31 January, 2015

#Interview with Tendai Huchu, #Author of The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician

Tendai Huchu’s first novel, The Hairdresser of Harare, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim, and has been translated into German, French and Italian. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Manchester Review, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Interzone, Gutter, AfroSF, Wasafiri, Warscapes, The Africa Report, Kwani? and numerous other publications. In 2013 he received a Hawthornden Fellowship and a Sacatar Fellowship. He was shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize. His new novel is The Maestro, The Magistrate, & The Mathematician.

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I cannot believe I did not have you over my blog sooner. Well, better late than never… So, how have you been doing?
Thanks for having me, Debdatta. I’ve been great, doing a bit of this and that, you know, trying to save the world one tale at a time.

Tell us, when did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I think it’s more a gradual process than anything. You tell a story, here and there, someone likes it and you think, ‘Great I can do something other people enjoy,’ because at the core of it, you’re really telling stories you yourself want to hear. Folks indulge you, and before you know it, you’re this 30-something year old dude, still making stuff up.

What inspires you to write?
Real life – to be fair, there’s a lot more crazier shit out there in the real world, than anything that can be conjured up in a book. But I enjoy literature as an art form, so other writers inspire me. The inspiration comes from just existing and checking stuff out.

What was the general response to ‘The Hairdresser of Harare’ and ‘An Untimely Love’?
Readers are very kind, especially to a writer still trying to find his feet.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
I don’t want to sound all mystical or hocus-pocussy, but it just came to me. Ideas are there, churning away in your subconscious, you just have to be a little patient and a little receptive to them.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
The book works as an integrated whole for me. I couldn’t pick one scene over any other. 

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Inevitably some of you filters into the work, unintentionally. But I suppose I can point to a character called Tendai, who has a very brief cameo in the book. He’s a bit awkward, drinks more than he really should, and generally makes an ass of himself.

Tell us about your writing process.
I wake up at 7am, have breakfast, then I work till 10:30. After that I run/cycle/walk for 1 ½ to 2 hours.  I come back, have lunch. Depending on how the work is going I may write a bit more, or rewrite and revise. There’s a lot of flexibility in that structure allowing me to do important stuff like Twitter or Facebook or generally procrastinate and ruminate over my unappreciated genius and/or world peace.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I generally loath my work after it has been published. Each sentence feels like a step away from the perfect idea that was there on the blank first page. What keeps me going is the naïve hope that the next story might just be a little bit better.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read all the time. You can’t even contemplate being a writer if you don’t read – forget it.  
Favourite authors – really hard coz I read so much, and am at the stage where I really don’t know what I get from whom. But if I had to pick:
Dostoevsky and Jim Thompson – insane psychological exposition.
David Mitchell – breadth of imagination and structural prowess
David Foster Wallace – need I say more

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
No one knows what they’re doing in this game, we’re all winging it. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Don’t do it, get a real job instead. You’ll be a lot happier that way. However if you must – then read a lot first and learn from the masters. The best creative writing tutors are in your local library.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
Idris Elba – The Magistrate
James Franco – The Maestro
Michael B. Jordan – The Mathematician
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Alfonso

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
Paper and pen and a cool sunhat. 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I play a bit of chess, walk or cycle a lot, usually along Union Canal in Edinburgh.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I wanna see the Lalibela churches in Ethiopia.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I have restless leg syndrome, so my legs run about while I’m asleep.
Addicted to marshmallows, I can’t stop myself whenever I get a packet I keep going till it’s empty.
I’m afraid of the dark… really afraid.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
Working on a scifi novel. Doing more short fiction in the noir and literary genres. Varying it up a bit.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I’m sure they’ve had enough of me by now. Thanks a lot, Debdatta :)

Three very different men struggle with thoughts of belonging, loss, identity and love as they attempt to find a place for themselves in Britain. The Magistrate tries to create new memories and roots, fusing a wandering exploration of Edinburgh with music. The Maestro, a depressed, quixotic character, sinks out of the real world into the fantastic world of literature. The Mathematician, full of youth, follows a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle, until their three universes collide. 

In this carefully crafted, multi-layered novel, Tendai Huchu, with his inimitable humour, reveals much about the Zimbabwe story as he draws the reader deep into the lives of the three main characters.

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30 January, 2015

#BookReview :: Revival by Stephen King

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs Jacobs; the women and girls – including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister – feel the same about Reverend Jacobs. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.
Then tragedy strikes the Jacobs family; the preacher curses God, mocking all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. In his mid-thirties, he is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate, he sees Jacobs again – a showman on stage, creating dazzling ‘portraits in lightning’ – and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. Because for every cure there is a price…

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It had been quite sometime since I picked up a Stephen King novel…  I know it is quite shameful, but the last time I was on a Stephen King Reading spree and wanted a break from them. So Hachette India sent me this book just in time for me to get back to reading King.

