30 September, 2012

#BookReview:: Seers (Seers #1) by Heather Frost

For Kate Bennet, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.

After the accident that took her parents’ life, Kate Bennet could be never be the same girl again. It wasn’t just the emotional after effect. After her near-death experience, Kate Bennet can see auras. When she tries to tell people, nobody believes her. So she has no other choice but to keep it a secret from all except her best friend Lee. But then Patrick O’Donnel moves into her town and her school. He is not what he pretends to be and only Kate knows that because she can see the lack of his aura. The events that follow, turns Kate’s world upside down as she discovers the truth about herself and Patrick.

Kate Bennet turns out to be a really nice and likeable girl. Patrick is the hottie in story, but he gave in to Kate every single time. That reflects that either Kate is a strong force to be reckoned with or Patrick is too love-sick. Either way, it was fun for me. The twins, Josie and Jenna are positive additions to the story. But I loved Kellie, a.k.a Lee. She is such a loyal friend that I was often jealous of Kate. Yes, Lee is eccentric, but she is also bubbly and a good friend. Aaron is the sweet guy that every parent approves of. 

So, this is not your typical angel/demon story.  The guardian Angels do not have wings and the demons do not have horns. Yet Heather Frost has created a captivating new fantasy world. There’s quite a bit of romance, action and a lot of twists to keep you reading. Though there are similarities between this book and Evermore Series by Alyson Noel, this particular plot had a refreshing feel for a change. It is because of Heather’s writing style which is much more captivating. I was surprised to find out how young Heather is and she has enough time before her to mature. So I am sure, she will only get better.

I am looking forward to reading part 2 of the book soon.

29 September, 2012

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Dave Folsom

*** SPECIAL FEATURE - September'12 ***

An Interview

Welcome Back Dave… You’re back for a second round after 3 months. So what have you been up to during these three months?  
Funny you should ask, as we just finished a three summer project remodeling our house in South Dakota.  Much hard work, sore bodies, and tired bones, but the result was worth it.

We have just met Lee Trainer, Charlie Draper & Scott Jackson. Quite an interesting variation among the three characters – but what inspired you to write each of them? Is there a common thread between the three? Besides you of course!
Scott Jackson was the instigator driving me to write a novel as the number of colorful characters involved in logging demanded documentation.  The other two were later arrivals born of my need to get them out of my head.  Of the three, Charlie Draper is the most demanding right now.  I’m still trying to figure him out.  It’s probably going to take a couple of more books.

Now about your 2 other books - The Zeitgeist Project & Running with Moose. Tell us bit more about those two. 
When I was younger I wrote a considerable number of short stories, many of which never saw the light of day.  I did save a few that I’d created on a Apple II many years ago.  I recreated them in Word where they languished in the dark until recently when I took the better ones and put them together in Running With Moose.  After I wrote Scaling Tall Timber, I started writing another novel but couldn’t quite get it to work.  I had two stories rolling around in my head and after a bit it just made sense to put them together.  The result was a time travel story with an American West component that I titled The Zeitgeist Project.  Little did I know it would later be classified as “Steampunk” genre.

One thing I have noticed – the covers of all your books look like they are real life photographs. I also happen to know that you are very much into photography. So, are all the covers result of your experimentation with a camera?  
You are absolutely right.  My covers are self-designed with my own photos and a little help from Photoshop.  The single exception is the photo on Running with Moose which is from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife photographer.  The moose in the photo so fit the one in the lead story I had to use it with permission.

You mentioned that the box canyon on the cover of Finding Jennifer was the inspiration for the canyon that plays a pivotal role in the rescue of Jennifer. Any other instances of such inspirations – whether captured on camera or not?  
Many of the descriptions of place in my books come from my experiences living and working in Montana and Southern Arizona.  The Sonoran Desert, which figures in so much of Finding Jennifer is a beautiful and intimidating area that becomes deadly during the summer heat.  I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with a variety of interesting though sometimes downright odd people, both male and female.  They have figured prominently many of my short stories and as characters in my books.  Most, of course are the product of a wild imagination.

From Scaling Tall Timber to Finding Jennifer, you have come a long way. Has your writing process changed? Or do you feel any difference at all?
I think my writing has improved a little and the writing process seems to come easier.  I am better able to come up with plot lines.  Short stories have always been easy but my first novel was a struggle and I must have written some of the chapters a number of times trying to get it perfect.  It took me a while to understand how to keep the story line consistent.  Only my readers can tell me if I succeeded. 

I know that you personally hate the formatting stage but what is the most difficult stage for a writer? Coming up with a plot or writing the draft or editing or getting published or the marketing?
Fortunately, I have little trouble coming up with plots, writing or even editing.  Publishing and especially marketing are complicated by finding time that doesn’t interfere with writing.

You have vast interests – from carpentry to photography to writing – all very creative modes. Do you ever just ‘do nothing’?
I have to confess to having trouble ‘doing nothing’.  Even when everyone thinks I’m doing nothing, I’m actually plotting a scene for the next chapter in my latest book.

I think I am going to drop you of on that ‘Deserted Island’ we keep hearing about. What three things are you going to carry?
My Nook with about a thousand books on it that I haven’t yet read with a laptop and a hand-crank generator to recharge them both.

What’s brewing in that mind of yours? What can we expect from you next?  
Other than a second Charlie Draper saga titled Sonoran Justice, I have plans for a novel based on my next door neighbor in Arizona for many years who was a former WWII fighter pilot.  I didn’t learn this until very late in his life though we talked a lot about airplanes in general.  When he started sharing his experiences so full of color, raw humor mixed with terrible tragedy, I began taping (with his permission) our conversations.  Unfortunately, he passed away last spring but I have hours of conversations that I have his widow’s permission to convert into a novel.  I’ve begun the research and plan to start on the writing this winter.  I want it to be not about WWII, but the common individuals, who at a very young age, risked their lives every day for nearly three years doing uncommon things for their country.

Now for the most amazing news! The Giveaway! Mr.Folsom has very kindly agreed to a Very Special Giveaway. This month there's going to be 2 very lucky winners.
 First winner in US only a signed copy of winner's choice any of Dave Folsom's books in trade paperback.  Second winner choice of ebook copy of any of  Dave Folsom's books - gifted through amazon in kindle or smashwords in other formats. 
So,what are you waiting for??? Go Enter NOW!!

