My guest today is Brianne Moore, whose historical novel “Bright Young Thing” was released in September by Alcove Press.
Brianne talks about her life outside creative writing.
Ten Fun Facts about Brianne Moore
There are a few things about me that are very obvious. For one, I’m a writer. As my recently published novel, A Bright Young Thing, is historical fiction, you’d probably guess that I’m interested in past eras (and you’d be right). But here are a few less obvious, fun facts that offer a glimpse into the woman behind the book.
I’m a literal dog-and-pony girl. I grew up with Labrador retrievers and now have a much loved (and much spoiled) Victorian bulldog named Isla. I spent most of my childhood and adolescence riding horses and hope to get back into it someday (when I have the time!).
I was born and raised in the United States (specifically, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which is a really lovely part of the world). But almost 10 years ago, my husband and I upped sticks and moved across the pond to Scotland. We lived in Edinburgh for some years; then moved just outside the city to East Lothian when we started our family. We live in a beach town that’s right about where the North Sea meets the Firth of Forth.
The town I live in has a castle. For REAL. It’s a ruin now, sadly, but it has an amazing history. In the 14th century it was defended from English invaders by a woman: the indominable Countess of Moray (who needs her own novel, definitely). By the 16th century it was owned by Lord Bothwell, the third and final husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. He may have kept her prisoner here to force her to marry him, and she later retreated to the stronghold when other lords rose in rebellion against her.
My grandfather and great-grandfather were both chefs, and my mother is a professional pastry chef. I had the BEST birthday cakes.
I’m a dedicated tea drinker. I always have a full pot by my side when I’m writing.
My love of history goes all the way back to my childhood: I used to make up stories from different historical eras to act out with my Barbie dolls. I learned to sew so I could make them period-appropriate costumes (corsets and all!).
I grew up watching British TV shows, because my father is English and my parents both loved PBS. I was a huge fan of Jeeves and Wooster and the Hercule Poirot mysteries with David Suchet.
I met my husband at a Halloween party when he was in his first year of graduate school. I was dressed as a can-can dancer, and he was dressed as an extremely good-looking man!
When I’m not writing, you can usually find me knitting, quilting, baking, gardening, or making jam. We have enough marmalade right now to last for years.
I love reading non-fiction, and my favourite genres are food history and social histories. Charlemagne’s Tablecloth and The Victorian House are fantastic examples of both.
About the Book
Genre: Historical Fiction
Date Published: 7 September 2021
Publisher: Alcove Press
Astra Davies finds herself in rather a tight spot when her parents die suddenly, leaving her with a heap of debts and damaging family secrets to sort out. Unwilling to enter a loveless marriage with a wealthy suitor, she instead makes the audacious decision to make her own way in the world.
But the road to financial independence is a rocky one, fraught with hazards and heartbreaking choices. A brainless business partner threatens to ruin both her reputation and their company. Family mysteries and startling discoveries make her question her parents’ motives and her relationship with them. And when she catches the eye of the extremely eligible (and rather poor) Earl of Dunreaven, Astra winds up directly in the crosshairs of her longtime nemesis: the wealthy, influential Lady Millicent, who’s now hell bent on bringing her down for good.
Astra will have to dig deep and call on strength and skills she never knew she had if she’s going to prove to herself and the world that she is more than just a pretty Bright Young Thing.
I am the King of the kings. I am the son of the falcon-headed Horus. I am the beginning. I am the end. I am the one who will live forever. I am Nimaatre Smenkhare Meriamun, the living god of the land of Kemet.
The golden boat of Re has finished its way in the celestial Nile and submerged in the darkness of Nun. I found myself wandering around the tombs of deceased kings who have already met Osiris in the Afterlife. I try to remember what I’m doing here in the middle of the night but fail. The night is dark and quiet. Khonsu’s crown shines brightly and lights my path with its cold silver light.
Quiet voices interrupt my thoughts. They sound from one of the tombs. Coming closer, I can see the dim light of torches. The voices sound louder. There is no doubt I’ve met the…
Friday, 13th… It’s a great day for my horror / sci-fi short story to appear on Tall Tale TV podcast Right?
It feels so surreal to listen to the story being read by a professional podcaster. I’ve never had such experience before.
I wrote The Imp’s Chronicles in 2017, inspired by my visit to Winchester Cathedral. Since then, it has been published by a couple of magazines (Strange Fiction ‘Zine SF&F and The Writers Club). and appeared in The Full Metal Horror anthology (Vol. 1). Today, https://talltaletv.com took it to a completely new level.
I hope you’ll enjoy the story and its amazing narration by Tall Tale TV’s host, Chris Herron.
The church was closed to the public due to renovation works in its crypts. Bella enjoyed the tranquil splendor of the place. She took her seat on one of the benches, opened her laptop, and started to look through the scans of the documents and photos.
