Category Archives: suspense

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!

New Author Spotlight with Sharon K Connell!

I’m so thrilled to have an author we’ve had grace our presence before. She’s super duper talented, and one of the kindest people I have met. I’m talking about Author Sharon K. Connell.  Sharon thanks for joining us today!  I’m so glad you’ve agreed to chat again so let’s get going!

Sharon

 

 

What drives you to continue writing?

There seems to be a never quenchable thirst to tell a story. I don’t know how to explain it any other way. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

                                                                                                                     

Tell us your series genre?

I don’t write series. All of my books stand alone as stories, although they may have characters in them that have appeared in one or two of my other novels.

 

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

My newest novel is His Perfect Love. Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

 

This is one of the most stunning covers I’ve seen. I’m so impressed you painted it! Tell us how long have you been a painter?

The painting on my cover is not actually my painting. My book cover was done by Miriam Rue, the daughter of missionaries to the Ukraine. Her parents and I attended The Pensacola Bible Institute together. Miriam took the picture that I sent her and created the beautiful book cover you see on His Perfect Love. However, I am also an artist and created a painting using her finished book cover as the subject.

 

How long did it take you to complete this painting?

The painting I started took a few months to create. I believe Miriam worked on my book cover for about the same length of time.

 

What inspiration did you hold onto while painting this cover?

As I said, my painting is not actually the cover for the book, but what I did was think long and hard about the story I wrote and tried to decide what inspirational message within the story would be best represented by the cover of the book.

 

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

The instruction you receive from other authors, whether it is in their style of writing or the words they use or don’t use, is all gleaned from reading other author’s works. Sometimes you will read a book and think to yourself, I would have written it this way, or I wouldn’t have said that. Other times you read a story and think to yourself, that’s exactly the right way to say that, or I wish I had written that. All the books you read by other authors can help you develop your own style of writing and teach you what to do or not to do.

 

What book genre do you enjoy reading the most?

My reading preference is Historical novels set in what is now the United Kingdom but originally different countries.

 

What genre will you absolutely refuse to read and why?

I don’t read horror or paranormal. Sorry. I know that’s what you write, Aimee, but that’s not my interest. I also do not read anything other than what we call “clean reads.” SciFi is another genre that I’m really not interested in.

 

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

Everyone has their own idea of what a good read is, and we are all different in our likes and dislikes. Some people love J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m one of those people. While others don’t care for his writing at all. It’s all a matter of perspective. One cannot take a bad review to heart, no matter how much it may hurt when you first read it. The best way to get over that hurt is to look at what was said, and decide if there is anything you can learn from that.

 

What message do you want to send through your book?

My books are all about God’s love and mercy. The message I want people to walk away with is that God is in control. He will allow things into your life to either teach you a lesson, something you have yet to learn, or to help you grow as a Christian.

 

What age range of readers is for your new novel?

I’d say that my novel is for anyone who is old enough to read an entire novel all the way up to senior citizen. Because my works are clean reads, they are suitable for anyone. A young person will not find anything in the stories that they wouldn’t hear on the daily news. They would more likely hear something offensive there, whereas the only offensive thing they would read in my stories would be the unlawful act of a stalker, and even those actions are not explicit, only hinted, such as attacking a woman with a knife, or looking at her in an uncomfortable way.

 

What encouragement can you give to the aspiring author?

The best encouragement I can give is to read all you can about writing, take classes (there are many free classes online today), and get started writing. Read what other authors have written. Learn what you do and don’t like. And most of all, if you know you are called to write, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

Have you ever had writers block? If so, how did you handle it? What are some tips to others who may experience a terrible case of writers block?

I think I have the opposite of Writers’ Block. As I mentioned before, once I decided to write, I couldn’t stop. I may a few moments when I don’t know what is coming next in a scene, but it doesn’t last long, so I can’t call it a block. I know. I’m an oddity. All I can tell others is that if you do get writer’s block, walk away from the manuscript. Take some time off. Read a book. Go online and enjoy someone’s writing prompt (especially on my group forum LOL). Whatever you do, don’t get frustrated. That would only make it worse. Go shopping. Take a trip. But always keep a notepad handy for when the ideas start up again. You’re a writer. Eventually, you’ll start writing again.

 

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

With Patricia, I believe the only characteristic I would relate to is her being of Celtic decent and the fact that she has doubts, fears, and desires love. But then, we all do.

 

What are some of the challenges that face Patricia?

I’m not going to go into much of that because I don’t want to give a spoiler. I will say that one of the biggest challenges Patricia faces in the story is fear and doubt.

 

What gave you the idea to write this new novel “His Perfect Love?”

When I first wrote about this character, it was in my first book, A Very Present Help. She wasn’t a nice person in that story. She shows up again in Paths of Righteousness in a situation with the hero, and still isn’t very nice. When I wrote my third book, There Abideth Hope, Patricia wasn’t in it at all, but I kept thinking about this poor girl. I decided that she had to have a story all her own.

 

I see there are three men pursuing Patricia. Be honest lol. Which one did you crush on and why?

Not telling. No spoilers. It would give it away. Hee hee hee

 

In publishing your novel, which part do you absolutely love?

