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How much of the book is realistic?

All of it. It is very earthy and represents that world of gangsters, drugs, murder and hate in a very realistic manner. Don’t read it if you are easily offended or sensitive. It is what it is. If people truly believe that the world of The King of Sunday Morning does not exist then they live in Never Neverland.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

My life experiences yes. My friends no.

How important do you think villains are in a story?

Essential. Every story needs a ying and a yang. There must be balance. Without it the story is skewed with unrealistic expectations.

What are your goals as a writer?

To be read.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not any more

Excerpt – How Did I Get Here?

He heard the question and knew he didn’t want to answer it. He knew it had been coming. One day he knew she would ask it. How could she share so much and he so little? It wasn’t a question of sharing his love. That was unquestionable. It was sharing his past.

He knew everything about her. The childhood scar on her arm was a badge of honour bestowed upon her as she tried to climb out of her bedroom window in a ridiculous attempt to have a sneaky cigarette. At the age of thirteen, her ears had been stapled to her head to prevent her looking like the FA Cup. She had drunk two bottles of very expensive Grange on her 21st birthday. Her father had been livid. She hadn’t cared.

She only knew of his life in Australia. Of his broken marriage. Of his descent into a depression that he had barely recovered from. She only knew snippets of his life in Europe. His dysfunctional family barely communicated with him. Out of sight, out of mind.

He had met her only three months after the marriage had broken down. She had been very wary of this. Concerned that she was the rebound. But he had assured her that the marriage had been over for some time. The only thing that had kept them together was his proud devotion to his morals and the promises he had made in the sight of God.

He went on the rampage after she walked out. Free from the humdrum marriage that had caged him, he had reverted to type and partied the house down. He was a huge flirt, had an engaging smile and a sense of humour to die for but what had excited her was that all he cared about was having a good time. Life was a party and he was a veteran of both.

She knew he had lived in Portugal and France. She knew he had been on the road to deejaying stardom. That he ran a nightclub. That his club had been on the lips of everyone on the backpacker circuit. She had heard that from others. Apparently his club was the one that you just had to experience. No luxuries. No fancy stuff. It was what it was. The place where you could listen and dance to the latest tunes from London with absolutely no interference from security or anyone else. Drugs were consumed openly and no behaviour was considered taboo.

He was the first English DJ to play house music in Paris. He had worked in Val D’Isere during the French Winter Olympics but beyond that, nothing. He didn’t want her to know. His life was his to know and it was better that way.

She looked at him again. She raised herself onto her elbow and gazed onto his face. His eyes were closed and his lips pursed. She saw a tear form in his duct and snake down the right side of his face towards his ear.

He raised an arm to his face and wiped away the tear. He turned his head towards her and opened his eyes.

“Lizzy, do you really want to know?”

“Yes honey”

“Why?”

“Because if I am going to spend the rest of my life with you, I need to know”.

Tray flinched at this. He had known she loved him but this was new. The rest of his life in exchange for the history of it. She put her left hand on his chest. She smiled at him. Moved her hand to his face, held it softly then bent down and kissed him.

She pulled back.

“Its not how I got here baby. It’s why I stayed away”.

“Well then, why did you stay away?”

He looked at her. She said nothing. Waiting for an answer. He closed his eyes. Swallowed. He opened them again.

“Cos I can’t go back!”

King of Sunday Morning

The King of Sunday Morning is a geezer. Not in the traditional sense of the word as in old man. This geezer is a face, a wannabe, a top notch bloke. He is the greatest DJ that never was. He should have been. Could have been. Would have been. Now becoming a has-been.

Tray McCarthy was born into privilege but with the genetic coding of London’s violent East End. Having broken the underworld’s sacred honour code, it is only his family’s gangland connections that save him. But in return for his life, he must deny that which he has ever known or ever will be and runs to Australia where he is forced to live an inconsequential life.

But trouble never strays far from Tray McCarthy and eventually his past and present collide to put everyone he has ever loved in danger. He must now make a stand and fight against those that are set to destroy him and play their game according to his rules.

