Book Review: Jenna’s Case by Andy Siegel

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A teen-aged girl can be among the most vulnerable of human beings. And the preyed-upon young woman at the dark center of Jenna’s Case is certain to win the heart of readers. Believing Jenna Radcliff to be the victim of a Brooklyn doctor willing to put greed above his oath to do no harm, Tug takes on her case with deeply felt zeal. Yet what he quickly comes to understand is that his new client—once an obviously bright, outgoing girl (and ace neighborhood jump-roper)—is now a nearly mute shadow of her former self. As he proceeds to amass evidence against the conscienceless and defiant surgeon who’d willfully mutilated Jenna, Tug unfortunately soon discovers that the forces set against him are not only more numerous than he’d imagined but also more deadly.

 

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Better than expected. I LOVE when that happens. My first read into the Tug Wyler adventurous legal series was an entertaining romp. Tug Tyler is a personal injury lawyer who’s quite an interesting character to say the least. The overall tone is humorous with a good dose of conflict served in various forms. Andy Siegel is a good storyteller who’s witty and has a good knack for storytelling. Jenna is the victim filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a shady doctor with criminal ties in the neighborhood. This book is full of twists and turns with another spin or two for good measure. My next read is Nelly’s Case. 

 

 

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Andy Siegel maintains a special commitment to representing survivors of traumatic brain injury in his practice of law. He is on the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. His many trial successes have regularly placed those outcomes among the “Top 100 Verdicts” reported in the state annually. A graduate of Tulane University and Brooklyn Law School, he now lives outside of the greater NYC area. 

So how did the colorful, cocky and self-deprecating Tug Wyler come into being? He was hanging around, shadowing my daily life for a long time; I just didn’t know it. But here’s the short version: I shared a trial story with a mom at my kids baseball game who said I should write a book and the idea of him just appeared in my head.

Unable to shake the spell he cast, I began to write, each morning when I got on Metro North, what became my debut novel, Suzy’s Case. But I was doing it only to amuse myself. I didn’t read courtroom mysteries or legal thrillers; as far as I was concerned, I was living them. The rush to cover up genuine wrongs of the sort that lie at the heart of the Tug Wyler Mysteries happens continually out there in the real world. Believe me, fiction doesn’t know the half of it.

Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster published Suzy’s Case. My book agent Sterling Lord then penned a deal with Open Road Media and Mysteriouspress.com to publish Cookie’s Case. After requesting and receiving the reversion of my rights on these novels, and after my option with CBS Television to create a one-hour procedural TV show based on the Tug Wyler character expired, I formed Rockwell Press.

For Tug Wyler readers, I promise a mix of rule-bending high-tension conflict during the course of which you’ll laugh in spite of yourself . . . while never knowing what’s going to happen next. Like me, Tug’s the kind of street-smart push-it-to-the-limit lawyer you’d want on your side when the worst has happened.

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: The Ace of Clubs by Patricia Loofbourrow

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About Audiobook #3

Author: Patricia Loofbourrow

Narrator: Machelle Williams

Length: 8 hours 4 minutes

Publisher: Red Dog Press, LLC⎮2018

Genre: Noir Mystery, Steampunk Crime Fiction

Series: The Red Dog Conspiracy, Book 3

Release date: Jan. 26, 2018

 

Audio sample

 

 

Synopsis: Trapped. Betrayed. Desperate.

Could you betray your family to buy your freedom?

From NY Times and USA Today best-selling author Patricia Loofbourrow….

The one secret which could destroy everything….

After financial disaster and the zeppelin bombing, the far-future, domed, neo-Victorian city of Bridges is reeling. Three of the four Families are implicated, and an inquest is called to investigate.

After her failure to prove Jack Diamond’s guilt in David Bryce’s kidnapping and the murders of her informants, private eye and mobster’s moll Jacqueline Spadros has had enough. While she and her former lover Joseph Kerr try to learn who killed their family friend, they also begin making plans to leave the city.

Her tormentors, however, are just getting started. As their web of lies and forgery draws ever tighter, Jacqui begins to see how deep the conspiracy against her and the Spadros Family really goes.

When she’s called as a witness in the inquest, the secrets Jacqui has kept over the years come back to cause her serious trouble. Will she be able to escape Bridges? Or will she be forced to face the terrible consequences of her lies and trickery once and for all?

