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Kindle Author Sponsor: Lynn Michaels

Book Title:

Nightwing

Author:

Lynn Michaels

Kindle Price:

$2.99

Available from:

Amazon




Author's websites:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Book Reviews:

“To Die For—Simply Excellent…No one who likes Vampire tales will want to pass up the opportunity to find this book and read it.”
—d chaney (5 out of 5 Stars)

“Lynn Michaels adds refreshing new ideas to a tried and true idea…Fast paced, a real page turner!”
—Chelle (NJ) (5 out of 5 Stars)

“A palpably sensual vampire and his lonely Shade struggle in unearthly combat for the love of a spirited young woman. The gifted Lynn Michaels’ enchants us once again with extraordinary twists and turns in a tender tale of salvation through sacrifice and love.”
—Cindy Whitsel, Romantic Times Magazine

“A spectacular vampire tale, Nightwing is shades of brilliance! Lynn Michaels’ books are not to be missed—and Nightwing is unforgettable!”
—Nancy Haddock, bestselling author of La Vida Vampire

Book Description:

Willow Evans doesn’t believe in vampires until she discovers that Dr. Jonathan Raven doesn’t cast a reflection in a mirror. She doesn’t believe in ghosts, either, until she traps Johnny, Raven’s Shade in a mirror. Johnny loves Willow. Raven needs her to capture his Shade and regain his mortality. Which one will Willie choose?

Book Excerpt from Nightwing:

Prologue

Egypt, August 1878

His horse, a black Arab mare whose name he couldn’t pronounce, was saddled and waiting, cropping dry grass sprouting on the banks of the wadi. The camp mule hitched to one of the high-sided, two-wheeled carts used to haul supplies lazed in its traces.

The mare was ready, the mule was ready and still Jolil prayed, facing east, kneeling on a sandy prayer rug in the thin shade beneath the palm trees. Shouting at him to hurry would do no good; he’d only pray longer. Eleven months in Egypt had taught Jonathan Raven that much at least.

He sighed and stepped inside the medical tent to triple-check his store of quinine. The wadi was dry now, but the rains would come again soon, as would the mosquitoes. The sluggish green water the Nile belched into the ditch would blacken with larvae, no matter how many times Raven ordered it skimmed off and buried in the sand. There was no such thing as too much quinine. Not in Egypt in the rainy season.

Even with sunset approaching and one canvas side of the tent thrown back, the hot air trapped inside was almost un-breathable. Raven made a last check of his medical stores and ducked quickly outside. Jolil was still praying.

He sat down to wait on a folding stool. The pink cliffs encircling the Valley of the Kings, the Land of the Dead, burial place of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt shimmered in waves of heat rising from the desert floor. When the sun sank behind them the temperature would plummet and the sweat stinging the back of his neck would make him shiver.

It would be a chilly first leg of the three-day trek to Cairo, but the idea was to get there and back alive, not kill themselves and the mare and the mule in the process. Traveling at night was sometimes dangerous, but there was no risk of heat stroke, a major killer of white men stupid enough to cross the desert by day. And there were no snakes.

Raven hated snakes. His old Harvard chum, Teddy Gorham, a junior foreman on this joint Anglo-American dig, hadn’t breathed a word about cobras or horned vipers when he’d approached Raven to serve as chief medical officer on this two-year project. Teddy, an assistant curator at the Boston Museum, had spun tales of adventure and treasure and sloe-eyed belly dancers wreathed in nothing but transparent veils. Raven had yet to see a transparent veil. Most of them were black, head-to-foot shrouds, not see-through gauze.

He’d lost count of how many snakes he’d killed and bites he’d treated. One or two on good old Teddy. Minor enough that Raven took perverse pleasure in them, for Teddy wore only ankle-high work boots, eschewing the thick, knee-high leather riding boots Raven took off only when he bathed.

He was beginning to hate boots, too. When he got to Cairo he’d take them off first thing. And he wouldn’t put them on again until he and Jolil headed back to Thebes.

If they ever got to Cairo. The wiry little Egyptian’s forehead was still pressed to his prayer rug. Raven leaned his elbows on his knees and raked his fingers through his hair. It was too long and too hot, curling well below the unbuttoned collar of his thin Egyptian cotton shirt. In Cairo he’d find a barber who spoke English or French and get a haircut. It was that or buy a ribbon in the Mouski, the bazaar.

He planned to buy an Egyptian shawl and silver bracelets for his mother, a piece of pottery for his brother, Samuel, and ship them home to Stonebridge, Massachusetts in time for Christmas. It would be almost autumn there now. The leaves of the beach plums would already be turning, and the whales would be singing in the moonlight on Nantucket Sound.

Whale song was the reason his whaling-captain grandfather had built the house close to the beach. Raven would hear humpbacks sing again, but not for thirteen more months filled with sand and heat and snakes.

At last Jolil finished his prayers, rolled his rug and rose to his feet. “So, hakim, you are ready?”

“I’ve been ready for a while, Jolil.” Raven set the stool inside the tent and dropped the flap. He’d already slid his carbine into his saddle holster. “For the last half hour.”

“You had only to say so.” Jolil laid his rug in the mule cart and gave him a wounded look. “I live to serve you.”

So long as it didn’t interfere with prayers or petty thieving. Most of the natives stole, mostly small artifacts from the dig to sell on the black market. Raven looked the other way and had made it clear to Jolil he would, so long as he kept his hands off his medical supplies. The dark little man who lived to serve him was one of the sneakiest thieves in the camp. Perhaps that was why his prayers were so lengthy.

“Never mind, Jolil. Let’s just be on our way.”

“Your wish is my command, hakim.”

Jolil scrambled into the cart and clucked to the mule. The black mare laid back her ears as Raven gathered her reins and swung himself into the saddle. She snorted and arched her neck as another mule came flying at a gallop over the rise behind the wadi.

Its unshod hooves flung up a wake of dust and sand. The Egyptian on its back was Yusef, Teddy’s servant. His dark eyes were as wide and wild as those of the lathered mule.

“Hakim!” he screamed. “Yallah! Yallah!

Doctor, hurry, hurry. Raven understood that much, and the word turab—tomb—but the rest of Yusef’s panicked Arabic was lost to him as the mare whinnied and spun away on her hind legs. Jolil hauled the cart mule to a stop, leapt down from the high seat and ran to catch the bridle of Yusef’s badly blowing mule.

Raven saw the pulse beating in the hollow of Yusef’s throat above the open, sweat-darkened neck of his robe. He was babbling, gesturing wildly in the direction of the dig with one arm and tugging at Jolil with the other.

“What is it, Jolil? What’s happened?”

“It is very bad, hakim. Many men hurt. Yusef says there is much blood.”

“My kit. Quick. Then bring the cart. We may need it.”

Jolil ran into the tent for Raven’s canvas medical bag and tossed it to him. He caught it by its strap, looped it over his saddle and gave the mare a sharp kick. She snorted and leapt at a gallop over the rise toward the dig.

The sun was just touching the rim of the cliffs, throwing thick black shadows across the rutted cart track scarring the valley. Gooseflesh rose on the back of Raven’s neck. Not from the chill creeping into the air, but the high-pitched wails of the native workmen rushing toward him, waving their arms.

One stood in the center of the track flagging him toward the ravine where the diggers had been dumping baskets full of sand and rock hauled away from the entrance of the tomb Teddy had been excavating for the past three weeks.

“Hakim!” he shouted. “Hena! Yallah! Yallah!

Here. Hurry, hurry. Poor bastards, Raven thought. Probably caught in a cave-in while sifting through the debris for small artifacts Teddy and his crew might have missed. Raven glanced behind him and saw Jolil—with Yusef beside him on the seat —bouncing the mule cart over the rise. He heeled the mare off the track toward the ravine.

There were two men on the ground near the graveled rim of the ditch. One was dead, his face and upper body covered with someone’s brightly striped outer robe—Yusef’s, he thought. Teddy knelt beside the other, his back blocking Raven’s view. Two natives were holding the man down; his thin, dark legs were twitching and white with dust.

