Award Winning Author Micki Browning discusses Writing

 

 

 

Beached_Browning

 

 

 

Please Welcome Award-winning Author Micki Browning!

welcome for Micki B

 

 

Author Interview

 

 

 

Various microphones aligned at press conference.

 

 

 

 

 

  • 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.

 

 

 

 

light bulb moment

 

 

 
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.

 

 

 

 

antagonist behind the scenes

 

 

 
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.

 

 

Police Officer grabbing his gun

 

 

 
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).

 

 

 

 

Process Definition Magnified Showing Result From Actions Or Functions

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

STRUCTURE - Glowing Neon Sign on stonework wall

 

 

 

 
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”

 

 

 

Micki's logo scaled

 

Stay in touch with Micki at

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Book Review: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner

Unsub

 

 

 

A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An Unsub—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

 

 

 

 

My Review

 

A Damn good thriller!

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and definitely the best crime fiction. Absolutely amazing. A must read. Caitlin Hendrix, a narcotics detective joins an investigation to catch one of the nations worst serial killers that her father failed to catch. In fact, her father Mack Hendrix now a retired cop, tries to persuade to stop investigating since it ruined his life nearly driving him insane. 

I loved what Meg Gardiner has done with detective Caitlin Hendrix. She’s not necessarily an expert, but joins the homicide division due to her father’s connection to the case. Determined, focused, bold, not to mention brillant; she works with law enforcement to catch the UNSUB.

Meg Gardiner does a spectacular job creating the twisted M.O. of the serial killer, UNSUB. He was such a formidable opponent it made for a JUICY conflict. Meg crafts his motivations perfectly.

The suspense is so thick you can cut it with a steak knife. So if you like edge-of-your-seat thrillers, THIS IS IT. Look no further.

In the crowded arena of crime fictiob UNSUB is quite unique. Don’t miss it!!

 

 
Five golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

 

Pre-order the next book here: Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel

 

 

Into the Black Nowhere

 

 

Release date is Jan. 30th 2018!

 

Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, an exhilarating thriller in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.

 

 

I already have this title and can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!

 

 

 

Hungry meat-eating man

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Meg Gardiner

 

 

Meg Gardiner

 

 

Meg Gardiner is the author of thirteen thrillers. UNSUB, her latest novel, features homicide detective Caitlin Hendrix. Don Winslow says, “Like The Silence of the Lambs, this novel scared the hell out of me. I dare you to try putting it down.” The novel has been bought for development as a TV series by CBS.

Meg was born in Oklahoma and raised in Santa Barbara, California. A graduate of Stanford Law School, she practiced law in Los Angeles and taught writing at the University of California Santa Barbara. She’s also a three time Jeopardy! champion. Meg lives in Austin, Texas.

She’s the author of the Evan Delaney series and the Jo Beckett novels. China Lake won the 2009 Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Paperback Original. The Dirty Secrets Club won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Procedural Novel of 2008.

 

 

Amazon Twitter | FacebookGoodreadsWebsite

 

 

 

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be a stranger!

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

MTW Blog Cover Image by Eva

 

November’s Books & Blurbs

columns of books

 

 

 

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands. –Neil Gaiman

 

 

 

Welcome to another edition of books & blurbs!

 

This is an occasional post I’m doing to give a sneak peek about the books I’ve been reading and listening too recently. It really should be a weekly or bi-weekly post, but I haven’t got my act together quite yet. *Sigh*

 

Here’s some notable books from this month that has caught my eye. Ready? Here it goes!

 

 

The Kingfountain Series by Jeff Wheeler

 

The Queens Poisoner

 

 

King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.

Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor by proving his worth—through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny.

 

I’m thoroughly enjoying this series. The Queen’s Poisoner, book one of the series was utterly mesmerizing. I switched back and forth between reading and listening to the audiobook performed by the talented Kate Rudd. I’ll post the narrator performance on my other site at AudioSpy.  Currently reading/listening to the second book, The Thief’s Daughter and it’s just as good!