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #3

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Welcome to part 3 of the Red Dog Conspiracy with the Ace of Clubs. I believe this is the best of the first three books thus far. But I had to remind myself that this is a 13-part serial novel! Quite interesting, eh? Indeed. The plot begins to take shape in this book when more secrets are revealed and things are brought out into the open. The Family crime drama continues…

Narrator Machelle Williams has a sweet voice and has a way of luring into the story. Each book gets better with her performance and familiarity with the characters. I’ll do a full review of the her performance soon on the AudioSpy.

 

 

 

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About the Author: Patricia Loofbourrow

Patricia Loofbourrow, MD is a NY Times and USA Today best-selling science fiction writer, PC gamer, ornamental food gardener, fiber artist, and wildcrafter who loves power tools, dancing, genetics and anything to do with outer space. She was born in southern California and has lived in Chicago and Tokyo. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three grown children.

 

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Narrator Machelle Williams

 

 

About the Narrator: Machelle Williams

As an audiobook narrator with 23 years of experience moving audiences with her voice through corporate facilitation and public speaking, Machelle knows how to connect with the intent of the author to bring their vision to life. Her compelling yet casual voice draws the listener close, transporting them deep into the story and keeping them hanging on every word with full attention and anticipation.

Machelle’s voice is nuanced and delivers reads that range from soft and soothing to dramatic and smoky. She specializes in Mysteries & Thrillers, but her Bespoke repertoire also includes Non-Fiction, Religious, Urban and Noire.

Machelle is based in Northern Virginia with her two Boston Terriers, Daphne and Lilah, and her fully equipped studio from which she provides quick turn-around of professional quality recordings.

When you need a narrator to take your listener to the edge of their seat and their breath away – trust the telling to Machelle.

 

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Book Review: Law & Vengeance by Mike Papantonio

Law and Vengeance

 

 

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Gina Romano is a highly successful trial lawyer with Bergman/Deketomis, a firm dedicated to protecting the public by exposing and penalizing corporate crooks and their allies in government. Well into her thirties, Gina hasn’t overcome the anger and defensiveness resulting from a bizarre and traumatic childhood. As she contemplates whether to marry solid, attractive and loyal veterinarian Bryan Penn or to send him packing, the murder of a friend and mentor, Angus Moore, turns her life into a quest for vengeance. In consort with partner Nick Deketomis, Gina runs headlong into a life and death struggle against weapons manufacturers, a gun rights lobbyist, psychopathic Chicago police, a hi-tech genius assassin, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Still, the most formidable and dangerous enemy she faces is herself.

 

 

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The Bergman-Deketomis Law Firm undergoes a severe blow when one of their own is murdered while investigating a large U.S. Weapons manufacturer. The enemy never plays by the rules. What happens when the enemy strikes close to home? Lawyers in the firm are tested by the law of vengeance when their morals begin to blur.

I loved the introduction, background, development, and point of view of lawyer Gina Romano. Exceptional. Her character made all the difference and really spiced things up a bit. The legalese and hairy cases are always fascinating but having great characters can’t be beat. Loved it.

 

 

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Mike Papantonio is a senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the largest plaintiffs’ law firms in America, that has handled thousands of cases throughout the nation involving pharmaceutical drug litigation, Florida tobacco litigation, litigation for asbestos-related health damage, securities fraud actions, and other mass tort cases. “Pap” has received dozens of multimillion dollar verdicts on behalf of victims of corporate corruption.

Papantonio is one of the youngest attorneys to have been inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. In 2012 Papantonio became President of the National Trial Lawyers Association, one of the largest trial lawyer organizations in America. For his trial work on behalf of consumers, Papantonio has received some of the most prestigious awards reserved by the Public Justice Foundation, The American Association for Justice, and the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Papantonio is an author of four motivational books for lawyers. He is also co-author of Air America: The Playbook, a New York Times Political Best Seller.

