[Guest Post]: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About – The Black Candle Killings by Andrew Segal

Today on my blog, I host Andrew Segal, the author of a thriller The Black Candle Killings.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Black Candle Killings

  • The inspiration for my main character, Tammy Pierre, private
    investigator, came partly from my first wife’s background. Born
    in Trinidad, her father was an architect.
  • I spent several holidays in Port-of Spain, Trinidad one of the
    locations in the book.
  • I made enquiries about the requirements and qualifications
    needed to become a private investigator in the UK.
  • I learned something about Krav Maga, the Israeli system of
    unarmed combat, before starting to write.
  • When Tammy cannot pack a gun for her own defence, she
    carries several Shuriken, those are lethal Japanese throwing
    stars, in specially made pockets in her belt.
  • My own father was in the fashion trade, so when it comes to
    dressing Tammy in designer outfits I’ve a fair notion of what
    is required.
  • You didn’t know that while Tammy smokes panatellas to
    avoid the excesses of inhaled smoking and keep at least
    relatively fit, she doesn’t draw the smoke into her lungs.
  • Tammy is very tall and exceptionally strong, but she is all
    woman, and finds it terribly hurtful when men, usually the
    inadequate ones, mock her with taunts of, ‘Is it a man?’
  • Tammy has the morals of an alley cat, but would herself be
    saddened if any of her closest lovers betrayed her

Tammy is a maverick, doing lines of cocaine when it suits
her. Perhaps not as immediately addictive as other drugs, it
raises her spirits, albeit only briefly, when she feels down.

About the Book

Conspiracy Series, Book 3

 Genre: Detective Thriller

Date Published: 1st March 2021

 Publisher: Happy London Press

A church going district of North London and a neighbourhood where friendly residents know each other. But when a brutally murdered woman is found next to a burned-out black candle, a strange mark etched deep into her back, the locals became afraid.

Her old boss, a Chief Superintendent in the Met, calls for PI, Tammy Pierre’s assistance. He’s aware of her Caribbean links, and knowledge of Obiah, a voodoo curse found in Trinidad, and used, some claim, to commit bizarre murders. So, is it voodoo? Or just superstition?

A trip to the West Indies reveals some disturbing facts, new evidence of child abuse and murders going undetected for over twenty years. 

Returning to London, her situation becomes dangerous – is it all more than Tammy had bargained for? 

About the Author




Having never written a dramatic word in my life some thirty years ago, an idea for a short story popped into my head. With the encouragement of my wife and daughter I wrote a tale about a timid and ineffectual man and his pet cat, called Cat and Mouse. Wife and daughter approved so I produced more stories and then joined a writers’ group who also liked what I wrote.

Sir George Everest said, they climbed that mountain, ‘Because it is there.’ The same might be said of writing. Why do we write? because of the idea, the notion, the thought. ‘Because it is there,’ and the irresistible urge to put it down in print.

My inspirations have come from real people, events or situations that have presented themselves. Titles like, I am a Contract Killer, Beads of Blood, Death Zone, License to Kill, are all based on my own lifetime experiences, questions asked, incidents occurring. So far, nobody has been murdered on my watch. But the notion gave rise to the impetus to write my first murder mystery, The Lyme Regis Murders. Could I make the jump after years of writing macabre short stories to a full-length drama? That familiar beating in the gut, said, ‘Yes, try it. Give it a go.’

And so to that cosy coastal town where nothing untoward ever happens. Or perhaps it does. The author seeks to shatter notions, change people’s perceptions, spoil long held views. That was my intention in entering into the world of crime thrillers. I’ve found that ‘nice’ people are not always what they seem. The helpless can be transformed into the most dangerous, the most dangerous become the most harmless. It’s all up to the writer and what they’re hoping to achieve. For me, so far, there have been several children’s books, one collection of short stories, with three more planned and three novels completed, plus a fourth in the mixer.

Whilst a short story might be written with a flurry of adrenalin in the space of a few hours, a book will need more than just a flash of creativity. It will need, perseverance, discipline and dogged determination. But then, isn’t that what is required of every ambition?

Contact Links

Website: https://www.happylondonpress.com/andrew-segal-author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/happylondonpress/

Author’s Website: http://andrewsegalauthor.com/about/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/HappyLDNpress

Blog:https://happylondonpress.blogspot.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/happylondonpress/

Purchase Link

[Release Blitz]: The Devil Whispered by Shawn Starkweather

Genre: Science-Fiction, Mystery, Detective

Date Published: 1st March 2021

Retired special-forces commander Jacobi Slate is drawn into a downward-spiraling vortex of fear and doubt while investigating a brutal murder committed by an old friend. As evidence mounts that someone else might be pulling strings from the shadows, Jacobi struggles to understand a developing connection to his own past, which is quickly catching up to him. 

Near-future cyberpunk collides with gritty detective noir in this fast-paced thriller that shines a light on both the vast shortcomings and the noble heroism of the human condition. To unravel the mystery, Jacobi will pull on every thread while chasing leads from the squalor of the most dangerous streets to the high-tech towers of the wealthy elite on his quest to understand a truth he might not be ready to face.