 

 

The Thiefs daughter

 

 

 

 

 

The Orphan X series by Gregg Hurwitz

 

 

Orphan X

 

 

 

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them.

But he’s no legend.

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets—i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.

Now, however, someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training. Someone who knows Orphan X. Someone who is getting closer and closer. And will exploit Evan’s weakness—his work as The Nowhere Man—to find him and eliminate him. Grabbing the reader from the very first page, Orphan X is a masterful thriller, the first in Gregg Hurwitz’s electrifying new series featuring Evan Smoak.

 

Holy mackerel!! Reading this was literally like watching a movie unfold in my head. My first Gregg Hurwitz book didn’t disappoint one bit. The next book in the series is a short, Buy a Bullet and now I”m currently reading The Nowwhere Man.

 

 

 

 

Awesome red grunge round stamp isolated on white Background

 

 

 

 

 

Invisible by James Patterson & David Ellis

 

 

Invisible James Patterson

 

 

 

Everyone thinks Emmy Dockery is crazy. Obsessed with finding the link between hundreds of unsolved cases, Emmy has taken leave from her job as an FBI researcher. Now all she has are the newspaper clippings that wallpaper her bedroom, and her recurring nightmares of an all-consuming fire.

Not even Emmy’s ex-boyfriend, field agent Harrison “Books” Bookman, will believe her that hundreds of kidnappings, rapes, and murders are all connected. That is, until Emmy finds a piece of evidence he can’t afford to ignore. More murders are reported by the day–and they’re all inexplicable. No motives, no murder weapons, no suspects. Could one person really be responsible for these unthinkable crimes?

Invisible is James Patterson’s scariest, most chilling stand-alone thriller yet.

 

I found this to be a very creative book for crime fiction. An FBI analyst gets mixed up in a string of mysterious lethal fires which turn out to be the heinous work of a serial killer. Amazing! Really enjoyed the originality in this one. Quite different from the typical serial killer in crime fiction.

 

 

 

 

BOOKS ON THE RADAR

 

 

On the Radar dummies

 

 

 

The Lost City of the Monkey God

 

Lost city of the monkey god

 

 

 

 

The Other Slavery The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

 

The other slavery

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Byline

 

 

The good byline

 

 

 

 

 

The End Game

 

 

The end game

 

 

 

 

 

The Storm, Trackers #3

 

 

The Storm trackers 3

 

 

 

 

 

Twisted Truth (Rogue Justice #1)

 

 

Twisted truth

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll stop there, otherwise this list will go on forever. Go find a good book!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

Great Interview with Lilja Sigurdardóttir Author of Snare

 

 

 

Snare

 

 

SNARE

 

Book blurb

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

 

 

 

 

Excellence from Iceland

 

 

 

Iceland.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

Lilja Sigurdardóttir – Author of Snare

 

 

Lilja profile

 

 

 
What’s it like living in Iceland? 



It’s great living in Iceland! Except for the weather of course. It´s a rather big volcanic and geographically new Island with very few people on it. The whole Icelandic nation is only 330 thousand people. But we host over a million tourists each year so it is lively and fun. Every town in Iceland is close to nature so outdoorsy people love it there. I don’t consider myself outdoorsy but I still enjoy the occasional walk out in nature. We have a rather strong welfare system in line with the other Nordic countries and a mixed economy so people have a good living standard and are generally healthy with a long life expectancy. That’s why it seems odd that Nordic writers write so much crime fiction as the Nordic countries have a very low crime rate and Iceland especially so.

 

 

Can you share some pictures with us?

 

 

 

Iceland 2

 

 

 

Herðubreið mountain

 

 

 

Iceland 1

 

 

 

Living room scene

 

 

Garden

 

 

 

 
Is your creative process as an author and playwright different?



