Author Interview with Lily Black

1)      Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

A: I’ve always been a writer—even though I was actually a late reader. Ever since I was a kid books and reading were my first go-to in coping with the challenges of life, so writing became a natural outgrowth of all that time spent reading.

 

2)      What inspired you to write your book?

A: I have a black belt and on occasion teach women’s self defense classes, so as my mind turned over story ideas I was struck by the concept of a warm and cozy small town juxtaposed against a seriously scary situation, and the people caught up in it. I explore this dynamic in both my first book, Storm of Attraction, and the second which is also set in charming Willowdale.

 

3)      What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

A: The story always comes first, but one takeaway I really believe in is that even the most difficult circumstances can lead to unexpected good.

 

4)      What drew you into this particular genre?

A: I guess despite being very aware of the dangers in the world, I’m a romantic at heart and believe that true love can triumph over anything. Totally cheesy, I know! I also believe that sometimes people need something to shake them out of their usual circumstances in order to discover what other resources they might have, and who they really trust. Romantic suspense is the perfect medium to explore this.

 

5)      If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

A: Just now I’d sit down with Detective Rawlings and have a long chat with her about her estranged husband! I know the two of them have split—leaving her to raise her twins mostly alone—and I know he’s a National Geographic photographer, but I don’t have all the other details and want them, because these two will be getting a novella or some newsletter time in the near future!

 

6)      What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

A: I use my Facebook page to connect with my readers, and really enjoy that. I also have my news page on my website which doubles as a blog, and more importantly send out a newsletter to subscribers in which I share short fiction bursts that I’ve written, or anything else I can to give my readers insights into my characters and Willowdale. I also love connecting with readers generally through the Book Ninjas website (www.book-ninjas.com), a content-rating catalog of romance and women’s fiction which I co-own and help to run. There I can see which books are popular and of course pick out new books just right for me based on their blush level, and what I see other readers picking up!

 

7)      What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

A: First, read, of course. Then, write. Remember that even short burst of writing time can train you in the craft, so never underestimate the importance of short snatches of time you can devote to your writing dreams.

8)      What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

A: I’m so glad you asked! I recently turned in Willowdale book two—tentatively titled Storm of Deception—to my publisher, and it will release sometime in 2019. It’s the story of a senator’s daughter and the veteran who publicly humiliated her when he ended their engagement, plus a deadly black mailer. The hero was introduced in Storm of Attraction so readers will remember him, and there are cameo appearances from the first couple, so I think readers will get a kick out of that. But mostly it’s just a super intense love story set against the back drop of a winter festival and the black mailer’s schemes, with touches of the drama which comes from life in the political limelight. To celebrate Storm of Deception’s acceptance for publication I made ‘suspenseful snowflakes’ by printing a page from the unedited draft. So much fun to make, since they have tiny teaser peeks at a page from the novel! They’ve been lots of fun to give away and I’m happy to share them here, too, if anyone would like one. This is a novel that nearly ripped my soul in half writing, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers!

SofD three sparkly snowflakes white side

Lily Black website: http://www.lilyblackbooks.com/

LB Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilyblackbooks

Book Ninjas website: http://www.book-ninjas.com/
LB Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lily-Black-1713161408963150/

 

Storm of Attraction low res

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Wrecking Balls by Joe Giambrone Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friends become rivals in the cutthroat world of stand-up comedy in author Joe Giambrone’s Wrecking Balls. Here’s the synopsis:

Set in the world of stand-up comedy, Charleston and Gary are on the verge of comic greatness: broke, wasted, and floundering through life. As Charleston turns 30 he faces an existential crisis. His comedy career in the gutter, he considers leaving the life. That is until Gary pilfers one of his joke ideas. Then it’s comedy Jihad to the death, and there can be only one. 

Reviews: 

“A fun read, J. Giambrone has a talent for edgy humor, emotional baggage and quirky characters.” 

-Tome Tender Book Blog 

“I laughed, cringed, and overall found it a fast and enjoyable read… I’m so happy this book fell into my hands. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good laugh. You won’t be disappointed.” 