Raven pulled the mare to a stop, kicked his right foot out of his stirrup, unlooped his bag from the pommel, swung his leg over it and dropped to the ground running. Teddy glanced at him over his shoulder, his sweat-darkened felt hat pushed back on his thick brown hair, his sunburned face oddly pale.

“Johnny! Thank God! Help me!”

Teddy was holding a blood-soaked bandage to the man’s throat. Or what was left of it. Most of it was torn away, Raven saw when he lifted Teddy’s hand. The brown flesh was ripped and jagged, the exposed carotid artery no longer spraying but seeping and pulsing dully.

There was nothing Raven could do. He knew it before he dropped to his knees on the man’s other side. His robe was soaked to the waist with blood, as were Teddy’s shirt and the robes of the men holding him down. There was no pulse in the thin, brown wrist Raven gripped. The pupil of the man’s right eye was already fixed and dilated when he lifted the lid; the eye rolled forward.

“It’s too late, Teddy. He’ll be gone in a minute. What in God’s name happened?”

“The diggers found a tomb in the ravine, thought they’d loot it on their own and make a fortune on the black market.” Teddy sat back on his heels, wiping sweat off his forehead with the back of one shaking, bloody hand. “Seven of them went in but only these two came out. They were at-tacked. By a jackal, they said. A jackal that walked on two legs.”

A shudder racked the man on the ground. His eyes fluttered open, his limbs convulsed once, then stilled. Raven closed his eyes and smoothed the death grin from his face.

“Did you send a search party in after the others?”

“None of the diggers will go.”

“Then we’ll have to,” Raven said. He’d taken an oath to save lives, but he suddenly wished he’d never come to Egypt.

“I know. That’s why I waited for you.”

Raven stepped over the body and lifted Yusef's robe. The other man had also had his throat ripped out. He lowered the robe and glanced over his shoulder at the mule cart thumping to a halt on the rocky ground behind him.

Teddy rose, called to Yusef and Jolil to bring torches, and then asked Raven in a low voice, “What the hell did this, Johnny? Jackals don’t walk on two legs.”

“They might, Teddy. In the guise of tomb robbers.”

“And rip a man’s throat out like this?”

“Hardly. But a two-thousand-year-old dagger that’s lost its edge might.”

“Possible, I suppose. Come see this.”

He led Raven down the steep, rocky ravine toward a gaping black hole cut in the opposite flank. The edges were clean, sharp and obviously chiseled. The loose shingle rattling away beneath their boots bounced against a tall stone slab carved with rude hieroglyphs that meant nothing to Raven.

“Here’s where they got the jackal.” Teddy blew dust off the slab and pointed at an angular figure with the body of a man and the head of a jackal. The open mouth revealed top and bottom fangs bared in a stiff, stylized snarl. “It’s Anubis, god of the dead. He’s always depicted with the head of a jackal, but this is the first time I’ve seen him with fangs.”

“Seems logical. A jackal is a carnivore.” Raven pointed to a row of smaller pictographs below the figure of Anubis. “What’s this say?”

“The usual warning, open this tomb and die. And the name of the person interred here.” Teddy tugged a small, stiff brush out of his back pocket and swept away more sand. “It’s someone named—Nekhat. There’s more, but I can’t make it out. Looks like these glyphs were done in a real hurry.”

Raven heard the shingle rattling behind him and glanced up the slope at Jolil and Yusef stumbling toward them, each carrying two torches. Teddy fished matches out of his pocket, struck them and lit the brands.

He gave one to Raven, one to Jolil and the other to Yusef. The two Egyptians looked nervously at each other.

“I don’t want to go in here any more than you do, but if you don’t go with us, none of them will ever enter another tomb.” Teddy nodded at the knot of workmen milling and muttering on the edge of the ravine. “Just stay close. Johnny, you bring up the rear.”

Raven gripped the torch in his left hand, looped the strap of his medical bag over his right shoulder, caught the lintel over the doorway and ducked beneath it behind Jolil. The stone felt oddly cold; the air inside the tomb, trapped in a narrow, empty chamber with a low ceiling and rough-hewn walls, smelled fetid and faintly of rust.

The next chamber was equally bare and unadorned. Teddy stepped closer to a wall, his torch gutting in a breath of air sweeping toward them from the next room. The flame danced over rudely sketched, merely outlined figures.

“This tomb isn’t finished, is it?” Raven asked.

“Hardly started,” Teddy said, puzzled. He moved forward and called out in Arabic.

No one answered. Raven saw why when he ducked into the next chamber behind Jolil and heard his sharp intake of breath. In the flickering torchlight he saw the walls, splashed and smeared with blood, and the other five men who had entered the tomb, two torn literally limb from limb.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” Teddy murmured in a stricken whisper. “There isn’t a dagger anywhere in heaven or hell that could do this, Johnny.”

Another breath of air sighed toward them from the inky depths of the tomb, eerie enough to bristle every hair on Raven’s body. So was the growl that came with it, echoing faintly off the walls and shivering up his back. Jolil stopped murmuring prayers and began to tremble.

“Get out. Get out and run.” Raven grabbed him, then Yusef, and shoved them back into the second chamber. He grabbed Teddy and pushed him, stiff with shock, through the doorway. “C’mon, Teddy. Move.”

He did and stumbled in the doorway, dropping his torch. The light fell by half and darkness engulfed Raven, swept him up in cold, fierce claws and sank icy fangs into his throat; two below his jaw, two more scraping the cervical bones in the back of his neck.

He felt the punctures, felt his flesh tear and hot, prickling pain shoot down his arms. He managed to lift them, somehow, his medical kit sliding off his shoulder, and flail his torch at the thing gripping him from behind. It bellowed and dropped him, leapt over him and Teddy and then whirled on them once again, shrieking with rage.

Through the haze filming his eyes, Raven saw Teddy roll on his back, torch and sidearm raised. He fired two shots, point-blank, into the chest of what appeared to be a man, a pharaoh come alive in a golden kilt and braided, black wig. It only roared and snarled, flexing bronze muscles in powerful arms. A tall, handsome figure of a man, except for the bared, bloody fangs gleaming in the torchlight.

Teddy fired two more shots, screaming something Raven couldn’t hear over the roar in his head. He saw the barrel flash twice more and Jolil and Yusef leap at the thing from behind, their swinging torches spraying trails of sparks through the dark chamber.

The creature spun around and flung out its arms, toppling Jolil and Yusef as it sprang toward the entrance to the tomb. The last clear thing Raven saw was a jewel, a fiery opalescent stone flashing in a heavy gold amulet around the thing’s neck, then its shape blurred out of focus, wavered and shifted like smoke onto all fours in the shape of a jackal.

Raven felt blood pooling in the back of his throat, felt an icy, deathly cold seeping through his veins from the punctures in his neck. He tried to swallow, but couldn’t. The muscles were frozen. So were his eyelids, wide open and staring at the low, stone ceiling and the pale, ghostly image of himself rising from his body.

Panic seized him. He felt it thudding wildly in his chest, though he knew his heart had stopped beating. He was dead. Oh, God, he was dead. Lying on the floor of the tomb with his throat torn out, gazing up at himself, at the bewildered, disoriented expression on his face.

He watched his mouth open to scream, but he made no sound, watched himself turn away from his body, reeling and staggering out of the tomb behind the thing—dear God, what was it?—that had killed him. Come back, he screamed silently at himself. Come back, come back.

We’re not dead.

About the Author:

Lynn Michaels has written 16 novels for Avon, Dell, Fawcett, Harlequin Temptation and Ballantine. Her other Temptation titles, Remembrance (RITA finalist), The Patriot and Aftershock (RITA finalist), Molly and the Phantom, Second Sight are available on Kindle. Her Fawcett titles, two Regency romances originally written as Jane Lynson, Captain Rakehell and The Duke’s Downfall are also Kindle titles.

She is a 3-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award; Nightwing is one of her RITA finalists. Lynn has also received two awards from Romantic Times Magazine, New Romantic Suspense Author and Best Contemporary Romance 2002.