Papantonio is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show “Ring of Fire” along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Sam Seder. Papantonio has conducted hundreds of recorded interviews with guests, including Dan Rather, Helen Thomas, Howard Zinn, Arianna Huffington, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bernie Sanders, David Crosby, Merle Haggard, Morgan Spurlock, John Edwards, Bill Moyers, Rickie Lee Jones, Alanis Morissette, Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne, Chuck D from Public Enemy, Henry Rollins, Ted Sorensen, and Elizabeth Kucinich. His role on “Ring of Fire” is featured in the movie, “Jesus Camp,” which was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

Papantonio is also a political commentator who frequently appears on MSNBC, Free Speech TV, RT America Network, and Fox News.

Papantonio is married and has one daughter. He is an avid scuba diver and often dives on the Emerald Coast.

 

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: Detective Hunter Series Book 4 – Hell To Pay

Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

Detective Kay Hunter #4 – Hell to Pay

 

 

Hell to Pay Cover AUDIO

 

 

About Audiobook #4

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 7 hours 14 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2018

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 4

Release date: Jan. 01, 2018

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiraling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.
Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #4

Buy on RachelAmphlett.com

 

Rachel Amphlett does it again in book 4 of the series, Hell to Pay. Crafting a sinister plot that Detective Kay Hunter will find all to personal. This series has become on of my favorites of the year in crime fiction. And for good reason–They’re awesome! Kay comes across an old adversary when she come across a traffic accident with links to a ruthless serial killer. Brewing at the same time is a mysterious drama related to Kay. Another great one!

Narrator Alison Campbell is a pleasure to listen to in every book. Very professional and skilled at conveying the emotions of the characters. She delivers an exceptional performance in every book. Way to Alison!

 

 

 

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About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

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Alison Campbell photo by Libby Christenson

 

 

Narrator Alison Campbell

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour Detective Kay Hunter Series: One To Watch by Rachel Amphlett

Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

Detective Kay Hunter and her colleagues are shocked by the vicious murder of a teenage girl at a private party in the Kentish countryside.

 

 

 

One to Watch Cover AUDIO

 

 

 

About Audiobook #3

 

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 7 hours 27 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 3

Release date: Oct. 03, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Sophie Whittaker shared a terrifying secret. Hours later, she was dead.

Detective Kay Hunter and her colleagues are shocked by the vicious murder of a teenage girl at a private party in the Kentish countryside.

A tangled web of dark secrets is exposed as twisted motives point to a history of greed and corruption within the tight-knit community.

Confronted by a growing number of suspects and her own enemies who are waging a vendetta against her, Kay makes a shocking discovery that will make her question her trust in everyone she knows.

One to Watch is a gripping murder mystery thriller, and the third in the Detective Kay Hunter series. A whodunit for fans of Jeffery Deaver, Peter James, David Baldacci, and James Patterson.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #3

Buy on RachelAmphlett.com

 

 

 

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Rachel Amphlett’s Detective Kay Hunter series is simply brilliant. Whodunit, mystery, or crime fiction fans will be pleasantly surprised with her skill in plotting a crime with unique twists.  A very creative book to say the least.

Detective Kay Hunter and company must unravel a mysterious murder of a young teen at a party full of inebriated guests. An elitist church group, a strange pastor, bickering aristocrats, and young teens are involved in classic whodunit.

There’s also a running subplot since the beginning of book one that’ll keep you on your toes. Who is out to get Detective Kay Hunter? Someone is trying to sideline her every move and keep an eye on her. That makes things very interesting!

 

 

 

 

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About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

 

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Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

 

 

WILL TO LIVE IS THE SECOND BOOK IN A NEW CRIME THRILLER SERIES FEATURING KAY HUNTER — A DETECTIVE WITH A HIDDEN PAST AND AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE…

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT AUDIOBOOK #2

 

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 8 hours 15 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 2

Release date: Oct. 12, 2017

 

Synopsis: Reputation is everything.

When a packed commuter train runs over a body on a stretch of track known to locals as “Suicide Mile”, it soon transpires that the man was a victim of a calculated murder.

As the investigation evolves and a pattern of murders is uncovered, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter realizes the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a brutal serial killer.

With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempting to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own adversaries.

When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, she realizes the killer’s timetable has changed, and she’s running out of time to stop him….

Will to Live is the second book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future….

 

BUY LINKS FOR AUDIOBOOK #2

BUY ON RACHELAMPHLETT.COM

 

 

 

 

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I’m becoming an avid fan of Rachel Amphlett’s Detective Kay series. They all seem to play out like movies whenever I read them. Kay Hunter combined with sensational plots, horrific, yet fascinating crimes with a good dose of mystery make this series a winner.

