*REVIEW* ~ Split Second: A play by Sharon Rose

#community #play #inspirational 

A very special journey for author Sharon Rose 

Reflections and a Review

Author Sharon Rose is one of those individuals who are an inspiration to us all. After surviving breast cancer Sharon uses her creative and artistic talents to raise awareness and funds for both national and local charities. These not only include Cancer Research UK but also other charities, who have over the years been a source of solace and support to herself and her family and friends.

I know Sharon through the contribution she has made to the work of Tamworth Literary Festival which I am involved in and I was excited for her when earlier this year she announced that she was working on a script for a play entitled ‘Split Second.’ Sharon hoped that the play would not only raise awareness of a number of health issues and life challenges she and others have encountered but also provide solace and support to those who have been affected either directly or through supporting loved ones. The largely autobiographical script draws largely on Sharon’s own experiences as set out in the series of books she has published to date.

Over the coming weeks the theatre at a local secondary school was booked and thus began the task of reaching out to local actors and would-be-actors (many of whom who had not been in a theatre production before); securing a cast; refining the script; organising rehearsals; advertising and ticketing – the list goes on. Through it all Sharon embraced the many challenges and opportunities that the venture threw at her with her typical good-natured determination, always with a smile on her face. I was honoured when I, along with local author and blogger Sue Flint, was asked if I wanted to review the play.

Scroll down to read my review and also to find out more about Sharon’s work in supporting local and national charities and her writing. Sharon will be taking an active part in the Tamworth Literary Festival in March 2018 (details to be anounced soon). Check out the Tamworth Literary Festival pages for regular updates.

Tina 🙂

My Review of the Community Play Split Second 

Inspirational and Life Affirming ~ 5 stars

On 18th November I was fortunate to have a front row seat at the premier of Split Second. The play, penned by the indefatigable Sharon Rose involved actors, musicians and dancers of all ages, drawn from the local community.

At the centre of the story is single parent Lucy who, like most of us, struggles with the vagaries of life, whether they be work, relationship or family issues. These are all thrown into sharp relief when Lucy is confronted with the news that she has breast cancer. The play looks at Lucy’s life prior to during and after her diagnosis and not only reflects on how she copes but also how the individuals closest to her – her family and friends, including those at her beloved Salsa club, support her through the process. The scenes flow effortlessly from ballroom to hospital wards, including scenes of home and work life and a holiday in Magaluf. The script is punctuated throughout by music, dance and song.

The script  references some heart-rending issues: cancer, sepsis and domestic abuse. It brought tears to my eyes at some points, but it also contains much humour and laugh-out-loud moments. The overall message is life-affirming, not least the power of the individual spirit and also the importance of friends in helping us face whatever fate has in store for us. The title and the content of the play ‘Split Second’ reminded the audience of how life can change in the blink of an eye and how we should all seek to make the most of the time we have on the planet.

All involved in the production, from the performers to the directors, back stage and front of house crew are to be complimented.The lady who played Lucy is worthy of particular note as is the gentleman who played her friend (and would-be-lover) Greg; the dancer Summer who provided a series of spellbinding dance routines at various points in the production; Jenny who sings a fantastic solo and Sharon’s son, the musician Ali Glbert who makes an appearance.

The event, which played to a packed theatre, was a memorable experience for both the audience and cast involved.

About Sharon

Sharon (in the words from her website), ‘started writing and expressing herself through the written word, finding it very therapeutic and aiming her books are at those who are experiencing adversity. To give them strength and hope for a brighter future.’ Sharon’s books include Single Salsa Survivor: The Journal of a Breast Cancer Survivor, Always Sublime Never Ridiculous, Living in Grief. Loving in Grief and Looking In, looking Back: Happy memories That’s A Fact.

