Sep 212017
 

W.J. Evans pulls you into the unstable world of finance where danger lurks around every corner
“Dead Deal” delivers thrills as it delves into the mystery surrounding 3 dead bankers

ATLANTA – In a time of uncertainty after the financial crisis of 2008, three bankers have been found murdered. The FBI starts closing in on a lead suspect — a real estate broker with negative ties to all of the victims. W.J. Evans’ exciting new novel, “Dead Deal,” is a sexy thriller filled with twists and suspense.
Chaos rules in the days after the financial meltdown, and danger lurks around every corner for real estate broker Frank McCormick. When FBI agent Julia Harrow starts to track down leads on the dead bankers and hones in on Frank as a suspect, they begin to circle each other warily. As they continue to investigate, they uncover a criminal operation spanning the globe, and it puts them in more extreme danger than they could have ever imagined.
Evans’ sharp writing and fascinating characters will pull you in and keep you reading until the last page.

Read an excerpt:

The developer started digging, pressing the blade into the ground like he was digging through butter. He dug for 20 minutes in relative silence. Grady dutifully kept the flashlight beam on the hole. His hands were turning to ice, but he knew that if he complained at all the developer would continue griping.

The developer didn’t stop until the hole was at least three feet deep.

“Don’t tell me you picked the wrong spot,” Grady asked. He wasn’t going to spend all night shining light on the wrong holes. Enough was enough.

“No, this is definitely the spot,” the developer said.

He stopped digging for a moment. His white shirt was soaked through, and his hair was matted against his forehead.

“Can I tell you one more thing?” the developer asked, climbing out of the hole with great effort.

“One more,” Grady sighed.

The developer gripped the shovel with two hands like a baseball bat.

“I didn’t really bury a time capsule,” he said. “I didn’t bury anything.”

The developer smiled at Grady, showing every one of his teeth.

That crooked dopey smile was the last thing Grady saw before the blade of the shovel came flying at his face. It connected right where his moustache would have been. The blade sunk four inches into his mouth, severing his gums and scattering a handful of bloody teeth across the ground. Grady collapsed into the mud. The developer swung the shovel again—this time it landed below Grady’s eyebrows. Grady could feel blood flowing from his head as the developer raised the shovel for the third time.

The third blow landed across his neck. By the time the blade severed his jugular vein, Grady Gilmore was dead.

≈≈≈

The developer turned the key, and the Komatsu roared to life.

He maneuvered the bulldozer skillfully—he had worked in construction right out of college, and knew his way around all sorts of big machines. Bulldozers. Excavators. Forklifts.

The Komatsu belched angry tufts of steam as the developer positioned the corpse into his hole. He raised the blade and picked the corpse up—the bulldozer lifted it as easily as a child would lift a stick. The developer pulled some levers and the corpse that had once been Grady Gilmore settled nicely into the hole. For good measure he buried the shovel and blueprints as well.
When Grady was several feet under, the developer went to work, filling in the hole until there was no sign of a body, no sign of a struggle.

No sign of a murder.

When he had safely covered the body, cleaned off the bulldozer, and parked it back in its spot, the developer turned off the ignition and sat breathing heavily in the moist night air. He grabbed the flashlight, stomped on the ground, and whistled as he skipped back to his car.

I could really use a beer right now, he thought. Then, for the first time in a month, he laughed.

BOOK DETAILS:

Genre: Financial thriller | Suspense
Published by: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Pages: 356
Paperback: 978-0-9992924-0-2
E-book: 978-0-9992924-1-9

PURCHASE LINKS:

W.J. Evans

W.J. Evans is involved in various business interests including commercial real estate development, hotels and restaurants based in Atlanta, Georgia. He co founded the 50in50 in 2008, raising awareness for cancer by playing 50 golf courses in 50 days in all 50 states. Along with writing, in his spare time he enjoys golf trips, world travel and creating new projects for worthy causes.

INTERVIEW

Do you remember the moment when you decided to write this book?
Yes, I was playing golf in Ireland a few years ago and came up with the crazy idea to start this project during the trip.

What makes the financial world the perfect setting for a thriller?
There are so many real life stories from the corruption and greed, it will always be a fertile ground for subject matter. The story is historical fiction based on the actual financial crisis beginning in 2008.

DEAD DEAL has a lot of complex characters. Are any of them based on real people?
I made it a point to create these characters from scratch, not from real people. People are complex in nature based upon so many factors. It’s a fun challenge to create characters for a story like this.

How did your success in the business world influence your book?
So much of my business is project based. As with any project, it takes focus and determination to complete. A few of my developments did have an influence on the main characters’ success, and failure in the commercial real estate business.