Set against the subterfuge and violence of the international drugs trade, The King of Sunday Morning is the tale of what can go wrong when you make bad decisions. Tray McCarthy has made some of the worst. He must now save those he holds dear but in the process gets trapped deeper and deeper into a world where he doesn’t belong.

“I want three pump-action shotguns, about twelve sticks of dynamite and a blowtorch”

THIS BOOK CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE, FREQUENT DRUG USE AND SEX SCENES – NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller, Action, Suspense, Gangster, Crime, Music

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author

Connect with J.B. McCauley on Facebook & Twitter

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What writing are you most proud of?

My most recent novel, Infernal Gates.  I’ve been writing since 1984 and it just seems like I finally hit my stride with this thriller.  I’m very excited about the sequel that I’m just finishing up as well.  I’ve fallen in love with the diversity and uniqueness of my characters and I’m trying to decide if there is a credible way to continue on with them once the second book is complete.

What books did you love growing up?

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew when I was young, then anything Science Fiction from Junior High through College, especially Robert Heinlein, Phillip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was a favorite), Isaac Asimov, Phillip Jose Farmer, Arthur C. Clarke (all the oldies, but goodies).  I read everything James Michener wrote, but my favorite was The Source. I also read a lot of books on biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, metaphysics, and philosophy. Guess you can tell I was, and still am, an eclectic reader.

Who is your favorite author?

For some time now I have been following Daniel Silva and his protagonist, Gabriel Allon of the Israeli Mossad.  I love Silva’s writing style, his Middle Eastern theme, the way he weaves historical information into his stories, his powerful message about the Jews and Israel, the depth of his characters, and the incredible tension he generates in his plots.  I’m first in line at the library when one of his books comes out.  I do have to say, however, I read a lot of fiction and in a variety of genres, so it is very hard for me to pick a favorite author. I chose Silva because I’ve read all of his novels and he puts one out every year, so it’s a numbers thing.  Before him, it would probably have been Michael Crichton (before he died).

What book genre of books do you adore?

Thrillers–the same genre I love to write.

What book should everybody read at least once?

I’m going to cheat on this question, because I have three:  The Bible, Les Miserable’s, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Infernal Gates

Ethan Freeman, ex-Special Forces Ranger, wakes up to discover he is the sole survivor of a fiery commercial airline crash that killed his entire family. His nightmare is only beginning when he becomes the FBI’s prime suspect. Only Ethan knows he’s not a cold-hearted murderer, but he has no idea what happened to him–and why he alone survived.

He finds an unlikely ally in Sam Weaver, the NTSB Chief Investigator. An ex-military pilot, Sam senses Ethan is innocent. She tries to remain dispassionate in her investigation of the crash even as she finds herself attracted to the man who may be America=s worst homegrown mass-murderer.

Neither Ethan nor Sam realize that shadowy spiritual forces are at work which will alter their lives forever.

A monstrous evil, imprisoned since the time of the Pharaohs, has been released by The Nine, a sinister group of powerful men and women who believe they are the direct descendants of the Anunnaki, ancient Sumerian gods. The demon they have unleashed intends to free The Destroyer from The Abyss, the angelic prison referred to in the Book of Revelation, and unleash a worldwide reign of terror and annihilation.

Facing impossible odds, time is running out for Ethan and all of humanity as he is drawn into an ever-deeper conspiracy–millennia in the making–and learns that he is the key to stopping The Nine. Will he overcome his deepest fears and find reserves of strength he never knew he had as he confronts pure evil in order to save himself and an unsuspecting world?

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Christian Thriller, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Michael J. Webb on Facebook & G+ & Twitter

Website http://www.michaeljwebbfiction.com/

GIVEAWAY

The author is giving away the following prizes — mailed directly to the winner’s email address from Amazon.com.

PRIZES:

5 Kindle copies of Infernal Gates http://amzn.to/18HrDjY

5 Kindle copies of The Oldest Enemy http://amzn.to/RWyv4c

5 Kindle copies of The Master’s Quilt http://amzn.to/Z2SJQS

Will you write others in this same genre?