Holding the finished product in my hands.

 

Tell your readers yet again, how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write? Example, music on or quiet etc.

You may not believe this, but I can write in almost any atmosphere. I have my own office, which is wonderful. I often play music, and I have a window at my side where I can watch the birds coming to my little birdbath (they often sit at the window and look in at me), and look out at the varying skies of Texas. But, I can also writing in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, sitting in the car waiting for someone, stretched out on the loveseat in the living room. At the kitchen table while I’m cooking, on the screened in back porch while Sheila (the dog) is checking out the yard and chasing squirrels. I’m flexible as a writer.

 

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

COFFEE!

 

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. 

The worst thing was lack of funds. I thought that was going to stop me for good. Then a fellow author I had been confiding in told me about CreateSpace and that I could self-publish. It made a world of difference.

 

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

I do a lot of praying. I also talk to friends who I’ve found are all so supportive.

 

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

I do my own marketing online. There will be some opportunities to have book signings coming up, thanks to my local American Christian Fiction Writers group, Writers on the Storm, but mostly marketing is a job of making posts about my writing in every possible outlet I can find where readers are likely to show an interest.

 

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

The worst thing was when I first started out writing and joined a writers’ group where the members had no idea how to critique someone else’s writing. Most of the comments were negative, and probably well-deserved since I had no idea what I was doing. My background was good as far as grammar and language, but I needed to learn a lot about story structure. All they knew how to do was tell me what they didn’t like. Only on a rare occasion was a comment made which was constructive criticism. Being a Christian for so many years helped in this area, as I’ve run into many people who criticism my faith. You just step back, evaluate what was said, and if there’s any truth in it, you fix it. If it’s not true, you let it roll off of you like water off a duck (I know, cliché…but it’s true and it fits).

 

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

No one read the entire book from beginning to end when I’ve done the last tweak except for my editor. Before I send it to my editor, I have already send one chapter at a time to my critique partners in the Scribes Loop of ACFW. After that I go through the entire story myself. This process isn’t for everyone. Many writers I know have Alpha and Beta readers who read the story first, but I do it this way.

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

When I’m not writing, I’m painting, gardening, bird watching, moon-gazing, and reading (of course).

 

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

Don’t know about that “wonderful” part, I’m just like everyone else. But, my favorite food is ice cream. I can’t resist it. And, I have three favorite colors: white, emerald green, and royal purple.

 

Tell us your favorite novel?

Lord of the Rings, with The Hobbit a close second.

 

What is your favorite classic movie?

McLintock with John Wayne. Or if you mean older, I guess it would be White Christmas.

 

I know you have pizza Fridays. What’s your favorite kind of pizza? What drink do you always have to go along with it?

My favorite is Spinach with Marinara Sauce instead of Alfredo. I also have Coke, sometimes Vanilla, sometimes Cherry.

 

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

Crime or mystery novel? Mystery

Singing Christmas carols or watching someone sing Christmas carols? Singing them.

Lighting New Year’s fireworks or watching it outside?

 

Neither. I don’t like fireworks except on the 4th of July and then I like watching.

 

A kindle or a paperback? Paperback only.

I want a real book, although I do appreciate my Kindle readers.

 

Paperback or hardcover? Hardcover

Favorite pie during the holidays? Pecan

Pie or cake? Pie

Holiday flavored creamers or regular creamers? I like both.

Espresso or regular coffee? Both

Name some of the delicious things you like to eat during New Year’s Eve and day? My own fruit cake, made using my grandmother’s recipe for raison cake.  And DARK CHOCOLATE covered cherries.

Are there any mistakes you have made during the publishing process? How did you learn from them? Yes, publishing the first three books before I really knew how to write.

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out? My writer friends, if you’re referring to doubt about my writing.

What is one thing you’d like to address to your faithful readers? I appreciate every one of you, and hope that I will always write stories that you will love to read.

Do you have a mailing list? Give us the address to sign up!

If you go to my website, http://sharonkconnell.com/ you will see a signup box for my monthly newsletter. If you need to get in touch with me for something, you can always reach me at any of the links below.

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 have no deadline to meet for my next new novel and I’ll be working on my first three novels before I start that one. I do not write series, mainly because I don’t enjoy series myself. I like all my stories to stand alone so no one has the fear of reading one of my books and feeling like they should have read the one before it. My genre is Christian Romance Suspense with a bit of mystery. My first three novels are on Amazon, but I would prefer that my readers wait until I have rewritten them before they read them, so they can enjoy the stories the way they should have been written. I will be keeping everyone up to date on my progress in my newsletters.

 

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

Following are my links:

Website: http://sharonkconnell.com/

 

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

 

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

 

Group Forum on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersandauthorsforum/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonKConnell

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Blogging on Niume: https://niume.com/pages/profile/?userID=52569

 

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

 

And my book video:

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

perfect-love

Thanks so much, Sharon for your inspiration and your time and this wonderful new novel!  It’s sitting on my writing desk and going to be devoured soon. Ya’ all need to get online and grab one of her novels!

 

Join us next time for our all new Author Spotlight!