Revival tells us the story of a new minister and his wife in a small town. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, transforms the local church and touches the life of all those around them, including that of Jamie Morton, the narrator of the story. Jamie and Jacobs shared a special bond that is broken when at the turn of events, Jacobs mocks all religious beliefs and is banished from the town… Jamie grows up to live a nomadic lifestyle and gets addicted to drugs. Years later the two meet and their bond mends itself beyond what it ever was.

Knowing Stephen King, one can always expect certain things from his book and he delivers every single time. Revival is no different on this front.

The characters were well fleshed out and developed throughout the story. A reader will feel that they really know each character well enough and know how the relationships work. Both Jamie and Jacobs have been introduced well and developed even better and the relationship between them is smooth and so is its transitions. They feel real and complex at the same time. The plot is just amazing in true King style. There are enough twists and atrocious turns and I have long since stopped trying to predict his plotlines.

This is one hell of a indulging, scary, disturbing and just simply mind blowing book.

Review Copy received from Hachette India

29 January, 2015

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Sanjay Kumar, #Author of Wings of Courage

*** Special Feature - January 2015 ***

An interview with the Author

What inspires you to write?
An interesting story or a unique perspective (for non-fiction) – one that carries an important meaning that readers may find useful.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The idea of this story took shape over a period of almost fifteen years. Among Indians in USA, a common topic of discussion is why India is so far behind developed countries like USA and what it would take to change things back home. While most NRI’s don’t want to come back to India, they do want things to change here. Incidentally, that is the reason Aam Aadmi Party gets a significant amount of donation from overseas.
‘Wings of Courage’ is the result of my research and thinking over the years on how India could close the gap with other developed countries – not just on the economic front but also on important social parameters like poverty, illiteracy, sanitation, law and order, etc.

Tell us about your writing process.
Being an engineer, I am inclined towards a structured approach to writing where I need to know my rough plot from beginning to end. Then I would come down to scene list, followed by writing scenes one by one. Though the plot may change over time (it often does), I always have an end-to-end plot. It helps me in many ways, but most importantly I seldom face writer’s block. If I can’t or don’t feel like working on a scene for some reason, I simply move onto another one that suits my mood.
In some ways it is like making a movie where you may shoot different scenes out of order and later arrange them in perfect sequence.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
My favourite scene is the discussion between Saksham and Sneha when they are coming back from their trip to the mountains. While the tone of discussion stays casual and light-hearted, there is a perceptible undercurrent of strong emotions under the surface. It highlights the fact that human relationships are so fragile sometimes – they can break so easily, all it takes is inability of one person to reciprocate another person’s feelings in an appropriate manner.

What is your usual writing routine?
Though I would love to, I don’t follow a strict writing routine, primarily because I share childcare responsibilities with my wife. On most days, I will get two-three hours of writing time in the morning after my kids have gone to school. The second - and usually longer - writing slot I get is in the evening that may continue to late night hours.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
For someone new, I feel the primary focus should be to grow as a writer. I believe in three keys that will take one there – read regularly, write regularly, and seek honest feedback – from friends and professionals. The last part is sometimes the most challenging as it requires you to overcome the fear of feeling exposed in front of others.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
It is interesting that you ask this because I have always had a cast for my lead characters. When I started formulating the plot five years ago, Hrithik Roshan was my undisputed choice for Saksham. But, by the time I came down writing my first chapter, three years had passed and Hrithik Roshan seemed too old to play a college student. So, I switched to Ranvir Singh and have stuck with him since. On the other hand, Shraddha Kapoor has been the only Sneha during the writing of the book.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
Since you said ‘famous’, I will assume it is a safe and scenic island. Three things I will carry are my iPAD with at least a hundred eBooks on it, a good SLR camera and of course a writing pad. If you allow me a fourth, I will take a trunk full of wheat beer. And then, I won’t light a fire because I don’t want to be found.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
With two young sons, free time is a luxury. Whatever little I can manage goes to my active list of pending books – both fiction and non-fiction.
Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I will share two - backpacking in northeast and writing a book on happiness – happiness is such an easy formula and yet so many people (including otherwise successful professionals) seem to completely miss it.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
“My Husband is Mine” – it is the story of a housewife’s struggle to claim her husband back from the grip of another woman. In today’s world, this could be the story of any Indian urban woman who sacrifices her career to take care of her kids, becomes complacent with life and ends up playing a subordinate role to her husband.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Just a short reminder… there is only one life, and a life without passion and courage is a compromised one. So, every once in a while, please allow yourself to break open the cage of insecurity and fly into the sky, and fly so high that you can touch your dreams.