Find out more about Sharon’s books and how you can support her chosen charities on her website, which also contains some of her poetry:

http://sharonroseauthor.co.uk/

http://sharonroseauthor.co.uk/blog/

https://www.facebook.com/sharonroseauthor/

 

*AUTHOR/BOOK SPOTLIGHT*~ The Passage of Desire: French Summer Prequel, by Laurette Long

#family #drama

The Passage of Desire: French Summer Prequel by Laurette Long
£0.91/$0.99, free on Kindle Unlimited

We are THRILLED to be featuring Laurette Long’s latest release, The Passage of Desire. We have been a fan of Laurette’s work since Caroline, my co-blogger reviewed  the sweet romance Hot Basque, book 2 in the French Summer Novels (click on the title for review). We also love reading Laurette’s entertaining and inspiring blog where she not only shares excerpts from her writing but also snippets from her life in the beautiful South of France, a place which has inspired her muse on many an ocassion. The Passage of Desire, a prequel to the French Summer Novels, is a family drama which I am looking forward to reviewing very soon. Tina 🙂

~DESCRIPTION~

The French Summer Novels are a series of contemporary romances set in the stunning French Basque country, following the lives of two sisters, Caroline and Annabel, and their friends. In this prequel we step back in time to meet Alexandra, their mother, and learn more about her story in the years before her fatal car crash. When Alexandra dies, she takes with her a terrible secret …

Yorkshire, 1991: the summer that everything changed.

Alexandra and her seven-year-old daughter, Caroline, arrive in the village of Haworth to spend a holiday with Alexandra’s best friend from school, Juliet. Though the years have passed, the two friends quickly fall into their old intimacy, sharing reminiscences and comparing the different paths their lives have taken. Juliet seems to have it all – marriage to childhood sweetheart, Alan, two children and an adorable grandchild – while Alexandra is a troubled soul, an only child brought up in a dysfunctional family, prone to bouts of depression since the birth of Caroline, and becoming more and more estranged from husband Robbie.

But life with the boisterous, touchy-feely Pearson family in their rambling disorganised house starts to lift Alexandra’s spirits. Hot sunny days filled with long walks across the purple moors, leisurely picnics, drinks on the terrace in the evening, laughing at the antics of Caroline and the family collie, Bonnie. Oliver, the Pearson son, usually joins in the fun, ready to top up the drinks or join Caroline and Bonnie in their game of catch.

A perfect summer idyll, which is about to be shattered by violence and betrayal.

Underneath the surface, tensions build and emotions come to the boil. Cath, the Pearson’s second child, is a teenage Mum, eking out a precarious existence with a shifty, unreliable partner, a less than ideal father for the couple’s baby son. Their situation is a source of friction and worry for Juliet, who’s also bracing herself for the departure of 19-year-old Oliver, the golden boy, off to Cambridge in September. Young Caroline is missing her Daddy, on a business trip to New York, and burdened by feelings of responsibility to a ‘fragile’ Mummy, who needs looking after.

And meanwhile, through an innocent gesture, an unguarded look, a spark ignites, a flame is lit, a forbidden desire grows. As the characters go about their normal routines, two of them become caught up in an escalating conflict, torn between the demands of loyalty and friendship and the irresistible urges of the human heart. As the holiday draws to an end, events take a sudden, dramatic turn, setting off a chain reaction that will change the lives of everyone forever.

~PURCHASE LINKS~

Amazon UK  Amazon US

~ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND LE PASSAGE DU DESIR~

Laurette was born in Brontëland which perhaps explains her penchant for romantic novels, passionate heroines and strong, independent heroines. On a school trip to France, aged thirteen, she fell madly in love (with France mainly, but the tobacconist’s son, he of the bold black eyes and cheeky grin, also made a big impression.)

