Nov 022013



Jessica is the 28 year old author of IF ONLY WE, a YA contemporary coming out in October 2013. You can often find her either reading or marathon watching TV on DVD, her favorites being Castle and Veronica Mars. She frequently mismatches her clothes and giggles uncontrollably. She knows almost every Billy Joel song by heart. She collects books and toys, and she has an intense love of cats and lemurs. Currently in the midst of her quarter-life-crisis, she is still takin’ names and getting very close to reaching an epiphany.
Connect with Jessica at these sites:


Q&A with Jessica Sankiewicz
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
~~A lot of my writing comes from personal experience. Some of the feelings Adrienne has in If Only We are feelings I’ve had, and a couple of the scenes were similar to things that happened in real life. Many writers inadvertently write characters that are similar to themselves, and I think Adrienne is a lot like me in certain ways.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
~~If Only We started with the opening scene between Adrienne and Chevy. The original premise didn’t make much sense, but after I worked out the details to what it became now, I could really picture the beginning and the end. The middle was harder to fill in. With other story ideas, I come up with a plot and then try to figure out where it can start and where I want it to finish.
Your routine when writing?  Any idiosyncrasies?
~~I usually just sit down, put on some background music, and write. I almost always have to have music playing but sometimes if I’m having trouble with a scene I’ll pause it for a couple minutes so I can work it out without my brain being distracted by lyrics. I usually have to have some sort of snack at hand for writing fuel, often chocolate or chocolate related.
Is writing your full time job?  If not, may I ask what you do by day?
~~Nope, but I would love it to be someday. Right now I’m working full-time as a pharmacy technician in a retail store but I’m starting a new job (same field) that is all data entry and no retail soon.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
~~Oh, let’s see if I can narrow it down. Gayle Forman, Ellen Hopkins, Sonya Sones, Kirsten Hubbard, Kody Kepplinger, Jennifer Echols, and Marie Landry. There are so many more but I chose these since I’ve read more than one book by them and continue to be amazed.
What are you reading now?
~~I’m in the middle of four books right now… To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones, Smoke by Ellen Hopkins, Wicked Heat by Nicola Marsh, and Becoming Bryn by Angela Carling.
Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?
~~Yes! I’m working on a couple things. My next full-length novel is called With One Glance. It will be New Adult Contemporary with coming of age feel and a forbidden romance. I also have a novella in the works called Our Chances Are that centers around the theme of serendipity.
Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
~~Oh wow. I never really put much thought into this. You’d think I would since so many authors do! I would cast Felicity Jones as Adrienne, Jason Dohring as Chevy, Amanda Bynes as Lyndsay, AnnaSophia Robb as Kaitlin, Jennifer Connelly as Joy, and Evangeline Lilly as Faith.
Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
~~Both! If I come up with a scene idea, I write it on paper in a notebook. Sometimes, if I’m on the run, it gets written as a note on my phone, then copied into the notebook later. When I’m actually writing the story, I have to do it on the computer. I type a lot faster than I write. Well, I can write fast, it’s just not legible enough.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby? 
~~I love to crochet. I kinda just wing it since I have no idea how to follow patterns. I’ve made stuff like catnip mice and a couple plushies.
Favorite meal?
~~Stuffing. Otherwise, I’m not picky. Give me a nice heaping serving of stuffing by the main course and I’m happy!


They say all it takes is one wrong move and you lose the game. One false step and you’re trapped. One slip-up in your choice of words and you ruin a friendship forever. That is what they say. They say I lost.

I do not believe them.

At the end of the summer after graduation, Adrienne wonders what happened to cause her life to be in ruins. She isn’t getting along with her mom, her stepsister isn’t talking to her, and, to top it off, the boy she’s been in love with doesn’t want anything to do with her. She believes the turning point was a choice she made at graduation. When she wakes up the next day, she has been transported back three months to that moment, the one where everything started to fall apart.

Adrienne realizes she has been given a second chance—and this time she doesn’t want to mess anything up. Reliving the entire summer, though, turns out to be a lot harder than she thought. As the same days and weeks go by, she starts to see how simple decisions can make a huge impact on the world around her. Despite knowing some of what lies ahead, there are some things she didn’t anticipate. She thought she knew what mistake led her to where she ended up the first time. She was wrong.

And by the time summer is over, she discovers what was really at stake.


Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Published by: Smashwords
Publication date: October 27th 2013
Pages: 126
ISBN: 9781301918249



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Aug 192013




After completing a degree in French and English at Keele University, Carol Wyer became a language teacher in Casablanca, Morocco. She ran the EFL department at a private UK school (a non-magical Hogwarts), set up Language 2000 Ltd, teaching a variety of languages, including basic Japanese, and translated documents. Recurring medical problems forced her to give up teaching and become a fitness instructor. Thanks to older age, she now writes novels, articles and books that poke fun at getting older. Known for her light-hearted take on life, Carol has written two award-winning novels and now also tours giving talks on how to age disgracefully.
Connect with Carol at these sites:

WEBSITE          TWITTER    


Is your Grumpy Old Man getting under your feet? Is he wrestling with retirement? Are you wondering if you should bundle him up and entrust him to basket-weaving classes? Then this book could be the answer to your prayers. This light hearted guide is packed full of lively ideas, anecdotes and quips. Not only does it set out to provide laughs, but offers over 700 ideas and ways to keep a Grumpy Old Man occupied. From collecting airline sick bags to zorbing, you will be sure to find an absorbing pastime for your beloved curmudgeon. There are examples of those who have faced extraordinary challenges in older age, fascinating facts to interest a reluctant partner and innovative ideas drizzled, of course, with a large dollop of humor. Written tongue-in-cheek, this book succeeds in proving that getting older doesn’t mean the end of life or having fun. It provides amusing answers to the question, “How on Earth will my husband fill in his time in his retirement?” It offers suggestions on what might, or most certainly might not, amuse him. Ideal for trivia buffs, those approaching retirement, (or just at a loose end) and frustrated women who have an irritable male on their hands, this book will lighten any mood and may even prevent the odd murder.
Read my review here.