 Excerpt

My consciousness snapped online with abrupt decisiveness. I had the acute feeling of being alone in a world that was wrongly serene like the silence of the dead. I’d been dreaming of something horrifying, but the details were dancing just outside the boundary of my ability to recall. The panic I’d woken with was caught in my chest. It held me frozen to the sheets as my mind reconfigured to the safety and familiarity of my apartment. Though the context of the dream was faded and surreal, the fear was vivid and raw. It was a visceral terror, compounded by a deeply rooted aversion to vulnerability.

As I lay there, waiting for the sensation of cold dread to die away, the room was unceremoniously lit up by the glow of the wide monitor that comprised the wall opposite my bed. Shielding my eyes from the sting of the sudden light, I heard Ava, my virtual concierge, ask if I would like to receive a call.

“Who’s calling?” I asked with what little energy I’d mustered.

“Pavel Volkov is awaiting your response.” Her voice was always the same, mildly empathetic with a touch of encouragement.

I wrapped the sheet around me and grudgingly pulled myself up to sit on the side of the bed. Looking out from the tall windows that constituted the eastern-facing wall of my bedroom, I saw that it was still deep in the night. The only radiance beyond the panes was generated by the city itself; from the broken lines of luminous code emanating from the trickling streams of traffic far below, and the windows of the high-rises that towered above them – light and dark, the ones and zeroes of a binary skyline.

“Yeah, okay.”

Then, Pavel’s finely kempt visage was smiling keenly at me from my wall. He was standing on a rocky beach, and waves were lapping at the shore behind him. He wore a white silk suit and a bemused expression that seemed inappropriately unapologetic.

“It’s late, Pavel.”

“Good morning, Jacobi. My apologies for contacting you at this hour, but I thought you’d want to know that I’ve located the target.”

“Where are you?”

“I’ll send coordinates to your CUBE.”

Pavel Volkov was a liar and a thief. He’d conned so many wealthy aristocrats that he’d become one himself, but he stayed in the game for the sake of his own twisted entertainment. He was an artist, who specialized in painting perfect illusions. Deception was his medium, but I’d worked with him for long enough that I trusted him when it came to getting the job done. Traces of malaise from my restless sleep were lingering, so the notion of lucid wakefulness was a welcome one.

“I’m on my way,” I said. “End call.”

Pavel’s smirking face faded as the monitor went dark, and I was left with only my thoughts and the reiterating cycles of light from the softly glowing city outside. In the silence, I heard the faint percussion of fiery horse hooves falling away as the nightmare visiting me surrendered the assault and retreated to the depths of wherever dark dreams were designed.

About the Author

Shawn lives in Massachusetts with his wife and the handful of childhood stuffed animals that they’ve been unable to part ways with, even despite the awkward situation it occasionally puts their house guests in. He wields a coveted Associates of Liberal Arts degree from Greenfield Community college in an overly enthusiastic, flailing manner, and puts it to work writing both fantasy and science fiction stories. Using subliminal codes and hidden messaging carefully placed throughout his books, he plans to captivate the minds of his readers and insidiously manipulate them into purchasing subsequent releases.
As a novelist, musician, graphic designer, and a purveyor of fine games, Shawn is often confused about exactly who he is when he wakes up in the morning. It’s been said (by him) that perhaps he embodies all of these things so equally that a singular definition could not comprehensively impart a satisfactory description. With your support, and a sufficient demand for more novels, he secretly hopes that he’ll have no choice but to formally acknowledge the prevailing label of ‘author’ and spend the rest of his days providing a sense of wonder and adventure to everyone who helped him solidify his nebulous identity.

Contact Links

Website: https://shawnstarkweather.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StarkWriting

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Stark_Books

Blog: https://shawnstarkweather.com/blog/blogpost1.html

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawn-starkweather-465311201/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08NWGCY9S

Purchase Links

Coming soon…

Giveaway

$5 Amazon Gift Card and eBook Copy

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/408264011305/

[Book Spotlight. Excerpt]: Dark Secrets of the Bayou by Kim Carter

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Date Published: November 2020

Publisher: Raven South Publishing

Catherine “Tink” Mabrey, an up and coming attorney, is shocked by her recent inheritance from her estranged family on the bayou. After her mother died during childbirth, Tink’s father had quickly relocated them to the big city of Atlanta, Georgia. With no memory of her mother, she is determined to learn more about her lineage and decides to visit the bayou town of Kane, Louisiana. Candace, Tink’s co-worker and best friend, agrees to make the trip with her.

Before she has time to explore her family’s history, or decide what to do with the declining property, local murders plague Tink’s homecoming. She quickly finds herself caught in the middle of a multiple murder investigation – and quite possibly, the prime suspect. When Candace retreats back to Atlanta, Tink, with the support of an unlikely cast of characters, sets out to discover clues that have haunted and tormented her family for generations.

Could a concealed crime from the 1800’s, or the family’s estate itself, harbor keys to unlocking the past? The more they learn, the more they question whether some secrets are best left buried.

