Cover reveal: Two new books coming over the next three weeks



I’ve told you about Echoes, my new Lei Crime Kindle World mystery featuring FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm. This full-length novel appears on May 12, and I think it’s my best mystery, yet.

But two weeks before then, one week from today, on Thursday, April 27, a new Sydney Rye Kindle World adventure launches, too: The Three-Way, featuring your favourite, scruffiest, most irresistible and stubbornly independent secret agent, Van Freeman, along with his mysterious, ingenious partner, Earl LeBrun—the characters I introduced in Jet: Stealth, and featured again in The Wife Line.

3-WayCover-FINAL-smaller

In The Three-Way, Van and LeBrun take on Daesh, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.  Van, as usual, gets himself in way over his head. How he gets out has delighted beta readers so far.

Characters from the Sydney Rye universe created by Emily Kimelman include the smooth businessman and all-round enigma, Robert Maxim, as well as the Kurdish woman warrior from The Girl with the Gun, Mujada Taib.

Here’s a short sample

Chapter 2: Meet Van Freeman

Van swallowed the last of his espresso when he heard a voice that exuded confidence bordering on condescension. “Well, if it isn’t Van Freeman.” 

Deep, assured, relaxed. Van twisted toward the back of the café, nearly falling out of his chair. A tall man who looked to be in his late fifties sat in a chair against the wall. He leaned back, one ankle on the other knee, a hand on his raised thigh and his other holding an espresso cup. He had short brown hair, cut expensively, with silver at the temples. He wore dark travelling pants, a khaki-colored shirt and a light grey blazer that appeared to be poured onto him. 

Who is this guy? He wasn’t sitting there when I sat down. How did he get in without my noticing? Van thought. 

“Heyyy,” he said, smiling broadly. “Wow. It must be … How long since we’ve seen each other? And what brings you … Here, of all places?” He felt a tingle as the short hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He controlled his breathing and kept smiling. Without moving his eyes from the strange man, he scanned the room with his peripheral vision, looking for other threats, possible allies of the strange man and fastest escape route.  

“Relax, kid,” the stranger said, gesturing toward the chair across the table from him. “You’ve never met me, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your memory.” 

Van moved so the table was between them. “Then how do you know my name?” 

“You stand out, especially here: a six-foot surfer dude with blond hair past his shoulders, and no beard. You’re hard to miss.” 

“That doesn’t explain how you know who I am.” 

“I read the report that Sydney Rye wrote.” 

Van’s chest tightened. He breathed out slowly. “Sydney wrote a report about me?” 

I have several people to thank for helping me get this book out so fast: my wife, Roxanne, for putting up with long silences as I wrote this furiously over a month; my elder son, Evan, for inspiring the character of Van and polishing his dialogue so it seems more realistic for a Millennial; Roger Eschbacher, Gary Henry and Joy Lorton for advice, insight, editing and proofreading; and Emily Kimelman for inviting me to the Sydney Rye Kindle World, and for creating the characters of Sydney, her dog, Blue, Bobby Maxim and Mujada Taib.

If you’re willing to leave a review on the Amazon page on release day, email me at contact@writtenword.ca and I’ll send you an advance review copy.

 

 

Cover reveal: Echoes, a new #LeiCrimeKW mystery



May 12 is launch day for a new crop of thrillers and mysteries in the Lei Crime Kindle World. And I have a book that will be part of it: Echoes. Since that’s one month from today, it’s time for a cover reveal. Once again, it’s designed by the unequalled David C. Cassidy.

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What’s Echoes about?

In 1999, the Kahuna was The Man on Oahu’s west coast. The coolest guy at the wildest parties, with the coolest posse, the best weed and the most beautiful girlfriend.

Then he disappeared.

Fifteen years later, that girlfriend is no longer a high school senior. She is FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm, and she sees through every lie the Kahuna spins when he shows up again to beg her help.

