Feb 062019

Into the Light

by Darcia Helle

on Tour February 1-28, 2019


Into the Light by Darcia Helle

Max Paddington refuses to go into the light until he finds his killer. This presents a dilemma, since Max is even less competent as a spirit than he was as a live person. No one sees or hears him and he can’t manage to get anywhere or do anything on his own.

Joe Cavelli is a private investigator, living an ordinary life. Then one day he walks across a parking lot, gets yelled at by a ghost, and his life only gets stranger from there.

Max and Joe team up to find Max’s killer. In the process, they form an unlikely friendship and change each other’s lives in ways they never expected.


Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: July 14th 2011
Number of Pages: 250
ISBN: 146364020X (ISBN13: 9781463640200)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Audible

Darcia Helle

Author Bio:


Darcia Helle is a Massachusetts native, who escaped the New England winters to write in the Florida sunshine. She lives with her husband in a home full of spoiled rescue animals and an occasional stray lizard. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative.

Q&A with Darcia Helle


I’m honored to be here!

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events

Our personal experiences shape our thought process, so I don’t think it’s possible to write without drawing from them to some extent. For me, I usually don’t realize I’ve done it until the book is finished. When I do my first read-through, I find threads of those experiences sprinkled around.

Incorporating current events takes that same inadvertent path. I don’t set out to plot a story around a specific thing in the news. It happens because whatever is going on kind of festers in my mind until a story accidentally takes shape. For instance, aspects of my novel Killing Instinct are the result of me having read an in-depth article about Silk Road, the Darknet black market where you could purchase pretty much anything from drugs to contract killings. The concept sat in my subconscious until it found a place in a story.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I don’t plot at all. I’m a total pantser, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants. I typically start with nothing more than a random sentence and a character’s voice that pops into my head. My writing is character-driven, with a strong emphasis on emotion. I need to feel it in order to write it. The plot unfolds as I get to know the characters involved.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?

No, they all pop into my head complete with their own identity. I should probably be concerned that all these people live in my head, but at least I’m never lonely.

The one exception to this is my novel The Cutting Edge. Aspects of that story are ripped straight out of my personal life. The fictional hair salon is a replica of my mother’s salon, which I worked in for about 15 years. And all the fictional clients and incidents are based on real clients and incidents that occurred in that salon. While we didn’t have a killer running loose in the town, the fictional killer is modeled after a real-life client. Writing that novel was my catharsis; my own personal cleansing ritual!

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

My favorite room in the house is my sunroom, and that’s almost always where I write. I’m usually trying to balance my laptop around my three dogs and cat, with a giant mug of tea sitting precariously on the edge of the side table. My brain and I aren’t on speaking terms in the morning, so most of my writing happens in the afternoon. Late at night, when the world around me is silent, I stare into the darkness and figure out where the story will take me next.

I have all kinds of idiosyncrasies, but only one pertains to my writing routine. I must brush my teeth before I start writing. It’s weird, I know, but any sort of aftertaste from something I’ve eaten becomes horribly distracting. Seriously, I become a little obsessed if I don’t do it. I think it’s a sensory thing. I need to lose sense of myself and sort of disappear without reminders of the chocolate or crackers I’d eaten. But that’s just a guess. It could also be that I’m a total nutjob.

Tell us why we should read this book.

This question reminds me of the “elevator pitch” expected from publishers and marketing agencies. I’ll let you in on a secret: I suck at this. I can tell you all sorts of reasons why you should read someone else’s book but telling you why you should read one of mine makes me squirm.

The best, most honest answer I can give is that you should read this book because you want to. Maybe the premise intrigues you, or you like PI novels, or you want to spend time with a ghost, or you need a laugh or a little bit of a cry. Maybe you like men with dark, curly hair who are named Joe. Or you don’t like the name Max and you’re glad he’s dead. Whatever the reason, something about this story speaks to you, and you want to know more.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I have many favorites for my many moods. Karin Slaughter, Tami Hoag, and John Sandford are three of my favorite mystery/suspense authors. I love Tony Schumacher’s John Rossett historical thriller series. Maria Haskins, Maria Savva, Jason McIntyre, and Lisette Brodey are just a few of my favorite independent authors.

I could fill an entire page with names. Ultimately, my favorite authors are those who make me feel the emotions, who make me think, and who move me with their words.

What are you reading now?

I just finished The Boy by Tami Hoag. And, wow! Held me captivated the entire time.

I have that book on my TBR list. However, I need at least 3 more lifetimes to read all that are on my list. I’ll let you in on one of my fantasies…that I could just read all day, every day without RL interuppting.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

I’ve had to actively force myself to shut out thoughts of the next one. I needed to stay focused on all the prep work for the launch of Out of the Darkness, the next Joe Cavelli, Paranormal PI novel. But the voices in my head are never silent, and all the cacophony can be terribly distracting!

My intent is to write the third Joe Cavelli novel next, though I know better than to make any sort of plan or assumption. The characters are always in charge and, ultimately, I follow the voice that speaks the loudest in the moment.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Oh, my. Here’s another question I’m not good at. I don’t watch a lot of movies, and I’m especially bad with the celebrity thing. Beyond those shortcomings, I struggle with this question because my characters feel like real people to me, and so assigning another person to play them is a major hurdle my psyche can’t get past.

So, I asked Google for help with lists of actors, and that got me nowhere. Maybe a reader out there can help me out with suggestions!
Don’t feel bad….I have no clue who the popular actors are these days. I can’t even remember the last movie I watched. I would much rather read and use my imagination to create the movie in my head.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?


Favorite meal?

Does cheesecake count as a meal?

