Sneak peek: A new #LeiCrimeKW mystery — Dead Man Lying



That’s right: I’m about to launch a new book. Dead Man Lying is a new Lei Crime Kindle World novella.

I know many of you liked FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm from Torn Roots and Palm Trees & Snowflakes. You’ll be happy to know she returns in Dead Man Lying, along with the beginning of the whole Lei Crime Kindle World, Maui police detective “Lei Texeira herself.

It will launch along with a new crop of Lei Crime KW titles in June. For now, here’s a peak at Chapter 1.

Vanessa paused at the edge of the forest to try to rub some of the dirt off her shoes. “Steve Sangster. I can’t believe I’m investigating his death. Did you like his music, Detective Texeira?”

“Call me Lei. Yeah, I love all that folksy-rock stuff. I even had one of Steven Sangster’s albums as a girl. Did you?”

Vanessa could not repress a smile. “I was a big fan. I had all his old CDs — still do. I had such a crush on him when I was 16. He was so handsome.”

Lei smiled back. “The blue eyes and the square chin, huh?”

So this is the famous Lei Texeira, Vanessa thought, looking at the slender detective with her peripheral vision while appearing to study the heiau. She was small for a cop, but athletic, with beautiful big brown eyes and a sprinkle of freckles across her cheeks and nose. Her features spoke of a mixture of Hawaiian, Asian and European extraction. Her dark brown curls rippled to her shoulders, and Vanessa wondered briefly how much of the curling was due to the incredible humidity of Hana, on Maui’s rain coast.

“Is this where it happened?” said an unfamiliar voice. Vanessa and Lei turned and Vanessa’s shoe slipped again. Her knee buckled and she almost went down, but Lei’s small hand grabbed her arm, steadying her. Vanessa was impressed — Lei was stronger than she looked.

Steady again on the wet lava, she looked up to see a short, balding man letting the yellow police tape down behind him.

“Don’t the words ‘Do not cross’ mean anything to you?” Lei demanded, stepping toward the man.

“I’m Simon Sangster. He — the victim … I mean, he was my father,” the man stammered. He did not step back, but actually put a foot up on the lava rock.

“I’m sorry for your loss, Mr. Sangster, but you still cannot step past the yellow tape.”

The man scowled, straightened his back and puffed out his little chest, which did not protrude nearly as much as his belly. “Now that my father is … this is now my property.”

“Even so, this is a crime scene and you’ll have to step back past the yellow tape,” Lei retorted. She lifted the tape for him.

“It’s so that no one compromises the investigation,” Vanessa offered. “Please, step back.”

“In-investigation?” he said, seeming to deflate. “I thought it was an accident?”

“We’ll have to wait for the coroner’s final report to know that,” said Lei. She stepped off the heiau and took the younger Sangster by the arm.

Vanessa had one foot off the lava platform when a tree beside the path exploded and a boom rolled up the hill. Lei dove between the trees, pushing Sangster with her. Vanessa dropped and rolled, conscious of her jacket tearing on the rock, ending up half buried under bushes with long, pointed leaves. The top half of a young koa tree toppled. She waited, counting to five before lifting her head. Her face was wet from the bushes and covered with bits of shredded wood.

About the book

When a once-famous singer is found dead on his own estate on Maui, it’s all FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm can do to untangle the webs of lies spun by every member of the singer’s family. Dead Man Lying is a new addition to the Lei Crime Kindle World, based on characters and settings created by Toby Neal.

Dead Man Lying will launch in June 2016.

You can win a free e-copy by leaving a comment below.

Happy Mother’s Day: A mother in wartime Ukraine



The third book in the series that began with Army of Worn Soles and continued in Under the Nazi Heel launches February 22, 2017. Read the conclusion of Maurice’s story in Walking Out of War.

Creative Commons archive

Today’s post is a Mother’s Day tribute to a mother out of history: Tekla Kuritsa, the mother of my father-in-law, Maurice Bury. This is an excerpt for Army of Worn Soles, the story of Maurice’s conscription into the Red Army in 1941, his experience fighting the German invasion called Operation Barbarossa, his capture as a prisoner of war and his escape. At the end, he finds how his mother, a diminutive yet very strong woman, fights the war in her own way.

Out of uniform, out of the army, out of prison, Maurice was now under the command of his mother. Tekla Kuritsa did not allow her son to do anything but rest for a whole month. The harvest over, she paid young local boys to do what remained: manuring fields and fixing fences.