I find Amphlett’s writing rather creative and refreshing in the midst of today’s crowded market, which is no easy feat believe me.

The first two books have wonderful beginning scenes that whet your appetite for the rest of the book. In Will to Live, a woman walking her dog discover a man laid across the railroad tracks unable to move and screaming for his life. Only a fence separates them, but the woman is elderly with a bad hip and unable to save him in time. Unfortunately the train is unable to stop in time killing the unknown man instantly with a sickening crunch. So Detective Kay hunter has to determine first who the man is and if it was a suicide or something more deliberate? And why? Great book!!

 

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: RACHEL AMPHLETT

 

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

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Audio Series Blog Tour: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett

Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

 

“If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

 

 

 

Scared to Death Cover AUDIO

 

 

 

About Audiobook #1

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 8 hours 27 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 1

Release date: Oct. 2, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: “If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realized.

With her career in jeopardy – desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.
For the killer, the game has only just begun….

Scared to Death is the first book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future….

If you like the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks series and the Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza, discover Rachel Amphlett’s new detective novels today.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #1

Buy on RachelAmphlett.com

 

 

BOOK REVIEW

 

Rachel Amphlett has found the secret to create a thriller crime series. When I listened to this audiobook I got the sense that everything gels well together.  I’d say the author excels at portraying realistic crime scenes, fascinating plotting, with a unique killer. Which, in this crowded field is easier said than done.  A very solid book and balanced writing.

Narrator Alison Campbell has intriguing style of narration. Her accent is great with the ability to create various character voices.  Pacing is slower, yet lures you more into the story. Great job! I’m definitely looking forward continuing this series!

 

 

 

 

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About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

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Splendid Q&A with Author Fiona Cummins

 

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Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. Rattle, her debut novel, which sold at auction across Europe, is published in the US by Kensington. It has also been optioned for a TV series with scripts penned by The Grudge screenwriter Stephen Susco. Fiona lives in Essex, England with her family.

 

 

 

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INTERVIEW – FIONA CUMMINS

 
Compare your career as a journalist and your career now as a novelist.
In some ways, they’re two sides of the same coin. After 12 years on the Daily Mirror, I’m used to meeting deadlines and being edited. Both jobs shine a light on stories that have emotional resonance.

 
But publishing works so slowly compared to newspapers. In my old job, I’d write a news story and within a few hours it would have been sub-edited, laid out and printed. My first novel was published twenty one months after I signed my deal.

 

 

 

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Tell us about the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course and why you decided to attend.

 
I heard SJ Watson (Before I Go To Sleep) talking about it on the radio and I loved the sound of it. It was expensive and I’d just left my job, so I was worried we couldn’t afford it, especially as I had no idea whether I could write a full-length manuscript. But it gave me permission to take myself seriously as a writer. I also learned the importance of finishing what you’ve started.

 

 

Do you feel like you know your own writing process now?

 
Not really. Every book has a different feel about it. Rattle took multiple drafts to get right while The Collector took one. My third novel – I literally finished it about two hours ago – is quite complex and will need some more work, I think. But I have approached each of them in the same way. I don’t plot, it’s much more of an organic process. I have a rough idea of the shape of the story and that’s it. I don’t tend to start writing until I know the first line, and often, the last.

 

 

 

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In another interview you talked about talent.”Talent is all very well tenacity, self-belief, originality, and the ability to get the words on the page….” I love this definition of talent.

 
Describe your experience of tenacity and how this affects writers.

 
I think it’s about keeping the faith. Talent is important, but persistence is key. Novels are rejected for so many reasons, some of which have nothing to do with an ability to write well. An editor is unlikely to buy a book about a crime-fighting circus act if she bought one like it the week before. A literary agent might already have an author writing a novel about a crime-fighting circus act and wish to avoid a conflict of interest. The market may have seen several books featuring crime-fighting circus acts and have become saturated. The point is, we all need a healthy spoonful of good luck too, but if you give up, you won’t even get a chance to lick the spoon.

 

 

 

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Describe your experience of self-belief before after publishing your books.