Yes and no. For me it always starts out with the characters. A character starts living in my head and then I have to imagine a setting for her or him and their drive and there I have the plot. This is the initial process whether I am writing a play or novel. But then when the writing process really starts the novel is easier to write because it gives more freedom, but the play has to reveal everything through the dialogue. With a novel you’re on your own right to the end, but when writing a play the final goal is production where you’ll work with a theatre group to help with polishing.

 

 

 

Process Definition Magnified Showing Result From Actions Or Functions

 

 

 

 
What was your response when your play Big Babies won play of the year?

I was very happy of course! It was great and I was grateful for the recognition. In hindsight a big red-carpet moment like this seems unreal but I have such warm memories of the theatre company that produced the play that they will live inside my heart forever. A written stageplay is one thing but it’s the theatre artists that make it alive.

 

 

 

Red Carpet Festival Glamour Scene

 

 

 

 
Why did you choose Noir to tell your story?



The Noir genre has a strong element of storytelling so that is why it is so good for me, because I see myself as a storyteller. I believe that with crime-fiction or Noir the reader has very specific expectations and the success of a story depends largely on how the writer fulfills those expectations. The reader expects to be entertained, to experience tension or a thrill and to be told a story.

 

 

 

story type

 

 

 

 
How did you get into crime writing?



In part it was a coincidence. I have always loved writing and liked crime-fiction, but then one day I saw an ad from an Icelandic publisher for a competition called: “the New Dan Brown”. So that was it. My fate was sealed. Since I have written five published novels and my writing career has really taken off.

 

 

 

Crime

 

 

 
Who is Sonia?



Sonia is a young attractive mother that experiences a collapse of her whole world when her husband walks in on her in bed with another woman. The divorce that follows and the custody battle, all taking place in the same dramatic months as the Icelandic financial crash result in her being in a desperate situation. In her desperation she resorts to smuggling drugs and thereby she has entered a world of drugs and crime that she wouldn’t have expected herself to be in just a few months before.

 

 
Does your story bear a theme for struggling single mothers?



Well, I don’t know. The theme I started out with was an exploration of what people do when they feel cornered. When ordinary people find them selves in extraordinary situations they can do things they would never have imagined themselves doing. Sonia, the single mother in the story is one of those people and she does everything she can to regain custody of her son.

 

 

 

 

Survival Endurance Resilience Attitude road signs arrows directi

 

 

 

 
What is Sonia a victim of?



First and foremost she is a victim of herself. Snare is the first of the Reykjavík Noir Trilogy and in the coming two books she will come to terms with her own part in creating her fate. But the drug business is international, and even in a small country like Iceland it has quite an impact. The people who have ensnared Sonia are not the nicest types. With all the violence, threats and coercion Sonia feels like a victim. At first.

 

 

 

Woman undergo authority power

 

 

 

 

What role does the financial crisis play in the series?

 
It’s the backdrop to the whole story. I’m interested in those moments in history when there’s huge changes to society. For Iceland the financial crash had devastating consequences. Many people lost their homes and all their savings and had to start anew. There was a lot of anger and desperation; and in Snare we see characters that are struggling with the consequences of this, although it’s in a very different way for each one of them.

 

 

 

Empty pockets

 

 

 
What’s next for you after the Reykjavik trilogy?

 
I am currently starting on writing a new series that leans more into the political thriller. I hope it will do as good as the Reykjavík Noir Trilogy.

 

 

THANKS!

 

 

Connect with Lilja

 

Lilja profile

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

MTW Blog Cover Image by Eva

Scottish Crime Fiction Blogger Discusses The Huntress Moon Series by Alexandra Sokoloff

 

 

Investigator collects evidence - crime scene investigation

 

 

Hello all, today we have with us Sharon Scottish crime fiction blogger discussing the Huntress/FBI series by Alexandra Sokoloff. I saw Sharon’s recent review of Cold Moon book #3 of the series and couldn’t resist asking questions! Check out her excellent review here: #BookReview #ColdMoon @AlexSokoloff

 

Alexandra Sokoloff

 

 

ALEXANDRA SOKOLOFF is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI series (HUNTRESS MOON, BLOOD MOON, COLD MOON, BITTER MOON, HUNGER MOON – now in active development as a TV series), and the supernatural HAUNTED thrillers (THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, THE SPACE BETWEEN). The New York Times Book Review called her a “daughter of Mary Shelley,” and her books “Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.”