The enormous stained-glass windows were illuminated with the last lights of summer. The rays created multicolored patterns on the mosaic floor and the elegant slender pillars. Golden yellow, scarlet red, lapis lazuli blue, deep purple, and cold violet—colors were everywhere. The air felt cool and damp. The working day was over. The team of builders, engineers, and divers had finished their work and left the site.
The crypts were in complete disrepair. In fact, eighty-five percent of the church’s underground space had been flooded for decades, causing not only the spread of damp and mold, but also the erosion of the basement’s structure. This project promised to be troublesome. Bella had already known it, familiarizing herself with the conditions of her employment contract. But she couldn’t miss the chance to prove the theories she had been working on for the last few years.
“You’re still here. I brought you a meal.”
She jumped, caught unawares, when a hand touched her shoulder.
“God! Julian, you scared me to death,” she sighed, shuffling up the bench and giving her colleague a space.
“You’re obsessed with this project,” Julian continued, unwrapping his takeaway.
She smiled. “You know how much it means to me.”
They had always been not only colleagues, but also good friends. Well…sometimes it seemed to her that Julian would like to become more than just a good friend, but she didn’t want to question his friendship. He had never shown his feelings towards her either. She was an adventurer. She traveled all over the world on expeditions, research, and excavations. Julian preferred the silence of libraries and archives. Bella was very surprised to hear that her colleague was going to join her.
“You’re a dreamer.” Julian waved, taking a sip of his coffee.
“Look at these photos.”
“Ah, I’ve seen them hundreds of times. A few photos of very poor quality that have been taken of a manuscript that never existed can’t prove any of your crazy ideas. They have the same value as the photos of, let’s say, the Loch Ness Monster. What evidence, apart from these pictures, do you have? Just your speculations.”
“The Imp’s Chronicles existed,” Bella nodded stubbornly. “I’m going to prove it. That’s why I came here.”
“Even if the manuscript existed and had been destroyed in flames,” Julian chuckled, “nobody would have believed in your theory of aliens who came here and taught medieval architects how to build the church.”
“According to The Chronicles, this church replaced the old Roman basilica around the end of the eighth century. Why?”
“Because it was struck by lightning and caught fire. This information can be found in every document that belongs to the building.” Julian shrugged.
“The manuscript clearly shows that the old basilica was destroyed by highly intelligent extraterrestrial beings.” Bella turned the screen of her laptop toward her colleague. “Look at this photo. This image here at the top. It looks like—”
“This is the image of a stormy cloud with lightning and angels above. I can’t see anything else.”
“It’s not a cloud. It’s the spaceship that destroyed the church when she had landed.”
“…And they came here to test biological weapon of mass destruction on humans,” Julian continued with a mocking half-smile, turning away from the screen. “That’s what you’re going tell me about the plague that killed eighty percent of the town’s citizens.”
“Damn! It wasn’t the plague. The first plague came to this country in 1348, you know that better than I. The symptoms of the disease were described in The Chronicles in all the details, and they had nothing in common with the plague. In fact, they don’t look like any other disease known today. “
A creaking noise distracted them from their conversation. The large metal door that led to the crypts opened. Bronson, their civil engineer, dressed in a safety jacket and a helmet, appeared on the doorstep.
“I thought I was the last one left in the building,” he greeted the archaeologists.
“We thought we were.” Julian smiled, shaking the engineer’s hand. “What are you doing here on a Friday night?”
“I’d rather leave and have a pint with the guys in the pub, but this damn pump…we’ve spent ages, waiting for it to be fixed. And now, we need to wait until the water is completely gone. Somebody has to stay here to look after the bloody thing. But…I’m glad I’ve met you.” He nodded to Bella. “I thought you’d like to have a look at it.”
Bella frowned. “To have a look at what?”
“Follow me.” Bronson gestured to the crypts.
They went down the narrow spiral staircase and stopped at the first platform. They put on safety boots and high visibility vests, and Bronson handed them gloves and masks. “God knows what kind of germs we could catch in this stale, damp air.”
The group started to descend again and finally arrived at a spacious hall with a low-arched ceiling. Bronson was right. The walls, the ceiling, everything was wet, damp, and covered in mold. Metal girders supported the arches and columns, preventing the ceiling from total collapse.
“When the water had gone, I realized that the crypts are much bigger than we thought.” Bronson gestured to the archaeologists to follow him.
They passed the central hall and turned to the right. The corridor was much narrower than the central hall, and it seemed like it had a slight gradient.
“It looks like this corridor is descending,” Bella said.
They had been walking for another ten minutes when the corridor made a turn again.
“Strange. There are no corridors on the building plan,” Julian murmured.
“Look at this bad boy!” Bronson, who walked in front of them, stopped and raised his flashlight.
The wall looked higher and much older than the walls of the crypts. The dark beams divided its entire surface into polygonal cells, which created an intricate pattern.
“There shouldn’t be any walls.” Julian took off his backpack, taking out the building plan.
“There shouldn’t be other corridors either,” Bronson said with a nod.