How do you think your approach to the thriller genre differs from other writers?
Every writer’s approach and style is different. My goal is to keep it interesting and entertaining. I think in this case, unlike some of the other writers, I had first-hand experience with the financial meltdown and the collateral human damage it caused.

What’s the best advice you got when you started writing?
Focus on character development. Don’t get too technical with the subject matter….I know that my eyes glaze over with information overload from some writers. Keep the chapters short so the book has a nice flow.

How did you put yourself in the mindset of a female FBI agent?
That wasn’t an easy task. Probably the most challenging of all the characters. Even though she is a specially trained FBI agent, she is still a human being with wants and needs like all of us. She has been shaped by her life experiences and that makes her who she is.

The ending of the book is open-ended. Will we see these characters again?
Yes, there will be a sequel and some of the characters will be reappearing. People got invested emotionally with these characters and I don’t intend to let them down.

DISCLAIMER

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

Feb 202017
 

CHARLES SALZBERG

CHARLES SALZBERG is the author of the Shamus Award-nominated Swann’s Last Song, Swann Dives In, Swann’s Lake of Despair (re-release Nov. 2016), Devil in the Hole (re-release Nov. 2016), Triple Shot (Aug. 2016), and Swann’s Way Out (Feb. 2017). His novels have been recognized by Suspense Magazine, the Silver Falchion Awards, the Beverly Hills Book Award and the Indie Excellence Award. He has written over 25 nonfiction books, including From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, an oral history of the NBA, and Soupy Sez: My Life and Zany Times, with Soupy Sales. He has been a visiting professor of magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, and he teaches writing at the Writer’s Voice and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a founding member.

Q&A with Charles Salzberg

Henry Swann is a classic amateur detective, but in “Swann’s Way Out,” your fourth book in the series, he’s really starting to get his bearings. How has his detective style changed since the first book, “Swann’s Last Song?”
For one thing, he’s a little more sure of himself now in terms of gathering information and putting that information together so it forms a logical pattern. Swann doesn’t really solve crimes as much as he makes sense of them, while at the same time, he grapples with his personal demons—the untimely death of his wife, his neglect of his son, his inability to set down roots. As someone who has for years lived on the margins of society, he’s trying to carve out a solid life for himself, one with connections to other people. And in an odd way, he makes up for real family by surrounding himself with friends like Goldblatt and Klavan. In short, his work has helped him adjust better to life, not that he still doesn’t feel like a complete fraud and outsider, as do most of us.

The mysteries in this book happen in three different locations. Was it difficult to tie them all together?
Not at all. In fact, it’s fun shifting the action from place to place. It gives the book a sense of movement and working with several plots at the same time I think is an added element that forces the reader (and me) to pay closer attention. It also adds to the sense of disorientation and alienation Swann suffers from. He never really feels “at home” anyplace, and so moving around mirrors his psychological disconnection.

As your fourth book in the Henry Swann series, are there any things that surprised you about Henry as a character in the latest book?
Everything surprises me about Swann. I don’t go into these books with a “plan.” They’re not plotted out and not only don’t I ever know what’s going to happen, I also don’t know what characters are going to appear and when they do what role they’re going to play in the story. Besides, he’s not the kind of character who does much planning about his life. He doesn’t know where he’s going to be or what he’s going to do from one day to the next. That’s what keeps the books fresh and fun to write for me, but also a little scary and challenging. So, when I actually sit down at my desk to write I have two feelings…anticipation as to what’s going to happen next, and fear because what if I don’t know what’s going to happen next? Or what if it’s not very interesting?

Henry Swann’s son is a fascinating development in his character. How does his entrance affect Henry?
Swann has always suffered enormous guilt as a result of sending his son away to live with his maternal grandparents after his mother, Swann’s wife, was killed in a freak accident. The only way he can deal with this “abandonment,” because that’s what it was no matter how often he tells himself it was for his son’s own good, is through denial. This results in him thinking about him as little as he possibly can. But when his son turns up missing he can’t do this anymore, and yet it proves him with an opportunity to use his skill, what he does best, finding things, to reconnect with his son and maybe, just maybe, assuage some of that guilt he’s carried with him all these years. He hopes it might lead him to redemption, something we’re all looking for, by the way, in that he can finally make up for all those lost years when he was out of touch.

For long-time Henry Swann fans, what do they have most to look forward to in the upcoming release?
More Goldblatt, for one thing. Their partnership is now solidified and although Swann is not pleased about working with someone else, especially Goldblatt, he has come to accept it and it’s probably made him better at what he does, and lit something of a fire under him. For the first time in a long time he’s not only responsible for himself for for someone else. He doesn’t like this but still he knows it probably makes him a better person. Readers can also expect to be brought into two worlds that interest me: the fine art scene and Hollywood. They’re very different art forms, but in a way they’re very similar in that they’re based on smoke and mirrors, deception, fantasy and sleight of hand. In both cases, if successful, the viewer is totally conned, but not necessarily duped.