Read an excerpt
Without further ado, let’s look at the abundance of activities that your Grumpy can enjoy beginning with the letter A.
Introduce your Grumpy to the absorbing and completely time-consuming hobby of aviation, particularly aeroplanes.
First, get him a copy of Top Gun (or any good film about flying) to whet his appetite. Next, purchase a trial flying lesson. He’ll love it. Honestly, he will. Don’t be mean though, and get him an aerobatic flight. He’ll come home a horrible pasty shade of grey, and you’ll never get him to agree to that holiday to Alicante you hoped you could take next year.
Once he has “the flying bug”, ensure he signs up for flying lessons. Now, you’ll have to make some serious economies to fund this new hobby, and you’ll have to forget that holiday to Alicante for a while, but it’ll be worth it. He’ll soon transform into a new man, and which one of us wouldn’t fancy a Tom Cruise-a-like coming home after a long day up in the clouds?
Flying doesn’t just keep these Grumpy Old Men out of the house for an hour or two. Oh no, they have to get to the airfield early to set up, have a pre-flight briefing, a couple of cups of coffee and some cake, chat to their mates and ensure they have planned a route. Then, there is the actual flying, followed by a debrief, and the obligatory drink at the pub to recap the entire flight.
There are exams to be taken and much studying to be done. Many a night will be spent sitting at the dining table with pencils in their mouths, as they attempt to learn the principles of aviation law or meteorology. You’ll be able to relax on the settee and watch all those soaps without any dark muttering coming from the other end.
You may find that you will need to learn the phonetic alphabet though, just to show willingness and give him a hand. Let me assist you by starting with: Golf, Romeo, Uniform, Mike, Papa, Yankee.
If you can’t interest him in this particular hobby, then you could try him with a remote-controlled aircraft. This is the best of both worlds.
He can fly his aeroplane without taking examinations, wherever he fancies, and it won’t cost a fortune. There will be more about remote-controlled vehicles later.
Last but not least, you could offer him the chance to do some plane spotting. This is obviously the cheapest option, and can be enjoyed at the airport or in your back garden if you are fortunate enough to live under the flight path.
If he decides on the latter, you’ll be able to book that trip to Alicante. After all, he’ll see plenty of aeroplanes.
What do William Tell, Robin Hood, and Cupid have in common? The answer is archery or toxophily as it is also called. (You might need that piece of information for a pub quiz.)
Archery is one of the most ancient sports known to mankind. In ancient times and the medieval period, this activity was used for protecting people from enemies and for hunting wild animals. Today, it is regarded as a recreational activity or sport, and is looked upon as a way to improve concentration, mental strength, and precision … where was I?
Oh yes, sorry, I was thinking about Kevin Costner in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and got distracted. Today, two forms of archery are prevalent: target archery and field archery.
Sign your fractious man up for lessons and watch him improve, along with his game. Word of warning: don’t let him place an apple on your head “for practice”.
Question: What did the lustful maiden say to the handsome archer?
Answer: You make me quiver.

Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor
Published by: Safkhet Publising
Publication Date: 1st June 2013
Number of Pages: 106




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Jul 062013




Dr. Glenn Shepard was raised on a farm in eastern Virginia.  He attended the University of Virginia on an academic scholarship and majored in psychology. As an undergraduate, he lettered in wrestling for three years in a row. Then, he went on to become the only person in UVA history to letter in wrestling again in his sophomore year in medical school.

After completion of med school at UVA, he went to Vanderbilt where he completed his residency in general and cardiovascular surgery. He spent two years in the Army at the Ft. Gordon Army Hospital in Augusta, Georgia and The Second Surgical Hospital in An Khe, Vietnam.

While in Vietnam, he wrote his first work of fiction, Surge, which is on his back burner of works to dig out of the attic and publish, with major revisions, in the future.

He trained in plastic surgery at Duke University, becoming board certified in General Surgery and Plastic surgery. He opened his own Surgery Center in Eastern Virginia, where he worked for 23 years, mostly in a solo practice, before joining a large, plastic surgery group.

For 28 years, he founded and directed The Peninsula Cranio-Facial deformities clinic that was staffed by volunteer medical, dental, social services, psychology, and speech pathology experts. The group treated over five hundred patients with cleft lips and palates, as well as a variety of deformities of the face and hand.

Shepard founded, funded, and directed the Riverside Microvascular Research Lab, in which he studied the basic science of wound healing, the development of of cleft palates, new techniques in palatal repair, and the regeneration of injured fingernails. He published numerous scientific publications on his work in the lab and clinic.

After the massive Earthquake in Haiti in January, 2010, Dr. Shepard emerged from retirement and joined the Notre Dame Hospital unit in Leogane, Haiti for a 10 day rotation. His empathy for the people and their problems as well as his admiration for the contributions of time and talent from medical personnel from all over the world greatly inspired his second novel, Relief Aid, Haiti.

All his adult life, he has studied and collected American Art of the Hudson River genre. Also, he collects paintings of the prominent Virginia artist, Barclay Sheaks. Currently, he’s writing the authorized biography of the artist.

For six years, he worked with two high school wrestling programs, one that was a perpetual state champion, and the other, a perpetual runner-up in the state meet.  He wisely quit after a heavy weight wrestler broke three of his ribs.

