Apr 222017
 

Giacomo Giammatteo

Character Development

When I’m writing blog posts I try to use experience gained from my animals and apply it to writing. Whenever you can use real-life experience, I think it’s better.

While pondering the topic of character development, which I happen to think is one of most important parts of a book, I thought about some of the things I liked and didn’t like. Near the top of that list was uncertainty. I laughed as that came to mind, because I had plenty of examples of uncertainty from the sanctuary animals. This is one of the stories, and like all of the stories, it’s true. I have no need to exaggerate as the stories are crazy enough as is.

Big Dogs Don’t Bluff

How a Character Can Interrupt Your Story

Sometimes characters do things on their own. Things you don’t want them to do.

You shouldn’t be surprised. It happens in real life too. I learned that lesson the hard way, and once again, through one of my animals. This time the culprit was Briella, the giant Great Dane. It was back when I used to play online poker. After a night of writing, and before I had too much wine, I would sit in the chair with my laptop and play a little poker. Often Brie, or one of the other dogs, would hover over my shoulder. Occasionally they would offer advice. That night it was Brie.

During a game of no-limit hold-em, a player bet \(75. The next three people folded, leaving me to act. I was up a few hundred bucks and feeling lucky, so I made a bluff at the pot, raising \)250. The people after me folded. It was now just me and the original bettor. He called.


Brie the Bluffer

The next card came off, and I still had nothing. The other person bet $300. I stalled for a few seconds, as if I had a decision to make, but I fully intended to fold. Briella had a different idea. Before I could hit the fold button, her massive paw slammed on my laptop and raised—almost $900, which was all I had left. As I watched the clock tick down, waiting for the other person to make their decision, my heart pounded. Depending on this person’s decision I was either going to give Brie some extra treats, or, I was going to threaten to kick her ass. I say threaten because she is too big for me to actually do it.

Story Climax

Now, this would have been a wonderful story if the other person folded, but…they didn’t. They called and I, or should I say Brie, was caught bluffing. Of course we lost. After that, I never played poker with Brie sitting behind me; she’s far too unpredictable.

What Does This Have to Do With Writing?

Sometimes a character does what they want, regardless of what you had in mind for them. (I know that’s impossible, but the longer you write the more involved you become in your characters.) You thought you had your plot nailed down, and suddenly—wham—one character or another does something unexpected.
You might ask, How does this happen? It’s easy, and logical. When you write, you create a character based on a specific personality. As the story moves along, that character reacts to situations based on that personality. Sometimes it is not what you anticipated.

The title of this blog was Big Dogs Don’t Bluff. Unfortunately, I discovered they really do.

Ciao,

Giacomo

Tell me what you think

As a reader, or writer, how do you feel about unpredictable characters?
Click the Book Cover to Be Taken to a Page Where You Can Buy Any of My Books

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Author Bio:

Giacomo Giammatteo

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. He also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series.

When Giacomo isn’t writing, he’s helping his wife take care of the animals on their sanctuary. At last count they had 45 animals—11 dogs, a horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs.

Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with Giacomo every day and happens to also be his best buddy.

Visit Giacomo on his Website 🔗, Twitter 🔗, Facebook 🔗 and Goodreads 🔗 pages!

A Plea For Help


I don’t often ask for help, but this is important. We have run this sanctuary for twenty-four years using our own money—no donations to speak of. The feed bill alone was more than a thousand dollars per month. And there are plenty of other bills, vets, fencing, shelter, medical supplies, and more.
In early 2015, I had two heart attacks followed by two strokes. The result was that it left me disabled. Now it is difficult to continue paying for everything.
I wrote this book in the hopes that it would sell enough to help with the funds, as all sales go to the animals. And I mean that—every penny goes to help support them—nothing for anyone else.

So How About Helping Out?


Skip the cup of coffee you were thinking of, or the pack of smokes, or glass of wine, and pick up a copy of Whiskers and Bear. I’d bet you’ll not only love reading about their exploits, but you’ll feel better about yourself for helping out. Even if you don’t read it—give it to someone who will.
And when you’re finished reading, don’t forget to leave a review.

Check out my review HERE.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Click on WHISKERS & BEAR (in the sidebar) for a chance to win.

I am offering a $20. GC, either Amazon or B&N, whichever the winner prefers. Just a suggestion….if you enter the giveaway, please consider purchasing WHISKERS & BEAR. Thank you.

Giacomo will be back on April 29th….Don’t miss the 5th and final installment for Author Of The Month

Apr 152017
 

Giacomo Giammatteo

Favorite Characters

I’ve often been asked which character of a particular book or series is my favorite. I can usually respond quickly with not only a choice, but a reason. But when asked that question about this book, I was caught off guard.

It’s tough to list your favorite character when the story is true and the characters are real, even if they are animals.

You’d think being real would make choosing a favorite character easier, after all, you like certain people, one more than the other. Why not dogs?

