on a pleasant street surrounded by tall trees. This is a night like any other, for Grace as a single mother, putting her children to sleep and cleaning up their toys. Yet something about this night is fairly off track in the atmosphere.  Sure it’s raining, but since when does the rain beat so hard against the windows that it sounds like the glass may shatter at any given moment?

Grace rubs the silver cross necklace around her neck, with her middle finger and thumb, and then continues picking up the rest of the toys scattered across the living room.  She quietly places them in a toy box in the corner. The children’s matching short, black locks of curly hair sprawl across their pillows. They lie silent, their eyes slowly closing from the busy day they’ve had.  Only small slits can be seen. Grace yawns and stretches a moment. She heads back down the hall, and peeks in on her kids. She cracks a smile at her children with love and affection. With a sigh, she scans the usual mess of scattered toys. It is just a typical boy’s room which she will have to clean sooner or later.

Grace heads to her room yawning, in the dimly lit hallway, when the children’s eyes open wide, glancing toward the darkened living room at the sound of a loud *clang*.

The long hallway holds the feeling of imminent danger brewing. Grace pauses, and hesitantly calls out while slowly spinning around.

“He-hello?”  Her voice crackles as a cold breeze climbs up her legs then moves through the air chilling her to the bone.

“Momma, what was that noise?” One of her children groggily speaks up.

“Oh nothing, honey,” Her shaky voice is noticeable. “You remember last month when that alley cat jumped onto our stairs outside? And he knocked down mommy’s plants in the window sill?” Grace clears her throat and nervously grins.

The boys laugh, now appearing to be awake due to the noises they hear and the fear consuming them.

“Yeah that was funny, mommy. He jumped all the way up here. And we’re a hundred floors up!”  Manny giggles.

“No we aren’t butthole.  We’re on the fourth floor,” Emilio pokes again.

“Don’t call him that!” Grace faces their room and points her finger now clearly upset. “You are brothers. You should stop all the fighting and name-calling or you’re going to get spanked!  Now I mean it, say you’re so-”

More sounds clank around in the kitchen stopping her from finishing the threats to the arguing children. Grace’s big, brown eyes bulge as she fearfully tip toes backwards against the bedroom door.  It suddenly dawns on her the baby is asleep in the crib, in her room. I can’t leave him alone. What if it’s a burglar? She ponders.

“Boys, I need to get Chico.  He’s in my room. None of you move a muscle, alright? I mean it not one of you,” She whispers to her wide-eyed kids.

Biting the corner of her lip, her face turns flushed.  Her body uncontrollably trembles while trying to remain calm, cool and collected. Jose and Emilio sit up. Manny clutches his blanket close to his chest for comfort and a shield, from the fear he feels.  Jose tosses his covers off, hops out of his bed, and jumps into the bottom bunk snuggling under the covers next to his brother Manny.  Emilio remains on the top bunk, with a sick surge in his stomach.  Being the oldest, he knows something is gravely wrong.

“Okay boys, now sit still and don’t move.  I’m going to get Chico,” She whispers.  Emilio nods.

Grace slowly tiptoes down the hall towards her bedroom. Her stomach akin to riding the elevator up a tall building, making her nerves shoot up in terror from the continuing clanks and bangs in the kitchen. Abruptly, the sounds veer into the living room.  Her heart sinks in her chest, but she can’t see a thing in the living room from where she stands. Grace reaches for the doorknob, her fingers shake. Her pulse races, she may faint. Her forehead is glossy with sweat. She clinches her eyes together a moment and breathes in deeply.  Quickly, she flings open the bedroom door smacking it against the wall and clamors inside.

The noise escalates and all of a sudden stops, as quickly as it began. Putting a pacifier in the baby’s mouth, Grace scoops him out of the crib and cuddles him close in her trembling arms. A dark shadow quickly passes through the hallway, like a ghostly, eerie presence. Then it disappears unnoticed to her.  The necklace hanging around her neck glows with a light, auburn aura. Grabbing the telephone on the nightstand, she hustles back into the boys’ room. Relief hits. The glow of the necklace fades away as she closes the door and locks it while trying to quiet the baby who’s awake, from all the movement.  Grace gasps in a deep breath, thankful she’s back with all her children, but ponders what to do about the intruder. I think there may be a baseball bat in the boys’ closet. If he comes back here, I’ll let him have it!

“Okay boys, alright…isn’t this fun?  Everything’s okay,” Grace gathers another deep breath, and bounces the baby slightly soothing him to sleep.

Grace tries making everything seem like a fun game, as she often does, so her children will not be afraid.  Suddenly, her heart sinks in her chest at the empty top bunk. Emilio is nowhere in sight.  Remnants of a giant, animal, paw print on the sheets is Grace’s only indication something is gravely wrong.

“My God, what’s that smell?” Hesitantly, she touches the print and rubs it within her fingertips. “This is sick!  What is this?” Grace yanks the covers off Manny’s bed.

“Ah! Don’t hurt me!” Jose screams.  Manny tucks his little body in a ball squeezing his eyes shut.

Hurt you?  Where’s Emilio?” Grace waits for an answer. “Look at me!” She grabs his chin forcing him to look at her. “Answer me…where….is Emilio?”

Jose grabs the blankets and throws them back over him and his brother unable to stop his body from quivering.  He’s on the verge of soiling his pajama pants.

Grace places the phone down and lays the fussy baby on the bed. Maybe he’s hiding.  She wonders.

She opens the boys’ closet speedily flinging shoes and toys around the floor, shoving aside clothes and hangers searching for Emilio.  Kneeling on the floor, she keenly glares under the bed, but he is nowhere in the room.  Her heart pounds faster and loudly resonates in her ears. She feels faint again and an urge to sit down, but she can’t! Where is Emilio?

“Emilio?  Oh my God!  Emilio! Boys where did your brother go?  Boys come out from under there! Where did he go?” The worried mother frantically questions again.  Horrified, the children will not move a muscle or come out of hiding. Their quivering bodies are evident to the human eye.

“Alright, listen. Hold Chico with you, and hide him under the covers.” She carefully covers the baby with the blanket, alongside her remaining kids. “I’ll be right back.  Don’t you move!” Grace panics, twiddling her fingers as she thinks what to do.  Chico whimpers then closes his eyes falling back to sleep suckling on his pacifier. Grace grips the phone and dials 9-1-1 as she bites the corner of her lip.

Dreading, she slightly cracks open the squeaky door then jumps. Easy there, Grace.  Don’t make your kids more scared than they already are.

Hesitantly, she closes her children’s bedroom door and heads back into the hallway to find her missing son.

“Hello, what is your emergency?” The emergency responder answers.

Slowly, Grace moves down her dark hallway, keeping a watchful eye on the living room while deliriously creeping back into her bedroom.  How is it he’s gone after those noises? How?

After a short search, she creeps back into the hallway.  Grace wipes her glossy face and attempts to calm down, but her heavy breathing seems to be getting the best of her.  Thoughts of panic prick her mind.  Where did Emilio go in just a short amount of time? I was gone for only a moment.

Carefully, she tiptoes one foot in front of the other, her bare feet quietly press into the beige carpet. She opens the bathroom door. Sneaking up to the bathtub, she’s light headed, dizzy cradling horrible thoughts of what may have happened to her son. Grace quickly flings the shower curtain aside then wipes a tear from her small, pug nose. Taking a sigh, Emilio is not there and the search ensues. Examining the closet in the hall, she flinches, swinging her fists around grabbing into thin air at a small cobweb.  She rummages through the children’s coats and shoes remembering, Emilio likes to hide in the closet while playing hide and seek with his brothers.

Just then, Grace hears muffles. Holding up her hand, she recalls the 9-1-1 call.

“HELLO WHAT IS YOUR EMERGENCY?” The emergency responder repeats.

A very frightened Grace presses the phone to her ear as she glides her fingertips along the wall.  She gasps and heaves in a deep breath, panic rising.

“Uh, yes, um…I heard a noise in my house and-and it could be a burglar and my boys are here, but,” She continues whispering softly, maneuvering down the hallway into the living room; her legs nearly buckle giving way to her trembling.

“But, what?  Ma’am, are you there?”

Grace sets her eyes on the living room. A dim night light barely illuminates the room in disarray.  Her furniture is upside down blocking her pathway to the kitchen.  There’s a clear sign of a struggle.  The beautiful flower pictures, which hang over the couch, are lopsided.  It is dark, but still her son is nowhere in the room.

“Emilio!” Grace whispers.

Surprised by the state of her home, she carefully straddles over the couch, pushing the coffee table out of the way.  A few strands of curls brush against her flush cheeks.  Her mind continues racing.

“Your boys are what?  Ma’am?  Okay ma’am we have your location and we’re sending police assistance.  Do you see a person in your house?  Is someone in the house with you?  Is there an intruder in the home?” Dispatch continues probing the frightened woman to keep her talking prying for more information.

Suddenly, the feeling Emilio has been kidnapped hits Grace like a punch in the gut.  “Okay, please hurry!  My house is a mess like someone was looking for something!  My furniture is all over the place and I still can’t find my son!”

“Okay ma’am so…your son is missing?  We are sending someone right now for you.  Don’t move, okay?  Ma’am?”

Grace pulls the phone away from her ear when something creaks in the house, again.  It’s coming from the kitchen, like footsteps moving around.  Did he get out of bed to check on the noise?

Cautiously and bravely, she pokes her head around the corner expecting to see a prowler. The kitchen appears as she left things. The faint street lights partially stream into her kitchen. Alarmingly, she eyes the room searching for Emilio.  The table, near the window, and stools seem in place. It appears to be the only tidy room in the apartment. Carefully, she steps into the kitchen. She hugs the side of the wall with her rickety body, then out of the blue trips on something in the middle of the floor.  The phone flies out of her hand, and breaks into pieces as the battery pops out and slides across the floor.

“Un!” She falls forward, landing hard onto her stomach nearly smacking her face on the tiled floor.

Propping up on her side, she moans in some pain, but soon realizes the very thing hindering her steps, is her child Emilio.  He lays face-up on the floor in his pajamas unconscious.  Patting the sides of his face, she desperately tries reviving him, but something is not right.  There is an unsafe ambiance cautioning her that something is still amiss in the home.  Grace clenches the child’s pajamas and yanks him onto her lap.

“Oh God!  Emilio…oh Emilio!  Wake up! Come on!  What happened, baby? What happened?”

A cold chill still resonates throughout the apartment.  Is someone here? Who did this to him? I’ll kill him!  She tells herself.

Something warm and wet underneath Emilio startles her. As she lifts her hands, she spots large animal footprints. The prints strangely encircle where her son had been lying.  The very sight of it sends chills up her spine.  The hair on her arms stands erect.  Something is present and near, she detects it.  It’s nearby and it’s utterly palpable.  This is the same thing I saw on their bed. What is this?

Goo sticks to her hands. She frowns and curiously puts it to her nose wondering what it could be.  This light pinkish hue sticks all around her fingers embedding underneath her long fingernails. She continues patting Emilio’s cheeks to wake him regardless.

Suddenly before her, a colossal creature appears standing on all fours like a lion guarding his newly caught prey.  Its appearance is like a beast, a tall tower.  Some of its body almost human-like is scalded head to foot. Wearing tattered pants and a long, red cape draping its burly back sweeping the ground, its powerfully built body is black as ash. Smoke simmers off its skin.  It all seems like a bad dream to Grace. She closes her eyes tightly. Her heart hammers.  Sweat drips off the sides of her face.  She panics, but holds her son tightly. The stench of the intruder is putrid like sulfur.  It is one of the dead which walks, only a much stronger aroma consumes the place. Her eyes rest upon the creature’s bear like feet and razor sharp claws.