Bella was completely swallowed by the wall’s pattern. She walked along it, peering into its surface. “This wall is much older than the church,” she said finally.
“It might belong to the old basilica.” Julian took a laser scan and a camera out of his backpack.
“I’ve never seen such stonework before,” Bronson shared his concerns. “Look at this.” He touched the wall and showed Bella his finger. “What is this?”
His rubber glove was covered in some sort of grayish mucus.
“Maybe some sort of mold.” Julian shrugged, continuing to examine the wall with his scan. “I’m not surprised to see so much of it here.”
“I’ve been working with flooded buildings for thirty years. It’s anything but mold.”
“What does the scan show?” Bella turned to Julian.
“Strange. It seems like it doesn’t want to work.” Julian looked confused. “It identified that the wall is constructed from metal, not stone.” He pointed to the scan’s screen.
His colleagues gathered around him.
“What kind of metal?” Bella gripped his sleeve, trying to see the screen under the flashlight.
“It’s unable to identify it. Bizarre! The scan worked okay this morning.”
“Doctor, I’ve found something else,” Bronson said. “Actually, this mucus preserves the wall against moisture.” He wiped one of the cells with his hand, and the images, slightly faded but still visible, appeared.
“God! This is it. The exact copy of The Imp’s Chronicles.” Bella sighed.
Julian frowned, but she started to wipe the wall with such determination that he could do nothing but help her and Bronson.
Five minutes later, the entire picture became visible. Each cell consisted of a complete scene. The top bit presented evil angels with shining halos, who came down from the sky, throwing lighting and fire at the basilica. In the next one, the angels were meeting the clergy with the dean in front. Two of the angels caught Bella’s attention. One of them held a red and white rose symbol in his hands, another one—a richly decorated casket with some kind of crystals in it.
“Look at this symbol here.” She pointed to the rose. “It’s the same symbol repeated in The Chronicles many times.”
“It looks like the Tudors’ rose, but…I mean, the white rose in early Christianity was traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary. The red rose was a symbol of Christ, and its five petals are supposed to—”
“I didn’t know we came here to listen to a lecture about early Christian symbology, Doctor,” Bronson interrupted him.
“It’s not a rose.” Bella continued to examine the wall’s painting, ignoring the two.
“So what is this?”
“I don’t know. Not yet.”
“I don’t like it.” Bronson frowned. “We’d better come back here on Monday with the others, bring all the necessary equipment, take proper photos—”
“My scanner is going crazy,” Julian said. “It’s showing that there is a void behind the wall.”
“How big is it?” Bella asked.
“Well, according to the scan, enormous… bigger than… than the church’s nave.”
“Maybe I’d better go home?” Bronson backed down. “You can stay here the whole night if you want, but I—”
“We need to cut through this wall,” Julian said. “Could you, please, go back to the crypts and bring us a laser saw? I’ll try to cut this metal or whatever it is.”
“I just wanted to show you this corridor and the wall. I didn’t plan to spend the whole evening here.”
“Please, Bronson…’ Bella started. “You’ll be paid double overtime.”
The engineer rubbed his gray mustaches and scowled. “Okay.” He nodded finally. “I’ll be back with the saw and anything else we might need.” With that, he disappeared in the darkness of the corridor.
“Look, Julian!” Bella pointed to the wall. “This picture here shows the angels and the imps. The imps attacked the citizens, and it looks like… the same pictures of imps that are in The Chronicles. The same symbol of the rose repeats there many times.”
“How does The Chronicles explain it?”
“It says that the city’s authorities and the higher clergy were so corrupted and mired in sins that their behavior enraged God, and he sent his angels here. The angels came and brought their devastating power with them. The Chronicles calls this power the Darkness of Beasts.”
“It sounds like these beasts are the imps who served the angels.”
Bronson’s reappearance interrupted their conversation. “I brought the laser saw, the bigger flashlights, and some other tools.”
“We need to have a look at what’s behind this wall,” Julian said, grabbing the saw from the engineer’s hand.
Julian had never been an adventurous person, Bella mused, staring at her colleague who progressed quickly with the saw. He seemed excited and impatient. Bella had never seen him being like this before.
“Ready?” Julian asked, kicking down part of the cut wall.
A piece of unknown metal fell down, and the wall opened up into a huge tunnel. Surprisingly, the air didn’t smell of damp and mold. It seemed much fresher and cooler. The same strange grayish mucus covered the walls. The tunnel had a ceiling so high that they barely could see it in the unstable light of the flashlights. The roof was supported by some sort of curved beams.
“Something is not right here. I feel it.” Bronson looked scared.
“I can’t believe you’re afraid.” Julian grinned. “We’re on the threshold of a great archaeological discovery, my friend. When was the last time anything exciting happen in the archaeological world? Do you remember?”
“When the bones of Richard III were found under a car park?”
“Exactly. It was ages ago. Now, we’ve discovered a whole building under the church. This…” He gestured to the walls, “Is far more valuable than a couple of crooked bones.” He continued his way into the darkness of the tunnel.