Day by day, Maurice regained weight and strength. At first, he sat in the kitchen, drinking tea and reading newspapers.

Nothing but German-approved propaganda. This paper actually says we Ukrainians are happy to be occupied by Germany.

Idleness quickly lost its allure. Maurice decided to make sure the farm was ready for winter. He started with chopping firewood. Just a half-hour a day, relishing in his ability to split logs with a single blow, chopping and sawing harder, and lasting longer each day.

One evening, Tekla took Maurice to the shed beside the barn for a chore he would find much more enjoyable.

“Is that a still?” he asked. “Mama, are you making vodka?”

“It’s not very good, but the German officers like it,” she said. She set him to work.

Maurice liked the opportunity to concentrate on a task, drawing a spoonful of clear liquor, carefully closing the valve then setting fire to the spoon. If the liquor burned with a blue flame, it was “proof,” good enough for sale.

One evening, Maurice filled six four-litre jugs and put them on a small wagon.

“Good boy,” Tekla said and buttoned her coat. “I’ll take this to the village.”

“Why?”

“To sell to anyone who wants it, of course. But mostly it goes to German officers.”

“It’s getting too late to go out, Mama,” Maurice said. “It’s almost curfew.”

“That’s the time men want to buy vodka,” she said, buttoning her coat.

“It’s too dangerous for a woman out in the evening. Let me go.”

She shook her head. “Maurice, you strong men don’t know how things work in wartime,” she said, patting his cheek. “An old lady out in the evening is much safer than a man. What would the patrols do if they caught you out after curfew?”

“Throw me in jail.”

“They would probably shoot you on the spot, sweetie. But they see an old lady struggling with a heavy wagon, they think of their own mothers.”

“Some of these bastards would just as soon shoot their own mothers.”

“That’s when I sell them some vodka.” She smiled and kissed him.

Maurice watched her pull the wagon to the road until she vanished into the evening gloom. He did not realize he was smiling as he shook his head.

Army of Worn Soles cover

Army of Worn Soles

My mother. After all I’ve been through, she’s going to sell cheap liquor to the Germans. She’s the bravest person I’ve ever seen.

About Army of Worn Soles

A Canadian is drafted into the Soviet Red Army during World War 2, just in time to be thrown against Nazi Germany’s invasion in Operation Barbarossa. Caught in the vise of the Nazi and Communist forces, Maurice Bury concentrates on keeping his men alive as they retreat across Ukraine from the German juggernaut. Now the question is: will they escape from the hell of the POW camp before they starve to death?

Available on Amazon.

Army of Worn Soles is the first book in the Walking Out of War trilogy. You can find the other two books on Amazon in e-book or print form.

Sydney Rye Kindle World Week: Fatal Interest by Julie Gilbert



Day 5 of Sydney Rye Kindle World Week

I’m very excited to be a part of the launch of the Sydney Rye Kindle World has  launched. As an extended St. Paddy’s Day present from me to you, valued readers, Written Words presents excerpts from each of the seven novellas in the project.

In today’s installment from Fatal Interest, Julie Gilbert takes Sydney and her gigantic dog Blue into the world of the Ghost Girl.

FatalInterestWO

I cursed, or at least I tried to. I think it came out as fudge as my brain was still working off Nadia’s child-friendly list. Kicking the door so I wouldn’t break my hand, I shouted for Carly to open the door. Hearing the sound of disengaging locks, I stopped kicking the door and waited.

Carly opened the door and waved me in.

“She’s not here,” she said wearily. “I told her not go, but she doesn’t listen to me. I mean it’s like she’s not even the same person anymore. She’s so moody and withdrawn.”

“Where is she this time?” I demanded.

“She snuck off with David Richter,” said a voice from behind me.

Whirling, I saw Bethany Westcott in the threshold. Her blond hair looked like she’d recently showered. Her blue eyes held plenty of anger, but I could tell she was calculating whether or not she wanted to give me more details.

“Where did they go?” I asked. After waiting an appropriate interval for her to answer, I continued, “I need to find her if I’m going to write her up for this.”

“Don’t! She can’t afford another report.” Carly looked genuinely upset. “Please. She’ll come out of this funk eventually. I know it.”

The protest had pulled my gaze to Carly, but I shifted my attention back to Bethany. She still looked uncertain. I thought the idea of getting Andrea into trouble might appeal, but then it occurred to me that if she was with David Richter, I’d have to write him up too. That must be the source of Bethany’s hesitation, her high school crush.