Terror hits. Grace alarmingly screams at the top of her lungs. The intruder picks up the unconscious child in his simmering arms. Grace clutches the leg of Emilio’s pajamas, yet the creature gives an earth-shattering growl and wrenches the child from her grasp.  Its cape drapes over Emilio like a blanket.  Its muscles pulsate and its back arches until it stands to its feet like a man.  He growls again at Grace.  The creature towers larger than any human being.  Weakness and fear consumes Grace, she’s unable to make it to her quivering legs almost paralyzed at his presence.

Just then, a blue light flickers as thousands of small molecules gathers behind the creature. It entombs the kitchen like a whirling swimming pool, hovering in mid-air.  A gateway.  Grace’s eyes veer and fixate, mesmerized by the bright blue light illuminating and levitating. The glow and iridescent color is magnificent. The hole swirls and brightly glistens.

The creature jumps into the giant gateway, which vanishes like a flint, along with Emilio who’s still unconscious and unable to fight off his kidnapper.

“Oh God. Oh God!” Grace blinks her eyes. *Sniff, sniff.*

Grace scrapes up one of the broken phone pieces, near her leg. The hysterical woman screams in a blank daze. She’s completely delirious the phone is destroyed and stained with the same, unknown substance. Grace presses it against her ear.

“Hello…please!  Help there is someone here!  There is someone here, and he took Emilio!  Help! Help!  Someone help me! I need help! I need help!”

Grace remains on the floor rocking back and forth white faced, scratching her fingernails on the tiled floor. The baby screams from the bedroom. There’s the faint sound of a police siren in the distance. Grace cries in agony into the telephone while gasping for breath. But no one is on the other end.  Not even a busy tone echoing in the kitchen bouncing off the walls to shout at the distraught woman, No one can hear your cries!

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

At the heart of downtown New York, there are buildings that appear as if they touch the sky.  Lined on every street and corner, lawyers, stock traders, associates and the like, have their offices.  In one of those tall buildings with windows overlooking Manhattan square, is the office of the popular newspaper ‘The Daylight News’.

The leading newspaper columnist in New York is a man named Aiden Jenson. Aiden is an abrupt man, clean-shaven, almost six feet tall, talkative and has little patience for the harangue of people, especially fellow journalists or reporters. He’s a lanky man with deep blue eyes and bleach blonde hair which makes him appear like the “All American” boy.  A sweet, yet calculating man, Aiden’s experience over the years, has perfected his ability interviewing victims. Not being much of a cook, except throwing bread into the toaster, he usually eats cereal for dinner while watching a baseball or football game at night.  He remains a bachelor, living alone in New York, and is disinterested in any advances of a female-most of the time-as he is married to his job, and set in his ways like a turtle in his shell.  Curious and investigative, he is one of the leading journalists cracking stories on violent crimes. The stories, which made a name for him, involve men in prison cells and few on death row, with claims of their innocence. Aiden’s learned over the years, to follow his instincts and the hunches in his gut.  It’s helped him uncover that some of these inmates were in fact doing time for crimes they indeed did not commit. Aiden has cracked open many cases causing reinvestigations in record number, for convicted prisoners. Families of the victims however, do not always share his success.

Lately, however, he is becoming bored with his usual stories about convicts. Aiden is noticing a woman he knows well, Saline Davis, who is part of ‘The New York Chronicle’, is following in his tracks, hot on his tail more than she’s ever been.  Saline Davis is also a popular journalist, but in addition has landed a small slot with Channel 9 Late Breaking News.  Though they work with different newspapers, they’re always competing with one another. It’s been that way since college.  In fact, their newspapers are often toe to toe when it comes to front page stories and sales, only ‘The Daylight News’ remains ahead by a hair due to Aiden Jenson.  Aiden has a well-earned reputation in New York as one who listens to the people and most readers love him in return.  Little does Grace know, her life and Aiden Jenson’s life are about to collide in one of the biggest paranormal adventures New York has ever read.

The boss hollers at Aiden, from his office, for one of his private talks, which usually means he wants to know what the next story is or how the new story is going. Basically, just being a bothersome, nagging boss, picking at him for details of the story before the deadline.  Typical, only Aiden has adjusted to his boss’s tactics and brash personality, developing a way with him, which others wish they possess.  People often fear entering the boss’s office for one reason.  Hearing the words, “You’re fired!” is a tough break for those working in the newspaper business.  In New York, a fired journalist spreads like wild fire.  You either write a great story or get canned for not producing a well-grounded one. What his boss dislikes most is recanting a story; which of course is immediate grounds for dismissal with this line of work in such a competitive field of “he” said “she” said.  Aiden however can care less.  He knows and is proud he’s on top. If he is ever fired, he could have a job by the end of that working day. And his boss knows it only too well.

Aiden saunters through the hubbub of cubicles and journalists on their phones and the clacking of fingers sweeping across the computer keys.  Aiden pauses outside the glass door, of his boss’s office.  The maple desk positioned near the entrance is where the boss’s secretary sits each day, a headset attached to her ears.  She’s a normal gal, not much to look at.  She’s mousy of sorts, with straight brown hair, no make-up on her pale face, and wears thick, bronze framed glasses.  Usually, her passé pantsuits or long plaid dresses are an eye sore making a terrific bull’s eye for others in the office to snicker behind her back.  Even though she’s not blind to the gossip, she’s shy and smitten by Aiden’s good looks and boyish charm. Her name is Elise Reming.

“Oh hi, Aiden. How are you today?”  Elise smiles revealing her shiny, metal braces splayed across her big teeth in a flirtatious, yet shy manner. She is hoping he will take a glance, in her direction.  Nervously, she tugs on her horrendous, royal blue, plaid dress.

“I’m good, Ms. Reming, thanks.” Aiden scratches his strong nose avoiding eye contact with her.  His mind is solely on this meeting with his boss and nothing more.  He opens the door and treks into the office where his boss is impatiently waiting at his desk.

His boss’s name is Kip Carlisle, and he’s typically surrounded by a cloud of smoke, from a cigar clenched in his two front teeth. It’s a soothing calm when in deep thought. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to hear him speak past the stogie.

Aiden slightly coughs, from the smoke in Carlisle’s office, which makes him feel a bit queasy and turn green.  He’s never liked the smell of cigars.

Now Aiden’s boss is also a tall man, clean-shaven, with deep frown lines casting a shadow, between his eyes, accompanied by obvious crow’s feet.  He is an exceedingly headstrong, determined man, in his late forties, with a boxy jaw.  His wardrobe consists of expensive grey suits, without the jacket, and a tie he leaves dangling loosely around his neck.  People in his office think this is a bit peculiar, but they never ridicule the boss.  His athletic build, red hair, and big, auburn eyes are intimidating.  Fast-talking, Kip Carlisle’s known for making swift yet accurate decisions in his deep, raspy voice.  He hates when anyone yells or raises their voice around him, unless he is the one doing the yelling.  Abruptly, he slams down the phone when he sees Aiden pop in.  Finally, he’s here.  Carlisle thinks, having waited only a few minutes.

Carlisle eyes his best journalist. “Okay Aiden, listen you are the best journalist I’ve ever had, maybe ever known in my lifetime. You can be cool, cunning and calculating.  But, strange happenings in New York City? Paranormal? You understand, when you told me this last week, I said we’d discuss it.  But the Ghostbusters thing has already been done!  By the way this isn’t bothering you, is it?”  He points at his cigar, sitting in a glass ashtray, then quickly remarks, “Good,” And swiftly cradles it between his front, squared teeth with a sly grin.

Aiden eases back in the tan chair, in front of his boss’s desk, getting comfortable for what is going to be the beginning of a long debate or lecture. But, he’s fully prepped for a terrific argument.  Aiden has been at this paper long enough to know how to handle the long talks.  He has his ways, well manipulations. He scratches his cleanly shaven, baby face, and fixes the wrinkles in the seams of his pants.

“Listen, I know it’s not what I usually write about, but it’s something I really want to do.  Once you read about it, you’ll be a believer.  I promise you!”  Aiden rubs his sweaty palms on his suit pants, crinkling them up again.  He has an impending urge to fix the wrinkles, a somewhat OCD habit of his.

Carlisle rolls the thick, cigar around his mouth, and stews adjacent from Aiden, in his high back, black chair, which swooshes as he clunks down.  He plops his feet on the corner of his desk and impatiently drums his fingers on a thick stack of papers.  Taking a huge puff of his cigar, he blows circles of smoke into the air then glares at the finest Cuban cigar he can afford cradled between his fingers.

“Alright…I’m listening,” Carlisle waits surrounded by fresh smoke. There’s a cool, odd silence in the office then finally, Aiden contemplates his ice breaker.

“Sir, with all due respect, these criminal articles are washed up! They’re yesterday’s newsAnd the people out there are searching for more than just another presumed killer exonerated!  And to be quite honest, I can’t handle anymore hate mail from the victims’ families, threatening me!” Aiden shakes his head.  “Even in light of new evidence, they think I’m aiding and helping a killer go free.  They place a great deal of blame on this paper too!  Yesterday, an elderly woman on the street confronted me.  She was still convinced one of the convicts set free, who was clearly innocent by the way of DNA evidence, is guilty.  Something about her son being a good boy, and before I could rebut, she slapped me!”

“She slapped you?” Carlisle snickers, with wide eyes, unsympathetic to what his journalists may go through with the public.  As long as the stories in his paper remain number one, it’s all that matters and the heck with anything else!

“Yes, sir.  Right across the face!  I can still feel the sting,” He rubs his cheek.  “I want a new route.  A change of pace!”

Aiden continues shouting, determined to go a different direction.  He flings his hands and arms back and forth.  Looking out of the glass windows, some of his colleagues are peeking over their cubicles wondering what the racket is all about: perhaps wondering if Aiden was just fired.  That certainly would be big news!  Ms. Reming eyeballs him over the newspaper she’s reading, also curious as to what all the hubbub is about.

Carlisle abruptly stands with a stern glare, and strolls over to the chestnut bookshelf behind him.  Grabbing a silver picture frame off one of the shelves, he wipes the glass, with the sleeve of his white shirt, and then places it back.  He quietly sighs under his breath at the pompous, hoity-toity reporter.  Aiden lowers his voice, realizing he’s doing something his boss cannot stand. This of course, is not the first time Aiden’s been jazzed up with his emotions. Definitely not the first time he’s been slapped or cursed at either.  I hate his yelling. But, changing my best journalist from a lead crime writer to a paranormal researcher? Na.  He thinks.

Carlisle squeezes his cigar between two fingers, attempting to keep his calm demeanor.

“I’m receiving letters about the strange and paranormal.  Things people have always questioned beyond death and murder, ‘Is there life on another planet, and are there really ghosts, spirits that are not at rest?’  They…our public, our readers, are asking why I don’t write about this, sir.”

Before he can finish his plea, Carlisle prematurely shakes his head disagreeing with this new, passionate direction Aiden desires to take.  “I don’t think so, Jenson. You dig your heels into rapists and killers in jail. ‘Why fix what’s not broken’, my father used to say?”  He points his cigar at the journalist.

“And regardless the public may hate what we print, the bottom line is, they’re reading it.” Carlisle smugly utters and grins placing the stogie back in his teeth. “And the phone lines light up.  Complaints sure, but again, they’re reading.  You probably despise that small group of haters out there in that popularity of yours.”

Aiden uses that impish grin, while mulling over another way to convince his stubborn boss.

“Well…I suppose Saline Davis will succeed in grabbing these stories…I truly tried.” Aiden’s sad, passive tone carries an underlying mischievous plan as he shrugs his shoulders.  His dazzling blue eyes somewhat dwindles.