How can she say no when the Kahuna wants her help not for himself, but to protect his little brother. Young Cole ‘Aukai is ready to set fire to the whole Oahu illegal drug trade—for revenge.

Echoes will be live on Amazon on May 12, 2017. Visit here to find it and all the new releases.

Book reviewers: If you’d like an advanced review copy, please email contact@writtenword.ca.

What is the Lei Crime Kindle World?

Echoes is the fourth book I’ve written in the Lei Crime Kindle World. It joins Torn Roots (July 2015), Palm Trees & Snowflakes (December 2015) and Dead Man Lying (2016).

Kindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Lei Crime Kindle World is based on the Lei Crime series, created by bestselling author Toby Neal.

Get your leash ready to walk the big dog — on Facebook



Get to more about your favourite books, characters and their authors

Sydney Rye and her big dog, Blue, are among the most popular characters in fiction today. They’re the stars of eight novels and one novella by their creator, Emily Kimelman, as well as six novellas by other authors in the Sydney Rye Kindle World — including me.

Sydney Rye has also shown up in the Jet Kindle World in Emily Kimelman’s It Takes Two. The popularity of these titles shows that readers love Sydney and Blue and can’t get enough of them.

And now’s your chance to get more. The authors in the Sydney Rye Kindle World have teamed up with Book Rhythm to bring you the Walking the Giant Dog Book Party.

Come to the Facebook book party next Monday, November 21 between 7 and 9 p.m. Eastern Time, where you can win books, gift cards and other prizes. Chat with Emily Kimelman and the other authors in the Sydney Rye Kindle World. Get to know more about Sydney, Blue, Mulberry, Dan, Merle and all your favourite characters.

Who’s going to be there?

Emily-author-photob648f-delshereegladdenJulie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)bev

And of course, you!

Be ready to answer some tricky Sydney Rye questions:

  • Other than Sydney, who’s your favourite character in the Sydney Rye Kindle World?
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  • What breed do you think most shares Blue’s personality?

You can post a picture of your “Blue” and win e-books and Amazon gift cards.

Come to the Facebook page now and click “Going” just under the top graphic.

See you then!

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Who are Sydney Rye and Blue?

Sydney Rye is a woman who remade herself — with a lot of help from Merle and Mulberry — as a strong woman, dynamic and determined person after a series of traumatic events told in the first book, Unleashed. Sydney is fit, blond with gray eyes and two distinctive scars on her face.

Blue has the body of a wolf but the size of a Great Dane, the markings of a Siberian Hustky, the long, elegant muzzle of a Collie and the instincts of a German Shepherd. Also, he has one blue eye and one brown. He’s taken a bullet for Sydney and saved her life countless other times over the course of eight books.

They appear in eight Sydney Rye novels by their creator, Emily Kimelman. Sydney and Blue also appear in Emily’s JET Kindle World novella, It Takes Two.

 

Written Words interview the reviewers: Sue Devers and Amina Giraldez



CatReadingThis week, Written Words turns the tables on book reviewers by asking them few questions about what they’re looking for in the books they review.

Today, we have two avid readers whose have carved out a broad platform on Amazon and Goodreads: Sue Alexander Devers and Anima Giraldez.

What genres do you review?

Sue Devers: Almost anything that isn’t Romance, Western, or Zombie.

Anima Giraldez: Anything and everything.  I prefer a suspenseful mystery or crime novel with a hint of romance.

Why do you prefer those genres?

Sue Devers: They are exciting and they are good at helping me escape my boring everyday life.

Anima Giraldez: The idea of trying to solve the mystery or figure out the plot is the most intriguing.  As a stay-at-home mom with a LEO for a husband I just don’t have that much excitement in my world.  I get to visualize a beautiful country I’ll never visit, learn something new or experience danger I would never get to otherwise.

What do you get out of them?

Sue Devers: I get to visit different places–real or not–some of which I would love to go to myself!!!  LOL  Also meeting new friends and enemies.