-Theresa on Goodreads

Now a fair amount of warning for this book: this is not a book meant for the faint of heart. Geared towards an adult audience, expect a lot of strong language and jokes that some might consider offensive. However one thing that I think is tackled well in this story is what should and shouldn’t be considered inappropriate in our society. There are definitely areas that don’t need to be joked about or made light of, and there are some areas of comedy that come across as abusive or offensive in today’s world. However there are times where our need to find and root out social injustices go too far, and a crude yet simple joke could be twisted into a far more sinister thing than it originally was. This novel explores that a lot yet without making it obvious that it does so.

The novel itself is filled with a great insight into the minds of not only comedians or competitive people in general, but into the minds of those who are so desperate to be remembered that they are willing to do anything to get there. The surprising thing about this book is just how vicious the rivalry gets between the two friends. The author does a great job of mixing the war games between the two comedians with a helpful dose of character development, as we get brief glimpses into aspects of Charleston’s character that a lot of people will be able to identify with. Most notably we witness a man who begins to question the path he put himself on. A man who begins to wonder whether his dreams and all the work he’s put towards said dream are enough to win the day, or if it was all for nothing. We’ve all been in that headspace before, and it’s interesting to see this character wrestle with that kind of mind game while fighting for comedic glory in his professional life.

Overall this was an enjoyable read. A must read for any adult readers out there interested in the behind the scenes aspect of stand up comedy, be prepared for a sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic and often vulgar filled adventure. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Joe Giambrone’s Wrecking Balls today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073HQYKHP/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B073HQYKHP&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Joe Giambrone

j.giambrone@live.com

 http://www.joegiambrone.us

Blog:

https://jgiambrone.wordpress.com

@joegiambrone

On the Side of the Angel: A Bartering Angel Story by J. David Core Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman on a mission of vengeance becomes the savior of the underworld in author J. David Core’s On the Side of the Angel. Part of the A Bartering Angel series, this story explores a mystery woman’s role as a fixer and the complicated tale she weaves to save various criminals. Here’s the synopsis:

Lina Forman has an assumed name, a vendetta, a résumé of varied skills, and the knowledge to make her a force to fear.
Known in the criminal underground as The Bartering Angel, a mysterious “fixer” whose help keeps the bad guys out of trouble, she assumes the name Lina when she arrives in the Pittsburgh area in 2005. When the son of a local drug runner murders a convenience store clerk during a botched thrill robbery, Lina must keep him out of jail to prove her worth to the local criminal underground. Despite her elaborate scheme to confound the evidence and mislead authorities, two local cops threaten to disrupt her plans and steer the FBI on a path to avoid her red herrings.
Can Lina preserve her reputation and make good on her promises before she has to abandon her vengeance, change her name, and start again? Or will a careless oversight expose her secrets?

What I really found interesting when jumping into this story was that it is the first in a series written by various authors. It’s all centered around Angel, or the Bartering Angel. Each author writes in their own unique voice, but focuses on this singular character and her journey. It’s a unique premise that led me into this gripping tale. Each novel can stand on it’s own, and this novel by J. David Core delivers a fantastic thriller. A mix between the films True Romance and Goodfellas (with a Bourne Identity element for good measure), this story is incredibly powerful and fueled by fantastic characters. The story is fast paced and action packed in it’s delivery, and the hints at Angel and her backstory led the reader into wanting more and more of this incredibly complex character and her story. The story delivers a satisfying ending while leaving the reader not only wanting more, but giving them a reason to go out and get the next author’s book in this series. It does a great job of creating an emotional pull to characters that are often billed as villains with no redeeming qualities. It proves that everyone is complex in their own right, and the line between good and evil are easily blurred.

Overall this is a must read tale. Every fan of thrillers and action packed stories will be able to pick this novel up with ease, and will be left wanting to jump head first into this adventurous new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copies of On the Side of the Angel: A Bartering Angel novel by J. David Core today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

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With a profound interest in religion, liberal politics and humor, J. David Core began writing in High School and has not given up on it since. His first professional writing jobs came while attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh when he was hired to create political cartoons forThe Pitt News and to write humor pieces for Smile Magazine.