Apart from gaining pleasure from writing as his primary hobby for the past twelve years, he is an avid fly fisherman, spending much of his free time fishing on the Chesapeake Bay and at his farm near Williamsburg. There he enjoys nature hikes, observing and photographing the abundant deer population, and always searching for new bird species that might wander off their migratory paths into his view.

Dr. Shepard has also become involved in aquaculture and raises hybrid rock fish, rainbow trout, and fresh water shrimp.  While this is not yet a profitable enterprise, it provides a delicious seafood addition to his annual Bluegrass and Barbecue Party.  While he has been known to play a mean banjo, he prefers to provide himself as an audience for the many and more talented singers and pickers in his area.

Connect with Dr. Shepard at these sites:


1.   Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Very much from both. Not For Profit combines my personal experiences fighting the spiraling price of hospital care, fired in part by many of our hospitals’ practices of expanding into fields of investments  unrelated to health care delivery, and the current and exciting drone warfare that has dominated our nation’s headlines for the past couple years. The hospitals are creating billion dollar corporations that compete with consumer products offered by independent dealers, and winning the market because they don’t pay taxes on their profits. In the eastern part of Virginia, my home, are numerous military bases and ship building yards and I have a unique opportunity to talk to members of the Army, Air Force, Navy as well as the people that construct our nations largest aircraft carriers, destroyers, and submarines. I never broach any subject of classified material, but learning first hand of the new developments in military material and logistics is a strong stimulant to my researching the direction of our terrorist tactics and use of the newest weaponry.

2.   Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
An outline of the direction and objectives of the book is essential before my books can begin.  What happens after the first chapter depends on where the main characters decide to take the book. I never can outline the twists and turns the protagonists will take.  They have a mind of their own, and I just turn them loose. This has been true for all my fiction writing, starting in 1986.

3.  Your routine in writing?
I begin writing after coffee and cereal at 7 am and goes until my ideas are depleted, anywhere from 7 pm ’til 3 am. After my many years of surgery, when I became conditioned to the long hours of operating and patient care, my endurance is strong. When I sleep, the ideas come to me and I frequently have to awaken enough to jot down my sleep revelations. And I awake the next day full of new ideas, ready to write again.

4.  Is your writing a full time job?
Yes. Since retirement, I write all the time.  Apart from time spent with my hobbies of aquaculture, maintaining my small farm in Charles City County, and doing plays, opera, and movies with Barbara, writing is all I do.

5.  Who are some of your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are Hemingway, Dickens, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but their styles, so great in the past, would not (in my opinion) make it to todays best seller list. Dan Brown, John Grisham, Tom Clancy  are my favorites of current writers, with my all time favorite novel being The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. 

6.  What are you reading now?
Currently, I have two books by Layton Green and two by Matt Iden that I read between writing breaks. All, very good reads, by the way.

7.  Are you working on your next novel?
Relief Aid Haiti will be ready for publication in a couple months.  Dr. Scott James, the plastic surgeon protagonist of Not For Profit, goes to Haiti to help a colleague with his backlog of surgery that followed the 2010 earthquake only to find that Haiti’s Minister of Finance has been kidnapped and the $5 billion Relief Aid Fund has been stolen.  His arch enemy, Omar Farok the terrorist leader, is behind all this and spends the Haitian money to buy nuclear weapons for use against the United States. He is aided by his former nurse and computer geek, Ethel Keyes, and a group of Voodoo worshipers.

8.  Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast? 
Scott James: Matt Damon: Ethel Keyes: Halle Berry (though I can picture Angelina Jolie, even with her recent surgery, as being the sex-pot the role calls for); Herb Waters: Daniel Craig (Craig generally plays the hero, but he is such an incredible character actor, he would be a great villain) ; Detective Pete Harris: Morgan Freeman (a kind, but strong man who could play the role in an outstanding manner).

9.  Would you rather read or watch TV/movie?
For the many years as a surgeon, I’d spend an hour or so of free time watching TV.  That was  an escape from the volumes of professional reading I continually had to do to stay abreast of Plastic Surgery.  Since retiring for  surgery, I’ve become an avid reader of fiction to stay up to date with current styles of writing. My good friend, Barclay Sheaks (a well known artist that died of Parkinson’s and is the subject of a biography I’m currently writing that concerns his battle with the disease), told me frequently that I could never be an author because I never read anything but surgery texts.  I’d love for him to have lived long enough to read my books. I always told him, if a person can learn surgery, he can also learn to write. Of course, my rough learning experience gave grey hairs to my editor and mentor, Rich Krevolin.

10.  Favorite food?
Seafood. Having lived in coastal Virginia, I have experienced the best seafood in the world.  With my schooling in inland cities (Charlottesville, Nashville, Durham, and Augusta) before shipping of fresh fish from coastal cities was possible, the only fish available was catfish. Not good if you’re used to flounder, trout, rockfish, and tuna.  When I returned home after 17 years away in school and the Army,  I fully appreciated the salt water fish and shellfish. Three weeks ago I travelled to Seattle for an interview concerning Howard Behran, a famous artist, like Sheaks, whose art deteriorated after Parkinson’s.  The fresh Copper River Salmon and Dungeness crabs were fabulous. I ate that 3 meals a day for the two days I was there.

11.  Favorite beverage?
Jack Daniels on the rocks.  A taste I acquired in my years in Tennessee.


Renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Scott James is charged with murder after two bodies are found at his surgery center. Just weeks before the start of his capital murder trial, Dr. James is approached by a beautiful woman claiming she can help him gain information that would prove his innocence.

As James hunts down the evidence that might free him, he faces a barrage of threats to his life and liberty—and makes one chilling discovery after another: Corporate corruption. A conspiracy to frame him for murder and for terrorist acts. A secret drone-control operation that takes out targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The true identity and intent of his beautiful ally. And a plot to blow up the local hospital and surrounding community.