Carlisle promptly takes the cigar out of his mouth in shock, and sits up on the edge of his chair. “Davis?” Carlisle twists his lips. “The one at the Chronicle? That woman is a bull.  She’s been competing against you for years.  What does Davis have to do with all of this?”  He squints his right eye at Aiden. “Late Breaking Channel 9 News too, right?  She’ll never become a permanent news anchor the way she works.  Lies, lies, lies.  Didn’t you go to school with that woman?”

Aiden nods. “I did.  Well, sir, it’s true she has been following in my footsteps for years as you know.  Always trying to write a better article about a similar case, or tailing me on every story, with that fat tub of lard of a cameraman…and she knows,” He purposefully eggs on. “She will take whatever she knows on the air, to get the job she wants. No matter the underhanded things she does to make it happen for her.  Being a journalist for the paper, is just a means to her plan.  She can care less about readers, sir.  She only cares about one thing, being a permanent anchor. But, this right here, I’m certain she knows.”

“Knows what?  For crying out loud, Jenson, spit it out!” Carlisle pleads, and knocks a fist on the desk, his maroon tie hanging loosely from his collar.

“She knows what the public is looking for, and I’m sure she’s receiving letters too.  Do you really believe a shrewd woman like that is going to pass up an opportunity to bury me, in the dust?  Or bury this…our newspaper in the dust perhaps?” Aiden raises his voice again. He knows it’s getting under his boss’s skin.  Just a little more push and I have himAiden thinks.

He speaks with unbridled passion, knowing it will make it appear that he’s in it for the newspaper, when in fact he’s only in it for himself.

Carlisle calmly leans back into his leather chair twirling the cigar around in his fingers. Tilting back, he glances around the office chewing over what the arrogant journalist has laid on his plate.  Well, Saline Davis, if she gets her hands on something like this, we just might become number two in our little newspaper battles. I don’t think I can let that happen.  Carlisle calmly figures.  Or, Aiden may just want to leave the paper. I can’t fire him.  He’s too much of an asset regardless of the new talent walking, through these doors.

“Alright, Jenson…tell me more.”

Aiden shoots a sly grin. “Sir, I still listen to my police scanner, and there was one lead six days ago, Thursday.  Last week.  A woman said something came into her home and took her eldest son.  Kidnapped!”

Carlisle kicks his feet up on the edge of his desk clearly interested. “Oh the kidnapping I heard on the news!” Excitedly, and without notice, he bangs a fist on the desk again.  The ashtray jumps then lands akin to the sound of glass breaking. “Well that’s big news, and that’s great! That a boy, Jenson!  Did you follow up on that lead?”

“Yes, sir, but it’s quite an unusual kidnapping.  I took a little stroll to the apartment where the call came from. I uh,” Aiden gives a proud chuckle. “Convinced a police officer outside to speak with me.  They weren’t allowing anyone in that building.  Now, he said the doors were bolted and the chain was locked from the inside.  They had to break it down.  The woman claims some creature took her eldest child.  Now that’s news!  Imagine the headlines,” He holds both palms up imagining a billboard in the sky, bringing his boss on the wild ride of his imagination. “And we would be the only paper in this city…a city full of millions of readers, who possesses the story.  Not even Saline can get her filthy, little, conniving hands on this one!”  His enthusiasm causes Carlisle to sneer thinking of all the sales. “Sir, give me a shot writing this. Give me four weeks.” He holds up four fingers. “If you don’t have a kick butt story, and I mean kick butt, then I’ll hang my head, raise the white flag, and peacefully return to writing about convicts. You have my word on that.  My word is my bond.  You know that.”

Carlisle huffs. “So, you’ll be prepared to go back to one thing you now detest, huh? The one thing that’s made a name for you in this foul talking city?” He tests him with one eye squinting.

Aiden nods. “I will, sir.”

Carlisle insensitively blows circles of smoke into the air while oddly grinning. The smoke permeates strangely releasing that calming effect for the overworked boss.

“Those police officers always talk. They say they can’t disclose anything but most of them sing like a canary,” Carlisle arrogantly raises his brow and boastfully whistles in a sarcastic bird-tone. “Are they still keeping people from the building?”

Aiden shakes his head no. “They sent all units home today, sir. It’s an open sepulcher over there.”

“Heard that on your scanner too, didn’t you?”

Aiden fires that all-American grin again. Carlisle snickers.

“Alright, Jenson. You’ve got your shot.” Aiden sits up straight. “But just four weeks!  It would be sincerely foolish not to allow my best journalist to follow his hunches, which has made himself,” he clears his throat, “and this newspaper number one.  So, Jenson, you’ve got it!  Now, I want something good.  If this is a paranormal instance you want to capture, I don’t want just strange where this woman who lost her kid needs to be institutionalized. They rarely spoke of the details on the news, now that I recall.  And I want that Davis person, well, you just grab the bull by the horns. Understand?  And I swear, Jenson, if you screw this up, it’s back to convicts, crank calls, curses and slaps!  Now get out of here, Jenson, and get to work!” He rants.

Aiden gets up, shakes his boss’s hand and strolls towards the office door. Smiling, he’s pleased his manipulation and bull crap has convinced his boss to change his obstinate mind.

“Uh, just one more thing, Jenson?” Aiden turns around and faces Carlisle. “Did you follow up on the woman? Was she institutionalized for all of this, and does she have other children?”

“Sir, from what the officer said, she has four children and now three. He explained the detective on the case didn’t think her rambling warranted a call to the psychiatric facility. They’re exhausting all leads including an absent father. There was uh, some strange things found in her apartment that made the story, to me, seem all the more horrifying and believable.”

The phone rings, Carlisle curses lewdly snatching up the phone. “This is Carlisle! What do you want that couldn’t wait till I was out of a meeting?” He waves with his hand, motioning for Aiden to leave his office.

“I was just going to call you. What’s going on?” Carlisle gruffly speaks with the stogie hanging out the side of his mouth, holding it in between his back teeth. Covering the telephone, he yells one last repeated order.

“Jenson, remember just four weeks!” He places the phone back up to his ear and raves on. “Well, you better print it by tomorrow or you’re fired!”

Imitating a gun with his fingers, Aiden points at Carlisle to let him know he understands the directions and all that’s on the line for him and the newspaper. Carlisle may keep his word, and force Aiden to continue writing about convicts if this doesn’t pan out, but Aiden knows better. He is certain he’d be fired first.

Elise peeks around the newspaper beaming at Aiden again, longing for him to take just one look in her direction.  Just one simple glance to let her know he knows she’s alive.  Perhaps a smile?  It would surely make her day.

“Bye, Ms. Reming.” Aiden strolls off with long strides swiftly thinking only of the case at hand, and ways to get the story.

She raises her brows watching him pay careful attention to his job and surely not for the unattractive Elise.  Does he even know how rude he’s being? I’m sure he’s just got a lot on his mind, Elise. Just hang in there.  She reasons to herself.

Elise sighs sinking into her chair and frowns as he leaves. She rolls her eyes and plants her nose back into the newspaper. Others in the office, carrying stacks of papers and files, gape at Elise. They jeer and ridicule another hideous dress she has worn to work. They appear stylish and up to date in fashion.  Of course, they think they’re much better than Elise who by her wardrobe, and drab exterior, is an easy target for humiliation even though she’s a terrific secretary.

Elise stands to her feet. Yawning and stretching her arms overhead, she arches her back then places her headset on the desk. She heads into the employee lounge for a cup of coffee to awaken her senses.

One of the mockers puckishly strolls behind Elise carrying something small, within her grip. She’s beautiful styling a light grey, pin striped skirt-suit.  Her delicate blonde hair is pinned up away from her face, bringing focus to her lovely blue eyes.  Every hair is perfectly positioned with Bobby pins.  She has a well-known reputation as the office flirt, dating a list of men and discarding one when another comes along.  She is also known as an average writer, sneaking by solely by her looks, and salacious charms-definitely not by her talent.

Elise pours a cup of hot coffee when she hears heels clacking on the tiled floor, as the office woman approaches. Others quietly sit around some of the oval tables reading, texting and on their cell phones with business calls while on break. They pay little attention to the “plain Jane” woman.

The office woman scans the break room making sure no one is watching. Slyly, she removes the small sugar packets and quickly begins pouring herself a cup of coffee.  She politely clears her throat.

“Hi, Elise. Nice to see you today.”

Elise is somewhat surprised by the welcome of this woman who has never spoken to her before today.  She shyly lifts her eyes at the woman who is grinning in a warm yet calculating manner.  Elise isn’t accustomed to make heads or tails of the woman. Is this perhaps her friendly demeanor?  Normally, she teases her.  Perhaps those days are over.  Is this the beginning of a conversation that will help Elise be accepted and finally have a friend? She’s hopeful.

“Hi, Heather. N-Nice to see you today too.”

Why is she talking to me?  She’s never spoken to me before.  Elise ponders.  “Uh oh,” Elise searches all around the counter. “I guess we’re out of sugar. Oh well, black it is today.”

“Well here, Elise. I have a packet of sugar left. Why don’t you have it? I opened it because I thought I needed it. But, I think my coffee is sweet enough. Go ahead! You take it.”  Heather craftily opens her hand, revealing the opened sugar packet.

“Thank you, Heather,” Elise takes the packet without a thought or concern.

“Have a nice day, Elise.”

“Uh, you too, Heather,” Elise instantly warms at the pleasantries.

Heather smirks at the side of her face as she leaves the lounge, happily sipping her hot coffee.  She purposefully swings her hips from side to side, catching the eye of on looking men.

Elise pours the packet into her coffee slowly, stirring the spoon against the rim.  She heads to her desk, places her headset back on, and plops down. Blowing the steam rising at the top of her coffee, she slurps a sip, but something is terribly wrong. She holds the coffee in her mouth utterly appalled. It is bitter and flat making her sick. She looks to the garbage can, but it’s full. She can’t hold it in anymore. She sprays the coffee all over her desk. Tears gather when she realizes, she soiled the top of important papers she has just finished preparing for Carlisle.  Now, she will have to copy the documents all over again.  Inspecting the leftover granules, on the rim of her cup, she can clearly see it’s not sugar. It’s salt.

Confusion hits as to why the coffee is so awful.  Sounds of laughter ring from down the hall. Elise scoots forward, in her chair, and notices Heather with another office woman chortling like chipmunks, at her expense, from the horrible prank they’ve played.

Elise scurries off into the ladies room in her beige pumps, crying and hiding in one of the stalls.  She doesn’t understand why the women enjoy being so cruel to her.  She stands on top of the toilet seat so she won’t be seen.  Weeping into the palm of her hands she wonders, Why are they at me like this? What have I ever done to them?

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Thank you for reading! You can find this novel and others at http://www.amazon.com/author/aimeebejarano

 

Follow along for new author interviews coming soon!

Re-Post of My Guest Blog With Mark!

I recently guest blogged with wordrefiner.com Mark, and figured it would be great to share what I wrote to my own blog!  Feel free to share! Have a blessed week!

 

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Aimée Marie Bejarano Indie Author of multi-genre novels such as: “The Gateway Series” “The Angelica Series” and “Possessions of the Human Kind” Saga Chapter One. www.amazon.com/author/aimeebejarano
Owner of Dead Man Walking Publications- website coming soon!

Recently I began really praying what I can bring to the table with the blog. I began thinking of my journey as a writer, beginning at age 16. Well, then I zoomed to the present. There are many things I can indeed help bring to the table in regards to what I did wrong. Publishing isn’t easy, the same goes for writing. I’m sure Mark can tell you it’s certainly a lot of work to proofread because you are trying to polish up every author’s novel. Hours of hard work goes into every word read, and every word circled in red. Then the difficult task of: reading over all of the editor’s notes, proofreader’s, and or the beta reader’s notes- Mark feel free to fix any typos I may have as well lol.

So, this publishing thing is difficult work!  Some of us don’t have the luxury of hiring an editor from the start, and that is precisely what I’d like to delve into.