About the Author

Kim Carter is an author of suspense, mystery and thriller novels. She was a finalist in the 2018 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award and recipient of the 2017 Readers’ Choice Award for her book Murder Among The Tombstones. This is the first book in her Clara and Iris Mystery series. The characters in this series are a couple of overly curious widows who become private investigators and were inspired by Kim’s mother and her mom’s best friend.

Her other titles include: When Dawn Never Comes, Deadly Odds, No Second Chances, And The Forecast Called For Rain, and Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle.

Kim’s writing career started after she suffered an illness that made her housebound for a couple of years. An avid reader of mystery novels, she embarked on writing as a means of filling her time. Kim shared those early writings with friends and family who encouraged her to pursue writing professionally. Her health struggles and successes have been chronicled on The Lifetime Television in early 2000, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Women’s Day Magazine, and Guideposts.

Prior to her illness, Kim worked in many different capacities in county government ranging from Park Director with Parks and Recreation to the Grant Department with Human Services. But, ultimately, it was her job as a correctional officer that provided her the opportunity to interact with a variety of people from all walks of life. Her experiences ran the gamete of inspiring success stories to tragic endings, much like her mysteries.

She self-published her first book No Second Chances. One of the guest speakers at the launch party she had at the Performing Arts Center in Newnan, Georgia included her close friend retired Atlanta Police chief Eldrin Bell. This connection would become helpful as she started doing more research for other books, this time working with a small publishing house.

Kim started networking and made connections with the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. Her research has taken her many places including morgues, death row and the occasional midnight visit to cemeteries.

She is a college graduate of Saint Leo University, has a Bachelor Degree of Arts in Sociology. Kim and her husband have three grown children and live just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

Contact Links

Website: http://www.kimcarterauthor.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimCarterAuthor

Promo Link: https://bookbuzz.net/blog/mystery-suspense-dark-secrets-of-the-bayou-by-kim-carter/

KANE, LOUISIANA, 1859

Emmanuel Sinclair stood back and surveyed the sprawling plantation that had encompassed his life for the past two years. He nodded with pleasure as if someone were there awaiting his approval. Placed perfectly amidst rows of river oaks, magnolias, and sycamores, the estate was breathtakingly beautiful. The well-designed landscape surrounding the home contrasted sharply with the bald cypress and coastal willows rising prominently from the waters in the bayou. 

Emmanuel had no doubt, Lucretia, his soon-to-be bride, would be delighted with her stately new home. Within the next twenty-four hours, she was scheduled to go by train from Baltimore to the Ohio River. Lucretia would then travel by steamboat via the Ohio and the Mississippi to New Orleans, where Emmanuel would be waiting for her. Lucretia’s trip would be grueling, but she’d experienced many challenges over her eighteen years. Her grandparents had been part of the Expulsion of 1755 when the British ejected all French-Acadians refusing to pledge allegiance to the King of England. Originally settling in Maine, her family relocated to New York before putting down permanent stakes in Baltimore.

Young Lucretia longed for consistency, and it had been Emmanuel’s stability that’d won her over. By the age of thirty-five, he’d already made his fortune in the cotton business. His father had died seven years earlier, leaving Emmanuel a sizeable concession of land and a fledgling cotton crop, which, at best, kept the plantation self-sufficient. But it was the combination of Emmanuel’s business savvy, the increase of cotton production, and Louisiana’s strategic ports that’d quickly increased his wealth.

As Emmanuel had been steadily building a prosperous empire, Thaddeus Jackson had been constructing a flourishing kingdom of his own, on an equally expansive plantation a few miles away. Thaddeus had his father, Mathias, to thank for being born a free man of color. He had caught Andrew Jackson’s eye as a standout on the battlefield during the War of 1812. His grueling work ethic and leadership skills played pivotal in constructing breastworks, later referred to as Line Jackson. 

Thaddeus had quickly tired of the story, even as a young boy, and considered his father nothing more than a yes-man who’d covered cotton bales with logs and mud to protect the white army. However, Andrew Jackson had been quite impressed— enough so, in fact, that he’d facilitated Mathias’s freedom. Not one to take any blessing for granted, Mathias had chosen to acquire Jackson’s surname out of gratitude. Thaddeus had found much to dislike about his father, but he’d inherited many of his most admirable traits. He was a powerful leader and quick learner with a sense of adventure. These characteristics had led to his success as a Mississippi River privateer. His tall frame and good looks didn’t hinder him either. Both his appearance and self-confidence had also captured Fatima Lambert’s attention.

Fatima came with quite the story of her own. With a shortage of white women in the state of Louisiana and laws forbidding interracial marriage, the institution of plaçage enabled her to be a mistress to the very wealthy, and incredibly old, William Lambert. She’d been merely a teenager when he’d spotted her working his fields and had quickly arranged for her to be a kept woman.

Accustomed to hard labor and the unrelenting heat, she hadn’t objected to being at his beck and call and his bed when he’d insisted. Fortunately for Fatima, she’d only had to suffer through a few sessions of his sexual desires before he’d dropped dead of a heart attack at the ripe age of seventy-eight. 