After a teaching career in the UK, the USA, and France, she moved to a hamlet of four houses in rural Tarn, where she started to write fiction. The novels in the French Summer Series were inspired by holidays in the Basque country: Book 1 ‘Biarritz Passion’, Book 2 ‘Hot Basque’ and a forthcoming Book 3 ‘Villa Julia’. The Brontës were still hovering in the background, though, which is why a prequel, ‘The Passage of Desire’, is set in the moorland village of Haworth. The book goes back in time to reveal a mystery involving Alexandra, the mother of the two main characters in the series. But a French connexion slips in when Alexandra goes to Paris and finds herself in an ancient cobbled passageway, Le Passage du Desir, where she witnesses a disturbing scene…

Readers please note: the passage really exists, and more of its history can be found on Laurette’s blog: https://laurettelong.com/the-passage-of-desire-behind-every-title-a-story/

~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~

Website   Amazon  Goodreads   Twitter   Facebook

 

 

*AUTHOR POST* ~ Fun, Fast Thrillers – and Dyslexia Friendly Too, by AA Abbott

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AA Abbott’s Crime Thriller, The Vodka Trail is one of my current reads and I’ll be posting a review of it very soon. I’m THRILLED that the author has taken time out to write a post about how she went about producing a dyslexia-friendly version of the book and the previous one in the series, The Bride’s Trail.

I am also looking forward to meeting the author at the Tamworth Literary Festival Book Blasts on Saturday 4th March and also on Saturday 11th March where she will be discussing her work with author Rob Sinclair in an Author Thriller Panel at 2.00pm. If you want to find out more about the festival and AA Abbott follow the links after reading this post. 🙂 

Author Post – AA Abbott

I write fun, fast thrillers that are easy to read. While I devoured the classics at school, I’ve always loved a rattling good yarn best of all. That’s what I set out to write. My style owes a lot to the old Harold Robbins blockbusters, as well as more modern writers like John Grisham and Kate Atkinson. Read The Gap, the “5 minute crime thriller” on my website to get a feel for my work. 

As it happens, I’ve learned ‎that not everyone picks up a book for fun. Dyslexia runs like a thread through my family, knitting together the generations. Although I dodged it myself, my hand-eye co-ordination is poor – I’m only now learning to touch-type. Having discovered no books were published for dyslexic adults at all, I decided I would fill that gap with dyslexia-friendly editions of my last crime thrillers, The Bride’s Trail and The Vodka Trail

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It isn’t rocket science to produce a dyslexia-friendly book. With guidance from Alistair Sims – himself dyslexic, and the owner of a bookshop in the gracious seaside town of Clevedon – I followed the BDA guidelines. My new editions are printed in a large sans serif font, on cream paper (easier on the eye than bright white). They’re listed on Amazon (just click on either The Bride’s Trail or The Vodka Trail to find them) and available to bookshops (who can order them from their wholesalers if they’re not in stock).

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So far, the response has been positive, with dyslexic readers telling me that the new books are very quick to read and don’t stress them out like more conventional paperbacks. I’m also planning to record audio-books to make my crime thrillers even more accessible. They’re already available as e-books and traditional paperbacks, of course. 

helen-tbt-new-cover-kindle-thumbnailSo what are the books about? The Bride’s Trail follows the fortunes of Amy, who’s just graduated and is struggling in a dead-end job, fed up with her non-existent love life and jealous of Kat, her glamorous flatmate. Everything changes when Kat disappears. It seems she’s been marrying illegal immigrants for money, and if local gangster Shaun can be believed, she’s stolen cash from him too. Amy’s quest to find Kat and warn her about Shaun leads her to the semi-secret tunnels below Birmingham’s old Jewellery Quarter – and a descent into danger. 

The Vodka Trail moves the action a year on, with Kat trying to recover her family’s vodka business in the former helen-tvt-thumbnailSoviet Union. Naturally, that causes some panic for current owner Harry, and Marty, the swashbuckling Birmingham businessman who distributes the premium vodka across the globe.  Despite Kat and Marty’s distaste for each other, they must co-operate to survive when they’re both kidnapped by terrorists.  

Both thrillers are a pacy, quick read (as are my earlier standalone books, Up In Smoke and After The Interview). I’m currently writing The Grass Trail, which focuses on villainous Shaun’s continuing obsession with Kat. This will be out in Summer 2017, and you can receive updates (and a free e-book of short stories) by subscribing for my newsletter at http://aaabbott.co.uk. 

