Feb 262020
 

Death and Betrayal by Seeley James Banner

 

Death and Betrayal

by Seeley James

on Tour February 17 – March 20, 2020

Synopsis:

Death and Betrayal by Seeley James

Jacob Stearne, ex Army Ranger and current Sabel Security operative, is about to propose to his girl when he discovers that “next generation” weapons are being shipped to our enemies. Some factions in the US government ask him to find the perpetrators while others work to make sure he fails. His intended fiancé does not understand his disappearance and he can’t give an explanation. When Jacob sets out to expose the billionaire intending to auction off national secrets, he is fired, expelled, and hunted by the government that once awarded him medals. If he ever wants to return to his homeland, he must insert himself into the dangerous world of technology smugglers. It’s a place where only the aggressive and ruthless survive. In the cutthroat world of modern-day pirates, every breath he takes may be his last. He must ask himself, can he outsmart the most corrupt billionaires in history before democracy is destroyed? Can he lose the woman he loves to save the nation?

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Machined Media
Publication Date: February 18th 2020
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 978-1-7333467-2-6
Series: Sabel Security Thriller #8
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Seeley James

Seeley James’ near-death experiences range from talking a jealous husband into putting the gun down to spinning out on an icy freeway in heavy traffic without touching anything. His resume ranges from washing dishes to global technology management. His personal life ranges from homeless at 17, adopting a 3-year-old at 19, getting married at 37, fathering his last child at 43, hiking the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim at 59, and taking the occasional nap.

Seeley’s writing career began with humble beginnings including publishing short stories in The Battered Suitcase leading to being awarded a Medallion from the Book Readers Appreciation Group. Seeley is best known for his Sabel Security series of thrillers featuring athlete and heiress Pia Sabel and her bodyguard and operative, veteran Jacob Stearne. One of them kicks ass and the other talks to the wrong god.

Seeley’s love of creativity began at an early age, growing up at Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture in Arizona and Wisconsin. He carried his imagination first into a successful career in computer technology sales and marketing, and then to his real love: fiction.

GUEST POST

10 facts about Jacob Stearne the reader doesn’t know

1. Hometown – Donnellson, Iowa which is in the middle of the state that is the heartland of the country.

2. Siblings – He has an older sister, Joyce. After a coin toss, Joyce inherited the family farm and Jacob found a life in the US Army.

3. School – Jacob was accepted to Iowa State University and completed his freshman year when the War on Terror began. He enlisted in the Army and volunteered for the Ranger school, where he is enshrined in the Ranger Hall of Honor.

4. Career – Due to the nature of special operations missions, Jacob is not allowed to talk about his eight tours of duty until 2045. That may be extended. He now works for Sabel Securities as a Senior Operative.

5. Friends – His best friends are Miguel Rodriguez and Tania Cooper, his pals from the service who followed him to Sabel Security. The company owner, Pia Sabel, considers him the brother she never had, but their relationship is strained

6. Food – In an alternate universe, Jacob would have gone to cooking school and become a chef. He still loves to cook and eat what he cooks, favoring James Beard Foundation recipes.

7. Movies – He doesn’t have good luck with movies. Last time he went, a bomb went off. He tries to spare the general public from the assassins who track him down.

8. Books – He is a big fan of Seeley James, keeping a novel on his nightstand in case he can’t get to sleep. A Seeley James novel makes a guest appearance in every book.

9. Car – Jacob had a VW Jetta, but it was destroyed by terrorists. Pia Sabel gave him a Ferrari, but it was destroyed by terrorists. In fact all of his cars have been blown up. He has given up and is currently without wheels and relies on his (understandably reluctant) friends to drive him around.

10. Music – Jacob plays the sax and loves Jazz.

Catch Up With Seeley James On:
SeeleyJames.com, Instagram,Twitter, Goodreads, BookBub, & Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

The man they called Ra stood on the Savannah’s main deck, staring hatred into the eyes of the general’s emissary. The smug bastard needed to learn a hard lesson about respect. Ra took several deep breaths, tamping down his growing agitation without betraying his emotions. The general had a good deal of money to spend. Ra held the emissary’s gaze as he cooled off. He said, “We’re talking about an auction for the most advanced weapon system the world has ever seen. An auction the general could easily win. What concerns could he possibly have?”

Ra resisted the urge to glance over the sea toward Monaco’s harbor. He was dying to see if his darling’s tender was on its way back from town, but he wouldn’t allow himself to be distracted.

“The general does not believe you have what you claim.” The emissary said in his heavily accented English. He gestured with his arms wide, encompassing Ra’s superyacht. “I do not see it here on your little skiff.”

Behind his left shoulder, the emissary’s sycophantic lieutenant made an insolent face to match his boss.

The dig was childish. Ra had the biggest yacht in Monaco, a present to himself after making billions in commodities. Too big to dock in the harbor. Sure, it was post-season, and the Numina would drop anchor due east of him in a few weeks. Until then, the Savannah reigned supreme. He felt like gutting the slimy emissary for his rudeness. Instead, he smoothed his Kiton sport coat and puffed up his thin frame.

“Don’t be a fool,” Ra sneered. “If I kept Alvaria onboard, sleezy generals from around the world would send commandos to take it from me. In case that’s what you’re thinking, rest assured, I have security. We call them ‘the dogs.’ You’ve met two of them.” He gestured to two bulky men in black suits standing close by. “Fido and Rover. Spot keeps watch with a rifle in case someone approaches uninvited. There are more. I have a whole kennel.”

Ra turned his back on his guests and checked the harbor. He couldn’t wait for his darling to return but he needed to conclude this delicate business before then. He didn’t want her to see the kind of men he dealt with. The emissary wore a ludicrous uniform without insignia yet festooned with medals. His black hair was greased straight back with what might’ve been motor oil. The lieutenant dressed and groomed himself to match. The very definition of a toady.

“The general does not believe the system can do what you claim,” the emissary said.

“Oh, my misguided friend. Alvaria is the stuff of autocrats’ dreams.” Ra laid his hands on the railing, keeping his focus out to sea. “Imagine what it can do. At the push of a button, a hundred drones leap into the air, locate their target, and annihilate whoever you choose. Each drone on a single-purpose mission, never stopping until one of them achieves the objective.” He straightened up and turned to face the emissary. “No more political rivals. No more annoying reporters asking inconvenient questions. No more adversaries across your western border. Everyone doing as they’re told, all under the general’s control. As it should be. It’s science fiction—and it’s here today. If your general doesn’t want to bid on it, he won’t get to see the show we have scheduled.”

“The general is skeptical you can obtain this system.” The emissary crossed his arms and widened his stance. “The Americans have impenetrable security.”

“I stand on my reputation. Many times your poor general has failed to pay me in a timely manner, yet I have never failed to deliver what he needs. From rocket launchers to automatic rifles, they arrived on time and under budget. He would still be a lieutenant were it not for me making good on my promises. He knows damn well my word is gold. My plan has been in the works for years. I have all the right people in all the right places. Alvaria will fall into my hands at exactly the right moment. If he does not believe me, he won’t see the demonstration.” Ra paused before making a sympathetic face. “Until his rival uses it to target him.”

To his credit, the emissary didn’t flinch.

“Think about this,” Ra said. “If Iran acquires Alvaria, they could destroy the ruling classes of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in an afternoon. The next morning, they could annihilate Iraq’s parliament. Then, they invade. The price of oil skyrockets because they would control 24% of the world’s production. Sanctions are lifted under threat of an oil embargo. And just like that, the Persian Empire is reborn.”