With William being a childless widower and having no other heirs with whom to split his fortune, Fatima had become the proud owner of not only his cotton plantation but his slaves as well. It wasn’t her attractiveness as a mulatto that’d lured Thaddeus to pursue Fatima; it’d been her property and the glorious cotton fields that promised a lifetime of financial security. Once he’d set his sights on her, there was little Fatima could do but concede to his advances. After all, who wouldn’t want a bright, handsome husband to take care of things?

A rabbit scurried beneath some underbrush, drawing Emmanuel’s attention to the cool, damp breeze and dark clouds promising an impending storm. He walked to the front porch, paused long enough to grab his oil lamp, and made his way inside. Emmanuel hesitated briefly to take in the magnificence of the grand staircase winding its way, like an ornate ribbon, up to the second and third floors. One of his slaves, who’d been trained as a blacksmith, had spent the past few months creating it, and he hadn’t disappointed. 

It would surely take Lucretia’s breath away. Aside from a bed and some office necessities, the remaining furnishings would be left to Lucretia’s desires. Yet another of Emmanuel’s wedding gifts to her. Although it was midday, and the many windows gave way to ample light, thunder clouds had begun to darken the home’s interior. Emmanuel made his way up the stairs, down the corridor leading to the west wing, and entered his office. He slid the mantel a smidgen to the left. This released the mechanism holding the entire faux fireplace intact, enabling him to unlock the steel door leading to an array of complex tunnels, and ultimately, his concealed vault.

This way where the lives of two greedy and shrewd businessmen merged. This was the beginning of a tale older than time, filled with greed, lust, superstition, and murderous secrets they’d both take to their graves. It was a story meant to be locked away forever…

Purchase Link

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[Book Review]: Time Out Of Joint by Philip K. Dick

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

Release date: 22th April 1959 (first edition)

Ragle Gumm is an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, except that he makes his living by entering a newspaper contest every day – and winning, every day. But he gradually begins to suspect that his life – indeed his whole world – is an illusion, constructed around him for the express purpose of keeping him docile and happy.

But if that is the case, what is his real world like, and what is he actually doing every day when he thinks he is guessing ‘Where Will The Little Green Man Be Next?’

About the Author

Over a writing career that spanned three decades, Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) published 36 science fiction novels and 121 short stories in which he explored the essence of what makes man human and the dangers of centralized power. Toward the end of his life, his work turned toward deeply personal, metaphysical questions concerning the nature of God. Eleven novels and short stories have been adapted to film; notably: Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. The recipient of critical acclaim and numerous awards throughout his career, Dick was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 2007 the Library of America published a selection of his novels in three volumes. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.

My Review

4* stars

From sunglasses and black leather coats of Matrix to misty mountains and the black lodge of Twin Peaks—over the last fifty years authors, scriptwriters, and filmmakers have been trying to find an answer to the question: “What is reality?” But hey… Philip K. Dick was one of the first pioneers who’ve brought the (and all of us) to this point.

Written in the late ‘50s, Time out of Joint was Dick’s first attempt to break free from the “normality” and “traditions” of classical sci-fi and create something completely different, something which didn’t fit perfectly in any genre.

Ragle Gumm lives in a small American town (he doesn’t even remember its name) with his sister, brother-in-law, and their teenage son. After World War II, which Gumm spent on one of the remote atolls in the Pacific, he struggles to find a job and settle down. His sole source of income is a newspaper contest “Where Will the Little Green Man Appear Next?”. Gumm enters it every day and wins every day for the last three years or so. Soon, a bizarre succession of random events and hallucinations makes Gumm think that his reality may be completely different from the rest of the world.

With the help of his brother-in-law, Gumm finally manages to escape the town to discover that it’s the year 1998, humans have colonised the solar system, and the civil war is waging between Earth and a colony on the moon. Gumm and his contest is the key to peace on Earth.

 Slow at the beginning, Time out of Joint reflects perfectly the lazy suburban life of an ordinary American town. The description of the plastic reality of society’s consumerism and inertia can make any reader paranoid. The late ‘50s or late ‘90s—in such a place it doesn’t matter. The time seems like it stays still there.

The noveldoesn’t have a streamlined, fast-paced plot as in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or such grand world-building as in The Man in the High Castle. This is Dick’s first attempt to describe simulated, multi-layered realities, asking the question: “What is real?” and where is the thin line between sanity and psychosis. The same question he asks again and again in his later works, making a reader search for their own answers.

Choppy dialogues, spiced by a huge amount of unnecessary adjectives, and rational explanations at the end of the story made me feel a bit disappointed. I wish the author left some room for a reader to speculate, to come out with their own theory about the plot.

Purchase Link:

[Book Review. Non-fiction]: U-Boat 1936-45. Type VIIA, B, C & Type VIIC/41. Owners’ Workshop Manual by Alan Gallop

Genre: Non-fiction, Military History

Release Date: October 2014 (first addition)

Publisher: J H Haynes & Co Ltd.

An insight into the design, construction and operation of the most feared German U-boat of World War II.