Is it true that you initially intended “Swann’s Way Out” to be the last book in the series?
Well, I thought it would be because I thought I’d taken the character as far as I could, that I had nothing new to say about him or the world that existed around him. And so I started and completed another novel called Second Story Man, with two new protagonists (actually, they weren’t totally new, as they were “borrowed” from an earlier novel, Devil in the Hole), and even started what I think might be another detective series with a very different kind of detective. But just when I thought I was out, he pulled me back in again. In other words, I got a first line for a new Swann and then two ideas for two new cases he could work on, one of them would reveal more about Goldblatt’s background, and the other would have him get involved in a murder trial. And one of the reasons I said I would stop is that I didn’t think I could come up with another title, but I think I have, at least for now, and that’s Swann’s Down, so there you go. There will be a fifth Swann, probably out in the spring of 2018 (and I only say this so that now I actually do have to finish it).

Connect with Charles at these sites:

WEBSITE TWITTER

ABOUT THE BOOK

Detective Henry Swann returns to search for the truth behind a Hollywood hack, fraudulent art and the sudden absence of his son
NEW YORK CITY – Fans of Henry Swann, rejoice! He’s back in the usual cerbral, hard-boiled way that everyone knows and loves in Charles Salzberg’s latest addition to the detective’s adventures, “Swann’s Way Out” (Feb. 20, 2017, Down & Out Books).

In the newest novel in Salzberg’s suspenseful crime fiction series, Swann is on the search for $1 million seemingly embezzled by a shady Hollywood producer, the salesman of a possibly illegal painting, and in an intriguing turn of events, his long-estranged teenage son. With such an unusual personal distraction, a guilt-ridden Swann is forced to step away from his paying cases to chase after his son, who seems to have joined some sort of cult.

With Salzberg’s always-brilliant writing and beautiful plotting, three mysteries intertwine into a brilliant, hold-your-breath story as Swann sleuths his way to the finish in this dazzling follow-up to “Swann’s Lake of Despair” (2014), which was re-released in November 2016 along with the other books in the Henry Swann series, “Swann’s Last Song” and “Swann Dives In.”