Anima Giraldez: The idea of trying to solve the mystery or figure out the plot is the most intriguing.  As a stay at home mom with a LEO for a husband I just don’t have that much excitement in my world.  I get to visualize a beautiful country I’ll never visit, learn something new or experience danger I would never get to otherwise.

What do you look for in a book that you review?

Sue Devers: Continuity, a good story and well-rounded characters.

Anima Giraldez: I look for that thrill that keeps me reading past bedtime, while my kids are playing so I can ignore them or keep me on the elliptical longer while I forget I’m exercising.  I look for a book that can put some zing between the sheets without making it raunchy or too frequent that I lose interest.  I also need to have at least two weeks to adjust for others on my calendar or having to read others in a series first.

What is the worst mistake that an author can make in a book?

Sue Devers: Something that pulls me from the story, sends me back to the “real” world.

Anima Giraldez: Timelines are tricky.  When dates are splashing about and ages are mentioned I have a nasty habit of trying to make it sure lines up right, when it doesn’t I’m the first to call it out.  Guess that’s my OCD coming out.

What is the worst mistake in your opinion that an author can make when trying to promote a book?

Sue Devers: Not describing the book accurately in the blurb.  I hate picking up books thinking they are one style and they are something totally different.

Anima Giraldez: Sending a book out to reviewers far too early, which can get forgotten. Sending it out not early enough, which means a speed read or it’s not read in time for release. Promoting is tricky enough but I would think a few solid reviews could really help a release.

Which is more important to you: the plot/story, characters, or the writer’s style? 

Sue Devers: The plot/story—unless it is labeled fantasy, then make it at least mostly believable.

Anima Giraldez: Man, that’s tough. Characters that are memorable in some way is important to me.  The banter they flirt or tease with will either have me laughing in stitches or cringing with distaste. Chemistry is important in romance or murder mystery, in the normal world we have to get along and normal feel good vibes are important.  I feel like the plot could be anything as long as the characters are people I could hang with and actually have some intelligence.

Name a classic book in the genre you favour most that you think today’s writers should aspire to equal. 

Sue Devers: Well, Lord of the Rings by Tolkien; The Godfather by Puzo; Laurell K Hamilton for vampires, shifters, zombies, and such.

Anima Giraldez: I can’t say that I’ve read a classic book in ages, probably since my AP English classes 20 years ago and they weren’t in my fave genre.

Desert island question: name three record albums you would take with you if you were stranded on the island from Lost (where they had vinyl records and diamond-stylus record players). 

Sue Devers: The Eagles—best of 75 thru 79; any of the a cappella group Home Free’s albums; and I don’t know for a third—maybe Enya.

Anima Giraldez: Anything by Dean Martin, Van Halen (if a record was available) and Billy Joel. 

Thank you, book reviewers!

meSue Alexander Devers has lived in St. Joseph, MO most of her life. She’s been an avid reader since a very young age, and drove a school bus for 10 years, then a semi for about a year. She’s also been a truck driver, then dispatcher and supervisor until she became disabled. Now, reading and reviewing books take up much of her time.

 

 

10151396874681448Amina Giraldez lives in Salinas, CA about 15 minutes from Monterey and beautiful Carmel with her husband, a 20-year law-enforcement officer, and two young children. Her full name, Anima-Christi, is a Catholic prayer that means “spirit of Christ.”

“My parents felt the creative bug, I guess,” she says.  

“I became an avid reader after reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and followed it up with the 50 Shades series, then I grabbed whatever I could.  When my husband works the midnight shift, I have plenty of quite time in the evenings to devour books.  After making some contacts with favorite authors on Facebook I began getting early releases for free and realized how important reviews are to the author.  I pride myself on getting reviews posted on release day and supporting the author through my ratings.”  

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7011603-anima.

 

 

 

 

Paradise Down: The #LeiCrimeKW blog tour



A new crop of Lei Crime Kindle World books are coming your way through June, culminating in a big Facebook party on June 27. Paradise Down is D.B. McNicol’s first Lei Crime novella.