The Type VII U-boat was the workhorse of the German Kriegsmarine in the Second World War. It was also the most numerous German U-boat class of the war with 709 built and the most produced submarine class in history.

It enjoyed spectacular victories, including the sinking of the liner SS Athenia and the aircraft carrier HMS Courageous soon after the outbreak of hostilities, which showed how vulnerable unescorted ships were against German U-boats. When U-47 sank the battleship HMS Royal Oak in October 1939 inside the Royal Navy anchorage at Scapa Flow, it forced the entire Home Fleet to move to temporary anchorages around the Scottish coast.

In the desperate Battle of the Atlantic that raged for much of the war, U-boats’ “wolfpacks” stalked merchant convoys that were Britain’s lifeline, sinking thousands of tons of Allied merchant shipping and taking Britain to the brink of disaster. The U-boat was a game-changer.

Centrepiece of the Haynes U-boat Manual is the sole surviving example of a Type VIIC U-boat, U-995, which is on public display at the German Naval Memorial near Kiel in northern Germany.

About the Author

Alan Gallop is a journalist, author, and teacher of PR and marketing subjects at commercial colleges. His previous work includes a book about Buffalo Bill’s adventures in England, a history of the women and children who toiled in Victorian coal mines, and a biography of explorer Henry Morton Stanley. He has written about the birth and development of Heathrow and about the loss of HMS Affray, the last British submarine to go missing at sea. He is married with two children and lives in Ashford, Middlesex.

My Review

(4* stars)

The author gives a good overview of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) before and during the war and provides lots of information about the Battle for the Atlantic.

Although some readers can be disappointed about lack of technical details, I found it a rather pleasant read. Being not technically savvy, I wanted to read more about the history of the type VII U-boats, the major battles/operation they took part in, the crew, and everyday life onboard during patrols and ashore.

The book uses numerous detailed photos of U-995, based in Laboe, the War Memorial near Kiel in northern Germany. U-995 is the only survivor of this type of U-boats.

The author also gives a brief overview of other types of U-boats, which I found useful for my research. 

A few pages repeat the narrative next to a photo again in the text, making reading a bit repetitive. Some chapters contain some sort of “subchapters”, breaking them in the half-sentence, which I found confusing and distracting.

I’d like to see more information from the crewmen themselves. Excerpts from their memoirs, diaries, reports, interviews, etc. would’ve shed even more light on the subject, giving a personal touch to the book.

The book definitely can’t be called a “manual”. I wouldn’t recommend it to the readers who’re searching for in-depth technical details/specifications. It’s a good read for people who’re looking for a clear, simplified introduction in the type VII U-boats and their history.  

Purchase Link

[Book Blitz]: Dark Secrets of the Bayou by Kim Carter

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Date Published: November 2020

Publisher: Raven South Publishing

Catherine “Tink” Mabrey, an up and coming attorney, is shocked by her recent inheritance from her estranged family on the bayou. After her mother died during childbirth, Tink’s father had quickly relocated them to the big city of Atlanta, Georgia. With no memory of her mother, she is determined to learn more about her lineage and decides to visit the bayou town of Kane, Louisiana. Candace, Tink’s co-worker and best friend, agrees to make the trip with her.

Before she has time to explore her family’s history, or decide what to do with the declining property, local murders plague Tink’s homecoming. She quickly finds herself caught in the middle of a multiple murder investigation – and quite possibly, the prime suspect. When Candace retreats back to Atlanta, Tink, with the support of an unlikely cast of characters, sets out to discover clues that have haunted and tormented her family for generations.

Could a concealed crime from the 1800’s, or the family’s estate itself, harbor keys to unlocking the past? The more they learn, the more they question whether some secrets are best left buried.

Other Books By Kim Carter

Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle (2017)

Murder Among The Tombstones  (2017)

No Second Chances (2017)

Deadly Odds (2018)

And The Forecast Called For Rain (2018)

When Dawn Never Comes  (2018)

About the Author

Kim Carter is an author of suspense, mystery and thriller novels. She was a finalist in the 2018 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award and recipient of the 2017 Readers’ Choice Award for her book Murder Among The Tombstones. This is the first book in her Clara and Iris Mystery series. The characters in this series are a couple of overly curious widows who become private investigators and were inspired by Kim’s mother and her mom’s best friend.
Her other titles include: When Dawn Never Comes, Deadly Odds, No Second Chances, And The Forecast Called For Rain, and Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle.
Kim’s writing career started after she suffered an illness that made her housebound for a couple of years. An avid reader of mystery novels, she embarked on writing as a means of filling her time. Kim shared those early writings with friends and family who encouraged her to pursue writing professionally. Her health struggles and successes have been chronicled on The Lifetime Television in early 2000, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Women’s Day Magazine, and Guideposts.
Prior to her illness, Kim worked in many different capacities in county government ranging from Park Director with Parks and Recreation to the Grant Department with Human Services. But, ultimately, it was her job as a correctional officer that provided her the opportunity to interact with a variety of people from all walks of life. Her experiences ran the gamete of inspiring success stories to tragic endings, much like her mysteries.
She self-published her first book No Second Chances. One of the guest speakers at the launch party she had at the Performing Arts Center in Newnan, Georgia included her close friend retired Atlanta Police chief Eldrin Bell. This connection would become helpful as she started doing more research for other books, this time working with a small publishing house.
Kim started networking and made connections with the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. Her research has taken her many places including morgues, death row and the occasional midnight visit to cemeteries.
She is a college graduate of Saint Leo University, has a Bachelor Degree of Arts in Sociology. Kim and her husband have three grown children and live just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
 

Contact Links

Website: http://www.kimcarterauthor.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimCarterAuthor

Promo Link: https://bookbuzz.net/blog/mystery-suspense-dark-secrets-of-the-bayou-by-kim-carter/

Purchase Link

Happy New 2021!!