“I don’t have to write them up,” I said, changing my approach. “But I do need to find them.”

“I think they’re headed to the woods,” Bethany admitted, after another lengthy pause. She sniffed. “I don’t know what he sees in her. She’s a geek. He’s way out of her league.”

“You’re just jealous David didn’t ask you to the woods,” Carly taunted.

I speared the girl with a sharp look. My presence was the only thing preventing Bethany from lashing out with more than words.

The Westcott girl mentally murdered Carly a few times.

“Thank you for your help, Bethany. Please return to your room.” I wanted her gone and fast.

Her expression darkened at being dismissed, but she finally stomped back to her room and slammed the door.

Turning back to Carly, I gave her my best disapproving look. She lowered her head like a puppy waiting to be scolded.

“You shouldn’t provoke people like that.”

“I know, but she needs to be knocked off her high horse sometimes.”

The expression caused my eyebrows to lift. It sounded like something my grandmother would say. Given Carly’s wisplike figure, I decided to talk some sense into her.

“A lot of people in life are going to require similar correction, but it’s usually best not to take the direct approach with them. They tend to come with large wallets, long memories, and a vindictive streak that can come back to bite you later.”

What’s Fatal Interest about?

Sydney Rye doesn’t believe in ghosts … until she meets one.

Without warning, the Ghost Girl appears in her room and tells her to expect a phone call. Despite the strangest referral ever, Sydney accepts what appears to be a simple case of high class mischief at an exclusive boarding school.

The Head Mistress can’t tell her much, but she fears one of the students might be in danger. Rooms are being searched seemingly at random, and the list of potential targets stretches to nearly everybody. Still, compared to Sydney’s other cases, this one has all the markings of an open/shut one for her and Blue.

Looks can be deceiving.

Somebody has a keen interest in this small, posh school, and it’s up to Sydney and Blue to expose the bad guys before that interest turns fatal.

About the author

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)

Julie Gilbert teaches high school chemistry and writes books in a wide range of genres, including Young Adult science fiction, Children’s, fantasy, poetry, Christian mystery, mystery/suspense, mystery/thriller, and traditional science fiction. She is also a huge fan of Star Wars, the Yankees, the Giants and candy.

Before publishing Fatal Interest, Julie published four volumes in the Lei Crime Kindle World:

 

Learn more about Julie at her

And follow her on Twitter: @authorgilbert.

What are Kindle Worlds?

Sydney Rye Kindle World WeekKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Sydney Rye Kindle World is based on the characters and situations created by bestselling author Emily Kimelman.

The Sydney Rye series of vigilante mysteries feature a strong female lead and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, a dash of sex and don’t mind a little salty language. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery with tons of action that will keep you reading late into the night!

Sydney Rye Kindle World Week: Rough Road by Toby Neal



Day 4 of Sydney Rye Kindle World Week

The new Sydney Rye Kindle World launches today—Thursday, March 17. As an extended St. Paddy’s Day present from me to you, valued readers, Written Words presents excerpts from each of the seven novellas in the project.

Today’s installment is from the author who introduced me to the Kindle Worlds concept, the bestseller Toby Neal. With Rough Road, Toby takes Lei Texeira, who will later become a Hawaii police officer, detective and FBI Special Agent, into the world of Sydney Rye and Blue.

RoughRoadCover

Chapter 2

The area around the dirt road was sandy soil, dotted with the round balls of desert sage and tumbleweeds, an occasional barrel cactus or saguaro adding an extra hazard as Lei ran.

Lei had one advantage—she ran a lot. Terror gave her extra speed and she tore through the sagebrush and sand, leaping over a small barrel cactus in her path like a hurdler, never looking back to see if they were catching up to her. Lei’s only advantage was speed, and she couldn’t waste it.

Lei could hear them behind her: panting breath, crunching brush, the occasional curse. She focused on the ground directly ahead of her, thankful that she’d worn her usual outfit of athletic shorts, tank shirt, and a pair of running shoes in spite of Amy’s teasing to get into something cuter.

The sounds of pursuit grew fainter. She was leaving them behind, and it was a good thing too, because she was reaching the limits of her endurance. She hurtled up the long swell of a brush-covered sand dune, breath searing through overworked lungs.

She reached the top and turned, slowing her steps. Her shoes sank in loose, deep sand as she paused, leaning over to rest her hands on her knees and look back.