I’m also on Twitter as @AAAbbottStories and on Facebook`, so feel free to connect with me there too.

To find out about Tamworth’s Literary Festival which is taking place 3rd -11 th March 2017 visit:

https://www.facebook.com/TamworthLiteraryFestival/

To find out about the Book Blasts, which include 20+ authors and the Thriller Panel visit:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tamworth-litfest-book-blast-author-signings-thriller-panel-more-tickets-31409986114?aff=es2

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tamworth-litfest-book-blast-author-signings-more-tickets-31221992821?aff=es2

 

 

*SHELLEY WILSON* ~ Author Interview and Spotlight on her new release Guardians of the Lost Lands (book 3 of The Guardians)

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Today we are delighted to welcome Shelley Wilson to our blog. Shelley is the author of young adult fiction and self-help non-fiction and she is also an active blogger. We are thrilled that she has agreed to provide us with an interview so that we can quiz her about her writing process, future plans and also her new release Guardians of the Lost Lands (book 3 of The Guardians). Scroll down to find out more. 🙂 

Interview with Shelley

1.Welcome to our blog Shelley, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted you to start writing?

I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire but moved to the West Midlands when I was just eight years old. Even though I have a Brummie accent, I still think of myself as a Yorkshire lass!

I’m a single mum to three amazing teenagers, one fat goldfish, and a black cat called Luna. My background is in holistic health, and I ran a successful ladies only spa for seven years before illness forced my hand, and I had to close. Writing always played an important part in my life from a young age, but it was only when I reached my thirties that I took it seriously – or should that be, took myself seriously as a writer.

2.Your books encompass young adult fiction and self-help non-fiction. Which genre did you write in first and to what extent do you think (if any) your writing in either  genre influences the other?

swi1I’ve written fiction for years but never did anything with it. I would submit work to magazines and receive positive feedback but then allow self-doubt to penetrate my thoughts. I never considered writing non-fiction until I started blogging. It was the self-help titles that hit the bookshelves first and in turn that success influenced me to complete my YA trilogy.

There is a fine line between both genres. It might seem strange saying that as one contains demons, faeries, and witches, and the other talks about meditation, goal setting, and achieving success, however, my protagonist in the Guardian trilogy requires all the skills from my self-help books to fulfill her quest.

I was also able to incorporate my energy healing and meditation techniques in my fantasy novels, giving my MC powers that accessed her chakra points (seven wheels of energy we have in our body). I enjoyed overlapping the two.

3.What role do you think that young adult novels can play in helping young people address issues around their own self-development, their relationship with others and the wider world?

Great question! As a YA author and a mum to three teens, helping young people is at the forefront of my mind. One of the things I love most about the YA genre is how no topic is taboo. The youngsters of today have more to deal with than my generation ever did, and the advancements in technology have a lot to do with that. They can’t switch off – ever! Life is 24/7 and with this speed, comes an increase in anxiety and mental health issues. Being able to cover these topics in YA novels is of great importance. Not only do you want to give your young reader a break from reality, but you want to answer their questions, or test their opinions and prepare them for an unknown future.

4.In terms of the world building in your fantasy series The Guardians, did you swi2carry out much research into or did you give your imagination free reign?

There was minimal research involved in the world building aspect, apart from spending a pleasant couple of hours scrolling through the fantasy art images on Pinterest and adding them to my book boards. Having said that, even though my demon and faerie realms are made-up, I still need to ensure they have a hierarchy. For example, in book one, Guardians of the Dead, the demon realm is ruled by a General, who commands his army and runs the stronghold. In the second book, Guardians of the Sky, there are some scenes set in a castle (of sorts), so I needed to research the terminology to make it easier for my readers to picture. It’s these details that I need to look into as I build my worlds.

5.What was your inspiration for the story and the characters in The Guardians series?

The rough idea behind the trilogy came from a photograph of a hooded statue in a cemetery that I saw in a magazine. I have a fascination with cemeteries and so kept flicking back to this particular image. I ended up cutting it out and fixing it to my notice board. The more I looked at it, the more the story details fell into place. My organisational side kicked in soon after, and I plotted the novel out chapter by chapter.