 

 

23957469     Blood moon

 

Cold moon      Bitter moon

 

 

Book 5 Hunger Moon releases Octorber 24, 2017!

 

Hunger Moon

 

Pre-order here

 

 

 

What was your first impression when you began to read this series?

I always think that starting a new series is like walking into a party where you don’t know anybody. You kind of hover around the edges, observe your surroundings and watch the interactions between the other guests, working out who you might get on with and who is best to avoid. So when I started this series I spent some time trying to get to know who was who but very quickly the characters and the plot engaged me and #Boom I was hooked.

 

What do you appreciate about the protagonist?

I guess there are two protagonists in this series, Special Agent Roarke and Cara Lindstrom and both bring something very different to the novels. They are both on the side of justice and the dilemma is for Roarke in fulfilling his professional quest for justice versus his understanding of Cara’s quest.  Both characters were utterly compelling for me.

 

 

 

justice-2071539_960_720

 

 

 

Name a few unique things you’ve noticed. What sticks out that you haven’t seen in other books?

This was the first time I’ve ever read a novel where both the law enforcer and the hunted evoke such very strong and similar emotions in me. It is also the first novel I’ve read featuring a female serial killer and most of all for me is the voice that the author brings to the victims of trafficking, prostitution and modern-day slavery that stands out. There is a message behind the novel, a drive and a passion to challenge what is a current issue, it’s a representation and dialogue that stands up and sticks up its middle finger to the idea that we should just sweep this under the carpet. It is a very current issue and this series gives a fictional justice, if you like, to those who have been wronged.

 

 

 

“I say that justice is truth in action.” -Benjamin Disraeli

 

 

 

Do you have any favourite scenes?

Too many to mention and don’t want to give away any spoilers! However, I LOVE all the scenes where Cara is getting her revenge on those lowlife bad guys!

 

Which book is your favourite of the series?

To date, I’ve only read the first three (will be devouring the last two later this month!) and I’d say Blood Moon was my favourite (actually all three are my favourite and you are bad making me pick just one!)

 

Which characters did you like most?

Easy, no contest, Matthew Roarke and Cara Lindstrom

 

 

 

question-2736480_960_720

 

 

 

If you could ask special agent Matthew Roarke a question what would you ask?

If you are forced to choose, will you retain your role in law enforcement or would you give it all up for Cara?

 

If you could ask Cara Lindstrom a question what would you say?

Are your actions destiny or fate and what would bring peace to your soul?

 

If you could ask the author a question what would you say?

Did you set out to give such a powerful message against trafficking and prostitution or did this just evolve as you wrote?

 

 

Thanks for sharing with us Sharon!

 

twitter-292994_960_720

 

 

 

See Sharon’s Blog: Chapter in my life: Scottish Crime Fiction Blogger

 

Connect with Alexandra Sokoloff

Twitter | Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by. Don’t be a stranger!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

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Author Interview with Kathleen Doler

Kathleen doler

 

 

Please welcome Kathleen Doler! She’s the skilled author of THE HOOK, a readers favorite book award winner, and NIEA finalist. She’s also an adventure sports addict with extensive experience in journalism, writing and editing copy all over the globe.

 

 

 

welcome-sign-2284312_960_720

 

 

 

1. How does it feel to write your first book?

It’s an outstanding feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes I pick up THE HOOK and read a couple of passages, and it’s almost surreal…I think to myself, “Wow, I actually wrote this!” Of course, my next thought, is stop patting yourself on the back and move on. Put some words on paper, you sloth.