READ AN EXCERPT

Chapter 1
Raising the Stakes
“What am I going to do with the rest of my life?” I asked no one in particular.
I don’t know why it occurred to me at that very moment to ask directions. It wasn’t as if I expected anyone in the room to answer my question, much less provide me with any kind of useful road map to my future. And looking around, would I actually want any of these assholes to give me life instruction? The obvious, to paraphrase Conan Doyle, need not be stated.
“Is that a rhetorical question?” Goldblatt asked as he glared at the cards in his hand, as if staring at them hard enough would miraculously change the crap he was no doubt holding into a winning hand.
“I thought this was a card game, not group therapy,” growled Klavan as he pushed several multi-colored chips to the center of the table, where the growing pile now represented close to fifty bucks, a large pot for the relative chump change stakes we were playing at. “I’m raising ten bucks. Any of you losers got the cojones to see me?”
“Too rich for my blood,” squeaked Stan Katz, whose voice sounded much like chalk scraping across a blackboard. I’d met him for the first time an hour or so earlier when Goldblatt introduced him to the game as such: “This is Stan. He does my taxes, so he’s good with numbers.” Evidently, that was all the recommendation he needed to join what had been for the last few months a semi-regular, bi-weekly poker game. The idea was Goldblatt’s. He felt it would be a good bonding experience. I like poker, though I am certainly no fan of bonding experiences, so I acquiesced in large part because it passed the time and kept me from feeling too sorry for myself as a result of evenings left with nothing to do. I’d pretty much given up hanging out at dive bars. Goldblatt even begrudgingly agreed to include Klavan, not one of his favorite people in the world.
“I know he’s a friend of yours though I have no idea why, so you can ask him if he wants to play,” Goldblatt had said. “But tell him I’m not putting up with any of his bullshit.”
So I invited Klavan and he jumped at the opportunity to redistribute Goldblatt’s—and everyone else’s—wealth.
“I’m in,” said a much too enthusiastic Doug Garr, a friend from my college days at Columbia. We’d reconnected a year or so earlier when I bumped into him on Broadway just as he was about to disappear into the subway. He was actually a working journalist, which meant he was able to eke out a living by writing for magazines, newspapers and writing or ghostwriting nonfiction books. He was on his way to the gym to play squash. I was now sorry I’d asked.
“What about you, O’Mara?” Klavan asked, peeking over the cards held at eye level. “You in or out?”
T.J. O’Mara, another old acquaintance of mine, was a former cop turned local prosecutor who was now looking to change careers again. I first met him when he was a beat cop and he caught me repoing a car. When I explained what I was doing, he looked the other way and we’ve been friends ever since. The last time we’d had lunch he told me he was considering “the writing game,” as he called it. “I’ve got stories up the wazoo just waiting to be told,” he had said.
“I’m sure you do,” I agreed.
“And how difficult can it be to write them up?” he had asked.
“Not difficult at all,” I’d assured him, trying hard to suppress a smile. “I’m sure any moron can do it.”
“Yeah, and from what I’ve been reading a lot of them are,” he’d said. “I figure I’ll take a few classes, just to get the form and all that shit, then sit down, write up a few stories, get myself an agent. And there you have it.”
If it were that easy we’d all be best-selling authors, but who was I to burst his bubble?
“So, T.J., you in or out?” Klavan persisted.
“I think I’ll sit this one out,” said T.J., tossing his cards face down on the table.
“What was it you said you did for a living?” Kenny Glassman asked me. Glassman was a friend of Klavan’s. He owned a small bookstore in lower Manhattan. The bookstore was this close to going under, but family money was keeping it afloat, Klavan had explained to me earlier. “He’s a good guy in a bad business, but he’ll come out okay. His folks just bought the building, so he’s existing rent-free, which is the only way to make it in the book game, unless you’re buying and selling rare books, like me.”
“He’s a private detective,” Goldblatt piped up. “We’re partners,” he added quickly, puffing up his ample chest, as if no one had slipped him the memo that private detecting was not exactly at the top of anyone’s list of preferred occupations, mine included.
“You in or out?” growled Klavan, peering at the rest of the players over his black-framed eyeglasses, which were balanced precariously near the end of his nose. I thought he was bluffing, but I couldn’t be sure. He was used to bidding on rare books, so he knew how to project a poker face. Still, his being so anxious was probably meant to make us believe he had a winning hand, and was doing the opposite for me. When people try too hard, and when they try not hard enough, they’re lying. The truth, I’ve found, if there is one, lies somewhere in the middle.
“I’m thinking,” said Goldblatt, shuffling his cards back and forth, hoping, I guessed, they’d miraculously morph into the straight I figured he was aiming for.
“I’m not a private detective,” I protested, pushing the appropriate number of chips toward the center of the table. I wasn’t about to let Klavan or anyone else steal that pot without a fight.
“Then what are you?” asked Kenny, whose thick, nasal, heavily-accented voice left little mystery as to which borough he hailed from.
“Not one of those guys who peeps through windows and rummages through garbage, are you?” kidded Garr.
I ignored him, though those were things that were not beneath me, so long as I was being paid for doing them.
“Therein, Kenny, lies the problem,” I said.
“Fucking identity crisis,” said Klavan. “Can we just leave it at that and finish the damn hand before we help Swann figure his way out of the morass that is his sad, pathetic life.”
This insulting commentary was from someone closest to being my best friend, although I would never say that to Goldblatt, whom I was sure believed he held that unenviable position.
“Okay, I’m in,” announced Goldblatt, pushing an indeterminate number of blue chips into the growing pile of reds and whites. “Hey, where’s the dip?”
“There is no dip,” replied an exasperated Klavan, in whose apartment we were playing, his living room, to be precise, which also doubled as his library. It gave the game a comfortable feel, amongst all those books.
“Where there are chips there should be dip,” said Goldblatt. “It’s one of the immutable laws of life.”
Kenny, not knowing any better, had generously brought along a few bags of chips along with the two six-packs of beer he’d offered to provide.
“You want fuckin’ dip go out and get it,” snapped Klavan.
“Easy, Ross,” I said. “Goldblatt, forget the damn dip. We’re here to play cards, not feed our faces.”
“Okay, but I have to tell ya, every game I’ve ever been in there’s been some kind of edibles, usually provided by the host,” he added, never missing an opportunity to needle Klavan.
Klavan shot him a look that was at least as lethal as an AK-47.
“We can call out for pizza,” Kenny offered, obviously trying to bring peace and tranquility to the land. Good luck with that.
“I could go for some pizza,” said Doug. “I know a great place in the neighborhood.” He checked his watch. “And I don’t think it’s too late for them to deliver.”
“Could we please just finish this goddamn hand,” pleaded Klavan, whose face was turning a bright shade of red. Now, I was sure he was bluffing.
“You boys are pretty serious about your poker, aren’t you?” said T.J. who, with a big smirk on his face, was balancing back and forth in his chair. He was out, so what did he care?
Me, I was enjoying myself, too. Maybe because I was having a pretty good night for a change. The buy-in was fifty bucks, the stakes relatively low—two bucks maximum, until the last round, when you could go as high as ten. That’s where we were now. Being ahead for the night, I figured with a high flush in hand it was worth it to see Klavan’s cards.
“I’ll raise it another five,” I said, not wanting to scare him out of the game.
Goldblatt looked me in the eye with an accusing squint. “You’ve got some hand there, don’t you, Swannie?”
“You can pay another five bucks to see it,” I snapped, ignoring the fact that I hated being called Swannie and he knew it. But in poker, anything goes, trash talk, psychological warfare, any kind of distraction, so I let it slide.
He shook his head. “I’ll let you and Klavan duke it out.”
“Kenny?” Klavan said, nodding in his direction.
Kenny shook his head and folded his cards.
“Looks like it’s just you and me, Ross.”
He eyed me, then the pot, then back to me.
“It’s only five bucks,” I taunted.
“I’m hungry,” he said, folding his hand, then laying it on the table. “Garr, call that place you know. But no friggin’ anchovies. They’re an insult to the world of fish.”
*****
The pizza arrived and, as the big winner for the night, I uncharacteristically sprung for it, though Klavan, still grumbling about playing with “amateurs” added a generous tip. We ate in the kitchen, at a large wood top table, because Ross didn’t want any flying cheese or sauce to land on any of his precious books. And with Goldblatt on board, that was a very plausible outcome.
We finished the pizza in record time, washed it down with imported beer, then returned to the table for another hour or so of poker
By the time the evening ended, just short of midnight, I was up about a hundred bucks, well beyond the price of the pizza. This made the third game in a row I’d come up a winner and I was sure Goldblatt, who’d lost every week, was about ready to call for a federal investigation.
As Klavan dutifully emptied the rooms of the detritus of beer bottles, pizza boxes and paper plates, and Goldblatt studied the pizza stains on his shirt as if he was trying to decipher some arcane code, Stan Katz pulled me aside.
“I understand you’re in the business of finding people,” he said, his squeaky voice whispered so low I had a little trouble hearing him.
“I guess.”
“That’s what Goldblatt told me.”
“Then it must be true.”
“I’d like to speak to you about something.”
“Sure thing.”
“Not here, though.” He handed me his card. “Can you call me tomorrow? And if you don’t mind, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t say anything to Goldblatt about this.”
I took the card, slipped it into the pocket of my T-shirt. “My lips are sealed.”
“Thank you. And for the record, you’re a pretty good poker player.”
“No offense, Stan, but I’m only as good as my competition is bad. And believe me,” I said, “it doesn’t get much worse.”
He smiled and backed away, his index finger pressed to his lips.
I mimicked his gesture, and backed into the living room, where Goldblatt and Garr were putting on their jackets. It was mid-spring and though the days had warmed up a bit, the nights were still chilly. I had worn a sweater, figuring the brisk walk home would keep me warm enough. Not to mention the wad of ones and fives swelling the size of my wallet.