About the Book

You must act! Your dreams may look unachievable, but giving up without trying is cowardice. It is against evolution, for evolution is not the result of endless worries, thoughts or discussions. Evolution is in action.” 
In those words, Saksham finds courage to step beyond his self-imposed ineptitude and begin a new life. 
This is the story of Saksham, a bright young man, and his quest for a more humane world. On his journey, he meets a wise philosopher who helps him unravel the complexities of today’s civilized human world, and a young beautiful woman who rekindles his passion for life. Their belief in him empowers Saksham to launch an attack against organized evil. 
As Saksham marches forward, he must choose between the comfort of his love and courage to follow his dreams. If he chooses the latter, he will need to adopt brutal ways to counter raw powers of evil. And… there will be no going back. 
‘Wings of Courage’ is a moving tale of passion and courage, for without them, our dreams may never come true.

2 Paperback Copies of Wings of Courage up for grabs. Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

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28 January, 2015

#BookReview :: Inked by Eric Smith

Tattoos once were an act of rebellion. 
Now they decide your destiny the moment the magical Ink settles under your skin. 
And in a world where Ink controls your fate, Caenum can't escape soon enough. He is ready to run from his family, and his best friend Dreya, and the home he has known, just to have a chance at a choice. 
But when he upsets the very Scribe scheduled to give him his Ink on his eighteenth birthday, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that sends the corrupt, magic-fearing government, The Citadel, after him and those he loves. 
Now Caenum, Dreya, and their reluctant companion Kenzi must find their way to the Sanctuary, a secret town where those with the gift of magic are safe. Along the way, they learn the truth behind Ink, its dark origins, and why they are the only ones who can stop the Citadel.

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Caenum lives in a world where the in tattoos control their life. Once a person turns 18, they get their magical tattoos that decide their profession and hence control their lives. No matter what they like and desire, they are destined to follow what their ink decides for them. Those who do not get inked and remain unmarked, are shunned from the society and are hunted by the Citadel. Caenum’s date of getting inked is fast approaching and he doesn’t know his own mind and is reluctant to get tattooed. He plans to run away, but a chance encounter with the scribe who is supposed to mark him changes his life forever. On the run from the Citadel, Caenum is accompanied by Dreya, his childhood friend and love interest, and Kenzi. This unlikely group is up for the most terrifying and amazing adventures.

The book has a really interesting premise – magical ink tattoos controlling the fate of people and a powerful and controlling Citadel. Then there are groups of people who have been shunned or runaways from the society who make a living for themselves under the radar of the Citadel. People who are oppressed are bound to revolt, but how will that revolution rise and what will be its fate?

There are a number of characters in the book that play important roles. Our protagonists – Caenum and Dreya are very likeable as is their blossoming romance. I like the fact that they are childhood friends who are taking baby steps with their relationship. However, I found the father and son reunion and their interaction really disappointing. It lacked serious emotions. Caenum, while loveable most of the times, can be stubborn and thick headed. Kenzi is a hot-headed person who can be impulsive. Dreya seems to be the most balanced person among the three. I would have loved to see a bit more growth in Caenum’s character.

The language and the narrative style of the author is simple. It will appeal to a lot of youngsters. The plot and its characters compliment each other and there is a lot of action and drama to keep the reader involved in the book.

Overall, it is an above average book that could have been better. I will be picking up the next book in the instalment with hopes of seeing Caenum develop and flourish.

Review Copy received from Netgalley

27 January, 2015

#BookReview :: The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence (Zodiac #1) by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, Andie Tong

Stan Lee presents a brand new, magical, super-powered adventure! 

When twelve magical superpowers are unleashed on the world, a Chinese-America teenager named Steven will be thrown into the middle of an epic global chase. He'll have to master strange powers, outrun super-powered mercenaries, and unlock the mysterious powers of the Zodiac.

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Steven, as a Chinese American kid in America, has always felt like a misfit. Now on a trip to China, he feels even more so, especially when his friends assume that being of Chinese decent, he can read everything in Chinese. He also has some parental issues, who always seem to be busy with their work and have no tie for him. On a class trip to a museum, Steven accidentally gets embroiled is Maxwell’s plan to take over the world with all the zodiac powers. Steven lands up getting the Tiger power and an ally in Jasmine. Will Steven and Jasmine be able to find the others with Zodiac powers before Maxwell and stop his master plan?