The emissary thought while he took a long, deep breath. He pressed a finger to his lips and looked at the deck. After a long moment, he lifted his finger and shook it at Ra. “The general does not like the glimpses of the future you have illuminated. He does not want to participate in your auction. Instead of bidding for it, he will report you to the Americans. That way, no one will have this system.” He paused and smiled. “There will be no resurgent Persian Empire.”

Ra flicked a quick glance at Fido, who sprang into action. To the emissary, Ra said, “I am most disappointed to hear you say that. On a different subject, do you recall meeting my man Bonham in a café last month? Bonham is my second-in-command. He offered you money to turn against the general. Ah, I see from your surprise that you do recall the encounter vividly. Well, sport, the problem for you is that when you turned him down, your lieutenant did not.”

As the emissary’s surprise turned to shock, his gaze swiveled to his lieutenant. At that moment, Fido knelt at the emissary’s feet and clamped leg irons on his ankles. In disbelief, the emissary looked down at his shackles, then followed the attached chain to find Rover standing at the railing, holding a very large, very heavy stone. “Do you think you can scare—”

“You’ve been paid,” Ra said to the emissary’s lieutenant. He held out an old, razor-sharp dagger. “Slit his throat.”

The lieutenant stared at Ra in disbelief. “Now?”

“Yes, now. Or die with him. Your choice. Ah. You’ve seen the light. Good man. Right here, above the collar. Stand behind him so you don’t get blood on yourself.”

As the young man weighed the knife in his hand and moved behind his former boss, Ra took out his phone, set it to video, and pressed record. The knife slashed through the stunned and wordless emissary’s neck. Blood sprayed forward. Rover dropped the rock overboard. The chain’s slack disappeared and yanked the emissary’s body with it, over the railing and into the deep.

The young man looked up at Ra, who kept the video rolling. The psychological weight of his first murder began to contort the young lieutenant’s expression. As he pondered his rapidly changing allegiances, he looked down to find Rover placing leg irons on his ankles. Behind him, Fido stood at the railing with another rock. He looked back at Ra and squeaked, “Why? I did what—”

“I think it’s obvious, isn’t it?” Ra asked. “You can’t be trusted.”

Over his shoulder he saw the tender bearing his darling returning from shore. She would be onboard in five minutes. No time for long goodbyes.

He turned back to face the lieutenant as Rover slit the young man’s throat. “There are four more of your kind in the general’s private guard. He’ll be dead by morning, so you’ll be in good company.”

The stone dropped. The chain tightened. The lieutenant’s body flew over the railing into the deep.

Ra looked at the pool of blood covering the deck. He snapped his fingers. A steward appeared. “You see this ugly mess? Scrub it clean.”

***

Excerpt from Death and Betrayal by Seeley James. Copyright 2020 by Seeley James. Reproduced with permission from Machined Media. All rights reserved.

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

 

Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Seeley James. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on February 17, 2020 and runs through March 22, 2020. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Feb 132020
 

The Great Witches Baking Show by Nancy Warren Banner

 

 

The Great Witches Baking Show

by Nancy Warren

on Tour February 1-29, 2019

Synopsis:

The Great Witches Baking Contest by Nancy Warren

A baker with secrets
Witches in trouble
The cameras are rolling
Ready, set, die.

Poppy Wilkinson is thrilled to be chosen as a contestant on The Great British Baking Contest. As an American with English roots, winning the crown as Britain’s Best Baker would open doors she’s dreamed of. In more ways than one. Appearing on the reality show is her chance to get into Broomewode Hall and uncover the secrets of her past.

But strange things are happening on the show’s set: accusations of sabotage, a black cat that shadows Poppy, suspiciously unsociable residents at Broomewode Hall—and the judges can be real witches.

There are murmurs that Broomewode is an energy vortex. It certainly makes Poppy see and do things that aren’t exactly normal, and seems to draw interesting characters to the neighborhood.

When a fellow contestant dies in mysterious circumstances, Poppy has more to worry about than burned pies and cakes that won’t rise. There’s a murderer on the loose and it’s up to Poppy and her new friends to solve the crime before it becomes a real show-stopper.

From USA Today Bestselling Author Nancy Warren, this delicious series of cozy paranormal mysteries will have you guessing until the end. Includes recipes.

Book Details:

Genre: Culinary Cozy
Published by: Ambleside Publishing
Publication Date: January 15th 2020
Number of Pages: 250
ASIN: B07ZL472PK
Series: Culinary Cozy #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Nancy Warren

Nancy Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than seventy novels, including the best selling Vampire Knitting Club series and the Toni Diamond mysteries. She’s from Vancouver, though she tends to wander. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa university, appeared on the front page of the New York Times when her book Speed Dating launched the Harlequin/Nascar series. She was also the answer to a clue in a crossword puzzle in Canada’s National Post newspaper.

Guest Post

10 facts about Poppy Wilkinson that the reader doesn’t know

Hi and thanks for having me.

Ten facts about Poppy Wilkinson that the reader doesn’t know.

1. Poppy grew up in Seattle and her first job was babysitting for the founder of a huge multinational software manufacturer.

2. She loves the ocean but when she first tried water skiing she got pulled under head first again and again leaving nothing above the water line but her blue bathing suit-clad butt. Naturally, the video went viral.

3. Because her parents both worked, Poppy used to bake after school and often made dinner for the family. The family dog used to hang around in the kitchen and wait for her to drop things. She became deliberately clumsy, especially when cooking Bingo’s favorite foods.

4. Because she was adopted, she never knew who her birth parents were, but she knew she was from England. For a while she was convinced that David Beckham and Posh Spice were her parents.

5. She tried out for the soccer team at school and spent most of the season on the bench.

6. She tried to start an all-girl band but her friends refused to join as she couldn’t sing in tune. At this point, she stopped believing that Posh and Becks were her mum and dad.

7. She’s a contestant in the Great British Baking Show and she has a little superstitious ritual. Before she starts baking, she kisses the palm of her hand and puts it against the oven for good luck.

8. Baking calms her and helps her solve problems. She’s been known to bake muffins at four in the morning when she can’t sleep. Usually, when she’s finished, the solution to her problem is there.

9. She was the captain of the swim team her senior year in high school but she prefers swimming in lakes and the ocean to swimming pools.

10. She reads cook books for pleasure, the way other people read novels. She also collects old and obscure cookbooks.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

As life-changing moments go, getting the call that I’d been chosen to compete in The Great British Baking Contest was right up there. I’d practiced, auditioned and practiced some more. I was a decent home baker, but was I really the best in Britain? Probably not. But I didn’t have to be.

The contest was my way of getting into Broomewode Hall, where the show was filmed. I had my own reasons for going there that had nothing to do with baking.

Still, it hadn’t been easy to be chosen. There were thousands of applicants every year and then an excruciating selection process, where the show’s producers chose twelve from the short list and made us bake on camera. Some people went to pieces; some were just really boring. They randomly selected bakers off the short list and tried out different combinations of personalities, a bit like baking, really, seeing which ingredients created the most interesting results. I quickly learned that the trick was to be a good character, try to be funny, be a good sport, pretend you didn’t notice that cameras were on you and a clock was ticking down the minutes, and still turn out a decent jam tart.

Easy peasy! Not.

One of the reasons they chose me for the show, I think, was that while I was British, I’d grown up in the States, which was kind of fun, as the show had become a huge hit in America. I’d also started life in a bakery. Or, more accurately, in a cardboard box outside a bakery in Norton St. Philip, a charming village near Bath in Somerset.