By D.B. McNicol

Paradise Down by D.B. NcNicol

Paradise Down by D.B. NcNicol

“What a great day. Thanks for being a such great guide, Jared. Diving Hawaii was even better than we expected. We will be calling you tomorrow to book again before we head home.”

Jared waved the clients off and walked up to the shop, thinking this was the strangest vacation he’d ever had. He was glad he’d taken two weeks or he would have had to desert Lucia before she was squared away.

Lucia. She is so sweet and so cute. He then recounted the reasons he wasn’t interested in her. One, she’s too young. Two, I have to go back to Maui and she will go to the university in Honolulu. Three, no responsibilities! Oh, and four, she’s like my kid sister.

He laughed at himself. At least he was here to help her now. He dropped his gear by the front door and enjoyed the sound of the chimes as he stepped inside. The first thing he saw was a big brown dog in front of him, growling. The second thing he saw was everything had been trashed. Someone had vandalized the shop. His head spun around, searching. “Lucia? Where are you? Damn it! Answer me!”

The dog stopped growling and whimpered. “What’s up, pup? Do you know where she is?” He took a step forward, watching for any signs of aggression from the dog. Nothing. He took another step, and another and then he saw her, laying unconscious on the floor.

“Shit! Lucia, it’s me. Jared.” He felt for a pulse and noticed the blood pooling under her head. “Hang on, help is coming.” He ran to the front porch, pulled his cell out of his dry bag and dialed 9-1-1.

“We need an ambulance and police to Dave’s Deep Dive, Anini Beach. The shop was vandalized and the owner is unconscious and bleeding from the head. This is Jared Stevens from the Maui Fire Department. I’m going to try to stop the bleeding. My cell will be beside me.” He clicked off, pulled his first aid kit out of his bag and went back inside.

The dog had lain down beside Lucia, head between its paws, but still watching every move Jared made. “It’s okay. Help is coming.” He found the source of the blood and used gauze pads for compression. The pup whimpered again. “It’s okay. Head wounds always bleed a lot. I’m more worried about a concussion.” He kept talking to Lucia and the dog, straining to hear sirens in the distance. “They’ll be here soon. It won’t be long now, just hang on.”

The front door opened and he shouted out. “Back here. In the back.”

A female voice responded. “Oh my! What happened? Is she dead? I think I feel faint.”

Jared shouted, “Don’t you dare. Please go back outside and wait for the ambulance and police. They should be here any minute.”

“Oh.” With that, she tottered back outside.

Jared looked at the dog. “Well, that was a big help, wasn’t it.” All he got in return was a whimper.

Sitting on the floor beside Lucia, Jared reflected on the damage around him. Who could have done this? And why? It made no sense. First her brother disappears and now this.

The dog perked up and gave a bark. “What, do you hear something.” Another bark and then Jared heard the sirens. “It’s about time.”

About Paradise Down

Aloha Nicholás!  But will this be a hello or a goodbye?

When Lucia Santerez returns home to Hawaii to help her brother Nicholás with his new dive shop, she learns Nicholás has disappeared–and someone doesn’t want him found.

Enlisting the aid of hunky vacationing firefighter, Jared Stevens, gets them the wrong kind of attention. They discover what lies under the water off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kaua`i could make you rich or get you killed.

You can find Paradise Down exclusively on Amazon, as part of the Lei Crime Kindle World.

There are a lot more new Lei Crime Kindle World releases this month, and it’s all building up to a huge party on Facebook on June 27 with hundreds of dollars in prizes.

LCKW-party-2016

About the author

I think I was destined to be a writer – in the 4th grade I took my toy typewriter and painstakingly typed out the neighborhood news, one copy at a time, and sold it to the neighbors for ten cents each. But as often happens, life intervenes and writing took a back seat to spending 30+ years in the IT industry.