I’m sick with several diseases and on an extremely fixed income. At the time I wanted to publish, I had no author friends, neither family or friends who could spare the time to proofread for me at all.  I reached out to Createspace. It was a small loan which killed the pocketbook. I completely turned to them for everything minus editing, it was far too much and I simply didn’t have it. Once they took over, I was disheartened when they couldn’t seem to find a cover fitting to my needs and the vision I had.  Especially, the Biblical times. Then, it would cost around $200 more for access to additional photos which they can use. But the problem still rested, that no matter how often I spoke to them on the phone, their pictures were just not up to the vision I saw for my first book, “Angelica.”- Now re-titled, “Angelica, You Have Chosen Well”- Part One of the Angelica Series. I finally settled on an extremely dark cover with a candle lit. Not throwing someone under the bus, but it seemed I had someone working on my novel who barely began illustration. The front cover was in quotation marks. Embarrassing. And because I was so new to everything, did I know? Not at all. It took others asking me why it was there to even consider.

It released without so much as a bang for anything including the hard work put into it. My family did buy a copy here or there but as for gathering a readership, it was a far cry to have any. The front cover was disappointing. I figured this is what all indie authors must go through when first starting out.

So, I worked on my next book. This time, I bumped into someone who was willing to help. Unfortunately, this person is a menace to the publishing world, and I saw evidence posted in dozens of places to this person’s insanity. So guess what happened to me? I was suddenly dragged into it. I was even being called names on Twitter for my involvement with this person. I had no idea who they were, I was a newbie. But afterwards realized this person was dragging my Twitter handle into all of their insane rants. I finally blocked them.  I took everything they worked on and learned how to redo it on my own.  I even received a one star review for the book simply because I worked with this person. They made it clear they did not read the book and hated this other person and pretty much me- Amazon refused to remove it even if they mentioned they didn’t read it. Then later, this person decided to give it a chance and amended the review, but still bashed me pretty well. It must have bothered them because shortly after, I received a message on Facebook apologizing for throwing me under the bus. I have completely forgiven this person but it wasn’t enough to remove anything about that review lol.  And all the while, a lot of self-righteous authors were telling me they were going to help me and send me a list of all my mistakes- yep it does happen. D.M’s still hit me up from time to time thinking their editing is better than what I hired. It happens all the time in the publishing world- I even take peeks at best-selling book reviews or indie author book reviews and it’s almost the same case. Authors criticizing or critiquing the other author’s editors.  When will it end? Problem is it lowers who you are as a writer, as an author to what you shouldn’t be.  Most were trying to take away and strip me of my original writing style. It puts some sort of distaste as if something is wrong with you and your writing, so then the question sits, “Why write at all?” Promises from author’s to aid, and it became where I was growing irritated by it. Of course, I know we can learn new things and God knows I love to, but for this to occur with things such as, “I liked the book BUT I’m going to send you papers of all the mistakes you’ve done.” “I like the book a lot BUT you shouldn’t write it in the present tense but in the first person. Like from the main character’s point of view.” “I like the story but the editing stinks.”- of course this was nitpicking my most recent review lol. ETC.  And quite frankly, I don’t like being beholden to anyone.  Promises come and go. People giving insights on how they think I should write the book was all I needed to say, “Enough. I’m doing it as the Lord tells me to write it, and not because others declare it or push me around. And I will redo it better than before including a new cover and an editor.” The Lord knew all I needed was Him in all of this mess.  Did I change the POV as directed? No way!
I had had enough. The only good thing coming from what’s happened is I slowly began connecting with genuine, kind author’s and I listened and read all I could and learned new programs to help me along this journey.  Most of it I learned alone. The only One beside me was the Lord.

I didn’t have all my ducks in a row years ago, but was learning how to format on my own for paperbacks etc., found my own illustrator, and finally recently at the beginning of this year, all my novels were redone with brand new covers, in 2nd Editions, and edited!

The mistakes I made seem to haunt me still since there are copies of my books floating around that I know are not professionally edited, and thus the reviews that occasionally trickle in reflect that. Presently, I have issued a disclaimer to the readers that since March or April of 2017, my books are redone and edited and the reader can now update to a new version.

Am I sorry that I didn’t wait? You know, I’m sorry to the Lord for my hastiness, however I’m not sorry things turned out the way they have. I’m fully dependent on the Lord and He has used me to be able to push through each novel where I can format and do all myself, including book trailers.  The only thing I need help with is editing and illustration. But, for something good coming out of it is definitely the price I’ve paid for it. I believe even now, that there are readers out there for all of my books who will love them and stick with me as I publish. I know I’ll get another chance for these books to make it to someone’s kindle or into someone’s hands. I believe and have faith I’ll get that chance again. Mistakes are made but it isn’t a life sentence, which is why I love this meme!  I saw it on Twitter and had to share it. Whoever came up with the phrase, thank you because it is so true!

Another great thing is I’ve started my own self-publishing house in 2015 which Lord willing next year, I plan on having other authors underneath. I know God has some great things in store for me and for all of us if we simply ask and believe He can. It has been worth all of the: stress, tears, doubts, discouragements, bad reviews, name calling (Cyber bullying), belittling, and anything else that I’ve gone through. If this is what I’ve had to do to get on my feet, then I would go through it again to understand all that I should for what the Lord has called me to do.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 KJV.

What are some things He has called you to do? Just because something is hindered or bad things happen, doesn’t necessarily mean He is not in it. Get on it! Time is short and we should be about our Father’s business.  Maybe you are a writer, author, poet, illustrator, digital specialist, or artist who loves the Lord. Don’t let those things fall by the wayside.  I often hear many indie authors say, “You know my first book was a train wreck.” Or “My first book was horrible it didn’t do very well.” Or “I hate my covers.” Or “I’m a much better writer now than I was then.” I can relate with all of it.  Funny thing is, currently a ton of indie author’s I know are publishing 2nd Editions with new covers as well!  The great thing about indie authors who publish is you control everything about your book!  In five years, you can release a 3rd Edition for all you want! See? Not alone! Sure there are a lot of people doing what we do every day. But if He has called us, then no one can do it like us!

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New Author Spotlight WITH…

I’m so blessed to have a new author spotlight with Author Gigi Sedlmayer author of The Talon Series.

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Gigi welcome!  I’m excited to have this time to pick your brain so let’s get started!

 

What made you want to be a writer?

Surviving cancer and finding myself still alive after two years of just sitting around, (but caring for our adopted twin-girls and my husband Albert) waiting to die, I finally came to my senses. Since I couldn’t work at a traditional job any longer. I couldn’t stand or sit too long, had too much damage through the radiation and it’s still very painful, and having bad feet, Albert, my husband, taught me how to use a computer.

Earlier, in my teen years, I wrote lots of little animal short stories by hand writing. Nothing came out of them, I just loved it.

I remembered this time and so I started to write, since there was nothing else for me to do.

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure, in which language I should write. But then I decided to write in English, since my English became better and we live in an English-speaking country.

I wrote many short stories and entered them into competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave me confidence to go on writing and inspired me to go on.

One of the short stories was about Talon and Matica. Judges from the competition loved the story and so I thought, I could develop a series about Talon and Matica. And so, the TALON series came to life.

Tell us your series genre?

I actually thought, it would be a series for children, reading age, from 9 to 13 years. But it turned out to be for all ages, as some reviewers tell me.

Tell us about your book series and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback or hardcovers)

I let Matica, my main character, speaking in her own voice. It’s best to describe her and her books:

My name is Matica and I am a special needs child with a growth disability. I am stuck in the body of a two-year-old, even though I am ten years old when my story begins in the first book of the Talon series, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Because of that disability, (I am saying ‘that’ disability, not ‘my’ disability because it’s a thing that happens to me, nothing more and because I am not accepting it as something bad. I can say that now after I learned to cope with it.) I was rejected by the local Indians as they couldn’t understand that that condition is not a sickness and so it can’t be really cured. It’s just a disorder of my body. But I never gave up on life and so I had lots of adventures roaming around the plateau where we live in Peru, South America, with my mum’s and dad’s blessings. But after I made friends with my condors I named Tamo and Tima, everything changed. It changed for the good. I was finally loved. And I am the hero and I embrace my problem. In better words: I had embraced my problem before I made friends with my condors Tamo and Tima. I held onto it and I felt sorry for myself and cried a lot, wanting to run away or something worse. But did it help me? Did it become better? Did I grow taller? No, nothing of that helped me. I didn’t have those questions when I was still in my sorrow, but all these questions came to me later, after I was loved and was cherished. One day I looked up into the sky and saw the majestic condors flying in the air.  Here and now, I made up my mind. I wanted to become friends with them. I believed if I could achieve that, all my sorrow and rejection would be over. And true enough, it was over. I was loved. I even became famous. (You can read all about it in the series) And so, if you are in a situation, with whatever your problem is, find something you could rely on and stick to it, love that and do with that what you were meant to do. And I never run from conflicts.

http://www.amazon.com/Gigi-Sedlmayer/e/B003U8G4WC/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Gigi-Sedlmayer?store=book&keyword=Gigi+Sedlmayer

 

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?

I would say, very important. But again, I have med writers, they never read, they just write their book. I read a lot and review them as well.

What book genre do you enjoy reading the most?

I love reading sci-fi and fantasy. YA books.

What genre will you absolutely refuse to read?

Erotica and Romance. I never would read them.

Share with your readers, what’s the best way to handle a less than outstanding book review?

Don’t dwell too long on it. It’s horrible, the first 5 seconds. I got one only with one star. I just couldn’t understand it, but it was there. Yes, I cried, but then I said, okay, it’s not my problem, it’s his/her problem. Next review.

Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?

Live life the fullest, as much as you can. Smile as much as you can. As Crayn said in my book: Let your smile change the world, don’t let the world change your smile.

And: Smile – it’s the most beautiful attire.

And: “If you don’t know how to go on in life, whatever it might be, even if you have a disability, find a ‘condor’.” Not literally in your life, because that was for Matica, but something you can rely to, something you love doing, something to help others. Whatever it is, that makes you happy. The condors made Matica happy. You have to find yours.

What encouragement can you give to the aspiring author?

Never give up. Your book must have a good story line and a good message, as my books have, I believe.

 

What characteristics do you relate to with your main character Matica and why?

To face myself. When I started to write the book, I never thought of the things they came out then. I wanted to write an adventure story for children and see what came out of that. Because, like Matica, I was rejected in school, not because of the growth handicap she has. I had other things. I had to face what Matica is facing, rejection, and learned, even from writing the book, more and more to cope with myself, to overcome my own rejection and to realise that I have survived a deadly disease.

In a sense, it changed my life as well. I have more confidence now as I never had before. I never thought I could write a story like that. But now? I can and I will write more stories about Matica and Talon and her adventure, her life.

 

What are some of the challenges that face Matica?

I wanted to let children and parents know, that they don’t need to suffer more than they already do. So:

Children suffer from all sorts of afflictions and through my book they can learn how to coup with everything, as Matica did, the main character in my TALON books. She had to learn it in her early life. Children can find a “Condor” as Matica did. Not literally a condor, but every child or adult for that matter, they are battling with none curable afflictions, should find something that let them forget what is happening to them. Finding a “Condor” would help them to overcome that.

Parents can read my books to younger children so they can see that they are not alone, if they have some type of affliction, but that they can overcome it in a positive way, not in a negative way.

I say:  Children with special needs or with disability, or are handicapped don’t have an illness, so there is no cure and it’s not contagious. They want what we all want, to be accepted.

My books are not only for children. As I said, adults face some illnesses as well, so my books are for adults as well as for children.

 

What gave you the inspiration to write this Talon series?