I wish Happy New Year to all my readers and subscribers of my blog!

2020 was challenging for all of us. I wish you all to have a brighter, kinder, and more creative year ahead! 2020 has also brought lots of changes to my writing career. I left my publisher at the beginning of the year and took a step into the unknown. I have no regrets as the year of writing, rewriting, researching, blogging, and beta-reading for my fellow authors has given me a lot of experience and made my writing much stronger.

My hopes for this year is to find an agent or a big traditional publisher for my new work, a thriller/sci-fi novel, Dive Beyond Eternity, and republish some of my previously-published novellas. A lot to achieve in one year, so… please, wish me luck.

2021 is a year of the white ox/bull. Here’re some depiction of this animal in modern art.

“Bull” by Pablo Picasso, created in 1945, a series of eleven lithographs, which has become a masterclass on how to develop an image from realism to abstraction.

“White Bull” by Franz Marc , 1911. Credit: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/2761

[Excerpt]: My Brother’s Keeper by Courtnee Turner Hoyle

CHAPTER 19


I had been thinking a long time about the past, and early morning light had run away the
shadows. I didn’t want to relive those terrible moments in time, but my mind kept pushing
me back to them.


My mother’s bedroom door creaked open, and her feet padded softly down the carpeted
hallway. I thought she would go downstairs, but her footsteps stopped outside of my room.
I lay frozen on my bed, looking at the door. I could hear my mother’s breath, soft and sad.
The knob turned, and the door inched open slowly. My mother stood in the doorway with a
laundry basket against her hip.


Oh, she was putting away laundry. No big deal.

“Hey, Mom,” I said, rising from my bed. “I’ll get that for you,” I offered, motioning to the
laundry basket.
My mother didn’t move or look at me. She seemed like she was unsure about something.


She was trying to get her emotions under control, but she let a tear fall as she looked at the
floor. “I never blamed you,” she whispered. “You never hurt anyone.”
The last words seemed to be too much for my mother, and she burst into tears. I watched
her with my hands up. What was I supposed to do?

Before I could decide on a course of action, my mother turned around and closed my door. I
lowered my hands and stared at the door.


I had waited almost a year for my mother’s forgiveness. Now that she had pardoned me, I
still felt cold and alone. I had pictured us holding and hugging each other, but my mother
had left without a show of affection.


My mother may have been trying to keep her emotions in check, like her father had taught
her to do when she was young. She was probably ashamed of her tears. Besides, she was
from the city, and city girls weren’t supposed to cry.


I settled under my comforter and tried to push the gnawing emptiness away. I tried to
pretend my twin was on the bed above me and that he was only sleeping. I wanted to talk
to him, and I knew he would understand.

No matter how mad I made him, he always listened to me and tried to help.
The morning light landed on Josh’s model car collection, but it was dusty and mostly
forgotten. One of the models was missing because of me.


I enjoyed most of my memories of the past, but I had been avoiding one of the worst times
for our family. My thoughts shifted back to the day I had hidden my brother’s favorite
model truck in the kitchen stove.


It was nice to hear that my mother didn’t place blame on me, but her actions over the past
year suggested otherwise. We both knew I had hurt a lot of people during my seventeen
years, and Josh wasn’t the only brother who had died because of me.

About the Book

A Pale Woods Mystery: Book One

 Genre: Mystery

Date Published: 26th June 2020

Publisher: Jan-Carol Publishing Inc.

Seventeen-year-old Jerrod has struggled with the guilt of his actions for an event that took place almost a year ago. His friends have abandoned him, his family ignores him, and he lost his best friend. To make matters worse, he was unable to access records that may have revealed his father’s whereabouts.

His sister, Ella, guides Jerrod as he tries to learn and accept secrets his family has tried to hide. However, a sinister spirit may be influencing Ella’s actions, and it has an agenda of its own.

About the Author

Courtnee Turner Hoyle was raised in Unicoi County, surrounded by the traditions and dialect of the area. She embraced the regional stories, mountain views, and culture -except sweet tea and unannounced visits – and sought to correct the misconceptions about the local people and the town stories that turned into rumors. Despite the challenges that face a young mother, she graduated East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, with an emphasis in technical writing, and a Bachelor of Business. She received a Master of Arts in Teaching from the same university, and began writing novels. She volunteers with community organizations, and she has been involved with Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians for several years as a Troop Administrator. She also volunteers with the Girl Scout Service Unit in her area. Her responsibilities include planning events, organizing social media releases for the service unit, and writing articles about the activities and accomplishments of all the troops in her county. She resides in Erwin, Tennessee, with her children and husband. She has hiked the section of the Appalachian Trail near her home, has visited many of the caves and other mountain trails in the area, and is fascinated by their enigmatic appeal. She likes reading, writing, and any reasonable music. Most of all, she enjoys sharing adventures with her children and making memories through their experiences.
 