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Kindle Author Interview: Conchie Fernández

Conchie Fernández, author of Undrawn, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Undrawn?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: Undrawn is a work of fiction. It tells the story of a painter, Kyle Reed, and his journey 'back home' (and inside himself) to face his past, his relationship with his family and past and present loves, and the events in his life that caused him to become self-exiled. It's a story about artistic pursuit, the complexities of human relationships and owning up to the decisions we make. Most of all, it's about forgiveness and moving on.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: I don't think there's a lot of deliberate manipulation on my part when it comes to who my characters are. They tend to come up to me and introduce themselves, and tell me their stories: who they are, where they were born, who makes up their support systems and what's happening in their lives. I take it from there. I have a mental picture of who they are, and their quirks come up along the way. Kyle, the main character in Undrawn, is a smoker. I always pictured him sitting in front of an easel, painting, cigarette dangling from his lips. That's just who he was—and this comes from a non-smoker. I have no idea why he smokes! There's a lot of the unconscious at play when I begin to see and hear my characters. The only conscious tweaking I do is when I'm editing dialogue. I ask myself, "Is this something he/she would say?" I need to stay true to the characters' voices and make sure the things they say make sense coming from who they are. As far as telling their stories, I try to play God and move the plot along, but sometimes the story takes over and tells itself in a way that I hadn't planned on.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: Undrawn resonates with everyone. It's everyone's story—we all stumble and fall, and sometimes we're too hard on ourselves and sever ties with ourselves and our loved ones unnecessarily. My readers are men and women alike, from 18-99. And if centenarians want to read it too, I'm thrilled.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: I've always been a writer, before I could write. I used to draw pictures and show them to people and tell them a story based on the drawing. Once I learned how to write, I added bubbles with dialogue to the drawings. From then on, I read as much as I could, and wrote endless 'novels' throughout my teens. I wrote two unpublished novels, including an earlier incarnation of Undrawn, in my 20s. In my early 30s I got a scholarship to take a Creative Writing certification at New School, in New York, and then took a couple more workshops at that wonderful institution. Formal writing education helped to fine-tune a few gaps in my writing, mostly a bad habit to write in the passive voice, which I get from being a native Spanish speaker. I'll always be grateful that I had a chance to work with a great teacher. Ultimately, I found a fantastic editor, D. Michael Whelan, to work on the final draft of Undrawn before I published it, and it made all the difference in the world to hire a professional editor. I'll keep working with him on other projects.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: To me, writing takes more time in my head than on the computer screen. I can spend weeks imagining the characters and taking notes. Once I meet the characters, I concentrate on the end of the story. What's the destination? Where are the characters going? What are they trying to resolve? It's sort of like the ancient writing conundrum: is this about man versus man? Man versus himself? Man versus the gods? Sometimes I only know what the characters' conflicts are, and don't really know how they'll be resolved until I write. I always have an idea of what the end of the book will be, however. I'm working on a novel now, and I know exactly how it's going to end. I started out thinking it was going to be a humorous novel, but the way it's going, I might get a few laughs in, but these characters mean business!

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: I'm compelled to love writers who create unforgettable characters, whether I like the characters or not. I can't say it enough - for me two masters of eternal characters are John Irving and my fellow Dominican author, Junot Diaz.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: A Prayer for Owen Meany. It's the most heartbreaking and inspiring take on spirituality, love, war, politics and religion (among a few dozen other issues) I've ever read. I wish I could have written the first line of that book and will always be in awe of John Irving for that novel.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: I'm working on creating a following on Facebook and Twitter and noticed that when I tweet a quote from my book, I quickly get at least 3 new followers. I've also done a couple of blog interviews and my website gets a lot of hits. I'm hiring a company to rep my book on US trade/book shows and promote it through their customer base, which is made up of libraries and booksellers. I'm also contacting local (Florida) independent booksellers and offering to do readings and signings. I signed up for book giveaways on Goodreads and got hundreds of people to read the synopsis and sign up for the contest. 50 of the contestants added the book to their reading queue, and I hope to get some sales from them. I have a reading/signing/launch at a local university sometime during the summer, and they got to me because of the news I constantly added to my Facebook Fan Page. I entered into several writing competitions and I'm also advertising on a couple of sites. It's a little daunting to realize how much I need to do on my own, since I lack the backing of a publishing house, but I love the control I have over book prices and royalties.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: I come from the IT sales/marketing/business development industry and I know that eventually, most everyone will migrate to e-readers. It's very convenient and less expensive for customers to buy ebooks and carry them on a mobile device. Some customers won't invest on e-readers and others will take longer to convert or add a device as a reading platform, and that's what my paperback version is for. I can't miss out on the increasingly important reader segment that prefers an ebook.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

CONCHIE FERNANDEZ: Go for it! Make sure you write a fantastic book, get it edited professionally if you can afford it and then make sure your book format is ideal for Kindle. I've seen a couple of books with formatting issues and that's a huge turnoff. Unless you can do it yourself, take advantage of the Kindle Conversion service that Amazon offers (that was my choice) or hire a professional e-pub conversion service. Don't miss out on the huge opportunity to offer your work to e-reader consumers worldwide, for a tiny investment.

Undrawn is available on Amazon Kindle for $3.99. Clarion ForeWord Reviews just rated it with 4 out of 5 stars. A link to the review is on my website: http://www.conchiefernandez.com/Press.html

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Conchie Fernández was born in the Dominican Republic. She was an editor for Touring, a tourism newspaper printed in English and Spanish, for several years. She later translated and edited the panels for the Altos de Chavón Museum of Archaeology and taught Creative Writing at Casa Chavón, an affiliate of the Altos de Chavón School of Design and the Parsons School of Design. She moved to the United States in 2006 and lives in Florida. Undrawn is her first published novel.

Visit her website, and follow her on twitter.

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Friday

Kindle Author Sponsor: David Lender

Book Title:

The Gravy Train

Author:

David Lender

Kindle Price:

$0.99

Available for:

Kindle
Nook



Author's websites:

www.davidlender.net

Book Reviews:

"The greatest Dare to be Great speech ever written. It's a term of art on Wall Street for the banker's pep talk to the client to get him/her to reach for greatness in the 11th hour of a deal. You have to get this book for this alone."
—Kiki Lauren, Amazon review.

"The characterizations were wonderfully drawn and the plot was skillfully developed. Neither the characters nor the scenarios stretched the boundaries of believability."
—Bichon Mom, Amazon review.

"The Gravy Train is a great read. Lender really knows wall street. You'll find this book really gripping, and dramatic. Great build up for the story and a fantastic plot. Great read."
—BenT44, Amazon review.

"I thoroughly enjoyed Trojan Horse; The Gravy Train is even better. Similar to Trojan Horse, his characters are great. They are very human. I also found the path the story took very compelling. While I generally knew where the story was going, I never knew for certain. I even found myself trying to solve the 'problem' they were in and certainly didn't come up with anything as simple or elegant as Mr. Lender."
—Jay B., Amazon review

Book Description:

Novice investment banker Finn Keane lands on Wall Street during booming markets. His boss is Jack Shane, the firm’s smartest, toughest and most ruthless dealmaker. During his first deal, Finn befriends the client company’s aging Chairman, Nick Christanapoulas, who’s stepped aside to let his son-in-law take the reins for a major acquisition and financing that will catapult the regional department store chain Nick founded into the big leagues. Shane gives Finn an education on Wall Street’s methods, milking Nick’s company for fees. When the deal goes sour, Finn decides to help Nick try to buy his company back out of bankruptcy, pitted against Shane and his equally hardnosed Wall Street cronies. Finn soon finds himself in the knife-fight of his life as Shane and his team of Wall Street insiders stop at nothing to sabotage Finn and Nick’s deal so they can have their way with  Nick’s company.

Book Excerpt from The Gravy Train:

One

Finn Keane and Kathy Fargo sat next to each other in the back of Room 12 in the McColl Building at the University of North Carolina’s Keenan-Flagar Business School. Four rows separated them from the rest of the group in the Investment Banking Club meeting. At least 25 group members attended; this evening featured Jonathan Moore, the club’s president, crowing about his recruitment process and offer to become an Associate in Goldman Sachs’ Mergers and Acquisitions Group.