I gave that some thought, and I came to the conclusion that after twenty-four years of running an animal sanctuary, I can say, without hesitation, that these dogs were a cut above the rest—truly amazing. That’s what makes it so difficult to decide.

Like all living creatures (and others), they were unique. Each had their own personality and their own quirks.

What Was Different?

Bear all but refused to sleep inside at night, but he was happy to oblige during the day. He seldom ate dog food, preferring to catch his own meals in the woods. And while he wouldn’t let an adult stranger come near him, he allowed children to do almost anything.

Whiskers wasn’t the opposite of Bear, but she was different. She also refused to sleep inside, but her refusal was not restricted to night; during the day, she curled up in a hole she had dug or a pile of hay. It’s wrong to say she was bashful when it came to cameras; she took off as soon as you pulled one out. Unlike Bear, she would eat dog food, but not with the other dogs, preferring to go solo and to eat it outside. Lastly, while Bear would attack anyone who trespassed on his territory, Whiskers wouldn’t bite anyone if you begged her.

Despite the differences, she was the best lieutenant Bear could have wished for. She was the true right-hand man we’ve all read about.

Together, they were Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello and, at times, the Lone Ranger & Tonto. They were inseparable.

That’s why it’s so difficult to pick just one; they were both special. I guess you’ll have to decide. Read the book and see who you like best.

The Real Deal

This picture of Bear shows the repercussions of one of his nightly excursions (a run in with a raccoon CM).

Below is a picture of Whiskers (one of the few pictures we have) after one of her adventures.

So pick up the book and read it, or read it to your kids, or give it to a friend. No matter what you do, it’s for a good cause. The animals will thank you for it.

Giacomo

Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo

Book Details

Genre: Non-Fiction, Animals

Published by: Inferno Publishing Company

Publication Date: April 2017

Number of Pages: 150

ISBN:

Purchase Links: Whiskers and Bear on Amazon Whiskers and Bear on Barnes & Noble Whiskers and Bear on Kobo Whiskers and Bear on Goodreads

Synopsis:

Whiskers and Bear were two of the best dogs in the world. They didn’t always listen or even try to listen, but they were loyal to a fault, and they were the best of friends. They hunted all of their food, and they protected our animal sanctuary with no regard for their own safety.

Read an excerpt:

Another Grave

I climbed up onto the tractor, a Kubota 4630, with a six-foot bucket on the front. It was a powerful machine, and we’d put it through the hoops more than a few times. What I mean is that my wife Mikki and I had dug a lot of graves.

I tied an old cloth diaper around my forehead and draped the end of it over the top of my bald head. There wasn’t much better than a cotton cloth for keeping sweat out of your eyes, or the sun from burning your head. I turned the key and revved the engine. After letting it idle a moment, I lifted the bucket and drove toward the south side of the property where Mikki was waiting for me. She’d already gotten a few blankets and a clean sheet. For this one, she’d brought a pillow, too.

I reached up and wiped my eyes. I was getting damn tired of burying things.

An old white pickup crept down the gravel driveway, coming to a stop near the fence.

A neighbor leaned out and hollered. “What’s goin’ on?”

I wished he’d have kept going.

“Nothin’,” I said, but not loud enough for him to hear.

The door opened, and he stepped out and walked over to the fence, using his right hand to shield his eyes from the sun as he peered over the top rail.

“What are you doin’?”

I could see there was no getting away from it. I muttered my answer a few times so my voice wouldn’t crack when I yelled.

“Diggin’ a grave,” I hollered back.

“A grave? Which one died?”

Which one? That’s what it had come to for most of the neighbors and relatives and friends. Which one died. As if it didn’t matter. As if having forty-five animals made it easier to deal with when one of them died.

He came in through the side gate and headed in my direction. He walked slowly, which gave me time to compose myself. It’s never easy to bury a friend, but this one…this one was special.

Mikki walked over to me. “He’s just trying to help.”

I nodded.

I don’t need his help, I thought, but the fact of the matter was I could probably use it.

It hadn’t rained in weeks, and the damn Texas ground was as hard as concrete. Even if the tractor did cut through, it could only go so deep; we’d have hand work to do at the bottom.

Our neighbor was about twenty feet away. He took off his hat and swiped at his forehead. It was a scorcher today and had been for a month or so.

“Who was it?” he asked.

I couldn’t say, but I managed to gesture toward Mikki. She lifted the corner of the blanket so he could see.

“Oh shit!” he said. “I’m sorry.”

“Thanks,” I said.

He unbuttoned his shirt and grabbed a shovel I had leaning against a small oak tree. “Might as well get this done.”

I nodded again. He was right, of course, but I was in no hurry to put another friend in the ground. I cranked the engine up a little higher, shoved the tractor into low gear, and positioned the bucket for the first scoop of dirt. The bucket hit the ground with a metallic thud. It didn’t do much more than break the surface.

“Whew!” the neighbor said. “Going to be a long day.”

“That’s for sure.”

“How long have they been with you?” he asked.