I like to think my mother, whoever she was, chose the bakery so she knew I’d be warm and, since bakers start work so early, I’d be found. And I was. When Gareth Philpott came to work that morning, he said he looked into the box and found me wide-awake, staring up at him. Not crying, not fussing, just staring as though I’d expected him. They named me Poppy. The Philpotts would have kept me if they could have. They’re a nice family, but they already had three children, and the authorities don’t just give a family a baby because they happened to stumble across one. First they tried to find my mother or any information at all about my origins. When that proved impossible, I was adopted by Agatha and Leland Wilson, and they became my parents.

They were both teachers. They’d tried for years to have their own children, and their delight in getting me was reflected in the way they pretty much turned their lives around to give me the best upbringing they could. They were loving parents, kind and patient. Strict when they had to be. We lived in Bath for the first eight years of my life, and then my dad was offered a teaching job in Seattle.

I grew up there, mostly, lost the British accent, became a typical American teenager, and then when I finished high school, my folks retired and moved back to the UK. I could have stayed in Seattle. I had friends, and I could’ve gone to college there, but I chose to come back to England. I think, deep down, it’s always felt like home. Besides, like a lot of adopted kids, the mystery of my beginnings haunts me.

Soon after returning to England, my folks moved to the south of France to bask in warmer weather, grow lavender and cook gourmet meals. My dad, who taught history, was writing a book. My mom was learning French.

They’d saved up a nice chunk of change for me to go to college but, in spite of having teachers as parents, I never felt the urge. I was always more artistic than intellectual, so I went to an art and design college for two years, and they let me use the rest of the money toward buying a tiny cottage in Norton St. Philip. It’s probably crazy, and nobody even thinks my mother was from there, but I started my life in that village and so it pulled me back. The Philpotts still ran the bakery and were my second family. I guess you’ll always have a bond with the person who picked you up off the street as a newborn. Besides, growing up as an only child, I was fascinated by their sprawling, noisy family.

I became a freelance graphic designer, which allowed me to work from home.
Gina Philpott was my age and my best friend. She was also the only one who knew why I really wanted to get on that show.
It went all the way back to when I was just a baby in that cardboard box. I’d been wrapped in a curious blanket.

I saw my baby blanket one day when I was watching The Great British Baking Contest. They always filmed at Broomewode Hall, a Georgian manor house that wasn’t open to the public. Broomewode Hall was the seat of the Earl of Frome, Robert Champney and his family. During one of the behind-the-scenes segments on the show, Lady Frome, showed them around her home.

As the camera panned around the great dining hall I was instantly transfixed by a woman in an oil painting who seemed to be wearing my baby blanket! I saw now that, in fact, it was a shawl. But the pattern was the same. I was certain of it.

And from that very moment, I began my quest to find out more about Broomewode Hall. Lord and Lady Frome guarded their privacy tenaciously, and it was impossible to get access to them and their family home. Besides, what would I say? “I think one of your ancestors once wore my baby blanket? The best way I could think of to spend time there was to qualify as a baker on The Great British Baking Contest.

I’d done it. Against incredible odds, I’d been chosen as one of twelve bakers. It was one step toward finding how who I really was. All I had to do now was figure out how to get the rest of the way.

***

Excerpt from The Great Witches Baking Show by Nancy Warren. Copyright 2019 by Nancy Warren. Reproduced with permission from Nancy Warren. All rights reserved.

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

GIVEAWAY!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nancy Warren. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2020 and runs through March 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Nov 202019
 

VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae Banner

 

 

VanOps: The Lost Power

by Avanti Centrae

on Tour November 4, 2019 – January 10, 2020

Synopsis:

VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae

Da Vinci Code meets Tomb Raider in this award-winning thriller that #1 NYT’s author James Rollins called, “Full of action and suspense.”

Spain 1057: During a thunderous battle, the first King of Aragon wrestles Alexander the Great’s priceless Egyptian weapon from the Moors, but finds it holds a terrifying and mysterious power.

A thousand years later, on a hushed, fog-shrouded, Napa morning, gunshots and the sound of breaking glass rip through the silence. Maddy Marshall, an app designer and aikido instructor, and her twin brother, Will Argones, an engineer, quickly run toward the sound. Horrified, they discover a sniper’s bullet has found its human target.

Before the pool of blood on the living room floor is dry, the twins are sent on an arcane quest to recover Alexander’s ancient weapon. Joined by a VanOps covert agent, they soon discover the rifle’s sights are now set on them. No place is safe, a wrong move means death, and even a simple phone call is off limits if they are to survive.

From a medieval Spanish castle, they follow a time-worn trail, starting at a secret warren under the streets of Jerusalem. But if the killer finds the weapon first, it will be used to cripple the United States’ eye-in-the-sky early warning systems, allowing the Russians to swoop in and prey on the vulnerable nation.

Can Maddy learn to wield the power of the dangerous weapon in time to stop the Russian scheme? Failure means the fragile world peace will be forever shattered…

Critical Praise for VanOps: The Lost Power

“Avanti Centrae’s VanOps: The Lost Power opens a tantalizing new series that combines historical mystery and cutting-edge science into a masterwork of international intrigue—with the promise of more to follow. Written with a dynamic, cinematic style and full of action and suspense, here’s a book that defines page-turner. Don’t miss this riveting debut!”
~ James Rollins, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crucible

“Just a good ole’ fashioned rip-roaring adventure from start to finish. Enjoy the ride.”
~ Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author

“A high-stakes, daring adventure charged with suspense and mystery!”
~ Ann Charles, USA TODAY bestselling author of the Deadwood Mystery Series

“The writing is superb. Easy to read and captivating. There is a mixture of mystery and action that keeps me turning pages. Readers who like Indiana Jones, or the books by James Patterson, Tom Clancy, and Vince Flynn, will enjoy Centrae’s first installment in her VanOps series.”
~ John Bernstein, Professional Reviewer

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Black Opal Books
Publication Date: November 9th 2019
Number of Pages: 308
ISBN: 1644371960 (ISBN13: 9781644371961)
Series: VanOps #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Avanti Centrae

International award-winning author who blends intrigue, history, science, and mystery into nonstop thrillers.

Avanti Centrae is the author of the international award-winning VanOps thriller series. An avid world-traveler, she’s studied aikido, been a river raft guide, and thrives on adventure. Her book, The Lost Power, took home a genre grand prize blue ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival. She resides in Northern California with her family and German Shepherds.

Q&A with Avanti Centrae

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Avanti Centrae, a modern Renaissance woman. She’s been a raft guide, world-traveler, Silicon Valley IT executive, and is now an award-winning thriller author. Avanti’s debut novel, VANOPS: THE LOST POWER, won a Genre Grand Prize blue ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards and took home an honorable mention at last year’s Hollywood Book Festival. Her blend of intrigue, history, science, and mystery has been getting rave reviews. NYT bestselling author Steve Berry called the novel, “…a good ole’ fashioned rip-roaring adventure from start to finish.”

Avanti, thanks for stopping by. Give us a big picture overview of THE LOST POWER.
I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you. THE LOST POWER is a DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER type international thriller, about an aikido black belt, a Russian sniper, and the ultimate race to find Alexander the Great’s mysterious Egyptian weapon. It begins with a double-murder on a foggy Napa Valley morning.

Alexander the Great? Love it. I was fascinated by all the history in this story. Can you tell me more about Ramiro I and his role in the story?
Yes. The novel begins in 1057 AD, during a thunderous battle between Ramiro I of Aragon, and the Moors. Ramiro I was the first king of Spain.

Ramiro sends a spy into the camp of the Moors and learns the weapon the Moors are using to decimate his troops may have been used by Alexander the Great. Ramiro captures the weapon and finds its power so dangerous that he hides it, wanting only the best-suited of descendants to find it again.