It might be worth noting that I used NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to write the first draft of all three books in the trilogy. According to the rules, you are allowed to plan, plot and build character profiles, but you can’t begin writing until 1st November. Before I began writing the first book I immersed myself in the world I had created, collecting fantasy images and jotting down any scene ideas that came to mind. The characters evolved over time, but my MC, Amber, was fully formed from the moment I saw that image in the magazine. She’s everything I wished I’d been at sixteen!

6.What has been some of the most rewarding aspects of writing your self-help books?

sw5My non-fiction book, How I Changed My Life in a Year, was published in 2014 and I still receive tons of emails, tweets, and Facebook messages from readers thanking me for writing it. Hearing how people have started Open University courses, changed career, or turned their lives around after reading my book is incredible. I’ve cried at some of the marvelous letters I’ve had and made loads of new friends because of that single book. It still amazes me when I set up at a book fair, or Mind, Body, Spirit exhibition, and readers come rushing over to meet me and thank me. I’m just a single mum with grey hair and back fat! When I ran my holistic health business it was my main aim to help empower women to be the best they can be; I’m glad that I can continue to do this with my writing.

7.What is your writing process like? To what extent do you plan and how much do you just let the words flow? Does your approach vary depending on whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction?

There’s a writing process? Only kidding, I used to wing it, which is probably why I never got anything finished. Taking part in NaNo has forced me into being an OCD plotter.

As soon as I get an idea, I open a new notebook (any excuse to visit Paperchase!), and I start to jot down character bios and basic ideas. I tend to work with Christopher Vogler’s hero’s journey system to help me get my initial thoughts down. Even though I do a detailed plot outline, once I start writing the characters take over. In the Guardian series, Amber was supposed to be a witch – mid-scene she decided that wasn’t challenging enough and so now she’s the last Oracle!

With my non-fiction, I tend to set my chapter headings and go with the flow from there. As I’m writing about topics I know, it’s easy to churn out hundreds of words without a detailed plan.

8.Do you write every day? Also how do you cope if you experience writer’s block?

I try to ensure I write something every day, even if it’s just a few notes in my planner. Monday to Friday I concentrate on writing my books, editing, and preparing blog content including book reviews, and author interviews. At the weekend I’ll write if the kids are busy, but if they’re around, I’ll try to spend time with them. The older they get, the more time I spend at my computer on a Saturday! My middle son plays football every Sunday so at least I manage to get a couple of hours of fresh air!

I’ve never experienced writer’s block; I have the opposite problem of too many ideas whirling around and not knowing which one to work on first. If this happens, I’ll write a list of all my musings just to stop the brain chatter. I can then choose one to concentrate on. Writing for my two blogs means I always have something to say or do. I guess this is the perfect antidote to writer’s block.

9.If you could give an aspiring author one tip, what would it be?

Read. I’ve got a million other tips, but that’s the one that stands out as the most important one for me. I’ve discovered more about myself as a writer by reading other people’s work than any how-to-write book can show me. You learn to ‘hear’ the writer’s voice and can then find your own.

10.If you had one wish to change the world for the better what would it be?

Oh my, what a question! There is so much wrong with our world that I wouldn’t know where to start. Ending poverty and war needs to be top of the list. If we could also learn to embrace each other regardless of colour, class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, then that would go a small way towards healing the world.

11.What sort of books do you read in your spare time? Also when you are not writing or reading what do you like to do?

I adore reading YA fantasy novels, and love getting my teeth into a book series. My favourite YA authors are Cassandra Clare and Sarah J Maas. A few years ago, I joined Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and had to expand my reading to encompass all sorts of genres. I’ve since developed a love of historical fiction (mostly Tudors), crime, murder/mystery, and horror/post-apocalyptic. I don’t do chick-lit or romance!