1. There's only two compulsory entry to qualify for this Giveaway. 
2. If the compulsory entries are not completed properly, additional entries of that person will not count.
3. The Giveaway is open to US for Trade Paperback & Internationally for Ebook.
4. I will select the winner through Random.org on 30th September and will send an e-mail. They have to reply with their mailing address/e-mail id within 48 hours, or I will select another winner.
5. Please do not leave your e-mail id in the comment section.

Open Internationally

US Only

28 September, 2012

#BlogTour :: #Interview with Richard Long

Please enjoy this interview with Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller, The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.   

1. Tell us about the spark of inspiration that eventually grew into The Book of Paul. 
The initial inspiration for The Book of Paul came when I wrote the first line of the first chapter called Exercises: “He practiced smiling.” I wanted to explore a character who had been so damaged by childhood trauma that he could no longer feel compassion, joy, affection, and had, accordingly, committed all kinds of horrible acts. I wondered if such a person could ever regain his emotional capacity and be redeemed by love. 

2. What was the research process like for this book (which can at times deal with some pretty heady and—frankly—grotesque goings-on)? Any horror stories to share? 
There are many aspects to the story, so the research was really extensive. I love doing the research almost as much as the writing, so it’s a joy for me to read and learn so many new things. The creation mythology literally goes back to square one and builds from there, tracing the history of Hermetic and Gnostic philosophy, alchemy, druidism and pagan mythology--particularly Egyptian, Greek and Celtic traditions. There’s also a strong science fiction element involving quantum physics, artificial intelligence, life extension and what’s known as The Singularity. Other lines of exploration involved Irish genealogy and what I call the pain culture: tattoos, elaborate piercings and body modifications. I made some gruesome discoveries along the way. The most disturbing was the Extreme Body Modification website I stumbled upon, which is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. I first saw it in the early days of the Internet, which is pretty amazing in itself. I checked recently and it’s still there, though I didn’t have the stomach to peek inside again. I’m actually as squeamish as some of my readers about certain things, which is probably why the horror comes across so vividly. If something scares the hell out of me, it’s easy for me to convey that fear and revulsion. 

3. Tell us about Paul. Who is he and what is his book about? 
The Book is a 4th century codex, the only one of it’s kind. How and why it was made and what it contains is one of the central mysteries of the series, so I’m not going to spill those beans. Paul is every bit as mysterious. When he is first introduced you might think he’s a serial killer involved with the occult in some way. As the story progresses you discover some really unexpected things about him. One thing is clear from the outset – he is one very nasty piece of work. I’ve always felt that any horror novel or thriller is only as good as the villain. I definitely aimed for the fences with Paul. 

4. There is a strong tarot undercurrent to this novel. The protagonist even makes his living by reading the cards. Why did you decide to work it into The Book of Paul, and how does it surface throughout the course of the story? 
I actually did tarot and numerology readings when I lived in the East Village many years ago. The tarot led me to a lot of dark occult explorations, which are mirrored in William’s journey. I was lucky enough to pull out of that nosedive and hop over to the Buddhist side of the fence. William is not so fortunate. The reader gets drawn into William’s world through his first person narration as he talks about becoming a collector of ancient occult manuscripts, which leads him to the tarot. Then he gradually reveals more through his journal entries, which contain the meat of the mythology and all the Hermetic and Gnostic lore. Finally, he discovers that the tarot is actually related to an apocalyptic prophecy, which Paul is determined to fulfill by any means necessary, which is very bad news for Billy. 

5. At almost 500 pages, this is not a short novel. From start to finish, how long did it take you to write, revise, and ready for publication? 
I’ve written over 2,000 pages for The Book of Paul and the series. The first draft of this volume was close to a thousand pages long. I cut out eight characters and their storylines in the second draft, which netted my first agent. She wanted a lower page count, so many of the narrator’s interior musings were cut. Those were actually some of my favorite sections. Then I moved to another agent and he wanted more of the mythology put back in, so it grew close to this size. After six months he hadn’t sold it, so I got sick of the whole process, wrote it the way I wanted, and published it. 

6. The concept of synchronicity plays heavily in this novel. What attracts you to it, and has it proven a heavy influence in your own life? 
I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. I was raised as a Catholic, but the nuns effectively beat those beliefs out of me quickly. Even as a kid, I couldn’t accept the idea of God as the big guy in the sky with the white beard. Science and mythology and my own imagination showed me all kind of possibilities. I first noticed synchronicity when the number eleven kept showing up for me all over the place--addresses, hotel rooms, etc. Someone suggested I get a book on numerology and I discovered that eleven was my “name number” and also a power number. I started noticing all kinds of things after that, coincidences that were just too weird to brush away. Then I read some Jung, and when I got into quantum physics that sealed the deal. Synchronicity for me now is the manifestation of interconnectedness in the universe. There is nothing you can perceive that isn’t connected to you. As the Buddhists say, “no separate self.” 

7. Paul is... scary (we’ll leave it at that). How were you able to effectively become this deranged character, and how did you hang on to your own humanity after the fact? 
I would imagine it’s much the same as when Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter. He was very disdainful of method actors who got all caught up in identifying with their characters. There’s a famous story about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. Hoffman was a method actor and he stayed up all night before their torture scene together and Olivier said something like, “Why don’t you try acting, dear boy?” That being said, I’m not immune to being disturbed by these things. When I wrote the traumatic scenes of him and Martin--well, I cried when I wrote them and they stayed with me for days. So maybe the method is working for me too. Paul is great to write because it’s like letting my Id out of a cage. I get to play out my most evil imaginings and nobody gets hurt. I also had to find Paul’s humanity to make him really interesting for me. I didn’t want him to be some cartoon monster. Paul is also in a lot of pain; he was traumatized as a boy and his life was changed forever. By the end of the story you get to see many other sides of him. And of course, there’s a lot more to come. 