Finn leaned toward Kathy and said, “If I listen to any more of this crap I’m gonna puke. Come on, let’s go get a coffee or something.”

She smiled at him, nodded and they got up and left. A few heads turned as they clunked through the theatre-style seats to the aisle, up the steps and out the door. Finn could feel eyes burning into his back. He was sure everybody in the club knew that Kathy and he were the only two who hadn’t received investment banking offers yet.

Finn held the front door to the McColl Building for Kathy as they went outside. She wasn’t a girl many guys held doors for, not much of a looker, so he knew Kathy liked it and always made sure to do it. When she’d told him she couldn’t afford to fly home to Chicago for Thanksgiving he’d brought her home to Cedar Fork. Afterwards Uncle Bob said, “Wow, she’s a big-boned one, huh?” Even before he brought her home, he could tell Kathy wanted something more between them. And a couple of times out drinking with classmates she made it clear to Finn it was there for him if he wanted it. He was always glad when he woke up sober the next day that he didn’t do it; he’d always have felt like he was taking advantage of her. He could tell she’d now settled into the knowledge it wasn’t gonna happen.

Kathy smiled and mouthed, “Thank you,” as they went outside.

“Moore was a pain in the ass before he got the offer, but now he struts around like a goddamn rooster,” Finn said.

“Yeah, but you have to admit, he landed the big one.”

Finn just nodded.

Kathy said, “I assume no change at your end or you’d have told me something.”

“No.”

“We’re running out of time.”

“I know. I’m taking the TD Bank thing if nothing else comes through. At least that’ll get me to New York.”

Kathy didn’t reply. He knew what she was thinking. She’d said it before: she’d worked in New York for three years before business school and told him New York wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

“How about you?” he said.

“I guess I’ll take that internet startup my friend offered me.”

Finn nodded. She’d told him about it, but he couldn’t remember the details. Only five or six employees, he thought.

“You did computer programming before B-school, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, but they want me to be CFO. They’re all a bunch of undergrad computer science jocks. Don’t know anything about finance.”

“Sounds like it could be fun,” Finn said, knowing he didn’t sound convincing as the words came out. Nothing like that for him. If nothing in investment banking came through, he’d get to New York, then see if he could leverage the TD Bank commercial banking training program into a job on Wall Street, even if it took him a few years. That’s where he’d make it big. He looked at Kathy. “I forget. What’s the company’s name?”

“Facebook.”

Two

“I want bodies,” Simon Buchannan said. “Give me at least thirty. Maybe forty.” He stood up and looked at his four department heads across his desk, then strode out from behind it with long Senior Managing Director strides of his six-foot six-inch frame. Buchannan took his time crossing the oversized office, wanting to seem he was looming out at his subordinates from between the skyscrapers up Park Avenue, like some avenging angel. He sat down in the semi-circle where his department heads reclined in soft chairs and a sofa around Buchannan’s coffee table.

“We’ve already hired two hundred Associates for this year’s incoming class,” the head of the Mergers & Acquisitions Group said.

“Then hire two hundred thirty or two hundred forty,” Buchannan shot back. Buchannan’s eyes accused him of incompetence.

“It’s April, Simon,” the Head of Corporate Finance said.

“Fellas, what is this?” Buchannan said and stood up. He summoned his best impatient sigh. “The markets are booming. IPOs. Converts. High Yield. Rates are low. The economy’s chugging along and corporate earnings are still going up, up, up. The entire Street’s firing on all cylinders. We need to bang this cycle until it drops.” He started pacing. “Bang it. Bang it hard. And BofA Merrill Lynch is still number one. You saw the first quarter underwriting statistics. I wanna beat these guys in equity offerings this year, give us a couple more years to catch them in debt underwritings, and in another year or two we’ll take on Goldman Sachs for number one in the M&A rankings.” He stopped and looked at his department heads, disappointed they didn’t seem to be summoning some urge to go out and win one for the Gipper. Maybe they were all immune to him by now because he intentionally acted so crazy and made himself so scary-looking half the time. But Buchannan meant it. He wanted to win.

“Simon, it’s April,” his head of Corporate Finance, John “Stinky” Bates, reminded him again.

“So it’s fucking April.”

“Yes, it’s fucking April and all the top kids from all the top business schools are gone. We’ve milked Harvard, Stanford, Kellogg, Wharton, Chicago, all of them dry.”

“So get me lateral hires from other firms. Dip down to the second tier business schools, hell, go to the third tier if you have to, just get me the bodies. Or it’s my ass.”

About the Author:

David Lender is the author of the bestselling thriller, Trojan Horse. He writes thrillers set in the financial sector based on his over 25-year career as a Wall Street investment banker. David draws on an insider's knowledge from his career in mergers and acquisitions with Merrill Lynch, Rothschild and Bank of America for the international settings, obsessively driven personalities and real-world financial intrigues of his novels. His characters range from David Baldacci-like corporate power brokers to Elmore Leonard-esque misfits and scam artists. His plots reveal the egos and ruthlessness that motivate the players in the financial sector, as well as the inner workings of the most powerful of our financial institutions.

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Kindle Author Interview: H. Lovelyn Bettison

H. Lovelyn Bettison, author of The Box, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Box?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: The Box is a surreal work of fiction that follows three friends on a road trip from San Diego California to St. Pete, Florida. Heck, I'll just let the book blurb lay it out for you.

What’s in the box? Indy would sure like to know.

When Tom offers Indy two thousand dollars to transport a mysterious box across the country, she reluctantly agrees to do it. Accompanied by her ex-boyfriend, Koji, and flower child friend, Eve, Indy embarks on a journey that is bound to be anything but ordinary.

Not too long after their trip gets underway, they come to the realization that the box holds a force beyond their control. Will they make it to their destination? Will they lose their sanity or maybe even their lives in the process?

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: I spend a lot of time thinking about my characters before I ever write a word of the book. I write complete character studies in a notebook that include personal histories beyond what is covered in the novel.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: People who are interested in self-discovery would be quite interested in this book.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: I started writing when I was a little girl. Some of my first stories were about talking trees. I always thought I'd be a writer. That was my dream. Now I'm making it happen.

I've written poems and short stories throughout my teens and twenties and had some stories published in magazines and online. I wrote my first novel in my late twenties, but it remains on my computer never to seen the light of day.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: I have no real process, I simply sit down and write.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: Anne Tyler, Haruki Murakami, and Banana Yoshimoto.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murkami is brillant.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: I've only just started. I put my book up on Kindle a year ago and just kind of forgot about it. I wasn't even really thinking people would read it. Then I noticed that I was making sales and getting reviews so I decided to do something with it. It needed some improvements so I took it down, edited and formatted it than put it up again. I've started a blog that I've been promoting to get my name out and I've been using Twitter.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: That's a no-brainer really. E-readers are the wave of the future and Kindle is one of the most popular ones. The real question is, why not publish on the Kindle?

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

H. LOVELYN BETTISON: Don't do what I did. Treat your writing like a business. That's what it has to be if you're going to be successful. Write a business plan. Decide how to market your book. Hire an editor. Put out the best book you possibly can.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

H. Lovelyn Bettison was born into a creative family with a strong tradition of storytelling. From an early age, she wrote stories. Some of her first works of fiction involved talking trees and magical creatures. Though the trees in her stories no longer talk, she remains true to her childhood interest in the magical aspects of life.

Lovelyn currently lives outside of London with her husband.

Visit her website and follow her on twitter.

