Book Excerpt: NIC by JM Stewart

nicnewcoverNIC by JM Stewart

In this scene Anna has been living with Nic for 6 weeks now. He’s been kind and generous to her and her daughter, and he’s starting to awaken passions in her she didn’t think were possible to feel again. In this scene, she’s been having nightmares about her abusive ex-husband, and Nic’s presence soothes her, so he spends the night in her bed. When she wakes the next morning, she finds herself drawn to him and kisses while he sleeps. He wakes and catches her, then suggests she try again while he’s awake.

His gaze dipped for a moment before meeting hers again. “Kiss me, and I’ll show you what it’s like.” Her heart launched itself into her throat and beat like a hummingbird’s wings. Oh God. She jerked her gaze to the windows lining the wall, focused on the bits of sunlight peeking through the mini blinds, and shook her head. Every inch of her trembled.

“I’m not seducing you, Anna. You want to know. I’m willing to be your guinea pig.”

God, she loved the way he said her name ….

Continue reading “Book Excerpt: NIC by JM Stewart”

Interview: A.K. Smith author of A DEEP THING

rsz_anitaprofile_pic32016Debut Author A.K. Smith is the author of debut fiction novel, “A Deep Thing” (12-19-2016 from the Wild Rose Press). A.K has lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Arizona and abroad in London and Mexico. She loves all things jungly, beachy and mysterious. Her mission is to write thrillers, suspense, and romance, which have the power to make you stay up late.

A new scuba diver, she counts diving in a cenote (underwater caves in the Yucatan) and surviving– one of her biggest achievements. Mexico has a special place in her heart; it’s where she escaped after walking out on Corporate America and where she fell in love on a sailboat. She is a graduate of Shippensburg University (BA) and has a Master of Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. A.K. has written for various national and international publications and blogs including Flight Network, Examiner.com and has been a monthly travel columnist for Rocky Point Times Newspaper for the last six years. Published in various print publications including two cover features in Mexico Living Magazine she continues to trek the world to experience off-the-beaten-road destinations.

A.K. loves seeing the world; Her goal is to step foot on every continent on Planet Earth (maybe even the moon)—she’s slowly getting there. She treasures her family, friends, and kindness. Check out her website at http://www.aksmithauthor.com or find her on Twitter, and Facebook. @aksmithbook

adeepthing_hdcover1. Tell us about your new release. What led you to write this book? A Deep Thing is a suspense novel with a love story. When a young widow is faced with the tragic death of the love of her life in a freak accident, she has to find the strength to move on. Nothing wakes you up more from your grief then discovering your husband led a secret life. The book journeys to the jungles of Mexico and the woods of Camp David.

My husband and I took a romantic trip to the Mexican Rivera Maya in the Yucatan and discovered cenotes. Cenotes are deep iridescent underwater caves with fresh water. Outside Porto MorelasMexico there is a road called “route de Cenotes” we hired a taxi driver to take us to see a cenote. We drove back uncommercialized dirt roads and in the middle of the jungle he let us out, and we walked back a jungle path to a beautiful hole in the ground. The water luminescent, we were in awe of our surroundings. You can dive, snorkel and swim in these wonders of nature, and the setting was surreal. When we returned home I couldn’t stop thinking about the cenotes, why had I never heard of them? Why were they so secret and on private land? What if?

2. Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book? A Deep Thing, led me to cave diving, something I wasn’t sure I would attempt to do. We returned to the Riveria Maya halfway through my novel and dove the cenotes in Tulum. It was an incredible experience. My novel was born in the Yucatan.

3. How important is setting to your story? The setting is extremely important to me as a reader and an author. In the middle of the winter, I search for books that take place somewhere warm, an island, a beach, or a jungle. I love to learn about new places when I read. I yearn to be taken away to a new and exciting destination. A Deep Thing, leads the reader to the jungles and beaches of the Yucatan in Mexico and the woods of Camp David.

4. Are any of your characters loosely based on people you know in real life? Not specifically. A few of my characters have the same last name of friends of mine, which helps me remember the characters, but then they are shaken up and mixed in with personalities of other people in my life. Many characters are unique combinations of different friends, family and strangers that would never exist.

5. Do you people watch for character inspiration? I do. People watching is fascinating. I love when I’m somewhere, and I can actually write or take notes while I’m people watching.

6. What do you hope readers take away from your work? When they close the book or read the last page, I want their mind to be racing. What if? I want the story to stay with them. My favorite books are the one where I remember the ending.