Contact Links

Website: https://courtneeturnerhoyle.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Courtnee-Turner-Hoyles-Pale-Woods-Erwin-Mystery-Book-Series-109670063806502

Blog: https://courtneeturnerhoyle.com/blog/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54566654-my-brother-s-keeper?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=yChbHYOShZ&rank=1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pale_woods_mysteries/

Purchase Links

B & N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-brothers-keeper-courtnee-turner-hoyle/1137334690?ean=9781950895434

[Guest Post]: Interview with Greg Jolley, the author of “The Collectors”

Today, I’m hosting an interview with Greg Jolley, who talks about his new release, a suspenseful thriller, “The Collectors”. His book appeared on my blog earlier this week.

THE COLLECTORS Interview with Greg Jolley
Brought to you by BHC Press

Where did the idea for the book originate? What was the writing process like?

“The Collectors” came from a compelling curiosity with odd collections and museums and, of course, the people who construct them and their motivations, obsessions and compulsions. I researched and interviewed a few curators in an attempt to understand their psychological passion for capturing rare relics and oddities. It was a fresh and foreign mental landscape to explore. There is a strange side to the desire to collect and revere objects of nostalgia as well as fulfilling morbid fascinations with the famous and infamous. Without exception, they loved to talk about the wonder and reverence they felt and the ways they had gone about their collecting. Questions about their motivations were answered evasively, at best.

The write itself took seven months. Three of them were spent doing the research and character and location sketches and getting familiar with my cast. The write itself was that fine daily immersion that makes being a novelist so rewarding.

Introduce us to the main characters in the book. Who was your favorite to write and why?

All three main characters were a challenging delight. While I didn’t have a favorite, Pierce was the most familiar. That said, all three were constantly entertaining and shocking. As often happens about a third of the way along, the cast took over the write and I became their story’s typing pool.

Pierce
He is always a surprising personality to work with, always turning left when all the road signs and my plans scream, “Turn right!”
Big of heart, passionate in love, and often a loose cannon, I pretty much turned him loose. Soon as he put his nose to the sand and started tracking Pauline Place, I was comfortable taking my hands off the wheel.

Pauline
Pauline is the famous actress Pauline Place, who was a pleasure to work with again. She is a rare beauty, strong-willed, no one’s fool and capable of getting in serious trouble – often of her own making – as a challenge to herself and her ways and wits.

Deung
Ah, Deung… nothing more enjoyable than entering his twisted and dangerous mind. He was another chance to open the black box containing evil and dark lunacy, compulsions and sociopathic blood lust. Mix in the desire to wed and bed a deceased actress and he scared and revolted me badly more than once.

Movies and filmmaking feature prominently in your book. What is it about movies that fascinates you?

For “The Collectors” it was the continued fascination with the psychology of cameras.
Many of the Danser novels are set within movie productions for two reasons. The first is inspired by the historical Jewish proverb that I paraphrase as, “God loves stories.” I interpret this as meaning that our use of free will and our choices tell the stories he loves to watch unfold.

The second is a question. What is a camera, metaphorically? If our lives are movies of our choices, then we also get to decide which side of the viewfinder we live on. Are we behind the camera, calling the shots as we view our world and our lives? Or before it, center stage, immersed in our stories and delighting in each new experience and decision? Either side of the camera can be a fine and interesting place to live (or narrate) our tales.

Pierce has a fondness for cars, especially Willys and Packards. Are you also a car aficionado?

I’m so not. Lol, I drive a Jeep. That said, automobiles do have a functional mechanical beauty.
To this day, American culture has a strong affection for car brands and models. Why I don’t share this, for the book I needed to explore and better understand that psychological attachment to objects, much like the collectors in the novel do.

The villain Deung is a twisted and chilling character. What inspired him?

It was a fascination with wealthy lunatics who have the means to pursue their macabre compulsions. There are many real-world examples of them. Some of my favorites were in the 1800s, in London; men with their gruesome collections on display. Many of these museums housed true horror shows for both curators and audiences; places to take twisted delight in. The States also has its share of macabre collections and museums of cruelty, crime, violence and, well, evil. Truth be told, they are really hard to look away from.

Deung is a collector of “odd things” and readers have described your book as “not for the faint of any kind.” Without giving anything away, where did your inspiration for his macabre hobby originate from?

He certainly has collecting and acquisition and control issues that I wanted to explore. Same with his bent and twisted mind, where he lives far south of the sanity border. I wanted to better understand how some of darkest of sick minds can calmly believe that their murderous ways make perfectly good sense.

What is it that you enjoy most about writing thrillers and suspense?