The first thing that catches a reader’s attention in this book is the pictures that are sprinkled throughout the book. Even in my e-ARC copy, they seemed attractive. I am sure that they would be more so in the print copies. The second thing about this book is its plot that has a very interesting Premise. Twelve supernatural powers are unleashed on this world and each related to a Chinese Zodiac symbol - one man in pursuit of controlling them all while others band together to stop him. While the plot and the pictures were complimentary to each other, there were instances when certain things felt too easy and convenient for the characters. Talking about characters, there are quite a few and mostly from varied backgrounds and cultures. This added to the flavor of the story. However, most characters felt one dimensional and lacked the depth and growth that I like to see.

The narration style of the author is simple and dainty. It is easy to get into the story and continue with it. There are lots of action and drama infused into the plot to keep it going. A faster pace would have been welcomed but it is okay as it is.

Overall, this book makes for a light and interesting read. 

Review Copy received from Netgalley

26 January, 2015

#Interview with Agostino Scafidi

Agostino Scafidi. Montreal, Canada.

For readers to purchase my eBook:
My eBooks come in mobi, epub, pdf, doc w/ cover.

Sample for you and your readers:

What is your usual writing routine?
Lately, I tend to keep a document window open while I'm going about sending promotional emails and I'll write anywhere from one to three poems a day. Sometimes I'll write on a pad of paper, but that has been more on the rare side since I've begun focusing more on poetry. I don't push myself too hard when it comes to writing because I feel like my best poems emerge when I take a more observant position.

What inspires you to write?
I've never made a deliberate choice to write. I've always felt drawn to it. I've played guitar for many years and when I was learning about music I was also learning about how to become more aware of the inspiration that flows inside of us and how it's sort of connected intrinsically to the universe around us. It's with that type of attuning I approach my writing. I let the words be a vehicle for that which I'm feeling inside. This isn't to say that everything I write is about me either. Although sometimes of course it is.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
My three previous eBooks were not poetry, they were fiction. I've always written poetry from time to time over the years though, and I guess I felt quite compelled after my last eBook to begin collecting my poems into a similar format. I had a strong feeling of being pulled towards this new direction and I just went with it.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
Yes, I definitely enjoy reading. I don't read very fast, so I tend to take a while with the book I'm currently reading. I also don't spend many hours in a day reading. Sometimes around 1 or 2 hours. My favourite authors would have to be, in no particular order, Carlos Castaneda, Steig Larsson, Eckhart Tolle, L.M. Montgomery, Marquis de Sade. There might be others I'm leaving out, but these are the names that come to me when I think about it. I believe that in some way they have all affected my writing style, but I wouldn't be able to pinpoint how exactly. I admit I'm not aware of their affect on me. Possibly, in one way, it's that they've given me more courage to write what I otherwise would be too scared to write.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
I'd bring a guitar, a knife, and an umbrella.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a place to go and unwind?
I have always found taking a walk to be very good for me. I also like to smoke cigarettes, for now anyway, I'm sort of on and off with them, and I enjoy that too. I also like to hang out with a friend and listen to music, talk about whatever.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I have a strong curiosity to visit North Korea. I have always been fascinated with that country's extreme differences to what I've known in life, so much so that I'd want to see it for myself.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with your readers?
Yes, I will be releasing a new poetry eBook sometime in the next couple of months. I'd also like to point out that my online store agostinoscafidi.bigcartel.com provides the reader with multiple digital formats suitable for any reading device and I accept PayPal as well as Credit Card payments. Thank you very much for reading this and thanks to the blogger for giving me this interview opportunity.

The poetry you'll meet in this collection will be biting, defensive, cynical and sarcastic. Dark humour is used to elaborate upon bleak life outlooks. At many times the spirit in these poems are rooted in antonymous rebellion. All that said, the reader will also encounter various instances synonymous with the proverbial "light at the end of tunnel".

50 pgs
Cover IMG: http://i.imgur.com/nYupU3z.jpg
Dec 1 2014


#ReleaseDayBlitz :: Blood Monarch by Drako

About the Book:
A king's duty never ends, even when his kingdom changes. Vladimir Dracula is one of the most famous and misunderstood figures in all of history. One thing is true, he is a king, and he is a vampire. He is the true king and enforcer of the vampire race. Feared by all of his own kind, he is perhaps the most lethal of the Black Dragon God's mortal born servants. At the same time, he personifies sex. None can resist his charms, save one.
Vax King is the Chosen of Hecate, the Heir of Mjolnir, and has no plans on a mate. When he's called on to enter Fae lands, he's surprised to find the legendary vampire there. Looking to aid the beautiful Fae, Anaya, and her soul mate, Galen, Vax must enter a world of sex of violence with only Vlad to accompany him. Here, there can be no denial, no hesitation. Only truth....and dominance.
A war is brewing in the Fae lands, as the fallen angels rise to lay claim to the power of their goddess, Verlaine and topple their higher brethren. Older than most, Vlad must accustom himself to having a soul mate, and use all his legendary power to stop the forces of darkness long believed to be controlled by him. A new kingdom is the prize, and none knows better than the famed Dracula that the secret to power lies in the blood.