Dave has worked in the newspaper industry as a photographer, in the online publishing industry as a weekly contributor to Streetmail.com, and was a contributing writer to the Buzz On series of informational books and to the Western online anthology, Elbow Creek. Dave’s science fiction novel, Synthetic Blood and Mixed Emotions, is available from writewordsinc.com. Dave currently resides in his childhood home in Toronto, OH with his beautiful girlfriend and his teenage daughter.

He enjoys participating in local community events and visiting with his two adult children and his grandkids.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lupaschwartzmysteries/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gamutman

Website: ThrillsandMystery.com

Read On the Side of the Angel: https://books2read.com/u/mV7yWr

Mailing list: bit.ly/JDCsignup

Intricate Deceptions (Intricate, #1) by Jennifer Rayes Review

A young woman is forced into a dangerous world in author Jennifer Rayes book, Intricate Deceptions. The first in the Intricate book series, the book follows a woman who wakes up in a cell in a horrible situation, and ends up in a complicated world filled with Kings and Queens, Pirates and never ending treachery. Here is the synopsis:

Waking up in a desolate cell, Gaia realizes that she has been kidnapped by a human trafficking organization, doomed to be sold to the highest bidder and unable to remember anything before her capture.
An opportune rescue by Raoul, the Prince of Kayamato, saves Gaia from a gruesome future, and she is thrown into a world of luxury and privilege. As she struggles to regain her memory, Gaia learns that her rescue was no accident and finds herself in even more danger, hunted by a powerful drug lord, targeted by a thrill seeking pirate, and betrayed by those she thought closest to her.
Fighting for sanity and survival, she works to unravel the truth behind her capture, each revelation more shocking than the last. The intricate web of deceptions spun around her family will shatter her world, leaving her unsure if she will ever trust again.
Through it all, she must survive to save a friend before it’s too late…

This was a wonderfully written book. The important detail and attention showed to a very serious subject like human trafficking and the horrors people experience was expertly done. It brings a new light to the subject and helps build a dialogue and conversation that will hopefully lead to some real changes being made in real life. The book’s narrative was original and unique, and the characters became the bright spot as readers were left trying to figure out who to trust in this never ending game of cat and mouse. With Gaia stuck in the middle trying to figure out which side to be on and who is really her ally, the mystery of who she is and what her connection is to those around her will leave readers shocked. With a major twist ending that will leave readers clamoring for the next book in the series, this was a phenomenal adventure/thriller/mystery book that you will not want to put down.

Overall this was a fantastic read. The story was evenly paced, and the setting was able to paint a vivid picture in my mind. The narrative seemed to conjure up and take elements from several different genres and time periods as the author explored these new kingdoms, and it became a wonderful genre-smash read that I couldn’t get enough of. If you enjoy political intrigue, powerful and well rounded female protagonists and an engaging plot, then be sure to pick up author Jennifer Rayes book Intricate Deceptions today!

Rating: 10/10

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Intricate-Deceptions-Jennifer-Rayes-ebook/dp/B00GRILZXK/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1384994989&sr=8-1

Author Website: http://jenniferrayes.wixsite.com/intricatedeceptions

Blood of Kings, Power – Perversity – Redemption by Patrick Norton

An international race against time explodes onto the pages of an original illustrated thriller in author Patrick Norton’s book, Blood of Kings, Power – Perversity – Redemption. Here’s the official synopsis:

A thrilling story with an underlying humanistic message

In times past, the kings exercised power and dominion over their people. Thus, absolute monarchy controlled the destinies of the world for many centuries. At present, although there are still a few Royal Houses, the real power is exercised by the moguls, owners of the largest transnational companies, whose wealth exceeds any estimate. While the world is increasingly threatened by economic crises, terrorism, war, hunger, unemployment and poverty, they, unofficially, control the governments, because they are owners of almost everything, in all areas of the world economy. In Blood of Kings, Power – Perversity – Redemption, develops a tale of intrigue, suspense, action and adventure. A series of murders in different parts of the world has bewildered the authorities. No one knows what is happening, but someone is murdering magnates-billionaires. This series of crimes has led to a destabilization in the world economy, while the authorities still have no leads, and the murders continue to occur despite the high level of protection of the victims.