 

 

 

 

sloth

 

 

 

 

2. How does fiction writing compare with adventure sports?

Sitting in my desk chair isn’t very active. But it does enable me to analyze my adventure sports addiction and what drives my fascination with dangerous sports. And when I’m writing about one of those sports it’s like dreaming about surfing or diving (which I often do); I get the same rush.

 

 

Pretty traveler woman with backpack

 

 

 

3. Do you channel a sense of adventure into your writing?

Absolutely. THE HOOK includes surfing, windsurfing, scuba diving, sailing, stand-up paddling and travel. Adventure sports are an important component and backdrop of the story, even though it’s a literary and suspense novel, and that’s intentional. Very few novels feature women athletes. Very few authors write for active and adventuresome women. “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed was a huge hit, but where are the novels that would appeal to “Wild’s” millions of readers? I believe THE HOOK is one, and I want to write more of them.

 

 

 

 

“You fail only if you stop writing.” Ray Bradbury

 

 

 

 

4. Who is Dana and what motivates her?

Dana is a professionally successful journalist and a hard-core athlete, who’s tough but damaged by her traumatic childhood. She has trouble with relationships, and she has little time for them. Additionally, she isn’t willing to play the traditional dating game. She’s very independent, and yet she’s also lonely. Intensely loyal to her brother and her close friends, she’s on her guard with everyone else.

 

 

 

Motivation Concept - Red Target.

 

 

 

 

5. What’s the bond like between Dana and her brother Shane?

Their bond is almost like twins — each one can feel, to a degree, what’s going on with the other one. Their chaotic childhood also binds them. But as much as Dana loves Shane, she sees him for who he is. He’s an addict and he’s mentally ill, just like their mother. He’ll never be truly stable.

 

 

 

“A brother is a friend given by Nature.”-Jean Baptiste Legouve

 

 

 

 

6. If Shane were your brother how would you help him?

Like Dana I would struggle to help him and yet not enable him. And with a brother like Shane, you must keep his struggles and dramas from eating your life. You step in when you have to…but sometimes when he’s at least semi-stable you stay away…though then you’re wracked with guilt.

 

 

 

 

help-153094_960_720

 

 

 

 

 

7. What kind of journalism is Dana involved with?

Dana is a business journalist for a large newspaper. She writes about economics. Because of continuing sexism in the business world, she goes up against the men in her job and her interviews. But she’s used to that because she’s forced to compete with men in the surf for waves. And she’s close to her brother and has many male friends, which helps her understand businessmen, their behavior and motivations.

 

 

 

Journalism

 

 

 

8. How do you relate to Dana personally?

I’m a lifelong adventure sports addict, and I’m a journalist. And because of that many of my closest friends are men. I also came from a very troubled family…part of the novel comes from my story. I know what it’s like to deal with a mentally ill and addicted sibling. You end up doing things others only watch on TV.

 

9. What’s the coastal town Half Moon Bay like?

It’s a foggy tourist town, a farm and fishing town and a telecommuter hub for Silicon Valley. In winter, huge surf hits at Mavericks, a HMB pro surfing contest site. In the first chapter, I describe Half Moon Bay this way: “On the drive, I note the changes to Half Moon Bay, more chain restaurants, more traffic. I miss how it used to be, a community of ruddy complexions and calloused hands, fishing and farming. Now it’s an outlying burb for Silicon Valley engineers, with their computers and their pallor, too many hours lit only by screens of code.”

 

10. What’s next for you?

I’m working on two projects. One is a nonfiction book about adventure sports and travel. It’s based on my adventures and will include previous writing I’ve done for a variety of publications, as well as new essays. I’m also working on my next novel. It will be a murder mystery, but will of course include adventure sports. And I’m still writing business articles (which help pay the bills), including executive biographies, company profiles and other assignments.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hook

 

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

CONNECT WITH KATHLEEN

 

Kathleen Doler

Author of THE HOOK

Journalist, Adventure Sports Addict

kathleendoler@sbcglobal.net

www.kathleendoler.com

www.facebook.com/kathleendolerauthor

Twitter: @kathleendoler

 

 

 

Enjoy Mysteries or Thrillers? Sign up for Mystery Thriller Week as a reader, reviewer, blogger or author. Join us for 11 days of literary feasting!