The two men were already returning to the car. Fernando looked right at her as he opened the door of the truck. He reached in and pulled Amy up by her hair. Looking right at Lei, he flourished his huge Buck knife against her friend’s neck. Lei gasped, covering her mouth with her hands.

He was trying to make her return, by holding Amy hostage.

If Lei went back, he’d just have two girls to torture. If Lei found help, one of them at least might survive. But was she just justifying leaving Amy there to suffer? Lei’s mouth was chalky with the horror of her dilemma.

She took too long to decide.

Slower on his feet, Joao finally reached the vehicle. She saw the men exchange angry words, and Joao got in. Fernando waved the knife toward Lei again, and then unceremoniously shoved Amy into the middle of the seat and climbed in, too, slamming the door. The truck fired up and drove away, churning dust over the red Mustang still fishtailing in its wake.

“Oh my God.” Leis knees buckled and she sat abruptly. She was in the middle of nowhere, in the desert, without water or a cell phone. She hung her head for a moment, getting her breath and her bearings, shaking with delayed shock. “Poor Amy. Oh my God. I have to help her.” She stood up and hiked the few more feet to the top of the dune.
From that vantage point, Lei could see back to the road, an empty line through the desert that led toward the mountains. Those hills were arid and shadowed with shades of mauve, blue and dusty green as afternoon waned. In the other direction, the ocean gleamed in the distance, cool and taunting, behind a bank of dunes.

Might as well head that way. Where there was a beach, there was the possibility of people, and she was afraid to return to that rough, empty road.

What is Rough Road about?

Some bad road trips are still meant to be taken.

Twenty-one year old Lei Texeira and her friend Amy set off on a road trip for Cabo San Lucas, looking for fun in the sun—but a wrong turn leads to danger south of the border. Lei meets Sydney and Blue in the desert, learns the ways of vigilante justice, and a friendship is born. Merl, Sydney’s badass trainer, teaches Lei the sweet rewards of taking a risk and learning to let go. In this prequel to Blood Orchids, (Book One in the Lei Crime Series), Lei makes discoveries that will shape her life and future forever.

Rough Road falls right after Book Two in the Sydney Rye series, Death In the Dark (and thus a year or two before my Sydney Rye book, The Wife Line).

Rough Road is action-packed, sexy, and impossible to put down. Lei and Sydney working together are so good! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Toby will decide to write another.”—Emily Kimelman, author of the Sydney Rye Series

About the author

TobyAndMe3Best-selling author Toby Neal was raised on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where she lives today after “stretches of exile” to pursue education. A mental health therapist, Toby credits that career with adding depth to the characters in the Lei Crime Series. She is a member of BestSelling Reads.

Visit her

 

What are Kindle Worlds?

Sydney Rye Kindle World WeekKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Sydney Rye Kindle World is based on the characters and situations created by bestselling author Emily Kimelman.

The Sydney Rye series of vigilante mysteries feature a strong female lead and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, a dash of sex and don’t mind a little salty language. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery with tons of action that will keep you reading late into the night!

Sydney Rye Kindle World Week: The Catalyst, by DelSheree Gladden



Day 3 of Sydney Rye Kindle World Week

The new Sydney Rye Kindle World launches on Thursday, March 17. As an extended St. Paddy’s Day present from me to you, valued readers, Written Words presents excerpts from each of the seven novellas in the project. Today’s installment is from DelSheree Gladden’s The Catalyst, where the Syndey Rye and Blue world crosses over the Eliza Carlisle reality.

CatalystCover“Before I let you get back to sleep,” Lauren said, “have you been keeping up with local news while you were in LA?”

It seemed like a random question. “No. Why?”

“Uh, no reason,” she said cryptically. “One of my students, could you keep an eye on her while I’m gone? She’s got a lot of talent, but she’s been struggling the last few weeks. She might need a little extra encouragement.”

My head ached from lack of sleep and jetlag, but I smiled. Lauren’s soft heart was a contrast to many of her coworkers at the culinary institute. Some might call it weakness, but I never would. “Who is this student?” I asked.

“Her name’s Eliza Carlisle. She’s a bit of a misfit at times, but like I said, she’s really talented and I would hate to see her get overwhelmed and give up.” Lauren sighed, like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. “Thank you, Hugh. For covering for me, and for keeping an eye on Eliza. You’re a good friend.”