They. I thought about what he said. I would have laughed if not for the circumstances. Everyone referred to the two of them as one. They or them. Bear and Whiskers. Whiskers and Bear. It was a cold day in July if anyone mentioned one without the other.

I handed him my bottle of water; he looked thirsty.

“They’ve been with us a long time. A damn long time.”

***

Excerpt from Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo. Copyright © 2017 by Giacomo Giammatteo. Reproduced with permission from Giacomo Giammatteo. All rights reserved.

Purchase Links: Whiskers and Bear on Amazon Whiskers and Bear on Barnes & Noble Whiskers and Bear on Kobo Whiskers and Bear on Goodreads

A Plea For Help


I don’t often ask for help, but this is important. We have run this sanctuary for twenty-four years using our own money—no donations to speak of. The feed bill alone was more than a thousand dollars per month. And there are plenty of other bills, vets, fencing, shelter, medical supplies, and more.
In early 2015, I had two heart attacks followed by two strokes. The result was that it left me disabled. Now it is difficult to continue paying for everything.
I wrote this book in the hopes that it would sell enough to help with the funds, as all sales go to the animals. And I mean that—every penny goes to help support them—nothing for anyone else.

Check out my review HERE.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Click on WHISKERS & BEAR (in the sidebar) for a chance to win.

I am offering a $20. GC, either Amazon or B&N, whichever the winner prefers. Just a suggestion….if you enter the giveaway, please consider purchasing WHISKERS & BEAR. Thank you.

Giacomo will be back on April 22nd….Don’t miss the 4th installment for Author Of The Month

Mar 292017
 

Lisa Brunette

GUEST POST

What I’m Working on Next

I’m a ten-year veteran game writer, and right now I’m working on two unannounced projects for Daily Magic Games and Magic Tavern/Dreamics, and I’m in talks with G5 Entertainment about a third. So these projects will keep me busy for awhile, but on the side I’m working on a standalone novel, and I’m really excited about it.

The novel is based on an actual news report for an alleged murder committed in a town close to the one where I now live. A woman called 911 to report that she shot her husband in self-defense. At first, it looked like the evidence supported her claim, since both spouses’ guns were out. But then things began to look fishy. The husband was shot in the back, and someone cleaned the crime scene. I’m riveted by this. How does a woman with no priors or history of mental illness get to this point? That’s the question I’m attempting to answer in the novel.

Here’s the opening scene:

She pulled the bullet out of wall with Ron’s tweezers. They were big enough to reach in and grasp it. When she let the bullet drop into a pie tin she pulled from the pantry, it looked like a gold nugget. Dust billowed up when it hit the tin. Anna couldn’t remember the last time she’d baked a pie.

Good thing the spackling hadn’t dried out. She dug a finger in, scooping past the hardened surface, to the gooey mix underneath. She filled the hole, patting it with her finger like a kiss, the way Ron showed her once. That must have been when they remodeled the bathroom themselves. The upstairs bathroom, the one the two of them used, not the frilly pink one downstairs that the girls once adored and then came to make fun of when they were older.

She got the idea for the upstairs remodel from a magazine she bought at the convenience mart. Her coworker Kim would have stolen it, walked out with it under her jacket, which she did all the time, but not Anna, who’d been raised better than that.

Ron was getting blood all over the floor, making a mess. Anna could smell it, metallic and brassy hitting the back of her throat. Maybe that’s how the bullet would taste. But Anna didn’t have time for that. She’d have to let the spackling set while she cleaned Ron up, too. Luckily, the rug in the living room would work. She’d never liked it anyway.

I’m in the very early stages at this point on this new work, so I don’t yet have a publication date. Since indie-publishing the Dreamslippers Series over the last two years, I’ve had interest in my work from both Hollywood producers and literary agents. So rather than set a date on this new manuscript, I’ll be exploring traditional options. But first I have to finish it!

Readers can check back on my blog at www.lisa-brunette.com for excerpts and news on the book’s progress in the future.

By the way, I’ve used independent editors and a whole crew of BETA readers in the past, but this time, I’m a member of two different writing groups, both comprised of professional writers who take the craft seriously. One is entirely online; we share twenty pages each per month and send comments by email. The other is as small, with four or five of us again, but we meet in each other’s homes once per week, sharing five to seven pages at a time.

I’m looking forward to pushing my skills further with their help.

Author Bio:

Lisa was born in Santa Rosa, California, but that was only home for a year. A so-called “military brat,” she lived in nine different houses and attended nine different schools by the time she was 14. Through all of the moves, her one constant was books. She read everything, from the entire Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series to her mother’s books by Daphne DuMaurier and Taylor Caldwell.

A widely published author, game writer, and journalist, Lisa has interviewed homeless women, the designer of the Batmobile, and a sex expert, to name just a few colorful characters. This experience, not to mention her own large, quirky family, led her to create some truly memorable characters in her Dreamslippers Series and other works, whether books or games.