A late in life lover of adventure, I learned to ride a motorcycle at age 55, traveled the US solo on my Harley-Davidson at age 58 (42 states and 27k miles), selling my home and everything I owned to become a full-time RVer. I eventually met my current husband, also widowed, a full-time RVer and Harley rider. Fate!

We traveled the US for several years before putting it in storage and moving to Cuenca, Ecuador for two years. What at adventure! Now we are back and continue to travel in our 41′ fifth wheel toy hauler trailer.

I continue to travel and write, savoring every moment of every day!

Visit Donna’s

And follow her on Twitter @dbmcnicol.

Treachery Makes it Tense: The #LeiCrimeKW blog tour



A new crop of Lei Crime Kindle World books are coming your way through June, culminating in a big Facebook party on June 27. Treachery Makes it Tense is Julie C. Gilbert’s fifth Lei Crime novella, and the fourth in her Shadow Council series featuring FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott.SC 4 TMIT

A taste:

She took his phone to read the message.

Shooting in JJ’s office. KUP

“What’s ‘KUP’? Who are JJ and D. Sims? And how does D. Sims know this information before everybody else?” Marcella knew if she thought about it, she could come up with the answers, but firing questions at Matt seemed easier.

“KUP is Keep You Posted in texting speech,” Matt reported. “Sims is one of the new tech guys I’ve been working with to upgrade the gadgetry around here.”

“Since when?” Marcella inquired.

“Since yesterday,” Matt replied. “That’s the case I caught a few days ago while you were in all those Gavriel briefing sessions. Just met the Sims kid yesterday. He seems nice enough.”

Marcella wasn’t sure if she wanted to be jealous or relieved not to have been assigned that case. It sounded interesting with the potential to go deadly boring in a few days.

“You met him yesterday, and you’re texting buddies already?” Marcella let her expression emphasize the question.

Matt rolled his eyes.

“He’s a modern kid. I think he’d have two phones in hand to text separate people if he had the chance.” Matt’s amusement vanished. “You know who JJ is,” he said quietly.

As soon as he said it, Marcella’s mind conjured the answer.

“Judge Jackson,” she whispered, stunned.

“I don’t know how Sims got the information, but I wouldn’t put it past him to have some sort of prototype surveillance equipment in place.”

“Wouldn’t that be highly illegal?” Marcella asked.

A small shrug was the only response she got. Matt didn’t have time to give a verbal answer.

SAC Waxman suddenly filled the entry to Marcella’s cubicle.

“Scott! Rogers! Drop your cases and get up to Judge Jackson’s office pronto! I want a report on my desk in two hours!” Waxman roared the order then disappeared in the direction of his office, followed by a collection of security men and assistants.

Marcella strapped on her gun, plucked her ID from her pocket, and headed for the nearest stairwell. The elevators would be locked down, and guards would be posted at each entrance and exit. They’d have to badge their way through the checkpoints.

A shooting inside a federal building fell under the FBI jurisdiction, but Marcella was surprised Waxman would give them the assignment. She guessed it might have something to do with convenience, seeing as both their current cases were brand new and therefore easy to set aside. She and Matt weren’t huge fans of Jackson, but curiosity alone made this a coveted case. The fact that they’d dealt with him recently gave them a slight edge in the investigation, assuming they had to deal with him as a perpetrator or victim.

What’s Treachery Makes it Tense about?

When a vanquished foe resurfaces with vengeance on his mind …

Special Agent Marcella Scott expects the danger to fall to her. She does not expect her FBI partner’s entire family to disappear.

Cassandra Mirren witnesses her boss’s murder and gets drawn into a deadly game. Now, she has a choice—either work with Agent Scott or betray her.

Both women are about to find out that treachery makes it tense.

This story is set before Black Jasmine, Book 3 of the Lei Crime Series.

You can find Treachery Makes it Tense exclusively on Amazon, as part of the Lei Crime Kindle World.

There are a lot more new Lei Crime Kindle World releases this month, and it’s all building up to a huge party on Facebook on June 27 with hundreds of dollars in prizes.