Genre: Medical Thriller
Published by: Mystery House Publishing
Publication Date: June 12, 2013
Number of Pages: 248
ISBN: 9780615765525



Chapter 1

Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, 6 a.m., Three Months Earlier

            “Alpha Charlie, Alpha Charlie, get ready for action!  The target’s on the move!”

The words vibrated in Charlie’s earpiece as he sat bolt upright, and flexed his 220 pound, 6 foot 2-inch frame.  He had spent the last four days glued to the monitors, never leaving the control center, even as the other eight members of the Air Force forensics team took brief meal and sleep breaks.  Alpha Charlie was a CIA-hired civilian contractor whose mission in Afghanistan was to control pilotless aircraft and destroy enemy targets.  Ninety six hours ago, he was scheduled to return to his civilian job in America, when forensics identified the Al-Qaeda leader, Muhamed Bin Garza, only 230 miles away in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan.  He cancelled his flight home.

It had been two years since they had a positive ID on Bin Garza.  And Charlie wanted blood.

The notorious Al-Qaeda leader was responsible for the suicide bombing in Mumbai, Amman, London, and Somalia, and had connections to the World Trade Center attack in New York.  Now he was a sitting duck.  He had been spotted while entering a complex of tents and adobe houses adjacent to the mountains and caves.  He would be leaving any moment now.  This was the one and only chance Alpha Charlie would ever have to eliminate Bin Garza.  Bin Garza’s death would be the ultimate notch in his gun barrel.  His job back home could wait.  He had taken out terrorists before, but Bin Garza was the trophy he had been training and waiting his whole life for.

Alpha Charlie was stationed in one of two identical Quonset huts on the base, both sitting within 50 meters of each other.  In the first hut, the US Air Force forensics team was housed.  Their function was to make the drones airborne, to locate and identify targets, and to land the vehicles when their missions were completed.  Alpha Charlie sat in a single chair in the second hut.

But this was no ordinary chair.  It was a one-of-a-kind control chair loaded with hundreds of computer systems that required delicate manipulations.  At the end of each armrest were two joysticks, one for each hand. Both were equipped with a dozen buttons, some black and others red, all with separate and distinct functionalities.  Ever since he was 12 years old, Charlie played video arcade games.  He had mastered the games almost immediately, having innately good reflexes and hand-eye coordination.  He also lacked moral qualms… about anything.  After winning several gaming competitions in his late 20s, he was contacted by the CIA and accepted their offer to move from murdering virtual foes to slaughtering real ones.

The CIA granted him access to a new program which involved piloting drones.  Very quickly, Charlie had learned to operate them as well as the Air Force’s best pilots.  His penchant for video games made his skills acute, and these gaming skills readily transferred to drone operation.  His immediate mastery of the pilotless aircraft meant an underlying talent that many of the professional pilots lacked.  They were readily trainable, but not one had the innate ability to pick up the controls of an aircraft with which they had no experience and so quickly be able to operate it with such a sharp degree of precision.  Charlie had even proven himself to be brilliant under pressure and once he tasted actual combat, he gained a voracious appetite for it.  The thrill of killing a virtual terrorist couldn’t compare to the rush of killing one made of flesh and blood.

Air Force Colonel Ben Edwards, the director of the operation, ran into Charlie’s hut.  He glanced at Alpha Charlie’s hands as they moved the joysticks.  Edwards marveled at how Charlie’s fingers glided over the controls and easily performed maneuvers that his other “pilots” struggled with.

Suddenly Edwards saw it – the blinking red light on the fuel gauge.  One hundred pounds of fuel left.  Seventy two miles of “life” left in the fuel tank, not enough to get the aircraft halfway back to Kandahar.  He screamed, “Charlie!  You’re running out of fuel!”

Alpha Charlie pretended not to hear.  He had already extended the flight time five hours using the updrafts of the mountains to conserve fuel and lowering the speed to 320 MPH, but he was concerned.  An hour ago, he ordered his Global Hawk fuel carrier, yet it was not on his radar screen.  Well, that’s a problem he didn’t have time for.

His focus remained locked on the three monitors in front of him.  Screen A showed a scurry of activity in the small, peaceful Haqqui tribal village.  Bin Garza was going for a ride.  That was it!   Charlie’s waiting was over.  He leaned forward and watched carefully.

In the center of the village, a 1960s Mercedes sedan and a 1980s Chrysler New Yorker were parked in front of an adobe house.  Alongside the two cars, a small entourage surrounded three men who had just left the house and were walking to the vehicles.  A dozen cheering villagers reached to touch the men as guards pushed them aside.  On Screen B, the forensics experts focused on the faces of the men and enlarged them.  Screen C showed a broad view of the 5 square mile area surrounding the target.

Screen A showed the men getting into the two cars, while screen B flipped through stills of the faces.  Then the camera fine-tuned portrait quality images.  Charlie heard excitement build from the other hut, “That’s definitely Bin Garza!”

“And that’s his number two, Shakel, with him!  We can get two for the price of one, if we hit ’em now!”  The third man on the screen kept his shumag pulled over his face and was not able to be identified.

Colonel Edwards shouted across the room, “Alpha Charlie, we have Al-Qaeda’s two top men together.  Targets confirmed!  It’s now or never.  Get ’em!”

Alpha Charlie turned to Screen A, the target monitor showing live pictures from the MQ-4A Global Hawk drone he controlled.  This model was the largest and best equipped drone in his fleet, but it was brand new and untested.  It had been airborne for nearly 48 hours and circled the area at 50,000 feet, filming the area where Pakistani intelligence had said these men were staying.  Sweat dripped down Charlie’s brow as he saw the plummeting fuel gauge now reading empty.