“Yeah, well, you’ve been there for me often enough the last year and a half, I figure I owe you,” I said with a smile. “I hope everything goes okay with your dad.”

“Thanks,” she said, emotion making her voice squeak. She’d played off her fears when trying to talk me into covering her classes, but I knew how much not being there was eating at her even then. She drew in a deep breath to calm herself. “I’ll bring the key by this afternoon. My flight is a five, so I’ll swing by on my way to the airport. Get some sleep.”

We said our goodbyes and I ended the call. Rolling back toward my pillow, I pressed my face into the fabric. James’ scent had long faded, but the memory of it hadn’t. I both loved and hated the reminders of him that still lingered even after packing up his things. I wondered if the wounds losing him created would ever heal.

Friends didn’t understand. It had been a year and a half since his murder. The killer was dead at Joy’s hand. Didn’t that mean closure? Shouldn’t I have been able to move on after so long? Sometimes I wondered that as well. Moving on sounded good, in the same way made-from-scratch mac and cheese sounded good on a rainy day. Comfort food didn’t make the rain stop. Wishing I could move on didn’t make me miss him any less. It didn’t make me feel any less responsible for not being there when he needed me.

My body begged me to go back to sleep, but my mind was too awake. Lauren’s question about whether I had been following local news poked at me. What had happened while I was gone? An uncomfortable dread settled in the pit of my stomach. The last time something had blown up in the news, it had surrounded Joy, James, the mayor, and murder. Picking my phone back up, I brought up the latest news stories, found nothing overly interesting, then wondered about the girl Lauren had asked me to look out for. It took me a few seconds to remember the name.

Typing “Eliza Carlisle” into the news app, I hit the search button and sighed when the results loaded. “Local culinary student plays key part in solving 50-year-old murder.” That wouldn’t have sounded so ominous if not for the pictures and videos accompanying the headline. Anything involving SWAT couldn’t be good. My mind decided it had had enough and was ready to shut off. Ditching my phone, I crawled back under my blankets and closed my eyes. Lauren’s favor just got a whole lot more complicated.

What’s The Catalyst all about?

Eliza Carlisle has the unwanted talent of attracting trouble, in all its forms. That couldn’t be truer than when she moves into the most bizarre apartment building on the planet. Weekly required dinners with the landlord and assigned chores are bad enough, but the rules don’t end there. Top most on the list of requirements is NO physical violence against the others residents.

There have been issues.

In the past.

The young manager, Sonya, claims that hasn’t been a problem recently, but Eliza comes home from her first day of culinary school to find a dead resident, her next door neighbor looking good for the crime, and a cop that seems more interested in harassing her than solving the case.
All Eliza wanted was to escape her past and start over, completely anonymous in a big city. That’s not going to be so easy when the killer thinks she’s made off with a valuable piece of evidence everyone is trying to get their hands on. The ultimatum that she turn it over to save her own life creates a small problem. Eliza has no idea what the killer wants, or where the mysterious object might be.

If she can’t uncover a decades old mystery in time, surviving culinary school will be the least of her problems.

About the author

DelSheree GladdenDelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities.

Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects:

 

And follow her on Twitter @DelSheree

What are Kindle Worlds?

SRKWlaunchimageKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Sydney Rye Kindle World is based on the characters and situations created by bestselling author Emily Kimelman.

The Sydney Rye series of vigilante mysteries feature a strong female lead and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, a dash of sex and don’t mind a little salty language. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery with tons of action that will keep you reading late into the night!

Sydney Rye Kindle World Week: Walk Softly, Danger by Renée Pawlish



Day 2 of Sydney Rye Kindle World Week

The new Sydney Rye Kindle World launches on Thursday, March 17. As an extended St. Paddy’s Day present from me to you, valued readers, Written Words presents excerpts from each of the seven novellas in the project. Today’s installment is from Walk Softly, Danger, where Sydney’s and Blue’s path crosses that of Denver PI Reed Ferguson.

WalkSoftlyLarger

He sighed. “And then she is gone.”

I hesitated, choosing my words carefully. “Is it possible she ran away?”

“No.” He fixed those hard eyes on me again. “That is what police say, that she left. They file report, ask a few questions at the club, but nothing else. But I ask questions, too.”

“And?”

He threw me a sad smile. “The girls Yana works with, they won’t talk to police. They’re scared. But they talk to me, a little.”

I noticed a woman with short black hair loitering near the street corner. She was also watching JD’s. I eyed her for a second, then said, “What’d the girls say?”