“Teaching Children Self-Confidence through Service to Others.” Children today face immense pressure to fit in with their peers. This pressure is leading to record rates of depression among preteens and teenagers and this to suicide. Parents look for ways to build their children’s self-esteem; however, teens look to their peers and popular culture for acceptance rather than their parents. This puts parents in a challenging situation. Most children of this age group have issues with acceptance and this is explored and resolved in a positive manner within the story line of the Talon series, Matica shows children and teens that they can overcome great obstacles with love, patience and a selfless attitude toward helping others and experience exciting adventure on the way.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?

I hate to do the promotion. Mainly because I have no idea how to promote. My computer skill is not good enough for that anyway. So, why isn’t there anyone out there, who would love my books and so would take them and promote them for a fraction of the money the promoters are charging. I can’t do it myself, and I can’t give the books to someone and pay. I just don’t have the money.

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.

I can’t listen to music and write, it has to be quiet. I am looking lots of times outside, to clear my head for a little while, then I go on.

What is one special goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?

Actually, no goodies. Sorry

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can. 

After I finished writing the first novel in the Talon series about Matica and Talon, I wrote query letters and sent my manuscript to several conventional publishers here in Australia. And guess what? I always got that rejection letter back. I even lost count of them. I tried for many years. I failed.

Next I approached an editor and agent and she edited my book properly. She loved my book and she tried to place it with a conventional publisher. But she too failed.

So, I looked up all the self-publishers here in Australia and decided to let my book be published by BookPal in Brisbane. At that time, they were new here in Australia and weren’t as expensive as the rest. They did a very good job with the designing of the cover page, the outlaying of the book, the distribution, and making an eBook. They also wrote a press release.

When I finished the second book in the Talon series, I approached them again. They were a bit too expensive for me then. But a friend of ours offered me to pay, because he just loved the first book and thought, the books has to go out, people have to read them. And now in the meantime I finished the third as well and published with BookPal again.

But now, since I finished the fourth and the fifth book I had to look for another publisher, since BookPal became too expensive for me. I found Aurora House. http://aurorahouse.com.au/  She is doing now a very good job, even better. We re-published the first four books with new covers. Better. And she has published the fifth book as well. I am happy with them, they do editing as well.

When you need some extra encouragement when going through your manuscript, who do you turn to?

Most of the time I go to my husband. We talk it through and all is well again.

How do you market your book? If it’s a marketing service, please give the name.

Since I hate the promotion thing and marketing, I actually don’t do much. But I promote my books in Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. I have just entered a cover competition with Authorsdb with the first and fifth book. Ab to now I won the finals for both covers.  But now waiting for the GOLD, SILVER or BRONZE finals.

Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the BEST thing they’ve said to you.

When they read my book, they nearly always say, how wonderful the story is. But buying my books? They like to have a free copy. Okay, I give it to them. At least they do write a review then as well. Mostly 5 stars.

What is the worst thing someone has said to your regarding your work? How did you respond or overcome the criticism?

Didn’t had a negative yet. Not that I recall. Only one review with 1 star. That was bad enough.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication? 

I trust myself. So, sadly to say, no one likes reading my books from my family. All too busy to do other things or working too hard to have the time. But I give it to my editor, and she loves my stories.

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.

Well, my first book signing was a very long time ago. But I have to say, it was great and I nearly sold all the books I had there. People were so friendly and asked what’s the story about. All in all, it was a good experience and I loved it. Did many more after that, until Angus & Robertson closed down their stores. Since then, sadly, I had no book signings anymore.

What are some of your hobbies when you’re not writing?   

I like to relax, go for a drive with my husband with our 4×4 car, into the hinterland of Australia or even further, when going on a holiday, into the outback of Australia and hunting for fossils.

I also like gardening, watching good movies and DVD’s and, I am reading a lot, real books, paper backs, or kindle.

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. Let them in to just who Gigi is.

I love blue, like the sky. All my clothes are mostly blue and grey. Favorite food? Well, potatoes and tomatoes. More German food then the food the people are eating here in Australia. Hehehehe. Can’t describe them. Love them. You have to come and I cook for you and see and test it for yourself.

Tell us your favorite novel?

My favorite series is DUNE, from Frank Herbert. All Ben Bova novels. All Sci-fi. Hehehe. But I do love YA novels as well. Like Fairies, Fantasy

What was your favorite children’s book growing up?

Since I grew up in Germany, I loved Karl May. You can’t get his books here. They are a big series as well. They were a mixture of sci-fi, adventure. I still have some of his books.

Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you love.  

Fantasy book or science fiction?

Actually, both. I love Fantasy and sci-fi, but sci-fi more. Love to read them anytime.

Singing Christmas carols or watching someone sing Christmas carols?

Watching someone sing Christmas carols. Don’t like singing. Well, can’t really sing. hehehe

Favorite side with your Thanksgiving turkey?

Sorry, we don’t have Thanksgiving here. Never ate a turkey. But with a chicken, it’s the leg. Hmm

Watching Christmas light shows on T.V. or driving around to see the Christmas lights?

Both again, love to see the Christmas lights in real, and watch them on TV

A kindle or a paperback?

I love reading books, real books as paperbacks, but it’s more economical reading kindle. My shelves in my house are full with books. Can’t fit any more on them. So, it has to be kindle.

Thanksgiving dinner before 3 pm. or after 3 pm.?

If we would have one, it would be after 3 pm.

Favorite pie during the holidays?

Pastry I like, but not so much pie, or yes, shepherd’s pie. Hmm

Pie or cake?

Definitely cake

Holiday flavored creamers or regular creamers?

Regular creamers

Espresso or regular coffee?

Regular coffee with milk

How many days do you eat your leftover Thanksgiving dinner?

Well, all leftovers, only a few days. No longer

Are there any mistakes you have made during the publishing process? How did you learn from them?

Not really, I only say, when you start writing, don’t give up. Go on, press on. The success maybe right around the corner. When you give up, you will never know. So, stick to it. And with writing you are becoming better each day.

And what I am doing is, reading, reading, reading other books and write reviews. That will help your writing. Well, it helps me.

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?

My trusted husband

What is one thing you’d like to address to your readers?

Never give up, success maybe is just around the corner, as I said earlier.

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.

I am writing on my sixed book in the Talon series. It is finish, but I am on the re-writing, and that I will do several times. I will call it: TALON, WINDSONG. So, it will be available, hopefully, early next year. With all the editing and publishing. It all takes time.

Book 1. TALON, COME FLY WITH ME

Book 2. TALON, ON THE WING

Book 3. TALON, FLIGHT FOR LIFE

Book 4. TALON, CONNECTED

Book 5. TALON, ENCOUNTER

All my books are available as paper back and kindle at amazon, B/N and all the other places.

 

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome books?

My website: https://gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com/

But my editor and publisher is just in the brink of doing for me a new and better website.

My website: http://www.gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/gisela.sedlmayer

https://www.facebook.com/gigisedlmayer

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GigiSedlmayer11/posts?cfem=1

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=83666990&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

https://twitter.com/GigiSedlmayer

https://www.pinterest.com/pucara/

YouTube animation clips for the Talon books:

First book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0ontac7S20

Second book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqayANo77x0&feature=youtu.be

 

Thank you, Aimee, for letting me express myself. Had fun answering all the questions.

You’re welcome!  We loved having you.  And I don’t know about anyone else but these novels need to be added to my reading list!  

TALON 1 Come fly with me.jpg

TALON 2 On the wing.jpg

TALON 4, Connected.jpg

TALON 5, Encounter.jpg

 

Ya’ all follow along for more author spotlight reviews!!

In the Author’s Spotlight Is the Wonderful Author Iris Chacon!

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Please welcome the wonderful and humorous author Iris Chacon! So pleased you are here for our author’s spotlight. You’re not invisible here so let’s get crackin’!