If I’m not writing or reading, then I’m leading an exceedingly boring existence. I enjoy going to the gym and running on the treadmill, I also love going to the cinema and can happily go on my own to watch a film (tub of popcorn all to yourself, need I say more!). I’m quite creative, so I love doing adult colouring books, spending far too long on Pinterest, and creating projects for my motivational blog. Other than that, you’ll find me curled up with a book.

12.Finally can you share with us about what your next release will be and what you are working on?

Guardians of the Lost Lands is the final book in my Guardians trilogy and releases on Friday 11th November.

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Here’s the blurb:

Amber’s final quest could claim her soul, but it’s a journey she must make.

The evil that lurks in the Lost Lands threatens to infest the realms unless Amber, Redka, and Connor can destroy it. But Amber is more concerned about her father’s safety as he is held captive by the wickedness that terrorises them all.

Amber faces isolation and mistrust from her friends as they travel across land and sea to meet their most dangerous foe.

Will she be able to stay true to her destiny as the last Oracle, or will she be tempted by the darkness? The fate of the realms is in her hands.

Amber’s final quest will be her most terrifying yet. This time, it will be deadly.

I’ve loved writing these books, but Guardians of the Lost Lands is slightly more special for me. During the writing process, I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, a nasty side effect of the illness I had. The dark mood and black thoughts seeped into my writing and ended up taking Amber in a different direction. Book three is much darker than the others, but it all adds to the impact, and hopefully shows my teen readers that these feelings are perfectly normal.

I’ve got a couple of projects on the go at the moment, now that the Guardian trilogy is complete. I’m editing a standalone YA werewolf novel which I have thoroughly enjoyed writing, and this should be available early next year – my editor loved it too and wanted me to write a sequel!

On the non-fiction side, I have an Oracle Guide Book coming out in December which is a motivational tool for inspiring you every week of the year. I’m also working on a sequel to How I Changed My Life in a Year which will fit into the memoir/self-help/women’s biography category again.

It’s a busy time, but I’m loving my writer life and hope it continues for many years to come.

Thank you so much for allowing me to invade your beautiful blog, Tina. I hope your readers enjoyed  my interview.

If they want to connect with me then I can be found lurking around social media most days:

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72

Author Blog – http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com

YA Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson

Motivational Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/resolutionchallenge

Website – http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.co.uk

Motivational Blog: http://myresolutionchallenge.blogspot.com

Pinterest: http://uk.pinterest.com/MotivateMeBlog

Instagram: http://www.instagram/authorslwilson

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362789.Shelley_Wilson

Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.co.uk/Shelley-Wilson/e/B00G5KPMJI

Thank you for visiting us today Shelley and best of luck with your future releases. ❤

 

 

*Book Blitz* Raven’s Peak (World on Fire #1) by Lincoln Cole

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Raven's Peak - kindle cover copyTitle: Raven’s Peak (World on Fire #1)

Author: Lincoln Cole

Genre: Horror, paranormal thriller

Release date: July 5th, 2015

Length: 276 pages

BUY LINKS: Amazon UK and Amazon US

Blurb: A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to find out what is happening. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.

She rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, and also trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is considerably more difficult for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger.

Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?

Author bio

Ryan_JordanLincoln Cole is a Columbus, Ohio-based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different parts of the world, including Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his pugamonster puppy, Luther, and family. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen.

https://www.facebook.com/lincolnjcole
https://www.twitter.com/lincolnjcole

http://www.LincolnCole.net

 

*E-Serial Book Blitz* A Wolf on the Loose by Daniel Straka

A WOLF ON THE LOOSE 5 BANNER [1472561]

 

A wolf on the loose cover pt 1Title: A Wolf on the Loose

Author: Daniel Straka

Genre: Thriller, adventure, military

Released date: January 11th, 2015 (releasing weekly serial ebook episodes)

Buy links: Amazon UK & Amazon US – PART 1 is currently FREE on Amazon!!!

Blurb: A Wolf on the Loose is a weekly e-serial, containing 36 parts spread over 5 episodes. One part is released weekly, free, on Amazon for 5 days (Monday-Friday). Completed episodes are available for purchase.