Praise for the Henry Swann Detective Series

“Swann’s Lake of Despair”
“Smart, satisfying, even profound, this is exactly what every mystery reader is looking for: A terrific story, full of wit and originality, and a master class in voice. Charles Salzberg is a true talent, and his Henry Swann is a classic–complex, hilarious, and completely charming.
“—Hank Phillippi Ryan

“Like a good detective, Swann looks past the obvious and follows the plot twists to their unexpected conclusions. As he clips through his paces, Swann takes the reader on an enjoyable ride sprinkled with plenty of sass and vinegar and illuminated by the bright lights and dark underside of the Big Apple. He’s a hero who grows more endearing with each book and whose capers ultimately beg the question: What’s next for Henry Swann?”—Books in Brief

“Swann’s Lake of Despair feels like three short story concepts that have been merged, shoe-horned as it were, into a single storyline. It’s a little slow going at first, as each subplot requires its own setup and there is nothing to connect them. (Indeed, they turn out to be three completely separate storylines.) Too, Henry Swann is a difficult character to embrace. He’s gruff and aloof, and yet tends to grow on the reader as someone who’s also basically fair and incredibly insightful. But what is most intriguing about the book is how Swann negotiates an end game to each of his cases. For each, there is a simple way out but it clearly isn’t the right way out; what Swann wants to do — indeed, what the reader wants Swann to do — is come up with an exit strategy that may not be easy but one that is mutually acceptable to all parties involved, allowing each to walk away agreeable with the outcome if not necessarily completely satisfied with it. There’s a nuanced complexity here that makes this all very appealing in the end. A solid mystery and one that is recommended.”—Mysterious Reviews