John Garrett, the only son of the first tycoon murdered, has in his possession “the key,” a high-tech electronic device that must be delivered in Paris, according to instructions that his father gave him before he died. The delivery is frustrated and he reaches an impasse. Motivated by the murder of his father, he decides to launch his own investigation. Who killed him? Why? What is this “key” for? ¿Why is it so important? To find the answers, he will have to go on a long and dangerous journey that will take him to many places in the world: Paris, Roussillon, Rome, New Orleans, Seattle, French Polynesia and Sweden, among others. Along this way, he will get to know Laura Koffmann, a daughter of one of the victims. The two will join forces to get the answers, even at the risk of their own lives. They will find many unexpected things and understand that nothing is what it seems; and that the future of the world will depend on their decisions, as well as the success of their actions.

This novel is profusely illustrated with 1,254 original illustrations in high quality 3D digital art that recreate the settings, characters and events narrated in the story. To show the full-screen images, the book is published in the format of a fixed-layout KF8, with vertical text and horizontal illustrations.

The novel is an incredible action thriller, filled with a unique story about secret organizations, murder and a race against the clock to change the world before it’s too late. Filled with action, romance and espionage, this was a fun read. Don’t let the page count fool you, the story was fast paced and flowed quickly, and featured an incredibly unique story telling device with the inclusion of original animated illustrations. The story was powerful and truly original to the genre, and a lot of fun to see flow off the pages.

The only small critique I have is the dialogue sometimes doesn’t flow organically at certain points, and I’d encourage the author to read through the exchanges between characters and make sure the conversations flow smoothly. Otherwise the story was well written and the international espionage world built by the author was incredibly rich and held vivid imagery that readers will not soon forget.

Overall this was a fun read that fans of the thriller genre will thoroughly enjoy. Filled with fully developed and complex characters, shocking twists and a complicated world where no one can be trusted, this was a great read that I highly recommend readers try out for themselves. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Blood of Kings, Power – Perversity – Redemption by Patrick Norton today!

 

COVER+ILLUSTRATIONS+PAGES

Rating: 7/10

Author’s website: http://www.patricknortonbooks.com

Amazon.com: http://goo.gl/9nRPu4

Forbidden by F. Stone REVIEW

A shocking massacre. One witness. A complicated conspiracy.

This next incredible book I had the pleasure of reading is a high octane action-adventure story set in a future where the middle east has united under one nation, and one woman learns that the lines between friend and foe blur easily. This novel is called Forbidden by F. Stone and here is the synopsis:

Year 2047, City of Samarra, capital of the Republic of Islamic Provinces & Territories

Fifteen American travelers have vanished. Surrendering to Mayor Aamir’s demands, a devout Muslim and police captain becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, Eliza MacKay. Captain Sharif is horrified to discover that if he exposes the cover-up, his family will suffer dire consequences.

The CIA has the lying Sharif in their cross hairs. Sharif’s only hope is to prove his country’s government is free of guilt. Secretly, he hunts forensic evidence. Cryptic messages, backstabbing informants, and corruption threaten Sharif’s resolve to see justice served. When he discovers the shocking truth, he and MacKay become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Sharif is tortured by his attraction to the impetuous Eliza MacKay. In spite of her struggle with PTSD, he’s drawn to her vivacious personality. Islam forbids the intimacy he craves. In desperation to save Eliza, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.