Amid struggling with his addictions, former Marine Andrew St George goes AWOL from his rich family and lavish lifestyle. He appears months later in Miami with one intent; convince his friend, Emilio Cortez, to start a Private Military Company with him. Having left the Corps after his brother was killed in a drive-by, Emilio’s been stuck working three jobs to support his extended family, all of whom he lives with in a small apartment.

While Andrew and Emilio enter into the security business looking for an escape from their civilian lives, both struggle with their demons. From the slums of Miami, the glitzy South Beach nightlife, to Cartel controlled Mexico, the boys will learn that despite their best intentions, no one job is the same and that there are battles to be fought outside of war zones.

Author bio

A WOLF ON THE LOOSE AUTHORDan achieved a BFA in photography and metal working and since graduating, has done neither. By day he works in manufacturing. By night, often very late into the night, he writes and stalks America’s sub-cultures on the vast internets.

https://www.facebook.com/awolfontheloose


https://twitter.com/awolfontheloose

http://www.awolfontheloose.com/


Author Central:
http://amzn.to/1VtVS8l


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12541256.Dan_Straka

 

Enter for your chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card:

 

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**Author Interviews** ~ Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Regular readers of this blog know that Caroline, my BFF and co-blogger, and I love to read a variety of genres. Both of us have a penchant for dark and psychological reads. Since reading The Ghosts of Ravencrest (an erotic Gothic horror par excellence), by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross I have become a HUGE fan of their work.

Either writing alone or in partnership their work includes the paranormal, horror and dark, psychological thrillers such as their current collaboration Mother. Their writing, which can be downright S-C-A-R-Y, is often shocking and infused with dark humour, but is always a rollicking good read  and I love the devilish plot twists these authors inflict on their readers!

I was delighted at the chance of interviewing this writing duo and I hope that you find their candid responses to my questions as fascinating as I did. Tina ❤

Mother cover

1. Can you share with our readers a little about yourselves and your writing careers?

Tamara and Alistair both began writing around age eight  – both loved ghost stories most of all – and both wanted to be writers when they grew up. Tamara has been in print since 1991 and Alistair since 2012.

2. I understand that you have been collaborating since 2012, and have written, amongst other works, The Cliffhouse Haunting and The Ghosts of Ravencrest, the first book in The Ravenscrest Saga. How did you begin working together and what special elements do you each think the other brings to the partnership that distinguishes the works of Thorne and Cross?

Alistair became a fan of Tamara’s work in the 90s, and when social media sites like Facebook came along and made it easy to connect to others, he looked her up. Having just been published for the first time, Alistair was doing author interviews on his blog as a way of meeting other writers. Tamara was one of the first people he asked. We became fast friends and were brainstorming ideas for new books before we’d even conceived of the idea to officially write together. It flowed very naturally – it was simply meant to be. We soon found that our writing style – as well as our personal and professional ethics – was so remarkably similar that continuing on the path together was simply the instinctual thing to do. Alistair brings an intense work ethic to our virtual office while Tamara brings jolly good fun. We need each other for balance. And hard work. And fun

3. Why do you think there is such an appetite for horror and psychological thrillers amongst readers? TamaraWhat is it within the human psyche that craves such stories?

People crave (safe) danger. Danger fascinates us, but things like scary movies, horror novels, and roller coasters are a way of facing our fears without risking our lives. These things force us to explore those uncharted parts of ourselves which can teach us proper response in the face of real danger. It’s a survival mechanism. Avoidance of fear is fatal, and the human psyche understands this. Thus, it draws us toward the things that frighten us. Plus, scary books are just awesome. 

4. The flipside of this – why do you both enjoy writing in these genres?

Horror is a release from the everyday. Neither of us watches the news – real horror is too depressing. But fictional horror and suspense provides a rush akin to amusement park thrill rides. Fiction, by its very nature is escapist and, to us, there’s nothing better than a toe-curler to escape reality for a little while. We are especially partial to suspense and supernatural horror because ghosts, vampires, and assorted elementals are literary equivalents to a carnival where we can find lots of thrills and chills. In Mother, our heroine, Claire, starts with a turn on the merry-go-round, then soon ends up on a scary roller coaster and finally enters the dark ride, which is too frightening to be fun for her.