 

Book Excerpt: A DEEP THING by A.K. Smith

adeepthing_hdcoverBook Excerpt: A DEEP THING by A.K. Smith

Chapter 1

Were they still following him? Tim Jackson scanned the canopy of the lush jungle as the damp and musty scent of the wild eased his anxiety. The birds chirped in rhythm with the incessant buzzing melody of the insects creating an organic symphony. He turned his head slightly to the left. No, they weren’t out there yet, but eventually they would be. An acquisition of memories played in his mind as he rubbed a hand over the tightness in his chest.

“Tim, the boat is fixed, you ready?” Adam emerged in the light and held Tim’s gaze. “Everything fine?”

Tim stood, brushing a hand through his hair. “Yes, everything is fine. Is Colton ready to go?”

“Everyone’s ready.”

The chop hit hard, bouncing the thirty-four-foot Boston Whaler on the turquoise water for the first forty five minutes. As the boat entered the reef, it welcomed twenty minutes of a smooth ride and a race with a pod of playful dolphins. Their slick, pointy faces broke through the water with a smile, only to head downward in a rhythmic motion of up and down, daring the boat to follow. Colton and Adam, Tim’s dive buddies on many excursions, cheered the flippers on from the front of the bow. Sheer joy highlighted their facial features. Back in the open water, the chop returned, and the men settled in silence, taking in the vastness of the azure sea. Soon they reached Lighthouse Atoll, home of the Great Blue Hole in Belize.

Seen from above, the Great Blue Hole resembled a pupil, a large deep indigo circle surrounded by a ring of turquoise looking up as if beckoning to come closer. By boat, the almost perfectly circular reef with a diameter of 980 ft. and a depth of over 480 ft. painted a different picture. The sideways viewpoint created a kaleidoscope of luminous variations of blue and green, but it was not the magical glow of water that intensified the moment, it was the overwhelming feeling it created—the energy in the air charged, as if the intensity of the color was a mysterious vortex.

“It never gets old—I’m a pixel on the screen.” Adam said. “Just look at it.” Hundreds of shades of aquamarine color exploded in the vastness as far as you could see. Incredible beauty surrounded them. They were anchored now inside the reef in calm waters. Tim stopped writing in his logbook, captivated as always by this wonder of nature.

“You know, 10,000 years ago it was above ground, a limestone cavern, a cave at the center of a tunnel. The ceiling collapsed, and now it is an undersea mountain.” Tim spoke softly clutching the dive book. He pulled in then slowly released a deep breath, staring at the sea. “It is amazing, in the scheme of it all. We are just a ripple in the water.” He placed the dive book carefully in his bag and picked up his scuba equipment.

Adam and Colton joined him adjusting their gear. Their excitement was contagious. “You ready? Let’s do this!”

The dive in the Blue Hole was the first of three dives for the day, this one ten minutes long at 140 feet. Three divers plopped into the water. Only two would surface.

Book Excerpt: RED DEATH

reddeath14RED DEATH by Jeff Altabef / YA Fantasy / Released Oct 10, 2016 by Evolved Publishing

Chapter 5 – Eamon

Eamon studied the faces around the campfire, worry etched on his own as he wondered whether this would be the last time they would all gather together. He sat between his two older brothers, King Dermot and Prince Fintan. Dermot had lived six winters more than Eamon had, and Fintan one, yet he was the planner and worrier. Often he wished he could be more like them, but he never stopped fretting about tomorrow, the next season, the next winter. All the council members, twelve in total, joined them this night, forming a loose circle around a campfire that had started to lose its intensity. They met in the Courtyard, in the middle of the Stronghold, a small city protected by a sturdy stone wall. The Stronghold stood in the center of Dermot’s kingdom between the Outpost to the north and the Settlement to the south.

When Eamon realized everyone had stopped talking and were looking at him, he remembered what they had been discussing. “We’ll have to slaughter more cattle this year. The tribe’s grown since last winter.” The answer was obvious to him.

“The herd’s also added numbers this year, my Lord,” added Keenan, the Cattle Master. Built broad and strong like a steer, he had been Cattle Master for three years, and Dermot trusted him. “I reckon we could cull the herd by another twenty over last year and still maintain the size.”

All eyes turned toward Dermot. His reign had already lasted six years, almost an eternity. The Sword of Power lay across his lap, a long sword so heavy that it required two hands to wield it in battle. Its blade gleamed in the firelight, and the many rubies in the gold and silver hilt sparkled brilliantly. An inscription, written in a language no one understood, ran down both sides of the blade and glimmered in the firelight. The smithies could no longer make a weapon like the Sword of Power. That knowledge had been lost. They made other swords, fine ones, victorious ones, but none so grand. Only the King could wield the Sword of Power, the tribe’s finest.