Time was running out.  Charlie focused the camera, centering it on the now moving car.

A pissed off Edwards looked at Screen C.  “Fuck!  There’s a hill!  They’ll disappear behind it in 20 seconds!  Charlie, you gotta strike NOW!”

Alpha Charlie did not respond, but he heard Edwards.  He had one shot and didn’t want to fuck it up.  His mental clock ticked down – 20, 19, 18; he remained calm and showed no signs of tension.  His left hand guided a blinking red target square over the car.  With the image of the square fixed to the target, Charlie centered the X.

CLICK!  The Hellfire missile locked on the Mercedes.  Twelve, 11, 10…

Charlie quickly touched the red trigger button with his thumb and fired the 5 foot long missile which carried over 30 pounds of explosives.  At a speed of 950 MPH, the missile would be paying the Mercedes a surprise visit within 3 seconds.

But would it get there in time?


The Mir Ali Village, 6:04 a.m.

            A high-pitched WHIRRR, like that of a model airplane, filled the sky above the village.  The driver of the Mercedes looked up and saw the silvery flash of reflected sunlight emerging from the obscurity of the mountain behind.

As the driver accelerated, he saw the 5 foot long Hellfire missile speeding towards them.  Bin Garza screamed in terror as he gripped the seat of the car and braced himself.  The explosion was tremendous, ripping the men and car to pieces.

A hundred feet away, the unidentified man in the shumag, Omar Farok, felt his Chrysler bounce around like a toy ball.  The concussion of the impact nearly deafened him.  He watched from the Chrysler as a fireball swallowed up the Mercedes; then, there was only a blinding cloud of smoke and dirt.

Fortunately for Farok, his driver was familiar with the terrain of this village and the Chrysler instantly turned left onto a mountain path dodging around three trees.  As the Chrysler slammed to a halt, a petrified Farok dove out of the car and ran into a mountain cave.  He sat trembling in the cave as he watched another Hellfire missile devour the Chrysler in a ball of red flames, engulfing his driver as he tried to escape.

Farok’s voice echoed inside the cave, “American pigs, I swear on Allah’s blessed name, you will pay for this!”


The Kandahar Drone Control Center, 6:05 a.m.

            Col. Edwards and his forensics team cheered!

But Alpha Charlie did not celebrate, even as the refueling aircraft in the sky above saved his drone from sputtering to the earth on its last pound of fuel.  Sure, Charlie was pleased about the millions that he had made from this kill.  This extra money would allow him to shift his drone control station and missiles back home and continue his missions from there, but still, he wasn’t about to jump up and down and cheer.  He’d done his job.

He stood as bottles of Dom Perignon were uncorked.  Without fanfare, Charlie grabbed a drink and downed it.  Then, he poured himself another.

As he swallowed, he thought to himself, ‘All in a day’s work’. 

Chapter 2

The Surgery Center, Jackson City, N.C., 7 p.m., Three Months Later

If you were to walk into my cosmetic surgery office, you’d see that I designed a space that is healing, orderly and serene.  There are no crystals or there is no new age music playing, but there’s a little waterfall and many of the walls and open spaces feature my favorite flower – the orchid.

My orchids are always resplendent with gorgeous colored blooms – hot pink, deep magenta, white with mauve spots.  I care for all the plants myself by watering them, limiting the amount of sunlight, and constantly measuring and altering the composition of the soil.  In my office, you’ll always find a colorful Doritaenopsis.

My favorite is the pure white Phalaenopsis to the left of the waterfall.  When I first opened my office, a patient sent that to me, but it was solid blue — an unnatural color for an orchid.  I sensed that someone blue-inked the roots, like the blue roses in Kipling’s poems.  Saturating a flower in ink always seemed wrong and angered me in the same way that a bad facelift did.  In my mind, there were absolute rights and wrongs in this world.  A person’s face shouldn’t be stretched so tight that their eyes and lips get distorted, and a white orchid should remain pure white.

I became obsessed with that Phalaenopsis, nurturing it (in a back room, of course) until it bloomed again and this time, it was the purest white of any orchid I ever had.  I look at the broken pieces of Orchis sitting in my waiting room every day and I try my best to put her back together.  And most of the time, I succeed.  Except today.  Today was not going so well…

“Why’s it taking her so long to recover from the anesthetic?” I asked as I removed my surgical gown and gloves.  I arched my back, stiff from bending over so much.  After 12 hours of surgery, I was exhausted.  I’d just hit 40 and I was really starting to feel it.

I smiled at my anesthesiologist, Dr. Boyd Carey.  “Two face lifts, two liposuctions and three augmentation mammoplasties is enough for one day.”

Dr. Carey did not return the smile.  He looked over his half-frame glasses and shrugged.  “If you hadn’t bowed to Keyes’ ridiculous demand to keep her privacy by sending your two nurses home early, her “auggie” would have only taken 45 minutes.”  Carey was a thin vegan who would’ve probably been happier if he ate a burger once and awhile.  Fine wrinkles in his 45-year-old dark skin made him look 60.

I took off my surgical cap and finger-combed my hair.  “Come on now, Boyd.  Relax.  Hey, at least we aren’t working in the tobacco fields.”

“Oh God, you’re not going to start in again on your childhood stories of slaving away in the fields to pay for college—”

“I could if—”

“Please, spare me.”

Carey turned to the patient for a minute and then tilted his head back and faced me again.  “No.  She’s still sound asleep.  And that’s another thing, Scott.  We should have given her Propaphol, like we do on all our patients.  She’d be awake by now.  But no! You always grant all your patient’s every wish and kiss their surgically-raised asses.”