5. You must have both been asked this question in many forms before – but do you base any elements of your characters on anyone you know or are they purely fuelled by your imaginations?

AlistairEvery character is imaginary; it would be no fun for us to plunk down living people in our books! That said, we are the products of our lives and experiences. Everything around us, from sights, sounds, and tastes, to hoarders, psychopaths and ghosts are inspired by lifetimes of observation and experience.

  1. 6. Would you both like to tell us something about your latest release, Mother?

Mother is a psychological thriller in the vein of Psycho and Misery, with a pinch of Peyton Place and a dash of Gaslight. It concerns a young, expectant couple, Claire and Jason Holbrook, who’ve fallen on hard times, forcing them to move in with Claire’s estranged mother. Claire vowed to have no contact with the overbearing woman ever again, but Mother is thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild. At Mother’s, Claire and Jason begin experiencing things that make them determined to leave immediately … but when a cruel twist of fate makes leaving impossible, Claire becomes obsessed with her mother’s motives. Fantasy and fact blur together as her compulsion consumes her, and Jason wonders who the villain really is. When a cache of macabre family secrets is uncovered, Claire and Jason find the answers they’re looking for – answers that will change them forever … assuming anyone can get out of Mother’s house alive.

7.  Did you have to carry out any research into the issues explored in Mother, before writing the novel?

All books require research. Mother’s research was relatively easy compared to other books. It consisted primarily of a brush-up on sociopathic and narcissistic behaviors. We also researched topics like hoarding, epilepsy, flight schools, Catholic funerals, and ugly furniture from the 1970s and 80s. When we write books that include science or a good deal real history that must be woven into our fictional characters’ lives, as in our Ravencrest novels, the research is far more intensive. All fiction must have its roots in reality to keep it believable.

8.  I am delighted to learn that you host a horror themed internet radio show, Thorne and Cross Haunted Nights LIVE! What have been some of your favourite moments on the show to date?

There have been many great moments. We loved hearing The Walking Dead author Jay Bonansinga tell us his thoughts on why zombies are so popular, and Charlaine Harris’ stories about about being recognized in public were hilarious. We were laughing out loud when Christopher Rice told us what it was like for him to read his mom’s (Anne Rice) Sleeping Beauty series. Chet Williamson’s reading from his novel Psycho: Sanitarium gave us chills. Chatting about twisted family dynamics with Andrew Neiderman, who also authors the V.C. Andrews book series, was fascinating, and talking with Laurell K. Hamilton about vampires was a lot of fun. Those are just a few of our favorite moments. 

Mother teaser

9. Are there any collaborative projects in the pipeline that you are able to share?

As always, we’re working on the continuing Ravencrest Saga and have just released the second serialized installment titled, Dead of the Night. We are also working on a sequel to Tamara’s vampire novel, Candle Bay, which also serves as a continuation of Alistair’s The Crimson Corset. The Darling family of Candle Bay made appearances in Corset and that set the course for Candle Bay II – we decided we had to get our vamps together in a serious way. As soon as Candle Bay’s sequel is complete, we will begin work on the second book in our Trilogy of Terror. Mother was the first. The second is unrelated to Mother as far as characters are concerned, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see Father Andy show up, assuming we set the next book in Snapdragon, where Mother takes place. The Trilogy of Terror is made up of three psychological suspense novels that are more about human monsters than supernatural ones. On the side, we’re also both knee-deep in a pair of solo novels.

10. Have you a message to readers, or to writers who are thinking of branching out into penning horror/psychological thrillers?

We always say that the most important thing is to write what you love. If you love what you’ve written, others will too. Also, writing requires dedication and discipline. It’s easy to tell yourself you don’t have time to write, but if you want to be a serious writer, you have to create time.