Book Links:
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Meet the Characters:

Vladimir Dracula

AKA: Vlad, Vlad the Impaler, Dracula
Height: 6’10”
Weight: 315 pounds
Hair: shoulder length, brown
Origin: A human follower of Jarel, the Black Dragon god. He was caught in the crossfire of Jarel’s disagreement with a demon god and the result changed him into one of the first vampires. 
More info: Contrary to popular belief, he has never sired another vampire. The entire race descends from the married couple, Vacker and Deidre. He has functioned as the final enforcer of the race since its creation. He is lethal in battle, being one of those fortunate enough to have had Jarel’s favor in mortal life first. He is also extremely sexual, with an appeal that draws others to him. He should not be confused with the prince who became known as Vlad the Impaler. He’s far older and earned the name in a far different manner. 


Height: 6’4”
Weight: 220 pounds
Hair: long, red
Origin: A mortal born witch, servant to Hecate, the patron goddess of witches. He was chosen by the goddess himself to wield the legendary hammer Mjolnir to expel Lucifer from the mortal world.
More info: Vax originally had a bit of a self-confidence issue. Because he’s mortal born, he is not used to the strength and power gifted to him by the goddess. He’s a quick learner, and in fact, had a bit of conflict with Vlad in his first story. He’s the first person to resist Vlad’s charm when the vampire is really pouring it on. 


Height: 5’3”
Hair: long, red
Origin: An orphaned Fae, she comes into contact with Brandon during his mortal life and the two have a son, Theo, who eventually becomes one of the Three Fates. She is actually the daughter of the Fae queen and the very first angel, Apollyon.
More info: Anaya was captured due to her softer and trusting nature in the second book, and the reasons are complicated. Her ties to the father of her child as well as her soul mate, in addition to her parentage, made her a target. But she’s certainly come into her own and is no damsel in distress


Height: 6’6”
Weight: 258 pounds
Eyes: blue
Hair: long, black
Origin: A warrior angel created by an ancient goddess, he has only known war and duty and has not adjusted to the idea of having a soul mate.
More info: Galen has loyalty that cannot be questioned, even falling from grace to aid in the fall of Lucifer. He’s powerful and ruthless in battle, but unfamiliar with the concept of love. It’s taken him a long time to accept Anaya.

About the Author:

Drako resides in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, which you may notice is part of the setting of this series. When he isn’t writing, he’s busy editing for other authors, reviewing books, working, going to college, and spending time with his friends and two nieces. He blogs often and is very active on Facebook while trying to readjust to activity on twitter. His subject matter varies as he likes to talk about more than just his writing. You can check out his posts at his website, drakosden.weebly.com

Author Links:
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24 January, 2015

#BookSpotlight :: Reagan’s Redemption by Cate Beauman

Cate Beauman is back with the eight installment in her bestselling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County.  Reagan’s Redemption is on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and more!

Doctor Reagan Rosner loves her fast-paced life of practicing medicine in New York City’s busiest trauma center. Kind and confident, she’s taking her profession by storm—until a young girl’s accidental death leaves her shaken to her core. With her life a mess and her future uncertain, Reagan accepts a position as Head Physician for The Appalachia Project, an outreach program working with some of America’s poorest citizens. 
Shane Harper, Ethan Cooke Security’s newest team member, has been assigned a three-month stint deep in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, and he’s not too happy about it. Guarding a pill safe in the middle of nowhere is boring as hell, but when he gets a look at his new roommate, the gorgeous Doctor Rosner, things start looking up.
Shane and Reagan encounter more than a few mishaps as they struggle to gain the trust of a reluctant community. They’re just starting to make headway when a man’s routine checkup exposes troubling secrets the town will do anything to keep hidden—even if that means murder.


The Inspiration Behind Reagan’s Redemption:

I’ve wanted to tell Reagan and Shane’s story for quite a while now, but I kept putting it off, knowing where the weeks of research would take me. Reagan Rosner is a doctor, which is great for her but not so much for me as the writer. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a hypochondriac who is afflicted with White Coat Syndrome. Typically, I stay as far away from anything “medical” as possible, but for Reagan’s Redemption I had to dig deep and conquer a personal demon or two. There were many days where I cringed, watching how-to videos on IV insertions and blood draws and hyperventilated my way through more than one resuscitation tutorial, but I did it, making Reagan’s character all the more stronger for it.