Yes. I really like Dark Romance and feel I have a lot to give in this genre.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

It’s hard and I admit I hadn’t cried in two years and a review of Tears of Tess made me crack. But then, after letting the sadness stay for an hour or two, I remembered that I write for the love of writing and the majority of people love my work too. It’s very important to stay focused on the positive and support from amazing fans.

What scares you the most?

Um, losing the will to fight through those ‘I suck’ days. I would never let myself give up, but I get a shot of fear at the thought of never writing again.

What makes you happiest?

When a fan emails / Facebook messages me about how much they loved my book. It never gets old and I love each and everyone. I also reply to each and every one so they know what they mean to me.

What’s your greatest character strength?

Tess is the fiercest girl I know. She endures so much throughout the book but she never breaks. I wish I was as strong as her.

Tears of Tess

Tess Snow has everything she ever wanted: one more semester before a career in property development, a loving boyfriend, and a future dazzling bright with possibility.

For their two year anniversary, Brax surprises Tess with a romantic trip to Mexico. Sandy beaches, delicious cocktails, and soul-connecting sex set the mood for a wonderful holiday. With a full heart, and looking forward to a passion filled week, Tess is on top of the world.

But lusty paradise is shattered.

Kidnapped. Drugged. Stolen. Tess is forced into a world full of darkness and terror.

Captive and alone with no savior, no lover, no faith, no future, Tess evolves from terrified girl to fierce fighter. But no matter her strength, it can’t save her from the horror of being sold.

Can Brax find Tess before she’s broken and ruined, or will Tess’s new owner change her life forever?

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Dark New Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author

Connect with Pepper Winters on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.pepperwinters.wordpress.com/

Image of Colin Falconer

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?

‘We apologize for yesterday’s typographical error. He’s not dead yet.’

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I was born in a terraced house in north London and we moved to a little fishing village in Essex when I was 4. It grew into this horrible satellite dormitory suburb and I just couldn’t wait to get out of there. I used to play a lot of Springsteen. Baby this town rips the bones forn your back, got to get out while we’re young. Born to Run. And boy, did I run. I eventually raised my own family in a surfing and wine growing area in south west Australia. Now my girls are grown I live in Barcelona.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…

I’ve been a full time professional now for 29 years. I started in advertising – 90% bullshit and 10% commission – then I was a freelance journalist then became a full time novelist in 1990. I paid off three houses and raised a family from writing. None of it was easy.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

What I wanted to do was play for Manchester United but they didn’t want to play with me. I had trails with a top flight English club – Southampton – and didn’t make it. I drove taxis while I was learning to write. I worked for 13 years as a volunteer paramedic in Australia. Working as a volunteer paramedic is a book on its own! I would be sitting at my desk typing then my pager would go off and half an hour later I’d be crawling into a car wreck feeling for a pulse. It was an unusual life.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Right where I’m living now – Barcelona. The people are great, there are tapas bars everywhere, you can get a beer any hour of the day or night, and you can feel history in every stone.

Isabella

She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.

12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England – only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair – does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and England apart.

Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?

The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.

In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, ISABELLA is thoroughly researched and fast paced, the little known story of the one invasion the English never talk about.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Colin Falconer on Facebook & Twitter

Website https://colinfalconer.wordpress.com/

Image of Rayne HallWhich of the stories in Thirty Scary Tales is the scariest?

For me personally, it’s The Bridge Chamber. It scared me so much while I was writing it, I had to stop for several days before I found the courage to continue.

Do you get nightmares?

To a horror writer, nightmares are a gift. What frightens us in our sleep is surely going to scare our readers when they’re awake.  I use the dreams as raw materials for stories, changing the plot to make it plausible. However real dreams feel when we have them, in the cold light of day the events aren’t always believable, so I change them. However, I try to stay faithful to the core idea of the dream, and to capture that scary feeling.