In the story, Isabella I and Ferdinand II are the only descendants of Ramiro to find the lost power. At least, so far.

Did Ramiro really establish the current European dynasty of rulers?
Yes, most of the current European monarchs are descended from the union of Isabella and Ferdinand, including the current king of Spain, King Felipe VI. During my research, I traced both Isabella and Ferdinand back to Ramiro.

Let’s introduce the protagonists to the readers and tell them how the heroes are related to Ramiro.
The main characters are Maddy Marshall and Will Argones.
Maddy is a tall, independent woman with special martial arts skills who works as an app designer in downtown San Francisco. Maddy’s long-legged twin brother, Will Argones, fled to Brazil to escape Maddy’s wrath after a thoughtless stunt in high school. He’s married to a local woman and works as a test engineer.


Their grandfather was the youngest brother of the current king of Spain.

The way you wove history into the story felt inspired. Tell me a few other true tidbits and how they play out in the novel.
Great question. The thorned cross was really Ramiro’s royal sign, or signum regis, before it graced the cover of the book. The fictional part is that it’s the clue Maddy and Will search for on their quest to find the lost power. They first see the royal sign on the walls of the family castle and when they’re hunting for any sort of clue under the Dome of Jerusalem, they spy it again, and it leads to the next part of their quest.

Give me one more.

Here’s another. The Russian villain, Ivan Klimov, has a grandmother who was a sniper during WWII. She taught him to shoot while killing rabbits, and he recalls their blood sprayed across the snow. The historical inspiration for her was the female snipers that fought in World War II for the Soviet Union. Liudmyla Pavlychenko, or “Lady Death,” was a Russian Red Army Soviet sniper. With 309 kills, she is regarded as one of the most effective military snipers in history.

What about the obelisks?
It turns out that the twins are seeking obelisks hidden inside the Aragon Châsse, a small box that Ramiro hid before he passed away. The Egyptians used that obelisk structure frequently, and you can still see one of their more well-known obelisks gracing Saint Peter’s square.

Once the twins leave California, all of the locations have a rich history. Tell us about a unique place and its historical interest.
Sure. I found the history of Bagan, Myanmar pretty interesting. The town is filled with picturesque ancient temples. The twins get a clue to “Find the center of the Pagan empire,” and they’re not sure if the clue means non-Christian pagans or the Pagan Kingdom.


They learn Burma was home to the Pagan Kingdom, which was an empire in Asia from around 850 to1300 AD. The name comes from the name of a town, Pagan, which became Bagan. Bagan became a central power base in the mid-ninth century under King Anawratha, who unified Burma under Theravada Buddhism. It’s estimated that as many as thirteen thousand temples and stupas once stood in the city. Only twenty-two hundred still exist, in various states of disrepair. Most historians think the Mongols invaded and sacked Bagan in 1287 AD.

The location makes for a spectacular set of action scenes, including a tension filled balloon ride over the golden Irrawaddy River and the town’s famous pagodas.

Read us a passage that has some history in it.
Let me find one. Okay, Maddy and Will are joined on the quest by Bear Thorenson, a broad-shouldered friend from high school turned marine. Bear is a history buff. In this section Maddy and Bear discuss the hunt for the next clue in Vilnius, Lithuania.


Bear said, “Yes, and the search is not without some additional historical challenges. There were five famous fires that destroyed much of the Old Town between 1700 and 1750. It’s possible the clue may have perished in one of those fires.”

“Oh, boy,” Maddy said.

“It gets worse. During the next century, Napoleon and his Grande Armée trundled through here. Also, more recently, both the Germans and the Russians were not kind.”

“World War Two?” Maddy asked.

“Yep. Out in the forest, archeologists recently uncovered a hundred-foot tunnel used by a small handful of Jews, called the “Burning Brigade,” to escape Nazi death pits. This Brigade was forced to unearth and burn bodies to cover up the killing of an estimated hundred thousand people.”

Heart pained, Maddy looked away.

“The men dug the tunnel with spoons found on their dead friends and relatives. Only twelve of eighty prisoners survived the escape.” Bear paused, anger radiating from his eyes as he gazed into the past. He took a deep breath and stretched his shoulders. “But I digress—the point is, we face the challenge of time.”

The story had me holding my breath throughout, and I really enjoyed all the historical references. Where can readers buy THE LOST POWER?
It’s for sale on all the major online retailers, including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble. Readers can also request it from their independent bookstore or local library.

How can readers follow you on social media?
Readers can check out the first six chapters of THE LOST POWER for free on my website at VanOps.net.
And they can follow me on any of these platforms:strong>
http://www.Facebook.com/avanticentrae
http://www.Instagram.com/avanti.centrae.author
http://www.Twitter.com/avanticentrae

Thanks much for this interview!

Catch Up With Avanti Centrae:
avanticentrae.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Napa Valley, California, June 25, 8:56 a.m., Present Day

Through the crosshairs of his long-barreled sweetheart, Ivan scanned the wood-casement window of the vineyard’s stone-walled residence, and waited for his intended target to walk into view. His movements were slow and meticulous.

Lying in the loft of an old barn, he calculated range, altitude, temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, and humidity. His skin was irritated by the coarse hay that surrounded him, but he ignored the sensation and focused on his calculations. Click. He made a minor adjustment on his rifle to account for the drop of the round due to air density. And another for windage.

Although misty rivers of fog swirled into gray whirlpools around the winery, the computer enhanced scope of his Springfield EBR allowed him to visually lock onto the home’s large bank of windows. Human movement flickered behind the glass.

He didn’t want to pull the trigger. Nevertheless, Ivan waited for the perfect moment, the perfect shot.

CHAPTER 2

8:57 a.m.

As she headed toward her father’s vineyard, Maddy drove as fast as she dared down a familiar tree-lined Napa country lane. Today, she didn’t recognize the road. It looked eerie and unnatural. The area was draped in sheets of fog from yesterday’s unseasonable rain, and the silver half-light gave the trees an ethereal patina.

“Sensei, would you kill someone if you had to?” AJ asked. Surprised, Maddy frowned. “I’m not a sensei yet, remember?” She paused for a moment before she replied to his query.

“Where did that question come from?”

“We were talking about it in the locker room at the dojo after class. We know aikido is about non-violence, but what if you don’t have a choice?” His voice dropped to a dramatic whisper. “What if it was kill or be killed?”

Maddy shook her head. The things children thought about. “I would always look for another way.”

She glanced over at AJ, glad she’d brought him along today. His ears stuck out and his face was dotted with freckles. She found him adorable.

“Okay. Can martial arts masters light paper on fire with just their hands?”

Maddy halted the car at a stop sign and peered through the swirling patchy-dense fog, trying to get her bearings while she figured out how to answer this question. The mist distorted everything. She turned right.

Without warning, a smothering mass of black rustling feathers flew toward the car. She flinched in her seat and slammed on the car brakes. Her heart pounded. She stopped breathing and scanned the road ahead of her. After a long moment, she realized with chagrin that she had just scared a bunch of ugly, red-faced black turkey vultures into flight by turning onto a new road after a stop sign.

She took a deep breath. It wasn’t like her to be so jumpy. She was, after all, shodan, a first-dan black belt. But the sudden movement of wings, obscured through the morning’s foggy haze, had pulled her off balance. Maddy gave the car some gas and it inched forward down the road.

Maddy looked over at AJ. “Are you okay?” AJ laughed. “I’m okay. But that scared you!”

“Did not!” Maddy replied, twisting her ponytail.