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Thursday

Kindle Author Sponsor: Henry Brown

Book Title:

Hell and Gone

Author:

Henry Brown

Kindle Price:

$2.99

Available from:

Amazon




Author's websites:

http://twofistedblogger.blogspot.com
http://www.hell-and-gone.com

Book Reviews:

"Hell and Gone is an exciting action and adventure novel, highly recommended."
—Midwest Book Review

"...An action novel that hits you like a brick through a plate glass window."
—Jack Badelaire, Post Modern Pulps

"Hell and Gone by Henry Brown is a top-notch military thriller. The author takes great care to create characters that are believable and unique... Great writing creates scenes so well crafted that I felt like I was in a strange land in the middle of the action. ...I am very pleased to recommend this book to anyone that enjoys thrillers."
—BookVisions

"Hell and Gone is a military thriller that delivers the goods on the action, has vivid, realistic characters who interact with great dialogue, and presents some food for thought. If enough people chew on it, maybe the all too plausible scenario presented here will remain fiction, assuming it hasn't happened already."
—The New Podler Review of Books

"Hell and Gone is a tightly plotted, action packed, military adventure that will keep you riveted to the pages."
—Susan Coventry, author of The Queen's Daughter

"I like military thrillers, and this one kept me glued to the pages. The ending even left the door open for a sequel. If there is one, I'll definitely be picking it up!"
—MSgt Rich Harris, USAF (retired)

"This book grabbed me in from the very start, with characters that compelled and details that informed without burdening the story. The novel is well-paced, eminently believable, and draws you into a climax that does not disappoint."
—Vanitha Sankaran, author of Watermark

"...I can distinctly picture most of the men as individuals. The book kept me engaged throughout - it's nice to see a thriller that emphasizes teamwork, rather than one macho hero(ine) saving everybody's day."
—Sudarshan Bharadwaj, author of Two Worlds

"...Smooth reading, memorable events, and unforgettable characterization... Dwight Cavarra is colorful and gritty.  Highly principled and tough. Bassam Amin is an example of what can happen when a person is treated as a tool designed to self-destruct. Ehud Siyr is mysterious, mythical, larger than life. ...I am awed (by the) command of the technology and its details. The fighting scenes were galloping, but clear, with attention to each player.  Masterful handling. ...An unforgettable read."
—Gloria Piper, author of Where the Sky Ends

"As a fan of military fiction I have to admit that the genre is full of garbage... That's why Hell and Gone was so refreshing with its dirty dozen cast of real characters and real personalities.

"On the surface the plot appears to be standard-issue for the genre—Islamic whack jobs with a suitcase nuke; but characters carry the story and the plot turns out to be anything but what we expect from 'techno-thrillers' or 'men's adventure.' As a former soldier I was also impressed with the author's attention to detail and general accuracy in regards to weapons and tactics.

"...The novel had a awesome climax with a number of different parties vying for control over the ultimate prize. Even the ending was cast against type...still I hope to see a sequel sometime in the future."
—Jack Murphy, Relexive Fire

Book Description:

A black market Russian nuke. Religious extremists who must conquer at any cost. An alienated loner with a deathwish. An Israeli city. These ingedients comprise a recipe that terrifies US intelligence. How can suicidal killer Bassam Amin be stopped before the Israelis take action...without assistance from the US military; without fracturing the Coalition Against Terror; and without triggering global jihad?

Enter retired commando Dwight "Rocco" Cavarra and a handful of other alpha-male SpecOps veterans who have never worked together. Within days of assembling, they must plow through an African civil war; infiltrate a heavily defended desert fortress; wrestle the WMD away from Amin and his fellow sociopaths while surrounded and outnumbered by desperate proportions; then waltz out of harm's way undetected by local warlords or the genocidal government. No problem--hooyah! But how should Rocco's Retreads handle the hard-charging Mossad agents Israel dropped in the hornets' nest to help the mission along...or was it to frag Cavarra and take over the operation themselves?

Only a maniac would volunteer for such an ate-up mission. Only a monster would use an A-bomb for terror. Both maniacs and monsters are on a collision course which could blow the world to hell and gone.

Book Trailer:



Book Excerpt from Hell and Gone:

7
0124 14 AUG 2002; MIRAMAR NAVAL AIR STATION, CALIFORNIA USA

(At the quick-time.)
Around the block, she pushed the baby carriage
She pushed it in the springtime, in the merry month of May.
And if you ask her why she pushed the carriage
She pushed it for her Navy SEAL, far, far away.

Cavarra smiled to himself when the smell of tarmac, still blazing-hot from the day, filled his nostrils once again. He carried his stuffed sea bag across the field to the waiting aircraft. It was a small turboprop utility plane, normally used to shuttle flag officers hither and yon for tea parties or golf matches crucial to national security.

A haggard sailor pushed the steps up to the cargo door and opened it for him. Cavarra entered, stowed his bag, sat down and buckled up.

He knew Melissa would have pitched a fit if he'd asked her to pick up the kids, especially after making her drop them off. So he'd tucked Jasmine in, went over the shotgun, emergency phone numbers and so forth with Justin, and told him to call his mother the next day to come pick them up. He checked the fridge and cupboards to ensure there was plenty of food, and left some cash just in case. He'd deal with their mother when he got back.

If he got back.

Cavarra was tired, but decided to wait until the plane was at altitude and his ears had quit popping before racking out. Instead, while the air crew went through the pre-flight, he looked over the files Hendricks had given him.

Sudan was the largest nation in Africa. Mountain ranges lined the eastern and western borders, with mostly featureless plains in between. In the north, savannah dried out into desert approaching the Egyptian border. Rain fell nine months out of the average year in the tropical south, which boasted the world's largest swamp: the As Sudd. This year, however, El Nino` had brought droughts upon the mostly agricultural region.

Sudan's most profitable natural resource was oil.

The population was predominantly black in the south, Arabic in the north. Islam was the state religion and Arabic the official language, but many blacks were Christians who spoke English, while others spoke tribal languages or practiced tribal religions.

Sudan gained independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956, but suffered civil wars repeatedly up to the present. The twenty-year conflict still raging now pitted Islam against all non-Moslems.

Since the mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein had been hiding stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the Sudan, with Khartoum's unofficial blessing. The Sudanese Army sometimes used these weapons against the blacks in the South.

Egypt disputed ownership of the Hala'ib Triangle with Sudan. By letting Khaled Ali  run his camp inside this demilitarized zone, the Sudanese could plead ignorance if any Western nation made an issue of it.

Sudan hosted an estimated thirty terrorist training camps like Ali's. Whether Khartoum knew about the hot potato or not, Cavarra wasn't told; but its placement in the Hala'ib Triangle suggested complicity.

Typical Washington pussyfooting around meant the most effective assets wouldn't be employed: DEVGRU/SEAL Team Six, Delta Force... or a Ranger Battalion if they really wanted to stomp it flat. The dossiers Cavarra held represented what CIA brass considered the next best thing: Ten has-beens and two never-weres.

His second time through the photos, Cavarra realized every Swinging Richard in this unit was either black or could pass for an Arab. Good: they shouldn't draw undue attention by appearance alone. Two were Navy Special Warfare vets. One was a former SeaBee--the Navy's version of a combat engineer. Three were ex-Special Forces, which was fortunate--Green Berets were highly cross-trained in combat fieldcraft and fluent in at least one foreign language. Two were Force Recon vets, which was also welcome news--marines were trained as infantry before moving on to their primary specialty; and as reconnaissance scouts, their stealth and navigational skills should be finely honed. Two were decorated snipers. Two were mercenaries.

Come to think of it, it could be argued that all of them were mercenaries, now.

One has-been was none other than Zeke the Greek: Chief Petty Officer Ezekiel Pappadakis from the Special Boat Squadrons and the only man of the twelve Cavarra knew. They'd eaten some of the same sand at Grenada, Panama and the Gulf. Zeke was intelligent, dependable and admired by peers and subordinates alike.

Pablo Fava-Vargas was a Puerto Rican ex-SEAL from Team Two. Cavarra had never met him--Teams Two, Four and Six worked out of Virginia, while odd-number Teams were headquartered on the West Coast. Fava-Vargas became a SEAL between Blue Spoon and Desert Storm, when Cavarra took over Team One and finally returned to California. Fava-Vargas was highly decorated for his work in the Gulf, but left the Navy during the Clinton years. He had children, and was currently working on a masters degree in psychology.

Two of the three marines resumed civilian life ahead of schedule by way of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Both had a history of alcohol abuse and one had a violent streak displayed under inappropriate circumstances one time too many. This didn't bother Cavarra too much--the best men to have in combat were often the worst to have in peacetime.