 
If you don’t believe in yourself, no-one else will. It takes a lot of discipline to sit in front of a computer and write every day, to keep writing and polishing and editing. What keeps us going? Faith that we can do it. But not blind faith. It’s important to listen too. If your manuscript has been rejected by multiple agents multiple times, perhaps it’s time to think very carefully about where you might be going wrong and the best way to fix it.

 

 

 

Describe your experience of originality and how it can benefit writers.

 
Publishers are always looking for fresh voices, for the Next Big Thing. I enjoy books that do things a little differently, that have a distinctive narrative voice or approach their stories from an interesting angle. I try to do this with my own writing too.

 

 

 

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Have you ever wanted to quit writing?

 
Never. I’ve been frustrated when I can’t make my stupid brain match my vision for a book, I’ve been beset by self-doubt, I’ve ridden the emotional rollercoaster of rejection and disappointment but why would I ever want to quit the best job in the world? Someone is paying me to sit in bed, wearing my pajamas, drinking tea, eating biscuits and making stuff up. You’ll have to prise my laptop from my cold, dead fingers.

 

 

How important is it to “Keep going?”

 
This was a regular refrain throughout the Faber Academy course and weirdly, this had never occurred to me. I made the mistake of thinking that if the first chapter wasn’t right, the book wasn’t right. We were encouraged to keep writing. First drafts can be worked upon, and often, the end informs the beginning.

 

 

 

 

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What are you working on now?

 
I have just finished my third novel. It is set on an ordinary street but some of the residents of The Avenue hide some very dark secrets indeed.

 

 

 

 

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Fiona Cummins

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Award Winning Author Micki Browning discusses Writing

 

 

 

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Please Welcome Award-winning Author Micki Browning!

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Author Interview

 

 

 

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  • What does it mean to plot from the POV of the antagonist and write from the perspective of the protagonist? 

  • What’s your experience and how did it help with writing?



The best writing advice I ever received was to plot from the point of view of the antagonist and write from the perspective of the protagonist. Simple, right? But it was an a-ha moment for me.

 

 

 

 

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A bit of background. Like most writers, I have a couple of practice manuscripts currently occupying space in the bottom of a drawer. They both garnered decent feedback from agents, but the novels were episodic—most of the second act chapters could have been rearranged without affecting the story. I wasn’t building on prior events. Why? Because I didn’t know what my antagonist was doing behind the scenes.

 

 

 

 

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I think most writers put a great deal of thought into the character development of their heroes, but they tend to give their antagonist short shrift. But think about it—the antagonist is the character that drives the story. It is his or her actions that the protagonist must address.

 

 
For most of my adult life, I was a police officer. Part of the job description involved investigating crimes. Most incidents began when someone called 9-1- 1. Upon arrival, I’d try to piece together what happened by observing the scene, obtaining witness statements, and collecting physical evidence. Armed with this information, I’d search databases, develop additional contacts, run down new leads.

 

I was a first responder—just like my protagonist.

 

 

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Imagine how easy police work would be if an officer knew before being dispatched to the scene exactly how the criminal had planned the crime, what motivated the person to do such a nefarious deed, and what steps he’d taken to avoid detection.

 

 
As a writer, you can do that!

 

 

 

 

 

Police work Micki B

 

 

 

 
To combat my story-structure issues, I enrolled in a plotting course for mystery and thriller writers. During the course, the instructor assigned two exercises that I’ve since incorporated into the planning stage of every story I write.

 

 
The first exercise explains the antagonist’s motivation for doing what he did. I write it in first person and it essentially creates the backstory of the character. The first line of this exercise for Adrift, my debut novel reads:

 

 
Ishmael Styx is a man who knows what he wants, and he wants to be dead.  All he has to do is figure out how to make it temporary.

 

 
I then wrote 1200 words explaining what had happened in his life to bring him to this
point.

 

 
The second exercise explains how the antagonist pulled off his crime. Adrift had a complicated crime (more than one, actually, but that developed later in the story).

 

 

 

 

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Drawing on my background, I hatched the plan. Knowing how the crime occurred gave me the insight I needed to identify the clues my protagonist had to notice, what other things could be misinterpreted, and how to follow the breadcrumb trail left by the antagonist. The exercise revealed some surprising options that prompted me to go deeper into my storytelling.