Q. What made you want to be a writer?
A. I don’t remember deciding to be a writer; I’d wager few of us make a conscious decision to do so. Instead, we write because the ideas our brains generate are clambering to get out, and we can’t rest until we get it down on paper – or screen, as the case may be. It’s like lying awake at night with your brain running 120 miles per hour, repeating your to-do list for tomorrow, until you just get up and write the list down. Writers just happen to have a million to-do lists, some of them a hundred thousand words long!
Q. Tell us your book’s genre?
A. FINDING MIRANDA is definitely romantic and comedic, but there’s also a mystery at its center, and a little bit of action and suspense. “Clean romantic comedy” is the best description — although I’m not sure serious literary types consider that a genre. I hate to label it simply “Romance,” because many readers (perhaps unconsciously) expect naked bodies and heaving bosoms. Until the “Romance” genre is more clearly defined, I hesitate to use that term without modifiers.
Q. Tell us about your book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.)
A. This is the story of a shy librarian who is invisible to virtually everyone — except, strangely, a blind radio host and a pair of hired killers. One of the trailers [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_2gqjyqr4] reveals that the favorite character of most readers is Dave the Dog. I’ll say no more about that, to avoid spoilers.
FINDING MIRANDA is a fast, happy read, often finished in one sitting. You can get it in paperback (from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble [BN.com]) or in any of the popular ebook formats (from Amazon.com, BN.com, Smashwords.com, Kobo.com, and about a dozen other ebook sellers).
Q. How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
A. It is essential to read – and not only books. Read everything that comes your way, including the articles in the old magazines in the dentist’s waiting room. You will always learn something that adds to your skill and likability as a writer.
I doubt if many of us would buy a car that was designed and built by someone who had never ridden in a car. Before that inventor designs and builds my car, I want to know he or she has personal experience with a lot of cars.
Q. How did you decide to write a book about a mousy librarian?
A. I love librarians. I know many of them personally and was one myself for a couple of years. Librarians just don’t get enough heroic roles in modern fiction, don’t you agree? Why wasn’t Clark Kent a librarian, for example? If he’s so “mild-mannered” when disguised, wouldn’t a librarian make more sense than a reporter? How many “mild-mannered” reporters do you know? They’re piranhas! And, believe me, to a reporter, that’s a compliment. No, a librarian would have been perfect in that role, but they just don’t have the PR machine that other potential heroes and heroines have. I figured the librarian’s time had come!
Q. Do you relate in any way to the librarian Miranda?
A. I remember people joking about being “invisible” when they reached a certain age, but I didn’t relate to the syndrome until my own epiphany. I well remember that moment when the realization struck: people stopped seeing me. Teenage boys stopped seeing me when I passed age 30. Single men stopped evaluating me when I got married. When I exceeded a certain body mass, nobody looked at me any more except personal trainers hoping to make a sale. I couldn’t make eye contact with strangers any more because they looked past me, over me, or through me instead of at me. I’m still waiting for Congress to approve billions of tax dollars to study the invisibility phenomenon. But, since Congresspersons tend to be wealthy and famous, they may never experience invisibility.
Q. Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
A. I want readers to experience simple joy, a range of cathartic emotions, and the conscious or unconscious realization that people are not what they appear to be.
We judge everyone the moment we encounter them, based on what we see or hear on the most superficial level. We dislike someone because they have a nose just like Bernie Gumfeld, who bullied us in middle school. We assume someone is ignorant because of their “hillbilly” accent, when they’re actually a Ph.D. in particle physics who happened to grow up in the mountains of Tennessee.
Librarians are sometimes heroic. Blind people are absolutely capable. Rich people are not always generous, and poor people often are. #BreakStereotypes is a popular tag among Wattpad writers, and so is #BreakCliches. I hope to advance that philosophy.
Q. Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
A. Proofreading the 20th draft. No matter how beloved the story initially was, the honeymoon is over after a while.
Q. Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
A. I once read that if one is a true writer, one can sit down in the middle of a busy street and write. I try to remember that when I’m trying to use noise or commotion as an excuse not to write. In a perfect world, I love a quiet spot and a view of nature. I’ve written in every imaginable atmosphere, however, including on a bus or train commuting to and from work in the city. Right now, for example, my teenager – three feet away from me – is watching Spongebob Squarepants at top volume while burping loudly and playing electronic games on her tablet. When a writer is focused on the work, few things can really hinder them. (Hint to writers: Stop making excuses. Just do it.)
Q. What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
A. I need something to sip on when I stop to ruminate or think through a problem. It can be tepid coffee, watery formerly-iced tea, water, even diet soda when I can sneak it past my health-conscious husband. I think the cup or glass just gives me something to do with my hands when I stop typing to cogitate.
Q. What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
A. I have read, or heard, that most people experience the “imposter syndrome” at some point in life. That’s the time when you just know, deep in your secret heart, that you’re not who you hope you are, and that you’ll be discovered, exposed, and publicly humiliated as an imposter at any moment. Everyone who has ever written anything – whether a poem, a song, a love note, a story, a movie, or a novel – has at some point thought, “Who am I kidding? I can’t write! And if they read what I’ve just written, everyone will know it!” I have to fall back on the statement a fledgling writer posted on a writers’ bulletin board years ago. Paraphrased, she said, “Whether or not people buy my work, read my work, or like my work, I write. I’m a writer because I write.”
Q. When you need some extra encouragement to whom do you turn?
I get encouragement from my family members and one or two very close friends. I am encouraged by much of what I read, as well. (There’s yet another good reason for writers to read.)
Q. How do you market your book?
I’m no expert on marketing, but I try to be diligent in applying every technique I learn (so long as it doesn’t swamp the budget boat). I read everything I see on how others are marketing, and I attempt as many of their methods as I can. Mark Coker at Smashwords gives many good lessons to indie authors, and I read whatever he writes. I have met some authors on Twitter who gave me pointers to improve my presence on social media. Based on advice I have read or received, I have done many things, including:
published multiple titles and in multiple formats;
book giveaways on Goodreads, and free books on Smashwords;
Countdown sales on Amazon;
presence on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and several online author discussion groups, such as ChristianWriters.org, Goodreads, even Paperback Attack (know that one?).
I’ve given away discount coupons for my books (Smashwords has an easy system for that);
consulted professional cover artists and employed their services in creating marketable covers (I’m even having one cover redesigned at this very moment, following advice from several reviewers);
joined authors’ groups such as Florida Writers Association and Writers4Kids (Lady Lake, FL), which has led to participation in book signing event at a local Barnes & Noble store;
joined the Wattpad writers/readers website (one of Mark Coker’s suggestions), where I have met wonderful writers and readers and been able to give and receive valuable and encouraging feedback.
printed up colorful bookmarks and notecards illustrated by my book covers and containing contact and purchasing information.
Q. Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us what they said.
A. One advantage of Wattpad membership has been that writers and readers are constantly exchanging comments and questions about the writers’ stories. I have also received thank-you notes in connection with book giveaways. Mostly, readers tell me they laughed at something in the book, and that makes me very happy. Several have told me the reading experience was so joyful that they will reread the book in the future when they need to brighten a dark time in their lives.
Q. Whom do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
A. I definitely wouldn’t trust anyone who tends toward brutal honesty! I’m hard enough on myself! I need kindness and encouragement, not criticism. Too many people believe they haven’t given a thorough review of the book if they haven’t found something (no matter how small) to condemn. Nihilism and negativity are the hallmarks of what many people consider to be “serious literature” or “culture.” This is why light comedies don’t win Academy Awards, romance novels don’t win Pulitzers or Nobel Prizes. I don’t write for literary critics, and I don’t listen to them.
Q. Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
A. It was hilarious. The bookstore didn’t really have enough space; some of the writers had to bring in their own folding tables from their cars, and even then there were three or four authors at each table, politely jockeying for space to display their books. Also, it was a three-day holiday weekend, and apparently everyone who might have been shopping had gone to the beach instead. There were a dozen writers for every one potential reader who attended! And, while I remembered my notecards and books, I forgot to bring table decor or food. A good friend scattered hard candies across my table, thank goodness. Also, I didn’t have one of those fantastic easels with the three-foot-high portrait poster advertising the author’s presence. But that wasn’t the worst part. I’m a Christian author, specializing in “clean fun,” and I was wedged into the center of a table of three authors. The one on my left wrote horror novels, and each of the book covers spread across that section of table was more lurid and gruesome than the last. The one on my right had only one book displayed, and only one name for himself — which he said was his “soul’s name.” He specialized in seminars and private sessions wherein he taught people how to “go to the other side” without experiencing actual physical death. He was dressed fit to kill, if you’ll pardon the expression, in a sleek, gray suit without lapels (very Euro-chic), and had brought his own photographer to chronicle the event.
I’m truly looking forward to future book signings, because I’ve been through the crucible now and feel certain any future experiences will shine in comparison.
Q. What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?
A. Music, photography, movies, and hiking.
Q. Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. I know this may seem silly but allow your readers to know more about you.
A. Readers, if you’ve kept reading this far, you deserve every bit of information you can get. Pizza. Sky blue.
Q. Tell us your favorite novel?
A. I hate to answer this because it changes so frequently. I can say that the novel I have loved the longest and re-read the greatest number of times is Jane Eyre. I have to admit it’s not long on comedy, though.
Now a fun game: I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you enjoy.
Q. Library or the movies?
A. I’d like to see more movies about librarians.
Q. Valentine’s day or Easter?
A. Easter for the music, Valentine’s for the chocolate.
Q. Walk on the beach or a walk in the park?
A. Have lived in Florida all my life, but the beach is still nice. Parks are nice, too, except they’re often in cities, and I’m not huge on concrete jungles. The best place to walk is on the slick rock in places like Arches National Park.
Q. Mexican food or Italian food?
A. If I’m cooking, Italian. If I’m eating out, Mexican.
Q. Classical music or Jazz music?
A. Classical if it’s Baroque; jazz if it’s Dixieland.
Q. The smell of leather book bindings or the smell of a new car?
A. True confession: I have virtually no sense of smell. I have to remind myself to incorporate aromas into my sensory descriptions when writing.
Q. Coffee or Espresso?
A. Coffee (with lots of milk, preferable chocolate). No espresso. I’m already a Type A and definitely do not need any additional caffeine!
Q. Chips or crackers?
A. Chips, if there’s dip; crackers, if there’s peanut butter.
Q. Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?
A. Pretty sure I made them all. If anybody knows of a mistake I might not have made, please let me know. But every mistake you find and fix is a good learning experience.
Q. What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?
A. It doesn’t sound profound, but it is: Do not quit. Even when you’re not writing with your hands, you can be writing in your head. And if you’re going to quit, your head will quit first. Then your heart. And finally, your hands. Don’t let it go past step one. Keep writing even when you don’t feel inspired. Ten percent inspiration, ninety percent perspiration, remember?
Q. When in doubt, whom do you trust to help you out?
A. Christian writers and friends, who’ll remind me that I’m not the one in control of my ultimate success. “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for calamity; to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Q. When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
A. I hope to finish a new book this year, but long trips have cut into my writing time. I expect it may be February or March of 2017 before my sixth novel is released. It is humorous, of course, with a sally into the paranormal realm. The working title is Raising the Surburban Werewolf. I am also considering a sequel to FINDING MIRANDA, and readers have asked for sequels of other titles as well.
Q. Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?
A. The paperbacks of FINDING MIRANDA and my other four novels are available on my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Iris-Chacon/e/B00U4AYUZ2.
My author website is: http://www.authoririschacon.wordpress.com

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I’m so glad to have had you stop by Iris. And I don’t know about you guys but my reading list is growing with books such as this!

This has been author’s spotlight. Please follow for next week’s fun interview! Feel free to post questions for Iris. She has lots of wisdom and advice to pass on.

Interview With Author Sharon K. Connell!!!

Sharon
Welcome and thank you so much for joining me for this interview Sharon!

What made you want to be a writer?
I never thought about being a writer but my dear friend Alan O’Reilly, author of Sound of Battle and Desired Haven, along with many non-fiction publications kept after me about putting my experiences in a book. After going through Hurricane Ivan in Pensacola, Florida, he started in on me again and this time I took him up on it. However, what came out was not a thriller, as you would think someone would write going through an experience like that one. It would up being a love story. Yes, I did touch on the results of the hurricane in the novel, but nothing more.

What genre’s do you write or delve into?
My genre is Romantic/Suspense or Drama. I’ve also written some short pieces in the Fantasy genre, which someday will be published in a short story collection.

Tell us about your novel and if how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.)
My current work in progress is His Perfect Love. A story about a bad girl (woman) who realizes that the choices she’s made in life have done nothing but cause her trouble. She’s on the run, hiding from the villain. This character shows up in previous books published before I took any classes in writing. One other character (pulled from my previous novels) shows up in the story but my readers don’t have to worry about not having read the first three novels. All my books stand alone. Some of the characters are simply too good not to mention or have make an encore.
His Perfect Love is in the editing stage right now. I wish I could give you a date when it will be available, but I don’t like setting a deadline. I want to make sure the story is right, a good read, and therefore I don’t rush it. I will keep everyone posted, and you can always check on my website and group forum page on Facebook for updates. It will be offered on Amazon.

How important is it to read when you want and then are an author?
If you mean, how important is it for me to read while I work, I read as often as I can find the time, usually when I can’t write, doctor’s offices, etc. It helps me to see how others do it. I glean what I like.

Is it necessary to take classes to help learn how to creatively write?
I’m not really sure how necessary it is. It has helped me to learn how others in the field create their stories. In times past, people wrote great novels without the benefit of having gone to school to learn the trade. Also, one can read books to learn the various techniques of writing. I think that’s a very personal question for the writer to decide upon.

Tell us about your first three novels.
As I’ve mentioned before, my first three novels were written before I learned so much more about writing, how to attract the reader, how to keep the reader involved in the characters and story, etc. I plan to go back and edit each of those stories, although everyone who has read them thought they were wonderful tales. When I do go back, I won’t change the plot or the basic story, all I’ll do is make the reading of it better.
A Very Present Help is about a young teacher, Shannon, engaged to her childhood sweetheart. They grew up across the street from one another. He breaks off the engagement while serving in the Marines and then brings his new love home for the holidays. In the meantime, an older man decides that he must have the young teacher for his own. Shannon cannot get her mind off another Marine she only met once. She’s going through a time of having to trust God and being tested to the limit. This book was originally a short story, which wound up being made into a novel.
Paths of Righteousness was actually the first story I wrote but was not published until after A Very Present Help. The story is about a young woman, Kathryn, who has lost her entire family. It’s also about a young doctor who had a very trying childhood. They work in the same office and take a dislike to each other immediately. Another man from Kathryn’s past, someone she would rather never see again, shows up and life becomes a tangled web.
There Abideth Hope takes place in Pensacola, Florida where a young nurse, Lynne, formerly serving in the U.S. Navy has decided to settle after leaving the Corp. A killer whom she had testified against in the past shows up and things get stormy. This story touches on human trafficking, drugs and murder.

What about your first three novels do you struggle with?
I struggle with the fact that I wrote them before I knew a lot about writing technique. Therefore, I want to go back and make them better.

What audience do you want to reach and why?
My target audience is wide. The subjects are definitely for adults, however I believe that older teens would find them interesting. I do not believe in writing explicit details of worldly lives. Nor do I use language that cannot be read by anyone. If I refer to expletives, I use that word in my current work. In the previous three novels, I use symbols, such as @%#*@#. These will be changed to read “expletive” when I redo the first three books. My main goal is to show God’s grace and mercy in my tales. I believe any age and any group of people need to learn about that. Christian’s need to learn that they can trust God. The lost need to learn that there is a God who loves them and wants to be there for them.