BOOK DETAILS:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: Feb. 20, 2017
ISBN13: 9781943402540
Pages: 276

PURCHASE LINKS:


DISCLAIMER

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

Oct 252016
 

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Killing Game: A seductive story about corruption, sin, lust, and redemption The series opens as Ives Andrich, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the FBI, is confronted with investigating the woman he has waited a lifetime to find. Because of her more than accurate novel about an Italian crime lord, the Bureau, against Ives’ wishes, asks for her help in infiltrating the internal organization of the nation’s most nefarious Mafia don. When the Bureau’s plan fails, and she becomes dangerously entangled in the private life of the United States’ most wanted criminal, Ives tolerance for Bureau mishaps vanishes. No holds barred, he puts everything on the line to save the woman he loves in the first book in The Killing Game Series, a suspense thriller series by The Black Rose.

BOOK DETAILS:

Series: The Killing Game Series
Paperback: 504 pages
Publisher: Andrich Publishing (August 22, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0997947411
ISBN-13: 978-0997947410

PURCHASE LINKS:

THE BLACK ROSE

The Black Rose is an author, photographer, and filmmaker. Born in Chicago, she currently resides in New York with the love her life, her Hokkaido Dog, Kuma. She began writing at the age of seven and dabbled until she woke up one day and simply had to write a novel. She has two 5-Star reviewed novel series.

She categorizes her writing very directly – interpersonal relationships: people’s feelings, thoughts, emotions, and the intimacies between two people that truly love each other despite the circumstances surrounding them. “I write about love, honor, and doing the right thing, even when it seems disadvantageous, even when it’s not the popular path to take.” She sees her writing as a gift from God, and appreciates and learns from her stories.

Her writing passion stems from her immense love for art, which began with drawing at age five and moved into oil painting by age eight. Her love and study of photography soon became a professional passion, and she spends hours photographing and laying out her book covers. Her photography can be found at theblackrosenyc.com in the Photography section. Readers can also find on the site “Privé with The Black Rose” to showcase behind-the-scenes insights into her writing, novels, characters, photography, and films. She films and produces her book trailers, and will soon produce short films (details coming on her newly created website thepenandthesword.com dedicated to screenplays, film, book trailers, book adaptations).
Connect with THe Black Rose at these sites:

WEBSITE TWITTER

Q&A with The Black Rose

Welcome and thank you for stopping by CMash Reads.

On Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Most definitely! I think some of the best stories are based on personal experiences. That is the common denominator to which people relate. Personal experiences can be very intriguing if told with the right spin. In fact, the way The Killing Game series began is exactly how it happened to the heroine of the series. A man, I did not know, approached me in a small public library and enquired if I would write a book about illegal sports gambling and the mob. Thirty days later, I had. As it is said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” My novel The Yugoslavian, is based on the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the siege for Sarajevo in the early to mid-1990s. That war so affected me that I had to write about it.

I have often categorized my writing as the non-fiction, fiction. The basis for my stories can involve current events and how these events affect the main characters. I find that if I have something to say about a current event, the least offensive way to express myself is through my stories. It is not my intention to offend anyone with anything I write, only to reveal how I see things as an alternative point of view, which, hopefully, is accepted as just that and respected.

When starting to write a story, do you start from the beginning and see where it takes you or do you know what the conclusion will be and plot in reverse?Sometimes yes and sometimes no. If a specific scene is playing in my head, I write it. It might be at the beginning of a story, or it might be at the end. I usually know where a story is going from start to finish. If one day I feel inclined to write a death scene or a love scene, I write that. However, since my stories have developed into series, I mostly write from beginning to end.

Are any of your characters based on people that you know?
Yes, in part. I have met and know some interesting and intriguing characters. The more people you meet, the more real life human traits you can add to your characters. There is a catch, though—to capture anyone’s actual personality, you have to listen to them when they talk. You have to hear their stories and ask questions when appropriate. By doing this, you better understand their thought processes and then you can incorporate those thought processes into your characters to make them more believable.

One of the greatest compliments I receive is when someone reviews my stories and says, “I know these characters” or “I’m worried about this or that character! I can’t wait to see what happens next!” By these comments, the reader has accepted the characters into their family, so to say. That only happens by creating believable characters that readers trust. And when they trust your characters, they trust you as an author.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I don’t have a particular routine. I’m always writing because my mind is always reviewing my stories. I sit down and physically write as often as I can. But since I spend so much time thinking about my stories, when I do get to my computer, the story flows quickly (sometimes faster than I can transcribe it) so all that psychological reviewing pays off.