8. Irish mythology is woven into The Book of Paul, and at one point, Paul even makes a sarcastic quip about the luck of the Irish. Why Irish, and how all does its culture influence the story? 
When I’m writing, I go into a daydream state where I imagine the character and what he or she looks like and where they are and what they’re doing. No outline usually. I sit back and watch and listen. If it’s great the way I imagine it, then writing the dialog is like taking dictation. When I wrote the first chapters with Paul, I was surprised because I kept hearing him speak with an Irish brogue, but his accent went in and out – sometimes really thick, sometimes a little lilt, sometimes no accent at all. So I’m thinking, what’s that about? I come from Irish American stock, but my parents told me absolutely nothing about their parents other than to say they were cruel. So that’s the starting point with Paul. He’s the ultimate bad dad. The more I explored Paul, the deeper it led me into Celtic mythology, Irish genealogy and history. I suppose I’m trying to find the missing links of my own heritage. My grandmother was born in Ireland, so I have dual citizenship, even though I haven’t been there yet. I’m thinking I’ll go next year when I’m writing the third sequel. 

9. The Book of Paul is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and in that way, it can be difficult to classify. So tell us, who is your target audience for this novel? 
Given the fact that there are some rough episodes in the story, you might think that the so-called target audience would be men who are into horror, thrills and mayhem. But women actually seem to be my biggest, or at least, my most vocal fans. I’ve been getting some really enthusiastic reviews from men, but even more so from women, who surprisingly seem less squeamish than some of the male reviewers. The Book of Paul doesn’t fit into any neat, tidy genre. It’s very complex and like you say, unlike anything I’ve read before either. There’s a Pulp Fiction element to it, with quirky characters in a seedy environment. There’s a major religious/mythological mystery for the Dan Brown crowd. It’s very funny, but incredibly poignant. It’s very disturbing, but there are lots of fast-paced action scenes. There’s romance and kinky sex. Something for everybody. 

10. Why did you decide to self-publish The Book of Paul, and how has the journey been so far? Read above. The traditional publishing industry in general is like a boxer on the ropes in the tenth round. For fiction it’s even worse. Add first-time novelist to the list and sprinkle on an unclassifiable genre for a little seasoning. I had two agents who were well known and successful, and very enthusiastic about the book. But the editors they reached wouldn’t take a chance on it. I could have kept trying, but frankly, I ran out of patience. How has it been so far? The book is out in the world and it’s just the way I wanted it. I have complete control over everything I do, including the cover art, which is also exactly how I want it. The marketing is a lot of hard work, particularly the social marketing, which I had never done before. But that’s turned out to be a lot of fun too. I’m meeting so many great people--other authors and readers--and getting such a strong response on the book that it feels like a vindication. See? I told you so. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!  

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

About The Book of Paul: A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction. 
Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 
About the author: Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace. He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. 
Visit Richard on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#BookReview :: Life Knocks by Craig Stone

Life Knocks is the story of a guy who falls from grace, but rather than confront that fall, decides to hide in his room and pretend it never happened; but, little by little, Life Knocks...
The story will confront, challenge, evoke laughter, tears and, in parts, possibly offence... 

But then life never claimed to be Disney world.

Step outside your bubble, because the only thing to fear in life is living in one.

It is the story of Collossus that is narrated through this story. We follow him through his numerous adventures – right from quitting his job to finding love to his depressions. From the highest point to the lowest of low point of his life, Collossus realizes that no matter what, one cannot stop life from moving on. This is a story of the highs and the lows, of love and of loneliness, of laughter and of tears and it will have you riding through all of it with a smile on your face – whether hysterical laughter or just a sad smile.

The book begins with Collossus’s letter to the ‘management’ informing them that he is quitting the job. And with that very letter I got hooked on. There’s been so many times in our lives that we have wished we could say a few choice of words to our bosses/colleagues but never could manage. Reading that letter just cracked me up. Then there is his love interest, Lily, who captured & trampled on his heart. But his dedication towards her is remarkable. His interaction with other characters in the book are also quite interesting. Then there’s also a segment about drug addiction/alcoholism. Though under the influence, he lands himself in quite a few predicaments – all of a sudden not everything was funny anymore – at least for me. Overall though, the message in the book was very optimistic.

The author’s style of writing is pretty simple yet indulging. By writing in first person, Craig Stone has managed to add a personal touch to the story. His sense of humour is really something. I have cracked up laughing at the most appropriate and inappropriate places. At the same time he managed to touch that sentimental & emotional chords of my heart with his portrayal of what ‘reality’ is like.

I love getting lost in mystery/thrillers and in the fantasy world of magic, faeries and werewolves. This book was a good change as it managed to bring me back right into the real world where disappointment, failure and heartache awaits everyone. When ‘life knocks’ & it invariably will, we can choose to hide or welcome with open arms. The important thing is how we deal with it. We just need to take the lemons and make a lemonade out of it.

Buy this Book

27 September, 2012

#BlogTour :: Entice (Prowl Trilogy # 2) by Amber Garza

To visit the official website of  YA Christian thrillers – the Prowl Trilogy - click this link.

Mackenzie returns home from the summer with her grandma, certain that Wesley is out of her life for good. Until the nightmares resurface, and strange things start to happen. 

Is Wesley back? 

When the danger escalates and threatens those closest to her, Mackenzie must fight to save them. Only this time the evil is more powerful, and Mackenzie is faced with an impossible decision.

Writer's Cave

I wish this post were a little more glamorous. I wish I could say that I have my own beautiful office, or that I tend to write in coffee shops drinking yummy mochas. But the truth is that I write at home on my laptop at the kitchen table. I like that spot because it’s light and sunny in the kitchen and I’m in the center of the house, so I can be in the middle of all the action if my family’s home. Every once in awhile I use the computer in my daughter’s room, but I prefer to be on the laptop. I prefer to write listening to music, but I don’t mind the noise of my kids running around. However, I’ve never tried to write in a coffee shop because I like to people watch and I think I’d get distracted. So for now, I’ll stick to my kitchen table.

About the Author

My name is Amber Garza and I LOVE to write. I’ve had a passion for writing since I was a little girl, making books out of notebook paper and staples. As an adult I’ve worked hard to make my dream of being published a reality. The Prowl Trilogy is my first finished series. My next series will be out this October.

Click these links to buy my Christian teen thrillers PROWL,  ENTICEUNVEIL 
Or click here to read my single-title adult suspense novel: ENGRAVED 

Buy the Book

Ms.Amber Garza has kindly agreed to giveaway an e-copy of her book. Enter in the Rafllecopter below for your chance to choose which one from the Prowl trliogy would you would like to win.