 

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Check out my new site at AudioSpy.org for Audiobook reviews, news and podcasts!

 

Don’t be a stranger…

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

Audiobook Review: Portraits of the Dead

Skeleton X-Ray - DJ 3

 

 

 

AUDIO FORENSICS EDITION

 

Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl

 

 

 

potraits-of-the-dead-audiobook-1

 

 

Written by: John Nicholl

Narrated by: Jake Urry

Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 10-18-16

Publisher: John Nicholl

 

 

 

 GOODREADS DESCRIPTION

Emma didn’t know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors, and watched, mesmerised, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night.

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.

The greater the evil, the more deadly the game… How far would you go to save your life?

 

 

 

Hear Me Out….

 

 

Deaf man

 

 

This is one of my top audiobooks of the year so far. No one captures the twisted mind of serial killers quite like John Nicholl does. He puts you into the demented point of view of the killer throughout the story, which I think has certain benefits. You feel like you are literally there within the story seeing through the eyes of the killer. If you consider it, this is truly a remarkable skill to pull off effectively.

Another POV character was the victim, Emma, a young college student with a bright future ahead of her. In the midst of all of the dark things she endures by a sliver of hope. These kind of stories are always about hope, survival and justice.

It also brings you into the POV of the two primary detectives working the case. Clive Rankin and DI Gravel. We also get to see their quirks and personalities which I found very entertaining.

The only thing I didn’t like was the ending, but I can’t say more otherwise there’d be a huge spoiler.

 

 

 

AUDIO FORENSICS

 

 

listen to music (+clipping path, xxl)

 

 

 

Narrator Performance: 10/10

Of course you should know that I’m a Jake Urry fan by now. He does an phenomenal job of drawing you into the story. He does it so well you don’t even notice he’s narrating at all. I just felt ‘in the moment’. What else can you ask for?

 

Story Connection: 10/10

Like I’ve said before, Urry connects very well to the characters and story as a whole. You can tell when someone is just reading text without much emotional attachment.  This is important to me as a listener. This is difference between experienced narrators and other ones. If your connection to the story is impeded by the voice or skill of the narrator that’s never good. Since they have to act as the medium this is pretty critical. The book could be a classic, but if the narration is not gelling I can’t finish the book.

 

Voice Switch over: 10/10

This is another ninja-like quality that narrators possess. I’m still not sure how they manage to do it the entire story! It’s utterly amazing. I also relate this to the narrators ability to connect with story/characters. Jake Urry does it so well his voices totally sound like different people. Their idiosyncrasies, intonation, dialect, and gender are excellent. The switching back and forth in the midst of dialogue between characters was flawless. This made it more believable and drew me more into the story.

 

Sound quality: 10/10

Definitely professional. It would show if the sound quality was poor. Not the case here.

 

Emotional Resonance: 10/10

I was really drawn into the story at every turn. Emotionally invested to everything that was happening. Whether it was being repulsed by the killer, sorrow for the victim, or hope for the detectives. I was bummed when one of the characters died! Was surprised and a bit disappointed honestly. Not sure if Nicholl is penning another in the series, but I definitely  want more!

 

Overall:  10/10

Listen to it! Author John Nicholl is a very skilled writer. You won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

John Nicholl: Amazon | Audible | Goodreads | Website

 

Jake Urry:  Audible | Website | Twitter

 

 

 

Got Audiobooks?

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Book Review: Winter of Wolves by Marc Rainer

winter-of-wolves

 

 

A Winter of Wolves (Jeff Trask Crime Drama #4)

 

Goodreads Description

 

Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask is summoned to a murder scene. A Park Police officer has been brutally murdered at the Lincoln Memorial. As Trask and a team of local and federal investigators try to find the killer, more police officers are murdered. While attending the funeral for one of these victims, Trask and his team find themselves in a firefight with a cell of radical Islamic terrorists. Disqualified because of his involvement at the scene at Arlington National Cemetery, Trask is reassigned to Washington D.C.’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, where he discovers that the firefight at Arlington was only part of a bigger and much more sinister plot to bomb that threatens the entire eastern seaboard.