Bella followed him, still surprised by the unexpected change in his demeanor.
The tunnel seemed endless, with a few smaller corridors shooting off on either side. The group decided to follow the main corridor. Finally, the tunnel widened, and they found themselves in front of a gigantic door. It was covered in what looked like some strange writing.
Julian switched on his scanner again. “The door is constructed from the same metal as the previous wall.”
“And again this symbol, the double rose.” Bronson pointed to the middle of the door where a schematic image of the rose, some five meters across, sealed it as though it were a lock. “Actually, it’s not a rose.” He came very close, touching the petals. “It’s—” He hadn’t finished his thought when the door slid open almost soundlessly.
An enormous hall appeared in front of them. It was twice, if not three times, bigger than the church above. Two endless rows of thin columns on high pedestals formed lancet arches that divided the hall into three parts. The center looked like the nave of a Gothic church. The two smaller arcades were barely visible in the light of their flashlights.
“It is much taller than any other Gothic building I’ve ever been in.” Bella tilted back her head, trying to see the ceiling. But the arches went higher than the light of her flashlight could reach.
Julian made a determined step forward. “The scan can’t even detect the approximate era when this was constructed.”
“If your scan isn’t broken, do you know what it means?” Bronson asked.
“It means that the church was built much earlier than we thought.”
“It also means that all the documents, all the medieval texts… everything is just one big fake.”
“It also means that the Gothic period in Europe had started significantly earlier.” Julian nodded.
“I’d rather finish our research for today and come back on Monday morning,” Bronson repeated his thought.
“I found something,” Bella shouted.
They found her standing on a round platform in the middle of the nave. The platform was covered in unknown hieroglyphs, similar to the ones they had seen on the hall’s door. Again, they found the double rose symbol in the center of the platform.
Julian took a few photos of the hall and the platform. Bella bent down, trying to get a closer look at the writing. She must have pressed some hidden button, as in the next moment, the whole platform lit up, and a 3D hologram filled the hall with its dull, bluish light.
“I didn’t touch anything.” Bella jumped off in shock.
The stars, the planets, the suns of other galaxies, fiery and frozen. The hologram in the shape of the double rose moved, unfolding its petals.
“This is the galaxy, where they came from. This rose is a map. Their map.” Bella nodded at the hologram.
“What? Whose map?” Bronson frowned.
“It looks like I may have to start believing in The Imp’s Chronicles,” Julian said, walking into the hologram and trying to take a photo.
Their conversation was interrupted by a sudden scream. Julian dropped his camera, and they turned, peering into the darkness. Bella saw Bronson’s whole body started to shake.
The bleak light of the flashlights caught some movement in the right arcade. It looked like a cocoon. It was about two meters long and a meter wide, covered in sticky flagella. A dark liquid trickled out of it. On the top of the cocoon, dark crystals grew. The low scream repeated again. No doubt now, it was coming out of the cocoon.
“What the hell?” Bronson gasped.
The cocoon ripped open, and a creature, screaming and spilling dark liquid, emerged. Its dark hairless skin was covered in horn-type growths, reaching their peak on the creature’s head-like crest. Its reticulate eyes were positioned at the sides of the head. Its mouth was huge with several rows of fangs. The beast sputtered, screaming and hissing. It looked at archaeologists, turned one eye to them, then another, and taking a step closer.
“It’s an imp,” Julian whispered, backing away. “It looks exactly like the ones in the pictures.”
For a moment, Bella forgot her fear. “Where did you come from? Why do you want to destroy us?” She needed to know the truth.
The imp screamed again and made a jump towards her. A gunshot echoed under the vaults of the hall… then another one. The imp fell back. Two wounds ripped its chest open.
“Julian! What have you done?” Bella tried to pull the gun out of his hands, but Julian pushed her away.
Without a word, he took out the laser saw and made his way to the dark arcade. His guess was correct. Dozens of cocoons were there, waiting for the right time to hatch. The fire from the laser took them all.
“What have you done, Julian? Have you lost your mind?” Bella stood in front of the first opened cocoon, searching for some lingering life.
She turned to Bronson for help, but he was bent over, vomiting on the floor.
Julian took a square metal container out of his backpack and started to collect the cocoon crystals in it.
“What are you doing?” Bronson pulled himself together. “Julian, these crystals, they’re—”
“God, Julian, one of these crystals wiped out the whole town. You’ve seen the pictures,” Bella screamed. She felt horrified spasms seize her stomach as she realized Julian’s intentions. “This amount is enough to decimate the population of the entire country.”
“Now, the gun makes sense,” Bronson growled. “Who are you working for?”
Julian turned the gun on them. “Easy, easy, my friends. I’m very grateful to you, Bella. You’ve done the whole shitty job for me. I just reap the benefits.”