Follow the Tour

26 September, 2012

#BlogTour :: #GuestPost by Richard Long

Please enjoy this guest post by Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller, The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.   

The Tarot

A guest post by Richard Long

Laura gave me my first tarot deck. It was a Crowley. A lot of people get creeped out by Crowley decks, much as they would have been creeped out by Crowley, I imagine. He called himself ‘The Great Beast.’ To me, he seemed more like a big joke. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!” Stop it, you’re killing me.

You just read the opening lines of The Bone King, a prequel to The Book of Paul. They happen to be true. Laura gave me my first deck. I still have it and use it. In fact, I’ll be using it shortly to provide Skype tarot readings for two lucky winners of my Whirlwind Blog Tour. I’m looking forward to the readings. The winners? I suppose that depends on which cards come up. Actually, I don’t give scary tarot readings, I just write about scary tarot readings. People have enough fear and stress in their lives without me throwing more gas on the flames. Besides, the three scariest trump cards--The Hanged Man, Death and The Tower--can all be interpreted in very unscary ways. Most of the time. William, the narrator of The Book of Paul, lives in the East Village/Alphabet City of New York in the years before gentrification made it a much less fun and frightening place. He makes a living doing tarot and numerology readings, same as the author did at the time. Like me, he is also a collector, but that’s where the similarities end. He collects ancient occult codices, some covered in human skin. He collects other things that are even more…disturbing. The mythology of The Book of Paul is based largely on my very unique (so unique you’ll never see it anywhere else) interpretation of the twenty-two trump cards of the tarot. As William endeavors to unravel Paul’s nefarious intentions, he discovers an arrangement of the trumps that reveals the true story being told. In the following excerpt from one of William’s journal entries, Paul congratulates William on his discovery (which is not revealed, so no spoiler alert!) and rewards his efforts with a very special gift to add to his collection, and the promise of an even greater prize. A fabulous tarot reading from Richard Long? A Kindle Fire? No, William isn’t as lucky as three of you wonderful readers. He’s about to have his very first look at The Book of Paul, a gift that comes with a very hefty price tag.
“You’ve done exceptionally well here,” Paul said, “but you’re never gonna get to the bottom of this no matter how many of those old books you poke your nose into.”
“And that’s because…”
“For starters, those writings were deliberately intended to disguise the truth in countless metaphors and scrambled codes to keep the idiots at bay. They’ve been translated, and re-translated back into the original demotic, Coptic or Greek countless times, every scribe adding his own pontifical touch in his glorious interpretation. Of the more accurate writings, there’s more missing from the tracts than what remains, as you’ve seen in the Drivel of Mary. You’ve about as much luck hitting pay dirt in those dustbins as those literalist born-agains have of seeing the Rapture. However, I have a gift for you that should prove far more enlightening, if you apply yourself with half the dedication of these research efforts.”
He reached deeply into his pocket and told me to close my eyes. “Don’t go using yer second sight and spoil the surprise.” I nodded and felt him place a large rectangular object in my left hand. “Okay, open ’em.”
It was a tarot deck. Older than any I’d seen. The paintings were incredibly detailed and absolutely exquisite. I turned them over one by one, The Hero, The Herald, The Oracle—all the trumps labeled with Paul’s titles. “These are amazing!” I said, awed and yes, flattered by his incredible gift. I had a hard time spitting it out, but I managed to say, “Thank you.”
“You’ve earned it,” he grunted, taking the cards back before I had a chance to look at the rest of them, setting the cards down gently on the table. “But don’t stay up too late gazing at them. This deck can be quite…entrancing.”
“Is there something else I should know about it?” I asked apprehensively.
“Indeed, there is. Get a good night’s sleep and meet me in the chapel tomorrow. I’m bumping you up to the advanced class, so make sure your eyes are bright and your head is clear. You’ve earned a little taste of the Gospel according to Paul.”

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

About The Book of Paul: A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction. 
Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 
About the author: Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace. He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. 
Visit Richard on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#BookReview :: Just Married, Please Excuse by Yashodhara Lal

Caution! Marriage Ahead …

Yashodhara, a quick-tempered gal from the big city is hitched to Vijay, a laidback desi boy from a small town – in one word, Trouble!
The young couple must learn to adjust to married life and to each other – whether it is Yashodhara's 'tamper tentrums' or Vijay's foot-in-mouth syndrome – with a little help from their idiosyncratic staff, Zarreena and Vinod, their nutty friend Vivi and, of course, their respective families.

With the unexpected arrival of baby Anoushka a.k.a. Peanut, the battles escalate, fuelled by their vastly divergent views on raising a child. Will their many differences – so endearing at the start of their romance – actually turn out to mean that they are just incompatible? Will they ever manage to agree on anything? Or have they just bitten off more than they can chew?

Yashodhara is a modern Delhi girl and Vijay is somewhat modern guy from Jaipur.  The corporate world plays a cupid bringing them together. While Yashodhara is fun-loving, easy going sorts with a big temper, Vijay is more serious, steady and man of few words. While one is strictly non-vegetarian the other is strictly vegetarian. They couldn’t be more different. But since when did ‘love’ ever have a checklist of likes, dislikes and temperament? In a split-moment decision made by Yashodhara (not so sudden for Vijay, of course) they get hitched and life takes a different turn for both of them.

Let me get a small fact out of the way – I am newly married. I have only about 9 months of experience in this life and I couldn’t agree with the author more. I had more time with my husband before our marriage, yet everything is playing out in the same way. Reading this book was like reading my own life story, albeit with some differences. 

Yashodhara has managed to keep the story so true to life. She has maintained a certain balance between all the elements. Also, she has incorporated her amazing sense of humour into the book so well that it had me in splits many a times. The characters develop over a period of time and the author lets you in to their psyche, which greatly helps in understanding each situation from both ends. But the USP of this book lies in the everyday, general conversational language that it is written in. It doesn’t have many BIG words and neither does it seem like a child’s work. It is simple and it is the way we talk. It helped immensely in picturing the characters, the situations and the conversations. But at the same time, I think that this book must have been written with only the Indian readers in mind as it had a lot of ‘Hindi’ in it without any translation provided. 