His team included a bona fide Shawnee brave, complete with authentic Native American name: Tommy Scarred Wolf. Cavarra pictured a wolf with scars festooning its head and body--from a ferocious fight with another wolf, probably--prowling outside a river camp where the Green Beret's great-grandfather was born. Cavarra had wanted to hold off naming his own son until he'd had a chance to observe some personality traits: Indian-style. But Melissa and everyone else considered this notion ridiculous. It simply wasn't done in civilized society.

The guys with cool names usually turned out to be wimps, morons or queers, anyway.

Cavarra spent extra time examining the dossier of the African mercenary. His nationality was listed as Sudanese, but he'd worked all over Africa, it seemed, including Angola, Sierra Leone, Chad, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan. Those countries had seen some heavy action, so his experience could be extensive. The widespread demand for that experience might indicate that this merc was something special and not a "never-was" after all.

The American merc had a lot of baggage stamps, too, but mostly from "warm" spots with low-intensity conflicts. A Lebanese mother had passed down fluency in Arabic, plus the brown eyes and dark skin to qualify for this crew.

A third mercenary would lead a small Sudanese rebel force in a conventional attack on the terrorist camp. To Cavarra that meant an under-trained, undisciplined, poorly-motivated gaggle led by some wannabe with questionable integrity and motives.

Just before the Sudanese mob hit the target, Cavarra and his freshly-slapped-together squad were to infiltrate, take the dock, blow the boats and prevent anyone's escape with the hot potato. They'd be surrounded immediately and if the rebel attack didn't commence on time, every hostile in the camp would be on top of them. If the attack did come on time, the rebels might very well break and run upon encountering disciplined fire. But even assuming the assault was successful and the rebels pushed the hostiles into the sea, Cavarra's unit would be caught between hammer and anvil. If cornered terrorists didn't wipe them out, friendly fire might.

Only a maniac would volunteer to lead such an ate-up operation.

Or a has-been Special Operator.

Some part of Cavarra had always wanted a mission like this, though he'd prefer to undertake it with men he'd trained with for years.

Hendricks had been satisfied after Cavarra endured some vaccinations and a quick physical exam at a discreet location with an Agency physician. Then it was Cavarra's turn to get answers.

He got the personal compensation arrangements out of the way first. Then insurance coverage--he insisted Melissa and the kids be adequately taken care of should he never make it back. He made sure the men under him had been properly inoculated. He probed Hendricks about medivac and health contingencies. He hammered out the duration of the assignment, and transportation--both in-country and back to the States. He demanded, and received, a blank check for weapons, ammo, maps, equipment and food. He haggled over some finer details, then signed some papers and drove to his waiting plane.

Cavarra rejected the plan, as conceived by the CIA, from the very beginning. The bottom line was to prevent the terrorists from escaping with the nuke. To accomplish that without assuming his men to be expendable was the challenge.

The aircraft engines whined to life. The plane taxied, got clearance and lifted into the night sky. When they reached altitude, Cavarra leaned his seat back and closed his eyes.

Thousands of miles of land and ocean passed by underneath him.

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Kindle Author Interview: Jayne Fordham

Jayne Fordham, author of A Season of Transformation, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about A Season of Transformation?

JAYNE FORDHAM: A Season of Transformation is a YA fantasy romance novel set in contemporary Australia. On the first day of autumn, five teenagers are drawn together by an unstoppable force that brings them to the Catherine Vale showgrounds, in their local town. They uncover a box with a series of letters left for them by their ancestors. They discover that they will develop abilities which they will need to use to defeat Maxvale, an ancient villain who will resurrect on the final evening of autumn. These five teenagers who are all very different from each other must put their differences aside and form a team to defeat Maxvale and save their small town from destruction.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

JAYNE FORDHAM: Developing the characters for A Season Of Transformation was quite fun actually, I simply had to come up with five characters that were very distinct from each other. Firstly, I decided on what kind of personalities that each would have and from there I worked backwards to figure out their family backgrounds and inner conflicts that would influence how they are in the present moment (my psychology background came in handy with this!).

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

JAYNE FORDHAM: A Season of Transformation is targeted at young adult readers and the age range varies from 14-20’s but it is not limited to this age group. Anyone who loves stories with fantasy and romance and a little adventure will enjoy this story.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

JAYNE FORDHAM: Well it has definitely been on and off over the years. I loved to write as a child and through my teenage years but then there were many years I didn’t write for various reasons. I rediscovered my love for the written word a few years back when I again started to write short stories and started to write my first novel, A Season Of Transformation.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

JAYNE FORDHAM: I really need to have a lot of self-discipline to stay on track with my writing. I tend to have a lot going on at once and it can be difficult at times for me to focus and write a novel. I work full-time, I write on a book blog and I try to fit in writing as often as I can. I hope in the future I can spend more time writing. The first draft of A Season Of Transformation was written in about 3 months but I spent two years redrafting and editing this story prior to publishing.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

JAYNE FORDHAM: As a romantic at heart, I am a huge fan of Jane Austen’s novels but I also have a very eclectic taste in reading material. I love paranormal novels by authors such as Stephanie Meyer and Charlaine Harris, Australian fiction authors; Fleur McDonald, Monica McInerney and Maureen McArthy to name a few.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

JAYNE FORDHAM: Hmm… Pride and Prejudice! Who wouldn’t want to be as well known in the literary world as Jane Austen?

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

JAYNE FORDHAM: Well, having released my first novel in late March I am still getting the promotional side underway. I have organised a huge book blog tour for June and July 2011 where I will be blog hopping throughout this time providing guest posts, interviews and giveaways. Many blogs are on board to provide reviews as well. You know what they say, reviews sells books! There is more information on my site www.jaynefordham.com. So, that is the first step in my marketing plan at this stage and then I will go from there.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

JAYNE FORDHAM: Amazon is one of the most accessed retail sites world-wide and it is well-known in Australia which was one of the main reasons. I did not want to publish on a site that Australians were unfamiliar with or would be unable to access. Not only that, Amazon Kindle allows Australian authors to sell their books and I came across one self-publishing company in particular that would not pay those without a U.S banking account- which I do not have!

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

JAYNE FORDHAM: Be prepared to put in a lot of work to market and promote your book! You cannot just expect to put your book out there and people will just buy it. Jot down some sort of ‘marketing plan’ and start from there. I recommend approaching book blogs that suit your novels’ genre and definitely getting involved in the social networking world.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jayne Fordham is a psychologist, freelance writer and debut author of A Season of Transformation. She resides in South-West Sydney with her boyfriend and loveable cocker spaniel, Buddy.

Visit her website, read her blog, and follow her on twitter.



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Kindle Author Interview: Eileen Cruz Coleman

Eileen Cruz Coleman, author of Rumpel, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Rumpel?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: I first heard the story of Rumpelstiltskin when I was seven years old. I remember sitting in "circle time" while my teacher read the story. When she got to the end, I felt that there had to be more to the story. I honestly thought she had read us a shortened version and that the longer version was out there somewhere! From that day on, the story of Rumpelstiltskin fascinated me. I wanted to know why he wanted a baby. What was he going to do with it once he got it? Who were the people in his life? What was his world like? What was his childhood like? All of these questions led me to write Rumpel which is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. In keeping with the original Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin, Rumpel is dark and at times disturbing, yet it also has a light and quirky element to it in that it is told from the point of view of many different characters all of which play an integral part of the story and how it unfolds. We also get to know Rumpelstiltskin as a child, then as a young man, and finally as a broken hearted adult.

Here is the novel's description: When a ship carrying sick and desperate people from the Kingdom of Niaps arrives on the island of Rodavlas in search of a lost gold-spinning wheel which the Niapsons believe rightfully belongs to them and on which their very existence depends, the island inhabitants—spirits, trolls, mermaids, fallen angels and humans—are thrust into a course of events during which some will become allies and others will turn against their own.