Several stories in Thirty Scary Tales are inspired by nightmarish dreams, including The Painted Staircase where I dreamt that I was getting pulled into a shipwreck painting.

Have the stories in Thirty Scary Tales been published before?

Yes, most of them. Some were featured years ago in digital and print magazines or in anthology books.  However, I rewrote some of them, because I no longer liked the original versions that much.  Over the years, I’ve become a much better writer, and I want to showcase my stories in their best possible form.

Although I sold the stories to publishers, in most cases I kept the rights, or the rights reverted back to me, and I could include them. For some stories, I had to ask the original publisher’s permission. Fortunately, the publishers have been very graceful about this.

The stories are also featured in Six Scary Tales Volumes 1-5, of which this is a compilation.

Do you have any advice for aspiring horror writers?

Write about what frightens you – phobias, nightmares, places that give you the creeps. You’ll be able to write about these things with great authenticity, and it will be scary.

How is Thirty Scary Tales different from other horror collections?

The stories are a more subtle type of horror than most, creepily atmospheric and psychologically disturbing.  Readers who like splatterpunk horror with lots of violence and gore are probably better off reading someone else’s book.

Thirty Scary Tales

Thirty creepy, atmospheric stories by Rayne Hall.

The horror in these stories is spooky, creepy, unsettling and sometimes disturbing. It is not very violent or gory; however, the stories may not be suitable for young readers without parental guidance. PG 13.

This book is a compilation of volumes 1-5 of the Six Scary Tales books. It includes the acclaimed stories Burning and The Bridge Chamber.

All stories have been previously published in magazines, ezines, collections and anthologies. British English.

Stories in collection include:
The Devil You Know, Greywalker, Prophetess, Each Stone A Life, By Your Own Free Will, The Bridge Chamber, Only A Fool, Four Bony Hands, The Black Boar, Double Rainbows, Druid Stones, Burning, Scruples, Seagulls, Night Train, Through the Tunnel, Black Karma, Take Me To St. Roch’s, Turkish Night, Never Leave Me, The Colour of Dishonour, Beltane, The Painted Staircase, I Dived The Pandora, Terre Vert and Payne’s Grey, They Say, Tuppence Special, Disturbed Sleep, Normal Considering the Weather, Arete.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Horror

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Rayne Hall on Twitter

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Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why?

Apart from reading paperbacks I like to listen to audio books when I’m out driving. Alyssa Day isn’t a new author, but she has newly caught my attention. I am currently listening to her audio book The Cursed. It’s an interesting and different paranormal romance with great world building and steamy romance with a super sexy and intriguing wizard. The audio voice perfectly fits the story too, which is really important with audio books. Some really amazing books are ruined by bad narrators.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?

The Internet and social media are great tools. Finding and connecting with other writers is priceless for their personal experiences and advice. Plus there are plenty of writing courses available online, for example – Holly Lisle’s writing and revising courses. See http://howtothinksideways.com/writing-courses

What contributes to making a writer successful?

Hard work, determination, skill and passion are needed to make a writer successful. Contacts will always help you get there faster, but if you don’t put in the hard yards and don’t have the passion and skill to tell a rich story that matters, then beyond luck you won’t get far for too long.

Do you have any advice for writers?

If you love what you do and have something to share that will matter to other people, then go for it! Don’t listen to the people who tell you that you can’t. Listen to yourself and your supporters.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?

Anyone can write, we’re taught to from an early age. But writing with passion and love comes from the heart and soul, from your life experiences and the pain and triumphs you’ve gone through to get to where you are today. Being a writer means putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. It takes strength and determination, but when you’ve touched other people’s lives with your words, it’s worth every single thing you’ve put into it.

What Lies Inside

Amelia Lamont never asked to unleash her inner vampire

Amelia’s normal teen world is shattered when a terrifying nightmare awakens the monster inside her. A newfound, insatiable thirst for blood that leads her to drain the school quarterback is only the beginning; she’s horrified to discover that her family and best friend Kendrick have been harboring the secret all along. And is the strangely alluring boy who seems hell-bent on curbing her murderous, blood-filled desires a friend, or foe?