“Did too—I saw you jump! And you smashed on the brakes.”

Maddy grinned for a moment at the childish banter and AJ’s creative language. It could be a happy day, in spite of everything. She loved AJ, she and Vincent had even talked about adopting him. Vincent, her former fiancé. Of course, that was before the breakup. Since then, she’d been feeling brittle, and the nightmare last night didn’t help. The dream was gut-wrenching. Although the sensation had faded in the dim light of morning, much of it lingered like a bad relationship. That dream was probably why she was on edge and had jumped at the thrashing wings.

She looked at the dash clock—only a few minutes late. Heart still beating faster than normal, she turned down the long shadowy driveway of the once proud vineyard.

CHAPTER 3

9:02 a.m.

Up in the old barn, Ivan was close to the target, only seventy meters from the glass curtain that separated him from his quarry. Although the misty morning limited his visibility, he felt confident in his ability to execute the task Baron Sokolov had assigned to him.

Ivan recalled much longer-range kills. Two months ago, from a nearby skyscraper, he’d eliminated a traitorous spy during a French soccer match, piercing the man’s forehead as directed. His record was just under two thousand meters, one hundred fifty meters shy of the longest recorded sniper kill in history. But he reminded himself to stay vigilant and cautious, traits that had earned him medals as one of Russia’s most accurate shooters.

Being watchful was his nature. It was the silver lining of his disorder, congenital analgesia, which made him insensitive to pain. My gift from Mother, he thought.

Ivan wondered where on his body he would mark this job. His left arm was covered in sets of hash marks—scars, where he had marked his kills. He started scarring himself in school to impress the other children, and in time it had become a blood ritual after a task to remind himself to be careful, that he too could die. After this morning, it would be time to add another scar. At one hundred and fifty-five confirmed kills, he had scars on both thighs, both arms, and was running out of room for the marks.

Soon he would catch up to the kills his grandmother had recorded during World War II. After Germany had invaded, she had volunteered for the military and had one hundred and seventy-nine confirmed kills to her credit. Impressive. He remembered how she had taught him to shoot when he was young. She had a fondness for killing rabbits and he could still picture their crimson blood sprayed on the bright Siberian snow. However, patience was her favorite lesson and it had served him well.

A puff of wind tugged at a windmill in the distance, and the melancholy creak of metal scratching metal disturbed the morning silence. He held his breath and listened for any sound to indicate he’d been discovered. There was nothing further, only an unnatural, muted quiet.

Focused on his breathing and the window, he continued to wait for a clean shot.

He was tired of killing, but he had to do his job. This last job. Or his son would die.

CHAPTER 4

9:05 a.m.

Maddy’s car hit a pothole on the vineyard’s long gravel driveway. It annoyed her that Dad hadn’t said what was so urgent, and she’d been too distracted with the breakup to call him back.

As she drew closer to the house, she was irritated to see Will was playing fog-fetch with the dog in the front yard. What is he doing here? Did dad call all the siblings? Bella, too? Will waved, walked toward an obnoxious sky-blue convertible that must be a rental, and opened the trunk.

Maddy parked by Will’s car, near the house. She wished Dad would get the place painted. It was overdue and made the house look dilapidated in the gloom. Barking, her dad’s middle-aged golden retriever ran up to the car.

“A dog! Can I play with the dog?” AJ asked, true excitement in his voice.

“Sure, just don’t head too far into the vineyard,” Maddy replied. “His name is Squirrel.”

AJ bounded from the car and ran off, chasing the dog through the murky, fog-bound yard.

Will closed the trunk of the Mustang, moved around to the side of the car, and watched AJ and the dog playing. Dressed in his usual style, he wore tan cargo shorts, leather sandals, and a dark-blue Ralph Lauren polo shirt. Ever prepared for disaster, he had a small flashlight hanging from the front of his shorts, and she figured he had a knife in his pocket. He was holding two small travel bags and managed to cradle a book in his hand. Without a doubt, a geeky physics book.

Maddy had avoided prolonged contact with Will since their senior year in high school when he had pulled that awful prank. She had turned her back on him then, and her face flushed with the memory. As she opened her car door, she stood and swung her hair out of her face. Then she shut the door and walked over to him. It was so foggy and quiet, she didn’t even hear songbirds.

Maddy tried to keep the annoyance out of her voice. “Hello, Will.”

After they’d spent time apart, she was always surprised at the strength of their emotional bond. She couldn’t believe he was happy to see her—he had no shame! She had felt some connection to her boyfriends, Vincent included—I hate you right now, Vincent—and sometimes to her students at the dojo. But the connection was always strongest with Will, her twin, like it or not. He felt content now. She had almost missed his charm.

Will flashed his irksome, boyish, lopsided grin. “Hey, Maddy, it’s good to see you! Did you have a safe drive?”

To meet her, he walked around toward the front of the car. She noted his dark curly hair looked ruffled and a little shorter than the last time she’d seen him. His green eyes looked pinched, as if he were worried about something.

Dad sometimes teased that they all had Spanish olives for eyes, but she enjoyed sharing the feature. She just wished she’d been blessed with Will’s long eyelashes, instead of having to create them every day with mascara.

Maddy studied Will’s face. She noticed that the scar on his chin was almost hidden by a fashionable new beard that he’d grown since she’d seen him last year at Christmas dinner. The scar was always a painful reminder of the childhood accident that killed their mother.

As he put down the bags, he scratched the beard, casually leaned back against the hood of the Mustang, and crossed his long lanky legs.

She knew protocol called for a hug, and considered it. Rejecting the idea, she also ignored his worrywart question about the safe drive. “Did you leave Maria in Brazil?”

Maddy could tell from his eyes that Will didn’t understand her cold shoulder, and she didn’t care. He had never made amends for that thoughtless stunt back in high school and she wasn’t going to let him off the hook.

“No, I brought her with me,” he replied.

Remembering her nightmare, Maddy’s gut clenched. She tried to ignore it.

“We’ve both been working too hard.”

Instead, she lashed out, her voice rising more than she intended. “Was that wise? Bringing her? Do you even know what Dad wants?”

Will took a deep breath. “Gee, sis, simmer down. I thought I was the worrier of the family.” He met her gaze. “Maria was up for a change of scenery so we planned a romantic wine-country vacation. You know, the train, mud baths, that sort of thing? We might even stop by Safari West. Besides, you brought company.” He nodded toward AJ. “Who’s the little guy?”

“His name is AJ. He’s a foster kid from the dojo and it’s his birthday.” She watched AJ and the dog play a spontaneous game of tag. “Is that all Dad wants with us? A vacation? He sounded concerned on the message he left me. And didn’t mention you’d be here, or Bella. Is she coming? He didn’t even say why he wanted me to come, which just seems odd. Did you talk with him?”

“Bella is on her way, but no, we didn’t talk before I came up. I hope nothing is wrong. We just got here and haven’t had a chance to visit much, but he did mention he had some disconcerting news.” He paused. “You feel upset. What are you not telling me? What’s the big deal?”

On days like today, Maddy hated that the emotional bond between them worked both ways. She didn’t feel like telling him anything, especially about the dream. Irritated, she looked around for a way out of the conversation but didn’t see one. The sun was hidden, the vineyard foggy and subdued, like it was holding its breath.

She clenched her teeth and took a deep breath of her own. “I had a dream last night.”

Now his tone sharpened a notch. “What kind of dream?”

“A bad one. Maria was in it. I woke up early and it’s stuck with me since.”

“Tell me,” he demanded.

“I don’t know…there was blood on her face.”

She remembered another dream she had when they were six. The night before their mom died. She knew by the look on his face that he was remembering that dream, too.