Ethel Keyes had been my office manager for the past two months.  She was a hard worker with a sweet personality; everyone who came in contact with her liked her.  I had never before employed anyone who so quickly endeared herself to everyone.  And it probably didn’t hurt that she was a 32-year-old blonde who looked like a high fashion model.

Just a few days ago, Keyes had confided to me that she always felt uncomfortable with her body as she thought her breasts were too small.  She had done such a great job in the office, revamping my billing system, changing the office health insurance to a less expensive and more comprehensive plan, and computerized all my office records, that I offered to do a breast auggie surgery for her – pro bono.

However, it was a mistake.  Beyond the ethical issues involved in operating on employees, she proved to be a difficult patient from the beginning: refusing Propaphol as her anesthetic because it killed Michael Jackson; forbidding the use of the second best medication, intravenous Versed, because she didn’t like its amnesic properties, and insisting on an older style of anesthesia, Valium and Demerol, but in reduced doses.

She argued that she was sensitive to all sedatives.  Sure enough, it took only 2 mg of Valium and 50 mg of Demerol to knock her completely out.  Most people required 10 mg of Valium and 100 mg of Demerol with touch-up medications given as the patients got “light”.  No additional drugs were needed today as she slept soundly.  And kept on sleeping even after the procedure ended and Dr. Carey and I waited … and waited for her to wake up.

I leaned over the OR table and tapped her cheeks lightly.  “Ms. Keyes, Ms. Keyes, can you hear me?”

Her response was a snore.

I clasped my hands behind my back, pressing on my tired paraspinal muscles.  My perpetual smile turned to a frown.

Dr. Carey growled, “She hasn’t had enough sedation to hurt a fly.  You should just go home.  I’ll watch her until she wakes up.  At least one of us should be able to enjoy this evening.”

“No.  I’m not leaving until she’s awake.”

“Fine.  Go into your office.”  Carey reached out, cupped her left breast and with a smirk uttered, “I’ll keep you abreast of everything here.”

“Jesus, Boyd, get your hands off of her.  She’s under for Christ’s sake!”

“Alright, Sir Galahad, guardian of fair maidens.  Go get some coffee and I’ll call you when she’s awake enough for discharge.  It shouldn’t be long.”

I hesitated before leaving the room.  “I’ll be in the waiting room.  Call me and I’ll be back in a second it there’s a problem.”

As I left the OR, I pulled out my IPhone and called my wife, Alicia.  I told her of the situation with Keyes.

She answered, “Alright, do what you have to.  But there’s always something to keep you there late.  The boys wanted to see you and— I’ll put the boys to sleep and keep your tuna casserole hot in the oven,” she sighed as she continued, “Again!”

I walked to my waiting room to talk to Anna Duke, the friend that was to pick up Keyes after surgery.  But when I got there, she wasn’t there so I sat down on the sofa and relaxed.

This room is my favorite part of the office.  It’s got a huge skylight, custom stereo, a waterfall with a 4 foot drop, and a dozen blooming orchids.  I turned on a Miles Davis CD and flicked on the multi-colored lights that glowed behind the flowing water.  When my architect had told me that it was impossible to put everything I wanted in this room without knocking down all the walls, I paid him his fee and let him go.

Then I went online, did my research, and installed it all myself.  I’m sure I could have hired someone else to do it faster, but I found that I really enjoyed learning about plumbing and wiring.  In fact, I’d had so much fun doing it, next on my agenda is to buy and fix up an old Victorian house in the low country of the Carolinas one day.  The operative word being “one day” since these days I really couldn’t imagine doing much of anything else with my 80-hour work schedule.

I sat back, smelled the sweet fragrance of his cymbidium and zygopetalum orchids, closed my eyes, and dictated the seven operations I performed that day.

* * * * *

Meanwhile in the operating room only 30 feet away,  a shadow caught Dr. Boyd Carey’s eye.  Carey quickly turned and saw a light reflect off of something in the air, something swinging at him.

It hit him hard in the neck, almost knocking him over.  Immediately, he reached towards his neck and felt a painful jab and a burning sensation.

He tried to turn to face his attacker, but his body wouldn’t move.  Again, the hand slammed him with the sharp object.  Carey wanted to lift his arms to protect himself, but they dropped limply at his side.  His legs grew weak.  His muscles quivered uncontrollably.

His mouth opened to scream, but he couldn’t make a sound.  Both knees buckled and his body dropped to the floor.

* * * * *

I heard a THUMP!  I ran to the OR, opened the door and saw Dr. Carey lying there!

I looked over at the OR table.  Keyes was still sleeping with the monitors showing a normal blood pressure, pulse, and EKG.

I dropped to my knees beside Carey.  There was no pulse.  Jerking the stethoscope from his white lab coat, I listened to his chest.  There was only a faint bump…bump…bump.  I pounded my fist on Carey’s chest and listened again.  Placing the heel of my hand on his lower sternum, I compressed the chest six times before blowing into Carey’s mouth.  His heart sounds were slow and distant.

For the first time in my surgical career, I felt panic-stricken.  What had happened?  I’d only been gone a few minutes.

 Quickly, I dialed 911.  “A man’s been stabbed.  He’s dying!  I need help.  Please send an ambulance STAT!”


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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Jun 082013

I am always happy when an author comes back to visit because it means that he has been busy on another book.    Which in turns, means another book to add to our list.  So without further ado, Mr. Layton Green!!!  Welcome back!!!!!


Layton Green is the author of the Dominic Grey series. Please visit him at at for additional information on Layton, his works, and more. You might find him in the corner of a dark and smoky café in Bogotá, researching the next Dominic Grey novel.