To escape detection Amelia and her twin brother Dorian are forced to move to a new town, and the challenge of a new, exclusive high school where nearly every classmate smells like prey. Including the irresistible Ty, who seems hauntingly familiar, yet darkly menacing …

Amelia’s disturbing dreams and entanglement in a web of forbidden romance render her increasingly powerless against the chilling lies and secrets of vampire power struggles. And, as she soon discovers, vampire politics mixed with outlawed love can be a lethal cocktail.

Falling in love may just cost Amelia everything: her friends, her family…even her life

Move over Twilight, True Blood and Underworld! J.L. Myers’ first book in the Blood Bound series will have you swooning for more!

Warning – This book contains some language and sexual situations.

YA/ Vampire/ Paranormal Fiction

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG-13+

More details about the author

Connect with  Jessica Myers on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://bloodboundnovels.com

Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Image of James Shipman

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

My family and friends are very supportive, and help me with advance reading and initial proofreading.  I’m a shoddy editor.

Do you plan to publish more books?

Yes, I’m currently writing a civil war novel “Going Home,” based on a true story.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…

I’m a litigation attorney and mediator.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

I have worked at a boat marina, as an editor for a small newspaper, as an apprentice funeral director and my first job was at Burger King!

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?

History, history, and if it was available—history.

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In 1453 Constantinople is the impregnable jewel of the East. It has stood as the greatest Christian city for a millennium as hordes have crashed fruitlessly against its walls.

But Mehmet II, the youthful Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, has besieged the city. His opponent is Constantine XI, the wise and capable ruler of the crumbling Eastern Roman Empire. Mehmet, distrusted by his people and hated by his Grand Vizer, must accomplish what all those before him have failed to do: capture Constantinople. To prove that he deserves the throne that his father once took from him, Mehmet, against all advice, storms the city. If he fails, he will not only have failed himself and his people, but he will surely lose his life.

On the other side of the city walls, the emperor Constantine must find a way to stop the greatest army in the medieval world. To finance his defenses, he becomes a beggar to the Pope, the Italian city-states, and the Hungarians. But the price for aid is high: The Pope demands the Greeks reunite the Eastern and Western churches and accept the Latin faith. If Constantine wants aid for his people he must choose between their lives and their souls.

Two leaders, two peoples, two faiths battle for their future before the mighty walls of Constantinople.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  James Shipman on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://james-shipman.com

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

Anywhere I can be connected to the Internet.

Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?

A fellow recovered alcoholic and successful indie author, Martin Crosbie, who got me started on the road to indie freedom.  Also, Kim Mutch Emerson and the MasterKoda gang on Facebook.  On the literary fiction side, a guy who liked my stuff (and has written blurbs to that effect) and has possibly won more short story contests than anybody in the world, Jacob M. Appel (he always wants the “M” in his name because there’s another famous Appel.  Go figure!).

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

Eight hours.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

My publicist and full-time “Madame,” (inside joke) Ms. Jennifer Perry.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?

Jim Musgrave

Here are all three suspenseful mysteries in one book!

Forevermore, the first mystery, was a #2 bestseller in Amazon’s Historical Mystery category. It has received outstanding reviews from readers, and it establishes Pat O’Malley as a detective sleuth par excellence. The second mystery, Disappearance at Mount Sinai, continues the development of the characters amidst an excellent caper. The third mystery, Jane the Grabber, plunges O’Malley into the middle of the Steampunk world, and it marks a turning point in the novels to come.

Forevermore Synopsis:

“Musgrave mixes accurate history with a spell-binding plot to create an amazing who-done-it! Watch for more Pat O’Malley Mysteries.”

In post Civil War New York City, Detective Pat O’Malley is living inside Poe’s Cottage in the Bronx. O’Malley is haunted by Poe one night, and the detective finds a strange note. As a result, O’Malley decides to prove that Edgar Allan Poe did not die in Baltimore from an alcoholic binge but was, instead, murdered. O’Malley quickly becomes embroiled in a “cold case” that thrusts him into the lair of one of the most sinister and ruthless killers in 1865 New York City.