And Elizabeth Miller must accept her connection to the newcomers and use her secret skill to defend her unborn child from a vengeful troll, Rumpel, who blames her and her father Franz Miller, for the deaths of his son and wife.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: This is a hard question for me to answer because in all honesty, I'm not sure I know the answer. I think about my characters for a long time. I think about their motivations, their likes and dislikes, their habits, their fears. I try and dig deep into what makes them who they are.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: I don't have an ideal reader because reading is such a personal thing. I write books which I think readers may enjoy but ultimately, a book's fate is in the reader's hands and I respect that, you know. Sure, I hope that Rumpel will resonate with readers but all I can ask of a reader is to give it a chance. After that, I step aside and mind my own business.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: I think I always knew I wanted to be a writer but I didn't start seriously writing until I was in my early twenties. I was twenty-five when a print magazine accepted my first piece of writing. I will never forget that call. I screamed and jumped up and down on my bed. Honestly, you would have thought I won the lottery. From that day on, I was hooked. So, I sat down and wrote my heart out for the next several years. I published a few more short pieces in literary journals and also wrote my first novel. With that first novel, I queried literary agents but in the end, the truth was that I needed to hone my novel-writing skills more. And so I spent a few more years writing and publishing short stories and honing my novel-writing skills. With my second novel, a New York literary agent agreed to represent it and off it went on submission to publishers. In the end, that novel didn't sell. I went back to writing short stories and pondering what the heck I was going to do next. I had a very honest conversation with another literary agent who told me I needed to dig really deep and come up with an idea that had what he called, "a wow factor." And that same day, the idea for Rumpel hit me. I emailed him and one of my closest writer friends. Both email responses came back with "wow." I spent about a year and a half writing Rumpel. I wanted it to be a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, of course, but I also wanted it to be different than the original story, told from various points of views and with various plot pieces. I wanted to satisfy my own curiosity about Rumpelstiltskin and so I went all the way, fully aware that what I was writing was a "little out there." I queried over 50 literary agents with Rumpel. I had almost given up on finding an agent when I received an email from the now deceased Manie Barron with the Menza-Barron Literary Agency. He wanted to talk to me about Rumpel. I was delighted but given the feedback I had received from all of the other agents, I was cautiously optimistic.

We talked the next day and after I went on and on about my reasons for writing Rumpel, he interrupted me and said, “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Rumpel. It’s a weird book. I’m weird. I think it deserves a chance to be seen. All we need is one weird editor.”

I replied, “I’m weird too.” And that was that.

Rumpel now had the support of an agent who believed in me and my work. Unfortunately, we never found that one weird editor willing to take a chance on Rumpel. The consensus was that Rumpel was “too weird” and “out there.”

I thought long and hard about what to do with Rumpel. Let it sit on my hard drive and collect dust or self-publish it as an ebook and let readers decided its fate? I chose the latter.

On August 21, 2010, one day before my birthday, I uploaded Rumpel to Amazon Kindle. One month later, I published it on Smashwords.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: For the most part, I'm an organic writer and I rarely, if ever, write outlines. I think about what I'm going to write for a long time before ever sitting down to write a single word. I may spend two months thinking about an idea, developing the story and its characters in my mind, never writing a word down. When I finally sit down to write, I have a pretty good idea of how I want the story to unfold. I may not know all of the intricate details of the story yet, but the foundation for the story is there. I don't write every day. I'm a slow writer. I have writing spurts followed by thinking spurts and back and forth until I finally get to the end of a story.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: Stephen King and Isabel Allende. I think they are brave, honest and amazing writers.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: Drown, the short story collection by Junot Diaz. I dissected every word of that book. I had never read anything like it. I still think about it. It's an incredible book.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: When I first published Rumpel on Amazon Kindle, I didn't really promote it much. To be honest, I was nervous about self-publishing it. I didn't know what to expect. But then, I wrote and distributed a press release via PRweb.com and that generated some initial buzz. I also joined Kindleboards.com and more recently, I have started to explore other promotional avenues such as a pay-per-click campaign on Goodreads.com, and banner ads on popular sites. I also tweet about it; however, there is a fine line there. I can't just tweet about Rumpel, you know. That's a sure way to annoy people. I would certainly be annoyed if someone I was following on Twitter spent all of his time promoting his book.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: Self-publishing on Amazon Kindle has been a wonderful experience for me. Rumpel is being read and well, as a writer, what else can I ask for? The freedom is both exhilarating and daunting but if it wasn't for Amazon Kindle so many authors would not have the opportunity to see their work published.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

EILEEN CRUZ COLEMAN: Be honest with yourself. Hone your craft. Put in the work before you self-publish. And know that not everyone is going to like your work. Oh, and have fun. Don't take yourself too seriously.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eileen Cruz Coleman was born in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in European History. Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals both online and in print. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.

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Wednesday

Kindle Author Sponsor: Henry Brown

Book Title:

Hell and Gone

Author:

Henry Brown

Kindle Price:

$2.99

Available from:

Amazon




Author's websites:

http://twofistedblogger.blogspot.com
http://www.hell-and-gone.com

Book Reviews:

"Hell and Gone is an exciting action and adventure novel, highly recommended."
—Midwest Book Review

"...An action novel that hits you like a brick through a plate glass window."
—Jack Badelaire, Post Modern Pulps

"Hell and Gone by Henry Brown is a top-notch military thriller. The author takes great care to create characters that are believable and unique... Great writing creates scenes so well crafted that I felt like I was in a strange land in the middle of the action. ...I am very pleased to recommend this book to anyone that enjoys thrillers."
—BookVisions

"Hell and Gone is a military thriller that delivers the goods on the action, has vivid, realistic characters who interact with great dialogue, and presents some food for thought. If enough people chew on it, maybe the all too plausible scenario presented here will remain fiction, assuming it hasn't happened already."
—The New Podler Review of Books

"Hell and Gone is a tightly plotted, action packed, military adventure that will keep you riveted to the pages."
—Susan Coventry, author of The Queen's Daughter

"I like military thrillers, and this one kept me glued to the pages. The ending even left the door open for a sequel. If there is one, I'll definitely be picking it up!"
—MSgt Rich Harris, USAF (retired)

"This book grabbed me in from the very start, with characters that compelled and details that informed without burdening the story. The novel is well-paced, eminently believable, and draws you into a climax that does not disappoint."
—Vanitha Sankaran, author of Watermark

"...I can distinctly picture most of the men as individuals. The book kept me engaged throughout - it's nice to see a thriller that emphasizes teamwork, rather than one macho hero(ine) saving everybody's day."
—Sudarshan Bharadwaj, author of Two Worlds

"...Smooth reading, memorable events, and unforgettable characterization... Dwight Cavarra is colorful and gritty.  Highly principled and tough. Bassam Amin is an example of what can happen when a person is treated as a tool designed to self-destruct. Ehud Siyr is mysterious, mythical, larger than life. ...I am awed (by the) command of the technology and its details. The fighting scenes were galloping, but clear, with attention to each player.  Masterful handling. ...An unforgettable read."
—Gloria Piper, author of Where the Sky Ends

"As a fan of military fiction I have to admit that the genre is full of garbage... That's why Hell and Gone was so refreshing with its dirty dozen cast of real characters and real personalities.

"On the surface the plot appears to be standard-issue for the genre—Islamic whack jobs with a suitcase nuke; but characters carry the story and the plot turns out to be anything but what we expect from 'techno-thrillers' or 'men's adventure.' As a former soldier I was also impressed with the author's attention to detail and general accuracy in regards to weapons and tactics.

"...The novel had a awesome climax with a number of different parties vying for control over the ultimate prize. Even the ending was cast against type...still I hope to see a sequel sometime in the future."
—Jack Murphy, Relexive Fire

Book Description:

A black market Russian nuke. Religious extremists who must conquer at any cost. An alienated loner with a deathwish. An Israeli city. These ingedients comprise a recipe that terrifies US intelligence. How can suicidal killer Bassam Amin be stopped before the Israelis take action...without assistance from the US military; without fracturing the Coalition Against Terror; and without triggering global jihad?

Enter retired commando Dwight "Rocco" Cavarra and a handful of other alpha-male SpecOps veterans who have never worked together. Within days of assembling, they must plow through an African civil war; infiltrate a heavily defended desert fortress; wrestle the WMD away from Amin and his fellow sociopaths while surrounded and outnumbered by desperate proportions; then waltz out of harm's way undetected by local warlords or the genocidal government. No problem--hooyah! But how should Rocco's Retreads handle the hard-charging Mossad agents Israel dropped in the hornets' nest to help the mission along...or was it to frag Cavarra and take over the operation themselves?