Always a vivid dreamer, not to mention a wannabe psychic, Lisa feels perfectly at home slipping into suspects’ dreams, at least in her imagination. Her husband isn’t so sure she can’t pick up his dreams in real life, though.

With a hefty list of awards and publications to her name, Lisa now lives in a small town in Washington State, but who knows how long that will last…

Lisa publishes a bimonthly newsletter. Sign up and receive a free book!

You can also visit Lisa on her Website 🔗, on Twitter 🔗, & at Facebook 🔗.

Check out my Review of CAT IN THE FLOCK here.

THE DREAMSLIPPERS SERIES

Click on titles below for synopsis via GR:
CAT IN THE FLOCK (Dreamslippers #1) Check out my review here.
FRAMED AND BURNING (Dreamslippers #2)
BOUND TO THE TRUTH(Dreamslippers #3)

Praise:

“A fascinating tale of mystery, romance, and what one woman’s dreams are made of. Brunette will keep you awake far into the night.” — Mary Daheim, bestselling author of the Bed-and-Breakfast and Emma Lord/Alpine mysteries

“Already hooked, this reader intends further sojourns in Cat’s dreamslipping world. Highly recommended.” — Frances Carden, Readers Lane

“Gripping, sexy and profound, CAT IN THE FLOCK is an excellent first novel. Lisa Brunette is an author to enjoy now and watch for the future.” — Jon Talton, author of the David Mapstone Mysteries, the Cincinnati Casebooks and the thriller Deadline Man

“A little Sue Grafton and a dose of Janet Evanovich… is just the right recipe for a promising new series.” — Rev. Eric O’del

“The launch of an intriguing female detective series… A mystery with an unusual twist and quirky settings; an enjoyable surprise for fans of the genre.” — Kirkus Reviews

AUTHOR OF THE MONTH ~ GIVEAWAY EXTRAVAGANZA


Entry link is located on the sidebar.

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

Sherrie marched into her daughter’s bedroom and dragged a child-sized roller bag suitcase out of the closet. The girl stood in the middle of the room, still in her pajamas. Milk from breakfast had dried around the edges of her lips.

“Ruthie,” the mother said. “I need you to get dressed. We’re going to take a…trip.” Sherrie tried to make her voice sound cheery, but the desperation she felt came through in her tone.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?”

Sherrie set the suitcase on the bed. The bubble- gum pink had once seemed innocent but now looked fleshy and indecent. She glanced at the clock over the bed. He’d been golfing for a good fifteen minutes by now, long enough for her to make sure he didn’t come back for a favorite club or the right gloves. She wanted to be on that morning flight by the time he got home and discovered them gone.

She flung open the chest of drawers and grabbed all of the girl’s socks and underwear, a pair of corduroy pants, black cotton tights, a sweater the color of a Midwestern sky. Nothing pink. Only warm things. Seattle in her memory was cold and wet. It was a grey city; grey clouds over grey buildings. Even the water was grey.

One doll would fit. Made of cloth, it could be folded in on itself and slid down the backside of the suitcase.

“Can I bring the ballerina skirt?”

Any other day, she would have corrected her daughter, who needed to learn the precise names of things. Tutu. There it was in the closet, hanging because it took up too much room in the drawer. She yanked it free, sending the hanger to the floor. Ordinarily, she would pick that up; her house was so clean it hurt her eyes with its spareness—as if theirs were a showroom house, not lived in. She left the hanger there, aware of the thrill this fraction of disobedience gave her. She shoved everything into the little pink case, but with the fluffy tulle taking up so much space, the zipper would not close. The choice was clear. The doll would be a comfort to Ruthie in Seattle, but the tutu would not.

“We’ll come back for this later,” she said, tossing the tutu onto the bed. The zipper closed, the sound of it satisfying.

“No, Mommy!” Ruthie stomped her foot. “I want it now!”

“Then you’re going to have to wear it. Now get dressed while I pack my clothes.” But she felt a pang of guilt for her reprimanding tone, and for having to leave the tutu. Bending down, she used her thumb to wipe some of the milk crust from her daughter’s face. “I’ll let you wear anything you want on this trip, okay, sweetheart? And clean your face with the cloth in the bathroom, like Mommy showed you.”

The girl nodded, as if sensing this was not the time for a tantrum.

Sherrie’s own packing, she did with even less consideration. Under things, shirts. A fleece hoodie. Warm socks. She remembered she needed layers in Seattle. Sometimes it could seem warm even though it rained and the sun had not come out for weeks. Her keepsakes in their tiny, locked chest would not fit. They were the only things she had to remind herself of her life before this, but she would have to leave them behind.

Sherrie kept watch on the clock and glanced out the window twice to make sure his car wasn’t out front even though she knew he wouldn’t be home for another hour. The sun had risen blood-red over the cornfields in the distance, lighting them as if on fire. She’d miss that. And she thought of thunderstorms, which seemed never to occur in Seattle. She’d miss those, too.