Jim Musgrave’s “Forevermore” is a quick read in four acts that will keep your mind razor sharp trying to solve the mystery of Poe’s murder. Pat O’Malley must first find out how to become intimate with females before he can discover the final clue in this puzzle of wits, murder and romance.

Disappearance at Mount Sinai Synopsis:

What if the anti-Semites, racists, and terrorists wanted the final revenge following the Civil War? How do you stop them from committing the worst atrocity?

It’s 1866 in New York City. Civil War Vet and Detective Pat O’Malley’s biggest case returns him to the deep, dark South to search for the kidnapped wealthiest inventor and entrepreneur in America. But the widening gyre of anti-Semitism and racism pulls him down into the pit of hell itself. Disguised as an Oxford England Professor, O’Malley infiltrates the anti-Semites’ group and travels with his partners, Becky Charming and his father, Robert, down to a Collierville, Tennessee mansion.

At the crux of this case are a Jewish father and his five-year-old son, Seth. They have developed a unique bond that relies on Jewish folklore and a belief that they are Mazikeen, half-angel and half-human, born from the loins of Adam’s strange female cohorts during the 130 years he was banished from the Garden. Will O’Malley find Dr. Mergenthaler before it’s too late? What does this world-wide eugenics group have planned for the mongrel races? Read Jim Musgrave’s Disappearance at Mount Sinai, the second mystery in the series of Pat O’Malley Mini-Mysteries.

Jane the Grabber Synopsis:

What was it like before women were given rights to determine their own destinies? How was abortion and birth control used in the 1860s? What happens to a society when the last sexual taboo is permitted? Find out in the third mystery in the Pat O’Malley Historical Steampunk Mystery Series, Jane the Grabber.

Buy Now @ Amazon @ Createspace

Genre – Historical Steampunk Mystery

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with  Jim Musgrave on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://contempinstruct.com/Forevermore/

$250 Amazon.com gift card giveaway

Chapter Three

While I cried on my bed, I heard someone knock on the bedroom door. A second later, I heard Julie’s voice coming from the other side.

“Paige, may I come in?”

At the same time, I heard my mother’s voice. “Paige, pick up the phone.”

I held the receiver to my ear in a weak grip. My voice cracked. “Yes?”

“Come to Bellevue Hospital. That’s where I am.”

I sniffled and wiped the tears from my eyes. “Okay, I’ll meet you there.”

“Honey, I know you’re hurting. Don’t worry. You’ll get through this.”

I hung up with my mother, and then Julie walked in. “I asked everyone to go home. It’s just you and me, now.” She sat next to me on the bed and put her hand on my leg. “Are you okay?”

“No.” I grabbed one of my pillows and hugged it. “My dad just died. I have to go see him at the hospital.”

The realization I could never talk to him again hit me with full force, and I couldn’t hold back my tears. Julie has been my best friend since third grade. When I broke down crying, she lay next to me and stroked my hair.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do?”

I buried my face into the pillow. “No,” I said, my voice muffled.

“Do you want me to go to the hospital with you?”

I turned my head to look at her teary-eyed, sympathetic face framed with wavy, auburn hair.

“No, I’ll be all right.”

Julie only lay in bed with me for a few minutes. I needed to be alone for a while, and she knew me well.

She sat up and said, “I’ll let you grieve, but call me if you need anything, sweetie.”

“Thanks,” I said, sniffling.

Once I heard my bedroom door close, I turned on the waterworks full-blast. Intense sobs racked my body as I thought about my father. He and I had a good relationship. Usually, he supported me, but sometimes during family conflicts, he would side with my mother. Reflecting on it, I think he did it to pacify her, because she and I always butted heads. He didn’t want her to feel we were both against her. I knew he loved her in his own way. Although he worked a lot, he never neglected me or hesitated to help me. He was the parent I went to whenever I needed advice. Now, he was gone. Losing my father felt like I lost a part of myself.