“You’re a traitor.” Bella sobbed. “We’ve been colleagues for so many years. I trusted you, but—”
“Everything has its end, darling.” Julian grinned. “It’s time to say goodbye. You saw too much.” He raised the gun, pointing it at Bella’s head.
The low howl filled the hall from all directions. The walls and the floor started to crack.
“The water is coming!” Bronson shouted, and ran toward the exit.
Julian shot at him but missed. The support column behind him cracked, ripping it in half and burying Julian under the rubble of its weight.
There was no time for thoughts and doubts. Jets of water fired from all directions—from the ceiling, from the cracks in the walls. A few seconds later, Bella and Bronson found themselves swimming.
“Come on, girl!” Bronson grabbed her shoulder. “Let’s get out of here.”
The door to the hall started to close, but the water pressure was so high that it smashed the door into pieces and flooded the tunnel.
Bella felt the cold water surround her ears and mouth. Bronson’s head appeared in front of her and disappeared again as the water carried her along the tunnel. “Come on, girl! We can do it.”
Bronson’s voice and his hand on her shoulder had been the last things caught by her consciousness before the complete darkness swallowed her.
Bronson visited her in the hospital a few days later as soon as Bella was ready to be discharged. She asked him about Julian.
“His body still hasn’t been found.” The engineer bowed his head.
Bella swallowed her emotions back. She still couldn’t decide what was worse—the fact that her friend betrayed her, even wanted to kill her or the news that he had died. “What about the ship and everything that was inside?” she broke the awkward silence finally.
“What ship? What are you talking about?”
“The ship, the cocoons?” Bella frowned.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Bella’s breath caught and she whispered. “The crystals, Bronson. The imps? Where are the imps?”
“Maybe you should spend some more time here.” The engineer smiled, patting her shoulder. “It was the flood. The water destroyed everything. It’s a miracle that the church wasn’t destroyed as well. But it was just the river, Bella, nothing more.”
Today on my blog, I’m hosting my favourite genre–alternative history. Please welcome Ted Weber and his new release “Born in Salt”!
Ted Weber: What better place to discuss my latest novel, Born in Salt, than a blog named “Salt and Novels”? 🙂
Born in Salt is a character-oriented alternate history novel, set fifty years after a coup replaced President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a fascist dictatorship.
In real life, there was a political conspiracy in 1933 in the United States to overthrow the government of President Roosevelt and install a dictator. According to retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, wealthy businessmen were plotting to create a fascist veterans’ organization with Butler as its leader and use it in a coup d’état to overthrow Roosevelt. Fortunately for us, instead of going along, Butler turned them in. In 1934, Butler testified under oath before Congress on these revelations.
In the novel, the coup plotters chose a different leader, Walter Waters, and the coup was successful. Here’s an excerpt from the documentary, AN AMERICAN GIANT: The Charles Lindbergh Story, as the novel’s protagonist, Ben Adamson, is forced to watch.
The movie showed footage of Lindbergh’s inauguration parade, thousands of Khaki Shirts saluting as his open-top limousine passed. They showed a close-up of Walter Waters, leader of the Bonus Army and then the Khaki Shirt Movement, saluting FDR’s replacement. Waters was just a sergeant at the time, but with the American Legion’s help, had led over a hundred thousand angry vets to seize the capital in return for overdue World War I bonuses and well-paid National Guard appointments.
Next to Waters, J. Edgar Hoover, who provided crucial inside information, and would be Director of Internal Security for four decades. Then William Dudley Pelley, generously funded by Nazi Germany, whose paramilitary Silver Legion assaulted communists, Jews, and union leaders, killing who knows how many.
Then Charles Coughlin, the radio priest with an audience in the millions. And Gerald Smith, leader of the Christian Nationalist Crusade. In return for policy influence, their speeches rallied national support.
Then, Senator Huey Long, a key supporter before his assassination.
Finally, a group of bankers and industrialists, standing together in their black wool coats and top hats. It was their coup, and they still called the shots.
Fifty years after the coup, Ben Adamson, a 19-year-old farm boy in southern Illinois, wants only to spend his time fishing and hunting. But when his dead brother demands justice for his suspicious fate, Ben and Rachel, his brother’s fiancée, are drawn into an underground revolutionary movement.
After staging a rally against the war, Ben and Rachel are arrested by the Internal Security Service, who have perfected the science of breaking people. Ben is given a choice: betray the rebels, including his best friend from childhood, or Rachel will be lobotomized.
Although traumatized and addicted to a powerful drug, Ben refuses to doom anyone he cares about. Can he find a third option? Can he free Rachel and strike back at the dictatorship, while dodging the suspicions of both police and rebels?
Fifty years after a coup replaced President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a fascist dictatorship, America is a land of hopelessness. Ben Adamson, a 19-year-old farm boy in southern Illinois, wants only to spend his time fishing and hunting. But when his dead brother demands justice for his suspicious fate in a colonial war, Ben and Rachel, his brother’s fiancée, are drawn into an underground revolutionary movement.