I do have one habit; I sleep with my iPad next to my pillow. I often wake up in the middle of the night and make a few notes to myself (or sometimes write an entire chapter) and email what I wrote to myself for incorporating into a story the following day.

Any Idiosyncrasies? I think all writing is idiosyncratic by nature. In a way, it’s a bit odd to want to display your personal experiences and innermost thoughts for others to read. Writing is so permanent versus speaking your thoughts, which often are forgotten by others rather quickly.

Tell us why we should read your book?
Despite all the personal experiences and interjections of my opinions, my books are great escapist entertainment. But at the same time, they are educational as well. I work very hard to make the storyline complete and comprehensible while introducing my readers to the different situations my character’s experience. My characters and the situations they endure are relevant. Their feelings are significant to humans in general. We all have needs, wants, and desires, and for each of those, there is always an opposition. Most readers will find something in my stories that hits home with them.

Are you working on your next novel? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’m always working on next novels. The next novel to come out will be the fourth book in The Killing Game series. I think most readers of the series imagine the next book is a direct continuation from book three, The Lost Days. I’ve thrown in a little twist I hope readers will appreciate. However, it is still the continuation of the story of Ives Andrich (the romantic hero), Special Agent in the FBI, and how he manages the situation he is faced with in finding Allina, his wife, who is presumed to be dead.

The next novel titled The Last Hope, will fill in the blanks to some unanswered questions and give more detail to what Ives will face in the future as well as provide reasons as to why this current situation has happened to begin with.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Most authors from The Bible are my favorites. But my absolute favorite author from that immensely excellent book is John, the Apostle. My favorite two books from it are The Gospel of John and The Book of Revelation. In more contemporary fiction, my favorite author would be Harper Lee.

What are you reading now?
Always rereading The Bible because there is so much to learn from it.

Whether it’s bad or good, I don’t often read other authors work. I mostly read for research. My latest studies have been on the Roman Empire and about the occupation of Eastern Europe by the Ottomans, both for future novels.

Fun Questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
From the performances I’ve seen recently, I am a bit partial to Henry Cavill as a match for Ives Andrich. Not so much because he might resemble the character physically, but because of the emotions he has portrayed in some of his performances, especially in the series The Tutors. I really don’t know whom I would cast for the heroines or the villains. I need to do more research on actors of today.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Spending time with the love of my life, my pup, Kuma. Despite being work related, I enjoy photography and spend a good amount of time designing my book covers and creating book trailers. One day, I hope to return to painting.

Favorite meal?
My taste in food is quite simple. I most enjoy poached wild caught fish with steamed vegetables. However, my mainstay and all-time favorite is not a meal but a beverage—whole milk.

CHECK OUT BOOKS 2 and 3 IN SERIES

May 282014
 

The Guide

Synopsis

Is your fly fishing guide willing to die for you?

Stony lives for fly fishing in the wilderness. It literally saved his life. After Stony massacred an entire village in Vietnam, addiction and PTSD almost killed him. Alaska, fly fishing, and a woman and her wolves brought him back from the brink. He made a vow to her on her deathbed to always help people, and to never kill another man.

Now he has a new lover, and is finally clean. So when he takes a seemingly ideal client deep into the wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, he never dreams that his most sacred vow will be tested to the breaking point. He will have to save his client from a serial killer, a murderer so devious he has managed to become a respected doctor—and his client’s partner.

It’s taken Stony thirty years to disentangle himself from psychological hell. Now, hampered by all the dangers high altitude wilderness can throw at him, Stony must risk sinking into mental hell forever by killing an evil doctor—or risk losing not only his client, but his new soul mate.

BOOK DETAILS:

Publisher: Milt Mays
Publication date: 12/15/2013
Number of Pages: 382
ISBN-13: 9780991329717

PURCHASE LINKS:

       

Milt Mays

Milt writes suspense novels, short stories and the odd poem–and I mean odd. Take the F…ing Fly is an illustrated poem, in colors straight from the river, and language straight from a fisherman. Look for it soon on Amazon.

Milt grew up in Colorado, spent most of his life in the Navy, and now lives in Northern Colorado. He reads widely and in most genres. Favorite author, James Lee Burke. He enjoys fly fishing, road bicycling, hiking and camping, and is usually with his lovely wife, wonderful children, and a certain grandson with wide blue eyes and a devilish grin.
Connect with NAME at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER   

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

 

May 182014
 

Synopsis

The northwest corner of Yellowstone Park is closed for bear management, and Rachel, a bear biologist, is discovering some very startling animal behavior—grizzlies denning in June, swans at their wintering grounds in summer, what appear to be Irish Elk, an extinct species, with huge palmated antlers. There are also horrific mutations in the young—elk calves with no front legs, earless bear cubs, and eaglets without wings. What has gone wrong? Why is this area closed? Who’s covering up these animal abnormalities in the Park?