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Thank you for having me!


Catch Up With Darcia Helle On:
darciahelle.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Divorce. She slid the word across the table like it was part of his breakfast. Here’s your toast and coffee and I want a divorce.

Max Paddington stared into his wife’s clear brown eyes and said the only thing that came to mind. “What?”

“I want a divorce,” Rachel repeated.

At least she’d left out the toast and coffee bit. Divorce hadn’t been a side order, after all. “Are you still mad about the golf clubs?” he asked. “I’ll take them back if it’s that big of a deal.”


Rachel said his name as if it left a sour taste on her tongue. Max swiped a hand through his damp hair. He’d been awake less than a half hour and already his day had turned to shit. Rachel, his wife of fourteen years—no, it was fifteen now—stood in front of him with her arms folded over her breasts. She wore a black camisole, pantyhose, and three-inch heels. And he was supposed to take her seriously?

“Rach,” he said. “You want to get divorced over golf clubs?”

“It’s not the golf clubs, Max.”

“Well, what the hell?”

“I need to finish getting dressed or I’ll be late for work.”

“So be late! You can’t tell me you want a divorce, like you’re telling me the weather for the day, then walk out the door.”

“I can’t be late today.”

“Or what? The world will implode because you don’t serve your boss’s coffee on time?”

Rachel glared. “I do not serve my boss coffee. I only did that for you and I won’t be doing it anymore.”

“I’m sorry, okay?” Max pushed his coffee mug aside, the object having suddenly become an obstacle between them. “I didn’t mean that. It’s just that you dumped this bombshell on me and you won’t even talk to me about it.”

“I don’t understand why you’re so surprised.”

“What? I should have been expecting a divorce with my breakfast?”

“Think about it, Max.”

With that, she turned and strode from the room. He watched her ass, naked beneath the pantyhose. Divorce. What the hell?

~ ~ ~

Max took his miserable attitude to work at the local Publix, where he’d been assistant manager for nearly five years. Before that, he’d been the assistant manager at Winn-Dixie. Always the assistant. Never the boss. And now his wife wanted a divorce because he’d bought expensive golf clubs. How had he managed to earn such a low rank in life?

He took his misery out on the new stock boy, a skinny sixteen-year-old with pockmarked skin and the grace of a five-thousand-pound elephant. The kid was close to tears by the time Dan, the manager, caught wind of the bad karma in the air. Max muttered an apology to his boss, said he was having a bad day, and wandered out to the stockroom. While sorting through overstock, he knocked an open case of olives onto the floor. The green ones in the glass jars. Four of the jars shattered. Little green eyeballs rolled in a puddle around his feet. One of the stockers helped him clean the mess with only a minimal of razzing.

Max hid his embarrassment behind a gruff attitude, then ducked into his office. He poured himself a cup of coffee and promptly spilled some on his tie. Next, he slipped on a newly waxed section of floor and did a fancy skid that landed him on his ass in the middle of the aisle. After that, he gave up on even pretending to work and managed to steer clear of everyone until quitting time.

He cursed his Honda Civic for not being a Mercedes, then cursed the traffic for getting in his way. His house mocked him with its dark silence. The coffeemaker mocked him from its place on the counter. Would you like a divorce with your morning coffee? A sweep of his arm sent the machine and its glass carafe sailing across the room. Leftover coffee exploded with the glass.

Was Rachel even coming home? Max watched the coffee form a river between the floor tiles. He cursed at the mess on the floor and the mess that was his life. Think about it, she’d told him. As if he could think about anything else!

He grabbed his keys and slammed out the door. Stupid to sit around sulking on the off chance that Rachel would come home soon. She was probably humping her boss on his fancy desk in his cavernous office. Damn lawyers. If the guy wasn’t overweight and bald, that thought would bother him a lot more.

Max brought his attitude to Chili’s, where he ate a burger and drank two large Cokes. Rather than one of the cute waitresses, he got stuck with a twenty-something waiter with a hundred-watt smile and perfect hair. The kind of guy who got threesomes on a regular basis. The kid’s name was Carlos and Max hated him on sight.

The noise level in the place had Max chewing on the edge of his glass. An entire building full of couples and families, all talking to each other, smiling and happy. He sat alone, being waited on by the pinup boy for Playgirl, looking like the true loser he’d become.

Would you like a divorce with your order?

Max left Carlos what was likely the worst tip the kid had ever received and stomped back out to his car. He’d been forced to park in the bank’s lot next door. That should have been a sign for him to stay out of the place. The food, liquor, noise and Carlos’s perfect white teeth only managed to further sour his mood.

Maybe Rachel would be home by now and be willing to talk. As he yanked his door open, it occurred to him that he should have gotten her some food. What if she hadn’t been avoiding him and had only worked late? What if she was waiting for him now, in their kitchen with the glass and the coffee river?

He spotted someone standing in the shadows, twenty feet from his car. A thin man, maybe a woman. Couldn’t tell with that stupid ball cap pulled low, half hidden behind the palm trees where no lights fell. Why the hell was the guy standing there in the dark? That was the thought Max had when the bullet ripped through his left eye, tore through his brain, and exploded out the back of his skull.


Excerpt from Into the Light by Darcia Helle. Copyright © 2019 by Darcia Helle. Reproduced with permission from Darcia Helle. All rights reserved.


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  One Response to “Into The Light by Darcia Helle (Showcase, Interview & Giveaway)”

  1. Thank you for the fun interview, Cheryl! I’m relieved to know I’m not alone as in not remembering the last movie I watched, or in being able to name a cast of actors. I’d be an embarrassment in celebrity trivia!

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