After the days of dreadful research, I really knuckled down and got to work. I had so much fun with this story. Reagan is kind and dedicated and Shane extremely funny. This couple complements each other well, which is perfect because they’ll face more than their fair share of trouble in Black Bear Gap, Kentucky.

I hope you enjoy Reagan and Shane as much as I enjoyed writing them!

~ Cate

Read an excerpt from Reagan’s Redemption:

The front door opened and closed. “Shane?”
“Down here.”
Reagan hurried in, her eyes full of excitement. “How are things going?”
“Good. Faith is clean, eating, and will hopefully be sleeping in the next couple of minutes.”
“I can take a turn. I know I’ve been gone for awhile.”
He shook his head. “We’re fine. Looks like you’ve had a run today.”
She smiled. “Two patients—one ear infection and a strep throat.”
“Good stuff.”
She nodded, sitting on the edge of the mattress. “That’s not the best part. I was talking with Jodi, Josiah’s mother, about her gardens—trying to break the ice a little. She was telling me how she grows some of the best corn around but constantly has trouble with her beans. Apparently, Sue Anne’s family seems to have the opposite issue.” She swiped her hair behind her ear. “Anyway, while Jodi was talking, I got this idea. I was thinking we could organize an evening where families can get together here at the clinic and swap fruits and vegetables for a bigger variety of healthful foods—kind of like a farmer’s market. We can offer some simple snacks and drinks, and I’m hoping I might be able to throw in a few nutrition facts while we’re at it. There are so many kiddos with bad teeth. They’re drinking too much soda.”
“Sounds like you’ve got a plan. Go get ‘em, tiger.” He liked seeing her like this—her eyes bright, her hands punctuating certain words as they spilled from her mouth, caught up in her own enthusiasm.
“I will.” Her smile dimmed as she touched Faith’s toes peeking out from the blanket. “But I don’t know how many people will come.”
“So you won’t have standing-room only on your first try.”
She licked her lips. “They’re afraid.”
He frowned. “Who?”
“The people here. They’re frightened by either me or the clinic.”
“Why do you say that?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. That was the sense I got when I spoke with Jenny’s mother and then again with Jodi.”
He remembered Mrs. Hendley’s weird spewings about heeding warnings and staying away, but she also seemed like a bit of a whack job. “I don’t know, Doc. When I look at you ‘intimidating’ isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind.”
“Maybe not to you, but they were certainly uneasy. Maybe I’m trying to make sense of an unusual situation, but I don’t think so. Both women kept looking toward the trees, like they were being watched or something.” She shuddered. “It gave me the willies.”
“We’ll keep an eye on the situation, but things have been pretty low key so far.”
She nodded. “I just really want this to work. I can help this town if they’ll let me.”

Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book here!

The Unofficial Reagan’s Redemption Soundtrack

Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Reagan and Shane’s story!  You can listen to them on my website www.catebeauman.com.

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Reagan’s Redemption:
·         Devil Town by Tony Lucca
·         So Easy by Phillip Phillips
·         Not A Bad Thing by Justin Timberlake
·         Science and Faith by The Script
·         Daylight by Maroon Five
·         Hazy by Rosi Golan ft. William Fitzimmons
·         Get Out by Casey Abrams
·         First Flight Home by Jake Miller
·         Human by Jon McLaughlin
·         Have A Little Faith In Me by Jewel
·         Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
·         Parachute by Train

About the Author:
Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernard’s, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County.  Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, five years later, I’m working on my ninth novel, Answers For Julie, which I plan to release during the summer of 2015.  I’m remain so very grateful for the support and success that I have had.  Thank you!”  - Cate


Contact Cate
Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads I Amazon Author Page 

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#BookReview :: Someone Like Her (K2 Team #2) by Sandra Owens

Known to the K2 Special Services team as Romeo, ex-Navy SEAL Jake Buchanan may spend his downtime living up to his nickname, but there's one woman who sets his heart racing like no one else can: Maria Kincaid. Unfortunately, his boss - her brother - has made it crystal clear that she's off-limits. Jake doesn't do commitment, while Maria is the type of woman who deserves a promise of forever. Yet Maria finds herself drawn to Jake, the man who stares at her with a desire she wishes he'd act on.

Still haunted by her horrific childhood, Maria goes searching for the father she's never met and stumbles into a nightmarish experience. With her life in grave danger, she reaches out to Jake, her brother's second-in-command. Jake figures he can help Maria without giving in to temptation. But some things are easier said than done.