He leaned in and lowered his voice. “Yana is not the only one who has disappeared.”

I turned back to him. He had my attention. “They told you that?”

“One girl did.”

“What’s her name?”

“Lexi.”

“Last name?”

“I do not know.” He gestured across the street again. “She works there. You can talk to her. Talk to the boss.”

“Who’s that?”

“Spencer Gage.”

“How do you know that?”

“Yana told me. One time when I picked her up, I saw him with some of the girls. Yana said they don’t like him.”

“Why?”

“He can get angry with them. He wants…things…from them. If they don’t give in to him, he will hurt them. They are scared of him.”

“You think he knows something about Yana?”

“I don’t know.”

“How many others have gone missing?”

He shrugged. “A few.”

I stared at JD’s and mulled over what Zubov had told me. It wasn’t much to go on.

“You think it’s nothing, right?” His voice shook as he pointed at JD’s again. “A little sex is all. But they take some of the women. They disappear.”

Who’s taking them?”

He shook his head. “I do not know, but I will pay you to find out.”

“Hmm,” I said.

Just then, a black SUV rolled up to the curb in front of JD’s, and a man in dark slacks, a white shirt and long dark hair got out of the back seat.

“That’s Gage,” Zubov said.

The woman on the corner took a few steps toward Gage, then stopped and sauntered back to the corner. I kept binoculars in the backseat, and I pulled them out and trained them on her. I guessed she was in her late twenties or early thirties, and she wore jeans and a gray jacket. But what struck me was her left eye. In the fading light it was difficult to tell, but it looked like there was some scarring around it, as if she’d been on the losing end of a vicious fight.

“My money is good,” Zubov interrupted me. “I want you to find out what happened to my daughter.”

This didn’t look promising. But Zubov seemed so sincere…and heartbroken. I got out of the 4-Runner. “Wait here.”

Zubov thanked me profusely. I started across the street, wondering what I was getting myself into.

What’s Walk Softly, Danger all about?

Two forms of justice collide in Colorado.

Denver PI, Reed Ferguson, accepts a missing persons case that thrusts him into a world of strippers and night clubs. In the midst of a den of iniquity, he comes across Sydney Rye and her dog, Blue, who have perfected their own art form of vigilante justice.

Can they work together to find the truth, or will a killer end up calling the shots?

About the Author

PawlishRenée Pawlish is the award-winning author of the bestselling Reed Ferguson mystery series, the Dewey Webb mystery series, horror bestseller Nephilim Genesis of Evil, as well as young adult, middle-grade and nonfiction books. She has been called “a promising new voice to the comic murder mystery genre” and “a powerful storyteller.” Nephilim Genesis of Evil has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti.

Renée was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado, the setting of many of her books.

Visit her:

What are Kindle Worlds?

Sydney Rye Kindle World WeekKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Sydney Rye Kindle World is based on the characters and situations created by bestselling author Emily Kimelman.

The Sydney Rye series of vigilante mysteries feature a strong female lead and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, a dash of sex and don’t mind a little salty language. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery with tons of action that will keep you reading late into the night!

Sydney Rye Kindle World Week: Nemesis, by Jennifer Harlow



NemesisCoverThe new Sydney Rye Kindle World launches on Thursday, March 17. As an extended St. Paddy’s Day present from me to you, valued readers, Written Words presents excerpts from each of the seven novellas in the project. Today’s installment is from Nemesis, which brings Sydney and Blue into a very dark setting.

Origin Story

What’s in a name? An identity? Most of us don’t get to choose ours. Names are given at birth. Identity is thrust upon us around the same time. Before even. Male/Female, Caucasian/Person of Color. Rich/poor. There’s so much in this life we don’t get to choose for ourselves. Our pool of possible life experiences is already pre-determined for us through fate. Chance. Through the people we encounter’s own prejudices. The shitty hand they’re dealt at birth impacts us, whether we like it or not.

Take the fuckers who raped me when I was sixteen. Mind you there wasn’t much talking going on while they took their turns on me and my cousin Penny for three days, but from their limited vocabulary, obvious affiliation with the meth world, and lack of care for their fellow human beings—which had to be learned somewhere—I could tell they hadn’t been given the best start in life. Unfortunately for our sakes, they continued that streak into their forties when they entered our worlds. Foster care, druggie mother, no father, poverty stricken, in and out of prison, they never stood a chance.