A non-stop thriller set in some of North America’s wildest country, In Velvet takes you deep into the hearts of a hard case local detective and a Chicago cop as they take on a corrupt sheriff, a pathalogical poacher, and a lethal black ops manager to solve this ghastly mystery and restore the natural order in Yellowstone National Park

BOOK DETAILS:

Number of Pages: 280 pages
Publisher: Rare Bird Books, A Vireo Book
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
ISBN-10: 194020710X
ISBN-13: 978-1940207100

PURCHASE LINKS:

           

Burt Weissbourd

Burt Weissbourd writes character-driven thrillers. Reviewers describe his work as “brilliantly detailed, evocative … thrillingly suspenseful.” “His descriptions are luscious.” “An incredibly strong and intelligent female protagonist.” “[His] dark characters rank with some of Koontz’s and King’s worst imaginaries.”

Burt began his career producing movies, working closely with screenwriters, then writing his own screenplays.

A newcomer to Hollywood, he approached writers whose movies he loved — movies such as “Klute,” “Two for the Road,” and “Ordinary People” — and worked with those writers and others, including working with Ross Macdonald, a legend in crime fiction, on his only screenplay.

This was the “New Hollywood” (1967 – 1980), and he found writers whose work grabbed viewers viscerally, not with explosions but with multi-dimensional characters who would draw you into a deeply moving story.

Savvy actors wanted to play finely drawn characters in compelling stories, and before long, Burt was developing screenplays, working directly with Robert Redford, Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Sally Field, and Jill Clayburg, among others.

As a producer developing a screenplay, he looked for stories with strong, complex characters and a “rich stew” — that is to say, a situation with conflict, emotional intensity, and the potential to evolve in unexpected ways. This is exactly what he tries to create for the books he writes.
Connect with Burt at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER   

Q&A with Burt Weissbourd

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Yes, I draw from personal experience and current events, especially personal experience. In Velvet, my new novel, draws on more than twenty-five years of fly fishing thirty to fifty days a year with my children in Montana and in Yellowstone Park.

To a lesser extent, I draw on current events. Although I imagined the research and science in the book (with a very able virologist), there is actual research being done on thermophile  – heat loving organisms – that live in Yellowstone’s hot spring pools. The heat resistant enzymes produced by the hot springs bacterium, Thermus Aquaticus, include a DNA polymerase called Taq, which is used in medical diagnosis and forensics, especially DNA fingerprinting.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
As a writer, I try to start with strong, complex characters and a “rich stew” — that is to say, a situation with conflict, emotional intensity, and the potential to evolve in unexpected ways.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I write, then rewrite, then rewrite again.  I try to write every day, but since I also invest in financial markets, sometimes I don’t really start writing until after market close at 4:00.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
My favorite authors include Ross Macdonald, James Welch (The Indian Lawyer), Jim Harrison, Ross Thomas, Steig Larsson, and Scott Turow

What are you reading now?
I’m about to start The Book of Ash by John McCaffrey. I’m just finishing Maria Semple’s wonderful Where did you go Bernadette?

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes I’m just finishing Teaser, the sequel to my first novel, Inside Passage.  Here’s how I describe it on my website:

Teaser, the sequel to Inside Passage, takes Corey and Abe into the interconnected worlds of private school kids and the runaways who roam Seattle’s streets. Billy attends the Olympic Academy, where two friends, Maisie and Aaron, are experimenting with sex and drugs. They’ve become close to Star, a streetwise seductress who leads them down a treacherous path. Despite the best efforts of Abe and Corey, Maisie is abducted by the diabolical “Teaser,” a man determined to take revenge on her father, his former cellmate. Teaser is a mystery to everyone except Abe and Corey, who alone realize what they must do to rescue Maisie. They contrive a plan that shocks even them.

 
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
I spent years producing movies.  When I think about In Velvet, I imagine it as long form television with no big movie stars. When I think about it as a feature film, I think of directors like Steven Spielberg – I think In Velvet could be like Jurassic Park. There are no big movie stars in that movie. Spielberg is the star, and I’d leave it up to him to cast the movie.

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
I use a keyboard to write and then hand write notes on the printed pages.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
My favorite leisure activity is fly fishing.

Favorite meal?
My favorite meal is BBQing wild boar and elk sausages.

Burt will be offering a weekly giveaway through Goodreads
of copies of In Velvet throughout the  Month of May

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