Connect with Layton at these sites:

Q&A with Layton Green

On Writing and Reading:
-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
A: For sure.  I believe all writers draw (or are at least inspired by) personal experience, and I am always on the lookout for interesting current events.  I try to infuse each Dominic Grey novel with at least one timely current event or issue (such as the Zimbabwean political situation for The Summoner, the scientific search for eternal life with The Egyptian, and the conflux of social media and demagogues in The Diabolist).

-Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
A:  Good question, and it depends.  Usually I start at the beginning, create a rough outline, and fill it in as I write.  Sometimes, however, an ending does present itself earlier.

-Your routine when writing?  Any idiosyncrasies?
A: I had idiosyncrasies before I became a serious writer.  Now I write every day in the mornings for at least a few hours, and more during the day as my schedule permits.  I used to write at night, but it’s tough with a family.

-Is writing your full time job?  If not, may I ask what you do by day?
A: I’m also an attorney.

-Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: Dan Simmons, James Lee Burke, Dennis Lehane, Michael Gruber, Herman Hesse, Murakami, Roger Zelazny, Ray Bradbury, China Mieville, Martin Amis, and many more.  There’re a lot of seriously talented authors out there.

-What are you reading now?
A: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite novels of all time.

-Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?
A: I am working on the next Dominic Grey novel.  I can’t say much, except that it involves an esoteric and highly intriguing cult, and that Grey will be going south of the border . . . way south.

Fun questions:
-Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
Great question – assuming Spielberg buys my novel and we have unlimited choice (‘natch), I’d go for Christian Bale as Grey.  I’m having trouble casting Viktor.  I’ve tossed around Liam Neeson, Javier Bardem (with heel implants) and Donald Sutherland.  Any thoughts??

-Would you rather read or watch TV/movie?
A: Read.

-Favorite food?
A: Baby back ribs.  Or sushi.  Or a dry-aged ribeye.  Or great pizza.

-Favorite beverage?
A: Zaya rum, one ice cube, pinch of lime.


In this gripping thriller, the bizarre murder of a Satanic priest in San Francisco draws Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, to the scene.  Witnesses claim a robed figure, seemingly able to appear and disappear at will, set fire to the priest.  When the leader of another Satanic cult in Paris dies under similar circumstances, the case only grows stranger… and more dangerous.

Convinced that a charismatic New Age prophet is behind the murders, the investigators undergo a perilous journey into the world of the occult as they try to penetrate the prophet’s inner circle.  From the catacombs of Paris to London’s nefarious East End, from the haunted walls of York to a monastic fortress in the Sicilian wilderness, the case plunges Viktor and Grey into a vortex of black magic, ancient heresies, and the dark corners of their own pasts.

The Diabolist is a chilling novel that not only pulsates with action and suspense, but also mines a trove of fascinating historical, philosophical, and paranormal research to probe some of our closest held beliefs.  From the opening pages to the astonishing conclusion, this latest  installment in one of today’s most original new thriller series is not to be missed.


Paperback: 388 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (June 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611099846
ISBN-13: 978-1611099843




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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Jun 012013

It is with great humility, and also excitement, to welcome back a special and talented author, who I can also call friend, as she kicks off her 2nd tour with Partners In Crime Tours.   Welcome back Helga Zeiner!!



Born and educated in Germany, Helga left her home country when she was 18 to travel the world and experience the magic of life she was passionately reading about.

She spent the next 15 years in exotic places like India, Thailand, Australia and Hong Kong, where she worked her way up into excellent managerial positions in large international companies. To achieve this she had to further her education and enrolled at night classes at the ‘Chinese University of Hong Kong’ for her Diploma in Management Studies.
Love eluded her for many years. She was nearly 40 when she finally met her dream man and settled in Canada, where she now lives, neatly tucked away in the wilderness. She has previously written several suspense novels which have been published in Germany.
Her first novel written and published in English is called. ‘Section 132”. A thrilling fact-based page-turner about a young girl forced into a polygamous marriage that has received countless 5-star reviews.
Birthdays of a Princess’ is her second novel and will be published in June 2013.
Connect with Helga at these sites:


To be famous and be admired by total strangers can be very dangerous.

Her little girl has always been her princess. In fact, she was so lovely, Melissa entered her toddler into child beauty pageants, making her a star from an early age. But her dreams and hopes are shattered one October morning, when Melissa watches a breaking news story on television. A young girl has been filmed by bystanders, committing a brutal assault in broad daylight in a downtown Vancouver Starbucks…and it looks like the girl is her daughter.

From this moment on, a story unfolds, so shocking, that it will hold you captive and you will find yourself reading faster and faster into the night.

Read my review here.


Genre:  Psychological Thriller
Published by: POW WOW Books
Publication Date: May/June 2013
Number of Pages: 290
ISBN: 978-0-9868798-7-6