Ruthie appeared in the doorway. Her face was clean, but none of her clothes matched. She was wearing pink high-tops that seemed wrong for the city they were going to, the situation, and everything else, but she had apparently decided not to wear the tutu.

“Time to leave.” She took the girl’s hand, promising to herself she’d never let go.

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Mar 222017
 

Lisa Brunette

GUEST POST

The Book-Body Connection:
How One Author Integrated Body and Story

I wrote Cat in the Flock, the first book in the Dreamslippers Series, around an incredibly demanding full-time job as a game writer, with twelve-hour days spent sitting at a computer, either playing through or writing and editing games. To counteract all that chair time, I kept up a yoga practice. And that practice crept into the story I wrote in Cat in the Flock.

The plot centers on Cat McCormick, a recent college grad with a unique psychic ability: to slip into other people’s dreams. Her grandmother shares the ability and has used it as a private investigator. Cat enters into an apprenticeship with Grandmother Grace, but this means more than honing her dreamslipping skill; Grace is a lifetime practitioner of yoga, meditation, and other disciplines as well and uses them in tandem with her psychic ability.

At age 77 when the series opens, “Granny” Grace is a master on the mat:

Cat followed her grandmother in a series of sun salutations: downward dog, a lunge forward with one leg, and a standing salute to the sun. Then Granny Grace moved into crow pose, crouching forward till her knees touched her upper arms and then lifting her legs so her whole body was balanced on her arms. Cat couldn’t do that pose yet, so she sat in a wide-legged squat, watching her grandmother with admiration.

If you think this is pure fiction, think again. The inspiration for Grace came from the real-life examples I’ve read about and witnessed in my own life of women who’ve chosen movement practices that give them impressive longevity and vitality.

Grace draws upon the moving meditation of yoga when seeking insight into their criminal cases as well. In Framed and Burning, the second book in the series, she experiences a foreboding vision while practicing yoga on the beach in Miami:

And there, holding that pose, it was as if an energy whispered to her. She closed her eyes to hear it better, tuning it in. The energy was dark and red, vibrating to some frequency that wasn’t positive. She thought she heard the sound of large wings beating. Her eyes flew open. Breathing hard, losing her ujaiyi breath, she carefully extracted herself from the pose and took a resting pose on her knees, her hands in her lap. The place where her heart chakra should be ached.

Spiritfire came over to her and whispered, “Are you okay?”

Grace nodded. “I need a minute.”

“Ustrasana, camel pose, can reveal so much,” he said. “And it’s not always pleasant.”

She nodded again, rubbing the space that ached. It was an emotional ache, not a physical one. And it had to do with whoever set that first fire. The energy there was intensely negative, not accidental.

I loved writing about yoga in this way as much as I enjoyed the practice itself. But by the time I began to write the third novel in the series, I’d suffered a yoga heartbreak.

After a lifetime battle with scoliosis that often brought me pain both on and off the mat, I had to stop practicing yoga. Because yoga so often relies on arm-balance poses based on the classic downward dog and more advanced poses, I found it tough to modify around severe pain in my left shoulder. Since writing takes such a toll on the body, I felt bereft, not having a practice I could count on to undo the damage of sitting, typing, and using the mouse for long stretches at a time.

The experience forced me to acknowledge limitations, as well as the need to heal. While we all want to be Granny Grace showing up the twentysomethings at age 77, the fact is that conditions like scoliosis present challenges that can lead to frustration and chronic pain if pushed, or ignored.

I decided to try a different movement practice, one that promised to focus on self-healing and the joy of movement. Nia is a barefoot, non-impact dance that can be done by anyone at any level of fitness or with virtually any condition. The healing was slow and utterly worth it. Which is not to say that my spine miraculously straightened or I can do backflips, but I have better strength, flexibility, and mobility, as well as a growing awareness of what my body really needs.

With this experience as my inspiration, I challenged myself to confront the body’s limitations and ways of healing in my writing, within the “Amazing” Grace storyline.

So in book three, Bound to the Truth, our master yogi suffers an injury.

It’s one that would be considered “debilitating” by most. But like me, Grace discovers the healing aspects of dance. In the end, it becomes life-changing for her, in the most positive ways imaginable, bringing her a new movement practice that will carry her through the rest of her life as well as a love unlike any she’s ever experienced before, over a lifetime of fleeting romances.

Author Bio:

Lisa was born in Santa Rosa, California, but that was only home for a year. A so-called “military brat,” she lived in nine different houses and attended nine different schools by the time she was 14. Through all of the moves, her one constant was books. She read everything, from the entire Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series to her mother’s books by Daphne DuMaurier and Taylor Caldwell.

A widely published author, game writer, and journalist, Lisa has interviewed homeless women, the designer of the Batmobile, and a sex expert, to name just a few colorful characters. This experience, not to mention her own large, quirky family, led her to create some truly memorable characters in her Dreamslippers Series and other works, whether books or games.