Only a maniac would volunteer for such an ate-up mission. Only a monster would use an A-bomb for terror. Both maniacs and monsters are on a collision course which could blow the world to hell and gone.

Book Trailer:



Book Excerpt from Hell and Gone:

7
0124 14 AUG 2002; MIRAMAR NAVAL AIR STATION, CALIFORNIA USA

(At the quick-time.)
Around the block, she pushed the baby carriage
She pushed it in the springtime, in the merry month of May.
And if you ask her why she pushed the carriage
She pushed it for her Navy SEAL, far, far away.

Cavarra smiled to himself when the smell of tarmac, still blazing-hot from the day, filled his nostrils once again. He carried his stuffed sea bag across the field to the waiting aircraft. It was a small turboprop utility plane, normally used to shuttle flag officers hither and yon for tea parties or golf matches crucial to national security.

A haggard sailor pushed the steps up to the cargo door and opened it for him. Cavarra entered, stowed his bag, sat down and buckled up.

He knew Melissa would have pitched a fit if he'd asked her to pick up the kids, especially after making her drop them off. So he'd tucked Jasmine in, went over the shotgun, emergency phone numbers and so forth with Justin, and told him to call his mother the next day to come pick them up. He checked the fridge and cupboards to ensure there was plenty of food, and left some cash just in case. He'd deal with their mother when he got back.

If he got back.

Cavarra was tired, but decided to wait until the plane was at altitude and his ears had quit popping before racking out. Instead, while the air crew went through the pre-flight, he looked over the files Hendricks had given him.

Sudan was the largest nation in Africa. Mountain ranges lined the eastern and western borders, with mostly featureless plains in between. In the north, savannah dried out into desert approaching the Egyptian border. Rain fell nine months out of the average year in the tropical south, which boasted the world's largest swamp: the As Sudd. This year, however, El Nino` had brought droughts upon the mostly agricultural region.

Sudan's most profitable natural resource was oil.

The population was predominantly black in the south, Arabic in the north. Islam was the state religion and Arabic the official language, but many blacks were Christians who spoke English, while others spoke tribal languages or practiced tribal religions.

Sudan gained independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956, but suffered civil wars repeatedly up to the present. The twenty-year conflict still raging now pitted Islam against all non-Moslems.

Since the mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein had been hiding stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the Sudan, with Khartoum's unofficial blessing. The Sudanese Army sometimes used these weapons against the blacks in the South.

Egypt disputed ownership of the Hala'ib Triangle with Sudan. By letting Khaled Ali  run his camp inside this demilitarized zone, the Sudanese could plead ignorance if any Western nation made an issue of it.

Sudan hosted an estimated thirty terrorist training camps like Ali's. Whether Khartoum knew about the hot potato or not, Cavarra wasn't told; but its placement in the Hala'ib Triangle suggested complicity.

Typical Washington pussyfooting around meant the most effective assets wouldn't be employed: DEVGRU/SEAL Team Six, Delta Force... or a Ranger Battalion if they really wanted to stomp it flat. The dossiers Cavarra held represented what CIA brass considered the next best thing: Ten has-beens and two never-weres.

His second time through the photos, Cavarra realized every Swinging Richard in this unit was either black or could pass for an Arab. Good: they shouldn't draw undue attention by appearance alone. Two were Navy Special Warfare vets. One was a former SeaBee--the Navy's version of a combat engineer. Three were ex-Special Forces, which was fortunate--Green Berets were highly cross-trained in combat fieldcraft and fluent in at least one foreign language. Two were Force Recon vets, which was also welcome news--marines were trained as infantry before moving on to their primary specialty; and as reconnaissance scouts, their stealth and navigational skills should be finely honed. Two were decorated snipers. Two were mercenaries.

Come to think of it, it could be argued that all of them were mercenaries, now.

One has-been was none other than Zeke the Greek: Chief Petty Officer Ezekiel Pappadakis from the Special Boat Squadrons and the only man of the twelve Cavarra knew. They'd eaten some of the same sand at Grenada, Panama and the Gulf. Zeke was intelligent, dependable and admired by peers and subordinates alike.

Pablo Fava-Vargas was a Puerto Rican ex-SEAL from Team Two. Cavarra had never met him--Teams Two, Four and Six worked out of Virginia, while odd-number Teams were headquartered on the West Coast. Fava-Vargas became a SEAL between Blue Spoon and Desert Storm, when Cavarra took over Team One and finally returned to California. Fava-Vargas was highly decorated for his work in the Gulf, but left the Navy during the Clinton years. He had children, and was currently working on a masters degree in psychology.

Two of the three marines resumed civilian life ahead of schedule by way of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Both had a history of alcohol abuse and one had a violent streak displayed under inappropriate circumstances one time too many. This didn't bother Cavarra too much--the best men to have in combat were often the worst to have in peacetime.

His team included a bona fide Shawnee brave, complete with authentic Native American name: Tommy Scarred Wolf. Cavarra pictured a wolf with scars festooning its head and body--from a ferocious fight with another wolf, probably--prowling outside a river camp where the Green Beret's great-grandfather was born. Cavarra had wanted to hold off naming his own son until he'd had a chance to observe some personality traits: Indian-style. But Melissa and everyone else considered this notion ridiculous. It simply wasn't done in civilized society.

The guys with cool names usually turned out to be wimps, morons or queers, anyway.

Cavarra spent extra time examining the dossier of the African mercenary. His nationality was listed as Sudanese, but he'd worked all over Africa, it seemed, including Angola, Sierra Leone, Chad, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan. Those countries had seen some heavy action, so his experience could be extensive. The widespread demand for that experience might indicate that this merc was something special and not a "never-was" after all.

The American merc had a lot of baggage stamps, too, but mostly from "warm" spots with low-intensity conflicts. A Lebanese mother had passed down fluency in Arabic, plus the brown eyes and dark skin to qualify for this crew.

A third mercenary would lead a small Sudanese rebel force in a conventional attack on the terrorist camp. To Cavarra that meant an under-trained, undisciplined, poorly-motivated gaggle led by some wannabe with questionable integrity and motives.

Just before the Sudanese mob hit the target, Cavarra and his freshly-slapped-together squad were to infiltrate, take the dock, blow the boats and prevent anyone's escape with the hot potato. They'd be surrounded immediately and if the rebel attack didn't commence on time, every hostile in the camp would be on top of them. If the attack did come on time, the rebels might very well break and run upon encountering disciplined fire. But even assuming the assault was successful and the rebels pushed the hostiles into the sea, Cavarra's unit would be caught between hammer and anvil. If cornered terrorists didn't wipe them out, friendly fire might.

Only a maniac would volunteer to lead such an ate-up operation.

Or a has-been Special Operator.

Some part of Cavarra had always wanted a mission like this, though he'd prefer to undertake it with men he'd trained with for years.

Hendricks had been satisfied after Cavarra endured some vaccinations and a quick physical exam at a discreet location with an Agency physician. Then it was Cavarra's turn to get answers.

He got the personal compensation arrangements out of the way first. Then insurance coverage--he insisted Melissa and the kids be adequately taken care of should he never make it back. He made sure the men under him had been properly inoculated. He probed Hendricks about medivac and health contingencies. He hammered out the duration of the assignment, and transportation--both in-country and back to the States. He demanded, and received, a blank check for weapons, ammo, maps, equipment and food. He haggled over some finer details, then signed some papers and drove to his waiting plane.

Cavarra rejected the plan, as conceived by the CIA, from the very beginning. The bottom line was to prevent the terrorists from escaping with the nuke. To accomplish that without assuming his men to be expendable was the challenge.

The aircraft engines whined to life. The plane taxied, got clearance and lifted into the night sky. When they reached altitude, Cavarra leaned his seat back and closed his eyes.

Thousands of miles of land and ocean passed by underneath him.

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