After staging a rally against the war, Ben and Rachel are arrested by the Internal Security Service, who have perfected the science of breaking people. Ben is given a choice: betray the rebels, including his best friend from childhood, or Rachel will be lobotomized.
Although traumatized and addicted to a powerful drug, Ben refuses to doom anyone he cares about. Can he find a third option? Can he free Rachel and strike back at the dictatorship, while dodging the suspicions of police and rebels alike?
There was a ‘presence’ in her bedroom that was always welcoming–she felt no terror.
Linda Grainer has been forced to live in boarding schools since she was five years old. Just before her college graduation, she was called home because her father, an archaeology professor, was killed in an automobile accident. Her mother had died at her birth, so she was now alone in the world with questions and no one who had answers. The search for her past leads her to explore the western desert with Brett McAllister, her father’s graduate assistant.
Linda disappears: and in Brett’s search for her, they discover secrets that they will never be able to reveal. The shadow figure in Linda’s troubling past steps into the light, bringing complications that may make Linda disappear forever. Brett’s love for Linda stands between the evil that wants to take control of her life and her escape to the real world with him.
A World War II Pilot’s True Story of Faith, Courage, and Survival
Genre: World War II Memoir
Published: January 2021
Publisher: DJH INC
A Grueling Survival Story About a World War II Hero’s Fight for Freedom
On January 11, 1945, Major Donald J. Humphrey had his B-29 Superfortress directed at Singapore Island. After navigating the 1900-mile trip from India through dangerous weather, they had just successfully bombed their target. And that’s when Japanese Zeroes shot off the wing and sent the mighty aircraft death-spiraling into the Malayan jungle.
Jumping to safety, Humphrey and a few of his remaining crewmates found themselves lost in the middle of Japanese-occupied territory. Enduring vicious crocodiles, deadly snakes, and crippling malaria, the Americans battled just to stay alive. And though they made contact with Malayan resistance fighters, they could never be sure their benefactors weren’t pulling them even deeper into danger…
In this harrowing true account, Major Humphrey’s son shares the extraordinary story of his father’s grueling ordeal. Told in the first person, this highly personal narrative puts you inside the mind of a man fighting for his country while struggling to survive.
8 Miraculous Months in the Malayan Jungle is a gripping memoir about overcoming unexpected peril. If you like World War II heroes, incredible stories of courage, and inspirational reads, then you will love Donald “DJ” Humphrey II’s captivating biography of his father.
Order your copy of 8 Miraculous Months in the Malayan Jungle and join his fight for freedom today!
New York Times bestselling author Charles Belfoure takes readers on a breathless journey from the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Russia to the grim violence of the pogroms, in his latest thrilling historical adventure.
The life of Prince Markhov of the Imperial Court of Nicholas and Alexandra is changed when he witnesses the aftermath of the 1903 Easter Sunday pogrom in Kishinev. He is shocked by the brutality the Jews and peasants must endure in Russia. Does he stand by or fight injustice? But fighting for what is right means betraying his lifelong friendship with the Tsar Nicholas II and his own aristocratic class, giving up his wealth and privilege.
THE FABERGÉ SECRET straddles two totally different worlds – the splendor of the Russian Imperial Court of Nicholas and Alexandra and the cruelty of the Pale of Settlement where all Jews in Russia were forced to live.
You’ll enjoy watching a man discover of sense of humanity.
The Tsar stood up from the dinner table and smiled at Dimitri. ‘We have a new gramophone disk. It’s Tchaikovsky’s “Fantasy Overture” from Romeo and Juliet. Will you join us in the study, Dimitri?’ ‘Oh, please come,’ Grand Duchess Tatiana cried, as she took the last bite of her raspberry tart. ‘We can play cards while we listen.’ Dimitri bent over and kissed Tatiana on her cheek. ‘As you wish, my little Highness. I’ll be along in a few minutes.’
There was still enough light coming from the window, so Dimitri could see everything on the shelves in the display room very clearly. He pursed his lips, then made his decision. This time it would be the ‘Coronation Egg,’ the third Fabergé Easter Egg Nicholas had given to Alexandra. He picked it up and opened the hinged yellow-enameled shell. Inside was an exact gold and diamond-encrusted replica of the carriage the Imperial Couple rode in for their coronation. Pulling it carefully out of the egg, he marveled at the incredible workmanship. Even the platinum wheels and the strawberry-red upholstery were exactly like the real thing. He opened its little door and placed a tiny piece of folded paper on the floor of the carriage, then put it back into the egg. As usual, he set it slightly forward from the line of the other eggs and gifts to let his fellow agents know which object held the message. He opened the door of the display room a crack to see if anyone was about, then hurried down the marble hallway to the Tsar’s study.
My today’s guest is a thriller author, Collin Glavac. His spy thriller “Ghosts of Guatemala” was published in November 2019.