LCKW-party-2016

About the author

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)Teaching and writing make up about 90% of Julie Gilbert’s life. The other smidgen would probably be split between Legos, Star Wars collecting, and drinking decaf coffee or a strong peppermint tea. She might also be a candy addict. She occasionally does puzzles, but crossword puzzles bore her. She’s more of a word search gal because there’s always a chance of winning those.

Find her online:

And follow her on Twitter @authorgilbert.

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.

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.

Visit her:

Or follow her on Twitter @jenharlowbooks, or send an email to jenniferharlowbooks@yahoo.com

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!

 

 

 

Preview: Palm Trees and Snowflakes



A new Lei Crime Kindle World mystery featuring Vanessa Storm from Torn Roots will be on the Amazon virtual shelves in time for Christmas and for downloading to those new Kindles you might find under the tree. This is a true Christmas story, with mystery, action and even romance for Vanessa. Here’s an excerpt from the opening.

Vanessa drew her Walther PPK/S when she heard the crunch of tires on the gravel at the entrance to the pier and pulled the palm frond in front of her a little lower to see better. “All in place?” she said quietly into the comms unit slung over her ear.

“Ready,” said the local Honolulu police officer behind the palm fronds to her left. At least six-four with bulging arms, he dwarfed her five foot, five inches. Silva, she remembered. His name is Silva. In her earpiece, she heard five clicks, confirmations from five more officers from three different law-enforcement agencies—two from Honolulu PD, three from harbor police, and one from her partner, FBI Special Agent Ken Yamada, crouching beside a Honolulu harbor cop across the alley.

She checked her watch: 9:10 p.m. Warehouses loomed around them, their walls dark cliffs. The row of palm trees they hid behind screened the blank faces of the warehouses from the highway, preserving the tourist allure of Oahu.

A Lexus glided into the alley between the warehouses, stopping in front of stacked shipping containers. She raised her weapon and pushed the palm frond out of her way. We’re ready for this.

She froze when she heard another set of tires on the cracked asphalt and the deeper rumble of a heavier vehicle. A full-size black van slid behind the Lexus. Its engines cut. The Lexus’s driver door swung open and a short, round man in a dark suit climbed out. A taller man got out of the passenger side. The van’s side door slid open, disgorging three large men. One, at least, held what looked like an Uzi.

We’re not ready for this. “Stand by. Repeat, stand by. Do not engage. Calling for backup,” she said into her comms unit before switching channels to radio to Honolulu PD dispatch. “This is FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm at 9 Pier, Berth 10B, requesting backup.” She gave her clearing number. “Notify Special Agent in Charge Waxman. We have second suspect vehicle, four more suspects than anticipated. It looks like they are heavily armed. Repeat, requesting immediate backup.”

“Roger,” said the dispatcher. She sounded calm, almost as if she did not care. “Swat unit notified.”

The short, heavy man spoke to the others. Although Vanessa could not hear his words, he seemed nervous, even fearful. At the cargo container nearest his car, he entered a four-digit code on padlock keypad. He swung one door open, cursing when it nearly hit the bumper of his car.
He disappeared into the container, followed by the taller man. Vanessa saw the big Honolulu cop fidgeting. He was probably wrestling with the same quandary she was: to risk making an arrest when they were possibly outnumbered, and definitely outgunned, or risk letting the suspects get away, throwing away months of surveillance, research, lab work and legal preparation.

She took a deep breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth. She needed to confer with Waxman.

The two men came out of the shipping container, the short one carrying a large box. The box was heavy, given the way he struggled to the trunk of his Lexus. The other man closed the door as one of the large men took the box from the portly one. He loaded it into the back of the van.

That was when the Harbor cop stepped out of the shadow of the warehouse. “Freeze!” he shouted. “Police. Drop your weapons.”