I flipped onto my back and stared at the ceiling. Tears leaked from my eyes and left wet droplets on my pillow. Soon, my thoughts turned to my job. When Nina said she wanted me to be the project leader for Vera Wang’s upcoming photo shoot, I knew I’d have to work hard and put in many overtime hours. The shoot was in three weeks and would involve an overwhelming amount of organizing and preparation—two of my weakest skills.

I remembered the promise I had given her. I hated to break it, but my father’s death put an unexpected halt on my career. There was no way I could arrange a funeral and still have enough time to get the project off the ground. As I dialed her cell number, I prepared myself for a demotion.

“Hello, Paige. Is there a reason you’re calling me at this hour?”

“I’m sorry to bother you, but I needed to talk to you. It’s important.”

“What is it?”

“I know you wanted me to get started on the Vera Wang project, but I don’t think I can. You see…” My composure was slipping, so I took a deep breath. “My dad died tonight, so—”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I know you were close to him.”

My voice broke. I couldn’t get hold of my emotions. “I’m sorry to let you down. I don’t know how long it will take to bury my father, and I’m not sure when I’ll return to work.”

“I know I’m a bitch, but sometimes, I’m an understanding bitch. We have a benefit called bereavement leave. Please, take advantage of it. You need time to grieve. Your job will still be here when you get back. There’s no one else I want to be Creative Designer. Don’t worry about Vera. I’ll get Oliver on the project first thing in the morning.”

“Thanks, I appreciate you being so understanding about this.”

Her voice turned soft. “Death usually occurs spontaneously. You can’t plan for it. You can only adjust your other plans and work around it. Take your leave, and I’ll see you back here when you’re ready.”

I met my mother at the hospital later that night. When the nurse brought me into the room where my father lay, I tried not to break down into a hysterical, crying mess. I didn’t want to cause a scene. I tried to connect with him one last time by touching his face gently, smoothing his black hair, and kissing his forehead. His skin was pale and slightly cold. With his eyes closed, he looked like he was asleep.

I whispered in his ear, “Goodbye, Daddy,” and then I stepped away from the bed.

My mother moved to stand next to me. I felt her arm slip around my waist as I watched the nurse pull the sheet over my father’s seemingly sleeping face.

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Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when she’s given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.

Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv–wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but she never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.

Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – Adult

More details about the author

Connect with April Bostic on Goodreads

Website http://www.aprilbostic.com/

When I met Giulio, he’d just arrived ‘off the boat’ as our classmates would say. They were proud and superior now that the majority of them were generations away from their own ancestors’ immigration. Despite his chronological age, Giulio was immediately placed in the lowest grade the school could get away with. He was tiny-boned and thin, very unlike most of his Italian paisans. Feminine and soft voiced, he fit in with no one.

Karoline had instantly adopted him. Their own little weird unit of two had immediately embraced me.

At first it was difficult to understand Giulio. Over time, however, I was able to relate to his gestures, recognize a few words and interpret him as only friends can. Giulio embraced his new language slowly and never fully spoke without a thick and stumbling accent. This may have explained Mrs. St. James’s erroneous judgment that he was slow.

Karoline, on the other hand, was almost instantly fluent in all three languages—Polish, Italian and English—as though born to absorb words.

My mother was delighted with my friends. A fierce and loyal Canadian who’d been forcibly transported to the United States by the man she loved, she embraced differences in culture and race with a showy, dedicated flare. She became decidedly more African in her roots, which I found embarrassing. She invited Karoline and Giulio over to savor her native meals and desserts, recipes handed down from ancestors so distant that I doubted they were even hers.

Struggling to be so accepting and open made her look pathetic and false in my eyes. I was appalled that my parents were mixed race, leaving me in a limbo between the two. Not only that, they’d moved me to a town where the vast majority of people were white. While cultural differences piqued my mother’s interest, I was at the opposite end of the spectrum. I wished I could just be like everybody else. White, ordinary-looking. Unworthy of stares, adoration, curiosity and hatred.