Collin Glavac’s Weird Writing Quirks
I’ve been writing for a long time now, and I suppose I was bound to develop some strange habits along the way. Here is a weird list of my writing quirks:
Fingerless Gloves: I like to wear fingerless gloves when I write because they keep my hands warm and add a bit of protection but mostly because they make me feel super cool. Sometimes I light incense or candles so I get a mystical vibe going on too.
Coffee: I like to have a steady IV drip of coffee going. Tea is also acceptable. While the nectar of the gods flows, so do the words. I also keep water at my desk because drinking coffee doesn’t quench my thirst, so I sort of alternate between the two. Surprisingly, I don’t need snacks while I write (but snacks are always good, let’s be real). My guilty treat is late-night coffee. I write some really weird stuff when that happens.
Hoodie: I really like writing with my hood up so I feel all hunkered-down when I hit the keys. I sometimes wear a cloak as well to really bundle up, and sit cross-legged in my chair. I stopped being self-conscious about how this looks a long time ago.
Headphones: Big noise-cancellation over-the-ear headphones are key. I listen to whatever will keep me in a flow and rid me of distraction, but I need up-tempo stuff to keep me moving. I wish I could say I listen to beautiful sweeping fantasy soundtracks but I actually find trashy pop music to be the best thing to listen to while I write.
Tech: Besides headphones tech-wise, I also LOVE my mechanical keyboard and dual monitor setup. I like to bang my keys so each letter feels like a hammer working at an anvil. My mechanical keyboard (blue switches, thank you very much) make me feel like I’m typing on an obnoxious typewriter. It’s great, although not for anyone unfortunate enough to be in the next room over. Once I upgraded to a dual screen setup there was no going back. I keep my writing document on my primary screen and use the secondary screen to display my notes, music, and any research I need to pull up. It is chef’s kiss perfect.
So there you have it, my weirdo writing quirks. Basically, I look like a gremlin in a cave when I write. Don’t worry what you look like when you write! And honestly, what I’ve learned to appreciate most is being able to write without any of these things. This is a wishlist. I used to only write when inspiration came, and I realized how much I was limiting myself. Inspiration doesn’t always come, and it only chains you to the muse. I think it’s important to murder your muse so you can write anywhere, anytime, with only a pen and paper if need be (yes, even without coffee).
What are your weird quirks? Happy writing! 🙂
About the Book
Genre: Spy Thriller
Date Published: 25th November 2019
Who can you trust when corruption and danger are a way of life?
The CIA never left Latin America, and is facing catastrophic blackmail at the hands of an erratic Guatemalan drug lord: the infamous patrón of Antigua – Pablo Puentes. Desperate for a swift solution, the agency calls in their black operative fixer: John Carpenter.
John is a cold-blooded professional ready for the job. But the mission doesn’t have a simple fix. Pablo has a disastrous kill switch in place.
John is still haunted by the mysterious death of his best friend who died on a far too similar mission, and now is uncertain about how much he can trust his handler or his sensual partner.
Back at the agency, tensions are running hot as the stench of corruption is growing to a boiling point. If things aren’t put to rights – and soon – the entire mission will go up in flames and take the CIA down with it.
Only John Carpenter can bring this drug lord to justice and get the answers he deserves.
Because this mission is personal…
If you like the relentless tension of Daniel Silva and the gritty reality of Lee Child then you’ll love this first book in the John Carpenter Trilogy.
At every crossroads he has encountered in life, Sean Brody has made the safe choice. In the year 2046, at the age of ninety-three, Sean is given one final opportunity to deal with his greatest regret.
Sean is the only man Marshall Grissom and Marta Hamilton can find who might be able to save Sheila Schuler, their friend and fellow traveler lost in the distant reaches of time. If Sean accepts the task of traveling to his childhood in a parallel universe—with no guarantee that any aspect of the past can be changed—Sean must also accept his death in the only world he knows.
Framed for murder and on-the-run an innocent man is forced to become an outlaw. Hiding from his troubled past in Atlanta, Parker can’t escape his enemies. His former business partner blackmails him and when she’s killed, Parker becomes the chief suspect, but he fears his wife did it.
His boss coerces him to commit fraud, but he and his clever colleague, Sabrina, uncover evidence that his elusive birth father is involved in the scheme and Parker’s innate moral code is stressed to the limit. Parker must solve a riddle within a quandary within a puzzle within a mystery to save the lives of those he loves.
Three Years Ago
Parker watched her on the doorbell camera on his phone. It shouldn’t have to end this way; his future shouldn’t depend on the risky odds that he was right about what would happen tonight. He weaved around over-sized furniture and peered through the small square window in his front door. She wore a red, V-neck sundress exposing two inches of cleavage, reminding Parker once again that this woman’s sexual magnetism radiated like heat waves off a blacktop road. Her body an eye-catching confluence of tanned, sweeping curves, her hair long and blonde, and her eyes sapphire blue, she was a woman in her prime who Parker knew enjoyed the attention of men of all ages. He wiped his sweaty palms on his shorts and opened the door. On-time and all smiles, Meredith walked into his arms as though she were his lover arriving for a romantic evening.