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Someone Like Her introduces Maria and Jake to us. Maria has a history, but she has never let that rule her life. She is smart and independent and pretty decent girl. When she goes in search of her father, Maria lands in some trouble. Who does she turn to in the hour of need? Of course to Jake. Jake, is an ex-Navy SEAL who now works in a firm headed by Maria’s brother. They have been attracted to each other for a time now, but with Maria’s brother warning Jake off, none of them have ever done anything about it. Now, away from her brother and in some dangerous situation, will Jake and Maria finally give in to their attraction? And will Maria ever find some closure?

I liked Maria right off the bat. What is not to like about her. She is a lively girl who has seen tough times, yet hasn’t let it ruin her life. She is outgoing and independent, yet not foolish enough to not know when to ask for help. She doesn’t just sit back and let the ‘hero’ do all the kick-ass stuff. Jake on the other hand is a hottie ex-Navy SEAL – Again, what’s not to like? Okay, he may be a player… but when it is time he is ready to settle with someone. The plot is pretty simple and straightforward. No big surprises. It is the chemistry between the characters, the author’s narration style and her simple language that keeps you hooked on to the pages.

I have not read the first book in the series. And while these can be read as standalones, I strongly suggest that you read it in order because after reading book two first, I now have some ideas about what may have happened in the first instalment. 

Review Copy received from Netgalley

23 January, 2015

#BookReview :: Equilibrium (The Avaasya Trilogy, #1) by Paras Joshi


Meet Arya, a 17-year-old with the uncanny ability to open almost every locking mechanism ever known to mankind. Paid to break into a high-profile government vault, he unknowingly sets in motion events of apocalyptic consequences—The Tamisra is rising; mercenaries and shadow spirits have joined hands with humans to destroy the Equilibrium; and rumours abound of a Maayukh that links the ring, known as Avaasya, to the fate of the world. 
Racing against time to undo what he has done, Arya finds that time is his biggest enemy and that he can trust no one in this race to return balance to the world.

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Welcome to the future of our world. 

Set in faraway future, Equilibrium is the story of Arya, a teenaged orphan who is good at picking any and all locks. When a job lands him in the midst of a high security government vault, life as he knew it changes for good. As the fight between good and evil / light versus dark wages on, Arya not only gets entangled in it, he is in the smack middle of it. Now the question is whether Arya will succeed or is the apocalypse imminent?

Paras Joshi has created a wonderful new world in his debut novel Equilibrium. The book is quite appealing right from the very first chapter. A lot of imagination and thought has gone into the world building. The concept of Saatvikalok, Tamisra and Maayukhare are intriguing. The plot is quite unique that kind of mixes fantasy with action and thrills. It has a good premise and a lot of promise. Little bit of details here and there, provided by the author, makes it more interesting and keeps your glued to the pages. The protagonist Arya is intriguing and highly loveable. I enjoyed cheering for him through the pages as his character grew into something more than I ever expected. 

The book ended with a lot of unanswered questions. I guess that this being the first part of a trilogy, it is only natural that the author would leave us with questions to ensure that we pick up the next book. For me, it is going to be a looooooong wait to see if my guesses are right or not. I will surely be picking up the second book in the series… In the meanwhile, why don’t you guys pick this one up?