Read an excerpt:
She wakes up earlier than usual. It’s not even eight yet. The apartment feels empty, but that doesn’t surprise her, because it is empty most mornings. To make sure, she gets out of bed, opens the curtains, waddles down the narrow hallway, stops at the second bedroom and listens briefly. Not a sound. Of course not. She would have heard the flat door open, no matter how late. She is a light sleeper.The kitchen greets her with familiar comfort. Welcome, my lonely friend. Make yourself a cup of tea. Sit down by the window. Look out, check the weather, think about what to wear for work. Stop listening. Nobody is home but you.Just another day in the big city.Vancouver is still sleepy. Yawning and slowly stretching like a lazy lion, rubbing its exhausted eyes, waiting for the helpers to brush the filthy remains of last night’s excitement from the concrete floor of its den.The water kettle switches itself off and she pours the boiling water over the tea bag and waits one minute, standing in front of the kitchen counter. It has to be exactly one minute, no point in doing anything else but stare at the twirling surface inside her cup. Sixty seconds later–the second dial on her kitchen clock is within her periphery—she discards the bag, heaps three generous spoonfuls of sugar into the cup, followed by so much cream that the tea instantly cools to drinking temperature, and sits down at the kitchen table.Still thinking it’s just another day.A gentle traffic hum outside, no sound inside her kitchen. Correction: no sound inside her flat, this two bedroom, one bathroom borderline apartment. Borderline because its location touches a good neighborhood and the Eastside. The street she lives on stops the filthy guts of downtown spilling over into suburbia. Her kitchen window points toward the high-rise monuments of downtown Vancouver. Very pretty at night, not so attractive at daytime when the not-so-high and not-so-modern buildings that envelope the skyscrapers become visible. She doesn’t want to look at the decaying grey buildings any longer that provide a battle ground between city planners who want to sell it to developers and Eastsiders who have occupied them.Just another day. And it is so quiet.Melissa turns on the TV, not realizing that it is exactly eight o’clock now. The channel is set on CTV and there is a ‘Breaking News’ banner flashing in bright orange below the female morning anchor. She increases the volume. The excited voice of the lady anchor fills her kitchen. She takes a sip of her sweet, sweet tea and leans back a little.“We have a developing story of a brutal attack on a customer at Starbucks coffee shop on Robson Street. Apparently a young woman has stabbed another woman inside Starbucks. Our reporter Emily Jackson is on location. Emily, what can you tell us…?”The upper body of a reporter, holding a microphone in one hand and fighting her wind-swept hair with the other, comes into the picture. Melissa hadn’t noticed that it is quite windy outside. Well, it’s October, at least it’s not raining. Behind the reporter a yellow band is restricting access to the crime scene. She sounds overly excited. “From what we have learned, a young woman has suddenly attacked a woman inside the coffee shop you see right behind me. We don’t know yet if the customer was already seated or still standing in line to place her order. We also don’t know the identity of the attacker or of the victim yet or have any information about the motive. Apparently the attacker suddenly produced a knife and threw herself at the woman, yelling obscenities on top of her voice. As you can see behind me, police have cordoned off the area and are processing the scene.”The anchor interrupts her. “Do we have any information about the condition of the victim? Is she badly hurt? Or…”An autumn gust blows hair over the reporter’s face. She nearly loses her microphone, trying to control the strands with both hands, but fumbles it back into position when she realizes that the camera is focused on her again. One side of her pretty face is completely covered with hair. It looks ridiculous and Melissa catches herself thinking the reporter would look a lot prettier if she had a different hairstyle.“The ambulance has transported the victim to the emergency ward of St Paul’s…”The reporter’s voice travels along Melissa’s attention span and loses its grip. Background noise quality. She likes that. And God, her tea is good.

Another developing story news-flash banner demands her attention again. The anchor sounds triumphant: “We have just received a video-clip from one of our viewers. We would like to warn you that some viewers may find the content of this video-clip offensive in nature…”

The clip starts. The picture is shaky, the filmmaker hassling for a good position between other coffee-shop customers who have jumped up to look what is going on in the middle of the room. The back of shoulders and heads pop in and out, screams of horror and confusion can be heard. Their unedited sound quality provides an unnerving authenticity to the unfolding drama.

An arm rises up in the air and down again, in kind of a wood chopping motion. Up and down, in one swift move, no hesitation whatsoever. In fact, the chopping goes on. Up and down, up and down—accompanied by ‘Oh my God’s’ and ‘Oh no, oh no’s’. The filmmaker edges closer, seems to get up on a chair, because he is above the scene now, holding his iPhone or whatever device he’s got, high above the center of the customer-circle that inched away from the dangerous situation. The victim of the attack is on the floor now, mercifully blurred by the rapid movements of the inexperienced cameraman, or maybe by CTV’s editing. The attacker, the young woman, wearing a black hoodie, is over her and chops into her with such vengeance that Melissa can feel the force of her hatred, furious and powerful. The victim is trying to protect her face and chest with crossed hands. The mad attacker continues to stab her wherever she can—face, arms, torso, it is impossible to make out exactly in the shaky clip where her knife slices into.

Bodies pop in and out of the picture and mercifully block most of what is going on. Several of them finally muster enough courage to intervene. The picture goes even more shaky and blurry. Then the anchor speaks again.

“We have word from the police that the victim you have just seen being attacked inside Starbucks on Robson about an hour ago is in critical condition. The young woman has been overpowered by three heroic young men…”

and now it happens, it’s not ‘just another day’ any longer

“they were performing a citizen’s arrest and held her captive until the police arrived…”

the anchor’s voice fades, just like the reporter’s before, because all of Melissa’s focus concentrates on what she sees on the screen. Meanwhile the filmmaker has managed to muscle himself closer to the group of guys who have pulled the young women off her victim and have now pinned her to the ground. Her face appears. The filmmaker zooms in. She smiles victoriously straight into his camera, as if she has achieved a very special feat.

Melissa is standing now, holding on to her cup of tea, frowning with the exhausting task of connecting what she sees on the screen with the reality of her life. It can not be. It can not be. But it is.

The tea cup slips from her weak hands, falls to the floor, spills its content on the cheap vinyl kitchen floor before rolling under the table.

It is. It is.

It is…her daughter.

 Review and endorsement:

In Birthdays of a Princess, Helga Zeiner has captured the inner thoughts of an abused teen with amazing sensitivity. From my own experiences in 25 years of Forensic Psychiatry both in private practice and at Youth Forensic Services the psychopathology of the characters is accurate and realistic.
Dr. Paul Janke
Forensic Psychiatrist, M.D., F.R.C.P., Vancouver, BC



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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble.  I am an IndieBound affiliate.  I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.