This was a fantastic thriller! The story was incredibly unique, as we got an in-depth glance at the influence and power that the Muslim faith has on people. Not only that, we got to see how the religion is incorporated and infused into society as a whole, and the complications that arise in both social and political situations as a result of that faith. We also got an incredible cast of characters, venturing into the complicated lives of a police captain at war with a complicated conspiracy and with himself and his beliefs, as well as the tormented past of Canadian paramedic trapped in a country fraught with danger. The unlikely duo must look for clues to help save themselves and the captain’s family, who are put in the cross hairs of the conspirators in mysterious ways.

The story was well written, with little grammatical mistakes and an even paced narrative that made the story gripping and engaging. The cover promised intrigue and mystery, and the unique setting gives a glimpse into the world of the middle east respectively and showcases how every religion and nation is filled with complications and hardships.

Overall this was a fantastic read that fans of the thriller genre will not want to miss. Author F. Stone is a fantastic writer with a firm grasp on the genre, and the story ends in a way where you as the reader feels an overwhelming need to read yet another installment. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of F. Stone’s Forbidden today!

Rating: 10/10

Interview with Author Kfir Luzzatto

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

 

I guess that writing has always been in the offing for me. My great-grandmother was a well-known author in her times and my father was a prolific writer. I started to try my hand at short stories in my early teens, but then very judiciously stuffed all my (horrible) work in a drawer, never again to see the light of day (except every now and then, when I want a good laugh). Then, one day in 2001, I woke up knowing that I had to write the story that had been taking shape inside my head and wasn’t letting go of me. That’s how my first full-length novel, Crossing the Meadow, came about. At that point, I knew that not writing, was no longer an option for me.

Crossing the Meadow

2) What inspired you to write your book?

 

My latest action thriller, Exodus ’95, blends my love for thrillers, and for the places where I grew up (Italy) and where I live now (Israel). It was relatively easy to write because I know the places where the action takes place in the book and have met people who remind me of some of the characters. The idea of turning the biblical narrative of the parting of the Red Sea into something relevant to our days was also an idea with which I had been toying for some time.

Exodus_95

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

 

The book is pure entertainment, with no deep message—except that it wants the reader to see how different people may be from what you know them, and how they may grow when facing an abnormal situation. Our neighbor may be much less boring than we think, and at times, deadly so.

 

4) What drew you into this genre?

 

The real answer is that the characters did. I started out writing light, non-gory horror, but then I lost control. What happens is that you start thinking of a setup, then you meet your principal characters and get acquainted with them, and all of a sudden they grow a mind of their own and your plot goes in an altogether different direction than you originally planned. I think that with thrillers it comes very naturally to “listen” to your characters and to grow together with them into a story that you really enjoy writing. Other genres require more adherence to a detailed plot, which is fine in many cases, but not as fun as re-plotting on the go.

 

5) If you could sit down with any of your characters and ask them a question, what would you ask them and why?

 

I sit down with them, all the time! But I don’t ask them many questions; rather, I let them move around and do things while I play the observer. So, if I could sit down with the protagonists of Exodus ’95 and ask indiscreet questions, I would certainly try to find out how their relations changed from a pure business association into much more, and what was the turning point for each of them. I sometimes wonder whether they managed to fool me and started having feelings for each other while I wasn’t looking.

 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

 

Facebook, no question about it. I’m sure that other sites may be helpful too, but I have experimented with others, like Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and I simply don’t have the time (or the patience) to follow best practices. Facebook comes more naturally to me, as I feel that you can really get to know people and interact with them in a personal, non-phony way.

 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

 

Developing a writing career is a slow, painful, disheartening and unbelievably exciting endeavor. If you decide to become a writer, prepare yourself to a long and hard course. You need time aplenty to develop your craft, to understand what really works for you, and to find your readership. If you are ready to go for the long haul and understand what you’re getting yourself in for, go for it, because there is no greater satisfaction that I can think of. But if you expect your first (or fifth, or tenth) book to become an immediate bestseller and mint money for you, find another hobby, because you are in for a heartbreaking experience.

 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

 

I am halfway writing a dystopian novel and I’m having a ball with it. With my grandchildren’s help, I’ll release it by next June. If they stop helping, probably by next March.