Review copy received from Fingerprint Publishing

22 January, 2015

#SpecialFeature :: #Excerpt from Wings of Courage

*** Special Feature - January 2015 ***

Delivering Justice

Riding his personal bike that night, Saksham was wearing dark jeans below a black leather jacket. The person sitting behind him, wearing a full-face black helmet similar to Saksham’s, was Vinay Singh. He vaguely recalled it was the same guy who had taken the liberty to sit next to the rape victim, before Saksham and Asif were forced down the bus. The same guy who, per media reports, was the most atrocious of all rapists.
Ten minutes later, they reached a quiet wooded area. Saksham took the bike off the road, and on to a grassy trail. Some hundred metres down, he parked the bike and led Vinay towards a big tree. Saksham pointed to the cement slab encircling the tree trunk. “Take a seat,” he asked Vinay and took off his helmet. He did not care anymore if Vinay would recognize him as one of the passengers from that ominous night.
“Sir, how long are we going to be here?” Vinay asked nervously. “This place looks horribly dark.”
“Don’t worry; a police van should be here any minute. They will take you to your home town.” Saksham took out his phone. “Let me check where these guys are.”
Vinay obliged and took a seat on the pavement.
“Damn, no signal here,” Saksham looked at his phone and cursed, “let me go to the main road and make the call.” He took off his backpack and laid it down on a rock. With bike gloves on, he struggled to find the bag zipper in the dark. He finally dug out a pair of handcuffs.
“Wwwhat is this, Ssssir?” Vinay stuttered and shot up from his seat at the sight of handcuffs.
“Hey, it’s okay… don’t worry,” Saksham tried to calm him down as he approached Vinay. “I just need to make sure you don’t go anywhere.”
“I… I am not… running… anywhere.”
“I know, you won’t… but rules are rules. I can’t risk my job, you know,” Saksham reasoned. “It is just a matter of two minutes. If I don’t tell them where we are, how will they find us, and take you to your village?” He put a hand on Vinay’s shoulder and gently pushed him down. He put one loop of the handcuff on Vinay’s right wrist and the other on a metal loop cemented on the pavement. The metal loop was probably there for tying cattle.
“Ssssir, please make it quick… I am feeling a little scared.”
Saksham smiled as he took a seat back on the rock, next to his bag, about ten feet from Vinay. “Why are you scared?”
“The darkness, sir.”
“The darkness? I thought you loved it,” Saksham’s tone changed. “Wasn’t it dark just like this when you guys decided to prey upon that innocent girl?”
“Sir, I am not sure what you mean.” Vinay’s voice began to tremble. “Can you please make the call quick?”
“I won’t lie to you anymore,” Saksham said in a steady voice, “I am making no calls. And, no one is coming here to pick you up.”
“Who are you… what do you want?” Vinay looked shaken.
“Someone who has decided not to tolerate evil and injustice anymore. Evil was what you guys did to that innocent girl; and injustice is, a criminal like you not getting proper punishment.”
“What are you going to do?” Vinay shouted hysterically. 
“Shhh… easy,” Saksham took out a pistol from his jacket and demanded silence.
Vinay obliged, and lowered his voice, “Sir, please leave me. I am really sorry for what happened.”
Saksham paid no heed to his words. He tucked his pistol in the jeans pocket, reached for the bag, and took out a baseball bat. With bat in his hand, he stepped closer to Vinay.
“What is this?”
“A baseball bat any other day,” Saksham replied, “but tonight, a tool to deliver justice.”
Vinay returned a blank expression.
Saksham explained, “You guys had lots of fun raping that innocent girl. Now, I want to give you an opportunity to enjoy the other side of a brutal penetration.”
“What do you mean?”
“I may have trouble explaining this with words. So, why don’t you pull down your pants and lie down on your back. I will let this bat explain the rest in detail.” He gestured towards the narrower side of the baseball bat.
“YOU MUST BE CRAZY! Do you want to… rape me… with this bat?”
“Well… sort of. You know, justice must be served.”
Vinay shook his right hand wildly, trying to free himself. He yelled in anticipated pain as Saksham stepped closer to him, “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”
“Shhhh…” Saksham was forced to take out his pistol yet again. “Don’t force me to end this sooner than I plan to.”
“Please leave me,” Vinay resorted to a softer tone. “The court has freed me… this is illegal.”
“Oh, a few months of mild punishment has suddenly made you aware of the law,” Saksham smirked. “Tell me more about the law… was that rape legal?”
“No… but… that was a mistake… and… they freed me,” Vinay cried for mercy. “I am sorry, sir… please forgive me.”
Saksham stayed unmoved. “It was not just rape; but the brutality of the act, your lack of concern for another human life, that has forced me to take this step. Crimes like yours don’t deserve mercy, no matter what you did before, or what you do afterwards.” Saksham took another step forward.
“Please sir… please… don’t do this.” Vinay sat down on the pavement. “I will die of pain.”
“Don’t worry… I will not be as brutal as you guys were.” Saksham pointed to the handle again. “I will try the narrower side first, before we move on to the broader side.”
“Please forgive me, sir! I will not do it again!” Vinay was lashing his legs as pulls the handcuff, trying to break free, just like the last attempt of an animal about to be sacrificed.
“That is exactly what I am trying to take care of… that you don’t do it again. More than that, I want to create an example that discourages other perverts too, so they think ten times before they dare touch a girl against her wishes,” Saksham sounded menacing. “You should be happy… your sacrifice will serve a much needed example our society needs. You won’t find a better redemption for your evil past.” 

About the Book

You must act! Your dreams may look unachievable, but giving up without trying is cowardice. It is against evolution, for evolution is not the result of endless worries, thoughts or discussions. Evolution is in action.” 
In those words, Saksham finds courage to step beyond his self-imposed ineptitude and begin a new life. 
This is the story of Saksham, a bright young man, and his quest for a more humane world. On his journey, he meets a wise philosopher who helps him unravel the complexities of today’s civilized human world, and a young beautiful woman who rekindles his passion for life. Their belief in him empowers Saksham to launch an attack against organized evil. 
As Saksham marches forward, he must choose between the comfort of his love and courage to follow his dreams. If he chooses the latter, he will need to adopt brutal ways to counter raw powers of evil. And… there will be no going back. 
‘Wings of Courage’ is a moving tale of passion and courage, for without them, our dreams may never come true.

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