 

 

 
The structure of a mystery novel is such that the antagonist runs the show in the first act. His crime is the inciting incident that ensures the protagonist’s involvement. Roughly the first half of the story involves the hero reacting to the actions of the protagonist. After the midpoint, their roles change. Now your protagonist is hot on the trail, developing those leads, realizing her mistakes. Sure, she’ll have setbacks, but as she gets closer to solving the crime, the two characters are also nearing their final confrontation. Both exercises will help you determine how your cornered antagonist will lash out, try to escape, or outwit your sleuth.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mapping out the crime allowed me to structure my storyline so that it built on the information learned in previous chapters. Actions had consequences. My writing was no longer episodic.

 

 
The first time I’d put this writing advice into action was during the writing of Adrift. The novel won both the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award for mystery. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

 

 
I knew how to foil the crime because I had plotted it first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIO:

An FBI National Academy graduate, Micki Browning worked in municipal law enforcement for more than two decades, retiring as a division commander. Now a full time writer, she won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award for her debut mystery, ADRIFT. 

 
Micki also writes short stories and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in dive magazines, anthologies, mystery magazines and textbooks. She resides in Southern Florida with her partner in crime and a vast array of scuba equipment she uses for “research”

 

 

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: The Woman in the Camphor Trunk

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Audiobook Blog Tour!

 

 

 

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Anna Blanc Camphor Trunk 1

 

 

 

About the Audiobook

Author: Jennifer Kincheloe

Narrator: Moira Quirk

Length: 10 hours 50 minutes

Publisher: Jennifer Kincheloe⎮20

Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery

Series: Anna Blanc Mysteries, Book 2

Release date: Nov. 14, 2017

 

 

Synopsis: Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. Her lover has fled. If news gets out that a white woman was murdered in Chinatown, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna plan to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret. So does good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent Chinese leader who has mixed feelings about helping the LAPD and about Anna.

Meanwhile, the Hop Sing tong has kidnapped two slave girls from the Bing Kong tong, fuelling existing tensions. They are poised on the verge of a bloody tong war that would put all Chinatown residents in danger.

Joe orders Anna out of Chinatown to keep her safe, but to atone for her own family’s sins, Anna must stay to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.

 

 

Buy Links

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This book was quality historical fiction in my opinion. I found it extremely entertaining on many levels!  Anna Blanc is a very delightful, fiercely independent character. The Narrator was the perfect medium for this book. She fully brought the characters to life! Jennifer has created one of the most memorable characters that I can remember. Anna Blanc reminds me of the talented young sleuth, Flavia de Luce.

Loved all the interpersonal conflict, tension among the characters. Very well written. Jennifer Kincheloe is a good writer.

 

 

 

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See my review of the Narrator performance here: The Woman in the Camphor Trunk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?

I liken it to a movie vs. a TV series. You simply have more time to develop the characters. You know them so well.You also have the challenge of making them grow or change in every book. Sustaining the romance is a trick, but I love how Elizabeth Peters did it in the Amelia Peabody series. It never got old. The audiobooks of that series are seriously the best I’ve ever heard (after Moira). They relate the adventures of a woman Egyptologist in the late 19th and early 20th century. Start with CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK. You’ll thank me.

 

 

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Write for yourself. Not for money, critics, or glory. Only write for yourself.

 

 

What’s next for you?

I have a contract for book three in the Anna Blanc mystery series, which I’ve tentatively titled GRIFFITH PARK. It’s hard to describe the plot because there’s a twist in the beginning and I’m not sure how much to reveal, but it’s more Anna and Joe, more adventures, more LA history straight from the papers.

 

 

 

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About the Author: Jennifer Kincheloe

 

Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse’s aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She’s currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.

 

 

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About the Narrator: Moira Quirk

Moira grew up in teeny-tiny Rutland, England’s smallest county, which is fitting as she never managed to make it past five feet herself.  Moira’s work spans the pantheon of the voiceover world: plays for BBC radio, plays for NPR, video games, commercials, television promos, podcasts, cartoons, movies and award winning audiobooks. She’s won Multiple Audie Awards, Earphone Awards, as well as Audible’s prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award. She has lately set foot in front of the camera again, appearing in “Pretty: the Series” and the Emmy-winning “Dirty Work.”

 

 

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