I enjoy it all, which is why I write seven days a week, but the pre-write research and sketching is often the most interesting and creative part. During those months, I collect miles of Ingredients, which are snippets of dialogue, mapping locations, choosing the cast, and deciding both theme and structure. From this, the Skeleton of the book forms itself naturally. I usually come in at around ten thousand words before I enter the write. In the case of “The Collectors” I was fortunate to be working with Pierce Danser again, which made the start very easy, knowing that as soon as I turned him loose, the roller coaster had entered the tunnel.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, what’s the soundtrack for this book?

For “The Collectors” it was Steely Dan. The write needed the complex, colorful and edgy jazz and heartbeat rhythms that the band loved to work with. While I didn’t listen closely, I did hear sparks of the caustic lyrics that can only encourage.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

I rarely read fiction, but consume tons of nonfiction. I have a lifelong passionate love of fiction and consumed most of the best. The reason I decided years ago not to read fiction had to do with the influence on my voice and craft. I’m both careful and selective with what I allow to effect my writing of the Danser novels.

I surf every day after closing the office, needing to enjoy and experience real people in the real world. There’s so much to learn and be inspired by that isn’t available in imagination on its own.

I love all the reviews and reviewers and can’t say enough about how important and meaningful they are. Unfortunately, I can’t read them. I do look at the ratings and I’m sincerely grateful for those, as I am for everyone who graciously takes the time to share their thoughts and insights. My relationship with my readers is of huge importance to me, no matter if they love a book or trash it. The rub is the indirect influence on the daily write. As an example, I recall being taken to task for wrecking four brand new Buicks in “Dot to Dot” which was considered unnecessarily wasteful. When I found myself worrying about this concern a few days later, I knew I had a problem. As with the decision to not read fiction, I’m a bit obsessive with what influences I’ll allow inside the daily writes. That said, I love all the questions about the books and always delight in replying to them.

What are you currently working on?

“Chas Danser
Book One: Vivre au Cinéma”

Seventeen-year-old Chas is an actor who also has a severe neurological injury, experiencing fugues when he smells eucalyptus. (Yes, there are such cases in real life). He uses that rich, dusty scent to fully immerse himself in the films he’s in, which allows me to work with the craft and tools and magic of movies. In the Chas novel, the film he enters is “French Slaughter” a cinematic telling of the historic, failed attempt of the French to establish a holding in Florida in the 1500s. The Spanish respond to this incursion in the deadliest of ways.


This is book one of a series, using the same movie immersion as its centerpiece, bookended by his real life deadly adventures in the crime and madness of current day Florida.

About the Author

Greg Jolley aka Gregory French earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s or goes surfing.

Contact Links

Publisher: https://www.épouvantail.com​

Author: www.TheDansers.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greg.jolley.581

Twitter: @gfjolle

Blog: : https://wordpress.com/view/gregjolley.wordpress.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gfjolle/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-jolley-319b164/

About the Book

Genre: Suspense, Thriller 

Date Published: 15th December 2020

Publisher: BHC Press

Pierce Danser is on the hunt for his soon-to-be ex-wife, the actress Pauline Place, who’s disappeared from the Black Island film set in the heat swarmed waters off the Mexican coast. A wealthy “collector” with a black heart and dangerous, evil mind has kidnapped her, planning a forced marriage to complete his manage of twisted museum pieces. 

As Pierce starts down the winding, dark, and deadly path in pursuit, his journey is a roller coaster through a horror show. No matter the grisly and dangerous obstacles, he is determined to rescue Pauline, even if it means the loss of his own life. The clock is ticking, his resources are slim and he’s up against a man of great means as well as a twisted, cruel vision.

Purchase Links

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3iIrRln

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=greg%20jolley&fcsearchfield=Author

Giveaway:

$5 Amazon Gift Card and eBook Copy

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/408264011260/

[Release Blitz]: The Collectors by Greg Jolley

Genre: Suspense, Thriller 

Date Published: 15th December 2020

Publisher: BHC Press

Pierce Danser is on the hunt for his soon-to-be ex-wife, the actress Pauline Place, who’s disappeared from the Black Island film set in the heat swarmed waters off the Mexican coast. A wealthy “collector” with a black heart and dangerous, evil mind has kidnapped her, planning a forced marriage to complete his manage of twisted museum pieces. 

As Pierce starts down the winding, dark, and deadly path in pursuit, his journey is a roller coaster through a horror show. No matter the grisly and dangerous obstacles, he is determined to rescue Pauline, even if it means the loss of his own life. The clock is ticking, his resources are slim and he’s up against a man of great means as well as a twisted, cruel vision.

About the Author

Greg Jolley aka Gregory French earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s or goes surfing.

Contact Links

Publisher: https://www.épouvantail.com​

Author: www.TheDansers.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greg.jolley.581

Twitter: @gfjolle

Blog: : https://wordpress.com/view/gregjolley.wordpress.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gfjolle/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-jolley-319b164/

Purchase Links

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3iIrRln

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=greg%20jolley&fcsearchfield=Author

Giveaway

$5 Amazon Gift Card and eBook Copy

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/408264011260/