‘Just Married, Please Excuse’ is a story that deals with the good and the bad, the ups and downs, the expected and the unexpected, the small things and big fights – in short with ‘Marriage’ and all that it entails.

It is quite a fast read – thank God for that since I do not think I would have been able to put down the book in between (then I could probably add a ‘dinner’ situation to the story). I am looking forward to getting my hands on the second book. I recommend this book to everyone – provided you understand Hindi too.

25 September, 2012

#BlogTour :: #Excerpt - The Book of Paul by Richard Long

Please enjoy this excerpt from The Book of Paul, a nail-biting supernatural thriller by Richard Long. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.   

Monsters: An Excerpt from The Book of Paul

by Richard Long

You tell your children not to be afraid. You tell them everything will be all right. You tell them Mommy and Daddy will always be there. You tell them lies. Paul looked out the filthy window and watched the little girl playing in the filthier street below. Hopscotch. He didn’t think kids played hopscotch anymore. Not in this neighborhood. Hip-hopscotch, maybe. “Hhmph! What do you think about that?” Paul watched the little black girl toss her pebble or cigarette butt or whatever it was to square number five, then expertly hop, hop, hop her way safely to the square and back. She was dressed in a clean, fresh, red-gingham dress with matching red bows in her neatly braided pigtails. She looked so fresh and clean and happy that he wondered what she was doing on this shithole street. The girl was playing all by herself. Hop, hop, hop. Hop, hop, hop. She was completely absorbed in her hopping and scotching and Paul was equally absorbed watching every skip and shuffle. No one walked by and only a single taxi ruffled the otherworldly calm. Paul leaned closer, his keen ears straining to pick up the faint sound of her shiny leather shoes scraping against the grimy concrete. He focused even more intently and heard the even fainter lilt of her soft voice. Was she singing? He pressed his ear against the glass and listened. Sure enough, she was singing. Paul smiled and closed his eyes and let the sound pour into his ear like a rich, fragrant wine. “One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door…” He listened with his eyes closed. Her soft sweet voice rose higher and higher until…the singing suddenly stopped. Paul’s eyes snapped open. The girl was gone. He craned his neck quickly to the left and saw her being pulled roughly down the street. The puller was a large, light-skinned black man, tugging on her hand/arm every two seconds like he was dragging a dog by its leash. At first, he guessed that the man was her father, a commodity as rare in this part of town as a fresh-scrubbed girl playing hopscotch. Then he wondered if he wasn’t her father after all. Maybe he was one of those kinds of men, one of those monsters that would take a sweet, pure thing to a dark, dirty place and… And do whatever a monster like that wanted to do. Paul pressed his face against the glass and caught a last fleeting glance of the big brown man and the tiny red-checkered girl. He watched the way he yanked on her arm, how he shook his finger, how he stooped down to slap her face and finally concluded that he was indeed her one and only Daddy dear. Who else would dare to act that way in public? “Kids!” Paul huffed. “The kids these days!” He laughed loud enough to rattle the windows. Then his face hardened by degrees as he pictured the yanking daddy and the formerly happy girl. Hmmm, maybe he was one of those prowling monsters after all. Paul shuddered at the thought of what a man like that would do. He imagined the scene unfolding step by step, grunting as the vision became more and more precise. “Hhmph!” he snorted after a particularly gruesome imagining. “What kind of a bug could get inside your brain and make you do a thing like that?” “Monsters! Monsters!” he shouted, rambling back into the wasteland of his labyrinthine apartments, twisting and turning through the maze of lightless hallways as if being led by a seeing-eye dog. He walked and turned and walked some more, comforted as always by the darkness. Finally, he came to a halt and pushed hard against a wall. His hidden sanctuary opened like Ali Baba’s cave, glowing with the treasures it contained. He stepped inside and saw the figure resting (well, not exactly resting) between the flickering candles. At the sound of his footsteps, the body on the altar twitched frantically. Paul moved closer, rubbing a smooth fingertip across the wet, trembling skin and raised it to his lips. It tasted like fear. He gazed down at the man, his eyes moving slowly from his ashen face to the rusty nails holding him so firmly in place. The warm, dark blood shining on the wooden altar made him think about the red-gingham bunny again. “Monsters,” he said, more softly this time, wishing he weren’t so busy. As much as he would enjoy it, there simply wasn’t enough time to clean up this mess, prepare for his guests and track her down. Well, not her, precisely. Her angry tugging dad. Not that Paul had any trouble killing little girls, you understand. It just wasn’t his thing. Given a choice, he would much rather kill her father. And make her watch. 

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
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About The Book of Paul: A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction. 
Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 
About the author: Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace. He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. 
Visit Richard on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

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#BookReview :: Gone Tomorrow (Jack Reacher #13) by Lee Child

New York City. Two in the morning. A subway car heading uptown. Jack Reacher, plus five other passengers. Four are okay. The fifth isn’t. And if you think Reacher isn’t going to get involved . . . then you don’t know Jack.

Susan Mark, the fifth passenger, had a big secret, and her plain little life was being watched in Washington, and California, and Afghanistan—by dozens of people with one thing in common: They’re all lying to Reacher. A little. A lot. Or just enough to get him killed. A race has begun through the streets of Manhattan, a maze crowded with violent, skilled soldiers on all sides of a shadow war. For Jack Reacher, a man who trusts no one and likes it that way, the finish line comes when you finally get face-to-face and look your worst enemy in the eye.

One late night (or early morning) while travelling on a subway, Jack Reacher observes his fellow passengers in the subway car. One of the passengers, a lady, fits in a perfect profile of a suicide bomber. Reacher decides to confront her only to have her kill herself and set a chain of events into motion. Few authorities feel that Reacher knows more than he is revealing and have him followed while Reacher encounters a variety of characters. Some are beautiful, some are powerful, some are corrupt, some are rich, some are influential and some are real good bad guys. But they all have one thing in common – they are all lying to Reacher. Will Reacher be able to bring an end to the events that he inadvertently set into motion?

The answer is yes, of course! Did you ever doubt it? If you have read Reacher before then you shouldn’t have had a single ounce of doubt about Reacher’s capabilities. If you haven’t read Reacher before, well what are you doing reading this review? I can assure you that my reviews cannot do justice to the enigma that Reacher is – so just go and pick up one of his adventures right now.