“Blood on Maria’s face—” he frowned, thinking, questioning.

“Yes, it was horrible. Splattered like a Pollock painting. I don’t remember much else. But the feeling is still with me.” Her mood picked up a little, having gotten it off her chest. “It’s probably nothing. I just wish you hadn’t brought her.”

“Interesting,” he said. “You haven’t had one of those dreams in a while, have you? A real one?”

“No,” she said. “It’s been a few years and the last was about a boyfriend cheating on me. The dream ended that relationship.”

Will put his hands on his hips. “How is Vincent?” She grimaced.

Irritated, Maddy turned and headed up the sidewalk toward the house. Will grabbed the bags and his book, and followed her, his feet padding on the concrete.

As they walked, she remembered the lush landscaping that had been here once. It had provided a jumbled, colorful contrast to the acres and acres of straight green vines in the fields. Her father’s landscapers, back when he could afford them, had done well in this entry area. She couldn’t see it, but she inhaled the light scent of gardenia, and she recognized remnants of some sort of native grass, night-blooming jasmine, pansies, and roses. Vincent had brought her roses only three weeks ago. Bastard.

“I see,” Will said. “So…maybe this dream was a reaction to whatever is going on there?”

“Maybe—” she said. “I hope so.” Then she added, “Let’s go see what Dad wants.”

CHAPTER 5

9:15 a.m.

Ivan tugged on the two-stage trigger, testing it. He was used to his Soviet bolt-action SV-98, but in the interest of time and ease of entry into the country, he had purchased a black-market rifle in the States. He was pleased with his choice, and glad it had come with a suppressor. The Enhanced Battle Rifle was decent—he tested it out yesterday in an isolated vineyard he found for the purpose. The rifle was a little heavy, but he liked the trigger-shoe modification the prior owner had done, as it gave the pull a more natural feel.

He drew his attention back to the wood-casement window and twice glimpsed the oblivious inhabitant, dancing his way to death. A minute ago, the sound of car tires on gravel had come to him through the fog, so his partner, on lookout, should be reporting in.

On cue, a voice in his head broke the morning stillness, “Green Prius has parked at the front of the house.” The sniper appreciated that he could hear his partner’s Russian voice clearly through the high-tech device, as he was old enough to remember missions without such advanced technology.

“Driver?” he subvocalized the question, also in Russian, into the tiny molar microphone that had been custom formed to fit his teeth.

“She’s female, young, maybe thirty. Slim, with an olive complexion. Has sexy long dark hair in a ponytail, and is tall. Pretty tall for a woman. Rape-bait if you ask me. Dressed in jeans and a snug purple T-shirt,” his partner said.

On this job, his partner was here as much to keep an eye on him as to help, Ivan knew. The man’s simple mind and cruel nature were evident every time they worked together. The idiot had caused them to run late this morning. This part of the job should have been over an hour ago. Now it was getting complicated.

“That’s not what we’re here for,” Ivan hissed.

“Maybe. If so, you need to take your shot.” A few beats later his partner continued, “She was talking to the tall man next to the blue sports car. They look alike. Now they’re headed to the front door.”

There was a long pause. The sniper adjusted his hold on the rifle, concentrating. He’d read the dossiers on Maddy Marshall and her twin brother, Will Argones. Argones was an engineer, no real threat. But the Marshall woman. A world-class athlete and national ski champion who had been a favorite for Olympic gold, she’d used her lightning-fast reflexes to become a warrior in an unusual martial art. And she was gifted with a keen intelligence. A dangerous combination. In another time and place, he’d have been interested in her as a mate.

He swore. Based on his orders, their arrival meant he had run out of time.

A low whistle pierced his ear.

“Ivan, she’s got long legs. You know I like long legs, right? Why don’t we stick around and have some fun?”

“You’re a pig and the baron was clear in our instructions,” the sniper replied, with heat in his tone.

“You’re a bore. Oh, she had a kid with her in the car.”

“A kid? What kid?” The dossier didn’t mention a child! That wasn’t part of the deal. I may go down in flames if the baron makes me shoot a kid. This target is one thing but

“How do I know what kid? He looks like he’s eight or nine. Red hair, big ears. He’s playing with the dog in the vineyard.” Ivan hoped the kid and dog were off in a different direction. At home, Ivan’s son might be playing with his own dog. But that thought was dangerous. “Just make sure they don’t come this way.”

His attention back on the window, Ivan finally got a complete look at one of the other inhabitants: a short, dark-skinned woman. She wore a pale pink blouse above a blue skirt and Ivan prayed she would get out of the way. He didn’t like killing women. However, he knew that, whether he liked it or not, the latter part of the baron’s plan already called for its share of female bloodshed.

The older man, near a black sofa, came into Ivan’s sights for a brief moment. It appeared that he and the younger woman were moving into the room with all the windows. Ivan knew it was time.

Ivan was glad now they’d chosen a fast getaway car. “I must focus—go get the car ready.”

The older man came completely into view. He was tall, clean-shaven, tan-skinned, with owlish glasses. His receding black hair was streaked with gray, and he wore slacks and a white button-down shirt. Yes, finally.

But the woman was directly behind the target! Move, he willed to her. Please.

This was the best shot he had. Time had run out! He had no choice but to urge her to move at the last minute.

He took a slow, steady breath and tugged again on the two-stage trigger. Only this time, it wasn’t a test.

CHAPTER 6

9:20 a.m.

AJ and Squirrel, done with the chase and on to a game of fetch, ran around the side yard, enjoying the grass and the feel of morning in the dense, wet fog. AJ loved all things nature.

Feeling happy today made him miss his parents. He had vague memories of joyful times when they took him to his grandparent’s Ukrainian dairy farm. When the Russians came and killed his grandparents, his parents and he had fled to San Francisco. Then, one day, his mom and dad had been caught in the crossfire of a convenience store holdup while stopping for milk. That’s what he’d gathered, no one had told him.

Since his parents’ death he’d been in foster care, because all of his family back in Ukraine were dead, too. He didn’t like his foster family because they ignored him, but he loved Maddy and did whatever his foster creeps asked so that he could go to the dojo. Maddy treated him the way his mom used to, warm and caring.

Today, he was full of pleasure—hanging out with Maddy, getting to chase a dog outside. More than anything, he wanted a real family again. And a dog, just maybe not one named Squirrel. Someday, he’d get a big dog to protect him and name it Rufus, or Damien.

AJ threw a stick and tried out the new name, “Damien, fetch!”

After several minutes of chasing the stick in the side yard, AJ decided they should play a new game in the rows of vines.

“C’mon, Damien,” he called as he ran into the shadows, followed by the panting dog.

The morning was blissfully perfect as they ran up and down the rows. Then a loud crack sounded from the direction of the barns, like a tree branch breaking. He called his new canine friend and they headed off to investigate.

***

Excerpt from VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae. Copyright 2019 by Avanti Centrae. Reproduced with permission from Avanti Centrae. All rights reserved.

 

 

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Avanti Centrae. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on November 4, 2019 and runs through January 13, 2020. Void where prohibited

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Nov 062019
 

The Fixer: The Last Romanov by Jill Amy Rosenblatt Banner

 

 

The Fixer:

The Last Romanov

by Jill Amy Rosenblatt

on Tour October 21 – November 23, 2019

Synopsis:

The Last Romanov by Jill Amy Rosenblatt

“My name is Katerina Mills. Make sure I disappear.”

Katerina Mills is getting out . . .

Desperate to escape a psychotic former client, a vengeful mobster, and a dirty DEA agent, professional “fixer” Kat Mills is ready to drop out and disappear.