What kind of impact ‘if any’ do you want your book to have on the next generation?
The next generation needs to know the consequences of not following a loving God. They need to know that they can trust a loving God. They need to know that there are people who can testify to the fact that God is and has always been there for them, if they will simply look to Him.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
Easy question, easy answer. Marketing. I am not a salesperson. If you’re talking strictly about the publishing end, making sure all the formatting is done correctly.

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write.
I’m very fortunate in that I have a separate office from the rest of the house. It is set up with everything at my fingertips. I need all my little writing tips that I refer to almost daily right in front of me (such as the difference between Lay and Lie, the words I should avoid using, and my synonym book). I need to have a cup of coffee nearby, my ongoing outline, character traits notebook and my event in the story calendar at my right side. I really don’t need music, although I do put some on from time to time. But I really love having a window next to me where I can look out and see the front yard, birds in the birdbath and flowering plants when I need to rest my mind. Quiet helps too. LOL A vace of white roses on the end of the desk does a lot for my spirit.

Do you need special treats or goodies to help you write?
I wouldn’t say I need them, but I sure do like them. Preferably Mind Chocolate Cookies. Hee hee

Which do you prefer the most, traditional or self-publishing and why?
I am self-published. The reason for that is simple. I tried for two years to get someone, a publisher, or agent, to even look at my manuscript when I wrote my first book. It was a very disappointing experience. Afterward, I heard from many that because there are so many writers today, it is extremely hard to break into the traditional route of publishing. I know some who did but they are now changing over to self-publishing as well. I am self-published, and very content with it.

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel?
The worst part of publishing my book was worrying that it would not be something anyone would want to read. Those fears are gone now.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
Most of all, I pray. Secondly, I go to those I know have given me encouragement in the past. Most are listed in the acknowledgements in my books.

How do you market your novel?
Being retired, I’m on a fixed income. There is not budget for expensive marketing. My marketing is done on social media and word of mouth. So far it’s served me modestly. I wish I had the money to hired a good marketing group, but it’s not there. Interviews like this one are a great help to get word out about my books. And I thank you for that, Aimee.

Who is the first person who reads your finished manuscripts?
The very first person is me. I also have critiquers who have been reading along as I finish editing my chapters and I have my proofreader/editor as well. I tried to go the route of a Beta Reader but found that they always want to change my style of writing. Perhaps I haven’t found the right one yet, but I think those who read along with me right now are doing a good job.

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
I have never had a book signing. With this current book, I have toyed with the idea but I read so much from other writers who say they were either disappointed in them or don’t think they really add much to getting your books out there that I’m not really sure I will do it. Time will tell.

Since my blog is part about the supernatural and paranormal, do you believe in the supernatural or paranormal realm? Even if it’s not your genre.
I do believe there is supernatural realm. I’m a Christian. God, angels, and the devil are part of that realm. I do not believe in paranormal; however, it does make for interesting stories of fiction. I’ve written about Fairies, and that would fit into that kind of fantasy in a way.

Do you believe in the existence of Jesus and Satan?
I do believe in both. I choose not to dwell on the later or bring any attention to that being. Jesus, on the other hand is Someone I am very eager and willing to talk about.

What sorts of things do you enjoy when you aren’t writing?
Generally, I finish my writing day at dinner time, although there are occasions when I go back to it before bedtime. After dinner I relax and do my Bible reading for the evening. Then I either watch NCIS (depending on the night) or put in a DVD, have coffee and maybe a cookie and stretch my legs. I love gardening and cooking, birdwatching and painting. The last activities are not as often as I’d like because my focus right now is on getting my current story finished.

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. I know this may seem silly but allow your readers to know more about you.
Not silly at all. My favorite food, oh dear, I have so many. LOL I guess my very favorite of all types is ice cream (and there I have many favorites as well). Too many ethnic foods to mention. My favorite color is emerald green, followed by royal purple and snow white. I’m complicated.

If you aren’t writing, what is your idea of a perfect day for Sharon?
A perfect non-writing day for me would be to visit a museum, followed by dinner in a quiet restaurant and a walk in a botanical garden.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors or published authors?
The best advice I can give to any of you is, don’t let anyone discourage you. If you have a story in you, get it out and on paper (in our case today, the PC). Don’t worry about the grammar, if you’ve made mistakes, or if all your ducks are in a row. Get it down. Do it. When you have the complete story written out, go back and in a relaxed manner, read it to yourself (preferably aloud). That’s when you can change things to sound right, correct your spelling and grammar errors (thank God for grammar check and spellcheck), and put in all the little details you were overlooking while trying to get your ideas down. After that, the critiquers and proofreaders and editors can spiffy it up for you.

Do you doubt yourself at times? When you do what helps you get over the slump?
It may seem strange to you, but I don’t think I’ve ever doubted myself as a writer. Yes, I’ve wondered if I’m doing it right at times but doubting being a writer has never come into play. I’ve never had writers’ block either. Not really sure why. If I did get it or start to doubt myself, I think I would simply walk away from it for a while and then come back.

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series.
I mentioned this above. I do not have a date but try to keep my readers posted in my Facebook group forum, on my author page, and on my website. The genre will be as before, Romance/Suspense. No it is not part of a series. I tend to shy away from series, even in my reading. It’s not my thing.

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?
Right now, I do not have a picture of my book. The cover is still in the making, although the artwork has been completed for the cover (it is a secret and will not be released until the book is published, but I can give you a mock up picture. The finished product will be spectacular). The books pictures below are my first three. I’m not sure that I will change the covers of these book, but perhaps tweak them a bit.
Below are all my links:
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/rosecastleplace
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonkconnell (PenandPaperWorld)
Facebook Page: sharonk.connell@facebook.com
Author’s book page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/averypresenthelpbook1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonKConnell
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell
Group Forum on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersandauthorsforum/
And for my book videos:
A Very Present Help by SharonKConnell http://youtu.be/aRGooJjxaHU
Paths of Righteousness by SharonKConnell http://youtu.be/w2JkmYqhFyE
There Abideth Hope by SharonKConnell http://youtu.be/16G7IZaZB9Y

Again, I’m so pleased to have you stop by and interview with us. It was so touching to hear more about you and your wonderful work. Everyone be sure to grab a copy of her novels and follow Sharon for updates of her upcoming novel!!
Sharon Pics

Thank you everyone for following along. Feel free to follow this blog for next week’s spotlight!

Interview With Fantasy Author Miranda Brock!

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Everyone please welcome the lovely and amazingly talented Author of Fantasy, Miranda Brock. We are so pleased to have her here for this interview. Feel free to post questions to her and she will get back to you as soon as she can.
What made you want to be a writer?
I love to create. I have this vivid imagination that never stops going and putting my words onto paper is the best way I can express myself. I have always enjoyed writing and for a long time played with the idea of being a writer. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I decided to really go for it, though. I was finishing up my first novel, Souls Discovered, and thought ‘Hey, maybe this is something I can really do.’ Even in college as I was studying animal science I was still writing stories or poetry whenever I had the chance.

What genres do you write or delve into?
Fantasy is what I enjoy writing the most. I find it thrilling to create new worlds and creatures and characters. I love bringing things to life that do not exist in reality. I also like throwing a little romance into what I write. Souls Discovered leans more toward an urban fantasy type of novel, no elves or wizards in that story, but still plenty of supernatural elements. Poetry is also something I have always enjoyed although I haven’t written anything new in a while.

Tell us about your novel and how it’s available
Souls Discovered is a fantasy novel that centers around Autumn, a seventeen-year-old who has just finished her schooling and has her sights set on college. As she is walking through the forest on her family farm she finds a mysterious necklace, later revealed as ‘The Window’. Autumn takes the necklace home and unknowingly unlocks her destiny as the Keeper. The very next day she encounters a small group of mysterious, and creepy, men who are intent on her capture. Autumn’s family is killed but she is rescued by seven Searchers, protectors whose job it is to look after Autumn and are good-looking, too! As Keeper it is up to Autumn to bestow Power on her Searchers so they can battle Dehmons, the evil and dead-eyed enemies who are after Autumn and the Window. Autumn forms unique and strong bonds of love and friendship with her Searchers. Souls Discovered is not only a good-versus-evil story, it is also a coming-of-age type of book. Autumn has to overcome many obstacles and find her own inner strength. Not only does she have to tap into iron willpower to fight the enemy she also as to keep the essential bonds with her Searchers from weakening through the adversity they face, all while trying to learn how to use and control the Power she suddenly has. This novel has diverse characters, a strong heroine, and supernatural elements and can be found in paperback and ebook at

Do you find yourself identifying with the protagonist Autumn in your story? If yes then tell us how?
Oh, definitely! For one thing Autumn is a country girl who hasn’t seen much of the world. That’s totally me. She also has a stubborn streak that I can really identify with. If someone tells me I can’t do something I’ll work as hard as I can to prove them wrong. I guess that can be a fault sometimes but it certainly works out for Autumn, especially since she has to hold her own in a house full of overprotective Searchers. Autumn is also a very adventurous person and isn’t afraid of a challenge and that can be me at times, too. There are a few other little tidbits of me that I’ve given Autumn. Her fear of ferris wheels, for example. I’ll ride a roller coaster but a ferris wheel? Nope!

What audience do you want to reach and why?
My writing tends to focus on a young adult/new adult audience. I think a lot of young men and women struggle at times to find who they are and what their purpose in life is. My stories often have a coming of age theme and I want my readers to find encouragement from and identify with my main characters. I want readers to see my characters overcome struggles and adversity and be inspired.

What kind of impact ‘if any’ do you want your book to have on the next generation?
Hmm. I’ve never really given that much thought. I mostly just want people to enjoy reading my work. Souls Discovered has a very good-versus-evil element to it. It has a lot of focus on bonds forged with love and friendship and using virtues such as courage, wisdom, and hope to overcome obstacles. If my book was going to have any kind of impact on the next generation it would be that the virtues highlighted in Souls Discovered are amazing tools to get through life and that you should always fight for what you believe in.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest the most?
Waiting for my manuscript to be edited was probably the hardest part for me. Not that I detested it, really, just that I have the tendency to be impatient from time to time. I was so eager to hear back from my editor and couldn’t wait to see the finished product.

Tell us how the atmosphere need to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet, etc.
I write best when I’m upstairs in ‘my space’ as I call it. It’s just a little half of the loft that has my bookshelves, art supplies, and artwork. There’s a table and chair next to a window that I sit at. I love to open the window in the spring and summer while I write. Our house is in the country so the only sounds I hear are the chickens and the wild birds. It really creates a very peaceful setting. I do listen to music occasionally as I write and the kind of music I listen to really depends on what I’m working on at the time. For example, if I’m writing a battle scene I always listen to Dropkick Murphys. They’re a Celtic punk band and when I have them playing it really helps to set the mood for what I want in a fight scene. I also enjoy playing film scores from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies as I write. Of course, complete silence is called for sometimes, too, but with a four year old and a two year old in the house that can be hard to come by.

Do you need special treats or goodies to help you write?
I have a major sweet tooth so when I go upstairs to write I usually have a few cookies or a bowl of ice cream or the like with me. I don’t really need them, in fact my thighs would probably be better off if I didn’t have such a fondness for sweets, but I do enjoy them. I always have either coffee or water with me while I write.

Which do you prefer the most, traditional or self-publishing and why?
Souls Discovered is my first and only published work so far. I went the self-published route. I did a lot of research on traditional versus self-publishing before I published my novel. I decided to self-publish in large part because I want to be in control of my work and I can do things my own way and in my own time. I also love the community of self-published and indie authors. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging. I may decide to go through a traditional publisher someday but right now I am content with where I am.