This particular story is set in New York, making the playing field much more glamorous and dangerous at the same time. This is not any small town that Reacher is passing through. This is New York – the city that never sleeps and the city that is a home to the most powerful and influential people. And Reacher’s action has affected a lot of plans made not only in New York, but also in Washington and Afghanistan. So this time the game gets bigger and more dangerous with a lot of people’s plans and life on the line. 

Lee Child’s easygoing style of narration has always been one of the highlights of the series. It is no different this time. While his writing often alternates between first person and third person, I am glad that this was one of the books that he had decided to write in first person. It gave us a chance to get into Reacher’s psyche once again – seeing what and how he sees things and knowing what he is thinking gave this book a nice edge.

This is now my second Jack Reacher favourite (first is Die Trying) – thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, the thrills and the intrigue. Go people – get your hands and paws on this one.

To know more about Lee Child & his Books :: Click Here

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24 September, 2012

#BookReview Blitz :: Cassandra by Starlight by Susan Mac Nicol

A London woman is swept off her feet into the glamorous yet surprisingly dangerous world of an up-and-coming star of stage and screen.
Unconventional though she may be, Cassandra Wallace leads the life of an average Londoner, from blind dates to rush hour traffic. Then, along comes Bennett Saville. Charming, erudite, the up-and-coming actor is like the hero of a romantic movie. He sets Cassie afire like he has the stage and screen, and defies the tragedy that brought them together. From the tips of his Armani loafers to their scorching hot first kiss, he’s perfect. Only, he’s ten years younger and from the upper class, and those emerald eyes invite dangerous secrets. The world is full of hungry leading ladies, and every show must have its villain. Yet a true romance will always find its happy ending.

Married once and then separated from her husband, Cassandra is tired of being set up for disappointing dates. She is an independent career woman, who is an unfortunate victim of a terrible accident that almost claims her life. That is when Ian & Bennet enters her life. Ian is a selfless, caring doctor while Bennet is a famous actor who thrives under the limelight. They both love Cassandra, but who will she choose - the quiet but dependable Ian or the famous actor with a bad temper?

At first, Bennet feels that he owes it to Cassandra to make sure that she is fine since his brother put her life in jeopardy. But soon that changes into something else. As he gets to know the girl, he finds it so easy to fall in love with her. But with his past, a sick mother and his life always under the media scrutiny, he has more on his plate than he can handle. Add a crazy stalker to the mix! A stalker who calls him a number of times only to play music in the background and leave him a number of gifts. The stalker also seems to follow him around the world. Will he ever get his life under control again?

The plot is quite interesting with quite a few sub-plots and few of them are quite mysterious. The death of Bennet’s brother and the identity of his stalker are what keep the reader wondering about ‘what really happened’. The book also deals with a life of an actor, a serious illness and the different facets of relationships. My favourite part of the book was really the relationships portrayed. Cassie’s relationship with both Bennet and Ian, Bennet’s relationship with his colleagues/friends and his family – they are all very different from each other. It is these differences that actually complement each other and bring a balance and charm into the book.

Susan Mac Nicol has also managed to develop quite a few interesting characters. Cassandra is a strong character who has a very practical and optimistic outlook on life. Bennet’s past actually makes him another strong character. Ian is the sweet guy whom you will absolutely love. Besides these people who take the center stage in the book, I also liked the characters of Bennet’s father and Bella. And my, the stalker is really a psycho!

I have a few issues about the book though. For me, I felt that the story could have been a bit fast paced than it is. In order to give some time for the relationships to grow, the author has spanned out the events over a period of time. Sometimes the jump from one stage to another - from one chapter to the other seemed rather abrupt, losing the rhythm of the story. Also, I felt as if the climax did not really do justice to the buildup. 

Overall, it was quite an experience to read this book and I would recommend this to romance lovers. It is certainly worth one time read. 

Chapter 1

The day the sky fell changed Cassie Wallace’s world forever. She woke up that morning with the expectation that this day would be like any other. She also had a slight hangover from the abundance of wine she’d drunk the night before to try and get through a blind date organized by her work colleague, Sarah.

The evening had been a total disaster. Not only had the man been an absolute misogynist, one of the cardinal male sins on Cassie’s unwritten list, he’d also had a habit of leering at her chest every time he spoke as if he thought it might talk back to him.

She’d smiled politely whilst thinking she’d like to take his smarmy public school tie and shove it down his throat. When she’d finally left at around eleven, she hadn’t been able to get away fast enough.

She stood in her bedroom, checking her outfit in the mirror and sighed.

Was it too much to ask to find a decent man just to share things with and have a good time? They all seemed to be absolute idiots and in the old but true cliché, only interested in one thing.

Cassie had been out on a few dates in the past few months but somehow she never made it past the first one. A previous date gone wrong had told her she was too independent and perhaps a little bit ‘emotionally challenged, not affectionate enough’ for him.

She’d shrugged this off but it had hurt her deep down especially as she knew it to be true.

My bloody expectations aren’t even that high, she thought in exasperation as she
fastened her necklace. It’s not as if I’m such a great bloody catch myself! Middle-aged and not really all that exciting. I’ll take what I can get within reason.

Cassie smoothed her skirt down over her hips and picked up her handbag.

When she left the house at six thirty, it was a typical dark English winter morning. Fortyfive minutes later she was sitting in the traffic on the motorway, listening to the news bulletin.

“Bloody idiot,” she mumbled in between bites of a banana that she had hastily grabbed on her way out. “He wouldn’t know a bloody budget if his life depended on it. Silly sod has got no idea how to run a bloody country.”

She crept forward in her Honda Jazz at about two miles an hour, watching the traffic in front which seemed to have ground to a halt for no reason at all.

I really need to try and find something closer to home, she thought, not for the first time. This travelling lark is really starting to piss me off. Four hours a day in traffic is not my idea of time well spent.

Cassie wasn’t sure what other quality pastimes she’d be engaging in if she did have more free time, given her current ‘lack of male’ situation but she supposed she’d find something. Join a book club perhaps, or find more time to get to the gym. She might even start writing that novel she’d always planned on doing.