She doesn’t trust her employer, the shadowy MJM Consulting, but Katerina can’t say no to one last job for the biggest score yet, enough money to get lost for good… until the client asks the impossible…

Dmitry Zilinsky claims he is a direct descendant of Russia’s last Tsar, Nicholas II, and he demands Katerina steal the item that will prove it.

Kat must get the job done or she can’t make her escape. But when professional thief Alexander Winter reappears in her life, Katerina Mills faces a new choice: go it alone or risk everything to be with the one person she doesn’t want to live without?

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Jill Amy Rosenblatt
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Number of Pages: 692
ISBN: 978-1-7332560-0-1
Series: The Fixer #3
Purchase Links: Amazon Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Jill Amy Rosenblatt

Jill Amy Rosenblatt is the author of The Fixer (Katerina Mills) series. The Last Romanov is the third book in the series. Book 2, The Killing Kind, was the 2017 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Suspense. She previously published Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse through Kensington Press. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Literature and her Masters Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Burlington College in Vermont. She lives on Long Island and is currently at work on book four of The Fixer series, The Good Criminal.

Q&A with Jill Amy Rosenblatt

Welcome and thank you for stopping by CMash Reads

What inspired you to write this book?

The Fixer: The Last Romanov is the third book in The Fixer series. Katerina Mills’ story continues to grow and change and I’m excited to see where her journey is headed. I’m always surprised and humbled after so much time and work to see the final product. I was so excited to hold the paperback ARC in my hand!

What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?

There were a few things. The first was simply getting enough time to sit down and write the book. I work a day job that demands a lot so it’s not easy to have the time or energy to write at the end of the workday. Second, several storylines continue throughout the books and it’s important to double check all the details and make sure all the elements are correct. Sometimes I have to force myself to slow down! Sometimes, a scene won’t sit right with me and it’s in those moments I have to force myself to stop and think about it for a few days until I find what’s bothering me and then go back and do rewrites.

Give us a glimpse of the research that went into this book.

A ton of research goes into every book. I am so lucky to have a lovely group of kind people who give their time and expertise to answer my questions about topics such as Russian history and language translation, police procedural, forensics, Italian and Spanish translation, Carl Faberge, Balboa Island, the Romanovs, and other topics. I also spend a lot of time reading books, articles, looking at photographs, and searching the Internet to make sure if I’m mentioning something in the book, I have done my homework.

How did you come up with the title?

The title came out of one of the plotlines of the book; it refers to Kat’s client.

Your routine in writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

Lots of idiosyncrasies!! I work very loose, mostly because I’m afraid if I put any pressure on myself, I will fall into another bout of writer’s block! I don’t do anything in particular; my characters are running wild and I’m just writing it all down! Whatever plot point comes to mind, even if it’s for a later book in the series, that’s what I think about. If I don’t need the scene for the current book, I just make notes and keep it for later.

I write the first draft in long hand in pencil; I can only write in journal books. I do have a list of scenes I think I will be using but the story changes so many times through the process. When I sit down to write, I write whatever scene comes to mind; when the journal books are filled and I feel I’m finished, all the scenes are out of order so I have to make new lists to put it in the right sequence. It’s messy and disorganized but it works for me so I would never try to do it differently; I would be afraid I would cause a problem.

Tell us why we should read your book?

The Fixer series is written to be fast-paced and action-packed. There is a cast of recurring supporting characters I hope readers will enjoy seeing in each book. I think Katerina is a character that readers can root for as she struggles with her own ethics and values vs. the decisions she must make to survive this dark, dangerous world. There’s a romance too!

Are you working on your next novel? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

I will be starting shortly on book four of the series, The Fixer: The Good Criminal. Katerina is in a very tough spot and she will need to step up her game to get out of the mess she’s in. She’ll need more than a little help from her friends, too.

Fun Questions:

Your novel will be a movie. You would you cast?

Love this question!! Jennifer Lawrence as Katerina, Max Martini as professional thief Alexander Winter, Daniel Craig as mysterious client Thomas Gallagher, James Badge Dale as fellow thief Daniel Clay, and Sebastian Stan as Detective Ryan Kellan.

Favorite leisure activities/hobbies?

I like to draw. I have an interest in computer art/animation; I’m trying to learn. I’m currently taking Italian lessons, and of course I love to read. I’m also a big ice hockey fan so I will be trying to find time to watch the NY Rangers now that the new season has started.

Favorite foods?

Dark chocolate. I like Dominican food, chicharrones, maduros, mofongo – delicious! I’m a big coffee drinker, I have a weakness for Starbucks Columbia coffee and McDonald’s hot French vanilla lattes.

Thank you very much for having me for an interview, I appreciate it. It was a lot of fun!

Catch Up With Jill Amy Rosenblatt On:
jillamyrosenblatt.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Katerina Mills sat in the silver Honda Civic, peering through the lenses of the binoculars. The factory parking lot loomed larger as she watched the first shift employees filing out, heads bowing to brace against the frigid Vermont winds, and dashing to their cars.

Katerina knew every inch of the toy factory her father had managed. In high school, she had helped out after classes, typing, filing, and bookkeeping. Following graduation and while caring for William Mills through his bout of cancer, Kat worked a few hours a day and carried paperwork back and forth to her father at home.

Can you keep an eye on things for your old man?

Bullshit, Kat thought. It was time to find out the truth.

Kat snapped out of her thoughts as Richie Calico emerged. She watched him turn up the collar of his jacket as he hustled toward a shiny, red Dodge Durango. Kat knew Richie as a third-generation, blue-collar working stiff, always looking for an angle and an easy buck.

That looks new, Kat thought as she sharpened the binoculars on the Durango.

Richie’s head swiveled back and forth as he hurried to the SUV.

That’s not the confident man I remember strolling up to my desk with a singsong “Kat-a-reeena.”

As if we shared a secret.

Richie slid into the Durango, revved the engine, and took off, speeding out of the lot.

Time to spill your secrets, Richie.

Kat put the Civic in gear.

***

Katerina watched Richie pull into a strip mall, park in front of a run-down pub, and get out. She followed, parking in the back of the lot and cutting the engine.

Leaning forward, Kat wrapped her arms around the wheel. I have to go in. I need him to fill in the blanks. How do I get in and out without being noticed? Steal in and out. Like a thief.

She sighed. It had been a little more than two months since her first B and E. Alexander Winter, “Bob,” and “Professor,” to Kat, a good man and an expert thief, had walked her through it and brought her out. He would know what to do. She closed her eyes, the familiar ache of missing him threatening to overwhelm her.

Not now, Katerina thought, opening her eyes and forcing herself to return to the business at hand. There’s a reason Richie is looking over his shoulder. Remember what Winter taught you, she thought. Once you go in, you give yourself five minutes. Every minute you linger, your risk of getting caught rises.

Scanning the lot one more time, she flipped the fur lined hood over her chestnut hair, opened the door, and got out.

***

Slipping in through the back door, Katerina stepped into the shrouded gloom of the deserted dive bar. She came up behind Richie as he slouched in a booth, drinking alone.

Suddenly, Richie’s eyes shot up from his Coors and he jolted at the presence of a person looming over him. Shifting to face him, Kat brushed her hood back and watched his eyes grow wide. He gaped at her as she slid into the booth.

“Katerina,” Richie said, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed hard. “Uh . . . Merry Christmas, Happy New Year . . . when did you get home?”

“Hi Richie,” Kat said. “How’s the heroin business?”