Blog Tour: RED DEATH by Jeff Altabef

reddeath14RED DEATH by Jeff Altabef / YA Fantasy / Released Oct 10, 2016 by  Evolved Publishing

What happens when everything you believed turns out to be a lie?

Every child of Eden fears the Red Death. All those afflicted with the plague die young, their souls stripped away as punishment for ancient sins long forgotten. For centuries, Guardians have protected Eden from the Red Death by killing outsiders who stray too close.

Seventeen-year-old Aaliss is a highly-trained Guardian, but when her rather odd thirteen-year-old brother, Wilky, discovers a cure to the plague, her world turns upside down. Branded as traitors by the corrupt High Priest, Aaliss and Wilky are forced to seek refuge in the last place Aaliss thought she’d ever go—beyond the boundaries of Eden and into the land of the Soulless. Here they must navigate a medieval world filled with witches, magic, and warrior kingdoms run by Elders only a few years older than her.

Aaliss yearns to return home, but when her heart tugs her deeper into the world of the Soulless, she questions everything she once believed. Has her soul been taken? Will she and Wilky fall victim to the Red Death, or might they die sooner in the center of a battle that threatens to tear apart the Soulless world? Or… might Aaliss finally find, against all odds, what her heart has yearned for all along?

 

About the Author

Jeff Altabef is an award-winning author who lives in New York with his wife, two daughters, and Charlie the dog. He spends time volunteering at the writing center in the local community college. After years of being accused of “telling stories,” he thought he would make it official. He writes in both the thriller and young adult genres.

In the Young Adult genre, Jeff co-authored the Chosen Trilogy with his teenaged daughter, Erynn. The Chosen Series has won multiple awards including the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal for Best Coming of Age Novel, the 2015 Beverly HIlls Book Award for Best YA Fiction, and a Mom’s Choice Award.

As an avid Knicks fan, Jeff is prone to long periods of melancholy during hoops season. Jeff has a column on The Examiner focused on writing and a blog designed to encourage writing by those who like telling stories.

You can connect with Jeff on his website, Facebook, Twitter & Newsletter.

New Release: THE REEK OF RED HERRINGS By Catriona McPherson

51vevih3al-_sx329_bo1204203200_ THE REEK OF RED HERRINGS  (A Dandy Gilver Mystery, Book 5) by Catriona McPherson / Released December 13, 2016 by Minotaur Books

On the rain-drenched, wave-lashed, wind-battered Banffshire coast, tiny fishing villages perch on ledges that would make a seagull think twice, and crumbly mansions cling to crumblier cliff tops while, out in the bay, the herring drifters brave the storms to catch their silver darlings.  It’s nowhere for a child of gentle Northamptonshire to spend Christmas.

But when odd things start to turn up in barrels of fish – with a strong whiff of murder most foul – that’s exactly where Dandy Gilver finds herself.  Enlisted to investigate, she and her trusty cohort, Alec Osborne, are soon swept up in the fisher folks’ wedding season as well as the mystery.  Between age-old traditions and brand-new horrors, Dandy must think the unthinkable to solve her grisliest case yet.

CATRIONA MCPHERSON was born near Edinburgh, where she received her Ph.D.  Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains won the Sue Feder Memorial Award in 2012, and Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder won an Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel.  Catriona lives in Davis, California, with her husband and two cats.

In addition to writing, Catriona enjoys gardening, cooking, running, swimming, ballroom dancing, antique shopping, and exploring old houses.  Her experience growing up in Edinburgh inspired the Dandy Gilver series.

 

New Release: THE KILL SIGN by Nichole Christoff

51nqkju0cvlTHE KILL SIGN by Nichole Christoff / Military Mystery /  Released December 7, 2016 by Alibi

Security specialist and PI Jamie Sinclair finds herself in deadly waters off the steamy Gulf Coast in this combustible thriller from the award-winning author of The Kill Box.
 
Never in her life has Jamie Sinclair anticipated a weekend getaway more. After four months apart, she’s flying to Mississippi to see her would-be boyfriend, military police officer Adam Barrett. Barrett’s currently stationed in the same Gulf Coast town where Jamie got her start as a private investigator, and she’s equally excited to reconnect with her old mentor, Ray Walther, and his pregnant wife, Corinne, who’s Jamie’s best friend.

But all hopes for a relaxing and romantic weekend are shattered when a dirty bomb explodes on a riverboat packed with military, killing dozens of soldiers. In the chaotic aftermath, Jamie believes that she spots the bomber—and recognizes him from her past. As Barrett and Jamie race to catch the terrorist before he strikes again, Ray and Corinne become targets themselves. And this time around, Jamie won’t let a little thing like the law keep her from protecting the people she loves most—no matter the cost.