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? If it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
Self-doubt, for sure. A lot of times I would find myself wondering if what I was writing was good enough or if people would enjoy my work. I finally told myself ‘you know what? I love writing. It makes me happy and what does it matter if people like it or not?’ I’ve decided that I’m not going to worry about whether readers like my work or not. I write because I find it freeing and invigorating. If other people happen to enjoy reading my work then that is just an amazing bonus.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
My husband, Justin. He is always there for me, whether it’s to boost my morale or to tell me to chill out and that everything will be alright. He is very patient and endlessly supportive.

How do you market your novel?
Marketing has definitely been a learning experience for me. I find marketing more difficult than writing my novel had been. Right now I do most of my promoting and marketing on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. I’m not the most tech savvy person so that in itself holds a lot of new aspects for me but I’m making progress. My husband is also a great salesman for my books. He once sold a copy of Souls Discovered to a man pumping gas next to him. A week later I received an email from the man’s mother telling me how much she enjoyed my book. Hey, whatever works, right?

Who is the first person who reads your finished manuscripts?
That would be my mom. She is an avid reader like me and also enjoys the same genres that I do. I learned from the best! I really value her opinion and I know that I can always count on her for honest and constructive advice.

Tell us about your first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, decor, etc.
I actually haven’t had one yet but I am hoping to have a book signing over sometime this summer. For my first signing I’d really like to have it in a smaller, more intimate setting, such as the local coffee shop. Who doesn’t love coffee and books? I’m really looking forward to the experience and plan on moving to bigger venues from there.

How many book signings should an author have a year?
I think that really depends on the other. Book signings are a great way for readers to engage with the author so I think the more you can have, the better. For me, personally, I would love to have at least three book signings in a year.

Since my blog is part about the supernatural and paranormal, do you believe in the supernatural or paranormal realm? Even if it’s not your genre.
Well, the best way I can answer that is, yes and no. I do not believe that people can have magical powers or telekinesis or anything like that. I also do not believe in the existence of ghosts and such. I do, however, believe in God and I guess a lot of people would consider Him a supernatural being. So, in a sense, I do believe in the supernatural but only as it pertains to God and the amazing things that He can do.

Do you believe in the existence of Jesus and Satan?
Absolutely! I couldn’t get through my days if I didn’t have Jesus!

What do you believe is the way someone can get to heaven?
In my opinion the only way you can get into heaven is through Jesus Christ. Admitting you are a sinner and asking forgiveness for your sins. Just because you are a good person, do good things, and believe in God does not mean you will go to heaven.

What sort of things do you enjoy when you aren’t writing?
When I’m not writing I’m usually drawing or painting. I love being creative and if I’m not writing a novel I enjoy drawing characters from my works. I’m wanting to get some of my pieces up on my website sometime in the future. My mind is always full of ideas so if I’m not creating something I’ll go crazy. I’ve also gotten into sewing over the past couple of years, though my skills have only progressed so far as to make hand warmers. I also love being outdoors, whether it’s gardening, fishing, hiking, or camping. Horses are a big passion of mine, too. I don’t have any right now but hope to have horses again and get back in the saddle sometime in the next few years.

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. I know this may seem silly but allow your readers to know more about you.
This is a very broad answer but I love seafood! If we go out for Italian, I get something with seafood in it. Same if we go out for Chinese or Mexican food. I can’t get enough seafood, though I don’t have it as often as I would like. I’m also very fond of cheesecake! My favorite color is green. It is such a vibrant and beautiful color. Since I’m such a nature lover I just tend to favor green.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors or published authors?
The best advice I can give is to just write. Don’t worry about what other people will think of your work. If writing is something you really enjoy then just do it and don’t give up. There will be times when you can’t think of anything to write and you just want to quit but keep at it. Keep writing, even if you thing what you’re writing sounds awful. It doesn’t matter what you are writing or how well you are writing, just that you are writing.

Do you doubt yourself at times? When you do what helps you get over the slump?
Of course. This may seem silly but when I find myself doubting or in a slump I like to get out my quote book. I love collecting quotes so whenever I find a good one I write it down. It’s always great to go back and read through them and find inspiration and encouragement. One of my favorites is “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours” by Henry David Thoreau. There are so many others that help lift my spirits, too!

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series?
I am currently working on the sequel to Souls Discovered and plan on releasing it sometime next year, though I don’t have an exact date yet. It will be a YA urban fantasy as well and I hope to have at least four books in this series.

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book? Also, where can readers follow you?
My website is http://www.mirandabrockauthor.com. Readers can also find me at http://www.goodreads.com/miranda_brock , http://www.facebook.com/miranda.brockauthor (I don’t have an author page on facebook as I like to connect with readers and fellow authors more personally so I accept friend requests) and http://www.twitter.com/miranda_brock1

Thank you so much Miranda for interviewing! What a wonderful novel your book sounds. I hope you all will grab a copy of…
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This Week In Our Author’s Spotlight We Have Author Karne Sjullie!

Karen

    Meet our wonderful new author Karen Sjullie!  Her interview will inspire you. Feel free to ask her any questions you may have!

 

  • What made you want to be a writer? I have always had an imagination and used it while growing up. In my teenage years I dreamed of being a writer. After I got married I wrote short stories and poetry which I never submitted. At the time I did not know where to send them. In 1992 I took a course through the mail at the Institute of Children’s Literature. I graduated July 26, 1993. I learned so much and the course was interesting and fun.  At the time I was working and raising kids so I never pursued my passion.  I still dreamed of writing a novel so in 2011 I took an online writing course on how to shape, write and sell your novel from Long Ridge Writer’s Group. I graduated June 28, 2012. I wrote the first three chapters during the course. I was determined to finish my novel since I ONLY had at least twenty-four more chapters to write.
  • What genre’s do you write or delve into? The Hostage Within is a mystery. I enjoyed filling it with action and adventure.
  • Tell us about your novel and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.) The Hostage Within is about Frank Jordess and his wife Alice. They have a happy fulfilling life until the unexpected death of their 13year-old son. Five years later both are still distraught. Frank kidnaps a young boy in hopes of filling the void in their life. Events occur and spiral out of control as other lives are changed as well as their own. The story takes place in the high desert of California and includes Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona.  The Hostage Within is available in paperback and kindle through amazon.com   Also in paperback through major book stores.
  • Is there any truth to the couple who lose their child?  My story is based on fiction. As I started writing it seemed to evolve on its own.
  • What audience do you want to reach and why? The Hostage Within is for adults. It has some adult content.
  • What kind of impact ‘if any’ do you want your book to have on the next generation? By the time I finished writing my novel, I could tell it had a profound message for readers. We do not realize it at the time, but many events in our lives happen for a reason.
  • Which part of the publishing process do you detest most? Marketing/Promoting. It takes a lot of time, patience and a different level of creativity.  I would much rather be writing, though I know the importance of getting your novel into the hands of readers.
  • Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc. The room has to be absolutely quiet for me to write. Sometimes I will sit outside writing to hear the sounds of nature and the city. Those sounds are the only noise I want to hear.
  • Do you need special treats or goodies to help you write?  I usually don’t eat while I’m writing. I get into the story and characters so much that I don’t want to stop writing.
  • Which do you prefer the most, traditional or self-publishing and why? I prefer self-publishing because my experience with Createspace was great. The step by step instructions were easy to understand and fun to do. The easy and yet professional process sold me on Createspace. It is also easy to track your sales, payments and royalties.
  • What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel?  I was excited to publish my novel, yet nervous for people to read it. I wondered if they would like the story as much as I did.
  • When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to? My friends, they are always there for me and have encouraged me to finish my novel and to start another one.
  • How do you market your novel? I use facebook, linkedin, twitter. I sent press releases to all the newspapers in my area as a local author and to the newspaper in California where the story takes place.  The Hesperia Star newspaper in California wrote a wonderful article by L. J. Gambone about myself and my book.  I haven’t heard from the other newspapers.
  • Who is the first person who reads your finished manuscripts? I was the first one to read my book. In the future I will ask a friend to read it first before publishing.
  • Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc. I have not had a book signing yet. I hoped local people would see it in the newspaper. I am trying to promote locally now and would love to have a book signing in the near future.
  • Since my blog is part about the supernatural and paranormal, do you believe in the supernatural or paranormal realm? Even if it’s not your genre. I believe in angels and ghosts. My first experience with an angel was in the 1970’s. On vacation from Iowa to Hurricane Mills, Tennessee with my husband, young daughter and mother-in-law. We had reservations for a cabin at Lorretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch. My husband drove most of the day. My mother-in-law took over driving towards evening. I was in the passenger seat. My husband and daughter were asleep in the backseat. We would arrive at our destination at ten o’clock. Something made me wake up. I screamed seeing the car off the highway and heading straight for a gray brick wall. Mom woke up and slammed on the brakes as the car skidded to a stop, a couple feet from the wall (there was a bridge over the highway). We had both fallen asleep. After crying we thanked our guardian angel who kept us safe and more alert after that.  Seeing a ghost for the first time is a real eye opener. At the time we lived in a house in Hesperia, California. It was in the 1980’s when my son and daughter were young. My husband worked nights. I woke up for some reason, as I, laid in bed I noticed at my bedroom door stood a tall man, the whitish gray image appeared to be wearing a long tailed suit coat, like in the old days. I stared not believing my eyes and too afraid to say anything. The form walked across the hall and stood for a moment outside of my son’s bedroom door. Then he walked away. My daughter’s bedroom was on the other end of the house. I told my husband, he didn’t believe in ghosts. Not wanting to scare the kids, I never told them about the ghost. I never felt threatened by it and saw it many times after that night.  Years later after the kids were grown we moved away and I never saw the ghost again.  One day my daughter said, “Remember the ghost we had on Willow street?”  I about fell over!  I asked, “Did you see him?”  She said, “Yes, he always stood at my bedroom door at night, then he would walk away.” We talked about the ghost who protected us.
  • Do you believe in the existence of Jesus and Satan? Yes, I believe in God, Jesus and Satan.  On my facebook author page: http:www.facebook.com/desertwriter2   I posted a poem “Our Hope’ about this very subject.  It has been published.
  • What sorts of things do you enjoy when you aren’t writing? I enjoy working in my yard. Taking care of flowers and pulling weeds. I love to travel. Each summer my husband and I plan at least a two, week vacation traveling to see family and sights also  cities and states we have never been to before.
  • Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. I know this may seem silly but allow your readers to know more about you. My favorite foods are pizza, ice cream and glazed donuts.  I have two favorite colors, blue and red.
  • What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors or published authors? Start writing early in your life. Keep writing and trust your imagination.  I waited too long to seriously start writing a book. I regret I waited so long.
  • What helpful advice can you give to a couple who has endured the death of a child? Losing a child has to be the most horrific event in life. In my research, I learned Therapy is the single most important aspect of recovering from a loss. It is a form of depression. I also learned many people do not accept the help they are offered. They are too depressed and unforgiving with the circumstances to seek help. I made my story depict this type of person. If you know someone who has lost a child, hug them and let them know you care and that you are there for them.
  • Do you doubt yourself at times? When you do what helps you get over the slump? I doubt myself all the time. To me the story is good. I need friends, family and fans to tell me they truly enjoyed my book. Reviews are great though not many people are willing to write a book review.
  • When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. I am working on my second novel. It will also be a mystery. My projected publishing date is this time next year.
  • Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book? (Please include a jpg of your book cover) My author page is: http://www.facebook.com/desertwriter2 The Hostage Within’ is available in paperback and kindle through amazon.com   also in paperback through major book stores. Kindle Unlimited and Prime reads free.  Anyone can read the first 3 chapters free on the kindle edition at amazon.com

 

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Thanks for sharing all these wonderful things with us Karen! Now readers and fellow authors, she’s all yours. Ask her anything you’d like to get to know her. And check out “The Secret Within” at any of the retailers she’s given! Follow her for future updates and follow blog for more amazing interviews!