***

Excerpt from The Last Romanov by Jill Amy Rosenblatt. Copyright 2019 by Jill Amy Rosenblatt. Reproduced with permission from Jill Amy Rosenblatt. All rights reserved.

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jill Amy Rosenblatt. There will be 3 winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will receive The Fixer: The Last Romanov by Jill Amy Rosenblatt (eBook). The giveaway begins on October 21, 2019, and runs through November 25, 2019. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Oct 302019
 

Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner

 

Speak No Evil

by Liana Gardner

on Tour October 1 – November 30, 2019

Synopsis:

Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner

What if every time you told the truth, evil followed?

My name is Melody Fisher. My daddy was a snake handler in Appalachia until Mama died. Though years have passed, I can still hear the rattle before the strike that took her from me.

And it’s all my fault.

Since then, I’ve been passed around from foster home to foster home. I didn’t think anything could be as bad as losing Mama.

I was wrong.

But I will not speak of things people have done to me. Every time I do, worse evil follows. Now, the only thing I trust is what saved me years ago.

Back when I would sing the snakes calm …

Book Details:

Genre: YA Mystery
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
Number of Pages: 285
ISBN: 1944109366 (ISBN13: 9781944109363)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Liana Gardner

Liana Gardner is the multi-award-winning author of 7th Grade Revolution (most recently the recipient of a 2018 Nautilus Book Award) and The Journal of Angela Ashby. The daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface.

Liana volunteers with high school students through EXP (expfuture.org). EXP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, EXP helps young people EXPerience, EXPand, and EXPlore.

Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but her imagination takes her wherever she wants to go.

Liana is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Guest Post
Showcase, The Good and the Ugly in Speak No Evil

While working on a book, I become intensely involved with the characters and experience their highs and lows right alongside them. With Speak No Evil, the main character, Melody Fisher, went through so many heartbreaking experiences, my heart bled for her from start to finish. But rather than go on and on about Melody, I’d like to share one of my favorite secondary characters who surprised me during the writing process.

After losing her parents, Melody went to live with Quatie Raincrow, a spiritual counselor, on the Cherokee reservation. Though my initial thought was that Quatie would be a minor character, she quickly proved me wrong. From the very start she captured my heart with her gentle, unassuming warmth and care for Melody.

Quatie Raincrow embodies unconditional love and acceptance. She instinctively cuts through the walls we all put up and sees the need underneath, and quietly does what is necessary to fulfill that need. For Melody, she is the safe haven she needs after traumatic events, and becomes the family she had lost. For me, she unexpectedly provided the balm for my soul when going through some turbulent times in my personal life. She transcended the page and helped ground and center me, and reawakened my love of nature.

She lives a simple life, unfettered by materialism, but at the same time she is richly fulfilled. She provides Melody with the basis for inner strength that carries her through some truly horrible situations. In context of the story, she provides a necessary time of healing for Melody. And through the healing helps her find her gifts and strengths.

Throughout the book little nuggets of wisdom from Quatie pop up. My favorite is, “You will never learn to fly if you let someone else carry your wings.” Using the “roots and wings” analogy, our wings are used when we step outside our comfort zone. But so often we hand those wings over to fear, or allow obstacles in our path to take them from us. How much of life as we should be living do we miss out on because we’ve let someone else carry our wings?

When it comes to characters I dislike in Speak No Evil, I’m a bit spoiled for choice. Her uncle Harlan is a nasty piece of work, and don’t even get me started on Wade Hatchet … but the character I truly disliked working with was Grady Jackson. Every scene with Grady I had to deal with the palpable hatred emanating from the character.

Why is Grady worse than Harlan or Hatchet? Most of the time I find at least a sliver of a redeemable quality in an unsavory character, but not this time. With Harlan, his background and the differing treatment he received than his sister drove his anger. Not an excuse, but at least some room for empathy. Hatchet on the other hand is a sick individual. It’s not a justification for his actions, but though he twists his guilt into justification for those actions, the guilt is still there. He is conflicted by his religious beliefs and his actions and he needs help.

With Grady, I never got close enough to him to know what drove his anger and hatred because his darkness was so aggressive. I had to take breaks after every scene containing Grady Jackson. His wife fears him, he bullies everyone around him, he is racist, and basically ignorant of any common decency. Besides, he did something to Melody I will never forgive or forget. Writing the scene made me physically ill, as did every editing round.

To say I don’t like snakes is putting it mildly. Snakes are the stuff of nightmares—I don’t like seeing a picture or video of them. But in the course of the story, Melody finds a rattler who is suffering from blister disease, which is when a snake has blisters full of pus and blood on its belly. She captures the snake to nurse it back to health. Before it has fully healed, her foster brother, Boyd Jackson, steals the snake to torture it.

Melody tracks him down and tries to stop him from hurting the snake any further. Grady shows up and kills the snake. I could live with that if the incident stopped there, but when Melody returns to the house for lunch, she is served fried snake. When she refuses to eat, Grady force feeds her. Shudder. It still makes me sick to think about it.

A reprehensible action that I have no forgiveness for and makes Grady the worst character I’ve dealt with so far.

Thanks to CMash Reads for hosting Speak No Evil today and allowing me to share some of the best and worst characters in the novel.

Catch Up With Liana Gardner On:
lianagardner.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

Uncle Harlan slammed my bedroom door open. “You’re going to learn to show the Lord respect, girl.” He grabbed my neck and forced me to walk in front of him.

My neck hurt where he dug his fingers in.

He took me outside and shoved me toward the shed. He slipped the key in the lock and removed it from the hasp. The door creaked as it opened and then he thrust me through.

“I’m not going to allow you to follow your mother’s footsteps. You’ll learn to make peace with snakes and not show them any fear. Or else.”

He grabbed a snake case from the shelf, put it on the ground, and opened it. He stepped backward out of the shed and swung the door shut. The latch clicked. Uncle Harlan on one side of the door, and the snake and me locked inside.

“I’ll come get you in time for school in the morning.”

His footsteps receded.

Light filtered through the cracks in the shed slats. In the dim light, the snake coiled in the corner, its tongue flicking out periodically. I slowly lowered to the ground and hugged Raksha Waya tight.

The inside of the shed was slightly warmer than outside. Staying warm might be a bigger problem than keeping the snake calm. It ignored me and remained coiled, but the cold seeped into my bones. I scanned the shelves. There had to be something in here I could use to help keep warm.

A tarp sat on a shelf on the opposite side of the shed from the snake. But I might not be tall enough to pull it down. Standing on tiptoes, I grabbed a corner and tugged. My fingers slipped. I set Rakkie on a lower shelf, then reached with both hands and tugged.

The weight of the tarp almost knocked me over as I caught it.

Making sure to keep my movements small so I didn’t threaten the snake, I unfolded the tarp and spread it out. Then I grabbed Rakkie and carefully crawled under a corner. Once settled with Rakkie on my lap, I pulled it over us and tucked it under my chin.

The hours passed as the light changed and moved through the shed. My tailbone ached and my back hurt from sitting still for so long. Twilight came. Surely Uncle Harlan didn’t really mean to leave me here with the snake all night.

When the darkness was complete and I could no longer see my hand in front of my face, I faced the hard truth—Uncle Harlan meant it. I’d spend the night locked in a small space with a pit viper.

While my toes still felt frozen, the rest of me was warmer with the tarp. My eyes drooped and closed. Then I heard it.

Hiss. Rattle. The whisper of something dragging across the floorboards.

The snake was on the move. The slight rattle as it slithered through the shed made my heart pound. I froze.

***

Excerpt from Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner. Copyright © 2019 by Liana Gardner. Reproduced with permission from Liana Gardner. All rights reserved.

 

 

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