Always a vivid dreamer, not to mention a wannabe psychic, Lisa feels perfectly at home slipping into suspects’ dreams, at least in her imagination. Her husband isn’t so sure she can’t pick up his dreams in real life, though.

With a hefty list of awards and publications to her name, Lisa now lives in a small town in Washington State, but who knows how long that will last…

Lisa publishes a bimonthly newsletter. Sign up and receive a free book!

You can also visit Lisa on her Website 🔗, on Twitter 🔗, & at Facebook 🔗.

Lisa will be back on March 29nd….Don’t miss the 5th, and final, installment for Author Of The Month and get a sneak peek for what’s next!!

Check out my Review of CAT IN THE FLOCK here.

THE DREAMSLIPPERS SERIES

Click on titles below for synopsis via GR:
CAT IN THE FLOCK (Dreamslippers #1) Check out my review here.
FRAMED AND BURNING (Dreamslippers #2)
BOUND TO THE TRUTH(Dreamslippers #3)

Praise:

“A fascinating tale of mystery, romance, and what one woman’s dreams are made of. Brunette will keep you awake far into the night.” — Mary Daheim, bestselling author of the Bed-and-Breakfast and Emma Lord/Alpine mysteries

“Already hooked, this reader intends further sojourns in Cat’s dreamslipping world. Highly recommended.” — Frances Carden, Readers Lane

“Gripping, sexy and profound, CAT IN THE FLOCK is an excellent first novel. Lisa Brunette is an author to enjoy now and watch for the future.” — Jon Talton, author of the David Mapstone Mysteries, the Cincinnati Casebooks and the thriller Deadline Man

“A little Sue Grafton and a dose of Janet Evanovich… is just the right recipe for a promising new series.” — Rev. Eric O’del

“The launch of an intriguing female detective series… A mystery with an unusual twist and quirky settings; an enjoyable surprise for fans of the genre.” — Kirkus Reviews

AUTHOR OF THE MONTH ~ GIVEAWAY EXTRAVAGANZA


Entry link is located on the sidebar.

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

Sherrie marched into her daughter’s bedroom and dragged a child-sized roller bag suitcase out of the closet. The girl stood in the middle of the room, still in her pajamas. Milk from breakfast had dried around the edges of her lips.

“Ruthie,” the mother said. “I need you to get dressed. We’re going to take a…trip.” Sherrie tried to make her voice sound cheery, but the desperation she felt came through in her tone.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?”

Sherrie set the suitcase on the bed. The bubble- gum pink had once seemed innocent but now looked fleshy and indecent. She glanced at the clock over the bed. He’d been golfing for a good fifteen minutes by now, long enough for her to make sure he didn’t come back for a favorite club or the right gloves. She wanted to be on that morning flight by the time he got home and discovered them gone.

She flung open the chest of drawers and grabbed all of the girl’s socks and underwear, a pair of corduroy pants, black cotton tights, a sweater the color of a Midwestern sky. Nothing pink. Only warm things. Seattle in her memory was cold and wet. It was a grey city; grey clouds over grey buildings. Even the water was grey.

One doll would fit. Made of cloth, it could be folded in on itself and slid down the backside of the suitcase.

“Can I bring the ballerina skirt?”

Any other day, she would have corrected her daughter, who needed to learn the precise names of things. Tutu. There it was in the closet, hanging because it took up too much room in the drawer. She yanked it free, sending the hanger to the floor. Ordinarily, she would pick that up; her house was so clean it hurt her eyes with its spareness—as if theirs were a showroom house, not lived in. She left the hanger there, aware of the thrill this fraction of disobedience gave her. She shoved everything into the little pink case, but with the fluffy tulle taking up so much space, the zipper would not close. The choice was clear. The doll would be a comfort to Ruthie in Seattle, but the tutu would not.

“We’ll come back for this later,” she said, tossing the tutu onto the bed. The zipper closed, the sound of it satisfying.

“No, Mommy!” Ruthie stomped her foot. “I want it now!”

“Then you’re going to have to wear it. Now get dressed while I pack my clothes.” But she felt a pang of guilt for her reprimanding tone, and for having to leave the tutu. Bending down, she used her thumb to wipe some of the milk crust from her daughter’s face. “I’ll let you wear anything you want on this trip, okay, sweetheart? And clean your face with the cloth in the bathroom, like Mommy showed you.”

The girl nodded, as if sensing this was not the time for a tantrum.

Sherrie’s own packing, she did with even less consideration. Under things, shirts. A fleece hoodie. Warm socks. She remembered she needed layers in Seattle. Sometimes it could seem warm even though it rained and the sun had not come out for weeks. Her keepsakes in their tiny, locked chest would not fit. They were the only things she had to remind herself of her life before this, but she would have to leave them behind.

Sherrie kept watch on the clock and glanced out the window twice to make sure his car wasn’t out front even though she knew he wouldn’t be home for another hour. The sun had risen blood-red over the cornfields in the distance, lighting them as if on fire. She’d miss that. And she thought of thunderstorms, which seemed never to occur in Seattle. She’d miss those, too.