Her fingers impatiently drummed on the steering wheel in time to a melody on the radio. In response to another bulletin by the newscaster regarding the level of binge drinking in the county, she burst into a further diatribe. “For God’s sake, let the bloody idiots lay where they fall. If they had any brains they wouldn’t let it get that far so they needed an ambulance to take them to A and E. It’s my taxpaying money that’s looking after these morons!”

She glanced at the clock on the display. Seven thirty a.m. She’d be lucky to make it in on time today.

The story of my life, she thought resignedly. Slow death by traffic jam.

The traffic still seemed to show no signs of moving any time soon. She switched off the engine and took out her Kindle. She may as well catch up on her reading whilst she had nothing better to do.

Her concentration span was low as she tried to read. Last night’s ‘date’ kept replaying itself in random snippets of conversation. Cassie could still hear Ron’s supercilious comment about women needing to have a man in their lives to keep them focused on what was important—the man and the provision of all his needs.

She’d almost choked on her wine when she’d heard this and only just stopped herself retorting sarcastically that as a man’s needs were so simple, the only ‘provision’ they really needed was a soft toy shaped like a pair of boobs to play with and talk at. As she had very little money in her purse other than her taxi fare home, she’d stopped herself.

After the hell she’d been through sitting and listening to Ron’s drivel, the least she’d make him do was pay for dinner. Cassie had made a decision after last night. She’d stay home with her own company for the near future, with a bottle of wine and a couple of decent movies. She’d rather drool over a virtual Mark Harmon in NCIS than a real life douche bag like the Ronalds of his world. As for sex—well, that was what vibrators were made for.

It was nearly ten minutes later before the car in front of her re-started its engine and she followed suit and sped up to about twenty miles an hour as the queue took flight. She settled in as it got back up to the more respectable speed of fifty miles an hour.

As she drove she glanced idly up at the foot bridges to see the people strolling with dogs, on bicycles and footing it on their way to work.

At the bridge just ahead she saw a solitary figure leaning over looking down at the motorway below. She slowed down a little. Ever since those incidents a few weeks ago when someone had thrown a concrete bucket off the bridge at a passing car, she tended to be wary of people standing watching the traffic.

The figure didn’t appear to have anything in its hands but then she had only caught a glimpse of it before turning her eyes back to the road. She increased her speed as the traffic flowed easier.

There was no warning, just a sudden deafening bang of metal as the windscreen of her car collapsed inwards. Cassie screamed in terror as glass flew towards her like wafer thin slivers from a frozen icicle. Her hands left the steering wheel in panic, her foot pressing down on the accelerator.

The Honda Jazz went out of control, spinning around like a dirt dervish. Debris from the windscreen flew like lethal missiles around the interior of the car. Cassie cried out in pain as she was subject to a vicious assault by anything lying loose in her vehicle. She tried to cover her face in an instinctive reflex but her left arm seemed unresponsive. The pain horrifying. She whimpered as she glanced down and saw the bone shard sticking out.

In her pain and terror she didn’t notice that the car had stopped spinning. Everything went quiet. Cassie lay slumped in the driver seat, dazed and unresponsive as the shock set in She could hear the sounds of people shouting and heard someone asking her if she was all right.

She vaguely registered the sound of screeching metal as someone tried to pull the driver door open. It was as if everything was being done underwater. The sounds were muted and her brain was sluggish.

The older man looking in at her from the road was speaking but she couldn’t hear what he was saying. Cassie looked at him blankly. She couldn’t see clearly, as if a can of fine red spray-paint had been aimed at her and the nozzle depressed, coating her eyes. She tried to move her body but the pain in her right leg was excruciating.

She watched dully as the man outside starting pulling away metal struts and twisted the door to get inside to her. She could hear his voice vaguely now, a rough London Cockney accent as he spoke reassuringly whilst trying to free her.

“All right, darling? Just stay calm and I’ll try and get to you. The ambulance is on its way. They’ve told me not to move you so I just want to try get in and keep you company till they arrive. You look as if you could do with a bit of company. Just stay with me now. Don’t go anywhere.”

He smiled at her, trying to keep her reassured. With a final tug at the door, he made enough of a space to squeeze in slightly and he took her right hand, avoiding the bad condition of her left arm with its broken bone. Her hand was freezing and he rubbed it gently.

“There we go. That should feel better. You just stay calm now and we’ll have you back to your old man in no time.” He continued holding her hand, talking to her as she slipped in and out of consciousness.

In one of her lucid periods she raised an unsteady hand to her face to wipe her eyes. The fog cleared a little and she was able to focus, then desperately wished she hadn’t. Lying in front of her, across the bonnet, was a face, pulped and looking as if dark sticky jam had been smeared all over it.

She could see the eyes open, looking at her and she could see the mouth forming words before she screamed and screamed and eventually the fog of blackness claimed her and the face could be seen no more.

Doctor Ian Spencer frowned as he read the patient chart in his hand. He glanced at the patient, an old man in his seventies, matted grey hair curling around his face like tendrils of an octopus, framing a bucolic face of cherry red, his bulbous nose caked with fresh snot.

“Up to your old tricks again, Terry?” the ER doctor asked resignedly. “I thought perhaps last time we had reached an understanding of sorts?”

The old man chuckled hoarsely.

“The drink beckoned again, Doctor, I’ve told you before, cider waits for no man.” He coughed, his body wracked with spasms. The doctor motioned with a hand to the waiting nurse who offered Terry a glass of water. He drank it greedily and lay back in the hospital bed.

Ian Spencer made a notation in his patient’s chart.

“You realise this time, Terry, you’ve really outdone yourself? You had what we call a minor varicose bleed which basically means your insides leaked with blood because they couldn’t do what they were supposed to do. I managed to stabilise you and you’ve been in intensive care for two days. Given the state of your liver you were very lucky not to have it worse. As it is, you’ll need to be here a few more days before I can release you.”

“I’m very grateful to you, Doctor.” Terry leered at the nurse who moved out of the way of his groping left hand. “I can always count on you to put me right.”

“Not always, Terry, not always.” Ian passed the chart to the nurse and continued on his way.

He’d just completed his surgical rounds and was walking down the hospital corridor when he heard an ambulance arrive and saw the frenetic activity bursting through the double doors. He heard the ambulance staff calling out their incoming triage procedures to the attending doctor and watched as a trolley with a woman covered in blood was wheeled into the waiting operating theatre.