The kids at school stayed far away from us in the cafeteria at lunch while Giulio munched his sausages and capicolli. Years later, when garlic became the rage, I would remember the sweet salty smell of Giulio and laugh to myself as the spice was ‘discovered’ by the rest of our acquaintances.

Once we reached high school, Giulio confided in Karoline and me that he was gay. We were the only ones he told. Giulio was our friend, our mentor, our guide and now he was a safety net all in one. He promised that, should he or we not find our true loves, we would live together into old age. But that was before our trip to Italy.

Dear Diary,

Maybe it’s their inheritance and upbringing that has caused them to remain so childlike. One a pampered little boy, the only son, surrounded by doting females who did everything for him, the other a contradiction of appearance and concept.

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If I knew what I know now, would I have searched so hard for the truth?

Anne Williams says she killed her best friend, Karoline. But did she? Or is there more to Karoline’s mysterious death than meets the eye?

Anne embarks on a compelling journey to discover her past and exposes an unusual history, horrific crimes and appalling betrayals. Through unexpected turns and revelations, Anne learns about love, family and who she really is. Can she survive the truth?

Editorial Reviews

“A deliciously vibrant portrait that realistically muddles good and evil.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Astolfo’s wonderful first sentence in Sweet Karoline explodes on the page and resonates right to the end of this twisting examination of dangerous minds. Never have I encountered a narrative voice that alternates more deftly between alienating and enticing.” —Mel Bradshaw, author of Fire On The Runway

“A deliciously twisted story about the perplexing power of adult female relationships. By turns scathingly funny and darkly insightful, Sweet Karoline is a hedonistic journey with all the right ingredients: lust, betrayal, true love and mystery. Grab a glass of wine and have the bottle handy. A compelling read from the start through to the surprising end.” —Robin Spano, author of Death’s Last Run

“In Catherine Astolfo’s chilling new novel Sweet Karoline, things aren’t always as they seem. Anne, the multifaceted anti-heroine in this noir tale takes a fateful journey into her forgotten past, uncovering the painful roots of her childhood. While furrowing for answers, a mystery unfolds, truths swirl to the surface, a heinous murder occurs. Who’s the killer? Caught in a tangled web of greed, lies and deceit Anne must come to terms with her past, present and future, and the bleak realization that those we hold close may be the last ones to trust. Compelling, visually descriptive, deftly delivered…Catherine Astolfo’s got the goods!” —Douglas Wickard, author of A Perfect Husband

“Sweet Karoline is a multi-layered mystery, where nothing is as it seems. The story grips you on page one and leads you through a maze of history, twisted relationships, and ultimately the darkness of the human mind.” —Liz Bugg, author of Oranges and Lemons

“In Sweet Karoline, Astolfo has created a daring hybrid mystery that combines elements of romance, history, and suspense in a carefully crafted story that keeps you guessing to the very end. Astolfo explores new boundaries as she extends her reach beyond the cozy mystery in this psychological exploration of the mind of a killer. A unique exploration of guilt and revenge.” —Michael J. McCann, author of The Fregoli Delusion

“The clever plot twists in Sweet Karoline will enrapture you from page one through the last paragraphs of this fast-paced modern mystery. Author Catherine Astolfo exhibits a strikingly perceptive gift for believable dialogue and rich character development. Her dry wit and colorful descriptions will have you howling in laughter at points, but in tears at others as she digs deep into the themes of guilt, race, and relationships. The powers of love and redemption are strong, but does the heart of an Ice Queen ever really melt? Enjoy the romp from Los Angeles, through Canada, to a priceless Italian rendezvous—all in the pages of Sweet Karoline, where long-buried secrets lie.” —Lisa Pell, award-winning author of Who’s Your Daddy, Baby?

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Psychological Suspense

Rating – 18+

Connect with Catherine Astolfo on Facebook  & Twitter

Website http://www.catherineastolfo.com/


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