Neither did we.

Two sheltered teenage girls from the suburbs of Independence where the worst thing that can happen in our little bubble is a divorce or illness in our loving family. Even Uncle Charlie, a Vice detective in Independence, the nation’s capital, never brought his work or stories of depravity home to our peaceful oasis. It wasn’t like we lived in the Big Bad City of Independence where supervillains destroyed whole buildings, set off bombs, or shot up the streets during bank robberies. Evil was there. Them. The freaks in the costumes with super-strength and acid for blood we watched on the news. It didn’t come up behind you after soccer practice with your head full of Casey Peters, hold a gun to your back as his friend held one to your cousin’s head, and force you both into its BO and meth smelling Cadillac. Evil didn’t happen to upper middle class, Caucasian, pretty Stephanie Dawson. Until it did.

Then it killed her.

It was day three. Day three of being tied to a bed, raped, pissed on, beaten, burnt with cigarettes, and carved with knives. I was weak from blood loss, from dehydration, from fear and agony. But the worst, the very worst, was hearing my fourteen-year-old cousin sobbing in the next room as one of them assaulted her. Those were the moments I closed my eyes and prayed for death. Truly prayed to God for death. He didn’t answer. When does he? But something did. Something infused me with white hot rage, filling my every cell. Replacing my very essence, my very soul with righteous purpose. They would not get away with this. They would not get to break me. Every pain, every fear, every horror they bestowed upon us would come back to them threefold.

They did not get to win.

I broke my own thumbs to escape the handcuffs. I barely noticed the pain. I didn’t even put clothes on. The other two would be back from the drug run at any minute. I walked naked, bleeding, through that filthy house, grabbed the first blunt object I could find, a piece of the broken coffee table, and as one of the pigs pumped away on my baby cousin, oblivious to all but his own selfish satisfaction, I clubbed him from behind. Once. Twice. Three times until he lay beside what remained of Penny, unconscious. Four. Five. I would have kept going forever, until he was obliterated, but Penny began screaming around hit five. She looked up at me as if she didn’t recognize me. As if I were the monster. I didn’t care. I just kept whacking until I saw brain.

Every one of those new cells of mine wanted me to stay. Wait for the other two and gut them like fish. But Stephanie Dawson’s last act was to cut through my bloodlust and tell me to get us the hell out of there. So I untied my cousin and all but carried her out of that house.  I should have stayed. By the time the police arrived, the men were gone. Worse, the rescue was in vain. Penny wasn’t home two hours from the hospital when my Uncle Charlie found her hanging in the garage.

I truly buried Stephanie Dawson the day we buried Penny. We buried my Uncle Charlie too. The detective who couldn’t even protect his own daughter. Our eyes met across her grave, finding their match. Cruel. Hard. Dead all but physically. The same eyes the three pigs had when they carved “Whore” into my chest. Sometimes the only way to fight the monsters is to become one. And that was the moment. The moment the last vestiges of Stephanie Dawson burnt to ashes and the goddess of righteous retribution, Nemesis, was reborn.

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

I am that water.

I am the flood that follows.

Even as I drown myself.

What’s Nemesis all about?

Sex traffickers, serial killers, and superheroes…welcome to the world of Galilee Falls, Sydney Rye!

Sydney Rye thought she’d wiped out the Cartel responsible for killing her friend Malina, but that was only the beginning. She finds herself in a new city, a city with one of the highest concentrations of superheroes in the world, with a new partner to finish the job and avenge her friend.

Nemesis knows a lot about vengeance. The self-proclaimed goddess of retribution has spent the past four years terrorizing the rapists and abusers of her city into submission. But the life of a vigilante is a lonely one. When the Joyful Justice Network asks her to aid Sydney Rye in breaking up a sex trafficking ring, she leaps at the chance to work with the legend. But Sydney isn’t there to make friends. Can the women put aside their differences to wipe the villains off the map once and for all? Maybe with a little help from a White Knight…

About the author

Jennifer Harlow earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia. She has been a bookseller, radio DJ, lab assistant, and government investigator. She lives in Atlanta and is hard at work on her next book.

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What are Kindle Worlds?

SRKWlaunchimageKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Sydney Rye Kindle World is based on the characters and situations created by bestselling author Emily Kimelman.

The Sydney Rye series of vigilante mysteries feature a strong female lead and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, a dash of sex and don’t mind a little salty language. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery with tons of action that will keep you reading late into the night!