 

 

 

My Rating

 

 

 

Awesome Gold Vintage Label

 

 

 

 

My Impressions…

 

I was immediately drawn into this story from the beginning with a heinous crime committed against the ambassador of San Salvador. From there, every line, jot and tittle unravels layer upon layer until you reach the end. the level of detail is not only remarkable, but entertaining and relevant to the storyline.

The distinct effect of this book, as well as the others in the Jeff Trask Crime drama, bear a particular flavor. Marc Rainer a former Federal prosecutor has a working knowledge of law enforcement personnel at every level. Including intelligence, FBI, CIA, investigators, counterterrorism, Washington D.C, U.S. Attorney relations, and Police forces. It’s like the old Prego commercial theme “It’s all in there”.

Having said all of that, the book carried a unique ‘flavor’ to it unlike others I’ve read. It has more realism within it’s pages but not a boring kind of realism. It was still fascinating and kept me turning the pages!

The author really does an excellent job portraying a sense of family among the main characters. They really appreciate one another, play offer each others strength, and truly work as a team. The heroism of Jeff Trask was more balanced within the team approach, which I believe,  had a nice impact.

Winter of Wolves had all the necessary ingredients  for an entertaining read, including humor. You won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

Marc Rainer

Goodreads | Website | Amazon

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

 

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Audiobook Review: White is the Coldest Colour

 

 

DJ with Headphones

 

 

 

AUDIO FORENSICS EDITION

 

White is The Coldest Colour by Amazon Bestselling Author John Nicholl

 

 

 

white-is-the-coldest-color-audiobook

 

 

White Is the Coldest Colour: Dr. David Galbraith, Book 1

 

Listen to a sample: Here

 

Written by: John Nicholl

Narrated by: Jake Urry

Length: 9 hrs and 10 min

Series: Dr. David Galraith, Book 1

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 05-26-16

Publisher: JOHN NICHOLL

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Description

 

The chilling, dark psychological suspense thriller from ex police officer and child protection social worker, John Nicholl.

Be careful who you trust…

The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage.
Fifty-eight year old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory paedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters.
Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

The novel is entirely fictional, but draws on John Nicholl’s experiences as a police officer, child protection social worker, manager and trainer.
During his career the author was faced with case after case that left him incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims. The book reflects that reality.
The story is set in 1992, a more naive time when many found it extremely difficult to believe that a significant number of adults posed a serious risk to children.
The book contains material some may find upsetting from the start.
It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

The gripping sequel: ‘When evil calls your name’ is now available on Amazon, or on Audible.

 

 

when-evil-calls-your-name

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY RATING

 

 

 

 

Awesome Word Rubber Stamp 3D Rating Review Feedback

 

 

 

 

AUDIOBOOK PERFORMANCE

Narrator Performance: 10/10

Story Connection: 10/10

Voice switch over: 10/10

Sound quality: 10/10

Emotional Resonance: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ear 1.jpeg

 

 

 

HEAR ME OUT….

 

This story was pretty disturbing to say the least. Of course this was expected given the topic, which is consistent with today’s pedophile problem. Author John Nicholl perfectly captures the mindset of those who carry out such heinous crimes. Dr. David Galbraith was truly a brilliantly devious, sick individual. Who would stop at nothing to satisfy his cravings for young children. Being in his point of view further exemplifies the point.

The story centers around a young boy named Anthony, who’s already been traumatized, and his separated parents on the verge of collapse.

 

 

Narrator Jake Urry

Jake Urry is one of the best narrators I’ve heard on audiobooks. He has a way of drawing you completely into the story through characters and their various points of view.