One of the staff nurses, Judy, a good friend, hurried past him.

“I don’t believe this one,” she muttered to him. “Some poor woman minding her own business on the motorway and somebody falls on top of her car. We were lucky no one else was hurt as well when she spun around or we’d be running out of space this morning.”

“What about the man who fell?”

“He’s dead, poor bugger.” Judy’s voice was terse as she hurried off.

It was some hours later in passing Ian saw his colleague, fellow trauma surgeon Phil Moodley, come out of the operating theatre where the woman had been wheeled.

“Phil!” Ian hurried to catch up with him. “Wait up.”

Phil turned and proffered a tired smile when he saw Ian.

“Ian, how are things? I’m just on my way to catch a few minutes doze. It’s been a long day.”

“How did things go in there?” Ian motioned to the OR. “I heard she was hit by a man falling on her car.”

“Yes, it was very bad. The poor woman has a ruptured spleen, a hairline skull fracture, a broken femur and radius, and a wealth of lacerations and internal bruising.” He frowned.

“She also has a small foreign body embedded in her left temple. It’s in an awkward place and fairly deep. I’ve recommended not removing it at this time. I’m not sure it would be prudent. It doesn’t appear itself to be life threatening. She’ll be in intensive care for some time. I need to keep an eye on her for any possible embolism. She’ll probably need some physical therapy afterwards if there are no complications.”

He squinted at Ian with tired eyes. “You seem interested in this one, Ian? Did you know anyone involved?”

Ian shook his head. “I was involved in a similar situation some years ago when I was at Lakeview Hospital and that one—that one I did know. The person that fell though, not the victim.”

Phil nodded his head.

“This woman was very lucky, the young man was not. He was dead at the scene. His relatives are on their way.”

Ian nodded. “Thanks, Phil. You’d best get off and get that sleep, you look all out of it.”

Phil patted Ian’s arm and wandered down towards the staff room. Ian wouldn’t tell Phil the real reason for his interest. It was too personal and no one in the hospital knew anything about his reason for leaving Lakeview three years ago and joining Tilhurst Hospital on the outskirts of Essex.

In 2009, his wife Sandra had jumped off a foot bridge straight into the path of a passing mini-van. To this day he had no idea why. The mini-van driver, a young man called Freddy Clifford, who had just become a father, had died in the incident with Sandy. The feelings of guilt for both Sandy’s and the man’s death (he should’ve known what was going on in his own marriage for God’s sake!) had never left him.

He’d left Lakeview and started again where no one knew his history and no one could feel sympathy for him. He felt he didn’t deserve it. He was sure a psychiatrist would have some insight to offer on his reaction but he had never engaged with one, preferring as he did to manage it himself.

Ian made his way over to the nurses’ station outside intensive care. He saw Nurse Angie, a bubbly young woman with bleached blonde hair and a Carry On set of breasts, sitting behind the desk. She smiled as she saw him approach.

There were more than a couple of nurses who’d tried to form a relationship with him but none of them had been successful so far.

“Doctor. What can I do for you?”

“The woman that Dr. Patel has just operated on—can you tell me a little bit about her?

How’s she doing?”

Angie consulted her notes.

“Let me see. Hmm, she’s in a private ICU room, so she must have great insurance. Room 310. Cassie Wallace, forty-seven years old, divorced. Her sister is coming in to see her. She’s on her way from Kent.”

She looked at Ian enquiringly. “Has Dr. Patel asked you to keep an eye on her?”

Ian shook his head. “No, just curious about how she’s doing. It just seems so tragic, minding your own business then POW! You find yourself in this situation. Thanks for the info, Angie.”

Ian made his way towards Room 310. He couldn’t say why he was so interested in this woman, only that he felt he had to find out more about her.

He clothed himself up with a mask and gloves and nodded at the ICU nurses as he walked through the main ward to the private ones at the back. The hum of machines and the absolute quiet in the ward was strangely restful. Ian reached Room 310, opened the door and slipped in.

Cassie Wallace lay on her back, surrounded by soft light from the equipment. The constant beep of the life support machines and monitoring equipment comforted Ian. This unit was dedicated to keeping people alive with the best care the hospital could provide. Cassie Wallace was in good hands.

Cassie had her left arm in a splint, her fingers cold and pale like soft, limp white gloves. Her right leg with its broken femur rested on the bed covers. Ian guessed she had pins and rods inside keeping it together.

Her face was battered and bruised from the accident. He could see the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. Her pale strawberry blonde hair was spread across the pillow like soft gold straw, with a large bald patch on the left side where Dr Patel had shaved her skull.

Even through the cuts and bruises, Ian could see she was a very attractive woman. Not just pretty or beautiful, but with a look of her own that even under current circumstances made her look younger than her forty-seven years. She reminded him very much of a curvier Michelle Pfeiffer. A noise at the door made him turn. Judy stood there, looking surprised to see him.

“Ian? What are you doing in here?” she whispered.

“I was just checking up on her. I know I’m not her doctor but I really wanted to see how she was doing.”

“It’s all right, Ian.” Judy patted him on the arm. “She can do with all the help she can get. I need to check her vital signs now. Do you want to stick around?”

“No Judes, I’ll let you get on with your job. Thanks.” Ian left the nurse with her patient and made his way back towards the main reception.

About the Author
Sue Mac Nicol was born in Headingley, Leeds, in the United Kingdom. When she was eight years old her family emigrated to Johannesburg, South Africa. One day, after yet another horrific story of violence to friends, they decided it was time to leave. In December 2000 they found themselves in the Arrivals area at Heathrow and have stayed in the UK ever since, loving every minute of it.

In between her day job as a regulatory compliance officer for a financial services company in Cambridge and normal daily life, the inspiration for the Starlight series was born; Sue’s characters, Cassie and Bennett, finally made their debut onto the flickering screen of a laptop and gave her the opportunity to become a published author—a dream she’s had since being a young girl old enough to hold a pencil.

Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. She lives in a town house in the rural village of Bocking, Essex, with her husband of twenty eight years, Gary (who believes he deserves a long service award for putting up with her for so long), two children, Jason, 24, and Ashley, 19, and a mixed collie mongrel called Blu.

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