Ruthie appeared in the doorway. Her face was clean, but none of her clothes matched. She was wearing pink high-tops that seemed wrong for the city they were going to, the situation, and everything else, but she had apparently decided not to wear the tutu.

“Time to leave.” She took the girl’s hand, promising to herself she’d never let go.

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Mar 032017
 

Atone for the Ivory Cloud by Geoffrey Wells Tour Banner

Atone for the Ivory Cloud

by Geoffrey Wells

March 1-31, 2017 Tour

Synopsis:

Atone for the Ivory Cloud by Geoffrey WellsA brilliant composer and coder goes undercover to trap a cybercrime syndicate that has hijacked her website—to traffic blood ivory. She must survive impossible physical, virtual and cultural obstacles and choose between the opposing forces of privacy and responsibility.

Allison is stunned when the CIA leaves her no option but to go undercover to surreptitiously modify the code she wrote to protect her symphony. She is deployed from New York with a savvy street vendor to Tanzania, where he is from—and where the cybercrime trail goes dead. Their guarded love affair is sidelined when they are abducted by a trafficker who poaches elephants on a massive scale. To avoid betraying each other they abandon their CIA handlers and return to New York City. Allison must find a way to bring down the syndicate knowing that she might have to sacrifice her symphony, her loved ones and her privacy—for a greater good.

GUEST POST by Geoffrey Wells

On World Wildlife Day,

we honor diversity and tolerance.

To raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora,
I am pleased to offer my ebook at no charge to anyone on
World Wildlife Day, March 3rd, 2017.

Here is the download link: http://dl.bookfunnel.com/ltn8rnj5pp

The United Nations has stated that endangered wildlife trafficking is the 4th largest illegal business in the world. Almost everyone agrees that this is not acceptable. This day will pass by millions of people who will think it’s “nice” to have a day for wildlife. And it is, but there’s more to it, and its success should be measured by what we homo sapiens do, and what we should stop doing.

The irony of this troubling statistic is that world tolerance is skewed—we blindly tolerate this illegal ivory supply chain, perhaps because it is so complex. Yet, conservationists are intolerant of societies and nations that are responsible for consuming wildlife parts, especially African elephant tusks, but the individual black market operators continue trading under the radar.

The United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim March 3rd as the day of adoption of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which “reaffirmed the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions, including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic, to sustainable development and human well-being, and recognized the important role of CITES in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ survival.”

This high-minded resolution will not change illegal trafficking unless the demand for animal parts is choked off by raising awareness that living wildlife is vastly more valuable than in its dead components.

And, while CITES can define the parameters of value in wildlife manifestos, consumers of animal parts define that value in their belief systems. But to protect wildlife, must traditional societies throw out generations of beliefs based on religion, traditional medicine, personal empowerment and fashion? The intrinsic value that CITES lists pales in comparison to symbolic value that these societies place on animal parts. And so we correctly assume those beliefs cannot be changed. And they won’t. But the representation of those beliefs must change.

In other words, if we want to respect the diversity of value in wildlife, we must respect and tolerate the human belief systems that rely on it, provided they do not use animal parts to symbolize those beliefs. For example, ivory could just as well be marble, jade or granite, and even be shaped into the form of elephant tusks. Rhino horns could just as well be replaced by less expensive ED (erectile dysfunction) drugs—and be more effective.

For me, World Wildlife Day is about the tolerance of diverse world cultures as much as it is about celebrating world wildlife.

I offer my eco/cyber thriller, Atone for the Ivory Cloud to honor World Wildlife Day because it shows the evolution of a character who becomes aware of her own belief systems about elephants.

This story is about Allison, a New York-based electronic composer and coder who must go undercover to trap a cybercrime syndicate that has hijacked her website—to traffic blood ivory. The CIA leaves her no option but to go undercover to set the trap. She must modify the code she wrote to protect her symphony, and is deployed with a savvy street vendor to Tanzania, where he is from—and where the cybercrime trail goes dead. Their guarded love affair is sidelined after being abducted by a trafficker who poaches elephants on a massive scale. To avoid betraying each other they abandon their handlers and return to New York City. Allison must bring down the syndicate or sacrifice her music, her loved ones and her privacy—for a greater good.

World Wildlife Day should be a reminder of how anyone—or, in the case of Allison in my thriller—can go from being unaware of the 30,000 plus elephants poached every year to asserting her conviction about the absolute necessity of bio-diversity and sustainability; because it matters—even in her introspective world of New York.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Ice Wine Productions, Inc.
Publication Date: February 2017
Number of Pages: 309
ISBN: eBook: 978-0-9981666-0-5, Print: 978-0-9981666-1-2
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

IVORY TRAFFICKING Trailer for the thriller, Atone for the Ivory Cloud:

Read an excerpt:

Voices. Unintelligible fragments. Words she didn’t recognize. Faint, distant—the sound of city traffic. A tone—plaintive, sung. The smell of cumin. And diesel. Incense. A flurried breath of diaphanous light across the white mosquito net. The awareness of being alive. The air, saturated. Four notes.