Awkwardly, Parker extricated himself from her embrace. He led her to the dining room in his cramped beach bungalow where the papers to dissolve their partnership in Advanced Fraud Analytics, LLC were laid out on the table.
“You surprised me by agreeing to this,” he said.
She shook her head, and her long hair flew off one shoulder and onto the other. “Time to get off the investor-schmoozing merry-go-round and kill our ‘baby.’”
“Sad it’s come to this, but it’s a good deal for you. You’re relieved of all company debts and obligations and indemnified against any lawsuits; in return, I retain full ownership of the fraud detection algorithms and computer programs. Okay?”
She tapped the stack of papers with her ruby nails but did not take a seat. “Let’s do this outside. It’s such a lovely evening.”
Outside, Parker knew he would lose a measure of control, but he had planned for this situation. He swept up the legal documents and carried them to the pebbled glass table in his lanai. Five feet beyond the wall of screens, a swimming pool filled the backyard that ended in a gentle slope to the Intracoastal Waterway. A wooden shed, in which his center-console boat sat in a lift sling, flanked his rickety dock and to the right of the pool a large, four-person hot tub squatted on a slab, shielded from his neighbor’s sight by thick hibiscus. The sun was a dying ember on the horizon, so Parker turned on the underwater pool lights. It wasn’t a romantic gesture; he wanted a little indirect lighting.
“Do you have any wine, Parker? May as well make this pleasant.”
He hesitated; he had no weapons in the house. “White or red?”
“White if you have it.”
He nodded. “You can read the documents while I’m pouring the wine.”
When he returned to the patio with a chilled glass of Chablis and a sweating bottle of Tecate, he found Meredith standing at the edge of the pool with her naked back to him. She stepped out of red thong panties and flipped them with her foot onto the Cool Crete surface surrounding the pool where her outer garments and lacy bra were strewn in disarray. Naked, she grinned at him over her shoulder. He returned her smile as he admired the perfect contours of her high ass and the smooth tapering of her legs.
“Come on in,” she said. “You can’t have a free show.” Then she dove into the pool.
If he didn’t suspect that she wanted him in the water so he’d be less mobile, Parker would have been tempted to join her. He squatted at the edge of the pool and extended the glass of wine to her. He couldn’t resist watching her wade toward him, her breasts parting the rippled water like the prow of a ship plowing through ocean waves. She gave him permission with her eyes, but she couldn’t resist a quick glance over her shoulder at the bottom of his property where it met an inlet off the Intracoastal Waterway. He followed her gaze and saw it then, a white Boston Whaler silently drifting up to his dock. He had thought the odds would be in his favor, and now they weren’t. She noted the look of recognition on his face and made a grab for her purse at the edge of the pool, but Parker was quicker. He snatched the unusually heavy bag and tossed it into the deep end of the pool. Then he kicked her clothes into the water.
Shrieking, “Help! Rape!” Meredith climbed out of the pool and dashed into the house.
A rangy man in military fatigues, wielding a double-barrel shotgun as though it were a natural extension of his hand, leapt onto the dock and advanced toward Parker.
“Get the fuck off my property,” Parker snarled.
The man raised the shotgun with one hand as Parker ducked to evade the blast that shattered the sliding glass doors at the back of the house. Bent at the waist, Parker hustled into the protective shadows at the side of his house. Cowering behind his hot tub, he watched the man slowly approach in a stealthy semi-crouch, like a big game hunter stalking his prey. The terror Parker felt was what an antelope feels when it is about to be eaten alive by a pride of hungry lions. Now would be good time to rescue me.
When the hunter reached the hot tub and crept around the far side, Parker shuffledclockwise to remain on the opposite side. He took shallow breaths through his nose to mask the sound of his breathing as he listened to the blood coursing through his carotid artery—whoosh, whoosh. Where is she?
When they had made half a turn around the hot tub, and the predator’s back was to the boathouse where she had been hiding, he saw her emerge in the crepuscular light, fifteen feet away on his dock, and assume the shooter’s stance she’d been taught at the gun range. She never said a word, gave the hunter no warning, just fired her compact Beretta once, and the man crumpled onto the Cool Crete surface with a thud and a rush of expelled air. That hadn’t been the plan. She was only supposed to balance the threat Parker suspected Meredith had posed. She wasn’t supposed to shoot anyone. But Meredith had out-schemed him. It’s so easy to get these things wrong.
A scan of the house’s back windows revealed no sign of Meredith. Parker motioned for the woman to hurry into the shadows and put a finger to his lips—don’t talk. The wounded man moaned softly, and Parker’s quick glance confirmed that he was semi-conscious and neither moving nor watching. Parker took the woman’s pistol and shoved her toward the neighbor’s property. The snowbirds who owned the place were away enjoying the Canadian summer during the Florida off-season.
“Run,” he whispered.
She did as she was told. He counted to twenty—one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi—then he dialed 9-1-1.