The goons did not hesitate. An Uzi spat and the harbor cop went down. Vanessa fired a split second later, hitting the shooter. He fell, one last blast firing upward as gunfire erupted from multiple directions. The other two goons who dropped to their knees, taking cover behind the van, firing their Uzis into the palms and toward Yamada’s position behind the corner of a warehouse. Vanessa threw herself to the ground as automatic fire shredded the palms. The two Honolulu cops fired from behind the trunks, hampered by concern for Yamada.
Vanessa could see the two men from the Lexus squatting behind its trunk. They had no weapons, but the van driver was also firing an automatic weapon through the window.

The big Hawaiian cop beside Vanesssa fired again and one of the Uzi-toting men pitched sideways and lay still.

“Dispatch, we’re taking fire. Officer down. Request immediate SWAT backup, and paramedics,” Vanessa shouted over the din of gunfire.

Palm Fronds and Snowflake is a longish story, just under 10,000 words, available for just 99 cents exclusively from Amazon’s Lei Crime Kindle World

What is style? An interview with Charity Parkerson



CharityParketon2015How important is writing style? And just what is it, anyway — what makes up an author’s style? Can an author truly be unique?

This week, Written Words has invited Charity Parkerson, author of paranormal romance and erotica, to tell us her thoughts on writer’s style. Read what she has to say, and then check out her work.

How would you describe your own writing style?

Erotic with a southern twist.

Are there any authors whose style you admire? Do you try to emulate them?

I really like Julie Garwood. She does a great job of mixing humor with suspense and since I’m hilarious (in my own mind) I try to add a bit of humor to my books, as well.

Are there authors whose writing style you dislike?

I love Jennifer Wilde and have read all of her books. However, I can’t stand her descriptive writing style. She can weave the most wonderful and engaging stories, but I find myself skipping over the three-page descriptions of someone’s dress.Parkerson-Assignment

How important is your writing style to you? Are you happy with your style, or are there aspects of it you try to change during rewriting or editing?

When I first started out, I had several people tell me that I would run into trouble with reviewers because my characters have southern accents. I refused to remove it, since my books are set in the South, and it made sense that their speech would reflect that. I have run into a couple of reviews that mention it, but for the most part readers have been fine with it, and I’m glad that I did not allow anyone to talk me out of writing my own voice out of my stories.

What are the important elements of your style? What are you trying to achieve?

In erotica, I think that one of the most important elements is the ability to create a scene that is relatable but is still hot. I want to paint a picture with words that the reader can see, hear, and taste as if they are there.

How can readers identify your writing style? Are there particular words or kinds of words that you tend to favour? Sentence structures? Or is it more in the story, the pacing or the characters?

My characters tend to be a little on the dark side. It’s rare that I write a perfect character. I want people to cheer for someone that they never thought they could.

Do you think your genre imposes certain restrictions on writing style?

I write in several genres, but I do think that erotica is the most restrictive. Most people would think that it is the least. However, several times I have sent a story to my editor believing that I’ve finished the world’s hottest erotic novel, only to learn it is classified as steamy romance. You’re expected to use words that shock people into letting down their natural prude filter.

Do you think your audience responds to your writing style, consciously or unconsciously?

I hope it’s an unconscious reaction to a great read. 😀

How important do you think writing style is to an author’s commercial success?

It’s very important if you also factor in who you are pitching yourself to.

Thank you, Charity.

Charity Parkerson is an amazingly prolific author published by Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Midnight Books, and Punk & Sissy Publications. She has won a number of awards, including the Reader’s Favorite Award in 2014 and 2015.

With over 50 titles published since 2011, she writes several series in fantasy, erotica, thriller and romance, and many of her books cross genre boundaries. She made the bestseller list with her book A Secure Heart. Her newest work, Crush, the fifth in her Hard Hit, is now available for pre-order from Amazon.

Visit her site at www.charityparkerson.com, where you can find her blogs, Punk & Sissy and the Sinner Blog.
 
You can like her at Facebook.com/authorCharityParkerson. You can follow her on Twitter @CharityParkerso.