Allison stretched out her arm, her hand touching the cold steel pole that held the IV bag. A hissing clamp dug into her nostrils. In a hallway perhaps—nearby—a woman’s voice: elderly, clear, solidified into a black shape in the doorway, the same abaya shape that had stolen her away from the resort—that stole her from him. She shut her eyes and felt adrenaline surge through her. Regulate your breathing, she thought. Her limp arm was carefully lifted and placed inside the mosquito net. Try to ignore the gnawing anguish in your brain. They can’t know yet; they can’t know that you are conscious, that you are Allison Schwartz, that you have forgotten the name of that other person you are supposed to be.

Sleep. Later, the low sun having painted the walls of the room yellow and red, Allison heard the kalimba—her sipho, or was this Sipho himself, luring her from her unconscious mind? Again—four notes: three words and four consonants to go with them—the sum-mer wind. Impossible, yet it could only be him. She listened. Outside on the quiet street, again the four notes played, repeating, waltzing. She woke again. This time painfully, step by step, she detached from the IV and the oxygen tube clamped to her nose. She was able to sit up, to touch the cool ceramic tiled floor with her toes. With a pounding headache, she gingerly hobbled to the open window, taking deep breaths of the humid ocean breeze. How true, she thought, the line from their song about the wind being a fickle friend. Closer—those four notes again.

From her second-story window she peered down into the narrow street, now suffused with hues of blue and purple light, bare lightbulbs here and there spilling yellow across the cobbled road, turning the Muslim pedestrians into silhouetted abstractions that silently shuffled toward the minaret, thin and resolute at the intersection. There, lying on the windowsill, a mobile phone rang with the ringtone she heard. So, no Sipho on the street below, beckoning to her, like Romeo. Yet only he could have thought to create that ringtone, the significance of which only she and he would understand. When she swiped the glass on the phone, she saw her own wallpaper screen. The CALENDAR app date showed that two days had passed.

She had an unread text message, respond.

Behind her, a noise. She scrambled back into the bed, her heart churning as she reattached the oxygen, leaving the IV dangling. She set the phone to mute and tucked it into her panties. She resumed her former comatose state. A burka and abaya-clad woman approached, re-inserted the IV needle, and took Allison’s pulse. Think of nothing, Allison; of Central Park at dawn, when the sleeping snow is left behind and the storm has moved on. Be calm. The woman called out abruptly and left. Allison reached frantically for the phone.

Passcode? She remembered keying it in at Amsterdam airport, the sea of faces coming and going, paying her no attention. How naive she was. She keyed her mother’s phone number, remembering that the agent had told her to swap the first and last numbers.

The reply came back immediately: Pay 50% in bitcoin asap. Use BOX. Have Ts delivered to fabric stall at Kariakoo market – north side of Tandamuti Street. Pay remaining 50% after we weigh/inspect and after they supply 1989 certs. I will get u soon—only text if u have issues. DELETE THIS MESSAGE THEN TURN OFF YOUR PHONE

k, she texted, now thankful for the ingrained system she had been using for years to memorize sheet music: Walking through the score in rehearsal, organizing the sequence of events, elaboration—the assignment of meaning by association, and mapping the score to a familiar location—in this case, Central Park, for which she now pined. As she read the text ten times and applied these principles, she found hope in the message. First, only Sipho and she referred to the device as “the box”, and second, she confirmed that the box was close enough to be discovered by her phone, all of which led her to hope that Sipho had found her. The rest was instructions on how the deal needed to go down—and this, too, meant that her usefulness on this mission had an end point.

She deleted the text.

Author Bio:

Geoffrey WellsImpressions on a South African farm, boarding school, a father who read from the classics to his children, and a storytelling mother, sparked Geoffrey Wells with a writer’s imagination. Though the piano and drum kits and Mozambique led to his first thriller, A Fado for the River, his career as Art Director in advertising led him to the American Film Institute, and an awe of digital technology propelled him to VP/CIO at Disney, ABC-TV stations and Fox. Wells wrote an award-winning animated film, has visited elephant reserves, and climbed to the tip of Kilimanjaro. He lives on Long Island where he swims the open water and runs a video and design company. He writes thrillers about imperfect characters who, always with a diverse band of allies, fight villains that devastate our natural and virtual ecosystems.

Atone for the Ivory Cloud is a compelling, fast-paced thriller with an exotic international flavor. Geoffrey Wells takes the reader on an enthralling ride, skillfully entwining cybercrime, music, and the fate of African elephants in a breathtaking tale of danger and romance.”
Pamela Burford, best-selling author of Undertaking Irene.

Catch Up with Geoffrey Wells on his Website 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Tour Participants:

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Geoffrey Wells. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Atone for the Ivory Cloud by Geoffrey Wells. The giveaway begins on February 28th and runs through April 2nd, 2017.

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