When I listen to one of his audiobooks; his intimate connection to the story brings everything into life. You’re there. In the moment. You can’t ask for more from a narrator.

He embodies different characters with precision and handles their personalities with skill. When he switches between voices it’s very smooth making for a nice ride. High five Jake!

 

 

John Nicholl: Amazon | Audible | Goodreads | Website

 

Jake Urry:  Audible | Website | Twitter

 

 

 

Got Audiobooks?

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Wings of Mayhem Book Review

wings-of-mayhem

 

 

 

 

 

Author Sue Colleta 

 

 

sue-coleta

 

 

Sue is one of many great authors participating in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week. Don’t miss out on the fun…And spread the word!

 

 

 

GOODREADS DESCRIPTION

 

A SERIAL KILLER STALKS THE STREETS…

Cat burglar Shawnee Daniels always believed her “fearlessness rules” mantra would keep her on top and out of jail. When she hacks a confiscated hard drive at the Revere P.D., she focuses on a white-collar criminal accused of embezzlement. To teach him a lesson and recoup the funds she breaks into his massive contemporary in Bear Clave Estates. Jack has even more secrets, deadly secrets, secrets worth killing over.

A CAT BURGLAR PICKS THE WRONG HOUSE TO ROB…


Shawnee thinks she made it out clean until a deadly package arrives at her door soon after. He’s found her. As a glowing eagle taunts her Skype screen, Jack tells her she stole his precious trophy box — and he wants it back!

THEIR LIVES COLLIDE…


When her “helpful” best friend convinces her to date charismatic Detective Levaughn Samuels, her two worlds threaten to implode. Ordinarily Shawnee keeps a firm line between her professions, but dating Levaughn might help her get this psycho off her tail.

AND NOW, NO ONE IS SAFE…


In this lightning-fast-paced psychological thriller of secrets and lies, Shawnee juggles being stalked by a serial killer, dating the lead detective on the case, and tap dancing around her librarian best friend.

If she doesn’t find the trophy box, the killer’s coming for her. If she doesn’t expose her secrets and lies, more will die. And if she does, she could lose her freedom and everyone she holds dear.

If you’re a fan of Lisa Jackson, Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter thrillers, crime fiction with an edge, or psychological thrillers, mystery, and suspense, then Wings of Mayhem is for you.



Praise for Sue Coletta’s novels…

“The heart-stopping descriptions are so jarringly real that there are several scenes I will never forget.” ~ Eliza Cross, Award Winning Author

“Sue Coletta isn’t going to spare you the gory details or an honest look behind the crime scene tape. She’s a well versed author in all things crime who indelicately dumps you into the middle of a life which has been disrupted, disturbed, and marred by the evil acts of a solitary man.” ~ Beaux Cooper, Author and Amazon Reviewer

“Sue Coletta’s writing style is bold. It’s riveting.

 

 

 

 

 

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First thoughts….

The idea and plot to this book really grabbed me from the beginning and wouldn’t let me go. A Cat burglar doubling in law enforcement, steals a ‘trophy box’ from a devious serial killer. Who wouldn’t read that!

I found it to a very refreshing and original plot. Especially from the overdone cliches in the crime thriller category.

 

Shawnee Daniels

The lead character Shawnee Daniels was also a treat. Instead of being the poor, vulnerable victim we usually see, she daring! She’s a snarky bold character with a chip on her shoulder.

She’s a good anti-hero type who blurs the line between good and evil. Working for law enforcement as a computer analyst, professional cat burglar by night. Love it!

 

Shawnee vs. the serial killer

Finally! A serial killer with a worthy opponent. This made the book extremely entertaining and compelling to read. The killer was devious, smart and capable. But Shawnee Daniels was just a formidable. When these two clashed the conflict was awesome.

 

Can’t wait to read the next book! Kudos Sue!

 

 

 

thanks-blocks

 

 

 

 

CONNECT WITH SUE COLETTA

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Youtube | Twitter | Amazon